| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 37 - Page 144 of 208 Index | Zoom | |
Dothan, Goshen, Jacob-el and Joseph-el.
pp. 115 - 117
With the story of Joseph now before us, the "place" is obviously Egypt, but on the
very frontier as it were, we may pause to learn a little of the place called Dothan.
"And Joseph went after his brethren and found them in Dothan" (Gen. 37: 17).
"Just beneath Tell Dothan, which still preserves its name, is the little oblong plain,
containing the best pasturage in the country, and well chosen by Jacob's sons"
The place was an important halting place on the great caravan road from Damascus
into Egypt. On the lists of names inscribed by Tothmes III at Karnak, we find the name
Duthina, which is the Egyptian spelling of Dothan.
Numerous cisterns have been discovered in the neighbourhood, hewn out of the rock,
shaped like a bottle, and so making escape impossible to any one unfortunate enough to
be put inside one. One of these cisterns gives the name to a khan close by which is called
"The Khan of Joseph's Pit", so preserving in the very neighbourhood, the ancient story:
"Behold a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead . . . . . Then there passed by
Midianite merchants" (Gen. 37: 25-28).
First this company are called Ishmeelites, then they are called Midianites, and in
chapter 39: 1, they are called Ishmeelites again.
Ishmael and Midian were both sons of Abraham, the former by Hagar the
maid-servant of Sarah, and the latter by Keturah (Gen. 16: 11, 12 and 25: 2).
From Judges 8: 1 and 24, we discover that the Midianites and the Ishmeelites were
still found together in the days of Gideon, and the Ishmeelites apparently were
distinguished from the Midianites by the fact that they wore ear-rings (or nose-rings).
The narrative of Joseph's capture is written in the language of everyday life, and the
interchange of the names Midianites and Ishmeelites is easily explained by the fact that
these two tribes seem to have lived and worked together.
Syrian slaves were highly prized in ancient Egypt. The most ancient treaty that is
known, namely, that made between Rameses II and the Hittites, contains a clause
that fugitives who have found a refuge in Syria, shall be sent back to Egypt.
Professor Flinders Petrie found a will near the pyramid of Illahum which contains the
"I am giving her the four Eastern (Syrian) slaves that my brother gave me."