Ancient Israel lived at the interface between two "superpowers". To the south, Egypt often sought to extend its influence along the Mediterranean coast. To the East the Mesopotamian empires sought territorial expansion, though because of the desert they approached Canaan from the north.
One of the oldest civilizations, Egypt influenced biblical culture from the time of the Patriarchs to that of Jesus. As "granary" of the area, Egypt often served as "famine relief center" for the people of the Bible. Egypt's fertility depended on a major river whose catchment area included land far to the south, and so was less affected by localised drought. Egypt was also a place of asylum for political refugees.
Because of Egypt's varied importance it plays an interesting role in the book of Amos.
As well as the more theological use of Egypt as a symbol, discussed elsewhere, Amos talks of Egypt's river, the Nile, (8:8; 9:5).
Photo of the Nile, right, from Clack
This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,
© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.