Sivut kuvina

strange, yet, when we contemplated the scene before us, it did not seem very improbable. The torrents, during the rainy season, had brought down immense masses of salt; and we observed that the strata were generally in perpen dicular lines." The reader will be careful not to confound the cliffs of which the above extract speaks, with those that cross the Ghor more to the south. The present are those which form the southern expansion of that narrow ravine through which the plain is approached from the west ; and which, in fact, form part of the western, not the southern, boundary of the plain. It seems that the plain itself, which, properly speaking, is part of the bed of the Dead Sea, becomes in part a marsh when the water is high during the wet season, but when that is over, is soon dried by the effects of evaporation. The plain must be dry and firm during the greater part of the year, for Irby and Mangles found it so, as early as the month of May, with the exception that water still remained in some of the drains (six in all) in that part contiguous to the Sea. The travellers do not speak of any saline incrustation or impregnation in the barren fats" thus formed; but this must be the case, not only from the strongly saline character of the evaporated water and the cliffs and rocks of salt already noticed, but from the fact that, in a subsequent visit to the part of the valley east of the southern bay, the remarkably saline character of the dried soil is particularly mentioned. None of these phenomena are singular. The salt lake of Ourmiah, in Persia, leaves, in like manner, during the dry season, an extensive plain, saturated or incrusted with saline matter, and perfectly barren. (See the general note on the Dead Sea, under Gen. xix. 25.)

* He took Selah by war, and called the name of it Joktheel."Selah means “a rock ;" and as the Greek name for the chief town of the Nabathæan Edomites, Petra, has precisely the same signification, it is, not without reason, conceived by some writers that the town which the Greeks knew as Petra is here and elsewhere denoted. We rather incline to this opinion, which has also the strong support of Eusebius and Jerome, who both describe Petra as “a city of Arabia, in the land of Edom, which is also called Jectael.It is true that in the Hebrew text, the word, in this and other places, may be read as an appellative rather than a proper name, and is so read by the Septuagint and Vulgate (but not the Syriac and Arabic); but as the versions, particularly the Septuagint, often turn the significant proper names of the Hebrew into appellatives, we are not disposed to lay much stress on this ; and even did we allow that Selah is an appellative, it would be open to us to contend that a place so emphatically indicated as the rock was most probably the same which is allowed to have borne a proper name of the same import. In other words, a place distinguished as the rock is the most likely to be that to which the proper name of the same meaning, whether Selah or Petra, would be given. This will be allowed by any one who considers the universal process in topographical nomenclature, under which, distinguishing appellatives become, in process of time, fixed as proper names. However, as we are not willing to raise an argument on the question, whether such a word is to be understood as a proper name or an appellative, we are content with the probability, in connection with the other and stronger probability that the chief town of Mount Seir, even if not expressly named, is at least indicated and referred to in the history and prophecy of the Old Testament. In their denunciations against a country, the prophets continually refer to its chief town; and unless there were an exception in this instance, they did so in their copious prophecies against Edom; and that they acted thus is evident from topographical indications, to which we shall find a future occasion to refer. Now the chief town of Edom was Petra ; and as the prophets who foretold its doom were not long posterior to the date of the transaction before us, it becomes probable that the present history has the same principal city of Edom in view ; particularly when we find it bearing a name analogous to that which the metropolis of Edom certainly bore. We are, however, more anxious to show that the prophecies refer to Petra, than that the present history does so. The former point we consider certain, and the latter sufficiently probable to afford us an opportunity of entertaining the general subject, which now turns upon the question, “Where was Petra ?”

