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356 § 293. circumvallation.
dour. It was the practice of the Roman armies, to stand still in the order of battle, and to receive the shock of their opposers. To this practice there are allusions in the following passages, viz. 1 Cor. 16. 13. Gal. 5: 1. Eph. 6: 14. Phil. 1:27. 1 Thess. 3: 8, 2 Thess. 2: 15.
§ 292. ON Sieges.
In case an enemy threatened to attack a city, guards of vigilant and sedulous watchmen were stationed in towers, and on the tops of mountains, who made known, by signs, or by messengers, whatever they had observed. At Jerusalem in an extremity of this kind, the fountains beyond the walls of the city were filled up, Is. 22:9–11. Cities were sometimes taken by sudden and violent onsets, sometimes by stratagem, sometimes by treason, and at others, were reduced less expeditiously by means of famine. When there were no machines to assist in the siege and to break down the walls, it was much protracted, and under such circumstances was never undertaken, except as a last resort. When a city was threatened, it was in the first place invited to surrender, to roos sop, Deut. 20; 10. Is. 36: 1–20. 37: 8—20. If the besieged had concluded to capitulate, the principal men of the city went out to the enemy's camp, in order to effect the object. Hence, “to go forth,” or “come out,” in certain connexions, mean the same, as to surrender by capitulation, 1 Sam. 11: 3, 10, 11. 2 K. 18:31. 24; 12. Jer. 21:9. 38: 17, 18. 1 Macc. 6: 49.
In the most ancient ages, the enemy surrounded the city with a band of men, sometimes only one, at most only two or three deep, and effected their object by assault; hence the very common phrases, “to encamp against a city,” or “to pitch against” and “to straiten it,” Josh. 10: 5. Judg. 9:50. 1 Sam. 11: 1. 2 K. 25: 1. Is. 29: 3.
CIRCUMVALLAtion was known in the time of Moses, also the Mound called Hi-5, Deut. 20:19, 20; although it is not mentioned again afterwards, till 2 Sam. 20:15. o
The besiegers, when the siege promised to be of long con§ 294. The besieger's Mound. 357
tinuance, dug a ditch between themselves and the city, for their own security, and another parallel to it outside, so as to enclose their camp on both sides, and to prevent being attacked in rear, as well as in front. The earth, thrown out of the ditch, formed a wall, on which towers were erected. The inhabitants of the city shut up in this way perished by degrees, by famine, pestilence, and missile weapons, 2 K. 25: 1. Jer. 52:4. Ezek. 4: 2, 17: 17. 2 K. 6: 28–31. Ezek. 4: 10–15, 5: 10–15. Jer. 32: 24. 34: 17.
§ 294. The Besieger's Mound, Hot.
The besiegers, in order to succeed against the walls of the city, when they were elevated and strong, cast up a Mound of earth and strengthened it on both sides with beams of timber. It ran in an oblique direction from the lines of circumvallation towards the less strongly fortified parts of the city, and sometimes equalled in altitude the city wall itself. The erection of this mound or wall is expressed by the Hebrew phrase, or of Hot Tog, literally to cast up a bank against the city, 2 Sam. 20:15. 2 K. 19: 32. Jer. 6: 6. 32: 24. 33: 4. Ezek. 4: 2. 17: 17–23. 26: 8. The inhabitants of the city fought against the mound with missile weapons; the besiegers, on the contrary, posting themselves upon it, threw their weapons into the city. In the meanwhile the battering rams were erected and made to move forward, in order to break down the city wall, in which case, the besiegers frequently erected another wall inside of the first, in doing which they tore down the contiguous houses, and employed their timbers in its erection, Is. 22: 10. Sometimes the besieged, when they had captivated any of the more distinguished of the assailants, scourged them or slew them on the walls, or sacrificed them, that they might intimidate their enemies, and influence them to depart, 2 K. 3:27. When the wall was broken through, nsor. He, Ezek. 21:27. and the besiegers had entered, the remainder of it, at least in a great degree, was thrown down, as was the case, when the city capitulated, 2 K. 14: 13. 2 Chron. 25: 23, 24. The expressions, to draw a city with ropes into a valley or river, (2 Sam. 17: 13.) is a proverbial boast.
358 § 295. on The consequences of victory.
§ 295. On the CoNsequences of Victory.
Anciently, although humanity was considered praiseworthy, the power of the conquerors owned no limitation ; flocks and cattle, the fruits of the earth, fields, gardens, and houses, together with the idol gods of the conquered, fell into their possession. They sold the wives and children also, of those, whom they had subdued, for slaves, and razed their cities to the ground, 2 Sam. 5: 21. 2 Chron. 25: 14. Hos. 10: 5, 6. Jer. 46: 25. 48; 7. The principal men among the conquered, the soldiers, and the artificers, who were employed in the construction of arms, and the erection of fortifications, were sent away into distant provinces. The conquerors, however, were not always destitute of humanity. In many instances they permitted the conquered kings to retain their authority, only requiring of them the promise of good faith, and the payment of tribute. In case the kings, who were thus used, rebelled, they were treated with the greatest severity, Gen. 14:4. 2 K. 23: 34. 24: 1, 14. Is. 24; 2. Jer. 20: 5, 6. The soldiers, who were taken, were deprived of all their property and sold naked into servitude. When the city was taken by assault, all the men were slain ; the women and children were carried away prisoners, and sold at a very low price, Mic. 1: 11. Is. 47: 3. 20: 3, 4. 2 Chron. 28: 9–15. Ps. 44; 12.
We might, therefore, well expect the great lamentation and wailing, which were customary among those, who were conquered. Those, who were able to, made their escape, Is. 16:1–6, Jer. 41: 5. 43. 6. Those, who could not escape, threw away their gold and silver, that they might be the more safe from the cruelty of the soldiers, Ezek. 7: 19. The fugitives sought for safety in the tops of mountains, in caves, and amid rocks; hence God on account of the protection he affords is called a rock, nox, Judg. 20: 47, 4S. Jer, 4:29. 16. 16. 22:20. Ezek. 7: 7, 17. Is. 26:4. The prophets sometimes represent the calamity of subjection by a foreign power, as a great drunkenness, which is an evil every where, but peculiarly so in the East. Further, as the fortune or destiny of man is sometimes called a cup, so this, (one of the most afflictive events, that could fall to the lot of man,) was denominat§ 295 on the consequences of victory. 359
ed the cup of reeling or staggering, Hizon b12, Jer. 25: 15–31. Nah. 3: 11. Zech. 12: 2. Ps. 75: 8. If the conqueror came in the capacity of a revenger of former injuries, he frequently cut down trees, obstructed the fountains, filled the cultivated fields with stones, and reduced the ground to a state of barrenness for many years. This mode of procedure was forbidden to the Hebrews by the law in Deut. 20:19, 20; but the prohibition was not always regarded, as appears from 1 Chron. 20: 1. 2 K. 3:18–25. The captivated kings and nobles were bound, their eyes were put out, and their bodies mutilated, they were thrown upon the ground, and trodden under feet, till they died, Judg. 1: 6, 7. 2 K. 25: 7. Josh. 10: 24. The captives were sometimes thrown down upon thorns, sawn asunder, or beaten to pieces with threshing instruments 2 Sam. 12:31. 1 Chron. 20: 3. Judg. 8: 7. Frequently old men, women and children were slaughtered, and thrown into heaps 2 K. 8: 12. Hos. 10: 14. Is. 13:17, 18. Even “the women with child were ripped up,” Is. 13: 16–18. 2 K. 8: 12. Amos 1: 13. In defence of these cruelties, the avengers were unable to plead the precepts or the example of Moses, since the excision of the Canaanites, of which we shall hereafter speak, was a case of peculiar kind, as was also the D-ri or irrevocable curse, by which, in certain cases, every living thing in the conquered county was devoted to death, and property of all kinds was consigned to the flames, or preserved merely for the sanctuary ; by which it was required also, that the city should be levelled with the ground, that the site should be sowed with salt, and a curse pronounced upon every one, who should afterwards rebuild it, Lev. 27:21, 28, 29. Num. 18: 14. Deut. 13: 17. The object of this curse or vow, was to make an example of certain idolatrous nations, and thereby to deter others from involving themselves in the same guilt, and revolting in like manner against God. In some cases the conquered nations were merely made tributaries, 2 Sam. 8: 6. 2 K. 14:4. To be a tributary, however, was considered a great ignominy, and was a source of reproach to the idol deities of the countries, who were thus subjected, 2 Sam. S. 6. 2 K. 19: S-13. Is. 7:20. Ps. 9; 20. The conquerors were intoxicated with joy; the shout of victo
300 $296, on the severities of Ancient warf ARE.
ry resounded on their tops from mountain to mountain, Is. 42: 11. 52; 7, S. Jer. 50: 2. Ezek. 7: 7. Nah. 1: 15. The whole of the people, not excepting the women, went out to meet the returning conquerors with singing and with dancing, Judg. 11: 34–37. 1 Sam. 18; 6, 7, Triumphal songs were uttered for the living, and elegies for the dead, 2 Sam. 1: 17, 18. 2 Chron. 35:25. Judg. 5:1–31. Exod. 15: 1–21. Monuments in honour of the victory were erected, 2 Sam. 8: 13. Ps. 60: 1. and the arms of the enemy were hung up, as trophies, in the temples, 1 Sam. 31: 10. 2 K. 11: 10. The soldiers, who conducted meritoriously, were honoured with presents, and had the opportunity of entering into honourable matrimonial connexions, Josh. xiv. 1 Sam. 17:25. 18; 17. 2 Sam. 18; 11. David instituted a separate corps or order of military men, viz. those, who were most renowned for their warlike deeds, 2 Sam. 23: 8–39. 1 Chron. 11: 10–50. Many nations were in the habit of leaving the bodies of their enemies, as a prey to the wild beasts and birds, (1 Sam. 17:44. Jer. 25: 33.) and the feast, which was given to these destroyers, is represented, as having been prepared by God himself, the judge of nations. Frequently the lifeless bodies of men, who had been distinguished, were given up to their relations, 2 Sam. 2: 32. 21: 14. Ezek. 39: 11–14; sometimes they were made the subjects of insults, 1 Sam. 31:8. The Hebrews, whether citizens at home or soldiers in war, whenever they came in contact with a dead body, were rendered unclean, and were obliged by the Mosaic law to purify themselves, Num, 31: 19—24.
§ 296. ON THE Severities of ANCIENT WARFARE.
Anciently war was characterized by deeds of ferocity and cruelty. The Hebrews, therefore, have a claim on our forgiveness, if, in some instances, they resorted to those cruel measures, which were universally prevalent in their day, in order to strike terrour upon other nations, to deter them from committing injuries upon themselves, and to secure their own tranquillity. There are some things, however, in their history, which cannot be approved, 2 K. 15: 16, 2 Chron. 25: 12. Judg. 8: 4–21. 20:1–30. Still, as hinted above, their severity in all instances cannot be condemned,