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had that age ere any of his sons were begotten, it may
be gathered by example and comparison ; for c Peleg, the fourth from Noah, as Raama was, begat Regu in the same year of his life.
Let us then allow sixty years more after the birth of Nimrod for two other generations to be brought forth, or else we shall hardly find people to build Babel ; for sure we are that it was done by hands, and not by miracle; because it displeased God. These two numbers of sixty-five and sixty make 125; the rest of the time of 131 (in which year they arrived in Shinar, whereof there were six years remaining) we may give them for their travels from the east ; because they were pestered with women, children, and cattle ; and, as some ancient writers have conceived, and Becanus of later times, they kept always the mountains' sides, for fear of a second flood. Now if we take this number of 131 out of 352, there remains 221, of which number d Berosus bestoweth sixty-five on Belus, and forty-two on Ninus, before Abraham born, both which St. Augustine approveth; which two numbers taken again out of 221, there remaineth 114 years of the 352, from the flood to Abraham's birth; which number of 114 necessity bestoweth on Nimrod.
And if it be objected that this time given to Nimrod is over-long, sure if we compare the age of Nimrod with the rest of the same descent from Noah, it will rather appear over-short. For Nimrod, by this account, lived in all but 179 years, whereof he reigned 112; whereas Sale, who was the son of Arphaxad the son of Sem, lived 433 years; and of the same age of the world was Nimrod, the son of Chus, the son of Cham.
Now after Abraham was born,
Ninus reigned nine years ; which, added to forty-three, make fifty-two.
Ninus dieth, and leaveth Semiramis his successor. Semiramis governed the empire of Babylonia and Assyria forty-two years, and died in the fifty-second year e complete of Abraham's life.
c Gen. xi, 18.
d An. a salute humani generis ab aquis centesimo primo cæpit regnum
Babylonicum sub nostro Saturno patre Jovis Beli, qui imperavit annis 65. Berosus.
Ninias, or Zameis, succeeded Semiramis, and ruled thirtyeight years, in the second year of whose reign Abraham left Mesopotamia.
When Abraham was eighty-five years old, he rescued his nephew Lot, and overthrew by surprise Amraphel king of Shinar, or Babylonia. Ninias reigned thirty-eight years, and Abraham came into Canaan but twenty-three years after Semiramis died; which was the seventy-fifth year of his age: so that Amraphel may seem to have been this Ninias the son of Ninus, and Semiramis, whose twenty-third year, as aforesaid, being the seventy-fifth year of Abraham, he and his fellow-kings might have received this overthrow in the eighty-fifth year of Abraham, and the thirty-third year of his own reign; after which he reigned five years, which make in all thirty-eight. But the truth is, that the reasons to the contrary, urging that this Amraphel could not be Ninias, are not easily answered. Howbeit for the times of the Assyrian kings, that they are to be ordered as we have set them down, according to the times noted by Moses, in the story of Abraham, it is most certain ; unless we will either derogate from the truth of Moses's computation, which were impiety; or account the whole history of Ninus and Semiramis to be a fiction; which were to condemn all ancient historians for fablers.
That Amraphel, one of the four kings whom Abraham overthrew,
Gen. xiv, may probably be thought to have been Ninias the son of Ninus.
AND now touching this Amraphel, whom Moses makes king of Shinar or Babylonia, in the eighty-fifth year of Abraham's life, that is, in the thirty-third year of the reign of Ninias Zameis the king of the Assyrians, the son of Ninus and Semiramis, it is hard to affirm what he was, and
e Of the world 2017. Of the flood 761. 2059. mundi, 403. a dil. 2083. 427. 2093. 437.
