|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
Only in Hosea 9:6, Hebrew Moph. In Isaiah 19:13; Jeremiah 2:16; 46:14, 19; Ezek. 30:13, 16, it is mentioned under the name Noph. It was the capital of Lower, i.e., of Northern Egypt. From certain remains found half buried in the sand, the site of this ancient city has been discovered near the modern village of Minyet Rahinch, or Mitraheny, about 16 miles above the ancient head of the Delta, and 9 miles south of Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile. It is said to have been founded by Menes, the first king of Egypt, and to have been in circumference about 19 miles. "There are few remains above ground," says Manning (The Land of the Pharaohs), "of the splendour of ancient Memphis. The city has utterly disappeared. If any traces yet exist, they are buried beneath the vast mounds of crumbling bricks and broken pottery which meet the eye in every direction. Near the village of Mitraheny is a colossal statue of Rameses the Great. It is apparently one of the two described by Herodotus and Diodorus as standing in front of the temple of Ptah. They were originally 50 feet in height. The one which remains, though mutilated, measures 48 feet. It is finely carved in limestone, which takes a high polish, and is evidently a portrait. It lies in a pit, which, during the inundation, is filled with water. As we gaze on this fallen and battered statue of the mighty conqueror who was probably contemporaneous with Moses, it is impossible not to remember the words of the prophet Isaiah, 19:13; 44:16-19, and Jeremiah, 46:19."
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
The ancient capital of Egypt, 12 miles South of the modern Cairo. This Greek and Roman form of the name was derived from the Coptic form Menfi (now Arabic Menf), the abbreviation of the Egyptian name Men-nofer, "the good haven." This name was applied to the pyramid of Pepy I, in the cemetery above the city; some have thought the city name to have been derived from the pyramid, but this is unlikely, as the city must have had a regular name before that. It may perhaps mean "the excellence of Mena," its founder. It appears still more shortened in Ho (9:6) as Moph (moph), and in Isaiah (19:13), Jeremiah (2:16), and Ezekiel (30:13) as Noph (noph).
2. Political Position:
The classical statements show that the city in Roman times was about 8 miles long and 4 miles wide, and the indications of the site agree with this. It was the sole capital of Position Egypt from the Ist to the XVIIth Dynasty; it shared supremacy with Thebes during the XVIIIth to XXVth Dynasties, and with Sais to the XXXth Dynasty. Alexandria then gradually obscured it, but the governor of Egypt signed the final capitulation to the Arabs in the old capital. While other cities assumed a political equality, yet commercially Memphis probably remained supreme until the Ptolemies.
3. The Founders and the City:
The oldest center of settlement was probably the shrine of the sacred bull, Apis or Hapy, which was in the South of the city. This worship was doubtless prehistoric, so that when the first king of all Egypt, Mena, founded his capital, there was already a nucleus. His great work was taking in land to the North, and founding the temple of the dynastic god Ptah, which was extended until its enclosure included as much as the great temple of Amon at Thebes, about 3 furlongs long and 2 furlongs wide. To the North of this was the sacred lake; beyond that, the palace and camp. Gradually the fashionable quarters moved northward in Egypt, in search of fresher air; the rulers had moved 10 miles North to Babylon by Roman times, then to Fostat, then Cairo, and lastly now to Abbasiyeh and Kubkeh, altogether a shift of 18 miles in 8,000 years.
4. Archaeological Results:
After the shrine of Apis the next oldest center is that of Ptah, founded by Mena. This was recently cleared in yearly sections by the British School, finding principally sculptures of the XVIIIth and XIXth Dynasties. The account of the north gate given by Herodotus, that it was built by Amenemhat III, has been verified by finding his name on the lintel. An immense sphinx of alabaster 26 ft. long has also been found. To the East of this was the temple of the foreign quarter, the temple of King Proteus in Greek accounts, where foreign pottery and terra cotta heads have been found. Other temples that are known to have existed in Memphis are those of Hathor, Neit, Amen, Imhotep, Isis, Osiris-Sokar, Khnumu, Bastel, Tahuti, Anubis and Sebek.
A large building of King Siamen (XXIst Dynasty) has been found South of the Ptah temple. To the North of the great temple lay the fortress, and in it the palace mound of the XXVIth Dynasty covered two acres. It has been completely cleared, but the lower part is still to be examined. The north end of it was at least 90 ft. high, of brickwork, filled up to half the height by a flooring raised on cellular brickwork. The great court was about 110 ft. square, and its roof was supported by 16 columns 45 ft. high.
The principal sights of Memphis now are the great colossus of Rameses II, the lesser colossus of the same, and the immense alabaster sphinx. The cemetery of the city is the most important in Egypt; it lies 2 miles to the West on the desert, and is known as Saqqareh, from So-kar, the god of the dead.
W. M. Flinders Petrie
Memphis (8 Occurrences)
Isaiah 19:13 The princes of Zoan have become fools. The princes of Memphis are deceived. They have caused Egypt to go astray, who are the cornerstone of her tribes. (WEB ASV NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 2:16 The children also of Memphis and Tahpanhes have broken the crown of your head. (WEB ASV NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 44:1 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews who lived in the land of Egypt, who lived at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Memphis, and in the country of Pathros, saying, (WEB ASV NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 46:14 Declare in Egypt, and publish in Migdol, and publish in Memphis and in Tahpanhes: say, Stand forth, and prepare; for the sword has devoured around you. (WEB ASV NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 46:19 You daughter who dwells in Egypt, furnish yourself to go into captivity; for Memphis shall become a desolation, and shall be burnt up, without inhabitant. (WEB ASV NAS RSV NIV)
Ezekiel 30:13 Thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will also destroy the idols, and I will cause the images to cease from Memphis; and there shall be no more a prince from the land of Egypt: and I will put a fear in the land of Egypt. (WEB ASV NAS RSV NIV)
Ezekiel 30:16 I will set a fire in Egypt: Sin shall be in great anguish, and No shall be broken up; and Memphis shall have adversaries in the daytime. (WEB ASV NAS NIV)
Hosea 9:6 For, behold, they have gone away from destruction. Egypt will gather them up. Memphis will bury them. Nettles will possess their pleasant things of silver. Thorns will be in their tents. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS NAS RSV NIV)