Page images

pret them in the same Manner; which Difference in Pronouncing or Speaking is of little or no Consequence. But the Case is different with regard to the Hebrew, most of the Words in that Language (as has been observed) are written without Vowels, and the Question is, what Vowels the Words require to make the Sense understood ; not how the Words are to be pronounced in Speaking, when Vowels are affixed to them. Therefore we say, that as ir appears from the LXX, that the Jews, before our Saviour's Time, and from Origen and St. Jerom, that for 400 Years at least after our Saviour's Time, used other Vowels, by which they spake their Words, than those which the Maforites have used; the Consequence is, that the Points which the Maforites have now affixed to every Hebrew Letter, whether for Vowel, Pause, or Accent, are of little or no Authority, and deserve not to be regarded by us : And that the true Sense of an Hebrew Word, written only with Consonants, is not to be fetched from the Points of the Mafore, and the Rules given concerning them, but from the context and Construction, and the Assistance of the LXX, and other ancient Translations.

: Now though (as before observed) we cannot charge the Jews witíz wilful Falsification of the Hebrew Text, that is, they have not of fet Purpose changed the Letter of their Bibles, yet we cannot fay that they have not in some places wilfully falsified the Sense by their Points, of which Masclef gives us a notable Instance in his Arguments for his New. Grammar, p. lxvi. .

" Anno 1712 circa Augufti initium aliquot dies Ambiani commo6 rati sunt Judæi duo Metenses. Seniori & do&iori nomen erat Daniel Zei, alteri Elias Prag. Collocuti fimul pluries de Religione; veni" mus tandem ad celebre Jacobi Vaticinium, Gen. xlix. non auferetur 6. fceptrum de Juda. Aflerebam inde manifeftò fequi, jam præteriiffe 66 teinpus adventui Messiæ præsignatum : Nihil tenes, inquit Daniel

Zei; male enim pausas & diftinguis hunc versum. Et unde hoc, « inquam ? Non auferetur fceptrum de Juda, Virgula, 6 Dux de femore ejus, Virgula, donec veniet qui mittendus eft, Pun&tum. Nunquid non

finitur sensus in voce 1907, &' 7 incisi novi initium eft Id cer« te & loci contextus & Veterum consensus exposcit. Quin & id probat " accentus Athnach sub voce 9977 etiam in veftris Bibliis collocatus “ hoc modo 99727. Erant præ manibus Biblia Rabini Manasseh Ben " Ifrael. Tum subridens Daniel, nondum Mysteriis noftris plenè ini“ tiatus es, inquit. Vide accesitum sequentein sub voce Munus « illius eft efficere ut vox cui fubjacet præcedenti connectatur. Et " quanquam id per se non indubie præftaret, præftaret tonus Musicus " hujus vocis. Cum enim a nobis decantatur verficulus ille, vocem “ attollimus ad vocabulum q, & aliquantuluin pausamus : Deinde * cum particula ' hemistichium aliud inchoamus. Unde fit ut hujus “ loci sensus iste sit. Non auferetur Sceptrum de Judâ & Dux de femore ejus in æternum, Virgula, quando venerit Messias, &c. Argumentare 6C nunc quantum volueris, quid inde aut pro te, aut contra nos in« feres? Inftabam ut facile erat; fed frustra novitatem lectionis, vete

* rumque

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“ rumque Rabbinorum in isto verfu noftro more legendo confenfum

regerebam homini vim argumenti ne quidem fentienti.Cum hæc u primum fcribebam nondum noveram interpretationem modo allatam “ fcripto fuisse traditam a Rabbino Abraham Ifrael Pilzaro Judæo « Batavo."

