« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
THE BOOK OF GENESIS.
an insulated state under a patriarchal government. Thus it was easy for Moses to be satisfied of the
truth of all he relates in the Book of Genesis, as 1. This book is so named from its title in the the accounts came to him through the medium of Septuagint (BIBAOS TENEXENE), the book of the very few persons. From Adam to Noah there was GENERATION OR PRODUCTION of all things.. Moses but one man necessary to the correct transmission is universally considered to have been its author; of the history of this period of 1656 years. Now and it is believed that he wrote it after the pro- this history was, without doubt, perfectly known mulgation of the law. Its authenticity is attested to Methuselah, who lived to see them both. In by the most indisputable evidence, and it is cited like manner Shem connected Noah and Abraham, as an inspired record thirty-three times in the having lived to converse with both ; as Isaac did course of the Scriptures. Its history comprises a with Abraham and Joseph, from whom these things period of about 2,369 years, according to the might be easily conveyed to Moses by Amram, lowest computation; but according to Dr. Hales, who was contemporary with Joseph. Supposing, a much longer period.* It contains an account of then, all the curious facts recorded in the Book of the creation (chap. i., ïi.); the primeval state and Genesis had no other authority than the trailition fall of man (chap. ii.); the history of Adam and already referred to, they would stand upon a his descendants, with the progress of religion and foundation of credibility superior to any that the the origin of the arts (chap. iv.); the genealogies, most reputable of the ancient Greek and Latin his-, age, and death of the patriarchs, until Noah torians can boast. Yet, to preclude all possibility of (chap. v.); the general defection and corruption mistake, the unerring Spirit of God directed Moses of mankind, the general deluge, and preservation in the selection of his facts and the ascertaining of of Noah and his family in the ark (chap. viii.); his dates. Indeed, the narrative is so simple, so the history of Noah and his family subsequent to much like truth, so consistent every where with the time of the deluge (chap. ix.); the re-peopling itself, so correct in its dates, so impartial in its bioand division of the earth among the sons of Noah graphy, so accurate in its philosophical details, so (chap. 1.); the building of Babel, the confusion pure in its morality, and so benevolent in its design, of
tongues, and the dispersion of mankind (chap. as amply to demonstrate that it never could have xi.); the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and had an earthly origin. In this case, also, Moses Joseph, chap. xii.-1.
constructed every thing according to the pattern 2. “ It may be asked how a detail so circum- which God showed him in the mount.” + stantial and minute could have been preserved when there was no nriting of any kind, and when
SECTION II. the earth, whose history is here given, had already eristed more than 2000 years. To this inquiry a Tery satisfactory answer may be given. There are only three ways in which these important records 1. The title of this book is descriptive of the could have been preserved and brought down to principal event which it records, namely, the the time of Moses : viz., rriting, tradition, and EXODUS, or departure of the Jews from Egypt. ditine revelation. In the antediluvian world, when It is universally ascribed to Moses, and is cited as the life of man was so protracted, there was com- his work by David, Daniel, and others of the paratively little need for writing of any kind, and sacred writers. Rivet has remarked, that twentyperhaps no alphabetical writing then existed. Tra- five passages are quoted from it by Christ and his ditim answered every purpose to which writing in apostles in express words, and nineteen as to the any kind of characters could be subservient; and sense. Exodus embraces the history of about the necessity of erecting monuments to perpetuate 145 years, from A. M. 2369 to A. M. 2514 inpublic events could scarcely have suggested itself, clusive ;-from the death of Joseph to the erection a during those times there could be little danger of the tabernacle. It contains an account of the apprehended of any important fact becoming obso- tyranny exercised by Pharaoh over the Israelites, lete, as its history had to pass through very few with their wonderful increase (chap. i.); the birth, hands, and all these friends and relatives in the preservation, education, and exile of Moses (chap. mnost proper sense of the terms ; for they lived in ii.); his divine legation (chap. iii., iv.); the in
fliction of the eight first plagues (chap. iv. 29—
THE BOOK OF EXODUS.
* Dr. A. C arke has given the chronology of this book at the chse of his cornmentary upon it.
+ Dr A Clarke's Proface to the Book of Genesis,
x. 21); the institution of the passover (chap. xii. 2. The style in which the rites and ceremonies 1–21); the two last plagues (chap. x. 21–xii. described in this book are given, and the manner 21—31); the departure of the Israelites (chap. in which their minute particulars are so often xii. 31—37, 40—42); their miraculous passage of repeated, show that they were expressive of the Red Sca, &c. (chap. xii. 43—xv. 22); their something beyond the mere letter, and were presubsequent journeyings in the wilderness (chap. figurative of gospel appointments. The sacrifices xv. 23—xix. 2); the promulgation of the law from and oblations were significant of the atonement of Sinai, the defection of the Israelites, the renewal Christ; their requisite qualities were emblematical of the tables, and the erection of the tabernacle, of his immaculate character; and the prescribed chap. xix. 3—x1.
mode in their form, and the mystical rites ordained, 2. It should be remarked, that many events re- were allusive institutions,t calculated to enlighten corded in this book adumbrate the state of the the apprehensions of the Jews, and to prepare church in the wilderness of this world, until her them for the reception of the gospel. The instiarrival at the promised Canaan—the eternal rest.* tution of the high-priesthood typified Jesus the See 1 Cor. x. 1, &c. This idea will help to point great High-priest. The prohibition of meats as out the consistency of the divine purpose, and unclean, taught the avoidance of what God prothe harmony subsisting between the old and the hibits; and the various kinds of uncleannesses, new dispensations, with an eye to which the Bible with their prescribed expiations, illustrated the should ever be read. In this book are also pre- necessity and importance of internal purity and 'sented several types of the Messiah; such as Moses, holiness. Care, however, must be taken not to Deut. xviii. 15; Aaron, Heb. iv. 14—16, v. 4, 5; overstrain these ideas, nor to run into excess in the paschal lamb, Exod. xii. ; John xix. 36 ; the the mode of interpreting the ritual law; for manna, Exod. xvi. 15; 1 Cor. x. 3; the rock in although it is certain that a great number of its Horeb, Exod. xvii. 6; 1 Cor. x. 4; and the most important institutions were designed to point mercy-seat, Exod. xxxvii. 6; Rom. iii. 25; Heb. to another and a fuller dispensation, there were, iv. 16.
nevertheless, some imposed only as punishments on a rebellious people, and as a yoke to restrain
them from idolatry; and others, as a mark to SECTION III.
discriminate and keep them apart from all other nations. The book of Leviticus and the Epistle
to the Hebrews should be read together, as they 1. Tus book is thought to have taken its name mutually illustrate each other. from detailing the institution of the sacrifices and services, the charge of which was committed to
SECTION IV. the Levitical priesthood. It is cited as the work of Moses in 2 Chron. xxx. 16; Dan. ix. 13; and as an inspired writing in Jer. vii. 22, 23; 2 Cor. vi. 16; 1 Pet. i. 16. There are no data furnished
1. This book is so called because it contains an in the book by which a chronological arrangement account of the numbering and marshalling of the of the facts narrated in it can be effected. It con- Israelites, in their journey through the wilderness tains an account of the laws concerning sacrifices to the promised land. It seems from chap. xxxvi. and offerings (chap. i.-vii.); of the institution 13, that it was penned by Moses in the plains of of the priesthood (chap. viii.—x.); of clean and Moab. But, however this may be, it is certain it unclean animals, &c. (chap. xi.); of the laws con- was written under divine inspiration, it being cerning purification (chap. xii.—xv.); of the great cited as an inspired work in various parts of day of atonement (chap. xvi.); the place of offer- Scripture. See 2 Chron. xxix. 11; Ezek. xx. 13; ing sacrifices, things prohibited, marriage, and Matt. xii. 5; 1 Cor. x. 1-10, &c. It contains a various acts of impurity; the sin of consecrating history of the Israelites, from the first day of the children to Moloch, consulting wizards, &c. (chap. second month of the second year, after their dexvii.- xx.); laws relative to the conduct and parture out of Egypt, to the beginning of the persons of the priests (chap. xxi., xxii.); laws eleventh month of the fortieth year of their jourconcerning the sacred festivals, vows, things devoted, and tithes, chap. xxiii.- xxvii.
