Page images
PDF
EPUB

rance to their dams': and that the dams might || village wept for these that thus suffered, and return the faster, out of a desire of those calves : i made such lamentation as was naturally to be then to drive these milch kine that carried the expected on so great a misfortune that was ark, and leave it in a place where three ways sent from God; and every one mourned' for meet, and to leave the kine to go along which his own relation. And since they acknowof those ways they pleased ; that in case they ledged themselves unworthy of the ark's abode went the way to the Hebrews, and ascended with them, they sent to the public senate of to their country, they should suppose that the the Israelites, and informed them that the ark 'was the cause of their misfortunes : 'but if ark was restored by the Philistines. Which they turned into another road, they should when they knew, they brought it away to pursue after it, and conclude that it had no Kirjathjearim, a city in the neighbourhood of such force.

Bethshemesh. In this city lived one Abinadab, So they determined that these men spake by birth a Levite, and who was greatly comwell, and they immediately confirmed their mended for his righteous and religious course opinion by doing accordingly. And when of life : so they brought the ark to his house, they had done as hath been already described, as to a place fit for God himself to abide in, they brought the cart to a place where three since therein did inbabit a righteous man. ways met, and left it there. But the kine | His sons also ministered to the Divine service went the right way, as if some persons had at the ark, and were the principal curators driven them, while the rulers of the Philistines of it for | twenty years; for so long it confollowed, as desirous to know where they itinued in Kirjathjearim ; having been but $ would stand still, and whither they would go four months with the Philistines. Now there was a certain village of the tribe of Judah, called Bethshemesh, and to that

CHAP. II. village did the kine go; and though there was a great and a good plain before them to pro

HEBREWS, AND THE HEBREWS' victorY UNDER THE Con. ceed in, they went no farther, but stopped the cart there. This was a joyful sight to those of that village, and they were very glad. For WH

CHILE the city of Kirjathjearim had it being then summer time, and all the inha

the ark with them, the whole body of bitants being in their fields, gathering in their the people betook themselves all at that time fruits, they left off the labors of their hands for to offer prayers and sacrifices to God, and apjoy, as soon as they saw the ark, and ran to peared greatly concerned and zealous about the cart; and taking the ark down, and the his worship. So Samuel the prophet thought vessel that had the images in it, and the mice, it a proper time to speak to them, while they they set them upon a certain rock, which was were in this good disposition, about the rein the plain. And when they had offered a covery of their liberty, and of the blessings splendid sacrifice to God, and feasted, they that accompanied the same. Accordingly he offered the cart and the kine as a burnt offer- | used such words to them as he thought were ing:* And when the lords of the Philistines most likely to excite that inclination, and to saw this they returned back.

persuade them to attempt it : || “ O ye IsraelBut now it was that the wrath of God over. ites," said he, “ to whom the Philistines are took them, and struck † seventy persons dead | still grievous enemies, but to whom God beof the village of Bethshemesh ; who not begins to be gracious : it behoves you not only ing priests, and so not worthy to touch the to be desirous of liberty, but to take the

proark, had approached to it. Those of that per methods to obtain it. Nor are you to be

OP THE EXPEDITION OF THE PHILISTINES AGAINST THE

DUCT OF SAMUEL THE PROPHET, WHO WAS THEIR GE-
NERAL,

* 1 Sam. vi. 14.

ber as 50,000 in this one town, or small city, I know not. + These 70 meni, being not so much as Levites, touch- See Dr. Wall's Critical Notes ou 1 Sau, vi. 19. ed the ark in a rash or profane manner; and were slain | From An. 1148 to 1128. by the hand of God for that rasliness and profaneness, ac Š Seven months, in the Hebrew and Septuagint. cording to the Divine threatenings; Numb. iv. 15, 20; but il An, 1128. how our other copies come to add such an incredible nunVOL. I.-(16.)

YB

contented

[ocr errors]

.contented with an inclination to get clear of || they fell upon the Hebrews with a great army, your lords and masters, while you still do what and mighty forces, as hoping to assault their will procure your continuance under them. when they did not expect it, nor were prepared Be righteous then, and cast wickedness out of for it. This thing affrighted the Hebrewins; your souls, and by your worship supplicate and put them into disorder and terror, 19 Só the Divine Majesty with all your hearts, and they came running to Samuel, and said, persevere in the honor you pay to him. For if | Our souls were sunk by our fears, and by the you act thus, you will enjoy prosperity, you former defeat we had received; and thence it will be freed from your slavery, and will get was that we lay still, lest we should 'excite the the victory over your enemies; which bless- power of our enemies against us.

Now while ing cannot possibly be atlaiped either by wea thou hast brought us hither to offer

up our pons of war, by the strength of your bodies, prayers and sacrifices, and take oaths to be or by the multitude of your assistants ; for obedient; our enemies are making an expeGod has not promised to grant these blessings dition against us, while we are naked and un by those means; but by being good and righte-armed. Wherefore we have no other hope

And if you will be such, I will be of deliverance but that by thy means, and by security to you for the performance of God's the assistance God shall afford us upon thy promises. When Sainuel had thus said the prayers to him, we shall ;obtain deliverance multitude applauded his discourse, and gave from the Philistines.” Hereupon Samuel bid . their consent to resign themselves up to do them be of good cheer, and promised that God what was pleasing to God. So Samuel ga- | would assist them. And taking a suckling thered thein together, to a certain city called lamb, he sacrificed it for the multitude;& and Mizpeh ;* which signifies, in the Hebrew besought God to hold his protecting hand over tongue, a watch tower. There they drew them when they should fight with the Philiswater, and poured it out to God, † and fasted tines, and not to overlook them, nor suffer all day, and betook themselves to their prayers. them to come under a second misfortune. Ac

This assembly did not escape the notice ofcordingly God hearkened to his prayers; and, the Philistines. So when they had learned | accepting their sacrifice with a gracious:inthat so large a company had met together, tention, he granted them a victory over their

OUS men.

* The Mizpeh here mentioned, as appears from the cir- | nify the purification of their souls from the pollution of cumstance of the story, must be different from that which sin, Others that they made use of it to cleanse the is reniarked in the history of Jephthab. There is indeed || ground where Samuel was to erect an allar, that it might another Mizpeh mentioned among the cities of Judah, Josh. not stand upon an impure place. Some suppose that it xv. 38. and a third, among those of Benjamin, Jush. xviii. was employed as an emblem of humiliation, of prayer, of 26. Some are of opinion that these two cities are une | expiation, of execration, and I know not what besides: and the same, and are only supposed to be iwo, because But the most probable opinion is, that this water was, they lie in the confines of each tribe; but if they are not upon this occasion, poured out, by way of libation, before the

same, it seems most probable that the Mizpeh in the God. And for support of this it is copinionly. alleged, tribe of Benjamin was the city which is here spoken of that libations of this kind were very customary in ancient And we may observe farther, that as Mizpeh is said to be time; that Theophrastus, as he is cited by Porphyry, situated not far from Eben-ezer, and probably on the east || (De Abstin. lib. 2.) tell us, that the earliest libations were or north side :: so Shen (if it be the name of a place, and of water, though afterwards honey and wine came into not rather on some sbarp rock thereabouts) was situated request : that Virgil (Æneid iv.) mentions the practice of mot far from it on the opposite, i. e, on the west or south- || sprinkling the water of the lake Averous; and that iHomer west side, to which Bethcar must needs be contiguous ; || (Odyss. 12.) remarks, that, for want of wine, the compa: Well's Geog. of the Old Test. vol. 3. c. 1. B.

