Page images
PDF
EPUB

This account of times, allowing no more than 292 years from the flood to Abraham, is upheld by many of the Hebrews. But how should we value the opinion of such chronologers, as take Amraphel for Nimrod ? Surely, if their judgment in such matters were worthy to be regarded, it would have appeared in setting down the succession of the Persian kings, under whom they lived, whose history was not so far remote in time, as these antiquities, nor wanting the light of many good writers. Yet grossly have they erred therein, and so familiar are their mistakings in all things of like nature, that we seldom find their opinion rehearsed without the confutation treading on the heels of it. They of the Roman religion are also generally on the same side; it being a thing usual among them, to maintain whatsoever they have been formerly known to hold and believe. Contrariwise, of the more ancient Theodoret, and some following him ; of later times Beroaldus, Codoman, Peucer, Calvin, Junius, Beza; Broughton, Doct. Gibbons, and Moore, with divers of the protestants, hold Abraham to have been born in the 130th year of his father Terah. From these, (as in a case not concerning any point in religion,) divers of the same religion, and those nevertheless good authors, as Bucholcerus, Chytræus, Functius, and others, are very averse herein, especially Josephus Scaliger with his Sethus Calvisius, proclaiming Beroaldus an arch-heretic in chronology, and condemning this opinion of his as poisonous. Contrariwise, Augustinus Torniellus, a priest of the congregation of St. Paul, a judicious, diligent, and free writer, whose annals are newly set forth, very earnestly defends the opinion which I have already delivered; not alleging Beroaldus, nor any protestant writer, as being perhaps unwilling to owe thanks to heretics. For myself, I do neither mislike the contrary opinion, because commonly those of the Romish religion labour to uphold it; nor favour this large account of times, because many notable men of the protestant writers have approved it; but for the truth itself. To strengthen which, after all these former reasons and testimonies of scripture, I will add thus much more to the rest. First, it

is apparent to all men of judgment, that the best approved historians, divine and profane, labour to investigate the truth of times, thereby to approve the stories and forepast actions of the world, and not the truth of histories to approve the times by. Let us then make judgment to ourselves, which of these two accounts give the best reputation to the story of the scriptures; teaching the world's new plantation, and the continuance of God's church; either that of Josephus, and those which follow him, who make but 292 years, or thereabouts, between the flood and birth of Abraham ; or this other account, which makes 352 years between the one and the other; the one taking Abraham to be the first-born of Thare, in the seventieth year of his life; the other a younger son of Thare, and born when he had lived 130 years. And if we look over all, and do not hastily satisfy our understanding with the first things offered, and thereby being satiated do slothfully and drowsily sit down, we shall find it more agreeable rather to allow the reckoning of the Septuagint, who, according to some editions, make it above 1072 years between the flood and Abraham's birth, than to take away any part of those 352 years given. For if we advisedly consider the state and countenance of the world, such as it was in Abraham's time, yea, before Abraham was born, we shall find that it were very

ill done of us, by following opinion without the guide of reason, to pare the times over-deeply between Abraham and the flood; because in cutting them too near the quick, the reputation of the whole story might perchance bleed thereby, were not the testimony of the scripture supreme, so as no objection can approach it; and that we did not follow withal this precept of St. Augustine, that wheresoever any one place in the scriptures may be conceived disagreeing to the whole, the same is by ignorance of interpretation misunderstood. For in Abraham's time, all the then known parts of the world were peopled; all regions and countries had their kings. Egypt had many magnificent cities; and so had Palestina, and all the bordering countries ; yea, all that part of the world besides, as far as India ; and those not

built with sticks, but of hewn stones, and defended with walls and rampiers; which magnificence needed a parent of more antiquity than those other men have supposed. And therefore, where the scriptures are plainest, and best

agreeing with reason and nature, to what end should we labour to beget doubts and scruples, or draw all things into wonders and marvels ? giving also strength thereby to common cavillers, and to those men's apish brains, who only bend their wits to find impossibilities and monsters in the story of the world and mankind.

SECT. VIII.

A computation of the times of the Assyrians, and others, grounded

upon the times noted in the story of Abraham. IN this sort therefore, for the reasons before alleged, I conclude, that from the general flood to the birth of a Abraham 352 years were consumed; and taking the Assyrian history with us, the same number of years were spent from the flood to the forty-third year of Ninus ; in which fortythird year

of Ninus Abraham was born; which happened in the year of the world 2009.

