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11.) Such were the old men that stood before Solomon while | summary justice on state criminals. See 1 Kings ii. 25. 34. he lived, and whom the headstrong_Rehoboam consulted In the time of David the royal life-guards were called Che(1 Kings xii. 6.); and such also was Jonathan, David's uncle.rethites and Pelethites, concerning the origin of whose names (1 Chron. xxvii. 32.) commentators and critics are by no means agreed. The Chaldee Targum, on the second book of Samuel, terms them the archers and slingers and as the Hebrews were expert in the use of the bow and the sling, it is not improbable that the royal guards were armed with them.1
3. The PROPHETS, though holding a divine commission as prophets, may, nevertheless, be noticed among the royal officers; as they were consulted by the pious monarchs of Israel and Judah. Thus Nathan was consulted by David (2 Sam. vii. 2.); Micaiah, by Jehoshaphat (1 Kings xxii. 7, 8.); Isaiah, by Hezekiah (2 Kings xíx. 2.); and the prophetess Huldah, by Josiah. (2 Kings xxii. 14-20.) But the idolatrous and profligate kings imitated the heathen monarchs, and summoned to their council soothsayers and false prophets. Ahab, for instance, consulted the pseudo-prophets of Baal (1 Kings xviii. 22. and xxii. 6.); as Pharaoh had before called in the wise men and the sorcerers or magicians (Exod. vii. 11. and viii. 18.); and Nebuchadnezzar afterwards consulted the magicians and astrologers in his realm. (Dan. i. 20.)
4. The (MaZKIR) or RECORDER (2 Sam. viii. 16.), who in the margin of our larger English Bibles is termed a remembrancer or writer of chronicles. His office was of no mean estimation in the eastern world, where it was customary with kings to keep daily registers of all the transactions of their reigns. Whoever discharged this trust with effect, it was necessary that he should be acquainted with the true springs and secrets of action, and consequently be received into the greatest confidence. Ahilud was David's recorder or historiographer (2 Sam. viii. 16.), and appears to have been succeeded in this office by his son Jehoshaphat (2 Sam. xx. 24.), who was retained by Solomon. (1 Kings iv. 3.) Joah, the son of Asaph, was the recorder of the pious king Hezekiah. (2 Kings xviii. 18. 37. Isa. xxxvi. 3.) In Esther vi. 1. and x. 2. mention is made of the records of the chronicles, written by this officer.
5. The DD (SOPHER) or Scribe (Sept. Ipaμμare's) seems to have been the king's secretary of state, who issued all the royal commands: he also registered all acts and decrees. Seraiah (2 Sam. viii. 17.) and Sheva (2 Sam. xx. 25.) were David's secretaries. This officer is also mentioned in 1 Kings iv. 3. 2 Kings xviii, 18. and Isa. xxxvi. 3.
6. The HIGH-PRIEST, as one would naturally expect in a theocracy, is likewise to be reckoned among the royal counsellors. Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, are particularly mentioned among the principal officers of David. (2 Sam. viii. 17. 1 Chron. xviii. 16.)
VII. Mention has already been incidentally made of the numerous retinue that attended the oriental monarchs: the principal officers, who thus composed the domestic establishment of the Israelitish and Jewish kings, were as follow:1. The GOVERNOR OF THE PALACE, who was over the household, seems to have answered, as to his employment and rank, to the stewards whom the rich men engaged to superintend their affairs. To him was committed the charge of the servants, and indeed of every thing which belonged to the palace. Ahishar held this office under David (1 Kings iv. 6.); Obadiah, under Ahab (1 Kings xviii. 3.); and Eliakim, under Hezekiah. (2 Kings xviii. 18.) From Isa. xxii. 22. it appears that this officer wore, as a mark of his office, a robe of a peculiar make, bound with a precious girdle, and carried on his shoulder a richly ornamented key.
2. The Officers, mentioned in 1 Kings iv. 5.7-19. and 1 Chron. xxvii. 25–31., are in 1 Kings xx. 15. called the PRINCES OF THE PROVINCES. They supplied the royal table, and must not be confounded with those who collected the tribute. In 2 Sam. xx. 24. and 1 Kings iv. 6. Adoram, who is enumerated among David's and Solomon's officers of state, is said to be over the tribute: he was probably what we call chancellor of the exchequer. He received and brought into the royal treasury all the proceeds of taxes and tributes.
3. The KING'S FRIEND, or COMPANION, was the person with whom the sovereign conversed most familiarly and confidentially. Thus, Hushai was the friend of David (2 Sam. xv. 37. xvi. 16.); and Zabud the son of Nathan, of Solomon. (1 Kings ív. 5.) In the time of the Maccabees, this appellation admitted of a broader meaning, and was applied to any one who was employed to execute the royal commands, or who held a high office in the government. See 1 Macc. x. 65. xi. 26, 27.
4. The KING'S LIFE-GUARD, whose commander was termed the Captain of the Guard. This office existed in the court of the Pharaohs (Gen. xxxvii. 36. xxxix. 1.), as well as in that of the Israelitish and Jewish monarchs. The captain of the guard appears to have been employed in executing
The life-guards of the Maccabæan sovereigns, and subsequently of Herod and his sons, were foreigners: they bore a lance or long spear, whence they were denominated in Greek ExoUaTops. Among the other duties of these guards was that of putting to death condemned persons (Mark vi. 27.), in the same manner as the capidgis among the Turks and other Orientals are the bearers of the sovereign's commands for punishing any one, whether by decapitation or otherwise; an office which is very honourable in the East, though considered degrading among us.
VIII. The women of the king's HAREM are to be considered as forming part of the royal equipage; as, generally speaking, they were principally destined to augment the pomp, which was usually attached to his office. Notwithstanding Moses had prohibited the multiplication of women in the character of wives and concubines (Deut. xvii. 17.); yet the Hebrew monarchs, especially Solomon, and his son Rehoboam, paid but little regard to his admonitions, and too readily as well as wickedly exposed themselves to the perils which Moses had anticipated as the result of forming such improper connections. (1 Kings xi. 1-3. 2 Chron. xi. 21. xiii. 21.) The Israelitish and Jewish monarchs spared no expense in decorating the persons of their women, and of the eunuchs who guarded them: and who, as the Mosaic law prohibited castration (Lev. xxii. 24. Deut. xxii. 1.), were procured from foreign countries at a great expense. In proof of the employment of eunuchs in the Hebrew court see 1 Kings xxii. 9. (Heb.) 2 Kings viii. 6. (Heb.) ix. 32, 33. xx. 18. xxiii. 11. (Heb.) xxxix. 16. and xli. 16. Black eunuchs appear to have been preferred, as they still are in the East; at least, we find one in the court of Zedekiah. (Jer. xxxviii. 7.) The maids of the harem, at the king's pleasure, became his concubines; but the successor to the throne, though he came into possession of the harem, was not at liberty to have any intercourse with the inmates of it. Hence Adonijah, who in his zeal to obtain Abishag, a concubine of David's, for his wife, had dropt some intimations of his right to the kingdom, was punished with death, as a seditious person. (1 Kings ii. 13–25.) But though the king had unlimited power over the harem, yet the queen, or wife who was chiefly in favour, and especially the mother of the king, enjoyed great political influence. (1 Kings xi. 3. 2 Chron. xxi. 6. and xxii. 3.) Hence it is that we find the mother of the king so frequently and particularly mentioned in the books of Kings and Chronicles. The similar influence of the reigning sultana, as well as of the mother of the sovereign, in modern oriental courts, is attested by almost every traveller in the East.3
IX. The PROMULGATION OF THE LAWS was variously made at different times. Those of Moses, as well as the commands or temporary edicts of Joshua, were announced to the people by the (SHOTERIM), who in our authorized Eng. lish version are termed officers. Afterwards, when the regal government was established, the edicts and laws of the kings were publicly proclaimed by criers. (Jer. xxxiv. 8, 9. Jonah iii. 5-7.) But in the distant provinces, towns, and cities, they were made known by messengers or couriers, specially sent for that purpose (1 Sam. xi. 7.), who were afterwards termed posts. (Esth. viii. 10. 14. Jer. li. 31.) Cyrus, or, according to Herodotus, Xerxes, was the first who established relays of horses and couriers at certain distances on all the great roads, in order that the royal messages and letters might be transmitted with the greatest possible speed. These Angari, or couriers, had authority to impress into their service men, horses, and ships, or any thing that came in their way, and which might serve to accelerate their journey. From the Persians this custom passed to the Romans (who, it may be inferred from Matt. v. 41., commonly
1 Calmet, Dissertations, tom. ii. pp. 508-512.; Jahn, Archæologia Biblica, $$ 235, 236. Ackermann, Archæologia Biblica, §§ 229, 230.
2 As, however, in the East, eunuchs often rose to stations of great power and trust, and were even privy counsellors to kings, the term ultimately viii. 27. was an officer of great power and influence at the court of Candace, came to signify a court officer generally. The eunuch mentioned in Acts queen of Ethiopia. Bloomfield's Annotations on the New Testament, vol iv. p. 294.
§ 237. Ackermann, Archæologia Biblica, § 231. Pareau, Antiquitas Hebraica, pp. 279, 280. Jahn, Archæologia Biblica.
pressed men into their service), and it is still retained in the East. These proclamations were made at the gates of the cities, and in Jerusalem at the gate of the temple, where there was always a great concourse of people. On this account it was that the prophets frequently delivered their predictions in the temple (and also in the streets and at the gates) of Jerusalem, as being the edicts of Jehovah, the supreme King of Israel. (Jer. vii. 2, 3. xi. 6. xvii. 19, 20. xxxví. 10.) In later times, both Jesus Christ and his apostles taught in and at the gate of the temple. (Luke ii. 46. Matt. xxvi. 55. Mark xii. 35. Acts iii. 11. v. 12.)2
X. The kingdom which had been founded by Saul, and carried to its highest pitch of grandeur and power by David and Solomon, subsisted entire for the space of 120 years; until Rehoboam, the son and successor of Solomon, refused to mitigate the burthens of his subjects, when a division of the twelve tribes took place: ten of these (of which Ephraim was the principal) adhered to Jeroboam, and formed the kingdom of Israel, while the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, continuing faithful in their allegiance to Rehoboam, constituted the kingdom of Judah. The causes of this revolution in the commencement of Rehoboam's reign, may, as in all similar commotions, be traced to anterior events: the impolicy of that monarch was only the immediate occasion of it; and in the successive periods of the history of the Hebrews, we may discern vestiges of hereditary jealousy, which terminated only in the division of the posterity of Abraham into two distinct nations, one of whom has since disappeared. The limits necessarily assigned to this portion of our work will only allow us to attempt a rapid sketch of this long series of discord and hatred.
From the very beginning of the Israelitish nation, the two tribes of Judah and Ephraim had disputed for the pre-eminency. The former, whose glory had been predicted by the dying patriarch Jacob (Gen. xlix. 10.), flourished in the number of its families, as well as by its power and wealth; being allied to the blood of the Pharaohs during the residence of the Israelites in Egypt, where the two remarkable establishments of Er and of Jokim had been formed, which this tribe carried into Palestine. (1 Chron. v. 2. iv. 18.) Judah also marched first during the sojourning in the desert (Num. x. 14.), and reckoned upon a dominion which had been promised by so many oracles. The latter, or tribe of Ephraim, depending on the great name of Joseph, and on the right of primogeniture which it had acquired in consequence of being adopted by Jacob (1 Chron. v. 2. Gen. xlviii. 5. 19:), confided in that numerous posterity which had been predicted to it; became powerful during the residence in Egypt, as is evident from the buildings erected by Sherah (1 Chren. vii. 24.); and afterwards rapidly increased in strength and prosperity. (Josh. xvii. 14. Judg. i. 35.) One very remarkable proof, that Ephraim and Judah were the two preponderating tribes, is, that when the land of Canaan was divided (Josh. xviii. 2.), they each received their allotments before the western tribes. As the southern part of the Holy Land, which was apportioned to Judah, proved too large for that tribe, the Simeonites were added to them. (Josh. xix. 1.9.) The Ephraimites, on the contrary, and the half tribe of Manasseh, which were sister and neighbouring tribes, pleaded that their allotment was not sufficiently extensive for them; and enlarged it by force of arms, and by cutting down the forests which abounded in the mountainous districts of the land of Canaan. (Josh. xvii. 14-18.)
In this state of things, with such recollections and mutual pretensions, it was impossible that a spirit of rivalry and jealousy should not break forth. The tribe of Ephraim was distinguished for its proud, turbulent, and warlike spirit, as is evident not only from the remonstrances addressed by them to Joshua, but also by their discontented murmuring against Gideon, notwithstanding he was of the tribe of Manasseh (Judg. viii. 1.), and in the civil war with Jephthah, in which their envy and hatred were so severely punished. (xii. 1—4.) The tribe of Judah, on the contrary, more pacific in its temper and more sedentary in its pursuits, appears always to have cherished a coolness towards the northern tribes. It never assisted them in their wars; its name does not occur 1 Xenoph. Cyr. lib. viii. 6. 17. Herod. viii. 98. Bloomfield's Annotations on the New Testament, vol. i. p. 66. Robinson's Lexicon, voce Ayyxpv. Among the Turks, these Angari or couriers are called Tatars; and in Persia, Chappars. "When a chappar sets out, the master of the horse furnishes him with a single horse: and when that is weary, he dismounts the first man he meets, and takes his horse. There is no pardon for a traveller that should refuse to let a chappar have his horse, nor for any other who should deny him the best horse in his stable." Chardin's Travels, vol. i. p. 257.
Jahn, Archæologia Biblica, $233. Ackermann, Archæologia Biblica, § 227.
in the triumphal hymn of Deborah, in which so many others are mentioned; and (what is particularly deserving of attention) it took no part in the exploits of Gideon, although the enemies whom he was going to fight had made incursions as far as Gaza (Judg. vi. 4.), whither they could not have penetrated without entering on its territory. It was the men of Judah, also, who were desirous of delivering up Samson, a Danite, to the Philistines. (xv. 11.) This old grudge subsisted in all its force, when the elevation of Sauf, a Benjamite, to the throne of Israel, still further chagrined the proud tribe of Ephraim: it is not improbable that the discontent manifested' in the assembly of the Israelites at Mizpeth, which induced Samuel to renew the kingdom at Gilgal (1 Sam. x. 27. xi. 12-14.), was excited by the Ephraimites; and at the very commencement of Saul's reign we observe a census, in which the troops of Judah are reckoned separately from those of Israel. (18.) At length, the elevation of David completed the mortification of the jealous and envious tribe of Ephraim, and of the northern tribes which ordinarily followed the fortune of so powerful a neighbour; while Simeon and Benjamin, from necessity as well as choice, were more disposed in favour of Judah. Hence David, during the whole of his long-continued flight from Saul, never quitted the territory of Judah and Benjamin, but when he took refuge in a foreign country; and he sent presents only to the cities of his own tribe. (1 Sam. xxx. 26.) On the death of Saul, two thrones arose in Israel; which gave rise to a civil war, that lasted seven years; and, had it not been for the defection of Abner, and the timidity of Ishbosheth, the tribes might never have been united under one sceptre. (2 Sam. ii. 10. iii. 1. 9-12. v. 5.) David himself felt the weakness of his power. (iii. 39.) The choice of Jerusalem for his capital and for the centre of worship, to the exclusion of Shiloh, a town of Ephraim, where the tabernacle and ark had formerly been kept (Josh. xviii. 1.), could not but displease the malecontents, whose pride was wounded by hearing that advantage celebrated in one of the sacred hymns. (Psal. lxxviii. 67, 68.) During David's reign, the dispute at the passage of the river Jordan showed how a small spark kindled a flame (2 Sam. xix. 41.), which Sheba, retiring towards the north, was at hand to excite. (xx. 1.)
Finally, the erection of the temple, the immoveable sanctuary, which secured the supremacy of the tribe of Judah, the taxes levied and personal services required by Solomon, who employed them for the most part in the embellishment of Jerusalem, the little commercial advantage which Ephraim could derive during his reign, in comparison of Judah, which tribe was more commodiously situated for profiting by the transit of commodities between Egypt, Idumæa, and Arabia,-the intrigues of Jeroboam, who had been im prudently nominated to the command of the house of Joseph (2 Kings xi. 26. 28.);-all these circumstances contributed secretly to mature that revolution, which only awaited his death to break forth, and which the folly of Rehoboam rendered inevitable.
The KINGDOM OF ISRAEL subsisted under various sovereigns during a period of 254 years, according to some chronologers; its metropolis Samaria being captured by Shalmaneser king of Assyria, B. c. 721, after a siege of three years. Of the Israelites, whose numbers had been reduced by immense and repeated slaughters, some of the lower sort were suffered to remain in their native country; but the nobles and all the more opulent persons were carried into captivity beyond the Euphrates.3
The KINGDOM OF JUDAH continued 388 years; Jerusalem its capital being taken, the temple burnt, and its sovereign Zedekiah being carried captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar; the rest of his subjects (with the exception of the poorer classes who were left in Judæa) were likewise carried into captivity beyond the Euphrates, where they and their pos
3 It was the belief of some of the ancient fathers of the Christian church, that the descendants of the ten tribes did afterwards return into their own neither of these opinions is supported by history. In the New Testament, country and the same notion has obtained ainong some modern Jews, but indeed, we find mention of the twelve tribes (Matt. xix. 28. Luke xxii. 30. Arts xxvi. 7.); and St. James (i. L.) directs his epistle to them; but it cannot be concluded from these passages, that they were at that time gathered together; all that can be inferred from them is, that they were still in being. Perhaps the whole body of the Jewish nation retained the name of the twelve tribes according to the ancient division; as we find the disciples called the twelve after the death of Judas, and before the election of Matthias. This conjecture becomes the more probable, as it is certain from the testimony of the sacred writers and of Josephus, that there were considerable numbers of Israelites mingled with the Jews, sufficient indeed to authorize the former to speak of the twelve tribes as constituting but one body with the Jewish nation. Beausobre's Introd. to the New Test. (Bishop Watson's Tracts, vol. iii. pp. 114-116.)
XI. The kingdom of Judah subsisted one hundred and thirty-three years after the subversion of the Israelitish monarchy; and for this longer duration various reasons may be adduced.
1. The geographico-political situation of Judah was more favourable than that of Israel.
In point of extent, indeed, Israel far surpassed Judah, the latter kingdom being scarcely equal to the third part of Israel, which also exceeded Judah both in the fertility of its soil and the amount of its population. But the kingdom of Judah was more advantageously situated for commerce, and further possessed greater facilities of defence from hostile attacks, than the kingdom of Israel. The Syrians, being separated from the Jews by the intervening kingdom of Israel, once only laid waste the lower regions of Judah; while, for upwards of a century, they made incursions into and devastated the kingdom of Israel. The Assyrians, also, being more remote from the Jews, could not observe them so narrowly as they watched the Israelites, whom they in a manner continually threatened. Further, the naturally strong situation of Jerusalem (which city the Assyrians vainly attempted to reduce by famine) contributed much to the preservation of the kingdom, as it enabled Hezekiah to hold out successfully against the forces of Sennacherib, who besieged it in the eighth year after the subversion of the kingdom of Israel. 2. The people were more united in the kingdom of Judah than in that of Israel.
