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Abram and Jacob are actually found, but not Joseph or Isaac. Also, the Nuzi tablets showed similar customs in many, not all things. John Bright, History of Israel , 3d ed. Speiser, in Anchor, Genesis , using chiefly Nuzi archives, gave a largely Hurrian interpretation of the activities of the patriarchs. Gordon, in Journal of Bible and Religion 21 pp. Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament  p.
Similar are views of O. Eissfeldt, in Cambridge Ancient History , 2d ed. Possibly: overpopulation, drought, famine. This dimorphic pattern has been common in Middle East even to modern times. The Nuzi type in which a barren wife provides a bondwoman is not unique to Nuzi - is found in Old Babylonian, Old Assyrian texts too, and also in a 12th century Egyptian document. The name type to which belong Isaac, Jacob and Joseph are the most characteristic type of Amorite name. They worked about same time as Albright. They believed Israel was formed from an amalgamation of various clans and tribes, which happened gradually during the period of settlement in Canaan.
Noth tried to reconstruct things by history of traditions - derived from work of Hermann Gunkel, inventor of Form Criticism. A major clue to the origin of an element of tradition is its connection with a region, place or other geographical feature. Abraham is associated with the oaks of Mamre near Hebron. Isaac dwells at oases of Beersheba and Beer-lahai- roi. Jacob most closely tied to Shechem and Bethel. Thought the Jacob stories are the oldest component. These three traditions were blended when the stories were transmitted orally, before the composition of J.
Dates proposed for J range from 10th to 6th centuries BC. Fact that Abraham was said to be oldest shows the combining took place when Judah was in ascendancy.
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Commentaries on the First Book of Moses Called Genesis (2 Vols.)
Friedman , , esp. Very probably Homer was an oral poet -- as also were the Ugaritic myths and epics - but the narratives are extended, with a complex structure. He sees two kinds of genealogies: one is linear, from Abraham to Jacob, which defines Israel in relation to other peoples, second, a laterally branched genealogy starting with the 12 sons of Jacob, which defines Israel internally.
We note that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all marry within the larger family group. He dates the patriarchs to the first millennium! Van Seters, Abraham in History and Tradition , Yale, , agrees on literary and form criticism instead of archaeology, and also dates patriarchs in 1st millennium. Criticisms of Thompson: The chronological details are simply impossible. For example, Van Seters thinks camel nomadism was not possible until the first century B. But he admits p. Kitchen, op. Most scholars are convinced that the stories about the three patriarchs contain at least a kernel of authentic history, though they are reluctant to mark which details are authentic.
Yet they say the narratives may be more ideology than history - to make a political and theological statement about the Israelite nation. We comment: Yet it is safe to assume that the Israelites, like many other nations, did have a tradition about their past, perhaps embellished, as in epic. The case of Esau fits a frequent pattern - his line is descended from a brother of the great ancestor, Abraham, having suitable marriages, Esau not.
Ethnic separateness is one of the strongest features of the tradition, so the Israelite nation did not arise out of a coalition of outsiders, even though some others, probably of half Hebrew, half Egyptian ancestry joined the Exodus on the way out Exodus Num As to the Exodus itself. It is unlikely a people would invent the story of their having been slaves for centuries, and then recount also their manifold infidelities during the desert wandering and after that as well.
Moses and even God Himself many times called them stiff-necked people. An objection comes from McCarter, in Ancient Israel , pp. He cites Judges saying it shows no mention of Judah and Simeon, and says also Manasseh and Gad are also missing, while two tribes Machir Judges and Gilead Judges are given which are not in the later list. Manasseh is represented by Machir, a place name. Gilead is representing Gad. Gilead as a place name sometimes represents all Israelite Transjordan cf.
Joshua , or at times cf. Num it means only the areas between the Jabboc and Arnon rivers i. Reuben and Gad or cf. Joshua between the Jabboc and Yarmud i. Judah and Simeon were simply too distant to join the campaign, and were not needed - enough without them. Many believe the story of Joseph, Gen 37 and , originated independently of the stories about the three great ancestors. Yet the general outline of the events in the story of Joseph is likely to have an ultimate basis in historical fact, even if, as some think, some details are not historical.
The story shows only a limited knowledge of the life and culture of Egypt. The titles and offices the story assigns to various Egyptian officials fit better with known parallels in Syria and Canaan than with Egyptian parallels: cf. Smith, Philadelphia, Westminster, , pp. There are some authentic Egyptian details, but they seem to fit the period after the time of the Hyksos.
Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament , pp. Number involved : Exodus A mixed multitude also went up with them, and very many cattle, both flocks and herds. Other proposals include : elements of the Leah, Rachel and the so-called concubine tribes. Others suppose two stages of escape - one as early as the expulsion of the Hyksos, c. It is multiplying by a factor of ten. And vv speak of the deep waters coming onto the Egyptians. Free From All Error, pp. The inspired writer found two sources, did not know which was true, affirmed neither, only asserts he found the two: here they are.
Gulf of Suez is 15 miles wide, but miles long, high mountains on each side of it, which could funnel wind from NW down onto the gulf water at around 10 MPH on an average day. Oceanographers Doron Nof of Fla. State Univ. In ten hours there would be enough water cleared from gulf to drop water level by eight feet. Discover magazine of Jan , p. But would 8 feet reduction in depth be enough? The route taken is extremely hard to determine. Many now think the Red Sea really was the Sea of Reeds, perhaps a papyrus lake. Oxford Bible Atlas , pp. One possibility is a southern route , along east coast of Gulf of Suez.
We can tentatively identify some sites on this e. The vagueness of later stopping points may be due to rugged southern terrain where copper and turquoise mines were found. Then Mt. Sinai Horeb would be probably Jebel Musa. Then they headed NE to Kadesh-barnea. Sinai in the north, perhaps Jebel Magharah or Jebel Halai. A major problem with this view is the difficulty of crossing the dunes between Lake Sirbonis and Kadesh-barnea.
They stopped at Kadesh-Barnea while spies scouted the land - Numbers caps. Because of their faithless reaction there, God condemned them to wander for years, so none of the generation there would enter the promised land, except Joshua and Caleb. There is a problem of lack of remains near the probable site of Kadesh-Barnea: Cf. Moses married a woman from Midian. Modern Debates on the Date of the Exodus: It is clear that if we could date the Exodus fairly well we would know about when the patriarchs lived.
