« PreviousContinue »
time did so much as invade or attempt. And therefore Vadianus doth conceive, that by the river Perah was meant Jordan, and not Euphrates, taking light from this place of Joshua; e Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance according to your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have destroyed, even unto the great sea westward.
And though it be true, that David greatly enlarged the territory of the Holy Land; yet, as f Vadianus well noteth, if Perah in the former place be taken for Euphrates, then was it but per gentes in amicitiam receptas : for David did not at any time enter so far to the east as Assyria, or Babylonia. Neither doth the not possessing of all these countries give advantage to those that would make any irreligious cavil, as touching the promise of God to the Israelites unperformed; for when both their kings, magistrates, and people fell from his worship and service, it pleased him, not only to enclose them within that territory, which was for so many people exceeding narrow, but therein, and elsewhere, to subject them unto those idolatrous nations, whose false and foolish gods themselves also served and obeyed. And sure, the promise by which the Hebrews claimed the inheritance of $ Canaan, and the lasting enjoying thereof, to wit, as long as the heavens were above the earth, was tied to those conditions, both in the verses preceding and subsequent, which the Israelites never performed. And therefore they could not hope for other than all mankind could or can expect; who know, that all sorts of comforts, from the merciful goodness of God looked for, as well in this life as after it, are no longer to be attended, than while we persevere in his love, service, and obedience. So in Deut. xi. 8, 9. the keeping God's commandments was a condition joined to the prosperity of Israel ; for therein it is written, Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it. Also that you may prolong your days in the land, which the Lord sware unto your fathers, &c.
e Josh. xxiii. 4.
Deut. xi. 21. i Isa. xlix. 14.
The like condition was also annexed to the enjoying of the land conquered, and the possession thereof, so long as the heavens are above the earth; h For if ye keep diligently, saith he, all these commandments which I command you, to do, that is, to love the Lord your God, &c. then will the Lord cast out all these nations before you, and ye shall possess great nations and mightier than you. And here, though it be manifest, that by reason of the breach of God's commandments, and their falling away from the worship of his all-powerful majesty, to the idolatry of the heathen, the conditional promises of God were absolutely void, as depending upon obedience unperformed; yet I cannot mislike that exposition of Melancthon ; for, saith he, Ostendit promissionem præcipuam non esse de hoc politico regno; “ He sheweth that his chief promise is not of a civil king“ dom.” To which agrees that answer which St. Jerome made to a certain heretic, in his epistle ad Dardanum, who accused St. Jerome, that he overthrew the reputation of the Jews' story, and brought the truth thereof in question, by drawing it altogether into an allegory, and ad illam duntaxat viventium terram quæ in cælis est, that is, “only to “ that land of the living which is in heaven.” Quoniam tota Judæorum regio adeo angusta sit ambitu, ut vix longitudinem habeat 160 milliarium, latitudinem vero 40, et in his etiam regiones, loco, urbes, et oppida sunt plurima, nunquam a Judæis occupata, sed tantum divina pollicitatione promissa ; “ Because the whole country of the Jews 66 is so narrow in
compass, that it scarce hath 160 miles, in length, and forty miles in breadth ; and in these are coun“ tries, places, cities, and many towns which the Jews never
possessed, but were only granted by divine promise.” In like manner the same father speaketh upon Isaiah, touching the blessings promised unto Jerusalem ; where he hath these words: i De quo discimus Hierusalem nequaquam in Pa
h Deut. xi. 22, 23.
læstina regione petendam: quæ totius provinciæ deterrima est, et saxosis montibus asperatur ; et penuriam patitur sitis : ita ut cælestibus utatur pluviis, et raritatem fontium cisternarum extructione soletur: sed in Dei manibus, ad quam dicitur, Festinaverunt structores tui; “From whence," saith he, “ we learn that Jerusalem is not to be sought in “that region of Palæstina, which is the worst of the whole
province, and ragged with craggy mountains, and suffer“eth the penury of thirst; so as it preserveth rain-water, “ and supplieth the scarcity of wells, by building of cisterns: “ but this Jerusalem is in God's hands, to which it is said,
Thy builders have hastened.” So far St. Jerome. Where also, to prevent mistaking, he thus expoundeth himself ; Neque hoc dico in suggillationem terræ Judææ, ut hæreticus sycophanta mentitur: aut quo auferam historiæ veritatem : quæ fundamentum est intelligentiæ spiritualis, sed ut decutiam supercilium Judæorum : qui synagogæ angustias latitudini ecclesiæ præferunt. Si enim occidentem tantum sequuntur literam, et non spiritum vivificantem, ostendant terram promissionis lacte et melle manantem ; “ Neither," saith he, “ say I this to disgrace the land of Judæa, (as the “ heretical sycophant doth belie me,) or to take away the “ truth of the history, which is the foundation of spiritual “ understanding; but to beat down the pride of the Jews, “ which enlarge the straits of the synagogue further than “ the breadth of the church ; for if they follow only the
killing letter, and not the quickening spirit, let them shew “ the land of promise flowing with milk and honey.”
