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Canaanites, over whom, with God's favour, and the assistance of Simeon, they became victorious.
In the first attempt which they made, they not only slew ten thousand, but made Adonibezek prisoner; the greatest and cruellest commander, both of the Canaanites and Perizzites. This tyrant's cruelty, as elsewhere hath been signified, they returned in the same kind upon his own head; and. so, by the torments which he now felt in his own person, (before no otherwise known unto him, but by his malicious imagination,) made him confess and acknowledge Goers just judgment against himself.
The tribes of Judah and Simeon did also master and possess, during this Inter-regnum, (or, as some think, before the death of Joshua,) the cities of Azotus, Askelon, Ekron, and Jerusalem, which they burnt, and the JebusiLes afterwards re-edified. They took also the cities of Hebron, Debir, or Kiriathsepher, and Zephath, afterwards Horma. And although it be not set down in express words, that any one person commanded in chief over the people, as Moses and Joshua did; yet it seeraeth that Caleb was of greatest authority amongst them, and that he, with the advice of Phineas, directed and ordered their wars. For, if any think that they proceeded without a chief, the good success which followed their undertakings witnesseth the contrary. And it was Caleb, even while Joshua governed, as appears Josh. x. 39r, that propounded the attempt of Debir to the rest of the captains; for the performance of which enterprise, he promised his daughter Achsah; which he performed to Othoniel, his younger brother, after the conquest; whose behaviour in that service was such, as, (next unto the ordinance of God,) it gave him the greatest reputation among them ; and it may be esteemed the second cause of his preferment and ek ion for their first judge soon after. But while those of Judah made war with their
borderers, from whom they only recovered the mountainous countries; (for they could not drive out the inhabitants of the vallies, ' because they had * chariots of iron' ;') the rest of the tribes sought also to enlarge and establish their own territories. In which war they laboured with variable success; for as the house of Joseph recovered Bethel or Luz*, from the Hittites, so did the Amorites recover from Dan all the plain countries, and forced them to save themselves in the mountains.
And now the Israelites, unmindful of God'sbenefits, and how often he had miraculously aforetime defended them, and made them victorious over their enemies, (the elders being also consumed, who better advised them in the Inter-regnmn,*) did notonlyjointhemselves in marriage with the heathen nations; but, (that which was more detestable,) they served the idolsof Baal, and Asteroth, with other the dead gods of the Canaanites and Amorites. And therefore did the Lord God, whom they had provoked with their idolatry, deliver them into the hands of the Aramites of Mesopotamia; whom Chushan Rishathaim at that time commanded. But after they had felt the smart of God's displeasure against them eight years, it pleased him to have compassion on his people, and to raise up Othoniel to be their judge and leader3; who, by God assisted, delivered his brethren from oppression, and enforced the Aramites to return into their own deserts, and into Mesopotamia adjoining; after which the Israelites had peace forty years, during all the time of Othoniel's government. This Othoniel is thought by Tostatus to have been the younger brother of Caleb; for as much as in the bqok of Judges he is twice called Othoniel the son of Cenaz, Caleb's younger brother. Others do rather interpret those words', (Caleb's younger brother,) as if they signified the meanest of his kindred. Indeed it is not likely, that Caleb's daughter should marry with her own
1 Judg. L 19. a Judg. i- 25. Judg. i . S3. S Judg. iii. 10.
uncle; yet it follows not therefore, that Othoniel should have been the meanest of the kindred. Wherefore we may better think, that he was the nephew of" Caleb, (as some learned men expound it,) and as the very words of scripture seem to enforce. For Caleb was the son of Jephunneth, and Othoniel the son of Cenaz, Caleb's younger brother; that is, he was not brother to Caleb, but his younger brother's son; to whom it was not only lawful, but commendable, to marry with his cousin-german, Caleb's daughter.
How long it was from the death of Joshua to the government of Othoniel, it cannot be found; but it seems to have been no short time, for many wars were made in that space against the people of the land. Laish was then taken, (as is thought,) by the Danites; and the best writers are of opinion, that between the times of Joshua and Othoniel, that civil war broke out between the Benjamites and the rest of Israel, for the forcing to death of the Levite's wife. For it is written, * that in those days there was * no king in Israel, but every man did that which was 'good in his own eyes.' And as Judah led the people against the Canaanites4, during the Inter-regnum, so was he commanded to do against Benjamin, even by the Lord God, whose direction they craved, as wanting a judge to appoint what should be done j which sheweth it to have been when Joshua was dead, and before the government of Othoniel; especially, considering, that all other times wherein they wanted governors, were spent under such oppression of strangers, as would have given them no leave to have attended such a civil war, if their power had been as great, as it was in the managing of this action; wherein they so weakened the body of thenestate, by effusion of blood, that in many ages they could not bring into the field such numbers as formerly they had mustered against their bordering; enemies.
4 Judg. xvii, xvuii and xi*.
Of the memorable things of this age, in other nations; and of the difficulty in the computation of times.
There lived in this age of Othoniel, Pandion, or Pandareus, according to Homer, the fifth king of Athens; who began to rule in the twentieth year of Othoniel, and governed forty years. He was father to EreGhtheus; his daughters were Progne and Philomela, so greatly mentioned in fables.
Cadmus also about this time obtained Thebes; of whose daughter Semele was born, Dionysius, or Liber Pater; under whom Linus the musician lived. In his time also the cities of Melus, Paphus, and Tharsus were built.
Ida and Dactylus flourished in this age, who are said to have found out the use of iron; but Genesis hath taught us the contrary, and that Tubalcain wrought cunningly both in iron and brass'. Not long after this time, Amphion and Zethus governed Thebes; whom divers chronologers find in Ehud's time. But St. Augustine, making a repetition of these fables, which were devised among the Grecians, and other nations, during the government of the judges, begins with Triptolemus, of whose parentage there is as little agreement. Vives, upon the 13th chapter of St. Augustine de Civitate Dei, and the 18th book, hath gathered all the opinions of this man's progeny, where, he that desires his pedigree may find it. Lactantius and Eusebius make him native of Attica, and the son of Eleusius king of Eleusina; which Eleusius, by careful industry, had fed the people of that territory, in the time of a great famine. This, when, upon the like occasion, Triptolemus could not perform, fearing the fury of the people, he fled thence by sea in a kind of galley
1 Gen. iv. 33. Whence came the name of Vulcan by Aphseresis of the tw<> 6m letter*;
or long boat, which carried in her prow an engraven or carved serpent; who, because he made exceeding great speed to return, and to relieve his people with corn, from some neighbour nation, it was feigned by the poets, that his coach was earned by serpents through the air.
Whether the times of these kings, which lived together with 'Othoniel, and after him with the rest of the judges, and kings of Israel and Judah, be precisely set down, I cannot avow; for the chronologers, both of the former and latter times, differ in many particulars, to examine all which, would require the whole time of a long life; and therefore I desire to be excused, if in these comparisons I err with others of better judgment: for whether Eusebius, and all that follow him, or his opposites, (who made themselves so conversant with these ancient kings, and with the very year when they began to rule,) have hit the mark of time, of all other the farthest off', and most defaced, I cannot but greatly doubt. First, because the authors themselves, from whom the ancientest chronologers have borrowed light, had nothing for the warrant of their own works, but conjecture; secondly, because their own disagreement and contention in those elder days, with that of our own age among the labourers in times, is such, as no man among them hath yet so edified any man's understanding, save his own, but that he is greatly distracted after what pattern to erect his buildings.
This disagreement is found not only in the reigns of heathen kings and princes, but even in the computation of those times, which the indisputable authority of holy scripture hath summed up; as in that of Abraham's birth; and after, in the times of the judges, and the oppressions of Israel; in the times from the egression to the building of Solomon's temple; in the Persian empire; the seventy weeks; and in what not?—Wheresoever the account of times