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so disguised and perverted, that it required the consistent and simple narration we find in Scripture.
In consequence of the brevity of this Period, the transpositions of the text are necessarily few.
The Second Period comprises the history of the time between the dispersion, and the birth of Moses; and includes the remainder of Genesis, the book of Job, and the first chapter of Exodus.
The transpositions of the sacred text in this Period are not numerous. The history of the three great heads of the Jewish nation, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, proceeds without much. interruption to the close of the Period. The account of the divisions of mankind into their respective families is placed after the event which caused their dispersion; and the narrative, after thus relating the origin of the principal nations of the Gentile world, goes on to the genealogy of Shem, and the history of the family from which the Messiah was to descend. The inspired historian is contented with merely glancing at the annals of other nations, and hastens on to the immediate object he proposed to himself, the submitting to the sacred family of Abraham the origin and early history of their election as the people of God, and their consequent separation from the rest of the sons of Noah, into a visible Church.
It may excite surprise that the narrative is interrupted by inserting the life of Job in the midst of the brief history of the ancestors of Abraham, given by Moses in pursuance of this plan. The authority for assigning to the Arabian Patriarch an earlier date than Abraham is given in the note. Wherever this book was inserted it would have been impossible to have given general satisfaction. The subject has been much controverted; but after reconsidering the subject, and after perusing the valuable remarks of Dr. A. Clarke, the last commentator who has discussed this point, the Editor is unable to come to any other conclusion. He cannot but consider Job to have been the witness to the truth of
the pure religion of God, in an age when even the ancestors of Abraham were infected with the increasing contagion of idolatry.
The chief transpositions in this Period are the placing of the renewal of the covenant related in Genesis the 17th, after the events related in the 18th, 19th, and 20th chapters -the harmonizing those parts of the 25th and 26th chapters which relate the circumstances originating in the same famine-and the inserting in their chronological places the births and deaths of the patriarchs. The period concludes with the oppression of the Israelites by the Egyptians, before the birth of Moses, related in the first chapter of Exodus.
The Third Period extends from the birth to the death of Moses, and comprises the remainder of Exodus to the conclusion of the Pentateuch. With the exception of the insertion of the institution of the Passover in its required place, little transposition is here necessary till we arrive at the eighth chapter, which contains the account of the wandering in the Wilderness. The several encampments of the Israelites are variously arranged by different writers, according to the names of the places mentioned by Moses. The number of their encampments and marches is reckoned by Dr. Hales, after Bishop Clayton, to have been sixty, including the passage over the river Jordan. The map which he has given in his Analysis, and his accompanying account of the wanderings of the Israelites in the Wilderness, are truly valuable. The learned writer's theory, however, has not been adopted, as it was thought the reader would be more satisfied with a still closer adherence to the Scripture account. The sojourning of the Israelites therefore is arranged according to the itinerary of Moses himself, in the thirty-third chapter of Numbers, who distinctly mentions the forty-two journeyings of his people, in which of course all their encampments and stations are included. This method of relating this part of the Scripture history has oc
casioned more transposition than in the preceding periods; but the Scripture is so evidently made to corroborate its own account, that the advantages arising from it appeared to justify its adoption. The miracles, and the events of their wanderings, are recorded in the respective journeyings in which they occurred. The account of the several journeys commences with the verse in which each is briefly mentioned in the thirty-third chapter of Numbers.
The principal events in this period which require transposition, are the arrival of Jethro at the camp of the Israelites the thirty-third of Numbers already mentioned— and various passages in Numbers and Deuteronomy. As there were not sufficient data to enable me to decide in what particular encampments the various exhortations of Moses, in the first chapters of Deuteronomy, were respectively delivered, I have referred them to the conclusion of the wanderings of the Israelites, when he certainly addressed to them the greater part of the contents of that book.
The Fourth Period comprises the events from the entrance of the Israelites into the Holy Land, to the death of David. It includes the books of Judges, Joshua, Ruth, the first and second of Samuel, the first book of Chronicles, with the exception of the nine first chapters, which are placed in the last section of the last period, and the two first chapters of the first book of Kings. It comprises also those Psalms which were probably written by David, and which are inserted in their supposed places, according to the events to which they are believed to refer. The people of God having been delivered from their persecutors in Egypt, having escaped all the attacks of their enemies, and the peril of the Wilderness, at length enter into the Promised Land, and establish the religion of the one true God, in the country which their ancestors had traversed; and which God had sworn to Abraham that his descendants should possess. Though they were so entirely successful at their first occupation of the country, that they obtained possession of the
whole land, as Moses had predicted, they failed to execute the commands of God; they spared the lives of the idolatrous inhabitants; they then began to associate with them; to be familiar among them; and, at length, to unite with them in their hateful superstitions and idolatry. For these offences they were severely punished. The surrounding nations were armed with extraordinary power to purify the visible church, by oppressing and persecuting it, till it had found by bitter experience, that God always punishes those who forsake his service. These relapses into negligence and idolatry, with their consequent punishments, were continued till the accession of David to the throne of Israel, after the death of Saul. By him the surrounding enemies of God were subdued, and the visible church advanced to its utmost perfection, purity, and glory. David never fell into idolatry, and the effect of his continued perseverance in, and faithful adherence to the religion of his fathers, was visible in the extent of his dominions, the abundance of his wealth, the liberality of his people, the universal regard to religion throughout his kingdom, and the magnificent preparations for that temple, which Solomon founded and completed.
The transpositions of passages in this Period are more numerous than those in the second and third. In the book of Joshua, the appearance of the angel to the Hebrew leader is formed into a more connected history. Joshua vi. 1; v. 13, to the end; and vi. 2, to the end. The authority of Bishop Horsley is preferred to that of St. Jerome, respecting the time and place of the reading the law of Moses on Mount Ebal and Gerizim. The passage in which this event is related will be found in Joshua viii. 30, to the end. The Israelites, in the preceding verses of the chapter, are represented as being at Gilgal, which was at a great distance from Mount Gerizim; they had not yet possessed the country, and it is not probable that all the people should suddenly leave the seat of the war in which they were then engaged, and proceed to another part of the country, to do that which might
with greater convenience, and greater propriety, be done at a later period. Bishop Horsley supposes, therefore, that the law was read to the people after the conquest of the country, when the land rested from war; and upon his authority the transposition of the passage has been made. St. Jerome supposes, that immediately on entering upon the promised land, the law was read on two smaller mountains, named Ebal and Gerizim, near Jericho; an opinion which, though defended by Epiphanius, does not appear to be sufficiently supported.
The twenty-second of Joshua is also transposed. It records the return of the Reubenites, after the end of the war, the conquest of the country, and the reading of the law on Mount Gerizim. Their return is placed after the latter event, and not, as in the canon, after the division of the country. When their service was fully accomplished, they would, of course, be sent home, as Joshua had promised.
The latter chapters of the book of Judges are well known to relate the events which took place during the interregnum, after the death of Joshua. They are accordingly inserted, in this arrangement, before the first servitude of the Israelites, under Cushan-Rishathaim.
The story of Ruth, on the authority of Bishop Patrick, is referred to the account of the famine in Israel, on the invasion of the Midianites.
To enable the reader to remember with greater accuracy the history of the Judges, the sections are divided according to the several governments of these magistrates.
In the history of Eli, the Bible chronology is followed, and Eli, Samson, and Samuel, are made contemporaries. The Arranger has adopted, except in a few instances, the Bible chronology throughout this work; because it appeared, after much consideration, preferable to any other system. It is consistent with itself, it is sanctioned by authority, having received that almost infallible stamp of excellence, the test of time, and the most diligent and critical inquiry. Valua