Land of Goshen

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Location of Goshen

The Land of Goshen (Hebrew: גֹּשֶׁן (Gōšen), Tiberian: [ˈɡoːʃen]) is a place-name mentioned in the biblical story of Joseph. The Septuagint renders the name as Gesan (Greek: γεσαν, [ˈɡesan]).

Biblical background

According to the biblical story the sons of Jacob were forced by famine to come down to Egypt, where they settled in the land of Goshen, also called the "land of Ramesses." It is described as the best land in Egypt, suitable for both crops and livestock, but also somewhat apart from Egypt, as, according to the story, Egyptian and Hebrew customs are incompatible. (Genesis 46:28-34, 47:1-10). After the death of Joseph and those of his generation the Israelites are enslaved by the Egyptians and forced to build store-cities at Pithom, Raamses and Heliopolis. From here, led by Moses, they flee to Succoth and then to the Reed Sea (which becomes the Red Sea in the Septuagint and modern bibles), where they are saved by God from Pharaoh's army at the Crossing of the Red Sea.

Identification

In 1885 E.H. Naville identified Goshen as the 20th nome of Egypt, located in the eastern Delta, and known as "Gesem" or "Kesem" during the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt (672-525 BC). It covered the western end of the Wadi Tumilat, the eastern end being the district of Succoth, which had Pithom as its main town, extended north as far as the ruins of Piramesse (the "land of Rameses"), and included both crop land and grazing land.[1] (Donald Redford, while not disputing the location of Goshen, gives a different origin for the name, deriving it from "Gasmu," the rulers of the Bedouin Qedarites who occupied the eastern Delta from the 7th century BC, but John Van Seters thinks this unlikely).[2]

References

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