Page 1


^htalagie^t ^i a&t •WC"'^^

^

PRINCETON,

Presented

by

N.

J.

j^

%}*A

%

Ws/SXCXarAV \ ^V\or^


THE

POETRY OF THE

HEBREW PENTATEUCH.


:

THE

POETRY OF THE

HEBREW PENTATEUCH, BEING

FOUR ESSAYS o^f

MOSES AND THE MOSAIC AGE.

REV. M.

MARGOLIOUTH,

M.A., LL.D., Ph.D., Etc.

LONDON

SAMUEL BAGSTER AND 15,

PATERNOSTER ROW. 1S71.

SONS,


TO

THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE, THIS

IN

M.P.,

WORK IS—

TOKEN OF SINCERE GRATITUDE

FOR VALUABLE HINTS DERIVED FROM HIS GREAT WORK,

"STUDIES ON HOMER AND THE HOMERIC AGE"

RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED BY

THE AUTHOR.


PREFACE. The work

herewith submitted to the pubUc, consists of the

first series

of a complete course of Essays on the Poetic Writings of the

As may

Testament.

Hebrew

much

writers occupied

literary friends,

of

my pen.

and of

Essays, appeared in a

and edited

Hebrew

my

thoughts, of

Fragments of

my

converse with

the

this,

title

I

originated

of " Star of Jacob."

'

the undertaking of a course of Essays on the Sacred Bards of the

Testament, in

all its fulness,

work,

'*

its

Homer and

Studies on

By way

was suggested

publication in

the

1858

to

— of

me by

Mr.

his undertaking

But

Old

the perusal

Gladstone's great

Homeric Age."

of complying, by anticipation, with probable

reasons, for

of

first series

Christian Monthly, which

under the

at Dublin, in 1847,

immediately after

Old

naturally be supposed, the Poetry of the inspired

demands

for

and publishing a work of the kind,

Mr. Gladstone, at the very outset of his learned Prolegomena, vouchsafes the following

ment

—"

I will

of the objects which

firstly, to

of

:

I

place in the foreground an explicit state-

have

Homer; and secondly

their just degree

These objects are twofold

in view.

promote and extend the

fruitful

to vindicate for

both of absolute and,

:

study of the immortal poems

them, in an age of discussion,

more

especially, of relative

critical value."

Adverse circumstances made that Magazine disappear from the literary horizon I have not, however, relinquished the cherished hope of seeing the Monthly not only in the ascendant, but enjoying a long and '

after a course of a few months.

steady career.


PREFACE.

vin

became roused

I

poems

to bring his varied learning

upon promoting and extending the

colossal gifts to bear

study of the

honour of the object of

feels so zealous for the

become determined

his admiration as to

and

an admirer of " Homer

to the consideration that if

and the Homeric Age "

of his justly favoured

fruitful

— should not an

Greek bard,

humble, but devoted student of the inspired Bards, their respective

poems and

times, be equally solicitous for the

honour and glory of the

sacred compositions of those great, good and holy men.

The

Gladstone had in view, in

twofold objects, then, which Mr.

To

undertaking his great work, became the ruling objects with me.

promote and extend the of the

Old Testament

study of the immortal Sacred

fruitful

and secondly,

;

to vindicate for them, in

of discussion, theirjust degree both of absolute, and, relative critical value.

more

Poems an age

especially, of

determined to do for Moses, Deborah, David,

I

and other Heaven-taught bards, what Mr. Gladstone

Isaiah, Micah,

has done for the immortal poems of Homer.

Most thankful do on

Homer and

the

but also for the

my

of

title,

In

Essays.

I

accomplished Author of "Studies

feel to the

Homeric Age"

the

I

this,

the

first series,

have presumed to dedicate

first fruits

of the results of

brilliant genius

my

this

however,

performance of

my

has displayed in his work.

I

I

In token of

work

to

series

not only treat of

my

grati-

Mr. Gladstone, being

labours in that field to which that

has unwittingly directed

presume, to pretend even, that in the

for the idea,

an adaptation of which surnames every

the Mosaic, but also of the pre-Mosaic age.

tude

Not only

for the idea.

my

attention.

I

dare not

have approximated, ever so remotely,

labours, the ability which

my

great

model

A work which is likely to prove as immortal

and as cherished as the poems which he has so ably expounded and

commended. It is

not improbable that the professors of " a higher criticism"

some designate

arbitrary treatment of the

—as

Sacred VOLUME —may


PREFACE.

some

express at

my

surprise,

IX

and perhaps indulge

some sagacious

in

espousing views of the old Christian Divines.

most

to submit,

sneer,

beg therefore

I

respectfully, to those learned critics that

do not

I

consider rejection, or even suspicion of everything Christian either a or an essential feature in a sound critic of the

necessarj'^ qualification,

As I have intimated elsewhere,*

Old Testament.

and a thorough knowledge' of the Hebrew and are the principal requirements.

which taught the prejudice, in

some

late

I

Archbishop WHiately, that there

quarters, in favour of everything that

to religion is

The independent Hebrew at the trifling originality, in side.

authorities

as

Kurtz,

etc.,

etc.

not accounted

is

:

— Undue

prejudice against

no proof positive of sound philosophy. scholar cannot

help

modern works, on

The "Orthodox School" Bochart,

a blinder

is

and ages has been accounted Divine.

implied proposition

subsci-ibe to his

on either

cognate languages,

have learnt by the same experience

I

sacred, than of that which for ages

whatever relates

proficient Scholarship, its

Delitzsch,

after their kind.

feeling surprised

Holy

the

Scriptures,

are satisfied with

such

Havemick, Hengstenberg, Keil, The " Higher Criticism School,"

De Wette, And when one is curious

are content to abide by the opinions of Astruc, Bleek,

Ewald, Kunen,

etc.,

enough

up the respective

to look

what authority the is

gratified

and I

by

etc.

latter

after their kind.

referees,

in order to find out

on

founded their conclusions, then the curiosity

strings of references to former Authors,

and so on

on.

have thought proper

which

I

had occasion

to give the original of the to adduce, in the

specimen quotations

form of

foot

notes.

This

may be

considered by some as unnecessary in the case of the learned

reader,

and useless as regards the ordinary reader.

may be

true as

made

with the respect to the latter

;

The

but that

* " The Oracles of God, and their Kimlication."

objection

made

in


PREFACE.

X

experience has taught me, does not hold

reference to the former,

good.

The more learned a reader

and he

is

all

cumber himself with a number

have only

add here

to

Bible

—on

the

Pentateuch

some of the

—made

there, instead

of volumes.

MS.

of the following

appearance

;

and

I

am

glad to

views, propounded in this work, are being espoused

by some of the learned Commentators of I

that work.

As an

instance

quote the following from the Bishop of Ely's " Introduction

Pentateuch

:"

—"

It is

although in some few fragments

To

might expect.

A

popular authors.

this

It

and all

all

is

translators

training in science

a shepherd

in

and

what we

especially

by

its

Moses,

putting

of extraordinary powers

He had had

find

the highest cultivation after his early

he had lived the contemplative

him then with a

full

life

of

consciousness of

forth as legislator, historian, poet as well

Such a man could not but mould the tongue

To them he was Homer,

Everyone that knew anything of

books of the Pentateuch. in ancient times

Bible.

;

coming

and prophet.

of his people.

man

for

came

English has been fixed

said, that

of the

and

most enlightened times and

literature,

We

Midian.

his heavenly mission,

this is really

great,

is

must have been even a greater genius than

possible in one of Egj'pt's

was

its

it

he was not Divinely guided and inspired, as

If

he has been generally reckoned.

in one.

by

question of inspiration, was a

opportunity.

for us to believe that

be replied, that

fixed

commonly

is

Christians believe, he

as prince

apparently archaic,

Hebrew

may

it

language

by Shakspeare and the aside

to the

argued again, that the language of the Pentateuch,

the most part too like to later

from Moses.

;

instalment of the Speaker's

first

its

he to learn

is

pleasant to him, by having

that long after the

Essays had gone to the press, the

find that

more anxious

the

made

work placed before him then and

the materials for

of having to I

is,

too glad to have the lesson

All

Hebrew

of a Sacred

Solon, and Thucydides, letters

literature, as far as

character

;

all

must have known the

at all events

we know, no other


—

PREFACE. has come

do-ttTi

to us

and

;

it

is

xi

certain that writers on Sacred subjects

would have been deeply imbued with the language and the thoughts of the books of Moses.

are slow of change finding that in the

;

Eastern languages, like Eastern manners,

and there

is

certainly nothing strange in our

thousand years from Moses

tongue was spoken, and the same words

to Malachi, the

intelligible

;

books treating on the same subjects, and where the

must have been the constant study of last."

Compare Essay

III., pp. 71

all

-Ji,

the writers

same

especially in earlier

down

books

to the very

and Appendix B.

M. M. Forest Hill, August,

1871.


CONTENTS. PAGE.

Essay

I.

Essay

II.

An Apology The

for the Subject

Vestiges of Primeval

traceable in the

Essay

III.

Essay

IV.

The bwa

.

.

Hebrew

of Genesis

Studies on Moses and the Mosaic

.

i

Poetry, .

Age

.29

.

.

.

65

or the Hieroglyphic Poetry of the

Pentateuch

Appendix

Book

.

97

-145


ESSAY

I.

AN APOLOGY FOR THE SUBJECT.

APPRECIATE a certain 7V;/f d' esprit, which is ascribed George III., said to have been spontaneous, on the occasion when a copy of Bishop Jewell's 'Apology for the Church of England was presented to his Majesty. The story circulates that when the king I

to

'

opened the volume, and read

its

claimed

emphatic, curt manner,

in his usual thrice-told,

title-page,

he ex-

An Apology for the Church of England An An Apology Apology for the Church of England for the Church of England The Church of England needs no Apology The Church of England needs no Apology The Church of England needs no Apology !" ^ I fully admit the justice of the reiterated "

!

!

!

!

!

royal

sentiment.

the theme which in this

It I

applies with threefold force to

have

and subsequent

set before

myself to discuss

disquisitions.

Nevertheless,

hold the somewhat paradoxical opinion that the of a series of Essays, on the Poetry of the

I

first

Hebrew

Pentateuch, ought to deal in a sort of an apology.

Another version of the anecdote is, to the effect, that the royal demurrer was enunciated on the occasion when a copy of Bishop Watson's "Apology for the Bible" was presented to George III. '

2

^^/^"ribed *°^^''-

"^


— ESSAY

2

An for

apology

my

J

apo-

i°ey-

^]^Q

am

L

Hot Certain whether some precocious

aj-g

critics

habit of pronouncing their opinions

^]-jg

jj^

of books as soon as they have glanced at their

pages

—may

that the

not begin their strictures

by

was too profound and abstruse to and in a popular style

subject

;

demand, therefore, an apology for bringing the

title-

protesting

be capable of being treated

fore

:

British

Their demand

public.

it

shall

be-

be

satisfied.

The

Mv plca ^

gener-

lishmen are prepared to spirit' of° the ^"'^' *

is

this

-^

alityofEng-

:

— Hcbrcw Poetry must needs make ^

text-book. The principal ^^g Biblc the Essayist's j r r volume of revelation is a book which in this land, at least,

portion of

its

contents

of Englishmen

;

is

moderate

intellects.

Englishmen spirit

are, in

of

familiar to the great majority

work on Hebrew Poetr>' a certain extent, by even

to

The minds

of the majority of

a manner, prepared to enter into

the theme.

figures of speech, symbols, liarities

considerable

so that a

must be apprehended,

the

A

almost universally read.

is

The metaphors,

tropes,

emblems, and other pecu-

of the sacred muse, are already familiar to the

sons and daughters of Britain.

notwithstanding

its

So

that the subject,

sublimity and profundity, is capable

of being treated in so popular a manner, that " the

reader of

it

may be most

fluent in

it."

i

Such is the real meaning- of the simple words of Habakkuk ii. 2 NTlp yiT ^I-d"?— words which have recently elicited so much ingenuity amongst a certain class of students of the Hebrew Bible and language. '

n


ESSAY Moreover,

am

I

I.

3

desirous to contribute

my

mite

towards stimulating a craving, on the part of the

J^f^^

^''^^^

s^ud^'of'tht

Christian priesthood, for the cultivation of a knowledge guVe hacf"n

of the sacred tongue to be

felt

most

the want of which

;

We

sensibly.

is

beginning

giorious''Reformation.

are accustomed to look

back with pride and pleasure on the glorious days of the Reformation,

— and

justly so

for

noble was the

we must recollect that the revival and the study of the Hebrew language had no small share in achieving that victory nor can we view with indifference the efforts made to acquire this knowvictory then gained

but

;

;

ledge by the goodly band of the early Reformers.

We in

see

how Reuchlin stepped forth how he

the words of the Poet,

God's dead language

!

live

"

We

at the " cried

see

first,

and,

aloud to

how Melanc-

thon and Luther patiently devoted days and nights to the hallowed study the pages of the

;

and, turning from the Vulgate to

Hebrew

their purity, truths, the

Bible, thence derived, in all

might of which was destined

to " shake the world." " It is necessary,"

observes

Melancthon,

" to

pre-

Meiancthon's

serve the knowledge of the °

Church

;

for

Hebrew tongue °

in

the

although there are extant interpretations

necessary for the people, yet

God

wills there

always be witnesses of those interpretations.

should

He wills

that

upon obscure passages, the fountains be consulted. How much clearer the meaning is to those

who

are acquainted with the fountains, the skilful are

able to judge.

This

is

plain, that

when the language

opin-

ionontheimportance of a ['he'^'lalre"!

tongue.


"

ESSAY

4

of the Prophets

I.

known, ingenuous minds are de-

is

The

hghted with the certainty of the sense."

Reformer winds up in

his fervent appeal to the

gentle

Clergy

behalf of the study of the sacred tongue, with the

Saviour's dictum shall

"

For unto every man that hath

be given, and he

him that hath away."

I

not,

shall

have abundance

;

it

and from

even that he hath shall be taken

have no doubt that Melancthon's views and

sentiments influenced, in a certain measure, the way-

ward mind of the unaccountable Henry VIII.

I

cannot forego the inclination to quote a passage from a letter of the amiable Reformer, to the headstrong

king

:

"

Away with all false pretences

in divine things.

Let us practise what the Holy Scriptures teach, and

what the

first

Church kept

for three centuries after the

Why has the boldness of men forsaken the Why defend the error of those who

Apostles.

ancient custom

}

have changed the commandment of Christ

Who

Luther's estimate ot the

kno"wiedgeof Scriptures?''

is

the

Hcbrcw

.-'

scholar that could withhold his

Sympathy from that great Reformer, Luther, when, in humble gratitude, he recorded his sense of the importance of the sacred acquisition, saying

measure of

as the

my

of the sacred language

which

I

possess for

all

'

Etsi exig-ua

sit

mea

"

Scanty

attainments in the knowledge is,

I

would not barter that

the treasures of the universe."

The following Lutheran

^

advice to young candidates for

linguje Hebraicse notitia,

mundi gazis non commutarem.

:

cum omnibus tamen

totius


"

ESSAY

1.

5

Holy Orders, though applicable to the present day, is modern polite style of

scarcely translatable into our

English writing.

I leave, therefore,

own Latin

counsel in Luther's

Ebraem vocem sonare

:

the characteristic "

Qui cum unam putant,

didicerunt, statim

magistros hujus sacrae linguae.

Ibi

se

nos earn

nisi

tanquam assinis illudent et insultabunt, sin autem nos quoque muniti fuerimus cognitione hujus linguae, poterimus eis impudens os obtenuerimus

struere It

.''

would appear that the observations of Melancthon

and Luther found heart, of

their

way

to the mind,

if

not to the

— — '-''•

Henry VHI. Both Reformers corresponded king-. The imperative necessity of culti-

with that

vating a competent knowledge of the sacred tongue forced itself

upon

Majesty; who, with his wonted

his

emphasis, exclaimed that "

it

was exceedingly to be

lamented that our theologians were so deficient in a knowledge of the sacred tongue, and neglectful of the learned languages

!

"

i

There can be no doubt that

the expression of the royal regret, on the melancholy condition of the then clerical acquirements, gave an

impetus to the study of the Hebrew language, and

produced a host of well-versed Hebrew scholars, the reigns

which

Henry VHI. '

Even

ladies

succeeded

of high rank

that

466.

linguarum doctrinam

in

of

became

"Vehementer dolere nostra Theolog'orum sortem sanctissime

scientia carentium, et p.

immediately

fuisse intermissam."

linguae

Hody,

The

excla-

mation

of

Henry VIII. ^TccounVof ablek^ckofa knowledge of sacred tongue athe

''^^j.

"^^^f^^^

cht.r^ch"n'ws

Tappy mation.

effect


!

ESSAY

6

proficients

herself

sacred

in

J.

Queen

philology.

was no mean adept

in the original

Elizabeth

language of

Great was the service of that

the Old Testament. I

study to the cause of the reformed Church

in this land.

most important

But, alas, from various causes, that

branch of the Christian minister's learning, has been

\vhat Queen

permitted to

slip

scribed

the Candidates for

two

for

do.

Holy Orders, these

Would God that the Sovereign of this own day, would imitate, in this

ccuturies.

Victoria

might

out of the course of education, pre-

realm, in this our respect,

Henry VHI., and speak out her mind over

the crying neglect of this department of Christian

theology An call

especial for

days!'

jg tlicrc

the

"°^^

no causc

service in the

The study which

!

days of

the knowledge of

by Churchmen

old, is

;

Hebrew cannot be too highly valued Questions of

at the present time.

weighty import are of England and

did such good ° as important now as then •'

still

Rome.

at issue

The

between the Churches

flood-gates of scepticism

have lately burst forth with fresh fury

;

the war-horse

of a certain neology has been let loose to career with

unbridled scope. to

And when

the few Scholars begin

examine the cause of the sudden movement, they

discover

it

to be either an imperfect knowledge,

utter ignorance, of the Sacred tongue.

study of the Hebrew language

importance now, as

'

it

was

is,

The

or

diligent

then, as of great

in the sixteenth century.

See Appendix A.


ESSAY

7

I.

Whether we argue about the canon of scripture as the alone standard of faith, or whether we wish to be preserved from a specious criticism of the divinity, "

it

new School

of

behoves us to be thorough masters of the

Hebrew verity." "The Hebrew

verity" •'

— observed

the

late

Dr.

McCaul, one of the most eminent Professors of Divinity of his

day

writers, is that

To

it,

" as

is

it

well called

by ancient

which was revealed by the Almighty.

therefore,

must be the

final

appeal in

all

matters

to be proved by the testimony of Moses and the

Prophets.

The man who

is

ignorant of Hebrew, can

but imperfectly investigate the mind of the Spirit as

Whatever he may

revealed in the Old Testament.

think of the right and duty of private judgment, he

imposes very narrow limits

for his exercise,

who

at

the outset commits himself to the guidance of translators, and whose faith must so far rest upon human

The advocate of unconditional submission authority may be ready to infer the happiness human to of him who can lean upon an infallible guide, without authority.

venturing himself upon the

difficulties of interpretation.

only that of the lazy mendicant

But such

bliss is

loves to

beg rather than work

follower of the blind guide to which he

is

hastening.

who

;

or rather, the blind

who

sees not the danger

There

is

no such thing as

a version authorised by the Church Catholic.

The

modern Greek Church may maintain the authority of the LXX., and the Roman Church prohibit an appeal

or.McCaui on tions.

transla-


; ;

ESSAY

8

from the Vulgate

I.

but the Church Catholic, as has been abundantly proved by Hody, always referred to ;

Hebrew Verity as the only real authority," The same learned divine, when speaking of " the authorised version," remarks " Ignorance of Hebrew makes the Fathers unsafe guides in interpretation and convinces us of the possibility of our also going astray, if we labour under the same deficiency. It is very true that our own translators knew more about Hebrew than all the Fathers taken together, and that the

On

the Authorised version.

:

—

;

the authorised version

but that

it

is

one of the best ever made

is

faultless, or

may

serve the minister of

the Gospel as a substitute for the original, cannot be

maintained, at least in accordance with truth.

would be as easy to collect from works, as

popular religious

It

modern sermons and

from the Fathers, an

abundance of examples of involuntary perversions of God's Word, arising from ignorance of the original

but the task

is

too invidious.

It

may, however, be

observed that a pastor can hardly maintain the respect

due to

his office, if

he

is

not able to give some answers

to the inquiries of his people respecting difficulties varieties of translations

;

and

multiply every day, as the study of the

laity,

increase."

'

Hebrew amongst

and especially amongst females,

is

on the

^

See also the Author's Revision Sermon, " The Oracles of God, and

Vindication."

and

such inquiries must

their


ESSAY

9

I.

Such was the dehberate judgment of one of the most orthodox, pious, and learned divines of the Church of England. It is a fact, well worthy of the most serious consideration on the part of the Clergy, that the laity are beginning to view with impatience the lamentable ignorance of the sacred tongue amongst

The

the priesthood of the Church of England. is,

that there

is

upon

improvement

evil

no reasonable prospect of a speedy the

present

of

state

things.

Scarcely half a dozen of our Bishops can, with a good

upon a Hebrew examination, from Can-

grace, insist

The venerable Primate for Holy Orders.^ Sumner himself told me, in the course of a conversation in 1842, when he was Bishop of Chester, that the little Hebrew he knew, ere he was raised to the episdidates

copate, he

had since forgotten

read farther than Habakkuk.2

comes a moral

man who

is

;

and that he never No, not

until

it

be-

practical sine qica non, that the Clergy-

to be preferred to the ofhce of a Bishop

should understand as thoroughly the original of the

Old Testament,

as

it is

now

a theoretical

si7ie

qua non,

that he should understand the original of the

Testament, there

improvement

'

is

New

no reasonable hope of a speedy

in the present state of things.

See Prospectus of the Pentateuch according to the

I

cannot

Talmud

at

the end of this volume. ^ As the Hebrew Scriptures are arranged, Habakkuk occupies a position more central in the original of the Sacred volume than in the Authorised

version.

^^°

^^Zm

^^ TEfsh^p'^-

"'''^competent Hebrew scholar,


ESSAY

10

help repeating this

'"h'-

dericaVdutf '^'^

spect.'^

^

inmost wish that the Sovereign of

made known Henry VIII.

realm

as did \\^ni

my

7.

her sentiments in this respect,

have said that the

laity are

beginning to view

with impaticnce the lamentable general ignorance of

tongue amongst the priesthood of the

the sacred

The

Church of England. letter

me by

addressed to

following extract from a

an English Duke

in refer-

ence to a certain work of mine, in which the same views were maintained affirmation

:

sider the proper duties

man,

Many

relaxation

;

corroborate the above

and proper studies of a Clergy-

people read

and

will

agree with what you con-

" I entirely

Homer and Horace

do not see why

I

all

for their

Clergymen

should not read the Bible in the original." whyshouid not educated la'^mencufti"

kd|e^of"the the Old Testament.

So

so o good

far,'

; ^

but

I

submlt to hls Gracc, that

I

would most respectfully J r

do not see why English

Christian noblemen and gentlemen

ing

Homer and Horace

because the former the latter

— should

is

so

in

—who prefer read-

the original to translations,

much more

interesting than

not also cultivate a knowledge of

the Hebrew, that they might enjoy the luxury of

reading the Old Testament in the original. reading

is

indeed a mental luxury of the most delect-

able description.

It is

more

delectable, to a person of

true taste, than every species of luxury.

the

mind

Such

It brings

into contact not only with the divinest of

volumes, but with the most ancient and most brilliant writings extant.


ESSAY The volume civilized

known

of revelation, '

world as

"

The

n

I

in

the modern

Bible," contains productions,

not only incomparable in point of purity, and moral truth,

and

spiritual instruction,

but also matchless

in

point of high antiquity, and literary excellence.

It

was written upwards of five hundred years before the Iliad and Odyssey, by Homer or the Theogony, by Hesiod. It was written upwards of eight hundred years before "the contains the Pentateuch, which

;

Tale of the Philosopher," by Lao-tseu Sacred Books," by Confucius of ancient China.

It

— the

;

or, "

The Five

two oldest writers

was written upwards of

six

hundred years before Mahabhrata and Rig Veda, of the

Moses was also the predecessor of Herodoby upwards of a thousand years and that of The Theocritus by about twelve hundred years. " Bible contains the Books of The Psalms," and ProIndians.

tus

;

verbs

;

whose authors wrote upwards of a thousand

years before Horace.

It

contains the

Book

of Isaiah,

which was written seven hundred years before that of Virgil.

I

might thus go on with every Book

Sacred volume

;

collection of works, of the

venerable antiquity, as that contained

will

the

and demonstrate that no nation under

Heaven can boast a Bible.

in

But there

is

no need

;

in

the

same

Hebrew

the intelligent reader

be able himself to recognise the great difference

between Hebrew

lore

and the Classical

literature of

other nations, according to the hint suggested.

Is

it

not strange that philosophical and accomplished pro-

Tj''^ /'"V" quity 01 the

oul'a parai'iei

ture*'of world.

the


!

ESSAY

12

fessors of the science

L

and development of language,

should lose sight of this stubborn fact

The

do^s°'the7ui^

Bible should indeed be set forth, as

Book

hrdweiiTn truth, the HoiyBookis distinguish-

ed for literary excellence.

for all

;

the best and the only infallible guide ^

.

it

is

in

—to the simple and unlearned, -

;

to the learned

,

and the Wise, to the man of feehng and

taste, the noblest

and most attractive object of study.

Never, indeed,

we

should

for a

moment keep

out of view the great

that the ultimate object of our studying the

ought to be to imbibe the knowledge of virtue,

God

—the

its

saving

power whereby the engrafted Word of

able to save the soul.

is

fact,

Holy Book,

Yet,

still, it is

not amiss

to uphold even the literary excellence of the Bible,

He who

can estimate this most truly, will always be

the best

able to assign their real value to

compositions will

;

and while he enjoys

human

their beauties,

be free from any overweening predilections for

them,

^^

sidereZinthe of^vkw.^"'"'

wout to hcar the praises of heathen authors

^^^

loudly celebrated.

With what rapturous applause is Rome ever men-

the poetry of ancient Greece and tioned

how

!

