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19. Ruth iv.




Ezra x.





xix. 12.

xxi. 3,

Deut. to be done by the Elders of the city. And, in the Time of the Judges, Boaz appeals to ten men of the Elders of the city of Bethlehem Judah. And we read, after the s Captivity, of the Elders of every city. And, Luke in the Gofpel, it is faid; The Elders of bet xxii. 66. the people, and the Chief Priests, and Scribes, be came together. For it is reasonable to be


Mat. xxi.


lieve those who, in the Gospel are called hal
Elders of the People, were only Elders of
the City of Jerufalem.



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There having been Courts of Judicature


in every City, befides the Great Council or Sanhedrim of Jerufalem, we shall treat of thofe firft; and leave the other to difcours'd of in a Section by it self. The firft Inftitution of thefe, in the Wilderness; when Mofes, by the Ad vice of Jethro his Father-in-law, chose a xviii. 25, ble men out of all Ifrael; and made them beads over the people; rulers of thousands rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. These were to judge the peo




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ple, at all feafons, in small matters; but every greater matter was to be referr'd to Mofes himself.

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The Commiffion given to these Judges was, in thefe Words; Hear the caufes be- Deut. i. tween your brethren, and judge righteously 16, &c.between every man and his brother, and

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the ftranger that is with him. Ye shall

not respect perfons, in judgment; but you

= fhall bear the small as well as the great. You shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's. And the caufe that is too hard for you, bring it unto me,

and I will hear it.

Afterwards, we find an Ordinance for, it, from God himself. Judges and officers ib. xvi. Jhalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which 18. the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they fhall judge the people with just judgment. Thou shalt not wreft judgment; Thou shalt not respect perfons; neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wife, and pervert the words of the righteous.

And, after the Law had been greatly neglected by fome of the Kings, we find Jehoshaphat, who was a Kind of a Re




former, among other Regulations that he 2 Chron. made, Set judges in the land, throughout xix.5. all the fenced cities of Judah, city by And Jaid to the judges, Take heed what ye do; for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in judgment. Wherefore now, let the fear of the LORD be upon you. For there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor refpect of perfons, nor taking of gifts.




After their Return from the Captivity, among other Parts of their Conftitution, the Judges were re-establifh'd; as Ifaiah i. Ifaiah had prophefied; I will restore thy judges, as at the first; and thy counsellors, as at the beginning. Artaxerxes comEzra vii. mands Ezra, to fet magiftrates and judges, which may judge all the people. After ib. x. 14. which we read of the judges of every city. But it is fomewhat uncertain whether thefe Judges were, any other than a Part, or the whole Body, of the Council of the Elders; the fame Kind of Bufinefs being affign'd in common to both. Thus it is Deut. faid, in the Law; If any man hate his neighxix. 11. bour, and lie in wait for him, and rife up against him, and fmite him mortally that he



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xxi. I,


die, and fleeth into one of these cities; (of Refuge.) Then the Elders of his city, fhall fend and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the band of the avenger of blood, that he may die. Thine eye shall not pity bim "But thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Ifrael, that it may go with thee. Again; If any one be found flain, and it be not known who hath flain &c. bim. Then thy Elders and thy Judges fhall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is Slain. And it shall be, that the city which is next unto the flain man, the Elders of that city hall take, &c. So the Elders of the City of Bethlehem, are likewife the Fudges, in the Caufe between Boaz and Ruth iv. the next Kinfman of Elimelech. So much 1, &c.

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for the Judges.

The Places where their Courts of Judicature were held, were, generally, one of the Gates of the City. It is faid, in the Law. If a man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go xxv. 7. up to the gate, unto the Elders.



a man have a rebellious fon, bring him unto the Elders of his


he shall ib. xxi.

city, and 18.


xxii. 13,

unto the gate of his place. Again; If a Man dislikes a Woman after he has taken her to Wife, and pretends any Ground for fuch his Diflike, the Matter is to be exDeut. amin'd before the Elders of the city in the &c. gate. So, in the Cafe of a Man's refufing to marry his Brother's Wife, She is to go up to the gate unto the Elders, and make her Complaint. And the Caufe of Boaz beforemention'd was heard in the Gate of the City. So the Pfalmift, fpeaking of thofe that are blefs'd with many Children, Pfalm fays, They shall not be afbamed, but they

cxxvii. 5.


fhall Speak with the enemies in the gate. They that are intitled to fuch a Bleffing, every thing else fhall profper with them; they need not to fear Want of Justice, when they meet their Adversary in the Court of Judicature. And the Wife Man Prov. fays, Rob not the poor, because he is poor; xxii. 22. neither oppress the afflicted in the gate, For

the LORD will plead their cause, &c. Again, fpeaking of a good Wife, what a Credit fhe is to her Husband, he uses ib. xxxi. these Words; Her husband is known in the gates, when he fitteth among the Elders of the land.


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