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vale of Siddim should have been once named : so in true estimation it is a thing of great improbability, that Chedorlaomer, if he were king of Persia alone, should pass through so great a part of the world, as the countries of Assyria, Chaldea, Mesopotamia, Syria, and part of Arabia and Canaan, to subdue those five towns, whose very names how they should come to his ear, being disjoined by so many great nations of different languages, a wise man could hardly conjecture. And if all the countries bordering Persia, together with the Babylonian himself, yea the kingdom of Elassar, and that of Tidal, so far off removed, were become his dependants, what reason can we find that might have induced him to hearken after Sodom and Gomorrah ? and when he should have sought the establishment of his newgotten empire, by rooting out the posterity of Ninus, (as Ninus had dealt by Pharnus of Media, and Zoroaster of Bactria,) than to employ the forces of Amraphel, and those other kings, against five petty towns, leaving Tyrus and Sidon, and the great city of Damasco, with many other places of much importance, and far nearer unto him, unsubdued ? Now as these doubts, which may be alleged against the first conquest of the vale of Siddim, are exceeding vehement; so are the objections to be made against his reconquest of these five cities, when they had revolted, as forcible; yea and more, as being grounded partly upon the text itself. For first, what madness had it been in that small province to rebel against so powerful a monarch! Or if it were so, that they dwelling far from him, hoped rather to be forgotten, than that he should come or send to reclaim them ; was it not more than madness in them, when his terrible army approached, still to entertain hope of evasion; yea, to make resistance (being themselves a dissolute, and therefore unwarlike people) against the power of all the nations between Euphrates, yea between themselves and the river of Indus? Likewise on the part of Chedorlaomer we should find no greater wisdom, if he, knowing the weakness of this people, had raised such a world of men against them; whom by any
RALEGH, HIST. WORLD. VOL. II.
lieutenant, with small forces, he might have subdued. For the perpetual inheritance of that little country was not sufficient to countervail one month's charges of so huge an army. How small then must his valour have been, who with so mighty preparations effected no more than the wasting of that valley, wherein he left the cities standing, taking no one of them; but returned well contented with a few prisoners, and the pillage of the country, although he had broken their army in the field ! Now the scriptures do not of this invasion (supposed so great) make any fearful matter ; but compose the two armies as equally matched, saying they were four kings against five; yea, if the place be literally expounded, we shall find in Genesis xiv. 17. that Abraham slew all these kings, of which great slaughter no history makes mention; neither will the reign of Ninias, who lived four or five years longer, permit that he should have died so soon; neither would histories have forgotten the manner of his death, if he had so strangely perished in Syria. Whereby it appears, that these four kings were not the same that they are commonly thought ; nor their forces so great as opinion hath made them. It may therefore well be true, that these kings were such as many others, who in that age carried the same title, lords and commanders every one of his own company, which he carried forth as a colony, seeking place where to settle himself and them, as was the usual manner of those times.
