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[53]

When Hiram had read this epistle, he was pleased with it; and wrote back this answer to Solomon.

“HIRAM TO KING SOLOMON.

"It is fit to bless God that he hath committed thy father's government to thee, who art a wise man, and endowed with all virtues. As for myself, I rejoice at the condition thou art in, and will be subservient to thee in all that thou sendest to me about; for when by my subjects I have cut down many and large trees of cedar and cypress wood, I will send them to sea, and will order my subjects to make floats of them, and to sail to what place soever of thy country thou shalt desire, and leave them there, after which thy subjects may carry them to Jerusalem. But do thou take care to procure us corn for this timber, which we stand in need of, because we inhabit in an island." 1

1 What Josephus here puts into his copy of Hiram's epistle to Solomon, and repeats afterwards, ch. 5. sect. 3, that Tyre was now an island, is not in any of the three other copies, viz. that of the Kings, Chronicles, or Eusebius; nor is it any other, I suppose, than his own conjectural paraphrase; for when I, many years ago, inquired into this matter, I found the state of this famous city, and of the island whereupon it stood, to have been very different at different times. The result of my inquiries in this matter, with the addition of some later improvements, stands thus: That the best testimonies hereto relating, imply, that Paketyrus, or Oldest Tyre, was no other than that most ancient smaller fort or city Tyre, situated on the continent, and mentioned in Joshua 19:29, out of which the Canaanite or Phoenician inhabitants were driven into a large island, that lay not far off in the sea, by Joshua: that this island was then joined to the continent at the present remains of Paketyrus, by a neck of land over against Solomon's cisterns, still so called; and the city's fresh water, probably, was carried along in pipes by that neck of land; and that this island was therefore, in strictness, no other than a peninsula, having villages in its fields, Ezekiel 26:6, and a wall about it, Amos 1:10, and the city was not of so great reputation as Sitlon for some ages: that it was attacked both by sea and land by Salmanasser, as Josephus informs us, Antiq. B. IX. ch. 14. sect. 2, and afterwards came to be the metropolis of Phoenicia; and was afterwards taken and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, according to the numerous Scripture prophecies thereto relating, Isaiah 23.; Jeremiah 25:22; 27:3; 47:4; Ezekiel 26., 27., 28.: that seventy years after that destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, this city was in some measure revived and rebuilt, Isaiah 23:17, 18, but that, as the prophet Ezekiel had foretold, chap. 26:3-5, 14; 27: 34, the sea arose higher than before, till at last it over flowed, not only the neck of land, but the main island or peninsula itself, and destroyed that old and famous city for ever: that, however, there still remained an adjoining smaller island, once connected to Old Tyre itself by Hiram, which was afterwards inhabited; to which Alexander the Great, with incredible pains, raised a new bank or causeway: and that it plainly appears from Ifaundreh, a most authentic eye-witness, that the old large and famous city, on the original large island, is now laid so generally under water, that scarce more than forty acres of it, or rather of that adjoining small island remain at this day; so that, perhaps, not above a hundredth part of the first island and city is now above water. This was foretold in the same prophecies of Ezekiel; and according to them, as Mr. Maundrell distinctly observes, these poor remains of Old Tyre are now "become like the top of a rock, a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea."

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