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14. Of Sama
city is expressly reckoned, Josh. xix. 44. among the cities CHAP. III. allotted to the tribe of Dan, and also it was assigned as a Levitical city in that tribe. Wherefore, either the Israelites had never hitherto expelled the Philistines out of it, or else the Philistines had again recovered it. It seems to have been a strong place; forasmuch as the siege seems to have been carried on from before the death of Nadab, all along the reign of Baasha, till the death of his son Elah, by Zimri, and the setting up of Omri for King against Zimri. For the text tells us, that the people were encamped at Gibbethon; and the people that were encamped heard say, Zimri has conspired and slain the King: wherefore all Israel made Omri, the captain of the host, King over Israel that day in the camp.--Chap. xvi. ver. 15, 16.
Omri, being made King, goes up from Gibbethon, and besieges Tirzah, and takes it, and reigns there six years. ria, the caAfter which he removes his regal seat to Samaria, a city pital of the
kingdom of which he new built from the ground, on an hill bought Israel. of one Shemer, from whom he called the city by the name of Samaria, as has been above observed. This city from thenceforth continued to be the regal or capital city of the kingdom of Israel, till a period was put to the said kingdom. And hence the word Samaria is often used by the sacred writers of the Old Testament, to denote the whole kingdom of Israel. It was first besieged by Benhadad King of Syria, and reduced to so great extremity, that the head of an ass was sold for eighty shekels of silver, which is computed by some to be about ten pounds sterling : but however, the city was then miraculously delivered according to the prediction of the prophet Elisha. It was afterwards taken by Salınanassar King of Assyria, after a siege of three years. This prince took away the Israelites or ten tribes captive, and instead of them sent a new colony of diverse nations, who patched up a religion out of the Jewish religion and their own heathenish and superstitious rites. In the time of the Maccabees, this city was taken by one of the Maccabean family, and wholly ruined. Herod the Great, being pleased with the
PART III. situation of it, again rebuilt it in a more stately manner than
before, beautifying it with fine marble pillars, and other carved stones, which are in great abundance found amongst the rubbish. He inclosed it also with a strong wall, and beautified it with a temple; and, in honour of Augustus Cæsar, he named it Sebaste, the Greek word Sebastos being used in that language to answer to the Latin Augustus. Herod Agrippa obtained this city of the Roman Emperor Caligula, and siding with the Romans against the Jews under Vespasian, they then avoided the public calamity of that country. But afterwards, taking other measures, they were, together with the rest of the Jews, extirpated out of Palestine by the Emperor Adrian, and the city has since gone to decay. It is conjectured by Brochard, who traced the ruins of it, to have been bigger than Jerusalem. John the Baptist is said to be buried here. It was in the time of the Christian Emperors an archbishop's see; but now there are only a few cottages, and convents inhabited by Greek monks.
The following part of the first Book of Kings (viz. from brook Che-chap. xvi. ver, 28. to chap. xxii. ver. 40.) is taken up with
the history of Ahab, son of Omri, and King of Israel, intermingled with the history of the famous prophet Elijah. And the first place that occurs here, and has not yet been spoken of, is the brook Cherith, which is said, chap. xvii. ver. 3. to be before Jordan. From which nothing else can be well inferred, but that this brook ran into Jordan. Whether it lay on the east or west side of Jordan is not agreed on. Eusebius, or at least Jerom, places it beyond Jordan, and so on the east side of it: but others generally agree in placing it rather on the west of Jordan; because it is said ver. 3. by God to Elijah: Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. Where the expression turn thee eastward, seems to imply, that Elijah was on the west side of Jordan : for had he been on the east side, then to have gone to a river that ran on that side into Jordan, would have been to have turned westward. The particular situa
tion of this brook is assigned by Adrichomius in the con- CHAP. III. fines of Ephraim and Benjamin.
As for Zarephath, (chap. xvii. ver. 9.) which belonged 16. to Zidon, it is in the New Testament (Luke iv. 26.) called Of Zare
phath. Sarepta; and under that name I have spoken of it in Part I. chap. iv. sect. 6. of my Geography of the New Testament. And in like manner, mount Carmel, the river Kishon, and all the other places mentioned in the remaining part of this first Book of Kings, have been before spoken of in my Geography of the Old Testament.
1. Moab re
Places mentioned in the second Book of Kings, and not
spoken of before. THE second Book of Kings begins with giving us an acbels against count, how Moab, that was before tributary to the King
of Israel, rebelled against Israel ; i. e. cast off their subjection to the King of Israel, after the death of Ahab; and how Abaziah, the son of Ahab, sent to inquire of Baalzebub, the God of Ekron, concerning his recovery from the disease he then lay under; and what was thereupon done by the prophet Elijah, of whose being taken up into heaven we have an account, chap. ii. The places mentioned in both these two first chapters have been all spoken of before.
From chap. ii. to chap. xiii. we have the history of EliThe Moab. shah the prophet, froin the death of Elijah, whom he sucites are subdued; the ceeded, to his own death, intermixed with the history of the Israel- the Kings of Judah and Israel. In chap. iii. we are inites, and formed, how Jehoram, (another son of Ahab, that sucthe place of
ceeded his brother Ahaziah, for want of issue of his own,) being joined by Jehoshaphat King of Judah, went against Moab in order to reduce it to subjection again. And ver. 8, 9. we are particularly informed, that they went the
way through the wilderness of Edom, and fetched a compass of seven days journey. Whereby is denoted, that they went not the most direct or nearest way to invade Moab, which lay over Jordan, and through the tribe of Reuben, or south part of the country beyond Jordan; but fetched a compass through the wilderness of Edom, which probably lay on the south-west of the Salt sea, and so invaded Moab on those parts which were most distant from Israel, and on which consequently they least expected to be invaded upon.
In chap. iv. ver. 42. we read of a man that came from of Baalsha- Baalshalisha, and brought Elisha twenty loaves of barley,
wherewith be fed an hundred men, so that they left CHAP. IV. thereof. This place is in the Septuagint version written Bætharisa, which, Eusebius and Jerom tell us, was a town in the borders of Diospolis, about fifteen miles distant from it to the north, in the country of Thamna, whence it appears to have been situated in mount Ephraim. And this description agrees well enough with what we read of the land of Shalisha, 1 Sam. ix. 4. wherein this Baalshalisha probably was situated. For the land of Shalisha probably lay in Ephraiin: though Jerom will have Shalisha to be the same with Zoar, otherwise called Belah, whither Lot fled; and hence some have fancied that Baalshalisha should rather be read Belashalisha, as a name compounded of Bela and Shalisha. The Chaldee Paraphrast and Arabick Interpreter render it the south country, which favours the latter opinion, rather than the former; inasmuch as Zoar lay indeed to the south of Gilgal, where Elisha then was, whereas Ephraim lay to the north and north-west.
In chap. viii. ver. 20, 21. we read, that in the days of 4. Joram, son of Jehoshaphat, Edom revolted from under the Of Zair. hand of Judah, and made a King over themselves. Whereupon Joram went over to Zair, and smote the Edomites. From the circumstances of the story, this Zair appears to be near or in the land of Edom. It seems by some interpreters to be taken for the same as Seir, whereby the land of Edom is frequently denoted in Scripture; but it is differently written in the Hebrew tongue, and by the Seventy Interpreters it is rendered Sior.
In the following verse of the same chapter, we read, that 5. then Libnah revolted at the same time. This is conjectured Of Libnah. by some to be a different place from the Libnah, lying in the tribe of Judah, and often mentioned in the sacred history; and they will have it to be a city of Edom. But it seems most probable, that it was no other than the city of Judah, and which was one of the cities in that tribe assigned to the sons of Aaron; and that by the revolting thereof is to be understood, the inhabitants refusing to admit the idolatrous worship he would have set up there,