Memphis of Egypt

September 27, 2010

Today’s post will deal with Memphis of Egypt.  To give some context, let me lead into this with the following:

The message of the biblical prophets may be broadly summarized into three subject areas:

1. God’s message to His people of the prophet’s time.

2. God is the God of all the earth; His message to the nations.

3. Most importantly, the Messianic prophecies; Christ, His redemptive work, His kingdom.

Today’s post will deal with the second category; God is the God of the nations.  This is why you will find in some instances in the prophets back-to-back chapters dealing with the nations of men.  Ezekiel was one of the captivity prophets (taken to Babylon with the second deportation, 597 B.C.).  Though he had much to say to his contemporary captives (Jews), and had many Messianic prophecies, Ezekiel proclaimed the word of the LORD to the nations.

Ezekiel 30 addresses Egypt and includes specifically Memphis. “Thus says the Lord GOD, “I will also destroy the idols And make the images cease from Memphis. And there will no longer be a prince in the land of Egypt; And I will put fear in the land of Egypt” (v.13).

For so many centuries Egypt had been a world power.  Memphis had been one of the most important administrative centers.  Only Thebes in the south was comparable in economic, political and religious importance.

But God said He would “execute judgments on Egypt” (v.19). The prophecy was fulfilled.  Egypt fell, and the city of Memphis, royal residence and capital of Egypt, one of the renowned places of the whole ancient world, has disappeared almost completely.  The most significant ruins can be seen near the modern village of Mit Rahina.

Sign indicating site of biblical Memphis, Egypt. Near modern Mit Rahina. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Within the enclosure of the temple of Ptah one can see a large alabaster sphinx. This dates to the reign of Ramesses II (1279-1213 B.C.).

Alabaster Sphinx in Memphis, Egypt. Dates to reign of Ramesses II. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Ezekiel’s prophecy was that God would “cause the images to cease from Memphis.”  Our photo below illustrates what the prophet had in mind.  This is an image of the Egyptian goddess Hathor.

Image of Egyptian goddess Hathor. Memphis, Egypt. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

More to come on Memphis, Egypt.  Remember to click on image for higher resolution. Photos may freely be used in teaching.

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