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if he can.
unto all men; and how beloved he was of God, and how surpassing in all kinds of virtue.'
I am certain that my readers will not expect any commenton the above nonsense. It needs no explanation: it is the tale of a Jew when speaking of his own country and countrymen. I would next draw the reader's attention to the numbers of the different kinds of gold and silver vessels which Josephus says were made for the use of the Temple, and let him believe
“The king also dedicated many tables; and amongst these, one great one of gold, (on which the sacred bread was laid,) the rest not far inferior, yet made after divers manners, held 6
ewers and platters of gold, to the number of twenty thousand, and of silver, forty thousand. He made likewise ten thousand candlesticks (according as Moses had commanded), whereof one he dedicated in the temple, that, according to the law, it might give light there in the day time. He made a table also, un which the loaves of bread were laid, on the north side of the temple, hard by the candlestick, which was placed towards the southward. The altar of gold was planted betwixt them both. All which things were inclosed in that part of the Temple that contained forty cubits, before the tapestry of the holy of holiest, where the ark should be placed. The king also caused fourscore thousand pots, and a thousand hundreth of ewers of gold, and twice as many of silver, to be made; and fourscore thousand plates of gold, and twice so many of silver, to offer the kneaded flour in them upon the altar ; and threescore thousand cups of gold, and twice so many of silver, to lay the flour mingled with oil thereon; and two ihousand measures of gold, and twentythousand of silver, resembling a hin or an epha of Moses. "Twenty thousand of censors also of gold, wherein the per'fume was burnt, to hallow the temple;, and other censors likewise, in which they carried fire from the great altar and “ laid it on the lesser, which was within the temple, to the number of fifty thousand. He prepared also a thousand
vestments for the use of the priests, with their surcoats, 'beads, pectorals, and with their precious ouches, not with
standing there was but one crown wherein Moses bad writ'ten the name of God, which hath continued even until this
day. He made also ten thousands stoals for the priests, of ' fine linen, with scarlet girdles, for every one of them; two hundred thousand trunipets according to the ordinance of Vol. IV. No. 4.
Moses, and forty thousand instruments of music to record and praise God with, (as the psaltery and harp of a mixt matter, the fifth part cold, and the fourth part silver).
It must appear evident to every reader, that the numbers of those' vessels and instruments of gold and silver have been set down at random, although Josephus asserts that he has borrowed every statemont from bis Holy Scriptures. Such a mass of gold and silver was scarcely to be found at one time in all Asia. In another place Josephus tells us that Solomon, on the first opening of the temple, sacrificed twelve thousand oxen, and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep. For then first of all
was the Temple imbrewed with the blood of the slaughtered sacrifices, and all the Hebrews, with their wives and children, were banquetted therein. I have before cautioned the reader against the exaggeration of Jewish numbers.
Josephus quotes two other historians to support his assertions about Solomon, but to me they appear rather as a contradiction than a proof of what has been advanced. Speaking of Solomon and Hiram, he says:— Of these two Kings, Menander (who translated the antiquities of the Tyrians out of the Phænician tongue into Greek), maketh mention, speaking after this manner: After the decease of Abibale, Hiram, his son, succeeded him in the kingdom, who lived fifty and three years, and reigned thirty and four. He annexed the field which is called Ample, unio the island, and dedicated a golden pillar in Jupiter's Temple. He also caused a great quantity of wood to be hewed down in the mountain Libanus, to make covers and roofs for temples. For having pulled down some ancient temples, he builded that of Hercules, and that of Astrate, and made his first building of Hercules in the mouth of Perition, and made war against the Eucecans, who refused to pay their tributes: and after he had once again brought them under his subjection, he returned to his own palace. In his time lived the young son of Abdimon, who always resolved those questions which Solomon, King of Jerusalem, proposed. Dius also maketh mention of him in
these terms: After the decease of Abibale, his son Hiram 6 reigned: he it was that fortified the quarter of the city to the eastward, and enlarged the same, and conjoined the temple of Olympian Jupiter to the city, which before that time
in another place, and filled all the place between them with earth, and adorned it with pendants of gold: and afterwards going up to Libanus, he hewed down timber to build * temples withal. He said also, that Solomon reigning at that
time in Jerusalem, sent unto Hiram certain subtle questions, demanding the exposition thereof under this condition, that if he declared them not, in way of penalty, he should pay a great sum of money; and afterwards that a certain Tyrian called Abdimon, expounded that which had been proposed: and in lieu thereof proposed certain others, which Solomon could not expound, and for that occasion he paid a great sum
of money unto Hiram. This it is that Dius writeth. Thus it appears the Tyrians had a wiser man than Solomon! And you have made your quotations contradict your own story Mr. Josephus. There is nothing improbable in temples having been built to Jupiter, to Hercules, and various other HeroGods: the remains of such are now visible, but it is extremely improbable that such a splendid temple should have been built by the Jews as is attributed to Solomon. If we may believe this Phænician story, which is more worthy of credit than any thing in the Bible, we then perceive at once that Jehovah was considered nothing more than the Jupiter of the Jews, or how could Solomon and Hiram be on such terms of friendship? As a matter of course cach country has fancied its own Gods the greatest, but it seems the Jews were very fond of a change, particularly, where that change afforded them the opportunity of gratifying their appetites. Josephus further says, that 10,000 men were employed at a time in Mount Libanus for several months, cutting down wood for the temple. That number of men would have cleared every stock and stick on the Mount in three days. Also that there were 80,000 men at a time hewing of stone, and 70,000 more as carriers of wood and stone! Such a master builder as Solomon was never known before nor since; to employ such a number of hands. More than four times a greater number' than ever occupied Judea at one time!
