Ibn Ezra suggests that Pharaoh's daughter, who spoke Egyptian, most likely called the baby Monios, the Egyptian word for drawn; the Torah translated into Hebrew as "Moshe." He then writes that he knows this Egyptian word because of some agricultural text containing several languages, including Egyptian.

As the Rosetta Stone wouldn't be rediscovered for another 700 years ... what text was Ibn Ezra using?

1 Answer 1


The ibn Ezra is almost certainly referring to the Nabatean Agriculture, a work that was widely cited by many rishonim (medieval authorities), most notably the Rambam. (Ibn Ezra appears to have erroneously believed that the work was originally written in Egyptian.)

  • is it the Sefer anshe hatsava?
    – kouty
    Jan 22, 2017 at 22:48
  • @kouty I don't understand.
    – LazerA
    Jan 22, 2017 at 22:52
  • Rambam cited a book about the period of Avraham I remember a name as Sefer anshe hatsava. afterward people discovered the fact that this book has no historical value and is a false
    – kouty
    Jan 22, 2017 at 22:59
  • @kouty Yes, in Moreh Nevuchim 3:29, Maimonides makes reference to the Nabatean Agriculture (הספר הנקראת העבודה הנבטית), which is a supposed account of the beliefs and practices of the Sabians (הצאבה). As was often the case, the work was a blend of scholarship and fantasy, and was certainly not as reliable and authoritative as many of its readers (including the Rambam and other rishonim) imagined.
    – LazerA
    Jan 23, 2017 at 0:02
  • yish'ar Koyach!
    – kouty
    Jan 23, 2017 at 5:29

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