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[121] But the affairs of the Canaanites were at this thee in a flourishing condition, and they expected the Israelites with a great army at the city Bezek, having put the government into the hands of Adonibezek, which name denotes the Lord of Bezek, for Adoni in the Hebrew tongue signifies Lord. Now they hoped to have been too hard for the Israelites, because Joshua was dead; but when the Israelites had joined battle with them, I mean the two tribes before mentioned, they fought gloriously, and slew above ten thousand of them, and put the rest to flight; and in the pursuit they took Adonibezek, who, when his fingers and toes were cut off by them, said, "Nay, indeed, I was not always to lie concealed from God, as I find by what I now endure, while I have not been ashamed to do the same to seventy-two kings." 1 So they carried him alive as far as Jerusalem; and when he was dead, they buried him in the earth, and went on still in taking the cities: and when they had taken the greatest part of them, they besieged Jerusalem; and when they had taken the lower city, which was not under a considerable time, they slew all the inhabitants; but the upper city was not to be taken without great difficulty, through the strength of its walls, and the nature of the place.

1 This great number of seventy-two reguli, or small kings, over whom Adonibezek had tyrannized, and for which he was punished according to the lex talionis, as well as the thirty-one kings of Canaan subdued by Joshua, and named in one chapter, Joshua 12., and thirty-two kings, or royal auxiliaries to Benhadad king of Syria, 1 Kings 20:1; Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 14. sect. 1, intimate to us what was the ancient form of government among several nations before the monarchies began, viz. that every city or large town, with its neighboring villages, was a distinct government by itself; which is the more remarkable, because this was certainly the form of ecclesiastical government that was settled by the apostles, and preserved throughout the Christian church in the first ages of Christianity. Mr. Addison is of opinion, that "it would certainly be for the good of mankind to have all the mighty empires and monarchies of the world cantoned out into petty states and principalities, which, like so many large families, might lie under the observation of their proper governors, so that the care of the prince might extend itself to every individual person under his protection; though he despairs of such a scheme being brought about, and thinks that if it were, it would quickly be destroyed." Remarks on Italy, 4to, p. 151. Nor is it unfit to be observed here, that the Armenian records, though they give us the history of thirty-nine of their ancientest heroes or governors after the Flood, before the days of Sardanapalus, had no proper king till the fortieth, Parerus. See Moses Chorehensis, p. 55. And that Almighty God does not approve of such absolute and tyrannical monarchies, any one may learn that reads Deuteronomy 17:14-20, and 1 Samuel 8:1-22; although, if such kings are set up as own him for their supreme King, and aim to govern according to his laws, he hath admitted of them, and protected them and their subjects in all generations.

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