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such an enquiry, the Arabic language may be expected to afford some help, on account of its great similarity, and even relation to the Hebrew.
Here, before we pursue, this author's reasonings on this subject, at length, we will take occasion to state the reasons why the Hebrew and Arabic languages, were most undoubtedly sinnlar, if not identically the same in the time of Moses, when the book of Genesis was written, and therefore may be resorted to, as an aid in the interpretation of the Hebrew word Nachash, as well as of many others in that language.
The Arabians claim Abraham as their father, through the ancestry of Ishmael, the son of Abraham, by the Egyptian girl, or servant-maid of Sarah, the wife of Abraham. On which account, the Arabians were anciently known, and named among the nations, Ishmaelites, the descendants of Ishmael, the son of Abraham. Now the language which Hagar and her son spoke: who was but thirteen years old, when he, with his mother, was compelled to leave the dwelling and company of Abraham's numerous household,-most assuredly was that of Abraham; consequently, it is clear, that the two languages, have the same origin, and that one of them arose out of the other: and who can now determine which is the purer Hebrew, the old Arabic, or Ishmaelite language, or the language of Moscs and the Israelites, when they were among the Egyptians.
It is true, that from the time in which Hagar and her son went out from Abraham, into the great wilderness, to commence the fulfilment of God's word of promise to Abraham, concerning Ishmael, namely, that he should become a multitude, and that he should be a wild man, and that out of him twelve kings should proceed;-was till the time of Moses, all of four hundred years; yet on account of the proximity of the Egyptians, where the Israelites in the land of Goshen were, during this four hundred years, and the Arabians, or Ishmaelite country, the language or dialect of the two races, cannot with any show of reason, be supposed to have been at all dissimilar; as the fact is, even now, they are exceedingly alike.
Which of the two languages, as spoken by Moses, or as spoken by the Arabians, when the Scriptures of both the Old and New Testaments, were first translated into their language, (which was not till after the Christian Era,) was most like the language of Abraham, is hard to decide. But of the Arabic language, Dr. Clarke says, that it is of great use, even now, in understanding the most ancient Hebrew Manuscripts of the Bible. The fact, no doubt is, the two languages are brothers, arising out of the same source, and from the little intercourse of the Arabians or Ishmaclites, from time immemorial, with other nations, has aided in retaining their ancient manners, their customs, and their lan
guage, in much the same condition they were, in all times of their existence, from the time they were first known as Ishmaelites till now, or till the time when the Bible was translated into their language, after the Christian Era.
In the very era of Moses, the Phoenicians the first people, after the Deluge, who arrived at an extensive empire, having commenced under the auspices of Nimrod, the grand-son of Noah;-comprehended the countries afterward known in scripture history, of Palestine, Tyre, Sidon, the whole country of the old Canaanites, and the Hebrews, Syria, Syro-Phoenicia, Amram, Arabia, Mesopotamia, Babylon, and Chaldea. In all these countries, says Mr. Good, author of "Book of Nature," the same language was spoken, and the same alphabet was used,differing no more in their dialects, than the Scotch and English differ now. But while all other nations have passed away, with their languages and usages, the Arabians, inhabiting a country, which, on account of its deserts and location, secluded its inhabitants from mingling in commerce, with surrounding nations, have retained therefore, their ancient manners and language, more pure than any other people of the whole earth. For this very reason, we see the propriety of going to the Arabic language, to aid in deciphering the true and identical meaning of the word Nachash; a word, used by the mother of the human race, in conversation with God himself, when she complained to him, that she had been deceived by this creature, according to the account Moses has given us of the transaction. Well, what word is there in the Arabic language, which can help us in this difficulty? It is the word Cha-nass. The word Cha-nass, says Dr. Clarke, is a root, in the Arabic, and casts light on this subject, as it is similar in formation and sound, to the Hebrew Nachash. The word Cha-nass, or K-ha-nassa, signifies, departed, drew off, lay kid, seduced, slunk away. From this root, comes A-ka-ha-nass, K-h-nass, and K-ha-noos, all of which signify, an APE, or Satyrus, or any creature of the Simia, or Ape genus, at the head of which, is placed the Orang-outang, or man of the woods. It is very remarkable, says Dr. Clarke, that one of these words-namely, K-ha-nass, means the devil, that fallen angel, in the Arabic, and is derived from the root, Chanass, or K-ha-nassa, which means a Seducer.
