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THE HISTORY OF THE BIBLE,
[Book VIL A. M. 3596. A. C. 408; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 5070. A. C. 341. 1 MAC i-vi. 7. 2 MAC. ii—X, JOS. HIST. b. xi.c.7—b. xü. c. 14
The intended destruction of all the Egyptian Jews at back, heading the Jewish army, protecting the JewAlexandria, in the barbarous manner wherein the author ish general, and 4 defending the sacred treasures of the of the second book of the Maccabees has related it, can temple ; but as we esteem these books of the Maccabees hardly be thought an incredible thing to those who have no part of divine writ, we leave the proper defence of read in Philo, the like, if not worse, cruelties, which the them to those who have received them as canonical, and same people underwent in the same town, in the reign shall only add, ' with the learned Huetius, upon this of Caligula, and under the administration of Flaccus.— subject, – That, how improbable soever these accounts That they were not only driven from their habitations, may be thought by some, they are not destitute of plundered of their goods, and cooped up in a narrow examples of the like nature in several heathen histories; comer of the city in order to be starved ; but that, if that, in the battle which the Romans had with the Latins, any attempting to make their escape were apprehended, at the lake Regillus, Castor and Pollux were seen they were either knocked on the head, torn limb from mounted on horseback in the Roman arniy, and, when limb, or tortured to death, and their dead bodies dragged the victory was wavering, they restored the fight, and through the streets; and, if any pretended to lanient gained the field, and carried the news thereof to Rome them, they were immediately seized, whipped without that very evening ; that, when the Romans invaded the mercy, and having suffered all the torments that cruelty Lucani and Brutii, Mars, the great founder of their could invent, were condemned at last to be crucified :- nation, led their forces to the onset, and assisted them That, without any regard to sex or condition, without not a little in taking and destroying great numbers of any respect to the aged, or compassion to the young, their enemies; and, to name no more, that, at the battle not only whole families were burned together, but some, of Marathon, Pan appeared on the side of the Athenians, being tied to stakes, had fires of green wood kindled made great slaughter among the enemy's army, and round them, in order to prolong their torments, and that injected such a terror into them all, as, from that time, the spectators might have the horrid pleasure of seeing it has obtained the name of a panic fear. the poor creatures suffocated in the smoke.— That, on Now, though there might be a good deal of fiction in the very festival of the emperor's birth-day, which gener- these instances, yet since we find some of the best Roman ally lasted for some time, thirty-eight of their council, historians relating them, and so grave an author as Tully, persons of the most distinguished note among them even in some of his most serious pieces, making mention were bound like criminals, some with chains, and so of the first of these as a matter of just credibility,we cannot dragged through the market-place to the theatre, and but suppose, that the common tradition at this time was, were whipped so unmercifully, that some of them did that, to the victorious army, especially when it was much not long survive it.-Nay, that at this time more espe- inferior in numbers, some celestial and superior beings cially, it was a usual thing with the people, when were always assistant; and, consequently, that the author they came to the theatre, first to entertain themselves of the book of the Maccabees, in this respect, wrote with scourging, racking, and torturing the poor Jews at nothing but what at that time was the cominon sense of their pleasure, and then, to call for their dancers and mankind; nothing, indeed, but what the sense of the players, and other diversions in use among the Romans : royal psalmist, in military matters, authorized him to whoever has read, I say, the account of these cruelties, write : for? • let them be turned back,' says be, and as Philo has related them, need not much wonder to find brought to confusion, that imagine mischief against me ; an exasperated prince, as Ptolemy was, intending the let them be as the dust before the wind, and the angel of total destruction of a people he imagined had ottend - the Lord scattering them.' ed him; when a bare Roman prefect, as Flaccus was no more, without any provocation that we hear of, was not afraid to treat the same people in this inhuman
CHAP. III.- Of the Jewish Sanhedrim. But then, as to the former case, if we will allow the providence of God, and its interposition in the occur- BEFORE we proceed to examine into this great national rences of this world, we need not want a reason, why he council among the Jews, which we suppose might have should turn the elephants, which were designed to de- its rise much about this period of time, it may not be stroy the innocent, upon the spectators, who could not improper to take a short view of the sundry forms of be so; because both his justice and mercy seem to plead civil administration that were previous to it. for the deliverance of those, whose only crime was their
The government of the Jewish republic was originally profession of his true religion, and for the punishment of divine : for, " if we call a state where the people govern such as came to glut their eyes with the hellish pleasure
a democracy, and that where the nobles govern an of seeing their fellow creatures trampled to pieces. In asistocracy, there is the same reason why this should be this sense, there seems to be a necessary call for a divine styled a theocracy; because God was not only the deity interposition ; but, abstracted from this consideration, they were bound to worship and adore, but the sovereign, the wonder is not great, that creatures intoxicated, as likewise, to whom they were to pay all the bonours and these elephants are said to have been, should mistake rights that were due to suprenie majesty. Their republic, their objects, and fall foul upon those that they were however, was not completely settled until God bad given least of all intended to destroy. There is something, we confess, more wonderful, in
2 2 Mac. xi. 8. Ibid. ver. 10.
