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- The Antiquities of the Jews - 230/253 -


Moses Chorenensis, p. 52, 53, and perhaps from his original author Mariba Carina, one as old as Alexander the Great, sets down the famous inscription at Tangier concerning the old Canaanites driven out of Palestine by Joshua, take it here in that author's own words: "We are those exiles that were governors of the Canaanites, but have been driven away by Joshua the robber, and are come to inhabit here." See the note there. Nor is it unworthy of our notice what Moses Chorenensis adds, p. 53, and this upon a diligent examination, viz. that "one of those eminent men among the Canaanites came at the same thee into Armenia, and founded the Genthuniaa family, or tribe; and that this was confirmed by the manners of the same family or tribe, as being like those of the Canaanites."

(10) By prophesying, when spoken of a high priest, Josephus, both here and frequently elsewhere, means no more than consulting God by Urim, which the reader is still to bear in mind upon all occasions. And if St. John, who was contemporary with Josephus, and of the same country, made use of this style, when he says that "Caiaphas being high priest that year, prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation, and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad," chap. 11;51, 52, he may possibly mean, that this was revealed to the high priest by an extraordinary voice from between the cherubims, when he had his breastplate, or Urim and Thummim, on before; or the most holy place of the temple, which was no other than the oracle of Urim and Thummim. Of which above, in the note on Antiq. B. III. ch. 8. sect. 9.

(11) This great number of seventy-two reguli, or small kings, over whom Adonibezek had tyrannized, and for which he was punished according to the lex talionis, as well as the thirty-one kings of Canaan subdued by Joshua, and named in one chapter, Joshua 12., and thirty-two kings, or royal auxiliaries to Benhadad king of Syria, 1 Kings 20:1; Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 14. sect. 1, intimate to us what was the ancient form of government among several nations before the monarchies began, viz. that every city or large town, with its neighboring villages, was a distinct government by itself; which is the more remarkable, because this was certainly the form of ecclesiastical government that was settled by the apostles, and preserved throughout the Christian church in the first ages of Christianity. Mr. Addison is of opinion, that "it would certainly be for the good of mankind to have all the mighty empires and monarchies of the world cantoned out into petty states and principalities, which, like so many large families, might lie under the observation of their proper governors, so that the care of the prince might extend itself to every individual person under his protection; though he despairs of such a scheme being brought about, and thinks that if it were, it would quickly be destroyed." Remarks on Italy, 4to, p. 151. Nor is it unfit to be observed here, that the Armenian records, though they give us the history of thirty-nine of their ancientest heroes or governors after the Flood, before the days of Sardanapalus, had no proper king till the fortieth, Parerus. See Moses Chorehensis, p. 55. And that Almighty God does not approve of such absolute and tyrannical monarchies, any one may learn that reads Deuteronomy 17:14-20, and 1 Samuel 8:1-22; although, if such kings are set up as own him for their supreme King, and aim to govern according to his laws, he hath admitted of them, and protected them and their subjects in all generations.

(12) Josephus's early date of this history before the beginning of the Judges, or when there was no king in Israel, Judges 19;1, is strongly confirmed by the large number of Benjamites, both in the days of Asa and Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 14:8, and 16:17, who yet were here reduced to six hundred men; nor can those numbers be at all supposed genuine, if they were reduced so late as the end of the Judges, where our other copies place this reduction.

(13) Josephus seems here to have made a small mistake, when he took the Hebrew word Bethel, which denotes the house of God, or the tabernacle, Judges 20:18, for the proper name of a place, Bethel, it no way appearing that the tabernacle was ever at Bethel; only so far it is true, that Shiloh, the place of the tabernacle in the days of the Judges, was not far from Bethel.

(14) It appears by the sacred history, Judges 1:16; 3:13, that Eglon's pavilion or palace was at the City of Palm-Trees, as the place where Jericho had stood is called after its destruction by Joshua, that is, at or near the demolished city. Accordingly, Josephus says it was at Jericho, or rather in that fine country of palm-trees, upon, or near to, the same spot of ground on which Jericho had formerly stood, and on which it was rebuilt by Hiel, 1 Kings 16:31. Our other copies that avoid its proper name Jericho, and call it the City of Palm-Trees only, speak here more accurately than Josephus.

(15) These eighty years for the government of Ehud are necessary to Josephus's usual large numbers between the exodus and the building of the temple, of five hundred and ninety-two or six hundred and twelve years, but not to the smallest number of four hundred and eighty years, 1 Kings 6:1; which lesser number Josephus seems sometimes to have followed. And since in the beginning of the next chapter it is said by Josephus, that there was hardly a breathing time for the Israelites before Jabin came and enslaved them, it is highly probable that some of the copies in his time had here only eight years instead of eighty; as had that of Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolye. 1. iii., and this most probably from his copy of Josephus.

