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CRITICAL STUDY AND KNOWLEDGE
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
SUMMARY OF BIBLICAL GEOGRAPHY AND ANTIQUITIES.
A SKETCH OF THE HISTORICAL AND PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF THE HOLY LAND.1
HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY OF THE HOLY LAND. 1. Numes.-II. Boundaries.—III. Inhabitants before the Conquest of Canaan by the Israelites.-IV. Division by Joshua.Allotments of the Twelve Tribes.-V. The Kingdom under David and Solomon.–VI. The Kingdoms of Judah and Israel.
- VII. Divisions in the Time of Jesus Christ.–VIII. Account of the City of JERUSALEM :-1. Its Situation ;—2. Names ; -3. Fortifications and Walls ;-4. State of the City before the fatal War of the Jews with the Romans;—5. Remarkable Buildings ;—6. Notice of the successive Captures of the City ;—7. Sketch of its Present State.-IX. Later Divisions of Palestine :-1. Under the Romans ;—%. In the Time of the Crusades ;—3. Modern Divisions under the Turkish Government.
1. This country has in different agés been called by various | Lev. xxv. 23.)2 With reference to this circumstance, we Names, which have been derived either from its inhabitants, meet with the appellation of the LAND OF God, in various or from the extraordinary circumstances attached to it. Thus, parts of the Old Testament. in Ruth i. 1. and Jer. iv. 20. it is termed generally the land: 4. The LAND OF PROMISE (Heb. xi. 9.), from the promise and hence, both in the Old and New Testament, the word made by Jehovah to Abraham, that his posterity should posIn, which is sometimes rendered earth, is by the context in sess it (Gen. xii. 7. and xiii. 15.); who being termed Hebrews, many places determined to mean the promised land of Israel; this region was thence called the Land of the Hebrews. (Gen. as in Josh. ii. 3. They be come to search out all THE COUNTRY xl. 15.) (Sept. Tuy guy); Matt. v. 5. The meek shall inherit the EARTH 5. The Holy LAND; which appellation is to this day con(gnv, the land); and in Luke iv. 25. where a great famine is ferred on it by all Christians, because it was chosen by God said to have prevailed throughout all the LAND (E71 tasay TH to be the immediate seat of his worship, and was consecrated qur)In like manner, nouusin, which primarily means the in- by the presence, actions, miracles, discourses, and sufferings habited world, and is often so rendered, is by the connection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and also because it was the resiof the discourse restrained to a particular country, as in Isa. dence of the holy patriarchs, prophets, and apostles. This xiii. 5. (Sept.); and to the land of Judæa, as in Luke ii. 1. name does not appear to have been used by the Hebrews xxi. 26. Acts xi. 28. and James v. 17. But the country occu- themselves, until after the Babylonish Captivity, when we pied by the Hebrews, Israelites, and Jews, is in the sacred find the prophet Zechariah applying it to his country. (ii. 12.) volume more particularly called,
After this period it seems to have become a common appella1. The LAND OF Canaan, from Canaan, the youngest son tion: we meet with it in the apocryphal book of Wisdom of Ham, and grandson of Noah, who settled here after the (xii. 3.), and also in the second book of Maccabees. (i. 7.) confusion of Babel, and divided the country among his eleven The whole world was divided by the ancient Jews into two children, each of whom became the head of a numerous general parts, the land of Israel, and the land out of Israel, tribe, that ultimately became a distinct nation. (Gen. x. 15. that is, all the countries inhabited by the nations of the et seq.)
world, or the Gentiles: to this distinction there seems to be 2. The LAND OF ISRAEL, from the Israelites, or posterity of an allusion in Matt. vi. 32. All the rest of the world, toJacob, having settled themselves there. This name is of gether with its inhabitants (Judæa excepted), was accounted most frequent occurrence in the Old Testament: it is also to as profane, polluted and unclean (see Isa. xxxv. 8. lii. 1. with be found in the New Testament (as in Matt. ii. 20, 21.); and Joel iii. 17. Amos vii. 17. and Acts x, 14.); but though the in its larger acceptation comprehended all that tract of ground whole land of Israel was regarded as holy, as being the place on each side the river Jordan, which God gave for an inherit- consecrated to the worship of God, and the inheritance of his ance to the children of Israel. Within this extent lay all people, whence they are collectively styled saints, and a holy the provinces or countries visited by Jesus Christ, except nation or people in Exod. xix. 6. Deut. vii
. 6. xiv. 2. xxvi. 19. Egypt, and, consequently, almost all the places mentioned or xxxiii
. 3. 2 Chron. vi. 41. Psal. xxxiv. 9. 1. 5. 7. and lxxix. referred to in the four Gospels.
2.; yet the Jews imagined particular parts to be vested with 3. The LAND OF JEHOVAH, or, the Lord's LAND (Hos. ix. more than ordinary sanctity according to their respective situ3.); that is, the land which the Lord sware .. to Abra- ations. Thus the parts situated beyond Jordan were conham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them (Deut. xxx. 20.); and sidered to be less holy than those on this side: walled towns which he did accordingly give to the Israelites, their descend- were supposed to be more clean and holy than other places, ants, still reserving the ownership of it unto himself. (See because no lepers were admissible into them, and the dead were not allowed to be buried there. Even the very dust of|(1 Kings ix. 26.), though they are not noticed in this place. the land of Israel was reputed to possess such a pecc.liar de- ^ Thence it shall pass on to [the wilderness of] Zin," on the gree of sanctity, that when the Jews returned from any east side of Mount Hor, including that whole mountainous heathen country, they stopped at its borders, and wiped the region within the boundary ; " and the going forth thereof dust of it from their shoes, lest the sacred inheritance should shall be to Kadesh Barnea southwards, and it shall go on to be polluted with it: nor would they suffer even herbs to be Hazar Addar,5 and pass on to Azmon." " And the border shall brought to them from the ground of their Gentile neighbours, fetch a compass,” or form an angle, “ from Azmon," or turn lest they should bring any of the mould with them, and thus westwards towards the river of Egypt,” or Pelusiac branch defile their pure land. To this notion our Lord unquestion of the Nile; " and its outgoings shall be at the sea," the ably alluded when he commanded his disciples to shake off Mediterranean.6 the dust of their feet (Matt. x. 14.) on returning from any “ And as for the WESTERN BORDER, ye shall have the Great house or city that would neither receive nor hear them; Sea for a border. This shall be your west border.” The Great thereby intimating to them, that when the Jews had rejected Sea is the Mediterranean, as contrasted with the smaller seas the Gospel they were no longer to be regarded as the people or lakes, the Red Sea, the Salt Sea, and the Sea of Tiberias, of God, but were on a level with heathens and idolaters.1 or Galilee.
1 As this portion of the present work is designed to exhibit only an out- 2 Dr. Pocock, on Hos. ix. 3. line of the Geography of the Holy Land, and not a complete system of Bib- 3 This appellation (the Land of the Hebrews) is recognised by Pausanias lical Geography ; the reader will find, in the Historical, Biographical, and (lib. vi. c. 24. in fine). By heathen writers the Holy Land is variously Geographical Index, annexed to this volume, a concise notice of the princi- termed, Syrian Palestine, Syria, and Phenicia ; but as these appellations pal countries and places, both in and ont of Palestine, which are mentioned are not applied generally in the Scriptures to that country, any further no. in the scriptures.
tice of them is designediy omitted.
6. The LAND OF JUDAH. Under this appellation was at And this shall be your NORTH BORDER: from the Great Sea first comprised only that part of the region which was al- you shall point out Hor ha-hor, (not “ Mount Hor," as renlotted to the tribe of Judah; though the whole land of Is- dered in our English Bible, confounding it with that on the rael appears to have been occasionally thus called in subse- southern border, but) the mountain of the mountain,"? or quent times, when that tribe excelled all the others in dignity; the double mountain," or Mount Lebanon, which formed After the separation of the ten tribes, that portion of the land the northern frontier of Palestine, dividing it from Syria; which belonged to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who consisting of two great parallel ranges, called Libanus and formed a separate kingdom, was distinguished by the appel-Antilibanus, and running eastwards from the neighbourhood lation of the land of Judah (Psal. lxxvi. 1.) or of Judæa; of Sidon to that of Damascus. which last name the whole country retained during the exist- “ From Hor ha-hor ye shall point your border to the entrance ence of the second temple, and under the dominion of the of Hamath,” which Joshua, speaking of the yet unconquered Romans.
land, describes, “ All Lebanon, towards the sun-rising,
from 7. The appellation of PALESTINE, by which the whole land (the valley of) Baal Gad, under Mount Hermon, unto the enappears to have been called in the days of Moses (Exod. xv. trance of Hamath.” (Josh. xiii. 5.) This demonstrates, that 14.), is derived from the Philistines, a people who mi- Hor ha-hor corresponded to all Lebanon, including Mount grated from Egypt, and having expelled the aboriginal in- Hermon, as judiciously remarked by Wells, who observes, habitants, settled on the borders of the Mediterranean; where that it is not decided which of the two ridges, the northern or they became so considerable as to give their name to the the southern, was properly Libanus; the natives at present whole country, though they, in fact, possessed only a small call the southern so, but the Septuagint and Ptolemy called part of it. Herodotus2 called the whole tract of country from it Antilibanus.—“ From Hamath it shall go on to Zedad, and Syria to Egypt, by the name of Palestine ; and Philo, in his from thence to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Habook concerning Abraham, expressly says, that the region in- zar Enan” (near Damascus, Ezek. xlviii. 1). This shall be habited by the Canaanites was, by the Syrians, termed Pa- your north border. lestine. The same region is also called the Syrian Palestine “And ye shall point out your EAST BORDER from Hazar (Syria Palæstina) by Tacitus3 and other ancient geogra- Enan to Shephan, and the coast shall go down to Řiblah on the phers.
east side of Ain (“the fountain" or springs of the river II. The ancient geographers placed the Holy Land in the Jordan), and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the centre of the then known world. Its extent has been va- [east] side of the sea of Chinnereth. And the border shall go riously estimated ; some geographers making it not to exceed down to Jordan on the east side, and the goings out of it shall be at one hundred and seventy or eighty miles in length, from the Salt Sea." There it met the southern border, at the southnorth to south, and one hundred and forty miles from east east corner of that sea, or the Asphaltite Lake. to west in its broadest parts (or towards the south), and “ This shall be your land with the coasts thereof round about seventy miles in breadth, where narrowest, towards the about” in circuit., north. From the latest and most accurate maps, however, it Such was the admirable geographical chart of the Land of appears to have extended nearly two hundred miles in length, Promise, dictated to Moses by the God of Israel, and deand to have been about eighty miles in breadth about the scribed with all the accuracy of an eye-witness. Of this middle, and ten or fifteen more or less, where it widens or region, however, the Israelites were not put into immediate contracts.
possession. In his first expedition, Joshua subdued all the By the Abrahamic covenant recorded in Gen. xv. 18. the southern department of the Promised Land, and in his second original grant of the Promised Land to the Israelites, was the northern, having spent five years in both (Josh. xi. 18.): from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates. The boun- what Joshua left unfinished of the conquest of the whole, daries of it are thus accurately described by Moses (Num. was afterwards completed by David and Solomon. (2 Sam. xxxiv. 1—16.), before the Israelites entered into it: "When viii. 3—14. 2 Chron. ix. 26.) In the reign of the latter was ye come into the land of Canaan (this is the land that shall fall realized the Abrahamic covenant in its full extent. And Solounto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan, with the mon reigned over all the kingdoms from the river (Euphrates) coasts thereof), your souTH QUARTER shall be from the wilder- unto the land of the Philistines, and the border of Egypt : ness of Zin, along by the coast of Edom," or Idumea. This for he had dominion over all the region on this side the river was its general description. The boundary itself is next (Euphrates) from Tipsah (or Thapsacus situated thereon) traced : And your south border shall be the utmost coast of the even to Azzah (or Gaza with her towns and villages), “ untó Salt Sea eastward ;" or, as explained by Joshua's description the river” of Egypt, southward, “and the Great Sea,”. westafterwards (xv. 2—4.), “ the south border of the tribe of Judah ward (Josh. xv. 47.), even over all the kings on this side the began from the bay of the Salt Sea that looketh southward ;” river (Euphrates). 1 Kings iv. 21. 24.10 or, by combining both, from the south-east corner of the Salt But the Israelites did not always retain possession of this Sea, or Asphaltite Lake. “ From thence, your border shall turn tract, as is shown in the succeeding pages. It lies far within southwards to the ascent of Akrabbim,” or the mountains of the temperate zone, and between 31 and 33 degrees of north Accaba (signifying “ascent" in Arabic), which run towards latitude, and was bounded on the west by the Mediterranean the head of the Alanitic, or Eastern gulf of the Red Sea; or Great Sea, as it is often called in the Scriptures; on the passing (we may presume) through the sea-ports of Elath east by Arabia; on the south by the river of Egypt (or the and Eziongeber, on the Red Sea, which belonged to Solomon river Nile, whose eastern branch was reckoned the boundary of Egypt, towards the great Desert of Shur, which lies | 3841 (B. c. 159) by the illustrious general Judas Maccabæus ; between Egypt and Palestine,) and by the desert of Sin, or and about sixty-five years afterwards Jannæus burnt their Beersheba," the southern shore of the Dead Sea, and the city Gaza, and incorporated the remnant of the Philistines river Arnon ; and on the north by the chain of mountains with such Jews as he placed in their country. termed Antilibanus, near which stood the city of Dan: hence 2. The MIDIANITES were the descendants of Midian, the in the Sacred Writings we frequently meet with the ex- fourth son of Abraham by Keturah. (Gen. xxv. 2.) In the pression,
· Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. in Matt. x. 14. ; Reland, Antiquitates Hebraicæ, pp. 5 Joshua (xv. 3.) interposes two additional stations, Hezron and Karkaa, 1. 17. Beausobre's Introduction to the New Testament. (Bp. Watson's col before and after Addar, or Hazar Addar, which are not noticed by Moses. lection of Theological Tracts, vol. iii. p. 141) This distinction of holy and 6 This terinination of the southern border westwards, is exactly con. unholy places and persons throws considerable light on 1 Cor. i. 28. where forınable to the accounts of Herodotus and Pliny: the fornier represents the Apostle, speaking of the calling of the Gentiles and the rejection of the Mount Casius lying between Pelusium and the Sirbonic lake, as the bounJews, says, that God hath chosen base things of the world, and things that dary between Égypt and Palestine Syria (iii. 5.); the latter reckoned the are despised, yea, and things which are not (that is, the Gentiles), to Sirbonic lake itself as the boundary. (Nat. Hist. v. 13.) bring to nought (Gr. to abolish) things that are; in other words, to become * The Septuagint Version has judiciously rendered it, **B to oņos te God's church and people, and so to cause the Jewish church and economy opos, "the mountain beside the mountain.” to cease. See Whitby in loc.
# Sacred Geography, vol. ii. p. 271. 3 Annal. lib. ii. c. 42.
, Dr. Hale's Analysis of Chronology, vol. i. pr. 414-416. * Alber, Hermeneutica Vet. Test, tom. I. p. 60.
Ibid. pp. 416, 417.
% Hist. lib. viii. c. 89.
from Dan to Beersheba, in order to denote the whole Scriptures two different places are assigned as the territory length of the land of Israel.2
of the Midianites: the one almost the north-east point of the III. The Land of Canaan, previously to its CONQUEST by Red Sea, where Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, was a the Israelites, was possessed by the descendants of Canaan, prince or priest. These western or southern Midianites were the youngest son of Ham, and grandson of Noah; who also called Cushites, because they occupied the country that divided the country among his eleven sons, each of whom originally belonged to Cush. They retained the knowledge was the head of a numerous clan or tribe. (Gen. x. 15—19.) of the true God, which appears to have been lost among the Here they resided upwards of seven centuries, and founded eastern or northern Midianites who dwelt on the east of the numerous republics and kingdoms. In the days of Abraham, Dead Sea. (Gen. xxv. 2–6. xxxvii. 28. Exod. ii. iii. xviii.) this region was occupied by ten nations;
the Kenites, the These northern Midianites were either subject to or allied Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, to the east of Jordan; and with the Moabites; and their women were particularly inwestward,'the Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaims, Amorites, strumental in seducing the Israelites to idolatry and other Canaanites, Girgashites, and the Jebusites. (Gen. xv. 18— crimes; which wickedness was punished by Jehovah with 21.) These latter in the days of Moses were called the the almost total destruction of their nation (Num. xxii. 4— Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, 7. xxv. xxxi. Josh. xiii. 21.); although they afterwards re Hivites, and Jebusites (Deut. vii. 1. Josh. iii. 10. xxiv. 11.); covered so much of their former strength as to render the Isthe Hivites being substituted for the Rephaims. These seven raelites their tributaries, and for seven years greatly oppressed nations were thus distributed :
them. From this bondage, Gideon delivered his countrymen The Hittites or sons of Heth, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, with a very inferior force, and almost annihilated the Mídianand the Amorites, dwelt in the mountains, or hill country of ites, whose surviving remnants are supposed to have been inJudæa, southward; the Canaanites dwelt in the midland corporated with the Moabites or Ammonites. by the sea, westward, and by the coast of Jordan eastward ; 3, 4. The MOABITES and AMMONITES were the descendants and the Girgashites, or Gergesenes, along the eastern side of the incestuous offspring of Lot. (Gen. xix. 30-38.) The of the Sea of Galilee; and the Hivites in Mount Lebanon, Moabites dwelt on the east of the Jordan, in a tract whence under Hermon, in the land of Mizpeh or Gilead, northward. they had expelled the Emims, a gigantic aboriginal race.(Compare Num. xiii. 29. Josh. xi. 3. Judges iii. 3. and The Ammonites had their residence north-east of the MoabMatt. viii. 28.) Of all these nations the Amorites became ites, which territory they had wrested from the Zamzummim, the most powerful, so as to extend their conquests beyond another gigantic tribe. The country occupied by these two the river Jordan over the Kadmonites; whence they are tribes was exceedingly pleasant and fertile; they were vi.osometimes put for the whole seven nations, as in Gen. xv. 16. lently hostile to the Israelites, whom they at different times Josh. xxiv. 15. and 2 Sam. xxi. 2.
terribly oppressed. They were conquered by David, and for These nations were the people whom the children of Israel about 150 years continued in subjection to the Israelites. On were commanded to exterminate. Within the period of the division of the kingdom they fell to the share of the ten seven years Moses conquered two powerful kingdoms on the tribes; and after several attempts to regain their liberty under east, and Joshua thirty-one smaller kingdoms on the west succeeding kings of Israel (some of whom severely chasof Jordan, and gave their land to the Israelites; though it tised them, and imposed heavy tributes upon them), they are appears that some of the old inhabitants were permitted by supposed to have effected their complete liberation during the Jehovah to remain there, to prove their conquerors, whether unhappy reign of Ahaz. they would hearken to the commandments of the Lord, which 5. The AMALEKITES were descended from Amalek the son he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses ; and the of Ham, and grandson of Noah, and were very formidable nations thus spared were afterwards suffered to oppress the enemies to the Israelites. They were settled on the south Israelites with great severity. (Num. xxi. 21—35. xxxii. coast westward of Jordan, and first opposed the Israelites and xxxiv. Deut. ii. 26–37. 'iii. 1—20. Josh. vi. 21. Judges after their departure from Egypt, but were defeated and i. 4.), Nor were they finally subdued until the reigns of doomed to destruction (Exod. xvii. 8–16. Deut. xxv. 17– David and Solomon, who reduced them to the condition of 19.); which was commenced by Saul, and finished by David. slaves : the latter employed 153,600 of them in the most 6. The Edomites were the descendants of Esau or Edom: servile parts of his work, in building his temple, palace, &c. they possessed themselves of the country southward of Ju(2 Sam. v. 6—8. i Chron. xi. 4-8. i 'Kings ix. 20. dæa and the Red Sea, which was originally occupied by the à Chron. ii. 17, 18. and viii. 7, 8.)
Horites, who are supposed to have been finally blended with Besides these devoted nations there were others, either their conquerors. It was a mountainous tract, including the settled in the land at the arrival of the Israelites, or in its mountains of Seir and Hor, and the provinces of Dedan, immediate environs, with whom the latter had to maintain Teman, &c. They were governed by dukes or princes, and many
11. The PHILISTINES were the descendants of Mizraim, the foes to Israey, they continued independent until the time being second son of Ham; who, migrating from Caphtor or the David, by whom they were subdued and rendered tributary, north-eastern part of Egypt, very early settled in a small in completion of Isaac's prophecy, that Jacob should rule strip of territory along the sea-shore, in the south-west of Esau. (Gen. xxvii. 29.) The Edomites bore their subjection Canaan, having expelled the Avites, who had before pos- with great impatience, and at the end of Solomon's reign, sessed it. (Deut. ii. 23. Amos ix. 7. Jer. xlvii. 4.) The Hadad the Edomite, who had been carried into Egypt during district occupied by the Philistines was in the time of Joshua his childhood, returned into his own country, where he prodistinguished into five lordships, denominated, from the cured himself to be acknowledged king. (1 Kings xi. 21, chief towns, Gaza, Ashdod, Askelon, Gath, and Ekron. 22.) It is probable, however, that he reigned only in the They were the most formidable enemies perhaps whom the eastern part of Edom; for that part, which lay directly to children of Israel had to encounter: and of the inveteracy the south of Judæa, continued subject to the kings of Judah of their enmity against the latter, we have abundant evi- until the reign of Jehoram, against whom the Edomites redence in the Sacred Writings. Though they were subdued belled. (2 Chron. xxi. 8-10.) They were also discomfited by David, and kept in subjection by some succeeding by Amaziah king of Judah, who slew one thousand men, monarchs, yet they afterwards became so considerable, that and cast ten thousand more from a precipice. But their confrom them the Holy Land was called by the Greeks quests were not permanent. When Nebuchadnezzar besieged Palestine, which appellation it retains to this day. The Jerusalem, the Edomites joined him, and encouraged him to country was finally subdued about the year of the world raze the very foundations of the city (Ezek. xxv. 12–14. .*It is a point, much in dispute among writers on the geography of the but their cruelty did not continue long unpunished. Five
xxxv. 3—5. Obad. 10–16. Psal. cxxxvi. 7. Lam. iv. 21.): tioned in Josh, xiii
. 3. and Jer. ii. 18. Dr. Hales, however, has shown at years after the capture of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar humlength that the Nile is the river intended ; and upon his authority we have bled all the states around Judæa, and particularly the territory considered "the river of Egypt,” and the Nile, as the sanie river. See his of the Edomites. Analysis of Chronology, vol. i. pp. 413, 414.
For a full investigation of the boundaries of the promised land, see 3 See an interesting and accurately compiled history of the Edomites in Michaelis's Commentaries on the Law of Moses, vol. i. pp. 55–97. the Biblical Repository, vol. iii. pp. 250–266.' Andover, Massachusetts, 1833.
IV. On the conquest of Canaan by the children of Israel, had their portions, as distinct tribes, in consequence of Jacob Joshua DIVIDED IT INTO TWELVE PARTS, which the twelve having adopted them. The northern parts of the country tribes drew by lot, according to their families : so that, in were allotted to the tribes of Asher, Naphtali, Zebulon, and this division, every tribe and every family received their lot Issachar; the middle parts to that of Ephraim and one half and share by themselves,
distinct from all the other tribes. of the tribe of Manasseh ; the southern parts to those of JuThus, each tribe remained a distinct province, in which all dah, Benjamin, Dan, and Simeon; and the country beyona the freeholders were not only Israelites, but of the same Jordan, (which was first conquered by the Israelites, before tribe, or descendants from the same patriarch : and the seve- the subjugation of the whole land of Canaan), was allotted to ral families were placed together in the same neighbourhood, the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the other half tribe of Mareceiving their inheritance in the same part or subdivision of nasseh. The tribe of Levi, indeed (which formed in effect a the tribe. Or, each tribe may be said to live together in one thirteenth tribe), possessed no lands. By divine command and the same county, and each family in one and the same there were assigned to the Levites, who were appointed to hundred : so that the inhabitants of every neighbourhood minister in holý things, without any secular incumbrance, the were relations to each other, and of the same family. Nor tenths and first-fruits of the estates of their brethren. Fortywas it permitted that an estate in one tribe should become eight cities were appropriated to their residence, thence called the property of any person belonging to another tribe. Levitical cities : these were dispersed among the twelve
In order to preserve as nearly as possible the same balance, tribes, and had their respective suburbs, with land surroundnot only between the tribes, bút between the heads of families ing them. Of these cities the Kohathites received twentyand the families of the same tribes, it was further provided three, the Gershonites thirteen, and the Merarites twelve ; that every man's possession should be unalienable.
and six of them, three on each side of Jordan,? were appointThe wisdom of this constitution had provided for a release ed to be Cities of REFUGE, whither the inadvertent manof all debts and servitudes every seventh year (Deut. xv. 1, slayer might flee, and find an asylum from his pursuers, and 2. 12.), that the Hebrew nation might not moulder away be secured from the effects of private revenge, until cleared from so great a number of free subjects, and be lost to the by a legal process. (Num. xxxv. 6—15. Deut. xix. 4—10. public in the condition of slaves. It was moreover provided, Josh. xx. 7, 8.) The way to these cities the Israelites were by the law of jubilee, which was every fiftieth year, that then commanded to make good, so that the man-slayer
might flee all lands should be restored, and the estate of every family, thither without impediment, and with all imaginable expedibeing discharged from all incumbrances, should return to the tion : and according to the Rabbins, there was an inscription family again. For this there was an express law. (Lev. xxv. set up at every cross road—“ Asylum, Asylum.” It has been 10.) Ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty thought that there is an allusion to this practice in Luke iii. throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall 4–6., where John the Baptist is described as the voice of one be a jubilee unto you, and ye shall return every man to his pos- crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make session, and ye shall return every man unto his family. It is his paths straight. He was the Messiah's forerunner, and in further enacted, And the land shall not be sold for ever (or, as that character was to remove the obstacles to men fleeing to in the margin, be quite cut off, or alienated from the family); him as their asylum, and obtaining the salvation of God. for the land is mine, for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. It is remarkable that all the sacerdotal cities lay within the
By this agrarian law of the Hebrews, all estates were to be southern tribes, eight belonging to Judah and four to Benjakept in the same families, as well as the same tribes to which min, and only one to Simeon, which is supposed to have they originally belonged at the first division of the land by been situated on the frontier of Judah, and to have remained Joshua; so that how often soever a man's estate had been under the control of the latter tribe. This was wisely and sold or alienated from one jubilee to another, or through how providentially designed to guard against the evils of schism many hands soever it had passed, yet in fifty years every between the southern and northern tribes. For, by this arestate must return to the heirs of the persons who were rangement all the sacerdotal cities (except one) lay in the originally possessed of it.
faithful tribes of Judah and Benjamin, to maintain the nationIt was at first an excellent constitution, considering the de-al worship in them, in opposition to the apostacy of the other sign of this government, to make so equal a division of the tribes. Otherwise the kingdom of Judah might have expeland among the whole Hebrew nation, according to the poll; rienced a scarcity of priests, or have been burthened with the it made provision for settling and maintaining a numerous maintenance of those who fled from the kingdom of Israel (2 and a brave militia of six hundred thousand men, which, if Chron. xi. 13, 14.), when the base and wicked policy of their force was rightly directed and used, would be a sufi- Jeroboam made priests of the lowest of the people to officiate cient defence not only against any attempts of their less in their room. powerful neighbours, to deprive them of their liberty or re- Of the country beyond Jordan, which was given by Mcligion ; but considering moreover the natural security of their ses to the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and to the half tribe of country, into which no inroads could be made, but through Manasseh (Deut. iii. 12—17. Josh. xii. 1—6. xiii.), the tribe very difficult passes, it was a force sufficient to defend them of Reuben obtained the southern part, which was bounded against the more powerful empires of Egypt,. Assyria, or on the south from Midian by the river Armon; on the north, Babylon.
by another small river; on the east, by the Ammonites and The wisdom of this constitution is yet further observable, Moabites; and on the west by the river Jordan. Its principal as it provided against all ambitious designs of private persons, cities were Ashdod-Pizgah, Bethabara, Beth-peor, Bezer, or persons in authority, against the public liberty ; for no per- Heshbon, Jahaz, Kedemoth, Medeba, Mephaath, and Midian. son in any of the tribes, or throughout the whole Hebrew na- The territory of the tribe of Gad was bounded by the river tion, had such estates and possessions, or were allowed by Jordan on the west, by the canton of the half tribe of Mathe constitution to procure them, that could give any hopes nasseh
on the north, by the Ammonites on the east, and by the of success in oppressing their brethren and fellow-subjects. tribe of Reuben on the south. Its chief cities were Betharan They had no riches to bribe indigent persons to assist them, (afterwards called Julias), Debir, Jazer, Mahanaim, Mizpeh, nor could there at any time be any considerable number of Penuel, Rabbah, or Rabboth (afterwards called Philadelphia), indigent persons to be corrupted. They could have no power Succoth, and Tishbeth. The region allotted to the hall to force their fellow-subjects into a tame submission to any of TRIBE OF MANASSEH, on th eastern side of the Jordan, was their ambitious views. "The power in the hands of so many bounded on the south by the territory of the tribe of Gad; by freeholders in each tribe, was so unspeakably superior to any the sea of Cinnereth (afterwards called the lake of Genncsapower in the hands of one or of a few men, that it is impos- reth and the sea of Galilee), and the course of the river Jorsible to conceive how any such ambitious designs should dan from its source towards that sea, on the west; by Mount succeed, if any person should have been found so weak as to Lebanon, or more properly Mount Hermon, on the north and attempt them. Besides, this equal and moderate provision for north-east; and by Mount Gilead on the east. Its principal every person wisely cut
off the means
of luxury, with the cities were Ashtaroth-Carnaim, Auran, Beeshterah, Bethtemptations to it from example. It almost necessarily induced the whole Hebrew nation to be both industrious and frugal, tribe of Reuben; Ramoth Gilead, in that of Gad; and Golan, in the half
2 The cities of refuge on the eastern side of Jordan were Bezer, in the and yet gave to every one such a property, with such an easy tribe of Manasseh. Those on the western side or Jordan were, Ilebron, state of liberty, that they had sufficient reason to esteem and in the tribe of Judah ; Shechem, in that of Ephraiın ; and Kedesh-Naphtali,
in that of Naphtali. value them, and endeavour to preserve and maintain them.! 3 Most of the North American nations had similar places of refuge
In this division of the land into twelve portions, the pos- (either a house or a town), which afforded a safe asylum to a man-slayer, terity of Ephraim and Manasseh (the two sons of Joseph), who fled to it from the revenger of blood. Adair’s History of the American
* Godwin's Moses and Aaron, p. 78. Jenning's Jewish Antiquities, book - Lowman on the Civil Government of the Hebrews, pp. 46-49. ii. ch. 5. p. 295. Edinb. 1808.