Page images

A. M. 3394. A. C. 610; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4814. A. C. 597. I KINGS viji, TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. that a deputation of the elders from Jerusalem with their follow, made a show of returning unto the Lord their chief priests accompanying them, came to Bethulia to God. They entered into a solemn covenant thenceforcompliment Judith upon this her great achievement, with ward to serve him only, and to obey his laws; and in whom she repaired to the temple at Jerusalein; where pursuance of that, agreed to proclaim a manumission, or public thanks were given, and burnt sacrifices offered to liberty to all Hebrew servants of either sex, according God, for this signal victory, and Judith’s oblation, a to what the law C enjoined; but upon the coming of upon this occasion was the plunder of Holofernes's tent, Hophra king of Egypt, to the relief of Jerusalem, and with all his rich equipage, which the soldiers had pre- Nebuchadnezzar's raising the siege to meet him, and sented her with ; and, lastly, that after these public re- give him battle, the Jews were generally of opinion, joicings, \ she went back to Bethulia again, where she that the Chaldeans were gone for good and all, and lived in great splendour and renown, and, after a good thereupon repented of their covenant of reformation, old age, died, and was buried with her husband Manas- and caused every man his servant, and every man his seh, much beloved, and much lamented by the people. hand-maid, to return to their servitude. Which base But to look back to the affairs of Judea.

and impious prevarication so provoked God, that he In the seventh year of his reign, Zedekiah, being ordered his prophet to proclaim liberty to the sword, grown impatient of the Babylonish yoke, had sent his and to the famine, and to the pestilence, to execute his ambassadors, and made a confederacy with Pharaoh wrath upon them, and their king, and their princes, and Hophra king of Egypt; which when Nebuchadnezzar all Judah and Jerusalem, to their utter destruction. understood, he drew together a great army out of all Jeremiah, indeed, in all the answers which he returned the nations that were under his dominion, and, in a short the king, (who, upon the departure of the Chaldeans, sent time, marched towards Judea, to punish him for his per- frequently to consult him,) was always positive, that the tidy and rebellion. His victorious army soon overran Egyptians, whom he depended upon, would certainly the country, and having taken most of the cities, in the deceive him; that their army would return without giving ninth year of Zedekiah's reign, the tenth month of the him any assistance ; and that the Chaldeans would thereyear, and the tenth day of the month, it came before upon renew the siege, take the city, and burn it with fire, Jerusalem, and blocked it close up on every side ; so During their absence, however, he thought it no improthat, in a short time, the famine began to prevail: and per time to endeavour to avoid the approaching siege, in memory of this, the Jews have ever since observed by retiring to Anathoth, his native place; but as he was the tenth day of Tebeth, (the month when this happened,) passing the gate of the city which led that way, the capas a day of solemn fasting and humiliation even to this tain of the guard seized him as a deserter, and brought time.

On that very day of the month when the siege of Jeru- c The words of the law are these:—" If thy brother, an salem began, Ezekiel, then a captive in Chaldea, had it Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and revealed to him by the type of a boiling pot, what a dis- serve thee six years, then, in the seventh year, thou shalt let

free from thee; and when thou sendest him out free mal destruction should be brought upon that city; and, from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty; thou shall in the beginning of the next year, Jeremiah was ordered furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and to declare to the king, that the Babylonians who were out of thy wine-press: of that wherewith the Lord hath blessed then besieging the town, would certainly take it, and thee thou shalt give unto him: and thou shalt remember, that burn it with fire, make him prisoner, and carry him to God redeemed thee. It shall not seem hard unto thee, when

thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the Lord thy Babylon, where he should die : which provoked Zede- thou sendest him away from thee; for he hath been worth: kiah to such a degree that he ordered him to be clapped double hired servant to thee, in serving thee six years, and the up close in prison.

