Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

ty-five years. Having entered into a confederacy with Zedekiah, (Eze. 17. 15.) he marched out of Egypt with a great army to his relief; which caused Nebuchadnezzar to raise the siege of Jerusalem to meet him. The Egyptians, on the approach of the Chaldeans, not daring to engage in battle with so numerous and well appointed an army, retired into their own country; treacherously leaving Zedekiah and his people to perish in the war into which they had drawn them; for which cause, the prophet Ezekiel, (ch. xxix.) reproaching them for their perfidy, denounces against them the judgments of God.* ch. xviii. 2–4. “Son of man, set thy face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt: Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself. But I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, and all the fish of thy rivers shall stick unto thy scales,” &c. Herodotus (1. ii. c. 169.) informs us, that Hophra, or Apries, agreeably to the character given him by the prophet, proudly and wickedly boasted of having established his kingdom so surely, that it was not in the power of any God to dispossess him of it.† But God abaseth the proud. The subjects of Pharaoh-hophra having rebelled on the destruction of the army which he sent into Lydia against the Cyrenians, he .cent Amasis one of his officers, to reduce them to their duty. But while he was addressing them, they placed the ensigns of royalty on his head, and proclaimed him king. Amasis accepted the title, and confirmed the Egyptians in their revolt; and the greater part of the nation declaring for him, (chiefly in consequence of the cruelty of Apries to Paterbemis another officer, who had been sent to arrest Amasis, which he was not able to effect,) he was obliged to retire into Upper Egypt, where he maintained himself for some years. The country being thus weakened by intestine war, was attacked and easily overcome by Nebuchadnezzar, in revenge for their having attempted to assist the Jews and Tyrians, B. C, 572 : and having slain an immense number of the inhabitants, and driven others out of the land, burnt their cities, and taken a prodigious booty, he returned to Babylon, leaving Amasis his viceroy. After his departure, Apries marched against Amasis ; and being defeated at Memphis, he was taken prisoner, carried to Sais, and strangled in his own palace, thus verifying the prophecy of Jeremiah, (ch. 44. 30.) “Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will give Pharaoh-hophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life.”+

Thus also were accomplished the prophecies of Ezekiel against this wicked prince and people, (ch. 30. 21—24.) “ Son of man, I have

broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and, lo, it shall not be bound up to be healed, to put a roller to bind it, to make it strong to hold the sword. Therefore thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and will break his arms, the strong, and that which was broken; and I will cause the sword to fall out of his hand. And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries. And I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and put my sword in his hand : but I will break Pharaoh's arms, and he shall groan before him with the groanings of a deadly wounded man." When the king of Babylon took from the king of Egypt, in the days of Pharaoh-necho, all his dominions in Asia, one of his arms was broken. God now declared that he should never recover these territories, or gain any ascendancy in that part of the world; nay, that his other arm, which was now strong should'soon be broken, and rendered utterly useless. This was fulfilled when Hophra was dethroned and driven into Upper Egypt by Amasis; and when Nebuchadnezzar invaded and conquered that kingdom, and enslaved, dispersed, and carried captive the Egyptians.* We learn from Berosus (apud Josephus, 1. ix.c. 11. $ 1.) that Nebuchadnezzar sent several captive Egyptians to Babylon; and from Megasthenes (apud Euseb. Præp. Evang. l. ix. c. 41.) that he transplanted others to Pontus; and it is probable, that at the dissolution of the Babylonian empire, about forty years after, (during which time this once populous country had continued almost utterly desolate,) Cyrus permitted them to return to their native country, agreeably to the prophecy of Ezekiel, (ch. 29. 12, 13.)* “ And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years; and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries. Yet thus saith the Lord God; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered.” The Chaldean empire being dissolved, the Egyptians under Amasis attempted to recover their freedom; but Cyrus marching his troops into their country, obliged them to acknowledge his authority. After his death they again revolted from the Persian yoke; but Cambyses invaded and dreadfully ravaged their country, and wholly subdued them, B. C. 525. They again, B. C. 487, shook off the Persian yoke; but were subdued by Xerxes, who rendered their bondage more grievous. Instigated by Inarus, king of Libya, whom they had acknowledged their sovereign, they again revolted, B. C. 454 ; but were reduced by Artaxerxes Longimanus, after a dreadful war of six years. About B. C. 413, Amyrtæus, who had some time reigned in the fen country, attacked the Persian garrison with fury, and drove them completely out of Egypt. After the Egyptians had struggled with the Persians for liberty about sixty years, a furious intestine war between Nectanebus and a Mendesian prince, exhausted their strength; when Artax

