Page images

Reubel, and the half tribe of Manasseh, || were to be of the number of the forty-eight
abounded in a multitude of cattle, as well as for the Levites. Three of these he allotted
in all other kinds of prosperity; whence they to those that slew any person involuntarily,
had a meeting, and besought Moses to give and fled to them :. and he assigned the same
them, as their peculiar portion, that land of time for their banishment with that of the
the Amorites which they had taken by right life of the high-priest under whom the slaugh-
of war; because it was fruitful, and good for ter and flight happened ; after which he per-
feeding cattle. But Moses, supposing that they mitted the slayer to return home: the rela-
were afraid of fighting the Canaanites, and tions of him that were slain having the power
invented this provision for their cattle as a to kill the slayer, if they caught him without
handsome excuse for avoiding that war, called the bounds of the city to which he fled; though
them arrant cowards; and said, they had this permission was not granted to any other
only contrived a decent excuse for their timi-person. Now the cities which were set apart
dity; and that they had a miod to live in for this fight were Bezer, at the borders of
luxury and ease, while all the rest were la- Arabia; Ramoth, of the land of Gilead, and
boring with great paios to obtain the land Golan, in the land of Bashan. There were to
they were desirous to have ; and that they be also, by Moses's command, three other
were not willing to undergo the remaining cities allotted for the habitation of these fugi.
bard service, whereby they were under the tives, out of the cities of the Levites; but not
divine promise to pass over Jordan, and over- till after they should be in possession of the
come those enemies which God had shewed land of Canaan.
them, and so obtain their land. But these tribes, At this time the chief men of the tribe of
when they saw that Moses was angry with Manasseh came to Moses, and informed him,
them, and when they could not deny but be that there was an eminent man of their tribe
had a just cause to be displeased at their | dead, whose name was Zelophehad; who left
petition, made an apology for themselves; no male children, but left daughters: - and
and said, that it was not on account of their asked him whether the daughters might in-
fear of danger, nor on account of their indo- herit his land * or not ? he made this answer :
lence, that they made this request, but that that if they shall inarry into their own tribe,
they might leave the prey they had gotten in they shall carry their own estate along with
places of safety, and thereby might be more them; but if they shall marry to any of an-
expeditious and ready to undergo difficulties, other tribe, they shall leave their inheritance
and to fight battles. They added also, that in their father's tribe. And then it was that
when they had built cities, wherein they Moses ordained that every one's inheritance
might preserve their children, and wives, and should continue in his own tribe.
possessions, if he would bestow them upon
them; they would go along with the rest of

the army. Hereupon Moses called for Ele-
azar, the high-priest, and Joshua, and the
chief of the tribes, and permitted these tribes
to possess the land of the Amorites; but upon
this condition, that they should join with their
kinsmen in the war, until all things were set-


HEN † forty years were completed,

within thirty days, Moses gathered the tled. Upon which condition they took pos- congregation near Jordan, where the city Abila session of the country, and built them strong now stands, which place is full of palm-trees ; cities, and put into them their children, and and when all the people were come together, their wives, and whatsoever else they had that he spake thus to them: might be an impediment to the labors of their “Oye Israelites and fellow-soldiers, who future marches.

have been partners with me in this long and Moses also now built those ten cities, which toilsome journey; since now the will of God,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]



* Numb. xxxvi. 2. et seq,


† From An. 1532 to 1492. B. C.


and the course of old age at a hundred and * the principal and the first reward ; and after twenty, require that I depart out of this life; that it bestows abundance of others. So that and since God has forbidden me to be a pa- your exercise of virtue towards other men tron or an assistant to you in what remains to will make your own lives happy, and render be done beyond Jordan; I thought it reason you more glorious than foreigners can be ; and able not to leave off my endeavours even now procure you an undisputed reputation with for your happiness; but to do my utmost to posterity. These blessings you will be able procure for you the eternal enjoyment of good to obtain, in case you hearken to and observe things, and a memorial for myself, when you those laws whicli

, by divine revelation, I shall be in the fruition of great plenty and have ordained for you; that is, in case you prosperity. Let me therefore suggest to you meditate upon the wisdom that is in them. I by what means you may be happy, and may am now going from you, rejoicing in the good leave an eternal prosperous possession to your things you enjoy ; and I recommend you to children after you; and then let me go out of the wise conduct of your law, to the bea the world. And I cannot but deserve to becoming order of your polity, and to the virbelieved by you, both on account of the great tues of your commanders; who will take care things I have already done for you, and be- of what is for your advantage. And that cause, when souls are about to leave the body, || God, who has been till now your leader, and they speak with the sincerest freedom. 07 by whose good will I have myself been useful children of Israel! there is but one source of to you, will not put a period now to his prohappiness for all mankind, the favor of God : vidence over you : but as long as you desire to for he alone is able to give good things to have him your protector, in your pursuits after those that deserve them, and to deprive those virtue, so long will you enjoy his care over of them that sin against him. If you behave you. Your high-priest also, Eleazar, as well yourselves according to his will, and according || as Joshua, with the senate, and chief of your to what I, who well understand his mind, do tribes, will go before you, and suggest the advise, you will both be esteemed blessed, and best advices to you; by following which adwill be admired by all men, and will never vices you will continue to be happy : to them, come into misfortunes, nor cease to be happy; therefore, do you give ear, without reluctance; you will then preserve the possession of the as sensible that all such that know well how good things you already have, and will quick- | to be governed will also know how to govern, ly obtain those that you at present are in if they be promoted to that authority themwant of. Only be obedient to those whom selves. And do not you esteem liberty to conGod would have you to follow. Nor prefer sist in opposing such directions as your goany other constitution of government before vernors think fit to give you for your practice; the laws now given you; neither disregard as at present indeed you place your liberty in that way of divine worship which you now nothing else but abusing your benefactors: have, nor change it for any other form. And which error if you can avoid for the time to if you do this, you will be most courageous of come, your affairs will be in a better conall men, in undergoing the fatigues of war; dition than they have hitherto been. Nor do and will not be easily conquered by any of you ever indulge such a degree of passion in your enemies. For while God is present to these matters, as you have oftentimes done assist you, it is to be expected that you will when you have been very angry at me: for be able to despise the opposition of all man-you know that I have been danger kind. And great rewards of virtue are pro- of death from you than from your enemies. posed to you, if you preserve that virtue What I now put you in mind of is not done in through your whole lives. Virtue itself is indeed | order to reproach you: for I do not think it

* Deut. x88i, 2.

importance, that they deserve to be had in constant re† Josephus, in this one sentence, sums up his notion of membrance both by Jews and Christians: “O children Moses's very long and serious exhortations in the book of of Israel! there is but one source of happiness for all man. Deuteronomy. And his words are so true, and of such | kind, the favor of God."


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

proper now I am going out of the world to membered what`a number of dangers he had bring this to your remembrance, in order to passed through, and what care he had taken leave you offended at me; since at the time for their preservation ; they desponded about when I underwent those hardships, I was not what would come upon them after he was angry at you; but I do it in order to make dead ; supposing they should never have anyou wiser hereafter, and to teach you that other governor like him, and fearing that this will be for your security ; I mean that God would take less care of them when Moses you never be injarious to those that preside was gone, who used to intercede for them. over you, even when you are become rich; as They also repented of what they had said to you will be to a great degree when you have him in the wilderness, when they were angry; passed over Jordan, and are in possession of and so were in grief on those accounts. So that the land of Canaan. Since when you shall the whole body of the people fell into tears have once proceeded so far by your wealth as with such bitterness, that it was past the power to a contempt and disregard of virtue, you will of words to comfort them in their affliction. also forfeit the favor of God; and when you However, Moses gave them some consolation ; have made him your enemy, you will be and by calling them off the thought how worbeaten in war; and will have the land which thy he was of their weeping for him, he exyou possess taken away again from you by horted them to adhere to that form of governyour enemies : and this with great reproaches ment he had given them. And then the conupon your conduct.

You will be scattered gregation was dissolved at that time. over the whole world, and will, as slaves, en I shall now first describe this form of gotirely fill both sea and land; and when once vernment which was agreeable to the digyou have had the experience of what I now nity and virtue of Moses ; and shall thereby say, you will repent, and remember the laws inform those that peruse these Antiquities you have broken when it is too late. Whence what our original settlements were, and shall I would advise you, if you intend to preserve then proceed to the remaining histories. Now these laws, to leave none of your enemies these settlements are still in writing, as he alive, when you have conquered them ; but to left them; and we shall add nothing by way look upon it as for your advantage to destroy of ornament, nor any thing besides what them all : lest, if you permit them to live, you Moses left us. Only we shall so far innovate, imbibe their manners, and thereby corrupt as to digest the several kinds of laws into a your own proper institutions. I also farther regular system. For they were by bim left exhort you to overthrow their altars, and in writing, as they were accidentally scattheir groves, and whatsoever temples they tered in their delivery ; and as he, upon inhave among them; and to burn all such their quiry, bad learned them of God. On which nation and their very memory with fire. For account I have thought it necessary to premise by this means alone the safety of your own this observation ; lest any of my own countryhappy constitution can be firmly secured to men should blame me, as having been guilty you; and in order to prevent your ignorance of an offence herein. Now part of our conof virtue, and the degeneracy of your nature stitution will include the laws that belong to into vice, I have also ordained you laws by our political state: but with respect to those divine suggestion, and a form of government; laws which Moses left concerning our common which are so good, that if you regularly oh-conversation and intercourse with one another, serve them, you will be esteemed of all men I have reserved that for a discourse concerning most happy."

