« PreviousContinue »
Priefts, the sons of Aaron 'were busy in offering the burnt-offerings, and the fat, until night j Therefore the Levites prepared for themsehves, and for the Priests, the sons of Aaron/;f
^4nd the fingers, the sons of Asaph, were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, <m4 Jeduthun the king's seer.
: - j4nd the porters waited at every gate; they might not depart from theirservice;for their brethren, the Levites, preparedfor them.
So, all the service of the L o R D was prepared the fame day, to keep the pajjover, and to offer burnt-offerings upon the altar of the Lord, according to the commandment of. **»<§s Josiah.
?u H SEC T. XV.
Me Net H In 1 Ms.
Among those that were employed in , the Service of the Temple, next to the
Porters, we read of the Nethinims: In that Order, Ezra mentions them after the Ezra i Return from Babylon. The most ilavish 43' and dirty Work, of all Kinds, fell to their
5 60 R E L I G I O U s' A* F A I R S.
Lot; and they were to be subservient ah< assisting to the Levites, in air the les desirable and heavy Parts of Duty 's" as Vh< Levites were to the Priests.
The whole People of the Land, -were divided into four Ranks; First, the Israelites, or whole Body*of the Laity; Secondly, the Priests; thirdly, the Invites\ and Fourthly, the Nethinims: Singers and Doorkeepers being included in the "Word Levites. And thus we find them numbers, both btfore, and after, the Captii Chron. vity. Before; it is said; Now, the Jkst 1X' 2" inhabitants that dwelt in their possessions in their cities, *were the Israelites, the PrseJtF, Ezra ii. 7. the Levites, and the Nethinims. And, after-, we are told, that, 'The Priests and the Levites, and some of the people, and the fingers, and the porters, and the Nethinims dwelt in their cities.
These were not of th,e Tribe of Levi; but originally Gibeonites, of the Land of Canaan ;. who, coming to understand, that the Lord had commanded Moses to give Josli. ix. tb* children of Israel alt that land, and tn 24- destroy all the inhabitants of it, from before them (doubtless, because their gross Inv
moralities requir'd an immediate and exemplary Punishment) being sore afraid of their lives, ivork'd wilily -, and sent Men to the Israelites, who pretended that they were Ambajj'adors from a far Country; arid having heard of the Name of the Lord, and all that he did in Egypt, and what he had done to the Nations beyond jfordan, were desirous to make a League with the People, who were so highly favour'd by him. This Stratagem succeeded j Joshua made peace with them, and josh. jx. made a league with them, to let them live-, '*• and the princes of the congregation fware unto them.
But, when the Cheat came to be discovers, and all the congregation murmur d against the princes', and there was no undoing what had been done, because the Princes had sworn; fojhua, (desirous, in some Measure, to appease the People, and provok'd by this unfair Dealing of the Gibeonites) called for them, and spake unto „_ 2, them, faying, Wherefore have ye beguiled us, faying, We are very far from you, when ye dwell among us? Now, therefore, ye are cursed; and there fiall none of you
• be freed from being hewers of wood, and drawers of water, for the house of my God. Upon which they surrender'd themselves at Discretion, and said; Now, behold, ive are in thine hand; as it feemeth right and good unto thee, to do unto us, do. And so he did unto them, and delivered them out of the hand os the children of Israel, that they few them not. And Joshua made them, that day, hewers of wood, and drawers of water, for the congregation, and for the altar of the LoRT>teven unto this day, in the place which he should choose. 2 Sam. Yet, afterwards, we find Saul, in a prexxi. 1,2. tended Fit of Zeal to his own Countrymen, had made an Attempt to destroy them all. Which inhuman Cruelty God resented so far as to fend a Famine upon the Land for three Years; till David took care to make Atonement for it; and to give the Gibeonites, such Satisfaction as they requir'd.
These, therefore, without Question, were the People, whom we find appropriated, by David, among the rest of his Regulations, to all the servile Employ- .
nents ^about the Temple, by the Name of ,
And. thus we find them mention'd, and number'd at the Return from the Captivity; Of the Nethinims, whom David Ezra viii. and the princes, had appointed for the Service of the Levites, Two hundred and twenty Nethinims: all of them were expressed, by name. We likewise find they were, at that Time, as zealous as any other, Neh. x. for the Restoration of the Law, and en- 28' ter'd into a Curse for the Observance of it. They likewise, as the Priejls and Levites, had their Heads and Chiefs, who were to marshal and order them as Oc, casion requir'd. We are told; The Ne-ib.xi. 21. thinims dwelt in Ophel: and Ziha and Gispa were over the Nethinims.
• 'V •••!
* It is most likely they were so called from the first;
• though the Generality of Interpreters, derive it from the lttttn\ > ^ l ->- •■■