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Bible Encyclopedias
Migdol

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

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(Heb. Migdol', מַגְדּוֹל , a tower; Sept. Μάγδωλον or Μαγδωλόν), a town in Lower Egypt (Jeremiah 44:1; Jeremiah 46:14), the northern limit of the country (opposite Syene, Ezekiel 29:10; Ezekiel 30:6). It is apparently the Magdolum of the Antonine Itinerary (p. 171), situated twelve Roman miles from Pelusium; and, as it is doubtless also the place mentioned (Exodus 14:2; Numbers 33:7) in the description of the passage of the Red Sea by the Israelites (see Gesenius, Thesaur. page 268; Ewald, Isr. Gesch. 2:55), a difficulty has been experienced from the statements of those texts that this occurred "between Migdol and the sea," and "before Migdol," arising from the much greater distance of this locality from Pelusium, which the explanation of Hengstenberg (Mos. u. Aeg. page 58 sq.), that these expressions simply refer to the general region within which the Israelites were hemmed, scarcely meets. It is therefore better to regard the distance given in the Itinerary as somewhat vague, so that Migdol may have been situated sufficiently near to be said to be opposite the scene of the miracle. (See EXODE).

The name has been traced in the Coptic Meshtol, which signifies many hills (Champollion, L'Egypte sous les Pharaons, 2:79), and has been referred (see Niebuhr, Descr. Arabice, page 409) to the Meshtul of Arabian geographers, in the province of Sharkje, in Lower Egypt, on the island Myeephor (Rosenmuller, Alterth. 3:260); but it is better (with Forster, Ep. ad Michael. page 29) to consider it as alluding to a mountainous situation (suitable for a watch-tower on the frontier), and we may then (with Tischendorf, De Israel. per mare rubrum transitu, page 25 sq.; Kutscheit, Lepsius u. der Sinai, page 6 sq.; and other earlier travellers) identify it with Jebel Ataka (see Olin's Travels in the East, 1:350). The only objection to this identification that remains, worthy of consideration, is that, according to some travellers, a gentle slope, some two or three miles wide, intervenes between this range of hills and the sea-shore, containing many camel-paths, and offering an easy escape for the Israelites hemmed in by the Egyptians that came down upon them, through Wady Tuwarik (Aiton's Lands of the Messiah, page 120); but it is doubtful whether so extensive a shore existed here anciently (see ib. page 106), and even if this margin were not at that time covered by the waves, it may easily have been preoccupied by a detachment of the Egyptian troops sent round by way of the isthmus to cut off the retreat of the Israelites. Herodotus (2:159) doubtless alludes to this place under the name of Magdolum, which he describes as a frontier town towards Palestine, where Josiah was slain by Necho; evidently confounding it with Megiddo. (See RED SEA, PASSAGE OF).

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Migdol'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​m/migdol.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
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