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326 § 263. The publick Executioner.

cul. Medic. de Servatore non apparenter, sed vere mortuo, and the latter in his Dissert. inaug. Medic. de Jesu Christi morte vera, non synoptică, 1800. The part pierced was the PER1cARDIUM ; hence lymph and blood flowed out.

§ 263. The Publick ExecutionER.

When the sentence of death was pronounced by the king, it was executed by his body guard. Compare $236. Sometimes it was done by some other person, who considered the employment an honour, 2 Sam. 1:15. 4:12.

The kings of Persia formerly, as is the case to this day, were unable to recall the sentence of death, when once passed. Dan. 6: 15–25.

Criminals were every where bound with their own girdle, and hurried away to punishment. Comp. Acts 21:10–14. John 21:18.

Homicides were put to death by the blood-avenger, oxià, i.e. by the nearest male relation of the person slain, of whom we shall speak more particularly in the next section. Where stoning was the punishment, the process was commenced by the witnesses themselves, whose example was followed, and the punishment rendered complete by the people, Deut. 17: 7. The Roman magistrates had their lictors, but the soldiers, in the time of the Caesars, executed the sentence of the cross. The dress of the crucified person was given to the soldiers, Matt. 27:35. Mark 15: 24. Luke 23: 34. John 19:23, 24.

§ 264. OF THE BLooD-Avenger, AND CITIEs of REFUGE,

The execution of the punishment, which in Gen. 9:6, was decreed against homicide, devolved on the brother or other nearest relation of the person, whose life had been taken away. In case he did not slay the guilty person, he was considered infamous. Hence the application of the Hebrew word Esha, göel, i.e. spotted or contaminated, which he bore till the murder was revenged.

A law of this kind, viz, which authorizes the blood-avenger, may indeed be necessary, where there is no legally constituted tribunal of justice; but as soon as there is such an one, it ought to cease. To change a law, however, or practice of long standing, § 263. The UNKNowN MURDERER. 327

is a matter of no little difficulty. Moses, therefore, left it, as he found it, but he endeavoured, nevertheless, to prevent its abuses. To this end, he appointed cities of refuge, E.Ron "ox, three beyond, and three on this side of the Jordan. He took care also, that roads leading to them in straight lines should be laid out, in every direction, which were to be distinguished in some way from other streets. Any one, who had slain a person unexpectedly and without intention so to do, any person who had slain another in consequence of his unjustly attempting his life, or had slain a thief before the rising of the sun, fled by one of these roads to the cities, which have been mentioned. He was not to depart from the city into which he had fled, till the death of the High Priest; after which the right of revenge could not be legally exercised. All persons, who had been the cause of death to another, might flee into one of these cities, which were the property of the priests and Levites, and which are named in Deut. 19:1–13. 4:41–43. Num. 35: 9–29. Jos. 20:1–9. 21 : 11—13, 21. 27:32, 38; but they were all examined, and if found, according to the laws, guilty of homicide, were delivered up to the avenger of blood. For the law of retaliation, (Jus TALIONIs,) was most strictly inflicted on those, who were known to have been guilty of intentional murder; even the altar itself in such a case afforded no refuge, and no commutation whatever was admissible, Exod. 21:12. Num. 35:9—35. Deut. 19:1–13. 1 Kgs. 2: 28–34. The opinion, that the place, where human blood has been shed, is watered neither with dew nor with rain, till the murderer has suffered punishment, appears to have prevailed at a very ancient period, 2 Sam. 1. 21. Ezek. 24:7, 8.


[The original of this section is but little more than a literal statement in the author's words of the law, that is found in Deuteronomy 21:1–9. As far as the law, therefore, is concerned, it will be as satisfactory, perhaps more so, to have it stated in the language of the common English version, which is as follows.]

1. “If one be found slain in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath slain him ;

328 § 265. The UNKNowN MURDERER.

2. “Then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is slain. 3. “And it shall be, that the city which is next unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take an heifer which hath not been wrought with, and which hath not been drawn in the yoke; 4. “And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley. 5. “And the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near ; (for them the Lord thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of the Lord;) and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried; 6. “And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley. 7. “And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. 8. “Be merciful, O Lord, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel’s charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them. 9. “So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the Lord.”—Deut. 21: 1–9. The ceremonies, which have now been related, were not only a declaration of the innocence of the judges and elders, and of the horrid nature of the murder, but an implicit declaration likewise of the punishment, which justly pertained to the person who had committed it.

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THE dissensions of individuals gave occasion, in the progress of time, for the strife of families, for contests between tribes, and eventually for the wars of nations. Those, who came off conquerors in the wars, which had thus been commenced, enriched themselves with plunder. This presented an incitement to those tribes and nations, which were conscious of their superiority in point of power, to engage in war; and prepared the way for that ferocity and violence, to resist which the patriarchs after the flood found it necessary to arm their servants, and to be always in readiness to repel all attacks by force. The patriarchs, nevertheless, made it a point to act on principles of equity; they made treaties where they could, and where they could not, their resort was, (clearly a very natural one,) to extort respect, by striking a dread.

Families had no sooner increased, in respect to numbers, into tribes, than it was no longer deemed necessary to put in requisition the aid of servants, and to arm them for war; since it had become customary for every freeborn member of the community to accustom himself to arms, and to take the field against the enemy. - Various implements of war are mentioned in the Pentateuch. At a subsequent period, the Hebrews, in their contests with the neighbouring nations, were sometimes beaten, and sometimes victorious; till at length, in the reign of David, they acquired such skill in the military art, together with such strength, as to give them a decided superiority over their competitors on the field of battle. David increased the standing army, which Saul had intro

duced. Solomon introduced cavalry into the military force of the

330 § 267. GENERAL Military ENRolmeNT.

nation, also chariots. Both cavalry and chariots were retained in the subsequent age; an age, in which military arms were improved in their construction, the science of fortification made advances, and large armies were mustered. From this period, till the time, when the Hebrews became subject to the Assyrians and Chaldeans, but little improvement was made in the arts of War. The Maccabees, after the return of the Hebrews from the Captivity, gave a new existence to the military art among them. But their descendants were under the necessity of submitting to the superiour power of the Romans.


In the second year after the Exodus from Egypt, there was a general enrolment of all, who were able to bear arms, Rosa "ss" $3; viz. of all, who were between the ages of twenty and fifty. There was an enrolment of the Levites, (whose duty it was to guard the Tabernacle, which was understood to be the palace of God, as the political head of the community,) separately from the rest of the people, Num. 1:"1—54. There was a second enrolment, made in the fortieth year af. ter the Exodus from Egypt, Num. 26: 2. The enrolment was made, as there can be no doubt, by the genealogists, under the direction of the princes. In case of war, those, who were to be called into actual service, were taken from those, who were thus enrolled, in as much as the whole body were not expected to take the field, except on extraordinary occasions, Jud. 20. 1 Sam. 11:7. comp. Exod. 17: Num. 31: Josh. 7: 7, 11, 12. In respect to the enrolment, which was made in the reign of David, and which was displeasing to Joab himself, the design of it seems to have been to reduce the whole people to perpetual military servitude. It was accordingly done, not by the genealogists, ontois, but by military prefects, or; onlp, and it is further worthy of remark, that instead of the usual word H;?, the word ongo was employed in this instance. An universal enrolment of the people in this way was indeed at this time prevented, but it seems to have taken place under the subsequent kings; otherwise, we are unable to account

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