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is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nabuchodonosor thy father, the king (I say) thy father, made chief of the enchanters, astrologians, Chaldeans, and soothsayers ; because a more excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, &c. were found in him, even in Daniel, &c. Now let Daniel be called, and he will declare the interpretation.
This queen Josephus takes for the grandmother, b Origen and Theodoret for the mother of Balthasar; either of which may be true; for it appeareth that she was not any of the king's wives, because absent from the feast; and being past the age of dancing and banqueting, she came in upon the bruit of the miracle, and to comfort the king in his distraction. And whereas Daniel was forgotten and neglected by others of younger years and times, this old queen remembered well what he had done in the days of Nabuchodonosor, grandfather to this Balthasar, and kept in mind both his religion and divine gifts.
When Daniel was brought to the king's presence, who acknowledged those excellent grates wherewith God had enriched him, he prayed him, together with promises of reward and honour, to read and interpret those words miraculously written ; to whom Daniel made answer in a far different style from that he used towards his grandfather; for the evil which he foretold Nabuchodonosor, he wished that the same might befall his enemies; but to this king (whose neglect of God and vice he hated) he answered in these words; Keep thy rewards to thyself, and give thy gifts to another; yet will I read the writing unto the king, and shew him the interpretation. Which before he had performed, he gave him first the cause of God's just judgment against him, and the reason of this terrible sentence, whereof the king and all his wise men were utterly ignorant. Which being written at large in Daniel, chap. v. 18, 19, 20. hath this effect, that forgetting God's goodness to his father, whom all nations feared and obeyed, and that
Orig. et Theod. in Dan. Joseph. Ant. 10.
for his pride and neglect of those benefits, as he deprived him of his estate and understanding, so upon the acknowledgment of God's infinite power he restored him to both. This king notwithstanding lifted himself up against the same God; and presuming both to abuse those vessels dedicated to holy uses, and neglecting the Lord of all power, praised and worshipped the dead idols of gold, silver, brass, iron, stone, and wood; and therefore those words, from the oracle of a true God delivered, (to wit,) Mene, Tekel, Upharsin, gave the king knowledge that God had numbered the time of his kingdom, and finished it; that he weighed in the balance of God's justice, and found too light; and that his empire was divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
The very evening or night of this day, wherein Balthasar feasted and perished, Cyrus, either by his espial, according to Xenophon, or inspired by God himself, whose ensign he followed in this war, found the time and opportunity to invite him; and therefore while the king's head and the heads of his nobility were no less filled with the vapours of wine, than their hearts were with the fear of God's judgment, he caused all the banks and heads of his trenches to be opened and cut down with that diligence, as by them he drew the great river of Euphrates dry for the present, by whose empty channel his army made their entrance, finding none to disturb them. All the town lay buried (as the poet saith) in sleep and wine ; such as came in the Persians way were put to the sword, unless they saved themselves by flight, as some did, who ran away crying, and filling the streets with an uncertain tumult.
Such Assyrian lords as had revolted from Balthasar, and betaken themselves to the party of Cyrus, did now conduct a selected company to the king's palace; which having easily forced, they rushed into the chamber where the king with his princes were banqueting, slew both him and them without any mercy, who struggled in vain to keep those lives which God had newly threatened to take away. And now was the prophecy of Jeremy xxvii. fulfilled, and that
RALEGH, VOL. III.
of Esay xlvii. two hundred years before this subversion ; who in his forty-seventh chapter, and elsewhere, writeth this destruction so feelingly and lively, as if he had been present both at the terrible slaughter there committed, and had seen the great and unfeared change and calamity of this great empire; yea, and had also heard the sorrows and bewailings of every surviving soul thereunto subject. His prophecy of this place he beginneth in these words; Come down, and sit in the dust, o virgin daughter of Babel, sit on the ground: there is no throne, &c. And again, Sit still, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans : for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms. For though it cannot be doubted that God used Nabuchodonosor, and the Chaldeans, to punish the idolatry of the Judæans ; yet c Isaiah teacheth us in this place, that he did not yet forget that the execution of his judgments was mixed with a rigorous extremity. For, saith Isaiah, in the person of God, I was wroth with my people, I have polluted mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand: thou didst shew them no mercy; but thou didst lay thy very heavy yoke upon the ancient. I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of hosts, and will cut off from Babel the name, and the remnant, and the son, and the nephew. And in the thirteenth, Every one that is found shall be stricken through ; whosoever joineth himself shall fall by the sword, their children also shall be broken in pieces before their eyes; their houses spoiled, and their wives ravished. So as there is no historian who was either present at this victory of Cyrus, or that received the report from others truly as it was, that could better leave the same to posterity after it happened, than Isaiah had done in many places of his prophecies, which were written two hundred years before any thing attempted.
