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easily perceive, that it was neither unusual for the leaders of
colonies to receive title from the people whom they coni ducted, nor to make alliances together, and break them
again; disturbing sometimes one the other, sometimes helping in pursuit of a conquest. That Amraphel and his associates were such manner of commanders, it may seem the more likely, by the slothful quality of Ninias then reigning in Assyria; whose unmanlike temper was such, as might well give occasion to such undertaking spirits, as wanted the employments whereunto they were accustomed in the reign of Semiramis, rather to seek adventures abroad, than to remain at home unregarded ; whilst others, more unworthy than themselves, were advanced. If the consent of the whole stream of writers upon this place make this conjecture disagreeable to the text, to the authority whereof all human reason must subscribe, then we may hold ourselves to the former conjecture, that Amraphel was Ninias; and that the power of his ancestors being by his sloth decayed, he might well be inferior to the Persian Chedorlaomer: or if this do not satisfy, we may say that Amraphel was an under king or satrape of Shinar, under Ninias, who may be supposed to have had his imperial seat in his father's city Nineveh, and to have preferred it before Shinar and Babylon, the city of his mother, whom he hated as an usurper of his right. But if it were possible that in a case not concerning any man's salvation, and wherein therefore none hath cared to take great pains, all might err; then can I think that the opinion, that these four kings were leaders of colonies, sent out of the countries named in the text, and not kings of the countries themselves, is most consonant both to the condition of those times and to the scripture. And hereto add, that Chedorlaomer seems rather called a Persian king, than king of Persia ; and that Arioch (whose kingdom undoubtedly was between Syria and Arabia) having been a man of action, or being a worthy man's son, was very well pleased to give passage and assistance to these captains or petty kings. These and such like things here to urge, were but with circumstances to adorn a supposition, which either may stand without them, or, if it must fall, is unworthy to have cost bestowed upon it; especially considering, that it is not my intent to employ any more time in making it good, but to leave it wholly to the reader's pleasure, to follow any of these opinions, or any other, if he find any that shall seem better than these. But of what countries or people soever these four were kings, this expedition is the only public action that we know of performed by Abraham. And as for other things belonging to his story, and of his sons, and of his nephews Esau and Jacob, as they are registered by Moses, because it is not our purpose neither to stand upon things generally known to all Christians, nor to repeat what hath been elsewhere already spoken, nor to prevent ourselves in things that may hereafter in due place be remembered, we pass them here in silence. And because in this story of Abraham and his posterity there is much mention of Egypt, by which it appears, that even in the time of Abraham it was a settled and flourishing kingdom, it will not be amiss, in the next place, to speak somewhat of the antiquities and first kings thereof.
CHAP. II. Of the kings of Egypt from the first peopling of it after
the flood, to the time of the delivery of the Israelites from thence.
SECT. I. A brief of the names and times of the first kings of Egypt; with a
note of the causes of difficulty in resolving of the truth in these points.
SOON after the confusion at Babel, as it seems, Cham, with many of his issue and followers, (having doubtless known the fertility of Egypt before the flood,) came thither, and took possession of the country; in which they built many cities, and began the kingdom one hundred and ninety-one years after the deluge. The ancient governors
of this kingdom, till such time as Israel departed Egypt, are shewn in the table following.
An. Mundi. An. Dil.
1847 191 Cham. 2008 352 Osiris. 2269 613
Hercules. 2276 620 Orus. 2391 735 Sesostris the Great. 2424 768 Sesostris the Blind. 2438 782 Busiris, or Orus, the second. 2476 820 Acenchere, or Thermutis, or Meris. 2488 832 Rathoris, or Athoris. 2497 841 Chencres, drowned in the Red sea.
The table, and especially the chronology, is to be confirmed by probabilities and conjectures, because in such obe scurity manifest and resistless truth cannot be found. For St. Augustine, a man of exceeding great judgment and incomparable diligence, who had sought into all antiquities, and had read the books of Varro, which now are lost, yet omitted the succession of the Egyptian kings; which he would not have done, if they had not been more uncertain than the Sicyonians, whom he remembereth, than whom doubtless they were more glorious. One great occasion of this obscurity in the Egyptian story was the ambition of the priests ; who, to magnify their antiquities, filled the records, which were in their hands, with many leasings; and recounted unto strangers the names of many kings that never reigned. What ground they had for these reports of supposed kings, it shall appear anon. Sure it is, that the magnificent works and royal buildings in Egypt, such as are never found but in states that have greatly flourished, witness that their princes were of marvellous greatness, and that the reports of the priests were not altogether false. A second cause of our ignorance in the Egyptian history was the too much credulity of some good authors, who, believing the manifold and contrary reports of sundry Egyptians, and publishing in their own name such as pleased them best, have confirmed them, and as it were enforced them upon us by their authority. A third and general cause of more than Egyptian darkness in all ancient histories is the edition of many authors by John Annius, of whom (if to the censures of sundry very learned I may add mine) I think thus; that Annius having seen some fragments of those writers, and added unto them what he would, may be credited as an avoucher of true histories, where approved writers confirm him, but otherwise is to be deemed fabulous. Hereupon it cometh to pass, that the account of authors, either in the chronology or genealogy of the Egyptian kings, runs three altogether different ways. The Christian writers, such as are ancient, for the most part follow Eusebius; many late writers follow the edition of Annius's authors; the profane histories follow Herodotus, Diodorus, and such others.
SECT. II. That by the account of the Egyptian dynasties, and otherwise, it
appears that Cham's reign in Egpyt began in the year after the flood 191.
TO reconcile these, or gather out of them the times of the ancient kings, about whom is most controversy, the best mean is by help of the dynasties, of whose continuance there is little or no disagreement. The account of the dynasties, besides the authority of approved authors, hath this good ground, that it agreeth for the most part, if not altogether, with the histories of the Assyrians, Trojans, Italians, and others, &c. The beginning of the 16th dynasty is joined by general consent with the 43d year of Ninus, in which Abraham was born. The twelve first dynasties lasted each of them seven years, under the twelve, which were called the greater gods ; so that all the years of their continuance were eighty-four. The thirteenth dynasty endured fourteen years; the fourteenth, twenty-six ; the fifteenth, thirty-seven. These three last are said to have been under the three younger gods. So the fifteen first dynasties lasted 161 years.
As I do not therefore believe that
the continuance of these dynasties was such as hath been mentioned, because Annius in such wise limits out their time; so I cannot reject the account upon this only reason, that Annius hath it so; considering that both hitherto it hath passed as current, and is greatly strengthened by many good reasons. For, whereas Eusebius placeth the beginning of the sixteenth dynasty in the year of Abraham's birth, as aforesaid, the reckoning is easily cast; by which the sum of 161 years, which according to our account were spent in the fifteen former, being subducted out of the sum of 352 years, which were between the flood and Abraham's birth, shew that the beginning of the first dynasty, which was the beginning of Cham's reign in Egypt, was in the year 191; as also by other probabilities the same may appear. For it is generally agreed, that the multitude of mankind which came into Shinar arrived at Babel anno a diluvio 131. In building the tower were consumed forty years, as Glycas recordeth ; whose report I have elsewhere confirmed with divers probabilities. That Cham was long in passing with his company, their wives, children, cattle, and substance, through all Syria, then desolate and full of bogs, forests, and briers, (which the deluge and want of culture in one hundred and seventy-one years had brought upon it,) no reasonable man will doubt. To this his
passage therefore, and the seating of himself in Egypt, we allow twenty years; and these sums being added together, to wit, one hundred thirty-one years after the flood, before they arrived at Babel, forty years for their stay there, and twenty for Cham's passage into Egypt and settling there, make up the sum of one hundred and ninety-one years; at which time we said that Cham began his reign in Egypt, in the beginning of the first dynasty. And to this sum of 191 years, if we add the 161 years of the fifteen first dynasties, as they are numbered in common account, we shall fall right with the year of Abraham's birth, which was an. dil. 352. And hereto, omitting many other reasons which might be brought to prove that these first dynasties must needs have been very short, and not containing in the whole