The late learned Mr. John on of Cranbrook, in his posthumous Disa course on Daniel's seventy Weeks, has also observed how the Maforites bave endeavoured to marr that Prophecy also, by their Points, by putting a Stop, which they call an Athnach, which answers to our Semiculon, in the place where there ought to have been no more than a Comina. And in this Place our English Tranflators have followed them, though in the former, concerning Shiloh, they have not. “ For " (as Mr. Johnson also observes) those great Men, who translated our “ Bible, took the present Hebrew Text, as it is pointed by the Maso

rites, to be the only Sense and Meaning of the Old Testament." Now by this Maforitic Pointing they have endeavoured to make the Text unintelligible. For thus it ftands, Dan. ix. 25. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the Commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, unto the Meffiah the Prince, shall be seven Weeks; and Ihreescore and two Weeks the Street shall be built again, and the Wall, even in troublesome Times. Now by placing their Athnach or Semicolon after the seven Weeks, and thereby cutting off the seven Weeks from the threescorc and two Weeks, they make the Prophecy wholly unferviceable to the Chriftians. For it is most certain that Jejus, whom the

Christians have received for the Alesias, did not come at the End of i leven Weeks, or 49 Years, after the Commandment went forth to

restore and build Jerufilern, whether we understand it of the Edict of Cyrus or Artaxerxes for that Purpose. And the Maforites have left the mselves at Liberty to apply the Prophecy to any Meffiah or anointed Prince or High Priest of their own. But had they joined the fixty-two Weeks to the seven Weeks, as the Context plainly shews they oughr t:) have done, and read the Text, as no Doubt it ought to be read, from the going forth of the Commandment to ristore and build Jerusalem, unto the Melliah the Prinie, mall be fiven Weeks, and threescore and two iteens, that is, 69 Weeks, or 483 Years, and there placed their Ashmuch or Semicolon, the Number of Years would exactly point out the

Time when the Christian Meffiah came. Therefore they fixed their Pint of Pause so, as to make what they pleased of the Words.

These two Prophecies of Jacob concerning Shiloh, and of Daniel's Wecks, do so clearly prove that the true Meffich, so long and often foretold by the holy Jewish Prophets, must have been long since come, aid done and suffered what was prophesied concerning him, and so Carlly point to the Time when our blessed Lord Jejus did actually 60 , that it is not to be wondered at that the Jews, who are so ob tii.lity bent not to believe in Jejus as the Chrift, should use all their Chedevours to render theie two Prophecies wholly unserviceable to our pamirig 7.fus to be the Christ, the Son of the living God, and Saviour con the World. But no Chriftian, I believe, has been so weak as to unterítand those Texts in the Manner the Jews shew by these Points us; would have thein understood. For although our, and it may be


cable to the and two Wechereby cutting their

Ather modern Translators, have pointed according to the Maforite Copy, yet I have never heard of any Christian, but who has esteemed those two Prophecies to be demonstrative Proofs that the true Messiah has been long fince come, and that these Prophecies do particularly point out the Time when our Lord Jesus became Man.

