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A. M. 3394. A. C. 610 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4803. A. C. 608. I KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. rival in Babylon, was called Belteshazzar, and the other bitter declaration of God's wrath, which was speedily three were named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, executed. For, in three months after his father's death, of whom we have several things to say in another place. Nebuchadnezzar, d coming in person with his royal army
Jehoiakim, after he had lived in subjection to the to Jerusalem, which was then blocked up by his lieuteking of Babylon for three years, rebelled against him; nants, caused the place be begirt with a close siege and refusing to pay him any more tribute, renewed his on every side. This so terrified Jehoiachin, that e takcoufederacy with Necho king of Egypt. Hereupon Ne-ing his mother, his princes, and his chief ministers with buchadnezzar, « not being at leisure to come himself to him, he went out to Nebuchadnezzar, and delivered hiin. chastise him, sent orders to all his lieutenants and go-self into his hand; who, though he spared his life, put vernors of provinces in those parts, to make war against him in chains, and sent him to Babylon, where he contihim, which brought upon him inroads and depredations nued in prison until the death of his conqueror. But when from every quarter; till, in the eleventh year of his Evilmerodach f succeeded to his father's throne, he not reign, all parties joined together against him, and, hav- only released him from his imprisonment, which had coning shut him up in Jerusalem, they took him prisoner in tinued for seven and thirty years, but treated him with a sally which he made upon them, slew him with the great humanity and respect, allowing him an honourable sword, and, in the completion of the prophet's predic- maintenance, and giving him the precedence of all other tion concerning him, cast his dead body in the high- princes in Babylon. way, without allowing it the decency of a funeral. At this time Nebuchadnezzar carried away with him,
After the death of his father, Jehoiachin, who is like- besides the king and his family, a vast number of other wise called Coniah and Jeconiah, ascended the throne ; captives, among whom was Ezekiel the prophet, all the but for the little time that he continued thereon, persist- mighty men of valour, and all the useful artificers, out ing in his father's impieties, he drew upon himself ? a of Jerusalem, & to the number of ten thousand men, to
gether with all the treasures, and he rich furniture of the Jer. xxii, 18, 19.
? Jer. xxii. 24–30. to the king, but we find him there interpreting his dream, d It is very probable that Nebuchadnezzar heard that he had (Dan. ii.) and immediately thereupon advanced to be the chief of entered into a conf racy with the king of Egypt, as his succesthe governors of the wise men, and ruler over all the provinces sor did; and therefore sent an army against him, in the very of Babylon; and, less than four years' instruction in the lan- beginning of his reign, to lay siege to Jerusalem, against which guage, laws, usages, and learning of the country, can scarce behe intended to come himself But the Jews have a conceit that thought sufficient to qualify him for such a trust; nor could he Nebuchadnezzar's counsellors represented to him, how voadvisany sooner be old enough for it, because we may observe, that edly he had acted in making him king whose father had been in when he was first carried away from Jerusalem, he was but a rebellion against him, and that upon their representation, he youth.—Prideaux's Connection, anno 606.
resolved to depose him. • From an ill dog there never comes a a What detained him from going in person against Jerusalem good whelp,' was the proverb, they say, which the counsellors we are not cold: only it appears, that, in the tenth year of Je- made use of on this occasion; and to make this more feasible to hoiakim, he was engaged in an arbitration between the Medes the father and son, they generally apply that passage in Ezekiel, and Lydians, the occasion of which was this:-After the Medes She took another of her whelps, and made him a young lion, had recovered all the Upper Asia out of the hands of the Scy- and he went up and down among the lions. He became a young thians, and again extended their borders to the river Halys, lion, and learned to catch the prey, and devour men. Then the which was the common boundary between them and the Ly- nations set against him on every side from the provinces: they dians, it was not long before there happened a war between these spread their net over him, and he was taken in their pit,' chap. two nations, which was managed for five years together with xix. 6, &c.—Calmet's and Patrick's Commentaries. various success. In the sixth year, intending to make oue e It is very probable that he made this surrender, at the advice battle decisive, they engaged each other with their utmost of the prophet Jeremiah, who gave the same counsel more than strength; but in the midst of the action, and while the fortune once to his successor Zedekiah, (Jer. xxi, 9; xxvii. 17; of the day seemed to hang in an equal balance between them, xxxviii. 2.) there happened an eclipse, which overspread both the armies f During his father's indisposition, who fancied himself metawith darkness; whereupon they desisted from fighting, and morphosed into an ox, he took upon him the administration of agreed to refer the controversy to the arbitration of two neigh- the government; but after seven years, when his father recovered bouring princes. The Lydians chose Siennesis king of Cilicia; his understanding, so as once more to ascend the throne, Eviland the Medes Nebuchadnezzar (who, by Herodotus, b. 1. is merodach, as some believe, was imprisoned by his father, and in called Labynetus,) king of Babylon, who concluded a peace be his confinement, contracted an acquaintance and intimacy with tween them, on the terms that Astyages, son of Cyaxares king Jehoiachin; so that after his father's death, and his full accession of Media, should take to wife Ariena, the daughter of Halyattis, to the throne, he released him out of prison, and heaped many king of the Lydians; of which marriage, within a year after, favours upon him; and it was by his advice, as the Jews tell us, was born Cyaxares, who is called Darius the Mede, in the that Evilmerodach took his father out of the ground, after he was book of Daniel.—Prideaux's Connection, anno 528.
