<347>

CHAP. VI.

Of the Empire of the Persians.

Cyrus having translated the Monarchy to the Persians, and Reigned seven years, was succeeded by his son Cambyses, who Reigned seven years and five months, and in the three last years of his Reign subdued Egypt: he was succeeded by Mardus, or Smerdis the Magus, who feigned himself to be Smerdis the brother of Cambyses.

Smerdis Reigned seven months, and in the eighth month being discovered, was slain, with a great number of the Magi; so the Persians called their Priests, and in memory of this kept an anniversary day, which they called, The slaughter of the Magi. Then Reigned Maraphus and Artaphernes a few days, and after them Darius the son of Hystaspes, the son of Arsamenes, of the family of Achæmenes, a Persian, being chosen King by the neighing of his horse: before he Reigned his [1] name was Ochus. He seems on this occasion to have reformed the constitution of the Magi, making his father Hystaspes their Master, or Archimagus; <348> for Porphyrius tells us, [2] that the Magi were a sort of men so venerable amongst the Persians, that Darius the son of Hystaspes wrote on the monument of his father, amongst other things, that he had been the Master of the Magi. In this reformation of the Magi, Hystaspes was assisted by Zoroastres: so Agathias; The Persians at this day say simply that Zoroastres lived under Hystaspes: and Apuleius; Pythagoram, aiunt, inter captivos Cambysæ Regis [ex Ægypto Babylonem abductos] doctores habuisse Persarum Magos, & præcipue Zoroastrem, omnis divini arcani Antistitem. By Zoroastres's conversing at Babylon he seems to have borrowed his skill from the Chaldæans; for he was skilled in Astronomy, and used their year: so Q. Curtius; [3] Magi proximi patrium carmen canebant: Magos trecenti & sexaginta quinque juvenes sequebantur, puniceis amiculis velati, diebus totius anni pares numero: and Ammianus; Scientiæ multa ex Chaldæorum arcanis Bactrianus addidit Zoroastres. From his conversing in several places he is reckoned a Chaldæan, an Assyrian, a Mede, a Persian, a Bactrian. Suidas calls him [4] a Perso-Mede, and saith that he was the most skilful of Astronomers, and first author of the name of the Magi received among them. This skill in Astronomy he had doubtless from the Chaldæans, but Hystaspes travelled <349> into India, to be instructed by the Gymnosophists: and these two conjoyning their skill and authority, instituted a new set of Priests or Magi, and instructed them in such ceremonies and mysteries of Religion and Philosophy as they thought fit to establish for the Religion and Philosophy of that Empire; and these instructed others, 'till from a small number they grew to a great multitude: for Suidas tells us, that Zoroastres gave a beginning to the name of the Magi: and Elmacinus; that he reformed the religion of the Persians, which before was divided into many sects: and Agathias; that he introduced the religion of the Magi among the Persians, changing their ancient sacred rites, and bringing in several opinions: and Ammianus [5] tells us, Magiam esse divinorum incorruptissimum cultum, cujus scientiæ seculis priscis multa ex Chaldæorum arcanis Bactrianus addidit Zoroastres: deinde Hystaspes Rex prudentissimus Darii pater; qui quum superioris Indiæ secreta fidentius penetraret, ad nemorosam quamdam venerat solitudinem, cujus tranquillis silentiis præcelsa Brachmanorum ingenia potiuntur; eorumque monitu rationes mundani motus & siderum, purosque sacrorum ritus quantum colligere potuit eruditus, ex his quæ didicit, aliqua sensibus Magorum infudit; quæ illi cum disciplinis præsentiendi futura, per suam quisque progeniem, posteris <350> ætatibus tradunt. Ex eo per sæcula multa ad præsens, una eademque prosapia multitudo creata, Deorum cultibus dedicatur. Feruntque, si justum est credi, etiam ignem cœlitus lapsum apud se sempiternis foculis custodiri, cujus portionem exiguam ut faustam præisse quondam Asiaticis Regibus dicunt: Hujus originis apud veteres numerus erat exilis, ejusque mysteriis Persicæ potestates in faciendis rebus divinis solemniter utebantur. Eratque piaculum aras adire, vel hostiam contrectare, antequam Magus conceptis precationibus libamenta diffunderet præcursoria. Verum aucti paullatim, in amplitudinem gentis solidæ concesserunt & nomen: villasque inhabitantes nulla murorum firmitudine communitas & legibus suis uti permissi, religionis respectu sunt honorati. So this Empire was at first composed of many nations, each of which had hitherto its own religion: but now Hystaspes and Zoroastres collected what they conceived to be best, established it by law, and taught it to others, and those to others, 'till their disciples became numerous enough for the Priesthood of the whole Empire; and instead of those various old religions, they set up their own institutions in the whole Empire, much after the manner that Numa contrived and instituted the religion of the Romans: and this religion of the Persian Empire was composed partly of the <351> institutions of the Chaldæans, in which Zoroastres was well skilled; and partly of the institutions of the ancient Brachmans, who are supposed to derive even their name from the Abrahamans, or sons of Abraham, born of his second wife Keturah, instructed by their father in the worship of One God without images, and sent into the east, where Hystaspes was instructed by their successors. About the same time with Hystapes and Zoroastres, lived also Ostanes, another eminent Magus: Pliny places him under Darius Hystaspis, and Suidas makes him the follower of Zoroastres: he came into Greece with Xerxes, and seems to be the Otanes of Herodotus, who discovered Smerdis, and formed the conspiracy against him, and for that service was honoured by the conspirators, and exempt from subjection to Darius.

