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f But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the Lord his God, and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense. Thus he thought to enlarge his own authority by meddling in the priest's office, whose power had in every extremity been so helpful to the kings of Juda, that mere gratitude and civil policy should have held back Uzziah from encroaching thereupon, yea though the law of God had been silent in this case, and not forbidden it. Howsoever the king forgot his duty, the priests remembered theirs, and God forgot not to assist them. Azariah the high priest interrupted the king's purpose, and gave him to understand how little to his honour it would prove that he took upon him the office of the sons of Aaron. There were with Azariah fourscore other priests, valiant men, but their valour was shewed only in assisting the high priest when (according to his duty) he reprehended the king's presumption. This was enough, the rest God himself performed. We find in Josephus, 1. 9. c. 11, that the king had apparelled himself in priestly habit, and that he threatened Azariah and his companions to punish them with death, unless they would be quiet. Josephus indeed enlargeth the story by inserting a great earthquake, which did tear down half an hill, that rolled four furlongs, till it rested against another hill, stopping up the highways, and spoiling the king's garden in the passage. With this earthquake, he saith, that the roof of the temple did cleave, and that a sunbeam did light upon the king's face, which was presently infected with leprosy. All this may have been true; and some there are who think that this earthquake is the same which is mentioned by the prophet Amos, wherein they do much misreckon the times. For the earthquake spoken of by Amos was in the days of Jeroboam king of Israel, who died thirty-seven years before Uzziah ; so that Jotham the
son of Uzziah, which supplied his father's place in govern· ment of the land, should, by this account, have been then unborn; for he was but twenty-five years old when he be
* 2 Chron. xxvi. 16.
priestly babi. c. 11. that the self per
gan to reign as king. Therefore thus far only we have as surance, that while Uzziah was wroth with the priests, the leprosy rose up in his forehead before the priests, 2 Chron. xxvi. 20. Hereupon he was caused in all haste to depart the place, and to live in a house by himself until he died; the rule over the king's house and over all the land being committed to Jotham, his son and successor. Jotham took not upon himself the style of king till his father was dead; whom they buried in the same field wherein his ancestors lay interred, yet in a monument apart from the rest, because he was a leper.
SECT. III. , Of the prophets which lived in the time of Uzziah ; and of princes
then ruling in Egypt, and in some other countries. IN the time of Uzziah were the first of the lesser prophets, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, and Jonas. It is not indeed set down when Joel or Obadiah did prophesy; but if the prophets whose times are not expressed ought to be ranged (according to St. Jerome's rule) with the next before them, then must these two be judged contemporary with Hosea and Amos, who lived under king Uzziah. To inquire which of these five was the most ancient, it may perhaps be thought at least a superfluous labour; yet if the age wherein Homer lived hath so painfully been sought without reprehension, how can he be taxed, which offers to search out the antiquity of these holy prophets ? It seems to me, that the first of these, in order of time, was the prophet Jonas, who foretold the great victories of Jeroboam king of Israel; and therefore is like to have prophesied in the days of Joash, whilst the affliction of Israel was exceeding bitter, the 8 text itself intimating no less; by which consequence he was elder than the other prophets whose works are now extant. But his prophecies that concerned the kingdom of Israel are now lost. That which remaineth of him seems, not without rean son, unto some very learned, to have belonged unto the time of Sardanapalus, in whose days Nineveh was first of all destroyed. This prophet rather taught Christ by his suffer.
8 2 Kings xiv. 25, 26.. ..:
ings, than by his writings now extant: in all the rest are found express promises of the Messias.
In the reign of Uzziah likewise it was that Isaiah, the first of the four great prophets, began to see his visions. This difference of greater and lesser prophets is taken from the volumes which they have left written, (as h St. Augustine gives reason of the distinction,) because the greater have written larger books. The prophet Isaiah was great indeed, not only in regard of his much writing, or of his nobility, (for their opinion is rejected who think him to have been the son of Amos the prophet,) and the high account wherein he lived, but for the excellency both of his style and argument, wherein he so plainly foretelleth the birth, miracles, passion, and whole history of our Saviour, with the calling of the Gentiles, that he might as well be called an evangelist as a prophet; having written in such wise, that (as i Jerome saith) « one would think he did not foretell, of " things to come, but compile an history of matters already 66 pást.”
