Pass ye unto Calneh, and see
What is become of that city, which was in the land of Shinar, an ancient city, as early as the days of Nimrod, and built by him, and was with others the beginning of his kingdom, ( Genesis 10:10 ) ; it belonged to Babylon, and is by Jarchi here interpreted by it, being put for Babel, as he supposes. According to Jerom F7, it is the same city, sometimes called Seleucia, in his days Ctesiphon; very probably it had been lately taken by the king of Assyria, and therefore made mention of; see ( Isaiah 10:9 ) ; where it is called Calno; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great;
the same with Antiochia, as Jarchi and Jerom; called the great, to distinguish it from Hamath the less, sometimes called Epiphania; or from Hamathzobah, near Tadmor, or Palmyra, in the wilderness, ( 2 Chronicles 8:3 2 Chronicles 8:4 ) ; though it might be so called with respect to its own grandeur and magnificence; as Sidon is called "Sidon the great", though there was no other, ( Joshua 11:8 ) ; for it was a royal city; we read of Toi, king of Hamath, in the times of David, ( 2 Samuel 8:9 2 Samuel 8:10 ) . It is placed by Josephus F8 on the north of the land of Canaan; and so it appears to be, and to be between Damascus and the Mediterranean sea, from ( Ezekiel 47:15-17 ) ( 48:1 ) . Abu'lfeda F9, a learned prince, who reigned in Hamath, and should know its situation, places it on the Orontes, between Hems and Apamea, that river surrounding it on the east and north. The learned Vitringa F11 thinks that neither Antiochia nor Epiphania are meant, but the city Emissa; which Ammianus Marcellinus F12 makes mention of along with Damascus, as a famous city in Syria, equal to Tyre, Sidon, and Berytus: and of the same opinion was Theodoret F13 among the ancients, and so Calmet F14 of late. And so Hamath and Damascus are mentioned together as recovered by Jeroboam, ( 2 Kings 14:28 ) ; very probably the kingdom of Hamath became subject to the kings of Damascus; see ( Jeremiah 49:23 ) ; but, be it what place it will, it is very likely it had been lately spoiled by the king of Assyria; see ( Isaiah 37:13 ) . then go down to Gath of the Philistines;
one of their five principalities, and a chief one, so called to distinguish it from other Gaths, as Gathhepher, Gathrimmon. It stood about five or six miles south of Jamnia, about fourteen south of Joppa, and thirty two west of Jerusalem. A village of this name as shown, as Jerom F15 says, five miles from Eleutheropolis, as you go to Diospolis or Lydda, and is taken to be the same place. It is famous for being the birthplace of Goliath; and is called in ( 2 Samuel 8:1 ) ; compared with ( 1 Chronicles 18:1 ) , Methegammah, or the bridle of Ammah, or Metheg and her mother; that is, Gath and her daughters. Reland F16 thinks Gath is the city Cadytis of Herodotus F17, who says it is a city of the Syrians, called Palestines or Philistines, and speaks of the mountains of it; and this city was not far from the mountainous country of Judea: now this city had been taken by Hazael, king of Syria, and its wall was broke down by Uzziah, king of Judah, ( 2 Kings 12:17 ) ( 2 Chronicles 26:6 ) ; [be they] better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your
that is, do Calneh, Hamath, and Gath, excel in dignity and grandeur, in wealth and strength, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah? or are they of a larger circumference, and exceed them in length and breadth? no, they did not; and therefore the more ungrateful were Israel and Judah to sin against the Lord as they had done, who had given them such rich and large kingdoms, and therefore might expect to be taken and spoiled as well as they: though some think there is a change of number and persons in the text, and that the sense is, are you better than these kingdoms, or your border greater than theirs? and, if not, you may expect to fare as they; see a like expression in ( Nahum 3:8 ) .
F7 Quaest. in Gen. fol. 66. M.
F8 Antiqu. l. 9. c. 10. sect. 1.
F9 See the Universal History, vol. 2. p. 316.
F11 Comment. in Jessiam, c. 10. 9.
F12 Lib. 23.
F13 Comment. in Jer. ii. 15. and xlix. 23.
F14 Dictionary, in the word "Hamath".
F15 De locis Hebr. fol. 92. A.
F16 Palestina Illustrata, tom. 2. l. 3. p. 669.
F17 Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 159. & Thalia, sive l. 3. c. 5.