Genesis:

 •  5 hr. read  •  grade level: 11
OR
THE GENERATIONS OF THE HEAVENS AND OF THE EARTH
REGINALD STUART POOLE, M. R. S. L., ETC.—The Biblical Cosmogony stands alone, as of all ancient accounts of the origin of things the only one which is not, on the very face, irreconcilable with the truths of natural science. The cosmogonies of the Egyptians, Chaldeans and Greeks are utterly irreconcilable with natural truth; yet more, are hopelessly opposed to it; whereas that of the Hebrew Scriptures has not been proved to this day to contain an insurmountable difficulty.—The Genesis of Earth and Man, p. 8,
WILLIAM FRASER, LL. D.—As a historical record, the first chapter of Genesis is without a compeer. It is un-approached. Its first announcements distinguish the Bible from all other books. Its simplicity, its directness of statement, its boldness of conception, its subdued grandeur, are throughout conspicuous. Vast in its outline, it is yet so scrupulously strict in its more minute details, that it may be read without dubiety, not only in the midst of the exactest records of antiquity, but in the light of those modern discoveries in physical science which bear most directly on its statements. In reliability and in consistency it stands alone. In the very first verse we have an announcement which distances all that natural science can reach or reveal.—Blending Lights, p. 15, 20, 22.
The Beginning
Genesis 1:11In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1).—In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
SIR WILLIAM THOMSON, F. R. S., etc.—The earth is filled with evidence that it has not been going on forever in the present state.—Geological Time, p. 16.
SIR CHARLES LYELL, F. R. S., etc.—There is not an existing stratum in the body of the earth which Geology has laid bare, which cannot be traced back to a time when it was not; and there is not an existing species of plants or animals which cannot be referred to a time when it had no place in the world. Their beginnings are discoverable in succeeding cycles of time. It can be demonstrated that man, also, had a beginning, and all the species contemporary with him; and that, therefore, the present state of the organized world has not been sustained from eternity.—In Blending Lights, p. 26.
PROF. WILLIAM WHEWELL, D. D.—The existence of a resisting medium in space leads us towards a point which the Nebular Hypothesis assumes—a beginning of the present order of things. There must have been a commencement of the motions now going on in the solar system. Since these motions, when once begun, would be deranged and destroyed in a period which, however large, is yet finite, it is obvious we cannot carry their origin indefinitely backwards in the range of past duration. The argument is, indeed, forced upon our minds, whatever view we take of the past history of the world. The doctrine of a resisting medium once established, renders the idea of the earth's eternity untenable; and compels us to go back to the origin, not only of the present course of the world, not only of the earth, but of the solar system itself; and thus sets us forth upon that path of research into the series of past causation, where we obtain no answer of which the meaning corresponds to our questions, till we rest in the conclusion of a most provident and most powerful Creating Intelligence.
—Bridgewater Treatise, American Ed., p. 112, 113.
PROF. PRITCHARD, Oxford.—As to the idea of all things being potentially contained in atoms—our knowledge of these atomic forces, so far as' it at present extends, does not leave us in serious doubt as to their origin; for there is a very strong presumptive evidence drawn from the results of the most modern scientific investigation that they are neither eternal nor the products of evolution. No philosopher of recent times was better acquainted than Sir John Herschel with the interior mechanism of nature. From his contemplation of the remarkably constant, definite, and restricted, yet various and powerful interactions of these elementary molecules, he was forced to the conviction that they possessed all the characteristics of manufactured articles. The expression is memorable, accurate, and graphic; it may become one of the everlasting possessions of mankind. Prof. Maxwell, a man whose mind has been trained by the mental discipline of the same noble university, arrives at the same conclusion; but, as his knowledge has exceeded that of Herschel on this point, so he goes further in the same direction of thought. " No theory of evolution," he says, "can be formed to account for the similarity of the molecules throughout all time, and throughout the whole region of the stellar universe, for evolution necessarily implies continuous change, and the molecule is incapable of growth or decay, of generation or destruction. None of the processes of nature, since the time when nature began, have produced the slightest difference in the properties of any molecule. On the other hand, the exact equality of each molecule to all others of the same kind precludes the idea of its being eternal and self-existent. We have reached the utmost limits of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that, because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent, it must have been created. These molecules continue this day as they were created, perfect in number and measure and weight, and from the ineffaceable characters impressed on them we may learn that those aspirations after truth in statement, and justice in action, which we reckon among our noblest attributes as men, are ours because they are the essential constituents of the image of Him, who in the beginning created not only the heaven and the earth but the materials of which heaven and earth consist." And this, my friends, this is the true outcome of the deepest, the most exact, and the most recent science of our age. A grander utterance has not come from the mind of a philosopher since the days when Newton concluded his “Principia," by his immortal scholium on the majestic personality of the Creator and Lord of the universe.—Address before the Church Congress, at Brighton, England.
