Изображения страниц

this office by his son Jehoshaphat (2 Sam. xx. 24.), who was retained by Solomon. (1 Kings iv. 3.) Joah, the son of Asaph, was the recorder of the pious king Hezekiah (2 Kings xviii. 18.37. Isa. xxxvi. 3.) In Esther vi. 1. and x. 2. mention is made of the records of the chronicles, written by this officer. 4. The Top (sopher) or Scribe seems to have been the king's secretary of state: he registered all acts and decrees. Seraiah (2 Sam. viii. 17.) and Sheva (2 Sam. xx. 25.) were David's secretaries. This officer is also mentioned in 1 Kings iv. 3. 2 Kings xviii. 18. and Isa. xxxvi. 3. 5. The High Priest, as one would naturally expect in a theocracy, is likewise to be reckoned among the royal counsellors. Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelek the son of Abiathar, are particularly mentioned among the principal officers of David. (2 Sam. viii. 17. 1 Chron. xviii. 16.) VII. Mention has already been incidentally made of the numerous retinue that attended the oriental monarchs: the principal officers, who thus composed the domestic establishment of the Israelitish and Jewish kings, were as follow:— 1. The Officers, mentioned in 1 Kings iv. 5. 7–19. and 1 Chron. xxvii. 25–31., are in 1 Kings xx. 15. called the princes of the provinces. They supplied the royal table, and must not be confounded with those who collected the tribute. In 2 Sam. xx. 24. and 1 Kings iv. 6. Adoram, who is enumerated among David's and Solomon's officers of state, is said to be over the tribute : he was, probably, what we call chancellor of the exchequer. He received and brought into the royal treasury all the proceeds of taxes and tributes. 2. The Governor of the Palace, who was over the household, seems to have answered, as to his employment and rank, to the stewards whom the rich men engaged to superintend their affairs. To him was committed the charge of the servants, and indeed of every thing which belonged to the palace. Abishar held this office under David (1 Kings iv. 6.); Obadiah, under Ahab (1 Kings Xviii. 3.); and Eliakim, under Hezekiah. (2 Kings xviii. o From Isa. xxii. 22. it appears that this officer wore, as a mark of his office, a robe of a peculiar make, bound with a precious girdle, and carried on his shoulder a richly ornamented key. 3. The King's Friend or Companion was the person, with whom the sovereign conversed most familiarly and confidentially: he sometimes had the oversight of the royal palace, and sometimes even the charge of the kingdom. (1 Kings iv. 5. 1 Chron. xxvii. 33.) In the time of the Maccabees, this appellation admitted of a broader meaning, and was applied to any one who was employed to execute the royal commands, or who held a high office in the government. See 1 Macc. x. 65. xi. 26, 27. 4. The King's Life Guard, whose commander was termed the captain of the guard. This office existed in the court of the Pharaohs (Gen. xxxvii. 36. xxxix. 1.), as well as in that of the Israelitish and Jewish monarchs. The captain of the guard appears to have been employed in executing summary justice on state criminals. See 1 Kings ii. 25. 34. In the time of David, the royal life-guards were called Cherethites and Pelethites, concerning the origin of whose names commentators and critics are by no means agreed. The Chaldee Targum, on the second book of Samuel, terms them the archers and slingers: and as the Hebrews were expert in the use of the bow and the sling, it is not improbable that the royal guards were armed with them. The life guards of the Asmonasan sovereigns, and subsequently of Herod and his sons, were foreigners: they bore a lance or long spear, whence they were denominated in Greek XroxovXarogsg. (Mark vi. 27. VIII. The women of the king's harem are to be considered as forming part of the royal equipage; as, generally speaking, they were principally destined to augment the pomp, which was usually attached to his office. Notwithstanding Moses had prohibited the multiplication of women in the character of wives and concubines (Deut. xvii. 17.); yet the Hebrew monarchs, especially Solomon, and his son Rehoboam, paid but little regard to his admonitions, and too readily as well as wickedly exposed themselves to the perils which Moses had anticipated as the result of forming such improper connections. (1 Kings xi. 1–3. 2 Chron. xi. 21. xiii. 21.) The Israelitish and Jewish monarchs spared no expense in decorating the persons of their women, and of the eunuchs (the black ones especially) who guarded them; and who, as the Mosaic law prohibited castration (Lev. xxii. 24. Deut. xxiii. 1.), were procured from foreign countries at a great expense. In proof of the employment of eunuchs in the Hebrew court see 1 Kings xxii. 9. (Heb.) 2 Kings viii. 6. (Heb.) ix. 32, 33. xx. 18. xxiii. 11. (Heb.) Jer. xxxviii. 7. xxxix. 16. and xli. 16. The maids of the harem, at the king's pleasure, became his concubines; but the successor to the throne, though he came into possession of the harem, was not at hberty to have any intercourse with the inmates of it. Hence Adonijah, who in his zeal to obtain Abishag, a concubine of David's, for his wife, had dropt some intimations of his right to the kingdom, was unished with death, as a seditious person. (1 Kings ii. 13–25.) }. though the king had unlimited power over the harem, yet the wife who was chiefly in favour, and especially the mother of the king, enjoyed great political influence. (I Kings xi. 3. 2 Chron, xxi. 6. and xxii. 3.) Hence it is that we find the mother of the king so frequently and particularly mentioned in the books of Kings and Chronicles. The similar influence of the reigning sultana, as well as of the mother of the sovereign, in modern oriental courts, is attested by almost every traveller in the East. IX. The Promulgation of the Laws was variously made at different times. Those of Moses, as well as the commands or temporary edicts of Joshua, were announced to the people by the Dono (shorerum), who in our authorised English version are termed officers. Afterwards, when the regal government was established, the edicts and laws of the kings were publicly proclaimed by criers,


