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sons; or that Cambyses, being the same with the Nebuchadnezzar whose madness is recorded in Daniel, captured Tyre after the battle of Salamis; and that all the inhabitants of the isles shook at the sound of the fall of Tyre, at the very time when all history resounds with the Persian invasion, where the ships of Tyre are numbered as present, and not a word escapes a single writer about its siege or fall in those days ? Is it possible that Herodotus, born in Asia, after travelling to Babylon and Egypt to procure information, should place the death of Cambyses near forty years before his own birth, when they were really contemporary for forty years, and his history was recited at the Olympian games thirteen years before Cambyses' death? Was Jerusalem or Cadytis still desolate and in ruins at the very time when Herodotus describes its actual state as a city not less “ as it seems to me' than Sardis ? Could the history of Esther really be in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, or would Darius Nothus hunt out for the decree of a mere satrap of Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes, to decide whether he should suffer the rebuilding of the Jewish temple? These are only a few of the insuperable difficulties which meet us at the first glance; and all the doubts which the noble author has suggested on the received explanation seem only like gnats, compared with camels which need to be swallowed, before we can accept the new theory.
But let us examine more fully the objections which are brought against the common view, and those which lie against the rival hypothesis. Our sources of information are the Scriptures themselves, the canon of Ptolemy, the Greek writers, fragments of Berosus and Ctesias, and the modern Persian historians. The profane authorities are usually ranked in the above order; but his Grace appears disposed nearly to reverse it, and to place the Canon lowest, and the Persian legends highest, in the scale of evidence.
Four main reasons are advanced against the usual chronology; the natural correspondence between the names of the Persian kings, in Scripture and in the Canon; the captivity of Mordecai; the sealing under Zerubbabel and Nehemiah ; and inferences drawn from the Persian histories. Each will require a brief examination.
The first argument, on which the noble author seems to place much reliance, is stated in the Preface with much point and ingenuity, in the following passage.
“Suppose, by way of illustration, that the historical writers of France and England, in professing to give certain parts of English history, mentioned a portion commencing and concluding with two kings of the name of William, an Anne and three Georges intervening; that in one of these histories the reign of one other king is implied, but his name is not mentioned, whereas, in the other history, we find the name of a fourth George; that the names in
both histories occur in the same order, the first-mentioned William in each history coming to the throne by the prince of the former dynasty being deposed, the national faith being greatly modified, and laws for the preservation of the principles instrumental in bringing the aforesaid William to the throne being enacted by him; and that the second of these Williams did, moreover, according to both histories, break down these exclusive laws. That, notwithstanding this similarity, some discrepancy in the account of one Prince Leopold existed, the English historians declaring him to be heir to the throne of Britain, while the French maintained that he was king of some small country dependant upon France; surely this dissimilarity would not be sufficient to set aside the general identity.
However, suppose one to broach the opinion, that these histories did not refer to the same period, and that in maintaining his hypothesis, he was necessitated to use such language as the following : It is true that in each history, the first William comes to the throne as the first of his dynasty; but the proper name of the William in one history is James, and he did not depose the former prince, but came in peaceably as the next heir, and thus he established the laws of Scotland in England, and so the two kingdoms of England and Scotland were united; it must be admitted that, according to this arrangement, "the confusion of names is embarrassing;' but then, we must observe, that William, in the English language, appears similar to the Pharaohs of Egypt or the Cæsars of Rome, for we find that the founder of the English monarchy was William the Conqueror, and after him was a William Rufus, like Pharaoh Hophra or Pharaoh Necho. So with respect to the Georges. This was a name given probably in relation to the patron saint of the country, and these kings took the title in consequence of the series of victories gained, as they supposed, under his auspices during those reigns. This happy conjecture has been confirmed by a gold coin of that period having been discovered, on one side of which is the head of a George, and, on the reverse, the representation of the patron-saint overcoming a huge dragon.
"To revert, however, to the names. The two successors of James had the name of Charles; and this, by the way, shows the error of the ancient historians, in saying the sovereigns were first coined during the reign of one of the later Georges. The very name denotes that they might have been coined by any king; and, as these Charleses were also called Georges, it is most probable that the sovereigns were first coined to commemorate the restoration of sovereign power in the second Charles. The usurper James is not mentioned; the second William in our list corresponds with the first mentioned William in the other; the account of Anne is in the wrong place in the history, notwithstanding some plausible arguments from the texture of the history advanced in its favour; lastly the third mentioned George is the one whom we call George the First?
