Imágenes de páginas

employed to fix attention and engage regard; which an artful forger would probably have employed, and a compiler of even a true history would not have judged beneath his attention."

The frequent repetitions, too, which occur in the Pentateuch, and the neglect of order in delivering the precepts, are strong proofs that it has come down to us precisely as it was written by Moses, at various times, and upon different occasions, during the long abode of the Israelites in the wilderness. Had the Pentateuch been re-written by any later hand, there would in all probability have been an appearance of greater exactness; its contents would have been digested into better order, and would not have abounded with so many repetitions. To these considerations we may add, that no other person than Moses himself could write the Pentateuch: because, on comparing together the different books of which it is composed, there is an exact agreement in the different parts of the narrative, as well with each other as with the different situations in which Moses, its supposed author, is placed. And this agreement discovers itself in coincidences so minute, so latent, so indirect, and so evidently undesigned, that nothing could have produced them but reality and truth, influencing the mind and directing the pen of the legislator.2

"The account which is given in the book of Exodus of the conduct of Pharaoh towards the children of Israel is such, as might be expected from a writer, who was not only acquainted with the country at large, but had frequent access to the court of its sovereign: and the minute geographical description of the passage through Arabia is such, as could have been given only by a man like Moses, who had spent forty years in the land of Midian. The language itself is a proof of its high antiquity, which appears partly from the great simplicity of the style, and partly from the use of archaisms, or antiquated expressions, which in the days even of David and Solomon were obsolete.3 But the strongest argument that can be produced to show that the Pentateuch was written by a man born and educated in Egypt, is the use of Egyptian words, which never were nor ever could have been used by a native of Palestine; and it is a remarkable circumstance, that the very same thing which Moses had expressed by a word that is pure Egyptian, Isaiah, as might be expected from his birth and education, has expressed by a word that is purely Hebrew."5

We here close the positive evidence for the authenticity of the Pentateuch it only remains therefore that we notice the objections to it,

1 Dr. Graves's Lectures on Pentateuch, vol. 1. pp. 50–53.

2 These coincidences are illustrated at a considerable length, and in a most masterly manner, by Dr. Graves in his third and fourth lectures (on the Pentateuch, vol. i. pp. 69-121.), to which we must refer the reader, as the argument would be impaired by abridgment.

3 For instance, Nin, ille, and a, puer, which are used in both genders by no other writer than Moses. See Gen. xxiv. 14. 16. 28. 55. 57. xxxviii. 21. 25.

[ocr errors]

4 For instance,, (perhaps written originally, and the lengthened into by mistake) written by the Lxx axi or axa, Gen. xli. 2. and non, written by the LXX Sion or 9i6is. See La Croze Lexicon Egyptiacum, art. AXI and OHBI.

5 The same thing which Moses expresses by N, (Gen. xlii. 2.) Isaiah (xix. 7.) expresses by my, for the LXX have translated both of these words by axı.- The

which have been deduced from marks of a supposed posterior date, and also from marks of supposed posterior interpolation, and which have so often been urged with the insidious design of weakening the authority of the Mosaic writings.

1. With respect to the alleged marks of posterior date, it is a singular fact, that the objections which have been founded on them, are derived-not from the original Hebrew, but from modern translations; they are in themselves so trifling, that, were it not for the imposing manner in which they are announced by those who impugn the Scriptures, they would be utterly unworthy of notice. The following are the principal passages alluded to:

From the occurrence of the word Gentiles in the English version of Gen. x. 5., of Israel, in Gen. xxxiv. 7., and of Palestine in Exod. xv. 14. it has been affirmed, that those two books were not written till after the Israelites were established in Jerusalem, nor indeed till after the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity. If, however, the objector had referred to the original passages, he would have seen, that there was no ground for these assertions. For, in the first place, the Hebrew word D' (Goim), in Gen. x. 5. most frequently means nations in general, and so it is rendered several times in this chapter, besides many other passages in various books of the Old Testament, the style of which proves that they were written before the captivity and this word was not understood of the heathen, that is, of those who had not the knowledge and worship of the true God, until after the captivity. Secondly, the proper rendering of Gen. xxxiv. 7. is, wrought folly AGAINST Israel, that is, against Jacob, who was also called Israel. See Gen. xxxii. 28. xxxv. 10. and xlvii. 31. The preposition (Beth) means against as well as in, and so it is rendered in Numb. xxi. 7. The name of Israel did not become a patronymic of his descendants until more than two hundred years afterwards. Compare Exod. iv. 22. Thirdly, the name of Palestine is of comparatively modern date, being first used by the heathen geographers; and is given by almost all translators of the book of Genesis, to indicate more clearly the country intended, namely, that of the Philistines. The Hebrew word in Exod. xv. 14. is 5 (PaLeSHeTH), which the Greek writers softened into IIaλαigion, and the Latin writers into Palæstina, whence our Palestine.

