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ble as the Analysis of Dr. Hales undoubtedly is, the Editor could not venture to adopt his dates, and his system, till they had been approved by the same authorities, and confirmed by the same criterion of excellence, which have determined the value, and recommended the Bible chronology.
In arranging the very difficult passages which refer to the youth of David, when he conquered Goliath, and played before Saul, he has been guided by the authority of Bishop Horsley, who seems to have considered the subject with much attention, and he has relied with confidence on his decision.
The chief remaining transpositions in this Period, are the several passages in Samuel and Chronicles, which are necessarily changed, to harmonize the general narrative more completely; and the parallel passages are inserted at the end of the respective sections in which they occur in smaller type, so that the reader may always compare the corresponding accounts of the same events by the writers of the two different books. The events of the life of David are so arranged in sections, that the reader will be able to follow his wanderings on the map, and to peruse his history without difficulty. The appeal of the woman of Tekoa to David is put together on the authority of Bishop Horsley; and the escape of Hadad, inserted parenthetically in 1 Kings x. is assigned to its chronological place. One principal cause of the apparent want of order, in the arrangement of the events recorded in the sacred canon, arises from frequent parentheses; in the same way as the account of the death of John the Baptist is an interruption of the narrative of the Evangelists in the New Testament.
The Fifth Period comprises the reign of Solomon, the era of the highest greatness at which the Jewish kingdom arrived; when the visible church attained its utmost splendour, and the promise to Abraham was accomplished, that the country from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates should be subject to the dominion of Israel. This Period includes the first
chapters in the first book of Kings, which relate the life of Solomon; the nine first-chapters of the second book of the Chronicles, which are harmonized with those from the book of Kings; the Psalms, supposed to have been sung or writ ten at the dedication of the temple; and the books of Canticles, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes.
The chief difficulty of arranging the events of this Period arose from the miscellaneous manner in which the several circumstances of Solomon's life are narrated by the sacred writers. They are enumerated either as they occurred to the minds of the writers, or as they were compiled or abridged from the public registers of the kingdom. It has been endeavoured so to dispose of them, that the events of the reign of this great king may be read in their probable order. The prayer at the dedication of the temple, which is given at greater length in the book of Chronicles than in the Kings, will be seen in its complete form. The book of Canticles is supposed to have been written when Solomon was a young man, at the time he removed the daughter of Pharaoh to his palace in the forest of Lebanon. The book of Proverbs is placed after the visit of the queen of Sheba, when the wisdom of Solomon was celebrated throughout the world. It immediately follows the passage which refers to the number of his proverbs. The proverbs, which were found in the temple, and were copied out by the men of Hezekiah, are inserted among the rest, and are not placed in the reign of Hezekiah, as recommended by Torshel, because they are not called the proverbs of the men of Hezekiah, but of Solomon. They were neglected till the reign of Hezekiah, when they were discovered among the archives in the temple, but they cannot chronologically be dated from that time. The book of Ecclesiastes comes after the account of the offence of Solomon. It is generally supposed to have been written as a kind of recantation upon his repentance for his errors, before his death.
