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number 264 mothers, that is, one out of every 2,272 women, were seriously inconvenienced by the march out of Egypt; and what then ? Could not the exodus take place, despite such inconvenience? Were not 2,272 women enough to assist one woman in childbirth ? Ought any man with common sense to urge such an objection against the possibility of the exodus P
The allusion to London is most preposterous here, as everywhere in the Doctor's book. We are told by Moses that the midwives escaped the wrath of the tyrant by the excuse,—the Hebrew are not * like the Egyptian women" in childbirth (Exod. i. 19); and yet Dr. Colenso draws his illustrations of the inconvenience and peril of parturition among women enfeebled by London life and London residence. In Africa, women will, on a march, turn aside, be delivered, sometimes without any assistance, and overtake their party at the next halting-place. It is from such cases that a writer, who has lived in Africa, ought to have conceived of the extent to which one Hebrew woman out of twenty-two hundreds would be inconvenienced by the march out of Rameses, and then the objec. tion, trifling even under more unfavourable habits of life, would never have been advanced.
On equally unsound views, Dr. Colenso makes "infants and children
go on foot twenty miles a day, as the story implies” (p. 47). The story is told by him, not by Moses. The expression, on foot" (Exod. xii. 37), is in reference to the 600,000 that were men;" and it is only by forcing words that on foot can be applied to children or infants. Did the 264 children born on the journey, as calculated by Dr. Colenso, walk on foot ? Could the Pentateuch have existed thirty-three days, not to say thirty-three centuries, if Moses had implied any such nonsense as the Bishop delights to indulge in? The very statement that those on foot were 600,000 in number, not including, or " besides," children, is a proof that the remainder rode out of Egypt in suitable conveyances, on oxen, asses, horges, or camels, which a people in terrible hasté for their departure would eagerly place at their disposal. If we are to allow Dr. Colenso to leave out whatever he chooses, and imagine whatever he likes, of course there will be absurdities enough in the Pentateuch or any other history that exists. But whence does he get his one day for the departure and whence the twenty miles' distance between Rameses and Succoth? In the Pentateuch we find that "the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth" (Exod. xi. 37), and that this happened "on the morrow after the passover” (Numb. xxxiii. 3). If the reader will carefully attend to these statements, he will see what gratuitous and unsupportable assumptions have to be made before Dr. Colenso can bazard his extraordinary statements. The Hebrews, and
probably all the ancients, reckoned from sunset to sunset, and not from midnight to midnight, in counting their days. From the evening after the afternoon of the day when the lamb was killed " (Exod. xü. 6), begins the fourteenth day, in the night of which the death of the firstborn took place. This fourteenth day closed on the following, evening, when the fifteenth day—-"the morrow after the passover”-commenced. Twenty-four hours from this second evening constitute “the morrow of the exodus ; during the latter twelve only
would Moses lead the people on the journey described as from “Rameses to Succoth." From the time when Pharaoh thrust out Moses and such of the Hebrews as were with him in the royal city (Exod. xii. 30, 31), to the departure from Rameses, must have been at least eighteen bours, probably twenty; and yet Dr. Colenso confounds this midnight expulsion of a few from the royal "city" with the general exodus of the whole nation from the land of Rameses.” To make " the story” as absurd as possible, he first reduces a period of not less than five days to half a night, and now converts an interval’of not less than eighteen hours into a few.
Most of the ten plagues were such in nature that many weeks, probably several months, must have elapsed from the first demand for liberty to the exodus itself. During this period, Dr. Colenso gravely assumes that the people made no preparations whatever, so that at the death of the firstborn they are perfectly bewildered with the arrangements necessary for such an emigration.
From "Rameses to Succoth” is stated to be 20 miles. No two maps we have consulted agree on the locality of Succoth ; how, then, can the distance between it and Rameses be determined ! Rameses is the name of both the district called Goshen (Gen. xlvii. 6, 11), and a fortress built for a magazine (Exod. i. 11), and to overawe the Hebrews. That 2,500,000 persons should collect about such a fort as their starting-point is most improbable ; and yet this is assumed by Dr. Colenso. The narrative clearly intimates that Succoth was their general rendezvous from all parts of Rameses,not the fort, but the land so called. Naples is the name of a city and of a kingdom; New York is the name of a State and its metropolis, just as Rameses is the name of the land of Goshen as well as of its store city: Now, if at the invasion by Garibaldi of Naples the kingdom,—the 6,000,000 Neapolitans had emigrated, would any man with common sense represent them all as first collecting together at Naples the city? In 1850, the State of New York con-. tained some 3,000,000 souls: suppose that General Lee or Jackson were to invade the State, and the people were to cross over into Canada ; would it be rational to suppose that the present Governor Seymour would collect all the inhabitants of the state of New York at the city of the same name, previous to their departure ! Yet Dr. Colenso absurdly takes Rameses, from which the Hebrews departed for their rendezvous at Succoth, to be the city, instead of the land called by the same name.
