No (Heb. id. נא, doubtless an Egyptian word, and signifying [according to Jablonski, Opusc. 1:163] portion or possession), a city of Egypt (called by the natives Toph, according to Champollion, Grammn. Egypt. p. 136, 153), mentioned by this name alone twice by the prophets (Eze 30:14 sq.; Jer 46:25), and generally supposed to be the same elsewhere (Na 3:8), called more fully NO-AMON SEE NO-AMON (q.v.) (see Gesen. Thes. p. 834 sq.; Young, Rudiments of an Egyptian Dictionary, p. 80 sq.), a famous city of Egypt, thickly peopled, and strongly situated, which at the time of Nahum (B.C. cir. 720) had recently been taken by a mighty conqueror (Na 3:8 sq.). The Sept. translate the name by Diospolis. which was the name of two cities in Egypt; the one in Upper Egypt, better known as Thebes, famous in Homer's time (II. 9:383), and often mentioned by Strabo (1:9, 35; 17:805, 815) and Pliny (v. 11; 36:12; 37:54), and for which a separate nome or district was named (Ptol. 4:5, 73); the other in Lower Egypt, in the district of Mendes, mentioned by Strabo (17:802) as being surrounded by lakes. Some refer the words of Nahum (1. c.) to the latter, Diospolis the lesser' (so Kreenen, NaAumi VVatic. philol. et critic. expos. [Harder. 1808]; Champollion, l'Egypte, 2:131); but most interpreters, following the Egyptian signification of the name No, as given above, understand the prophet to mean Thebes. The latter opinion, supported by the seventy Alexandrian translators, seems to be certainly correct, as the prophet could not speak of anv city less than Thebes as equal to Nineveh. The "waters round about her" (Na 3:8) refer doubtless to the canals, with which Thebes, like so many other cities on the Nile, was surrounded for protection (comp. Zorn, Hist. et. Antiqu. Urbis Thebar. [Sedin. 1727]; Opuscula, 2:322 sq.; also in Ugolini, Thes. vii; Rosenmuller, Schol. vii, 3:299 sq.). This city was one of the oldest, probibly the oldest in all Egypt (Diod. Sic. 1:50; comp. 14:45), and in very early times was the residence of the kings of Upper Egypt during several dynasties. In the days of its grandeur it lay on both banks of the Nile (Strabo, 17:816), in a valley about ten geographical miles in width, and contained within its vast circuit houses from four to six stories high, with many splendid and wealthy temples, the chief being that of Jupiter Ammon (Herod. 1:182; 2:42), whose numerous priests were famous for their astronomical knowledge (Strabo, 17:816). The colossal statue of Memnon .stood in the western part of the city (Strabo, 1. c.; Pliny, 36:11; Pausan. 1:42, 2). The splendid tombs of the kings also increased its splendor (Diod. Sic. 1:46). But when Memphis became the residence of the Egyptian kings Thebes began to decline, and later, by the invasion of Cambyses, lost forever its old magnificence. In Strabo's time the city was already in decay; but its remains were still eighty stadia, or nearly ten miles, in circuit, and the inhabited parts formed several considerable villages. Indeed, its ruins are still extensive and splendid (Joilois, Devilliers, and Jomard, Dlescript. de l'Egypt, with many plates, vols. ii, iii; F. Cailland, Voyage a l'oasis de Thebes (Paris, 1821); G. Belzoni, Reis. u. d. Schriffenverz.; Heeren, Ideen, 2:11, 216 sq.; Mannert, 10:1, 334 sq.; Ukert, Africa, 1:226 sq.; Ritter, Erdkunde, 1:1, 731 sq. [2d ed.]; Wilkinson's View of An. Egypt, and Topography of Thebes [Lond. 1835]; Prokesch, Erinner. 1:279 sq.; Robinson, Researches, 1:2934). It is difficult to determine which overthrow of Thebes is referred to by Nahum (3:8).
Most interpreters refer the words to Shalmanezar (Salmanassar), of whom however nothing is known but that he made an incursion into the interior of Egypt (comp. Ditmar, Beschr. v. Ae.p. p. 121 sq.). Rosenmüller (in loc.) explains the passage as referring to Tartan, general under king Sargon, and the facts stated in Isaiah vi agree well with this view (comp. Siskind in Stud. und Krit. 1835, p. 151 sq.; Gesen. Thes. 2:835). But Gesenius (Hall. Lit.Zeit. 1841, No. 1) remarks that an overthrow of Thebes by the Assyrians does not accord well with the context in Nahum, for, had the conqueror been al Assyrian, the prophet could hardly have predicted the destruction of the Assyrian capital without making prominent the contrast between her situation as destroyer and as destroyed. He accordingly refers this passage to an invasion of the Scythians in the beginning of the 7th century before Christ. Ewald believes this destruction of Thebes to have been occasioned by the great internal commotions of Egypt in the early art of the 7th century before Christ. SEE THEBES.