terity remained seventy years, agreeably to the divine pre- | royal family. For, though some of the Jewish monarchs dictions. more than once followed strange gods; though Asa, disregarding the counsels of Hanani, called the Syrians to his aid; though Jehoshaphat, by forming an alliance with the wicked Ahab, king of Israel, was the cause of the greatest calamities both to his kingdom and to his family; though Athaliah destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah, Joash alone excepted, who afterwards put to death the inno cent high-priest Zechariah, the son of the very man to whom he was indebted for the preservation of his life and kingdom, though, finally, Ahaz, disregarding the advice of the prophet Isaiah, voluntarily called to his aid the Assyrians, and shut up the doors of the house of the Lord; yet, notwithstanding all these circumstances, the Jews never thought of expelling the royal family from the throne. Some of the Jewish monarchs, indeed, came to violent deaths in various ways; but no civil wars ensued, no ambitious princes ever disturbed the state; on the contrary, that kingdom, being always restored to the lawful heir, derived advantage, rather than suffered injury, from such changes. Thus the kingdom of Judah continued in peaceable subjection to its legitimate sovereigns; and all orders in the state consulted its welfare. Many of the kings maintained the worship of Jehovah from motives of sincere piety, and others from a conviction of the utility of religion to a state; while the priests and prophets, who vigilantly watched over the religion of their country, influenced their sovereigns to the adoption of sage counsels. To this circumstance we may ascribe the fact that the characters of the kings of Judah were more exemplary than those of the kings of Israel: for, although there were not wanting wicked and imprudent Jewish sovereigns, yet their errors and misconduct were for the most part corrected or avoided by their successors, who were instructed by the advice and example of wise and virtuous men, and thus were enabled to repair the injuries which their kingdom had sustained. The reverse of all this was the case in the kingdom of Israel; in which the royal dignity, polluted by continual murders and seditions, gradually fell into decay, and with the regal power declined all regard for the welfare of the state. Distracted by civil wars and by the contests of ambitious aspirants to the throne, the Israelites became disunited; the provinces, which at the commencement of the Israelitish monarchy had been tributary to it, revolted; and almost all the kings, who swayed the sceptre of Israel, governed so ill, as scarcely to deserve the name of sovereigns. While the sacred historians repeatedly record of various kings of Judah that they did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that their father David had done, the ordinary character of the kings of Israel is related with this stigma,-that they departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
The religious worship, which was solemnized at Jerusalem, the metropolis of Judah, not only united the Jews and Benjaminites more closely together, but also offered a very powerful attraction to every pious person of the other tribes to emigrate into Judah. Hence the priests and Levites, as well as many other devout Israelites, enriched the kingdom of Judah with piety, learning, and wealth. In the kingdom of Israel, on the contrary, in consequence of the expulsion of the priests and Levites, by whom its civil affairs had for the most part been administered, tumults and internal discord necessarily arose, from its very commencement under Jeroboam I.; and, with regard to the other Israelites, the history of later ages abundantly attests the very great loss sustained in states and kingdoms by the compulsory emigration of virtuous and industrious citizens, in consequence of changes made in religion. Thus, Spain has never recovered the expulsion of the Moors; and the unprincipled repeal of the edict of Nantes by Louis XIV. against the faith of the most solemn treaties, inflicted a loss upon France, from the effects of which that country has scarcely yet recovered. In like manner, in ancient times, the kingdom of Israel fell into decay, in consequence of the oppression of the faithful worshippers of Jehovah after the introduction of the worship of the calves. But this new idolatrous religion was of no advantage to the apostates: on the contrary, it was detrimental to them, for the worship of the calves had the effect of disuniting more and more the provinces of Galilee and Samaria, which naturally were too much separated; and the idolatrous worship of Baal, established at Samaria, was so repugnant to the manners of the Hebrews, as to prove the chief cause-not of concord, but of civil wars.
4. Lastly, and principally, pure and undefiled religion was most carefully preserved and cultivated in the kingdom of Judah, while the vilest idolatry was practised in the kingdom of Israel. This fact is so clearly narrated in the histories of the two kingdoms, that it is needless to adduce any examples. As a necessary consequence of true piety, the Jews far surpassed the Israelites in the purity of their moral character; and in the implicit confidence with which they left all their affairs to the divine protection; for, at the very time, when abomiTo this union among the Jews is principally to be ascribed nations of every kind were practised in Israel, when scarcely the brilliant victory which in the reign of Abijah gave them a crime was left unattempted, and when the Israelites sought a decided superiority over the Israelites; and the same una- all their safety and protection from foreign aid, in Judah, the nimity and affection for true religion, in the time of Heze-Law of the LORD" was most diligently studied; and the kiah, disposed them all promptly to shake off the yoke of the Assyrians, and rendered them sufficiently strong to accomplish their deliverance without any foreign aid. The Israelites, on the contrary, being for the most part torn by factions, and despairing of being able to recover their affairs, were irresolute under almost every circumstance.
3. The succession to the throne of Judah was more regular; and the character of its sovereigns was more exemplary than in the kingdom of Israel.
Although the authority of the kings of Judah was unquestionably much lessened in point of extent by the revolt of the ten tribes, yet, if we consider its internal power and stability, we shall find that it was rather increased than diminished by that defection. From the very commencement of the separation, it is evident that the prophets, in obedience to former oracles (see 2 Kings viii. 19.), were so attached to the family of David, that no wickedness or contempt of the laws on the part of individual kings could lessen their fidelity to the royal lineage. Hence no Jew ever thought of seizing the throne of David, no prophet ever foretold the ruin of the G
Jews, strengthened by their unshaken trust in Jehovah, voluntarily risked every thing to promote the welfare of their country.2 In short, the histories of the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel furnish a perpetual illustration of the truth of Solomon's declaration, that righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. Prov. xiv. 34.
XII. STATE OF THE HEBREWS DURING THE BABYLONISH CAPTIVITY.
The condition of the Hebrews, during the captivity, was far from being one of abject wretchedness. "This is manifest from the circumstance, that a pious Hebrew prophet held the first office at the court of Babylon; that three devout friends of this prophet occupied important political stations; and that Jehoiachin, the former king of Judah, in the forty
1 Thus, Ahaziah, king of Judah, was slain by Jehu, king of Israel (2 Chron.
xxii. 7-9.); Athaliah, who succeeded Ahaziah, by the command of Jehoia.
Judæ diutius perzisteret quam Regnum Israel, pp. 96–101. 120—122
fourth year of the captivity, was released from an imprison- | prince from their own number. Jehoiachin, and after him ment which had continued for thirty-six years, and was preferred in point of rank to all the kings who were then at Babylon, either as hostages, or for the purpose of paying homage to the Chaldæan monarch. He was treated as the first of the kings; he ate at the table of his conqueror, and received an annual allowance, corresponding to his royal rank. These circumstances of honour must have reflected a degree of dignity on all the exiles, sufficient to prevent their being ill-treated or despised. They were probably viewed as respectable colonists, enjoying the peculiar protection of the sovereign. In the respect paid to Jehoiachin, his son Shealiel and his grandson Zerubbabel undoubtedly partook. If that story1 of the discussion before Darius, in which Zerubbabel is said to have won the prize, be a mere fiction, still it is at least probable that the young prince, though he held no office, had free access to the court; a privilege which must have afforded him many opportunities of alleviating the unhappy circumstances of his countrymen. It is therefore not at all surprising, that, when Cyrus gave the Hebrews permission to return to their own country, many, and perhaps even a majority of the nation, chose to remain behind, believing that they were more pleasantly situated where they were, than they would be in Judæa. It is not improbable that the exiles (as is implied in the story of Susanna, and as the tradition of the Jews affirms) had magistrates and a
Shealtiel and Zerubbabel, might have been regarded as their
POLITICAL STATE OF THE JEWS, FROM THEIR RETURN FROM THE BABYLONISH CAPTIVITY TO THE SUBVERSION OF THEIR CIVIL AND ECCLESIASTICAL POLITY.
POLITICAL STATE OF THE JEWS UNDER THE MACCABEES, AND THE SOVEREIGNS OF THE HERODIAN FAMILY.
I. Brief account of the Maccabees.-II. Sovereigns of the Herodian family:-1. Herod the Great.-St. Matthew's narrative of the murder of the infants at Bethlehem confirmed.-2. Archelaus.-3. Herod Antipas.-4. Philip.-5. Herod Agrippa. -6. Agrippa junior.-7. Bernice and Drusilla.
I. On the subversion of the Babylonian empire by Cyrus the founder of the Persian monarchy (B. c. 543), he authorized the Jews by an edict to return into their own country, with full permission to enjoy their laws and religion, and caused the city and temple of Jerusalem to be rebuilt. In the following year, part of the Jews returned under Zerubbabel, and renewed their sacrifices: the theocratic government, which had been in abeyance during the captivity, was resumed; but the re-erection of the city and temple being interrupted for several years by the treachery and hostility of the Samaritans or Cutheans, the avowed enemies of the Jews, the completion and dedication of the temple did not take place until the year 511 B. c., six years after the accession of Cyrus. The rebuilding of Jerusalem was accomplished, and the reformation of their ecclesiastical and civil polity was effected by the two divinely inspired and pious governors, Ezra and Nehemiah. After their death the Jews were governed by their high priests, in subjection however, to the Persian kings, to whom they paid tribute (Ezra iv. 13. vii. 24.), but with the full enjoyment of their other magistrates, as well as their liberties, civil and religious. Nearly three centuries of uninterrupted prosperity ensued, until the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria, when they were most cruelly oppressed, and compelled to take up arms in their own defence.
tained a religious war for twenty-six years with five successive kings of Syria; and after destroying upwards of 200,000 of their best troops, the Maccabees finally established the independence of their own country and the aggrandizement of their family. This illustrious house, whose princes united the regal and pontifical dignity in their own persons, administered the affairs of the Jews during a period of one hundred and twenty-six years; until, disputes arising between Hyrcanus II. and his brother Aristobulus, the latter was defeated by the Romans under Pompey, who captured Jerusalem, and reduced Judæa to a tributary province of the republic. (B. c. 59.)
II. SOVEREIGNS OF THE HERODIAN FAMILY.-1. Julius Cæsar, having defeated Pompey, continued Hyrcanus in the high-priesthood, but bestowed the government of Judæa upon Antipater, an Idumæan by birth, who was a Jewish proselyte, and the father of Herod surnamed the Great, who was subsequently king of the Jews. Antipater divided Judæa between his two sons Phasael and Herod, giving to the former the government of Jerusalem, and to the latter the province of Galilee; which being at that time greatly infested with robbers, HEROD signalized his courage by dispersing them, and shortly after attacked Antigonus the competitor of Hyrcanus in the priesthood, who was supported by the Tyrians. In the mean time, the Parthians having invaded JuUnder the able conduct of Judas, on account of his heroic dæa, and carried into captivity Hyrcanus the high-priest and exploits surnamed Maccabæus, (app мakaвI the Hammerer)2 Phasael the brother of Herod; the latter fled to Rome, where the son of Mattathias, surnamed Asmon (from whom is de- Mark Antony, with the consent of the senate, conferred on rived the appellation Asmonæans, borne by the princes de- him the title of king of Judæa. By the aid of the Roman scended from him), and his valiant brothers, the Jews main-arms Herod kept possession of his dignity; and after three
1 1 Esdras iii. iv. Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xi. c. 3.
He is, however, most generally supposed to have derived this name
from a cabalistical word, formed of M. C. B. I. the initial letters of the He
brew Text, Mi Chamoka Baelim Jehovah, i. e. who among the gods is like
unto thee, O Jehovah? (Exod. xv. 11.) which letters might have been displayed on his sacred standard, as the letters S. P. Q. R. (Senatus, Populus Que Romanus), were on the Roman ensigns. Dr. Hales's Analysis of Chronology, vol. i. p 599.
years of sanguinary and intestine war with the partisans of Antigonus, he was confirmed in his kingdom by Augustus.4 This prince is characterized by Josephus as a person of singular courage and resolution, liberal and even extravagant Jahn's History of the Hebrew Commonwealth, vol. i. pp. 161. 163. Beausobre, Introd. to the New Test. (Bp. Watson's Tracts, vol. iii. p.
in his expenditure, magnificent in his buildings, especially in the temple of Jerusalem, and apparently disposed to promote the happiness of every one. But under this specious exterior he concealed the most consummate duplicity; studious only how to attain and to secure his own dignity, he regarded no means, however unjustifiable, which might promote that object of his ambition; and in order to supply his lavish expenditure, he imposed oppressive burdens on his subjects. Inexorably cruel, and a slave to the most furious passions, he imbrued his hands in the blood of his wife, his children, and the greater part of his family;' such, indeed, were the restlessness and jealousy of his temper, that he spared neither his people, nor the richest and most powerful of his subjects, not even his very friends. It is not at all surprising that such a conduct should procure Herod the hatred of his subjects, especially of the Pharisees, who engaged in various plots against him: and so suspicious did these conspiracies render him, that he put the innocent to the torture, lest the guilty should escape. These circumstances sufficiently account for Herod and all Jerusalem with him being troubled at the arrival of the Magi, to inquire where the Messiah was born. (Matt. ii. 1-3.) The Jews, who anxiously expected the Messiah "the Deliverer," were moved with an anxiety made up of hopes and fears, of uncertainty and expectation, blended with a dread of the sanguinary consequences of new tumults; and Herod, who was a foreigner and usurper, was apprehensive lest he should lose his crown by the birth of a rightful heir. Hence we are furnished with a satisfactory solution of the motive that led him to command all the male children to be put to death, who were under two years of age, in Bethlehem and its vicinity. (Matt. ii. 16.)
No very long time after the perpetration of this crime, Herod died, having suffered the most excruciating pains, in the thirty-seventh year of his being declared king of the Jews by the Romans. The tidings of his decease were received by his oppressed subjects with universal joy and satisfac
Herod had a numerous offspring by his different wives, although their number was greatly reduced by his unnatural cruelty in putting many of them to death: but, as few of his descendants are mentioned in the Sacred Volume, we shall notice only those persons of whom it is requisite that some account should be given for the better understanding of the New Testament. The annexed table will, perhaps, be found useful in distinguishing the particular persons of this family, whose names occur in the evangelical histories.
the Great, by his will divided his dominions among his three sons, Archelaus, Herod Antipas, and Herod Philip.
2. TO ARCHELAUS he assigned Judæa, Samaria, and Idumea, with the regal dignity, subject to the approbation of Augustus, who ratified his will as it respected the territorial division, but conferred on Archelaus the title of Ethnarch, or chief of the nation, with a promise of the regal dignity, if he should prove himself worthy of it. Archelaus entered upon his new office amid the loud acclamations of his subjects, who considered him as a king; hence the evangelist, (Matt. ii. 22.) His reign, however, commenced inauspiin conformity with the Jewish idiom, says that he reigned. ciously: for, after the death of Herod, and before Archelaus will, the Jews having become very tumultuous at the temple go to Rome to obtain the confirmation of his father's in consequence of his refusing them some demands, Archelaus ordered his soldiers to attack them; on which occasion upwards of three thousand were slain.3 On Archelaus going to Rome to solicit the regal dignity (agreeably to the prac tice of the tributary kings of that age, who received their crowns from the Roman emperor), the Jews sent an embassy, consisting of fifty of their principal men, with a petition to Augustus that they might be permitted to live according to their own laws, under a Roman governor. To this circum1 "When Herod," says the accurate Lardner, "had gained possession stance our Lord evidently alludes in the parable related by of Jerusalem by the assistance of the Romans, and his rival Antigonus was Saint Luke. (xix. 12-27.) A certain nobleman (wyerns, a taken prisoner, and in the hands of the Roman general Sosius, and by him tony to put him to death. Herod's great fear was, that Antigonus might country (Italy), to receive for himself a kingdom (that of Jucarried to Mark Antony, Herod, by a large sum of money, persuaded An- man of birth or rank, the son of Herod), went into a far tobulus, brother of his wife Mariamne, was murdered by his directions at and sent a message (or embassy) after him (to Augustus some time revive his pretensions, as being of the Asmonean family. Aris- dæa) and to return. But his citizens (the Jews) hated him eighteen years of age, because the people at Jerusalem had shown some affection for his person. In the seventh year of his reign from the death Cæsar), saying, "We will not have this man to reign over us." of Antigonus, he put to death Hyrcanus, grandfather of Mariamne, then The Jews, however, failed in their request, and Archelaus, eighty years of age, and who had saved Herod's life when he was prosecuted by the Sanhedrin; a man who, in his youth and in the vigour of his having received the kingdom (or ethnarchy), on his return life, and in all the revolutions of his fortune, had shown a mild and peaceable inflicted a severe vengeance on those who would not that he disposition. His beloved wife, the beautiful and virtuous Mariamne, had a should reign over them. The application of this parable is to public execution, and her mother Alexandra followed soon after. Alexander and Aristobulus, his two sons by Mariamne, were strangled in prison by Jesus Christ, who foretells, that, on his ascension, he would his order upon groundless suspicions, as it seems, when they were at man's go into a distant country, to receive the kingdom from his estate, were married, and had children. I say nothing of the death of his Father; and that he would return, at the destruction of Jerueldest son Antipater. If Josephus's character of him be just, he was a miscreant, and deserved the worst death that could be inflicted; in his last sick-salem, to take vengeance on those who rejected him. The ness, a little before he died, he sent orders throughout Judæa, requiring subsequent reign of Archelaus was turbulent, and disthe presence of all the chief men of the nation at Jericho. His orders were graced by insurrections of the Jews against the Romans, and obeyed, for they were enforced with no less penalty than that of death. When these men were come to Jericho, he had them all shut up in the also by banditti and pretenders to the crown: at length, after circus, and calling for his sister Salome, and her husband Alexas, he told repeated complaints against his tyranny and mal-administrathem, My life is now but short; I know the dispositions of the Jewish tion, made to Augustus by the principal Jews and Samaripeople, and nothing will please them more than my death. 'You have these men in your custody; as soon as the breath is out of my body, and before tans, who were joined by his own brothers, Archelaus was my death can be known, do you let in the soldiers upon them and kill them. deposed and banished to Vienne in Gaul, in the tenth year of All Judæa and every family will then, though unwillingly, mourn at my his reign; and his territories were annexed to the Roman death. Nay, says, 'That with tears eyes he them by their love to him, and their fidelity to God, not to fail of doing him province of Syria. this honour; and they promised they would not fail;' these orders, indeed, were not executed. But as a modern historian of very good sense observes,
'the history of this his most wicked design takes off against truth of murdering the innocents, which may be made from the incredi bility of so barbarous and horrid an act. For this thoroughly shows, that there can nothing be imagined so cruel, barbarous, and horrid, which this man was not capable of doing.' It may also be proper to observe, that almost all the executions I have instanced, were sacrifices to his state jealousy, and love of empire." Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xiv. c. 23. 25, 26. 28. lib. xvi. c. 7, 8. 11, 12. lib. xvii. c. 6. Lardner's Credibility, part i. book ii. c. 2.1.
From Schulz's Archæologia Hebraica, p. 54. Reland has given a genealogical table of the entire Herodian family. (Palæstina, tom. i. p. 174.)
3. HEROD ANTIPAS (or Antipater), another of Herod's sons, received from his father the district of Galilee and
This circumstance probably deterred the Holy Family from settling in Judæa on their return from Egypt; and induced them by the divine admonition to return to their former residence at Nazareth in Galilee. (Matt. ii. 22, 23.) Dr. Hales's Analysis of Chronology, vol. ii. p. 717.
Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xvii. c. 9. § 3. c. 11. Harwood's Introduction, vol. i. p. 294.
There is an impressive application of this parable in Mr. Jones's Lectures on the figurative Language of Scripture, lect. v. near the beginning (Works, vol. iii. pp. 35, 36.) Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xvii. c. 11. (al. xii.) § 2. c. 13. (al. xiv.)