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The true Place ascertained.
It may be asked, If the message were not sent to Ekron, or Accaron, in the southern part of Judah, to what place was it directed ? I answer to Baal of the Tyrians and Sidonians, whose temple and oracle seem to have been about this time famous. The worship of this deity had been introduced into the kingdom of Israel by Ahab, the father of this very prince, with whom we have been so much concerned.
1 Kings, ch. xvi. ver. 30. And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him.
V. 3i. And it came to pass--that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians; and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.
V. 32. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Sama
Hence we find it intimated, that Ahab had visited the shrine and altar, of this deity at Tyre or Sidon, and when he married a princess of that country, he introduced these foreign rites into his own kingdom ; and raised an house and altar to Baal in Samaria. But the priests were all slain by 'Elijah; and the temple consequently deserted : and probably for a time ruined. When therefore Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, who resided in Samaria, wanted to know about his recovery: he sent messengers to inquire, not of Baalzebub the God of Ekron: but of Baal, Ocov Murav, the FlyGod, called Accaron; whose temple will be found to have been at Tyre. To this interpretation the authors of the Greek version bear witness. Και απεστειλεν αγγελος, και είπε προς αυτες, δευτε και επιζητηζατε εν τω Βααλ (i. e. εν τω ιερω Βααλ) Μυιαν θεον Ακκαρων, ει ζησομαι sx ons age wotics. And he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, and inquire, in the temple of Baal, of the Fly-God Accaron, if I shall recover of my infirmity. The angel of the Lord gave immediate directions to Elijah to go and meet these messengers, and to say unto them-E. παρα το μη ειναι θεον εν Ισραηλ υμεις πορεύεσθε επιζητησαι εν τω Βααλ Μυιαν Θεον Ακκαρων. Is it, because there is no God in Israel, that ye go to inquire in the house of Baal of the Fly-God Accaron? It is repeated in the sixth verse.-E. παρα το μη ειναι θεον εν Ισραηλ συ πορευη επιζητησαι εν τω Βααλ Μυιαν θεον Ακκαρων. The same occurs, v. 16.
We have seen that Josephus accords with the authors of the Greek version; as does Gregory Nazianzen: and from them we may infer that Accaron was the nảme of the Deus Musca, who was worshipped in the temple of Baal at Tyre; and that Ahab was the first recorded, who applied to this oracle, when he fetched his idolatrous wife from that part of the world. From hence I should think, as I have before urged, that there was not in this passage any reference to the city Ekron in the tribe of Dan: but to a temple and deity belonging to the king of the Tyrians and Sidonians. Josephus says expressly of the God introduced at Samaria'Ουτος ο Βααλ Τυριων ην θεος. This Baal was a deity of the Tyrians. The original, as it
דרשו בבעל .stands now expresses it differently by which is signified the God of :זבוב אלהי עקרין
Ekron, or Accaron. But we have seen that the fly was certainly worshipped under the name
Ant, 1. ix. c. 6. p. 489. There was no city. Accaron, nor people called Accaronitæ, in Tyre or Sidon; from whence we may be assured, that the name could not relate to a place, or people: but to a deity of the former city.
of Achor: and Josephus plainly intimates, , that Accaron in the passage before us was not the name of a place, but a deity, the cos Muia, or * Fly-God: and that his temple was at Tyre. The authors of the Greek version seem to give the same interpretation : and we may determine their meaning by the authority of those who copied from them. Such was Zonaras, who speaks of this deity in the feminine-- Νοσησας δε προς την Ακκαρων, θεον μυιας ονομασμενην, επεμψεν. If the meaning of a passage can be at all ascertained by the collocation of the terms, of which it is composed, the interpretation is as follows.---Upon Ahaziah's being ill he sent to the goddess Accaron, which was stiled the Fly Deity. This is certainly the meaning of Syncellus also : who says, that Elijah upbraided the king---' voo8th, και χρησμον απογειλαντα λαβειν εν και ειδωλια μυιας Araga---who was ill, and sent for oracular intelligence to the temple of the Fly Acaron.
* There was no Accaronitæ here, nor any place stiled Ekron, or Accaron.
* The deity in the original is stiled Baal: and Baal-zebub: and agreeably to this Josephus tells us- ο δε θεος Αχαβε Βααλ
The God of Ahab (and we may presume, of his son, Ahaziah) was named Baal. He adds_'Outos • Baan Tugiwr ην θεος. Αχαθος δε τω πενθερο βελομενος χαρισασθαι Ιθοεααλ Τυριων οντι βασιλει και Σιδωνιων ναον τε αυτο κατεσκευασεν εν Σαμαρεια, και ago Putas atidušu. l. ix. c. vi. p. 448. This Baat was a Tyrian deity: to whom Ahab, out of regard to Ithobaal his wife's father, king both of the Tyrians and Sidonians, had raised a tema ple in Samaria and appointed priests.
3 Zonaras Annal. l. 2.
A more determinate Proof.
The whole, I think, may be most satisfactorily determined by the command given to the prophet Elijah. We find, that king Ahaziah had sent his messengers from Samaria. Upon this, the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite : Go up to meet the messengers of Ahaziah, king of Samaria. This is rendered by the Seventy---deugo Els OUVANT NOW.
Now Elijah was not only of the kingdom of Israel ; but more particularly of 'Thisba, a city of Galilee, in the tribe of Naphthali; where he
Thesba, unde ortus est Elias propheta Thesbites. Heironymus de locis sacris, p. 238.
Thesba, urbs Galileæ in regione tribus Naphtali. Relandi Palæstina, v. 2. p. 1035.