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ANTIQUITY AND UNITY
ANTIQUITY AND UNITY OF
" The sons of Ham: Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.” (Ver. 6.)
Cush was the ancestor of the Ethiopians. His eldest son, Seba, gave his name to the capital of the ancient kingdom of Meroe, and perhaps to the Sabeans, who dwelt partly in Arabia and partly in Abyssinia. His remaining sons, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabtechah, occupied the Arabian peninsula, and regions adjacent. From some one of these was descended Nimrod, the founder of the Babylonian empire, embracing the cities of Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar, and possibly also the Assyrian kingdom, including the cities of Nineveh, Rehoboth, Caleh, and Resen.* Traces of this dynasty are seen in the names Cuthah, Cossaei, Chuzistan (Susiana), as also in the Hindu Koosh, the name still borne by the mountain regions of the Upper Indus.
Mizraim, a word in the dual form, meaning the two Egypts, i. e., the Upper and Lower. The Arabs still apply the name Misr both to the country itself and to its capital. The Ludim,
* The reading of Gen. x. II, now generally preferred, is, “Out of that land he (i. e., Cush) went into Assyria.” But it is not certain that the authorized version is not correct. Asshur, the son of Shem, may have been driven from the country before by this fierce Cushite invader, and founded the more northern monarchy called from him Assyria.
Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, and Caphtorim are not personal names, but the appellations of tribes descended from Mizraim, which settled the country west of Egypt, the Delta, the maritime coast of Philistia, and perhaps Crete, and some of the neighboring islands. The Caphtorim may have given their name to the Copts, which, in turn, originated the Greek designation of the country, viz., Ai-guptos, Egypt, the land of the Copt.
Phut was probably the ancestor of the Libyans, inhabiting the country lying west of Egypt, along the northern shore of Africa.
Canaan was the father of the tribes which originally occupied Palestine, and which for the most part were exterminated by the Hebrews after their exodus from Egypt. · Such is a concise view of the origin and affinities of the various nations of mankind, as given in the Scriptures. That it is in entire harmony with secular history, so far as the latter is known, is evident to all intelligent readers. Now, this general fact, even if we can go no further, is very remarkable. We need not suggest how utterly unlike this in
spired genealogy is to those which are found in the · literature of any other people. Confessedly one
of the oldest documents in the world, written in an
age when as yet historical science had not begun to be, it maps out the existing families of mankind, and the localities they occupied, so minutely and accurately that the very latest investigations of modern science, with all the helps which have accumulated through thousands of years, serve only to verify and illustrate it. The very names contained in these patriarchal lists, entering into the numerous and intermingling channels of history, and floating down through the most diverse languages and dialects, are still, for the most part, recognizable as the distinctive appellations of the leading nationalities and peoples of this day. We know not how to resist the demonstration thus afforded both of the unity of all the known branches of the human race, and their origin at a date no more remote than the family of Noah.
But there are, or have been, nations and tribes of men whose descent from Noah can not be traced through any line of actual history. When his descendants migrated from the primitive seats in which, after the flood, they settled, to the countries which were to be their future homes, they found everywhere, it is said, aboriginal races already occupants of the soil. "We have,” says Agassiz, " nowhere a positive record of a people having migrated far, and found countries entirely destitute
of inhabitants." * These aboriginal races, often designated the pre-historic, but whom I would rather name the un-historic nations, prove, it is claimed, " the primitive ubiquity of mankind upon earth,” and refute both the unity and the recent origin of the human family.
We think this statement, as is usual with objections of this kind, exaggerated. We know of no evidence to show the fact so universal as is alleged. Where is the le positive record of a people having migrated far,” and not having " found countries entirely destitute of inhabitants”? The Pelasgians claimed to have been autochthons in Greece, though certainly having emigrated from Asia. We have never seen any evidence, or even allegation, that the ancient Egyptians did not consider themselves autochthons in the valley of the Nile. But without insisting on this, we may freely concede the reality of these so called aboriginal races without any detriment to the authority of the sacred record.
For, first, Scripture language in general statements is not always to be pressed to a rigidly literal meaning. Such a general statement is that of Gen. ix. 19: " These are the three sons of Noah, and of .. them was the whole earth overspread.” This may be taken literally, as, until recently, has always
* Christian Examiner, March, 1850.
been done, or its application may be limited to the " Adamite race," whose creation had just been recorded, and whose history is given in the subsequent portions of the sacred writings, without either affirming or denying the existence of another race not descended from Adam. The latter interpretation, though less obvious than the former, is certainly consistent with usage in other parts of the Bible. For example, the statement in Luke ii. I, that "there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” Also, Matt. iii. 5, that there " went out to him [John] Jerusalem and all Judæa, and all the region round about Jordan.”. These statements are certainly to be understood in a sense more restricted than the literal one. Numerous other passages of a similar kind might be cited. Such being the case, the truthfulness of the Mosaic account, in the tenth chapter of Genesis, would not necessarily be impaired should it be proved that there has existed a race or races of men descended neither from Noah nor Adam. There are distin- ; guished scholars who maintain the poly genetic origin of mankind, and endeavor to prove it from the Bible, believing that such an interpretation is consistent with the truthfulness of the sacred narrative.*
But without resorting to this possible view of the
* Page 170.