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Septenary Years of Reff.
Whifton, &c. to fix the true era of fabbatical years and jubiles, induced Prideaux to pronounce those circulating periods both uncertain and useless. Their use in computation is obvious, and the term of computation defined, in the original institution, “When ye come into the land, &c. then shall the land keep a fabbath. Six years shalt thou sow thy seed; and fix years shalt thou prune thy vineyard, and gather in thy fruit; but in the seventh year shall be a fabbath of rest unto the land; a sabbath for the Lord: Thou shale neither fow thy field; nor prune thy vineyard *.” Before the inhabitants were subdued and the land divided, Israel could neither fow nor reap. Usher allows fix years for the conquest of the country, and appropriates the seventh for its partition. But a fabbatical year could not be observed before fix had been employed in Sowing and reaping.
• Lev. XXV, 3s.
The subjugation of the natives was the work of five years. In the beginning of the sixth, Joshua and Eleazar, with the fathers of the tribes, proceeded to divide the lands by line and lot. Caleb, prior to that distribution, claimed, in virtue of a grant from Moses, Hebron for his inheritance. In the second year from the Exodus Caleb's age was 40, and 85 in the 46th *. Thus is the date of the partition ascertained. At the time of the autumnal equinox in that year the tribes, having acquired their several possessions, began to plow, plant, and low. The first possible year of rest began at the same cardinal point in the 53d from the egress; and the 13th from the passage over Jordan, A. M. 2568.
“ Thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be forty-nine years. Then Thale thou cause the trumpet of jubile to found on the tenth day of the seventh month +.” Here is the quantity of a jubile defined ; the 50th year from the foregoing jubile inclusively; or in a continual series from the primary rest for the land. Thus is the term of computation certain. These circulating periods serve as a regulating measure in the progress of computation indefinitely ; and with respect to the facred chronology, answer the same end with the Julian period, applied to the chronology of the world. For example,
The sacred critics and expositors agree that a jubile characterised some one year of our Lord's natural Life;
+ Lev. xxv. 8, 9.
Joth. xiv. 7--11.
that of his nativity, baptism, or crucifixion. Discord. ant, however, are their opinions. But this test is decisive.
From A. M. 2568, on the tenth day of the seventh Hebrew month, according to the patriarchal calendar, .continue the reckoning down 1470 years, equal to 210 feptenary.combinations of years, or 30 jubiles; the operation terminates with the ninth of the seventh Hebrew month, A. M. 4038. That was the fourth of John's ministry, the 34th of our Lord's age, and the very date of his baptism. From Jordan he went traitway into the wilderness, at the end of 40 days returned into Galilee, entered the synagogue at Nazareth, on the fabbath day, and read from the book of Isaiah, « The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Thus calculation agrees with the infallible teftimony, both of prophecy and history, in the conclufion, that our Lord began his ministry on the 30th jubile from the first sabbatical year in Canaan.
HENCE it is evident, that the Primate's arrangement misplaces the root of computation by jubiles, confounds the first year of John's ministry with that of Christ's baptism, and contrary to every notation in the gospel hiftory, defers his entrance on the prophetical function, three years beyond its true date.
Length of Joshua's Government. By the computation of Josephus the administration of Jolaua is compređed within the narrow limits of 25 7
years ; Lightfoot admits but 17; Usher no more than
If the ANNALS give the proper notation, he was 61 years old in the year of the egress. In that year he is denominated a
young man *.
At the age of 30 the expression young is usual; but youth is at variance with threescore. Suppose Joshua in his 30th year discomfited Amalek. Add 80, the sum is 110. By this reckoning he judged Israel 40 years. In the year of the partition he was old and stricken in years, his age being 76. Very much land then remained to be possessed” t. The truth is, that no part of it had been divided by lot. To Caleb, the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, their possessions, had been assigned by Moses. " It came to pass a long time after the Lord had given reft unto Israel from all his enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old,” &c. t. If Joshua died three years after the partition, the phrase, a long time after, is egregiously misapplied, but extremely proper, if he died after the lapse of 34 years. With these characters of time every circumstance in the history accords. But the Primate, finding it impracticable to comprise the years of oppression and rest, within a reasonable compass, so as not to exceed the period of 480 years, found it necessary to abbreviate the duration both of Joshua's and Samuel's government.
The Book of the Judges.
His history opens with a recapitulation of cer
tain incidents more fully recorded in the Book of Joshua, and fills up the interval from his death to the commencement of Othniel's administration, where the proper subject of this history begins. This interval includes 20 years ; for the oppression under Culhan began in the last year of the first century from the Exodus; and these 20 years are divided into two equal portions. “ During all the days of the elders who sur- . vived Joshua, Ifrael served the Lord. But after them arose another generation, who knew not the Lord,” &c. The enormities pra&tised during these ten years are concisely related from the 17th chapter to the end of the Book. The time is intimated by two chronological marks, the pontificate of Phinchas the son of Eleazar, and by the want of a king, or supreme civil magistrate in Israel. The period thus characterised could be no other than the intermediate space of 20 years from the death of Joshua to Othniel *.
• The particular enormities which prevailed during the latter interval of 10 years were the introduction of idolatry by Micah, the tragical incident of the Levite and his concubine, the defection of the Danites, the massacre of the Benjamites, and of the inbabitants of Jabesh-Gilead, &c.