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signed chiefly for defending themselves in the land which God had given them, and not for arbitrarily offending and invading others from no other motive or view but that of conquest. When Moses promises national blessings and prosperity to them upon their obedience, Levit. xxvi. Deut. xxviii. he doth not mention God's raising them to universal empire, but that God would give them plenty, and peace, and prosperity, that they might dwell safely and comfortably in their own land; and that they should be more happy and honourable than other nations; and that he would give them victory over their enemies that should rise up against them,' i. e. that should attempt to disturb and invade them : for that this is the meaning of that phrase in the sacred writings is evident from many passages. See particularly, Deut. xix. 11; 2 Kings xvi. 7; Ps. iii. 1; xvii. 7; xviii. 48 ; lix. 1-4; xcii. 11.
These observations will help us to form a right judgment of the military laws in the twentieth chapter of Deutejonomy which the author refers to. If wecompare this with other passages of the law, and with the whole of their constitution, we shall be convinced that the design of this chapter is not to direct and encourage them to
extend their conquests as far as they could, and to destroy any or every nation that would not submit to become their subjects and tributaries upon demand.' As if they might invade whomsoever they would without provocation, or any other reason than the desire of making conquests. This is never once mentioned in the whole law as a sufficient reason for going to war. They are not encouraged or commanded to invade any except the devoted nations, which was a peculiar case, and in which they were only the executioners of the just sentence denounced against them by God himself for their execrable wickedness. But there were several even of the neighbouring nations whom they were expressly forbidden to meddle with ; as the Edomites, the Ammonites, the Moabites; and were told that God had given those nations the several countries they possessed for an inheritance, from which they were not to endeavour to dispossess them. The Ammonites and Moabites were amongst the nations with whom they were not to cultivate any particular friendship or amity, or to seek their prosperity, because of their injurious and wicked treatment of them when they came out of Egypt, Deut. xxiii. 3, 4, 6; yet they were expressly prohibited to invade their country, or to distress them, Deut. xi. 5, 9, 15. This sufficiently showed that they were not causelessly, and of their own mere motion to invade other nations, even though they were idolaters, from a mere desire of conquest, and enlarging their dominion: the rules, therefore, given them for their wars in the twentieth chapter of Deuteronomy, do not relate to wars undertaken only from a motive of ambition and conquest, but to wars that were just and necessary. And with respect to the management of such wars they are directed and encouraged in the first place, not to be afraid of their enemies in the field, let them appear to be never so numerous and formidable, and better ap
pointed for war than themselves; for that God would be with them.' And then if they conquered their enemies in battle, they are instructed how to deal with their cities which they should come to besiege, ver. 10, &c. Let the provocation given them be never so great, and the cause of the war never so just, and though they had it in their power to destroy their enemies, yet they were obliged, when they came before any of their cities first to proclaim peace unto them, that is, to offer to let them live quietly in the enjoyment of their country, and of their goods and possessions, on condition of their becoming subjects and tributaries to them. Thus we are told concerning the Moabites and Syrians, that they became
• David's servants, and brought him gifts,' 2 Sam. viii. 26; and with regard to Solomon, that he reigned over all the kingdoms from the river, that is, Euphrates, unto the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt' (which was the utmost extent of dominion that ever was promised any way to belong to Abraham's seed), ' they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life,' 1 Kings iv. 21; and it is probable that except the tribute they paid they still continued to be governed by their own laws and customs. Now it would be hard to show the injustice of imposing a tribute on a conquered enemy, whom they had beaten in the field in a just war, and whose cities surrendered to them as conquerors. For it is plain that this is the case here supposed.
