Now the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem, and the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in the holy city of Jerusalem, while the remaining nine were to dwell in their own cities.
I. The true centre of the life of the community is THE RELIGIOUS CENTRE. Jerusalem as the sacred city. The secular and religious are not opposed. The man of God is the true man. There is no true strength and prosperity where there is an inversion of the Divine order. Put the centre where it ought to be. There have been men who have sanctified the earthly life in its highest forms by their recognition of the supreme claim of religion.
II. WILLINGNESS is the only sure foundation on which the Church's glory can rest. We may appeal to Divine direction in the selection of our spiritual leaders; but it is those who willingly offer themselves who should be called to occupy the foremost places at Jerusalem.
III. While there is a boundless variety in human capability, there is a possibility of DISTRIBUTION which shall find room for all. The highest wealth and faculty should be gathered to the centre. The Church of God should present to the world the most conspicuous examples of sanctified genius and faithfully-used opportunity. - R.
And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem.
1. Because a greater strictness of conversation was expected from the inhabitants of Jerusalem than from others, which they were not willing to come up to; or —
2. Because Jerusalem, of all places, was most hated by the heathen, their neighbours, and against it their malicious designs were levelled, which made that the post of danger, as the post of honour uses to be, and therefore they were not willing to expose themselves there; or —
3. Because it was more for their worldly advantage to dwell in the country. We are here told —
I. BY WHAT MEANS IT WAS REPLENISHED.
1. The rulers dwelt there. The "mighty are magnetic." When great men would choose the holy city for their habitation, it brings holiness into reputation, and their zeal will provoke very many.
2. There were some that "willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem," bravely postponing their own secular interest to the public welfare. The people blessed them. They praised them, they prayed for them, they praised God for them. Many that do not appear forward themselves for the public good will yet give a good word to those that do.
3. They, finding that yet there was room, concluded, upon a review of their whole body, to bring one in ten to dwell in Jerusalem, and who they should be was determined by lot-; the disposal they all knew was of the Lord. The proportion of one in ten seems to refer to the ancient rule of giving the tenth to God. And what is given to the holy city He reckons given to Himself.
II. BY WHAT PERSONS IT WAS REPLENISHED.
1. Many of the children of Judah and Benjamin dwelt there. Originally part of the city lay in the lot of those tribes and part in that of the other; but the greater part was in the lot of Benjamin; hence more families of that tribe abode in the city.
2. The priests and Levites did many of them settle at Jerusalem. Where else should men that were holy to God dwell, but in the holy city?
(T. Campbell Finlayson.)
I. ENCLOSED WITHIN WALLS, THE CITY GAINED A PECULIAR CHARACTER AND PERFORMED A DISTINCTIVE MISSION OF HER OWN. Our Lord was not satisfied to rescue stray sheep on the mountains only to brand them with His mark and then turn them out again to graze in solitude. He drew them as a flock after Himself, and His disciples gathered them into the fold of Christian fellowship. This is of as vital importance to the cause of Christianity as the civic organisation of Jerusalem was to that of Judaism. The Christian City of God stands out before the world on her lofty foundation, the Rock of Ages — a beacon of separation from Sin, a testimony to the grace of God, a centre for the confession of faith, a home for social worship, a rallying-point for the forces of holy warfare, a sanctuary for the helpless and oppressed.
II. THE PUBLIC DUTY OF CITIZENSHIP. The reluctance of Christians to accept the responsibilities of Church membership may be compared to the backwardness of the Jews to dwell in Jerusalem.
(W. F. Adeney, M. A.)
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