PRIMS Full-text transcription (HTML)


Tranſlated by C. B.

Nec omnia, nec nihil.

LONDON, Printed by T. W. for William Lee, and are to be Sold at his Shop at the Sign of the Turks Head in Fleet-ſtreet over againſt Fetter-Lane. 1653.

THE AVTHOR'S PREFACE, TO The States of Hol­land and Weſtfriſia.

Moſt illuſtrious Lords,

I Offer to your view a Cōmon­wealth, the moſt holy, and the moſt exemplary in the whole World. The Riſe and Advance whereof, it well becomes you perfect­ly to underſtand, becauſe it had not any mortall man for its Author and Foun­der, but the immortall God; that God, whoſe pure veneration and wor­ſhip, You have underta­ken, and do maintain. Here you ſhall ſee, what it was that conteined the He­brews ſo long in an inno­cent way of life; what rais'd up their courage, cheriſhed their concord, bridled their deſires. In­deed, that people had Rules of Government, excelling the precepts of all wiſe men that ever were; Which Rules, we have ſhewed, may in good part be collected out of the holy Bible. Only, of their Military Diſcipline very little is deliver'd to our memory: Yet muſt every one, that conſiders their victories and at­chievements, confeſs, that the Hebrews, for milita­ry vertue, were inferiour to none. For, in the qua­lity of baniſhed men, when they were come out of E­gypt, where they had long ſate, after a tedious march up and down in the de­ſerts of Arabia for the ſpace of forty years, they encountred with mighty and valiant Nations, ex­pell'd them, and poſſeſſed their Country, where they built new Towns, and de­dicated to God a magni­ficent Temple. In this moſt happy ſoil, where their valour had planted them, their mutuall con­cord made them grow to admiration. The Coun­ſels of all provided for the ſafety of all; and the Cities, which were many, did not every one aim at their own dominion, but all uſed their beſt endea­vours to defend the pub­lick Liberty. That the Government might bee compleat and uniform, they had the ſame Laws, Magiſtrates, Senators, Judges; and the ſame weights, meaſures, mony. Wherefore, all Paleſtin might be accounted as one City, but only that all the Inhabitants were not ſhut up within the ſame Walls. Such a Community and Conformity there was be­tween them all. Yet, by the Law, there was one City Privileg'd above all the reſt; not, to have dominion over the reſt, but that all, even the re­moteſt dwellers, ſhould e­very year thrice hold their Religious meetings in it. A thing ſo far from bree­ding any difference among them, that it was the ſtron­geſt bond of union. Thus did the twelve Tribes of Iſrael, every one being multiplyed marvellouſly into the greatneſs of a Na­tion, overſpread a very great and fertile Country. The force of enemies, the Tempeſts of Wars, and o­ther the like evils nothing prevail'd againſt them. They alwaies roſe higher by their overthrows, were enriched by their loſſes, and the keeneſs of their enemies ſword put the more courage in them. For a long time the Com­mon-wealth of the He­brews continued in this ſtate: till at laſt, after Sa­lomons death, having at­tained the height of proſ­perity, a great alteration happened. A certain man, Jeroboam, all whoſe hopes conſiſted in the diſcord of the people, ſtird up ſedi­tion among them, and drawing to his party ten whole Tribes, conſtituted a kind of Common-wealth a part to himſelf, the head whereof was Samaria. And now there was no longer one, but two Com­mon-wealths. That of Iſ­rael, or the ten Tribes, la­ſted but a little while, being conquered, and carried a­way into eternall exile. The other of the Jews, whoſe imperiall City was Jeruſalem, although, be­fore the times of Veſpa­ſian the Emperour, it was not wholly ruined, yet the power of it was ſo enfee­bled, that it could ſeldom bear up againſt the enemy. Certainly, none of all this had come to paſs, had not they fallen to pieces by their own diſſentions, who whilſt they held to­gether, and kept their force united, were victorious o­ver ſo many Nations. The diſcords of the peo­ple give the greateſt ad­vantage to the enemy. This was the cauſe of the Hebrews ruin, and the ſame hath deſtroyed the moſt flouriſhing Kingdoms other Nations. Pleaſe you to return into the me­mory of all former times, you ſhall find ſcarce any other thing to have given a check to the moſt high and moſt mighty States. Fortune (though envious to ſuch as proſper) ſeldom aſſiſteth any people to the deſtruction of another, un­leſs the people firſt create trouble to themſelves at home, knowing neither how to moderate their vices, nor govern their own forces. It is clear, That Politic Nation the Ro­mans (who as Tully ſaith, by defending their confe­derates made themſelves Maſters of all the world) underſtood exceeding well, how the moſt eaſy way to ſubdue confederate peo­ple, was by their domeſtic troubles and diſſentions. Thus, while they aided the oppreſſed party, or became Arbitrators of the difference, they brought all things into their own power, and where they had made a waſte, they called it peace. The Achaians were once terrible to all their Neighbours, by means of a confederacy, wherein upon fair conditions the Cities of Peloponneſus were united; Their Common­wealth was of an excellent frame, and very like to yours (moſt illuſtrious Lords) ſtrengthned by their united powers, and invincible. How often did that Lordly people of Rome, knowing Greece was inexpugnable ſo long as confederated, endea­vour by art and cunning to diſſolve that union? The Proconſul Gallus was put upon the buſineſs: and, when he found no ſucceſs, the Spartans, by a trea­cherous device were added to the ligue, but upon un­equall terms, to be a per­petuall cauſe of difference amongſt them. This af­terward undid the Achai­ans. The Annals are full of ſuch examples, but here is no place to make a long relation. Rome, the Lady of all Nations, born for the ruin of the world (as Mithridates ſaid) groaning under the peoples diſcord, and Sena­tors faction, at laſt gave up her liberty, and ſubmit­ted her proud neck to the yoke of Caeſar. But, to return to the Hebrews, I ſhall mention that in the laſt place, which is the chief of all. The for­mention'd breach, after Salomons death, had been probably made up again in a ſhort time, but that the ambitious Author of it, Jeroboam, by changing the old true Religion into a vain and ſenſeleſs ſuper­ſtition, obſtructed the way of concord, and by a ſmooth oration having obtruded upon the ten Tribes his new invention, made them very prone to take armes, not ſo much now for their Eſtates and Liberty, as for their Al­tars and Idols. Theſe things, and many more of this ſort, we have diſcour­ſed of in this Treatiſe: and we thought it not unfit to ſee the light. You that are the Fathers of your Country, have alwaies had this truth in mind: That by concord a ſmall E­ſtate is raiſed, and the grea­teſt is by diſcord over­thrown. Your own ex­perience confirms you in it, ſince by divine favour, and your own vertue, and the conduct of your In­vincible Leader, your Common-wealth, by ma­ny degrees, is at laſt ar­rived to that height, that your enemies can com­plain of nothing, but your greatneſs. As I pray for the perpetuity of this U­nion, whereby you are ſo happily advanced; ſo, when I conſider your wiſdom, which hath ſhined forth in the greateſt Tryals, I am very confident, the ſame will laſt, as all good men would have it, and re­main for ever. Yet, I confeſs, we are not ſo ſe­cure, but that ſometimes we reflect our thoughts upon the examples of for­mer Ages. Many of your ſubjects are already gone into ſides, and oppoſe each other with contrary opi­nions, ſince here ſprung up amongſt them ſome un­profitable controverſies a­bout myſteries of Religi­on, not underſtood by the moſt part of the people. The multitude are carri­ed ſeverall wayes by their affections, and every day the flame encreaſes. Your ſelves underſtand (moſt illuſtrious Lords) how much it concerns you to apply (and you do apply) ſeaſonable remedies to this diſtemper, leſt your flouriſhing affairs receive ſome detriment by this inteſtine malady, more pernicious than forein War, than Famine, than Peſtilence. 'Tis vain for me to ſpeak more, when I can propoſe nothing to you out of my deepeſt conſideration, which is not obvious to your own judgement. Only my Petition to your Highneſs is, that you would vouch­ſafe an intentive eye to this Common-wealth, which I have here de­ſcrib'd, the moſt ſacred, and the beſt that ever was. Here you ſhall find ſome things which Kings and Princes and the Modera­tors of publick affairs may ſelect and lay up for their uſe. And truly I was the more eaſily moved to of­fer theſe to you, in con­templation of ſome ex­cellent men ſitting in your Senate, whoſe learning is ſo exact, that, if I have brought any thing for the illuſtration of antiquity and of the beſt Authors, they are able to paſs a right judgement on it.


PAge 17. l. 3. for two, r. too. p. 21. l. 7. for their, r. there. p. 122. l. 17. for myſtery, r. miniſtry. p. 137. l. 3. for carried, r. carved. p. 150. l. 6. for good, r. God. p. 136. l. 23. for Suſa,. Suſac. p. 137. l. 13. r. Salmanaſſar.



CHAP. I. The Inſtitution of the Hebrew Commonwealth. Legiſlation. The Vain-glory of the Grecians. The ſeven Precepts of the Sons of Noah. The deſign of Moſes in his Laws and Ordinances.

IN this work we ſhall not be over curious in our method, nor make any accurate ſearch after mate­rials, but lay hold upon ſuch2 things as freely and familiarly offer themſelves to our conſide­ration; and as they come into our mind, ſet down our diſcour­ſes upon them all. The Com­mon-wealth of the Hebrews was founded by that excellent Man of God, Moſes, the firſt Man that undertook a buſineſs of the greateſt conſequence in the World: For, amongſt all the Actions of old, which Fame hath left upon record, this in my judgement is the moſt noble, the conſtitution of Common­wealths, and the ordering of hu­mane Societies by good Laws. Nothing is more acceptable to God, the Almighty Governour of this Univerſe. As the honour hereof is very great; ſo, many Nations have laid claim unto it. The Grecians, among the reſt of the benefits, wherewith3 they boaſt themſelves to have obliged other Nations, put Le­giſlation in the Head of the Ac­count. Lycurgus, Draco, Solon, and other Antients, are names they glory in. Their Glory is but vain: For, all the Brags of this blown and arrogant Nati­on are ſilenc'd by the Jew, Fla­vius Joſephus, whoſe Apology extant againſt Apion (an ene­my to the Jews, and a Man ſo famous for his eloquence that he was called Cymbalum Mun­di) is full of admirable learning. Plin. praf.There he ſhews, that the Greek Legiſlators, compar'd to Mo­ſes, are but of yeſterday: for, at what time their Father Ho­mer liv'd, they knew not the name of Laws, nor is it extant in all his Poems; Onely, the peo­ple had in their mouth certain common ſayings and ſentences,4 whereby they were govern'd; to ſupply the defects whereof, the unwritten Edicts of Princes were upon occaſion added. The truth is, which Flavius hath well ob­ſerved, Moſes, Homer's Senior by many ages, is the onely Man to whom this honour apper­tains, which ſo many afterward were ambitious of. He was the firſt writer and publiſher of Laws, teaching the people, what was right or wrong, juſt or unjuſt, and by what Decrees that Common-wealth was to be e­ſtabliſhed, which the moſt high God had commanded to ſettle in Paleſtin. Before the time of Moſes, no written Laws were known in the World: for, al­though mankind liv'd not al­together without Laws before, yet were not thoſe Laws conſe­crated and kept in any publick5 records or monuments. Of this ſort were thoſe ſeven Precepts which the Talmudiſts ſay were given to the Sons of Noah, con­cerning certain Rules of righte­ouſneſs neceſſary for the life of Man. Wherefore they were of ſo large extent, that whoſoever knew them not, thoſe the Iſrael­ites were commanded to deſtroy by War, and deprive them of all Communion with mankind; And juſtly: For, they that had received no Law, ſeemed worſe than beaſts; and (as Ariſtotle hath divinely ſpoken) injuſtice ſtrengthened with Arms and Power is moſt cruell and in­tolerable. Now the Arms wherewith nature hath ſurni­ſhed Man, are Reaſon and Pru­dence; things enabling him a­bundantly for miſchief, if they be not reſtrained and regulated6 by Laws. But let us return to Moſes. In his inſtitution of that Common-wealth, the moſt holy upon earth, he aſſigned the Su­preme Power to God; and when others find other names (as the matter requires) calling the Government Monarchy, O­ligarchy, or Democracy, he con­ceived none of theſe appellati­ons ſuitable to the nature of ſo great an Empire: Wherefore he ordained ſuch a kind of Go­vernment, which Flavius ſaith may very ſignificantly be ſtil'd Theocracy, that is, a Common­wealth whoſe Ruler and Preſi­dent is God alone; For, he pro­feſſed all affairs were managed by divine judgement and Au­thority. And of this he gave an evident demonſtration, in as much as although he ſaw all matters depending upon him,7 and had all the people at his devotion, yet upon ſo fair an invitation he ſought no power, no wealth, no honour for him­ſelf. A thing, whereby he ſhew'd himſelf more than Man: For, in all Men there is implanted a de­ſire of Rule, a deſire inveterate, more flagrant and eager than all other affections whatſoever: Which, I believe, Moſes had never been able to expectorate and extinguiſh, had he not ſeen God himſelf preſent and preſi­dent in all affairs; with whom, to ſeek a Partnerſhip in the Go­vernment, had been an extreme degree of madneſs. Moreover, He ordered that the Magiſtrates ſhould not be Lords and Ma­ſters, but Keepers of the Laws and Miniſters. An excellent Conſtitution: for, ſeeing even the beſt Men are ſometimes8 tranſported by paſſion, the Laws alone are they that alwaies ſpeak with all perſons in one and the ſame impartiall voice; Which I conceive to be the meaning of that fine ſaying of Ariſtotle, The Law is a Mind without Affection. Laſtly, we conſider that which is not the leaſt of all, the eternall ſtability of Moſes Laws: whereto to adde, where from to take ought away, was a moſt high offence. So that, neither old Laws were aboli­ſhed, nor new brought in, but the obſervation of the firſt was exacted of all with rigour, even in the declination of that Com­mon-wealth. Which was not ſo in other Common wealths, being both founded and over­thrown by Law-making: for, as many of the Rulers, affecting to bring in ſomewhat of their9 own, have changed things before well ordered; ſo, many good Or­ders by deſuetude, more (which is worſe) aboliſhed by contempt, gave ſecurity to vices. This di­verſity we could never wonder at; ſeeing the Laws of other Nations, Inventions of humane Wit, are enforced only by pe­nalties that by time, or through the ſloath of Governours, loſe their terrour: but the Jewiſh Ordinances, being the Decrees of the eternall God not weak­ned either by continuance of time, or ſoftneſs of the Judges, they remain ſtill the ſame; and when the Ax and Scourge are no longer feared Mens minds are nevertheleſs kept in awe by Re­ligion.


CHAP. II. The prudence of the Lawgiver concerning Aſſignation of Lands. That they ought not to have been the firſt Seizer's. The Agrarian Law, and its ineſtimable Uti­lity. The Redemption of lands. The benefit of the Jubily, and So­lemnity thereof.

FLavius Joſephus often cites Hecataeus of Abdera, an Author of great Faith and in­tegrity, one that waited upon Alexander the great in his Wars; Many Countries he view­ed, abounding with all kind of fruits, but admired none ſo much as Paleſtine; Of this he wrote a ſingular Book, out of which Ioſephus recites many things in favour of the Jews. To our pur­poſe, he ſaith the Jews inhabited11 a very good Country, and moſt fruitful, conteining three hundred thouſand Acres; a ſeat, where­into as moſt fit for them, the divine goodneſs tranſplanted the Hebrews out of Egypt: For, as formerly they had ſpent their lives in tillage of the ground, and feeding of Cattel; ſo here in a bounteous ſoil they might ſtill inrich themſelves, and proſper by the ſame profeſſion. So ſoon as the holy people had by force of Arms poſſeſſed themſelves of the promiſed Land, the chief Captain Ioſua preſently put in execution the commands of Moſes. The whole Country he divided into twelve portions, and gave it to be inhabited by the twelve Tribes. Then, he numbred the families in every Tribe, and according to the number of perſons gave to every12 family a certain proportion of Lands, and preſcrib'd their bounds. By this means, all were equally provided for; which is the prime care of good Gover­nours in every Common-wealth; a care, that the moſt Politick Nations, the Greeks and Ro­mans, in after-times were not unmindfull of when they car­ried forth their Colonies. Had every one made that his own, upon which he firſt ſet his foot, quarels and commotions among the people muſt needs have fol­lowed: for ſo it uſually comes to paſs; whilſt every one ſeeks to get and appropriate to himſelf what was common, Peace is loſt. Moreover. Moſes, as it be­came a wiſe Man, not only to order things at preſent, but for the future ages too, brought in a certain Law providing that13 the wealth of ſome might not tend to the oppreſſion of the reſt; nor the people change their courſe, and turn their minds from their innocent labours to any new and ſtrange employ­ment. This was the Agrarian Law; a Law, whereby all poſ­ſeſors of Land were kept from transferring the full right and dominion of it unto any other perſon, by ſale or other contract whatſoever: For, both they that on conſtraint of poverty had ſold their Land, had a right granted them to redeem it at any time; and they that did not redeem it, receiv'd it freely again, by this Law, at the ſolemn feaſt of Ju­bily. There is a great writer, Rabbi Moſes Ben Maimon, he that in his divine work en­titled〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉hath hap­pily collected all the Talmudicall14 doctrine except the trifles, an Author above our higheſt com­mendation, the only Man of that Nation, who had the good fortune to underſtand what it is to write ſeriouſly and to the purpoſe; We ſhall often make uſe of his Authority, and now it will help us out in the matter we have in Hand. He is much upon the benefit of the Jubily, conſiſting (ſaith he) herein, that all Lands returned to their an­tient Lords, although they had paſſed through the Hands of a hundred buyers. Neither are excepted, by this moſt learned writer, the Lands which came to any one by donation. Theſe could no more than other be retained from the firſt poſſeſſor. It is a point of the Talmudicall Law, and I make no queſtion but 'tis very right. The ſame15 Rabbin from the ſame fountain declares, that Redemption was permitted only to ſuch as were recovered from their poverry, and enabled by ſome gain or commodity that had befallen them. The reaſon's plain; for, to borrow money, or to ſell one piece of Land to redeem ano­ther, was to fruſtrate the Law, that appointed the unable, and their Heirs, to wait for the re­lief of Jubily. Yet might the Kinſmen of the neceſſitous, in the mean time, buy off for their money, what the poor owner, without borrowing, could not. Theſe Jubily-ſolemnities retur­ned every fiftieth year, beginning at the ſeaventh month Tiſri. No other time brought with it ſo much publick joy: for, be­ſides the repoſſeſſion of Lands that had been alienated, liberty16 was given unto all ſervants. Yet was nothing done before the tenth of that month, a holy Faſt and day of Expiation. The nine preceding dayes were all ſpent in publick mirth and feaſting, like the Roman Saturnalia. Hear how Maimonides relates it. From the beginning of the year, to the day of Expiations, neither were the ſervants diſmiſt, nor did they ſerve their Ma­ſters. What then? The ſervants did eat and drink and make merry, and every one of them ſet a Crown upon his Head. After, when the day of Expiations was come, the Senators of the San­hedrin ſounded with their trum­pets, and forthwith the ſervants went away free, and the old Lords took a repoſſeſſion of their Lands.


CHAP. III. Again of the Agrarian Law. The danger of two ample poſſeſ­ſions. The Roman Common-wealth. Stolo's Law. How the Hebrews maintained them­ſelves. The Legiſlators provi­dence. Divine Laws of Agri­culture and Paſturage.

BUt we have more to ſay of the utility intended by Mo­ſes in the Agrarian Law. Cer­tainly, it was of great concern­ment to the Common-wealth, as before we noted, that the a­varice of a few ſhould not in­vade the poſſeſſions diſtributed with ſo fair equality. It is not unuſuall with rich men to thruſt the poor out of his inheritance, and deprive him of neceſſaries, whilſt they enlarge their own18 eſtate ſuperfluouſly. This pro­duceth often a change of Go­vernment: For, the truth is, That Common-wealth is full of enemies, wherein the people, many of them having loſt their antient poſſeſſions, with reſtleſs deſires aſpire to a better fortune. Theſe men weary of the pre­ſent, ſtudy alterations, and ſtay no longer, than they needs muſt, in an unpleaſing condition. Time was, when at Rome the principall men (drawing all un­to themſelves, inſomuch that one Citizen poſſeſſed Land e­nough for three hundred) were confined by Stolo's Law to five hundred Acres a Man. But that good order, by fraud, was quick­ly broken. Stolo himſelf was the firſt to violate his own Sanction, and was found guilty for hol­ding a thouſand Acres, making19 uſe of his Sons name, whom to that end he had emancipated. And after, by other arts, many others eluded the ſentence of the Law, themſelves poſſeſſing what was purchaſed by their Agents. This abuſe being perceiv'd by the wiſe Lelius, friend to Scipio A­fricanus, he endeavour'd to re­inforce the Law, but overborn by the adverſe faction, to pre­vent contention and diſcord, he deſiſted. So the way was open for licence, and poſſeſſions were enlarged out of all meaſure; till at laſt all Italy and the next provinces fell into a few Hands, as their proper patrimony: whereof, it were very eaſy to al­lege teſtimonies, but here is needleſs. We touched alſo ano­ther reaſon of the Agrarian Law, namely, that Moſes would not have the people languiſh20 and loſe their vertue by want of exerciſe. The moſt eminent of all their Anceſtors having led a paſtorall life, and been good Husbands in the Field, their po­ſterity could not be better ſe­cured from the vices and incom­modities that follow idleneſs, than by being obliged to the ſame employments: which are not only the means of getting riches, but were uſed by the beſt Men even from the beginning of the World. Indeed, thoſe Coun­try employments would ſoon have been deſerted, had the Law permitted every one to purchaſe as much as he would, and lay Field to Field; Whereby it comes to paſs, that the Lords of ſo much Land diſdain to perform thoſe honeſt labours with their own Hands, but commit the buſineſs of Husbandry to others;21 ſuch as are, for the moſt part, ſtrangers hired, or ſervants bought with money. The inferiour peo­ple, having no Heart to beſtow their labour on Land that is not their own, get out of the Fields into the Cities, and their immure themſelves, and are corrupted with an idle kind of life, ſuppor­ted by ſome ſoft and illiberall Art. Verily, after that the Ro­man Senators, and thoſe but few, engroſſed to themſelves the Fields which formerly belong'd to many, not the Citizens alone, but all free men neglected and forgot the art of tillage. The Country that had once ſeen ſuch brave and gallant men as Cu­rius, Fabricius, Cato, was now fild with the noiſe of chained labourers and bondmen. The magnanimous of-ſpring of Romulus (as Varro complains)22 did no longer exerciſe themſelves in the Corn-Fields and Vine­yards, but in the Circ and Thea­ter: For, they had now thrown away the Hook and Plow, who of old (ſaith he) had ſo divided the year, that every ninth day only they viſited the City; all the other dayes they attended their Country-affairs. Thus did they decline from their Anceſtors ways, which while they obſer­ved, they teaped a double bene­fit; their Fields did abound with fruits, and their minds with vir­tue. For prevention of the many publick evils that ariſe from the fore-mentioned neglect, Mo­ſes a Man excellent both in divine and humane wiſdom provident­ly decreed the privileges of Re­demption, and eſtabliſhed the Law of Jubily: A Law, that had not the leaſt ſhadow of in­juſtice,23 nor conteined any in­commodity at all to the buyers of Land; for, in the ſale, an eye was ever caſt upon the Jubily, & with reſpect unto the nearneſs or diſtance of it, the price did ei­ther riſe or fal. This is that,Lev. 25.14, &c. which is at large ſet down in Leviticus in theſe words: If thou ſell ought unto thy Neighbour, or buyeſt ought of thy Neighbours Hand, ye ſhall not oppreſs (or circum­vent) one another: According to the number of years after the Jubily, thou ſhalt buy of thy Neighbour, and according to the number of years of the fruits he ſhall ſell unto thee: According to the multitude of years thou ſhalt increaſe the price thereof; and according to the fewneſs of years thou ſhalt diminiſh the price of it: for according to the number of the years ſhall he ſell24 unto thee: Ye ſhall not therefore op­preſs (or deceive) one another. Now, if the Seller deſired to re­deem his Lands, before the Jubi­ly, it was alſo with great equity ordained, that he ſhould render back the price, only retaining ſo much of the money, as the buyer had receiv'd in profits. By this means, Reſtitution of Lands was made without any damage at all to either party; and Agriculture, their old honeſt employment, kept up in eſteem and practice amongſt all the people. What the nature and condition of that people was, to whom Moſes gave his Ordinances, cannot be doubted: for, among ſo ma­ny Laws which he made, as a great number concern Juſtice and Religion, ſo the reſt which pertain to their eſtates and mat­ter of profit, run all upon rules of Husban­ry. 25How carefully are the peo­ple taught, when to give reſt to their Land, and to intermit their ſeeding? what they muſt ob­ſerve at Harveſt and Vintage? What years it was allowed to gather fruit of the Vine? Far­ther, with what ſeverity are they forbidden to ſow mingled ſeed in the ſame ground; to mix divers kinds of Animals in ge­neration; or put them together under one Yoke? The reſt, tou­ching the breed of Cattle, Firſt Fruits, and Tenths, are almoſt infinite. They are handled at full in the Talmud: where they take up the ſixt part of the whole, or more. Maimonides hath com­prehended all in his Book, that he cals〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, wherein are admirable ſecrets.


CHAP. IV. In what ſtreight every ſeventh year brought the Jews. The be­nefit granted to this Nation by Alexander the Great, for a cer­tain prophecy. The Jews had little commerce with other peo­ple. The Grecians ignorant of their affairs. Ariſtotles opinion of the Jews. Who are the beſt Common-wealths men. Of Ar­tificers.

SUch were the Laws given to the Hebrews: all whoſe wealth lay in the Fields. Accor­ding to the encreaſe whereof, they were in penury or abun­dance? Hence it was, that as oft as forein Kings impoſed tribute on them, every ſeventh year brought them into ſo great a ſtreight, that they were hardly27 able to raiſe the ſum. For their Law would not permit them to till the ground that year, and to gather in the fruits thereof, which yeelded all their money. Alexander of Macedonia, ha­ving learned at Jeruſalem out of Daniels Book, that a Grecian ſhould overthrow the Perſian Empire, glad with the prophe­cy, bad the Jews ask of him ſome royall favour. They an­ſwered, no greater benefit could be done them, than the remiſſion of the ſeventh years tribute. It was granted. The Samaritans, when they ſaid much for them­ſelves to obtein the ſame indul­gence, were not heard. But, of all that can be ſaid in this kind, nothing is more luculent than that which**1 Apol. ad v. Ap. Flavius gives in anſwer to Apion, in behalf of his Country-men: Neither do28 we live near the Sea, nor delight in trading; nor have we there­fore any commerce with other Nations: but our Cities are re­mote from the Sea, and we our ſelves ſeated in a fruitfull Land, which we make more fruitfull by good Husbandry. Indeed, wher­as ſeverall Nations are ſo aſſo­ciated by Trade, that the Com­modities of all Countries are tranſported and may ſeem na­turall to every one, the Jews alone conteined themſelves within the bounds of their own Land, not applying themſelves unto negotiation. For they paſ­ſed not the Sea, nor viſited other people, nor were viſited by others. Whence it came to paſs, that the Grecians and others have delivered many fabulous reports concerning them. For very few had certain intelligence29 of their affairs. Hecataeus is the only man that hath written truth; The reſt have related what they had by fame and hear-ſay; Which, how unſafe it is in all Hiſtory, appears by Ephrus, a famous Author of old, who ſaid, Iberia, which he never ſaw, was one Citie: a ridiculous errour; for 'twas not a City, but a great and popu­lous part of the Weſtern World. It is a marvellous ignorant con­ceit of Ariſtotle in Clearchus, that the Jews were propagated from the wiſe men of India, but had changed their name: the Philoſophers of India being cal­led Callans, and in Cava Syria Jews. I am aſhamed, ſo great a man ſhould make ſuch a poor conjecture. But that which the ſame Ariſtotle there addes, as it is not incredible to us, ſo is it30 very glorious for that holy Na­tion. He ſaith, when he was in Aſia, there came unto him a certain Jew, a man of ſo much learning and ſcience, that in compariſon of him all the Gre­cians that were preſent, ſeemed to be but Blocks. Herein he hath made ſome amends for that, he had imprudently rela­ted concerning their Originall: which he had been better to have omitted, as a thing unknown to a ſtranger. And truly to me Flavius ſeems to glory in the Jews obſcurity, when he ſaith, They live in mediterranean pla­ces, and Merchants and ſtran­gers have no acceſs unto them. For ſo, they long kept their manners uncorrupted, and none of thoſe exotick things pertaining to luxury and riot was impor­ted, whereby moſt potent nati­ons31 are undone. The reſt of his words are ſuch, that Flavius, you may ſay, is proud of his Country: We dwell in a fertile Land, and in the culture of it we ſpend our Labour: as if no­thing could be greater or better. Ariſtotle recites ſome Edicts, framed by moſt antient Law­makers, coming very nigh unto the Moſaicall. Oxylus, King of the Elians, prohibited Lands to be mortgaged for mony; and the Locrians were not permit­ted to ſell the Inheritances of their Fathers. Which Ordinan­ces were (as the greateſt Author of naturall wiſdom noteth) to this purpoſe, that the people might not deſert the culture of their Fields. Wherefore he ſo often iterates it in his Politicks, that the beſt Common-wealth is, where the people live upon Til­lage32 and Paſture. He gives the reaſon: Becauſe they govern themſelves and their affairs ac­cording to the Laws: for they maintain themſelves by their labour, and cannot have any time to be idle. Other Common-weals, fill'd with a multitude of Opificers and Mechanicks, he judgeth in far worſe condi­tion, becauſe the life of ſuch men is unactive and ſedentary, and their employment of no al­liance unto virtue. It appears hence, how vain and frigid that vulgar objection is, (which Fla­vius mentions) againſt the Jews: In that Nation there are no in­ventors of new works, no Arti­ficers: This is no diſgrace to the Jews, but the greateſt praiſe; for how can the invention be praiſe worthy, when the exer­ciſe of the things invented is33 illiberall? All Opificers are con­verſant in works that foul their hands; and Ariſtotle ſaith well, they ſerve a kind of ſervitude, but limited, becauſe we uſe their hands and labour, not as of ſervants in all, but in ſome one matter. So little of what is ingenuous can be found in the Shop, wherein, beſide the reſt, there is alſo this evill, that it ef­feminates and weakens both the body and mind. Wherefore in antient Common-weals well eſtabliſht, (as the moſt judicious Maſter ſaith) Opificers were not Free-men, but ſtrangers, and they were a body as it were diſtinct and ſeparate from the Citizens.


CHAP. V. The Hebrews hated by the Egyptians, and why. The Egyp­tians given to idle Arts: emaſ­culated by Seſoſtris. An Egypti­an Law of inheriting trades. The Shepheards, a third of the Egyp­tians, feared by the reſt: and why more hated than Husbandmen.

NOw it will be eaſy to ob­ſerve the cauſe why the Jews were hated alwaies by the Egyptians, not only while they ſojourned there, but afterward when they had a proper ſeat and a Common-weal of their own in the neighbouring Land of Paleſtine, bounded on the South with Egypt, as Cornelius Taci­tus relates. Truly, that hatred ſprang from nothing more, than a diſſimilitude of life and ſtu­dies. For all the Plebeians of35 Egypt, ſet upon ſellulary arts, under the ſhade of their Cities took their eaſe within the Wals; Yea ſome, perverting the offices of the virile ſex, handled the ſpinning wheel. And as they were ever prone by their own diſpoſition unto ſoftneſs, ſo af­terward were their minds more enervated by the King Seſoſtris; Whoſe ſtudie it was to ſoften his people, and as the Egypti­ans themſelves report, learned the skill of Mercury. There was a Law too, that conduced to this end by confining their wit within narrow bounds: for no Opificer might exerciſe any o­ther Art, but that which deſcen­ded to him from his Father. Ju­venal, when he would ſmite Criſpinus (a man gotten up to high place by evill Arts, and Caeſars favour) with a Satyri­call36 jerk, calls him a Plebeian of Nilus, and ſlave of Canopus. For ſo it was the opinion, that the Prieſts were free, and the O­pificers, which were the com­mon people, ſervants. But there was another ſort far different from thoſe, a certain third part of the people, which liv'd at diſtance in the plains of Egypt, and near the marſhes. Theſe were the Shepheards; active and able men, but execrable to all the Egyptians, becauſe they would not ſuffer them to be ſe­cure in their idle courſe of life. Theſe often made great com­motions, and ſometimes created Kings for themſelves. Where­fore the Romans in after times, when they eaſily held the reſt of Egypt in obedience, placed a ſtronger Garriſon in theſe parts. When you have taken the moſt37 exact view of all things, you will find, this was the only reaſon that made the Egyptians, even from the firſt, ſo ill-affected un­to Shepheards; becauſe thoſe ſedentary men and opificers could not endure their fierce and lively ſpirits. Pharaoh him­ſelf, when he had decreed to a­bate and depreſs the growing multitude of the Iſraelites, ſpeaks to his men on this wiſe: The Iſraelites are ſtronger than we. Come, let us deal wiſely, that they encreaſe not, leſt when War ariſes they joyn themſelves unto our enemies, and take arms againſt us. That opinion I think to be right and true; nor can I aſſent to them, that impute the cauſe of this publick hatred to their ſuperſtition: as if the He­brews, Keepers of Flocks and Herds, could not be ſuffered by38 that Nation, who reverenced, ſome Sheep, ſome Goats, ſome other fourfooted Beaſts, and would not ſlay them, being perſwaded, there was in them ſomething of divinity. But this Reaſon is ve­ry improbable; for what will they anſwer, when either they ſhall learn out of the Penta­teuch, that Pharaoh had innu­merable Flocks of Sheep; or when they ſhall ſee ſo many monuments of Hiſtories to be produc'd, making manifeſt, that a conſiderable part of the Egyp­tians (as we have above ſaid) lived in Paſtures, and among Cattle? And yet is that ſaying notable in the Scripture; All Shepheards are hated by the E­gyptians. Of Husbandmen it is not ſo ſpoken: nor indeed could their valour (which was none at all) be feared or hated. For39 the lazy Clowns had all their hopes placed not in the indu­ſtrious manuring of the ground, but in the River Nilus. The overflowing ſtream bred and en­creaſt their Corn: nor did it bring only fruitfulneſs to the earth, but earth it ſelf; for be­ing mixt with much mud, it en­larg'd the Fields, and by an yearly addition ſtretched out the bounds of their Land. So, the Countryman admired both his ſoyl and Crop newly ſprung, which without his labour and care had fallen to him.


CHAP. VI. The Jubily not celebrated after the Captivity. That ſolem­nity was kept in the 49. year, which was the 7. ſabbaticall.

COncerning the Egyptians, what diſpoſition they were of, and how different from their Neighbours of Judea, wee have ſpoken ſufficiently; We return, to ſay a little more of the Ju­bily. The Agrarian Law made by Moſes touching the reſti­tution of poſſeſſions was obſer­ved with very great Religion untill the deſolation of the for­mer ſanctuary by the Aſſyrians. After that, Paleſtin lay forſa­ken and incult for the ſpace of 70. years, as the Prophets had foretold. But when at length that fatall time was expired,41 the Jews indeed returned to their antient habitations, and the Temple was built a-new, but never was the Agrarian Law revived, nor the Jubily ſolem­nities celebrated any more. No more now did every fiftieth year give liberty to ſervants, nor re­ſtore unto the former Lords their loſt and ſold poſſeſſions. Whether juſtly the fiftieth year or the forty ninth was the year of Jubily, 'tis made a queſtion. We joyn with thoſe incompa­rable men of our time that hold the forty ninth: nor can we aſ­ſent unto Maimonides in this, though for the moſt, we religi­ouſly embrace his judgement. For this Author hath recompen­ced us, for his few and little er­rours, with many great virtues, and very choice obſervations every where. It is obſerved by42 the ſame Maimonides, that as to the intermiſſion of Agricul­ture, there is the ſame reaſon of the Jubily and every ſeventh year; nor is this a conjecture of the Jews only, or a probable opinion, but certain and undoubted truth, which the Legiſlators own word confirms, Levit. 25. But now, if the 50, year exactly were the Jubily, two Sabbaticall years (for the 49. is Sabbaticall) would with­out intermiſſion have been ce­lebrated together. A ſingular, ſtrange and unuſuall thing. For, whereas providence had ſo or­dained that every ſixt year in Paleſtin, by its exceeding fruit­fulneſs, ſhould prevent the fa­mine of the ſeventh, being the year of reſt to the Fields, there muſt now be a more miracu­lous fruitfulneſs, if two years43 of reſt ſhould come together. In neither was it lawfull to Plow or Sow. Therefore, the divine bounty, which is expreſſed in Levit. (I will ſend my bleſſing upon you in the ſixt year, and it ſhall bring forth the fruits of three years) muſt be encreaſed to ſerve for four years, the 49. and 50. being, upon divers rea­ſons, both Sabbaticall. No ſuch fruitfulneſs was ever granted to any other Land or Nation. We confeſs indeed the Land of Paleſtin was the favourite of Heaven, and much indebted to the divine influence above o­ther Lands; yea, things went there ſometimes contrary to the Laws of Nature. Nevertheleſs, ſeeing none of the Prophets have given teſtimony to ſo great a miracle, nor any hiſtories have made any record of it, we muſt44 not, by too eaſy a credulity, give occaſion to our Reader to charge us with ſtupidity.

