Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

years; Lightfoot admits but 17; Usher no more than nine. He died at the age of 110. 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 nécessary to abbreviate the duration both of Joshua's and Samuel's government.

Meur

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

CHA P. II.

The Book of the Judges. T 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 Cushan 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 survived Joshua, Israel 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.

FROM

From the date of the war with Cushan, to the inauguration of Saul, are 296 years ; and the chronology of the Annals extremely intricate. The arrangements of Marsham, and Bedford, come nearest to the truth of history; but the result is approximation only, which always implies imperfection.

Is it practicable, by the aid of internal characters of time, to educe historical order out of apparent confufion ; and to elucidate what is dark in the chronology?

From Othniel to the death of Gideon the years of war are 53 ; and the wars are described as in succession. The years of rest are 200. But it is presumed, that some parts of the country were involved in the calamities of war, while others enjoyed tran. quillity.

To Gideon succeeded Abimelech, and after him Tolah. They judged Israel 26 years. Under the government of Jair, the successor of Tolah, brake out the war with Ammon, which lasted 18 years, and was terminated by the valour of Jephtha, who succeeded Jair. To Jephtha the king of the children of Ammon sent messengers, demanding the restoration of certain lands, once belonging to the kingdom of the Amorites. Jephtha remonstrated, that Israel had been in the porsession of those lands 300 years; that the right, established by prescription, was then unalterable, and the claim for recovery too late. Confiding, that the sword might enforce what negociation could not obtain, the Ammonites hazarded a battle, and incurred a total defeat. E

To

To the year of the entrance into Canaan, or the 41st from the Exodus, add 300: The computation thence exclusively, is continued to 342, which seems to have been the first of Jephtha's administration. To this date an objection occurs. The second year from the passage over Jordan was prior to the division of the country, and consequently to the possession of those lands by the Israelites. It is replied, that Moses, on cer. tain conditions, had granted to the tribes of Reuben and Gad, all the kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites, with all the cities of Og, king of Bashan *; and that they had received their inheritance before the general partition t. The possession of 300 years is thus evinced.

But farther; the war of 18 years with Ammon, is by Jud. x. 7. comprehended in the 40 years war with the Philistines, under the joint administration of Eli and Samson, while Jair and Jephtha conducted the war with Ammon. Thus is established a decisive evidence of co-existent wars, and contemporary rulers, with local jurisdiction: and this discovery points out a justifiable and necessary expedient for reducing the amplified ac. counts of chronologers to the authentic notations of the sacred writers I.

JEPITIA subdued the Ammonites, in the year from the Exodus 342. This sum deduct from the date of

* Num. xxxii. 32, 33. † Josh. xiii. 8.

I Long before Marsham, Petavius suggested the scheme of coincident wars, and contemporary magistrates, between the times of Abimeleck and! Sand, but the hypothesis of neither is framed with chronological precision.

Saul's

Saul's inauguration 396, the difference is 54, including 18 years of Eli's government, and 36 of Samuel's : 18 + 36 = 54.

In the Annals, the Philistine war of 40 years terminates 20 years after the death of Eli, with the second battle at Ebenezer. : It certainly ended with the first battle there fought, for, prior to the second, Samuel had officiated as fupreme magistrate and high priest 20 years. But the Primate, by connecting the year subsequent to this battle with the confecration of Saul, entirely excludes Samuel from the register of the priests and judges. The sources of this mistake are obvious from the surface of the history. A minute refutation would here require a superfluous expence of arguments.

It is not however inapposite to rectify an erroneous number in the Greek Testament, relative to this subject. “ When he had destroyed the seven nations, he divided their land unto them by lot. And after that he gave unto them judges by the space of 450 years, until Samuel the prophet *.” The land was divided in the 46th year after the Exodus: And 396 — 46 = 350, which difference is the true interval from the partition to the end of Samuel's ministry. TemPXnOC 101, 400, had inadvertently been substituted for, Tplanooloi, 300, in one copy, and at last pervaded all.

UNTEXTUAL and violent is the Primate's gloss in support of this erroneous notation: “ Much about 450 years after the election of the fathers, and the time of

[blocks in formation]
« PoprzedniaDalej »