Page images
PDF
EPUB

strange gods, they did not incline to disbelieve it, | preserve your laws, but will pass over Jordan, and but thinking this defamatory report, as if it were defend them, and defend God also; and shall esbuilt for divine worship, was credible, they ap- teem of you as of men noway differing from the peared in arms, as though they would avenge Canaanites, but shall destroy you in the like themselves upon those that built the altar, and manner as we destroyed them; for do not you they were about to pass over the river, and to imagine that because you are got over the river punish them for their subversion of the laws of you are beyond the reach of God's power.

You their country: for they did not think it fit to re- are everywhere in places that belong to him, and gard them on account of their kindred, or the dig- it is impossible to overrun his power, and the nity of those that had given the occasion, but to punishment he will bring on men thereby. But if regard the will of God, and the manner wherein you think that your settlement here will be any he desired to be worshipped; so these men put obstruction to your conversion to what is good, themselves in array for war; but Joshua, and nothing need hinder us from dividing the land Eleazar the high-priest, and the senate, restrained anew, and leaving this old land to be for the feedthem, and persuaded them first to make trial by ing of sheep; but you will do well to return to words of their intention; and afterwards, if they your duty, and to leave off these new crimes. found that their intention was evil, then only to And we beseech you, by your wives and children, proceed to make war upon them. Accordingly, not to force us to punish you. Take therefore they sent as ambassadors to them Phineas, the such measures in this assembly, as supposing that son of Eleazar, and ten more persons that were in your own safety, and the safety of those that are esteem among the Hebrews, to learn what was in dearest to you, is therein concerned ; and believe their mind, when, upon passing over the river, that it is better for you to be conquered by words, they had built an altar upon its banks. But, as than to continue in your purpose, and thereby to soon as these ambassadors were passed over, experience deeds and war.” and were come to them, and a congregation was

When Phineas had discoursed thus, the govassembled, Phineas stood up, and said, “ The of- ernors of the assembly, and the whole multitude, fence you have been guilty of is of too heinous a began to make an apology for themselves, connature to be punished by words alone, or by them cerning what they were accused of; and they only to be amended for the future. Yet we do not said, “We neither will depart from the relation so look at the heinousness of your transgression, we bear to you, nor have we built the altar in as to have recourse to arms, and to a battle, for way of innovation ; we own one and the same your punishment immediately; but, on account of God with all the Hebrews, and that brazen altar our kindred, and the probability that you may be which is before the tabernacle, on which we will reclaimed, we have taken this method of sending offer our sacrifices. As to the altar we have an ambassage; that when we have learned the raised, on account of which we are thus suspecttrue reasons by which you have been moved to ed, it was not built for worship; but that it might build this altar, we may neither seem to have be a sign and a monument of our relation to you been too rash in assaulting you by our weapons for ever; and a necessary caution to us to act of war, if it prove that you made the altar for wisely, and to continue in the laws of our counjustifiable reasons, and may then justly punish try; but not a handle for transgressing them, as you, if the accusation prove true; for we can you suspect. And let God be our authentic withardly suppose that you, who have been acquaint- ness, that this was the occasion of our building ed with the will of God, and have been hearers of this altar. Whence we beg you will have a better those laws which he himself hath given us, now opinion of us; and do not impute such a thing to you are separated from us, and gone to that us as would render any of the posterity of Abrapatrimony of yours, which you, through the grace ham well worthy of perdition ; in case they atof God, and that providence he exercises over tempt to bring in new rites, and such as are you, have obtained by lot, can forget him, and different from our usual practices.” can leave that ark, and that altar which is

pecu When they had made this answer, and Phineas liar to us, and can introduce strange gods, and had commended them for it, he came to Joshua, imitate the wicked practices of the Canaanites. and explained before the people what answer they Now this will appear to have been a small crime, had received. Now Joshua was glad that he was if you repent now, and proceed no farther in your under no necessity of setting them in array, or of madness, but pay a due reverence to, and keep leading them to shed blood, and make war against in mind, the laws of your country. But if you per- men that were of their own kindred; and accordsist in your sins, we will not grudge our pains to ingly he offered sacrifices of thanksgiving to God