our manner of life, and the occasions of those When he had spoken thus, he gave them laws: which I propose to myself, with God's the laws and the constitution of government assistance, to write, after I have finished the written in a book. Upon which the people work I am now upon. fell into tears, and appeared already touched When you have possessed yourselves of the with the sense that they should have a great land of Canaan, and have leisure to enjoy the want of their conductor; because they re- good things of it; and when you bave afterVOL. 1.-(11.)


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

2 L

[ocr errors]


ward determined to build cities, if you willing the memorials of this union ; for if they do
do what is pleasing to God, you will have a not thus converse together continually, they
secure state of happiness. Let there be then will appear like mere strangers to one an-
one city of the land of Canaan ; and this si-other.
tuate in the most agreeable place for its good Let there be taken out of your fruits à
pess, and very eminent of itself; and let it be tenth,g besides that which you have allotted
that which God shall choose for himself, by to give to the priests and Levites. This you
prophetic revelation. Let there also be one may indeed sell in the country : but it is to be
temple therein, and one altar; not reared of used in those feasts and sacrifices that are to be
hewn stones, but of such as you gather to-celebrated in the holy city. For it is fit that
gether at random; which stones, when they you should enjoy the fruits of the earth, which
are whitened over with mortar, will have a God gives you to possess, so as may be to the
handsome appearance, and be beautiful to the honor of the donor.
sight. Let the ascent to it be* not by steps, You are not to offer sacrifices out of the
but by an acclivity of raised earth. And let hire of a harlot; for the Deity is not pleased
there be neither an altar, nor a temple, in any with any thing that arises from such abuses of
other city. For God is but one, and the na- nature, of which sort pone can be worse than
tion of the Hebrews is but one.

this prostitution of the body: in like manner He that blasphemeth God let him be stoned,t no one may take the price of the covering of a and let him hang upon a tree all that day: and bitch, either of one that is used in hunting, or then let him be buried in an ignominious and in keeping of sheep, and thence sacrifice to obscure manner.

Let those that live as remote as the bounds Let no one** blaspheme the godstt which of the land which the Hebrews shall possess, other cities esteem such. Nor inay one steal come to that city where the temple shall be, what belongs to strange temples, nor take away and this three timest every year ; that they the gifts that are dedicated to any god. may give thanks to God for his former bene. Let not any one of you wear a garment fits, and may entreat him for those they shall made of woollenff and linen ; for that is want hereafter : and let them, by this means, appointed to be for the priests only. maintain a friendly correspondence with one When the multitude are assembled together another by such meetings and feastings to- unto the holy city for sacrificing, every segether. For it is a good thing for those that venth year, at the feast of tabernacles, let the are of the same stock, and under the same in- high-priest stand upon a high desk, whence stitutions, not to be unacquainted with each he might be heard, and let him read the other; which acquaintance will be maintained laws to allşf the people. And let neither by thus conversing together, and by seeing women, children, nor servants, be bindered and talking with one another, and so renews from hearing. For it is a good thing that

* This law, both here and Exod. xx. 25, 26, of not + Levit, xxiv. 86. going up to God's altar by ladder-steps, but on an accli Exod. xxiii. 14. Deut. xvi. 16. vity, seems not to have belonged to the altar of the taber Ś Lerit. xxvii. 30. nacle : which was in all but three cubits high : Exod. li The hire of public harlots was given to Venus in xxvii. 1. nor to that of Ezekiel, which was expressly to Syria, as Lucian informs us, page 878. And against some be gone up to by steps, xliii. 17, but rather to occasional | such vile practice of the old idolaters this law seems to altars of any considerable altitude and largeness : as also have been made. probably to Solomon's altar, to which it is here applied Deut. xxiii. 18. by Josephus; as well as that of Zorobabel's and Herod's ** The Apostolical Constitutions, II. expound this law temple; which were, I think, all ten cubits high. See of Moses, Exod. xxii. 28 : “ Thou shalt not revile or blas. 2 Chron. iv. 1. and Joseph. Antig. VIII. 3. And the rea- pheme the gods” or magistrates; which is a much more son why these temples, and these only, were to have this probable exposition than this of Josephus's, of Heathen ascent on an acclivity, and not by steps, is obvious; that gods. before the invention of stairs, such as we now use, de ++ Exod. xxii. 28. cency could not be otherwise provided for in the loose 16 Levit. xix. 19. garments which the priests wore, as the law required. si What book of the law was thus publicly read, see See Lamy of the Tabernacle and Temple, p. 444.

the note on X. 5. and 1 Esd, ix, 50-59.


