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brought to the temple to be there presented to the Lord at the time of his mother's purification ; and by Simeon it wag delivered to Gamaliel his son, the same at whose feet Paul was brought up, and by him to Simeon his son, by him to Gamaliel his son, and by him to Simeon his son, and by him to Rabbah Judad Hakkadosh his son, who wrote it into the hook called the Mishna. But all this is mere fiction, spun out of the fertile invention of the Talmudists, without the least foundation, either in Scripture or in any authentic history, for it. But since all this has made a part of the Jewish creed, they do as firmly believe their traditions thus to have come from God, in the manner I have related, as they do the Written Word itself; and have now, as it were, wholly resolved their religion into these traditions. There is no understanding what their religion at present is without it; and it is for this reason I have here inserted it.
“But the truth is this: after the death of Simon the Just, there arose a sort of men whom they call The Jarmain, or the Mishnical doctors, that made it their business to study and descant upon those traditions which had been received and allowed by Ezra and the men of the great synagogue, and to draw inferences and consequences from them, all of which they ingrafted into the body of these ancient traditions, as if they had been as authentic as the other; which example being followed by those who after succeeded them in this profession, they continually added their own imaginations to what they had received from those who went before them, whereby the traditions becoming as a knowball, the farther they rolled down from one generation to another, the more they gathered, and the greater the bulk of them grew. And thus it went on till the middle of the second century after Christ, when Antoninus Pius governed the Roman empire, by which time they found it necessary to put all these traditions into writing, for they were then grown tu so great a number, and enlarged to so huge a heap, as to exceed the possibility of being any longer preserved in the memory of men. And, besides, in the second destruction which their country had undergone from the Romans, a little before, in the reign of Adrian the preceding emperor, most of their learned men having been cut off, and the chiefest of their schools broken up and dissolved, and vast numbers of their people dissipated, and driven out of their land, the usual method of preserving their traditions had then, in a great measure, failed; and, therefore, there being danger toat under these disadvantages they might be all forgotten and lost, for the preservation of them it wos resolved that they should be all collected together, and pat into a book; and Rabbi Judah, the son of Simeon, who, from the reputed sanctity of his life, was called Hakkadosh, that is, The Holy, and was then rector of the school which they had at Tiherias, in Galilee, and president of the sanhedrim that there sat, undertook the work, and compiled it in sir books, each consisting of several tracts, which altogether made up the number of sixty-three, in which, under their proper hends he methodically digested all that had hitherto been delivered to them of their law and their religion, by the tradition of their ancestors. And this is the book called The Mishna, which book was forthwith received by ihe Jews with great veneration throughont all their dispersions, and has ever since been held in high estimation among them : for their opinion of it is, that all the particulars therein contained were dictated by God himself to Moses from mount Sinai, as well as the Written Word itself; and consequently must be of the same divine authority with it, and onght to be as sacredly observed. And, therefore, as soon as it was published, it became the subject of the studies of all their learned men; and the chiefest of them, both in Judea and Babylonia, employed themselves to make comments on it; and these, with the Mishna, make up both their Talmuds ; that is, the Jerusalem Talmud, and the Babylonish Talmud. These comments they call the Gemara, 1. e. The Complement, because by them the Mishna is fully explained, and the whole traditionary doctrines of their law and their religion completed. For the Mishna is the text'; and the Gemara the comment; and both together is what they call the Talmud. That made by the Jews of Judea is called the Jerusalem Talmud ; that by the Jews of Babylonia is called the Babylonish Talmud. The former was completed about the year of our Lord 300, and is published in one large folio: the latter was published about tuo hundred years after, in the beginning of the sixth century, and has had several editions since the invention of printing. The last, published at Amsterdam, is in twelte folios; and in these two Talmuds, the law and the prophets being in a manner quite justied out of them, is contained the whole of the Jewish religion that is now professed among them: but the Babylonish Talmud, is that which they chiefly follow; for the other, that is, the Jerusalem Talmud, being obscure, and hard to be understood, is not now much regarded by them. But this and the Mishna, being the most ancient books which they have, except the Chaldee Paraphrases of Onkelos and Jonathan, and both written in the language and style of the Jews of Judea; our countryman, Dr. Lightfoot, has made very good use of them, in explaining several places of the New Testament by parallel phrases and sayings out of them. For the one being composed about the one hundred and fistieth year of our Lord, and the other about the three hundredth, the idioms, proverbial sayings, and phraseologies, used in our Saviour's time, might very well be preserved in them. But the other Talmud being written in the language and style of Babylonia, and not compiled till about the fire hundredth year of our Lord, or, as some will have it, much later, this cannot so well serve for this purpose. However, it is now the Alcoran of the Jews, into which they have resolved all their faith, and all their religion, although framed almost with the same imposture as that of Mohammed out of the doctrines falsely pretended to be brought from heaven. And in this book all that now pretend to any learning among them place their studies; and no one can be a master in their schools, or a teacher in their synagogues, who is not well instructed and versed herein; that is, not only in the texi, which is the Mishna, but also in the comment thereon, which is the Gemara; and this comment they so highly estcem beyond the other, that the name of Gemaro is wholly engrossed hy it; the Gemara of the Babylonish Talmud being that only which they now usually understand by that word; for this, with the Mishna, to which it is added, they think truly completes and makes up the whole of their religion, as fully and perfectly containing all the doctrines, rules, and rites thereof; and therefore, it is, in their opinion, the most deserving of that name, which significs what complctes, fills up, or perfecis : for this is the meaning of the word in the Hebrew language.
