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appear in what manner these heads or elders of families were chosen, when any of them died. The princes of tribes do not seem to have ceased with the commencement, at least, of the monarchy: from 1 Chron. xxvii. 16-22. it is evident that they subsisted in the time of David; and they must have proved a powerful restraint upon the power of the king.
It will now be readily conceived how the Israelitish state might have subsisted not only without a king, but even occasionally without that magistrate who was called a Judge, although we read of no supreme council of the nation. Every tribe had always its own independent chief magistrate, who may not inaptly be compared to the lords-lieutenants of our British counties; subordinate to them, again, were the heads of families, who may be represented as their deputy-lieutenants: and, if there were no general ruler of the whole people, yet there were twelve smaller commonwealths, who in certain cases united together, and whose general convention would take measures for their common interest. In many cases particular tribes acted as distinct and independent republics, not only when there was neither king nor judge, but even during the times of the kings. Instances of wars being carried on by one or more particular tribes, both before and after the establishment of the regal government, may be seen in Josh. xvii. 15-17. Judg. iv. 10. and xviii-xx. 1 Chron. v. 18-23. 41-43. It appears from 1 Chron. xxiii. 11. that a certain number of persons was necessary to constitute a family, and to empower such a family to have a representative head; for it is there said that the four sons of Shimei had not a numerous progeny, and were therefore reckoned only as one family. Hence we may explain why, according to Micah v. 2., Bethlehem may have been too small to be reckoned among the families of Judah. It is impossible to ascertain, at this distance of time, what number of individuals was requisite to constitute a house or family; but probably the number was not always uniform.1
pretended that this was a permanent and supreme court of judicature; but as the sacred writers are totally silent concerning such a tribunal, we are authorized to conclude that it was only a temporary institution. After their return from the Babylonish captivity, it is well known that the Jews did appoint a sanhedrin or council of seventy at Jerusalem, in imitation of that which Moses had instituted. In the New Testament, very frequent mention is made of this supreme tribunal, of which an account will be found in a subsequent chapter of this volume.
4. Among the persons who appear in the Israelitish congregation or diet (as Michaelis terms it), in addition to those already mentioned, we find the (SHOTERIM) or Scribes. It is evident that they were different from the Jethronian prefects or judges; for Moses expressly ordained that they should not only appoint judges in every city, but also shoterim or scribes. What their functions were, it is now difficult to ascertain. Michaelis conjectures, with great probability, that they kept the genealogical tables of the Israelites, with a faithful record of births, marriages, and deaths; and that to them was assigned the duty of apportioning the public burthens and services on the people individually. Under the regal government, these scribes were generally taken from the tribe of Levi. (1 Chron. xxiii. 4. 2 Chron. xix. 8-11. and xxxiv. 13.) In Deut. xxix. 10. xxxi. 28. Josh. viii. 33. and xxiii. 2. we find them as representatives of the people in the diets, or when they entered into covenant with God. In time of war they were charged with the duty of conveying orders to the army (Deut. xx. 5.); and in 2 Chron. xxvi. 11. we meet with a scribe, who appears to have been what is now termed the muster-master-general.6
2. The JUDGES, who were appointed by Moses, had also a right, by virtue of their office, to be present in the congregation, or convention of the state. After the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, Moses, for some time, was their sole judge. Jethro, his father-in-law, observing that the daily duties of this office were too heavy for him, suggested to him (subject to the approbation of Jehovah) the institution of Judges or rulers, of tens, of fifties, of hundreds, and of thou-supreme magistrates, termed JUDGES. Their dignity was, in sands, who determined every affair of little importance among themselves, but brought the hard causes to Moses. (Exod. xviii. 14-26.) Of the judges of tens, therefore, there must have been sixty thousand; of the judges of fifties, twelve thousand, of the judges of hundreds, six thousand; and of the judges of thousands, six hundred. These judges, or Jethronian prefects (as they have been called), seem to have been a sort of justice of the peace in several divisions, probably taken from the military division of an host into thou-diate oppression: thus Jephthah was chosen by the Israelites sands, hundreds, fifties, and tens; this was a model proper for them as an army marching, and not unsuitable to their settlement as tribes or families, in a sort of counties, hundreds, and tithings. Perhaps our old Saxon constitution of sheriffs in counties, hundredors or centgraves in hundreds, and deciners in decennaries, may give some light to this constitution of Moses. Some of our legal antiquaries have thought that those constitutions of the Saxons were taken from these laws of Moses, introduced by Alfred, or by his direction.2 It is not probable, that in the public deliberative assemblies the whole sixty thousand judges of tens had seats and voices. Michaelis conjectures that only those of hundreds, or even those only of thousands, are to be understood, when mention is made of judges in the Israelitish conventions.3
But, after the establishment of the Hebrews in the land of Canaan, as they no longer dwelt together in round numbers, Moses ordained that judges should be appointed in every city (Deut. xvi. 18.), and it should seem that they were chosen by the people. In succeeding ages these judicial offices were filled by the Levites, most probably because they were the persons best skilled in the law of the Hebrews. (See 1 Chron. xxiii. 4. xxvi. 29-32. 2 Chron. xix. 8-11. xxxiv. 13.)+ 3. During the sojourning of the Israelites in the wilderness, Moses established a council or SENATE of seventy, to assist him in the government of the people. The Jewish rabbinical writers, who have exercised their ingenuity in conjecturing why the number was limited to seventy, have
III. On the death of Moses, the command of the children of Israel was confided to JOSHUA, who had been his minister (Exod. xxiv. 13. Josh. i. 1.); and under whom the land of Canaan was subdued, and divided agreeably to the divine injunctions. On the death of Joshua and of the elders of his council, it appears that the people did not choose any chief magistrate or counsellors in their place. The consequence (as might naturally be expected) was a temporary anarchy, in which we are told that every man did what was right in his own eyes. (Judg. xxi. 25.) This state of things occasioned the government of Israel to be committed to certain some cases, for life, but not always: and their office was not hereditary, neither was their succession constant. There also were anarchies, or intervals of several years' continuance, during which the Israelites groaned under the tyranny of their oppressors, and had no governors. But though God himself did regularly appoint the judges of the Israelites, the people nevertheless, on some occasions, elected him who appeared to them most proper to deliver them from their immebeyond Jordan. As, however, it frequently happened that the oppression which rendered the assistance of judges necessary were not felt equally over all Israel, so the power of those judges, who were elected in order to procure their deliverance from such servitudes, did not extend over all the people, but only over that district which they had delivered. Thus Jephthah did not exercise his authority on this side Jordan, neither did Barak exercise his judicial power beyond that river. The authority of the judges was not inferior to that which was afterwards exercised by the kings: it extended to peace and war. They decided causes without appeal; but they had no power to enact new laws, or to impose new burthens upon the people. They were protectors of the laws, defenders of religion, and avengers of crimes, particnlarly of idolatry, which was high-treason against Jehovah their Sovereign. Further, these judges were without pomp or splendour, and destitute of guards, train, or equipage: unless indeed their own wealth might enable them to make an appearance suitable to their dignity. Their income or revenue arose solely from presents. This form of administration subsisted from Joshua to Saul, during a period of about 339 years.7
IV. At length the Israelites, weary of having God for their sovereign, and provoked by the misconduct of the sons of the judge and prophet Samuel, who in his old age had associated them with himself for the administration of affairs, desired a KING to be set over them, to judge them like all the
• Michaelis's Commentaries, vol. i. pp. 247-249.
Tappan's Lectures on Jewish Antiquities, p. 77. Michaelis's Commentaries, vol. i. pp. 262-264. Dr. Graves's Lectures on the Pentateuch, vol. ii. pp. 95-104.
nations (1 Sam. viii. 5.), thus undesignedly fulfilling the designs of the Almighty, who had ordained that in the fulness of time the Messiah should be born of a royal house.
1. Such a change in their government Moses foresaw, and accordingly, by divine command, he prescribed the following laws, both concerning their election of a king, and also for the direction of their future sovereigns, which are recorded in Deut. xvii. 14-20.
(1.) The right of choice was left to the people, but with this limitation, that they must always elect a native Israelite, and not a foreigner. One from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayst not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.
This was a wise and patriotic law, well adapted to inspire a just dread of foreign intriguers and invaders, and an united vigilance in repulsing such persons from the government. "One who is born and educated in a community, is its natural brother: his habits, attachments, and interests strongly link him to it; while the sentiments, feelings, and interests of a stranger do often as naturally connect him with a foreign country, and alienate him from that in which he resides." But this statute did not apply to the case of the nation being at any time subjected, by force of arms, to a foreign prince; though the Pharisees afterwards so explained it.1
(2.) The Israelites were on no account to appoint any one to be their king, who was not chosen by God. Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee whom the LORD thy God shall
Accordingly, he appointed Saul, by lot, to be their first king; David, by name, to be their second; Solomon, his son, to be his successor; and then made the regal government hereditary in David's family. But this law did not extend to their subsequently electing every individual king: for, so long as the reigning family did not violate the fundamental, laws of the theocracy, they would continue to possess the hrone; but if they tyrannized, they would forfeit it.
(5.) In order to prevent or restrain that royal avarice or luxury, for which oriental monarchs have always been distinguished, the king was forbidden greatly to multiply to himself silver and gold; lest the circulation of money should be obstructed, industry discouraged, or his subjects be impoverished.
(6.) In order that they might not be ignorant of true religion, and of the laws of the Israelites, the king was enjoined to write out, for his own use, a correct copy of the divine law; which injunction was intended to rivet this law more firmly in his memory, and to hold him in constant subjection to its authority. For the same purpose he was required to read in this copy all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law, ana these statutes, to do them.
Thus the power of the Israelitish kings was circumscribed by a code of fundamental and equal laws, provided by infinite wisdom and rectitude. With regard to actual facts, it appears from 1 Sam. x. 25. compared with 2 Sam. v. 3. 1 Kings xii. 22-24. and 2 Kings xi. 17. that the Israelitish kings were by no means possessed of unlimited power, but were restricted by a solemn stipulation; although they on some occasions evinced a disposition leaning towards despotism. (1 Sam. xi. 5-7. and xxii. 17, 18.)3 They had, however, the right of making war and peace, as well as the power of life and death; and could on particular occasions put criminals to death, without the formalities of justice (2 Sam. i. 5-15. iv. 9-12.); but, in general they administered justice; sometimes in a summary way by themselves where the case appeared clear, as David did (see 2 Sam. xii. 1-5. xiv. 4—11. and 1 Kings ii. 5-9.), or by judges duly constituted to hear and determine causes in the king's name. (1 Chron. xxiii. 4. xxvi. 29-32.) Michaelis thinks it probable that there were superior courts established at Jerusalem, in which David's sons presided, and that in Psal. cxxii. 5. there is an allusion to them; but no mention is made of a supreme tribunal in that With regard to the external qualifications which the Jews city earlier than the reign of Jehoshaphat. (2 Chron. xix. 8 appear to have demanded in their kings:-comeliness of per--11.) Although the kings enjoyed the privilege of grantson and tallness of stature seem to have been the principal ing pardons to offenders at their pleasure, without consulting requisites. Thus, although Saul was constituted King of any person; and in ecclesiastical affairs exercised great power, Israel by the special appointment of God, yet it appears to sometimes deposing or condemning to death even the highhave been no inconsiderable circumstance in the eyes of the priest himself (1 Sam. xxii. 17, 18. 1 Kings ii. 26, 27.), and people that he was a choice young man and goodly, and that at other times reforming gross abuses in religion, of which there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person we have examples in the zealous conduct of Hezekiah and than he from the shoulders and upwards he was higher than Josiah; yet this power was enjoyed by them not as absolute any of the people. (1 Sam. ix. 2.) And therefore Samuel sovereigns in their own right. They were merely the vicesaid to the people, when he presented Saul to them: See ye roys of Jehovah, who was the sole legislator of Israel: and, him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him therefore, as the kings could on no occasion, either enact a among all the people. (1 Sam. x. 24.) Hence, also, David is new law or alter or repeal an old one, the government contisaid to have been ruddy, withal of a beautiful countenance, nued to be a theocracy, as well under their permanent adminand goodly to look to. (1 Sam. xvi. 12.) The people of the istration, as we have seen that it was under the occasional East seem to have had a regard to these personal qualities in administration of the judges. The only difference that can the election of their kings, in addition to those of strength, be discovered between the two species of government is, that courage, and fortitude of mind; and it was such a king as the conduct of the judges was generally directed by urim, their neighbours had, whom the Israelites desired. and that of the kings, either by the inspiration of God youchsafed to themselves, or by prophets raised up from time to time to reclaim them when deviating from their duty, as laid down by the law.
(3.) The king was not to multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to the end that he should multiply horses.2
This prohibition was intended to prevent all commercial (7.) Lastly, the monarch was charged, that his heart be not intercourse with Egypt, and, consequently, to preserve them lifted up above his brethren; in other words, to govern his from being contaminated with idolatry; and also, by restrain-subjects with mildness and beneficence, not as slaves, but as ing the Jews from the use of cavalry in war, to lead them to brothers. So, David styled his subjects his brethren in trust implicitly in the special protection of the Almighty, 1 Chron. xxviii. 2.; and this amiable model was, subsefrom whose pure worship they might be seduced by extending quently, imitated by the first Christian emperors, particularly their dominions among the neighbouring idolatrous nations by Constantine the Great. by means of cavalry.
(4.) The king was, further, prohibited from multiplying wives to himself, that his heart turn not away from the law and worship of the God of Israel, by his being seduced into idolatry in consequence of foreign alliances. How grossly this law was violated by Solomon and other monarchs the history of the Jews and Israelites abundantly records, together with the fatal consequences of such disobedience.
It was on the ground of this law that the Pharisees and Herodians proDosed that insidious question to Jesus Christ,-Is it lawful to give tribute to CESAR, or NO? (Matt. xxii. 17.) for, at that time, they were under the authority of a foreign power which they detested. Had Christ replied, YES, then they would have condemned him by this law. Had he answered, No, then they would have accused him to Cæsar. (Dr. A. Clarke on Deut. xvii. 15. In his Commentary on Matt. xxii. 16-22. he has discussed this important subject in great detail and with equal ability.) 2 This law was to be a standing trial of prince and people, whether they had trust and confidence in God their deliverer. See Bp. Sherlock's Discourses on Prophecy, Disc. iv.; where he has excellently explained the reason and effect of the law, and the influence which the observance or neglect of it had in the affairs of the Israelites.
Thus the regal government, though originating in the perverse impiety and folly of the Israelites, was so regulated and guarded by the divine law, as to promise the greatest public benefits. It is to be observed that the preceding enactments relate to the election of a king, not of a queen. Athaliah, indeed, reigned, but she was an usurper; and, long afterwards, Alexandra, the daughter of Jannæus, also reigned. She, however, reigned as a queen only in name, being under the influence of the Pharisees.
It was customary for the Jewish kings sometimes to nomi
That the Israelitish monarchs, even in the worst times, were considered not as above law, but as restrained by it, is evident from the history of Ahab, a most abandoned prince. Though he earnestly coveted the vineyard of Naboth, one of his subjects, and offered to purchase it, yet because the law prohibited the alienation of lands from one tribe or family to another, he could not obtain it, until, by bribing false witnesses, he had procured the legal condemnation and death of Naboth, as a traitor and blasphemer. (See 1 Kings xxi. 1-14.) Tappan's Lectures on Jewish Antiquities, pp. 81, 82. The preceding regulations concerning the Hebrew monarchs are also fully considered and illustrated by Michaelis, Commentaries, vol. i. pp. 266–283. ⚫ Tappan's Lectures, p. 83.
nate their successors, and sometimes to assume them as partners with them in the government during their own lifetime. Thus David caused Solomon to be anointed (1 Kings i. 32-40.); so that Solomon reigned conjointly with his father during the short remainder of David's life, for it does not appear that the latter resigned his sceptre till he resigned his breath. In like manner Rehoboam, though a prince of no great merit, appointed his youngest son Abijah to be ruler among his brethren (2 Chron. xi. 22.), designing that he should reign after him; and accordingly Abijah succeeded him on the throne. (2 Chron. xiii. 1.) So, among the sons of Josiah, Jehoahaz, the younger, was preferred to Jehoiakim the elder. (2 Kings xxiii. 31-36.) This practice of the Jewish sovereigns serves to elucidate some supposed chronological difficulties in Sacred History.
2. The INAUGURATION OF THE KINGS was performed with various ceremonies and with great pomp. The principal of these was anointing with holy oil (Psal. lxxxix. 20.), which was sometimes privately performed by a prophet (1 Sam. x. 1. xvi. 1—13. 1 Kings xix. 16. 2 Kings íx. 1-6.), and was a symbolical prediction that the person so anointed would ascend the throne; but after the monarchy was established, this unction was performed by a priest (1 Kings i. 39.), at first in some public place (1 Kings i. 32-34.), and afterwards in the temple, the monarch elect being surrounded by his guards. (2 Kings xi. 11, 12. 2 Chron. xxiii.) It is probable, also, that he was at the same time girded with a sword. (Psalm xlv. 3.) After the king was anointed he was proclaimed by the sound of the trumpet. In this manner was Solomon proclaimed (1 Kings i. 34. 39.), and (it should seem) also the rebel Absalom. (2 Sam. xv. 10.) When Jehovah proclaimed his law, and himself to be the King of Israel, the sound of the trumpet preceded with great vehemence. (Exod. xix. 16.) The knowledge of this circumstance will explain the many passages in the Psalms, in which God is said to have gone up with a shout; the Lord, with the sound of a trumpet; and the Israelites are called upon, with trumpets to make a joyful noise before the Lord the King. (See Psal. xlvii. 5. xcviii. 6, &c.) From this ceremony of anointing, kings are in the Scriptures frequently termed the anointed of the Lord and of the God of Jacob. (1 Sam. xxiv. 6. 10. xxvi. 9. 11. 16. 23. 2 Sam. xxiii. 1. Psal. ii. 2. lxxxix. 38. Habak. iii. 13.) A diadem or crown was also placed upon the sovereign's head and a sceptre put into his hand (Ezek. xxi. 26. Psal. xlv. 6. 2 Kings xi. 12.), after which he entered into a solemn covenant with his subjects that he would govern according to its conditions and to the law of Moses. (2 Sam. v. 3. 1 Chron. xi. 3. 2 Kings xi. 12. 2 Chron. xxiii. 11. compare Deut. xvii. 18.) The nobles in their turn promised obedience, and appear to have confirmed this pledge with a kiss, either of the knees or feet. (Psal. ii. 12.) Loud acclamations accompanied with music then followed, after which the king entered the city, (1 Kings i. 39, 40. 2 Kings xi. 12. 19. 2 Chron. xxiii. 11.) To this practice there are numerous allusions both in the Old Testament (Psal. xlvii. 1-9. xcvii. 1. xcix. 1, &c.) as well as in the New (Matt. xxi. 9, 10. Mark xi. 9, 10. Luke xix. 35-38.); in which last-cited passages the Jews, by welcoming our Saviour in the same manner as their kings were formerly inaugurated, manifestly acknowledged hinr to be the Messiah whom they expected. Lastly, after entering the city, the kings seated themselves upon the throne, and received the congratulations of their subjects. (1 Kings i. Where the kingdom was hereditary, as that of Judah was, every king was not anointed, but only the first of the family; who being anointed for himself and all his successors of the same family, they required no other unction. If, however, any difficulty arose concerning the successi n, then the person who obtained the throne, though of the same family, was anointed in order to terminate the dispute; after which the title was not to be questioned. This was the case with Solomon, Joash, Jehoahaz, and others. The kingdom was not made hereditary in the family of Saul; and, therefore, Ishbosheth's seizing on the crown was only an usurpation. The power of nominating a successor to Saul was reserved by God to himself, by whom David (who was no relation to Saul by blood, 1 Sam. xvi. 12.) was appointed king. David, therefore, had no other title but by divine appointinent, first signified by the prophet Samuel's anointing him, and afterwards by the voluntary ratification of this appointment on the part of the people: so that the anointing of David was necessary for the confirmation of his title. But the kingdom being made hereditary in David's family, his being anointed served for him and all his successors, except when the right to the throne was disputed. Thus, when Solomon's right to the throne was contested by his elder brother Adonijah, it was necessary that he should be crowned, in order to quash that claim. In like manner, Joash, the seventh king of Judah, was anointed, because Athaliah had usurped and possessed the throne for six years. (2 Kings xi. 12.) So, Jehoahaz, the younger son of Josiah, was anointed king (2 Kings xxiii. 30.), and reigned three months; after which, he was succeeded by his elder brother Jehoiakim, who ought first to have ascended the throne of Judah. Thus it appears, that in all cases of disputed succession, anointing was deemed to give a preference. Home's Scripture History of the Jews, vol. i. p. 343.
35. 47, 48. 2 Kings xi. 19, 20.) On the inauguration of Saul, however, when there was neither sceptre, diadem, nor throne, these ceremonies were not observed. After the establishment of royalty among the Jews, it appears to have been a maxim in their law, that the king's person was inviolable, even though he might be tyrannical and unjust (1 Sam. xxiv. 5-8.); a maxim which is necessary not only to the security of the king, but also to the welfare of the subject. On this principle, the Amalekite, who told David the improbable and untrue story of his having put the mortally wounded Saul to death, that he might not fall into the hands of the Philistines, was merely on this his own statement ordered by David to be instantly despatched, because he had laid his hand on the Lord's Anointed. (2 Sam. i. 14.) 3. The CHIEF DISTINCTIONS OF MAJESTY mentioned in Scripture, were the royal apparel, the crown, the throne, and the sceptre. The royal apparel was splendid (Matt. vi. 29.), and the retinue of the sovereigns was both numerous and magnificent. (1 Kings iv. 1-24.) That the apparel of the Jewish monarchs was different from that of all other persons, is evident from Ahab's changing his apparel before he engaged in battle, and from Jehoshaphat's retaining his. (1 Kings xxii. 30.) It is most probable, after the example of other oriental sovereigns, that their garments were made of purple and fine white linen (Esth. viii. 15.): in after-times, it appears from Luke xvi. 19. that the rich and great were clad in purple and fine linen: and this circumstance may account for Pilate's soldiers clothing Christ with purple (Mark xv. 17.), and for Herod the tetrarch, with his men of war, arraying him in a gorgeous, most probably a white robe (Luke xxiii. 11.), thereby in derision clothing him as a king. Further, their Crowns or diadems glittered with gold, silver, and precious stones. (2 Sam. xii. 30. Zech. vi. 11.) Their arms were decorated with bracelets (2 Sam. i. 10.) as those of the Persian sovereigns are to this day;2 and their thrones were equally magnificent. The throne of Solomon is par ticularly described in 1 Kings x. 18-20. Similar to this was the throne on which the sovereign of Persia was seated to receive his late Majesty's ambassador, Sir Gore Ouseley, Bart. It was ascended by steps, on which were painted dragons (that of Solomon was decorated with carved lions; and was also overlaid with fine gold). The royal Sceptre seems to have been various at different times. That of Saul was a javelin or spear (1 Sam. xviii. 10. xxii. 6.), as Justin informs us was anciently the practice among the early Greek sovereigns.4 Sometimes the sceptre was a walking-stick, cut from the branches of trees, decorated with gold or studded with golden nails. Such sceptres were carried by judges, and by such a sceptre Homer introduces Achilles as swearing, and to a sceptre of this description the prophet Ezekiel unquestionably alludes. (xix. 11.) The sceptres of the ancient Persian monarchs were of solid gold. (Esth. v. 2.) In time of peace, as well as of war, it was customary to have watchmen set on high places, wherever the king was, in order to prevent him from being surprised. Thus David, at Jerusalem, was informed by the watchmen of the approach of the messengers, who brought him tidings of Absalom's defeat. (2 Sam. xviii. 24-27.) And Jehoram king of Israel, who had an army lying before Ramoth-Gilead, kept a watchman on the tower of Jezreel where he was, who spied the company of Jehu as he came, and accordingly anncunced it to the king. (2 Kings ix. 17. 20.)7
It is well known that the tables of the modern oriental sovereigns are characterized by luxurious profusion; and vast numbers are fed from the royal kitchen. This fact serves to account for the apparently immense quantity of provisions stated in 1 Kings iv. 22, 23. 28. to have been consumed by the household of Solomon, whose vessels were for the most part of massive gold (1 Kings x. 21), and which were furnished throughout the year from the twelve provinces into which he divided his dominions. A similar custom obtains in Persia to this day. Splendid banquets were
2 Morier's Second Journey, p. 173. 4 Hist. lib. xliii. c. 3.
3 Ibid p. 174. Iliad. lib. i. v. 234-239. Schulzii Archæologia
Pareau, Antiquitas Hebraica, pp. 277-279. Hebraica, pp. 45, 46. Jahn, Archæologia Biblica, §§ 223-227. Ackermann, Archæologia Biblica, $$ 217-220.
Home's Scripture History, vol. i. p. 352.
Not fewer than tro thousand are said to be employed about the palace of the reigning Emir of the Druses. "We saw," says Mr. Jowett, "many professions and trades going on in it,-soldiers, horse-breakers, carpeniers, blacksmiths, scribes, cooks, tobacconists, &c. There was, in the air of this mingled assemblage, something which forcibly brought to my recollection the description of an eastern royal household, as given to the Israelites by Samuel. I Sam. viii. 11-17." Jowett's Christian Researches in Syria, p. 84.
Morier's Second Journey, p. 274.
given by the kings (Dan. v. 1. Matt. xxii. 1. Mark vi. 21.); but it does not appear that women were admitted to them, except in Persia, when the queen was present, until the men grew warm with wine. (Dan. v. 2, 3. 23. Esth. i. 11. v. 4. 8. vii. 1.)1
4. Numerous are the ALLUSIONS IN THE SACRED WRITINGS TO THE COURTS OF PRINCES, and to the regal state which they anciently enjoyed. "The eastern monarchs were ever distinguished for studiously keeping up the majesty of royalty, and thus inspiring their subjects with the most reverential awe. They were difficult of access, very rarely showing themselves to their people, and lived in the depth of their vast palaces, surrounded with every possible luxury, and gratifying every desire as it arose. In these kingdoms of slaves it was accounted the summit of human grandeur and felicity to be admit ed into that splendid circle which surrounded the person of their sovereign;" whence the expression of seeing God (Matt. v. 8.) is to be explained of the enjoyment of the highest possible happiness, namely, his favour and protection, especially in the life to come. And as only a select few in the oriental courts were permitted to behold the face of the monarch, it is in reference to this custom that the angel Gabriel replied to Zechariah (who hesitated to believe his annunciation of the Baptist's birth), that he was Gabriel that stood in the presence of God; thus intimating that he stood in a state of high favour and trust with Jehovah. (Luke i. 19.) To dwell, or to stand in the presence of a sovereign is an oriental idiom, importing the most eminent and dignified station at court.4
This allusive phraseology beautifully illustrates another very striking passage of Scripture. When the disciples, from their very low conceptions of the nature of Christ's kingdom, were contending among themselves who should be the greatest, our Saviour, in order to dispel these animosities, took a child; and, placing him before them, in the most solemn manner assured them that, unless they were converted, and purified their minds from all ambition and worldly thoughts, they should not enter the kingdom of heaven, should not be deemed proper subjects of the spiritual kingdom of the Messiah. But, continued Jesus Christ, whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven; and, after urging various cautions against harshly treating sincere and humble Christians, he added, Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always BEHOLD THE FACE OF MY FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN. (Matt. xviii. 1— 10.); referring to the custom of oriental courts, where the great men, those who are highest in office or favour, are most frequently in the prince's palace and presence. (Esth. i. 14. 1 Kings x. 8. xii. 6. 2 Kings xxv. 19.) On another occasion, after our Lord had promised the apostles that they should sit on twelve thrones to judge the tribes of Israel, still mistaking the spiritual nature of his kingdom, the mother of James and John came to Jesus with her sons, and requested that he would grant that they might sit, the one on his right hand, and the other on his left hand, in his kingdom. (Matt. xx. 20-23.). This alludes to the custom which in those times obtained in the courts of princes; where two of the noblest and most dignified personages were respectively seated, one on each side, next the sovereign himself, thus enjoying the most eminent places of dignity. (Compare 1 Kings ii. 19. Psal. xlv. 9. and Heb. i. 3.) In reply to the request of Salome, our Saviour stated that seats of distinguished eminence in his kingdom were not to be given through favour or partiality, but to those only whom God should deem to be properly prepared for them.
The eastern monarchs were never approached but with presents of some kind or other, according to the ability of the individual, who accompanied them with expressions of the profoundest reverence, prostrating themselves to the ground;6
This is confirmed by Herodotus, lib. v. c. 18. Jahn, Archæologia Biblica, $227. Ackermann, Archæologia Biblica, § 221. 2 Among the Persians it was death to enter the royal presence without being called for, Esth. iv. 11. Herodotus (book i. c. 99.) states Deioces the Mede to have been the first who instituted this ordinance.
3 Harwood's Introduction to the New Testament, vol. ii. pp. 322, 323. Ibid. p. 323.
Ibid. p. 324, 325. Among the ancient Persians, to sit next the person of the king was the highest possible honour. See 1 Esdras iii. 7. iv. 42. Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xi. c. 3. §2.
It was (says Elian) the law of Persia, that, whenever the king went abroad, the people should, according to their abilities and occupations, present him, as he passed along, with some gift,-as an ox, a sheep, a quantity of corn, or wine, or with some fruit. It happened one day, when Artaxerxes was taking the air, that he was met by one Sinætes. The man, being at a great distance from home, was in the greatest distress, having nothing to offer, and observing others crowding with their presents. At
and the same practice continues to this day. Thus Jacob instructed his sons to carry a present to Joseph, when they went to buy food of him as governor of Egypt. (Gen. xliii. 11. 26.) In like manner the magi, who came from the East to adore Jesus Christ, as king of the Jews, brought him presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matt. ii. 11.) Allusions to this practice occur in Gen. xxxii. 13. 1 Kings x. 2. 10. 25. 2 Kings v. 5.; see also 1 Sam. ix. 7. and 2 Kings viii. 8. The prostrations were made, with every demonstration of reverence, to the ground. Thus David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself before Saul. (1 Sam. xxiv. 8.) The mode of doing reverence to the sovereign, among the ancient Persians, was little short of absolute idolatry; and similar prostrations are made by their descendants in the present day. On these occasions, it was usual to address them with some compliment, or with wishes for their long life. Thus the widow of Tekoah, after prostrating herself before David, addressed him with-My lord is wise according to the wisdom of an angel of God (2 Sam. xiv. 20.); and the Chaldæan magi accosted Nebuchadnezzar with-O king, live for ever! (Dan. ii. 4.)10 The all but idolatrous homage thus rendered to their monarchs, was exacted by their chief courtiers and favourites of all who approached them; and such was their pride, that the refusal of this homage never failed to involve the refractory individual in ruin. Thus Orsinus, a descendant of Cyrus, who had refused to worship the eunuch Bagoas (who had enslaved Alexander by his abominable obsequiousness), fell a victim to the revengeful minion's wounded pride." In like manner, Mordecai's refusal to prostrate himself before Haman (Esth. iii. 2.) would have proved fatal not only to himself but also to the Jewish nation, had not the malignant design of the crafty but mortified Agagite (Esth. iii. 3—6. v. 13.) been proví dentially frustrated.
Those who rendered personal services to the sovereign had their names inscribed in the public registers (Esth. vi. 1.) ;12 and were rewarded by distinguished marks of the royal favour. Thus Mordecai was arrayed with the royal vestments, and led in state on horseback through the streets of the city, with the royal diadem on his head. (Esth. vi. 811.) On such occasions the person raised to dignity was invested with a new name or title expressive of his deserts. This was the case with Joseph (Gen. xli. 45.), Solomon (2 Sam. xii. 25.), Daniel and his companions (Dan. i. 7.) ; and to this there is an evident allusion in Rev. ii. 17.
The sovereigns of the East, it is well known, are very fond of displaying their gorgeous splendour. The present sovereign of Persia, and (after his example) his sons, generally appoint for the reception of ambassadors such an hour as, according to the season, or the intended room of audience, will best enable them to display the brilliancy of their jewels in full sunshine. The title of bright or resplendent was added to the name of one sovereign, who lived upwards of eight centuries ago; because his regal ornaments, glittering in the solar rays on a solemn festival, so dazzled the eyes of all beholders that they could scarcely bear the effulgence: and some knew not which was the monarch, or which the great luminary of the day. Thus, Theophylact Simocatta (a Greek historian who flourished in the seventh century of the Christian æra) relates that the Persian king, Hormisdas, sitting on his throne, astonished all spectators by the blazing length he ran to the river Cyrus, and taking up some water in both his hands, he approached the monarch, and thus accosted him:-"O king, present to thee some of the waters of the river Cyrus: should your reign for ever! I now pay my respects in the best manner I am able. I majesty ever pass by, or near, my house, I hope to vie with the best of these in my donatives." The monarch was highly pleased with the man, commanded his present to be received into a golden vial, and afterwards handsomely rewarded him. Ælian, Var. Hist. lib. i. cc. 31, 32. p. 118.
Quintus Curtius, lib. vi. c. 6. tom. ii. p. 23. (edit. Bipont): lib. viii. c. 5. Morier's Second Journey, p. 172.; where an engraving is given, illustrative of the oriental prostrations.
This is very similar to the hyperbolical language, which is addressed by the Hindoos to an European, when they are desirous of obtaining something from him. "Saheb, say they, can do every thing. No one can prevent the execution of Saheb's commands. Saheb is God." (Ward's View of the History, &c. of the Hindoos, vol. ii. p. 323.)
10 A similar salutation is to this day given in India. When a poor man goes into the presence of a king, to solicit a favour, he says, "Ó Father! thou art the support of the destitute-Mayest thou live to old age!": Ibid. p. 333. 11 Quintus Curtius, lib. x. c. 1. vol. ii. pp. 199-201. (edit. Bipont.)
12 Herodotus, lib. viii. c. 85. Thucydides, lib. i. c. 129. Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xi. c. 6. The same practice continues to obtain at the Ottoman Porte (Baron de Tott's Mem. vol. ii. p. 15.), and also in Abyssinia, and other parts of the East. Burder's Oriental Customs, vol. i. p. 311. 5th edit.
13 Theophylact, lib. iv. c. 3. cited by Sir Wm. Ouseley, to whom we are indebted for the above remark, in his Travels in various Countries of the East, more particularly Persia, vol. ii. v. 36. (London, 1821. 4to.
glories of his jewels. Thus also king Agrippa was almost regarded as a god, so powerfully did his ornamented dress reflect the morning sunbeams; and it was probably the splendour of Solomon "in all his glory," when seated on the throne, in addition to the magnificence of his establishment, which so struck the queen of Sheba on beholding them, that "there was no more spirit in her." (1 Kings x. 4, 5.)
Further, whenever the oriental sovereigns go abroad, they are uniformly attended by a numerous and splendid retinue: the Hebrew kings and their sons either rode on asses or mules (2 Sam. xiii. 29. 1 Kings i. 33. 38.), or in chariots (1 Kings i. 5. 2 Kings ix. 21. x. 15.), preceded or accompanied by their royal guards (who, in 2 Sam. viii. 18. and xv. 18., are termed Cherethites and Pelethites); as the oriental sovereigns do to this day. For greater state they had footmen to run before them. Thus, the rebel Absalom had fifty men to run before him. (2 Sam. xv. 1.) And in this manner, the prophet Elijah, though he detested the crimes of Ahab, was desirous of paying him all that respect which was due to his exalted station; girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel. (1 Kings xviii. 46.) In India, when a person wishes to do honour to an European, he will run before his palanquin for miles.? Further, the approach of a king was often announced by the sound of trumpets. (1 Kings i. 34. 39.) Hence the presence of God is described in the same manner (Heb. xii. 19. compared with Exod. xix. 13.), and also the final advent of the Messiah. (Matt. xxiv. 31. 1 Cor. xv. 52. 1 Thess. iv. 15.)3 Whenever the Asiatic monarchs entered upon an expedition, or took a journey through desert and untravelled countries, they sent harbingers before them to prepare all things for their passage, and pioneers to open the passes, level the ways, and remove all impediments. The ancient sovereigns of Hindoostan used to send persons to precede them in their journeys, and command the inhabitants to clear the roads; a very necessary step in a country, where there are scarcely any public roads. To this practice the prophet Isaiah manífestly alludes (Isa. xl. 3. compared with Mal. iii. 1. and Matt. iii. 3.); and we shall obtain a clear notion of the preparation of the way for a royal expedition, and the force and beauty of the prophetic declaration will fully appear, if we attend to the following narrative of the marches of Semiramis in Media, recorded by Diodorus Siculus.5 "In her march to Ecbatane, she came to the Zarcean mountain, which, extending many furlongs, and being full of craggy precipices and deep hollows, could not be passed without making a long circuit. Being desirous, therefore, of leaving an everlasting memorial of herself, as well as to make a shorter way, she ordered the precipices to be digged down, and the hollow places to be filled up; and at a great expense she made a shorter and more expeditious road, which to this day is called the road of Semiramis. Afterwards she made a progress through Persia, and all her other dominions in Asia; and wherever she came, she commanded the mountains and craggy precipices to be cut down, and, at a vast expense, made the ways level and plain. On the other hand, in low places she raised mounds, on which she erected monuments in honour of her deceased generals, and sometimes whole cities." The writer of the apocryphal book of Baruch (v. 7.) expresses the same subject by the same images, either taking them from Isa. xl. 3. (or perhaps from lxii. 10 -12.), or from the common notions of his countrymen "For God," says he, "hath appointed that every high hill, and banks of long continuance, should be cast down and valleys filled up, to make even the ground, that Israel may go safely in the glory of God." The "Jewish church was that desert country to which John the Baptist was sent (Matt. iii. 1-4.), to announce the coming of the Messiah. It was at that time destitute of all religious cultivation, and of the spirit and practice of piety; and John was sent to prepare the way of the Lord by preaching the doctrine of repentance. The desert is therefore to be considered as a proper emblem of the rude state of the Jewish church, which was the true wilderness meant by the prophet, and in which John was to prepare the way of the promised Messiah."5
1 Acts xii. 21, 22. See p. 79. supra, where Josephus's account of Agrippa's gorgeous array is given in illustration of the sacred historian. 2 Statham's Indian Recollections, pp. 116, 117.
