Book 4 Footnotes
[1] Reland here takes notice, that although our Bibles say little or nothing of these riches of Corah, yet that both the Jews and Mahommedans, as well as Josephus, are full of it.

[2] It appears here, and from the Samaritan Pentateuch, and, in effect, from the psalmist, as also from the Apostolical Constitutions, from Clement's First Epistle to the Corinthians, from Ignatius's Epistle to the Magnesians, and from Eusebius, that Corah was not swallowed up with the Reubenites, but burned with the Levites of his own tribe. See Essay on the Old Testament, p.64, 65.

[3] Concerning these twelve rods of the twelve tribes of Israel, see St. Clement's account, much larger than that in our Bibles, 1 Epist. sect.45; as is Josephus's present account in measure larger also.

[4] Grotius, on Numbers 6:18, takes notice that the Greeks also, aswell as the Jews, sometimes consecrated the hair of their heads to the gods.

[5] Josephus here uses this phrase, "when the fortieth year was completed," for when it was begun; as does St. Luke when the day of Pentecost was completed," Acts 2:1.

[6] Whether Miriam died, as Josephus's. Greek copies imply, on the first day of the month, may be doubted, because the Latin copies say it was on the tenth, and so say the Jewish calendars also, as Dr. Bernard assures us. It is said her sepulcher is still extant near Petra, the old capital city of Arabia Petraea, at this day; as also that of Aaron, not far off.

[7] What Josephus here remarks is well worth our remark in this place also; viz. that the Israelites were never to meddle with the Moabites, or Ammonites, or any other people, but those belonging to the land of Canaan, and the countries of Sihon and Og beyond Jordan, as far as the desert and Euphrates, and that therefore no other people had reason to fear the conquests of the Israelites; but that those countries given them by God were their proper and peculiar portion among the nations, and that all who endeavored to dispossess them might ever be justly destroyed by them.

[8] Note that Josephus never supposes Balaam to be an idolater, nor to seek idolatrous enchantments, or to prophesy falsely, but to be no other than an ill-disposed prophet of the true God; and intimates that God's answer the second time, permitting him to go, was ironical, and on design that he deceived [which sort of deception, by way of punishment for former crimes, Josephus never scruples to admit, as ever esteeming such wicked men justly and providentially deceived]. But perhaps we had better keep here close to the text which says Numbers 23:20, 21, that God only permitted Balaam to go along with the ambassadors, in case they came and called him, or positively insisted on his going along with them, on any terms; whereas Balaam seems out of impatience to have risen up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and rather to have called them, than staid for their calling him, so zealous does he seem to have been for his reward of divination, his wages of unrighteousness, Numbers 23:7, 17, 18, 37; 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 5, 11; which reward or wages the truly religious prophets of God never required nor accepted, as our Josephus justly takes notice in the cases of Samuel, Antiq. B. V. ch.4. sect.1, and Daniel, Antiq. B. X. ch.11. sect.3. See also Genesis 14:22, 23; 2 Kings 5:15, 16, 26, 27; and Acts 8;17-24.

[9] Whether Josephus had in his copy but two attempts of Balaam in all to curse Israel; or whether by this his twice offering sacrifice, he meant twice besides that first time already mentioned, which yet is not very probable; cannot now be certainly determined. In the mean time, all other copies have three such attempts of Balaam to curse them in the present history.

[10] Such a large and distinct account of this perversion of the Israelites by the Midianite women, of which our other copies give us but short intimations, Numbers 31:16 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 11; Revelation 2:14, is preserved, as Reland informs us, in the Samaritan Chronicle, in Philo, and in other writings of the Jews, as well as here by Josephus.

[11] This grand maxim, That God's people of Israel could never be hurt nor destroyed, but by drawing them to sin against God, appears to be true, by the entire history of that people, both in the Bible and in Josephus; and is often taken notice of in them both. See in particular a most remarkable Ammonite testimony to this purpose, Judith 5:5-21.

[12] What Josephus here puts into the mouths of these Midianite women, who came to entice the Israelites to lewdness and idolatry, viz. that their worship of the God of Israel, in opposition to their idol gods, implied their living according to the holy laws which the true God had given them by Moses, in opposition to those impure laws which were observed under their false gods, well deserves our consideration; and gives us a substantial reason for the great concern that was ever shown under the law of Moses to preserve the Israelites from idolatry, and in the worship of the true God; it being of no less consequence than, Whether God's people should be governed by the holy laws of the true God, or by the impure laws derived from demons, under the pagan idolatry.