In the sacred commentary of the Persian rites these words are ascribed to Zoroastres; [6]Θεὸς ἔστι κεφαλὴν ἔχων ἵερακος. ὁυτὸς ἐστιν ὁ πρωτος, ἄφθαρτος, ἀίδιος, ἀγὲνητος, ἀμερὴς, ἀνομοιότατος, ἡνίοχος παντὸς καλου, ἀδωροδόκητος, ἀγαθων ἀγαθώτατος, φρονίμων φρονιμώτατος· ἔστι δὲ καὶ πατὴρ ἐυνομίας καὶ δικαιοσύνης, ἀυτοδίδακτος, φυσικὸς, καὶ τέλειος, καὶ σοφὸς, καὶ ἱερου φυσικου μόνος ἑυρετής. <352> Deus est accipitris capite: hic est primus, incorruptibilis, æternus, ingenitus, sine partibus, omnibus aliis dissimillimus, moderator omnis boni, donis non capiendus, bonorum optimus, prudentium prudentissimus, legum æquitatis ac justitiæ parens, ipse sui doctor, physicus & perfectus & sapièns & sacri physici unicus inventor: and the same was taught by Ostanes, in his book called Octateuchus. This was the Antient God of the Persian Magi, and they worshipped him by keeping a perpetual fire for Sacrifices upon an Altar in the center of a round area, compassed with a ditch, without any Temple in the place, and without paying any worship to the dead, or any images. But in a short time they declined from the worship of this Eternal, Invisible God, to worship the Sun, and the Fire, and dead men, and images, as the Egyptians, Phœnicians, and Chaldæans had done before: and from these superstitions, and the pretending to prognostications, the words Magi and Magia, which signify the Priests and Religion of the Persians, came to be taken in an ill sense.

Darius, or Darab, began his Reign in spring, in the sixteenth year of the Empire of the Persians, Anno Nabonass. 227, and Reigned 36 years, by the unanimous consent of all Chronologers. In the second year of his Reign the <353> Jews began to build the Temple, by the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah, and finished it in the sixth. He fought the Greeks at Marathon in October, Anno Nabonass. 258, ten years before the battel at Salamis, and died in the fifth year following, in the end of winter, or beginning of spring, Anno Nabonass. 263. The years of Cambyses and Darius are determined by three Eclipses of the Moon recorded by Ptolemy, so that they cannot be disputed: and by those Eclipses, and the Prophesies of Haggai and Zechariah compared together, it is manifest that the years of Darius began after the 24th day of the eleventh Jewish month, and before the 24th day of April, and by consequence in March or April.

Xerxes, Achschirosch, Achsweros, or Oxyares, succeeded his father Darius, and spent the first five years of his Reign, and something more, in preparations for his Expedition against the Greeks: and this Expedition was in the time of the Olympic Games, in the beginning of the first year of the 75th Olympiad, Callias being Archon at Athens; as all Chronologers agree. The great number of people which he drew out of Susa to invade Greece, made Æschylus the Poet say[7]:

Τὸ δ᾽ ἄστυ Σούσων ἐξεκείνωσεν πεσόν.

It emptied the falling city of Susa.

