« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
every word which signifies foot or step, might be used, without any addition, in the sense of times.
The phrase, i, Num. xxiv. 3, 15, son of Beor. The i as the outward mark of the construct state, belongs to the infancy of language. It is peculiar to the Pentateuch, except that it is found in Ps. cxiv. 8, which is an imitation, and in the word , Ps. 1. 10; civ. 11; Isa. lvi. 9; Zeph. ii. 14, which is copied literally from Gen. i. 24.
סָתַם and שָׂתָם is used in Numbers for the later שָׁתָם
DN, mixed multitude, Num. xi. 4, and PP, vile, light, Num. xxi. 5, are not found except in the Pentateuch. nas, sack, fifteen times in Genesis, elsewhere never. D, hurt, five times in the Pentateuch, not elsewhere., breast of animals, thirteen times, only in the Pentateuch. sickle, twice in Deuteronomy. is the later word. Da, every living thing, only in Gen. and Deut. D, portion, tribute, three times, in Numbers only. p, number, only in Exodus and Leviticus. 7, to be redundant, nine times, only in the Pentateuch. y, a tenth part, twenty-six times, only in the Pentateuch. ",", hostile encounter, seven times, only in the Pentateuch., to emit rays, only in Exod. xxxiv. 29; XXX. 35, elsewhere ., to brood or hover over, in Piel, only Gen. i. 2; Deut. xxxii. 11. nav nav, rest of the Sabbath, eleven times in Exodus and Leviticus, elsewhere never. 1, offspring, only in the Pentateuch., effusion, nine times, only in the Pentateuch. D, great grandchildren, only in Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy., foul pollu tion, only in the Pentateuch. , coat of mail, only in Exodus,
.c& ,שִׁרְיוֹן, שִׁרְיָה later words are
There is, however, a remarkable homogeneousness in most of the remains which we possess of the Hebrew literature. We cannot separate these remains into different periods, as is done in regard to Roman literature. The distinction of golden and silver ages, which Gesenius makes, does not hold throughout. The language and idiom of the Pentateuch are substantially like the language and style of the later historians and prophets.
Yet this resemblance does not by any means prove the later origin of the Pentateuch. The five books may have been written in their present form, substantially, by Moses. This may be proved by the following considerations:
1. The affirmation that the genuineness of the Pentateuch is destroyed, because its idiom is the same as that of the other Hebrew books, thus demonstrating, as it is said, its recent authorship, proves too much. It would show that the whole body of Hebrew literature must be contemporaneous. The
books of Samuel, as it is agreed on all hands, were written several hundred years before the prophecy of Malachi, yet the Hebrew of the two productions is not essentially different. Now, if the identity of the style of the Pentateuch and that of Isaiah demonstrates the late origin of the former, then for the same reason, the writer of Samuel must have been contemporaneous with the last of the prophets. If the presence of a large number of archaisms in the Pentateuch be necessary to show its Mosaic authorship, then the existence of a less number in the books of Samuel is necessary in order to show that it was written before the age of Malachi or Zechariah. There is, confessedly, a great difference in the age of different psalms. Some, we know, were written by David. Others were composed after the captivity. Yet some of the latter are among the most beautiful and original in the whole compass of Hebrew literature, while the style and idiom are, in all important respects, the same as those of which David was the writer. The Hebrew of the 137th Psalm has as close a resemblance to that of the 18th as the Hebrew of Isaiah has to that of the Pentateuch. If an interval of several hundred years be allowed-as it is by every one-to intervene between the authorship in the case of the two psalms, then the same may be rightfully admitted in respect to Isaiah and the Pentateuch. In other words, what proves too much proves nothing. course of argument that would make the Pentateuch, on the ground of style, contemporaneous with Isaiah, would make the authorship of the whole Old Testament identical in point of time, unless we except a few fragments, savouring strongly of Chaldee.
2. The Pentateuch would naturally serve as a model and common source for the writers of the subsequent portions of the Scriptures. It was the law-book, unrepealable, for the Jewish race. Constant reference must have been made to its pages, especially by the priests and the more cultivated part of the nation. They would, either intentionally or insensibly, adopt its idioms and phraseology. It contained the record of the miraculous dispensations of the Almighty towards their favoured progenitors. Deviation from its style might come to be regarded almost as a moral offence. Or, if there were nothing of this superstitious reverence, still it would imperceptibly and deeply affect the entire national literature. And this is found to be actually the fact. References to the law, presuppositions of its various institutes, imitation or copying of its language, reminiscences perfectly spontaneous, of the events recorded in it, are everywhere found in the older historical books, the prophets and psalms. In four of the earlier prophets, Isaiah (not including chaps. xl.-lvi.), Micah, Hosea,
and Amos, there are more than EIGHT HUNDRED traces of the existence of the Pentateuch in its present form.* One cannot read even four or five chapters of these prophets, with any degree of attention, without being struck with the great number of allusions to the facts of the Pentateuch. This would often involve, of course, the quotation of the precise language employed in describing those events. There is no fact exactly parallel to this in the whole circle of literature. Luther's German version of the Bible and King James's English version have done much to fix the character of the German and English languages. Not a little of the best literature of the two nations is deeply tinctured with the spirit of these translations, where the exact style and language are not copied. Yet there are many circumstances that counteract this influence, which did not exist in respect to the Pentateuch. They are regarded as mere versions, no one feeling for them the reverence which is entertained for the original. They are not the fountain of civil and national law, as the Pentateuch was to the Jews. The two versions principally affect the religious and devotional literature. The case most analogous to the Pentateuch is the Koran. Its effect on Arabic literature, as will be mentioned below, has been great for many centuries. Yet, perhaps, it has never had that marked and all-pervading influence which the five books of Moses have exerted on Hebrew literature.
3. The unchangeable character of Hebrew literature would be naturally inferred from the character of the people and the circumstances in which they were placed.
They lived in the midst of nations who spoke the same language, or dialects closely cognate. Their own language was indigenous in Canaan. Their numerous wars were almost exclusively carried on against tribes who used the same or related languages. Of course there would be no room for any intermixtures of foreign speech from this source.
The Hebrews were strictly a religious people, connected together by the strongest ties, forbidden to engage in foreign commerce, taught to look upon the religious usages and many of the common customs of other nations with abhorrence, never inclined to travel abroad, and utterly indisposed, often in contravention to the spirit of the Mosaic law, to admit foreigners into their society. Up to the time of David, they had but little access to the Mediterranean Sea, the coast being lined by their inveterate enemies, the Philistines. They had but one large city. Nearly all the literature originated in Jerusalem. Almost all the writers, of whom mention is made, seem to have lived in the metropolis. There was no rival city, no Italian or Asiatic colony, to use and glory in a different dia
* See Tuch, Kommentar über die Genesis, Vorrede, p. 98.
lect from that of the proud Athenian city. All the tribes were, in an important sense, residents of Jerusalem. Three times in a year, and for days together, a great proportion of the male population mingled together in the most unreserved intercourse, a circumstance which would strongly tend to preserve the unity and purity of the language. There were scarcely any arts or sciences to corrupt with their nomenclature the old forms of the language. No system of philosophy ever crept into the country. None could have been introduced without injuring the religious spirit of the people. With the exception of the priests and Levites, the nation were almost wholly employed in the agricultural or pastoral life,-a condition which, perhaps, least of all, admits of changes in idioms or in the forms of words.
We may add to these considerations, the unchangeableness which has always characterised oriental life throughout. The same permanence which attaches to manners and customs would of course extend, more or less, to the forms of speech. Progress is the law in the West, stability in the East. The occidental languages are subject to the ceaseless change which characterises all other things. The oriental delights to rehearse the same allegories and apothegms, expressed in the same terms, which gratified his earliest progenitors.
The structure itself of the Semitic dialects would lead us to the same general conclusion. This is manifest, e. g., in the law of triliterals, in the relation of compound nouns and derivatives to their roots, and in the perfect regularity with which the forms of the verb are developed.
4. We have, however, in direct opposition to the objection advanced, the perfect analogy of other Semitic languages. The Syriac and Arabic underwent, for many centuries, comparatively little change. The oldest remains of the Syrian, the Peshito version of the New Testament, which was prepared in the second century, agrees throughout, in all essential things, with the Syriac of Bar Hebraeus, who lived in the thirteenth century, notwithstanding the tendency of the latter, in its language and syntactical forms, to the Arabic. "That no more changes happened to the Syriac," says Hoffmann, † “in this long interval of time, is not strange; for as manners, customs, usages, &c., are altered less among orientals than Europeans, so it is with a language; if it makes any progress, it is still more likely to remain long stationary, than to advance. As the Koran has imposed a restricted and fixed character on the
*This is entirely consistent with the position of the degeneracy of the orientals in knowledge and virtue. Manners, customs, languages, might be permanent, while acquaintance with the character of God and the perception of human duty were becoming obscure.
Syriac Grammar, p. 15.
Arabic language, so the most ancient monument of Syriac letters the version of the sacred books-has effected the same in the Syriac language." It should also be recollected, that this permanence in the language was maintained while the Syrians were under subjection to a foreign power. Of course, the language was more liable to corruption than could have been the case with the Hebrew before the Babylonish captivity. A still stronger proof may be drawn from the Arabic. Professor Kosegarten of Greifswald, one of the most distinguished living orientalists, in a review of Eichhorn's Introduction to the Old Testament, in the Jena Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, July 1825, has shown, by a clear and fundamental examination, that the fact of the stability, or continued unchanging character of the Arabic language, can be established by the most unquestionable proofs from the language itself, not only during a period of six hundred years but of a thousand years, yea, for fifteen hundred years. The grammatical structure of the Arabic language remains the same in all the writers which fall within these three widely separated periods. Declensions, conjugations, constructions, are the same. The smaller, incidental deviations are no more considerable, by any means, than the difference which appears between the language of the Pentateuch and that of the older Hebrew prophets. No greater difference is to be noted, in a lexical respect, in these Arabic writers, than that which occurs between the Pentateuch, the books of Samuel and Isaiah. We may hence conclude, that in the Arabic language, during the fifteen hundred years in which we can examine its form, no such changes at all have taken place as appear in the German dialects and in those derived from the Latin in the course of a few centuries, and which have happened to the Greek language down to its present form in modern Greek.* Consequently, the Mosaic writings might have been separated from some other books of the Old Testament by an interval of a thousand years, and at the same time exhibit but few variations in language and idiom.
We are happy to subjoin in further corroboration of the views here presented, some more exact statements in regard to the history of the Arabic, from a friend who has long made that language his particular study :—
"You are aware that the oldest specimens of Arabic literature which we possess, are not more ancient than the century before Mahomet. These exhibit a highly cultivated language; the syntax is regular, the inflections are richly varied, and the vocabulary is abundant; they also show a refined musical art. It is evident that this perfection can have been attained only by degrees; it is probably to be ascribed to the
* Hartmann's Forschungen, p. 649.