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cause but the blessing of Jehovah, bestowed, according to his promise, on a faithful king and people.
The splendour of Solomon's court, the vast number of his officers and guards, the strangers who flocked to Jerusalem to be eye-witnesses of his greatness, and hear his wisdom, are all dwelt upon with pride by the Jewish historian Josephus: thirty oxen, and one hundred lambs were daily consumed by his household, “besides what were taken by hunting harts and buffaloes, and birds and fishes, which were brought to the king by foreigners day by day.” After the Temple was erected, Solomon built himself a palace in Jerusalem, of costly materials and elaborate workmanship, which was thirteen years in completing; because, as Josephus says, "he was not equally zealous in the building of this palace as he had been about the Temple:” he had also a magnificent throne of ivory overlaid with gold, with an ascent of six steps, on which stood twelve lions, six on each side. Besides adorning Jerusalem, Solomon built many cities; “Tadmor in the Wilderness, (now Palmyra,) Beth-horon the upper, and Beth-horon the nether, fenced cities with walls, gates, and bars.” Tadmor became in later times the capital of an empire which, under Zenobia Queen of the East, bid defiance to the power of Rome, and whose gigantic ruins excite the admiration and astonishment of the modern traveller. Baalath, another of the store cities built by Solomon, is supposed to be the same as Baalbec, situated at the foot of the Anti-Libanus mountains.* The ruins here are also gigantic, and though in both cities the columns and porticoes whose fragments are still to be seen, may be of a more recent date than the time of Solomon, yet there are foundations of huge stones, of a proportion so dissimilar to the architecture of the Greeks and Romans, that their construction has been considered to belong only to the wonders of Solomon's reign. Besides these cities, this magnificent monarch built or enlarged others; some were called “chariot cities,' and others cities for his horsemen;' in them were kept fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horsemen, with which he enhanced the splendour of his court, and added to the strength of his armies. But in this he violated the Law, as war chariots and horses were forbidden to be multiplied by Moses; probably as tending to excite in the minds of the people a love of military enterprize, which was expressly contrary to the designs of his institutions.
Besides the presents he exacted from so many tributary nations, Solomon opened a new source of riches to himself and his people, by entering into the trade of Arabia and the East. Assisted
* Whether Baalbec be, or be not, one of the cities built by Solomon “in Lebanon," has long been, and still is a matter of dispute; it must probably be left to conjecture, unless the great advance in the science of deciphering monumental inscriptions, should elucidate this, as it is doing other antiquarian difficulties.
by Hiram, king of Tyre, whose subjects the Phænicians were the most renowned seamen of antiquity, he sent ships from Elath* and Eziongeber, two towns situated at the north of the eastern gulf of the Red Sea: these ships sailed to Tarshish, and are called the navy of Tarshish, which went out with the navy of Hiram, and returned every three years freighted with the rarest and most costly productions of Africa and India; fine gold from Ophir and Tarshish,and silver, and precious stones, ivory, apes, and peacocks: besides spices and perfumes, and almug trees,* and whatever was most esteemed in that or the present age. So great indeed became the profusion of the precious metals, that “ the king made silver in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycamore trees that are in the low plains in abundance," so that "silver was not any thing accounted of in the days of Solomon.” If the riches and splendour of Solomon's court were the admiration of foreigners and the glory of his own people, not less was the wonder and respect felt for his extraordinary wisdom. Besides regulating with consummate address the vast affairs of his extensive empire, and establishing the most perfect order in every department of government, his knowledge of all the sciences then cultivated, surpassed that of his contemporaries.
* Now Akaba. Eziongeber, afterwards Berenice, a little south of Akaba : not the Berenice built by Ptolemy in Egypt.
† Ophir and Tarshish. No places mentioned in the Sacred Writings have been the subject of more discussion than these. It has been variously contended that “Tarshish' was Tartessus, an ancient settlement of the Phænicians in Spain, near Gades, now Cadiz; or the western trade generally; that it was Arabiathat it is a name for ships engaged in any distant traffic-or that it and Ophir are to be sought in India, or on the south-east coast of Africa, below the Straits of Babelmandeb. Josephus considers Ophir to be the Aurea Chersonesus, the peninsula of Malacca ; others have placed it in the Islands of Sumatra, or in Celebes, or in Ceylon. Another opinion however places Ophir at Sofala, on the coast of Africa, and this conclusion Jahn and several other authorities consider the most probable. Here all the productions mentioned as brought by the vessels of Solomon and Hiram are to be found, and the prevalence of monsoons, and other difficulties in navigation, with the slow progress of all voyagers in that age, together with the ruins of a great city near, seem to strengthen this supposition ; but the matter will never apparently be decided. Dr. Milman considers it most probable that Ophir was on the coast of Africa, while Tarshish was the South of Spain, but that both the names were used with great latitude, similar to the terms East and West Indies, when first discovered.
“ And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding, exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea-shore. And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the East country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.” “Also he spoke three thousand proverbs; and his songs were a thousand
* Almug Trees. There is also much uncertainty as to what these were : some suppose them to be a finer species of pine than any grown in Judea, as the Pinus Deodara, a beautiful and fragrant wood, well calculated for making musical instruments, which the Almug was chiefly used for; others consider the Almug to be the same as Ebony, which abounds in the Philippine Isles, or merely a term comprehending any hard wood.
and five: And he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon, even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall; he spoke also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.” One singular instance of his skill in detecting truth is related by the sacred historian. Two women appeared before his tribunal with the following dispute :-each was the mother of an infant a few days old ; they lived together alone in the same house, and slept in the same room: in the night one of the infants died, and the mother of the dead child took it and laid it by the side of the mother of the living child, whilst she slept, and carried away the living child, which she declared to be hers: “but when I considered in the morning,” said the real mother, “ behold it was not my son.”
“ And the other woman said Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spoke before the king. Then said the king, the one saith, this is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead : and the other saith Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living. And the king said, bring me a sword, and they brought a sword before the king. And the king said divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other." This command the real mother could not bear, and, as the king expected, her feelings broke forth, and showed the genuine yearnings of nature : she cried out, “O,