“Now, absurd as this appears, it has its counterpart in the present adaptation of the Scripture account of the kings of Persia to the received view of that history. In the Scriptures we find the names of seven Persian kings, six of which are the same, and occur in the same order, as is found in the received view of the Persian history. Yet this is not taken as the point of contact between the two histories. But Darius, we are told, is a 'Persian word from Dara, denoting a prince; thus Darius, like Pharaoh, is a general name for the kings of Persia. So Darius the Median is Astyages or Cyaxares the Second; he came to the throne as next heir to Belshazzar, who was slain by some conspirators at a feast; thus the laws of the Medes and Persians were established at Babylon. This Cyaxares was the first person who established a system of taxation ; Strabo, therefore, is in error when, on the authority of Polycritus, he makes Darius Hystaspes the author of this mode of raising revenue. Herodotus also erroneously attributes the first coinage of daries to Darius Hystaspes. It was a more ancient king of that name.
“ It must be admitted that, according to this arrangement, 'confusion of names is embarrassing; the royal title Ahasuerus is applied to Xerxes, Ezra
iv. 6; to Artaxerxes Longimanus, Esther i. l; and to Astyages, the father of Cyaxares or Darius the Mede, Dan. ix. 1.' The Magian usurper is not mentioned. The first-mentioned Artaxerxes denotes Cambyses, for the word simply means a great warrior, and so is applicable to any of these kings. The second-mentioned Artaxerxes, is Artaxerxes the First. The secondmentioned Darius, is Darius the first; and though Artaxerxes be mentioned before him, Ezra iv. 7, 24; we must remove that difficulty, by supposing rather a harsh parenthesis. We must not conceive that the angel spake precisely 'in the 9th of Daniel; and as to the mention of the seventy years, in Zechariah, we can only suppose it an unfortunate coincidence." It is a mistake, moreover, to think that Mordecai went into captivity ; for though the language of Esther does seem to imply that he did, and although all ancient Jewish historians say that Kish was the father of Saul, yet ve must adınit, that Kish was the captive, because from the extent of dominion attributed to Ahasuerus, it is impossible that the history of Esther could bave been so early as tbe captivity.”
The system of Dr. Hales, from which the objection borrows most of its apparent force, is by no means generally received, and as applied to the scheme of Usher, Clinton, Cuninghame, and Browne, many of the above remarks would be quite irrelevant. Stripped of these artificial decorations, the main force of the argument consists in the following comparison of names, as they occur in the Canon of Ptolemy and in Scripture. Darius Hystaspes,
Darius the Mede,
(Cyrus or Coresch.)
Ahasuerus. Ezra iv. Esth. i.
Darius. Ezra v. Hag. Zech.
Darius the Persian. Neh. xii. Assuming that Xerxes and Ahasuerus are the same name, there will be six kings on each list, who correspond in name and order of succession. Only Ochus and Arses need to be omitted on one side, and Cyrus or Coresch on the other. It is hence inferred that Darius the Mede must clearly be Hystaspes, and the Artaxerxes of Ezra's decree Artaxerxes Mnemon, and so of the rest.
This comparison, on a closer scrutiny, will lose all its apparent force. And first, if we include the whole range from the captivity to the close of the Canon, the correspondences are just as numerous, and even more weighty, on the received view. They will be as follows: Nabuchodonosor=Nebuchadnezzar Darius Hystaspes=Darius, of Haggai. Ilverodamus =Evil-Merodach. Artaxerxes Long. =Artaxerxes, Ez.rii. Cyrus the Great =Coresch.
Darius Codoman. =Darius the Persian. If we now compare the gain and the loss in this twofold comparison, it will soon be clear on which side the preponderance lies. In the common view, the Nebuchadnezzar of Scripture answers to Nabuchodonosor of the Canon, a clear and distinct coincidence. On the other view, the one Nebuchadnezzar of Scripture is resolved into two persons, and these are the. Cyrus and Cambyses of the Canon, whom it places seventy years after Nabuchodonosor. On the common view Evil Merodach answers to Ilverodamus in place and time; on the opposite theory he comes ninety years later, . and is a satrap or rival of Artaxerxes Longimanus. On the common view Coresch answers to Cyrus, a correspondence both of name and character, for Coresch is the most noted in Scripture, and Cyrus in profane writers. On the opposite system Coresch is a satrap of Babylon in the time of Pericles, whom the heathen writers entirely forgot to notice.