In the usual routine of a liberal education,

large a portion of time

is

devoted to the gaining

an acquaintance with the splendid remains of ancient literature I

I

!

I

am

very far from depreciating

all this.

admire and respect the noble productions of genius

;

acknowledge that the poetry of these elder times

possesses in light

;

it

much, very much, to captivate and de-

but, then, I

would have

it

remembered that the


ESSAY excellent, the beautiful,

I.

13

and the sublime are not con-

fined to these nations, or these

men

alone.

would

I

consider poetry itself in the highest point of view

not merely as the child of

intellect,

maid of religion.

I

In a word,

but as the hand-

would try to demonstrate

that " the thoughts which breathe " are always best and

grandest,

when they have

their origin

from

" the Spirit

from on high;" and "the words that burn" do then

burn brightest when they are kindled from the the Sanctuary Isaiah,

;

when the

fire

of

like those of

lips,

have been touched with the living coal from

the altar of the

Most High.

The examination is

Poet's

of the poetry ' of ancient nations J^

always most interesting.

It leads us into the spirit

and enables us to form an accurate estimate of by-gone men. The mind of man exhibits of by-gone times

its

working most

effusions.

;

plainly,

and touchingly,

It there sets forth its

most ardent

aspirations.

means of expressing,

Poetry

in

poetic

deepest feelings,

is,

its

indeed, the chosen

to others, the vivid impressions

which have been made upon ourselves

;

and giving a

lasting existence to the creations of the mind.

tween poetic expression, and religious

Be-

feeling, there

seems to be a natural and acknowledged connexion.

Hence we see that the very early efforts of even the heathen muse were employed, not seldom, to give Before the days of the

utterance to such feelings. father of the Grecian epic,

we have

and other songs of a similar

traces of

class, in

hymns

which were

re-

."^^^ ination •^'i?™' of the

denTnations most inter"ting.


I

ESSAY

14

I.

corded the veneration and the awe of rude and pristine

men. onhe^deveT Greci^

°

^ut the history of the development of Grecian song

is

altogether different from that of the

Living

muse.

in the

midst of some of the

Hebrew

fairest of

and acquainted with nature

nature's scenery,

in

her

most pleasing forms, the naturally susceptible imagina-

Greek was speedily touched by the

tion of the early

perception of the beautiful

;

and the Bard endeavoured

to communicate the impression which was made upon He looked upon the world around him with him.

deep and solemn feeling

;

he expressed himself with

He

energy and with grace.

succeeded well

in

one of

the essential parts of superior poetry, in vivid and in natural colouring and in attractive ornament. certain degree, also, his language

powerful.

sublime.

Unguided by the

was elevated and

light of a revelation to dis-

cern the truth, the quickness of his

;

a

Yet, he was not able to attain the true

own

feelings,

and

him

into

his appreciation of natural beauty, only led

error

To

and carried him away from the

really noble.

With him, after awhile, the operations of nature themand he worshipped the creaselves became deified ;

ture rather than the Creator. The Greek poet altogether mistook the leficeof^'oetr"*^

As

new shapes, or observation he exalted them new phenomena, ^

faucy bodicd forth

presented to him ^ into gods.

The

legitimate office of poetry

was thus

See " History of the Literature of Ancient Greece," by K. O. Muller.


—

ESSAY altogether mistaken.

15

1.

became sub-

Religion, in fact,

servient to poetry, instead of poetry being found to

minister to religion.

was thus that Homer and

It

Hesiod were said to have invented the theology of Instead of raising their thoughts upwards to

Greece.

accommodate

the Divine nature, they endeavoured to

nature to their

that

Greek

conceptions.

The

early

that there was something bright and glo-

felt

rious in the sun

moonlight

own

something calm and lovely

;

something grand and impressive

;

in the in the

wild play of the billow, or in the roar of the storm.

He

faithfully expressed

and

natural,

it

what he

felt

was impressive

;

his poetry

was

But here he

too.

stopped, unable to carry his view to the great source

of

all

the

principles

first

knew not that

He

power and might.

it

the real

sublime

of

not ascend

could

conception.

of

dwelling-place

to

He

sublimity,

even with the High and Lofty One that

is

inhabiteth

Eternity

—with

Him whose name

is

Holy.

was thus that matters stood with the Greeks. Very different, however, do we find the condition of It

among the Hebrew people. Greeks, were much accustomed to

They too,

Poetry

1

they, too,

had quick and

1

1

r

like the

lively feelings,

;

and could well

understand the sensations produced by the beautiful.

But then, they had God among them to guide and to instruct.

Whenever His

their poetry, the natural

inspiration

n^Turli

breathed upon

powers of the mind were not

pos-

Ld^

Jh^^'Greeks,

which

r

the lace 01 nature

TheHebrew poets

were

purified by the presence

of God.


— ESS A Y

i6

shackled or confined

;

but the imagination was purified,

Their own appreciation

and the heart was enlarged. of nature was allowed

put

in

its

1.

full

scope

but everything was

;

Nature and her powers are

right place.

most beautifully and graphically delineated, but these are

The

only secondary objects.

successfully First

truly

sublime

is

obtained by making the Supreme the

and the Last.

There

is

never any confusion

between the Deity and His works but the former is ever represented in His proper connexion with the ;

latter

;

and when the operations of nature are men-

tioned, the

mind

is

not suffered to rest here, but

carried on at once to the fountain

from nature oJ^diFHegulge equal

ofVpoe"ry and^ higher kind than the best and the highest of II^^^^Grecian

itself to

the

God

is

and the source,

of nature.

Ancient Hebrew poetry, therefore, as an emanation

f^om Dcity, must needs be most perfect

in these

two

excellence, — nature

most important constituents of If from these general

and subHmity.

characteristics

we now turn our view to conccption, of the Doctic r ^ ^]^g geuius of the language in which we find them ex'

pressed,

we

shall

in

it,

too,

discover

much

that

is

worthy of our applause. I know that it is the fashion with some, whose knowledge of the sacred tongue is just sufiicient to prove that department of their learn-

ing " a dangerous thing,"

—to

decry the Hebrew lan-

guage as scanty and uncouth. treat

When

such

critics

on the merits of poetic composition, they are Hebrew language an

rash enough to pronounce the inferior vehicle for elegant

and

forcible

expression.


ESSAY On the

I.

other hand, a great deal

17

said about the force

is

and beauty of the combinations of which the Greek the music of

its

—the perfection of structure periods — and the picturesque variety

words.

I

entertain too ardent a love for the

language

of

its

capable,

is

its

Greek language to gainsay what of

do

I

it.

feel

advanced

is

and admire the power of that language

which has transmitted unto us so much that

much But

that

my

is

love

I

am

its

exquisite beauty

My

majesty.

noble, so

penetrated to

heart's core with feelings of affection

tion for

is

commendable in the history of mankind. for the Hebrew language is even more

fervent than that for the Greek.

my

in praise

its

and admira-

matchless power and

intimate acquaintance with that lan-

guage constrains

me

to maintain that the

Hebrew

is

not one whit less adapted to the requirements of noble verse.

Yes,

I

confidently affirm that

it is

even equal

to the wants of a poetry of a better and higher kind

than the best and the highest of the Grecian muse.

In

poetic expression, force and vigour especially impress

our minds

;

and we

the genius of the

ment of activity

its

find

much, very much, of

Hebrew

language.

The

this in

develop-

verbal forms gives to the whole an air of

and potency.

The

modification of ideas, re-

sulting from these varied forms, very often produces

The artful and compound words,

extremely apt and beautiful imagery. masterly combinations of ideas, in

its

forms one of the most pleasing features of the Greek.

The

evolving of

many

various senses, through various 3


;

ESSAY

18

inflexions, of the chief is

word

in the

language, the verb,

The constant employment,

a pecuHarity of Hebrew.

too, of the verb, as the

I.

predominant part of speech,

contributes at once to perspicuity and force.

Thcrc

Voltaire on Hebrew philoiogj'.

is

such a revival

these days, in certain '

in

quarters, of Voltairianism, as to render in a

work of

it

necessary,

expose some of the lucubra-

this kind, to

tions of the leading sinister genius of France, of the

Hebrew

century, on the subject of

last

The wonderful

taken place in the East

ment of the

philology.

discoveries which have of late years

the progress and develop-

;

science of criticism

the unravelling of

;

the hitherto enigmatical writings in the land of the

Sphinx

;

all

these tend to show that

it is

mistake, on the part of any Scholar, to

sit

a culpable at the feet

of so superficial a master as M. de Voltaire.

The

would-be-universal genius must needs have something to

Hebrew

say about the

language,

whether he knew anything about

it

;

— never

mind

never mind

relevancy to the theme under his treatment.

Hebrew language lange ;

forced

smuggled

is

into

dragged into his

into his Toleration ;

Philosophiqtie

and surreptitiously

troduced into his Philosophy of History. still

a considerable class of readers

information from those

"

The

Premier Me-

his

Dictionaire

broken

its

As

who draw

cisterns,"

in-

there

is

their

and as

some such readers may chance to have their minds prepossessed in favour of M. de Voltaire's statements, and arguments

— such as they are—with respect to the


ESSAY merits of the

Hebrew

examine,

fore, to

tongue,

my

in this

19

I.

I

deem

right, there-

it

Essay, those state-

first

ments and arguments, and mark them with value

peradventure

;

I

may be

their just

the means of putting

some on their guard against the counterfeit learning. "The Hebrew language," observed Voltaire, "like all is a lano o guage necesbarbarous idioms, is scanty the same word serves for orSblrou'/ several ideas. The Jews, deprived of the Arts, could braces'^^'c™not express what they were ignorant of" This pro- wWch ZtLl 1^°'' several c 11 found disquisition was ingeniously introduced by the ideas? '

;

IT---

sage, into his treatise

the

first

-1-

on

appeal

place,

whether the inference

" Toleration."

to is

any

1

Let me,

in

linguist-philologist

a reasonable one

Is

.-'

it

proof positive that because a language happens to

embrace certain words which represent respectively several ideas, that that language

Why!

it is

a characteristic

is

of necessity meagre.?

common

and polished languages of the

to the

civilized

most copious world

!

The

Frenchman who could have employed such an argument has not only convicted himself of an utter ignorance of the knowledge of Greek and Latin, but also of an imperfect acquaintance with his

own mother-

Those conversant with the languages which as I have mentioned, will supply instances in them well as in the German, Spanish, Italian, and the lantongue.

guage

in

which

I

write this

— of

representing respectively several

same words different ideas. Even the

a de Voltaire would not dare to designate the Greek, Latin, Spanish,

German,

Italian,

French, or English^


ESSAY

20

barbarous languages

J.

Thus much

!

I

have written

for

argument-sake, In the second place, let

t^gue^^'dfs'^

n!fsrof"voversatiiit'y

glossary,

"^'^^r.i^^iH'''' no Fhilolo-

duce'^fn

a^ify

*"

me

state, as

Hebrew

^11

of

charming va-

guage.

vertible fact, that the

an incontro-

language, even in

its

prcscnt pcnurious state, has fewer words than any of

lauguagcs named

tliosc

which stand

in

for several

the preceding paragraph

ideas.

On

the other hand,'

^^cn the fragment of the sacred tongue, which we only possess at present, displays a richness of vocabulary,

a versatility of glossary, a charming variety of syno-

nyms, which no European Linguist or Philologist can

any other language. To give a categorical of instances would be to introduce upwards of one

adduce list

in

hundred pages of very dry and tedious reading. few examples, however, I

do

at hazardous

just now,

—how

I

feel

random.

many

bound

As

it

to give.

A

This

happens to rain

terms are there in the Greek,

Latin,

French, German, and English, for the word

rain

The

?

following are the

the one idea rain Zarzecf, besides

Yoiireh, for "

koush, for " latter rain."

from

my

tree.

former

rain,"

for

Sagreer,

and Mal-

Looking out upon the garden

i

study-window,

from a favourite

Hebrew synonyms

Giicshcm, Matar, Bool,

I

observe a branch broken off

How many

different

terms

have the Greek, Latin, French, German, and English,

word branch } The following are the Hebrew synonyms for the one and self-same word Naitzer,

for the

:

:

^pbo—mv—f|'m—T-UD—bin—iTQa—Duja

(')


— !;

ESSAY

J.

21

Choiiter, Kataccr, Daleeth, TseinacJi.^

house

tress of the

some one

to

draw water from a

How many

field.

hear the mis-

I

one of the men to go and help

tell

an adjacent

well, in

equivalents are there in those lan-

guages already enumerated for the verb is,

water from a well

synonyms

for

The

?

Cadoud, Daloh, SJuwub?

it:

however, some difference in the

The

roots. toil

tells

that

Hebrew

There

is,

force of these

full

drawing water with great

implies

first

the second

;

to draxv,

following are the

the tale of a very deep well

the third intimates that the well overflows, and the

drawing may be But

all

effected with ease, even with delight.

the poetic variety

is

lost in translations

;

lost

with considerable detriment to the meaning of certain passages in Holy Writ

Draw, draw, draw,

language can afford

;

for instance, Isaiah xii. 3.

the only word that the English

is

for the various

waters from different wells.

Need verb

draiv

to

I

uno

of obtaining

disce onines

obliged to intimate in the English

is

Any

.''

ordinary dictionary will

affect the pedant,

because they are poorer .''

No, no.

Voltairians

!

It

I

do

this.

and superciliously pronounce

the secular languages which

tongue

modes

enumerate the legion of meanings which the

I

language Shall

Ex

in

I

have named, scanty,

synonyms than the sacred

leave such petty

would be easy

for

nos— n^*?!—t:?P—"iTcn—123

me (')

conceits

for

to multiply


!

ESSAY

22

illustrations

I.

me

every object round about

;

service for the purpose

but

:

I

offers its

forbear, for the reason

already given. When taire taire

Voldiffer,

ho^shaiTdecide

Voltaire, " the Jews, deprived

Mon. de

But, argues

andVol-

the Arts, could not express what they were ignorant

of"

of"

I

deal not at present in the skill which the Jews

undoubtedly possessed as artizans

;

and therefore pass

the assertion of the ignorance of the Jews, without any further

notice.

My

business, at present,

language which the Jews spoke. plenitude of

and Arabic.

with the in

the

— the Greek—consisted of namely — Phoenician, Chaldee, Syriac,

its vitality

several dialects,

is

That language,

like

:

The

Phoenicians were perfectly well ac-

quainted with the Arts, for they taught them to the

Greeks and others

managed

so

;

that the Jews

to express the terms of the Arts,

might have though they

might have been ignorant of the Arts themselves.

In

stated that "

the Premier Melanges, Voltaire himself most perfect languages must necessarily be the languages of those nations who have most cultivated the his

Arts and Sciences." nicians

..." The language of the Phoe-

was that of an

nation, spread over the

oracle

industrious, commercial, rich

whole earth."

But the same

inadvertently put down, in black and white,

that "the Jews for a long time spoke no other language

Canaan than that of the Phoenicians." When Voltaire and Voltaire differ, who shall decide in

!

Could

the

Hebrews have

terms

In

his

Dictionaire

j-gadcrs that "

tlic

Philosophiquc,

!

he informs

his

words astronomy and geometry were


ESSAY

23

I.

always absolutely unknown amongst the Jews."

The Babylonians

a curious piece of instruction!

is

That

for

my,

astrono-

geomc-

vigatton?"*

were astronomers, the Egyptians were geometricians, the Phoenicians were both, but the readers of the Philosopher's works will search in vain, in his pages, for the

terms by which the Babylonians and Egyptians

But

called those sciences.

have occasion to

shall

I

point out, in a future Essay, that terms representing

astronomy and geometry were perfectly familiar to the In the Premier Melanges, Voltaire exclaims,

Jews. "

How

could the Hebrews have sea-terms, they who,

before Solomon, had not a boat

!

"

As the Phoenicians

were a great maritime nation, and as the Phoenician language was part and parcel of the Hebrew, the Jews

might have had sea-terms, even

But

boat before Solomon.

if

they had not a

be in a position

I shall

to demonstrate, in one of the subsequent Essays, that

many boats before Solomon.^ way of winding up the long dithe extraordinary riches of the Hebrew T Israels glorious days, may ^ / be mferred /

the Hebrews had I will

only add, by

gression, that

m •

1!

1

1

1

/-

language, ^ ^ from the wonderful wealth which the mere fragment, '

'

preserved to

ment,

us, possesses.

The Hebrew

Those who wish

I

Bible.

mean by It is

the mere frag-

not only immeasur-

strictures on the Old Testament them peruse " Lettres de quelques Juifs Portugais, Allemand, et Polonais, a M. de Voltaire. Avec un petit Commentaire, extrait d'un plus grand. Sixieme Edition, augmentee et corrigee d'apres '

to see Voltaire's

thoroug-hly exposed, let

les

"

Manuscrits de I'Auteur.

The Oracles

of God,

and

Trois

vol. in Svo.

Paris: 1S05."

their Vindication," p. 22.

See also

tion^or"the' bie has wonderfully en-

richedaiithe

Western g^^g"-

lan-


a

ESSAY

24

ably opulent in

itself,

but

it

I.

has moreover enriched, by the Western languages.

the various translations of it,

all

Let those who are curious

such matters compare the

in

poverty-stricken European languages before the trans-

sudden enrichment

lation of the Bible, with their

Words had

that great event. in order to

after

actually to be coined,

convey the meaning of the

It is

original.

unmitigated conceit to talk of bringing back the English language to the stature of the old Saxon. It

would indeed be an

illegible piece of

'^°

i^ig^u^lehas

old, shrivelled, shrunk, dried up,

mummy

come back

record.

to the immediate subject in hand,

to''ensure°"'

namely, the Poetry and the language of the Hebrews

feMe? ^Her-

—to

Gcr

s

mate

point out

csti"

of .its poetic genius.

not a thorough the

nise that

how they suit one another. There is Hebrew Scholar who does not recoglanguage

is

essentially possessed

Gentile Poet and a in

Germany

in the

Hebrew Scholar middle of the

served, "the very soul of poetry

down

—who

last

is

of

Herder

qualifications to ensure poetic excellence.

flourished

— ob-

century

action and senti-

maxim, not to be denied, that the language which frequently employs ment;" and he, lays

it

expressive picturesque verbs,

—another century,

lence

He

is

German Poet and

as a

a poetical one.

Lessing

Philologist of the last

no second-rate authority on poetic excel-

—has

called attention to the verses of

has shown

how '

in

them

all

was

full

See Lessingr's " Laokoon."

Homer.

^

of progress,


;

ESSAY

25

I.

and spirit. The Hebrew language to

life,

activity,

observation

fits

the

a nicety.

Hebrew almost every word

is

a verb

word, and everything in

is

life

admirably adapted the

man

for the

;

action.

It is

purposes of the Poet, and like a practical

when he described

Scholar, which he was,

thing in

it

cries aloud,

in

every

the sacred tongue in the following terms I live, I

'

and

is,

that

and

Herder spoke

of sentiment.

Hebrew

it,

true,

is

Moreover,

move,

I

:

—

Every-

"

work

;

I

am

the creature of feeling and passion, not of abstract thinkers or philosophers

am

yea, I

:

I

am

intended for the Poet

even myself altogether poesy.'

It is impossible to

"

^

take up any part of the

Hebrew

There

is

never anything diluted

Bible, without perceiving the justice of these remarks. or"weakened

Throughout the whole of

its

venerated records ...

1

trace that remarkable combination of simplicity force,

which gives to writing

language

its

its

truest ornaments.

best charms, and to

to the strictly poetic parts of the Bible,

find in

them the amplest confirmation of the

In the

Hebrew Poetry

clearly

and vividly marked out

There

is

we

truth.

the leading ideas are always ;

all

is

action and

never anything diluted or weakened

by superfluous ornament. for the

and

But when we apply

all this

feeling.

we

There

is all

that

is

needed

purposes of deep impression, but no more.

' " Alles in ihr ruft : ' ich lehe, bewege mich, wirke. Mich erschiiffen Sinne unci Leidenschaften, nicht ahstrakte Denker und Philosophen : ich bin Herder vom Geist also fur den Dichter, ja ich selbst bin ganz Dichtung." der " Ebraeischen Poesie,' " vol. i. p. 8.

—

ousomament '"

Hebrew-

poetry.


ESSAY

26

I.

The conception, too, is perfectly expressed by the most energetic and animated term. The Die

probacause of

of^ pLraiier-

dpai'featuTe "^^^

poetry.^

^'^

This Striving " after-action if I may be allowed so speak which so much distinguishes the Hebrew

"^

language, has perhaps chiefly operated in determining the form of

rhyme of know how

its

poetry.

—which ideas —

parallelism,

its

mean

I

may

adopting that of

in

properly be designated the

In this

principal feature.

;

and how the correspondence and

alternation of ideas, produce at once variety

The importance

may

be thus

illustrated, after

parallelism

is

has always something

wave,

who the

^^of\1ie^He-

Nor

inThe'dark genius of the

Hebrew guage,

unity.

"

When

new

wave

its

itself,

but

the

first

When

to say.

the

breaks proudly

place."

merely to the exhibition of feeling and

it

'-'

"^

sentiment that parallelism

much

oWrit^are coutributcs

^

never exhausts

either gently flows away, or

is

:

were, succeeds to

it it

;

Herder

against the rock, a second takes They

and

of parallelism to impressive poetry

heart overflows, wave, as

and such

we

the repetition of action contributes to em-

phasis and effect

charge

at once,

who chargc

is

to precision

so well adapted

;

it

the sacred poetry of the

also

They

and perspicuity.

Hebrews with

pcculiar obscurity, are themselves under a cloud of

lan-

judicial darkness touching the genius of the

I

"So

lelismus.

bald sich das Herz ergisst, stromt IVelle aiif

Es hat

die erste JVelle

nie ausgeredet, hat

sank

verfliesst,

die zweite ffelle wieder." vol.

i.

p. 21.

immer etwas

Jl^elle,

7ieues

Hebrew

das

zu sagen.

is

ParolSo laid

oder sich pr'dchtig bricht am Felsen, kommt vom Geist der " Ebraeischen Poesie,"

— Herder


ESS^Y

27"

1.

mode

language, as well as regards the

adopted by the inspired Hebrew bards. but compare the

subhme

effusions of

of expression

Indeed, if we Hebrew poetry

with the most finished specimens of Grecian art instance, with the Grecian choral poetry

it

— for

will not

be hard to determine on which side the advantage lies

the former will be found to exceed the latter as

:

much to

genuine simplicity, as they are to be preferred Such,

in true sublimity.

it

the

in

Hebrews

in brief, is

the poetry of

— the most sublime, the most

interesting,

the most remarkable.

The study full

full

of the sacred poetry of the

Hebrews

is

of instruction to the humble-minded believer, and of delight to the Christian Scholar.

Connected

it IS

With the earliest history of the Jewish people,

interwoven with their sins

and

all their

Much

•"

charm with men of a

we

that poetry which, nation,

When we delight in

tells

We

like to

of the glories of the past,

we know, has been

fondly cherished

and handed down from father to not merely from

but also from considering

it

its

nation.

own

"

we

son. feel

intrinsic merit,

as the poetical inheritance

of a great and intellectual people sure of a

later age.

peruse the " Tale of Troy divine it,

'

derive from early lays,

from their historical associations.

read that poetry which

by a

business and their pleasures,

of the pleasure which

results

To humbleminded believer, and fu 11 of delight to the Chris-

their sorrows, the poetry of the Bible "^"

possesses no small

— the cherished

Taking up the

'''i!

s"ruct°on

the

.

as

o^tlfe Sacked

^°eb%ws

trea-

effusions of the

sacred muse, and viewing them in this light,

we can

Scholar,


ESSAY

28

I.

find nothing so striking in the race.

whole history of our

At a period when time itself was young, Hebrew melody was heard. When all

voice of

nations

around them were

in

gross

darkness,

the

the the

children of Israel had light, even the light of the true

God, shining unto them.

human muse began

Ages and ages

before the

to sing, inspired bards were giving

utterance to their God-directed lays, and hymning, in strains designed to last

till

time shall be no more,

the Majesty of the Lord of Hosts the

— now exulting

commemoration of deliverance,

or in the joys of a

triumph which His right hand procured them, looking far

off,

in the distant future,

ing in verse divine

This then,

my

its

first

in

— now

and foreshadow-

great events.

Essay,

is

my Apology

for bring-

ing the subject under the consideration of a// estates

of men, in her Majesty's dominions.


ESSAY

II.

THE VESTIGES OF PRIMEVAL HEBREW POETRY, TRACEABLE IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS. INTIMATED,

I

ill

'

the

Hebrew

the course of

language, as

mere fragment

we

my '

possess

Essay, that

first it

"'

at present,

in point of glossary or

a

is

The Hebrew language, as days'^of yore!

vocabulary

of the sacred tongue, as spoken in the days of yore, in

the plenitude of vigour and vitality.

all

the

same

:

I

confidently afiirm,

I

reiterate

it

by reason of strong

conviction, that ere the tribes of Israel were scattered

over the face of the earth

;

ere their children were

forced to learn strange languages, to the detriment of their

own beloved

tongue, the

Hebrew language was

one of the richest and the most widely extended over the face of the then habitable earth

was unrivalled and matchless grace.

with It

me

moreover, that

fortify this position, before I

disquisitions

it

and

proceed

on the subject under treatment.

does not immediately concern the subject which

M^,tic'"'nar-

hand, to establish the remote, the hoary

corT' rtcWy

have

I

Let

my

;

for energy, beauty,

in

antiquity of the original language of the Pentateuch .

.

;

.

nor does the discussion of th« Eloliistic and JcJwvistic ' The general reader may require a few words of explanation of the above The former has been coined by a certain school, with questionably taste, to describe the earliest period of revelation, when the '

two technical terms.

with tions.

quota-


ESSAY

30

periods directly affect

my

my

II.

theme.

But

it

appertains to

thesis that I prove that the writer of that sacred

chronicle,

was

one way or another,

instructed,

in the

events which took place on this earth prior to his

undertaking to record them in his marvellous com-

pendium.

There

is

something unspeakably grand

in

Ask now

of

his appeal to the sons of Israel, saying

:

"

the earliest days, which were before thee, since the

day that God created man upon the earth

;

and ask

from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there had been any such thing as this great thing

or hath been heard like

it

V'^

The

is,

poetic hyperbole

does not do away with the implied prosaic matter of fact that there

were some means of consulting certain

authorities on the subject in question, whether oral or scriptory.

Furthermore, no Hebrew scholar can read

—

Almighty was known as Elohim translated, by us, God. The latter was coined by the same school, and with the same taste, with reference to a later period, when the Great Being was made known as mrp which Gentiles dare pronounce Jehovah, translated, by us. Lord. The Jews consider the original name ineffable, and never pronounce it after the manner of the Gentiles, as I have just, for this once, written it; they substitute for it, either the term Adonai, of which Lord is the literal translation, or the

—

Hashem, The Name. It is evident that our Saviour never, in His ordinary teaching, pronounced the word otherwise than Adonai ; and hence, in every quotation of that name which He made from the Old Testament, it is uniformly translated into Greek by the word Kvptos, Lord. Two references will suffice: Mat. xxii. 44; Lu. iv. iS. I shall therefore endeavour, in all humility, to act on this great authority, and use that sacred name with something of the same reverence which He, who spoke as never man spake, was wont to do when on earth. I shall, in future, use either Adonai, or its English equivalent. Lord. ' Deut. iv. 32. expression,


!

ESSAY the

II.

31

book of Moses without recognising the great

first

between the phraseology of the narrator,

difference

and that of the various personages, some of whose

Every candid scholar must

sayings are briefly quoted. at

once resolve the narrative into a record richly

The very

garnished with quotations. of style,

versity

fact of the di-

proves that our author gave the

quotations in the language in which they were originally uttered lated

;

language

Let

for a translation

them is

would

historian

;

and that

Hebrew,

me adduce

a few fragments of ante-diluvian *-*

poetry, in illustration of the

Moses

once have assimi-

at

to the style of the

touching the mysterious creation and

writes,

formation of

argument heretofore urged.

Adam

and Eve; he gives the grateful

surprise of the father of the

human

race, as

it

was

preserved in a couplet very different in structure and diction from

Adam

is

Moses'

said to

This time

it is

own composition

have exclaimed

bone of my bone, and

This shall be called woman, for

of the kind.

^ :

this

flesh of

my

flesh

!

was taken from man

The moral drawn from it is forthwith given in the own grave and dignified style " Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall

historian's

:

cleave unto his wife

ncaD

:

and they

iffin 'Dijyn d'sv

•.riNTnnp^

c'nd

'3

shall be

one

Dyon n«T

Gen.

rros Nip' rmTh

flesh."

ii.

23.

^

few frag-

merits

of

p"et^'"Gen «• 23.


ESSAY

32

Adam's epigrammatic

^^^Jl

II.

When, in the following the compiler o chapter, x Book of Genesis writes :— /

'

i.

of the

Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste Brought death into the world, and

he describes the Creator's search

Man.

The former

tate to account in

of a couplet

Thy

The

one word

naked

am

I,

?

"

Where

art

again preserved in the form

and

so patent that

is

that the

latter

is

original language,

have hid myself

from the second to the third it is

impossible not to admit

and not by

a quotation, in an

translation.

said of the fourth chapter

;

the

from that of the historian to that of

in style

his authorities,

I

substantially

The same may be change

is

—A-YECAH

^

transition in style,

chapter,

for the lost creature,

voice I heard in the garden, and I was afraid.

Verily,

remonstrance with Cain.

:

our woe

represented as calling the apos-

Adam's reply

thou ?"

The Creator's

is

all

whoever they might

be,

is

too obvious

by even a tyro in the study of the The Almighty is represented as language. Hebrew endeavouring to rouse Adam's eldest son from his

to be mistaken

murderous

cogitations, in the following remonstrance

NT«1 pi

'TOOttJ "[bp-n«

Gen.

iii.

lo.

'

;


i

ESSAY

;

II.

33

consisting of a seven-lines-stanza, of wonderful

tentiousness and energy

Why

art

thou wroth

And why Is

it

But

:

art

?

thou pensive

?

—doest thou good exaltation thou doest not good — [Alas

not so if

sen-

?

!

!]

Sin croucheth at the door Its craving

is

for thee.

But thou shouldst master

The apparent

it.

obscurity proves that the

little

poem

belongs to a class of historical reminiscences far anterior to the

days of Moses, 2 u^hen Hebrew prose and

Hebrew poetry began

to

be written with a minuteness

and perspicuity worthy of the best age

in the history of

any language. I pass over the dialogue between the Almighty and Cain, after the latter branded himself as a fratricide.

The

interlocution

form of verse, and given

in the

is

evidently in the

very words in which

they were originally uttered.

^ mn :-p3Q

ibQ:

nab

Gen.

iv. 6, 7.

\

rvdr\

' In my Essays on the Poetry of the Book of Job, I have endeavoured to point out the affinity, in style and structure, between the above stanza and the poetic compositions relating to the " man in the land of Uz."

4


— ESSAY

34 Gen.

iv.

23,

II.

jn the same marvellously comprehensive chapter, the epitome of centuries of history, poetic quotation.

the

first

It is the

we have another

well-known vindication of

bigamist on record, before his two wives,

respecting a certain homicide which he had committed.

The

quotation runs thus

'^

:

Adah and Zillah, hear my Ye wives of Lamech, give Verily, I

have

A young man,

voice

;

ear unto

my

man, because of

slain a

because of

my

speech.

my wound

;

hurt.

Truly, even Cain shall be avenged twice seven-fold,

Then Lamech as'he'is^de" the^^fncie^n't

Chinese.

^ ^^^^

seventy-and-seven-fold.

^°^ multiply examples; the few which

my

I

have

Here we have specimens of a language of striking beauty and force, the same which is now known as Hebrew, spoken by the earliest families of mankind, at a very cltcd will scrvc to iUustratc

meaning.

early period of the world's history, before the calamity

of the deluge, ere the catastrophe of the confusion of

tongues.

and

But what has become of

could contrive

all

their

language

Those who manner of musical instruments, and

literature at large

•h-fp

antediluvians

">

|ymD

•rsDb

n'j!j'i

'ruin :

mj?

xd'«

<rr\irb

'3

iVi

Gen.

iv. 23, 24.

'


â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

ESSAY who were already

II.

35

skilful artizans in brass

and

iron,

must have had genius enough to contrive a method by which to commemorate certain remarkable events in their history. In the traditional period of Chinese

we have mention made of Kwang-te, who resembles very much the Tubal-Cain of the Hebrew annals,

Bible, as the inventor of the cycle,

discoverer of the silkworm, the

and

maker of

letters;

implements and boats, and instructor of every in brass

and

the

sorts of

all

artificer

iron,

Josephus, on very good authority, affirms respecting the antediluvians, that their inventions might not be lost before

they were sufficiently known, upon Adam's

prediction that the world

was

to be destroyed at

one

time by the force oi fire, and at another by the violence

and quantity of

zvater,

they

made two

of brick, and the other of stone discoveries on

them both

brick should be destroyed

;

;

pillars

:

the one

they inscribed their

that in case the pillar of

by the

flood, the pillar of

stone might remain, and exhibit those discoveries to

mankind, and also inform them that there was another pillar erected

the pillars truth or fact that I

now

it

was

believe

Be the circumstantial story of fiction, it does not do away with the

by them.

it

believed, thousands of years

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

ago

:

and

after investigating all the ingenious

guesses which European scholarship has made, touching the science of language

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; that the antediluvians had

discovered some means of writing,

by which

to

com-

municate their knowledge to succeeding generations.

j^ilj^i^,/""'"

could

write-


ESSAY

36

hl"°contemporanes.

"^"^ "^^^

weTC thc scribcs

II.

Such a question could

?

only bc Eskcd by an unthinking objector, and scarcely deserves any notice.

We

know

that a greater than

Josephus spake of certain prophecies of the ante-

The author of the Apocryphal book Enoch amongst " Leaders people by their counsels, and by their know-

diluvian Enoch. I

Ecclesiasticus,2 mentions

of the

ledge of learning meet

eloquent

their

in

for

and

the people, wise

instructions

;

such as found out

musical tones, and recited verses in writing."

It

was

by Josephus and his contemporaries and I now that the language which the antediluvians spoke was the same which is known amongst us by the name of Hebrew, and justly surnamed " The sacred tongue." That language, as then spoken, must already have been copious for those people required names for a multiplicity of objects, as well as

believed believe

it

:

phraseology for a host of subjects, and for manifold purposes tics

but the whole of their vocabulary, and dialec-

;

—with

the exception of the few words preserved

in the first seven chapters of Genesis

and a great The

first

post-diluvian poetic composition, pre'Je'Jv'^d!''^'

loss

it is

Let us now glance -'

lost to us

;

at another period of the world's

history, in connection with the '

the Hcbrcw.

—are

to the philosophical philologist.

language, one primeval o o ^ to leave his ark of J

Noah was permitted

refuge; in the course of years the families of his sons

greatly multiplied, and units

'

Jude

14.

'

became thousands:

Ecclus.

xliv.

4-16;

xlix. 14.

"

and


!

ESSAY

II.

37

by these were the nations divided the flood."!

attention to the

the earth after

post-diluvian poetic composition

first

Noah's second son had

which Moses preserved. curred,

in

cannot pass on here without calling

I

and justly

in-

Not

his father's displeasure.

so,

only did the anger of an earthly parent kindle against

Ham, but also the wrath of God. The Almighty then made known his purposes respecting mankind, to the father of the

post-diluvian

race.

That subject of

Noah digested into the form of a short The predicted exaltation and prosperity of

revelation

poem.

Shem and

Japheth, as well as the degradation and

adversity of

and

force

Ham, were

art.

We

conceived with genuine poetic

have, in the brief effusion, three

equal divisions of parts

;

and Ham's bad fortune em-

phatically repeated after the

conferred blessings on

each of his more favoured brothers.

God

must have been intimated

indeed, since

it

could

make

in

The

the father indite so vehe-

ment a malediction against one

son, whilst

on the two

others he pronounced such heartfelt blessings ever,

that

it

is

is

the poetic feature

I

How-

!

have to deal with, and

very prominent in Noah's extant composition.^

Cursed

A

curse of

very emphatic terms

is

Canaan

servant of servants shall he be to his brothers

'

Gen.

X. 32.

rrrp

may

]y:D :

vx\vb

TilN

lar

Gen.

ix.

!

25, 26, 27.


ESSAY

38

Blessed be the Lord

And God And And

Abraham's

to them.

persuade Japheth,

will

he

shall dwell in the tents of

let

Canaan be a servant

The maledictory ;

of Shem,

Canaan be a servant

let

his diction.

tion

God

II.

and

It is

stanza

neither Moses' style, nor

is

nothing more nor

proclaims

it

Shem.

to them.

itself to

than a quota-

less

be such at

sight.

patriotic

so-

gy^ ^q continue our bird's-eye view of the history ^ ^

thrmfe

pri^

of the " science of language," as sketched in the oldest

meval guage

Ian

book extant

"

in the world.

The whole

one language, and of one speech."

earth

was of

In process of

'

time occurred the Babel catastrophe, the confusion of tongues, race.

and the universal dispersion of the human

But

it is

evident that the one primeval language

remained, for a time, the living spoken tongue

Shem

the descendants of

;

that

is

among

of the lineal de-

scendants of his great grandson " Eber," to

term Hebrew, more correctly Ebrew, owes

whom

the

its origin.

In the sixth generation after Eber, the language seems to have found a patriotic preserver in "

by reason

Abram," who,

of his zeal for the language of his fathers,

received the

cognomen nayn, "the Ebrew." 2 DÂŤ3

'

Gen.

xi. i.

'nVx

mn'

im

in"?

lys

p33

'H'i

â&#x20AC;˘.ych

113?

]3?3D

'rn

:

'

Gen. xiv.

13.

Whilst


ESSAY

11.

by

the collateral branches were,

39

degrees, adopting the

now known as Hebrew patriarch

vocabulary of those mongrel dialects, Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic

the

elegance, majesty, and

cultivated, in all its

beauty,

the primitive tongue, which he evidently took care

and Providence rewarded

his solicitude

—should be so

rooted in the hearts of his posterity, as no vicissitude

should compass

its

utter extinction.

There

thing grand in the Divine testimony to "

patriotic solicitude.

And

Lord

the

Abraham that thing which Abraham shall surely become

that

mighty will

nation,

be blessed

shall

command

him,"

language,

I

in

and

do

great

of

the

know him

I

seeing

;

a

and earth

that he

his household after

The exact means which

cannot

tell

the patriarch

one cannot be

;

far

Abraham inculcated

wrong, diligent

and readings of God's providential

That

annals of the world.

during their sojourn tlie

I

I

the preservation of the one primeval

recitations, writings, in the

For

}

however, in affirming that

epochs

the nations

all

him

his children,

etc., etc.^

adopted, for

and

Shall

said.

hide from

some-

is

Abraham's

in

Egypt, were

various ruthless oppressions

his offspring,

— notwithstanding

— a highly

intellectual

and cultivated people (who could speak and write two languages, their own, the Hebrew, and the Egyptian),

admits of no two opinions amongst the

Pentateuch carefully.

'

Gen.

We

xviii.

17-19.

have

men who

read

an incidental


ESSAY

40

allusion, in

Hebrew

II.

subsequent history/ to four remarkable

sages

;

so remarkable indeed, that they are

particularly mentioned as having been surpassed in

wisdom by Solomon only. Those four men Heman, Chalcol, and Darda, were brothers

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Ethan, ;

grand-

who were evidently born in Egypt. fhe Hebrcw language must have become wonder-

sons of Judah, The brew

HeIan-

m"^^*wfaith radsfojourn gi'pt.

fu'^ly

enriched during Israel's residence in the land of

^hc Pharaohs, ^ÂŁ- ^j^g

by the

incorporation, into that language,

Egyptian terms of the various

which were cultivated by the wise phis,

arts

men

and

sciences,

Mem-

of Zoan,

Without the supposition that the

and Thebes.

Hebrew language was very wealthy in word, thought, and in deed, read and known by the people of Israel, a great deal of the dignified and grave addresses of

command, must be put down as inflated and unmeaning verbosity. What did that great sage mean, by constantly exhorting the Moses

to the nation under his

people to read and write the law which he gave them, if

no

they could neither do the one nor the other ;

me

the conviction that the Israelites

Egypt were a highly

who

No,

the calm and patient examination of the Penta-

teuch forces upon in

.''

cultivated

great assiduity.

their I

am

refined

and

literary people,

much-cherished language with not at

all

surprised to find that

at a popular demonstration in the desert, against their

Deliverer, the

'

two hundred and

I

Kings

iv.

fifty princes,

31; Heb. version,

v. 11.

the ring-


;

ESSAY leaders

of the

"famous

in

n.

movement, should

the congregation,

men

be describee

By

of renown."'

-

the bye, modern democratic agitators are but indifferent imitators of those Israehtish orators, judging from the

we have of the Abraham, thereharangues of the latter. The sons of fore, must have had a good deal of Hebrew literature preserved amongst them, whether oral or scriptory, accounts, laconic as they are, which

extending over the long period from the exodus of

Noah from the ark to their own exodus from Egypt that is, many many centuries but with the exception :

of the few incidents recorded in the last forty-three

chapters of the literature

is

Book

lost to the

of Genesis, the whole of that

world

;

and a great

loss

it is

to

the philosophical philologist.

What

shall I say

about the

War," the Book of Song; Jasher

;"

Books of

"Book

Israel

}

The books

of Chronicles which

possess are evidently not the documents which are

frequently referred to in the Books of Kings. shall

What

say to the loss of the works of David and

I

Solomon, on the

Temple

What

}^

and choral service of the

liturgical

shall I say to the loss of

work on natural history

What

"i

Solomon's

shall I say to the

loss of all the productions of " the sons of the Pro-

phets

"

}

'

Yes, what shall

Num.

xvi. 2.

I

say even to the

*

loss, in

2 Chron. xxxv. 4.

J^e'" losses

of demHebrTw

the Books of the Chronicles of the Kings of

Judah and

we

loss of the "

the so-called

a

sustained.


ESSAY

42

literary point of view, of the

Baal

?

II.

works of the prophets of

Let the Classical Scholar imagine the whole

of the literature of the ancient Greeks reduced to

Herodotus, ^Eschylus, and Pindar, and he to form

Hebrew

some

faint idea of the

literature has sustained

reconcile us to be resigned to

:

be able

will

enormous

loss

which

a loss which should

many an apparent

textual

madly means of comparing the verbal usages of the same terms by other writers. As regards the Hebrews themselves, I can conceive nothing more painful to the contemplaobscurity in the sacred volume, without rushing into scepticism

;

seeing

we

are deprived of the

tion of an intelligent, patriotic Jew, than the fact of

the great loss which the nation had sustained,

much

destruction of so

national independence Themostessential

rem-

by the

of their lore, along with their !

Howcvcr, He, who has interposed His providential ' '^ '

'

The House

bre"w °[it^a-

guardianship over the remnant of "

dendaiiy^nd

Jacob," has also mcrcifulIy preserved the most essential

preserved.

of

remnant of their hallowed literature. A renmant, the more it is studied the more appreciable does the loss of the main body become. When we visit the wrecks of ancient

Rome

and Athens, we do not only admire

the stupendous remains, but our minds turn irresistibly

what it must have been and our hearts melt towards the Italians and the Greeks, by the sad thoughts of their

to contemplate, with the eye of imagination, ;

fall

from such lofty pinnacles of greatness.

It is

so with

the remnant of Israel, and with the fragment of their


ESSAY ancient literature read, marked,

II.

43

a fragment which,

;

if

attentively

and inwardly digested, must confer upon

the devout student peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion

and piety

and

beautiful, as to

that

is

a fragment so grand, sublime,

;

make

us almost suppose that

all

really splendid

and glorious

in literature, is to

be found concentrated

in the small

volume known as

"The

The poetry

Bible."

of that Bible

to discuss, beginning with that of the

now proceed

I

Book

first

of the

Pentateuch, and with the traces of the poetic effusions

of the immediate patriarchs of the

Hebrew

race.

The

vestiges of that poetry which belong to the antedi-

luvian period, and to the pre-Babel era,

The

noticed.

I

have already

do well to take a

reader, however, will

retrospective glance at them,i in order that he

may

the better be able to observe the great difference

between the

The gems

earlier

and

later styles.

poesy which are dispersed ' ^ '

The gems of sacred poesy

through the marvellous Mosaic records are not numer-

fhrough'^the

'-'

ous, but yet

national

Odes future

of sacred

how

striking

Each

!

The

inheritance.

voice

divine

of the

sings of Israel's future destiny, greatness,

The songs

poem

"^^

is

a

Prophetic

and of

Israel's

and God's protecting providence.

of triumph record the mighty deeds of the

Omnipotent One,

in Israel's behalf;

were handed down with nation's jealous care.

all

and these songs

a nation's pride, with

In after ages, in the

'

See pp. 32-40.

full

all

a

glory of

cords."^


ESSAY

44

II.

prophetic inspiration, these early songs their power,

still

preserved

gave a colouring to the poetry of the

still

inspired servants of

the Almighty,

David,

Isaiah,

Hosea, Habakkuk, and others of the Prophets, worked into their

own compositions

language of these immortal

The

the

and even the

spirit,

lays.

paucity of instances makes one anxious not to

overlook a single case. the very

first

stanza,

I

commence,

which occurs

therefore, with

in the record

re-

specting the earliest patriarchs of the Jewish nation. I

am

disposed to believe that stanza to be the inspired

Abraham

composition of faithful,

himself, the father of the

and the friend of God.

twenty-fifth

It is

chapter of Genesis.

recorded in the

When

Rebekah,

after her conception, found herself in the toils and

throes of painful agony, in consequence of the conflicts

"

of the, yet unborn, twin babes,

she went to inquire of the Lord."

means,

we

Samuel

:

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

are told "

by the

Beforetime

writer of the

in Israel,

inquire of God, thus he spake to the seer: for he that

before-time called a this explanation,

Now, we

is

:

now

seer.''^

we are told that What this phrase Books of

when a man went Come, and

let

us

called a Prophet,

to

go

was

Rebekah, according to

went to consult a Prophet, a man of

by the Almighty himself, To whom, therefore, would the agonized Rebekah betake herself but to God.

that

are told

Abraham was

'

I

Sa.

a prophet. 2

ix. 9.

'

Gen. xx.

7.


^

ESS^Y her aged

45

II.

who was

father-in-law,

himself anxiously

looking forward to the birth of a grandson, through

whom

the promises

made

to himself

might be

fulfilled.

Almighty is formed into a brief, but most vigorous little poem, and exactly in Abraham's style and manner of diction. Compare

The

oracular reply of the

the several speeches of that patriarch, in the

first

phrase, in which

idiom, verse

:

is

Two Two Each

is,

I

a strictly

have

following para-

to conciliate

tried

literal translation

modern

of the original

nations are verily conceived in thee, diverse people from their very birth they'll be will strive for

But the elder It

The

Book of Moses.

as recorded

shall

;

mastery over the other,

obey the younger brother.

however, in the original that the exquisite,

almost matchless epigrammatic vigour of the oracle How accurately the prophecy, is made manifest. contained in the laconic verse, was of ordinary information need be

The next remarkable meet

in the

Pentateuch

fulfilled,

no person

told.

poetic composition which

we

••

is

also very brief, but

of striking beauty and interest.

"jJTDia

yoK'' •

D'la

N'?a

T52

it

Its penetrating

112?'

':©

dnVi i"n

Gen. xxv.

23.

is

one

pathos

Isaac's benediction to

J""""^


— ESSAY

46

II.

has been appreciated by almost every sacred writer, since

it

became part and

The

literature.

parcel of Israel's hallowed

blind patriarch had received a divine

intimation to bless one of his sons, in order to transmit

made

the promises,

to

broken succession.

him and

Isaac

—of

to his father, in un-

whose poetic genius,

and musing researches amongst the beautiful productions of nature,

we have

already caught a glimpse,^

carefully prepared the benediction in a few sentences

of extraordinary comprehensiveness. Everything celestial

and

terrestrial

the blessing.

embraced within the compass of

is

It is

not

my

business, in these Essays,

to enter into a disquisition on the

unhappy mistakes

which marred the happiness of the occasion tion.

I

have only to consider the

which owes following like the

:

its

"

little

perfume of a

the fragrance of field,

ques-

charming poem

existence to that occasion.

Mark

in

my

It is

son

!

the

It is

which Adonai hath blessed!"

This was evidently a spontaneous exordium, suggested

by the sweet aroma which impregnated Jacob's

bor-

rowed garments and proves the patriarch to have been ;

a great lover of nature's sweet flowers.

'

Gen. xxiv.

63.

rnffi2 mffib

"And Isaac went out to to me almost impossible

The

blessing

pn2» NS'I should have been rendered correctly,

It seems is the idea] in the field." mind of the truly Hebrew Scholar to read of Isaac's employment, in the orig^inal, and not to revert to nricn IT'ffi b'y\ (Gen. ii. 5). This is one of the many instances which prove how little will be done for the revision of the Old Testament as longf as we follow the leaders of the dark ages; since such erudite Biblical Scholars and Critics as the Bishops of Ely and Lincoln have been induced to retain the many mistranslations of the LXX, and of subsequent paraphrasts, and expositors.

botanise [that for the


2

^

ESSAY itself

II.

47

was, however, previously indited, and artificially

worded thus

And Of

tliat

the

:

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

God

dew

grant unto thee

will

of heaven,

And of the fatness of the earth, And abundance of corn and wine. Peoples shall serve thee,

And

nations shall

Be thou

And

He

the

thy mother's sons shall

that cursed thee

And

How

bow down

to thee.

lord over thy brethren,

is

make obeisance

himself accursed

he that blessed thee,

is

to thee.

;

himself blessed.

expounded and illustrated divine communication which was made to his

well the blind bard

first

revered father.

And

I will

Thus make

said the

I

Avill

to

Abraham

of thee a great nation.

And And

Lord

extol thy

I will bless thee

And

thou shalt be a blessing.

^nb^n

I'dnV

:

'

;

name.

l''']nn

1^23

mrr

-pii yT\yo^

Gen.

xii. 2, 3.

Gen.

xxvii. 28, 29.

:

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;


;

ESSAY

48

And And And

I will bless

curse '

them

them

II.

that bless thee,

that curse thee

in thee shall

be blessed

All the families of the earth.

But the beautiful figure of speech " the dew of heaven," which eventually became one of the most favourite poetic metonyms, was the conception and offspring of I shall have to say something more Isaac's muse. about

hereafter.

it

It is

difference, in elegance

impossible to overlook the

and

finish,

between the blessing

which Isaac bestowed upon Jacob, and that which Esau's agony elicited. There is a crudeness about the

latter,

which

tells

its

own

namely, that

tale,

it is

the enunciation of surprise and unpremeditation, not-

withstanding that the subject matter was prompted by the Spirit from on high. patriarch's tent, let

Esau an

me

Before

observe that

injustice, if one did

I

leave the blind

it

would be doing

not point out that, with

all

had the soul of a great poet, and that he was an ingenious epigrammatist. This must be admitted even by such as can only read the English version of the interview, which took place between him and his his faults, he

duped

father, after

Jacob had secured the blessing of

the firstborn. Theconciusion ne째s째s

of the 째^ *^^

of on the beauteous dewdrops I must not linger ^ 째 poetry which glisten on the leaves of Jacob's story whilst at

'

I

Padan Aram

;

or on the flowerets which are

have adopted the Samaritan version of the original word.


^

!

ESSAY

49

II.

now and then peeping out round his encampment at Shechem. Nor can I stop to analyse the poetic pathos of Judah's pleading before Joseph, i matchless as for

energy and fascinating

the death-bed of Jacob

diction.

I

it is

must hasten

to

and attend to the valedictory

:

effusion of the father of the twelve tribes of Israel.

How of

admirably does the Book of Genesis, that oldest

with which his

conclude

all histories,

we

are presented

earthly pilgrimage,

make known

gether to

them

in

How

!

!

imposing the picture

Arrived at the close of

Jacob gathers to

Rousing

the latter days."

his

them "what

sons tobefall

shall

all his

energies,

he pours forth a

strain of inspired song, full of force

and tenderness,

full

the

calm

and

of

sublimity and

dignified

exordium

pathos.

poem

the

of

In

under review, we recognise the voice of the patriarch shepherd

:

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

Be gathered That which

you

together, while I declare unto shall befall

you

Assemble yourselves, and

in the last days.

hear, ye sons of

Jacob

;

Yea, hearken unto Israel your father

The

introduction announces that the Patriarch's last

^

Gen.

xliv. 18-34.

dd"?

m'3ÂŤi

iQDurt

Gen.

5

xlix.

i, 2.


;

ESSAY

so

11.

address to his sons, was a divine communication

notwithstanding that the dying poet arranged that

communication ology.

pecuHarly picturesque phrase-

in his

Even an

was not above adopting the

Isaiah

expressive phrase " in the last days,"

when speaking \Ve have,

of the future of the "house of Jacob."i then, exhibited to us, in the

most pleasing manner,

the richness and copiousness to which

had already

To show

attained.

Hebrew imagery

this, I shall

analysis with the blessing of Judah. served, however, that

the blessings

Joseph are distinguished

begin

be ob-

It will

of

my

Judah and

more heartiness than

for

those which the dying patriarch vouchsafed to his other sons.

Upon both

of them, his favourite sons, he

lavished his choicest benedictions, and his tenderest solicitude. The

mg

bless-

upon

Judah.

The wholc of the blessing upon Judah, " ° pronounced forms one of the grandest and most brilliant poetic effusions that can

be met with anywhere.

have occasion to point high esteem

in

which

out, in

later

writings,

it,

except

it

I

know nothing

be the hieroglyphics, or picture-

on the walls of the tombs of Memphis

Beni-Hassan, and Thebes.

Only, the former

agreeable to the imagination than the latter eye.

shall

bards and prophets held the

exquisite imagery here employed. to equal

I

subsequent Essays, the

The dying patriarch seems '

Isaiah

ii.

2.

is

is

more to the

to have concentrated


ESSAY all

his

;

II.

51

thoughts upon the inspired intimation which

his soul received respecting the future of Judah.

he worked up with

the

all

artificial

This

ornaments of

sublime poetry, which seemed to have received at once

You

the sign-manual of heaven.

an

you

effort,

he

feel that

is

all his

energies,

all the memories of the past he is mind Leah's exclamation, when she bare

and collecting recalling to

to

make

behold him

uniting

;

him the fourth

son,'

and he thus begins

:

-

Thou art Judah Thy brethren shall praise thee hand shall Thy be in the neck of thine enemies Thy father's children shall bow do\vn before thee. !

Judah

From

He

is

a lion's whelp

!

;

the rending prey of

my

son, thou hast

gone

up.

stooped, he crouched like a lion,

Even

as a lioness

One must be

—who

shall cause

him

to stand

totally oblivious of Jacob's

up

?

words on a

former occasion, not to recognise the legitimacy of the construction which

I

have intimated of the

Gen.

'

•yua

:

-^rw

"j'lN

fifth line.3

xxix. 35.

nns nnn'

'n

"[?

xlix. S-12.

-

"nnnu}'

mirr nn«

nnN3

Gen.

yn

-lu

J?i3

' own to much disappointment at finding the commonly received I construction of that line followed in the " Speaker's Bible;" the first volume.


"

ESSAY

52

The

Patriarch's

exclamation

consist of his

son

An

!

posture, described

does not

verses,

" It

is

allude

him

the sixth

in

and

retirement,

the

my

Joseph

!

The

(Gen. xxxvii. 33.)

to

refer

I

the coat of

beast hath devoured

evil

has become a torn prey." lion's

If.

previous words to which :

;

seventh

on the

part of the king of beasts, after devouring his prey, to

some mountain

and

forest,

who

;

but to his attitude of conscious

power, as the supreme ruler of the

invincible

bears undisputed sovereign sway, in the

Hence the palpable

midst of the animal kingdom.

connection between the preceding and what follows

The

sceptre shall not depart from Judah,

Nor a

ruler's

wand from between come

Until Shiloh shall

And

unto

Him

Binding his

And

'^

:

foal

his feet,

:

shall the nations

be gathered.

unto the vine,

the colt of his ass unto the choice vine

of which has just been published, after the above has been in type. It to be expected that the two amiable Jewish young ladies the authoresses of "The History and Literature of the Israelites" would

was

follow their talented leader; but something more independent and more accurate was anticipated from the " explanatory and critical " commentators

engaged on the

so-called " Speaker's Bible.

vbx}

nViu :

po

D'Dy

m'y i:nN

ppnoi

NT

'3

nnp' ]Xii'7

'32

iv ^b^

nD«

npiiri!!t


ESSAY Washing

And

his

And

53

blood of grapes

on account of wine,

shall sparkle

be white on account of milk.

his teeth shall

No amount

II.

robe in wine,

his cloak in the

His eyes

2

;

of subtle criticism can eliminate the

profound prophecy, which was evidently the text this

There

sublime poem.

which

is

is

the divine, and which

difficulty to discern

is

the

writers have invested even the

here hinted

at,

What

and

his vine

when Judah

fig tree

!

be able to tender the

Ho

!

boundless blessings are shall dwell safely

When

under

Judah's offspring shall

:

Every one that

thirsteth

ye to the waters.

Even he

Go

human performance

invitation, in a literal, as well as

a metaphorical sense

Go

human element

But subsequent inspired

in this splendid composition.

with divine honours. ^

for

no

that hath

ye, get

no money,

food and

eat.

Yea, go ye, get food without money.

And

wine and milk without

!

'

Hebrews

'

Isaiah

vii.

Iv. i.

14; Rev. v. I

i

price.

nmo nnDy mai

5.

have translated the original word Tia© according- to

primitive meaning, namely, get food.

The rendering

in the

its

Authorised


â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

i

ESSAY

54

Ere

I direct

deem

it

11.

attention to the blessing of Joseph,

The

loud in those two stanzas

spirit

of prophecy breathes

and furthermore prove,

;

further proof be necessary, that that holy

own

I

right to notice the patriarch's benedictions to

Zebulun and Dan.

as he

;

was moved by the Holy Ghost.

who gave

order,

I

if

spoke,

adopt Jacob's

the preference to his tenth son

Subsequent history proves that the pre-

after Judah.

was deservedly shown. That evinced great prowess and valour in

ference

struggles.

man

It

was well trained

and the Zebulunites fought

always

tribe all

for martial

patriotic

purposes

for their nationality

with

army might Thus does the renowned prophetess apos-

a lion-heartedness, of which the British

be proud.

trophise that tribe

Zebulun

The

!

sacred

:

a people jeopardizing his

chronicler

is

must appear, even

life

unto death.

even more graphic

in

his

such as are altogether unacquainted ; a feature which one seeks in vain to point out in the writings of that great bard, Isaiah. But, according " He to the Authorised Version, the paradox here is glaringly emphatic. Version,

with the

/â&#x20AC;˘;;!/,

orig-inal,

to

as somethings paradoxical

that hath no money, come ye, hinj and eat; yea, come, linj wine and milk, withovt money and without price." Alas, the poor man knows too well that he can

as a

gift

buy nothing without money

the soul which spiritual

he

;

may

get bread, wine, and milk,

without money, but he can purchase nothing without money. is

to " delight

may

And

get but not in return for anything that man hath first given to Him, and it shall be recomFor of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are

meat and drink as a

itself in

fatness " (see ver. 2)

gift,

can give, or do. "Who pensed to him again ? all things to whom be glory for ever. :

'

Jud.

Amen."

v. iS.

Rom.

xi.

35, 36.


â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

^

ESSAY prose

description

army which

;

11.

all

55

he records respecting the grand

rallied

David

round

Zebulun such as went forth to with

2

;

at

battle,

Hebron,

"

expert

war,

of war, fifty thousand

instruments

could keep rank, they were not of double

And,

in

which heart."i

the tribe of Zebulun

like the English,

Of

could

boast of merchant princes by land and by sea, as well

Deborah

as of noted authors. tribe

:

Out of Zebulun, they All I

sings respecting that

this,

come

that handle the

pen of the

scribe.

however, will be more fully illustrated when

to treat of the last

poem

of the song of Deborah.

Jacob predicted only the

maritime importance of the the following three lines Zebulun

And And

it

Here we have,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

days to come,

tribe, in

shall dwell at the

haven of the

in

sea,

be a haven of ships

shall

his

:

of Moses, as well as

boundary

shall

be by Zidon.

at that early period,

some knowledge

displayed, on the part of the primitive Hebrews, of ships and the sea.

It

would be

that the patriarch, and they

'

I

Chron.

xii.

pDC

-

33. T^T\h

]'jm

n':N

Fjin?

sim

\y2

bs

iriDTi

conceive

he addressed, had

Jud.

Q'D'

:

difficult to

whom

v. 14.

Gen.

xlix. 13.

'


2

ESSAY

56

no knowledge whatever, maritime terms phecy

''re-

Dan""^

II.

at the

same

time, of

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; notwithstanding Voltaire's

'^^^ stanza whicli belongs to the

without apparent

some

assertion,

not

fifth son, is

Jacob again takes ad-

difficulty.

vantage of the signification of the name, which Rachel conferred upon Bilhah's

and begins

first-born, ^

prophetic song respecting that tribe thus

Dan

will

Dan

will

Israel.

be a serpent by the way,

arrow-snake by the path,

That biteth the heels of the So that I

The

his

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

judge his people

Like one of the tribes of

An

:

its

have waited

inspired

horse,

rider falleth backward. for thy salvation,

O

Lord

mind which, with prophetic

!

gaze, beheld

the future of that tribe, under the government of valiant hero,

its

Samson, must also have foreseen the

cunning craftiness and insidious malice which that tribe

frequently betrayed.

perfectly intelligible

Gen. XXX. 1)23?

:

graphic,

and

the poetic description of the

is

'

Vigorous,

btr^-ay

j-n-''73?

"lDitd

-am

p'

6.

p

in^a

p

tt

Gen.

xlix. 16-1S.


ESSJY

II.

57

character of the tribe as given in the seventeenth verse of the chapter under review, which consists of the third

and three following apparent

difficulty,

between the difficulty

lines in the

however,

last line

vanishes,

obvious, as soon as

is

above stanza.

and the preceding and

we

the call to

six.

mind

prophecy into the mysterious

is

the spirit of prophecy.

future.

But the

becomes

connection

that the aged

bard was privileged to penetrate with the

infallible authority, that the

The

as to the connection

We

spirit

have

it

of

on

testimony of the Saviour

The

train of ideas

which

exercised the dying Patriarch's soul, seems to have

been to the following

effect:

—The

tribe of his fifth

some future period, fulfil the signification of its name,and produce a judge, or a ruler. He thus had in his eye of prophecy the time when

son, he foresaw, would, at

Samson, the mighty man of the arise,

tribe of

Dan, should

pre-eminent amongst the judges of Israel; but

with the idea of judge, was always connected that of

The very name " Saviour " is given the Hebrew Bible and literally trans-

deliverance too. respectively, in

lated in the Septuagint,i

— —to certain judges.

All this

suggested to Jacob's mind a better, a higher, and a

more

lasting deliverance for himself, than either the

bravery or craft of the heroes of

Dan would

about

While he thus looked

'

in behalf of that tribe.

See Jud.

iii.

9, 15,

ever bring

where the Hebrew has ycTO, and the Greek has o-wTijpa.


— ESSAY

58

more than

for

exclaim

was

transitory promises," he

led to

:

I

The

"

II.

have waited

for thy salvation,

O

Lord

ancient Jewish interpreters put the

!

same mean-

ing upon the last line of the stanza under disquisition.

The following Targum has on

my

is

the exposition which the Chaldee

that line:

i

"

Our

father Jacob said,

soul longs not either for the deliverance brought

about by Gideon the son of Joash, for

it is

temporary,

nor for the rescue effected by Samson, but for that re-

demption which Thou hast declared to bring to thy people, the children of Israel,

For that redemption

my soul

by means of longeth."

I

Thy Word. believe that

the Chaldee Paraphrast has got hold of the right and real connecting link.

It

impossible not to feel

is

when one has recognised the same connecting

link

the genuine poetry, and the divine beauty, which

belong to the stanza uttered by the aged bard, with respect to his son Dan. The

bless-

I

uow procccd

to Call attention to Jacob's

exuberant

ings invoked

upon Joseph,

outpouriug of a feeling heart,

in

behalf of his eleventh

who was endeared

to

him by circumstances

son

and

a son

;

vicissitudes, replete

was the

NTn

'11303

-nD''D3

with poetic fascination. Joseph

first-born of Rachel, his first love;

noD

mo«T

TD«v

NDpiiD"?

11

priaT

Nb«—Tiy

rrspiE"?

]piiD

n7

ipr

Nim ]™nu3T

Joseph was

]2i3«

n*3pTiD^

ion

'

vh^—m^


^

ESSAY lost to

who

him

for a time,

—when

his father

II.

59

and counted as dead and

his brethren

but death, from starvation, staring them

;

Joseph

saw nothing in

the face

sent

timely succour to his family in their distress.

Who

could help expecting something peculiarly em-

phatic and pathetic to be said about such a son, on

The expectation

such an occasion?

The

first

is

not disappointed.

portion of Jacob's imagery, in the case of

Joseph, seems to have been suggested to his mind the figure which he had just employed, of his sixth son

:

Naphtali

is

by

when speaking

a spreading oak,

produceth graceful branches.

\Vliich

Bishop Horsley was happy

when he

in his

remark on

this

" the poetry of

any language will hardly find a more pleasing image of strength and vigour than the Ilex, with an ample head, putting forth fresh shoots." But the learned critic and figure of speech,

nrttt?

The LXX., who rendered

said,

ny«

'bnc:

Gen.

xlix. 21.

'

the exquisite couplet

'ETTiSiiovs

ei'

TO)

yevrjuaTl icoXXo?,

were far nearer the original than the Masorites and Jerome. Bochart, Lowth, Herder, and Horsley and others did well to translate it in the same sense as given above. They apparently overlooked, however, that they

had Septuagint authority

for their interpretation.


'

ESSAY

6o

divine

was

happy

less

II.

in his translation

and

strictures

of the following verses.

The dying

had well marked,

patriarch

learnt,

and

sum and substance of the Holy Ghost had moved him to

inwardly digested, the blessings which the utter.

His poetic genius arranged them, clothed and

adorned them symbols, as to

in

such beauteous

make

figures,

and charming

those benedictions ever

memor-

He

able to the hearts and ears of the blessed ones.

up the spirit and essence of the simile which he used, at the end of Naphtali's blessing, and therefore follows

begins the benediction of his especial favourite thus: Joseph

A

is

fruitful

a

fruitful

bough,

bough beside a

Whose branches run

adTenturS^' ^^'^'

Joseph.

Thc foud

father

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

well,

over the wall.

proceeds to enumerate the cruel

whom he thought dead, but whom he thought lost, but who

adventures of that son,

who was alive again was found again. One seems ;

to perceive the long

pauses which the speaker makes between the succeeding words,

each

of

which

is

pregnant

of the

with

One seems to hear the throbbings sympathising paternal heart, which the memory

significant meaning.

F]DV \v-'b'S

ms p mo ]i

Gen.

xlix. 22.


2

^

ESSAY

61

II.

of the past has suddenly caused, whilst he utters the

following monologous sentences

And And And

is

they embittered him, they shot at him, they hated him,

They who were Exquisite

:

master-archers.

the transition from anguished memories

sudden transition

of the sorrows, to the recollection of the mercies ex'

perienced in the midst of the virulent trouble.

The

inspired poet felicitously changes his tone of plaint for that of praise, feelings, in

But

his

And By

and gives utterance to

somewhat longer sentences bow remained

his altered

strong.

the arms of his hands were nimble.

the hands of the Mighty

Who

:

is

One

of Jacob,

the Shepherd of old.

The Rock

of Israel.

irrnoM

imrp

pN2

VT npy'

'm

aium IID'I

Ti« n'Q

Gen.

xlix. 23.

Gen.

xlix. 24.

.p'=»'"'

f™'" to praise.


2

i

ESSAY

62 Retrospect a

inspires

blessed prospect.

Hence he continues

II.

to anticipate

and to augur further

and greater blessings from that source continuation

own days

we have a

which

in

;

pathetic touch of the patriarch's

We

of prosperity and adversity.

picture to

ourselves the aged father, speaking hitherto, with closed eyes, of a third person,

his

till

the sense of gratitude

whole being, and he opens

stedfast gaze

him

personally:

was from thy

He

It

was from the Almighty, and

He

fixes his

and addresses

son,

God, and

It

father's

and

his eyes,

upon the beloved

filled

help thee.

will

will bless thee

;

With blessings of heaven from above.

With the blessings of the deep

that lieth beneath,

With the blessings of the breasts and womb. The contrast between the blessings re-

ceived those stowed.

and be-

at a loss for

words

to express adequately the wishes of his heart.

The

Here the

Patriarch's

muse seems

bard therefore concludes by affirming a great contrast

between the blessings which he bestows, and those

which were bestowed upon him

The The

:

blessings of thy father have surpassed blessings of

my

progenitors,

j-nn

"piN

bso

nil)

n«i

-|3-i3'i

Gen.

xlix. 25.

nnn ni*n mnn mail ;

cmi

1113

m« "pa^

nsii

riDta

xlix. 2G.

'

'


— '

ESSAY Even They

II.

63

as far as the wishes of the heights of the world. shall

And on

be on the head of Joseph,

the crown of

him who was separated from

his

[brethren. I

my

cannot quit this splendid poem, nor close

second Essay, without a passing notice of the short stanza respecting Benjamin.

It

me

appears to

that

the

New

Testament helps us materially to understand

the

full

purport of the very last words of Jacob's

inspired song.

I

consider that the brief triplet com-

prehends the history of the youngest first

dawn

that tribe,

who

is

of

its

who

from the

tribe,

political power, to the last scion of

is

mentioned

in the

New

Testament,

immortalised throughout the Christian world,

as the great Apostle of the Gentiles.

Saul of Tarsus

he

or, as

is

The

career of

better known, of St. Paul

alone makes the last line of the triplet intelligible

Benjamin

shall

be as ravenous as a wolf

In the morning he

And

in the

will eat prey,

evening he

nr23

cVir

F]Dv

F]T£' •12?

:

ira

will divide spoil.

msn

ir

lr«^'7

^"nn

2X1

^yyil

7D«' p'?rr

yil iirVi

Gen.

xlix. 27.

:

ThedescriptionofBenja-

™"-


ESSAY

64 The charactenstic of in Gene^rs^""

I

shall

II.

havc occasion to notice certain parts of

this

-i

At

effusioH in futurc Essays.

present, I conclude

by

once more affirming, that the Book of Genesis concludes with a poem, which, brief as rare brilliancy. ful reader,

it.

it

is, is

a

gem

of

must delight the thought-

even such an one as

translation of in

Its analysis

The Hebrew

is

only able to use a

Scholar, however, finds

the study of this sacred ballad, one of the richest

The words

springs of enjoyment.

equivoques indulged duced,

all

employed, the

the picture symbols

in,

intro-

combine to show the grandeur of the poetry

of the Hebrews, even at that early age of the sacred

The

language, and Israelitish muse.

use which the

renowned Moses himself, as well as other contemporary bards, such as Balaam, made of the poem just reviewed, will appear in

'

In

my

my

next.^

Book of Job, I point out the high and valedictory vaticination having subjects for recitations amongst the collateral

introductory Essay to the

probability of Jacob's vicissitudes

become, at an early period, branches of the Patriarch's family

in

that ancient

Arabia.

This consideration accounts

much of the diction and and remarkable work, the Book of Job.

for certain expressions, as well as for

structure of


ESSAY

III.

STUDIES ON MOSES AND THE

MOSAIC AGE. It

is

my

intention, in the treatment of

^

'

my ^

present

Mosaism constitutes

-^

_

keep as closely as possible to the chrono-

subject, to

logical succession

Hebrew

of

Poets, at

the

head

^''J.^-Pof^e

NatbT'^

of which stands that marvellous and extraordinary prodigy, Moses.

him

It is to

that

we

are beholden,

even for the interesting fragments to which reference has already been made. Indeed,

I

cannot help feeling

that, in a certain sense, the apparently conditional

declaration

has been

" I will

verified.

wonderful

man

make

It is

that the

of thee a great nation "^

by the instrumentality of that

Hebrew people

attained that

greatness, and that glory, which for ages distinguished them amongst the nations of the earth. It is Mosaism

which constitutes even now, the literary,

civil,

and

in

political

Israel's

dispersion,

pre-eminence of the

miraculously preserved remnant of Judah and

To

Israel.

form, indeed, a just estimate of the character of Howtoform •^

a

leader, Moses, we must not only him as the great o J view and inspired lawgiver of his people their guide to the '

'

Ex. xxxii. 10;

Num.

xiv. 12.

just esti"j^'e of the

character

of Voles'"^''


ESSAY

66

III.

land of promise, the chosen instrument of their dehver-

ance from

bondageâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; but we must hkewise endeavour

which his writings produced upon the hterature and the poetry of his nation. We

to trace out the effects

shall find that, in this respect, his influence has not

been inconsiderable

;

and we should look upon him as

the inspired father of first

What Homer amongst Mose?7s^''a-

Hebrews.

^

Hebrew

song, as well as the

writer of authentic history.

In the effusions of those Prophets who cheered, who rcbukcd, or who consoled the children of Israel, wc are presented with a series of compositions the

most remarkable the world ever saw, containing the the most

highest excellence in poetry, united with

important revelations of truth. to peruse

Yet

it

is

impossible

them without seeing that they all formed However their inspiration guided them with regard to the

themselves upon some older model. individual

subjects of which they spoke, they were, nevertheless, led always to look

among

back to the records of the past

themselves, and to copy the imagery and to

expand the ideas which

their

older date presented to them.

circumstances

own

sacred books of

And

connected with Moses

indeed

and

the

all

his

age

were, in the highest degree, adapted to cherish the poetic

spirit.

Herder, the accomplished author of

Geist dcr Ebrdischen Poesic, trace minutely the springs

follow

them out

justly remarked:

who had himself learnt of Hebrew Poetry, and

in their successive

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; "To

a

to to

developments, has

young man who wishes

to


^

ESSAY

67

III.

understand thoroughly the Prophets and the Psahiis, I

might give

in

place of

the Mosaic history

word that occurs in it prophetic development throughout

all

a

!

entire

finest

What Homer

chapters. is

direction

often affords occasion for

single

the

this leading

Read Moses, read

others.

among

the Hebrews."

There

is

much

among

is

the Greeks, Moses

truth in these remarks, and they

have an important bearing on the subject of Hebrew

We

Poetry.

remember, however,

must

Hebrew sage exerted

influence which the

and of a

man " light

Turn

their

Led by

By

;

too, later

wondering

his light,

his genius, too,

Greek

the

bodied

a dark

in

times were wont to eyes,

and by

his

wisdom

wise.

he influenced the whole course of

The shapes which

religion.

forth,

blind old

he shone forth a bright and steady

and to him,

;

far wider,

"

Homer, indeed, arose

of Greece.

and distant age

is

from that of the

different turn

forming

in

the poetic conception of his countrymen,

the

that

the creations of his poetry,

his

fancy

became the

days

and the

deities

and the cherished

way

which he sang of deeds of high renown became

'

in

Ich mochte also einem

genetisch verstehm

icill,

idols of after

JYivglingc, der die

statt

aller

andern

diese

;

Psalmen und Propheten Haiiplregel geVen

:

'

f

lies

Oft gielt Ein Hort, das darinn vorkommt, zur schunsten -poetischen Evtwicklimg in ganzen Kapiteln Anlass :

MosenJ was

bei

lies die

Mosaische Geschichte

den Griecheii

Homer

ist, is lei

den Ehra'ir Moses.

Vol.

ii.,

p. TS-

J^^^

^j^^^^'^-

^^^eT'Tver ofGreece."'^''


ESSAY

68

III.

a model for exalted composition, and a storehouse for

gloom

poetic conception. Enveloped in the mysterious

of antiquity, he was always looked up to with veneration, In three ways has

and he was studied with

gy^-

encedVh'e*^"" '"

peopk:°

when wc spcak '^

man

"the

we must

delight.

of the influence which Moses, '

Hebrew minds,

of God," possessed over the

look at him not only as himself a Poet,

but also as affording the noblest and most exalted

The learned German, whose subjects for poetry. work on Hebrew Poetry has been already quoted, has ably pointed out some of the essential points enquiry

the

in

"

Herder,

:

"

In

ways,"

three different

had Moses

affected

poetry

the

says

of

his

entire people, as well as the people themselves, like

everything which was embraced in his state. By

his o\\-n

by

j-jig

Qwn dccds

)

tlic

God goes

conquest of the land, when

and

fights

materials

in

their

for

behalf,

their

imagery

formed

and

especially mention at present the The effect the

of

Iheoc'^^

hierarchy

First,

Egypt

deliverance from

the

;

before them,

the

constant

songs

their

;

I

Elegy of Habak-

Psalm .... The establishkuk, and thc sixty-eighth ° worship, and the priesthood, morcovcr, of divinc mcnt, '

-'

are to be counted

by he It

further

amongst the

acts of Moses, where-

worked upon the poetry of

became, by means of these, the

Temple hymns beings

;

it

;

to it

entirely excluded all

creatures

of

introduced

most common,

civil,

the fancy,

the

his people.

song of the

false

gods,

or to

name Adonai

and domestic duties

;

and

fabulous into the in

short.


ESSAY

III.

69

Hebrews became altogether

the poetry of the

As Moses and Miriam had

afterwards everything was sung as God's act

"The

holy.

sang at the Red Sea, so

....

which Moses effected the second means, by ^

immortality of the poetry of his people, was the de-

own

scription of his

His

acts, his

own poetry and

h[mse']^"

songs.

song was the model of the Prophets

last

Bythepoetry and songs

—his

song at the Red Sea was the model of the Psalms of

and of the celebration of

praise, of victory,

The poetry

ance.

own

life

grave,

and character,

and

reserved.

