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THE PENTATEUCH WRITTEN BY MOSES.
That the Pentateuch was written by Moses, is the voice of all antiquity. It has been all along, even to this day, the received opinion of both Jews and Christians, that Moses, being commanded and inspired by God, wrote those books, which are called the Pentateuch, except only some particular passages, which were inserted afterwards by a divine direction, for the better understanding of the history.
We read, Exodus xxiv. 4, 7, 8. that Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, which before that time had been delivered from mount Sinai, in a book, which is there called The Book of the Covenant. Afterwards, when God had added more precepts, he again commands Moses to write them, Exod. xxxiv. 27. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words; for after the tenor of these words have I made a covenant with thee and with Israel.” Near 40 years afterwards, Moses was commanded to write all the commands which God had given the people, and the revelations which he had made of himself to them, in a book, to be laid up by the side of the ark of the covenant, to be kept for a testimony against Israel. Deut. xxxi. 24-26. “And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.” And the original of this book of the law was in being, as we read expressly, till the times of Josiah; 2 Kings xxii. and 2 Chron. xxxiv. and so, doubtless, till the captivity into Babylon. This book of the law, which Moses was thus commanded to lay up beside the ark, did not only comprehend those things, which were contained in some of those preceding chapters of Deuteronomy, wherein some things of the law were repealed; but the whole system of divine law, which God gave to the children of Israel, expressing the whole of the duty which God expected of them. This appears from Josh. i. 7, 8. “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe and do according to all the law which Moses, my servant, commanded them; turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate on them day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein,” &c. And therefore the Levites, whom Jehoshaphat sent to teach the people their duty, did not do it in any other way than out of the book of the law. 2 Chron. xvii. 9. “And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the Lord with them, and went about, throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people.”
And then it is further evident, that the book of the law which we have an account of Moses’s committing to the Levites, to be laid up in the side of the ark, Deut. xxxi. did not contain merely what had then lately been delivered in some preceding chapters of Deuteronomy; because in this book of the law were contained the precepts concerning burnt-offerings and sacrifices, and the office and business of the priesthood; which are not contained so much in Deuteronomy as in Leviticus and Numbers, as appears from 2 Chron. xxiii. 18. “Also Jehoiada appointed the officers of the house of the Lord, by the hands of the priests, the Levites, whom David had distributed in the house of the Lord to offer the burnt-offering of the Lord, as it is written in the law of Moses.” 2 Chron. xxxv. 12. Neh. x. 34, 35, 36. Hag. ii. 11., &c. Josh. viii. 31. Ezra vi. 18. Neh. viii. 14, 15. 2 Chron. xxx. 5. and xxxi. 3. And in the book of the law were contained not merely the precepts which God delivered to Moses, but the sanctions and enforcements of those laws, the promises and threatenings; as appears from Deut. xxix. 20, 21. “The Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord, and his jealousy, shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him; and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven; and the Lord shall separate him unto evil, out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant, that are written in this book of the law. See also ver. 27. and Deut. xxviii. 61. “Also every plague, and every sickness, which is not written in the book of this law, will the Lord bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.” See also 2 Kings xxii. 13, 16, 19. and parallel places in 2 Chron. xxxiv. Dan. ix. and Josh. viii. 34, 35. “And afterwards he read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word, of all that Moses commanded, that Joshua read not.” See Psal. cv. 8, 9, 10. And not only the promises and threatenings were contained in the book of the law, but all the revelations which God gave, which tended to enforce it, or which in any way related to it, and even the prophecies that were there contained of what should afterwards happen to the people on their sin or on their repentance. This appears from Neh. i. 8, 9. “Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandest thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations. But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them, though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.”
And besides, we read of Moses being expressly commanded to write histories of the acts of the Lord towards his people, as well as of the revelations which he made to them. So he was commanded to write an account of the people’s war with Amalek, with its attendant circumstances, that posterity might see the reason of this perpetual war which God had declared against Amalek. Exod. xvii. 14. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua; for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amelek from under heaven.” Now a full account could not be given of this affair without relating much of the preceding history of Israel; for an account must be given in the writing of the reason and occasion of the children of Israel’s coming to the border of the Amalekites, and what was the cause of the discord and war which subsisted between them and 677Israel, which would take up no small part of the history of the book of Exodus.
Besides, we are expressly told that Moses wrote the journeys of the children of Israel by God’s command. Num. xxxiii. 2. “And Moses wrote their goings-out according to their journeys, by the commandment of the Lord;” and is it reasonably to be supposed that he would write those for the use of the children of Israel in after-generations, and not write the great and mighty acts of the Lord towards that people in Egypt and at the Red sea, at mount Sinai, and in the wilderness, which were a thousand times more worthy of a record, and of being delivered down to posterity, than a mere journal of the people’s progress in the wilderness, without those mighty acts? It is every way incredible that Moses, of whom we so often read expressly that he wrote God’s commands, threatenings, promises, and revelations, and the early histories of mankind, that he should not write those great acts of the Lord, and leave a record of them with the congregation of Israel; especially when it is evident in fact that Moses was exceeding careful that they might not forget those great acts of the Lord in future generations. Deut. iv. 9, 10, 11. “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thine heart all the days of thy life, but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons specially, the day when thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb,” &c. Here the very same orders are given for the keeping the acts of the Lord in the memory of posterity, as are given for the keeping up the memory of the precepts, chap. vi. 7. and xi. 18, 19. Job speaks of writing words in a book, as a proper mean to keep up the memory of them, and so does God to Isaiah. Isa. xxx. 8. “Now go write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever.” Moses did not trust the precepts of God merely to oral tradition, he was sensible that that way only was not sufficient, though he gave such a charge to the people to teach their children; and the memory of the war with Amalek, when God saw it needful that it should be transmitted to posterity, was not trusted to oral tradition, but Moses was commanded to write it, that other generations might know it; and so the travels of the children of Israel, when they were thought of importance to be remembered, were not trusted to tradition, but a record was written to be transmitted. Very great care was taken that these acts should be remembered, in appointing monuments of them. Thus the passover was instituted as a perpetual monument or memorial of the redemption of the children of Israel out of Egypt, and the beginning of the year was appointed as a memorial of it, and the first-born sons were consecrated to God in memory of God’s slaying the first-born of Egypt. Certain laws were appointed about strangers and the poor. Deut. xxiv. 17, 18, 22. and xvi. 11, 12. and xv. 15. xvi. 12. Lev. xxv. 42, 55. and about bondmen in remembrance of their peregrination and bondage in Egypt. To suppose that such care should be taken lest the laws themselves should be forgotten, which were appointed for the very end of keeping up the memory of the fact, and that those laws should be written down; and yet that no care should be taken that the facts themselves should be so far remembered as to write them down, when the memory of the fact is supposed to be of so great importance, that the very being and remembrance of those laws is by the supposition subordinate thereto, the memory of the fact being the end both of the existence and of the memory of the laws, is absurd. In Nehem. xiii. 1, 2, 3. a precept is cited, with a part of the history annexed as the reason of the law, and altogether is said to be read in the book of Moses. The manna was laid up as a monument of their manner of living in the wilderness, and God’s miraculous sustaining of the people there. The feast of tabernacles was to keep in remembrance the manner of their sojourning in the wilderness; as in Lev. xxiii. 43. Aaron’s rod that budded, was laid up as a memorial of the great things done by that rod in Egypt, at the Red sea, and in the wilderness, and particularly of the contest with Korah and his company, and the censers of the rebels kept and turned into broad plates for the covering of the altar, as a memorial of what happened in the matter of Korah, and the fire from heaven, was kept without ever going out, as a perpetual monument of its miraculous descent from heaven, and the occasion of it; and the brazen serpent was kept as a memorial of the plague of fiery serpents, and the miraculous healing of those that were bitten. The tabernacle that was built in the wilderness, was a monument of the great manifestations which God made of himself there, and the many things that came to pass relating to the building of the tabernacle. The two tables of stone kept in the ark were a monument of those great things which happened when they were given. The rest of the Jewish sabbath was appointed as a memorial of the deliverance of the children of Israel out of bondage. The laws concerning the Moabites and Ammonites were appointed as monuments; and the gold taken in the war with the Midianites was laid up for a monument of that war. Num. xxxi. 54. A great many places were named to keep in remembrance memorable facts in the wilderness; and who can think that all this care was taken to keep those things in memory, and yet no history be written to be annexed to these many monuments to explain them, by him by whose hand these monuments were appointed; and he, at the same time, so great a writer, and so careful to keep up the memory of events by writing, in those instances of the writing of which we have express mention?
Another instance of Moses’s great care that these great acts might not be forgotten, is his calling together the congregation to rehearse them over to them a little before his death, as we have an account in Deuteronomy. He also left some precepts wherein the children of Israel were required themselves from time to time to rehearse over something of the general history of their ancestors the patriarchs, of whom we have an account in Genesis; and so the history of the people from that time, as in the law of him that offered the first-fruits, Deut. xxvi.
