Monthly Archives: January 2009

Reeds, Rushes, or Bulrushes along the Nile

One of the best known stories of the Bible is the account of the mother of Moses hiding the baby among the reeds, rushes, or bulrushes along the edge of the Nile. The terms mentioned above are used interchangeably in various English Bible versions.

Read the full account in Exodus 21. Here are the first few verses.

A man from the household of Levi married a woman who was a descendant of Levi.  The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a healthy child, she hid him for three months.  But when she was no longer able to hide him, she took a papyrus basket for him and sealed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and set it among the reeds along the edge of the Nile.  (Exodus 21:1-3 NET Bible)

In the past few days we traveled on the Nile River and saw many examples of the reeds or rushes along the banks of the River.

Reeds or rushes along the edge of the Nile River. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Reeds or rushes along the edge of the Nile River. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Tirhakah of Cush

Frequently the Bible records the statements of various foreign rulers. One such record is that of the Assyrian king Sennacherib.

When he heard them say concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, “Behold, he has come out to fight against you,” he sent messengers again to Hezekiah saying,  “Thus you shall say to Hezekiah king of Judah, ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you saying, “Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.”  (2 Kings 19:9-10)

The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament comments on the term Cush (Ethiopia) as it is used in several Old Testament prophecies.

In several cases, especially in the prophets, Ethiopia is used in parallel construction as a synonym of Egypt (Isa 20:3-5; Ezek 30:4; Nah 3:9). This probably represents the dominance of Ethiopia (or, more precisely, Nubia) over Egypt between 750 and 663 B.C. Terhakah was a notable Nubian pharaoh who tried, unsuccessfully, to block Sennacherib’s westward expansion (2Kings 19:9 ; Isa 37:9). After 663 B. C. Egypt was independent of Nubia (Jer 46:9; Ezek 25:4, 5, 9).

Tirhakah under the protection of the god Amun. British Museum photo by F. Jenkins.

Tirhakah under the protection of the god Amun. British Museum photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This colossal statue shows Tirhakah standing under the protection of the god Amun shown as a recumbent ram. The gray granite sculpture, dating to about 675 B.C., was found at Karnak. This granite is typical of the Aswan area.

Yesterday afternoon we visited a Nubian Village on the banks of the Nile River at the first cataract of the Nile at Aswan. The Nubians at the village originally lived south of Aswan in the ancient territory of Cush. When the new High Dam was built on the Nile the Nubians were moved to other settlements.

One of the interesting things I observed at the village was a shop of some sort called House of Kush (Cush). A sign on top of the building added “Welcome to Taharka Kingdom.”

House of Kush at Nubian Village, Aswan, Egypt. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

House of Kush at Nubian Village, Aswan, Egypt. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This photo is especially for Mrs. Caldwell’s class at the Florida College Academy. I hope you are enjoying the photos of Egypt.

Visiting the Valley of the Kings

While at Luxor we visited the Valley of the Kings. This is where the Pharaoh’s of the New Kingdom Period of Egyptian history are buried. There are no pyramids during this periods, but at least sixty four tombs are known in the Valley of the Kings. Our group visited two or three.

The Valley of the Kings is located on the West Bank of the Nile River a short distance from the Nile valley.

The Valley of the Kings. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Valley of the Kings. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

New archaeological excavations continue in the Valley of the Kings. It was fascinating to see workers carrying buckets filled with debris. This is reminiscent of old photos of workers in Mesopotamia or Palestine in the early nineteenth century. Beginning with the excavation of Masada by Yigal Yadin, volunteers are used. Students often pay their own transportation, room and board, to work on a dig. It is a form of educational slavery, one might say.

Workers at archaeologicaly site in the Valley of the Kings. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Workers at archaeological site in the Valley of the Kings. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Some archaeologists were busy surveying. Others were photographing small items. I saw four individuals washing and restoring broken pottery.

Pottery reconstruction in the Valley of the Kings. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Pottery reconstruction in the Valley of the Kings. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Travel can be exciting and educational.

