Page images




of Judah and the sea; and from its place in the
lists of names (especially 2 Chron. xi. 7), it
appears not to have been far from the Philistine
city of Gath. It is probable, however, that the
'cave of Adullam' (1 Sam. xxii. 1) was not in
the vicinity of the city, where no such cave has
been found, but in the mountainous wilderness
in the west of Judah towards the Dead Sea.
This conjecture is favoured by the fact that the
usual haunts of David were in this quarter;
whence he moved into the land of Moab, which
was quite contiguous, whereas he must have
crossed the whole breadth of the land, if the
cave of Adullam had been near the city of that
name. The particular cave, usually pointed out
as the cave of Adullam,' is about six miles
south-west of Bethlehem, in the side of a deep
ravine which passes below the Frank's mountain
on the south. It is an immense natural cavern,
with numerous passages, the mouth of which
can be approached only on foot along the side
of the cliff. It seems probable that David, as a
native of Bethlehem, must have been well ac-
quainted with this remarkable spot, and had pro-
bably often availed himself of its shelter when
out with his father's flocks. It would therefore
naturally occur to him as a place of refuge when
he fled from Gath; and his purpose of forming
a band of followers was much more likely to be
realized here, in the neighbourhood of his native
place, than in the westward plain, where the city
of Adullam lay.
ADULTERY. In the common acceptation
of the word, adultery denotes the sexual inter-
course of a married woman with any other man
than her husband, or of a married man with any
other woman than his wife. But the crime is
not understood in this extent among Eastern
nations, nor was it so understood by the Jews.
With them, adultery was the act whereby any
married man was exposed to the risk of having
a spurious offspring imposed upon him. An
adulterer was, therefore, any man who had illicit
intercourse with a married or betrothed woman;
and an adulteress was a betrothed or married
woman who had intercourse with any other man
than her husband. An intercourse between a
married man and an unmarried woman was not,
as with us, deemed adultery, but fornication; a
great sin, but not, like adultery, involving the
contingency of polluting a descent, of turning
aside an inheritance, or of imposing upon a man
a charge which did not belong to him. Adultery
was thus considered a great social wrong, against
which society protected itself by much severer
penalties than attended an unchaste act not in-
volving the same contingencies.

It will be seen that this Oriental limitation of adultery is intimately connected with the existence of polygamy. If adultery be defined as a breach of the marriage covenant, then, where the contract is between one man and one woman, as in Christian countries, the man as much as the woman infringes the covenant, or commits adultery, by every act of intercourse with any other woman: but where polygamy is allowed, where the husband may marry other wives, and take to himself concubines and slaves, the marriage contract cannot and does not convey to the woman a legal title that the man should belong to her alone. If, therefore, a Jew associated


with a woman who was not his wife, his concubine, or his slave, he was guilty of unchastity, but committed no offence which gave a wife reason to complain that her legal rights had been infringed. If, however, the woman with whom he associated was the wife of another, he was guilty of adultery, not by infringing his own marriage covenant, but by causing a breach of that which existed between that woman and her husband. By thus excluding from the name and punishment of adultery the offence which did not involve the enormous wrong of imposing upon a man a supposititious offspring, in a nation where the succession to landed property went entirely by birth, so that a father could not by his testament alienate it from any one who was regarded as his son-the law was enabled, with less severity than if the inferior offence had been included, to punish the crime with death. It is still so punished wherever the practice of polygamy has similarly operated in limiting the crime-not, perhaps, that the law expressly assigns that punishment, but it recognises the right of the injured party to inflict it, and, in fact, leaves it, in a great degree, in his hands. Now death was the punishment of adultery before the time of Moses; and if he had assigned a less punishment, his law would have been inoperative, for private vengeance, sanctioned by usage, would still have inflicted death. But by adopting it into the law, those restrictions were imposed upon its operation which necessarily arise when the calm inquiry of public justice is substituted for the impulsive action of excited hands. Thus, death would be less frequently inflicted; and that this effect followed seems to be implied in the fact that the whole biblical history offers no example of capital punishment for the crime. Eventually, divorce superseded all other punishinent.

It seems that the Roman law made the same important distinction with the Hebrew, between the infidelity of the husband and of the wife. Adultery' was defined by the civilians to be the violation of another man's bed, so that the infidelity of the husband to his own wife could not alone constitute the offence.

