Mizraim (Hebrew: מִצְרַיִם / מִצְרָיִם,
Modern Mitzráyim Tiberian Miṣrāyim / Miṣráyim ;
Arabic مصر, Miṣr) (/mɪt͡srai:m/) is the Hebrew and Aramaic
name for the land of Egypt, with the dual suffix -āyim, perhaps
referring to the "two Egypts": Upper
Egypt and Lower Egypt.
Neo-Babylonian texts use the term
Mizraim for Egypt. The name was
for instance inscribed in the famous
Ishtar Gate of Babylon.[citation
Ugaritic inscriptions refer to
Egypt as Mṣrm, in the
Amarna tablets it is called Misri, and Assyrian records called
Egypt Mu-ṣur. The
Arabic word for
Egypt is Miṣr (pronounced
Maṣr in Egyptian colloquial Arabic), and Egypt's official name is
Gumhuriyyat Miṣr al-‘Arabīyyah (the Arab Republic of Egypt).
According to Genesis 10,
Mizraim (a son of Ham) was the younger
brother of Cush and elder brother of
Phut and Canaan, whose families
together made up the Hamite branch of Noah's descendants. Mizraim's
sons were Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim,
of whom came Philistim), and Caphtorim.
According to Eusebius' Chronicon,
Manetho had suggested that the great
age of antiquity in which the later Egyptians boasted had actually
preceded the flood, and that they were really descended from Mizraim,
who settled there anew. A similar story is related by medieval Islamic
historians such as Sibt ibn al-Jawzi, the Egyptian Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam,
and the Persians al-Tabari and Muhammad Khwandamir, stating that the
pyramids, etc. had been built by the wicked races before the deluge,
but that Noah's descendant
Mizraim (Masar or Mesr) was entrusted with
reoccupying the region afterward. The Islamic accounts also make Masar
the son of a Bansar or Beisar and grandson of Ham, rather than a
direct son of Ham, and add that he lived to the age of 700. Some
scholars think it likely that
Mizraim is a dual form of the word Misr
meaning "land", and was translated literally into
Ancient Egyptian as
Ta-Wy (the Two Lands) by early pharaohs at Thebes, who later founded
the Middle Kingdom.
But according to George Syncellus, the Book of Sothis, supposedly by
Manetho, had identified
Mizraim with the legendary first Pharaoh
Menes, said to have unified the
Old Kingdom and built Memphis. Mizraim
also seems to correspond to Misor, said in Phoenician mythology to
have been father of
Taautus who was given Egypt, and later scholars
noticed that this also recalls Menes, whose son or successor was said
to be Athothis.
In Judaism, Mitzrayim has been connected with the word meitzar
(מיצר), meaning "sea strait", possibly alluding to narrow gulfs
from both sides of Sinai Peninsula. It also can mean "boundaries,
limits, restrictions" or "narrow place."
David Rohl has suggested a different interpretation:
"Amongst the followers of
Meskiagkasher (Sumerian ruler) was his
younger 'brother'– in his own right a strong and charismatic leader
of men. He is the head of the falcon tribe – the descendants of
Horus the 'Far Distant'. The Bible calls this new Horus-king 'Mizraim'
but this name is, in reality, no more than an epithet. It means
'follower of Asr' or 'Asar' (Egyptian
Arabic m-asr with the Egyptian
preposition m 'from').
Mizraim is merely m-Izra with the majestic
plural ending 'im'. Likewise, that other great Semitic-speaking people
– the Assyrians – called the country of the pharaohs 'Musri'
^ Ciprut, J.V. (2009). Freedom: reassessments and rephrasings. MIT
Press. ISBN 9780262033879. Retrieved 2015-09-13.
^ Gregorio del Olmo Lete; Joaquín Sanmartín (12 February 2015). A
Dictionary of the
Ugaritic Language in the Alphabetic Tradition (2
vols): Third Revised Edition. BRILL. pp. 580–581.
^ Daniel I. Block (19 June 1998). The Book of Ezekiel, Chapters 25 48.
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 166.
^ George Evans (1883). An Essay on Assyriology. Williams and
Norgate : pub. by the Hibbert trustees. p. 49.
^ Bullinger, 2000, p. 6.
^ Legend: Genesis of Civilisation Arrow Books Ltd, London, 1999, pp.
Brooks, Joshua William (1841), The history of the Hebrew nation: from
its origin to the present time, R.B. Seeley and W. Burnside
Noah in Genesis 10
Shem and Semitic
Ham and Hamitic
Japheth and Japhetic