The greatness and magnificence of Babylon, were it not by divers grave authors set down, might seem altogether fabulous: for, besides the reports of St. Jerome, Solinus, and Orosius, Aristotle, in the third of his Politicks, the se
· Isa. xiv. to wit, Evilmerodach and Balthasar.
cond chapter, received the report for true, that one part of the city knew not that the rest was taken three days after: which is not impossible, if the testimony of a Diodorus Siculus may be taken, who finds the compass thereof at three hundred and sixty stadia or furlongs, which makes fortyfive miles; the walls whereof had so great a breadth, that six chariots might pass in front thereon. And of height, according to Ctesias and Clitracus, three hundred threescore and five foot, garnished with an hundred and fifty towers. Strabo, in the beginning of his sixteenth book of Geography, gives it a greater circuit, adding twenty-five furlongs more to the former compass, reckoning the same at three hundred fourscore and five furlongs, which makes forty-eight miles and one furlong, but finds the wall far under that which Diodore reports; and so doth Curtius measure their thickness but at thirty-two foot, and their height at an hundred cubits, which is also very much ; every cubit containing a foot and half of the large measure, though to the whole circuit of the city he gives the same with Siculus, and eight furlongs more. Herodotus finds a greater content than Strabo doth, namely, four hundred and fourscore furlongs in circle; the thickness of the wall he measures at fifty cubits, and the height at two hundred of the same regal cubit. For entrance, it had an hundred gates of brass, with posts and hooks to hang them on of the same metal; and therefore did the prophet f Esay rightly entitle Babylon, The princess and glory of kingdoms.
But when Cyrus had won her, he stripped her out of her princely robes, and made her a slave, dividing not only all her goodly houses, and her whole territory, with all the riches therein contained, among his soldiers; but bestowing the inhabitants themselves as bondslaves upon those that had taken possession of their goods.
Touching the reign of Cyrus, and the time which he enjoyed in rest and pleasure, I can say no more of it, than that it is generally agreed by all chronologers to have lasted only seven years; in which time he made such constitutions as differ little from the ordinances of all wise kings that are desirous to establish a royal power in themselves and their posterity.
a Diod. 1. 3.
• Her. 1.1.
Isa. xlvii. and xiii.
The end of Cyrus. THE last war, and the end of this great king Cyrus, is diversely written. Herodotus and Justin deliver, that after the conquest of Asia the Less, Cyrus invaded the Massagetes, a very warlike nation of the Scythians, governed by Tomyris their queen; and that in an encounter between the Persians and these northern Nomades, Tomyris lost her army, and her son Spargapises that commanded it: in revenge whereof, this queen making new levies of men of war, and following the war against Cyrus, in a second battle beat the Persian army, and taking Cyrus prisoner, cut off his head from his body, and cast the same into a bowl of blood, using these words: “ Thou that hast all thy life“ time thirsted for blood, now drink thy fill, and satiate thy
It should hereby seem that Cyrus, knowing the strength and multitude of those frozen nations, was persuaded to abate their fury by some forcible invasion and depopulation, because in the time of Cyaxares, father to Astyages, those Scythians invaded Media and Asia the Less, and held the same in a servile subjection twenty-eight years.
This war, which Metasthenes calleth Tomyrique, lasted (saith he) six years, and took end at the death of Cyrus.
But in this particular I believe with Viginier, that this Scythian war was rather the same which Cyrus made against the Sacians, before the conquest of Lydia, according to Ctesias before cited, who calleth Tomyris, Sparetha, though he deliver the success of that war otherwise than Herodotus doth: the rather, (saith & Viginier,) because Strabo, in his eleventh book, reciteth, that Cyrus surprised the Sacians by the same stratagem by which Justin saith he defeated the son of Tomyris. And the same h Ctesias also reporteth, that the last war which Cyrus made was against Amor6 Vig. prim. part. Bib.
1 Ctes. I. 15. bist. part.