The city from which Moses, and those with him, were expelled by Pharaoh (Exod. ix. 29, 33) was the metropolis of Egypt; and yet, Dr. Colenso confounds this seat of the court with the treasure city in Goshen ; and represents the Hebrews as coming from all directions
to this fort, as if it were the same place as the metropolis of the kingdom. First, a whole district is confounded with its arsenal; secondly, that arsenal in Goshen is confounded with the metropolis of Egypt; thirdly, the Hebrews are represented as starting, not from their respective towns and villages, but from a spot which it is improbable, if not impossible, that they would have chosen for their starting point; fourthly, the distance is fixed between Rameses and Succoth, without knowing where Succoth was.
Suppose Dr. Colenso's assumptions and confusions were facts, and that 20 miles is the distance between “ Rameses and Succoth ;” what is there in the narrative to indicate that this journey was accomplished in one day, and without halts on the road? Kurtz very naturally suggests that the emigrants rested between the points of departure and the halting-place; but Dr. Colenso objects, “Nothing whatever is said or implied about these days of rest, in Scripture, (p. 63). If anything the Bishop asserts could astonish one, this sentence would; for we have both the statements and the implications which he denies. In Numb. xxxiii. 8, we read that the Hebrews “ departed from Pi-bahiroth, . . . and pitched in Marah.” Here the extremes of one journey are named, as in Exod. xii. 37, Rameses and Succoth are the a quo and the ad quem, without mention of intermediate balts. But we are told it was a three days' journey from Pi-hahiroth to Marah, and from this all but a Colenso will infer there were three night halting-places, besides those at noon, when the sun would enforce mid-day rests. Here is an implication in Scripture which Dr. Colenso denies. In Numb. xxxiii
. 44 we find, again, that they journeyed" from Ije-abarim (or Iim, ver. 45), and pitched in Dibon-gad.”' Hero “nothing is said or implied” of any intermediate stations, according to Dr. Colenso's ideas; but turn to Numb. xxi. 11-20, and we find that, after leaving Iim, the Hebrews pitched in seven different places which are not named in Numb. xxxii. 44, 45. These encampments can be adduced by the Bishop to impeach the veracity of the narrative (p. 145); but here it is useful to be ignorant of them, in order to explain the expression " Rameses to Succoth" as one continued and unbroken tramp on foot, of infants, women, the aged, and the infirm.
In Numb. xxxii. we have a list of 43 principal stations from Rameses (ver. 3) to Jericho (ver. 50). From our inability to identify all the names with the spots indicated, we cannot trace the whole course of their wanderings; but, either from Bagster's map, or that in the “Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature,” we can safely assume that 760 miles, as the crow flies, must, at least, have been travelled during the forty years. Allowing for distances between localities which are not yet determined, some 1,000 miles give an approximate measure of the journeys. In Numb. xxi. 11–20, and xxxiii, 1–50, we have the names of 50 stations, giving an average distance of 20 miles between the encampments, and a journey only of 25 miles to each of the forty years. What can be more conclusive that such expressions as “from Rameses to Succoth" are not to be interpreted in Colenso fashion P
The ninth chapter in the Bishop's book is written to show that it is “inconceivable that these downtrodden, oppressed people should have been allowed by Pharaoh to possess arms, so as to turn out at a moment's notice 600,000 armed men” (p. 48). The "moment's notice" extends over many weeks, if not months, and may be dismissed without further remark. The word “harnessed" (Exod. xiii. 18) is of such doubtful etymology, and so equivocal in meaning, that no sound reasoner would build an argument upon it... But conceding the interpretation given by Dr. Colenso, the impossibility of possessing arms will occur only to one who is ignorant of the nature of the weapons used by Hebrews and other nomad races. With numerous herds of oxen, they possessed ox-goads, and could employ them as a spear. It was with such a weapon that one of their descendants, at the head of a devoted band, slew 600 Philistines (Judges iii. 31). The horn of the Egyptian goat, some three feet in length, affixed to a staff, was a formidable weapon in their possession. The sinews supplied by their flocks and herds would give them slings and bow-strings in any quantity required. The efficiency of the sling, which could hurl stones to a distance of 133 yards, is seen in the cases of David (1 Sam. xvii. 49), and of the left-handed Benjamites, who “could sling stones at a hair and not miss” (Judges xx. 16). Elastic reeds, or branches backed with horn, and reeds tipped with flint, formed the bows and arrows in use among Egyptian and Syrian tribes of their age. Such were the weapons which were all at hand, and easily manufactured by shepherds; and if “harnessed” means armed, there is no improbability in the supposition that the Hebrews went out so provided.