And we find that great care was taken to erect monuments of the great acts of God towards the people after Moses’s death, as of their passing through Jordan, though less memorable than some of those. And the fact that there were monuments expressly appointed to keep in memory so many of God’s acts in Moses’s time, and not of some others more memorable, is an argument that they had a history of them instead of monuments, as particularly of the children of Israel passing through the Red sea, and the destruction of Pharaoh and his hosts there. No act of God towards that people is more celebrated through the Scriptures than this; and yet we have no account of any monuments of it, or any ordinance expressly said to be appointed in memory of it, though there was a monument of their passing through Jordan, an event much like it, but less remarkable, and far less celebrated in Scripture. No account can be given of this, but that the history and song that Moses wrote and left in the book of the law, were monuments of it. Such was the care that was taken, that some of the acts of God towards the people might be remembered, that in appointing the monuments for their remembrance, it is expressed that it was for that end, that they might have it perpetually in mind as a token on their hand, and as frontlets between their eyes, as particularly in appointing the law of consecrating the first-born, to keep up the remembrance of God’s slaying the first-born of Egypt, Exod. xiii. 15, 16. One of the laws or precepts themselves of the book of the law was, that the people should take heed never by any means to forget the great acts of God, which they had seen, and that they should not be forgotten by future generations, Deut. iv. How unreasonable, then, is it to suppose that no history was annexed to those laws, and that at the same time that such a strict injunction of great care to keep up the memory of those things in future generations was given, they should yet be left without the necessary means of it! Again, another precept is, that they should not forget their own acts and behaviour from time to time, Deut. ix. 7., &c. See also chap. viii. 14, 15, 16., &c. and chap. v. 15. So they are strictly required to remember their bondage in the land of Egypt, Deut. xvi. 12. and chap. xxiv. 18, 22. And also, to remember what God did to Pharaoh and all Egypt, all those great signs and wonders, and the manner of their deliverance out of Egypt, Deut. vii. 18, 19. So they are strictly enjoined to remember all their travel, the way 678that they went, and the circumstances and events of their journey, Deut. viii. 2-5. and 14., to the end. And they are charged to know God’s great acts in Egypt, and from time to time, in Deut. xi. at the beginning. They are commanded to remember what God did to Miriam, Deut. xxiv. 9. Writing of those works of God that are worthy to be remembered and celebrated by praises to God, is spoken of as a proper way of conveying the memory of them to posterity for that end, in Psalm cii. 18. “This shall be written for the generation to come, and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord.” The importance of remembering these works of God related in the Pentateuch, is mentioned not only in the Pentateuch itself, but also in other parts of Scripture, as in Psalm cv. 5. “Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth.” By the marvellous works which God has done, and his wonders, is meant those marvellous works that he did to Abraham and his seed, from the calling of Abraham to the bringing in of the people into Canaan, as appears from the following part of the psalm; and it is observable here that the psalmist connects the wonderful works and the laws or judgments of God’s mouth together as in like manner worthy to be remembered. See also 1 Chron. xvi. 12. with the subsequent part of that song. The law, and covenant, and wonderful works, are in like manner connected as not to be forgotten, in Ps. lxxviii. 10, 11. and in the 111th Psalm, the psalmist intimates that God has taken some special care to keep up the memory of those works; ver. 4. “He hath caused his wonderful works to be remembered,” speaking of these works, as appears from what follows in the psalm. And what other way can we suppose it to be that God hath done this, than the same with that whereby he caused his covenant and commandments spoken of in the following verses, to be remembered, viz. by causing them to be recorded? The works and commandments are joined together. Ver. 7. “The works of his hands are verity and judgment, all his commandments are sure;” and again in the 9th verse,. “He hath sent redemption to his people, he hath commanded his covenant for ever;” as they are doubtless connected in the record. Compare Psalm cxlvii. 19. and ciii. 7. In the 78th Psalm, the psalmist, after speaking of the great care that Moses took that the history of the great works of God towards Israel in Egypt and the wilderness should be remembered and delivered to future generations, (in ver. 4, 5, 6, 7.) then proceeds to rehearse the principal things in that history in a great many particulars, so as to give us, in short, the scheme of the whole history, with many minute circumstances, in such a manner as to show plainly that what is there rehearsed is copied out of the history of the Pentateuch.
It is the more likely that the history of the Pentateuch should be a part of that which was called the law of Moses, because it is observable that the words law, doctrine, statute, ordinances, &c. as they were used of old, did not only intend precepts, but also promises, and threatenings, and prophecies, and monuments, and histories, and whatever was revealed, promulgated, and established, to direct men in their duty to God, or to enforce that duty upon them. So the blessings and the curses that were written by Moses are included in that phrase, and the words that Moses commanded. Joshua viii. 34, 35. So promises are called law, and the word which God commanded in Ps. cv. 9. and 1 Chron. xvi. 15. So promises and threatenings are called the word which God commanded his servant Moses. Nehem. i. 8, 9. Threatenings and promises are called statutes and judgments in Levit. xxvi. 46. Thus we read, Exod. xv. 25, 26. that at Marah God made for the people a statute and an ordinance, but that which is so called is only a promise. So we read in Joshua xxiv. 25. that Joshua made a covenant with the people, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem, which was nothing else than only his establishing what had been there said by a record and a monument, as appears from the context. So when God, in the song of Moses, Deut. xxxii. calls upon heaven and earth to give ear to his doctrine, which he says shall distil as the rain, &c. therein is included both history and prophecy, as appears by what follows, and what, in Ps. lxxviii. 1. is called a law, is only a history, and the very same with the history in the Pentateuch in epitome, those dark sayings of old, which the psalmist there rehearses, as appears from what follows in the psalm; which makes it the more easily supposable that the original and more full history, of which this is an epitome, was also amongst them called a law. And it is probable, that when we read of the great things of God’s law, Hos. viii. 12. and the wondrous things of God’s law, that thereby is not only intended precepts and sanctions, but the great and wondrous works of God recorded in the law. It is evident that the history is as much of an enforcement of the precepts, (and is so made use of,) as the threatenings, promises, and prophecies; and why then should it not be included in the name of the law as well as they? There is something of history, or a declaration of the great acts or works of God in that, which is by way of eminency called the Law, viz. the Decalogue; in that there is a declaration of the two greatest works of which the history of the Pentateuch gives an account, viz. the creation of the world, and the redemption out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage: the latter is mentioned in the preface of the Decalogue, and both in the 4th commandment in Deuteronomy. But the fact that history was included in what was called the law, is so plain from nothing as from Moses’s own records. Deut. i. 5. “On this side Jordan in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare that law, saying ” and then follows in this and the ensuing chapters, that which is called this law, which consists in great part of history, being a rehearsal and recapitulation of the history in the preceding books of the Pentateuch. What follows next in this and the two next chapters is almost wholly history, which undoubtedly there is special reason to understand as intended by those words, “Moses began to declare the law, saying.” See also Deut. iv. 44, 45. and xxxi. 9, 24, 25, 26. and v. 1.
Again, the book of the law, and the book of the covenant, were synonymous expressions; (see among other places, Psalm cv. 8, 9, 10.) but the word covenant, as it was then used, included history, as Deut. xxix. “These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses;” and what next follows is history, such history as was introductory, or concomitant, or confirmatory to the precepts, and threatenings, and promises that follow, and of this nature is all the history of the Pentateuch. It is abundantly manifest that the manner of inditing and writing laws in the wilderness delivered by Moses, was to intermix history with precepts, counsels, warnings, threatenings, promises, and prophecies.
It may be noted, that it was very early the custom in Israel to keep records of the public transactions of the nation, and they regarded this as a matter of so great importance, as to have men appointed, whose business and office it was to keep these records. So we find it was in the days of Solomon and David, and in the days of the Judges, as early as the days of Deborah. Judg. v. 14. “Out of Zebulun, they that handle the pen of the writer.” It is probable from the context, that these were their rulers, or some of the chief officers in the land that kept records of public affairs. Before this, also, we have express account of Joshua and Moses making records of public transactions. (See Josh. xxiv. 26. and the forementioned place concerning Moses’s writing records.) And it is evident that these transactions which related to the bringing of that nation into a covenant relation with God, and redeeming them out of Egypt, &c. were always by that nation chiefly celebrated, and looked upon as the greatest and most memorable events of their history. Now, therefore, is it credible, that in a nation, whose custom it was all along, even from the very times of those great transactions, to keep records of all public affairs, that they should be without any written record of these transactions?