PRINCIPAL J. W. DAWSON, LL. D., F. R. S.—That the universe must have had a beginning no one now needs to be told. If any philosophical speculator ever truly held that there has been an eternal succession of phenomena, science has now completely negated the idea by showing us the beginning of all things that we know in the present universe, and by establishing the strongest probabilities that even its ultimate atoms could not have been eternal.—Origin of the World, p. 88.
WILLIAM FRASER, LL. D.—By this positive exclusion of eternity from the existence of the universe, and by repelling the idea of accidental creation, the fact of a "beginning" is raised in the Bible not only above all the entangling, speculations of recent philosophy, but above the boldest reasonings of modern skepticism.—Blending Lights, p. 23.
Primeval Chaos
Gen. 1:22And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:2).—And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon die face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
PRINCIPAL J. W. DAWSON, LL. D., F. R. S., F. G. S.—The material of out globe is held by many of the scientific to have existed at first in the form of an extended vaporous mass or cloud, spread out over a space nearly two thousand times greater in diameter than that which it now occupies. Within this mass, slowly and silently, the force of gravitation is compressing the particles in its giant hand and gathering the denser toward the center, while heat is given forth on all sides from the condensing mass into the voids of space without. Little by little the denser and less volatile matters collect in the center as a fluid molten globe, the nucleus of the future planet; and in this nucleus the elements, obeying their chemical affinities hitherto latent, are arranging themselves in compounds which are to constitute the future rocks. And now the atmosphere, still vast in bulk, and dark and misty in texture, contains only the water, chlorine, carbonic acid, sulfuric acid, and other more volatile substances; and as these gather in dense clouds at the outer surface, and pour in fierce corrosive rains upon the heated nucleus, combining with its materials, or flashing again into vapor, "darkness," dense and gross, settles upon the vaporous deep. In the meantime, radiation, and the heat abstracted from the liquid nucleus by the showers of condensing material from the atmosphere, have so far cooled its surface that a crust of slag or cinder forms upon it. Broken again and again by the heaving of the ocean of fire, it at length sets permanently, and receives upon its bare and blistered surface the ever-increasing aqueous and acid rain thrown down from the atmosphere, at first sending it all hissing and steaming back, but at length allowing it to remain. Then began the reign of “the waters "—a shore-less sea—filled with earthy and saline materials, thick and turbid, until these were permitted to settle to the bottom and form the first sediments and first stratified rocks. Perhaps no word-picture of this period of the first phase of mundane history can ever equal the two negative touches of the inspired penman—" without form and void "—a world destitute of all its present order, and destitute of all that gives it life and animation.—The Story of the Earth and Man, p. 2-12.
HUGH MILLER. —During the Azoic period, ere life appears to have begun on our planet, the temperature of the earth's crust seems to have been so high that the strata, at first deposited apparently in water, passed into a semi-fluid state, became strangely waved and contorted, and assumed in its composition a highly crystalline character. A continuous stratum of steam, then, that attained to the height of even our present atmosphere, would wrap up the earth in a "darkness," gross and palpable as that of Egypt of old, a darkness through which even a single ray of light would fail to penetrate. And beneath this thick canopy, the unseen deep would literally boil as a pot, wildly tempested from below; while from time to time more deeply seated convulsions would up heave sudden to the surface vast tracts of semi-molten rock, soon again to disappear, and from which waves of bulk enormous would roll outwards to meet in wild conflict with the giant waves of other convulsions, or return to hiss and sputter against the intensely heated and fast foundering mass, whose violent upheaval had first elevated and sent them abroad. Such would be the probable state of things during the times of the earlier gneiss and mica schist deposits-times buried deep in that chaotic night which must have continued to exist for mayhap many ages after that beginning of things in which God created the heavens and the earth, and which preceded the first day. The Testimony of the Rocks, p. 196, 197.
