Ancient Egypt has a rich yet complex history. From a Biblical and world history point of view, Egypt was characterized as one of the ancient world’s greatest civilizations. Long before Babylon became great or Greek civilization came on the scene, Egypt was already a notable nation with a culture and history of its own (From <>). The primary sources of historical information regarding ancient Egypt are the monuments, objects, and artifacts covered with hieroglyphs or pictograms. However, for this study, these artifacts will support the Biblical record. There is so much to discover about ancient Egypt, but for the sake of this study, I’ll just touch on a few highlights regarding Egypt’s history and worldwide contributions.

Genesis 10 documents the colonization of Egypt by Mizraim, the second son of Ham, who was the second son of Noah (Genesis 10:14). The modern name Egypt is thought to have been derived from a king named Egyptus who reigned in 1485 BC. However, in the Bible, Egypt is referred to as “the land of Ham,” referring to the Hamitic origin of the Egyptians (From <>) and the common name of Egypt in the Hebrews Bible is Mizraim, or “the land of Mizraim” (From <>).  Additionally, the ancient Egyptians referred to their land as Kemet, which has the meaning “the black land.” 

Ancient Egypt was located in Northeastern “Africa” and had four clear geographic zones: the Delta, the Western Desert, the Eastern Desert, and the Nile Valley (Isaiah 11:11). Each of these zones had its own natural environment and its own culture. Kemet or “black land” denotes the rich, fertile land of the Nile Valley, while Deshret, or “red land,” refers to the hot, dry desert. The rich Nile valley nourished Egypt, a delta dozens of miles wide and more than 500 miles in length, and these deltas enabled Egypt to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful nations of Biblical History (Bennett, 1971). 

Egypt is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible almost seven hundred times. It is referred to another 25 times in the New Testament, making it the most frequently mentioned place outside Canaan in the Bible (From <>). The relationship between Egypt and the Israelites can be described as a complex and dichotomous relationship. 

The following is a summary of findings about ancient Egypt:

Economically: Farming and agriculture were the economic base of Egyptian wealth. The agriculture and food supply were in abundance. They had fish from the water sources (Numbers 11:5); the reeds and other water-plants were of value in commerce (Isaiah 19:5-10), and the Land of Goshen was “the best of the land” (Genesis 47:6,11). They also had livestock. In the Bible, Egypt is said to have had camels, oxen, sheep, donkeys, and horses (Genesis 12:16, 41:19, Exodus 9:3, I Kings 10:28).  Egypt’s wealth is noted in Genesis 12, which informs us that Abraham, pressed by famine, went down into Egypt. There he found food supplies and was also lavished with gifts in the form of sheep, oxen, donkeys, male and female servants, and camels, for the favor his wife had won in the reigning Pharaoh’s eyes (Genesis 12:16). Egypt was also a significant player in trade, as evidenced in I Kings 10:28-29 – “Also Solomon had horses imported from Egypt and Keveh; the king’s merchants bought them in Keveh at the current price.  Now a chariot that was imported from Egypt cost six hundred shekels of silver and a horse one hundred and fifty; and thus, through their agents, they exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Syria.” And not only did Egypt have enough for itself, but they also had more than enough for neighboring countries during the time of famine (Genesis 41:49) (From <>).

Intellectually: “The wisdom of Egypt” was a phrase that spoke to the knowledge and skill of the ancient Egyptians (1 Kings 4:30, Acts 7:22, Exodus 7:11, Genesis 41:8). The Egyptians excelled in geometry and mechanics, and they were very successful in architecture, as the magnificent temples and pyramids bear evident witness.

Geographically:  The plain of Jordan was “well-watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt…(Genesis 13:10).” Because of its proximity to the Nile River, the annual flooding provided the necessary irrigation and fertilization. The fertile plain of the Delta and the valley of Upper Egypt were bounded by rocky deserts covered with sand (From <>). Their locality influenced the mode of life of the Egyptians. Those who dwelt on high lands on the east, as well as those who dwelt on the marshy flat country in the Delta, were shepherds (Genesis 46:33-34). The people who lived along the Nile became fishermen  (Isaiah 19:8)

Politically: Egypt was responsible for introducing the ideology and idealization of kingship. They reverenced and worshipped their kings like gods. Government and religion were inseparable in ancient Egypt. The Pharaoh or king was the head of state and the divine representation of the “gods” on earth. The government was responsible for ensuring order within its society through the construction of temples, the establishment of laws, taxation, an organized workforce, trade with neighboring nations, and the defense of the nation. The Pharaohs were supported by a hierarchy of advisors, priests, district governors, and administrators (Genesis 39:1, Isaiah 19:11). 