Now is it not strange, that the Arabic Satan, devil, or fallen angel, should have the same name, with that of the Orang-outang, and derived from the same root, and that root so very similar to the Hebrew word Nachash, unless they signified the same thing in the outset, and common parent language, as spoken in the family of Abraham, and at the time of Moses, by the Hebrews?
We have seen that one of the meanings of the Hebrew Nachash, was that of foretelling events, embracing under that idea,
that of necromancy, which is a deceptive, deceitful pretension, and agrees with the Arabic word Cha-nass, or K-ha-nassa,—— which signifies to seduce, and then to hide, by secretly departing from the sight, so that the seduced cannot even suspect they are deceived. By examining the Hebrew, as now extant, it is found, that the word Koph or Kooph, signifies an ape, or any creature of the simia, or ape genus,--which words, in their formation and sound, are extremely similar to the Arabic word K-ha-noos, the name for the same creature in the Arabic, and would seem to prove, that the words in both languages, were derived originally from the same root, Ckaness, and shows them to have sprung out of the same origin, and family: that of Abraham the Chaldean.
With this view it is extremely singular, that the Greek translators should have rendered the Hebrew word Nachash-which we believe arose out of the root Cha-nass-to signify a snake, or opis or ophi, which are terms is that language for the serpent, instead of having translated it Pithe kos, which is the Greek name of the Ape, or any creature of the Simia race, and has for its head the Orang-ontang or wild man of the woods. They must have been influenced by some such reasons as we have already giver, namely, that as the snakes in the warm countries, and islands of the Greeks, were very beautiful, glossy and shining in their appearance, they seemed to have supposed that the word Nachash, meant this creature, as that any thing which was highly burnished and glittered in the rays of the sun, was one of its ideal meanings.
But if they had discovered its other meaning,-which was, to deceive, and seduce, by subtilty, cunning, &c.,--they no doubt would have translated the word Nachash, Pi-the-kos, which was in Greek, the Orang-outang, or any creature of the Apo genus. The word Pi-the-kos, is more than fifty per cent affinity to both the Hebrew and Arabic names of the same creature. We will exhibit them together, that the reader may at once perceive their likeness: Nach-ash, Koop, which are Hebrew, Kha-noos, K-ha-nass, which are Arabic, and Pi-the-kos, which is Greek. Do they not evidently bear to each other a strong consanguinity in sound and formation.
And why should they not? As the ancient Hebrew, the ancient Greek, and the ancient Arabic, were all spoken in small countries, bordering on each other, at a time but little removed from the time of the flood, and must of necessity at that period of the world, have been much more alike; springing as they did, out of the language of Noah, and retaining their then affinities, far more than such of them as now remain, can possibly be expected to do except the Arabic alone, for the reasons already given.
But to return from the subject of the creature's name, more
particularly to what is said of its attributes, as examined by Adam Clarke,-"Now the Nachash was more subtle, more wise, and prudent, than any beast of the field, (or earth] which the Lord God had made. In this account, we find, First: that whatever this Nachash was, it stood at the head of the whole animal creation, for wisdom, subtilty, and understanding. And Second; that it walked or went upright; as this is necessarily implied in its punishment:-on thy belly shalt thou go i. e. on all fours, like other quadrupeds. Could this have been said of a creeping serpent, or reptile, of any kind, as none of them ever did, and never could walk erect, as they have no means, by which they could have thus made progress over the ground? If therefore, the animal was a snake, a creature which had crept along on the ground from its creation, it could have been neither curse nor punishment, for them to go on their bellies, as they had always done, and must do while the race endures."