[ocr errors]

HUNDRED MEN.

for the same; so Joshua, after that, dissolved this

CHAP. II. great assembly of the people, and sent them to

OF THE AFFAIRS OF THE ISRAELITES AFTER THE DEATH OF JOSHUA; their own inheritances, while himself lived at

THEIR TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAWS OF THEIR COUNTRY; AND THB Shechem. But in the* twentieth year after this, DESTRUCTION OF THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN, EXCEPTING ONLY SIX when he was very old, he sent for those of the greatest dignity in the several cities, with those AFTER the death of Joshua and Eleazar, Phineas in authority, and the senate: and gathered to prophesied, T that, according to God's will, they gether as many of the common people as he should commit the government to the tribe of Jucould ; and when they were come, he put them in dah, and that this tribe should destroy the race of mind of all the benefits God had bestowed on

the Canaanites; for then the people were conthem ; which could not but be a great many, cerned to learn what was the will of God. They since from a low estate they were advanced to so also took to their assistance the tribe of Simeon ; great a degree of glory and plenty; and exhorted but upon this condition, that when those that had them to take notice of the intentions of God, been tributary to the tribe of Judah should be which had been so gracious towards them; and slain, they should do the like for the tribe of told them that the Deity would continue their Simeon. friend by nothing else but their piety, and that it But the affairs of the Canaanites were at this was proper for him, now he was about to depart time in a flourishing condition; and they expected out of this life, to leave such an admonition to the Israelites with a great army at the city Bezek; them; and he desired that they would keep in having put the government into the hands of memory this his exhortation to them.

Adonibezek; which name denotes the lord of BeSo Joshua, when he had thus discoursed to zek, for Adoni in the Hebrew tongue is called them, died; having lived an hundred and ten Lord. Now they hoped to have been too hard for years,t forty of which he lived with Moses, in the Israelites, because Joshua was dead; but order to learn what might be for his advantage when the Israelites had joined battle with them, I afterwards. He also became their commander mean the two tribes before mentioned, they fought after Moses's deathĩ for twenty-five years. He valiantly, and slew above ten thousand of them, was a man that wanted no wisdom nor eloquence and put the rest to flight; and in the pursuit they to declare his intentions to the people; but was took Adonibezek; who, when his fingers and toes eminent on both accounts. He was of great cour were cut off by them, said, “Nay, indeed, I was age and magnanimity in action and in dangers; not always to lie concealed from God, as I find and very sagacious in procuring the peace of the by what I now endure; while I have not been people, and of great virtue at all proper seasons. ashamed to do the same to** seventy-two kings.”tt He was buried in the city of Timnath, of the So they carried him alive as far as Jerusalem; and tribe of Ephraim.Ş About the same time died when he was dead they buried him in the earth, Eleazar, the high-priest; leaving the high-priest- and went on still in taking the cities; and, when hood to his son Phineas. His monument also and they had taken the greatest part of them, they besepulchre are in the city Gabatha.

sieged Jerusalem; and when they had taken the

* An. 1467.

† Josh. xxiv. 29. time into Armenia, and founded the Genthunian family or tribe; | From An. 1492 to An. 1467.

and that this was confirmed by the manners of the same family $ This place is, in Judges ii. 9, called Timnath Heres, be or tribe, as being like those of the Canaanites." cause of the image of the sun engraven on his sepulchre, in | By prophesying, when spoken of a high-priest, Josephus, memory of that famous day when the sun stood still till he had both here and frequently elsewhere, means no more than concompleted his victory. This is asserted by several of the Jewish sulting God by Urim; which the reader is still to bear in mind authors, that memorials alluding to particular transactions in the upon all occasions. And if St. John, who was contemporary lives of great men were frequently made use of to adorn their with Josephus, and of the same country, made use of his style, tombs. Tully has recorded concerning Archimedes, that a when he says that Caiaphas, being high-priest that year, proph. sphere and a cylinder were put upon his monument. B. esied that Jesus should die for that nation, and not for that na