It is, again, not at all “ inconceivable that these downtrodden, oppressed people should be allowed by Pharaoh to possess arms' (p.
48). For the occurrence of the ten plagues, ten weeks is not too high an estimate, and during this period the Egyptians were not in a position to “ oppress the Hebrews. There was abundance of time for the people, expecting a three days' journey into the wilderness, to supply themselves with such weapons as were then in use. The condition of the people was never so downtrodden" as Dr. Colenso represents. In the time of Saul, the Philistines so completely disarmed the Israelites that “there was no smith found throughout all the land," and yet "the oppressed and downtrodden" had every man “his share, his coulter, his ax, and his mattock, forks, and goads,” and a file to sharpen them with (1 Sam. xiii. 20, 21). With such weapons the people rid themselves of their oppressors, who possessed much superior weapons. Now, the Hebrews were compelled to make bricks without straw; but in their most abject condition we neither read of their being disarmed of their weapons, nor deprived of their agricultural and pastoral implements. We know they left Egypt with a high hand (Exod. XiT. 8), in bold defiance of Pharaoh ; and there is, therefore, no improbability in supposing that the adult male population were fully equipped for defensive purposes.
It seems, again, “inconceivable" to the Bishop " that 600,000 armed men, in the prime of life, would have cried out in panicterror when they saw that they were being pursued” (p. 49). Panics seize disciplined and veteran troops in ways and in circumstances most unaccountable; and under those of the Hebrews nothing is more easily. “conceivable” than their fear when overtaken by Egyptian cavalry and chariots. After the death of the first-born, the Hebrews had no reason to apprehend further obstruction. The pursuit was a surprise, and a panic was but natural to men who, though " harnessed,” were no match against disciplined troops with cavalry and chariots. They had, moreover, to protect some two million non-combatants,-women and children, besides immense herds and flocks; the panic is quite “conceivable.” Dr. Colenso tells us that the Hebrews could not carry tents, because they were burdened with kneading troughs, &c.; and yet, so burdened, it is to him inconceivable that they would be panic-stricken.
In his eighth chapter, Dr. Colenso dwells upon the difficulty of the tents alluded to in Exod. xvi. 16. “ Here we find that im. mediately after coming out of Egypt, the people were provided with tents, cumbrous articles to have been carried when they fled in haste, taking their dough,” &c., &c. (p. 45). Between the departure (Numb. xxxii. 3) and the fall of manna (Exod. xvi. 16), when tents are first alluded to, there is an interval of a month in the narrative, which is annihilated by Dr. Colenso by the word " immediately.” The first thing that the Hebrews would set about providing would be tents, or their substitutes; and as they had a month for the work, there is no improbability in supposing that they were so provided. That they “fled out in haste" is Dr. Colenso's misrepresentation of the narrative ; for the Egyptians were in haste to get rid of them, and the Hebrews departed with deliberation and bold defiance,—"with a high hand." The kneading troughs, domestic utensils, and infants are placed by Dr. Colenso on the shoulders of the men, in order to show that they could not carry tents in addition. Grosser ignorance of Eastern habits could scarcely be displayed than by such an assumption. It was a Sarah's place to knead and make cakes (Gen. xviii. 6); and we should suppose that such things and infants would be in charge of maidservants (Exod. xi. 5), leaving the 600,000 and the mixed multitude (Exod. xii. 38) or suttlers, that accompanied them, to carry tents and other “ cumbrous" articles.
For the 2,500,000 Dr. Colenso estimates that 200,000 tents would be required. This estimate is based upon an assumption as extravagant as that every Londoner is his own landlord. Tents could be the property only of the more affluent classes ; the majority of the poor would be compelled to content themselves with much ess cumbrous means of shelter. Having fixed upon the number 1863.