Ancient Egypt’s history has traditionally been divided into 30 dynasties, and scholars and researchers of Egyptian history often group these dynasties into several periods. The Bible refers to various pharaohs of Egypt, including named and unnamed pharaohs, some of whom can be identified with historical pharaohs (From <>). 

The first pharaoh of the first dynasty was a ruler named Menes. There is much debate concerning whether or not Menes and Mizraim were the same. However, what is clear is that Mizraim (also called Egypt) is the father of Egypt. Whether He is Menes or Menes is a descendant of Mizraim doesn’t discount that Egypt is a Hamitic nation (Genesis 10:6).  From <

Other mentions of Various Egyptian Pharaohs throughout the Bible are as follows: 

In Genesis 12. Abram found a monarch, a court, princes, and servants in Egypt. Because of Abram and Sarai’s deception, The unnamed pharaoh, through his princes, heard of Sarai’s beauty; thus, Sarai is summoned to the Pharoah. Abraham finds favor with the Pharaoh and provides Abram with livestock and servants. After discovering Sarai’s true relationship with Abram, the pharaoh releases Sarai and orders them to leave Egypt. 

The last chapters of the Genesis (Chapters 37-50) tell how Joseph, son of Jacob, is first sold by his brothers into Egyptian slavery but is promoted by the unnamed pharaoh to serve as second in command over Egypt and is given permission to bring his father, his brothers, and their families into Egypt to live in the Land of Goshen.  

The next Pharoah, “which knew not Joseph” (Exodus 1:8), sought to oppress the Children of Israel because they were more in number and were a perceived threat to the Pharoah (Exodus 1:9-10).

In 1 Kings 3:1, King Solomon of Israel consolidated the vast kingdom of Israel by marrying the Pharaoh’s daughter to forge a successful alliance. Solomon procured iron chariots from Egypt to patrol the coastal plain from his new chariot city at Gezer, given to him as a wedding present by the Egyptian pharaoh (1 Kings 9:16 & 10:26-29).

1 Kings 11:40 and 2 Chronicles 12:2  tell of an invasion of Israel by the Egyptian Pharaoh Shishak and a subsequent raid of Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon. This same Pharaoh also attacked Jerusalem and took away all its treasures during Solomon’s son, King Rehoboam of Judah’s reign (1 Kings 14:25-26).

An Egyptian Pharoah is mentioned in 2 Kings 17:4, and it says that King Hoshea sent letters to “So, King of Egypt.” 

Hezekiah called upon the Pharaoh of Egypt for help when the Assyrian army besieged him in Jerusalem (2 Kings 18:21). 

And King Josiah was killed when he tried to stop Pharaoh Necho from passing along the coast to help the Assyrians (2 Chronicles 35:20-27, 36:2–4).

Militarily: The most important branch of Egypt’s military was the chariot force. For example, the Pharaoh of the Children of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt led 600 chosen chariots, besides his whole chariot-force, in pursuit of the Israelites (Exodus 14:6-7). Warrior’s use of chariots war is described in Isaiah 31:1, and the celebrity of Egyptian charioteers is seen in Jeremiah 46:4 and Ezekiel 17:5. The horses of Egypt were held in high esteem amongst the neighboring nations who purchased them and chariots (Deuteronomy 17:16, I Kings 10:28-29). In later times, the prophets reprimanded the people for trusting Egypt’s help and relying on the aid of her horses and chariots and horsemen (2 Kings 7:6). 

Culturally: The industrial arts held an important place in the occupations of the Egyptians. Egyptian looms were famed for their fine cotton and woolen fabrics, and many of these were worked with patterns in brilliant colors. Some of the stripes were gold thread, alternating with red ones as a border. The workers in fine flax and the weavers of white linen are mentioned in a manner that shows they were among the chief contributors to the riches of the country (Isaiah 19:9, Proverbs 7:16, Ezekiel 27:7). 

Potters were numerous, and the wheel, the baking of cups, were prominent on the monuments. Pottery was also one of the skills required of the Israelites during their bondage (Psalm 81:6, Psalm 68:13, Exodus 1:14). 

Brickmaking was at the behest of the crown, which accounts for Israelites being forced in large numbers to make bricks for the Pharaohs. The account of brick-making in Exodus 5:7-19 speaks to the hardness of the work.

