Zoan — (Old Egypt. Sant= “stronghold,” the modern San). A city on the Tanitic branch of the Nile, called by the Greeks Tanis. It was built seven years after Hebron in Palestine (Num. 13:22). This great and important city was the capital of the Hyksos, or Shepherd kings, who ruled Egypt for more than 500 years. It was the frontier town of Goshen. Here Pharaoh was holding his court at the time of his various interviews with Moses and Aaron. “No trace of Zoan exists; Tanis was built over it, and city after city has been built over the ruins of that” (Harper, Bible and Modern Discovery). Extensive mounds of ruins, the wreck of the ancient city, now mark its site (Isa. 19:11, 13; 30:4; Ezek. 30:14). “The whole constitutes one of the grandest and oldest ruins in the world.”
This city was also called “the Field of Zoan” (Ps. 78:12, 43) and “the Town of Rameses” (q.v.), because the oppressor rebuilt and embellished it, probably by the forced labour of the Hebrews, and made it his northern capital.