Book 5 Footnotes
[1] The Amorites were one of the seven nations of Canaan. Hence Reland is willing to suppose that Josephus did not here mean that their land beyond Jordan was a seventh part of the whole land of Canaan, but meant the Arnorites as a seventh nation. His reason is, that Josephus, as well as our Bible, generally distinguish the land beyond Jordan from the land of Canaan; nor can it be denied, that in strictness they were all forgot: yet after two tribes and a half of the twelve tribes came to inherit it, it might in a general way altogether be well included under the land of Canaan, or Palestine, or Judea, of which we have a clear example here before us in Josephus, whose words evidently imply, that taking the whole land of Canaan, or that inhabited by all the twelve tribes together, and parting it into seven parts, the part beyond Jordan was in quantity of ground one seventh part of the whole. And this well enough agrees to Reland's own map of that country, although this land beyond Jordan was so peculiarly fruitful, and good for pasturage, as the two tribes and a half took notice, Numbers 32:1, 4, 16, that it maintained about a fifth part of the whole people.

[2] It plainly appears by the history of these spies, and the innkeeper Rahab's deception of the king of Jericho's messengers, by telling them what was false in order to save the lives of the spies, and yet the great commendation of her faith and good works in the New Testament, Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25, as well as by many other parallel examples, both in the Old Testament and in Josephus, that the best men did not then scruple to deceive those public enemies who might justly be destroyed; as also might deceive ill men in order to save life, and deliver themselves from the tyranny of their unjust oppressors, and this by telling direct falsehoods; I mean, all this where no oath was demanded of them, otherwise they never durst venture on such a procedure. Nor was Josephus himself of any other opinion or practice, as I shall remark in the note on Antiq. B. IX. ch.4. sect.3. And observe, that I still call this woman Rahab, an innkeeper, not a harlot, the whole history, both in our copies, and especially in Josephus, implying no more. It was indeed so frequent a thing, that women who were innkeepers were also harlots, or maintainers of harlots, that the word commonly used for real harlots was usually given them. See Dr. Bernard's note here, and Judges 11:1, and Antiq. B. V. ch.7. sect.8.

[3] Upon occasion of this devoting of Jericho to destruction, and the exemplary punishment of Achar, who broke that duerein or anathema, and of the punishment of the future breaker of it, Hiel, 1 Kings 16:34, as also of the punishment of Saul, for breaking the like chefera or anathema, against the Amalekites, 1 Samuel 15., we may observe what was the true meaning of that law, Leviticus 27:28: "None devoted which shall be devoted of shall be redeemed; but shall be put to death;" i.e. whenever any of the Jews' public enemies had been, for their wickedness, solemnly devoted to destruction, according to the Divine command, as were generally the seven wicked nations of Canaan, and those sinners the Amalekites, 1 Samuel 15:18, it was utterly unlawful to permit those enemies to be redeemed; but they were to be all utterly destroyed. See also Numbers 23:2, 3.

[4] That the name of this chief was not Achan, as in the common copies, but Achar, as here in Josephus, and in the Apostolical Constit. B. VII. ch.2., and elsewhere, is evident by the allusion to that name in the curse of Joshua, "Why hast thou troubled us? -- the Lord shall trouble thee;" where the Hebrew word alludes only to the name Achar, but not to Achan. Accordingly, this Valley of Achar, or Achor, was and is a known place, a little north of Gilgal, so called from the days of Joshua till this day. See Joshua 7:26; Isaiah 65:10; Hosea 2:15; and Dr. Bernard's notes here.

[5] Here Dr. Bernard very justly observes, that a few words are dropped out of Josephus's copies, on account of the repetition of the word shekels, and that it ought to be read thus: -- "A piece of gold that weighed fifty shekels, and one of silver that weighed two hundred shekels," as in our other copies, Joshua 7:21.

[6] I agree here with Dr. Bernard, and approve of Josephus's interpretation of Gilgal for liberty. See Joshua 5:9.

[7] Whether this lengthening of the day, by the standing still of the sun and moon, were physical and real, by the miraculous stoppage of the diurnal motion of the earth for about half a revolution, or whether only apparent, by aerial phosphori imitating the sun and moon as stationary so long, while clouds and the night hid the real ones, and this parhelion or mock sun affording sufficient light for Joshua's pursuit and complete victory, [which aerial phosphori in other shapes have been more than ordinarily common of late years,] cannot now be determined: philosophers and astronomers will naturally incline to this latter hypothesis. In the mean thee, the fact itself was mentioned in the book of Jasher, now lost, Joshua 10:13, and is confirmed by Isaiah, 28:21, Habakkuk, 3:11, and by the son of Sirach, Ecclus.46:4. In the 18th Psalm of Solomon, yet it is also said of the luminaries, with relation, no doubt, to this and the other miraculous standing still and going back, in the days of Joshua and Hezekiah, "They have not wandered, from the day that he created them; they have not forsaken their way, from ancient generations, unless it were when God enjoined them [so to do] by the command of his servants." See Authent. Rec. part i. p.154. [8] Of the books laid up in the temple, see the note on Antiq. B. III. ch.1. sect.7.