“They who professed this sort of learning, that is, taught and propagated this traditionary doctrine among them, have been distinguished by several different titles and appellations, according to the different ages in which they lived. From the time of the men of the Great Synagogue to the publishing of the Mishna, they were called Jarmain; and they are the Mishnical doctors, out of whose doctrines and traditions the Mishna was composed. And from the time of the publishing of the Mishna to the publishing of the Babylonish Talmud, they were called Amoraim; and they are the Gemarical doctors, out of whose doctrines and traditions the Gemara was composed. And for about a hundred years after the publishing of the Talmud, they were called Seburgim, and after thai Georim., And these were the several classes in which their learned men have been ranked, according to the several ages in which they lived. But, for these latter times, the general name of rabbi is that only whereby their learned men are called, there being no other title whereby they have been distinguishrd for near seren hundred years past.
"For, about the year 1040, all their schools in Mesopotamin, where only they enjnyri these high titles, being destroyed, and all their learned men thence expelled and driven out by the Mohammedan princes, who governed in those parts; they have since that, with the greatest number of their people, flocked into the western parts, especially into Spain, France, and England: and from thnt time all these pompous titles which they affected in the East being dropped, they have retained none other for their learned men from that time but that of Rabbi; exceptiog only that those of them who minister in their synagogue are called Chacums, i. e. Wise Men.
“Biri the great work of Ezra was, his collecting together and setting forth a correct edition of the Holy Scriptures, which he laboured much in, and went a great way in the perfecting of it. . Of this hoth Christians and Jews give him the honour: and many of the ancient fathers attribute more to him in this particular than the Jews themselves ; for they hold that all the Scriptures were lost and destroyed in the Bahylonish captivity, and that Ezra reetored ihem all a pain by divine revelation.' Thus says Irenæus, and thus says Tertullian, Clemens Alexandrinus, Brasil, and others. But they had no other foundation for it than that fabulous relation which we have of it in the fourteenth chapter of the second Apocryphal Book of Esdras ; a book too absurd for the Romanists themselves to receive into their canon.
"Indend, in the time of Josiah, through the impiety of the two preceding reigns of Manasseh and Amon, the book of the law wag en destroved and lost, that besides the copy of it which Hilkiah is said to have found, and the grief which Josiah expressed at the hearing of it read, do plainly show, that neither of them had ever seen it before.
And if the king and the high priest, who were both men of eminent piety, were without this part of the Holy Scripture, it can scarcely be thought that any one else then had it. But so religious a prince as King Josiah could not
leave this long unremedied. By his orders copies were written out from this original; and search being made for all the other parts of Holy Scripture, both in the colleges of the sons of the prophets, and all other places where they could be found, care was taken for transcripts to be made out of these also; and thenceforth copies of the whole became multiplied among the people: all those who were desirous of knowing the laws of their God either writing them out themselves, or procuring others to do it for them ; so that within a few years after the Holy City and Temple were destroyed, and the authentic copy of the law, which was laid up before the Lord, was burnt and consumed with them ; ye, by this time, many copies, both of the law and the prophets, and all the other Sacred Writings, were got into privata hands, who carried them with them into captivity.
" That Daniel had a copy of the Holy Scriptures with him in Babylon is certain ; for he quotes the law, and also makes mention of the prophecies of the prophet Jeremiah, which he could not do had he never seen them. And in the sixth chapter of Ezra it is said, that on the finishing of the temple, in the sixth year of Darius, the priests and the Levites were settled in their respective functions, according as it is written in the Law of Moses. But how could they do this according to the Written Law, if they had not copies of the law then among them? And this was nearly sixty years before Ezra came to Jerusalem.
'And farther, in chap. vii. of Nehemiah, the people called for the Law of Moses, to have it read to them, which the Lord had commanded to Israel; which plainly shows that the book was then well known to have been extant, and not to need such a miraculous expedient as that of the divine revelation for its restoration; all that Ezra did in this matter was to get together as many copies of the Sacred Writings as he could, and out of them all set forth a correct edition, in the performance of which he took of the following particulars :- First, He corrected all the errors that had crept into these copies through the negligence or mistakes of transcribers; for, by comparing them one with the other, he found out the true reading, and set all at rights. Whether the keri celhib, or various readings, that are in our presen: Hebrew Bibles, were of these corrections, I dare not say. The generality of the Jewish writers tell us that they were: and others among them hold them as much more ancient: referring them, with absurdity enough, as far back as the times of the first writers of the books in which they are found, as if they themselves had designedly made these various readings for the sake of some mysteries comprised under them. It is most probable that they had their original from the mistakes of the transcribers after the time of Ezra, and the observations and corrections of the Masorites made thereon. If any of them were of those ancient various readings which had been observed by Ezra himself in the comparing of those copies he collated on this occasion, and were by him annexed in the margin as corrections of those errors which he found in the text, it is certain those could not be of that number which are now in those Sacred Books that were written by himself, or taken into the canon after his time; for there are keri cethib in them as well as in the other books of the Hebrew Scriptures. Secondly, He collected together all the books of which the Holy Scriptures did then consist, and disposed them in their proper order; and settled the canon of Scripture for his time. These books he divided into three parts-1. The Law:-2. The Prophets.-3. The Cetubim, or Hagiographa ; i. e. the Holy Writings : which division our Saviour himself takes notice of, Luke xxiv. 44. where he says, "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things might be fulfilled which are uritten in the Lau, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. For there by the Psalms he means the whole third part called the Hagiographa; for, that part beginning with the Psalms, the whole was for that reason then commonly called by that name ; as, usually with the Jews, the particular books are named from the words with which they begin. Thus with them Genesis is called Bereshith, Exodus Shemoth, Leviticus Vajikra, &c. because they begin with these Hebrew words.
"And Josephus makes mention of this same division; for he says, in his first book against Apion, We have only two and twenty books which are to be believed as of divine authority, of which five are the Books of Moses. From the death of Moses to the reign of Arlarerres, the son of Xerres, king of Persia, the prophets, who were the successors of Moses, have written in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and documents of life for the use of men, in which division, according to him, the law contains Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy: The writings of the prophets, Joshua, Judges, with Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, with his Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, the twelve minor prophets, Job, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther; and the Hagiography, i. e. the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon, which, altogether, make two and twenty books. This division was made for the sake of reducing the books to the number of their alphabet
, in which were twenty-two letters. But at present they reckon these books to be twenty-four, and dispose of them in this order: first, the law, which contains Gencsis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Secondly, The writings of the prophets, which they divide into the Former Prophets and the Latter Prophets: the books of the Former Prophets are, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings; the books of the Latter Prophets, Isaiah Jeremiah, and Ezekiel; the twelve Minor Prophets; the Hagiographa, which are the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, the Song of Solomon, which they call the Song of Songs, Ruth, the Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, and ihe Chronicles. Under the name of Ezra they comprehend the book of Nehemiah; for the Hebreus, and also the Greeks, anciently reckoned Ezra and Nehemiah but as one book. But this order has not been always observed among the Jews; neither is it so now in all places, for there has been great variety as to this, and that not among the Jews only, but also among the Christians, as well as the Greeks and Latins; but no variation herein is of any moment, for in what order soever the books are placed, they are still the Word of God: and no change as to this can make any change as to that divine authority which is stamped upon them. But all these books were not received into the canon in Ezra's time, for Malachi it is supposed lived after him; and in Nehemiah mention is made of Jaddua as high priest
, and of Darius Codomannus as king of Persia ; who were at least a hundred years after his time. And in chap. in. of the First Book of Chronicles the genealogy of the sons of Zerubbabel is carried down for so many generations, as must necessarily make it reach to the time of Alexander the Great: and therefore the book could not be put into the canon till after his time.
"It is most likely thre the two books of Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, as well as Malachi, were afterward added in the time of Simon the Just, and that it was not till then that the Jewish canon of the Holy Scriptures was fully completed; and, indeed, these last books seem very much to want the exactness and skill of Ezra in their publication, they falling far short of the correctness which is in the other parts of the Jewish Scriptures. The fire books of the law are divided into fifty-four sections. This division many of the Jews hold to be one of the Constitutions of Moses from mount Sinai; but others, with more likelihood of truth, attribute it to Ezra. It was made for the use of their synagogues, and the better instructing of the people there in the law of God; for every sabbath day one of these sections was read in their synagogues : and this, we are assured in the Acts of the Apostles, was done among them of old time, which may well be interpreted from the time of Ezra. They ended the last section with the last words of Deuteronomy on the sabbath of the feast of Tabernacles, and then recommenced with the first section from the beginning of Genesis the next sabbath after : and so went on round in this circle every year. The number of the sections was fifty-four ; because in their intercalated years, (a month being then added,) there were fifty-four sabbatha. (See complete tables of these in all their variations at the end of this comment on the book of Deuteronomy.)
