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November 15    Scripture



Bible Cities: Memphis
Ancient Memphis

Map of Ancient Memphis


Memphis in Easton's Bible Dictionary only in Hos. 9:6, Hebrew Moph. In Isa. 19:13; Jer. 2:16; 46:14, 19; Ezek. 30:13, 16, it is mentioned under the name Noph. It was the capital of Lower, i.e., of Northern Egypt. From certain remains found half buried in the sand, the site of this ancient city has been discovered near the modern village of Minyet Rahinch, or Mitraheny, about 16 miles above the ancient head of the Delta, and 9 miles south of Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile. It is said to have been founded by Menes, the first king of Egypt, and to have been in circumference about 19 miles. "There are few remains above ground," says Manning (The Land of the Pharaohs), "of the splendour of ancient Memphis. The city has utterly disappeared. If any traces yet exist, they are buried beneath the vast mounds of crumbling bricks and broken pottery which meet the eye in every direction. Near the village of Mitraheny is a colossal statue of Rameses the Great. It is apparently one of the two described by Herodotus and Diodorus as standing in front of the temple of Ptah. They were originally 50 feet in height. The one which remains, though mutilated, measures 48 feet. It is finely carved in limestone, which takes a high polish, and is evidently a portrait. It lies in a pit, which, during the inundation, is filled with water. As we gaze on this fallen and battered statue of the mighty conqueror who was probably contemporaneous with Moses, it is impossible not to remember the words of the prophet Isaiah, 19:13; 44:16-19, and Jeremiah, 46:19."

Memphis in Fausset's Bible Dictionary Capital of Lower Egypt, on the W. or left bank of the Nile. Hebrew "Nowph" (Isaiah 19:13). "Mowph," or Memphis (Hosea 9:6). Second only to Thebes in all Egypt; the residence of the kings until the Ptolemies moved to Alexandria. Plutarch makes it mean "the port of good things," the sepulchre of Osiris, the necropolis of Egypt, "the haven of the blessed," for the right of burial was given only to the good. Diodorus Siculus (i. 4) observes, the inhabitants value little this brief life, but most highly the name of a virtuous life after death; they call the houses of the living inns, because they remain in them only a little while, but the sepulchers of the dead everlasting habitations; they are not therefore very careful about their houses, but in beautifying the sepulchers leave nothing undone. "The good" may refer to Osiris, whose sacred animal Apis was here worshipped, and had its burial place the Serapeum, from whence the village Busiris is named, namely, "the abode of Osiris," now Aboo Seer. "Memphis shall bury them" is a characteristic description, its burying ground extending 20 miles along the Libyan desert's border. Mem means a foundation or wall, and nofre "good"; or mam-Phta "the dwelling of Phta" the god answering to the Greek Hephaestus, Latin Vulcan; or from Menes its founder. Near the pyramids of Gizeh, and ten miles to the S. of modern Cairo; the court of the idol bull Apis. In hieroglyphics called "the city of pyramids." The monuments of Memphis are more ancient than those of Thebes. Menes (compare Minos in Crete, Genesis 10:6; Bochart makes him Mizraim, and thinks Memphis was called Mezri from him, as the Arabs now call it) its founder dates 2690 B.C. (Sir G. Wilkinson), 2717 B.C. (Poole), 2200 or 2300 according to Eratosthenes compare with Dicaearchus. Many of Manetho's dynasties were contemporaneous, not successive. "Menes" in hieroglyphics is written as the founder of Memphis on the roof of the Rameseum near Gournon in western Thebes, at the head of the ancestors of Rameses the Great; the earliest mention of the name is on a ruined tomb at Gizeh, "the royal governor Menes," a descendant probably of the first Menes, and living under the fifth dynasty. Caviglia discovered the colossal statue of Rameses II beautifully sculptured. Before Menes the Nile, emerging from the upper valley, bent W. to the Libyan hills, and was wasted in the sands and stagnant pools. Menes, according to Herodotus, by banking up the river at the bend 100 furlongs S. of Memphis, laid the old channel dry, and dug a new course between the hills, and excavated a lake outside Memphis to the N. and W., communicating with the river. Thus Memphis was built in the narrow part of Egypt, on a marsh reclaimed by Menes' dyke and drained by his artificial lake. The dyke began 12 miles S. of Memphis, and deflected the river two miles eastward. At the rise of the Nile a canal still led some of its waters westward through the former bed, irrigating the western plain. The artificial lake at Abousir guarded against inundation on that side. Memphis commanded the Delta on one hand and...