There is no other way that would be natural of writing a divine law, or a law given by God in an extraordinary manner, with wonderful and astonishing circumstances, and great manifestations of his presence and power, except that of writing it in this manner, and recording those extraordinary circumstances under which it was given: first introducing it by giving an account that it was given by God, and then declaring when, how, and on what occasion, and in what manner it was given. And this will bring in all the history, from the beginning of Exodus to the end of Deuteronomy. Who can believe that Moses 679wrote the law which God gave at mount Sinai, without giving an account how it was given there; when the manner of giving was so exceedingly remarkable, and so affected Moses’s mind, as appears from many things which Moses wrote in Deuteronomy, which are there expressly called by the name of a law, and which we are also expressly told that Moses wrote in the book of the law, and delivered to the priests to be laid up in the sanctuary?
There is such a dependence between many of the precepts and sanctions of the law, and other parts of the Pentateuch, that are expressly called the law, and that we are expressly told were written in the book of the law, and laid up in the sanctuary; I say, there is such a dependence between these and the history, that they cannot be understood without the history. Many of the precepts, as was observed before, (p. 117.) were appointed to that end to keep up the remembrance of historical facts; and that is expressly mentioned in the words of these laws themselves. But such laws obviously cannot be understood without the history. Thus this is mentioned as the reason of the appointment of the feasts of tabernacles, viz. that the children of Israel might remember how they dwelt in tabernacles in the wilderness. Levit. xxiii. 43. Now this required the history of their travels and sojourning there. So the law concerning the Amalekites, Moabites, and Amorites, appointed in commemoration of what passed between the congregation of Israel in the wilderness in their travels there, and those nations, cannot be understood without the history of those facts; and these require the history of the travels of the children of Israel, and of the things that led to those incidents, and that occasioned them. So that great law of the passover that is said in the law to be in remembrance of their redemption out of Egypt, and the many particular rites and ceremonies of that feast, are said expressly in the law to be in remembrance of these, and those circumstances of that redemption. Now it is impossible to understand all these particular precepts about the passover without a history of that affair: and this requires the history of their bondage in Egypt, and the manner how they came into that bondage; and this draws in the history of the patriarchs. The preface of the ten commandments cannot be understood without the history of the redemption of Israel out of Egypt, and of their circumstances there, in the house of bondage; nor can what is given as one reason of the 4th commandment in Deuteronomy be understood without an account how they were servants in the land of Egypt, and how they were delivered from their servitude. We very often find this mentioned as an enforcement of one precept and another, viz. God’s deliverance of the people out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, and out of the iron furnace. See Levit. xviii. 3. xix. 34. xxii. 33. xxv. 42, 55. xxiii. 43. and xxvi. 13, 45. Numb. xv. 41. Deut. iv. 20. vi. 12. vii. 8. viii. 14. xiii. 10. and xx. 1. Which shows how necessary the history is to understand the law. The many precepts about the poor bondman and stranger that are expressly enforced, from the circumstances of the Israelites in Egypt, absolutely require a history of their circumstances there. And there are in the enforcement of the laws, frequent references to the plagues and diseases of Egypt, threatenings of inflicting those plagues, or promises of freedom from them, which cannot be understood without the history of those plagues. The law of no more returning again into Egypt, Deut. xvii. 16. requires the history of their coming out from thence. The law concerning not admitting the Moabites and Ammonites into the congregation of the Lord, because they so treated them in their journey, could not be understood without the story of their treatment, and that required an account of their journey. The law concerning sins of ignorance. Numb. xv. 22, 23, 24. depends on the history for its being intelligible: Numb. xv. 22, 23, 24. “and if ye have erred, and not observed all these commandments which the Lord hath spoken unto Moses, even all that the Lord hath commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day that the Lord commanded Moses, and henceforward among your generations, then it shall be, if ought be committed by ignorance,” &c. Here is a reference to God’s revealing himself from time to time, in a long series of revelations to Moses, which cannot be understood without the history.
The law was written as a covenant, or as a record of a covenant, between God and the people; and therefore the tables of the law and the tables of the covenant, the book of the law and the book of the covenant, are synonymous phrases in Scripture. And the psalmist, Ps. cv. 1, 10. speaking of the covenant that God made with the patriarchs, says, that God confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and unto Israel for an everlasting covenant. It is to be noted that the promise to Abraham is what is there especially called the law, and the word which God commanded The threatenings of the law are called the words of the covenant which God made by Moses in Jer. xi. 8. But if Moses wrote the book of the law as a record of the covenant that was made between God and the congregation of Israel, it was necessary to write the people’s consent, or what was done on both sides, for there was a mutual transacting in this covenant. See Deut. xxvi. 17, 18. “Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways,” &c. “And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments.” Agreeable hereto is the account we have, Exod. xix. 8. and xxiv. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. and Deut. v. 27. and xxvi. 17.
The discourse that we have in Deut. xxix. and xxx. is introduced thus, Deut. xxix. “These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.” But the following discourse, called the words of the covenant, is made up of the following things, viz. a history of the transaction, Moses’s rehearsal of past transactions and wonderful dealings of God with them, with reproofs for their insensibility and unaffectedness as introducing what he had further to say. He then proceeds to charge them to serve the true God, and to avoid idolatry, and then to enforce this charge with awful threatenings and predictions of judgments that shall come upon them if they transgress, with the circumstances of these judgments, and promises of forgiveness on repentance; and the whole concluded with various arguments, pressing instances, solemn appeals, obtestations, exhortations, &c. to enforce their duty. If such a miscellany is called the words of the covenant, we need not wonder if the whole book, that is called the book of the law, should be a similar miscellany.
It was necessary that a record of a covenant between God and the nation of Israel, should contain the story of the transaction. But this, if fully related, would bring in very much of the history of the Pentateuch, which is extensively made up of an account of those things that were done by God, to bring the people into a covenant relation to him, and the way in which they became his covenant people. Hence the psalmist, in Psalm cv. having mentioned this covenant and law which God established with the people, proceeds in the ensuing part of the Psalm, to rehearse the series of events relating this covenant transaction, from God’s entering into covenant with the patriarchs to the children of Israel’s being brought into Canaan.
It was exceedingly necessary, in particular, when Moses was about to write a record of the covenant which God established with the people, and to give an account of the manner in which he entered into covenant with them, and brought them into a covenant relation to him, to show the beginning of it with the patriarchs, with whom that covenant was first established, and with whom was laid the foundation of all that transaction, and that great dispensation of the Lord of heaven and earth with that people, in separating them from all the rest of the world, to be his peculiar covenant people. The beginning and groundwork of the whole affair was mainly with them, and what was done afterwards by the hand of Moses, was only in pursuance of what had been promised to them, and often established with them, and for which God made way by his acts and revelations towards them. What God said and did towards those patriarchs, is often spoken of in the words of the law (those that are expressly called the law) as the foundation of the whole, and also in other parts of the Old Testament; as most expressly in Psalm cv. 8, 9, 10.; see also Josh. xxiv. 3., &c.; and many other parallel places.
And there is very often in the law, strictly so called, an 680express reference to the covenant that God had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as in Levit. xxvi. 42. Deut. iv. 31, 37. Deut. vi. 10, 18. and vii. 8, 12. and ix. 5, 27. and x. 11, 15. and xix. 8. xxvi. 3, 15. and xxx. 20. which passages are unintelligible without the history of the patriarchs. And there are many other passages in the law, wherein there is an implicit reference to the same thing; as in those in which God speaks of the land, which the Lord their God had given them, or had promised them, the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Canaanites, &c. referring to the promise made to Abraham, Gen. xv. 18., to the end; where God promises to Abraham the land of those nations by name.
Again, the forementioned considerations, many of them must, at least, induce us to believe that Moses wrote the history of the redemption of the children of Israel out of Egypt, so far at least as he himself was concerned in that affair, and was made the chief instrument of it, from his being first called and sent of God on that errand. But this as naturally leads us back further still, even to what God said and did to the patriarchs; for the beginning of this history directly points and leads us to those things as the foundation of this great affair, of which God now called Moses to be the great instrument. Thus when God first appeared to Moses, and spake to him in mount Sinai out of the bush, and gave him his commission, it was with these words, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Exod. iii. 6. So again, ver. 13, 14, 15, 16. “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you, and they shall say to me, What is his name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said, moreover, unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, for that which is done to you in Egypt.” So again, chap. iv. 5. “That they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.” And chap. vi. 2, 3, 4. “And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord, and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. And I have established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.” It is unreasonable on many forementioned accounts, to believe any other than that Moses should write this history, and it is most credible that he did it on this account, that those first extraordinary appearances of God to him, as is natural to suppose, made most strong impressions on his mind, and if he wrote any history it is likely he wrote this. But from these things it appears that the history of the patriarchs lays the whole foundation of the history of the redemption of the children of Israel out of Egypt, and of God’s separating them and bringing them into a covenant relation with himself. So that it cannot be understood without the history of the patriarchs. Would it not therefore have been an essential defect in Moses, in writing that history, to leave the children of Israel without any record of that great foundation?