The starting point for early dating is 1 Kgs 6. If we take these figures we would have to accept these ages given for the patriarchs: Abraham years Gen. Many reject ages so great- But they are not impossible. And Science News , Nov. Moreover, the years looks like a symbolic number: 12 x Moreover the length of stay in Egypt is unclear.
Exodus 12, 40 in LXX and Gal 3. Moses and Aaron were fourth generation descendants of Jacob's son Levi 1 Chron. The years assigned to slavery in Egypt is high for three generations, an average of years each. Then the 11 generations from Joseph to Joshua would average 39 years each. Wilson in Biblical Archaeologist , Winter, , 42, pp. Hebrew of Jonah has him threatening ruin in 40 days, but LXX for same has 3 days. John J. Would date Exodus to BC, with conquest at about This entails changing date of end of Middle Bronze II to just before , instead of traditional Jericho is specially significant.
BAR, March-April Bryant G. Wood , "Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho? Wood argues: a Kenyon depended on not finding imported Cypriote ware which would point to Late Bronze I. But she dug in a poor part of the city, very limited - two squares 26 ft on a side each. She should not expect to find expensive ware in such a place. But Garstang has found it elsewhere in Jericho.
And Egyptians started campaigns before the harvest, so supplies of food would not be enough to stand a siege. But Garstang found much grain in jars at Jericho, so it was not starved out Joshua attacked after spring harvest. So it was not abandoned after as Kenyon thought. But in same issue Wood answers - seems to have the better of the argument.
Also, Kenyon has been caught in a large mistake in the City of David- cf. Attack on work of Kenyon at Jericho: "Yigal Shiloh. In the fall of , he was awarded the prestigious Jerusalem Prize in Archeology for his work on the City of David in Jerusalem. BAR, p. Kathleen Kenyon who excavated in the City of David from to , dated it to no earlier than the sixth century B.
Do you understand? This proves again and again what I said about the defects in Kathleen Kenyon's system of working. You could work five years in one area. For example, in the southern part of Area E, we worked for five years. For five years, we found material only from the eighth century, the seventh century. But once we moved farther north, just three meters, there was a depression. We looked down and instead of bedrock we found Middle Bronze and Early Bronze material. There would be signs of destruction at right time, of a city with a wall for: Hebron Lachish, and Hazor.
Bimson argues that Ai belongs at Khirbet Nisya - which will show a site abandoned at the right point, with at least some occupation indicated at right time. There remains a question about Arad. They place it at Tell Malhata - surface finds indicate occupation there.
Bimson and associates have answers for the late dating based on Exodus 1. At Pithom some signs of brutal treatment by Hyksos. Although there are no Egyptian records of great building in that area. The immigrants shemau among them disregarded the tasks which were assigned to them And when I allowed the abominations of the gods [i.
Thomas, Publications of Association of Ancient Historians 4, pp. Especially the following:. March-April, , p. Bietak dates this period from about to B. Dever and other archaeologists working in Israel place the end of the Middle Bronze age about B. Unfortunately, Bietak's pottery is still unpublished.
Moreover, say those who support Dever, we must also look at synchronisms with Mesopotamian chronology, which, like Egyptian chronology, also provides absolute dates. The relative dating evidence from Canaan also somehow bears on the outcome of the debate. Calculation starts with Ex 1. Raamses may be Per Ramesese, which is probably same as Avaris-Tanis. Avaris was deserted after , and was reestablished by Seti I Rameses II began in , so he is Pharaoh of Exodus. If they left in , would enter Palestine c Then still 20 years to reach west Palestine and be met by Merneptah cf.
So they entered Egypt c , about time of entry of Hyksos. The number rose again for Iron Age I to Iron Age people used the soil differently than the earlier group -they had to work on the hills. Zertal says pottery shows some of the Israelites entered near Schechem - Moses had told the to build an altar as soon as they crossed the Jordan, at Mt.
Ebal Dt. Others would have crossed near Jericho. Epic genre can easily accommodate such a pattern. We have already explained that long oral transmission is possible: cf. Pettinato, op. He shows that at least some elements of those narratives are time-specific, and the times indicated are those which the Bible gives for them. In BAR Mar. April Hence on p. Bruce Halpern This simply does too much honor to the 'lunatic fringe' growing around the archaeology of Palestine.
NB also p. All we can do in the present state of our knowledge is to suggest that the various traditions interwoven in the Biblical narrative imply that the Egyptian episode must be seen as a continuous process of migrations, settlement and movement on various occasions and along different routes, by small and large groups between Egypt and Canaan. At the same time, many people of the same ethnic stock remained in Palestine and never went to Egypt. Oren was a prominent Israeli archaeologist and chairman of Dept.
Radday of Technion Institute. BAR Nov. The Biblical authors were not historians in any modern sense of the term The purpose But the details of the journey are presented in such a way that relating them either chronologically or geographically to known historical data is indeed difficult Archaeology can neither sustain nor refute the Bible.
Fortress, dedicated to Albrecht Alt , p. Had Israel really arisen in Canaan and never been enslaved in Egypt, a biblical writer would have had no reason to conceal that fact and could surely have devised an appropriate narrative to accommodate that reality were he given to fictional inventiveness. We are at a loss to explain the necessity of fabricating an uncomfortable and disreputable account of Israel's national origins, nor can we conceive how such a falsity could so pervade their national psyche as to eliminate all other traditions and historical memories, let alone be the dominant and controlling theme in the national religion.
Springs there are richest and most abundant in the Sinai, watering the largest oasis in N. Many acres today of fruit and nut trees. Has remains of three ancient fortresses, earliest probably of time of Solomon. But if we put the wanderings in Midian there is no problem. So the Israelite invasion route described in Numbers b - 50 shows an official, heavily traveled Egyptian road through the Transjordan in the Late Bronze Age. The City of Dibon was a station on that road at the time. Ramesses says he sacked Dibon. Among towns mentioned is Qarbo, seemingly Biblical Dibon, showing that a Dibon did exist then, even though remains have not yet been found there.
For example, Ashdod covers about 70 acres of lower city area and another 20 acres of acropolis. ADD: J. Callaway, in Ancient Israel , p. John Garstang excavated eight trenches in In he wrote that 'A considerable proportion of L. Thus nothing of Garstang's 'Late Bronze" evidence is available for a 'second opinion' of his interpretation. Jericho was abandoned from Hellenistic times and moved to near the springs of Ain- Sultan, onto the site that became modern Jericho Er-Riba. But in Hellenistic and Roman times, palaces and villas were constructed at still a third side nearby Tulul Abu el-Alaiq.
So today there are three Jerichos. A survey of views on the period of patriarchs in general leads us to conclude there was a patriarchal period and an exodus. More details need added study. There are two chief tendencies in dating the Exodus: c. The problem is at present insoluble, but the evidence seems stronger for c. Interior and exterior accounts : There are two ways of describing the same sequence of events:.
Exterior account: Easter Preface ibid. IV; "In him a new age has dawned, the long reign of sin is ended, a broken world has been renewed and mankind is once again made whole. In Isaiah the darkness descended when Assyria took the northern kingdom in BC. But Isaiah foretold the Messiah would be the great light to it - which came when Jesus made Capernaum as it were His headquarters.
Before, that land had sat in darkness. Rather, He always loved us, hence Christ came. He gave out graces abundantly before Christ had earned them, just as in the special instance of the Immaculate Conception. Both : If we look at the exterior of the grand sweep of God's plans over centuries, in this land of Zebulon and Naphthali we see darkness until Christ came. But did God really leave them without light so that they went to eternal ruin?
No, there was even then in their souls the interior light of grace , which was offered abundantly in anticipation of Christ. So they could be eternally saved even though actual entrance into glory was deferred until Christ had died. Again, in the exterior view, there was the long reign of sin, until Christ came.
As we said, grace was interiorly given even before Christ, and it did really lead them to be saved, and even very holy. But how much at how early a period did they understand God's plan of eternal happiness? Gradually, and at first through temporal images, He led them to understanding. Many exegetes think Israel did not know even of survival after death at first. But this is false, for three times in the OT He prohibited necromancy: Lev. The repetition shows their determination to believe necromancy, which included survival after death.
But there is still a second question: how early did they know of retribution, reward and punishment after death? There are a few stray verses in the Psalms that could mean an early understanding. But they are unclear, and Psalm 72 expresses the common attitude: I was distressed at the prosperity of sinners, until I came into the temple, and saw their punishment.
It was at the time of Antiochus IV of Syria, c BC that terrible deaths of the martyrs forced an agonizing reappraisal, and, at the same time, contact with Greek thought showed a way out, for although the Greek concept of soul-body was not fully correct, yet it did open the way to see. Even so, not all Jews saw, for at the time of Jesus the Sadducees strongly rejected even survival. But the Pharisees and their followers -- much more numerous -- did see and believe in survival and reward. The Election of Israel was part of the problem.
At first they surely thought it meant only temporal favor. Much later they came to see more, but what did they think of gentiles? Rabbis at the time of Christ thought all Israel was saved eternally even the am ha'aretz , except for some very horrid sinners. But gentiles were lost. What a tragic picture of God -- as if He cared only for Jews: "Love your neighbor" to them meant only other Jews.
In contrast, Jesus revealed everyone is our neighbor. And St. Paul in Rom 3. No, He is also the God of the gentiles. Paul insists rightly that God provided for All, by justification by faith. In Romans 5.
Commentaries on Exodus
And after that, Paul goes on: since He did that when we were sinners: what could or would He withhold now? Centuries earlier, the prophetic eye of Isaiah Even if she should I will not forget you. Even the Christian Fathers of the Church failed to see clearly the distinction between election or predestination to heaven and election or predestination to full membership in the Church. However, absolutely every Eastern Father to the last man, and nearly all the Western Fathers as well, did see clearly that God does not desert reprobate from heaven anyone without grave personal fault.
This could imply that He predestines to heaven without merit-which is true implied in the fact that God is our Father who gives love and care without merit, but can punish faults but no one until modern times found out the way to make the two points fit together, i. When Abram was 75 years old, God spoke to him when he was in Haran, a land that worshipped many gods. He had come with his father Terah from Ur, at the north end of the Persian Gulf. At that time there was an artistic and advanced civilization at Ur which today has been excavated. God told Abram to leave his land and his people and go to the place He would show him.
The Canaanites were in the land at that time. Abram became a nomad in it at an advanced age. We need to observe carefully now, for St. Paul builds so much on the faith of Abraham, in Romans 4 and Gal. In St. Paul there are three things included in faith: belief, confidence, and especially obedience. Paul even speaks of the obedience that is faith Rom.
Even a major Protestant reference work agrees on this Pauline picture of faith: Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Supplement , p. We easily see all these things in Abraham, and more than once. In confidence He believed God and obeyed, to go into a land he knew not: Hebrews A bit later, in , God made His promise more specific.
Abram obeyed, and, "It was counted to him as justification. Paul carefully notes that all this happened before Abram had a law to obey Gen 17 to earn justification. Since Abram obeyed and was made just even before he had a law to obey, St. Paul concludes that Abram was justified by faith alone, without works: Rom 4. Something remarkable emerges now: faith on the one hand includes obedience and faith made Abram just, yet Abram was justified without works, even obedience , though he did as God had commanded, in the obedience that is faith.
We see that obedience in acting is required, yet obedience as such does not earn justification. So on the one hand the obedience of faith is needed to be just; on the other hand that faith does not earn justification. It is a condition. When it is present God gladly grants justification which is the state of grace [1 Cor Failure to see either half of this picture namely that obedience as part of faith is required , but obedience does not earn has historically led to the most huge errors.
So, violating the obedience of faith leads to loss of justification. Luther, sadly, saw that obedience does not earn, but did not see that obedience as part of faith is required. What he would call "faith", without obedience, warranted, he thought, disobedience even to times a day. By faith Luther meant merely confidence that the merits of Christ applied to him. Abram became just before Abraham had a law.
So justification was to be by faith -- but not in the foolish sense of just believing the merits of Christ apply to me, so that I am then free as Luther claimed to disobey and "commit murder and fornication times a day. American Ed. Again, this does not mean that obedience earns justification: but without faith no one can please God as Hebrews says. Still further: In becoming just by faith, Abraham really was a member, or rather the father, of God's people -- which was to be declared formally later in chapter 15 where God in an impressive ceremony makes a pact with Abraham, the pact of circumcision.
In Paul's interpretation given in Gal. In which all become Abraham's children by imitating his faith. We must add this too: Paul in Romans 3. All that is needed for them to be members is to imitate the faith of Abraham: they perceive what the Spirit writes on their hearts Rom 2. They need not be aware that this makes them members of the people of God. These of course are the three elements of Pauline faith. By this route St. Justin Martyr Apology 1. Socrates according to Plato said many times that one who wishes to follow the truth must have as little as possible to do with the things of the body: cf.