The Sixth Period comprises the time from the accession
of Rehoboam, to the commencement of the Babylonish captivity. It includes the greater part of the books of Chronicles and Kings, which are harmonized throughout, with some of the Psalms, and the prophecies of Joel, Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, Jonah, Micah, Obadiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, part of Jeremiah, and part of the first chapter of Daniel. The several predictions or distinct discourses contained in the respective books of the prophets are given in their historical places; and notes are appended to each, explaining the reasons for the dislocation. The difficulties of arranging this period were very great. The intricacies of the chronology, the double line of the kings of Judah and Israel, with the differences of explanation among the authors who were consulted, presented obstacles which at first sight appeared insuperable. Various modes presented themselves of dividing the double line of kings: one, by placing them in two columns, and attaching the common date in the margin; another, of placing the kings of Israel after those of Judah, as a separate chapter; and, that which has been adopted, to divide the history of the kings of Judah into chapters, each chapter containing two parts: the first giving a history of a king of Judah; the second appropriated to the reign of the contemporary king, or kings of the sister kingdom. This plan was selected because it presented two advantages. It enabled the reader to peruse the history of all the kings of Judah as one connected history, by reading through the first parts of each chapter, and the history of the kings of Israel in the same manner, by perusing the second parts of each chapter; and it enabled him also to pass without interruption to the history of the kings of Israel contemporary with the respective kings of Judah. If the first of the plans mentioned had been adopted, much room would have been lost, in consequence of the number of blank spaces left in the columns devoted to the history of the kings of Israel, the history of these kings being given in the inspired writers within much less compass than the history of the kings of Judah :
and the arrangement had already occupied more pages than was expected. If the second plan had been acted upon, the chronological and historical continuity of the narrative would have been destroyed, and the principal design of the
ment consequently defeated.
Although this period occasioned more labour and enquiry than the rest, the authorities for inserting particular passages in their appropriate places were sometimes so equally balanced, that it was almost impossible to decide between the merits of the contending arguments. In such cases, the Arranger is open to the charge of want of judgment, from those with whom he may differ. The compass of the work did not admit the insertion of long discussions; he has been contented, therefore, with submitting to his readers, in the several notes, the arguments which have induced him to place the prophecies and the history in their present order.
The Seventh Period comprises the history of the Babylonish captivity. No historical book in the Old Testament contains a complete narrative of the transactions of the seventy years; they are related in various parts of the prophets, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, and in the latter passages of the books of Kings and Chronicles. Much difficulty arose in arranging the several events referred to in this Seventh Period, from the circumstance that the prophecies of Ezekiel were delivered to the Jews in the captivity at Babylon, at the same time that Jeremiah was prophesying at Jerusalem and in Egypt. To prevent any confusion in rightly apprehending this part of the sacred history, the events which took place, and the prophecies which were delivered at Jerusalem, are placed in a different chapter from those at Babylon. The transactions in Egypt, when the Jews who escaped from the captivity fled into that country, after the murder of Gedaliah, and took with them Jeremiah the prophet, are given in a separate chapter. The reader will thus be enabled to peruse the account of the affairs of the
Jews at Jerusalem, Babylon, and Egypt, without confounding either places or dates. The variety of contending authorities respecting the dates and occasions of the several prophecies of Jeremiah, caused some embarrassments; the decision to which the Arranger came is submitted, with the result. of the labours of Blayney, Lightfoot, and Taylor, in a tabular form to the reader; who will be able to compare the arguments of the various writers on this subject, and to rectify any error which he may suppose has been made. The many interesting circumstances, which took place in the siege of Jerusalem, are collected into one narration from Jeremiah, Chronicles, and Kings; and few narratives of sieges or battles, in ancient or modern history, are so full of incident, instruction, and variety. The prophecies of Ezekiel, being for the most part dated by the prophet himself, were arranged with little difficulty. The events at Babylon, after the return of Nebuchadnezzar, and prior to the decree of Cyrus, are chiefly related in the historical chapters of the book of Daniel. The account of the wonderful manner in which these events effected the elevation of Daniel, the restoration of the Jews, and thereby the accomplishment of the prophecies of God, may be justly considered as one of the most interesting and beautiful parts of the Old Testament. The period ends with the decree of Cyrus, as it is contained in the last chapter of the Chronicles and the first of Ezra.
The Eighth and last Period comprises the events from the termination of the captivity to the probable close of the canon. It includes, besides several of the Psalms, the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, and the prophecies of Zechariah, Haggai, and Malachi. The arrangement of the events of this period has been chiefly made on the authority of Dean Prideaux; whose history is advocated and adopted by Dr. Hales, Dr. A. Clarke, the present Bishop of Winchester, and many other learned and pious authors. Lightfoot's hypothesis of the arrangement of the events of this period is