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yet not received from the contributors; was begun, was forward long before, yet not hitherto collected. Now this representation agrees with one, and only with one, supposition, namely, that every man had laid by in store, had already provided a fund, from which he was afterwards to contribute—the very case which the First Epistle authorises us to suppose to have existed; for in that epistle, St. Paul had charged the Corinthians, “ upon the first day of the week, every one of them, to lay by in store, as God had prospered him,' (1 Cor. xvi. 2.) *
2 Cor. xiii. 1. “ This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” Here an apparently considerable chronological difficulty occurs, the Apostle mentioning his design of visiting Corinth a third time; whereas only one visit before the date of this epistle is noticed in the Acts, (ch. xviii. 1.) This difficulty is thus solved by Dr. Paley, with his usual judgment and ability : At length, however, he observes, it occurred to my thoughts to inquire, whether the passage did necessarily imply that St. Paul had been at Corinth twice, or whether, when he says, “ This is the third time I am coming to you,' he might mean only that this was the third time that he was ready, that he was prepared, that he intended to set out on his journey to Corinth. I recollected that he had once before this purposed to visit Corinth, and had been disappointed in this purpose; which disappointment forms the subject of much apology and protestation in the first and second chapters of the epistle. Now, if the journey in which he had been disappointed was reckoned by him one of the times in which he was coming to them, then the present would be the third time, i. e. of his being ready and prepared to come; although he had been actually at Corinth only once before. This conjecture being taken up, a farther examination of the
passage and the Epistle, produced proofs which placed it beyond doubt. * This is the third time I am coming to you.' In the verse following these words he adds, ' I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present the second time; and being absent, now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare.' In this verse the Apostle is declaring beforehand what he would do in his intended visit: his expression, therefore, “as if I were present the second time,' relates to that visit. But, if his future visit would only make him present among them a second time, it follows that he had been already there but once. Again, in the fifteenth verse of the first chapter, he tells them,
In this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit.' Why a second, and not a third benefit ? why δευτέραν and not τρίτην χάριν, if the τρίτον έρχομαι, in the thirteenth chapter, meant a third visit? for, though the visit in the first chapter be that visit in which he was disappointed, yet, as it is evident from the epistle, that he had never been at Corinth from the time of the disappoint
to the time of writing the epistle, it follows, that if it were only a second visit in which he was disappointed then, it could only be a visit which he proposed now. But the text, which I think is decisive of the question, if any question remain upon the subject, is the fourteenth verse of the twelfth chapter-Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you-Ιδού, τρίτον ετοίμως έχω ελθείν προς υμάς. It is very clear that the τρίτον ετοίμως έχω ελθείν of the twelfth chapter, and the τρίτον τούτο ëpxouai of the thirteenth chapter, are equivalent expressions, were intended to convey the same meaning, and to relate to the same journey. The comparison of these phrases gives us St. Paul's own explanation of his own words; and it is that very explanation which we are contending for, viz. that rpitov ToŨTo špxopar does not mean that he was coming a third time, but that this was the third time he was in readiness to come, Tpirov étoiuws ēxw. Upon the whole, the matter is sufficiently certain ; nor do I propose it as a new interpretation of the text which contains the difficulty, for the same was given by Grotius long ago, but I thought it the clearest way of explaining the subject, to describe the manner in which the difficulty, the solution, and the proofs of that solution, successively presented themselves to my inquiries. Now, in historical researches, a reconciled inconsistency becomes a positive argument. First, because an impostor generally guards against the appearance of inconsistency; and secondly, because when apparent inconsistencies are found, it is seldom that any thing else but truth renders them capable of reconciliation. The existence of the difficulty proves the want or absence of that caution, which usually accompanies the consciousness of fraud ; and the solution proves, that it is not the collusion of fortuitous propositions which we have to deal with, but that a thread of truth winds through the whole, which preserves every circumstance in its place.*
Apparent discrepancies between the sacred writers are of various kinds, arising from various causes, and have been arranged under different classes, according to their several circumstances. As, however, it is doubtful under which class some of the instances should be placed, or to ascertain precisely from what cause the apparent contradiction arose, it will be preferable upon the whole to detail them in the order of Scripture, leaving the reader to decide upon their nature.
