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. XXVIII

XXVIII.

pleasure, and much further from inquiring into his secret will, wherein it was determined that their good king, whose life stood between them and their punishment, should now be taken from among them, and that in such sort as his death should give entrance to the miseries ensuing. So Josias, levying all the strength he could make, near unto Megiddo, in the half tribe of Manasses, encountered Necho; and there he received the stroke of death, which, lingering about him till he came to Jerusalem, brought him to the sepulchres of his ancestors. His loss was greatly bewailed of all the people and princes of Juda, especially of Jeremy the prophet, who inserted a sorrowful remembrance thereof into his book of m Lamentations.

SECT. II. Of Pharaoh Necho, that fought with Josias : of Jehoahaz and Je

hoiakim, kings of Juda. OF these wars, and particularly of this victory, Herodotus hath mention among the acts of Necho. He tells us of this king, that he went about to make a channel, whereby ships might pass out of Nilus into the Red sea. It should have reached above a hundred miles in length, and been wide enough for two galleys to row in front. But in the midst of the work, an oracle foretold that the barbarians should have the benefit of it, which caused Necho to desist when half was done. There were consumed in this toilsome business twelve hundred thousand Egyptians, a loss great enough to make the king forsake his enterprise, without troubling the oracle for admonition. Howsoever it were, he was not a man to be idle; therefore he built a fleet, and levied a great army, wherewith he marched against the king of Babel. In this expedition he used the service, as well of his navy as of his land forces ; but no particular exploits of his therein are found recorded, save only this victory against Josias, where Herodotus calls the place Magdolus, and the Jews Syrians; which is a small error, seeing that Judæa was a province of Syria, and Magdolus, or Magdala, is taken to have been the same place (though diversely named) in which this battle was fought. After this, Necus took the city of Cadytis, which was perhaps Carchemish, by Euphrates, and made himself lord in a manner of all Syria, as n Josephus witnesseth.

m Lament. iv. 20.

Particularly we find, that the Phænicians, one of the most powerful nations in Syria, were his subjects, and that by his command they surrounded all Africa, ° setting sail from the gulf of Arabia, and so passing along all the coast, whereon they both landed, as need required, and sowed corn for their sustenance in that long voyage, which lasted three years. This was the first navigation about Africa wherein that great Cape, now called of Good Hope, was discovered, which after was forgotten, until Vasco de Gama, the Portingal, found it out, following a contrary course to that which the Phænicians held; for they, beginning in the east, ran the way of the sun, south and then westward, after which they returned home by the pillars and straits of Hercules, (as the name was then,) called now the Straits of Gibraltar, having Afric still on the right hand: but the Portingals, beginning their voyage not far from the same straits, leave Afric on the larboard, and bend their course unto the east. That report of the Phænicians, which Herodotus durst not believě, how the sun in this journey was on their right hand, that is, on the north side of them, is a matter of necessary truth; and the observation then made hereof makes me the better to believe that such a voyage was indeed performed.

But leaving these discourses of Necho's magnificence, let us tell what he did in matters more importing his 'estate. The people of Juda, while the Egyptians were busy at Carchemish, had made Jehoahaz their king, in the room of his father Josias. The prophet P Jeremy calls this new king Shallum, by the name of his younger brother, alluding perhaps to the short reign of Shallum king of the ten tribes : for Shallum of Israel reigned but one month, Jehoahaz no more than three. He was not the eldest son of Josias :

n. Jos. Ant. Jud. 1. 10. c. 7. • Herod. 1. 4. ° Jer. xxii. 32.

