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O L D T E S T A M E N T,
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P R E FACE
HISTORICAL BO O K S.
This methodized and practical Exposition of the Historical the way of duty, which some great judges of common writers Books ventures abroad, with fear and trembling, in the same have thought to be the most pleasant and profitable histories, plain and homely
dress with the former, on the Pentateuch. and most likely to answer the end. The word of God, maniOrnari res ipsa negat, contenta doceri—The subject requires no festis pascit, obscuris exercet, (Aug. in Joh. Tract. 45,) as one ornament, to have it apprehended is all. But I trust, through of the ancients expresses it, that is, it has enough in it that is grace, it proceeds from the same honest design ; that is, to pro- easy, to nourish the meanest to life eternal, yet enough that is mote the knowledge of the scripture, in order to the reforming difficult, to try the industry and humility of the greatest. of men's hearts and lives. If I may but be instrumental to There are several things which should recommend this part make my readers wise and good, wiser and better, more watch- of sacred writ to our diligent and constant search. ful against sin, and more careful to do their duty both to God 1. That it is history; and therefore entertaining and very and man, and, in order to that, more in love with the word and pleasant, edifying, and very serviceable to the conduct of human law of God, I have all I desire, all I aim at. May he that minis. | life. It gratifies the inquisitive with the knowledge of that tereth seed to the sower, multiply the seed sown, by increasing the which the most intense speculation could not discover any other fruits of righteousness, 2 Cor. 9. 10.
way. By a retirement into ourselves, and a serious contemIt is the history of the Jewish Church and Nation, from their plation of the objects we are surrounded with, close reasoning first settlement in the promised land, after their four hundred may advance many excellent truths without being beholden to and thirty years' bondage in Egypt, and their forty years' wan any other. But for the knowledge of past events, we are entirely dering in the wilderness, to their resettlement there, after their indebted (and must be so) to the reports
and records of others. seventy years' captivity in Babylon-from Joshua lo Nehemi- A notion or hypothesis of a man's own framing may gain him ah. The five books of Moses were taken up more with their the reputation of a wit, but a history of a man's own framing laws, institutes, and charters; but all these books are purely will lay bim under the reproach of a cheat, any further than as historical, and in that way of writing, a great deal of very valu- it respects that which he himself is an eye or ear-witness of. able learning and wisdom has been conveyed from one genera- How much are we indebted then to the divine wisdom and tion to another.
goodness for these writings, which have made things, so long The chronology of this history, and the ascertaining of the since past, as familiar to us as any of the occurrences of the times when the several events contained in it happened, would age and place we live in! very much illustrate the history, and add to the brightness of History is so edifying, that parables and apologues have been it; it is therefore well worthy the search of the curious and in- invented to make up the deficiencies of it, for our instruction genious, and they may find both pleasure and profit in perusing concerning good and evil; and whatever may be said of other the labours of many learned men who have directed their studies history, we are sure that in this history there is no matter of that way. I confess I could willingly have entertained myself fact recorded, but what has its use, and will help either to exand reader, in this Preface, with a calculation of the times pound God's providence, or guide man's prudence. through which this history passes ; but I consider, that such a II. That it is true history, and what we may rely upon the babe in knowledge as I am, could not pretend either to add to credit of, and need not fear being deceived in. That which the or correct what has been done by so many great writers, much heathens reckoned tempus ädndov, that is, which they knew less to decide the controversies that have been agitated among nothing at all of, and tempus uudikov, that is, the account of them. I had indeed some thoughts of consulting my worthy which was wholly fabulous, is to us tempus lotopirov, that is, and ever honoured friend Mr. Tallents of Shrewsbury, the what we have a most authentic account of. The Greeks were, learned author of the View of Universal History, and to have with them, the most celebrated historians, and yet, their sucbegged some advice and assistance from him in methodizing cessors in learning and dominion, the Romans, put them into the contents of this history; but in the very week in which I no good name for their credibility, witness that of the poet, Et put my last hand to this part, it pleased God to put an end to quicquid Grecia mendax audet in historia—All that lying his useful life, (and useful it was to the last,) and to call him to Greece has dared to record. Juv. Sat. 10. But the history his rest in the eighty-ninth year of his age; so, that purpose which we have before us, is of undoubted certainty, and no cunwas broken off, that thought of my heart. But that elaborate ningly devised fable. To be well assured of this, is a great performance of his, commonly called his Chronological Tables, satisfaction, especially since we meet with so many things in it gives great light to this, as indeed to all other parts of history truly miraculous, and many more, great and marvellous. And Ďr. Lightfoot's Chronology of the Old Testament, and III. That it is ancient history, far more ancient than was ever Mr. Cradock's History of the Old Testament, methodized, may pretended to come from any other hand. Homer, the most also be of great use to such readers as I write for.
