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of Achor: and Josephus plainly intimates, Accaron in the passage before us was not the name of a place, but a deity, the ɛos Muia, or Fly-God: and that his temple was at Tyre. The authors of the Greek version seem to give the same interpretation: and we may determine their meaning by the authority of those who copied from them. Such was Zonaras, who speaks of this deity in the feminine--3 Νοσησας δε προς την Ακκάρων, θεον μύιας ονομασμένην, επεμψεν. If the meaning of a passage can be at all ascertained by the collocation of the terms, of which it is composed, the interpretation is as follows.---Upon Ahaziah's being ill he sent to the goddess Accaron, which was stiled the Fly Deity. This is cer
* There was no Accaronite here, nor any place stiled Ekron, or Accaron.
2 The deity in the original is stiled Baal: and Baal-zebub : and agreeably to this Josephus tells us-o de Dios Axaby Baaλ us— δε θεος Βααλ The God of Ahab (and we may presume, of his son, Ahaziah) was named Baal. He adds-Ovros Baad Tugiar ην θεός. Αχαζος δε τω πενθερῳ βελόμενος χαρισασθαι Ιθοβααλ Τυρίων οντι βασιλεί και Σιδωνίων ναον τε αυτῷ κατεσκευασεν εν Σαμαρεία, και προφητας απεδειξε. 1. ix. c. vi. p. 448. This Baal was a Tyrian deity: to whom Ahab, out of regard to Ithobaal his wife's father, king both of the Tyrians and Sidonians, had raised a temple in Samaria and appointed priests.
3 Zonaras Annal. 1. 2. p. 96.
tainly the meaning of Syncellus also: who says, that Elijah upbraided the king---' voσ8v7, και χρησμον αποςείλαντα λαβειν εν 2 ειδωλια μυιας Anagwv---who was ill, and sent for oracular intelligence to the temple of the Fly Acaron.
A more determinate Proof.
The whole, I think, may be most satisfactorily determined by the command given to the prophet Elijah. We find, that king Ahaziah had sent his messengers from Samaria. Upon this, the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite: Go up to meet the messengers of Ahaziah, king of Samaria. This is rendered by the Seventy---δευρο εις συνάντησιν. Now Elijah was not only of the kingdom of Israel; but more particularly of Thisba, a city of Galilee, in the tribe of Naphthali; where he
2 Instead of ειδωλια I should read ειδωλείο.
3 It was sometimes expressed Thesba.
Θεσβα, όθεν ην Ηλιας ὁ Θεσβίτης. Eusebii Onomasticon.
Jerome supposes Elijah to have been born there.
Thesba, unde ortus est Elias propheta Thesbites. Heironymus de locis sacris, p. 238.
Thesba, urbs Galileæ in regione tribus Naphtali. Relandi Palæstina, v. 2. p. 1035.
resided: though he is also said to have lived sometimes among the inhabitants of Gilead. But both Thisba, and the region of Gilead, were far removed from Samaria; and much farther from Ekron. Thisba lay to the north, and Gilead to the north-east of this city of the Philistines. How could the prophet be sent to meet the messengers, if they were gone to the south and south-west in a direction from him? For this was the case, if they went to Ekron towards the extremity of Judah. But if they were sent to Tyre; they were every step advancing towards him; and he could easily go up and meet them. This was therefore the city, to which they were sent and the deity was the Fly-God Acaron, as Josephus and others have assured us. There was not a place from Dan to Samaria, from which the prophet could have set out, and confront
Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, 1 Kings, c. 17. v. 1. He was by relation or birth of Gilead; but lived at Thisbe: hence he is stiled in the versions-ex advenis, & ex inquilinis, Galaaditicis.
2 Gilead seems to have been the whole tract of country beyond Jordan quite up to Dan. See Deut. c. 34. v. 1. It lay for the most part to the east and north-east of Judah, and the land of Israel: and was at a great distance from Samaria. Ramoth Gilead was about thirty miles to the east.
ed the messengers, had they been sent to the land of the Philestim.
From hence it is manifest, that Josephus, and the authors above mentioned, instead of
, the God of Acaron, as it stands now in the original, read universally, the God Acaron. And this reading seems to be past contradiction ascertained from the context, and from the history given of the deity. The difference consists only in a small final letter which may easily have been added; and may as easily upon these authorities be set aside. Some manuscripts are mentioned by Dr Kennicott; in which it is not found. We have seen, that the context proves the reading recommended to be true: and we have the concurrence of the Greek version, and of many learned writers, for a farther confirmation.
Frequent Prohibitions against this Worship.
We have sufficiently shewn, that in many parts of the world flies were reverenced; and that there were sacrifices offered to them. Moreover, that there was a deity stiled Deus Musca, and Achoron; who was worshipped under the semblance of a fly. This idolatry
originated in Egypt: from whence it was brought by the Caphtorim to Palestine; and by the Phenicians to Sidon, Tyre, and Byblus and from these places it was carried into other regions of the world. The original river Accaron, called by the Greeks, Axegav, Acheron, was in Egypt. It lay to the west of Memphis; and on the other side were the Acherusii campi, and Palus Acherusia, the same as Mæris. Here likewise stood a city Achoris where we may infer that the Fly Deity was worshipped: for we know, that among the people of this country almost every species of vermine was held sacred. They
Lucan has more than once introduced in his poem, a person of Memphis, who was a priest, and named Achoreus. quos inter Achoreus, Jam placidus senio, fractusque modestior annis. Hunc genuit custos Nili crescentis in arva Memphis, vana sacris. 1. 8. v. 475. Cæsar is introduced as addressing him -summâque in sede jacentem Linigerum placidis compellat Achorea dictis. O! sacris devote Senex. 1. 10. v. 174.
He was probably a priest of the God Achor: and denominated from his office. The temple of this deity I should imagine to have been at Achoris, a city near the lake Mæris. Axogis of Ptolemy, p. 121. mentioned by Sozomen, l. 6. c. 28. p. 257. and expressed Axe.