[13] The mistake in all Josephus's copies, Greek and Latin which have here fourteen thousand instead of twenty-four thousand, is so flagrant, that our very learned editors, Bernard and Hudson, have put the latter number directly into the text. I choose rather to put it in brackets.

[14] The slaughter of all the Midianite women that had prostituted themselves to the lewd Israelites, and the preservation of those that had not been guilty therein; the last of which were no fewer than thirty-two thousand, both here and Numbers 31:15-17, 35, 40, 46, and both by the particular command of God; are highly remarkable, and show that, even in nations otherwise for their wickedness doomed to destruction, the innocent were sometimes particularly and providentially taken care of, and delivered from that destruction; which directly implies, that it was the wickedness of the nations of Canaan, and nothing else, that occasioned their excision. See Genesis 15;16; 1 Samuel 15:18, 33; Apost. Constit. B. VIII. ch.12. p.402. In the first of which places, the reason of the delay of the punishment of the Amorites is given, because "their iniquity was not yet full." In the secured, Saul is ordered to go and "destroy the sinners, the Amalekites;" plainly implying that they were therefore to be destroyed, because they were sinners, and not otherwise. In the third, the reason is given why king Agag was not to be spared, viz. because of his former cruelty: "As thy sword hath made the [Hebrew] women childless, so shall thy mother be made childless among women by the Hebrews." In the last place, the apostles, or their amanuensis Clement, gave this reason for the necessity of the coming of Christ, that "men had formerly perverted both the positive law, and that of nature; and had cast out of their mind the memory of the Flood, the burning of Sodom, the plagues of the Egyptians, and the slaughter of the inhabitants of Palestine," as signs of the most amazing impenitence and insensibility, under the punishments of horrid wickedness.

[15] Josephus here, in this one sentence, sums up his notion of Moses's very long and very serious exhortations in the book of Deuteronomy; and his words are so true, and of such importance, that they deserve to be had in constant remembrance.

[16] This law, both here and Exodus 20:25, 26, of not going up to God's altar by ladder-steps, but on an acclivity, seems not to have belonged to the altar of the tabernacle, which was in all but three cubits high, Exodus 27:4; nor to that of Ezekiel, which was expressly to be gone up to by steps, ch.43:17; but rather to occasional altars of any considerable altitude and largeness; as also probably to Solomon's altar, to which it is here applied by Josephus, as well as to that in Zorobabel's and Herod's temple, which were, I think, all ten cubits high. See 2 Chronicles 4:1, and Antiq. B. VIII. ch.3. sect.7. The reason why these temples, and these only, were to have this ascent on an acclivity, and not by steps, is obvious, that before the invention of stairs, such as we now use, decency could not be otherwise provided for in the loose garments which the priests wore, as the law required. See Lamy of the Tabernacle and Temple, p.444.

[17] The hire of public or secret harlots was given to Venus in Syria, as Lucian informs us, p.878; and against some such vile practice of the old idolaters this law seems to have been made.

[18] The Apostolical Constitutions, B. II. ch.26. sect.31, expound this law of Moses, Exodus 22.28, "Thou shalt not revile or blaspheme the gods," or magistrates, which is a much more probable exposition than this of Josephus, of heathen gillis, as here, and against Apion, B. II. ch.3. sect.31. What book of the law was thus publicly read, see the note on Antiq. B. X. ch.5. sect.5, and 1 Esd.9:8-55.

[19]Whether these phylacteries, and other Jewish memorials of the law here mentioned by Josephus, and by Muses, [besides the fringes on the borders of their garments, Numbers 15:37,] were literally meant by God, I much question. That they have been long observed by the Pharisees and Rabbinical Jews is certain; however, the Karaites, who receive not the unwritten traditions of the elders, but keep close to the written law, with Jerome and Grotius, think they were not literally to be understood; as Bernard and Reland here take notice. Nor indeed do I remember that, either in the ancienter books of the Old Testament, or in the books we call Apocrypha, there are any signs of such literal observations appearing among the Jews, though their real or mystical signification, i.e. the constant remembrance and observation of the laws of God by Moses, be frequently inculcated in all the sacred writings.

[20] Here, as well as elsewhere, sect.38, of his Life, sect.14, and of the War, B. II. ch.20. sect.5, are but seven judges appointed for small cities, instead of twenty-three in the modern Rabbins; which modern Rabbis are always but of very little authority in comparison of our Josephus.