V. With regard to the REVENUES OF THE KINGS OF ISRAEL, as none were appointed by Moses, so he left no ordinances concerning them: we may, however, collect from the Sacred Writings, that they were derived from the following sources: 1. Voluntary offerings, or presents, which were made to them conformably to the oriental custom. (1 Sam. x. 27. xvi. 20.) Michaelis is of opinion that they were confined to Saul only, as no trace of them is to be found after his time.
2. The produce of the royal flocks (1 Sam. xxi. 7. 2 Sam. xiii. 23. 2 Chron. xxxii. 28, 29.); and as both king and subjects had a common of pasture in the Arabian deserts, Michaelis thinks that David kept numerous herds there (1 Chron. xxvii. 29-31.), which were partly under the care of Arabian herdsmen.
3. The produce of the royal demesnes, consisting of arable lands, vineyards, olive and sycamore grounds, &c. which had originally been unenclosed and uncultivated, or were the property of state criminals confiscated to the sovereign: these demesnes were cultivated by bondsmen, and, perhaps, also by the people of conquered countries (1 Chron. xxvii. 26-31. 2 Chron. xxvi. 10.); and it appears from 1 Sam. viii. 14. xxii. 7. and Ezek. xlvi. 17. that the kings assigned part of their domains to their servants in lieu of salary. 4. Another source of the royal revenue was the tenth part of all the produce of the fields and vineyards, the collection and management of which seem to have been confided to the officers mentioned in 1 Kings iv. 7. and 1 Chron. xxvii. 25. It is also probable from 1 Kings x. 14. that the Israelites likewise paid a tax in money. These imposts Solomon appears to have increased; and Rehoboam's refusal to lessen them is stated by the sacred historian as the cause of the rebellion of the ten tribes against him. (1 Kings xii. 14. 18.) There is an allusion in Mal. i. 8. and Neh. v. 18. to the custom of paying dues in kind to governors, which obtains to this day in Abyssinia.
5. Not only did the most precious part of the plunder of the conquered nations flow into the royal treasury (2 Sam. viii.), but the latter also had tributes imposed on them, which were termed MINCHA, or presents, and were paid partly in money, and partly in agricultural produce. (1 Kings iv. 21. Psal. lxxii. 10. compared with 1 Chron. xxvii. 25-31.) 6. Lastly, the customs paid to Solomon by the foreign merchants who passed through his dominions (1 Kings x. 15.) afforded a considerable revenue to that monarch; who, as the Mosaic laws did not encourage foreign commerce, carried on a very extensive and lucrative trade (1 Kings x. 22.), particularly in Egyptian horses and the byssus or fine linen of Egypt. (1 Kings x. 28, 29.)8
VI. On the introduction of the regal government among the Israelites, the princes of the tribes, heads of families, scribes or genealogists, and judges, retained the authority which they had previously exercised, and constituted a senate or legislative assembly for the cities, in or near which they respectively resided. (1 Kings xii. 1-24. 1 Chron. xxiii. 4. xxvi. 29, 30. xxviiì. and xxix. 6.) The judges and scribes or genealogists were appointed by the sovereign, together with other officers, of whom the following were the principal:
1. The most important officer was the PRIME MINISTER, or Second to the King, as he is termed in Scripture. Such was Elkanah, who in our version of 2 Chron. xxviii. 7. is said to have been next (literally second) to the king Ahaz; Joseph was prime minister to Pharaoh, king of Egypt (Gen. xli. 40-43.); and Haman, to Ahasuerus. (Esth. iii. 1.) Jonathan, speaking to David, says,―Thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee. (1 Sam. xviii. 17.) From 1 Chron. xviii. 17., it should seem that this office was sometimes held by one or more of the king's sons.
2. The ROYAL COUNSELLORS, or Privy Council, as we perhaps should term them. (Isa. iii. 3. xix. 11, 12. Jer. xxvi.
court in the reigns of James I. and Charles I.; who says (p. 128.) that, recorded by the chaplain to Sir Thomas Roe, ambassador to the Mogul making a progress with the ambassador and emperor, they came to a wilderness, "where (by a very great company sent before us, to make those passages and places fit for us) a wAY WAS CUT OUT AND MADE EVEN, broad enough for our convenient passage. And in the place where we pitched our tents, a great compass of ground was rid and made plain for them by grubbing a number of trees and bushes: yet there we went as readily to our tents, as we did when they were set up in the plains." Fragments supplemental to Calmet's Dictionary, No. 171. See similar instances in Dr. Clarke's Travels, vol. viii. p. 277. 8vo. Mr. Forbes's Oriental Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 450, and Mr. Ward's View of the History, &c. of the Hindoos, vol. iii. p. 132.
3 Robinson's Lexicon to the Greek Testament, p. 674. Ward's View of the History, &c. of the Hindoos, vol. iii. p. 339. Bibliotheca Historica, lib. ii. cc. 13, 14. (vol. ii. pp. 44-46. edit. Bipont.) Bishop Lowth on Isaiah xl. vol. ii. pp. 252-254. Dr. Clarke's Com- Jahn, Archæologia Biblica, § 234. Ackermann, Archæologia Biblica, mentary on Matt. iii. 3. A practice, similar to that above described, is § 228. Michaelis's Commentaries, vol. i. pp. 299-307.
Bruce's Travels, vol. i. p. 353. 8vo.