Page images
PDF
EPUB

iais (c), one of the most considerable cities of Upper Galilee, standing pon a gulph of the Mediterranean sea. This city was partly inhabited i heathens, who were very troublesome to the Galileans (d). St. aul went through it in his journey from Ephesus to Jerusalem, and

ode one day with the Christians that were there (e). On the east and orth of Upper Galilee, were Bacca, Cades, and Dan, which are the

ontier towns. .. Before we leave Galilee, it will be very proper to give an account of T he character of the Galileans. Josephus (f) describes Galilee as a very ... 'uitful and populous country; and represents the inhabitants as an in**ustrious and laborious sort of people, and of fo warlike a disposition, what though they were surrounded by heathens, who continually hairaffed them, yet they were always able to make head against them. -. Votwithstanding which, it appears from several places in the gospel, that d he Jews had but a very mean opinion of the Galileans. It was out of ma-contempt they called 'Jefus a Galilean, as did Julian the Apostate (g), 7-who gave the Christians also the same name. As it was a commonly neceived opinion among the Jews, that the Messiah should be born at

Bethlehem, as the scribes told Herod (b); and Christ being born there,

hey affected to call him a Galilean, because his mother belonged to -Galilee, designing by this means insensibly to wear out the remembrance

of his being born at Bethlehem. This at least we find Origen charging w them with (i). It was with an intent to render St. Peter odious, that - they said he was a Galilean (k). They cast the same reflection upon Ni

codemus, adding, that out of Galilee never came a prophet (?). Jesus --Christ seems to give the Jews an indirect reproof for this averfion, Te when he asks them, whether those Galileans, whose blood Pilate had - mixed with their facrifices, were greater sinners than themselves (on).

There was a saying current among the Jews, which plainly enough difcovered their hatred to the Galileans. And that is, that when the Mel fiah comes, Galilee will be destroyed, and the Galileans shall wander

from city to city, without meeting with pity or compassion. From whence is a learned commentator (n) hath very ingeniously observed, that when

the person poflefled with the devil at Capernaum asked Jesus Chrift, Are you come to destroy us?” he meant the Galileans, and not the

er devils.

Several very probable reasons may be assigned for this aversion which 'the Jews had for the Galileans. 1. It is undeniably certain, that the Jews afcribed a greater degree of holiness to Judea, than to the other parts of. the Holy Land, because Jerusalem and the temple stood therein. 2. We

have

[ocr errors]

(c) Formerly called Acco, Judg. i. 31. now Acra.
(d) Jofeph. de Bell. Jud. I. ii. c. 9, 20. (c) Acs xxi. 7. . .

(f) Jofeph. de Bell. Jud. I. iii. c. 2.
te () Socrat. Hist. Eccl. l. ii. 12. (b) Matt. ii. 5. John vii, 42. i

(:) Origen contra Celf. p. 39, 40.
(k) Matth. xxvi. 73. Luke xxii. 59.

(2) Joho vii. 52.' This was a great falfhood, as we have observed in our ug note on that place.

(m) Luke xiii, 2. () Lightfoot Hor. Hebr. in Marc. i. 24.
VOL. III.

S

have already observed, that Galilee was inhabited by those parts of the ten tribes that remained in the land, when the rest were carried away captive, or returned thither from the place of their captivity (0). Now the Jews, properly so called, fet a vast difference between themselves and the ten tribes. 3. The uncouth language of the Galileans made the Jews flight and despise them. It is well known how the wrong pronunciation of the word Shibboleth betrayed the inhabitants of Ephraim (P); and that St. Peter was known to be a Galilean by his speech (g). We have this maxim in the Thalmud, that because the Jews speak their own language well, therefore the law was confirmed to them ; whereas it never was so to the Galileans, because they speak ill. 4. The Galileans being mixt with the Gentiles, was a very great cause of this aversion. They were not only in a manner surrounded with them, having for their neighbours the Phoenicians, and Syrians, but they also

jointly inhabited several cities in Upper Galilee, and other places, as · Scythopolis (r), &c. It is true that there were Gentiles in some cities

of Judea, but that was only in sea-port towns, at a considerable distance from Jerusalem, and the rest of Judea, as Azotus, Gaza, Jamnia, where Philo says (s)," that the Heathens were very troublesome to the Jews.

. Let us now return to the north of Upper Galilee, where lay mes Phænicia (t), and Syria. In Phoenicia there are two remarkable cities on the sea coast, namely, Tyre and Sidon. The former (u), which is built on an island of the same name, is a place of great antiquity, ard famous upon several accounts, as its vast trade (x), the nations and colonies it transplanted into several parts of the world (*), as Carthage, &c. and the wars which it was engaged in against Nebuchadnezzar, who besieged it for thirteen years together (y), and against Alexander the Great, who spent seven months in taking it (2). The prophets draws almost the same character of this city (a), as St. John doth of the mystical Babylon in the Revelations (b), and denounce almost the fame judg. ments against both of them. Ezekiel in particular (c) foretold that Tyre should be built no more. It was, notwithstanding, in all its glory in the time of Alexander the Great, who took it about 300 years after Nebuchadnezzar. It was still in great repute in our Saviour's time; he frequently mentions it (d), he preached in the neighbouring parts, and

there

(0).See this proved by Lightfoot in Chron. Nov. Tef. Tom. 2. p. 14. and Gafp. Abel. Monarch, 11. ael. p. 294, 295. (p) Judg. xii. 6.

