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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

When the Lord discomfitted the host of Jabin


4. When the Lord discomfitted the host of Jabin, and Sifera his captain fled into the house of Heber the Kenite, Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, Judg, iv. 21. of which the prophetess Deborah says, chap. v. 24. "Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be above women in the tent." Yet not only was Jael no magistrate, but in subjection to and at peace with Jabin, though she killed his captain. But there was no injustice here, when he was declared a public enemy, the war was just, he was an oppressor of the people of God, it became Jael, as a member of the commonwealth, to betray and cut off the common enemy. Therefore Jael had sinned, if she had not killed him. Martyr and others cited in Pool. Synops. Critic. upon the place, albeit that author himself, in his English annotations, does cut the knot, instead of loosing it, in denying Deborah's song to be divinely inspired in its first composure, but only recorded as a history by divine inspiration, as other historical passages not approven, only because this heroic fact of Jael is there recommended, which is too bold an attempt upon this part of the holy canon of the scripture: whence we see what inconveniences they are driven to, that deny this principle of natural justice, the lawfulness of cutting off public enemies, to procure the deliverance of the Lord's people. Hence, If it be lawful for private persons, under subjection to, and at peace with the public enemies of the Lord's people to take all advantages to break their yoke, and deliver the oppressed from their bondage, by killing their oppressors; it must be much more lawful for such as acknowledge no such subjection or agreement, to attempt the same in extreme necessity; but the former is true: therefore the latter.

5. When Samson married the Timnite, and obliged himself by compact, to give them thirty sheets and thirty change of garments, upon their solving his riddle, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to Askelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, Judg. xiv. 19. And afterwards, when he lost his wife by the cruelty and treachery of those Philistines, he said unto them, 'Though you have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease. And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter,' chap. xv. 7, 8. And when the Jews, who acknowledged the Philistines for rulers, came to Etam to expostulate with him, all the satisfaction he gave them was to avouch, that as they had done unto him, so he had done unto them, and to kill a thousand more of them, ver. 11. &c. These were extraordinary heroic facts, not only because they flowed from an extraordinary power wherewith he was endued, and from an extraordinary motion and call; but because of his avenging his own private injuries for the public good, in a way both of fortitude and prudence, without a declared war, provoking the enemies against himself, and diverting from the people, and converting against himself, all their fury, in which also he acted as a type of Christ; and also because he acted not as a magistrate at this time, for by whom was he called or counted a magistrate? not by the Philistines, nor by the men of Judah, for they tell him that the Philistines were their lords, and they bound him and delivered him up to them: yet in his private capacity, in that extraordinary exigence, he avenged himself and his country against his public enemies, by a clandestine war, which is imitable in the like case, when a prevailing faction of murdering enemies domineer over and destroy the people of God, and there is no other way to be delivered from them; for his ground was moral, because they were public enemies, to whom he might do as they did to him. Hence, if saints sometimes, in cases of necessity, may do unto their public enemies, as they have done unto them, in prosecuting a war not declared against them; then much more may they do so in cases of necessity, to deliver themselves from their murdering violence, when a war is declared; but here is an example of the former: ergo


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