;

It shines

tenance, but a veil hangs before "

The

means,

third

deliver-

Moses was even such as his embracing much but stern,

of

in

fine,

his

like

own coun-

... whereby Moses it

.

•^

also

By the right that he ^ave

provided for the resuscitation of the sacred song in \^^^ times of its decline, was the right which he delegated

and prescribed to the Prophets .... This privilege of Moses has given unto us an Elias and Elisha, an

Habakkuk. They have

Isaiah and in

shadow

at least,

his

phets are not rightly read,

simply as

foretellers,

his

law

in

gifted Poets."

'

.

.

them

They

Some

of

them

great orators, highly

.

Geist der Elr'dischen Poesie,

Pro-

administered and

degenerate times.

looks upon

i .

The

declaimers.

They

were very wise men of the world

echo reproduced,

voice.

when one

visionists,

were followers of Moses. renewed

in

form and

Vol.

i.,

pp. 323-6.

^'^°'


;

ESSAY

^o Instructive to

j^ jg

compare

words o^he Pentateuch with the com-

easv to Understand, from the attentive study ' of '

•'

Proplietlc Writings,

^^'^^

III.

how

far these observations are

i-iij_ i_r likely to assist us in arriving- at a correct view ot position of__, -,.. -^ a later age. Hebrew roctry. It is instructive to compare the early and simple records of the Pentateuch with the more •

i^

j_

.

,

,

highly wrought and abstruse compositions of a later

In

age.

my

endeavour to

illustrate

the fact that

Moses, by his own poetry, gave a tone to the poetical compositions of the I

would

point

briefly

ideas have been

subsequent ages

Israelites, in

the

out

manner

and expanded by succeeding authors, Volume, and Pleasing to trace the de-

lteuT''%e\'L"n^

nlubn--

Dante,' Chaucer.

in

the golden age of

Amongst any iy J

which

in

adopted from him, and enlarged in the

Hebrew

Sacred

song.

pleasing to trace the i> f development of poetic feeling, to trace out the pro-

nation

grcss of pocsy, from

its

it

is

simple and artless beginning,

most pcrfcct and elaborate

to its .

an early age,

is

And

it

is

in after times.

how

a poet of superior genius, in

able to produce a deep and lasting

impression on the

to start

polish.

-

,

curious to observe

spirit

of his nation, and on the

Some commanding

intellect is

men

found

up from amongst the surrounding crowd, and

to shed abroad a light

—a

light at

which succeeding

bards are fain to kindle their torch, and to which they are fain to be beholden. In this way we have seen how Homer moved the mind of Greece and we see, too, how Dante broke the slumbers of the muse in ;

Italy stern

;

and though he himself touched the lyre with and haughty

feelings,

he nevertheless called


ESSAY

in.

71

into being, in after times, the softest efforts of

and the tenderest

song; the most melodious and exquisite out-

pourings of the

Chaucer, too, with his half-

spirit.

formed lay and uncouth muse, speaking, as in

the lispings of infancy,

He

to the minstrel spirit of this nation.

and morning star

as a bright

it

were,

gave a powerful impetus

still

shone forth

in the literary annals

of

this country.

when we are engaged 00 in studyincf a the y poetry of the Hebrew Bible, we cannot adopt the J which we take m perusmg same Ime oic procedure The conceptions, which the uninspired compositions. It

true, that

is

'

1

I.

1

A.

1

Divine Spirit presented to the minds of the sacred

Asfarasthe structure

01

[angu^ge"^^!^

concerned there

is

difterencebe

tween later ^nd earlier writers.

penmen, are equally perfect in

As

the latest times.

Hebrew language

is

in the earliest as well as

far as the structure of the

concerned,

with any minuteness,

its

we

various

are unable to trace, transitions.

The

poems of David, of Isaiah, of Jeremiah, or Habakkuk,

way

are not in this

so broadly distinguished

earlier compositions, as

dates of merely It

is

human

we

find to

be the case

from in the

songs.

sheer ignorance of this circumstance which

made some

"->

rash Biblical critics hazard certain theories

respecting the dates and authorship of of the Bible.

The German

British disciples, reason

some portions

Philologists,

on unsafe premises.

and

their

It is this

ignorance which betrayed some of the former, and misled some of the

latter,

to

propound the prepos-

terous idea that the Books of Moses, Isaiah, Daniel,

J,,^??^''.'"^" Philologists, B"ritish"^'dis-

ciples.


ESSAY

72

in.

were penned by various writers who flourished at different periods in the annals of the Jewish

than those

beheved

by

in

earnestly for the faith which

Church

who contend

scholars,

was once delivered unto

the saints.

The

iJng^u^ge"^^"^

the '^purpose of expressing

simple nature of the

but of fcw inuovatious .

,

provcd

—as

.

Hebrew language, admitted .

_

,

holy sentiments.

cicnt for tlic purpose of expressing

sentiments,

it

was the

it

in

deep and holy be anxious

less needful to

the subsequent elaboration of

The

it.

comparing together Moses and the Prophets,

see

how

his poetry

his poetry

to

and sentiments were

conskr'"the

expanded by them. The variety and beauty of Hebrew Poetry

beluty of'"^

not in the

number of

subjects of which

it

consist,

treats, for all

had one and the same great subject

before

them

One.

But the variety and beauty, which do

:

is

and sentiments furnished materials

—how

inspired writers

in

object, then,

for

for these latter

pott^^

— sum-_

.

the nrst instance

over,

it

More-

in the lapse of ages.

was

deep and

the glories and perfections of the

Holy

exist in

uncommon degree in this poetry, consist in the ever new and inexhaustible riches which it lavishes on its theme. Just as the Holy One Himself is infinite in an

His goodness and His power, so the lay which tells Him, under the management of those who wrote

of Inspired not writers

rowing imafxpretsions"

^^htT

" as

wcrc moved by the Holy Ghost," thcv ' •'

"^

is

bound-

l^ss iu its trcasurcs.

Ouc

inspired bard did not disdain to borrow an

image, or an expression, from another

;

but this he so


ESSAY worked

in.

73

own immortal song, or so make it a new and fresh attesta-

into the spirit of his

expatiated upon, as to

tion of the majesty of the Eternal One.

Let

me just

advert to one of those striking pieces in the Pentateuch, for some of the most glowing Hebrew Poets the earliest triumphal song on record^â&#x20AC;&#x201D;-that which was sung by Moses and the children of Israel, after the passage of the Red

which served as a model strains of the

;

Considered as a whole, and viewed

Sea.

with the circumstances which called

poems

of the most wonderful is

it

connection

in

forth,

in existence,

it

is

one

and there

nothing which can properly be compared to

it

in the

whole range of uninspired song. Victories

achieved by the nations of the world, ''

'

The psean and

found their minstrels to record them. the

hymn

;

warrior.

one

er

and the lyre of the bard was

listened to with pleasure, it

U

dari^sel."

spread around the strains of gladness after

the toils of the battle

when

T}^^^°"s

after the

deeds of

strife,

recorded the glories and the exploits of the

But never yet was heard among ancient

like this of the faithful servant of

God

;

lays,

never yet

did harp or lute attune to words like those to which that

timbrel once attuned,

when

it

sounded,

"

O'er Egypt's

dark sea;" never was poetry so closely interwoven with history; never

was there history which had so much

the spirit of poetry

We

itself.

are presented with a turning point in the story

The purport of that song.

of the chosen

people.

"a high hand and

Brought out of Egypt with

stretched-out arm,"

they now


— ESSAY

74

III.

on the shores of that wild

stood

God had

Himself

manifested

in

where their

sea,

the

most

terrific

The Lord of nature, the God of battles, and Supreme Ruler of the elements. The song of

majesty the

triumph arose, but not over a blood

—but

battle-field

dyed with

over a scene far more deeply touching.

Just at the place where

Adonai Himself

fought for

they saw their enemies dead upon the sea-shore;

Israel,

and the wise Lawgiver, the inspired Prophet, and the

Bard

divine,

under the direct inspiration of the Holy

One, poured out the strains which were to cheer and to animate every Jewish heart at the time,

and which

were to descend to posterity along with his own wise

and which (taught by fathers to

laws,

their children,

and their children's children, through successive generations),

and The

j^g passagc

choice subject of

brew^bard^

were to remind them of

their high privileges,

their high responsibilities. c>

-i

of the

Red

Sea, and the attendant '

may be considered, so which many a Hebrew Bard

circumstanccs, cycle

that ancient ject

was

"What He of

age,

sea

in

the wars of God," this

sub-

there

it

itself,

was read

And

Red Sea!"

Moses

of

in raising

for

was

felt

:

the efiect in

a

far-

the drooping spirits of the

In the days of Nehemiah, the Levites

Israelites.

speak

of

In

forgotten,

did at the

Song

the

distant

Book

not

"

to speak, the selected.

this wise

before

them,

:

so

"

And Thou

didst divide

that they went

the

through the

midst of the sea on dry land, and their pursuers


ESS^Y

III.

Thou threwest

into the deeps,

mighty waters."

^

My

75

as a stone into the

object, however, in this Essay,

is

to exhibit this

same time

divine song as the most ancient, and at the as the

I

which the Hebrews most especially excelled

mean

the

I'^li^

SHEER,

nature, lyric poetry

is

sublime.

In

lyric poetry.

its

own

peculiarly adapted for the high-

and

est flights of genius,

for the expression of the

Unlike the stately march of epic song, ° the •^

quick and sudden transition of the ode, the bold per-

and animated turns of

Bonification, the vivid

by

Now,

surprise.

and sweetly

softly

— now,

poured upon the ear

its

we

away to contemplate remote results. The characters of are hurried

compared

''"'^

[jje ode*^

music

is

— there, we

distant times

and

the epic and of the

by the winds, which

produce^ a general conflagration

it

The former may be

be thus distinguished. to a flame fanned

differ-

take us

are set, as

were, in the very midst of the events described

may

it,

The

ence between

loud and high swells the

note of triumph and exultation. Here,

ode

poit?^/'^'"'

most perfect model of that species of composi-

tion, in

^The^ f^^^

;

at last

the latter to a flash

of lightning, which strikes and dazzles on a sudden. I

have already observed that Grecian poetry sue' ' •'

ceeded well

in correct

and natural description, but was

deficient in true sublimity

ascend to the dignified.

first

Now,

;

because

it

was unable to

principles of the really great

and

perhaps, in the comparison of the

it is,

'

See Appendi.x B.

The len.ce

excei-

of the

Greek ode.


ESSAY

76

compositions of the polished Greeks with the

lyric

Hebrew poetry

fairly

ode, that the advantage on the side of sacred

most conspicuous, and

is

way

this

III.

perceptible.

that any attempt at comparison

made.

It

was

Grecian muse put forth

find the

most

her lyric effusions that the

all

her strength, and upon them

justice

certainty

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the

the

eternal rights of

retribution

of

we

most

Sometimes

language.

high and solemn

is

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;the

In them

brilliant turns of expression, the

contexture of

theme, too,

be most

in

she bestowed her choicest ornaments.

artificial

It is in

may

the guilty.

to

Sometimes the description turns upon fair and happy scenes, and the bard with the spirit of a patriot, dwells on his country's glory, and the beauty of his native soil. The superexcellence oi the Hebrew

Nqw,

'

j^gj-jy

thc

itt

Hcbrcw

the Grecian song.

much

odc, there

we

Variety and elegance are

the parts harmonise.

pL-

is

its

characteristics.

all

bold personifications,

last.

Adonai

To him

be found

to

More-

makes

all

the sudden transi-

we never

lose the

stands forth as the

all is referred.

Bishop Lowth has properly divided the Hebrew

the'^Mlemh E!\^(Sius

and the

we can

seek elsewhere in vain.

Amidst

connection of the entire. first

that

a unity in the subject which

is

tions, or the

all

the best productions of

in

But again, there

excellence which

over, there

is

'

admirc and applaud,

odes into three classes. swcctncss

The

thc second

its

subUmity and sweet-

third holds a middle rank.

ness,

chapter of Exodus partakes

;

first is

by

emfnen"'"' decree of

its

The ode in

characterised

sublimity

;

by

and the

in the fifteenth

an eminent degree of


^

!

ESSAY

How

sublimity and sweetness. trast

between the

fearful

111.

and watchful care over

marked

the con-

is

power of the Most High, His

vengeance upon the enemies of

strain

Tj

and

Israel,

his tender

High

Israel's self!

is

the

and animated the description, which records the

deeds that have, been done by the Almighty One.

The powers of Nature are tremblingly obedient to the God of Nature. The whirlwind hears His mandate, and issues forth on the errand of destruction. The

A picture

wild sea waves hasten to do His pleasure. of terror and dismay

Then suddenly ^

is

presented to

the scene

is

us.

changed, and after the ^^

" hoarse loud verse," there follows a prophetic glance at the future prosperity of the

chosen people,

the calmness and sweetness of expression

with

contrasted

Prophet-Bard

Thou

On

A

the

in the

preceding.

Thus

seventeenth verse

shalt bring them,

and Thou

:

Thy abode. Adonai Thou hast done it Adonai The Sanctuary Thy hands have founded. !

!

mrr rhsu

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

in

which

beautifully sings

shalt plant

the mountain of Thine inheritance,

foundation for

is

them

the

Thesuddenness of

^^^ ^^^f^^^


ESSAY

78

Hope and

appeared to me, that this has alwavs y rjr

Jt

from which we

may most

clearly discover the inspiration

Very splendid and very

of the ode.

the verse

is

'

faith kept in

view.

III.

striking

is

the

description of the past scene, but this vision of the future it is

which stamps the composition as

of nothing to equal

The

contrast

it,

so

is

divine.

I

know

the whole range of poetry.

in

and

beautiful

yet

so

natural.

Amidst the outpouring of gratitude and triumph, hope and

faith are

tion of

Holy One would "not

odc

Tliis

And

in view.

from the considera-

what had been achieved, the poet

that the hant ode'"

kept

lias

suffer

feels

bccu aptly described as the

"

latable oldest triumphal song in the world." i

leiiouu^''-'^

fully appreciated

must be studied

and marvellous language, quately convey

its

version generally striking beauty

for

power.

is,

it

is

untrans-

no translation can ade-

Energetic as the English

yet unable to represent the

of the original.

point out a few of the

in its

fail."

To be own simple

"ud'ied^in

it

assured

His truth to

I

would, however,

more suggestive

ideas, in this

remarkable composition, which were adopted and ex-

panded by subsequent poets

became

constituent

ideas

in

;

and which, all

in

fact,

Hebrew composi-

tions. The

lay of

Deborah

t^"hr"song

of which at the more remarkable poems In Hancing ÂŁ> r song served as a model, I cannot pass by the fc>

t^'^^s

S°eTsea. fanious

lay

of Deborah

chapter of the

'

Book

and

Barak,

of Judges,

in

the

fifth

There are some

Unuhersetzlaren altesten Siesesanse der Erde.

Herder.


^

ESSAY Striking points

111.

79

of correspondence

between the two

They are both the productions They both record signal

poems.

of prophetic

dehverances.

inspiration.

Adonai

stands forth, indeed, more remarkably dis-

played

Moses' song, yet His workings are clearly

in

acknowledged

too, in the

later

Mosaic song that we have the of

Adonai, under the

poem.

first

It is in

by which His

title,

the

poetic description praises

were afterwards so often celebrated.

Adonai Adonai It

was

Israel

in the

— that

man

is

a

is

His name

knowledge of

of war,

this

!

—that he fought for

penmen

the sacred

especially

Him

gloried

and from

this

many of Adonai

represented as a warrior marching along:

consideration

Adonai

When

!

When Thou

wentest out of

thou marchedst out of the

field

Seir,

of

Edom

The earth trembled, Even the heavens quivered, The clouds also dropped water. n*Dn'?a :

yTS'o

!"«

mn'

^axo

ma'

-|nx2n

n« mco

;

D'D

12'.::

;

they derived

In the song of Deborah

their finest images. is

of

r^^rr

-[ii'>2i

d^j?

cj

Exod. xv.

{)

3.

'

-


— ESSAY

8o

whlrfiThe

And when David

madrofthe

most glowing

Mos^s°

our

III.

too wishes

he

to describe,

in

the

majesty of the Captain of

colours, the

Salvation,

Redeemer

'

does

so

by representing the

as returning victorious to the high abodes

of heaven, hke a warrior from a battle field Lift

up your heads,

O

the

is

ye gates,

And be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors And the King of Glory shall come in.

Who

:

;

King of Glory ?

Adonai, Strong and Mighty Adonai, the Mighty One

A specimen an inspired Oratorio, 01

Quc i^^^tq

in battle

!

of the most magnificent Oratorios, which we o the Book of Psalms, has been composed '

jn

under the influence of the inspired ideas of august ode.

examining

I

this

mean grand

the Forty-sixth Psalm.

hymn

of praise

consist of four semi-choruses,

and a

solo.

Every one of

it

is

this

On

found to

two grand choruses,

its

component parts

re-

minds us of the glorious triumph song, sung by

Moses and the children of deliverance.

I

Israel after the

Red Sea

have already analysed and explained,

DD'ir^l D'lyia

:

l^ffi

rranVo iia: rwrv

Ps. xxiv.

7, S.


ESSAY in

ter

former publications, ^ at some length, the charac-

and

significant import of that sacred oratorio; I

shall therefore its

8i

III.

simply give here the arrangement of

respective parts, so as to

animates

Red Sea

the

make

song,

the Spirit, which

perceptible

in

the

hallowed piece divinely performed by the sons of

Korah.

FIRST RECITATIVE BY SEMI-CHORUS,

First

Re-

citative.

God

A

is

unto us a Refuge and

Strength,''

help in adversities,

He

is

found very readily.

Therefore we

will

"When the earth

And

not

fear,

itself is

changed,

moved

the mountains

Into the midst of the sea.

SECOND RECITATIVE.

Second Recitative.

Let their waters roar and foam,' Let the mountains be tumultuous.

'

" Sacred Minstrelsy

:

The Haidad

:

Music."

"

a Lecture on Biblical and post-Biblical Hebrew a Harvest Thanksgiving Sermon."

mi2i

Ver.

2, 3.

:

co'

rr\X3

r>-x


'

ESSAY

82

He

continues in His majesty.

There Shall

is

Selah

!

a River whose streams

make

glad the city of God,

The hallowed abodes Third

HI.

Most High.

of the

THIRD RECITATIVE.

Re-

citative.

God She

God

is

in the midst of her

shall

'

;

not be moved.

shall help her,

At the dawn of the morning. Nations alarmed,

Kingdoms

tottered,

By His voice He has ordained. The earth shall be subdued. First

THE FIRST GRAND CHORUS.

grand

Chorus.

Adonai Zebaoth

is

with us,

A

is

the

unto us

fortress

:

4, 5.

;

]vb-2

•'23ffia

:

ipi D'lJ

Ver.

6, 7.

:

y-i«

13)23?

Ver.

S.

:

nte

of Jacob

"ini«3i

n!jD

rate

Ver.

God

inj

ffilp

mjD'j "ion

Jinn

ni«n:?

npr 'n7«

i:'?

nin'

aaira

(')

I


'

ESSAY

83

III.

FOURTH RECITATIVE. Go

to,

Wlio had made wonders

He He As

maketh wars

in the earth.

to cease unto the

end of

tlie eartli.

breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear. for chariots,

He

burneth in the

THE know

Understand, and I will

Fourth Recitative.

view the works of Adonai

fire

!

The

SOLO.

that I

am

Solo.

God,

be exalted over the nations,

I will

be exalted over [the earth.

THE GRAND CHORUS REPEATED. Adonai Zebaoth

is

with us,

A

is

the

unto us

fortress

It is impossible, for

God

Grand chorus repeated.

^

of Jacob

!

Selah

!

a mind saturated with the poetry

of the Old Testament, not to trace the Psalm which

have just quoted, to the same Divine

same

n':n

Ver.

Ver.

The proper

Spirit, to the

and to the same dictation

genius, aye,

II.

9, 10.

:y-isa

yijpi :

ITNI

DTi^

12©'

mrp

fllffl'

nbjj?

nn:!

miw

word

I

too, of the

proved a a long time I venture to believe, however, that I have at last solved it. It is one of those vestiges of the lost Hebrew words, the meaning of which we must search in the cognate languages. The signification of this verb I find in the Arabic language as every proficient in that language must at once recognise which was once a dialect of the sacred tongue. (See p. 22.) signification of the first

perplexing philological problem to

in this distich, or solo,

me for

;

i3Dy Ver.

12.

;

nte

ipr

mm:? mrr

'n7N

137

njco

(')

The Psalm traceable

in

genius and diction to the ode of Moses.


i

ESSAY

84

III.

grand ode which Moses composed and sang at the

Red

Every idea

Sea.

has been incorpo-

in the latter

theme of both

rated in the former, and the chief

Adonai

Nor was

odeantmaTed pious individualsin the daysofaffliction, e.g:. Ps. ixxvii.

God

as the

is

of battles.

august Mosaic ode introduced only

tlic

.-,__,,., Temple;

into Israel's majestic songs of praise, in the liturgical

scrvicc of the

meditations

it

devout

of

also animated the solemn

individual

and

Israelites,

cheered them in their private communings with their

and

souls

their

God

in

days of trouble, sorrow, need,

We

or

any other

of

its

in

the case of the plaintive musings of the suffering

adversity.

have a notable instance

use and application, under such circumstances,

Asaph, as preserved to us Psalm.

in

the seventy-seventh

good deal

After indulging a

complaints about a complication of ings, the afflicted

Psalmist

God's protecting care dangers,

and

trials

at the

Red

Sea.

great deliverance, and applies

He

and

them

glorifies the great

to his

Let

me remember

:

the works of the Lord do remember Thy wonders of old.

:

i«b2

:

mpn

Israel's

own circum-

Saviour and Redeemer.

therefore begins at the eleventh verse

Verily, I

man

Asaph,

accommodates the memorable events,

and the language used on the occasion of stances,

suffer-

recalled to a sense of

helpless despair stares

was the case

therefore, at once

is

midst of apparent extreme

in the

when nothing but

in the face, as

querulous

in

n"iDi«

o


ESSAY And

ill.

8s

Thy deeds, Thy achievements. O God in holiness is Thy way Who is so great a power as God ? Thou art the Power working wonderfully. Thou hast made known amongst the peoples Thy having mused on

Then

let

me

all

contemplate

:

!

[strength.

redeemed Thy people with Thine arm,

Thou

hast

Even

the sons of Jacob

The

waters saw Thee,

and Joseph.

O God

Selah

!

!

Yea, the waters saw Thee, they were affrighted,

Even

the very depths trembled.

The clouds streamed with waters, The skies gave forth a voice Even Thy lightnings walked about.' ;

[^^^

xba

tJipa

mrj?

JOS'

iVn' !

^^^^

nrni.

ynn

nbÂŤj

D'o

"pxi

monn iwt mi3?

'

cnbx

CQ

Compare Exod.

f]jÂŤ

TO1T

ix.

23.


'

ESSAY

86

in.

The voice of Thy thunder was like heap upon heap The Hghtnings illumined the habitable world. The earth trembled and shuddered. Thy way is through the sea, And Thy path through many waters,

;

But thy footsteps are not recognised.

Thou hast led Thy people like a flock, By the hand of Moses and Aaron. M<»es' spired

in-

ouo-ht

I

pHeT^occu^- allusion

to

the Almighty's

do"n^appear Isfacl at thc teuch.

that in Asaph's inspired ^ ^

noticc licrc

to

•->

sue-

Red

Sea,

which do not occur

conquests in behalf of

some

in

the

particulars are

Mosaic

added

narrative,

or

triumphal ode, touching the ever memorable event. It

must be borne

mind that the necessary

in

brevity,

which the Father of divine Hebrew Historians, and the requisite conciseness, which the Prince of Sacred

Poets observed, induced the chronicler and bard to

omit

many an

incident.

:

^Zl^:

1Q3?

'

I

believe

reading

;

and

Wjd, I

correct meaninsr.

for

which there

Asaph was not

ab

^'mnpi-i

]«23

is

the only

ri'm

manuscript authority, is the right I proposed above is the

hold that the rendering which


ESSAY inspired successor of

Micah

87

Moses who supplied occurrences

which are not recorded next Essay

in.

That by Asaph, were

my

the supplemental

as another instance.

details, furnished

In

in the Pentateucli.

have occasion to quote the Prophet

I shall

universally

known

and believed by the Jews, is attested by the record which Josephus has given of the concomitants of Israel's deliverance is

at the

Red

Egyptians at the same time

:

"

own

place,

following

which overtook the

As

whole Egyptian army was within its

The

Sea.

his account of the catastrophe

it,

soon as ever the the sea flowed to

and came down with a torrent raised by

the storms of wind, and encompassed the Egyptians.

Showers of rain also came down from the sky, and dreadful thunders and lightning

with flashes of

;

Thunder-bolts also were darted upon them there anything which used to be sent

men, as indications of at this time

them."

;

for a

his wrath,

fire.

nor was by God upon ;

which did not happen

dark and dismal night oppressed

I

Never did Hebrew song make a bolder flight than when it contemplated the Almighty as going forth

"

And it is remarkable representation of Adonai in this

conquering and to conquer."

that although the

His warlike character

is

so perfectly adapted to the

comprehension of man, there ality

about

it,

is

always a

felt spiritu-

which places before us the difference

" Antiquities of the Jews,"

Book

ii.

chap.

xvi. sec. 3.

jJablk^uk

^^^^ °[ Red Sea.

^^l


^

;

ESSAY

88

III.

between the works of the Lord of Hosts, and the deeds of the arm of

Hebrew

poets derived

ceptions, idea.

From

flesh.

many

by varying and enlarging the

Let

me

Habakkuk"

of Hosts

is

subHme con-

original simple

some The prayer

just adduce, as another example,

portions of that wonderful composition

of

source the

this

of their most

—where the

resistless

Much

the subject.

"

might of the Lord

of the imagery in

it

has a reference to the song of Moses; but

how copious!

how

at the eighth

powerful

is it

!

Thus muses the poet

and following verses

:

Was Adonai displeased against the rivers ? Was Thine anger against the streams ? Was Thy wrath against the sea ? That Thou didst

Even Thy

ride

upon thy

horses,

chariots of salvation.

*****

Thy bow was made *

quite bare.

*

*

*

*

The mountains saw Thee, and they trembled

mn'

mn

nn

nnnD^n

ib'n'

iint

Hab.

iii.

S-io.

'


ESSAY

III.

89

The overflowing of the waters passed The deep uttered his voice,

And

hfted

up

way

imagery

we have

a beautiful specimen of

which the sacred poets developed

in

—the brevity of the Mosaic

larged, in all the

description, finely

hands on high.

his

In these passages the

by,

pomp and

by the

is

en-

circumstances of sublime

bard

later

expression

this

;

and the tenth verse

expresses the general terror

that

nature, at the formidable appearance of

its

pervaded God.

While Habakkuk has thus graphically described yJto^T^. the effect produced by God's manifestations, Moses elements 'to

1-1

has been no

ri'i m the

1

less successtui

manner

-i-ii m which he

the sovereign behest of the

Almighty.

has set before us the stupendous miracle performed.

The

instantaneous obedience of wind and water to the

—the immediate succession of the —are described with the most con-

sovereign mandate effect to the

summate

cause

brevity and force

'^

:

By the breath of Thy face, The waters were heaped up. They stood upright like a bottle

"113?

1

H'CJ

D'Q

n-IT

im'

DTI

jc!<

13

1DD

min 13:?3

;

Ex. XV.

8.

'


'

ESSAY

go

Running waters became

Even

is

stagnant,

the noisy waves in the heart of the sea.

And the work Pharaoh

III.

of destruction upon the proud

represented as that of a

moment

Thou didst blow with Thy The sea covered them They sank hke lead,

:

army of

breath,

;

In the mighty waters.

What Longinus

might

f^^d Lon^inus, when he wrote his Essay on the "^

"-'

harhe°been

Sublimc, posscsscd an acquaintance with the poetry of

Schoiar^"^

the Hcbrcws, he would doubtless have assigned

mean

it

no

place in the scale of true excellence and dignity

;

he would have coupled his energetic description of the

mighty power of God, with that verse

mencement

com-

of the Mosaic records which called forth

his admiration.

which the

in the

The

description of the speed, with

effect follows

here than in

the words —

and there was

the cause, "

God

Ver.

10.

n'

:

no

less striking

said, let there

light."

;

is

ih nonn

D'

1003

D'Tix

D'oa

be

light,


^

;

ESSAY The

Hebrews

in this ode.

from the ninth of

91

much beauty to the comsome of this we have already

force of contrast lends

position of the

seen

III.

man

I

;

may

verse,

-'

I will

supremacy of God

I shall

I will

divide the spoil

my very soul. make my sword swift. fill

My hand And then

:

said I will pursue,

overtake

It shall

be'Lttrto'^the

adduce another example ofThTHe" where we have the haughtiness just

well contrasted with the

The enemy

The force of contrast

shall

impoverish them.

follows the emphatic description of the havoc

wherewith God marred the pride,

Thou didst blow with Thy The sea covered them. They sank like lead, In the mighty waters

There

is

breath,

!

also perceptible here a fine view of that irony

which the Hebrews used with so much triumph songs. that

we

It is to

effect in their

an imitation of

this

passage

should perhaps refer the words which Deborah

and Barak put

into the

mouth of the mother of

Sisera

;

where the bitterness of disappointment and defeat are

•tte:

iQN'jDn

The Heirony with

much

effect.


^

!

ESSAY

92

III.

SO well contrasted with the proud and arrogant anticiIsaiah a great master of irony.

pations of success. striking

may

I

also refer to another very-

example from the poetry of

Isaiah.

In the

magnificent ode of triumph over the king of Babylon, the mighty dead are represented as thus addressing the fallen one

:

Yet thou didst say

ascend the heavens

I will

Above

My

the stars of

throne will

And

in thy heart, ;

God

I exalt.

I will dwell

on a

fixed mountain,

In utteraiost secrecy. I will

ascend above the cloudy heights,

I will

match the Most High

But thou

To The Ode Num. .\.\i.

in

Quc

!

descend to the grave,

shall

the extremities of the pit

iustauce more, in illustration of the force of

contrast which lends such a peculiar

mo^

"jnibi

•'«DD

:

]vbvb

nn^^i

ens

nmn

:iu 'DDT bn

charm

Isa.xiv. 13-15.

to

'

Hebrew


i;

ESSAY Poetry.

III.

93

ode which was sung on

It consists of a little

the occasion of the conquest of Sihon, the Amorite sovereign.

The composition

of the laconic poem, pre-

served in four verses of the twenty-first chapter of

Numbers,

is

very spirited, and the conception truly

In

poetical.

the

first

three verses the

author,

a

Hebrew, personifying an Amorite, celebrates Sihon's conquest how he took Heshbon, enlarged and forti;

fied

it

for himself,

and the centre of Moabites.

and made

it

the seat of his empire,

his further expeditions against the

He triumphs

over them, as utterly subdued.

In the last verse the would-be Amorite throws off the

mask, and as a Hebrew,

one concise

in

triplet

com-

memorates the conquest of Sihon by the Israelites, as The ode is remarkable for its the work of a moment.

Mark

sententious brevity of style.

well the contrast

between the boasted success of the Amorites, and their

own subjugation by

Israel

:

Come into Heshbon, she shall be built, And the city of Sihon shall be firmly established. For out of Heshbon a

A

fire

has gone,

flame from the city of Sihon

r^lZTi

pn'D

\\y£n

nnpa

1«1

r^irb

Num.

xxi. 27-30.

'


ESSJY

94 It

III.

had consumed Ar of Moab,

The

possessors of the heights of Anion.

Woe Thou

He

art

to thee

Moab

!

undone, thou people of Chemosh

!

hath given his surviving sons and daughters,

Into captivity to the King of the Amorites, even Sihon

But we have ploughed' them up

Yea we have laid it waste unto Nophah, Even as far as Medeba. The

effect

Ere

which the

Exfdus'produced upon the martial spirit of patriotic

Jews

I close this

Essay

I

[unto Dibon,

must revert once more to

the song of the Exodus, and the effect which

upoH

,

tlic

.,..-

havo HO doubt that

J

-^

.

.

martial Spirit oi patriotic it

in after days.

!

— Heshbon was destroyed

J ews

.-

had

it ,

in alter days.

principal war song formed the •''• ^

of the Israelites during the remainder of their forty years'

wandering

in the wilderness,

known and dreaded amongst whose

territories the

those nations, through

redeemed of Egypt were

!p3-i«

mm

3«1D

:

pn'D

\\yi

'

After

much

and became well

ly

noK

careful examination

that the root of the original word

-p'ob

]iiffin

ii«

led to

'Vyi

-p

'Mi

mmri DT31

and thought, I came to the decision and must be construed as above.

is "ii:,


ESSAY J^

have reached the seer of Pethor

adduce

95

The burden

promised land.

their

III.

my

of the

The

shall

it

produced upon the Hebrew patriots

we have dence

t'^'=,

'^'"'^"

standard.

evidence of which

;

next essay.

I

in

hymn must ' effect

which

in after ages,

the circumstantial, but most convincing evi-

in the story of the conflicts

and conquests under

the leadership of the family of the venerable priest of Modin,'' Mattathias,

who

raised their banner of patriot-

ism, in order to rid the

Holy Land and

city

from the pollution of Antiochus

The

fact

—a

explanations

played

fact

it

—that

""asD,

is,

"Who

Epiphanes.2

notwithstanding the

fictitious

the motto which the banner dis-

Grecocised into MaKKa^al, or Anglicised

into Maccabce, the initials of the nin^,

their sacred

is

like

unto Thee

Adonai!" taken from

the

words

n3?03

"lO

the Gods,

O

T^'h'^l

among

eleventh verse of that

famous ode, proves that that Mosaic song was one of animating

the

martial

hymns

of

the

Asmonean

patriots.

To

or-

How

of the effect which the sono- still produces judge ° the spirits of the children of Israel, is to visit a upon

judge of the

Jewish synagogue or family, the simple faith of whose

upon^TI

members has not been

children of

-^

stultified

by sophistry nor

^^"on^'^t'j}}

^ Israel.

'

I

am

sketched

convinced that Modin is mentioned in the g'eographical chart Deborah's song. pn'W UiS' (ludges v. lo), should never have

in

been translated "ye that "

I

sit in

judgment,"^ut "ye that dwell by Modin."

have treated the subject at some length

Scattered Nation."

in the first

volume of " The

to


ESSAY

96

sullied

by

scepticism, on the Saturday

tion of Scripture visitor

III.

is

when

that por-

read as the appointed lesson.

The

could not help remarking that the virtue of

patriotism

still

smoulders

in

the aching hearts and

throbbing breasts of the race which

God had

first

elected as His peculiar people.^

'

A

celebrated

Hebrew

poet of the last century

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Naphtali Hirtz Weizel,

or Wesseley wrote a Hebrew Epic in eighteen cantos, under the title of msDn 'T"!', " Song's of Glory." He treats of the history of the exodus till the giving of the brilliant

Law on mount

production

;

Sinai. His work, as a whole, is a most but the glory of the Song of Moses is marred by the

non-inspired bard's wordy diffuseness.

See Appendix C.


.

ESSAY THE

^ti;f2,

PURPOSE of Hebrew I

is

IV

OR THE HIEROGLYPHIC POETRY OF THE PENTATEUCH.

to direct attention, in this Essay, to a style

Jyphi^poe":

poetry, the proper understanding of which

P'ibie-or

required to an accurate appreciation of a great por-

Mashal.

mean that department which goes by the name of "ptm

tion of the sacred volume.

Hebrew poetry, Mashal, translated,

of

RABLE.

I

name for it than Hebrew Bible.

can find no better

of illustration let

The

wayfarer.

Authorised Version, PA-

in the

Hieroglyphic Poetry of the

By way

I

me

traveller in

the

adduce the cultivated lands

Classic

has

his

thoughts continually arrested by the splendid archi-

which

tectural remains,

attest the genius of

Powerfully and eloquently do the temples'

days.

crumbling

frieze

and sculptured column

of the past, of forms instinct with while

by-gone

all

manner

around in

is still.

which the

They

Roman

the conception of his mind.

tell

life

the story

and grace,

lead us to observe the

or the

But

Greek expressed

if

from these

fair

scenes the wayfarer should, perchance, turn his steps to Eastern climes

—to

that country which once held

such an important place in the history of the world

Keminiscences of Classic

^^^^•


ESSAY

98

IF.

to Egypt, the cradle of learning and oi art will

he behold

hands of men

contras^tid

Egypt.

there,

many a memorial of the busy how widely different from those The breathing statues of ^^ ^^^ before surveyed Grcece and Italy have but little in common with the too,

ary''ofG?eece

;

but

;

!

decorations which, with mysterious significance, dis-

The men who

tinguish an Egyptian temple.

raised

the mighty structures of Gizeh, Heliopolis, Thebes,

Luxor, Karnak, the Memnonium, Edfou, and

Symbal, had but

Abou

sympathy with those who

little

laboured on the Acropolis, or the shrines of

relics of full

both the Eastern and the Western world are

of interest to the

modern

gates the workings of the

nomena of

The

thought.

have passed away

is

There |-]^g

g^j.|-g

is

a

felt

traveller,

human

character of the

left

Instance the

auothcr.

thcmselvcs, so that

aualocjy oy

^^^^

and poetry.

^^^ thosc of poctry. the pencil, or the

some measure, I

much

that holds

also applicable to

may oftcn bc y

obscrvcd betwecH

of sculpture or of painting,

The same

chisel,

effusions of the pen.

under review.

in the

is

stylcs, for instaucc,

and^aMn

in

men who

connexion between and acknowledg;ed -*

among

An

investi-

behind.

good and true with regard to one styles of

who

mind, and the phe-

most instructively revealed

monuments they have There is a connexion between the

the

Yet these venerable

Paestum, ^gina, and Bassae.

Let

spirit

which animated

may me endeavour

be traced also in the

to the subject

to apply this,

more immediately

have already taken occasion to con-

trast the classic efforts of the

heathen muse, with the


ESSAY

ir.

95

higher and holier breathings of the songs of Sion,

and have pointed out some of the leading pecuhariof these latter.

ties

The

of poetry Oriental and western styles ' J are, how>

i.

ever, in

some

points, so widely different, that

seems

it

well to look for an explanation of the discrepancy,

by

"^^

''''"'''=â&#x20AC;˘

ence between

^^^

wes"enl """^^^

looking to the principles which regulated the poetic

Something with regard

conceptions of each people.

may

to this

which

be learnt from the remains of

art,

The Greeks have

have just spoken.

I

left

of to

us numerous productions of their poetry and their

sculpture

;

in

both

we may

observe the prevalence of

same spirit. In the language of Grecian poetry, there was always that " striving after objectivity," as an the

eminent writer styles to

search after

words

;

clearly

it,

which led the bards of Greece emphatic

precise,

and

mental conceptions.

So,

and picturesque express

distinctly to

which employed

his

all

their

too, in the arts of sight

the artist laboured to represent to the ject

("'reci.-m

genius

;

life

;

every sub-

and to

this,

that

observation and worship of external nature, to which I

have already alluded

contributed.

in

They sought

a former Essay in

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; mainly

everything to give ex-

pression to their sentiments without disguise, and to lay open

But the there

the source and

spirit

springs

of the Oriental

was with him too the

but he proceeded

in a

of their feelings.

was opposed

to all this

;

" striving after objectivity,"

different

way.

The

ancient

Rsj-ptian sculpture.

Egyptian linked thought to thought, resemblance to


ESSAY

lOo

resemblance

IF.

but he endeavoured to express himself,

;

not in words, but through the directly, or unreservedly,

medium

but generally

of things

not

;

in a circuitous

way, by some far-fetched emblem, or subtle device.

Hence

that multitude of dark and mysterious figures,

the secret of which, thousands of years have kept so well, while the real

development of

their significance,

moderns

after all the acuteness of the intellect of the

has been expended upon them, seems as yet to be but imperfectly understood.

A

parallel

between the

Now, whcn we

investigate the very earliest specio ^ j.

Bibi7andthe

n^^ns of poctic composition with which

fngonhe^'-

quainted

tkns.

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;the

poetry of the Pentateuch

^^ useful to bear the style of

which

in

it,

mind

it

The

ture, or tic

and

be

art of

properly re-

But there

a resemblance between the sacred sculp-

picture writing of Egypt, and the

emblema-

allegorical conceptions of the sacred volume.

In "the sure word of prophecy," for

will

poetic style of the

in the rest of ancient literature.

may be traced

it

that a parallel exists between

Hebrew prophets and bards has nothing sembling

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

are ac-

and the mysterious Egyptian

have just spoken.

I

we

Adonai

has raised

Himself a noble temple and memorial to His

glory.

One which

shall

stand

when the proudest

things of earth shall have passed away.

mysterious figures and dark emblems

;

It is full

of

but then, un-

wisdom of human device, we have a key whereby we may understand its meaning. Time

like the secret

has even unlocked the explanations of the strange


ESSAY forms of Egyptian

skill,

ir.

in

loi

order to disclose more

palpably the import, and confirm the truth of the

word

divine.

much

hibited

its

of

it

has translated,

It

myself,

if I

may

so express

of the Scripture Hieroglyphic, and ex-

force with such distinctness, that the reader

can do so with utmost fluency.

Bishop Warburton has pointed out at considerable

much

length and with the

Hebrew

style

He

of composition.

reciprocal influence which hieroglyphics

notices the

would exercise

upon language, and remarks " The old Asiatic style, so highly figurative, seems likewise, by what we find of

its

remains

in the

prophetic language of the Sacred

Writers, to have been evidently fashioned to the

of ancient

hieroglyphics.

...

prophetic style seems to be a

GLYPHIC."

He

In

mode

a word,

the

SPEAKING HIERO-

thence concludes that

"

These observa-

tions will not only assist us in the intelligence of the

Old and

New

Testament, but likewise vindicate their

character from the illiterate cavils of tines,

who have

modern

liber-

foolishly mistaken that colouring for

the peculiar workmanship

of the speaker's

heated

imagination which was the sober, established language of the times

—a

condescended

language which God and His Son

to employ, as the properest vehicle of

the high mysterious ways of Providence, in the revelations of themselves to mankind." ^

'

bu|.to°P^yi-he

ingenuity, this peculiarity of fheHebrew

" Divine Legation."

Book

I

iv.

have introduced

Sec. 4.

position.'^"'"


ESSAY

102

ir.

the subject here merely to set in a clear light the poetic

spirit

Hebrew

of the

marvellous productions of the

Prophets, and with a

more

especial reference

to one of the most striking in early times

I

mean

the fourfold vision of Balaam. of"BaiIam"'^

"'-

^ave already considered at some length other

proper' chlr-

poctic portions of the Pentateuch.

theProphedc

tlic

influeuce

I

which they exercised

have spoken of in

forming the

conceptions, and directing the choice of imagery, in later

times of Jewish literature

;

and

have con-

I

trasted these early songs with classic compositions. I will

now adduce

the visions of Balaam, and the pro-

phetic words which were put into the seer's mouth, as

exhibiting distinctly and forcibly the proper characteristic of

the prophetic style.

This remarkable por-

some

respects, very different

tion of Scripture

is,

in

from the general tenor of the Pentateuch.

cumstance

is,

to

my

designed arguments city of the five

fascinated

mind,

one of the

books of Moses.

the

— Herder

that he thought he discerned in style than in the Divine

takes, afra-^mentof

between"^ Baiak.

"

if

bctwccn

un-

seemed so

gracefulness

predictions of the

Pentateuch himself.

cir-

many

in favour of the historical vera-

by the picturesque

characterised

—The

Aramean

them a

seer,

finer poetic

Songs of the Author of the

Even a Herder may make mis-

he inadvertently

institutes

a comparison

different classes of compositions.

Tlic oracular words of Balaam, however, liavc

which

seem

to

bccn much regarded by succeeding prophets.


^

ESSAY

ir.

103

There

is

to us,

by the prophet Micah, which we should ahvays

a very interesting fragment of his, preserved

connect, in our minds, with the Mosaic narrative.

dialogue

is

A

introduced between the king of Moab, and

the soothsayer, to the following effect

My

people,

What

remember now

Balak,

King of Moab,

And what Balaam From

:

consulted,

the son of Beor answered him,

Shittim as far as Gilgal.

That ye may know the righteousness of Adonai. Balak.

Wherewith

shall I

Wherewith

come

shall I

before Adonai.

bow myself before

the

God

of

[Heaven? Shall I

With

come

before

him with burnt

calves of a year old

offerings ?

?

Balaam. Will Adonai be conciliated with thousands of WiUi myriads of

2«iD iv:2

p

-p^

Di-bi

«2

"iDt

'02?

pb2

\T

rro

"inx

mj?

nm

mn' nipH noa

U'b'n

[rams

rivers of oil ?

'D'^sa

mrr ni'Tn

Mi.

vi.

5-S.

'

?


ESSAY

104

Balak.

Shall I give

The Balaam.

He

fruit

of

Even

And And differ-

J

ence between

my first born for my transgression ? my body a sin offering for my soul ? good,

to love mercy. to

walk devoutly with thy God.

Mose's^mid°^

corded by the Prophet

Moscs too

of the latter,

of

;

may

and we

faithfully J re-

be sure that

correctly transmitted to us the purport

lias

tlic diviner's

The more

prognostications.

style the entire composition

more gloriously does

Few

inspired truth.

in the history of

unlike in

to the great lawgiver's

is

songs, or prophecies, the

own

is

to execute judgment,

bcHeve that these words have been

attest his

what

doth Adonai require of thee ?

testrihe^in-

own

O man,

hath declared unto thee,

And what

The

IF.

any people, are so

it

passages, indeed,

and

inter-

by Moses.

The

striking

esting as the narrative here related

dignified simplicity of the prose beautifully contrasts

with the sublime and sententious turn of the poetry in the prediction, and no recital could tend more to invigorate and cheer the hearts of Israel than that of the

enemy was

blessings which an

Each time

constrained to bestow.

that the oracles of God, respecting Israel,

were delivered by Balaam, they are prefaced by the 'yvcD :

'CD:

nra

no

ip-o

niD::

nwTon

mÂŤ

^nxn

'i^Di

no

-p

tjh

c-m mrr

rrai


ESSAY

ir.

105

entranced seer and reluctant recorder, with the words NCJ'n

)hli^D

— according

to the present

Version — "And he took up

ised

his

Enghsh Authorparable." That

Version but inadequately conveys the force of the

Mashal, is one of manifold treatment of Hebrew Poetry. It is

The word

original.

significance in the

b\y^,

the term which expresses the speciality and functions

Hebrew muse.

of the

It

comprehends,

in fact, the

three different forms of the art of inspired

poetry

—the As

lime.

signification,

it

is

ferent portions of the Bible. it

occurs

is

Num.

has undergone in

it

The

earliest

As

xxi. 27.

illustrated in the last Essay, the is

latitude of

both important and interesting to

.observe the various transitions

which

much

the word, however, has

Hebrew

and the sub-

sententious, the figurative,

have already

I

word

dif-

passage in

'?E^'n,

Mashal,

there employed to characterise the style of the

triumphal ode upon the destruction of Sihon's king-

dom, and sion

it is

rendered in the English Authorised Ver-

by the word Proverb.

So

far as

English

this

term expresses the sententious brevity and point of the poetic style, the word

English reader

it

is

not amiss

;

conveys an idea not at

suited to

;

twenty-seventh chapter "

all

to the

monument of Hebrew Poetry The Book of we find the term also in use for instance, the

ancient

still

In another very

the real import of the composition.

Job

but

And Job

the word

took up his

more

begins

Mashal

:

hz^O

7\'^^

once more."

aVN

?1D''1

There

especially characterises the condensed,

Wehave

in

one word

S^n^portthe

Hebrew


ESSAY

io6

and vigorous

terse

style

IF.

which

is

so striking in the

language and diction of the author under is

be borne

also to

w-fth^rn'rT

mysterious in ^^^^

its

The connexion between

sublimity. •'

mysterious and the dignified in the case of the

Mashal

is

well illustrated in the fourth verse of the

forty-ninth Psalm, where

with HT-n The term 7©Q became

It

Hebrews had always something

didactic poetry of the sometimes used as jttjQ

notice.^

in mind, that the prophetic or

Cheedah,

stands,

it

a synonym

as

or enigma.

mo'dTfiTd'and

In oroccss of time the original ideas contained in ^ ^hc word Mashal became qualified and modified

itsfmp^ort'.''

the short, sententious turn, which

•=>

;

belonged to the

general poetic diction, and in which significance

was wrapped

into

ordinarily understood

3,

proverb.

more Bishop

"We

it

;

Warburton —

and recovered again

was, in

"

how

quote once

I

symbols which came

lost their

mysterious nature,

their primitive use in the flourish-

ing ages of Greece and

Rome.

apologue, often returned to 2i

*

Shall

its

Just so, again,

first

not

all

[Mashal] these,'

'

'

shall

all.

Habakkuk,

See Appendix D.

was

and be'

In that

one take up a

against you

says

it

simple

the

clearness,

proverb, plain and intelligible to

says the Prophet Micah,

parable {^ut^)

and

transformed

with the parable, which coming from

day,'

of,

fine,

have observed"

from open hieroglyphics,

came

to give ex-

more commonly treated

pression to subjects

more

mysterious

its

was applied

up,

(chap. '

ii.

4).

take up a


ESSAY parable (

nn'Ti nv^^QI

Herder,

against

(^l*'d)

him and a taunting proverb

has dihgently investigated the

gin and source of poetry

pointed

107

against him, and say,' etc. (ch.

)

who

ir.

out

Mashal, and

connexion with " I doubt,"

of composition.

meaning

he

all

hl^'TO.

writes, "

The word means

stamp, to imprint a figure or likeness in

sentences

judge

;

;

the

of

the various kinds

whether

origin of poetry can be better expressed than

Hebrew word

6.)

ori-

among the Hebrews, has well

comprehensive

the its

ii.

first

;

this

by the

to impress, to

then to speak

then to divide, order, speak as a king or

finally, to rule,

the word of one's mouth.

govern, to be mighty through

Behold, then, the history of

the origin and most important feature of the poetic art." I

I

proceed

now

to direct attention

more immediately

to the prophecies of Balaam, in order to point out

how

they supply us with illustrations of the different peculiaritics to

which

I

have already alluded.

sententious character of the

Mashal

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

it is

As

to the

impossible

to read over the predictions, about to be reviewed, with-

out being struck by this conspicuous feature. parallelisms are regular and exact. sists

The

clause con-

of brief sentences, minutely and nicely adapted to

one another.

marked is

Each

here

The

spirit of contrast,

on which

I re-

much vigour to poetic expression, employed with much propriety and grace.

as giving so

'

" Geist der Hebriiischen Poesie."

Vol.

ii.

'''

gj^s^P/gPa 'fiuTtrl'tbns''

liarities^oT"

poetry.


'

ESSAY

loS Balaam's nrst oracular

utterance.

Xlius

tlic

oracular utterance describes, in a few

first

couplcts,

niajcstic

elect people of

Balak's machinations

is

the laconic

Adonai put

How

poem

sublime

mouth, formed the theme

into Balaam's

Go

[saying]

go

to,

to,

me

curse

provoke

very sim-

in its

of which the word, which

From Aram Balak would lead me. The King of Moab, from die mountains

And

against the

God, and the Almighty's watchful care

over his chosen ones. plicity

IF.

:

of the east.

Jacob,

Israel.

What shall I curse, when God hath not cursed Or what shall I frown when Adonai hath not frowned. !

!

!

Verily, I see

And

from

Behold,

him from the top of

the rocks,

the heights, I espy him.

it is

a people that shall dwell alone,

among

And

shall not

Who

has counted the dust of Jacob,

And

the

count

number

itself

the nations.

of the fourth part of Israel ?

]hl

?« xrwrv

m« p

'2n3'

nnno i«to

Dip

nnp DJM

JD-l" :

?)«

111"?

icnn'

2py'

np«

vb N*?

~p'o

IDS?

02?

sb

no noi

p

cijai

HDO

'D

Num.

'

xxiii. 7-10.


ESSAY me

Let

And

The

IF.

109

die the death of the upright,'

let

my

hke

posterity be

his.

and careful reader of

intelligent

utterance, on the part

oracular

this

of a reluctant heathen

cannot help detecting a refined allusion to national sacred poems. Behold,

And

it is

Israel's

In the couplet

a people that shall dwell alone.

not count

shall

seer,

Balaam summarises

itself

verses

among

the nations,

13-16, of the

Red Sea

In the last couplet.

divine Pa^an.

me die the death of the And let my posterity be hke Let

upright, his,

the Aramaean diviner had in his mind's eye the death-

bed song of benediction, by the patriarchs brief

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; not

in vain is

in the

Balaamic Mashal.

The employment ' ^

imagery of the figurative style too. which The c> J Balaam )

such an important element

is

last of the three great

Jacob twice mentioned

diction,

is

and poetic p^eXund singularly conspicuous, and most felicitous in prophetical

throughout the group of the inspired oracles pro-

nounced by the the imagery

is

far east

mountain prophet. Sometimes

powerful and sublime

nc '

The LXX.

mo

â&#x20AC;˘"rcD

;

sometimes the

nnn

have, in this instance, given the most accurate rendering of

the spirit of the original

;

namely,

xal yeVoiro to

aTTipi>.a fxov loj

to

anepua

TovTiiiv.


;

^

ESSAY

no

IF.

vivid feelings which the speaker experienced at the present, are clothed in figurative language.

Anon,

dark and secret meaning he wraps his vision of the

in far

distant future. ture°of'?he israe'i!°

^^^

prcscntcd

^-^^

the people of Israel

prowess

by Balaam with two

in

Adonai

their glory

which they enjoy,

and the

in the

The

of their father's God.

They

their

and triumph over

we meet with

In the other,

a milder and

softer description of the choice blessing felicity

is

war, and the might which they have de-

rived from

enemies.

pictures of

the one, the subject

in

;

and supreme

watchful guardianship

propriety of the images,

differences in style, are

worthy of observation.

are exemplified in the poetic renderings

by the

heathen prophet-bard of the two next WORDS, which

Adonai

put into his mouth.

Let

me

them in the "word which

cite

wWcVrriir

order in which they come.

faam'smouth

Adonai

Pisgah.

rendering thereof, on the top of Pisgah

First the

put iuto Balaam's mouth," and the :

seer's

Rise up, Balak, and hear

Give ear unto me, Zipper's son.

He

is

He should forsake He should re-consider.

not a man-god that

Nor a son of man

that

roiri :

iici*

1:2

"phi

Dip

nr nr-xn

Num.

xxiii.

iS-24.

'


ESSAY Hath He

and

said,

shall

Hath He spoken, and Behold, I

And

He

am

blessing

taken

and

'

IF.

He

Adonai

?

ratify

it

?

to bless,

I shall

not turn aside.

his

He

God

eyed the wearisomeness is

is

Neither

Now And

in the

is

is

midst of him.

of Egypt,

unto him.

like the soaring of heights

Verily, there is

in Israel.

with him.

And the triumph of a King God who brought them out

no enchantment against Jacob,

there divination against Israel.

it A\ill

be said respecting Jacob,

What hath God wrought

respecting Israel,

nic5' :

vb^

ini

'nnp'?

-pa

n:n

Tar 13

2pyu

rrhn mn'

:b«

bi-D

nrnm

i'?n

cm

!?«"iic'3

The original word must be read

!

Ninn

"TON

x"?"!

ni'd'-p''

:

'

it

not

hath not looked at the iniquity in Jacob,

Neither hath

He

not do

He

shall

rva

«b

CDp

'3

vh^

bwiir'bi

'"P^Ii^

' The Prophet intimates, by the repetition of the word "pa, the determinate counsel of the Almighty touching Israel.


â&#x20AC;&#x201D; !

ESSAY

112

Behold, the people shall

Yea

He

of jaco'ir'and

^°^^^'

up

rise

like a lioness.

like a lion shall he raise himself;

down

shall not lie

And Distinct ailusions to the

IF.

till

he devoured the prey,

drink the blood of the

j^ this oracular

slain.

poem we have J^

distinct allusions ae^ain o

poems by Jacob and Moses, and the name is brought once more prominently

to thc sacrcd patriarch's

under

Jacob, on

notice.

his

shadowed the might of the image of a

among

The image became

lion.

fore-

under the

a favourite one

the Easterns, both in their sculpture and their

Here Balaam

poetry.

hosts of Israel, as

we have

applies

we have

oracle just quoted. that,

dying bed, had

tribe of Judah,

it

to the congregated

seen in the last verse of the

In the two verses which precede

a refined reference to the deliverance

wondrous concomitants, to the Red Sea triumph song, and to the august prophecy contained therein. Who can help comparing the from Egypt, and to

its

couplet,

Now And

it

will

be said respecting Jacob,

respecting Israel,

What hath God

\vrought

with a verse in the song of Moses, (Exod. xv.

which

I

have already quoted

in the last

essay

:

17)


!

ESSAY Thou

wilt bring

1 r.

113

them, and wih plant them,

In the mountains of Thine inheritance,

A

foundation for Thy abode. Thou hast wrought, O Adonai The Sanctuary, O Adonai, Thy hands have founded. It

is,

however, in the second picture

we God came upon Balaam "

the top of Peor, where,

— sketched

on

are told, "the Spirit of

—that

tinctly

!

we can most

dis-

perceive the beauty and exuberance of the

poetic ornament.

indeed impossible for descrip-

It is

tion to

supply the place of painting better than

does

the following account

saw

in

that

it

pleased

Adonai

:

"

it

And when Balaam

to bless Israel, he

went

not as at other times to confront enchantments, but

he

set his face

lifted

up

towards the wilderness.

his eyes,

and he saw

cording to their tribes

upon him.

How Thy

And

;

and the

he took up his

good are thy tabernacles,

O

tents,

O

Spirit of

God came

Mashal and

Jacob,'

Israel

Like streams are they stretched

2pr'

And Balaam

Israel tabernacling ac-

"pbnn

UC

rto

out,

Num.

xxlv. 5-7.

said

:

Balaam's utterance on mount Peor.


ESSAY

114

IF.

Like gardens by the sides of a Like aloe trees

river,

which Adonai has planted,

Like cedar trees by the sides of waters.

He He

shall distil the

water out of His bucket,

sow him amongst many people, i

shall

And He will extol his King above Agag, And His Kingdom shall be exalted aloft.

How used

!

beautiful

The

and

diversified are the

images here

inspired one seems for a while diverted

from the proper

office

of a foreteller of things to come,

riveted for a

and appears

of the present

;

moment

he gives utterance,

in

It was,

ing terms, to his thoughts.

contemplation

in the

most glow-

however, but a

moment

that he gazed on the scenes below.

he turns

his

Again

thoughts upwards and onwards.

by the general

Xlic Oriental seer influenced

belief of

The notion of the anci?^'s the^T^'

his

AqTsSuf

term, for that sign of the Zodiac, in Hebrew,

countrymen, that when Aquarius

Dclcc,

Bucket

!

'

1

technical is

>^i

—appeared on the horizon, an abundance

13'ja

have no doubt

reading^.

—the

in

33«0

in3:n

my own mind that

DTI

xcsm D'Di-a,

and not 'n3,

is

the correct


2

ESSAY came down upon the

of rain

nomical allusion,

Aquariusr

i

"

He

earth; hence the astro-

water out of His

shall distil

But onwards the prophet's view

boundless

limits,

engross

stretches.

coming

events, the

more impressive

The

is

more exalted

style

;

and the

his language.

prophecy which J r tr referred to as a perfect last

Hebrew

looks into

his style,

is

and

attention,

his

all

The more he

direct all his after words.

be

115

King of Glory, and His august kingdom, and

Israel's its

ir.

Balaam delivered may J model of the prophetic

and as embracing,

a brief space,

in

Balaam's prophe-

last

modei^oT'the

Hebrew"^ style.

the leading characteristics in

bold

It

is,

relief,

in fact,

of

it.

In

it

we

observe,

the nature of the speaking hieroglyphic.

But

the symbol translated into words.

the mysterious figure, the dark intimation, the emphatic w'ere,

earnestness of the

speaker,

the very eyes of his

soul

into the future, trollable

to

as

straining,

narrowly

look

and yet withheld by some uncon-

power from obtaining the

full

perception

of what he was obliged to declare to others, are in the highest degree, striking I shall see I shall

it

and magnificent

:

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

all,

Him, but not now,

behold Him, but not speedily.

' I have treated the signs of the Zodiac, as they appear in the Old Testament, at some length, in a paper entitled, "What did the ancient The Essay appeared in the first Hebrews know of Astronomy?"

volume of " The Scattered Nation."

With

reference to the sign

Aquarius, see Appendi.x E. nnj?

Hb^

VHMi

Num.

xxiv. 17.

-

'"?l

Delee,


2

ESSJY

ii6

A

Star

And And And The emblems Star and Sceptre,

IF.

come out of Jacob,

shall

a Sceptre shall arise out of Israel, shall

wound

the locks of

the pate of

Xhc emblem

Moab, ^

the sons of low estate.

all

endowed and mystic language of prophecy, had the same signification, and significance, as in the secret picturewriting of the Egyptians,^ a God was the subject which the image betokened. Ages rolled away, and David mounted the throne of Israel, and swayed the -^yith

of the Sceptre denoted one ^

The

glory and power.

Star, in the exalted

of Judah,

sceptre

and then, as "through a glass

darkly," a portion of the Midianite's oracle

covered,

amo

dis-

and was understood to have received

asio

'

was

\-iKD

its

ynoi

'DNS cannot be translated here otherwise than the comers of the

hair of the head which descend over the cheeks.

Such of the Orientals as

shaved them were reproached by the nickname HMD '"Si^p, (Jer. ix. 26; XXV. 23 xlix. 32), mistranslated in the Authorised version by "that are in the uttermost corner." The Jews, who hold it a religious duty to wear those corner-locks which I have described, call those appendages m!<D. This religious duty is founded on Levit. xix. 27. It is the 251st of the 613 precepts, which the Jewish Scribes professed to have discovered in the Pentateuch. ;

The Samaritan it

version of

'\'p'\'p

is

unquestionably the correct one; and xlviii. 45. mi? I take to mean

has, moreover, the imprimatur of Jeremiah,

here figuratively, what ^

"Ao-TT)p

nap AiyvTm'ois

it

does

in Isaiah, xx. 4, literally.

*

—" Horapollo. Hierog.," 7pa^onevos©EONoT)/itau'ei.

1. ii.


ESSAY

ir.

117

but still it was known only in part, day "dawned and the day-star arose," in the person, and at the appearance, of Him whom David

accomplishment

;

until the

in spirit

On

acknowledged as

his Lord.

the sublimity of the prophecy before us,

unnecessary to dwell at length

must

feel

how completely

;

it

is

every reader of taste

the truly grand

is

produced

ra'^d'oJ-J^n

of^dSance' ^^

'"y^t'^'T-

by the remoteness of the event to which the prophet refers.

Distance and mystery are often

used with

marvellous energy in Holy Scripture for this end.

For instance,

in

the vision of Eliphaz

vision of

:

phaz.

Fear surprised me, and dread,

And And

it

a

terrified the spirit

my framework. my face

whole of

passed before

;

The hair on my flesh stood up like nails. Were he to stand, I could not discern his appearance, Even the image before mine eyes.

Now

silence

Shall mortal Shall a

—and anon,

I

man be more

man be more

:

:

God

!

pure than his Maker

mriT :

hear a voice just than

THQn

mD2

':«ip

-ina

'noai?

m

my©

inDn

Job

iv.

!

14-17.

eh-


ESSAY IK

ii8

The

bodiless shape, the indistinct

fined nature of the entire scene,

—the unde-

produced an

the mind not soon to be forgotten. claration

image

on

effect

In Balaam's de-

of the " vision of the Almighty," there

is

not the terrible which accompanies the description in the passage of Job

;

but there

and dignified sublimity not The tion

expiraof pre-

breTstyi^^ and

diction.

is

throughout

a calm

it

less impressive.

J Quglit to State, crc I take leave of this splendid o r compositiou, that it affords the critically philological i

student of the sacred tongue, a very good idea of the style of pre-Mosaic

Hebrew, of which the wording of

Balaam's visions are the

last

specimens on record. That

was as the ante-diluvian vestiges, the patriarchal traces, and the book of Job, testify peculiarly epigrammatic and picturesque. The author of the book of Job, style

proved by internal evidence of the work

itself,

belonged

same category of Hebrew poets of which Balaam was a distinguished member; and both were, no doubt,

to the

contemporaries at one period of their respective

lives.

There was, however, this difference between the two and privileged authors the historian of the suffering and patient patriarch dedicated his talents to the glory of Him who bestowed them upon him while gifted

;

;

the latter was disposed to barter his

" for filthy lucre,"

to any bidder, be that bidder even the greatest

which

his Divine Benefactor had, against

enemy

whom

the

sacred gifts were to be employed.

After a great deal of anxious study and thought,

I

have abandoned the theory that Moses was the author


ESSAY "man

of the of the history ^

IF.

119

in the

land of Uz."

I

am, however, strongly impressed with the conviction

who has been

that he,

and

in deeds,"

described

edited Job's

as "

mighty

Memoirs

;

to

in

^Moses the editor of the "t"

JJ^^'"°""'

words

which he

by way of introduction, and by way of finish. It is impossible for any practical Hebrew scholar not to perceive that the two prefatory chapters and the eleven closing verses are entirely Mosaic in style and in prefixed two chapters,

suffixed eleven verses,

diction

whilst the dialogues, in the rest of the work,

;

have much

in

them

that

is

akin to the style and dic-

tion in the specimens which

we have

Balaam's utterances, as well as

of Jacob's and

in those of the ante-

diluvian fragments.

A

decade of years of close and

critical

study have

tended to ripen and mature the opinion, which

I

have

ventured to publish some years ago.i that Job was not only a real person, but that he

is

identified

with the

son of Issachar, and was therefore grandson of Jacob.

He to

Egypt when his opulence became too vast be accommodated in that country, and when he had

left

began to entertain misgivings of the eventual security of his brethren there, after Joseph's death;

when

a

new

king ignored the great things which Joseph had done for

Egypt,

went and

'

in the

years of her great distress.

He

settled in the country of his forefathers.

then

Uz

"Vestiges of Genuine Freemasonry amongst the Ruins of Asia, Africa and " Sacred Minstrelsy."

etc., etc.;"

sln'^of

jl^b


;

ESSAY

I20

— erroneously written was the district

Huz

IF.

English Version

in the

firstborn of Nahor,

Abraham's brother

;

his

bore his name, and there Job took up his

abode. This consideration in view helps to clear up some apparently obscure passages, which the ordinary

As

reader encounters in that extraordinary Poem. to the poetry of the

Book

of Job,

have dealt with

I

it

in a separate series of Essays. The

begin-

J

ning of the epilogue.

^j.^g

niav y

uow

Poetry of ^

to take leave of the bes^in o

Pentateuch, by a review on the divine words de-

livered

by the

writer of the

books

five

first

in

the

Bible, on the eve of his departure from his people.

Intensely interesting epilogue.

mean

I

and solemn

that hallowed

is

the song of Moses recorded in the

thirty-second and thirty-third chapters of the

Book

of

Deuteronomy. The twofold character in

rp'eared°ir

utmAnd

Long and '^

the Israelites had Moses guided ^ them the high he press upon oftcn and earnestly did faithfully ^

obligation of the law of their God. his

life,

in the

and

at the

end of

his fifth

twofold character of an 07'ator and

no common pathos did he blessing

and

the curse

obedience, the The

divine object of the epilogue.

and

At

terrible

the close of

Book, he appeared a./>oct.

With

set before his people the

— the

glorious

penalties

for

reward for

transgression

God moved him, and the him. Adonai well knew

iu all this the Spirit of

wisdom of God

instructed

the faithless and stubborn generation with

had to

deal,

and

He

means of preserving

whom

he

takes especial care to have a

in their

minds the nature of

their


ESSAY when

responsibilities

more be present

121

IF.

their venerable guide should

them

to instruct

in

person

;

no

and

nothing would be more likely to possess a lasting hold

upon the affections, or remain more imprinted in the memory, than the parting w^ords of one whom they and poetic

revered, set forth in an elevated

strain.

Fathers, while they recounted to their children the

ancient glories of their nation, would not forget to instruct

them

in

way

the

in

which Moses, the

"

Man

of God," spake; and the words of his time-honoured

many

song would be repeated by

a mouth, and listened

by many an ear. This song of Moses is important to the general o o student of Hebrew, because, situated as it is in the Bible, it affords him a favourable opportunity of tracing out the distinction between the poetic and prosaic to with delight

sr

Much

styles of composition.

ode in

is

^'^

impon-

ance to

the

aem''of He-

of the substance of this

to be found in the preceding chapters, expressed

very forcible terms, and with considerable copious-

ness.

The

last

ode

is

a sort of

before, with every variety of diction.

As

far as purity ^ J

summary

of what went

ornament and grace of

and correctness of language ^

° are concerned, this portion of the Bible belongs to the best age of

Hebrew

When we

literature.

the twenty-eighth chapter onward at the thirty-second

chapter,

it

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;when

is

read from

we

arrive

something

like

turning from the vigorous and glowing declamation of

an Attic orator, to the highly wrought and picturesque eftusions of the

Greek

lyric Poet.

its

and "^^^

purity correct-

°^

'^"


——

;

ESSAY It forms a connecting

between theprophetk and lyric link

compositions.

This divInc ode

fomis a

—as Bishop Lowth

strictly lyric

While we meet

in

Mashal,

the ^K'o

justly observed-

of conuLXting link between the prophetic

Ivliid

and the

IF.

specimens of the

combines the

it

it

is

'y<^

compositions of the Hebrews.

some of the genuine

traits of

also one of the most brilliant

SHEER,

force, the energy,

Ode.

or Sacred

It

and the boldness of

the one, with the picturesqueness of the other. The

dififer-

ence between

umsofTacob Balaam, and

Xlie

commcncemcut Style

pi'ophetic g^j^-g^^

Let

me

j-^g

|-q

;

is

in

containing

the,

more properly

a solemn

so,

exhortation,

gravity aud importance of the Oracle.

digress for a

moment,

in order to contrast the

openings of the poetic effusions of Jacob and Balaam

exordium of Moses' dying

with the

admirably

is

song.

How

the language of each of these divine

poems adapted

to the circumstances.

In the calm

and dignified exordium of the dying Father of the twelve tribes,

Shepherd

we

recognise the voice of the Patriarch

:

Assemble yourselves, and

hear, ye sons of

Yea, hearken unto Israel your

Balaam, when about to deliver the attention of him

designed

for

Jacob;

father.'

his prediction,

whom

it

was especially

:

Rise up, Balak, and hear

Give ear unto me, thou son of Zippor

'

See page

49.

'

calls

° !

See page no.


^

;

ESSAY But now the

"

man

IF.

123

of God," as about to deliver truths,

the greatest, most vakiable that the world had ever heard, solemnly invokes his

words

:

all

nature to hear and observe

Give

ear,

And

let

O

ye Heavens, and

I will

speak

my mouth

the earth hear the utterances of

The solemnity and

!

propriety of this introduction were

not lost upon succeeding Poets,

who

freely

adapted

or imitated, as suitable to the language of prophetic inspiration.

Isaiah, Jeremiah,

and others availed them-

Mosaic poetical apostrophe.

selves of that splendid

The Evangelical Prophet-Bard nunciatory vaticination Hear,

For I

O

it is

Heavens, and give

Adonai

thus begins his de-

-

:

ear,

O

earth.

that hath spoken.

ought to state here that

in this single distich Isaiah

had accommodated the opening and the closing of the first

marvellous Mosaic epic.

stanza of the

stanza consists of the

first

That

three verses of the thirty-

second chapter of Deuteronomy, which ends with the

mi-iNi c'Ow-n :

'D

^"i«

insn

Deut.

xxxii.

Isa.

2.

nos psrt rnirm 'ri«m

wa-o

^t-d-a

i.

'

i.

p^"''^"'^'"=

?;^ted'th^'

speech"'


i

ESSAY

124

argument

all-prevailing

Heaven and Earth, For

summons

invoke in the

I

Isaiah the

b^ng^"^^'""

Indeed,

'

'^^S

name

by

prophecies

:

of Adonai,

God

!

portion of his sublime

far the greatest

an exposition or expansion of the Mosaic

is

epic under treatment. Critics

man

impossible to read Isaiah without observ^

it is

that

on the part of

of

Yield the excellency due to our

exponent of

;

ir.

for attention,

to the

— such

If certain

and

as Spinoza,

would-be Biblical

after

him De Wette,

Bleek, Kiinen, Ewald, Davidson, Colenso,

etc., etc.,

had thoroughly entered

of Isaiah's

writings, they in the

the spirit

into

would not have committed themselves,

way they have

so fatally done, with regard to

the authorship of certain portions of the Pentateuch,

and to the number of

This vexed question

Isaiahs.

has been considered, in

all

its

bearings, in a series of

Essays on the Poetry of Isaiah, which

may

ere long

be submitted to the criticism of the learned public as well as in

my

Annotated Hebrew Old Testament,

Kips

The above

I

consider the only

of this beautiful •>D2.

Any one

Hebrew

^\^rv

'd

(')

and the only correct renderingDttJ as if it had been spoken Hebrew Bible will easily adduce to

intelligfible,

distich.

I

construe

well conversant with his

Moreover, the like here, elliptical. is, Samaritan version, as well as some important Hebrew MSS. of the Old Testament, actually have the 3 prefixed to the word DTD. ^T^biib should have been translated here as it was, and properly so, in Deut. xxix. 29 [Hebrew text, ver. 28], in the case of ^Trhti r^^rrb. The word "belong" in that instance need not have been printed in italics. himself

instances where the 1


I

ESSAY

ir.

which has been mouldering

125

MS. nearly a quarter

in

of a century.

me

Let

endeavour to

illustrate the

connexion be-

tween the great Poets, Moses and Isaiah, as inspired

Author and expounder, by a few examples from

"^^^

nexion u""" bepoet'o-'of

their tharof^" Isaiah.

compositions.

respective

summons

enunciated his attention,

:

to

My My

Israel's

deliverer

Heaven and Earth,

he proceeds to describe,

poetic beauty, the nature

song

After

in

for

terms of exquisite

and mission of

his

immortal

doctrine shall drop like the rain,

saying shall

distil as

the dew.

Like small rain upon verdure,

And ^T-

i

1

as showers

aken

in

upon

grass.

'11

1-

connection with the preceding verse,

What

.

it

is

a

sublime introduction to an august poem. How infi" * nitely more sublime than the opening of the Iliad !

Had

and refined

accomplished

that

Author of

"

Homer and known as much

Studies on

Mr. Gladstone,

Hebrew Poetry

the

Scholar,

Homeric

of the beauties of

as he does of those of the

Latins, he might probably have

the

Acre,"

Greeks and

done as much

for the

compositions of the bards of Judah and Israel as he has

TipV

t::'OD

\n-\tDH

b'z:i

F|ir'

bin

Deut.

xxxii. 2.

Author

the of

"Studies on Homer and the

Homeric

hfvCdo'^e^'^'


â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

;

ESSAY

126

done

ir.

Greece and Italy

for those of

men than Homer, and

greater

interpreter

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; even to

stanza which

but to return to

:

his

Moses and

brilliant

much

Mosaic

as

might have

to

its

exact

manner was the inspired Bard's drop like rain, and his saying distil like

doctrine to

Isaiah, the heaven-taught interpreter of Moses,

dew.-* raphrase of the above

many

perplexity to

In what

import.

Isaiah's pa-

The

have just quoted from the Poem under

I

notice, with all its picturesque loveliness,

caused

modern

his interpreter.

the

dissipates

The

perplexity.

following

Evangelical paraphrase of the Mosaic stanza

is

the

:

For as the rain cometh down,

And And

the snow, from heaven thither

it

But feedeth the

And maketh So that

And So It

it

it

earth,

bring forth and bud,

giveth seed to the sower,

bread to the eater

my word

shall

be that

shall not return unto

But

And

The

;

not return,

will

it

shall

shall

do

that

which

make him

difference

in

shall

me I

go

forth out of

my mouth

:

void.

delight in.

prosper to

whom

the styles

is

I sent

at

it.'

once bold and

marked the Mosaic verse is concise, curt, epigramatic, and almost enigmatical, notwithstanding its inimitable Isaiah is minute, precise, copious, and almost finish. ;

'

Isa. Iv. 10, II.


ESSy^Y elaborate.

The

reason

IF.

obvious

is

127

the

;

predecessor, that he delighted to give the

the "

same by displaying

its

Bard

later

was so charmed with the divine imagery of

his great

full

value of

comprehensiveness

in

instruction in righteousness."

One

characteristics, which lends such of the peculiar ^ a charm to the poetic compositions of the ancient

Hebrew Bards, is strikingly exemplified in the Sacred Song under review. Sudden and bold transitions, powerful and striking contrasts, are again

made

For

manifest.

follows the verses

I

over and

instance, the stanza

over

which

have already noticed, treats of

the transcendant attributes of the "

Rock

of Ages."

Whilst the contemplation of the reader

is

fastened upon the most high theme,

suddenly

it

is

being

hurried off to the consideration of the degeneracy and

backsliding of the people of Israel, whose weakness

and

faithlessness

and truth of

their

opposed themselves to the power

Lord God.

This

is

followed up

by

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; now chiding now prophetic â&#x20AC;&#x201D; of God's dealing

a descriptive and detailed record cheering, historical and

with His people. His guiding providence, His tender care,

His never-ceasing

bounty.

subsequent

All

Prophets have paid due homage to the copiousness and beauty of the various

ployed

;

wonderful

similes

em-

none more so than the Evangelical Prophet.

Even the most Holy

Poet,

who came down from

Heaven, condescended to adapt some of the Mosaic images used

in this

matchless song.

The sudden and bold pe^JIdkr'cha-

andenf'Hebrew Bards.


i

ESSAY

I2S

A

description of God's solicitude for the salety ot

His people,

IF.

cannot help directing attention to a couple of

I

.

in

gtatcd.

