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Deut. to be done by the Elders of the city* And)
XIX. 12. «\a^1»^wv y
xxi! 3, in tste Time of the Judges, JBoazsnppcdi\
Ruth iv t>9~*ePmen °ftbe Elders of the cityyf-Bww
2. lehem Judah. And we read* n^after the
Ezra x. captivky} o/* the Elders of every city. And,
Luke in the Gospel, it is said; 'The Elders tj
Mat. xxi.the PeoPle> and tbe Chief Priejls, an<tScr'M 23. came together. For it is reasonable to he« lieve those who, in the Gospel are czlki Elders of the People, were only Elders oi the City of Jerusalem. --v\i>i'<
< ->t>\ . _ 1 ^ ■ • -wi it > SECT. V. . *
Courts 5/JuDiCA *t©»tfT£''A
There having been Courts of Judicature in every City, besides the Great, Council or Sanhedrim of' Jerusalem, we Æall rrear of those first; and leave the other CQ b? discoursed of in a Section by it self. The first Institution of these, was jo
', at all seasons, in small matters; but try greatef matter Wasto be rcferr'dfo ofes himself. •' The Commission given to these Judges Sls, in these Words; Hear the causes be- Deut. i. veen your brethren, and judge righteously l6> &c* •tween every man and his brother; and te Jiranger that is with him. Te stall ot refpeB persons, in judgment; but you hall hear the small as well as the great. 1m shall not be afraid os the face of man; "or the judgment is God's. And the cause lhat is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.
Afterwards, we find an Ordinance for it, from God himself, fudges and officers xvi. so alt thou make thee in all thy gates, which l8« the L o R D thy God giveth thee, through' out thy tribes: and they jhall judge the people with just judgment. Thou jhalt not wrest judgment; thou Jhalt not refpeEl persons; neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wife, and pervert the words of the righteous.
And, after the Law had been greatly neglected by some of the Kings, we find Jebojhaphat, who was a Kind of a Reformer,
former, among other Regulations that he a Chron. made,, Set judges in the land* throughout xix-5' all the fenced cities of Judah, city by ft ft: And J aid to the judges, Take heed what yt do; for ye judge not for man, but for the JL.ORD, who is with you in judgment. Wherefore now, let the fear of the L,X)B,$ be upon you. For there is no iniquity with the Lord eur God, nor rejpecJ of perjo^ nor taking of gifts. .T ^
After their Return from the Captivity, among other Parts of their Constitution, the Judges were re-establish'd; as Isaiah i. Jfaiah had prophesied; I will rejlore thy judges, as at the fir ft; and thy counsellors, as at the beginning. Artaxerxes comEzra vii. mands Ezra, to set magistrates and judges, 2S' which may judge all the people. After
ib. x. 14. which we read of the judges of £very city. But ic is somewhat uncertain whether these fudges were any other than a Part, or the whole Body, of the Council of the Elders; the same Kind of Business being affign'd in common to both. Thus it is Dent. Aid, in the Law; If any man hate his neighxix. 11. hour, end lie'in wait for him, and rife, up against him, and smite him mortally that be
Jie, and fleeth into one of these cities; (of Refuge J Then the Elders of his city, Jhall fend and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. Thine eye Jhall not pity him-, But thou Jhalt put away the guilt of innocent blood jrom Israel, that it may go well with thee. Again; If any one be found ^Jlain, and it be not known who hath Jlain &c. him. Then thy Elders and thy Judges shall come forth, and they Jhall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is Jlain. And it Jhall be, that the city which is nexi unto the fain man, the Elders of that city Jhall take, &c. So the Elders of the City of Bethlehem, are likewise the Judges, in the Cause between Boaz and Ruth iv. the next Kinsman of Elimelech. So much ly for the Judges.
The Places where their Courts of Judicature were held, were, generally, one of the Gates of the City. It is said, in \he Law. If a man like not to take his p^ brother s wife, then let his brother s wife go *xv. 7. zip to the gate, unto the Elders. Again; ~>1f a man have a rebellious son, he Jhall &. xx;. bring him unto the Elders of his city, and l8
unto the gate of his place. Again j If a Man dislikes a Woman after he has taken her to Wife, and pretends any ^Qgau&d for such his Dislike, the Matter is to he cxDcut. amin'd before the Elders of the city in the
&c" '3' Sate- So, in the Cafe of a Man's refusing to marry his Brother's Wife, She-is togo up to the gate unto the Elders, and make her Complaint. And the Cause ofBoaz beforemention'd was heard in tf*e Gate of the City. So the Psalmist,, speaking of those that are bless'd with many Children,
cx^aJms# fays, They stall not be ashamed,, but they
shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
They that are intitled to such a BJeffing,
every thing else shall prosper with them;
they need not to fear Want of Justice,
when they meet their Adversary in the
Court of Judicature. And the Wife Man
Prov. says, Rob not the poor, because he is poor;
'neither oppress the affiiSied in the gate. For
the Lord will plead their cause, &c.
Again, speaking of a good Wife, what a
Credit she is to her Husband, he uses
ib. xxxi. these Words j Her husband is known in the gates, when he Jitteth among the Elders of the land.