« AnteriorContinuar »
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. This prophecy evidently relates to the Persian and Grecian monarchies. The emblems here given of these kingdoms will appear highly proper, if we consider that a ram or a ram's head was the royal ensign of the Persians, and that the Greeks of Macedonia were called Ægiadæ, or the people of the goat, for 200 years before the time of Daniel. Caraunus, their founder, settled in a place where there was a flock of goats, and from thence called his settlement goat's town, and made the figure of a goat his ensign. We shall soon see how literally this prophecy was accomplished.
Artaxerxes-Mnemon, one of the sons of Darius-Nothus, succeeded him in the throne. The reign of this king is long, and full of interesting events; but we must confine ourselves to the Jewish history.
In the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes died Jehoida the high-priest, who was succeeded by his son Jehonan, called also Jonathan, who held it thirty-two years. Jeshua, his brother, by means of the governor of Syria, obtained a grant of the priesthood for himself, and went to take possession; which occasioned a great contention, and Jehonan killed Jeshua in the inner court of the Temple. The governor of Syria was exceedingly enraged at this action, and, coming up to Jerusalem, obliged the priests to pay out of the public treasury a very considerable tax: but they were at his death relieved from it. Jaddua, the son of Jehonan, succeeded his father as high priest of the Jews.
Towards the latter end of the reign of Artaxerxes, great disturbances arose in the Persian empire, occasioned by the contentions of his sons about the succession ; for he had a numerous family. At length the poor
old king, who was upwards of ninety-four years of age, died of grief. :
Artaxerxes-Ochu one of his sons, succeeded to the throne. This monarch was the cruellest and worst of all the Persian kings.
The Sidonians, and other Phænicians, revolted, and entered into a confederacy with the king of Egypt; but Artaxerxes subdued them all. The Sidonians were betrayed into his hands by their own king; and, finding there was no way to escape either by sea or land, they retired to their houses, and, setting fire to them over their heads, were all consumed to the number of forty thousand men, besides women and children. Artaxerxes, having no farther need of the king of Sidon, caused him to be put to death: there were vast riches in Sidon at the time of this calamity, which being all melted down by the flames, Artaxerxes sold the ashes for a considerable sum of money.
The Jews seem to have engaged with the Phænicians against Artaxerxes: for, after the destruction of Sidon, he marched into Judea, besieged and took Jericho, and making many of the Jews captive, led them into Egypt and other parts. '.
Artaxerxes at length subdued all the revolted provinces, and then gave himself up to luxury and dissipation, and left the management of public affairs to ministers. After he had reigned twenty-one years, he was poisoned by Bagoas his favourite.
Upon the death of Artaxerxes-Ochus, Arses, the son of that monarch, was made king by Bagoaz, who put all the king's sons to death. The name of king was all that remained to Arses, for the power and authority Bagoas reserved to himself, About this time PHILIP of Macedon was made com
mander in chief of all the Grecian cities and states for carrying on a war against the Persians; but, before he could set out on the expedition, he was slain at home by a young nobleman, whose injuries he had neglected to redress; and was succeeded by his son Alexander, who was then about twenty one years old. · Arses, king of Persia, was slain by the treachery of Bagoas, who then placed on the throne Darius the Third, distinguished in history by the name of Darius Codomanus.
Bagoas, not finding him such an one as would answer his purpose, resolved to poison him ; but Darius being apprised of it, obliged him to drink the deadly potion himself, and became settled in the kingdom without any farther difficulty.
Darius Codomanus is said to have been the handsomest man in the Persian empire, very valiant, and of a mild and generous disposition: he was scarcely seated on the throne, before Alexander, king of Macedon, prepared to drive him from it.
The prophecy of Daniel, contained in this section, respecting the conquest of Persia by the Greeks, gives one a lively image of the contest between the two kingdoms : one part of it evidently related to Alexander. The notable horn certainly meant Alexander the Great, as the following account of him, extracted from authentic authors, will evince.
Alexander, shortly after his father's death, was de. clared general of the Greeks; and marched into Persia with an army, consisting of no more than thirty thou-sand foot, and four thousand horse, furnished only with a sum sufficient to subsist his army for thirty days. He encountered the Persian army at the river Granicus,. and gained a great victory over them, though they
were five times his number, and got possession of several provinces, and a great deal of treasure. After this,' he defeated Darius, whose army consisted of six hundred : thousand men. Above one hundred thousand Persians were left dead in the field; and a great number tram-, pled to death by their own party, as they were endea-' vouring to escape through a narrow pass. In this battle Darius was in great danger of losing his life ; and his wife, children, and family, were taken captives.
After ALEXANDER had defeated Darius, he marched along the sea-coast towards Phænicia : every place he came to yielded, but none more readily than Sidon. We have before related, that this city was miserably destroyed in the reign of ARTAXERXES OCHus; but it happened that some of its inhabitants were absent on, merchandise and other occasions: these returned and rebuilt the city ; but, having an inveterate hatred to: the Persians, gladly submitted to Alexander.
The whole of Syria and Phænicia was now subdued by the Macedonians, excepting the city of Tyre, which being excellently situated for commerce, standing on an island, and having noble ports, was not so much a city belonging to any particular nation as the common city of all nations, to which they sent their different commodities, and from whence they received the product of other lands.
The prophecies of Isaiah and Ezekiel, concerning this kingdom, were partly fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar in the destruction of Old Tyre ; but the new city rose to still greater power and grandeur than the other, and was in a very flourishing condition in the time of Alexander. Let us now see what these prophets predicted concerning it.
PROPHECIES OF ISAIAH AND EKEKIEL CONCERNING THE TOTAL OVERTHROW OF TYRE BY THE GRECIANS.
From Isai. Chap. xxiii.-Ezek. Chap. xxvii. I. The burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in. From the land of Chittim it is revealed to them. - Be still, ye inhabitants of the isle, thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, have replenished.
And by great waters the seed of Sihor, the harvest of the river, is her revenue; and she is a mart of nations.
Be thou ashamed, 0 Zidon : for the sea hath spoken, even the strength of the sea, saying, I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, nor bring up virgins.
As at the report concerning Egypt, so shall they be sorely pained at the report of Tyre.
Pass ye over to Tarshish ; howl, ye inhabitants of the isle.
Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days ? her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn.
Who hath taken his counsel against Tyre the crown, ing city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth? The LORD of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth.
Pass through thy land as a river, daughter of Tarshish : there is no more strength.
He stretched out his hand over the sea, he shook the kingdoms, the LORD hath given a commandment against the merchant city, to destroy the strong holds thereof.