« ForrigeFortsæt »
men of other tribes, by Gideon a Manassite, and Manoah a Danite; and these were accepted by the Lord. Eli, indeed, was both judge and high priest; but his authority was not duly exercised. Whereas Samuel, an ordinary Levite, became a prophet and judge; yet it does not appear that he attended at the tabernacle worship, but offered sacrifices acceptably at other places. 2
No command is given in the law of Moses as to the form of government of the nation in subsequent ages, whether it was to be that of a king, or not. In the prophetical blessings pronounced on his sons by Israel when dying, it was intimated that Judah would be the ruling tribe. "The " sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a law"giver from between his feet, till Shiloh come; "and to him shall the gathering of the people "be."3 Yet Moses himself, the lawgiver of the nation, was a Levite, and Joshua, his successor, an Ephraimite: the first who took the title of king in Israel, was Abimelech, a Manassite; and the first king whom God appointed over them was Saul the Benjamite.
Some directions, indeed, were given in the law, in case the people should ever choose to have a king over them, from a desire to be like the nations that were round about them. 5 And, if the kings who were afterwards appointed over the nation had observed the directions or injunctions there given to them, the most happy conse
Judg. vi. 23--28. xiii. 19-22.
21 Sam. vi. 9. ix. 12. x. 8.
Judg. ix. 6, 8, 12.
Gen. xlix. 10.
xi. 15. xvi. 2.
5 Deut. xvii. 14-20.
quences would have ensued: especially in this 'command, "When he sitteth on the throne of his "kingdom, he shall write him a copy of this law " in a book, out of that which is before the priests "and Levites; and it shall be with him, and he "shall read therein all the days of his life; that "he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep "all the words of this law, and these statutes, to "do them; that his heart be not lifted up above "his brethren, and that he turn not aside from "the commandment to the right hand or to the " left." It does not appear from the history that any of the kings literally observed this injunction. David was, indeed, remarkably well acquainted with "the law of the Lord;" yet, in one instance, his zeal in religion was not regulated according to it, and he met with a discouraging rebuke for his error: which he having discovered and rectified, his endeavours were accepted and succeeded. 1 It was the peculiar commendation of Hezekiah in his reformation, that "the commandment of the "king and of his princes" was "by the word of "the Lord."2 And when Josiah began his reformation, not having the law of the Lord before him, he proceeded, as it were, in uncertainty and obscurity; but, when the book of the law was found and brought to him, he regulated every thing according to it, and was accepted and prospered. The case was similar in the efforts of Ezra and Nehemiah. "To the law and to the testi"mony." Now, so far as Christian princes do, or
1 2 Sam. vi. 1 Chr. xiii. 15.
ever hereafter shall, comply with the spirit of the command given in the law of Moses to kings over Israel; taking the whole of the oracles of God, as their rule, their line, their plummet, they will imitate Hezekiah and Josiah; their measures will be unexceptionable, highly useful, and mercifully accepted. The deviation, therefore, from the rule is that which is objectionable, not the thing itself. The government of Israel was, strictly speaking, The Lord was Israel's king, in a manner wholly different from his providential dominion over other nations. The elders and the chief priests were his ordinary deputies, or vicegerents; and the high priest, in some respects, as the head of them. But, when circumstances called for extraordinary measures, extraordinary vicegerents in the political administration were raised up by God himself, and called JUDGES, and extraordinary ministers of religion, called PROPHETS, to excite the priests and Levites to their duty, or to supersede their authority, in some respects, for a season; and in some instances the two offices were conjoined in the same person.
Thus the state of the nation continued till the days of Samuel, the most illustrious judge and prophet who had been raised up among them: and yet, just before he was called forth to fill up this twofold most eminent station in Israel, a singular intimation was given that another arrangement would soon be formed. The Lord, having awfully denounced sentence on Eli's family, predicted the translation of the high priesthood from his line, (who was a descendent of Ithamar,) to that of Eleazar and Phinehas: "I will raise me up a
"faithful priest, that shall do according to that "which is in mine heart and in my mind; and I "will build him a sure house, that he may walk "before mine anointed for ever."1 The Lord's "anointed" here could not mean the high priest; for "this priest would walk before the Lord's "anointed." The Messiah cannot be meant, (except typically) for he is both high priest and king. A king over Israel, therefore, called the Lord's anointed, and the cordial union of a faithful and pious high priest, or line of high priests, to him and to his family, were evidently predicted: and the prophecy was fulfilled when David, and after him Solomon, were the anointed kings over Israel; and when Zadok, of Eleazar's line, superseded Abiathar as high priest, by the express authority of king Solomon. 2 We have also reason to conclude that the descendents of Zadok were in general examples of genuine attachment to the cause of true religion, and cordially affected to kings of David's race; especially to the pious and reforming kings: though, doubtless, there were exceptions, to the high priests as well as to the kings. 3
Here, as it appears to me, the establishment, properly so called with reference to modern usages, by an union or alliance of kings and high priests, or the ministers of political government and those of ecclesiastical government, first dawned. Saul, indeed, who was "the Lord's anointed," exercised authority, or rather cruelly tyrannized over the
1 Sam. ii. 35, 36.
21 Kings ii. 26, 27.
Ezek. xliv. 15, 16.
priests, and murdered a great number of them, because they were not, as he thought, sufficiently devoted to his interests. But there was no appearance of union or concert between the kingly authority and the priestly, in any matter of religion, during his whole reign; and, after he had murdered Ahimelech and the priests and their families, "the Lord answered him, neither by dreams, nor by urim, nor by prophets." The high priest, indeed, of Ahimelech's line was with David, who on several occasions consulted the Lord by him, even before he became king. And Abiathar concurred in David's measures, and continued faithful to him till nearly the end of his life: yet Zadok, the second priest, had increasing influence in David's later days; till, soon after, Abiathar's misconduct made way for Zadok's advancement to the high priesthood. David, no doubt, acted as a prophet, and not merely by royal authority, in all his arrangements respecting the priests and the Levites, their courses, and employments, and stations; and in the introduction of psalmody, and music both vocal and instrumental, into the stated services at the sanctuary. Yet, in doing the latter, and in altering the age at which the Levites entered on their services, he in some degree deviated from the exact letter of the Mosaic law, while he carried the spirit of it into the most complete effect.2 It is, however, undeniable that he, as the Lord's chosen and anointed king, exercised authority over the minis
11 Sam. xxi.
Compare Num. v. 47. with 1 Chro. xxiii. 27.