|| Since not only Procopius and Suidas, but an earlier author, tion only, but that also he should gather together in one the Moses Chorenensis, p. 52, 53, and perhaps from his original | children of God, that were scattered abroad, xi. 51, 52, he may author, Mariba Catina, one as old as Alexander the Great, sets possibly mean, that this was revealed to the high-priest by an down the famous inscription at Tangier, concerning the old extraordinary voice from between the cherubim, when he had Canaanites driven out of Palestine by Joshua, take it here in his breastplate, or Urim and Thummim on, before or in the that author's own words : “ We are those exiles that were gov most holy place of the temple; which was no other than the or. ernors of the Canaanites; but have been driven out by Joshua, | acle of Urim and Thummim. Of which above, in the note on the robber; and are come to inhabit here.” See the note there. | Antiq. III. 8. Nor is it unworthy our notice what Moses Chorenensis adds, ** This great number of Reguli, or small kings over whom page 53, and this upon a diligent examination, viz. that “One Adonibezek had tyrannized, and for which he was punished acof those eminent men among the Canaanites came at the same cording to the Lex Talionis; as well as the thirty-one kings of

lower city, which was not under a considerable However, the tribe of Ephraim, when they betime, they slew all the inhabitants. But the upper sieged Bethel, made no advance; nor performed city was not to be taken without great difficulty, any thing worthy of the time they spent, and of through the strength of its walls and the nature the pains they took about that siege. Yet did they of the place.

persist in it, still sitting down before the city; For this reason they removed their camp to though they endured great trouble thereby. But, Hebron; and when they had taken it, they slew after some time, they caught one of the citizens, all the inhabitants. There were till then left the that came to them to get necessaries; and they race of giants ;* who had bodies so large, and gave him some assurances, that if he would deliver countenances so entirely different from other men, up the city, they would preserve him and his kinthat they were surprising to the sight, and terrible | dred. So he sware that, upon those terms, he to the hearing. The bones of these men are shown would put the place into their hands. Accordto this very day, unlike to any credible relations ingly, he was preserved with his family, while the of other men. Now they gave this city to the Israelites slew all the other inhabitants, and re

, suburbs of two thousand cubits. But the land thereto belonging they gave as a free gift to fighting any more against their enemies; but apCaleb, according to the injunctions of Moses. plied themselves to the cultivation of the land ; This Caleb was one of the spies which Moses which producing great plenty and riches, they nesent into the land of Canaan; they also gave glected the regular disposition of their settlement, land for habitation to the posterity of Jethro, the and indulged themselves in luxury and pleasures. Midianite, who was the father-in-law to Moses. Nor were they any longer careful to hear the For they had left their own country and followed laws that belonged to their political government. them, and accompanied them in the wilderness. Whereupon God was provoked to anger, and put

Now the tribes of Judah and Simeon took the them in mind, first how contrary to his directions cities which were in the mountainous part of Ca- they had spared the Canaanites; and, after that, naan, as also Ascalon and Ashdod, of those that how those Canaanites, as opportunity served, used lay near the sea. But Gaza and Ekron escaped them very barbarously. But the Israelites, though them; for they, lying in a flat country, and having they were in heaviness at these admonitions from a great number of chariots, sorely galled those God, yet were they still very unwilling to go to that attacked them. So these tribes, when they war. And since they got large tributes from the were grown very rich by this war, retired to their Canaanites, and were indisposed for taking pains own cities, and laid aside their weapons of war. by their luxury, they suffered their aristocracy to

But the Benjamites, to whom belonged Jerusa- be corrupted also, and did not ordain themselves lem, permitted its inhabitants to pay tribute; so a senate, nor any such magistrates as their laws they all left off, the one to kill, and the other to had formerly required. But they were very much expose themselves to danger, and had time to given to cultivating their fields, in order to get cultivate the ground. The rest of the tribes imi- wealth ; which great indolence of theirs brought tated that of Benjamin, and did the same; and con- a terrible sedition upon them; and they proceeded tenting themselves with the tributes that were paid so far as to fight one against another, from the them, permitted the Canaanites to live in peace. following occasion.

