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Containing an interval of Thirty-two Years.
FROM THE DEATH OF ELI TO THE DEATH OF SAUL
OF THE DESTRUCTION THAT CAME UPON THE PHILISTINES, BY THE
that they would receive the ark among them. This desire was not disagreeable to those of Ascalon; so
they readily granted it: but when they had gotten THE ARK ; AND OF THE MANNER IN WHICH THEY SENT IT BACK TO the ark, they were in the same miserable condition;
for the ark carried along with it the disasters that When the Philistines had taken the ark of the the people of Ashdod had suffered, to those who Hebrews, they carried it to the city Ashdod, and received it from them. Those of Ascalon also sent put it by their own god, who was called* Dagon, as it away to others; who, being pursued by the same one of their spoils. But when they went into the disasters, again sent it to the neighbouring cities. temple the next morning, to worship their idol, they So that the ark went round, after this manner, to found him paying the same worship to the ark, for the five cities of the Philistines; as though it exacted he lay prostrate, as having fallen down from the these disasters as a tribute for its coming among basis whereon he had stood. So they took him up, them. and set him on his basis again, and were much When those that had experienced these miseries troubled at what had happened. And as they fre- were tired out with them, and when those that heard quently came to Dagon, and found him still lying of them were taught thereby not to admit the ark along in a posture of adoration to the ark, they were among them, since they paid so dear a tribute for in very great distress and confusion. At length God it; at length they sought for some contrivance how sent a very destructive disease upon the city and they might get free from it. So the governors of country of Ashdod; for they died of the dysentery, the five cities, Gath, Ekron, Ascalon, Gaza, and a sore distemper, that brought death upon them very Ashdod, met together, and considered what was fit suddenly; for before they could, as usual in easy to be done. And at the first they thought proper deaths, be well loosed from the body, they brought to send the ark back to its own people; as allowing up their entrails, and vomited up what they had that God had avenged its cause, that the miseries eaten, and what was entirely corrupted by the dis- they had undergone came along with it, and that ease. And as to the fruits of their country, a great those were sent on their cities upon its account, and multitude of mice arose out of the earth and hurt together with it. However, there were those that them; and spared neither the plants, nor the fruits. said, they should not do so, nor suffer themselves to Now while the people of Ashdod were under these be deluded, as ascribing the cause of their miseries misfortunes, and were not able to support themselves to it; because it could not have such power and under their calamities, they perceived that they suf- force upon them. For had God had such a regard fered thus because of the ark; and that the victory to it, it would not have been delivered into the hands they had gotten, and their having taken the ark of men. So they exhorted them to be quiet, and to captive, had not happened for their good. They bear what had befallen them, and to suppose there therefore sent to the people of Ascalon, and desired was no other cause of it but nature, which at cer
* Dagon, a famous god or idol, is generally supposed to have been like a man about the navel, and like a fish beneath it.
tain revolutions of time produces such mutations in Judah, called Bethshemesh, and to that village the bodies of men, in the earth, in plants, and in all did the kine go; and though there was a great things that grow out of the earth. But the counsel and good plain before them to proceed in, they that prevailed over those already described, was that went no farther, but stopped the cart there. This of certain men, who were believed to have distin- was a joyful sight to those of that village, and guished themselves in former times for their under they were very glad. For it being then summerstanding and prudence, and who in their present time, and all the inhabitants being in their fields, circumstances seemed above all the rest to speak gathering in their fruits, they left off the labours properly. These men said, it was not right either of their hands for joy, as soon as they saw the to send the ark away, or to retain it; but to dedi-ark, and ran to the cart; and taking the ark down, cate five golden images, one for every city, as a and the vessel that had the images in it, and the thank-offering to God, on account of his having mice, they set them upon a certain rock, which taken care of their preservation, and having kept was in the plain. And when they had offered a them alive when their lives were likely to be taken splendid sacrifice to God, and feasted, they offered away by such distempers as they were not able to the cart and the kine as a burnt-offering. And bear up against. They also would have them make when the lords of the Philistines saw this, they five golden* mice, like those that had devoured and returned back. destroyed their country; to put them in a bag, and But now it was that the wrath of God overtook lay them upon the ark; to make a new cart also for them, and strucks seventy persons dead of the it, and to yoke milchf kine to it; but to shut up village of Bethshemesh ; who not being priests, their calves, and keep them from them, lest by fol- and so not worthy to touch the ark, had aplowing after them, they should prove a hindrance to proached to it. Those of that village wept for their dams; and that the dams might return the these that thus suffered, and made such lamentafaster, out of a desire of those calves; then to tion as was naturally to be expected of so great drive these milch kine that carried the ark, and to | a misfortune that was sent from God; and every leave it in a place where three ways meet, and to one mourned for his own relation. And since they leave the kine to go along which of those ways they acknowledged themselves unworthy of the ark's pleased; that in case they went the way to the He- abode with them, they sent to the public senate brews, and ascended to their country, they should of the Israelites, and informed them that the ark suppose that the ark was the cause of their misfor- was restored by the Philistines. Which when they tunes; but if they turned into another road, they knew, they brought it away to Kirjathjearim, a should pursue after it, and conclude that it had no city in the neighbourhood of Bethshemesh. In such force.
