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Controverfies in every Tribe, Deut.xvii.9-12. 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 forfook the People, and the Officers and Judges neglected their Duty, the People sustained the Miferies and Confufions of an Anarchy, as it is feveral Times expreffed 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 from Slavery, and to restore Government among them: And these had a 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 Ifrael, as I have described it, we may learn partly from Deut. i.1 3. where theOfficers are chofen, and Deut. xvii. 8—12. and xix, 16 -18. where Mofes 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 Juftice, the Priests and Levites to be the Teachers of the People, and Counsellors to the Judges, and the High Prieft to be the chief Counsellor: And fometimes he was a Judge alfo, as was before intimated..
37 Q. Was not the High Prieft their Ruler under God?
A. The High Prieft feems to be appointed by God and Mofes, to be the chief Counfellor in declaring the Laws and Statutes of God, as the other Priests were alfo Counfellors; but the executive Power of Government was rather vested in those who were called Judges, whether they were ordinary or extraordinary, Deut. xvii. 9—12.
38 Q. Did thefe ordinary Officers do Juftice, 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 fometimes great Wickedness among the People, without Reftraint; much Idolatry and Mifchief, 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 Ifrael, leave his People under thefe Inconveniencies?
A. As they had for faken God and his Laws, fo God feemed fometimes to have forfaken the Care of them, and given them up to the Confufions and Miferies which arife from the Want of Government, for a Seafon : and also fuffered 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 interpofe for their Deliverance?
A. Sometimes in the Courfe of his Providence, and by fpecial Inspiration, he raised up extraordinary Judges to refcue them from the Hand of their Enemies, and to reftore Government among thein, Judges ii. 16-19.
41 Q. Who were fome of the moft remarkable of thefe extraordinary Judges?
A. Ehud and Shamgar, Deborah and Gideon, Jephthah, Samfon, and Samuel.
42 Q. Who was Ehud?
A. A Man of Benjamin, who delivered Ifrael from the Oppreffion 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 ftabbing him with a Dagger, Juages iii. 16, 17.
44 Q. What
44 Q. What did Shamgar do toward their Deliverance?
A. He refcued Ifrael from the Oppreffion of the Philiftines, and flew fix hundred of them with an Ox's Goad, Judges iii. 31.
45 Q. Who was Deborah?
A. She was a Woman, a Prophetefs, 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 the deliver Ifrael from his Hand? A. She fent forth Barak to Battle against him, who routed his Army, which was commanded by Sifera his General, Judges iv. 5.
47 Q. How was Sifera flain?
A. By the Hand of Jael, a Woman, who when he came to reft himself in her Tent, drove a Nail into his Temples, Judges iv. 18-22.
48 Q. Who was Gideon?
A. The Son of Joafh; he was called by an Angel, or by God himself, to deftroy the Worship of Baal, and to deliver Ifrael from the Hands of the Midianites, Judges vi. 11-14.
Note, Gideon had fufficient Evidence that this was a Meffage from God himself, for the Angel talked with him; and when Gideon had fetched fome 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 confumed 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
50 Q. What further Sign did God give him of Success?
A. At his Request 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 fudden Blaze of Lamps, the Sound of the Trumpets, and loud Shouting, Judges vii. 20-23.
53 Q. Did Gideon reign over Ifrael after this great Victory?
A. No, he refufed it, for he faid God was their King, Judges viii. 23.
54 Q. Did Gideon's Sons govern Ifrael after
A. None of Gideon's threefcore and ten Sons fet up themselves, but Abimelech, the Son of his Concubine, made himfelf King, Judges ix. 1, 2, 6.
55 Q. How did Abimelech advance himself to the Kingdom?
A. He flew all his threefcore and ten Brothers, except the youngeft, who escaped, Judges ix. 5. 56 Q. How was Abimelech flain?
A. When he was befieging a City, a Woman caft a Piece of Millftone upon his Head, Judges ix. 51-53.
57 Q. Who was Jephthah?
A. A mighty Man of Valour, who delivered Ifrael from the Power of the Ammonites, Judges xi. 1, 32, 33.
58 Q. What was remarkable concerning him? A. He made a rafh Vow to facrifice 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 thofe Days of Ignorance, did not really offer his Daughter for a Sacrifice, according to his Vow, as the Scripture feems to express it; or whether he only reftrained her from Marriage, and bearing Children, which in those Days was accounted like a Sacrifice, 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 Philiftines, Judges xiii. and chap. xiv, &c.
60 Q. What was his Character?
A. He was the ftrongest of Men, but he does not seem to have been the wifeft or the beft.
61 Q. Wherein did his Strength lie?
A. He was a Nazarite, devoted to God from his Birth, and fo was bound to let his 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 Inftances did he give of his great Strength?
A. He tore a Lion afunder, he broke all the Cords with which he was bound, he flew a thoufand Philiftines with the Jaw-bone of an Afs; and when he fell in Love with an Harlot in Gaza, and the Philiftines befet the City Gates, he carried