Gen. xxxvi. 31. “And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel.” As there was no king in Israel in the time of Moses, this has been adduced as a proof of his not being the author of the book of Genesis. But Moses probably alludes to the promise which God made to Jacob (ch. xxxv. 11,) that kings should proceed from him; and here states that these kings reigned before that prophecy began to he fulfilled.F
Exod. vi. 3. “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known unto them.” If Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not know the
Comprehensive Bible, Concluding Remarks to 2 Corinthians.
+ Idem, Note in loco.
name JEHOVAH, then Moses must have used it in Genesis by prolepsis or anticipation. But probably we should, with Mr. Locke and others, read it interrogatively, for the negative particle x5, lo, not, has frequently this power in Hebrew: “I appeared unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by the name of God Almighty, and by my name JEHOVAH was I not also made known unto them ?'t
Exod. xii. 40. “Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.” The Samaritan Pentateuch,
ומושב בני ישראל ואבותם :in all its manuscripts and printed copies, reads -Now the sojourn * אשר ישבו בארץ כנען ובארץ מצרים שלשים שנה וארבע מאות שנה:
:· ing of the children of Israel, and of their fathers in the land of Canaan and in the land of Egypt was 430 years.' The Alexandrine copy of the Septuagint has the same reading ; and the same statement is made by the Apostle Paul, in Gal. iii. 17, who reckons from the promise made to Abraham to the giving of the law. That these three witnesses have the truth, the chronology itself proves; for it is evident that the descendants of Israel did not dwell 430 years in Egypt; while it was equally evident that the period from Abraham's entry into Canaan to the Exodus is exactly that number. Thus from Abraham's entrance into the promised land to the birth of Isaac was twenty-five years ; Isaac was sixty at the birth of Jacob; Jacob was 130 at his going into Egypt; where he and his children continued 215 years more ; making in the whole 430 years. See Kennicott's Dissertation on the Hebrew Text.t
Num. iv. 39. “ All that were numbered of the Levites, which Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the Lord, throughout their families, all the males from a month old and upward were twenty and two thousand.” This total does not agree with the particulars; for the Gershonites were 7500, the Kohathites, 8600, and the Merarites, 6200, which make a total of 22,300. Several methods of solving this difficulty have been proposed by learned men. Houbigant supposes there is an error in the enumeration of the Kohathites in ver. 28 ; the numeral wv, shesh, “six,' being written instead of wbw, shalosh, “three,' before hundred. Dr. Kennicott's mode of reconciling the discrepancy, however, is the most simple. He supposes that an error has crept into the number of the Gershonites in ver. 22, where instead of 7500, we should read 7200, as 7 caph final, which stands for 500, might have been easily mistaken for 7 resh, 200. (Dr. Kennicott on the Hebrew Text, vol. ii. p. 212.) Either of these modes will equally reconcile the difference.*
Num. viii. 24. “ This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation :" In ch. 4. 3, the Levites are appointed to the service of the tabernacle at the age of thirty years; and in chap. 23, 24, they are ordered to commence their work at twenty years of age.
In order to reconcile this apparent discrepancy, it is to be observed, 1. At the
time of which Moses speaks in ch. 4. 3, the Levitical service was exceedingly severe, and consequently required full grown, robust men to perform it: the age of thirty was therefore appointed as the period for commencing this service, the weightier part of which was probably there intended. 2. In this place God seems to speak of the service in a general way; hence the age of twenty-five is fixed. 3. In David's time and afterwards, in the fixed tabernacle and temple, the laboriousness of the service no longer existed, and hence twenty years was the age appointed.*
Num. xxv. 9. “And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.” St. Paul reckons only twenty-three thousand; though some MSS. and versions, particularly the latter Syriac and the Armenian, have, as here, 24,000. Allowing the 24,000 to be genuine, and none of the Hebrew MSS. exhibit a various reading here, and the 23,000 of St. Paul to be also genuine, the two places may be reconciled by supposing, what is very probable, that Moses includes in the 24,000, the 1000 men who were slain in consequence of the judicial examination (v. 4.), as well as the 23,000 who died of the plague; while St. Paul only refers to the latter.*
Num. xxvi. 11. “Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not.” It seems to be intimated in ch. 16. 27, 31-33, that not only the men, but the sons and the little ones of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were swallowed up by the earthquake; but the text here expressly affirms, that the children of Koran died not;' and their descendants were famous even in David's time.
On a close inspection, however, of verse 27 of the abovementioned chapter, we shall find that the sons and the little ones of Dathan and Abiram alone are mentioned. There is no mention of the children of Korah; they, therefore, probably either not consenting to their father's crime, or speedily repenting, were preserved when he was cut off; while it appears that those of Dathan and Abiram perished with their fathers.*
Num. xxxi. 3, 17, 18.“ And Moses spake unto the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves unto the war, and let them go against the Midianites, and avenge the Lord of Midian. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” It was God's quarrel, not their own, that they were now to take up. These people were idolaters, and had seduced the Israelites to practise the same abominations ; idolatry is an offence against God; and the civil power has no authority to meddle with what belongs to Him, without especial directions, certified as in this case, in the most unequivocal manner. Private revenge, ambition, or avarice were to have no place in this business : Jehovah is to be avenged; and through Him, the children of srael, (ver. 2.) because they were nearly ruined by their idolatries. If Jehovah, instead of punishing sinners by
earthquakes, pestilence, or famine, is pleased expressly to command any person or people to avenge his cause, this commission justifies, nay, sanctifies, war, massacre, or devastation. Though none can at present shew such a commission, yet the Israelites could; and it is therefore absurd to censure Moses, Joshua, and Israel, for the dreadful slaughter made by them. God himself passed sentence of condemnation, and employed them merely as ministers of his vengeance; and unless it could be proved that the criminals did not deserve their doom, or that God had no right to punish his rebellious creatures, such objectors only shew their enmity to God by becoming the unsolicited advocates of his enemies.*
The sword of war should spare women and children, as incapable of resisting; but the sword of justice knows no distinction, except that of guilty or not guilty, or more or less guilty. This was the execution of a righteous sentence upon a guilty nation, in which the women were the greatest criminals; and it may safely be said, that their lives were forfeited by their personal transgressions. With respect to the execution of the male infants, who cannot be supposed to have been guilty, God, the author and supporter of life, who has a right to dispose of it when and how he thinks proper, commanded it: and shall not the Judge of all the earth do right ?'*
It has been groundlessly asserted, that Moses here authorised the Israelites to make concubines of the whole number of female children ; and a formidable objection against his writings has been grounded upon this monstrous supposition. But the whole tenor of the lav and especially a statute recorded in Deut. 21. 10–14, proves most decisively to the contrary. They were merely permitted to possess them as female slaves, educating them in their families, and employing them as domestics; for the laws concerning fornication, concubinage, and marriage, were in full force, and prohibited an Israelite even from marrying a captive, without delays and previous formalities; and if he afterwards divorced her, he was to set her at liberty, ' because he had humbled her'.*
2 Sam. i. 6—10. compared with 1 Sam. xxxi. 3—6. The story of this young man appears to be wholly a fiction, formed for the
purpose gratiating himself with David, as the next probable successor to the crown. There is no fact in the case, except the bringing of the diadem and bracelets of Saul, as a sufficient evidence of his death, which, as he appears to have been a plunderer of the slain, he seems to have stripped from the body of the unfortunate monarch. It is remarkable, that Saul, who had forfeited his crown by his disobedience and ill-timed clemency with respect to the Amalekites, should now have the insignia of royalty stripped from his person by one of those very people.*
In 2 Sam. xxiii. 13, we read," And three of the THIRTY chiefs went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam : and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim, &c.”