Neither is there any Reason why we should give much Heed to their Vowel Points, or condemn the LXX, or any other ancient Version, when they have translated a Word differently from the Signification which the Maforitic Points have now affixed to it. Mr. Johnson, at the End of his Holy David, and his old English Translators cleared, has given us a long Catalogue of Passages wherein our Translators of the Pfalms in the Common-Prayer Book have varied from the LXX, and followed the present Hebrew Copies. Yet I believe in most of those Places the Hebrew Text, if read without the Majoritic Vowel Points, will be as agreeable to the LXX, and other ancient Translations, as to our English Vertion. To give an Instance or two. Pfal. ix. 20. our Translation is, put them in Fear : The LXX and Latin Vulgate is, set thou a Lawgiver over them. The Hebrew Word here is 77712, which if you derive it from 87, timuit, signifies Fear, but derived from 1779 docuit, fignifies an Instructor, a Giver of Rules, or Lawgiver. And very properly may refer to Christ, who was to come to give a new Law, which should take the Gentiles into his Fold; and therefore no Wonder that the Moforites should choose the other Interpretation. Pfal. Ixviii. 26. our Translation is, The Singers go before : The LXX and Lalin Vulgate read, The Princes go before. The Hebrew Word Dinw fignifies both Singers and Princes. The Maforites have distinguilhed the different Significations of this Word, by putting a Point on the right Side of the first Letter vi when it signifies Singers, and on the left in when it signifies Princes. But no one is obliged to think Singers the most proper Signification in this place, because the Maforites have by their Point fixed it to that Senle. For those solemn Songs of Praise, here spoken of, were generally composed by the Princes or Heads of the People, and they went before in the Procession. Thus Mises, Exod. xv. composed and began the Song which the People sung when they saw the Egyptians drowned in the Sea. And Miriam, the Sister of Moses and Aaron, went before the Women in the Dance on the same Occasion. So Deborah also and Barak were Leaders in the Song they -composed for their Victory over Jabin and his General Sisera, as we read in the 5th Chapter of Judges. So also we fiod, i Sam. xix. 20. that when the Company of Prophets prophefied, that is, sung divine Hymns and Psalms, Samuel, who was a Prince, stood as appointed over them. And i Chron. xv. 27. when the Ark was brought to jeTusalem, David himse!f, the King of Israel, sung and danced before it. As therefore in the folemn publick Rejoicings the Princes, who were allo Singers, led the Choir, the holy Penman has used a Word which fignifies both Princes and Singers, and for that Reason, I think, the Hebrew should not be pinned down (as it is by the Maforitic Point) to pne Sense, though a Translator inco another Language cannot give it that double Senie in one Word. Ons might be apt to think the LXX differed very much from the


went before the Barak were Leaderseral Sifera, as we.

present Hebrew Copy in Pfal. lxxxiii. 1. where the LXX and Latin Vulgate read, who shall be compared unto thee, O God? And our English Bibles, Hold not thy Tongue, O God: Yet this Difference arises only from the Ambiguity of one Hebrew Word, 107, which signifies borh Similitude and Silence; and may be literally translated into Latin, Deus non eft Similitudo tibi, or Deus non eft Silentium tibi. Psal. cxxxii. 1. the LXX and Latin Vulgate read, Lord, remember. David and all his Humi. lity : But our Translation has it, and all his Trouble. This likewise proceeds from the Ambiguity of the Hebrew Word nudy, which signifies both Humility and Trouble or Affliction, and the Context will bear either of these Words. But the Maforites by their Points have fixed the Signification to Trouble or affliction, and our English has followed them, and the LXX have taken the other Sense of the Word. I will give you one Instance inore from Gen. xlvii. 31. where our Translation renders, Ifrael bowed himself upon the Bed's Head. But the LXX render, he bowed himself or worshipped upon the Top of his Staff And so the Apostle cites it, Heb. xi. 21.". The Hebrew Word 700 signifying either a Bed or a Staff. Which different Significations the Maforites have distinguished by their different Vowel Points. But whether they have always rightly distinguished their ambiguous Words is the Queltion. Nor are the LXX to be blamed, if they often differ from them with regard to the true Meaning of ambiguous Words. For where Words have various Significations, different Translators will translate them variously.

But the various Readings between the LXX and our English Bibles do not arise only or chiexy from the Ambiguity of many Hebrew Words, and to which the Maforites by their Points have fixed a Sense different from that in which they were understood by the LXX: Many Differences have also risen from a Change in the Hebrew Letters, as well as from the Points. For although, as before observed, the Jews have not wilfully altered the Letters of the Hebrew Text, yet Variations have arisen in them through the Likeness of one Letter to another, which has occasioned the Transcribers to mistake, and put the one for the other. Transcribers aiso, sometimes writing hastily, have by Carelesness or by Oversight transposed a Letter, and put that Letter before, which should be behind the other, of which I will give you some Instances.

Pfal. xxii. 16. The present Hebrew Copies read, Dogs have compassed me; the Assembly of the Wicked have enclosed me AS A LIon my Hands and my Feet. A Reading one can hardly tell how to make Sense of. But in the LXX and all ancient Translations, and in our English Bibles also, it is, THEY PIERCED my Hands and my Feet. Yet we cannot say that the Jews did originally corrupt this. Text wilfully ; thre Corruption might easily proceed from a Mistake of the Transcriber, or his Carelesness in writing , and ), which might easily happen in halty Writing, and so instead of 1983 foderunt, they wrote 99X ficut Leo, This Reading being got into oné Copy, many other Copies followed it, and the Jews finding this Reading (though a very absurd one) deprived the Christians of a prophetickText relating to the Passion and Death of the blessed Jejus, have stuck to, and ftill retain, this corrupt


[ocr errors]

Reading in their Bibles. So Habac. i. 5. our Bibles from the present Hebrew read, Beheld ye among the Heathen : But the LXX, behold ye Defpifers. Which plainly proceeded from a Mistake occasioned through the likeness of two different Letters, 1 and 7. The present Hebrew Copies have us in gentibus, and that from which the LXX tran. Dated had '912 contemptores.

2 Chron. XX. I. We read in our Bibles, the Children of Moab, and the Children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came againf Jeho baphat to Battle. But you may observe, as the Word other is printed in the Italick Letter, it is not in the Hebrew Text, but put in by the Translators; for in the Hebrew it is, the Children of Ammon, and with them of the Ammonites : So the Translators put in the Word other, and changed the Word of to beside, in order to make it good Sense. But the LXX have translated it, and with them of the Minæans. The learned Bochart has judiciously observed (Geogr. Sacr. part 1. l. 2. C. 22.) that this Mistake has happened in the Hebrew Text through the Oversight of a Transcriber, who through Carelesness transposed the Letter y, and instead of setting it after the Letter , as he ought to have done, set it before that Letter. So instead of writing piyanto, he wrote D'

I 910, and others transcribing from this Copy propagated the Mistake, The Hebrew Word which the LXX translates Minæans, is, according as now pointed by the Maforites, read Mebunim, as appears from our Bibles, 2 Chron. xxvi. 7. And the Place of their Habitation is called Maon, Joshua xv. 55. and gave Name to the Wilderness near which they lived, 1 Sam. xxiii. 24, 25.

There are a great many various Readings in the Hebrew Bibles arising from the Points : For there were two eminent Jews, one at Tiberias called Ben Ascher, the other at Babylon called Ben Naphtali, who about the same Time undertook to publish each of them a correct Edi. tion of the Hebrew Scriptures with the Points, wherein they differ much : The Eastern Jews, for the most Part, follow the Edition of Ber Naphtali, and the Weftern that of Ben Afcher. There are also other different Readings between the Eastern and Western Jews. But this chiefly concerns the Points. However, the Jews, also acknowledge many various Readings, even with regard to the Letters; which various Readings are noted in the Margin of the Hebrew Bibles, and are called 99p Keri, 3ing Ketib. Keri signifies read, and Ketib, written. The Word which stands in the Text is not to be read, and therefore is called Ketib, i. e. the written : But the other is called Keri, the read, because though it is not written in the Text, but in the Margin, yet it is to be read instead of that in the Text. This Keri and Ketib is the Work of the Maforites, and is supposed to have proceeded from hence. Defigning to publish a correct Edition of their Bible, they took that which they esteemed their most authentick Copy, and not daring to. make any Alterations in the Text of that Copy, yet finding in other Copies a different Reading, which they judged to be the more genuine, they placed it in the Margin, and gave Directions to their Scholars to read that marginal Word instead of the other, thereby giving the Preference to that Word, though they feared to put it into the Text. Bilhop Walton, in his Appendix to his Polyglot, has given us all those VOL. III.



« PreviousContinue »