"On other years they reduced them to the number of the sabbaths which were in those years, by joining two short ones several times into one; for they held themselves obliged to have the whole law thus read over to them in their synagogues every year. Until the time of the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, they read only the law; but being then forbid to read it any more, in the room of the fifty-four sections of the law, they substituted fifty-four sections out of the prophets, the reading of which they ever after continued. So that when the reading of the law was again restored by the Maccabees, the section which was read every sabbath out of the law served for their first lesson; and the section out of the prophets for the second lesson ; and so it was practised in the time of the apostles. And, therefore, when Paul entered into the synagogue at Antioch, in Pisidia, it is said that he stood up to preach after the reading of the law and the prophets ; that is, after the reading of the first lesson out of the law, and the second lesson out of the prophets. And, in that very sermon which
he then preached, he tells them, that the prophets were read at Jerusalem every sabbath day; that is, in those lessons which were taken out of the prophets. "These sections were divided into verses which the Jews call posukim; they were marked out in the Hebrew Bibles
by two great points at the end of them, called from hence soph-pasuk, i. e. the end of the verse. If Ezra himself was not the author of this division, (as most say,) it was not long after him that it was introduced; for certainly it is very ancient. It is most likely that it was introduced for the sake of the Targumists or Chaldec interpreters; fór after the Hebrew language had ceased to be the mother tongue of the Jews, and the Chaldee grew up into use among them instead of it, (as was the case after their return from the Babylonish captivity,) their usage was that, in the public reading of the law to the people, it was read to them, first, in the original Hebrew, and after that rendered by an interpreter into the Chaldee language, that so all might fully understand the same; and this was done period by period; and, Therefore, that these periods might be the better distinguished, and the reader more certainly know how much to read at every interval, and the interpreter know how much to interpret at every interval, there was a necessity that some marks should be invented for their direction herein. The rule given in the ancient books is, that in the law the reader was to read one verse, and then the interpreter was to render the same into Chaldee: but that in the prophets the reader was to read three verses together, and then the interpreter was to render the same three verses into Chaldee, in the same manner; which manifestly proves that the division of the Scriptures into verses must be as ancient as the way of interpreting them into the Chaldee language in their synagogues; which was from the very time that the synagogues were erected, and the Scriptures publicly read in them, after the Babylonish captivity. This was at first done only in the law; for, till the time of the Maccabees, the law only was read in their synagogues; but afterward, in imitation of this, the same was also done in the prophets, and in the Hagiographa especially. After that the prophets also began to be publicly read among them, as well as the law; and from hence the divisions of the Holy Scriptures into verses, it is most likely, was first made ; but without any numerical figures annexed to them.
"The manner whereby they are now distinguished in their common Hebrew Bibles is, by the two great points called soph-pasuk above mentioned; but whether this is the ancient way is by some made a question. The objection against it is this:-If the distinction of verses was introduced for the sake of the Chaldee interpreters in their synagogues, and must therefore be held as ancient as that way of interpreting the Scriptures in them, it must then have place in their sacred synagogical books; for none others were used, either by their readers or their interpreters, in their public assemblies. But it has been anciently held
as a rule among them, that any points or accents written into these Sacred Books pollute and profane them : and, therefore, no copy, either of the law or the prophets now used in their synagogues, has any point or accents written in it. To this I answer: Whatover be the practice of the modern Jews, this is no rule to let us know what was the ancient practice among them; since in many particulars they have varied' from the ancient usages, as they now do from each other, according to the different parts of the world in which they dwell. For mention is made of them in the Mishna; and that the reason for this division was for the direction of the readers, and the Chaldee interpreters, is also there implied; and, therefore, supposing a division for this use, it must necessarily follow, that there must have been some marks to set it out; otherwise it would not have answered the end intended.