this city lived one Abinadab, by birth a Levite, So they determined that these men spake well, and who was greatly commended for his righteous and they immediately confirmed their opinion by and religious course of life; so they brought the doing accordingly. And when they had done as ark to his house, as to a place fit for God himself hath been already described, they brought the to abide in, since therein did inhabit a righteous cart to a place where three ways met, and left it man. His sons also ministered to the divine serthere. But the kine went the right way, as if some vice at the ark, and were the principal curators persons had driven them, while the rulers of the of it for|| twenty years; for so long it continued Philistines followed, as desirous to know where in Kirjathjearim; having been but I four months they would stand still, and whither they would go with the Philistines. Now there was a certain village of the tribe of
Spanheim informs us, that upon the coins of Tenedos, and or more yoke of oxen or kine in Phænicia; in the neighbour. those of other cities, a field mouse is engraven; together with hood of these Philistines. See Cumberland's Sanchoniatho, p. Apollo Sminthous, or Apollo the driver away of field mice; on 27 and 247, and Essay on the Old Test. Append. p. 172. account of his being supposed to have freed certain tracts of # 1 Sam. vi. 14. ground from those mice. Which coins show how great a judg. These 70 men, being not so much as Levites, touched the ment such mice have sometimes been; and how the deliverance ark' in a rash or profane manner; and were slain by the hand of from them was then esteemed the effect of a divine power. God for that rashness and profaneness, according to the divine Which observations are highly suitable to this history.
threatenings, Numb. iv. 15, 20; but how our other copies come † This device of the Philistines, of having a yoke of kine to to add such an incredible number, 50,000, in this one town, or draw the cart, into which they put the ark of the Hebrews, is small city, I know not. See Dr. Wall's critical notes on 1 Sam. greatly illustrated by Sanchoniatho's account, under his ninth vi. 19. generation, that Agrouerus, or Agrotes, the husbandman, had a || From An. 1148 to 1128. much-worshipped statue, and a temple, carried about with one Seven months, in the Hebrew and Septuagint.