ancient genuine heathen writer now entirely extant, is reckoned As to the particular chronological difficulties which occur in to have lived at the beginning of the Olympiads, near the time the thread of this history, I have not been large upon them, when it is computed that the city of Rome was founded by because many times I could not satisfy myself; and how then Romulus, which was but about the reign of Hezekiah king of could I satisfy my reader concerning them? I have not indeed Judah. And his writings pretend not to be historical, but poetmet with any difficulties so great, but that solutions might be ical fiction all over: rhapsodies indeed they are, and the very given of them, which are sufficient to silence the atheists and Alcoran of Paganism. anti-scripturists, and roll away from the sacred records all the The most ancient authentic historians now extant are Heroreproach of contradiction and inconsistency with themselves; dotus and Thucydides, who were contemporaries with the latest for, to do that, it is enough to show, that the difference may be of our historians, Ezra and Nehemiah, and could not write with accommodated either this way or that, when at the same time any certainty of events much before their own time. The obone cannot satisfy one's self which way is the right.
scurity, deficiency, and uncertainty of all ancient history, except But it is well that these are things a bout which we may very that which we find in the scripture, is abundantly made out by safely and very comfortably be ignorant and unresolved. What the learned Bishop Stillingfleet, in that most useful book, his concerns our salvation, is plain enough, and we need not per- Origines Sacræ, lib. 1. Let the antiquity of this history not plex ourselves about the niceties of Chronology, Genealogy, or only recommend it to the curious, but recommend to us all that Chorography. At least, my undertaking leads me not into those way of religion it directs us in, as the good old way, in which, labyrinths. What is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for cor- if we walk,
we shall find rest to our souls, Jer. 6. 16. rection, and for instruction in righteousness, is what I intend to IV. That it is church history, the history of the Jewish church, observe; and I would endeavour to open what is dark and hard that sacred society, incorporated for religion, and the custody to be understood, only in order to that. Every author must
be of the oracles and
ordinances of God, by a charter under the taken in his
way of writing; the sacred penmen, as they have broad seal of heaven, a covenant confirmed by miracles. Many not left us formal systems, so they have not left us formal an- great and mighty nations there were at this time in the world, nals, but useful narratives of things proper for our direction in celebrated, it is likely, for wisdom, and earning, and valour,
illustrious men, and illustrious actions ; yet the records of them failings even of good people are also recorded here for our adare all lost, either in silence or fables, while that little incon- monition, that he who thinks he stands, may take heed lest he siderable nation of the Jews, that dweli alone, and was not reck- fall; and that he who has fallen, may not despair of forgiveness oned among the nations, (Num. 23. 9,) makes so great a figure if he recover himself by repentance. in the best known, most ancient, and most lasting, of all histo 5. This history, as it shows what God requires of us, so it ries; no notice being taken in it of the affairs of other nations, shows what we may expect from his providence, especially conexcept only as they fall in with the affairs of the Jews; for the cerning states and kingdoms. By the dealings of God with the Lord's portion is his people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance, Jewish nation, it appears that as nations are, so they must exDeut. 32. 8, 9. Such a concern has God for his church in every pect to fare; that while princes and people serve the interests age, and so dear have its interests been to him; let them there- of God's kingdom among men, he will secure and advance their fore be so to us, that we may be followers of him as dear children. interests; but that when they shake off his government, and
y. That it is a divine history, given by inspiration of God, rebel against him, they can look for no other than an inundaand a part of that blessed book which is to be the standing rule of ion of judgments. It was so all along with Israel; while they our faith and practice. And we are not to think it a part of it, kept close to God, they prospered ; when they forsook him which might have been spared, or which we may now pass every thing went cross. That great man, Archbishop Tillotover, or cast a careless eye upon, as if it were indifferent, son, (Vol. 1. Serm. 3. on Prov. 14. 14,) suggests, That though, whether we read it or no, but we are to read it as a sacred as to particular persons,
the providences of God are promiscurecord, preserved for our benefit on whom the ends of the world ously administered in this world, because there is another world are come.
