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Proverbs, and eCantica Canticorum, Rabbi Moses Kimchi ascribeth to Isaiah the prophet. Suidas and Cedrenus report, that Salomon wrate of the remedies of all diseases, and graved the same on the sides of the porch of the temple, which they say fEzechias pulled down, because the people, neglecting help from God by prayer, repaired thither for their recoveries.
Of Salomon's books of invocations and enchantments, to cure diseases and expel evil spirits, Josephus hath written at large, though, as I conceive, rather out of his own invention, or from some uncertain report, than truly.
He also speaketh of one Eliazarus, who, by the root in Salomon's ring, dispossessed divers persons of evil spirits in the presence of Vespasian and many others; which I will not stand to examine.
Certainly, so strange an example of human frailty hath never been read of as this king; who having received wisdom from God himself, in honour of whom, and for his only service, he built the first and most glorious temple of the world; he that was made king of Israel and Judæa, not by the law of nature but by the love of God, and became the wisest, richest, and happiest of all kings, did, in the end, by the persuasion of a few weak and wretched idolatrous women, forget and forsake the Lord of all the world and the Giver of all goodness, of which he was more liberal to this king than to any that ever the world had. Of whom Siracides writeth in this manner : “ Salomon reigned in a 6 peaceable time and was glorious; for God made all quiet “ round about, that he might build a house in his name, “ and prepare the sanctuary for ever: how wise wast thou “ in thy youth, and wast filled with understanding as with “ a flood! Thy mind covered the whole earth, and hath “ filled it with grave and dark sentences. Thy name went 6 abroad in the isles, and for thy peace thou wast beloved," &c. But thus he concludeth; “ Thou didst bow thy loins “ to women, and wast overcome by thy body; thou didst e S. Sen. f. 62.
i Reinecc. in Jul. Hist.
“ stain thine honour, and hast defiled thy posterity, and “ hast brought wrath upon thy children, and felt sorrow “ for thy folly.” chap. xxvii.
Of the contemporaries of Salomon. NEAR the beginning of Salomon's reign, Agelaus, the third of the Heraclidæ, in Corinth; Labotes, in Lacedæmon; and soon after, Sylvius Alba, the fourth of the Sylvii, swayed those kingdoms; Laosthenes then governing Assyria; Agastus and Archippus, the second and third princes after Codrus, ruling the Athenians.
In the twenty-sixth of Salomon's reign, Hiram of Tyre died, to whom Baliastrus succeeded, and reigned seventeen years, after Mercator's account, who reckons the time of his rule by the age of his sons. 8 Josephus gives him fewer years. Theophilus Antiochenus, against Autolicus, finds Bozorius the next after Hiram, if there be not some kings omitted between the death of Hiram and the reign of Bo zorius.
Vaphres being dead, about the twentieth of Salomon, Sesac, or Shisak, (as our English Geneva terms him,) began to govern in Egypt, being the same with him whom Diodorus calleth Sosachis; Josephus, Susac; Cedrenus, Susesinus; Eusebius, in the column of the Egyptian kings, Smendes, and in that of the Hebrews Susac. Josephus, in the eighth of his Antiquities, reproveth it as an error in Herodotus, that he ascribeth the acts of Susac to Sesostris, which perchance Herodotus might have done by comparison, accounting Sesac another Sesostris, for the great things he did.
Of the great acts and virtues of king Sesostris I have spoken already in the story of the Egyptian princes: only in this he was reproved, that he caused four of his captive kings to draw his caroche, when he was disposed to be seen, and to ride in triumph: one of which four, saith Eutropius, at such time as Sesostris was carried out to take the air, cast
& Ant. lib. 3.
his head continually back upon the two foremost wheels next him; which Sesostris perceiving, asked him what he found worthy the admiration in that motion : to whom the captive king answered, that in those he beheld the instability of all worldly things ; for that both the lowest part of the wheel was suddenly carried about, and became the highest, and the uppermost part was as suddenly turned downward and under all: which when h Sesostris had judiciously weighed, he dismissed those princes, and all others, from the like servitude in the future. Of this Sesostris, and that he could not be taken for Sesac, I have spoken at large in that part of the Egyptian kings preceding.
