Page images
PDF
EPUB

we are further told, that by this Shechina is meant the living God, the Angel of the covenant, the God of Jacob, and the angel that redeemed him, whom the prophets called the angel of his presence. See R. Menachem, fo. 2:1; 40:3; 20:2; 27:1; 34:4; 38: 3; 73:1, and 83: 4.

6. With respect to the Memra, or the word of the Lord, our Rabbins teach as follows : In Gen. 3:8, it is said they heard the word, instead of the voice; in this view, all the Targums agree. The Jerusalem Targum begins the next verse in this manner: “ · And the word of the Lord God called unto Adam ;” another says, “ They heard the word of the Lord God walking.” On this passage we have the following observation in Sepher Zeror Hammor: “Before they sinned, they saw the glory of the blessed God speaking with him, i. e. with God; but after their sin, they only heard the voice walking." See Ber. Rab. in Loco.

Ankelos paraphrases Gen. 31: 22, And the word from before the Lord came to Satan;" and Exod. 20: 19, not the word from before the Lord speak with us, lest we die."

The Memra is also called the Mediator. According to the Jerusalem Targum on Gen. 21:33, Abraham at Beersheba prayed in the name of the word of the Lord, the God of the world.” Deut. 4:7, is thus paraphrased by Jonathan: “God is near, and the name of the word of the Lord;" and, Jer. 29: 14, he says, “ I will be sought by you and by my word, and I will be inquired of through you by my word.” Again in Hosea, 4:9, “ God will receive the prayer of Israel by his word, and have mercy upon them, and will make them by his word like a beautiful fig.tree.” This is in perfect conformity with our Rabbins, who, when supplicating God, entreated him that he would look on the face of his anointed.

Further, the Memra is also called the Redeemer and the Messiah,

“ Let

In the Jerusalem Targum, the words of dying Jacob, Gen. 49: 18, " I have waited for thy salvation," are thus paraphrased : “Our father Jacob said, my soul expects not the redemption of Gideon, the son of Joash, which is a temporal salvation, nor that of Sampson, which is a transitory salvation, but the redemption which thou didst promise should come through the Memra to thy people.” The reader will take notice, that what the Jerusalem Targum calls the Memra, Jonathan calls the Messiah; for says he, “I expect the redemption of the Messiah, the Son of David, who shall come to gather to himself the people of Israel." That by the word, the paraphrasts understood the Messiah, is evident from their interpretation of the 110th Psalm, v. 1, “ The Lord said unto his word,” i. e. unto the Messiah, for this passage has ever been applied to him, (p. 261, 308.) The promise of the seed of the woman, applied by our Rabbins to the Messiah, (p. 150,) is applied by the Targum to the angel who says, “ And that Adam knew his wife Eve, who desired the angel, and she conceived and bare Cain, and said, I have obtained a man, the angel of the Lord.” Now as Jehovah is the word used in the original, we cannot conceive that the interpreter would have given this paraphrase, had he not known that it was believed by his countrymen, that he who was revealed in sacred Scripture as the angel of the Lord, was Jehovah or the true God, and also that he was to be incarnate as the angel of the covenant, or Messiah.

We observe once more, that the Memra is also described as the only begotten, the Creator.

Thus the remarkable verse, Gen. 3: 22, " The Lord God said, behold the man has become as one of us,' is in the Jerusalem Targum paraphrased in the following striking manner : “ The word of the Lord said, behold Adam whom I have created, the only begotten in the world, as I am the only begotten in the highest heavens." You will notice, my dear Benjamin, how similar the language of our ancient Rabbins is to the language of the New Testament. “In the beginning was the word—all things were made by him—we beheld his glory as the glory of the only begotten of the Father." John, 1:1, 3, 14.

$ 7. I proceed to consider the next proposition, viz. that all these appearances of the angel Jehovah are ascribed to the same person.

