Page images


of the epochs beginning them. It should be remarked, in regard to the Hebrew computation in the above table, that Hebraists generally make the second interval three hundred and fifty-two years, by regarding Abraham as the youngest son of Terah, and born when his father was one hundred and thirty years old, instead of seventy, and the fourth period, four hundred and eighty, from i Kings vi. 1, instead of six hundred, making the time from the creation to Christ sixty years less than it is in our table, placing the creation at B. C. 4006. The sum four thousand and four, as indicating the date of the creation in our received chronology, is made up, in addition to the above modifications, by shortening the fifth period. But our table presents what we regard as the correct Hebrew chronology.*

[blocks in formation]

Creation, · · · | 3983 4004 5411 5426 5361 Ab. 20,000
Flood, . 2327 2348|3155 3170 3099 Ab. 10,000
Birth of Abraham, · 1961 1921 2078 2023 2157
Exodus, . . . 1531 1491 1648 1593 1652 1320
Founding of Temple, 1012 1012 1027 1014 1011
Destruction of Temple, 589 588 586 586 586 586

1004 It should be further remarked, that most Sep. tuagintarian chronologers make the first period twenty-two hundred and fifty-six, out of deference to Josephus ; they likewise make the second period only ten hundred and seventy-two, * by putting the years of Nahor at seventy-nine instead of one hundred and seventy-nine; or nine hundred and fortytwo, t by leaving out the second Cainan with his generation of one hundred and thirty years; or ten hundred and two,t by giving Terah one hundred and thirty years to the birth of Abraham. We simply remark that our object is to present the chronology of the Septuagint according to the most approved texts. This we have done. We would state, however, that we think this version should be corrected to make it harmonize with Josephus in the length of the first period, since, by giving Methuselah only one hundred and sixty-seven years before the birth of Lamech, we make him survive the flood' fourteen years; and the one hundred and eighty-eight years of Lamech should doubtless be corrected by the Hebrew and Josephus, and made one hundred and eighty-two; we would likewise give to Eli forty instead of twenty years.

* As Jackson.

+ As Eusebius. | As Hales. Hales, a Septuagintarian in chronology, gives Nahor seventy-nine, leaves out the second Cainan, and makes Terah one hundred and thirty at the birth of Abraham.

Thus it appears that the highest date of the creation of man, according to the Septuagint, — and that is according to Mai's edition, — is B. C. 5532, and the lowest (arrived at by taking the lowest numbers found in any text, of Methuselah, viz., one hundred and sixty-seven, and Nahor, viz., seventy-nine, and the four hundred and forty of 1 Kings vi. 1, for the fourth period) is two hundred and sixty years less, i. e., B. C. 5272.

The difference between the Septuagint and the Hebrew, according to our computation, is fourteen hundred and sixty-six or fourteen hundred and * forty-six. This difference, by taking other numbers of the various readings, might be increased to sixteen hundred and twenty. It may be remarked, however, that the amount of difference, which is to be set down as the probable result of designed alteration in one or the other, is thirteen hundred years, or, if we include Cainan's generation in this class, fourteen hundred and thirty,* viz., six hundred in the period before, and seven hundred or eight hundred and thirty in the period after the flood, the lives of thirteen patriarchs before the birth of the son who succeeded being shortened or lengthened a century

* We are inclined to the opinion, however, that the interpolation or omission of the second Cainan, whichever is adopted, is the result of mistake of copyists.

each, and the second Cainan being interpolated or left out. Other differences are probably the result of mistakes by copyists.

These results, deducible from the sacred history alone, receive some remarkable confirmations from early heathen writers, which may properly be exhibited in this place.

1. We have a fragment of a work on India, written by Megasthenes, a Greek historian contemporaneous with Alexander the Great, about B. C. 323, in which he gives an account of the institutions and customs of the people of that country. He says, " The Hindus and the Jews are the only people who had a just conception of the creation of the world and the beginnings of things.” And he adds, " The Hindus did not carry back their history and antiquities above five thousand and forty-two (some manuscripts read six thousand and forty-two) years and three months from Alexander's invasion of India,” * – viz., 327 B. C. This would place the creation at B. C. 5369, differing less than two hundred years from the date now given.

2. In an Arabic work, attributed to Abu-Mâshar, in the conjunction of the planets, the author remarks that the Indians reckoned three thousand seven hundred and twenty-five years (Persian) and

* Hales' Chronology, vol. i. p. 195.

three hundred and forty-eight days between the deluge and the Hegira (A. D. 622), which would bring the date of the former at B. C. 3102. This is the date of the commencement of the celebrated Kali-Yug, an historico-astronomical epoch of the Hindus, which doubtless had its origin in that great event, the Flood, of Noah.

3. Demetrius Phalereus, a Greek writer, born B. C. 345, is quoted by Alexander Polyhistor, another Greek author, as making the period before the flood to be two thousand two hundred and sixty-two years, and from thence to the birth of Abraham, one thousand and seventy-two years.

4. Another heathen writer, named Eupolemus, said to have flourished about B. C. 160, who wrote several works on the history of the Jews, has a paragraph to this effect: " That from Adam to the fifth year of Demetrius, and the twelfth of Ptolemy, king of Egypt, are five thousand one hundred and fortynine years." Reference must here be made to Demetrius Soter, king of Syria, who began to reign about B. C. 163, and Ptolemy Physcon, who began B. C. 170. The fifth of the former and the twelfth of the latter concur in B. C. 158, which makes the date of the creation, according to this writer, to be B. C. 5307. The numbers given, both by him and Demetrius, were evidently originally derived from

« PreviousContinue »