On the other hand, the supposed gain is in the three coincidences, Darius the Mede=Darius Hystaspes, Xerxes=Ahasuerus, Artaxerxes Ezr. vii.=Artaxerxes Mnemon. Of these the first is no coincidence, but a contrast. For the main feature of Darius Hystaspes, in profane writers, is, that he was not a Mede, but a Persian, who overthrew a Median usurper, and restored the Persian dynasty. Here is direct opposition, and not resemblance, even in title.
The next depends on the supposition that Xerxes and Ahasuerus are strictly equivalent. But this is disproved by Scripture. For the Darius of Dan. ix. must on the above theory be either Darius Hystaspes or Darius Nothus. But the Scripture Darius is son of Ahasuerus. Now neither Darius Hystaspes nor Darius Nothus, was the son of a Xerxes, but one, the son of Hystaspes, and the other of Artaxerxes. The opening, also, of the book of Esther, implies that there were at least two Ahasueruses of note in history. Now it is certain that there is no Xerxes of any note but one; for the second Xerxes reigned only two months, and is omitted entirely in the Canon, and scarce ever mentioned. It is absurd to suppose the explanation Esth. i. to be designed only to exclude this two-month sovereign. This second correspondence is therefore illusive.
The only gain, therefore, is here, that two Artaxerxes of Scripture are made to correspond with two in the Canon, instead of one only. Its force will depend on two points, whether Artaxerxes were strictly a proper name, and not a royal title, and whether the length of the reign confirms or disproves the double correspondence. The two schemes are these :
Artaxerxes, Ezra iv. = Smerdis = Artaxerxes Longimanus. Artaxerxes, Ezra vii. = Longimanus = Artaxerxes Mnemon. Now the objection to the first would have weight, if no king
bore the name of Artaxerxes but those to whom it is given in the Canon, and if it were never assumed on accession to the throne. But the reverse is true. Ochus does not bear the name in the Canon; but in Diodorus we learn that he was called Artaxerxes Ochus. Again, the name of Artaxerxes Mnemon himself was Arsaces, and he assumed the title Artaxerxes with the crown. We have seen that Ochus did the same. If then the Canon had dealt with Mnemon as with Ochus under the very same circumstances, the superiority of the new system, on this third count, would have vanished entirely. The only license, in the common system, amounts to the supposition that Smerdis did, what Arsaces and Ochus did afterwards, and assumed the name Artaxerxes with the sceptre. His violent overthrow will account easily for its disappearance, since neither Darius nor the later Persians would acknowledge his claim to the title.
Thus, on the very point where it claims so great a superiority, tha new theory is found wanting. It sacrifices three plain coincidences, two of which are of the highest importance, hinges of the whole history. It proposes three in their stead, of which one is a contrast, for Darius the Mede can never be Darius the overthrower of the Medes; and one is illusive, for there are two or three Ahasueruses of note, and only one Xerxes. Even on the third point, we have only to suppose in the case of Smerdis what is certainly true of Arsaces and Ochus, and the imaginary advantage of the new hypothesis disappears entirely.
The argument, however, has been strengthened by an illusive parallel with modern times, when kings are commonly distinguished by adding a numeral to their names. “The second-mentioned Artaxerxes is Artaxerxes the First. The second-mentioned Darius is Darius the First.” But the objection, in this form, has no real ground, and its effect is merely to perplex and delude the inquirer. Perhaps no example can be found in ancient times, where kings were thus identified by an ordinal term. Certainly no instance occurs either in Scripture or the Canon. On the contrary, we have many examples, both in sacred and profane history, of two names to the same monarch. Hence a more deceptive method for identifying the kings in two series of independent history could not well be discovered. Thus, according to the accidental choice of a name, we might identify Artaxerxes Mnemon with Ochus, or Darius Nothus with Darius Codomannus; or might identify Darius Nothus, in turn, with Darius Hystaspes, with Ochus, or with Darius Codomannus. We should only have to select properly among the admitted names of cach. Let us frame, for example, three lists: