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describes as a thong of leather, or of string plaited, broad į for those opportunities and advantages which are of so in the middle, and having a loop at one end, by which it much importance to a successful result;-the difficulty of was fixed upon and firmly held with the hand; the other making such vast numbers act in concert against the enemy, extremity terminated in a lash, which escaped from the or for mutual support; the tumultuary character of their fingers as the stone was thrown; and when used the slinger operations, under the imperfect organization of Oriental whirled it three or four times over his head, to steady it armies; and the facility with which a panic spreads among and to increase the impetas. The Egyptian slingers em large masses :-all these, and more, are circumstances ployed round stones for this purpose, which they carried in which concur not to illustrate the probability, but to ex. a small bag, hanging from a small belt over the shoulder. | plain the historical fact, that enormous masses of men have The Greeks and Trojans, according to the descriptions of so often been defeated by comparatively small, but compact their warfare left by Homer, often pelted each other heartily | and vigorous, bodies, animated by one spirit, quick to perwith stones, but appear not to have made much use of the sling. ceive, and alert to seize the advantages which cannot fail It existed among them, however, but would seem to have | to offer; and, as being more easily directed and controlled, been used rather by the common soldiers than by the more capable of concerted action, and not equally obliged, heroes; which is probably the reason why it is not brought by the difficulty of keeping their army on foot, to hurry much under our notice in the Iliad. It appears that the into conflict, and thus forego the advantages which might centre of their slings was wadded with fine wool, which, be obtained by maneuvre and delay. If the Lord had been yielding to the pressure of the stone, afforded it a secure consulted at the commencement of this undertaking (and it lodgment till the moment of dismission.
is well to remember that he was not, as it helps us better There are various indications of the attention which the to understand the result), he would probably have directed, Hebrews gave to the use of the sling. From the history of as in the case of Gideon, that this vast host should be reDavid, it seems to have been a usual weapon among the | duced to a small body of resolute men; but as he was not shepherds, as they watched their flocks (1 Sam. xvii. 40); | consulted, except partially and apparently as an afterand the effective use to which that famous shepherd ap- thought, they seem in the first instance to have been left plied it in his combat with Goliath, may be taken as an to their own ill-advised plans, and no divine power was evidence of their skill. It is very probable that the hus- interposed to prevent the very natural result of a conflict of bandmen protected their grounds from wild animals with 400,000 against 27,000 men of valour' (v. 44). the sling, as well as the shepherds did their flocks from 33. Baal-tamar.'-Tamar means a palm-tree; and the beasts of prey. The Roman husbandmen did so, as still place perhaps had its name from a grove of palm-trees in do those of modern Egypt. Of all the Hebrews, the Ben which Baal was worshipped. We know nothing of the jamites seem to have had a peculiarly distinguished repu place beyond what the context shows, that it was near tation as slingers. The present verse is not the only passage Gibeah. Jerome mentions a village as existing, in his by which this is demonstrated. The fact here recorded | time, in this neighbourhood, under the name of Bethamari; concerning the accuracy of their aim, indicates that they and this looks like a variation or corruption of the same must have undergone a long and careful training to the name. art.
34. Ten thousand chosen men.'— These ten thousand 21. · The children of Benjamin ...destroyed ... of the seem to form a third body, distinct from the ambuscade Israelites that day lwenty and two thousand men.'-On and from the army engaged with the Benjamites at Baalcommon military principles there is nothing to occasion tamar. surprise in the defeat of an army of 400,000 men by one 35. · The Lord smote Benjamin' - In this verse the of about 27,000. It has been the great mistake of Orientals sacred writer relates the event of the battle in general generally, in all ages, to calculate their prospects of success terms. In the sequel he resumes the narrative, giving the rather by the numbers than by the efficiency of the men particulars of the battle and the consequences of victory they can bring into action ; and the abundant experience more in detail. which Oriental history affords, of the frequently disastrous 45. •The rock of Rimmon.'—The escaped Benjamites consequences of assembling such vast and unwieldy bodies, probably remained in a cave or caves of this rock, or has not yet operated in correcting this kind of infatuation, rocky mountain. Of the mountain itself we know nothing which is not, indeed, peculiar to the Orientals. The diffi distinctly; but some have thought it was the same as the culty of obtaining subsistence for such vast bodies; the . exceeding high mountain' which was the scene of consequent necessity of entering into immediate action, in Christ's temptation, and concerning which see the note to order to bring the affair to a conclusion, without waiting Matt. iv. 8.
that the people rose early, and built there
an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace 1 The people bewail the desolation of Benjamin. 8 By
offerings. the destruction of Jabesh-gilead they provide them
5 And the children of Israel said, Who is four hundred wives. 16 T'hey advise them to surprise the virgins that danced at Shiloh.
there among all the tribes of Israel that
came not up with the congregation unto the Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, LORD? For they had made a great oath saying, There shall not any of us give his concerning him that came not up to the LORD daughter unto Benjamin to wife.
to Mizpeh, saying, He shall surely be put to 2 And the people came to the house of death.
death. God, and abode there till even before God, 6 And the children of Israel repented and lifted up their voices, and wept sore; them for Benjamin their brother, and said,
3 And said, O LORD God of Israel, why There is one tribe cut off from Israel this is this come to pass in Israel, that there should day. be to day one tribe lacking in Israel ? | 7 How shall we do for wives for them that 4 And it came to pass on the morrow, ' remain, seeing we have sworn by the LORD
that we will not give them of our daughters heritance for them that be escaped of Bento wives?
| jamin, that a tribe be not destroyed out of 8 | And they said, What one is there of Israel. the tribes of Israel that came not up to Miz- 18 Howbeit we may not give them wives peh to the LORD? And, behold, there came of our daughters : for the children of Israel none to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the have sworn, saying, Cursed be he that giveth assembly.
a wife to Benjamin. 9 For the people were numbered, and, be- 19 Then they said, Behold, there is a feast hold, there were none of the inhabitants of of the LORD in Shiloh 'yearly in a place Jabesh-gilead there.
which is on the north side of Beth-el, 'on the 10 And the congregation sent thither east side ®of the highway that goeth up from twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and Beth-el to Shechem, and on the south of commanded them, saying, Go and smite the | Lebonah. inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge | 20 Therefore they commanded the children of the sword, with the women and the chil- of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in dren.
the vineyards; 11 And this is the thing that ye shall do, 21 And see, and, behold, if the daughters 'Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then every woman that ‘hath lain by man.
come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you 12 And they found among the inhabit every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, ants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred 'young and go to the land of Benjamin. virgins, that had known no man by lying 22 And it shall be, when their fathers or with any male : and they brought them unto their brethren come unto us to complain, that the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of we will say unto them, 'Be favourable unto Canaan.
them for our sakes : because we reserved not 13 And the whole congregation sent some to each man his wife in the war: for ye did *to speak to the children of Benjamin that not give unto them at this time, that ye should were in the rock Rimmon, and to "call peace- be guilty. ably unto them.
23 And the children of Benjamin did so, 14 And Benjamin came again at that and took them wives, according to their time; and they gave them wives which they number, of them that danced, whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-gilead : caught: and they went and returned unto and yet so they sufficed them not.
their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and 15 And the people repented them for Ben- dwelt in them. jamin, because that the Lord had made a 24 And the children of Israel departed breach in the tribes of Israel.
thence at that time, every man to his tribe 16 & Then the elders of the congregation and to his family, and they went out from said, How shall we do for wives for them thence every man to his inheritance. that remain, seeing the women are destroyed 25 ''In those days there was no king in out of Benjamin ?
Israel : every man did that which was right 17 And they said, There must be an in- / in his own eyes. 1 Xam. 31. 17. 2 Heb. knoweth the lying with man. 3 Heb. young women virgins. Fleb, and spake and called. 5 Or, proclaim peace. 6 Heb. from year to year. 7 Or, toward the sun rising. 8 Or, on. 9 Or, Gratify'us in them. 10 Chap. 17. 6, and 18. 1, and 19. 1.
