Imágenes de páginas

Israel, was anointed king in Jerusalem, his father yet living. He built an exceeding high gate to the temple, of threescore cubits upright, and therefore called Ophel; besides divers cities in the hills of Judah, and in the forests, towers, and palaces. He enforced the Ammonites to pay him tribute; to wit, of silver an hundred talents, and of wheat and barley two thousand measures. He reigned twenty-six years y of whom Josephus gives this testimony: * Ejusmodi' 'vero princeps hie fuit, ut nullum in eo virtutis ge'nus desideres: ut qui Deum adco pie coluerit, ho4 minibus suis adeo juste praefuerit, urbem ipsam 4 tantae sibi curae esse passus sit, et tantopere auxe4 rit, ut universum regnum hostibus quidem minime 4 contemnendum, domesticis autem ejus incolis at'que civibus foelix, faustum et fortunatiim sua vir4 tute effecerit:' this was such a prince as a man could find no kind of virtue wanting in him: he worshipped God so religiously; he governed his men so righteously; he was so provident for the city, and did so greatly amplify it, that, by his virtue and prowess, he made his whole kingdom not contemptible to his enemies, but, to his servants, inhabitants, and citizens, prosperous and happy. This is all that I find of Jotham; his reign was not long, but as happy in all things as he himself was devout and virtuous.

Auchomenes about this time succeeded Phelesteus in Corinth; after whom the Corinthians erected magistrates, which governed from year to year. And yet Pausanias in his second book, with Strabo and Plutarch in many places, are of opinion, that Corinth was governed by kings of the race of the Bacidae, to the time of Cypselus, who drove them out.

Teglath-Phalassar*, or Tiglath-Pileser, the son of Pul, the second of the Babylonians and Assyrians that was of this new race, about this time invaded Israel, while Pekah, (who murdered- his master Pe

2 2 Kings Xt.

kaiah,) was king thereof: in which expedition he took most of the cities of Nephtali and Galilee, 'with those of Gilead, over Jordan, and carried the inhabitants captive. This Tiglath reigned five and twenty years, according to Metasthenes. But Krentzhemius finds, that, with his son Salmanassar, he reigned yet two years longer; which years I would not ascribe to the son, because the aera of Nabonassar begins with his single reign, but reckon them to Teglath-Phalassar himself, who therewith reigned seven and twenty years.

JEschylus, the son of Agamnestor, about the same time, the twelfth archon in Athens, ruled five and twenty years. Alcamenes governed Sparta, after whom the estate changed, according to Eusebius; but therein surely Eusebius is mistaken; for Diodorus, Plutarch, Pausanias, and others, witness the contrary. Pausanias affirmeth3, that Polydorus, a prince of eminent virtues, succeeded his father, and feigned threescore years, and out-lived the Messeniac war; which was ended by Theopompus, the son of Nicander, his royal companion.

At this time lived Nanum the prophet, who foretold the destruction of the Assyrian empire, and of the city of Nineveh; which succeeded, (saith Josephus,) an hundred and fifteen years after. The cities of Cyrene and of Aradus were built at this time, while in Media, Sosarmus and Medidus reigned, being the second and third kings of those parts.

Sect. VII.

Of Ahaz and his contemporaries.

Ahas, or Ahaz, succeeded unto Jotham in the seventeenth year of Pekah', the son of Remaliah; the same being also the last year of his father's reign, who began in the second of the same Pekah, and reigned sixteen, but not complete years. This Ahaz

3 Paus. L iii. 12 Kings vn. 1. 2 Chron. xxviu.

was an idolater, exceeding all his predecessors. He made molten images for Baalim, and burnt his son for sacrifice before the idol Moloch, or Saturn, which -was represented by a man-like brazen body, bearing the head of a calf, set up not far from Jerusalem, in a valley shadowed with woods, called Gehinnon, or Tophet, from whence the word Gehenna is used for hell. The children offered were inclosed within the carcase of this idol, and as the fire increased, so the sacrificers, with a noise of cymbals and other instruments, filled the air, to the end the pitiful cries of the children might not be heard; which unnatural, cruel, and devilish oblation, Jeremiah* the prophet vehemently reprehendeth, and of which St. Jerome upon the tenth of Matthew hath written at large. By the prohibition in Leviticus, chap, xviii., it appeareth that this horrible sin was ancient; in the twelfth of Deuteronomy, it is called an abomination which God hateth. That it was also practised elsewhere, and by many nations remote from Judaea, divers authors witness ; as Virgil in the second of his

