« PreviousContinue »
any other People. Thus, The men of Judges Ifrael (in a general congregation) faid unto Gideon, Rule over us; both thou and thy fon, and thy fon's fon alfo. And thus Samuel, called the people together unto the LORD in Sam. Mizpeh, in order to choose a King. And when Saul was declar'd to be the Perfon, All -the people shouted and faid, God fave the King. And in the three foregoing Instances that we have feen of their affembling -together to make Supplication to the LORD, their Bufinefs was likewife, partly, to confult about going to War; firft, with the Ammonites; fecondly, with the Benjamites; and thirdly, with the Philistines.
As to the fecond Sort of thefe Congregations, which were held by each Tribe, feparately; though we have no direct Inftitution of them, nor find them exprefly mention'd; yet, by Inference, it plainly appears there were fuch; Because the People of every Tribe, had Chiefs belonging to them, who could convene them, upon Occafion: And, it is very plain, that they did affemble in Council, hold Judiciary Courts, and determine upon War and Peace. Thus, we read, that, upon dividing
A a 4
dividing the Land of Canaan, by Lot, sat Jofh. xix. mong the Twelve Tribes, The coaft of the
children of Dan went out too little for them: therefore the children of Dan went up to fight against Lefhem,and took it,and fmote it with the edge of the fword, and poffeffed it, and dwelt therein, and called Lefhem, Dan; after the name of Dan their father. And, that the Ephraimites, refenting their not being invited by Jephthah into the War against the AmJudges monites, gathered themselves together, in order to call him to an Account for it.
The fame Inference may be made as to their Cities; which were, unquestionably govern'd by a Body Corporate, or Common Council, acting under one Chief, or Head. We have exprefs Mention of that of Jerufalem; where we are told, that King Chron. Hezekiah had taken counsel, and his princes, XXX. 2. and all the congregation in Jerufalem, to
keep the pallover in the second month. Of this,
notice was fent out into the Country round Ib. 12. about, and, it is faid, in Judah, the band of God was to give them one heart, to do the commandment of the king and of the princes. Which fhews, that the Men of that Tribe were ftrangers to the Bufinefs, till it was
- thus communicated to them; thofe of them that were not Inhabitants of Salem's not shit on
It was otherwife, at the Dedication of the Temple by Solomon: He affembled, the Kings elders of Ifrael, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Ifrael; and all the men of Ifrael, affembled themselves unto king Solomon. Again; Solomon flood before the altar of the ---Ib. zz. LORD, in the prefence of all the congregation of Ifrael By which, it is plain, the gregation of Jerufalem, and the Congregation of all Ifrael, were diftinct. f) dans Befides, we are not ignorant, what a Figure thefe Popular Councils made in our Saviour's Time: And how inftrumental they were,' in procuring Him, at the ftigation of the Chief-Priefts and Elders, to be crucified. The Governor, being wont Mat. to releafe unto the people at that feaft, a &c. aprifoner, whom they would; Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate faid unto them, &c, So, in another Gofpel; Pilate, Luke when be bad called together, the Chief- xxiii. 13. Priests, and the rulers, and the people, faid unto them, &c. They were to confider of
Numb. xi. 26.
the Matter, and vote whom they would have releas'd. And then, when they chose Barabbas, and rejected CHRIST; we are told; Pilate took water, and washed his hands before them, faying, I am innocent of the blood of this just perfon, fee ye to it. Then anfwered all the people and faid; His blood be on us, and on our children.
SE C T. IV.
We fhall inquire next into the Councils of the Elders; which probably, in like manner as the Congregations, were threefold; One, belonging to all the Tribes in General; another, to every particular Tribe; and a third to each diftinct City. Though we do not meet with any direct Inftances of the fecond; but, many of the firft and third.
Those Elders, which compos'd the Senate belonging to all the Tribes in General, were appointed originally by God himself. The LORD faid unto Mofes, Gather unto me feventy men of the elders of Ifrael; whom thou knoweft to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and they
fhall bear the burden of the people with thee. They fate, with the Leader, Judge, or King, prefiding in the Metropolis; that is, the Place, appointed for the Refidence of the Chief, and the keeping the Ark of the Covenant: There being a close Connexion between their Religious and Civil Laws, both as to the Minifters and Adminiftration of them. Thus we read; Mofes, with the Elders of Ifrael, comman- Deut. ded the people, faying, &c. And, afterwards, we find The Elders of the congregation confult how to supply the Re- Judges mainder of the Benjamites, with Wives. xxi. 16. And, the Elders of Ifrael gather themselves 1 Sam. together, and come to Samuel to Ramah.
We read of thefe Elders continually, to the Time of the Captivity: And we find them again, after the Return. A Ezra x. proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerufalem, unto all the children of the captivity, according to the council of the Princes and the Elders.
Befides thefe, there were likewise Elders belonging to every feveral City. These Elders are mention'd by Mofes in the Law; where feveral Things are requir'd