Imatges de pÓgina


other crimes which were punished with it, particularly fome kinds of inceft. They add, that it was twofold; namely, burning with fire, and with melted lead poured down the criminal's throat.

3. BEHEADING. This, the Jewish doctors fay, was a punishment appointed only for murderers, and for towns that were fallen into idolatry: but we find nothing like it to have been practifed before the captivity, in a judicial way (X).


2 Vid. Mos. Korz, in tract. fanhedr. c. 1. GoODWIN'S Mof. and Aar. 1. v. c. 7. fect. 13.

(X) It is true, indeed, that Abimelech,one of Gideon's fons, caused feventy of his brothers to be beheaded upon one stone at Ophra (82); that the men of Samaria fent the heads of the fame number of Ahab's fons to the new king of Ifrael (83); and that forty-two of Abaziah's brethren were put to death, probably, in the fame way, by the fame Jehu's orders (84) but it is plain, that none of these were done in a

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ftruck their parents. 2. Menftealers. 3. The priests that refused to conform to the determination of the court. 4. Falfe prophets, or those who prophefied in the name of falfe gods. 5. He that defiled another man's bed; and, 6. He that had criminal converfation with a prieft's daughter. These were executed as follows; they were immerged in dung up to the knees; two executioners tied a napkin about their neck, and twisted it till they were quite fuffocated. All kinds of criminals were buried apart by themfelves, and on the fame day, together with the inftruments of their death, whatever they were, to blot out, as much as poffible, the remembrance of it (88).

To these we may add fome foreign punishments, which were afterwards adopted by their kings: fuch were those which David caufed to be inflicted on the Ammonites (89), and that which Manasseh put the prophet Isaiah to, whom he

(83) 2 Kings X. 7. (86) 2 Sam. i. 15. fanbedr. ubi fup.

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BUT the most dreadful of all their punishments, though Excommunot a capital one, was excommunication, especially that nication, which they called shematta (Y), answering to the Syrian


is fuppofed, by feveral antient fathers (90), to have caufed to be fawn in two from the head downward, with a wooden faw, from the words of the apoftle (91), Some were fawn afunder. The difficulty here is about the wooden faw, how it could be fit for fuch a purpose: but,allowing the thing to be really fact, and a tradition of it to have been preserved, we need but fuppofe the expreffion to be an Hebraifm, that is, a wooden faw,for a faw with which wood ufed to be fawn, which is a common idiom in that tongue. This expreffion of cutting in two, and cutting afunder, is, indeed, frequent in the Old Teftament, and in the apocryphal book of Sufanna. We omit fome other punithments of the like nature, which would only fill our readers with horror: as for that of crucifixion, fuch as Chrift suffered, though fome have fanfied it to be implied in the words of Deuteronomy (92), If a man be hanged on a tree, bis body fhall not remain all night on it, &c. yet it is generally allowed to have been, not a Jewish, but a Roman punishment, and fo foreign to our purpose.

(Y) The Jews reckon three kinds, or, rather, degrees of excommunication. The first they call '17,niddui, from ¡77),

nadah, to feparate, or put from one fo that this word was indifferently used to express those that were separated for any uncleannefs, or for any crime that came within this degree of excommunication (93). The time of its lafting was limited to 30 days; and yet the delinquent could either fhorten it, by doing penance; or lengthen it, by ftubbornness, even to the end of his life, if he persisted in it. In this laft cafe, they refused to circumcife his children; and, if he died impenitent, the judge ordered a stone to be thrown into his coffin, or bier, to fhew that he deferved to have been ftoned..

The second degree they called, cherem, anathema; and this, they pretend, was more fevere than the niddui, because it excluded the perfon from the fynagogue, and from all civil commerce, which the other did not. But we fhall fhew, in the fequel, that this word fignified quite another thing, and was applicable to men and things vowed to death or deftruction (94). And our learned Selden has proved, that there were really but two kinds of excommunication, the leffer and the greater; and that the terms, niddui, cherem, and hematta, were used indifferently (95).

The last, however, according

Orig. ex lib. apocr. Hieron. in Ifa.. (92) Deut. xxi. 22. (93) Vid. int. (94) Vid. Levit. xxvii. 29. Joh. vii. 11, & feq. (95) De Synedr, vet, Heb. 1. i, 6, 7, &S.

(90) Juftin. Mart. dialog. cont. Trypb. &al. (91) Heb. xi. 37. al. Ezek. xviii. 6.

K 3

maran-atta used by St. Paul, which fignifies, in both tongues, the Lord comes, or is at hand. Enoch, the feventh from Adam, is fuppofed the author of it, becaufe St. Jude quotes that faying of his, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his faints to execute judgment; and fo oni: which must have been, at leaft, owing to fome tradition among the Jews (Z).

h 1 Cor. xvi. 22.

to them, was this, n, he matta, which, they pretend, was proclaimed by the found of 400 trumpets, as, they fay, it was done at the curfing of Meroz by Deborah. A perfon, fo excommunicated, was never to be received again into the congregation; and fome pretend, that it was even lawful to put him to death. For this reafon, they derive the word from

v, ham, there; and, mattah, death: to which the expreffion of St. John is fuppofed to allude, There is a fin unto death; that is, according to them, a fin that deferves to be devoted to death (96). But all this is forced; and that which derives it from V, the name, and NON, comes, or is at hand; feems to us the most rational, and answers to the Syriae maran-atta, which bears the fame fenfe. As for the crimes to which thefe excommunications were annexed, and the manner of pronouncing them, or of abfolving thefe that had incurred them, the reader may confult Selden and Buxtorf in the places abovequoted, or the learned J. Jam. Hottinger (97), and others.

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i Ver. 14.

(96) 1 John v. 16. Vid. Bertram, de polit. Jud. c. 2. theol. de pænitent. p. 49, & feq.

(98) Judg. v. 23. (100) Ant. l. xi. c. 5.


&feq. Nebem. xiii. 25.

(Z) However, these fetch the original of it both from thofe frequent expreffions in the Mofaic writings, That foul all be cut off from Ifrael; and thou shalt put away evil from the midst of thee: and, more particularly, from the words in Deborah's fong, Curfe ye Meroz, faid the angel of the Lord; curfe ye, bitterly the inhabitants of it (98). But, without inquiring into the validity of thefe fubtil etymologies, we find a more exprefs form of it in Ezra and Nehemiah (99), who excommunicated all thofe that refused to repudiate their ftrange wives; and exacted an oath from the people, to avoid all affinity and commerce with them. The fame account of it we find in Jofephus, who adds, that the goods of the excom municated perfon were to be confifcated to the holy treasury (100). It is true, this was done after the captivity; but we need not doubt but they had precedents and laws for it before that time: for it is faid, that it was performed in a legal way, and pursuant to the laws

of God.

(97) Diff. bift. (99) Exra

Laws against murder.

MOSES tells us, that, from the time of the flood, Murder.

murder could not be expiated but by the death of the murderer P, whatever might be the punishment of it before that time. Under the law, GOD feems to exprefs a much greater abhorrence against it: he not only forbad it in the decalogue 4, but appointed avengers to punish the guilty perfon where-ever they found him, and permitted him to be torn from the most venerable fanctuaries to condign punishments, as was lately hinted; and exprefly forbad both the avenger and judges to make any compofition, or to accept of any other recompence for the crime; and thefe laws extended equally to Ifraelites, and to the ftrangers that dwelt amongst them u (A). We may alfo add another inftitution, extremely proper to infpire the people with an uncommon horror against wilful murder; namely, that for the expiation of an uncertain murder. It was as follows: As foon as the judges, who lived near the place where a man was found murdered, were informed of it, they were to examine what town was nearest to it, and to fummon the elders of that city, who were thereupon obliged to bring an heifer that had never been yoked, and to drive her into a rough uncultivated valley, and there ftrike her head off: thefe, and the priests, were then to wash their hands over her, and to profefs, that their hands. had not fhed this blood, neither their eyes feen it done;

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after which, they were to pray to God not to lay it to their charge w (B).

Laws against adultery, and all other unlawful commerce of fexes. The trial of adultery, or waters of jealoufy concerning marriage and levirate.


Against 1 will fcarcely be thought needful to inquire how far adultery. the words, Thou shalt not commit adultery, excluded all other carnal gratifications which were not confined within the bounds of lawful wedlock (C). It is fufficient to say, that inceft, rape, fodomy, and beftiality, are forbid by other exprefs laws, under pain of death, as well as

w Deut. xxi. 1, & feq.

(B) One may fee, by all this folemn ceremony, and by all the above-mentioned laws,what

* Exod. xx. 14. Deut. v. 18.

from the guilt of fhedding in-
nocent blood. It was for this
very reafon,alfo, that God gave
them feveral laws, whofe only
tendency was, to divert them
from cruelty: fuch were thofe
that for bad them to feeth a lamb
or kid in its mother's milk; to
kill the dam and her young,
both in one day; to catch the
old birds and their brood to-
gether; to muzzle the ox that
treadeth the corn; to refufe to
affift a neighbour's, or even an
enemy's beast, that funk under
its burden; and many more of
the like nature, all highly pro-
per to infpire them with fenti-
ments of humanity and good-
nature, which the flaughter they
were going to make of fo many
nations, juftly doomed to it for
their wickedness, might other
wife have been apt to extinguifh
in them.

(C) This is, indeed, the received opinion of many Jews and Chriftians, who, by the word care was taken to deter them, naph, understand all kind of illicit coition, and unnatural lufts (1). Yet we beg leave to take notice, that fome of the antients, on both fides, underftood it of the breach of conjugal faith. Accordingly, we find, by Philo and Tertullian, that fome of the Greek copies placed this law against adultery before that against murder in the decalogue; and these two great orators have taken the pains to prove the former to be the more grievous crime of the two, and to defcribe the great hurt it doth to human fociety; the latter concluding it to be the greater crime, because forbidden before murder (2). However, it is certain, that Mofes has no-where given fuch a weighty reafon against that, as he doth against this, when he fays, For in the image of God created he man (3).

(1) Vid. Abener, in Exod. xx. & comment. fer. om, in loc. de pudicit. Vid. Carlton, concord, c. 7. (3) Gen. ix. 6.

(2) Tertul


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