Hail to thee, O Nile! Who manifests thyself over this land, and comes to give life to Egypt! Mysterious is thy issuing forth from the darkness, on this day whereon it is celebrated! Watering the orchards created by Re, to cause all the cattle to live, you give the earth to drink, inexhaustible one! Path that descends from the sky, loving the bread of Seb and the first-fruits of Nepera, You cause the workshops of Ptah to prosper!
Hymn to the Nile, ca. 2100 BCE
Sunk relief of Hapy, god of the Nile Photo credit: http://maelstrom.itgo.com/images/ sunk_relief_of_the_god_hapy.gif.
Osiris was the major god associated with the Nile
Osiris is shown with green skin probably to suggest his role as a fertility god
Osiris was considered the backbone of Egypt
If he was the backbone, as was the Nile, to hit the Nile was to paralyze Egypt!
Thus says the Lord, “By this you (the pharaoh) shall know that I am the Lord.” See, I shall strike the water in the Nile with the rod that is in my hand, and it will be turned into blood;
and the fish in the Nile will die. The Nile will stink so that the Egyptians will find it impossible to drink in the Nile.
Second Plague: Frogs וְשָׁרַץ הַיְאֹר , צְפַרְדְּעִים , וְעָלוּ וּבָאוּ בְּבֵיתֶךָ , וּבַחֲדַר מִשְׁכָּבְךָ וְעַל - מִטָּתֶךָ ; וּבְבֵית עֲבָדֶיךָ וּבְעַמֶּךָ , וּבְתַנּוּרֶיךָ וּבְמִשְׁאֲרוֹתֶיךָ The Nile shall swarm with frogs, and they shall come up and enter your palace, your bedchamber and your bed, the houses of your courtiers and your people, and your ovens and your kneading bowls. Exodus 7:28
The Frog Goddess, Heqet, was Another Fertility Goddess
She was associated with the moon – as often goddesses in the ancient world were
The moon was said to control the ebb and flow of the water and therefore the one who was associated with the moon was a fertility goddess
She is one of the eight gods/goddesses associated with creation and is the consort of Khnum, the ram-headed god who molds beings out of clay
Heqet was one of the goddesses associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
Taweret, the hippopotamus goddess, was the main protector of pregnant women and their newborn children.
But Bes, the dancing dwarf, we saw was also associated with a safe labor and the protection of newborn children.
Photo credit: www.egyptianmuseum.org
Heqet was the patron goddess of MIDWIVES! So what did Heqet do?
Plague the Third: Vermin וַיֵּט אַהֲרֹן אֶת - יָדוֹ בְמַטֵּהוּ וַיַּךְ אֶת - עֲפַר הָאָרֶץ , וַתְּהִי הַכִּנָּם , בָּאָדָם וּבַבְּהֵמָה : כָּל - עֲפַר הָאָרֶץ הָיָה כִנִּים , בְּכָל - אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם Aharon held out his arm with the rod and struck the dust of the earth, and vermin came upon man and beast; all the dust of the earth turned to lice throughout the land of Egypt. Exodus 8:13
“ A man says this speech [for the Judgment of the Dead] when he is pure, clean, dressed in fresh clothes, shod in white sandals, painted with eye-paint, anointed with the finest oil of myrrh.” Chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol.2, p.131 Ancient Egyptian toilet box
Herodotus, the famous Greek historian, said of the Egyptians:
“ They are very careful to wear newly-washed linen all the time. They circumcise their children for the sake of cleanliness; they would rather be clean than better looking.”
Barber shaving the head of a soldier Tomb of Userhat, 18th dynasty
ל וַיּוֹשַׁע יְהוָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא , אֶת - יִשְׂרָאֵל -- מִיַּד מִצְרָיִם ; וַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת - מִצְרַיִם , מֵת עַל - שְׂפַת הַיָּם . לא וַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת - הַיָּד הַגְּדֹלָה , אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה יְהוָה בְּמִצְרַיִם , וַיִּירְאוּ הָעָם , אֶת - יְהוָה ; וַיַּאֲמִינוּ , בַּיהוָה , וּבְמֹשֶׁה , עַבְדּוֹ . 30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore. 31 And Israel saw the great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared the LORD; and they believed in the LORD, and in His servant Moses.