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People's Dictionary of the Bible

Nile

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Nile, blue, dark. The great river of Egypt and of Africa, its entire length being about 4000 miles. The word "Nile" does not occur in the A. V.. but the river is frequently referred to as Sihor or Shihor, which means a "black" or "turbid" stream, Joshua 13:3; Isaiah 23:1-18 î3; where the R. V. reads "Nile;" Jeremiah 2:18; Jeremiah 46:7-8, E. V. "Nile;" 1 Chronicles 13:5. It is also designated simply the "river," R. V. margin, "Nile," Genesis 41:1; Exodus 1:22; Exodus 2:3; Exodus 2:5, and the "flood of Egypt," R. V., "River of Egypt," Amos 8:8; Amos 9:5. In the plural form this word yeor, rendered "river," frequently refers to the branches and canals of the Nile. This famous river is connected with the earliest history of the Egyptian and the Israelitish nations. Exodus 2:3; Exodus 7:20-21; Numbers 11:5; Psalms 105:29; Jeremiah 46:7-8. The Nile is not named in the New Testament As rain seldom falls in Egypt proper, the fertility of the country is entirely dependent upon the annual rise of the Nile. This usually begins in June and continues until near the end of September, the river remaining stationary for two or more weeks, and then attaining its highest level in October, when it begins to subside. The successive years of famine in the days of Joseph were doubtless due to a deficient overflow of the Nile for those years. Formerly this annual inundation turned Egypt into a vast lake, but in later times the water has been distributed by a great network of canals, from which the huge basins of cultivated land into which the canals divide the country, are supplied with water of the depth required to leave a deposit of mud to fertilize the land. The native uses his feet to regulate the flow of water into each of the squares or basins of land, and by a dexterous movement of his toes forms or removes a tiny embankment, as may be required to admit the proper flow of water, another common mode is to use the "shadoof," a bucket attached to a long pole hung on a pivot, balanced by a stone or a lump of clay at one end, and having the bucket on the other end. To this day the Nile is lined for hundreds of miles with these shadoofs, worked by men, women, and children, who lift the water out of the river to Irrigate their fields. Both these methods are believed to be very ancient, and may be alluded to by Moses in contrasting the fountains and rainfalls in Palestine with the absence of this supply in Egypt: "For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot as a garden of herbs." Deuteronomy 11:10-11. The ancient Egyptians worshipped the river Nile as a god. Two of the ten plagues sent upon Pharaoh and Egypt before the departure of the Israelites were turning the water of the Nile into blood and bringing forth frogs from the river. Exodus 7:15-25; Exodus 8:3-7. The papyrus reeds—whence paper is designated—the flags, the lotus, and the various colored flowers formerly beautifying the banks of the river have nearly all disappeared, thus fulfilling prophecy. Isaiah 19:6-7.


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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Nile'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/rpd/n/nile.html. 1893.

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