•Chap. iii. 25, &c. the appearances of angels mounted, as it were, on horse
5 Quæst. Alnetanæ, b. ii. c. 12.
6 Tuscul. Quæst. b. i. et. de Nat. Deor, b. ii. Vol. ii. p. 625, &c. ex edit. Mangeana.
* Ps. XXXV. 4, 5. * Lamy's Introduction, b. i. c.
A. M. 3596. A. C. 408; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 5070. A. C. 341. 1 MAC. i-vi. 7. 2 MAC.ii-3. JOS. HIST. b. xi. c. 7--b. xii. c. 14.
them the law from Mount Sinai, when the noise and to establish in the country, for the security of the state thunderings in which it was delivered were so very ter- and administration of justice. rible, that the people requested of him not to speak On this footing Joshua left the civil administration ; any more to them bimself, but to make use of the minis- and thus it stood, till the people revolted from the sertry of Moses as his interpreter.
vice of God, and then all things ran to confusion. In Thus Moses, by the people's own election, was ap- what manner the state was governed, and justice dispointed to the administration of all public affairs ; and, pensed during the long succession of judges, it is difficult in this important office, as the author of the Hebrews ? to determine : but, towards the conclusion of that form testifies of him, acquitted himself with much faithfulness : of government, we find Samuel 10 6 'going, from year to but, in a short time, be found, that he had undertaken a year, in a circuit round the country, to judge Israel,' and work of too much labour and fatigue for any single per-when himself grew impotent and unable to travel," makson to sustain ; and therefore, in pursuance of his father-ing his sons judges in his stead; but their mal-adminisin-law's advice, he made choice of some of the most tration occasioned an alteration in the government. prudent and understanding men in every tribe, divided The institution of regal power dissolved that polity them into several classes, and gave them names accord- which Moses had settled : but though he both foreknew ing to the authority wherewith he invested them, or the and foretold this change in the constitution, yet we nonumber of the persons over whom they were to preside ; | where find him giving any particular directions how
"he made them captains over thousands, and captains kings were to conduct themselves in the administration over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains of the state, and the dispensation of justice ; 12 whether it over tens, and officers among the tribes.'