Comprehensive Bible, Note in loco. !

erxes Ochus, taking advantage of it, invaded and ransacked their country, and made it a Persian province, B. C. 350. Thus, “ were they given over into the hands of cruel lords,” (Isa. 21. 4.) Nebuchadnezzar who first conquered and ravaged Egypt, and then, not only his successors, but Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, and the whole succession of Persian kings till the time of Alexander, who were in general hard masters, and grievously oppressed the country.* When Alexander the Great marched into Egypt, B. C. 332, the Egyptians, weary of the Persian yoke, readily submitted to him as their powerful deliverer. For about 323 years after this they were governed by the Grecian Ptolemies, under four or five of whom their country bade fair to recover its ancient splendour. Agreeably to the prophecy of Isaiah, (ch. 19. 18—25,) the knowledge of the true God was disseminated in Egypt under the successors of Alexander; and an early reception given to the gospel in the same country.* The Romans next annexed it to their dominions in the form of a province, A. D. 30; and in A. D. 640, the Saracens, under Omar, conquered it, and established the Mohammedan delusion, which has obtained there ever since. About A. D. 970, the Moslem caliph of Cyrene wrested it from the caliph of Bagdad ; and he and his descendants governed it 200 years. About 1171, Saladin the Curd craftily seized it; and he and his posterity governed it for eighty years. It was next ruled by the Mamalouks, or slave usurpers, for 275 years; and in 1525, it was annexed to the Ottoman empire, of which it still forms a part, being governed by a pasha and twenty-four begs or chiefs. Thus has Egypt been the basest of kingdoms,' and has not been governed by a prince of the land of Egypt for upwards of 2000 years. (Jer. 25. 46. Ezek. 29. 32.) Having been successively under the dominion of the Babylonians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Saracens, Mamaluke slaves, and Turks, to whom it remains in most abject servitude to this day, it has thus continued a most base, or triþutary kingdom. See Bp. Newton.t

(12.) The MOABITES and AMMONITES, who were the descendants of the incestuous offspring of Lot. (Gen. 19. 30--38.) The former dwelt on the East of the Dead sea, northward of the Midianites, and along the banks of the river Arnon, in a tract of country whence they had expelled the Emim, a gigantic aboriginal race, who were of the offspring of Ham. (De. 2. 11, 12.) The Ammonites had their residence north-east of the Moabites, and east of the Reubenites and Gadites, in the territory of which Rabbah was the capital, and which they had wrested from the gigantic Zamzummim, another part of the descendants of Ham, (De. 2. 18—22; 3. 11.) They were violently hostile to the Israelites, whom they terribly oppressed at various times; but, after being successively conquered by Ehud, (Ju. 3. 13—20.) Jephthah, (Ju. X. xi.) and Saul, (1 Sam. xi.) they were wholly subdued by David. (2 Sam. X...xii. 1 Ch. xviii...XX.) For about 150 years they continued subject to the Israelites ;