THE PROPHET, WHO WAS THEIR GENERAL
being good and righteous men. And if you will be OF THE EXPEDITION OF THE PHILISTINES AGAINST THE Hebrews, such, I will be security to you for the performance AND THE HEBREWS' VICTORY, UNDER THE CONDUCT OF SAMUEL of God's promises.” When Samuel had thus said,
the multitude applauded his discourse, and gave WHILE the city of Kirjathjearim had the ark their consent to resign themselves up to do what with them, the whole body of the people betook was pleasing to God. So Samuel gathered them themselves all at that time to offer prayers and together, to a certain city called Mizpeh it which sacrifices to God, and appeared greatly concerned signifies, in the Hebrew tongue, a watch-tower. and zealous about his worship. So Samuel the There they drew water, and poured it out to prophet thought it a proper time to speak to God, and fasted all day, and betook themselves them, while they were in this good disposition, to their prayers. about the recovery of their liberty, and of the This assembly did not escape the notice of the blessings that accompanied the same. Accord Philistines. So when they had searned that so large ingly he used such words to them as he thought a company had met together, they fell upon the were most likely to excite that inclination, and to Hebrews with a great army, and mighty forces, as persuade them to attempt it:* “O ye Israelites,” hoping to assault them when they did not expect it, said he,“ to whom the Philistines are still griev- nor were prepared for it. This thing affrighted the ous enemies, but to whom God begins to be gra- Hebrews, and put them into disorder and terror. So cious: it behoves you not only to be desirous of they came running to Samuel, and said, “Our souls liberty, but to take the proper methods to obtain were sunk by our fears, and by the former defeat it. Nor are you to be contented with an inclina- we had received: and thence it was that we lay tion to get clear of your lords and masters, while still, lest we should excite the power of our enemies you still do what will procure your continuance against us. Now while thou hast brought us hither under them. Be righteous then, and cast wicked to offer up our prayers and sacrifices, and take oaths ness out of your souls, and by your worship sup- to be obedient; our enemies are making an expeplicate the Divine Majesty with all your hearts, dition against us, while we are naked and unarmed. and persevere in the honour you pay to him. For Wherefore we have no other hope of deliverance if you act thus, you will enjoy prosperity, you but that by thy means, and by the assistance God will be freed from your slavery, and will get the shall afford us upon thy prayers to him, we shall victory over your enemies; which blessing can- obtain deliverance from the Philistines.” Hereupon not possibly be attained either by weapons of war, Samuel bid them be of good cheer, and promised by the strength of your bodies, or by the multi- that God would assist them. And taking a sucking tude of your assistance; for God has not promised lamb, he sacrificed it for the multitude;$ and beto grant these blessings by those means; but by sought God to hold his protecting hand over them,
* An. 1128.
supposed to have done upon another occasion, Exod. xix. 20, to + The Mizpeh here mentioned, as appears from the circum- signify the purification of their souls from the pollution of sin. stance of the story, must be different from that which is re Others that they made use of it to cleanse the ground where marked in the history of Jephtha. There is indeed another Miz. Samuel was to erect an altar, that it might not stand upon an peh mentioned among the cities of Judah, Josh. xv. 38, and a impure place. Some suppose that it was employed as an em. third, among those of Benjamin, Josh. xviii. 26. Some are of blem of humiliation, of prayer, of expiation, of execration, and opinion, that these two cities are one and the same, and are I know not what besides. But the most probable opinion is, only supposed to be two, because they lie in the confines of each that this water was, upon this occasion, poured out, by way of tribe ; but if they are not the same, it seems most probable, that libation, before God. And for support of this it is commonly the Mizpeh in the tribe of Benjamin was the city which is here alleged, that-libations of this kind were very customary in anspoken of. And we may observe farther, that as Mizpeh is said cient times; that Theophrastus, as he is cited by Porphyry, (De to be situated not far from Eben-ezer, and probably on the east Abstin. lib. 2,) tells us, that the earliest libations were of or north side : so Shen (if it be the name of a place, and not water, though afterwards honey and wine came into request : rather on some sharp rock thereabouts) was situated not far from that Virgil (Æneid, iv.) mentions the practice of sprinkling the it on the opposite, i. e. on the west or south-west side, to which water of the lake Avernus: and that Homer (Odyss. 12.) reBethcar must needs
be contiguous. Wells's Geog. of the old marks, that for want of wine, the companions of Ulysses poured Test. vol. iii. c. 1. B.
out water in a sacrifice, which they offered to the Gods. It is † The words in our translation run thus :—And they gathered certain, that David poured out unto the Lord the water which to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the Lord, the three gallant men in his army brought him from the well of 1 Sam. vii. 6; but what we are to understand by this water, the Bethlehem, at the hazard of their lives, 2 Samn. xxjii. 16, and, conjectures of commentators have been various. Some take therefore, though the law does not enjoin any such libations of these words in a metaphorical sense, to denote those tears of water; yet, since there is no positive prohibition of them, why contrition, which were drawn, as it were, from the bottom of may we not suppose, that upon this extraordinary occasion, their hearts, and fell from their eyes before the Lord. Others something singular and extraordinary might have been done? think, that with this water they washed their bodies, as they are Patrick's and Calmets Comment. B. f 1 Sam. vii. 9.
