Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

whose reign in Jewry, the foundation of this famous city were laid.

CHAP XXV.

OF HEZEKIAH, AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES.

Sect. I.

Oj the beginning of Hezelciah, and of the agreeing of Ptolemy's, Nabonassar, Nabopolassar, and Mardocempadus, with the history of the Bible.

AS the first year of Ahaz's reign was confounded with the last of his father Jotham, so was the latter end of his sixteen years taken up in the three first of Hezekiah his son. This appears by the reign of Hosea over Israel, which began in the twelfth of Ahaz, and therefore the third thereof was concurrent with Ahaz's fourteenth. But the third of Hosea was the first of Hezekiah ; so it follows, that Hezekiah began to reign in his father's fourteenth year. Like enough it is, that the third year of Hosea, the same being the fourteenth of Ahaz, was almost spent when Hezekiah began, and so the fifteenth year of Ahaz may have been concurrent, for the most part, with the first of Hezekiah.

But supposing that Hosea began his kingdom when the twelfth year of Ahaz was almost complete, some would find the means how to disjoin the first of Hezekiah from the fifteenth of Ahaz, placing him yet one year later, of which year Ahaz may perhaps have lived not many days. But seeing that the fourteenth and fifteenth years of Hezekiah may not be removed out of their places, it is vain labour to alter the first year.

In the fourteenth of Hezekiah', Sennacherib invading Judah, and the countries adjoining, lost his army by a miraculous stroke from heaven, fled home, and was slain. The year following it was that God added fifteen years to the life of Hezekiah, when he had already reigned fourteen of his nine and twenty; and the same year was that miracle seen of the sun's going back ; of which wonder, (as I hear,) one Bartholomew Scultet, who is much commended for his skill in astronomy, hath by calculation found the very day, which answered unto the twenty-fifth of April, in the Julian year, being then Thursday. I have not seen any works of Scultet, but surely to find a motion so irregular and miraculous, it is necessary that he produce some record of observation made at such a time. Howsoever it be, the fifteenth year of Hezekiah is agreed upon ; and therefore we may not alter the first. As for that saying, which is usual in the like cases, that * Ahaz slept with his fathers, and 'Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead1,' it doth no more prove that Hezekiah reigned not with his father, than the like saying doth infer the like at the death of Jehoshaphat, and succession of Jehoram; whereof, as concerning the beginning of the son to reign whilst his father lived, we have already said enough.

Of this godly king Hezekiah, we find, that his very beginning testified his devotion and zeal. For whether it were so, that his unfortunate and gracious father, (who had out-worn his reputation,) gave way to his son's proceedings, which perhaps it lay not in him to hinder; or whether, (as I rather think,) the first year and first month of his reign, wherein Hezekiah 3 opened the doors of the temple,—were to be understood as the beginning of his sole government; we plainly find it to have been his first work, that he

1 3 King* ziz. it. 3 3 Chron. xxviii. 37. 8 3 CUron. uix. a. opened the doors of the house of the Lord which Ahaz had shut up, cleansed the city and kingdom of the idols, restored the priests4 to their offices and estates, commanded the sacrifices to be offered which had been for many years neglected, and broke down the brasen serpent of Moses5, because the people burnt incense before it, and he called it Nehushtan, which signifieth a lump of brass. He did also celebrate the passover with great magnificence, inviting thereunto the Israelites of the ten tribes; many there were, even out of those tribes, that came up to Jerusalem to this feast. But the general multitude of Israel did laugh the messengers of Hezekiah to scorn.

It was not long ere thev that scorned to solemnize the memorial of their deliverance out of the Egyptian servitude, fell into a new servitude, out of which they never were delivered. For in the fourth of Hezekiah's reign, Salmanassar the son of Tiglath, the son of Belochus, hearing that Hosea king of Israel had practised with Soe king of Egypt, against him, invaded Israel, besieged Samaria, and in the third year, (after the inhabitants had endured all sorts of miseries,) forced it, and carried thence the ten idolatrous tribes into Assyria and Media ; among whom Tobias and his son of the same name, and Anna his wife, were sent to Nineveh; in whose seats and places the Assyrians sent strangers of other nations; and among them many of the ancient enemies of the Israelites, as those of Cutha, Ana, Hamah, and Sphernaim, besides Babylonians; whose places and nations I have formerly described in the treatise of the Holy Land.