+ The reader will do well to peruse with care Ontram's Dissertation on Sacrifices, a judicious translation of which bas been
executed by Mr. Allen.
See Lowman on the Hebrew Ritual, throughout.
TIIE BOOK OF LEVITICUS.
THE BOOK OF NUMBERS.
neyings; from A. M. 2514 to A. M. 2552. The the wilderness, and who consequently were not whole of the book may be considered as a diary; present at the giving of the law on Sinai. The and is the most ancient book of travels ever pub- variations in expression observable in the repelished. The route taken by the Israelites under the tition of the law have been considered as an intidirection of their inspired leader has been traced out mation that its spirit, rather than its letter, is that by modern travellers, and many places here men- which is to be regarded. tioned still bear the same name, and correspond 2. In this book may be found the pathos and exactly in their geographical situation. This book sublimities of religion, in a strain not to be surcontains an account of the enumeration and mar- passed in any part of the Old Testament. It shalling of the people (chap. i. 11); the census of embraces a rehearsal and republication of the law the Levites, and their appointment to the service by the great prophet of it himself; with a survey of the tabernacle (chap. iii., iv.); the institution of of the wonders of Egypt and the wilderness; the various legal ceremonies (chap. v., vi.); the offer- past acts of God's mighty arm, working in terror ings of the princes (chap. vii.); the consecration and in mercy; the stipulated blessings of obeof the Levites (chap. viii.); the celebration of the dience (which may be called the Mosaic beatipassover (chap. ix.); regulations for fixing and tudes); and a terrific insight into the future removing the camp (chap. x. 1-10); the order plagues of the apostate people. Of the majesty of the march, &c. (chap. x. 11–36); the journey of the book, and its impressiveness in these partithrough the wilderness to the land of Moab (chap. culars, a calm and deliberate perusal can alone 31.—xxi.); the transactions in the plains of Moab convey a just idea. It also helps us to trace the (chap. xxi.-XXX.); the defeat of the Midianites progressive scheme of Scripture; for in its docand the offerings to the Lord (chap. xxxi.); the trinal character and use, it may be set above the division of the land east of the Jordan, &c. (chap. simpler and earlier promulgation of the law, as IX.—Xxxvi.)
recorded in Exodus; while it may be marked as 2. The book of Numbers contains one signal only approaching to the practical standard of faith prediction relative to the Messiah, chap. xxiv. 17, and personal obedience exhibited in the doctrines, 19; and in the Targums of Jonathan and Onkelos promises, and precepts of the prophets. The it is so interpreted.
considerate reader will judge whether this account
of the expansion of the divine law by the later SECTION V.
prophets be not a just one. If it be admitted,
one use and intent of their mission will be better THE BOOK OF DEUTERONOMY.
understood; and the remote members of revelation
will be seen to compose a consistent whole, not 1. The title of this book has been derived from by uniformity, but progression, every part of it the Greek Version, where it is called Afvregovojusov silently advancing toward the spirit and perfection - compound term, signifying the second lan; of the gospel.+ because it contains a repetition of the law given 3. The book contains a recapitulation of the transto the Israelites by the mediation of Moses.* From actions in the wilderness (chap. i.—ii.); an affeca comparison of chap. i. 5 with chap. xxxiv. 1, it tionate exhortation to the obedience and love of appears to have been written by Moses in the God (chap. iv.); a repetition of the moral law plains of Moab, a short time prior to his death. (chap. V.-xi.); a repetition of some parts of the It is cited as his work in 2 Chron. xxv. 4; Dan. ceremonial law (chap. xii.-xvi.); a repetition of ix. 13, &c.; and is often quoted as an inspired sundry judicial laws (chap. xvii.-xviii. 14); a writing by Christ and his apostles. It embraces promise of the Great PROPHET, and of a covethe history of about five weeks ; from the first nant between Jehovah and the Israelites (chap. day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year, to xviii. 15, xxvi.); directions for the confirmation the seventh day of the twelfth month. It contains of the law on the people's arrival in Canaan a compendious recapitulation of the laws given (chap. xxvii.-xxx.); the appointment of Joshua by Moses, enlarged with many explanations and as the successor of Moses (chap. xxxi.); the proadditions, and enforced by the strongest and most phetic song of Moses, and the blessing of the pathetic exhortations to obedience; and was no tribes (chap. xxxii., xxxiii.); and the death and doubt intended for the benefit of those born in burial of the great lawgiver (chap. xxxiv.)