was that God did not vouchsafe to communicate any But this establishment lasted not long, or at least re- fresh discovery to him upon that subject, or whether he ceived some change or addition to it. For, as soon as might think that the rules which he had already prethe Israelites were arrived at Kibroth-Hattaavah, or the scribed were not incompatible with the authority and graves of lust,' as the place is called, but three days' government of kings. journey from Mount Sinai, * God appointed body of Saul seems to have concerned himself with nothing seventy elders, to whom he conmunicated his Spirit, to but military affairs, leaving the priests and judges the assist Moses in bearing the burden of the people ; and same jurisdiction that they had before ; but David, when from hence it is that the defenders of the antiquity of he came into a peaceable possession of the kingthe sanhedrim date the first institution of that great dom, " did himself, in causes of great consequence at council. But, however this be, it is certain, that this least, administer justice to the people. The famous council continued among them all the while that they decision between the two mothers, " who both laid their sojourned in the wilderness; and was, indeed,' an in-claim to the living child, is a plain proof, that, in perstitution proper enough for a people in their circum- plexed and intricate cases, Solomon himself did somestances, who, being all of one community, could assem- times the office of a judge; and when we read of this ble together with ease, and, having no great matters in prince, that he came to 13 Gibeon,' with the captains of possession, could have but few processes, and, conse- thousands and of hundreds, with the judges, and the quently, might dispense with a lesser number of judges. chief of the fathers,' we may learn from hence, that
Moses, however, foreseeing that this institution would magistrates of the same kind that Moses had ordained not be sufficient, when once the people were settled in were at this time existing in the kingdom of Israel. the land of promise, 6 left it as an injunction behind By the revolt of the ten tribes from the house of David him, that, whoever had the government of the nation to that of Jeroboam, the civil constitution of the Jens should appoint judges and magistrates in every city, to suffered very much; because the avowed purpose of that determine the controversies that came before them; but prince was, to change the religion, and reverse the that, when any thing of great moment, or of difficult orders which Moses had instituted : and, therefore, from discussion, should happen, the contending parties should henceforward, we must look only into the kingdom of carry their cause ?" to the place which the Lord had Judah for the succession of the true discipline and forni chosen,' propose it to the priests, and to the judge, that of ancient government of the Jews. should be in their days; and, upon pain of death, ac- When Jehosha phat formed the design of introducing a quiesce in their decision.
reformation both in church and state, he pursued the Moses was succeeded by Joshua; but his time was rule which Moses had given him; for 16" he set judges spent in making a conquest of the land of Canaan, and, in the land, through all the fenced cities, and in Jerutill he had done that, he could not put the order which salem the capital, erected two tribunals ; 17 one composed his predecessor had left him in execution. However, of priests and Levites, to hear appeals from lesser courts at his first accession to the government, we find that ® all relating to religious matters ; and the other, composed the people promised the same obedience to him that they of the chief of the fathers of Israel,' to hear such as rehad paid to Moses; and that, when himself grew old, lated to civil. Nor is their conjecture much amiss, who • he called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, suppose, that the seventy men, whom 18 Ezekiel saw in a and for their judges, and for their officers,' that is, all the vision, 'burning incense to idols,' and the 'five and judges and magistrates which Moses had enjoined him twenty,' who, 19 • between the porch and the altar, were
· Exod. xx. 19. 9 Chap. iii. 2.
3 Deut. i. 15.
Num. xi. 16. 5 Calmet's Commentary on the Government of the Hebrews. 6 Deut. xvi. 18. 7 Deut. xvii. 9. Josh. i. 16, 17.
9 Chao. xxiv. I.
10 , Sam, vii. 15, 16.
11 Chap, vii. I 19 Calmet's Dissert. on the Government of the Hebrews. 13 2 Sam. xv. 2. 15 1 Kings jii. 16, &c.
15 2 Chron. i. 2. 16 Chap. xix. 5. 17 Ibid, ver. 8.
18 Ezek, viii, 11. 19 Ibid. ver. 16.
A. M. 3596. A. C. 498; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 5070. A. C. 141. 1 MAC i-vi. 7. 2 MAC.ii-X. JOS. HIST.b. xi. c. 7-6. xii. c. 14. worshipping the sun in the east,' are the rather men- When Moses, in conducting the children of Israel tioned, because they were men of eminence, and very through the wilderness, was teased and wearied out, as probably the judges of civil and ecclesiastical matters. we say, with the perpetual complaints and murmuring:
What kind of judicature prevailed in the time of the of that people, in the impatience of his soul, he addressed captivity, it is difficult to say. From the story of Susan- himself to God in these words : 5. wherefore hast thou nah we may learn, that in these circumstances the Jews afflicted thy servant, that thou layest the burden of all were allowed their own courts and judges, even in Baby- this people upon me?-1 am not able to bear all this lon itself; but of what number, order, or authority these people alone, because it is too heavy for me,'&c. Wherejudges were, none can tell. It is plain, however, that upon the Lord said unto him, 'Gather unto me seventy upon the restoration Ezra returned with full power from men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the Artaxerxes, to set magistrates and judges in all the elders of the people, and officers over them, and bring land,' who might punish criminals according to their de- them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they merit, either with death, or banishment, imprisonment, may stand there with thee; and I will come down and or confiscation of goods: and in this condition the talk with thee there, and I will take of the spirit, which Jewish state continued, namely, in the form of an aristo- is upon thee, and will put it upon them, and they shall cracy, with the high priest at the head of it, sometimes bear the burden with thee, that thou bear it not thyself under the king of Egypt, and sometimes under the king alone.' This conimand Moses took care to put in exe. of Syria, for a considerable time after the return from cution : the elders accordingly met at the tabernacle of the captivity.