This is a piont concerning which it is necessary to have a distinct nnderstanding; for if the Idumean town to which the Scriptures refer be not the excavated city of Wady Mousa, near Mount Hor, we lose much of the force of that satisfactory and beautiful evidence to the divine authority of the sacred writers which may be deduced from the complete correspondence of their predictions with the existing condition of Edum. This correspondence has been only lately discovered ; and, as something new, it has engaged more attention than old truths, however valuable, would have been likely to obtain. The Christian world is under great obligations to Dr. Keith, for his services in tracing and illustrating this coincidence; and, in the progress of this work, our humbler services shall not be wanting in the same line of useful labour. With respect to Edom, we have begun here, purposing to lay the foundation for future illustration by showing, which we think has not yet been done satisfactorily, that the city of Wady Mousa was the town of Edom which Scripture history and prophecy have in view.

Two places have been made to contend for the distinction of being the ancient Petra. One is the existing town of Kerek, about twenty-five miles due east from the southern bay of the Dead Sea, the other is the forsaken and desolated city in Wady Mousa, near Mount Hor. The conditions of the question are rather peculiar. No one now denies that the city in Wady Mousa was Petra. The very learned editor of Burckhardt's * Travels in Syria' has proved this from the concurrent testimony of ancient writers; but, unfortunately, the same accomplished geographer kas taken up the opinion, that, previously to the time of the Macedonian conquests, the present Kerek was Peira and the principal town of the Nabathæans, and this consideration will of course exclude the Petra of Wady Mousa entirely from the cognizance of the sacred writers, the canon of Old Testament Scripture having been closed considerably anterior to the appearance of the Macedonians in Asia. Our wish is, therefore, to disprove this position. To do so with completeness would require a lengthened dissertation, which would scarcely interest the readers of the Pictoral Bible; but we may state a few brief considerations which will, we think, reduce the probabilities which seem in favour of the conclusion to whieh we are opposed. We have repeatedly read with great attention the statement on the subject, which we find in the Preface to Burckhardt, but have failed to discover that any one authority is cited in proof that Kerek ever was called Petra in ancient times. The only passage bearing an aspect of proof is the following :-"When the Macedonian Greeks first became acquainted with this part of Syria, by means of the expedition which Antigonus sent against the Nabatæi, under the command of his son Demetrius, we are informed by Diodorus that these Arabs placed their old men, women, and children, upon a certain rock (isi tuvos ritęs), steep, tossrtified by walls, admitting only of one access to the summit, and situated 300 stades beyond the lake Asphaltitis. As this interval agrees with that of Kerek from the southern extremity of the Dead Sea, and is not above half the distance of Wady Mousa from the same point; and as the other parts of the description are well adapted to Kerek, while they are inapplicable to Wady Mousa, we can hardly doubt that Kerek was at that time the fortress of the Nabatæi ; and that during the first ages of the intercourse of that people with the Greeks, it was known to the latter by the name of Petra, so often applied by them to barbarian hill posts.” After this, the able writer we are citing goes on to infer (for no proof is adduced) that subsequently, when the effects of commerce required a situation better adapted than Kerek to the collected population and the increased opulence of the Nabatæi, the appellative of Petra was transferred to the new city at Wady Mousa. But ultimately, when the stream of commerce had partly reverted to its old Egyptian channel and had partly taken the new course by Palmyra, the city at Wady Mousa became gradually depopulated ; and, in the end. Kerek came again to be considered by travellers as Petra, because the existence of the ruined city in Wady Mousa has only lately been brought to light, and because Kerek was the principal place, and the only place with a Christian community, remaining in the diocese of the Greek church which retains the old title of the bishopric of Petra, originally derived from the Petra of Wady Mousa. The last sentence affords an explanation, in which we gladly acquiesce, of how Kerek came to be identified with Petra ; and we only demur at the almost contradictory opinion, that, in remote antiquity, Kerek was “the crowning city" of the Nabatæans, which was distinguished by this name.