Bocchoris was king of Egypt, and the ninth year of his reign, by our computation, (whereof in due place we will give reason,) was current when Uzziah took possession of the kingdom of Juda.
After the death of Bocchoris, Asychis followed in the kingdom of Egypt; unto him succeeded Anysis; and these two occupied that crown six years. Then Sabacus, an Ethiopian, became king of Egypt, and held it fifty years, whereof the ten first ran along with the last of Uzziah's reign and life. Of these and other Egyptian kings more shall be spoken when their affairs shall come to be intermeddled with the business of Juda.
In Athens, the two last years of Ariphron's twenty, the seven and twentieth of Thespeius, the twentieth of Agamnestor, and three the first of Æschylus's three and twenty, made even with the two and fifty of Uzziah ; as likewise did in Alba the last seven of Sylvius Aventinus's seven and thirty, together with the three and twenty of Sylviús Pro
e Aug. de Civit. Dei, l. 18. c. 19. i Hier. in Præf. super Esaiam.
S of Juda.
cas, and two and twenty the first of Sylvius Amulius. In Media, Arbaces began his new kingdom, in the first of Uzziah, wherein, after eight and twenty years, his son Sosarmus succeeded him, and reigned thirty years. Of this Arbaces, and the division of the Assyrian empire between him and others, when they had oppressed Sardanapalus, I hold it convenient to use more particular discourse, that we may not wander in too great uncertainty in the story of the Assyrian kings, who have already found the way into Palæstina, and are not likely to forget it.
SECT. IV. Of the Assyrian kings descending from Phul; and whether Phul
and Belosus were one person, or heads of sundry families, that reigned apart in Nineveh and Babylon.
BY that which hath formerly been shewed of Sardanapalus's death, it is apparent that the chief therein was Arbaces the Median; to whom the rest of the confederates did not only submit themselves in that war, but were contented afterwards to be judged by him, receiving by his authority sentence of death, or pardon of their forfeited lives. The first example of this his power was shewn upon Belosus the Babylonian, by whose especial advice and help Arbaces himself was become so great. Yet was not this power of Arbaces exercised in so tyrannical manner as might give offence in that great alteration of things, either to the princes that had assisted him, or to the generality of the people. For in the condemnation of Belosus, he used the counsel of his other captains, and then pardoned him of his own grace; allowing him to hold, not only the city and province of Babylon, but also those treasures, for embezzling whereof his life had been endangered. - In like manner he gave rewards to the rest of his partakers, and made them rulers of provinces ; retaining (as it appears) only the sovereignty to himself, which to use immoderately he did naturally abhor. He is said indeed to have excited the Medes against Sardanapalus, by propounding unto them hope of transferring the empire to their nation. And to make good this his promise, he destroyed the city of Nineveh ; permitting the citizens nevertheless to take and carry away every one his own goods. The other nations that joined with him, as the Persians and Bactrians, he drew to his side by the allurement of liberty, which he himself so greatly loved, that by slackening too much the reins of his own sovereignty, he did more harm to the general estate of Media, than the pleasure of the freedom which it enjoyed could recompense. For both the territory of that country was pared narrower by Salmanassar, (or perhaps by some of his progenitors,) whom we find in the scriptures to have held some towns of the Medes; and the civil administration was so disorderly, that the people themselves were glad to see that reformation which Deioces, the fifth of Arbaces's line, did make in that government, by reducing them into stricter terms of obedience.
How the force of the Assyrians grew to be such as might in fourscore years, if not sooner, both extend itself unto the conquest of Israel, and tear away some part of Media, it is a question hardly to be answered; not only in regard of the destruction of Nineveh and subversion of the Assyrian kingdom, whereof the Medes under Arbaces had the honour, who may seem at that time to have kept the Assyrians under their subjection, when the rest of the provinces were set at liberty ; but in consideration of the kings themselves, who reigning afterwards in Babylon and Nineveh, are confounded by some, and distinguished by others; whereby their history is made uncertain. · I will first therefore deliver the opinion generally received, and the grounds whereupon it stands; then, producing the objections made against it, I will compare together the de termination of that worthy man Joseph Scaliger, with those learned that subscribe thereunto, and the judgment of others that were more ancient writers, or have followed the ancients in this doubtful case. Neither shall it be needful to set down apart the several authorities and arguments of sundry men, adding somewhat of weight or of clearness one to another: it will be enough to relate the whole substance of