8. Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood.
8. Galaad civitas operantium iniquitatem, astuta a sanguine (ad verbum ita est, vel,retenta a sanguine; alii vertunt, supplantata a sanguine; alii, inquinata a sanguine.)
I shall first speak of the subject, and then something shall be added in its place of the words. The Prophet here notices, no doubt, something special against Gilead, which through the imperfection of history is now to us obscure. But in the first place, we must remember, that Gilead was one of the cities of refuge; and the Levites possessed these cities, which were destined for fugitives. If any one killed a man by chance, that the relatives might not take revenge, the Lord provided that he should flee to one of these cities appointed for his safety. He was there safe among the Levites: and the Levites received him under their protection, the matter being previously tried; for a legal hearing of the cause must have preceded as to whether he who had killed a man was innocent. We must then first remember that this city was occupied by the Levites and the priests; and they ought to have been examples to all others; for as Christ calls his disciples the light of the world, so the Lord had chosen the priests for this purpose, that they might carry a torch before all the people. Since then the highest sanctity ought to have shone forth in the priests, it was quite monstrous that they were like robbers, and that the holy city, which was as it were the sanctuary of God, became a den of thieves.
It was then for this reason that the Prophet especially inveighs against the city Gilead, and says
"Polluted with blood,"
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