<354>

The passage of his army over the Hellespont began in the end of the fourth year of the 74th Olympiad, that is in June, Anno Nabonass. 268, and took up a month; and in autumn, after three months more, on the 16th day of the month Munychion, at the full moon, was the battel at Salamis; and a little after that an Eclipse of the Moon, which by the calculation fell on Octob. 2. His first year therefore began in spring, Anno Nabonass. 263, as above: he Reigned almost twenty one years by the consent of all writers, and was murdered by Artabanus, captain of his guards; towards the end of winter, Anno Nabonass. 284.

Artabanus Reigned seven months, and upon suspicion of treason against Xerxes, was slain by Artaxerxes Longimanus, the son of Xerxes.

Artaxerxes began his Reign in the autumnal half year, between the 4th and 9th Jewish months, Nehem. i. 1. & ii. 1, & v. 14. and Ezra vii. 7, 8, 9. and his 20th year fell in with the 4th year of the 83d Olympiad, as Africanus [8] informs us, and therefore his first year began within a month or two of the autumnal Equinox, Anno Nabonass. 284. Thucydides relates that the news of his death came to Athens in winter, in the seventh year of the Peloponnesian war, that is An. 4. Olymp. 88. and by the <355> Canon he Reigned forty one years, including the Reign of his predecessor Artabanus, and died about the middle of winter, Anno Nabonass. 325 ineunte: the Persians now call him Ardschir and Bahaman, the Oriental Christians Artahascht.

Then Reigned Xerxes, two months, and Sogdian seven months, and Darius Nothus, the bastard son of Artaxerxes, nineteen years wanting four or five months; and Darius died in summer, a little after the end of the Peloponnesian war, and in the same Olympic year, and by consequence in May or June, Anno Nabonass. 344. The 13th year of his Reign was coincident in winter with the 20th of the Peloponnesian war, and the years of that war are stated by indisputable characters, and agreed on by all Chronologers: the war began in spring, Ann. 1. Olymp. 87, lasted 27 years, and ended Apr. 14. An. 4. Olymp. 93.

The next King was Artaxerxes Mnemon, the son of Darius: he Reigned forty six years, and died Anno Nabonass. 390. Then Reigned Artaxerxes Ochus twenty one years; Arses, or Arogus, two years, and Darius Codomannus four years, unto the battel of Arbela, whereby the Persian Monarchy was translated to the Greeks, Octob. 2. An. Nabonass. 417; but Darius was not slain untill a year and some months after.

<356>

I have hitherto stated the times of this Monarchy out of the Greek and Latin writers: for the Jews knew nothing more of the Babylonian and Medo-Persian Empires than what they have out of the sacred books of the old Testament; and therefore own no more Kings, nor years of Kings, than they can find in those books: the Kings they reckon are only Nebuchadnezzar, Evilmerodach, Belshazzar, Darius the Mede, Cyrus, Ahasuerus, and Darius the Persian; this last Darius they reckon to be the Artaxerxes, in whose Reign Ezra and Nehemiah came to Jerusalem, accounting Artaxerxes a common name of the Persian Kings: Nebuchadnezzar, they say, Reigned forty five years, 2 King. xxv. 27. Belshazzar three years, Dan. viii. 1. and therefore Evilmerodach twenty three, to make up the seventy years captivity; excluding the first year of Nebuchadnezzar, in which they say the Prophesy of the seventy years was given. To Darius the Mede they assign one year, or at most but two, Dan. ix. 1. to Cyrus three years incomplete, Dan. x. 1. to Ahasuerus twelve years 'till the casting of Pur, Esth. iii. 7. one year more 'till the Jews smote their enemies, Esth. ix. 1. and one year more 'till Esther and Mordecai wrote the second letter for the keeping of Purim, Esth. ix. 29. in all fourteen <357> years: and to Darius the Persian they allot thirty two or rather thirty six years, Nehem. xiii. 6. so that the Persian Empire from the building of the Temple in the second year of Darius Hystaspis, flourished only thirty four years, until Alexander the great overthrew it: thus the Jews reckon in their greater Chronicle, Seder Olam Rabbah. Josephus, out of the sacred and other books, reckons only these Kings of Persia; Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius Hystaspis, Xerxes, Artaxerxes, and Darius: and taking this Darius, who was Darius Nothus, to be one and the same King with the last Darius, whom Alexander the great overcame; by means of this reckoning he makes Sanballat and Jaddua alive when Alexander the great overthrew the Persian Empire. Thus all the Jews conclude the Persian Empire with Artaxerxes Longimanus, and Darius Nothus, allowing no more Kings of Persia, than they found in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah; and referring to the Reigns of this Artaxerxes, and this Darius, whatever they met with in profane history concerning the following Kings of the same names: so as to take Artaxerxes Longimanus, Artaxerxes Mnemon and Artaxerxes Ochus, for one and the same Artaxerxes; and Darius Nothus, and Darius Codomannus, for one and the same Darius; and Jaddua, and Simeon <358> Justus, for one and the same High-Priest. Those Jews who took Herod for the Messiah, and were thence called Herodians, seem to have grounded their opinion upon the seventy weeks of years, which they found between the Reign of Cyrus and that of Herod: but afterwards, in applying the Prophesy to Theudas, and Judas of Galilee, and at length to Barchochab, they seem to have shortned the Reign of the Kingdom of Persia. These accounts being very imperfect, it was necessary to have recourse to the records of the Greeks and Latines, and to the Canon recited by Ptolemy, for stating the times of this Empire. Which being done, we have a better ground for understanding the history of the Jews set down in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, and adjusting it; for this history having suffered by time, wants some illustration: and first I shall state the history of the Jews under Zerubbabel, in the Reigns of Cyrus, Cambyses, and Darius Hystaspis.