the congregation, and when the Spirit of the Lord rested The persecution which Antiochus Epiphanes raised upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease. These among the Jews, ruined all the economy of their go-words, as we said before, are held by the generality of vernment : but Matthias, and his sons, endeavoured to the rabbins, as well as by some Christian writers, to be restore ?
the decayed state of the people', as it is the true origin of that great sanhedrim,“ which, from its called, as far as those troublesome times would permit first institution here under Moses, subsisted all along in them. Judas Maccabæus, in a general assembly held the Jewish nation, even to the time of their utter disperat Maspha, revived the ancient order, and appointed sion under Vespasian, and had the coguizance of all rulers 36
over the people, even captains over thousands, matters of the greatest moment, both civil and eccleover hundreds, over fifties, and over tens ;' and when siastical.” Jonathan, his brother and successor, took upon him both
But for the better understanding of the sense and dethe sovereign and sacerdotal authority, he, nevertheless, sign of them, we may observe, Ist, that Moses does not governed by the advice of a senate, not excluding the here speak of the difficulty or multiplicity of business people from some share in their deliberations, as ap- that was laid upon him, but of the perverse temper of the pears by the letters which the Jews, at this time, sent people, always addicted to mutiny and sedition, which be to the Lacedemonians.
himself alone was not able to withstand. To ease hinAristobulus, who was the first of the Asmonæan race self of the labour of judging the people in all civil and that took
upon him the diadem and title of a king, con- capital causes, he had, by the advice of his father-in-law, tinued the senate in great authority, but excluded the appointed a certain number of judges, and it seenis not common people from having any part in the administra- unlikely, that some of these seventy were of the number tion; as the kings who succeeded him, endeavoured to of these judges, because they are called by God himself, confirm their own power, by curtailing that of the senate, the elders and oflicers of the people.' Moses wanted till Pompey came, and quite overturned the Jewish state, no assistance therefore in the administration of affairs of by subjecting it to the empire, and making Judea a Ro- this nature ; but what he wanted, was a sufficient number man province.
of persons of such power and authority among the peoFrom this short review of the Jewish republic, we may ple, as might restrain them from seditious practices, and perceive, that its form of government, at different times, awe them into obedience; and for this reason it was, has been various ; that Moses (with the concurrence of that God, when he made choice of them, gave them the seventy chief magistrates) as God's vicegerent, governed Spirit of prophecy, as an evident sign of his having apthe people in an absolute manner; that under the judges pointed them coadjutors to Moses, in the exercise of his the state had been sometimes without any ruler at all, supreme authority, and as a means to procure them the independent sometimes, and, at other times, under the greater reverence and esteem among the people. jurisdiction of its enemies ; that the ancient kings of 2dly, We may observe farther, that it does not appear Judah vouchsafed to administer justice to their subjects, from the foregoing passage, that this assembly of sever, but that towards the decline of the kingdom, its princes ty persons was to be perpetuated in the Jewish state, and affected state, and a despotic power; that from the cap- when any died, others submitted in their room : on the tivity to the time of the Asmonæans, the government, contrary it rather seems to have been an occasional inunder the high priest, was partly aristocratical, and stitution, or present expedient for the relief of Moses, partly popular ; and that the Asmonæan kings made it that by the addition of other rulers, (all endued with gifts monarchical, till the Romans destroyed it: and so we extraordinary as well as he,) the murmurs and complaints proceed to consider, in which of these periods the famous of the people might not fall all upon him, but be divertcouncil of the Jews, which is usually called their san- ed, some of them at least, upon others; and that by the hedrim, might have its rise, with some other particulars joint influence of so many persons, all possessed with relating to its authority and proceedings.
the same spirit of government, they might either hinder 1 Ezra vii, 25, 26. 2 1 Mac. iji. 43. 3 Ibid. ver. 55. • bid. xiv. 19.
