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CH A P. V.
Of Places situated in, or bordering on, the ancient Persian
Empire, and mentioned in the Old Testament, but not spoken of already.
E meet not with the name of Persia in the fa. Persia,
V cred History, before the time of Daniel the prowhence so
phet, who lived in the reign of Cyrus, the founder of the Persian empire. This great and famous Emperor is said, not only to have taught the inhabitants of Persia properly so called, the art of horsemanship; but also to have published an edict or law, importing, that it should be esteemed mean, and scandalous for any man of that country to go on foot, whether the journey he went were long or short; by this means enjoining the inhabitants to become horsemen. Now the word Paras in the Oriental tongues denoting an horseman, hence it is not improbably thought, that upon the said inhabitants thus becoming universally horsemen, the country and people came to be denoted by the name of Paras, first in the days of Cyrus; whereas, in former days, both country and people were denoted by the name of Elam, one of the fons of Shem, who first settled in these parts after the Flood. From the word Paras, the Greeks easily framed the word Persis, and from it the Latins the word Persia.
Paras, or Persis, in its most proper acceptation, denoted Persia, pro- umya
I only one province of the Persian empire, which adjoined on perly taken, to the east side of Susiana, formerly spoken of; and which what,
is said to this day to be called Phars, or Pharsistan, names which apparently retain footsteps of the ancient Oriental name Paras. But this name is also used to denote several other and large provinces, that were subdued by the Persians, properly so called, and lay chiefly to the north and east of the province of Persis. As to the extent of the Persian empire, we find that it was in the days of Ahasuerus, from India
even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty pro- CHAP. vinces. Esth. i. 1.
v. The word here rendered Ethiopia is Cush; which has been largely shewn to denote in Scripture, Arabia, not Libya of cüth or or Africa; and therefore, by Ethiopia here mentioned is pro- Ethiopia. bably to be understood only the Asiatick Ethiopians, i. e. fome Arabians denoted by this name in Herodotus the historian. The word rendered India is in the original Hoddu, or . 4.
Of India. Hondu, as it is now-a-days read. But it is likely, that it was formerly read Hiddu, or Hindu. Whence the Greeks de. rived the names India and Indus, the latter given by them to the great river, which has been generally esteemed the eastern boundary of Persia, and the former to the country lying on the east side of the said river, called now-a-days by us most commonly the East-Indies, to distinguish it from the West-Indies, otherwise called America, and unknown to the ancients; who therefore called the East-Indies fimply India, as knowing no other than that. It is evident from Dan. viii. 2. and Esth. i. 2. that the
Orshushan Kings of Persia had a palace in a city called Shushan, which we may well suppose to be the same called by the Greeks Sula, and so situated in the province of Sufiana, which is the first province of Persia that lies on the east of the Euphrates, or Tigris. This city probably took its name from the lilies which abound in these parts, for the lily is called jhushan in the Hebrew tongue. As from Shushan, the Greeks called the city itself Sufa; so from their Greek name of the city, they called the province it lay in Susiana. The city is thought to have been founded by Tithonus, brother to Priamus King of Troy, and father of Mennon: from whom the citadel was called Memnonium; the palace and walls, Memnonians; and Susa itself, the city of Memnon. But others will for these reasons have the city to have been built not by Tithonus the father, but by the son himself, Memnon. The walls of this city are said by Caffiodorus, as Heylin relates, to be cemented with gold. It was doubtless a very great, Stately, and rich city. Alexander the Great is said to have
Of the river
CHAP. found therein fifty thousand talents of uncoined gold, besides V. wedges of silver, and jewels of an inestimable value. It is
now said to be nothing but ruins, and perhaps not that. 2.6. In the forecited chap. viii. ver. 2. of Daniel, the prophet ver tells us, that he had a vision by the river of Ulai, which
ll. doubtless is the same called by the Greeks, Euleus. That it ran by the city, nay the palace of Shufhan, is also clear from the forecited text. It is said to be the greatest river of the province of Sufiana, and of so rare a stream, that the Persian Kings would drink of no other water.
