« AnteriorContinuar »
286 $233. Methods of proMUL.GAting laws, etc.
of tribes, or the princes, possessed of themselves very great power, and so far may be considered, as having a negative on the authority of the king. It may likewise be remarked, that the prophets felt themselves at liberty, in the character of divine messengers, to reprove those monarchs, who had violated their prerogatives by doing that which was wrong. But notwithstanding all this, it is a fact, that many kings abused to bad purposes, the power, which was committed to them.
As the king acted the part of vicegerent to Jehovah himself, (a point, which is very clearly established in the Mosaic Institutes,) it was his duty and his right, as a matter of course, to secure obedience to the Laws of the state, and to punish the violations of them. He, accordingly, had the power, not only to issue his commands, in the manner of the Judges, but also to enact permanent laws, 2 Chron. 19:11. Is. 10: 1. When we say, that the Hebrew kings had the power of enacting permanent laws, it seems natural to observe, that they had not the right of making laws of the same character with those of the Persian kings, which, it appears, were immutable, and could never be changed, Est. 1: 19. Dan. 6: 16. It may be inferred from 2 Sam. xiv. that the Hebrew kings, in some instances, dispensed, on their own authority, with the infliction of the penalty, which was threatened against an infringement of the Mosaic Laws; but a liberty of this kind was certainly very rarely taken by those kings, who had a well-founded claim to being called religious.
David, accordingly, (2 Sam. 21: 1–14,) delivered up the homicides to be punished by the avengers of blood, and, in first Kings, (2: 1–9,) left orders to his successor to punish certain persons, whom he himself, on account of his situation, had not been able to treat, as they deserved.
§ 233. Methods of PRomulgating Laws, etc.
The Laws of Moses, as well as the temporary edicts of Joshua, (1:11, 12. 3:2, et seq.) were communicated to the people by means of the genealogists, [in the English version, officers.] The laws and edicts of those, who subsequently held the office of kings, were proclaimed publicly by criers, (Jer. 34: 8, 9. Jon. 3: 5–7.) a class of persons, who occur in Daniel, (3:4. 5; 29.) under the
§ 234. on the Royal Revenues. 287
word N75-2. They were made known in distant provinces, towns, and cities by messengers, sent for that purpose, 1 Sam. 11:7. Amos 4: 5. 2 Chron. 36:22. Ezra 1: 1.
The message thus to be communicated in any town, or city, was publicly announced, when the messenger had arrived, in the gate of the city, or in some other public place. At Jerusalem, it was announced in the temple, where there were always a great many persons present. It was for the same reason, viz. on account of the concourse of people there assembled, that the prophets were in the habit of uttering their prophecies in the temple, which were the edicts of God, the Supreme King.
In a more recent age, the learned, the Saviour himself, and the Apostles taught in the same place, Jer. 7: 2, 3, 11: 6, 17:19, 20. 36:9–19. John 10: 3. Luke 2:46. Matt. 26: 55. Mark 12:35. Acts 3: 11. 5: 12.
§ 234. On the Royal Revenues.
The conquerors of a country not only exacted tribute from those, whom they had subdued, but were likewise, in the habit of compelling them to render certain menial services, [which in English are denominated soccage, i.e. services in husbandry and the like, rendered to the lord of the fee, as a sort of consideration for the tenure of the lands.] Both tribute and soccage are comprehended under the word on, though they are sometimes expressed by the word Hron which usually signifies a gift, Exod. 1; 11. Josh. 16: 10.
But whatever they might exact from those, whom the fortunes of war had placed in their power, it does not appear, that KINGs demanded from their own people, or exacted, when they chose and of their own arbitrary will, either labour, or burdens of any kind whatever, Gen. 47: 19–27. Herod. III. 97. In fact the Hebrews were so tenacious of their personal rights in this respect, that they went so far, as to define in express terms, by a particular agreement or covenant for that purpose, what services should be rendered to the king, and what he could legally require, 1 Sam. 10: 25. 2 Sam. 5: 3.
It is not precisely known to us what the terms of this covenant were, but it certainly did not give the king the liberty of ex288 § 234. sources of the Roy AL REvenue.
acting from the people all the various services, which are enumerated in 1 Sam. viii. As there seems then to be nothing especially peculiar in respect to this subject among the Hebrews, it is very natural to conclude, that the sources of Revenue to their kings, were nearly the same with those in other oriental countries. With this general remark in view, and with the aid of various hints, which occur in the Scriptures, relative to the point in question, we proceed to make the following statement.
Sources of the royal Revenue.
I. Presents, which were given voluntarily, 1 Sam. 10:27. 16. 20. II. The produce of the royal flocks, 1 Sam. 21:7, 8. 2 Sam. 13: 23. 2 Chron. 26:10. 32:28, 29, comp. Gen. 47: 6. III. The royal demesnes, vineyards, and olive gardens, which had been taken up from a state of nature by the authority of the sovereign, or were the confiscated possessions of criminals; they were tilled either by slaves or by conquered nations, 1 K. 21:9–16. Ezek. 46: 16–18. 1 Chron. 27:28. 2 Chron 26: 10. IV. That the Hebrews by agreement promised the payment of certain tributes appears from 1 Sam. 17:25. [Consult Gesenius on the word "gor.] Perhaps they were the same with the tythe or tenth part of their income, which, as may be inferred from 1 Sam. 8: 15. was paid by other nations to their kings. The collection and management of imposts and taxes appear to have been committed to the officers, who are mentioned, 1 K. 4: 6–9. 1 Chron. 27:25. Whatever the amount of the customary tax was, it appears to have been increased in the reign of Solomon ; and the people after his death expressed a wish to have it diminished, 1 K. 12: 13. Something appears also to have been paid to the king, as a tribute in ready money, which occurs under the word Trio commonly rendered a present, 2 Chron. 17: 5. comp. Ezek. 45. 13–18. V. One source of revenue to the king was the spoils of conquered nations, to whose share the most precious of them fell. It was in this way, that David collected the most of his treasures. The nations, which were subdued in war, likewise paid tribute, which was also denominated Hron. It was paid partly in ready § 235. Magistrates UNDER THE MONARchy 289
money, partly in flocks, grain, etc. 1 K. 4:21. Ps. 72: 10. 2 Chron. 27: 5.
WI. The tribute imposed upon merchants, who passed through the Hebrew territories, 1 K. 10: 15.
In Persia, Darius the Median, the same with Cyaxares II. was the first person who enforced a system of taration, Ho, Too, Dan. 6: 2, 3. Strabo, accordingly, is in an error, when, (p. 735.) on the authority of Polycritus, he makes Darius Hystaspes the author of this mode of raising a revenue. It is true, however, that the system of taxation, which had been laid aside for three years by Pseudo-Smerdis, was renewed by Darius Hystaspes, and that the amount, raised in this way, was increased by Xerxes, Est. 10: 1.
Other sources of revenue to the king, besides those already mentioned, were the excise or or tax on articles of consumption, and the toll To: , Ezra 4: 14, 19, 20.
§ 235. MAgistrates UNDER THE Monarchy.
Judges, genealogists, the heads of families or clans, and those, who, from the relation they sustained to the common class of people, may be called the princes of the tribes, retained their authority after, as well as before, the introduction of a monarchical form of government, and acted the part of a legislative assembly to the respective cities, in or near which they resided, 1 K. 12:1–24. 1 Chron. 23:4. 26:29, et seq. 28:1–21.29. 6. The judges and genealogists were appointed by the king, as were other royal officers, the principal of whom were as follows.
I. The Royal counsellors, 1 K. 12: 6–12. 1 Chron. 27:32. Is. 3:3. 19:11–13. Jer. 26: 11.
II. The prophets, who were consulted by pious kings, 2 Sam. 7: 2. 1 K. 22:7, 8. 2 K. 19:2–20. 22: 14–20. Others of a dif. ferent character imitated the example of heathen kings, and called in to their aid soothsayers and false prophets, 1 K. 18: 22. 22:6. compare Exod. 7: 11. 8:18. Dan. 1:20. 2: 2. 5: 8. Jer. 27: 9.
III. The secretary or scribe, -on, who committed to writing not only the edicts and sayings of the king, but every thing of a public nature, that related to the kingdom; and whose business it was likewise to present to the king in writing an account 290 § 236. officers of THE PALACE.
of the state of affairs, 2 Sam. 8:16. 20:24. 1 K. 4:3.2 K. 18:18, 37. 1 Chron. 18:15. 2 Chron. 32: 8. Is. 36: 3. Est. 3: 12. 6: 1. 10: 2. comp. Herod. VI. 100. VII. 9. VIII. 90. IV. The High PR1Est is to be reckoned among those, who had access to the king in the character of counsellors, 2 Sam. 8: 17. 1 Chron. 18, 16; as one would naturally expect from the prevalent notions in repect to a theocracy.
§ 236. Officers of THE PALAce.
In oriental countries, the persons, who are immediately attached to the palace, and make, as it were, the king's domestic establishment, are commonly numerous. The principal among them are as follows, I. was no op, 1 Chron. 27:25–31; who, (1 K. 4: 5, 7–19.) are denominated B-332, and, in 1 K. 20:15. are called "nip ni:"127. They merely supplied the king's table, and are not to be confounded with those, who exacted the tribute, on, (1 K. 4:6.) II. non is vo, otherwise called nozzi by -os, the governour of the palace, answering, as to his employment and standing, to the stewards, who were employed by rich men, to superintend their affairs. He had charge of the servants, and indeed of every thing, which pertained to the palace, 1 K. 4:6. 18; 3. 2 K. 18: 18. 2 Chron. 28: 7. Is. 36:3. 37: 2. 22: 15, et seq. He wore, as a mark of his office, a robe of a peculiar make, bound with a precious girdle, and carried on his shoulder a richly ornamented key, Is. 22: 22. III. Hrror: }; -ps the keeper of the wardrobe, the place, in which were deposited the garments, destined by the king for those. whom he designed particularly to honour, 2 K. 10:22. IV. T. or Hyn or zo, the king's friend or intimate. It was the person, who sustained this relation to the king, with whom he conversed with the greatest familiarity, who sometimes had the oversight of the palace, and sometimes even the charge of the kingdom, 1 K. 4: 5. 1 Chron 27:33. In the time of the Maccabees, however, the king's friend was a phrase of somewhat broader signification, and was applied to any one, who was employed to execute the royal commands, or who sustained a high office in the government, 1 Macc. 10:65. 11:26, 27.