« AnteriorContinuar »
§ 236. officers of THE PALAce. 291
W. The king's lifeguard. They were denominated by the Egyptians and Babylonians non-to executioners; and, by the Hebrews, in the time of David, “no cheaethites, i. e. extirpators, Gen. 37:36. 39: 1. 2 Kgs. 25: 8, 10: 11–20. 2 Sam. 20:23. 1 Kgs. 1:38. 2:25, 34. The commander of this body of men was called the prefect or the captain of the guard, B'rizon Ap, likewise p"roton an, Gen. 40: 3,4. Jer. 39: 9–11. 40: 1–5, 41; 10. 43: 6. 52:12–20. Dan. 2: 14, 15. They derived their name from the fact, that they were the persons, whose business it was to execute the sentence of death, when it had been pronounced by the king. In the time of David, they were likewise called "too PELETHITEs, i. e. the expeditious. In the reign of Saul, and also subsequently to the time of David, the name commonly applied to them was that of runners, poxy for although they were soldiers, and it was their particular business to guard the palace, they were, nevertheless, employed to transmit the royal laws and edicts to distant places, to run before the king's chariot, as a part of his retinue, and likewise, as we have no reason to doubt, when the king walked out with his wives, to drive the multitude from the way; a custom which still prevails in the East, 2 Sam. 15: 1. 1 Kgs. 14; 27. 2 Kgs. 10: 14. In Persia, the king's runners were a class of persons, distinct from his guards. In order that they might be known, where they went, they bore a peculiar sort of poniard, called CHANGAR, in the Persian
They had the liberty of compelling any one, whom they met, to furnish them with a horse or other animal to ride on, or to go himself, and show the way. Hence the origin of the exotick Greek word ayyevo.9ew, ANGARLARE, Matt. 5:41. 27:32. Mark 15:21. The lifeguard, (otherwise called the Pretorian band,) of the Maccabees, and subsequently of Herod and his sons, were foreigners. They bore a lance or long spear, and were thence denominated in Greek, oftwovkazogég, Mark 6: 27.
292 § 237. The King's HAREM,
§ 237. The King's HAREM.
The women of his Harem are to be considered, as making a part of the retinue or equipage of the king; since, generally speaking, they were merely destined to augment the pomp, that was wont to be attached to his character and his situation. The multiplication of women in the character of wives and concubines was forbidden, it is true, by Moses, (Deut. 17: 17.) but the Hebrew kings, especially Solomon, gave but too little heed to his admonitions, and too readily and wickedly exposed themselves to the dangers, which Moses had anticipated, as the result of pursuing the course, which he had interdicted, 1 Kgs. 11:1–3. 2 Chron. 11: 21. 13: 21. *
The kings willingly encountered any expense, (whatever it might be,) which might be deemed necessary, in ornamenting the persons of their women, and of the eunuchs, (the black ones especially,) who guarded them. It may be remarked here, that eunuchs were brought at a great expense from foreign countries, in as much as castration was contrary to the Mosaic Law, Lev. 22: 24. Deut. 23: 1. For proof of the employment of eunuchs at the Hebrew court, see the following passages, 1 Kgs. 22:9. 2 Kgs. 8: 6. 9:32, 33. 20: 18. 23: 11. Jer. 13:23. 38; 7. 39: 16. 41: 16. The maids of the Harem were considered, (at least, when he wished to have them so considered,) in the light of concubines to the king. But the successor to the throne, although he came into possession of the Harem, was not at liberty to have any intercourse with the members of it.
Adonijah, accordingly, who, in his zeal to obtain Abishag, a concubine of David's, that had been untouched, let fall certain unadvised expressions relative to the kingdom, was punished with death; having given both by the nature of the request, which was not customary and unlawful, and by the manner in which it was made, too evident indications of a seditious spirit, 1 Kgs. 2: 13 —15, et seq. Though the king had unlimited power over the Harem, yet the wife who was chiefly in favour, and especially the mother of the king, had no little authority and weight in political concerns, 1 Kgs. 11 : 3. 2 Chron. 21 : 6. 22; 3. Hence in the Books of Kings and Chronicles the mother of the king is every
§ 238. INTERCourse or officers, Etc., with The king. 293
where spoken of ; and in truth, in Jer. 29: 2, is expressly mentioned among the royal counsellors.
§ 238. The METHOD IN which THE OFFICERs And others HELD INTERCOURSE witH THE KiNg.