In the motions of a serpent, there appears to be no kind of inconvenience; as it glides rapidly and secretly on its way, however rough and uneven it may be, or dangerous to other animals that have legs, on which account, the creature is most evidently better commoded, than if it had not been cursed. How could legs be placed upon a serpent ten, twenty, or eighty feet in length, as some are known to be, so as to be of use to the reptile. Four legs, as quadrupeds have, could not be placed in such a manner, as to prevent the sagging down to the ground of all that part of a long serpent's body, situated between those legs: unlessa muscular power had been conferred upon them, so as to enable them to describe an arch from the place where the legs might be inserted, sufficient to prevent their bodies from being exposed to so great an inconvenience, as that of sweeping the ground between; as a muscular power sufficient to enable a long snake to keep itself in a horizontal line, would be unnatural, and monstrous, requiring the creature's whole strength, to perpetually maintain this position; and besides, this together with the legs, would en tirely destroy the fine evolving motions of the serpent; and annihilate the identity of the creature altogether: so that if this were the case, we should have no snake at all. The serpent has no organs of speech, nor any kind of voice, as all other animals have, but can only hiss. There is however, one exception to this trait of the history of serpents, and this is concerning the crested Basilisk of India, which, it is said, has a very loud and horrid cry, of which we shall soon give a more full account.
On account of the evident want of capacity in the serpent to answer the creature of the text, "we are obliged," says Adam Clarke, "to seek some other creature, to designate the Nach-ash, rather than the common snake, as generally believed, which on every view of the subject appears inapplicable." We have seen,
according to the above writer, that one of the ideal meanings of the root of all these words, namely, Cha-nass, is, to seduce and deceive; and that K-ha-nas, or K-ha-noos means the devil, a wicked supernatural spirit, in the Arabic, and was that spirit who seduced Eve from God and truth, and then departed from his disguised and hidden condition, no more to appear in that form. "It therefore appears that a creature of the Ape species, is intended instead of a snake, and that Satan made use of the former, as the most proper instrument for the accomplishment his murderous purposes, against the life and soul of man."
The creature, whatever it was, according to the text, stood at the head of the whole animal world, and as the Ape genus, are known to be more cunning, and subtle, than any other beast of the field, we are justified in selecting the Orang-outang, as the identical creature, which Satan made use of on the occasion of Eve's ruin; because the Orang-outang stands at the head of the whole simia race, and is in this way proven to be the subtilist, or most intellectual animal of the whole creation-man alone excerted. "It is evident," says Clarke, "from the structure of the limbs of this creature, that it originally went upright, like a man, and that nothing but a sovereign controlling power, could have induced it to put down hands, which in every respect are formed like those of man, and compelled the race to go on all fours, like those animals which have hoofs and paws, instead of hands."
If it is objected to this, that the Orang-outang, in its natural state, goes erect, even now, and therefore cannot be the creature, intended in the text of Moses, we have it to reply, that the erect position of the animal is assumed but occasionally, and is evidently a labored action, resorted to only when the creature is forced to it, as in descending a steep place, being pursued, or when it fights in close combat. But as much can be said of a dog, or a bear, which frequently fight standing on their hinder legs; and the latter can even run in that position, and no one ever thought of believing that bears go erect naturally and of choice, when not compelled by some unavoidable reason. The Orangoutang is an animal, which approaches very near in form, to our race, differing in conformation, only in the creature's having two vertebra, or joints of the spinal bone, less than man, and in its feet being hands, with a thumb on each, as well as its hands; by which we perceive the creature, says Dr. Clarke, was at first adapted to climbing, as well as to walking or running upright; the former of which, that of climbing, they yet retain, and excel all other animals, dwelling when they please, in the tops of the thick forests of India. No man can view an animal of this kind, especially the Pongo Orang-outang, and not be impressed with a feeling of certainty, of its intellectual approach to the human species, above all other creatures. But when it acts, its subtilty,