Lord thy God shall bless thee in all that thou doest." (Deut. 17. As Nebuchadnezzar's army was approaching Jerusa- observe that there were two periods of time, wherein this release

12, &c.) Now, for the better understanding of this, we mrest lem, Zedekiah, and his people, in dread of what might of Jewish bond-slaves was enjoined, the year of jubilee, which

was every fiftieth year, and the sabbatical year, which was every

seventh year. The sabbatical year is what is here intended: R tains, and others on the plains; the many valuable things which now happened in the eighth year of Zedekiah's reign; but, 3 might be hid, or thrown aside in their flight; and the much time Prideaux in his preface remarks, had not been observed for it would cost the Bethulians to search diligently, and to collect above 360 years before ; for which reason the Jews, being not them all, and to provide carriages to bring them home to the city, in a state of compunction, were for restoring it to its primitive there to be distributed equally among the people, and, according institution; but upon the removal of their fears, buy the witeirave to the prescription of the law, (Num. xxxi. 27.) considering all ing of Nebuchadnezzar's forces, they repented of their good is this, I say, thirty days may not be thought an unreasonable space: tentions, and recalled their servants to their slavery again. Why though it must be owned, that the Syriac version reads it only the observation of such a year in seven was enjoined, the reasti three.-Calmet's Commentary.

are pretty obvious: for besides the commemoration of the Isra's a Nothing is more common, both in sacred and profane his-ites' release from the Egyptian bondage, which the text species tory, than to meet with several kinds of spoils taken in war, the general release of servants, and the restoration of lands and dedicated to God, in acknowledgment of his goodness, and in tenements to their first owners, which were then to be transactat

, memory of the victory, which, hy his blessing and assistance, was were to hinder the rich from oppressing the needy, and reducing then obtained.-Calmet's Commentary.

them to perpetual slavery; that debts should not be too much 6 The joy which the people of Jerusalem expressed upon multiplied, nor the poor, consequently, entirely ruined; but that Judith's entry, is thus related : « Then all the women of Israel ran together to see her, and blessed her, and made a dance among the order and distinction of their tribes and families (as far us

a liberty of people's persons, an equality of their fortunes

, and them for her: and she took branches in her hand, and gave also to it was possible) might be preserved : and as it was something the women that were with her, and put a garland of olive upon like this that Lycurgus established among the Lacedemmians, in her, and on her maid that was with her, and she went before all his instituting an equality among persons, banishing slavery, and the people in the dance leading the women, and all the

men of preventing, as far as he could, any one's becoming too powerten Israel followed with garlands, and with songs in their mouths. - 1 or too rich. Bedford's Scripture Chronology, b. iv. c. 1. ad Judith xv. 12, 13.

Colmet's Dictionary, under the word Salbath.

A. M. 3334. A. C. 610; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4814. A. C. 597. I KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON him before the princes, who, in much rage, fell upon now finished their works, and provided all things for a him, and beat him, and then committed him to the com- general assault; when in the eleventh year of king mon jail, where he continued for many days.

Zedekiah, and on the ninth day of the fourth month of In the mean time, the Egyptians not daring to engage that year, the city was taken by storm, about midnight, the Chaldean army, retired before them into their own and every place filled with blood and slaughter. Through country, leaving Zedekiah and his people, with their un- the favour of the night, Zedekiah and his friends c enequal strength, to contend with Nebuchadnezzar, who deavoured to make their escape towards the wilderness ; now returned more exasperated than ever, to re-invest but he had not gone far, before he was taken, and carthe city of Jerusalem. Nor had he been long before it, ried to Nebuchadnezzar, who was then at Riblah, d where, ere the king sent messengers to Jeremiah to inquire of after some severe reproaches, e he first caused his sons him, then in prison, concerning the fate of the present and the princes of Judah taken with him, to be slain bewar: but his constant answer was, “ That God being fore his face, and then commanded his eyes f to be put out highly provoked against him and his people, for their inanifold iniquities, would fight against the city, and

c It is a hard matter to conceive how the besieged could make smite it ; that both king and people should be delivered about. Josephus indeed gives us this account : --" That as the

their escape, seeing that the Chaldeans had begirt the city round into the hands of the king of Babylon ; that those who city was taken about midnight, the captains with the rest of the continued in the city during the siege, should perish by soldiers, went directly into the temple; which king Zedekiah perthe pestilence, by the famine, and by the sword; but ceiving, he took his wives, children, commanders, and friends, that those who endeavoured to escape, though they fell and they slipt all away together, by a narrow passage towards the

wilderness. But then what this narrow passage was is still the into the hands of the Chaldeans, would have their lives question. The Jews indeed think that there was a subterraneous preserved :” at which several of the princes, and chief passage from the palaee to the plains of Jericho, and that the king, commanders, being very much offended, pressed the and his courtiers might endeavour to make their escape that way. king against him, as one who, by his speeches, dis- Dion, it is true, tells us (b. Ixvi.) that in the last siege of Jeru

salem, the Jews had covert ways, which went under the walls of couraged the soldiers and people, and was enough in the city, to a considerable distance into the country, out of which deed to occasion a defection.

