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delighted with the change; since he is to be the priest of a tribe, or colony, and no longer of a single family. This is a strange mixture of heathenism and the religion of Moses; but there is much the larger share of the former.
The opinion prevailed, with the leading men of the Israelites, not excepting the priests, that information could be obtained from God by the priest, if he had with him only the ephod—and in other instances, if he had the ark. 1 Sam. xiv. 36. It may be that God did communicate through the ark alone, or the ephod alone, as he communicated through dreams, visions, apparitions, etc. ;, but we greatly mistake the meaning of the Mosaic arrangements, if this was the method contemplated by Moses.
There were two methods of making known the divine will, as part of the Mosaic system, though it is a matter of doubt whether these two are not modifications of one method. One was, by Urim and Thummim, in other words, the jewels of the Breast Plate. This is sometimes considered a part of the ephod, and was probably attached to it, when it was made the means of consulting Deity. The other was, from off the mercy-seat between the cherubim. This being a part of the ark, it was no doubt considered, that through the ark, messages could be given and received. But as we understand the subject, the Urim and Thummim, must be consulted at the tabernacle; and the mercy-seat, from the Holy of Holies, in that sacred edifice.
It is said that Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being high priest. 1 K. ii. 27. That was an unauthorized act of violence, on the part of Solomon ; unless he had divine authority for his act. It was no part of the king's business to make, or unmake, high priests.
7. Dedicated Things. Moses made provision for the legitimate exercise of the pious regard of the people, which would be likely to show itself in gifts for religious uses. But as persons might, in times of excitement, bestow property, or themselves, or children, when they would afterwards regret it, he provided for the redemption of whatever had been given, at a moderate estimate and one fifth added. Lev. xxvii. 1-27. In the law the word "sanctify" is more commonly used; but afterwards the usual word is dedicate.
We find frequent references to these things. In most cases what was devoted, or dedicated, or sanctified, was property, gold, silver, ornaments, etc., while the law contemplates the sanctification of persons and fields, as well as gold and silver.
The mother of Micah dedicated a certain amount of silver to the Lord. Jud. xvii. 3. But the object she had įn view, was to make images, which the Lord had forbidden!
“Solomon brought in (to the temple,) the things which David his father, had dedicated, even the silver, and the gold, and the vessels. ", 1 K. vii. 51; 2 Chron. v. 1. There is a reference here to a passage in 2 Sam. viii
. 11; 1 Chron. xviii
. 11. Not only did David dedicate to the Lord, gold and silver, and other valuable things; but all his chief officers did the same. And before his day, Samuel and Saul, and Abner, and Joab, had bestowed similar gifts; and there was a part of the temple in which these dedicated things were kept; and it was given in charge to a responsible person. 1 Chron. xxvi. 20 - 28.
There is at least one instance of a child being dedicated; that child was Samuel, afterwards the prophet Samuel 1 Sam. i. 11. We do not find
instance of dedicated land.
It may be well to give a few references, to show that the Israelites, from the days of Joshua to the captivity, did, in some form, practice the institutions of Moses. We have already alluded to the priesthood, the tabernacle, the brazen altar, sacrifices, the ark, ephod, dedicated things, the three festivals, namely, the passover, feast of weeks, and of tabernacles Besides these, we find references to the sabbaths; anointing, as a ceremony of
initiation; purifications; first-fruits; tythes; shew-bread; new moon; uncleanness; Urim and Thummim; morning and evening sacrifices; the candle-stick and lamps; the incense; trumpets; blood avenging; cities of refuge; gleanings for the poor, etc. 2 K. iv. 23; Jos. v. 2, 4; Ž K. iv. 42; Neh. x. 37; 1 Sam. xxi. 6; xx. 18, 34; 2 Sam. xi. 4; Ezra ii. 63; 2 Chron. xiii. 11; Jos. xx. 1-9; Ruth ii. 2, 3. The references show that the people had some knowledge of these things and observed them in some form.
SECTION XIV.- DISEASES. The Israelites were subject to sickness and death, as well as the rest of mankind. If they suffered less, in this regard, it is because their habits were simple; and they had not fallen into those pernicious practices of luxury and dissipation, that bring disease and premature death in their train. But few specific diseases are mentioned in this part of the Bible.
