Genesis 12:15

The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house.

The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh,.... The king of Egypt; so it seems by this, that Abram and Sarai were at the place where the court was kept, which the Arabic writers {t} say was Mesr (or Memphis), the capital of the kingdom. And these princes were the king's courtiers, who taking notice of Sarai, and admiring her beauty, praised her for it to the king, and recommended her to be taken into the number of his wives or concubines, they understanding that she was a single woman and the sister of Abram: and this they did to gratify their king, and gain his favour:

and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house; or palace, as the Jerusalem Targum; his royal palace, as the Targum of Jonathan; very probably into that part of his palace where his women were kept, or to some apartment where she might be purified and prepared for him; and this requiring time, was the means of preserving her from the danger she was exposed unto, see Esther 2:8. The kingdom of Egypt, according to the Jewish and Arabic writers {u}, was set up in the times of Reu, about three hundred years before Abram was here; its first king was Mizraim, a son of Ham, the same with the Menes of Herodotus; by whom also mention is made of a king of Egypt, whose name was Pheron {w}, which seems to bear some likeness to the name of this king, who by Artapanus {x} is called Pharethone, and whom, he says, Abram taught astrology. It is generally thought that Pharaoh was a common name to the kings of Egypt, and continued to be so to the times of Ezekiel, as Ptolemy was some time after, and as Caesar with the Romans: whether this king was the first of the name is not certain, but probable; according to some {y}, he was one of the Hycsi, or shepherd kings. Mr. Bedford {z} calls him Janias, their fifth king, and this was about A. M. 2084, and before Christ 1920. A Jewish chronologer {a} asserts, he was the first Pharaoh, who was in the times of Abram, and that his name was Totis, or Tutis, as the Arabic writers {b}, one of which {c} says, that in the times of Serug lived Apiphanus king of Egypt (the same with Apophis; who according to Bishop Usher {d} was this Pharaoh); after him was Pharaoh, the son of Sancs, from whom they (the kings of Egypt) were called Pharaohs. The name of Pharaoh is derived by some {e} from

erp, which signifies both to be free, and to revenge; and so kings were called, because free from laws themselves, and were revengers of them that do evil: but it rather seems to come from the Arabic word {f}, which signifies to be above others, and rule over them; and so may be thought to be not the proper name of a man, but an appellative, or the name of an office; or in other words, a king, see Genesis 41:44 and so it may be always rendered, where it is used, as here, the king's courtiers saw her, and commended her to the king, and she was taken into the king's house; though to this may be objected, that Pharaoh is sometimes called Pharaoh king of Egypt, and then there would be a tautology; wherefore it may be better perhaps to take it in the former sense.

{t} In the Universal History, vol. 2. p. 115.
{u} Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 76. 1. Elmacinus, p. 29. apud Hottinger. Smegma, p. 274.
{w} Euterpe sive, l. 2. c. 111.
{x} Apud Euseb. ut supra. (Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 16. p. 417.)
{y} Vid. Rollin's Ancient History, vol. 1. p. 68.
{z} Scripture Chronology, p. 314.
{a} Juchasin, fol. 135. 1.
{b} In the Universal History, vol. 2. p. 115.
{c} Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. p. 19.
{d} Annal Vet. Test. p. 7.
{e} Malvenda, Ainsworth, &c.
{f} "in summo fuit, summumque cepit vel tenuit", Golius, col. 1787. Castel. col. 3077.