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  • JOSEPHUS' WRITINGS - BOOK 4, CH. 8 - B
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    26. Those who have borrowed either silver or any sort of fruits, whether dry or wet, (I mean this, when the Jewish affairs shall, by the blessing of God, be to their own mind,) let the borrowers bring them again, and restore them with pleasure to those who lent them, laying them up, as it were, in their own treasuries, and justly expecting to receive them thence, if they shall want them again. But if they be without shame, and do not restore it, let not the lender go to the borrower's house, and take a pledge himself, before judgment be given concerning it; but let him require the pledge, and let the debtor bring it of himself, without the least opposition to him that comes upon him under the protection of the law. And if he that gave the pledge be rich, let the creditor retain it till what he lent be paid him again; but if he be poor, let him that takes it return it before the going down of the sun, especially if the pledge be a garment, that the debtor may have it for a covering in his sleep, God himself naturally showing mercy to the poor. It is also not lawful to take a millstone, nor any utensil thereto belonging, for a pledge, that the debtor, may not be deprived of instruments to get their food with, and lest they be undone by their necessity.

    27. Let death be the punishment for stealing a man; but he that hath purloined gold or silver, let him pay double. If any one kill a man that is stealing something out of his house, let him be esteemed guiltless, although the man were only breaking in at the wall. Let him that hath stolen cattle pay fourfold what is lost, excepting the case of an ox, for which let the thief pay fivefold. Let him that is so poor that he cannot pay what mulet is laid upon him, be his servant to whom he was adjudged to pay it.

    28. If any one be sold to one of his own nation, let him serve him six years, and on the seventh let him go free. But if he have a son by a woman servant in his purchaser's house, and if, on account of his good-will to his master, and his natural affection to his wife and children, he will be his servant still, let him be set free only at the coming of the year of jubilee, which is the fiftieth year, and let him then take away with him his children and wife, and let them be free also.

    29. If any one find gold or silver on the road, let him inquire after him that lost it, and make proclamation of the place where he found it, and then restore it to him again, as not thinking it right to make his own profit by the loss of another. And the same rule is to be observed in cattle found to have wandered away into a lonely place. If the owner be not presently discovered, let him that is the finder keep it with himself, and appeal to God that he has not purloined what belongs to another.

    30. It is not lawful to pass by any beast that is in distress, when in a storm it is fallen down in the mire, but to endeavor to preserve it, as having a sympathy with it in its pain.

    31. It is also a duty to show the roads to those who do not know them, and not to esteem it a matter for sport, when we hinder others' advantages, by setting them in a wrong way.

    32. In like manner, let no one revile a person blind or dumb.

    33. If men strive together, and there be no instrument of iron, let him that is smitten be avenged immediately, by inflicting the same punishment on him that smote him: but if when he is carried home he lie sick many days, and then die, let him that smote him not escape punishment; but if he that is smitten escape death, and yet be at great expense for his cure, the smiter shall pay for all that has been expended during the time of his sickness, and for all that he has paid the physician. He that kicks a woman with child, so that the woman miscarry, (28) let him pay a fine in money, as the judges shall determine, as having diminished the multitude by the destruction of what was in her womb; and let money also be given the woman's husband by him that kicked her; but if she die of the stroke, let him also be put to death, the law judging it equitable that life should go for life.

    34. Let no one of the Israelites keep any poison (29) that may cause death, or any other harm; but if he be caught with it, let him be put to death, and suffer the very same mischief that he would have brought upon them for whom the poison was prepared.

    35. He that maimeth any one, let him undergo the like himself, and be deprived of the same member of which he hath deprived the other, unless he that is maimed will accept of money instead of it (30) for the law makes the sufferer the judge of the value of what he hath suffered, and permits him to estimate it, unless he will be more severe.

    36. Let him that is the owner of an ox which pusheth with his horn, kill him: but if he pushes and gores any one in the thrashing- floor, let him be put to death by stoning, and let him not be thought fit for food: but if his owner be convicted as having known what his nature was, and hath not kept him up, let him also be put to death, as being the occasion of the ox's having killed a man. But if the ox have killed a man-servant, or a maid-servant, let him be stoned; and let the owner of the ox pay thirty shekels (31) to the master of him that was slain; but if it be an ox that is thus smitten and killed, let both the oxen, that which smote the other and that which was killed, be sold, and let the owners of them divide their price between them.

