Page images

head to be embalmed and carried into Greece: the beauty whereof was such, and so much admired, and the beholders so astonished which beheld it, as thereof grew the fiction, that all that looked on Medusa's head were turned into stones.

Cecrops, the second of that name, and 7th king of Athens, and Acrisius the 13th, or, after & Eusebius, the 14th king of the Argives, began also their reigns, as it is said, in the time of this judge; of which the first ruled 40 years, and the second 31 years. Also Bellerophon lived in this age, being the son of Glaucus, the son of Sisyphus; who enticed by Antea or Sthenobia, the wife of Prætus of the Argives, to accompany her, but refusing it, she accused him to her husband that he offered to force her: whereupon Prætus sent Bellerophon into Lycia about some affairs of weight between him and his son-in-law Jobates; giving secret order to Jobates to despatch him: but Jobates thinking it dishonourable to lay violent hands on him, employed him against Chimæra, a monster vomiting or breathing fire. Now the gods, (as the report is,) pitying his innocency, sent him the winged horse Pegasus, sprung up of the blood of Medusa, formerly slain by the soldiers of Perseus in Africa, to transport him; a horse that none other could master or bridle but Minerva: upon which beast Bellerophon overcame Chimara, and performed the other services given him in charge; which done, as he returned toward Lycia, the Lycians lay in ambush to have slain him; but being victorious also over all those, he arrived to Jobates in safety; whom Jobates for his eminent virtues honoured, first, with one of his daughters, and afterward with his kingdom: after which he grew so insolent, as he attempted to fly up to heaven upon his Pegasus; whose pride Jupiter disdaining, caused one of his stinging flies so to vex Pegasus, as he cast off Bellerophon from his back into the valley of Cilicia, where he died blind; of which burden Pegasus being discharged, (as the fable goeth,) flew back to heaven; and, being fed in

Euseb. in Chron.

Jupiter's own stable, Aurora begged him of Jupiter to ride on before the sun. This tale is diversely expounded; as first, by some, that it pleaseth God to relieve men in their innocent and undeserved adversity, and to cast down those which are too highminded; according to that which is said of Bellerophon, that when he was exposed to extreme hazard, or rather certain death, he found both deliverance and honour; but waxing over proud and presumptuous in his glorious fortunes, he was again thrown down into the extremity of sorrow and everduring misery. Secondly, by others, that under the name of h Chimæra was meant a cruel pirate of the Lycians, whose ship had in her prow a lion, a goat in the midship, and a dragon in the stern, of which three beasts this monster Chimæra was said to be compounded, whom Bellerophon pursued with a kind of galley of such swiftness, that it was called the flying horse; to whom the invention of sails (the wings of a ship) are also attributed. Many other expositions are made of this tale by other authors; but it is not unlikely that Chimæra was the name of a ship, for so i Virgil calleth one of the greatest ships of Æneas.

Ion also, from whom the Athenians (being ignorant of the antiquity of their parent Javan) derive their name of Iones, is said to have been about Ehud's time: k Homer calls them Iaones, which hath a near resemblance to the word Javan. Perhaps it might be so, that Ion himself took name from Javan; it being a custom observable in the histories of all times to revive the ancient name of a forefather in some of the principal of his issue.

The invasion of India by Liber Pater is by some reported as done in this age: but St. Augustine makes him far more ancient; placing him between the coming out of Egypt and the death of Joshua.

About the end of the 80 years ascribed to Ehud and Samgar, Pelops flourished; who gave name to Peloponnesus in Greece, now called Morea.

h Plutarch, in Claris Mulier. i L. 5. Æneid.

k Homer in Hymno ad Apoll. lib. 18. c. 12. De Civ. Dei, l. 18, c. 15.


Of Deborah, and her contemporaries.

AFTER Israel had lived in peace and plenty to the end of these 80 years, they again began to forget the Giver of all goodness; and many of those being worn out which were witnesses of the former misery, and of God's deliverance by Ehud, and after him by Samgar, the rest began to return to their former neglect of God's commandments. For as plenty and peace are the parents of idle security, so is security as fruitful in begetting and bringing forth both danger and subversion; of which all estates in the world have tasted by interchange of times. Therefore, when their sins were again ripe for punishment, Jabin, king of Hazor, after the death of Ehud, invaded the territory of Israel, and having in his service 900 iron chariots, besides the rest of his forces, he held them in subjection twenty years, till it pleased God to raise up Deborah the prophetess, who encouraged Barac to levy a force out of Nephtalim and Zabulon, to encounter the Canaanites. That the men of Nephtalim were more forward than the rest in this action, it may seem to have proceeded partly from the authority that Barac had among them, being of the same tribe; and partly from their feeling of the common grievance, which in them was more sensible than in others, because Hazor and Haroseth, the chief holds of Jabin, were in Nephtalim. So in the days of Jephtha, the Gileadites took the greatest care, because the Ammonites, with whom the war was, pressed most upon them, as being their borderers. Now as it pleased God by the left hand of Ehud to deliver Israel from the Moabite, and by the counsel and courage of a woman to free them from the yoke of Canaan, and to kill the valiant Sisera by Jael the Kenite's wife; so was it his will at other times to work the like great things by the weakest means. For the mighty Assyrian Nabuchodonosor, who was a king of kings, and resistless, he overthrew by his own imaginations, the causers of his brutish melancholy; and changed his matchless pride into the base hu

mility of a beast. And to prove that he is the Lord of all power, he sometimes punisheth by invisible strength, as when he slaughtered the army of Sennacherib by his angel; or as he did the Egyptians in Moses's time: sometimes by dead bodies, as when he drowned Pharaoh by the waves of the sea, and the Canaanites by hailstones in the time of Joshua: sometimes by the ministry of men, as when he overthrew the four kings of the east, Chedorlaomer and his companions by the household servants of Abraham. He caused the Moabites and Ammonites to set upon their own confederates the army of the Edomites; and having slain them, to kill one another in the sight of Jehosaphat; and of the like to these a volume of examples may be gathered. And to this effect did Deborah the prophetess speak unto Barac in these words: m But this journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hands of a woman. In which victory all the strength of the Canaanite Jabin fell to the ground, even to the last man: in the end of which war it seemeth that Jabin himself also perished, as appeareth by Judges iv. 24.

After all which, Deborah giveth thanks to God; and after the acknowledgment of all his powerfulness and great mercies, she sheweth the weak estate whereinto Israel was brought for their idolatry, by the Canaanites and other bordering nations, in these words: n Was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand of Israel? She also sheweth how the Israelites were severed and amazed, some of them confined over Jordan, and durst not join themselves to the rest; as those of Reuben in Gilead; that the Asherites kept the sea-coast, and forsook their habitations towards the land; and the children of Dan, who neighboured the sea, crept into their ships for safety, shewing thereby that all were dispersed, and all in effect lost. She then curseth the inhabitants of Meroz, who dwelling near the place of the battle, (belike fearing the success,) came not out to assist Israel, and then blesseth Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, who nailed Sisera in her tent; shewing the ancient affection " Judges v. 18.


2 Chron. xx.

[ocr errors]

Judges iv. 9.

of that race to the Israelites. For though the family of Heber were enforced in that miserable time of subjection to hold correspondence with Jabin the Canaanite, yet when occasion offered them means, they witnessed their love and faith to their ancient friends. Lastly, she derideth the mother of Sisera, who promised her son the victory in her own hopes; and fancied to herself and described the spoils both of garments and maidens by him gotten. For conclusion, she directeth her praises and thanks to God only victorious.

From the beginning of Jabin's oppression, to the end of that peace which Deborah and Barac purchased unto Israel, there passed 40 years; in which time the kingdom of Argos, which had continued 544 years, was translated to Mycænæ. The translation of this kingdom Vives, out of Pausanias, writeth to this effect: "After Danaus, Lynceus suc“ceeded in Argos, after whom the children of Abas, the "son of Lynceus, divided the kingdom; of which Acrisius,


being eldest, held Argos itself: Prætus his brother pos"sessed Ephyra or Corinth, and Tirynthos, and other ci❝ties, with all the territory towards the sea, there being many monuments in Tirynthos which witness Prætus's "possession, saith Pausanias."


Now Acrisius was foretold by an oracle that he should be slain by the son of his daughter Danae; whereupon he caused her to be enclosed in a tower, to the end that no man might accompany her. But the lady being exceeding fair, it is feigned that Jupiter turned himself into a golden shower, which, falling into her lap, begat her with child: the meaning whereof was, that some king's son, or other worthy man, corrupted her keepers with gold, and enjoyed her, of whom Perseus was born; who, when he grew to man's estate, either by chance, (saith Ctesias,) or in shewing his grandfather the invention of the discus, or leaden ball, slew him unwillingly. After this, Perseus, to avoid the in

"Pausan. in Corinthiacis.

« PreviousContinue »