Canaan, subdued by Joshua, and named in one chapter, Josh. about; and thinks that if it were, it would quickly be destroyed. xij. and thirty-two kings, or royal auxiliaries, to Benhadad king Remarks on Italy, 4to. p. 151. Nor is it unfit to be observed of Syria, 1 Kings xx. 1. Antiq. VIII. 14, intimate to us, what here, that the Armenian records, though they give us the history was the ancient form of government among several nations, be of thirty-nine of their ancientest heroes or governors, after the fore the monarchies began; viz. That every city or large town, flood, before the days of Sardanapalus, had no proper king till with its neighbouring villages, was a distinct government by the 40th Pararus. See More's Chorenensis, p. 55, and the note itself. Which is the more remarkable, because this was certain- | there. And the Almighty God does not approve of such absoly the form of ecclesiastical government that was settled by the lute or tyrannical monarchies, as one may learn, that reads apostles, and preserved throughout the Christian church, in the Deut. xvii. 14—20. and 1 Sam. viii. 1–22. xii. 1–26. Alfirst

age of Christianity. Mr. Addison is of opinion, that it would though if such kings are set up, as own him for their supreme be for the good of mankind, to have all the mighty empires and King; and aim to govern according to his laws, he hath ad. monarchies of the world cantoned out into petty states and prin-mitted of them, and protected them, and their subjects, in all cipalities; that, like so many large families, might lie under the generations.

ft Judge i. 7. observation of their proper governors ; so that the care of the * Of the old giants, their several species, statures, and reprince might extend itself to every individual person under his maining bones, see Authent. Rec. Part I. p. 260—293, and protection; though he despairs of such a scheme being brought Part II. 872—938, at large.

There* was a Levite,f a man of a vulgar family, certain young men, of the inhabitants of Gibeah, that belonged to the tribe of Ephraim, and dwelt having seen the woman in the market-place, and therein. This man married a wife from Bethlehem, admiring her beauty, when they understood that she which is a place belonging to the tribe of Judah. lodged with the old man, came to the doors, as conNow he was very fond of his wife, and overcome temning the weakness and fewness of the old man's with her beauty; but he did not meet with a return family. And when the old man desired them to of affection, for she was averse to him ; which did go away, and not to offer any violence or abuse more inflame his passion for her. So they quarrelled there; they desired him to yield them up the strange one with another perpetually; and at last the woman woman, and then he should have no harm done to was so disgusted at these quarrels, that she left

