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Containing an examination of these arguments, which the Author has advanced, to prove, that, at the time, when sacrifices first came into use and practice, eating and drinking together was an usual and customary rite, by which men entered into leagues and covenants; and engaged in, renewed, and kept up friend-* ships with one another.
ATpvHE first proof, which the Author brings of this point, is taken from the covenants which Isaac made with Abimelech, Jacob with Laban, and the Hebrews with the Gibeonites. He fays, u When the men ft of old contracted leagues, or engaged in "friendships with one another, they did it "by eating and drinking together. This -*C appears from the instances of Isaac and "Abimelech, Jacob and Laban, the He"brews and the Gibeonites. Gen. xxvi. "3°> 31-—xxxi. 46. Josh. ix. 14 \"
Answ, If it should be allowed, that eat^ ing and drinking was the rite by which the covenants, mentioned, were entered into by the contracting parties; yet these covenants are too late transactions for proving, that eating and drinking together was an usual
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and customary rite, by which men contracted covenants and engaged in friendships, at the time when they first began to offer sacrifices. Sacrifices had been in use for the space of two thousand years, and upwards, before the first of these covenants was made. And, therefore, the instances, here alledged, neither do, nor can, prove, that men, when they first began to offer sacrifices, made use of the same rite in engaging in, and renewing, friendship with God, which they had formerly been accustomed to observe, in making leagues and covenants with one another. If bur Author, or any other person, would produce instances of covenants among men, that were contracted by the rite of eating and drinking together, which are really to the purpose; these covenants must be such as were not only contemporary with, but more ancient than, those oblations which Cain and Abel offered to God; that is, they must be of an older date, by the space of above two thousand years, than these which our Author mentions. And, if I mistake not, there will be some difficulty in finding them.
Another thing that is very unfavourable to the Author's sentiments, is, that it doth not appear, from any thing that is said in the places to which he refers, that eating and drinking was a rite by which the co
'venants, yenants, there mentioned, were made, or entered into. , . t
The covenant between Isaac and Abimelech was made by no other method than that of mutual agreement, and the oath of both the contracting parties to observe and fulfill what they had promised to each other, as is evident from Gen. xxvi. 28—31. Isaac indeed, on that occasion, made a feast for Abimelech and his attendants; and he and they did eat together, v. 30. But this feast was made, before he and Abimelech entered into a league of friendship with one another, as appears from the history, and was only a mark of respect which he put upon a great personage, who had come, in a very amicable manner, to seek, and to enter into a covenant of friendship with him. But it was not any rite by which they engaged in covenant or friendship; for the only rite, by which they did this, was a solemn oath, as appears from v. 28, 31.
The covenant, likewise, between Jacob and Laban, was made and entered into by an appeal to God as a witness of their sincerity, and a solemn oath to perform what they had mutually promised to each other, as is evident from Gen. xxxi. 49—53. On that occasion, indeed, Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar; and his brethren did gather stones, of which they made an heap ; and he and they did eat together upon this heap. Bnt all this was only preparatory to their engaging in a covenant of friendship. The pillar was set up, and the heap raised, as a standing memorial of the covenant which they were about to make; and they did eat together upon the heap, in testimony of the pordiality with which they were to enter into a covenant of amity and friendship: But neither the pillar, nor the heap, nor their eating together upon the heap, were any part of their actual engagement in a covenant of friendship, or any rite whereby they entered into such an engagement. These were all of a preparatory nature only; all executed previously to their making or entering into a covenant. The covenant which followed, as is evident from the history, was not made or contracted by any of these precedent transactions, but by mutual promise, calling upon God as a witness of their sincerity, and solemn oath.—After the covenant was thus made, it is, indeed, said, v. 54. 'Jacob offered'sacrifice (Heb. killed a killing, of killable animals) upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread, and they did eat. But as this was done after the covenant was made, their eating and drinking together could not have been any of these rites by which that covenant was made or entered into; and therefore, it makes nothing for the Author's purpose.
1st like manner, the covenant between the Hebrews and the Gibeonites was made and contracted by no other mean, or rite, than that of a solemn oath. Jojhua made peace with them, and made a league with them to' let them live; and the princes of the congregation [ware unto them, Josh. ix. 15.—It is said indeed, V. 14. And the men took of their victuals, and ajked not counsel of the Lord. But then, since it appears from the history, that this happened before Joshuah made a covenant with the Gibeonites, 'tis clear, that the taking of their victuals, could have been no fœderal rite by which the covenant with the Gibeonites was made, or entered into. Besides, it is utterly improbable, that Joshuah and the elders of the congregation would have taken of the dry and mouldy bread which the Gibeonites had brought with them, and have eat of it with them. And, indeed, this passage, as it runs in the Hebrew, gives us no reason to think that they did. The passage in the Hebrew is, DTSO D^JNri inpn. And the true literal translation of these words, is, And they received (or accepted of') the men (dtso mitzedam) for, or, on account of their victuals, or mouldy and spoiled provisionsb.
b D*VSO mitzedam, for, because of, on account of, their victuals. The prefix JO min hath this signification in composition, in other places; particularly, Deut. vii.