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Mizraim (Hebrew: מִצְרַיִם / מִצְרָיִם, Modern Mīṣrayīm [mitsˈʁajim] Tiberian Mīṣrāyīm / Mīṣráyīm [misˤˈrɔjim] \ [misˤˈrajim]; cf. Arabic: مصر, romanizedMiṣr) is the Hebrew and Aramaic name for the land of Egypt and its people.[1]

Linguistic analysis[edit]

Mizraim is the Hebrew cognate of a common Semitic source word for the land now known as Egypt. It is similar to Miṣr in modern Arabic, Misri in the 14th century B.C. Akkadian Amarna tablets,[2] Mṣrm in Ugaritic, [3] Mizraim in Neo-Babylonian texts,[4] and Mu-ṣur in neo-Assyrian Akkadian (as seen on the Rassam cylinder).[5] To this root is appended the dual suffix -āyim, perhaps referring to the "two Egypts": Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.[6] This word is similar in pronunciation and spelling to the Hebrew words matsór and meitsár, meaning literally "siege" and "strait, distress" respectively, and may carry those connotations to Hebrew speakers.[7] Some scholars [by whom?] think it likely that Mizraim is a dual form of the word Misr meaning "land" and was translated literally into Ancient Egyptian as Ta-Wy (the Two Lands) by early pharaohs at Thebes, who later founded the Middle Kingdom.

Biblical accounts[edit]

According to Genesis 10, Mizraim son of Ham was the younger brother of Cush and elder brother of Phut whose families together made up the Hamite branch of Noah's descendants. Mizraim's sons were Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim, and Caphtorim.[8]19th century scholar Henry Welsford identifies this Mizraim of Egypt in the Book of Genesis as Minos.[9]

In the Book of Exodus, it is considered the house of bondage. Regarding the passover, Moses says to the children of Israel, "Remember this day, in which ye came out from Mizraim, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place; there shall no leavened bread be eaten."[10]

The book of Deuteronomy forbids the children of Israel from abhorring a Mizri, an Egyptian, "because you were a stranger in his land."[11]

Greco-Roman sources[edit]

According to Eusebius's Chronicon, Manetho had suggested that the great age of antiquity of which the later Egyptians boasted had actually preceded the Great Flood and that they were really descended from Mizraim, who settled there anew. According to Byzantine chronicler George Syncellus, the Book of Sothis, attributed to Manetho, identified Mizraim with the legendary first Pharaoh Menes, who is said to have unified the Old Kingdom and built Memphis. Mizraim also seems to correspond to Misor, who is said in Phoenician mythology to have been the father of Taautus, who was given Egypt, and later scholars noticed that it also recalls Menes, whose son or successor was said to be Athothis.[citation needed]

Islamic sources[edit]

According to medieval Islamic historians, such as Sibt ibn al-Jawzi, the Egyptian Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam, and the Persians al-Tabari and Muhammad Khwandamir, the pyramids, etc. had been built by the wicked races before the Deluge but that Noah's descendant Mizraim (Masar or Mesr) was later entrusted with reoccupying the region. The Islamic accounts also make Masar the son of a Bansar or Beisar and grandson of Ham, rather than a direct son of Ham, and add that he lived to the age of 700.[citation needed]

Fringe theory[edit]

Author David Rohl has suggested a different interpretation:

Amongst the followers of Meskiagkasher (Sumerian ruler) was his younger 'brother'—in his own right a strong and charismatic leader of men. He is the head of the falcon tribe—the descendants of Horus the 'Far Distant'. The Bible calls this new Horus-king 'Mizraim' but this name is, in reality, no more than an epithet. It means 'follower of Asr' or 'Asar' (Egyptian Arabic m-asr with the Egyptian preposition m 'from'). Mizraim is merely m-Izra with the majestic plural ending 'im'. Likewise, that other great Semitic-speaking people—the Assyrians—called the country of the pharaohs 'Musri' (m-Usri).[12]


  1. ^ Mizraim-biblehub
  2. ^ Daniel I. Block (19 June 1998). The Book of Ezekiel, Chapters 25 48. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-8028-2536-0.
  3. ^ Gregorio del Olmo Lete; Joaquín Sanmartín (12 February 2015). A Dictionary of the Ugaritic Language in the Alphabetic Tradition (2 vols): Third Revised Edition. BRILL. pp. 580–581. ISBN 978-90-04-28865-2.
  4. ^ Ciprut, J.V. (2009). Freedom: reassessments and rephrasings. MIT Press. ISBN 9780262033879. Retrieved 2015-09-13.
  5. ^ George Evans (1883). An Essay on Assyriology. Williams and Norgate : pub. by the Hibbert trustees. p. 49.
  6. ^ Mizraim-International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
  7. ^ "Mizraim". Abarim Publications. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  8. ^ Bullinger, 2000, p. 6.
  9. ^ On the origin and ramifications of the English language: Preceded by an inquiry into the primitive seats, early migrations, and final settlements of the principal European nations, Henry Welsford, 1845, pp. 11–12.
  10. ^ "Exodus 13:3". Sefaria.
  11. ^ "Deuteronomy 23:8". Sefaria.
  12. ^ Legend: Genesis of Civilisation Arrow Books Ltd, London, 1999, pp. 451–452