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Judg. xii. stance, of Jephthah; who is said to have judged Ifrael fix years. We read that, when the children of Ammon made war against Ifrael, the Elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah, out of the land of Tob. And they faid unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon. Then Jephthah went with the Elders of Gilead; and the people made him bead and captain over them.
That they had likewife the Power of convening a Congregation of the whole People, and holding a Senate of the Elders, though the Inftances of their doing so, are very rare, is, I think, unquestionable; because we find Mofes and Joshua had that Power, before them, and the Kings us'd it, after them. In truth, the History and Account of the Judges, is very obfcure and imperfect. And though we need not doubt but God raised up proper Perfons to record the memorable Tranfactions of his People, during the whole Time of the Judges; yet, fuch is the Imperfection of our human State, and fo many the various Revolutions to which it is liable; that the Lofs of fome Mo
ib. xi. 5,
numents of fo great Antiquity, is nothing near so much to be wonder'd at, as that any at all have been preferv'd and tranfmitted to us. 12 forrpur The merciful Providence of God has, however, taken care, at all Events, to fecure enough to Men thro' all Ages, to build a firm and well-grounded Faith upon; to nourish their Hope of immortal Blifs, through the Merits of their glorious Redeemer; and, above all, to let them fee that Charity, mutual Love and Benevolence, is the indifpenfable Qualification of all those, who are ambitious of being the Children of God. 916
But to return: The Promotion of the Judges was not hereditary; but purely elective. They whofe Talents or Endowments mark'd them out as proper Perfons to fill that Station, were defired to accept of the Office by the concurrent Suffrages of the People. And this being the Manner of Government which God himself defign'd for them, as long as they continued to be contented with it, his divine Providence fo far concern'd it felf in thefe Elections, as to difpole them to Ff pitch
pitch upon those Perfons who were most
ib. iii. 9.
And therefore it is faid, upon thofe Judg. ii. Occasions, that God raised them up deliverers. Nay, Gideon was appointed, by 15. God, immediately; The LORD looked on ib. vi. 14. bim, and faid; Go, in this thy might, and thou shalt fave Ifrael from the band of the Midianites; have not I fent thee? Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt Smite the Midianites, as one man. Again; The Jpirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, and Abiezer was gathered after him. And he fent messengers throughout all Manaffeh, who also was gathered after him; and be fent messengers unto Afher, and unto Zebulon, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.
And of Samfon likewife a Defignation to be Judge of Ifrael was made, by an Angel of the LORD, even before he was ib. xiii. 5. born. It is faid to his Mother; Lo, thou fhalt conceive and bear a fon, and no razor shall come on his head; and he shall begin to deliver Ifrael out of the band of the
the Philistines. And, of Samuel it is said,
And, as a Confirmation, that it was not
that God was highly difpleas'd with his Conduct, and accordingly took him off by Judg. ix. an infamous Death.
To fhew that this kind of Government by Judges thus chofen, was very agreeable to, and a Part of, the Plan which God himself had defign'd for them, we read that, when, after the Death of Joshua, they had provok'd the LORD, Judg. ii. by following other Gods, Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hands of those that Spoiled them. And when the LORD. raiJed them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge; and delivered them out of the bands of their enemies, all the days of the judge. And, it came to pass when the judge was dead, that they turned and corrupted themselves more than their fathers.
And, to fhew that they were chofen out of any Tribe or Family indifferently, we may obferve that, of the whole Number which we have upon Record, which is fixteen, nine of them were out of nine different Tribes.