[ocr errors]

those laws should be engraven on their souls, || righteousness. Let every judge have two ofand preserved in their memories; that so itficers allotted him out of the tribe of Levi. may not be possible to blot them out. For by Let those that are chosen to judge in the sevethis means they will not be guilty of sin, when ral cities be had in great honor; and lèt none they cannot plead ignorance of what the laws be permitted to revile any others, when these have enjoined them. The laws also will have are present, nor to carry themselves in an ina great authority among them, as foretelling solent manner to them : it being natural that what they will suffer if they break them; and reverence towards those in high offices among imprinting in their souls by this hearing what men should procure men's fear and reverence they command them to do. That so there towards God. Let those that judge be permay always be within their minds that inten-mitted to determine according as they think tion of the laws which they have despised, right; unless any one can shew that they have and broken, and have thereby been the causes taken bribes, to the perversion of justice, or of their own mischief. Let the children also can allege any other accusation against them; learn the laws, as the first thing they are whereby it may appear that they have passed taught; which will be the best thing they can an unjust sentence. For it is not fit that causes be taught, and will be the cause of their future should be openly determined out of regard to felicity.*

gain, or to the dignity of the suitors; but that Let every one commemorate before God the the judges should esteem what is right before benefits which he bestowed upon them at their all other things : for otherwise God will be deliverance out of the land of Egypt; and despised, and esteemed inferior to those, the this twice every day; both when the day be-dread of whose power has occasioned the ungins, and when the hour of sleep comes. Gra- just sentence. For justice is the power of God: titude being in its own nature a just thing ; he, therefore, that gratifies those in great digand serving not only by way of return for past, nity supposes them more potent than God him. but also by way of invitation of future favors. self. But if these judges are unable to give a They are also to inscribe the principal bless. just sentence, about the causes that come before ings they have received from God upon their them (which case is not unfrequent in human doors, and show the same remembrance of affection), let them send the cause undeterthem on their arms ;t as also they are to bearmined to the holy city, and there let the highon the forehead and their arm those wonders priest, the prophet, and the Sanhedrim, deterwhich declare the power of God, and his good mine as shall seem good to them. will towards them; that God's readiness to But let not a single witness be credited ; bless thein may appear every where conspi- but three, or two at the least, and those such cuous about them. I

whose testimony is confirmed by their good Let there be seven men to judges in every

lives. But let not the testimony of** women city:ll and these such as have been before be admitted, on account of the levity and boldmost zealous in the exercise of virtue andness of their sex. Nor let servants be admit

[ocr errors]

* Deut, xxxi. 12.

vation of the laws of God and Moses, be frequently incul. + Whether these phylacteries, and other Jewish me cated in all the sacred writings. morials of the law here mentioned by Josephus, and by Numb. xv. 38, 39. Moses, (besides the fringes on the border of their


Ŝ Here, as well as of the War, II. 20. are but seven ments, Numb, xv: 37.) were literally meant by God, judges appointed for small cities, instead of twenty-three I much question. That they have been long observed by in the modern Rabbins, which modern Rabbins are al. the Pharisees, and the Rabbinical Jews, is certain. How ways out of very little authority in comparison of Joseever the Karaites, who receive not the underwritten tra-phus. ditions of the elders, but keep close to the written law || Deul. xvi. 18. with Jerome and Grotius, think they were not literally to T I have never observed elsewhere, that in the Jewish be understood; as Bernard and Reland here take notice. l government women were not admitted as legal witnesses Nor indeed do I remember, that either in the ancienter | in courts of justice. None of our copies of the Pentabooks of the O!J Testament, or in the books we call Apo-Leuch say a word of it. It is very probable, however, crypha, there are any signs

of such literal observations that this was an exposition of the Scribes and Pharisees, appearing among the Jews. Though their real or mystical and the practice of the Jews in the days of Josephus. signification, i. e, the constant remembrance and obser ** Deut. xvii. 6.



« PreviousContinue »