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titude? behold, I will deliver it into thine | the year, that Ben-hadad numbered the Syhand this day; and thou shalt know that I rians, and went up to Aphek, "to fight am the Lord.
against Israel. 14 And Ahab said, By whom? And he 27 And the children of Israel were num said, Thus saith the LORD, Even by the bered, and were all present, and went 'young men of the princes of the provinces. against them: and the children of Israel Then he said, Who shall 'order the battle? pitched before them like two little flocks of And he answered, Thou.
kids; but the Syrians filled the country. 15 Then he numbered the young men of 28 | And there came a man of God, and the princes of the provinces, and they were spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus two hundred and thirty two: and after them saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have he numbered all the people, even all the said, The LORD is God of the hills, but he children of Israel, being seven thousand. not God of the vallies, therefore will I
16 And they went out at noon. But Ben- deliver all this great multitude into thine hadad was drinking himself drunk in the hand, and ye shall know that I am the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty and LORD. two kings that helped him.
29 And they pitched one over against 17 And the young men of the princes of the other seven days. And so it was, that the provinces went out first; and Ben-hadad in the seventh day the battle was joined: sent out, and they told him, saying, There and the children of Israel slew of the Syare men come out of Samaria.
rians an hundred thousand footmen in one 18 And he said, Whether they be come day. out for peace, take them alive; or whether 30 But the rest fled to Aphek, into the they be come out for war, take them alive. city; and there a wall fell upon twenty and
19 So these young men of the princes of seven thousand of the men that were left. the provinces came out of the city, and the And Ben-hadad fled, and came into the city, army which followed them.
13 l'into an inner chamber. 20 And they slew every one his man: and 31 And his servants said unto him, Bethe Syrians fied; and Israel pursued them: hold now, we have heard that the kings of and Ben-hadad the king of Syria escaped the house of Israel are merciful kings: let on an horse with the horsemen.
us, I pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins, , 21 And the king of Israel went out, and and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the smote the horses and chariots, and slew the king of Israel : peradventure he will save Syrians with a great slaughter.
thy life. 22 | And the prophet came to the king 32 So they girded sackcloth on their loins, of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen and put ropes on their heads, and came to thyself, and mark, and see what thou doest: the king of Israel, and said, Thy servant for at the return of the year the king of Ben-hadad saith, I pray thee, let me live. Syria will come up against thee.
And he said, Is he yet alive? he is my bro. 23 And the servants of the king of Syria ther. said unto him, Their gods are gods of the 33 Now the men did diligently observe hills ; therefore they were stronger than we; whether any thing would come from him,
and but let us fight against them in the plain, did hastily catch it: and they said, Thy and surely we shall be stronger than brother Ben-hadad. Then he said, Go ye, they.
bring him. Then Ben-hadad came forth to 24 And do this thing, Take the kings him; and he caused him to come up into the away, every man out of his place, and put chariot. captains in their rooms :
34 And Ben-hadad said unto him, The 25 And number thee an army, like the cities, which my father took from thy father, army that thou hast lost, horse for horse, I will restore; and thou shalt make streets and chariot for chariot: and we will fight for thee in Damascus, as my father made in against them in the plain, and surely we Samaria. Then said Ahab, I will send thee shall be stronger than they. And he heark- away with this covenant.
away with this covenant. So he made a coened unto their voice, and did so.
venant with him, and sent him
away. 26 And it came to pass at the return of 35 | And a certain man of the sons of pray thee.
20 Heb, that was fallen. 13 Or, from chamber to chamber.
• Or, servants.
. Heb. bind, or tie.
19 Or, were victualled.
11 He to the war with Israel. 14 Heb. into a chamber within a chamber.
the prophets said unto his neighbour in the man unto me, and said, Keep this man : if word of the Lord, Smite me, I
by any means he be missing, then shall thy And the man refused to smite him.
life be for his life, or else thou shalt Spay a 36 Then said he unto him, Because thou talent of silver. hast not obeyed the voice of the LORD, be- 40 And as thy servant was busy here and hold, as soon as thou art departed from me, there, he was gone. And the king of Israel a lion shall slay thee. And as soon as he
And as soon as he said unto him, so shall thy judgment be; was departed from him, a lion found him, thyself hast decided it. and slew him.
41 And he hasted, and took the ashes 37 Then he found another man, and said, away from his face; and the king of Israel
thee. And the man smote discerned him that he was of the prophets, him, ""so that in smiting he wounded him. 42 And he said unto him, Thus saith the
38 So the prophet departed, and waited LORD, 18Because thou hast let go out of thy for the king by the way, and disguised him- hand a man whom I appointed to utter deself with ashes upon his face.
struction, therefore thy life shall go for his 39 And as the king passed by, he cried life, and thy people for his people. unto the king: and he said, Thy servant 43 And the king of Israel went to his went out into the midst of the battle; and, house heavy and displeased, and came to behold, a man turned aside, and brought a Samaria. 15 Heb. smiting and wounding. 16 Heb. weigh.
17 Heb. he was not.
18 Chap 99. 3ị. Verse 1. " Thirty and two kings with him.”—This text is cited by Professor Heeren, in proof of a very just observation which he makes upon the political condition of the Syrians and Phænicians. He remarks that, if we go back to the early ages of this country, we find a number of isolated cities, surrounded by a territory of very limited extent. and governed by kings or princes. Sometimes one of these towns obtained a marked superiority over the others, over which it arrogated a species of dominion ; and of this number was Damascus. But this dominion was no more than a forced alliance, which only obliged these cities to furnish troops and subsidies in time of war, without compromising their distinct existence under their own laws and rulers. Syria, free and left to itself, never formed one state or one mo. narchy. (“Politique et Commerce des Peuples de l'Antiquité: Phéniciens. French translation from the German, 1830.) This observation applies equally to the Phænicians and Syrians, and, if kept in mind, will throw light on many passages of Scripture which, without it, will not be distinctly understood.
23. “ Their gods are gods of the hills.”—See the note on 1 Sam. iv. 8. Here we have two ideas, both of them common in all idolatry, but abhorrent to the religion of the Bible. The first is, that the God (or, as they phrased it," the gods", of Israel, was merely a national god like their own, and that, like theirs, his power was restricted by local or other circumstances-was a god of the hills, and not of the valleys. Their impression on this point probably arose from observ ing that Canaan was a mountainous country, mixed with a knowledge that the law of the Israelites had been delivered from a mountain. This brings us down to a very low depth of idolatry. It refers us to the time when it seemed to have been considered that the earth was too great for the government of one Almighty God. A general glance at the world as it was under the ancient idolatries, is a strange sight: the visible heaven was god, and many gods; and so was the earth. It was parcelled out in such a manner as to resemble human empires and kingdoms, presided over by various functionaries, in their various gradations of power, from the kings upon their golden thrones, down to local magistrates, and beadles, and parish constables. There were gods of the earth and of the seas in general; but also every part and quality of the earth and the sea had its god. The mountains, the valleys, and the woods had their gods ; and so had the rivers and the fountains. In like manner every country had its peculiar god or gods, while every city and town had its god also; and as if even a town were too much for one god to manage, there were others who respectively released him from the care of the houses, the gardens, the orchards, and the cultivated fields. And these were exempted from the personal concerns of the inhabitants, who had other and distinct gods to look to in all the pains, passions, infirmities, employments and amusements of life. Whatever be the alleged occult and philosophical meaning of all this, we may depend upon it, with all the certainty which existing means of observation furnish, that to the popular mind at large, the whole affair appeared much in the same view as we regard it; although to them it did not, as to us, seem no less absurd in itself, than degrading to man and dishonouring to God. The sacred books now before us have, whether we know it or not, raised our minds to the standard by which we thus judge of these things; and have given to us a true wisdom to which the fettered mind of antiquity could not attain. And that we judge rightly we know ; for thus did God himself judge, when on this and other occasions, he indignantly repels and avenges all attempts to give a place, high or low, to Him—the One Almighty and Everlasting-in any of the various systems of rank idolatry which then enslaved the world.