"It is most likely that anciently the writing of those books was in long lines, from one side of the parchment to the other; and that the verses in them were distinguished in the same manner as the stichi afterward were in the Greek Bibles; for the manner of their writing those stichi was, to allow a line to every stichus, and then to end the writing where they ended the stichus, leaving the rest of the line void, in the same manner as a line is left at a break; but this losing too much of the parchment, and making the book too bulky, for the avoiding of both these inconveniences, the way afterward was, to put a point at the end of every stichus, and so continue the writing without leaving any part of the line void as before. And in the same manner,' I conceive, the pesukim, or verses of the Hebrew Bibles, were anciently written. At first they allowed a line to every verse, and a line drawn from one end of the parchment to the other, of the length as above mentioned, was sufficient to contain any verse that is now in the Hebrew Bible ; but many verses falling short of this length, they found the same inconveniences that the Greeks after did in the first way of writing their stichi; and, therefore, came to the same remedy, that is, they did put the two points above mentioned, (which they call soph-pasuk) at the place where the former verse ended, and continued the writing of the next verse in the same line, without leaving any void space at all in the line. And so their manner has continued ever since; excepting only that between their sections, as well the smaller as the larger, there is some void space left, to make the distinction between them: and I am the more inclined to think this to be the truth of the matter; that is, that anciently the verses of the Hebrew Bible were so many lines; because among the ancients of other nations, about the same time, the lines in the writings of prose authors, as well as of poets, were termed verses; and hence it is that we are told that Zoroaster's works contain two millions of verses; and Aristotle's four hundred and forty-five thousand two hundred and seventy; though neither of them wrote any thing but in prose; and so also we find the writings of Tully, of Origen, of Lactantius, and others, who were all prose writers, reckoned by the number of verses, which could be no other than so many lines. And why, then, might not the Bible verses anciently have been of the same nature also? I mean when written in long lines as aforesaid. But the long lines often occasioning, that in reading to the end of one verse, they lost the beginning of the next, and so often did lead wrong, either by skipping a line, or beginning the same again; for the avoiding of which they came to the way of writing in columns, and in short lines, as above mentioned. But all this ! mean of their Sacred Synagogical Books. In their common Bibles they are noi tied up to such rules, but write and print them so as they may serve for their instruction and convenience in common use.
"But the division of the Holy Scriptures into chapters, as we now have them, is of a much later date. The Psalms, indeed, were always divided as at present : for St. Paul, in his sermon at Antioch, in Pisidia, quotes the second Psalm : but, as to the rest of the Holy Scriptures, the division of them into such chapters as we find at present, is a matter of which the ancients knew nothing. Some attribute it to Stephen Langton, who was archbishop of Canterbury, in the reigns of King John and King Henry III. his son. But the true author of this invention was Hugo de Sancto Claro, who being from a Dominican monk advanced to the dignity of a cardinal, and the first of that order that was so, is commonly called Hugo Cardinalis.
“The third thing that Ezra did about the Holy Scriptures in his edition of them was :--He added in several places, throughout the books of this edition, what appeared necessary for the illustrating, correcting, or completing of them, wherein he was assisted by the same Spirit by which they were at first written. Of this sort we may reckon the last chapter of Deuteronomy, which giving an account of the death and burial of Moses, and of the succession of Joshua after him, it could not be written by Moses himself
, who undoubledly was the penman of all the rest of that book. It seems most probable that it was added by Ezra at this time: and such also we may reckon the several interpolations which occur in many places of the Holy Scriptures. For that there are such interpolations is undeniable, there being many passages through the whole sacred writers which create difficulties which can never be solved without the allow: ing of them : as, for instance, Gen. xii. 6., it is remarked on Abraham's coming into the land of Canaan, that the Canaanites were then in the land: which is not likely to have been said till after the time of Moses, when tho Canaanites, being extirpated by Joshua, were then no longer in the land: and Gen. xxii. 14, we read, As it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be scen. But mount Moriah, which is the mount there spoken of, was not called the mount of the Lord till the temple was built on it many hundred years after; and this being here spoken of as a proverbial saying that obtained among the Israelites in after ages, the whole style of the text manifestly points at a time after Moses, when they were in the possession of the land in which this mountain stood ; and, therefore, both these particulars prove the words cited to have been an interpolation. Gen. xxxvi. 3. it is written, And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom before there reigned any king over the land of Israel, which could not have been said till after there had been a king in Israel; and therefore they cannot be Moses' words, but must have been interpolated afterward. Exod. xvi. 35. the words of the text are, And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, till they came to a land inhabited. They did eat manna till they came into the borders of the land of Canaan. But Moses was dead before the manna ceased; and, therefore, these cannot be his words, but must have been inserted afterward. Deut. ii. 12. it is said, The Horims also dwell in Seir beforetime, but the children of Esau succeeded them when they had destroyed them before them, and dwell in their stead, as Israel did unto the land of his possession which the Lord gave unto them. Which could not have been written by Moses, Israel having not till after his death entered into the land of his possession, which the Lord gave unto them. Deut. iii. 2. it is said, Only Og,
king of Bashan, remained of the remnant of giants ; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron. Is it not in Rabbah of the children of Ammon? The whole style and strain of which text, especially that of the last clause of il plainly speaks it to have been written a long while after that king was slain; and, therefore, it could not have been written by Moscs, who died within five months after. In the saine chapter, verse 14. it is said, Jair, the son of Manasseh, took all the country of Argob unto the coasts of Geshuri and Maachathi; and called them after his vien name, Bashan-haroth-jair, unto this day. Where the phrase unto this day speaks a much greater distance of unc after the fact related than those few inonths in which Moscs survived after the conquest; and, therefore, what is there written must have been ingeried by some other hand than that of Moses, and long after his death. And in the Book of Proverbs, which was certainly King Solomon's; in the beginning of the twenty-fifth chapter, it is written, These are also prorerbs of Solomon, idhich the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied oul. Which must certamly have been added many ages after Solomon ; for Hezekiah was the ticesih generation in descent from him.
