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4. When the apostle discovered that Festus Exod. xx. 4, 5, prohibits all image worship, was disposed to gratify the Jews, we find him whether it refer to the true God, or to the idols of appealing from a provincial court to the imperial the Gentiles. (2.) Prostration before strange tribunal—from the jurisdiction of the Procurator gods, in an attitude of adoration or worship, which to the decision of the Emperor, Acts xxv. 9–11. was so universally prevalent in the East, constiThis appears to be another singular advantage tuted the crime of idolatry, Exod. xx. 5: the proenjoyed by a citizen of Rome. Festus, after de hibition included the adoration of the heavenly liberating with the Roman council, turned and host, Deut. iv. 19; (3.) offering sacrifices to idols, said to him, “ Have you appealed to the emperor? in which the religion of the heathen principally -By the emperor, then, you shall be judged," consisted, Lev. xvii. 1-7; (4.) having altars or
Suetonius informs us that Augustus groves dedicated to idols. These were expressly delegated a number of consular persons at Rome ordered to be destroyed for the purpose of obliterto receive the appeals of people in the provinces, ating the memorials of the idolatrous practices of and that he appointed one person to superintend the Canaanites, Exod. xxxiv. 13; Deut. vii. 5; the affairs of each province.* This right, which xii. 3. (5.) Eating offerings made to idols, or the Roman freemen enjoyed, is confirmed by a attending the festivals of other gods, though no passage in the famous epistle of Pliny to Trajan, special law was framed against this, is presupin which he says, that the contumacious and in- posed to be unlawful, in the prohibition of Exod. flexibly obstinate Christian's (that is, those who xxiv. 15. Indeed, its unlawfulness is sufficiently would not apostatize) he ordered to be immedi-obvious; because for a person to have gone to any ately punished; but others, being citizens of Rome, such offering feast, was a solemn declaration of he directed to be carried thither. +
his belief in the idol to whom it was made, and a full participation in the religion of the offerer,
Acts xv. 20—29; 1 Cor. x. 1428. || (6.) Offer§ 2.-- The Criminal Law.
ing human sacrifices (Lev. xviii. 31 ; Deut. xii.
31, &c.), which prevailed to a frightful extent The Jewish code of criminal laws is distributed
among the heathen, and which, notwithstanding by Michaëlis into six classes ; viz., those which the severity of the laws enacted against it (Lev take cognizance of Crimes against God; Crimes xx. 1–5), was adopted by the Israelites (Deut of Lust ; Crimes of blood ; Crimes against pro- xii. 31 ; 2 Chron. xviii. 3; Ps. cvi. 37, 38;
Jer perty; Crimes of malice ; and Crimes against vii. 31 ; xix. 5 ; Ezek. xvi. 21), was most strenu · parents and rulers. . I
ously forbidden. The ground of the prohibition. I. CRIMES AGAINST GOD.-As the maintenance
as an idolatrous act, appears to have been its uniof the worship of the only true God was one of versal prevalence among idolatrous nations. Nearly the fundamental objects of the Mosaic polity, and akin to this was, (7.) eating or drinking of blood as that God was at the same time regarded as the (Lev. iii. 17; vii. 26, 27; xvii. 10–14; xix. 26; king of the Israelitish nation, so we find,
Deut. xii. 16, 23, 24; xv. 23), the principal 1. Idolatry, that is, the worship of other gods, occupying, in the Mosaic law, the first place in mer case, to have been the adoption of the practice
reason of which prohibition seems, as in the forthe list of crimes. It was indeed a crime, not in the pagan nations of Asia, in their sacrifices to merely against God, but also against a funda- idols, and in the taking of oaths: it was therefore mental law of the state, and thus a species of regarded as expressive of a conversion to heahigh treason.
