Egypt

Egypt (Ee´jipt)

One of the great civilizations of the ancient world, centered along the lower reaches of the Nile River in northeast Africa. Egyptian civilization was already ancient by the time of the biblical patriarchs. Egypt’s influence on the people and culture of Palestine involved serving as a refuge area or place of exile, exercising political domination, and exerting cultural influence either directly or by way of the Phoenician coastal cities. But Israel’s model for its self-understanding was the liberating exodus under Moses from state slavery in the Egyptian Delta; thus, Egypt was identified as the departure point for Israel’s liberation from oppression and as the arrival point for threatened divine punishment. For the prophets, Egypt served as an example of idolatry and arrogant power, Israel’s redemption from which in the exodus proved to be a lasting, central motif of Israel’s faith.

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