* Dr. A. Clarke, Pref. Deut.
+ Davison's Discourses on Prophecy, pp. 51, 52.
OF THE HISTORICAL BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.
1. Sacred history differs from every other species government, their history is represented under of authentic history in this: that while the latter one point of view. When a separation took place, records events and details facts, simply; the the kingdom of Judah, from which the Messiah former combines them with the doctrines of Pro- was to descend, was the chief object of attention vidence, and demonstrates the event to be coinci- with the sacred historians; they treat, however, dent with the purposes of an Eternal Mind. The of the events which occurred in Samaria, especonnexion of every mode of communicating the cially when connected with the concerns of Judah. will of God to man, with moral and eternal pur- It should be remarked, that in their chronological poses, is a feature of divine revelation never to be accounts, the sacred writers generally calculate in overlooked ; and sacred history is but a part of round numbers, and also assume various eras. In that revelation. In preparing mankind for another Genesis, Moses reckons by the ages of the patriworld, the universal Parent has adopted and re- archs; in Exodus, from the departure out of corded a certain process with individuals, with Egypt. Other writers, living in later times, comfamilies, and with nations, in this.* The historical pute from the building of the temple ; from the books, then, form part of those Scriptures written commencement of the reigns of their several under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, and kings; from the captivities and deliverances of are therefore free from error, and to be resorted the people, and other important national events ; to “ for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for or, lastly, from the reigns of foreign kings. The instruction in righteousness ;” because “whatsoever difficulties which occur on a superficial perusal of was written aforetime was written for our learn the historical Scriptures, chiefly originate in a ing," Rom. xv. 4.
want of attention to these considerations; and 2. It is evident from a close examination of those persons who have not the leisure or industry the historical books, that they are collections to elucidate such particulars, will do well rather from the authentic records of the Jewish na- to collect the obvious instruction so richly spread tion, which were carefully kept by the priests through every page of the sacred volume, than to or other publicly-appointed persons.f These col- engage in speculations of delicate discussion. The lections, though generally made while the events historical books, like all other parts of Scripture, were fresh in memory, and by persons who were have every mark of genuine and unaffected truth. contemporary with the periods to which they Many relations are interwoven with accounts of severally relate, appear to have been thrown into other nations, yet no inconsistencies have ever their present form, and to have received some been detected. additions, at a much later period. The 'work of 5. The following table exhibits the contemporary collecting and revising has been attributed to the reigns of the respective kings of Judah and Israel, joint labours of Jeremiah and Ezra. It is enough and will assist in reading the historical books :for us to know that the authenticity of the books, in their present form, has been attested by Christ
Israel. Ante A.D. and his apostles.
975 3. The historical writings of the Old Testament
3046 Abijah comprise twelve books from Joshua to Esther, 3049 Asa
935 inclusive; and contain a compendium of the Jewish 3050
954 history, from the death of Moses to the refor- 3051
953 mation effected by Nehemiah, after the return 3074
930 from Babylon, A. M. 2555—A. M. 3595.
