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but the Senfe and Meaning, that was interpreted, ver. 7, 8. And in the fame manner, the Letter of Artaxerxes was both written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue, Ezra iv. 7. Nehemiah particularly complains, that the Children of those who had married strange Wives, could not speak in the Jews language: Which fuppofes that the Children of other Parents, as well as the Parents themselves were taught to speak the Hebrew Tongue, Neh. xiii. 24. And the Decree of Ahasuerus in favour of the Jews, was written unto every province, according unto the writing thereof; and unto every people, after their language; and unto the Jews, according to their writing, and according to their language, Eft. viii. 9. which feems to imply, that the Jews ftill retain'd not only their Language, but their Manner of Writing it, or the Form and Fashion of their Letters, under the Captivity. The Hebrew Tongue is now understood among the Jews, tho' fpoken readily by few, befide their Rabbins: But we may obferve, how eafie it is for that People, diftinguish'd and separated by their Rites, from those among whom they live, to retain their Native Language in Captivity, by what they do now. For m many Jews, who out of Germany went into Poland, Hungary, and Ruffia, ftill retain the German Tongue in their Families; and those that, when they were driven out of Spain, fled to the Levant, carried the Spanish Tongue along with them; which remains the Language of their Pofterity : And in Italy the German Jews fpeak Dutch, and the Spanish Jews keep the Spanish Tongue.
So little Credit is to be given to the Story in the Apochryphal Book of Ezra, that the Law being burnt, Ezra was infpired to dictate it all anew, which was taken from his Mouth by five Writers, who in forty Days wrote two hundred and four Books, the former
m Leo Moden. Pt. 2. c. I. §. I.
of which were to be made publick, but the feventy laft were to be deliver'd only to the Wife, i. e. to the Rabbins, 2 Efdr. xiv. 40. which is plainly a Jewish Fable invented to authorize their Traditions. And yet this groundless Story, fo contrary to Scripture, and to the Writings of fome of the most learned of the Rabbins, in a Book that is rejected both by Proteftants and Papifts, has prevail'd too much with both.
After their return, the Jews were a free People, 'till the time of Alexander the Great, who only requir'd Tribute of them, but left them to their own Law and Government; fo that no occafion was given to any confiderable change in their Language, as Voffius computes 'till the First Year of the cXVII. Olympiad, when Jerufalem was taken by Ptolemæus Lagi; and twenty feven Years after was the Verfion of the Septuagint, by whom, not long after the Decease of those that return'd from the Captivity, the Scriptures were tranflated into the Greek Tongue; and were difpers'd into fo many Hands, among the Jews and Profelytes, that the Copies could not be destroy'd, either in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, or at any other time, by the Malice of Perfecutors, or any other Accident. And tho' the Jews were fo fond of their Traditions, as to make the Word of God of none effect by them; yet they never added any Books to the Canon of Scripture, in favour of thofe Traditions for which they were fo zealous : But when they had no longer any Prophets among them, they durft not place any other Books in the fame Rank and Authority with those which the Prophets had left behind them. All the Canonical Books were written by Infpired Authors, and have been in conftant use among the People of the
David Kimhi & Jacob. Benhaym. apud Sixt. Senenf. 1. 8.
• If. Voff, ad iteratas P. Simonii Object. Respons. p. 373.
Jews, in their private Houfes, and publick Affemblies, even from the first writing them; for they were preferv'd during the Captivity, and both understood and ufed by the People: but their other Books, written under the fecond Temple, tho' never so useful and pious, were never receiv'd with the like Efteem and Veneration; they pretended to no more than Human Compofition, and were never rank'd with those of Divine Authority. P Jofephus declares, that there was no Succeffion of Prophets after the Reign of Artaxerxes ; and that the Hiftorical Books written afterwards, were not of the fame Authority with those before that time. The Jews, with a general Confent, acknowledge, that during the fecond Temple, there was neither the Ark, (nor confequently the Shechina) nor the Urim and Thummim, nor the Fire from Heaven, nor the Holy Oil, nor the Holy Spirit, in the Gifts of Prophecies and Miracles. This is a Confeffion of the Jews against themselves; which is much urged upon them by Chriftians, to prove that our Saviour is the Meffias, and that his Prefence alone could make the Glory of the latter house greater than of the former, Hag. ii. 9. And their Confeffion herein, adds great Weight to their Teftimony in behalf of all thefe kinds of Prophecy, which they affirm to have been under the firft Temple, and of this Prophecy of Haggai, as well as of the reft in the Old Tefta
P Contr. Ap. 1. 1.