Deut. i. 1. has been asserted to contain a clear evidence that Moses could not be the author of that book. The objection was first made by Spinoza, and from him it has been copied without acknowledgment by the modern opposers of the Scriptures: but it is found

Authenticity of the Five Books of Moses vindicated, pp. 11-14. See also Jahn, Introd. ad Lect. Vet. Fod. pp. 204-209.

Will it be credited, that, after the body of evidence above adduced (the greater part of which has been published in the English, German, or Latin languages for nearly one hundred and fifty years), the late M. Volney should assert that the book of Genesis is not a national monument of the Jews, but a Chaldean monument, retouched and arranged by the high priest Hilkiah (who lived only 827 years after Moses), so as to produce a premeditated effect, both political and religious!!! 1 Vorstius, de Hebraismis Novi Testamenti, p. 44. 8vo. Lipsiæ, 1778.

ed on a mistranslation, and does not apply to our authorised English version. According to these objectors, the verse runs thus: These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel BEYOND Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red Sea between Paran and Tophel andaban and Hazeroth and Dizahab. And as Moses never went over Jordan, they say it is evident that the writer of the book of Deuteronomy lived on the west side of that river, and consequently could not be Moses. The Hebrew word y (BeEBER), however, is completely ambiguous, signifying sometimes beyond, and sometimes on this side, or, more properly, at or on the passage of Jordan. Thus in Joshua xii. 1. the words, translated on the other side Jordan, towards the rising of the sun, and ver. 7. on this side Jordan on the west, are both expressed by the same Hebrew word. In our authorised English version, the first verse of Deuteronomy runs thus: These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel oN THIS SIDE JORDAN, in the wilderness, &c. This version is agreeable to the construction which the original requires, and which is sanctioned by the Syriac translation, executed at the close of the first, or in the beginning of the second century of the Christian era: the objection above stated, therefore, does not apply to our authorised English translation. The Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, as well as that of Dr. Geddes, and several of the versions in the continental languages, are all erroneous.

2. With regard to the alleged marks of posterior interpolation, it must be acknowledged, that there are some such passages, but a few insertions can never prove the whole to be spurious. We have indeed abundant reason still to receive the rest as genuine : for no one ever denied the Iliad or Odyssey to be the works of Homer, because some antient critics and grammarians have asserted that a few verses are interpolations.

The interpolations in the Pentateuch, however, are much fewer and less considerable than they are generally imagined to be; and all the objections which have been founded upon them (it is observed by the learned prelate to whom this section is so deeply indebted) may be comprised under one general head-namely, "expressions and passages found in the Pentateuch which could not have been written by Moses." The trite objection, drawn from the last chapter of Deuteronomy, where an account is given of the death of Moses, is of no importance whatever, and is rejected as trivial even by those who contend that the Pentateuch is spurious. The thirty-third chapter of Deuteronomy has evident marks of being the close of the work, as finished by Moses, and the thirty-fourth was added, either by Joshua or some other sacred writer, as a supplement to the whole. But there are names of cities mentioned in the Pentateuch, which names were not given to those cities till after the death of Moses. For instance, a city which was originally called Laish, but changed its name to that of Dan, after the Israelites had conquered Palestine, (Judg. xviii. 22.) is yet denominated Dan in the book of Genesis, (xiv. 4.) The book itself therefore, it is said, must have been written after the

