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pire stood in any greatness at the time of this invasion; and my reasons are these: first, Example and experience teach us, that those things which are set up hastily, or forced violently, do not long last: Alexander became lord of all Asia on this side of Indus, in a time of so short a life, as it lasted not to overlook what itself had brought forth. His fortunes were violent, but not perpetual, for his empire died at once with himself; all whose chief commanders became kings after him. Tamerlane conquered Asia and India with a storm-like and terrible success; but to prevalent fury God hath adjoined a short life; and whatsoever things nature herself worketh in haste, she taketh the least care of their continuance. The fruit of his victories perished with him, if not before him.
Ninus being the first whom the madness of boundless dominion transported, invaded his neighbour princes, and became victorious over them; a man violent, insolent, and cruel. Semiramis taking the opportunity, and being more proud, adventurous, and ambitious than her paramour, enlarged the Babylonian empire, and beautified many places therein with buildings unexampled. But her son having changed nature and condition with his mother, proved no less feminine than she was masculine. And as wounds and wrongs, by their continual smart, put the patient in mind how to cure the one and revenge the other; so those kings adjoining (whose subjection and calamities incident were but new,
and therefore the more grievous) could not sleep, when the advantage was offered by such a successor. For in regno Babylonico hic parum resplenduit; “ This king shined lit“ tle,” saith Nauclerus of Ninias, “ in the Babylonian king“ dom.” And likely it is, that the necks of mortal men having been never before galled with the yoke of foreign dominion, nor having ever had experience of that most miserable and detested condition of living in slavery; no long descent having as yet invested the Assyrian with a right, nor any
other title being for him to be pretended than a strong hand; the foolish and effeminate son of a tyrannous and hated father could very ill hold so many great princes and
nations his vassals, with a power less mastering, and a mind less industrious than his father and mother had used before bim. And he that was so much given over to licentious idleness, as to suffer his mother to reign forty-two years, and thereof the greatest part after he came to man's estate, witnessed thereby to the world, that he so much preferred ease before honour, and bodily pleasures before greatness, as he neither endeavoured to gain what he could not govern, nor to keep what he could not without contentious peril enjoy.
These considerations being joined to the story of Amraphel, delivered by Moses, by which we find that Amraphel king of Shinar was rather an inferior to the king of Persia, than either his superior or equal, make it seem probable, that the empire of Ninus and Semiramis was at that time broken asunder, and restrained again to Babylonia.
For conclusion I will add these two arguments confirming the former : first, That at such time as it pleased God to impose that great travel upon Abraham, from Ur in Chaldæa to Charran, and then to Canaan, a passage of 700 miles, or little less, with women, children, and carriages ; the countries through which he wandered were then settled and in peace. For it was in the twenty-third year of Ninias, when Abraham, obeying the voice of God, took this great. journey in hand; in which time of twenty-three years after the death of Semiramis, the neighbour princes had recovered their liberty and former estates.
For Semiramis's army of four millions, with herself, utterly consumed in India, and all her arms and engines of war at the same time lost, gave an occasion and opportunity even to the poorest souls, and weakest hearted creatures of the world, to repurchase their former liberty.
Secondly, It is affirmed by the best and ancientest historians, that Arius the son of Ninias, or Amraphel, invaded the Bactrians and Caspians, and again subjected them; which needed not, if they had not been revolted from Ninias, after Ninus's death. And as Arioch recovered one part, so did Baleus or Balaneus, otherwise Xerxes, reduce the rest
revolted to their former obedience. Of whom it is said, that he conquered from Egypt to India, and therefore was called Xerxes, id est, victor et triumphator, “ a conqueror “ and triumpher;" which undertakings had been no other than the effects of madness, had not those countries freed themselves from the Babylonian subjection. Now if we shall make any doubt hereof, that is, of the reconquest of Arius and Xerxes, both which lived after Ninus and Ninias, we may as well think the rest of Ninus and Semiramis to be but feigned; but if we grant this reconquest, then is it true that while Ninias or Amraphel ruled, the Assyrian empire was torn asunder, according to that which hath been gathered out of Moses, as before remembered.
That it is not improbable that the four kings had no dominion in the
countries named, but that they had elsewhere with their colonies planted themselves, and so retained the names of the countries whence they came ; which if it be so, we need not say that Amraphel was Ninias, nor trouble ourselves with
many other difficulties. THE consent of all writers, whose works have come to my perusal, agreeing as they do, that these four kings, Amraphel of Shinar, Chedorlaomer of Elam, and their fellows, were lords of those regions, whereunto they are or seem entitled, doth almost enforce us to think, that the history must so be understood as I have delivered. But if in this place, as often elsewhere in the scriptures, the names of countries may be set for people of those lands; or if, as Jerome hath it, Chedorlaomer was king of the Elamites, as Tidal was said to be of the nations, that is, of people either wanting a fixed habitation, or gathered out of sundry regions; then may we otherwise conceive of this history, removing thereby some difficulties which men perhaps have been unwilling to find, because they could not find how to resolve them. For as it had been a strange conjecture to think that Arioch was drawn to assist the Persian against the Sodomite, as far as from Pontus, where it is very unlikely that Chedorlaomer was known, and almost impossible that the vale of Siddim should have been once named : so in true estimation it is a thing of great improbability, that Chedorlaomer, if he were king of Persia alone, should pass through so great a part of the world, as the countries of Assyria, Chaldea, Mesopotamia, Syria, and part of Arabia and Canaan, to subdue those five towns, whose very names how they should come to his ear, being disjoined by so many great nations of different languages, a wise man could hardly conjecture. And if all the countries. bordering Persia, together with the Babylonian himself, yea the kingdom of Elassar, and that of Tidal, so far off removed, were become his dependants, what reason can we find that might have induced him to hearken after Sodom and Gomorrah ? and when he should have sought the establishment of his newgotten empire, by rooting out the posterity of Ninus, (as Ninus had dealt by Pharnus of Media, and Zoroaster of Bactria,) than to employ the forces of Amraphel, and those other kings, against five petty towns, leaving Tyrus and Sidon, and the great city of Damasco, with many other places of much importance, and far nearer unto him, unsubdued ? Now as these doubts, which may be alleged against the first conquest of the vale of Siddim, are exceeding vehement; so are the objections to be made against his reconquest of these five cities, when they had revolted, as forcible; yea and more, as being grounded partly upon the text itself. For first, what madness had it been in that small province to rebel against so powerful a monarch! Or if it were so, that they dwelling far from him, hoped rather to be forgotten, than that he should come or send to reclaim them ; was it not more than madness in them, when his terrible army approached, still to entertain hope of evasion; yea, to make resistance (being themselves a dissolute, and therefore unwarlike people) against the power of all the nations between Euphrates, yea between themselves and the river of Indus? Likewise on the part of Chedorlaomer we should find no greater wisdom, if he, knowing the weakness of this people, had raised such a world of men against them; whom by any
lieutenant, with small forces, he might have subdued. For the perpetual inheritance of that little country was not sufficient to countervail one month's charges of so huge an army. How small then must his valour have been, who with so mighty preparations effected no more than the wasting of that valley, wherein he left the cities standing, taking no one of them; but returned well contented with a few prisoners, and the pillage of the country, although he had broken their army in the field ! Now the scriptures do not of this invasion (supposed so great) make any fearful matter ; but compose the two armies as equally matched, saying they were four kings against five; yea, if the place be literally expounded, we shall find in Genesis xiv. 17. that Abraham slew all these kings, of which great slaughter no history makes mention; neither will the reign of Ninias, who lived four or five years longer, permit that he should have died so soon; neither would histories have forgotten the manner of his death, if he had so strangely perished in Syria. Whereby it appears, that these four kings were not the same that they are commonly thought ; nor their forces so great as opinion hath made them. It may therefore well be true, that these kings were such as many others, who in that age carried the same title, lords and commanders every one of his own company, which he carried forth as a colony, seeking place where to settle himself and them, as was the usual manner of those times.
Neither is it improbable, that Chedorlaomer leading a troop of Persians, Amraphel some people out of Shinar, and Tidal others gathered out of sundry places, might consort together, and make the weakest of the country which lay about them to pay them tribute. Whosoever will consider the beginning of the first book of Thucydides, with the manner of discoveries, conquests, and plantations, in the infancy of Greece, or the manner of the Saracens invading Africa and Spain, with almost as many kings as several armies; or the proceedings of the Spaniards in their new discoveries, passages, and conquests in the West Indies ; may