or Knuphis, also known under the name of Num cr NEF, in Egyptian mythology is the oldest designation of deity, and signifies either spirit or water, perhaps in allusion to the Spirit of God, who "'in the beginning moved upon the face of the waters." Greatly distorted by the priests, the legend is in brief that from his mouth came the egg which gave existence to all things temporal; hence the egg is his symbol; likewise the snake, which assumes the shape of a ring, to indicate his eternal existence. His representation is frequently found on Egyptian monuments, sometimes with a snake holding an egg between its head and tail. The Egyptians of Thebes knew only this one god to be immortal; all others they supposed to be more or less subject to temporal changes.
In the later idolatry Kneph was the special god of Upper Egypt, where he was represented in human shape, with the bead of a ram; still regarded as the creator of other gods, he was figured at Elephantine sitting at a potter's wheel fashioning the limbs of Osiris, while the god of the Nile is pouring water on the clay. "The idea," says Trevor (Anc. Egypt, p. 131), "seems to be the same as in Job (Job 10:8-9; Ro 9:23): 'Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about. Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay."' (Comp. Herodotus, ii, 41.) See Vollmer, Worterb. d. Mythol. p. 1066. SEE EGYPT. (J. H. W.)