Imágenes de páginas

the numerical preference which Noah was to give to the clean beasts in opposition to the unclean, inasmuch as offerings were selected exclusively from the former, and these offerings were made to Jehovah. The previous command respecting the beasts proceeds* from the general care of the creator for their preservation; this particular supplementary order,t on the contrary, appertains properly to the Deity, as making himself personally known, that is, as Jehovah. It is not the difference between clean and unclean that is peculiarly connected with the use of Jehovah, for this distinction occurs in connexion with the use of Elohim, (vii. 8, 9 ;) it is only the solicitude to provide the larger number, which is ascribed to Jehovah.

In vii. 16, the use of Elohim marks God's care for the creatures in general, while that of Jehovah intimates his merciful intentions towards Noah, “who had found grace in his eyes.” “When Jehovah shut the door after him, all the waters of heaven and earth became incapable of forcing an entrance.”

In viii. 20, 21, Jehovah is entirely appropriate, as it is the account of an offering. The interchange of the terms in ix. 26, 27,—“ blessed be the Lord God of Shem; God shall enlarge Japheth,”—is easily explained. The connexion of the two verses illustrates the connexion, which the author indirectly points out, of the two names to each other. Jehovah is the God of the Shemites, while the association of Japheth is simply with Elohim. The equality, as it respects the divine connexion, which has heretofore existed, is to cease, and Elohim will manifest himself, in union with the family of Shem, as Jehovah.'

Hengstenberg remarks further, that, if the theory main

* He refers to vi. 19, 20.
† Alluding to vii. 2.

tained by him be true, the use of the two names may be satisfactorily accounted for, wherever they occur in the whole section. Thus the blessing, which in ix. 1 ss., is imparted to Noah by God, relates to natural benefits which are of a general character, and is a repetition of that which followed the creation, a blessing which the flood seemed to have swept away. Hence the use of Elohim. The same principle is applied by him to the subsequent use of the term in this chapter.

He concludes with the observation, that in the phrase, “Noah walked with God," in vi. 9, no other appellation would have been equally apposite, inasmuch as it designates his character in contradistinction to that of his ungodly contemporaries: “not with them, but with God, did Noah walk.” p. 328–336.

Leaving the reader to form his own judgment on the propriety of carrying out the author's theory to the extent here developed, I must be allowed to say, that occasionally its application wants that simplicity which the mind would naturally desire. Admitting its general truth, it may be carried unreasonably far. Circumstances merely incidental may induce the writer to use the one term or the other, where no very important cause existed to lead to a preference. The phrase, “Noah walked with God," may be founded on the reason just given; but if the author intended to state immediately afterwards that “the earth was corrupt before God," and that “God looked upon it, and behold, it was corrupt,” surely we need go no further for a reason. And the natural phraseology would be that which follows: “and God said unto Noah,” v. 13. Comp. v. 24: “ Enoch walked with God,and “God took him,” with v. 1, God created ;" “ in the likeness of God.Still the phrase is probably used with the view of indicating that the mind and heart both of Noah and Enoch were drawn away, in an unusual degree, from all created objects to that holy and spiritual being by whom they had been called into exist. ence.--In vi. 22, which refers to the determination expressed in 13, and the consequent command to Noah, we would naturally expect the same divine term to be used, independently of any reason connected with the original meaning of the word. Immediately afterwards, the Deity appears as Noah's covenant God to whom he had revealed himself, and consequently Jehovah is the term used. See vii. 1,5. The 9th and 16th verses of the same chapter manifestly refer back to vi. 22, and therefore the word Elohim is chosen to express God's commanding; while, in the 16th verse, Noah's covenant God of revelation discloses his character and relation in the favour implied in the words, “ Jehovah shut him in."