The following are among the considerations which satisfy us in a contrary conclusion to that which we have stated with all the force that can be given to it. We must state them as in the form of a bare abstract, without that full exposition froin collateral considerations from which they might derive very material support. In the first place, the passage in Diodorus does not say that the place in question was the city called Petra, but that there was a rock to which the inhabitants retreated, and which served them as a natural fortress. Now, if because Petra means a rock, this rock is to be regarded as Petra, there is no reason why Petra should not be sought wherever a rock happens to be historically mentioned in the rocky country of the Edomites. Thus then, if the rock were at the Kerek east of the Dead Sea, we do not see that Kerek was therefore necessarily Petra. But, on the other hand, allowing that Diodorus had Petra in view, we think it might be shown that it was more probably Wady Mousa than Kerek. He does not say that the rock was east of the Dead Sea, nor that it was 300 stades from that sea; but that, after the affair at the rock, the Greeks marched 300 stades to the neighbourhood of the Dead Sea. It may therefore have been south of the Sea, and the loose indication of distance would allow it without violence to have been as far south as Wady Mousa. In fact, Major Rennell, who in his determination of the site does not appear to have taken cognizance of the recent discoveries in Wady Mousa, cites this very passage of Diodorus among his ancient authorities for placing Petra t another Kerek (Rerek el Shobek) south of the Dead Sea, and in the immediate vicinity of Wady Mousa; which, taken as a conclusion independent of recent discoveries, is a most remarkable and valuable corroboration. Again, if the more northern Kerek had been Petra at the time to which Diodorus refers, this would prove it to have been not the more ancient, but a more modern Petra. We allow the station may have belonged then to the Edomites, because they encroached northward, after the Captivity, into what had formed the dominion of Judah on the one side of the Dead Sea, and of Moab and Ammon on the other. But that it could not have been a principal town or any town of the Edomites, in the time of the inspired writers of the Old Testament, is clear from the fact that its site was then in the territory of Moab, on the borders of Ammon. If any proof of this were wanting, it is found in the fact mentioned by Burckhardt's editor himself, that Kerek was called Charax by the Greeks, to which the Romans added Omanorum (Kerek of Ammon) to distinguish it from the more southern Kerek; and the Greeks themselves, for the same purpose, referred it to Moab, in the name of Charag moba. We think these considerations demonstrate that Kerek could not have been a town of the Idumæans before the Captivity ;. nor could it therefore be mentioned or alluded to as such by the sacred writers. And if the prior claims of Kerek be dismissed, no one will dispute those of the town in Wady Mousa. We might rest here: but we will add that the Edomites were a great people, established between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea (the sea of Edom), when the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land, and the history of the transactions between the two people, appear to demonstrate that the capital of Edom was then south of the Dead Sea. They were also obviously a great commercial people before the time of Solomon; and the very reasons of commercial advantage which are thought to have dictated the ultimate removal to Wady Mousa, must have equally operateri at an earlier period—Kerek being most disadvantageously situated as the capital of a people possessing the commerce of the Red Sea. Furthermore, we have seen that Jerome says Joktheel was Petra ; and he, of all men, was likely to have known if Kerek was or ever had been the ancient Petra ; but he says Petra was near Mount Hor, and Burckhardt and his learned editor were the first to receive and confirm the local traditions which determine Mount Hor to have beea one of the mountains near Wady Mousa. In conclusion, we may add that the prophetic intimations concerning Edom receive no illustration from Kerek, but correspond with astonishing precision to the present appearances presented by the remains of the wonderful city in Wady Mousa : and, although the consideration has been generally overlooked, we shall ever be disposed to contend that the prophetic intimations concerning the (then future but now present) condition of towns, furnish the very best and most authoritative data by which the sites of such places may be determined. At present we have given, in a preceding page, a cut from Laborde, showing one of the aspects in which this wonderful city, with its sculptured and excavated cliffs, appears; reserving the descriptive details to be given in connection with these prophecies, which they will contribute to illustrate. (See the historical note on the Edomites, under Gen. xxxvi. 2.)



