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resided : though he is also said to have lived sometimes
the inhabitants of Gilead. But both Thisba, and the region of Gilead, were far removed from Samaria ; and much farther from Ekron. Thisba lay to the north, and · Gilead to the north-east of this city of the Philistines. How could the prophet be sent to meet the messengers, if they were gone to the south and south-west in a direction from him ? For this was the case, if they went to Ekron towards the extremity of Judah. But if they were sent to Tyre; they were every step advancing towards him; and he could easily go up and meet them. This was therefore the city, to which they were sent: and the deity was the Fly-God Acaron, as Josephus and others have assured us.
There was not a place from Dan to Samaria, from which the prophet could have set out, and confronted the messengers, had they been sent to the land of the Philestim.
Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, 1 Kings, c. 17. v. 1. He was by relation or birth of Gilead; but lived at Thisbe : hence he is stiled in the versions-ex advenis, & ex inquilinis, Galaaditicis.
2 Gilead seems to have been the whole tract of country beyond Jordan quite up to Dan. See Deut. c: 34. v. 1. It Jay for the most part to the east and north-east of Judah, and the land of Israel : and was at a great distance from Samaria. Ramoth Gilead was about thirty miles to the easť.
From hence it is manifest, that Josephus, and the authors above mentioned, instead of 177x, the God of Acaron, as it stands now in the original, read universally 7/78, the God Acaron. And this reading seems to be past contradiction ascertained from the context, and from the history given of the deity. The difference consists only in a small final letter ; which may easily have been added ; and may as easily upon these authorities be set aside. Some manuscripts are mentioned by Dr Kennicott; in which it is not found. We have seen, that the context proves the reading recommended to be true: and we have the concurrence of the Greek version, and of many learned writers, for a farther confirmation.
Frequent Prohibitions against this Worship.
We have sufficiently shewn, that in many parts of the world flies were reverenced; and that there were sacrifices offered to them. Moreover, that there was a deity stiled Deus Musca, and Achoron ; who was worshipped under the semblance of a fly. This idolatry
originated in Egypt: from whence it was brought by the Caphtorim to Palestine: and by the Phenicians to Sidon, Tyre, and Byblus : and from these places it was carried into other regions of the world.
The original river Accaron, called by the Greeks, Axegar, Acheron, was in Egypt. It lay to the west of Memphis; and on the other side were the Acherusii campi, and Palus Acherusia, the same as Mæris. Here likewise stood a city! Achoris: where we may infer that the Fly Deity was worshipped : for we know, that among the people of this country almost every species of vermine was held sacred. They
' Lucan has more than once introduced in his poem, a person of Memphis, who was a priest, and named Achoreus.
-quos inter Achoreus, Jam placidus senio, fractusque modestior annis. Hunc genuit custos Nili crescentis in arva
Memphis, vana sacris. 1. 8. v. 475. Cæsar is introduced as addressing him
-summâque in sede jacentem Linigerum placidis compellat Achorea dictis.
O! sacris devote Senex. l. 10. v. 174. He was probably a priest of the God Achor : and denominated from his office. The temple of this deity I should imagine to have been at Achoris, a city near the lake Mæris. Axogos of Ptolemy, p. 121. mentioned by Sozomen, 1. 6. c. 28. p. 257. and expressed Axwe.
shewed a reverence, as Sir John Marsham observes, not only to cats, and rats, and apes ; but to grubs and beetles,---volucribus, reptilibus, aquatilibus, s. 9. p. 156. Among these were, as Lactantius tells us---culices et formicæ. Hence the children of Israel were injoined by the Mosaic law to hold every thing of this sort in abhorrence. Therefore, says the lawgiver, take ye good heed unto yourselves----
ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female. Deut. c. iv. v. 15, 16. And he farther tells them, that this interdict did not merely extend to the larger and nobler animals, such as the steer, and the cow; to the crocodile of the river, or the stork in the hea
vens : but to the likeness of any thing that creep· eth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is
in the waters beneath the earth. v. 18. And in respect to their food they are told---every creeping thing, that creepeth upon the earth, shall be an abomination. v. 41. Or whosoever toucheth any creeping thing, whereby he may
be made unclean---the soul, that hath touched any
such shall be unclean until even, and shall not eat of the holy things, unless he wash his flesh with water. Levit. c. xxii. v. 5, 6. But notwithstanding
these prohibitions the children of Israel forsook the law of the Lord: and the rites, which they adopted, consisted in this symbolical worship, introduced from Egypt. They had polluted the house of God by painting these vile hieroglyphics upon the walls of the inner court; the most sacred of all. Hence Ezekiel says, that when he was brought there in vision, he had a full sight of these abominations.---So I went in, and saw and behold, every form of creeping things and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about. ch. viii. v. 10. In all these accounts we have the idolatry of the Egyptians alluded to: and their worship of flies and insects particularly pointed out.
If then such was the worship of this people ; nothing could be more striking and determinate, than the judgment brought upon them. They were punished by the very things, which they revered : and though they boasted of spells and charms, yet they could not ward off the evil. They had, like the Grecians, gods, αλεξικακοι, αποτροπαιοι, απομυλοι, who, they thought, could avert all mischief: and among these Isis Averrunca': but their power was ineffectual: and both the prince