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chapter; só immediately indeed, that they ought both to be included in the same paragraph : accordingly I have thus arranged them in my transscript of the prophecy. The city, mentioned in the one verse, is, I think, the same as the city, mentioned in the other verse: the exulting city that boasts of her superiority over all others is the city that swelleth with pride and yet is polluted. Our translators liave indeed supposed, that the city, mentioned in the third chapter, is Jerusalem : but the whole context of the prophecy seenis to me to shew, that Nineveh, not Jerusalem, is intended. The Holy Spirit is here foretelling not the dispersion of Judah, but his restoration ; not the downfall of Jerusalem, but of Nineveh and the assembled nations. This will sufficiently appear to any person, who attentively reads the whole of the third chapter in connection with the latter end of the second. Nothing indeed, I am persuaded, could have given rise to such an opinion, except the arbitrary division of chapters, and the mention of prophets and priests and a sanctuary as all ap pertaining to the polluted city.
Zephaniah himself however, unless I be greatly mistaken, puts the matter out of all doubt by describing in a very remarkable manner the city mentioned in the third chapter. Our trauslators speak of it as the oppressing city; and such no doubt it is : yet neither does this character accord with that of Jerusalem; which was notoriously an oppressed not an oppressing city, a city successively oppressed
by by the iron rod of foreign tyrants; nor does Zephianiah, I apprehend, mean thus to designate it in the words which he here uses. .
He had already represented it as a city swelling with pride and deeply polluted, a city exalting itself above all other cities; whence it would appear somewhat tautological and unnecessary to style it the oppressing city, which is an idea plainly involved in what he said before respecting it. Instead therefore of the oppressing city, I translate his words the city of the dove, and consider them as allusive to a well-known object of worship among the Assyrians, And in this translation I find myself confirmed by the Lxx, the Vulgate, and the Latin translations of the Syriac and the Arabic; all of which so understand the original word rendered in our version oppressing. None of them indeed, except the Latin version of the Syriac, have translated the expression quite properly; for they read the city the dove, instead of the city of the dove : but, so far as the word itself is concerned, they manifestly understood it to mean a dove, not oppressive.
How greatly the dove was venerated by the Assyrians is well known to every person in the least degree conversant with ancient mythology. Diodorus informs us, that they worshipped it as a goddess *; and Semiramis, one of their fabulous
Διο και της Ασσυρίες της περιφεραν τιμαν ως θιαν. Diod. Bibl. L. ii. p. 107,
sovereigns, was reported to have been changed into a dove * She was in fact the sacred emblem of the dove itself; whence, according to Athenagoras, she was worshipped by the Syrians; and was esteemed the daughter of Derceto, and the same as the Syrian goddess f. She was likewise the same, in the mythology of Syria, as Rhea, Isis, Astartè, and Atargatis I. In her temple at Hierapolis, her image bore upon its head a golden dove; which the Assyrians themselves called Semeïon , a compound oriental word denoting the emblem of the dove. As the western nations mistook the character of Semiramis, and fancied that she was a princess, they had a tradition that her standard was a dove ; because they found that such was the national insigne of Assyria, the standard of all the Assyrian kings, as the eagle was of Rome both re
Το Σεμιραμιδος τελος ες σερις ερην απιητο (Lucian. de dea Syra. Vol. ii. p. 885.). Eνιοι δε μυθολογαντες φασιν αυτην γενεσθαι σεριςfær (Diod. Bibl. L. ii. p. 107.). Diodorus further says, that the person who was supposed to have named her, bestowed the appellation Semiramis upon her from Doves : Ovoua Seuero ato twv wepisepas (L. ií. p. 93.). Hence Hesychius informs us, that Semiramis signifies a wild pigeon : Et puspapers, we spisepee operos eramust. See likewise Ovid. Metam. Lib. iv, ver. 44–48: and Athen. Legat. p. 33.
+ Την Σεμιραμιν σεβασι Συροι--Η θυγατης της Δερκετες Σεμιραμος Edoti Eupree Seos. Athen. Legat. p. 307.
| Chron, Pasch. p. 36-Lue. de dea Syra. Vol. ii. p. 885.
και Καλείται δε σεμηϊον και υπ' αυτων Ασσυριων (Luc. de dea Syra:); not merely by the Greeks, but by the Assyrians themselves, Semeion is Sem-Jonah, the name or sign of the dove.
publican and imperial *. This being the case, the Assyrian empire itself was poetically styled the dove; in allusion to its favourite badge t; and accordingly it is thrice mentioned by Jeremiah under the name of that very symbol. Speaking of the land of Israel being laid waste by the Babylonians, he styles them Jonah or the dove; which passage properly rendered by the Vulgate, Their land was made a desolation from the face of the anger of the dovet. In another place, foretelling that the Jews should be restored to their own land, in consequence of the downfall of Babylon, he puts these words into the mouth of the people, as they are likewise properly rendered by the Vulgate : Arise, and let us go again to our own people, and to the land of our nativity, from the face of the sword of the dove g. So again, speaking of the overthrow
* Signum vexilli Semiramidos fuit figura columbæ; quod vexilli signum imitati sunt omnes Assyrii reges (David Ganz Chronolog. L. ii. ad annum 1958.). After the conquest of Babylon by the Assyrians, all the tract of country between the Tigris and Euphrates was called Assyria.
Our Lord alludes in a similar manner to the Roman ensign, when predicting the siege of Jerusalem by Titus: Where. soever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together* (Matt. xxiv. 28.). The apocryphal Esdras likewise symbolizes the Roman empire, or Daniel's fourth beast, by an eagle (See 2 Esdras xi. xii. and particularly xii. 11.), Much in the same way we are accustomed to speak of England as a lion, from the circumstance of three lions being the royal armorial bearing. Jerem, xxv, 38.
♡ Jerem. xlvi. 16.
of the Assyrian empire, 'he says; From the face of the sword of the dove, they (the captive Jews) shall turn every one to his people, and every one to his own land*. In all these passages Jeremiah uses the very same word Jonah or a dove to designate the Babylonian or later Assyrian empire, that Zephaniah does to describe Nineveh which was the capital city of the dove or first Assyrian empiret. And here I think we may observe a singular propriety in the name of the prophet, who was sent to preach repentance to the Ninevites. Jonah seems rather to be a title, than a proper name. From the circumstance of the sacred dove being accounted oracular by the heathens, their priests and prophets were sometimes denominated doves, as at other times for the same reason they
* Jerem. l. 16.
# It was probably in allusion to the sacredness of this bird among the Assyrians, that Hosea uses for a comparison the Night of a dove out of the land of Assyria (Hos, xi, 11.). There are still some remains in the East of the ancient diluvian vene. ration of the dove and the fish. “ In Mecca there are thousands “ of blue pigeons, which none will afiright or abuse, much “! less kill them; and they are therefore so very tame, that " they will pick meat out of one's hand-They come in great “ flocks to the temple, where they are usually fed by the pil
grims." The people of Mecca call them the pigeons of the prophet (Pitts cited by Harmer. Observ. Vol. iii. p. 57.). In a similar manner Sir John Chardin twice mentions the sacred fishes of the East; and tells us, that an Armenian Christian, who had ventured to take some of them, was killed on the spot. Ibid. p. 58, 59.