The kings of the East, as has been already observed, are almost inaccessible. Those, who seek any favour, or wish to present any accusation, are under the necessity of giving a paper to that effect to one of the officers, attached to the court, in order that it may be handed by him to the king, 2 Kgs. 4: 13. In case no one is willing to receive it, they themselves take the opportunity, when the king is promenading in publick, to present it to him in person. If the inhabitants of a province wish to accuse their governour, many hundreds of them, assembling at the Harem, utter loud exclamations, tear their clothes, and scatter dust in the air, till a messenger is sent from the king to inquire the cause, Exod. 5: 15–19. But to the kings of the Hebrews, as has also been stated, there was more easy access, 2 Sam. 14:2, 3. 15: 2, 3. Those, who went before the king, even the principal officers in the government, appeared in his presence with the customary obeisance and ceremony, and stood, like servants before their master. Hence to “stand before the king” is a phrase, which means the same, as to be occupied in his service and to perform some duty for him, Gen. 41: 46. 1 Sam. 22:6, 7. 1 Kgs, 10:8. 12: 6–8. Dan. 1: 18. The same expressions are used in respect to the priests and Levites, who were the ministers or officers of God, to denote the religious services, which it was their part to perform, Deut. 10:8. 17: 12. Jer. 15: 1. 18:20. 28: 5. Ps. 24:3. Luke 18: 11, 13. Those, who sustained the station of servants and officers to the king, were entirely dependent on his will, and, on the other hand, they exercised a similar arbitrary power, (for instance the governours of provinces,) over those, who were immediately subject to themselves. Hence it is, that the prophets frequently complain of their oppressions, and violence. The royal officers of every grade are denominated the serwants of the king, and, like the Orientals of the present day, they
294 $239. Magistrates during AND AFTER THE captivity.
took a pride in being thus denominated. To this appellation is wont to be attached the glory of prompt obedience, prompt, though the command should be unjust. Those, who have the management of the collection of the revenues, or are entrusted indeed in any way, are not customarily called to an account. In case they are called upon to render an account of their proceedings, they show themselves prompt at the arts of deception; but the consequence of an attempt at misrepresenting or defrauding, is almost certain destruction, Luke 16:2. It should be observed, however, that the case was somewhat different in respect to Persia, in as much as the magistrates in the Provinces were visited yearly by a legate from the king, who, being supported in his duties by the attendance of an army, examined into the condition of affairs, and the prevalent management of the governours, Zech. 1:7–12.
§ 239. MAGISTRATES DURING AND AFTER THE CAPTIvity.
The Hebrews, during the Captivity, and after that period, continued among them, that class of officers, denominated heads of families, and perhaps likewise the princes of the tribes ; who, under the direction of the royal governours, ruled their respective tribes, and family associations, Ezek. 14:1. 20: 1–8. Ezra 1:5. 4:3, 5: 5. 6:8. Neh. 2: 16. 4: 13. 6: 17, 18. But it is most probable, that Jehoiachin, and afterwards, Shealtiel, and Zerubbabel held the first rank among them, or in other words, were their princes.
After their return to their native country, the Hebrews obeyed their stro or president. Such were Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, who were invested with ample powers for the purposes of government, Ezra 7:25. When from any cause, there was no person to act as president, authorized by the civil government, the high priest commonly undertook the government of the State. * This state of things continued, while the Hebrews were under the Persians and Greeks, till the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, in whose reign, they appealed to arms, shook off the yoke of foreign subjugation, and having obtained their freedom, made their high priests princes, and at length kings. o
The Jews likewise, who were scattered abroad, and had taken
§ 240. TETRARchs. 295
up their residence in countries at a distance from Palestine, had rulers of their own. The person, who sustained the highest office, among those, who dwelt in Egypt, was denominated ALABARCHUs; the magistrate at the head of the Syrian Jews was denominated ARCHON. While the Jews were under the Roman government, they enjoyed the privilege of referring litigated questions to referees, whose decisions in reference to them, the Roman pretor, was bound to see put in execution, Cod. L. I. Tit. 9. l. 8. de Judaeis. As Christians, when they first made their appearance, were regarded, as a sect of the Jews, (Acts 23:24,) they likewise enjoyed the same privilege. Paul, accordingly, blamed them, (1 Cor. 6: 1–7.) because they were in the habit of bringing their causes before the pretor, instead of leaving them out to referees.
§ 240. TETRARchs.
After the subjugation of the Jews by the Romans, certain provinces of Judea, were governed by that class of Roman magistrates, denominated Tetrarchs. The office of Tetrarch had its origin from the Gauls. Having, at a certain time, made an incursion into Asia Minor, they succeeded in taking from the king of Bythinia that part of it, which is denominated from their own name, Galatia. The Gauls, who made this invasion, consisted of three tribes; and each tribe was divided into four parts or Tetrarchates, each of which obeyed its own Tetrarch. The Tetrarch was of course subordinate to the king. The appellation of Tetrarch, which was thus originally applied to the chief magistrate of the fourth part of a tribe, subject to the authority of the king, was afterwards extended in its application, and applied to any governours, subject to some king or emperor, without reference to the fact, whether they ruled, or not, precisely the fourth part of a • tribe or people. Herod Antipas, accordingly, and Philip, although they did not rule so much as a fourth part of Judea, were denominated Tetrarchs, Matt. 14: 1. Luke 9: 7. Acts 13:1. Although this class of rulers were dependent upon Caesar, i.e. the Roman emperor, they, nevertheless, governed the people, who were committed to their immediate jurisdiction, as much according to their own choice and discretion, as if they had not been thus de