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cases. In the migration of the Israelites from Chaldæa, and their subsequent departure from Egypt, the actual fact is by no means entirely forgotten; this is transmitted in the first instance in songs and legends, it receives in the progress of time a more arbitrary form, is adapted, with apparent simplicity and an accurate observance of localities, to the circumstances of the actual time, is adorned with poetical additions, and becomes at last so completely transfused into the popular tradition of the country, that the original groundwork of fact can scarcely be discovered beneath it. Popular poetry individualizes its favourite heroes, and draws them from the life ; nay, some of its narratives are so minute and so graphic, (the history of Joseph, for instance, that they have even been ascribed (like it) to the principal actor himself.
If, however, the exact specification of numbers, the accurate descriptions of localities, or, in general, the precise and the graphic were always to be considered as the certain criterions of history, we should be compelled to yield our most undoubting belief to the catalogue of ships and the descent to the infernal regions in Homer, to the encounters of the heroes in Ossian, to Dante's description of hell, to the incarnations of Vishnu, and the fictions of a similar character which abound in the early history of every nation. This leads us to the positive side of the argument; and we proceed accordingly, in the first place, to review those references to the geography of Palestine which occur in the Pentateuch, and which we shall see are either such as can only have originated at a much later period, or as entirely belong to the province of popular poetry.
The book of Genesis gives no details of the journeys of 70
CONQUESTS OF DAVID.
its heroes; they arrive forthwith at the place of their destination"; in many cases, nevertheless, this book is clearly mistaken in localities, and constantly betrays that it must have been written in Palestine itself. This land comprises, according to our author, all the countries between the Nile and the Euphrates, an extent far exceeding that elsewhere assigned in the common description, from Dan to Beersheba4. In another passage, the river Arnon is represented as the boundary of the Moabites', as was actually the case after the conquests of David, although it had never been
1 “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.”—Gen. xxii. 3, 4.
Comp. Gen. xxiv. [containing an account of the journey of Abraham's servant to fetch Rebekah.]
“ Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.”—Gen. xxix. 1.
? Compare notes on Gen. xxix. 1, xxx. 14, xxxvii. 18, 1. 10.
3 ~ In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”—Gen. xv. 18.
4 Beersheba is also mentioned as a frontier-town in Gen. xlvi. 1:“ And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac.”
Compare 2 Sam, xvii. 11:4" Therefore I counsel that all Israel be generally gathered unto thee, from Dan even to Beersheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude; and that thou go to battle in thine own person.”
5“ From thence they removed, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, which is in the wilderness that cometh out of the coasts of the Amorites : for Arnon is the border of Moab; between Moab and the Amorites."--Num. xxi. 13.
Compare the more precise description in Num. xxxiv. 3, &c. :“ Then your south quarter shall be from the wilderness of Zin along by the coast of Edom, and your south border shall be the outmost coast of the salt sea eastward.”
so at any previous period. It is useless to suggest that the same boundaries might have been adopted by the earlier Canaanites; for on the north and south they are not marked out by any natural features, and David was the first who encroached to much extent on the neighbouring territory. We know, moreover, that Moses never crossed the Jordan"; yet Deuteronomy represents him as giving the law on the other side the river?; an inadvertence which clearly betrays that Deuteronomy was itself written [in Palestine] on this side; and it is only in a few rare cases that it attempts to keep up the deceptions. On one occasion, the author of the book of Numbers has also so far forgotten himself as to state that “the Israelites encamped in the plains of
1 « But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan : but ye shall go over and possess that good land."-Deut. iv. 22.
? “ These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on the other side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red Sea, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab.” --Deut. i. 1.
“ And we took at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites the land that was on the other side Jordan, from the river of Arnon unto Mount Hermon.”—Deut. iii. 8.
“ Then Moses severed three cities on the other side Jordan toward the sun-rising.”-Deut. iv. 41.
“On the other side Jordan, in the valley over against Beth-peor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon ; whom Moses and the children of Israel smote, after they were come forth out of Egypt:
“ And they possessed his land, and the land of Og king of Bashan, two kings of the Amorites, which were on the other side Jordan toward the sun-rising."-Deut. iv. 46, 47, and many other passages.
