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prophet here also embraces the whole of the prosperity destined for the covenant people, and his prediction was first completely fulfilled in Christ. We must refer exclusively to the glorification, conferred through him upon the kingdom of God, the conclusion, v. 20-23; where, as an enlargement upon Micah 4: 2, Is. 4:3, Jer. 31 : 6, the zeal of the heathen nations for admittance into the Theocracy is described.
CHAP. 9 : 1 – 10.
A victorious hostile army inundates the kingdom of Persia, and precipitates it from the summit of its power. The prophet represents particularly its march through those provinces of the kingdom of Persia, which lay nearest to Judea, in order by the contrast with their mournful fate to place the better lot of the covenant people in a stronger light. While Damascus and Hamath are overtaken by the divine judgment and captured by the conqueror, while Tyre, unprotected by all its riches, its bulwarks and its position in the sea, is plundered and burnt, while the adjoining Philistia loses its ancient splendor, and its chief cities, Askelon, Gaza, Ekron, and Ashdod, sink into the deepest abasement, Jerusalem under the divine protection remains unhurt, v. 1 - 8. There can be no doubt, that we have before us a description of the march of Alexander, as plain as the difference between prophecy and history, which must always be observed, would allow. In the principal points the exact fulfilment of the prediction can be shown by express historical testimony. The capture of Damascus is described by Arrian 2, 15, Curt. 3, 25, Plut. Alex. cap.
24. The fate of Tyre and Gaza is so well known, that it need not more particularly be pointed out. According to Arrian 2, 27, Alexander changed the latter, once a flourishing city, into a mere castle, after he had repeopled it with a colony from the neighbouring tribes, exactly as it had been predicted, v. 6, concerning Ashdod. That the capture of Hamath is not expressly related is not surprising, since the historians follow Alexander himself, who kept along the seacoast, while the land of Hamath must have been in the way of Parmenio on his march to Damascus. Just as little is an express mention of the fate of the remaining cities of Philistia besides Gaza to be expected, since the historians of Alexander in describing his march through Syria and Palestine are so remarkably brief, (comp. J. D. Michaelis, p. 190,) and since in general they select from the great mass of events only the most important, particularly those which throw light upon the character of Alexander, who is everywhere, especially with Arrian, the chief object of attention. It has been fully shown in the Beiträgen, 1, p. 277, how history fully confirms, what is here predicted of the preservation of the covenant people during that expedition, so destructive to the neighbouring lands.
In v. 9 and 10, the prophet contrasts the inferior blessing of God with the higher, the sending of the Messiah, at which he had already, v. 7, cast a passing look. (
(See on the relation of the two predictions the Introduction to chap. 9:11, &c.)
Before proceeding to the interpretation, we offer a dissertation respecting the land of Hadrach, which is mentioned, v. 1, as the chief object of the prophecy.
Concerning the Land of Hadrach.
The opinion, which had been advanced by several Jewish interpreters on the authority of R. Jose, and by several older Christian interpreters, particularly since the example of Bochart, that the land of Hadrach, 7270 , Zech. 9: 1, is a region in the neighbourhood of Damascus, has been rendered universally prevalent in recent times by the arguments of Michaelis, Supplem. p. 676, which have only been repeated by Gesenius, Jahn, Köster, Rosenmüller, and Winer. It is the more necessary, so to proceed in its refutation, that the invalidity of each one of its apparent supports may be clearly seen. We affirm, that all historical testimonies, which have been brought for the existence of a province of Hadrach, rest on its being confounded with the Arabic city Draa, or Adraa, written
the ancient Edrei, 'Y7x, which Deut. 1: 5, is mentioned as the second residence of Og, King of Basan. According to Abulfeda, Tabula Syriæ, p. 97, it was distant about six and a half German miles from Damascus; it was still of importance in the middle ages, the residence of the Suffragan of Bozrah, is often mentioned in the history of the crusades, and, according to the account of Seetzen, is now lying in ruins and uninhabited, (comp. Ritter,
Erdk. II. p. 360 – 362 ) In several older writers the confusion of the two names, which, according to the Hebrew and Arabic mode of writing have scarcely any relation, very plainly appears. Thus, e. g. in Adrichorius, Theatr. Terra S., p. 75. " Adrach, sive Hadrach, alias Adra, Adraon ct Adratum, ( alesyjriæ 0; pidum est, a Bostra viginti quinque millibus, distans a quo e iam adjacens regio terra Hadrach nuncupatur. De qua Zacharias prophetavit. Post Christi tempora urbs hæc, episcopali sede cohonestata, archiepiscopo Bostrensi parcbat. Atque quo tempore Occidentales Christiani rerum in Palestina potiebantur, etiam vulgo civitas Bernardi de Scampis dicta fuit." In like manner, in Calmet, on Zech. I. c. “ Nous connoissons une ville d'Atra dans l'Arabie deserte, célèbre autrefois, et qui soutint des siéges contre l'armée de Trajan commandée par lui même (Xiphilin. ex Dione et Dion.) et contre celle de i'empereur S vét (Herodian. l. 3, 9, Zonaras p. 216.) Cf. Cellarius l. 3, cap. 15.” In respect to others, on the contrary, the permutation, because not expressly mentioned, needs to be more particularly pointed out. We commence with that, which, aster Michaelis triumphing in his discovery, is cited by all as the most conclusive. We cannot refrain from quoting his language, which is somewhat diffuse : “ Sed his addo, quæ anno 1768 a nobili Arabe Transjordanense, Josepho Abbassi didici...... Interrogabam inter alia, . . . . . nossetne urbem aliquam sfico, sic enim literis Arabicis scribebam. ..... Respondebat, esse ejus nominis urbem, deque ea se audivisse, sed nunquam ibi fuisse. Parvam nunc esse, sed majorem olim fuisse ipsa Damasco referri. Addebat, ferri metropolin fuisse magna regionis, qua terra Hadrach vocetur. Nobiles ex hac terra Hadrach familias ortas dici, multaque de ejus regibus et principibus narrare Arabes, referri etiam, quod olim gigantes habuerit. Ferri etiam fabulam, Muhammedem ex hac regione ortum.
Jam, ..... instabam, ubinam sita esset. Hoc 'negrabat se accuratius referre posse, id modo meminisse audire, a Damasco versus desertum sitam esse, forte decimo a Damasco milliari. Oblitus sum interrogare, quæ millioria intelligeret, sed puto, milliaria majora Arabum, 19, v. 20, unius gradus.” The easiest way of setting aside this testimony would be an appeal to the fact, established beyond a doubt by Steph. Schulz in the Leitungen des Höchsten, that the person on whose authority Michaelis relies was a deceiver: But the subject would not then be entirely disposed of, since this deceiver actually was from the land from which he pretended to have
come, and therefore might have imparted correct geographical and historical information concerning it. Besides, on a nearer examination his statement appears to be true, with the exception of his confounding Hadrach and Adraa, which can the more easily be explained, since he had never himself been in the place, and had received his accounts only from hearsay testimony. The reality of this permutation, however, appears from the following reasons. 1. Not only does the direction from Damascus towards the wilderness, consequently towards Arabia, in which Hadrach was supposed to lie, entirely coincide, but also the distance, since the ten Arabic miles make about 7 or 8 German. 2. Abbassi says, there are many traditions respecting the ancient kings of this region, whose former inhabitants are supposed to have been giants. Who is not here at once reminded of the account of the Pentateuch respecting the gigantic King Og, of Basan, whose iron bedstead was nine cubits long and four broad, and who reigned over the Anakims, a very strong and tall people, (comp. Numb. 22 : 33, Deut. 2: 10, 11,3:11.) These accounts probably passed from the Christians, who, in the middle ages were still numerous in Adraa, to the Arabians, who, according to their custom, embellished them still more, for which they had much inducement in the nature of the country. (According to Leetzen, it is full of caverns.) – What is said of the former greatness, and the present ruin of the city, perfectly agrees with Adraa. - If we have now disposed of this chief testimony, the only two which remain need not occasion any embarrassment. · The one is that of Theodoret : 'Aggie nós dori is 'Agapias. The permutation was here the more easy, as 'Theodoret expresses the Hebr. by a, and that it really existed is placed beyond a doubt, by the designation of Adrach, as a city in Arabia. The second testimony is that of R. Jose in Jarchi, on the passage:
“ Sed dicebat illi Rabbi Jose, filius Damascena mulieris, in disputatione : Cælum et terram super me invoco : natus sum Damasci, estque locus aliquis, cujus nomen est Hadrach.” As we have already had so many examples of a permutation of Adraa and Hadrach, we can, without calling in question his honesty, confidently reject the testimony of R. Jose, who hardly investigated with accuracy, whether the Hebrew and the Arabic letters exactly correspond, and perhaps had never seen the name of the place written.
The proof already adduced, that hitherto no evidence has been furnished of the existence of a city and province of Hadrach, conducts us beyond its immediate object. It shows, at the same time, that Hadrach cannot be a proper name. If, indeed, the word occurred in a historical book, as the Pentateuch, or one of the other older books, as a conjectural appellation of a comparatively unimportant place, in a region little known in ancient or modern times, perhaps in the interior of Africa, then nothing could be more illogical than this conclusion. But here is directly the opposite of all this; it occurs in a prophetical book, where symbolical appellations are to be expected in accordance with the whole character of prophetic representation ; in one of the latest books of Scripture, whereby the evasion is excluded, that all remembrance of the place except the name, had perished, it designates not indeed a single city, but a whole region, or a whole land, whose nearness to Damascus shows, that we must look for it in a cultivated portion of the earth, sufficiently known in ancient and modern times. How then can it be conceived, that such a land, if it actually existed under the geographical name of Hadrach, should escape all ancient and modern researches ? That the Seventy knew nothing of any such country, is evident from their changing the name to Ledgàx, which is by no means, as Michaelis 1. c. p. 679, asserts, a mistake, but the original reading contained in all manuscripts, which Jerome corrected, not by Greek manuscripts, but by the Hebrew text. That, in general, the older Jews were not in possession of any historical information respecting a land of Hadrach, is evident from the fact, that it was universally understood by them as a symbolic designation. The Chaldee translates in xmxa, in terra australi, probably with reference to the passages, Job 9:9, 37: 9, where yn '!?!, chambers of the south," occurs of the extreme and inaccessible regions of the south, not considering that the idea of the south here lies only in the word on. Jarchi says, expressly, that the figurative understanding of the word prevailed among the Jews, until Rabbi Jose established his better view, as he supposed. Jerome, who here also drew from a Jewish source, as is shown by the agreement of his explanation with that of the Jews, makes no mention whatever of the existence of a literal interpretation. In this condition of things, therefore, we have the less reluctance to regard Hadrach as a figurative designation, since the use of such designations by the prophets is so very frequent. It is known that in Isaiah, Jerusalem is designated by the symbolical names Ariel, “lion of God," and valley of vision, as a residence of the prophets; Babylon, by the