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one and twenty Kings, from David to Zedekiah; when they were all taken, and carried away to Babylon.
After their Return from thence they'refum'd their primitive Ariftocracy; the High Priest, for the Time being, together with the Priefts and Elders, prefiding over their Affairs; till the Time of their Perfecution under Antiochus Epiphanes; when Judas Maccabeus and his Defcendents, at firft with the Title of Princes, then of Kings, took upon them the Adminiftration of the Government, according to the original Plan.
When that Family was extinct, the Race of the Ascalonites, tho' mere Strangers, and only Profelytes to Judaism, stept into the Throne, and exercis'd arbitrary Power. The First of thefe was that Herod, in whofe Reign our Saviour was Mat. ii. born: who was fucceeded by his Son Ar
*Mat. ii. 1.
That famous Prophecy of Jacob, concerning his Son Judah, and relating to the Coming of our Saviour, [Gen. xlix. 10.] being hereby fulfill'd; The Scepter fhall not depart from Judah, nor a Lawgiver from between his Feet until Shiloh come: And unto him fhall the Gathering of the People be.
chelaus; and his other Son, Herod, was + Tetrarch of Galilee. Then, the Emperors of Rome, under whofe Subjection they were, govern'd them by Procurators fent from thence, and recall'd after a certain Time. Of thefe, Pontius Pilate was one; in whose Procuratorship our LORD fuffered: And Felix, and Feftus, two others. And under thefe (with the Interpofition of only one King more, made by Caligula, Herod Agrippa, Grandfon to the first Herod) they continued, till their City and Temple were finally destroy'd, by Titus Vefpafian; and themselves difpers'd all over the World; as they remain to this Day.
Other Particulars of their Government. Upon examining into Particulars, we find that this Government was of a three
† Luke iii. 1. This was He, by whofe Order John the Baptift was beheaded; and by whom, with his Men of War, JESUS CHRIST was mock'd and infulted, juft before his Paffion.
*Mention'd [Acts xii.] and faid to be eaten of Worms. He was Father of that Agrippa, in whofe Prefence St. Paul pleaded his Caufe [Acts xxv. and xxvi.] He was not King of Judæa, but of Chalcidica, and fome ether neighbouring Provinces,
fold Nature. The firft, being that which took in and related to the whole twelve Tribes in general: Within which, as it were, like another Wheel, there mov'd a Second; which was that of every particular Tribe: and within that again was included a third; which was that of every one of thofe Cities belonging to each Tribe.
The first and principal of these was to be held in fuch City or Place as God him.felf, for the fake of his holy Worship, fhould appoint; (of which we shall difcourse hereafter;) which was to consist of the Prince or highest Magiftrate, the Elders, Judges, and Counsellors; and was the Great Assembly of the States of the whole Nation. Of this firft Part, for want of a Prince, Judge, or Prefident, there was fometimes a Sufpenfion, or Interregnum, as we may call it. Such, for ExamJudges ple, as when it is faid; In those days there was no king in Ifrael, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. At which Time, however, we cannot but conclude, the other two Magiftracies fubfifted, and kept Things in fome fort of Order.
The Second Branch of their Conftitution, had one Prefident or Chief, who was call'd the Head of the Tribe; and again, several others, who were Heads of Houses or Families; but of all them inferior and subject to the Head of the Tribe.
The third Branch was of the following Nature. Every City had a Senate or Common-Council of its own; who had the Hearing and Determination of all Caufes relating to themselves; as likewise a chief Magiftrate, who prefided in all their public Affemblies, and look'd after the Execution of Juftice. And to all these feveral Branches, and the respective Members of which they confifted, do those Paffages refer, where it is said, that Joshua gather'd Joshua all the tribes of Ifrael to Shechem, and call'd xxiv. 1. for the elders of Ifrael, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers.
In Time of War, all Matters thereunto relating were manag'd by the chief Prefident and Grand Council of the Nation; the feveral Heads of the Tribes and Families, and the chief Magistrates of the several Cities acting likewise in such Stations as were feverally allotted them. Of which
we shall take further Notice in its proper Place.
Of the Strangers, or Profelytes.
It may not be amifs, before we leave this Topic of Government, to observe, That the People of which it confifted, were of two Sorts; thofe who were of the Original Stock; and thofe of other Nations who were Naturaliz'd among them.
These latter are diftinguish'd in Scripture by being call'd* Strangers, and Profelytes; in refpect to their being originally of fome other Country; and coming in to the Religion and Conftitution of the Hebrews, by complying with those Conditions which were requifite to their Qualification.
The principal of these was Circumcifion. For this was the Mark of the Covenant
Septuag. AUT. Advena; which, in our Tranflation of the Old Teftament, is generally render'd by the Word Stranger; in the New, by that of Profelyte; one according to the Hebrew Idiom, the other according to the Greek.