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 Main Index : History : Josephus : Against Apion : Book I Index : Chapter 33

Flavius Josephus Against Apion - BOOK I

Chapter 32 | Chapter 34

      This is the account Cheremon gives us. Now I take it for granted that what I have said already hath plainly proved the falsity of both these narrations; for had there been any real truth at the bottom, it was impossible they should so greatly disagree about the particulars. But for those that invent lies, what they write will easily give us very different accounts, while they forge what they please out of their own heads. Now Manetho says that the king's desire of seeing the gods was the origin of the ejection of the polluted people; but Cheremon feigns that it was a dream of his own, sent upon him by Isis, that was the occasion of it. Manetho says that the person who foreshowed this purgation of Egypt to the king was Amenophis; but this man says it was Phritiphantes. As to the numbers of the multitude that were expelled, they agree exceedingly well (24) the former reckoning them eighty thousand, and the latter about two hundred and fifty thousand! Now, for Manetho, he describes those polluted persons as sent first to work in the quarries, and says that the city Avaris was given them for their habitation. As also he relates that it was not till after they had made war with the rest of the Egyptians, that they invited the people of Jerusalem to come to their assistance; while Cheremon says only that they were gone out of Egypt, and lighted upon three hundred and eighty thousand men about Pelusium, who had been left there by Amenophis, and so they invaded Egypt with them again; that thereupon Amenophis fled into Ethiopia. But then this Cheremon commits a most ridiculous blunder in not informing us who this army of so many ten thousands were, or whence they came; whether they were native Egyptians, or whether they came from a foreign country. Nor indeed has this man, who forged a dream from Isis about the leprous people, assigned the reason why the king would not bring them into Egypt. Moreover, Cheremon sets down Joseph as driven away at the same time with Moses, who yet died four generations (25) before Moses, which four generations make almost one hundred and seventy years. Besides all this, Ramesses, the son of Amenophis, by Manetho's account, was a young man, and assisted his father in his war, and left the country at the same time with him, and fled into Ethiopia. But Cheremon makes him to have been born in a certain cave, after his father was dead, and that he then overcame the Jews in battle, and drove them into Syria, being in number about two hundred thousand. O the levity of the man! for he had neither told us who these three hundred and eighty thousand were, nor how the four hundred and thirty thousand perished; whether they fell in war, or went over to Ramesses. And, what is the strangest of all, it is not possible to learn out of him who they were whom he calls Jews, or to which of these two parties he applies that denomination, whether to the two hundred and fifty thousand leprous people, or to the three hundred and eighty thousand that were about Pelusium. But perhaps it will be looked upon as a silly thing in me to make any larger confutation of such writers as sufficiently confute themselves; for had they been only confuted by other men, it had been more tolerable.


(24) By way of irony, I suppose.

(25) Here we see that Josephus esteemed a generation between Joseph and Moses to be about forty-two or forty-three years; which, if taken between the earlier children, well agrees with the duration of human life in those ages. See Antheat. Rec. Part II. pages 966, 1019, 1020.

Chapter 32 | Chapter 34

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