    37. Let those that dig a well or a pit be careful to lay planks over them, and so keep them shut up, not in order to hinder any persons from drawing water, but that there may be no danger of falling into them. But if any one's beast fall into such a well or pit thus digged, and not shut up, and perish, let the owner pay its price to the owner of the beast. Let there be a battlement round the tops of your houses instead of a wall, that may prevent any persons from rolling down and perishing.

    38. Let him that has received any thing in trust for another, take care to keep it as a sacred and divine thing; and let no one invent any contrivance whereby to deprive him that hath intrusted it with him of the same, and this whether he be a man or a woman; no, not although he or she were to gain an immense sum of gold, and this where he cannot be convicted of it by any body; for it is fit that a man's own conscience, which knows what he hath, should in all cases oblige him to do well. Let this conscience be his witness, and make him always act so as may procure him commendation from others; but let him chiefly have regard to God, from whom no wicked man can lie concealed: but if he in whom the trust was reposed, without any deceit of his own, lose what he was intrusted with, let him come before the seven judges, and swear by God that nothing hath been lost willingly, or with a wicked intention, and that he hath not made use of any part thereof, and so let him depart without blame; but if he hath made use of the least part of what was committed to him, and it be lost, let him be condemned to repay all that he had received. After the same manner as in these trusts it is to be, if any one defraud those that undergo bodily labor for him. And let it be always remembered, that we are not to defraud a poor man of his wages, as being sensible that God has allotted these wages to him instead of land and other possessions; nay, this payment is not at all to be delayed, but to be made that very day, since God is not willing to deprive the laborer of the immediate use of what he hath labored for.

    39. You are not to punish children for the faults of their parents, but on account of their own virtue rather to vouchsafe them commiseration, because they were born of wicked parents, than hatred, because they were born of bad ones. Nor indeed ought we to impute the sin of children to their fathers, while young persons indulge themselves in many practices different from what they have been instructed in, and this by their proud refusal of such instruction.

    40. Let those that have made themselves eunuchs be had in detestation; and do you avoid any conversation with them who have deprived themselves of their manhood, and of that fruit of generation which God has given to men for the increase of their kind: let such be driven away, as if they had killed their children, since they beforehand have lost what should procure them; for evident it is, that while their soul is become effeminate, they have with transfused that effeminacy to their body also. In like manner do you treat all that is of a monstrous nature when it is looked on; nor is it lawful to geld men or any other animals. (32)

    41. Let this be the constitution of your political laws in time of peace, and God will be so merciful as to preserve this excellent settlement free from disturbance: and may that time never come which may innovate any thing, and change it for the contrary. But since it must needs happen that mankind fall into troubles and dangers, either undesignedly or intentionally, come let us make a few constitutions concerning them, that so being apprised beforehand what ought to be done, you may have salutary counsels ready when you want them, and may not then be obliged to go to seek what is to be done, and so be unprovided, and fall into dangerous circumstances. May you be a laborious people, and exercise your souls in virtuous actions, and thereby possess and inherit the land without wars; while neither any foreigners make war upon it, and so afflict you, nor any internal sedition seize upon it, whereby you may do things that are contrary to your fathers, and so lose the laws which they have established. And may you continue in the observation of those laws which God hath approved of, and hath delivered to you. Let all sort of warlike operations, whether they befall you now in your own time, or hereafter in the times of your posterity, be done out of your own borders: but when you are about to go to war, send embassages and heralds to those who are your voluntary enemies, for it is a right thing to make use of words to them before you come to your weapons of war; and assure them thereby, that although you have a numerous army, with horses and weapons, and, above these, a God merciful to you, and ready to assist you, you do however desire them not to compel you to fight against them, nor to take from them what they have, which will indeed be our gain, but what they will have no reason to wish we should take to ourselves. And if they hearken to you, it will be proper for you to keep peace with them; but if they trust in their own strength, as superior to yours, and will not do you justice, lead your army against them, making use of God as your supreme Commander, but ordaining for a lieutenant under him one that is of the greatest courage among you; for these different commanders, besides their being an obstacle to actions that are to be done on the sudden, are a disadvantage to those that make use of them. Lead an army pure, and of chosen men, composed of all such as have extraordinary strength of body and hardiness of soul; but do you send away the timorous part, lest they run away in the time of action, and so afford an advantage to your enemies. Do you also give leave to those that have lately built them houses, and have not yet lived in them a year's time; and to those that have planted them vineyards, and have not yet been partakers of their fruits, - to continue in their own country; as well as those also who have betrothed, or lately married them wives, lest they have such an affection for these things that they he too sparing of their lives, and, by reserving themselves for these enjoyments, they become voluntary cowards, on account of their wives.

