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awakened an enthusiastic zeal for his country in the mind of Gideon, and who had been treated by Gideon with patriarchal hospitality, gave occasion to this mythus. It is very similar to the account given in the first Book of the Æneid, where the mother of Venus comes to Æneas, and is not recognised as the goddess till she departs. Homer has many such tales.
An angel visits the wife of Manoah; her husband is from home. The angel informs her that, although she has hitherto been barren, she shall have a son, who shall be a Nazarite from the womb. She relates this circumstance to her credulous husband, who only wishes that the angel of Jehovah, “ the man of God,” would come again and give them some further information respecting this child. The wish is complied with. The angel appears a second time, but unfortunately the husband is again absent; his wife fetches him, and he speaks with the divine ambassador, who, at verse 22,* is called Duba“God.” Manoah is not aware that he is speaking with the angel of Jehovah; he regards him merely as a prophet, or man of God;" that is, “God's servant," whoever he might be. Manoah offers him refreshment: this is refused, but the angel commands Manoah to offer a sacrifice to Jehovah; the offering is accordingly placed on a rock, which serves for an altar; and we read that
“ Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto Jehovah: and the angel did wonderously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of Jehovah ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. But the angel of Jehovah did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife.”—Chap. xiii. 19-21. It is not difficult to surmise what might have been the probable foundation of this story: history represents Samson, the son of Manoah, as a most extraordinary hero, resembling the Hercules of the Grecians. If Samson were not like him, the son of a god, at any rate his birth was announced by a divine messenger, and it was miraculous.
Jehovah still appears occasionally in dreams :* “ And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seun God.”—Chap. xiii. 22.
“It came to pass the same night that Jehovah said unto Gideon," &c.—Chap. vi. 25.
“And it came to pass the same night that Jehovah said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand.”—Chap. vii. 9. The chest or ark is still regarded as the symbol of the Divine presence, and it is said of whoever stands or speaks in front of this chest, that he stands or speaks before Jehovah:
“And Jephthah uttered all his words before Jehovah in Mizpeh.”—Chap. xi. 11. An evil spirit is introduced in Judges : this is the first time an evil spirit is mentioned in the Old Testament.
“ Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously
with Abimelech.”—Chap. ix. 23. This passage means to express that Abimelech and the men of Shechem quarrelled. But we learn, from this mode of expression, that the Hebrews regarded God as the author of the discord between the governor and the people, and, indeed, of all dissensions of moment. The Greeks personified Eris, and attributed all earthly contentions and strife to
Jehovah is worshipped by the offering of sacrifices and the vowing of vows. Jephthah, one of the leaders of Israel, a barbarian, who had previously been the captain of a band of lawless ruffians, is of opinion that a vow once vowed to the Deity cannot, under any circumstances, be violated with impunity-even though its performance include the perpetration of an unjust or immoral deed—its non-fulfilment would, nevertheless, call down the fearful vengeance of God.
Acting under this persuasion, he, after mature deliberation, sacrifices a human victim, in the person of his daughter, to his God, Jehovah. Jephthah's religious notions, are no higher than those entertained by Agamemnon, who, following the advice of a cruel priest, slaughtered his daughter Iphigenia, on the altar of the Gods of the Ocean.
THE FIRST BOOK OF SAMUEL;
OR, THE NOTIONS ENTERTAINED CONCERNING GOD DURING
THE GOVERNMENT OF SAMUEL AND OF SAUL.
The notions concerning God, which prevailed among the Hebrews, during the government of Samuel and of Saul, differ but little from the opinions we examined in the foregoing chapter.
Representations of God. The most just ideas of the being and character of God are expressed in Hannah's song of praise ; they are very superior to those entertained by her son Samuel. But this song must not be regarded as the production of Hannah, though it is ascribed to her by the author. It is evident from verse 10* that it was written during the reign of one of the kings, probably in the time of David; and it was doubtlessly used as a war-song. It contains the following representations of God :-There is no God besides Jehovah: he fixed the pillars of the earth, and set the world thereon. He is a God of holiness, and a God of knowledge. He is the governor of all men, even unto the ends of the earth. His providence orders every event: he makes poor, and he makes rich : he kills, and he makes alive: he casts down, and he raises up : he protects his saints, and he punishes those who rebel against him.
