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your brethren that dwell in their cities, between blood and blood, between law and commandment, statutes and judgments; ye shall even warn them that they trespass not against the Lord, and so wrath come upon you and upon your brethren: this do and ye shall not trespass'. And Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold here I am, witness against me before the Lord, and before his Anointed, whose ox have I taken, or whose ass have I taken, or whom have I defrauded, whom have I oppressed, or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you. And they said, Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken aught of any man's hand. The God of Israel said, the rock of Israel spoke to me. He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God; and he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springeth out of the earth by clear shining after rain'.
SECT. S. Of kings.
When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shall say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee whom the Lord thy God shall choose; one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee; thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, who is not thy brother. But he shall not multiply horses to himself; neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away; neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. Moreover, the prince shall not take of the people's inheritance by oppression, to thrust them out of their possession; that my people be not scattered every man from his possession. And it shall be when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites; and it shall be with him, and he
1 2 Chron. xix. 9, 10. § 3. Deut. xvii. 14, 15.
* 1 Sam. xii. 1, 3, 4.
1 2 Sam. xxiii. 3, 4. Ezek. xlvi. 18.
shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law, and these statutes to do them; that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand or to the left; to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom; he, and his children in the midst of Israel. When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn". The king by judgment stablisheth the land; but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it. The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever. A king that sitteth on the throne of judgment, scattereth away all evil with his eyes". A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them Mercy and truth preserve the king; and his throne is upholden by mercy*. Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness'. To do justice and judgment, is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice". It is the glory of God to conceal a thing; but the honour of kings is to search out a matter". Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel, remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, and take away your exactions. Let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream".
SECT. 4. He hath shown them what is unbecoming their dignity.
It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness; for the throne is established by righteousness. If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked". It is not good to accept the person of the wicked to overthrow the righteous in judgment. He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both
d Deut. xvii. 18, 19, 20.
8 Prov. xxix. 14.
§ 4. Prov. xvi. 12.
e Prov. xxix. 2. h Prov. xx. 8.
1 Prov. xxv. 5.
Prov. xxix. 12.
Prov. xxix. 4.
P Amos, v. 24.
are an abomination to the Lord. Excellent speech becometh not a fool; much less do lying lips a prince. Better is a poor and a wise child, than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished'. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes strong drink; lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength and not for drunkenness. For the transgression of a land, many are the princes thereof; but by a man of understanding and knowledge, the state thereof shall be prolonged'.
SECT. 5. A tyrant described by the Prophet Samuel.
All the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, and said unto him, Behold thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways; now make us a king to judge us, like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel; and Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken to the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them". Now therefore, hearken unto their voice; howbeit, yet protest solemnly unto them, and show them the manner of the king that shall rule over them. And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people. And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you; he will take your sons and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen, and some shall run before his chariots; and he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties, and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots; and he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he
Prov. xvii. 15.
5. 1 Sam. viii. 4-7.
• Prov. xvii. 7.
Eccl. iv. 13.
¡ Prov. xxviii. 2.
will take your fields and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your men-servants, and your maid-servants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep, and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day".
SECT. 6. Seen in the characters of Rehoboam, Nebuchadnezzar, and Belshazzar.
JEROBOAM, and all the congregation of Israel, came and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, Thy father made our yoke grievous; now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter; and we will serve thee. And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men that stood before Solomon his father. And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever. But he forsook the counsel of the old men, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him. And the young men spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions . And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men's counsel ". So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day".
O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and
honour; and for the majesty that he gave him, all people, and nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him. Whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up, and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will. And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and the God, in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified. God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it; thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
SECT. 7. The wrath of God is denounced against unjust judges, and tyrants.
Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity. Is it not for you to know judgment? The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money. The prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man he uttereth his mischievous desire". Her princes within her are roaring lions, her judges are evening wolves. Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards; they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. Wo unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; to turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people'. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never
f Dan. v. 18-23.
§ 7. Mic. iii. 9.
d Mic. vii. 3.
Isa. x. 1, 2.
Dan. v. 26, 28.
b Mic. iii. 1.
* Zeph. iii. 3.
e Mic. iii. 11.
f Isa. i. 23.