תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

he says, the merchants of Sidon who pass over the sea replenished it. This must have occurred about two centuries and a half before the building of Solomon's temple, if the letter of Hiram to the king of Israel, as related by Josephus, may be depended on, (Antiq. ch. ii. sec. 9.) But it is remarkable, that in the text of the Jewish historian, a passage occurs to which no allusion is made in either the book of Kings or Chronicles:-it is the concluding paragraph of Hiram's answer to Solomon—“But do thou take care to procure us corn for this timber, which we stand in need of, because we inhabit in an island ;” and the same circumstance is repeated in ch. v. sec. 3, of the same work. Now, it is well established, that Hiram was king of continental, not insular Tyre, and therefore I agree with Professor Whiston, that this is a “conjectural paraphrase” of Josephus.

Strabo tells us that, after Sidon, Tyre was the greatest and most ancient city of the Phænicians; he also remarks, that Sidon was more celebrated by the poets, and that Homer has not once mentioned Tyre. The fact of its not being mentioned by the great poet who is supposed to have been contemporaneous with Joshua, or the Judges, and to have flourished 1200 years before Christ, has been often repeated by those who dispute the antiquity of Tyre. But this is a mere negative proof; and there were no doubt many other cities of Phænicia of great note in his day that he does not so much as name. Besides, being but a Sidonian colony, distant only a few miles, having the same arts, the same trade, and the same language, he would naturally include it with the mother city. And Sir Isaac Newton, speaking of David's message to Hiram, “for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like the Sidonians ;” says, that “the new inhabitants of Tyre had not lost the name of Sidonians, nor had the old inhabitants, if there were any considerable number of them, gained the reputation of the new ones.” “The Sidonians being still possessed of the trade of the Mediterranean, as far westward as Greece and Lybia ; and the trade of the Red Sea being richer, the Tyrians traded on the Red Sea in conjunction with Solomon and the kings of Judah till after the Trojan war; and so also did the merchants of Aradus, Arvad, or Arpad; for in the Persian Gulf (Strabo i. 16) were two islands called Tyre and Aradus, which had temples like the Phænician ; and therefore the Tyrians and Aradians

364

THE HISTORY OF TYRE.

sailed thither, and beyond, to the coasts of India, while the Sidonians frequented the Mediterranean; and hence it is that Homer celebrates Sidon, and makes no mention of Tyre. But at length, (2 Chron. xxi. 8, 10, and 2 Kings, viii. 20, 22,) in the reign of Jehoram, king of Judah, Edom revolted from the dominion of Judah, and made itself a king; and the trade of Judah and Tyre upon the Red Sea being thereby interrupted, the Tyrians built ships for merchandise upon the Mediterranean, and began there to make long voyages to places not yet frequented by the Sidonians ; some of them going to the coasts of Afric, beyond the Syrtes, and building Adrymetum, Carthage, Leptis, Utica, and Capsa ; and others going to the coast of Spain, and building Carteia, Gades, and Tartessus, and others going further, to the Fortunate Isles, and to Britain, and Thule.”—Sir I. Newton's Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms, p. 107.

This great chronologist dates the erection of this colony during the reign of David, (B. c. 1048,) who having conquered and dispersed the Edomites, some of them fled to the Mediterranean coast, fortified Azoth, and took Sidon; and the Sidonians who fled built Tyre, and made Abibalus king. “These Edomites carry to all places their arts and sciences, amongst which were their navigation, astronomy, and letters; for in Idumea they had constellations and letters before the days of Job, who mentions them; and there Moses learnt to write the law in a book.” would hardly expect a city to have arisen to the eminence, wealth, and splendour that it did in the days of David, if only commenced during his reign. And this is further shown by its being spoken of in Joshua, as the “strong city Tzor,” lying between great Sidon and Achzib, the present town of Zib.

Thus it was included in the fifth lot, that was portioned to Asher; the most northern part of the land, bounded by Issachar on the S. E., Manasseh on the S., and Naphtali on the E. From this we learn that the Jews had never complete possession of the whole promised land. The promise was made to Abraham ; Joshua surveyed and measured out the land; but it remains for the Great Restorer of Israel to put them in possession of the inheritance promised in Sichem.

Quintus Curtius writes, that "it had been built by Angenor, and long held the trident, not only of the neighbouring sea, but of all the seas on which its fleets appeared. If we credit tradition,

Yet one

[ocr errors]

DISTINCTION OF THE TWO CITIES.

365

the Tyrians were the first people that taught or acquired alphabetical writing;” and speaking of their numerous colonies, he adds, “I believe that, unrestrained in their naval enterprises, and exploring countries unknown to the rest of mankind, the Tyrians selected these remote seats for their youths, when the population had multiplied to excess; or (for this allegation has been transmitted to us) because their native country was subject to earthquakes."- Quintus Curtius Rufus, B. iv. cap. iv.

We must now bear in mind that there were two cities of this name, both of which are mentioned in profane as well as sacred history; and in reading the prophecies we must carefully distinguish one from the other. Sometimes Palæ Tyrus, or the original city built by the Sidonians, and situated on the continent, is the one alluded to, particularly where it is represented as besieged with horses, and chariots, and forts, and engines of war. This was the city taken by the Chaldeans; in the prophecies concerning which Insular Tyre is never included, although it seems to have been co-existent with the other, at least at the time of its invasion; but under the form of a port, haven, or marina, in like manner as the Piræus was connected with ancient Athens, or as harbours are with several modern cities. In one or two instances it would appear that both cities were included in the denunciation ; but Insular Tyre is particularly specified as an island situated in the midst of the sea. This latter is that which occupied the site of the present Peninsular Tyre, the former being some distance inland.