[9] Since not only Procopius and Suidas, but an earlier author, Moses Chorenensis, p.52, 53, and perhaps from his original author Mariba Carina, one as old as Alexander the Great, sets down the famous inscription at Tangier concerning the old Canaanites driven out of Palestine by Joshua, take it here in that author's own words: "We are those exiles that were governors of the Canaanites, but have been driven away by Joshua the robber, and are come to inhabit here." See the note there. Nor is it unworthy of our notice what Moses Chorenensis adds, p.53, and this upon a diligent examination, viz. that "one of those eminent men among the Canaanites came at the same thee into Armenia, and founded the Genthuniaa family, or tribe; and that this was confirmed by the manners of the same family or tribe, as being like those of the Canaanites."

[10] By prophesying, when spoken of a high priest, Josephus, both here and frequently elsewhere, means no more than consulting God by Urim, which the reader is still to bear in mind upon all occasions. And if St. John, who was contemporary with Josephus, and of the same country, made use of this style, when he says that "Caiaphas being high priest that year, prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation, and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad," chap.11;51, 52, he may possibly mean, that this was revealed to the high priest by an extraordinary voice from between the cherubims, when he had his breastplate, or Urim and Thummim, on before; or the most holy place of the temple, which was no other than the oracle of Urim and Thummim. Of which above, in the note on Antiq. B. III. ch.8. sect.9.

[11] This great number of seventy-two reguli, or small kings, over whom Adonibezek had tyrannized, and for which he was punished according to the lex talionis, as well as the thirty-one kings of Canaan subdued by Joshua, and named in one chapter, Joshua 12., and thirty-two kings, or royal auxiliaries to Benhadad king of Syria, 1 Kings 20:1; Antiq. B. VIII. ch.14. sect.1, intimate to us what was the ancient form of government among several nations before the monarchies began, viz. that every city or large town, with its neighboring villages, was a distinct government by itself; which is the more remarkable, because this was certainly the form of ecclesiastical government that was settled by the apostles, and preserved throughout the Christian church in the first ages of Christianity. Mr. Addison is of opinion, that "it would certainly be for the good of mankind to have all the mighty empires and monarchies of the world cantoned out into petty states and principalities, which, like so many large families, might lie under the observation of their proper governors, so that the care of the prince might extend itself to every individual person under his protection; though he despairs of such a scheme being brought about, and thinks that if it were, it would quickly be destroyed." Remarks on Italy, 4to, p.151. Nor is it unfit to be observed here, that the Armenian records, though they give us the history of thirty-nine of their ancientest heroes or governors after the Flood, before the days of Sardanapalus, had no proper king till the fortieth, Parerus. See Moses Chorehensis, p.55. And that Almighty God does not approve of such absolute and tyrannical monarchies, any one may learn that reads Deuteronomy 17:14-20, and 1 Samuel 8:1-22; although, if such kings are set up as own him for their supreme King, and aim to govern according to his laws, he hath admitted of them, and protected them and their subjects in all generations.

[12] Josephus's early date of this history before the beginning of the Judges, or when there was no king in Israel, Judges 19;1, is strongly confirmed by the large number of Benjamites, both in the days of Asa and Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 14:8, and 16:17, who yet were here reduced to six hundred men; nor can those numbers be at all supposed genuine, if they were reduced so late as the end of the Judges, where our other copies place this reduction.

[13] Josephus seems here to have made a small mistake, when he took the Hebrew word Bethel, which denotes the house of God, or the tabernacle, Judges 20:18, for the proper name of a place, Bethel, it no way appearing that the tabernacle was ever at Bethel; only so far it is true, that Shiloh, the place of the tabernacle in the days of the Judges, was not far from Bethel.

[14] It appears by the sacred history, Judges 1:16; 3:13, that Eglon's pavilion or palace was at the City of Palm-Trees, as the place where Jericho had stood is called after its destruction by Joshua, that is, at or near the demolished city. Accordingly, Josephus says it was at Jericho, or rather in that fine country of palm-trees, upon, or near to, the same spot of ground on which Jericho had formerly stood, and on which it was rebuilt by Hiel, 1 Kings 16:31. Our other copies that avoid its proper name Jericho, and call it the City of Palm-Trees only, speak here more accurately than Josephus.

[15] These eighty years for the government of Ehud are necessary to Josephus's usual large numbers between the exodus and the building of the temple, of five hundred and ninety-two or six hundred and twelve years, but not to the smallest number of four hundred and eighty years, 1 Kings 6:1; which lesser number Josephus seems sometimes to have followed. And since in the beginning of the next chapter it is said by Josephus, that there was hardly a breathing time for the Israelites before Jabin came and enslaved them, it is highly probable that some of the copies in his time had here only eight years instead of eighty; as had that of Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolye.1. iii., and this most probably from his copy of Josephus.

[16] Our present copies of Josephus all omit Tola among the judges, though the other copies have him next after Abimelech, and allot twenty-three years to his administration, Judges 10:1, 2; yet do all Josephus's commentators conclude, that in Josephus's sum of the years of the judges, his twenty-three years are included; hence we are to confess, that somewhat has been here lost out of his copies.

[17] Josephus justly condemns Jephtha, as do the Apostolical Constitutions, B. VII. ch.37., for his rash vow, whether it were for sacrificing his daughter, as Josephus thought, or for dedicating her, who was his only child, to perpetual virginity, at the tabernacle or elsewhere, which I rather suppose. If he had vowed her for a sacrifice, she ought to have been redeemed, Leviticus 27:1-8; but of the sense of ver.28, 29, as relating not to things vowed to. God, but devoted to destruction, see the note on Antiq. B. V. ch.1. sect.8.

