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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.
I. Names.-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 ;-2. In the Time of the Crusades ;-3. Modern Divisions under the Turkish Government.
4. The LAND OF PROMISE (Heb. xi. 9.), from the promise made by Jehovah to Abraham, that his posterity should possess it (Gen. xii. 7. and xiii. 15.); who being termed Hebrews, this region was thence called the Land of the Hebrews.3 (Gen. xl. 15,
I. THIS country has in different ages been called by various | Lev. xxv. 23.) 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: and hence, both in the Old and New Testament, the word In, which is sometimes rendered earth, is by the context in many places determined to mean the promised land of Israel; as in Josh. ii. 3. They be come to search out all THE COUNTRY (Sept. Tv ); Matt. v. 5. The meek shall inherit the EARTH (2, the land); and in Luke iv. 25. where a great famine is said to have prevailed throughout all the LAND (7 Taσay Thy 2). In like manner, sun, which primarily means the inhabited world, and is often so rendered, is by the connection of the discourse restrained to a particular country, as in Isa. xiii. 5. (Sept.); and to the land of Judæa, as in Luke ii. 1. xxi. 26. Acts xi. 28. and James v. 17. But the country occupied by the Hebrews, Israelites, and Jews, is in the sacred volume more particularly called,
1. The LAND OF CANAAN, from Canaan, the youngest son of Ham, and grandson of Noah, who settled here after the confusion of Babel, and divided the country among his eleven children, each of whom became the head of a numerous tribe, that ultimately became a distinct nation. (Gen. x. 15. et seq.)
2. The LAND OF ISRAEL, from the Israelites, or posterity of Jacob, having settled themselves there. This name is of most frequent occurrence in the Old Testament: it is also to be found in the New Testament (as in Matt. ii. 20, 21.); and in its larger acceptation comprehended all that tract of ground on each side the river Jordan, which God gave for an inheritance to the children of Israel. Within this extent lay all the provinces or countries visited by Jesus Christ, except Egypt, and, consequently, almost all the places mentioned or referred to in the four Gospels.
3. The LAND OF JEHOVAH, or, the LORD'S LAND (Hos. ix. 3.); that is, the land which the LORD sware...... to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them (Deut. xxx. 20.); and which he did accordingly give to the Israelites, their descendants, still reserving the ownership of it unto himself. (See
As this portion of the present work is designed to exhibit only an outline of the Geography of the Holy Land, and not a complete system of Biblical Geography; the reader will find, in the Historical, Biographical, and Geographical Index, annexed to this volume, a concise notice of the principal countries and places, both in and out of Palestine, which are mentioned in the Scriptures.
5. The HOLY LAND; which appellation is to this day conferred on it by all Christians, because it was chosen by God to be the immediate seat of his worship, and was consecrated by the presence, actions, miracles, discourses, and sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ, and also because it was the residence of the holy patriarchs, prophets, and apostles. This name does not appear to have been used by the Hebrews themselves, until after the Babylonish Captivity, when we find the prophet Zechariah applying it to his country. (ii. 12.) After this period it seems to have become a common appellation: we meet with it in the apocryphal book of Wisdom (xii. 3.), and also in the second book of Maccabees. (i. 7.) The whole world was divided by the ancient Jews into two general parts, the land of Israel, and the land out of Israel, that is, all the countries inhabited by the nations of the world, or the Gentiles: to this distinction there seems to be an allusion in Matt. vi. 32. All the rest of the world, together with its inhabitants (Judæa excepted), was accounted as profane, polluted and unclean (see Isa. xxxv. 8. lii. 1. with Joel iii. 17. Amos vii. 17. and Acts x. 14.); but though the whole land of Israel was regarded as holy, as being the place consecrated to the worship of God, and the inheritance of his people, whence they are collectively styled saints, and a holy nation or people in Exod. xix. 6. Deut. vii. 6. xiv. 2. xxvi. 19. xxxiii. 3. 2 Chron. vi. 41. Psal. xxxiv. 9. 1. 5. 7. and lxxix. 2.; yet the Jews imagined particular parts to be vested with more than ordinary sanctity according to their respective situations. Thus the parts situated beyond Jordan were considered to be less holy than those on this side: walled towns were supposed to be more clean and holy than other places, because no lepers were admissible into them, and the dead
2 Dr. Pocock, on Hos. ix. 3.
This appellation (the Land of the Hebrews) is recognised by Pausanias (lib. vi. c. 24. in fine). By heathen writers the Holy Land ís variously termed, Syrian Palestine, Syria, and Phoenicia; but as these appellations are not applied generally in the Scriptures to that country, any further notice of them is designedly omitted.
were not allowed to be buried there. Even the very dust of the land of Israel was reputed to possess such a peculiar degree of sanctity, that when the Jews returned from any heathen country, they stopped at its borders, and wiped the dust of it from their shoes, lest the sacred inheritance should be polluted with it: nor would they suffer even herbs to be brought to them from the ground of their Gentile neighbours, lest they should bring any of the mould with them, and thus defile their pure land. To this notion our Lord unquestionably alluded when he commanded his disciples to shake off the dust of their feet (Matt. x. 14.) on returning from any house or city that would neither receive nor hear them; thereby intimating to them, that when the Jews had rejected the Gospel they were no longer to be regarded as the people of God, but were on a level with heathens and idolaters.1
(1 Kings ix. 26.), though they are not noticed in this place. Thence it shall pass on to [the wilderness of] Zin," on the east side of Mount Hor, including that whole mountainous region within the boundary; "and the going forth thereof shall be to Kadesh Barnea southwards; and it shall go on to Hazar Addar,5 and pass on to Azmon." "And the border shall fetch a compass," or form an angle, " from Azmon," or turn westwards towards the river of Egypt," or Pelusiac branch of the Nile; "and its outgoings shall be at the sea," the Mediterranean.6
"And as for the WESTERN BORDER, ye shall have the Great Sea for a border. This shall be your west border." The Great Sea is the Mediterranean, as contrasted with the smaller seas or lakes, the Red Sea, the Salt Sea, and the Sea of Tiberias, or Galilee.
And this shall be your NORTH BORDER: from the Great Sea you shall point out Hor ha-hor, (not "Mount Hor," as rendered in our English Bible, confounding it with that on the southern border, but) "the mountain of the mountain," or the double mountain," or Mount Lebanon, which formed the northern frontier of Palestine, dividing it from Syria; consisting of two great parallel ranges, called Libanus and Antilibanus, and running eastwards from the neighbourhood of Sidon to that of Damascus.
6. The LAND OF JUDAH. Under this appellation was at first comprised only that part of the region which was allotted to the tribe of Judah; though the whole land of Israel appears to have been occasionally thus called in subsequent times, when that tribe excelled all the others in dignity," After the separation of the ten tribes, that portion of the land which belonged to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who formed a separate kingdom, was distinguished by the appellation of the land of Judah (Psal. lxxvi. 1.) or of Judæa; which last name the whole country retained during the existence of the second temple, and under the dominion of the Romans.
7. The appellation of PALESTINE, by which the whole land appears to have been called in the days of Moses (Exod. xv. 14.), is derived from the Philistines, a people who migrated from Egypt, and having expelled the aboriginal inhabitants, settled on the borders of the Mediterranean; where they became so considerable as to give their name to the whole country, though they, in fact, possessed only a small part of it. Herodotus2 called the whole tract of country from Syria to Egypt, by the name of Palestine; and Philo, in his book concerning Abraham, expressly says, that the region inhabited by the Canaanites was, by the Syrians, termed Palestine. The same region is also called the Syrian Palestine (Syria Palæstina) by Tacitus and other ancient geographers.4
II. The ancient geographers placed the Holy Land in the centre of the then known world. Its extent has been variously estimated; some geographers making it not to exceed one hundred and seventy or eighty miles in length, from north to south, and one hundred and forty miles from east to west in its broadest parts (or towards the south), and about seventy miles in breadth, where narrowest, towards the north. From the latest and most accurate maps, however, it appears to have extended nearly two hundred miles in length, and to have been about eighty miles in breadth about the middle, and ten or fifteen more or less, where it widens or
By the Abrahamic covenant recorded in Gen. xv. 18. the original grant of the Promised Land to the Israelites, was from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates. The boundaries of it are thus accurately described by Moses (Num. xxxiv. 1-16.), before the Israelites entered into it: "When ye come into the land of Canaan (this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan, with the coasts thereof), your SOUTH QUARTER shall be from the wilderness of Zin, along by the coast of Edom," or Idumæa. This was its general description. The boundary itself is next traced: And your south border shall be the utmost coast of the Salt Sea eastward," or, as explained by Joshua's description afterwards (xv. 2-4.)," the south border of the tribe of Judah began from the bay of the Salt Sea that looketh southward;" or, by combining both, from the south-east corner of the Salt Sea, or Asphaltite Lake. "From thence, your border shall turn southwards to the ascent of Akrabbim," or the mountains of Accaba (signifying "ascent" in Arabic), which run towards the head of the Alanitic, or Eastern gulf of the Red Sea; passing (we may presume) through the sea-ports of Elath and Eziongeber, on the Red Sea, which belonged to Solomon
Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. in Matt. x. 14. ; Reland, Antiquitates Hebraicæ, pp. 1. 17. Beausobre's Introduction to the New Testament. (Bp. Watson's collection of Theological Tracts, vol. iii. p. 141) This distinction of holy and unholy places and persons throws considerable light on 1 Cor. i. 28. where the Apostle, speaking of the calling of the Gentiles and the rejection of the Jews, says, that God hath chosen base things of the world, and things that are despised, yea, and things which are not (that is, the Gentiles), to bring to nought (Gr. to abolish) things that are; in other words, to become God's church and people, and so to cause the Jewish church and economy to cease. See Whitby in loc.
2 Hist. lib. viii. c. 89.
Annal. lib. ii. c. 42.
Alber, Hermeneutica Vet. Test. tom. i. p. 60.
"From Hor ha-hor ye shall point your border to the entrance of Hamath," which Joshua, speaking of the yet unconquered land, describes, "All Lebanon, towards the sun-rising, from (the valley of) Baal Gad, under Mount Hermon, unto the entrance of Hamath." (Josh. xiii. 5.) This demonstrates, that Hor ha-hor corresponded to all Lebanon, including Mount Hermon, as judiciously remarked by Wells, who observes, that it is not decided which of the two ridges, the northern or the southern, was properly Libanus; the natives at present call the southern so, but the Septuagint and Ptolemy called it Antilibanus.-" From Hamath it shall go on to Zedad, and from thence to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazar Enan" (near Damascus, Ezek. xlviii. 1). This shall be your north border.
"And ye shall point out your EAST BORDER from Hazar Enan to Shephan, and the coast shall go down to Riblah on the east side of Ain ("the fountain" or springs of the river Jordan), and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the [east] side of the sea of Chinnereth. And the border shall go down to Jordan on the east side, and the goings out of it shall be at the Salt Sea." There it met the southern border, at the southeast corner of that sea, or the Asphaltite Lake.
"This shall be your land with the coasts thereof round about" in circuit.9
Such was the admirable geographical chart of the Land of Promise, dictated to Moses by the God of Israel, and described with all the accuracy of an eye-witness. Of this region, however, the Israelites were not put into immediate possession. In his first expedition, Joshua subdued all the southern department of the Promised Land, and in his second the northern, having spent five years in both (Josh. xi. 18.): what Joshua left unfinished of the conquest of the whole, was afterwards completed by David and Solomon. (2 Sam. viii. 3-14. 2 Chron. ix. 26.) In the reign of the latter was realized the Abrahamic covenant in its full extent. And Solomon reigned over all the kingdoms from the river (Euphrates) unto the land of the Philistines, and the border of Egypt: for he had dominion over all the region on this side the river (Euphrates) from Tipsah (or Thapsacus situated thereon) even to Azzah (or Gaza with her towns and villages), "unto the river" of Egypt, southward, "and the Great Sea," westward (Josh. xv. 47.), even over all the kings on this side the river (Euphrates). 1 Kings iv. 21. 24.10
But the Israelites did not always retain possession of this tract, as is shown in the succeeding pages. It lies far within the temperate zone, and between 31 and 33 degrees of north latitude, and was bounded on the west by the Mediterranean or Great Sea, as it is often called in the Scriptures; on the east by Arabía; on the south by the river of Egypt (or the river Nile, whose eastern branch was reckoned the boundary
Joshua (xv. 3.) interposes two additional stations, Hezron and Karkaa,
The Septuagint Version has judiciously rendered it,
Dr. Hale's Analysis of Chronology, vol. i. pp. 414-416,
of Egypt, towards the great Desert of Shur, which lies | between Egypt and Palestine,) and by the desert of Sin, or Beersheba, the southern shore of the Dead Sea, and the river Arnon; and on the north by the chain of mountains termed Antilibanus, near which stood the city of Dan: hence in the Sacred Writings we frequently meet with the pression, from Dan to Beersheba, in order to denote the whole length of the land of Israel.2
3841 (B. c. 159) by the illustrious general Judas Maccabæus: and about sixty-five years afterwards Jannæus burnt their city Gaza, and incorporated the remnant of the Philistines with such Jews as he placed in their country. 2. The MIDIANITES were the descendants of Midian, the ex-fourth son of Abraham by Keturah. (Gen. xxv. 2.) In the Scriptures two different places are assigned as the territory 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 with a very inferior force, and almost annihilated the Midianites, whose surviving remnants are supposed to have been incorporated with the Moabites or Ammonites.
The Hittites or sons of Heth, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwelt in the mountains, or hill country of Judæa, southward; the Canaanites dwelt in the midland by the sea, westward, and by the coast of Jordan eastward; and the Girgashites, or Gergesenes, along the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee; and the Hivites in Mount Lebanon, under Hermon, in the land of Mizpeh or Gilead, northward. (Compare Num. xiii. 29. Josh. xi. 3. Judges iii. 3. and Matt. viii. 28.) Of all these nations the Amorites became the most powerful, so as to extend their conquests beyond the river Jordan over the Kadmonites; whence they are sometimes put for the whole seven nations, as in Gen. xv. 16. Josh. xxiv. 15. and 2 Sam. xxi. 2.
These nations were the people whom the children of Israel were commanded to exterminate. Within the period of seven years Moses conquered two powerful kingdoms on the east, and Joshua thirty-one smaller kingdoms on the west of Jordan, and gave their land to the Israelites; though it appears that some of the old inhabitants were permitted by Jehovah to remain there, to prove their conquerors, whether they would hearken to the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses; and the nations thus spared were afterwards suffered to oppress the Israelites with great severity. (Num. xxi. 21–35. xxxii. and xxxiv. Deut. ii. 26-37. iii. 1-20. Josh. vi. 21. Judges i. 4.) Nor were they finally subdued until the reigns of David and Solomon, who reduced them to the condition of slaves the latter employed 153,600 of them in the most servile parts of his work, in building his temple, palace, &c. (2 Sam. v. 6-8. 1 Chron. xi. 4-8. 1 Kings ix. 20. 2 Chron. ii. 17, 18. and viii. 7, 8.)
Besides these devoted nations there were others, either settled in the land at the arrival of the Israelites, or in its immediate environs, with whom the latter had to maintain many severe conflicts: they were six in number.
1. The PHILISTINES were the descendants of Mizraim, the second son of Ham; who, migrating from Caphtor or the north-eastern part of Egypt, very early settled in a small strip of territory along the sea-shore, in the south-west of Canaan, having expelled the Avites, who had before possessed it. (Deut. ii. 23. Amos ix. 7. Jer. xlvii. 4.) The district occupied by the Philistines was in the time of Joshua distinguished into five lordships, denominated, from the chief towns, Gaza, Ashdod, Askelon, Gath, and Ekron. They were the most formidable enemies perhaps whom the children of Israel had to encounter: and of the inveteracy of their enmity against the latter, we have abundant evidence in the Sacred Writings. Though they were subdued by David, and kept in subjection by some succeeding monarchs, yet they afterwards became so considerable, that from them the Holy Land was called by the Greeks Palestine, which appellation it retains to this day. The country was finally subdued about the year of the world It is a point, much in dispute among writers on the geography of the Bible, whether the "river of Egypt" means the Nile, or the Sichor mentioned in Josh. xiii. 3. and Jer. ii. 18. Dr. Hales, however, has shown at length that the Nile is the river intended; and upon his authority we have considered "the river of Egypt," and the Nile, as the same river. See his Analysis of Chronology, vol. i. pp. 413, 414.
For a full investigation of the boundaries of the promised land, see Michaelis's Commentaries on the Law of Moses, vol. i. pp. 55-97.
3, 4. The MOABITES and AMMONITES were the descendants of the incestuous offspring of Lot. (Gen. xix. 30-38.) The Moabites dwelt on the east of the Jordan, in a tract whence they had expelled the Emims, a gigantic aboriginal race.The Ammonites had their residence north-east of the Moabites, which territory they had wrested from the Zamzummim, another gigantic tribe. The country occupied by these two tribes was exceedingly pleasant and fertile; they were violently hostile to the Israelites, whom they at different times terribly oppressed. They were conquered by David, and for about 150 years continued in subjection to the Israelites. On the division of the kingdom they fell to the share of the ten tribes; and after several attempts to regain their liberty under succeeding kings of Israel (some of whom severely chastised them, and imposed heavy tributes upon them), they are supposed to have effected their complete liberation during the unhappy reign of Ahaz.
5. The AMALEKITES were descended from Amalek the son of Ham, and grandson of Noah, and were very formidable enemies to the Israelites. They were settled on the south coast westward of Jordan, and first opposed the Israelites after their departure from Egypt, but were defeated and doomed to destruction (Exod. xvii. 8-16. Deut. xxv. 1719.); which was commenced by Saul, and finished by David. 6. The EDOMITES were the descendants of Esau or Edom: they possessed themselves of the country southward of Judæa and the Red Sea, which was originally occupied by the Horites, who are supposed to have been finally blended with their conquerors. It was a mountainous tract, including the mountains of Seir and Hor, and the provinces of Dedan, Teman, &c. They were governed by dukes or princes, and afterwards by their own kings. (Gen. xxxvi. 31.) Inveterate foes to Israel, they continued independent until the time of David, by whom they were subdued and rendered tributary, in completion of Isaac's prophecy, that Jacob should rule Esau. (Gen. xxvii. 29.) The Edomites bore their subjection with great impatience; and at the end of Solomon's reign, Hadad the Edomite, who had been carried into Egypt during his childhood, returned into his own country, where he procured himself to be acknowledged king. (1 Kings xi. 21, 22.) It is probable, however, that he reigned only in the eastern part of Edom; for that part, which lay directly to the south of Judæa, continued subject to the kings of Judah until the reign of Jehoram, against whom the Edomites rebelled. (2 Chron. xxi. 8-10.) They were also discomfited by Amaziah king of Judah, who slew one thousand men, and cast ten thousand more from a precipice. But their conquests were not permanent. When Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, the Edomites joined him, and encouraged him to raze the very foundations of the city (Ezek. xxv. 12-14. XXXV. 3-5. Obad. 10-16. Psal. cxxxvi. 7. Lam. iv. 21.): but their cruelty did not continue long unpunished. Five years after the capture of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar humbled all the states around Judæa, and particularly the territory of the Edomites.'
3 See an interesting and accurately compiled history of the Edomites in the Biblical Repository, vol. iii. pp. 250-266. Andover, Massachusetts, 1833.
IV. On the conquest of Canaan by the children of Israel, JOSHUA DIVIDED IT INTO TWELVE PARTS, which the twelve tribes drew by lot, according to their families so that, in this division, every tribe and every family received their lot and share by themselves, distinct from all the other tribes. Thus, each tribe remained a distinct province, in which all the freeholders were not only Israelites, but of the same tribe, or descendants from the same patriarch: and the several families were placed together in the same neighbourhood, receiving their inheritance in the same part or subdivision of the tribe. Or, each tribe may be said to live together in one and the same county, and each family in one and the same hundred so that the inhabitants of every neighbourhood were relations to each other, and of the same family. Nor was it permitted that an estate in one tribe should become the property of any person belonging to another tribe.
In order to preserve as nearly as possible the same balance, not only between the tribes, but between the heads of families and the families of the same tribes, it was further provided that every man's possession should be unalienable.
The wisdom of this constitution had provided for a release of all debts and servitudes every seventh year (Deut. xv. 1, 2. 12.), that the Hebrew nation might not moulder away from so great a number of free subjects, and be lost to the public in the condition of slaves. It was moreover provided, by the law of jubilee, which was every fiftieth year, that then all lands should be restored, and the estate of every family, being discharged from all incumbrances, should return to the family again. For this there was an express law. (Lev. xxv. 10.) Ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you, and ye shall return every man to his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. It is further enacted, And the land shall not be sold for ever (or, as in the margin, be quite cut off, or alienated from the family); for the land is mine, for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. By this agrarian law of the Hebrews, all estates were to be kept in the same families, as well as the same tribes to which they originally belonged at the first division of the land by Joshua; so that how often soever a man's estate had been sold or alienated from one jubilee to another, or through how many hands soever it had passed, yet in fifty years every estate must return to the heirs of the persons who were originally possessed of it.
had their portions, as distinct tribes, in consequence of Jacob having adopted them. The northern parts of the country were allotted to the tribes of Asher, Naphtali, Zebulon, and Issachar; the middle parts to that of Ephraim and one half of the tribe of Manasseh; the southern parts to those of Judah, Benjamin, Dan, and Simeon; and the country beyona Jordan, (which was first conquered by the Israelites, before the subjugation of the whole land of Canaan), was allotted to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the other half tribe of Manasseh. The tribe of Levi, indeed (which formed in effect a thirteenth tribe), possessed no lands. By divine command there were assigned to the Levites, who were appointed to minister in holy things, without any secular incumbrance, the tenths and first-fruits of the estates of their brethren. Fortyeight cities were appropriated to their residence, thence called Levitical cities: these were dispersed among the twelve tribes, and had their respective suburbs, with land surrounding them. Of these cities the Kohathites received twentythree, the Gershonites thirteen, and the Merarites twelve; and six of them, three on each side of Jordan,2 were appointed to be CITIES OF REFUGE, whither the inadvertent manslayer might flee, and find an asylum from his pursuers, and be secured from the effects of private revenge, until cleared by a legal process. (Num. xxxv. 6-15. Deut. xix. 4-10. Josh. xx. 7, 8.) The way to these cities the Israelites were commanded to make good, so that the man-slayer might flee thither without impediment, and with all imaginable expedition: and according to the Rabbins, there was an inscription set up at every cross road-" Asylum, Asylum." It has been thought that there is an allusion to this practice in Luke iii. 4—6., where John the Baptist is described as the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. He was the Messiah's forerunner, and in that character was to remove the obstacles to men fleeing to him as their asylum, and obtaining the salvation of God. It is remarkable that all the sacerdotal cities lay within the southern tribes, eight belonging to Judah and four to Benjamin, and only one to Simeon, which is supposed to have been situated on the frontier of Judah, and to have remained under the control of the latter tribe. This was wisely and providentially designed to guard against the evils of schism between the southern and northern tribes. For, by this arrangement all the sacerdotal cities (except one) lay in the faithful tribes of Judah and Benjamin, to maintain the nation
tribes. Otherwise the kingdom of Judah might have experienced a scarcity of priests, or have been burthened with the maintenance of those who fled from the kingdom of Israel (2 Chron. xi. 13, 14.), when the base and wicked policy of Jeroboam made priests of the lowest of the people to officiate in their room.
It was at first an excellent constitution, considering the de-al worship in them, in opposition to the apostacy of the other
The wisdom of this constitution is yet further observable, as it provided against all ambitious designs of private persons, or persons in authority, against the public liberty; for no person in any of the tribes, or throughout the whole Hebrew nation, had such estates and possessions, or were allowed by the constitution to procure them, that could give any hopes of success in oppressing their brethren and fellow-subjects. They had no riches to bribe indigent persons to assist them, nor could there at any time be any considerable number of indigent persons to be corrupted. They could have no power to force their fellow-subjects into a tame submission to any of their ambitious views. The power in the hands of so many freeholders in each tribe, was so unspeakably superior to any power in the hands of one or of a few men, that it is impossible to conceive how any such ambitious designs should succeed, if any person should have been found so weak as to attempt them. Besides, this equal and moderate provision for every person wisely cut off the means of luxury, with the temptations to it from example. It almost necessarily induced the whole Hebrew nation to be both industrious and frugal, and yet gave to every one such a property, with such an easy state of liberty, that they had sufficient reason to esteem and value them, and endeavour to preserve and maintain them.1 In this division of the land into twelve portions, the posterity of Ephraim and Manasseh (the two sons of Joseph),
Lowman on the Civil Government of the Hebrews, pp. 46-49.
Of the country beyond Jordan, which was given by Mcses to the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh (Deut. iii. 12-17. Josh. xii. 1-6. xiii.), the tribe of REUBEN obtained the southern part, which was bounded on the south from Midian by the river Arnon; on the north, by another small river; on the east, by the Ammonites and Moabites; and on the west by the river Jordan. Its principal cities were Ashdod-Pizgah, Bethabara, Beth-peor, Bezer, Heshbon, Jahaz, Kedemoth, Medeba, Mephaath, and Midian. The territory of the tribe of GAD was bounded by the river Jordan on the west, by the canton of the half tribe of Manasseh on the north, by the Ammonites on the east, and by the tribe of Reuben on the south. Its chief cities were Betharan (afterwards called Julias), Debir, Jazer, Mahanaim, Mizpeh, Penuel, Rabbah, or Rabboth (afterwards called Philadelphia), Succoth, and Tishbeth. The region allotted to the HALF TRIBE OF MANASSEH, on th eastern side of the Jordan, was bounded on the south by the territory of the tribe of Gad; by the sea of Cinnereth (afterwards called the lake of Gennesareth and the sea of Galilee), and the course of the river Jordan from its source towards that sea, on the west; by Mount Lebanon, or more properly Mount Hermon, on the north and north-east; and by Mount Gilead on the east. Its principal cities were Ashtaroth-Carnaim, Auran, Beeshterah, Beth
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 tribe of Manasseh. Those on the western side of Jordan were, Hebron, in the tribe of Judah; Shechem, in that of Ephraim; and Kedesh-Naphtali, in that of Naphtali.
3 Most of the North American nations had similar places of refuge (either a house or a town), which afforded a safe asylum to a man-slayer, who fled to it from the revenger of blood. Adair's History of the American Indians, pp. 158, 159. Godwin's Moses and Aaron, p. 78. Jenning's Jewish Antiquities, book ii. ch. 5. p. 295. Edinb. 1808.