R. Moses, Gerundensis, Nechmanni, when explaining Joshua, 5: 14, where we have an account of the appearance of one called the “ Captain of the Lord's host,” he says, "This angel, if we speak exactly, is the Angel Redeemer, of whom it is written, my name is in him, that very angel who said to Jacob, Gen. 31:13, I am the God of Bethel, he of whom it is said, and God called to Moses out of the bush. Exod. 3:4. He is called an angel, because he governs the world; for it is written, Deut. 6:21, The Lord brought you out of Egypt, and Num. 20:6, He sent his angel and brought you out of Egypt. Besides it is written, Isa. 63: 9, And the angel of his face saved them. He is that angel who is the face of God, of whom it is said, Exod. 33: 14, My face shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. In fine, he is that angel of whom the prophet Malachi says, c. 3: 4, "And the Lord whom

ye

seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in.'” Again he says, “ Diligently attend to the meaning of these words, 'my face shall go before thee;' for Moses and the Israelites always desired the chief angel, but who this was they could not truly understand for neither did they learn it from others, nor could they sufficiently attain it by prophecy. But the face of God signifies God himself, which is acknowledged by all our interpreters. But no one could have the least notion of these things, unless he be truly instructed in the mysteries of the law.” Again he says, "My face shall go before you, i. e. the angel of the covenant whom ye desire, in whom my face shall be seen, of whom it is said, in an acceptable time have I heard thee, my name is in him, and I will cause thee to rest; for I will cause that he shall be gentle and benign to thee, neither shall he lead thee with rigor, but calmly and mercifully." Wolf. Synops. Joshua, 5:14; Owen, Heb. fo. 1. ex. 10, p. 129.

Concerning this angel, R. Solomon, on Gen. 48: 16, says: "The angel that delivered me, that is Jacob,) that is the angel who was wont to be sent to me in my

affliction, as it is said, the angel of the Lord spake to me in a dream, saying, Jacob, I am the God of Bethel, he of whom it is said, my name is in him.” Again he says on Exod. 3, where the appearance of the angel Jehovah is mentioned, * This is he of whom it is said, and God called to Moses out of the bush ; he is called angel, because he governs the world; for it is written in one place, Jehovah brought us out of Egypt, and again, the angel of his presence saved them, i. e. the angel who is the face of God, of whom it is said, my face shall go before you." Lastly,

The angel of whom the prophet Malachi speaks: “And the Lord whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the Angel of the covenant whom ye desire." At length he adds, " The face of God is God himself, as all interpreters do acknowledge, but no one can rightly understand this without being instructed in the law."

R. Menachem of Reka on the same passage (Gen. 48: 16) says,

" He (i. e. Jacob) means the Shechina whom he speaks of as the redeeming angel.” See also R. Bechai, fo. 71, c. 4. Menassah Ben Israel, Quer. 64. Gen. p. 118, and Aben. Sueb, on the same text.

§ 8. I proceed now to show that all the incommunicable names, titles, attributes, &c. are ascribed to this angel Jehovah, and therefore he could not be a created angel. This proposition will appear evident, if we examine the different appearances of this angel referred to before. The first is that to Hagar. Here you will observe, my dear Benjamin, that she called him God; and in versc 13 we are assured that he was Jehovah, for she called the name Jehovah that spake unto her, “ Thou Jehovah seest me." This expression may be considered as a personal character, signifying, not merely that the name Jehovah was given him, but that it was in him, (Exod. 23 : 21,) as possessing the same nature with the Father. Hagar did not call him God who spake by the angel, but she called the name of the Lord that spake to her.God. Further : she ascribes the attribute of omniscience to him, for she called him the God that saw her; he revealed himself, and she believed in him as one to whom divine works belong; ver. 10. She gave this angel divine worship, for she addressed him in the language of faith and praise, and in the ascription of divine perfection to him, ver. 13, “ Thou God seest me:" thus, in this single appearance of this angel, we find all the criteria of divinity appropriated to him.

The Chaldee paraphrase translates the 13th verse, “ And she called on the name of the Lord who spake with her.” And the Jerusalem Targum says, “She prayed in the name of the Word as of the Lord that was revealed unto her, and said, Blessed art thou, O God!" Here is

prayer

and praise ascribed to the angel. Further : the angel promised, “ I will make of him a great nation," which requires the almighty power of God to perform.

$ 9. Now, my dear Benjamin, I wish you well to consider that Hagar either believed him to be a mere angel, or a Divine being. If the former, then she was a willful blasphemer and idolater. If the latter, but by mistake, (i. e. she believed him to be a Divine person, but was mistaken,) then she was led into this most fatal mistake by the mode in which God communicated his will to her, which we cannot believe. Nor would God have accepted such ignorant

« PreviousContinue »