32. “ Ropes on their heads.”_" Ropes about their necks” would probably better convey the sense of the original, which uses the word for “head” in a more extensive sense than our language does. The intention of this act was of course to indicate, that they came before Ahab as suppliants and captives, putting their lives into his hands, to spare or destroy according to his pleasure. There have been various illustrations of this procedure by Harmer and others, who seem to think that, according to a Turkish custom in similar circumstances, a sword hung at the end of the rope. We think, however, that all conjecture on the subject is superseded by a reference to the sculptures of Egypt and Persia in which captives are represented as dragged before the conquering king by a rope, which passes round all their necks and strings them to one another. The messengers of Ben-hadad voluntarily appear before the king of Israel in the same fashion as that in which it was usual to present captives to their conqueror, to receive from him the award of life or death. In the next book we shall have occasion, for another purpose, to introduce a cut in which a scene like this is represented. 34. “ Streets...in Damascus.”—In the East, persons of different religions and nations do not live indiscriminately
where they please ; but each denomination occupies its own particular quarter of the town its street or streets. At his day the Jews have their distinct streets in Damascus, and in every other considerable town of Western Asia. It is not at all likely that this was allowed when Syria and Israel were neighbouring nations, in every respect adverse to each other; and therefore the concession in the present instance, without any equivalent on the part of Israel, is offered and received as a privilege extorted by circumstances. It no doubt included the concession, that the Jews, in the quarter assigned them in Damascus, should have the free exercise of their religion and be subject to their own magistrates. Similar circumstances occur in modern Oriental history. Thus when the Turkish sultan Bajazet was alarmed at the impending war with Tamerlane, he agreed with the Greek emperor Emanuel, to raise the siege of ConstantiDople,“ upon condition,” says Knolles, “ that the emperor should grant free liberty for the Turks to dwell together in one street of Constantinople, with free exercise of their own religion and laws under a judge of their own nation; and further, to pay unto the Turkish king a yearly tribute of ten thousand ducats; which dishonourable conditions the distressed emperor was glad to accept of”. Accordingly, a number of Turks came, and settled with their families in the imperial city, and built a mosque in the quarter allotted to them. But no sooner did the emperor hear that the sultan had been defeated by Tamerlane, than he turned all the Turks out of the town, and razed their mosque to the ground.
and sealed them with his seal, and sent the 1 Ahab being dened Naboth's vineyard is grieved that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth.
letters unto the elders and to the nobles 5 Jezebel writing letters against Naboth, he is condemned of blasphemy. 15 Ahab taketh pos
9 And she wrote in the letters, saying, session of the vineyard. 17 Elijah denounceth Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth 'on high udgments against Ahab and Jezebel. 25 Wicked
among the people: Ahab repenting, God deferreth the judgment.
10 And set two men, sons of Belial, be. And it came to pass after these things, fore him, to bear witness against him, say. that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, ing, Thou didst blaspheme God and the which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of king. And then carry him out, and stone Ahab king of Samaria.
him, that he
die. 2 And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, 11 And the men of his city, even the elders Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it and the nobles who were the inhabitants in for a garden of herbs, because it is near his city, did as Jezebel had sent unto them, unto my house: and I will give thee for it a and as it was written in the letters which better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good she had sent unto them. to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in 12 They proclaimed a fast, and set Namoney
both on high among the people. 3 And Naboth said to Ahab, The LORD 13 And there came in two men, children forbid it me, that I should give the inherit. of Belial, and sat before him: and the men ance of my fathers unto thee.
of Belial witnessed against him, even against 4 And Ahab came into his house heavy Naboth, in the presence of the people, sayand displeased because of the word which ing, Naboth did blaspheme God and the Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: king. Then they carried him forth out of for he had said, I will not give thee the in the city, and stoned him with stones, that he heritance of my fathers. And he laid him i down upon his bed, and turned away his face, 14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, and would eat no bread.
Naboth is stoned, and is dead. 5 But Jezebel his wife came to him, 15 | And it came to pass, when Jezebel and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, heard that Naboth was stoned, and was that thou eatest no bread ?
dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take 6 And he said unto her, Because I spake possession of the vineyard of Naboth the unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or for money : for Naboth is not alive, but else, if it please thee, I will give thee an- dead. other vineyard for it: and he answered, I 16 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard will not give thee my vineyard.
that Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose up 7 And Jezebel his wife said unto him, to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Jezreelite, to take possession of it. Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine 17 | And the word of the LORD came to heart be merry: I will give thee the vine- Elijah the Tishbite, saying, yard of Naboth the Jezreelite.
