Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

:

mise of the Messiah was transmitted : so that, when in the fulness of time this promised mediator was revealed in the flesh, the church and people of God might infallibly know that this was that very promised seed of the woman, the son of Abraham and the son of David. In perusing the Hebrew genealogies, it will be necessary to remember that the terms · father, son,' begat,' and · begotten,' which are of such frequent occurrence in them, do not always denote immediate procreation or filia

tion, but extend to any distant progenitor. Part II. The histories of Saul and David. (1 Chron. ix. 35–44.

X.—xxix. 1--22.)
Sect. 1. The pedigree of Saul, and his death. (1 Chron. ix. 35–

44. x.) Sect. 2. The history and transactions of the reign of David ; in

cluding, i. His inauguration ; list of his worthics, and account of his forces. (xi. xii.) ý ii. The bringing up of the ark from Kirjath-jearim, first to the house of Obed.

edom, and thence to Jerusalem; and the solemn service and thanksgiving on that occasion. (xiii. xvi.) David's intention of building a temple ap.

proved of by Jehovah. (xvii.) g iii. The victories of David over the Philistines, Moabites, Syrians, and Edom

ites (xviii.); and over the Ammonites, Syrians, and Philistines. (xix. xx.) ý iv. David takes a census of the people; a plague inflicted, which is stayed

at his intercession. (xxi. 1—27.) ý v. An account of David's regulations for the constant service of the temple :

- His preparations and directions concerning the building of it (xxi. 2730. xxii. xxiii. 1.); regulations concerning the Levites (xxiii. 2—32.); the

riests, (xxiv.) singers, (xxv.) and porters or keepers of the gates. (xxvi.) ♡ vi. Regulations for the administration of his kingdom; list of his military

and civil officers. (xxvii.) ý vii. David's address to Solomon and his princes concerning the building of

the temple (xxviii.); the liberal contributions of David and his subjects for

this purpose, and his thanksgiving for them. (xxix. 1-22.) Part III. The history of the united kingdom of Israel and Judah

under Solomon. (1 Chron. xxix. 23–30. 2 Chron. i.-ix.) Sect. 1. The second inauguration of Solomon :- Death of David;

the piety, wisdom, and grandeur of Solomon. (1 Chron. xxix.

23–30. 2 Chron. i.) Sect. 2. Account of the erection and consecration of the temple,

and of some other edifices erected by him. (2 Chron. ii.-viii.

16.) Sect. 3. The remainder of Solomon's reign to his death. (viii. 17,

18. ix.) Part IV. The history of the kingdom of Judah, from the secession

of the ten tribes, under Jeroboam, to its termination by Nebuchadnezzar. (2 Chron. X.—xxxvi.) Sect. 1. The accession of Rehoboam to the throne of the united

kingdom ; its division ; Jerusalem plundered by Shishak. (2.

Chron. x.-xii.) Sect. 2. The reigns of Abijah and Asa kings of Judah. (xii.

xvi.) Sect. 3. The reign of Jehoshaphat. (xvii.—xx.)

1 Thus in Gen. xxix. 5. Laban is called the son of Nahor, though in fact he was only his 'grandson' by Bethuel. Similar instances are often to be found in the Scriptures.

<

Sect. 4. The reigns of Jehoram and Ahaziah ; the usurpation of

Athaliah. (xxi. xxii.) Sect. 5. The reigns of Amaziah, Uzziah, and Jotham. (XXV.

xxvii.) Sect. 6. The reign of Ahaz. (xxviii.) Sect. 7. The reign of Hezekiah. (xxix.-xxxii.) SECT. 8. The reigns of Manasseh and Amon. (xxxiii.) Sect. 9. The reign of Josiah. (xxxiv. xxxv.) Sect. 10. The reigns of Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and

Zedekiah ; the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple.

(xxxvi.) IV. Independently of the important moral and religious instruction to be derived from the two books of Chronicles, as illustrating the divine dispensations towards his highly favoured but ungrateful people, the second book is extremely valuable in a critical point of view; not only as it contains some historical particulars which are not mentioned in any other part of the Old Testament, but also as it affords us many genuine readings, which by the inaccuracy of transcribers are now lost in the older books of the Bible. The discrepancies between the books of Kings and Chronicles, though very numerous, are not of any great moment, and admit of an easy solution, being partly caused by various lections, and partly arising from the nature of the books; which, being supplementary to those of Samuel and Kings, omit what is there related more at large, and supply what is there wanting. It should further be recollected, that, after the captivity, the Hebrew language was slightly varied from what it had formerly been; that different places had received new names, or undergone sundry vicissitudes : that certain things were now better known to the returned Jews under other appellations, than under those by which they had formerly been distinguished ; and that, from the materials to which the author had access, (and which frequently were different from those consulted by the writers of the royal histories,) he has selected those passages which appeared to him best

