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and greater probabilities to persuade those that look only into human reasons. For h Esay prophesied long before of the shameful captivity of the Egyptians, whom the king of Ashur should carry away naked, young and old, in such wise that the Jews, who fled unto them for deliverance from the Assyrian, should be ashamed of their own vain confidence in men so unable to defend themselves.
But Ezekiel and Jeremy, as their prophecies were nearer to the time of execution, so they handled this argument more precisely. For Ezekiel telleth plainly, that Egypt should be given to Nebuchadnezzar, as wages for the service which he had done at Tyre: also he recounteth particularly all the chief cities in Egypt, saying, that these by name should be destroyed and go into captivity; yea, that i Pharaoh and all his army should be slain by the sword. Wherefore it must needs be a violent exposition of these prophecies, which by applying the issue of such threatenings to an insurrection and rebellion, concludes all, without any other alteration in Egypt, than change of the king's person, wherein Amasis did succeed unto Apries, by force indeed, but by the uniform consent of all the people. Certainly, if that notable place of Jeremiah, wherein he foretelleth how the k Jews in Egypt should see Pharaoh Hophra delivered into the hands of his enemies, as Zedekias had been, were to be referred unto the time of that rebellion whereof Herodotus hath spoken, as the general opinion hath overruled it, then was it vainly done of the same prophet (which God forbid that any Christian should think, seeing he did it by the appointment of God himself) to hide in the clay of a brick-kiln those very stones upon which the throne of Nabuchodonosor should be set, and his pavilion spread; yea, then was that prophecy no other than false, which expressed the end of Pharaoh thus: 1 Behold, I will visit the common people of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods, and their kings; even Pharaoh, and all that trust in him: and I will deliver them into the hands of those that seek their lives, and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babel, and into the hands of his servants. The clearness of this prophecy being such as could not but refute that interpretation of many other places, which referred all to the rebellion of Amasis, it caused me to wonder what those commentators would say to it, who are elsewhere so diligent in fitting all to the Greek historians. Wherefore looking upon Junius, who had in another place taken the enemies of Pharaoh Hophra to be Amasis and his followers, I found him here acknowledging that the Egyptian priests had notably deluded m Herodotus with lies, coined upon a vain-glorious purpose of hiding their own disgrace and bondage. And surely it may well be thought, that the history of Nebuchadnezzar was better known to the Jews, whom it concerned, than to the Greeks, that scarcely at any time heard of his name. Therefore I see no cause why we should not rather believe Josephus, reporting that Nabuchodonosor, in the twenty-third year of his reign, and the fifth year of the destruction of Jerusalem, did conquer Egypt, kill the king thereof, and appoint another in his stead, than Herodotus or Diodore ; who being mere strangers to this business, had no great reason to labour in searching out the truth, but might rest contented with any thing that the priests would tell them. Now if, setting aside all advantage of authority, we should only consider the relations of Josephus and of the Greek bistorians, as either of them might be verified of itself by apparent circumstances, without reflecting upon the Hebrew prophets or Egyptian priests; methinks the death of Apries can no way be approved, as having been wrought by consent of the people, but affords great matter of suspicion ; yea, though no man had opposed the reports of Herodotus and Diodore. For the great love and honour which the Egyptians did bear unto their kings is notorious, by the uniform testimony of all others that have handled the matters of that country, as well as by the report of Diodore himself. How then can we think it probable that
h Isai. XX. 4, 5, 6.
* Jer. xliv. 30. and xliii. 10.
Apries, having won great victories, did for one only loss fall into the hatred of all his people, or which may serve to persuade us, that a king of Egypt would seek, or so demean himself that he might be thought to seek, the destruction of his natural subjects ? As for that army of thirty thousand soldiers, Carians and Ionians, which the king of Egypt, whom Amasis took prisoner, is said to have kept for his defence; doth it not argue that he was a foreigner, and one that armed himself against the Egyptians, wishing them few and weak, rather than any of the Pharaohs, who accounted the force of the country as assuredly their own as the strength of their own bodies ? It were more tedious than any way needful, to use all arguments that might be alleged in this case. The very death of this supposed Apries, which the clamours of the people obtained of Amasis, who sought to have kept him alive, doth intimate that he was some foreign governor, not a natural prince; otherwise the people would have desired to save his life, and Amasis to take it quickly from him. I will not labour any further to disprove that opinion, whereunto I should not have yielded, though it had stood upon great appearance of truth, considering that the voice of truth itself cries out against it; but leave the circumstances proving the conquest of Egypt by Nabuchodonosor to be observed, where due occasion in course of the story following shall present them.