Plato, Phaedo 65, 66, We notice further that St. Paul says God must have made salvation really accessible to those who never heard of the Mosaic law. We are thinking of the teeming millions in lands where Christ is not known. Can they be members of His people without knowing that they're doing so? But yet. It would be enough if the person perceived, not necessarily clearly, that "this is what I should do" without knowing the God who commanded formally.
It would be enough to perceive interiorly with the help of grace the obligation, to believe, to have confidence, and actually obey. Thus Vatican II in LG 16 said salvation is able to be had by those who "follow the moral law known interiorly to them with the help of grace. Latin has possunt. Some versions give "will bless themselves through you" as if to say: will say: May you be blessed like Abraham" But we are following St. Paul's understanding as in Gal. They will be members of the people of God. As he was entering the land, he said to his wife Sarai: I know that you are beautiful, and the king's men may take you to him, and if they think you are my sister, they will kill me.
All happened as Abram had foreseen. The Pharaoh was very pleased, and sent Abram many royal presents, so that he became rich. But then we find in Gen So Pharaoh told Abram: Why did you not tell me she was your wife. Take her and go! Many think they are doublets, but they are much influenced by a belief in the probably mistaken Documentary Theory of which we spoke in the introduction to Genesis.
But there is something of immense theological importance here, which many commentators neglect. All of Chapter 4 of Leviticus speaks of sheggagah , involuntary sin. If a man violates a law of God without knowing he is doing so, The Holiness of God wants the damaged moral order restored. The commentary on Lev. This means that the Holiness of God-- the quality in virtue of which He loves all that is morally right, and if that order is disturbed even involuntarily, His Holiness wants it set right again.
Hence Lev 4 calls for a sacrifice to be offered to make up for the sheggagah. Now it is true that the Hebrew word for sister is very broad, and can cover this case. Sarai was the sister of the father of Abram. But God will not let mere linguistic ambiguity rule things: He wants reality. And the reality was that Pharaoh, though in good faith, was involved in adultery. This was not just an odd case in the Old Testament. We find the same principle widely in the OT, Intertestamental Literature, Rabbinic writings, and Patristic literature.
For a large study on this please see Wm. Most, The Thought of St. Paul , appendix, pp. For example, we read in Ps. Cleanse me from my unknown faults. But the slave who did not know the master's will, but yet did things objectively calling for penalty would get off with fewer blows. In 1 Cor.
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Paul told the Corinthians: "I do not have anything on my conscience, but that does not mean I am justified. They were going beyond he rules of Lev. In the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, still much in use today, there is a prayer: "Forgive us every offense, both voluntary and involuntary. His commentaries display a rare combination of exegetical insight, pastoral concern, and theological depth which have inspired generations of Christians.
John Calvin was a theologian, pastor, biblical exegete, and tireless apologist for Reformed Christianity, and ranks among the most important thinkers in church history. His theological works, biblical commentaries, tracts, treatises, sermons, and letters helped establish the Reformation as a legitimate and thriving religious movement throughout Europe.
No theologian has been as acclaimed or assailed as much as Calvin. Calvinism has spawned movements and sparked controversy throughout the centuries. Wars have been fought both to defend and destroy it, and its later proponents began political and theological revolutions in Western Europe and America. John Calvin was born on July 10, in Noyan, in France. He began his work in the church at the age of twelve, intending—at the request of his father—to train for the priesthood.
This friendship resulted in trouble for Calvin when Cop was branded a heretic after calling for reform in the Catholic Church. Cop fled to Basel, and Calvin was forced from Paris. The controversy expanded when, on the evening of October 18, , anonymous attacks against the Mass were posted on public buildings, fueling the violence in the city.
Calvin left France for Basel in January. The controversy, and the trouble it caused Calvin, disciplined him in his writing project, and he began working on the first edition of The Institutes of the Christian Religion , which appeared in In June, , Calvin returned to Paris as the violence subsided, but was expelled again in August of He left for Strasbourg, but was forced to Geneva instead, where he stayed at the request of William Farel.
He became a reader in the church in In late , Calvin fled Geneva after a controversy surrounding the Eucharist. He traveled to Basel before accepting a position at the church in Strasbourg. There, Calvin continued working on both the second edition of the Institutes and his Commentary on Romans. At the urging of his friends, Calvin married Idelette de Bure. This college furnishes yearly a large number of students to the theological college; the two institutions working in entire harmony. Murphy received from Trinity College the honorary degree of LL. He is thoroughly Irish in birth, in education, in ecclesiastical offices, and in literary labors and honors.
In addition to the volume on Genesis herewith presented to the public, he has published a Hiebrew Grammar for the use of his students, and has translated Keit's Commentary on Kings for Clark's Foreign Theological Library. I-Ie has now nearly completed his Commentary on Exodus. His view upon the most important point of Egyptian chronology is foreshadowed in a private note to the subscriber, as follows: " Adhering still to tile Hebrew or Masoretic text of the Old Testament, I am constrained to stand by the Hebrew chronology until I meet with some experimentimn crucis that will prove or disprove it.
In introducing him to American students at the present period, it is not unimportant to add that he has shared the sympathy of his colleague, Dr. Gibson, for the United States during our struggle with the rebellion, and that as a friend of freedom and of the progress of humanity, he desires, " the prosperity of this country in all its noble and belefi-,cent enterprises. As ancient writing, purporting to be continuous and handed down to us as the work of one author, is to be received as such unless we have good and solid reasons for the contrary.
The Pentateuch is a book exactly of this description, continuous in its form, and coming down to us as in the main the work of Moses. We may not give up this prima facie evidence without cause. In particular, we should require strong and cogent arguments to convince us that this interesting monument of antiquity is, as some say, a dry and bare compilation, not even of document after document, but of selections from several later works all going over nearly the same ground, dovetailed into one another by a still later hand to form a factitious whole. For at first sight this seems to be a mere stretch of fancy, in which criticism has overmastered philosophy.
A scheme so intricate in form and fantastic in conception cannot be accepted, unless it stand on impregnable grounds. The main grounds on which this theory rests appear t6 be two, - first, certain discrepancies and difficulties that are supposed to be adverse to the unity and early origin of the work; and second, certain characteristics of style, by which the selections are detected and restored to their original authors, who are then seen to be consistent in themselves, though still inconsistent with one another.
And the result to which this theory leads, is, that the Pentateuch is neither given by inspiration of God nor historically valid, but rather a mechanical compilation of a later age from heterogeneous materials, the discrepancies of which the compiler had not either the sense to perceive or the tact to eliminate. Before we accept a conclusion fraught with such results, it is obvious that we are bound to be fully assured, both that the premises are in themselves true, and that they are able to bear all the weight that is laid on them.
