|« Prev||Chapters 6-10||Next »|
A Commentary on the New Testament
from the Talmud and Hebraica
A Chorographical Decad;
a searching into some places of the Land of Israel;
those especially whereof mention is made in St. Mark.
The coasts of Tyre and Sidon; Mark 7:24.
1. The maps too officious.
You will see, in some maps, the Syrophoenician woman pictured, making her supplication to our Saviour for her possessed daughter, almost at the gates of Sidon. But by what right, I fear the authors will not tell me with solidity enough.
In one of Adrichomius' the woman is pictured and no inscription added: but in the Dutch one of Doet she is pictured with this inscription; "Here the Canaanitish woman prayed for her daughter," Matthew 15. In that of Geilkirch, with these words written at it, "The gate of Sidon, before which the Canaanitish woman obtained health for her daughter possessed with a devil," Matthew 15.
"Before the gate of Sidon (saith Borchard the monk) eastward, there is a chapel, built in the place where the Canaanitish woman prayed our Saviour for her demoniacal daughter: concerning whom we read thus Matthew 15, that 'going out of the coasts of Tyre and Sidon she came to Jesus.'"
There are two things which plainly disagree with that situation and opinion:--
I. That it is not credible that Christ ever passed the bounds of the land of Israel. For when he said of himself, "I am not sent but to the lost sheep of Israel only"; and to his disciples, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles"; and, "If these wonderful works had been done in Tyre and Sidon";--you will never persuade me that he ever went as far as the gates of Sidon.
II. It is said by St. Mark, that after that maid was healed, Christ came "from the coast of Tyre and Sidon to the sea of Galilee, through the middle of the coasts of Decapolis." What! from the gate of Sidon to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of Decapolis? It would have been more properly said, "Through the midst of Galilee": and hence, as it seems, some have been moved to place Decapolis within Galilee, with no reason at all. We shall meet with it in another place, in the following chapter, and in such a place, that it is not easy to conceive how Christ could pass through it from the gate of Sidon to the sea of Galilee.
To determine concerning "the coasts of Tyre and Sidon," in this story, we first propound this to the reader: It is said, 1 Kings 9:11,12, that "Solomon gave to Hiram, the king of the Tyrians, twenty cities in Galilee": which when he had seen and liked them not, "he called the land Chabul unto this day." The LXX render it, "he called them the border or coast." Now let any one, I beseech you, skilled in the tongues, tell me what kin there is between Chabul and a bound, or coast, that moved the LXX so to render it.
The Talmudists speak various things of the word Chabul: but the sense and signification of the word a coast, is very far distant from their meaning. The Jerusalem Talmudists speak thus; "Chabul signifies a land which bears not fruit." The Babylonian thus; "What is the meaning of the land Chabul? Rabba Honna saith, Because its inhabitants were wrapped up in silver and gold. Abba saith to him, Is it so? Behold, it is written, 'That the cities pleased him not.' Should they displease him because they were wrapped up in silver and gold?--He saith to him, Yea, because they were wealthy and delicate, they were not fit for the king's works. Rabh Nachman Bar Isaac saith, It was a salt land, and gaping with clefts. Why is it called Chabul? Because the leg is plunged in it up to the garters." Josephus thus, "Outwards they called it the land of Chabal: for this word Chabal, being interpreted, signifies in the Phoenician tongue, that which pleaseth not."
These things they speak, tracing the sense of the word as well as they can; but of the sense of a bound or coast, they did not so much as dream.
I cannot pass away without taking notice of the Glosser at the place cited out of the Babylonian Talmudists, having these words; "The text alleged speaks of twenty-two cities, which Solomon gave to Hiram": he reckons 'two-and twenty,' when in the Hebrew original and in all versions, 'twenty cities' only are mentioned. Whether it be a failing of the memory, or whether he speaks it on purpose, who is able to define? Much less are those words of the Holy Ghost to be passed over, 2 Chronicles 8:2. The grammatical interpretation is very easy, "And the cities which Huram gave to Solomon, Solomon built them": but the historical interpretation is not so easy. For it is demanded, Whether did Hiram give those cities of his own? or did he restore them, which Solomon gave to him, when they pleased him not? And there are some versions which render the word not, he gave, but he restored or gave back again; and in this sense, Solomon built the cities which Hiram had restored back to Solomon. As if Hiram would not keep those twenty cities in the land Chabul, because they displeased him, but restored them back to Solomon in some indignation.
Kimchi on the place more rightly, "It is very well expounded, that Hiram gave cities to Solomon in his own land; and he placed Israelites there to strengthen himself. And he, in like manner, gave cities to Hiram in Galilee; and that to strengthen the league between them. In the Book of the Kings it is recorded what Solomon gave to Hiram; and in this," of the Chronicles, "what Hiram gave to Solomon." Most true indeed: for that Hiram gave to Solomon some cities in his jurisdiction, appears beyond all controversy from thence, that Solomon is said to build Tadmor in the wilderness, 1 Kings 9:18. But what is that place Tadmor? Josephus will teach us: "Thadamor (saith he), the Greeks call Palmyra." And the Vulgar interpreters read, "He built Palmyra." Therefore we must by no means think that HIram rejected the cities that were given him by Solomon, however they pleased him not; but kept them for his own, which Solomon also did with them which Hiram gave to him.
But whence should the Greek interpreters render that place called Chabul by a coast, when there is no affinity at all between the significations of the words?
The Greek interpreters are not seldom wont to render the names of places, not by that name as they are called in the Hebrew text, but as they are called in after-times under the second Temple: which is also done often by the Chaldee Targumists. Of this sort are, Cappadocians, for Caphtorim: Rhinocorura, for 'the river of Egypt'; of which we have spoken before: and among very many examples which might be produced, let us compare one place out of the Talmudists with them.
The Jerusalem Talmudists, calling some cities, mentioned Joshua 19, both by their ancient and present names, speak thus at verse 15:
"Kattah is Katonith." The LXX render it Katanath.
"Nahalal is Mahalol."
"Shimron is Simoniah." The LXX render it Symoon.
"Irala is Chiriah." The LXX render it Jericho.
He that observes, shall meet with very many such. And from this very thing you may perhaps suspect that that version savours not of the antiquity of the times of Ptolemeus Philadelphius.
The same that they are wont to do elsewhere, we suppose, is done by them here: and rejecting the former name, whereby that region of Galilee was called in the more ancient ages, namely Chabul, they gave it the name and title whereby it now ordinarily went, that is, the bound or the coast.
Border I suspect denotes the very same thing in that tradition in the Jerusalem writers; "Those cities are forbidden in the border, or coast, Tzur, Shezeth, and Bezeth, &c.; and those cities are permitted in the border, or coast, Nebi Tsur, Tsiiar," &c. The permission or prohibition here spoke of--as much as we may, by guess, fetch from the scope of the place--is in respect of tithing; and the determination is, from which of those cities tithes were to be required and taken, and from which not. They were to be required of the Israelites, not from the heathen: which thing agrees very well with the land of Chabul, where cities of this and that jurisdiction seem to have been mixed, and, as it were, interwoven.
There was a Midland Phoenicia, as well as a Phoenicia on the sea coast. That on the sea coast all know: of the Midland, thus Ptolemy; "The midland cities of Phoenicia are Arca, Palaeobiblus, Gabala, Caesarea of Paneas."
Whether Midland Phoenicia and Syrophoenicia be to be reckoned all one, I am in doubt. I had rather divide Phoenicia into three parts, namely, into Phoenicia on the sea coast, Midland Phoenicia, and Syrophoenicia. And the reason is, because I ask whether all Midland Phoenicia might be called Syrophoenicia: and I ask, moreover, whether all Syrophoenicia were to be reckoned within the bounds of Tyre and Sidon? Certainly Nicetas Choniates mentions the Syrophoenician cities as far as Antioch. For he, in the story of John Comenius, hath these words, "He resolved to set upon the Syrophoenician cities bordering upon Antioch, which were possessed by the Agarenes." But now, will you reckon those cities as far as Antioch to be within the jurisdiction of Tyre and Sidon? But certainly there is nothing hinders but you may reckon those to be so which Ptolemy esteems to belong to Midland Phoenicia; only the scruple is about Caesarea of Paneas, which is Caesarea Philippi: and that, we shall see, belonged to the Decapolitan cities, and may be determined, without any absurdity, to be within that jurisdiction of Tyre and Sidon, as also Leshem of old, which was the same city, Judges 18:28.
