페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

lost the service of these nations, his empire extended no farther than that river; and his successors not enlarging their empire, all the country between Palestine and Euphrates, though after these days many nations were planted in it, was not a part of the Assyrian empire, until in after-times the Assyrian, and after them the Babylonian kings by new conquests extended their empire farther than eTer their predecessors had done. When the ancient Assyrian empire was dissolved, on the death of Sardanapalus, the dominions belonging to it were divided between the two commanders, who subverted it; Arbaces the governor of Media, and Belesis governor of Babylon. Belesis had Babylon and Chaldea, and Arbaces had all the rest.* Arbaces is in Scripture called Tiglath-Pileser, and the nations of which he became master were Assyria and the eastern provinces, the kingdoms of Elam and Media; for hither he sent his captives when he conquered Syria;' therefore these countries thus di

* Prideaux Connect. Vol, 1. b. 1.

• Id. ibid. 2 Kings xvii. 6.

'Tided were the whole of the ancient empire of the Assyrians. Thus our learned authors argument does in no wise prove, that there was no ancient Assyrian empire; for it only intimates, what may be abundantly proved to be true, that the profane historians supposed many countries to be a part of it, which really were not. They were not accurate in the particulars of their history; they reported that the armies of Semiramis were vastly more numerous than they really were; but we must not thence infer, that she raised no armies at all. They took their dimensions of the Assyrian empire, from what was afterwards the extent of the Babylonian -or Persian; but though they thus surprisingly magnified it, yet we cannot conclude that there was no such empire, from their having misrepresented its grandeur and extent.

Some particulars are suggested by our great and learned author, which, though they do not directly fall under the argument which I have considered, may yet be here mentioned. Sir Isaac Newton remarks, 1.that M the land of Haran mentioned Gen. xi.

t

was not under the Assyrian/ I answer: when the Chaldeans expelled Terah and his family from their land for not serving their gods,» they removed about one hundred miles up the country, towards the North-west. Now the earth was not then so full of inhabitants, but that they here found a tract of land distant from all other plantations; and living here within themselves upon their pasturage and tillage, and having no business with distant nations, no one interrupted their quiet. The territories of the Chaldces reached most probably but a little way from Ur; for kingdoms were but small in these times. Terah's family lived far from their borders and plantations, and that gave them the peace which they enjoyed. But, 2. "In the time of the Judges of Israel, Mesopotamia was under its own king."b I answer, so was Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, and Zoar, in the days of Abraham; yet all the kings of these cities had served Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, twelve years.' But it may be said, Chushan

'Newton's Chronol. p. 269.

»Judith v. 8. b Newton, p. 269.

'Gen. v. ver; 4.

VOL. II, K

rishithaim the king of Mesopotamia warred against,* and enslaved the Israelites, and therefore does not seem to have been himself subject to a foreign power. To this it may be replied: the princes who were subject to the Assyrian empire, were altogether kings' in their own countries, for they made war and peace with other nations, not under the protection of the Assyrians, as they pleased, and were not controuled if they rpaid the annual tribute or service required from them. But 3. "When Jonah prophesied, Nineveh contained only about one hundred and twenty thousand persons." I answer; when Jonah prophesied, Nineveh contained more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons, that could not discern between their right hand and their left;m for there were many children not grown up to years of discretion; how far more numerous then were all the persons in it? A city so exceeding populous must surely be the head of a very large empire in these days. But, "the king

k Judges iii. ver. 8.

i Isaiah x. ver. 8. m Jonah iv. ver. 11.

of Ninevoh was not yet called king of Assyria, but king of Nineveh only." I answer, Chedorlaomer is called in Scripture only king of Elain," though nations about nine hundred miles distant from that city were subject to him; for so far we must compute from Khun to Canaan. Rut, "the fast kept to avert the threatenings of the prophet, was not published in several nations, nor in all Assyria, but only in Nineveh."" I answers the Ninevites and their king only fasted, because the threatenings of Jonah were not against Assyria, nor against the nations that served the king of Nineveh, but against the city of Nineveh only.p But, 4. "Homer docs not mention, and therefore knew nothing of an Assyrian empire."' If I were to consider at large how little the Assyrian empire extended towards those nations, with which Homer was concerned, it would be no wonder that be did not mention this empire in his account of the Trojan war, or travels of Ulysses; yet since it can in no wise be con

[ocr errors]
« 이전계속 »