in Jerusalem. And his mother's name

was Jecholiah of Jerusalem. 1 Azariah's good reign. 5 He dying a leper, Jo- 3 And he did that which was right in the

tham succeedeth. 8 Zachariah, the last of Jehu's sight of the Lord, according to all that his generation, reigning ill, is slain by Shallum. 13 Shallum, reigning u month, is slain by Menahem.

father Amaziah had done; 16 Menahem strengtheneth himself ly Pul. 21 4 Save that the high places were not rePekahiah succcedeih him. 23 Pekahiah is sluin moved: the people sacrificed and burnt inby Pekah. 27 Pekah is oppressed by Tiglath- cense still on the high places. pileser, and slain by Hoshea. 3:2 Jotham's good

5 | And the Lord osmote the king, so reign. 36 Ahaz succeedeth him.

that he was a leper unto the day of his In the twenty and seventh year of Jeroboam death, and dwelt in a several house. And king of Israel began Azariah son of Ama- Jotham the king's son was over the house, ziah king of Judah to reign.

judging the people of the land. 2 Sixteen years old was he when he be- 6 And the rest of the acts of Azariah. gan to reign, and he reigned two and fifty and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of might be with him to confirm the kingdom Judah ?

in his hand. 7 So Azariah slept with his fathers; and 20 And Menahem 'exacted the money of they buried him with his fathers in the city Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of David : and Jotham his son reigned in of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to his stead.

the king of Assyria. So the king of Assy& T In the thirty and eighth year of Aza- ria turned back, and stayed not there in the riah king of Judah did Zachariah the son land. of Jeroboam reign over Israel in Samaria 21 And the rest of the acts of Menasix months.

hem, and all that he did, are they not writ9 And he did that which was evil in the ten in the book of the chronicles of the kings sight of the Lord, as his fathers had done: of Israel? he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam 22 And Menahem slept with his fathers; the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. and Pekahiah his son reigned in his stead.

10 And Shallum the son of Jabesh con- 23 | In the fiftieth year of Azariah king spired against him, and smote him before of Judah Pekahiah the son of Menahem bethe people, and slew him, and reigned in gan to reign over Israel in Samaria, and his stead.

reigned two years. 11 And the rest of the acts of Zachariah, 24 And he did that which was evil in the behold, they are written in the book of the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made 12 This was 'the word of the Lord which Israel to sin. he spake unto Jehu, saying, Thy sons shall 25 But Pekah the son of Remaliah, a capsit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth tain of his, conspired against him, and smote generation. And so it came to pass. him in Samaria, in the palace of the king's

13 Shallum the son of Jabesh began house, with Argob and Årieh, and with him to reign in the nine and thirtieth year of fifty men of the Gileadites: and he killed *Uzziah king of Judah; and he reigned 'a him, and reigned in his room. full month in Samaria.

26 And the rest of the acts of Pekahiah, 14 For Menahem the son of Gadi went and all that he did, behold, they are written up from Tirzah, and came to Samaria, and in the book of the chronicles of the kings of smote Shallum the son of Jabesh in Sa- Israel. maria, and slew him, and reigned in his 27 | In the two and fiftieth year of Azastead.

riah king of Judah Pekah the son of Rema15 And the rest of the acts of Shallum, liah began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and his conspiracy which he made, behold, and reigned twenty years. they are written in the book of the chroni- 28 And he did that which was evil in the cles of the kings of Israel.

sight of the LORD: he departed not from the 16 Then Menahem smote Tiphsah, sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made and all that were therein, and the coasts Israel to sin. thereof from Tirzah : because they opened 29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel not to him, therefore he smote it, and all came Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and the women therein that were with child he took Ijon, and Abel-beth-maachah, and Jaripped up;

noah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, 17 In the nine and thirtieth year of Aza. and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and riah king of Judah began Menahem the son carried them captive to Assyria. of Gadi to reign over Israel, and reigned ten 30 And Hoshea the son of Elah made a years in Samaria.

conspiracy against Pekah the son of Rema18 And he did that which was evil in the liah, and smote him, and slew him, and sight of the LORD: he departed not all his reigned in his stead, in the twentieth year of days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Jotham the son of Uzziah. Nebat, who made Israel to sin.

31 And the rest of the acts of Pekal, and 19 And Pul the king of Assyria came all that he did, behold, they are written in against the land : and Menahem gave Pul the book of the chronicles of the kings of a thousand talents of silver, that his hand Israel.

1 Chap 10, 80.

* Matth. 1. 8, 9, called Ozias. • Heb. a month of days

Heb, caused lo come furth.

• 1 Chron. 5. 96.

32 | In the second year of Pekah the incense still in the high places. He built son of Remaliah king of Israel began the higher gate of the house of the LORD. *Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah to 36 | Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, reign.

and all that he did, are they not written in 35 Five and twenty years old was he when the book of the chronicles of the kings of he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen Judah ? years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name 37 In those days the LORD began to send was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok. against Judah Rezin the king of Syria, and

34 And he did that which was right in Pekah the son of Remaliah. the sight of the Lord: he did according to 38 And Jotham slept with his fathers, all that his father Uzziah had done.

and was buried with his fathers in the city 35 | Howbeit the high places were not of David his father: and Ahaz his son removed : the people sacrificed and burned reigned in his stead.

62 Chron. 27. 1.

Verse 19. “ Pul, the king of Assyria.”—Here the empire of Assyria first rises to our notice; not, however, first, chronologically, as the mission of Jonah to its capital took place at a still earlier date-thirty years earlier, according to Dr. Hales. Of Nineveh, the capital of this empire, we shall speak in the books of Jonah and Nahum. Its foundation, as we have seen, is noticed in the tenth chapter of Genesis, not as the metropolis of a kingdom, but as one, and not the most important, of several towns there mentioned. Its foundation as a metropolis and a great city must be attributed to Ninus II., whose reign began B.C. 1252, about the time of Jephthah, and who, from all that appears, was the first who made Assyria a powerful state. This is proved by the concurrent testimony of Herodotus, Appian, and Dionysius of Halicarnassis, whose united evidence has been ably analyzed by Dr. Hales ; so that the accounts of Ctesias, who places the beginning of this great king's reign s.c. 2127, that is, prior to the birth of Abraham, evidently exemplifies the ingenious process by which nations contrived to assign a preposterous antiquity to their greatness. It is clear by this account, that Ninns II., the true founder of the Assyrian empire, os confounded with that “ mighty hunter” Nimrod. or Nius I.--the victories and acts of the latter being assigned with much exaggeration to the former, while, to countenance the story, an imaginary dynasty of twenty-four kings is made to precede the real founder of the empire. If so mighty an empire had existed from the time of Abraham, it is incredible that no notice of it should have been found in all the Scripture. Indeed, the dynasty, commencing with Ninus II., is not mentioned in the holy books, till the mission of Jonah ; when, however, it is clear that Nineveh, that eminently “great city," was the capital of an important empire, which had not, however, until the period of the present text, extended its limits west of the Euphrates, and thereby come into offensive contact with the Hebrew kingdoms. It is also only about this time that we begin to see, with any distinctness, into the historical notices of Assyria which are to be found in the Greek authors.

The Scripture dynasty of Assyrian kings begins with that unnamed “king of Nineveh” who repented at the prophecy of Jonah. Dr. Hales thinks it probable that Pul was his son, and apparently the second Belus of the Greek historians, who built the temple of that name at Babylon, which was a chief city of the Assyrian empire. He is the first that we find west of the Euphrates, and this circumstance it was, probably, that drew the attention of the Greeks tov 'ards him and his empire. To avert the immediate danger of this invasion cost the king of Israel 375,0001. of our money, raised by a tax of nearly six guineas each upon his more wealthy subjects.

