According to the biblical story the sons of Jacob were forced by famine to come down to Egypt, where they settled in the land of Goshen, also called the "land of Ramesses." It is described as the best land in Egypt, suitable for both crops and livestock, but also somewhat apart from Egypt, as, according to the story, Egyptian and Hebrew customs are incompatible. (Genesis 36:28-34, 47:1-10). After the death of Joseph and those of his generation the Israelites are enslaved by the Egyptians and forced to build store-cities at Pithom, Raamses and Heliopolis. From here, led by Moses, they flee to Succoth and then to the Red Sea (or the Reed Sea).
In 1885 E.H. Naville identified Goshen as the 20th nome of Egypt, located in the eastern Delta, and known as "Gesem" or "Kesem" during the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt (672-525 BCE). It covered the western end of the Wadi Tumilat, the eastern end being the district of Succoth, which had Pithom as its main town, extended north as far as the ruins of Piramesse (the "land of Rameses"), and included both crop land and grazing land. (Donald Redford, while not disputing the location of Goshen, gives a different origin for the name, deriving it from "Gasmu," the rulers of the Bedouin Qedarites who occupied the eastern Delta from the 7th century BCE, but John Van Seters thinks this unlikely).
- ↑ John Van Seters, "The Geography of the Exodus," in Silberman, Neil Ash (editor), The Land That I Will Show You: Essays in History and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East in Honor of J. Maxwell Miller (Sheffield Academic Press, 1997) P. 267-269, ISBN-978-1850756507
- ↑ Donald Redford, "Perspective on the Exodus", pp.139-140, quoted in John Van Seters, "The Geography of the Exodus," in Silberman, Neil Ash (editor), The Land That I Will Show You: Essays in History and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East in Honor of J. Maxwell Miller (Sheffield Academic Press, 1997) fn.37, p.269)
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