[21] I have never observed elsewhere, that in the Jewish government women were not admitted as legal witnesses in courts of justice. None of our copies of the Pentateuch say a word of it. It is very probable, however, that this was the exposition of the scribes and Pharisees, and the practice of the Jews in the days of Josephus.

[22] This penalty of "forty stripes save one," here mentioned, and sect.23, was five times inflicted on St. Paul himself by the Jews, 2 Corinthians 11:24

[23] Josephus's plain and express interpretation of this law of Moses, Deuteronomy 14:28, 29; 26:12, etc., that the Jews were bound every third year to pay three tithes, that to the Levites, that for sacrifices at Jerusalem, and this for the indigent, the widow, and the orphans, is fully confirmed by the practice of good old Tobit, even when he was a captive in Assyria, against the opinions of the Rabbins, Tobit 1:6-8. [24] These tokens of virginity, as the Hebrew and Septuagint style them, Deuteronomy 22:15, 17, 20, seem to me very different from what our later interpreters suppose. They appear rather to have been such close linen garments as were never put off virgins, after, a certain age, till they were married, but before witnesses, and which, while they were entire, were certain evidences of such virginity. See these, Antiq. B. VII. ch.8. sect.1; 2 Samuel 13:18; Isaiah 6:1 Josephus here determines nothing what were these particular tokens of virginity or of corruption: perhaps he thought he could not easily describe them to the heathens, without saying what they might have thought a breach of modesty; which seeming breach of modesty laws cannot always wholly avoid.

[25] These words of Josephus are very like those of the Pharisees to our Savior upon this very subject, Matthew 19:3, "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?"

[26] Here it is supposed that this captive's husband, if she were before a married woman, was dead before, or rather was slain in this very battle, otherwise it would have been adultery in him that married her.

[27] See Herod the Great insisting on the execution of this law, with relation to two of his own sons, before the judges at Berytus, Antiq. B. XVI. ch.11. sect.2.

[28] Philo and others appear to have understood this law, Exodus 21:22, 23, better than Josephus, who seems to allow, that though the infant in the mother's womb, even after the mother were quick, and so the infant had a rational soul, were killed by the stroke upon the mother, yet if the mother escaped, the offender should only be fined, and not put to death; while the law seems rather to mean, that if the infant in that case be killed, though the mother escape, the offender must be put to death, and not only when the mother is killed, as Josephus understood it. It seems this was the exposition of the Pharisees in the days of Josephus.

[29] What we render a witch, according to our modern notions of witchcraft, Exodus 22:15, Philo and Josephus understood of a poisoner, or one who attempted by secret and unlawful drugs or philtra, to take away the senses or the lives of men.

[30] This permission of redeeming this penalty with money is not in our copies, Exodus 21:24, 25; Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21.

[31] We may here note, that thirty shekels, the price our Savior was sold for by Judas to the Jews, Matthew 26:15, and 27;3, was the old value of a bought servant or slave among that people.

[32] This law against castration, even of brutes, is said to be so rigorous elsewhere, as to inflict death on him that does it which seems only a Pharisaical interpretation in the days of Josephus of that law, Leviticus 21:20, and 22:24: only we may hence observe, that the Jews could then have no oxen which are gelded, but only bulls and cows, in Judea.

[33] These laws seem to be those above-mentioned, sect, 4, of this chapter.

[34] What laws were now delivered to the priests, see the note on Antiq. B. III. ch.1. sect.7.

[35] Of the exact place where this altar was to be built, whether nearer Mount Gerizzim or Mount Ebal, according to Josephus, see Essay on the Old Testament, p.168 -- 171. Dr. Bernard well observes here, how unfortunate this neglect of consulting the Urim was to Joshua himself, in the case of the Gibeonites, who put a trick upon him, and ensnared him, together with the rest of the Jewish rulers, with a solemn oath to preserve them, contrary to his commission to extirpate all the Canaanites, root and branch; which oath he and the other rulers never durst break. See Scripture Politics, p.55, 56; and this snare they were brought into because they "did not ask counsel at the mouth of the Lord," Joshua 9:14.

[36] Since Josephus assures us here, as is most naturally to be supposed, and as the Septuagint gives the text, Deuteronomy 33:6, that Moses blessed every one of the tribes of Israel, it is evident that Simeon was not omitted in his copy, as it unhappily now is, both in our Hebrew and Samaritan copies.

book 3 footnotes
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