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the great pleasure that Vulcan did unto his priest* happy it was, (if Sethon were a priest,) that he took his god now in so good a mood; For, within three or four years before this, all the priests in Egypt should have been slain, if a merciful king had not spared their lives, as it were half against the god's will. Therefore this last good turn was not enough to serve as an example, that might stir up the Egyptians to piety, seeing that their devotion* which had lasted so long before, did bring all the priests unto danger of such a bad reward. Rather, I think, that this image did represent Sennacherib himself, and that the mouse in his hand signified hieroglyphically, (as was the Egyptian manner of* expressing things,) the shameful issue of his terrible expedition, or the destruction of his army, by means which came, no man knew from whence. For the vengeance of God, shewed upon this ungodly king* was indeed a very good motive to piety. But the emblem, together with the temple of Vulcan, (being perhaps the chief temple in that town where this image was erected,) might give occasion to such a fable; the devil helping to change the truth into a lie, that God might be robbed of his honour. Yet that we may not belie the devil, I hold it very likely that Sethon, finding himself in danger, did call upon his gods, that is, upon Vulcan, Serapis, or any to, whom he had most devotion. But so had others of his predecessors done in the like need; yet which of them had obtained succour by the line miracle? Surely the Jews, (even such of them as most were given to idolatry,) would have been ashamed of the confidence which they reposed, 'in the chariots of * Egypt, because they were many; and in the horse'men, because they were strong';' had it been told them, that Sethon, instead of sending those horsemen and chariots, was beseeching Vulcan to send them good luck, or else, (for these also were Egyp
1 Isa xxxi. 1.
Vol. IIL i> D
tian gods,) addressing his prayers to some onion or cat. Howsoever it was, doubtless the prophecy of Isaiah took effect, which said, 'They shall be all 'ashamed of the people that cannot profit them, nor 'help, nor do them good ; but shall be a shame, and 'also a reproach.' Such is commonly the issue of human wisdom, when, resting secure upon provision that itself hath made, it will no longer seem to stand in need of God.
Some there are who take Sethon to have been set down, by Eusebius, under the name of Tarachus the Ethiopian; and therefore the twenty years which are given to Tarachus, they allow to the reii?n of Sethon. These have well observed, that Tarachus the Ethiopian is mentioned in the scriptures, not as '& king of Egypt, but as a friend to that country, or at least an enemy to Sennacherib, in the war last spoken of; the Ethiopians, (as they are Englished,) Over whom he reigned, being indeed Cushites or Arabians. Hereupon they suppose aright, that Eusebius hath mistaken one king for another. But whereas they think, that this Tarachus or Tirhakah is placed in the room of Sethon, and therefore give to Sethon the twenty years of Tarachus, I hold them to have erred on the other hand. For this Ethiopian, (as he is called,) began his reign over Egypt, by Eusebius's account, after the death of Sennacherib and of Hezekiah, in the first year of Manasseh king of Judah. Therefore he, or his years, have no reference to Sethon.
Herodotus forgets to tell how long Sethon reigned; Ftmctius peremptorily, citing no author, nor alleging reason for it, sets him down thirty-three years; many omit him quite, and they that name him are not careful to examine his continuance. In this case, I follow that rule which I propounded unto myself at the first, for measuring the reigns of these Egyptian kings. The years which passed frort the fifth of Rehoboaui, unto the fourth of Jehoiakim, I so divide among the Egyptians, that giving to every one the proportion allowed unto him by the author in whom he is found, the rest is to be conferred upon him whose length of reign is uncertain; that is, upon this Sethon* By this account I find the thirty-three years that are set down by Functius, to agree very nearly, if not precisely, with the time of Sethon's reign; therefore I conform my own reckoning to his, though I could be content to have it one year less. The reason of this computation I shall render more at large, when I arrive at the time of Psammeticus, whereupon it hath much depen* dence, and whereinto the course of this history will shortly bring me, the Egyptian affairs growing now to be interlaced with the matters of Judah, to which it is meet that I return.
OF MANASSEH, AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES.
The wickedness of Manasseh. His imprisonment, repentance, and death.
MANASSEH, the son of Hezekiah, forgetting the piety of his father, and the prosperity which followed him, set up, repaired, adorned, and furnished all the altars, temples, and high places, in which the devil was by the heathen worshipped. Besides, he himself esteemed the sun, the moon, and the stars, with all the host of heaven, as gods, and worshipped them ;' and of all his acts the most abominable was, that he burnt his sons for a sacrifice to the devil Moloch, or Melchor, in the valley of Hinnom, or Benhennon, wherein was kindled the fire of _ sacrifice to the devils.
He also gave himself to all kind of witchcraft and sorcery; accompanied and maintained those that had familiar spirits, and all sorts of enchanters; besides, he shed so much innocent blood, as Jerusalem was replenished therewith, from corner to corner. For all his vices and abominations when he was reprehended by that aged and reverend prophet Isaiah', (who was also of the king's race, and, as the Jews affirm, the father-in-law of the king,) he caused the prophet, near unto the fountain of Siloe, to be sawn
Just Mart. Cedrenei, c. xiz. Glycas, p. S7». Tcrtull. de Pat.
in sunder, with a wooden saw, in the eightieth year of his life; a cruelty more barbarous and monstrous than hath been heard of. The scriptures indeed are silent hereof, yet the same is confirmed by Epiphanius, Isidorus, Eusebius, and others, too many to rehearse, and too good to be suspected. 1 Therefore
* the Lord brought upon them the captains of the 4 host of the kings of Ashur, which took Manasseh,
* and put him in fetters, and bound him in chains,
* and carried him to Babylon*;' when, after he had lain twenty years as a captive, and despoiled of all honour and hope, yet, to his hearty repentance and continual prayer, the God of infinite mercy had respect, and moved the Assyrians' heart to deliver him.
It is also likely that Merodach, because he loved his father He^ekiah, was the more easily persuaded to restore Manasseh to his liberty and estate. After which, and when he was again established, remembering the miseries which followed his wickedness, and God's great mercies towards him, he changed form, detested his former foolish and devilish idolatry, and cast down the idols of his own erecting, prepared the altar of God, and sacrificed thereon. He repaired a great part of Jerusalem, and died after the long reign of fifty-five years. Glycas and Suidas report, that Manasseh was held in a case of iron by the Assyrians, and therein fed with bread of bran and water, which men may believe as it shall please their fancies.
Of troubles in Egypt following the death of Sethon, The reign of Psammeticus.
That the wickedness of king Manasseh was the cause of the evil which fell upon his kingdom and person, any Christian must needs believe; for it is affirmed in the scriptures. Yet was the state of things
a 2 Chron. xxsiii. 11.