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as did soon after this out-face Nabulassar upon his own borders, left unto the Jews a lawful excuse of fear, had they forborne to give it any check upon the way,. Wherefore, I believe, that this religious and virtuous prince, Josiah, was not stirred up only by politic respects to stop the way of Necho, but thought himself bound in faith and honour to do his best in defence of the Babylonian crown; whereunto his kingdom was obliged, either by covenant made at the enlargement of Manasseh, or by the gift of such part as he held in the kingdom of the ten tribes. As for the princes and people of Judah, they had now a good occasion to shew both unto the Babylonians of what importance their friendship was, and to the Egyptians what a valiant nation they had abandoned, and thereby made their enemy.
Some think that this action of Josiah was contrary to the advice of Jeremiah the prophet, which I do not find in the prophecy of Jeremiah, nor can find reason to believe. Others hold opinion, that he forgot to ask the counsel of God; and this is very likely; seeing he might believe, that an enterprise,
frounded upon fidelity and thankfulness, due to the ing of Babylon, could not be displeasing unto the Lord. But the wickedness of the people, (in whom the corruptions of former times had taken such root, as all the care of Josiah in reforming the land could not pluck up,) was questionless far from hearkening how the matter would stand with God's pleasure, and much farther from inquiring into his secret will, wherein it was determined, that their good king, whose life stood between them and their punishment, should now be taken from among them, and that in such sort as his death should give entrance to the miseries ensuing. So Josiah, levying all the strength he could make, near unto Megiddo, in the half tribe of Manasseh, encountered Necho; and there he received the stroke of death, which, lingering about him till he came to Jerusalem, brought him to the sepulchres of his ancestors. His loss was greatly bewailed of all the people and princes of Judah, especially of Jeremiah the prophet, who inserted a sorrowful remembrance thereof in his book of Lamentations 9.
Of Pharaoh Necho that fought with Josiah. Of Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim kings of Judah.
Of these wars, and particularly of this victory* Herodotus hath mention among the acts of Necho. He tells us of this king, that he went about to make a channel, whereby ships might pass out of Nilus into the Red Sea. It should have reached above an hundred miles in length, and been wide enough for two gallies to row in front. But, in the midst of this work, an oracle foretold, that the barbarians should have the benefit of it; which caused Necho to desist when half was done. There were consumed in this toilsome business twelve hundred thousand Egyptians; a loss great enough to make the king forsake his enterprise, without troubling the oracle for admonition. Howsoever it were, he was not a man to be idle; therefore he built a fleet, and levied a great army, wherewith he marched against the king of Babylon. In this expedition, he used the service as well of his navy as of his land forces; but no particular exploits of his therein are found recorded, save only this victory against Josiah, where Herodotus calls the place Magdolus, and the Jews Syrians; which is a small error, seeing that Judaea was a province of Syria, and Magdolus, or Magdala, is taken to have been the same place, (though diversely named,) in which this battle was fought. After this, Necho took
9 Lament, It. 20.
the city of Cadytis, which was perhaps Carchemish, by Euphrates, and made himself lord, in a manner, of all Syria, as Josephus1 witnesseth.
Particularly we find, that the Phoenicians, one of the most powerful nations in Syria, were his subjects, and that by his command they surrounded all Africa*, setting sail from the Gulf of Arabia, and so passing along all the coast, whereon they both landed, as need required, and sowed corn for their sustenance, in that long voyage which lasted three years. This was the first navigation about Africa, wherein that great Cape, now called of Good Hope, was discovered; which after was forgotten, until Vasco de Gama, the Portuguese, found it out, following a contrary course to that which the Phoenicians held; for they, beginning in the east, ran the way of the sun, south and then westward, after which they returned home by the pillars and straita of Hercules, (as the name was then called,) now the straits of Gibraltar, having Africa still on the right hand; but the Portuguese, beginning their voyage not far from the same straits, leave Africa on the larboard, and bend their course unto the east. That report of the Phoenicians, which Herodotus durst not believe, how the sun in this journey was on their right hand, that is, on the north side of them, is a matter of necessary truth ; and the observation then made hereof, makes me the better to believe, that such a voyage was indeed performed.
