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JUDGES Xiii. 5.

"For lo, thou shalt conceive and bear a son, and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a nazarite unto God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

IT is an immutable truth, that the number of God's elect can neither be increased nor diminished; yet it is as real a truth, that the number of the elect may be more in one age and placé than another, and according to this, such is the success of the everlasting gospel of the blessed God. This book of Judges gives full proof of it; for the number of God's elect being few in Israel, the true worship of God became so generally neglected, and will-worship and idolatry so greatly prevailed, that we read of scarce any

thing throughout this part of the inspired volume, but the relapses of the Israelites into idolatry, and the Lord, on their repentance, raising up judges or deliverers for them, who administered judgment unto them, giving them proper advice, going forth before them to battle, governing their political affairs, and thus again and again saving them out of the hands of their various enemies. This book, from the death of Joshua to the death of Samson, contains the period of two hundred and ninety-nine years, according to Dr. Lightfoot. It contains an account of thirteen persons, stiled judges; whose names were, first, Othniel, who delivered the Israelites out of the hands of Cushan Rishathaim, who oppressed them eight years, and he governed them as a judge forty years. Second, Eliud, who delivered them from the oppression of Eglon, king of Moab, under which they were eight years; and he acted as a judge amongst them eighty years. Third, Barak, who delivered them from the cruelty of Jabin, king of Canaan, which lasted twenty years; and he acted as a political judge forty years. Fourth, Gideon, who delivered them from the oppression of Midian, which lasted seven years; and he acted as their ruler forty years. Fifth, Abimelech, Gideon's son, acted in a public office three years. Sixth, Tola, of Issachar; he was judge in Israel twenty-three years. Seventh, Jair, of Manasseh, six years. years. Eighth, Jepthah, he

delivered the Israelites out of the hands of the children of Ammon, who oppressed them eighteen years he ruled six years. Ninth, Ibsan, who ruled seven years. Tenth, Elon, who ruled ten years. Eleventh, Abdon, who acted as judge eight years. And the twelfth, was Samson, of the tribe of Dan, whom the Lord raised up to begin to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines; and who acted in a public capacity twenty years. The total sum of the years of these judges is two hundred and ninety-nine. The years of oppression by the kings of Mesopotamia, Moab, Canaan, Midian, Ammon, and the Philistines, recorded in this book of Judges, are one hundred and eleven.

It may not be amiss, for the help of the me mory, to observe, that the four famous monarchies of the world, the Assyrian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman, were the descendants of Shem and Japhet: the former, of Shem; the latter of Japhet. And also that the Ishmaelites and Hagarenes were the descendants of Ishmael, Hagar's son by Abraham. The Moabites and Ammonites were descendants of Lot. The Edomites were descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Esau. The Midianites were descendants of Midian, a son of Abraham, by Keturah. Job was a son of Nahor, Abraham's brother, descended from him by his son Buz. Gen. xxii. 21.

And so Elihu and he came to live so near together, the one being of Uz, the eldest son of Nahor, and the other of Buz, the second son. Dr. Lightfoot.

As a Trinity in one incomprehensible Unity, distinguished in the sacred page by the names of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of one and the same divine essence, subsisting and acting in and by one another, makes a glorious part of the revelation given us in the sacred page; so it is most truly pleasing to behold the Son, who in the covenant which obtained before the world was, undertook the office of Head and Saviour to his church and people, personating and acting in the name of the Father and Spirit, on the behalf of his beloved ones. He it is, of whom the chapter before us treats, who appeared to Manoah and his wife, and gave an intimation of the deliverance which would be wrought for the people of Israel by their son Samson, whose birth he now declares unto them.

The chapter begins thus, ver. 1. "And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines forty years." Their sin was idolatry. They forsook the Lord and followed their own inventions, and the Lord corrected them for it; he delivered them into the hands of the Philistines, who dómineered over them forty years. A very righteous retaliation

for their crime; so that they had reason to say, "The Lord is righteous."

Ver. 2." And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah, and his wife was barren, and bare not." The tribes of Ephraim and Dan were chief in the first idolatry in Israel, after Joshua's death, yet out of them the Lord raised up the two last judges, to shew the sovereignty of his grace. Zorah, the place where Manoah lived, was in the tribe of Dan. His name is much the same in significancy as Noah's, which is, rest, peace, or comfort.

Ver. 3." And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, behold, now thou art barren and bearest not, but thou shalt conceive and bear a son." This was the Angel Jehovah, whose name is secret, or wonderful: he brings her good news, he tells her of her present case; but informs her, that she shall, beyond her present apprehension, conceive and bear a son. An angel foretold the birth of Christ. The strongest man was born of a woman who had been barren; the Lord Jesus was born of a pure virgin. "The Lord," saith the prophet, "hath created a new thing in the earth, a woman shall compass a man." Jer. xxxi. 22.

Ver. 4. "Now, therefore, beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not

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