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itself, and part of the adjacent valley. Some of the seaports, however, remained in the power of the old inhabitants.

To Zebulon was assigned a tract of country lying between the Lake of Genesareth and the sea.

The allotments of Issachar, the other half tribe of Manasseh, and Ephraim, included severally, tracts which lay in the same manner, one south of the other, from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. These were all more or less hilly and mountainous regions, though mostly very fertile.

Southward of Ephraim, the sea-coast and the western part of the inland district fell to the lot of Dan.

The possessions of Benjamin were in the plain of Jericho, and in a part of the valley of the Jordan, and the head of the Dead Sea, extending westward to Jebus, afterward Jerusalem.

To Judah belonged the rest of the southern country, as far as the borders of Ephraim, with the exception of a district on the south-west, about Gaza, which was assigned to Simeon. Judah's was a large and rich domain.

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Such was the establishment of Israel in their several tribes, each having their own boundaries, and enjoying the peculiar advantages of the district to which they belonged, whether these were pastures or cornlands, or vineyards and olive grounds. During the lifetime of Joshua, scarcely any thing occurred to disturb the harmony of the tribes. The affair of erecting a public altar to God on the east side of the Jordan, which threatened a serious alienation, was speedily compromised and settled, so as to occasion no ultimate disturbance.

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I. Asher. II. Naphtali. III. Zebulon.

Joshua, after having gathered together all the people, exhorted them to obedience, and renewed the oath of allegiance and fealty, died, aged one hundred and ten years, 1426 B. C. He appointed no successor to the supreme authority, and the separate republics, under the control of their own chieftains and other loyal officers, regulated the public affairs. It was an era of general virtue and vigor, and there began to be a taste of true happiness throughout this fair land; but the one great mistake and act of disobedience, in desisting, prematurely, from the war of conquest, tempted them repeatedly to treason, bringing upon them wars, and what was worse, the intolerable evils of servitude.


1426 to 1095 B. C.

The Judges, or the Heroic Age of the Israelites. AFTER the decease of Joshua and the elders who outlived him, and who remembered the divine interpositions in behalf of the Israelites, there succeeded a generation of men who disregarded the pious customs of their fathers, and mingled with the Canaanites in

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X. Judah. XI. Manasseh, (beyond Jordan.)



marriages and idolatrous worship. The people generally had deteriorated in respect to their religious character, although there were noble exceptions. It was a time when wild adventures and desperate feats of individual prowess abounded. Personal activity, courage, and craft, were the qualifications which raised the judges to their title and distinction. On this account, the period of the judges may be called the heroic age of Hebrew history. These public men were not so much administrators of justice, as gallant insurgents, partisan leaders, captains of a clan. They were a sort of military dictators, raised, on an emergency, to the command of the forces of a tribe or other collection of warriors.* As the several tribes were deficient in union, so there was little national strength; and, surrounded as they were by the old inhabitants, and mingled with them, they were constantly

The Hebrew heroes may be contrasted with their Homeric and Grecian contemporaries, of classic renown-Samson with Hercules and Theseus; Shamgar with Achilles; Jephthah with Agamemnon; Saul with Hector, &c. &c. Also, the domestic life of the Homeric age, as described by Homer, may be contrasted with the pleasant picture of Hebrew rural life given in the Book of Ruth.

Of this picture, Voltaire says, "These times and manners have nothing in common with our own, whether good or bad; their spirit is not ours, their good sense is not ours. On this very account the five books of Moses, Joshua, and the Judges are a thousand times more instructive than Homer and Herodotus."



liable to attack in their separate domain. A few of the tribes were occasionally aggressive upon the strong places left in the land, as Laish, Jebus, Hebron, Bethel, and others; yet the tribes generally seem to have adopted the dangerous measure of entering into terms with their enemies, and permitting them to reside in the land on the payment of tribute.

Before any judge was actually raised up for the protection or deliverance of the people, there were several transactions which exemplified, in a striking degree, the decline of the national faith and the depravation of manners. It was a period of anarchy and confusion when every man did that which seemed right in his own eyes. Such was the transaction of the Danites in respect to the silver idol of Micah, and especially that which pertained to the outrageous treatment of the Levite's concubine, in the city of Gibeon, which became the cause of a most bloody civil war among the tribes, almost exterminating one of them-that of Benjamin.

The earliest judge and deliverer of the people was Othniel, a nephew and son-in-law of Caleb. A Mesopotamian king had extended his conquests as far as the Jordan, on the western side; the defence of the subjected tribes was undertaken by the judge, and at the end of eight years, the Mesopotamian was entirely defeated, and the whole land remained in peace during forty years more. The eastern tribes were then assailed by a confederacy under Eglon, king of the Moabites, as also a part of the territory of Benjamin. The oppression lasted eighteen years, and was thrown off only by a desperate enterprise of Ehud, a Benjamite. Having obtained an audience of Eglon, a man of great obesity, he boldly struck his dagger into the body of the latter, and happily escaped. Flying to the mountainous part of the land of Ephraim, he roused that powerful tribe, and totally defeated the enemy. A long era of peace, said to be eighty years, followed this exploit. The next judge was Shamgar, who, with a vigorous arm and formidable weapon, a Syrian ox-goad, slew six hundred Philistines.

were thrown into such a panic and confusion, that they turned their arms upon each other. The fugitives were then slain by the rest of Gideon's troops. The war was pursued to the utmost extremity, and ended not until one hundred and twenty thousand of the oppressors perished.

The offer of royal authority was made to the victorious chieftain, but his ambition was satisfied with the deliverance of his country. After the death of Gideon, his illegitimate son, Abimelech, a daring and bloody man, aspired to the authority which his father had refused. He succeeded but in part, as his authority seemed to be confined to Sichem and its neighborhood. His shocking cruelty in murdering the seventy sons of his father, in order to reach the goal of his ambition, was recompensed in his own ignominious and miserable death, at the expiration of a few short years. Tola, of the tribe of Issachar, and Jair, a Gileadite, successively followed as judges; but they were undistinguished. Jephthah, an illegitimate son of Gilead, next appears as the champion of Israel, the Philistines having attacked the southern border; and the Ammonites having not merely subdued the tribes beyond Jordan, but crossed it, and engaged the combined forces of Ephraim, Judah, and Benjamin. Jephthah, as a noted captain of freebooters, possessed the daring requisite to engage the oppressors of his country. He attacked them, and gained a splendid victory, which was, however, sullied by the rash vow he had made, requiring him to sacrifice his only daughter upon his return home. He avenged himself on the Ephraimites, who had commenced a quarrel with him, by putting forty-two thousand of them to the sword without mercy, at the passage of the Jordan. He enjoyed his dignity for seven years. Following him were several judges, of whom little more than their names is recorded.

Among the enemies of Israel there were none more dangerous and implacable than the Philistines, on the southern borders. They had subdued, apparently, the whole allotment of Simeon, so that, probably, this tribe was scattered for refuge among the rest. Gaza and Askelon were in the power of the conquerors, and their frontier was boldly stretched to that of Dan. To humble so insolent an enemy, the most extraordinary of the Jewish heroes appeared-a man endowed with amazing physical power. They were amazing physical power. Samson was the true Hercules of antiquity. His efficiency in crippling the power of the Philistines, consisted rather in feats of personal daring, than in any well conducted plan of defence or of conquest. His life began in a marvel, and ended in the deepest tragedy. His birth and character were made a subject of divine revelation, with instructions as to the manner of his training. As soon as he attained manhood, he entered upon that series of exploits, the story of which has excited the admiration of all time. In several instances, by his personal prowess, he avenged himself on the Philistines for the wrongs he had received at their hands. But the most signal instance of his triumph over them was at his death. By the acts of Delilah, his mistress, shorn of his strength and made a prisoner, deprived of sight, and set to the servile task of grinding at the mill, he was for the time entirely at the mercy of his enemy. It happened, on one occasion, that they wished to make a public exhibition of their distinguished captive, for their diversion, in a sort of rude amphitheatre. He was placed in the area of it, and the roof, which formed the seats, was crowded with spectators. But

The next deliverer was Deborah, a high-born woman of the tribe of Ephraim, who, rousing Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, as well as the northern tribes, attacked the Canaanites in the north, who had oppressed that portion of the people for twenty years. They were completely routed, and their general, Sisera, a man terrible for his valor and conduct, was slain, after having taken refuge in the tent of Jael, a woman of the Kenite tribe. Seizing the opportunity when he was asleep, she drove one of the iron pegs of the tent into his head and killed him. This success issued in securing peace and freedom for forty years. The next occasion for the interference and intrepidity of a judge or leader, was furnished by the oppressions and ravages of the wild hordes of the desert, the Midianites, Amalekites, and other nomadic tribes. The confusion, misery, and want, which were produced by their irruption and settlement over the land, were almost indescribable. To exterminate these enemies of Jehovah and his people, Gideon, of the tribe of Manasseh, received a divine commission. A large number of warriors was gathered, consisting of thirty-two thousand men; but only three hundred of them were required for the service to be performed. By a singular stratagem, which conveyed to the enemy the impression of fearful numbers and power, they rushed-in the middle of the night upon the wild and mingled tribes, who

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his strength was now returned; the building was supported chiefly by two pillars; these he grasped, and, leaning himself forward, dragged down the entire mass, burying himself and all the Philistines present, in one common ruin. He had passed twenty years as the judge of Israel, and as the terror of his own and his country's enemies.

During the time of Samson, a wiser and more useful head of the state was growing up within the precincts of the tabernacle. This was Samuel, destined to be the last, as he proved to be also the most distinguished, of the judges. He was the son of Hannah, one of the wives of Elkanah, a Levite, who resided in a city in Mount Ephraim. He was educated in the service of the high priest Eli, having from the first been consecrated to God by his pious mother. The tabernacle and the ark were at Shiloh, in the territory of Ephraim, and wherever these were was the temporary capital of the state. Hence in Eli was concentrated, for the time being, a civil as well as religious supremacy. But there were defects in him, and especially in his family, which required a change in the office of the priesthood. His sons, Hophni and Phineas, were indeed a burning disgrace to the order. Samuel, however, even in such society, grew up blameless and uncorrupted. Already, in his early youth, he had received divine intimations of his future usefulness, and by the voice of God he was commanded to communicate to the aged Eli the fate which awaited him and his family.

That fate was near at hand: the war between the Philistines and Israelites broke out anew, and a bloody battle took place at Aphek, in the northern part of Judah, in which the Israelites were totally defeated. In this emergency, they sent for the ark of God, and placed it in the centre of their forces, hoping that victory, as of old, would attend the consecrated symbol of the divine presence. Under the circumstances, however, the expedient was unavailing; it was not authorized by the command of the Deity. In the ensuing battle, thirty-two thousand Israelites perished, the guilty sons of Eli were slain, and the most dreadful calamity of all-the ark of God fell into the hands of the idolaters. The tidings conveyed suddenly to the aged Eli caused his death, as he fell from his seat and

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broke his neck. The prospects of the race of Abraham were at this moment dark indeed -in hopeless servitude and forsaken of God. With the ark, not only their glory, but their political existence, had, in their view, departed. With what a glad surprise, then, must they have received the extraordinary intelligence, that, after seven months, the Philistines were sending back the ark of God, with special tokens of reverence. During their retention of it, it had proved a terrible bane and humiliating rebuke to the nation, and they could no longer endure its presence.

Yet twenty years longer the Israelites groaned under the yoke of the Philistines; but Samuel was now grown to manhood, and was established not merely with the authority of a judge, but likewise of a prophet. The high priesthood had passed into the next branch of the family of Eli, and sunk into comparative insignificance before the acknowledged weight of the new leader. Samuel, having labored with success to extirpate the idolatrous practices which had grown up among the people, summoned a general assembly at Mizpeh. The Philistines took alarm, and put their forces in motion to suppress the insurrection. The Israelites were full of terror, but too far engaged to recede; their confidence in the favor of God towards their righteous judge, induced them to risk their safety on the acceptance of his prayers. The event was a victory so complete, caused partly by a tremendous storm, that the Philistines were forced to evacuate the whole country and to accept of equitable terms of peace.

The measures adopted by Samuel were most salutary. He united at least all the southern tribes under his authority; at Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpeh, he held three annual sessions of justice, while he fixed his residence in his native city of Ramah. But in his old age, innovations upon the ancient practice were introduced, through the venality of his sons, who were installed in the judicial office, and the people became dissatisfied with their republican or theocratic polity. They demanded a monarchical form of government, from the belief of its superior efficiency, both in war and peace. Their avowed objects were, the more certain administration of justice, and the organization of a strong and permanent military. Their demand was complied with, Samuel having first presented to them



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a fair statement of the dangers and evils of an Orien- | administration, some considerable time must have tal despotism. elapsed, as his son Jonathan had now grown up to man's estate a gallant warrior. His early measures were in general well advised; but in the affair of a war with the Philistines, by assuming the priestly function, he violated the Hebrew constitution, and forfeited the claim to the kingdom as an hereditary possession.

It became a matter of great importance, of course, to make the selection. The prophet was divinely instructed on the subject, and when the designated individual was found, he was privately anointed as the future king. He proved to be the son of a Benjamite chieftain, a youth of a singularly tall and striking person, who had come to Ramah in search of a valuable property in asses belonging to his father. After a proper course of religious instruction, at one of the schools of the prophets, to fit him for his high office, the youth, whose name was Saul, was designated by lot at a solemn assembly, at Mizpeh, and received as king by the great majority of the people. The young sovereign being soon called into the field to resist the Ammonites, was able to muster an immense army, and totally defeated and dispersed the foe. This was so prosperous a commencement, that Samuel assembled the people at Gilgal, and proceeded to the formal inauguration of the king elect; at the same time rehearsing his own course as judge, and rebuking the people for their innovation on the established constitution, without an express pre-intimation of the divine will.

The period of the judges thus came to a close, with its lofty daring, its spirit of personal adventure, and its eventful changes. It was a period of several centuries, and included a great variety of fortune; but the years of servitude and warfare did not bear a large proportion to the whole. The Israelites, under this form of government, had enjoyed, in all, three centuries of peace: engaged almost entirely in the cultivation of the soil or in the care of their flocks and herds, there doubtless obtained among them a uniform simplicity of manners. This characteristic of a pastoral or agricultural community is seen in the circumstances of those who were called at times to the supreme authority. Gideon was taken from the threshing-floor in order to lead the armies of his country, as Cincinnatus, among the Romans, was summoned from the plough. Saul, even after he was elected king, was found driving his herd. And David, called to the same high station, had from earliest life been familiar with the care of sheep. The rural life of the Israelites in these days is admirably pictured to us, in all its truth and beauty, in the story of Ruth and her kinsman.


1095 to 1015 B. C.

The Monarchy ·Reigns of Saul and David. THE Hebrew monarchy, though limited to a small extent of territory, became, at length, rich and powerful. Its aim, however, was not conquest, but rather the cultivation and development of its internal resources. In this national pursuit they were favored by their fertile soil, salubrious climate, and wise institutions. Saul, as the first king, had a new field in which to try his capacity for government; and his administration must doubtless be pronounced, on the whole, a failure. His temperament, hasty, impetuous, and self-confident, ill fitted him to defer in every thing to the divine guidance, maintain the majesty of the laws, or deal out even-handed justice. Between his nomination to the supreme authority, and his active

In a war with the Philistines, he had been eminently successful, but for a rash vow of his own, that the people should not taste food until the close of the day. This abridged his victory, by taking from his men the power of a prolonged pursuit of the enemy, through very exhaustion. On all quarters now his enemies were defeated by his arms; particularly were the Amalekites made to feel the law of a stern reprisal. A war of extermination—such was the divine commandwas to be carried on against so cruel, relentless, and unimprovable an enemy. In the conduct of his expedition, Saul again transgressed the divine commandment; he reserved the best part of the spoil under the pretext of offering it in sacrifice, and spared the life of the Amalekite king. His repeated acts of disobedience made it evident that he was unfit to be the ruler of the Lord's chosen people, and this unfitness was now still further manifested in the paroxysms of insanity which came over him from time to time.

A successor to Saul in the kingdom was to be sought in another family, notwithstanding the excellent character of his son Jonathan: such was the divine determination. That successor was David the youngest of the eight sons of Jesse a youth of great beauty, piety, and courage, who was selected and anointed by Samuel, at Bethlehem. His peaceful, pastoral life was signalized by his intrepidity, once and again; but the public life on which he soon entered was marked by the most extraordinary feats of valor. The first display of the kind was his successful encounter with a gigantic champion, Goliath of Gath, a terrible foe, encased in brazen armor. Him the modest and fearless David slew with a stone from his sling. This bold achievement endeared him to the kindred spirit of Jonathan, and proved the commencement of a romantic friendship scarcely equalled in the annals of the world. On the father, however, it produced a very different effect a feeling of deadly jealousy, first awakened by the triumphant songs of the maidens of Israel, ascribing to David a higher honor than to their king.


For several years, the jealousy of Saul and his increasing malady brought, both upon David and Jonathan, a degree of distress and perplexity which only their piety and mutual affection could have enabled them to endure. Alternately caressed and persecuted; now a son-in-law of the king, and then deprived of his wife; barely escaping the secret assaults of the moody monarch; sometimes soothing him with music, and anon fleeing from his murderous wrath; driven from home and country; seeking security in the haunts of the wilderness, the fastnesses of the mountains, or the capital of an enemy's land; now fighting battles for his master, and then with him, or rather sparing him when in his power,— in all these singular circumstances, David passed a novitiate such as few candidates for royalty ever experienced.

The noble Jonathan, in the mean time, not merely sacrificed his hopes of a kingly succession to his friend, the designated heir of the throne, but exposed his quiet and his life to save David from destruction.

The days of Saul were now speedily to be num

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bered. Though ill supported by his subjects, he deter- | at Hebron, David determined to have a capital, where mined to risk his crown and kingdom on a great battle with the Philistines. Actuated by superstitious fear, he first consulted the witch of Endor as to the result of the conflict, and learned it with sufficient significance, though he did not see fit to withdraw from the contest. The prediction, like many others, may have contributed to its own fulfilment. On the mountains of Gilboa, the Israelites were defeated, and Jonathan and other sons of Saul were slain. The monarch, in his deep mortification and despair, procured his own death. Profoundly was the catastrophe lamented by the loyal and gifted David, in his elegy on this occasion.

"The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!

"Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.

"Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain upon you, nor fields of offerings for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been

anointed with oil.

"From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty.

"Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.

"Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights; who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.

"How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thy high places.

"I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.

"How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!"

This touching and sublime ode was set to music by David, and, being taught throughout the nation, doubt less had, like the popular ballads of later times, great effect in soothing distempered feelings among all parties, for who could fail to love and respect the author of such a lament over a ruthless enemy? - who could resist such an appeal to patriotism and every generous emotion?

Having paid a due tribute to loyalty and friendship, David suddenly appeared at Hebron, was welcomed by the tribe of Judah, and immediately raised to the vacant throne, 1055 B. C. Abner, the chief captain in Saul's army, appealed to the jealousy of the northern tribes against Judah, and set up Ishbosheth, Saul's only remaining son, as king. After a civil war of two years, Abner, on some disgust, forsook the cause of Ishbosheth, and went over to the side of David. He was at length assassinated by Joab, a brother of Asahel, whom Abner had previously slain. With the defection and death of Abner, the party of Ishbosheth was prostrated.

David was now in the strength of manhood, and, having triumphed over all the jealousies of the tribes, occupied a position of great interest. The whole nation received him as their king. The valiant captains of their united forces ranged themselves with pride under his banner. The Philistines were defeated in all quarters. After residing seven years and a half

should be concentrated the powers of the government and the rites of religion. Jerusalem was destined to become the favored place, and the scene of mightier wonders and stranger vicissitudes than ever characterized any other city on earth. It included a fortress which had remained in possession of the native inhabitants, the Jebusites, till, together with the town, it was taken by David. The citadel stood on Mount Zion, and there he established his royal residence. That hill rose to the south; it was divided, by a deep and narrow ravine, from the other hills over which the city gradually extended. Having founded his capital, David next reëstablished the national religion with appropriate grandeur. The ark, which probably had remained at Kirjath Jearim ever since its restoration by the Philistines, was removed into Jerusalem, with every token of religious awe, solemnity, and joy.

A royal palace had already been reared for David, with the assistance of Hiram, king of Tyre, between whom and David, and their respective nations, a long cherished amity was enjoyed. A permanent temple, too, for the public worship of God, was in contemplation by the religious king; but for such a service, it was divinely intimated, he could not be employed, as his mission had been one of war and blood. A different character was to be concerned in the erection of a temple for the worship of a God of love and mercy. David's career of conquest was not yet terminated. On every side, he extended his frontier to the farthest limits of the promised land, and secured the whole country by exterminating, as fast as possible, its restless enemies. He successively defeated the Philistines, the Edomites, the Moabites, the Syrians of Zobah,posed to be the kingdom of Nisibis, bordering on Armenia,— the Syrians of Damascus, and eventually the Ammonites. Thus he extended his kingdom east to the Euphrates; the northern part was secured by the occupation of the fortresses in the kingdom of Damascus, and by his friendly relations with Tyre; the southern by the destruction of the Philistines and the military possession of the territory of Edom. Judah, according to the prophecy, now lay in triumphant ease, like a full-grown, victorious lion, reposing in conscious strength and majesty,-"Who shall rouse him up?"



David's career had been hitherto splendid and prosperous far beyond the ordinary lot of humanity. subsequent course contrasted unhappily with it, for the most part, and presents a striking memento in respect to the dangers of greatness. He fell by a twofold heinous crime, in the midst of his glory and success, and left a stain on his character which even the deepest repentance and bitterest suffering have scarcely been able to efface. Offending the holy law of God in the matter of Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, he followed the sin by constructive murder. Uriah, the brave and unoffending officer, the victim of the king's wrong, was purposely exposed on a post of danger, where his death was inevitable. From this period, the course of the war-worn monarch was more rough and toilsome than all the scenes of battle and strife through which he had passed from his youth up. "A curse as fatal as that which the old Grecian tragedy delights to paint hung over his house. Incest, fratricide, rebellion of the son against the father, civil war, the expulsion of the king from his capital such were the crimes and calamities which blacken the an

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