when they should fight with the Philistines, and not
CHAP. III. to overlook them, nor suffer them to come under a
OF SAMUEL'S ATTENTION TO PUBLIC AFFAIRS, THE EVIL ADMINISsecond misfortune. Accordingly, God hearkened to TRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT BY HIS SONS, AND THE SUBSEQUENT his
DEMAND OF THE MULTITUDE TO BE GOVERNED BY A KING. prayers; and, accepting their sacrifice with a gracious intention, he granted them a victory over The prophet Samuel, when he had ordained the their enemies. Now while the altar had the sacri- affairs of the people, after a convenient manner, and fice of God upon it, and had not yet consumed it had appointed a city for every district of them; he wholly by the sacred fire; the enemy's army march- commanded them to come to such cities to have the ed out of their camp, and was put in order of bat- controversies that they had one with another detertle; and this in hope that they should be conquerors, mined; he himself going over those cities twice in since the* Jews were caught in distressed circum- a year, and doing them justice. And by that means stances; as neither having their weapons with them, he kept them in very good order for a long time. nor being assembled in order to fight. But things so But afterward he found himself oppressed with fell out, that they would hardly have been credited old age, and not able to do as he had done formerly. though they had been foretold by any body. For in So he committed the government, and the care of the first place, God disturbed their enemies with an the multitude, to his sons; the elder of whom was earthquake, and moved the ground under them to called Joel, and the name of the younger was Abiah. such a degree, that he caused it to tremble, and He also enjoined them to reside and judge the made them to shake; insomuch that by its trembling ple, the one at the city Bethel, and the other at he made some unable to keep their feet, and made Beer-sheba ; and divided the people into districts, them fall down; and by opening its chasms, he that should be under the jurisdiction of each of them. caused that others should be hurried down into Now these men afforded us an evident example and them. After which he caused such a noise of thun- demonstration, how some children are not of the der to come among them, and made fiery lightning like dispositions with their parents ; but sometimes shine so terribly round about them, that it was perhaps good and moderate, though born of wicked ready to burn their faces; and he so suddenly shook parents, and sometimes showing themselves to be their weapons out of their hands, that he made them wicked, though born of good parents. For these flee, and return home naked. So Samuel, with the men, turning aside from their father's good courses, multitude, pursued them to a place called Bethcar; perverted justice for the filthy lucre of gifts and and there he set up a stone as a boundary of their bribes; and made their determinations, not accordvictory, and their enemies' flight; and called it the ing to truth, but according to bribery; and turned stone of power; as a signal of that power God had aside to luxury, and a voluptuous way of living. given them against their enemies.
So that, as in the first place, they practised what So the Philistines, after this stroke, made no more was contrary to the will of God; so did they what expeditions against the Israelites ;t but lay still out was contrary to the will of the prophet, their father, of fear, and out of remembrance of what had be- who had taken a great deal of care, and made very fallen them. And what courage the Philistines had careful provision that the multitude should be rightformerly against the Hebrews, after this victory, was eous.I transferred to the Hebrews. Samuel also made an Upon these injuries offered to their former conexpedition against the Philistines, and slew many of stitution and government, by the prophet's sons, the them, and entirely humbled their proud hearts, and people were very uneasy at their actions, and came took from them that country which, when they were running to the prophet, who then lived at the city formerly conquerors, they had cut off from the Jews; Ramah, and informed him of the transgressions of which was the country that extended from the bor- his sons; and said, that as he himself was old alders of Gath to the city Ekron. But the remains ready, and too infirm to oversee their affairs in the of the Canaanites were at this time in friendship manner he used to do; so they entreated him to with the Israelites.
appoint some person to be king over them, wholl
This is the first place, so far as I remember, in these An- temptible. And besides this, it is possible that Samuel might tiquities, where Josephus begins to call his nation Jews, he be ignorant of the corruption of his sons, since he lived at having hitherto usually, if not constantly, called them either Ramah, and they at Beer-sheba. Patrick's Comment.
. B. Hebrews or Israelites.
$ 1 Sam. viii. 5. † 1 Sam. vji. 13.
It is generally supposed, that what made the Israelites so # It may probably be made a question, why God did not pun urgent at this time for a king, was a present strait they thought ish Samuel, as he did Eli, for the wickedness of his sons ? But themselves in, for want of an able leader; for Nahash, the king to this it may be answered, that Samuel's sons were not so bad of the Amorites, coming up to Jabesh Gilead, and encamping as those of Eli; since taking bribes privately was not like openly before it, had put the inhabitants into such a fright, that, withprofaning the tabernacle, and making the worship of God con out more to do, they offered to surrender upon terms; telling
might rule over the nation, and avenge them of the thing which they will not do at their commands, Philistines, who ought to be punished for their for- as if they were slaves bought with money. They mer oppressions. These words greatly afflicted will also appoint your daughters to be confecSamuel, on account of his innate love of justice, tioners, and cooks, and bakers; and these will be and his hatred to regal government, for he was very obliged to do all sorts of work which women fond of an aristocracy, as what made the men that slaves that are in fear of stripes and torments, used it of a divine and happy disposition. Nor submit to. They will, besides this, take away could he either think of eating and sleeping, out of your possessions, and bestow them upon their his concern and torment of mind at what they had eunuchs, and the guards of their bodies, and will said, but all the night long did he continue awake, give the herds of your cattle to their own serand revolved these notions in his mind.
vants; and, in brief, you and all that is yours
will While he was thus disposed, God appeared to be servants to your king, and will become noway him, and comforted him, saying, that he ought not superior to his slaves. Now when you suffer thus to be uneasy at what the multitude desired, because you will be reminded of what I now say; and it was not he, but Himself, whom they so insolently when you repent of what you have done, you will despised, and would not have to be alone their beseech God to have mercy upon you, and to King; that they had been contriving these things grant you a quick deliverance from your king; but from the very day that they came out of Egypt; he will not accept your prayers, but will neglect that, however, in no long time they would sorely you, and permit you to suffer the punishment your repent of what they did, which repentance yet could evil conduct has deserved.” not undo what was thus done for futurity; that they But the multitude was still deaf to these prewould be sufficiently rebuked for their contempt, and dictions of what would befall them; and too the ungrateful conduct they had used towards Him, peevish to suffer a determination which they had and towards the prophetic office: “So I command injudiciously made, to be taken out of their mind; thee,” said the Deity, “ to ordain them such a one for they could not be turned from their purpose, as I shall name beforehand to be their king, when nor did they regard the words of Samuel, but thou hast first described what mischiefs regal gov- peremptorily insisted on their resolution, and deernment will bring upon them, and openly testified sired him to ordain them a king immediately, and before them unto what a great change of affairs not to trouble himself with fears of what would they are hasting."*
come hereafter; for that it was necessary that When Samuel had heard this, he called the they should have with them one to fight their Jews early in the morning, and confessed to them battles, and to avenge them of their enemies; and that he was to ordain them a king; but he said, that it was noway absurd, when their neighbours that he was first to describe to them what would were under regal goverement, that they should follow, what treatment they would receive from have the same form of government, also. So their kings, and with how many mischiefs they when Samuel saw that what he had said had not must struggle. “For know ye,” said he,“ that in diverted them from their purpose, but that they the first place, they will take your sons away continued resolute, he said, “ Go you every one from you; and they will command some of them home for the present, and I will send for you as to be drivers of their chariots, and some to be soon as I shall have learned from God who it is their horsemen, and the guards of their body; that he will give you for your king.”+ and others of them to be runners before them, and captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds ;
CHAP. IV. they will also make them their artificers, makers of armour, and of chariots, and of instruments; they will make them their husbandmen also, and the guardians of their own fields, and the diggers THERE was one of the tribe of Benjamin, a man of their own vineyards. Nor will there be any of a good family, and of a virtuous disposition ;
OF THE APPOINTMENT OF A KING OVER THE ISRAELITES, BY THE
COMMAND OF GOD.
him, that they would become subjects to him if he would Israel, and if in that time no succours arrived, they would submake a league with them, 1 Sam. xi. 1. But the haughty mit. This, it is thought, was the reason for their pressing so Amorite, in contempt of Israel, let them know, that if he made hard upon Samuel at this time for a king; whereas their duty a league with them, the condition thereof should be, that they was to have inquired of the Lord, as they had done at other should come out to him, and let him thrust out all their right times, who it was that he would be pleased to constitute the eyes, and lay it for a reproach upon all Israel. The elders general in this exigence, to lead out their forces against their of Jabesh, in this sad circumstance, demanded seven days' enemies. Howell's History, in the notes. B. espite, that they might send messengers unto all the coasts of Sam. viii. 9.
† 1 Sain. viii. 22.