Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

23 For the children of Ammon and Moab I heard that the LORD fought against the stood up against the inhabitants of mount enemies of Israel. Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them : and 30 So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: when they had made an end of the inhabit- for his God gave him rest round about. ants of Seir, every one helped to destroy 31 I * And Jehoshaphat reigned over another.

Judah: he was thirty and five years old 24 And when Judah came toward the when he began to reign, and he reigned watch tower in the wilderness, they looked twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And unto the multitude, and, behold, they were his mother's name was Azubah the daughdead bodies fallen to the earth, and none ter of Shilhi. escaped.

32 And he walked in the

way

of Asa his 25 And when Jehoshaphat and his people father, and departed not from it, doing that came to take away the spoil of them, they which was right in the sight of the LORD. found among them in abundance both riches 33 How beit the high places were not with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, taken away: for as yet the people had not which they stripped off for themselves, more prepared their hearts unto the God of their than they could carry away; and they were

fathers. three days in gathering of the spoil, it was 34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaso much

phat, first and last, behold, they are written 26 And on the fourth day they assem- in the book of Jehu the son of Hanani, bled themselves in the valley of 'Berachah; who 'is mentioned in the book of the kings for there they blessed the LORD: therefore of Israel. the name of the same place was called, The 35 | And after this did Jehoshaphat king valley of Berachah, unto this day.

of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of 27 Then they returned, every man of Israel, who did very wickedly: Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in 36 And he joined himself with him to the "Sforefront of them, to go again to Jeru- make ships to go to Tarshish: and they salem with joy; for the Lord had made made the ships in Ezion-gaber. them to rejoice over their enemies.

37 Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of 28 And they came to Jerusalem with Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with house of the LORD.

Ahaziah, the Lord hath broken thy works. 29 And the fear of God was on all the And the ships were broken, that they were kingdoms of those countries, when they had not able to go to Tarshish. 19 Heb. for the destruction,

16 1 Kings 22. 41, &c. 18 1 Kings 16. 1,

13 Heb. there was not an escaping.
17 Heb. wurds.

I That is, blessing. 15 Heb. head.

19 Heb. was made to ascend,

Verse 36. “ Tarshish."-One of the results of the observations made under chap. ix. being to restrict the inquiry for Tarshish and Ophir to the shores of the Indian Ocean, and of its gulfs and islands, we now proceed to offer such further observations as may be necessary. Both places, if they are two, being visited in the same voyage, we shall confine our attention chiefly to Ophir, as any considerations concerning Tarshish must necessarily depend on the conclusions to which we may now arrive concerning Ophir.

But even as limiting our view to the Indian Ocean, the variety of theories which lie before us is most perplexing ; for there are few countries or islands on which some speculator or other has not set up a mark to tell us that. This is Ophir.” In order to lead the reader to our own conclusions, it is necessary to review the principal hypotheses ; in doing which we shall endeavour, as far as consists with the brevity required from us, to state the chief arguments which the supporters of each place, and the principal objections which the advocates of other places, have alleged; introducing also such other arguments or objections as have been the result of our own researches and reflections,

It is to be premised that all those who have directed their attention to this largely-discussed subject have proposed to themselves three conditions for the inquiry:-1. To find a place having a name similar, or that may be made similar

, to that of Ophir. 2. To find a place affording such productions as those which were brought back by Solomon's nary. 3. And to account for the expenditure of three years in the voyage out and home. On these conditions we shall only at present remark, that the question is unnecessarily encumbered with the last of them; for the duration of the voyage is nowhere mentioned in connection with Ophir, but with Tarshish. In one text it is, that the ships of Tarshish returned every three years; and in the other, that the ships which went to Tarshish returned every three years

. Whatever be understood of Tarshish, there is certainly nothing to intimate that Ophir was the most distant point of the voyage ; but only that it was a principal and important point (if any definite point) in a voyage of the specified duration.

Then, subject to these conditions, let us lightly follow the investigation to, 1st, the south-western coast of Arabia ; 2nd, the eastern coast of Africa; 3rd, the Persian Gulf; and, 4th, the coast and isles of India.