(Jer. xxxiv. 8, 9. Jonah, iii. 5–7.) But in the distant provinces, towns, and cities, they were made known by messengers specially sent for that purpose. (1 Sam. xi. 7. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 22. Ezra i. 1.) These proclamations were made at the gates of the cities, and in Jerusalem at the gate of the temple, where there was always a great concourse of people. On this account it was that the prophets frequently delivered their predictions in the temple (and also in the streets and at the gates) of Jerusalem, as being the edicts of Jehovah, the supreme King of Israel. (Jer. vii. 2, 3. xi. 6. xvii. 19, 20. xxxvi. 10.) In later times, both Jesus Christ and his apostles taught in and at the gate of the temple. (Luke ii. 46. Matt. xxvi. 55. Mark xii. 35. Acts iii. 11. v. 12.) X. The kingdom which had been founded by Saul, and carried to its highest pitch of grandeur and power by David and Solomon, subsisted entire for the space of 120 years; until Rehoboam, the son and successor of Solomon, refused to mitigate the burthens of his subjects, when a division of the twelve tribes took place : ten of which adhering to Jeroboam formed the kingdom of Israel, while the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, continuing faithful in their allegiance to Rehoboam, constituted the kingdom of Judah. The kingdom of Israel subsisted under various sovereigns during a period of 264 or 271 years, according to some chronologers; its metropolis Samaria being captured by Shalmaneser king of Assyria, B. c. 717 or 719, after a siege of three years. Of the Israelites, whose numbers had been reduced by immense and repeated slaughters, some of the lower sort were suffered to remain in their native country; but the nobles and all the more opulent persons were carried into captivity beyond the Euphrates.” The kingdom of Judah continued 388, or, according to some chronologers, 404 years; Jerusalem its capital being taken, the temple burnt, and its sovereign Zedekiah being carried captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar; the rest of his subjects (with the exception of the poorer classes who were left in Judaea) were likewise carried into captivity beyond the Euphrates, where they and their posterity remained seventy years, agreeably to the divine predictions.

1 Jahn, Archaeologia Biblica, pp. 332–335.330.

* It was the belief of some of the antient fathers of the Christian church, that the descendants of the ten tribes did afterwards return into their own country: and the same notion has obtained among some modern Jews, but neither of these opinions is supported by history. In the New Testament, indeed, we find mention of the twelve tribes (Matt. xix. 28. Luke xxii. 30. Acts xxvi. 7.) : and St. James (i. 1.) directs his epistle to them; but it cannot be concluded from these passages, that they were at that time gathered together ; all that can be inferred from them is, that they were still in being. Perhaps the whole body of the Jewish nation retained the name of the twelve tribes according to the antient division; as we find the disciples called the twelve after the death of Judas, and before the election of Matthias. This conjecture becomes the more probable, as it is certain from the testimony of the sacred writers and of Josephus, that there were considerable numbers of Israelites mingled with the Jews, sufficient indeed to authorize the former to speak of the twelve tribes as constituting but one body with the Jewish nation. Beausobre's Introd. to the New Test. (Bishop Watson's Tracts, vol. iii. pp. 114–116.) 1 He is generally supposed to have derived this name from a cabalistical word, formed M. B. C. I. the initial letters of the Hebrew Text, Mi Chamoka Baeline Jehovah, i. e. who among the Gods is like unto thee, O Jehovah (Exod. xv. 11), which letters might have been displayed on his sacred standard, as the letters S. P. Q. R. (Senatus Populus Que Romanus,) were on the Roman ensigns. Dr. Hale's Analysis of Chronology, vol. i. p. 599.





H. Brief Account of the Asmonasan Princes.—II. Herod the Great.— St. JMatthew's narrative of his murder of the infants at Bethlehem confirmed.—III. Archelaus-IV. Herod Antipas.-W. Philip.– VI. Herod Agrippa-VII. Agrippa junior.

I. ON the subversion of the Babylonian empire by Cyrus the founder of the Persian monarchy (b. c. 543), he authorised the Jews by an edict to return into their own country, with full permission to enjoy their laws and religion, and caused the city and temple of Jerusalem to be rebuilt. In the following year, part of the Jews returned under Zerubbabel, and renewed their sacrifices: the theocratic government, which had been in abeyance during the captivity, was resumed; but the re-erection of the city and temple being interrupted for several years by the treachery and hostility of the Samaritans or Cutheans, the avowed enemies of the Jews, the completion and dedication of the temple did not take place until the year 511 B. c., six years after the accession of Cyrus. The rebuilding of Jerusalem was accomplished, and the reformation of their ecclesiastical and civil polity was effected by the two divinely inspired and pious governors Ezra and Nehemiah. After their death the Jews were governed by their high priests, in subjection however to the Persian kings, to whom they paid tribute (Ezra iv. 13. vii. 24.), but with the full enjoyment of their other magistrates, as well as their liberties, civil and religious. Nearly three centuries of uninterrupted prosperity ensued, until the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes king of Syria, when they were most cruelly oppressed, and compelled to take up arms in their own defence. Under the able conduct of Judas surnamed Maccabeus,' and his valiant brothers, the Jews maintained a religious war for twenty-six years with five successive kings of Assyria; and after destroying upwards of 200,000 of their best troops, the Maccabees finally estab: lished the independence of their own country and the aggrandisement of their family. This illustrious house, whose princes united the regal and pontifical dignity in their own persons, administered the affairs of the Jews during a period of one hundred and twenty-six years; until, disputes arising between Hyrcanus II. and his brother Aristobulus, the latter was defeated by the Romans under Pompey, who captured Jerusalem, and reduced Judaea to a tributary province of the republic (b. c. 59). II. Julius Cæsar, having defeated Pompey, continued Hyrcanus in the high priesthood, but bestowed the government of Judæa upon Antipater, an Idumean by birth, who was a Jewish proselyte, and the father of Herod surnamed the Great who was subsequently king of the Jews. Antipater divided Judaea between his two sons Phasael and Herod, giving to the former the government of Jerusalem, and to the latter the province of Galilee; which being at that time greatly infested with robbers, Herod signalised his courage by dispersing them, and shortly after attacked Antigonus the competitor of Hyrcanus in the priesthood, who was supported by the Tyrians. In the mean time, the Parthians having invaded Judaea, and carried into captivity Hyrcanus the high priest and Phasael the brother of Herod; the latter fled to Rome, where Mark Antony, with the consent of the senate, conferred on him the title of king of Judaea. By the aid of the Roman arms Herod kept possession of his dignity; and after three years of sanguinary and intestine war with the partisans of Antigonus, he was confirmed in his kingdom by Augustus. This prince is characterised by Josephus as a person of singular courage and resolution, liberal and even extravagant in his expenditure, magnificent in his buildings, especially in the temple of Jerusalem, and apparently disposed to promote the happiness of every one. But under this specious exterior he concealed the most consummate duplicity; studious only how to attain and to secure his own dignity, he regarded no means, however unjustifiable, which might promote that object of his ambition; and in order to supply his lavish expenditure, he imposed oppressive burdens on his subjects. o cruel, and a slave to !. most furious passions, he imbrued his hands in the blood of his wife, his children, and the greater part of his family; such indeed was the restlessness and jealousy of his temper,

1 “When Herod,” says the accurate Lardner, “had gained possession of Jerusalem by the assistance of the Romans, and his rival Antigonus was taken prisoner, and in the hands of the Roman general Sosius, and by him carried to mark Antony, Herod, by a large sum of money, persuaded Antony to put him to death. #. great fear was, that Antigonus might sometime revive his pretensions, as being of the Asmonaran family. Aristobulus, brother of his wife Mariamne, was murdered o his directions at eighteen years of age, because the people at Jerusalem had shown some affection for his person. In the seventh year of his reign from the death of Antigonus, he put to death #. grandfather of Mariamne, then eighty years of age, and who had saved Herod's life when he was prosecuted by the Sanhedrin; a man who in his youth and in the vigour of his life, and in all the revolutions of his fortune, had shown a mild and peaceable disposition. His be

WOL. III. 14

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »