Abbildungen der Seite


his sixteenth year, which is all one in a manner with allowing an interregnum.

But why should we be so careful to avoid an interregnum in Juda, seeing that the like necessity hath enforced all good writers to acknowledge the like vacancy twice happening within few years in the kingdom of Israel ? The space of time between Jeroboam's death and the beginning of Zachariah's reign, and such another gap found between the death of Peka and the beginning of Hosea, have made it easily to be admitted in Samaria, which the consideration of things as they stood in Juda, when Amaziah was slain, doth make more probable to have happened there, yea although the necessity of computation were not so apparent.

For the public fury having so far extended itself as unto the destruction of the king's own person, was not like to be appeased without order taken for obtaining some redress of those matters which had caused it at the first to break forth into such extremity. We need not therefore wonder how it came to pass that they, which already had thrown themselves into such an horrible treason, should afterwards dare to withhold the crown from a prince of that age, which being invested in all ornaments of regality, is nevertheless exposed to many injuries, proceeding from headstrong and forgetful subjects.

As for their conjecture who make Azariah to have been king but forty-one years, after he came out of his nonage, I dare not allow it, because it agrees too harshly with the text. The best opinion were that which gives unto Jeroboam eleven years of reign with his father, before he began to reign single in the fifteenth of Amaziah ; did it not swallow up almost the whole reign of Joash, and extending the years of those which reigned in Israel, (by making such of them complete as were only current,) and take at the shortest the reigns of princes ruling in other nations. But I will not stand to dispute further of this; every man may follow his own opinion, and see mine more plainly in the chronological table drawn for these purposes.



SECT. XII. Of princes contemporary with Amaziah, and more particularly of

. . Sardanapalus. . THE princes living with Amaziah, and in the eleven years that followed his death, were, Joash and Jeroboam in Israel; Cephrenes and Mycerinus in Egypt; Sylvius Alladius and Sylvius Aventinus in Alba; Agamemnon in Corinth; Diognetus Pheredus and Ariphron in Athens; in Lacedæmon Thelectus, in whose time the Spartans won from the Achaians, Gerauthæ, Amyclæ and some other towns.

But more notable than all these was Assyrian Sardanapalus, who in the one and twentieth year of Amaziah succeeding his father Ocrazapes, or Anacyndaraxes, reigned twenty years, and was slain the last of the eleven void years which forewent the reign of Azariah. In him ended (as most agree) the line of Ninus, which had held that empire one thousand two hundred and forty years. A most luxurious and effeminate palliard he was, passing away his time among strumpets, whom he imitated both in apparel and behaviour.

In these voluptuous courses he lived an unhappy life, knowing himself to be so vile, that he durst not let any man have a sight of him; yet seen he was at length, and the sight of him was so odious that it procured his ruin. For Arbaces, who governed Media under him, finding means to behold the person of his king, was so incensed with that beastly spectacle, of a man disguised in woman's attire, and striving to counterfeit an harlot, that he thought it great shame to live under the command of so unworthy a creature. Purposing therefore to free himself and others from so base subjection, he was much encouraged by the prediction of Belesis, or Belosus, a Chaldæan, who told him plainly, that the kingdom of Sardanapalus should fall into his hands. Arbaces, well pleased with this prophecy, did promise unto Belosus himself the government of Babylon ; and so concluding how to handle the business, one of them stirred up the Medes and allured the Persians into the quarrel, the other persuaded the Babylonians and Arabians to venture themselves in the same cause. These four nations armed forty thousand men against Sardanapalus, who in this danger was not wanting to himself, but gathering such forces as he could out of other nations, encountered the rebels, as one that would by deeds refute the tales that they had told of him. Neither did his carriage in the beginning of that war answer to the manner of his retiredness. For in three battles he carried away the better, driving Arbaces and his followers into such fearful terms, that had not Belosus promised them constantly some unexpected succours, they would forth with have broken up their camp. About the same time, an army out of Bactria was coming to assist the king, but Arbaces encountering it upon the way, persuaded so strongly by promise of liberty, that those forces joined themselves with his. The sudden departure of the enemy seeming to be a flight, caused Sardanapalus to feast his army, triumphing before victory. But the rebels, being strengthened with this new supply, came upon him by night, and forced his camp, which through over-great security was unprepared for resistance.