1. Arabia. The principal advocates of the opinion which places Ophir on the south-western coast of Arabia, within or beyond the Straits, are Prideaux, Gosselin, and Vincent. The idea seems to have been originally derived from En polemus (an ancient author cited by Eusebius), who says that David " built ships Elath, a city of Arabia, and from thence he sent metal-men to the island of Urphe, situated in the Erythrean Sea, and affording abundance of gold

, which the metal-men brought to Julea” This is not very good authority; and if it were, it would prove nothing to

the purpose, as the name "Erythrean Sea” was by no means confined to the Red Sea, but extended to the Indian Ocean. and even the Persian Gulf. However understood, there is nothing in the statement to bring Ophir to the coast of Arabia. Urphe was an island, which we may look for almost anywhere within the ample ocean where inquiry is open. Dr. Prideaux does not express a very strong opinion ; neither does Vincent commit himself decidedly on a question which is, as he says, " more embarrassed by hypothesis, and distracted by erudition, than any other which concerns the commerce of the ancients." He does, however, rely very much on the circumstance that the name of “ Ophir" first occurs in Scripture in connection with Havilah and Jobab, all three sons of Joktan, and all having their residence in Arabia Felix. This is extremely dubious; as may be shown by the fuct that Calmet, with the same reliance upon this person's name, fixes his place of settlement to be Armenia, and accordingly carries Solomon's fleet round to the Persian Gulf, and up the Tigris or Euphrates! As all the inquirers into this matter place much reliance upon analogies of name, we will take this opportunity of introducing an excellent remark made by Dr. Vincent himself, on a different occasion :-"The similarity of name is a corroborating circumstance when we are sure of our position ; but till the position be ascertained, it is only a presumptive proof, and often fallacious.". The foundations being so weak, it is scarcely necessary to examine the superstructure. But there is one point to which it is requsite to advert. With respect to production,-some require only the contents of the first invoice-gold, algum-trees, and precious stones from Ophir ; looking somewhere else for the " silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks,” of the second ; while others require all these articles from Ophir. Now it is certain that Arabia could not, from its native resources, supply all the objects enumerated; por indeed have we reason to believe that even gold, algum-trees, or precious stones could be supplied—if supplied at all-as articles of extensive trade. But it is answered, that nothing in either list is mentioned which might not be abundantly found in Arabia, as collected by the Arabian merchants from India and the eastern coast of Africa, with which they certainly traded. But no one who has attended to the commercial character of the Phænicians, who must have had the conduct of the undertaking, will for a moment suppose that they, who were certainly the most enterprising merchants and skilful navigators of the time, were content to obtain, at second hand and at an enhanced price, from the Arabians, what they were equally able to obtain from the original markets. We cannot properly estimate the importance of the undertaking, without supposing that its object was to obtain at first hand the required commodities, and share with the Arabians in the trade to the countries from which they came.

The south-western coast of Arabia being the nearest of all the points where Ophir has been sought, has required other considerations than mere distance to account for the time consumed in the voyage. Prideaux, who conceives Tarshish to have been distinct from, and more distant than Ophir, and who looks only for gold, algum-trees, and precious stones there, observes properly, that the time does not affect Ophir—and that the navy, after having been there, might have gone, as far as needful to fill up the time, to some place in the Indian Ocean, affording gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. The guarded conclusion of this most learned and judicious writer is no more than, that if Arabia did, in the time of Solomon, afford the productions required from Ophir, those who place Ophir there seem to have the best foundation for their conjectures : " But,” he adds, “ more than conjecture no one can have in this matter.” Those who require all the productions from Ophir, and yet look for that place in Arabia, must account for the consumption of time, as Dr. Vincent does, when examining that other hypothesis which places Ophir on the African coast. “The navigators were Phænicians; and we learn from Homer (Odyss. xv. 454) their manner of conducting, business in a foreign port. They had no factors to whom they could consign a cargo in the gross, or who could furnish them on the emergence with a lading in return; but they anchored in a harbour, where they were their own brokers, and disposed of their cargoes by retail. This might detain them for a twelvemonth, as it did in the instance to which I allude; and if the Phænicians traded in the Eastern Ocean, as they did in the Mediterranean, we may from this cause assign any duration to the voyage which the history requires.” It is well to cite these two explanations here, as, together or separately, they may be taken to serve well enough as general explanations, independent of the distance of Ophir from Ezion-geber.

2. EASTERN AFRICA. Various points on the eastern coast of Africa have been fixed upon, but the general conclusion is in favour of Sofala. Bruce is now usually cited as the great advocate of this opinion ; but as nearly all the facts on which he reasons are from John dos Sanctos, and as his reasonings on these facts have in some instances been disproved, we feel it the better course to let the friar give his own statement, as we find it in Purchas. It has all the weight due to the account of one whose knowledge of the country was derived from actual residence in it

" Near to Massapa is a great high hill called Fura, whence may be discerned a great part of the kingdom of Monamotapa : for which cause he (the king) will not suffer the Portugals to go thither, that they should not covet his great country and hidden mines. On the top of that hill are yet standing pieces of old walls and ancient ruins of lime and sture, which testify that there have been strong buildings: a thing not seen in all Cafraria ; for (even) the king's houses are of wood, daubed with clay, and covered with straw. The natives, and especially the Moors, have a tradition from their ancestors, that those houses belonged to the queen of Saba, who carried much gold thence down to the Cuama to the sea, and so along the coast of Ethiopia to the Red Sea. Others say that these ruins were Solomon's factory, and that this Fura or Asura is no other than Ophir, the name being not much altered in so long a time. This is certain, that round about that hill there is much and fine gold. The navigation might, in these times, be longer, for want of so good ships or pilots as now are to be had, and by reason of much time spent in trucking with the Cafars, as even in this time the merchants often spend a year or more in that business, although the Cafars be grown more covetous of our wares, and the mines better known. They are so lazy to gather the gold, that they will not do it till necessity constrain them. Much time is also spent in the voyage by the rivers, and by that sea, which hath differing mon. $900s, and can be sailed but by two winds, which blow six months from the east, and as many from the west. Sulomon's fleet had, besides those mentioned, this let, that the Red Sea is not safely navigable but by day, by reason of many isles and shoals; likewise it was necessary to put into harbours for fresh water and other provisions,”-["This,” notes Purchas," was by reason their ships were small, as that infancy of navigation required."] = and to take in new pilots and mariners, and to make reparations; which considered”—[" with," says Purchas, " their creeping by the shore for want of compass and experience in those seas, and their Sabbath rests, and their truck with the Cafres ”]—“ might estend the whole voyage, ir going, staying, and returning, to three years. Further, the ivory, apes, gems, and precious woods (which grow in the wild places of Tebe within Sofala) whence they make almaidias, or cances, twenty yards long, of one timber, and much fine black wood (ebony) grows on that coast, and is thence carried to India and Portugal; all these may make the matter probable. As for peacocks, I saw none there, but there must needs be some within land; for I have seen some Cafers wear their plumes on their heads. As there is store of fine gold; so also is there fine silver in Chicona where are rich mines.”

This extract offers some most interesting points for consideration, on which our limits do not allow us to dwell. In this hypothesis, the analogy of name between Ophir and Afura, or, as soine fancy, between Ophir and Sofala, ard the

pearer.

local tradition, are not circumstances on which the intelligent inquirer will lay much stress. But it is certainly greatly ia favour of this hypothesis that the coast of Africa below the gulf (we would not say Sofala in particular) was the nearest country at which the fleet could arrive that afforded, as native produce, all (as nearly as we can define the articles named'in Scripture) the commodities with which the fleet of Solomon was freighted on its return. All the circumstances, also, which are against the theory which places Ophir in Arabia, are in favour of its being fixed on the African coast, and there it has accordingly been fixed by D'Anville, Huet, Mortesquieu, Bruce, and Robertson ; and even Dr. Vincent allows that it must there be sought for, by those who object to Arabia.

3. Persian Gulf. Some have sought Ophir in some one of the islands of this gulf, chiefly, as it seems, with the view of enabling the feet to fill up its time, and to obtain some commodities which it is supposed could not so well be found

We have already alluded to the singular theory which Calmet has advocated in his . Dissertation sur le Pays d'Ophir,' and which, by placing Ophir in Armenia, makes it necessary for him to conduct the feet of Solomon through the Persian Gulf, and up the Tigris or Euphrates, as far as these rivers were navigable, and where they might receive the produce of the Armenian Ophir. With all respect for this most valuable author, we consider this so strange a delusion, as to think it unnecessary to state any arguments either for or against it. But, before leaving the Persian Gulf, it may be well to notice a circumstance which has been overlooked by the various writers on this subject, but which will be of important use to the clear understanding of the matter. This is, that the Phænicians had, at a period of remote antiquity-long before the Persian empire rose to greatness, which is the same as saying, long before the times of Daniel and Ezra— commercial settlements in the Gulf of Persia. Professor Heeren, in his excellent work on the commerce of the Phænicians, has ably analyzed the information by which this fact is demonstrated. We must refer to his work for the proofs, and must content ourselves with stating some of his conclusions. 1. That in times long anterior to the domination of Persia, there was in the Persian Gulf a navigation which was not confined thereto, but extended to very distant countries. 2. These countries were Ceylon, and the western coast of the peninsula of India within the Ganges; and the principal port of this navigation was the port of Crocala, now Curachee, at the embouchure of the Indus, a city of thirteen thousand inhabitants, and which was the seat of a great commerce; and that of Barygaza, now Barache, in the Gulf of Cambay. The proximity of these countries facilitated the voyage between them, which voyage was also favoured by the monsoons, which at regular intervals carried out and brought home the vessels. 3. This navigation was carried on by the Babylonians, and also by the Phænicians established upon the eastern coast of Arabia and in the Baharein islands: the same navigation was also practised by the Arabs, who sought the coveted luxuries of India, and conveyed them to Babylon or the commercial cities of Phænicia, whence they were distributed in all directions. 4. The principal objects of this commerce were the incense of Arabia, the spices of India within the Ganges, the cinnamon of Ceylon, the ivory, ebony, precious stones and pearls of the Persian Gulf and of India. These at least are the articles of which the historians speak; but the list is probably very incomplete, and omits many curious and useful objects which are offered to the notice of those who visit these countries. Reserving the application of this to our present subject, let us proceed to

4. India. To this country, certainly, the large majority of authorities refer the Hebrew-Phænician voyage. It is considered that the distance is sufficient to account for the three years' voyage; and that there is no country in which the various products brought by the fleet might with equal certainty be found. But those who agree thus far, differ amazingly as to the particular district or island in which Ophir should be sought. As we are only considering the matter generally, we do not feel it necessary even to enumerate the multitudinous alternatives, further than to observe that Ceylon seems to have the greatest number of votes in its favour. But as we are inclined to hold precise identification to be impossible, we are only interested in inquiring whether India were at all the object of the voyage. This is strenuously denied by Dr. Vincent and others, who contend that the Phænicians received all their Indian goods from the Arabians, who did trade with India; and that the Phænicians never did cross the Indian Ocean. The little we have to say on this point will be found in the concluding considerations to which we now come.

The reader will by this time begin perhaps to question whether any particular places are denoted by the words Tar. shish and Ophir. In the note to chap ix. we explained that "ships of Tarshish were probably so called from being, like those which went from Phænicia to the Atlantic, especially adapted to a long voyage. Now, by an obvious transition of ideas, among a people whose notions of distant places were very indefinite, when ships that made long voyages were called ships of Tarshish, the name may, in process of time, have been transferred, so as to denote any distant country to which such ships went. This would adequately explain how it happens that the ships which went to Ophir are called ships of Tarshish in the book of Kings, but in the later book of Chronicles are not so called, but are said to have gone to Tarshish, that is, went a distant voyage. This explanation does not rest on our authority: it is the explanation of Gesenius. Heeren, in the work above referred to, applies a somewhat similar explanation to Ophir. He says, “ It is very probable that this name, like those of Thule and others, did not designate any fixed place, but simply a certain region of the world, like the names East or West Indies, in modern geography. Thus Ophir may be understood as a general name for the rich south country, including the shores of Arabia, Africa, and India.” In confirmation of this he observes elsewhere, after Tychsen, that the word Ophir signifies in Arabia "the rich countries.” In these explanations, as respecting the names of Tarshish and Ophir, we entirely acquiesce. They enable us to conclude that the fleet may have gone trading to various places, collecting the different commodities which were required, and relieve us from the necessity of finding everything in one place.

Heeren thinks that the feet did visit India. But we submit that, on his own showing, this was not necessary. For if Phænician colonies trading to India did then exist in the Persian Gulf

, it was only necessary that the feet from the Red Sea should proceed thither and receive what the fleets of these colonies brought from India. This is also Seetzen's opinion, and which induces him to place Ophir in the Persian Gulf. But again, we think this altogether unlikely ; for what possible inducement could there be, considering the tediousness and difficulty of ancient navigation, to go such a vast way about, to fetch the produce of India and the Gulf from these colonies, when it might be received in so much shorter time, and with so much less expense and inconvenience by the Euphrates, and from thence by caravans across the desert? That the commerce in this regular channel for the trade of the Gulf was still open, seems to be indicated by the foundation of Tadmor in the desert (see the note on chap. viii.) If, therefore, these colonies were then established in the Gulf, as we think more than probable, we do not conceive that the fleet did go either to the Gulf or to India; but we see no difficulty in believing that it did so, if no such colonies then existed. Assuming that they did exist, we should then conceive that the object of the voyage had no concern with a trade already in operation ; but was destined to open a new and profitable branch of trade in another quarter, to which the natural means of access were by the Red Sea, which was at this time first opened to Phænician and Hebrew enterprise. This was of course to the shores of the Red Sea (including Arabia if we please) and of the African coast beyond the Straits. If it has not been sufficiently explained how the stated time might be commenced in this voyage, it is only necessary to add that "every three years ” may with equal or greater propriety be rendered "every third year," which may mean any time more than two years and less than three, and further, that as the Hebrews counted broken years and days for whole ones, it might not be even two years. Thus, if they left in the autumn of the year 1, continued away all the year II, and returned in the spring of the year III, they would be said to return in the third year, though they had only been absent eighteen months. Thus our Saviour rose “on the third day," though he had only been one day and two nights in the tomb. Again, observing that we only contend for this view in the absence of colonies in the Persian Gulf, we may add that it does not contract but enlarge the scope of the commerce in which Solomon had part: for while his possession of the desert to the Euphrates gave him the command of the caravan trade which brought the produce of India from the Euphrates or Persian Gulf, his Red Sea commerce rendered tributary to him the east African coast, so far as then known, with its mines of precious metal and rare productions.

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

Ships.”—The cuts representing some specimens of ancient ships, we introduce as a suitable appendage to the considerations in the preceding note on the commercial navigation of the Hebrews. They will suggest to the reader some practical ideas concerning the vessels in which such navigation was probably performed. This being our object, it is not necessary to enter into any historical or descriptive statement at present: and should this seem necessary on a future occasion, the reader will only have to refer back to these cuts for the pictorial illustration of the accounts we may then furnish. We shall now merely make a few observations with the view of rendering the cuts more instructive.

The ancient ships were of three kinds—ships of war, of passage, and of merchandise. All our cuts belong to the two latter classes, the first not being required for our present purpose. To diversify the illustration, we have given specimens from different ancient nations-Egyptian and Roman. It will be observed that they have all but one mast; nor do any

ancient authors mention more ; but an engraved gem, copied by Stosch, represents a vessel with a main and mizen mast

. This vessel, like our fig. 4, is equipped for sailing only, not for rowing also; although, as in most of our cuts, very ancient vessels are usually represented as adapted for rowing only, or for both rewing and sailing. (See Jonah 1. 13; Ezek. xxvii. 26.

) The progress of invention seems to have been, first rowing; then sails to assist rowing, and ultimately sailing only. It appears from Ezek. xxvi. 6, 7, 29, that the Phænician ships were worked by oars and sails; some apparently by both, and others by oars

Fig. 2.-EGYPTIAN SHIP.-From Sculptures in the Grotto of Eleutherium. only. There are other passages of Scripture bearing on the practices of ancient navigation, which will receive our attention when we reach them. The mast remained for a long time moveable, and was only set up as wanted. Such are the masts mentioned by Homer. The intimation of the prophet seems to the same purport (Isa. xxxiii. 23) ; and this is clearly exhibited in the bas-relief of the building of the Argo, in the Townley collection of marbles. The poets, also, who relate the voyage of that famous ship, of which they speak with wonder, describe the mast as taken down when in harbour, and set up again when it departed; and also as being propelled at once by sail and oars.

We introduce a cut of the bas-relief, which affords a curious and appropriate illastration of the present subject. The ancient navigators long continued to use the sail only with a favourable wind; and their learning at last how to mail upon a tack may have led to the disuse of oars in sailing vessels. One thing that the reader will not fail to notice, is the small size of all the vessels which our cuts exhibit. This observation equally applies to all vessels, o this class of which any representations remain. This indeed affords an important circumstance in explaining one

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][graphic][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

cause of the slowness of ancient navigation ; for as the ships did not afford mueh room for the stowage of provisions, they were necessarily so inadequately victualled, that they were frequently obliged to stop on the coasts to obtain fresh supplies. Herodotus, in describing the circumnavigation of Africa in the time of Necho, says that the feet stopped at some point on the African coast, where they sowed corn, and having awaited the harvest and reaped it, again set sail. Whatever credit be due to this single circumstance, the mere existence of the story, demonstrates the delays which arose from this cause. Major Rennel, with reference to the same anecdote, has an important observation, which we cannot forbear to quote: “ It appears that the principal difficulty to be surmonnted in ancient voyages, arose from the impracticability of stowing the ships with provisions, adequate to the vast length of time required for their navigations ; where the rate of sailing was so remarkably slow. They were ill adapted to distant voyages (which indeed they seldom undertook): but did very well in situations where they could land and command provisions, almost at pleasure. But, on the other hand, they were better adapted to those coasting voyages which constituted almost the whole of their navigations. The fatness of their bottoms required much less water than modern vessels of the like tonnage; whence

« EdellinenJatka »