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230                        Egypt and Israel
The constant activity of Egypt in stirring up the various rulers
in Palestine against Assyria determined Esarhaddon to invade
Egypt, and by conquering the land, to establish Assyrian suze-
rainty over the west without further interference. The first
attempt, in 673 B.C., failed; but in 670 B.C. Egypt was invaded,
Memphis was captured, and the whole of the Delta region
occupied by Assyrian troops. For a brief space the fortune of
war once again favoured the Egyptians; the Pharaoh Tirhakah,
who had fled to Thebes, gathered an army and reconquered
Memphis, the Assyrian king having in the meantime returned
to his own country. No sooner, however, did he hear of what
had happened than he set out for Egypt again; but on the way
thither he died. The respite for Egypt did not last long. In
668 B.C. Ashurbanipal, Esarhaddon's successor, invaded the land,
re-took Memphis, and Thebes was also occupied. After a few
years Tirhakah's successor, Tanutamon, tried once more, in
663 B.C., and with some initial success, to gain possession of
Lower Egypt; in 661 B.C., however, Ashurbanipal was again in
Egypt; Tanutamon fled to Thebes, but was pursued; he himself
escaped. Thebes was captured and sacked. Egypt was now
entirely under Assyrian control. The fall of the great city of
Thebes (No-Amon) had a resounding effect upon the peoples,
and half a century later it was recalled by the prophet Nahum
in describing the nemesis which had overtaken the Assyrians; in
reference to Nineveh, the capital, he says:
Art thou better than No-Amon that lay by the streams,
Her rampart the sea, waters her wall ?
Kiish was her strength, and limitless Egypt;
Put and Lubim, they were her help.
Yet was she taken, went into captivity;
Her children were killed at the top of the streets;
As for her nobles, the lot was cast,
All her great ones were bound in chains.1
2 Nah. iii. 8-1 o; the Hebrew is in verse, with four beats to the line.