Let one clause of the Talmudists be added; and then those things which are spoken may be reduced into a narrower compass. They, reducing the bounds of the land under the second Temple, fix for a bound "Tarnegola the Upper, which is above Caesarea." Observe, that Caesarea is a city of Midland Phoenicia, according to Ptolemy; and yet Tarnegola, which bends more northward, is within the land of Israel, according to the Hebrews.
So that in this sense, Christ might be within "the coasts of Tyre and Sidon," and yet be within the limits of the land of Israel. We must therefore suppose, and that not without reason, that he, when he healed the possessed maid, was, 1. in that country, in the outermost coasts of Galilee, which formerly was called Chabul, in the Seventy called the coast; in the Talmudists the border; which anciently was given by Solomon to the king of Tyre; and from that grant in the following ages it belonged to the right and jurisdiction of Tyre and Sidon; however it were within those boundaries, wherein the land of Israel was circumscribed from the beginning; yea, wherein it was circumscribed under the second Temple. 2. We suppose him to have been not far from the springs or stream of Jordan, which being passed over, he could not come to the sea of Galilee, but by the country of Decapolis.
When we are speaking of Syrophoenicia, we are not far off from a place where the sabbatic river either was, or was feigned to be: and I hope the reader will pardon me, if I now wander a little out of my bounds, going to see a river that kept the sabbath: for who would not go out of his way to see so astonishing a thing?
And yet, if we believe Pliny, we are not without our bounds, for he fixeth this river within Judea. "In Judea (saith he) a river every sabbath day is dry."--Josephus otherwise; "Titus (saith he, going to Antioch) saw in the way a river very well worthy to be taken notice of, between the cities of Arca and Raphana, cities of the kingdom of Agrippa. Now it hath a peculiar nature. For, when it is of that nature, that it flows freely, and does not sluggishly glide away; yet it wholly fails from its springs for six days, and the place of it appears dry. And then, as if no change at all were made, on the seventh day the like river ariseth. And it is by certain experience found that it always keeps this order. Whence it is called the 'Sabbatic river,' from the holy seventh day of the Jews."
Whether of the two do you believe, reader? Pliny saith, That river is in Judea: Josephus saith, No. Pliny saith, It is dry on the sabbath days: Josephus saith, It flows then. The Talmudists agree with Pliny; and Josephus agrees not with his own countrymen.
In the Babylonian tract Sanhedrim, Turnus Rufus is brought in, asking this of R. Akibah, "Who will prove that this is the sabbath-day? [The Gloss, 'For perhaps one of the other days is the sabbath.'] R. Akiba answered, The Sabbatic river will prove this. He that hath a python, (or a familiar spirit) will prove this. And the sepulchre of his father will prove this." The Gloss writes thus: "'The Sabbatic river will prove this.' That is a rocky river, which flows and glides all the days of the week, but ceaseth and resteth on the sabbath. 'He that hath a python or a familiar spirit, will prove this.' For a python ascendeth not on the sabbath-day. And the sepulchre of Turnus Rufus, all the days of the year, sent forth a smoke; because he was judged and delivered to fire. But transgressors in hell rest on the sabbath-day." Therefore, his sepulchre sent not forth a smoke on the sabbath day.
Do you not suspect, reader, whence and wherefore this fable was invented? namely, when the brightness of the Christian sabbath was now risen, and increased every day, they had recourse to these monsters either of magic or of fables, whereby the glory of our sabbath might be obscured, and that of the Jews exalted. The various, and indeed contrary relations of historians bring the truth of the story into suspicion.
1. The region of Decapolis not well placed by some.
We meet with frequent mention of Decapolis in the evangelists, as also in foreign authors; but no where in a more difficult sense than in those words of St. Mark, chapter 7, where it is thus spoken of Christ, "And again departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came to the sea of Galilee through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis." The difficulty lies in this; that supposing by the 'coasts of Tyre and Sidon,' a place near the gates of Sidon is to be understood, of which before, it can scarcely be conceived how Christ went through the middle of Decapolis to the sea of Galilee, unless it be supposed that Decapolis was within Galilee.
Hence Borchard certainly, and others that follow him, seem to be induced to number these towns of Galilee for Decapolitan towns; Tiberias, Sephet, Kedesh-Naphtali, Hazor, Capernaum, Caesarea Philippi, Jotopata, Bethsaida, Chorazin, Scythopolis. Upon whose credit Baronius writes thus: "The province of Decapolis (saith he) was placed in the same Galilee; so called, because there were ten cities in it, among which one was reckoned Capernaum." Confidently enough indeed, but without any ground. Pliny much otherwise: "There is joined to it (saith he), on the side of Syria, the region of Decapolis, from the number of the towns, in which region all do not keep the same towns. Yet most do. Damascus and Opoto, watered with the river Chrysorrhoa, fruitful Philadelphia, Raphana, all lying backwards towards Arabia: Scythopolis (heretofore called Nysa, from father Bacchus' nurse being there buried), from Scythians drawn down [and planted] there: Gaddara, [the river] Hieromiax gliding by it, and that which is now called Hippon Dion, Pella rich in waters, Galasa, Canatha. The tetrarchies run between these cities, and compass them about, which are like to kingdoms, and are divided into kingdoms, namely, Trachonitis, Paneas, in which is Caesarea, with the fountain before spoke of, Abila, Arca, Ampeloessa."
Whom should we believe? Borchard and his followers place all Decapolis within Galilee, being extended the whole length of Galilee, and adjacent to Jordan, and on the shore of the sea of Gennesaret. Pliny and his followers place it all in the country beyond Jordan, except only Scythopolis.
In Scythopolis both parties agree, and I, in this, with both: but in others I agree with Borchardus hardly in any, and not with Pliny in all. In them, it is absurd to reckon the most famed cities of Galilee for cities of Decapolis, when, both in sacred and profane authors, Galilee is plainly distinguished from Decapolis. In Pliny, it seems an unequal match to join Damascus and Philadelphia, formerly the two metropoles of Syria and the kingdom of Ammon, with the small cities of Gadara and Hippo.
With Pliny and his followers Josephus also consents, in reckoning up some cities of Decapolis. For severely chiding Justus of Tiberias, he has these words: "You also and all the men of Tiberias have not only taken up arms, but have fought against the cities of Decapolis in Syria." Observe that: The cities of Decapolis in Syria, not in Galilee. "Thou hast set their cities on fire." And a little after, "After that Vespasian was come to Ptolemais, the chief men of Decapolis of Syria sharply accused Justus of Tiberias, that he had fired their towns." But what those towns of Decapolis were, he hints elsewhere in these words: "Then Justus persuading his fellow-citizens to take arms, and compelling those that would not, and going forth with all these, he fires the villages of the Gadarenes and the Hippens."
You see how, with Pliny, Josephus joins the region of Decapolis to the side of Syria, and how he reckons Gadara and Hippo for Decapolitan towns with him. And yet, as we said, Pliny doth not please us in all: but that which in him might seem most ridiculous and absurd, namely, that he reckons Scythopolis, which is beyond Jordan, with the other cities pleaseth me most of all. For from that very city we are certified what were the other cities, and why they were of such singular name and note: having first taken notice of the condition of Scythopolis, it will be more easy to judge of the rest.
The Talmudists very frequently propound the particular example of the city Beth-shean, which is also called Scythopolis, (see the LXX in Judges 1:27), and do always resolve it to stand in a different condition from the other cities of the land of Israel.
