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according to our situation, according to the probability of our political chronicles, will indeed lind much absurd, and the whole an exaggeration : this rule of judging, however, is contrary to the age and to the very nature of the case. The God Jehovah, who so dealt with the fathers of this people, who called their progenitor out of the remote parts of Asia for purposes now becoming fulfilled and recorded, -He, who brought the people so wondrously down to Egypt, and would rear them for a new republic, --could and must perhaps prepare them for this through wonderful means. Wonderfully yet naturally, they obtained their deliverer: wonderful was the departure ; since it fixed upon that hard and untractable race the first, the mighty impression, that God fought for Israel: wonderful and in the highest degree noble was the giving of the law, and every multiplied blessing of their course : but all and each are so suited to the time, to the place, to the great end,-namely, that a rude rebellious people, wandering through a wilderness, and shut in between hostile nations, as in a house of Jehovah's discipline to receive their cus. toms and statutes, should be fitted to become a new people in Palestine,--all are so fitted, I say, to this end, that they are highly natural in the place in which they stand. In different stages of their progress the fortunes of a people are also different; and if God dealt with this people from the beginning, and not for the first time now, he must deal with them according to their perceptions and capacities : so that I see nothing absurd here from first to last, considering the time and circumstances. Here are, moreover, laws and facts mingled and interwoven with each other; especially here is that wonder of wonders, the giving of the law from Sinai. This took place before the eyes and in the ears of the nation ; it was the object of the departure from Egypt, and the ground of all the wonders that were to follow : so that if this is established, so is also what preceded and what came after it. And it is most fully : the laws are founded upon it and continually refer to it, and with them it is inseparably connected: Moses, too, appeals to it in the most solemn manner at the close of his life. He sets this, and the wonder of the Exodus, with the other favours of God, as the eternal seals of his ordinances. I am aware, my friend, how often in questions of this kind, the inference from moral worth to historical truth, and, what is still more, to historical certainty, is overstrained and fails : but it seems to me that this is not the case here. For i do not argue from the narration of the wonders to the lawgiving; but from the lawgiving, and that in every part, even to the last breath of that remarkable person
Moses, to the history which is so intimately entwined with that legislation. I do not see how to separate the two without doing violence to the text, destroying the whole connexion so singular and intimate, and giving the lie without reserve to the whole spirit, not of this only, but also of the preceding and subsequent part of the history of the people. Now this, it seems to me, we should have no ground for doing, even though Moses himself had not written the history, and it was the production of an after age. Of documents belonging to his age it is evidently composed : this its appearance shows, its fragmentary form, dividing itself according to conjunctures, and changing with particular laws. Now we have his own history (Exod. ii.) following a scanty register of older times; (chap. i.) then the events of the departure ; (to chap. xiv.) now a song; (chap. xv.) then a journey ; then laws; (chap. xvi., &c.) more journeying; and so it continues. This form can be explained on no other supposition than that of original memoirs, which the collector venerated so highly, that he only put them together, without altering, or even arranging them into a whole ; thus their simple poverty vouches for their age and genuineness, as far as on a subject of such remote antiquity, assurance can be obtained or desired.*.
I have no objection that the attempt should be made, to reduce every thing to natural causes, which admits of such a solution. The Manna, for instance, has not the fabulous properties, which were ascribed to it in ages of ignorance: Jerusalem has
* The oldest mention in profane history of Moses and the departure from Egypt is preserved in the “ Bibliotheca” of Photius, patriarch of Constantinople. Photius quotes a fragment of Diodorus Siculus, in wbich that historian professes to cite the very words of Hecatæus of Miletus. Hecatæus lived in the reign of Darius Hystaspes, about the time of Nehemiah and the last of the Hebrew prophets, and is referred to and sometimes even copied by Herodotus. This account is curious, as showing the ideas that were entertained on this subject so early among the Greeks; and we cannot refrain from offering our readers a translation of a part of it. According to Photius, Diodorus concluded his bistory of the early fortunes of the Jews with these words :-"Concerning the Jews Hecatæus has the following narration :
“In ancient times, a pestilence having broken out in Egypt, the popular opinion ascribed the evil to the divine displeasure. For on account of the great concourse of foreigners who dwelt there, of every kind, and attached to the most opposite customs and religious rites, it happened that the hereditary worship and honours of the Gods were falling into decay : the Egyptians therefore supposed that there would be no mitigation of the calamity until the strangers were ex led. This was immediately done. Some of the most distinguished and active of these exiles, uniting under renowned leaders, of whom were Danaus and Cadmus, precipitated themselves (as the report is) into Greece and other countries. A great multitude also fell upon Judæa, as it is - pow. called, which is not far from
also revived, rightly enough, the supposition of Hardt,* respecting the clothes that never grew old; and I have nothing against it, that the same style of interpretation, which has been employed on these two points, of the manna and the clothes, should be applied analogically to others. Could it be shown, though I still cannot see it so, that the ebb and flow of the tide illustrates the passage through the sea at Suez ;--that the pillar of cloud and fire was only the beacon of smoke and flame which is common in the east ---that it was this simple expedient, which God here directly converted to the use of guiding the Israelitish host ;-still laws are nevertheless laws, the marvellous providence, accommodation, favour and judgments of God continue steadily the same, whether they took place through one set of means or another. The wonders in Egypt and the wilderness, the tremendous wonders that are interspersed here and there among the principal events, the solemn giving of the law on Sinai, all these cannot be made natural, and why need they be? Through the whole course the purpose of God stands firm and sure ; and all those wonders were but subservient to it.