It is understood that the crime was punished among the Assyrians and Chaldeans by cutting off the nose and the ears; and this brings to mind the passage in which the prophet Ezekiel (xxiii. 25), after, in the name of the Lord, reproving Israel and Judah for their adulteries (i.e. idolatries) with the Assyrians and Chaldeans, threatens the punishment, they shall take away thy nose and thy ears.' One or both of these mutilations, most generally that of the nose, were also inflicted by other nations, as the Persians and Egyptians, and even the Romans; but we suspect that among the former, as with the latter, it was less a judicial punishment than a summary infliction by the aggrieved party. It would also seem that these mutilations were more usually inflicted on the male than the female adulterer. In Egypt, however, cutting off the nose was the female punishment, and the man was beaten terribly with rods. The respect with which the conjugal union was treated in that country in the earliest times is manifested in the history of Abraham (Gen. xii. 19). ADULTERY, TRIAL OF. It would be


anjust to the spirit of the Mosaical legislation to suppose that the trial of the suspected wife by the bitter water, called the Water of Jealosy, was by it first produced. It is to be regarded as an attempt to mitigate the evils of, and to bring under legal control, an old custom which could not be entirely abrogated.

The original usage, which it was designed to mitigate, was probably of the kind which we still find in Western Africa, where, when a party is accused of murder, adultery, or witchcraft, if he denies the crime, he is required to drink the red water, and on refusing is deemed guilty of the offence. But in Africa the drink is highly poisonous in itself, and, if rightly prepared, the only chance of escape is the rejection of it by the stomach, whereas, among the Hebrews, the 'water of jealousy,' however unpleasant, was prepared in a prescribed manner with ingredients known to all to be perfectly innocent. It could not therefore injure the innocent, and its action upon the guilty must have resulted, not from the effects of the drink itself, but from the consciousness of having committed a horrible perjury. As regulated, then, by the law of Moses, the trial for suspected adultery by the bitter water amounted to this, that a woman suspected of adultery by her husband was allowed to repel the charge by a public oath of purgation, which oath was designedly made so solemn in itself, and was attended by such awful circumstances, that it was in the highest degree unlikely that it would be dared by any woman not supported by the consciousness of innocence. And the fact that no instance of the actual application of the ordeal occurs in Scripture, affords some countenance to the assertion of the Jewish writers, that the trial was so much dreaded by the women, that those who were really guilty generally avoided it by confession; and that thus the trial itself early fell into disuse. And if, as we have supposed, this mode of trial was only tolerated by Moses, the ultimate neglect of it must have been desired and intended by him. In later times, indeed, it was disputed in the Jewish schools, whether the husband was bound to prosecute his wife to this extremity, or whether it was not lawful for him to connive at and pardon her act, if he were so inclined. There were some who held that he was bound by his duty to prosecute, while others maintained that it was left to his pleasure.

From the same source we learn that this form of trial was finally abrogated about forty years before the destruction of Jerusalem. The reason assigned is, that the men themselves were at that time generally adulterous; and that God would ot fulfil the imprecations of the ordeal oath upon the wife while the husband was guilty of the same crime (John viii. 1-8).


ADULTERY, in the symbolical language of the Old Testament, means idolatry and apostacy from the worship of the true God (Jer. iii. 8, 9; Ezek. xvi. 32; xxiii. 37; also Rev. ii. 22). Hence an Adulteress meant an apostate church or city, particularly the daughter of Jerusalem,' or the Jewish church and people (Isa. i. 21; Jer. iii. 6, 8, 9; Ezek. xvi. 22; xxiii. 7). This figure resulted from the primary one, which describes the connection between God and his separated people as a marriage between him and them.

[blocks in formation]

ADUM'MIM, a place which is only twice named in Scripture. Once (Josh. xv. 7), where, from the context, it seems to indicate the border between Judah and Benjamin, and that it was an ascending road between Gilgal (and also Jericho) and Jerusalem. The second notice (Josh. xviii. 17) adds no further information, but repeats the ascent to Adummim.' Most commentators take the name to mean the place of blood, and follow Jerome, who finds the place in the dangerous or mountainous part of the road between Jerusalem and Jericho, and supposes that it was so called from the frequent effusion of blood by the robbers, by whom it was much infested. These are curious interpretations of the original word, which merely denotes the redness of the soil or rock. However, as a difficult pass in a desolate rocky region, between important cities, the part of the road indicated by Jerome, and all after him, was as likely to be infested by robbers in earlier times as in those of Jerome and at the present day. Indeed, the character of the road was so notorious, that Christ lays the scene of the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke x.) upon it; and Jerome informs us that Adummim or Adommim was believed to be the place where the traveller (taken as a real person) fell among thieves.' He adds that a fort and garrison was maintained here for the safeguard of travellers. The travellers of the present century mention the spot and neigh bourhood nearly in the same terms as those of older date. They all represent the road as still infested by robbers, from whom some of them have not escaped without danger. The place thus indicated is about eight miles from Jerusalem, and four from Jericho.

