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which his descendants reigned, and where they worshipped God. And this connexion becomes the most interesting and impressive that could be conceived, when we reflect that it was, as it were, within sight of the spot where, in the fulness of time, the Son of God offered himself up a ransom for sin, became “ obedient unto death,”and Abraham entitled himself to be styled 66 the father of the faithful” – that is, of all who believe--by the willingness he manifested to offer
up :-his only son—the son that .he loved, at the command of God. It was then, probably, that, in reward of his marvellous faith, he saw the day of Christ, and was glad. John viii. 56. And we may allow ourselves the satisfaction of believing, that he was then taught to interpret rightly the remarkable words which he had himself lately uttered, when, in answer to a natural question from his son, he said: “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt-offering ;" and was made acquainted with the fact that “the Lamb of God"-" the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” was thereafter to yield his soul an offering for sin in that very place.
The history of the patriarchs evinces that Palestine was but thinly peopled when they
sojourned in the land. But when their de. scendants came back from Egypt the case was very different.
While in the house of their bondage the Israelites had increased to a multitude of people; the population of the Canaanites in Palestine had manifestly increased greatly also, although not in the same, or in anything like the same, miraculous degree. When the Israelites appeared on the borders of Canaan, they had increased to 35,000 times the number which, 214 years before, had left that country for Egypt. If, in the same time, the Canaanites had increased to only ten or twelve times their number, this, as far as we can judge, would have sufficed to throng the country with people, and materially to alter its aspect, by necessitating the cultivation of soils which had been formerly suffered to lie waste, and by covering the land with inhabited sites, where none previously existed. That this had taken place, whatever may have been the precise rate of increase, is shown in the books of Numbers and Joshua, where it
appears that the Amorites and others, who had been formerly west of the Jordan, had, in whole or in part, been driven out by the pressure of the population, and constrained to seek new settlements on the other
side the river ; where we find numerous kings and large masses of people confronting the invading Israelites at every turn ; and where the sacred pages are crowded with the names of towns, a large proportion of which appear to have been walled, and to have represented a further population in surrounding villages and hamlets, which are not named. We know also that many
of these towns existed on sites which were not occupied in the time when Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob pastured their flocks, digged their wells, planted their groves, and set up their altars in the land.
Among the towns which thus arose, during the long absence of the Hebrews in Egypt, seems to have been Jerusalem. From all that appears in the Bible itself, there is, as we have seen, no undoubted evidence that it existed, as an inhabited site, in the time of the patriarchs. But when their descendants returned from Egypt, Jerusalem at once appears before us as a place of importance, and one of the chief of the many little states into which that part of the country, and indeed the whole of Palestine, was then divided. This distinction it doubtless owed to the natural strength of its position, which, in addition to the ordinary
defences, must have rendered it all but impregnable to such means of attack upon strong places as were known in that age ; and, under the condition of society which then existed, the strongest town was sure to acquire the predominance over many others, less strong, in its neighbourhood.
The first place in which the sacred history presents us with the name of Jerusalem, is at the beginning of the tenth chapter of Joshua. “Now it came to pass, when Adoni-zedec king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king ; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among
that they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, [of which Jerusalem itself was one,] and all the men thereof were mighty. Wherefore Adoni-zedec king of Jerusalem sent unto Hoham king of Hebron, and unto Piram king of Jarmuth, and unto Japhia king of Lachish, and unto Debir king of Eglon, saying, Come up unto me, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon : for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel," Josh. x. 1—4.
It is obvious, that Adoni-zedec dreaded the discouraging effect which the submission of the Gibeonites to the Hebrews was calculated to produce, and therefore wished to make an example of them, and show that none of the small states in this region would be allowed, with impunity, to desert the common cause, and consult their particular interests, by making separate treaties with the invaders. The alarm which was felt on this point needed not, however, have been entertained, as the Israelites were more than equally averse to such treaties, and that into which they had entered with the Gibeonites had been drawn from them by the subtilties of the latter.
It is possible, from the tone of the message to the other kings, that Adoni-zedec exercised some kind of superiority over them, but this is by no means certain. The states might have been bound together by some obligations of reciprocal assistance in time of danger : and without some such understanding they could not well have maintained their existence as separate states. In that case, it is quite enough to suppose that the king of Jerusalem claimed assistance from the other kings, not as having a right to their service, but as having a claim for their