Apis

APIS ā’ pĭs (conjecture חַ֣ף, LXX ̓Άπις). A fertility god in the form of a living bull, worshiped by the ancient Egyptians, in Memphis. There Apis was associated with Ptah, a creator god. Apis was also linked with Osiris, god of the dead. The combination Osiris-Apis (Egyp. Ws’ir Ḫp) was Grecianized as Serapis, who was worshiped in Egypt under the Ptolemies as well as in other countries.

Many scholars read: “Why has Apis fled?” (Jer 46:15a, LXX, RSV). Here the last two words represent two Heb. words עַ נִסְחַ֣ף. The words of KJV, “are...swept away,” represent the same consonants taken as one word in the MT.

Some have suggested that the Apis bull inspired the golden calf which the Israelites made at Mt. Sinai (Exod 32:4-35) and the golden calves which Jeroboam set up after having visited Egypt (1 Kings 12:28, 29).

Bibliography

E. Otto, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Stierkulte in Aegypten (1938), 11-34; S. A. B. Mercer, The Religion of Ancient Egypt (1949), 233, 234; J. Vandier, La religion égyptienne (1949), 233-236; H. Bonnet, Reallexicon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte (1952), 46-51.