« PreviousContinue »
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 Jh all sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And, as it Luke is express'd by another Evangelist; Teare xxii. 29, ^y wfcch have continued with me in my temptations: And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my father hath appointed unts 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, shall come to judge the World, he will dignify and distinguish them most with spiritual Glory and Happiness, who have deserved the best of him j 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 Ii"a.xxxii. the good King Hezekiah, fays, Behold, a *• king Jhall reign in righteousness, and frt'ri
ces stall rule in judgment.
And after the Revolt of the ten Tribes, and even their Captivity into Assyria, the Number of the twelve Princes was continued in the Government of the Kingdom of Judah j one to represent each Tribe, according to their ancient Constitution. So we read, that, after the Return from Babylon, at the Dedication of the second ^^vu Temple, they offered twelve he-goats for a sin-offering for all Israel, according to the number of the twelve tribes. And we find mention of a Proclamation, That Whosoever would not come to Jerusalem within three days, according to the counsel os the Princes and the Riders, all his substance Jhould be forfeited.
*The Heads of Families.
Next to the Heads of'Tribes, we come to speak of the Heads of Families; as they were next the others in Honour and Importance. For, as the Princes of the Tribes might be suppos'd to represent the twelve Sons of? Israel, these represented his Grandsons; the Families, of which they were Heads, being call'd from .their Names. Thus,
Thus, when the Lord commands Numb. Moses to number the People, He fays, Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers. So, for Exam
— ao. pie, it is said, The children 'of Reuben, Israel's eldest son, were numbered by their generations, after their families, by the bouse of their fathers. The Names of these Families, Generations or Houses, are
—xxvi. exprefly mention'd in another Place, to which the curious are referr'd; it not being very material to insert them here.
These Families, were again subdivided into Houjholds. And therefore, when they were to make a Scrutiny upon any Occasion, by Enquiry from God, or by Lot, they first pitch'd upon the Tribe-, then the Family, then the Houjhold; and so, drill they came at she very Person requir'd. Of this there is a notable Instance in the
Jefh.vii. Sook of Joshua; where the Man is detected, who had made a Concealment of the Spoil. As there.is also in the manner of
i Sam. x-jeiectiag Saul to b,e King. When Samuel bad caused all the Tribes, ^Israel to come near, the Tribe of Benjamin: was taken. ■■■■>'" When
rhen he had caused the Tribe of Benjamin i come near, by their Families, the Fami'of Matri was taken, &c.
"We have frequent mention of them in criptures, thus distinguisiYd; it is said, rhe chief fathers of the families of the chil- Nu.mb
iren of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son f Manafleh, of the families of the sons of Joseph, came near and spake before Moses, and before the princes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel. Again j Then came j0(h. Xxi. near the heads of the fathers of the Levites unto Eleazar the Priejl, and unto Joshua the fin of Nun, and unto the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel. And again, speaking of some of those Heads in the Tribe of Benjamin, f Chron it is said, These were heads of the fathers, viii. 28t by their generations, chief men. These dwelt in Jerusalem.
As to their peculiar Province and Part in the Administration of the Government, it was their Business to hold Assemblies of the Households that were under their Inspection j and to enquire into all Matters and Concerns thereunto, in any wife, relating} as far as they were of a public