Without an examination of the work of Sack above referred to, to which I have not access, I am led to infer, from Hengstenberg's brief notice of his view, that it coincides with the one just given; although he rejects it, as manifestly unsatisfactory, (offenbar unzureichend. p. 326.) •When Noah is said to walk with God, the general idea of the divine life is intended to be expressed. The subsequent revelations therefore are not attributed to Jehovah, to whom they properly belonged, but to Elohim, because connected with the decision just declared respecting Noah, that he walked with God, “quia adjunctæ sunt illi judicio de Noacho eunte coram deo."! I am not aware that any objections have been or can be urged against such a view as this, which involve any difficulty of moment.

As the principle laid down, and the modifications of it which have been proposed, are sufficient to account for the interchange of the terms in question in the whole of this section, it is proper to pass on to other portions of the book of Genesis.

Nimrod is called “ a mighty hunter before Jehovah." X. 9. If the term 'hunter' is employed, as is most probable, to denote this person's oppression and tyrannical character, then the phrase “ before Jehovah” implies the insolence and audacity of the man. See the note on the place. He is not to be restrained by the presence of the infinite himself. The choice of the term whereby this infinite being is denoted, would seem to be a matter of indifference. The author might have used Elohim or Jehovah, without any shade of difference in the general meaning, as either would equally convey the idea of Nimrod's impudent and licentious tyranny. Hengstenberg has failed to make out his assertion that “ Jehovah and not Elohim is to be justified in this place”; for either term would be appropriate. True, indeed, the rebellious Nimrod “could neither escape the eye of the living God, which was directed towards him, nor avoid his hand.” But if there be any such “ deep irony” in the phrase “ before Jehovah,” as that writer supposes, I am at a loss to see why it should not be allowed to lurk under the other phrase, “before God,' with equal certainty. See p. 337, 339. It may be, indeed, that the author of the book of Genesis, both here and elsewhere, selects the term Jehovah in preference to Elohim, in order to intimate that the God of his covenant people had his eye on bold and flagrant offenders, and would visit them with condign punishment, either with the view of furthering his plans towards that people, or of chastising individual offenders among them. (The latter part of the remark would apply to the cases of Er and Onan, mentioned in xxxviii. 7, 10.) But we should take care not to carry out this theory to any greater extent than the specific character of the cases may warrant. Ewald has certainly violated this principle, in saying that “it is Jehovah alone who gives laws; that, according to the constant use of language, men can sin against Jehovah only, and not against Elohim; and that it is Jehovah only who threatens punishment.” p. 95. Gen. vi. 22. vii. 9, 16, where Elohim “ commands” Noah, and xxxix. 9, where Joseph speaks of " sinning against Elohim,” contradict his assertion.

Hengstenberg's undeviating adherence to his theory has an evident influence on his estimate of the religious knowledge and character of the various personages brought before us in the book of Genesis. Thus, for instance, it affects his portrait of Melchisedek. This distinguished king and priest, who is affirmed in the seventh chapter of the Hebrews to have been greater than Abraham himself, the patriarch, refers to the Deity as “ the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth.” Gen. xiv. 19. But, to this representation of the supreme being, Abraham prefixes the term Jehovah, v. 22, “and this must have been intended to show that Abraham has more than Melchisedek, whatever they may have held in common. The God of the latter is not merely one [among others], but he is the highest, whose authority extends over the whole world. Justice and love are in him combined with omnipotence, and his particular providence protects the pious and upright. But this view of religion, however pure, is yet imperfect. In the highest God, the lord of heaven and earth, Melchisedek has still not recognized Jehovah. As such, his exhibitions are confined to Abraham, in the way of especial revelation. In the earlier history of mankind, Jehovah, both in name and thing, is common good of the whole human race, and before the calling of Abraham, a man of the religious carnestness of Melchisedek would have recognized and named him, even if it were imperfectly." p. 344, 315. To the same effect, and if possible more plainly, does the author speak in Vol. II. p. 554. “Melchisedek is recognized by Abraham as a priest of the true God, as some centuries after Moses

« AnteriorContinuar »