(9) Luke xxii. 59. (7) Jofeph, «le Bell. Jud. I. i. c. 19. (s) Philo Legat. ad Caium.

(+) Called otherwise Syro-Phænicia, because it bordered upon Syria, to dil: tinguish it from Palestine, properly so called, which sometimes went by the name of Phoenicia.

(u) Tyre was formerly called Tzor. Josh, xix. 29. (x) Ezek. xxvi. XXVII.

(*) Plin. Hift. Nat. V. 19. c) Joseph, Antiq. 1. x. c. 11. (z) 0. Cur. I. iv. c. 4. Arian. de Exped. Alexand. 1. i. (a) Itai. xxiii. Ezek. xxvi. xxvII.

(6) Revel. xviii, (c) Ezek. xxvi. 14. (d) Matth. xi. 21. Xv. 21. Mark ii. $. Luke vi, 17.

there he healed the daughter of a Canaanitish woman. We find that the Tyrians made a considerable figure in the reign of Herod Agrippa, who defigned to go and wage war with them, had they not made their peace with him by their deputies (e). There were Christians at Tyre, when St. Paul travelled through that place (f). It was a bishop's see in the second century. St. Jerom tells us (g), that in his time it was the most famous, and most beautiful city of Phænicia, and a mart for all the nations of the world. That antient father alledges this, as an objection against the fulfilling of the prophecy of Ezekiel (1), and solves it, by saying that the prophet's meaning is only this, That Tyre should no longer be the queen of nations, and enjoy the same authority and dominion it had under Hiram, and its other kings, but should be subject to the Chaldeans, Macedonians, Ptolemies, and at last to the Romans. Others suppose, that the prophet doth not there speak of the ruin of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar, and Alexander the Great, but of its final destruction, whereof the others were only so many fore-runners. And indeed Tyre is now only a poor village inhabited by a few fishermen. So that the prophecy is fulfilled, which declared, “That it should be a place for fishers to dry their nets on ().” Ezekiel may also be explained by the prophet Isaiah (k), who limits the destruction of Jerusalem to 70 years. But, without having recourse to explanations, that may seem to be farfetched; it is much more proper, with some learned authors (*), to interpret this prophecy concerning Old Tyre (1), which stood a little lower on the continent. This last was indeed destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, and never built again. The inhabitants finding themselves upon the very brink of destruction, took ship with their wives and children, carrying along with them their most valuable, goods, and came to the island of Tyre, where they built a city of the same name; so that Nebuchadnezzar, according to the prophecy (11), got nothing by his expedition. It is somewhat strange that St. Jerom (11), who hath recorded this particular, doth not make use of it to answer the objection he brings. We learn from Jofephus (0), that there were Jews at Tyre, who underwent very great hardships from the Tyrians. This city was formerly the metropolitan fee for the province of Phoenicia.

Among the chief cities of Phænicia, we must not forget to rank Tripoli, which was alio a fea-port town, and a bishop's fee. It is still in being, and in the hands of the Turks. There are some Christians in it belonging to the Greek church (t).

Above

(c) Acts xii. 20.

(f) Acts xxi. 4.
(3) Hieron. in Ezek. xxvi. xxvii. (b) See Ezek. xxvi. 14.
(1) Id. ibid.

(k) Isai. xxiii. 15.
(*) Sir J. Marham, Sæc. xvii. Le Clerc, Comp. Hist.

(1) i. e. Palætyrus. Alexander the Great used the best part of the materials of this city in making the isthmus, which now joins Tyre to the continent. See Q. Curt. I. iv. c. 2. (m) Ezek. xxix, 18.

(n) Hier. in Ezek. xxix. . (0) Jofeph. de Bell. Jud. 1. ij. c. 20.

(+) See the description of Tripoli, and mount Libanus, in Dandini's Voyage du Mont Liban.

Above Tyre on the sea-coast, stands Sidon (ll), named the Great in Joshua (p). This city, which is of a longer standing than Tyre, had been assigned to the tribe of Asher, but they could not drive out the Sidonians from thence (9). Josephus, who places it within the dominions of the Phoenicians, tells us, that the inhabitants shook off their con vernment, and submitted to Shalmeneser. Sidon is but occasionally men. tioned in the New Testament, and that is when St. Luke tells us that lo. lius the centurion gave St. Paul leave to go there and see his friends r. It was a bishop's fee.

Between Tyre and Sidon lies Sarepta, a little town, remarkable apca account of the miracles performed there by almighty God for the late of Elijah, and a widow woman belonging to that place (s). We learn from the Itinerary of Antonius the martyr, who is supposed to have lived in the fourth century, that there were Christians in his time at Sarepti, and that they pretended to shew there Elijah's chamber, and the widow's crufe. Another traveller (t) tells us, that they had built a church in the place where that miracle was done.