Now of this time of 352 years, we must give one part as well to the increase of those people which came into Shinar, as to those that stayed in the east, to wit, thirty years to Chus, ere he begat Seba; of which though the scriptures are silent, yet because those of the same time had that age when they begat their first sons, we may the more safely give the like allowance to these. For Eber begat Peleg at thirty-four, Peleg Regu at thirty, Regu Serug at thirtytwo. Now after Seba, Chus begat Havila, Sabta, Raama, and Sabtecha; and Raama begat Sheba and Dedan before Nimrod was born, as it appeareth Gen. x. which b St. Augustine approveth. Giving then thirty years more to Raama ere he begat Sheba, and five years to the five elder brothers of Nimrod, it may be gathered that sixty-five years were consumed ere Nimrod himself was born; and that Raama had that age ere any of his sons were begotten, it may be gathered by example and comparison ; for c Peleg, the fourth from Noah, as Raama was, begat Regu in the same year of his life.

à An. mundi 2008. dil. 352. natus Abraham. Euseb. Angust. de Civitate

Dei, l. 16. c. 17

6 Aug. de Civitate Dei.

Let us then allow sixty years more after the birth of Nimrod for two other generations to be brought forth, or else we shall hardly find people to build Babel ; for sure we are that it was done by hands, and not by miracle; because it displeased God. These two numbers of sixty-five and sixty make 125; the rest of the time of 131 (in which year they arrived in Shinar, whereof there were six years remaining) we may give them for their travels from the east; because they were pestered with women, children, and cattle ; and, as some ancient writers have conceived, and Becanus of later times, they kept always the mountains' sides, for fear of a second flood. Now if we take this number of 131 out of 352, there remains 221, of which number d Berosus bestoweth sixty-five on Belus, and forty-two on Ninus, before Abraham born, both which St. Augustine approveth; which two numbers taken again out of 221, there remaineth 114 years of the 352, from the flood to Abraham's birth; which number of 114 necessity bestoweth on Nimrod.

And if it be objected that this time given to Nimrod is over-long, sure if we compare the age of Nimrod with the rest of the same descent from Noah, it will rather appear over-short. For Nimrod, by this account, lived in all but 179 years, whereof he reigned 112; whereas Sale, who was the son of Arphaxad the son of Sem, lived 433 years ; and of the same age of the world was Nimrod, the son of Chus, the son of Cham.

Now after Abraham was born,

Ninus reigned nine years ; which, added to forty-three, make fifty-two.

Ninus dieth, and leaveth Semiramis his successor. Semiramis governed the empire of Babylonia and Assy

c Gen, xi. 18.

d An. a salute humani generis ab aquis centesimo primo cæpit regnum

Babylonicum sub nostro Saturno patre Jovis Beli, qui imperavit annis 65. Berosus.

ria forty-two years, and died in the fifty-second year e complete of Abraham's life.

Ninias, or Zameis, succeeded Semiramis, and ruled thirtyeight years, in the second year of whose reign Abraham left Mesopotamia.

When Abraham was eighty-five years old, he rescued his nephew Lot, and overthrew by surprise Amraphel king of Shinar, or Babylonia. Ninias reigned thirty-eight years, and Abraham came into Canaan but twenty-three years after Semiramis died; which was the seventy-fifth year of his age : so that Amraphel may seem to have been this Ninias the son of Ninus, and Semiramis, whose twenty-third year, as aforesaid, being the seventy-fifth year of Abraham, he and his fellow-kings might have received this overthrow in the eighty-fifth year of Abraham, and the thirty-third year of his own reign; after which he reigned five years, which make in all thirty-eight. But the truth is, that the reasons to the contrary, urging that this Amraphel could not be Ninias, are not easily answered. Howbeit for the times of the Assyrian kings, that they are to be ordered as we have set them down, according to the times noted by Moses, in the story of Abraham, it is most certain ; unless we will either derogate from the truth of Moses's computation, which were impiety ; or account the whole history of Ninus and Semiramis to be a fiction; which were to condemn all ancient historians for fablers.

SECT. IX.

That Amraphel, one of the four kings whom Abraham overthrew,

Gen. xiv. may probably be thought to have been Ninias the son

of Ninus.

AND now touching this Amraphel, whom Moses makes king of Shinar or Babylonia, in the eighty-fifth year of Abraham's life, that is, in the thirty-third year of the reign of Ninias Zameis the king of the Assyrians, the son of Ninus and Semiramis, it is hard to affirm what he was, and

e Of the world 2017. Of the flood 761. 2059. mundi, 403. a dil. 2083. 427. 2093. 437

« PreviousContinue »