The overthrow of Absalom did not at once bring peace to the kingdom. So large a part of the nation had joined in revolt that David would not return to his capital and resume his authority without an invitation from the tribes. In the confusion that followed Absalom's defeat there was no prompt and decided action to recall the king, and when at last Judah undertook to bring back David, the jealousy of the other tribes was roused, and a counterrevolution followed. This, however, was speedily quelled, and peace returned to Israel.
The history of David affords one of the most impressive testimonies ever given to the dangers that threaten the soul from power and riches and worldly honor--those things that are most eagerly desired among men. Few have ever passed through an experience better adapted to prepare them for enduring such a test. David's early life as a shepherd, with its lessons of humility, of patient toil, and of tender care for his flocks; the communion with nature in the solitude of the hills, developing his genius for music and poetry, and directing his thoughts to the Creator; the long discipline of his wilderness life, calling into exercise courage, fortitude, patience, and faith in God, had been appointed by the Lord as a preparation for the throne of Israel. David had enjoyed precious experiences of the love of God, and had been richly endowed with His Spirit; in the history of Saul he had seen the utter worthlessness of mere human wisdom. And yet worldly success and honor so weakened the character of David that he was repeatedly overcome by the temper.
Intercourse with heathen peoples led to a desire to follow their national customs and kindled ambition for worldly greatness. As the people of Jehovah, Israel was to be honored; but as pride and self-confidence increased, the Israelites were not content with this pre-eminence. They cared rather for their standing among other nations. This spirit could not fail to invite temptation. With a view to extending his conquests among foreign nations, David determined to increase his army by requiring military service from all who were of proper age. To effect this, it became necessary to take a census of the population. It was pride and ambition that prompted this action of the king. The numbering of the people would show the contrast between the weakness of the kingdom when David ascended the throne and its strength and prosperity under his rule. This would tend still further to foster the already too great self-confidence of both king and people. The Scripture says, "Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel." The prosperity of Israel under David had been due to the blessing of God rather than to the ability of her king or the strength of her armies. But the increasing of the military resources of the kingdom would give the impression to surrounding nations that Israel's trust was in her armies, and not in the power of Jehovah.[Page 747]
Though the people of Israel were proud of their national greatness, they did not look with favor upon David's plan for so greatly extending the military service. The proposed enrollment caused much dissatisfaction; consequently it was thought necessary to employ the military officers in place of the priests and magistrates, who had formerly taken the census. The object of the undertaking was directly contrary to the principles of a theocracy. Even Joab remonstrated, unscrupulous as he had heretofore shown himself. He said, "The Lord make His people a hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord's servants? why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel? Nevertheless the king's word prevailed against Joab. Wherefore Joab departed, and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem." The numbering was not finished when David was convicted of his sin. Self-condemned, he "said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech Thee, do away the iniquity of Thy servant; for I have done very foolishly." The next morning a message was brought to David by the prophet Gad: "Thus saith the Lord, Choose thee either three years' famine; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee; or else three days the sword of the Lord, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. Now therefore," said the prophet, "advise thyself what word I shall bring again to Him that sent me."[Page 748]
The king's answer was, "I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for His mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man."
The land was smitten with pestilence, which destroyed seventy thousand in Israel. The scourge had not yet entered the capital, when "David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the Lord stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces." The king pleaded with God in behalf of Israel: "Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let Thine hand, I pray Thee, O Lord my God, be on me, and on my father's house; but not on Thy people, that they should be plagued."
The taking of the census had caused disaffection among the people; yet they had themselves cherished the same sins that prompted David's action. As the Lord through Absalom's sin visited judgment upon David, so through David's error He punished the sins of Israel.
The destroying angel had stayed his course outside Jerusalem. He stood upon Mount Moriah, "in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite." Directed by the prophet, David went to the mountain, and there built an altar to the Lord, "and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the Lord; and He answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering." "So the Lord was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel."
The spot upon which the altar was erected, henceforth ever to be regarded as holy ground, was tendered to the king by Ornan as a gift. But the king declined thus to receive it. "I will verily buy it for the full price," he said; "for I will not take that which is thine for the Lord, not offer burnt offerings without cost. So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight." This spot, memorable as the place where Abraham had built the altar to offer up his son, and now hallowed by this great deliverance, was afterward chosen as the site of the temple erected by Solomon.[Page 749]
Still another shadow was to gather over the last years of David. He had reached the age of threescore and ten. The hardships and exposures of his early wanderings, his many wars, the cares and afflictions of his later years, had sapped the fountain of life. Though his mind retained its clearness and strength, feebleness and age, with their desire for seclusion, prevented a quick apprehension of what was passing in the kingdom, and again rebellion sprang up in the very shadow of the throne. Again the fruit of David's parental indulgence was manifest. The one who now aspired to the throne was Adonijah, "a very goodly man" in person and bearing, but unprincipled and reckless. In his youth he had been subjected to but little restraint; for "his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so?" He now rebelled against the authority of God, who had appointed Solomon to the throne. Both by natural endowments and religious character Solomon was better qualified than his elder brother to become ruler of Israel; yet although the choice of God had been clearly indicated, Adonijah did not fail to find sympathizers. Joab, though guilty of many crimes, had heretofore been loyal to the throne; but he now joined the conspiracy against Solomon, as did also Abiathar the priest.
The rebellion was ripe; the conspirators had assembled at a great feast just without the city to proclaim Adonijah king, when their plans were thwarted by the prompt action of a few faithful persons, chief among whom were Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. They represented the state of affairs to the king, reminding him of the divine direction that Solomon should succeed to the throne. David at once abdicated in favor of Solomon, who was immediately anointed and proclaimed king. The conspiracy was crushed. Its chief actors had incurred the penalty of death. Abiathar's life was spared, out of respect to his office and his former fidelity to David; but he was degraded from the office of high priest, which passed to the line of Zadok. Joab and Adonijah were spared for the time, but after the death of David they suffered the penalty of their crime. The execution of the sentence upon the son of David completed the fourfold judgment that testified to God's abhorrence of the father's sin.[Page 750]
From the very opening of David's reign one of his most cherished plans had been that of erecting a temple to the Lord. Though he had not been permitted to execute this design, he had manifested no less zeal and earnestness in its behalf. He had provided an abundance of the most costly material--gold, silver, onyx stones, and stones of divers colors; marble, and the most precious woods. And now these valuable treasures that he had collected must be committed to others; for other hands must build the house for the ark, the symbol of God's presence.
Seeing that his end was near, the king summoned the princes of Israel, with representative men from all parts of the kingdom, to receive this legacy in trust. He desired to commit to them his dying charge and secure their concurrence and support in the great work to be accomplished. Because of his physical weakness, it had not been expected that he would attend to this transfer in person; but the inspiration of God came upon him, and with more than his wonted fervor and power, he was able, for the last time, to address his people. He told them of his own desire to build the temple, and of the Lord's command that the work should be committed to Solomon his son. The divine assurance was, "Solomon thy son, he shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to be My son, and I will be his Father. Moreover I will establish his kingdom forever, if he be constant to do My commandments and My judgments, as at this day." "Now therefore," David said, "in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the Lord, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the Lord your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you forever."
David had learned by his own experience how hard is the path of him who departs from God. He had felt the condemnation of the broken law, and had reaped the fruits of transgression; and his whole soul was moved with solicitude that the leaders of Israel should be true to God, and that Solomon should obey God's law, shunning the sins that had weakened his father's authority, embittered his life, and dishonored God. David knew that it would require humility of heart, a constant trust in God, and unceasing watchfulness to withstand the temptations that would surely beset Solomon in his exalted station; for such prominent characters are a special mark for the shafts of Satan. Turning to his son, already acknowledged as his successor on the throne, David said: "And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek Him, He will be found of thee; but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off forever. Take heed now; for the Lord hath chosen thee to build a house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it."[Page 751]
David gave Solomon minute directions for building the temple, with patterns of every part, and of all its instruments of service, as had been revealed to him by divine inspiration. Solomon was still young, and shrank from the weighty responsibilities that would devolve upon him in the erection of the temple and in the government of God's people. David said to his son, "Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."
Again David appealed to the congregation: "Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the Lord God." He said, "I have prepared will all my might for the house of my God," and he went on to enumerate the materials he had gathered. More than this, he said, "I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal." "Who then," he asked of the assembled multitude that had brought their liberal gifts--"who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?"
There was a ready response from the assembly. "The chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king's work, offered willingly, and gave, for the service of the house of God, of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the Lord. . . . Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.[Page 752]
"Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be Thou, Lord God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Thine; Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come of Thee, and Thou reignest over all; and in Thine hand is power and might; and in Thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank Thee, and praise Thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee. For we are strangers before Thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build Thee an house for Thine holy name cometh of Thine hand, and is all Thine own. I know also, my God, that Thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness.
"As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy Thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto Thee. O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and of Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of Thy people, and prepare their heart unto Thee: and give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep Thy commandments, Thy testimonies, and Thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision. And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the Lord your God. And all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshiped the Lord."
With deepest interest the king had gathered the rich material for building and beautifying the temple. He had composed the glorious anthems that in afteryears should echo through its courts. Now his heart was made glad in God, as the chief of the fathers and the princes of Israel so nobly responded to his appeal, and offered themselves to the important work before them. And as they gave their service, they were disposed to do more. They swelled the offerings, giving of their own possessions into the treasury. David had felt deeply his own unworthiness in gathering the material for the house of God, and the expression of loyalty in the ready response of the nobles of his kingdom, as with willing hearts they dedicated their treasures to Jehovah and devoted themselves to His service, filled him with joy. But it was God alone who had imparted this disposition to His people. He, not man, must be glorified. It was He who had provided the people with the riches of earth, and His Spirit had made them willing to bring their precious things for the temple. It was all of the Lord; if His love had not moved upon the hearts of the people, the king's efforts would have been vain, and the temple would never have been erected.[Page 753]
All that man receives of God's bounty still belongs to God. Whatever God has bestowed in the valuable and beautiful things of earth is placed in the hands of men to test them--to sound the depths of their love for Him and their appreciation of His favors. Whether it be the treasures of wealth or of intellect, they are to be laid, a willing offering, at the feet of Jesus; the giver saying, meanwhile, with David, "All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee."
When he felt that death was approaching, the burden of David's heart was still for Solomon and for the kingdom of Israel, whose prosperity must so largely depend upon the fidelity of her king. "And he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and show thyself a man; and keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and His testimonies, . . . that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: that the Lord may continue His word which He spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said He) a man on the throne of Israel." 1 Kings 2:1-4.[Page 754]
David's "last words," as recorded, are a song--a song of trust, of loftiest principle, and undying faith: "David the son of Jesse saith, And the man who was raised on high saith, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel: The Spirit of Jehovah spake by me: . . . One that ruleth over men righteously, That ruleth in the fear of God, He shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, A morning without clouds; When the tender grass springeth out of the earth, Through clear shining after rain. Verily my house is not so with God; Yet He hath made me an everlasting covenant, Ordered in all things, and sure: For it is all my salvation, and all my desire." 2 Samuel 23:1-5, R.V.
Great had been David's fall, but deep was his repentance, ardent was his love, and strong his faith. He had been forgiven much, and therefore he loved much. Luke 7:48.
The psalms of David pass through the whole range of experience, from the depths of conscious guilt and self-condemnation to the loftiest faith and the most exalted communing with God. His life record declares that sin can bring only shame and woe, but that God's love and mercy can reach to the deepest depths, that faith will lift up the repenting soul to share the adoption of the sons of God. Of all the assurances which His word contains, it is one of the strongest testimonies to the faithfulness, the justice, and the covenant mercy of God.
Man "fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not," "but the word of our God shall stand forever." "The mercy of Jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children's children; to such as keep His covenant, and to those that remember His commandments to do them." Job 14:2; Isaiah 40:8; Psalm 103:17, 18.
"Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever." Ecclesiastes 3:14.
Glorious are the promises made to David and his house, promises that look forward to the eternal ages, and find their complete fulfillment in Christ. The Lord declared:[Page 755]
"I have sworn unto David My servant . . . with whom My hand shall be established: Mine arm also shall strengthen him. . . . My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. He shall cry unto Me, Thou art my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation. Also I will make him My first-born, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him forevermore, and My covenant shall stand fast with him." Psalm 89:3-28. "His seed also will I make to endure forever, And his throne as the days of heaven." Psalm 89:29. "He shall judge the poor of the people, He shall save the children of the needy, And shall break in pieces the oppressor. They shall fear thee while the sun endureth, And so long as the moon, throughout all generations. . . . In his days shall the righteous flourish; And abundance of peace, till the moon be no more. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, And from the river unto the ends of the earth." "His name shall endure forever: His name shall be continued as long as the sun: And men shall be blessed in him: All nations shall call him blessed." Psalm 72:4-8, R.V., 17.
"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end." Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:32, 33.[Chapter Title: APPENDIX]
APPENDIX NOTE I. PAGE 258. IN THE COMMAND FOR ISRAEL'S RELEASE, THE LORD SAID TO PHARAOH, "ISRAEL IS MY SON, EVEN MY FIRST-BORN.... LET MY SON GO, THAT HE MAY SERVE ME." EXODUS 4:22, 23. THE PSALMIST TELL US WHY GOD DELIVERED ISRAEL FROM EGYPT: "HE BROUGHT FORTH HIS PEOPLE WITH JOY, AND HIS CHOSEN WITH GLADNESS: AND GAVE THEM THE LANDS OF THE HEATHEN: AND THEY INHERITED THE LABOR OF THE PEOPLE; THAT THEY MIGHT OBSERVE HIS STATUTES, AND KEEP HIS LAWS." PSALM 105:43-45. HERE WE LEARN THAT THE HEBREWS COULD NOT SERVE GOD IN EGYPT.
IN DEUTERONOMY 5:14, 15 WE FIND SPECIAL EMPHASIS GIVEN TO THAT PORTION OF THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT WHICH REQUIRES THE MANSERVANT AND THE MAIDSERVANT TO REST, AND THE ISRAELITE WAS TOLD TO REMEMBER THAT HE HAD BEEN A SERVANT IN THE LAND OF EGYPT. THE LORD SAID, "THE SEVENTH DAY IS THE SABBATH OF THE LORD THY GOD: IN IT THOU SHALT NOT DO ANY WORK, THOU, NOR THY SON, NOR THY DAUGHTER, NOR THY MANSERVANT, NOR THY MAIDSERVANT, NOR THINE OX, NOR THINE ASS, NOR ANY OF THY CATTLE, NOR THY STRANGER THAT IS WITHIN THY GATES; THAT THY MANSERVANT AND THY MAIDSERVANT MAY REST AS WELL AS THOU. AND REMEMBER THAT THOU WAST A SERVANT IN THE LAND OF EGYPT, AND THAT THE LORD THY GOD BROUGHT THEE OUT THENCE THROUGH A MIGHTY HAND AND BY A STRETCHED-OUT ARM: THEREFORE THE LORD THY GOD COMMANDED THEE TO KEEP THE SABBATH DAY." IN EXODUS 5:5 WE LEARN THAT MOSES AND AARON MADE THE PEOPLE "REST FROM THEIR BURDENS."
FROM THESE FACTS WE MAY CONCLUDE THAT THE SABBATH WAS ONE OF THE THINGS IN WHICH THEY COULD NOT SERVE THE LORD IN EGYPT; AND WHEN MOSES AND AARON CAME WITH THE MESSAGE OF GOD (EXODUS 4:29-31), THEY ATTEMPTED A REFORM, WHICH ONLY INCREASED THE OPPRESSION. THE ISRAELITES WERE DELIVERED THAT THEY MIGHT OBSERVE THE STATUTES OF THE LORD, INCLUDING THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT, AND THIS PLACED UPON THEM AN ADDITIONAL OBLIGATION TO KEEP THE SABBATH STRICTLY, AS WELL AS TO KEEP ALL THE COMMANDMENTS. THUS IN DEUTERONOMY 24:17, 18 THE FACT OF THEIR DELIVERANCE FROM EGYPT IS CITED AS PLACING THEM UNDER SPECIAL OBLIGATION TO SHOW KINDNESS TO THE WIDOW AND THE FATHERLESS: "THOU SHALT NOT PERVERT THE JUDGMENT OF THE STRANGER, NOR OF THE FATHERLESS; NOR TAKE A WIDOW'S RAIMENT TO PLEDGE: BUT THOU SHALT REMEMBER THAT THOU WAST A BONDMAN IN EGYPT, AND THE LORD THY GOD REDEEMED THEE THENCE: THEREFORE I COMMAND THEE TO DO THIS THING."[Page 758]
NOTE 2. PAGE 272. THAT THE PLAGUES WERE DESIGNED TO DESTROY THE CONFIDENCE OF THE EGYPTIANS IN THE POWER AND PROTECTION OF THEIR IDOLS, AND EVEN MADE THEIR GODS TO APPEAR AS CRUEL TORMENTORS OF THEIR WORSHIPERS, CAN BE SEEN FROM A STUDY OF THE EGYPTIAN RELIGION. A FEW EXAMPLES MAY SERVE TO ILLUSTRATE THIS FACT.
THE FIRST PLAGUE, TURNING THE WATER OF THE RIVER NILE AND OF ALL CANALS INTO BLOOD (EXODUS 7:19), WAS DIRECTED AGAINST THE SOURCE OF EGYPT'S VERY EXISTENCE. THE RIVER NILE WAS REGARDED WITH RELIGIOUS REVERENCE, AND AT SEVERAL PLACES SACRIFICES WERE OFFERED TO THE NILE AS TO A GOD.
THE SECOND PLAGUE BROUGHT FROGS OVER EGYPT. EXODUS 8:6. FROGS WERE HELD SACRED BY THE EGYPTIANS, AND ONE OF THEIR DEITIES, HEQA, WAS A FROG-HEADED GODDESS THOUGHT TO POSSESS CREATIVE POWER. WHEN THE FROGS, AS THE RESULT OF MOSES' COMMAND, MULTIPLIED TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY FILLED THE LAND FROM ONE END TO THE OTHER, THE EGYPTIANS MAY HAVE WONDERED WHY HEQA WAS TORMENTING HER ARDENT WORSHIPERS INSTEAD OF PROTECTING THEM. IN THIS WAY THE EGYPTIANS WERE NOT ONLY PUNISHED BY THE SECOND PLAGUE, BUT WITNESSED ALSO CONTEMPT HEAPED UPON THEM, AS THEY SUPPOSED, BY ONE OF THEIR GODS (EXODUS 9:3), OF WHICH MANY REPRESENTED POWERFUL GODS IN THE EGYPTIANS PANTHEON. TO MENTION ONLY A FEW, WE FIND THAT THE APIS BULL WAS DEDICATED TO PTAH, THE FATHER OF ALL THE GODS, THE COW WAS SACRED TO HATHOR, ONE OF THE MOST WIDELY WORSHIPED OF ALL FEMALE DEITIES OF THE NILE COUNTRY, WHILE THE RAM REPRESENTED SEVERAL GODS LIKE KHNEMU, AND THE RAM-HEADED AMEN, WHO WAS EGYPT'S CHIEF GOD IN THE NEW EMPIRE PERIOD. HENCE, THE DISEASE WHICH SLEW THE ANIMALS DEDICATED TO THEIR DEITIES REVEALED TO THE EGYPTIANS THE IMPOTENCE OF THEIR GODS IN THE PRESENCE OF THE GOD OF THE DESPISED HEBREWS.
THE NINTH PLAGUE (EXODUS 10:21) DEALT A HEAVY BLOW TO ONE OF THE GREATEST GODS OF EGYPT, THE SUN OF GOD RA, WHO HAD BEEN CONTINUOUSLY WORSHIPED FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES OF THAT COUNTRY'S KNOWN HISTORY. IN A LAND WHICH HARDLY EVER SAW CLOUDS IN THE SKY, THE SUN WAS RECOGNIZED AS A NEVER-FAILING POWER WHICH PROVIDED WARMTH, LIGHT, LIFE, AND GROWTH TO THE WHOLE WORLD. EVERY EGYPTIAN KING CONSIDERED HIMSELF AS A "SON OF RA," AND CARRIED THIS EXPRESSION IN HIS TITULARY. WHEN AMEN OF THEBES BECAME CHIEF GOD OF EGYPT DURING THE EIGHTEENTH DYNASTY, THE POWER OF THE SUN-GOD RA WAS RECOGNIZED AS SO GREAT THAT A COMPROMISE WAS MADE BY COMBINING AMEN AND RA TO MAKE ONE GOD --AMEN-RA. A FEW YEARS AFTER THE EXODUS, WHEN IKHNATON INTRODUCED A SHORT-LIVED MONOTHEISM, THE ONLY GOD RETAINED WAS ATON, THE SUN DISK. SEEING HOW ENTRENCHED SUNWORSHIP WAS IN THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE EGYPTIANS, AND HOW HIGHLY THE SUN GOD RA, AMEN-RA, OR ATON WAS REVERED, WE CAN UNDERSTAND WHY THE PLAGUE DIRECTED AGAINST THE GOD WAS BROUGHT UPON EGYPT TOWARD THE CULMINATION OF THE FIGHT BETWEEN THE GOD OF THE HEBREWS AND HIS EGYPTIAN ADVERSARIES.[Page 759]
ALSO THE TENTH PLAGUE, THE SLAUGHTERING OF THE FIRST-BORN (EXODUS 12:29), WAS STRIKING AT LEAST ONE GOD, AND THAT WAS THE KING, WHO WAS CONSIDERED TO BE HORUS, THE SON OF OSIRIS. AS THE RULER OF THE NILE COUNTRY, HE WAS ADDRESSED BY HIS SUBJECTS AS "THE GOOD GOD." HENCE, THE LAST PLAGUE CROWNED THE ACTIONS WROUGHT BY THE MIRACLE-WORKING POWER OF THE HEBREW GOD. SO FAR GODS CONTROLLING THE FORCES OF NATURE OR ANIMALS HAD BEEN DISGRACED, BUT NOW A GOD LIVING IN A VISIBLE FORM AMONG THE EGYPTIANS WAS ALSO HUMILIATED BY THE DESPISED GOD OF THE HEBREWS SLAVES, OF WHOM THE PROUD PHARAOH ONCE HAD SAID, "WHO IS THE LORD, THAT I SHOULD OBEY HIS VOICE TO LET ISRAEL GO? I KNOW NOT THE LORD, NEITHER WILL I LET ISRAEL GO." EXODUS 5:2.
NOTE 3. PAGE 282. IN GENESIS 15:13 WE READ THAT THE LORD SAID TO ABRAHAM, "KNOW OF A SURETY THAT THY SEED SHALL BE A STRANGER IN A LAND THAT IS NOT THEIRS, AND SHALL SERVE THEM: AND THEY SHALL AFFLICT THEM FOUR HUNDRED YEARS." THIS TEXT RAISES THE QUESTIONS WHETHER THE 400 YEARS REFER TO THE TIME OF AFFLICTION OR SOJOURNING, OR BOTH, AND WHAT THE RELATION OF THE 400 YEARS IS TO THE 430 YEARS OF EXODUS 12:40, 41, AND GALATIANS 3:16, 17.
THE STATEMENT IN EXODUS 12:40, THAT "THE SOJOURNING OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, WHO DWELT IN EGYPT, WAS FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTY YEARS," GIVES THE IMPRESSION THAT THE ISRAELITES, FROM JACOB'S ENTRY INTO EGYPT TO THE EXODUS, ACTUALLY SPENT 430 YEARS IN THE COUNTRY OF THE NILE. THAT THIS IMPRESSION CANNOT BE CORRECT IS OBVIOUS FROM PAUL'S INSPIRED INTERPRETATION PRESENTED IN GALATIANS 3:16, 17, WHERE THE 430 YEARS ARE SAID TO COVER THE PERIOD BEGINNING WHEN GOD MADE HIS COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM UNTIL THE LAW WAS PROMULGATED AT SINAI. PAUL SEEMS TO REFER TO THE FIRST PROMISE MADE BY GOD TO ABRAHAM WHEN HE WAS CALLED TO LEAVE HARAN. GENESIS 12:1-3. AT THAT TIME THE 430 YEARS BEGAN, WHEN ABRAHAM WAS SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS OLD (CHAPTER 12:4), WHILE THE 400 YEARS OF THE PROPHECY OF GENESIS 15:13 BEGAN THIRTY YEARS LATER, WHEN ABRAHAM WAS 105 AND HIS SON ISAAC FIVE YEARS OLD (CHAPTER 21:5). AT THAT TIME ISHMAEL, WHO "WAS BORN AFTER THE FLESH PERSECUTED HIM [ISAAC] THAT WAS BORN AFTER THE SPIRIT" (GALATIANS 4:29; GENESIS 21:9-11), BEGINNING A TIME OF AFFLICTION OF ABRAHAM'S SEED WHICH INTERMITTENTLY WOULD BE CONTINUED UNTIL THE TIME OF THE EXODUS. ISAAC HAD NOT ONLY TROUBLES WITH HIS HALF BROTHER ISHMAEL, BUT ALSO WITH THE PHILISTINES (GENESIS 26:15, 20, 21); JACOB FLED FOR HIS LIFE FROM ESAU (GENESIS 27: 41-43), AND LATER FROM LABAN (GENESIS 31:21), AND THEN WAS AGAIN IN JEOPARDY FROM ESAU (GENESIS 32:8); JOSEPH WAS SOLD INTO SLAVERY BY HIS BRETHREN (GENESIS 37:28), AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL WERE OPPRESSED BY THE EGYPTIANS FOR MANY DECADES (EXODUS 1:14).
THE TIME FROM ABRAHAM'S CALL TO JACOB'S ENTRY INTO EGYPT WAS 215 YEARS, BEING THE TOTAL OF (1) TWENTY-FIVE YEARS LYING BETWEEN ABRAHAM'S CALL AND THE BIRTH OF ISAAC (GENESIS 12:4; 21:5), (2) SIXTY YEARS LYING BETWEEN ISAAC'S BIRTH AND JACOB'S BIRTH (GENESIS 25:26), AND (3) THE AGE OF JACOB AT THE TIME OF HIS MIGRATION INTO EGYPT (GENESIS 47:9). THIS LEAVES THE REMAINING 215 YEARS OF THE 430 AS THE ACTUAL TIME THE HEBREWS SPENT IN EGYPT. HENCE THE 430 YEARS OF EXODUS 12:40 INCLUDES THE SOJOURN OF THE PATRIARCHS IN CANAAN AS WELL AS THEIR STAY IN EGYPT. SINCE IN THE TIME OF MOSES, PALESTINE WAS PART OF THE EGYPTIAN EMPIRE, IT IS NOT STRANGE TO FIND AN AUTHOR OF THAT PERIOD INCLUDING CANAAN IN THE TERM "EGYPT." THE TRANSLATORS OF THE SEPTUAGINT, KNOWING THAT THE 430 YEARS INCLUDED THE SOJOURN OF THE PATRIARCHS IN CANAAN, MADE THIS POINT CLEAR IN THEIR RENDERING OF THIS PASSAGE: "AND THE SOJOURNING OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, WHILE THEY SOJOURNED IN THE LAND OF EGYPT AND THE LAND OF CANAAN, WAS FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTY YEARS." AN ADDITIONAL CORROBORATION OF THE INTERPRETATION OF THE 430 YEARS GIVEN ABOVE IS FOUND IN THE PROPHECY THAT THE FOURTH GENERATION OF THOSE WHO HAD ENTERED EGYPT WOULD LEAVE IT (GENESIS 15:16), AND ITS RECORDED FULFILLMENT IN EXODUS 6:16-20.[Page 760]
NOTE 4. PAGE 316. THE ISRAELITES, IN THEIR ADORATION OF THE GOLDEN CALF, PROFESSED TO BE WORSHIPING GOD. THUS AARON, WHEN INAUGURATING THE WORSHIP OF THE IDOL, PROCLAIMED, "TOMORROW IS A FEAST UNTO JEHOVAH." THEY PROPOSED TO WORSHIP GOD, AS THE EGYPTIANS WORSHIPED OSIRIS, UNDER THE SEMBLANCE OF THE IMAGE. BUT GOD COULD NOT ACCEPT THE SERVICE. THOUGH OFFERED IN HIS NAME, THE SUN-GOD, AND NOT JEHOVAH, WAS THE REAL OBJECT OF THEIR ADORATION.
THE WORSHIP OF APIS WAS ACCOMPANIED WITH THE GROSSEST LICENTIOUSNESS, AND THE SCRIPTURE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE CALF WORSHIP BY THE ISRAELITES WAS ATTENDED WITH ALL THE LICENSE USUAL IN HEATHEN WORSHIP. WE READ: "THEY ROSE UP EARLY ON THE MORROW, AND OFFERED BURNT OFFERINGS, AND BROUGHT PEACE OFFERINGS; AND THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND TO DRINK, AND ROSE UP TO PLAY." EXODUS 32:6. THE HEBREW WORD RENDERED "TO PLAY" SIGNIFIES PLAYING WITH LEAPING, SINGING, AND DANCING. THIS DANCING, ESPECIALLY AMONG THE EGYPTIANS, WAS SENSUAL AND INDECENT. THE WORD RENDERED "CORRUPTED" IN THE NEXT VERSE, WHERE IT IS SAID, "THY PEOPLE, WHICH THOU BROUGHTEST OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT, HAVE CORRUPTED THEMSELVES," IS THE SAME THAT IS USED IN GENESIS 6:11, 12, WHERE WE READ THAT THE EARTH WAS CORRUPT, "FOR ALL FLESH HAD CORRUPTED HIS WAY UPON THE EARTH." THIS EXPLAINS THE TERRIBLE ANGER OF THE LORD, AND WHY HE DESIRED TO CONSUME THE PEOPLE AT ONCE.
NOTE 5. PAGE 329. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS WERE THE "COVENANT" TO WHICH THE LORD REFERRED WHEN, IN PROPOSING A COVENANT WITH ISRAEL, HE SAID, "IF YE WILL OBEY MY VOICE INDEED, AND KEEP MY COVENANT," ETC. EXODUS 19:5. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS WERE TERMED GOD'S "COVENANT" BEFORE THE COVENANT WAS MADE WITH ISRAEL. THEY WERE NOT AN AGREEMENT MADE, BUT SOMETHING WHICH GOD COMMANDED THEM TO PERFORM. THUS THE TEN COMMANDMENTS--GOD'S COVENANT--BECAME THE BASIS OF THE COVENANT MADE BETWEEN HIM AND ISRAEL. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS IN ALL THEIR DETAILS ARE "ALL THESE WORDS," CONCERNING WHICH THE COVENANT WAS MADE. SEE EXODUS 24:8.[Page 761]
NOTE 6. PAGE 354. WHEN A SIN OFFERING WAS PRESENTED FOR A PRIEST OR FOR THE WHOLE CONGREGATION, THE BLOOD WAS CARRIED INTO THE HOLY PLACE AND SPRINKLED BEFORE THE VEIL AND PLACED UPON THE HORNS OF THE GOLDEN ALTAR. THE FAT WAS CONSUMED UPON THE ALTAR OF BURNT OFFERING IN THE COURT, BUT THE BODY OF THE VICTIM WAS BURNED WITHOUT THE CAMP. SEE LEVITICUS 4:1-21.
WHEN, HOWEVER, THE OFFERING WAS FOR A RULER OF FOR ONE OF THE PEOPLE, THE BLOOD WAS NOT TAKEN INTO THE HOLY PLACE, BUT THE FLESH WAS TO BE EATEN BY THE PRIEST, AS THE LORD DIRECTED MOSES: "THE PRIEST THAT OFFERETH IT FOR SIN SHALL EAT IT: IN A HOLY PLACE SHALL IT BE EATEN, IN THE COURT OF THE TENT OF MEETING." LEVITICUS 6:26, R.V. SEE ALSO LEVITICUS 4:22-35.
NOTE 7. PAGE 366. THAT THE ONE WHO SPOKE THE LAW, WHO CALLED MOSES INTO THE MOUNT AND TALKED WITH HIM, WAS OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, IS EVIDENT FROM THE FOLLOWING CONSIDERATIONS:
CHRIST IS THE ONE THROUGH WHOM GOD HAS AT ALL TIMES REVEALED HIMSELF TO MAN. "BUT TO US THERE IS BUT ONE GOD, THE FATHER, OF WHOM ARE ALL THINGS, AND WE IN HIM; AND ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST, BY WHOM ARE ALL THINGS, AND WE BY HIM." 1 CORINTHIANS 8:6. "THIS IS HE [MOSES], THAT WAS IN THE CHURCH IN THE WILDERNESS WITH THE ANGEL WHICH SPAKE TO HIM IN THE MOUNT SINAI, AND WITH OUR FATHERS: WHO RECEIVED THE LIVELY ORACLES TO GIVE UNTO US." ACTS 7:38. THIS ANGEL WAS THE ANGEL OF GOD'S PRESENCE (ISAIAH 63:9), THE ANGEL IN WHOM WAS THE NAME OF THE GREAT JEHOVAH (EXODUS 23:20-23). THE EXPRESSION CAN REFER TO NO OTHER THAN THE SON OF GOD.
AGAIN: CHRIST IS CALLED THE WORD OF GOD. JOHN 1:1-3. HE IS SO CALLED BECAUSE GOD GAVE HIS REVELATIONS TO MAN IN ALL AGES THROUGH CHRIST. IT WAS HIS SPIRIT THAT INSPIRED THE PROPHETS. 1 PETER 1:10, 11. HE WAS REVEALED TO THEM AS THE ANGEL OF JEHOVAH, THE CAPTAIN OF THE LORD'S HOST, MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL.