dead and buried, cut his body in pieces, and gave them to three blo 2 Kings xxiv. 6, we are told expressly, that Jehoiakimhundred ravens, lest he should return from his grave, as he had * slept with his fathers,' and yet it is very certain that he was before recovered from his metamorphosis into an ox.—Calmet's neither buried with them, nor died in his bed, but lay above Dictionary, under the word Evilmerodach. ground unburied, according to the prediction of the prophet, (Jer. g This must be understood of the whole number of the people xxxvi. 30.) exposed in the day to the heat, and in the night to that were at this time carried captive, which, according to Aberthe frost;' from whence it appears, that to sleep with one's binel was thus made up ;-Jehoiachin and all his court, and great fathers,' signifies no more than to die as they did.—Patrick's men, were seven thousand; the craftsmen a thousand; and other Commentary.
considerable men in the country two thousand, which completed c His succeeding his father in the throne of Judah may seem the number. Jeremiah indeed computes them to be little above to disagree with the threat which the prophet denounces against three thousand thnt were now carried away; but he reckons only his father, (Jer. xxxvi. 30.) He shall have none to sit upon the those that were carried from Jerusalem; whereas in 2 Kings throne of David.' But as Jehoiachin's reign lasted little more xxxiv. 16, there is an account of those who were carried from other than three months, during which time he was absolutely subject cities, and out of the tribe of Benjamin, which were seven thouto the Chaldeans, a reign of so short a continuance, and so small sand; and this reconciles the difference.—Putrick's Comment. authority, may very justly be looked upon as nothing.--Calmet's h Nebuchadnezzar carried away the vessels, and rich furuiture Commentary.
of the temple, at three different times. Ist. In the third year of
A. M. 3394. A. C. 610; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4814. a. C. $97. 1 KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. temple, and of the royal palace. What he left in the sending an embassy to Babylon to direct a letter to the land were only the poorer sort of people, over whom he Jews of the captivity, advising them not to be deceived made Mattaniah, the third son of Josiah, king. Of him with such prophets, b as made them entertain false hoper he took a solemn oath to be faithful and true in his obe- of a speedy restoration; that by the ordination of God dience to the crown of Babylon ; and, to engage him the their captivity was to last seventy years; and that the more to be so, he changed his name to Zedekiah, which people left at Jerusalem would be of little use to assist signifies the justice of the Lord, intending thereby to put them in their deliverance, because God, in a short time, him in mind of the vengeance he was to expect from the would afflict them with the sword, with famine, and with justice of the Lord his God, if he violated that fidelity pestilence, so as to consume the greatest part of them, which he had in his name sworn unto him.
