« AnteriorContinuar »
twenty-seven years seventeen days and eleven hours; the account from Nabonassar beginning at high noon the first day of the Egyptian month Thot, then answering to the twenty-sixth of February; and this eclipse being fifty minutes before midnight, on the eighteenth day of that month, when the first day thereof agreed with the nineteenth of February; so that the difference of time between the two kings Nabonassar and Mardocempadus, is noted by Ptolemy according to the Egyptian years. But how docs' this prove that Mardocempadus, or Merodach, Was the son of Nabonassar? yea, how doth it prove that he was his next successor, or any way of his lineage? It was enough to satisfy me in this argument, that Scaliger himself did afterwards believe Mardocempadus to have been rather the nephew, than the son, of Baladan, or Nabonassar. For, if he might be either the nephew or the son, he might, perhaps, be' neither the one nor the other. But because our coun-. tryman, Lidyate, hath reprehended Scaliger for changing his opinion; and that both Torniellus, who follows Scaliger herein, and Sethus Calvisius, who hath drawn into form of chronology that learned work, De Emendatione Temporum, do hold up the same assertion, confounding Baladan with Nabonassar, I have taken the pains to search, as far as my leisure and diligence could reach, after any sentence that might prove the kindred or succession of these two. Yet I cannot find in the Almagest, (for the scriptures are either silent in this point or adverse to Scaliger, and other good authority I know none in this business,) any sentence more nearly proving the succession of Merodach to Nabonassar, than the place now rehearsed; which makes no more, to shew that the one of these was father to the other, than, (that I may use a like example,) the as near succession of William the Conqueror declares him to have been son or grandchild to Edward the Confessor. This considered, we may safely go on with our account from Nabonassar, taking him for Salmanassar; and not fearing that the readers will be driven from our book, when they find something in it agreeing with Annius; forasmuch as these kings, mentioned in scripture, reigned in Babylon and Assyria in those very times which, by Diodorus and Ptolemy, are assigned to Belosus, Nabonassar, and Mardocempadus, and the rest; no good history naming any others that reigned there in those ages, and all astronomical observations fitly concurring with the years that are attributed to these, or numbered from them.
Of the danger and deliverance of Juda?a from Sennacherib.
When Salmanassar was dead, and his son Sennacherib in possession of the empire, in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah, he demanded of him such tribute as was agreed on at such time asTilgath, the grandfather of Sennacherib, and father of Salmanassar, invited by Ahaz, invaded Rezin king of Damascus, and delivered him from the dangerous war which Israel had undertaken against him. This tribute and acknowledgment, when Hezekiah denied, Sennacherib having, (as it seems J a purpose to invade Egypt, sent one part of his army to lie before Jerusalem. Now, though Hezekiah, (fearing this powerful prince J had acknowledged his fault, and purchased his peace, as he hoped, with thirty hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold, wherewith he presented Sennacherib, now set down before Lachis, in Judaja; yet, under the colour of better assurance, and to force the king1 of Judah to deliver hostages, the Assyrian environed Jerusalem with a gross army, and, having his sword in his hand, thought it the fittest time to write his own conditions.
Hezekiah directed his three greatest counsellors
2 2 Kings xviii. 21.
to parley with Rabshakeh over the wall, and to receive his demands; who used three principal arguments to persuade the people to yield themselves to his master Sennacherib. For though the chancellor, steward, and secretary, sent by Hezekiah, desired Rabshakeh to speak unto them in the Syrian tongue, and not in the Jewish, yet he, with a more loud voice, directed his speech to the multitude in their own language: And, for the first, he made them know, that if they continued obstinate, and adhered to their king, that they would, in a short time, be enforced to eat their own dung, and drink their own urine; secondly, he altogether disabled the king of Egypt, from whom the Judaeans hoped for succour, and compared him to a broken staff*, on which whosoever leaneth pierceth his own hand; thirdly, that the
fods, who should help them, Hezekiah had formerly roken and defaced, meaning chiefly, (as it is thought by some,) the brazen serpent, which had been preserved ever since Moses's time; and withal he bade them remember the gods of other nations, whom, notwithstanding any power of theirs, his master had conquered and thrown down, and for God himself, in whom they trusted, he persuaded them by no means to rely on him, for he would deceive them. But finding the people silent, (for so the king had commanded them,) after a while, when he had understood that the king of Arabia was marching on with a powerful army, he himself left the Assyrian forces in charge to others, and sought Sennacherib at Lebnah, in Judaea, either to inform him of their resolution in Jerusalem, or to confer with him concerning the army of Tirhakah, the Arabian. Soon upon this, there came letters from Sennacherib to Hezekiah, whom he partly advised, and partly threatened, to submit himself, using the same blasphemous outrage against the all-powerful God as before. But Hezekiah sending those counsellors to the prophet
8 2 King* xviii. 21.
