1. Three Egyptian homes in the Delta, and extending over part of Goshen, bore a name beginning with ka or ga, "a bull," namely, Mnevis, worshipped at On, representing Turn the unknown source of all existence. N.E. of Lower Egypt, having the Mediterranean on N., the desert on E., the Delta and the Tanitic branch of the Nile on W. (hence called the field of Zoan or Tanis, Psalm 78:12; Psalm 78:43), extending S. to the head of the Red Sea and nearly to Memphis. Also called the land of Rameses, in which Israel built (i.e. fortified anew) for Pharaoh Raamses and Pithom as treasure cities (Genesis 47:11; Exodus 1:11). Joseph naturally placed his family on the border land between Egypt and Israel, the promised land, and at the same time near himself at Tunis or else Memphis the capital of Egypt. Goshen corresponded to Wady-'t-Tumeylat.
The fresh water canal runs through it from the Nile to Ismailia. From El Wady to the head of the gulf of Suez is three days' journey, the distance assigned in Exodus. The answer of Joseph's brethren to Pharaoh (Genesis 46:28; Genesis 46:34), "thy servants have been herdsmen from our youth," (Joseph so instructing them "that ye may dwell in ... Goshen, for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians,") proves that Goshen was regarded by Egyptians as scarcely Egypt proper, though having many Egyptians in it, as is recorded during the ten plagues; also foreigners. (See BERIAH.) The names of sonic places in Goshen are Semitic, as Migdol and Baal-zephon. Joseph lived under the 12th or 13th dynasty, a native not a shepherd dynasty (as Genesis 46:34 proves).
Pharaoh calls Goshen "the best of the land" (Genesis 47:5-11), namely, for a pastoral people as Israel; for in tillage the parts of Egypt next the Nile are more fertile than Goshen. In Goshen Pharaoh implies he kept some of his cattle, over which he proposes to set Israelites as rulers of herdsmen. The separation of Israel from the plagues marks the distinctness of the land. Israel setting out from Rameses in Goshen in two days reached the edge of the Wilderness, and in one day more the Red Sea, i.e. from Rameses (on the old canal from the Tanitic arm of the Nile to lake Timsah) 30 miles direct to the ancient western shore. The Septuagint call Goshen "Gesen of Arabia;" and Pliny "the Arabic nome" from its bordering on Arabia. Now Esh-Shurkiyeh, well intersected by canals; Egypt's best province, yielding the largest revenue.
2. A district in S. Israel, between Gaza and Gibeon (Joshua 10:41; Joshua 11:16), and a city (Joshua 15:51); between the S. country (the Negeb) and the shephelah (the low hills between the mountain and plain, not as KJV "the valley ") of Judah. Doubtless named in remembrance of Israel's original place of sojourn in Egypt.