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how he could be at this time king of Babylonia ; Ninias Zameis then reigning there. To this doubt the answer which first offereth itself as most probable, is that which hath been already noted, that this Ninias, or Zameis, was no other than our Amraphel ; who invaded Trachonitis, or Basan, and overthrew those five kings of Pentapolis, or the valley of Siddim. For the scriptures tell us, that Amraphel was king of Shinar, which is Babylonia ; and the times before accounted make him to be the successor of Ninus and Semiramis; and it falleth out with the eighty-fifth year of Abraham's life, wherein he rescued Lot, slew Chedorlaomer, and overthrew the rest. True it is, that this Amraphel was not at this time the greatest monarch; for Chedorlaomer commanded in chief, though Amraphel be first named by Moses in the first verse of the 14th chapter of Genesis. For the kings of the valley of Siddim, or of Pentapolis, or of the five cities, were the vassals of Chedorlaomer, and not of Amraphel ; as it is written, f Twelve
years were they subject to Chedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him; and therefore was Chedorlaomer the principal in this enterprise, who was then king of Elam, which is Persia : now Persia being seated over Tigris, and to the east of Amraphel's country; and the other two kings, which were companions with Amraphel, being seated to the west of Shinar, or Babylonia ; Amraphel, who held Babylonia itself, seemeth at this time to have had no great scope or large dominion. For had Amraphel been so great a prince as profane historians make Ninus or Semiramis whom he succeeded, he should not have needed the assistance of three other kings for this expedition. But though Chedorlaomer were the first and greatest of those four kings, (as it is manifest that he was; for these little kings of Sodom, Gomorrha, &c. were his vassals, and not Amraphel's,) yet this makes not the conjecture less probable, but that this Amraphel might be Ninias. For it may be, that the great and potent empire of Assyria had now (as we shall shew more plainly in that which followeth) received a down‘right fall at the time of this war; though not long before, it commanded all the kingdoms between India and the Phoenician sea ; to wit, in the times of Ninus and Semiramis.
f Gen. xiv. 4, 5.
Of Arioch another of the four kings; and that Ellas, whereof he is said to have been king, lies between Cælesyria and Arabia Petræa.
NOW the two other kings joined with Amraphel and Chedorlaomer, were Arioch and Tidal; the one king of Ellassar, the other of the nations. For Ellassar, Aquila and Jerome write Pontus; so Tostatus thinketh that it should be Hellespont, which opinion Pererius favoureth. But this is only to defend the Latin translation. For as Pontus, so is Hellespont far distant, and out of the way to send any armies into Arabia Petræa, or into Idumæa, which countries these four kings chiefly invaded; besides that, it is certain, that the Assyrians (when they were greatest) had never any dominion in Asia the Less. For at such time as the Assyrians feared the invasion of the Medes and Persians, they sent not into Asia the Less as commanders, but used all the art they had to invite & Crosus to their assistance ; persuading him that nothing could be more dangerous for himself, and the other kings of those parts, than the success of the Medes against the Assyrians. But examine the enterprise what it was. h These kings, saith the text, made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrha, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemebar king of Zeboim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. All which five kings had not so much ground as Middlesex ; being such a kind of reguli, as Joshua found in the land long after; namely, lords of cities and small territories adjoining, of which Canaan had thirty-three all slain or hanged by Joshua. Neither can the other countries, which in the text they are said also to have invaded, be imagined to have been at that time of any great power; and therefore to call in kings from Pontus or Hellespont had manifested a great 3 Xenophon.
h Gen. xiv, 2.
impotence and weakness in the kings of Babylon and Persia.