There is frequent mention in that part of the Pentateuch, (which is expressly styled the law,) of several tribes of Israel and their names, and of the patriarchs who were the heads of the tribes. Deut. iii. 12, 13, 15, 16. and xxvii. 11, 13. and elsewhere. And Moses was commanded to engrave the names of the twelve patriarchs on the stones of the breastplate of the high-priest. But these things are not intelligible without the history of Jacob’s family. In Deut. x. 22. there is a reference to Jacob’s going down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons, which is not intelligible without the history.
The law for him that brings the offering of the first-fruits cannot be understood without the history of Jacob’s difficulties and sufferings in Padan-Aram, and the history of his going down into Egypt with its circumstances, and the history of the great increase of his posterity there, and the history of their oppression and hard bondage there, and the history and circumstances of their deliverance from it, and the history of the great and wondrous works of God in Egypt, and the Red sea, and the wilderness, until the people came to Canaan. And if Moses left no record of these things; then, in the law, he enjoined him who offered the first-fruits, (i. e. of all the people, every individual householder, from generation to generation,) to make an explicit confession and declaration of those things that he did not understand.
What is said in the law, of the Edomites, as the children of Esau, and what God had given to him for his possession, and the favour God showed Esau, in Deut. ii. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 22. and the law concerning the Edomites, Deut. xxiii. 7, 8. how they should be treated, because Esau was their brother, cannot be understood without the history of the family of Isaac. And the kind of mention made of Moab and Ammon, as the founders of the nations of the Moabites and Ammonites, and the favour showed them on their father Lot’s account, in Deut. ii. seems to suppose the history of Lot and his family, and cannot be understood without it. And the reference there is in the law to the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Deut. xxix. 23. cannot be understood without the history of that affair.
These things that have been mentioned, lead us up in the history of the Pentateuch, within less than eleven chapters of its beginning; so that according to what has been said, all except this very small part of the Pentateuch must have been delivered by Moses to the children of Israel; and it is unreasonable to suppose that this small part was not delivered by the same hand as part of the same record. The history of Abraham begins with the 26th verse of the 11th chapter of Genesis.; and the beginning of that history is there so connected with, and as it were grows upon, the preceding history of Noah and his posterity, that to suppose any other than that they were originally the same record, having the same author, is most unreasonable. That Moses’s history began any where between that and the beginning of Genesis, or that that part of Genesis from the beginning to the 26th verse of the 11th chapter., is to be divided, as having several writers, are suppositions which, from a bare view of the history itself, any one will be convinced are erroneous. But it will appear still more unreasonable not to ascribe it to Moses, if we consider not only the connexion of the beginning of the history of Abraham with it, but the dependence of many things in the following history upon it; and also in that part of the Pentateuch that is more plainly called the Law. There is frequent mention made both in the law and history of the posterity of the sons of Ham, Mizraim and Canaan, called by the names of these their ancestors, mentioned chap. x. 6. and of those of the posterity of Mizraim, called Caphterim, mentioned ver. 14. and in Deut. ii. 23. and of the posterity of the sons of Canaan, mentioned ver. 15., &c. called by their names. And in the following history there is mention made of Ham, the son of Noah, Gen. xiv. 5. Mention is made of Elam and Shinar, Gen. xiv. 1., &c. of whom we have an account, chap. x. Frequent mention is made of the land of Cush, (in our translation, Ethiopia,) so named from Cush, the son of Ham, of whom we have an account, Gen. x. 6-8. So there is in the following history frequent mention of the land of Aram, the son of Shem. In Balaam’s prophecy, referred to in the law in Deuteronomy, mention is made of Ashur, Chittim, and Eber, Numb. xxiv. 22, 24. The great event of which Moses most evidently wrote the history, and which takes up all the historical part of the Pentateuch, from Gen. x. 26. to the end of Deuteronomy, is God’s separating the seed of Abraham and Israel from all nations, and bringing them near to himself to be his peculiar people. But to the well understanding of this, it was requisite to be informed of the origin of nations, the peopling of the world, and the Most High dividing to the nations their inheritance: and therefore the 9th, 10th and 11th chapters of Genesis. 681are but a proper introduction to the history of this great event. In the song of Moses, of which mention is made in the law, and which Moses in the law was required to write, and the people in the law were required to keep, and learn, and often rehearse, there is an express reference to the separating the sons of Adam, and God’s dividing the earth among its inhabitants; which is unintelligible without the 10th and 11th chapters of Genesis. In that song, also, is plainly supposed a connexion between this affair, and that great affair of separating the children of Israel from all nations to be his peculiar people, about which most of the history of the Pentateuch is taken up. The words are as follows, and in them the people are expressly called upon to keep in remembrance both these events that are so connected, which obviously supposes a history of both, Deut. xxxii. 7-9. “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations. Ask thy father, and he will show thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee; when the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance; when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the Lord’s portion is his people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” And by the way I would observe, that in the following words are also references to other historical facts of the Pentateuch that cannot be understood without the history.
In the fourth commandment, there is such a mention made of the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the sea, and all that in them is, and of God’s resting the seventh day, as is a kind of epitome of the first chapter of Genesis, and the beginning of the second, and is unintelligible without that history; and there is a reference, in Deut. iv. 32. to God’s creation of man, and there is mention in the prophetical song of Moses of the name of Adam, as the grand progenitor of mankind, Deut. xxxii. 8. And there is mention made of the garden of God, or Paradise, Gen. xiii. 10. And before I leave this argument from references to historical facts, I would observe, that a very great part of the thirty-one first chapters of Deuteronomy., (which are most evidently, as I observed before, a part of the law of Moses, laid up in the holy of holies,) are made up of nothing but recapitulations, brief rehearsals, references, and hints of preceding historical facts, and counsels, and enforcements from history, which cannot be understood without the knowledge of that history.
And not only does the law of Moses depend upon the history, and bear such a relation to it, and contain such references to it that it cannot be understood without it, but the manner of writing the law shows plainly that the law and history were written together, they are so connected, interwoven, blended, inwrought, and incorporated in the writing. The history is a part of the law, its preamble from time to time being often made an introduction to laws; and there are continually such transitions from history to law, and from law to history, and such a connexion, and reference, and dependence, that all appears as it were to grow together as the several parts of a tree. These, as they stand, are parts of the continued history, and the history of the facts is only as an introduction and preamble, or reason and enforcement, of the laws, all flowing in a continued series, as the several parts of one uninterrupted stream, all as one body. So that the bare inspection of the writing, as it stands, may be enough to convince any one that all has the same author, and that both were written together. Such is the manner of writing the laws concerning the passover, the chief of all the ceremonial observances, in the 12th chapter of Exodus., and the law concerning the first-born, in the 13th chapter., and the statute and ordinance mentioned in the 15th chapter of Exod. 25, 26. verses. Such also is the manner of writing that law by which is made known to the children of Israel, which particular day is the sabbath, Exod. xvi. 23. Such is the manner of writing the decalogue itself, which in the highest sense is called the law of Moses, in Exod. xx. that it is unreasonable to think that it was recorded by Moses without any of the concomitant history, and those words in the law, Exod. xx. 22, 23. Such are the laws ordering the particular frame of the tabernacle, ark, anointing oil, incense, priest’s garments, with the history of the consequent building, &c. The revelation made to Moses when God proclaimed his name, Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. which is an important part of the law, together with ver. 10, 11., &c. and ver. 30, 31. The several laws given on occasion of Nadab and Abihu’s being burnt, Levit. x. and chap. xvi. particularly ver. 1, 2. taken with what follows, together with the last words in the chapter. See also Levit. xxi. 1. and ver. 24. and chap. xxii. 1-3, 17, 18. The law concerning blasphemy, with the story of the blasphemy of Shelomith s son, Levit. xxiv. The law of the Levites’ service, with the history of their being numbered and accepted instead of the first-born and consecrated, Num. iii. and iv. and viii. The law of putting the leper out of the camp, Num. v. at the beginning. The law of polluted persons keeping the passover, with the history that gave occasion for it, Num. ix. 6. The history of making the trumpets, with the law concerning their use, Num. x. The law constituting the seventy elders, which is only giving a history of their first appointment, Num. xi. The law of the presumptuous sinner, with the history of the sabbath-breaker, Num. xv. 30., &c. The law for the priests, Num. xviii. which supposes a foregoing history of the rebellion of Korah, see ver. 5. and ver. 27. compared with the 13th verse of the preceding chapter. The law of the inheritance of daughters, with the history of Zelophehad’s daughters. The law of the cities of refuge on the east side of Jordan, with the history of the taking of the country.
History and law are every where so grafted one into another, so mutually inwrought, and do, as it were, so grow one out of and into another, and flow one from another in a continued current, that there is all appearance of their originally growing together, and not in the least of their being artificially patched and compacted together afterwards. It seems impossible impartially and carefully to view the manner of their connexion, and to judge otherwise.