This history is contained partly in the three first chapters of the book of Ezra, and first five verses of the fourth; and partly in the book of Nehemiah, from the 5th verse of the seventh chapter to the 9th verse of the twelfth: for Nehemiah copied all this out of the Chronicles of the Jews, written before his days; as may ap <359> pear by reading the place, and considering that the Priests and Levites who sealed the Covenant on the 24th day of the seventh month, Nehem. x. were the very same with those who returned from captivity in the first year of Cyrus, Nehem. xii. and that all those who returned sealed it: this will be perceived by the following comparison of their names.

<360>
The Priests who returned. The Priests who sealed.
Nehemiah. Ezra ii. 2. Nehemiah.
Serajah. Serajah.
* Azariah.
Jeremiah. Jeremiah.
Ezra. Ezra. Nehem. 8.
* Pashur.
Amariah. Amariah.
Malluch: or Melicu, Neh. xii. 2, 14. Malchijah.
Hattush. Hattush.
Shechaniah or Shebaniah, Neh. xii. 3, 14. Shebaniah.
* Malluch.
Rehum: or Harim, ib. 3, 15. Harim.
Meremoth. Meremoth.
Iddo. Obadiah or Obdia.
* Daniel.
Ginnetho: or Ginnethon, Neh. xii. 4, 16. Ginnethon.
* Baruch
* Meshullam
Abijah. Abijah.
Miamin. Mijamin.
Maadiah. Maaziah.
Bilgah. Bilgai.
Shemajah. Shemajah.
Jeshua. Jeshua.
Binnui. Binnui.
Kadmiel. Kadmiel.
Sherebiah. שרביה. Shebaniah. שבניה.
Judah: or Hodaviah, Ezra ii. 40. & iii. 9. Ωδουια; Septuag. Hodijah.

The Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, and Hodaviah or Judah, here mentioned, are reckoned chief fathers among the people who returned with Zerubbabel, Ezra ii. 40. and they assisted as well in laying the foundation of the Temple, Ezra iii. 9. as in reading the law, and making and sealing the covenant, Nehem. viii. 7. & ix. 5. & x. 9, 10.

Comparing therefore the books of Ezra and Nehemiah together; the history of the Jews under Cyrus, Cambyses, and Darius Hystaspis, is that <361> they returned from captivity under Zerubbabel, in the first year of Cyrus, with the Holy Vessels and a commission to build the Temple; and came to Jerusalem and Judah, every one to his city, and dwelt in their cities untill the seventh month; and then coming to Jerusalem, they first built the Altar, and on the first day of the seventh month began to offer the daily burnt-offerings, and read in the book of the Law, and they kept a solemn fast, and sealed a Covenant; and thenceforward the Rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem, and the rest of the people cast lots, to dwell one in ten at Jerusalem, and the rest in the cities of Judah: and in the second year of their coming, in the second month, which was six years before the death of Cyrus, they laid the foundation of the Temple; but the adversaries of Judah troubled them in building, and hired counsellors against them all the days of Cyrus, and longer, even until the Reign of Darius King of Persia: but in the second year of his Reign, by the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah, they returned to the work; and by the help of a new decree from Darius, finished it on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of his Reign, and kept the Dedication with joy, and the Passover, and Feast of Unleavened Bread.

<362>

Now this Darius was not Darius Nothus, but Darius Hystaspis, as I gather by considering that the second year of this Darius was the seventieth of the indignation against Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, which indignation commenced with the invasion of Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, in the ninth year of Zedekiah, Zech. i. 12. Jer. xxxiv. 1, 7, 22. & xxxix. 1. and that the fourth year of this Darius, was the seventieth from the burning of the Temple in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, Zech. vii. 5. & Jer. lii. 12. both which are exactly true of Darius Hystaspis: and that in the second year of this Darius there were men living who had seen the first Temple, Hagg. ii. 3. whereas the second year of Darius Nothus was 166 years after the desolation of the Temple and City. And further, if the finishing of the Temple be deferred to the sixth year of Darius Nothus, Jeshua and Zerubbabel must have been the one High-Priest, the other Captain of the people an hundred and eighteen years together, besides their ages before; which is surely too long: for in the first year of Cyrus the chief Priests were Serajah, Jeremiah, Ezra, Amariah, Malluch, Shechaniah, Rehum, Meremoth, Iddo, Ginnetho, Abijah, Miamin, Maadiah, Bilgah, Shemajah, Joiarib, Jedaiah, Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah: these <363> were Priests in the days of Jeshua, and the eldest sons of them all, Merajah the son of Serajah, Hananiah the son of Jeremiah, Meshullam the son of Ezra, &c. were chief Priests in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua: Nehem. xii. and therefore the High Priest-hood of Jeshua was but of an ordinary length.

I have now stated the history of the Jews in the Reigns of Cyrus, Cambyses, and Darius Hystaspis: it remains that I state their history in the Reigns of Xerxes, and Artaxerxes Longimanus: for I place the history of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Reign of this Artaxerxes, and not in that of Artaxerxes Mnemon: for during all the Persian Monarchy, until the last Darius mentioned in Scripture, whom I take to be Darius Nothus, there were but six High-Priests in continual succession of father and son, namely, Jeshua, Joiakim, Eliashib, Joiada, Jonathan, Jaddua, and the seventh High-Priest was Onias the son of Jaddua, and the eighth was Simeon Justus, the son of Onias, and the ninth was Eleazar the younger brother of Simeon. Now, at a mean reckoning, we should allow about 27 or 28 years only to a Generation by the eldest sons of a family, one Generation with another, as above; but if in this case we allow 30 years to a Generation, and may fur <364> ther suppose that Jeshua, at the return of the captivity in the first year of the Empire of the Persians, was about 30 or 40 years old; Joiakim will be of about that age in the 16th year of Darius Hystaspis, Eliashib in the tenth year of Xerxes, Joiada in the 19th year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, Jonathan in the 8th year of Darius Nothus, Jaddua in the 19th year of Artaxerxes Mnemon, Onias in the 3d year of Artaxerxes Ochus, and Simeon Justus two years before the death of Alexander the Great: and this reckoning, as it is according to the course of nature, so it agrees perfectly well with history; for thus Eliashib might be High-Priest, and have grandsons, before the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, Ezra x. 6. and without exceeding the age which many old men attain unto, continue High-Priest 'till after the 32d year of that King, Nehem. xiii. 6, 7. and his grandson Johanan, or Jonathan, might have a chamber in the Temple in the seventh year of that King, Ezra x. 6. and be High-Priest before Ezra wrote the sons of Levi in the book of Chronicles; Nehem. xii. 23. and in his High-Priesthood, he might slay his younger brother Jesus in the Temple, before the end of the Reign of Artaxerxes Mnemon: Joseph. Antiq. l. xi. c. 7. and Jaddua might be High-Priest before the <365> death of Sanballat, Joseph. ib. and before the death of Nehemiah, Nehem. xii. 22. and also before the end of the Reign of Darius Nothus; and he might thereby give occasion to Josephus and the later Jews, who took this King for the last Darius, to fall into an opinion that Sanballat, Jaddua, and Manasseh the younger brother of Jaddua, lived till the end of the Reign of the last Darius: Joseph. Antiq. l. xi. c. 7, 8. and the said Manasseh might marry Nicaso the daughter of Sanballat, and for that offence be chased from Nehemiah, before the end of the Reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus; Nehem. xiii. 28. Joseph. Antiq. l. xi. c. 7, 8. and Sanballat might at that time be Satrapa of Samaria, and in the Reign of Darius Nothus, or soon after, build the Temple of the Samaritans in Mount Gerizim, for his son-in-law Manasseh, the first High-Priest of that Temple; Joseph. ib. and Simeon Justus might be High-Priest when the Persian Empire was invaded by Alexander the Great, as the Jews represent, Joma fol. 69. 1. ,Liber Juchasis. R. Gedaliah, &c. and for that reason he might be taken by some of the Jews for the same High-Priest with Jaddua, and be dead some time before the book of Ecclesiasticus was writ in Hebrew at Jerusalem, by the grandfather of him, who in the 38th year of <366> the Egyptian Æra of Dionysius, that is in the 77th year after the death of Alexander the Great, met with a copy of it in Egypt, and there translated it into Greek: Ecclesiast. ch. 50. & in Prolog. and Eleazar, the younger brother and successor of Simeon, might cause the Law to be translated into Greek, in the beginning of the Reign of Ptolemæus Philadelphus: Joseph. Antiq. l. xii. c. 2. and Onias the son of Simeon Justus, who was a child at his father's death, and by consequence was born in his father's old age, might be so old in the Reign of Ptolemæus Euergetes, as to have his follies excused to that King, by representing that he was then grown childish with old age. Joseph. Antiq. l. xii. c. 4. In this manner the actions of all these High-Priests suit with the Reigns of the Kings, without any straining from the course of nature: and according to this reckoning the days of Ezra and Nehemiah fall in with the Reign of the first Artaxerxes; for Ezra and Nehemiah flourished in the High Priesthood of Eliashib, Ezra x. 6. Nehem. iii. 1. & xiii. 4, 28. But if Eliashib, Ezra and Nehemiah be placed in the Reign of the second Artaxerxes, since they lived beyond the 32d year of Artaxerxes, Nehem. xiii. 28, there must be at least 160 years allotted to the three first High-Priests, and <367> but 42 to the four or five last, a division too unequal: for the High Priesthoods of Jeshua, Joiakim, and Eliashib, were but of an ordinary length, that of Jeshua fell in with one Generation of the chief Priests, and that of Joiakim with the next Generation, as we have shewed already; and that of Eliashib fell in with the third Generation: for at the dedication of the wall, Zechariah the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, was one of the Priests, Nehem. xii. 35, and Jonathan and his father Shemaiah, were contemporaries to Joiakim and his father Jeshua: Nehem. xii. 6, 18. I observe further that in the first year of Cyrus, Jeshua, and Bani, or Binnui, were chief fathers of the Levites, Nehem. vii. 7. 15. & Ezra ii. 2. 10. & iii. 9. and that Jozabad the son of Jeshua, and Noadiah the son of Binnui, were chief Levites in the seventh year of Artaxerxes, when Ezra came to Jerusalem, Ezra viii. 33. so that this Artaxerxes began his Reign before the end of the second Generation: and that he Reigned in the time of the third Generation is confirmed by two instances more; for Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabeel, and Azariah the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, were fathers of their houses at the repairing of the wall; Nehem. iii. 4, 23. and their grandfathers, <368> Meshazabeel and Hananiah, subscribed the covenant in the Reign of Cyrus: Nehem. x. 21, 23. Yea Nehemiah, this same Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah, was the Tirshatha, and subscribed it, Nehem. x. 1, & viii. 9, & Ezra ii. 2, 63. and therefore in the 32d year of Artaxerxes Mnemon, he will be above 180 years old, an age surely too great. The same may be said of Ezra, if he was that Priest and Scribe who read the Law, Nehem. viii. for he is the son of Serajah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, the son of Shallum, &c. Ezra vii. 1. and this Serajah went into captivity at the burning of the Temple, and was there slain, 1 Chron. vi. 14. 2 King. xxv. 18. and from his death, to the twentieth year of Artaxerxes Mnemon, is above 200 years; an age too great for Ezra.

I consider further that Ezra, chap. iv. names Cyrus, *, Darius, Ahasuerus, and Artaxerxes, in continual order, as successors to one another, and these names agree to Cyrus, *, Darius Hystaspis, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes Longimanus, and to no other Kings of Persia: some take this Artaxerxes to be not the Successor, but the Predecessor of Darius Hystaspis, not considering that in his Reign the Jews were busy in building the City and the Wall, Ezra iv. 12. and by consequence had finished the Temple before. Ezra <369> describes first how the people of the land hindered the building of the Temple all the days of Cyrus, and further, untill the Reign of Darius; and after the Temple was built, how they hindered the building of the city in the Reign of Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes, and then returns back to the story of the Temple in the Reign of Cyrus and Darius; and this is confirmed by comparing the book of Ezra with the book of Esdras: for if in the book of Ezra you omit the story of Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes, and in that of Esdras you omit the same story of Artaxerxes, and that of the three wise men, the two books will agree: and therefore the book of Esdras, if you except the story of the three wise men, was originally copied from authentic writings of Sacred Authority. Now the story of Artaxerxes, which, with that of Ahasuerus, in the book of Ezra interrupts the story of Darius, doth not interrupt it in the book of Esdras, but is there inserted into the story of Cyrus, between the first and second chapter of Ezra; and all the rest of the story of Cyrus, and that of Darius, is told in the book of Esdras in continual order, without any interruption: so that the Darius which in the book of Ezra precedes Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes, and the Darius which in the same book follows them, is, by the book of Esdras, one <370> and the same Darius; and I take the book of Esdras to be the best interpreter of the book of Ezra: so the Darius mentioned between Cyrus and Ahasuerus, is Darius Hystaspis; and therefore Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes who succeed him, are Xerxes and Artaxerxes Longimanus; and the Jews who came up from Artaxerxes to Jerusalem, and began to build the city and the wall, Ezra iv. 13. are Ezra with his companions: which being understood, the history of the Jews in the Reign of these Kings will be as follows.

After the Temple was built, and Darius Hystaspis was dead, the enemies of the Jews in the beginning of the Reign of his successor Ahasuerus or Xerxes, wrote unto him an accusation against them; Ezra iv. 6. but in the seventh year of his successor Artaxerxes, Ezra and his companions went up from Babylon with Offerings and Vessels for the Temple, and power to bestow on it out of the King's Treasure what should be requisite; Ezra vii. whence the Temple is said to be finished, according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes King of Persia: Ezra vi. 14. Their commission was also to set Magistrates and Judges over the land, and thereby becoming a new Body Politic, they called a great Council or Sanhe <371> drim to separate the people from strange wives; and they were also encouraged to attempt the building of Jerusalem with its wall: and thence Ezra saith in his prayer, that God had extended mercy unto them in the sight of the Kings of Persia, and given them a reviving to set up the house of their God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give them a WALL in Judah, even in Jerusalem. Ezra ix. 9. But when they had begun to repair the wall, their enemies wrote against them to Artaxerxes: Be it known, say they, unto the King, that the Jews which came up from thee to us, are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations, &c. And the King wrote back that the Jews should cease and the city not be built, until another commandment should be given from him: whereupon their enemies went up to Jerusalem, and made them cease by force and power; Ezra iv. but in the twentieth year of the King, Nehemiah hearing that the Jews were in great affliction and distress, and that the wall of Jerusalem, that wall which had been newly repaired by Ezra, was broken down, and the gates thereof burnt with fire; he obtained leave of the King to go and build the city, and the Governour's house, Nehem. i. 3. & ii. 6, 8, 17. and <372> coming to Jerusalem the same year, he continued Governor twelve years, and built the wall; and being opposed by Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem, he persisted in the work with great resolution and patience, until the breaches were made up: then Sanballat and Geshem sent messengers unto him five times to hinder him from setting up the doors upon the gates: but notwithstanding he persisted in the work, until the doors were also set up: so the wall was finished in the eight and twentieth year of the King, Joseph. Antiq. l. xi. c. 5. in the five and twentieth day of the month Elul, or sixth month, in fifty and two days after the breaches were made up, and they began to work upon the gates. While the timber for the gates was preparing and seasoning, they made up the breaches of the wall; both were works of time, and are not jointly to be reckoned within the 52 days: this is the time of the last work of the wall, the work of setting up the gates after the timber was seasoned and the breaches made up. When he had set up the gates, he dedicated the wall with great solemnity, and appointed Officers over the chambers for the Treasure, for the Offerings, for the First-Fruits, and for the Tithes, to gather into them out of the fields of the cities, the portions appointed by the law for the <373> Priests and Levites; and the Singers and the Porters kept the ward of their God; Nehem. xii. but the people in the city were but few, and the houses were unbuilt: Nehem. vii. 1, 4. and in this condition he left Jerusalem in the 32d year of the King; and after sometime returning back from the King, he reformed such abuses as had been committed in his absence. Nehem. xiii. In the mean time, the Genealogies of the Priests and Levites were recorded in the book of the Chronicles, in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, Jonathan, and Jaddua, until the Reign of the next King Darius Nothus, whom Nehemiah calls Darius the Persian: Nehem. xii. 11, 22, 23. whence it follows that Nehemiah was Governor of the Jews until the Reign of Darius Nothus. And here ends the Sacred History of the Jews.

