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does not occur before the reign of David. This wise and valiant prince, by many victories, not only enlarged the boundaries of his empire, but also subdued the kingdom of Edom (which he reduced into a province), and made himself master of the two ports of Elath and Ezion-geber on the Red Sea. Part of the wealth acquired by his conquests he employed in purchasing cedar-timber from Hiram I. king of Tyre, with whom he maintained a friendly correspondence as long as he lived; and he also hired Tyrian masons and carpenters for carrying on his works. This prince collected for the building of the temple, upwards of eight hundred millions of our money, according to Dr. Arbuthnot's calculations. On the death of David, Solomon his successor cultivated the arts of peace, and was thereby enabled to indulge his taste for magnificence and luxury, more than his father could possibly do. Being blessed with a larger share of wisdom than ever before fell to the lot of any man, he directed his talents for business to the improvement of foreign commerce, which had not been expressly prohibited by Moses. He employed the vast wealth, amassed by his father, in works of architecture, and in strengthening and beautifying his kingdom. The celebrated temple at Jerusalem, the fortifications of that capital, and many entire cities, (among which was the famous Tadmor or Palmyra,) were built by him. Finding his own subjects but little qualified for such undertakings, he applied to Hiram II. king of Tyre, the son of his father's friend Hiram, who furnished him with cedar and fir (or cypress) timber, and large stones, all properly cut and prepared for building; which the Tyrians carried by water to the most convenient landing-place in Solomon's dominions. Hiram II. also sent a great number of workmen to assist and instruct Solomon's people, none of whom had skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians (1 Kings v. 5, 6.), as the Israelites then called the Tyrians, from their having been originally a colony from Sidon. Solomon, in return, furnished the Tyrians with corn, wine, and oil; and he even received a balance in gold. (1 Kings v. 9-11. 2 Chron. ii. 10.) It is not improbable, however, that the gold was the stipulated price for Solomon's cession of twenty towns to the Tyrians; which Hiram, not liking them, afterwards returned to him. (1 Kings ix. 12, 13.)
The great intercourse of trade and friendship, which Solomon had with the first commercial people in the western world, inspired him with a strong desire to participate in the advantages of trade. His father's conquests, as we have already seen, had extended his territories to the Red Sea or the Arabian Gulf, and had given him the possession of a good harbour, whence ships might be de
1 Eupolemus, an antient writer quoted by Eusebius (De Præp. Evang. lib. ix.); says that David built ships in Arabia, in which he sent men skilled in mines and metals to the island of Ophir. Some modern authors, improving upon this rather suspicious authority, have ascribed to David the honour of being the founder of the great East Indian commerce.
2 Tables of Antient Coins, pp. 35. 208.
spatched to the rich countries of the south and east. But, his own subjects being totally ignorant of the arts of building and navigating vessels, he again had recourse to the assistance of Hiram. The king of Tyre, who was desirous of an opening to the oriental commerce, the articles of which his subjects were obliged to receive at second hand from the Arabians, entered readily into the views of the Hebrew monarch. Accordingly, Tyrian carpenters were sent to build vessels for both kings at Ezion-geber, Solomon's port on the Red Sea; whither Solomon himself also went to animate the workmen by his presence.
Solomon's ships, conducted by Tyrian navigators, sailed in company with those of Hiram to some rich countries, called Ophir, (most probably Sofala on the eastern coast of Africa,) and Tarshish, a place supposed to be somewhere on the same coast.1 The voyage required three years to accomplish it; yet, notwithstanding the length of time employed in it, the returns in this new channel of trade were prodigiously great and profitable, consisting of gold, silver, precious stones, valuable woods, and some exotic animals, as apes and peacocks. We have no information concerning the articles exported in this trade; but, in all probability, the manufactures of the Tyrians, together with the commodities imported by them from other countries, were assorted with the corn, wine, and oil, of Solomon's dominions in making up the cargoes; and his ships, like the late Spanish galleons, imported the bullion, partly for the benefit of his industrious and commercial neighbours. (Kings vii.-x. 2. Chron. ii. viii. ix.) Solomon also established a commercial correspondence with Egypt; whence he imported horses, chariots, and fine linen-yarn: the chariots cost six hundred, and the horses one hundred and fifty shekels of silver each. (1 Kings x. 28, 29. 2 Chron. i. 16, 17.)
