The Arrogance of the Pharaohs

1882 The Hebrew Student  
THE HEBREW STUDENT. 16 THE HEBREW STUDENT. the theologian great vividness and freshness of thought, united to the assurance of having successfully accomplished his task. It stimulates the thought, adds pleasure to the intellect, gives veritable delight to the heart, and strengthens faith. All these advantages are more or less denied to the indolent investigator who contents himself with the ideas sometimes confused, and the beauties always impaired, of the best translations. In others this
more » ... In others this negligence is the result of an excessive confidence in a certain, justly esteemed version. But, in addition to depriving themselves of the above mentioned advantages, interpreters of this stamp are exposed to many grievous errors. They are in danger of the mistakes that the most perfect versions present on almost every page; and it is difficult for them to avoid the error of accepting and pressing the significance of the individual words, which can rarely reprodvce the original with entire accuracy. Let us notice a few familiar examples. The German theologians have supported the institution of patronage upon the Mosaic usages, in despite of the documents and facts; doing so, simply because Luther translated IT (Esther, ii, 7,) which signifies "a foster parent" by Vormund, "a guardian." A preacher of mature years delivered a discourse upon Ps. xxxix, 5, according to the version of Osterwald, "Thou hast reduced my days to the measure of four fingers," and thought it his duty to explain to his auditory why the psalmist spoke only of four fingers of the hand, saying nothing of the fifth. If he had been conversant with the original, he would have discovered that it was a question not of four different fingers, but of a measure of length (5DtO "the palm"), equal to four widths of a finger. The sermon was ridiculous, no doubt, and the preacher devoid of good sense. But the judgment and genius of Saint Augustine have not prevented him from making many mistakes of this character, because he made but little use of the original texts.-From Elliott and Harsha's Hermeneutics. The Arrogance of the Pharaohs. The insolent pride with which Pharaoh received the message communicated by Moses, as: " Who is Jehovah, that I should hear his voice, to let Israel go?" "I know not Jehovah and will not let Israel go?" in chap. 5: 2 the obstinacy which he afterwards exhibits, when the divine punishments fall upon him, one after another, in deciding to go to destruction with his land and people, rather than yield, are proved on the monuments in various ways, to be in accordance with the genuine spirit of a Pharaoh. A comparison of the representation of the victory of Rameses Meiamun, in Thebes explained by Champollion, is of special interest in this connection. The Pharaoh, it is there said, at whose feet they lay down these trophies of victory, (the severed right hand and other members of the body,) sits quietly in his chariot, while his horses are held by his officers, and directs a haughty speech to his warriors: " Give yourselves to mirth; let it rise to heaven. Strangers are dashed to the ground by my power. Terror of my name has gone forth; their hearts are full of it; I appear before them as a lion; I have pursued them as a hawk; I have annihilated their wicked souls. I have passed over their rivers; I have set on fire their castles; I am to Egypt what the god Mandoo has been; I have vanquished the barbarians; Amun Re, my father, subdued the whole world under my feet, and I am the king on the throne forever." It is said we mistake the whole character of Champollion's work, if we assert the literal truth of this translation; but the spirit which the speech breathes may always be recognized from it. The ancient Egyptian kings named themselves in their pride, Kings of the whole world; and what is yet more, they in this arrogance claim divine honors for themselves. This can be proved by a multitude of arguments, of which we will here give only a few. The Menephtheum at Thebes has a double character, that of a temple and palace. It is in all its plan destined for the dwelling of a man, and yet
doi:10.1086/469086 fatcat:d5qv4thilnfxjmpsbpz6nf3jpm