Verse 2. • To the house of God.'-Rather to Bethel.' sought upon its banks. This is likely; but the exact site Bethel.' —This is a particular indication of the situation, have a religious intention because it takes place in the not of Shiloh, but of the place in the neighbourhood where season of a religious festival, any more than the festal obthe young women were likely to come to dance. It is pro servances of Easter and Christmas may be considered to bably thus precisely described, that the Benjamites might form any essential part of the celebration. A festival oc. not mistake the place. It was not certain that the young curs; and after attending to its prescribed observances, women would come there (see v. 21); but it was probable, people fall upon their customary recreations, particularly the custom being common. The Orientals geuerally have when the festal season is of several days' duration. Danc. no places in their towns where assemblies may be held for ing seems to have been a very general recreation among festivity and dancing. It is therefore customary to hold the Jews--the sexes dancing apart—both in their ordinary such assemblies in some pleasant places in the neighbour entertainments and greater festival occasions. Dances hood, in the gardens and plantations, or in small valleys, if were also sometimes performed more distinctly on a relithere be any. This is a favourite plan of the women when gious account, than seems to have been the case in the inthey desire to enjoy themselves. There are certain occa stance before us. Thus Miriam and the women of Israel sions of annual recurrence (as the religious festival of celebrated with music, songs, and dancing, the overthrow of Bairam among the Moslems) in which the women are the Egyptians (Exod. xv. 20, 21); and thus David .danced allowed this indulgence in the fullest extent, and thus they before the ark with all his might,' when it was conveyed form·large parties which go out to amuse themselves with to Jerusalem in triumph from the house of Obed-edom (2 music, dancing, and such other recreations as are common Sam. vi. 14). Dancing accompanied with music was, in among females. The approaches of the place where they fact, among the Jews and other ancient nations, a general assemble are now usually guarded by eunuchs to prevent mode of expressing joy and exultation, whether religious, intrusion. The different sexes never participate in each secular, or domestic: but among some other nations it was other's amusements : and this was the case in the times of more formally and distinctly associated with religious worthe Bible; for we never read of any amusement or festi ship than among the Jews, whose dances did not form any vity in which they mingled : and if men had in this in part of their worship, but was an act of joy on particular stance been present with the daughters of Shiloh, the Ben occasions, some of which were religious. The distinction jamites would not so easily have secured their prey. The is important. We do not know of any authority which Oriental women have a great passion for suburban festi Bishop Patrick has for saying, that the Hebrew virgins vities, and have many contrivances for securing its enjoy- | only danced at the feast of tabernacles; and we have no ment. It is the custom at Aleppo to send the women out doubt of its being a mistake. Perhaps it arose from the into the neighbouring gardens and plantations when an fact that there was, in later times, more dancing at this earthquake is apprehended, on which occasions they enjoy than at any other feast; perhaps because it included the themselves to the utmost. Not long since, in order to se harvest-home and vintage festival. In the time of our cure this indulgence, the women conspired together, and Saviour, all the elders, the members of the Sanhedrim, the raised money to hire an astrologer to go to the pasha and rulers of the synagogues, and the doctors of the schools, foretell an earthquake. He was believed ; and the women and other persons deemed venerable for their age and were sent out of town, and passed two or three days in all piety, danced together in the court of the temple, to the sorts of festivity. But as the earthquake did not happen, sound of the temple music, every evening while this feast and the contrivance transpired through the exultation of lasted. The balconies around the court were crowded with the ladies at the success of their plan, they were recalled, women, and the ground with men, as spectators. This, and the subservient astrologer lost his head. In the island however, conveys no intimation of earlier usage, as the of Malta, the women indicate their Oriental descent by the ceremony was professedly in imitation of David's dancing same attachment to rural festivity in the open air. On the before the ark. feast of St. Paul, in particular, they resort-from all parts of the island to the pleasant valley of Boschetto, and spend CHRONOLOGY.—The chronology of the period in which the day in feasting, dancing, and music. It is true that the Judges ruled is beset with great and perhaps insupersome of the males of the respective families are now usually able difficulties. There are intervals of time the extent of present; but it is properly the women's festival; and so which is not specified; as, for instance, that from Joshua's bent are they on securing its enjoyment, that it is one of death to the yoke of Chushan-rishathaim (iii. 8); that of the strictest stipulations which they make before marriage, the rule of Shamgar (iii. 31); that between Gideon's that they shall be allowed to spend St. Paul's day, every death and Abimelech's accession (viii. 31-32); and that of year, in the valley of Boschetto. We the rather allude to Israel's renewal of idolatry previous to their oppression by this custom, because it is the celebration of a religious fes the Ammonites (x. 6, 7). Sometimes round numbers seein tival, as was that at which the daughters of Shiloh danced to have been given, as forty years for the rule of Othniel, their dances; and because it is the relic of a more ancient forty years for that of Gideon, and forty years also for the religious celebration in honour of Melkart (the Tyrian duration of the oppression by the Philistines Twenty Hercules) which the Phænician colonists, who settled in years are given for the subjection to Jabin, and twenty Malta, brought with them from Tyre. Indeed there are years for the government of Samson; yet the latter never circumstances which approximate it to the feast of taber completely conquered the Philistines, who, on the connacles, at which the present transaction is supposed to have trary, succeeded in subduing him. Some judges, who are taken place; for on this occasion it is usual for the people, commonly considered to have been successive, were in all on their return to Boschetto, to cover the vehicles in which probability contemporaneous, and ruled over different disthey are conveyed with branches of trees-chiefly of poplar, tricts. Under these circumstances, it is impossible to fix which was also used in the more ancient festival, that tree the date of each particular event in the book of Judges; having been sacred to the ancient Melkart of Tyre.
