The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 2 – part 1

Chapter 2 is another short chapter of material summarised from the bible.

1. After the death of Joseph, his brothers and all those of their generation, the Israelites became numerous and spread to such an extent that Egypt was full of them. Then there reigned over Egypt a king who did not know Joseph, who told his advisers: “The sons of Israel have become numerous, and we can not be sure that if a rebel rises against us, they will not give him a hand and drive us out of Egypt.”  He then stirred up the Egyptians against them, reduced them to slavery and forced them to work clay, bricks and stones, to dig mountains and caves and to plough the land.  The pharaoh ordered the midwives to kill every male who was born among the sons of Israel by drowning him in the river.  Countless little children were killed and drowned in the river.  When Moses was born, his mother feared that they would kill him and she kept him hidden for three months.  Fearing then for her own life – Moses’ mother was called Yūkhābad (1) – she made a small ark of papyrus, – in the Torah it is said to be made of pine wood (2) -, covered it within and without with bitumen, placed the child inside and abandoned it on the bank of the Nile, where the water was low, near a city named Dan (3), of the province of Egypt, so that the waves, hitting it, would carry it to the water and the child would be drowned without her being able to see it.  Maryam, sister of Moses, was hiding, far away, to see what happened to the baby.  Then the daughter of the pharaoh came, whose name was Sī‘ūn (4), to bathe in the Nile.  She heard the baby crying in the ark, she felt great tenderness and compassion and took him up.  She then commanded a nurse to be brought to feed him and raise him.  Then Maryam, the sister of Moses, met her and said to her: “I will bring you a nurse from among the children of Israel to breastfeed and raise him” (5).  She went and returned with her mother, Moses’ mother, but Pharaoh’s daughter never knew that she was his mother.  She then gave her the baby to breastfeed and bring up.

2. When Moses grew and became a man, he saw an Israelite arguing with an Egyptian.  Moses punched the Egyptian and killed him; then he buried him in the sand.  A few days later two Israelites were arguing and Moses intervened.  But they told him: “So what? Do you want to kill one of us, as you recently did with the Egyptian?”(6).  Moses feared for his life and escaped to the Hiğāz, settling in the city of Madiyan.  There he married a woman named Sīfūra, daughter of Yatrū (7), whom the Arabs call Shu‘ayb (8), one of the descendants of Ishmael, son of Abraham, and who was a priest in the temple of the city of Madiyan.  Sīfūra gave Moses two sons, Girsām and Ilyāzar.  While Moses was grazing the sheep of his father-in-law Yatrū, he saw, on the mountain, a bush that burned, at noon, without however being consumed by the fire.  He approached to look, and God spoke to him from the bush: “Do not be afraid, Moses, it’s me, God.  Go to Pharaoh and tell him to let the children of Israel leave, in order to worship me” (9).  Moses went to the pharaoh.  Moses was eighty years old when God spoke to him, Hārūn was eighty-three and Maryam, their sister, was eighty-seven.  Moses was fifty-six years old when his father ‘Imrān (10) died at the age of one hundred and thirty-six.  There prophesied in Egypt, among the sons of Israel, Zārākh, of the tribe of Judah, Zamrī, Abiyātar, Haymān, Halkūk, Dardà‘ and finally Moses.  When the sons of Israel entered Egypt for the first time, there were only seventy.  They had lived in Egypt two hundred and seventeen years, as slaves of the pharaohs, serving one pharaoh after another.

 

 

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