« ElőzőTovább »
sending them to the Tyrian market, then the great centre of commerce. Now we have the testimony of Strabo, that the inhabitants of the Tauric peninsula were divided into two very different classes; the more northern part was nomadic; disposed to war, though not to robbery; averse to the cultivation of the soil, and therefore letting out its territory for a settled, but moderate tribute. The southern population, on the contrary, was almost exclusively engaged in husbandry; they were considered more civilized and mild, but addicted to gain; they navigated the sea, but did not abstain from piracy, nor from other acts of injustice and rapacity. It is obvious from these notices that the nomadic Taurians, though wild and rude, were regarded as honest and just, whilst the agriculturists and merchants were morally not viewed in so favourable a light. The same difference is transparent in the two passages of Ezekiel; not without a certain pointed slight are the nations coupled with Togarmah called " traders in human souls and brazen wares”;" and the nations which by their commerce contributed to the greatness of Tyre, are prophetically included in the ruin which awaited the proud city. The Tauric peninsula further abounded in horses, which, though small, were very spirited, and not easily broken; the northern nomadic tribes even lived chiefly upon the flesh of horses and cheese of mares' milk; and wild asses were plentiful in the plains. And if we hereto add, that the land, though in the south full of fertile valleys, yielding thirty-fold even without great agricultural skill, and allowing the exportation of enormous supplies of corn to various parts of Asia and of Greece, was yet regarded as rugged and mountainous, and indeed is so in a peculiar degree in the northern part; that the Taurians were early known to the Asiatic nations, either by their military invasions or their commerce; and that the descendants of Japheth comprise both the north and the west, and therefore unite Asia and Europe: we can neither be surprised that the Taurians should be considered as akin with the Bactrians, nor doubt that Togarmah is identical with the peninsula which they chiefly inhabited. Already in the time of the Trojan war, a temple dedicated to a goddess corresponding to the Greek Diana was celebrated in this peninsula; and it was to these shores that Iphigenia was carried when on the point of being sacrificed to the goddess.
11. MAGOG. The prophet Ezekiel speaks of the people of Magog with an emphasis and copiousness which prove at once its importance, and the vastness of its dominions. Its tributaries are, Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; and its allies, the Persians, Ethiopians and Libyans, Gomer and Togarmah, nations brave and mighty; but Magog surpasses them all. The prophet predicted, that Gog, the king of Magog, would, from his northern habitation, march down to the land of Israel; his enormous troops would inundate the plains, and occupy the mountains; like a tempest and a cloud, they would come over the land. Their avaricious desire would be directed against the treasures of the rich; booty would be their aim, and with barbarous violence would they satisfy their thirst of gold and silver. But God would declare a fearful judgment against them; the earth would tremble, the mountains be destroyed, and the walls overthrown; the sword of the friend would rage against the friend; pestilence, torrents of rain, hail, and fire would spread dismay and havoc among the people of Gog, and all the nations which serve his pride. Then the birds and beasts of prey would come and feast upon their carcases, eating their flesh, and drinking their blood; devouring the horses, the heroes, and the princes till they were surfeited. And the Israelites would come out, and burn the weapons of the impious heathens, their shields and bucklers, their bows and arrows; for seven years they would be occupied in destroying them, and would, during all this time, require no wood of the field or of the forest for
