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pendencies, fell to the lot of the tribe of Benjamin for an inheritance (Josh. 18: 25). It was also, with its suburbs, appointed of God, by lot, to be one of the cities of the Levites, given to them for an inheritance out of Benjamin (Josh. 21: 17). But more than this, it became the place of the Tabernaclel of the Congregation of God (1 Chron. 16: 39 and 21: 29, and also 2 Chron. 1:3), and the great high-place of sacrifice (1 Kings 3:4), and of the brazen altar before the Tabernacle (2 Chron. 1:5), where Solomon offered a thousand burntofferings at once, and where God appeared to Solomon, and entered into covenant with him (1 Kings 3: 5).
There is a remarkable coincidence between this historic fact and the tenor of the treaty with the Gibeonites (Josh. 9: 27): “ For Joshua made them hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the Lord, even unto this day, in the place which he should choose.” No one could have foreseen that he would choose Gibeon; but so it
Yet not in that city only did the Gibeonites serve the altar; but when the city was passed to the inheritance of the Levites, the Gibeonites and their race must have become the servants of the Priests, "for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord," wherever the tabernacle was set up, as at Nob, the city of the Priests, where David received the hallowed bread from Ahimelech (1 Sam. 21:1 and 22: 19). In his wrath against Ahimelech, and against all that harbored David at that time, Saul not only slew the priests, fourscore and five, but destroyed the whole city of the priests, with all its inhabitants (1 Sam. 22:18, 19). This was the most atrocious and the hugest crime of all his reign. Nothing is to be found that can be compared with it.
Several points are now determined : 1st, The separation of a particular race to be bondmen of the altar, servants of the Priests, for the service of God's house, in a class of labors indicated by the proverbial expression “ hewers of wood and drawers of water.” There is no intimation of the Gibeonites or their posterity ever being bondmen in any other
1 " Being brought thither as to the chief residence of the sons of Ithamar, who waited on the sanctuary when Shiloh fell.” — Lightfoot, Vol. II. p. 198.
way, or in private families. 2d, This service, and their separation and consecration for it as a race, was a boon granted them instead of death, which otherwise, by the Divine law, they must have suffered. They were spared, in consequence of the treaty with them; and the covenant with them was of life and labor as the servants of the sanctuary. The life was pleasant, the service was not over-toilsome; they accepted it with gratitude. 3d, The treaty was kept for hundreds of years; and from generation to generation the Gibeonites and their posterity fulfilled their part of it, continuing, as at first appointed, the servants of the Sanctuary. Saul was the first who broke this treaty; and God's own view of its sacredness may be known by the terrible manner in which he avenged its breach, and continued to protect the Gibeonites. Saul had not only destroyed the city of Nob, but had “devised means by which the Gibeonites should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel (2 Sam. 21: 4).
Case of the Nethinim. It has been supposed that the Gibeonites constituted a part of the Nethinim, so often mentioned as the servants of the Tabernacle and of the Temple. The first trace of this name we meet in Num. 3: 9 and 8: 19, where the Levites are said to be given as a gift () from God to Aaron and his sons for the service of the tabernacle. Also, Num. 18: 6. The verb from which this word is derived (inn:), is used by Joshua in describing the result of the treaty made with the Gibeonites: he gave or granted them to become, he set or established them, hewers of wood, etc., for the altar of the Lord (Josh. 9:27); he nethiniced them for the service of the Priests. So, in 1 Chron. 6: 48, the Levites are said to have been appointed, uinnethinized, unto all manner of service in the tabernacle. In the same manner, for the service of the Levites, others were given, appointed, nethinized; and this class, under the Levites, included the Gibeonites, and came to be designated, at length, apart from them, and from other servants, as the Nethinim (m), 1 Chron. 9: 8, where the
name first occurs as of a separate class; the people returned from the captivity in Babylon being designated as Israelites, priests, Levites, and the Nethinim. Then the term occurs in Ezra 2: 43, 58, coupled with the children of Solomon's servants (729), in one and the same classification; all the Nethinim and the children of Solomon's servants, in number-392. The priests, and the Levites, and some of the people, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinim, dwelt in their cities ; and all Israel in their cities” (Ezra 2: 70). Priests, Levites, singers, porters, and Nethinim are again specified in Ezra 7:7; and, in verse 24, the edict of Artaxerxes is specified, forbidding any toll, tribute, or custom from being laid upon priests, Levites, singers, porters, Nethinim, or ministers of the house of God.