The disease of the Philistines is generally considered the dysentery. Such is the opinion of Josephus. But there are serious objections to this view. The word used to denote this disease signifies a swelling on the fundament, and is thought by some to be the piles. The truth is, that what are called mice, in this history, evidently had something to do with the disease. They are connected in the history; and it is a reasonable inference, that they were connected, some way, as cause and effect. Lichtenstein, a learned writer quoted by Jahn, has given a solution that commends itself to us, by its freedom from the usual difficulties of other theories. He supposes certain animals of the spider kind, but nearly as large as mice, which are very poisonous; and they bite the fundament, when it is exposed to them, thus producing, on that part of the body, large swellings, often resulting in death.
The images, that were sent to propitiate the God of the Hebrews, were precisely such as this theory would
imply. They were images of the animals whose poison had produced the disease, and of the part of the body affected.
Such offerings were common with the hea. thens, when they would seek recovery from disease, or express their gratitude for a recovery already effected. 1 Sam. v. 6; vi. 5.
The disease of king Jehoram is believed to have been an inveterate form of dysentery, which does sometimes bring away decayed portions of the body, like the falling out of the bowels. 2 Chron. xxi. 12 – 15, 18, 19.
The disease most commonly alluded to in the Bible is the leprosy. Other diseases may have been as frequent; but generally being less severe, they have not found their way into the history of the times. This disease has been too often described, to make it necessary to spend time upon it here. See Vol. II. of this work.
The Pestilence is a disease ; but it is not a disease of a specific character; except that it spreads rapidly, and takes away great multitudes, in a short space of time. If the yellow fever should do this, then the yellow fever would be a pestilence. If the cholera should do it, that would be a pestilence, and so on.
The pestilence is usually ascribed by the Hebrews, to God, or to the angel of God. But this is an idiom of the language, and is to be understood with reference to the primary agency, and not the immediate
agency which they did not understand. If the facts could be known, it would be found, no doubt, that some infection had been introduced among the people, with no one's direct knowledge perhaps, which caused the pestilence, and the consequent destruction of life.
The evil spirit that came upon Saul, was the same that comes upon every man of his disposition; and particularly, if the nervous system is impaired. It will be seen by all who read the history with attention, that this evil spirit never came to him, except when there was some excitement that aroused his jealousy. Of course he was not well ; and all the effect may be attributed to an overtax of his nervous system, in conjunction with a naturally jealous disposition. Music had a wonderful power over him ; as it has over all such temperaments, under like circumstances. 1 Sam. xvi. 14, 15; xviii. 10; xix. 9.
The allusions to the blind and the lame require no comment. 2 Sam. iv. 4; v. 6, 8; ix. 3, 13.
SECTION XV. -DEATH AND BURIAL.
The remarks made on this subject, in the first and second volumes, will apply to the age of which we are speaking. Burial places were nearly always caves, except where it is said of persons that they were buried in their own house. Indeed this feature of burial, namely, in one's own house, may be considered new. We do not remember any reference to it, before the age of Joshua.
Burial places among the ancients, were natural cave . The same were used in the time of Joshua, judges and kings. In some instances, caves were made, by cutting out the rock; in others, the natural caves were improved by the hand of man. Palestine was full of these caves ; and of course there was no want of places for depositing the bodies of the dead.
Caves are usually in the sides of hills or mountains. Hence, when it is said of Joshua, or of Eleazar, that they were buried in a hill, doubtless there is reference to caves, that were there located. Jos. xxiv. 30, 32.
Samuel was buried in his house at Ramah. Joab was buried in his house in the wilderness. 1 Sam. xxv. 1 ; 1 K. ii. 34. Burning the body was practiced in some instances. Sometimes persons were buried near a rock or tree or a heap of stones was piled over the place, to mark the spot for future recognition. 1 Sam. xxxi. 13; Jud. vii. 25; 2 Sam. xviii. 17.
Mourning for the dead was sometimes of longer and sometimes of shorter continuance. There appears_to have been no uniform practice in this regard. The men of Jabesh mourned for Saul seven days. David and others mourned for Saul and Jonathan till even