Do not trouble yourself, however, if many circumstances are such knots as cannot be fully untied. This is unavoidable in so old a history, and of such a people; and it is very much to be wondered at that we possess and ascertain satisfactorily so much. Of other and much more celebrated nations, the Chaldæans, Egyptians, Phænicians, and even of the Greeks in those remote ages, we have nothing: so that there is here a remarkable
Egypt, and was at that time quite a wilderness : Moses was the leader of this colony, a man eminently remarkable for wisdom and vigour. Having taken possession of the country he built several cities, and among others the celebrated one of Jerusalem : he founded also a temple, which was held in the highest reverence by his countrymen, prescribed the ceremonies and services of religion, and established a system of polity. The people he divided into ten tribes. He forbade, altogether, every impage of the Divinity, that men might not conceive of any thing in a human shape as God, but rather acknowledge that He who embraces heaven and earth is the only God and the Lord of all," &c.
* Herman von der Hardt's “ Epbemerides philologicæ,” the work here referred to, we have never seen. It was published as early as 1703, and we believe was the first to assail the vulgar opinion that the clothes and shoes of the Israelites never wore out during the forty years in which they traversed the wilderness. The account is made plain enough by the following corrected translation of Deuteronomy, viii. 4: “ Ye have not these forty years worn tattered clothes ; nor bave your feet been blistered by wearing torn shoes.” A similar emendation is to be adopted Deut. xxix. 5. Moses does not tell the people that their garments never grew raga ged, but only that they had always been able to keep themselves in whole
distinction in favour of this people. Do but read Doederlein's “ Antifraginents," against the objections of the Fragmentist* respecting the passage through the Red Sea, Jerusalem's Considerations on the history of Moses, and other writings of this description, and say what more can be asked for the illustration of events and writings of such hoary antiquity,—what more can be desired. We have in Germany a champion of the Holy Scriptures, on these points of difficulty as well as on all others, whom foreigners might well envy to us, so quietly and unostentatiously does he discourse : I mean Lilienthal. His “ Value of Revelation” is a library of opinions on both sides, a review of objections and their answers, a sea of learning. If he is here and there too exact, too minute, this fault becomes an excellence to one who is a counsellor for the Bible. Every one can now examine, judge, choose.
But my letter is once more growing into a treatise. What I have said of the history contained in the books of Moses is applicable also to the books of Joshua, Judges, Kings, the Prophets. It is not, indeed, to be supposed that each hero, prophet and king has himself interwoven his own piece of history, and it would be no advantage if it were so, for a witness is not commonly valued the most in his own case. There is not the least sign in the books themselves that such was the fact; on the contrary, collections are here and there mentioned, which serve to explain to us the form of the collection before us. We read in the fourth book of Moses, just before some very poetical passages,
of a book of “the wars of the LORD:” (Numbers xxi. 14) in the book of Joshua again, (x. 13) after the fine poetical passage of the stopping of the sun, which has given occasion to many unprofitable vindications and sarcasms, there is mention made of a book of the valiant or heroic songs, (Jasher) which was extant in David's time, and in which he caused his lamentation over Jonathan to be inserted. The latter of these titles expresses the very thing which is found among other nations under the name of heroic songs. All ancient people had something of the kind; and if we had received these through the hands of the Hebrews, what striking pieces should we discover
* Fragmente und Antifragmente, Nürnberg, 1788. 3te Ausg.
+ The anthor adds to these terms of commendation, " a true Moren NEBHOCHIM of these books;" alluding to a celebrated work of Maimonides bearing that tle, which means a Guide for the Per ed.-Theodore Christian Lilienthal was a theologian of Prussia, and published his * Gute Sache der in der heil. Scbrist alten und neuen Testaments enthaltenen göttlichen Offenbarung wider die Feinde derselben erwiesen und gerettet," at Königsberg, 1760-1773.
among them; if we may judge from David's Elegy, the song of Deborah, which was probably contained in them, and the abovementioned fragment of Joshua. Before the richly poetical history of Balaam there appears a little fountain song, on occasion of a newly discovered spring : such were common among the people of antiquity, some of whom believed that they had tones which could make the water rise.
Spring up, O fountain ! Sing ye to it!
Doubtless this is only the beginning of the Song. Similar to it is the exulting song of triumph on the spoiling of the warlike cities of the Amorites. Thus sing the bards :
Up! up to Hesbbon !
Woe to thee, Moab !
gave his sons to be fugitives,
Your yoke is off!
Numbers, xxi. 27-30.
Moab had been victorious, and was now itself triumphed over: and on this turns the song. If we possessed the Hebrew heroic songs, we should unquestionably see many things more clearly in Moses, Joshua, Judges, and probably, too, in the histories of Saul and David, than we now do: still it is surprising that we find so little obscurity, and so few abrupt, detached places.