Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

The Arkites, descended from Arak; who had the cities of Esebon, Midian, and Petra 2. The Sinites, who descended from Sin, and were masters of the cities of Admah, Sodom, Gomorrah, Zeboim, and Zoar. in.

The Arvadites, from Arad; who possessed the cities of Arad, Jarmuth, Hebron, Adullam, and Eglon. . i . ,

The Zemarites from Zemar; in their territories were built Samariah, Tappuah, Tirzah, and Tanai.

The Hamathites from Hamath, who had the cities of Shimron, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Hamath. . To which likewise are added the PeTizzites, to whom belonged the cities of Amalek and Bozrah.. · 2. When the Israelites made themselves masters of the land of Canaan, since from them called the land of Israel, the most powerful people who inhabited it, were the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Girgashites." It was from them that Joshua gained it by.conquest, and he divided it into twelve parts, which the twelve tribes drew by lot. The tribe of Levi indeed possessed no lands: God assigned the Levites the tenths and first-fruits of the estates of their brethren : though nevertheless, they had some cities which were dispersed among the other tribes, and were therefore called Levitical cities; and some of them were cities of refuge, for those who should have killed any one unawares. But though the tribe of Levi did not partake of the division of the land, and this division therefore was only among eleyen of the sons of Jacob, yet

· was

was the Land of Israel divided into twelve portions. There were, I say, , twelve tribes, notwithstanding, who divided the land of Canaan among them, inasmuch as the children of the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, made two different tribes." Those of Reuben, Gad, and a part of that of Manasseh, were placed beyond Jordan, towards Arabia and Syria : the rest settled on this side of it. i.

The most considerable change which took place in this country was that which happened when the ten, tribes, were driven from it, and carried into captivity by the, Assyrians. The Cutheans, who were sent to possess their coun: try, dwelled chiefly in the tribe of Ephraim, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. The tribe of Judah continued in captivity at Babylon seventy years; and the Greeks afterwards made themselves masters of the empire of the east, and some of them, who were kings of Syria, reunited the greatest part of the country which the tribes of Israel possessed, to their crown; and by this means (the tribe of Judah remaining alone, after the others were dispersed) the names which the different parts of the Land of. Promise had re, ceived" upon the division Joshua made of it among the twelve tribes, were changed long before the birth of Jesus Christ.' · 3. The Romans divided this country into Pa. lestine and Phænicia. The former contained the antient country of the Philistines, the latter all the maritime cities as far as Libanus, and made a part of the kingdom of Syria.

. 4. In the time of Jesus Christ, the Land of Israel was divided into Judea, Samaria, Galilee,

and

· and Idumea ; and there were then several Galilees, as we shall see presently.

Judea contained a part of the antient tribe of Judah, and those of Benjamin, Dan, and Simeon. Its breadth was from Jordan to the city of Joppa.

Idumea, which was south of Judea, between Arabia and Egypt, had been conquered by Hircanus; and this high priest commanded the inhabitants either to be circumcised, or to leave their country; upon which they chose to be circumcised, and, from that time their country became a part of Judea ; so that it is not to be wondered at, if St. Mark reckons the Idumeans among those who came to Jesus Christ.* The name of Idumea, was at first given only to the country which was possessed by Esau, who in Hebrew is called Edom, that is, red. His first descendants were at first called Edomites, and afterwards Idumeans. We know of no king of Idumea but Esau, whom the Greeks call eru epos that is to say, red; and from hence the Red Sea, or Erithrea, has its name; and not from any particular colour, either in its water or its sand.

Samaria was at first only the name of a city, but it became afterwards that of a province. It contained the tribe of Ephraim, and the halftribe of Manasseh, which was on this side Jordan; so that it was to the north of Judea, and between the great Sea, Galilee, and Jordan; and there was therefore no going from Galilee to Jerusalem, without passing through this province.t Sichem, called by the Hebrews Sichar,

* Mark iii. 8. † John iv. 4.

[ocr errors][merged small]

was its capital, and was situated between the mountains Gerizim and Ebal. The name of Sichar was a term of reproach, which the Jews gave this city in allusion to that passage of Isaiah, Woe to the drunkards of Ephraim :* for the Hebrew word the prophet here makes use of, comes from Sachar, which signifies to get drunk, and St. John therefore calls this city by the name the Jews used to do. Near it was Jacob's well.

Josephus distinguishes between two Galilees, the upper and the lower : they both join to Syria and Phænicia, to the west ; Samaria and Scythopolis as far as Jordan, to the south; the towns of Hippus and Gadara, and the territory of Gaulonitis, to the east; and Tyre and its territory to the north; so that Galilee contained the tribes of Issachar, Zabulun, Asher and Naphthali, except Paneadis, which took its name from the city of Paneas, formerly Dan, and since called Cesarea-Philippi, situated at the foot of mount Libanus; all this latter territory is out of Galilee. This province had the happiness to receive the light of the Gospel the first of any; it contained a great number of very populous cities. Josephus, from whom we take this account, reckons up to the number of two hundred and four cities or villages : the least of which had above fifteen thousand inhabitants.

The country that the tribes of Reuben and Gad possessed beyond Jordan was called Perea, which signifies a distant province, because it was beyond Jordan. Its length, according to Josephus,t was from the city of Macheron, to

* Isaiah xxviii. 1. + Wars of the Jews, b. 3. c. 4.

that

that of Pella ; and its breadth, from Philadelphia, a country of the antient Moabites, to Jordan. Pella was to the north of it; Jordan to the west; the country of the Moabites to the south; and Arabia to the east. The country which extends towards Libanus northwards, and towards the mountains of Hermon eastwards near Damascus, was the portion of the half-tribe of Manasseh : but afterwards it comprehended Gaulonitis, so called from the city of Gaulon, (which Josephus makes to have been two cities, the upper and the lower ;*) Batanea, which was formerly the kingdom of Bashan ; and Trachonitis, which took its name from the craggy mountains with which it abounded : Strabo says it touched upon Celosyria. To the north lay Auranitis, which took its name from the city of Auran, which was situated between Cesarea and Damascus. And near it was Iturea, which joined to Celosyria, beyond mount Libanus. Pliny places Iturea in Celosyria itself; and Adricomius says, Iturea begins at Jordan, and extends all along Libanus, as far as to the mountains of Tyre and Sidon towards the west. So that they must be mistaken, who place Iturea in Perea. They found their opinion indeed, upon what the Scripture tells us of the Itureans having assisted the tribes of Reuben and Gad: but it does not from thence follow, that Iturea was in the middle of those tribes, or even in their neighbourhood. Perea was subject to Herod the Tetrarch ; and the Gospel tells us, that Iturea was a part of Philip's Tetrarchy:t

[ocr errors]

* Wars of the Jews, b. 4. c. 1. f Luke ifi. 1...

Ee2

But

« PoprzedniaDalej »