And though it be alleged for an example, that divers kings far off came to assist Pompey against Cæsaro; yet these same examples, without like occasions and circumstances, do neither lead nor teach. For there was no cause to fear the greatness of these petty kings, or of the other countries; but the eyes of the world were fixed on Cæsar, and his undertakings and intents were to all other princes no less doubtful than fearful : but the whole country, by these four kings mastered in their passage, was afterwards given to the half tribe of Manasseh, Gad, and Reuben; a narrow valley of ground lying between Jordan and the mountains of Seir, enclosed by the river of Arnon on the south side, and by Libanus on the north, consisting of the two small provinces of Trachonitis or Basan, and the region of the Moabites; a conquest far unvaluable, and little answering to the power of the Assyrian empire, if the same had remained in any comparable estate with the times of Ninus and Semiramis, who subjected all the great kings of that part of the world, without the assistance of any of the kings of Hellespont, or any other part of Asia the Less. But as the Vulgar and Aquila convert Ellassar by Pontus, so Symmachus makes Arioch a king of the Scythians, a king indeed, as far fetched to join with the Assyrians in this war, as the world had any at that time. The Septuagint do not change the word of Ellassar at all, but as they keep the word Ararat, on the mountains whereof the ark did rest, so do they in this place retain the Hebrew word Ellassar, being doubtful to give it a wrong interpretation. And Pererius himself remembereth other opinions far more probable than this of Pontus or Hellespont; yet he dares not avow his liking of them, because the Latin translation hath it otherwise. For Stephanus de Urbibus, a Grecian cosmographer, findeth the city of Ellas in the border of Cælesyria. And St. Jerome calleth Ellas the city of Arioch, as in truth it was. Now although the same be seated by Stephanus in Cælesyria, yet it standeth on the border of Arabia, of which Arioch was king; who formerly joined with Ninus in all his conquests, being of the same family, and descended from Cham and Chus; after whom the name of Arius was by the Hebrews written Arioch, and afterwards again Aretas, as in the iMaccabees; the kings of Arabia holding that name even to the time of k St. Paul, who was sought to be betrayed by the lieutenant of Aretas, commanding in Damascus. They were princes for the most part confederate and depending upon the Assyrian empire. It is true, that we find in Daniel ï. that in the time of Nabuchodonosor, one Arioch was general of his army, and the principal commander under him, who was a king of kings; which makes it plain, that Arioch here spoken of, the son of that Arioch confederate of Ninus, was no king of Pontus, nor of Scythia; regions far removed from the Assyrians and Babylonians. The name also of Arioch, who commanded under Nabuchodonosor, is mentioned in Judith by the name of king of the Elymeans, who are a nation of Persians bordering Assyria, according to Stephanus, though Pliny sets it between the sea-coast and Media ; and if
any brother of the Arabian kings, or other of that house, (known by the name of Arius, Arioch, Areta, or Aretas,) had the government of that Persian province called Elymais, (as it seemeth they had by the places of Daniel and Judith,) yet the same was in Nabuchodonosor's time. But this Arioch here spoken of
may with more reason be taken for the king of Arabia, the son of Arius, the confederate of Ninus, whose sons held league as their fathers did, being the next bordering prince of all on that side towards the west to Babylonia and Chaldæa, and in amity with them from the beginning, and of their own house and blood ; which 'D. Siculus also confirmeth.
Of Tidal, another of the four kings. THE fourth king by Abraham overthrown was Tidal, king of the nations. The Hebrew writes it Gojim, .which i 2 Macc. v. 2.
2 Cor. xi. 32.
I Diod. Sic. l. 2. c. 1.
Vatablus takes to be a proper name; Lyra, of mixed people; Calvin, of runagates without habitation ; Pererius out of Strabo finds that Galilæa was inhabited by divers nations, which were a mixed people ; namely, of Egyptians, Arabians, and Phænicians : m Nam tales sunt qui Galilæam habitant; “Such are the inhabitants of Galilæe,” saith Strabo; and therefore was Tidal called king of these nations, as they suppose. And it may be so: but the authority of Strabo is nothing in this question. For Galilæa was not peopled at this time as it was in the time of Strabo. For when Abraham came into Canaan, then Canaanite was then in the land, howsoever they might be afterwards mixed; which I know not. But there are many petty kingdoms adjoining to Phoenicia and Palestina ; as Palmyrena, Batanea, Laodicene, Apamena, Chalcedice, Cassiotis, Chalibonitis; and all these do also join themselves to Mesopotamia on the north, and to Arabia on the east. And that these nations gathered themselves together under Tidal, I take to be the probablest conjecture.
That Chedorlaomer, the chief of the four kings, was not of Assyria,
but of Persia ; and that the Assyrian empire at this time was much impaired.
LASTLY, whereas it is conceived that Chedorlaomer was the Assyrian emperor, and that Amraphel was but a satrape, viceroy, or provincial governor of Babylonia, and that the other kings named were such also, I cannot agree with Pererius in this. For Moses was too well acquainted with the names of Assur and Shinar, to call the Assyrian a king of Elam, those kings being in the scriptures evermore called by the name of Chaldæa, Shinar, Babylonia, or Assyria, but never by Elam; and Chedorlaomer, or Kedarlaomer, was so called of Kidor, from Cidarim, which in the Hebrew signifieth regale ; for so Q. Curtius calleth the garment which the Persian kings wear on their heads. Neither do I believe that the Assyrian or Babylonian em
m Strab. l. 16. fol. 523.
n Gen. xii. 6.