The authority of Josephus on points of chronology is so dubious, that he cannot be looked to for an accurate opinion, especially as he mixes up the dates and histories of the two cities. According to him, Tyre was built 1265, B. C.

Herodotus, who flourished 413 B. C., states, that he was informed by the priests that the temple of Hercules* was in

* The discussion as to the origin of the Tyrian Hercules, who was, no doubt, the first who bore that name, would be out of place in a warrative such as this; but I cannot help remarking on the singularity of the circumstance, that Ashtaroth, Astarte, or the Syrian Venus, whose worship is supposed to have been in use at Tyre, is the only person to whom the title of “Queen of Heaven" is applied in the whole of the Scriptures.—See Jeremiah xliv. 17; Baruch iv. 43; Herodotus, Clio, cxcix.; also Drummond's Origines, vol. iii. p. 228. It is curious, that the scallop shell, assumed as the badge of the palmer and the ancient pilgrim, was the emblem of this heathen goddess.

366

CONNEXION OF TYRE AND ISRAEL.

existence since the time of the first building of the city, (i.e. Palæ Tyrus,) 2300 years before ;-or A.m. 1290, and B.c. 2710. But the Tyrians would naturally be inclined to add to the antiquity of their city; and to this the prophet may refer when he says ironically—“Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient

days ?

Bishop Newton quotes from the fragments of Santhoniathon, the Phænician historian, as to its antiquity; and this writer is supposed by Bochart and others to have flourished in the time of Gideon, or 1256, B. C.

The next record of Tyre occurs in 2 Samuel, where we are informed, that after David expelled the Jebusites, and established himself in the fortress of Zion, “ * Hiram, king of Tyre, sent messengers to David, and cedar-trees, and carpenters, and masons (or as it is in the original, hewers of the stone of the wall), and they built David an house.” (2 Sam. v. 11.) This is supposed to have taken place, A.M. 2952, B.c. 1048, or after the departure from Egypt, 443 years, and 272 before the first Olympiad. It is mentioned when David numbered the people under the name of the “stronghold (or fortress) of Tyre.” During the early part of its history, its inhabitants appear to have maintained most friendly intercourse with the Jews, and it was not one of the cities attacked, when Joshua led victorious Israel over the Jordan. In the year 1004, B.C., Tyre is again introduced to our notice, when Solomon enters into a league with their king Hiram,* to furnish workmen to beautify the temple.

The first siege of Palæ Tyrus on record, is that in which Shalmanazar, king of Assyria, warred against the Tyrians with a fleet of sixty ships and eight hundred rowers; yet the Tyrian navy, then consisting of only twelve ships, obtained the victory, and made 500 men prisoners, on which Shalmanazar returned home to Nineveh, leaving a land force before Tyre, (evidently the continental city,) where they lay five years, and then raised the siege. This is supposed to have taken place B. c. 717, during the reign of Hezekiah, and in the lifetime of Isaiah, who prophesied that it should be taken, not, however, by the army then before it, but by

* Hiram, a patronymic name, appears to have been the general title for the kings of Tyre, similar to that of the Pharaohs and Ptolemies of Egypt.

THE VARIOUS SIEGES OF TYRE.

367

the Chaldeans. This prophecy, which was repeated in still more awful terms by Ezekiel, was fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar. It is related by Menander, who translated the Tyrian archives into the Greek language, that the Assyrian king placed guards over the rivers and aqueducts, to prevent the Tyrians drawing water ; but "still the Tyrians sustained the siege, and drank of the water which they had out of the wells they dug"-in all probability, the present wells or cisterns at Marshuk.*

It is mentioned by Jeremiah (xxvii. 3, 6) and by Amos (i. 9, 10) among the cities that should fall before the Chaldean conqueror. He besieged it in the reign of Ithobal, set engines against it, broke down its towers, and took it, after a siege of thirteen years; fifteen years after the captivity, and B. C. 573. When the Tyrians saw no hope from resistance, they fled with all their wealth, according to St. Jerome-on the authority of a Syrian historian whose works have been lost to the islands; some say to Carthage, but it is generally supposed that they took refuge on the neighbouring island, which other writers affirm was then first built upon ; but Vitringa proves that it existed as a port even at that time.

How beautifully the inspired poet describes the scenes that were to occur, and we know did take place upon the overthrow of this great seaport of the Levant, when the cry of the pilots rung through the suburbs, and the mariners that stood upon the shore wept in bitterness of soul over the destruction of the hearths and homes of their beloved city.

Nebuchadnezzar sacked the city, but was disappointed in the spoils he expected to gain, as the inhabitants carried all their valuable effects to the island previous to abandoning the city; however, in his subsequent conquest of Egypt he obtained a recompense for the disappointment he experienced at Tyre. Thus ended Palæ, or Old, or Continental Tyre; but it was still considered part of the city of Tyre, and Herodotus speaks of it as continuing to possess the temple of Hercules, though it must have been regarded as of little importance, from the Tyrians allowing the Grecian soldiers to go and worship there.

* Dr. Robinson, in his “ Biblical researches in Palestine," appears to have fallen into the common error of supposing that at this period the chief city was upon the island. See vol. III. p. 402.

« הקודםהמשך »