a Vid. Bochart. Hierozoic. Par. 1. 1. 2. c. 35.
Of the Prophecies and Miracles of the Prophets.
HE Falfe Prophets prophefied in the Name of Jehovah, 1 Kings xxii: which supposes that True Prophecies were wont to be deliver'd in his Name, or elfe they could never have hop'd to deceive by it. And in the Hiftorical Books of the Old Teftament, in which the Prophecies and Miracles of the Prophets are related, reference is frequently made to the Records then extant in the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah and Ifrael; moft of the Prophecies and Miracles being of that publick Nature, and fo intermix'd with the Affairs of State, that they must be recorded together with them.
Jofiah a was prophefy'd of by Name, three hundred fixty one Years before the Event: Behold, a child fhall be born unto the houfe of David, Jofiah by name, 1 Kings xiii. 2. and this was foretold by a Prophet, who came out of Judah, purposely to denounce the Judgments of God upon the Priefts of the Altar, and upon the Altar it felf, which Jeroboam had newly fer up at Bethel, when Jeroboam ftood by the Altar to burn Incense: And his Prediction, at the fame time, was confirm'd by two Miracles; one wrought upon Jeroboam himself, by drying up his Hand, which he ftretched forth against the Prophet, and which, by the Prophet's Prayer, was reftor'd again whole to him, as it was before; the other Miracle was wrought upon the Altar, by rending it, and pouring out the Ashes from it. And a Prophecy deliver'd in the Prefence and to the Face of an enraged Prince, against the Religion of his own fetting up, to fecure to himself
Jofeph. Antiq. 1. 10. c. 5.
the Kingdom he fo lately became poffefs'd of, at the very time when he was offering Incense upon his new Altar: And this Prophecy, confirm'd by an immediate Judgment both upon the King himself, and his Altar, in the fight of fo numerous an Appearance as muft be prefent on fo folemn an Occafion, and thefe Enemies to the Prophet, who came from Judah, and to his Religion; a Prophecy thus deliver'd, had all the Circumftances to make it remarkable and notorious, in all the Tribes, both of Ifrael and Judah, then at Hoftility with each other, that can almoft be conceiv'd; And yet the ftrange Death of the Prophet of Judah, for tranfgreffing, by his own Confeffion, the Word of the Lord to him; and his Sepulchre, with its Title or Infcription, ftill remaining at Bethel when Jofiah demolished the Altar there, gave a farther Confirmation to it.
The fulfilling of this Prophecy by Jofiah, was no lefs remarkable, 2 Kings xxiii. 15. Jofiah was the Son of a very wicked King, and born at a time when the People were exceedingly corrupted by the Idolatry of his Grandfather Manaffes; and his Sons likewife proved wicked: fo that he was fo fingular in his Piety, and fo wonderful an Example of it, that no Man of his own Age could have imagin'd that of him, which had been foretold fo many hundred Years ago. In all human appearance, this was a very unlikely time to fee that Prophecy fulfill'd; and that which had been wonderful in any Age, was much more wonderful in this and in fo wicked an Age, this good King fet about the Work of Reformation very young; to fhew, that it was not of Men, but of God. The Prophet Abijah, who had prophefy'd, that Jeroboam fhould be King of the Ten Tribes, (1 Kings xi. 31.) foretold likewife the Death of Jeroboam's Son, the Deftruction of his Family, and the Captivity of thofe Tribes by the Affyrians, (1 Kings xiv. 10.)