nions of Ulysses poured out water in a sacrifice, which + The words in our translation run thus :—And they they offered to the gods. It is certain that David poured gathered to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out be out unto the Lord the water which the three gallant meni foreihe Lord, 1 Sam. vii. 6. but what we are to understand in his army, brought him from the well of Bethlehem, at by this water, the conjectures of commentalors have been the hazard of their lives. 2 Sam, xxiii. 16, and there. várious. Sune take these words in a metaphorical sense, fore, though the law does not enjoin any such libations of 'to denote those tears of contrition, which were drawn, as water; yet, since there is no positive prohibition of them, it were, from the bottom of their hearts, and fell from why may we not suppose that, upon this extraordinary their eyes before the Lord. Others think that with this occasion, something singular and extraordmary might water they washed their bodies, as they are supposed 10 have been done? Patrick's and Calmet's Comment. B.. have done upon another occasion, Exod. xix. 20. to sig * i Sarn. vii. 9.

enemies.

enemies. Now while the altar had the sacri

CHAP, III. fice of God' upon it, and had not“ģet consumed it wholly by the sacred fire, the enemy's || OF samueL's attention to PUBLIC Affairs, the evil army marched out of their camp, and was pot

ADMINISTRATION OF: TÄE GOVERNMENT BY HIS SONS,

AND THE SUBSEQUENT DEMAND Of The, MULTITUDE to in order of battle; and this in hope that they should be conquerors, since the* Jews were

BE GOVERNED BY A KING,

caught in distressed circumstances : as neither Ted the affairs of the people after a con

[ocr errors]

having their weapons with them, nor being

ed assembled in order to fight. But thing's 'so'fell venient manner, and had appointed a city for out, that they would hardly have been credit- every district of them; he commanded them ed though they had been foretold by any body. Ito come'to such cities to have the controverFor in the first place God disturbed their sies that they had one with anotber determinenemies with an earthquake,' and moved the ed : he himself going over those cities twice in ground under thein' to' such a degree, that 'he a year, and doing them justice. And by that caused it to tremble, and made them to shake; means he kept them in very good order for a insom'oich that by its trembling he made some long time. ünable to'keep their feet," and made them fall But afterward he found himself oppressed down ; and by opening its chasms he caused with old age, and not able to do as he had that others should be hurried down into them. done formerly. So he committed the

govern: After' which he caused 'such à noise of thunder ment, and the care of the multitude, to his to come among them, and inade fiery light- sons; the elder of whom was called Joel, and ning shine so terribly round about them, that the name of the younger was Abiah." He also it was ready to burn their faces; and' he so enjoined them to reside and judge the people, suddenly shook their weapons out of their the one at the city Bethel, and the other at hands, that he made them fee, "and return Beer-sheba ; and divided the people into dishome naked So Samuel, with the multi-tricts, that should be under the jurisdiction of tude, pursued them to a place called Bethcar; each of them. Now these men afforded us and there he set up a stone as a boundary of an evident example and demonstration how their victory, and their enemies flight; and some children are not of the like dispositions called it The Stone of Power; as a signal of with their parents; but sometimes perhaps that power God had given them agaiost their good and moderate, though born of wicked enemies. 7.

parents, and sometimes shewing themselves to .So the Philistines, after this stroke, madebe 'wicked, though born of good parents. For no more expeditions against the Israelites ;t these men, turning aside from their father's but lay still out of fear, and out of remem- | goud courses, perverted justice for the filthy brance of what had befallen them. And what | lucre of gifts and bribes; and made their decourage the Philistines had formerly against terminations, not according to truth, but acthe Hebrews, after this victory, was trans- cording to bribery; and turned aside to luxury, ferred to the Hebrews. Samuel also made an and a voluptaous way of living. So that, as, expedition against the Philistines, and slew in the first place, they practised what was many of them, and entirely humbled their | contrary to the will of God: so did they what proud 'hearts, and took from them that coun was contrary to the will of the prophet, their try which, when they were formerly conquer father, who had taken a great deal of care, ors, they had cut off from the Jews; whichand made very careful provision that the mulwas the country that extended from the bor-titude should be righteous. I ders of Gath to the city Ekron. But the re Upon these injuries offered to their former mains of the Canaanites were at this time in constitution and government by the prophet's friendship with the Israelites.

sons, the people were very uneasy at their ac

* This is the first place, so far as I remember, in these Antiquities, wbere Josephus begins to call his nation Jews, be having hitherto usually, if not constantly, called them either Hebrews or Israelites.

+ I Sam. vii. 13.

# It may probably be made a question, why God did not punish Samuel, as he did Eli, for the wickedness of bis sons ? But to this it may be answ

wered, that Samuel's

tions, and came running to the prophet, who | regal government will bring upon them, and
then lived at the city Ramah, and informed openly testified before them unto what a great
him of the transgressions of his sons; and change of affairs they are hasting.”f.
said that as he bimself was old already, and too When Samuel had heard this, he called the
infirm to oversee their affairs in the manner he || Jews early in the morning, and confessed to
used to do; so they entreated him to appoint them that he was to ordain them a' king ;
some person to be king over them,* whot || but he said, that he was first to describe to
might rule over the nation, and avenge then || them what would follow, what treatment they
of the Philistines, who ought to be punished for would receive from their kings, and with how
their former oppressions. These words greatly many mischiefs they must struggle. “For
afflicted Samuel, on account of his indate love || know ye,” said he,“ that in the first place they
of justice, and his hatred to regal government, || will take your sons away from you; and they
for he was very fond of an aristocracy, as will command some of them to be drivers of
what made the men that used it of a divine their chariots, and some to be their horsemen,
and happy disposition. Nor could he either and the guards of their body; and others of
think of eating or sleeping, out of his con- | them to be runners before them, and captains
cern and torment of mind at what they had || of thousands, and captains of hundreds; they
said, but all the night long did he continue will also make them their artificers, makers
awake, and revolved these notions in his of armor, and of chariots, and of instruments;
mind.

they will make them their husbandmen also, While he was thus disposed, God appeared and the guardians of their own fields, and to him, and comforted him, saying, that he the diggers of their own vineyards. Nor will ought not to be upeasy at what the multitude there be any thing which they will not do at desired, because it was not he, but Himself, their commands, as if they were slaves bought whom they so insolently despised, and would | with money. They will also appoint your not have to be alone their King : that they had | daughters to be confectioners, and cooks, and been contriving these things from the very bakers; and these will be obliged to do all day that they came out of Egypt; that, how- | sorts of work which women slaves that are in ever, in no long time they would sorely re- || fear of stripes and torments submit to. They pent of what they did, which repentance yet will, besides this, take away your possessions, could not undo what was thus done for futu- || and bestow them upon their eunuchs, and the rity : that they would be sufficiently rebuked | guards of their bodies, and will give the herds for their contempt, and the ungrateful con- of your catile to their own servants; and, in duct they had used towards Him, and towards brief, you and all that is yours will be servants the prophetic office: “ So I command thee,” || to your king, and will become no way supesaid the Deity, “ to ordain them such an one rior to his slaves. Now when you suffer thus, as I shall name beforehand to be their king, you will be reminded of what I now say : and when thou hast first described what mischiefs when you repent of what you have done, you

[ocr errors]

sons were not so bad as those of Eli; since taking bribes || rael, let them know, that if he made a league with them, privately was not like openly profaning the tabernacle, the condition thereof should be, that they should come and making the worship of God contemptible. And be. | out to him, and let him thrust out all their right eyes, and sides this, it is possible that Samuel might be ignorant of I lay it for a reproach upon all Israel. The elders of Jabesh, the corruption of his sons, since he lived at Ramah, and in this sad circumstance, demanded seven days' respite, they at Beer-sheba. Patrick's Comment. B.

that they inight send messengers unto all the coasts of Is * 1 Sam. viii. 5.

rael, and if in that time no succours arrived they would + It is generally supposed, that what made the Israel- 1 submit. This, it is thought, was the reason for their pressites so urgent at this time for a king, was a present strait || ing so hard upon Samuel at this time for a king; whereas they thought themselves in, for want of an able leader : | their duly was to have inquired of the Lord, as they had for Nahash, the king of the Amorites, coming up to Jabesh done at other timnes, who it was that he would be pleased Gilead, and encamping before it, had put the inhabitants to constitute the general in this exigence, to lead out their into such a fright, that, without more to do, they offered forces against their enemies.