[18] I can discover no reason why Manoah and his wife came so constantly into these suburbs to pray for children, but because there was a synagogue or place of devotion in those suburbs.

[19] Here, by a prophet, Josephus seems only to mean one that was born by a particular providence, lived after the manner of a Nazarite devoted to God, and was to have an extraordinary commission and strength from God for the judging and avenging his people Israel, without any proper prophetic revelations at all.

[20] This fountain, called Lehi, or the Jaw-bone, is still in being, as travelers assure us, and was known by this very name in the days of Josephus, and has been known by the same name in all those past ages. See Antiq. B. VII. ch.12. sect.4.

[21] See this justly observed in the Apostolical Constitutions, B. VII. ch.37., that Samson's prayer was heard, but that it was before this his transgression.

[22] Although there had been a few occasional prophets before, yet was this Samuel the first of a constant succession of prophets in the Jewish nation, as is implied in St. Peter's words, Acts 3:24 "Yea, and all the prophets, from Samuel, and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of those days." See also Acts 13:20. The others were rather sometime called righteous men, Matthew 10:41; 13:17.

BOOK 6 Footnotes

[1] Dagon, a famous maritime god or idol, is generally supposed to have been like a man above the navel, and like a fish beneath it.

[2] Spanheim informs us here, that upon the coins of Tenedos, and those of other cities, a field-mouse is engraven, together with Apollo Smintheus, or Apollo, the driver away of field-mice, on account of his being supposed to have freed certain tracts of ground from those mice; which coins show how great a judgment such mice have sometimes been, and how the deliverance from them was then esteemed the effect of a divine power; which observations are highly suitable to this history.

[3] This device of the Philistines, of having a yoke of kine to draw this cart, into which they put the ark of the Hebrews, is greatly illustrated by Sanchoniatho's account, under his ninth generation, that Agrouerus, or Agrotes, the husbandman, had a much-worshipped statue and temple, carried about by one or more yoke of oxen, or kine, in Phoenicia, in the neighborhood of these Philistines. See Cumberland's Sanchoniatho, p.27 and 247; and Essay on the Old Testament, Append. p.172.

[4] These seventy men, being not so much as Levites, touched the ark in a rash or profane manner, and were slain by the hand of God for such their rashness and profaneness, according to the Divine threatenings, Numbers 4:15, 20; but how other copies come to add such an incredible number as fifty thousand in this one town, or small city, I know not. See Dr. Wall's Critical Notes on 1 Samuel 6:19.

[5] This is the first place, so far as I remember, in these Antiquities, where Josephus begins to call his nation Jews, he having hitherto usually, if not constantly, called them either Hebrews or Israelites. The second place soon follows; see also ch.3. sect.5.

[6] Of this great mistake of Saul and his servant, as if true prophet of God would accept of a gift or present, for foretelling what was desired of him, see the note on B. IV. ch.6. sect.3.

[7] It seems to me not improbable that these seventy guests of Samuel, as here, with himself at the head of them, were a Jewish sanhedrim, and that hereby Samuel intimated to Saul that these seventy-one were to be his constant counselors, and that he was to act not like a sole monarch, but with the advice and direction of these seventy-one members of that Jewish sanhedrim upon all occasions, which yet we never read that he consulted afterward.

[8] An instance of this Divine fury we have after this in Saul, ch.5. sect.2, 3; 1 Samuel 11:6. See the like, Judges 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:25; and 14:6.

[9] Take here Theodoret's note, cited by Dr. Hudson: -- "He that exposes his shield to the enemy with his left hand, thereby hides his left eye, and looks at the enemy with his right eye: he therefore that plucks out that eye, makes men useless in war."

[10] Mr. Reland observes here, and proves elsewhere in his note on Antiq. B. III. ch.1. sect.6, that although thunder and lightning with us usually happen in summer, yet in Palestine and Syria they are chiefly confined to winter. Josephus takes notice of the same thing again, War, B. IV. ch.4. sect.5.

[11] Saul seems to have staid till near the time of the evening sacrifice, on the seventh day, which Samuel the prophet of God had appointed him, but not till the end of that day, as he ought to have done; and Samuel appears, by delaying to come to the full time of the evening sacrifice on that seventh day, to have tried him [who seems to have been already for some time declining from his strict and bounden subordination to God and his prophet; to have taken life-guards for himself and his son, which was entirely a new thing in Israel, and savored of a distrust of God's providence; and to have affected more than he ought that independent authority which the pagan kings took to themselves]; Samuel, I say, seems to have here tried Saul whether he would stay till the priest came, who alone could lawfully offer the sacrifices, nor would boldly and profanely usurp the priest's office, which he venturing upon, was justly rejected for his profaneness. See Apost. Constit. B. II. ch.27. And, indeed, since Saul had accepted kingly power, which naturally becomes ungovernable and tyrannical, as God foretold, and the experience of all ages has shown, the Divine settlement by Moses had soon been laid aside under the kings, had not God, by keeping strictly to his laws, and severely executing the threatenings therein contained, restrained Saul and other kings in some degree of obedience to himself; nor was even this severity sufficient to restrain most of the future kings of Israel and Judah from the grossest idolatry and impiety. Of the advantage of which strictness, in the observing Divine laws, and inflicting their threatened penalties, see Antiq. B. VI. ch.12. sect.7; and Against Apion, B. II. sect.30, where Josephus speaks of that matter; though it must be noted that it seems, at least in three instances, that good men did not always immediately approve of such Divine severity. There seems to be one instance, 1 Samuel 6:19, 20; another, 1 Samuel 15:11; and a third, 2 Samuel 6:8, 9; Antiq. B. VI. ch.7. sect.2; though they all at last acquiesced in the Divine conduct, as knowing that God is wiser than men.

[12] By this answer of Samuel, and that from a Divine commission, which is fuller in l Samuel 13:14, and by that parallel note in the Apostolical Constitutions just now quoted, concerning the great wickedness of Saul in venturing, even under a seeming necessity of affairs, to usurp the priest's office, and offer sacrifice without the priest, we are in some degree able to answer that question, which I have ever thought a very hard one, viz. Whether, if there were a city or country of lay Christians without any clergymen, it were lawful for the laity alone to baptize, or celebrate the eucharist, etc., or indeed whether they alone could ordain themselves either bishops, priests, or deacons, for the due performance of such sacerdotal ministrations; or whether they ought not rather, till they procure clergymen to come among them, to confine themselves within those bounds of piety and Christianity which belong alone to the laity; such particularly as are recommended in the first book of the Apostolical Constitutions, which peculiarly concern the laity, and are intimated in Clement's undoubted epistle, sect.40. To which latter opinion I incline.

[13] This rash vow or curse of Saul, which Josephus says was confirmed by the people, and yet not executed, I suppose principally because Jonathan did not know of it, is very remarkable; it being of the essence of the obligation of all laws, that they be sufficiently known and promulgated, otherwise the conduct of Providence, as to the sacredness of solemn oaths and vows, in God's refusing to answer by Urim till this breach of Saul's vow or curse was understood and set right, and God propitiated by public prayer, is here very remarkable, as indeed it is every where else in the Old Testament.

[14] Here we have still more indications of Saul's affectation of despotic power, and of his entrenching upon the priesthood, and making and endeavoring to execute a rash vow or curse, without consulting Samuel or the sanhedrim. In this view it is also that I look upon this erection of a new altar by Saul, and his offering of burnt-offerings himself upon it, and not as any proper instance of devotion or religion, with other commentators.

[15] The reason of this severity is distinctly given, 1 Samuel 15:18, "Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites:" nor indeed do we ever meet with these Amalekites but as very cruel and bloody people, and particularly seeking to injure and utterly to destroy the nation of Israel. See Exodus 17:8-16; Numbers 14:45; Deuteronomy 25:17-19; Judges 6:3, 6; 1 Samuel 15:33; Psalms 83:7; and, above all, the most barbarous of all cruelties, that of Haman the Agagite, or one of the posterity of Agag, the old king of the Amalekites, Esther 3:1-15.

[16] Spanheim takes notice here that the Greeks had such singers of hymns; and that usually children or youths were picked out for that service; as also, that those called singers to the harp, did the same that David did here, i.e. join their own vocal and instrumental music together.

[17] Josephus says thrice in this chapter, and twice afterwards, ch.11. sect.2, and B. VII. ch.1. sect.4, i.e. five times in all, that Saul required not a bare hundred of the foreskins of the Philistines, but six hundred of their heads. The Septuagint have 100 foreskins, but the Syriac and Arabic 200. Now that these were not foreskins, with our other copies, but heads, with Josephus's copy, seems somewhat probable, from 1 Samuel 29:4, where all copies say that it was with the heads of such Philistines that David might reconcile himself to his master, Saul.

[18] Since the modern Jews have lost the signification of the Hebrew word here used, cebr; and since the LXX., as well as Josephus, reader it the liver of the goat, and since this rendering, and Josephus's account, are here so much more clear and probable than those of others, it is almost unaccountable that our commentators should so much as hesitate about its true interpretation.

[19] These violent and wild agitations of Saul seem to me to have been no other than demoniacal; and that the same demon which used to seize him, since he was forsaken of God, and which the divine hymns and psalms which were sung to the harp by David used to expel, was now in a judicial way brought upon him, not only in order to disappoint his intentions against innocent David, but to expose him to the laughter and contempt of all that saw him, or heard of those agitations; such violent and wild agitations being never observed in true prophets, when they were under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. Our other copies, which say the Spirit of God came him, seem not so here copy, which mentions nothing of God at all. Nor does Josephus seem to ascribe this impulse and ecstasy of Saul to any other than to his old demoniacal spirit, which on all accounts appears the most probable. Nor does the former description of Saul's real inspiration by the Divine Spirit, 1 Samuel 10:9-12; Antiq. B. VI. ch.4. sect.2, which was before he was become wicked, well agree with the descriptions before us.

[20] What is meant by Saul's lying down naked all that day, and all that night, 1 Samuel 19:4, and whether any more than laying aside his royal apparel, or upper garments, as Josephus seems to understand it, is by no means certain. See the note on Antiq. B. VIII. ch.14. sect.2. [21] This city Nob was not a city allotted to the priests, nor had the prophets, that we know of, any particular cities allotted them. It seems the tabernacle was now at Nob, and probably a school of the prophets was here also. It was full two days' journey on foot from Jerusalem, 1 Samuel 21:5. The number of priests here slain in Josephus is three hundred and eighty-five, and but eighty-five in our Hebrew copies; yet are they three hundred and five in the Septuagint. I prefer Josephus's number, the Hebrew having, I suppose, only dropped the hundreds, the other the tens. This city Nob seems to have been the chief, or perhaps the only seat of the family of Ithamar, which here perished, according to God's former terrible threatenings to Eli, 1 Samuel 2:27-36; 3:11-18. See ch.14. sect. D, hereafter.

[22] This section contains an admirable reflection of Josephus concerning the general wickedness of men in great authority, and the danger they are in of rejecting that regard to justice and humanity, to Divine Providence and the fear of God, which they either really had, or pretended to have, while they were in a lower condition. It can never be too often perused by kings and great men, nor by those who expect to obtain such elevated dignities among mankind. See the like reflections of our Josephus, Antiq. B. VII. ch.1. sect.5, at the end; and B. VIII. ch.10. sect.2, at the beginning. They are to the like purport with one branch of Agur's prayer: "One thing have I required of thee, deny it me not before I die: Give me not riches, lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord?" Proverbs 30:7-9.

[23] The phrase in David's speech to Saul, as set down in Josephus, that he had abstained from just revenge, puts me in mind of the like words in the Apostolical Constitutions, B. VII. ch.2., "That revenge is not evil, but that patience is more honorable."

[24] The number of men that came first to David, are distinctly in Josephus, and in our common copies, but four hundred. When he was at Keilah still but four hundred, both in Josephus and in the LXXX.; but six hundred in our Hebrew copies, 1 Samuel 23:3; see 30:9, 10. Now the six hundred there mentioned are here estimated by Josephus to have been so many, only by an augmentation of two hundred afterward, which I suppose is the true solution of this seeming disagreement.

[25] In this and the two next sections, we may perceive how Josephus, nay, how Abigail herself, would understand, the "not avenging ourselves, but heaping coals of fire on the head of the injurious," Proverbs 25:22; Romans 12:20, not as we do now, of them into but of leaving them to the judgment of God, "to whom vengeance belongeth," Deuteronomy 32:35; Psalms 94:1; Hebrews 10:30, and who will take vengeance on the wicked. And since all God's judgments are just, and all fit to be executed, and all at length for the good of the persons punished, I incline to think that to be the meaning of this phrase of "heaping coals of fire on their heads."

[26] We may note here, that how sacred soever an oath was esteemed among the people of God in old times, they did not think it obligatory where the action was plainly unlawful. For so we see it was in this case of David, who, although he had sworn to destroy Nabal and his family, yet does he here, and 1 Samuel 25:32-41, bless God for preventing his keeping his oath, and shedding of blood, which he had swore to do.

[27] This history of Saul's consultation, not with a witch, as we render the Hebrew word here, but with a necromancer, as the whole history shows, is easily understood, especially if we consult the Recognitions of Clement, B. I. ch.5. at large, and more briefly, and nearer the days of Samuel Ecclus.46:20, "Samuel prophesied after his death, and showed the king his end, and lift up his voice from the earth in prophecy," to blot out "the wickedness of the people." Nor does the exactness of the accomplishment of this prediction, the very next day, permit us to suppose any imposition upon Saul in the present history; for as to all modern hypotheses against the natural sense of such ancient and authentic histories, I take them to be of very small value or consideration.

[28] These great commendations of this necromantic woman of Endor, and of Saul's martial courage, when yet he knew he should die in the battle, are somewhat unusual digressions in Josephus. They seem to me extracted from some speeches or declamations of his composed formerly, in the way of oratory, that lay by him, and which he thought fit to insert upon this occasion. See before on Antiq. B. I. ch.6 sect.8.

[29] This way of speaking in Josephus, of fasting "seven days without meat or drink," is almost like that of St. Paul, Acts 27:33, "This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried, and continued fasting, having taken nothing:" and as the nature of the thing, and the impossibility of strictly fasting so long, require us here to understand both Josephus and the sacred author of this history, 1 Samuel 30:13, from whom he took it, of only fasting fill the evening; so must we understand St. Paul, either that this was really the fourteenth day that they had taken nothing till the evening, or else that this was the fourteenth day of their tempestuous weather in the Adriatic Sea, as ver.27, and that on this fourteenth day alone they had continued fasting, and had taken nothing before that evening. The mention of their long abstinence, ver.21, inclines me to believe the former explication to be the truth, and that the case was then for a fortnight what it was here for a week, that they kept all those days entirely as lasts till the evening, but not longer. See Judges 20:26; 21:2; 1 Samuel 14:24; 2 Samuel 1:12; Antiq. B. VII. ch.7. sect.4.

BOOK 7 Footnotes

[1] It ought to be here noted, that Joab, Abishai, and Asahel were all three David's nephews, the sons of his sister Zeraiah, as 1 Chronicles 2:16; and that Amasa was also his nephew by his other sister Abigail, ver.17.

[2] This may be a true observation of Josephus's, that Samuel by command from God entailed the crown on David and his posterity; for no further did that entail ever reach, Solomon himself having never had any promise made him that his posterity should always have the right to it.