In this Book Jehovah is generally described as the national-God of Israel,
“ Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace; and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him."
1 Sam. i. 17. “Thus saith Jehovah the God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed
* 1 Sam. ii. 10.
you: and ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved
Character and Attributes of God. Jehovah is portrayed as a cruel God. As, in the former Books, he commands the total destruction of the Canaanites, by the mouth of his servant Moses, so, in this Book, he insists on the utter extermination of the Amalekites, by the mouth of his merciless prophet Samuel.
Jehovah repents of what he does. He had commanded Saul, saying
“Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, in
fant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."—Chap. xv. 3. But Saul, moved by compassion, spares Agag, the king of the Amalekites; he also saves the best of the sheep and oxen. Jehovah is very angry at this disobedience, and complaing of it to Samuel, and says
“ It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king; for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my
commandments.-Chap. xv. 11. Though it is here stated that, when Jehovah discovers that Saul does not perform his commands, he repents that he had set him up to be king, yet in the same chapter Samuel thus addresses Saul
“ The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is
not a man, that he should repent.”—Chap. xv. 29. Since Jehovah had just repented of what he had done, we can merely understand Samuel to mean, that this determination of Jehovah to reject Saul from being king was final, for the purposes of Jehovah are not so variable as those of human beings.
Jehovah is provoked to anger. After a battle had been
* The following are the emphatic words addressed by Samuel to Saul;“ Jehovah hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath gren it to a neighbour of thine that is better than thou: and the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent : for he is not a man that he should repent.” But what was the fact ? Saul reigned over Israel four-and-twenty years from this time, even till the day of his death; and after his death David found great difficulty in establishing himself upon the throne. Ish-bosheth succeeded his father (Saul) in Israel, and for seven years and six months David reigned in Hebron over the tribe of Judah only. See 2 Sam. ii, 10, 11.-Tr.
fought with the Philistines Saul adjures the people, saying
“ Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies. So none of the people tasted any food.”
“ But Jonathan heard not when his father charged the people with the oath ; wherefore he put forth the end of the rod that was in his hand, and dipped it in an honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened.”
Chap. xiv. 24 and 27. Hereupon Jehovah is angry; and he shows his displeasure by returning no answer when Saul consults the sacred oracle —the Urim. Saul instantly concludes that some grievous sin is the cause of the anger and silence of Jehovah ; and therefore inquiry is again made through the Urim an Thummim, “ to know and see wherein this sin hath been.”
“ Therefore Saul said unto Jehovah, the God of Israel, Give a perfect lot. And Saul and Jonathan were taken: but the people escaped. And Saul said, Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan was taken. Then Saul said to Jonathan, Tell me what thou hast done. And Jonathan told him, and said, I did but taste a little honey with the end of the rod that was in mine hand, and, lo, I must die. And Saul answered, God do so and more also: for thou shalt surely die,
Jonathan.” And the life of Jonathan would have been sacrificed as an atonement, but that the people are more mercifully inclined than their rulers, and rescue him from destruction.
“ And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel ? God forbid : as Jehovah liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he hath wrought with God this day. So the people
rescued Jonathan, that he died not.”—Chap. xiv. 41-45. Jehovah gives a visible sign of his anger. Samuel calls upon Jehovah, who causes a violent thunder-storm to arise at a season of the year when such storms were unusual. The Israelites are desirous that a king shall reign over them : this wish is very displeasing to Jehovah (or more truly speaking, it is very displeasing to Samuel, who plainly foresaw that the authority of a king in Israel must greatly diminish the power of the prophets). The demand of the people is too urgent to be resisted, it is found necessary to give them a king : this however must not be quietly conceded,