" Many more instances of such interpolated passages might be given ; for throughout the whole Scriptures they have been frequently cast in by way of parenthesis ; where they have appeared necessary for the explaining, connect. ing, or illustrating the text, or supplying what was wanting in it: but those already mentioned are sutřicient to prove the thing. Of which interpolations undoubiedly Ezra was the author, in all the books which passed his examination ; and Simon the Just in all the rest which were added afterward; for they all seem to refer to those latter times.
“But these additions do not at all detract from the divine authority of the whole, because they were all inserted by the direction of the same Holy Spirit which dictated all the rest.' This, as to Ezra, is without dispute ; he being himself one of the divine persons of the Holy Seriptures : for he was most certainly the writer of that book in the Old Testament which bears his name: and he is, upon good grounds, supposed to be the author of two more, that is, of the two books of Chronicles, as perchance he was also of the Book of Esther. And if the books written by him be of divine authority, why may not every thing else be so which he has added to any of the rest, since there is reason for us to suppose that he was as much directed by the Holy Spirit of God in the one, as in the other? The grea: imporance of the work proves the thing; for as it was necessary for the church of God that this work should be done, so also it was necessary for the work that the person called thereto should be thus assisted in the completing of it.
Fourthly, He changed the names of several places that were grown obsolete, putting instead of them the news names by which they were at that time called, that the people might the better understand what was written. Thus, Gen. xiv. 14. Abraham is said to have pursued the kings who carried Lot away captive as far as Dan, whereas the name of that place was Laish till the Danites, long after the death of Moscs, posaceard themselves of it, and called it Dan, after the name of their father; and, therefore, it could not be called Dan in the original copy of Moses, but that name must have been put in afterward, instead of that of Laish, on this review. And so in several places in Genesia, and also in Numbers, we find mention made of Hebron, whereas the name of that city was Kiriath-arba, ill Caleo, having the possession of it after the division of the land, called it Hebron after the name of Hebron, one of his sons and therefore, that name could not be had in the text, till placed there long after the time of Moses, by way of exchange for that of Kiriath-arba, which it is not to be doubted, was done at the time of this review.
“ And many other like examples of this may be given; whereby it appears that the study of those who governed the church of God at those times was to render the Scriptures as plain and intelligible tothe people as they could; and not to hide and conceal any of it from them.
Fifthly, He wrote out the whole in the Chaldee character: for that having now grown wholly into use among the people after the Babylonish captivity, he changed the old Hebrew character for it; which hath since that time been retained only by the Samaritans, among whom it is preserved even to this day. This was the old Phanician character, from which the Greeks borrowed theirs; and the old Ionian alphabet bears some similitude to it, as Scaliger shows in his notes upon Eusebius's Chronicon. In this Moses and the other prophets recorded the Sacred Oracies of God; and in this the finger of God himself wrote the ten commandments in the two tables of stone. Eusebius, in his Chronicon, tells us so, and St. Jerom doth the same; and so do also both the Talmuds; and the generality of learned men, as well among the Jews as Christiane hold this opinion.
“Whether Ezra on this review did add the vowel points, which are now in the Hebreu Bibles, is a hard question to be decided : it went without contradiction in the affirmative, till Elias Larita, a German Jer, wrote against it about the beginning of the Reformation. Buxtorf, the father, endeavoured to refute his arguments : but Capellus, a Protestant divine, of the French church, and professor of Hebrew in their university at Saumur, hath, in a very elaborate discourse, made a thorough reply to all that can be said on this head, and very strenuously asserted the contrary. Buxtorf, the son, in vindication of his father's opinion, has written an answer to it, but not with that satisfaction to the learned world as to hinder the generality of them from going into the other opinion.
"There is in the church of St. Dominic, in Bononia, a copy of the Hebrew Scriptures, kept with a great deal of care, which they pretend to be the original copy written by Ezra himself; and, therefore, it is there valued at so high a rate that great sums of money have been borrowed by the Bononians upon the pawn of it
, and again repaid for its redemption. It is written in a very fair character, upon a sort of leather; and made up in a roll, according to the ancient manner : but it having the vowel points annexed, and the writing being fresh and fair, without any decay, both these particulars
prove the novelty of that copy, "But though Ezra's government over all Judah and Jerusalem expired with this year, 446 ; yet his labour to berse the church of God did not end here; for still he went on as a preacher of righteousness, and a skilful scribe in the law of God, to perfect the reformation which he had begun, both in preparing for the people correct editions of the Scriptures, and also in bringing all things in church and state to be conformed io Scripture rules. And this he continued to do so long as he lived, and in this he was thoroughly assisted and supported by the next governor, who, coming to Jerusalem with the same intention, and the same zeal, for promoting the honour of God, and the welfare of his people in Judah and Jerusalem, as Ezra did, he struck in heartily with Ezra in the work, so that Ezra went on still to do the same things by the authority of the new governor, which he before did by his own; and by their thus joining together in the same holy undertaking, and their mutually assisting each other, it exceedingly prospered in their hand, till at length, notwithstanding all opposition both from within and without, it was brought to full perfection forty-nine years after it had been begun by Ezra. Whether Ezra lived so long is uncertain;
but what he had not time to do was completed by the piety and zeal of his successor.
