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pursued and overtook in their retreat. The harsh reflections of the Historian, on the comparison he has drawn between the supposed clemency of these poor Heathens, and the alleged cruelty of the enlightened David's vengeance upon them, we find judiciously answered in the Section before us; as is also the censure passed on David's causing the Amalekite to be slain, who brought him the news of Saul's death.
The Doctor employs the XIIth Section in discussing the war between David and Imbofheth, Saul's son ; afferts the rectitude of David's reclaiming his wife Michal, the daughter of Saul, who had been espouted to another man, during her father's perfecution of David. And here our Author aims some pleasant strokes at the Historian; as indeed he seldom loses any fair opportunity for a good sarcasm, or biting irony, on his antagonist, being ready to engage him at all weapons, and at the same time willing, perhaps, to let us fee that he is not always fo jeriously angry with him, as he appears to be upon some occasions, which seem peculiarly provoking.
Coming to the Historian's unjust censure of David, for his putting to death Rechab and Baanah, the two assassins of their unfortunate master Ishbosheth,--our Author, with a laud- . able refentment, in which every generous mind will join with him, severely chastises the Historian's petulance, and places the conduct of his hero in a noble light; such, indeed, as every brave and honest man will be pleased to view him in. These base and murtherous traitors expected a reward from David, for thus ridding him of his rival, and putting him at once in quiet poisession of the long-contested throne of all Israel : and, indeed, they had the reward they justly merited. As the Lord liveth, who hath redocmed my soul out of all adversity, (laid David, upon the Regicides presenting him with their master's head)when wicked men have fiain a righteous perfon, in his own h971), upon his bed, -Shall I not require his blood at your hand, and take you away from the earth ?This was truly noble, great, and god-like !-yet, fuch is the force of prejudice, the Historian, who seems to have thought David incapable of any laudable action from laudable motives, treats this fair instance of his generosity and honour, as mere political finese, and downright hypocrisy.
Sections XII!. and XIV. are employed in defending David from the charge of ambition and cruelty in his wars; and particularly in regard to the Moabites, of which nation two P 3
thirds are said to be put to the sword, by causing them to lye prostrate on the ground, and measuring them by lines; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive: “ so systematic was his wrath !” Hist. p. 51.
Doubiless such a procedure must appear very strange to those Readers who can only consult the English Bible. But, as our Author rightly observes, the Historian fhould have been fure of his reading, and of his meaning too, before he had pronounced so positively in the affair,
“ The antient Versions (says he) read differently from our present text, : The * vulgate : He measured two lines, the one to kill, arid one to keep alive. The + 70. differently, but to the famc fenfe: There were two lines for putting to death, and two for taking alive ; according to both which accounts, not two thirds, but one half of the inhabitants only were put to death. And it appears from the text itself f, that it should be thus supplied and rendered : And he measured two lines, i.e. divided the county into two parts; a line, i. e. a tract, for
Mensus eft autem duos funiculos; unum ad occidendum et unum ad vivificandum.
* Και εγένοντο τα δυο σχοινίσματα το θανατωσαι, και τα δυο σχενισματα 1 the words in the original are, D 9999 772999., And
m-ajured poco lines. Repcat, from the foregoing word, 277, A line, not to put to divit, si anyagokhons
, and the julin fs of a line to keep alive. And this fupplement is natural and agreeable to the language. Many instances may be produced of this nature, Thus Pial. cxxxiji. 3. As the dew of Hermon, that deSeenied on the mountains of Zion; which thould be rendered, as it is in our version : As the dew of Hermon, as the dew that descended ox he mountains of Zion. So Plal. cx. 3. What we render almost without any lenfe, from the womó of the morning thou hast the dew of ghy y'u!!, becomes an elegant expreilion, if we repeat the word deze', Kos tibi ab utero aurora ros juventutis tuæ. The dew of thy youth is ai the dew from the womb of the morning. So Psal. cxii. His heart is faxed, he phall not be afraid, till be fre 12 bis heart, or his defire, on bis enemies.
The measurement of lands was formerly by the line, as now it je generally done by the red; and because lands were divided into certain tracts and portions by the line, hence the line is often put for the pract marked out by it, or. eve
where the line had never been made use of at all. Thus, all the region of Argob, as we render it, is in the original, -217 52, all the ijre of Argob. So 01537
death, and the plenitude of a line, i. e. a very large tract of the country, for life; to destroy the inhabitants of the one, and preserve the inhabitants of the larger part alive.
“ As to the first clause of the verse : He measured them with a line, cafting them down to the ground; our * Historian makes it to fignify, that David caused the inhabitants to lie prostrate on the ground, and then measured them to put them to death. But the words are very capable of a different sense.
the line of the sea, is the sea coaft. Zephan. q. 5, 6, 7. So in the place before us : 6292 772', He meafured them by line, i. e. divided the country of the Moabites into several parts, that he might the better know what towns it was moft proper to demolith. 17598 01718. 2017, to level them with the ground; and to extirpate the inhabitants of them. Cæteris occisis, ne difficilis eflet cuftodia. Grot. in loc. Let me jaft add, that the sanno bying the plenitude, or fu'ness of tie line, seems to denote a very large tract of the country; and might be larger, for any thing our Author can tell, than that, where the inhabitants were ordered to be put to death.
The learned Authors of the Universal History are of the same opinion, and think this is the meaning of the Sacred Historian. An. Hift. Vol. II. p. 135. note 5. I am sorry I cannot have the honour of agreeing with them. Mr. Le Clerc also tells us, that it seems to have been the manner of the Eastern Kings towards those they conquered, especially such as had incurred their peculiar displeasure, to command their captives to lie down on the ground, and then to put to death such a part of the captives as were measured with a line. He farther fupposes, that the Moabjies used this practice, and that therefore David retaliated their own cruelties upon them. But I be. lieve no history will give us any example of the like cuftom, and Le Clerc owns that there is no authority to prove it an Hebrew one. And, indeed, it appears to me to be so absurd and needless a ceremony, and so inconsistent with every fystem of war, that we have any account of, that I cannot believe David was so very fyftematis, as our Author makes him to be. Bishop. Patrick, I think gives the true sense of the place. He meafured them with a line, i. e. Having conquered the whole country, he took an exact survey of every part of it. Cafting them to the ground. Laying level their trong holds, and fortified places. The account Josephus gives of it is, Ta jay duo μερη της Γρατιας αυτων τη μαχη νικησας, διεφθειρε. Το δε λειπομενον αιχμαλωτον ελαβε.
1. A. vii. 5. 2.
He conquered and deitroyed two parts of their army, and took prisoners the rest ; an account, that is much the same with that of the Authors of the Universal History, who suppose shat the Scripture means two thirds only of chose, who appeared in arms against him. Ubi fupra.
And David (mote * Moab, i.e. the country and its inhabitants, and measured them with a line ; took an exact survey of the towns and cities and strong holds of the whole land, to throw them down to the ground; i. e. to destroy and level them to the ground, as far as David thought neceffary to humble them, and secure himself: and so made the whole nation tributary to his crown. For they became David's fervants, and brought him gifts.”.
The next remarkable charge of cruelty brought against David, is founded on his severe treatment of the Ammonites, whom he “ put under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick-kiln. In the parallel place our version renders it t, He cut them with saws, and with harrows of iron, and with axes.' Our Author confesses I, that the precise punishments here alluded to are nat understood at this time, writers being much divided in their exposition ; but that extraordinary punishments are meant, cannot admit of a doubt, for Josephus writes, that the men were put 10 death by exquisite torments.
" His Reflections upon this part of the history are very pathetic. How small a person, says hell, subjeet to the sensations of humanity, how shall a man not feeled to a very Jew, find expressions suited to the occasion, when he relates the treatment of this poor city Rabbah. The study would be as difficult as unnecessary. The fimple unexaggerated tale, if seriously attended to, will fack the humane Reader sufficiently. And is it thus the people of God, headed by a man, peculiarly styled the Man after God's own Heart, used prisoners of war? Bella horrida bella!
It is frequent, in the sacred writings, to put the inhabitants of a country for she country itself, as containing the inhabitants. Thus, Moab fhall be tredden down. Ifai. xxv. 10. And again, They shall lay, their hand on Edom and Moab, i. e. feize the country of boih thefe nations. Ifai. xi. 14. They have devoured Jacob, i.e. as it is immediately added, They have laid waste bis dwelling place. Pfal. lxxix. 7. Many other places might be mentioned. I may add that the version of the 70. favours this interpretation. For they render the place, Έπαταξεν Δαυιδ την Μωαβ, fci.
Xonal, country of Moab, xj diepespnoe avtn', as fome copies have it, and mecfured it: and thus Grotius understands it. 'Tres defignavit partes terræ Moabiticæ. In loc. And to this the Psalmist seems plainly to refer, when speaking of the wars with Moab, Edom, and other nations, he says, I will divide Sechem, 77989, and meet out the va ley of Succoth; viz. in order to divide it. Pfal. Ix, 6. t i Chron. xx. 3. | Page 58.
| Page 57
I have put all these pitiful exclamations together, that the Reader may see how the man, that can calmly relate the massacre of Saul, made by him in cool blood, and without any provocation, and yet not shed one tear over the innocents he butchered, and, with an heart fleeled to a very Jew, not making a single exclamation on account of his barbarity, yea apologizing for so diabolical a cruelty ; can at the same time paint out poor David in the blackest colours, represent him so steeled, as to be insensible of all humanity, and hold him up as a monster of barbarity, for an execution, supposing it with all the circumstances of severity in which our Author represents it, yet made in revenge for an infamous outrage on majesty, the violation of the law of nations, the bringing two powerful armies to invade his country, the great number of his subjects that must have been lost in the two battles; whilst the injuries were fresh in his mind; the persons who offered them present to his view; the whole nation engaged by an unrighteous war in vindication of the insult; and some severe vengeance was, in the strictest equity, due to the authors and abetters of so many acts of injustice and violence. But Saul's victims were priests of the Lord, and David's were Ammonites,
“ But, methinks, he is a little too hasty and passionate in his exclamations ; for he acknowleges, that neither himself, nor any body else *, knows what the punishments were that are here alluded to ; and therefore it is no wonder that no one can find expresfioni fuited to the occasion : for how Thould they, when they understand not the circumstances of the occasion, or the nature of the punishments used upon it. Why then all these tragical complaints about something he knows not what? Perhaps they might be more confistent with hunanity, and not argue a quite steeled insensible heart; and then the simple unexaggerated tale will not so shock the humane Reader, as he imagines. Let us see if the original words will not bear a milder interpretation. Literally rendered. they read thus, And be brought forth the people, and placed them by 7720SW, more nearly, put them to the jaw, and to iron
harrows, • Page 58.
+ That the prefix) fignifies, 16, in numerous places, may be seen in Noidius ; and it doth fo, in construction with this very verb in the place before us.
Let not the king Dirput ibis thing 972; to kis servant, 1 Sam. xxii. 15. and in several o:her initances in it might be mentioned. It may also be observed, that the Syrinck and Arubrick versivas give a more favourable interpretation of this painage, and