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Under the government of David, 1050 B.C., Judæa was at the zenith of its power: the Philistines were completely subdued, Mount Zion had been recovered, and, by the assistance of the famous workmen of Sidon, a beautiful palace was erected. The Jewish kingdom, hitherto but limited, now extended as far as Egypt and the Euphrates, while its northern boundary was Syria. David was a man far superior, in point of natural endowments, to any of his age and country. By the wisdom of inspiration, he composed the Psalms to be sung in the service of God. But though this was the man after God's own heart, neither his wisdom nor his piety could preserve him from a rebellion encouraged by his wicked son. His favourite Absalom placed himself at the head of a party, and David was obliged to fly from Jerusalem. Absalom, however, was at last defeated and slain while entangled by his long hair in the branches of a tree.
Solomon, who succeeded his father David about B.C. 1000, was inclined to peace; he it was who built the temple of Jerusalem, and added to the riches of himself and his people by opening a trade with the ports on the Red Sea. But the treasures acquired induced luxury and extravagance, and the people fell back to the worship of idols. The rule of Solomon was found oppressive, and involved severe taxation, which resulted in a revolt; and Solomon, once the proudest and most prosperous of Jewish sovereigns, was obliged to exclaim with a sigh, “ Alas! all is vanity.” After
B. C. 720.
the death of Solomon, Palestine was divided into the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel, which, after a long continuance of civil wars and repeated returns to idolatry, were both eventually conquered and made tributary to foreign masters; Israel in the year 720 B.C., and Judah 600 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar carried away the King of Judah and all his nobles for the seventy years of Babylonian captivity. In the year 530 B.C. they returned to their own land, and rebuilt the Temple of Solomon, which had been levelled with the ground. The temple was afterwards rebuilt by Herod, and was destroyed at the taking of Jerusalem by the Romans, A. D. 70, “not one stone being left upon another;" and the Jews were scattered among all the nations of the earth. Still it is wonderful how the Jews have preserved their nationality as a “peculiar people,” amidst all the variety of nations with which they have been doomed to sojourn.
NAVIGATION-THE PHENICIANS—THE COMPASS.
ONE of the most intricate works of modern art B. c.
700. is the building of a large merchant-vessel or a man-of-war, with all its lower decks and quarter deck, cabins, masts, rudder, sails, and anchors, all
B. c. to be steered by the stars and the little compass
needle. This art probably has been perfected from very small beginnings ; a floating trunk or hollow tree might first have suggested to some meditative mind the idea of trusting to the deep. And the first conveyances contrived by art were mere rafts and coracles covered with skins. Oars, at first, were neither known nor thought of, but men committed themselves to the waves, guided only by the current. And even when oars were invented, consisting merely of rough poles by which to propel the boat or raft, still sails remained a long time unknown; and, indeed, in early times sails were less indispensable, because voyages were only made along the coast. In that primitive state of things, a stone attached to a rope, and thrown from the vessel to the land, answered the purpose of the anchor of modern times. The first nation that ever ventured out of sight of land, and navigated the open sea, were the Phænicians, who probably introduced the use of sails; they were, likewise, the first people who directed their course by observations of the stars. The art of navigation, however, till within these last 500 years, remained in a most imperfect state; for although the sail was invented, and the stars observed for their guidance, it was only on rare occasions that men would dare to commit themselves to the open sea, for its dangers remained in all their terror till the compass was invented, founded, as it is, on the observation that a mag
netic needle invariably points due north and south, and thus enables the navigator, even in the densest atmosphere, to form some kind of judgment of the course to steer. The needle was first known in Europe about 500 years ago. Of the ships of the present day, those built by the English and the Americans surpass all others, both in number and tonnage. *And here we would call attention to the 27th chapter of Ezekiel, as containing a most minute and curious account of the commerce of ancient Tyre. Here we have an account of their markets and their fairs, of the articles of their commerce and each trading country, of the fine linen of Egypt, the metals of Tarshish, the slave-trade with Javan and Tubal, wheat from the merchants of Judah, the wares manufactured at Damascus, besides “spices and precious stones," and “chests of rich apparel, bound with cords, and made of cedar." *
COMMERCE — MONEY- THE SLAVE TRADE
The stimulus that navigation gave to commerce B.C.
1000. was very considerable. In the earliest
the only form of trade or commerce was the exchange
B.C. of commodities, of which one man had too much
and another too little for his requirements; and the price of every article was determined by the demand. But when this exchange began to be more common, it was found necessary to establish some common measure by which goods might be compared, and thus marked with a standard and recognised value. Goods were measured by the ell, the fathom, and the ton. Weight was determined at first merely by the hand, afterwards by a rude kind of beam. Our weighing-machines are among the oldest of our inventions. Now it often happened that the buyer had not to give the exact commodity which the seller most wanted in exchange: it was therefore found necessary to fix on some one commodity to which all persons attached an equal value, and then to determine the price of goods by reference to this one uniformly prized commodity. This was the origin of money. To represent this common measure, different means were adopted in different places; such as shells, wood, salt, or fish: but generally metals were used,-first copper, and afterwards gold and silver. Originally the common custom was to weigh the metals at every purchase; but this proving tiresome and inconvenient, some dealers kept the pieces of metal ready weighed, stamped with the figure of any particular animal of which the piece happened to be the price. At a later period the king caused his likeness to be stamped on the coin of his realm. Two thousand years ago the Ger