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in Ajhdod, because he had lost the Palms of his Hands, by falling upon it, 1 Sam.v. 4,5. And the, manner of sending back the Ark, with the TrespassOffering prescribed by their Priests and Diviners, at the Demand of the Lords of the Philistines, was a manifest Attestation to the Power ot the God of Ifrael. Wherefore then, said they , do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh harden d their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did he not let the People go, and they departed, I Sam. vi. 6. The Philistines, at last, receiv'd a miraculous Overthrow by Thunder, 1 Sam. vii. To. And these were so remarkable Judgments, that they must be left without all excuse, who did not forsake their Idolatries, and turn to the Living God who had thus manifested himself amongst them.
The Vrim and Thummim ° was consulted upon any great Undertaking, whereby God return'd his Answer, and oftentimes, before the Battel, gave Assurance of Victory. * JosephTM says, the Answer was return'd, by the shining of the Stones in the HighPriest's Breast-plate, in such a manner, as that it was visible to all the People standing by; and that many of the Heathens, who had been Witnesses to it, call'd it the Oracle.
The miraculous Victories of Saul, and Jonathan , and David; and David's Stay with Achifli King of the Philistines, at Gath, and the Favour and Confidence which he gain'd with that King, gave the Canaanites still repeated Opportunities and Motives to Conversion and Repentance; and we may observe Achifh, in discourse with David, mentioning the Name of the Lord, ox Jehovah, and swearing by his Name, 1 Sam. xxix. 6. Which shews the infinite Mercy and Companion of God towards this People devoted to.Destruction, in that he would not take them away sud-,
0 Judg. i. 1. and xx. 18, 23,16. i&wn.'xviu. 6. and xxiii. 9. and xxx. 7, 8. p Joseph. Antiq. 1. 3. c. 9.
denly, dcnly, but by little and little, giving them space for Repentance ; and turning that, which might seem to rash Judges a hard Fate , into a Means of Salvation both to themselves and others. in Spain, though St. Jeromu thought it to be in the' Indies. And Ophir was, as many learned Men think, in the Indies, beyond the River Ganges, in Pegu, or at least, Solomon % Merchants did traffick with the Indians that came from those Parts; others have imagined Ophir to be Zephala, or Cephala, in Africa, towards the Cape of Good-Hope: some think it to be Ceylon, or Sumatra: some are of opinion that it was in America: all are agreed that it must have been in some very distant part of the World; and where-ever it were, the Traffick and Dealings which the Israelites had there, was a great opportunity to the Heathen to become instructed in'the True Religion.
David extended his Conquest far and near, and was renowned throughout all those Countries: And . the fame of David went out into all lands-, and the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations-, I Chron. xiv. 17. and when God had deliver'd him out of the hand of all his Enemies, he makes this Resolution, Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, 0 Lord, among the heathen, and will fmg praises unto thy name, 2 Sam. xxii. 50. Psal. xviii. 49. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. Say among the heathen , that the Lord U King, Psal. xcvi. 3, 10. And when the Ark was brought, with great and solemn Joy, from the House of Obed-Edom, the Psalm of Thanksgiving • on that Occasion has the fame Expressions; Declare his glory among the heathen, his marvellous works among all nations. Let the heavens be glad , and let the earth rejoice, and let men fay among the nations, the Lord reigneth, 1 Chron. xvi. 24, 31. He knew this to be the Design of God, in the Dispensations of his Providence; and accordingly he made this Use of it, , with so good effect, that in the beginning of Solomon's Reign, the Strangers or Proselytes in the Land were found to be an hundred and fifty thousand, and three thousand and fix hundred , 2 Chron. ii. 17. who were all 9 Men fit to be employ'd in the Building of the Temple •, and the rest must be supposed very much to exceed that Number, reckoning both Sexes, of all Ages. . ,
In Solomon % Reign, the Kingdom of Israel became yet more famous and flourishing; Hiram King of Tyre held great Correspondence with him: And
vfifMKurm, Numeravic —— omncs viros- proselycos.
Kimchi, and after him, Dr. Light foot r understands by 2 Chron. viii. 2. that Hiram gave Cities to Solomon in his own Land, who placed Israelites in them \ and He, in like manner gave Cities to Hiram-, in Galilee-, i Kings ix. ii. in Confirmation of the League between them. The Letters which passed between Solomon and Hiram 'were extant in the time of Jofephns; and from his time, down to Theophilus Antiochenus. Hiram blessed the Lord God of Israel, that made heaven and earth , 2 Chron. ii. 12. i Kings v. 7. which shews that he had a true Notion and Sense of Religion. And Tyre was a place of great Trade and Commerce, Ezek.xxvii. from whence the Jews were afterwards fold to the Gr&cians-,JoelAi\.6. there was no place of greater Traffick, hor that sent out more Colonies, or greater, or into more distant Parts of the World \ and therefore none could be more proper to establish a Correspondence with, from whence Religion might be better propagated. The Queen of Sheba came to see the Glory of Solomon's Kingdom, 1 Kings ix. 10. and blesseth the Lord his God, chap. x. 9. who, according to r Josephus , was Queen both of tÆgypt and tÆthiopia. His Wisdom was every where magnified: And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon-, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom-, chap. iv. 34. All the earth sought to Solomon to hear his wisdont, which God had pat in his heart, chap. x. 24. His Dominions were exceeding great: He reigned over all the kings from the river (Euphrates) even unto the land of the Philistines, and to the border of \Ægypt, 2 Chron. ix. 26. The Trade and Correspondence of the Israelites with foreign Nations was mightily advanced in his time; their Trade extended as far as Tarjhifh and Ophir. Tarflrifi is translated Carthage-, by the Septuagint, Isa. xxiii. 6. but is supposed to be Tarteffus,
The Traffick and Voyages by Sea, and Expeditions by Land, in Salomons Reign, rendred the People of Israel highly renowned, and caused their Laws and Customs and Religion to be much observed and enquired into; and even the Marriages of Solomon with Pharaoh's Daughter and other Strangers, questionless, through the Mercy of God, might prove an happy occasion of divulging the True Religion, and regaining many from Idolatry, in eÆgypt, and other Parts of the World: For all his Wives were made Proselytes * before he married them, (as Sampsons likewise had been,) though afterwards they not only fell away to their former Idolatries, but seduced Solomon himself into them.
The Gentiles were so forward to become Proselytes, 1 in the Reigns of David and Solomon, that their Sincerity became suspected; and the Jews tell us, that the Sanhedrivi would admit no Proselytes, in the days of David, lest they should be induced to it by Fear j nor in the days of Solomon, lest the Glory of his Kingdom should have beea the motive to them to profess the Religion of the Israelites. Nevertheless, great
"Hier. in Jon. c. i. inicio. * Maimonid. de Proselyt. §.15,16. » Maimonid. ib.
numbers were received privately by Baptism, the Sanhedrim neither rejecting nor admitting them.
It is the Observation of Theodores, and Of St. Jerom, upon Ez.ek. v. .5. that God placed Jerusalem, the Seat of the Jewish Government, in the midst of the Nations, that it might be a Direction to the Heathen in matters of Religion; from whence, as from the Centre, Light might be communicated to the farther Parts of the Earth. But the Divisions and Calamities of the People of Israel, the Destruction of their City, and Dispersion of their whole Nation, contributed as much to the propagation of Religion, as their greatest Prosperity could do.
The Division of the Ten Tribes, after the death of Solomon, and the erection of the Kingdom of Israel, distinct from that of Judah, with the many Leagues and Wars which these two mighty Kingdoms had with the Kings of tÆgypt, and Syria, and Babylon, and with other Nations, could not but exceedingly conduce to the divulging the True Religion in the World, and give opportunity to the Prophets to declare their Prophecies, and work their Miracles among the Heathen; as we find they did in many Instances. One of the greatest Cities of the World was converted by Jonah's Preaching. U pon the Fasting and Prayer of Jehofoaphat, a very numerous Army of Moabites, and Ammonites, and other Nations, according to the Prediction of JehazJel, destroyed one another: And the fear of God was on all the Kingdoms of those Countries , when they had heard, that the Lord fought against the enemies of Israel, 2 Chron. xx. 29. Heaekiah being distressed by Sennachenb, prayed to God for deliverance out of his hand; that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord God, even thou only: and his Prayer was answer'd not only in the Deliverance, but in the manner of it, which was so wonderful, that all must know and be astonished at it; for that very stight the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the