Page images
PDF
EPUB

vi. 34:

whereas he was indeed a Levite, as appears. Chron. by his Genealogy

And, for the better securing and keeping these several Allotments unalienable and fix'd in the Tribe to which they belong'd, no one had a Power of absolutely conveying away his Eftate; and Heiresses were confin’d to marry those of their own Tribe. It is probable that this was the Case of the Blessed Virgin; and that, for this Reason, the * Evangelists, in deducing the Genealogy of our LORD, pursue not her Line, but Joseph's only; it being the same Thing, in effect, as they were both of the same Tribe. But, as nothing of this kind could affect the Levites, who had no Inheritance, we find they married out of any Tribe indifferently. And therefore Elizabeth might be nearly related to the Virgin Mary; Luke i. though the former was of the Tribe of 36. Levi, and the latter of that of Judah.

When this people came to be quietly settled in the Land of Canaan, and had, according to that Form of Government which God himself was pleas'd to pre

* St. Matthew and St. Luke.

C 2

fcribe

scribe to them, been govern’d by Judges first, and then by Kings; namely by Saul, of the Tribe of Benjamin; by David, of that of Judah, who made Jerusalem, a City of the same Tribe, the Seat of his Empire; and by Solomon the Son of Daoid, who built the first Temple at Jerusalem: They, hitherto, obtain’d and prefery'd the Name of Ifraelites. But,

SECT. IV. . Whence call'd J E W s. UPON the Death of Solomon, Ten of the Tribes declaring for Jeroboam the Son of Nebat, and the other Two, those of Judab and Benjamin, adhering to Rehoboam, Solomon's Son, hereby arose a Diftinction ; the former being callid the King of Israel, because the Majority of the Tribes fided with him, and the latter the King of Judab; taking his Title from that Tribe, by way of Eminence, because his own Family was of it; and Jerusalem, the Metropolis, with the Temple and all the Institutions of Religion thereunto belonging, was one of its Cities. And, as

Fero

[ocr errors]

15.

[ocr errors]

Jeroboam was of the Tribe of Ephraim,
all the Tribes that submitted to him are
sometimes call’d the People of Ephraim ; Jer. vii.
and the two Nations, as we may now call

Hor. v. them, are generally distinguish'd from each 12, 13. other by the Names of Judah and Israel, or Judah and Ephraim.

From this Division and Separation of the Tribes, there naturally grew up a strong Enmity, on each side, fomented by consequential Differences and Provocations. For Jeroboam, the more effectually to fecure those who had declar'd for him, and

to prevent them from returning to Rebo! boam, made them forsake the Worship of

the true God, and perverted them to Ido-
latry. He knew, that they could not go

up to offer Sacrifice in the House of the E LORD at Jerusalem (as, by the Law,

they were oblig'd, every Year, to do) and,
at the same time, continue in their Alle-
giance to him; and therefore, upon a Con-
sultation with the Heads of his Party, he
made * two golden Calves; affuring the

People,

1

1 Kings xii. 28. To represent the Apis or Serapis of the Egyptians, in the Absence of the Temple; as Aaron C 3

had

People, these were their Gods which brought them up out of the land of Egypt: that, to these only, religious Worship was due ; and that, therefore, they had no Occafion to give themselves the Trouble of a Journey to Jerusalem, upon that Account.

The Priests and Levites, * for the most Part, upon this, repair’d to Jerusalem, to testify their Allegiance to God. They left the Cities which had been anciently afsign'd them, together with their Suburbs and all their Poffeffions; as indeed it was high Time they should, For Jeroboam and his Sons had cast them off from executing the Priest's Office unto the LORD; and had appointed other Priests, of the lowest of the people, for the High Places, and for the Devils, and for the Calves which he bad made.

This Departure of the Levites was follow'd by several others, out of all the

bad done before in the Absence of Moses. Exod. xxxii. 4, Baal, an Idol, ofien mention' d in the Old Testament, and by Interpreters understood to represent Jupiter, is by Tobit calld, The Heifer Baal, Tob. i. 5. 2 Chron. xi. 13.

As many as would not turn Idolaters; for that some did so is plain, from Ezek. xliv. 10.

*

Tribes of Ifrael; even by all such as set their Hearts to seek the LORD, and to worship the God of their Fathers. By which means, the Kingdom of Judah was considerably strengthen’d; and enabled, upon Occasion, to defend itself against, and to cope with, that of Israel. And thus they went on, each through the Reigns of about twenty Kings successively; until, first the People of Israel, were carried away Captive by Shalmaneser King of AfSyria, and put in Halab and Habor by the River of Gozan, and in the Cities of the Medes; from whence they never return'd: And, about two hundred Years after, the People of Judah with Zedekiah their King, their City and Temple being destroy'd, were carried away Captive, to Babylon, by Nebuchadnezzar.

SECT. V.

The Rise of the SAMARITANS.

AFTER the King of Asyria had car. ried away the People of Israel, in their stead he brought Men from Babylon, and from Cutbah, and from Ava, and from

Hamath,

C4

« PreviousContinue »