and scatter the rest over the face of the earth; and thereZedekiah was but just settled in the throne, and Ne-fore he exhorts them to live quietly and peaceably in the buchadnezzar departed out of Judea, and Syria, when country, whither they were carried, without expecting several kings of the neighbouring nations, namely, the any return, until the time which God had appointed. Ammonites, the Moabites, the Edomites, the Zidonians, Upon the receipt of this letter, one Shemaiah, a the Tyrians, &c., sent their ambassadors to Jerusalem, to popular man among the captive Jews at Babylon, took congratulate him upon his accession to the throne, and upon him to write to Zephaniah, the second priest, and to propose a league against the king of Babylon, in to all the priests and people of Jerusalem, representing order to shake off' his yoke, and prevent his return into Jeremiah as a madman, and a false pretender to prothose parts any more. Upon this occasion, Jeremiah, phecy, and advising them to confine him · which Jereby God's command, made him bonds and yokes, which miah hearing, was commanded by God to send again to he sent by the said ambassadors to their respective mas- the captives of Babylon, to let them know, that he would ters, with this message from God, namely, "That he had punish Shemaiah and his posterity very severely, for given all their countries to the king of Babylon, and having deluded them with false prophecies; and at the therefore their wisest course would be to submit to his same time, to convince those that were left in Jerusaleir, yoke, which if they refused to do, both they and their he showed them, ' by the emblem of a potter’s vessel
, countries should most certainly be destroyed :" but to that it was in the Almighty's power to destroy what Zedekiah he went in person, and having persuaded him nation or people he pleased. But all this availed nothing. to submit to the king of Babylon, and not to give credit They still resolved to go on in their wicked ways; and, to false prophets, who might flatter him with a deliver to avenge themselves of the prophet, who gave then ance from his power, he prevailed with him for that time some disturbance therein, they abused him with words not to enter into the league that was proposed. and blows, and, at length, put him in the stocks.
He had before this, 2 under the emblem of two baskets It was no small comfort to him, however, under all of figs, foretold Zedekiah the restoration which God his afflictions, to find that Ezekiel, who, much about this intended for those that were gone into captivity, and the time, was called
to the prophetic office, prophesied the misery and desolation which should befal them who same things at Babylon that he did at Jerusalem. At were still in the land ; and now in pursuance of his pro
Jerusalem, Jeremiah · foretold the divine judgments pbetic office, he a took the opportunity of the king's which were to be executed upon Chaldea and Babylon
, by the Medes and Persians, which he wrote in a book, 1 Jer. xxxvii.
2 Jer, xxiv.
and · delivered it to Seraiah, who was then going to the reign of Jehoiakim, when he first took Jerusalem, he carried Jer, xviii. * Jer. 1. and li. * Jer. li, 59, 64. part of the vessels of the house of God away into the land of Shi-" to seek the peace of the city, whither they were carried away har, and put them into the house
god," (Dan. i. 2.) These (Jer. xxix. 3.) pursuant to which instruction, we find those in were the vessels which his son Belshazzar profaned, (Dan. v. 2.) | Babylon requiring their brethren at Jerusalem to pray for and which Cyrus restored to the Jews, (Ezra i. 7.) to be set up the life of Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon, and for the life el again in the temple when rebuilt
. 2dly, In the reign of Jehoia- Belthasar his son, that their days may be upon earth as the chin, he took
the city again, and cut in pieces a great part of the days of heaven: - That they might live under the shadow di vessels of gold which Solomon had made, (2 Kings xxiv. 13.) Nabuchodonosor, and under the shadow of his son, and find and by some chance or other had escaped his former plunder. favour in their sight.' (Baruch i. 11, 12.) 3dly, In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, he pillaged the temple once more, when he brake in pieces the pillars of brass, and the them to be prophets sent from God, were" Ahaz the sau di
6 The two persons mentioned in Scripture, who took upan bases, and the brazen sea, and took along with them all the vessels Kolaiah, and Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, two of the captivity (2 Kings xxv. 13,) &c. It is somewhat strange, that amongst all promises of a speedy restoration, hindered them from making this inventory we hear no mention made of the ark of the cove- any settlements in the places assigned for their habitation: be nant, which of all other things was held most sacred; but it is as the prophet Jeremiah denounced their sudden and fearia very probable that it was burned together with the temple, in this destruction, Nebuchadnezzar, understanding that they disturtei last desolation. For what some say of its being hidden by the pro- the people by their vain prophecies, caused them both to be seized phet Jeremiah, in a certain cave
in Mount Nebo, is a mere fable. and roasted to death in the fire. The later Jews say, that these ---Patrick's
and Calmet's Commentaries, and Dissertation on the two men were the two elders who would have corrupted Susana Ark of the Covenunt.
