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themselves. But here it is greatly to be lamented, that of these eastern nations and of these early times we have very
short and imperfect accounts; we have no regular histories, but only a few fraşments of history, which have escaped the general shipwreck of time. If we possessed the Assyrian history, written by Abydenus, and the Chaldæan by Berosus, and the Egyptian by Manetho, we might in all probability be better enabled to explain the precise meaning, and to demonstrate the exact completion of several ancient prophecies : but for want of such helps and assistances we must be glad of a little glimmering light, wherever we can see it. We see enough however, though not to discover the beauty and ex actness of each particular, yet to make us admire in the general these wonders of providence, and to shew that the condition of cities and kingdoms hath been such, as the prophets had long ago foretold. And we will begin with the instance of Nineveh.
Nineveh was the metropolis of the Assyrian empire, and the Assyrians were formidable enemies to the kingdoms both of Israel and Judah. In the days of Menahem, king of Israel, Pul the king of Assyria invaded the land, and was bought off with a thousand talents of silver, 2 Kings xv. 19. A few years afterwards in the days of Pekah, king of Israel, came Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, and took' several cities, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria,'-2 Kings xv. 29. The same Tiglan-pileser was invited by Ahaz, king of Judah, to come and assist him against Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah, king of Israel : ‘And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king's house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria,—2 Kings xvi. 8. The king of Assyria came accordingly to his assistance, and routed his enemies: but still, as another sacred writer saith, distressed him, and strengthened him not,'-2 Chron. xxviii. 20. A little after, in the days of Hoshea, king of Israel, “Shalmaneser, the king of Assy.. ria, came up throughout all the land,' and after a siege of three years took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah, and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes,'-2 Kings xvii. 5, 6. It was in the sixth year of Hezekiah,” king of Judah, that Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, carried Israel away captive: and in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, did Sennacherib, king of Assyria, come up against all the fenced cities of Judah and took them,'—2 Kings xviii. 10, 13. And the king of Assyria exacted of the king of Judah 'three hundred
talents of silver, and thirty talents of gold;' so that even good king Hezekiah was forced to give hiin all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king's house,' ---ver. 14, 15. Sennacherib notwithstanding sent his captains 'with a great host against Jerusalem,'---ver. 17 : but his army was miraculously defeated, and he himself was afterwards slain at Nineveh. 2 Kings xix. 35, 36, 37. His son Esarhaddon completed the deportation of the Israelites, and brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel ; and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof,'---2 Kings xvii. 24 ; Ezra iv. 2. We see then that the Assyrians totally destroyed the kingdom of Israel, and greatly oppressed the kingdom of Judah : and no wonder therefore that they are made the subject of several prophecies.
The prophet Isaiah denounceth the judgments of God against Sennacherib in particular, and against the Assyrians in general. • Assyrian, the rod of mine anger,' or rather, 'Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of mine anger.'---X. 5. God might employ them as the ministers of his wrath, and executioners of his vengeance; and so make the wickedness of some nations the means of correcting that of others : ‘I will send him against an hypocritical nation; and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire in the streets,'---ver. 6. But it was far from any intent of theirs to execute the divine will, or to chastise the vices of mankind; they only meant to extend their conquest, and establish their own dominion upon the ruins of others : ‘Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so, but it is in his heart to destroy, and cut off nations not a few,'---ver. 7. Wherefore, when they shall have served the purposes of divine providence, they shall be severely punished for their pride and ambition, their tyranny and cruelty to their neighbours :- Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks,'---ver. 12. There was no prospect of such an event, while the Assyrians were in the midst of their successes and triumphs; but still the word of the prophet prevailed; and it was not long after these calamities brought upon the Jews, of which we have given a short deduction, that the Assyrian empire, properly so called, was overthrown, and Nineveh destroyed.