29. Tiglath-pileser."— This conqueror seems to have been the son of Pul. It is the probable conjecture of Sir Isaac Newton (admitted by Hales), that at Pul's death his dominions were divided between his two sons; when the sovereignty of Assyria was given to the elder, Tiglath-pileser ; and the prefecture of Babylon to the younger, Nabonassar, from the date of whose reign or government the celebrated era of that name took its rise, B.c. 747. The cause of this incursion is given in the next chapter. The kings of Judah, being close pressed by the kings of Israel and Syria, bribed the Assyrian, with the spoils of the Temple and the promise of vassalage, to come to his assistance. Tiglathpileser willingly availed himself of the opportunity of extending his own power westward: he slew the king of Syria, and took Damascus, transporting its inhabitants to Kir (Kurdistan), or Assyria Proper, and then proceeded to deal out the same bitter portion to Israel. The trans-Jordanic tribes of Reuben, Gad and half-Manasseh, he removed to Media, and also the other half of Manasseh that was settled in Galilee. This was the first captivity: but some understand that the trans-Jordanic tribes were removed by Pul, and the inhabitants of Galilee only by his son (compare this verse with 1 Chron. v. 26). The king of Judah had small cause to congratulate himself on this result, for, as Prideaux remarks, “Instead of two petty princes, whom he had afore for his neighbours, and with either of which he was well able to cope, he had now this mighty king for his neighbour, against whom no power of the land was sufficient to make any resistance, and the ill effect whereof both Israel and Judah did afterwards sufficiently feel.” The name of Tiglath-pileser has had various interpretations, some of them very absurd. Might not the distinctive part of it

Tiglath,be taken from the river Tigris, on which his capital stood, and which, to this day, bears the name of Diglath? D and T are letters continually changed for each other. The name might then mean “ great lord of the Tigris.” The title “lord of the river”. (Tigris) is now borne by an Arab sheikh who received it from the pasha of Bagdad.

Janoah.—A place of this name is mentioned in Josh. xvi. 6, as in the tribe of Ephraim, and which Jerome describes as being in his time a village in Acrabatene, twelve miles to the east of Neapolis or Shechem. But Bonfrere thinks, not without reason, that the present text requires the Janoah it mentions to be a distinct place in the tribe of Naphtali, in which all the other places here named were situated.


mascus to Urijah, diverteth the brasen aitar to

his own devotion. 17 He spoileth the temple. 19 1 Ahaz's wicked reign. 5 Aha assailed by Rezın Hezekiah succeedeth him.

and Pekah, hireth Tiglath-pileser against them. 10 Ahaz, sending a pattern of an altar from Da- IN 'the seventeenth year of Pekah the son

12 Chron. 28. 1.

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of Remaliah Ahaz the son of Jotham king of servant and thy son : come up, and save me Judah began to reign.

out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out 2 Twenty years old was Ahaz when he of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in up against me. Jerusalem, and did not that which was right 8 And Ahaz took the silver and gold that in the sight of the Lord his God, like David was found in the house of the Lord, and in his father.

the treasures of the king's house, and sent 3 But he walked in the way of the kings it for a present to the king of Assyria. of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass 9 And the king of Assyria hearkened through the fire, according to the abomina- unto him: for the king of Assyria went up tions of the heathen, whom the Lord cast against 'Damascus, and took it, and carried out from before the children of Israel. the people of it captive to Kir, and slew

4 And he sacrificed and burnt incense in Rezin. the high places, and on the hills, and under 10 | And king Ahaz went to Damascus every green tree.

to meet Tiglath-pileser king

of Assyria, and 5 T*Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah saw an altar that was at Damascus: and son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to 1 king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, | fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, but could not overcome him.

according to all the workmanship thereof. 6 At that time Rezin king of Syria reco- 11 And Urijah the priest built an altar vered Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, from Damascus: so Urijah the priest made and dwelt there unto this day.

it against king Ahaz came from Da7 So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath- mascus. pileser king of Assyria, saying, I am thy 12 And when the king was come from

. Isn. 7. 1,

3 Heb. Dammesek

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