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Of Jephtha, and how the three hundred years which he speaketh of, Judg. xi. 28., are to be reconciled with the places, Acts xiii. 20., 1 Kings vi. 1.; together .with some other things touching chronology about these times.
After the death of Jair, (near about whose times these things happened in Greece, and during whose government, and that of Thola, Israel lived in peace and in order,) they revolted again from the law and service of God, and became more wicked and idolatrous than ever. For whereas in the former times they worshipped Baal and Asteroth', they now became followers of all the heathen nations adjoining, and embraced the idols of the Aramites, of the Zidonians, Moabites, and Ammonites, with those of the Philistines. And as it before pleased God to correct them by the Aramites, by the Amalekites, and Midianites; so now he scourged them by the Ammonites*, and afterwards by the Philistines.
Now among the Israelites, those of Gilead being most oppressed, because they bordered upon the Ammonites, they were enforced to seek Jephtha, whom they had formerly despised and cast from them, because he was base born ; but he, (notwithstanding those former injuries,) participating more of godly compassion, than of devilish hatred and revenge, was content to lead the Gileadites to the war, upon condition that they should estabhsh him their governor, after victory. And when he had disputed with Amnion for the land, disproved Ammon's right, and fortified the title of Israel by many arguments; the same prevailing nothing, he began the war, and being strengthened by God, overthrew them ; and did not only beat them out of the plains, but forced them
1 Judg. z. 2 The pmecuti. n of the Ammonites listed eighteen years,
and ended in the year of the world 2S20, in which year Jephtha began. Judg. xi.
over the mountains of Arabia, even to MinnithJ, and Abel of the vineyards, cities expressed heretofore in the description of the Holy Land. After which victory, it is said, that he performed the vain vow which he made, to sacrifice the first living creature he encountered, coming out of his house to meet him; which happened to be his own daughter, and only child, who with all patience submitted herself, and only desired two months time to bewail her virginity on the mountains of Gilead, because in her the issues of her father ended; but the other opinion, that she was not offered, is more probable, which Borraeus4 and others prove sufficiently.
After these things, the children of Israel, of the tribe of Ephraim, either envious of Jephtha's victory, otherwise making way to their future calamity, and to the most grievous slavery that ever Israel suffered, quarrelled with Jephtha, that they were not called to the war, as before time they had contested with Gideon. Jephtha hereupon, enforced to defend himself against their fury, in the encounter slew of them forty-two thousand5, which so weakened the body of the land, as the Philistines had an easy conquest of them all not long after. Jephtha, after he had judged Israel six years, died; to whom succeeded Ibzan, who ruled seven years; after him, Elon was their judge ten years: in all which time Israel had peace. Eusebius finds not Elon, whom he calleth Adon; for in the Septitagint, approved in his time, this judge was omitted.
Now, before I go on with the rest, it shall be necessary, upon the occasion of Jephtha's account of the times, Judg. xi. 28., (where he says that Israel had then possessed the east side of .Jordan three hun,dred years,) to speak somewhat of the times of the judges, and of the differing opinions among the divines and chronologers; there being found three places of scripture, touching this point, seeming re
1 Judg. xi, 33. 1 Bor. in Judg. . 5 Judg. xii.
pugnant, or disagreeing: the first is in this dispute between Jephtha and Ammon, for the right and possession of Gilead: the second is that of St. Paul, Acts xiii.; the third is that which is in the first of" Kings. Jephtha here challengeth the possession of Gilead for three hundred years; St. Paul giveth to the judges, as it seems, from the end of Joshua, to the last of Heli, four hundred and fifty years. In the first of Kings, it is taught, that from the departing of Israel out of Egypt, to the foundation of Solomon's temple, there were consumed four hundred and eighty years. To the first, Beroaldus findeth Jephtha's three hundred years to be but two hundred and sixty-six years, to wit, eighteen of Joshua, forty of Othoniel, eighty of Aod and Samgar, forty of Deborah, forty of Gideon, three of Abimelech, twentythree of Thola, and twenty-two of Jair. But Jephtha, (saith Beroaldus 6), putteth or proposeth a certain number, for an uncertain: 4 Sic ut dicat annum agi 'prope trecentesimum, ex quo nullus litem ea de re 'movent Israeli;' so he speaketh, (saith he,) as meaning, that then it was about or well nigh the three hundredth years, since Israel possessed those countries, no man making question of their right. Codoman, on the contrary, finds more years than Jephtha named by sixty-five, viz. three hundred and sixty-five, whereof seventy-one were spent in Israel's captivity, at several times; of which, (as Codoman thinketh,) Jephtha forbare to repeat the whole sum, or any great part, lest the Ammonites should have justly objected that seventy-one of those years the Israelites were in captivity, and vassals to their neighbour princes; and therefore knowing, that to name three hundred years, it was enough for prescription, he omitted the rest.
To justify this account of three hundred and sixty-five years, besides the seventy-one years of captivity or affliction, to be added to Beroaldus's two
6 Id facit, iramero certo pro ircerto proposito,
hundred and sixty-six, he addeth also twenty-eight years more, and so maketh up the sum of three hundred and sixty-five. These twenty-eight years he findeth out thus: twenty years he gives to the seniors between Joshua and Othoniel; and where Beroaldus alloweth but eighteen years to Joshua's government, Codoman accounts that his rule lasted twenty-six, according to Josephus; whereas St. Augustine and Eusebius give him twenty-seven, Melancthon thirty-two. The truth is, that this addition of twenty-eight years is far more doubtful than the other of seventy-one. But though we admit not of this addition, yet, by accounting of some part of the years of affliction, (viz. thirty-four years of the seventy-one,) if we add them to the two hundred and sixty-six years of Beroaldus, which reckoneth none of these, we have the just number of three hundred years. Neither is it strange, that Jephtha should leave out more than half of these years of affliction; seeing, as it is already said, the Ammonites might except against these seventy-one years, and say, that during these years, or at least a good part of them, the Israelites had no quiet possession of the countries in question. Martin Luther is the author of a third opinion, making these three hundred years remembered by Jephtha, to be three hundred and six; which odd years, saith he, Jephtha omitteth. But because the years of every judge as they reigned, cannot make up this number of three hundred and six, but do only compound two hundred and sixty-six, therefore doth Luther add to this number the whole time which Moses spent in the deserts of Arabia Petraea; which forty years of Moses, added to the number which Beroaldus findeth of two hundred and sixty-six, make indeed three hun» dred and six. .
But I see nothing in the text to warrant Luther's judgment herein; for in the dispute between Jephtha and Ammon for the land of Gilead, it is written in the person of Ammon in these words: 'Because
* Israel took my land, when they came up from ! Egypt, from Arnon unto Jaboc,' &c. 'now there
* fore restore those lands quietly, or in peace7.' So by this place it is plain, that the time is not to be accounted from Moses's departure out of Egypt; but from the time that the land was possessed. For it is said, Quia cepit Israel ten-am meam; because Israel took my land: and therefore, the beginning of this account is to be referred to the time of the taking; which Jephtha's answer also confirmeth in these words: ' When Israel dwelt in Heshbon, and
* in her towns, and in Aroar, and in her towns, and 4 in all the cities that are by the coast of Arnon, f three hundred years; why did ye not then re4 cover them in that space7?' So as this place speaks it directly, that Israel had inhabited and dwelt in the cities of Gilead three hundred years; and therefore to account the times from the hopes or intents that Israel had to possess it, it seemeth somewhat strained to me; for we do not use to reckon the time of our conquests in France, from our princes, intents, or purposes, but from their victories and possessions.
Junius, nevertheless, likes the opinion of Luther, and says, that this time of three hundred years hath reference, and is to take beginning from the first of Jephtha's narration, when he makes a brief repetition of Moses's whole journey; viz. at the l6th verse of the 11th chapter of Judges, in our translation, in these words; ' But when Israel came up 'from Egypt V &c.: and therefore Moses's forty years, (as he thinks,) are to be accounted, which make the number of three hundred and five years, and not only the time in which Israel possessed Gilead, according to the text, and Jephtha's own words. Pf which I leave the judgment to others; tP whom
1 Judg. xi. 28. 8 Junius in the 11th of Juinote,