how he could be at this time king of Babylonia; Ninias Zameis then reigning there. To this doubt the answer which first offereth itself as most probable, is that which hath been already noted, that this Ninias, or Zameis, was no other than our Amraphel ; who invaded Trachonitis, or Basan, and overthrew those five kings of Pentapolis, or the valley of Siddim. For the scriptures tell us, that Amraphel was king of Shinar, which is Babylonia ; and the times before accounted make him to be the successor of Ninus and Semiramis; and it falleth out with the eighty-fifth year of Abraham's life, wherein he rescued Lot, slew Chedorlaomer, and overthrew the rest. True it is, that this Amraphel was not at this time the greatest monarch; for Chedorlaomer commanded in chief, though Amraphel be first named by Moses in the first verse of the 14th chapter of Genesis. For the kings of the valley of Siddim, or of Pentapolis, or of the five cities, were the vassals of Chedorlaomer, and not of Amraphel ; as it is written, f Twelve
years were they subject to Chedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him; and therefore was Chedorlaomer the principal in this enterprise, who was then king of Elam, which is Persia : now Persia being seated over Tigris, and to the east of Amraphel's country; and the other two kings, which were companions with Amraphel, being seated to the west of Shinar, or Babylonia ; Amraphel, who held Babylonia itself, seemeth at this time to have had no great scope or large dominion. For had Amraphel been so great a prince as profane historians make Ninus or Semiramis whom he succeeded, he should not have needed the assistance of three other kings for this expedition. But though Chedorlaomer were the first and greatest of those four kings, (as it is manifest that he was; for these little kings of Sodom, Gomorrha, &c. were his vassals, and not Amraphel's,) yet this makes not the conjecture less probable, but that this Amraphel might be Ninias. For it may be, that the great and potent empire of Assyria had now (as we shall
Gen. xiv. 4, 5.
shew more plainly in that which followeth) received a downright fall at the time of this war; though not long before, it commanded all the kingdoms between India and the Phoenician sea; to wit, in the times of Ninus and Semiramis.
SECT. X. Of Arioch another of the four kings; and that Ellas, whereof he is said to have been king, lies between Cælesyria and Arabia Petræa.
NOW the two other kings joined with Amraphel and Chedorlaomer, were Arioch and Tidal; the one king of Ellassar, the other of the nations. For Ellassar, Aquila and Jerome write Pontus; so Tostatus thinketh that it should be Hellespont, which opinion Pererius favoureth. But this is only to defend the Latin translation. For as Pontus, so is Hellespont far distant, and out of the way to send any armies into Arabia Petræa, or into Idumæa, which countries these four kings chiefly invaded; besides that, it is certain, that the Assyrians (when they were greatest) had never any dominion in Asia the Less. For at such time as the Assyrians feared the invasion of the Medes and Persians, they sent not into Asia the Less as commanders, but used all the art they had to invite 8 Croesus to their assistance ; persuading him that nothing could be more dangerous for himself, and the other kings of those parts, than the success of the Medes against the Assyrians. But examine the enterprise what it was. h These kings, saith the text, made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrha, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemebar king of Zeboim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. All which five kings had not so much ground as Middlesex ; being such a kind of reguli, as Joshua found in the land long after; namely, lords of cities and small territories adjoining, of which Canaan had thirty-three all slain or hanged by Joshua. Neither can the other countries, which in the text they are said also to have invaded, be imagined to have been at that time of any great power ; and therefore to call in kings from Pontus or Hellespont had manifested a great 8 Xenophon..
h Gen. xit. 2.
impotence and weakness in the kings of Babylon and Persia.
And though it be alleged for an example, that divers kings far off came to assist Pompey against Cæsar ; yet these same examples, without like occasions and circumstances, do neither lead nor teach. For there was no cause to fear the greatness of these petty kings, or of the other countries; but the eyes of the world were fixed on Cæsar, and his undertakings and intents were to all other princes no less doubtful than fearful: but the whole country, by these four kings mastered in their passage, was afterwards given to the half tribe of Manasseh, Gad, and Reuben; a narrow valley of ground lying between Jordan and the mountains of Seir, enclosed by the river of Arnon on the south side, and by Libanus on the north, consisting of the two small provinces of Trachonitis or Basan, and the region of the Moabites; a conquest far unvaluable, and little answering to the power of the Assyrian empire, if the same had remained in any comparable estate with the times of Ninus and Semiramis, who subjected all the great kings of that part of the world, without the assistance of any of the kings of Hellespont, or any other part of Asia the Less. But as the Vulgar and Aquila convert Ellassar by Pontus, so Symmachus makes Arioch a king of the Scythians, a king indeed, as far fetched to join with the Assyrians in this war, as the world had any at that time. The Septuagint do not change the word of Ellassar at all, but as they keep the word Ararat, on the mountains whereof the ark did rest, so do they in this place retain the Hebrew word Ellassar, being doubtful to give it a wrong interpretation. And Pererius himself remembereth other opinions far more probable than this of Pontus or Hellespont; yet he dares not avow his liking of them, because the Latin translation hath it otherwise. For Stephanus de Urbibus, a Grecian cosmographer, findeth the city of Ellas in the border of Coelesyria. And St. Jerome calleth Ellas the city of Arioch, as in truth it was. Now although the same be seated by Stephanus in Cælesyria, yet it standeth on the border of Arabia,