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ruary." p. 195. In another place he mentions February, when the weather is coldest.
It is indeed said by Hasselquist, that flies are always to be found in Egypt. The same is observable in Great Britain : and we must necessarily expect to meet with them in a country above twenty degrees to the South. But still the time above mentioned, a' wintry month, was not the season for them to breed and swarm ; nor for frogs to multiply, and to cover the whole land: to have been in such numbers, that when they died, they lay in heaps; so that the whole country was polluted with the stench.
The change wrought in the waters of the Nile, when they were turned to blood, might in like manner by sceptics be imputed to a natural cause.
It is certain that the stream
It has been said, that in Egypt the days are at all times warm : and the earth has a constant verdure. However, Pocock tells us, that-in winter nights and mornings are very cold, p. 195. There were seven days in particular, which the Arabians called_Berd il Agiuż, or the cold of the old hag. They begin about the 7th of February, and continue till the 14th. The mornings are then very cold, the sky cloudy: and the winds are commonly boisterous. Vansleb, p. 22.
has sometimes a red colour ; and the same is said of the river · Adonis, near Biblus in Phenicia. But this appearance is always during violent inundations; when the rivers, by the exuberance of their waters, wash away ocre, and other minerals, from the sides of their banks. This circumstance in Egypt never happens but in summer; when the Nile is rising; at which times the waters are turbid. In Tybi, or January, the river is not only reduced to its channel ; but is ’ lower than in
any of the preceding months, and particularly pure and wholesome.
The same is observable in Machir, or February, the month immediately following. This change therefore mentioned by Moses, and its consequences, could not have been produced by any natural cause ; such as mineral tincture, and common pollution: the season of the year shews the contrary.
The three first judgments brought upon the land were experienced by the Israelites as well
* See Pocock, p. 199. The Nile red about June. Also p.
KEIMEN VOE απαντα διατελεει εων (ο Νειλος.) Herocί. 1. 2. c. 19. p. 112.
as by the Egyptians. They were not so grievous as those which succeeded. Yet they were sufficient to teach the inhabitants of Goshen, that there was no illusion in these mighty operations : which perhaps they might have suspected, had they not seen and felt, and borne some share in the evil. On the other hand, Pharaoh and his servants, when they saw God's people involved in the same calamities with themselves, might have fancied, that there was nothing particular in the judgments; and in consequence of it, not so distinctly seen to whom they were directed.
"How intolerable a plague flies can prove, may be known from places near lakes and pools, which have been on their account deserted, and rendered desolate. Such was the fate of Myuns in Ionia, Pausan. 1. 7. p. 527. and of Atarnæ. ibid. The inhabitants were forced to quit these cities, not being able to stand the flies and gnats with which they were pestered. Trajan was obliged to raise the siege of a city in Arabia, before which he had sat down, being driven away by the swarms of these insects. Dion Cassius, l. 68. p. 1145. The fly of Egypt seems to have been proverbial. Hence
says—The Lord shall hiss for the fly of Egypt, ch. vii. ver. 18. We are told by Moses--that the hornet drove out the Canaanite : by which we may infer, that before the coming of the Israelites several cities had been evacuated through the terror of this insect.
Μυων (or rather μυιων) πληθος ανεσησε Μεyapeas, Peondutas de gørxes. Ælian de Animal. 1. 11. c. 28. p. 641.
Hence the scope of Providence would have been defeated It therefore pleased God in the plague of flies, and in those which came after, to separate the land of his own people : and preserve them from these evils.---! I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there ; to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. And I will put a division between my people and thy people : to-morrow shall this sign be.---The Israelites having experienced the former evils must have been more intimately affected with this immunity, by which they were distinguished. And they must in consequence of it have been more ready to follow their great leader ; who was the immediate agent of Providence both to punish, and to preserve.
! Exod. c. viii. v. 22. The land of Goshen was part of that nome, called afterwards Heliopolis, which had been deserted by the shepherds, and lay vacant, when the children of Israel came into Egypt. It was a tongue-like piece of land, where the Nile nrst divided at a place called Cercasora. Said, or Upper Egypt, lay above ; and Mesre, or Lower Egypt, was in a line downward. Nothing but a miracle could have preserved this intermediate land from flies, which swarmed both above and below.
THE FIFTH PLAGUE,
MURRAIN OF BEASTS.
Exodus, Chap. ix.
Then the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still,
V. 3. Behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain.
V. 4. And the Lord shall sever between the cattle of Israel, and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children's of Israel.
V. 5. And the Lord appointed a set time, saying, To-morrow the Lord shall do this thing in the land. V. 6. And the Lord did that thing on the
and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.