First Day
Gen. 1:33And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:3).—And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
J. W. DAWSON, LL. D., F. R. S., F. G. S.—With this fiat the actual work of reducing old chaos to order and life begins, and begins with scientific appropriateness. The Hebrew word used here for light includes the allied forces, of heat and electricity. It represents that incomprehensible ether which vibrates, and whose vibrations are so regulated as to give light with its prismatic colors, and heat with all its vast powers, and the still more strange and wonderful actinic power which puts in motion all the vital machinery of plants, and so is the material source of life. If science can anywhere find evidence of design in the revelations of physical agencies, if it can anywhere find a stepping-stone to lift it from the grossness of atomic matter, surely it is here.
It is a remarkable fact that Moses can distinguish light from luminaries, and that he attaches so great importance to the introduction of that marvelous ethereal vibration (or luminiferous ether) to which we owe all the great vivifying powers of nature; and that thus without any actual scientific teaching or committing himself to any theory, he falls into harmony with all that we know up to this time of Light, Heat and Electricity, all of which are included under the word he uses.—Nature and the Bible, p. 92, 94.
WILLIAM FRASER, LL. D.—The sublimity of the description in the Bible of the origin of Light has often been lost amid the sneers of the infidel and the atheist.
“How could there be light before the sun?" was one of the triumphant questions which Voltaire and his followers rarely failed to press upon the Bible student. But the mystery has been receding as discovery has advanced. That there may be light without the visible sun is now admitted; and it is not going further than the facts warrant to suppose that light of old did thus exist. When it was said, " Let there be light," there was not so much a new creation as the evolution of a new fact, or rather the presentation of a new condition of things, in the already created heaven and earth. This view is sustained by recent inferences to which observation of the sun has led.—Blending Lights, p. 39, 40
BARON HUMBOLDT.—Light is developed not only through the influence of the sun upon the planets, but also through an independent agency belonging to the planets themselves. The phenomenon of Northern Light derives most of its importance from the fact that the earth becomes self-luminous, and that in the capacity of a planet, besides the light which it receives from the central body, the sun, it shows itself capable, in itself, of developing light. The intensity of the terrestrial light exceeds somewhat, in cases of the brightest colored radiation toward the zenith, the light of the moon in its first quarter. Occasionally printed characters have been read by this light, without difficulty. This almost uninterrupted terrestrial development of light in the polar regions of the earth, leads us to the interesting phenomenon presented by Venus. The portion of this planet which is not illumined by the sun, often shines with a phosphorescent light of its own. It is not improbable that the Moon, Jupiter, and the Comets shine with a light of their own, in addition to reflected solar light, noticeable as such through the polariscope. Without speaking of the problematical but very common species of cloud-lightning, in which a heavy lowering cloud may be seen to shine with an uninterrupted flickering light for many minutes together, we still meet with other instances of terrestrial development of light in our atmosphere.—Cosmos, Vol. I., p. 207.
PROF. ELIAS Looms, LL. D.—Auroras exhibit an infinite variety of appearances, and their duration is very variable. Some last only an hour or two; others last all night, and occasionally they appear on two successive nights under circumstances which lead us to believe that, were it not for the light of the Sun, an aurora might be seen almost uninterruptedly every clear night. In the neighborhood of Hudson's Bay, the aurora is seen for months almost without cessation. Auroras are sometimes observed simultaneously over large portions of the globe, The aurora of August 28th, 1859, was seen over more than 140 degrees of longitude, from California to Eastern Europe, and from Jamaica on the south, to an unknown distance in British America on the north. The aurora of September 2nd, 1859, was seen at the Sandwich Islands; it was seen throughout the whole of North America and Europe; and the magnetic disturbances indicated its presence throughout all Northern Asia, although the sky was overcast, so that at many places it could not be seen. An aurora was seen at the same time in South America and New Holland.— Treatise on Meteorology, p. 177.