This overthrow did so weaken the king's heart, that leaving his wife's brother Salamenus to keep the field, he withdrew himself into the city of Nineveh; which, till new aids that he sent for should come, he thought easily to defend ; it having been prophesied, that Nineveh should never be taken till the river were enemy to the town. . Of the greatness and strength of Nineveh, enough hath been spoken in our discourse of Ninus. It was so well victualled, that Arbaces (having in two battles overthrown the king's army and slain Salamenus) was fain to lie two whole years before it, in hope to win it by famine, whereof yet he saw no appearance. It seems that he wanted engines and skill to force those walls, which were a hundred foot high, and thick enough for three chariots in front to pass upon the rampire. But that which he could not do in two years, the river of Tigris did in the third ; for being high swollen with

rains, it not only drowned a part of the city through which it ran, but threw down twenty furlongs of the wall, and made a fair breach for Arbaces to enter.

Sardanapalus, either terrified with the accomplishment of the old oracle, or seeing no means of resistance left, shutting up himself into his palace, with his wives, eunuchs, and all his treasures, did set the house on fire, wherewith he and they were together consumed. Strabo speaks of a monument of his that was in Anchiale, a city of Cilicia, whereon was found an inscription, shewing that he built that city and Tharsus upon one day: but the addition hereto, bidding men eat and drink and make merry, encouraging other, with verses well known, to a voluptuous life, by his own example, testified that his nature was more prone to sensuality than to any virtue beseeming a prince.

There are some that faintly report otherwise of his end; saying that Arbaces, when he first found him among his concubines, was so enraged, that suddenly he slew him with a dagger. But the more general consent of writers agrees with this relation of Diodorus Siculus, who citeth Ctesias, a Greek writer, that lived in the court of Persia, where the truth might best be known.

Concerning the princes which reigned in Assyria, from the time of Semiramis unto Sardanapalus, though I believe that they were sometimes (yet not, as Orosius hath it, incessantly) busied in offensive or else defensive arms; yet for the most part of them I do better trust " Diodorus Siculus, who saith, that their names were overpassed by Ctesias, because they did nothing worthy of memory. Whatsoever they did, that which * Theophilus Antiochenus hath said of them is very true, “ Silence and oblivion hath op“ pressed them.”

s Strab. 1. 9.
t Diod. Sic. 1. 2. c. 7.

u Diod. I. 2. c. 6.
* Theophilus Antiochenus, 1. 8.





Of Uzziah.

SECT. I. The prosperity of Uzziah, and of Jeroboam the second, who reigned with him in Israel. Of the anarchy that was in the ten tribes after the death of Jeroboam. Of Zachariah, Sallun, Menahem,

and Pekahia. UZZIAH, who is also called Azariah, the son of Jotham, was made king of Juda when he was sixteen years old, in the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel. He served the God of his father David, and had · therefore good success in all his enterprises. He built Eloth, a town that stood near to the Red sea, and restored it to Juda. He overcame the Philistines, of whose towns he dismantled some, and built others in sundry parts of their territories. Also he got the mastery over some parts of Arabia, and brought the Ammonites to pay him tribute. Such were the fruits of his prosperous wars, wherein (as Josephus rehearseth his acts) he began with the Philistines, and then proceeded unto the Arabians and Ammonites. His army consisted of three hundred and seven thousand men of war, over which were appointed two thousand six hundred captains. For all this multitude the king prepared y shields, and spears, and helmets, and other arms requisite; following therein happily a course quite opposite unto that which some of his late predecessors had held, who thought it better policy to use the service of the nobility than of the multitude, carrying forth to war the princes and all the chariots, 2 Chron. xxi. 9.

As the victories of Uzziah were far more important than the achievements of all that had reigned in Juda, since the time of David, so were his riches and magnificent works equal, if not superior, to any of theirs that had been kings between him and Salomon. For besides that great conquests are wont to repay the charges of war with triple in

y 2 Chron. xxvi. 14.

« ZurückWeiter »