Page images

Controversiesin every Tribe, Deut.xvii.-12. But ftill the executive Power was vested in the Judge of each Tribe, and God himself was their King,

and the Center of Union and Government. But when, through their Idolatry and wickedness,

God forsook the People, andthe Officers and Judges neglected their Duty, the People sustained the Miferies and Confufions of an Anarchy, as it is several Times expressed in the Book of Judges : There was no King in Ifrael, and every one did what

was right in his own Eyes. And by their Disunion and want of Government they were weakened, and became an easy Prey to their Enemies round about them: But at particular Seasons God raised them up extrardinary Judges to recover them fromSlavery, and to restore Government among them: And these hada Dominion over many, or all the Tribes, being raised up eminently by God himself. That this was the original and appointed Method of

the Government of Israel, as I have described it, we may learn partly from Deut.1.13. where theOfficers are chosen, and Deut. xvii. 8-12. and xix, 16

-18. where Moses appoints the Business of the Priests and the Judges; and partly from 2 Chron. xvii. 7-9. and xix.5-11. where Hezekiah makes a Reformation throughout the Land, and appoints the Judges to be Executors of Justice, the Priests and Levites to be the Teachers of the People, and Counsellors to the Judges, and the High Priest to be the chief Counsellor: And sometimes he was a Judge also, as was before intimated.

37 Q. Was not the High Priest their Ruler under God?

A. The High Prieft seems to be appointed by God and Mofes, to be the chief Counsellor in de claring the Laws and Statutes of God, as the other Priests were also Counsellors; but the executive Power of Government was rather vested in those who were called Judges, whether they were ordigary or extraordinary, Deut. xvii. 9-12.


38 Q. Did these ordinary Officers do Justice, and maintain good Order in the Land after the Days of Joshua ?

· A. We have very little Account of them ; but it is certain they did not fulfil their Duty, because there was sometimes great Wickedness among

the People, without Restraint; much Idolatry and Mischief, both public and private, and that for want of Government, Judges xvii. 6. and chap. xxi. 25.

39 Q. Why did God, the King of Israel, leave his People under these inconveniencies?

A. As they had forsaken God and his Laws, fo God seemed sometimes to have forfaken the Care of them, and given them up to the Confufions and Miseries which arise from the Want of Government, for a Seafon : and also suffered their Enemies on every Side to make Inroads upon them, and bring them into Slavery, Judges ii. 11-15.

40 Q. But did not the great God interpose for their Deliverance ?

A. Sometimes in the Course of his Providence, and by special Inspiration, he raised up extraordinary Judges to rescue them from the Hand of their Enemies, and to restore Government among thein, Judges ii. 16-1

41 Q. Who were some of the most remarkable of these extraordinary Judges ?

A. Ehud and Snamgar, Deborah and Gideon, Jephthah, Samson, and Samuel.

42 Q. Who was Ehud ?

A. A Man of Benjamin, who delivered Israel from the Oppression of Eglon, King of Moab, Judges iii. 12, 15.

43 Q. How did he deliver them?

A. By bringing a Present to Eglon, and then fabbing him with a Dagger, Juages iii. 16, 17.


44 Q. What

44 Q. What did Shamgar do toward their Deliverance ?

A. He rescued Ifrael from the Oppreffion of the Philistines, and flew fix hundred of them with an Ox's Goad, Judges iii. 31.

45 Q. Who was Deborah?

X. She was a Woman, a Prophetess, who delivered Ifrael from the Tyranny of Jabin, King of Canaan, who had nine hundred Chariots of Iron, Judges iv. 2-4.

46 Q. How did she deliver Israel from his Hand?

A. She sent forth Barak to Battle against him, who routed bis Army, which was commanded by Sisera his General, Judges iv. 5.

47 Q. How was Šifera lain?

A. By the Hand of Jael, a Woman, who when he came to rest himself in her Tent, drove a Nail into his Temples, Judges iv. 18-22.

48 Q: Who was Gideon?

A. The Son of Joash; he was called by an Angel, or by God himself, to destroy the Worship of Baal, and to deliver Israel from the Hands of the Midianites, Judges vi. 11-14. Note, Gideon had sufficient Evidence that this was a

Message from God himself,for the Angel talked with him; and when Gideon had fetched some Flesh and Cakes to entertain him, the Angel bid him lay them upon a Rock, and pour out the Broth upon them, then with one End of his Rod the Angel touched them, and Fire arose and consumed them. 49 Q. How did he begin his Work?

A. He firft threw down the Altar of Baal the Idol by Night, and cut down the idolatrous Grove, and then offered a Sacrifice to the Lord, according to the Order he had received from God, Judges vi, 25-28.

50 Q. What

[ocr errors]

50 Q. What further Sign did God give him of Success ?

A. At his Reqúeft God made a Fleece of Wool wet, when the Ground all round it was dry; and again, he made a Fleece of Wool dry, when the Gound was wet, Judges vi. 36—40.

51 Q How many Men did God appoint for Gideon's Army?

A. Out of thirty two thousand he appointed but three hundred Men, Judges vii. 3, 6, 7.

52 Q. How did three hundred Men conquer Midian?

A. Each of them, by Gideon's Order, took a Trumpet, and a Pitcher with a Lamp in it, and coming at Midnight on the Camp of the Midianites they broke their Pitchers, and frighted them with a sudden Blaze of Lamps, the Sound of the Trumpets, and loud Shouting, Judges vii, 20-23

53 Q. Did Gideon reign over Israel after this great Victory?

A. No, he refused it, for he said God was their King, Judges viii. 23.

54 0. Did Gideon's Sons govern Ifrael afterwards ?

A. None of Gideon's threescore and ten Sons fet up themselves, but Abimelech, the Son of his Concubine, made himself King, Judges ix. 1, 2, 6.

55 Q. How did Abimelech advance himself to the Kingdom?

A. He flew all his threescore and ten Brothers, except the youngest, who escaped, Judges ix. 5.

56 Q. How was Abimelech pain?

1. When he was besieging a City, a Woman caft a Piece of Millstone upon bis Head, Judges ix. 51-53. 57 Q. Who was Jephthah?

A, A


A. A mighty Man of Valour, who delivered Israel from the Power of the Ammonites, Judges xi. I, 32, 33.

58 0. What was remarkable concerning him?

A. He made a rash Vow to sacrifice to God the first Thing that came to meet him after his Victory, and that happened to be his Daughter, and only Child, Judges xi. 30, 31, 34. Note, It is a Matter of Doubt and Controversy among

the Learned, whether Jephthah, being a Soldier, in those Days of Ignorance, did not really offer his Daughter for a Sacrifice, according to his Vow, as the Scripture seems to express it; or whether he only restrained her from Marriage, and bearing Children, which in those Days was accounted like a Sa. crifice, and as a Sentence of Death passed on them. 59 Q. Who was Samfon?

A. The Son of Manoah, and he delivered Ifrael from the Hands of the Philistines, Judges xiii. and chap. xiv, &c.

60 Q. What was bis Character ?

A. He was the strongest of Men, but he does not seem to have been the wiseft or the best.

61 Q. Wherein did his Strength lie?

A. He was a Nazarite, devoted to God from his Birth, and fo was bound to let bis Hair grow, and then God was with him ; but when his Hair was cut, God left him, Judges xiii.7. and ch.xvi. 17.

62 Q. What Instances did he give of bis great Strength ?

A. He tore a Lion afunder, he broke all the Cords with which he was bound, he flew a thoufand Philistines with the Jaw-bone of an Ass; and when he fell in Love with an Harlot in Gaza, and the Philistines beset the City Gates, he carried


« PreviousContinue »