ADVOCATE, one who pleads the cause of another; also one who exhorts, defends, comforts, prays for another. It is an appellation given to the Holy Spirit by Christ (John xiv. 16; xv. 26; xvi. 7), and to Christ himself by an apostle (1 John ii. 1; see also Rom. viii. 34; Heb. vii. 25).

In the forensic sense, advocates or pleaders were not known to the Jews until they came under the dominion of the Romans, and were obliged to transact their law affairs after the Roman manner. Being then little conversant with the Roman laws, and with the forms of the jurists, it was necessary for them, in pleading a cause before the Roman magistrates, to obtain the assistance of a Roman lawyer or advocate, who was well versed in the Greek and Latin languages. In all the Roman provinces such men were found, who devoted their time and labour to the pleading of causes and the transacting of other legal business in the provincial courts. It also appears that many Roman youths who had devoted themselves to forensic business used to repair to the provinces with the consuls and prætors, in orde, by managing the causes of the provincials, to fit themselves for more important ones at Rome. Such an advocate was Tertullus, whom the Jews employed to accuse Paul before Felix (Acts xxiv. 1) [ACCUSER]. EGYPT. [EGYPT.]


'NON, fountain; the name of a place near Salem, where John baptized (John iii. 23); the reason given, because there was much water there,' would suggest that he baptized at the springs from which the place took its name.



AFFINITY is relationship by marriage, as distinguished from consanguinity, which is relationship by blood. Marriages between persons thus related, in various degrees, were forbidden by the law of Moses, which previous usage, in different conditions of society, had allowed. These degrees are enumerated in Lev. xviii. 7, sq. The examples before the law are those of Cain and Abel, who, as the necessity of the case required, married their own sisters. Abraham married Sarah, the daughter of his father by another wife, or else, as some suppose, the daughter of his elder brother by a former wife of his father. Jacob also married the two sisters Leah and Rachel. In the first instance, and even in the second, there was an obvious consanguinity, and only the last offered a previous relationship of affinity merely. So also, in the prohibition of the law, a consanguinity can be traced in what are usually set down as degrees of affinity merely. The degrees of real aflinity interdicted are, that a man shall not (nor a woman in the corresponding relations) marry his-1. Father's widow (not his own mother); 2. The daughter of his father's wife by another husband; 3. The widow of his paternal uncle; 4. Nor his brother's widow if he has left children by her; but, if not, he was bound to marry her to raise up children to his deceased brother. The other prohibitions are connected with the condition of polygamy, and they prohibited a man from having-1. a mother and her daughter for wives at the same time; 2. or two sisters for wives at the same time. These prohibitions, although founded in Oriental notions, adapted to a particular condition of society, and connected with the peculiarities of the Levitical marriage law, have been imported wholesale into our canon law. The fitness of this is doubted by many: but as, apart from any moral questions, the prohibited marriages are such as few would, in the present condition of European society, desire to contract, and such as would be deemed repugnant to good taste and correct manners, there is little real matter of regret in this adoption of the Levitical law. Indeed, the objections to this adoption have rested chiefly upon one point; and that happens to be a point in which the law itself appears to have been egregiously misunderstood. This is in the injunction which, under permitted polygamy, forbade a man to have two sisters at once; an injunction which has been construed, under the Christian law, which allows but one wife, to apply equally to the case of a man marrying the sister of a deceased wife. The law itself is, however, so plain, that it is difficult to conceive how its true object-concerning which nearly all commentators are agreed-could have been thus interpreted. It is rendered in our version, Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her (or rather, perhaps, to rival her), to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her lifetime. And the design seems evidently to be to prevent the occurrence of such unseemly jea

[ocr errors]


lousies and contentions between sister-wives as embittered the life of Jacob-the father of the twelve tribes. The more recondite sense has been extracted, with rather ungentle violence to the principles of Hebrew construction, by making 6 vex her the antecedent of 'in her lifetime,' instead of 'take her sister to her, in her lifetime.' And it is explained, under this view, that the married sister should not be 'vexed' in her lifetime by the prospect that her sister might succeed her. It may be safely said that such an idea would never have occurred in the East, where unmarried sisters are far more rarely than in Europe brought into such acquaintance with the husband of the married sister as to give occasion for such 'vexation' or 'rivalry' as this. This view of the matter, though completely exploded among real biblical critics, is perhaps not calculated to do much harm, except under peculiar circumstances, and except as it may prove a snare to some sincere but weak consciences.

AFFIRMATIVES. Among the Jews the formula of assent or affirmation was thou hast said, or thou hast rightly said. It is stated by Aryda and others that this is the prevailing mode in which a person expresses his assent, at this day, in Lebanon, especially when he does not wish This exto assert anything in express terms. plains the answer of our Saviour to the highpriest Caiaphas (Matt. xxvi. 64), when he was asked whether he was the Christ, the son of God, and replied, thou hast said (see also Matt. xxvi. 25). All readers of even translations are familiar with a frequent elegancy of the Scriptures, or rather of the Hebrew language, in using an affirmative and negative together, by which the sense is rendered more emphatic: sometimes the negative first, as Ps. cxviii. 17, ‘1 shall not die, but live,' &c.; sometimes the negative first, as Isa. xxxviii. 1, Thou shalt die, and not live.' In John i. 20, there is a remarkable instance of emphasis produced by a negative being placed between two affirmativesAnd he confessed, and denied not, but confessed, I am not the Christ.'

AFRICA. This 'quarter of the world' is not mentioned as such by any general name in Scripture, although some of its regions are indicated. It is thought by some, however, that Africa, or as much of it as was then known, is denoted by the land of Ham,' in several of the Psalms. But we are inclined to think that the context rather restricts this designation of Egypt. Whether Africa was really the land of Hain,' that is, was peopled by the descendants of Hain, is quite another question [HAM].

AG'ABUS, the name of a prophet,' supposed to have been one of the seventy disciples of Christ. He, with others, came from Judæa to Antioch, while Paul and Barnabas (A.D. 43) were there, and announced an approaching famine, which actually occurred the following year. Some writers suppose that the famine was general; but most modern commentators unite in understanding that the terms of the original apply not to the whole world, nor even to all the Roman empire, but, as in Luke ii. 1, to Juda a only, and that the reference is to that famine which, in the fourth year of Claudius, overspread Palestine. The poor Jews, in general, were then relieved by the Queen of Adiabene, who sent to


purchase corn in Egypt for them; and for the relief of the Christians in that country contributions were raised by the brethren at Antioch, and conveyed to Jerusalem by Paul and Barnabas (Acts xi. 27-30). Many years after, this same Agabus met Paul at Cæsarea, and warned him of the sufferings which awaited him if he prosecuted his journey to Jerusalem.

A'GAG, the name of two kings of the Amalekites, and perhaps a common name of all their kings, like Pharaoh in Egypt (comp. Num. xxiv. 7; 1 Sam. xv. 8, 9, 20, 32). The first of these passages would imply that the king of the Amalekites was, then at least, a greater monarch, and his people a greater people, than is commonly imagined [AMALEKITES]. The latter references are to that king of the Amalekites who was spared by Saul, contrary to that solemn vow of devotement to destruction, whereby the nation, as such, had of old precluded itself from giving any quarter to that people (Exod. xvii. 14; Deut. xxv. 17-19). Hence, when Samuel arrived in the camp of Saul, he ordered Agag to be brought forth. He came 'pleasantly,' deeming secure the life which the king had spared. But the prophet ordered him to be cut in pieces; and the expression which he employed As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women'-indicates that, apart from the obligations of the vow, some such example of retributive justice was intended as had been exercised in the case of Adonibezek; or, in other words, that Agag had made himself infamous by the same treatment of some prisoners of distinction (probably Israelites) as he now received from Samuel. The unusual mode in which his death was inflicted strongly supports this conclusion. AGAGITE, used as a Gentile name for Amalekite in Est. iii. 1, 10; viii. 3, 5.

AGATE, a precious or rather ornamental stone, which was one of those in the breast-plate of the high-priest (Exod. xxviii. 19, xxxix. 12). This stone is popularly known in this country under the name of Scotch pebble. There are few countries in which agates of some quality or other are not produced. The finest are those of India; they are plentiful, and sometimes fine, in Italy, Spain, and Germany; but those found in this country are seldom good.

Agate is one of the numerous modifications of form under which silica presents itself, almost in a state of purity, forming 98 per cent. of the entire mineral. The siliceous particles are not so arranged as to produce the transparency of rock crystal, but a semi-pellucid, sometimes almost opaque substance, with a resinous or waxy fracture; and various shades of colour are produced by minute quantities of iron. The same stone sometimes contains parts of different degrees of translucency, and of various shades of colour; and the endless combinations of these produce the beautiful and singular internal forms, for which, together with the high polish they are capable of receiving, agates obtain their value as precious stones. The Scripture text shows the early use of this stone for engraving; and several antique agates, engraved with exquisite beauty, are still preserved in the cabinets of the curious.



AGE, OLD. The strong desire of a protracted life, and the marked respect with which aged persons were treated among the Jews, are very often indicated in the Scriptures. The most striking instance which Job can give of the respect in which he was once held, is that even old men stood up as he passed them in the streets (Job xxix. 8), the force of which is illustrated by the injunction in the law, Before the hoary head thou shalt stand up, and shalt reverence the aged' (Lev. xix. 32). Similar injunctions are repeated in the Apocrypha, so as to show the deportment expected from young men towards their seniors in company. Thus, in describing a feast, the author of Ecclesiasticus (xxxii. 3, 7) says, 'Speak thou that art the elder, for it becometh thee. Speak, young man, if there be need of thee, and yet scarcely, when thou art twice asked.'

Thus the attainment of old age is constantly promised or described as a blessing (Gen. xv. 15; Job v. 26), and communities as highly favoured in which old people abound (Isa. Ixv. 20; Zech. viii. 4), while premature death is the greatest of calamities upon individuals, and to the families to which they belong (1 Sam. ii. S2); the aged are constantly supposed to excel in understanding and judgment (Job. xii. 20; xv. 10; xxxii. 9; 1 Kings xii. 6, 8), and the mercilessness of the Chaldeans is expressed by their having no compassion' upon the old man, or him who stooped for age' (2 Chron. xxxvi. 17).



The strong desire to attain old age was necessarily in some degree connected with or resembled the respect paid to aged persons; for people would scarcely desire to be old, were the aged neglected or regarded with mere suffer


Attention to age was very general in ancient times; and is still observed in all such conditions of society as those through which the Israelites passed. Among the Egyptians, the young men rose before the aged, and always yielded to them the first place. The youth of Sparta did the same, and were silent-or, as the Hebrews would say, laid their hand upon their mouth-whenever their elders spoke. At Athens, and in other Greek states, old men were treated with corresponding respect. In China the deference for the aged, and the honours and distinctions awarded to them, form a capital point in the government, and among the Moslems of Western Asia, whose usages offer so many analogies to those of the Hebrews, the same regard for seniority is strongly shown. Among the Arabs it is very seldom that a youth can be permitted to eat with men. With the Turks, age, even between brothers, is the object of marked deference.

AGONY, a word directly meaning contest, and especially the contests by wrestling, &c. in the public games; whence it is applied metaphorically to a severe struggle or conflict with pain and suffering. Agony is the actual struggle with present evil, and is thus distinguished from anguish, which arises from the reflection on evil that is past. In the New Testament the word is only used by Luke (xx. 44), and is employed by him with terrible significance to describe the fearful struggle which our Lord sustained in the

[blocks in formation]

garden of Gethsemane. The circumstances of this mysterious transaction are recorded in Matt. xxvi. 36-46; Mark xiv. 32-42; Luke xx. 39-48; Heb. v. 7, 8. None of these passages, taken separately, contains a full history of our Saviour's agony. Each of the three Evangelists has omitted some things which the others have recorded, and all are very brief. The passage in Hebrews is only an incidental notice. The three Evangelists appear to have had the same design, namely, to convey to their readers an idea of the intensity of the Lord's distress; but they compass it in different ways. Luke alone notices the agony, the bloody sweat, and the appearance of an angel from heaven strengthening him. Matthew and Mark alone record the change which appeared in his countenance and manner, the complaint which he uttered of the overpowering sorrows of his soul, and the repetition of the same prayer. All agree that he prayed for the removal of what he called this cup,' and are careful to note that he qualified this earnest petition by a preference of his Father's will to his own.


With regard to the cause of his overwhelming distress, Jesus himself points it out in the prayer, 'If it be possible, let this cup pass from me; the cup which his Father had appointed for him; and the question is, what does he mean by this cup.' Doddridge and others think that he means the instant agony, the trouble that he then actually endured. But this is satisfactorily answered by Dr. Mayer, who shows by reference to John xviii. 18, that the cup respecting which he prayed was one that was then before him, which he had not yet taken up to drink, and which he desired, if possible, that the Father should remove. It could, therefore, be no other than the scene of suffering upon which he was about to enter. It was the death which the Father had appointed for him-the death of the cross-with all the attending circumstances which aggravated its horror; that scene of woe which began with his arrest in the garden, and was consummated by his death on Calvary. Jesus had long been familiar with this prospect, and had looked to it as the appointed termination of his ministry (Matt. xvi. 21; xvii. 9-12; xx. 17, 19, 28; Mark x. 32-34; John x. 18; xii. 32, 33). But when he looked forward to this destination, as the hour approached, a chill of horror sometimes came over him, and found expression in external signs of distress (John xii. 27; comp. Luke xii. 49, 50). It is manifest, therefore, that something more than the cross was now before him, and that he was now placed in a new and hitherto untried situation. Dr. Mayer says: I have no hesitation in believing that he was here put upon the trial of his obedience. It was the purpose of God to subject the obedience of Jesus to a severe ordeal, in order that, like gold tried in the furnace, it might be an act of more perfect and illustrious virtue; and for this end he permitted him to be assailed by the fiercest temptation to disobey his will and to refuse the appointed cup. In pursuance of this purpose, the mind of Jesus was left to pass under a dark cloud, his views lost their clearness, the Father's will was shrouded in obscurity, the cross appeared in ten-fold horror, and nature was left to indulge her feelings, and to put forth her reluctance.'


Under another head [BLOODY SWEAT] will be found the considerations suggested by one of the remarkable circumstances of this event.

AGRARIAN LAW. To this, or some such heading, belongs the consideration of the peculiar laws by which the distribution and tenure of land were regulated among the Hebrew people; while the modes and forms in which the land was cultivated belong to AGRICULTURE.

The Hebrews were for the most part a pastoral people until they were settled in Palestine, and their pastoral habits were mainly instrumental in keeping them distinct and separate from the Egyptians, who were agriculturists, and had a strong dislike to a shepherd life (Gen. xlvi. 34). But when they became an independent and sovereign nation, the same result of separation from other nations was to be aided by inducing them to devote their chief attention to the culture of the soil.

It was, doubtless, in subservience to this object, and to facilitate the change, that the Israelites were put in possession of a country already in a state of high cultivation (Deut. vi. 11). And it was in order to retain them in this condition, to give them a vital interest in it, and to make it a source of happiness to them, that a very pe culiar agrarian law was given to them. An equal distribution of the soil (Num. xxvi. 53-54) was the basis of the agrarian law. By it provision was made for the support of 600,000 yeomanry, with (according to different calculations) from sixteen to twenty-five acres of land each. This land they held independent of all temporal superiors, by direct tenure from Jehovah their sovereign, by whose power they were to acquire the territory, and under whose protection they were to enjoy and retain it. But this law was guarded by other provisions equally wise and salutary. The accumulation of debt was revented, first, by prohibiting every Hebrew from accepting of interest (Lev. xxv. 35, 36) from any of his fellow-citizens; next, by establishing a regular release of debts every seventh year; and, finally, by ordering that no lands could be alienated for ever, but must, on each year of Jubilee, or every seventh Sabbatic year, revert to the families which originally possessed them. Thus, without absolutely depriving individuals of all temporary dominion over their landed property, it re-established, every fiftieth year, that original and equal distribution of it, which was the foundation of the national polity; and as the period of such reversion was fixed and regular, all parties had due notice of the terms on which they negotiated; so that there was no ground for public commotion or private complaint.

This law, by which landed property was released in the year of Jubilee from all previous obligations, did not extend to houses in towns, which, if not redeemed within one year afte being sold, were alienated for ever (Lev. xxv. 29, 30). This must have given to property in the country a decided preference over property in cities, and must have greatly contributed to the essential object of all those regulations, by affording an inducement to every Hebrew to reside on and cultivate his land. Further, the original distribution of the land was to the several tribes according to their families, so that each tribe was, so to speak, settled in the same county,

« PreviousContinue »