Numxi. 11, &c.
Exod. xviii, 24.
A.M. 3596. A.C. 408; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A.M. 5070. A. C. 341. 1 MAC. i-vi. 7. 2 MAC. iii-X. JOS. HIST. b. xi. c. 7-b. xii. c. 14. or appease them. And as this was an institution only for ment transacted, such as the reformation of the people's that purpose, there is no reason to believe that it con- manners, the dissolution of illegal marriages, a stop put tinued any longer than Moses lived ; because, if we take to the profanation of the sabbath, and a covenant of obea view of the history of succeeding ages, we shall find dience to God, made and signed by the deputies of the no footsteps of it.
priests, Levites and common people ; but not one word After the death of Moses, we find Joshua ruling the of the great sanhedrim all this while. people with an absolute authority; settling the portions In short, not only the sacred writers, but even Joseof the several tribes in the land of Canaan; dismissing phus, Philo, Origen, Eusebius, and St Jerome, who were those who had assisted their brethren in the conquest of all well versed in the ancient government of the Jews, it; receiving all appeals, redressing all grievances, and make no manner of mention of any such body of men in acting, in short, as the only governor of the nation, the times that we are now upon; and therefore we canwithout one word mentioned of any supreme council to not but think, that this universal silence, in writers of all control him. After the death of Joshua, God raised up kinds, is a very good argument, that this supreme najudges, men of courage and wisdom extraordinary, to tional council did not then subsist. Its name is confes. deliver his people from the oppressions of their enemies, sedly of Greek derivation; to which purpose Livy oband to attend to the administration of justice among them; serves, that those senators whom the Macedonians and yet we read of no act or decree of this pretended intrusted with the administration of their government, sanhedrim all this while,' which could no more have were called synedri : and therefore it seems somewhat been omitted in the account of these times, had it been incongruous to look into the first centuries of the Jewish then existing, than the mention of the Roman senate is church for the original of a council, whose very name is in any of their bistorians.
of later extract. * In those days,' as the sacred history informs us, Before the times of the gospel, wherein frequent menthere was no king in Israel, but every man did what tion is made of this council, we find it in so great authowas right in his own eyes ;' and ` where then was this rity, as even to call Herod, 'though then governor of venerable assembly, whose authority, according to the Galilee, upon his trial for some misdemeanour : and rabbins, was superior to that of princes, to interpose in therefore it is no improbable conjecture, that in the time this time of need? The Jews certainly could never have of the Maccabees, either Judas or Jonathan was the first degenerated into such a state of licentiousness, had there institutor of it; and the reason they might have for this inbeen a court of seventy or seventy-two elders, chosen stitution, might be the change which they had made in the out of every tribe, and invested with a supreme authority nature of the government, for which they wanted the conto punish criminals, and reform abuses; nor can we see sent of the people, or at least of a body that represented what reason the Levite had to cut in pieces the body of his them, that thereby they might act with more authority: concubine, abused by the Gibeonites, and to send it to the and though, as yet, they did not assume the title of kings, several tribes, in demand of justice, if there had been such yet they thought it a matter of prudence to have their a constant tribunal, as this is represented, to resort to. resolutions ratified by a council.
