Geographic Border Locations:
Brook of Egypt
Sometimes translated as the "River of Egypt", it separated the land of Egypt from the land of Canaan. Many have read the phrase, "River of Egypt" and assumed that it means the Nile River. It does not, although on the surface it's easy to understand why it may seem that way - since the Nile is the most famous river in Egypt. A look at the original Hebrew text will help us to better understand what The Bible is saying. There are a few different Hebrew words meaning river, stream, brook or wadi. Here, we will look at three of them:
1. Ye'or - A word of Egyptian origin, meaning a river, canal, or channel. There are very many references in Genesis and Exodus to the Nile River. Every one of them uses this word, "Ye'or". In fact, all 57 references to the Nile in the Bible use this word exclusively. The Biblical references to The Brook (or River) of Egypt never use this word.
2. Nahal - A feminine noun meaning a wadi, a seasonal or smaller river, brook or stream. A "wadi" is a stream bed that is sometimes dry and sometimes has water flowing through it, depending on the amount of rain in the area at any given time. All but one of the references to The Brook (or River) of Egypt use this word, "Nahal".
3. Nahar - A masculine noun meaning a large, flowing river. Every reference in the Bible to the Euphrates River uses this word exclusively. Genesis 15:18 is the only time the word "Nahar" is used instead of "Nahal" for The Brook (or River) of Egypt. The reason for this one exception may simply be a poetic device, a linguistic reiteration, since that word is repeated 3 times within just 5 or 6 words in the Hebrew text - one time in reference to this waterway border with Egypt and twice in reference to the Euphrates River.
The Brook of Egypt would be called The Wadi of Egypt in current terminology, and is normally identified with the Wadi el-Arish. The modern Egyptian city El Arish sits just west of where the Wadi empties into the Mediterranean Sea, which is about 25 miles or so west of the current, modern border between Israel and Egypt. According to local tradition, the Wadi el-Arish was once a branch of the Nile, but this can't be verified. Some older Jewish Commentaries identify The Brook of Egypt with the Pelusian arm of the Nile, a branch on the Eastern extremes of the Nile Delta that no longer exists. However, this theory doesn't seem to hold much validity with modern scholarship.
Related to the study of the Brook of Egypt is the Shihor.
This link lists every
verse in The Bible showing:
The Brook Of Egypt @ The Border
Below is the list of every verse in The Bible
that mentions The Brook of Egypt in any context:
In that day Yahweh made a covenant with Abram, saying, ďTo your seed I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates:
and the border shall turn about from Azmon to the brook of Egypt, and the goings out of it shall be at the sea.
4 and it passed along to Azmon, went out at the brook of Egypt; and the border ended at the sea. This shall be your south border.
47 Ashdod, its towns and its villages; Gaza, its towns and its villages; to the brook of Egypt, and the great sea with its coastline.
So Solomon held the feast at that time, and all Israel with him, a great assembly, from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt, before Yahweh our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.
The king of Egypt didnít come again out of his land any more; for the king of Babylon had taken, from the brook of Egypt to the river Euphrates, all that pertained to the king of Egypt.
So David assembled all Israel together, from the Shihor the brook of Egypt even to the entrance of Hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath Jearim.
So Solomon held the feast at that time seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly, from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt.
It will happen in that day, that Yahweh will thresh from the flowing stream of the Euphrates to the brook of Egypt; and you will be gathered one by one, children of Israel.
The south side southward shall be from Tamar as far as the waters of Meriboth Kadesh, to the brook of Egypt, to the great sea. This is the south side southward.
By the border of Gad, at the south side southward, the border shall be even from Tamar to the waters of Meribath Kadesh, to the brook of Egypt, to the great sea.
Wonít the land tremble for this,
and everyone mourn who dwells in it?
Yes, it will rise up wholly like the River;
and it will be stirred up and sink again, like the River of Egypt.
For the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, is he who touches the land and it melts, and all who dwell in it will mourn; and it will rise up wholly like the River, and will sink again, like the River of Egypt.
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Topographic map created at www.marine-geo.org with labels added at BiblicalZionist.com