After the division of the kingdom, Edom being in that portion which remained to the house of David, the Jews appear to have carried on the oriental trade from the two ports of Elath and Ezion-geber, especially the latter, until the time of Jehoshaphat, whose fleet was wrecked there. (1 Kings xxii. 48. 2 Chron. xx. 36, 37.) During the reign of Jehoram, the wicked successor of Jehoshaphat, the Edomites shook off the yoke of the Jewish sovereigns, and recovered their ports. From this time the Jewish traffic, through the Red Sea, ceased till the reign of Uzziah; who, having recovered Elath soon after his accession, expelled the Edo
1 It is certain that under Pharaoh Necho, two hundred years after the time of Solomon, this voyage was made by the Egyptians. (Herodotus, lib. iv. c. 42.) They sailed from the Red Sea, and returned by the Mediterranean, and they performed it in three years; just the same time that the voyage under Solomon had taken up. It appears likewise from Pliny (Nat. Hist. lib. ii. c. 67.), that the pas sage round the Cape of Good Hope was known and frequently practised before his time; by Hanno the Carthaginian, when Carthage was in all its glory; by one Eudoxus, in the time of Ptolemy Lathyrus, king of Egypt; and Cælius Antipater, an historian of good credit, somewhat earlier than Pliny, testifies that he had seen a merchant who had made the voyage from Gades to Ethiopia.
mites thence, and, having fortified the place, peopled it with his own subjects, who renewed their former commerce. This appears to have continued till the reign of Ahaz, when Rezin, king of Damascus, having oppressed and weakened Judah in conjunction with Pekah, king of Israel, took advantage of this circumstance to seize Elath; whence he expelled the Jews, and planted it with Syrians. In the following year, however, Elath fell into the hands of TiglathPileser, king of Assyria, who conquered Rezin, but did not restore it to his friend and ally, king Ahaz.1 Thus finally terminated the commercial prosperity of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. After the captivity, indeed, during the reigns of the Asmonæan princes, the Jews became great traders. In the time of Pompey the Great, there were so many Jews abroad on the ocean, even in the character of pirates, that king Antigonus was accused before him of having sent them out on purpose. During the period of time comprised in the New Testament history, Joppa and Cæsarea were the two principal ports; and corn continued to be a staple article of export to Tyre. (Acts xii. 20.)2
IV. Respecting the size and architecture of the Jewish ships, we have no information whatever. The trading vessels of the antients were, in general, much inferior in size to those of the moderns: Cicero mentions a number of ships of burthen, none of which were below two thousand amphora, that is, not exceeding fifty-six tons;3 and in a trading vessel, in all probability of much less burthen, bound with corn from Alexandria in Egypt to Rome, St. Paul was embarked at Myra in Lycia. From the description of his voyage in Acts xxvii. it is evident to what small improvement the art of navigation had then attained. They had no compass by which they could steer their course across the trackless deep; and the sacred historian represents their situation as peculiarly distressing, when the sight of the sun, moon, and stars was intercepted from them. (Acts xxvii. 20.) The vessel being overtaken by one of those tremendous gales, which at certain seasons of the year prevail in the Mediterranean (where they are now called Levanters), they had much work to come by the ship's boat, which appears to have been towed along after the vessel, agreeably to the custom that still obtains in the East, where the skiffs are fastened to the sterns of the ships (16.); which having taken up, that is, having drawn it up close to the stern, they proceeded to undergird the ship. (17.) We learn from various passages in the Greek and Roman authors, that the antients had recourse to this expedient in order to secure their ves
I During this period, the Jews seem to have had privileged streets at Damascus, as the Syrians had in Samaria. (1 Kings xx. 34.) In later times, during the crusades, the Genoese and Venetians, who had assisted the Latin kings of Jerusalem, had streets assigned to them, with great liberties and exclusive jurisdictions therein. See Harmer's Observations, vol. iii. pp. 489-492.
2 Jahn, Archæol. Hebr. pp. 169-174. Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, vol.
Epist. ad Familiares, lib. xii. ep. 15
sels, when in imminent danger; and this method has been used even in modern times.2
Much ingenious conjecture has been hazarded relative to the nature of the rudder-bands, mentioned in Acts xxvii. 40. ; but the supposed difficulty will be obviated by attending to the structure of antient vessels. It was usual for all large ships, (of which description were the Alexandrian corn ships,) to have two rudders, a kind of very large and broad oars, which were fixed at the head and stern. The bands were some kinds of fastenings, by which these rudders were hoisted some way out of the water: for, as they could be of no use in the storm, and in the event of fair weather coming the vessel could not do without them, this was a prudent way of securing them from being broken to pieces by the agitation of the waves. These bands being loosed, the rudders would fall down into their proper places, and serve to steer the vessel into the creek which they now had in view.3
V. Commerce could not be carried on without coin, nor without a system of weights and measures.
Although the Scriptures frequently mention gold, silver, brass, certain sums of money, purchases made with money, current money, and money of a certain weight; yet the use of coin or stamped Money appears to have been of late introduction among them. Calmet is of opinion that the antient Hebrews took gold and silver only by weight, and that they regarded the purity of the metal and not the stamp. The most antient mode of carrying on trade, unquestionably, was by way of barter, or exchanging one commodity for another; a custom which obtains in some places even to this day. In process of time such metals as were deemed the most valuable, were received into traffic, and were weighed out; until the inconveniences of this method induced men to give to each metal a certain mark, weight, and degree of alloy, in order to determine its value, and save both buyers and sellers the trouble of weighing and examining the metal. The coinage of money was of late date among the Persians, Greeks, and Romans. The Persians had none coined before the reign of Darius the son of Hystaspes, nor had the Greeks (whom the Romans most probably imitated) any before the time of Alexander. We have no certain vestiges of the existence of coined money, among the Egyptians, before the time of the Ptolemies; nor
1 Raphelius and Wetstein, in loc. have collocted numerous testimonies.
2 The process of under-girding a ship is thus performed: A stout cable is slipped under the vessel at the prow, which the seamen can conduct to any part of the ship's keel, and then fasten the two ends on the deck, to keep the planks from starting. As many rounds as may be necessary, may be thus taken about the vessel. An instance of this kind is mentioned in Lord Anson's voyage round the world. Speaking of a Spanish man-of-war in a storm, the writer says,-" They were obliged to throw overboard all their upper-deck guns; and take six turns of the cable round the ship, to prevent her opening." (p. 24. 4to. edit.) Bp. Pearce and Dr. A. Clarke, on Acts xxvii. 17. Two instances of under-girding a ship are noticed in the chevalier de Johnstone's Memoirs of the Rebellion in 1745-0, (London, 1822, 8vo.) pp. 421. 454.
3 Elsner and Wetstein, on Arts xxvii. 40.
had the Hebrews any coinage until the government of Judas Maccabeus, to whom Antiochus Sidetes, king of Syria, granted the privilege of coining his own money in Judæa. Before these respective times, all payments were made by weight: this will account for one and the same word (shekel, which comes from shakal, to weigh) denoting both a certain weight of any commodity, and also a determinate sum of money.1
Weights and Measures were regulated at a very early period in Asia. Moses made various enactments concerning them for the Hebrews; and both weights and measures, which were to serve as standards both for form and contents, were deposited at first in the tabernacle, and afterwards in the temple, under the cognisance of the priests. On the destruction of Solomon's temple, these standards necessarily perished; and, during the captivity, the Hebrews used the weights and measures of their masters.
For tables of the weights, measures, and money, which are mentioned in the Bible, the reader is referred to No. II. of the Appendix to this volume.
1 Calmet's Dictionary, vol. ii. article, Monty.