To the north of Persia lay the country called Media, frequently mentioned in the sacred History, and that in conjunction with Perfia; not only on account of their neighbouring situation one to the other, but of their being for a long time under one and the fame Prince. It is generally believed, that it took its name from Madai, one of the fons of Japhet. But upon weighing what is offered by the judicious and learned Mr. Mede on this subject, I am inclined to embrace rather his opinion; that though it is not to be doubted but this country, called in Hebrew Madai, took its name from one Madai, yet probably he was not the same with the son of Japhet (who rather settled himself in Mysia in Leffer Asia, and in Æmathia or Macedonia in Europe), but was a descendant of Shem.
In Ezr. vi. 2. we read, that there was found at Achmetha, in tha, or Ec
the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, &c. Now the word Achmetha may denote (as is observed in the margin of our Bible) a coffer; but it is rather understood by the learned to denote the principal city of Media, called by the Greeks Ecbatana, and often mentioned in the Apocryphal books of Esdras or Ezra, and of Tobit and Judith. It was built not long after Babylon. For we find, faith Dr. Heylin, that Semiramis, the wife of Ninus, in a war against the Medes, who had then rebelled, taking an affection to the place, caused water-courses to be made to it, from the further side of the mountain Orontes, digging a passage through the hills with great labour and charge. It being deAtroyed by the injury of time, it was re-edified by Deioces,
the sixth King of the Medes, and afterwards much beautified C HA P. and enlarged by Seleucus Nicanor, one of the successors of v. Alexander the Great in his Asian conquests. For beauty and magnificence it was little inferior to Babylon or Nineveh. In compass it is said to be one hundred and eighty, or two hundred furlongs, which make about twenty-four of our miles, The walls thereof are affirmed in the book of Judith to be seventy cubits high, fifty cubits broad, and the towers upon the gates an hundred cubits higher; all built af hewn and polished stones, each fone being fix cubits in length, and three in breadth. But this is to be understood only of the innermost wall, there being seven in all about it; each of them higher than the other, and each distinguished by the colour of their several pinnacles, which gave unto the eye a most pleasant prospect. It was the ordinary residence of the Kings of Persia in the heat of summer, as Susa, before mentioned and described, was in the cold of winter. The royal palace was about a mile in compass, and built with all the coft and skill that a stately edifice did require. Some of its beams are said to be of silver, and the rest of cedar, which were strengthened with plates of gold. Josephus, the Jewish historian, relates, that it was built by the prophet Daniel; which must be understood no otherwise than that be overlooked the work, or contrived the model, appointed to do so by the order of Darius the Mede, to whom the building of the same is ascribed by others. Neglected at length by the Kings of the Parthian race, it became a ruin,
CH A P. VI.
Of the more remarkable Places mentioned in the Apocryphal
Books, and not spoken of before.
m., T SHALL in this last chapter take notice of the more reOf Thisbe, 1 and the city 1 markable places mentioned in the Apocryphal books, and Nephtali. which have not been spoken of before. I have not observed
any place or country mentioned in the two Apocryphal books
of Efdras, but what has somewhere or other been before • taken notice of; and therefore, passing by them, we come to
the book of Tobit. In chap. i. ver. 2. we read, that in the time of Enemassar (who is supposed to be the same called 2 Kings xvii. 3. Shalmaneser), King of the Asyrians, Tobit was led captive out of Thisoe, which is at the right hand of that city, which is properly called Nephtali in Galilee. Now it is thought with great probability, that the city here faid to be properly called Nephtali was the same with that which was otherwise called Kadesh-Nephtali, this being the principal city of Nephtali in the more early times. And as it was called Kadesh-Nephtali, to distinguish it from other cities called by the name of Kadesh; so it is very likely, that it was also for brevity's fake (omitting the former part of the compound name, namely Kadesh, as common to it with other places) called Nephtali, and the rather, as being the most eminent city in the tribe of Nephtali. For it was not only a Levitical city, but also one of the three cities of refuge on
the west of Jor of this first chapter. This is probab in chap. i.
of the city
In ver. 14. of this first chapter of Tobit, we have mention Rages.
made of Rages, a city of Media. This is probably enough thought to be the same with Ragau, mentioned in chap. i. ver. 15. of the book of Judith. Nor is it a conjecture without any foundation, that it was built by Reu the fon of Peleg. For not only the descendants of Arphaxad (of whom came Peleg, the father of Reu) settled in these and the adja
For not only that it was hy is it a conies