Imágenes de páginas

256 $216. Paincipal Ruleas in the hephew STATE.

The reason of taking this middle course was, that, while they had granted to the Hebrewo a passage through their country, they had refused to supply them with provisions, even if paid, Deut. 2: 29. 23: 5. Afterwards in conjunction with certain Midianitish tribes, they invited the prophet Balaam to curse the Hebrews, and finally they allured them to idolatry, i.e. to the crime of treason, Deut. 23: 3–8. comp. Deut. 2:9–19, 37. The Hebrews, however, did not feel themselves at liberty to carry on wars against them, except when provoked by previous hostility, Jud. 3: 12—30. 1 Sam. 14:47. 2 Sam. 8: 2. et seq. 12:26, et seq. They ultimately crushed the MidiaNites, who had conspired with the Moabites in their plans, in a war of dreadful severity, Num. 25: 16, 17.31: 1–24. War had not been determined on against the AMoRITEs, who had anciently taken away the region beyond Jordan from the Moabites and Ammonites by arms, for they were not in possession of any of the pasturing lands of the Patriarchs. But as their kings, Sihon and Og, not only refused a free passage, but opposed the Hebrews with arms, they were attacked and beaten, and their country fell into the hands of the Israelites, Num. 21:21–35. Deut. 1: 4. 2: 24–37. 3: 1–18. 4:46–49, comp. Jud. 11:13–23. Treaties were permitted with all other nations. David, accordingly, maintained a friendly national intercourse with the kings of Tyre and Hamath; and Solomon with the kings of Tyre and Egypt, and with the queen of Sheba. Even the religious Maccabees made treaties with the Romans. The Prophets every where condemn the treaties, which were made with the nations, not because they were contrary to the laws of Moses; but because they were injurious to the commonwealth, which the event proved, Is. 7: 1s. 36–37: 2 Kgs. 18–19: Hos. 5: 8. 7: 11. 12:1, et seq. Is. 30: 2–12. 31: 1—3.2 Kgs. 17:4.


Many things in the administration of the government remained the same under the Mosaic economy, as it had been before. The authority, which they had previously possessed, was continued, in the time of Moses and after his time, to the princes of the tribes, to the heads of families and combinations of families, and to the § 216. PRINCIPAL RULERs of The HEBREw state. 257

genealogists, Num. 11: 16. Deut. 16:18. 20: 5. 36: 28. Yet Moses by the advice of Jethro, his father-in-law, increased the number of rulers by the appointment of an additional number of judges, Bonius; some to judge over ten, some over fifty, some over an hundred, and others over a thousand men, Exod. 18:13–26. These judges were elected by the suffrages of the people from those, who, by their authority and rank, might be reckoned among the rulers or princes of the people. The inferiour judges, i. e. those, who superintended the judicial concerns of the smaller numbers, were subordinate to the superiour judges, or those who judged a larger number; and cases, accordingly, of a difficult nature, went up from the inferiour to the superiour judges. Those of a very difficult character, so much so as to be perplexing to the superiour judges, were appealed to Moses himself, and in some cases from Moses to the high priest. The judges, of whom we have now spoken, sustained a civil as well as a judicial authority; and were included in the list of those, who are denominated the elders and princes of Israel. That is to say ; supposing they were chosen from the elders and princes, they did not forfeit their seat among them by accepting a judicial office, and, on the contratrary, the respectability attached to their office, (supposing they were not chosen from them,) entitled them to be reckoned in their number, Deut. 31: 28. comp. Josh. 8:33, 23: 2. 24: 1. The various civil officers, that have been mentioned in this section, viz. judges, heads of families, genealogists, elders, princes of the tribes, &c. were dispersed, as a matter cf course, in different parts of the country. Those of them, accordingly, who dwelt in the same city, or the same neighbourhood, formed the Comitia, senate, or legislative assembly of their immediate vicinity, Deut. 19:12. 25: 8, 9. Jud. 8:14. 9: 3–46. 11: 5. 1 Sam. 8:4. 16: 4. When all, that dwelt in any particular tribe, were convened they formed the legislative assembly of the tribe, and when they were convened in one body from all the tribes, they formed in like manner the legislative assembly of the nation, and were the representatives of all the people, Jud. 1: 1–1 1. 11: 5. 20:12–24, Josh. 23: 1, 2, 24: 1. The priests, who were the learned class of the community, and besides were hereditary officers in the state, being set apart for civil as well as religious purposes, had, by the divine command, a

right to a sitting in this assembly, Exod. 32:29. Num. 36:13, 8: 258 $ 217 connexion of THE TRIBEs with EAch other.

5–26. Being thus called upon to sustain very different and yet very important offices, they became the subjects of that envy, which would naturally be excited by the honour and the advantages, attached to their situation. In order to confirm them in the duties, which devolved upon them and to throw at the greatest distance the mean and lurking principle just mentioned, God, after the sedition of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, sanctioned the separation of the whole tribe, which had been previously made, to the service of religion and the state, by a most evident and striking miracle, Num. 16:1–17.

§ 217. Connexion of THE TRIBEs with EAch OTHER.

Each tribe was governed by its own rulers, and consequently to a certain extent constituted a civil community, independent of the other tribes, Jud. 20: 11–46. 2 Sam, 2:4. Jud. 1:21, 27:33. If any affair concerned the whole or many of the tribes, it was determined by them in conjunction, in the legislative assembly of the nation, Jud. 11:1–11. 1 Chron. 5: 10, 18, 19. 2 Sam. 3:17. 1 Kgs, 12:1–24. If any one tribe found itself unequal to the execution of any proposed plan, it might connect itself with another, or even a number of the other tribes, Jud. 1:1–3, 22. 4: 10. 7: 23, 24. 8:1–3. But, although in many things each tribe existed by itself, and acted separately, yet in others, they were united, and formed but one community. For all the tribes were bound together, so as to form one church and one civil community, not only by their common ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not only by the common promises, which they had received from those ancestors, not only by the need, in which they stood of mutual counsel and assistance; but also by the circumstance, that God was their common king, that they had a common tabernacle for his palace, and a common sacerdotal and Levitical order for his ministers. Accordingly every tribe exerted a sort of inspection over the others, as respected their observance of the Law. If any thing had been neglected or any wrong been done, the particular tribe concerned was amenable to the others, and, in case justice could not be secured in any other way, might be punished with war, Josh. 22:9–34. Jud. 20:1, et seq. It is possible, that a community thus constituted may be prosper

§ 218. comitia or LEgislative Assemblies. 259

ous and tranquil, but it will probably want promptness in securing that justice, which is its due, and will also be exposed to external and internal wars. We find examples of these evils during the time of the Judges. In such a community, it was to be expected likewise, that the more powerful tribes would be jealous of each other, and rivals. Accordingly we find this rivalship existing between the tribe of Judah, to which belonged the right of primogeniture, and the tribe of Joseph, which had a double portion, Gen. 49: 8–10. 48: 5, 6. The right of possessing a double portion, in consequence of which the tribe of Joseph was divided into those of Ephraim and Manasseh, and which was equivalent in fact to the right of primogeniture, placed these two tribes on nearly the same footing, and caused them to look upon each other with the captious and unfriendly eye of competitors. From rivalships of this kind a sad schism finally arose, which sundered the nation, 1. Kgs. 12:


(1.) PERsons, who composed THE CoMITIA.

They have been mentioned in a preceding section, and were as follows, viz. judges, i.e. those, who exercised the office in the judicial sense of the word, heads of families, genealogists, elders, and the princes of the tribes.


nor opt, the elders of the assembly or the people.

From $3, Hori 52, *io, the whole assembly. At the conventions designated by these words, not only the persons mentioned at the head of this section were present, but also in some instances the whole body of the people. The words, therefore, may mean a national legislative Congress, where only the lawfully constituted members are present, or they may mean an assembly, which includes the whole mass of the people.

nor. "N'ip, the princes of the assembly or congregation.

Tyin "No, nor: "N"-ip, those called to the assembly.

nor: "Topp, those deputed to the assembly.

260 § 218, powers, Etc. of The comiti A.

Examine in reference to this point, Exod. 19: 7.24: 3–8. 34: 31, 32. Lev. 4:13. 18:3—5. 9:5.

(3.) METHod AND PLACE of convening THE Comitia.

They were convened by the judge or ruler, for the time being, and in case of his absence, by the high priest, Num. 10:2—4. Jud. 20: 1,27, 28. Josh. 23: 1, 2. The place of their assembling appears to have been at the door of the tabernacle, Num. 10: 3. Jud. 20:1, 27, 28. 1 Sam. 10; 17. Sometimes some other place, commonly one of some celebrity, was selected as the place of meeting, Josh. 24:1. 1 Sam. 11: 14, 15. 1 Kgs. 12:1. As long as the Hebrews resided in camps in the Arabian wilderness, the Comitia were summoned together by the blowing of the holy trumpets. It appears from Num, 10: 2–4, that the blowing of one trumpet only was the signal for a somewhat select convention, composed merely of the heads of the clans or associated families, and of the princes of the tribes. The blowing of two trumpets was the signal for convening the great assembly, composed not only of the heads of families, and the princes of the tribes, but of the elders, judges, and genealogists; and in some instances including, as has been already remarked, the whole body of the people. When the Hebrews had become fairly settled in Palestine, the Comitia were assembled, on account of the members living in places distant from each other, not by the sound of trumpet, but by messengers sent to them, see Deut. 29:9, 10. Judg. 20: .

- (4.) Powers, Etc. of THE CoMITIA.

Moses, while he sustained the office of ruler among the Hebrews, announced to these publick assemblies the commands of God, which were afterwards repeated to the people by the Shoterim, no-biu, [whom, for want of a better term in English, we have denominated genealogists.] In the Comitia, (those, which met where the people were not present,) the rights of sovereignty were exercised, wars were declared, peace was concluded, treaties were ratified, civil rulers and generals, and eventually kings were chosen. The oath of office was administered to its members by the judge, or the king of the state; and the latter in turn

« AnteriorContinuar »