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Othoniel's forty to begin presently upon the death of Joshua, as in the beginning of this reckoning they have twenty years less than Codoman, so towards the end of it (when they reckon the years of affliction apart from the years of the judges) in the number of Samson's years, and of the forty years of the Philistines oppressing the Israelites, they have twenty years more than Codoman. For they reckon these forty years of oppression all of them apart from Samson's twenty; but Codoman, as is said, makes Samson's twenty to be the one half of the forty of the Philistines' oppressions ; so that if the twenty years of the seniors be not allowed to Codoman, then he may reckon (as the letter of the text seems to enforce) that the Philistines in an interregnum, before Samson judged Israel, vexed the Israelites forty years, besides the twenty while Samson was their judge, and so the reckoning will come to 450 years between the end of Joshua and the beginning of Samuel, though we admit not of any interregnum of the seniors between Joshua and Othoniel: for if the times of their affliction be summed, they make 111 years, to which if we add the years of the judges, which are 339, we have the just sum of 450. And this computation, either one way or other, may seem to be much more probable, than theirs that correct the text, although we should admit of their correction thereof, and read with them 350 for 450. For whereas they conceive that this time of 350 years is to begin immediately, or soon after the death of Moses; certainly the place of St. Paul doth evidently teach the contrary, though it be received for true, that there was vitium scriptoris in the rest. For these be St. Paul's words;
And about the time of forty years, God suffered their manners in the wilderness; and he destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, and divided their land to them by lot. Then afterward he gave unto them judges about 450 years, unto the time of Samuel the prophet. So as first in the 18th verse he speaketh of Moses, and of his years spent in the wilderness, then in the 19th verse he cometh to the acts of Joshua; which were, that he destroyed seven nations in the land of c Canaan, and divided their land to them by lot. In the 20th verse it followeth, Then afterwards he gave them judges about 450 years, &c. And therefore to reckon from the death of Moses is wide of St. Paul's meaning, so far as my weak understanding can pierce it. The only inconvenience of any weight in the opinion of Codoman, touching this place in the Acts, is, that it seems irreconcileable with the account, 1 Kings vi. 11. For if indeed there were spent 450 years between the end of Joshua and the beginning of Samuel, certainly there must needs be much more than 480 years between the beginning of the Israelites journeying from Egypt, and the foundation of the temple by Salomon. To this difficulty Codoman answereth, that these 480 years, 1 Kings vi. 1, must begin to be reckoned, not in the beginning, but in the ending of their journeying from Egypt, which he makes to be twenty-five years after the beginning of Othoniel's government; from whence if we cast the years of the judges with the years of servitude, (which sums, according to his account, of which we have already spoken, make 397 years,) and so to these years add the forty of Samuel and Saul, and the forty of David, and the three of Salomon, we shall have the just sum of 480 years. Neither is it hard, saith he, that the annus egressionis, 1 Reg. vi. 1, should be understood egressionis non incipientis sed finitæ, the year of their coming out of Egypt, (for so it is in the original,) or the year after they came out of Egypt, may well be understood for the year after they were come out thence, that is, after they had ended their wandering from thence. For so we find that things, which were done forty years after they had set foot out of Egypt, are said to have been done in their going out of Egypt, as Psalm cxiv. When Israel came out of Egypt, Jordan was driven back. And Deut. iv. 45. These are the testimonies which Moses spake when they came out of Egypt. And thus far it seems we may very well agree with Codoman for the interpretation of the word ab exitu, to be as much as quum exivissent, or ab
exitu finito: for if Junius, Deut. iv. 45, do well read quum exivissent for in exitu, as it seems that herein he doth well, why may not we also, to avoid contradiction in the scripture, expound ab exitu to be postquam exivissent?
The next point to be cleared is, how their journeying should be said not to have had end until the twenty-fifth year after the victory of Othoniel. To this Codoman answereth, that then it had no end till when all the tribes had obtained their portions, which happened not until this time; at which time the Danites at length seated themselves, as it is declared, Judg. xviii; for doubtless to this time the expedition may most conveniently be referred. And thus, without any great inconvenience to him appearing, doth Codoman reconcile the account of Jephta, Judg. xviii. 1, and St. Paul, with that in 1 Kings vi. Now whereas it is said, that the expedition of the Danites was when there was no king in Israel ; to this Codoman answereth, that it is not necessary that we should suppose that Othoniel lived all those forty years of rest, of which Judg. ii. 11. So that by the twenty-five years after his victory, either he might have been dead, or at least, as Gideon did, he might have refused all sovereignty; and so either way it might truly be said, that at this time (to wit, the twenty-fifth year after Othoniel's victory) there was no king in Israel. This opinion of Codoman, if it were as consonant to other chronologers grounding their opinions on the plain text where it is indisputable, as it is in itself round enough and coherent, might perhaps be received as good ; especially considering that the speeches of St. Paul have not otherwise found any interpretation, maintaining them as absolutely true, in such manner as they sound and are set down. But seeing that he wanteth all help of authority, we may justly suspect the supposition whereupon his opinion is grounded; it being such as the consent of many authors would hardly suffice to make very probable. For who hath told Codoman that the conquest of Laish, by the tribe of Dan, was performed in the five and twentieth year of Othoniel ? Or what other probability hath he than his own conjecture, to shew that
Othoniel did so renounce the office of a judge after five and twenty years, that it might then be truly said there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was good in his own eyes.
Now concerning the rehearsal of the law by Moses, and the stopping of Jordan, they might indeed be properly said to have been when Israel came out of Egypt; like as we say, that king Edward I. was crowned when he came out of the Holy Land; for so all journeys, with their accidents, commonly take name from the place either whence or whither they tend. But I think he can find no such phrase of speech in scripture, as limiteth a journey by an accident, or saith, by converting the proposition, when Jordan was turning back, Israel came out of Egypt. Indeed most unproper it were to give date unto actions commenced long after, from an expedition finished long before; namely, to say, that king Edward, at his arrival out of Palæstina, did win Scotland, or died at Carlisle. How may we then believe that enterprise, performed so many years after the division of the land, (which followed the conquest at the journey's end,) should be said to have been at the time of the departure out of Egypt? Or who will not think it most strange, that the most notable account of time, serving as the only guide for certain ages in sacred chronology, should not take name and beginning from that illustrious deliverance out of Egypt rehearsed often by God himself among the principal of his benefits to Israel, whereof the very day and month are recorded in scripture, (as likewise are the year and month wherein it expired,) and the form of the year upon that occasion changed; but should have reference to the surprising of a town by 600 men, that robbed a chapel by the way, and stole from thence idols to be their guides, as not going to work in God's name? For this accident, whereupon Codoman buildeth, hath either no time given to it, or a time far different from that which he supposeth, and is indeed rather by him placed in such a year, because it best stood with his interpretation so to have it, than for any certainty or likelihood of the thing itself.
Wherefore we may best agree with such as affirm, that the apostle St. Paul did not herein labour to set down the course of time exactly, (a thing no way concerning his purpose,) but only to shew that God, who had chosen Israel to be his people, delivered them out of bondage, and ruled them by judges and prophets unto the time of Saul; did raise up our Lord Jesus Christ out of the seed of David the king, in whose succession the crown was established, and promise made of a kingdom that should have no end. Now in rehearsing briefly thus much, which tended as a preface to the declaration following, (wherein he sheweth Christ to have been the true Messias,) the apostle was so far from labouring to make an exact calculation of time, (the history being so well known, and believed of the Jews to whom he preached,) that he spake as it were at large of the forty years consumed in the wilderness, whereof no man doubted; saying, that God suffered their manners in the wilderness about forty years.' In like manner he proceeded, saying, that from the division of the land unto the days of Samuel the prophet, in whose time they required to have a king, there passed about 450 years. Neither did he stand to tell them, that 111 years of bondage, mentioned in this middle while, were by exact computation to be included within the 339 years of the judges; for this had been an impertinent digression from the argument which he had in hand. Wherefore it is a work not so needful as laborious, to search out of this place that which the apostle did not here intend to teach, when the sum of 480 years is so expressly and purposely set down.
Now that the words of St. Paul (if there be no fault in the copy through error of some scribe) are not so curiously to be examined in matter of chronology, but must be taken as having reference to the memory and apprehension of the vulgar, it is evident by his ascribing in the same place forty years to the reign of Saul; whereas it is manifest, that those years were divided between Saul and Samuel, yea, that far the greater part of them were spent under the government of the prophet, howsoever they are here included