18 Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of 8 So she wrote letters in Ahab's name, Israel, which is in Samaria : behold, he is in
• treb. be good in thine cycs.
2 Heb. in the top of the people.
the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone 23 And 'of Jezebel also spake the LORD, down to possess it.
saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the 19 And thou shalt speak unto him, say- | 'wall of Jezreel. ing, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou killed, 24 Him that dieth of Ahab in the city and also taken possession? And thou shalt the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the the field shall the fowls of the air eat. Lord, In the place where dogs licked the 25 | But there was none like unto Ahab, blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, which did sell himself to work wickedness in even thine.
the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his 20 And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou wife tostirred up: found me, O mine enemy? And he an
an- . 26 And he did very abominably in folswered, I have found thee: because thou lowing idols, according to all things as did hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out bethe LORD.
fore the children of Israel. 21 Behold, 'I will bring evil upon thee, 27 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard and will take away thy posterity, and will those words, that he rent his clothes, and cut off from Ahab 'him that pisseth against put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and the wall, and 'him that is shut up and left lay in sackcloth, and went softly. in Israel,
28. And the word of the LORD came to 22 And will make thine house like the Elijah the Tishbite, saying, house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and 29 Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himlike the house of 'Baasha the son of Ahijah, self before me ? because he humbleth himfor the provocation wherewith thou hast self before me, I will not bring the evil in provoked me to anger, and made Israel to his days: but in his son's days will I bring sin
the evil upon his house. * Chap 14. 10. 6 Chap. 15. 99.
8 2 Kings 9. 36.
$ Chap. 14. 10. 2 Kings 9.8.
+ 1 Sam. 25. 92.
9 Or, dich.
7 Chap. 16. 3.
10 Or, incited.
Chap. IX.-In the Septuagint this and the preceding chapter change places.
8. “ Sealed them with his seal."—See the note on Gen. xli. 42, which will explain the necessity of this aet in giving validity to the royal oriler. Our remarks in the note referred to ohiefly applied to ring-seals, concerning the antiquity and extended use of which there is no dispute, but of which we have not thought it necessary to furnish pictorial representations, since the ancient seals of this class do not generally exhibit any essential differences of form from those which are not yet entirely discontinued among ourselves. We now, however, give cuts of seals of another class, some of which may be considered of still higher antiquity than even ring-seals. These are engraved stones, not set in metal or worn as rings ; and on one of the surfaces of which the requisite figures and characters were inscribed. Such stones were of various form and substance. We are told that the Egyptians after trying various forms—as cylinders, squares, and pyramids, settled on that of the scarabæus or beetle ;-that is to say, a stone, something like the half of a walnut, had its convexity wrought into the form of a beetle, while the flat under surface contained the inscription for the seal. We mentioned in the note to Deut. iv. 16, that the beetle was one of the vermin worshipped by the Egyptians, and was the favourite symbol of some nine or ten virtues and powers of physical or moral nature: this, as well as the convenience of the form, no doubt dictated its selection for this service. The beetle form of seals and other engraved stones was extensively adopted, along with the art of stone-engraving, by other nations, and was long retained by them. We know that they were in use among the Phænician neighbours of the Israelites; and it is not impossible that Ahab's seal may have been of this kind: for after he, and Solomon before him, are seen to have been so fond of the gods and goddesses of the Phænicians, it would have been a small thing to have adopted their seals also. Even the Greeks retained this derived form, till they thought of dispensing with the body of the beetle, only preserving for the inscription the flat uval which the base presented,
and which they ultimately set in rings. Of this kind of beetle-seal the cut in vol. i. P. serve as a representation, being of the same form and character, and similarly inscribed on the under surface, although of course that ponderous and colossal scarabæus could not be intended for a seal. It will be important to observe, that the body of the beetle was bored, like all other seals that were not rings, so that a string might be inserted by which the seal was worn around the neck or attached to other parts of the body. This may explain what is sometimes said in Scripture of the seal being upon the arm or hand: and, in fact, until the custom of attaching seals to watches became prevalent, the ancient practice of attaching all seals, other than rings, to the person, continued in use. They were usually worn on the arm or wrist as bracelets ; and instances of the practice occur so late as the seventeenth century, when an advertisement appeared in the Mercurius Politicus,' No. 30. 1660, describing as lost, “a gold seal, being a coat of arms, cut in a piece of gold, in the form of a lozenge, fastened to a black ribband to tye about the wrist.”
Kindred in principle to this beetle-seal are two of those sorts represented in our present eut. One is oval, and the other orbicular, with a piece cut off, in both, to afford a flat surface for the inscription. The use of these as seals is unquestioned, as well as their high antiquity; and they are dug up so frequently in Persia, Babylonia, Syria, Phænicia, and Egypt, as to demonstrate their common character. Some of them have been found on the plain of Marathon in Greece, inseribed in the ancient Persian style; and, as Sir W. Ouseley conjectures, probably belonged to the Persians who invaded Greece, and were there slain. This is a circumstance of considerable importance in determining their antiquity. The semi-ovals are the most common. Both kinds are always perforated; and the perforation is so unusually large in the hemispherical seals, that if they were not sometimes worn as rings, it is probable that they at least suggested the idea of seal-rings. With so large a perforation, the convenience of wearing it on the finger would easily occur; and the thickness, which it was necessary the stone should exhibit, to prevent breaking, would suggest the fabrication of such rings with metal, and, ultimately, of combining the advantages of a metallic circlet with a stone tablet, by setting the latter in the former. We throw out this idea as a probability, without entering into the various considerations by which it might be corroborated. But we here insert a cut of a gold ring, found at Pom. peii, which will, by comparison with the hemispherical seals in the miscellaneous cut, suggest some idea of the analogy we have in view. These semi-oval and hemispherical seals were probably such as were in use among the mass of the people. We hardly know to what extent seals were in use among the Hebrews; but, judging from existing usage in the East, we should suppose that every one above the lowest condition of life possessed uue; and we think that, when not a ring-seal, it may fairly be presumed that they were of some one, or all three, of the classes to which the account here given refers. Herodotus states, that every Babylonian possessed a seal or signet; but takes no notice of their form, which however seems to be sufficiently shown by the still existing antiques which now engage our attention.
It remains to notice the cylinders, of which our cut exhibits some interesting specimens. These curious antiques are Host commonly found in Chaldea and Persia, and sometimes, though more rarely, in Syria and Egypt. They are cylindrical masses of hæmatite, cornelian, opal, jaspar, agate, and other hard and precious stones. Their size is various, some being ten times as large as others; but in general they are from three-fourths of an inch to more than two inches in length, aud of such proportionate circumference as our woodcut exhibits. They are bored longitudinally, and the soloded surface is engraved over with various figures, generally of animate subjects, and apparently mythological, or expressing astronomical facts by impersonation. It was at one time conceived that these cylinders were merely worn as amulets or talismans, but it is now generally admitted that they served the purpose of seals; the longitudinal perfuration being principally intended for the reception of an axis, on which the cy inder was made to revolve when rendering its impression. The axis and handle, represented in our cut, to one of the cylinders there given, is not found in any such cylinders, but was added, by Sir William Hamilton, to one in the British Museum, for the purpose of sausing the manner in which they were employed. The conclusion that the cylinders were seals, has been much Erengthened by the curious and discursive inquiries of Mr. John Landseer, as exhibited in his volume intitled “Sabæan R-searches. Whatever value may be attached to his speculations concerning the inscriptions which such cylinders exhibit, few persons will now question his conclusions concerning the use to which they were applied. Indeed, we have personally found, that this use is generally recognised by the gentlemen acquainted with the antiquities and literature of the East, who reside on or near the sites where these remarkable antiquities are discovered. The present writer can a'duce one fact which he considers to afford a very strong support to this conclusion. When himself in Babylonia, he $9 a cylinder, of medium size, inscribed with Hebrew characters, expressing the name and style of the Prince of tie Captivity," a title which, from the time the Jews resided as captives in Babylonia, has been borne by the chief person among those who remained in that land. The manner in which the name and title were exhibited, together with the date, so clearly denoted its character as an official seal, that it was distinctly recognised as such even by those resident Hebrews, who had no previous idea that cylinders were other than amulets, and who remained uncertain as to the moda in which they could be applied to use. We have lost the memoranduin of its date ; but it was not of the