"Rabbi (say they) looseth Beth-shean, Rabbi looseth Caesarea, Rabbi looseth Beth Gubrin, Rabbi looseth Caphar Tsemach from the Demai"; that is, from the tithing of things doubtful. Jarchi citing these words addeth these moreover; "For all those places were like to Beth-shean, which the Israelites subdued coming up out of Egypt; but they subdued it not when they came out of Babylon."
"R. Meir (say they) ate the leaves of herbs [not tithed] in Beth-shean, and thenceforth Rabbi Meir loosed all Beth-shean from tithing." Upon which story thus Jarchi again; "R. Meri ate leaves in Beth-shean not tithed, because tithing is not used out of the land of Israel." Note this well, I pray; that Beth-shean, which plainly was within the land of Israel, yet is reckoned for a city which is out of the land of Israel, and for a heathen city: and the reason is given, because, although it were within the land, and came into the possession of the Israelites in the first conquest of it, yet it came not into their possession in their second conquest, but was always inhabited by heathens. The same, with good grounds, we judge of the rest of the cities of Decapolis, which were indeed within the limits of Israelitic land, but which the Syrians or heathens had usurped, and until then possessed. After we have numbered some of those cities, the thing will appear the more clearly.
But if you ask, by the way, who the inhabitants of Beth-shean were when the Jews came up out of Babylon; and who would not, could not be subdued by the Jews, is a matter of more obscure search: you would guess them to be Scythians from the derivation of the word, and from the words of Pliny: "Scythopolis, heretofore Nysa, from Scythians brought down thither." But if you go to Herodotus, discoursing concerning the empire of the Scythians in Asia, and especially in Palestine, you will find that that empire was extinct when the grandfather of Cyrus was scarce born: that it may seem more a wonder that the name of Scythopolis did so flourish, when the Jews under Cyrus went back to their own land. But concerning this matter we will not create more trouble either to the reader or to ourselves.
So Pliny and Josephus in the words lately alleged out of them: and so the evangelists not obscurely concerning Gadara. For Mark saith, "He began to preach in Decapolis"; Luke, "He departed preaching throughout all the city of Gadara."
And that Gadara was of heathen jurisdiction, besides what may be gathered out of those words of Josephus, may be made out also from thence, that hogs were kept there in so great a number, Matthew 8: the keeping of which was forbidden the Jews by the Talmudic canons, as well as the eating them by the Mosaic law. Hence in our notes on Mark 5, we are not afraid to pronounce that possessed Gadarene to be a heathen; and that, if our conjecture fail us not, upon good grounds.
That Hippo also was of heathen jurisdiction, the testimonies of the Jews concerning the city Susitha may sufficiently argue: which as it is of the same signification with the word Hippo, so without all doubt it is the same place. So they write of its heathenism. "The land Tobh, to which Jephthah fled, is Susitha. And why is the name of it called Tobh [that is, good]? because it is free from tithes." And whence came it to be free from tithe? because it was of heathen possession. For there was no tithing without the land, that is out of any place which belonged to the heathen. And again, "If two witnesses come forth out of a city, the greater part of which consists of Gentiles, as Susitha," &c.
Pliny numbers Pella also among the Decapolitan cities: and so also doth Epiphanius: and that it was of the same condition under which, we suppose, the other Decapolitan cities were put, namely, that it was inhabited by heathens, the words of Josephus make plain: "The Jews recovered these cities of the Moabites from the enemy, Essebon, Medaba, Lemba, Oronas, Telithon, Zara, Cilicium Aulon, Pella. But this (Pella) they overthrew, because the inhabitants would not endure to be brought over unto the customs of the country." Behold the citizens of Pella vigorously heathen, so that their city underwent a kind of martyrdom, if I may so call it, for retaining their heathenism. And when it was restored under Pompey, it was rendered back to the same citizens, the same Josephus bearing witness.
But take heed, reader, that his words do not deceive you concerning its situation; who writes thus of Perea, "The length of Perea is from Macherus to Pella, and the northern coasts are bounded at Pella": that is, of Perea, as distinct from Trachonitis and Batanea. For Pella was the furthest northern coast of Perea, and the south coast of Trachonitis. Hence Josephus reckons and ranks it together with Hippo, Dio, Scythopolis, in the place before cited.
There is no need to name more cities of Decapolis beyond Jordan; these things which have been said make sufficiently for our opinion, both concerning the situation of the places, and the nature of them. Let us only add this, while we are conversant beyond Jordan, and about Pella: "Ammon and Moab (say the Gemarists) tithe the tithe of the poor in the seventh year," &c. Where the Gloss thus; "Ammon and Moab are Israelites who dwell in the land of Ammon and Moab, which Moses took from Sichon. And that land was holy, according to the holiness of the land of Israel: but under the second Temple its holiness ceased. They sow it, therefore, the seventh year; and they appoint thence the first tithe, and the poor's tithe the seventh year, for the maintenance of the poor; who have not a corner of the field left, nor a gleaning that year: thither therefore the poor betake themselves, and have there a corner left, and a gleaning, and the poor's tithe."
We produce this, for the sake of that story which relates how the Christians fled from the siege and slaughter of Jerusalem to Pella. And why to Pella? Certainly if that be true which obtains among the Jews, that the destruction of Jerusalem was 'in the seventh year,' which was the year of release, when on this side Jordan they neither ploughed nor sowed, but beyond Jordan there was a harvest, and a tithing for the poor, &c.; hence one may fetch a more probable reason of that story than the historians themselves give; namely, that those poor Christians resorted thither for food and sustenance, when husbandry had ceased that year in Judea and Galilee. But we admire the story, rather than acquiesce in this reason.
We neither dare, nor indeed can, number up all the cities of Decapolis of the same condition with Beth-shean: yet the Jerusalem Talmudists fix and rank these three under the same condition with it, in those words which were alleged before, Caphar Carnaim excepted, of which afterward.
I. Caphar Tsemach. Let something be observed of its name out of R. Solomon.
1. In the Jerusalem Talmudists it is Caphar Tsemach; but R. Solomon citing them reads Caphar Amas; which one would wonder at. But this is not so strange to the Chaldee and Syriac dialect, with which it is very usual to change Tsade into Ain. So that the Rabbin in the pronouncing of the word Amas, plays the Syrian in the first letter, and the Grecian in the last, ending the word in Samech for Cheth.
2. We dare pronounce nothing confidently of the situation of the place: we have only said this of it before, that it is reckoned by the Jerusalem writers among "the cities forbidden in the borders"; perhaps, in the coast, of which before: but I resolve nothing.
II. Beth Gubrin. The situation of this place also is unknown. There was a Gabara about Caesarea Philippi, called by the Rabbins 'Tarnegola the Upper.' But we dare not confound words and places. It is famous for R. Jochanan of Beth Gubrin, who said, "There are four noble tongues," &c.
III. "Caphar Karnaim (say the Jerusalem Talmudists) is of the same condition with Beth-shean"; that is, of heathen jurisdiction.
And now let the reader judge whether these were some of the Decapolitan cities. Whether they were or no, we neither determine, nor are we much solicitous about it: that which we chiefly urge is, that, by the places before mentioned, it appears, as I suppose, that the cities of Decapolis were indeed within the limits of the land of Israel, but inhabited by Gentiles. Jews indeed dwelt with them, but fewer in number, inferior in power, and not so free both in their possessions and privileges. And if you ask the reason why they would dwell in such an inferiority with the heathens, take this: "The Rabbins deliver. Let one always live in the land of Israel, though it be in a city the greatest part of which are heathens. And let not a man dwell without the land, yea, not in a city the greatest part of which are Israelites. For he that lives in the land of Israel hath God; but he that lives without the land is as if he had not God; as it is said, 'To give you the land of Canaan, that God may be with you,'" &c. Would you have more reasons? "Whosoever lives within the land of Israel is absolved from iniquity. And whosoever is buried within the land of Israel is as if he were buried under the altar." Take one for all: "The men of Israel are very wise; for the very climate makes wise." O most wise Rabbins!.