, her him. And when the old man alleged, that the Lehusband, and went to her parents, in the fourth vite was of his kindred; and that they would be month. The husband being very uneasy at her guilty of horrid wickedness if they suffered themdeparture, went to his father and mother-in-law, selves to be overcome by their pleasure, and so made up their quarrels, and lived with them there offend against their laws; they despised his rightfour days, as being kindly treated. On the fifth day eous admonition, and laughed him to scorn; they he resolved to go home, and went away in the even- also threatened to kill him, if he became an obstacle ing; for his wife's parents were loth to part with to their inclinations. Whereupon, when he found their daughter, and delayed the time till the day was himself in great distress, and yet was not willing to gone. Now they had one servant that followed overlook his guests, and see them abused, he prothem, and an ass on which the woman rode; and duced his own daughter to them; and told them, when they were near Jerusalem, having gone al- that it wasg a smaller breach of the law to satisfy readyř thirty furlongs, the servant advised them to their lust upon her, than to abuse his guests; suptake up their lodgings somewhere, lest some misfor- posing that he should by this means prevent an tune should befall them, if they travelled in the injury from being done to those guests. When they night, especially since they were not far off enemies; noway abated of their earnestness for the strange that season often giving reason for suspicion of woman, but insisted absolutely on their desires to dangers from even such as are friends. But the have her, he entreated them not to perpetrate any husband was not pleased with this advice, nor was such act of injustice: but they proceeded to take he willing to take up his lodging among strangers; her away by force; and indulging still more the for the city belonged to the Canaanites; but desired violence of their inclinations, they took the woman rather to go twenty furlongs farther, and so take away to their house, and when they had abused her their lodging in some Israelite city. Accordingly the whole night, they let her go about day-break. he came to Gibeah, a city of the tribe of Benjamin, So she came to the place where she had been enterwhen it was just dark; and while no one that lived tained, under great affliction at what had happened, in the market-place invited him to lodge with him, and durst not look her husband in the face for there came an old man out of the field; one that shame; for she concluded that he would never forwas indeed of the tribe of Ephraim, but resided in give her, for what she had done. So she fell down, Gibeah, and asked him who he was ? for what rea- and gave up the ghost; but her husband supposed son he came thither so late? and why he was look- his wife was only fast asleep; and thinking nothing ing out for provisions for supper when it was dark? of a more melancholy nature had happened, endeato which he replied, that he was a Levite, and was voured to raise her up, resolving to speak comfortbringing his wife from her parents, and was going ably to her, since she did not voluntarily expose home; but he told him his habitation was in the herself to those men's lust, but was forced away to tribe of Ephraim. So the old man, as well because their house. But as soon as he perceived that she of their kindred, as because they lived in the same was dead, he acted as prudently as the greatness of tribe; and also because they had thus accidentally the misfortune would admit; and laid his dead wife met together, took him to lodge with him. Now upon the beast, and carried her home. Then cut

* Josephus's early date of this history, before the beginning tion in Josephus, as to the distance of Gibeah of Saul in the of the Judges, or when there was no king in Israel, Judges xix. tribe of Benjamin, from Jerusalem, 30 furlongs here; but Of the 1, is strongly confirmed by the large number of Benjamites, War, V. 2. 20 furlongs, and no more. Yet is there no necessity both in the days of Asa and Jehoshaphat; 2 Chron. xiv. 8, and of making these two places to contradict each other. These 20 xvi. 17, who yet were here reduced to 600 men. Nor can those furlongs only they had now to go to Gibeah indeed; but it was numbers be at all supposed genuine, if they were reduced so not from Jerusalem, but from the place where they now were ; late as the end of the Judges, where our other copies place this which might easily be eight or ten furlongs from Jerusalem in reduction.

the way to Gibeah. So that here does not appear any real con. † About An. 1460 B. C.

tradiction at all. Reland, in his Palestina, tom. II. p. 810, finds a contradic. § See Gen. xix. 8.

[ocr errors]

ting* her limb by limb into twelve pieces, he sent if they should deliver them up, to rest satisfied them to every tribe, and gave it in charge to those with the punishment of those offenders; but if they that carried them, to inform the tribes of those that despised the message that was sent them, to were the cause of his wife's death, and of the vio- punish them, by taking up arms against them. lence they had offered her.

Accordingly they sent to the inhabitants of GiUpon this the people were greatly disturbed at beah, and accused the young men of the crimes what they saw and heard; as never having had committed in the affair of the Levite's wife; and the experience of such a thing before. So they required of them, those that had done what was gathered themselves to Shiloh, out of a just anger; contrary to the law, that they might be punished; and, assembling in a great congregation before as having justlyf deserved to die for what they the tabernacle, they immediately resolved to take had done. But the inhabitants of Gibeah would arms, and to treat the inhabitants of Gibeah as not deliver up the young men, and thought it too enemies. But the senate restrained them from reproachful for them, out of fear of war, to subdoing so, and persuaded them that they ought not mít to other men's demands upon them ; vaunting so hastily to make war upon people of the same themselves to be noway inferior to any in war, nation with them, before they discoursed with neither in their number, nor in courage. The them, by words, concerning the accusation laid rest of their tribe also made great preparation for against them. It beingt part of their law, that war; for they were so insolently mad also, as to they should not bring an army against foreigners resolve to repel force by force. themselves, when they appear to have been in When it was related to the Israelites, what the jurious, without sending an ambassage first, and inhabitants of Gibeah had resolved upon, they trying thereby whether they will repent or not; took an oath that no one of them would give his and accordingly they exhorted them to do what daughter in marriage to a Benjamite; but that they ought, in obedience to their laws; that is, to they would make war with greater fury against send to the inhabitants of Gibeah, to know whether them, than their forefathers had made war against they would deliver up the offenders to them; and the Canaanites. Accordingly they sent out an