1 The two last verses of the book of Chronicles are evidently the beginning of the book of Ezra, which follows next in the order of the canon; and must have been copied from it before the transcriber was aware of his error : but, finding his mistake, he abruptly broke off, and began the book of Ezra at the customary dis. tance, without publishing his error by erasing or blotting out those lines which he had inadvertently subjoined to the book of Chronicles. This copy, however, being in other respects of authority, has been followed in all subsequent copies, as well as in all the antient versions. This circumstance affords a proof of the scrupulous exactness with which the copies of the canonical books were afterwards taken. No writer or translator would take upon himself to correct even a manifest error. How then can we think that any other alteration, diminution, or addition, would voluntarily be made by any of the Jewish nation, or not have been detected if it had been attempted by any person ? Dr. Kennicott, Diss. i. pp. 491-494. Dr. Priestley, Notes on Scripture, vol. ii. p. 94.

2 The above remark will be clearly illustrated by comparing 2 Kings xxiv. 6. with 2 Chron. xxxvi. 6. and Jer. xxxvi. 30.; 1 Kings xv. 2. with 2 Chron. xv. 19. ; 1 Kings xxii. 44. with 2 Chron. xvii. 6. ; 2 Kings ix. 27. with 2 Chron. xxii. 9. See also Professor Dahler's learned Disquisition · De Librorum Paralipomenwy auctoritate atque fide historica' (8vo. Argentorati et Lipsiæ 1819); in which he has instituted a minute collation of the books of Chronicles with the books of Samuel and of Kings; and has satisfactorily vindicated their genuineness and credibility against the insinuations and objections of some recent scepticul German critics.

6

adapted to his purpose, and most suitable to the time in which he wrote. It must also be considered, that he often elucidates obscure and ambiguous words in former books by a different mode of spelling them, or by a different order of the words employed, even when he does not use a distinct phraseology of narration, which he sometimes adopts.

As the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles relate the same histories, they should each be constantly read and collated together; not only for the purpose of obtaining a more comprehensive view of Jewish history, but also in order to illustrate or amend from one book what is obscure in either of the others.?

SECTION VIII.

ON THE BOOK OF EZRA. I. 1. Title and author. - II. Argument, scope, and synopsis of its con

tents.—III. Observations on a spurious passage ascribed to Ezra. 1. THE books of Ezra and Nehemiah were antiently reckoned by the Jews as one volume, and were divided by them into the first and second books of Ezra. The same division is recognised by the Greek and Latin churches: but the third book, assigned to Ezra, and received as canonical by the Greek church, is the same, in substance, as the book which properly bears his name, but interpolated. And the fourth book, which has been attributed to him, is a manifest forgery, in which the marks of falsehood are plainly discernible, and which was never unanimously received as canonical either by the Greek or by the Latin church, although some of the fathers have cited it, and the Latin church has borrowed some words out of it. It is not now extant in Greek, and never was extant in Hebrew.

It is evident that the author of the book of Ezra was personally present at the transactions recorded in it, the narrative being in the first person. It also bears upon the face of it every character of natural simplicity, and contains more particulars of time, persons, and places, than could have been introduced by any other individual. That the last four chapters of this book were written by Ezra himself there can be no doubt, as he particularly describes himself in the beginning of the seventh chapter, and likewise frequently introduces himself in the subsequent chapters. The Jews, indeed, ascribe the whole of this book to Ezra, and their opinion is adopted by most Christian commentators. But as the writer of the first six chapters appears, from ch. v. 4., to have been at Jerusalem in the reign of Darius Hystaspes, and it is evident from the beginning of the seventh

1 Calmet's Dictionary, article Chronicles, in fine.

2 Compare 1 Chron. xxi. 16. with 2 Sam. xxiv. 17.; 1 Chron. xxi. 1. with 2 Sam. xxiv. 1. ; 2 Sam. vi. 2. with 1 Chron. xiii. 6.; 2 Sam. xxi 19. with 1 Chron. xx. 5.; 1 Chron. xi. 20. with 2 Sam. xxiv. 18.; and 2 Sam. xxiii. 20. with 1 Chron xi. 22

chapter that Ezra did not go thither until the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus, (a distance of sixty years,) some persons have ascribed the first six chapters to a more antient author. This, however, does not necessarily follow: and we apprehend it will appear that these chapters were written by Ezra as well as the four last.

In the first place, from the intimate connection of the sixth chapter with the seventh: for the diversity of speech and narration observable in them may readily be accounted for by the circumstance of Ezra's having copied, or extracted from, the authentic memoirs, which he found on his arrival at Jerusalem, of the transactions that had happened since the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity.