Nineveh, and Ninus, as it was most usually called by the Greeks and Romans, was, as we said before, the capital city of the Assyrian empire; and the capital is frequently put for the whole empire, the prosperity or ruin of the one being involved in that of the other. This was a very ancient city, being built by Asshur or as others say by Nimrod ; for those words of Moses, Gen. x. 11, which our translators, together with most of the ancient versions render thus : Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh,' others translate, as the Chaldee paraphrast* translates them, and as they are rendered in the margin of our Bibles, 'Out of that land he,' that is Nimrod, the person spoken of before,' went forth into Assyria, and builded Nineveh.' It is well known that the word “Asshur in Hebrew is the name of the country as well as the name of the man, and the preposition is often omitted, so that the words may very well be translated · he went forth into Assyria.' And Moses is here giving an account of the sons of Ham, and it may seem foreign to his subject to intermix the story of any of the sons of Shem, as Asshur was. Moses afterwards recounts the sons of Shem, and Asshur among them; and it is presumed that he would hardly relate his actions, before he had mentioned his nativity, or even his name, contrary to the series of the genealogy and to the order of the history. But notwithstanding this I incline to understand the text literally as it is translated, Out of that land went forth Asshur,' being expelled thence by Nimrod, and builded Nineveh' and other cities, in opposition to the cities which Nimrod had founded in the land of Shinar. And neither is it foreign to the subject, nor contrary to the order of the history, upon the mention of Nimrod's invading and seizing the territories of Asshur, to relate whither Asshur retreated, and where he fortified himself against him. But by whomsoever Nineveh was built, it might afterwards be greatly enlarged and improved by Ninus, and called after his name, whoever Ninus was, for that is altogether uncertain.
As it was a very ancient, so it was likewise a very great city In Jonah it is styled 'that great city,'-i. 2, iii. 2; 'an exceeding great city,'—iii. 3. In the original it is a city great to God;'+ in the same manner as Moses is called by St. Stephen in the Acts of the Apostles vii. 20. aoTELOS TV O89, fair to God, or exceeding
* De terra illa egressus est in Assyriam. [Out of that land he went forth into Assyria.] Onk.
tobabak173774y Doo magna civitas, arolo soyadan tw Ow-Sept. (Translated in the text.
fair, as our translators rightly render it; and so the mountains of God'- Psal. xxxvi. 6, are exceeding high mountains, and ** the cedars of God'—Psal. lxxx. 10, are exceeding tall cedars. It was therefore ' an exceeding great city ;' and the scripture account is confirmed by the testimony of heathen authors. Strabo says* that Nineveh was much greater even than Babylon : and Diodorus , Siculus from Ctesias affirms that, its builder Ninus "proposed to build a city of such magnitude, that it should not only be the greatest of the cities which were then in all the world, but that none of those who should be born after that time attempting the like should easily exceed it;"+ and a little after he subjoins, that “nobody afterwards built such a city, either as to the greatness of the compass, or as to the magnificence of the walls.” It is added in Jonah, iii. 3, that it was an exceeding great city of three days' journey,' that is, of three days' journey in circuit, as St. Jerome & and the best commentators expound it. Strabo, as it was observed before, hath said that Nineveh was much larger than Babylon : and a little afterwards he says, that “the circuit of Babylon was 385 furlongs :"S but Diodorus Siculus asserts that " the whole circuit of Nineveh was 480 furlongs,"ll which makes somewhat more than 60 miles, and 60 miles were three days' journey, 20 miles a day being the common computation for a foot traveller. It is far.
* Πολυ δε μειζων ήν της Βαβυλωνος. Ea multo major erat Babylone. [It was much greater than Babylon.] Strabo. lib. 16, p. 737. Edit. Paris, p. 1071. Ed. Am 1707. it.
έσπευδε τηλικαυτην κτισαι το μεγεθος πολιν, ώς τε μη μονον αυτην εινα μεγισης των τοτε έσων κατα σασαν την οικημενην, άλλα μηδε των μετονενεςερων ετερον επιβαλλομενον ραδιως αν υπερθεσθαι. . Tantæ quoque molis urbem condere festinabat, ut non modo omnium tunc in orbe terrarum maxima existeret, sed etiam ut nemo post genitorum tale quid aggressus ipsum facile superaret. [Translated in the text.)
