« AnkstesnisTęsti »
Moses then conducted the people to the mountainous district, where he himself had found refuge; and there the law was given to them, and their civil and ecclesiastical polity arranged. They then marched northwards towards Canaan, and were directed to enter it, but, being afraid, and refusing to go, they were condemned to wander forty years in the desert, till all the generation that came out of Egypt had died, with the exception of two persons. During their wanderings, they met with many vicissitudes, fell into many sins, suffered severe corrections; but, at length, they were led round by the south of Edom, and, after defeating two kings who attempted to withstand them, they found themselves encamped on the east side of the river Jordan, opposite to Jericho.
About this time Moses died, and Joshua succeeded to the command. He led them across the Jordan, which was miraculously divided afford them a passage. He first took and destroyed the city of Jericho, and afterwards passed through the greater part of the land, took the cities wherever he went, extirpating, or driving out the Canaanites, and setting the Israelites in their
Joshua did not complete the conquest of the land, many of the natives retaining their footing in it. After his death, the people fell from time to time into idolatry, and the Canaanites, who were in the land, or the neighbouring nations, particularly the Moabites, Midianites, and Philistines, obtained power to oppress them.
During this period the Israelites were governed by judges, who succeeded Joshua; and these led them in war, and administered justice to them in peace.
In the first century, after the death of Joshua, Cushan-rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia, oppressed them for eight years, when, on their repentance, Othneil was raised up to deliver them, B.C. 1405.
The people enjoyed rest for forty years, but returning to idolatry, they were invaded and oppressed for 18 years by the king of Moab, aided by the kings of Ammon and Amalek, and on their repentance were de
livered by Ehud, who slew the king of Moab, B. C. 1325.
In about 20 years afterwards, the Israelites, having returned to their idolatry, were invaded and oppressed by Jabin, king of Canaan, for 20 years. On their repentance, Barak, and Deborah, a prophetess, under the direction of God, assembled an army near Mount Tabor, on the banks of the stream Kishon, and, on their being attacked by the army of Jabin, totally defeated it, B.C. 1285. This victory gave occasion to the celebrated ode, composed by Deborah.
Another relapse into idolatry brought upon them an oppressive invasion of the Midianites, who tyrannized over them for seven years: and, when they repented, and cried to God for deliverance, Gideon routed the army of the Midianites, with 300 chosen men, B.C. 1245.
On the death of Gideon, idolatry again began to appear, and on this occasion the people were chas.. tised by internal warfare. Abimelech, a son of Gideon by his concubine, slew all the rest of Gideon's children, and was proclaimed king by the Shechemites, but his adherents afterwards quarrelling, destroyed one another.
On a subsequent relapse into idolatry, the Philistines and Ammonites obtained power over the Israelites, and oppressed them for eighteen years. Jephtha was, on this occasion, raised up to deliver the people. He defeated the children of Ammon in a battle, fought on the east side of the river Jordan, B.C. 1187. The Ephraimites quarrelled, on this occasion, with him, for not taking them to the war along with him; and he intercepted them at the fords of the Jordan, and slew of them 42,000 men.
About 33 years after this, Eli, the high priest, was judge; and during his weak government the people fell into their besetting sin. The Philistines then came upon them, overran the country, and miserably oppressed them for forty years. It was during the government of Eli that Samson performed his feats of miraculous strength. At length the Israelites were
roused to resist the Philistines, and the sons of Eli brought the ark out of the tabernacle, for the purpose of inspiring the people with courage, and of terrifying the enemy; doubtless, also, with some expectation that God would not permit that sacred symbol of the covenant to be taken by the Philistines. But they were totally defeated, and the ark taken, B.C. 1116. Eli received so great a shock by this event, that he fell backwards and died.
Samuel, who had been brought up in the temple with Eli, then became judge of Israel. He was the last of the judges. His sons, being entrusted by him with the government of the kingdom, conducted themselves in the most profligate manner, so that the people demanded a king, that they might be like the nations around them. Samuel was directed by God to comply with this demand, and Saul was chosen the first king of Israel. He, however, proving unfaithful, the Lord rejected him, and chose David to be king. This choice came to the ears of Saul, who from that time pursued David with the most deadly malignity. At length, Saul and his son Jonathan, a young man of the noblest and most amiable character, were slain in battle by the Philistines, and David ascended the throne of Judah, B.C. 1055, and became king of all Israel, B.C. 1048.
David was a warlike prince, and subdued the Syrians, the Philistines, the Moabites, and Edomites, and brought that whole district of country that lies between the river Euphrates and the Mediterranean sea under tribute. After an eventful life, David died, leaving his dominions to the undisturbed possession of his son Solomon, who succeeded him, B.C. 1015.
PALESTINE. This country had in the days of Moses become more densely peopled than it was in the days of Abraham. It was occupied by several tribes, descended from the same stock, namely, the family of Canaan, as the Hittites, Hivites, Amorites, and Jebusites. These tribes had built many strongly fortified cities, and had brought the ground into general cultivation. The cities on the
sea-coast had commenced that commercial career which, for many ages, gave them much influence in the political revolutions, which mark the general history of the world..
But, in their prosperity, they had cast off all fear of the God of heaven, and had rushed, with one consent, into the most debasing idolatry. They occupied that land which God had destined for the seat of his own people; and, by the time that the Israelites had become sufficiently numerous to occupy the country, they were, by their wickedness, ripe for the fate that awaited them.
They had abundant warning given to them of the purpose of God to expel them. After the Israelites had been separated from the Egyptians by their passage through the Red Sea, they hung on the borders of Canaan for about forty years, wandering in a desert, in which no such body of people could have existed without a miracle. But the Canaanites, so far from taking warning and retiring from the country, seem to have been at the more pains to fortify themselves in it; so that when they were attacked by Joshua, they seem to have regarded themselves quite prepared by their fortresses, their armaments, and their leagues for mutual defence, to repel him.
They were, however, subdued, with amazing rapidity, but not wholly expelled nor extirpated. Considerable numbers of them remained in the land, and for many ages greatly harassed the Israelites.
In the time of David these original inhabitants of the holy land were either extirpated, or thoroughly subdued. The empire of Jabin, king of Canaan, the capital of which was Hazor, towards the north of Palestine, and which rose to its height about 300 years before the time of Solomon, seems never to have recovered the blow that it received from Deborah and Barak. The Philistines also were thoroughly and permanently subdued by David. Of the states on the coast, Tyre rose to great eminence; and the inhabitants of Tyre became celebrated for their skill in navigation and commerce. Hiram was king of Tyre in the days of Solomon, and the two monarchs seem to
have lived on terms of undisturbed friendship. Hiram gave Solomon much assistance in the building of the temple, and they sent out fleets together from Ezion Geber, on the Red Sea, for commercial purposes. The places which these fleets visited, are not exactly known.
The nations immediately surrounding Palestine, as Syria, Moab, Ammon, Edom, and Midian, were, in the days of David, brought into subjection to his empire. Moab and Midian had, at different times, invaded and oppressed the Israelites; but they, as well as Edom, were subdued by David, and did not dare to molest Solomon.
Of the more distant nations, Mesopotamia at one time attained to great power under Cushanrishathaim. They invaded, and greatly oppressed Israel, for a time; but were defeated by Othniel, the son of Caleb. This seems to indicate, that the kings of those eastern countries still continued to aim at the extension of their dominion towards the westward, as they had done so early as the days of Abraham.
Of those descendants of Abraham who settled in the neighbourhood of Palestine, chiefly in what is now the peninsula of Arabia, the Ishmaelites, Midianites, and Edomites, had increased and become nations, governed by kings of their own. The Moabites and Ammonites also had become independent kingdoms. These several kingdoms formed a kind of cordon of kingdoms of the kindred of the Israelites, on the eastern and southern boundaries of the land that was allotted to them, whose language was totally different from that of the Canaanites, and also from that of Egypt.
EGYPT.-Egypt was, at this time, the chief seat of arts and sciences. If the book of Job was written by Moses, as is generally believed, astronomy, mineralogy, and natural history, had been cultivated to a considerable extent, and the writings of Moses manifest the most perfect simplicity, purity, and sublimity of diction. Much of these beauties of composition, doubtless, must be attributed to inspiration. Yet, observing how the natural gifts, and the acquirements of the apostles of our Lord,