8. 'Jabesh Gilead:- This place, so famous afterwards has yet to be determined. for its deliverance from the Ammonites by Saul (1 Sam. 17. • There must be an inheritance for them that are xi. 1, 3), and the signal gratitude which its inhabitants escaped of Benjamin,' etc.—Or rather, “The right of inhemanifested (2 Sam. ii. 4), was in the half tribe of Ma- ritance to Benjamin belongs to them that are escaped,' etc. nasseh beyond the Jordan, and is named by Josephus as The sense is, that the few that remained were the rightful the metropolis of Gilead (Antiq. vi. 5. 1). It would seem heirs of the possessions of the whole tribe; and that it from the last of the texts cited to have been at no great would not be lawful to suffer the tribe to become extinct, distance from Bethlehem. Eusebius and Jerome state that and to divide its property among the rest. it was in their time a large town, standing upon a hill six | 19. • Behold, there is a feast to the Lord in Shiloh miles south of Pella on the road to Gerasa. Both Winer yearly,'- This was doubtless one of the three annual feasts and Raumer (Palästina, p. 242) conceive that the small held at the seat of the sanctuary, which at this time was at stream called Wady Yabes, which Burckhardt describes as Shiloh; and it is generally considered to have been the emptying itself into the Jordan in the neighbourhood of feast of tabernacles, which was celebrated with more festiBethshan, may have derived its name from Jabesh (the vity than any of the others. names being in fact identical), and that the site is to be ! - On the east side of the highway that goeth up from
but attempts have been made to settle its general chrono12. • The daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances.' logy, of which we must in this place mention the most - The preceding note may be taken to illustrate the cus successful. tom, for the women to go out of the towns to hold the The whole period of the Judges, from Joshua to Eli, is festivities in the open air. It will be recollected that the | usually estimated at 299 years, in order to meet the 480 women of Israel were not required, like the men, to attend years which (1 Kings vi. i) are said to have elapsed from at the place of the tabernacle during the three annual fes the departure of the Israelites from Egypt to the foundativals; whence it is that the daughters of Shiloh' only tion of the Temple by Solomon. But St. Paul says (Acts are mentioned in the present text. We also intimated, in xiii. 20).God gave unto the people of Israel judges for the the former note, that the ancient religious festivals were space of about 450 years until Samuel the prophet.' Again, often celebrated with dances--not always so much as a re if the number of years specified by the author of our book ligious act in itself, as an amusement in a season of general in stating facts, is summed up, we have 410 years, exclufestivity; and such, perhaps, were the dances of the daugh- sive of those years not specified for certain intervals of ters of Shiloh. We must not always conclude an act to time above mentioned. In order to reduce these 410 years and upwards to 299, events and reigns must, in computing i Kings vi. 1, which, as already cited, gives a period of only their years of duration, either be entirely passed over, or, 480 years from the Exode to the foundation of Solomon's in a most arbitrary way, included in other periods pre temple. As this date is incompatible with the sum of the ceding or subsequent. This has been done by Archbishop different numbers given in the Book of Judges, and as it Usher, whose peculiarly faulty system has been adopted differs from the computations of Josephus, and of all the in the Authorized Version of the Scriptures. He excludes ancient writers on the subject, whether Jewish or Christhe repeated intervals during which the Hebrews were in tian, it is not unsatisfactory to find grounds which leave subjection to their enemies, and reckons only the years of this text open to much doubt and suspicion. We cannot peace and rest which were assigned to the successive here enter into any lengthened proof; but that the text judges. All this arises from the obligation which Usher did not exist in the Hebrew and Greek copies of the Scripunfortunately conceived himself under of following the ture until nearly three centuries after Christ, seems evident scheme adopted by the Masoretic Jews, who, as Dr. Hales from the absence of all reference to it in the works of the remarks, have by a curious invention included the four learned men who composed histories of the Jews from the first servitudes in the years of the Judges who put an end materials supplied to them in the sacred books. to them, contrary to the express declarations of Scripture, It may also be remarked, that even the ancient versions, which represents the administrations of the Judges, not as as they at present exist, do not agree in the number. The synchronising with the servitudes, but as succeeding them. present copies of the Septuagint, for instance, have 440, The Rabbins were indeed forced to allow the fifth servi not 480 years : on which, and other grounds, some schotude to have been distinct from the administration of lars, who have hesitated to regard the text as an interpoJephthah, because it was too long to be included in that lation, have deemed themselves authorized to alter it to administration ; but they then deducted a year from the 592 years instead of 480, producing in this way the same Scripture account of the servitude, making it only six in- | result which would be obtained if the text had no existstead of seven years. They sank entirely the sixth servi ence. This, it has been already remarked, is the number tude of forty years under the Philistines, because it was given by Josephus (Antiq. viii. 3. 1), and is in agreement too long to be contained in Samson's administratiou; and, with the statement of Paul. There would then be for the to crown all, they reduced Saul's reign of forty years to period from Moses's death to Saul's accession 468 years, two years only.
and the whole period of the Judges, from the death of The necessity for all these tortuous operations has arisen Joshua to that of Samuel, might be estimated at 450 years, from a desire to produce a conformity with the date in I agreeably to Acts xiji. 20. If we add to these 450 years,
Exode to death of Moses .
1. Servitude, Mesopotam.. 1. Othniel . .
II. Servitude, Moabit. 2. Ehud (and) . . 3. Shamgar
III. Servitude, Canaanit. 4. Deborah and Barak .
IV. Servitude, Midian 5. Gideon. 6. Abimelech 7. Tola 8. Jair ,
V. Servitude, Ammon. 9. Jephthal . 10. Ibzan . . 1. Elon . . . 12. Abdon. .
VI. Servitude, Philist. : 13. Samson
VII. Servitude or Anarchy
. . . . 22)
1285 1265 1252 1245 1236 1232 1210 1206 1188 1182 1175 1165
181 | 40
1095 1055 1014
* Samson and Eli are supposed to have been judges' simultaneously during 20 years of this period.
forty years for the march in the Desert, eighty-four years for the reigns of Saul, David, and Solomon, until the foundation of the Temple, the amount would be 574 years. For the time when Joshua acted as an independent chieftain, eighteen years may be counted, which, added to 574, would make up the above number of 592 years. It must, however, be observed, that the number of 450 years represents only the sum-total of all chronologically specified facts of our book down to the death of Eli, and does not include the intervals of time in which the years are not given. The statement of Josephus, above referred to, rests only on his own individual computation, and is contrary to another statement of the same author.
It only remains to arrange the different systems of the
chronology of this period so as to exhibit them in one view to the eye of the reader. It has been deemed right, for the better apprehension of the differences, to make the table embrace the whole period from the Exode to the foundation of Solomon's Temple. The authorities whose views are embodied in this table are, Josephus, Antiq. v. 1-10; Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch (330 A.D.), Epist. ad Autolycum, iii.; Eusebius (330 A.D.), Præp. Evangelica, x. 4; Usher (165 A.D.), Chronologia Sacra, p. 71; Jackson (175 A.D.), Chronological Antiquities, p. 145; Hales (1811 A.D.), Analysis of Chronology; Russell (1827 A.D.), Connection of Sacred and Profane History.
[See on the Chronology of Judges, APPENDIX, No. 21.]