[In all these verses the received text substitutes on this side.']
3 “Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh?”—Deut. xi. 30. [The same preposition--in this instance it is correctly rendered in the received English version.]
the Moabites, on the other side of the Jordan opposite to Jericho?,” though the country of the Moabites, as we know from Joshua?, lay entirely on the east of the Jordan. This was observed as far back as the time of Peyrerius. In later times, critics have attempted to dispose of these passages by rendering bë'eber, on this side“, a meaning which it never bears, and which no single passage can be brought to support.
1 Numb. xxii. 1.
? “ These are the countries which Moses did distribute for inheritance in the plains of Moab, on the other side Jordan, by Jericho, eastward.” -Joshua xiii. 32. 3 Syst. Præadamitarum, p. 185. - Movers Crit. Inquiries, p. 241. 5 The phrase, “the other side the Jordan westward,” bě‘eber hajarden jammah, stands for the whole of Palestine, according to its breadth ; hence is added, by way of explanation, in Jos. xii. 1, “ from the river Arnon to Mount Hermon, and all the plain on the east.”
Compare also the following passages :
“ Until the Lord have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the Lord your God giveth them : then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the Lord's servant gave you on this side (bě'eber) Jordan toward the sunrising."-Jos. i. 15.
“And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of (bě'eber) Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel.”-Jos. v. 1.
“ And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side (bě'eber) Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof."Jos. ix. 1.
“Now these are the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote, and possessed their land on the other side (bë'eber) Jordan toward the rising of the sun, from the river Arnon unto mount Hermon, and all the plain on the east.”—Jos. xii. l.
“And these are the kings of the country which Joshua and the chil
dren of Israel smote on this side (bě'eber) Jordan on the west, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon even unto the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir; which Joshua gave unto the tribes of Israel for a possession according to their divisions.”—Jos. xii. 7.
“And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were on the other side (bě'eber) Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fied; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them."-1 Sam. xxxi. 7.
Thus, the five exceptions (Ges. Lex. Man.) which certainly refer to the land west of the Jordan are only apparent; mě'eber, on the contrary, may signify either on this, or the other side, or from the other side of the Jordan hither (as Jos. xxii. 7).
Compare also note on Gen. 1. 10. Atad, which is beyond (or on the other side of) the Jordan.
[In his larger lexicon (Thesaurus Ling. Heb.), published since the German edition of this work, Gesenius assigns the following meanings to 'eber, which give a somewhat different view of the word from that of Von Bohlen :
Yay. (1.) Ulterior region, situated beyond a river or sea. It is most commonly employed in connection with the Jordan, in which case it is frequently used (and where no ambiguity could arise without other adjunct) for the country beyond the Jordan (bě'eber, Gen. 1. 10, 11. Deut. i. 1, 5; iii. 8, 20; iv. 46. Jos. i. 14 ; ii. 10; vii. 7 ; ix. 10; xxii. 4, &c.: me'eber, Num. xxxv. 14. Jos. xiv. 3 ; xvii. 5.). In other cases, lest any doubt should arise, eastwards was added, as in Deut. iv. 41, 47, 49. Jos. i. 15; xii. 1 ; xiii. 8; xiii. 32 ; xviii. 7 ; xx. 8. For eber hajardan could also be used for Palestine on this side the Jordan, and that too (when no ambiguity could arise) without any adjunct, as in Deut. iii. 25 ; 1 Sam. xxxi. 7. But the point of the heavens was generally added (bě'eber hajardan jamah, Jos. v. 1; xii. 7 ; xxii. 7. (comp. ix. 1.), &c.). The two regions are thus opposed to each other (Num. xxxii. 19.):-"We will not inherit with them on the other side (me'eber) the Jordan and beyond,” i. e. in the country beyond the Jordan (but we must understand the country on this side the Jordan, as the tribes of Gad and Reuben are speaking), “but our inheritance has fallen to us beyond (me'eber) the Jordan eastward,” i. e, on the east side of the Jordan. From which it is manifest that ‘eber (me'eber ?] could be used by one and the same writer for the regions both on this and the further side the river.
(2.) Opposite region, opposite side, whether a valley or any other space intervened, &c.]