5 Ezek. xxxviii. 7-13.
their domestic use. Then they would bury the stupendous piles of corpses; seven months would hardly suffice; and whole valleys on the east side of the Lake of Genezareth would be filled with the graves of Magog. Then the land would be purified, and Israel be restored to its pristine peace and glory. - It is obvious, that this is an ideal prophecy; it refers to events which have, in their literal sense, not been fulfilled; indeed, the text itself places their occurrence in the " latter days”;3 it describes them as having, in a similar manner, been predicted by preceding prophets;* and, in the Revelation of St. John, their realization is fixed at that distant future when Satan, after having been bound for a thousand years, is again let loose from his infernal pit. But yet, ideal prophecies occurring in the Bible have invariably a historical basis; there are real events which occasioned, and serve to illustrate, the distant occurrences. It is, therefore, beforehand an obvious conjecture, that Magog are the Scythians, of whose aggressive invasions ancient writers relate chiefly the following facts. Whilst Cyaxares, the king of Media, grand-son of Dejoces, was besieging Nineveh, the Scythians, pursuing the Cimmerians, had entered Asia, and devastated the territories of the Medes; Cyaxares hastened to oppose them, but was completely defeated, and the Scythians became masters of Asia. They proceeded through Palestine towards Egypt, but the king Psammetichus prevailed upon them, by rich presents, to advance no further. They returned to Ascalon, where they pillaged the most ancient temple of the Celestial Venus. They governed over Asia during twenty-eight years, "everything was overthrown by their licentiousness and neglect”; they exacted an enormous tribute, and plundered the wealth of their victims. Inebriated by these successes, they abandoned themselves to luxury and revelry, and were thus defeated by Cyaxares in a fearfill carnage, and expelled from Asia. These facts are, we believe, a sufficient basis for the grand prophecies of Ezekiel; the descriptions of Magog, their armies, their allies, their avarice, and their ultimate destruction, are clearly the magnifying mirror of these Scythian events. It is, indeed, remarkable, that these wild hordes did not inflict upon Palestine the devastations universally anticipated with horror; if they were induced by presents to keep away from Egypt, what withheld them from satisfying their rapacity in the feeble and exhausted land of Israel? This was deemed an obvious act of Divine mercy; and the almost miraculous exemption from the destructive sword forms the foundation of the prophet's enthusiastic hopes. It is the sagacious conjecture of a modern critic, that the Scythians were, by the eclipse of the moon which terrified Asia in the year 621,9 induced to leave Palestine from superstitious fear; and that several exhortations of the prophet Jeremiah, not to be afraid of the signs of heaven,lo refer to this phenomenon. However this may be, the deliverance of the Israelites was naturally ascribed to the direct interference of God; although the Biblical historians entirely pass over the invasion of the Scythians, prophets and poets availed themselves of the terror which their formidable presence inspired, to kindle the religious fire of their indolent compatriots into a purer flame; they described their invasion as a threatening scourge which might be averted by a complete return to the God of Israel. A higher religious sentiment seems, indeed, to have, in these times of consternation, pervaded the people; and the reforms of the pious king Josiah were its noble first-fruits." Nor did the Scythian hosts quit Palestine without leaving a trace of their superiority. The large and ancient town Bethshean, situated in the west of the Jordan, at the southeastern extremity of the plain Esdraelon, received the name of Scythopolis; because, as Pliny remarks, “a Scythian colony was established here"; and was to later times
1 Ezek. xxxix. 9, 10. ? 16.11-16. 3 Ib. xxxviii, 16,8. * Ib. 17. 5 Revel. xx. 8. © In B.C. 624, during the reigu of Josiah, king of Judah.
inhabited by a mixed population of Hebrews and heathens. All circumstances conspire, therefore, to render the identification of Magog with the Scythians probable. And this probability is almost raised to a certainty by the traditions of the ancient writers. But Magog seems to have been used in the same extensive sense as the Greek Scythia, and to have, like the latter, embraced most of the various nomadic nations which inhabited the ons beyond Media and the Caucasian Mountains, indefinitely to the north and east; and which, because individually little known, were comprised in one general term; it is, therefore, very hazardous to specify one people as the Magog of our text.— The king of Magog is generally called Gog, which seems to have been an appellative name, like Pharaoh, Cæsar, and similar titles. But, in later periods, Gog was coupled as a nation with Magog; and so it occurs in the New Testament.
III. MADAI. These are unquestionably the Medi, or inhabitants of Media, which signifies, perhaps, the empire of the middle, because it was believed to be situated in the centre of Asia. The extent of Media is very uncertain; ancient writers comprise under this name frequently all the countries in the east of the Tigris along the Caspian Sea to Ariana and Bactriana. But sometimes the boundaries of Media are more restricted, and Media Magna alone is considered as the territory of the Medi. They were during a long period subject to the Assyrian empire; in fact, their first mention in the Bible shows them as forming a satrapy of Shalmaneser; but they felt the ignominy of the hateful yoke, for they are described as having originally been a high-spirited people, skilled in the use of the bow, delighting in warfare, and famous for their horsemanship; they broke out in an open revolt, and proclaimed their independence. According to Herodotus, their first chosen king was Dejoces, who was followed by Phraortes and Cyaxares; the latter, after having repelled the invasion of the Scythians, destroyed Nineveh; but under his successor, Astyages, the supremacy was transferred to the Persians under Cyrus the Great; the Medes were incorporated in the Persian empire; and the name Madai was, therefore, from this time, frequently used instead of Persia; or both names are mentioned together, sometimes Persia and sometimes Media occupying the first place.
iv. Iavan denotes properly Ionia, the celebrated Greek colony in Asia Minor, and is, in this limited sense, used in several passages of the Old Testament. The Ionians engaged in extensive commercial undertakings, and frequented the markets of Tyre; but in later times Hebrew captives were by Assyrian kings sold into Ionia, where they seem, however, to have been so degradingly treated, that the prophet Zechariah announced the approaching day of revenge.
But the name of Ionians was very generally given to all the Greeks, not by the Hebrews only, but also by most of the other Asiatics, who naturally identified the Asiatic colony with the more distant mother country. But in our passage, Javan is used in a still more extensive sense, embracing all the western islands of the Mediterranean sea; this acceptation is evident from the abodes of the younger branches enumerated in the fourth verse. For the descendants of Javan are:
1. Elishah. It is certain, almost beyond a doubt, that this is the Hebrew name for Hellas. If Javan is the generic name for all Greeks, it is natural that the European Hellens should be mentioned in the first place among Javan's progeny, although the Greek legends make Ion the descendant of IIellen. In Ezekiel, Elishah is introduced as an island from which purple stuffs were imported into Phænicia; and we possess the testimony of ancient writers, that on the coasts of Pelop esus, and of inany Greek islands, the shell-fish, the juice of which yielded the much valued purple colours, were most abundantly found. This is another reason for explaining Elishah for Greece and her islands generally, instead of limiting it to the province of Elis, as several critics have done. Phænician inscriptions which have been found in Athens prove an early commercial intercourse between the Greeks and the Syrian coasts.
2. Tarshish was a rich country, governed by its own kings, and able to send valuable presents; abounding especially in silver, iron, tin, and lead; a precious stone, probably the chrysolite, chiefly found in those districts, bears the name of Tarshish; it was situated near other renowned islands, and was itself washed by the waves of the sea; it was therefore accessible by navigation, which was extensively carried on by the Phænicians and other nations in large famous ships, which were the models for the vessels of commerce in general, and were therefore known under the name of “ vessels of Tarshish;” the port from which they started was Joppa, on the coast of Palestine. It requires only some comparison with the accounts which Greek writers furnish about the Spanish Tartessus, to perceive its identity with Tarshish. It is universally known that the Phænicians entertained a lively commerce with Spain, whence they imported a large amount of gold, silver, lead, and iron; but no part of the peninsula was more famous for its opulence than Tartessus, the wealth of which passed into a proverb. The exact site of Tartessus was, however, unknown even in the time of Strabo, who states the then general belief that it was situated on that piece of land between the two outlets of the river Guadalquiver (Bætis), which bore also the name of the “silver-bedded Tartessus.” In fact, the whole district of Andalusia, which the Turdetani then inhabited, was called Tartessus, and it is most probable that the Tarshish of our text is intended to denote the whole of Spain so far as it was known to the Hebrews, just as Javan is used to designate all the Greeks.
3. Kittim. One of the most ancient towns on the island of Cyprus was Citium; it was situated on the south-eastern coast of the island, possessed a harbour which could be closed, and ruins of its walls and houses, and of an extensive theatre, are still extant in the neighbourhood of Larnika; and on examination of these remains, copious Phænician inscriptions have been discovered on the foundation stones. Thus, it is at once evident that Citium, like Amathus, and other Cyprian towns, was a Phænician colony; as indeed Herodotus mentions among the very mixed population of Cyprus, the Phænicians also; and it is intelligible why it is here introduced immediately after Tartessus, with which it bears more than one analogy. It furnished to the T'yrians, on the one hand, very valuable articles of import, especially timber for the construction of ships; the Cyprian copper had attained a general reputation; the mines yielded gold and silver, and among the precious stones for which that rich island was celebrated, were the smaragd and emerald, the red jasper and agate, and perhaps the diamond; and it abounded also in oil, wine and honey. But Cyprus was, on the other hand, a convenient station for the Phænicians in their more distant western expeditions; just as Spain was the station for their excursions to the Britannic islands, from whence they shipped tin (stunnum). The inhabitants of Citium are called by the Romans Citiæi, by the Greek writers Kittäi, and are evidently identical with our Kittim. But it is certain that in later periods the term Kittim was extended to many islands and shores of the Mediterranean, as Rhodes, Greece, and Sicily, to Italy, and even to Macedonia; it is, therefore, most probable that it is to be taken here generally for the island of Cyprus, which, both by its pro-. ducts and by its natural position, was of paramount importance to the Phænicians, but, as a western island, is here also comprised among the possessions of the Javanites. In later periods, the intercourse between Cyprus and Greece was most active; the Greeks occupied a great portion of the soil and adopted many of its religious rites, whilst the dependence of the island upon Phoenicia seems to date froin a very early time; in fact both the character of the inhabitants, and the nature of their Divine worship, as the orgiastic adoration of Astarte, bore entirely the eastern, and more especially the Phænician stamp.
4. The Dodanim are the last descendants of Javan here mentioned. If this genealogical list, which has been acknowledged as one of the most important documents of ancient geography, has the least claim to completeness or order, it will be at once granted, that Italy cannot be omitted among the countries assigned to the Javanites. If Greece and Spain are distinctly mentioned in Elishah and Tarshish, if the islands of the Mediterranean Sea are represented by Kittim, the Dodanim are, in our opinion, no others than the Daunii, who formed the most ancient population of Apulia, and who were, therefore, by ancient geographers used to designate, like the lapygians, the whole south-eastern portion of Italy, including Calabria. The Daunians were, like many other inhabitants of southern Italy, a Pelasgian race; they preserved long among themselves Greek customs and arts; their coins bear pure Greek inscriptions, and their bronzes and painted vases betray Greek imitation; this historical fact was embodied in the early legend of the settlement of Diomedes in these regions; and it is certain, that they occupied chiefly the great plains on the coast of Apulia; here they founded a great number of cities, built harbours, and, probably, carried on both piracy and sea-commerce; they cultivated the soil, on which, in spite of the extreme aridity of its pastures in summer, they grew wheat and olives with eminent success; they, further, reared horses and sheep; and the wool of the latter was celebrated for its peculiar fineness, and formed an important article of commerce. If we assume, therefore, here also one portion of the peninsula to denote its whole extent, and take Daunia for Italy, we have an appropriate explanation of the territory of Dodanim, which must be regarded as peopled by Greek settlements, and must be situated on the shores of the Western Sea.
V. and vi. TUBAL and Meshech are frequently mentioned together in the Old Testament, either as warlike nations, destined to be the terror of the world, or as the tributaries of the mighty king of the Scythians, Magog, whose chief pride and support they formed. They must, therefore, like the latter, be northern tribes, whose renown was magnified by the distance of their abodes. Tubal is, indeed, introduced as a remote nation to which the fame of Israel's glory has never reached. Now, as Meshech has been identified with the Moschi, a Colchian tribe, extending along the south-eastern shores of the Black Sea, between the sources of the Phasis and those of the Cyrus, and bordered on the south by the lofty and wood-covered chain of the Armenian mountains, now called Tchildir; and as the Moschi were, at least during the Persian epoch, in a military and political respect, united with the Tibareni, a tribe likewise in the south-east of the Euxine Sea, and between the Chalybes and Trebizond: it was natural to find in the Tibareni the descendants of Tubal. Tubal and Meshech are, further, mentioned by the prophet Ezekiel, as providing the Tyrian market with copper and with slaves. Now, copper is most abundant in the mountains of northern Armenia; and the fine tribes of the Pontus and ppadocia, as at present those of Georgia and Mingrelia, furnished the Asiatic markets and the harems with the most beautiful slaves. Nor have those races changed the wildness and rapacity of their character; and, as the Psalmist deeply commiserated the destiny of those who have the misfortune to dwell as strangers or captives among these barbarous hordes, just so might modern travellers dread the contact of people “whose greatest ambition it is to be deemed the most cunning and most distinguished robbers.”
vII. The last branch of the Japhethites is Tiras, a name which occurs in no other passage. The context requires a land not distant from Armenia; and nothing is more natural than to identify Tiras with the great Asiatic mountain-chain of Taurus. The Moschian mountains extend south-west till they join to the chain of the AntiTaurus. Separated from the latter only by the plains of Cappadocia and Lycaonia, rises the Taurus, in ancient geography considered so important that it formed the chief division of Asia into the countries north and south of it. It extends from the extremities of Pamphylia as far eastward as the Bay of Bengal, where the Indians and the neighbouring Scythians lived; but it lost the name Taurus in the region where it reaches