Now although I cannot but think that I have already demonstrated, and that abundantly more than was necessary, that our fathers were not originally Egyptians, nor were thence expelled, either on account of bodily diseases, or any other calamities of that sort; yet will I briefly take notice of what Apion adds upon that subject; for in his third book, which relates to the affairs of Egypt, he speaks thus: "I have heard of the ancient men of Egypt, that Moses was of Heliopolis, and that he thought himself obliged to follow the customs of his forefathers, and offered his prayers in the open air, towards the city walls; but that he reduced them all to be directed towards sun-rising, which was agreeable to the situation of Heliopolis; that he also set up pillars instead of gnomons, (3) under which was represented a cavity like that of a boat, and the shadow that fell from their tops fell down upon that cavity, that it might go round about the like course as the sun itself goes round in the other." This is that wonderful relation which we have given us by this grammarian. But that it is a false one is so plain, that it stands in need of few words to prove it, but is manifest from the works of Moses; for when he erected the first tabernacle to God, he did himself neither give order for any such kind of representation to be made at it, nor ordain that those that came after him should make such a one. Moreover, when in a future age Solomon built his temple in Jerusalem, he avoided all such needless decorations as Apion hath here devised. He says further, how he had "heard of the ancient men, that Moses was of Hellopolis." To be sure that was, because being a younger man himself, he believed those that by their elder age were acquainted and conversed with him. Now this grammarian, as he was, could not certainly tell which was the poet Homer's country, no more than he could which was the country of Pythagoras, who lived comparatively but a little while ago; yet does he thus easily determine the age of Moses, who preceded them such a vast number of years, as depending on his ancient men's relation, which shows how notorious a liar he was. But then as to this chronological determination of the time when he says he brought the leprous people, the blind, and the lame out of Egypt, see how well this most accurate grammarian of ours agrees with those that have written before him! Manetho says that the Jews departed out of Egypt, in the reign of Tethmosis, three hundred ninety-three years before Danaus fled to Argos; Lysimaehus says it was under king Bocchoris, that is, one thousand seven hundred years ago; Molo and some others determined it as every one pleased: but this Apion of ours, as deserving to be believed before them, hath determined it exactly to have been in the seventh olympiad, and the first year of that olympiad; the very same year in which he says that Carthage was built by the Phoenicians. The reason why he added this building of Carthage was, to be sure, in order, as he thought, to strengthen his assertion by so evident a character of chronology. But he was not aware that this character confutes his assertion; for if we may give credit to the Phoenician records as to the time of the first coming of their colony to Carthage, they relate that Hirom their king was above a hundred and fifty years earlier than the building of Carthage; concerning whom I have formerly produced testimonials out of those Phoenician records, as also that this Hirom was a friend of Solomon when he was building the temple of Jerusalem, and gave him great assistance in his building that temple; while still Solomon himself built that temple six hundred and twelve years after the Jews came out of Egypt. As for the number of those that were expelled out of Egypt, he hath contrived to have the very same number with Lysimaehus, and says they were a hundred and ten thousand. He then assigns a certain wonderful and plausible occasion for the name of Sabbath; for he says that "when the Jews had traveled a six days' journey, they had buboes in their groins; and that on this account it was that they rested on the seventh day, as having got safely to that country which is now called Judea; that then they preserved the language of the Egyptians, and called that day the Sabbath, for that malady of buboes on their groin was named Sabbatosis by the Egyptians." And would not a man now laugh at this fellow's trifling, or rather hate his impudence in writing thus? We must, it seems, fake it for granted that all these hundred and ten thousand men must have these buboes. But, for certain, if those men had been blind and lame, and had all sorts of distempers upon them, as Apion says they had, they could not have gone one single day's journey; but if they had been all able to travel over a large desert, and, besides that, to fight and conquer those that opposed them, they had not all of them had buboes on their groins after the sixth day was over; for no such distemper comes naturally and of necessity upon those that travel; but still, when there are many ten thousands in a camp together, they constantly march a settled space [in a day]. Nor is it at all probable that such a thing should happen by chance; this would be prodigiously absurd to be supposed. However, our admirable author Apion hath before told us that "they came to Judea in six days' time;" and again, that "Moses went up to a mountain that lay between Egypt and Arabia, which was called Sinai, and was concealed there forty days, and that when he came down from thence he gave laws to the Jews." But, then, how was it possible for them to tarry forty days in a desert place where there was no water, and at the same time to pass all over the country between that and Judea in the six days? And as for this grammatical translation of the word Sabbath, it either contains an instance of his great impudence or gross ignorance; for the words Sabbo and Sabbath are widely different from one another; for the word Sabbath in the Jewish language denotes rest from all sorts of work; but the word Sabbo, as he affirms, denotes among the Egyptians the malady of a bubo in the groin.
(3) This seems to have been the first dial that had been made in Egypt, and was a little before the time that Ahaz made his [first] dial in Judea, and about anno 755, in the first year of the seventh olympiad, as we shall see presently. See 2 Kings 20:11; Isaiah 38:8.