Isaiah, which had lately been sent to Rabshakeh, received from him comfort and assurance that this heathen idolater should not prevail; against whom the king also besought aid from Almighty God, repeating the most insolent and blasphemous parts of Sennacherib's letter before the altar of God in the temple, confessing this part thereof to be true, 'That the 'king of Ashur had destroyed the nations and their 'lands, and had set fire on their gods, for they were 'no gods, but the work of mens hands, even wood * and stone V &c.
The reason that moved Sennacherib to desire to possess himself in haste of Jerusalem, was that he might thereinto have retreated his army, which was departed, as it seemeth, from the siege of Pelusium in Egypt, for fear of Tirhakah; and though the scriptures are silent of that enterprize, (which in these books of the Kings, and of the Chronicles, speak but of the affairs of the Jews in effect,) yet the ancient Berosus, and out of him Josephus and St. Jerome, together with Herodotus, remember it as followeth. Herodotus calleth Sennacherib king of Arabia and Assyria4, which he might justly do, because Tiglath his grandfather held a great part thereof, which he wrested from Pekah king of Israel; as Gilead over Jordan, and the rest of Arabia Petraea adjoining: The same Herodotus also maketh Sethon king of £gypt, to be Vulcan's priest, and reporteth that the reason of Sennacherib's return from Pelusium in Egypt, which he also besieged, was, that an innumerable multitude of rats had in one night eaten in sunder the bow-strings of his archers, and spoiled the rest of their weapons in that kind, which no doubt might greatly amaze him; but the approach of Tirhakah, remembered by Josepbus and Berosus5, was the more urgent. St. Jerome upon Isaiah xxxvii. out of the same Berosus, as also in part out of He
3 3 King-. 19. * Hie rod. i. S. p. fig. .'g Joseph. Ant. 1.10. c. 1.
rodotus', whom Josephus citeth somewhat otherwise than his words lie, reports Sennacherib's retreat in these words. 1 Pugnasse autem Sennacherib regem 'Assy riorum contra ^Egyptos, et obsedisse Pelusi
* um; jamque extructis aggeribus, urbi capiendae, ve'. nisse Taracham regem JEthiopium in auxilium ; et 4 una nocte juxta Jerusalem, centum octoginta quin4 que millia exercitus Assyrii pestilentia corruisse, 'narrat Herodotus; etplenissime Berosus Chaldaicaa
* scriptor historian, quorum fides de propriis libris pe
* tenda est:' That Sennacherib king of the Assyrians fought against the Egyptians, and besieged Pelusium; and that when his mounts were built for taking of the city, Tarhaccas king of the Ethiopians came to help them, and that in one night near Jerusalem, one hundred and eighty-five thousand of the Assyrian army perished by pestilence. Of these things, (saitli Jerome,) Herodotus reports7, and more at large Berosus, a writer of Chaldaean story,' whose credit is to be taken from their own books. Out of Isaiah it is gathered, that this destruction of the Assyrian army was in this manner. 'Thou shalt be vi
* sited of the Lord of Hosts with thunder and shak1 ing, and a great noise, a whirlwind and a tempest, 'and a flamp of devouring fire8.' But Josephus hath it more largely out of the same Berosus9, an authority, (because so well agreeing with the scriptures,) not to be omitted : * Sennacheribus autem ab iEgyp'tiaco bello revertens, ostendit ibi exercitum, quern 'sub Rabsacis imperio reliquerat, peste divinitus
* immissa deletum, prima nocte posteaquam urbem 'oppugnare cceperat; absumptis cum ducibus et tri'bunis, centum octoginta quinque millibus militum; 'qua clade territus, et de reliquis copiis solicitus, 'maximis itineribus in regnum suum contendit, ad
* regiam quae Ninus dicitur. Ubi paulo post per in4 sidias seniorum, e filiis suis, Adramelechi, et Selen
6 Herod. Euterp. 1. 3. 7 To wit in part; for Herodotni mentioneth nothing, either of Tarhaca or of Jerusalem, or of the array there. I In. zxix. <>
» Joteph. Ant. 1.19. c 1.