See the Introduction to the Book of Nehemiah : and see Prideaux's Connexions, vol. i. edit. 1725.
BOOK OF EZRA.
Chronological Notes relatire to this Book. Year from the Creation, accorling to Archbishop Uesher, whose system of chronology is the most generally received, 3468 – Year hefore the birth of Christ, 512-Year
before the vulgar era of Chris's naivity, 5.31 ler of the min periol, 117-Trar since the link of Ncah, ceanling to the English Bible, 1812-Year of the Cali Yuga, or in an era of the Delage, 25-Year from the vocation of Abrun, 1346 -Year frun the destruction of Troy, 619 This we collect from three passages in Donysius of Helicarnius, (Who Daariste) in the lugasein ace) which male that an intervalul four hund,et and thirty-iwo yerers elapael from the deniruction of Troy to the building of Rone-Year from the foundation of Sun's Temple, 173-Year since the dission of Solonion's monarchy imó the kingdom of Israel and Ju lan, 19-Year of the era of Ip it's, who re-extall x'hel the Olympic games, three hundred and thirty-eight years after their institution by Hercules, or about eight hundreland eightyfour years before the cominencement of the ''taristan era, 319-Year since the conquest of Corbus at Elis, usually style the fret Olympiad, (heing the Philly impial sfer the reevallistumme by Iptum, ) 241. -First year of the sixty-first flyinpal-Year of the Varronian, or generally receivel era of the building of Rorne, 213 This is upon the supplion that come was built in the last yeur of the twenty turl Olympial-Year from the building of Rome, according to Cato and the fasti ('onelares, 217 Dionysis of lelicarnassus follows this account for he say that the metropolis of the Roman wordt was built in the first year of the twenty. fourth ityinpial, which was the first year of Cheops, the tirst decora) archon of the Athepianx-year from the building of Rome, according to Polybiur, 26-Year from the bulling of Roma, according to Fabius Pretor, who live i about two hundred and trenty-five years before the cominencement of the Christian ern, 212.-Year of the baseret rra, 22-Yeur since the destruction of the kingdom of larael by Shalmanewr, the king of Assyria, 1861.-Year from the destruction of Solomon's temple by Neonchadnezzar, king of Babylon, 53 --Year of Servinus Tullius, the sixth king of the Romans, and fuher-in-law of Tarquin the l'roul, 43.-Year of Ariston, king of Laceiernon, and of the family of the Proclile, or Eurypontilo, 29.--Year Awaxaturile, king of Lacalmon, and of the family of the Euristhenx, or Agie, BNB. The kings of the Lace leonians of the families of the Proella and the Euristhenadie sat on the throne together for several hundred years ---Year of Amyntas, the ninth king of the Maceluiana, 12-Trar of the reign of Cyrus, computing from the year in which he dethronel his grandfather Astynges, the last king of Melia, 24. But this was only his first year, if, with the Holy Scriptures, as well as Xenophon in the richth book of his lostitutes, we compute the years of his reign from the time in which he was put in possession of the whole Eastern empire. See Ezra i I.-Year of the Babylonish captivity, 70. The years of this captivity are generally reckoned from 605, B. C. when Jehoiakim king of Judah was put in chains to be carried to Babylon: and are supposew be terminaicby the entiet of Cyrus to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. But others are or opinion, that the prenty years'captivity are to be computed from the total destruction of the Jewish mopurchy, and that they reach down to the second year of Darius king of Perala, at which ime Zerubbabel and Joshua were encouraged by the prophets Haggai and Zecharia to proceed with the rebuilding of the temple.
1. M. 3163.
B. C. 5.%. OI. LXII.
, , of
CHAPTER I. The proclemation of Cyras, for the retroil ling of the temple, 1. The people provide him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
of the earth; and he hath d charged me to build for their return, 5, 6. Cyrus restores to Sheshbazzar the vessels taken by Nebuchdnetzar out of the temple of Solomon, 7---Il.
