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and Numb. vii. 1,&c.
two of the
when Mofes had fet up the Tabernacle, thefe Princes come and make their offering, confifting of fix covered twelve oxen; a waggon for princes, and for each one, an ox. Men, we, afterward, read of by the fame Names, as being over the host of every ib. x. 14, I tribe, and each fetting forward with the &c. - ftandard of his camp, when the children of Ifrael took their journeys out of the wildernefs of Sinai, into that of Paran. When Joshua makes a league with the Gibeonites Jofh. ix. to let them live, we find, the princes of the congregation, likewife, fware unto them. And when the Tribes of Reuben and Gad, in their Departure to their own Inheritance, after the Land of Canaan was fubdued, had built an Altar by the River Jordan; which gave Umbrage to the other ten Tribes for suspecting that they intended to defert the Law and them, they fent Phinehas the fon of Eleazar the Priest, to expoftulate with them. And, with him, ib. xxii, ten princes, of each chief house a prince, throughout all the tribes of Ifrael; and each one was the head of the house of their fathers, among the thousands of Ifrael.
Their Rights and Privileges were, partly, to prefide over and govern their own Tribes; partly, to fit in Council with, and affift the Judges and Kings. As an InNumb. ftance of the latter, we find Moses speaking unto the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Ifrael. Again, we find Moib. xxxi. fes and Eleazar the Prieft, and all the Princes of the congregation, affembled upon an important Affair. And again, we Deut. read of all the beads of the tribes, and the Elders, going to confult with Mofes. So when David calls a Convention of the States, to acquaint them with his Purpose in relation to the Building of the Temple, 1 Chron. it is faid, David assembled all the Princes Xxviii. 1. of Ifrael. And when the Temple was finish'd by Solomon, and he had a mind to place the Ark of the Covenant in it, wẹ 2 Chron. read that he assembled the Elders of Ifrael, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Ifrael, unto Jerufalem, to affift at the doing of it.
It is probable they fate together with the King in a Council Room built for the Purpose, where there were twelve Seats or Thrones belonging to them: And there
fore, next to the King, they were held in the highest Honour. There is mention made of fuch a Place being built by Solomon. He made a porch for the throne Kings where he might judge; even the porch of vii. 7 judgment. To this David feems to alLE lude, and to speak experimentally of himfelf, when he says, The LORD raiseth up the poor out of the duft; and lifteth the needy out of the dunghil; that he may fet bim with princes, even with the princes of his people. And where, fpeaking of Jerufalem, it is faid, There are fet thrones of ib.cxxii. judgment, the thrones of the house of David. There they fate; every one fuppos'd to be prepar'd and qualified for confulting the particular Interests of their own Tribe; and, by that means, for advifing the King, how to manage the Ballance of Government among the whole People, with a fteady and impartial Hand.
Pfalm cxiii. 7,8.
And, doubtlefs, it is from this kind of Seffion that our LORD borrows the Allufion, when he tells his Difciples, Verily, Matt. I fay unto you, that ye, which have fol- xix. 28. low'd me in the regeneration, when the fon of man shall fit in the throne of his glory,
ye also shall fit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Ifrael. And, as it Luke is exprefs'd by another Evangelist; Ye are xxii. 29, they which have continued with me in my temptations: And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my father hath appointed unte me; that ye may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom, and fit on Thrones judging the twelve tribes of Ifrael.
By which, is plainly intended, That when CHRIST, in his full Glory, shall come to judge the World, he will dignify and diftinguish them moft with fpiritual Glory and Happiness, who have deserved the best of him; which he could not convey to the carnal Apprehenfions of his Disciples by a stronger Idea, than that of fitting upon Thrones like Princes; and eating and drinking at the Table of him their King. Agreeably to which the Prophet, typically defcribing the Bleffings of CHRIST'S Kingdom, from what he forefaw would happen in the Times of Ifa.xxxii. the good King Hezekiah, fays, Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes fhall rule in judgment.
And after the Revolt of the ten Tribes, and even their Captivity into Affyria, the Number of the twelve Princes was continued in the Government of the Kingdom of Judah; one to reprefent each Tribe, according to their ancient Conftitution. So we read, that, after the Return from Babylon, at the Dedication of the fecond Ezra vi. Temple, they offered twelve be-goats for a fin-offering for all Ifrael, according to the number of the twelve tribes. And we find mention of a Proclamation, That Whofoever would not come to Jerufalem within three days, according to the counsel of the Princes and the Elders, all his fubftance Should be forfeited.
The HEADS of FAMILIE S. Next to the Heads of Tribes, we come to fpeak of the Heads of Families; as they were next the others in Honour and Importance. For, as the Princes of the Tribes might be fuppos'd to represent the twelve Sons of Ifrael, these represented his Grandfons; the Families, of which they were Heads, being call'd from their Names.