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Mizraim (Hebrew: מִצְרַיִם / מִצְרָיִם, Modern Mitzráyim Tiberian Miṣrāyim / Miṣráyim ; cf. Arabic مصر, Miṣr) is the Hebrew name for the land of Egypt, with the dual suffix -āyim, perhaps referring to the "two Egypts": Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.

Ugaritic inscriptions refer to Egypt as Msrm, in the Amarna tablets it is called Misri, and Assyrian and Babylonian records called Egypt Musur and Musri. The Arabic word for Egypt is Misr (pronounced Masr in colloquial Arabic), and Egypt's official name is Gumhuriyah Misr al-'Arabiyah (the Arab Republic of Egypt).

According to Genesis 10, Mizraim was the younger brother of Cush and elder brother of Phut and Canaan, whose families together made up the Hamite branch of Noah's descendants. Mizraim's sons were Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim (out of whom came Philistim), and Caphtorim.[1]

According to Eusebius' Chronicon, Manetho had suggested that the great age of antiquity in which the later Egyptians boasted had actually preceded the flood, and that they were really descended from Mizraim, who settled there anew. A similar story is related by medieval Islamic historians such as Sibt ibn al-Jawzi, the Egyptian Ibn Abd-el-Hakem, and the Persians al-Tabari and Muhammad Khwandamir, stating that the pyramids, etc. had been built by the wicked races before the deluge, but that Noah's descendant Mizraim (Masar or Mesr) was entrusted with reoccupying the region afterward. The Islamic accounts also make Masar the son of a Bansar or Beisar and grandson of Ham, rather than a direct son of Ham, and add that he lived to the age of 700. Some scholars think it likely that Mizraim is a dual form of the word Misr meaning "land", and was translated literally into Ancient Egyptian as Ta-Wy (the Two Lands) by early pharaohs at Thebes, who later founded the Middle Kingdom.

But according to George Syncellus, the Book of Sothis, supposedly by Manetho, had identified Mizraim with the legendary first pharaoh Menes, said to have unified the Old Kingdom and built Memphis. Misraim also seems to correspond to Misor, said in Phoenician mythology to have been father of Taautus who was given Egypt, and later scholars noticed that this also recalls Menes, whose son or successor was said to be Athothis.

In Judaism, Mitzrayim has been connected with the word meitzar (מיצר), meaning "sea strait", possibly alluding to narrow gulfs from both sides of Sinai peninsula. It also can mean "boundaries, limits, restrictions" or "narrow place".

However, author David Rohl has suggested a different interpretation: "Amongst the followers of Meskiagkasher [Cush] was his younger 'brother' -- in his own right a strong and charismatic leader of men. He is the head of the falcon tribe -- the descendants of Horus the 'Far Distant'. The Bible calls this new Horus-king 'Mizraim' but this name is, in reality, no more than an epithet. It means 'follower of Asr' or 'Asar' (Arabic m-asr with the Egyptian preposition m 'from'). Mizraim is merely m-Izra with the majestic plural ending 'im'. Likewise, that other great Semitic-speaking people -- the Assyrians -- called the country of the pharaohs 'Musri' (m-Usri)."[2]


  1. ^ Bullinger, 2000, p. 6.
  2. ^ Legend: Genesis of Civilisation Arrow Books Ltd, London, 1999, pp. 451–452