τηλικαυτην γαρ ολιν ε'δεις ύςερον έκτισε κατά τε το μεγεθος το περιβολα και την TEPI TO Torxo; Meyado per FIN. A nullo enim postmodum urbs tanto ambitus spatio, tantaque magnificentia mæniùm exstructa fuit. [Translated in the text.] Diod. Siculus. lib 2, p. 65. Edit. Steph. p. 91, 92. Edit. Rhod.
Civitas magna, et tanti ambitus ; ut vix trium dierum posset itinere circumiri [A great city, and of so extensive a circuit, that it could scarcely be encompassed in a journey of three days.) Hieron. Comment. in locum, p. 1486, vol. 3. Edit. Benedict.
$ Τον δε κυκλoν εχει το τείχος τριακοσίων όγδοηκοντα πεντε σαδιν». Muri ambitu CCCXXCν stadiorum. [Translated in the text.] Strabo. ibid. p. 738. Edit. Paris, p. 1072 Edit. Amstel. 1707.
Η Το συμπαντος σεριβολα συσταθιντος ε' και σαδιων τετρακοσίων και όγδοηκοντα. Ambitus totus stadiis cccCXXC constat. [Translated in the text.] Lib 2, p. 56. Ed. Steph. p. 92 Ed. Rhodoman.
Nini circuitus stadiorum fuisse CCCCLXXX, id est, milliarium sexaginta ; quæ triduanum iter facient, si singulorum dierum iter æstimes viginti milliaribus : quomodo
ther said in Jonah iv. 11, that in Ninevel' there were more than sixscore thousand persons who could not discern between their right hand and their left hand, and also much cattle. I think it is generally calculated that the young children of any place are a fifth part of the inhabitants :* and if we admit of that calculation, the whole number of inhabitants in Nineveh amounted to above six hundred thousand : which number will appear by no means incredible, if we consider the dimensions of the city as given by Diodorus Siculus,t that it was in length 150 furlongs, in breadth 90 furlongs, and in circuit 480 furlongs : that is, 20 miles long, about 12 miles broad, and about 60 miles in compass. A city of such dimensions might easily contain such a nuniber of inhabitants, and many more : and at the same time there might be, as there are in most of the great cities of the east, large vacant spaces for gardens or for pasture; so that there might be, as the sacred text asserts there was, “also much cattle.' But according to the modern method of calculation the number of the Ninevites is reduced much lower. I For allowing that the number of infants was one hundred and thirty thousand, as the scripture saith that they were more than one hundred and twenty thousand; yet these making but threc-tenths of the inhabitants, the number of citizens will appear to have amounted to four hundred and twenty three thousand. London and Paris stand not upon one quarter of the ground, and yet are supposed to contain more inhabitants; London even more than the former calculation, and Paris more than the latter; it being computed that in London there are about 725,943 persons, and about 437,478 in Paris.
The inhabitants of Nineveh, like those of other great cities, abounding in wealth and luxury, became very corrupt in their definierunt non Jurisconsulti solum, sed et Græcorum vetustissimi. Herodotus, lib. 5. cap. 53. πεντηκοντα δε και έκατον και αδια 'π' ήμερη εκαση διεξιωσι, centum et quinquaginta stadia unoquoque die peragrantibus. CL stadia sunt viginti milliaria, &c. (The circumference of Nineveh was four hundred and eighty furlongs, that is, sixty miles, which will maku three days' journey, if a days' journey be estimated at twenty miles, as it is defined not only by the lawyers but by the most ancient Greeks. According to Herodotus, b. 5, chap. xxxv, “they travel a hundred and fifty stadia a-day. Now a hun. dred and fifty stadia make twenty miles.] Bocharti Phal. lib. 4, c. 20, col. 252. • Bochart. ibid. col. 253. Lowth's Comment, and Calmet's. + Εχει δε των μεν μακροτερων αλευρων εκατεραν και πολις ρν σαδιων, των και βραχυτερων, "YXONTO. *. T. 2. Latus utrinque longius ad CL stadia excurrit; reliqua duo minora XC. obtinent, &c. Each of the two longer sides of the city extended one hundred ud fifty furlongs, and each of the two shorter ninety, &c.] Diod. Sic. ibid.
| Maitland's Hist. of London, b. 3, chap. 2, p. 542 $ Maitland, p. 541 & 548.