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of which Arioch was king; who formerly joined with Ninus in all his conquests, being of the same family, and descended from Cham and Chus; after whom the name of Arius was by the Hebrews written Arioch, and afterwards again Aretas, as in the i Maccabees ; the kings of Arabia holding that name even to the time of k St. Paul, who was sought to be betrayed by the lieutenant of Aretas, commanding in Damascus. They were princes for the most part confederate and depending upon the Assyrian empire. It is true, that we find in Daniel ii. that in the time of Nabuchodonosor, one Arioch was general of his army, and the principal commander under him, who was a king of kings; which makes it plain, that Arioch here spoken of, the son of that Arioch confederate of Ninus, was no king of Pontus, nor of Scythia; regions far removed from the Assyrians and Babylonians. The name also of Arioch, who commanded under Nabuchodonosor, is mentioned in Judith by the name of king of the Elymeans, who are a nation of Persians bordering Assyria, according to Stephanus, though Pliny sets it between the sea-coast and Media ; and if
brother of the Arabian kings, or other of that house, (known by the name of Arius, Arioch, Areta, or Aretas,) had the government of that Persian province called Elymais, (as it seemeth they had by the places of Daniel and Judith,) yet the same was in Nabuchodonosor's time. But this Arioch here spoken of may with more reason be taken for the king of Arabia, the son of Arius, the confederate of Ninus, whose sons held league as their fathers did, being the next bordering prince of all on that side towards the west to Babylonia and Chaldæa, and in amity with them from the beginning, and of their own house and blood ; which ? D. Siculus also confirmeth.
Of Tidal, another of the four kings. THE fourth king by Abraham overthrown was Tidal, king of the nations. The Hebrew writes it Gojim, which 2 Macc. v. 2. 2 Cor. xi. 32.
I Diod. Sic. 1. 2. c. 1.
Vatablus takes to be a proper name; Lyra, of mixed people; Calvin, of runagates without habitation ; Pererius out of Strabo finds that Galilæa was inhabited by divers nations, which were a mixed people ; namely, of Egyptians, Arabians, and Phenicians : m Nam tales sunt qui Galilæam habitant; “Such are the inhabitants of Galilæe,” saith Strabo; and therefore was Tidal called king of these nations, as they suppose. And it may be so: but the authority of Strabo is nothing in this question. For Galilæa was not peopled at this time as it was in the time of Strabo. For when Abraham came into Canaan, the n Canaanite was then in the land, howsoever they might be afterwards mixed; which I know not. But there are many petty kingdoms adjoining to Phænicia and Palestina ; as Palmyrena, Batanea, Laodicene, Apamena, Chalcedice, Cassiotis, Chalibonitis; and all these do also join themselves to Mesopotamia on the north, and to Arabia on the east. And that these nations gathered themselves together under Tidal, I take to be the probablest conjecture.
That Chedorlaomer, the chief of the four kings, was not of Assyria,
but of Persia ; and that the Assyrian empire at this time was much impaired.
LASTLY, whereas it is conceived that Chedorlaomer was the Assyrian emperor, and that 'Amraphel was but a satrape, viceroy, or provincial governor of Babylonia, and that the other kings named were such also, I cannot agree with Pererius in this. For Moses was too well acquainted with the names of Assur and Shinar, to call the Assyrian a king of Elam, those kings being in the scriptures evermore called by the name of Chaldæa, Shinar, Babylonia, or Assyria, but never by Elam; and Chedorlaomer, or Kedarlaomer, was so called of Kidor, from Cidarim, which in the Hebrew signifieth regale ; for so Q. Curtius calleth the garment which the Persian kings wear on their heads. Neither do I believe that the Assyrian or Babylonian emm Strab. 1. 16. fol. 523.
u Gen, xii. 6.
pire stood in any greatness at the time of this invasion; and my reasons are these: first, Example and experience teach us, that those things which are set up hastily, or forced violently, do not long last: Alexander became lord of all Asia on this side of Indus, in a time of so short a life, as it lasted not to overlook what itself had brought forth. His fortunes were violent, but not perpetual, for his empire died at once with himself; all whose chief commanders became kings after him. Tamerlane conquered Asia and India with a storm-like and terrible success; but to prevalent fury God hath adjoined a short life; and whatsoever things nature herself worketh in haste, she taketh the least care of their continuance. The fruit of his victories perished with him, if not before him.
Ninus being the first whom the madness of boundless dominion transported, invaded his neighbour princes, and became victorious over them; a man violent, insolent, and cruel. Semiramis taking the opportunity, and being more proud, adventurous, and ambitious than her paramour, enlarged the Babylonian empire, and beautified many places therein with buildings unexampled. But her son having changed nature and condition with his mother, proved no less feminine than she was masculine. And as wounds and wrongs, by their continual smart, put the patient in mind how to cure the one and revenge the other; so those kings adjoining (whose subjection and calamities incident were but new, and therefore the more grievous) could not sleep, when the advantage was offered by such a successor. For in regno Babylonico hic parum resplenduit; “ This king shined lit
tle,” saith Nauclerus of Ninias, “ in the Babylonian king“ dom.” And likely it is, that the necks of mortal men having been never before galled with the yoke of foreign dominion, nor having ever had experience of that most miserable and detested condition of living in slavery; no long descent having as yet invested the Assyrian with a right, nor any other title being for him to be pretended than a strong hand; the foolish and effeminate son of a tyrannous and hated father could very ill hold so many great princes and nations his vassals, with a power less mastering, and a mind less industrious than his father and mother had used before him. And he that was so much given over to licentious idleness, as to suffer his mother to reign forty-two years, and thereof the greatest part after he came to man's estate, witnessed thereby to the world, that he so much preferred ease before honour, and bodily pleasures before greatness, as he neither endeavoured to gain what he could not govern, nor to keep what he could not without contentious peril enjoy.
These considerations being joined to the story of Amraphel, delivered by Moses, by which we find that Amraphel king of Shinar was rather an inferior to the king of Persia, than either his superior or equal, make it seem probable, that the empire of Ninus and Semiramis was at that time broken asunder, and restrained again to Babylonia.
For conclusion I will add these two arguments confirming the former : first, That at such time as it pleased God to impose that great travel upon Abraham, from Ur in Chaldæa to Charran, and then to Canaan, a passage of 700 miles, or little less, with women, children, and carriages; the countries through which he wandered were then settled and in peace. For it was in the twenty-third year of Ninias, when Abraham, obeying the voice of God, took this great journey in hand; in which time of twenty-three years after the death of Semiramis, the neighbour princes had recovered their liberty and former estates. For Semiramis's army of four millions, with herself, utterly consumed in India, and all her arms and engines of war at the same time lost, gave an occasion and opportunity even to the poorest souls, and weakest hearted creatures of the world, to repurchase their former liberty.
Secondly, It is affirmed by the best and ancientest historians, that Arius the son of Ninias, or Amraphel, invaded the Bactrians and Caspians, and again subjected them; which needed not, if they had not been revolted from Ninias, after Ninus's death. And as Arioch recovered one part, so did Baleus or Balaneus, otherwise Xerxes, reduce the rest
Strabo, l. 15.
revolted to their former obedience. Of whom it is said, that he conquered from Egypt to India, and therefore was called Xerxes, id est, victor et triumphator, “ a conqueror “ and triumpher;" which undertakings had been no other than the effects of madness, had not those countries freed themselves from the Babylonian subjection. Now if we shall make any doubt hereof, that is, of the reconquest of Arius and Xerxes, both which lived after Ninus and Ninias, we may as well think the rest of Ninus and Semiramis to be but feigned; but if we grant this reconquest, then is it true that while Ninias or Amraphel ruled, the Assyrian empire was torn asunder, according to that which hath been gathered out of Moses, as before remembered.
That it is not improbable that the four kings had no dominion in the
countries named, but that they had elsewhere with their colonies planted themselves, and so retained the names of the countries whence they came ; which if it be so, we need not say that Amraphel was Ninias, nor trouble ourselves with many other difficulties.
THE consent of all writers, whose works have come to my perusal, agreeing as they do, that these four kings, Amraphel of Shinar, Chedorlaomer of Elam, and their fellows, were lords of those regions, whereunto they are or seem entitled, doth almost enforce us to think, that the history must so be understood as I have delivered. But if in this place, as often elsewhere in the scriptures, the names of countries may be set for people of those lands; or if, as Jerome hath it, Chedorlaomer was king of the Elamites, as Tidal was said to be of the nations, that is, of people either wanting a fixed habitation, or gathered out of sundry regions; then may we otherwise conceive of this history, removing thereby some difficulties which men perhaps have been unwilling to find, because they could not find how to resolve them. For as it had been a strange conjecture to think that Arioch was drawn to assist the Persian against the Sodomite, as far as from Pontus, where it is very unlikely that Chedorlaomer was known, and almost impossible that the