But leaving these discourses of Necho's magnificence, let us tell what he did in matters more importing his estate. The people of Judah, while the Egyptians were busy at Carchemish, had made Jehoahaz their king, in the room of his father Josiah. The prophet Jeremiah3 calls this new king Shallum by the name of his younger brother; alluding perhaps to the short reign of Shallum king of the ten tribes; for Shallum of Israel reigned but one month,
1 Jos. Aot. Jiid. L x. cap. 7. 2 Herod. 1. iv. 3 Jer. xxii. 82.
Jehoahaz no more than three. He was not the eldest son of Josiah. Wherefore it may seem that he was set up as the best affected unto the king of Babylon; the rest of his house being more inclined to the Egyptian, as appears by the sequel. An idolater he was, and thrived accordingly. For when Necho had dispatched his business in the north parts of Syria, then did he take order for the affairs of Judaea. This country was now so far from making any resistance, that the king himself came from Riblath, in the land of Hamath, where the matter went so ill on his side, that Necho did cast him into bonds, and carry him prisoner into Egypt, giving away his kingdom to Eliakim his elder brother, to whom of right it did belong. This city of Riblath, in aftertimes called Antiochia, was a place unhappy to the kings and princes of Judah, as may be observed in divers examples. Yet here Jehoiakim, together with his new name, got his kingdom; an ill gain, since he could no better use it. But however Jehoiakim thrived by the bargain, Pharaoh sped well, making that kingdom tributary, without any stroke stricken, which three months before was too stout to give him peace when he desired it. Certain it is, that in his march outward, Necho had a greater task lying upon his hands, than would permit him to waste his forces upon Judaea; but now the reputation of his good success at Megiddo and Carchemish, together with the dissension of the princes Josiah's sons, (of whom the eldest is probably thought to have stormed at the preferment of his younger brother,) gave him power to do even what should please himself. Yet he did forbear to make a conquest of the land; perhaps upon the same reason which had made him so earnest in seeking to hold peace with it. For the Jews had suffered much in the Egyptian's quarrel, and being left by these their friends, in time of need, unto all extremities, were driven to forsake that party, and join with the enemies; to whom if they shewed themselves faithful, who could blame them? It was therefore enough to reclaim them, seeing they were such a people as would not upon every occasion shift side, but endure more than Pharaoh, in the pride of his victories, thought that any henceforth should lay upon them; so good a
Katron did he mean to be unto them. Nevertheless e laid upon them a tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and one talent of gold; that so he might both reap at the present some fruit of his pains taken, and leave unto them some document, in the future, of greater punishment than verbal anger, due to them, if they snould rebel. So he departed, carrying along with him into Egypt the unfortunate king Jehoahaz, who died in his captivity.
The reign of Jehoahaz was included in the end of his father's last year; otherwise it would hardly be found, that Jehoiakim his successor did reign ten whole years, whereas the scriptures give him eleven, that are current, and incomplete. If any man will rather cast the three months of this short reign into the first year of the brother, than into the father's last, the same arguments that shall maintain his opinion will also prove the matter to be unworthy of disputation; and so I leave it.
Jehoiakim, in impiety, was like his brother; in faction he was altogether Egyptian, as having received his crown at the hand of Pharaoh. The wickedness of these last kings, being expressed in scripture none otherwise than by general words, ~with reference to all the evil that their fathers had done, makes it apparent, that the poison, wherewith Ahaz and Manasseh had infected the land, was not so expelled by the zealous goodness of Josiah, but that it still cleaved unto the chief of the people, 'Yea unto the chief priests also4;' and therefore it was not strange that the kings had their part therein. The royal authority was much abased by the
4 Jer. xxii. 32.