Imatges de pàgina
PDF

5. Not only did the most precious part of the plunder of the conquered nations flow into the royal treasury, (2 Sam. viii.) but the latter also had tributes imposed on them, which were termed MINcha, or presents, and were paid partly in money, and partly in agricultural produce. (1 Kings iv. 21. Psal. Boxii. 10. compared with 1 Chron. xxvii. 25–31. 6. Lastly, the customs paid to Solomon by the foreign merchants who passed through his dominions (1 Kings X. 15.), afforded a considerable revenue to that monarch; who, as the Mosaic laws did not encourage foreign commerce, carried on a very extensive and Jucrative trade (1 Kings x. 22.), particularly in Egyptian horses and the byssus or fine linen of Egypt.” (1 Kings x. 28, 29.) VI. On the introduction of the regal government among the Israelites, the princes of the tribes, heads of families, scribes or genealogists, and judges, retained the authority which they had previously exercised, and constituted a senate or legislative assembly for the cities, in or near which they respectively resided. (1 Kings xii. 1– 24. 1 Chron. xxiii. 4. xxvi. 29, 30. xxviii. and xxix. 6.) The judges and scribes or genealogists were appointed by the sovereign, together with other officers or magistrates, of whom the following were the principal. 1. The Royal Counsellors, or Privy Council, as we perhaps should term them. (Isa. iii. 3. xix. 11. 12. Jer. xxvi. 11.) Such were the old men that stood before Solomon while he lived, and whom the headstrong Rehoboam consulted (1 Kings xii. 6.); and such also was Jonathan, David's uncle. 1 Chron. xxvii. 32.) 2. 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 xix. 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.) 3. The morp (Mazkır) 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 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

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

this office by his son Jehoshaphat (2 Sam. xx. 24.), who was retained
by Solomon. (1 Kings iv. o Joah, the son of Asaph, was the re-
corder 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
thronicles, written by this officer.
4. The nob (sopher) or Scribe seems to have been the king's
secretary of state: he registered all acts and decrees. Seraiah
(2 Sam. viii. 17.) and Sheva (2 Sam. xx. 25.) were David's secre-
taries. This officer is also mentioned in 1 Kings iv. 3. 2 Kings
xviii. 18. and Isa. xxxvi. 3.
5. 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 Ahimelek 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 nu-
merous retinue that attended the oriental monarchs: the principal
officers, who thus composed the domestic establishment of the Israel-
itish and Jewish kings, were as follow —
1. 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 con-
sounded 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 re-
ceived and brought into the royal treasury all the proceeds of taxes
and tributes. -
2. 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. Abishar held this office
under David (1 Kings iv. 6.); Obadiah, under Ahab (I Kings xviii.
3); and Eliakim, under Hezekiah. (2 Kings xviii. o 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.
3. The King's Friend or Companion was the person, with whom
the sovereign conversed most familiarly and confidentially: he some-
times had the oversight of the royal palace, and sometimes even the
charge of the kingdom. (1 Kings iv. 5. 1 Chron. xxvii. 33.) 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
optain of the guard. This office existed in the court of the
tohs (Gen. xxxvii. 36. xxxix. 1.), as well as in that of the
Israelitish and Jewish monarchs. Thé captain of the marā an:

pears to have been employed in executing summary justice on state criminals. See 1 Kings ii. 25. 34. In the time of David, the royal life-guards were called Cherethites and Pelethites, concerning the origin of whose names 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. The life guards of the Asmonasan sovereigns, and subsequently of Herod and his sons, were foreigners: they bore a lance or long spear, whence they were denominated in Greek Xrskovkarages. (Mark

Wi. # 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 (the black ones especially) who guarded them; and who, as the Mosaic law prohibited castration (Lev. xxii. 24. Deut. xxiii. 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.) Jer. xxxviii. 7. xxxix. 16. and xli. 16. 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 o: with death, as a seditious person. (1 Kings ii. 13–25.) ut though the king had unlimited power over the harem, yet the wife who was chiefly in favour, and especially the mother of the king, enjoyed great political influence. (I 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. 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 Dono ..". who in our authorised English version are termed officer: . 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, specially sent for that purpose. (1 Sam. xi. 7. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 22. Ezra i. 1.) These proclamations were made at the gates of the cities, and in Jerusalem at the gate of the temple, where there was always a #. concourse of people. On this account it was that the prophets equently 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. xxxvi. 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.): 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 which adhering to Jeroboam 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 kingdom of Israel subsisted under various sovereigns during a period of 264 or 271 years, according to some chronologers; its metropolis Samaria being captured by Shalmaneser king of Assyria, B. c. 717 or 719, 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.” The kingdom of Judah continued 388, or, according to some chronologers, 404 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 Judaea) were likewise carried into captivity beyond the Euphrates, where they and their posterity remained seventy years, agreeably to the divine predictions.

! Jahn, Archeologia Biblica, pp. 332—335.330. * It was the belief of some of the antient fathers of the Christian church, that the descendants of the ten tribes did afterwards return into their own country: and the same notion has obtained among some modern Jews, but neither of these opinions is supported by history. In the New Testament, indeed, we find mention of the twelve tribes (Matt. xix. 28. Luke xxii. 30. Acts xxvi.7); and St. James (i. 1.) 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 #. name of the twelve tribes according to the antient 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 numors of Israelites mingled with the Jews, sufficient indeed to authorize the former **peak of the twelve tribes as constituting but one body with the Jewish nation. Beausobre's Introd. to the New Test. §.Watson's Tracts, vol. iii. pp. 114–116) CHAPTER II.

[graphic]

POLITICAL STATE OF THE JEWS, FROM THEIR RETURN FROM THE BABYLONISH CAPTIVITY, TO THE SUBVERSION OF THEIR CIVIL AND ECCLESIASTICAL POLITY.

SECTION I.

POLITICAL STATE OF THE JEWS UNDER THE ASMONAEAN PRINCES, AND THE SOWEREIGNS OF THE HERODIAN FAMILY.

I. Brief.4ccount of the Asmondean Princes.—II. Herod the Great.— St. Matthew's narrative of his murder of the infants at Bethlehem confirmed.—III. Archelaus-IV. Herod Antipas.-W. Philip.– VI. Herod Agrippa-VII. Agrippa junior.

I. ON the subversion of the Babylonian empire by Cyrus the founder of the Persian monarchy (b. c. 543), he authorised 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. Under the able conduct of Judas surnamed Maccabeus, and his valiant brothers, the Jews maintained a religious war for twenty-six

1 He is generally supposed to have derived this name from a cabalistical word, formed M. B. C. I. the initial letters of the Hebrew Text, Mi Chamoka Baelin 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. H.S. R. (Senatus Populus Que Romanus,) were on the Roman ensigns. Dr. Hale's Analysis of Chronology, vol. i. p. 599.

« AnteriorContinua »