in his war against Evilmerodach, and much distinguished himself in a victory which was then obtained over that monarch ; and afterwards returned to his father in Persia.

Evilmerodach having been assassinated, was succeeded by his brother-in-law, Neriglissar, and on the death of Jehoiachin, the particulars of which do not appear, Salathiel, his son, became nominal prince of the Jews, or as they were called for many generations, the head of the captivity.+

On the death of Astyages, he was succeeded by his son, Cyaxares II., also called Darius, the Mede;# against whom Neriglissar having formed a powerful confederacy, that

* Prid. i. 147-149. quoting Xenophon's Cyropod, an Her is.

+ 2 Esdras, v. 16. Notwithstanding the loss of the authority, they still kept up the title; and for a great many ages after, in the parts about Babylon, there was always one of the house of David, which, by the name of the head of the captivity, was acknowledged and honoured as a prince among the people, and had some sort of juris. diction, as far as it was consistent with the government they were under, always invested in him; and sometimes a ratification was obtained of it froin the princes that reigned in that country. And it is said this pageantry is still kept up among them; and chiefly, it seems, that they may be furnished from hence with an answer to give the Christians, when they urge the prophecy of Jacob (Gen. xlix. 10.) amongst them: for whensoever, from the prophecy, it is pressed upon them that the Messiah must be come, because the sceptre is now departed from Judah, and there is no more a lawgiver among them from between his feet, we are commonly told of this head of the captivity; their usual answer being, that the sceptre is still preserved among them in the head of the captivity; and that they have also in their Nasi, or prince of the Sanhedrim, (another pageantry officer of theirs) a lawgiver from between the feet of Judah (that is, of his seed) still remaining in Israel. But if these officers are now ceased from among them, as some of them will acknowledge, then this answer must cease also, and the prophecy returns in its full force upon them; and why do they then any longer resist the power of it? Prid. i. 145.

Dan. v. 31. Anselm Bayley in loco. Prid. i. 105–187.

monarch called Cyrus to his help, and on his arrival with 30,000 Persians, gave him, also, the command of the Median army. After three years these powerful armies met, and Neriglissar was defeated and slain.*

The Babylonian monarch was succeeded by his son, Laborosoarchod, with whom Cyrus continued the war, and twice approached the walls of Babylon, and then returned with his victorious army towards Media; and sent for Cyaxares, to consult with him as to the future operations of the war.t

Laborosoarchod, having been assassinated by his subjects, was succeeded by Nabonadius, or, as he is called in Scripture, Belsbazzar, a wicked prince; but during whose reign, the government was chiefly administered by his mother, Nicotris, a woman of singular ability. I

In the first year of this monarch's reign, the vision of the beasts and horns was revealed to Daniel, 8 being in substance, but under different emblems, an amplification of Nebuchadnezzar's metallic image.

In the third year of the reign of this monarch, the prophet Daniel saw the vision of the ram and the he goat,ll which foretold the overthrow of the Persian empire, by Alexander the Great, and the persecution of the Jews, by Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria.

Cyrus having defeated Croesus, king of Lydia, and taken his capital city of Sardis; and subdued all the surrounding nations, from the Ægean sea to the Euphrates, as well as in Syria and Arabia, and overthrown Belshazzar in battle, shut him up, and besieged him in Babylon.*

God had declared by his prophet Isaiah ; “I will loose

* Prid. i. 146-)51.

+ Prid, i. 151, 152.
Prid. i. 151. 154. 162.

Dan. vij.
|| Burder, 0. C. 846, 847.
1 Dan. viii. ** Prid. i. 151-159.

the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates, and the gates shall not be sbut: I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: and I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places,* that thou mayest know that I, Jehovah, who call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name : I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.t

And whilst Belshazzar, the king, made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand, Belshazzar, whilst he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels, which his father Nebuchad. nezzar had taken out of the temple, which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God, which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, and his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. In the same hour came forth fingers

“ Sardis and Babylon, when taken by Cyrus, were the wealthiest cities in the world. Cresus, celebrated beyond all the kings of that age for bis riches, gave up his treasures to Cyrus, with an exact account in writing of the whole, containing the particulars with which each waggon was loaded when they were carried away; and they were delivered to Cyrus at the palace of Babylon." Cyrop. lib. vii. A.Clarke on Isaiah, xlv. 3. For an account of the destruction and present state of Sardis, afterwards the seat of one of the apostolical churches in Asia, and now the village Sart, see Jos. Milner's Sermons, vol. iv. pp. 117–150. Jones' Lectures on the Apocalypse, 89. T. Milner's History of the Seven Churches of Asia, pp. 286308.

+ Is. xlv. 14.

of a man's band, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall, of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrole. Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were luosed, and his knees stote one against another. The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom. Then came in all the king's wise men: but they could not read* the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof. Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.

Now the queen,t by reason of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banquet house : and the queen spake, and said, O king, live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be chauged: there is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in

The reason why they could not read it was, because it was written in the old Hebrew letters, now called the Samaritan cha. racter, which the Babylonians knew nothing of. Prid. i. 16). For which character see Walton's Polyglot, and Shuckford, vol. i. p. 221. Besides which, each word stood for a sentence.

+ “The queen mother, Nicotris, the widow of Evilmerodach, is generally supposed to be meant. She was a woman of great capacity and reputation; and her active and prudent management had been, for some time, the chief stay of the empire.—She spake of Daniel in language similar to what her father-in-law Nebuchadnezzar had used, and which she probably had learned from him; for she was aged, and Nebuchadnezzar had not been dead above twenty-four years, so that she no doubt well remembered the extraordinary events which had occurred towards the close of his life." Scott.

the days of thy father, light, and understanding, and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whoin the king Nebuchadnezzar, thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers: forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation. Then was Daniel brought in before the king.

And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king, my father, brought out of Jewry? I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light, and understanding, and excellent wisdom is found in thee. And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing: and I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts : now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation. O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar, thy father, a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour : and for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would be slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and

« 上一页继续 »