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left hand ;'* for, supposing this to be understood of infants under two years old, these generally, as Bochart observes, make at least the fifth part of a city. If this proportion be just, the inhabitants of Nineveh would not be more than six hundred thousand ; which is not more than Seleucia contained in the days of Pliny, and not so many as has been numbered in the capital of the British empire.t
Nineveh was not more celebrated for her extent, and the number of her inhabitants, than for the strength of her fortifications. The walls were an hundred feet high, and so broad that three carts might go abreast on the top. They were strengthened with fifteen hundred turrets, each of them two hundred feet high. But though it was deemed impregnable, the wickedness of its inhabitants provoked the Most High to deliver it into the hands of Astyages, king of the Medes, who reduced it to a heap of ruins. I
Rechoboth, the second city of Assyria mentioned by Moses, was supposed to have been seated on the Tigris, about the mouth of the river Lycus; but no certain traces of it can be discovered.ş
Calah was probably the capital city of the country Calachene, which, according to Strabo, lay somewhere [between the source of the Lycus and the Tigris,
* Jonah iv. 11. + Rosenmuller supposes this proverbial expression to denote children under three or five years, and estimates the population of Nineveh at two millions of inhabitants. This number, he continues, may appear too small in proportion to the vast extent of ground occupied, especially when compared with the population of our European cities ; but it is to be kept in view, that the ancient cities of the East, as Pekin, Ispahan, and others at the present day, comprehended in their circuit many gardens and large spaces of vacant ground.-Bib. Cab. vol. ii. p. 124.- Editor.
+ Rollin's An. Hist. vol.ii. p. 138; Wells' Geog. vol. i. pp. 124, 125. & Bochart. Phal. lib. iv. c. 22, p. 255. [The word Rechoboth signifies streets, and to distinguish it as a proper name, the inspired historian calls it Rechoboth-ir, i. e. the city Rechoboth. There was another city of the same name, but at a great distance, situated on the Euphrates, xxxvi. 37, the native city of Saul, a prince of the Edomites.)–Editor.
bounded on the north by Arrapachites and the Carduchian mountains, on the south by Adiabene; so that this city, and the province that was named after it lay in the far north of Assyria.*] Ptolemy also mentions a country which was named Calacine, in the same quarter. And as Pliny mentions a people called Classitæ, through whose country the Lycus runs, it is probable, that Classitæ is a corruption for Caluchitæ. This city is most probably the Halah mentioned in the 2d Book of Kings, to which Salmanassar transplanted some of the ten tribes of Israel.
Resen, the last city mentioned by Moses, which is described as a great city, lay between Nineveh and Calah, and consequently stood on the Tigris. Michaelis observes, that it was formerly the greatest city in Assyria, perhaps, in all Asia.t Geographers mention two cities in Mesopotamia: one called Rhisina, between Edessa and Mount Masius ; the other Rhesena, between the rivers Chaboras and Saocoras. neither of these corresponds to the description of Resen given by Moses, the city of Larissa mentioned by Xenophon, has been regarded as the ancient city of Resen. It stands on the Tigris, and was a place of great strength and extent, eight miles in compass, and surrounded by a wall an hundred feet high, and twentyfive feet broad. Larissa is a Greek name, supposed to be given by Xenophon and his associates, instead of Laresen, that is, the city of Resen, which that renowned captain mistook for Larissa, the name of several Grecian cities, with which he was familiar. * * Lib. xvi. p. 502; Bochart. Phaleg. lib. iv. cap. 23, p. 257. † Spicil. part i p. 217.
# Anab. iii. 4, 7; Bochart. Phaleg. lib. iv. c. 23, p. 257; Wells' Geog. vol. i. p. 127. [This is a conjecture of Bochart, who is probable, that to the inquiry of the Grecian general, what city those were the ruins of ? the natives would reply, Laresen, i.e. (they are the ruins) of Resen, a word which Xenophon very natu. rally confounded with Larissa.' In support of this explanation, Bochart gives several instances of the le, of, the sign of the genitive, prefixed to proper names in Hebrew, being written in translations as part of the word.]-Editor.
