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that Ifaac lived at least twelve years after that time, as will appear by the following account.
Joseph was thirty years old, when he was advanced by Pharach in Egypt, Gen. xli. 46. After this there came seven years of plenty, ver. 47, 53. and two years of famine, before Jacob came down to Egypt, ch. xlv. 6. So that Joseph was at leaft thirty nine years old, when Jacob his father came down to Egypt; Jacob, when he came down to Egypt, was a hundred and thirty years old, ch. xlvii. 9. Now from the time of Jofeph's being sold by his brethren, till this time, (viz. till his 39th year) were twenty two years, because he was fold in his seventeenth year, ch. xxxvii. 2. If then we take the twenty two years, which Joseph was in Egypt, from the hundred and thirty of Jacob; it is plain that Jacob was a hundred and eight, when Joseph was seventeen, and consequently, when Joseph was sold to Egypt, Isaac was no more than a hundred and fixty right; for Jacob (who was at this time but a hundred and eight) was born, when Ifaac was fixty years old, ch. xxv. 26. Now Isaac lived till he was a hundred and eighty years old, ch. xxxv. 28. and consequently twelve years after Joseph was fold into Egypt. So that it is evident, the account of Isaac's death is not placed according to the order of time, but at leaft twelve years sooner, than that order required.
Another very remarkable instance to the fame purpose, viz. of the author of the book of Genesis not observing the order of time in his hiftory, we have ch. xxxviii. The several matters there related, are placed between the account of Joseph's being fold into Egypt, and his advancement before Pharaoh. This interval, or space of time, consists of no more than thirteen years; for Joseph was sold in his seventeenth, and advanced in his thirtieth year. Now upon a close consideration of the circumstances of the history, it will appear morally impossible, that all the several matters, related in that chapter, fhould have come to pass in that time, as will be evident by just naming them.
First, Judah leaves his father's family, and marries, and fucceflively begat three sons, Er, Onan, and Shelah. When the eldest came to age, he married Tamar; some time after
the Lord slew him, and Onan the second brother married his widow; after his death she continued a confiderable time a widow, expecting the time, when the third son would be grown up and marry her. He grows up, but refuses to marry her ; therefore she plays the harlot with her father in law Judah, and by him the hath two sons. And all this must have been in less than the space of thirteen years, unless we suppose the historian not to have observed the order of time; which certainly he did not, a great part of what is here related, having undoubtedly come to pass, a considerable time before Joseph was sold into Egypta..
These are instances sufficient to prove, that though the Evangelists did not always confine themselves to observe the order of time, yet they had the example of the best historian in the world, to justify their practice in neglecting it.
Nor was this only the practice of Moles, but of most, if not all, the writers of the sacred history of the Old Testament. There is a noted example of this in the book of Judges, the last five chapters of which history ought, if the order of time had been observed, to have been placed near the beginning of it. The story of Micah's idolatry, and the expedition of the tribe of Dan, ch. xvii. and xviii. of the Levite's concubine, and the war on her account, ch. xix. xx. and xxi. are each of them placed above 200 years too late, which is easy enough to be proved. Hence Josephus has placed the history of the three last chapters, before the history of the Judges b, and the Old Hebrew Chronologero has placed the story of Micah, and the tribe of Dan's idolatry, and the story of the Levite's concubine in the time of Othniel, the first of the Judges; and, as far as I can find, most chronologers and commentators are of the same minda.
a Quomodo ergo hæc omnia in tra tam paucos annos fieri potuerint, merito movet; nili, ut förte folet, scriptura per recapitulationem, aliquot 'annos ante venditum Joseph, hoc fieri cæpiffe intelligi velit, &c. August. Quæst. Sup. Gen. I. 1. c. 128.
Antiq. Jud. lib. 5. c. 2.
c Seder. Olam Rabba, c. 20. p. 50.
d Dr. Lightfoot Chronic. and Harmon. of the Old Teft. on Judges, &c. Usher Chronol. Sacr. p. 199. Petav. Rationar. Temp.l. 1. c. 6. Junius ad Jud. 17. 1. Spanheim. Hift. Eccl. V. T. Epoch. 4. 6. 10.
: The story of Shimei's death, 1 Kings ii. 39. &c. is evi. dently placed three years too soon in the history. · Abundance of other such instances 'might be collected out of the historical books, were it neceffary. Those that have a mind to see them, may consult Dr. Lightfoota and Usher, &c. I would only add, that this has been a very antient and common observation; and that for this purpose the famous fixth rule of Ticonius“, called Recapitulatio, was invented. But, . . .
. . . . . : II. This is not a practice peculiar to the sacred writers, but made use of by all historians. The most accurate and exact among those, who are called profane writers, have taken this liberty in composing their histories. Livy, Plutarch, Tacitus, Suetonius, Florus, &c. have all upon particular occasions neglected the exact order of time. Suetonius, for instance, is very frequent in this practice; continually laying matters of a like nature together, without regard to the order of time, in which they were done. In the Life of Augustus he expressly tells us, it was his design to do fod: “ not to confine himself to & strict chronology, or the order of time, in which the several « things were done ; but instead of being punctual to the « time, join actions of a like nature together, that so they « might be more clearly perceived and known.” This any one, who reads his memoirs of Augustus's life, will perceive he has done, just as St. Matthew and the other Evangelists, in writing the memoirs of our Saviour's life.
