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CHESED, THE SON OF NAHOR.
I AM well aware, that many people suppose the Chaldeans to have been thus denominated from Chesed, who was the son of Nahor, the brother of Abraham. Dicti Chasdim, seu Chasdæi (vulgo Chaldæi, facilioris soni causå) sic denominati sunt a Two Chesed filio Nachor, fratris Abrahami, qui una cum filiis et posteris dictam urbem Ur, et tandem totam illam regionem inhabitárunt. This is very extraordinary: and spoken without the least historical evidence to support it. Chesed, the third son out of eight, who is mentioned but once,' and then without any history annexed, is supposed to have given name to a very distinguished and celebrated people, and to the country, which they in habited; merely because his name was Chesed, and theirs Chasdim. The sacred historian seems industriously to specify this country. We are informed, ' that Terah departed with his son Abra
· Hyde Relig. Vet. Persar, cap. 2. pag. 75.
ham out of Ur of the Chaldees : that Haran died in Ur of the Chaldees; and that it was the place of his nativity. With what propriety could all this be said, and reiterated, if the land was not thus denoninated till the time of Chesed, who was not yet in being; or rather, till the time of his ' descendants, if he had any, which must have been still later ? The learned Hyde tells us, that it was spoken proleptically. The Greeks indeed, who often called people, and countries by names, which were not applicable to them till many ages after the time in question, made use of a very plausible and convenient figure, by which they thought to atone for a multitude of mistakes. Yet this misapplication of terms was an error, however rhetorically they might defend it: and such as is seldom to be found in the sacred writers. Moses is ever particularly careful to certify and distinguish: and has just been giving an exact detail of the descendants of Noah, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations. It is therefore injurious to imagine the sacred writer guilty of an unnecessary anticipation : and we take off greatly
3 This notion of Chesed giving name to the Chaldeans is exactly similar to the account before mentioned of Amalek the son of Eliphaz, the supposed father of the Amalekites ; where, for the sake of a name, a whole series of history is set aside. There is no accounting for this infatuation, with which so many learned men have been possessed.
from the peculiar excellence of the Mosaic history, which upon examination turns out so wonderfully precise and true, by making so unfair a supposition. Besides, it would not in this place be. merely a rhetorical figure: it really would not be true. The words of Moses are not at large, that Haran died in Chaldea ; but descriptive, that he died in Ur of the Chaldees. And the Apostle tells us, that + " he
came from the land of the Chaldees. There must therefore have been at that time people of such denomination : otherwise we have a nation referred to, which did not exist : and this we can hardly suppose.
In short, the Chasdim are no other than the Chusdim, the sons of Chus; who first took possession of the country, which we have been speaking of; and likewise held Babylon. All histo y, which treats of these early times bears evidence to this." They sent out numerous tribes
4 Acts. 7. v. 4.
$ Sure there never was introduced into writing a figure so fatal as this prolepsis : there is nothing can withstand it: no evidence is so plain and positive, no authority so indisputable, but it is liable to be set aside. If any proof or authority could have had weight, I should have thought the following would have prevailed.
Abraham primam ætatem apud Chaldæos agebat, Euseb. Chron. Hieron. Interprete. pag. 9.
“Οι Χαλδαιοι πρωτοι ανηγορευσαν εαυτες βασιλεις· ων πρωτος Ενηχους. Euseb. Chron. Aoy. IIpwt. pag. 14.
and colonies, which were styled Cuseans and Ara. bians. Africanus and his followers did not consider this in the list, they have given of Babylonish kings. For finding those princes called sometimes Arabians, and sometimes Chaldeans; and not knowing that by these terms one and the same nation was meant, they made an unfortunate distinction : and in the supposed dynasty, with which
Παρα μεν Χαλδαιους πρωτος ο αρξας αυτων Αλωρος. Chron. Pasch.
Τω βψος ετει τα κοσμε δι Χαλδαιοι πρωτον ανηγορευσαν εαυτος βασιaus. Syncellus. pag. 90.
Tauta Mer our eyevmIn sy yn Xandaw. Theophilus ad Autol. lib. 2. of the tower of Babel, and the dispersion of mankind.
Αβρααμ-την πρωτην ηλικιαν παρα Χαλδαιοις ποιειται. Εusch. Epit. Chron. pag. 228.
The same is said in the Pasch. Chron. pag. 49.
Εκ των Απολλωδωρε. Ταυτα μεν ο Βηρωσσος ισορησε, πρωτον γενεσθαι βασιλιά Αλωρον εκ Βαβυλωνος Χαλδαιον. Εuseb. Chron. Λογ. Πρωτ.
Add to these, what I have mentioned from the Scripture; that “ Haran died in Ur of the Chaldees :" that “ Abraham and " his family went forth from Ur of the Chaldees ;" Gen. 11. v. 23. 31. “ God brought Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees.” Nehemiah 9. v. 7. “ Abraham came out of the land of the “ Chaldeans." Acts 7. v. 4.
These are strong proofs of the most early existence of the Chaldean nation: all which are set aside for the sake of one Chesed, a person never mentioned till the 140th year of Abraham: which Chesed was born at Haran in Mesopotamia, and was never, that we know of, in Chaldea ; nor had he any connection with it.