and that Nebuchadnezzar commanded them to be burned for that a At what tin and upon what occasion Ze kiah sent this reason: but the whole foundation of this
conceit is, that Jeremiah embassy to the king of Babylon, the sacred history is silent; but (chap. xxix. 23, where he speaks of these men) says, 'that there it is very presumable that it was at the beginning of his reign, committed villany in Israel, and adultery with their neighbours and that as Judea was then tributary to the Chaldeans, the king's wives ; from whence they conjecture at the rest.—Prideau's policy was to keep up a good understanding with them. Ezekiel Connection, anno 597. however was not as yet possessed of the spirit of prophecy; and for this reason Jeremiah was obliged to take care of the Jews the word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Serais,
c The words in the text according to our translation art
, who were gone captives into the land of Babylon, and to send the son of Neriah, &c., when he went with Zedekial, the king them instructions in what manner they were to behave, namely, lof Judah, into Babylon, in the fourth year of his reign, and disk
A. M. 3394. a. C. 610; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4814. A. C. 597. 1 KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. Babylon upon an embassy, with instructions to read the ever, there is a memorable transaction, which preceded contents of it to his captive brethren upon the banks of it, namely, the siege of Bethulia, and its deliverance by the river Euphrates; and when he had made an end of the courage and dexterity of a woman, which must c not reading, to tie a stone to it, and a throw it into the river, be entirely omitted. thereby to denote, that as it would naturally sink, so should the Babylonish empire be totally destroyed, and parison for any other great and opulent state brought to ruin and never rise any more.
desolation. At Babylon, Ezekiel, by several types and propheti
It is a great dispute among the learned, whether this hiscal revelations, foretold the taking of Jerusalem by the tory of Judith was transacted before or after the Babylonish
captivity. Those who maintain the latter opinion, found a Chaldeans ; Zedekiah's fight from the city by night; the great deal upon the words of the history itself, wherein the putting out of his eyes ; his imprisonment and death at author, according to the Greek version, (chap. iv. 3,) expressly Babylon; the carrying away the remainder of the Jews tells us, that "the Israelites were newly returned from captivity,
and all the people of Judah were lately gathered together, and the into captivity; the desolatiou of their country, and the vessels
, and the altar, and the house, were sanctified after their many and great calamities which should befal them for profanation:' and wherein it is farther affirmed, that they were their iniquities. But to those of the captivity, who, led captives into a land that was not theirs,' that the temple of avoiding these iniquities, did endeavour to keep them their God was cast to the ground, and their cities taken by the selves steady and faithful in God's service, God, by the enemies; but now they are come up from the places where they
were scattered, and have possessed Jerusalem,'(ch. v. 18, 19.) It mouth of his prophet, promised to become a sanctuary in is in vain, say they, to endeavour to correct the sense of these a strange country, and to bring thein back again unto passages; the bare reading of them, and the first impression they the land of Israel, where they should flourish in peace make upon the mind, naturally leads one to say, that this history and righteousness, and once more ' become his people, in a great measure, is confirmed by the opinion of almost all the
was not transacted till after the return from the captivity, which, and he their God.
ancients, and a great many of the moderns; but then they widely Thus did these two great prophets visit the people disagree in their computations of the period of time when this which were still remaining in Jerusalem with several remarkable event happened. For some place it under Cambyses, warnings ; endeavouring, both by significant emblems, and others again, under Antiochus Epiphanes, in the time of
the son of Cyrus, others under Xerxes, others under Darius; and direct predictions, to reclaim them. But, when they the Maccabees; which last opinion is the most tenable, if we will still persisted in their obstinacy and disobedience, God but allow, that a feast was instituted in commemoration of it, as at length brought upon them the calamities which he had we read in the Vulgate, but in none of the other translations.
Those who maintain that this transaction happened before the so often foretold, and so severely threatened.
captivity, are in like manner divided : for some place it under Before we come to the destruction of Jerusalem, how- Manasseh, and others under Zedekiah.
Those who contend for Zedekiah's reign, make the Nabucho
donosor in the book of Judith, and the Nebuchadnezzar in the · Ezek xi. 20.