jEneids Sanguine placastis, he. and Silius >

Poscere ccede deos. Saturn is said to have brought this custom into Italy, besides the casting of many souls into the river of Tiber; instead of which, Hercules commanded that waxen images of men should be thrown in and drowned. The devil also taught the Carthaginians this kind of butchery; insomuch that, when their city was besieged, and in distress, the priest made them believe, that because they had spared their own children, and had bought and brought up others to be offered, that therefore Saturn had stirred up and strengthened their enemies against them; whereupon they presently caused two hundred of the noblest youths of their city to be slain, and offered to Saturn or Satan, to appease him: who, besides these forenamed nations, had in^ structed the Rhodians3, the people'of Crete, and

1 c T& 19—31. 3 JEujcb. de Praep. Erang. 1. Ti". Diqn. I. ii. Oiod. 1. X*. Chios, of Messina, of Galatia, with the Massagets, and others, in these his services. Further, as if he were not content to destroy the souls of many nations in Europe, Asia, and Africa, (as Acosta * writeth,) the Mexicans, and other people of America, were brought by the devil under this fearful servitude, in which he also holdeth the Floridans and Virginians at this day.

For the wickedness of this king Ahaz, God stirred up Rezin of Damascus, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, against him, who invaded Judaea, and besieged Jerusalem, but entered it not.

The king of Syria, Rezin, possessed himself of Elah by the Red sea, and cast the Jews out of it; and Pekah slaughtered in one day an hundred and twenty thousand Judaeans5, of the ablest of the kingdom; at which time Maaseiah the son of Ahaz was also slain by Zichri, with Azricham the governor of his house, and Elkanah the second person unto the king. Besides all this, two hundred thousand prisoners of women and children, the Israelites led away to Samaria; but, by the counsel of the prophet Oded, they were returned and delivered back again.

As Israel and Aram vexed Judah on the north, so the Edomites and the Philistines, who evermore attended the ruin of Judaea, entered upon them from the south; and. took Bethsemes, Ajalon, Gaderoth, Socho, Timnah, and Gemzo6, slew many people, and carried away many prisoners. Whereupon, when Ahaz saw himself environed on all sides, and that his idols and dead gods gave him no comfort, he sent to the Assyrian Tiglath-Pileser, to desire some aid from him against the Israelites and Aramites, presenting him with the silver and gold both of the temple and king's house 7.

Tiglath-Pileser wanted not a good example to follow, in making proiit of the troubles that rose in

4 Acost. de Hi t. nat. et mor. Intl. 5 2 Chi on. xxviii. 6. 6 2 Chron. xxviii. T 2 Kinga xvi.

Palaestina. His father having lately made himself, from a provincial lieutenant, king of Babylon and Assyria, had a little before led him the way into Judaea, invited by Menahem king of Israel. Wherefore now the son willingly hearkened to Ahaz, and embraced the advantage. As for Belosus himself, he was content to assign some other time for going through with this enterprize; because, (as I have said before,) he was not firmly settled at home, and" the Syrian kings lay directly in his way, who were yet strong both in men and fame. But Tiglath, having now, with the treasures of Jerusalem, prepared his ariny, first invaded the territory of Damascus, won the city, and killed Rezin, the last of the race of the Adads, who began with David, and ended with this Ahaz. At Damascus, Ahaz met Tiglath, and taking thence a pattern of the altar, sent it to Uriah the priest, commanding the like to be made at Jerusalem, whereon at his return he burnt sacrifice to the gods of the Syrians. In the meanwhile Tiglath possessed all Basan, and the rest beyond Jordan, which belonged to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh: And then passing the river, mastered the cities of Galilee, invaded Ephraim and the kingdom of Israel, and made them his vassals. And notwithstanding that he was invited and waged by Ahaz, yet, after the spoil of Israel, he possessed himself of the greater part of Judah, and, as it seemeth, enforced Ahaz to pay him tribute. For in the second of Kings, chap, xviii., it is written of Hezekiah, that he revolted from Ashur, or rebelled against him, and therefore was invaded by Sennacherib. After Ahaz had beheld and borne these miseries, in the end of the sixteenth year of his reign he died; but was not buried in the sepulchres of the kings of Judah.

With Ahaz lived Medidus, the third prince in Media, who governed forty years, saith Eusebius':

l Euseb. in Chron.

« AnteriorContinuar »