In concluding my observations on Solomon and his temple I would offer it as my opinion, that it is all a fiction, that as the Jews had to learn the use of letters at Babylon, they had also to form their history there, having access to the history of other countries, they resolved to make their own excel in every point, and in doing this they had only to improve upon the traditionary fictions of surrounding countries. The figures which are said to have been in their temple were no other than a collection of those which were worshipped by surrounding nations. For instance, the word Cherubim is a blank in the English, Latin, and Greek languages, no definition can be given of it, but Voltaire traces it to the Chaldean, and mays,
that it signifies a bull. This is very probable, as the Egyptian have worshipped the bull from time immemorial, and we find that golden calves were very common to the compilers of the Bible, which I should consider were meant to represent full grown oxen, although, they were not moulded in the full size. I should like to know what the Christians mean in their worship, when they cry out“ Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabbaoth.” This certainly must be a Pagan relic transplanted into the new mythology. It appears the Jews added wings to their Cherubim, and made him an imitation of the Pegasus, for we read, that the ark in the temple was placed between two Cherubims, and their wings being spread out formed a cover for it.
I should notice that the Bible makes Solomon to sacrifice 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep at the dedication of the temple! Let any one count the beads of cattle in Smithfield on a market day, and then consider the extent of 20,000, and ask himself whether this story be true or false. There would have been a river of blood from the number! I doubt whether at any one time the Jews were ever masters of so many oxen and sheep. That must have been a rare species of worship where the worshippers had to wade up to the knee in blood. It is astonishing to reflect how the grossest mind could have tolerated such an idea! And still more astonishing to see such notions believed in, in a country that boasteth of civilization, of delicacy of manners, and of humanity, and to find such crude and barbarous ideas enforced with pains and penalties. Civilization in society has scarcely yet commenced. Priestcraft must be first set aside.
The reigns of the succeeding Jowish kings are scarcely worth notice. We are told that the famous temple was pillaged immediately after Solomon's death. The following is a quotation from the fourteenth chapter of the first book of Kings:
• And it came to pass in the fifth year of King Rehoboam, that Sbishak King of Egypt came up against Jerusalem : and he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house ; he even took away all; and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomou had made. And King Rehoboam made in their stead brasen shields, and committed them unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the king's house. And it was so, when the king went into the house of the Lord, that the guard bare them, and brought thein back into the guard chamber."
This plunder of the temple is repeated in several instances, as if the gold and silver vessels could grow there. In the very next chapter we find it cleared again:
“ And there was war between Asa aud Baasha king of Israel all their days. And Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might not suffer any to go out or come into Asa king of Judalı. Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the Lord, a:d the treasures of the king's house, and delivered them into the hands of his servants : and king Asa sent them to Ben-hadad, the son of 'Tabrimon, the son of Heziou, king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying, There is a league between me and thee, and between my father and thy father : behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold; come and break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that be may depart from me.
At the conclusion of the sixteenth chapter, I find the following verse:
“ In his (Ahab's) days did Hiel the Beth-elite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof iu Abiram bis firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun."
I am certain that wo have passed a notice of Jericho twenty times since the walls are said to have been puffed down by General Joshua and his priests, with their ram's horns. I have not stopped to notice it, but the threat of Joshua has continually recurred to me, The above verse 1 take to be an interpolation by some Jew, not the author of the book of Kings, by way of seeming to fulfil the prophecy of Joshua. But the prophecy intimated a curse on him that should attempt to build the city again, and implied the destruction of any family that should undertake it. The above verse is no proof of the kind.
I have passed unnoticed several fortune-telling prophets and their feats, and how a lion killed one of them and did not eat him nor kill his 'ass :--but now we come to the famous Elijah and Elisha—it will be a piece of injustice to the Jewish romance not to notice them. I expect that the less I say about them the better my readers will be pleased, as prolixity on such a subject, would be a proof of any thing but common sense. However, the miracles of Elijah and Elisha, are dif