[3] These words of Josephus concerning the tribe of Issachar, who foreknew what was to come hereafter," are best paraphrased by the parallel text.1 Chronicles 12:32, "Who had understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do;" that is, who had so much knowledge in astronomy as to make calendars for the Israelites, that they might keep their festivals, and plough and sow, and gather in their harvests and vintage, in due season.

[4] What our other copies say of Mount Sion, as alone properly called the city of David, 2 Samuel 5:6-9, and of this its siege and conquest now by David, Josephus applies to the whole city Jerusalem, though including the citadel also; by what authority we do not now know perhaps, after David had united them together, or joined the citadel to the lower city, as sect.2, Josephus esteemed them as one city. However, this notion seems to be confirmed by what the same Josephus says concerning David's and many other kings of Judah's sepulchers, which as the authors of the books of Kings and Chronicles say were in the city of David, so does Josephus still say they were in Jerusalem. The sepulcher of David seems to have been also a known place in the several days of Hyrcanus, of Herod, and of St. Peter, Antiq. B. XIII. ch.8. sect.4 B. XVI. ch.8. sect.1; Acts 2:29. Now no such royal sepulchers have been found about Mount Sion, but are found close by the north wall of Jerusalem, which I suspect, therefore, to be these very sepulchers. See the note on ch.15. sect.3. In the meantime, Josephus's explication of the lame, and the blind, and the maimed, as set to keep this city or citadel, seems to be the truth, and gives the best light to that history in our Bible. Mr. Ottius truly observes, [up. Hayercamp, p.305,] that Josephus never mentions Mount Sion by that name, as taking it for an appellative, as I suppose, and not for a proper name; he still either styles it The Citadel, or The Upper City; nor do I see any reason for Mr. Ottius's evil suspicions about this procedure of Josephus.

[5] Some copies of Josephus have here Solyma, or Salem; and others Hierosolyma, or Jerusalem. The latter best agree to what Josephus says elsewhere, [Of the War, B. VI. ch.10.,] that this city was called Solyma, or Salem, before the days of Melchisedec, but was by him called Hierosolyma, or Jerusalem. I rather suppose it to have been so called after Abraham had received that oracle Jehovah Jireh, "The Lord will see, or provide," Genesis 22;14. The latter word, Jireh, with a little alteration, prefixed to the old name Salem, Peace, will be Jerusalem; and since that expression, "God will see," or rather, "God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt-offering," ver.8, 14, is there said to have been proverbial till the days of Moses, this seems to me the most probable derivation of that name, which will then denote that God would provide peace by that "Lamb of God which was to take away the sins of the world." However, that which is put into brackets can hardly be supposed the genuine words of Josephus, as Dr. Hudson well judges.

[6] It deserves here to be remarked, that Saul very rarely, and David very frequently, consulted God by Urim; and that David aimed always to depend, not on his own prudence or abilities but on the Divine direction, contrary to Saul's practice. See sect.2, and the note on Antiq. B. III. ch.8. sect.9; and when Saul's daughter, [but David's wife,] Michal, laughed at David's dancing before the ark, 2 Samuel 6:16, &c., and here, sect. l, 2, 3, it is probable she did so, because her father Saul did not use to pay such a regard to the ark, to the Urim there inquired by, or to God's worship before it, and because she thought it beneath the dignity of a king to be so religious.

[7] Josephus seems to be partly in the right, when he observes here that Uzzah was no priest, [though perhaps he might be a Levite,] and was therefore struck dead for touching the ark, contrary to the law, and for which profane rashness death was the penalty by that law, Numbers 4:15, 20. See the like before, Antiq. B. VI. ch.1. sect.4. It is not improbable that the putting this ark in a cart, when it ought to have been carried by the priests or Levites, as it was presently here in Josephus so carried from Obededom's house to David's, might be also an occasion of the anger of God on that breach of his law. See Numbers 4:15; 1 Chronicles 15:13.

[8] Josephus here informs us, that, according to his understanding of the sense of his copy of the Pentateuch, Moses had himself foretold the building of the temple, which yet is no where, that I know of, in our present copies. And that this is not a mistake set down by him unwarily, appears by what he observed before, on Antiq. B. IV. ch.8. sect.46, how Moses foretold that, upon the Jews' future disobedience, their temple should be burnt and rebuilt, and that not once only, but several times afterward. See also Josephus's mention of God's former commands to build such a temple presently, ch.14. sect.2, contrary to our other copies, or at least to our translation of the Hebrew, 2 Samuel 7:6, 7; 1 Chronicles 17:5, 6.

[9] Josephus seems, in this place, with our modern interpreters to confound the two distinct predictions which God made to David and to Nathan, concerning the building him a temple by one of David's posterity; the one belongeth to Solomon, the other to the Messiah; the distinction between which is of the greatest consequence to the Christian religion.

[10] Whether Syria Zobah, 2 Samuel 3:8; 1 Chronicles 18:3-8, be Sophene, as Josephus here supposes; which yet Ptolemy places beyond Euphrates, as Dr. Hudson observes here, whereas Zobah was on this side; or whether Josephus was not here guilty of a mistake in his geography; I cannot certainly determine.

[11] David's reserving only one hundred chariots for himself out of one thousand he had taken from Hadadezer, was most probably in compliance with the law of Moses, which forbade a king of Israel "to multiply horses to himself," Deuteronomy 17:16; one of the principal uses of horses in Judea at that time being for drawing their chariots. See Joshua 12:6; and Antiq. B. V. ch.1. sect.18. It deserves here to be remarked, that this Hadad, being a very great king, was conquered by David, whose posterity yet for several generations were called Benhadad, or the son of Hadad, till the days of Hazael, whose son Adar or Ader is also in our Hebrew copy [2 Kings 13:24] written Benhadad, but in Josephus Adad or Adar. And strange it is, that the son of Hazael, said to be such in the same text, and in Josephus, Antiq. B. IX. ch.8. sect.7, should still be called the son of Hadad. I would, therefore, here correct our Hebrew copy from Josephus's, which seems to have the true reading, nor does the testimony of Nicolaus of Damascus, produced in this place by Josephus, seem to be faultless, when it says that he was the third of the Hadads, or second of the Benhadads, who besieged Samaria in the days of Ahab. He must rather have been the seventh or eighth, if there were ten in all of that name, as we are assured there were. For this testimony makes all the Hadads or Benhadads of the same line, and to have immediately succeeded one another; whereas Hazael was not of that line, nor is he called Hadad or Benhadad in any copy. And note, that from this Hadad, in the days of David, to the beginning of Hazael, were near two hundred years, according to the exactest chronology of Josephus.

[12] By this great victory over the Idameans or Edomites, the posterity of Esau, and by the consequent tribute paid by that nation to the Jews, were the prophecies delivered to Rebecca before Jacob and Esau were born, and by old Isaac before his death, that the elder, Esau, [or the Edomites,] should serve and the younger, Jacob, [or the Israelites,] and Jacob [or the Israelites] should be Esau's [or the Edomites'] lord, remarkably fulfilled. See Antiq. B. VIII. ch 7. sect.6; Genesis 25;9,3; and the notes on Antiq. B. I. ch.18. sect.5, 6.

[13] That a talent of gold was about seven pounds weight, see the description of the temple ch.13. Nor could Josephus well estimate it higher, since he here says that David wore it on his head perpetually.

[14] Whether Josephus saw the words of our copies, 2 Samuel 12:31, and 1 Chronicles 20:3, that David put the inhabitants, or at least the garrison of Rabbah, and of the other Ammonite cities, which he besieged and took, under, or cut them with saws, and under, or with harrows of iron, and under, or with axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick-kiln, is not here directly expressed. If he saw them, as is most probable he did, he certainly expounded them of tormenting these Ammonites to death, who were none of those seven nations of Canaan whose wickedness had rendered them incapable of mercy; otherwise I should be inclinable to think that the meaning, at least as the words are in Samuel, might only be this: That they were made the lowest slaves, to work in sawing of timber or stone, in harrowing the fields, in hewing timber, in making and burning bricks, and the like hard services, but without taking away their lives. We never elsewhere, that I remember, meet with such methods of cruelty in putting men to death in all the Bible, or in any other ancient history whatsoever; nor do the words in Samuel seem naturally to refer to any such thing.

[15] Of this weight of Absalom's hair, how in twenty or thirty years it might well amount to two hundred shekels, or to somewhat above six pounds avoirdupois, see the Literal Accomplishment of Prophecies, p.77, 78. But a late very judicious author thinks that the LXXX. meant not its weight, but its value, Was twenty shekels. -- Dr. Wall's Critical Notes on the Old Testament, upon 2 Samuel 14:26. It does not appear what was Josephus's opinion: he sets the text down honestly as he found it in his copies, only he thought that "at the end of days," when Absalom polled or weighed his hair, was once a week.

[16] This is one of the best corrections that Josephus's copy affords us of a text that in our ordinary copies is grossly corrupted. They say that this rebellion of Absalom was forty years after what went before, [of his reconciliation to his father,] whereas the series of the history shows it could not be more than four years after it, as here in Josephus; whose number is directly confirmed by that copy of the Septuagint version whence the Armenian translation was made, which gives us the small number of four years.

[17] This reflection of Josephus's, that God brought to nought the dangerous counsel of Ahithophel, and directly infatuated wicked Absalom to reject it, [which infatuation is what the Scripture styles the judicial hardening the hearts and blinding the eyes of men, who, by their former voluntary wickedness, have justly deserved to be destroyed, and are thereby brought to destruction,] is a very just one, and in him not unfrequent. Nor does Josephus ever puzzle himself, or perplex his readers, with subtle hypotheses as to the manner of such judicial infatuations by God, while the justice of them is generally so obvious. That peculiar manner of the Divine operations, or permissions, or the means God makes use of in such cases, is often impenetrable by us. "Secret things belong to the Lord our God; but those things that are revealed belong to us, and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law," Deuteronomy 29:29. Nor have all the subtleties of the moderns, as far as I see, given any considerable light in this, and many other the like points of difficulty relating either to Divine or human operations. -- See the notes on Antiq. B. V ch.1. sect.2; and Antiq. B. IX. ch.4. sect.3.

[18] Those that take a view of my description of the gates of the temple, will not be surprised at this account of David's throne, both here and 2 Samuel 18:21, that it was between two gates or portals. Gates being in cities, as well as at the temple, large open places, with a portal at the entrance, and another at the exit, between which judicial causes were heard, and public consultations taken, as is well known from several places of Scripture, 2 Chronicles 31:2; Psalm 9:14; 137:5; Proverbs 1:21; 8:3, 31; 31:23, and often elsewhere.

[19] Since David was now in Mahanairn, and in the open place of that city gate, which seems still to have been built the highest of any part of the wall, and since our other copies say he went up to the chamber over the gate, 2 Samuel 18:33, I think we ought to correct our present reading in Josephus, and for city, should read gate, i.e. instead of the highest part of the city, should say the highest part of the gate. Accordingly we find David presently, in Josephus, as well as in our other copies, 2 Samuel 19:8, sitting as before, in the gate of the city.

[20] By David's disposal of half Mephibosheth's estate to Ziba, one would imagine that he was a good deal dissatisfied, and doubtful whether Mephibosheth's story were entirely true or not; nor does David now invite him to diet with him, as he did before, but only forgives him, if he had been at all guilty. Nor is this odd way of mourning that Mephibosheth made use of here, and 2 Samuel 19:24, wholly free from suspicion by hypocrisy. If Ziba neglected or refused to bring Mephibosheh an ass of his own, on which he might ride to David, it is half to suppose that so great a man as he was should not be able to procure some other beast for the same purpose.

[21] I clearly prefer Josephus's reading here, when it supposes eleven tribes, including Benjamin, to be on the one side, and the tribe of Judah alone on the other, since Benjamin, in general, had been still father of the house of Saul, and less firm to David hitherto, than any of the rest, and so cannot be supposed to be joined with Judah at this time, to make it double, especially when the following rebellion was headed by a Benjamite. See sect.6, and 2 Samuel 20:2, 4.

[22] This section is a very remarkable one, and shows that, in the opinion of Josephus, David composed the Book of Psalms, not at several times before, as their present inscriptions frequently imply, but generally at the latter end of his life, or after his wars were over. Nor does Josephus, nor the authors of the known books of the Old and New Testament, nor the Apostolical Constitutions, seem to have ascribed any of them to any other author than to David himself. See Essay on the Old Testament, pages 174, 175. Of these metres of the Psalms, see the note on Antiq. B. II. ch.16. sect.4.

[23] The words of God by Moses, Exodus 30:12, sufficiently satisfy the reason here given by Josephus for the great plague mentioned in this chapter: -- "When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give a ransom for his soul unto the Lord, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague amongst them, when numberest them." Nor indeed could David's or the neglect of executing this law at this numeration of half a shekel apiece with them, when they came numbered. The great reason why nations are so committed by and with their wicked kings and governors that they almost constantly comply with them in their of or disobedience to the Divine laws, and suffer Divine laws to go into disuse or contempt, in order to kings and governors; and that they sub-political laws and commands of those governors, instead of the righteous laws of God, which all mankind ought ever to obey, let their kings and governors say what they please to the contrary; this preference of human before Divine laws seeming to me the principal character of idolatrous or antichristian nations. Accordingly, Josephus well observes, Antiq. B. IV. ch.8. sect.17, that it was the duty of the people of Israel to take care that their kings, when they should have them, did not exceed their proper limits of power, and prove ungovernable by the laws of God, which would certainly be a most pernicious thing to their Divine settlement. Nor do I think that negligence peculiar to the Jews: those nations which are called Christians, are sometimes indeed very solicitous to restrain their kings and governors from breaking the human laws of their several kingdoms, but without the like care for restraining them from breaking the laws of God. "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto men more than to God, judge ye," Acts 4:19. "We ought to obey God rather than men," ver.29.

[24] What Josephus adds here is very remarkable, that this Mount Moriah was not only the very place where Abraham offered up Isaac long ago, but that God had foretold to David by a prophet, that here his son should build him a temple, which is not directly in any of our other copies, though very agreeable to what is in them, particularly in 1 Chronicles 21:25, 28; 22:1, to which places I refer the reader.

[25] Of the quantity of gold and silver expended in the building of Solomon's temple, and whence it arose, see the description of ch.13. [26] David is here greatly blamed by some for recommending Joab and Shimei to be punished by Solomon, if he could find a proper occasion, after he had borne with the first a long while, and seemed to have pardoned the other entirely, which Solomon executed accordingly; yet I cannot discern any fault either in David or Solomon in these cases. Joab's murder of Abner and Amasa were very barbarous, and could not properly be forgiven either by David or Solomon; for a dispensing power in kings for the crime of willful murder is warranted by no law of God, nay, is directly against it every where; nor is it, for certain, in the power of men to grant such a prerogative to any of their kings; though Joab was so nearly related to David, and so potent in the army under a warlike administration, that David durst not himself put him to death, 2 Samuel 3:39; 19:7. Shimei's cursing the Lord's anointed, and this without any just cause, was the highest act of treason against God and his anointed king, and justly deserved death; and though David could forgive treason against himself, yet had he done no more in the case of Shimei than promised him that he would not then, on the day of his return and reinauguration, or upon that occasion, himself put him to death, 2 Samuel 19:22; and he swore to him no further, ver.23, as the words are in Josephus, than that he would not then put him to death, which he performed; nor was Solomon under any obligation to spare such a traitor.

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