The

'

.

of that

illustration

stanzas,

which

have

I

iust

-'

describes God's solicitude for His

first

people's safety and welfare; the second depicts the

degraded condition of the object of the divine tude.

Where

in the

found a stanza to match the following

As

solici-

whole range of poetry can be :

the eagle waketh up his nest,

Fluttereth over his

young ones,

Spreadeth out his wings, taketh him,

Beareth him on his pinion,

So Adonai alone

And no

Can anything power of

striking

them,

finish, vivid

description, or felicity of expression

would not be *

will lead

god with Him.°

surpass this for elaborate

no language

is

strange

in

felt

;

which the beauty of but

in the original

it is

simile

extremely

—the words are so expressive and so

and the construction of the verse so

There

?

this

dignified,

terse

and so

concise.

IDp

r]nT

T'J?'

mnp' vd:d

"ijny :

°

I

have translated

g-ender.

1D3

this stanza,

"IMJDD

vVn:

Deut.

xxxii. II, 12.

'

'72?

'SJID'

ni mrp TO3?

]'«T

according to the original,

in the

masculine


— ;

ESSAY

How ciated

jr.

129

well such a Poet as Isaiah its

excellencies

must have appre• '

That he did

!

At

the end of

—the

theme of

evidence in more than one instance. that pathetic and

which

chapter

scientific

COMFORTING God's PEOPLE,

is

Bard concludes the stanza which begins

Why And

will

[why]

Jacob

isaiah's appreciation of

fencroT'he

Ju^^'ceAy^'

ces°'"^^"

the Prophet:

say,

will Israel speak, etc.

with the following lines But they that hope

we have

so,

:

in the

Lord

have a change of

shall

[strength,

They They

shall shall

run and not be weary,

They

shall

walk and not

The

wing

their soaring like the eagles

faint.'

being

Prophet's subject

Israel, the

short

Exodus, the

poem

fourth, fifth,

stanza in Deut. xxxii.

imagery,

in

God's

dealings

with

the nineteenth chapter of

and sixth

ii, 12,

verses,

and the

naturally suggested the

which so wondrously depicted Adonai's

watchful care over the House of Jacob.

There

is

another evident allusion to the incomparable imagery,

though the picturesque simile

is

not named, in the

verse of Isaiah's epitome of the annals of Israel, and »-

his solicitude in behalf of his people, in the

Isa. xl. 27-31.

10

form of

^^aiah'sepi-

tome

^eT''

the °^ ^^"

01


'

ESSAY

130

IF.

an anthem and a prayer, as given chapter In

He

all their affliction

And

was

afflicted,

the Angel of His presence saved

In His love and in His pity

And He bare them and

How

his sixty-third

in

:

this verse

reminds

He

carried

them

:

redeemed them

them

all

:

the days of old.

not only of the splendid

us,

imagery under consideration, but also of the Almighty's first

appearance to Moses, when

Shepherd of

Israel's suffering in

Adonai

Egypt, and added,

words of the most touching sympathy, their sorrows." Isaiah's

vine

di-

Master

t'ofhelteak piaure-M-

g^^ ^

told Jethro's in

know

" for I

2

grreatcr c>

than Isaiah

—even

Isaiah's

Master,

'

"ot only as regards divine right, but his Master in ^^^ genius and art of Poetry

Mosaic picture-simile

—the Lord Jesus, had the

in view,

when He apostrophised

apostate Jerusalem, and her dispersed children, in His last

address in the

Temple

;

as recorded in the twenty-

third chapter of the Gospel of St.

Matthew

:

"

O

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets,

and stonest them which are sent unto

would

I

thee,

how

often

have gathered thy children together, even as

a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye

would not

!

" 3

It

was the dispersion of

Israel

which

suggested the substitution of the solicitude of a different bird from that of the eagle.

'

Isa. Ixiii. 9.

'

Ex.

iii.

7.

^

Mat.

xxiii. 37.


â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

ESSAY

Âť

IF.

131

In the stanza consistinqo of the twentieth and five we have one of the brilliant transitions

following verses this

in

The

divine Song.

delineations of

,A"?''"='' brilliant transition.

pathetic and fascinating

Adonai's tenderness

gives place to

His terrible indignation. That part of the composition is

evidently a poetic paraphrase of

some of the male-

dictory threats in the twenty-eighth chapter. spired compositions have nothing which can

Unin-

compete

with the majestic verse in that stanza. I

must quote one more stanza from the sacred subsequent Prophets, and the Lord

Poem, which

^reT'to"^and'^grape"^'

Jesus Himself, honoured for its descriptive applicability. It consists

of the thirty-second and thirty-third verses

of the chapter under dissertation Verily their vine

And

from the

:

of the vine of Sodom,

is

fields of

Gomorrah

Their grapes are grapes of

They have

clusters of bitterness.

Their

is

And

^vine

;

gall,

the poison of dragons,

the cruel

venom of asps.

one can read certain passages in the first and fifth chapters of Isaiah without having his mind reverted

No

c:sj

CIS

irn :

TO?

:

iwÂŤ

c:"

^r^o

'2:^-

miD

o

ran:!?

n'7DCf<

c:':n

non

C':ns

ct^ii

(')

pJI'^on'^en-'

isafah.*"^


'

ESSAY

132

IF.

to the glorious thirty-second chapter of

Deuteronomy.

Isaiah endorsed the accuracy of the comparison be-

tween Sodom and Gomorrah, and backsHding Israel

and treacherous Judah. apostrophise his

Hear

the

own

Thus did the

Prophet

later

people, in his opening chapter

word of the Lord, ye

Sodom

rulers of

:

;

Give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.'

But

in the

it is

opening of

his fifth chapter that Isaiah

adds his own graceful embellishments to the Mosaic imager}^

My

:

well-beloved hath a vineyard

On a fruitful hill. and gathered out the stones And He fenced And He planted it mth the choicest vine, And He built a tower in the midst of it. And He also made a winepress therein And He waited that it produce grapes, it,

thereof,

;

But

it

produced wild grapes.

.;

could have been done more to

What

And

*

*

-;;-

I

have done

Wherefore when

in I

my

vineyard.

it.

have waited that

it

might produce [grapes.

It

Nor

produced

Avild

grapes

?

did the stern Ezekiel

fail

make

to

poetic imagery of his great predecessor

'

Isa.

i.

10.

'

;

use of the

he employs

Isa. v. 1-4.


ESSAY

133

more than once

the vine figure

against his apostate nation,

Our

ir.

in his

blessed Lord Himself set His seal to the poetic

metaphor

most poetic parables, so

one of His

in

and sorrowful

replete with thrilling tenderness,

ness

denunciations

i

!

It

The Saviour set

His seal

metaphor'"^

stern-

was delivered on the same day, when He " cast out them that sold

went into the Temple and therein,

and them that bought

;" after

He

which

pro-

nounced the ominous sermon, to which allusion has already been made.^

It

was

delivered, like the

song

of the deliverer of Israel from Egypt, a few days before

Redeemer of the world

the

the following

the parable

is

a vineyard, and

:

laid

let it forth to

give

sent a servant to the

Him

life,

and

husbandmen, and went

into a far country for a long time.

He

down His

— "A certain man planted And

at the season,

husbandmen, that they should

of the fruit of the vineyard

;

but the hus-

bandmen beat him, and sent him away empty," etc., etc.3 No one who is thoroughly conversant with the

Old and additional

New

Testament

— can

help observing the

connecting link between the two

the imagery of the vineyard

furnishes,

and

which thus

enhances the importance and significance of the dying

song of Moses. I

must not omit to notice the valedictory beneman of God," though it was obviously

diction of " the

'

See page

Eze. XV. 6-S; xix. 10-14.

130.

^

Luke

xx. g-16.

Moses' valedictory benediction.


— ESSAY

134

IP.

committed to writing by other hands than those of the

Moses

departing inspired composer of the blessing.

had evidently made Jacob's death-bed benediction his model. Both blessings are great national poems, both were the offspring of the same inspiration

—both The

were delivered on the most solemn occasions.

dying Patriarch foretold the future destiny of the children

whom

he loved

;

the Lawgiver, just on the

borders of a land of promise which he himself was not

permitted to enter, set forth the estate of those

he taught so mirably

is

faithfully

and led so long.

the language of each of these divine

adapted to the circumstances

my

In

introductory

benediction,

!

of Moses' blessmg,

a mighty people

we have

is

!

Moses' ordium.

ex-

!

—A splendid burst

Can anyone be

Seraphic blaze of poetic

composition

How

fire

august

dying chicf s benediction ^

!

glories

them with the sense of

their responsibilities for the future. it

pre-

the leader of

minds the

calling to their

of the past, and impressing

of poetry

its

In the glowing and sublime com-

fatory distich. I

mencement

ad-

poems

remarks to the Patriarchal

pointed out the suitability of

I

whom

How

to the

which illumines that

how

!

insensible

majestic

With what

is

the

irresistible

*-*

force itself

must a retrospect of

Israel's past

have presented

before the assembled multitude,

thus began

:

'

See page

49.

when Moses


ESSAY

ir.

The Lord came from

And

He

up from

rose

He came

Yea,

can

Sinai,

Seir unto

them

;

shone forth from mount Paran,

From Him

No

135

from

infinite

Hohness,

are their springs.'

reader of the original of this glorious stanza

fail

here compared to the gradual

is

mination of the sun from dawn to meridian. of the

coming

perceiving, with Rosenmuller,^ that the

of Adonai

blessings

somewhat more

illu-

In some

which Moses pronounced he was

concise,

and

in others

more elaborate

than the Patriarch was. For instance, Judah

—the pro-

genitor, after the flesh, of Israel's Spiritual

Redeemer

dwelt upon, at some length, by Jacob; the pro-

is

.

.,,.,,.

.

-

phetic communication, respecting the high destiny of

N2

:

It

Ts"?

rnc«

'yDo

[1:00]

r^^rr

xxxiii. 2.

'

irO''Q

impossible to construe the fourth and

is

Deut.

fifth

Hnes, so as to

make

inspired speaker intelligible, otherwise than I have here proposed. impossible to translate UJlp millQ " with ten thousands of saints."

most ingenious philological quibbling acceptable meaning of the

mend -

itself to'B.

fifth

well-read critical

will

as

"Observa perpetuam metaphoram a

praemittit,

(f<2)

is

The

not succeed in producing an

we now have Hebrew Scholar,

line,

the

It

sole

it,

which should com-

desumptam, qui

postea oritur ipse, (mi) tandem terras

initio

lucem

illustrat, (l"S"in) et

totum coelum percurrit, (nn«). Sic gradatim Deus praesentiam suam in populo declaravit, quacunque iter fecit, inde a termino ^gypti, usque ad fines

Cananseos."

Pharaoh's

bondsmen fa°ught"to"ex-

don through the tribe of jtidah.


^

ESSAY

136

that tribe,

was then made

IF.

for the first time;

and the

soul of the dying Prophet loved to dilate on the bliss-

That prophecy had become familiar to Jacob's descendants. In bondage though they were, the light of faith was not altogether quenched amongst the oppressed Israelites ful

prospect of Shiloh's reign.

since

;

they looked forward to a Deliverer from the tribe of Judah.

It is true that their

expectations

—as

those

of their descendants long after— may have been wholly

centered upon a temporal Deliverer; but expectations of deliverance through the tribe of Judah, Pharaoh's Moses' benediction to that tribe

bondsmcn confidently indulged in his

significant

^d

sugges-

dying o benediction on that y

Moses

in.

therefore,

compresses his x

tribe,

'

blessing in one laconic stanza, but wonderfully significant

and suggestive

:

Hear, Adonai, the voice of Judah,

And when

to his people

Let his hands be

And be Thou But to intimate

Thou

sufificient for

shalt bring him,

him.

a help from his enemies.

to "the heads of the people,

and the

gathered tribes of Israel," that salvation through the tribe of

Judah was yet

afar

off,

and disposition Jacob mm'

:

Moses proceeded

—a bewailed, — he

once to bless the tribe of Levi

bip

mn' i-o©

rrnn

visd iin

tribe,

Deut.

at

whose temper

dwelt at some

xxxiii. 7.


;

i

ESSAY

IF.

length, whilst blessing that tribe

;

137

and thus more than

hinted that for an appointed time Israel would be

under the tuition and rule of a sacerdotal regime.

As

regards Joseph, Moses seems to have treated

Jacob's blessing as particularly sacred

adopted

many

allusion he ing,

of the terms of

Every

"

good

Moses

will of

Him who

would thus

Israelite

circumstances of the

AM

beautiful bless-

own, to the tribe of Joseph, when

his

it

he spoke of the

I

Yet by a

showed how he himself repeated the

and made

bush."

it.

he therefore

;

first

to their Lawgiver,

dwelt in the

call to

appearance

mind the

of the great

and connect the name of

as the pronouncer of the benediction with that

of Joseph as the blessed.

We

cannot help observing, whilst scanning this

benediction,

how

skilfully the

the circumstances.

may convey

the " fruitful bough,"

to Joseph's having been

land of his affliction

imagery

is

varied to suit

Jacob's comparison of his son to

;

"

made

in

it

some

allusion

by God

fruitful

family of Joseph had become great and strong little

ones,

thousands.

His beauty

the

;

the

Ephraim and Manasseh, had become Hence in his blessing we meet, with

singular propriety, the following simile

And

in

but in the time of Moses the

"

is

:

like the firstling of his bullock,

lofty horns, are his

'b

horns

mn roip

11111?

D«T

IIDl 'Jlpl

Deut.

xxxiii. 17.

'

billowed'''"^

"p°"J°=^p^-


ESSAY

I3S

With them

shall

he gore the nations.

Both together, even

And And

.^

to the

ends of the earth.

they [the both together] are the myriads of Ephraim, they are the thousands of Manasseh.

TakcH

Mo'les'unparaiieied.

IF.

Es a wholc, thls song of

Moses has no equal

wholc range of poetry. its source, and had

^j^^

deeply from

to

fight,

now

he

at the last

had

to be

Angel

in

shall

up

He had

behind him a memorial destined

left

remembrance,

lift

Adonai.

he had well run his course, and

his

hand

until that

time when the

to heaven,

and swear by

that liveth for ever, that time shall be no more.

If l^he

scSiety kls ih'j^^his life

the ancient servant of

fought a good

Him

imagery before

Succeeding Prophets looked up with venera-

them. tion

After-ages drank its

life

of Moses was replete with the majesty of

poetry divine, scarcely less so

was

his death.

Before

Essay on the Poetry of the Pentateuch, must give a sketch of it, as it forms to my mind one of the most interesting links between himself and the greater than Himself even the Prophet like unto him, I close this last

I

which, he predicted, should in fulness of time be raised The mounhl'dkd

wen'j

feVntnLes!

The mountain on which " the man of God" died was named by three different terms, namely, Pisgah, Ncbo, and Abarim. Travellers who are inter-

^p to

Isracl.

:

na:'

D'ny

cm

y-i«

'CCN

nn'

mij:a

'e^«

am


ESSJY

IF.

139

ested in identifying the localities mentioned in sacred

rewarded

writ, will find their researches plenteously

if

they devote a few days to the examination of a certain

mountain

Jericho.

They

in the plains of

peculiarly formed

;

Moab, over against

perceive that the mountain

will

appear to them to consist

will

it

is

The

upon one another.

of three hillocks perched

highest peak answers, according to the topographical delineation " over against Jericho," to Pisgah; the

first

projecting peak observable on the mount's declivity,

towards Jordan, must be Nebo; and the next peak, lower

still,

The formation

must be^Abarim.

mountain accounts

of the

which

for its triple designation,

I

have just enumerated.

At

the foot of the

Bethabara

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Ferry house

same reason that the

and lowest

last, ;

hillock, stood

probably called so

hillock

across

;

link

nilv

and there

John began the baptism of repentance, where the Redeemer Himself came to be baptised. So that on '

the top of tions

;

Mount Abarim, Moses ceased

his ministra-

and at the foot of the same mountain at

Bethabara, He, of

whom Moses was

Moses but a few weeks Prophet specting

like

(whom

ere his death described as the

unto him) began His ministrations;

whom

were from

a type,

a voice from Heaven, coming as

this Pisgah's

summit, proclaimed,

Jno.

i.

2S.

"

con-

for the ^idTna

was named Abarim, the

place where people were ferried

The necting

This

reit is

til^T^^'


;

ESSAY

140

my

beloved Son,

whom

in

I

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; !

:

ir.

am

well pleased

!

This

"

circumstance adds a most interesting link to the chain of incidents and coincidences in the

Here

a bright link In the beautiful

is

Life OF Jesus. chain of harmony

between the old and new dispensations

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; which

so in-

dissolubly unites the history of Israel, and their leader of old,

with the Church of Christ and the Chief Shepherd

of the I

same

am

Holy

of the

But what a glorious theme

!

City, Mr.

Poet

H.B.M. Consul Godolphin

Arthur Henry Finn, (son of the

who

for nearly

twenty years was

at Jerusalem,) should

have obtained the

excellent Mr. Finn

from "Mo^sls

for a

not surprised that a youthful bard, a native

prize, for

Neb<a

ON Mount Nebo.

Prizipoe7ii.

young Poct

a

into the

poem on that very theme, MoSES The following words put by our

mouth of

Israel's

dying Lawgiver,

are not unfitting for the winding up of this Essay " I shall ne'er tread those ways, those happy paths,

Nor

My

rest

Lead

A

shall.

as their

And

my

place,

guide, victorious, 'gainst the godless foe.

Nay,

The

shall I again

shall find, to take

in those latter days,

Prophet

My

Tho' ne'er

head those warlike armies now,

Leader they

But

A

beneath those shades, but Israel

people

shall arise,

rather, I to

greater

far,

Him

which seem so

and ;

The Sun

for

like to

He

far,

me.

shall

be

of Righteousness,

The First and Last be a King and Priest our father Abraham

Bright and Morning Star,

Anointed, crowned to

Like him who blessed

;

:


ESSAY The Holy King, The His glorious

And

He

And One

High

141

God.

Priest of

from pole to pole,

rule shall stretch

Jacob's sons shall then, tho' scattered wide,

Return '

great

IV.

peace to His paternal

in

shall put

raise the

down

fold.

the mighty from their seat,

humble from

their

low degree.'

longing glance, one lingering look he gave,

WTiere, in the last rays of the setting sun.

The

holy city shone,

A few words trust that

my

—then

more, by

all

way

was

'

o'er."

of Epilogue.

I

humbly

°^

-^^J'^l

feeble attempt to bring under notice the

august grandeur of

Hebrew

may have

Poetry,

the

effect,

under God, to make the readers of these Essays

value,

more than

ever, the

Book of Books, the volume

of revelation, where the sacred Poetry of the Hebrews

Whenever

enshined.

is

readers •peruse the

and observe

in the Bible,

its

antiquity

first

chapter *

which makes

;

the most ancient heathen chronicles appear but of

Whenever they recognise

yesterday.

its

whose

side the deepest

human

its

cha-

[er '^Jfthe'^ ^''^'^'

wisdom,

which renders the sagacity of man absolute

whenever they become sensible of

The

racteristicsof

folly;

profundity,

by

must appear

intellects

Whenever they comprehend its truths day by day becoming, more and more better and better understood truths which

very shallow.

—which

are

elucidated,

make

'

the errors of the would-be

;

mundane philosophers

This paragraph was added just before the MS. was sent to the press.

The

pecuii-

Pentateuch.'^


ESSAY

~

142

IF.

prodigiously monstrous and glaring. "

meekest of men,"

records,

fills

in his

Whenever the

simple but most sublime

his readers with reverential admiration,

confirms their trust in God's Providence, and enhances their adoration of the glorious majesty of the

The ence

influ-

of the

Psahnf

Almighty

them remember that Moses was a Hebrew Poet. Whenever the " man after God's own heart," stirs up ' the profound emotions of the readers' hearts whenlet

;

ever he conduces to inspire their souls to cast them-

and there pour forth

selves before the throne of grace,

the exuberant feelings of their

spirits,

whether

in the

bitterness of sorrow, the wrestling of prayer, or the

exstacy of praise,

let

them not

forget that

Hebrew

sweet Psalmist of Israel" was a

Prophet, Whenever the Evangelical '^ '

Thewritings of Isaiah.

fire,

in his chariot of

wafts their spirits to the skies, or bears them, with

eagle

flight,

along the glowing path of prophecy

kindling them

them

into awful rapture,

into hallowed sadness,

that Isaiah was a

As

Of Matthew.

"the

Poet.

ofteu as the

Hebrew first

let

Poet.

them bear

in

mind

^

Evangelist leads them to trace

the footsteps of their beloved Master infancy or manhood,

— now

and now melting

—whenever

—whether

in

His

he brings them to

Bethlehem, to the river Jordan, to the mounts of temptation and transfiguration

;

to Olivet,

and

to that

on which the greatest Preacher delivered His most

'

See

I

am

his

indebted here for a couple of ideas, to the late

sermon

entitled " Jewish

Hugh

Claims on Christian Sympathy."

Stowell.


ESSAY wonderful

Poem

sermon,

—the

IF.

143

most magnificent

as often as the son of

in existence;

didactic

Alpheus

makes the readers hang on the gracious hps of their Redeemer, or teaches them to watch the great Phywhenever Levi of Capersician's miracles of mercy naum conducts them to Gethsemane and Calvary, to weep over their Saviour's agony and bloody sweat, His cross and passion or guides them into the garden, and bids them " behold the place where the Lord lay," and rejoice evermore in ;

;

A A

dying Saviour's love, risen Saviour's power,

An

A let

them

order.

Matthew farmer of taxes was a Hebrew Poet, and that of no

recollect

though he was

mean

ascended Saviour's triumph,

returning Saviour's majesty,

that

None but

a great Poet, inspired, could

have produced such a work as he bequeathed to the

Church and the world.

As

often

as

the

fervid

Paul

overpowers

their

or

Paui.

understanding with divine demonstration, rivets the

anchor of their hope within the

glowing gratitude to blood;

let

Him

that

veil,

or directs their

washed them

in

His

them bethink themselves that the great

Apostle of the Gentiles gave indubitable evidence that he was a great

As

Hebrew

John breathes through their the influence of a Saviour s love, and yields them •

souls

Poet.

often as the tender

!

1

1

of the be loved discipie.


ESSAY

144

IF.

the fruition of more than earthly luxury of loving others as themselves

them

transports

and thence

;

— the

luxury

or as often

as he

to the loftiest pinnacle of prophecy,

discloses to their view, in mystic vision, all

the future history of the Church, her conflicts and her conquests, shall

be

till

the glorious consummation,

no more,

when time

them remember that every

let

sentence which the beloved disciple penned, breathes the soul of a great The

In short.

trans-

cendant

in-

strumentaiity of Hebrew Poetry,

Hebrew

Poet.

— Evcry statute that oguides j

us,

every admoj

nition that t> guards us, every ^ consolation that cheers us,

'

'

gygj-y J^opc that

animates

us,

every promise that glad-

dens our hearts, every assurance that sustains our

all

next,

we enjoy

— stands associated

souls,

we anticipate in the with Hebrew Poets stands

in this life,

and

all

indissolubly connected with

HEBREW POETRY.


APPENDIX A. In an interesting work entitled " Opuscula Hebrasa, Gra^ca, Latina, Prosaica et Metrica," by

Gallica,

three

Hebrew

A. M.

Anna Maria Schurman,

letters extant, written, in

One

Schurman.

of them, dated

Utrecht, August,

addressed to the Honourable Lady Dorothea Moor

nobleman

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;of

there are

very good Hebrew, by the said 1638,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Dowager

is

of a

Dublin, in which the writer distinctly mentions, that

Queen Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey were adepts

in

a knowledge

of the sacred Tongue.

B.

The whole of Nehemiah made,

is

and

too evident

is

one of the

makes abundantly Hebrews

ix.,

the chapter from which the quotation

an adaptation of the manifest,

how

style of

Moses.

This specimen

profoundly the minds of the learned

of old were imbued, not only with the Mosaic Spirit, but with

the rhetoric of the Mosaic Age, which they endeavoured to imitate

adapt to their own themes. well as the latter part of

Exodus

XV.,

Exodus

xiv.,

and the

first

the Hebrew prayers, composed

the petitions indited

by Christian Divines,

is

owing

difference their

as

nineteen verses of

in

The

modern days,

to

to the fact that the

Jewish petitions approach nearest the style of the sacred

which found

and

The passage adduced from Nehemiah,

form part of the Jevdsh daily prayer now-a-days.

superior pathos of

marked

is

specimens of chaste historical Hebrew diction,

finest

\vriters.

A

between such prayers, and the Hebrew doggrels

way

into

the Jewish ritual for Sabbaths,

II

feasts,


â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

APPENDIX.

146

and

during the middle ages.

fasts,

The

as those doggrels

D"'t3VS,

are called, consist of flippant acrostics of the

Hebrew Alphabet and

certain proper names, distinguished for ingenious jinghng of rhyme,

but reason

conspicuous by

is

its

absence.

c.

Those

modern Hebrew

interested in

thirteenth Canto of Weizel's

Whilst they art,

will

poetry, let

Shiray Tiphereth,

be charmed with the poet's

or

gifts,

them peruse the

"Songs

of Glory,"

and mastery

in his

they will regret his diluting the splendid triumph-song of Moses

into about two

hundred and

fifty

Hnes.

D.

The

DvL^?D put into Job's mouth, which consist of chapters xxvii.

xxxi.,

and

most

perfect

Avhich forms the afflicted patriarch's last rejoinder,

poem

exquisite diction

the

Book

of the Mosaic Age.

and

structure in one of

I

my

is

the

have carefully analysed Essays on "

The Poetry

its

of

of Job."

*** Por Prospectus and Appendix Author,

I,

E., referred to

on pp. 9 and

Plymouth Terrace, Forest

Hill, S. E.

115,

apply to the


DATE DUE


The Poetry of the Hebrew Pentateuch  

The Poetry of the Hebrew Pentateuch by Rev. M. Margoliouth, L.L.D. London: Samuel Bagster & Sons, 1871

The Poetry of the Hebrew Pentateuch  

The Poetry of the Hebrew Pentateuch by Rev. M. Margoliouth, L.L.D. London: Samuel Bagster & Sons, 1871

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