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Ch. XIX.-WARFARE AND MILITARY AFFAIRS.
The reader will not expect to find much in this work about wars and military proceedings, but there are some allusions to those subjects in the Bible which must not be passed by. In the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, there are many accounts of battles and warfare; but we find in general that those who are described as good characters stood upon their own defence, while they who first attacked others, usually were bad characters. Of course I do not here refer to the conquest of Canaan by Joshua. We are expressly told the inhabitants of that land were so wicked, that God saw it needful that they should be destroyed, and the Israelites were the executioners of this just sentence, Gen. xv. 16. Exod. xxxiv. 10–17. Lev. xx. 23. Deut. xii. 31. Josh. xxiv. 11.
We may observe, that when attacked by their enemies, those who were true followers of the Lord, while they exerted themselves, did not trust in an arm of flesh. They looked to the Lord of hosts earnestly in prayer, for a blessing on their arms. Thus Moses, when the Israelites were attacked by the Amalekites, Exod. xvii. 11. David, 1 Sam. xvii. 37. 2 Sam, v. 19. A bijah, 2 Chron. xiii. 5, 12, 14. Asa, 2 Chron. xiv. 11. Jeho. shaphat, 2 Chron. xx. Hezekiah, 2 Kings xix. Other instances might be mentioned ; Ezra viii. 21, 23. must not be forgotten.
The walls of Jerusalem are spoken of in many places. In the book of Nehemiah we read what care was taken to repair them after the return from the captivity. For. tified towns were attacked regularly by battering rams and other engines of war, 2 Sam. xx. 15. and by build. ing forts to shelter the besiegers, 2 Kings xxv. though such regular engines as are represented at the end of this chapter, "might not have been used till the later times of the Roman empire. The engines for throwing stones and darts used by Úzziah, 2 Chron. xxvi. 15. must, however, have been very similar to the catapulta and balista. For. tified towers are often mentioned in scripture, Judg. xi. 51.
There also were towers in their vineyards and gardens to defend the property against robbers, Isa. V. 2. Matt. xxi. 33. Cant. vii. 4. Such are now to be found in the east. The tops of craggy rocks were often fortified, Gen. xxv. 16. Judg. xx. 47. 1 Sam. xiv. 4. The strong holds were rocks, or more frequently caves, 1 Sam. xxv. 29. xxiv. 2, 3. Flying to hills and mountains for refuge is often mentioned in scripture.
The numbers of the armies mentioned in the Bible often seem to be very large ; but in the east there are a great many servants and other followers to an army, and the numbers mentioned probably include these. Also in those days every man able to bear arms went forth to war, when required to do so. Of the miseries caused by warfare, there are many striking descriptions in the Bible, perhaps none stronger than that which speaks of the interference of Obed, 2 Chron. xxviii. in behalf of the people of Judah, when taken captive by the people of Israel ; see also Deut. xxvii. 47–58.
The Bible contains many accounts of war and battles ; they are given in a very different manner from the accounts of poets or common historians. There is nothing to make war attractive, or to cást a false glare over the deeds of the conquerors. War, indeed, cannot be too much abhorred by the real follower of Christ. Remem. ber the words of our Lord, Matt. xxvi. 52.
“ All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”
In ancient times the warriors wore armour made of plates of metal. We read of the armour of the Philis. tine, and of Saul, 1 Sam. xviii. But the most particular and important reference to armour is Eph. vi. 11-17. The apostle there speaks of the warfare in which the christian has to engage against the enemies of his soul. He describes each piece of armour separately, and applies them to some christian qualification or grace. Thus the girdle is to be truth ; the breastplate, righteousness; the shoes or defences for the legs, the gospel of helmet, the hope of salvation. But above, or over all, the necessity for the shield of faith is described, as the means wherewith to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one
the temptations and doubts of Satan. The only weapon of offence appointed for the christian, is the sword of the Spirit, “which is the word of God.” Now these things show us the defences to be used by the followers of Christ, and the only weapon they should use to attack their adversaries—THE BIBLE. A soldier who was not skilled in the use of his sword, was very likely to be overcome in ancient times; so we shall do little against the enemies of our souls, or the adversaries of the truth, unless we are well versed in the scriptures. In this respect every christian should be “a man of war from his youth.”
Much more might be said about military matters, but there is no occasion to enlarge on the subject. The in. sufficiency of any human means,
of armies or armour, are strongly shown in the case of Goliath, slain with a pebble from the brook; the army of Midian and others, as grasshoppers for multitude, “ without number,” Judg. vi. 5. overcome by three hundred men with pitchers, torches, and trumpets; all the host of the Syrians flying at a mere noise, 2 Kings vii. 6. but especially in the · destruction of 185,000 men in one night by the angel of the Lord, without a blow from any mortal hand, 2 Kings xix. 35.