wherefore it may seem that he was set up as the best affected unto the king of Babel, the rest of his house being more inclined to the Egyptian, as appears by the sequel. An idolater he was, and thrived accordingly. For when as Necho had despatched his business in the north parts of Syria, then did he take order for the affairs of Judæa. This country was now so far from making any resistance, that the king himself came to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where the matter went so ill on his side, that Necho did cast him into bonds, and carry him prisoner into Egypt, giving away his kingdom to Eliakim his elder brother, to whom of right it did belong. This city of Riblah, in after-times called Antiochia, was a place unhappy to the kings and princes of Juda, as may be observed in divers examples. Yet here Jehoiakim, together with his new name, got his kingdom; an ill gain, since he could no better use it. But however Jehoiakim thrived by the bargain, Pharaoh sped well, making that kingdom tributary, without any stroke stricken, which three months before was too stout to give him peace, when he desired it. Certain it is, that in his march outward Necho had a greater task lying upon his hands, than would permit him to waste his forces upon Judæa; but now the reputation of his good success at Megiddo and Carchemish, together with the dissension of the princes Josias's sons, (of whom the eldest is probably thought to have stormed at the preferment of his younger brother,) gave him power to do even what should please himself. Yet he did forbear to make a conquest of the land, perhaps upon the same reason which had made him so earnest in seeking to hold peace with it: for the Jews had suffered much in the Egyptians quarrel, and being left by these their friends in time of need unto all extremities, were driven to forsake that party, and join with the enemies ; to whom if they shewed themselves faithful, who could blame them ? It was therefore enough to reclaim them, seeing they were such a people, as would not upon every occasion shift side, but endure more than Pharaoh, in the pride of his victories, thought that any henceforth should lay upon them; so good a patron did he mean to be unto them. Nevertheless he laid upon them a tribute of an hundred talents of silver and one talent of gold; that so he might both reap at the present some fruit of his pains taken, and leave unto them some document in the future of greater punishment than verbal anger, due to them if they should rebel. So he de parted, carrying along with him into Egypt the unfortunate king Jehoahaz, who died in his captivity.

The reign of Jehoahaz was included in the end of his father's last year, otherwise it would hardly be found that Jehoiakim his successor did reign ten whole years, whereas the scriptures give him eleven, that is current and incomplete. If any man will rather cast the three months of this short reign into the first year of the brother, than into the father's last, the same arguments that shall maintain his opinion will also prove the matter to be unworthy of disputation ; and so I leave it.

Jehoiakim in impiety was like his brother; in faction he was altogether Egyptian, as having received his crown at the hand of Pharaoh. The wickedness of these last kings being expressed in scriptures none otherwise than by general words, with reference to all the evil that their fathers had done, makes it apparent, that the poison wherewith Ahaz and Manasses had infected the land was not so expelled by the zealous goodness of Josias, but that it still cleaved unto the chief of the people, 9 yea, unto the chief of the priests also; and therefore it was not strange that the kings had their part therein. The royal authority was much abased by the dangers wherein the country stood in this troublesome age: the princes did in a manner what they listed, neither would the kings forbear to profess that they could deny them nothing. Yet the beginning of Jehoiakim had the countenance of the Egyptian to grace it, which made him insolent and cruel, as we find by that example of his dealing with Uriah the prophet: though herein also the princes do appear to have been instigators. This holy man denounced God's judgments against the city and temple,

4 2 Chron. xxxvi. 14.

in like sort as other prophets had formerly done, and did in the same age. The king, with all the men of power, and all the princes, hearing of this, determined to put him to death. Hereupon the poor man fled into Egypt; but such regard was had unto Jehoiakim, that Uriah was delivered unto his ambassador, and sent back to the death, contrary to the custom used, both in those days and since, among all civil nations, of giving refuge unto strangers that are not held guilty of such inhuman crimes as, for the general good of mankind, should be exempted from all privilege.

It concerned Pharaoh to give all contentment possible to Jehoiakim ; for the Assyrian lion, that had not stirred in many years, began about these times to roar so loud upon the banks of Euphrates, that his voice was heard unto Nilus, threatening to make himself lord of all the forest. The causes that hitherto had withdrawn the house of Merodach from opposing the Egyptian in his conquest of Syria, require our consideration in this place, before we proceed to commit them together at Carchemish, where shortly after this the glory of Egypt is to fall.

SECT. III. Of the kings of Babylon and Media. How it came to pass that the

kings of Babel could not give attendance on their business in Syria, which caused them to lose that province. MERODACH the son of Baladan, who, taking the advantage that Sennacherib's misadventure and death, together with the dissension between his children, presented, made himself king of Babylon, was eleven years troubled with a powerful enemy, Asarhaddon the son of Sennacherib reigning over the Assyrians in Nineveh, from whom whilst he could not any other way divert his cares, he was fain to omit all business in Syria, and (as hath been formerly shewed) to make over unto Ezekias some part of the kingdom of the ten tribes. From this molestation the death of Asarhaddon did not only set him free, but gave unto him some part of Assyria, if not (as is commonly but less probably

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