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Ingraham, J. H. (Joseph Holt), 1809-1860 [1859], The pillar of fire, or, Israel in bondage. (Pudney & Russell [and] H. Dayton, New York) [word count] [eaf611T].
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The idea of illustrating scenes of that period of the history of
Egypt in which the Israelites were held in bondage by her
kings, and presenting it from a point of view outside of the
Mosaic narrative, yet strictly harmonizing therewith, occurred to
the writer some years ago.

In view of his object, he has carefully studied the history and
chronology of Egypt, and endeavored to inform his mind upon
the manners, customs, laws, religion, and polity of the ancient
Egyptians, so far as to aid him in an intelligent and practical
execution of his work.

The difficulties which the question of dynasty, and of individual
reigns have presented, will be understood by the Egyptian
student. Whatsoever chronology or theory the author
might finally decide upon, he saw would be open to the objections
of adherents to the opposite school.

After a thorough examination of the subject of the dynasties,
the author has followed, chiefly, the chronology and theory of
Nolan and Seyffarth, whose opinions are sustained by the ablest

But this work is by no means a “Book on Egypt.” It professes
to have nothing more to do with Egyptian antiquities,
mythology, chronology, and history, than these naturally assemble
about his subject, which is, mainly, “The Bondage and Deliverance
of the Children of Israel from the Land of Egypt.”

The plan upon which the author has constructed his work is

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similar to that of “The Prince of the House of David;” viz.,
by presenting the scenes and events he would describe, through
a series of letters, alleged to be written by one who is supposed
to witness with his own eyes what he is made to place before
those of the reader.

As in “The Prince of the House of David,” a young Jewish
maiden is supposed to witness many of the most remarkable
scenes in the human life of the Lord Jesus, and to write of them
to her father in Egypt, so in the present work a young prince of
Phœnicia is made the medium of communication between the
author and his reader.

This prince, Sesostris, the son of the king and queen of
Phœnicia, upon reaching the age of eight-and-twenty, prepares
to go into Egypt, for the purpose of studying the laws and arts,
religion and government of that country, which, at this period,
was the most powerful kingdom of the earth. Mistress of wisdom,
learning, and letters, she drew to her brilliant court youths,
nobles, philosophers, and travellers of all lands; as in later centuries,
even in her decadence, Greece sent her scholars there to
be perfected in the sciences and philosophies of her academies.

Young Sesostris takes leave of his mother, now a widowed
queen, and embarks in the royal galley at the marble pier of the
palace of the Isle of Tyre. He bears letters to Amense, the
queen of Egypt, commending him to her courtesy.

Between Egypt and Phœnicia existed bonds, not only of
friendly alliance, but of relationship. But few centuries had
passed since a king of Phœnicia, at the head of a vast army of
Syrians, invaded Egypt, and taking Memphis, set up a foreign
throne in the valley of the Nile.

Under this dynasty of conquerors, Joseph ruled in Egypt, and
Jacob dwelt; for, being Syrians, these new Pharaohs regarded
with partiality the descendants of Abraham, who was also “a

But after the death of Joseph, not many years elapsed ere the

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Theban kings of Upper Egypt invaded the Memphitic realm of
the Nile, and, overturning the power of this foreign dynasty,
friendly to the sons of Israel, re-established the native Egyptian
monarchy, “which knew not Joseph,” nor recognized the
descendants of Abraham dwelling in the land. On the contrary
looking upon them as of similar lincage with the expelled Syrian
or Assyrian invaders, as they were equally called, the new monarch
and conqueror, Amosis, at once placed them in subjection,
and oppressed them with a bitter bondage.

This new Egyptian monarchy, under Pharaoh-Amosis, came
into power again, some years after the death of Joseph, during
which period the children of Israel had increased to a great
people. For the space of seventy years their oppression was
continued by successive kings, until, under Amenophis I. (the
father of Amense, “Pharaoh's daughter”), the alarming increase
of the numbers of the Hebrews, led this monarch to take harsher
measures with them, “for the more they afflicted them, the
more they multiplied and grew.”* Fearing for the stability of
his kingdom, if they should rise upon their taskmasters, and
remembering the Syrian shepherd-kings, who had so lately ruled
Egypt, he issued the command for the destruction of all their
male children, as soon as born!

At the time of the promulgation of this sanguinary edict,
Amense was a young princess, to whose feet the little ark, containing
the infant Moses, God-directed, came.

The theory of Egyptian chronology which we have decided
to follow, represents this princess as the Queen of Egypt, at the
time when we present the Prince Sesostris of Tyre to the reader.
Under her wise rule, Egypt had attained the culmination of its
glory and power. Her father, having died, after reigning
twenty-two years, she began her brilliant reign when Moses was
twelve years of age—B. C. about 1560. She had been upon

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the throne twenty-one years, when the Prince Sesostris prepares
to visit her court.

We will not longer delay presenting the reader to the Letters
of Prince Sesostris, trusting that this feeble attempt to illustrate
one of the most interesting periods of human history, as it might
have appeared to a stranger in Egypt, may lead to a study of
the Old Testament by many who are unfamiliar with its pages;
and also show how, in his dealings with Pharaoh, God wielded
not merely an arbitrary power, but that, in all the “mighty
works” He did, He was striking at Egypt's gods, and asserting
His own Divinity, as the Only Living and True God, “besides
Whom there is none else.”

The Author. Holly Springs, Mississippi,
Jan. 1, 1859.
Note.—The Egyptian scholar, the critic, and the Biblical student
are referred to the “Concluding Essay by the Author,” in the Appendix,
at the close of the volume.

* Exodus ii.

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Ingraham, J. H. (Joseph Holt), 1809-1860 [1859], The pillar of fire, or, Israel in bondage. (Pudney & Russell [and] H. Dayton, New York) [word count] [eaf611T].
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