Page images
PDF
EPUB

raelites. (See Bochart, Geog. Sacr. Phalag. lib. IV. c. 36 and 38.)

Moses, indeed, did not know that the land east of the Jordan was to be allotted to the Israelites, until he was about to commence the conquest of that region. "And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before thee; begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit his land." (Deut. 11. 31; Num. XXI. 33, 34.) There is peculiar strength and import in the expressions, "I have begun to give," nn 'nɔn; and, "begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit," nwns wn son. Eichhorn incorrectly says, it was after some reluctance that Moses permitted the two tribes and half-tribe to settle in the country east of the Jordan. (Vol. 1. p. 258.) But the correct statement is, that the tribes, Gad and Reuben, requested Moses to give them their inheritance east of the Jordan, and not bring them over Jordan at all. Moses was displeased at their proposition; not displeased that they wished to obtain their inheritance there, but that they should entertain the thought of abandoning the prosecution of the war and the conquest of Canaan, in conjunction with their brethren; he suspecting, as Josephus expresses it, that they feared to encounter the Canaanites in battleὁ δὲ ὑπολαβὼν αὐτοὺς δείσαντας τὴν πρὸς Xavavalovs páxnv (Antiq. iv. p. 157, ed. Huds.); but on their promising to assist their brethren in the conquest of their inheritance in Canaan, saying, "We will build sheepfolds for our cattle and cities for our little ones, but we ourselves will go ready armed before the children of Israel, until we have brought them into their place; and our little ones shall dwell in the fenced cities, because of the inhabitants of the land; we will not return unto our houses, until the children of Israel have inherited every man his inheritance" (Num. xxxii. 16. 18; Deut. III. 18, &c.): then Moses consented to give them their inheritance in the land east of the Jordan.

When Moses is ordering the Israelites to appoint three cities of refuge in the land of Canaan, he adds: "And if the Lord thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers, . . . then shalt thou add three cities more for thee." (Deut. xix. 1, 2, 3, & 8.) This clearly indicates that the land promised extended beyond the limits of the territory to be acquired by the first early conquests under Joshua, and that all

the land promised by God was destined to be gained by future conquests. Some of the tribes of the Canaanites, mentioned in both the Hebrew and Samaritan texts (Gen. x. 15, &c.), inhabited, as has been already remarked, the region north-east of Lebanon, between that chain of mountains and the Euphrates, as the Semarites and the Hemathites; the former possessed the famous city of Emesa, the other Hemath or Epiphania; and it is highly probable that they possessed the region as far as Thapsacus, the utmost boundary of the territory of the Israelites on the north-east. (Bochart, Geog. Sacr. Phalag. lib. 4, c. 36 and 38.)

Thus, on examination, we find that the passages in the Pentateuch, in which the territory assigned to the Israelites is said to extend north-eastward as far as the Euphrates, are not, as Eichhorn supposes, interpolations. I strongly doubt whether any interpolations, strictly speaking, can be proved to exist in the Hebrew text. I do not denominate the transference of marginal glosses interpolations. These were not designedly and fraudulently inserted into the text, but they imperceptibly, in the lapse of time, during the numerous transcriptions of the sacred text which must have been made in a long series of years, insinuated themselves into the text from the margin, where they were originally designed only to illustrate or explain. But a pretended declaration of Jehovah would never be set down in the margin. An interpolation strictly means a designedly deceptive, impositional insertion of a word or passage not belonging to the original, and I strongly doubt the existence of any such interpolation in the Jewish scriptures. The passages of which we are speaking, and which Eichhorn assigns to the class of interpolations, are recorded as declarations or promises of Jehovah; the Jews would not have interpolated passages of this nature; but matters not claiming to be declarations of Jehovah, may, during the many transcriptions of the text, have been written in the margin, such as illustrations or explanations, ethnographical, geographical, or historical, and these, by subsequent transcribers, transferred into the text. Moreover, as the Jewish constitution was strictly theocratic, it seems to me that no great national event, whether political or religious, would occur without being previously declared by Jehovah, or predicted by his ministers, the prophets. This great national event, the extension of the Jewish dominion to