1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

MIZRAIM, the biblical name for Egypt (Gen. x. 6, 13, Hebrew Misrayim; the apparently dual termination -aim may be due to a misunderstanding); there is an alternative poetical form Masor (2 Kings xix. 24, &c.). In Isa. xi. II the name is kept distinct from Pathros or Upper Egypt, and represents some portion at least of Lower Egypt. It perhaps means "boundary" or "frontier," a somewhat ambiguous term, which illustrates the topographical problems. First (a), E. Schrader pointed out in 1874 that the Assyrians knew of some Musri (i.e. Mizraim) in North Syria, and it is extremely probable that this land is referred to in 2 Kings vii. 6 (mentioned with the Hittites), and in 1 Kings x. 28 seq., 2 Chron. i. 16 seq., where the word for "droves" (Heb. m-q-v-h) conceals the contiguous land Kue (Cilicia). 1 Next (b), C. T. Beke, as long ago as 1834, concluded in his Origines biblicae (p. 167 et passim) that "Egypt" in the Old Testament sometimes designates a district near Midian and the Gulf of `Akaba, and the view restated recently and quite independently by H. Winckler on later evidence (1893) has been the subject of continued debate. Egypt is known to have laid claim to the southern half of Palestine from early times, and consequently the extension of the name of Egypt beyond the limits of Egypt and of the Sinaitic peninsula, is inherently probable. When, for example, Hagar, the "Egyptian," is the ancestress of Ishmaelite tribes, the evidence makes it very unlikely that the term is to be understood in the strict ethnical sense; and there are other passages more suitably interpreted on the hypothesis that the wider extension of the term was once familiar. In the second half of the 8th century B.C., Assyrian inscriptions allude to a powerful Musri at a time when the Nile empire was disintegrated and scarcely in a position to play the part ascribed to it (i.e. if by Musri we are to understand Egypt). 2 Not until the supremacy of Tirhakah does the ambiguity begin to disappear, and much depends upon the 1 See further, H. Winckler, Alt. test. Untersuch. (1892), pp. 168-174.

2 So, too, according to one passage, Tiglath-pileser IV. appoints a governor over Musri before Egypt itself had actually been conquered.

unbiased discussion of the related biblical history (especially the writings of Isaiah and Hosea) and the Egyptian data. But even in the period of disintegration the minor princes of the Delta were no doubt associated with their eastern neighbours, and although the Assyrian Musri stands in the same relation to the people of Philistia as do the Edomites and allied tribes of the Old Testament, Philistia itself was always intimately associated with Egypt. (See Philistines.) The problem is complicated by the obscurity which overhangs the history of south Palestine and the Delta (see Edom; Midian). The political importance of Egypt was not constant, and the known fluctuations of geographical terms combine with the doubtful accuracy of early writers to increase the difficulties. The Assyrian evidence alone points very strongly to a Musri in north-west Arabia; the biblical evidence alone suggests an extraEgyptian Misrayim. On the whole the result of discussion has been to admit the probability that Misrayim could refer to a district outside the limits of Egypt proper. But it has not justified the application of this conclusion to all the instances in which some critics have relied upon it, or the sweeping inferences and reconstructions which have sometimes been based upon it. Each case must be taken on its merits.

See further, H. Winckler, Altorient. Forschungen, i. 24 seq; Mitteil. d. vorderasiat. Gesell. (1898), pp. i sqq., 169 sqq.; Hibbert Journal (April 1904); Keilinschr. u. das alte Test., 3rd ed., 136 sqq.; and Im Kampfe urn den alten Orient, ii. (1907); T. K. Cheyne, especially Kingdom of Judah (1908), pp. xiv. sqq.; F. Hommel, Vier neue arab. Landschaftsnamen in A.T. For criticisms (many of them somewhat captious) see Kijnig's reply to Hommel (Berlin, 1902), A. Noordtzij, Theolog. Tijdsch. (1906, July, September), and E. Meyer, Israeliten u. ihre Nachbarstdmme, pp. 455 sqq. A valuable survey of the geographical and other conditions is given by N. Schmidt, Hibbert Journal (January 1908). (S. A. C.)

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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

the dual form of matzor, meaning a "mound" or "fortress," the name of a people descended from Ham (Gen 10:6, 13; 1Chr 1:8, 11). It was the name generally given by the Hebrews to the land of Egypt, and may denote the two Egypts, the Upper and the Lower. The modern Arabic name for Egypt is Muzr.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

Father: Ham
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Offspring of  Mizraim and Unknown parent
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Book of Genesis

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This article uses material from the "Mizraim" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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