SECT. I. Of Rehoboam's beginnings: the defection of the ten tribes, and Je
roboam's idolatry. REHOBOAM, the son of Salomon by Nahama an Ammonitess, now forty years old, succeeded his father Salomon, and was anointed at Sichem, where the ten tribes of Israel were assembled; who attended a while the return of Jeroboam, as yet in Egypt, since he fled thither fearing Salomon. After his arrival, the people presented a petition to Rehoboam, to be eased of those great tributes laid on them by his father : i Sic enim firmius ei fore imperium, si amari mallet quam metui ; “ So should his empire,” saith Josephus, “ be more assured, if he desired rather to be beloved “ than feared :" whereof he took three days to deliberate before his answer; of whom therefore it could not be said as of David, that he was wiser than all his teachers. For as of himself he knew not how to resolve, so had he not the judgment to discern of counsels, which is the very test of h Hist. Miscel. I. 17.
i Ant. lib. 8. c. 3.
wisdom in princes, and in all men else. But notwithstanding that he had consulted with those grave and advised men that served his father, who persuaded him by all means to satisfy the multitude; he was transported by his familiars and favourites, not only to continue on the backs of his subjects those burdens which greatly crushed them ; but (vaunting falsely of greatness exceeding his father's) he threatened in sharp, or rather in terrible terms, to lay yet heavier and more unsupportable loads on them. But, as it appeared by the success, those younger advisers greatly mistook the nature of severity, which without the temper of clemency is no other than cruelty itself: they also were ignorant that it ought to be used for the help, and not for the harm of subjects. For what is the strength of a king left by his people ? and what cords or fetters have ever lasted long, but those which have been twisted and forged by love only? His witless parasites could well judge of the king's disposition ; and being well learned therein, though ignorant in all things else, it sufficed and enabled them sufficiently for the places they held. But this answer of Rehoboam did not a little advance Jeroboam's designs. For being foretold by the prophet Achiah of his future advancement, these the king's threats (changing the people's love into fury) confirmed and gave courage to his hopes. For he was no sooner arrived, than elected king of Israel; the people crying out, What portion have we in David ? we have no inheritance in the son of Ishai. Now though themselves, even k all the tribes of Israel, had consented to David's anointing at Hebron the second time, acknowledging that they were his bones and his flesh ; yet now, after the manner of rebels, they forgat both the bonds of nature and their duty to God, and, as all alienated resolved hearts do, they served themselves for the present with impudent excuses. And now over-late, and after time, Rehoboam sent Adoram, one of the taxers of the people, a man most hateful to all his subjects, to pacify them, whom they instantly beat to death with stones. Whereupon the king affrighted, got him from Sichem with k 2 Sam. v. 1.
11 Kings xii. 21.
all speed, and recovered Jerusalem, where preparing to invade Israel with an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, Shemai in the person of God commanding to the contrary, all was stayed for the present. In the mean time Jeroboam the new king fortified Sechem on this side, and Penuel on the other side of Jordan; and fearing that the union and exercise of one religion would also join the people's hearts again to the house of David, and having in all likelihood also promised the Egyptians to follow their idolatry, he set up two calves of gold for the children of Israel to worship, impiously persuading them that those were the gods, or at least by these he represented those gods, which delivered them out of Egypt; and, refusing the service of the Levites, he made priests fit for such gods. It must needs be, that by banishing the Levites, which served David and Salomon through all Israel, Jeroboam greatly enriched himself, as taking into his hands all those cities which were given them by Moses and Joshua ; for, as it is written, the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Juda, &c. This irreligious policy of Jeroboam (which was the foundation of an idolatry that never could be rooted out, until Israel for it was rooted out of the land) was by prophecy and miracles impugned sufficiently when it first began; but the affections maintaining it were so strong, that neither m prophecy nor miracle could make them yield. Jeroboam could not be moved now by the authority of Ahia, who from the Lord had first promised unto him the kingdom; nor by the m withering of his own hand as he stretched it over the altar, which also clave asunder, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the commandment of God, who again recovered and cured him of that defect ; yet he continued as obstinate an idolater as before, for he held it the safest course in policy to proceed as he had begun. This impious invention of Jeroboam, who forsook God, and the religion of his forefathers, by God and his ministers taught them, was by a modern historian compared with the policies of late ages, observing
. m 1 Kings xiji. 4, 5, 6,