G. H. VON SCHUBERT.—May not that polar light, which is called an aurora of the north, be the last glimmering light of a departed age of the world, in which the whole earth was enclosed in an expanse of aerial fluid, from which, through the agency of the electromagnetic forces, streamed forth an incomparably greater degree of light, accompanied at the same time with animating warmth, almost in a similar mode to what still occurs in the luminous atmosphere of our sun?—Wettgeb., p. 218.
PROF. JOHN HENRY KURTZ, D. D.—Let us not be understood to assert that that light which, according to the Mosaic account, was created before the sun, was a northern light, or a phenomenon related to it; we desire only to show (from facts such as the above) that even yet, since the establishment of the relation which now exists between the sun and the earth, the latter still possesses in itself a capacity of developing light; and that there is nothing to prevent us from ascribing to it prior to that point of time, the same capacity in a degree much greater and vastly more magnificent and effective.— The Bible and Astronomy, p. 431.
Second Day
Gen. 1:66And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. (Genesis 1:6).—And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
PRINCIPAL J. W. DAWSON, LL. D., F. R. S., ETC.—The statements in Genesis respecting the expanse, or " firmament," suppose a previous condition of the earth, in which it was encompassed with a cloudy, vaporous mantle, stretching continuously upward from the ocean, and not divided by the film of clear transparent air, which in all but a few exceptional cases now separates the clouds above from the sea below. Such a condition probably antedates geological time; yet it is not unknown to scientific theory. If, as seems probable, the earth was once in an intensely heated state, a. time would come, in the process of cooling, when a heated ocean would send up abundant vapors, producing a perpetual mist or fog to be constantly condensed by the cold of space without into continual rains. The change from this to the present state of the earth would introduce that nice and delicate balancing of evaporation under the influence of the sun, and condensation from the radiation of heat into space and the mixture of air at various temperatures, which now gives us the stratum of air in which we live and move, the beauty of the azure sky and its floating clouds, and the regulated supply of fertilizing rain.—Nature and the Bible, p. 51, 52.
WILLIAM FRASER, LL. D.—This, harmonizes with what is known of the process of evaporation to which the clouds are subject as they float above us—lakes of water in the azure vault. The firmament sustains the waters collected in its scattered clouds, and separates them from those resting on the surface of the earth.—Blending Lights, p. 71.
PROFESSOR E. Loomis, LL. D.—Rain is but the condensed vapor of the air, and this condensation can only be caused by cooling the air below the temperature of the dew-point. And there is no mode in which this can be done so readily as by forcing the air up to an elevation of one or two miles above the earth's surface. The temperature of the air sinks about thirty-five degrees in two miles of elevation; and if air from the earth's surface should be forced up to this height, a large portion of the vapor which is carried up with the air must be condensed, and fall in rain. The average annual fall of rain in the State of New York is thirty-seven inches (that is, a sufficient quantity to convert the entire State into a lake more than three feet deep). In Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Kentucky the average annual fall amounts to forty-eight inches; in Alabama and Louisiana, to fifty-six inches. The average rate increases as we advance toward the south; in latitude 20°, it—amounts to seventy inches; in latitude 10°, to eighty-five inches; at the Equator to 104 inches. On the island of Guadeloupe, near the summit of a mountain of 5,000 feet elevation, the fall of rain, in 1828, was 292 inches, while near the base it amounted to no less than 127 inches. Along the western coast of Hindustan runs a range of mountains whose summits are deluged with rain, the average amounting to 254 inches.. At Vera Cruz, 278 inches of rain have been known to fall in a single year, and the mean annual fall is 185 inches. On the southern slope of the Himalaya Mountains, at a height of 4,500 feet, there have been registered in a single year 610 inches of rain; and of this 547 inches fell in the month of June. In India fifteen inches of rain have fallen in a single day; while at several places in the vicinity of Switzerland thirty inches have been reported to fall in a single day.—Treatise on Meteorology, 110-119.
J. W. DAWSON, LL. D., F. R. S., etc.—The quantity of water suspended in the atmosphere is enormous; and the rains, the springs, and rivers which fertilize the earth and sustain its inhabitants, are only the overflowing of this vast aerial reservoir, upheld by the laws established by God.— Nature and the Bible, p. 53.
