« PreviousContinue »
They were fucceeded by the Kings; but, upon a quite different Footing and Establishment. For whereas the others, were chosen only to fee the Laws executed; or to head the People, when they found it neceffary to march out and engage their Enemies: Thefe exercis'd a defpotic Power; made War, when, and with whom they pleas'd; and regarded the Law just as much as they thought % fit; juft, as it fuited with their Humour or Conveniency.
God indeed, foreseeing, that when his People, by his good Providence, had got Poffeffion of the promis'd Land, and were blefs'd with every thing defirable in Life, Profperity would make them wanton; and that they would be apt to run into the luxurious Fashions of the Heathen Nations that liv'd round about them, to serve their Gods, and to defire a King, to whom they might be Slaves, as the others were; yet, kindly Ff3
xvii. 14, &c.
and mercifully, prefcribes fome Rules, with which, if their Kings complied, they might poffibly preferve fome Degree Deut. of Happiness under them. When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein; and shalt fay, I will fet a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me: Thou shalt in any wife, fet him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose; One, from among thy brethren, shalt thou fet king over thee: Thou may'ft not fet a ftranger over thee, which is not thy brother.
But he shall not multiply horfes to himSelf; nor caufe the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply borfes: forafmuch as the LORD hath faid unto you, Ye fhall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall be multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall be greatly multiply to himself filver and gold.
And, it shall be, when he fitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write bim a copy of this Law, in a book; out of
that which is before the Priests, the Levites, And it fhall be with him, and he shall read therein, all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this Law, and thefe ftatutes, to do them. That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren; and that he turn not afide from the commandment, to the right F band or to the left: To the end, that he may prolong his days in his kingdom; he, and his children, in the midst of Ifrael. This Time, which God forefaw, and fo graciously provided a Remedy for, by these falutary Directions, came to pafs accordingly in the Days of Samuel, who was the last of the Fudges.
viii. 1, &c.
When that great good Man came to grow in Years, and had delegated a part of the Judicature to his two Sons, Joel and Abiah; who, we are told, were Judges in 1 Sam. Beersheba; as foon as it appear'd, how unqualified they were to fill a Poft of that Importance; being fad Wretches; who walked not in the ways of their father, but turned afide after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment; Then, all the elders of Ifrael gathered themselves together, and came
to Samuel unto Ramah, and said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy fons walk not in thy ways: Now, make us a king to judge us, like all the nations.
At this Behaviour of his Sons, the Prophet must needs have been as uneafy as they were; and would, no doubt, have gladly confulted with them how to remove or remedy that Grievance. But, knowing well, that the Time was now come in which they defired to change their old Form of Government for one, neither fo agreeable to God, nor beneficial to themfelves, as he could have wifh'd, as the Sequel of the History informs us, The thing difpleafed Samuel, when they faid, Give us a king to judge us: And Samuel prayed un- ́ to the LORD. And the LORD faid unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people, in all that they fay unto thee; For, they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done, fince the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even unto this day, wherewith they have forfaken me, and ferved other gods: So do they alfo, unto thee.
Now, therefore, hearken unto their voice: Howbeit, yet proteft folemnly unto them, and fhew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. And Samuel told all the words of the LORD, unto the people that asked of him a king. And he said, This will be the manner of the king, that shall reign : over you. He will take your fons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen, and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him, captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will fet them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his inftruments of war, and inftruments of his I chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the beft of them, and give them to his fervants. And he will take the tenth of your feed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his fervants. And he will take your men fervants, and your maid fervants, and your goodlieft young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth, of your freeps and ye shall be his fervants.