Imágenes de páginas

of the tribe of Judah, and to become his son-in-law was a great honour. Well, “Othniel, the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb,” took the city, and so he married Achsah, Caleb's daughter, who was his first-cousin, and to whom, it is supposed, he wished before to be united, and therefore he bravely went and took the city out of regard for her. This Othniel was, some years after, made a judge or governor of Israel.

The fifteenth chapter marks out very carefully the lot of the tribe of Judah,-all the cities, and towns, and villages, and countries, granted to the people of that tribe ; but it is said they could not drive the Jebusites out of Jerusalem, who continued there when the Book of Joshua was completed.

It was in the country of this tribe that Jesus was afterwards born; that is, in Bethlehem of Judea.

The sixteenth and seventeenth chapters mark out the lot of the tribes of the children of Joseph-Manasseh and Ephraim.

In the lot of the tribe of Ephraim was Rama, the city of Samuel, called in the New Testament Arimathea, where Joseph belonged, who took care of the burial of Jesus. Shiloh also was here, where the Tabernacle was first set up. A palm-tree, under which you will by-and-by read that Deborah judged or governed Israel, was in the land of this tribe. Samaria, a famous city, was also here; and Jacob's well, where Christ talked with the woman of Samaria. In the eighteenth chapter we find the Tabernacle, which had been often pitched and removed with the camp of Israel, fixed in Shiloh, a city in the lot of Ephraim, and lying in the centre of the country now belonging to Israel, that Israel might meet there to worship God. And at Shiloh it remained for three hundred and twenty-five years, till the sin of the house of Eli, a priest, caused it to be removed.

[graphic][merged small]

Seven tribes were yet unprovided for, and Joshua sent out three men from each tribe to view the land, and when they returned, he divided it amongst them.

Benjamin's lot included Jericho and Gilgal, of which we have read. Bethel was also here, and Gibeon.

Simeon's lot included Beersheba and Ziklag, of which we shall read when we come to the history of David.

In Zebulun's lot was Mount Carmel, in which Elijah, the prophet, afterwards put to shame the priests of Baal. Here also was Nazareth, where Jesus spent so much time when he was upon earth, and the coast of the sea of Galilee, where he preached, and Mount Tabor, where he was transfigured, or showed forth his glory.

In Issachar’s lot was Jezreel, where was afterwards Ahab's palace, and also Shunem, where lived the Shunammite that entertained Elisha, and the mountains of Gilboa, on which Saul and Jonathan were slain.

In Asher's lot was no famous place, but very near it were the famous Tyre and Sidon, of which we often read in the Bible, and some suppose that the Canaanites took refuge there when they were driven out of Canaan.

In the lot of Naphtali stood Capernaum and Bethsaida, in which Christ did so many mighty works.

Lastly, to the lot of Dan fell the rich country near which was the valley of Eshcol, where the spies gathered the famous bunch of grapes.

And now Joshua had a right to some portion for himself, and he chose Timnath-serah, in Mount Ephraim, which was his own tribe, and near to Shiloh, where the ark was, and near which Joshua loved to dwell; for the good man always loves the spot where God is worshipped. So Joshua built the city which had been broken down, and dwelt therein.*

* For many observations on the last two chapters, the author is indebted to Matthew Henry.

[ocr errors]

Three more Cities of Refuge-Citios given to the Levites

Return of the two Tribes and a Half-Death of Joshua.


You recollect that Moses had set apart three cities on the other side Jordan, for cities of refuge, called Bezer, Ramoth and Golan, and now Joshua fixes on three other cities in the land of Canaan. As I have already told you about these cities, I need only name those added by Joshua and the princes of Israel. “And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in Mount Naphtali, and Shechem in Mount Ephraim, and Kirjath-arba (which is Hebron) in the mountain of Judah.”

No part of the country had as yet been given to the Levites, and now forty-eight cities were divided amongst them out of the lots of all the tribes.

You recollect also that an army of the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, had left their lands on the other side Jordan, that they might help their brethren in conquering Canaan, and having honourably kept their word, as all good men will do, Joshua now sends them home, charging them to love the Lord, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments. “And when Joshua sent them away also unto their tents, then he blessed them. And he spake unto them, saying, Return with much riches unto your tents, and with very much cattle, with silver and with gold, and with brass and with iron, and with very much raiment: divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren."

You see that nothing is lost by serving God; for this war was under his command, to punish the wicked nations of Canaan, and in doing it, the Israelites had obeyed the divine will.

When the tribes that were sent home reached the river Jordan, which they had to cross, they built a great altar, probably on their own side, which they intended should be a monument for future times, to remind their children, and their brethren's children, of the other tribes, that they all served the one true God and not the gods of the heathen.

“ And it came to pass a long time after that the Lord had given rest to Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed (or became) old and stricken (or advanced) in age.” So he sent for all the chief men of Israel, and he exhorted them, as they would be safe and happy, that they would all mind and serve God. And he again gathered together all the heads of the tribes of Israel, and he told them of all that God had done for them in old time; and what he had dono in Canaan, where he had sent the hornets, or great wasps, to sting and drive out their enemies, instead of their always slaying them with the sword; and where he had given them & land full of fruit without their labour, and cities and houses to live in, which they had never built. And Joshua entreated them to serve so good a God, and told them that if they served strange gods it would be to their hurt. " And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.” So Joshua made a covenant, or solemn agreement, with the people that day, that they would serve God with all their hearts. And he wrote their promise in a book, and set up a great stone, under an oak, near the sanctuary of the Lord, that it might be a witness to remind them of what they had promised to do, and that they might see it as often as they went to worship : “And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord, which he spake unto us." A stone, indeed, could not hear; but Joshua meant, that it was there when he spoke to Israel, and, as it would stand for some ages, it should be as good a witness as if it knew every

word that was spoken, inasmuch as his own hand had set it up on the occasion. "It shall be, therefore,” said he, “ a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.”

"And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua, the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance, in Timnath-serah, which is in Mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.”

About this time the bones of Joseph, which had been brought out of Egypt, were buried "in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob had bought of the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for an hundred pieces of silver, and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph."

Now, too, Eleazar the priest, and “the son of Aaron, died, and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son, which was given him in Mount Ephraim."

[graphic][merged small]


History of the Generals who Ruled and Commanded

Israel after the Death of Joshua.

King Adoni-bezek punished — Ehud judges King Eglon —
Shamgar kills the Philistines with an Ox-goad.

EFORE we begin the Book of Judges, I must tell you, that
Judges here do not mean such judges as we have, who are only
to sit in courts of law, and see that justice is done to those who

are tried before them; but, as I have said at the head of the chapter, the judges of the Israelites were rulers and chiefs, and, when the Israelites were in distress because of the attacks of the Canaanites which yet remained, the Lord raised up these men to deliver Israel and lead them to battle.

Some time after the death of Joshua, and when the Israelites were more in number, they asked counsel of the Lord about going to battle to get more of the land from the Canaanites which remained. And God commanded Judah to attack them.

Judah then got the tribe of Simeon to join with them, and promised to help them to make them stronger in return, when they needed aid.

The Canaanites were soon beaten, and king Adoni-bezek was taken prisoner. This king must have been a great conqueror, but now he is conquered, and as he had done to others, so God now suffered it should be done to him. He had no less than threescore and ten, that is, seventy kings, who were his prisoners, and these he used to feed with the orts, while they sat under his table, having first cruelly mangled them by cutting off their

« AnteriorContinuar »