Another argument that the same care was taken to preserve the memory of the facts, as to preserve the precepts of the law, viz. by making a public record of them, to be preserved with the same care, and so in like manner laid up in the sanctuary, is, that it is declared in the law, that the whole law was written, and the record of all the precepts of it transmitted to posterity as a monument of the historical facts, or to that end that the memory of those facts might be kept up in future generations. Deut. vi. 20, to the end. “And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments which the Lord our God hath commanded you? Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and the Lord showed signs and wonders great and sore upon Pharaoh and upon all his household before our eyes, and he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers. And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day: and it shall be our righteousness if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.”
It is a plain and demonstrative evidence, that the Jews had all along some standing public records of the facts that we have an account of in the history of the Pentateuch, that these facts are so abundantly, and in such a manner, mentioned or referred to all along in other books of the Old Testament. There is scarcely any part of the history from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Deuteronomy, but what is mentioned or referred to in other books of the Old Testament, that were the writings of after-ages, and some of them are mentioned very often, and commonly with the names of persons and places, and many particular and minute circumstances, not only that part of the history which belongs more immediately to the redemption of Israel out of Egypt, and their journey through the wilderness, but the preceding introductory history, and not only that which concerns the Jewish patriarchs, but the first part of the history of Genesis, even from the very beginning. In these writings we have very often mention of God’s creating the heavens and the earth; Isa. lxv. 17. and lxvi. 22. and xl. 21, 22, 28. and li. 13. and xlii. 5. and xliv. 24. and xlv. 12. and xxxvii. 16. and lxvi. 1, 2. 682 Jer. x. 11, 12. and xxxii. 17. and li. 15. and xiv. 22. 2 Kings xix. 15. Psalm lxxxix. 11, 12. and cii. 25. Zech. xii. 1. Psalm cxv. 15. and cxxi. 2. and cxxiv. 8. and cxxxiv. 3. The manner of God’s creating by speaking the word, Psal. xxxiii. 6, 9. and cxlviii. 5.
God’s creating the light is referred to Psal. lxxiv. 16.
God’s creating the firmament, Psal. xix. 1.
God’s gathering together the waters, Psal. xxxiii. 7. His making the sea and the dry land, Psal. xcv. 5. stretching out the earth above the waters, Psal. cxxxvi. 6. appointing the sea its decreed place, Jer. v. 22. Prov. viii. 29. Psal. civ. 9.
God’s creating the sea, and the many creatures that move herein, and the whale in particular, Psal. civ. 25, 26.
God’s creating man and beast, Jer. xxvii. 5.
God’s creating man, Psal. viii. 5.
Man being made of the dust of the earth, Eccles. xii. 7.
Man’s having dominion given him in his creation over the fish of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and beasts of the earth, Psal. viii. 6, 7, 8.
The first marriage, or God’s making Adam and Eve one, is referred to, Mal. ii. 15.
Adam’s name is mentioned, Hos. vi. 7.
Adam’s violating the covenant is referred to, Hos. vi. 7.
The curse denounced against Adam, that as he was dust, so unto dust he should return, is referred to, Eccles. xii. 7.
Mention is made of the flood of waters that stood above the mountains, and God’s rebuking and removing the flood, Psalm civ. 6, 7.
The waters of Noah’s flood, and their going over the earth, and God’s covenant with Noah, that he would no more destroy the earth with a flood, are mentioned, Isa. liv. 9.
Many of the names of the descendants of Noah that we have an account of in Gen. x. are mentioned in other parts of the Old Testament, and some of them very often, and every where in an agreeableness with the account we have of them there; Psal. lxxviii. 51. and cv. 23, 27. and cvi. 22. and lxxxiii. 8. Isa. xi. 11. and xxiii. 1, 2, 12, 13. Jer. ii. 10. and xxv. 20-25. and xlix. 34-39. Ezek. xxvii. 5-15. and ver. 20-25. chap. xxx. 45. and xxxii. 24, 26. and xxxviii. 2-5, 6, 13. Micah v. 6. and in many other places.
The names of others also that we have an account of as heads of nations in the history of the Pentateuch before Moses’s birth, beside the patriarchs of the Jewish nation, are frequently mentioned, Psal. lxxxiii. 6, 7. Isa. xi. 14, 15. Isa. lx. 6, 7. Jer. ii. 10. Jer. xxv. 20, 25. Jer. xlix. throughout, and in many other places, all is in agreeableness to the history of the Pentateuch. The Philistines coming forth out of Caphtor, Amos ix. 7. Jer. xlvii. 4. compared with Genesis x. 14. and Deut. ii. 23.
The name Babel is often mentioned. There is particular mention of the ancestors of the Jews dwelling on the other side of the river Euphrates, and particularly Terah the father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor, Josh. xxiv.
His being called with Sarah his wife, Isa. li. 1, 2.
God’s blessing Abraham is mentioned, Isa. li. 1, 2.
God’s entering into covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, promising them the land of Canaan, Psal. cv. 8, 9, 10, 11, 42.
The church of God in the families of those patriarchs, being very small, and their being strangers and sojourners in the land of Canaan, and their going from one nation to another, and from one kingdom to another people, and God’s wonderfully restraining men from hurting them, and his reproving kings for their sakes, and God’s calling them prophets, Psal. cv. 12-15.
Melchizedek is mentioned by name as being a great priest of the true God, and both a king and a priest, Psal. cx. 4.
God’s fixing the border of the seed of Abraham at the river Euphrates, as the history of the Pentateuch informs us that God did in his promise to Abraham, Gen. xv. 18. and afterwards from time to time to the Israelites, is referred to 2 Sam. viii. 3.
The great plentifulness of the land of Sodom is spoken of, Ezek. xvi. 49.
Their being very open, and barefaced, and shameless in their wickedness, Isa. iii. 9.
Their being the subjects of sudden destruction, Lam. iv. 6.
God’s overthrowing them with fire, Amos iv. 11.
The birth of Isaac, as a special gift of God to Abraham, Josh. xxiv. 3.
The birth of Jacob and Esau, the sons of Isaac, by a special gift of God, Josh. xxiv. 4.
Esau is mentioned under the names of both Esau and Edom, as Jacob’s brother, in the book of Obadiah, and often elsewhere.
Jacob’s taking hold of Esau’s heel when they were born, is mentioned, Hosea xii. 3.
God’s appearing to Jacob at Bethel, Hosea xii. 4.
Jacob’s fleeing into the country of Syria, and there serving for a wife, and particularly his serving there in doing the business of a shepherd or keeping sheep, Hos. xii. 12.
The two wives of Jacob, Rachel and Leah, are mentioned as those that did build the house of Israel, Ruth iv. 11.
The names of the twelve sons of Jacob are mentioned in Ezek. xlviii. and very often elsewhere.
And the name of Ishmael, and his posterity, and of the sons of Abraham by Keturah, and the sons of Lot, and the sons of Esau, are often mentioned, agreeably to the account we have of them in Genesis.
Joseph’s being sold into Egypt, and being a servant there, Psal. cv. 17.
Tamar’s bearing Pharez to Judah, Ruth iv. 12.
Joseph’s having divine revelations in prison, and his thereby foretelling future events, and those predictions coming to pass, and that being the occasion of Pharaoh’s taking him out of prison and setting him at liberty, Psal. cv. 19, 20.
And Joseph being upon this exalted over all the land of Egypt, and being made lord of Pharaoh’s house, and ruler of his substance, and being next to the king himself in power and dignity, and being Pharaoh’s vicegerent, and so having power and authority over all the princes and nobles of Egypt, Psal. cv. 21, 22.
The famine that was at that time in the land of Canaan, that obliged Israel and his family to seek elsewhere for bread, is mentioned, Psal. cv. 16.
Their multiplying exceedingly in Egypt, till they were become more and mightier than the Egyptians, and the Egyptians dealing subtilely with them to diminish them. Psal. cv. 24, 35. agreeable to Exod. i. 9, 10.
The Egyptians first loving the Israelites, and then afterwards being turned to hate them, Psal. cv. 25.
The particular kind of their service in handling pots, wherein they carried their mortar, and working in furnaces, in which they burnt their brick, is referred to 1 Kings viii. 51. and Jer. xi. 4. and Ps. lxviii. 13. and lxxxi. 6.
God’s promising and securing to them in Egypt to bring them forth out of the land of Egypt into a land flowing with milk and honey. Ezek. xx. 6. agreeable to Exod. iii 8, 10, 12, 14, 17. and chap. vi. 2-8. where we have an account of his swearing by his great name JEHOVAH, and I AM THAT I AM.
God’s working very great wonders for his people in the time of Moses and Aaron, Psal. lxxvii. 11-14.
His working very great wonders in Egypt, Psal. lxxviii. 12, 43. and lxxxi. 5. and cv. 27. and cxxxv. 9. and cvi. 9. Josh. xxiv. 5. Great tokens and wonders upon Pharaoh and all his servants, Psal. cxxxv. 9.