The sacred historian, having taken a rapid view of the original settlements which the sons of Noah formed in the countries allotted to them after the deluge, proceeds to the history of a family that made a considerable figure among the Babylonians in those remote ages. This family, in whom, by the distinguishing favour of God, all nations were in future times to be blessed, originally lived in Ur of the Chaldees, till near the close of the life of Terah. To ascertain with greater accuracy the situation of this city, so celebrated for being the birth-place of Abraham, the friend of God, and the father of the chosen seed, it is necessary to make a few remarks on the country of the Chaldees.
Chaldea, the native country of Abraham, was, according to the classic writers, bounded by Mesopotamia on the north, Susiana on the east, the Persian gulf on the south, and Arabia Deserta on the west. Its capital city was Babylon, hence called by Isaiah the prophet, the glory of the Chaldees' excellency.' From the name of the capital the whole country was afterwards called Babylonia. Some writers, however, contend that Chaldea properly so called, was only a province of Babylonia; while others make Babylonia a province of Chaldea, namely, that part which lay about the city of Babylon. The name Babylon is un
questionably derived from the Hebrew term Babel : and that the city was built near the place where the tower of Babel was begun, seems to be equally certain. The name Chaldea is of more doubtful origin: but, since the Chaldeans are called in Hebrew, Chasdim, it is commonly supposed they derived their name from Chesed, one of the sons of Nahor, the brother of Abraham ;* for Chesed will regularly make the plural, Chesadim, or with a small variation, Chasdim. From this term, instead of Xaodaio. Chasdæi, the Greeks formed the softer word Xaldało. Chaldæi.It is therefore probable, that the Chaldees derived their name from Chesed ;
but the true reason of the derivation is lost in the deep obscurity of the postdiluvian age.
In the sacred books the term Chaldea is sometimes taken in a larger sense than in the writings of the Greeks and Romans. It is evident from the words of Stephen the proto-martyr, that the country of Chaldea embraced a part of Mesopotamia :—- The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, and said unto him, get thee out of this country, came he out of the land of the Chaldees, and dwelt in Charran. Hence it is evident, that the region of Mesopotamia, where the patriarch resided before he removed to Charran, must be included under the name of Chaldea. This is considered by some writers as a confirmation of the opinion that the name of Chaldea was originally derived from Chesed the son of Nahor, the brother of Abraham. It is plainly intimated in the sacred text, that when Terah, with his son Abraham, and his grandson Lot, the son of the deceased Haran, left Ur of the Chaldees, Nahor his other son, remained in his native country. But Nahor was
the father of Chesed, who, it is conjectured, was skilled in the science of astronomy, the study of which was prosecuted in Babylonia, from the first settlement * Genesis xxii. 22.
+ Wells' Hist. Geog. vol. i. p.
of the province, with great diligence and success. Under his instructions, and fired by his example, his descendants, the Chasdim are supposed to have risen to great eminence among the Babylonian philosophers. And hence Ur, the native town of Chesed and his family, might be called, by way of honour, Ur of the Chaldees, that is, Ur where the Chasdim, so famous for their attainments in astronomical science, reside. From this circumstance, it is not unreasonable to suppose, that a people so devoted to science as the Babylonians were, might assume the name of Chaldees, in honour of Chesed, their most renowned instructor.
This opinion concerning the skill of Chesed and his descendants in astronomical science, is supposed to be confirmed from the very name of the place where they lived. Ur, in the Hebrew tongue, denotes light; and hence the place where the Chasdim lived might be named Ur of the Chasdim, from their studying there, with extraordinary diligence and success, the motions of the heavenly bodies.*
From this statement it appears that Ur was situated in the north-eastern part of Mesopotamia, which was sometimes included under the name of Chaldea. This position agrees both with the words of Stephen already quoted, and the writings of Ammianus Marcellinus, 'who mentions a city of this name, lying between the Tigris and the city of Nisibis. Some writers place the native town of Terah and Abraham, near the lake of Babylon, where once stood the city Urchoa, supposed by them to be the same with Ur. But the lakes of Babylon, and by consequence the city Urchoa, were on this side of the river Euphrates; while Joshua says expressly, that Terah, the father of Abraham, and the * Wells' Historical Geography, vol. i. p. 130. Chap. XXV. 7, 8. [Rosenmuller is of opinion that this, better
any other place, answers to the Ur-Casdim, for this additional reason, that in the same district of country where lay the Ur of Ammianus, Xenophon found, at the foot of the Kurdish Mountains, a people called Chaldeans.]– Editor.