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The Princes O/tribes.

Befide the Constitution of the twelve Tribes collectively, there was, as we have observ'd before, a separate distinct Government in each particular Tribe; where the Affairs relating to that Tribe, were manag'd and conducted, according to peculiar Laws of their own, by the Prince or Head of the Tribe. And these were in Number Twelve, according to the Number of the Tribes. Numb. i. When God orders Moses to take the sum, 2' &c' of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, he says, with you, there Jhall be a man of every tribe; every one, bead of the house of his fathers: And these are all mention'd by Name. After which it is said; These were the renowned of the congregation, princes of the tribes of their fathers, heads of thousands in Israel. ib.iv. 34. Again; Moses and Aaron, and the chief of the congregation (meaning these Princes) numbered the sons of the. Kohathites. And


when Moses had set up the Tabernacle, these 'Princes come and make their offering, consisting of fix covered waggons, and tivel<ve oxen; a waggon for two of the princes, and for each one, an ox. These Men, we, afterward, read of by the same Names, as being over the host of everyx t, tribe, and each setting forward with the &ct standard of his camp, when the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai, into that of Paran. When Joshua makes a league with the Qibeonites Josll- \^ to let them live, we find, the princes of the *5' congregation, likewise, fware unto them. And when the Tribes of Reuben and Gad, in their Departure to their own Inherit tance, after the Land of Canaan was sub-? dued, had built an Altar by the River Jordan ; which gave Umbrage to the other ten Tribes for suspecting that they intended to desert the Law and them, they sent Phinehas the son of Eleazar the Priest, to expostulate with them. And, with him, ib. xxii. ten princes, of each chief house a prince, '4* throughout all the tribes of Israel; and each one was the head of the house of their fatten, among the thousands of Israel.

Their Rights and Privileges were, partly, to preside over and govern the/r own Tribes; partly, to sit in CouncA with, and assist the Judges and Kings. As an InNumb. fl-ance 0f the latter, we find Moses speak

XXX* I. .

ing unto the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel. Again, we find Moib. xxxi. ses and Eleazar the Priest, and all the ?3' Princes of the congregation, assembled upon an important Affair. And again, we DeUt. read of all the beads of the tribes, and the v- 23- Elders, going to consult with Moses. So when David calls a Convention of the States, to acquaint them with his Purpose in relation to the Building of the Temple,

1 Chron. jt }S said, David afj'embled all the Princes xxvm. i. - jfraej ^n(j wjjen the Temple was

finish'd by Solomon, and he had a mind to place the Ark of the Covenant in it, we

2 Chron. rea(* t^iat ^e aJsem^ Elders of Israel, v. 2. and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of

the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to afjist at the doing of it.

It is probable they fate together with the King in a Council Room built for the Purpose, where there were twelve Seats or Thrones belonging to them: And therefore.

Fore, next to the King, they were held in :lie highest Honour. There is mention made of such a Place being built by Solomon. He made a porch for the throne 1 Kings avhere he might judge; even the porch of 7" judgment. To this David seems to allude, and to speak experimentally of himself, when he says, The Lord raifeth up Pfalm the poor out of the dust} and liftetb the cxm*7' needy out of the dutighil; that he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people. And where, speaking of Jerusalem, it is said, 'There are set thrones o/ib.cxxii. judgment, the thrones of the house of David.5' There they sate; every one suppos'd to be prepar'd and qualified for consulting the particular Interests of their own Tribe; and, by that means, for advising the King, how to manage the Ballance of Government among the whole People, with a steady and impartial Hand.

And, doubtless, it is from this kind of Session that our Lord borrows the Allusion, when he tells his Disciples, Verily, Matt. I say unto you, that ye, which have sol- xix* 28, low'd me in the regeneration, when the son ef man shall Jit in the throne of his glory,

ye also Jhall Jit upon twelve thrones, Judging the twelve tribes of Israel, knd, as it Luke is express'd by another Evangelist; Ye are xxii. 29, fjjgy which hove continued with me in my temptations: And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my father hath appointed unte me; that ye may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom, and Jit on 'Thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

By which, is plainly intended, That when Christ, in his full Glory, {hall come to judge the World, he wi/1 dignify and distinguish them most with spiritual Glory and Happiness, who have deserved the best of him; which he could not convey to the carnal Apprehensions of his Disciples by a stronger Idea, than that of fitting upon Thrones like Princes; and eating and drinking at the Table of him their King. Agreeably to which the Prophet, typically describing the Blessings of Christ's Kingdom, from what he foresaw would happen in the Times of K'a.xxxii. the good King Hezekiah, fays, Behold, a »• king Jhall reign in righteousness, and princes Jhall rule in judgment.



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