of rewards and punishments for them, yet it is not so with na1. This history is of great use for the understanding of some tions as such; but national virtues are ordinarily rewarded with other parts of the Old Testament. The account we have here temporal blessings, and national sins punished with temporal of David's life and reign, and especially of his troubles, is a judgments; because, as he says, public bodies and communikey to many of his psalms. And much light is given to most ties of men, as such, can be rewarded and punished only in of the prophecies by these histories.
this world, for in the next they will all be dissolved. So plainly 2 Though we have not altogether so many types of Christ are God's ways of disposing kingdoms laid before us in the glass here, as we had in the history and law of Moses, yet even here of this history, that I could wish Christian statesmen would we meet with divers who were figures of him that was to come, think themselves as much concerned as preachers, to acquaint such as Joshua, Samson, Solomon, Cyrus, but especially David, themselves with it; they might fetch as good maxims of state whose kingdom was typical of the kingdom of the Messiah, and and rules of policy from this as from the best of the Greek and the covenant of royalıy made with him, a dark representation Roman historians. We are blessed (as the Jews were) with a of the covenant of redemption made with the eternal Word; divine revelation, and make a national profession of religion and nor know we how to call Christ the son of David, unless we be relation to God, and therefore are to look upon ourselves as, in acquainted with this history; nor how to receive it that John a peculiar manner, under a divino regimen, so that the things Baptist was the Elias that was to come, Matt. 11. 14.
which happened to them, were designed for ensamples to us. 3. The state of the Jewish church which is here set before I cannot pretend to write for great ones. But if what is here us, was typical of the Gospel church, and the state of that in done, may be delightful to any in reading, and helpful in underthe days of the Messiah; and as the prophecies which related standing and improving this sacred history, and governing themto it looked further, to the later days, so did the histories of it; selves by the dictates of it, let God have all the glory, and let and still these things happened to them for ensamples, 1 Cor. all the rivers return to the ocean whence they came. When I 10.11. By the tenor of this history, we are given to understand look back on what is done, I see nothing to boast of, but a great these three things concerning the church ; (for the thing that deal to be ashamed of; and when I look forward on what is to hath been, is that which shall be, Ec. 1. 9.) (1.) That we are be done, I see nothing in myself to trust to for the doing of it; I not to expect the perfect purity and unity of the church in this have no sufficiency of my own, but by the gruce of God, I am world, and therefore not to be stumbled, though we are grieved, what I am, and that grace shall, I trust, be sufficient for me. at its corruptions, distempers, and divisions; not to think it Surely in the Lord have I righteousness and strength. That strange concerning them, as though some strange thing hap- blessed trixopnyia, which the apostle speaks of, (Phil. 1. 19,) pened, much less to think the worse of its laws and constitu- that continual supply or communication of the spirit of Jesus tions for the sake of them, or to despair of its perpetuity. What Christ, is what we may in faith pray for and depend upon, to wretched stains of idolatry, impiety, and immorality, appear on furnish us for every good word and work. the Jewish church; and what a woful breach was there between The pleasantness of the study has drawn me on to the writing Judah, and Ephraim, yet God took them (as I may say) with of this, and the candour with which my friends have been pleased all their faults, and never wholly rejected them, till they rejected to receive my poor endeavours on the Pentateuch, encourages the Messiah. Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah, of her me to publish it; it is done according to the best of my skill, God, though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One not without some care and application of mind, in the same of Israel, Jer. 51, 5. (2.) That we are not to expect the con- meth and manner with that ; I wish I could have done it in stant tranquillity and prosperity of the church. It was then less compass, that it might have been more within the reach of often oppressed and afflicted from its youth, had its years of the poor of the flock. But then it would not have been so plain servitude, as well as ils days of triumph, was often obscured, and full as I desire it may be for the benefit of the lambs of the diminished, impoverished, and brought low; and yet still God flock; Brevis esse laboro, obscurus fion-Labouring to be concise, secured to himself a remnant, a holy seed, which was the sub-I become obscure. stance thereof, Is. 6. 13. Let us not then be surprised to see With an humble submission to the Divine Providence and the Gospel church sometimes under hatches, and driven into its disposals, and an humble reliance on the Divine Grace and the wilderness, and the gates of hell prevailing far against it. its conduct and operation, I purpose still to proceed, as I have (3.) That yet we need not fear the utter extirpation of it. The time, in this work. Two volumes more will, if God permit, conGospel church is called the Israel of God, Gal. 6. 16, and the clude the Old Testament; and then, if my friends encourage Jerusalem which is above, Gal. 4. 26, the heavenly Jerusalem : me, and God spare me, and enable me for it, I intend to go on for as Israel after the flesh, and the Jerusalem that then was, by to the New Testament. For though many have taken in hand the wonderful care of the Divine Providence, outrode all the to set forth in order a declaration of those parts of scripture which storms with which they were tossed and threatened, and con- are yet before us, (Luke 1.1,) whose works praise them in the tinued in being till they were made to resign all their honours gates, and are likely to outlive mine, yet while the subject is to the Gospel church, which they were the figures of; so shall really so copious as it is, and the manner of handling it may posthat also, notwithstanding all its shocks, be preserved, till the sibly be so various, and while one book comes into the hands mystery of God shall be finished, and the kingdom of Grace of some, and another into the hands of others, and all concur shall have its perfection in the kingdom of Glory.
