Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

of Hesiod's golden age, and in the periods of the world described by the Hindoos and Egyptians; but this argument involves the mythic character of the narrative before us, and thus it unintentionally furnishes a key to the explanation of the whole1.

Gatterer and others next started the opinion, that the meaning of this description may perhaps not refer to persons, but to whole races, which may have been called by the names of their founders; and certainly it would appear that the nearest approach is thus made to the primitive meaning of the genealogy, for 'Adam and 'Enosh in a collective sense indicate mankind; Chenok (or Enoch) is probably only the name of a town; Sheth and Noach are one and the same among the Hindoos, and the names in the genealogy must be for the most part foreign2. We should however observe that the compiler, by the names which are given, certainly means to denote persons, for he speaks of the sons as being born, and the fathers as dying; he mentions the translation of Enoch, and above all he gives a definite and particular account of Noah3. Another hypothesis, which completely refutes itself, assumes that by years only months are here to be understood, according to the analogy of certain statements, insufficiently authenticated by Varro, relating to the ancient Egyptians: under this theory of months for years, some patriarchs would have begotten children in their tenth year, and Mahalaleel even in his fifth. A still more arbitrary supposition was, that the year consisted of two months, or

1 See Bredow, on the great longevity of the Patriarchs, in his work, “Untersuchungen über einzelne Gegenstände der alten Geschichte (Examination of separate points of Ancient History), Part i. Altona, 1800. 2 See Gen. iv. 18.

3 Chap, vi., et seq.

2

of a cycle first of three months and afterwards of eight; in support of which idea, Hensler1 appeals to Diodorus Siculus; but Diodorus speaks of the three seasons of the Egyptians, and merely mentions these hypothetically, in order to give credibility to the great age of the Egyptian myth. The later writers derived their knowledge on this point first from Diodorus; and the chronological employment of the above-mentioned cycles cannot be shown to have existed among any people of antiquity; whereas the twelve months, following the return of the seasons, appear everywhere united into one year, which in most languages of the ancient world derives its name from the course of a circle. Finally, the Biblical text speaks expressly of years of twelve months, and of no others; and it places an actual year, with the mention of months and days, as the basis of the account of the flood.

Rosenmüller suggested that several names might have been lost from the register in the progress of tradition, and that the total number of the years might then have been distributed among the remaining names; but this theory, although it possesses every appearance of simplicity, is quite arbitrary. The narrative obviously intends to direct our notice to the length of life of the patriarchs, and to its gradual decrease7, until man had attained that term of life which Jehovah himself appointed. Strange indeed would have been the effect of chance, if, in both genealogies, precisely ten names, and only ten, had remained over; if smaller numbers had been lost, until those

1 Bemerkungen über die Genesis (Remarks on Genesis): Hamburg, 1791. 2 Diodor. Sic. i. 26.

s See Ideler, Handbuch der Chronologie (Handbook of Chronology), i. 93. 4 Plutarch, Numa, 18; Pliny, vii. 49; Macrobius, Saturn. i. 12.

6 Schol. v. 5.

8 Gen. vi. 3.

9 Chapters v. and xi.

5 Ideler, ut supra, ii. 589. 7 Comp. Gen. xlvii. 9.

only were left which are now presented to us: indeed in such a case, method and system would have become the effect of chance, and the result at last would have been precisely the same as it is at present.

If we look around for analogous ideas of longevity among other nations of antiquity, the first that occurs is that prevalent among the Hindoos, according to which the term of man's life is supposed to have decreased, in the four periods of the world, from 400 to 300, 200, and 100 years1; and perhaps it is of importance to notice that, in this account, ten holy sages are mentioned as the predecessors of the Menus, just as the development of the world was attributed to ten Avatars: in a similar manner the Chinese speak of their ten Ki3,-the Egyptians of ten half divine and half earthly rulers1; and ten antediluvian patriarchs up to Xisuthrus are reckoned by the Chaldæans, as the enumeration of the same number of astronomical periods, after the lapse of which the world was to be renewed": these patriarchs rule together during the space of 120 Sari, and a Saros is 3600 years; so that the aggregate of the whole amounts to 432,000 years, or the previous duration of the world according to the Hindoos7; whereas, on the contrary, the total duration of the lives of the ten antediluvian patriarchs in our text (8575 years) cannot be adapted to any definite calculation. Pustkuchen points out here a recondite regularity in the numbers, and among the rest the number of years assigned to Enoch (365) was at all events not accidental.