CHAP. VII. The three conſecrations of Pa­leſtin and of the Cities; Of City­houſes, of Jeruſalem and her pri­vileges. Agrippa's offence, and the Jews embaſſage upon it to Nero. Of enlarging their terri­tories: and the right of fortify­ing. The ruin of the Common­wealth. The Cities of refuge.

THe Talmudiſts affirm, when Joſuah marched into Pa­leſtin, he conſecrated all the walled Cities. This they called the firſt entrance. But when the holy people was carried45 away by the Babylonians, be­yond Euphrates, their Country was polluted by the wicked: Wherefore, after the return of the Jews into their ſeats, Ezra the high Prieſt, by a ſolemn act, reſtored ſanctimony to the Ci­ties, and that was the ſecond en­trance. At laſt Caeſar Titus, having overthrown the Jews, prophaned all again. And here the Talmudiſts flatter them­ſelves with a pleaſing error. For they doe yet expect Meſſias, who, as they would have it, ſhall invade the kingdom of Pale­ſtin, and conſecrate the Cities once more. This, ſay they, will be the third entrance. More­over, the ſame Authors tell us, wherein conſiſts the Religion and ſanctimony of Cities; and why the Villages and Coun­try were not conſecrated alſo:46 Which it would be tedious to relate. When the Towns of Paleſtin were aſſigned to the ſeverall tribes, the Levites too received Cities for their habita­tions; but the Country, the Fields and poſſeſſions were ſo divided, that they had no ſhare: For they had the Tenths only, and firſt fruits, and all the Sa­crifices. Of theſe they lived, and with theſe they did abound. But we muſt obſerve with Mai­monides, what is here ſaid hath place only in the Land, which by Covenant was given to A­braham, I ſaac, and Jacob, and which was held by their chil­dren, and divided amongſt them. But in other regions, which were ſubdued by ſome Kings of Iſ­rael, the Prieſts and Levites had their portion with the reſt of the Hebrews. Concerning City-dwellings47 there was a Law, that he who had ſold his Houſe might redeem it within a year: the year being paſt, it was the buy­ers; nor had the next of Kin any right to redeem it, nor was the Jubily here of any benefit. If the Houſe were redeemed, the whole price was repayed to the buyer, although the ſale and delivery had been made many months before. And the for­mer poſſeſſor might redeem his Houſe, even on the laſt day of the year. In caſe he was ab­ſent, who had bought it, or was gone out of the way on pur­poſe, the Redeemer addreſſed himſelf to the Court, and ha­ving there in preſence of the Senate laid down the price he had received, departed, brake open the doors, and took poſ­ſeſſion of his Houſe again. Thus48 the Talmudiſts. In the Cities of the Levites it was not ſo but, for their houſes, they had the benefit of the ſame Law which was eſtabliſht by Moſes con­cerning the Fields and rurall poſſeſſions of all the Hebrews, as hath been ſaid. Wherefore they might redeem them after the year was paſt; and what was not before redeemed, the Jubily reſtored. Amongſt all the Cities, moſt eminent was Jeruſalems ſanctity, and (as the Talmud delivers) it remain'd perpetuall, ever ſince the De­dication by the moſt glorious King Salomon: That Ezra conſecrated it again, was un­neceſſary, for it was not capa­ble to be prophan'd, like other Cities, by the hands of the Sa­crilegious. Whence it came to paſs, (as the Talmud-tradition49 is, that it was lawfull to ſacri­fiſe at Hieruſalem, and to feaſt upon the ſacrifices, even in the duſt and aſhes of the deſtroyed City. But how great was the Religion of the place, appea­red by thoſe Jews, whom Ha­drian the Emperour permitted once a year to viſit the deformed reliques of the holy City, and there to lament and deplore the miſery of their Nation. This City was not aſſigned by lot unto any one tribe, but was common to them all: Where­fore the Talmudiſts free it from that Law, which commands the bloud ſecretly ſhed in the bor­ders of the Tribes, to be expia­ted by ſlaving of a Heifer. This which follows is not from ſu­perſtition but from the antient and approved cuſtom of the Nation. Maimonides relates,50 if any had an upper room ſo high that it gave them a proſ­pect to the Holy of Holies, they might indeed once a week go up to ſee all ſafe, but oftner or for other cauſe, they might not Ve­rily King Agrippa much offen­ded his people when from a lofty room in his palace he took a fre­quent view of the Temple & ſaw from on high what was done within it. The Jews, thinking this to be an unſufferable thing, raiſed a high wall to cut off the Kings proſpect, and without de­lay ſent unto Rome ten Legates, with Iſmael the High-Prieſt, and Eleazar the Treaſurer, to Pe­tition Nero for a confirmation of that, which Religion had compell'd the people to do. What Hectaeus of Abdera ſaith in Flavius, that Jeruſalem was of 50. furlongs compaſs,51 inhabited by one hundred twen­ty thouſand perſons, were not very materiall for us to know, but that there is ſomething of ſingular note concerning the en­largement of their pomaeria, which Maimonides hath de­clared out of the Talmudicall Books. And this it is. In the enlargement of the City, the great Senate Sanhedrin, and the King and one Prophet, conſul­ted the oracle called Urim and Thummim. After that they had agreed among themſelves about the interpretation of the divine anſwer, the Senators of the Sanhedrin recited two Verſes of thankſgiving, and having taken two Loaves of leavened Bread, and departing preſently with inſtruments of Muſick, made a ſtand at the turning of every Sticet, and at all Monu­ments52 erected in the City, and pronounced theſe words: I will extoll thee O Lord, becauſe thou haſt lifted me up. At laſt, when they were come unto the place deſigned for conſecration, be­cauſe it was to be the bound of their pomaeria, they all ſtayed; and there, of the two Loaves taken with them, after the Ver­ſes ſung, they eat one; the o­ther, they burnt in the flames. Theſe things received from their Anceſtors, the Talmudicall wri­ters have thus left upon record. Nor are they improbable, ſee­ing the like and almoſt the ſame are exſtant in the 12. Chapter of Nehemiahs commentaries. Yet in after times, the liberty of the Jews being oppreſt by the Ro­mans, this prolation of their po­maeria depended not upon the pleaſure of the great Councill, but53 of the Roman people. Farther, this is alſo deliver'd by Cornelius Tacitus, that the Jews, with a great ſum of money purchaſed leave to fortify. Whence it ap­pears, the Queen of Cities, Je­ruſalem, was in the ſame con­dition with all towns under the Roman power, whoſe Walls could not be repair'd without the Authority of the Prince or Governour, nor any thing joy­ned to them, or ſet upon them: as**L. 9. ſect. ff. de rerum diviſ. Ulpian the Lawyer ſaith. And truly, Claudius Caeſar, when he had received intelligence that they were encloſing Jeru­ſalem with a mighty Wall, ad­moniſhed Agrippa of that new attempt; and thereupon the King, in obedience to the Em­perour, left off the work he had undertaken. The Talmudicall writers ſay, Jeruſalem had this54 privilege, above other Towns of Judaea, that no houſe in the City, after one year, could be retained by the buyer. They ſay alſo, it was not lawfull to plant Orchards or gardens there affirming that of the whole Ci­ty, which Hecataeus hath writ­ten of the circuit of the Temple. Dead bodies, which were car­ried any whither, were not ad­mitted into that City, out of a reſpect unto the Holineſs there­of. Only two Sepulchers were there, of David, and of Olda, built (they ſay) by the old Pro­phets. Yet were the Levits bound up with a more ſtrict Religion being prohibited to bury the dead in their Cities and in the Field of their Suburbs too. Wherefore, by divine appoint­ment, they received from the o­ther Tribes a parcell of ground55 without their own borders, where they might lay the bones of their dead to reſt. In other Towns, it was not unlawfull to bury, provided ſeven honeſt men gave aſſent thereto; but when once the Corps was carried forth of the gate, it might not be recei­ved again within the walls, al­though all the people ſhould deſire it. Jeruſalem, as we ſaid above, was the head city, the ſeat of Religion and holy rites; Wherefore, that being over­thrown, there fell with it the form of the Jewiſh Common-weal, both Civill and ſacred. Truly what Flavius ſaith of a voice heard out of the Temple, before the deſtruction of the City, Let us go hence; ſeemeth unto me to ſignifie nothing elſe, but that the Common-weal was to be diſſolved, and the56 Scepter to be taken away, which of old was given to the holy Nation. For within a ſhort time, the orders, and functions, and rites, and almoſt all their Laws ceaſed; and there follow­ed great confuſion, deſolation, and diſtraction. Firſt of all the moſt ſacred College of the Ha­ſideans, that drew its Originall from the Prophets, was now no more; becauſe their cuſtom was, to goe every day to the Temple, and to beſtow volun­tary charges upon Sacrifices, and upon the Porches and Walls of the Sanctuary. And whereas Moſes impoſed upon ſtrangers that ſhould become Proſelytes, the oblation of ſome certain gift, this upon the diſſolution began to be deferred altogether till another time when the third ſanctuary, which they yet ex­pect,57 ſhall be built. Nor doe they any more marry their Bro­thers Widows, which have no Children. And the ſolennity of the Paſſeover, never ſince that time, hath been rightly celebra­ted; for the Law commanded it ſhould be kept in that place, wherein. God had choſen the ſeat of his houſe. Of ſo much conſequence was the fall of one City it hath changed and per­verted all things, and brought to ruin the Common-wealth of the greateſt people in the world. Concerning other Towns of Ju­daea, nothing memorable comes into our mind, but that God appointed ſome of them for Cities of refuge that ſuch as had unwittingly ſlain a man might find ſafety and protection there. There did they endure a gentle baniſhment till the High-Prieſt58 dyed, whoſe death ſet them all at liberty; ſo that, if happy any had deceaſed before, yet their bones might then be carried in­to the Sepulchers of their Fa­thers. Theſe towns were ſix; and three more ſhall be added to them, ſay the Talmud-wri­ters, when the greateſt of Kings, Meſſias, ſhall come upon the earth; to which they refer that of Mſes, not ſpoken ſurely in vain, When the Lord your God ſhall enlarge your borders. Be­ſides the ſix Cities, the ſame pri­vilege was granted to the two and forty towns of Levits; but that the ſame writers deny, thoſe places to have been ſafe for them, that underſtood not the benefit of the Law Other things, which may be ſaid of the Right of theſe Cities, together with what the Jews comment59 upon ſome other towns, we will therefore let paſs, becauſe we cannot poliſh nor grace them by our handling.

CHAP. VIII. What Paleſtin had above o­ther Countries. The Hebrew Common-wealth could not bee tranſlated into other places. Of the Babylonian Jews: and their power. Of the Scepter, againſt Mimon. The Jws Common-wealth bound to Paleſtin. No Temple to be built elſewhere.

