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finned against light, knowledge, and law * with a witness ! But it is translated in the textNeither shalt thou take a wife to her hfter, to vex her, in her life-time. Lev. xviii. 18. First, I would observe, that the marginal reading
one wife to another”-disunites entirely the 18th verse from the preceding context to which it belongs ; this only treats of marriages which are unlawful with respect to afinity and confanguinity. The brother's wife had there been spoken of, ver. 16; here, most naturally, as a neceffary part of the prohibition of incest, the wife's fifter. Secondly, This rendering of the text is agreeable to the grammatical sense of the Hebrew, which the other is not. This is demonstrably
* Ipfos quoque Judæos hanc legem de polygamia haud accepiffe, perpetua consuetudo plures fibi ex hac gente jungentium uxores oftendit. Non autem videntur tanto impetu per vetitum nefas ruiffe, præcipuè legis divinæ cætera ftudiofiffimi, fi expreffo hujusmodi mandato hac de re cautum fuisset. Tympius in Nold. p. 30, note r.
“ That the Jews themselves did not understand this “ law as concerning polygamy, their constant practice of 5 marrying a plurality of wives demonstrates; for it is
not probable that they should have rushed with such 56 violence into prohibited wickedness, especially those 66 who were most observant of the divine law in all other
respects, if cautioned against it by so express a com6 mandment."
This is certainly very improbable, yet not so improbable, as that, if polygamy be against the original institution of marriage, and, as such, here forbidden by a positive law, God should no where appear to disapprove it, or enact any judicial law against it, on the side of the man, as on the side of the woman., See Lev. xx. 10. where the wife who is deifiled, and the man who defiles her, are condemned to capital punishment.
shewn in Tympius's note on Lev. xviii. 18. in Noldius, Heb. Part. 708 p. 30. But as I find the meaning of this important passage better explained by the learned Bishop Patrick on the place, than I can express it in any words of my own, I will transcribe the Bifaop's note as it stands :
« There are a great many eminent writers, “ who, following our marginal translation
(one wife to another) imagine that here plarality of wives is expressly forbidden by
God, and they think there is an example “ to justify this translation, Exod. xxvi. 3. " where Mofes is commanded to take care " that the five curtains of the tabernacle were
coupled together, one to its hifter, as the “ Hebrew phrase is, meaning one to another ;
which, if it were true, would folve several * difficulties : but there are fuch reafons
against it, as that I cannot think it to be “ the meaning. For as more wives than one “ were indulged before the law, fo they were
after. And Mofes himself suppofes as much, when he provides, a man lhould not
prefer a child he had by a beloved wife, be* fare one he had by her whom he hated, if “ he was the eldest sons which plainly inti“ mates an allowance in his law of more wives « than one.”
Here, by the good and learned Bishop's leave, I would observe that he expresses himin felf rather inaccurately ; for by faying* Moses himself supposes as much," and by calling the law he is mentioning,
“(Moses's) law,”-it looks as if Moses was speaking by his own wisdom, and establishing fome law merely on his own authority; whereas Moses, under the immediate inspiration of the Holy Ghost (Namb. xi. 17, 25. and 2 Pet. i. 21.) is the mouth of God Him felf to the people ; to whom He says, Deut. iv. 5. Bebold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD commanded me, that ye should do to in the band whither ye go to pojefs it. The only instance in which Moses acted by his own authority, was in the matter of divorces. When our SAVIOUR is mentioning this, Matth. xix. he does not say GOD fuffered, but-Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, Juffered
you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it was not yo; plainly intimating that fuch divorce was not of God's ordaining, but merely of Moses's permison, as an expedient to obviate the mifchiefs of his enforcing the letter of the law in every instance, by compelling them to retain their wives ; thus fubjecting them to their ill treatment and brutality, even to the beating and perhaps killing them. So that, in this toleration of divprce for, or upon account of, the bardnefs of their hearts, Moses "might say as PAUL, I Cor. vii. 12. To fuck Speak I, not the LORD--but as to other things, NOT I, but the LORD, ver. 10:~The Bishop proceeds" And fo we find expressly their “ kings might have, though not a multitude, " Deut. xvii. 17; and their best king, who “ red God's law-day and night, and could
« not but understand it, took many wives “ without any reproof: nay, GOD
him. more than he had before, by delivering his “ (late) master's wives to him, 2 Sam. xii. 8. “ Ànd besides all this, Moses, speaking all
along in this chapter of confanguinity and
afinity, it is reasonable, as Schindlerus ob• serves, to conclude he doth fo here, not of
one woman to another, but of one * fister to “ another. There being also the like reason “ to understand the word fifter properly in “ this place, as the words daughter or mother “ in others, ver. 17, and chap. xx. 14. " where he forbids a man to take a woman “ and her mother, or a woman and her daugh
ter, as Theodoric Hackspan sufficiently notes.
“ The meaning therefore is, that though “ two wives at a time, or more, were permitted “ in those days, no man should take two
fifters (as Jacob formerly did, before there “ was any positive law against it) begotten of “ the same father, or born of the same mother, “ whether legitimately or illegitimately,
(which, though it may seem prohibited
before, because the marriage of a brother's “ wife is forbidden) yet it is here directly
prohibited, as other marriages are which “ were implicitly forbidden before; for “ ver. 7. the marriage of a son with his mo“ther is forbidden, and ver. 10. the marriage
of a father with his daughter.” * It is to be observed that song is used four times in other parts of the chapter, and necessarily signifies, as our translators have rendered it-a fifterSo- Lev. xx. 17. ig.
To the above remarks of the learned and judicious Bishop Patrick, I will venture to add a conjecture of my own, the solidity of which must be submitted to the reader's determin nation. It is very certain that at ver. 16. the marriage of a brother's wife is forbidden, and as the wife's sister is thereby virtually or implicitly forbidden to marry the fifter's
husband, it might be supposed that there was little occasion to mention the wife's hister in direct terms afterwards, ver. 18. But the necessity of this is apparent, when we recollect the precedent of Jacob, which the Jews would probably have urged against an interpretative prohibition of such a thing, at ver. 16. It was certainly no fin in Jacob, because there was no law against it; but after this positive law, it could not be done without fin, for--fin is the transgresion of the law.
As there was but one man and one woman at first, the peopling of the world must have been carried on between much nearer relations, and therefore there could be no law to forbid marriages of this fort. So after the flood, when but eight persons, and those all of one family, were left of mankind, we find, for many ages, no laws enacted against marrying within those degrees of relationship, which were afterwards expressly prohibited. But when the * reason ceased, the thing itself
* After the Exodus, the Israelites were restrained from marrying within certain degrees of confanguinity, which had been, till then, permitted, to prevent their taking