Hence three questions come before us for adjudication. Of what nature must the difficulties of statement and style be to constrain us to the adoption of this theory? What is the amount of the difficulties actually involved in the statements of the book, and what are the peculiarities of style that characterize its different parts? Are these difficulties of statement and diversities of style of such a nature that they could only arise from a medley of the kind supposed? IDo the former disturb the unity and early origin of the book, as well as its historical value and divine authority?
Do the latter enable us to assign its several parts to their respective authors? The first of these is the question of principle. It involves the axioms or postulates on which the whole discussion turns. It is freely granted that the presence of plain contradictions or impossibilities is sufficient to overturn the historical credit or the early origin of a work. But they do not prove the diversity of authorship. It is acknowledged on all sides that some one hand at length put the Pentateuch together in its ultimate form.
And if a final redactor did not see the presumed contradictions or did not regard them, neither might the original author. This part of the theory, therefore, has no support from the supposed existence of impossibilities. The appearance, however, of discrepancies or difficulties that fall short of the contradictory or impossible, cannot be allowed to have these effects. So far from seeming strange, they are to be expected in a work more than three thousand years old, containing a brief history of at least twenty-two centuries, and dealing, not in abstract or general assertions, but in concrete and definite statements.
They rather confirm than weaken its claim to antiquity and genuineness, so long as' they stand within the bounds of possibility. If there be any possible mode of reconciling the seemingly incompatible statements, the contradiction is removed. If a second mode can be pointed out, the contradiction is still more remote. For several solutions of an apparent contradiction are so far from counteracting that they sustain one another in repelling it to a vanishing distance.
Not one of them may be the real missing link in the chain of facts, which by hypothesis, be it remembered, is unknown; but they all combine to show that the events in question may occur, not in one, but in a variety of ways. It must, we think, be conceded that all the diversities of style that have been or can be discovered, apart from contradictions or impossibilities, do not suffice to prove a work to be a medley from different authors.
They cannot in the nature of things have the force of demonstration. Having the authors, we may make out characteristics of style. Having a foregone conclusion as to certain passages, we may trace and tabulate their peculiarities. But all this may proceed from diversity of topic, mental state or design in the same author, and scarcely affords the color of a presumption for the intermingling of pieces from different authors.
The full discussion of this question belongs to another place. But meanwhile we conclude, that, as contradictions may occur in the work of one author, and certain diversities in the use of words may appear in different pieces of the same writer, these phenomena are not sufficient of themselves to substantiate the whole theory under consideration. The existence, however, of absolute contradictions or impossibilities in its statements deprives a work of independent historical value or great antiquity of origin. The second question regards the actual contents of the book. What are the difficulties it actually presents, and the diversities of style it exhibits?
To ascertain these facts, we must examine the book, and determine as far as possible its real meaning. This is especially necessary in a work that has come down to us from a hoary antiquity, composed in a language that has not been spoken for eighteen centuries, and in a style which, though regular and systematic, is yet remarkably simple and primitive. WVe shall be doing great wrong to this venerable document, if we ascribe to it statements for which its own words, fairly interpreted, do not vouch.
We cannot found the slightest inference on a passage which we do not understand, or affirm a single discrepancy until we have made all reasonable inquiry whether it really exists, and what is its precise nature and amount.
Commentaries on the first book of Moses, called Genesis
The following work is a contribution towards this important branch of the inquiry. It is an attempt to apply the laws of interpretation to the first book of the Pentateuch. The interest attached to the book of Genesis can hardly be exag. XV gerated. It contains the records of the present condition of the earth and of the human race from its origin to the time of Moses.
It answers the fundamental questions of theology, of physics, of ethics, and of philology. The difficulty of its exposition is proportioned to the antiquity of its origin and the loftiness of its theme. The present attempt to elucidate its meaning is neither perfect in its execution nor exhaustive in its results.
But it makes some important advances in both these directions, as the author conceives; and therefore it has been submitted to public examination. The work consists of a translation of the original, and a critical and exegetical commnentary, the whole forming a full interpretation of the sacred text. With the exception of the first chapter, which is extremely literal, the translation is a revision of the authorized version. On a close comparison of this version with the original, we find everything to admire ii the purity of the English, and little to amend in the faithftulness of the rendering.
The emendations introduced aim at a nearer approach to to the original meaning in some passages, and in others to the original mode of thought and expression. Alterations of the former kind are of essential moment; in making which the author has endeavored to divest his mind of any questionable preconception that might warp his judgment. The minor changes consist chiefly in adhering more closely to the original order of words, in rendering the same word in Hebrew as often as possible by the same word in English, and in occasionally substituting a word of English origin for one derived from the Latin.
In expressing the sense of the original, the author has been greatly aided by the English version, and is fully persuaded that no independent version more adapted to the genius of the English lauguage will ever be produced. Nevertheless, even this part of his work will, he hopes, be found to have thrown considerable light on the meaning of the book that did not appear in the English version. The commentary is the complement of the translation. It is critical and exegetical; but so far as these qualities are distinct, much more attention has been paid to the latter.
The formation of an improved text is not within the scope of the present work. The edition of Van der Hooght, the textus receptus of the Old Testament, is sufficient for all ordinary passages, and has been followed here. Peculiarities of form and syntax have been only sparingly discussed, as they are all noted and explained in our grammars and lexicons.
The higher criticism, or the interpretation of the text, has been the chief study of the author, to which all other matters have been made subsidiary. It has been his endeavor to bring out the meaning of the original accqrding to the philosophy of language, thought, and history. IFor this purpose a few general principles of interpretation have been laid down, which, it is hoped, will meet with universal acceptance. These have been applied to elicit as far as possible the precise meaning of the sacred writer, the order of thought, and the order of time.
A careful study of the method of composition has enabled him to throw much light on the logical order of the narrative, and the physical order of the events related. Many diffqlculties of great magnitude, such as those respecting the six days' creation and the deluge, have disappeared in the mere process of interpretation. None of,ny importance known to the author are left without a solution. Other solutions might in some cases have proved more acceptable to some minds.
But lhe has acted to the best of his judgment in presenting what seemed to him most. Variety of style has been certainly found in the different parts of the book; but then it has been only such as the same author might display according to the subdivisions of his plan and subject. It cannot be demonstrably or even probably ascribed to a medley of passages from different authors. If these results stand the test of impartial criticism, the scheme of a congeries of pieces put together by a later hand with all its consequences falls to the ground, so far as the book of Genesis is concerned.