The next direction given them, relates to a city that when summoned by their victorious arms refused to surrender to them, and was taken by assault. For this is the plain meaning of it when it is said, 'if it (the city) will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it; and when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine bands, thou shalt smite, &c., ver. 12, 13. Though they had refused the summons, yet if they surrendered before they were taken by assault, and consented to the conditions proposed to them, they were to be spared; for though only one summons or offer of peace is mentioned, yet no time is limited, but it is plainly intimated that if they should make an answer of peace,
open, or surrender unto them, at any time before their city was taken by force, their lives were to be spared. But if they obstinately rejected all offers of peace, and after being made to know what they were to expect in case of being taken by force, still refused to surrender, in that case when God delivered the city into their hands,' that is, when they took it by assault (for this is the meaning of that phrase when applied to besieged cities, see Josh. x. 30, 32), they were allowed to kill all the males, i.e. all that bore arms; as hath been usual in the taking of towns by storm. And yet even then they were not in the fury of
In those days all the men were wont to fight and bear arms in a time of war, especially in a city that was besieged and assaulted. As we may see in the case of Ai, Jos, viii. 14—16, and may be plainly gathered from many other instances. There were pot properly regular forces in garrison then as now, but all the citizens were soldiers. And on this foundatiou it is that when a city was taken by assault, the males and they only were suffered to be put to the sword : that is, the victors by this law had a liberty
an assault to kill" women and children,' see ver. 14; instances of which there have been in many nations, and even among the Romans theniselves, and that under generals famed for their humanity, as Scipio Germanicus, Titus, &c.; see Grot. de Jure Belli et Pacis, lib. iii. cap. 4, sect. 9. We find that in the language of Scripture the ruin of a city taken by assault is sometimes expressed by dashing their children against the stones,' because it was but too usual to do this on such occasions, Isa. xiii. 16, 18, Ezek. ix. 5; but the Israelites are here absolutely forbidden to imitate this barbarity. They were even in the heat of an assault to spare the
women' and • little ones ;' and the word we there render little ones,' signifies any male or female under twenty years of age* ; the principal design, therefore, of this law seems to be to limit their rage,
and to show the utmost to which they were ever to proceed in cases of this kind, when they took towns by assault or by storm : they were only to kill the males, that is, those that bore arms, but were not to wreck their fury upon the
young ones, or the weaker sex. And with respect to the males, or men in arms, if they had taken any of them captives, and had spared their lives, this would not properly have been a breach of this law, which was not designed absolutely to bind them in all such cases to kill all the males; but not to kill any other but the men, and so the Jews understood it; who never looked upon it to be unlawful for them in ordinary cases to take men captives in war, and to spare their lives. And this is plainly supposed in the answer which Elisha the prophet, who very well understood the law, makes to the king of Israel, when he asked whether he should smite the Syrian soldiers whom he had taken in Samaria : “ Thou shalt not smite them : wouldst thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow?' 2 Kings vi. 22.+
I would observe by the way, that with respect to the women that were taken captives, the Israelites were not allowed by the
given them to slay the men, or in other words, those that fought against them and resisted them. Though this did not put it out of their power to show mercy to such of them as they should see fit to spare. Josephus gives the sense of the law of Moses with regard to the management of the war thus, that when they orercame in fight κρατήσαντες τη μάχη they were to kill those that resisted τους αντιταξαμένους, the word properly relates to those that opposed them in fight, or were in arms against them, and were to keep the rest alive for tribute. And this seems to have been the real intention of this law, that they were to put those only to the sword that resisted them, and this even in towns taken by storm or assault, when there is usually a greater liberty for slaughter than in other cases, and against an enemy that had unjustly made war upon them. And if we may credit the most eminent Jewish writers they thought themselves obliged, when they besieged or assaulted a town not to begirt it closely on all sides, but to leave one side open, that such of their enemies as had a mind might fiee away and save their lives. And this custom they will have to be derived from Moses. Maimonides represents it.
And that this was a very ancient tradition among them appears from the Targum of Ben Uzziel, in Numb. xxxi.7. See Selden de Jure Nat. et Gentium, lib. vi, cap. 15; and Grot. de Jure Belli, &c., lib. iii. cap. 11, l. 14.
See Schindler in voce, 90. + Of which words Ben Gerson gives this sense. If thou wouldst slay persons because thou hadst thyself taken them captives in war, it would be a very unworthy action, and it would be much more to slay those whom the blessed God himself hath made thy captives. And Jarchi explains it to the same purpose
law to violate them. If any of them saw and liked a beautiful captive, he was first to take her to his house, and allow her a month to bewail her father and mother, which showed a great deal of tenderness and humanity towards the captive, and at the same time gave space for the heat of his passion to abate; and if his affection to her still continued, he was to marry her, and take her for his wife, or if he did not continue to love her, was to give her her liberty, see Deut. xxi. 10–15. This wise constitution was designed to lay a restraint on their exorbitant lusts, to which soldiers are very prone to give a full loose, especially in a town taken by assault.