In Ezra 8:17—20 a message is sent to Iddo and his brethren the Nethinim, at the place Casiphia, for ministers for the house of God; and in answer to this message,
there were sent, along with a number of Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinim, of the Nethinim whom David and the Princes had appointed for the service of the Levites. In Neh. 3: 26, the Nethinim are recorded as having repaired their portion of the wall of Jerusalem, near their quarter in Ophel. They are also enumerated, as in Ezra, along with the children of Solomon's servants, as having come up from the captivity (Neh. 7: 60, 73). They are also recorded with the Levites, priests, and others, as parties in the great covenant which the people renewed with God, to observe his statutes (10: 28). The particular quarter of Jerusalem where they dwelt is pointed out, and the names of the overseers that were over them (Neh. 11:21). Others of them, as well as of the priests, Levites, and children of Solomon's servants, dwelt in other cities, according to their respective possessions and engagements (Neh. 11:3).
Their return to Jerusalem from the captivity was volun. tary ; they might have remained abroad. It was not a return to slavery, but a resumption, of their own accord, of the service of the Sanctuary, to which they had been devoted. So it was, likewise, with “the children of Solomon's serVol. XIII. No. 49.
vants;” they resumed their position in their native land, of their own choice, and by no compulsion. And both the Nethenim and the descendants of Solomon's servants, had their families and lineal ancestry preserved in the genealogical register of the nation; they had “ entered into the congregation of the Lord."
of whom there were seven ,(עַבְדֵיהֶם וְאֵמְרֹתֵיהֶם) and their maids
Case of the Servants of the Captive Jews. The enumeration, given by Ezra, of the returned people, is, for the whole congregation, 42,360, besides their servants
(), thousand three hundred thirty and seven; and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women. At first sight it might have been supposed that these singing men and singing women formed a part of the train of servants; but it does not appear so from the corresponding record of Nehemiah; they were an additional class. They, with the servants, and the maids, may all have been “bought” by the Jews during their captivity; but the purchase of a servant was no indication of slavery, where this language was customary to describe even the acquisition of a wife, or the buying of a Hebrew servant, who could not be a slave. The case of the free-born Hebrew selling himself for money (Lev. 25: 47) is in point; and the same person who has thus voluntarily sold his own time for money, is afterwards said to have been bought (25: 51). Such was the common usage of the term, not at all implying slavery.
It seems remarkable that they should return from their captivity in such array : men-servants and maid-servants (OPTION D777-), seven thousand three hundred and thirtyseven; singing men and singing women two hundred and forty-five (Neh. 7: 67). To account for this, we have to turn to the prophet Isaiah, to the prediction of God, that, when he should have mercy upon his captive people, and set them again in their own land," the strangers should be joined with them, and should bring them to their place, and the house of Israel should possess them in the land of the Lord for servants
and handmaids (simpebor), and they shall take them captives whose captives they were ” (Isa. 14: 2). Here is a most remarkable fulfilment of prophecy. At the same time it is obvious that the whole arrangement of their servitude must have been to a great degree voluntary, a service for which remuneration was required and given. It must have been, in every respect, a service contracted and assumed according to the principles and laws laid down in the Mosaic statutes, and in no respect a slavery such as those statutes were appointed to abolish.
It is to be noted that, in the language of Nehemiah, the term 799 is not used in designating servants, but the word "s? young man; as, for example, Neh. 5: 16, spoken of the governor's servants (-79259) having borne rule over the people; also 5: 16, all Nehemiah's servants (-b7); also 4: 22, of the people with their servants, every one with his servant (13?"); also 4: 23, I, nor my servants (1379797x). The same in 5: 10 and other places. The usage is plain, and not to be mistaken. The same usage prevails in the book of Ruth.
On the other hand, when Nehemiah intends to express the idea of bond-service, and to describe what the Jews themselves had been in their captivity, he uses the word 7. For example, chap. 5: 5, We bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, basadas. Also 2: 10, Tobiah the servant, annais. Also 9: 36, We are servants, 5-79%; and 11:3, The children of Solomon's servants, -77%. There was mixed multitude” that came up with the Israelites from the captivity (13:3); and of this multitude, the 245 singing men and singing women must have formed a part. The servants belonged to the same class; and there were a large number of strange women, of the Moabites, Ammonites, Egyptians, and others, with whom the people had intermarried, and formed families. These would bring their household servants with them; but the class designated by Nehemiah as on, must have been of a different character. They may have been free, and free-born in every respect, making their own contracts of service, and choosing their own masters. And whether or s:, whether strangers or