God’s redeeming the people out of Egypt, Judg. vi. 8, 9. and xi. 16. 1 Sam. xii. 6-8. Psal. lxxxi. 10. and lxxiv. 2. and lxxvii. 15. and lxxviii. 42. and cxiv. 1. and cxi. 9. Jer. ii. 6, 20. and xi. 4. 1 Kings viii. 51. Jer. xvi. 4. Ezek. xx. 10. Hos. xii. 13. Amos ix. 7. Micah vi. 4. and many other places.
The plague of lice is mentioned Psal. cv. 31.
God’s sending hail, and thunder, and lightning, and flaming fire with hail, to the breaking of the trees of the field and destroying their cattle, Psal. lxxxviii. 47,48. and cv. 32. agreeably to Exod. ix. 22,. &c.
The plague of darkness, Psal. cv. 28.
Their going out with silver and with gold, Psal. cv. 37.
Their being brought out with a strong hand, and an outstretched arm, Psal. cxxxvi. 12.
The people going to the Red sea, Judg. ix. 6.
The Egyptians pursuing after the people with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea, Josh. xxiv. 6.
The people crying unto the Lord at the Red sea, Josh. xxiv. 7.
God’s putting darkness between Israel and the Egyptians, Josh. xxiv. 7.
God’s dividing the Red sea, and causing the people to pass through, and causing the waters to stand as an heap; his turning the sea into dry land, so that the people went through on foot dry shod, Psal. lxxviii. 13. lxvi. 6. and lxxiv. 13. lxxvii. 16, 19, 20. cxiv. 3, 4. cxxxvi. 13, 14. cvi. 8, 9. Isa. x. 26. li. 10. lxiii. 11, 12, 13. Hab. iii. 8-10, 15. Psal. lxxvii. 10-20.
God’s destroying Pharaoh and his hosts, his chariots and his horses by the Red sea, by bringing the waters upon them to cover them, so that there was not one of them left, Psal. lxxiv. 13, 14. lxxvi. 5, 6. lxxviii. 53. cxxxvi. 15. cvi. 10, 11. Isa. x. 26. li. 9, 10. and Josh. xxiv. 7.
God’s doing these things at the Red sea by the lifting up of Moses’s rod, Isa. x. 26.
This destruction of the Egyptians being reported and famed through the earth, Isa. xxiii. 5.
Their soon transgressing, and provoking, after singing praises at the Red sea, by lusting and tempting God, Psal. cvi. 13, 14, 15.
The people’s dwelling in tents in the wilderness, Psal. cvi. 25.
God’s giving the people waters plentifully to supply the whole congregation out of the rock of Meribah, by striking the rock and causing the waters to gush out, Psal. lxxviii. 15, 16, 20. lxxxi. 7. and cv. 4. and cxiv. 8.
Amalek’s coming forth in a hostile manner against Israel in the way when he came up from Egypt, 1 Sam. xv. 2.
God’s entering into covenant with the people at mount Sinai, or Horeb, after they came out of Egypt, and giving the law and statutes, and judgments there, 1 Kings viii. 9. Psal. lxxvi. 8. Ezek. xx. 10, 11. Mal. iv. 4.
God’s giving the law by a very terrible and awful voice from heaven, Psal. lxxvi. 8.
God’s appearing there with extraordinary manifestations of his majesty and glory in the heavens and in the earth, with an exceeding shining brightness and beams of glory, attended with the utmost danger of being struck dead in a moment, as by a pestilence, to those that transgressed, Hab. iii. 3, 4, 5.
God’s saying on that occasion that he would destroy the people, but Moses standing before him as an intercessor for them, to turn away God’s anger, on which God spared them, Psal. cvi. 23.
Moses’s putting the two tables of stone into the ark at mount Sinai, when he made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt, 1 Kings viii. 9.
The people lusting for flesh, and tempting God by asking meat for their lust, Psal. lxxviii. 17, 18, 19.
God’s wrath on that occasion, Psal. xxviii. 21., &c.
God’s giving the people quails in answer to their desire, in vast abundance, which were brought by a wind which God caused to blow, and let fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations, Psal. lxxviii. 26., &c. and cv. 4. cvi. 15.
The people not believing, for all God’s wondrous works that they had seen, despising the pleasant land, and not believing his promise, that he would bring them into it, and murmuring at the report of the spies, and being for turning back again into Egypt, Psal. lxxviii. 32., &c. ver. 41. and cvi. 24, 25.
God appearing on that occasion as though he would pour out his fury and consume the whole congregation, but yet spared them for his mercies’ sake, lest the Egyptians and other heathen nations should hear of it, and should take occasion from thence to reproach the name of God, Ezek. xx. 13, 14, 17.
God’s swearing in wrath on that occasion concerning that froward and perverse generation, that they should not enter into his rest, but that he would destroy them in the wilderness, because they had seen God’s miracles, but yet exceedingly provoked him, and often tempted him, Psal. xcv. 8-11. and cvi. 26. Ezek. xx. 15, 16.
God’s promising Caleb the land whereunto he went, Judg. i. 20.
Korah and his company envying Moses and Aaron in the camp, and the earth’s opening her mouth and swallowing up Dathan and Abiram, and their company, and a fire from the Lord consuming others of them, Psal. cvi. 16., &c.
What Moses said to the Levites about their inheritance, Numb. xviii. 20., &c. referred to “But unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not any inheritance; the Lord God of Israel was their inheritance, as he said unto them.”
The people’s angering Moses at the water of strife, provoking his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes, Psal. cvi. 32, 33.
Israel’s sending messengers to the king of Edom, saying, “Let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land,” and the king of Edom’s refusing to hearken thereto, Judg. xi. 17.
The people compassing the land of Moab, and coming by the east side of the land of Moab, and pitching on the other side of Arnon, because Arnon was the border of Moab, Judg. xi. 18. exactly agreeable to the history of the Pentateuch, Numb. xxi. 11, 13. and xxii. 36.
The people not being suffered to pass through the land of Moab, Judg. xi. 17, 18.
Israel’s sending messengers from their camp in the borders of Moab to Sihon, king of the Amorites, saying, “Let us pass, we pray thee, through thy land,” and Sihon refusing, but upon this, gathering all his people together, and coming to Jahaz to fight against Israel, Judg. xi. 18, 19, 20.
God’s delivering Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and Israel’s possessing their land from Arnon, even unto Jabbok, and from the wilderness even unto Jordan, dwelling in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that belonged to Sihon, exactly agreeable to the history, Judg. xi. 21-26. Josh. xxiv. 8. Psal. cxxv. 10, 11. cxxxvi. 17-22.
But that Balak, the king of Moab, durst not venture, after he had seen this, to go put against Israel, and never engaged them in battle, until Israel went against them, Judg. xi. 25, 26. agreeable to Numb. xxii. 2. and the consequent history.
Israel’s sinning by joining themselves to Baal Peor, and eating the sacrifices of their gods, and God’s being provoked, and executing wrath on the congregation for this sin, and Phineas’s executing judgment on this occasion, that was counted to him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore, Psal. cvi. 28-31.
The war of Israel with Balak, and their victory, Josh. xxiv. 9, 10.
God’s speaking from time to time to Moses and Aaron from a pillar of cloud, Psal. xcix. 6, 7.
Moses’s faithfulness in his office, Psal. xcix. 7. agreeable to Num. xii. 7. Their great perverseness, hardness of heart of that generation, and their frequent rebellions, and provoking, and vexing God’s Spirit, and tempting of him in the wilderness, even for forty years, Psal. lxxviii. throughout, especially ver. 40, 41. and lxxxi. 11, 12. and xcv. 8-11. Isa. lxiii. 10. Ezek. xx. 13.
God’s often pardoning and sparing the people, so as to forbear to destroy the whole congregation at Moses’s intercession, but yet not without giving great manifestations of his wrath towards their sins, taking vengeance of their inventions, as Moses ground their calf to powder, Psal. lxxviii. 38., &c. and xcix.
THE PEOPLE’S PROMISING TIME AFTER TIME TO REPENT WHEN SMITTEN WITH TERRIBLE JUDGMENTS, BUT YET TURNING AGAIN QUICKLY TO SIN, NOT BEING STEDFAST IN GOD’S COVENANT, PSAL. LXXVIII. 31-37.
God’s showing great favour to the young generation, Jeremiah xxxi. 2.
He that can observe the facts of the history of the Pentateuch after this manner mentioned and referred to in the writings of the several ages of the Israelitish nation, and not believe that they had all along a great and standing record of these things, and this very history, can swallow the greatest absurdity. If they had not had this history among them, or one that exactly agrees with it, it would have been morally impossible, but that amongst this vast number of citations and references, with so great a multitude of particularities and circumstances mentioned by so many different writers in different ages, there must have been a great many inconsistencies with the history, and a great many inconsistencies one with another; and it would have puzzled and confounded the skill of any writer who should have attempted to form a history afterwards that should every where without jarring so harmonize with such various manifold citations, and rehearsals, and references so interspersed in, and dispersed through, all those writings of several ages; and unless these writers had such a record to be their common guide, it could not have been otherwise than utterly impossible.
It was impossible that this vast number of events, with so many circumstances, with names of persons and places, and minute incidents, should be so particularly and exactly known, and the knowledge of them so fully, and distinctly, and without confusion or loss, kept up for so many ages, and be so often mentioned in so particular a manner, without error or inconsistency through so many ages, without a written record. How soon does an oral tradition committed to a multitude vary, and put on a thousand shapes, and mix, and jumble, and grow into confusion! Here appears in fact to have been an exact consistent knowledge and memory of things kept up, and that shows that there was in fact a standing record; and the comparing of the records of the Pentateuch with these innumerable citations and references, shows that this was in fact that identical record.
The facts of this history are very often rehearsed just in the same order and mariner as they are in the history of the Pentateuch; and in many places there is a rehearsal of the facts of very great parts, and sometimes a kind of abridgment of the bigger part of the history, as Josh. xxiv. Psal. lxxviii. and cv. and cvi. and cxxxvi. Ezek. xx. 5-23. And we sometimes find the facts of former parts of the history of Genesis joined with the story of the children of Israel’s redemption out of Egypt, and travels in the wilderness, as introductory to it, and sometimes even beginning with the story of the creation, in like manner as it is in the Pentateuch, and after the captivity, in Nehem. ix.
These events are commonly mentioned after such a manner as plainly supposes that a full account of them was already in being, and well known and established, as in those words, Though Noah, Daniel, and Job stood before me. It supposes the history of those men extant and well known among the people, and so in these words, We should have been like Sodom and like unto Gomorrah. It is supposed that the history of the destruction of those cities was what the people were well acquainted with. So those words, Psal. lxxviii. 40. “How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert,” plainly supposes a history extant, that gives a particular account of those things. It is after the manner of a reference to a history. So it is very often elsewhere, as Ruth iv. 11. “The Lord make this woman that is come into thine house like Rachel, and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel” So Josh. xiii. 33. “But unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not any inheritance, the Lord God of Israel was their inheritance, as he said unto them;” the words are mentioned plainly after the manner of a citation. So Judg. i. 20. “And they gave Hebron unto Caleb, as Moses said.” Psal. cx. “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek:” it supposes an extant account of Melchizedek. See also 2 Sam. viii. 3. Isa. xiii. 19. Jer. xlix. 18. and 1. 40. Ezek. xvi. 46-56. Amos iv. 11. Zech. ii. 9. Isa. xli. 1-8. and li. 1, 2, 9, 10. Micah vi. 5. and very many other places there are that show the same thing, which it would be tedious to mention.
And sometimes these historical events are mentioned so much in the words of the history of the Pentateuch, as could not be without a written history to be a guide; as particularly Jephthah’s rehearsal, Judges xi. 15-28.
That the children of Israel had a great standing record among them of those facts that they looked upon sacred and holy, is evident from Psal. cxi. 4. The psalmist, speaking of these works, says thatGod had made his wonderful works to be remembered . They are those works of which we have an account in the Pentateuch, as is manifest from ver. 7, 9. The words in the original that are translated, he hath made to be remembered, are Greek or Hebrew he hath made a record. The word signifies memorial or record. The word recorder,2 Sam. viii. 16. 1 Kings iv. 3. 2 Kings xviii. 18. Isa. xxxvi. 3, 22. and other places, is Greek or Hebrew which is a word of the same root; the words Zeker and Mazkir are just in the same manner akin to one another, as the English words recorder and record.
So the history of these facts is called God’s report, (as it is in the original,) Hab. iii. 2. “I have heard thy report, and was afraid.” What that report was, appears from what follows: it was the report of those works there mentioned: which works he, in this verse, prays God to revive. But in the 15th and 16th verses. the prophet more plainly tells us what that report was that made him afraid, viz. the account of God’s marching through the Red sea, with the other great works of God, mentioned in the foregoing part of the chapter.
And that this great record that the writers of the Old Testament cited so often, was contained in the book of the law, may be argued from the manner in which these facts are sometimes mentioned. The psalmist, in the introduction which he makes to his rehearsal of the story of the Pentateuch in the 78th Psalm, calls that story by the name of law, ver. 1. and the precepts and history are united in the notice he here takes of them, and mentions the history as what God had commanded the memory of to be carefully kept up as the proper enforcement of the precepts, ver. 7. with the foregoing verse. And being given of God as an enforcement of the precepts of the law, is as properly looked upon as a part of the law, as the prophecies and other arguments made use of in Deuteronomy, and other parts of the law. So the history is introduced in such a manner in the 105th Psalm, speaking in the introduction of the covenant and law which God established with the people, ver. 5, 8, 9, 10. that makes it naturally to be supposed that the history he rehearses is taken out of the book of the law. The wonderful works and precepts of the law are spoken of together, as in like manner to be remembered; ver. 5. “Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth.” So these wonderful works are repeatedly mentioned or referred to together, Psal. cxi. And so again they are in the introduction to the rehearsal we have of this history in the 106th Psalm, as in ver. 2, 3. So the law and the historical facts are mentioned together, Psal. ciii. 7. as being both alike of divine revelation. He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.” We find the precepts and history cited together, mixed, and blended in the 81st Psalm, as they are in the Pentateuch.
It appears from profane history to have been the manner of the nations of old to keep the ancient histories of their nation, and their genealogies, and the genealogies and acts of their gods, in their temples, where they were committed to the care of their priests as sacred things. This, in all probability, was in imitation of the example of the Israelites in keeping the Mosaic history which Moses committed to the care of the priests, to be laid up in the sanctuary as a sacred thing; and the ancient records of the neighbouring heathens, particularly of the Phoenicians, show the priests of the Jews had such a history in keeping 686giving an account of the creation of the world, &c. even so long ago as the days of the Judges. This appears from Sanchoniathon’s history, wherein he mentions many of the same facts, and confesses that he had them from a certain priest of the god Iao. The ancient heathen writers do make mention of Moses as the writer of the things contained in the former part of the book of Genesis. [See instances, Miscoll. No. 1012 and 1014, at the place marked thus (||) in the margin. See also ff. No. 429, at the same mark, and 432.]
Again: Another argument that will invincibly prove that the history of the Pentateuch, as well as the precepts, was of old, from the beginning, contained in the book of the law, that sacred book which the children of Israel had among them laid up in the sanctuary from the days of Moses, is this, viz. that it is certain that the book which the Jews had among them, when they first returned from the Babylonish captivity, which they called the book of the law, and the law of Moses, and made use of as their law, as the same book of the law that their nation had all along as their great and standing record and rule, and as such had kept in the sanctuary of old, was that very Pentateuch which we now have, containing both the history and the precepts. This was the book of the law that Ezra made use of, and that Ezra and the Levites that were with him did so publicly and solemnly read and explain to the people, as we have account, Neh. viii. and which was laid up in the second temple in the same manner as the book of the law of Moses had been in the first. That this book was the same with the Pentateuch that we now have, is exceeding manifest from the genealogies and historical references in the first book of Chronicles, that was written on occasion of all Israel being reckoned by genealogies after they came out of the captivity. See 1 Chron. ix. 1. None that read those genealogies and historical references will make himself so ridiculous as to question whether these were not taken from the very history that we have in the Pentateuch, and an history that the Jews had among them as the ancient, great, and established records of their nation.
And again: If they had any other book of the law when they first came out of the captivity, it is impossible but that it must be preserved, for they must have a high regard to it as being the same with that sacred book that had been regarded in all former ages as the great and holy rule of their nation, and accordingly kept as most sacred by the priests in the sanctuary of God, in the holy of holies, beside the ark of God. We find the writings of the prophet Jeremiah were preserved, Dan. ix. 2. how much more would they preserve the law of Moses! But the Jews had no books of the law preserved, they have none other now, and have had no other in all ages since; they had no other in Christ’s time, and we have no account of any other in all the accounts we have of the nation, from Christ’s time to the captivity; though in these accounts there be very much said about the book of the law, and though there were many controversies about it from time to time, and innumerable copies of it, and many that made it their business to study, to write, and to teach it, though there were synagogues established through Palestine, and through the world wherever the Jews were dispersed. The custom of synagogues in every city began near the first return from the captivity. See Prideaux, part I. p. 534, &c. Yet there is no mention made in any accounts we have of the Jews of any other book of the law that was among them in any of those times, nor of any knowledge or thought that any of them had that there had ever been any other book of the law in any former times. It is evident that the book of the law that the Jews had in Ezra’s time, was very publicly known among the people, by the great pains that Ezra and others took thoroughly to acquaint them with it, and therefore it would have been impossible to make so great an alteration in that sacred book to which they were taught to pay such a regard, and which was laid up in the holy of holies in the temple, and in their regard to which the people soon after the captivity became, in some respects, even superstitious. I say it would have been impossible to have made so great an alteration in it, that whereas formerly it had only a body of precepts, now it was turned into a large history, with precepts here and there mixed and blended, without some notice being taken of it, and some notable disputes, and controversies, and some remaining traces at least of the alteration, and some remaining knowledge of the former purer volume. It would be endless to reckon up the absurdities of such a supposition.