forces against their enemies. Howell's History, in the to surrender upon terms; telling him, that they would be

notes. B.
come subjects to him if he would make a league with theni, I 1 Sam. viii. 9.
1 Sam. xi. 1. But the haughty Amorile, in contempt of Is.

will beseech God to have mercy upon you, I any concern to bis father about himself. But and to grant you a quick deliverance from bis servant told him, as they were near the your kings; but he will not accept your prayers, city of Ramah, that there was a true prophet but will neglect you, and permit you to suffer in that city, and advised him to go to him, for the punishment your evil conduct has de- that from him they should gain intelligence served.

respecting their asses. Saul replied, that they But the multitude was still deaf to these had nothing to give him as a reward for his predictions of what would befall them; and prophecy, for their subsistence-money was too peevish to suffer a determination, which spent; but the servant answered, that he had they had injudiciously made, to be taken out still the fourth part of a shekel,t and he would of iheir mind; for they could not be turned present bim with tbat; for they were mistaken from their purpose, por did they regard the out of ignorance, as not knowing that the words of Samuel, but peremptorily insisted prophet received no such reward. So they on their resolution, and desired him to ordain went to him: and when they were before the them a king immediately, and not to trouble gates, they met with certain maidens that himself with fears of what would come here were going to fetch water, and they asked after; for that it was necessary that they should them which was the prophet's house. They i bave with them one to fight their battles, and shewed them which it was, and bade them to avenge them of their enemies ; and that it make haste before he was set down to supper, was no way absurd, when their neighbors for he had invited many guests to a feast, and were under regal government, that they should that he used to sit down before those that were have the same form of government also. So invited. Now Samuel had gathered many when Samuel saw that what he had said had together to feast with him on this very acnot diverted them from their purpose, but that count; for while he every day prayed to God they continued resolute, he said, “ Go you to tell him beforehand whom he would make every one home for the present, and I will king, he had informed him the day before, send for you as soon as I shall have learned that he would send him a certain young man from God who it is that he will give you for out of the tribe of Benjamin about this hour : your king."*

and he sat on the top of the house in expecta

tion of that time being come; and when the CHAP. IV.

time was completed he came down, and went

to supper ; so he met with Saul, and God disOF THE APPOINTMENT OF A KING OVER THE ISRAELITES covered to him that this was he who should

rule over the people. Then Saul went up to THEN VHERE was one of the tribe of Benjamin, Samuel, and saluted him, and desired him to

a man of good family, and of a virtu- inform him which was the prophet's house ; ous disposition ; his name was Kish. He had for he said he was a stranger, and did not a son, a young man of a comely countenance, know it. Samuel told him that he was himaud of a tall stature, but his understanding self the person, and led him in to supper, asand his mind were preferable to what was suring him that the asses were found which he visible in him; they called him Saul. Now had been to seek, and that the greatest of this Kish bad some fine she-asses, that had good things was assured to hilo. Saul replied, wandered out of the pasture wherein they fed ; “ Sir, I am too inconsiderable to hope for any so he sent out his son, and one servant with such thing, and of a tribe too small to have him, to search for the beasts. But when he kings made out of it, and of a family smaller had gone over his own tribe in search after than several other families. But thou tellest the asses, he went to other tribes; and when me this.in jest, and makest me an object of he found them not there neither, he deter- | laughter, when thou discoursest with me of mined to return home, lest he should occasion greater matters than what I stand in need of." * 1 Sam. viii. 22.

true prophet of God would accept a gift or present for + Of this great mistake of Saul and his servant, as if a foretelling what was desired of him, see the note on IV. 6. vol. 1.-(16.)

3 c

However,

BY THE COMMAND OF GOD.

« PreviousContinue »