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BIBLICAL


555


BIBLICAL


unknown in the Old Testament, for the plaintiff was supposed to look after his own case if he desired satisfactory judgment. Litigants were also at liberty to settle their differences personally, without appealing to the judge. The judge was held bound to hear and examine the case closely and conscien- tiously, his chief method of inquiry being the ex- amination of the testimony of the witnesses. The accusations of the father against his rebellious child needed no support of witness. In other cases, how- ever, especially criminal cases, not fewer than two or three witnesses were absolutely required. In all probability the testimony of slaves, children under age, and women was not accepted, as is expressly stated by Josephus and the Talmud, although not mentioned in the Old Testament. Witnesses were thoroughly examined, and, as in the Code of Ham- murabi, false witnesses were pimislied according to the lex talionis, viz., by inflicting the precise kind of punishment the false witness had intended to bring upon his victim by his falsehood. Witnesses do not seem to have been put on oath, but when the nature of the case was such as to make it impossible to have or to produce witnesses, as in a case of theft, the oath was then administered to the accused, and the case decided. When the discovery of the crime and of the guilty party was a practical impossi- bility, Yahweh was looked to for the accomplish- ment of the task.

The Law affixes no civil punishment for perjury; it forbids it as a profanation of Yahweh's name and threatens it with divine punishment. It must be noted, however, that in all cases in which an oath was taken before a judgment-seat it consisted merely of an adjuration addressed by the judge and re- sponded to by the person sworn with an Amen. "Only in common life did the person swearing him- self utter the oath, either: 'So Yahweh do to me, and more also', or 'God [Elohim] do so to me', etc., or 'as Yahweh liveth'. But in such cases the name of Yahweh was probably avoided, and the oath was taken by the life (soul) of the man, to whom one wished to protest by oath. In later times, it became common, especially among the Pharisees, to swear by heaven, by the earth, by the temple, the holy city, and by one's own head."

The verdict, or the sentence, was pronounced orally, although from Job, xiii, 16; and Isaiah, x, 1, it appears that in some cases the sentence may have been given in WTitten form. The sentence was to be executed without delay. Pimishment was administered before the eyes of the judge, and that of stoning by the whole congregation or the people of the city, the witnesses being required to put their hands first to the execution of the guilty.

The practice of ordeals as means for ascertaining the truth, or obtaining a confession of guilt, was by no means unknown in Israel, although Jo.sephus expres.sly tells us that torture and the bastinado for this purpose were first introduced into Israel by the Herodians. The most important one is the so-called "ordeal of jealousy", prescribed in Num- bers, V, 11-31, in the case of a woman suspected of adultery which cannot be legally proved. For this purpose the husband of the su.spected woman would bring her to the priest; he must also brine with him an offering of barley meal, which is called "a meal-offering of jealousy, a meal-offering of memorial bringing guilt to remembrance". The priest brings the woman before Yahweh, makes her take an oath of purgation, and then gives her to drink a potion described as "the water of bitter- ness that causeth the cure", consisting of "holy water" with which dust from the floor of the taber- nacle has been mingled, and into which tlie written words of the oath have been washed. If the woman be guilty the potion proves harmful; if innocent.


harmless; in the latter case, moreover, the woman becomes fruitful.

The existence, at least at certain periods, of cor- ruption and dishonesty in the administration of justice in Israel, and especially among the priests, need hardly be insisted on. The example of the two sons of Eli, notorious for their greed, is well known. Micah, Isaiah, Hosea, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, and Malachi freely and vehemently accuse the He- brew judges of unfairness, injustice, respect of persons, bribery, and dishonesty in their legal decisions.

(2) Thearmi/. — While in Egj-pt, the Hebrews lived a peaceful pastoral life mider the supreme control of the Pharaolis. During their forty-years wandering in the desert, they had no enemy to fight, and no land to conquer; but when the time of their entering Canaan approached, the situation was completely changed. Here they were face to face with old .settled Canaanitish tribes and nations, such as the Philistines, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Amorites, the Jebusites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, and many others, whom they had to attack, defeat, and exterminate. "Ye shall utterly destroy", was the command of Yahweh, "all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: and ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place" (Deut., xii, 2, 3). Hence the creation and organization of an army became a necessity, and it is morally certain that in their first wars everj- available Hebrew fighter took part. From the time of David do^vn to the late monarchical period a regular army was selected and organized. From Num.,i, 3, it appears that the whole male population over twenty years of age, if capable of bearing arms, were liable to military duty. At the time of the Judges, it is certain that the Israelitish army was composed wholly of infantry, as David was the first to use horses and chariots for military purposes, and it was Solomon who first established a distinct cavalry army. In the middle days of the monarchy the Hebrews could raise an army of one hundred and eighty thousand men [I Kings (D. V. Ill Kings), xii, 21], and on some occasions twice and even three times as many [see II Chronicles (D. V. Paralip.). xiii, 3, and xiv, 8]. These figures, however, need be greatly lowered, as they are due probably to a copyist's error. The army was divided into hun- dreds and thousands, with their appropriate leaders, captains of hundreds and captains of thousands, if on their arrival by septs or clans they were not thus organized. It is certain, however, that in point of armament and military organization and discipline the Hebrew army was greatly inferior to either the Egyptian or the Assyrian. Before under- taking any military operation, Yahweh was consulted through a prophet or through the Urim and Thum- mim, and sacrifices were offered just as in Homer's times. This custom, however, was practised by all nations of antiquity. From many Biblical passages [such as Judges, vii, 16; I Sam. (D. V. Kings), xi, 11;

II Sam. (D. V. Kings), xviii, 2; I Kings (D. V.

III Kings), XX, 27; and II Mace, viii, 22, etc.] it clearly appears that the attacking Israelitisli army was usually divided into three divisions, one in the centre and two on tlie flanks. Isaiah refers even to the "wings" of the army (viii, 8). A column advancing to conflict was preceded by two ranks of spearmen; next to these was a rank of bowmen, and behind them came the slingers. Spies were often sent out in advance to leam the position and the strength of the enemy, while night-attacks, with .skilfully divided forces, were not infre(iuent. The beginning of the battle was signalized by the blast of a trumpet