NOTE 8. PAGE 603. THE QUESTION HAS BEEN RAISED, AND IS NOW MUCH AGITATED, IF A THEOCRACY WAS GOOD IN THE TIME OF ISRAEL, WHY WOULD NOT A THEOCRATICAL FORM OF GOVERNMENT BE EQUALLY GOOD FOR THIS TIME? THE ANSWER IS EASY:
A THEOCRACY IS A GOVERNMENT WHICH DERIVES ITS POWER IMMEDIATELY FROM GOD. THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL WAS A TRUE THEOCRACY. THAT WAS REALLY A GOVERNMENT OF GOD. AT THE BURNING BUSH, GOD COMMISSIONED MOSES TO LEAD HIS PEOPLE OUT OF EGYPT. BY SIGNS AND WONDERS AND MIGHTY MIRACLES MULTIPLIED, GOD DELIVERED ISRAEL FROM EGYPT AND LED THEM THROUGH THE WILDERNESS AND FINALLY INTO THE PROMISED LAND. THERE HE RULED THEM BY JUDGES "UNTIL SAMUEL THE PROPHET," TO WHOM, WHEN HE WAS A CHILD, GOD SPOKE, AND BY WHOM HE MADE KNOWN HIS WILL. IN THE DAYS OF SAMUEL THE PEOPLE ASKED THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE A KING. THIS WAS ALLOWED, AND GOD CHOSE SAUL, AND SAMUEL ANOINTED HIM KING OF ISRAEL. SAUL FAILED TO DO THE WILL OF GOD; AND AS HE REJECTED THE WORD OF THE LORD, THE LORD REJECTED HIM FROM BEING KING AND SENT SAMUEL TO ANOINT DAVID KING OF ISRAEL; AND DAVID'S THRONE GOD ESTABLISHED FOREVERMORE. WHEN SOLOMON SUCCEEDED TO THE KINGDOM IN THE PLACE OF DAVID HIS FATHER, THE RECORD IS: "THEN SOLOMON SAT ON THE THRONE OF THE LORD AS KING INSTEAD OF DAVID HIS FATHER." 1 CHRONICLES 29:23. DAVID'S THRONE WAS THE THRONE OF THE LORD, AND SOLOMON SAT ON THE THRONE OF THE LORD AS KING OVER THE EARTHLY KINGDOM OF GOD. THE SUCCESSION TO THE THRONE DESCENDED IN DAVID'S LINE TO ZEDEKIAH, WHO WAS MADE SUBJECT TO THE KING OF BABYLON, AND WHO ENTERED INTO A SOLEMN COVENANT BEFORE GOD THAT HE WOULD LOYALLY RENDER ALLEGIANCE TO THE KING OF BABYLON. BUT ZEDEKIAH BROKE HIS COVENANT, AND THEN GOD SAID TO HIM:[Page 762]
"THOU, PROFANE WICKED PRINCE OF ISRAEL, WHOSE DAY IS COME, WHEN INIQUITY SHALL HAVE AN END, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; REMOVE THE DIADEM, AND TAKE OFF THE CROWN: THIS SHALL NOT BE THE SAME: EXALT HIM THAT IS LOW, AND ABASE HIM THAT IS HIGH. I WILL OVERTURN, OVERTURN, OVERTURN, IT: AND IT SHALL BE NO MORE, UNTIL HE COME WHOSE RIGHT IT IS; AND I WILL GIVE IT HIM." EZEKIEL 21:25-27. SEE ALSO CHAPTER 17:1-21.
THE KINGDOM WAS THEN SUBJECT TO BABYLON. WHEN BABYLON FELL, AND MEDO-PERSIA SUCCEEDED, IT WAS OVERTURNED THE FIRST TIME. WHEN MEDO-PERSIA FELL AND WAS SUCCEEDED BY GREECE, IT WAS OVERTURNED THE SECOND TIME. WHEN THE GREEK EMPIRE GAVE WAY TO ROME, IT WAS OVERTURNED THE THIRD TIME. AND THEM SAYS THE WORD, "IT SHALL BE NO MORE, UNTIL HE COME WHOSE RIGHT IT IS; AND I WILL GIVE IT HIM." WHO IS HE WHOSE RIGHT IT IS? "THOU . . . SHALT CALL HIS NAME JESUS. HE SHALL BE GREAT, AND SHALL BE CALLED THE SON OF THE HIGHEST: AND THE LORD GOD SHALL GIVE UNTO HIM THE THRONE OF HIS FATHER DAVID: AND HE SHALL REIGN OVER THE HOUSE OF JACOB FOREVER; AND OF HIS KINGDOM THERE SHALL BE NO END." LUKE 1:31-33. AND WHILE HE WAS HERE AS "THAT PROPHET," A MAN OF SORROWS AND ACQUAINTED WITH GRIEF, THE NIGHT IN WHICH HE WAS BETRAYED HE HIMSELF DECLARED, "MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD." THUS THE THRONE OF THE LORD HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THIS WORLD AND WILL "BE NO MORE, UNTIL HE COME WHOSE RIGHT IT IS," AND THEN IT WILL BE GIVEN HIM. AND THAT TIME IS THE END OF THIS WORLD, AND THE BEGINNING OF "THE WORLD TO COME."
TO THE TWELVE APOSTLES THE SAVIOUR SAID, "I APPOINT UNTO YOU A KINGDOM, AS MY FATHER HATH APPOINTED UNTO ME; THAT YE MAY EAT AND DRINK AT MY TABLE IN MY KINGDOM, AND SIT ON THRONES, JUDGING THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL." LUKE 22:29, 30. FROM MATTHEW'S ACCOUNT OF CHRIST'S PROMISE TO THE TWELVE WE LEARN WHEN IT WILL BE FULFILLED; "IN THE REGENERATION WHEN THE SON OF MAN SHALL SIT IN THE THRONE OF HIS GLORY, YE ALSO SHALL SIT UPON TWELVE THRONES, JUDGING THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL." MATTHEW 19:28. IN THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS, CHRIST REPRESENTS HIMSELF UNDER THE FIGURE OF A NOBLEMAN WHO "WENT INTO A FAR COUNTRY TO RECEIVE FOR HIMSELF A KINGDOM, AND TO RETURN." LUKE 19:12. AND HE HIMSELF HAS TOLD US WHEN HE WILL SIT UPON THE THRONE OF HIS GLORY: "WHEN THE SON OF MAN SHALL COME IN HIS GLORY, AND ALL THE HOLY ANGELS WITH HIM, THEN SHALL HE SIT UPON THE THRONE OF HIS GLORY: AND BEFORE HIM SHALL BE GATHERED ALL NATIONS." MATTHEW 25:31, 32.[Page 763]
TO THIS TIME THE REVELATOR LOOKS FORWARD WHEN HE SAYS, "THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD ARE BECOME THE KINGDOMS OF OUR LORD, AND OF HIS CHRIST; AND HE SHALL REIGN FOREVER AND EVER." REVELATION 11:15. THE CONTEXT CLEARLY SHOWS WHEN THIS WILL TAKE PLACE: "THE NATIONS WERE ANGRY, AND THY WRATH IS COME, AND THE TIME OF THE DEAD, THAT THEY SHOULD BE JUDGED, AND THAT THOU SHOULDEST GIVE REWARD UNTO THY SERVANTS THE PROPHETS, AND TO THE SAINTS, AND THEM THAT FEAR THY NAME, SMALL AND GREAT; AND SHOULDEST DESTROY THEM WHICH DESTROY THE EARTH." VERSE 18. IT IS AT THE TIME OF THE FINAL JUDGMENT, THE REWARD OF THE RIGHTEOUS, AND THE PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED THAT THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST WILL BE SET UP. WHEN ALL WHO OPPOSE THE SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST HAVE BEEN DESTROYED, THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD BECOME THE KINGDOMS OF OUR LORD AND OF HIS CHRIST.
THEN CHRIST WILL REIGN, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." REVELATION 19:16. "AND THE KINGDOM AND DOMINION, AND THE GREATNESS OF THE KINGDOM UNDER THE WHOLE HEAVEN, SHALL BE GIVEN TO THE PEOPLE OF THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH." AND "THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH SHALL TAKE THE KINGDOM, AND POSSESS THE KINGDOM FOREVER, EVEN FOREVER AND EVER." DANIEL 7:27, 18.
UNTIL THAT TIME THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST CANNOT BE ESTABLISHED ON THE EARTH. HIS KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD. HIS FOLLOWERS ARE TO ACCOUNT THEMSELVES "STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS ON THE EARTH." PAUL SAYS, "OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN; FROM WHENCE ALSO WE WAIT FOR A SAVIOUR, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST." HEBREWS 11:13; PHILIPPIANS 3:20, R.V.
SINCE THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL PASSED AWAY, GOD HAS NEVER DELEGATED AUTHORITY TO ANY MAN OR BODY OF MEN TO EXECUTE HIS LAWS AS SUCH. "VENGEANCE IS MINE; I WILL REPAY, SAITH THE LORD." ROMANS 12:19. CIVIL GOVERNMENTS HAVE TO DO WITH THE RELATIONS OF MAN WITH MAN; BUT THEY HAVE NOTHING WHATEVER TO DO WITH THE DUTIES THAT GROW OUT OF MAN'S RELATION TO GOD.
EXCEPT THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL, NO GOVERNMENT HAS EVER EXISTED ON THE EARTH IN WHICH GOD BY INSPIRED MEN DIRECTED THE AFFAIRS OF STATE. WHENEVER MEN HAVE ENDEAVORED TO FORM SUCH A GOVERNMENT AS THAT OF ISRAEL, THEY HAVE, OF NECESSITY, TAKEN IT UPON THEMSELVES TO INTERPRET AND ENFORCE THE LAW OF GOD. THEY HAVE ASSUMED THE RIGHT TO CONTROL THE CONSCIENCE, AND THUS HAVE USURPED THE PREROGATIVE OF GOD.[Page 764]
IN THE FORMER DISPENSATION, WHILE SINS AGAINST GOD WERE VISITED WITH TEMPORAL PENALTIES, THE JUDGMENTS EXECUTED WERE NOT ONLY BY DIVINE SANCTION, BUT UNDER HIS DIRECT CONTROL, AND BY HIS COMMAND. SORCERERS WERE TO BE PUT TO DEATH. IDOLATERS WERE TO BE SLAIN. PROFANITY AND SACRILEGE WERE PUNISHED WITH DEATH. WHOLE NATIONS OF IDOLATERS WERE TO BE EXTERMINATED. BUT THE INFLICTION OF THESE PENALTIES WAS DIRECTED BY HIM WHO READS THE HEARTS OF MEN, WHO KNOWS THE MEASURE OF THEIR GUILT, AND WHO DEALS WITH HIS CREATURES IN WISDOM AND MERCY. WHEN MEN, WITH HUMAN FRAILTIES AND PASSIONS, UNDERTAKE TO DO THIS WORK, IT NEEDS NO ARGUMENT TO SHOW THAT THE DOOR IS OPENED TO UNRESTRAINED INJUSTICE AND CRUELTY. THE MOST INHUMAN CRIMES WILL BE PERPETRATED, AND ALL IN THE SACRED NAME OF CHRIST.
FROM THE LAWS OF ISRAEL, WHICH PUNISHED OFFENSES AGAINST GOD, ARGUMENTS HAVE BEEN DRAWN TO PROVE THE DUTY OF PUNISHING SIMILAR SINS IN THIS AGE. ALL PERSECUTORS HAVE EMPLOYED THEM TO JUSTIFY THEIR DEEDS. THE PRINCIPLE THAT GOD HAS DELEGATED TO HUMAN AUTHORITY THE RIGHT TO CONTROL THE CONSCIENCE IS THE VERY FOUNDATION OF RELIGIOUS TYRANNY AND PERSECUTION. BUT ALL WHO REASON THUS LOSE SIGHT OF THE FACT THAT WE ARE NOW LIVING IN A DIFFERENT DISPENSATION, UNDER CONDITIONS WHOLLY DIFFERENT FROM THOSE OF ISRAEL; THAT THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL WAS A TYPE OF THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST, WHICH WILL NOT BE SET UP UNTIL HIS SECOND COMING; AND THAT THE DUTIES WHICH PERTAIN TO MAN'S RELATION TO GOD ARE NOT TO BE REGULATED OR ENFORCED BY HUMAN AUTHORITY.
NOTE 9. PAGE 608. CONCERNING THE IDENTITY OF THE RAMAH OF SAMUEL WITH THE RAMAH OF BENJAMIN, DR. EDERSHEIM SAYS: "THESE TWO POINTS SEEM ESTABLISHED: SAUL'S RESIDENCE WAS AT GIBEAH, AND HE FIRST MET SAMUEL IN RAMAH. BUT IF SO, IT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE, IN VIEW OF 1 SAMUEL 10:2, TO IDENTIFY THE RAMAH OF SAMUEL WITH THE RAMAH OF BENJAMIN, OR TO REGARD IT AS THE MODERN NEBY SAMUEL, FOUR MILES NORTHWEST OF JERUSALEM."