JOHN KITTO, D. D., F. S. A.—With these facts of nature before us, it is easy to apprehend what is meant by the sacred historian when he tells us that "the firmament divided the waters that were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament." One portion of the dense watery shroud which had invested the surface of the earth, the lighter particles thereof, was exhaled, rarefied and carried up into the clouds, remaining suspended in the upper regions of ether; the remaining and heavier portion was at the same time forced down, and merged into the waters that covered the earth; and the expanse left void by their separation is the expanse or " firmament" which formed the work of the second day.
— Daily Bible Illustrations, Vol. I., p. 24.
Third Day
Gen. 1:99And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. (Genesis 1:9).—And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
J. W. DAWSON, LL. D., F. R. S., F. G. S.—Under the primeval ocean were formed the first stratified rocks, from the substances precipitated from its waters, which must have been loaded with solid matter. In the meantime all is not at rest in the interior of the new-formed earth. Under the crust vast oceans of molten rock may still remain, but a solid interior nucleus is being crystallized in the center, and the whole interior globe is gradually shrinking. At length this process advances so far that the exterior crust, like a sheet of ice from below which the water has subsided, is left unsupported; and with terrible earthquake-throes it sinks downward, wrinkling up into huge folds (or ranges of lifted land), between which are vast sunken areas, into which the waters subside. So arose the first dry land.— The Story of the Earth and Man, p. 12.
PROF. EDWARD HITCHCOCK, D. D., LL. D.—The present continents of the globe (except, perhaps, some high mountains) have been for long periods beneath the ocean, and have been subsequently elevated. Proof I. Two-thirds at least of these continents are covered with rocks, often several thousand feet thick, abounding in marine organic remains; which must have been quietly deposited, along with the sand, mud, and calcareous or ferruginous matter in which they are enveloped, and which could have accumulated but slowly. 2. Some very high mountains contain marine fossils at or near their summits. For example, there are marine shells of cretaceous age upon the tops of the Pyrenees; cretaceous and tertiary fossils upon the summits of the Rocky Mountains, and foraminifera of cretaceous age high up on the flanks of Mt. Lebanon.—Elementary Geology, p. 370.
G. CHAPLIN CHILD, M. D.—Mountains, exhibit wonderful proofs of the force displayed in the arrangement of the surface of the earth. Geology tells us that many of them, like the lofty peaks of the Andes, or Ailsa Craig, or Teneriffe, have been cast forth as liquid lava from the interior of the earth by the force of fire. Others, again, though deposited originally at the bottom of the seas, have been lifted as it were on the back of other rocks, so as now to form lofty ridges. There are limestone strata of marine origin, labeled with shells identical with others found in low-lying beds near Paris, which are now placed at a height of 10,000 feet above the ocean, crowning the summit of the Diablerets among the Swiss Alps. Examples of similar elevations are met with among the Himalayas, in Tahiti, and elsewhere. Many mountain masses and level strata consist chiefly of the remains of animals that formerly existed on the globe. Many species of beautiful marbles owe their variegated markings to the shells which successive generations of creatures built up and left behind. And one feels astounded at the profusion of ancient life revealed by those "medals of creation. ''—Benedicite, p. 227.
PROF. WILLIAM BUCKLAND, D. D.—All observers admit that the strata were formed beneath the water, and have been subsequently converted into dry land; and whatever may—have been the agents that caused the movements of the gross unorganized materials of the globe, we find sufficient evidence of prospective wisdom and design, in the benefits resulting from these obscure and distant revolutions, to future races of terrestrial creatures, and more especially to man.—Bridgewater Treatise, p. 44.
Gen. 1:1010And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:10).—And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas; and God saw that it was good.
PROF. ARNOLD GUYOT. —In inorganic nature, the bodies are only simple aggregations of parts, homogeneous or heterogeneous, and differing among themselves, the combination of which seems to be accidental. Nevertheless, to say nothing of the law that assigns to each species of mineral a particular form of crystallization, we see that every aggregation, fortuitous in appearance, may constitute a whole, with limits, and a determinate form which, without having anything of absolute necessity, gives to it, however, the first lineaments of individuality. Such are the various geographical regions, the islands, peninsulas and continents. Each of these terrestrial masses, considered as a whole, as an individual, has a particular disposition of its parts, of the forms which belong only to it, a situation relatively to the rays of the sun, and with respect to the seas or the neighboring masses, not found identically repeated in any other.