and after the division of the kingdom, fell to the share of the ten tribes. After the death of Ahab, the Moabites rebelled; but were severely chastised by his son Jehoram, and their country nearly ruined. (2 Ki. 1. 1—3.) Both nations united in the confederacy against Jehoshaphat, when their armies perished in the attempt. (2 Ch. xx. Ps. lxxxii.) The kings of Israel being no longer able to retain them in subjection, Uzziah and Jotham kings of Judah, conquered and made them tributary; but it appears they regained their freedom during the nnhappy reign of Ahaz. (2 Ch. xxvi...xxviii.) While the Assyrians ravaged the kingdom of Israel, the Ammonites and Moabites seized on the cities near them, and murdered the inhabitants in the most inhuman manner; but soon afterwards, the Assyrians seized their wealth, burnt their cities, murdered or carried captive many of their people, and desolated their country. After the death of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, they again asserted their independence. They ungenerously triumphed over the Jews when oppressed and carried captive by the Chaldeans; but they were soon involved in the same calamity by Nebuchadnezzar, in revenge for their assisting the Tyrians when he passed through Syria in his way to Egypt. Josephus (Ant. 1. x. c. 2.) expressly states, that five years after the destruction of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar turned his arms against the Ammonites and Moabites, and entirely subjugated them; and it is probable, that the Arabs, and other nations east of Judah, then took possession of their cities, and enjoyed the fruits of their land, agreeably to the prophecy of Ezekiel, (ch. xxv.)* After the destruction of the Babylonian empire by Cyrus, many of the Moabites were afterwards restored to their country by him, as we learn from Josephus; but they never were restored to their national consequence; and perhaps their restoration in the latter days spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah (ch, 48. 47.) refers to the conversion of their scattered remnants to the Gospel. + They afterwards successively became subject to the Persians, Greeks and Romans. After the captivity, they took every opportunity to distress the Jews; till Judas Maccabæus, provoked with their insults, particularly during the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, invaded the Ammonites with a small force, routed their armies, burnt their cities, and made slaves of their wives and children, (1 Mac. v.); and about seventy years afterwards Alexander Jannæus reduced the Moabites into a state of slavery to the Jewish nation. After the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans all the tribes around Judea were denominated in general Arabians; and before the end of the third century, the Moabites and Ammonites were not known as distinct people. The country of Moab and Ammon is now inhabited by the Bedouin Arabs; where they pasture their flocks, and, no doubt, make the ruins of Rabbah, their once proud capital, 'a stable for camels,' (Ezek. 25. 5.) and other cattle, and their name has utterly perished from the face of the earth. Thus Moab (as well as Ammon) has long since ceased to be a nation ; “ and destroyed from being a people;" (Jer. 48. 42.) while the Jews, agreeably to the Divine promise, (ch. 46. 28.) though successively subdued and oppressed by the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Syro-Macedonians, and Romans, (which have also passed away, and are no more) and dispersed over the face of the earth, subsist to this day as a distinct people from all the nations of the world.*

+ Idem, Note in loco,

* Comprehensive Bible, Note on Ezek. 25. 4.

1 Idem, Introd. pp. 92, 93,

(13.) The PHILISTINES, who were part of the posterity of Mizraim, the second son of Ham, (Gen. 10. 14. 1 Chr. 1. 11, 12.); who, leaving Caphtor, or the north-eastern part of Egypt, settled at an early period in a small strip of territory along the shore of the Mediterranean, in the south-west of Cannan, having expelled the Avites, who had before possessed it. (Deut. 2. 23. Amos 9.7. Jer. 47. 4.) As early as the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Ephraim, they were a powerful people, in possession of several considerable cities, and even at that period discovered their enmity to the Hebrews. (Gen. xx. xxi. xxvi. 1 Chr. 7. 21.) Though Joshua allotted their territories to the tribe of Judah, they long retained the fortified cities of Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, Gaza, and Gath, which constituted their five satrapies or lordships. They were perhaps the most inveterate enemies the Israelites had to encounter; never losing an opportunity of doing them a mischief. They frequently conquered and held them in bondage ; and though Samson, Samuel, and others were raised up to deliver the Israelites out of their hands, yet they continued to maintain their independence till the time of David, who entirely subjected them. (Jud. 3. 31. xiii. xvi. 1 Sam. iv. vii. xiii. xiv. xvii. xviii. xxxi. 2 Sam. vii. viii. 1 Ch. 14.8-17; 18. 1.) Towards the latter part of his reign they attempted to revolt, (2 Sam. 21. 13—22. 1 Chr. 20. 4-8.); and not long after the division of the Hebrew monarchy, they renewed the war with the ten tribes. (1 Kings 15. 27 : 16. 15.) They joined in the grand confederacy against Jehoshaphat to their own damage, (2 Chr. xx. Psa. 83. 7—18.); but under his son Jehoram, they ravaged the kingdom of Judah, and sold multidudes of the Jews to the Edomites and Greeks. (2 Chr. 21. 16, 17. Amos 1. 6. Joel 3. 6.) Although Uzziah, king of Judah had reduced part of their country, they again took up arms in the days of Ahaz, and seized upon part of Judea, (2 Chr. 26. 6; 28. 18. Isa. 9. 12.); but about twenty years after, Hezekiah reduced the whole of their country to the brink of ruin, (2 Kings 18. 8. Isa. 14. 29—31.) Not long after they were attacked by the Assyrians, (Isa. 20. 1); and to expel their troops, Psammiticus, king of Egypt, reduced Ashdod by a siege of twenty-nine years. After being greatly harassed by the kings of Egypt, they were, with the other neighbouring nations, conquered by Nebuchadnezzar. Provoked with their aitempts to assist the Tyrians, he desolated their country, burnt their cities, and murdered their inhabitants, according to the prediction of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, (Jer. xlvii. Ez.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »