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their power to manufacture and sell it to strangers,* and with the monies thence arising, purchase articles which their own country did not produce in sufficient abundance. -Farther, a country lying in a climate somewhat better than ours, admits the planting of vineyards, and finds drink to its inhabitants on the hills, which with us are barren, or at best adapted only for wood. We, on the contrary, must employ a part of our best land in raising barley, which furnishes our principal drink.—Once more, in the 32d degree of latitude, the same ground, treated as a garden, may be cropped oftener within the year, than with us; an advantage for which Moses expressly celebrates Palestine in Deut. xxxiii. 14.
It will perhaps appear somewhat trifling to observe, that people in southern climates are satisfied with less food than in northern but it is nevertheless very certain, and well known from church history, (see Mosheim's Institutiones Hist. Eccl. p. 168,) that on the introduction of the Asiatic fasts, the stomachs of the French were very differently affected from those of Egyptians. But it is more important to remark, that the industry of husbandmen in countries where rain rarely falls, and where the fields must be artificially watered, far surpasses any thing that our farmers exhibit. There they learn to make use of every foot of land: they cover the naked rocks with earth, and raise walls to prevent showers from washing it away. In those parts of Switzerland where vines can be reared, we see numberless examples of this most laudable economy; and that Palestine was anciently cultivated in the same manner, Maundrell discovered many traces in the course of his travels. This is sufficient to justify the law of Moses, who designed to provide at least 480,000 men able to bear arms, with land on this side Jordan. When in process of time the population increased, they had it in their power
* That this actually took place, we see from Prov. xxxi. 24.
to settle colonies in those parts of Arabia, till then only used for pasturage, where water was somewhat abundant, (for in such a climate, the very sand is fertile, where water is found ;) or else in the valleys of Mount Lebanon; and that this was actually done, we learn from 1 Chron, iv. 39-42, and from Judges, chap. xviii.
§ 2. Concerning the later enumerations of the Israelites.
Having said thus much concerning the numbers of the Israelites in the time of Moses, as my readers may havẹ the curiosity to make some enquiries concerning the later enumerations of that people, I will for their satisfaction add a few particulars relative thereto, though not strictly belonging to the illustration of the Mosaic law. Those to whom it may be irksome to read what is not indispensably necessary on this subject, may pass over the following paragraphs.
The enumerations made by Moses are those alone in which we can with certainty confide. In the time of the Judges, we find in all Israel only 426,700 men able to bear arms; and during a short war carried on with great fury, they became 66,000 fewer, (Judg. xx. 2, 15, 17, &c.) Saul could not bring more than 330,000 men together. * But whether, on either of these occasions, those residing in the more distant parts towards the Euphrates, were included, is uncertain; and at Saul's command, the tribe of Judah, whereof he found only 32,000 men, appears to have come forward very sparingly; for Saul seems in general to have had but little authority over that tribe. Nor is it at all to be wondered that the population should have diminished
* 1 Sam. xi. 8. There is great variety of lection as to the numbers in this passage, concerning which see the Orientalische Bibliothek, Part v. p. 247. I here follow the common text.
during so many unsuccessful wars, and those too, with nations who made slaves of their prisonors, and by carrying off young women, rendered the number of marriages less among the vanquished.
The next enumeration was the celebrated one undertaken by David. From the command issued by him, from the time of nine months allotted for carrying it into effect, and from the words of 2 Sam. xxiv. 1-8, we clearly see, that this census, or rather enrollment, comprehended the people in the most remote places, even in the Syrian and Arabian deserts; only that the tribes of Levi and Benjamin, the two weakest of all, are said to have been spared, 1 Chron. xxi. 6. The great amount of the numbers need not therefore appear incredible, because between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates, even more might have found room. It would, however, have been impossible that in the course of one generation, the whole people, by births alone, should have increased from 330,000 to more than a million; or that the tribe of Judah, if in Saul's time (1 Sam. xi. 8.) it could really muster only 32,000 men, should now, by births alone, have amounted to 500,000. But it would appear that many who had before, by reason of the bad times, retired into foreign lands, or had been carried away as slaves, had now returned again under David's reign;* and besides, many proselytes from the conquered countries might be included. But we can by no means fully rely on the numbers given. For no man who has critically perused the books of Samuel, in the last chapter of the second of which this enumeration is related, will hesitate to admit, that many parts of them, but above all the two last chapters, have come to us somewhat disfigured. But the books of Chronicles are in general more carelessly copied than any of the other bocks of the Bible, and not to be depended upon, as to the accu
* See my Dissertation, De pretiis Rerum apud Hebræos, § 10.
racy of the numbers which they give, and which appear indeed somewhat incredible. Add to this, that in regard to the numbers in question, these two books do not accord. For Joab found, According to Samuel,
800,000 in Israel-Chronicles,
which numbers I know not how to reconcile. The tribe of Judah, according to both, is prodigiously strong; very probably because most of the proselytes attached them selves to the tribe to which the king belonged, when they desired to participate in the civil rights of the Israelites, while they adopted their religion.
But even according to the least number, the people of Israel, women and children included, amounted to more than 5,000,000; about as many as the Prussian states at present contain. And yet these were not all the subjects that David could boast; for we must add 150,000 tributary Canaanites, with their wives and children; as also the conquered nations, at least those among them who had not by circumcision become Israelites; and the slaves, who might, however, chiefly belong to the conquered nations. If partiality towards the Jewish state, has not greatly magnified these numbers, David must certainly have been a very powerful prince, but still not to be compared with an Egyptian monarch.
The number of the Israelites under Jeroboam and Abijah, which is mentioned, 2 Chron. xiii. 3, is pretty nearly the same with that under David, if we only suppose that all who could bear arms were present in one battle. For the ten tribes mustered 800,000; and Judah, with Benjamin,
* I must here remind the reader that I wrote this in 1770, and therefore spoke of the then Prussian states. But now, that West Prussia must be taken into the account, their population will be considerably augmented.
400,000. But these numbers are manifestly any thing but accurate; for the battle to which they relate, wherein 500,000 men are stated to have fallen, could never have been so bloody but by the mistake of transcribers.*
The list of fighting men, 2 Chron. xvii. 14-18, belonging to the kingdom of Judah alone, under Jehoshaphat, being no less than 1,160,000, looks likewise suspicious, by reason of its great amount; which may be very reasonably ascribed to errors in transcription, more especially, as about a century after, in the reign of Uzziah, only 307,500, able to bear arms, could be mustered, (2 Chron. xxvi. 13); and that at a time when all the citizens were obliged to defend their country. In short, all the enumerations of the Israelites and Jews, subsequent to the time of Moses, are from the faults of transcribers uncertain, or manifestly
* See Syntagma Comment. P. I. 13, 14, and Kennicott's Second Dissertation, p. 197, &c.