3 Who is there among you of all his people ? TOW in the first year of Cyrus king his God be with him, and let him go up to JeruAnna Cehia LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which Condue 213. be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the is in Jerusalem. spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, b that he made a
4 And whosoever remaineth in any place where proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and he sojourneth, let the men of his place 'help put it also in writing, saying,
him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, 2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord and with beasts, besides the free-will-offering for God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms the house of God that is in Jerusalem.
a 2Chron. 35. 22, 23. Jer. 25. 12 & 29. 10.--b Ch. 5. 13, 14.-c Heb. caused a voice to pass - Isaj. 41. 23. & 45 I, 13 --e Dan. 6. 2. --f Heb. lift him up. In the preface of this book, the reader will find the history and killed the son of Tomyris their queen, the mother, of Ezra detailed at considerable length. It is only necessary impatient to avenge the death of her son, sent him a defito say here, that he is generally allowed among the Jews ance; promised to glut him with blood; and, huving at. to have been of the sacerdotal family, and therefore he is tacked him, pretended to be worsted and to fly; and ihus called o lepous, the priest, by the Septuagint. Among the she drew him and his army into an ambuscade, where he rabbins he passes for a most extraordinary critic, divinely was routed and slain, and a considerable part of his army authorized to collect and arrange the different portions of destroyed. The enraged queen having found bis body, cut the Sacred Writings, and digest them into a system. How off his head, and threw it into a vessel full of human blood, far all they say on this subject is true, we cannot tell: he with this most bitter sarcasm :was, beyond all controversy, a very eminent man; and, in all that he did, acted under the immediate direction and
Συ μεν εμευ ζωσης τε και νικωσης ες μαγην, απωλεσας παιδα τον
εμον, , έλων δολω' σε δ' εγω, καταπερ ηπειλησα, αιματος inspiration of the Almighty.
κορεσω. This history contains the transactions of about eighty-two
HEROD. Clio, c. 214.
. years; from the first year of Cyrus in Babylon, according
"Although living and victorious, thou hast destroyed to Archbishop Ussher, A. M. 3463, to the nineteenth year
me in slaying my son, whom thou hast overcome by of Ardsheer Direz Dest, or Artaxerxes Longimanus,
deceit; but, as I have threatened, I will now slake thy who sent Nehemiah to Jerusalem, about A. M. 3550. For
thirst with blood." all other particulars see the introduction.
Cyrus, thy thirst was blood; now drink thy All.
By-Jeremiah] This prophet, chap. xxv. 12. and xxix. NOTES ON CHAPTER I.
11. had foretold that the Babylonish captivity should last Verse 1. Now in the first year] This is word for word only seventy years: these were now ended; Cyrus had with the troo last verses of the preceding book ; which stand given the Jews permission and encouragement to return to here in their proper place and connexion, but there are Judea, and rebuild the temple of the Lord; and thus the entirely destituie of chronological connexion and reference. prediction of Jeremialı was fulfilled.
Cyrus] This prince, so eminent in antiquity, is said to Verse 2. The Lord God of hearen] It is not unworthy have been the son of Cambyses king of Persia, and Man of remark, that in al he books written prior to the capdane, daughter of Astyages king of the Medes; and was tivity, Jehovah is called The Lord of hosts; but in all the born about sir hundred years before Christ. Josephus books written after the captivity, as 2 Chronicles, Ezra, accounts for his partiality to the Jews from this circum- Nehemiah, and Daniel, he is styled, The God of heaven. stance; that he was shown the places in Isaiah the prophet, The words, however, have the same meaning. where he is mentioned by name, and his exploits and All the kingdoms of the earth) At this time the empire conqueets foretold; see Isa. xliv. 28. and xlv. 1, &c. Finding of the Medo-Persians was very extensive: according to himself thus distinguished by the God of the Jews, he was ancient writers, Cyrus, at this time, reigned over the anxious to give him proofs of his gratitude in return; and Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians, Armenians, Syrians, Assyso made the decree in favour of the Jews, restored their rians, Arabians, Cappadocians, Phrygians, Lýdians, Phê. sacred vessels, gave them liberty to return to their own nicians, Babylonians, Bactrians, Indians, Saci, Cilicians, land, and encouraged them to rebuild the temple of Jeho Paphlagonians, Moriandrians, and many others.
His em vah, &c.
pire extended on the East, to the Red sea; on the North, It is very probable that when Cyrus tnok Babylon, he io the Euxine sea; on the West, to the island of Cyprus found Daniel there, who had been long famed as one of and Egypt; and on the South, to Ethiopia. the wisest ministers of state in all the East; and it is most Verse 4. Whosoerer remaineth in any place] Every likely that it was this person who pointed out to him the one was at liberty to go, but none was obliged to go. Thus prophecy of Isaiah, and gave him those farther intimations their attachment to God was tried: he whose heart was relative to the divine will which were revealed to himself. right with God went; he who was comfortably settled in Of his death there are contradictory accounts. Herodotus Babylon, might go if he chose. Those who did not go says, that having turned his arms against the Massagetes, were commanded to assist their brethren who went. VOL. I.-123