SECT. IX. How Egypt was subdued and held by Nebuchadnezzar. IT is a great loss that the general history of the world hath suffered by the spoil and waste which time hath made of those monuments, that should have preserved the memory of such famous actions as were accomplished by this mighty prince Nabuchodonosor ; wherein, whether his virtue or fortune were greater, it is now uncertain. That his victories following the conquest of Syria, and the neighbour provinces, were such as did more enlarge his dominion than all his former wars had done, it may easily be gathered out of Ezekiel, who reckons up in his thirtieth chapter (besides the whole country of Egypt) Phut and Lud, with other nations that may seem to have reached out into Mauritania, , as people subdued by this great Babylonian. The circumstances of these wars are in a manner utterly lost; but that the victory was easy and swift, any man shall find, who will take the pains to confer the places wherein the three great prophets touch this argument. Thus much I think worthy of more particular observation, that Pharaoh, who (as isalready noted in the former book) thought himself safe in Egypt by the well defenced situation of his country, did very unwisely in suffering his enemies to sweep the way clean unto his own doors, by consuming all his friends and adherents in Syria. For as the labour of this business did more harden than weary the Chaldean army, so the confidence and vain security of the Egyptians, relying upon the difficult passages which the enemy was to make through the Arabian deserts, and the much advantage which the great river of Nilus would afford unto themselves, did little avail them in provision for the war, and much astonish them (as may justly be thought) in the time of execution: it being usually seen that the hearts of men fail, when those helps fail in which they had reposed more confidence than in their own virtue. Hitherto the kingdom of Egypt had flourished under the rule of the Pharaohs about a thousand and five hundred and fourscore years; but from this time forward it remained forty years without a king, under the subjection of the Babylonians; and then at length it began to recover by little and little the former greatness, yet so that it was never dreadful unto others, God having said of that people, o I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule the nations. For whereas it hath been said of Pharaoh, P I am the son of the wise, I am the son of the ancient kings; and whereas he had vaunted, 9 The river is mine, and I have made it; the princes of Egypt now became fools, the river failed them, the king himself was taken and slain, and that ancient lineage quite extinguished. This came to pass in the first year after the destruction of Jerusalem, and the • Ezek. xxix. 13, 14, 15.
twenty-third of Nebuchadnezzar, at which time (saith 'Josephus) “ he slew the king then reigning, placed another “ in his room, and carried captives thence to Babylon the “ Jews whom he found in that country.” Now concerning the time which Josephus gives unto this business, and the business itself, I have already shewed that it is warranted by all the prophecies which insinuate the same. As likewise the last destruction of Jerusalem, and carrying away those unto Babel who inhabited the miserable ruins of that great city, which was in the same s three and twentieth year of Nebuchadnezzar, is not unprobably thought by good authors to have been at the return from this Egyptian expedition. But whereas Josephus tells us that there was another king put in the room of Apries by Nebuchadnezzar, we must understand that he was only a viceroy, and not (as some have mistaken it) think that this was Amasis. For to place the beginning of Amasis's reign in the twenty-third of Nebuchadnezzar, were as well repugnant unto the prophecies before alleged, as to all chronology and history. Some there are, which to help this inconvenience imagine that there were two successively bearing the name of Amasis ; others, that there were two Apries, the one slain by Nebuchadnezzar, the other by Amasis; a question of small importance, because the difference is only about a name, it being once granted that the person mentioned in scriptures was deprived of life and kingdom by the Assyrians. Yet for any thing that I can perceive, that Apries, of whom the Greek historians wrote, could not be the deputy of Nebuchadnezzar, seeing that he was the grandchild of Pharaoh Necho, and made war (as they report) upon the Phænicians, who were, before the Egyptians, become subject unto the crown of Babylon. I might add perhaps, that he whom Nebuchadnezzar left as governor of Egypt, was more likely to have had some Chaldean or Assyrian than Egyptian name; unless we should think that he had been a traitor to his natural prince, and so rewarded by the conqueror with lieutenantship of the country; about which it were but friJos. Ant. Jud. I. 10. c. 11.
• Jer. lii. 30. RALEGH, VOL. III.