MIẒRAYIM (Heb. מִצְרַיִם), Hebrew place-name. In the Septuagint it is rendered as Egypt. The Hebrew proper noun, however, has a broader range of meaning. As Aiguptos, the name of the country was derived from a name for the city of Memphis, Ḥet-kau-ptaḥ ("Castle of the ka-souls of Ptah"), so the name of Miẓrayim may have been derived from the name of a city of Lower Egypt, if not of Lower Egypt itself. This is based on the occurrences in the Bible of Miẓrayim in combination with Pathros (pa to resy; "the southern country," i.e., Upper Egypt), in which cases Miẓrayim seems to mean Lower Egypt (To Mehy). Secondarily, it came to mean both all of Egypt and Egyptians, and was – and still is – the common Hebrew word for Egypt. (Alan Richard Schulman)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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