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Egyptians, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment.” We notice thispassage.because from it the opposers of revelation, have been pleased to deny to the Israelites common honesty. We wave the principle upon which they might be justified, in contending that they had amply earned all that they borrowed of the Egyptians, by the works which they had performed, during their bondage, without recompense; and shall only submit a plain criticism on the Hebrew word, which our translators render, “to borrow.” It is, *rvw-derived from onv–a word the primary sense of which is, nottoborrow, but to ask as a gift; as may be seen by the following passage, where the same word is used—“Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost part of the earth for thy possession.” Josephus, in his ancient history of the Jews, puts this construction upon the text, and says, “The Egyptians honored them with presents, partly to induce them the sooner to depart, and partly on account of their intimacy with them.”f The plains of Rameses near Goshen, the land which Joseph gave to Israel, and which was the part of Egypt the nearest to Canaan, was the place where they assembled: and they numbered “six hundred thousand on foot, that were men, beside children.” They left Egypt, according to the prediction, at the *Ps. ii. 8. The phrase is, ronx" ->rn oxw—In the interpretation which i have given of oxy, I have not followed merely the opinion of lexicographers, who all agree that its first sense is to ask as a gift, but upon a close examination of the different senses in which the word is used in the Bibie, in pursuing which I followed Taylor's Hebrew Concordance, I found among innumerable passages requiring this first sense, but four which would bear the interpretation to borrow; and one of these is the passage in question—the other, the dedication of Samuel by his mother to the service of God. The remaining two, are in 2 Kings iv, 3, and 2 Kings vi, 5, where unquestionably it can have no other meaning than to horrow. expiration of four hundred and thirty years, computing from the time when the promise was first given to Abraham. And they carried with them the bones of Joseph, in obedience to his dying requisition.” One more struggle was yet to be made. Notwithstanding the evils they had endured, Pharaoh, and all Egypt, regretted the departure of Israel, and resolved to pursue after them, to reduce them to their former state of servitude. He overtook them by the brink of the Red Sea—and in the moment when no way of escape appeared, and they had given up all for lost, at the command of God the sea was divided, and they passed through, “as upon dry land.” The king of Egypt and his army followed hard after them into the sea: after being terrified and discomfited the whole night by the power of God, in the morning they wished to relinquish the pursuit. But the Israelites had now reached the opposite shore; and the Sea, returning in its strength, buried the king, and his army, under its billows. Such is the Mosaic record of the slavery and deliv. erance of Israel, upon which we should not have detained you so long, were it not, that the remaining part of our subject is very short, and we entreat your patient attention for a few minutes, to
t Joseph Antiq. Jud. Tom. I, lib. 11, cap. 15, p. 87. Hudsoni edition. His words are—oga, as to Eoist organ.
II. THE FOREIGN TESTIMONIES WHICH REMAIN TO THESE FACTS.f
Respecting the authority of that portion of sacred history over which we have now passed, let the following particulars be observed:
* See note 2, of this Lecture, at the end of the volume. f The statements which follow, are selected priotipally from Bishop ‘Watson's Theological Tracts; vol. i. p. 294, &c.
1. It cannot be denied that there did exist such a person as Moses; and that he was the Jewish legislator. JustiN, in his abridgement of Trogus Pompeius," mentions his beauty; and Longinus cites him by name, in his character as a lawgiver, and quotes the beginning of Genesis, as an instance of the true sublime. 2. It will not be disputed that Moses brought the children of Israel from Egypt. This fact is not only asserted throughout the whole of the sacred writings, but confirmed by the combined evidence of all ancient historians. MANETHo gives an account of the time, the manner, and many of the principal circumstances, attending this event; as we learn from Josephus in his first book against Apion.t JustiN mentions their departure, but assigns a false reason for it: this, however, does not invalidate his testimony respecting the fact in question; and so far as his authority goes, it proves that the departure of Israel from Egypt under the conduct of Moses, was acknowl. edged in his days.: TAcITU's records the same event; and asserts that the Jews were expelled Egypt on account of the lep. rosy. This conjecture, for it is no more, is perfectly groundless: because it is well known that the leprosy was a common distemper among the Egyptians; and for this reason, the law of Moses calls the leprosy the disease of Egypt, and banishes lepers from the congregation. * Justin lib. xxxvi, cap. 2. f Manetho, as is customary in ancient writers, because of the questionable sources whence their information was requently drawn, Llands PLINy confirms this assertion, by speaking of the leprosy (which he calls Elephantiasis) as common to the Egyptians. They might possibly communicate it to the Israelites: but it is improbable that they should expel them for a distemper which they themselves imparted to them. But
truth with fable, as may be set n by referring to Josephus. # Justin ut supra
TRogus Pompeius says that the magicians caused Moses and the Israelites to be expelled, because they themselves were afflicted with a kind of murrain or leprosy, and were afraid lest it should spread throughout the land: which account probably refers to the plague of boils, which was brought upon all Egypt, because Pharaoh refused to let the people go." Still observe—whatever reasons these heathen writers give for the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, they all agree in confirming the fact, that the descendants of Abraham were enslaved in Egypt, and that they departed out of it under the conduct of Moses.
3. The Jews could not have asserted these miracles, and the deliverance of their fathers, supposing no such miracles to have been wrought, and no such deliverance to have been effected, without exposing themselves to contempt, and their fiction to detection, among all the nations by which they were subdued, after the death of Moses and Joshua. Whereas, it does not appear that their records were disputed: and the writer of the first book of Samuel, (who was probably Samuel himself; or some contemporary, so far as his history is concerned in it.) represents the Philistines as saying, when the ark of God came into the camp, “Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hands of these mighty Gods? These are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness.” evidently an imperfect tradition of these facts, as they confound the transactions of Egypt, and those of the wilderness, together. Now what purpose could it answer to put into the mouth of the Philistines, such a declaration, if they did not really utter it, except to expose the historian to contempt? as, at the time, any one was able to contradict it, if it were not true. But it is evident that the remembrance of these miracles was not confined to Egypt: and that other lands had heard of them, and believed them. 4. NUMENIUs, a Pythagorean philosopher, relates that Jannes and Jambres (as is recorded also in the New Testament) were chosen by the Egyptians, to oppose Moses, and “to hinder the effects of his miracles and prayers, which had brought down many grievous plagues upon Egypt, just about the time of the Jews' banishment from that country.” 5. The Jews themselves, upon whom Moses could not have imposed in the first instance, kept in remembrance all the principal facts which we have recited this might, by their rites; which rites received birth with the events themselves, and were kept up till the coming of Christ; and some of them, connected inseparably with the departure from Egypt, are celebrated to this hour among the Jews: such are the pass. over, and the redemption of the first-born. 6. In a most able work, entitled “reflections upon the Books of the Holy Scriptures, to establish the Truth of the Christian IReligion,” a custom of the Egyptians is mentioned, which continued till after Jesus Christ: “They used to mark with red, their sheep, their trees, their houses, and their lands, the day before the passover; as may be seen in EPIPHANIUs;
* Justin ut supra See note 3, of this Lecture, at the end of the volum , * *