The right interpretation of the remaining books of the Pentateuch will, the author believes, be attended with the same result. The fundamental proposition regarding the Pentateuch, with which we started, will then remain undisturbed in all its integrity, before even a single particle of the positive evidence by which it is supported has been adduced.
The fair interpretation of these books, however, serves much more than the mere negative purpose of obviating difficulties. It presents before the mind in its native connection the wonderful harmony of this ancient book with itself, with history, and with physical and metaphysical science. It proves a volume, extant long before science was born, and couched in the language of common life, to be in no respect at variance with the conclusions of astronomy and geology, while it is the fountain-head of theological and ethical philosophy.
These disclosures are the meet sequel of the external evidence by which its genuineness, credibility, and divine authority are attested. This body of external and internal evidence demonstrates that it is, what it purports in every page to be, the revelation of the early ways of God with man. The growing sense of the fundamental concord that must subsist between the book of revelation and the book of nature renders the just interpretation of the earliest portion of the former a matter of the deepest interest to the man of scientific and reverent spirit.
The records of that last creation, limited in time and space, to which we ourselves belong, of that moral declension in the history of man described as the fall, of that mental revolution known as the confusion of tongues, of those physical changes connected with the deluge and the overthrow of Sodom and Anmorah, can never cease to engage the attention of the reflective mind. Whether the author will be permitted to proceed any further in the interesting field of investigation which he has traced in the preceding pages, depends entirely on the will of Providence.
Meanwhile the present work is complete in itself; and the author commits it to the world, humbly praying that a blessing may attend its perusal, and sincerely thanking the God of all grace for that measure of health which has enabled him to complete his task. It is called by Irenaeus b. Stat 7ypaca', Divine Writings, and by Clemens Alexandrinus d. Hence it has been designated the Canon, or the Canonical Scriptures, because, including all and only the writings given by inspiration of God, it is the canon or rule of faith and practice for man.
The former is written in Hebrew proper except Jer. There are sixty-six pieces in the Bible, of which thirty-nine are in the Old Testament, and twenty-seven in the New. The Jews, however, reckon twenty-two books in the Old Testament, corresponding to the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet, according to the following arrangement: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Joshua, Judges with Ruth, Samuel I. The Law contains the five books of Moses, the five fifths of the law,,nr"r.
The Prophets contain eight books: the former prophets t. This threefold division of the Old Testament Canon is a historical, not a logical, distribution of its contents. It exhibits three successive collections of sacred documents: the first, formed and indeed mainly composed by Moses; the second, containing the earlier and latter prophets, made in the time of Jeremiah, and probably under his direction, with the exception of the last three of the minor prophets, which were added to this class of writings afterwards, because they were strictly prophets of Judah; the third, consisting of the remaining sacred books, and formed in the main by Ezra.
This collection contains two books, Ruth and Lamentations, which, though reckoned in the Jewish enumeration of books as appendages of Judges and Jeremiah respectively, are put here either for the convenience of being grouped with the other three of the five rolls, or because, like some other books of this collection, they were not before formally introduced into the Canon. The prophet Daniel appears in this class, probably, because he spent all his life in the court of Babylon. The whole Bible is a record of the ways of God with man.
Hence it begins with the creation of man, traces the development and points out the destiny of the race. In order to be so compendious, and at the same time remarkable for the minuteness of its details, it deals largely in the enunciation of general principles and the statement of leading facts. It dwells with becoming fulness on God's gracious and merciful dealings and bearings with man. And hence the scene of the narrative, which at the beginning was coextensive with man, gradually narrows to Sheth, to Noah, to Shem, to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, almost to Judah, and then suddenly rebounds to its original universality of extent.
The ways of God with man take the particular form of a covenant. A covenant is an agreement between two parties, with conditions to be fulfilled and corresponding benefits to be realized on both sides. The very nature of a covenant implies that the parties to it are intelligent; and the very existence of two rational beings in sensible relation with each other involves a covenant expressed or understood. Hence the Bible is fittingly termed the testament or covenant, testamentum fcedus, 8toaKrcy, re It exhibits the relation between God and man, the essentially intelligent and the naturally intelligent, the natural condition of this great covenant, and the conduct of the two parties concerned.
This covenant, which is originally a covenant of works, securing to man the benefit on performance of the condition, has soon to become a covenant of grace, guaranteeing the blessing, notwithstanding the breach of the compact, that some, at least, of the fallen race may reap the benefit of its provisions. It becomes, in sooth, a promise, wherein God, the one party, remaining faithful to his side of the covenant, sees to it that it is upheld in the integrity of its rewards and even its conditions, notwithstanding, and even on account of, the failure of the other party.
Hence the covenant takes a special form, the provisions of which are narrowed to the seed of Abraham. Now the book of the covenant at its opening takes broad ground, but in consequence of the privileges of Israel, it is sometimes supposed to have become exclusive in its offers of mercy. This, however, cannot be the true state of the case, for two reasons: First, we find ourselves. And this very issue is distinctly expressed in all the forms of the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Introduction to Genesis 1 and 2
Thus it is written, " In thee, and in thy seed, shall all the families of the earth be blessed" Gen. Secondly, God never revoked his covenant with Adam or with Noah: it remains in force still; and the special covenant with Israel, so far forom annulling it, was expressly designed to make it available again for the whole human family. The Old Testament, therefore, maintains its universality throughout, though in sad succession the Cainites, the Gentiles, the Shemites, the Ishmaelites, the Edomites retired into forgetfulness and abandonment of that covenant of mercy which was made for them, and thereby soon ceased to have a place in the record of God's intercourse with man.
A sentence or a paragraph suffices to dismiss from notice these wilful breakers of the covenant. The stream of the narrative is thus straitened, not in Godl, but in man. But at length, by virtue of the atoning work of Christ and the renewing workl of his Spirit, the old covenant emerges again as the new covenant, in all its primeval and perpetual universality, and with such new powers and provisions as to carry the offer and ultimately the possession of salvation to the whole human race.
The Bible is a book of growth. It is a tree of knowledge. It grows from a seed to a full-sized plant. In this way alone is it suited to man. For as the individual advances from infancy to full-grown manhood, so the race of Adam had its infancy, its boyhood, its manhood, and will have its ripe and full age. Such a progress of the human race required a progressive book of lessons. Hence we are not to expect every truth to be fully revealed in the earliest books of Scripture, but only such germs of truth as will gradually develope themselves into a full body of revealed doctrine, and in such measure as man can receive and may require at each stage of his career.
