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Bible Dictionaries

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Nile

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Although the Bible mentions the Nile River mainly in relation to Egypt (Genesis 41:17-19; Ezekiel 29:3), the river passes through many countries, among them Ethiopia (GNB: Sudan) (Isaiah 18:1-2). The length of the Nile is about 5,600 kilometres.

Very little rain fell in Egypt, with the result that the country depended almost entirely upon the Nile for its water supply. The fertility of its land also depended upon the Nile. Because of the silt left behind after the river’s annual flooding, otherwise barren land became usable (Isaiah 23:3; Isaiah 23:10; Amos 8:8; Amos 9:5).

Apart from the land that extended out a few kilometres on either side of the river, plus the land of the well watered delta region (together totalling less than one twentieth of Egypt’s entire land area), Egypt was a desert. In Egypt the failure of the Nile to flood was the equivalent of a drought in other countries. It ruined the farming, fishing and cotton industries, and created widespread unemployment (Genesis 41:1-3; Isaiah 19:5-10). Prophetic announcements of judgment on Egypt therefore often included graphic pictures of the drying up of the Nile (Ezekiel 29:1-10; Ezekiel 30:12; Zechariah 10:11). It seems that God used some of the physical characteristics of the Nile Valley in bringing the plagues on Egypt during the time of Moses (Exodus 7:14-25; Exodus 8; Exodus 9; Exodus 10; see PLAGUE).

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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Nile'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/bbd/n/nile.html. 2004.

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