1-Menu, i. 83.

4 Plato, Opera, vol. x. p. 49. Bipont.

5 See Eusebius, Chronic. p. 5. in Scaliger. Thes. Tempor.

2 Ibid. i. 35.

3 Deguignes, v. 3.

6 Compare Genesis vi. 3.

8 Untersuchungen der Biblischen Urgeschichte (Investigation of the Primitive Biblical History), p. 84.

7 See Altes Indien, ii. 291, &c.

CHAPTER V.

When

1. 2 This is the record of the history of the man. God created the man, he made him after the image of God. Male and female created he them, and blessed them, and he called their name man, when he had created them.

3 And the man lived an hundred and thirty years; then

he begat [a son] in his [own] image, after his [own] 4 likeness, and he called his name Seth. And the days

of the man, after he begat Seth, were eight hundred 5 years, and he begat sons and daughters. And all the days of the man, which he lived, were nine hundred and thirty years; then he died.

6 And Seth lived an hundred and five years; then he 7 begat Enos. And Seth lived, after he begat Enos, eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters. 8 And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; then he died.

9. 10 And Enos lived ninety years and begat Cainan. And Enos lived, after he begat Cainan, eight hundred and 11 fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years; then he died.

12

And Cainan lived seventy years and begat Mahalaleel. 13 And Cainan lived, after he begat Mahalaleel, eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters. 14 And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years; then he died.

15

And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years and begat 16 Jared. And Mahalaleel lived, after he begat Jared, eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters.

17 And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred and ninety and five years; then he died.

18 And Jared lived an hundred and sixty and two years, 19 and begat Enoch. And Jared lived, after he begat Enoch,

eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. 20 And all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty and two years; then he died.

21

And Enoch lived sixty and five years and begaṭ 22 Methuselah. And Enoch walked with God, after he begat Methuselah, three hundred years, and begat sons 23 and daughters. And all the days of Enoch were three 24 hundred and sixty and five years. And Enoch walked with God, and he was no more, for God took him away.

CHAPTER V., verse 22.-"To walk with God." Here 'eth, 'with,' means 'in intimacy with;' and the same expression is also applied to Noah'; it is far stronger than walk before,' lifnei, [i. e. before the face of2], which merely means 'to have the fear of God,' for with implies the existence of intimate friendship3. It is emphatically repeated, when Enoch is taken away, which occurs in the same manner as in the case of Elijah*, and in that of Moses' the beloved of Jehovah. According to the Hindoo belief, men render themselves worthy of intimacy with the Gods by restraining their passions, and by expiatory sacrifices; among the Greeks, it was beauty which obtained the privilege of this association".

·

Verse 24.-'Einennu, he was no more,' is precisely similar to the expression in Livy (i. 16), "nec deinde in terris Romulus fuit," (no more in mortal life); it refers to a sudden death, which

1 Gen. vi. 9.

3 Compare 1 Sam. xxv. 15; Psalm xxxv. 14.

4 Gen. v. 24; 2 Kings ii. 12.

5 Deut. xxxiv. 7; compare Hebr. xi. 5.

6 Ardschunas Himmelreise (Heavenly Journey), i. 1, &c.

7 Iliad, xx. 233. See Ruperti, on the removal of men by Gods, in Henke's Magazine, vi. st. 1.

8 Psalm xxxix. 14; Jerem. xxxi. 15.

2 Gen. xvii. 1; xxiv. 40; xlviii, 15.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »