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Tribe, in particular; and thirdly, what was us'd in the feveral Cities belonging to the feveral Tribes: fo there were likewife three kinds of Congregations among them. One, made up of the whole People of the twelve Tribes; another, of the Families in each Tribe, feparately; and another, of the Inhabitants of every City, within themselves.
The Great Congregation, which was made up of the whole People of the twelve Tribes, was conftituted by God himself; where he bids Mofes, fpeak unto all the 3. xiv. 2. congregation of Ifrael; and speak unto the children of Ifrael. All the Statutes, Judg ments, and Ordinances, which God delivers to Mofes, were, by him, to be communicated to the People thus affembled. And accordingly, we find Mofes gathered xxxv. 1. all the congregation of the children of Ifrael together, and faid unto them, Thefe are the words which the LORD hath commanded.
Thefe Congregations were frequently held, during the Time of Mofes. And when God appoints Joshua to be his SucNumb. ceffor, He orders him, to fet him before xxvii. 19. Eleazar the Prieft, and before all the con
gregation, and give him a charge in their
Thele Congregations no one took upon him to convene, but that Person who prefided over their Affairs; as Conductor, Judge, or King. Joshua, who was in the firft Capacity, when he was waxen old, and Josh. ftricken in age, called for all Ifrael; and xxiii. 2. for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers. Samuel, one of their judges, faid, Gather all Ifrael to Mizpeh. We read that David, when he was King, gathered Sam. all the people together. And, again; that, be xii. 29. gathered all Ifrael together, to Jerufalem. xv. 3. We read likewife, that all Ifrael came to 1 Kings Shechem to make Rehoboam King, after the Death of Solomon. Again; after the Revolt of the Ten Tribes, when Rehoboam was come to Jerufalem, he affembled all the houfe of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin. And fo Afa King of Judah, is faid to have gathered all Judah and Benja- 2 Chron. min, in order to make a folemn covenant Jolemn covenant XV. 9, 10, with God. They gathered themselves together
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at Jerusalem, accordingly, in the third
These popular Conventions were call'd and held upon three Accounts; either, tô bear fome folemn Charge; to implore the Mercy of God upon fome important EImergency; or, to tranfact Matters of great Moment and Weight. The original® Intention of calling them, at the firft, was to hear the Law, when it was difpens'd by God: When the LORD faid unto Mofes, Deut. iv. Gather me the people together, and I will make them bear my words. And when David had fummon'd one of thefe General Affemblies, by their Reprefentatives, at Jerufalem, he makes a Speech to them, in relation to the Building of the Temple; He stood up upon his feet, and faid, Hear me, 1 Chron. my brethren, and my people. Again; Fur- xxviii. 1. thermore David the king faid unto all the con- xxix. 1. gregation.
As to their affembling together to fupplicate God's Favour and Protection; we read that Jephthah, after he had agreed with the Elders of Gilead to fight the Battles of the People of Ifrael against the Am monites, and the People had made Him Head, and Captain over them, that Jeph Judges thaḥ uttered all his words before the LORD XI. II. A a 3
in Mizpeh. This was a Place held in great Veneration, in thofe Days. Here it was, probably, that he made his famous Vow; and hither thefe General Congregations were most commonly affembled, to ask Counfel of the LORD, before they attempted any Enterprize of Confequence. When the impious and rebellious Obftinacy of the Benjamites came to be known, All the children Judges of Ifrael went out, and the congregation was gathered together, as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, unto the LORD in Mizpeh. And the chief of all the people, even of all the tribes of Ifrael, prefented themselves in the assembly of the people of God. So Samuel fays, Gather all Ifrael to Mizpeh, and I will pray vii. 5. for you to the LORD. For, though his houfe was in Ramah, it is faid, he judged the children of Ifrael in Mizpeh, likewise. He took it in circuit year by year; and there held the Great National Congregations.
The Matters of Weight and Importance which they fometimes affembled together to tranfact, were, either to choose, their Chief, Judge, or King; or to determine whether they should begin a War, with