The Bible, therefore, grows not only in the continual accessions made to its matter, but also in the doctrines which it adds from time to time to. The Old Testament is as clearly distinguished in point of matter from the New as in regard to time. The one was closed at least four hundred years before the other was commenced. The former contains an exposition of the dealings of God with man down to the times of AMalaki, together with a remarkable series of predictions concerning the destiny of the human race, and especially concerning the coming of the Messiah to accomplish by his own obedience unto death the redemption of man from the curse of sin, and so eventually, by the quickening of his Spirit, raise the objects of his redeeming love to the light, life, and liberty of the children of God.
The latter records the fulfilment of this prophecy by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, his standing in the stead of man, rendering a perfect obedience for him, undergoing the sentence of death for him, rising again and entering upon eternal life, and making all-prevalent intercession on his behalf. It further indicates the realization of another set of predictions in the calling and qualifying of his apostles and evangelists, and the reconstruction of his church under these new circumstances in a new form and with new life and power of expansion.
It then opens up with greater clearness, in a new series of prophetic announcements, the future history of the church, and especially the second coming of the Messiah, to raise the dead, judge the quick and the dead, and so close the development of the present world. As the whole Bible is divided into the Old and the New Testaments, so the Old Testament itself naturally falls into two parts. The history of man in relation with God is carried on from the beginning of Genesis to the end of the second book of Kings, where it is brought to an end with an account of the downfall of the last remnant of the chosen people.
As the thread is here clearly broken off, no less in sorrow, indeed, than in anger, the sacred writer who recounts the events sub-, sequent to this point of time, in order to give a connected view of the course of affairs, goes back to the beginning of human things, and draws out another thread of history, which is continued to the close of the Old Testament times.
This we have in the book of Chronicles, which begins with the words, Adam, Shetll, Enosh, gives a rapid sketch of the narrative already furnished, with some additional partice. These are now traced through the captivity, and for some time after, in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, which form the continuation of Chronicles. This new line of history is contained in the Hagiographa, where also we find the historical book of Esther, belonging to the same period.
This may, therefore, be called the second volume of Old Testament history. The state of things during this period is marked by two characteristic features, -the dependence of the people of God on a heathen power, and the approach on the part of the heathen to some acknowledgment of the true God.
From the date of the captivity, B. After the lapse of seventy years in exile they were permitted by this power to return to their own country, and govern themselves according to the laws of their national polity. Under the MIaccabees they asserted their independence for a time; but they were soon obliged to seek the alliance and acknowledge the supremacy of the Roman empire.
In consequence of this state of dependence on the one hand and protection on the other, the old antagonism between Israel and the nations was in sonme measure broken down. The heathen power was induced to recognize, to some extent, the true God, and pay some respect to his people. A preparation was thus made for the reception of the nations into the church of God on the advent of the Messiah. The transactions of the period, therefore, form a moment in the progress of things from the separation of the Jew and the Gentile to the breaking down of the partition between them in the New Testament times.
They are the natural sequel of the unfaithfulness of the peculiar people, and the meet preparative for the calling of the Gentiles. The previous portion, again, of the Old Testament is naturally and historically divided into the Law and the Prophets. But these two parts are more closely connected with each other than the whole which they compose with the remainder of the Old Testament. The Pentateuch describes the constitution, the Prophets the development, of the people rendered peculiar by special covenant with God.
They form a complete whole, in which the Pentateuch is the basis, the early prophets the historic, and the later prophets the prophetic develop. Of the Pentateuch itself, the first book, Genesis, is preparatory to the other four. These record the growth of the family of Jacob, or Israel, into the peculiar people; the constitution of the theocracy; the giving of a code of laws moral, ritual, and civil; the conquest of part of the land promised to the forefathers of the nation; and the completion of the institutions and enactments needed for a settled condition.
For this order of things the first book furnishes the occasion. Another striking feature of this literature is its style. It is written in the language of common life. It was designed for the whole race of man. In its earliest period there was no philosophic activity, and therefore no scientific style. If it had been then composed in a newlyinvented diction, it would have had no intelligent reader. Even in the palmiest days of philosophy, a work in the philosophic form of expression would have been available only for a very limited class of readers.
Mlioreover, if the Spirit that animated the sacred writers had deviated, for the sake of superior accuracy, or bare literality of statement, from the language of common life, he would have chosen, not the phraseology of philosophy, — which varies necessarily with the progress of discovery, and, philosophers themselves being witnesses, is but an inadequate and provisional vehicle for thought or truth, - but the tongue of angels, which alone would have been adequate to express the absolute truth of things.
But if he had done so, even the philosophic student, not to speak of the ordinary reader, would have been incompetent to understand, and indisposed to accept, a mode of thought and speech so far transcending the feeble idioms of his own mind and voice. MIen versed in the dialects of the schools have been slow to make full acknowledgment of the necessity and the wisdom of the popular style in the composition of the Bible; and no small amount of the misinterpretation to which it has been exposed, has arisen from neglecting the usage of speech among the people for whom it was written, and insensibly applying to it a usage with which our modern education has made.
It ought not to be forgotten that the early written language of the Greeks and Romans was not philosophical, but popular. This body of literature is unparalleled in the history of the world for the majesty of its subject, the symmetry of its structure, the harmony of its parts, and the slow march of its growth. The subject, we have seen, is the history of the dealings of God with man. It is therefore altogether unique in its kind. Other ancient records have commenced with the age of gods; but they have soon subsided into the every-day doings of ordinary mortals.
But the one sacred topic is here pursued with undeviating consistency throughout the whole volume. Even the collateral books of Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Canticles, and Ecclesiastes contribute to the elucidation of this lofty theme. No other literature in the world has invariably adhered to the same high argument. The wonderful symmetry of its structure is obvious even from the general analysis we have now given of its contents.
But it becomes more and more conspicuous as we examine more minutely into the details of the whole fabric. And yet there is a native artlessness, an unlabored simplicity, in its manner, which enhances the charm of regularity. It is not the starched precision of dry science or art, but the substantial unity of nature and life. The harmony of parts which the Holy Scripture exhibits, results from the harmony of the reality which it faithfully portrays.
The productions of different authors are almost equally different in their topics; and even when they expatiate on the same theme, they only display the idiosyncrasies of the several minds from which they proceed, and are incapable of being harmonized in their contents, or arranged into a uniform system.