The kings who succeeded the judges, acted in such a The Maccabees, who, iu all probability, were the first manner, as to make us believe, that there was no such institutors of this council, would hardly exclude themthing as a sanhedrim then in being. They displaced selves from it; and therefore we may presume, that the high priests without opposition ; they waged war without high priest was the settled president, who, for that reaadvising with any; they made and deposed judges, as son was called nasi, or prince of the sanhedrim, and they pleased ; and in short did every thing that other in his absence had a deputy called ab-beth-din, or faprinces are wont to do, without the sanhedrim's ever in-ther of the house of judgment, and a sub-deputy called terposing its authority, that we read of, to stop the course chacam, that is, thes wie; but all the rest had the comof their extravagancies, or curb their exorbitant power. non name of elders or senators. Some of these kings, we know, were for extinguishing These senators, which are usually taken from other the true worship of God, and establishing idolatry in its inferior courts, were to be some priests, and some laystead: here then was a proper opportunity for this ve- men, but all persons of untainted birth, good learning, nerable body to step in, by condemning idolatry in some and profound knowledge in the law, both written and public act of theirs, and opposing the innovations of the traditional. All eunuchs, usurers, gamesters, those that court. But of this we hear not one word ; neither do we brought up pigeons to decoy others to their dove-houses,
• the prophets, who so severely inveighed or made any gain of their fruits in the sabbatical year, against the wickedness of the people, ever referred them all old men, deformed persons, and such as had no chile to the sanhedrim, or complained, that that court was dren, because they were suspected of being cruel and too remiss or negligent in the punishment of crimes. hard-hearted, were excluded from this council; and
If ever mention were to be made of this great coun- those only who were of mature age, competent fortunes, cil, it would be, one would think, in the books of Ezra and comely personages, were admitted to it. and Nehemiah, which were written after the Babylonish The room in which this council met, was a rotunda, captivity, when there was no king in the land, and con- half of which was built without the temple, and half sequently a fit opportunity for the sanhedrim to appear; within. The nasi, or prince of the council, sat upon a and yet, even here, we find several matters of great mo- throne elevated above the rest, at the upper end of the
Le Clerc's Dissert. de Synedrio. Judg. xxi. 25.
5 Basnage's History, b. v. c. 1.
. It was decreed by the Macedonian state, that senators, whom they name synedri, should be commissioned for the administration of the kingdom.-B. xlv. c. 32.
7 Jewish Antiq, b. xiv, c. 17.
A. M. 3596 A. C. 409; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A, M. 5070, A. C. 341. 1 MAC. i–vi. 7. 2 MAC. iii-X, JOS. HIST.b. xi.c.7_b. xii.e 1 room, having his deputy on his right hand, and his sub-| fore they sentenced him to be stoned ' according to the deputy on his left. The senators were ranged in order law. on each side ; and the secretaries who were to record St Paul himself declares before this very court, that the matters that came before them, were three; whereof before his conversion to Christianity, Rhe “ persecuted one wrote the sentences of those that were absolved, those of that way’unto death, and received letters from the other had the condemnations under his care, and the the estates of the elders,' or the sanhedrim, to bring third entered into their books the several pleadings of Christians from Damascus to Jerusalem in bonds, in all contending parties.
order to be punished.' Tertullus, who, in the trial of this The vanity and ridiculous pride of the rabbins appear apostle, was council for the sanhedrim, 'tells Felix, the in nothing more, than in the excessive power which they governor of Judea, that having apprehended the criminal give to this high-court of judicature. For, according to at the bar, they thought to have proceeded against him them, it not only decided such cases as were brought according to their law; but that the chief captain, Ly. before it by way of appeal from other inferior courts, sias, came upon them, and took him out of their hands.' but had under its jurisdiction likewise a the king, the The true reason why Lysias exerted his power upon high priest, and prophets. The king, for instance, if this occasion, and took him out of their hands, was, bebe offended against the law, if he married above eighteen cause they had accused him, not only of blasphemy, and wives, if he kept too many horses, if he hoarded up too profanation of their temple, but of sedition likewise, much gold or silver, the sanhedrim had him stripped which was a crimne falling more properly under the cogand whipped in their presence. But whipping, it seems, nizance of the civil government, and for which Paul was among the Jews ? was not so ignominious a thing, but therefore brought before Felix, Festus, and Agrippa. that the king bore it by way of penance, with great pa- "" So that from an examination of these particulars, wheretience, and himself made choice of the person that was in the power of the sanhedrim was concerned, we may to exercise this discipline upon him. However this be, conclude, that even after the subjection of the Jewish it is certain, that all private controversies of difficult state to the Roman empire, this sanhedrim had the discussion, all matters relating to religion, and all im- power of life and death in crimes committed against their portant affairs of state, were submitted to the determina- own law; but that in matters of sedition, and crimes tion of this august assembly, from whose sentence no committed against the civil administration, the Roman appeal could be made, because a demurring to the juris- governors interposed their authority, and in cases of this diction of their court was punished by death, that is, nature took the dispensation of justice out of their hands. while the power of life and death was in their hands ; 11 What formality was observed in bringing a lawsuit but how long this lasted, after that Judea became a Ro- before the sanhedrim, Maimonides has in this manner man province, has been a matter of some dispute among described :-“ The business," says he,“ was first to be the learned.