Neither is it improbable, that Chedorlaomer leading a troop of Persians, Amraphel some people out of Shinar, and Tidal others gathered out of sundry places, might consort together, and make the weakest of the country which lay about them to pay them tribute. Whosoever will consider the beginning of the first book of Thucydides, with the manner of discoveries, conquests, and plantations, in the infancy of Greece, or the manner of the Saracens invading Africa and Spain, with almost as many kings as several armies ; or the proceedings of the Spaniards in their new discoveries, passages, and conquests in the West Indies ; may
easily perceive, that it was neither unusual for the leaders of colonies to receive title from the people whom they conducted, nor to make alliances together, and break them again; disturbing sometimes one the other, sometimes helping in pursuit of a conquest. That Amraphel and his associates were such manner of commanders, it may seem the more likely, by the slothful quality of Ninias then reigning in Assyria ; whose unmanlike temper was such, as might well give occasion to such undertaking spirits, as wanted the employments whereunto they were accustomed in the reign of Semiramis, rather to seek adventures abroad, than to remain at home unregarded; whilst others, more unworthy than themselves, were advanced. If the consent of the whole stream of writers upon this place make this conjecture disagreeable to the text, to the authority whereof all human reason must subscribe, then we may hold ourselves to the former conjecture, that Amraphel was Ninias; and that the power of his ancestors being by his sloth decayed, he might well be inferior to the Persian Chedorlaomer: or if this do not satisfy, we may say that Amraphel was an under king or satrape of Shinar, under Ninias, who may be supposed to have had his imperial seat in his father's city Nineveh, and to have preferred it before Shinar and Babylon, the city of his mother, whom he hated as an usurper of his right. But if it were possible that in a case not concerning any man's salvation, and wherein therefore none hath cared to take great pains, all might err; then can I think that the opinion, that these four kings were leaders of colonies, sent out of the countries named in the text, and not kings of the countries themselves, is most consonant both to the condition of those times and to the scripture. And hereto add, that Chedorlaomer seems rather called a Persian king, than king of Persia ; and that Arioch (whose kingdom undoubtedly was between Syria and Arabia) having been a man of action, or being a worthy man's son, was very well pleased to give passage and assistance to these captains or petty kings. These and such like things here to urge, were but with circumstances to adorn a supposition, which
either may stand without them, or, if it must fall, is unworthy to have cost bestowed upon it; especially considering, that it is not my intent to employ any more time in making it good, but to leave it wholly to the reader's pleasure, to follow any of these opinions, or any other, if he
that shall seem better than these. But of what countries or people soever these four were kings, this expedition is the only public action that we know of performed by Abraham. And as for other things belonging to his story, and of his sons, and of his nephews Esau and Jacob, as they are registered by Moses, because it is not our purpose neither to stand upon things generally known to all Christians, nor to repeat what hath been elsewhere already spoken, nor to prevent ourselves in things that may hereafter in due place be remembered, we pass them here in silence. And because in this story of Abraham and his posterity there is much mention of Egypt, by which it appears, that even in the time of Abraham it was a settled and flourishing kingdom, it will not be amiss, in the next place, to speak somewhat of the antiquities and first kings thereof.
CHAP. II. Of the kings of Egypt from the first peopling of it after
the flood, to the time of the delivery of the Israelites from thence.
SECT. I. A brief of the names and times of the first kings of Egypt; with a
note of the causes of difficulty in resolving of the truth in these points.
SOON after the confusion at Babel, as it seems, Cham, with many of his issue and followers, (having doubtless known the fertility of Egypt before the flood,) came thither, and took possession of the country; in which they built many cities, and began the kingdom one hundred and ninety-one years after the deluge. The ancient governors of this kingdom, till such time as Israel departed Egypt, are shewn in the table following. Au. Mundi. An. Dil.
620 Orus. 2391 735 Sesostris the Great. 2424 768 Sesostris the Blind. 2438 782 Busiris, or Orus, the second. 2476
820 Acenchere, or Thermutis, or Meris. 2488 832 Rathoris, or Athoris. 2497 841 Chencres, drowned in the Red sea.
The table, and especially the chronology, is to be confirmed by probabilities and conjectures, because in such obscurity manifest and resistless truth cannot be found. For St. Augustine, a man of exceeding great judgment and incomparable diligence, who had sought into all antiquities, and had read the books of Varro, which now are lost, yet omitted the succession of the Egyptian kings; which he would not have done, if they had not been more uncertain than the Sicyonians, whom he remembereth, than whom doubtless they were more glorious. One great occasion of this obscurity in the Egyptian story was the ambition of the priests ; who, to magnify their antiquities, filled the records, which were in their hands, with many leasings; and recounted unto strangers the names of many kings that never reigned. What ground they had for these reports of supposed kings, it shall appear anon.
Sure it is, that the magnificent works and royal buildings in Egypt, such as are never found but in states that have greatly flourished, witness that their princes were of marvellous greatness, and that the reports of the priests were not altogether falsc. A second cause of our ignorance in the Egyptian history was the too much credulity of some good authors, who, believing the manifold and contrary reports of sundry Egyptians, and