It must be remarked, however, thenism.§ 8.) Prophesying in the name of a that the crime consisted, not in ideas and opinions,
strange god, which was a virtual recognition of but in the overt act of worshipping other gods. his deity, and, as such, an act of idolatry, Deut. Thus a person was guilty of idolatry, (1.) if he made images of strange gods, or kept such images, so as to make it manifest that he revered them as || How this injunction is to be understood we see from various gods, Deut. xvii. 15. Indeed the prohibition in parts of the epistles of Paul, especially from Rom. iv., and xii. 2–6. (9.) Every audacious transgression of 27; Deut. xviii. 9-12; Exod. xxii. 17; Deut. the ceremonial law was regarded as an abandon- xviii. 10–17. In the case of a person consulting ment of the service of the true God; and, of a diviner, God reserved to himself the infliction course, as a transition to the service of other gods. of his punishment, the transgressor not being - “ The same reproacheth JEHOVAH; and that amenable to the secular magistrate, Lev. xx. 6. soul shall be cut off from among his people, because 4. Perjury is prohibited most peremptorily, as he hath despised the word of the Lord,” Numb. a heinous sin against God, to whom the punishixi. 30, 31. The chief of these presumptuous ment is left, and who expressly threatens to visit crimes, or transgressions“ in contempt of the law,” it on the offender, without ordaining any punishwere, The neglect of circumcision-(Gen. xvii. 14) ment to be inflicted by the temporal magistrate, -neglect of eating the paschal lamb (Numb. ix. Exod. xx. 7. 9, 14)—eating of a sacrifice in a state of legal II. CRIMES OF LUST. The more flagrant and uncleanness (Lev. vii. 20, 21)-neglect of purifi- abominable of these were punished with death, cation after a legal defilement (Númb. xix. 20) others with extirpation, and some only by the eating the fat pieces or blood of oxen, sheep, and imposition of fines and the exaction of offerings. goats (Lev. vii. 23—27)—imitating the sacred for a consideration of this branch of the criminal incense, which was to be offered to none but God, law, the reader is referred to Michaëlis's Com(Exod. xxx. 38)-profaning the Sabbath by doing mentaries.* servile work (Exod. xxxi. 14-16; xxxv. 2).
i Cor. viii. and x. The propositions which he lays down are these: (1) Idol offerings eaten in an idol temple, or at an ideal
banquet, forms a participation in idolatrous worship. But * Vit. August. cap. 33., p. 208, Edit. Var. Lugd. Bat. (2) exclusive of this case, it is lawful to eat of idol offerings ; 1662.
for the idol is a nonentity, and has no property ; every + Harwood's Introduction, vol. i.,
., pp. 190–202.
thing on the face of the earth, even the idol offering itself, There is a very useful Harmony of the Mosaic Law, belonging to the true God. (3) Yet ought we, for the sake of the digested under proper beads, with a reference to all the pas weak, to abstain from eating of any sach offering, if they are sages of Scripture in which the details are to be found, in the thereby scandalized, and tell us, for waning, that it is an idol Critica Biblica, vol. iv., pp. 108–112, which we have trans. offering. Michaëlis on the Laws of Moses, vol. iv., p. 37. ferred to our pages, at the end of this section.
Michaelis, ubi supra, vol. ii., pp. 348-251.