The histories of the Persians now extant in the East, represent that the oldest Dynasties of the Kings of Persia, were those whom they call Pischdadians and Kaianides, and that the Dynasty of the Kaianides immediately succeeded that of the Pischdadians. They derive the name Kaianides from the word Kai, which, they say, in the old Persian language signified a Giant or great King; and they call the first four Kings of this Dynasty, Kai-Cobad, Kai-Caus, Kai-Cosroes, and Lohorasp, and by Lohorasp mean Kai-Axeres, <374> or Cyaxeres: for they say that Lohorasp was the first of their Kings who reduced their armies to good order and discipline, and Herodotus affirms the same thing of Cyaxeres: and they say further, that Lohorasp went eastward, and conquered many Provinces of Persia, and that one of his Generals, whom the Hebrews call Nebuchadnezzar, the Arabians Bocktanassar, and others Raham and Gudars, went westward, and conquered all Syria and Judæa, and took the city of Jerusalem and destroyed it: they seem to call Nebuchadnezzar the General of Lohorasp, because he assisted him in some of his wars. The fifth King of this Dynasty, they call Kischtasp, and by this name mean sometimes Darius Medus, and sometimes Darius Hystaspis: for they say that he was contemporary to Ozair or Ezra, and to Zaradust or Zoroastres, the Legislator of the Ghebers or fire-worshippers, and established his doctrines throughout all Persia; and here they take him for Darius Hystaspis: they say also that he was contemporary to Jeremiah, and to Daniel, and that he was the son and successor of Lohorasp, and here they take him for Darius the Mede. The sixth King of the Kaianides, they call Bahaman, and tell us that Bahaman was Ardschir Diraz, that is Artaxerxes Longimanus, so called from the great extent of his power: and yet <375> they say that Bahaman went westward into Mesopotamia and Syria, and conquered Belshazzar the son of Nebuchadnezzar, and gave the Kingdom to Cyrus his Lieutenant General over Media: and here they take Bahaman for Darius Medus. Next after Ardschir Diraz, they place Homai a Queen, the mother of Darius Nothus, tho' really she did not Reign: and the two next and last Kings of the Kaianides, they call Darab the bastard son of Ardschir Diraz, and Darab who was conquered by Ascander Roumi, that is Darius Nothus, and Darius who was conquered by Alexander the Greek: and the Kings between these two Darius's they omit, as they do also Cyrus, Cambyses, and Xerxes. The Dynasty of the Kaianides, was therefore that of the Medes and Persians, beginning with the defection of the Medes from the Assyrians, in the end of the Reign of Sennacherib, and ending with the conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great. But their account of this Dynasty is very imperfect, some Kings being omitted, and others being confounded with one another: and their Chronology of this Dynasty is still worse; for to the first King they assign a Reign of 120 years, to the second a Reign of 150 years, to the third a Reign of 60 years, to the fourth a Reign of 120 years, to the fifth as much, and to the sixth a Reign of 112 years.

<376>

This Dynasty being the Monarchy of the Medes, and Persians; the Dynasty of the Pischdadians which immediately preceded it, must be that of the Assyrians: and according to the oriental historians this was the oldest Kingdom in the world, some of its Kings living a thousand years a-piece, and one of them Reigning five hundred years, another seven hundred years, and another a thousand years.

We need not then wonder, that the Egyptians have made the Kings in the first Dynasty of their Monarchy, that which was seated at Thebes in the days of David, Solomon, and Rehoboam, so very ancient and so long lived; since the Persians have done the like to their Kings, who began to Reign in Assyria two hundred years after the death of Solomon; and the Syrians of Damascus have done the like to their Kings Adar and Hazael, who Reigned an hundred years after the death of Solomon, worshipping them as Gods, and boasting their antiquity, and not knowing, saith Josephus, that they were but modern.

And whilst all these nations have magnified their Antiquities so exceedingly, we need not wonder that the Greeks and Latines have made their first Kings a little older than the truth.

FINIS.

[1] Valer. Max. l. 9. c. 2.

[2] Porph. de Abstinentia, lib. 4.

[3] Q. Curt. Lib. iii. c. 3.

[4] Suidas in Ζωροάστρης.

[5] Ammian. l. 23. c. 6.

[6] Euseb. Præp. Evang. l. 1. c. ult.

[7] Æsch. Persæ v. 763.

[8] Apud. Hieron. in Dan viii.

© 2019 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

Privacy Statement

  • University of Oxford
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • JISC