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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Yet we find Jephthah did not much regard it


3. Yet Gideon's example, though he had an extraordinary call, cannot be pretended as unimitable on the matter; for that was ordinary, though the call and manner was extraordinary. He, with the concurrence of a very few men, did break the yoke of subjection to Midian, Judg. vi. and vii. chap. and having called his brethren out of all mount Ephraim, into a conjunction with him in the pursuit of his victory; when he demanded supply of the princes of Succoth, and of the men of Penuel, and they denied it, he served them as enemies. Whence, if a small party may with God's approbation deliver themselves, and the whole of their community, from the bondage of their oppressing dominators whom they had served several years, and may punish their princes that do not come out to their help, in a concurrence with them, and encouragement of them in that attempt; then must it be duty to defend themselves against their oppressors that rule over them, and all ought to concur in it; or else there would not be justice in punishing them that were defective in this work; but we see the former from this example: therefore,--Obj. If it be said, Gideon, and the rest of the extraordinary raised judges, were magistrates, therefore they might defend and deliver their country, which a private people that are only subjects may not do. I answer. (1.) They were subject to these tyrants that oppressed them who were then the sovereign powers of that time, and yet they shook off their yoke by defensive arms. (2.) They were not then magistrates when they first appeared for their country's defence and deliverance, neither in that did they act as such, but only as captains of rebels, in the esteem of them that had power over them. It is clear, Gideon was not ruler, till that authority was conferred upon him after the deliverance. See Judg. viii. 22, &c. yet he did all this before.

When his bastard Abimelech usurped the government, and was made king by the men of Shechem, at length God sending an evil spirit between him and his accomplices that set him up, not only was he resisted by the treacherous Schechemites, (which was their brand and bane in the righteous judgment of God), for their aiding him at first and killing his brethren, Judg. ix. 23, 24, &c. but also he was opposed by others of the men of Israel, as at Thebez, where he was slain by a woman, vers. 50. at the end. Whence, if an usurping tyrant, acknowledged as king by the generality, may be disowned by the godly, and threatened with God's vengeance to consume both him and his accomplices that comply with him; and if he may be opposed and resisted, not only by those that set him up, but also by others that were in subjection to him, and at length be killed by them, without resentment of the rest of the nation; then must it be duty for a people, who had no hand in the erection of such a dominator, to defend themselves against his force; but the former is true by this example: therefore----.

5. When Israel fell under the tyranny of Ammon, oppressing them eighteen years, they did, by resisting these supreme powers, shake off their yoke, under the conduct of Jephthah. And being challenged sharply by the men of Ephraim, who it seems claimed the prerogative of making war, and therefore came to revenge and reduce Jephthah and his company to order, casting herein belike a copy to our regular loyalists, who are very tenacious of this plea of the Ephraimites, that, at least, without the nobles of the kingdom, no war is to be made; yet we find Jephthah did not much regard it, but stoutly defended himself, and slew of them 42,000 men, by their Shibboleth, Judg. xii. If people then, when questioned for defending themselves, by them that claim a superiority over them, and should deliver them, may defend themselves both without them and against them; then it is a people's duty and privilege: but the former is true by this example.


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