And lastly, the orders given in that 20th chapter of Deuteronomy, ver. 19, not to destroy the fruit trees' in a siege, because they were man's life,' or useful for sustaining life; and which the Hebrew doctors justly interpret, as extending to all things of the like nature; that is, not to commit needless cruel wastes and devastations in the enemy's land, shows that Moses was far from encouraging such a fierce and savage spirit in the management of their wars as this writer would have us believe.
I would only farther observe, that whereas Moses, after giving these directions as to the management of the war, saith, Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee :' this is not to be understood, as this writer would have it, as if it was designed to encourage them to carry their conquering arms through all the world to the most distant nations. What is meant by the cities' very far off' from them, Moses himself explains in the following words: for he immediately adds, which are not of the cities of these nations. The latter phrase is evidently designed to be explicatory of the former; and to show whom they were to understand by the cities that were very far off from them, even all that did not properly belong to the devoted nations of the land of Canaan. And it is certain that in Scripture language the words ' far off' do not always denote a great distance, but are sometimes applied to places that were not truly remote. Thus we are told concerning the waters of Jordan when the Israelites passed over, that they rose up on an heap very far from the city Adam that
6 is beside Zaretan,' Josh. iii. 16, though this was not many miles off in the plains of Jordan ; compåre 1 Kings vii. 46. The inhabitants of Laish are said to be far from the Zidonians,' Judg. xviii. 7, 88, though they were but a day's journey from them, according to Josephus. And any stranger that is not of Israel.is represented as . of a far country,' and
of a far country,' and 'as coming from a far country,’ Deut. xxix. 22, 1 Kings viii. 41, 2 Chron. vi. 32. So that the meaning is plainly this, that they were to conform to the directions he had given them, in all their wars with any other nations but the Canaanites, whom God had devoted to utter destruction.
Having considered what the author objects against the law of Moses from its constitutions of war, and supposed intentions of
universal conquest, I shall not need to say much to that part of his reflections, where he urges it as a proof of the spirit of inhumanity and persecution in that law, that it obliged them absolutely to separate themselves from all idolaters, and to have no alliances with them. He tells us, • that by the law even the proselytes of the gate, who were not obliged to be circumcised, yet were obliged absolutely to separate themselves from all idolaters, or people of other religions (so he very candidly interprets it, as if to be idolaters,' and to be people of other religions,' were terms of the same signification); and that this separation was to regard all family intercourse, of eating and drinking together, cohabitation, intermarriages, alliances in war, or any other conjunction of interest, though it should appear never so necessary for mutual defence and self-preservation; and that this strict and rigid separation from all the rest of the world, and abjuring their friendship and alliances as idolaters is so clearly interwoven with all the laws of Moses, that it may be called the fundamental constitution of that state or body politic,' p. 360.
It will be easily owned that the Jews were, by their constitution and peculiarities, designed to be kept a separate people, and from confounding themselves with other nations; and this was ordered for very wise and valuable ends, some of which have been hinted at already. But the proselytes of the gate' were not bound by those peculiar distinctive rites that kept the Jews separate from other nations; especially those that related to the distinction of meats, and to ceremonial impurities. And whereas he tells us that the proselytes of the gate' were obliged absolutely to separate from all idolaters, even with regard to alliances in war, or any other conjunction of interest, though it should appear never so necessary for mutual defence and self-preservation; this is not true even of the Jews themselves. They were not obliged by any
. precept of that law never to have any alliances in war, or any other conjunction of interest' with the heathen nations, though it should appear_never so necessary for mutual defence and selfpreservation. The precepts of the law forbidding them to make any covenant or league relating to the nations of Canaan, or the inhabitants of the land, as is evident from all the passages where this is mentioned, see Exod. xxiii, 32, 33, Exod. xxxiv. 12, 15, Deut. vii. 1, 2, to which may be added, Judg. ii. 2. The learned Grotius hath, in a few words, set this matter in a clear light, de Jure Belli et Pacis, lib. ii. cap. 15, sect. 9, where he observes that the Jews are nowhere in the law forbidden to make treaties of commerce with the Pagans, or any other such covenants which tended to the mutual benefit of both parties. He instances in Solomon's league with Hiram, king of Tyre, for which he is so far from being blamed, that it is mentioned as an instance of the 'great wisdom' which the Lord had given him,' 1 Kings v. 12; and before that there had been a great friendship between Hiram and David, ver. I, as also between king David, and Nahash, king of