This city also is of the same rank with Beth-shean in the Talmudists: and Ptolemy besides encourages us to number it among the cities of Decapolis, who reckons it among the cities of Midland Phoenicia; and Josephus, who, in his own Life, intimates Syrians to be its inhabitants. We correct here that which elsewhere slipped us, namely, that the Arabic interpreter, while he renders Caesarea for Hazor, Joshua 11:1, may be understood of 'Caesarea of Strato,' when he seem rather to respect this Caesarea.
And now, from what has been said, think with yourself, reader, what is to be resolved concerning those words of St. Mark, "Jesus went from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis": think, I say, and judge, whether by the 'coasts of Tyre and Sidon,' any place can be understood at the very gates of Sidon; and not rather some place not very remote from Caesarea Philippi. And judge again, whether Decapolis ought to be placed within Galilee, and not rather (with Pliny and Josephus) that a great part of it at least ought not to be placed in the country beyond Jordan; and if any part of it stood in Galilee, whether it ought not to be placed in the utmost northern coast of it, except only Scythopolis, or Beth-shean.
By occasion of the mention of Beth-shean, I cannot but subjoin the mention of the city Orbo from the words of R. Judah, in the place at the margin:--"R. Judah saith, the ravens (or the people of Orbo) brought bread and flesh, morning and evening, to Elias. [1 Kings 17:6] That city was in the borders of Beth-shean, and was called Orbo."
Some Jews raise a scruple whether ravens brought Elias bread and flesh, or men called Ravens. So Kimchi upon the place: "There are some, who, by ravens understand merchants, according to that which is said, 'The men of Orbo of thy merchandise,'" Ezekiel 27:27. Hence you may smell the reason why the Arabic renders it Orabimos. To which sense our R. Judah, who thinks that they were not ravens, but the inhabitants of the city of Orbo, that ministered to Elias. But here the objection of Kimchi holds "God commanded Elias (saith he), that he should hide himself, that none should know that he was there. And we see that Ahab sought him every where," &c.
But omitting the triflingness of the dream, we are searching after the chorographical concern: and if there be any truth in the words of R. Judah, that there was a city Orbo by name near Beth-shean, we find the situation of the brook Cherith,--or, at least, where he thought it ran. That brook had for ever laid hid in obscurity, had not Elias lay hid near it; but the place of it as yet lies hid. There are some maps which fix it beyond Jordan, and there are others fix it on this side; some in one place, and some in another, uncertainly, without any settled place. But I especially wonder at Josephus, who saith, that "he went away towards the north, and dwelt near a certain brook"; when God in plain words saith, And thou shalt turn thee,, or go towards the east, for he was now in Samaria. God adds, "Hide thee at the brook Cherith, which is before Jordan." So, you will say, was every brook that flowed into Jordan. But the sense of those words, "which is before Jordan," is this, "which (brook), as thou goest to Jordan, is flowing into it on this side Jordan." So that although the Rabbin mistakes concerning the creatures that fed Elias, yet perhaps he does not so mistake concerning the place where the brook was.
The story of the Syrophoenician woman, beseeching our Saviour for her possessed daughter, and of his return thence by Decapolis to the sea of Galilee, hath occasioned a discourse of 'the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, and the region of Decapolis.' And now, having finished the search after the places, let us speak one word of the woman herself. She is called by Mark 'a Syrophoenician Greek,' which is without all scruple; but when she is called 'a Canaanitish woman,' by Matthew, that is somewhat obscure. If those things which in our animadversions upon Matthew we have said upon that place do not please any, let these things be added: 1. That Canaan and Phoenicia are sometimes convertible terms in the Seventy, Joshua 4:1,12, &c. 2. If I should say that a Greek woman, and a Canaanitish woman, were also convertible terms, perhaps it may be laughed at; but it would not be so among the Jews, who call all men-servants and women-servants, not of Hebrew blood, Canaanites. It is a common distinction, a Hebrew servant, and a Canaanite servant; and so in the feminine sex. But now a Canaanite servant, say they, is a servant of any nation besides the Hebrew nation. Imagine this woman to be such, and there is nothing obscure in her name: because she was a servant-woman of a heathen stock, and thence commonly known among the Jews under the title of a Canaanite woman-servant.
1. The measures of the Jews.
It obtained among the Jews, "That the land of Israel contained the square of four hundred parsae." And they are delighted, I know not how nor why, with this number and measure. "Jonathan Ben Uzziel interpreted from the mouth of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi; and the land of Israel was moved four hundred parsae every way." "When a hog was drawn up upon the walls of Jerusalem, and fixed his hoofs upon them, the land of Israel shook four hundred parsae every way."
A parsa contains in it four miles. "Ten parsae (saith the Gloss at the place in the margin) are forty miles": which might be proved largely elsewhere, if need were. So that four hundred parsae (or so many thirty furlongs), made a thousand six hundred miles. Which measure why they ascribed it to the land of Israel on every side of the square of it, whether from the measurings of Ezekiel, or from somewhat else, we do not here inquire. But we cannot but observe this, that the same number is mentioned, and perhaps the same measure understood, Revelation 14:20: "Blood issued out of the lake to the horses' bridles, for a thousand six hundred furlongs." Where the Arabic reads, "for the space of a thousand six hundred miles."
The Talmudists measure sometimes by miles, sometimes by parses, sometimes by diets. Every one of these you will meet with in them very frequently.
Of the Talmudic mile, take this admonition of theirs namely, that "it consisted" (not of eight, as the Greek and Roman did, but) "of seven furlongs and a half."
And of the diet, take this: "R. Jochanan saith, How much is a man's journey in one day? Ten parses. From the first dawning of the morning to sun-rise, five miles. From sun-set until stars appear, five miles. There remain thirty. Fifteen from morning to noon. Fifteen from noon till even." Behold a day's journey of forty miles in one sense, that is, as much as may be despatched in one day; and of thirty in another, that is, as much as most usually was wont to be despatched. Where you are admonished by them also, that these are computed "according to the equinoctial day."
They feign, that Saul in one day travelled sixty miles, as the Israelites did also from Jordan to mount Gerizim: but most commonly they judge the diet to be according to what was said, namely, that under it are comprehended thirty miles.
And hither let those passages be brought. "What is a long way? From Modim" (the sepulchres of the Maccabees) "and forward; and, according to this measure, on every side. He saith, moreover: From Modim to Jerusalem were fifteen miles." The dispute is upon that, Numbers 9:10, where it is commanded, that every one keep the Passover in the first month, unless he be unclean, "or in a long way"; and it is concluded, that by a long way is to be understood the distance of fifteen miles at the least, which was the half of a common diet.
In the place noted in the margin, the masters ask, "How long is any bound to make known, by public outcry, concerning something found? R. Judah saith, Three feasts, and seven days after the last feast: namely, three days for any to go home to seek whether he hath lost any thing, and three days to come back [to Jerusalem], and that still one day might remain for public outcry." (The Gloss is, 'That he might make an outcry,--I lost such a thing, and these are the marks of it.') "But they object, the third day of the month Marchesvan they pray for rains. Rabban Gamaliel saith, The seventh of that month, which is the fifteenth day from the Feast of Tabernacles: namely, that the last of all the Israelites [who came up to the feast] might go to Euphrates, and not be caught by the rains."
It is presumed by this tradition, that the utmost bounds of the land of Israel was within three days' journey of Jerusalem: nor amiss: and under the same condition the utmost bounds of the land beyond Jordan are reckoned; namely, that they exceeded not that distance; but how much they came short of it is left in doubt. It is not my purpose to determine of that business in this place: that which we pursue is, to measure out the breadth of the land within Jordan.
There was a tradition and national custom famous among them, concerning which we have mention somewhere, "That a vineyard of four years old, should go up to Jerusalem in a days' journey on every side." The sense of the tradition is this; the second tithes were either to be eaten at Jerusalem, or, being sold at home, the money was to be brought to Jerusalem, whence some things were bought to be eaten there. Now provision is made by this canon, that the tithes of vineyards which were within a diet of the city, should not be sold, but that they should be brought to Jerusalem and eaten there.
