Listed second among the sons of Ham. (Gen. 10:6) Mizraim was the progenitor of the Egyptian tribes (as well as some non-Egyptian tribes) and the name came to be synonymous with Egypt. (Gen. 10:13, 14; 50:11) Thus, the word “Egypt” in English translations actually renders the Hebrew Mits·raʹyim (or Ma·tsohrʹ in a few cases, 2 Ki. 19:24; Isa. 19:6; 37:25; Mic. 7:12). The Tell el-Amarna letters of the late second millennium refer to Egypt as Misri, similar to the modern Arabic name for the land (Misr).
Many scholars hold that Mizraim is a dual form representing the duality of Egypt (that is, Upper and Lower Egypt), but this is conjectural. (See EGYPT, EGYPTIAN.) The names of Mizraim’s descendants are apparently plural forms: Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim and Caphtorim. (Gen. 10:13, 14; 1 Chron. 1:11, 12) For this reason it is usually suggested that they represent the names of tribes rather than individual sons. Although this is possible, it should be noted that there are other names that appear to be dual or plural in their construction, such as Ephraim, Appaim, Diblaim and Meshillemoth (Gen. 41:52; 1 Chron. 2:30, 31; Hos. 1:3; 2 Chron. 28:12), each obviously referring to only one individual.