Memphis in Hitchcock's Bible Names abode of the good

Memphis in Naves Topical Bible Also called NOPH -A celebrated city of Egypt Ho 9:6 -Prophecies concerning Isa 19:13; Jer 2:16; 46:14,19; Eze 30:16

Memphis in Smiths Bible Dictionary (haven, of the good), a city of ancient Egypt, situated on that western bank of the Nile, about nine miles south of Cairo and five from the great pyramids and the sphinx. It is mentioned by Isa 40:14,19 and Ezekiel, Eze 30:13,16 under the name of Noph. Though some regard Thebes as the more ancient city, the monuments of Memphis are of higher antiquity than those of Thebus. The city is said to have had a circumference of about 10 miles. The temple of Apis was one of the most noted structures of Memphis. It stood opposite the southern portico of the temple of Ptah; and Psammetichus, who built that gateway, also erected in front of the sanctuary of Apis a magnificent colonnade, supported by colossal statues or Osiride pillars, such as may still be seen at the temple of Medeenet Habou at Thebes. Herod. ii, 153. Through this colonnade the Apis was led with great pomp upon state occasions. At Memphis was the reputed burial- place of Isis; it has also a temple to that "myriad-named" divinity. Memphis had also its Serapeium, which probably stood in the western quarter of the city. The sacred cubit until other symbols used in measuring the rise of the Nile were deposited in the temple of Serapis. The Necropolis, adjacent to Memphis, was on a scale of grandeur corresponding with the city itself. The "city of the pyramids" is a title of Memphis in the hieroglyphics upon the monuments. Memphis long held its place as a capital; and for centuries a Memphite dynasty ruled over all Egypt. Lepsius, Bunsen and Brugsch agree in regarding the third, fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth dynasties of the old empire as Memphite, reaching through a period of about 1000 years. The city's overthrow was distinctly predicted by the Hebrew prophets. Isa 19:13; Jer 46:19 The latest of these predictions was uttered nearly 600 years before Christ, and a half a century before the invasion of Egypt by Cambyses (cir, B.C. 525). Herodotus informs us that Cambyses, engaged at the opposition he encountered at Memphis, committed many outrages upon the city. The city never recovered from the blow inflicted by Cambyses. The rise of Alexandria hastened its decline. The caliph conquerors founded Fostat (old Cairo) upon the opposite bank of the Nile, a few miles north of Memphis, and brought materials from the old city to build their new capital, A.D. 638. At length so complete was the ruin of Memphis that for a long time its very site was lost. Recent explorations have brought to light many of its antiquities.

Memphis in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE mem'-fis: 1. Name: The ancient capital of Egypt, 12 miles South of the modern Cairo. This Greek and Roman form of the name was derived from the Coptic form Menfi (now Arabic Menf), the abbreviation of the Egyptian name Men-nofer, "the good haven." This name was applied to the pyramid of Pepy I, in the cemetery above the city; some have thought the city name to have been derived from the pyramid, but this is unlikely, as the city must have had a regular name before that. It may perhaps mean "the excellence of Mena," its founder. It appears still more shortened in Hos (9:6) as Moph (moph), and in Isa (19:13), Jer (2:16), and Ezek (30:13) as Noph (noph). 2. Political Position: The classical statements show that the city in Roman times was about 8 miles long and 4 miles wide, and the indications of the site agree with this. It was the sole capital of Position Egypt from the Ist to the XVIIth Dynasty; it shared supremacy with Thebes during the XVIIIth to XXVth Dynasties, and with Sais to the XXXth Dynasty. Alexandria then gradually obscured it, but the governor of Egypt signed the final capitulation to the Arabs in the old capital. While other cities assumed a political equality, yet commercially Memphis probably remained supreme until the Ptolemies. 3. The Founders and the City: The oldest center of settlement was probably the shrine of the sacred bull, Apis or Hapy, which was in the South of the city. This worship was doubtless prehistoric, so that when the first king of all Egypt, Mena, founded his capital, there was already a nucleus. His great work was taking in land to the North, and founding the temple of the dynastic god Ptah, which was extended until its enclosure included as much as the great temple of Amon at Thebes, about 3 furlongs long and 2 furlongs wide. To the North of this was the sacred lake; beyond that, the palace and camp. Gradually the...

Memphis Scripture - Hosea 9:6 For, lo, they are gone because of destruction: Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them: the pleasant [places] for their silver, nettles shall possess them: thorns [shall be] in their tabernacles.

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