III. CRIMES OF BLOOD.
Of these, Every trespass of the Levitical law which did not 1. Murder demands the first notice, Exod. xx. proceed from presumption, was termed an error, 13; xxi. 14; Lev. xxiv. 17; Numb. xxxv. 16– and was atoneable by an offering, Numb. xv. 27, 21, 31 ; Deut. xix. 11–13. The accessory cir28. The punishment for idolatry, or for seducing cumstances, whereby Moses describes murder, others to the commission of that crime, was death, and which express the marks that distinguish it by stoning, Deut. xvii. 2–5; Lev. xx. 2, &c. from homicide, are the following : (1) When it And when a whole city became guilty of idolatry, proceeds from hatred or enmity. (2) When it it was considered as in a state of rebellion against proceeds from a thirst of blood, or a desire to the
government, and treated according to the laws satiate revenge with the death of another. (3) of war. Its inhabitants, and all their cattle, were When it is committed premeditatedly and deceitput to death. No spoil was made, but every thing fully. (4) When a man lies in wait for another, it contained was destroyed with itself; nor durst falls upon him, and slays him. Besides enmity, it ever be rebuilt, Deut. xiii. 13–19. The ap- Moses deemed it as essential to the crime of murpropriate term, by which the punishment de- der, that it be caused by a blow, or a thrust, or a nounced against any such idolatrous city was cast, or other thing of such a nature as was likely expressed in the law, is cherem, to consecrate to to prove fatal ; as the use of an iron tool, a stone, Jehovah, or to put under the ban ; to outlaw, or or piece of wood, of such a description as was proscribe. See Exod. xxii. 20; Deut. xiii. 15–17. likely to cause death ; striking with the fist, out of We have, however, no intimation that this law enmity, pushing a man, or throwing any thing at was ever enforced. The Israelites, generally, were him, in a manner that was likely to occasion so prone to the sin of idolatry themselves, that they death, Numb. 16-21. in most cases overlooked it in a city that became 2. Homicide, or, as we call it, manslaughter, is notoriously idolatrous; and thus the evil soon discriminated by the following adjuncts and deFerspread the entire nation. Under these circum- scriptive circumstances :-(1) That it takes place stances, God reserved to himself the infliction of without hatred or enmity, Numb. xxxv. 22, 23; the punishment denounced against that national Deut. xix. 4–6. (2) Without thirst of blood, crime; which consisted in wars, famines, and Exod. xxi. 13; Numb. xxxv. 22. (3) When it other heavy judgments; and, when the measure happens from mistake, Numb. xxxv. 14, 15. (4) of their iniquity was complete, in the destruction when it arises from accident, Deut. xix. 5. of their polity, and the transportation of the people 3. The crime of murder was punished with as slaves into other lands, Lev. xxvi; Deut. death, without any power of redemption ; and Invi; xxix. ; xxxii.
that of homicide subjected the guilty person to 2. Blasphemy, or speaking injuriously of the the vengeance of the nearest kin of the deceased, name of God, was another crime which incurred unless he fled to one of the six cities of refuge. capital punishment, Lev. xxiv. 10–14:
Here he was obliged to remain till the death of 3. Divination and incantation, of which there the high-priest, when a general amnesty took were various kinds, were also crimes incurring capital punishment, Lev. xis. 26–31 ; xx. 6, 23,
* Vol. ir., pp. 114–203.
place, and the right of blood-avengement ceased. | lator struck at the root of this spesies of crime by But if, at any time previous to this event, the rendering informers odious in the eye of the law, homicide went beyond the limits of his asylum, except in the cases of idolatry and murder (Lev. the avenger of blood, if he met him, had a right xix. 16–18; Deut. xiii. 7–9); tand by erto kill him, Exod. xxi. 13; Numb. xxxv. 9435; pressly prohibiting the publication of all false Deut. xix. 1-13.
reports, Exod. xxiii. l. There was ito specific 4. There were two species of homicide, how- punishment, however, annexed to these crimes of ever, to which no punishment was annexed :-(1) malice, that being left to the discretion of the The killing of a nocturnal thief, Exod. xxii. 2; judge, excepting the case of a man unjustly re(2) the killing of an innocent homicide, by the proaching his bride, whose punishment is speciblood-avenger, while the former was without the fied, Deut. xxii. 13—19. All manner of false boundaries of the asylum, Deut. xix. 6; Numb, witness, either against an innocent person or in XXXV. 26, 27. In order to increase the abhor- favour of a guilty one, was also strictly prohibited, rence of murder and homicide among the He- Exod. xx. 13; xxiii. 1-3. We find no punishbrews, and to represent it as polluting both the ment positively annexed to the latter species of land and the people, and also to induce every false witness; but with regard to the former, the person to give such information as he was pos- case was widely differént: When false testimony sessed of, there was a certain ceremonial ordained was given against an innoant man, the matter by way of expiation, the statute relative to which was ordered to be investigatel with the utmost is recorded in Deut. xxi. 149.
strictness, and, as a species of kidedness altoge5. The statutes relative to corporal injuries of ther extraordinary, to be brought before the highless magnitude than those just specified, will be est: tribunal, where the priests anagudges of the found in Exod. xxi. 18—27 ; Lev. xxiv. 19, 20, whole people sat in judgment. After conviction, 22; Deut. xxv. 11, 12, to which the reader is the false witness was subjected to punishment, referred.