These latter Assyrian kings, and the Persians which followed them, are the first of whom we find mention made both in profane and sacred books. These, therefore, serve most aptly to join the times of the old world, (whereof none but the prophets have written otherwise than fabulously,) with the ages follow

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ing, that were better known and described in course of history. True it is, that of Cyrus, and some other Persians, we find in the Bible the same names by -which other authors have recorded them.; but of Pul and Salmanassar, with other Assyrian Chaldaean kings, diversity of name hath bred question of the persons. Therefore, whereas the scriptures do speak of Salmanassar, king of Ashur, who reigned in the time of Ahaz and Hezekiahking of Judan. andHosea king of Israel, whom he carried into captivity; and whereas Ptolemy makes mention of Nabonassar, speaking precisely of the time wherein he lived; it is very pertinent to shew, that Salmanassar and Nabonassar were one and the same man. The like reason also requireth that it be shewed of Nebuchadnezzar, that he was the same whom Ptolemy calleth Nabopolassar.

Of both these points Bucholerus hath well collected sufficient proof, from the exact calculations of sundry good mathematicians; for by them it appears, that between Nabonassar and the birth of Christ there passed seven hundred and forty-six years; at which distance of time the reign of Salmanassar was. One great proof hereof is this, which the same Bucholerus allegeth out of Erasmus Reinholdus, in the Prutenick tables. Mardocempadus king of Babylon, (whom Ptolemy, speaking of three eclipses of the moon, which were in his time, doth mention,) was the same whom the scriptures call Merodach, who sent ambassadors to Hezekiah king of Judah. So that if we reckon backwards to the difference of time between Merodach and Salmanassar, we shall find it the same which is between Mardocempadus and Nabonassar. Likewise Functius doth shew, that whereas from the destruction of Samaria to the destruction of Jerusalem, in the nineteenth of Nebuchadnezzar, we collect, out of the scriptures, the distance of one hundred and thirty-three years; the self-same distance of time is found in Ptolemy between Nabonassar and Nabopolassar. For whereas Ptolemy seems to differ from this account, making Nabonassar more ancient by an hundred and forty years than the destruction of Jerusalem, we are to understand that he took Samaria in the eighth year of his reign; so that the seven foregoing years, added to these one hundred thirty-three, make the accounts of the scripture fall even with that of Ptolemy. Ptolemy's computation is, that from the first of Nabonassar to the fifth of Nabopolassar, there passed one hundred and twenty-seven years. Now, if we add to these one hundred and twenty-seven, the thirteen ensuing of Nebuchadnezzar's years, before the city and temple were destroyed, we have the sum of one hundred and forty years. In so plain a case more proofs are needless, though many are brought, of which this may serve for all; that Ptolemy placeth the first of Nabopolassar one hundred and twenty-two years after the first of Nabonassar, which agreeth exactly with the scriptures. To these notes are added the consent of all mathematicians, which, in account of times, I hold more sure than the authority of any history; and therefore I think it folly to make

tions do so thoroughly concur. . Yet forasmuch as that argument of the learned Scaliger doth rest unanswered, whereby he proved Baladan, the father of Merodach, to have been this Nabonassar, I will not spare to lose a word or two in giving the reader satisfaction herein. It is true, that the next observations of the heavenly bodies which Ptolemy recorded, after the time of Nabonassar, were in the reign of Mardocempadus; the second year of whose reign is, according to Ptolemy,6 concurrent in part with the twenty-seventh of Nabonassar: For the second of three ancient eclipses, which he calculates, being in the second year of Mardocempadus, was, from the beginning of Nabonassar,

doubt, where historians

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »