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And such a Power God delegated to Mofes over the Children of Israel; even before the Promulgation of the Law; when he
gave him a Commission to bring Exod. iii. forth his people out of Egypt. By Virtue of this Commiffion, therefore, Moses and ib. iv. 29. Aaron went and gathered together all the Elders of the children of Israel: And the people believed, that he was appointed by God to be their Captain and Yudge, and they submitted themselves to him accordingly, and bowed the head and worshipped.
But, after he had brought them out into the Wilderness, Jethro, his Father-inLaw, observing that he fate to judge the ib. xvii. people from morning until evening, said unto him; The thing that thou dost is not good; Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: For this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art nof able to perform it thy self alone. Hearken nocy unto my voice, I will give thee
counsel, and God fall be with thee. Be ( thou for the people to Godward, thet thou
mayest bring the causes unto God. And thou halt teach them ordinances, and laws, and shalt few them the way, wherein tbey muft
walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover thou Malt provide, out of all the people, able men, such as fear God; men of truth; bating covetoufness ;' and let them judge the people at all seasons. -And, it shall be, that every great matter they fall bring unto thee; but every small matter they shall judge. So fall it be eafier for thy self, and they shall bear the burden with thee.
And we are told further, that: Moses bearken'd to the voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had faid; and chofe able men out of all Ifrael, and made them beads over the people; rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, s rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. ' And they judged the people at all seasons. The hard causes they brought unto Moses'; but every /mall matter they judged themselves. i 19
This Jurifdi&tion Mofes, at his Deach, bequeath'd to Fofhua ; and, by Virtue thereof Joshua conducted and fettled the People, in the Land of Canaan After Fosbua's Time, they were govern'd by that Form which God himself had prescribd to them; according to the Command and
Appointment of Mofes. Who, when he was making a Rehearsal of the several Statutes and Judgments of the LORD, says of them, Which ye Mall observe to do, Deut.
xij. 1. 8, in the land which the LORD God of thy 9. fatbers giveth thee to possess it. Ye shall not do after all the things that we do bere this day, every man whatsoever is right in bis own eyes; for ye are not, as yet, come to the rest, and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you.
Now the Form of Government, here spoken of, being, as we have already oba serv’d, threefold; One Part relating to che whole People, in general; another, to every particular Tribe; and a third, to the several Cities in every Tribe: And those who prefied in the First, being originally Judges ; and afterward Kings; those, in the Sec cond, Heads of Tribes, and Heads of Families; and those in the Third, Chiefs or Princes of the Cities and States to which they belong'd; it will be best, for Mcthod's Sake, to enquire after the Nature of each of them, separately, and in their feveral Orders.
The JUDGES of IS R A EL. Those who had the Administration of the Affairs of the People of Israel, after their Government, as appointed by God, came to take place, though they were in the double Capacity, both of Judges, co sce that Justice was dealt among them imparcially according to Law, and of Captains, to lead them forch to Battle against their Enemies, yet they were called and known, only by the first Name; as that which denoted the Province or Business of the greatest Importance and highest Dignity. And their principal Bufiness being to judge; that is, either to acquit or to condemn; they had the Power of Life and Death in themselves; and could make use of it, at such Times as they thought expedient, without the Concurrence of
any of the inferior Judges. And this Power they exercis’d, not only in the Places where they liv'd, (Jerusalem, the Place which God intended to choose, not being, at that Time, the Seat
of their Government) but went in Circuit, Ithroughout all the Tribes; and, in certain Cities, held Courts of Judicature,
where they exercis'd their Power and Jurisdiction.
At least, all the People repair'd to them ww at their Dwelling. wherever it was, to
have Justice done them. Thus, it is faid; Deborah a Prophetess, the wife of Lapi
doth, she judged Israel, at that time. And Judg. iv. she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah; 2. between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. Of Samuel, it is said; And Samuel judged Israel all the days of bis life. And he went, from year to year, in 1 Sam. circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Ifrael in all those places. And bis Return was to Ramah; for there was bis house; and there be judged Israel, and there be built an altar unto the LORD.
It does not appear that these Judges had, or pretended to, any Share of arbitrary Power ; but only to see that the Laws were faithfully executed. That they were at the Head of the Army, in Times of War, is plain, from this In