But "What are the bounds, say they, of that day's journey? 'Elath on the south. Acrabat on the north. Lydda on the west. Jordan on the east.'"
So both Misnas. But the Babylonian Gemara, in the places noted in the margin, reads "Elath on the north, Acrabat on the south." By what reason, and in what sense, these words agree, commentators endeavour to resolve obscurely enough; but it is not of so much moment to detain us.
Elath recalls to my mind some things which are spoken by the Notitia of the eastern empire. Where, "under the disposition of the honourable man, the duke of Palestine," is substituted, among others, "The lieutenant of the tenth Fretensian legion at Aila." Where Pancirolus writes, that "Aila was seated on the shore of the Red sea." St. Jerome, upon Ezekiel 47 writes thus; "the tongue of the Red sea, on the shore of which Aila is seated, where a Roman legion and garrison is now quartered." And the same father elsewhere; "Aila (saith he) is in the utmost borders of Palestine, joined to the south desert, and the Red sea, whence men sail out of Egypt into India, and thence into Egypt. And there also is a Roman legion called Decima," the tenth.
We dare not contradict so great an oracle; otherwise my thoughts would run back to this our Elath: and that upon this reason especially, because it seems somewhat hard to substitute a garrison at the Red sea "under the duke of Palestine," when that was so far distant from Palestine, and since there was a 'duke of Arabia' (in which Elath at the Red sea was) as well as of Palestine.
You see the Fathers of the traditions measuring from Lydda by Jerusalem to Jordan in a double diary: but here also they leave us again at uncertainties of the breadth of the land; because Lydda was not upon the utmost coast of the land on that side. Unless, perhaps, you might say, that whatsoever space went between Lydda and the sea was "the region of the sea," esteemed as heathen land; when Caphar Lodim, which was seated in that interval, and not far from Lydda, was of no better account. Let us get therefore, if we can, more certain accounts, and more faithful direction.
It would be ridiculous so much as to dream, that the breadth of this land is every where the same: since the seas bounding on all sides, here the Mediterranean, there that of Sodom, the sea of Gennesaret, the sea of Samochonitis, and Jordan gliding between them, cannot but make the space very unequal by their various windings.
Take a proof of this from Ptolemy in the Mediterranean shore:--...
Thus the Latin version of him:
Caesarea Startonis 66.15. Joppa 65.40. The haven of the Jamnites 65. The haven of the Gazites 64.45. Gaza 65.26.
And more of the like variation.
Of the last, namely, of 'the haven of the Gazites,' and Gaza itself, we may justly be at some stand. In Ptolemy himself, as you see, 'the haven of the Gazites' is in 65.45. But the Latin interpreter hath 64.45:--nor indeed without reason, when Gaza itself is only in 65.26. But indeed, on the contrary, it is more probable that the haven of the Gazites should be placed in 65.26, and Gaza itself in 65.45; where, by the haven is by no means to be understood that place where ships put in and unladed, but the whole bay, comprehended within the promontories that thrust themselves out into the sea; the very last point of which thrusting forth you may conceive to be in degree 65 and 26: from the city 19 minutes.
If, therefore, you are minded to follow Ptolemy with this amendment, in measuring out the breadth of the land between Gaza and Asphaltites, take it thus. Let Gaza be in degree 65.45. And also the Latin version is, "The middle of Asphaltites contains degrees 66.50." From Gaza, therefore, to the middle of the Dead sea, will be a whole degree and [some] minutes; to which 65 miles, 5 minutes, do answer: whence if you withdraw the half of the Asphaltites, there will remain 65 miles, or thereabouts, from the shore of it to Gaza.
And here I cannot but amend the reading of Pliny, or at least shew that it wants mending; in whom we read thus: "Thence the Nabateans inhabit the town called Petra, the Rock, in a valley little less than two miles in bigness, surrounded with inaccessible mountains, a river running between. It is distant from Gaza, a town of our shore, 600 miles: from the Persian bay, 122 miles. Two double ways meet here; the way of those who went to Palmyra of Syria; and of those who came from Gaza." Those words, "it is distant from Gaza," &c. are they with which we have to do.
What! six hundred miles from Gaza to Petra, the metropolis of the Moabites? I wonder the very learned Heidman should so softly swallow down these words, and that without any regret. But let me have leave to conjecture that Pliny, in his own copy, wrote thus, "It is distant from Gaza, a town of our shore, CX.M": but by the carelessness of the transcribers, the numerical letter X was cut into two parts, after this manner,) (, and the left half of it, at length, closed in with the former C, in this manner (), and so at last passed into D; and the other right-hand half remained thus, C, and was reckoned for a hundred.
However we may mistake in our conjecture, yet certainly concerning the space and number of the miles, we do not so mistake. For allow thirty-eight miles, or thereabouts, between Petra and Asphaltites, and grant twenty miles, or thereabouts, to the breadth of that sea (that we may go something in the middle between Pliny and Josephus concerning the breadth of it), then there will remain of the hundred and ten miles which we suppose Pliny wrote, fifty-two miles, or thereabout, from that sea to Gaza: which is not far from the mark. But the mark is vastly overshot, when six hundred miles are assigned from Gaza to Petra. You will surely favour our computation, and conjecture of the injury done Pliny by the transcribers, when you shall have observed, that the first shore of Gaza is, according to Ptolemy, as we have said, in degree 65.26; and Petra is only in degree 66.45.
Let us, therefore, grant fifty-two or fifty-three miles, or thereabouts, for the breadth of the land from the shore of the Mediterranean sea to the Asphaltites: you must allow some more miles between the Mediterranean shore and Jordan: because by how much the more broad the Asphaltites is, so much the less broad is the land; and the same must be said of the sea of Gennesaret and Samochonitis. And Galilee is not only straitened according as they are enlarged; but it is straitened also by the territories of Tyre and Sidon running between it and the sea.
So that it would be in vain to trace out an exact breadth of the land every where; and it would be ridiculous to measure it by any one measure or extension. It is well enough, if one come near the thing by some convenient guess here and there, or err not much of it.
The determination of the length of the land seems more sure, while it is measured out by towns and cities, from Sidon to the river of Egypt: but here also is not the same space to all; and in some places the measuring is very uncertain.
Thus the Itinerary of Antoninus:--
From Sidon to Tyre (Phoenicia) 24 miles To Ptolemais 32 Sicamina 24 Caesarea 20 Betaro (Palestine) 18 Diospoli 22 Liamnia 12 Ascalon 20 Gaza 16 Papa 22 Rhinocolura 22 232
We have elsewhere measured out this space by the cords of Pliny and Strabo, less than this number by thirteen miles: where if some mistake hath crept into the computation, let Gulielmus Tyrius bear the blame, who stretched the bounds of Phoenicia four or five miles only from Tyre southward.
But what shall we say of another Itinerary? Which whether it be Antoninus' I dare not define; where it is thus,
From Caesarea to Betaron 31 miles: To Diospolis 38 miles:
exceeding the former computation nine-and-twenty miles. There is somewhat there also, which how to reconcile with Josephus, it is not easy to shew: for it is said,
From Neapolis to Aelia 30 miles, To Eleutheropolis 20 miles, To Ascalon 24 miles.
Where from Aelia or Jerusalem to Ascalon run out only 44 miles; whereas Josephus saith of Ascalon, that it was "distant from Jerusalem 520 furlongs," or 65 miles. This breach is a little filled up by this; that New Ascalon was nearer to Jerusalem than the old by sixteen miles, as Benjamin relates.
Whether Betaron were the same with Betar, where that horrible slaughter was under Ben Cozba, we will not dispute here: there is no doubt to be made but Liamnia is illy writ for Jamnia. And now let us follow Antoninus to Pelusium:--
Rhinocolura Ostracena 24 miles, Cassio 26 miles, Pentascino 20 miles, Pelusio 20 miles.
Which how they agree with Pliny, who numbers only sixty-five miles from Pelusium to the ending of Arabia, viz. to the Sirbon, on which Rhinocolura borders, I shall not take upon me to say. This I have said elsewhere, that it is a wonder that some maps should place the Sirbon between Cassius and Pelusium, when the contrary manifestly appears both here and in Pliny and Strabo. Perhaps they took the error from Ptolemy, or at least from his interpreter, in whom Cassius is in latitude, degree 31.15: but the breaking to of the Sirbon in 31.10.
"The Rabbins deliver. A private way is four cubits. A way from a city to a city is eight cubits. A public way is sixteen cubits. The way to the cities of refuge is two-and-thirty cubits. The king's way hath no measure: for the king may break down hedges to make himself a way. And the way to a sepulchre hath no measure, for the honour of the dead." Compare Matthew 7:13,14.
There was this difference between a way from a city to a city, and a public way; that a public way was that along which all cities passed; a way from a city to a city was that along which this city passed to that, and that to this, but no other city passed that way.
"That way from a city to a city was eight cubits (saith the Gloss), that if haply two chariots met, there might be space to pass."
The way to a sepulchre had no measure, that those that attended the corpse might not be separated by reason of the straitness of the way. They add, "A station, as the judges of Zippor say, is as much as contains four cabes." By station, they understand the place where those that return from the sepulchre stand about the mourner to comfort him. "For men-servants and women-servants they do not stand, nor for them do they say the blessing of the mourners." The Gloss is, "When they returned from the sepulchre, they stood in rows comforting him. And that row consisted not of less than ten. They made him sit, and they stood about him."
"A piece of ground containing four cabes of seed (saith the Gloss), is thirty-three cubits and two handbreadths broad, and fifty long."
Burying-places "were not near the cities." They are the words of the Glosser upon Kiddushin in the place quoted; and that upon this tradition: "For all the thirty days he is carried in his mother's bosom, and is buried by one woman and two men; but not by one man and two women." The sense is this, An infant dying before the thirtieth day of his age hath no need of a bier, but is carried in his mother's bosom to burial, two men accompanying; but he is not carried by two women, one man only accompanying. And this reason is given; because when the burying-places were a good way distant from the city, it might happen that two women might be enticed by one man to commit whoredom, when they were now out of the sight of men; but two men would not so readily conspire to defile one woman.
They produce examples: "A certain woman (say they) carried out a living infant as though it were dead, to play the whore with him who accompanied her to the place of burial."--And, "Ten men took up a living woman as though she were dead, that they might lie with her." Certainly thou forgettest thyself, O Jew, when while thou sayest that two men would scarcely conspire together for the defiling the same woman, and other while that ten men did.
The burying-places were distant two thousand cubits from the Levitical cities; from all other cities a great space, if not the same. How far Jerusalem agreed with these in this matter, or not agreed, we must observe elsewhere.
1. The Roman garrisons.
Being to speak of some places, scatteringly taken notice of here and there, let us begin with the Roman garrisons, which were dispersed all the land over: and this we do the rather, because the Notitia Imperii, whence they are transcribed, is not so common in every one's hand.
Under the command of the honourable person, the duke of Palestine.
||Equites Dalmatae Illyriciani Berosabae.|
||Equites Promoti Illyriciani Menoide.|
||Equites Scutarii Illyriciani Chermulae.|
||Equites Mauri Illyriciani Aeliae.|
||Equites Thamudeni Illyriciani Bitsanae.|
||Equites Promoti Indigenae Sabaiae.|
||Equites Promoti Indigenae Zodocathae.|
||Equites Sagittarii Indigenae Havanae.|
||Equites Sagittarii Indigenae Zoarae.|
||Equites primi Felices Sagittarii Indigenae Palaestinae Saburae, sive Veterocariae.|
||Equites Sagittarii Indigenae Mohaile.|
||Praefectus Legionis Decimae Fretensis Ailae.
And those that are taken out of the lesser Muster-roll.
||Ala prima miliaria Sebastena Asuadae.|
||Ala Antana Dromedariorum Admathae.|
||Ala Constantiniana Tolohae.|
||Ala secunda Felix Valentiniana apud Praesidium.|
||Ala Prima miliaria hastae.|
||Ala Idiota constitutae.|
||Cohors Duodecima Valeria Afro.|
||Cohors Decima Carthaginiensis Carthae.|
||Cohors Prima Centenaria Tarbae.|
||Cohors Quarta Phrygum Praesidio.|
||Cohors Secunda Gratiana Jehybo.|
||Cohors Prima equitata Calamonae.|
||Cohors Secunda Galatarum Arieldelae.|
||Cohors Prima Flavia Maoleahae.|
||Cohors Secunda Cretensis juxta Jordanem fluvium.|
||Cohors Prima Salutaria inter Aeliam et Hierichunta.
The Office stands thus:--
||Principem de Schola Agentium in rebus.|
||Numerarios et Adjutores eorum.|
||A libelis, sive subscribendarium.|
||Exceptores, et caeteros Officiales.|
All this out of Notitia.
The Jews teach us, that it was called the 'Desert of Zin' from a mountain of that name, and that the mountain was so called from the groves of palm-trees; and that it was famous for iron mines. For those words, Numbers 34:4, "And pass on to Zin," are rendered by the Jerusalem Targumist, "And the border passed on to the mountain of Iron." By Jonathan, "And passed on to the palms of the mountain of Iron"...
It seems, therefore, to be some mountainous tract, very near to the borders of the land of Israel, famous for palms of a lower size, and iron-mines, called, from its palm-trees, Tsin, and from that name giving a denomination to the adjacent country, which was desert.
Cadesh, in the eastern interpreters Rekam, was a bound of the land; yet Cadesh itself was, in effect, without the land. Hence those words, "He that brings a bill from a heathen place, &c.; yea, that brings it from Rekam." And, "All the spots that come from Rekam are clean." The Gloss is, "Some spots in the garments" (namely, of a profluvious woman) "which came from Rekam were clean, because they determined not of the spots of strangers." Another Gloss thus: "In Rekam were Israelites; and yet spots coming from Rekam are clean, because they belong to Israelites, and the Israelites hide their spots," &c.
Cades, as Bridenbachius relates, is called Cawatha by the Arabians: for thus he writes; "At length we came into a certain country, which, in the Arabian tongue, is called Cawatha, but in the Latin Cades." Which while we read, those things come into my mind which the eminent Edward Pocock, a man of admirable learning, discourseth concerning the word Kawa, in his very learned Miscellaneous Notes, that it should signify crying aloud, an outcry, &c. To which whether the word Gohe and (whereby Rekam is also called) bellowing, may any way answer, it is more fit for that great oracle of tongues to judge than for so mean a man as I am.
"Ono was distant three miles from Lydda. R. Jacob Ben Dositheus said, From Lydda to Ono are three miles; and I, on a certain time, went thither before daybreak, up to the ankles in honey of figs." R. Simai and R. Zadok went to intercalate the year in Lydda, and kept the Sabbath in Ono.
The Talmudists suppose this city was walled down from the days of Joshua; but fired in the war of Gibeah: because it is said, "All the cities also, to which they came, they set on fire," Judges 20:48; but that it was rebuilt by Elpaal, a Benjamite, 1 Chronicles 8:12; "R. Lazar Ben R. Josah saith, It was destroyed in the days of the concubine in Gibeah; but Elpaal stood forth and repaired it."
With Lod and Ono is also joined "The valley of craftsmen," Nehemiah 11:35; which some of the Jews suppose to be a particular city; and that it was walled from the days of Joshua. "But saith R. Chananiah, in the name of R. Phineas, Lod and Ono themselves are the valley of craftsmen." That R. Chananiah was a citizen of the city of Ono, eminent among the Rabbins, "one of the five learned who judged before the wise men. These were Ben Azzai, Ben Zuma, Chanan, and Chananiah, and Ben Nanas."
Why the maps placed Lod and Ono near Jordan, not far from Jericho, I can meet with no other reason than that in Josephus is found the town Adida, not far from thence, and Hadid is reckoned with Lod and Ono in Ezra 2:33; and Lod and Hadid are framed into one word Lodadi, Ezra 2:33, and Lodadid, Nehemiah 7:37, by the Seventy interpreters. But there were more places called by the name of Adida; so that that reason fails, if that were the reason. For there was 'Adida in Sephel,' ('Adida in the valley'); and "The city Adida in the mountain; under which lie the plains of Judea." And "Adida in Galilee before the great plain," if it were not the same with "Adida in Sephel."
Of Lydda, which we are now near when we are speaking of Ono, let that be considered, for the sake of young students, which the Gloss adviseth, That Lydda is called also Lodicea: and frequent mention is made of "the martyrs in Lydda," which is sometimes also pronounced "the martyrs in Lodicea"; as in that story among other places; "When the tyrant [or Trajan] endeavoured to kill Lolienus [perhaps Julianus] and Papus his brother in Lodicea, &c." [the Gloss, Lodicea, that is, Lydda] "he said to them, If you are of the people of Ananias, Michael, and Azarias, let your God come, and deliver you out of my hand."
The martyrdom of these brethren is much celebrated, which they underwent for the king's daughter, who was found slain; and the enemies of the Jews said that the Jews had slain her; and these brethren, to deliver Israel, said, 'We slew her'; therefore those alone the king slew. So the Gloss...
1. It was the land of the Hebrews before it was the Canaanites'.
Abraham is called Hebrew, then only when the difference between him and the Elamites was to be decided by war. And the reason of the surname is to be fetched from the thing itself which then was transacted.
I. The hereditary right of the Holy Land, which, by divine disposal, was Sem's land, Elam, the first-born of Sem, did deservedly claim; nor was there any of the sons of Sem upon whom, in human judgment, it was more equally and justly devolved. But the divine counsel and judgment had designed it another way; namely, that it should come to the family of Arphaxad, and Heber, of which family Abraham was. Him, therefore, God strengtheneth against the army of Elam, and declares him heir by a stupendous victory; which Sem himself likewise does, blessing him, although he had overthrown in battle his sons the Elamites, born of his first-born Elam. For that most holy man, and a very great and noble prophet withal, acknowledged the counsel of God; whom he is so far from opposing for the slaughter of his sons, that, on the contrary, he blesseth the conqueror, and yields him the choicest fruits of his land, bread and wine, not only for refreshment to him and his soldiers, but also, perhaps, for a sign rather of resignation, and investing him with the hereditary right of it, whom God, by so signal a mark, had shown to be the heir. Upon very good reason, therefore, Abraham is called Hebrew, to point as it were with the finger, that God would derive the inheritance of that land from the family of Elam to the family of Heber, from the first-born to him that was born after; which was also done afterward with Reuben and Joseph.
II. It neither ought, nor indeed can be passed over without observation, that the country of Pentapolis, and the countries adjacent, were subjects and tributaries to Chedorlaomer king of Elam. What! was there any part of the land of Canaan subject to the king of the Persians, when so many kings and countries lay between it and Persia? No idle scruple and difficulty, I assure you; nor, as far as I can see, any otherwise to be resolved, than that Elam, the first-born of Sem, or Melchisedek, by his birthright, was heir of that land, which his father Sem possessed by divine right and patent; and the sons of Elam also held after him, and his grandsons, unto Chedorlaomer. For when it is said that those cities and countries had served Chedorlaomer twelve years, the times of his reign seem rather to be reckoned than the years of the reign of the Elamites. Not that those nations were subject to the sceptre of the Elamites twelve years only, but that that year was only the twelfth of Chedorlaomer. But now God translates the inheritance to the family of Heber, called Hebrew before, but now more particularly, and more honourably, since, of all the families of Sem, that was now most eminent. Heber denotes Hebrews, as Assur denotes Assyrians, in those words of Balaam, Numbers 24:24, "and shall afflict Assur, and shall afflict Heber."
It is a dream of somebody among the Rabbins, "That, when the whole land was divided among the seventy nations at the confusion of tongues, the land of Canaan came to none: therefore the Canaanites betook themselves thither; and being found not only empty, but conferred by lot upon none, they usurped it for their own."
But what then shall we say of Melchizedek, whom now all acknowledge for Shem? Which is more probable, that he intruded among the Canaanites, now inhabiting the land, or that they intruded upon him? Was not that land hereditary to him and his, rather than usurped by wrong and intrusion? And did not he, by the direction of the Spirit of God, betake himself thither, rather than either that he, wandering about uncertainly, lighted upon that land by chance, or, acted by a spirit of ambition or usurpation, violently possessed himself of it? For my part, I scarcely believe, either that the Canaanites went thither before the confusion of tongues, or that Shem, at that time, was not there: but that he had long and fully inhabited the land of Canaan (as it was afterward called), before the entrance of the Canaanites into it: and that by the privilege of a divine grant, which had destined him and his posterity hither: and that afterward the Canaanites crept in here; and were first subjects to the family of Shem, whose first-born was Elam, but at length shook off the yoke.
When, therefore, all those original nations, from the confusion of tongues, partook of their names immediately from the fathers of their stock; as, the Assyrians from Assur, the Elamites from Elam, &c.; the same we must hold of the Hebrew nation, namely, that it, from that time, was called Hebrew from Heber: and that it was called the land of the Hebrews, before it was called the land of the Canaanites. For I can neither think that the stock of the Hebrews had no name for almost three hundred years after the confusion of tongues, until the passing of Abraham out of Chaldea found a name for it, which some would have; nor methinks is it agreeable that Abraham was therefore called Hebrew, because, travelling out of Chaldea into the land of Canaan, he passed Euphrates; when, upon the same reason, both Canaan himself, and the fathers of all the western nations almost, should be called Hebrews; for they passed over Euphrates, traveling out of Chaldea. And when the patriarch Joseph himself is called by his mistress a "Hebrew servant," Genesis 39:17, and so called by the servants of Pharaoh, chapter 41:12; and when he saith of himself, that he was stolen away "out of the land of the Hebrews," Genesis 40:15,--it is scarcely probable that that whole land was known to other countries under that name, only for one family now dwelling there; and that family a stranger, a traveller, and living in danger from the inhabitants: but rather that it was known by that name from ancient ages, even before it was called "The land of the Canaanites." Nor, if we should raise a contest against that opinion, which asserts that the language of the Canaanites and the Hebrews was one and the same, would that argument any whit move us, that the towns and cities of the Canaanites bore names which were also Hebrew; for those their Hebrew names they might receive from Shem, Heber, and their children, before they were places of the Canaanites.
Heber lived when the tongues were confounded, and the nations scattered; and when none denied that the sons of Heber were Hebrews, (yea, who would deny that that land was the land of Heber?) by what reason should not they and that nation take their name from him, after the same manner as other nations took theirs from their father, at the confusion of languages?
Canaan with his people wandering from Babylon after the confusion of languages, passed over Euphrates through Syria, and travelled towards Palestine, and the way led him straight into the northern part of it first. And that which the Jews say of Abraham travelling thither, may be said of this person also in this regard: "God said to Abraham (say they), To thee, to thee; the words being doubled by reason of a double journey, one from Aram Naharaim, the other from Aram Nachor. While Abraham lived in Aram Naharaim, and Aram Nachor, he saw men eating, drinking, and playing: he said therefore, Let not my portion be in that land. But after he came to the ladder of the Tyrians, he saw men labouring in digging their grounds, in gathering their vintage, and in husbandry: and then he said, Let my portion be in this land."
Note, how Abraham coming into the land of Canaan is first brought into the north part of it; for there was 'Scala Tyriorum,' 'The ladder of the Tyrians.' Canaan, in like manner with his sons, travelling from Babylon went the same way, and possesseth first the north parts, both those that were without the land of Canaan, and those that were parts of the land of Canaan itself.
First, let the seats of these his four sons without the land of Canaan be observed.
I. Arvadi, the Arvadites. Which word in all versions almost is read as Aradi, the Aradites. And their seats are easily discovered in Arad and Antarad. Jonathan for Arvadi, the Arvadites, reads [Lutasi] the Lutasites. Which people in what part of the world were they? When I search in the Aruch what the word Lutas means, he cites these words out of Bereshith Rabba; "A certain woman of the family of Tiberinus was married to one Lutas": and when, accordingly, I search Bereshith Rabba, I find it there written, "She was married to a certain robber"...
