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It is certain, that the Books of the Law, and the Writings of the ancient Prophets, were carefully preferved, during the Captivity, and are frequently referred to, and cited by the latter Prophets: The Pentateuch has been already spoken of; and this is as evident of the Books of the Prophets. The Prophecy of Micah is quoted, Jer xxvi. 18. alittle before the Captivity; and under it, the Prophecy of Jeremiah is cited, Dan. ix. 2. and all the Prophets, ver. 6. and fo the Prophets in general are mention'd, Nehem. ix. 26, 30. Zechariah not only cites the former Prophets, Zech. i.-4 but fuppofes their Writings well known to the People; Should ye not hear the words which the Lord hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerufa lem was inhabited, and in profperity? chap. vii. 7. The Prophet Amos is likewife cited, Tob. ii. 6. and Jonas, and the Prophets in general, chap. xiv. 4, 5, 8. There can then be no reafon to queftion, but that Ezra, Ne hemiah, Daniel, Zechariah, and the other Prophets in the time of the Captivity, were very careful to keep the Books of the former Prophets; for they frequently cite them and appeal to them; and expected Deliverance out of their Captivity, by the accomplishment of them. And perhaps, from the Originals themfelves, or however, from Copies taken by Ezra the Scribe, or by fome of the latter Prophets, or at least acknowledged for genuine, and approved of by them, the ancient Prophecies, and other Inspired Writings, were preserved; and those of the latter Prophets were added to them; and all together, make up the Book of the Prophets, mention'd Acts vii. 42. which was read, as well as the Law, every Sabdath-day, Acts xiii. 27.
The Books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, have the Title of the former Prophets, in the Hebrew Bibles, to diftinguifh them from the Books, which bear the Title of the latter Prophets, Ifaiah, Feremiah, &c. The Books of Joshua and Judges have been
already spoken of. The Books of Samuel were written by Samuel, Nathan and Gad: 1 Chron. xxix. 29. from whence we may conclude, that the First Book of Samuel, to the 25th Chapter, was written by Samuel himself; and the rest of that, and the whole Second Book, by Nathan and Gad: but Samuel being a Perfon fo much concerned in the former part of the Hiftory, and having written fo much of it, out of refpect to him, the whole two Books go under his Name: though, indeed, f the Jews anciently reckoned both the Books of Samuel as one Book; and Aquila (as Theodoret has obferved) made no diftinction be tween the First and Second Books of Samuel, following the Hebrew Copies of his time: and it is no wonder, that a Book begun by Samuel., and continued by other Prophets, fhould bear the Name only of Samuel, From 1 Chron. xxix. 29. we may likewife learn, that the Beginning of the First Book of Kings must be written by one of thefe Prophets. Both the Books of Kings, as far as Hezekiah's Reign, were written before Jofiah's time; for, 2 Kings xviii. 5. it is faid of Hezekiah, That be trufted in the Lord God of Ifrael: fo that after him was none like him of all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him: And of Jofiah, it is faid, 2 Kings xxiii. 25. That like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, &c. For it is evident, that Jofiah, in his Reformation, exceeded Hezekiah; and from hence it appears, that the Hiftory of Hezekiah must be written before Jofiah's time; or else it could not have been, with truth, faid of Hezekiah, That there was no King after him who was like him, or equalled him, of all the Kings of Judah. From 1 Chron. iv. 43. it appears, that it was written before the Captivity; though the Genealogies were tranfcribed afterwards out of the Records
f Origen. apud Eufeb. 1. 6. c. 25. Hier. in lib. Reg. Præf Cyrill. Hier. Catech. 4. Epiphan. de Menfur. & Ponderib. n. 4.
as we learn from 1 Chron. ix. I. The 8 Second Book of Chronicles was not diftinguished by the Jews from the First, but both made one Book, as did the two Books of Kings. That the Second Book of Chronicles, as well as the First Book of Kings, was written before the Captivity, we may conclude from 2 Chron. v. 9. 1 Kings viii. 8. for the Ark was not remaining after the Captivity. The laft Chapter of the Second Book of Kings, gives fo particular an Account of the manner of carrying them away Captive, in every material circumftance, that it seems to have been written at that very time; and is an argument, that Memoirs were conftantly taken and preferved, of all that hap pened. The Second Book of Chronicles concludes with the First Year of Cyrus, in the fame words with which the Book of Ezra begins, being added by him at the time when Cyrus gave out his Proclamation: for the Prophets, from time to time, made Continuations to the Hiftories of their Predeceffors, by inferting what related to their own Times; and it was no unusual thing, among the Antients, (as Grotius obferves) to begin one Book with the Conclufion of another. This we fee in the Hiftory of Dionyfius Halicarnaffeus, who knew as well as any Man the Art of Writing, and was as much acquainted with the Works of the Authors before him. To fay, without any Authority from MSS. that this could fo often happen in his Hi+ ftory, by any Miftake of the Tranfcribers, is altogether groundlefs. The End of his Tenth Book, and the Beginning of the Eleventh, have the fame Sense, tho' with fuch variation in Words, as could not be by Chance. It is obfervable, that the Hiftorical Books of Scripture have a plain reference one to another: Thus Joshua begins his Book, Now, after the death of
Origen. apud Eufeb, ib. Hieron. ib. Cyril. Hierofol. ib Epiphan. ib.
