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Of Manasses, and his contemporaries.
Sect. III. What reference these Egyptian matters might have to
the imprisonment and enlargement of Manasses. In what part
the reigns of Ezekias and Manasses, kings of Juda. 766
Sect. VI. Of other princes and actions that were in these times.
Sect. I. Of Ammon and Josias.
pass that the kings of Babel could not give attendance on their
business in Syria, which caused them to lose that province. 793
Asia eight and twenty years.
§. 3. Of the Cimmerians' war in Lydia.
THE FIRST PART
W O R L D:
INTREATING OF THE
TIMES FROM THE BIRTH OF ABRAHAM TO THE
DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON.
CHAP. I. Of the time of the birth of Abraham; and of the use of
this question for the ordering of the story of the Assyrian empire.
Of some of the successors of Semiramis ; with a brief transition to
the question, about the time of the birth of Abraham. AFTER the death of Semiramis, Ninias or Zameis succeeded her in the empire, on whom Berosus Annianus bestows the conquest of Bactria, and the overthrow of Zoroaster, contrary to Diodorus, Justin, Orosius, and all other approved writers. For Ninias being esteemed no man of war at all, but altogether feminine, and subjected to ease and delicacy, there is no probability in that opinion. Now because there was nothing performed by this Ninias of
RALEGH, HIST. WORLD. VOL. II.
any moment, other than that out of jealousy he every year changed his provincial governors, and built colleges for the Chaldean priests, his astronomers; nor by Arius his successor, whom Suidas calleth Thuras; but that he reduced again the Bactrians and Caspians, revolted, as it seemeth, in Ninias's time; nor of Aralius, the successor of Arius, but that he added sumptuosity, invented jewels of gold and stone, and some engines for the war; I will for this present pass them over, and a while follow Abraham, whose ways are warrantable, (till we meet these Assyrians again in this story,) by whom, and by whose issues we shall best give date to the kings of Babylon; Abraham living at once with Ninus, Ninias, Semiramis, Arius, Aralius, and Xerxes, or Balanius. For otherwise, if we seek to prove things certain by the uncertain, and judge of those times, which the scriptures set us down without error, by the reigns of the Assyrian princes, we shall but patch up the story at adventure, and leave it in the same confusion in which to this day it hath remained. For where the scriptures do not help us, (as Plut. in Theseo,) Mirum non est in rebus antiquis historiam non constare ; “ No marvel if then in " things very ancient, history want assurance."
The better therefore to find out in what age of the world, and how long these Assyrian kings reigned, as also for other good causes, we must first assure the time of Abraham's birth, and in what year the same happened after the flood. Now since all agree that the forty-third year of Ninus was the birth year of Abraham, by proving directly out of the scriptures, in what year after the flood the birth of Abraham happened, we shall thereby set all the rest in square and order. But of this time there is much jangling between those chronologers which follow the Hebrew account, and others; the most part making 292 or 293 years, others 352 years between Abraham's birth and the flood; a matter often disputed, but never concluded.
Archilochus de Temporibus (as we find him in Annius,) makes but 250 years from the flood to Ninus; then seeing that Abraham was born in the forty-third year of Ninus,
according to Eusebius and St. Augustine, it followeth by the addition of those two numbers, that the year of Abraham's birth was in the year after the flood 293, or, as the most part of all chronologers gather, the year
292. Now, since I do here enter into that never resolved question and labyrinth of times, it behoveth me to give reason for my own opinion; and with so much the greater care and circumspection, because I walk aside, and in a way apart from the multitude; yet pot alone, and without companions, though the fewer in number; with whom I rather choose to endure the wounds of those darts which envy casteth at novelty, than to go on safely and sleepily in the easy ways of ancient mistakings; seeing to be learned in many errors, or to be ignorant in all things, hath little diversity.
SECT. II. A proposal of reasons or arguments, that are brought to prove
Abraham was born in the year 292 after the flood, and not in the year 352.
THOSE which seek to prove this account of 292 years between the general flood and Abraham's birth, ground themselves first on these words of the scripture: So Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abraham, Nahor, and Haran: 2dly, Upon the opinion of Josephus, St. Augustine, Beda, Isidore, and many of the ancient Hebrews before them ; authorities (while they are slightly looked over) seeming of great weight.
From the place of scripture last remembered, the latter chronologers gather these arguments. First, Out of the words as they lie; that Terah at seventy years begat Abraham, Nahor, and Haran ; and that Abraham being the first named, Abraham being the worthiest, Abraham being the son of the promise, ought in this respect to be accounted the eldest son of Terah, and so necessarily born in the seventieth year of his life. Secondly, It was of Abraham that Moses had respect, in whom the church of God was continued, who was heir of the blessing, and not of Nahor and Haran : for the scope of this chapter was to set down
the genealogy of Christ, from Adam to Abraham, without all regard of Nahor and Haran.
It is thirdly objected, That if Abraham were not the eldest son, then there can be no certainty of his
and are all future times made doubtful. For it cannot then be proved, that Abraham was born more assuredly in the 130th year of Terah's age, than in the year 131, 132, &c. Moses having no where set down precisely that Abraham went into Canaan that very year in which his father died.
Fourthly, It is thought improbable that Terah begat Abraham at 130 years, seeing Abraham himself thought it a wonder to be made a father at 100
SECT. III. The answer to one of the objections proposed, shewing that Abra
ham made but one journey out of Mesopotamia into Canaan ; and it after his father's death.
TO answer all which objections it is very easy, the way being prepared thereto by divers learned divines long since, and to which I will add somewhat of my own, according to the small talent which God hath given me. Now forasmuch as the state of the question cannot well be scanned, unless the time of Abraham's journey into Canaan be first considered of; before I descend unto the particular examination of these arguments, I will make bold with order and method so far, as to search into a strange tradition concerning his travels, that serveth as a ground for this opinion, and a bulwark against all that can be said to the contrary.
But it is conceived that Abraham made two journeys into Canaan ; the latter after his father's death, the former presently upon his calling, which he performed without all delay, not staying for his father's death at Haran ; a conjecture drawn from a place in the Epistle to the Hebrews, where it is written, a By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed God, to go out into a place which he should afterwards receive for inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. This supposition (if it be granted)
a Heb, xi. 8.