Israelites had taken possession of the Holy Land. But is it not possible that Moses originally wrote Laish, and that, after the name of the city had been changed, transcribers, for the sake of perspicuity, substituted the new for the old name? This might so easily have happened, that the solution is hardly to be disputed, in a case where the positive arguments in favour of the word in question are so very decisive. Another objection is taken from the following passage in the book of Genesis, (xxxv. 21.) and Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar. Now Edar was the name of a tower over one of the gates of Jerusalem; the author of the book of Genesis therefore, it is said, must have been at least a contemporary of Saul and David. But this objection involves a manifest absurdity, for if the writer of this passage had meant the tower of Edar in Jerusalem, he would have made Israel spread his tent beyond a tower that probably did not exist till many hundred years after his death. The tower of Edar signifies literally the tower of the flocks; and as this name was undoubtedly given to many towers, or places of retreat for shepherds in the open country of Palestine, which in the days of the patriarchs was covered with flocks, it is unnecessary to suppose that it meant in particular a tower of Jerusalem. In Exod. xvi. 35. we read thus:- And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came into a land inhabited: they did eat manna, until they came into the borders of the land of Canaan. Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah. It has been objected, that this could not have been written by Moses, as the Jews did not reach the borders of Canaan, or cease to eat manna, until after his death: nor would Moses speak thus of an omer, the measure by which all the people gathered the manna, an omer for every man. It is the language of one speaking when this measure was out of use, and an ephah more generally known. But to this objection it has been forcibly replied by Dr. Graves, that this is plainly a passage inserted by a later hand. It forms a complete parenthesis, entirely unconnected with the narrative, which, having given a full account of the miraculous provision of manna, closes it with the order to Aaron to lay up an omer full of manna in the ark, as a memorial to be kept for their generations. This was evidently the last circumstance relating to this matter which it was necessary for Moses to mention; and he accordingly then resumes the regular account of the journeyings of the people. Some later writer was very naturally led to insert the additional circumstance of the time during which this miraculous provision was continued, and probably added an explanatory note, to ascertain the capacity of an omer, which was the quantity of food provided for each individual by God. To ascertain it, therefore, must have been a matter of curiosity.

In like manner, Numb. xxi. 3. was evidently added after the days of Joshua: it is parenthetical, and is not necessary to complete the narrative of Moses.

1 An example of the same kind is " Hebron," (Gen. xiii. 18.) which before the conquest of Palestine was called Kirjath-Arba, as appears from Josh. xiv. 15. This example may be explained in the same manner as the preceding.

VOL. 1.


Further, it has been asserted, that the third verse of the twelfth chapter of the book of Numbers-(Now the man Moses was very meek above all the men which were upon the face of the earth)-bear sufficient proof that Moses could not be the author of it; and that no man, however great his egotism, could have written such an assertion of himself. If the assertor of this objection had been acquainted with the original of this passage, instead of adopting it at second-hand from some of those who copied it from Spinoza (for it was first broached by him,) he would have known that the passage was mistranslated, not only in our own English version, but also in all modern translations. The word 1 (ANav), which is translated meek, is derived from (ANH) to act upon, to humble, depress, afflict, and so it is rendered in many places in the Old Testament, and in this sense it ought to be understood in the passage now under consideration, which ought to be thus translated. Now the man Moses was depressed or afflicted more than any man T (HADамaн) of that land. And why was he so? Because of the great burthen he had to sustain in the care and government of the Israelites, and also on account of their ingratitude and rebellion, both against God and himself. Of this affliction and depression, there is the fullest evidence in the eleventh chapter of the book of Numbers. The very power which the Israelites envied was oppressive to its possessor, and was more than either of their shoulders could sustain.1

But let the passage be interpreted in the sense in which it is rendered in our authorised English version, and what does it prove? Nothing at all. The character given of Moses as the meekest of men might be afterwards inserted by some one who revered his memory ; or, if he wrote it himself, he was justified by the occasion, which required him to repel a foul and envious aspersion of his character.

The most formidable objection, however, that has been urged against the Pentateuch, "is that which is drawn from the two following passages, the one in the book of Genesis, (xxxvi. 31.) the other in the book of Deuteronomy, (iii. 14.) These are the kings, that reigned over the land of Edom, BEFORE THERE REIGNED ANY KING OVER THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL. And again, Jair, the son of Manasseh, took all the country of Argob unto the coast of Geshuri, and Maacathi, and called them after his own name, Bashon-havothjair UNTO THIS DAY. Now it is certain that the last clause in each of these examples could not have been written by Moses: for the one implies a writer who lived after the establishment of monarchy in Israel, the other a writer who lived at least some ages after the settlement of the Jews in Palestine. But if these clauses themselves are spurious, that is, if they were not written by the author of the Pentateuch, but inserted by some transcriber in a later age, they affect not the authenticity of the work itself. And whoever impar

1 Dr. A. Clarke's Commentary, in loc.

2 Witsius, in his Miscellanea Sacra, p. 125. says, the clause "before there reigned any king over the children of Israel," might have been written by Moses; but he cuts the knot, instead of untying it.

« AnteriorContinuar »