Even the collected works of a single human author are found to betray marks of inconsistency, vacillation, and disorder. But the truths, which the Scripture presents in a natural or historical form, have proved as capable of methodical treatment and systematic arrangement as the facts of the physical and metaphysical world. The gradual advance by which the Bible has grown to its full maturity is no less in contrast with the miscellaneous accumulations of human lit.
Consisting of sixty-six pieces, composed by no less than forty authors, scattered over a period of at least sixteen hundred years, partly in the language of Shem, and partly in that of Japheth, among an eastern people of agricultural and pastoral habits, not distinguished for philosophic attainments, yet rising to the loftiest theme of human thought, exhibiting at every stage of its progress a uniform plan, and maintaining a constant unanimity of testimony and doctrine, this volume proves itself to be the result of no mere human authorship.
Gainsayers have appeared, and still do appear, who take exception to the dogma of inspiration in itself, or in some of the forms in which it has been presented by theologians. But, taken even as a whole, their adverse judgment must be acknowledged to be of small account against the preponderating testimony of ecclesiastical writers of all ages. The Great Prophet and Teacher says, " Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me" John v. He opened the understandings of his disciples, " that they might understanid the Scriptures" Luke xxiv.
Paul designates the Old Testament " the oracles of God " Rom. Paul says of himself, " If any man think himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord" 1 Cor. And John solemnly affirms, "If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book; and if any Man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy 2. These, and similar passages out of this book, calmly and deliberately place us in a dilemma from which there is no escape.
Either the Scriptures are the word of God, or they are not. If they be not, then the writers of these Scriptures, who directly and indirectly affirm their divine origin, are false witnesses; and if they have proved unworthy of credit on this fundamental point, they can be of no authority on other equally important matters. But neither before examination, nor after an examination of eighteen centuries, have we the slightest reason for doubting the veracity of these men; and their unanimous evidence is in favor of the divine authorship of the Bible.
The constant harmony of their statements, when fairly interpreted, with one another, with general history, and with physical and metaphysical truth, affords an incontestable proof of their divine origin. The statements of other early writers have invariably come into conflict with historical or scientific truth. But, still further, these books communicate to us matters concerning God, the origin and the future destiny of man, which are of vital importance in themselves, and yet are absolutely beyond the reach of human intuition, observation, or deduction.
It is impossible, therefore, for mere human beings, apart from divine instruction and authority, to attest these things to us at all. Hence these books, if they were not traceable ultimately to a Divine Author, would absolutely fail us in the very points that are essential to be known; namely, the origin of our being, the relation in which we stand to God, and the way to eternal happiness, on which neither science nor history affords us any light.
But they yield a clear, definite, and consistent light and help, meeting the very askings and longings of our souls on these momentous topics. The wonderful way in which they convince the reason, probe the conscience, and apply a healing balm to the wounded spirit, is in itself an independent attestation to their divine origin. And we have only to add that there has not yet been, and we do not expect there will be, any tenable objection to this vast and growing array of evidence. The nature of inspiration can only be learned from Scripture itself. To it, therefore, we apply for a definition of this important term.
It is given by inspiration of God. It is first holy; second, able to make wise unto salvation; and, third, profitable for doctrine and other purposes of edification. In these elements of the doctrine of inspiration, the following points are worthy of remark: 1.
It is a writing, not a writer, of which the character is here given. The thing said to be inspired is not that which goes into the mind of the author, but that which comes out of his mind by means of his pen. It is not the material on which he is to exercise his mind, but the result of that mental exercise which is here characterized. Hence it has received all the impress, not merely of man in general, but even of the individual author in particular, at the time when it is so designated.
It is that piece of composition which the human author has put into a written form which is described as inspired. This is the true warrant for, and the proper meaning of, the phrase verbal inspiration. To be inspired of God, is to be communicated from God, who is a spirit, to the mind of man. The modus operandi, mode of communication, we do not pretend to explain. But the possibility of such communication we cannot for a moment doubt. The immediate author of a merely human book may not be the ultimate author of a single sentiment it contains.
IHe may have received every fact from trustworthy witnesses, who are after all the real vouchers for all that it records. And the very merit of the immediate author may consist in judiciously selecting the facts, faithfully adhering to his authorities, and properly arranging his materials for the desired effect. Analogous to this is the divine authorship of the. By the inspiration of the Almighty, the human author is made to perceive certain things divine and human, to select such as are to be revealed, and, to record these with fidelity in the natural order and to the proper end.
The result is a writing given by inspiration of God, with all the peculiarities of man, and all the authority of God. Such a written revelation is "holy. God's part in it secures its veracity and credibility. Even man often tells the truth, where he is a disinterested witness; and we believe not only his sincerity, but his competence.
God, who cannot lie, is able to secure his scribes from error intentional or unintentional.
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The secondary holiness of a writing appears in the two following particulars: 4. It is also ". It is a revelation of mercy, of peace on earth and good-will to man. This, at the same time, imparts an unspeakable interest to the book, and points out the occasion warranting the divine interference for its composition. It is also "profitable for doctrine. It is moral as well as merciful in its revelations. It contains truth, mercy, and righteousness. It reflects, therefore, the holiness of God.
It is in all respects worthy of its high original. It is impossible to forget that we live in the world of the fall. Hence it must needs be that cficnces come, stumblin,gs at certain facts or doctrines of the word of God. If it were not for this, the business of interpretation would be comparatively easy. The Bible shines by its own light, and only needs preservation, translation, and illustration by human and natural history. But as things now are, the art of interpretation presupposes difficulties, even to the comparatively earnest and sincere, in the way of understanding and accepting its revelations.
And the interpreter must not unfrequently allude to the misconceptions which he endeavors to remove. The reader must not be surprised, therefore, if, in a world of darkness, objections have occurred to other minds which have never struck his own. The aim of an exposition of.
In the course of exposition, therefore, passages that present obstacles to the mind, or relate to the things of God, must be treated at length, while those that are plain in themselves, or collateral to the grand topic, may almost be left to speak for themselves. It follows, from. It is necessary, therefore, to start with some fundamental fact, broad enough to be the basis of' a system of exegetical maxims. The Bible, then, is the word of God concerning the ways of God with man, put into a written form by men during a period of sixteen hundred years; the Old Testament in the Hebrew language, tje New Testament in the Greek.
This pregnant fact is the sum of what we have already stated concerning the Scriptures, and it will be convenient to resolve it into its elementary parts, in order to display the several grounds for the general laws of interpretation. The Bible is written by men. This is admitted on all hands. Still further, the Bible is written for men, and accordingly, in the language of common life, not in the special terminology of science or art.
Hence the following rules are obvious: Rule I.