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Dan. ix. 2. How much more would they keep copies of the law of Moses, which they esteemed as the foundation of all !
Again : It is most manifest that the Jews in their first re-settlement in Palestine, bad those very records that we now have in the Pentateuch, as the records that had been constantly upheld in their nation, as the ancient, established, and undoubted sacred records of their nation, insomuch that when they on that occasion reckoned the people by their genealogies they founded their reckoning on these records, and ran up their genealogies to the accounts given of their forefathers, and the first original of their families in them, making this record their standard, and grand rule, by which to judge who were true Israelites, and who were not, and who were true priests and who not. So that they refused so much as to admit those that could not prove themselves to be of the seed of the priests, or of the seed of Israel according to the rule of this record, as appears by the genealogies in the first book of Chronicles, and particularly chap. ix. 1, and Ezra ii. 59. 62, 63. It was necessary for any one in order to prove himself to be of the genuine seed of the priests, that he should be able to run up his genealogy to Aaron; for bis proving that he was of the seed of some other person that lived since did not prove it, anless he also proved that that person was a descendant of Aaron. And so for any one to prove that he was of the seed of Israel, he must be able to run up his genealogy to Israel himself.
So that this very record at that time was of such established reputation among them, that they all with one consent made it the very foundation of their re-establishment; they founded their nation and church in this its restoration wholly on this foundation, and by this rule, which shows that this record was no new thing among them, just then devised with which before they had never been acquainted. It was a notorious fact, that in Esther's time, known to the heathen, that the Jews who remained dispersed all
over the Persian empire, from Judea to Ethiopia, agreed in one i established law, which was very diverse from those of all other nations; Esther iii. s.
Again: The ZENDAVESTA, or book that Zoroastes wrote, shows that the history of the Pentateuch was extant either in or before the time of the captivity of the Jews into Babylon, and was of great reputation then, because many things in that book of his are taken out of the bistory of the Pentateuch. He speaks of Adam and Eve as the first parents of mankind, and gives in a manner the same history of the creation and deluge that Moses doth, and speaks therein of Abraham, Joseph, and Moses in the same manner as the scriptures do, and out of a particular veneration for Abraham, he called his book the book of Abraham. (See Prid. part I. p. 318.) These things must have been taken from
the Jews either at or before the time of the captivity. (See the preceding pages in Prideaux.)
Again, another argument, that the Pentateuch with its history was the book that the Israelites anciently had among them as the book of the law of Moses, even before the captivity, is, that the Samaritans had this Pentateuch as it is with its history, under this name of the book of the law of Moses. One argument that the Samaritan Pentateuch was written before the captivity, is, that it is written in the ancient Phænician or Hebrew character; whereas, the Jewish copy is written in Chaldee letters ; those letters becoming natural to them in their captivity; and therefore if they had taken their Pentateuch from the Jews after the captivity, they would have doubtless taken it in the same characters in which they had it; but in that it is found among them not in their characters, but in the characters that the Jews used before the captivity.
It is a trong argument that they took it from the Jews before the captivity, and not afterwards. Whence should the Samaritans lake those old Hebrew characters, if not from the Jews before the captivity? They were characters to which they were not used in their own country, but were much more likely to be used to the Chaldean characters then, from their living in the neighbourhood of Chaldea. And if they took the Pentateuch from the Jews after the captivity, whence should they take those characters, which were neither natural to themselves, nor in use among the Jews at that time?
Again : It is not at all likely that the Samaritans would be so fond of a conformity to the Jews after the captivity, as to adopt their laws and make the Jewish constitution their own, seeing there was always, even from the first return from the captivity, such a peculiar and inveterate enmity between them and the Jews.
And as such an alteration of the book of the law could not be made after the captivity without notice being taken of it, so neither could it at any time before, even in the most degenerate and ignorant times in Israel. Yet there must be so much knowledge of this book, as must render such a cheat impracticable, for the whole nation, in all its constitution, both civil and sacred, and in the title they had to their inheritance, and in all their usages, and innumerable peculiar customs, was so founded on this law, that it must unavoidably lead at least many in the nation to such a degree of knowledge of it, as to enable them to distinguish between that which is supposed to be so different from it as such a book as the Pentateuch, and only the body of the Mosaic precepts. Though the law was commanded to be laid up in the sanctuary, and kept there, yet it was not kept from the common use of the priests. The priests are called those that handle the law, Jer. ii.
See also Jer. xviii. 18, Ezek. vii. 26, Hag. ii. 11, Mal. ii. 7.