II. Zemari, the Zemarites. In the Targumists, both that of Jerusalem and of Jonathan, it is Chamatsi. So it is in the Arabic, and in the Jerusalem Gemarists; and also in Bereshith Rabba; which either supposeth them called Zemarites, or alludes to the word..."because they wrought in Zemar, woolen manufacture." But 'Chamats' and 'Apamia' are convertible terms in the Jerusalem Talmudists: "The sea of Apamia (say they) is the sea of Chamats." But not that Apamia we show elsewhere is the same with Sepham; on the utmost coast of the land of Israel, north and northeast.
III. Arki, the Arkites. "Arki is Arcas of Libanus." Pliny writes thus; "Paneas, in which is Caesarea with the spring before spoken, Abila, Arca," &c. Borchard thus, "On [or rather between] the borders of Libanus and Antilibanus, we found the strong-hold Arachas, and built by Aracheus the son of Canaan, when the deluge was over."
IV. Hamathi, the Hamathites. In the Jerusalem Targum it is Antioch. And Bereshith Rabba not much from that sense, though in very different words, "A Sinite (saith he) and Arethusia; Chamathi is Epiphania." Thus Pliny; "The rest of Syria hath these people, except what shall be said with Euphrates, the Arethusians, the Bereans, and the Epiphanians."
You see the Antiochian and Syrophoenician Syria possessed by the Canaanites; and yet we are not come as far as the land of Canaan.
Let us therefore proceed onwards with Canaan and the rest of his sons. The borders of the Canaanites, saith the Holy Scripture, "were from Sidon to Gerar, even unto Gaza," Genesis 10:19. You will say they were from Antioch, and utmost Phoenicia, and a great part of Syria. True, indeed, those countries, as we have seen, were planted by the sons of Canaan, but the Scripture doth not call them Canaanites; but where their coasts end towards the south, there the Canaanites' begin. The tract therefore, or region first possessed by them, is called by a peculiar name Canaan, as distinct from the rest of the land of Canaan, Judges 4:2; where "Jabin the king of Hazor" is called "the king of Canaan," that is, of the northern coast of the land of Canaan. And among the seven nations devoted by God himself to a curse and cutting-off, the Canaanites are always numbered, when all indeed were Canaanites: and that, as it seems, upon a double reason; partly, because that country was distinctly so called, as another country, and was of a peculiar difference from those countries inhabited by the sons of Canaan, of whom we have spoke: partly, because Canaan the father probably fixed his seat there himself; and thence both that country was called Canaan, and the whole land moreover called "The land of Canaan."
Reckon the sons of Canaan in Genesis 10; and where do you find the Perizzites? And yet, a matter to be wondered at, they are always numbered in that black catalogue of the seven nations to be cut off.
I know it is supposed by some that they are called Perizzites, as much as to say villagers, because they dwelt in villages, and small towns unfortified: which, indeed, varies not much from the derivation of the word: but certainly it is needless, when all the Canaanitish families are reckoned up, which possessed the whole land, to add the villagers over and above, who were sufficiently included in the aforesaid reckoning.
But that which we know was done by the Israelites, we justly suppose was done by the Canaanites also; namely, that some families of the Canaanite stock were denominated, not from the very immediate son of Canaan, from whom they derived their original, but from some famous and memorable man of that stock. Nor do we say this upon conjecture alone, but by very many examples among the Israelites; and, indeed, among other nations, and this in that very nation of which we are speaking. In Genesis 36, Zibeon was the son of Seir, verse 20; and the whole nation and land was called, "The nation and land of the sons of Seir." But now that that Seir was of the Canaanite pedigree, appears sufficiently hence, that his son Zibeon was called a Hivite, verse 2. After the same manner therefore as the Seirites, who were of Canaanite blood, were so named, I make no doubt the Perizzites were named from one Perez, a man of great name in some Canaanite stock.
Of the same rank were the Kenites, the Kenizzites, Cadmonites: by original indeed Canaanites, but so named from some Cain, and Kenaz, and Cadmon, men of famous renown in those families. If so be the Cadmonites were not so called from their antiquity, or rather from their habitation eastward: which is the derivation of Saracens; from Saracon, the east.
The masters of the traditions do not agree among themselves what to resolve concerning these nations. In the Jerusalem Talmudists you have these passages: "Your fathers possessed seven nations, but you shall possess the land of ten nations. The three last are these, the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Cadmonites. R. Judah saith, These are the Salmeans, the Sabeans, and the Nabatheans. R. Simeon saith, Asia...and Damascus. R. Lazar Ben Jacob saith, Asia and Carthagena, and Turkey. Rabbi saith, Edom and Moab, and the firstfruits of the children of Ammon."
In the Babylonian Talmudists these passages: "Samuel saith, All that land which God shewed to Moses, is bound to tithes. To exclude what? To exclude the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Cadmonites. A tradition. R. Meir saith, These are the Naphtuchites, the Arabians, and the Salmeans. R. Judah saith, Mount Seir, Ammon, and Moab. R. Simeon saith...Asia and Spain."
"These nations were not delivered to Israel in this age; but they shall be delivered in the days of the Messias."
"In the days of the Messias they shall add three other cities of refuge. But whence? From the cities of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, and the Cadmonites. Concerning whom God gave a promise to our father Abraham; but they are not as yet subdued."
We may borrow light concerning these nations from those words of Moses, Genesis 10:18, "Afterward the families of the Canaanites were dispersed." First they replenished Phoenicia, and the northern country of the land of Canaan; by little and little, the whole land of Canaan within Jordan. Then they spread themselves into the land which afterwards belonged to the Edomites, and there they were called Horites from mount Hor; and the children of Seir, from Seir the father of those families, he himself being a Canaanite. On the east, they spread themselves into those countries which afterward belonged to the Moabites, the Ammonites, the Midianites; and they were called Kenites, Kenizzites, Cadmonites, from one Cain, one Kenaz, and perhaps one Cadmon, the fathers of those families; if so be the Cadmonites were not so called from the aforesaid causes.
The mention of a certain Cain calls to my mind the town or city Cain, which you see in the maps placed not far from Carmel: in that of Doet, adorned (shall I say?) or disfigured with a Dutch picture of one man shooting another, with this inscription, "Cain was shot by Lamech," Genesis 4. A famous monument forsooth! That place, indeed, is obscure, Genesis 4: and made more obscure by the various opinions of interpreters: and you, Doet, have chosen the worst of all. If the words of Lamech may be cleared from the text, (and if you clear it not from the context, whence will you clear it?) they carry this plain and smooth sense with them: He had brought in bigamy: that also had laid waste the whole world, Genesis 6. For so wretched a wickedness, and which, by his example, was the destruction of infinite numbers of men, divine justice and vengeance strikes and wounds him with the horror and sting of conscience; so that, groaning and howling before his two bigamous wives, Adah and Zillah, he complains and confesseth that he is a much more bloody murderer than Cain, for he had only slain Abel; but he, an infinite number of young and old by his wicked example.
The Samaritan interpreter always renders these, Aseans;--in Genesis 15:20, written with Cheth, but in Deuteronomy 2:20, with Aleph. If they were called Aseans, as they were by him, so by all other speaking Syriac and Chaldee; I know not whence the word Asia may more fitly be derived, than from the memory of this gigantic race, living almost in the middle of Asia, and monstrous and astonishing above all other Asiatics. The LXX call them Titans, 2 Samuel 5:18,22. The word used by the Samaritan denotes Physicians, and so it is rendered by me in the Polyglott bible, lately published at London, Deuteronomy 2, partly, that it might be rendered word for word, but especially, that it might be observed by what sound, and in what kind of pronunciation he read the word Rephaim. So the LXX render it Physicians, Isaiah 26:14, &c.
|« Prev||Chapters 6-10||Next »|
►Proofing disabled for this book
► Printer-friendly version