2d of Kings, the same person; and as it is positively said in the Seraiah was a quiet prince,' (Jer. li. 59,) and from hence some 2d chapter of Judith, that he put his general Holofernes on this Hebrew interpreters infer, that Zedekiah went to Babylon in expedition, in the first month of the eighteenth year of his reign, the fourth year of his reign to make his court, and cultivate the which was the ninth of Zedekiah king of Judah, Holofernes's good graces of his patron and paramount Nebuchadnezzar. But death, and the siege of Jerusalem happened, they say, in the this opinion, though followed by several, has no foundation in same year; only it must be supposed, that the attempt against any other part of Scripture ; and the passage now before us, may, Bethulia was in the beginning of the year, and the siege of Jeruaccording to the original, be very properly rendered in this wise. salem at the end of it. The captivity, therefore, from which the • The word which Jeremiah commanded Seraiah, when he went Jews are said to have newly returned, must be that in Jehoiato Babylon upon an embassy from Zedekiah.' The chief business kim's time, for that in Zedekiah's continued seventy years, of this embassy was to request of Nebuchadnezzar, a restitution before which Nebuchadnezzar had quite subdued Arphaxad, of the sacred vessels of the temple which he had taken away, king of the Medes, and demolished Ecbatan. And as for the when he carried Jehoiakim captive into Babylon. Our transla- Bethulians enjoying peace during the life of Judith, it may be tion, however, is not at all significant in this place, when it supposed that Nebuchadnezzar, being employed two years in the styles this Seraiah, a quiet prince. The Septuagint have very siege of Jerusalem, might spend some years in reducing other properly rendered the words ägxwe dáqwr the prince of the pre- parts of the country; and seeing Bethulia was a place naturally sents, which some apply to the presents which king Zedekiah strong, and situated among the mountains, he might be unwilling made to the temple, and others to the things he daily supplied to foil his army before it, and, especially considering the ill sucfor sacrifices ; but the most natural sense in this place is, that cess of his general, to make any fresh attempt upon it, until he he was charged with the presents and tribute which Zedekiah had subdued all the rest. Those, again, who contend for Manwas obliged to send to Nebuchadnezzar; that his business was, to asseh's reign, make the Nabuchodonosor in Judith to be the same present them to the emperor, and, upon that occasion, to solicit with Saosduchinus in Ptolemy, and Arphaxad the same with the restoration of the sacred vessels; upon which account, the Phraortes, mentioned by Herodotus; and that, as these two Vulgate has rendered the words ' princeps prophetiæ,' the chief princes made war with one another, wherein Phraortes was vanperson in the embassy, who at the time of audience, was to quished, and perished with his army, all the other things recorded make a speech to the emperor, in his prince's name.--Calmet's of Saosduchinus and his general might happen without inconsisCommentary.—(Dr Boothroyd renders the passage in question tency. For the captivity there mentioned, might be that from thus,—The word which Jeremiah, the prophet, commanded whence Manasseh, with some of his subjects, had lately returned, Seraiah, the son of Meriah, the son of Maaseiah, when he went when the temple, which had been profaned, was purified again, on behalf of Zedekiah, king of Judah, to Babylon, in the fourth and the service of the sanctuary restored to its ancient dignity, year of his reign; for Seraiah carried a present.}-Boothroyd's (2 Chron. xxxiii. 1, &c.) This is a short state of the several New Version -Ed.
opinions concerning the date of this transaction, and the last of a We have an emblematical action of the like kind described these, in our judgment, seems to be best founded.--Prideau.r's in the book of the Revelation of St John: "and a mighty angel Connection, anno 665; Calmet's Preface on the Book of Judith. Look up a stone, like a great millstone, and cast it into the c For though the Jews and ancient Christians did not receive sea, saying, Thus, with violence shall that great city Babylon this book of Judith into their canon of Scripture, yet they always be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all,' chap. looked upon it as a true history; and accordingly Clement, in xviii. 21, where the word Babylon is taken in an analogical his epistle to the Corinthians, has cited it as well as the author scase, because the destruction of that great city and empire, as of the apostolic constitutions, which go under his name; and as we shall sue hereafter, was so remarkable, as to afford a com- St Athanasius, or the writer of the Synopsis, that is ascribed to
A. M. 3304. A. C. 610; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4314. A. C. 597. 1 KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. The author of the book of Judith 4 relates, that Nebu- , defeated, and slew him, but made himself master of sevechodonosor, king of Assyria, in the twelfth year of his ral of his cities, and among others, of Ecbatan, e the reign, fought a great battle in the plains of Ragau, with royal seat of the Median empire, which he miserably Arphaxad king of Media, wherein he not only utterly defaced : and afterwards returned in great triumph to
Nineveh : that, some time after inquiring of his officers, him, gives a summary account of it, even as he does of other nobles, and counsellors, what tributary countries had not sacred books, from his example we may be permitted to justify gone with them to the war, for he had summoned them all the short abridgment which we have made of it in our · History to attend hiin, and finding that none of the western proof the Holy Bible.'- Calmet's Dictionary under the word Judith.