On the east of Sidon stands mount Libanus (u), so famous for its Ere cedars, and Anti-libanus, another mountain over against it, as you go, towards Damascus. Between these two mountains lies a large valles, of a considerable length, where Cola-Syria is commonly placed. The reckon several cities in this part of Syria, as Abila, from whence the province Abilene, which was bestowed by Agrippa upon Lysanius (x), seems to have taken its name. Syria. in Several countries of Asia went under the name of Syria, as

e Palestine for instance, and Mesopotamia, which is called Syria 0 Rivers, because it is between the Tigris and Euphrates. But by Syria "here we understand, that which lies on the north-east of Upper Galice,

and is called in scripture Syria of Damascus (y). David made himlei master of this province, and annexed it to the land of Israel (2). It was taken from Solomon by the Syrians of Zoba (a). Benhadad was king of Syria in the time of Elisha (6). This country fell afterwards into the hands of the Aflyrians, from whom Alexander the Great took it. After the death of this monarch, his dominions being divided among his chid officers, this province fell to Seleucus's share, and was for a considerable time enjoyed by his descendants, who from him were called Selezcides. It was at last conquered by Pompey, and thenceforward governed by Roman presidents, on whom the procurators of judea did depend. Damascus.

. The chief city of Syria is Damascus, more remarkable for ** St. Paul's conversion that happened near it (c), than for 27

thing

(11) It took its name from Sidon, the eldest of the fons of Canaan, Gen. 1. 15. (p) los. xix. 28.

(9) Jofeph. Antiq. l. v, 1. and ix, 11. (*) Acts xxvii. 3.

(0) 1 kings xvii. 9. 11) Phoc. Descript. Loc. Sanet.

(u) Libanus is derived from a Hebrew word fignifying white, because this mountain is covered with Inow. Jerem. xviii. 14.

(*) Luke iii. i, (v) 2 Sam. viii, 6. (2) 2 Sam. x.
(m) 1 Kings xi. 25. (%) a Kings vi., (c) Acts ix. 3, etc.

thing else that could be said in its commendation. It appears from Genesis (d) that it is a place of very great antiquity, since we read that Abraham pursued as far as that city, those kings which had taken his nephew Lot prisoner. Damascus is frequently mentioned in scripture under different ideas, sometimes as a noble and magnificent city, and at other times as a place full of pride, violence and idolatry. It was heretofore an episcopal feat, and the bishop thereof suffragan to the patriarch of Antioch.

It remains now that we should say a word or two concerning that part of Palestine which lies on the other Gde Jordan, beginning at the north. The most considerable city on that fide, at the upper end of the lake, is Cæsarea-Philippi, so called, because Philip the Tetrarch repaired, and beautified it with several stately buildings in honour of Tiberias Cæsar (*). It was before named Panæas, because situated near mount Panium. Jesus Christ often preached near this city; but it is no where said that he ever was in it. And therefore what is related concerning a statue of our Saviour's being set up in that city, in remembrance of his curing a woman there, that had been troubled with an issue of blood for twelve years (e), is all a fable. The miracle might indeed have been performed near the city, but it doth not appear that it was done therein. However it be, we are further told, that Julian beat down that statue, that the heathens put the Emperor's in its room, and that the Christians placed Jefus Christ's in their own church. Cæfarea Philippi is frequently mentioned in the gospel bistory. But the two Cæsareas lying near one another, it is no easy matter to know which is meant, when we find Cæsarea mentioned without any distinguishing appellation. Above Panæas, on the east of the lake, stands another city of

Julias. Gaulonitis, named Julias, built also by Philip the Tetrarch in honour of Julia, in the place of a village called Bethsaida (f). We have spoken of it elsewhere.

One of the most considerable places on the other side Jordan is Decapolis, that is, the country or territory of ten cities.

e Decapolis. It is frequently mentioned in the gospels (g), as well as in Josephus, and other profane authors. But it is no easy matter exactly to know which were these ten cities, because the learned are not agreed about it. It is even supposed that there were some of them on this side Jordan, as Scythopolis. We may safely rank among the cities of Decapolis, Gadara (h), which was situated on the other side Jordan between Gau

lonitis

(d) Gen. xiv. 15. For an account of the present state of Damascus, see Mr. Maundrell's travels.

(*) Joseph. Antiq. xviii. 3. Philip's dominions were Gaulonites, Ituræa, Trachonitis, Batanæa, and Peræa.

(e) Theophanes, who lived in the ninth century, relates this matter : bit the truth of it may justly be questioned, becaule that author was a great Nickler for image worship, and it is even lupposed that he died a martyr for it.

(f) Joseph, ubi fupra. (8) Matt. iv. 25. Mark v. 20. and vii. 31, (b) There was another Gadara near Azotus, on the west of Judea,

« PreviousContinue »