Biblical Geography and History

By Charles Foster Kent | Go to book overview

XX
THE BABYLONIAN AND PERSIAN PERIODS

Jewish Refugees in Egypt. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. the Jews were to be found in three great centres -- Egypt, Babylonia, and Palestine. Egypt, because of its friendly attitude toward the Jews and its nearness to southern Palestine, was the refuge to which most of the Jewish fugitives fled. Inasmuch as the approach of the Chaldean armies was from the north, the main highway running south from Hebron through the solitary desert was the most natural line of escape. The result was that a very large proportion of the Jewish race were to be found from this time on in the land of the Nile. Even before the final destruction of Jerusalem, both Jeremiah and Ezekiel addressed the Jewish refugees in Egypt. They were found in four important towns. The two nearest to Palestine were Migdol and Tahpanhes. Migdol means tower or fortress, and the reference is evidently to one of the frontier towns that guarded the eastern boundary of Egypt. It was probably the Migdolos mentioned in the Itinerarium Antonini, and was situated midway between Pelusium on the Mediterranean coast and Sele, a little west of the Crocodile Lake, the present Lake Timsah. This would identify it with the ruins known as the Tell es-Semut, twelve miles southwest of Pelusium, beside the ancient caravan route that ran from Palestine to Egypt.

Situation of Tahpanhes. Tahpanhes, the biblical name of the Græco-Egyptian city, Daphne, is represented by the modern Tell Defenneh. It lay on the right bank of the Pelusiac branch

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