Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

“But King Solomon loved many strange women together [besides] with the daughter of Pharaoh [Egypt], women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, and Sidonians” [Tyrians.] * * * “And it came to pass when Solomon was old that his wives turned away his heart after other gods.” “* * “For Solomon went after Ashtoreth [Astarte] the goddess of the Sidonians” [Tyrians.] “And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.” [1 Kings xi.] The King of Israel having broken his nation's law by marrying out of his kingdom, as by his union with a daughter of Egypt, it would naturally appear to him to be no increase of the misdemeanor by intermarrying with a Tyrian Princess; and believing that this event must have been some years subsequent to the building of The Temple, we have, therefore, hazarded the date at 1000 B. C. The wealth expended by SoLOMON in the building The Temple, his Palaces,—and that attending his household, had greatly impoverished the national treasury, and led to excessive taxation ; and this was the chief cause (after his death) of the Rebellion of the Ten Tribes from their brethren at Jerusalem, when those taxes were to be continued. It must have been upon the exhaustion of the national treasury by SoLOMON, that he obtained from Hiram loans of money, to be paid, not in kind, but in cities;—and this borrowing by the magnificent monarch must have continued for a score of years. The

Tyrian King, however, refused to receive the proffered cities or lands, as being unworthy of the donor or the receiver, and he thereupon affixed upon the gift a name, which is now as unpleasant to a Briton's ear, as it must have been to the King of Israel. The Tyrian monarch, to prove that he was not personally offended (and perhaps to shew his superior wealth), sent to Solomon a present of gold, in value over 600,000l. at that period. [992 B. C.] “And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when SoLOMON had built the two houses, the house of the LORD, and the king's house (now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar-trees and fir-trees, and with gold according to all his desire), that then King SoLOMON gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. And Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him, and they pleased him not. [Hebrew, “were not right in his eyes,'] and he [Hiram] said, “What cities are these which thou hast given me, my Brother ?' And he called them the Land of Cabul [i. e. displeasing] unto this day. And Hiram sent to the king six-score talents of gold.” [1 Kings ix. 10–14.] From the expression “my brother," it would seem (as we before hinted) that Solomon married the sister, and not the daughter of Hiram, although it may be regarded as an expression of royalty. It scarcely admits of a question which of the two monarchs exerted their royalty in the greatest splendour, whether it regards wealth or the arts and sciences. Jewish historians have elevated Solomon, WOL. I. R

truly at the expense of Hiram,_for it is expressly stated in the Bible, that for “twenty years.” Hiram supplied Solomon not only with material and artists for building his Temple and Palaces, but with money, —“with gold according to all his desire,"—and added to this, (which will be shewn in the next pages) Hiram supplied a navy for his “brother,” for the voyages to Ophir and Tarshish. It should also be remarked that the liberality of Hiram's character, and his toleration in matters of Religion, are without their parallels in Ancient History. This was known to DAVID and SoLOMON, for no other monarch but that of Tyrus is applied to for building and decorating The Temple. This would not have been unnatural, or unreasonable, had Hiram been of the same practical Religion as that of Israel,-but he was essentially an Heathen King, and erected in his own metropolis the most gorgeous temples and golden statues to Jupiter, Apollo, and the minor gods, and their splendour may be estimated by what he erected for his friend at Jerusalem. The language of SoLOMON must have offended any mind less liberal than that of Hiram's, for in his message to the Tyrian he says: “And the house which I build is great, for great is our (my) GoD, above all gods.” [i. e. pluralities.] This is a direct allusion to the worship of Hiram, who believed that Jupiter and Apollo were the Gods of “all Gods,”—but, so far from resenting the unintentional rebuke by Solomon, he actually bestows a blessing upon the worship of his ally, though opposed to his own, for in his letter he writes:

“BLEssed BE THE LORD God of IsrAEL,”

and that his actions should be in keeping with his words, he forthwith entered into a Treaty to build the first Temple to the ever-living and the only GoD at Jerusalem. Had not Hiram been king of Tyrus, he was worthy to have been monarch of Israel ; for the mind that could have acted as his own did, upon so august and solemn an occasion, was already prepared to reject plurality, and believe in The One GoD. What a contrast does Hiram's character present to all the Roman monarchs, from Tiberius to Maxentius, when in a similar position from the introduction of Christianity! From the foregone description of the Tyrian arts and artists (and for details the Books of Kings and Chronicles will testify) it will not be questioned whether from personal knowledge and skill, they could have built the Cities and Temples lately discovered in the Western Hemisphere; but more especially is the question now inadmissible, from the fact, that the styles of the architecture of the Temples at Jerusalem and Palenque, we have shewn to be analagous if not identical. Scripture does not warrant any Historian in writing that the Israelites had a Knowledge of Navigation. It has, however, been often stated that they had, because Solomon “made a Navy:"—but, the sense is, that he gathered a navy, and this is proved from the fact that Hiram furnished that identical “navy" for the King of Israel. Navigation was the only point in Tyrian policy, in which they resolved to have no rivals, and to prevent it, they supplied expeditions for other countries—Galleys, Pilots, and Mariners;–they formed Treaties for this purpose with nations with whom they were on terms of amity. Hiram followed the National policy at this time with Solomon, and the Tyrians did the same subsequently with the Egyptian. Writers in attributing to the Israelites a knowledge of Navigation, quote from the first Book of Kings [ix. 26]. 992 B. c.] “And King Solomon made a navy of Ships in Ezion-Geber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red Sea in the land of Edom,”—but those writers avoid quoting the succeeding verses, and two in 2 Chronicles [viii. 17, 18]. “And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen [i. e. pilots and mariners] that have a knowledge of the Sea, with the servants [“common-hands"] of Solomon.” “Then went Solomon to Ezion-Geber, and to Eloth, at the Sea-side [Red Sea] in the land of Edom. And Hiram sent him by the hands of his servants, Ships, and servants that had a knowledge of the Sea"—[i. e. pilots and mariners]. Now this last quotation has reference to the same voyage, and it is there shewn that the Tyrians actually built the ships:—they were pro

« FöregåendeFortsätt »