a Who this author was, it nowhere appears. St Jerome seems vinces had paid that regard to his commands, he made to think that Judith wrote it herself, but produces no good a decree that Holofernes, f the chief captain of his army, authority for his opinion. Others will have it, that the high should not fail the next year to chastise their disobert priest Joakim, mentioned in this book, was the author of it; ience : that, pursuant to this decree, this general took the but this is equally a bare conjecture ; nor is there much more field with a vast army; 8 and having wasted and destroycertainty in those, who, supposing the history to have happened in the time of Cambyses, ascribe it to Joshua, the son of Josedek, ed several other nations, at length came unto Judea, who was high priest at that time. But whoever the author was, where he laid siege to Bethuliah, " a strong town in the he seems to be posterior to the facts which he relates, because he speaks of the festival instituted in memory of Judith's victory; might be his.” —Calmets Commentary and Dictionary; and Pri as still continued in his time, (Judith xvi. 20.) The book was originally written in the Chadee language, which is not now deaux's Connection, amo 635. extant; but from thence, at the desire of Paula and Eustochium, e This city, Herodotus says expressly, was built by Dejoces, St Jerome formed the translation, which we now have in the the first king of the Medes; but that author is wrong in ascribvulgar Latin
edition of the Bible, not rendering it word for word, ing the honour of the whole work to him, which his son as himself tells us in his preface to the history, but repairing the Phraortes, at least finished and beautified to such a degree, that
, corruptions of the various readings, and giving
to though the Scripture is silent, profane authors have given us : the best of his judgment, the true and entire sense of the original. very advantageous account of it
. The city, according to them, Besides this translation of St Jerome's, there are two others, one
was situate on a spacious eminence, and into it Dejoces had in Greek, and the other in Syriac. That which is in Greek is brought together the whole nations of the Medes, who never beattributed to Theodotion, who lived in the time of Commodus, fore had lived in any thing but caves and huts, dispersed up and who was made emperor of Rome in the year of Christ 180. down in the country, which great concourse of people made it But the version was much apcienter; for Clemens Romanus, as very large and populous. It was encompassed with seven walls, we said, in his epistle to the Corinthians, which was wrote near at equal distances from each other. The first was the lowest and 126 years before, has a quotation from it. The Syriac translation equal in circumference with those of Athens, that is, according was made from the Greek, and so was also the English, which to Thucydides, (b. ii.) 178 furlongs. The rest rose gradually
, and we, at present, have among the apocryphal writings in our Bible. overlooked each other, about the eighth of a battlement. The And of all these three versions, it may be observed, that there battlements were of different colours. The first was white, the are several particulars in them which are not in Jerome's, and second black, the third red, the fourth blue, the fifth of a deep which seem to be those various readings which he professes to red, the sixth of a silver, and the seventh of a gold colour; and lave cut off, as vicious corruptions of the text; so that, in this for this reason, as Bochart has observed, this city was usually Jespect, St Jerome's translation ought to have the preference, called by the ancients Agbata, which, in the Arabic language
, whenever there is any remarkable difference between them.- signifies, a thing of different and distinct colours. The royal Prideaux's Connection, anno 655, and Calmet's Dissertation on palace and treasury stood within the seventh wall; and the the Book of Judith.
palace alone, according to Polybius, (b. x.) was seven furlongs 6 This Nabuchodonosor is the same prince whom Herodotus round, and built with all the cost and skill that a stately edifice calls Saosduchinus, who, after the death of Esarhaddon, (the same did require ; for some of its beams are said to have been of silver, who took the advantage of Masessimordacus's dying without issue, and the rest of cedar, which were strengthened with plates o and united the kingdom of Babylon to that of Assyria,) succeeded gold.- Calmet's Comment. and Dictionary under the word; and to his acquisitions ; and the reason why the author of this book Wells' Geography of the Old Testament, vol
. 3. [This city still of Judith, who apparently wrote either in Babylon, or some other exists under the name of Hamadan, and is situated in lat. 34" 53 part of Chaldea, calls him Nabuchodonosor, is, because this was N., long. 40• E. The tombs of Esther and Mordecai are said the common name, as Pharaoh was in Egypt, of the kings of that to be still preserved in it, and are protected by a colony of Jews, country-Calmet's Commentary on Judith, and Prideaux's who have been resident there from time immemorial, and at preConnection.
sent amount to about 600 families. The whole population of c The plains of Ragau are very probably those which lie about Hamadan is estimated at 40,000.)-ED. Rages, a town of Media, standing upon the mountains of Ecba- f Some annotators are of opinion, that the word Holofernes is tan, and distant about a small day's-journey from that city of Persian extract, in the same manner as Tisaphernes, IntapherCalmet's Dictionary.