    42. When you have pitched your camp, take care that you do nothing that is cruel. And when you are engaged in a siege; and want timber for the making of warlike engines, do not you render the land naked by cutting down trees that bear fruit, but spare them, as considering that they were made for the benefit of men; and that if they could speak, they would have a just plea against you, because, though they are not occasions of the war, they are unjustly treated, and suffer in it, and would, if they were able, remove themselves into another land. When you have beaten your enemies in battle, slay those that have fought against you; but preserve the others alive, that they may pay you tribute, excepting the nation of the Canaanites; for as to that people, you must entirely destroy them.

    43, Take care, especially in your battles, that no woman use the habit of a man, nor man the garment of a woman.

    44. This was the form of political government which was left us by Moses. Moreover, he had already delivered laws in writing (33) in the fortieth year [after they came out of Egypt], concerning which we will discourse in another book. But now on the following days (for he called them to assemble continually) he delivered blessings to them, and curses upon those that should not live according to the laws, but should transgress the duties that were determined for them to observe. After this, he read to them a poetic song, which was composed in hexameter verse, and left it to them in the holy book: it contained a prediction of what was to come to pass afterward; agreeably whereto all things have happened all along, and do still happen to us; and wherein he has not at all deviated from the truth. Accordingly, he delivered these books to the priest, (34) with the ark; into which he also put the ten commandments, written on two tables. He delivered to them the tabernacle also, and exhorted the people, that when they had conquered the land, and were settled in it, they should not forget the injuries of the Amalekites, but make war against them, and inflict punishment upon them for what mischief they did them when they were in the wilderness; and that when they had got possession of the land of the Canaanites, and when they had destroyed the whole multitude of its inhabitants, as they ought to do, they should erect an altar that should face the rising sun, not far from the city of Shechem, between the two mountains, that of Gerizzim, situate on the right hand, and that called Ebal, on the left; and that the army should be so divided, that six tribes should stand upon each of the two mountains, and with them the Levites and the priests. And that first, those that were upon Mount Gerizzim should pray for the best blessings upon those who were diligent about the worship of God, and the observation of his laws, and who did not reject what Moses had said to them; while the other wished them all manner of happiness also; and when these last put up the like prayers, the former praised them. After this, curses were denounced upon those that should transgress those laws, they ,answering one another alternately, by way of confirmation of what had been said. Moses also wrote their blessings and their curses, that they might learn them so thoroughly, that they might never be forgotten by length of time. And when he was ready to die, he wrote these blessings and curses upon the altar, on each side of it; where he says also the people stood, and then sacrificed and offered burnt-offerings, though after that day they never offered upon it any other sacrifice, for it was not lawful so to do. These are the constitutions of Moses; and the Hebrew nation still live according to them.

    45. On the next day, Moses called the people together, with the women and children, to a congregation, so as the very slaves were present also, that they might engage themselves to the observation of these laws by oath; and that, duly considering the meaning of God in them, they might not, either for favor of their kindred, or out of fear of any one, or indeed for any motive whatever, think any thing ought to be preferred to these laws, and so might transgress them. That in case any one of their own blood, or any city, should attempt to confound or dissolve their constitution of government, they should take vengeance upon them, both all in general, and each person in particular; and when they had conquered them, should overturn their city to the very foundations, and, if possible, should not leave the least footsteps of such madness: but that if they were not able to take such vengeance, they should still demonstrate that what was done was contrary to their wills. So the multitude bound themselves by oath so to do.

    46. Moses taught them also by what means their sacrifices might be the most acceptable to God; and how they should go forth to war, making use of the stones (in the high priest's breastplate) for their direction, (35) as I have before signified. Joshua also prophesied while Moses was present. And when Moses had recapitulated whatever he had done for the preservation of the people, both in their wars and in peace, and had composed them a body of laws, and procured them an excellent form of government, he foretold, as God had declared to him "That if they transgressed that institution for the worship of God, they should experience the following miseries: - Their land should be full of weapons of war from their enemies, and their cities should be overthrown, and their temple should be burnt that they should be sold for slaves, to such men as would have no pity on them in their afflictions; that they would then repent, when that repentance would no way profit them under their sufferings. "Yet," said he, "will that God who founded your nation, restore your cities to your citizens, with their temple also; and you shall lose these advantages not once only, but often."

    47. NOW when Moses had encouraged Joshua to lead out the army against the Canaanites, by telling him that God would assist him in all his undertakings, and had blessed the whole multitude, he said, "Since I am going to my forefathers, and God has determined that this should be the day of my departure to them, I return him thanks while I am still alive and present with you, for that providence he hath exercised over you, which hath not only delivered us from the miseries we lay under, but hath bestowed a state of prosperity upon us; as also, that he hath assisted me in the pains I took, and in all the contrivances I had in my care about you, in order to better your condition, and hath on all occasions showed himself favorable to us; or rather he it was who first conducted our affairs, and brought them to a happy conclusion, by making use of me as a vicarious general under him, and as a minister in those matters wherein he was willing to do you good: on which account I think it proper to bless that Divine Power which will take care of you for the time to come, and this in order to repay that debt which I owe him, and to leave behind me a memorial that we are obliged to worship and honor him, and to keep those laws which are the most excellent gift of all those he hath already bestowed upon us, or which, if he continue favorable to us, he will bestow upon us hereafter. Certainly a human legislator is a terrible enemy when his laws are affronted, and are made to no purpose. And may you never experience that displeasure of God which will be the consequence of the neglect of these his laws, which he, who is your Creator, hath given you."

    48. When Moses had spoken thus at the end of his life, and had foretold what would befall to every one of their tribes (36) afterward, with the addition of a blessing to them, the multitude fell into tears, insomuch that even the women, by beating their breasts, made manifest the deep concern they had when he was about to die. The children also mourned still more, as not able to contain their grief; and thereby declared, that even at their age they were sensible of his virtue and mighty deeds; and truly there seemed to be a strife betwixt the young and the old who should most grieve for him. The old grieved because they knew what a careful protector they were to be deprived of, and so mourned their future state; but the young grieved, not only for that, but also because it so happened that they were to be left by him before they had well tasted of his virtue. Now one may make a guess at the excess of this sorrow and lamentation of the multitude, from what happened to the legislator himself; for although he was always persuaded that he ought not to be cast down at the approach of death, since the undergoing it was agreeable to the will of God and the law of nature, yet what the people did so overbore him, that he wept himself. Now as he went thence to the place where he was to vanish out of their sight, they all followed after him weeping; but Moses beckoned with his hand to those that were remote from him, and bade them stay behind in quiet, while he exhorted those that were near to him that they would not render his departure so lamentable. Whereupon they thought they ought to grant him that favor, to let him depart according as he himself desired; so they restrained themselves, though weeping still towards one another. All those who accompanied him were the senate, and Eleazar the high priest, and Joshua their commander. Now as soon as they were come to the mountain called Abarim, (which is a very high mountain, situate over against Jericho, and one that affords, to such as are upon it, a prospect of the greatest part of the excellent land of Canaan,) he dismissed the senate; and as he was going to embrace Eleazar and Joshua, and was still discoursing with them, a cloud stood over him on the sudden, and he disappeared in a certain valley, although he wrote in the holy books that he died, which was done out of fear, lest they should venture to say that, because of his extraordinary virtue, he went to God.

    49. Now Moses lived in all one hundred and twenty years; a third part of which time, abating one month, he was the people's ruler; and he died on the last month of the year, which is called by the Macedonians Dystrus, but by us Adar, on the first day of the month. He was one that exceeded all men that ever were in understanding, and made the best use of what that understanding suggested to him. He had a very graceful way of speaking and addressing himself to the multitude; and as to his other qualifications, he had such a full command of his passions, as if he hardly had any such in his soul, and only knew them by their names, as rather perceiving them in other men than in himself. He was also such a general of an army as is seldom seen, as well as such a prophet as was never known, and this to such a degree, that whatever he pronounced, you would think you heard the voice of God himself. So the people mourned for him thirty days: nor did ever any grief so deeply affect the Hebrews as did this upon the death of Moses: nor were those that had experienced his conduct the only persons that desired him, but those also that perused the laws he left behind him had a strong desire after him, and by them gathered the extraordinary virtue he was master of. And this shall suffice for the declaration of the manner of the death of Moses.

    ENDNOTE

    (1) Reland here takes notice, that although our Bibles say little or nothing of these riches of Corah, yet that both the Jews and Mahommedans, as well as Josephus, are full of it. (2) It appears here, and from the Samaritan Pentateuch, and, in effect, from the psalmist, as also from the Apostolical Constitutions, from Clement's First Epistle to the Corinthians, from Ignatius's Epistle to the Magnesians, and from Eusebius, that Corah was not swallowed up with the Reubenites, but burned with the Levites of his own tribe. See Essay on the Old Testament, p. 64, 65. (3) Concerning these twelve rods of the twelve tribes of Israel, see St. Clement's account, much larger than that in our Bibles, 1 Epist. sect. 45; as is Josephus's present account in measure larger also. (4) Grotius, on Numbers 6:18, takes notice that the Greeks also, aswell as the Jews, sometimes consecrated the hair of their heads to the gods. (5) Josephus here uses this phrase, "when the fortieth year was completed," for when it was begun; as does St. Luke when the day of Pentecost was completed," Acts 2:1. (6) Whether Miriam died, as Josephus's. Greek copies imply, on the first day of the month, may be doubted, because the Latin copies say it was on the tenth, and so say the Jewish calendars also, as Dr. Bernard assures us. It is said her sepulcher is still extant near Petra, the old capital city of Arabia Petraea, at this day; as also that of Aaron, not far off. (7) What Josephus here remarks is well worth our remark in this place also; viz. that the Israelites were never to meddle with the Moabites, or Ammonites, or any other people, but those belonging to the land of Canaan, and the countries of Sihon and Og beyond Jordan, as far as the desert and Euphrates, and that therefore no other people had reason to fear the conquests of the Israelites; but that those countries given them by God were their proper and peculiar portion among the nations, and that all who endeavored to dispossess them might ever be justly destroyed by them. (8) Note that Josephus never supposes Balaam to be an idolater, nor to seek idolatrous enchantments, or to prophesy falsely, but to be no other than an ill-disposed prophet of the true God; and intimates that God's answer the second time, permitting him to go, was ironical, and on design that he deceived (which sort of deception, by way of punishment for former crimes, Josephus never scruples to admit, as ever esteeming such wicked men justly and providentially deceived). But perhaps we had better keep here close to the text which says Numbers 23:20, 21, that God only permitted Balaam to go along with the ambassadors, in case they came and called him, or positively insisted on his going along with them, on any terms; whereas Balaam seems out of impatience to have risen up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and rather to have called them, than staid for their calling him, so zealous does he seem to have been for his reward of divination, his wages of unrighteousness, Numbers 23:7, 17, 18, 37; 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 5, 11; which reward or wages the truly religious prophets of God never required nor accepted, as our Josephus justly takes notice in the cases of Samuel, Antiq. B. V. ch. 4. sect. 1, and Daniel, Antiq. B. X. ch. 11. sect. 3. See also Genesis 14:22, 23; 2 Kings 5:15, 16, 26, 27; and Acts 8;17-24. (9) Whether Josephus had in his copy but two attempts of Balaam in all to curse Israel; or whether by this his twice offering sacrifice, he meant twice besides that first time already mentioned, which yet is not very probable; cannot now be certainly determined. In the mean time, all other copies have three such attempts of Balaam to curse them in the present history. (10) Such a large and distinct account of this perversion of the Israelites by the Midianite women, of which our other copies give us but short intimations, Numbers 31:16 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 11; Revelation 2:14, is preserved, as Reland informs us, in the Samaritan Chronicle, in Philo, and in other writings of the Jews, as well as here by Josephus. (11) This grand maxim, That God's people of Israel could never be hurt nor destroyed, but by drawing them to sin against God, appears to be true, by the entire history of that people, both in the Bible and in Josephus; and is often taken notice of in them both. See in particular a most remarkable Ammonite testimony to this purpose, Judith 5:5-21. (12) What Josephus here puts into the mouths of these Midianite women, who came to entice the Israelites to lewdness and idolatry, viz. that their worship of the God of Israel, in opposition to their idol gods, implied their living according to the holy laws which the true God had given them by Moses, in opposition to those impure laws which were observed under their false gods, well deserves our consideration; and gives us a substantial reason for the great concern that was ever shown under the law of Moses to preserve the Israelites from idolatry, and in the worship of the true God; it being of no less consequence than, Whether God's people should be governed by the holy laws of the true God, or by the impure laws derived from demons, under the pagan idolatry. (13) The mistake in all Josephus's copies, Greek and Latin which have here fourteen thousand instead of twenty-four thousand, is so flagrant, that our very learned editors, Bernard and Hudson, have put the latter number directly into the text. I choose rather to put it in brackets. (14) The slaughter of all the Midianite women that had prostituted themselves to the lewd Israelites, and the preservation of those that had not been guilty therein; the last of which were no fewer than thirty-two thousand, both here and Numbers 31:15-17, 35, 40, 46, and both by the particular command of God; are highly remarkable, and show that, even in nations otherwise for their wickedness doomed to destruction, the innocent were sometimes particularly and providentially taken care of, and delivered from that destruction; which directly implies, that it was the wickedness of the nations of Canaan, and nothing else, that occasioned their excision. See Genesis 15;16; 1 Samuel 15:18, 33; Apost. Constit. B. VIII. ch. 12. p. 402. In the first of which places, the reason of the delay of the punishment of the Amorites is given, because "their iniquity was not yet full." In the secured, Saul is ordered to go and "destroy the sinners, the Amalekites;" plainly implying that they were therefore to be destroyed, because they were sinners, and not otherwise. In the third, the reason is given why king Agag was not to be spared, viz. because of his former cruelty: "As thy sword hath made the (Hebrew) women childless, so shall thy mother be made childless among women by the Hebrews." In the last place, the apostles, or their amanuensis Clement, gave this reason for the necessity of the coming of Christ, that "men had formerly perverted both the positive law, and that of nature; and had cast out of their mind the memory of the Flood, the burning of Sodom, the plagues of the Egyptians, and the slaughter of the inhabitants of Palestine," as signs of the most amazing impenitence and insensibility, under the punishments of horrid wickedness. (15) Josephus here, in this one sentence, sums up his notion of Moses's very long and very serious exhortations in the book of Deuteronomy; and his words are so true, and of such importance, that they deserve to be had in constant remembrance. (16) This law, both here and Exodus 20:25, 26, of not going up to God's altar by ladder-steps, but on an acclivity, seems not to have belonged to the altar of the tabernacle, which was in all but three cubits high, Exodus 27:4; nor to that of Ezekiel, which was expressly to be gone up to by steps, ch. 43:17; but rather to occasional altars of any considerable altitude and largeness; as also probably to Solomon's altar, to which it is here applied by Josephus, as well as to that in Zorobabel's and Herod's temple, which were, I think, all ten cubits high. See 2 Chronicles 4:1, and Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 3. sect. 7. The reason why these temples, and these only, were to have this ascent on an acclivity, and not by steps, is obvious, that before the invention of stairs, such as we now use, decency could not be otherwise provided for in the loose garments which the priests wore, as the law required. See Lamy of the Tabernacle and Temple, p. 444. (17) The hire of public or secret harlots was given to Venus in Syria, as Lucian informs us, p. 878; and against some such vile practice of the old idolaters this law seems to have been made. (18) The Apostolical Constitutions, B. II. ch. 26. sect. 31, expound this law of Moses, Exodus 22. 28, "Thou shalt not revile or blaspheme the gods," or civil officers, which is a much more probable exposition than this of Josephus, of heathen gillis, as here, and against Apion, B. II. ch. 3. sect. 31. What book of the law was thus publicly read, see the note on Antiq. B. X. ch. 5. sect. 5, and 1 Esd. 9:8-55. (19)Whether these phylacteries, and other Jewish memorials of the law here mentioned by Josephus, and by Muses, (besides the fringes on the borders of their garments, Numbers 15:37,) were literally meant by God, I much question. That they have been long observed by the Pharisees and Rabbinical Jews is certain; however, the Karaites, who receive not the unwritten traditions of the elders, but keep close to the written law, with Jerome and Grotius, think they were not literally to be understood; as Bernard and Reland here take notice. Nor indeed do I remember that, either in the ancienter books of the Old Testament, or in the books we call Apocrypha, there are any signs of such literal observations appearing among the Jews, though their real or mystical signification, i.e. the constant remembrance and observation of the laws of God by Moses, be frequently inculcated in all the sacred writings. (20) Here, as well as elsewhere, sect. 38, of his Life, sect. 14, and of the War, B. II. ch. 20. sect. 5, are but seven judges appointed for small cities, instead of twenty-three in the modern Rabidns; which modern Rabbis are always but of very little authority in comparison of our Josephus. (21) I have never observed elsewhere, that in the Jewish government women were not admitted as legal witnesses in courts of justice. None of our copies of the Pentateuch say a word of it. It is very probable, however, that this was the exposition of the scribes and Pharisees, and the practice of the Jews in the days of Josephus. (22) This penalty of "forty stripes save one," here mentioned, and sect. 23, was five times inflicted on St. Paul himself by the Jews, 2 Corinthians 11:24 (23) Josephus's plain and express interpretation of this law of Moses, Deuteronomy 14:28, 29; 26:12, etc., that the Jews were bound every third year to pay three tithes, that to the Levites, that for sacrifices at Jerusalem, and this for the indigent, the widow, and the orphans, is fully confirmed by the practice of good old Tobit, even when he was a captive in Assyria, against the opinions of the Rabbins, Tobit 1:6-8. (24) These tokens of virginity, as the Hebrew and Septuagint style them, Deuteronomy 22:15, 17, 20, seem to me very different from what our later interpreters suppose. They appear rather to have been such close linen garments as were never put off virgins, after, a certain age, till they were married, but before witnesses, and which, while they were entire, were certain evidences of such virginity. See these, Antiq. B. VII. ch. 8. sect. 1; 2 Samuel 13:18; Isaiah 6:1 Josephus here determines nothing what were these particular tokens of virginity or of corruption: perhaps he thought he could not easily describe them to the heathens, without saying what they might have thought a breach of modesty; which seeming breach of modesty laws cannot always wholly avoid. (25) These words of Josephus are very like those of the Pharisees to our Savior upon this very subject, Matthew 19:3, "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?" (26) Here it is supposed that this captive's husband, if she were before a married woman, was dead before, or rather was slain in this very battle, otherwise it would have been adultery in him that married her. (27) See Herod the Great insisting on the execution of this law, with relation to two of his own sons, before the judges at Berytus, Antiq. B. XVI. ch. 11. sect. 2. (28) Philo and others appear to have understood this law, Exodus 21:22, 23, better than Josephus, who seems to allow, that though the infant in the mother's womb, even after the mother were quick, and so the infant had a rational soul, were killed by the stroke upon the mother, yet if the mother escaped, the offender should only be fined, and not put to death; while the law seems rather to mean, that if the infant in that case be killed, though the mother escape, the offender must be put to death, and not only when the mother is killed, as Josehus understood it. It seems this was the exposition of the Pharisees in the days of Josephus. (29) What we render a witch, according to our modern notions of witchcraft, Exodus 22:15, Philo and Josephus understood of a poisoner, or one who attempted by secret and unlawful drugs or philtra, to take away the senses or the lives of men. (30) This permission of redeeming this penalty with money is not in our copies, Exodus 21:24, 25; Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21. (31) We may here note, that thirty shekels, the price our Savior was sold for by Judas to the Jews, Matthew 26:15, and 27;3, was the old value of a bought servant or slave among that people. (32) This law against castration, even of brutes, is said to be so rigorous elsewhere, as to inflict death on him that does it. which seems only a Pharisaical interpretation in the days of Josephus of that law, Leviticus 21:20, and 22:24: only we may hence observe, that the Jews could then have no oxen which are gelded, but only bulls and cows, in Judea. (33) These laws seem to be those above-mentioned, sect, 4, of this chapter. (34) What laws were now delivered to the priests, see the note on Antiq. B. III. ch. 1. sect. 7, (35) Of the exact place where this altar was to be built, whether nearer Mount Gerizzim or Mount Ebal, according to Josephus, see Essay on the Old Testament, p. 168--171. Dr. Bernard well observes here, how unfortunate this neglect of consulting the Urim was to Joshua himself, in the case of the Gibeonites, who put a trick upon him, and ensnared him, together with the rest of the Jewish rulers, with a solemn oath to preserve them, contrary to his commission to extirpate all the Canaanites, root and branch; which oath he and the other rulers never dare break. See Scripture Politics, p. 55, 56; and this snare they were brought into because they "did not ask counsel at the mouth of the Lord," Joshua 9:14. (36) Since Josephus assures us here, as is most naturally to be supposed, and as the Septuagint gives the text, Deuteronomy 33:6, that Moses blessed every one of the tribes of Israel, it is evident that Simeon was not omitted in his copy, as it unhappily now is, both in our Hebrew and Samaritan copies.

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