they were wont to sally, and fall upon the Romans that were In this conjuncture of affairs, the king was obliged to straggling from their camp: but since neither Josephus, nor the deliver him into their hands; and they, with unrelenting sacred historian, takes notice of any such subterraneous conduit

at this siege, we may suppose that the Chaldeans having made a cruelty, cast him into a nasty dungeon, a where inevitably breach in the wall, the besieged got away privately between the he must have perished, had not Ebed-Melech, b one of wall and the out-works, in a passage which the enemy did not the king's eunuchs, interceded with his master to have suspect. The words in the second book of Kings are:--- They him released from thence, and sent him back to his went by the way of the gate, between the two walls, which is hy

the king's garden,' (chap. xxv. 4,) which in Jeremiah are thus former prison; for which favour the prophet assured him expressed: They went by the way of the king's garden, by from God that he should not perish at the sacking of the gate between the two walls:' so that, as the king's garden the city.

faced the country, very likely there was some very private and As the city began to be pressed more by the siege, imperceptible gate, through which they might attempt to escape, the king desired a private conference with Jeremiah, that part of the town, especially in the hurry of storming it, be

and the besiegers perhaps might not keep so strict a watch at who accordingly was sent for to an apartment of the cause it led to the plain, and made their escape in a manner temple ; but the prophet could give no other answer to impracticable.— Jewish History, b. x. c. 11; Patrick's, Le Clerc's, his questions, than what he had done before ; only he

and Calmet's Commentaries. advised him to surrender to the enemy, as the best ex- country is the nearest to Judea, and which city, according to St

d Riblah was a city of Syria, in the country of Hamath, which pedient to save both himself and the city. The king, Jerome, was the same with that which was afterwards called though urged by the prophet, could by no means bring Antioch; and as it was the most pleasant place in all Syria, here himself to think of that. At his breaking off the dis- Nebuchadnezzar lay, to attend the success of the siege of Jerucourse, however, he obliged him to secrecy, though he relief that might come to the besieged.- Patrick's Commentary.

salem, to send his army proper supplies, and to intercept any did not forget to remand him to prison : and this is the e Nebuchadnezzar no sooner cast his eye upon him, says Joselast interview that the prophet had with the king. phus, (Jewish Antiquities, b. x. c. 11.) than he called him all the

In the mean time, the siege began to draw toward a faithless and perfidious names that he could think of. conclusion. The people within the walls, through the not promise to manage the power and authority that I put you in

possession of for my advantage and behoof? And am not I will scarcity of provisions, were reduced to the last necessity, requited, do you think, for making you a king in your brother even ' to feed on one another; and those without had Jehoiakim's place, by your employing of the credit and interest

that I gave you, to the ruin of your patron and benefactor ? But Lam. iv. 4, 5, and Ezek, v. 10.

that God is great and just, who for the punishment of your a Some think, that when he was in this dismal place, he made treachery and ingratitude, hath now made you my prisoner.” But those mournful meditations, which are set down in the third chap- there is a mistake in this speech of Nebuchadnezzar's, namely, ter of the Lamentations: • They have cut off my life in the dun- his making Zedekiah succeed his brother Jehoiakim wheregeon, and cast a stone upon me.-I called upon thy name, as he was put in the place of his nephew Jehoiachio; but Lord, out of the low dungeon, and thou hast heard my voice,' his nephew's reign was so very short, little more than three &c. ver. 53, 55, 56.- Lowth's Commentary on Jer. xxxviii. months, that this imperious monarch might look upon it as no

