Imatges de pàgina

Festivities always accompanied the ceremonies attending oaths. Isaac and Abimelech feasted at making their covenant (Gen. xxvi. 30.), and he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink. (Gen. xxxi. 54.) Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread. This practice was also usual amongst the heathen nations.” Afterwards, when the Mosaic law was established, and the people were settled in the land of Canaan, the people feasted, in their peace offerings, on a part of the sacrifice, in token of their reconciliation with God (Deut. xii. 6, 7.); and thus, in the sacrament of the Lord's supper, we renew our covenant with God, and (in the beautiful language of the communion office of the Anglican church) “we offer and present ourselves, our souls, and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice” unto Him, being at His table feasted with the bread and wine, the representation of the sacrifice of Christ's body and blood; who by himself once offered upon the cross has made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and atonement for the sin of the whole world. Sometimes the parties to the covenant were sprinkled with th blood of the victim. Thus Moses, after sprinkling part of the blood on the altar, to show that Jehovah was a party to the covenant, sprinkled part of it on the Israelites, and said unto them, Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you. (Exod. xxiv. 6.8.) To this transaction Saint Paul alludes in his Epistle to the Hebrews (ix. 20.), and explains its evangelical meaning. The Scythians are said to have first poured wine into an earthen vessel, and then the contracting parties, cutting their arms with a knife, let some of the blood run into the wine, with which they stained their armour. After which they themselves, together with the other persons present, drank of the mixture, uttering the direst maledictions on the party who should violate the treaty.” Another mode of ratifying covenants was by the superior contracting party presenting to the other some articles of his own dress or arms. Thus Jonathan stri himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, .# is garments, even to the sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle. (1 Sam. xviii. 4.) The highest honour, which a king of Persia can bestow upon a subject, is to cause himself to be disapparelled, and to give his robe to the favoured individual.” In Numb. xviii. 19. mention is made of a covenant of salt. The expression appears to be borrowed from the practice of ratifying their federal engagements by salt; which, as it not only imparted a relish to different kinds of viands, but also preserved them from

1 Burder's Oriental Customs, vol. ii. p. 84.—Fifth edition. See examples of the antient mode of ratifying covenants, in Homer. Il lib. iii. verses 103–107. 245. et seq. Virgil, AEn. lib. viii. 641. xii. 169. et seq. Dionysius Halicarnassensis, lib. v. c. 1: Hooke's Roman History, vol. i. p. 67. oHerodotus, lib. iv, c. 70, vol. i. p. 273. Oxon. 1809. Doughtei Analecta, 1.

P. -
* Harmer's observations, vol. ii. p. 94. Burder's Or. Cust. vol. i. p. 206.

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putrefaction and decay, became the emblem of incorruptibility and
permanence. It is well-known, from the concurrent testimony of
voyagers and travellers, that the Asiatics deem the eating together as
a bond of perpetual friendship: and as salt is now (as it antiently
was) a common article in all their repasts, it may be in reference to
this circumstance that a perpetual covenant is termed a covenant of
salt; because the contracting parties ate together of the sacrifice
offered on the occasion, and the whole transaction was considered as
a league of endless friendship." In order to assure those persons to
whom the divine promises were made, of their certainty and stability,
the Almighty not only willed that they should have the force of a
covenant; but also vouchsafed to accommodate Himself (if we may
be permitted to use such an expression) to the received customs.
Thus, he constituted the rainbow a sign of his covenant with man-
kind, that the earth should be no more destroyed by a deluge (Gen.
is 12–17.); and in a vision appeared to Abraham to pass between
the divided pieces of the sacrifice, which the patriarch had offered.
(Gen. xv. 12–17.), Jehovah further instituted the rite of circum-
cision, as a token of the covenant between himself and Abraham
(Gen. xvii. 9–14.); and sometimes sware by Himself (Gen. xxii.
16. Luke i. 73.), that is, pledged his eternal power and godhead
for the fulfilment of his promise, there being no one superior to
Himself to whom he could make appeal, or by whom he could be
bound. Saint Paul beautifully illustrates this transaction in his Epistle
to the Hebrews. (vi. 13–18.) Lastly, the whole of the Mosaic
constitution was a mutual covenant between Jehovah and the Israel-
ites; the tables of which being preserved in an ark, the latter was
thence termed the ark of the covenant, as (we have just seen) the
blood of the victims slain in ratification of that covenant, was termed
the blood of the covenant. (Exod. xxiv. 8. Zech. ix. 11.) Referring
to this, our Saviour, when instituting the Lord's supper, after giving
the cup, said This is (signifies or represents) my blood of the New
Covenant, which is shed for many, . the remission of sins. (Matt.
xxvi. 28.) By this very remarkable expression, Jesus Christ teaches
us, that as his body was to be broken or crucified vre; now in our
stead, so his blood was to be poured out (soyoosvov, a sacrificial term)
to make an atonement, as the words remission of sins evidently im,
ply; for without shedding of blood there is no remission (Heb. ix.
22.), nor any remission by shedding of blood but in a sacrificial way.
Compare Heb. ix. 20. and xiii. 12. -
III. What treaties or covenants were between the high contract-
ing powers who were authorised to conclude them, that contracts of
bargain and sale are between private individuals.
Among the Hebrews, and long before them among the Canaanites,
the purchase of any thing of consequence was concluded and the
price paid, at the gate of the city, as the seat of judgment, before

* Some pleasing facts from modern history, illustrative of the covenant of salt are collected by the industrious editor of Calmet. Fragments, No. 130.

all who went out and came in. (Gen. xxiii. 16—20. Ruth iv. 1, 2.) As persons of leisure, and those who wanted amusement, were won to sit in the gates, purchases there made could always be testified by numerous witnesses. From Ruth iv. 7–11, we learn another singular usage on occasions of purchase, cession and exchange, viz. that in earlier times, the transfer of alienable property was confirmed by the proprietor plucking off his shoe at the city gate, in the presence of the elders and other witnesses, and handing it over to the new owner. The origin of this custom it is impossible to trace: but it had evidently become antiquated in the time of David, as the author of the book of Ruth introduces it as an unknown custom of former ages. In process of time the joining or striking of hands, already mentioned with reference to public treaties, was introduced as a ratification of a bargain and sale. This usage was not unknown in the days of Job (xvii. 3.), and Solomon often alludes to it. (See Prov. vi. I. xi. 15. xvii. 18. xx. 16. xxii. 26. xxvii. 13.) The earliest vestige of written instruments, sealed and delivered for ratifying the disposal and transfer of property, occurs in Jer. xxxii. 10–12., which the prophet commanded Baruch to bury in an earthen vessel in order to be preserved for production at a future period, as evidence of the purchase. (15, 16.) No mention is expressly made of the manner in which deeds were antiently cancelled. Some expositors have imagined, that in Col. ii. 14. Saint Paul refers to the cancelling of them by blotting or drawing a line across them, or by striking them through with a nail: but we have no information whatever from antiquity to authorise such a conclusion. ***




I. The earliest wars, predatory excursions.—II. Character of the wars of the Israelites—Their Levies how raised—Cherethites and Pelethites.—Standing armies of the sovereigns of Israel.—III. Divisions, and Officers of the Jewish armies;–which were sometimes conducted by the kings in person.-IV. Encampments.-W. JMilitary Schools and training.—VI. Defensive Arms.-VII. Offensive 3rms.-VIII. Fortifications.—IX. Mode of declaring war.— X. Order of battle—Treatment of the slain of captured cities, and % captives.—XI. Triumphant reception of the conquerors.-XII istribution of the spoil–Military honours conferred on eminent todrru07's.

I. THERE were not wanting in the earliest ages of the world, men who, abusing the power and strength which they possessed to the purposes of ambition, usurped upon their weaker neighbours. Such was the origin of the kingdom founded by the plunderer Nimrod (Gen. x. 8–10.), whose name signifies a rebel; and it was most probably given him, from his rejection of the laws both of God and man, and supporting by force a tyranny over others. As mankind continued to increase, quarrels and contests would naturally arise, and, spreading from individuals to families, tribes, and nations, produced wars. Of the military affairs of those times we have very imperfect notices in the Scriptures. These wars, however, appear to have been nothing more than predatory incursions, like those of the modern Wahabees and Bedouin Arabs, so often described b oriental travellers. The patriarch Abraham, on learning that his kinsman Lot had been taken captive by Chedorlaomer and his confederate emirs or petty kings, mustered his tried servants, three hundred and eighteen in number; and coming against the enemy by night, he divided his forces and totally discomfited them. (Gen. xiv. 14–16.) The other patriarchs also armed their servants and dependents, when a conflict was expected. (Gen. xxxii. 7–12. xxxiii. 1.) II. Although the Jews are now the very reverse of being a military people (in which circumstance we may recognise the accomplishment of prophecy)," yet antiently they were eminently distinguished for their prowess. But the notices concerning their discipline, which are presented to us in the sacred writings, are few and brief.

1 See Levit. xxvi. 36. Deut. xxviii. 65, 66. WOL. III. 25


The wars in which the Israelites were engaged, were of two kinds, either such as were expressly enjoined by divine command, or such as were voluntary and entered upon by the prince for revenging some national affronts, and for the honour of his sovereignty. Of the first sort were those undertaken against the seven nations of Canaan, whom God had devoted to destruction, viz. the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites (strictly so called), the Perizzites, the Hivites, the Jebusites, and the Girgashites. ese the Israelites were commanded to extirpate, and to settle themselves in their place. CDeut. vii. 1, 2. and xx. 16, 17.) There were indeed other nations who inhabited this country in the days of Abraham, as may be seen in Gen. xv. 19, 20. But these had either become extinct since that time, or being but a small people were incorporated with the rest. To these seven nations no terms of peace could be offered; for, being guilty of gross idolatries and other detestable vices of all kinds, God thought them unfit to live any longer upon the face of the earth. These wars thus undertaken by the command of God, were called the wars of the Lord, of which a particular record seems to have been kept, as mentioned in Numb. xxi. 14.

In the voluntary wars of the Israelites, which were undertaken upon some national account, such as most of those were in the times of the Judges, when the Moabites, Philistines, and other neighbouring nations invaded their country, and such as that of David against the Ammonites, whose king had affronted his ambassadors, there were certain rules established by God, which were to regulate their conduct, both in the undertaking and carrying on of these wars. As, first, they were to proclaim peace to them, which, if they accepted, these people were to become tributaries to them; but if they refused, all the males, upon besieging the city, were allowed to be slain, if the Israelites thought fit; but the women and little ones were to be spared, and the cattle with the other goods of the city were to belong as spoil, to the Israelites. (Deut. xx. 10—15.) Secondly, in besieging a city they were not to commit unnecessary waste and depredations, for though they were allowed to cut down barren trees of all sorts, to serve the purposes of their approaches, yet they were obliged to spare the fruit-trees as being necessary to support the lives of the inhabitants in future times, when the little rancour, which was the occasion of their present hostilities, should be removed and done away. (Deut. xx. 19, 20.)

The Israelites in the beginning of their republic, appear to have been a timorous and cowardly people; their spirits were broken by their bondage in Egypt; and this base temper soon appeared upon the approach of Pharaoh and his army, i. the Israelites passed through the Red Sea, which made them murmur so much against Moses. (Exod. xiv. 10, 11, 12.) But in no instance was their cowardice more evident, than when they heard the report of the spies concerning the inhabitants of the land, which threw them into a fit of despair, and made them resolve to return into Egypt, notwithstanding all the miracles wrought for them by God. (Numb. xiv.

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