« AnteriorContinuar »
the patriarch disclosed, what was to happen in after times, especially to the son, who had aggrieved him. There is, I think, an apparent chasm and failure; which may with great probability be filled up, from what seems to be implied in this curse upon Canaan. It is very reasonable to suppose, that Noah told Ham of the future apostacy of his children: that the same want of reverence, which Ham had witnessed, would be visible in his posterity: That the second in descent from him should be the first 14 rebel upon earth; and at the same time the first tyrant, who should usurp authority over his brethren : That of the race of Cush should be a daring confederacy, who at the general dispersion should withstand the divine dispensation, and arrogate to themselves territories in direct opposition to the will of God: That a chosen people were to arise ; and that there was for them a particular land ordained : but that Canaan and his sons, another branch of his family, should disregard this ordinance, and seize upon the land, which was destined for God's own portion. Then comes in the part to the purpose; “ Cursed be Canaan ; a servant of “ servants shall he be unto his brethren;" and “ Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and. Canaan .“ shall be his servant.” Of this nature I take to have been the original prophecy: and good reason
14 The name Nimbrod signifies a rebel.
may be given, why one part is omitted, and the other retained. The former part is omitted by the divine writer, as unnecessary to be related ; being either mentioned or implied in the common course of the history. On the other hand, the propriety of inserting, what is specified, is apparent. It was a prophecy, that related most intimately to the Israelites; who, when this history was promulged, were upon their journey to Canaán, the land adjudged to them for an inheritance, but occupied by others. It was to inform them first, that the Canaanites had no right to the land, which they possessed : that they had been guilty of an undue usurpation : and were under the curse of God for their determined and obstinate disobedience : therefore for that reason they could not prosper against the Israelites. That the Israelites were going to their hereditary deniesnes; to a land originally designed for them by the great disposer of thrones and kingdoms : that the blessing, entailed upon the sons of Shem, particularly belonged to the children of Jacob; in whom the prophecy was to be completed, and to whom the Canaanite was to be subservient. The time, the place, every circumstance shews with what propriety this part of the prophecy is retained : and at the same time it is evident, that something had preceded, which is omitted by Moses, as unnecessary to be related.
From the foregoing we may see good reason for the severities shewn towards the Canaanites: whom
if it had pleased God to have swallowed up quick with an earthquake, or extirpated by fire froin heaven; nobody could have arraigned his justice. But as he was pleased to make use of an arm of flesh, and to employ the Israelites as ministers of his vengeance; many have presumed to call in question the equity of the proceeding, and to represent it as an instance of injustice and cruelty. Whereas the intention of Providence, in the instru: ments it made use of, is apparent. It was to make the Israelites detest these nations and their horrid customs; and to be detested by them: and to render them inexcusable, if after such severities exercised upon this people, they should theirselves hereafter lapse into the same apostacy and disobedience. To question whether God could in justice act thus in respect to the Canaanites, and whether he did right in chusing such implements of his vengeance, is a doubt as idle as it is impious. How the rebellion of the Canaanites was aggravated, and what were their crying sins, may be gathered from many parts of the Scriptures; but especially from the book of Wisdom, where they are particularly displayed : 15" For it was thy will (0) Lord) to " destroy by the hands of our fathers, both those “ old inhabitants of thy holy land; Whom thou “ hatedst for doing most odious works of witch
as Chap. 12. v. 3, 4, 5, 6. 11.
“ crafts, and wicked sacrifices; And also those
nerciless murderers of children, and devourers " of man's flesh, and the feasts of blood; With " their priests out of the midst of their idolatrous
crew, and the parents that killed with their own
hands, souls destitute of help ;--For it was a “ cursed seed from the beginning.” This may serve to vindicate the dispensations of Providence in this particular; and its just retributions on a rebellious and wicked people.
ANP12 IIO TEI A
ONE would think it scarce possible, that so unnatural a custom, as that of human sacrifices, . should have existed in the world ; but it is very certain, that it did not only exist, but almost universally prevail. I have before taken notice, that the Egyptians of old brought po victims to their temples, nor shed any blood at their altars: but human victims, and the blood of men must be here excepted; which at one 'period they most certainly offered to their gods. The · Cretans had the same custom; and adhered to it a much longer time, The nations of Arabią did the same.
The people of 3 Dumah in particular sacrificed every year a
Euseb. Præp. Evang. lib. 4. cap. 16. Arnobius. lib. 2. 2 Φοινικες δε και Kρητες τον Κρονον εν ταις τεκνοθυσιαις αυτων ελασκοντο. Athanas. Orat. adversus Gentes. Herodotus lib. 4. says the same of the Scythians. See also Porph. de Abstinentiâ. lib. 2. pag. 224. from Manetho.
3 Και Δεματιοι δε της Αραβιας κατ' έτος έκαςον εθυον παιδα, ον υπο Swpov bawTo, w xpwitau ws toavw. Porph. de Abstin. lib. 2.