THe Common-wealth of the Hebrews had it be­ginning then, when the holy people was brought into the happy land of〈◊〉. Before which time, though in the A­rabian60 deſerts moſt wholeſome Laws, both ceremoniall and ju­diciall, were given by Moſes the man of God: yet all their force pertained to that Country, wherein as the ſeverall Tribes ſhould have ſeverall Towns, ſo there ſhould be one City ſin­gularly appointed, to be the Chamber of the Empire, and ſent of ſacred rites. In the laſt part of the Pentateuch, the moſt wiſe Legiſlator, repeating what he had given in charge before, hath to our purpoſe added theſe expreſs words again and again: Theſe are the precepts, the Sta­tutes and judgements, which ye ſhall obſerve in the Land which is given you for an inheritance to poſſeſs. Truly, Paleſtin had this excellency above other Countries, that the holy Na­tion and Common-wealth was61 affixed unto it alone. Had any one led that people out of their proper ſeat, and eſtabliſhed the ſame Common-wealth by the ſame Laws, neither would the Common-wealth have retai­ned its ſanctimony, nor the peo­ple their Majeſty. Pertinent here and fit to be conſider'd on our way is that ſaying of**Lib. 14. Mſn. in Hal. Mel. cap. 5. Mai­monides: As it is not lawfull for the Jews to move their ſeats out of Paleſtin, ſo neither may they paſs out of Babylon into o­ther Countries. Without the explication of this, whoſoever read the writings of the Hebrew Maſters will meet with rubs. The truth is, Maimonides ſpeaks not of all the Jews, but of them only who were car­ryed away by the enemy be­yond Euphrates, and dwelt at Babylon and thereabout. Some62 of theſe, after 70. years, retur­ned into Paleſtin: the reſt, mo­ved by the beneficence of the Kings, under whom they lived, continued at Babylon, and fixed their colonies there. The mul­titude of them was very great, and at laſt grew up into a Na­tion. 'Tis incredible, what ſtrength theſe exiles had; for they did almoſt ofter both the Miter and the Diadem that is, the Prieſthood and the Kingdom, to Hircanus, hſtening out of Part•••unto Hrod; and to them were committed the Ar­canof the Babylonian Empire, whichn Hebrew Prieſt kept in a greaſtrong Tower at Eb­tan of the Mdes. Theſe Jews were joyned in a very cloſe al­liance with thoſe of Palſt••. The ſame inſtitutions, the ſame courſe of life, the ſame language63 was common to both ſorts: all things were the ſame. Where­fore, as God permitted them to dwell at Babylon far from their Country, becauſe they were free there from the contagion of any forein cuſtoms; ſo were they denyed to proceed any farther, and to go to any other habita­tion. This is the meaning of Maimonides where he interprets that of Jeremy; they ſhall be carried into Bbylon and re­main there. There is no more queſtion to be made of this mat­ter. That is very glorious, which ſome wiſe men of the higher form approved and fol­lowed by Mimon••i, have conceived of theſe Babylonians. Their opinion is after the fatall relapſe and decay of the affairs and ſtate of Jeruſalem, theſe Babylonian Jews are the only64 people upon whom was tranſ­fer'd the Imperiall dignity, promiſed in that famous Ora­cle:Gen. 49.10. The Scepter ſhall not de­part from Juda, nor a Law gi­ver from between his feet, untill Shiloh come. We, who reve­rence the excellent virtues of Maimonides, make no ſcruple to reprehend his errours. Cer­tainly, that moſt conſidering Author, in this opinion, whilſt he too much favours his Coun­try-mens conceits, forſook his own judgement. I am not ig­norant, that the Babylonian Jews had a Common-wealth among themſelves, and admi­niſtred Juſtice to theeſt of their own Nation that were without Paleſtin. Nor do we forget, that ſome Peers, deſcended from the houſe of David, alwaies held the principality there. Yet65 therefore follows not, that which Rabbi Ben Maimon would have. For the Scepter, whereof the Oracle was, is nothing elſe, but the Jewiſh Common-wealth, that is, that Prieſtly Kingdom, whereunto the Re­ligions and Ceremonies were, not an acceſſion or prop, but the very ſoul and ſpirit. Beſides, the cuſtody of Ceremonies and ſacred Rites did not belong to every City, but one, wherein was the ſanctuary, the peculiar ſeat and habitation of the Deity. That City firſt was Shiloh, af­terward Jeruſalem in the midſt of Palſtin. If any ſchiſmatical Jew built a Temple or Altar in other Lands they offended a­gainſt the Rights and inviolable Laws of the Common-wealth. There is extant, among the mo­numents of hiſtory, the Epiſtle66 of Onias to Ptolomy and Cleo­patra; wherein he accuſeth his Countrvmen becauſe they had built ſanctuaries in the Pheni­cian Cities and elſewhere, con­trary to the Law: being him­ſelf guilty of no leſs fault ha­ving built a Temple at Helio­polis, pretending the Authority of the Prophet Iſaiah to coun­tenance his ambitions enterprize. This could not be done without violation of the Ceremnies. It was amongſt the decrees of the moſt antient Jews, which Rab­bi Moſes Egyptius delivers thus:L. 8. in Hal. Biath. c. ult. If one hath tranſgreſſed the Law, and built an other houſe beſide the ſanctuary at Jeruſa­lem, it is not indeed to be accoun­ted a temple of I dols; but yet the Prieſt that hath ſerved there, can never ſacrifice at the ſan­ctuary of God, which is at Jeru­ſalem. 67Yea the veſſels, which he hath uſed, no man ſhall apply to the Miniſtries of the true ſan­ctuary, but they muſt beid.

CHAP. IX. Criminall cauſes judged only in Paleſtin, not by the Babylo­nian Jews and others. When the Common-weal was of all the Hebrews, when of the Jews. What the Scepter was. The plauſible opinion of Euſebius confuted. Wherein conſiſts and to whom belongs Imperiall Ma­jeſty.

WHat we have now ſaid of the ſanctuary is of great moment to the confuting of M••monides: but wee muſt produce other Arguments to68 prove, that the Common-wealth of which old Jacob ſpake to Juda on his death Bed, was no where ſeated but in Pa­leſtin. We will not go far; but cite M••monides for a witneſs againſt himſelf. How often doth he tell us, the holy peo­ple, without the bounds of the Holy Lnd, was looſed from many of the Moſaicall Laws? He hath a notable**In Hala­cha ſanhe­drin. d ſſertation, wherein he circumſcribes with certain limits the power of the Judges, both of Paleſtin, and Babylon. Certainly, the greateſt part of Mſes Law is conver­ſant about criminall cauſes. The judgement hereof, ſaith Mai­m••could be no where exerci­ſed by the Babylonian Jews, no not in Paleſtin. And the Jews of Paleſtin, as by the Law they gave judgement to their69 own people in all cauſes, with­in their own Country; ſo, with­out it, they gave no ſentence upon their Country-men, un­leſs by the permiſſion of the Babylonian Peers, or other heads of the exiled Jews. Whence we gather, that the Jews of Paleſti••judged of crimes, in their own Country alwaies, by ver­tue of the Law; ſometimes out of their Country, but by per­miſſion and leave of others: the Babylonians no where judged of them; not in their own do­minion, not in Paleſtin; not by force of Law, nor by permiſſion. And are theſe the men, think you, to whom was given the Jewiſh Scepter, after the affairs of Paleſtin were broken and decayed? Surely either the ex­cellent writer knew not what was the dignity of the Scepter,70 or he thought too well of ſome States of ſtraw, that do there boaſt themſelves to be of Da­vids houſe. But wee wonder not at this light miſtake of Maimonides, when we conſi­der by what ſtrange interpreta­tions others have laboured for the ſenſe of Jacobs divine ſpeech. I remember, I had conference, concerning this, with the ho­nourable Apollonius Scottus aſ­ſeſſor of the ſupreme Senate, at what time in his houſe at the Hague, I ſweetly ſpent the Va­cation, and with great ardor ran over the Luculent commen­tations of Rabbi Ben Maimon: wherewith I was ſo taken, that I croſſed almoſt all my former notes concerning the Jewiſh State. There did this Senator, ſuch is his learning and the ex­ceeding vigor of his wit, ſignifie71 more than once, that in his judg­ment no other Text in the ſa­cred Book is more examined by learned men, and leſs under­ſtood. Verily I was glad to find of my opinion a man, whoſe authority and repute might en­courage me to oppoſe the in­terpretations of any other what­ſoever. Wherefore by his in­citement. I think I ſhall not do amiſs if in ſo great a multitude of conjectures. I ſhall alſo pub­liſh what my judgment is, a­bout a prophecy ſo illuſtrious. The Argument indeed is wor­thy, wherein the wit of every man may exerciſe it ſelf, and ſhew its ſtrength. Although in this our Treatiſe we handle the affairs of Hebrews and Jews in common and without diffe­rence, for the moſt part, yet to ſecure the Reader from miſtake,72 we will once for all demonſtrate, that the ſacred Common-wealth conſtituted by Moſes according to Gods appointment, was al­waies the ſame, and founded on the ſame Laws, but not alwaies of the ſame perſons. A long time it was of the Hebrews, afterward by change of times it was only of the Jews. And ſo, the oracle of Jacob, which is of Juda's Scepter, pertaineth only to thoſe later times. The ignorance whereof is the cauſe why this admirable prophecy hath been hitherto miſunderſtood. I will not mention here the miſerable hallucinations of Origen, Au­ſtin, Epiphanius and others, who thought the Jews were promi­ſed by thoſe words of Jacob, a perpetuall ſucceſſion of Kings of the ſame tribe and the ſame linage, even to the times of Meſſiah. An opinion which led73 the followers of it into inſupe­rable difficulties; for they know not what to ſay, nor whither to turn themſelves, when they ſaw, from the death of Sedechiah to the times of Ariſtobulus, the Kingdom of the Jews was none; and after that untill He­rods tyranny, it was in the hands only of the Haſmonaei of the tribe of Levi. Theſe things of late are diſcuſſed well, and with good ſucceſs, in the exercitati­ons againſt Baronius, by the moſt learned man of our age I ſaack Caſaubon, who is pleaſed with the famous opinion of Euſebius extant in the eighth Book of his Evangelicall demonſtrations. We pretermit all things rightly ſaid both by Euſebius and by Caſaubon, that we may not do what is done to our hand. And we confeſs, among all the In­terpretations74 hitherto divulged, that of Euſebius is far the beſt. But becauſe neither Euſebius, nor that great Scholar that fol­lows him, ſeem to me to have underſtood, what that Scepter is, of which the old Prophet ſpeaks to his Son a little before his death, nor when it was gi­ven to the Jews, this is needfull now to be cleared, but not without a preface. For it is no pleaſure to us to diſſent, neither from Euſebius, whom we have ever eſteemed among the grea­teſt writers; nor from him, whom we have above named, the prime man of our age, the follower of Euſebius; to whom we owe ſo much reverence, that no man is ſo great with us, as He. For He it is, by whoſe conduct theſe our times have made ad­mirable proficiency toward the75 perfection of all learning. But we are conſtrained by our in­genuous love of truth, to lay a­ſide affection, and impartially inquire what is right. The firſt error of Eùſebius is, that the Scepter was given to Juda even from the time of Moſes, be­cauſe this Tribe excelled alwaies among the reſt, with ſingular dignity, and held a more ho­nourable place both in the Camps and in the order of them that offered gifts in the Temple. Which Argument moves me no more, thaif one ſhould ſay, the Majeſty of the Scepter, at R•••or Athens, was not in the Roma••••Athenian people, but in one〈◊〉which was more noble or flou•••ing For tru­ly it is manifeſt by the moſt con­ſtant affirmation of antient Au­thors, that in Rome and Athens76 both; were many and divers tribes, ſome above the reſt in dignity, place and order. What is it then? Verily I ſuppoſe the Scepter to be nothing elſe, but the Majeſty of Empire, Maje­ſty I mean pertaining to the Common-wealth it ſelf; Wher­fore, whoſe is the Common­wealth, theirs alſo is the Scepter. Now, the Hebrew Common­wealth, from the age of Moſes until the reign of Rehoboam, was not of the Jews, but of the twelve tribes. Whence it follows, that the Scepter, all that ſpace of time, was of all the Iſraelites. But of this Scepter, which a long time was common to all the tribes, the divine Patriarch ſpoke not in that celebrious oracle. He had reſpect unto the later times and the ages to come, when the tribe of Juda, the77 people being divided into con­trary parts, began to have a Common-wealth of their own, a ſunder from the Iſraelites: a Common-wealth approved and favoured of God, and called Judaicall from the name of Ju­da alone, untill he ſhould come, who was deſigned for the King not of the Jews only, but of all Nations. And this Majeſty of the Scepter, from the time it once began to be the Jews, con­tinued theirs, although the State of the Common-wealth was ſometimes altered, and the power was in the hand, one while of the beſt men and the Prieſts, other while of the Kings and Princes. It is want of judg­ment in them that reſtrain the honour of this Title to Kings alone. For what people ſoever en­joys a Common-wealth of their78 own, and Laws of their own, that people may juſtly glory in their Empire, and in their Scep­ter. It is recorded, that in Je­ruſalem, even at the time when the people were govern'd not by Princes but by the beſt, in the midſt of the Great Councill, which they call Sanhedrin, there hang'd a Scepter. Which was, no queſtion, a certain token of that Majeſty, which**In part. orat. Tully ex­preſſeth to be a certain greatneſs of a people, in retaining that pow­er and right, which appears in Empire and all kind of Honour. Not Kings, not Princes, but Con­ſuls and Senators managed the Roman Common-wealth, when that Law of confederation was given to the Etolians (as Livy relates) that they ſhould well and truly conſerve the Majeſty of the Roman people. And that the79 ſame was impoſed upon all free people that were confederates (but upon unequall terms) and friends to the Romans, the Law­yer**In l. 7. ff. de captiv. & poſtlim. reverſis. Proculus is a witneſs. Neither is it materiall to us, of what family or tribe they were, who governed the Judaicall State. For, although the Haſ­monaei of the tribe of Levi ma­ny years poſſeſſed the Kingdom, nevertheleſs was the Common­wealth of the Jewiſh people. Nero Caeſars moſt wiſe**Sen. l. 1. de clemen­tia. Ma­ſter told him, The Common­wealth is not the Princes, but the Prince the Common-weal's. And Ulpian the Lawyer was juſt of the ſame opinion: The crime of Majeſty,**L. 1. ſect. 1. ff. ad lo­gem Jul. Majeſt. or Treaſon (ſaith he) is that which is committed a­gainſt the Roman people, or a­gainſt the ſecurity thereof. Ul­pian lived in thoſe times, when80 neither the commands nor ſuf­frages were in the people, but the Caeſars held the Empire and power of all: yet he, that is wont moſt accurately to de­fine every thing, aſcribeth Ma­jeſty to the people.

CHAP. X. The twelve Tribes of the Hebrews was never called by the name of Jews. The ten tribes car­ried captive by Salmanaſſar ne­ver returned into Paleſtin. Two tribes ſerved the Romans, and no more, in the time of Joſephus.

EUſebius is not ſufficiently confuted, untill wee have made it plain how imprudently he drew himſelf into the ſnare. L. 8. De­monſt. evan. dem. 1.In the forecited Book are extant81 theſe words: Ever ſince the time of Moſes, the Governours of Iſ­rael, if you look upon them in par­ticular, were choſen out of ſe­verall tribes, but in generall the tribe of Juda was over the whole Nation. Hitherto he agrees with himſelf and falls into no contradiction; but he addes, For example, as in the Roman Empire, the Governours of ſeveral Nations, and Camp-maſters, and the Kings, greater than all the reſt were not all born at Rome, nor deſcended from Romulus and Remus, but ſprung of many o­ther Nations, ſome of one, ſome of another; and yet, as well all the Kings, as the ſucceeding Go­vernours and Leaders, were called Romans, and the power and authority ſaid to be of the Romans, not of any other name: ſo muſt we think of the Hebrew State, that one tribe of Juda gave an illuſtrious name to all the reſt, though the Rulers and Kings were created out of the ſeverall tribes, all honoured with the common appellation of Jews. See whither incogitancy will bring a man! Euſebius con­cludes contrary to what himſelf would have. For, affirming the Scepter was the Jews from Mo­ſes time; he proves it by this reaſon, becauſe the Common­wealth, the Empire, and the whole people of twelve tribes, had their appellation from the one name of Juda. With this argument twice or thrice in ſe­verall places he triumpheth; and you ſhall hardly find any other proof of his opinion in the whole diſcourſe. But, by his leave, all this is nothing. For, neither did the Common-wealth,83 nor the Empire begin to be called after Juda's name, till after the greater part of the Iſraelites, had made a defection, drawn a­way by Jeroboam, who ſhortly at Samaria ſtrenthened his Kingdom by introducing a change of ceremonies and Re­ligion. I will make it good to Euſebius, and to all that have any acquaintance with ſacred ſtory, that this is ſo. Euſebius often and with confidence af­firms, all the twelve tribes were called by the name of Jews, and hath obtruded this groundleſs opinion upon unwary men, nor have there been wanting ſome writers of greateſt eminence to defend it. We cannot yield un­to it: whether you reſpect the times antecedent to the ſeiſure of the Kingdom, or ſubſequent. And, we may conjecture, that84 Euſebius, although he doth not plainly expreſs his mind, thought it came to paſs at the riſe of the Empire when the Common-wealth was firſt ſetled in the Land of Canaan, and it was deba­ted by what name to call it. But this hath no colour of truth, wherefore that excellent man, the Defender of Euſebius, makes him think otherwiſe of the time, and what he believes he thought, himſelf approves and follows. For, ſaith he, it was obſerved by Euſebius, that the twelve tribes of Iſrael received appellation from the name of Juda; and the appellation be­gan to be uſed, when the Kingly power, which the tribe of Ju­da had loſt in Sedechiah, was by the High Prieſts tranſ­ferred upon themſelves. And this, ſaith he, is a thing moſt85 worthy of admiration, and fell out by ſpeciall providence. For, ſeeing in Polybius his opinion 'twas not without ſome great cauſe that the Acheians, a little people of Greece, once gave name to all the Grecians; ſure­ly here alſo we muſt conceive ſome more ſublime and weigh­ty reaſon, when after the return from captivity all the children of Abraham of all the tribes were called Jews. This errour we neither can, nor ought to excuſe. The truth is this: When the Kingdom of the Iſraelites was rent and divided, two tribes, Levi and Benjamin, joy­ned themſelves with the Jews; which tribes being but few in number, and of mean eſtate, were accounted but for an ad­dition; the Common-wealth was not named from them, but86 they even loſt their own name, and at length the name of Jews was common to them all. There is no doubt to be made of thus much. But what, or how this can concern the other ten tribes, let them conſider that are pleaſed with the con­ceit. Certainly, after that thoſe ten tribes of Iſrael were once carried away by Salmanaſſar the Aſſyrian, and diſperſed through Colchos, Parthia, India, and Ethiopia, they never came back again into their native ſoil, nor were again conjoyned with the Jews: but even to this day, (if there be any reliques of them) under the command of barbarous Nations, they ſuf­fer the grievous puniſhment of their Apoſtacy. Wherefore, to be in the Common-wealth of the Jews, or to have the honour87 a name from the Jews, was im­poſſble for them who had no familiarity, nothing to do with the Jews, but were ſeated in a­nother World far off, and be­held a different Heaven, diffe­rent Stars. It will be worth our pains, and much to the preſent diſpatch, to examine a memo­rable place, that is in Flavius Joſephus,**L. 11. c. 5. Antiquit. an Author of exqui­ſit and unuſuall diligence, Fla­vius had ſpoken firſt concer­ning them, who from every quarter out of the neighbouring places came to Babylon, that they might return with Ezra to Jeruſalem. They all were Jews, and their Aſſociates of Levi and Benjamin. And then, concerning the Hebrews of o­ther tribes, he addes: But all the people of Iſrael remained in their**Where they were carried by Salmanaſ­ſar beyond Euphrates. ſeats; wherefore both in88 Aſia and in Europe, two tribes only fell under the dominion of the Romans; the other ten do ſtill continue on the other ſide of Euphrates, being infinite in number and unknown. Verily, they were under a harder fate, whom Salmanaſſar led into captivity, than whom afterward Nebuchodonozor carried away. For the Iſraelites were for ever reſtrained and kept back by the River Euphrates, which they had once paſſed over. But the Jews paſſed the ſame, and repaſ­ſed, and came again at laſt into Paleſtin: and when Paleſtin it ſelf became either too nar­row for them, or leſs gratefull, they enlarged and ſpred their habitations through Europe and Aſia. This is the reaſon why Joſephus ſaid, only two tribes of the Hebrews were brought89 into ſubjection by the Romans. For at that time the people of Rome, although they had almoſt ſubdued the World, and the Sun did both riſe and ſet with­in the compaſs of their Empire, being Lords of the Eaſt and Weſt, they had not yet extended their bounds beyond Euphrates. Therefore, that the ten tribes of Iſrael, ſhut up in eternall priſon by that River, were not then under the Roman power, was truly ſaid by the moſt ac­curate Writer.


CHAP. XI. Their Conjecture that ſay the Scepter of Juda was firſt given to David. The prophecy concer­ning the Scepter not fulfilled till after times. When the Scepter was taken away.

I Have ingenuouſly and freely ſpoken my opinion, when the Scepter, whereof Jacobs pro­phecy is extant, was given to the Jews: alſo, what were the members of that Common-wealth, which had its riſe and beginning from the Seceſſion of the common people. Theſe things Euſebius did not under­ſtand: yet he alone, among ſo many Interpreters, hath rightly and almoſt divinely judged of that oracle. The comments of other men I will not relate. But,91 what Euſebius affirms to have been done from the beginning of the Hebrew Common-wealth, very many conjecture, came to paſs at that time, when the royall power was devolved up­on David, deſcended of the tribe of Juda, as the ſacred Hi­ſtory doth witneſs. Theſe men have already received ſuch a ſo­lid and happy confutation from Euſebius, that no place is left here for the induſtry of any o­ther. For he ſhews, that Da­vids poſterity poſſeſſed the King­dom only for a ſmall time, un­till the Babylonian captivity: and the ſundry Scriptures that ſpeak of his eternall throne, he hath well and wiſely interpre­ted in relation to the Meſſias. To adde more of this after Eu­ſebius, were to labour in vain; for by his pains herein, he hath92 eaſed every one. It remains only, that wee anſwer their doubt, who wonder why the event came ſo far behind the prediction concerning the Jew­iſh Common-wealth. For we have ſaid, it began under Reho­boam, and not before. But we give them to underſtand, this was very agreeable to the mea­ning of the prophetick Patri­arch. For the old Father, be­fore his death, breathing forth his laſt words to his children, ſaith, he would tell them, what ſhould come to paſs in the later dayes. Beſides, in prophecies, the times are not curiouſly to be inſiſted on: for moſt of them are to be interpreted with very great latitude. Obſerve, in this very prophecy, when it is ſaid, The Scepter ſhall not be taken a­way, untill Shiloh come; you93 would think 'twere meant, that preſently upon the appearance of Meſſias, the Scepter ſhould be ſnatcht out of the hands of that Nation. Which came not ſo to paſs. For the Jews loſt not that honour, till the City being deſtroyed, and the Tem­ple burnt, they ceaſed to have any Common-wealth, and to govern themſelves by their own Laws. Nevertheleſs, the oracle was infallibly true. For although the Saviour of the World had left the earth long before, yet, for certain, theſe things hapned in the ſame age: which was preſig­nified by the Meſſias himſelf, wher he ſpeaks of the deſtruction of the City and Temple, in theſe words: Verily,Mat. 24. this Generation ſhall not paſs, till all theſe things be fulfilled. This is enough for the wiſe. The reſt, that love to94 raiſe doubts and ſcruples every where, we regard not. For my part, ſeeing men of great name fluctuating among uncertain er­rours, I applyed my ſelf to find out ſome firm ground to reſt on, which henceforth I might without danger conſtantly maintain. For otherwiſe this matter would have often hin­dred our proceeding in this Trea­tiſe.


CHAP. XII. Of Dictators and Judges. Of the Senate Sanhedrin. Of the initiation of Senators. The im­poſition of hands: and the ſolemn words. Who were choſen into that Council, and what was their juriſdiction. Of the peoples aſ­ſemblies.

WE have ſhewed, that the Common-wealth, of which we diſcourſe, was of all the Hebrews for a long time, and then only of the Jews. The ſtating whereof concern'd us much. Now, having paſt the trouble of that diſpute, let us declare who they were that ru­led over the Holy Nation, and what is to be thought of their judicature, and of their Senate. The Divine goodneſs granted96 not leave to Moſes, to behold in Paleſtin the beginnings of that Common-wealth, whoſe Laws he had publiſhed in the wilderneſs. That Grace was vouchſafed to his Succeſſor Joſuah, the Captain General and Soveraign of the people; for both at home, and abroad in the War, his word was a Law. His Succeſſors with e­quall power were they, who, for going in and out before the people, and commanding them, might well be called Praetors and Dictators, but in the ſacred Annals are, for the like reaſon, named Judges. Flavius hath ſtil'd them Monarchs, a name, that the Greek writers gave al­ſo to Sylla, Cinna, Marius, and other Roman Dictators. Theſe Judges, in great commo­tions, were created by neceſſity:97 and experience witneſſed, that in War they had alwaies good ſucceſs, when the Kings very often had their raſhneſs requi­ted with ill fortune. Sometime alſo the ſame Judges were em­ploy'd in civill affairs, and heard cauſes, but thoſe of the greater moment. For they ſeldom ſate in the judgment ſeat. Only the commands, and the Empire, and the Soveraingty pertained unto them. The laſt of their number was Samuel, He, whom the Kings followed. Who not content with power and rule, lifted up themſelves above the multitude, in their robes and or­naments and ſplendor of for­tune. Moreover, beſides the So­veraign Rulers and Judges of the people, and thoſe that were after called Kings, there were others not a few, who conſul­ted98 of the Common-wealth, gave judgment, and arbitrated buſineſs. For there were certain Synedryes or Councils; where­in, who were the Senators, and what where the matters of their cognizance, we muſt now en­quire. In the firſt place preſents it ſelf the great Councill of the Sanhedrin, into which were aſ­crib'd ſeventy Adſeſſors. That Council, conſtituted by Moſes, continued under the Judges, and Kings, and high Prieſts, untill the laſt deſolation of Judaea; and was holden in that City which was the ſeat of the San­ctuary, and the head of the Com­mon-wealth. But becauſe the firſt times, and the next to them, are moſt part obſcure, and the Holy Book hath delivered to us nothing of principall conſide­ration concerning the City Shi­loh;99 We will deliver what the Jews have obſerved of that Council in the Princeſs of Ci­ties Jeruſalem, after the Tem­ple was built there: and then wee ſhall ſpeak of the other Councils, which were either at Jeruſalem, or at particular Ci­ties. The Seat of the great Council was in the very San­ctuary, where the ſeventy Sena­tors judged both of divine and humane things: Men, not cho­ſen from among the Plebeians, but all moſt noble, commended by their honourable Parentage, and the antient ornaments of their family. The place was aſſigned to them by Moſes, who commanded they ſhould meet in the place which God ſhould chooſe to have his name ado­red there. From theſe Judges was no appeal. Whatſoever the100 other Magiſtrates and Judges in the towns of Paleſtin and in Jeruſalem it ſelf were not able to decide, belonged unto their juriſdiction. Two of them ex­celled the reſt in honour and authority: one was the head of the Sanedrin, by the Talmudiſts entitled Prince in every place; the other next in degree, but inferiour to him, whom they called the Father of judgment. The reſt were equall among themſelves. This Senatorious dignity, becauſe it was moſt ho­nourable, was granted to none without a legitimate act, name­ly, impoſition of hands. So, Moſes layd his hand upon Jo­ſuah and the ſeventy Elders: which ſolemnity being perfor­med, preſently a divine ſpirit from above fell down upon them, and fill'd their breaſts. 101And theſe, being thus initiated themſelves, admitted others af­ter the ſame way. Yet could not that rite be uſed without the Holy Land, becauſe all the vertue thereof was confined by the bounds of Paleſtin. It is very obſerveable, which Mai­monides hath delivered in the fourth Chapter of his Halacha Sanhedrin. For whereas of old this act was celebrated at their pleaſure, by all thoſe upon whom hands had been once impoſed, that right (ſaith he) was ſtreightned by the wiſe men, and a conſtitution made, that no man ſhould after that time uſe it, but by grant from Rabbi Hillel, that divine old man. He was Prince of the great Coun­cill, and had another vice Pre­ſident, Sameas, a man trucu­lent and ambitious; whoſe fol­lowers,102 when a little after they had riſen up againſt the Diſci­ples of Hillel, ſtirred the minds of men with ſo much paſſion, that willingly the whole peo­ple was drawn into their party. At length this impoſi­tion of hands, which had been uſed long, ceaſed. And there was only pronounced a certain form of words (according to Ben Maimon) of this ſenſe: Behold, the hand is impoſed on thee, and power given thee to judge, in criminall cauſes alſo. Beſides, the Talmudiſts have told us of another form; whoſe words, becauſe the illuſtrious Joſeph Scaliger**In elen­ho Trihae­reſ. hath miſta­ken, we ſhall here reſtore unto their proper ſenſe. The Talmu­diſts, after they had ſpoken of Juda the ſon of Baba, a ſtout defender of the antient cuſtoms103 of his Nation, and who, when the juriſdiction in criminals and impoſition of hands were almoſt loſt, ſupported the ſinking cauſe, adde thus: That ſolemn act is not only done by the hand impo­ſed, as Moſes did to Joſuah; but it is alſo done by a form of words only, after this manner, I im­poſe my hand upon thee, and be the hand on thee impoſed. But the excellent Scaliger collected from the place, that Juda had found out a form different from the moſt antient, which is there conceived (when 'tis not ſo, nor do the Talmudiſts ſay ſo) being deceived by a word which bee renders, beſides, which in Rab­biniſm ſignifies only. But this is a Grammaticall note, and ought to be left to others. We are here to conſider graver mat­ters. Into the Great Councill,104 not only Citizens of prime No­bility, as we have ſaid, but Le­vits alſo and Prieſts were cho­ſen. And the High Prieſt (ſaith Maimonides) was elected too, if he were a conſidering man, and fit for Counſell. Other­wiſe, it was lawfull to lay him aſide. For he came not to the Senate by any right of his own, but he was admitted by ſuffra­ges. All the Adſeſſors were re­quired to be entire and perfect in body. Whoſoever had any main or deformity was exclu­ded. Nor were ſtrangers and foreiners received into this or­der, except the Mother at leaſt were a Jew. The Senators of the Sanhedrin had this charge, to make their progreſs through all Judea, to take a view of the Aſſemblies of the people, to ap­point them Magiſtrates in every105 town. And all the vertue and au­thority of the Cabbala (a myſte­rious doctrine delivered from hand to hand even from the be­ginnings of the Cōmon-wealth) was with them. Their part alſo it was, to make Statutes in ſacred matters, and to deviſe certain wayes to expound the Law. Whereof Maimonides hath ſpo­ken with great care. Moreover, the cauſes of Prophets, who had highly offended, were no where tryed but in this great Councill. Which our Saviour had reſpect unto, when he ſaid in Luke, It is not poſſible, that a Prophet ſhould periſh out of Jeruſalem. Laſtly, which is a point of the greateſt power, they did alſo con­ſtitute a King, and deliberat of waging War, and giving battail to the enemy, and enlarging the Empire. But becauſe, in theſe106 things the common ſafety, and publick ſtate was ſo much con­cerned, conſultation was there­in had (for the moſt part) with the people. For meetings were called, wherein alone they had ſome ſhare in the Government. And truly, otherwiſe they ought not. Honours and Magiſtracies are committed to ſingle and ſe­lect men. Plebeians have not ſtrength and skill to bear them. In their meetings (as Ariſtotle hath diſcreetly noted) and in conjuncture, the multitude hath ſome underſtanding, and can advance the publick good, be­cauſe the wiſer men are preſent and lead the way; but ſingle and apart they have little judge­ment. Concerning a King then, and concerning War, as I have ſaid, Decrees were made ſome­times the people being Author:107 all other things the Senators of Sanhedrin diſpatched by them­ſelves. The weightieſt affairs were not too heavy for them, becauſe they were choſen for their worth, and great abilities; by the divine Moſes rightly na­med Elders, not only for their age, but for their widom and experience.


CHAP. XIII. Of two other Councils at Je­ruſalem beſides the Sanhedrin. The Senate of 23. in every town. The College of 3. The meaſure of Cities. The 5. men for expia­tion of ſlaughter. The 7. men and 3. men for ordering the Calen­dar. The times diſpoſed by Rab­bi Hillel. The authority of San­hedrin leſſened.

OF the great Senate we have ſaid, what came to mind: the other Councils will not de­tain us long. The moſt learned**n Hala­••a San­hedrin. c. 1. Maimonides relates, that in the City of Jeruſalem it ſelf were two Councils more. They are deſcribed in the**In Miſna & in Ge­mara. Talmud. In either of them ſate three and twenty Judges. And as the Great Council was held in that109 part of the Temple, which is called Gazith, ſo one of theſe at the Court-gate, the other was kept at the Gate opening to the Mount of the Temple. The Dignity of them alſo was not the ſame: for the Judges at the Mount-Gate, took it for a preferment to be aſcrib'd into the Senate at the Court-Gate. And again, it was a new degree of honour to aſcend hence into the Sanedrin. The diſtinction is exactly made by Rabbi Ben Maimon. Farther, beſide theſe Councils at Jeruſalem, there was conſtituted in every town of Paleſtin, a Senate for juriſdi­ction and the care of publick affairs. It conſiſted of 23. men, who ſate in judgement upon the life and fortunes of the people, and decided all cauſes, except a few reſerved, as is aforeſaid,110 to the great Councill. Ben Maimou alſo deſcribes a cer­tain College of three men, and ſaith it was in ſuch a City, which had not a hundred and twenty inhabitants. But I am of A­riſtotles mind, that this is not a City. For, as it is not a Ship, which is of one handfull, or of two furlongs: ſo is it not a Ci­ty, which wanteth a juſt mea­ſure; if it be too little, it cannot (as a City ſhould) ſubſiſt by it ſelf; and too much greatneſs turns it from a City to a Nation. But we muſt not call a Rabbi to ſo ſtrict account. It was the of­fice of thoſe three, to judge of treſpaſſes of moneys, and goods moveable. The Capitall offen­ders were brought (as I have ſhewed) before another Bench. hedrin, c. 5.Ben Maimon**In Halu­cho San­hedrin. c. 5. addes, ſomethings were of ſuch a kind that they111 belonged neither to the ſeventy Elders, nor to the College of twenty three, nor to the three men: but were to be referred to a peculiar Senate. In which number he reckons man-ſlaugh­ter committed by an uncertain hand in the borders of any town. Five men (ſaith he) muſt expiate this by the Sacrifice of a Heifer. The ſame Author hath more of this nature, which I willingly praetermit. For we doe not repeat Dictates. That may ſeem ſtrange, that the or­dering of times was commen­ded to certain Judges; for,**In eadem Halacha, eod. cap. con­cerning the Leap-year, ſeven, concerning the month, three men determined. But Hillel the Ba­bylonian afterward acquitted all his Countrymen of this care: the prime man of his age, of whom we have this honourable112 teſtimony from Rabbi Abra­ham**In libro juchaſin. Zacuth: Rabbi Hillel, preſident of the great Councill compoſed the Intercalation for all Iſrael till the times of Meſſiah; and that was done by him, be­fore the Lawfull act of impoſition of hands was abrogated. Had not this ſame Hillel maturely prevented ſo great an evill, cer­tainly the times would have been much confuſed; for, not long after ceaſed the ſolennity of impoſing hands, without which thoſe ſeven men and three men were not appointed over­ſeers and correctors of the Ca­lendar, as Maimonides obſer­veth. But no more of this, leſt the Reader think we prepare an accurate and perfect work, wher­as we only thruſt out our ſud­dain and tumultuary Meditati­ons. And we deſire it may be113 noted, whatſoever we have ſaid of Councils hath relation to the time before Judaea had received the Roman conqueror. For he changed and repealed many things, not for his luſt or plea­ſure, nor out of any cruell deſign, but that he might ſecure his Dominion. Gabinius chiefly, the Proconſul of Syria, ſeeing the principall pillar of the Com­mon-wealth was the Sanhe­drin, thought it good policy to take away the authority there­of in many towns. Wherefore at Gadar, Amath, Hiericho, and Sephor he ſetled four Syne­dries, and a fift at Jeruſalem (now but a part of what ſhe was) all of equall power. And the Councils placed by Gabinius in the other Cities, as they were not inferiour to that in Jeru­ſalem for power, ſo were they114 far beyond it in continuance. Theſe are meant, if I miſtake not, by**In l. 17. c. de Jud. & Cal. Juſtinian, when he re­quires a Canon, from the pri­mates, who rule the Synedries of either Paleſtin. But we make no excurſion into theſe times. The antient Common-wealth and primitive Inſtitutions are under our conſideration. To en­quire into the reſt, and ſet down things that were often changed, were unhappily to place our ſtudy, where no certain truth can be delivered.


CHAP. XIV. The creation of a King. A bad one firſt choſen, why. What qualities the Prophet had reſ­pect unto. The Book of the King­dom laid up. The power of the Hebrew Kings. Their honour above Prieſts and Prophets. Kings and Prieſts at firſt the ſame. The annointing of Kings made them ſacred. The Holy Ointment hid by Joſia, and loſt with other things.

RAbbi Ben Maimon**In part. poſt. Miſnae. ſaith, the Iſraelites received three commands from God, to bee fulfilled in Paleſtin; the firſt whereof was, to make them­ſelves a King; another to blot out the memory of the Amale­kites; the third concerning the building of a Temple. The per­formance116 whereof (ſaith he) was at ſeverall times and long diſtant, but in the ſame order wherein they were commanded. For a King was created before the War with Amalek, and the building of the Temple was not begun, untill that moſt odi­ous Nation was brought to an end, and quite deſtroyed. The teſtimonies illuſtrious, which are related by the ſame Author, need not be tranſcribed hither. In the 17 of Deuteronomy the moſt high God, ſaying the Iſraelites would deſire a King, addes the trueſt reaſon of it, becauſe all the neighbouring Nations lived under the royall Government. For ſuch is the nature and diſ­poſition of men, inhabiting that part of the world: few prefer liberty before ſubjection unto juſt Lords. And Claudius Ci­vilis117 in Tacitus truly ſaith to his Batavians, that Syria and Aſia ſerve, and the Eaſt is accuſtomed to the yoke of Kings. This be­ing ſo, many have admired, why God took it ill, that the Sove­raign power was transferred from Samuel to a King, ſince he had approved it before, and ſaid it ſhould be according to the in­clination of the holy people. Maimonides anſwers learnedly, that the divine Indignation aroſe from hence, Becauſe they deſir'd a King by unfaithfull complaints and ſeditious murmurings, not that they might comply with Gods deſign in the Law, but out of a diſtaſt of the moſt holy Pro­phet Samuel: to whom it was ſpoken by the voice of God. They have not rejected thee, but me. Verily I am of this opinion, and I doubt not to aſſert it, that the118 Kingdom was given to Saul, not out of Gods love and care of the Common-wealth, but becauſe he perceived his arrogance and cruelty, hee meant to glorify Samuel by this unequall compa­riſon, and by ſuch a ſucceſſor make his vertue the more deſira­ble. The qualities ſeem but light and ſuperficiall, but they are of great moment, which (as the Holy Book in ſeverall places hath it) were conſidered by Sa­muel in the Kings election: a gracefull look, talneſs of body, and ſuch like, which affect and draw the eyes and minds of all. Theſe are the things, which the great Prophet, in the midſt of the Aſſembly, commended, when he ſpake theſe words:1 Sam. 10.24. Behold, whom God hath choſen: that there is none equall to him in all the people. Wherefore, it is not119 the property of Barbarians on­ly, but of the moſt civill men, to think them capable of great atchievements, whom nature hath graced with a goodly form and ſtately countenance. No leſs a man than Ariſtotle hath pro­nounced thus: If any perſona­ges are by nature framed ſo much more excellent than o­thers, as the images of Gods excell the images of men, it ſeemeth meet, that the reſt ſhould be ſervants unto ſuch. If this be true in the body, much more in the ſoul: but the ſouls form and beauty cannot be ſo eaſily diſcerned. To leave this: In the Holy Bible is mentioned a certain volume,1 Sam. 10.25. wherein Sa­muel wrote the ſacred rights of the Kingdom, and laid it up in the Tabernacle. A text not well underſtood by Joſephus; who120 imagined all the evils, which God foretold the people they ſhould fear from an unjuſt King were comprehended in that volume. We on the contrary believe, there were in that Book the Laws, which commanded the King to follow juſtice and equity, and to govern the Com­mon-wealth wiſely for the peo­ples good: alſo, not to play the Prince in luſts and riots: laſtly, to retain modeſty in the great­neſs of his fortune, a vertue well becomming the beſt of men, and very pleaſing unto God. The matter is deliver'd in Deu­teronomy thus:Deut. 17.15, &c. Thou ſhalt ſet him King over thee, whom the Lord thy God ſhall chooſe: One from among thy Brethren ſhalt thou ſet King over thee: thou mayeſt not ſet a ſtranger over thee, which is not thy Brother. 121But he ſhall not multiply horſes to himſelf, nor cauſe the people to return to Egypt. For as much as the Lord hath ſaid unto you, ye ſhall henceforth return no more that way. Neither ſhall he mul­tiply Wives to himſelf, that his heart turn not away: neither ſhall he greatly multiply to him­ſelf ſilver and gold. And it ſhall be when he ſitteth upon the throne of his Kingdom, that he ſhall write him a Copy of this Law in a Book, out of that which is be­fore the Prieſts the Levites. And it ſhall be with him, and he ſhall read therein all the dayes of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this Law, and theſe Statutes to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his Brethren. Theſe words of the Law are not obſcure, and they122 ſeem to contain the ſum of that volume, which the great Pro­phet laid up in the Sanctuary. We ſaid**Cap. 8. above, the Jews had ſuch a Common-wealth, which in the Scripture is called a Prieſt­ly Kingdom. Whence it fol­lows, that their Kings did not only govern in civill affairs, and military, but were Preſidents of Religion and holy Ceremonies. For they were ſacred perſons, to whom Gods Commiſſion and the voice of a Prophet gave Em­pire, honour and authority. Yet as the Over-ſight of Sacred things, the Soveraign power and judgment pertained unto them, ſo the myſtery and charge of the ſame things was of right claimed by the Levites, that is, the High Prieſt, the reſt of the Prieſts, and their aſſiſtants. It was their office, to ſlay the Sa­crifices,123 to make expiations, to rehearſe the divine Laws before the people, and to perform other ſervices in the Temple. The Talmudicall writers well ob­ſerve how much the King ex­celled all, both Prieſts and Pro­phets: which we will relate out of**In Halu­cha Mela­chim, cap. 2. Maimonides. The words are to this effect: It was a Sta­tute, that the chief Prieſt ſhould reverence the King, and yield him his place to ſit in, and him­ſelf ſtand, when the King came to him. But, the King ſtandeth not in the preſence of the Prieſt, unleſs when he conſults the U­rim after the ſolemn manner. And, ſuch is the dignity of the King, that even the Prophet himſelf, as oft as he comes into his preſence, bows himſelf down to the earth: as it is written, Nathan the Prophet came be­fore124 the King, and, to honour him, fell upon his face to the ground. Yet more, David himſelf, whom the Prophet formerly had anointed King, ſo little feared to take upon him the honour of the High Prieſt, that he put upon himſelf the Ephod, and enquired of the Lord, whether he ſhould purſue the enemy. The place is eminent in the Book of Samuel,Cap. 30. v. 7. perver­ted by the late Interpreters, men very learned, but here they ſeem indiligent. Let all men judge that have any skill in the origi­nall, whether the words tran­ſlated by them, Applicavit ſibi Abiathar amiculum, Davidis cauſa, ſignify not the ſame I have ſaid, that David, having put on the Ephod of Abiathar, conſulted the Oracle [The Eng­liſh Bible reads it, And Abia­thar125 brought thither the Ephod to David. Grotius de Imperio c. 6. reads it in this ſenſe, Abia­thar made the Ephod to come near to David, that as he ſtood before the high Prieſt (which the King only did when he con­ſulted Urim) he might ſee whe­ther the ſparkling of the prectous ſtones would promiſe him good ſucceſs. Abiathar then had the Ephod upon him, not David. The Urim anſwered. i. e. God by the Urim. vide locum.] But let us give you ſome more of our Collections from the Rabbins. Herein alſo conſiſted an high point of honour,Mim. c. 2. in Hal. Ml. & c. 7. Hal. Beth. Habb. that the King only, and no man elſe, might ſit in the Court of the Temple, in any place; only the King who was of Davids family. That Court was divided by certain ſpaces, one part for the Prieſts,126 another aſſigned for the people; Yet the Prieſts cuuld not ſit down, though within their own preſcribed bounds. The Sena­tors of Sanhedrin had right to ſit:Maimon ib. but, in the midſt of that place which the prophane com­mon people had. Never did the more ſacred ſpaces of the Court behold any man ſitting, but the King: this being his Prerogative, as if he were nearer to God than the Prieſts themſelves, and a greater Preſident of Religion. And, if we go to other Nations, Ariſtotle ſaith, in the firſt times the ſame perſon, for the moſt part, was both King and Prieſt. This was no depraved cuſtom, being in uſe, while people fol­lowed nature more incorruptly, and ſaw what was right, ſo much better, by how much nearer they were to the divine originall. 127But, to ſpeak of the Hebrew Kings, their ſacredneſs depended much upon their being anoin­ted. This was proper to them and the high Prieſts, as the Tal­mud ſaith, That anointing ad­ded a divine Majeſty to the Kings, and made them ſacred, and allyed unto God. The rea­ſon, why in thoſe times they or­dered or reſtored Religion, was not becauſe they were Prophets: (that's a groundleſs and erro­neous opinion, for except Da­vid, and perhaps Saul, no one of the reſt prophecyed of things to come:) but Salonion and Jehoſhaphat and Ezechiah and Joſiah, and others exerciſed power and authority over things divine, becauſe the vertue of the ſacred Ointment had been communicated to them. This Ointment Moſes was directed128 to make of thoſe aromatick in­gredients which**In Hal. Cele Ham­mik. c. 1. Maimonides deſcribes. And the Talmud ſaith, it was uſed for initiation and conſecration untill the times of Jſiah, who hid it un­der ground in the Temple, in a ſecret place prepared carefully long before by Salomon, upon notice of the prophecies, that the Temple ſhould at laſt be thrown down by the Aſſyrians. In the ſame ſecret place (as the Tradition alſo is) the Ark of the Covenant, and Aarons red, and the ſtones Urim and Thum­mim, with the reſidue of Manna, were laid up by Joſiah: and none of them all was reſtored to the Jews, when upon their return from Babylon into their native ſeat, they built the ſecond Tem­ple. Wherefore, ſince that time the Kings and Prieſts received129 not the ſame Majeſty from the myſterious initiation. Nor was the Deity ſo propitious to their ceremonies and ſacred rites, as before The Jews have a pro­verb among them, related by**In libro Juchaſia. Rabbi Zacuth: The fire lay upon the Altar, as a Dog, be­cauſe the vertue of it was ex­tinct, after the five things were wanting in the later temple: but in the former, that fire was like a Lyon. The learned wri­ter plainly ſaith, the five things were wanting, which even now we ſaid were ſo hidden by Jo­ſiah, that poſterity never found them.


CHAP. XV. Jeroboams policy to get the Kingdom. The declination and change of Common-wealths. Scipio's moderation. The diſ­poſition of common people. Sama­ria an imperiall City. Change of Religion a ſecret of State. The diviſion of the ten tribes, and the miſerable effects of it. The Captivity of the I ſraelites, and of the Jews. Babylon enlarged by the ſpoils of Jeruſalem. The return of the Jews, and the Do­minion of the Levites.

THe unity of the Hebrew na­tion, and the frame of that goodly Empire was cleft in two by Jeroboams policy, a man no leſs ambitious than valiant. Being commander of the Tribe of Joſeph in the War, and put131 in hope of the Kingdom by the Prophet, rightly conceiving Prin­ces are made by Providence, He applyed his vaſt and climing ſpirit to obtain the Dominion. Firſt he attempted the Souldiers faith, endeavouring to draw a­way their affections from Sa­lomon to himſelf: but the Plot being diſcovered, to avoid pu­niſhment he left<