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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Memphis

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MEMPHIS. The famous ancient capital of Egypt, a few miles south of Cairo, the present capital. According to tradition, Memphis was built by Menes, who first united the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt. Kings and dynasties might make their principal residences in the cities from which they sprang, but until Alexandria was founded as the capital of the Greek dynasty, no Egyptian city, except Thebes, under the New Kingdom equalled Memphis in size and importance. The palaces of most of the early kings (Dyns. 3 12) were at or near Memphis, their positions being now marked by the pyramids in which the same kings were buried. The pyramid-field extends on the edge of the desert about 20 miles, from Dahshur on the south to Abu Roash on the north, the Great Pyramids of Gizeh lying 12 miles north of the central ruins of Memphis. The Egyptian name Menfi (in Hebrew Noph , Isaiah 19:13 , Jeremiah 2:16; Jeremiah 44:1; Jeremiah 46:14; Jeremiah 46:19 , Ezekiel 30:13; Ezekiel 30:16; once Moph , Hosea 9:5 ), was apparently taken from that of the palace and pyramid of Pepy 1. of the 6th Dynasty, which were built close to the city. At a later period, Tahrak (Tirhakah) ruled at Memphis; Necho, Hophra, and the other kings of the 26th Dynasty were buried at their ancestral city Sais, although their government was centred in Memphis. After the foundation of Alexandria the old capital fell to the second place, but it held a vast population till after the Arab conquest, when it rapidly declined. The growth of Fostat and Cairo was accompanied by the destruction of all the stone buildings in Memphis for the sake of the materials, but the necropolis still bears witness to its former magnificence. The bull Apis (Egyp. Hapi ) (whose name is read in LXX [Note: Septuagint.] at Jeremiah 46:15 ‘Why did Apis flee from thee?’) was worshipped at Memphis as sacred to Ptah (Hephaestus), the principal god of the city.

F. Ll. Griffith.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Memphis'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/m/memphis.html. 1909.

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