in the same design to advance the common interests of Christ's 4. This hisiory is of great use to us for our direction in the kingdom, the common faith once delivered to the saints, and way of our duty; it was written for our learning, that we may the common salvation of precious souls, (Tit. 1. 4. Jude 3,) I see the evil we should avoid, and be armed against it, and the hope store, of this kind, will be thought no sore. I make bold good we should do, and be quickened to it. Though they are to mention my purpose to proceed thus publicly, in hopes I generally judges, and kings, and great men, whose lives are here may have the advice of my friends in it, and their prayers for written, yet in them even those of the meanest rank may see me, that I may be made more ready and mighty in the scriptures, the deformity of sin, and hate it, and the beauty of holiness, and that understanding and utterance may be given to me, and that be in love with it; nay, the greater the person is, the more evi- I may obtain of the Lord Jesus, to be found his faithful servant, dent are both these; for is the great be good, it is their good who am less than the least of all that call him Master. ness that makes their greatness honourable ; if bad, their great
M. H. ness does but make their badness the more shameful. The Chester, June 2, 1708,
E X POSITION,
PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS OF THE BOOK OF
I. We have now before us the history of the Jewish nation, in this book, and those that follow it, to the end of the book of Esther.
These books, to the end of the books of the Kings, the Jewish writers call the first book of the prophets, to bring them witlijn the distribution of the books of the Old Testament, into the law, the prophets, and the Chetubim, or Hagiographa, Luke 24. 14, The rest they make part of the Hagiographa. For though history is their subject, it is justly supposed that prophets were their penmen: to those books that are purely and properly prophetical the name of the prophet is prefixed, because the credibility of the prophecies depended much upon the character of the prophets; but these historical books, it is probable, were collections of the authentic records of the nation, which some of the prophets (the Jewish church was for many ages more or less continually blessed with such) were divinely directed and helped to put together for the service of the church to the end of the world, as their other officers, so their historiographers, had their authority from heaven. It should seem that though the substance of the several histories was written when the events were fresh in memory, and written under a divine direction, yet that, under the same direction, they were put into the form in which we now have them, by some other hand, long afterward, probably, all by the same hand, or about the same time. The grounds of the conjecture are, 1. Because former writings are so often referred to, as the Book of Jasher, (Josh. 10. 13. and 2 Sam. 1. 18,) the chronicles of the Kings of Israel and Judah; and the books of Gad, Nathan, and Iddo. 2. Because the days when the things were done are spoken of sometimes as days long since passed; as I Sam. 9. 9, He that is now called a prophet, was then called a seer. And, 3. Because we so ofien read of things remaining unto this day, as stones, Josh. 4. 9.-7. 26.-8. 29.-10. 27. 1 Sam. 6. 18. Names of places, Josh. 5. 9.-7.26. Judg. 1. 36.-15. 19.–18. 12. 2 Kings 14. 7. Rights and possessions, Judg. 1. 21. 1 Sam. 27.6. Customs and usages, 1 Sam. 5. 5. 2 Kings 17. 41. Which clauses have been since added to the history by the inspired collectors, for the confirmation and illustration of it to those of their own age. And if one may offer a mere conjecture, it is not unlikely that the historical books, to the end of the Kings, were put together by Jeremiah tho prophet, a little before the captivity, for it is said of Ziglag, (1 Sam. 27. 6,) it pertains to the kings of Judah (which style began after Solomon, and ended in the captivity) unto this day. And it is still more probable that those which follow were put together by Ezra the scribe, some time after the captivity. However, though we are in the dark concerning their authors, we are in no doubt concerning their authority; they were a part of the oracles of God, which were committed to the Jews, and were so received and referred to by our Saviour and the apostles. - In the five books of Moses, we had a very full account of the rise, advance, and constitution, of the Old Testament church, the family out of which it was raised, the promise, that great charter by which it was incorporated, the miracles by which it was built up, and the laws and ordinances by which it was to be governed; from which one would conceive an expectation of its character and state very different from what we find in this history. A nation that had statutes and judgments so righteous, one would think, should have been very holy; and that had promises so rich, should have been very happy. But alas! a great part of the history is a melancholy representation of their sins and miseries, for the law made nothing perfect ; that was to be done by the bringing in of the better hope. And yet if we compare the history of the Christian church with its constitution, we shall find the same cause for wonder, so many have been its errors and corruptions; for neither does the Gospel make any thing perfect in this world, but leaves us still in expectation of a better hope in the future state. II. We have next before us the book of Joshua, so called, perhaps, not because it was written by him, for that is uncertain.
However that be, it is written concerning him, and if any other wrote it, it was collected out of his journals, Dr. Lightfoot thinks or memoirs. It contains the history of Israel under the command and government of Joshua, how he prethat Phinehas wrote it. sided as general of their armies, 1. In their entrance into Canaan, ch. 1. to 5. 2. In their conquest of CaBishop Patrick is clear naan, ch. 6. to 12. 3. In the distribution of the land of Canaan among the tribes of Israel, ch. 13. to 21. that Joshua wrote
4. In the settlement and establishment of religion among them, ch.22. 124. In all which, he was a great himself.
example of wisdom, courage, fidelity, and piety, to all that are in places of public trust. But that is not all the use that is to be made of this history; we may see in it, (1.) Much of God and his providence; his power in the kingdom of nature; his justice in punishing the Canaanites when the measure of their iniquity was full; his faithfulness to his covenant with the patriarchs; and his kindness to his people Israel, notwithstanding their provocations. We may see him as the Lord of Hosts determining the issues of war, and as the Director of the lot, determining
the bounds of men's habitations. (2.) Much of Christ and his grace. Though Joshua is not expressly mentioned in the New Testament as a type of Christ, yet all agree that he was a very eminent one. He bore our Saviour's name, as did also another type of him, Joshua the high priest, Zech. 6. 11, 12. The LXX, giving the name of Joshua a Greek termination, call him all along 'Indows, Jesus, and so he is called, Acts 7. 45, and Heb. 4.8. Justin Martyr, one of the first writers of the Christian church, (Dialog.cum Tryph. p. mihi 300,) makes that promise, (Ex. 23. 20,) Mine angel shall bring thee into the place I have prepared, to point at Joshua; and these words, My name is in him, to refer to this, that his name should be the same with that of the Messiah; it signifies, He shall save. Joshua saves God's people from the Canaanites; our Lord Jesus saves them from their sins. Christ, as Joshua, is the Caplain of our Salvation, a Leader and Commander of the people, to tread Satan under their feet, and to put them in possession of the heavenly Canaan, and to give them rest, which (it is said, Heb. 4.8) Joshua did not.
Joshua directed and encouraged.
of that we had before in the books of Moses,) but of his reign and government.
to to the
B. C. 1451. of fealty to him, v. 16-18. A roigi which thus began with God, could not but be honourable to the prince, and comfortable to the eubject. The last words of Mosea are still verified, Happy art thou, O Israel / who is like unto thee, o people? Deut. 33. 29.
the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spake
two triter and a half, v. 12–13. m. The people agree to it, and take au oath unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’minister, saying,
NOTES TO CHAPTERI.
lation. God had before spoken to Moses concerning him, V. 1—9. Honour is here put upon Joshua, and great power (Num. 27, 18;) but now he speaks to him, (v. 1,) probably, as lodged in his hand, by Him that is the Fountain of honour and he spake to Moses, (Lev. 1. 1,) out of the tabernacle of the conpower, and by whom kings reign; instructions are given him by gregation, where Joshua had with Moses presented himself, Infinite Wisdom, and encouragements by the God of all conso-|(Deut. 31. 14,) to learn the way of attending there. Thougbi