But others imagine that this general was a native d Both our learned Prideaux and primate Usher are of opinion, either of Pontus or Cappadocia. Polybius makes mention of me that this Arphaxad was the person whom profane historians call of that name, who, having conquered Cappadocia, soon lost it Dejoces, the first king of the Medes, and founder of Ecbatan; again, because he was for changing the ancient customs of the but the account which the book of Judith gives of Arphaxad, country, and introducing drunkenness, together with feasts and and of the circumstances of his death, seems to be more ap- songs to Bacchus ; whereupon Casaubou conjectures, that this plicable to what Herodotus relates of Phraortes, his son and was the same Holofernes that commanded Nabuchodonoser's successor. For, as Arphaxad had many nations under his forces, as it must be owned, that his riot and debauchery, as well dominion, and fell in battle against the king of Assyria, (Judith as the rapidity of his conquests, makes him not unlike him.Se j. 6, 15.) so Herodotus (b. i.) tells us of Phraortes, “. That, hav- Polyph. apud Athen. b. x. c. 11.; and Casaub, in Athen. ing subdued the Persians, and made them part of his empire, he g The author of Judith's history has thus described it:- How soon overcame the rest of the people of the Upper Asia, that is, lofernes mustered the chosen men for the battle, as his lord cetiall that lay north of Mount Taurus, to the river Halys, passing manded him, unto an hundred and twenty thousand, and twelve from nation to nation, and always attended with victory; until thousand archers on horseback. A great multitude of sundry coming with an army against the Assyrians, with an intent to countries went with them like locusts, and like the sand of the besiege Nineveh their capital, he was vanquished and slain in the earth: for the multitude was without number* (Judith ii. 15, 20) two and twentieth year of his reign. Dejoces, indeed, is said h Our modern travellers to the Holy Land do almost watuby Herodotus to have
been the first founder of Ecbatan; but as mously agree, that Bethulia is situate in the tribe of Zebula, the undertaking was very great, it is not improbable, that he left about a league from Tiberias towards the west, where they pre enough to his successor Phraortes to complete; so that all the tend that some marks of Holofernes's camp are still to be sechi rusks which the author of Judith ascribes tu Arphaxad (chap.
some great men are apt to suspect the report of these trave'
A. M. 3391. A. C. 610; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4814. A. C. 597. I KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. tribe of Simeon, and by cutting off its waters, reduced | as she had brought with her; and, without any molestation, it to such extremity, that, through the people's impor- to have leave to go out of the camp at night, or before it tunity, Ozias the governor bad promised to surrender was day, in order d to perform her devotions; which the place unless it was relieved in five days: that accordingly was readily granted her: that having lived Judith, a widow lady of an ample fortune, but a of great in this manner for three days, on the fourth, Holofernes virtue and piety withal, sent for the governor and prin- invited her to a splendid entertainment, where she cipal men of the city, to let them know that God, by appeared in her choicest ornaments of dress ; and the her hand, would find out an expedient to deliver them; general, in hopes of enjoying the beautiful stranger that but in what manner this was to be effected, she desired night, gave a loose to mirth, and drank more plentifully them not to inquire : that, having addressed herself to than ever he was known to do : that, in the evening, all God by prayer for success, and being not insensible of the company being dismissed, except Judith, who was her own beauty, for she was extremely handsome as well left alone with the general intoxicated with liquor, and as virtuous, she adorned herself in all her rich attire, now fallen fast asleep upon the bed, she thought this a and attended only with one maid, left Bethulia, and proper opportunity to put her design in execution ; and went directly to the Assyrian camp: that, being stopped therefore, approaching the place where he lay, and taking by the outguard, and carried before the general, he down his scimitar, which hung by him, she first prayed received her with all the civility and respect that her to God to strengthen her in the enterprise, and then, at appearance seemed to demand; and, having understood two strokes, severed his head from his body, which she that the design of her leaving her countrymen was, both gave to her maid, who, by her order was waiting e at her to escape the destruction which she foresaw was coming tent door, to put it in the bag wherein her provisions upon them, and to inform him in what situation their were brought: that, having thus accomplished their deaffairs were, and how he might become master of the sign, they passed through the camp unobserved, and place without the loss of one man, he not only promised made the best of their way to Bethulia, where Judith, her his protection, but appointed her and her maid an acquainting the governor and elders of the city with apartment proper for them; for he was already enamour- what she had done, and in testimony thereof, producing ed with her wit and beauty: that, having thus far suc- the head of Holofernes, advised them to hang it out ceeded very prosperously, she requested of him, that, as upon the walls as soon as the morning appeared, and she was a strict observer of the religion of her country, then every one to arm, and sally out of the gates as if she might be perunitted to eat separately e such provisions they meant to attack the enemy, but, in reality, only to