(16) Our present copies of Josephus all omit Tola among the judges, though the other copies have him next after Abimelech, and allot twenty-three years to his administration, Judges 10:1, 2; yet do all Josephus's commentators conclude, that in Josephus's sum of the years of the judges, his twenty-three years are included; hence we are to confess, that somewhat has been here lost out of his copies.

(17) Josephus justly condemns Jephtha, as do the Apostolical Constitutions, B. VII. ch. 37., for his rash vow, whether it were for sacrificing his daughter, as Josephus thought, or for dedicating her, who was his only child, to perpetual virginity, at the tabernacle or elsewhere, which I rather suppose. If he had vowed her for a sacrifice, she ought to have been redeemed, Leviticus 27:1-8; but of the sense of ver. 28, 29, as relating not to things vowed to. God, but devoted to destruction, see the note on Antiq. B. V. ch. 1. sect. 8.

(18) I can discover no reason why Manoah and his wife came so constantly into these suburbs to pray for children, but because there was a synagogue or place of devotion in those suburbs.

(19) Here, by a prophet, Josephus seems only to mean one that was born by a particular providence, lived after the manner of a Nazarite devoted to God, and was to have an extraordinary commission and strength from God for the judging and avenging his people Israel, without any proper prophetic revelations at all.

(20) This fountain, called Lehi, or the Jaw-bone, is still in being, as travelers assure us, and was known by this very name in the days of Josephus, and has been known by the same name in all those past ages. See Antiq. B. VII. ch. 12. sect. 4.

(21) See this justly observed in the Apostolical Constitutions, B. VII. ch. 37., that Samson's prayer was heard, but that it was before this his transgression.

(22) Although there had been a few occasional prophets before, yet was this Samuel the first of a constant succession of prophets in the Jewish nation, as is implied in St. Peter's words, Acts 3:24 "Yea, and all the prophets, from Samuel, and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of those days." See also Acts 13:20. The others were rather sometime called righteous men, Matthew 10:41; 13:17.

Book 6 Footnotes

(1) Dagon, a famous maritime god or idol, is generally supposed to have been like a man above the navel, and like a fish beneath it.

(2) Spanheim informs us here, that upon the coins of Tenedos, and those of other cities, a field-mouse is engraven, together with Apollo Smintheus, or Apollo, the driver away of field-mice, on account of his being supposed to have freed certain tracts of ground from those mice; which coins show how great a judgment such mice have sometimes been, and how the deliverance from them was then esteemed the effect of a divine power; which observations are highly suitable to this history.

(3) This device of the Philistines, of having a yoke of kine to draw this cart, into which they put the ark of the Hebrews, is greatly illustrated by Sanchoniatho's account, under his ninth generation, that Agrouerus, or Agrotes, the husbandman, had a much-worshipped statue and temple, carried about by one or more yoke of oxen, or kine, in Phoenicia, in the neighborhood of these Philistines. See Cumberland's Sanchoniatho, p. 27 and 247; and Essay on the Old Testament, Append. p. 172.

(4) These seventy men, being not so much as Levites, touched the ark in a rash or profane manner, and were slain by the hand of God for such their rashness and profaneness, according to the Divine threatenings, Numbers 4:15, 20; but how other copies come to add such an incredible number as fifty thousand in this one town, or small city, I know not. See Dr. Wall's Critical Notes on 1 Samuel 6:19.

(5) This is the first place, so far as I remember, in these Antiquities, where Josephus begins to call his nation Jews, he having hitherto usually, if not constantly, called them either Hebrews or Israelites. The second place soon follows; see also ch. 3. sect. 5.

(6) Of this great mistake of Saul and his servant, as if true prophet of God would accept of a gift or present, for foretelling what was desired of him, see the note on B. IV. ch. 6. sect. 3.

(7) It seems to me not improbable that these seventy guests of Samuel, as here, with himself at the head of them, were a Jewish sanhedrim, and that hereby Samuel intimated to Saul that these seventy-one were to be his constant counselors, and that he was to act not like a sole monarch, but with the advice and direction of these seventy-one members of that Jewish sanhedrim upon all occasions, which yet we never read that he consulted afterward.

(8) An instance of this Divine fury we have after this in Saul, ch. 5. sect. 2, 3; 1 Samuel 11:6. See the like, Judges 3:10;


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