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CONCERNING THE JUDGMENTS OF
GOD IN EGYPT;
AND OF THEIR PROPRIETY.
Of the PLAGUES inflicted upon the Egyptians. I SHALL now proceed to the great object, which I had originally in view. This was to describe the peculiarity of God's judgments upon the Egyptians: and to shew how significant they were in their operation ; and particularly adapted to the people, upon whom
were inflicted. They would have been marks of divine power to any nation upon earth : at Nineve, or Babylon : in Carthage, or Tyre. But they are remarkably pointed in respect to the Egyptians; and in every instance have a strict reference to their idolatry : such as cannot be so particularly applied to any other people.
THE FIRST PLAGUE.
THE RIVER TURNED TO BLOOD :
EXODUS, Chap. vii.
Thus saith the Lord. In this thou shalt know, that I am the Lord: Behold, I will smite with the rod, that is in mine hand, upon the waters, which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.
V. 18. And the fish, that is in the river, shall die: and the river shall stink : and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river.
V. 19. And the Lord spake unto Moses. Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.
V. 20. And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded: and he lift up the rod and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants: and all the waters that were in the river, were turned to blood.
V. 21. And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank.
This judgment brought upon the Egyptians is very remarkable, and introduced with great propriety, though the scope of it may not at first be obvious. It was a punishment particularly well adapted to that blinded and infatuated people: as it shewed them the baseness of those elements, which they reverenced, and the insufficiency of the gods, in which they trusted. And this knowledge was very salutary to the Israelites; as it warned them not to fall into the same, or any similar, idolatry; when they had seen it thus debased and exposed, and attended with such accumulated evil.
The Egyptians honoured the 1 Nile with a religious reverence; and valued themselves much upon the excellence of their * river. Nor was this blind regard confined to the Egyptians only, but obtained in many parts of the 'world: so that it was expedient
τιμη (or τιμηεις) Αιγυπτιοις, ώς ο Νειλος. Ρlutarch. Is. et Osir.
* Νειλον τον πατέρα και σωτηρα της χώρας. Ιdem. Sympos. 1. 8. p. 729. Est a8 xа. Фотвишу тия.
Maximus Tyrius, cap. 8. p. 79. See Heliodorus, I. 9. p. 425. and 443.
for the children of Israel to be timely warned against such blindness and infatuation. He
of the 'Persians, that of all things rivers were held in the highest veneration. They worshipped them, and offered to them sacrifices: nor would they suffer any thing to be thrown into them, that could possibly pollute their ? waters. The like obtained
among the 3 Medes, Parthians, and the Sarmatians. We read in Homer of the sanctity, in which rivers were held in Greece. Among these more especially were the + Spercheius, Penéüs, Acheloüs, and Alpheüs. The last had al1 Σιδονται ποταμος μαλισα. l. 1. c. 138. p. 69.
Ες ποταμον δε ουτε ενερεεσι, ουτε εμπτυσσι, ου χειρας εναπονιζονται, ουδε αλλον εδεια
Herod. I. 1. c. 138. p. 69. 3 The two great objects of worship seem to have been Fire and Water. Τι μοι Σαυροματας καταλεγειν, ες Νυμφοδωρος εν τοις Νομιμους βαρβαρίκοις πυς
ορει και τους Περσας, και τις Μηδες, και τ8ς Μαγες και θυειν εν ύπαιθρο τετες ο Δινων λέγει, θεων αγαλματα μονα το πυρ και jewz you.govtis. Clem. Alex. Cohort.
Parthis-præcipua amnibus veneratio. Justin. l. 41. c. 3.
- Juratur ab illis, Ignis et unda deus. Sidonius Apollin. carm. 2. p. 245.
4 To this river Achilles had preserved his fine hair for an oífering. Homer. Il. 4. v. 142.
5 Επι πε και ποταμοις τιμη, ώσπερ Αίγυπτιους προς τον Νειλον--ως Θετταλοίς προς τον ΓΙην 40,--ως Αιτωλοις προς τον Αχελωον. κ. τ. λ. Maximus Tyrius, Diss. 8. p. 79.
tars, and sacrifices offered to him in common with 'Diana. The Phrygians made the like offerings to the · Marsyas and Mæander.
But no nation carried their reverence to such an extravagant degree of idolatry, as the Egyptians. They looked upon their river not only as consecrated to a deity ; but, if we may believe some authors, as their chief national 'god : and worshipped it accordingly. The people above Syene stiled the Nile Siris, and * Sirius, which was the name of Osiris,
Αλφειο και Αρτεμιδι θυουσιν επι ενος βωμε. Ρausan. 1. 5. p. 412.
Εν Ολυμπια δε ο Αλφειος τη Αρτεμιδι συναφιδρυται. Scholia upon first Nem. Ode of Pindar, p. 321. Φρυγες,
Κελαινας νεμόμενοι τιμέσι ποταμός δυο, Μαρσυαν και Μαιανδρον-θυεσι φρυγες τους ποταμοις. Max. Tyr. Diss. 8.
3 The words of Heliodorus are remarkable.- -Θεοπλασ8σι τον Νειλον Αιγυπτιοι, και Κρειττονων τον Μεγισον άγουσι, αντιμιμον ουρανε τον ποταμών σεμνηγορούντες. Ethiop. 1. 9. p. 423.
4 They were the Ethis pians.
Nilus--etiamnum Siris nominatus per aliquot millia. Pliny, 1. y, C. ix.
255. Συηνη πολις ρεση Αιγυπτο και Αιθιοπίας επι τω Νειλο, κεθ' ήν ονομασαι Σιρις ο ποταμος. Steph. Byz.nt.
Σειριος ο Ηλιος. Ηesych. and Suidas.