give them an alarm, that thereupon they might have lers, who are too much accustomed to take up with the traditions recourse to their general, as she supposed they would, of the country, though there is not always the greatest certainty, and so come to know what fate had befallen him : that, in them. This, however, is incontestible, that both Judith and her husband were of the tribe of Simeon, (Judith viii. 1, and ix. upon the Bethulians appearing in arms, the outguards 2,) and for what purpose they should remove to so great a dis- gave notice to their officers, and the officers sent to their tance from their own inheritance, and settle in a different tribe, general ; but when they understood that their general we cannot see. Since, therefore, the Scripture takes notice of place in the tribes of Simeon named Bethuel, (Joshua xix. 4,) a
was dead, his head gone, and nothing left behind but a place dependant on Gaza of the Philistines, and famous for’its senseless trunk wallowing in blood, such a general contemples, which were very remarkable, both for their antiquity sternation overspread the camp, that, instead of preparand fine structure, from whence not unlikely it had its name ing themselves to fight, the Assyrians threw away their of Bethel, or the house of the Lord, there is much more rea- arms, and fled : while the Bethulians, and other neighson to conclude, that this was the place; since the other, which travellers talk of in the tribe of Zebulun, must be of too modern bouring people, to whom Ozias had sent intelligence of a date to be the city intended here, because we find neither this their disaster, attacked them in small parties, from Joshua, nor Josephus, nor Eusebius, nor St Jerome making several quarters ; and having slain a considerable number any mention of it. —Calmet's Dissertation and Commentary on of them, greatly enriched I themselves with their spoils : the Book of Judith,
a The character which the historian gives her with respect to this is, – That there was none who gave her an ill word, for she the bread of the Gentiles, I kept myself from eating, because I seared the Lord greatly,' (Judith viji. 8,) which is certainly an remembered God with all my heart.'--Calmet's Commentary. high commendation, considering how tender and delicate a thing d As prayer, no doubt, is best performed in places of retirethe reputation of a young and beautiful widow is.
ment, and the hurry of a camp must needs be inconvenient for b The word, in ancient translations, is Abra, which signi-religious offices, Judith, who professed herself a woman of strict fies a companion, or maid of honour, such as ladies of the first piety, had a good pretence to request of the general a liberty to condition had, rather than a servant; for the same word in the retire out of the camp, when she thought proper, and without Septuagint is applied to the women that attended both Pharaoh's any questions asked her, to perform her devotions, which she daughter, (Exod. xi. 5,) and Queen Esther, (chap. iv. 4.) foresaw would be a means to favour her escape, after she had
c There was no law of God that prohibited the Jews from eat- executed the design she came about. For it was on this precauing several things that the Gentiles made use of. Bread, wine, tion, rather than any obligation, either from the law or from and fruits were allowed them with other people; but, either some custom, that this devotion of her praying without the camp was tradition then prevailing among the Jews, or some religious vow founded. - Calmet's Commentary. lbat Judith might have bound herself under, the fear of giving e Namely, to go along with her out of the camp to prayers, as scandal to her countrymen when she returned, or the prayers and she had done the nights before; for it does not appear, from the pagan invocations which were made over the meat that was served whole history, that Judith had communicated her design to her up to Holofernes; some of these reasons, I say, very likely bin- woman, but rather that she took upon herself the risk of the dered her from accepting the offer which the general made, of whole affair, which could not be conducted with too much secrecy provisions from his table, and inclined her to desire to eat alone; and prudence.-Ca.met's Commentary. a restraint which we find Daniel putting himself under in the f So great was the number of these, that the text tells us, the court of Nebuchadnezzar, (chap. i. 8.) and Tobit, in that of Sal- Bethulians were thirty days in gathering them, (ch, xv. 11.' Inareser, (chap. i. 10, &c.) where he says of himself, that when For considering the largeness of the camp of the Assyrians, and all my brethren, and those that were of my kindred did eat of the several detachments they might have, sone on the moun