921 4. While the twelve tribes were united under one
918 3090 Jehoshaphat
914 * The reader is referred to an ahly-written paper on the uses
898 and claims of sacred history, in the Encyclopædia Metropoli. | 3108
Jehoram, or Joram 896 tana, which will abundantly repay the labour of an attentive 3112 choram, or Joram
ISRAEL. Ante A.D. | additions made, when the canonical books were 326 Joash, or Jehoash
878 collected and revised. 3148
856 2. The book of Joshua comprises a history 3163 Jehoash, or Joash 841
of about 17 years ; or, according to some chrono3165 Amaziah
logists, of 27 or 30 years. There has been some 3179
accidental derangement in the order of the chap3194 Azariah, or Uzziah
ters, occasioned probably by the mode of rolling Shallum
772 up MSS., written upon different pieces of maMenahem
terial, anciently practised. In the following ana3243
761 lysis they are restored to their proper place. The 345
759 mission of Joshua (chap. i. 1-10); the spies 3246 Jotham
758 sent out to view the land (chap. ii.); the pas3262 Ahaz
sage of the Jordan, and the renewal of the s First capt. of Israel, 3364
740 covenant (chap. i. 10 to end, iii.—v. 13); the
victories of Joshua and the conquest of the land An interregnum
(chap. vi. 11, v. 14, to end, vi. 2–33, ix. ; xi., 234
730 2258 Hezekiah
viii., 30 to end); return of the Reubenites (chap. (Second captivity, by
xxii.); recapitulation of the conquests (chap. xii.-| Shalmaneser. -721 xiii. 15); division of the country among the tribes $06 Manasseh
698 (chap. xiv.-xxi.); the assembling of the people s Third captivity, by ? and the first address of Joshua (chap. xxiii.); his
678 1 Esar-haddon
last address (chap. xxiv. 1-28); his death and
burial (chap. xxiv. 29, 30); Joseph's remains inA.N. JUDAH.
Ante A.D. terred in Shechem, and the death and burial of 361 Amon
643 Eleazar, chap. xxiv. 32, 33. Josiah
3. Dr. Adam Clarke has remarked, that the book Jehoahaz
of Joshua is one of the most important documents Jehoiakim
in the old covenant, and should never be separated First captivity of Judah
from the Pentateuch, of which it is at once both Jehoiachin, Coniah, or Jeconiah 599 Second captivity of Judah
the continuation and the completion. Between Zedekiah
this book and the five books of Moses, there is 3416 Third and final captivity.
588 the same analogy as between the four Gospels and
the Acts of the Apostles. The PENTATEUCII 6. We now proceed to notice the historical contains a history of the acts of the great Jewish books, in the order in which they are placed in legislator, and the Laws on which the Jewish our Bibles.
church could be established. The book of Joshua gives an account of the establishment of the church
in the land of Canaan, according to the oftSECTION I.
repeated promises and declarations of God. Tue THE BOOK OF JOSHUA.
Gospels give an account of the transactions of
Jesus Christ, the great Christian legislator, and 1. This book immediately follows the Penta- of those laws on which his church should be teuch, of which it forms a continuation, and derives established, and by which it should be governed. its name either from relating the achievements of The Acts of the Apostles give an account of Joshua, the son of Nun, in the conquest of the the actual establishment of that church, according promised land, or from his being the author of it; to the predictions and promises of its great
probably from both. That Joshua was its Founder. Thus, then, the PENTATEUCH bears as author, was the general opinion prevailing in the pointed a relation to the Gospels, as the book of Jewish and also in the ancient Christian church, and Joshua does to the Acts of the APOSTLES. On i is also strongly intimated by internal evidence. this principle, it would be a matter of high utility de chap. v. 1, and xxiv. 26. The objections to read the Old Testament and the New Testament urged against this hypothesis, from the alleged books together; as they reflect a strong and mutual marks of the book having been written posterior light on each other, bear the most decided testito this time, such as chap. iv. 9, vii. 28, xv. 63, mony to the words and truth of prophecy, and may be rationally and satisfactorily met, on the show the ample fulfilment of all the ancient and sapposition that there were slight but necessary gracious designs of God.