To the fame purpose Lucius Florus e intimates, “ That he ” would not observe the strict order of time, but that the
ia Lib. jam citi
Chronol, Sacr. i Apud August. de Doct. Chrift. 1. 3. C. 36.
a Proposita vitæ ejus velut summa, partes figillatim, neque per tempora, sed per species, exfequar; quo distinctius demonstrari cognofcique poffint. Suetonius in Auguft. ç. 9.
Sic folent scriptores per species exsequi, i. e. fecundum actiones et genera, narrare ftatum et condi.
tionem vitæ. Sic cum narramus, quæ quis publice, quæ privatim, quæ fortiter, quæ moderate, quæ serio, quæ jocose egerit, non observato annorum ordine. Pitisc. ad Loc.
e Quæ etfi involuta inter fe funt omnia atque confusa, tamen, quo melius appareant, fimul et ne scelera virtutibus obftrepant, feparatim proferentur, &c. L. Flor. lib. 2. c.
I things “ things he should relate might the better appear, he would “ relate them distinctly and separately, &c.” If then other writers, sacred and profane, have so very frequently neglected this order, we need not be surprized, that St. Matthew and the other Evangelists have done so too; especially when we consider, that it is only in a few instances, that they have done it, and then for the most part, if not always, some good reason may be assigned, why they have done so. This leads me,
III. To consider, Why, and for what reasons, the Evangelists receded from the order of time, in their histories. · I shall not be at the pains to consider all the several branches of their histories, in which this order is neglected, and shew the particular occasions why they are placed as they are ; all that I design, is to mention some general causes or occasions of their relating things in a different order, from that in which they were done, and particularly,
1. Sometimes the Evangelists relate those faets together, which were done at a different time, because they were done in the same place. It seemed a very good expedient to assist the memory, sometimes to relate the several miracles our Saviour wrought at one place together, though they were done at different times. So, the healing of the leprous person; the cure of the centurion's servant; the recovering of Peter's mother-inlaw, are placed immediately one after another by St. Matthew, ch. viii. from ver. 2, to the 16th, because each of these miracles was wrought at Capernaum, though at different times. “ Hence (says Dr. Lightfoot) the mention of a place “ doth oftentimes occasion these holy penmen to speak of stories « out of their proper time, because they would take up the whole " story of that place all at once, or together a.” For this reason it is, that St. Luke places the history of the unclean spirit being cast out of the man in the synagogue at Capernaum, ch. iv. 33, &c. and the account of Peter's mother-in-law being cured of a fever, ver. 39, &c. before the call of the Apostles by the sea-side, ch. v. I. (which has been proved b to be contrary to the order of
Lightfoot, Harmon, of the New Teft. . 20.
b. P. 30.
time); viz. because having mentioned our Lord's being and preaching at Capernaum (ver. 31.) he had a mind to record together the miracles our Lord did there, though done at another time.
2. Another reason, why the Evangelifts sometimes place a fact out of its proper order of time, is, because they having been Speaking of the person concerned in it before, had a mind there to finish all they designed to say of him. So, for instance, the story of John the Baptist's being imprisoned by Herod, Luke iii. 19, 20. (which has been proved not to be in the order of time) was placed where it is, becaufe the Evangelift, having before been giving an account of John's ministry, and not designing to fay much more of him, had a mind here to finish his whole story together. This is so far from being any fault in a history, that it is really oftentimes the best and most accurate way of writing it ; because by a strict and constant adherence to the order of time, there must necessarily be continual breaches and frequent interruptions in the history. Stories must be often brought in without any connection or cohérence, and consequently are not so like to be remembered a. It may therefore be sometimes much better that the whole story of a perfon or thing be told together, though some other things intervene, which are told afterwards. For this reason, we may obferve, the inspired penman of the book of Genesis has placed the death of Isaac (ch. xxxv. 28, 29.) fo much too soon, as it has been above proved to be 6, viz. because having, ver. 27. given an account of his son Jacob's coming to him to Hebron, and designing to say no more concerning his life, but to proceed to the history of his posterity; it seemed very proper there to mention his death, that he might not be forced elsewhere to, bring it in, by any breach or interruption in his history. For
- Facilius cujufque rei in unum contracta species, quam divisa tem poribus, oculis animitque inhæret. Vellei. Paterc. 1. 14.
hanc historiam (sc. Josephi) Moses poft obitum et fepulturam recitet: ut neceffario concedenda fit hyfterologia, cujus ratio hæc fuit; quia poft ad. ventum Jacobi in Hebron, nihil ani. plius de vita Ifaaci vellet narrare 'Mofes, et ad ea, quæ de Jacobo Pau
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