examined in the inferior courts; but if it could not be Josephus ' tells us expressly, that the senate and em- decided there, the judges sent to Jerusalem to consult perors of Rome took no ancient rights from the nations the judgment-chamber, that sat upon the mount of the whoin they conquered ; and by the words of Pilate con- temple. From this first tribunal they proceeded to that cerning our Saviour Christ, Take ye him and judge which sat at the temple gate ; and if the matter was not him according to your law,” it seems, as though they determined there, they came at last to the great council still retained their power, though perhaps it might be chamber, which was held in one of the apartments beunder some limitations,
longing to the temple ; and this last council determined Upon St Peter's speech before the great council, we with so much justice and authority, that there were mo find them so exasperated against the apostles, that they divisions seen, during all the time that the second temple began to think of putting them all to death, and might, lasted.” And what caution was taken, in passing the very probably, have proceeded in their design, had they sentence of death upon criminals, by the same tribunal
, not been dissuaded from it by the wise advice of Gama- the Jewish doctors (if we will believe them) have thus liel. The stoning of St Stephen was not the effect of any informed us.—“ After the witnesses were heard, and the hasty judgment of some zealots, but of the regular pro- matter in question decided, the judge put off the sentence ceedings of this court. He 6 was brought before the till next morning. Hereupon the sanhedrim went home, council,' we read ; false witnesses accusing him of blas- eat but little, drank no wine, and then met again, two phemy were produced against him; in his own defence, by two, in order to weigh all the particulars of the trial
. he made a long discourse ; but his own defence was not The next morning, he that had given his opinion for admitted, nor his innocence acknowledged ; and there- condemning of the criminal, had power to revoke it ; lxx
he who had once given it for absolving him, could not 1 Calmet's Dissertation on the Government of the Hebrews. alter his mind. As soon as the judge had pronounced 2 Calmet's Dictionary, under the word Sanhedrim.
sentence, the malefactor was conducted to the place of 3 Against Apion. Jewish Antiq. book ii. c. 17. * John xviii, 31.
execution, while an herald, on horseback, proclaimed. 5 Acts v. 29, &c. 6 Acts vi. 22, &c. a This is directly the opinion of Maimonides, (in Sanhed.
as he went along, such an one is condemned for such per. 2, 3.), but that learned rabbi was strangely prejudiced in a crime ; but if any body can allege any thing in his favour of this great council ; and though Josephus is of the same behalf, let him speak.' If it happened that any one opinion, yet to allow such an extent of jurisdiction to this court, so as to inflict corporal punishment upon the persons of their
came to the gate of the court, the door-keeper made a kings, is contrary to the general notions of sovereignty, and the sign to the herald to bring back the malefactor, wtile laws of all kingdoms and nations ; besides that the Holy Scriptures are absolutely silent in this particular, and nothing can be 7 Deut. xvii. 7. 8 Acts xxii. 4, &c. inferred from them, to countenance such a coercive power.- 10 See Beausobre and L'enfant's Gen, Pref, to the New Test Lewis's Bebreu Antiq. vol. i. c. 6.
" Basnage's History of the Jews, b. 5. c. 2.
Chap. xxiv. 6.7.