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Many have thought this queen was an Arab. was a separate state, and the Sabeans a distinct people from the Ethiopians and the Arabs, and have continued lately, We know, from history, that it was a custom among these Sabeans, to have women for their fovereigns in prefere ence to men, a custom which still sublists among their de. fcendants. Her name, the Arabs say, was Belkis ; the Abyfsinians Maqueda. Our Saviour calls her Queen of the South, without mentioning any other name, but gives his fanction to the truth of the voyage. “ The queen of the South (or Saba, “or Azab) shall rise up in the judgnient with this generation, 66 and shall condemn it; for the came from the uttermost
parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon ; and, “ behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” No other particulars, however, are mentioned about her in scripture. The gold, the myrrh, cassia, and frankincense, , were all the produce of her own country; and the many reasons Pineda gives to thew she was an Arab, more than convince Mr. Bruce that he was an Ethiopian or Cufhite Mepherd.
Whether she was a Jewels or a Pagan is uncertain; Sabaism was the religion of all the East. It was the constant attendant and stumbling block of the Jews; but considering the multitude of that people then trading from Jerusalem, and the long time it continued, it is not improbable she was a Jewels. She likewise appears to have been a person of learning, and that fort of learning which was then almost peculiar to Palestine, not to Ethiopia. For we see that one of the reasons of her coming, was to examine whether Solomon was really the learned man he was faid to be. She came to try him in allegories, or parables, in which Nathan instructed Solonion.
The annals of Abyffinia say she was, a Pagan when she left Azab, but being full of admiration at the light of Solomon's works, she was converted to Judaism in Jerusalem, and bore him a son, whom she called Menilek, and who was their first king.
She returned with her son Menilek to Saba, or Azab, whom, after keeping him fome years, she sent back to his father to be instructed. Solomon did not neglect his charge, JA
and he was anointed and crowned king of Ethiopia, in the temple of Jerufalem, and at his inauguration took the name of David. After this he returned to Azab, and brought with him a colony of Jews, among whom were many doctors of the law of Moses, particularly one of each tribe, to make judges in his kingdom, from whom the present Umbares (or Supreme judges, three of whom always attend the king) are said and believed to be descended. With these came also Azarias, the fun of Zadok the priest, and brought with him a Hebrew transcript of the law, which was delivered into his custody, as he bore the title of Nebrit, or High Priest; and this charge, though the book itself was burnt with the church of Axum in the Moorish war of Adel, is still continued, as it is said, in the lineage of Azarias, who are Nebrits, or keepers of the church of Axum, at this day. All Abyslinia was thereupon converted, and the government of the church and state modelled according to what was then in use at Jerusalem.
The Queen of Saba having made laws irrevocable to all her posterity, died, after a long reign of 40 years, in 986 before Chrilt, placing her son Menilek upon the throne, whose posterity, the annals of Abysfinia would teach us to believe have ever since reigned. So far we must indeed bear witness to them, that this is no new doctrine, but has been Nedfastly and uniformly maintained from their earliest account of time; first, when Jews, then in later days after they had embraced Christianity.
Mr. Bruce then observes, that as we are about to take our leave of the Jewish religion and government in the line of Solomon, it is here the proper place that he should add what he has to say of the Falasha.. The account they give of themfelves, which is supported only by tradition among them, is, that they came with Menilek from Jerusalem, so that they agree perfectly with the Abyssinians in the story of the queen of Saba, who, they say, was a Jewels, and her nation Jews before the time of Solomon; that she lived at Saba, or Azaba, the myrrh and frankincense country upon the Arabian Gulf. They say further, that she went to Jerusalem, under protection of Hiram king of Tyre, whose daughter is said in the xlvth Pfalm to have attended her thither ; that she went not in ships, nor through Arabia, for fear of the Ishniaelites, but from Azab round Masuah and Suakem, and was escorted by the Shepherds, her own subjects, to Jerusalem, and back again, making use of her own country vehicle, the camel, and that hers was a white one, of prodigious size and exquisite beauty. They agree also, in every particular, with the Abyssinians, about the remaining part of the ftory, the birth and inauguration of Menilek, who was their first king ; also the coming of Azarias, and twelve elders irom the twelye tribes, and other doctors of the law, whose pofterity they deny to have ever apostatised to Christianity, as the Abysiinians pretend they did at the conversion. · They, say, that, when the trade of the Red Sea fell into the hands of strangers, and all communication was shut up between them and Jerusalem, the cities were abandoned, and the inhabitants relinquished the coast that they were the inhabitants of these cities, by trade mostly brick and tile-nakers, potters, thatchers of houses, and such like mechanics, employed in them ; and finding the low country of Dembea afforded materials for exercising these trades, they carried the article of pottery in that province to a degree of perfection scarcely to be imagined.
These people, being very industrious, multiplied exceedingly, and were very powerful at the time of the conversion to Christianity, or, as they term it, the A postacy under Abreha and Atzbeha. At this time they declared a prince of the tribe of Judah, and of the race of Solomon and Menilek, to be their sovereign. The name of this prince was Phineas, who refused to abandon the religion of his forefathers, and - from him their sovereigns are linealy descended : so they
have still a prince of the house of Judah, although the Abyslinians, by way of reproach, have called this family Bet Ifrael, intimating that they were rebels, and revolted from the family of Solomon and tribe of Judah.
An attempt was made, about the year 960, by this family to mount the throne of Abyssinia, when the princes of the house of Solonion were nearly extirpated upon the rock Damo. This, it is probable, produced more animosity and bloodThed. , At last the power of the Fala sha was so weakened, that they were obliged to leave the flat country of Dembea, having no cavalry to maintain themselves there, and to take poffeßlion of the rugged, and almost inaccessible rocks, in that high ridge called the mountains of Samen. A great overthrow, which they received in the year 1600, brought them to the very brink of ruin. In that battle Gideon and Judith, --their king and queen, were flain. They have since adopted a more peaceable and dutiful behaviour, pay taxes, and are suffered to enjoy their own government.
The only copy of the Old Testament which they have, is in Geez, the same made use of by the Abyffinian Christians, who are the only scribes, and sell these copies to the Jews ; and, it is very singular that no controversy, or dispute about the text, has ever yet arisen between the profeffors of the two religions.
Tudolf, the most learned man that has written upon tive fubject, says, that it is apparent the Ethiopic Old Testament, at least the Pentateuch, was copied from the Septuagint, because of the many Grecisms to be found in it; and the names of birds and precious stones, and some other passages that appear literally to be translated from the Greek. He imagines also, that the present Abyssinian version is the work of Frumentius their first bishop, when Abyssinia was converted to Christianity under Abreha and Atzbeha, about the year 330 after Christ, or a few years later.
As the Abyssinian copy of the Holy Scriptures, in Mr. Ludolf's opinion, was translated by Frumentius above 330 after Christ, and the Septuagint verhon, in the days of Philadel. phus, or Ptolemy II. above 160 years before Christ, it will follow, that, if the present Jews use the copy translated by Frumentius, and, if that was taken from ihe Septuagint, the Jews must have been above 400 years without any books whatsoever at the time of the conversion by Frumentius : So they inust have had all the Jewish law, which is in perfect vigour and force among them, all their Levitical observances,
their purifications, atonements, abstinences, and sacrifices, all depending upon their niemory, without writing, at least for that long space of 400 years. This, though not absolutely impossible, is surely very nearly fo. We know, that at Jerufalem itself, the seat of Jewish law and learning, idolatry happening to prevail, during the short reigns of only four kings, the law, in that interval, became so perfectly forgotten and unknown, that a copy of it being accidentally found and read by Josiah, that prince, upon his first learning its contents, was so aftonished at the deviations from it, that he apprehended the immediate destruction of the whole city and people.
The Abyssinians have the whole scriptures entirely as we have, and count the same number of books; but they divide them in another manner, at least in private hands, few of them, from extreme poverty, being able to purchase the whole, either of the historical or prophetical books of the Old Testament. The same inay be said of the New, for copies containing the whole of it are very scarce. Indeed no where, unless in churches, do you see more than the Gospels, or the Acts of the Apostles, in one person's posseffion, and it must not be an ordinary man that poffeffes even these. Many books of the Old Testament are forgotten, so that it is the fame trouble to procure them, even in churches, for the purpose of copying, as to consult old records long covered with duft and rubbish. The Revelation of St. John is a piece of favourite reading among them. There is no such thing as distinctions between canonical and apocryphal books. Bell and the Dragon, and the Acts of the Apostles, are read with equal devotion, and, for the most part, with equal edification. The Song of Solomon, is a favourite piece of reading among the old priests, but forbidden to the young ones, to the deacons, laymen, and women. The Abyssinians believe, that this Song, was made by Solomon in praise of Pliaraoli's daughter ; and do not think, as some of our divines are disposed to do, that there is in it any mysery or allegory refpeting Christ and the Church.
Next to the New Testament they place the constitutions of the Apostles, which they call Synnodos, which, as furas