Imagini ale paginilor

famine, and as many of plenty, he was made ruter over Egypt. Jacob in the third year of the famine, went into Egypt with all his family, and settled there. The offspring of Jacob increasing daily, and Joseph who protected them being dead, the king of Egypt, actuated by fear aud envy, was resolved to break their strength, that they might not be in a condition to revolt;-he therefore commanded every male infant to be killed and thrown into ibe river. But Moses being exposed in the water was saved aud educated by Pharaoh's daughter. When forty years of age he slew an Egyptian for striking a Hebrew ; and to escape punishment, Aed to Midian, where he married Zipporah, daughter of Jethro, the priest. In his eightieth year, he was employed in executing the divine command, and delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. Pharaoh would not permit their departure, till terrified by prodigies and calamities. He stili pursued the Israelites, but by a great miracle, they passed through the Red Sea, the waters dividing, and standing on each side of them, till they had passed. Yet, not long afterwards, they rebelled against God, their benefactor, and were carried round the deserts of Arabia, till the whiole of that rebellious generation died, except Joshua and Caleb, who continued faithful. In the fortietoa year from the going forth, Moses died in mount Nebo, and Joshua 'was appointed to succeed bim, who led the people of Israel into the promised land. This closes the second period.

The posterity of Shem continued in the worship of the true God, but about Abraham's time it began to be defaced. His father, Terah, 'was addicted to idolatry. Abrahem restored the injured worship of the deity. Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph followed his steps, but, principally Moses, who promulgated that law to the Israelites, which was dictated by God binself. This law established the sacred and civil rights of the people.

Ill. The state of the Jewish nation under the judges. : This period commences with the departure of the Israelites from Egypt in 2513, extends to the times of the kings, and includes 396 years. In this period, the people of Israel were governed first by their leaders, Moses and Joshua ; then by the elders; and after that by the judges. These were extraordinary magistrates, whose duty it was to

defend the people of God against their enemies, to pronounce the law, and take care of Divine worship. The judges were: 1. Othniel.

7. Jeptha. 2. Ehud.

8. Ebzan, Elon, and Abdon. 3. Shamgar.

9. Samson. 4. Deborah and Gideon. 10. Eli. 5. Abimelech.

11. Samuel. 6. Thola and Jair.

[ocr errors]

The most remarkable were :

1. Deborah, a prophetess, who, with Barak defeated Sisera, king Jabin's general.

2. Gideon, who succeeded in the war against the Midianites.

3, Abimelech, a famous tyrant, who having slain seventy brothers, reigned three years.

4. Samson, who was favoured by God with such great strength, that he tore a lion's mouth with his hand, and slew a thousand Philistines with the jaw-bone of an ass. Captivated at length, by the wiles of a woman, he was delivered up to his enemies. They put out his eyes, and brought him forth as a spectacle, when with his hands, he pulled down the pillars that sustained the edifice, in which the great men were assembled for festivity aad sports, and buried them and himself in one general ruin. This bappened in the twentieth year of his magistracy.

5. Samuel, a most excellent magistrate, and very famous for his prophecies. He was the last of the judges, for after his time the people grew tired of liberty, and would have a king to govern them.

The elders who had presided over the republic for some years, being extinct, the people of Israel fell off from the worship of the true God, to the adoration of idols; hence, having forsaken their God, they were oppressed by Chushan, king of Mesopotamia, with eight years bondage, On their repentance, Othniel was given them, as an avenger, who having oppressed Chushan, restored the people to their liberty. But after the death of Othniel returning again to their impiety, they were severely punished for their ingratitude.

IV. The state of the Jewish nation under the kings.The fourth period commences in the year of the world 2909, or from the beginning of the government hy kings to the end of the Babylonish captivity, or 3468th year of the world, and includes 559 years. In the time of Rehoboam, the people, upon the defection of the ten tribes, were di. vided into two parts, and thence into two kingdoms, Judea and Israel. There were only three kings who reigned over the whole people.

1. Saul, son of Kish, ruled exceedingly well in the beginning of his reign, but time producing a change in his behaviour, he was rejected by God, and David was appointed to succeed him.

2. David, conspicuous for his military skill, bis piety and gift of propbecy. He besieged the tower of Sion and made it a place of royal residence.

3. Solomon, son of David, the wisest man of the age in which he lived. He erected a most magnificent temple at Jerusalem. But as he advanced in years, ensnared by the allurements of wives and concubines, he was seduced to the worship of idols. The ten tribes having deserted Rehoboam, chose Jeroboam for their king, so that Rehoboam, and his successors governed only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. From this time, thekings of Jadea must be distinguished from those of Israel. There were 20 of the former, and 19 of the latter. In these reigns, the kingdoms of Judea and Israel were severely distressed by the inroads of Hazael, king of Syria, whom the people of Jndea were obliged to appease by the greater part of their wealth.

The most remarkable of the kings of Judah were:

1. Rehoboam, from whose inability to govern, arose the division into two kingdoms.

2. Josiah, who was distinguished from a long succession of bad princes, by his piety and wisdom, in destroying the temples of the idolaters, and in restoring the true worship.

3. Jehoiachim, wbo, being conquered by Nebuchodonosor, was carried away into captivity. From the time of his being taken are reckoned the 70 years of the Babylonish captivity.

4. Zedekiah, under whom Jerusalem was taken and destroyed, and the rest of the Jews carried into captivity.

Among the Israelites were: 1. Jeroboam, founder of the

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

new kingdom of Israel. 2. Ahab, under whom flourished the prophet Elijah. 3. Hosea, in whose reign the city of Samaria was besieged and taken by the Assyriaus, and the ten tribes of Israel were carried into captivity.

V. The state of the Jeres under the high priests. The fifth period includes the space of 372 years, from A. M. 3468, that is, from the end of the Babylonish captivity, to the time of the Maccabees, or A. M. 3840.

The Babylonish captivity lasted seventy years; at the end of which, Cyrus, king of Persia, permitted them to return. · The Jews, thus restored to their own country, were governed by princes and pontiffs. The princes were:

11. Zerubbabel, who brought hoine the Jews to their own country. He, with the high priest Joshua, haviug erected an aitar, sacrificed to God for their deliverance. And in the second year after their return, the Jews laid the foundation of the temple: but the work was interrupted by the calumpies of their adversaries, and renewed again in the reign of Darius Hystaspes.

2. Nehemiah, wbo inclosed Jerusalem with new walls, and committed to writing an account of what passed in Judea, iu his time. Afier his death the supreme power

devolved upon the high priests. Ezra instituted synagogues, and the frequent reading of the scriptures in them. To his unwearied diligence and anxious care, we owe the collection, revision, and transcription of the copies of the sacred books. In this period, the Hebrews were subject to the dominion of the Persians, who treated them with inuch clemency. By the Greeks they were oppressed with rigorous tyranny, especially in the time of Ptolemy Lagus, who carried off and enslaved 100,000 Jew's.

VI. The state of the Jews under the Maceubees, princes, and kings.--This period commences with the year of the world 3840, that is, with Judas Maccabæus, and reaches to the year 3964, the tinse of Herod the Great, containing

At this time the Jews were persecuted by Antiochus, ar enemy to their religion and manners, who endeavoured to abolish the distinction so anxiously preserved, of Jews aud Gentiles; and to make them unite with the people of the land in the observance of civil and religious duties.

Mattathius, sumamed Asmoncus, the first avenger

124 years,

[ocr errors]


the Jewish liberty was the first of the family of the Maccabees. He had three sons who succeeded him,

1. Judas, who fought with great bravery and success for the liberty of the Jews, against the Syriaus, and having acquired immortal glory by his courage, fell in the battle against Bacchides.

2. Jonathan, emulous of his brother's fortitude, after having exhibited many signal instances of valour, was slain by Tryphon.

3. Simon sustained bravely the liberty that had been obtained by arms, and renewed the league made by Jovathan, with the Romans avd Lacedæmonians. Simon was treacherously slain at a banquet, by Ptolemy, an otficer of Demetrius, king of Syria.

4. John Hyrcanus, who, having besieged and taken Sæ maria, razed their temple to the ground.

b. Aristobulus, who was the first that assumed the regal name and diadem.

6. Alexander Jannæus, who being detested by the Jews, was, by their hatred and animosities, provoked to cruel revenge.

7. Salome, the widow of king Alexander, who wisely calmed the disturbances that had arisen in her husband's time : she was therefore much beloved by the people.

8. Hyrcanus, in conjunction with his brother Aristobulus. The Jewish republic was much shattered by dissensions under their administration, till Pompey taking Jerusalem, carried Aristobulus to Rome.

9. Antigonus, son of Aristobulus, who, by the help of the Parthians, sent his uncle Hyrcanus into Parthia, having first di-graced him by the loss of his ears. But Herod soon after ruined Antigonus, and transferred the government froin the Asmonæan family to his own.

VII. The state of the Jews under the Herodian fumily. This period begins with Herod the Great, A. M. 3964, and reaches to the destruction of Jerusalem, or the 70th year after the birth of Christ, containing 106 years. The kings and princes of the family of Herod were ;

1. Herod, surnamed the Great, who, having artfully secured the favour of the Roman Emperors, was by their meaas raised to the highest bonours, and, although by birth m Idumaan, he was created king of the Jews He either

« ÎnapoiContinuați »