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that profligate prince sought protection after the murder of his brother. * Havoth-jair, a cluster of about sixty cities, which Jair took from the Amorites, lying in a part of Gilead, which afterwards received the name of Batanea.+ Jabesh-Gilead is famous in sacred history for several incidents. Its inhabitants, with the exception of 400 young women, were dreadfully massacred for refusing to join the confederate army which was marched to take vengeance on the Benjamites for the crime at Gibeah. The people of this place, about a century after, were besieged by Nahash, and while that haughty Amorite would listen to no terms, Saul signalized himself in the beginning of his reign by the rigorous measures he adopted for its relief. Kenath, called also Nobah, after the gallant Manassite who wrested it from the aboriginal inhabitants, is noted as the place where Zeba and Zalmunna, the princes of Moab, fell into the hands of Gideon.I Ro. gelim, the residence of Barzillai. Salchah.|| Tishbe, the birth-place of Elijah.
[Levi, the tribe of, had no separate inheritance, nor peculiar locality apportioned to it. The massacre at Shechem, with the guilt of which, Levi was stained in common with his brother Simeon, was the occasion, according to the prophetic declaration of their dying father, of his being destined to be dispersed in Israel. The unswerving fidelity of this tribe, however, when the rest of their brethren joined the idolatry of the golden calf, was rewarded by the special favour of God, in their being advanced to the privileges of the eldest, and that of being the priests of the whole nation, whether in the capacity of official servants of God, or instructors and judges of the people. In furtherance of these public objects, they were interspersed through
* 2 Samuel xiii. 37; 1 Chron. ii. 23.
# Judges viii. 11.
Deut. iii. 10; Josh. xii. 5. Deut. x. 8, 9.
the whole land, having certain places assigned for their residence, with the grounds adjacent as their glebelands, eight in Judah, four in Benjamin, one in Simeon, and four in each of the other tribes, and the tithes and first fruits of the lands of their brethren allotted for their maintenance, so that they were entirely free from the incumbrance of secular cares. The number of cities occupied exclusively by them, whence they were called Levitical cities, was forty-eight, and it was so ordered by the unerring providence of their divine lawgiver, that the greater proportion of these cities lay within the territories of Judah and Benjamin,-a provision, the admirable wisdom and propriety of which was fully manifested on the schism that took place in the reign of Rehoboam. For the great influx of pious Israelites from all parts of the land that emigrated at that time to the two faithful tribes, would, if the ministers of religion bad been dispersed indiscriminately, have occasioned an inadequate supply of priests, or have burdened the small kingdom of Judah with the maintenance of a greater number of that order who refused to comply with the idolatrous innovations of Jeroboam, than its resources were able to support.
These cities were divided among the families of Levi in the following manner :-twentythree among the Kohathites, thirteen among the Gershonites, and twelve among the Mera and six of these were set apart as cities of refuge.
[Six cities—three on the east and three on the west side of Jordan-were called "cities of refuge,' being appointed by Moses to afford sanctuaries to the homicide from the vengeance of the relatives of a deceased person, until the local authorities should have investigated the case and ascertained whether his death was the result of accident or premeditated malice. To facilitate his flight, they all stood on a conspicuous place. No river intervened, the roads that led to them were commanded to be kept in good repair, and as
they were all situated in open plains, the manslayer had no steep, circuitous, or upland path to retard his movements. Kedesh stood in the plain of Zaanaim ;* Hebron in a level desert; Sychem in the plains of Moreh ; Golan and Ramoth-Gilead at the foot of their respective range of hills. In the neighbourhood of each of these, except Bezer, which itself was an eminence, rose a lofty peak, which was a prominent object in the distance, and enabled the fugitive, with unerring certainty, to direct his course. The hill of Naphthali stood by Kedesh; Gerizzim by Sychem; the hills of Bashan by Golan; Gilead by Ramoth-Gilead; and the terraced eminences of Hebron were objects visible from afar.
[All these minute and careful arrangements for the sure and speedy flight of the man-slayer to the city of efuge,—the conspicuous eminence of its own situation, the absence of rivers and every kind of obstruction, and the plain level road that led to it, while they formed in the first instance a provision of the criminal law of the Hebrews, necessary in the circumstances of that people, were designed also typically to point out the sinner's way to Christ. No rivers roll to retard his progress, no mountains raise a barrier to intercept his view; the new and living way is perfectly patent, while, from the first moment that he turns his face thitherward, the cross, that surmounts Calvary, the true place of refuge, appears in full view. It is to the asylum afforded by these cities from the vengeance of the Göel, or blood-avenger, and the breathless haste with which the tremblingfugitive would grasp
the walls, that the apostle alludes in the beautiful passage
where he speaks of those who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.'+]
[Division during the administration of Solomon.Without disturbing the original settlements of Joshua, Solomon, whose extraordinary political wisdom consoli* Joshua xix. 37; Judges iv. 11.
† Hebrews vi. 18.
dated the vast empire which reached to the Euphrates on the east, the Mediterranean on the west, and Egypt on the south, and included Syria, Damascus, Ammon, and Moab, divided his kingdom into twelve provinces, over which he appointed twelve presiding officers.* The chief object of this new arrangement was to ensure the due and regular administration of justice, to facilitate the collection of the public revenue, and to superintend the supply of provisions for the royal household, which each of the twelve districts were required to furnish annually, that is for a month in rotation.
[Division in the reign of Rehoboam.—Another and more important division of the land of Israel took place under the son and successor of Solomon, when ten tribes, having revolted, erected themselves into a separate and independent state under Jeroboam. The rebels included all the northern and middle parts of the country, and constituted what was known in after times as the kingdom of Israel, while the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, together with those portions of Dan and Simeon that were intermingled with them, remained stedfast in their allegiance to Rehoboam, and formed the comparatively small and weak kingdom of Judah.t The whole population of the ten tribes, however, did not unanimously submit to the yoke of the usurper Jeroboam ; for as, in furtherance of his ambitious designs, with the view of eradicating the ancient religious associations of the people, he established and zealously patronised idolatry throughout his dominions, the Levites, and all the more pious portion of the inhabitants in that part of the land, removed to the kingdom of Judah to enjoy the benefit of pure ordinances at Jerusalem. The capital of the kingdom of Judah was Jerusalem ; while that of Israel was at first Shechem, afterwards Tirzah, and
* 1 Kings iv. 7-19.
1 Kings xi. 12 ; xii. 21; 2 Chron. xi. 10-12 # 1 Kings xii. 17; 2 Chron. xi. 13-17.
latterly, in the reign of Omri, who purchased the hill of Samaria, and built a city which was enlarged and beautified by his royal successors, the honour of being the chief city in the new kingdom, was transferred to Samaria, situated about thirty miles northeast of Jerusalem. The nineteen princes who swayed the sceptre of Israel, though all of different lines, inherited the apostate principles of Jeroboam, and were zealous patrons of idolatry in their dominions,* as well as infamous for their personal crimes. The polluted character of the court demoralized the whole nation, which, after subsisting 254 years, was by the judgment of an angry Providence carried into captivity by Shalmanezer,+ and distributed along the shores of the Caspian Sea, in the northern region of Assyria.
[The separate kingdom of Judah enjoyed a considerably longer existence. Of its nineteen kings, all, with the single exception of Athaliah, who usurped the throne for seven years, I belonged to the house of David ; and while four of these, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah, were men of exemplary piety, and other four, Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah, and Jotham, showed a strong disposition to use their influence in support of religion, the remaining eleven were persons of flagitious characters, who both sinned themselves, and led their subjects to sin; so that this kingdom also gradually declined, and after a duration of 388 years, it was subdued, and its inhabitants carried captive by Nebuchadnezzar successively in the first, eight, and nineteenth years of his reign. The first captivity began in the year 606, the second 598, the third 587, before the christian era ; and as the whole period of the captivity lasted for seventy years, reckoning from the first invasion of the king of Labylon, the restoration of the exiles to the land of their fathers did not take place till the year 536 B. c.§ * 1 Kings xii. 26-33. | 2 Kings xvii. 31-8. # 2 Kings xi. 1-3.
$ 2 Chron. xxxvi. 21; Jer. xxix. 10-14.