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have formerly observed how this might be occasioned. Ctesias, from whom the profane historians took the names of thesa kings, did not use their original Assyrian names in his history; but rather such as lic found in the Persian records, or what the Greek language offered instead of them..
If we consider about what time of Abraham's life this affair happened; (and we must place' it about his eighty-fourth or eighty-fifth year, i. c. A. M. 2093) we may easily see who was the supreme king of the Assyrian empire at the time here spoken of. Ninyasthe son of Ninus and Semirarais began his reign A. M. 2059,k and he reigned 38 years,i so that the year of this transaction falls four years before his death. Ninyas therefore was the Chedorlaomer of Moses, head of the Assyrian empire; and Amraphel was his deputy at Babylon in Shinaar, and Ariocli and Tidal his deputies over some other adjacent countries. It is remarkable, that Ninus first appointed under him such deputies,m and there is no absurdity in Moses calling them kings; for it is observable, from what Isaiah hinted afterwards," that the Assyrian boasted that his deputy-princes were equal to royal governors; are not my princes altogether kings ? The great care of kings in these ages was to build cities; and thus we find almost every new king erecting a new seat of his
empire. Ninus fixed at Nineveh, Semiramis at Babylon, and Ninyas at £lam; and hence it happened in after-ages, that Ctesias, when he came to write the Assyrian antiquities, found the names of their ancient kings amongst the royal records of Persia; which he could hardly have done, if some of their early mo11,1 nhs had not had their residence in this country. Ninyas therefore was the Chedorlaomer of Moses; arid these kings of Canaan had been subject to him for twelve years. In the thirteenth year they endeavoured to recover their liberty; but within a year after this their attempt, (which is a space of time that must necessarily be supposed, before Chedorlaomer could hear at Elam of their revolt, and summon his deputies with an army to attend him) in the fourteenth year, the king of Elam with his deputy-princes, the governor of Shinaar, and of Ellasar, and of the other nations subject to him, brought an army, and over-ran the kingdoms in and round about the land of Canaan. He subdued the Rephaims, who inhabited the land, afterwards called the kingdom of Bashan, situate between Gilead and Hermon; the Uzzims, between Anion and Damascus; the Emmims, who inhabited what was afterwards called the land of Ammon; the Horites from mount Seir to El-paran ; then he subdued the Amalekites and the Amorites; and last of all came to a battle with the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, the king of Zeboim, and the king of Bela or Zoar in the valley of Siddim, and obtained a complete and entire conquestover them. Lot, who at that time dwelt in Sodom, suffered in this action; for he and all his family and substance were taken by the • enemy; and in great danger of being carried away into captivity, had not Abrani very fortunately rescued him. The force which Ahram could raise, was but small; three hundred and eighteen trained servants being his whole retinue; yet with these he pursued the enemy unto Dan. We do not read that Abram attacked the whole Assyrian army; which, without doubt, would have been an attempt too great for the tittle company which he commanded; but coming up with them in the night," he artfully divided his attendants into two companies, with one of which most probably he attacked those that were appointed to guard the captives and spoil; and with the other made the appearance of a force ready to attempt the whole body of the enemy. The Assyrians, surprised at finding a new enemy, and pretty much harrassed with obtaining their numerous victories, and fatigued in their late battle; not knowing the strength which now attacked them, retired and fled. Abram pursued * them unto Hobah, on the left hand of Damascus; and, being by that time master of the prisoners and spoil, he did not think fit to press on any further, or follow the enemy until day-light might discover the weakness of his forces: therefore he returned back, having rescued his brother Lot,* and^his goods, and the women* and the people who were taken captive. We hear no more of the Assyrian
army; which most prohably returned home, design* jng to be reinforced, and come another year sufficiently .prepared to make a more complete conquest of the kingdoms of Canaan; but Ninyas or Chodorluomer dying soon after this, the new king might have other designs upon his hands, and so this might be net glected or laid aside. When Abram returned with the captives and the spoil, the king of Sodom and th* king of Salora' went out to meet him with great ceremony. Melchizedec, king of Salem, was the priest of tho Most High God ; ' for which reason Abram gave him the tenth of the spoil. The remainder ho returned to the king of Sodom, refusing to be himself a gainer by receiving any part of what this victorious enterprise had gotten him.
(iod Almighty continued his favour to Abram, and in divers and sundry manners, sometimes by th« appearance of angels, at other times by audible voices or remarkable dreams, declared in what manner he designed to bless his posterity, and to raise them in the world. Abram at this time had no son, but upon his desiring one, he received not only a promise of oney but was informed, that his posterity should be so numerous as to be compared to the very stars of heaven/ Abram was so sincerely disposed to believe all the intimations and promises which God thought fit to give him, that it was counted to him for righteous' ness,n that he obtained by it great favour and acccpt
'Gon. xiv.ver. 17. 'Ver. 18.
* Gen. Xv. 5. - • Ver. fi.
ance with God; so that God was pleased to give him a still further discovery of what should befal him and his descendants in future times. He was ordered to offer a solemn sacrifice,1 and at the going down of the sun a deep sleep fell upon him, when it was revealed to him in a dream,y that he himself would die in peace in a good old age; but that his descendants would for four hundred years be strangers in a land not their own, would suffer hardships, and even bondage. But that after this, the nation which would oppress them should be severely punished, and that they would be brought out of all their difficulties in a very rich and flourishing condition; and that in the fourth generation they would return again into Canaan', and take possession of it; that they could not have it sooner, because the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full.* God Almighty could foresee, that the Amorites would by that time hare run into such an excess of sin, as to deserve the severe expulsion from the land of Canaan, which was afterwards appointed for them; but he would in no wise order their punishment, until they should have filled up the measure of their iniquities, so as to deserve it. After Abram awoke from this dream, a fire kindled miraculously * and consumed his sacrifice; and God covenanted with him to give to his seed all the land of Canaan, from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates.b
Ten years after Abram's return into Canaan,' in the
* Gen. Xv. ver. 9. "Ver. 12.
* Gen. Xv. 16. 'Ver 17, see vol. i. p. 267. k Ver. 18. 'Chap. Xvl ver. 3.