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David be ignorant? If so, to how little
purpose was his study in it all the day long ? Pf.
: Are we to suppose Solomon ignorant, to whom God said-Lo, I have given thee a wife and understanding heart, so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee Jall any arise like unto thee? 1 Kings iii. 12. See 1 Kings iv. 29, &c. Comp. Matt. xii. 42. Luke xi. 31. Such a solution of the matter will more easily prove the ignorance of such commentators, than their assertions prove ignorance in the holiest and wifest men that ever lived under the light of the Old Testament, where alone God's law is to be found, and on the authority of which the whole New Testament can only * stand. The kings of Ifrael were expressly commanded to write a copy
of the law with their own band; it was to be with them, and they were to read in it daily. Deut. xvii. 18, 19. The Priests and Levites could not be ignorant ; for their lips were to keep knowledge, and the people were to seek the law at their mouth. Mal. ii. 7. As for the people, they not only heard the law constantly, but were commanded to write it
* Ignatius, Epist. ad Philadelph. c. 8. introduces a γεω faying-Εαν μη εν οίς αρχαίους έυρω εν τω 'Ευαγjeaíw Ś TI5€ww-nisi invenero in antiquis (vaticiniis) Evangelio non credo : which I heartily assent to, thus paraphrased—“ What I do not find in Moses and the pro
phets, I'll not believe in the gospel.” But there is no danger of this, no hazard of being put to such a trial; for certainly the New Testament faith none other things than Moses and the prophets did say should come to pass. Acts xxvi. 22. See Rom. xv. 4. Luke xxiv. 44, 45.
94 upon the very door-posts of their houses. Deuť. vi. 9. Whatever else, therefore, their polygamy proceeded from, it could not be derived from ignorance. They could not be ignorant of the seventh commandment; and supposing that many of them, like their descendents in later times, loft sight of its spiritual intendment, yet the meaning of its outward letter they could hardly be at a loss for, especially as they must observe its uniform and unvaried use throughout the whole of their scriptures. If, therefore, polygamists sinned against the feventh commandment, they did it with their eyes open; and whosoever can believe that such men as we have mentioned, could do this without any scruple before-hand, or sorrow afterwards, or the least sign of repentance, must believe more than, for their lakes, and the sake of thousands of God's saints (who though not mentioned as polygamists, doubtless were so) I could wish even to surmise, or than is in the least consistent with the account which we have of them in the holy scriptures.
I shall only observe farther on this head, of attributing the practice of polygamy by the Old-Testament faints to ignorance, that we must charge ignorance on God's high-priest Jehoiada, who stands recorded, 2 Kings xii. and 2 Chron. xxiv. as one of the wisest, best, and greatest characters that ever lived, as likewise one of the most exemplary promoters of God's honour, and a chief instrument of the reformation of religion in Judah, in the reign
of king * Jehoash. If so, our charge of ignorance will not stop here, but even reach the Spirit of God Himself. For He fays, that Foash did right in the fight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest, 2 Chron. xxiv. 2. or (as it is 2 Kings xii. 2.) all his days, wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him ; and yet we are told, ver. 3. that Jehoiada took for him TWO WIves, and he begat sons and daughters. On whom shall the commentator fix ignorance ?
On Jehoiada the high-priest, for teaching his pupil king Jehoash to be a polygamit, by taking for him two wives ? or on Jeboash, who received them, and cohabited with them? or on the Holy Ghost, who bears testimony to the rectitude of king Jehoash's conduct, all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him ?
The learned Bishop Patrick, on 2 Chron. xxiv. 3. says, that “ Jehoiada did not take “ these two wives for the king, but for him“ self.”. Supposing it to be so, the proof of the lawfulness of polygamy in Jehoiada's opinion is equally strong. But this sense of the Bishop's will hardly arise from the position and construction of the Hebrew text: for it does not stand in the order of our translation
And Jehoiada took for him two wives— so as to make him the relative to Jehoiada ; but
tulit Et. Mont.
wives two Jehoiada him to brought And
So * Called Joash also, 2 Chron. xxiv. + The verb XD) certainly fignifies to take a wife for
So that the ysto bim stands as the relative to the chief subject of the preceding verse, which is evidently king Jeboash, whose history the sacred penman is here recording, as a part of which this action of Jehoiada's is here related.
The Bishop is conscious of a difficulty in his interpretation, arising from a constant tradition of the Jews, that the high-priest was to have but one wife at a time, which was founded on Lev. xxi. 13, 14.
This he endeavours to get rid of by saying " It is not certain that
Jehoiada was high-priest, for he is every “ where called Jehoiada the priest, and but
once only (ver. 6.) the chief.” — But this is no argument at all against his being high-priest, for Abiathar, who was high-priest, is no where called so in the Old Testament, but always the priest ; so his father Abimelech, as the Bishop himself observes on 1 Sam. xxi. I; so Eli the priest, 1 Sam. ii. 11; Zadoc the priest, 1 Kings iv. 2. 1 Chron. xxix. 22; and even Aaron himself, Pf. xcix. 6. The title of VRT—the chief, or head, which is given to Jehoiada, ver. 6. signifies certainly more than “ the chief of one of the courses of priests.” -His having apparently the conduct and management of every thing * relating to the temple, his anointing king Jehoash (comp.
one's self-but it also signifies to take or bring a wife for another. See Ezra ix. 2, 12. Neh. xiii. 25; in which paffages the word so is used in both these fenfes.
s well as the entire management and command over all the Priests and Levites. See 2 Chron. xxiii. 4-8.
1 Kings i. 45.) and many other circumstances related of him, bespeak him plainly to be no less than high-priest ; and therefore the word W87chief, or head-denotes this here, as it does that Seraiah was up high-priest, 2 Kings xxv. 18. For all which reasons it seems clear, that Yeboiada (who had before married Jehofhabeath, the sister of king Ahaziah, 2 Chron. xxii. 11.) took not these two wives for himself, but for king yoash.
These things are too plain not to force conviction on the minds of many; therefore it is that they have said with the learned author of the " Historical Library”—“ Poly
gamy, though not expressly allowed, 'is “ however tacitly implied in the law of Moses.” This is going farther than those I have mentioned, but yet does not come up to the mat
For if it be forbidden by the seventh commandment, or by any other law, it is as contradictory to scripture to say, that it was tacitly implied, as that it was expressly allowed. This last is the truth ; it was expressly allowed, and that by God Himself: a direct proof this, that it was not forbidden by the seventh commandment, or by any other law, unless we can suppose the all-wise God to be so inconfistent with Himself, as to forbid, and yet
allow, the same thing under the same circumstances.
+ That Seraiah was descended in a right line from Eleazar the son of Aaron, appears i Chron. vi. 4-14 and of course succeeded to the high-priesthood. As such he is registered. Ibid. VOL. I.