according to the law of retaliation, beyond the IV. CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY. These were, possibility of reprieve; so that he suffered the
1 Theft, for which crime Moses imposed the very same punishment which attended the crime punishment of double, and in certain cases still whereof he accused his innocent brother, Deut. higher, restitution (Exod. xxi. 37; xxii. 3; Prov. xix. 16–21. vi. 30, 31); and if the thief were unable to make VI. CRIMES AGAINST PARENTS AND RULERS. In such restitution, he was to be sold for a slave, and the Hebrew form of government, we trace much payment was to be made to the sufferer out of the of the patriarchal spirit which investeil the fathers purchase-money, Exod. xxi. 37; xxii. 3. This, with very great rights over their families. The as Michaëlis remarks, is the most equitable and most heinous offences of which children could be rational of all punishments, and that which will guilty towards their parents were, most effectually deter from the commission of the 1. Cursing them (Exod. xxi. 17; Lev. xx. 9), crime, if carried into effect. It can only be car- which included the use of all rude and reproachried into effect, however, in a state constituted ful language, as well as the imprecation of evil. upon principles similar to those of the Mosaic An example of this crime, and one altogether in polity. If a thief, after having denied, even upon point, is given in Matt. xv. 46, where the Phaoath, any theft with which he was charged, re- risees are upbraided with giving, from their defertracted his perjury by the confession of guilt, ence to human traditions and doctrines, such an instead of double restitution, he had only to re-exposition of the divine law, as converted an acpay the amount stolen, and one-fifth more, Lev. tion, which, by the law of Moses, would have vi. 145.
been punished with death, into a vow, both obli2. Man-stealing, that is, forcibly taking the gatory and acceptable in the sight of God. It person of a free-born Israelite, either to use him seems that it was not then uncommon for an unas a slave, or to sell him as a slave to others, was dutiful and degenerate son, who wanted to be rid punished with death ; and no mitigation of pun of the burden of supporting his parents, and, in ishment was allowed, Exod. xxi. 16; Deut. his wrath, to turn them destitute upon the world, xxiv. 7.
to say to his father and mother, “ Corban”—“ Be 3. Denying any thing taken in trust or found, thou Corban [consecrated] which I should approsubjected the guilty person to the punishment of priate to thy support;" that is, “Every thing double restitution, Exod. xxii. 8. But the same wherewith I might ever aid or serve thee," and, provision was made for a confession of guilt in
every thing which I ought to devote this case as in that of theft, Lev. vi. 1–5. V. CRIMES OF MALICE. The Hebrew legis
+ Michaëlis, vol. i., p. 443.
to thy relief in the days of helpless old age, I here, consequences than in northern, and must be rerow unto God.”—A most abominable vow, and garded by a legislator in a different light. And as one which God would, unquestionably, as little ap- imprisonment for crime was a thing altogether prove or accept, as he would a vow to commit the unknown to the Hebrews, they were precluded most obviously abominable crimes. And yet some from the means of so securing drunkards, as to of the Pharisees pronounced on such vows this prevent them from effecting mischief. strange decision—that they were absolutely obli- 4. The magistrate, being the appointed minister gatory, and that the son, who uttered such words, of God, and administering justice under his auwas bound to abstain from contributing in the thority, was regarded as inviolably sacred in his smallest article to the relief of his parents ; be- person, and preserved against the utterance of all cause every thing that should have been so appro- reproachful words or curses, Exod. xxii. 28. The priated had become consecrated to God, and could punishment of persons guilty of this offence is no no longer be applied to their use, without sacri- where specified, being modified according to the lege and a breach of his vow. But on this exposi- degree of guilt. It probably generally consisted tion, Christ not only remarked, that it abrogated of stripes, before the institution of the regal go the fifth commandment, but he likewise added, as vernment, after which crimes against the king's a counter-doctrine, that Moses, their own legis- person were punished with death. See 2 Sam. lator, had expressly declared, that “the man who xix. 22–24, compared with 1 Kings ii. 8, 9, cursed father or mother deserved to die.” Now, 36—46.* it is impossible for a man to curse his parents more effectually than by a vow like this, when he interprets it with such rigour as to preclude him
§ 3.—The Civil Law. from doing any thing in future for their benefit.
Of the civil laws instituted by Moses, the folIt is not merely imprecating upon them a curse, lowing only require to be noticed. which may evaporate into air ; but it is fulfilling
1. Concerning DEBTS.-In nothing, perhaps, do the curse, and making it, to all intents and pur- the Israelitish laws deviate so far from our own, as poses, effectual. 2. Striking a parent is, if possible, a higher marked, that imprisonment was unknown amongst
in regard to matters of debt. . We have already respecies of moral delinquency than that already the Hebrews, and they were equally free from noticed, because it must proceed from a state of those long and expensive modes of procedure to inveterate wickedness. It was accordingly de
which we are subjected for the recovery of debts. nounced as a heinous crime, and, like the former Their laws in this respect were simple, but efficient. one, punished with death, Exod. xxi. 15.
Where a pledge was lodged with a creditor for 3. There is a statute in Deut. xxi. 18—21, which the payment of a debt, which was not discharged, inflicts the punishment of death upon a mischiev- the creditor was allowed to appropriate the pledge Ous, profligate, and disobedient son. Michaëlis con
to his own benefit, without any interposition of a ceives that this law does not apply so much to the punishment of any particular crime against been bought with the sum which had been lent
magistrate, and to keep it as rightfully as if it had parents, as to the case of parents having a son for it. But
, besides the pledge, every Israelite had addicted to drinking, and who, in his fits of various pieces of property, on which execution for drunkenness, was apt to pick quarrels, and en- debt might readily be made : as, (1) His hereditary danger the safety of others. The statute has been
land, the produce of which might be attached till the deemed severe;
but there are circumstances connected with it, which, if taken into consideration, sole exception of those of the Levites, might be sold
year of jubilee.—(2) His houses, which, with the will abate its apparent rigour. First
, The stoning in perpetuity, Lev. xxv. 29, 30.—(3) His cattle, to death of such persons was to be inflicted with
household furniture, and ornaments, appear also to all proper solemnity, and as an example ; “ that others in Israel might hear, and be deterred from have been liable to have been taken in execution.
See Job xxiv. 3 ; Prov. xxii. 27. From Deut. xv. the like wickedness;" and not until his parents 1–11, we see that no debt could be exacted from a had found themselves compelled, after many unsuccessful efforts with him, and the trial of poor man, in the serenth year; because the land lying
fallow, he had no income whence every possible method to reclaim him, judicially to The person of the debtor might be sold, along with
pay it.—(4) acknowledge, that they were not capable of keeping his wife and children, if he had any. See Lev. him in order, and answering for the safety of others. Secondly, The' just remark of Montesquieu
xxv. 39; Job xxiv. 9; 2 Kings iv. 1 ; Isai. i. l; also claims attention ; that in southern countries, drunkenness is attended with far more formidable * Michaelis on the Laws of Moses, vol. iv.,
We have no intimation in the writings the case of injuries committed upon the
property of Moses that suretiship was practised among the of another, he has nevertheless made some express Hebrews, in cases of debt. In the Proverbs of ordinances on this subject, from the analogy of Solomon, however, there are many admonitions which we may conclude that this was the tenor of respecting it. Where this warranty was given, his law. See Lev. xxiv. 18; Exod. xxi. 23, 24, the surety was treated with the same severity as 32, 35, 36, xxii. 5.* if he had been the actual debtor ; and if he could
very bed might be taken from under him, Prov. xxi. 27. There is a reference to the
§ 4.- Modes of Punishment, and Treatment of custom observed in contracting this obligation, in
Prisoners. Prov. xvii. 18, “A man void of understanding striketh hands," &c.; and also in chap. xxii. 26, I. The purpose of inflicting punishment is ex“Be not thou one of them that strike hands,” &c. pressed by Moses to be, the determent of others It is to be observed, that the hand was given, not from the commission of crime. His language is, to the creditor, but to the debtor in the creditor's “ That others may hear and fear, and commit no presence. By this act the surety intimated that more any such evil,” Deut. xvii. 13, xix. 20.4 he became in a legal sense one with the debtor. The punishments among the Jews were either ca
2. OF PLEDGES.—We have above noticed the pital or inferior. Some of them were expressly practice of lending on pledge; but as this was ordained by Moses ; others were introduced from liable to considerable abuse, the following judicial the surrounding nations, by whom they were sucregulations were adopted.-(1) The creditor was cessively subdued, at various periods of their hisnot allowed to enter the house of the debtor to tory. Of these the only distinction we shall make fetch the pledge ; but was obliged to stand with is into inferior and capital. out the door, and wait till it was brought to him, 1. The inferior punishments were, Restitution Deut. xxiv. 10, 11. This law was wisely de- for theft, in certain proportions, Exod. xxii. 1-4. signed to restrain avaricious and unprincipled per- Deprivation of the delirquents beard, 2 Sam. I. sons from taking advantage of their poor brethren 4. Destroying their houses, Exod. vi. 11 ; Dan. in choosing their own pledges.—(2) The upper i. 5, iii. 29. Imprisonment in a dungeon (Jer. garment, which served by night for a blanket xxxvii. 6—aggravated by fetters (Judg. xvi. 21) (Exod. xxii. 25, 26; Deut. xxiv. 12—13), and -by a wooden yoke round the neck (Jer. xxvii. mills, and mill-stones, if taken in pledge, were to 2, xxviii. 13)—by the stocks (Prov. vii. 22 ; Jer. be restored to the owner before sun-set. The
xx. 2)—by hard labour, &c., Judg. svi. 21; reason of this law was, that these articles were 1 Kings xxii. 27. Confinement in the cities of indispensable to the comfortable subsistence of the refuge till the death of the high-priest, Numb. poor; and for the same reason it is likely that it
25_-28. Whipping, with
of extended to all necessary utensils. Such a rc- three cords, so as to give the culprit forty, save storation was no loss to the creditor. For he had
one, Deut. xxv. 2, 3; 2 Cor. xi. 24, 25. Cutting it in his power at last, by the aid of summary off the hands and feet, Judg. i. 6, 7; 2 Sam. iv. justice, to lay hold of the whole property of the 12. Putting out the eyes, Judg. xvi. 21. Sealdebtor, and if he had none, of his
which is alluded to in Isai. xliv. the event of non-payment, as before stated, to 18, where it is said, that God hath shut up the take him for a bond slave.
eyes of idolaters, that they cannot see; whence 3. OF USURY, OR INTEREST.—In the first and
we infer that it was a judicial punishment.|| second laws relative to the taking of interest (Exod. Fighting with wild beasts, which was sometimes xxii. 25; Lev. xxv. 35—37), mention is made of not mortal (1 Cor. xv. 32), though it generally poor Israelites only, from whom it is expressly was so. Slavery till the sabbatical year, or till prohibited to be taken, not only for money, but compensation was made for theft
, Exod. xxi. 2. also for victuals, and of course for fruits and corn. Sale of children for their father's debts, 2 Kings It was therefore still lawful to lend upon interest iv. 1; Matt. xviii. 25. Talio, or like for like, to a rich man. But as this was found to give rise either literally (Exod. xxi. 23—25), or by compento many abuses, and covert violations of the law, it was ultimately rendered unlawful to take interest of any Israelite, whatever his circumstances
• Michaëlis on the Laws of Moses, vol. ii., pp. 294–367. may have been, Deut. xxii. 19, 20.
+ Ibid., vol. iii., p. 404, and iv., p. 371. 4. OF INJURIES DONE TO THE PROPERTY OF
This mode of punishment is still practised in the East. OTHERS.—Although the Hebrew legislator has no- see Malcolm's Persia, vol. ii., chap. xix., p. 198, note. wbere enjoined, by a general statute, restitution in || See Harmer's Observations, vol. ij., p. 277, &c.