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Purely civil and military, but in ecclefiaftical alfo (Q): and what profound respect was paid to the regal dignity, appears both from the submissive language with which they were addressed, and the humble manner of approaching them ; insomuch that even queens and prophets did proftrate themselves with their faces to the ground before them, as Nathan and Bathbeba did to David"
?"; though there is no doubt, but his son Solomon raised the grandeur of the throne to a much greater height (R).
+ Vide int. al. 1 Sam. xxv. 23, & feqq. & ver. 40, & feqq. 2 Sam. xiv. paff. xxiv. 3, & alib.
u i Kings i. 16, 23. (Q) This is, indeed, denied of Moses, no man was to be by very many divines, who capitally punished, till he had think, that they never exercised been convicted before proper any authority in the latter, as judges, and upon the evidence kings of Israel, but as prophets, of at least two or three witand inspired persons, such as nesses ; yet we meet with frewere David and Solomon. But quent instances of persons being the contrary doth plainly ap- put to death by the sole will of pear from the reformations and the prince. The same may be regulations which Hezekiah, presumed to have been, with Jebolhaphat, Jofah, and others respect to property, by the inmade, who were neither pro- ftances of Mephibosbeth and his phets, nor inspired persons. servant Ziba (12), and others We have already taken notice, of the like nature. From that that they had power to consult of Naboth (13) we may like. the oracle of urim; and, in- wise conclude, that, in some deed, they were commanded so cases, the estates of persons to do upon all emergencies, as condemned devolved to the well as the grand council or king: but, from the laws lately sanhedrin, over which they mentioned against opprefling presided, whenever they pleased the subjects, it appears rather to aslift at it (10). Thus we to have been a tyrannical find, that David, after he had usurpation, than a command, been anointed king, even in or even permission, from God. Saul's time, did consult the (R) The Jews affirm, that divine oracle concerning the even the high-priest was obliged fuccess of his undertaking (11). to stand before the king; whereThey had likewise an absolute as the latter only stood before power of life and death ; and the high-priest, when he was though, according to the law consulting God by urim (14).
(10) Maim. balak melakim, c. 2. Basnag. ubi sup: (12) 2 Sam. xix. 29. (14) Main. wbi fup.
(11) 1 Sam. XXX. 7, & 8. Vide
(13) · Kings xxi. poll:
Laws and customs relating to judges, and courts
judicature. Courts of We need not speak
bere of those judges, emphatica judica- so who
these,being appointed, from time to time, by God himse we find, were intirely governed by his laws, and, in doul ful cases, by his Spirit, with which they were endowe they had the supreme authority, during their life, and d fered in nothing from kings but in title, pomp, and grai deur, and their dignity not being hereditary : in all oth cases their power was the same. They could make peau and war, summon the tribes to arms, consult God by urin and the like. It is said, that they judged Ifrael, that th people repaired to them for judgment, and that they took yearly circuits through the land to administer ju
They add, that he alone was not in shape, at least in beauty
(15) Maimon balak betb babkir. (16) 1 Kings xxii. go.
(18) Vid. 1 Sam. xxvü.8. 1 Kings XXü. 10.30. Jojepo. anto lo vi. 6.30, & alib. Rajc. & al. (19) Pfal. xlv,
1. yüi. C2.
fticef; but whether this was done by way of appeal from the judgment of inferior courts, as the dernier resort, or by way of consulting them in doubtful cases, is not easy to determine (R).
But, besides these, Mofes, and, after him, those who were at the head of the Ísraelitis commonwealth, were commanded to appoint a number of judges and magistrates in all cities, to administer justice to the people in every tribe. These were to be men of wisdom and probity, well versed in the law of Mofes, free from covetousness and partiality, such as would protect the innocent, the fatherless and widow, the helpless and stranger, and punish the guilty and wrong-doer 8. We find, likewise, several denunciations against those who should suffer themselves to be bribed to act contrary to the strict laws of juftice; but as they were appointed by the kings, so did their virtue rise and fall, according to the goodness or wickedness of these. We may say more : Samuel was himself a most upright judge ; and yet his two sons, who acted under him, proved most unrighteous. David was likewise a pious monarch; and yet, had there not crept a great
f Vid. Judges iv. 5. i Sam, iii. 20. iv. 1. vii. 15, & feq. &
& Exod. xxiü. 8, & feq. Deut. xvi. 18, & feq. xvii. 2, & seq. xix. paff. xxiv. 16, & seq. xxv. 1, & feq. & alib. paff, Ezek. xliv. 24. præc. affirm. 97. 100.
(R) The latter, however, the sequel, that the council, seems most probable, from the which Mofes appointed, lafted command of Moses, that In all only during the lives of those doubtful cases, whether criminal elders; and that this fanhedrin or civil, wherein the inferior was a new inftitution,of a much judges could not easily determine, later date. So that, in all they should apply themselves to doubtful and disputed cases, no the priests, and to the judge or persons could be more proper head of the people then in being, to be applied to, than these to whose judgment they should judges, who were indued both submit under pain of death (59). with the spirit of God, and The Jews, indeed, pretend, that the supreme authority ; since this application was to be made even this latter was thought to the great council, or fanhe- sufficient afterwards, in the time drin(60), which they pretend to of their kings; as appears from havesubfifted ever since the time very many instances, especially of Moses. But we shall fhew in those quoted in the margin (61).
(59) Deut. xvii. 8, & feq. (60) Præc. affirm. 3. tiv. paf. Kings iii. 16, & feq. 2 Kings vii. 3, & alib. pall.
(61) 2 Sam.
deal of corruption into the courts of judicature, his Abfalom could have had no pretence for wishing tha had been a judge, that he might do justice to every that applied to him h.
These courts were held at the gates of the cities, a became, in time, very confiderable ; but how they w kept, or how many judges belonged to each, whether th power was equal, or fome subordinate to others, cannot gathered from Scripture (S). In the flourishing reigns David and Solomon they increased very much i; and, process of time, became fo corrupted, that the proph were obliged, from time to time, to exclaim against ther One of them, having been sent to Jehoshaphat, to d nounce God's heavy judgment against Israel for tho abuses, wrought so upon that good king, that he immed ately set about making a thorough reformation, appointin new judges in every walled city, some of whom were the tribe of Levi, and charging them, 'in the most pressin terms, to be more watchful and upright than their prede ceffors : he likewise appointed two tribunals for the city o Jerusalem, the one consisting, chiefly, of priests and Levites, for inatters of religion ; and the other, which was mostly made up of the heads of families, for matters of ftate. In this condition they are supposed to have continued till the captivity, ’bating that, as the princes became more and more wicked, so did the judges under them, till God was provoked to drive them out of the land. This is all we can say, upon that article, with any tolerable cer
I Vid. i Chron, xxiii. & feq.
2 Sam. xv. 2, & feq. paff.
(S) We read, indeed, that that every thing was transacted Mofes,during their abode in the in them with the utmost plainwilderness,appointed rulers over ness and simplicity: neither thousands, over hundreds, fif- were there many kinds of ofties, and tens (62); and these fices or dignities, since we read were, in all likelihood, subor- but of four sorts of officers, even dinate to one another: but how in Joshua's time; namely, the far this model was followed, elders, the heads, the judges, when they came into the land and the officers (63). It is inof Canaan, doth not appear. possible to determine what their However, we may suppose that officers were ; only the last are these courts consisted, at first, supposed to have been a kind of but of very few persons ; and beadles, or executioners.
(62) Exod. xviii. 24, & sege
(63) Foh. xxiv. 1.
tainty (T); and thus much we know concerning those tribunals, that they took cognizance of all civil and criminal
as we can.
(T) As for what Josephus If a man was condemned to and the Talmudifts add con- death, he was to be immediately cerning magistrates, and their led to execution : a crier was courts, as their accounts differ to go before him, and proclaim from one another, and as we the crime he was to die for; to are not sure, but even the for- the end that, if any person mer doth rather describe them
knew any thing that could clear as they were after, than before him of it, he might be brought the captivity; we shall chuse to back to the judges, and have a subjoin them, in as few words second, and, if occasion offered,
a third hearing. The same inBesides the grand council of dulgence was to be allowed him seventy, mentioned above, to if he complained of being unwhich, they pretend, all other juftly condemned,whilft he went tribunals, throughout the land, to the place of execution ; in were subordinate ; the Talmud- which case, he was to chuse ifts tell us, there were two two wise men to plead for him, other courts, one consisting of and, if possible, to obtain a rethree, and the other of three- version of the sentence: but if and-twenty judges; and these, in neither case he could prove they say, were to be in every himself innocent, he was then city and town that had 120 in- to be forthwith executed by the habitants, according to some; witnesses: for it is here to be or families, according to others. observed, that, if the crime was The first of these courts were such as deserved hanging, the only chosen pro re nata, one by criminal was first to be stoned each party, and the third by to death, and then hanged. the other two: their cogni- But, before execution, he was to zance extended no farther than be exhorted to confess his crime, to small matters, such as ser- and to pray that his death might vants wages, petty larcenies, atone both for it, and for all his restitution, and the like: nei- other fins; which if he did, ther could they inflia a heavier they gave him then a dose of punishment than whipping. wine mixed with myrrh, or
That of twenty-three was al- frankincense, to ftupefy him ; lowed to judge of all capital after which, he was put to causes, and to condemn crimi- death. If he was to be hanged nals to death: and if there a- after it, as in cases of idolatry, rose any difference in their judg- blasphemy, and the like, they ment, it was carried by the ma. ftayed till about an hour before jority; for which reason, they sunset, and then tied his hands say, their number was to be behind him, and hoisted him up odd: but in cases of moment, till just before sunset, at which and of a dubious nature, the time he was taken down, and high-priet was to be consulted. both the halter and the gallows,