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220 . Egypt and Israel
or tombs, or perhaps for the cult of ancestors within the house'.1
There are other early indications among Egyptian 'finds' of this
contact; but those mentioned will suffice.
A time of deep humiliation for Egypt began soon before the
end of the Thirteenth Dynasty, somewhere about the year
1800 B.C. This was when the Asiatic Hyksos, or 'Shepherd' kings
(cf. Gen. xlvi. 34: cfor every shepherd is an abomination unto
the Egyptians') invaded the Delta region, where, according to
Manetho,2 they established themselves and founded their capital,
Avaris. Their victory may have been due, as has been suggested,
to their use of bronze weapons. There are some grounds for the
contention that the Hyksos came originally from Asia Minor,
their conquest of Syria-Palestine being but the first step towards
their real objective. In their invasion of Egypt they were then
joined by the Semitic peoples of Syria-Palestine. In support of
this view as to the original home of the Hyksos is the existence
of many non-Semitic proper names which are met with during
the succeeding centuries in Syria-Palestine; for these may well
have been the names of the Hyksos invaders. On the other hand,
Manetho speaks of them as Phoenicians and Arabians. The
name of Jacob-el, which occurs on the scarabs of a Pharaoh of
the Hyksos period, suggests the possibility that the head of one
of the Jacob-tribes among the ancestors of the Israelites occupied
a position of leadership at one time during this period.
It is often contended that the Hyksos invasion of Egypt, and
their expulsion from there, is reflected in the traditions of
Abram going down into Egypt (Gen. xii. 10-18), followed by
his return to Palestine (Gen. xii. 19, 20, xiii); and also in the
traditions of Jacob, who likewise went there (Gen. xlvi. 2-7),
and came back to his native land with a large following (Gen.
xlis. 28, 1. 9-24). It is impossible either to prove or disprove
1 Palestine Exploration Fund, Quarterly Statement, April 1906, pp. 121 f.
2 The Egyptian priest-historian who wrote in 280 B.C.; he is quoted by
Josephus, Contra Ap. i. 73 ff.