Secondly, the same method of narration prevails in both parts : for, as in the second part (ch. vii. 12—26.) the royal decree is inserted, entire, in the Chaldee dialect; so, in the first part, the edict of Cyrus, the epistle of the Samaritans to the Pseudo-Smerdis, and his reply to them, together with part of the fourth chapter, are also given in Chaldee.

And lastly, in the third place, it is not likely that a short historical compendium, like the book of Ezra, should be the work of more than one author : nor ought we to assign it to several authors, unless we had either express declarations or internal evidence that they were concerned in it; all these evidences are wanting in the book of Ezra.

This book is written in Chaldee from chapter iv. 8. to chapter vii. 27. As this portion of Ezra chiefly consists of letters, conversations, and decrees, expressed in that language, the fidelity of the historian probably induced him to take down the very words which were used. The people too, having been accustomed to the Chaldee during the captivity, were in all probability better acquainted with it than with the Hebrew; for it appears from Nehemiah's account that they did not all understand the law of Moses as it had been delivered in the original Hebrew tongue.

II. The book of Ezra harmonises most strictly with the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah, which it materially elucidates. (Compare Ezra v. with Hagg. i. 12. and Zech. iii. iv.) It evinces the paternal care of Jehovah over his chosen people, whose history it relates from the time of the edict issued by Cyrus, to the twentieth year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, – a period of about seventy-nine, or, according to some chronologers, of one hundred years. This book consists of two principal divisions : the first contains a narrative of the return of the Jews from Babylon under the conduct of Zerubbabel; and the second gives an account of the reformation of religion under Ezra. Part I. From the return of the Jews under Zerubbabel to the re

building of the temple. (ch. i.„vi.) Sect. 1. The edict of Cyrus, permitting the Jews to return into

Judæa and rebuild the temple; account of the people who first returned under the conduct of Zerubbabel, and of their offerings towards rebuilding the temple, (i. ii.) On this joyous occasion it is probable that the hundred and twenty-sixth psalm was composed.

Sect. 2. The building of the temple commenced, but hindered by

the Samaritans. (iii. iv.) Sect. 3. The temple finished in the sixth year of Darius Hystas

pes, by the encouragement of the decree issued in the second

year of his reign. (v. vi.) Part II. The arrival of Ezra at Jerusalem, and the reformation

made there by him. (vii.-X.) Sect. 1. The departure of Ezra from Babylon with a commission

from Artaxerxes Longimanus. (vii.) Sect. 2. Account of his retinue and arrival at Jerusalem. (viii.) Sect. 3. Narrative of the reformation effected by him. (ix. x.)

The zeal and piety of Ezra appear, in this book, in a most conspicuous point of view : his memory has always been held in the highest reverence by the Jews, who consider him as a second Moses : though not expressly styled a prophet, he wrote under the influence of the Divine Spirit, and the canonical authority of his books has never been disputed. He is said to have died in the hundred and twentieth year of his age, and to have been buried at Jerusalem.

III. In Justin the Martyr's conference with Trypho the Jew, there is a very extraordinary passage respecting the typical import of the passover, cited by that father : in which Ezra, in a speech made before the celebration of the passover, expounds the mystery of it as clearly relating to Christ; and which, Justin concludes, was at a very early day expunged from the Hebrew copies by the Jews, as too manifestly favouring the cause of Christianity. The passage may be thus translated :1 — Ind Ezra said unto the people, This PASSOVER is our Saviour and our REFUGE; and if ye shall understand and ponder it in your heart, that we are about to humble him in this sign, and afterwards shall believe on him, then this place shall not be made desolate for ever, saith the Lord of hosts. But if ye will not believe on wm, nor hear his preaching, ye shall be a laughing stock to the Gentiles.As this passage never existed in the Hebrew copies, and is not now to be found either in them or in any copies of the Septuagint version, it is the opinion of most critics that it originally crept into the Greek Bibles from a marginal aduition by some early Christian, rather than that it was expunged from the later copies by the Jews.

SECTION IX.

ON THE BOOK OF NEHEMIAH.

I. Title and author. — II. Argument and synopsis of its contents. 1. The book of Nehemiah, we have already observed, is in some versions termed the second book of Ezra or Esdras, from an opinion

Justin Martyr, Dial. cum Tryphone. pp. 292. 203. edit. by Thirlby: or vol. i. p. 196. ed. Oberthur. Mr. Whitaker (Origin of Arianism, p. 305.) advocates its genuineness; and concludes that the passage in question originally stood in Ezra

« FöregåendeFortsätt »