There were many sects among the Jews in Palestine, having many disputes and differences of opinion about the law of Moses; but there was no such dispute or difference as this, whether this was the genuine book of the law. And not only the Jews in Palestine, but all the Jews through the world, which were so vastly dispersed even in Esther’s time, yet without controversy or any difference of opinion, all acknowledged this same book as the only book of the law, and this was the book of the law that was read in all the synagogues through the world, and was owned by the Samaritans also; (of which more afterwards;) which would have been impossible, if this was so different from that book of the law that the Jews had, and was so publicly known in Ezra’s time. The Sadducees, many of whom were learned men, and boasted of their freedom of thought, and taking liberty to differ from the Jews, and were a kind of infidels, and rejected most other writings that the Jews accounted sacred, yet acknowledged without dispute the book of the Pentateuch, as we now have it, as the genuine book of the law of Moses, and as the record of God. So did the Samaritans, though they hated the Jews, and exceedingly differed from them in other things, and were such enemies to them after the captivity, that they would rather reject a thing for being one of their customs or principles; yet they owned this Pentateuch as the genuine law of Moses, which it is exceeding absurd to suppose they would have done if the book had been new made with all the history foisted in sometime after Ezra; so that undoubtedly this was the book of the law that the Jews owned and made use of, and regarded as the true law of Moses in Ezra’s time.
Now, as to the consequence, if the Pentateuch, as we now have it with its history, was the book that the Jews had and used as the book of the law soon after the captivity, then it will follow that it was also the same book that was their book of the law before the captivity; for if such a great alteration was made in the book of the law, it was either done by Ezra, or by some of the Jews, before he came up to Jerusalem. It was not done by Ezra, for the priests in Jerusalem had the book of the law among them before Ezra came, even when they first came out of the captivity, as appears from Hag. ii. 11, 12, 13. “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean.” See also Ezra ii. 62, 63. iii. 2-8. vi. 18. Hence, if Ezra had made such an alteration, the Jews would all have known it, and could not have been imposed upon, and made to believe that this book was the same with the book of the law. Neither the priests, nor the Levites, nor any of the people, make the least opposition to Ezra’s copy of the law, but all allow it, receiving it as an undoubted copy of the law of Moses. See Neh. viii. And then it is most apparent that the style of the history of the Pentateuch is very different from Ezra’s style in the two books of Chronicles and the book of Ezra, whose style in history is very distinguishable from all the preceding histories of the Old Testament. Besides, it is manifest, that at the time that Ezra went up from Babylon to teach the Jews the law, the book of the law of Moses was not a thing of which the Jews, who were then abroad in the world, were destitute, as of a book which was lost or secreted, of which they were in quest, but of which they had not the possession, but it was a book well known by multitudes, and this fact was a thing at that time notorious and known to the heathen. It is manifest from the copy of Artaxerxes’s letter, Ezra vii. 25. “And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them 687that know them not.” This made it impossible for Ezra to palm upon the people a book of his own contriving and writing, instead of the book of the law of Moses, the grand and ancient law of their God, which was the grand rule of their nation, and the foundation both of their civil and sacred constitution, and of all their privileges, and of their very being as a nation, separated from other nations.
It is very manifest, that soon after Ezra’s coming first to Jerusalem, as it is thought about ten or a dozen years after that event, Nehemiah, the king’s cup-bearer in Shushan, in Persia, was well acquainted with the book of the law of Moses, Neh. i. 7, 8, 9.; which clearly proves the falsity of the supposition that the nation of the Jews had at that time no other book of the law of Moses but that which was of Ezra’s forging and publishing, as nothing would be more absurd than to suppose his new forged book would in so short a time be published, and well known, and received, and established, not only at Jerusalem and Judea, but among the Jews dispersed over the world as far as Shushan, in so short a time.
And it could not be that any of the Jews in Judea should forge this book after the captivity, and impose it on the priests and the people before Ezra came, for this would have made no less jar between Ezra and the rest of the people than the other; for then Ezra would have known that this was not the true book of the law, for he was well acquainted with the law before he came out of the land of the captivity to Jerusalem. He was a noted scribe in the law of Moses in Babylon, Ezra vii. 6. insomuch that he was famed for it among the heathen, and was noted for it by the king of Persia, who over and over gives him that as a name that he was known by, ”Ezra the scribe of the law of the God of heaven.” Ezra vii. 11, 12, 13. And Ezra went up with a design to teach the people in Jerusalem this law of Moses; this was his main errand, as appears from Ezra vii. 6, 10, 14, 21, 23, 25, 26. and the book of the law that he taught the people he did not receive at Jerusalem of any of the priests, or others there, but carried it up with him in his hand, as appears from Ezra vii. 14, 25. and Neh. viii. 1, 2.
This great forgery, or fraudulent substitution of such a book as the Pentateuch for the book of the law of Moses, could not be done and imposed on the Jews at any time soon after the return from the captivity, for from what has been said already, it appears that there was the same book of the law well known by many, and received by all at that time, both by the Jews in Judea, and also by those who still remained in the land of their captivity; which could not possibly arise from any other cause than the tradition of this book from their forefathers who lived before the captivity. It is impossible that such a forgery should so quickly, so easily, and universally, without dispute or difference of parties, obtain through so great a nation, so disunited in the places of their abode. It could not have been so difficult to introduce and give currency to a forgery in any thing, as in the book of the law of Moses, their grand and sacred rule, and constitution and foundation: so much so that never did any people so much, and in so many respects, depend on any body of laws, as the Jewish nation depended on this book. It was for the sake of the laws commanded them and the privileges given them in this book, that they forsook their habitations, and all their possessions in the land of their captivity, and bore the loss and trouble of their journey to Palestine, and the great difficulties of rebuilding their city and temple, and resettling again in the land, and re-establishing their state there. And therefore we may be sure they would be, above all things, careful with regard to that book. In Haggai’s and Zechariah’s time, before the temple was finished, they had this book among them, as I observed before; but then many were living that had seen the former temple, and must know what kind of book that was that was called the law of Moses, that was amongst the people before the captivity, and was kept in their first temple. The highest ambition of the Jews that returned from the captivity, was to be like their forefathers in their religious privileges; and therefore they were for building a temple as near as they could like the former, and those that had seen the former temple wept bitterly that this new temple was no more like it; and doubtless they would be for having the same book of the law. The people that remembered the former temple must needs know what book that was, that was then called the book of the law, being so much and so severely reproved and threatened from time to time, by the prophet Jeremiah, for not conforming themselves to it, Jer. ii. 8. “The priests said not, Where is the Lord? And they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.” Jer. xviii. 18. “Come and let us devise devices against Jeremiah, for the law shall not perish from the priests.’’ Jer. xlii. 23. and viii. 8. “How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it, the pen of the scribes is in vain.” Chap. vi. 19. and xvi. 11. xliv. 10. and xxvi. 4. and xxxii. 23. See also Lam. ii. 9. Ezek. vii. 26. and xxii. 26.; and indeed the whole book of Jeremiah seems to suppose the book of the law extant, and visible among the people; the people therefore, that returned from the captivity, would not easily have received any other book, as the book of the law, to be their sacred rule, and to be laid up in the sanctuary, different from that which their forefathers had, and which had been laid up in the holy of holies in the former temple.
The book of the law of Moses was not lost in the time of the captivity, but was well known among the Jews in Babylon, Dan. ix. 10, 11, 12, 13.; and that this was a fact very publicly and openly known among the heathen, that they had the law of their God among them in the time of the captivity, is a thing manifest from Dan. vi. 5. and Ezra vii. 12, 21, 25.; yea it was extant among them just before their return, as appears from Dan. ix. 10, 11, 12, 13. “Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured out upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses, the servant of God.” And several of the prophecies of Daniel suppose the book of the covenant to be extant, Dan. xi. 22, 28, 30, 32. which shows more plainly how impossible it was for another book so different to be universally imposed on the nation in Babylon and Judea instead of this book, so soon after the captivity. It appears that the Jews in the captivity kept the writings of the prophet Jeremiah among them, from 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, had 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 his proving that he was of the seed of some other person that lived since did not prove it, unless 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, 688agreed in one established law, which was very diverse from those of all other nations; Esther iii. 8.
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 history 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 Phoenician 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 strong argument that they took it from the Jews before the captivity, and not afterwards. Whence should the Samaritans take 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. 8. 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 heart. Hence the priests and Levites in all their cities and dwellings through the land, must be supposed to 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, Psal. 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 might 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. It 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 Manasseh. 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 him in the reading of it. But we are not to suppose, that during that degenerate time, there 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 Clerc 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, 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 name 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 689Abimelech, 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 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 it.
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 records, 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.
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