6 This charitable intercessor for the prophet in his distress, is, thing at all. in the text, said to have been an Ethiopian; accordingly Huetius f Josephus takes notice, that the seeming contradiction in the (in his Treatise on the voyaging of Solomon, c. 7.) observes from prophecies of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, concerning the fate of ZedeJosephus, that Solomon in his voyage to Tarshish, (1 Kings x. kiah, made that prince give no heed to what was foretold. Eze22.) amongst other merchandise, brought slaves from Ethiopia, kiel's prophecy is delivered in these words :- I will bring him which was likewise the practice of the Greeks and Romans in to Babylon, to the land of the Chaldeans, yet he shall not see it, after ages, as he there proves by several testimonies: and such though he die there,' (chap. xii. 13.) and Jeremiah's in these:an one he supposes this Ebed-melech to have been originally, He shall be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon, though afterwards he was promoted to be an eunuch, or chief and shall speak with him mouth to mouth, and his eyes shall be officer of the king's house.- Lowth's Commentary on Jer. xxxviii. I hold his eyes,' (chap. xxxii. 4.) both of which were literally

“ Did you

A. M. 3394. A. C. 610; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4825. A. C. 586. 1 KINGS viir. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. and himself to be bound in fetters of brass, to be sent to observe two annual fasts, the one in the fourth month, Babylon, and put in prison for life, to the full accom- which falls in with our June, and the other in the fifth plishment of « what the two prophets, Jeremiah and month, which answers to part of our July, even to this day. Ezekiel, had foretold concerning him.

As soon as Nebuchadnezzar bad advice of the taking in the form of a regular treatise. I would not be understood to inof Jerusalem, he sent Nebuzaradan, the captain of his sinuate, that the author has paid no regard whatever to order or guards, with orders to raze the place, plunder the temple, arrangement; or that transitions truly elegant from one subject

, and carry the people that were left captives to Babylon ; this only I wished to remark, that the nature and design of this

image, or character, to another, are not sometimes to be found; which he failed not to execute with the utmost rigour poem (being in reality a collection of different sentiments or suband cruelty. For having taken all the vessels out of the jects, each of which assumes the form of a funereal dirge) neither house of the Lord, and gathered together all the riches require, nor even admit of a methodical arrangement. The that he could find, either in the king's palace, or in any first, second, and fourth, the prophet addresses the people in his

whole poem, however, may be divided into five parts: in the great men's houses, he set both the temple and city on own person, or else personifies Jerusalem, and introduces that fire, and overthrew all the walls, fortresses, and towers city as a character: the third part is supposed to be uttered by the thereunto belonging, until he had brought the whole to a chorus of Jews, represented by their leader, after the manner of the perfect desolation ; and upon these two sad og


Greek tragedies; and in the fifth , the whole nation of the Jews, namely, the taking of the city, and the destruction of the Almighty God. This last, as well as the others, is divided into

on being led into captivity, pour forth their united complaints to temple, the prophet Jeremiah composed a mournful twenty-two periods, according to the number of the letters of the poem, which is called his Lamentations, c and the Jews alphabet ; with this difference, that in the four other parts the

initial letters of each period, exactly correspond with the alphaaccomplished; for Zedekiah was carried to Riblah, where he saw betical order. And from this circumstance we have been enabled the king of Babylon, and spake to him, and beheld his children to form some little judgment concerning the Hebrew metres. executed; but had afterwards his eyes put out, and was then car- The acrostic or alphabetical poetry of the Hebrews was cerried to Babylon, where he was incapable of seeing the city, tainly intended to assist the memory, and was confined altogebecause he had lost his eyesight .-Jewish Antiquities b. x. c. ther to those compositions which consisted of detached maxims 11; Calmet's and Patrick's Commentaries.

or sentiments without any express order or connexion. The a The reflection which Josephus makes upon this occasion is same custom is said to have been prevalent, indeed is said still to very good and moral :-"This may serve to convince even the prevail in some degree among the Syrians, the Persians, and the ignorant,” says he, "of the power and wisdom of God, and of the Arabs. With how much propriety the prophet has employed constancy of his counsels, through all the various ways of his this form of composition on the present occasion, is evident from operations. It may likewise show us, that God's foreknowledge what has been said concerning the nature of this poem. The of things is certain, and his providence regular in ordering of manner and order of this kind of verse is as follows:- Each of the events; besides that, it holds forth a most exemplary instance of five parts, or grand divisions, is subdivided into twenty-two the danger of our giving way to the motions of sin and infidelity, periods or stanzas; these periods in the three first parts are all of which deprive us of the means of discerning God's judgments, them triplets, in other words, consist each of three lines only; in which are ready to fall upon us.----Jewish Antiquities, b. x. c. 11. each of the two former parts there is one period, consisting of four

6 The temple was burned, from the time that it was built, 400 lines. In the four first parts, the initial letter of each period years, says Sir John Marsham; 424 years 3 months and 8 days, follows the order of the alphabet ; but the third part is so very regusays Primate Usher; 130 years, says Abarbinel, and other learn- lar, that every line in the same period begins with the same letter, ed Jews: but Josephus computes the thing still higher; for he so as necessarily to ascertain the length of every verse or line in tells us, that the temple was burned 470 years 6 months and 10 that poem; indeed, even in the others, though the lines are not days, from the building of it; 1060 years 6 months and 10 days distinctly marked in this manner, it is no difficult matter to from the Israelites' coming out of the land of Egypt: 1950 years ascertain their limits, by resolving the sentences into their 6 months and 10 days, from the deluge; and 3530 years 6 constituent members. By this mode of computation it apmonths and 10 days from the creation of the world. Josephus pears, that in the fourth part all the periods consist of distichs, stands amazed, that the second temple should be burned by the as also in the fifth, which is not acrostic: but in this last part Romans in the same month, and on the very same day of the I must remark another peculiarity, namely, that the lines month, that this was set on fire by the Chaldeans, and as some are extremely short, whereas in all the rest they are long

. of the Jewish doctors say, when the Levites were singing the The length of these metres is worthy of notice: we find in same psalm in both destructions, namely, xciv. 23, 'He shall this poem lines or verses, which are evidently longer, by almost bring upon them their own iniquity, and he shall cut them off in one half, than those which occur usually and on other occasion. their own wickedness; yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off.' | The length of them seems to be, on an average, about twelve - Patrick's Commentary, and Jewish Antiquities, b. x. c. 11. syllables; there are a few which do not quite amount to that nu

c The Lamentations of Jeremiah, for the title is properly and ber, and there are a few which perhaps exceed it by two or three significantly plural, consist of a number of plaintive effusions, syllables : for, although nothing certain can be determined can composed upon the plan of the funereal dirges, all upon the same cerning the number of syllables, in truth I pay no attention to subject, and uttered without connexion as they rose in the mind, the fictions of the Mazorites, there is room, nevertheless, for very in a long course of separate stanzas. These have afterwards been probable conjecture. We are not to suppose this peculiar form put together, and formed into a collection or correspondent whole. of versification utterly without design or importance; on the coIf any reader, however, should expect to find in them an artificial trary, I am persuaded that the prophet adopted this kind of metre and methodical arrangement of the general subject, a regular dis- as being more diffuse, more copious, more tender, in all respects position of the parts, a perfect connexion and orderly succession better adapted to melancholy subjects. I must add, that in a in the matter, and, with all this, an uninterrupted series of ele- probability the funereal dirges, which were sung by the mourners gance and correctness, he will really expect what was foreign to were commonly composed in this kind of verse; for whenever, in the prophet's design. In the character of a mourner, he cele- the prophets, any fupereal lamentations occur, or any passages are brates in plaintive strains the obsequies of his ruined country: formed upon that plan, the versification is, if I am not mistaken whatever presented itself to his mind in the midst of desolation of this protracted kind. If this then be the case, we have distaand misery, whatever struck him as particularly wretched and vered a true legitimate form of elegy in the poetry of the He calamitous, whatever the instant sentiment of sorrow dictated, he brews. It ought, however, to be remarked, that the same kind pours forth in a kind of spontaneous effusion. He frequently of metre is sometimes, though rarely, employed upon other orch pauses, and as it were ruminates upon the same object; frequently sions by the sacred poets, as it was indeed by the Greeks and varies and illustrates the same thought with different imagery, Romans. There are, moreover, some poems manifestly of the and a different choice of language: so that the whole bears rather elegiac kind, which are composed in the usual metre, and wet is the appearance of an accumulation of corresponding sentiments, unconnected stanzas, according to the form of a finereal dirge. than an accurate and connected series of different ideas arranged | Thus far in general as to the nature and method of the poein,


A. M. 3394. A. C. 610; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4825. A. C. 586. I KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. Having thus destroyed the city and temple, Nebuzara- the country; and when the prophet had chosen the latter, dan made all the people that he found in the place cap- he disinissed him honourably, with a handsome present, tives. Some of the chief of these, such as Seraiah the and with letters of recommendation to the governor Gehigh priest, Zephaniah a the second priest, and about daliah, wherein he gave him a strict charge to take parseventy others, he carried to Riblah, where Nebuchad- ticular care of him.

o caused them all to be put to death. The poorer and labouring part of the people, such as could till the ground, and dress the vineyards, he left behind him, and made Gedaliah c their governor ; but as for all the rest,

CHAP. II.-Objections answered and Difficulties he carried them directly away to Babylon; only Jere

obviated. miah, of whom Nebuchadnezzar had given him charge to take particular care, he not only took out of prison when We, who have not received the book of Judith in our he first came to Jerusalem, but as the rest were upon canon of Scripture, are not under the like necessity of vintheir departure, gave him his option, whether he would dicating its divine inspiration and authority, as are they go with him to Babylon, where he sbould be maintained who, ' by a public act of council, have thought proper to very plentifully at the king's charge, or else remain in admit it; but still we see no reason why we should recede

from the opinion of the ancients, merely because some and the form of the versification ;-it remains to offer few re- modern commentators, who, by the same freak of fancy, marks concerning the subject and the style.

might have turned the plainest narrative in Scripture That the subject of the Lamentations is the destruction of the into an allegory, have adventured to call it a parable. holy city and temple, the overthrow of the state, the extermination of the people and that these events are described as Mysteries indeed may be made of any thing, and, in a actually accomplished, and not in the style of prediction merely pregnant brain, fit allusions will never be wanting, when -must be evident to every reader; though some authors of consi- once a full scope is given to the imagination, and a derable reputation have imagined this poem to have been com- writer is permitted to invent what he pleases : but it posed on the death of king Josiah. The prophet, indeed, has so copiously, so tenderly, and poetically, bewailed the misfortunes would be madness to give up the truth of historical facts of his country, that he seems completely to have fulfilled the merely because the man has ingenuity enough to apply office and duty of a mourner. In my opinion there is not extant them to a feigned purpose, especially when upon exaany poem which displays such a happy and splendid selection of mination we find that there are sufficient proofs and tesimagery in so concentrated a state. What can be more elegant and poetical than the description of that once flourishing city, timonies of their reality, and no insuperable objections lately chief among the nations, sitting in the character of a female, I to the contrary. solitary, afflicted, in a state of widowhood, deserted by her friends, Let us suppose, then, that the events contained in this betrayed by her dearest connexions, imploring relief, and seek, history happened before the Babylonish captivity, and in ing consolation in vain ? What a beautiful personification is that of the Ways of Sion mourning, because none are come to the reign of Manasseh king of Judah ; that Nabuchodoher solemn feast !' How tender and pathetic are the following nosor in Judith was the same with Saosduchinus in Ptocomplaints !

lemy, who reigned over the Assyrians and Chaldeans, " Is this nothing to all you who pass along the way? Behold and see,

having subdued Esarhaddon king of Assyria ; that ArIf there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is inflictrd on me; Which Jehovah inflicted ou me in the day of the violence of his wrath.

phaxad is the same with Phraortes, mentioned in Hero. For these things I weep, my eyes stream with water;

dotus, and that these two kings waged war with each Because the comforter is far away, that should tranquillize my soul ; My children are desolate, because the enemy was strong."

other; that Saosduchinus having overcome Arphaxad, But to detail its beauties would be to transcribe the entire poem. resolved to reduce all the nations spoken of in Judith, I shall make but one remark relative to certain passages, and to under his dominion, and to that purpose, sent Holofernes the former part of the second alphabet in particular. If, in this at the head of his forces to subdue those countries that passage the prophet should be thought by some to affect a style would not submit; that at this time Manasseh, who had too bold and energetic for the expression of sorrow, let them only advert to the greatness of the subject, its importance, sanctity, been a little before delivered from the captivity in which and solemnity; and let them consider, that the nature of the he had been carried to Babylon, dwelt at Jerusalem, performance absolutely required these to be set forth in a style concerning himself but little with the government, and suitable, in some degree at least, to their inherent dignity:-- let them attentively consider these things, and I have not a doubt leaving the care of public affairs to Joakim the high but they will readily excuse the sublimity of the prophet.— priest ; that the inhabitants of Bethulia resolved by God's Lowth on Hebrew Poetry.-ED.

assistance, to preserve their religion and liberties, and a The Jews call their second priest their Sagan, whose busi- accordingly shut their gates against Holofernes ; and ness it was to supply the function of the high priest, in case he that Judith, a woman of great courage and conduct, was sick, or any other incapacity attended him. We find no such particular institution under the law; but Eleazar, the son of seeing the extremity to which the city was reduced, Aaron, who is styled the chief over the chief of the Levites, undertook to destroy Holofernes, and, in her attempt, and who had the oversight of them who kept the charge of the succeeded. Supposing all this, I say, and this is the sanctuary,' (Num. iii. 32,) and whose authority was not much substance of the whole, where do we find any thing coninferior to that of the high priest, may, not improperly, be deemed one of that order.-Calmet's Commentary.

trary to the rules either of history or chronology? 6 Because, very probably, he looked upon them as the king's The war, we suppose, commenced between Nabuchodoprincipal counsellors, who advised him to rebel against him.- nosor and Arphaxad, in the year of the world 3347 ; the Patrick's Commentary.

c Gedaliah, we understand, was the son of Ahikam, Jeremiah's expedition and death of Holofernes were both in the next great friend ; and it is not unlikely, that, by the prophet's advice, year, 3348, Manasseh was taken and carried to Babylon who exhorted all, both king and people, to surrender themselves 3349, he returned some years after, and died 3361: so that to the Assyrians, (Jer. xxxviii. 5, 17,) he made his escape from here we find a proper space for the things related in this the city, and went over to the king of Babylon and for this reason was promoted to the government of Judea.—Calmet's and Patrick's Commentaries.

Concil. Trid. sess. 4.


A. M. 3394, A. C. 610; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4825. A. C. 586. I KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. history to be transacted ; and that they were really thus | archers, which even Herodotus himself makes to be the transacted we have the concurring testimony both of the fate, not of Dejoces the father, but of his son Phraortes, Jewish and Christian church, who, though they deny the who, having subdued the Persians, as he tells us, and book a place in the number of their sacred and divine made himself master of almost all Asia, was not content writings, yet did always esteem it one of their apocry- therewith, but coming at last to attack Nineveh and the phal pieces, and a true and incontested history, well Assyrian empire, was overcome, and killed in the contrived for the edification of the vulgar, though not of bold attempt. authority enough to determine any controversy in matters His father indeed might lay the foundation of Ecbaof religion.

tan, and during his lifetime, carry on the building; but · Josephus indeed makes no mention either of the a work of this kind is not so soon effected, but that he book of Judith, or of her famous exploit in killing Ho- might leave the completion of it to his son, who being a lofernes; but his silence is no argument against what we prince of a warlike spirit, and having many forces under assert, because he nowhere professes to take notice of his command, is therefore, in the book of Judith, not every thing that occurred in the Jewish republic; on the improperly said to have made the gates of this royal city contrary, " he openly declares that his purpose was to 10. in height seventy cubits, and in breadth forty cubits, relate only such things as were recorded in the books for the going forth of his mighty armies, and for the which were originally written in Hebrew, and declared setting in array of his footmen.' canonical, which that of Judith never was.

Whoever looks into the order and succession of the It is some confirmation of its genuineness, however, Jewish high priests, as we have them delivered to us in that, in writings which are of undoubted authority, we the first book of Chronicles, " in the books of Ezra, la meet with some citations out of it; and therefore, when Nehemiah, 13 and in the history of Josephus, I will find we find St Luke, in Elizabeth's salutation of the Virgin them so intricate and perplexed, so many omissions and Mary, using these words,—. Blessed art thou among mislocations, such a diversity of names and numbers, women,' which are manifestly taken from the compliment and such seeming contrariety in the several accounts, as which Ozias makes Judith, * • Blessed art thou of the will cost him no small pains to reduce them to any tolermost high God, above all the women upon earth ;' and able regularity. The reason is, because the Scripture St Paul in his exhortation to the Corinthians, using these, nowhere professes to give an exact catalogue of all

_5Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, such as had been admitted to that office and diguity and were destroyed of the destroyer,' which he certainly until the captivity. borrows from the tenth chapter of Judith, according to That in the book of Chronicles seems to bid fairest the Greek interpretation; we cannot forbear concluding, for it; but, upon examination, it will appear

to be that, in the apostolic age, this book was looked upon as only a direct lineal descent of the pontifical family, a piece of true and uncontroverted history.

from Aaron to Josedech the son of Seraiah, who was Difficulties, indeed, there will occur in relation to high priest at the captivity; and not a succession of names, dates, and other particulars, almost in all his- such as had borne the pontifical office, because several tories, and especially in the Oriental, when we shall in that pedigree are inserted that were never high find, not only in writers of different characters, the Greek priests, a and several are omitted that were. The pediand Hebrew, the sacred and profane, but even in writers grees of the high priests in Ezra and Nehemiah are but of the same nation, the same person under different imperfect parts of that which we have in the book of appellations. Though, therefore, in strictness of speech, Chronicles; and as for the catalogue of Josephus, it is it may be accounted an error in history, to call the king so corrupted, that scarce five of the names in it do agree of Nineveh by the name of Nabuchodonosor ; yet, as it with any thing that we have in Scripture : so that, conwas the style and manner of the Jews to denote any sidering the defect of these accounts, we may be allowed prince who lived beyond the Euphrates by that name, we to infer, that Joakim or Eliakim, (for they are names need not wonder that we find an author, who lived in an both of the same import,) might have been high priest in age when the fame and reputation of Nabuchodonosor the time of Manasseh ; even though we should suppose the Great had quite eclipsed the name of all his prede- there was no mention made of him as such, either in the cessors, calling another prince, who lived at a far dis- Holy Scriptures, or in the history of Josephus. tance, that is, Saosduchinus the king of Assyria, by the 16 The Scripture, however, takes notice of one Eliakim, name of the king of Babylon, which perhaps at that time the son of Hilkiah, whom, (according to the prophet li might be the standing name of every great and distant Isaiah) God promised to clothe with a robe, and to monarch.

Nor is there any great trespass against the truth of 9 B. i. c. 97. 10 Judith i. 4. history ' in this author's asserting that Arphaxad built 12 Chap. ii. 36, &c. Chap. vij. 39. 14 B. viii. c. 16. the walls, the towers, and the gates of Ecbatan ; since

is Prideaux's Connection, amo 655. by Arphaxad he does not mean the Dejoces in Herodo

16 Calmet's Dissertation on the Order and Succession, &c.

17 Chap. xxii. 21. tus, but his son Phraortes, who succeeded him in the kingdom of Media : for that he must mean so, is plain, latter; for they are left out of that pedigree, though they were

a The high priests of the family of Eli are instances of the because he gives us to understand, that this Arphax- high priests: and those of the true race who were excluded be ad was defeated, and 8 himself slain by the Assyrian them, are instances of the former; for they are in it, though

they were never high priests: and it is very likely that, frem 'Huetius's Demonstrat. propos. 4. * Jewish Antiq. b. x. c. 11. the time of Solomon to the captivity, many more such instances 3 Luke i. 42. 4 Judith xiii. 18. $1 Cor. x, 10. might have happened, to hinder that pedigree from being a • Calmet's Preface on the book of Judith.

exact catalogue of the high priests.-- Prideaus's Connection, * Judith i. 2, &c. 8 lbid. ver. 16.

anno 655.

" Chap. vi. 3, &t.

« PreviousContinue »