By this it may also be gathered, howsoever it be unlikely, (seeing the west bound in the place, Deut. xi. 24. had his truth in the literal sense,) that Euphrates or Perath, which is made the east bound, should be taken only in a spiritual sense, yet nevertheless that Jerome's opinion inclineth to this, as if this Perath were not to be understood for Euphrates; and that the promise itself was never so large, much less the plantation and conquest of Israel.
And now for a more particular description of this Holy Land, because Asher, Nephtalim, and Zabulon held the northernmost part, and were seated in Phænicia, I will begin with these three, taking Asher for the first; of which tribe yet before I speak, I must admonish the reader touching the names of places in this and the other tribes to be mentioned, that he remember that many names, by reason of the divers fancies of translators, are diversely expressed; so that to the unskilful they may seem diverse, when they are one and the same; the reason of this diversity (as by those learned in the Hebrew I am taught) is, partly, because the ancient editions of the Hebrew want vowels, the old translators imagined other vowels than now the Hebrew editions have; and partly, because the ancients expressed or omitted divers consonants, otherwise than the latter think fit.
The tribe of Asher.
§. 1. The bounds of the tribe of Asher. THE Asherites, descended of Asher, the son of Jacob by Zelpha, the handmaid of Lea, were increased while they abode in Egypt to the number of 41,500 and odd persons, all men above twenty years
and able to bear arms at the time when they were mustered by Moses at mount Sinai ; all which number perishing in the deserts, there remained of their issues, besides women and children, 53,400 bodies fit for the wars, which passed the river of Arnon into the plains of Moab; and, after the conquest of Canaan, had for their portion that part of Phænicia, from Zidon and the fields of Libánus, unto Ptolomais Acon along the sea-coast, containing thirty English miles, or thereabouts; and from the midland sea to the east border, some twelve miles ; though k Antoninus makes it somewhat larger. This part of Canaan was very fruitful, abounding in wine, oil, and wheat, besides the balsamum, with other pleasant and profitable commodities; according to that prophesy, Asser pinguis panis ; concerning Asher, his bread shall be fat; and he shall give pleasures for a king!.
k Ant. Itin.
I Gen, xlix.
Of Zidon. THE first city seated on the north border of the territory of Asher was Zidon, which Joshua calleth the great Zidon, both for strength and magnitude. The Greeks and Q. Curtius make Agenor the founder thereof; and m Justin derives the name from the abundance of fish found on those shores; whereof it hath been called Zidona. But that it was far more ancient, n Moses, Joshua, and Josephus witness, the same being founded by Zidon, the eldest of Canaan's sons; and so strong it was in Joshua's time, as neither did himself attempt it, neither could the Asserites, or any of their successors, master it; but it continued all the time of the judges and kings, even unto the coming of Christ, a city interchangeably governed by their own princes or other magistrates; though, according to the warnings and threats of the prophets • Isaiah, Jeremy, Ezekiel, and Zachary, it was often afflicted, both by the enemies sword and by the pestilence.
Zidon is seated on the very wash of the Phænician sea, which is a part of the Mediterranean or midland sea. It hath to the north the city of Berythus and the river Leontis; and to the south, Sarepta or Sarphat, which standeth between it and Tyre; the distance between which two great and famous cities, to wit, Zidon and Tyre, is 14,000 paces, saith P Seiglerus; but Vadianus makes it 200 furlongs, and so doth Weissinbury, in his description of the Holy Land, both from Strabo; which 200 furlongs make twenty-five miles. This difference of distance, as well between these two known cities, as all the rest, make it over-difficult to devise any new scale to the map and description of the Holy Land.
What kings it had till Agenor's time, there is no memory; the story which Zeno the philosopher, who was a Zidonian, wrote thereof, being by time consumed and lost. It seemeth to be more ancient than Tyre, which was also m Justin. l. 18.
and xxxii. Zach. ix. • Gen. x. Joseph.
p Palæst. Seig. f. 19. Vadian. Phen. o Isa. xxiii. Jer. xlvii. Ezek. xxviii. f. 278. Strab. 1. 16.