the Euphrates, must have been previously declared; and it is declared, by such bounds being assigned, in many passages of the Pentateuch, as coming from Jehovah himself. We find a strong collateral passage in Deut. xIx. 1, 2, 3, and 8. When Moses is ordering the Israelites to appoint three cities of refuge in the land of Canaan, he adds, "And if the Lord thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers, .. then shalt thou add three cities more for thee." This clearly indicates that the land promised extended beyond the limits of the territory to be acquired by the first early conquests under Joshua, and that all the land promised by God was destined to be gained by future conquests. Joshua appointed three cities of refuge; three additional cities were to be appointed whenever they should acquire all the land promised to their fathers. This refers to the land of Canaan, and the only region of Canaan remaining in which, from the extent of it, more cities of refuge would, according to this peculiarity in the Jewish constitution, have been required, was northwards to the Euphrates. This view of the matter is supported, too, by passages in subsequent writers. I shall cite only one, Joshua XIII. 5, where Hamath is mentioned among the places yet remaining to be conquered. The territory of the Hemathites extended towards the Euphrates.

The expression, too, in 2 Sam. VIII. 3, and in 1 Chron. XVIII. 3, is quite accordant with the opinion of the genuineness of the passages in the Pentateuch respecting the extent of the land northwards to the Euphrates. In 2 Sam. the words are 'n

17, which, in our authorized version, is translated, "to recover his border at the river Euphrates;" the word Euphrates is not in the Hebrew text, but is understood, and is supplied by the Masoretic reading in the margin: it is, however, in the parallel passage, 1 Chron. The passage in Chron., 7013 17′ 3′37 П, is, in our version, translated, "to stablish his dominion by the river Euphrates." The word 17 may be translated either "border" or "dominion;" the most usual word to denote border or boundary is ; taken in the sense of "his border," in which sense it is understood by the Targumist, as it is explained by the word Dinn, "border," 17' would then clearly denote that such was the boundary assigned originally to the Israelites. But adopting the other sense of it, "his domi

nion," the expression, I think, will, on examination, be found to denote the same thing just as clearly. The Septuagint version is, iπιoτñoαι Tην Xeipa avrou, "to stablish his dominion." The ἐπιστῆσαι τὴν χεῖρα words in Sam., 17 ans, and the equivalent expression in Chron., 17' ', do not signify "to-extend his dominion,” or "his border," as the expression would be if the region did not properly, or by assignment, belong to the Israelites, as part of the inheritance promised. If it had been intended to denote that David went "to extend his dominion or his border," the

but the words ; גבולו or להרחיב ידו expression would have been

signify, "to stablish his power or dominion," thus indicating that the region properly belonged to the Jews, as part of their promised territory, and David went to stablish his authority over it.

Passages such as Deut. 11. 10. 12, and 20. 23, 11. 9, are ethnographical and geographical explanations, and being originally marginal, were, in the lapse of time, inserted in the text. It is most likely that the greater part of, or all such marginal observations in the Pentateuch, originated in the schools of the prophets, which were both a literary and religious institution. In these, the time of the students was devoted to the cultivation of music, poetry, the study of the Mosaic writings, and such other acquirements as would fit them for being correct expositors of the Mosaic law; by them it was, as is most likely, that these several brief observations, historical, ethnographical, and geographical, were written on the margin of the copies used by them in their studies, and, by reason of multiplied transcripts, were gradually transferred into the text.

But to return to the point of discussion, whether the passages assigning the Euphrates as the north-eastern boundary of the land are, according to Eichhorn, interpolations, or genuine portions of the Mosaic text. The argument of Eichhorn against their genuineness is merely a conjecture, a fancied discrepancy, resting on the erroneous opinion, that because the river Jordan was at first assigned as the eastern boundary along the region where it runs, therefore the Euphrates could not be the boundary in the remote north-eastern parts. The arguments in favour of the passages being genuine are:-Firstly, they are given as declarations or promises of Jehovah, and therefore not likely to be marginal glosses. Secondly, they are confirmed by collateral passages of the same import.

Thirdly, they accord with the promise given to the Israelites of an enlargement of their territory. Fourthly, they accord with the extent of the territory inhabited by the Canaanites, the whole of whose territory was, by divine appointment, assigned to the Israelites, and the territory of the Canaanites extended northwards to the Euphrates, as, for example, that of the Hamathites, whose chief town, Hamath, was, by the Greeks, afterwards named Epiphania.

Vicarage, Donegal.

WILLIAM EWING.

« PreviousContinue »