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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. id., נֹ ; Sept. Μέμφις ; Vulg. Memphis, Isaiah 19:13; Jeremiah 2:16; Ezekiel 30:13; Ezekiel 30:16; doubtless identical with מֹ, foph; Sept. Μέμφις ; Vulg. Memphis, Hosea 9:6), a city of Egypt, better known bv its classic name Memphis. These forms are contracted from the ancient Egyptian common name, Men-Nufr, or Men Nefru, "the good abode," or perhaps "the abode of the good one;" also contracted in the Coptic forms menphi, memphi, menbe, membe (Memphitic), menrphe (Sahidic); in the Greek Μέμφις, and in the Arabic Menf. The Hebrew forms are to be regarded as representing colloquial forms of the name, current with the Shemites, if not with-the Egyptians also. As to the meaning of Memphis, Plutarch observes that it was interpreted to signify either the haven of good ones or the sepulcher of Osiris (καὶ τὴν πόλιν οἱ μὲν ὅρμον ἀγαθῶν ἑρυηνεύουσιν οἱ δ᾿ [ἰδί ]ως τάφον Ο᾿σίριδος, De Iside et Osiride, 20). It is probable that the epithet "good" refers to Osiris, whose sacred animal Apis was here worshipped, and here had its burial-place, the Serapeum, whence the name of the village Busiris (Pa-Hesar? "the [abode ?] of Osiris"), now represented in name, if not in exact site, by Abu-Sir, probably originally a quarter of Memphis. As the great upper Egyptian city is characterized in Nahum as "situate among the rivers" (3:8), so in Hosea the lower Egyptian one is distinguished by its Necropolis, in this passage as to the fugitive Israelites: "Mizraim shall gather them up, Noph shall bury them.;" for its burial-ground, stretching for twenty miles along the edge of the Libyan desert, greatly exceeds that of any other Egyptian town. See Brugsch, Geogr. Inschr. 1:234 sq. (See MEMPHIS).

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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Noph'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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