Visiting the Ptolemaic Temple at Edfu

At Edfu, 64 miles south of Luxor, we visited the temple of the sun god Horus who is represented by the falcon. Begun by Ptolemy III in 237 B.C. and completed by 57 B.C., it is the finest example of the ancient Egyptian temples that I have seen. At Luxor we saw Alexander the Great represented as a Pharaoh. His successors, the Ptolemies, brought this practice to an extreme in the temple at Edfu. Ptolemy is pictured repeatedly on the limestone walls standing before Horus; Horus is always the taller figure. Idolatry was not something new to the Greeks, of course (Acts 17; 1 Corinthians 8:5-6).

There is a scene inside the temple showing 12 priests carrying an ark on poles. This box on a boat contained the important books pertaining to the temple and the religion of Horus. I think it dates to the time of Pharaoh Neco (late seventh century BC). Neco was the Pharaoh who killed Josiah, the king of Judah, at Megiddo. He continued to Carchemish where he met defeat at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. A replica of the ark is on display in the most holy place in the temple.

The ark at Edfu. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The ark at Edfu. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A visit to Edfu demonstrates that, in the Ptolemaic period, we are no longer observing an Egypt ruled by Egyptians but one ruled by foreigners. The prophecy of Ezekiel had been fulfilled.

Thus says the Lord GOD, “I will also destroy the idols And make the images cease from Memphis. And there will no longer be a prince in the land of Egypt; And I will put fear in the land of Egypt. (Ezekiel 30:13).

Descendants of Ham no longer controlled the land, but it was dominated by foreigners who were descendants of Japheth. In the 7th century A.D. the country came under the control of Arab rulers who were descendants of Shem. This same rule by foreigners now continues in the present Egyptian government headed in recent time by presidents Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak. The modern Egyptians are simply caretakers of the ruins of ancient Egypt.

We do a lot of studying and learning on the tour, but we also have fun. Of our 42 person on the tour, about 15 have attended Florida College. Two board members are among the group. The college mascot for the sport teams is the Falcon. We posed with Horus, the falcon god, for a photo.

Note: I left the boat at Aswan to come to a nice Internet Cafe. It seems that I failed to include the photo referenced above on my flash drive. I will try to get it on later.

Note: We are back in Cairo. Here is the photo.

Florida College Falcon fans at Edfu, Egypt. Photo by Sharon Cobb.

Florida College Falcon fans at Edfu, Egypt. Photo by Sharon Cobb.

No opportunity to post tonight

We are on a Nile River cruise boat. Even though I uploaded some photos last night, I was told tonight that it would cost $25 for 30 minutes if I uploaded any photos, etc. Since I don’t have a “Donate to this web site now” on my blog I will just wait until I can get to an Internet cafe in Aswan tomorrow night, or Friday night in the hotel in Cairo.

Thanks for keeping in touch. I appreciate the interest you have in this trip.

Comment about Lachish

I note that we have an interesting comment on the post about Lachish on July Fourth. You might enjoy reading it.

Thoughts on the Nile during the Inauguration

Shortly before sunset I made a few photos of the Nile River looking toward the west bank of the river. I thought I would share this one with you.

Sunset on the Nile. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sunset on the Nile. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

We are anchored on the Nile a few miles south of Luxor. From my cabin on the Tu Ya cruise boat I am watching the Al Jazeera Network live coverage of the inauguration ceremonies in Washington. The choice of the majority of voters on November 2 was not my choice, but I must say that I am proud at this moment to be an American.

The American ideal of freedom and justice for all is a noble one. Surely there are times when this ideal is not met, but it remains the dream that holds us together, many as one. The diversity of our nation is a testimony to the vitality of that dream.

The inaugural ceremony is the same whether watching it live in Washington, on Al Jezeera in Egypt, or on NBC, CNN, Fox, or one of the other networks in the United States. Well, maybe. The thing that makes the difference is the commentary afterwards and the news chosen to run underneath the live event.