Mofes, or as it is in the Septuagint, And after, &c. So the Book of Judges, Now after the death of Joshua. And Ruth, in like manner, Now it came to pass in the days when the Judges ruled. All the Hiftorical Books refer to each other, except the First Book of Chronicles, and that of Nehemiah, h which yet by the Jews was reckon'd, together with Ezra, but as one Book. The reason why the First Book of Chronicles can have no reference to any precedent Book, is plain, because it begins with the Genealogy from Adam. And Nehemiah begins his Book by prefixing his Name, The words of Nehemiah the fon of Hachaliah, and then sets down the Year and Month; fo that there could be no need of any other connexion. In this he imitated the Prophets; The vifion of Ifaiah the son of Amos; The words of Jeremiah the fon of Hilkiah. But Ezekiel and Fonah have likewife ufed the fame reference, with which the Hiftorical Books begin. Tho' this could not be so needful in Prophecies, to which the Name of Prophets ftand prefix'd, as in Hiftorical Books written without the Author's Name: None of which was defigned as a feparate Work by it felf, but for a Continuation or Supplement of what had been written before, that all together might make up one entire History, in the fame manner as Mofes, and all Authors, both ancient and modern, ufually connect the feveral Books of which their Works are composed.
The Pfalms are quoted under the Title of the Prophets, Mat. xiii. 35. and xxvii. 35. and from the first penning, they were ufed in the Publick Service of God, I Chron. xvi. 7. 2 Chron. v. 13. vii.6. xx. 21. xxix. 30. Jer. xxxiii. 11. Ezra iii. 10, 11. This was known even to their Enemies, in their Captivity, Pfal. cxxxvii. 3. and fome of them were written by
h Hieron. in lib. Reg. Præf. Origen. apud Eufeb, Hift, 1. 6. c. 25. Cyrill. Hierof. catech. 4.
i Pfal. LXXVIII. written by Afaph. Pfal. XXII. by David.
the Prophets under it. And Leffons out of the Law and the Prophets, with Hymns out of the Pfalms, and Prayers, made up the Jewish Form of Worship.. Mofes and the Prophets, are put for the whole Old Teftament, Luke xvi. 29. Acts xiii. 15. And Luke xxiv. 44. the whole Old Teftament is divided into Mofes, the Prophets, and the Pfalms. The Pfalms being put for all the Hagiographa, because the Pfalms were the First in order of the Hagiographa. The Law, by an ufual Figure of Speech, is used for the Pfalms, John x. 34XV. 25. for the Prophets, 1 Cor. xiv. 21. and for the Old Teftament, Rom. iii. 19. In which fense the LXXII. are by fome Authors faid to have tranflated the Law, when they tranflated the Jewish Canon of Scripture.
And if both the Law and the Prophets, comprehending all the Books of Scripture written before the Captivity, were ftill extant, and well known and made ufe of by pious Men during all that time; and the People had Copies of them, or had Means and Opportunities of being acquainted with them, as the Prophet Zechariah fuppofes, Zech. vii. 7. there is no reason to imagine, that they had not fufficient knowledgeof the Hebrew Tongue at their Reftoration, many being still alive, who were first carried away Captive: And the Writings of the Prophets, during the Captivity, and upon their Return, fhew that the People did understand it; for they all wrote in the Hebrew Language, except upon fome particular Occafions, where their Prophecies more immediately concerned the Babylonian Affairs. Both Men and Women could understand Ezra, when he read the Law; And the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law, Neh. viii. 3. It was not the Language, unlefs in fome Particulars, which in all Languages will want Explication to the Vulgar, who are Natives;
Surenhufius de concil. V. & N. T. loc. p. 291.