It was required of the priests that they should be thoroughly acquainted with the law, for they in the law of Moses are appointed to teach it to the people. The great number of ceremonies and minute circumstances with which their business was attended, and also the multitude of observances which they were to teach the people out of the law, made it necessary in the nature of things that they should be thoroughly acquainted with the law, even to the having it as it were by beart. Hence the priests and Levites in all their cities and dwellings through the land, must be supposed lo have copies of the law in their hands. This being also the judicial or political law of their nation, the rule of the civil magistrates and judges in all civil and criminal matters, and the rule by which every man held his possessions, and was defended in his civil and common rights; this made it necessary that civil magistrates, and those who sat to judge in their gates, should have copies of the law in their hands. The king was, by an express statute of the law, required to write him out a copy of the law with his own hand, and the law was commanded to be read to the whole congregation of Israel once in seven years. And particularly pious and devout persons were wont to have by them copies of the law, for it is mentioned as the character of the godly man, Ps. i. and xxxvii
. 31, “ That he meditate on God's law day and night.” And all were commanded in the law to be continually meditating on the law, and make it as it were their constant companion day and night, that it night be for a sign on their hand, and as frontlets between their eyes, and that they should make it the continual subject of their conversation one with another, as they sat in the house, and as they walked by the way, &c. was not to be shut up only in the holy of holies, and in any respect so disposed of as to be out of the reach of any, but to be nigh to every one, in every one's heart and mouth, as appears from Deut. xxx. 11-14. See also Deut. vi. 6, 7, 8, 9, and chap. xi. 18, 19, 20, and chap. iv. 9. It is true the law, in times of great degeneracy, was much more neglected, and less known; and copies of it were more rare than at other times, as in the reign of Manasseb. The original that Moses laid up in the sanctuary had been neglected and lost, being buried up in rubbish, as the temple of God itself was neglected, and the finding of it, by the priest was a thing greatly taken notice of, and excited the observation and inquiry of the king and people into the nature of things contained in this book, and the Spirit of God set in on that occasion greatly to impress the king's mind with the things contained in that book, and the finding and reading that very book, as written by Moses's own hand, had a natural tendency greatly to engage the attention of the king, and to affect liim in the reading of it. But we are not to suppose, that during that degenerate time, there VOL. IX.
was no copy of the law extant and in use among any of the people. If in the most degenerate times in Israel, there were seven thousand devout worshippers of the true God left, though but little known, so undoubtedly in Manasseh's reign there were many of the priests and Levites, and others that were devout worshippers of the true God, enough to keep many copies of the law for their use to direct them in God's service.
As to the passages in the Pentateuch, wherein a later hand than that of Moses is evident, they are very few : as Witsius, in his Miscel. Sac. observes. Two of them are only a kind of translation of the names of places, as of the city of Hebron, and the place to which Abraham pursued the kings, where it is said he pursued them unto Dan. The history is exactly the same that Moses must be supposed to write, and the place mentioned the same that Moses mentioned ; but the alteration that is made by some later hand is rendering the name of the place by a word whose signification was known to the people, and those two are the only instances that appear
manifest to me of all that Le Clerk mentions, excepting only the account of Moses's death and burial. As to the name Hebron, so often used in the Pentateuch, it is very probable that there is in it no later hand than that of Moses; for, though it was called Arbah at first, yet it seems to have been named Hebron, which signifies fellowship, from his there entering into an association or covenant-fellowship with Mamre, Eshcol, and Aner. Compare Gen. xiii. 18 with chap. xiv. 13. It is likely that Abraham might give a name to this place from his entering into this fellowship with those men here, as that he should name the place where he entered into covenant with Abimelech, Beer-sheba, from that covenant, as Gen, xxi. 31, 32; or possibly this pame Hebron, or fellowship, might be given to the place from that wonderful communion and fellowship which Abraham there had with angels, with whom he ate, and drank, and conversed most familiarly under an oak, and where at the same time he familiarly conversed with God about the destruction of Sodom, which is much remarked by Abraham and God himself, Gen. xviii. ver. 17. 27. 37. Or it might have been named so first from Abraham's fellowship with Mamre, Aner, and Eshcol, and afterwards confirmed from this his communion with God and the angels, as Beer-sheba was first so named from Abraham's covenant with Abimelech, and afterwards confirmed from Isaac's covenant in the same place, Gen. xxvi. 30–33. It seems that after this when the posterity of Abraham left the land and sojourned in Egypt, this place went no more by that name of Hebron in the land of Canaan, but when the children of Israel returned, and Caleb took possession of the place, he restored the name which Abraham gave
See Dupin, at the beginning of the first volume of his Ecclesiastical History. See concerning places inserted after Moses's death, Num. xxi. 14.
As to the account of Moses's death and burial, it was not Ezra that made this addition ; for the Samaritan Pentateuch, which was taken from the Jews before Ezra, has this addition, and all other passages that have been supposed to be additions. This addition of Moses's death in all probability was made by Joshua, who, it is evident, was a divine writer, and a writer of divine re. cords, and was Moses's successor, who alone was in the mount with him forty days and forty nights, and who succeeded to Moses's authority, and to most of his divine privileges and intercourse with heaven, on whom Moses laid his hand, and committed the care of the whole congregation, and of the law and tabernacle into his hands. He succeeded Moses as the head of the congregation, and as their judge, and as the person by whom they were to transact with God, as it was with Moses. He had the care of setting up the tabernacle, and therefore he took care to set it up in Shiloh, and he took the care of the settlement of the church of Israel, and the establishment of the worship of God in Canaan, and he was looked upon as having the care of the book of the law of Moses, even so as to have power to add words to it, as appears from Josh. xxiv. 26.
Places in the New Testament, which suppose Moses to be the penman of the Pentateuch, John v. 46, 47. Mark xii. 26, compared with Exod. iii. 6. Acts xv. 21. 2 Cor. iii. 14, 15. Heb, xii. 21.
 Gen. i. 2. “ The earth was without form and void.' The first state of the earth, or this lower world, shows what it was to be afterwards, viz., a world of confusion and emptiness, full of evil, vanity of vanities. So in the first state of man in his infancy, is an image of what man always is in himself, a poor, polluted, helpless worm.
 “ And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. The word translated moved, in the original is nonno which, as Busturf says, the Hebrew note properly signifies to hover as a bird, or to brood as a bird over her young, or her eggs when sitting on them ; and both Grotius and Buxtorf observe from the writers of the Talmud, properly signifies the brooding of a dove upon her eggs. See Buxtorf on the Radix 207 and Grotius de Veritate, B. 1, sec. 16, Notes; where Grotius also asserts more than once, that the word merachepheth signifies love. Hence the many fables among the heathen about the world's being formed by