Interpreters say but little concerning the real views of the || rifice was offered ; from the true God, when made by the Jews; Levite in this transaction ; they merely intimate, that it was done from idols, when made by the Gentiles. The Jews were conto excite a general indignation against the authors of the injury tent to invoke and take the Lord to witness, whereas the Pagans he had sustained. His motives certainly were good and regular. never failed to place upon an altar of green turf, the deities He intended to unite the whole nation in vengeance against a | which presided over their covenant. These deities were called crime, in which it was interested ; but as they might be checked common, because they were the common deities of all who were in the extent of the punishment by the number, the credit, and thus united, and received in common the honours which they the power, of the offenders; by the natural commiseration which thought proper to pay them. is felt for those who are of the same blood; or by an aversion to A direct proof of these facts is recorded in 1 Sam. xi. 7. involve a city in destruction; he sought and seized a method “ And Saul took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, which put them to the indispensable necessity of espousing his and sent them throughout all the coasts of Israel by the hands cause. The only part which he had to take was, to cut in pieces of messengers, saying, Whosoever cometh not forth after Saul the body of his wife, which he did, or else that of an ox, or and after Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen. And the other like animal, which had been either devoted or offered in fear of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out with one sacrifice, and to send a part of it to each tribe. In consequence consent.” Another proof is drawn from the customs observed of this, every tribe entered into an indissoluble engagement to by the Scythians and Molossians. Lucian thus speaks of what see justice done him for the injury he had received. This is passed between these people upon urgent occasions.

“When what the interpreters of Scripture seem not to have known, and any one had received an injury, and had not the means of avengwhich it is necessary to explain.

ing himself, he sacrificed an ox, and cut it into pieces, which he The ancients had several ways of uniting themselves together caused to be dressed and publicly exposed; then he spread out by strict ties, which lasted for a stipulated time; amongst these the skin of the victim, and sat upon it, with his hands tied may be noticed the sacrifice of Abraham, the circumstances of behind him. All who chose to take part in the injury which which are mentioned, Gen. xvi. 9, &c. Another method was had been done, took up a piece of the ox, and swore to supply to take a bullock offered or devoted in sacrifice, cut it into and maintain for him, one five horses, another ten, others still pieces, and distribute it. All who had a piece of this devoted more; some infantry, each according to his strength and ability. bullock were thenceforward connected, and were to concur in They who had only their person, engaged to march themselves. carrying on the affair which had given occasion for the sacrifice. Now an army composed of such soldiers, far from retreating or But as this devoting and dividing was variously practised, it also disbanding, was invincible, as it was engaged by oath." produced different engagements. If he who was at the expense The circumstances, compared with the account given of the of the sacrifice were a public person, or in high office, he sent Levite's conduct, and the subsequent behaviour of the tribes, of his own accord a piece of the victim to all who were subject clearly point out, that the method used by the Levite to obtain to him; and by this act obliged them to enter into his views. redress was consistent with the established usages of the times, If the sacrifice were offered by a private person, those only who and effected the retribution he desired to see accomplished, B. voluntarily took a piece of the sacrifice entered into a strict + See IV. 8. and Deut. xx. 10. engagement to espouse his interest. Connexions of this kind | Deut. xxii. 25. derived their force from the deities, in honour of which the sac

« PreviousContinue »