In addition to the influence of pottery, brick making, and the industrial arts, we also see evidence of an ancient Egyptian custom of etiquette in the Bible, shaving, as seen in Genesis 41:14. The Egyptians considered facial hair to be a sign of uncleanliness. 

Scientifically/Medically: A sizable number of literary and scientific texts were created during the reign of the 12th and 13th dynasties. Among the documents recovered was what is now known as the Edwin Smith surgical papyrus, which records a variety of medical treatments that modern-day medical doctors have hailed as being advanced for their time. Magicians and sorcerers also played an essential role in the culture of ancient Egypt. Priests were the primary practitioners of magic. Various rituals were performed to protect the Pharaoh, help the dead transition into rebirth, and heal or curse (Genesis, 41:8, Exodus 7:11, 8:16-19, 9:22-26, 10:21-23). 

Religiously: Throughout much of Egypt’s ancient history, its people worshipped nature as well as a vast number of idols (Ezekiel 20:7). The underworld or afterlife was vital to the ancient Egyptians, who believed that the dead could reach a paradise to live forever. The Egyptian dead were sometimes mummified to preserve the body and were sometimes buried with spells to aid them in navigating the underworld. 

The Israelites in Egypt appear to have adopted some Egyptian idolatry (Joshua 24:14, Ezekiel 20:7-8, Exodus 8:26).

Influentially: Egypt in the Bible played a dual role. It was both a place of protection and refuge and a place of wickedness and oppression. 

Egypt served as a refuge for people seeking asylum or refuge from oppression, hardship or the threat of death. Among the biblical notables who traveled to Egypt to escape hardship were Abraham and Sarah (Gen 12:10-20), King Jeroboam of Israel (1 Kings 11:40), a group of people fleeing the Babylonians (2 Kings 25:26), the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 43:5-7), and Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus (Matt 2:13-15). From <

Egypt was also considered the house of bondage as evidenced in Exodus Moses says to the sons of Israel, “Remember this day, in which you came out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place…(Exodus 13:3).”

Prophetically: Egypt has an important place in Biblical prophecy. The prophetic narrative concerning Egypt is found in the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, and the minor prophets Joel, Hosea, Micah, and Zechariah. Through His prophets, God gave important prophecies of what would happen to Egypt.

The fulfillment of certain prophecies has already been evidenced, as in the disappearance of Memphis and its temples (Jeremiah 46:19, Ezekiel 30:13). 

Through the prophet Ezekiel, God said, “I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations” (Ezekiel 29:12), and after a while, God said He would “bring back the captives of Egypt and cause them to return” to Egypt (Ezekiel 29:13-14). Many native Egyptians, though, would remain scattered among the various nations (Ezekiel 30:23, 26). After this time of punishment, Egypt would become “a lowly kingdom” and “the lowliest of kingdoms; it shall never again exalt itself above the nations, for I will diminish them so that they will not rule over the nations anymore” (Ezekiel 29:14-15). And Isaiah also prophesied that the Egyptians would be conquered by the Assyrians (Isaiah 20:3-4). 

Daniel 11 details a prophecy of conflict between a literal and symbolic “king of the South (Egypt)” and “king of the North (Babylon).” The king of the South and the king of the North fought numerous wars, which eventually resulted in the invasion of Judah and Jerusalem by the king of the North. Around 168 B.C., the first “abomination of desolation” was set up in Jerusalem by the king of the North (Daniel 11:31). Most of the prophecy in Daniel 11:1-39 has been fulfilled. However, Daniel 11:40-45 is a prophecy that describes what is to happen at the end of time (Daniel 11:40). Here Egypt represents those nations/persons who are “anti-God,” which is prophesied to be destroyed. 

The prophet Isaiah also speaks to God’s mercy when a people cry out to Him for deliverance. He says, “For they will cry to the Lord because of the oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One [Christ], and He will deliver them” (Isaiah 19:20). This is a promise made to all. However, not all Egyptians will immediately turn to God. The prophet Zechariah says, “If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:18-19).

It is prophesied that there is a remarkable change in store for Egyptians when they turn ultimately to Jesus Christ.  “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance” (Isaiah 19:25). When we, like the Egyptians, repent and return to God, He will be kind and merciful towards us. Isaiah went on to say, “And the Lord will strike Egypt, He will strike and heal it; they will return to the Lord, and He will be entreated by them and heal them” (Isaiah 19:22).  

Amen, halleluiah that despite all of Egypt’s idolatrous history and resistance to the one true God, the day is coming when God will say, “Blessed is Egypt My people (Isaiah 19:25).” From <