In considering them simply in a geological point of view, it may appear quite accidental that such a plain should or should not have arisen from the bosom of the waters; that such a mountain rises at this place or that; that such a continent should be cut up into peninsulas, or piled into a compact mass, accompanied by or deprived of islands. But in physics, neither of these circumstances is unimportant. Simple examples, without further demonstration, will be sufficient to set this in a clear light.
Is the question of the forms or contour? Nothing characterizes Europe better than the variety of its indentations, of its peninsulas, and of its islands. Suppose, for a moment, that beautiful Italy, and Greece with its entire Archipelago, were added to the central mass of the continent, and augmented Germany or Russia by the number of square miles they contain; this change of form would not give us another Germany, but we should have an Italy and a Greece the less. Unite with the body of Europe all its islands and peninsulas into one compact, mass, and instead of this continent, so rich in various elements, you will have a New Holland with all its uniformity.
Do we look to the forms of relief, of height? Is it a matter of indifference whether an entire country is lifted into the dry and cold regions of the atmosphere, like the central table-land of Asia, or is placed on, the level of the ocean? See, under the same sky, the warm and fertile plains of Hindustan, adorned with the brilliant vegetation of the tropics, and the cold and desert plateaus of Upper Tibet; compare the burning region of Vera Cruz and its fevers, with the lofty plains of Mexico and its perpetual spring; the immense forests of the Amazon, where vegetation puts forth all its splendors, and the desolate paramos of the summits of the Andes, and you have the answer.
And the relative position? Do not the three peninsulas of the south of Europe owe to their position their mild and soft climate, their lovely landscape, their numerous relations, and their common life? Is it not to their situation that the two great peninsulas of India are indebted for their rich nature, and the conspicuous part one of them, at least, has played in all ages? Place them on the north of their continents: Italy and Greece become Scandinavia, and India a Kamtschatka.
All Europe is indebted for its temperate atmosphere to its position relatively to the great marine atmospheric currents, and to the vicinity of the burning regions of Africa. Place it at the east of Asia, it will be only a frozen peninsula.
Suppose the Andes, transferred to the eastern coast of South America, hindered the trade wind from bearing the vapors of the ocean into the interior of the continent, and the plains of the Amazon and Paraguay would be nothing but desert.
In the same manner, if the Rocky Mountains bordered the eastern coast of North America, and closed against the nations of the East and of Europe the entrance to the rich valley of the Mississippi; or if this immense chain extended from east to west across the northern part of this continent, and barred the passage of the polar winds, which now rush unobstructed over these vast plains;—let us say even less; if preserving all the great present features of this continent, we suppose only that the interior plains were slightly inclined towards the north, and the Mississippi emptied into the Frozen Ocean, who does not see that, in these various cases, the relations of warmth and moisture, the climate, in a word, and with it the vegetation and the animal world, would undergo the most important modifications, and that these changes of form and relative position would have an influence greater still upon the destinies of human society, both in the present and in the future?
But to contemplate the form and elevation, the relations and functions of the great masses of dry land, as it was elevated from the deep, from a physical standpoint merely, is not enough. To understand and appreciate them at their full value, to study them in their true point of view, we must rise to a higher position. We must elevate ourselves to the moral world to understand the physical world; the physical world has no meaning except by and for the moral world. The earth was made to be the abode of man.—Earth and Man, p. 24-29.
Gen. 1:1111And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. (Genesis 1:11)—And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
PROF. JOHN TYNDALL, LL. D., F. R. S.—There are the strongest grounds for believing that during a certain period of its history the earth was not, nor was it fit to be, the theater of life. Whether this was ever a nebulous period, or a merely molten period, does not much matter—its condition was unfit for either animal or vegetable life.—Fragments of Science, p. 158.
PROF. SEDGWICK. —It is beyond dispute, and is proved by the physical researches of the earth, that there, the visible forms of organic life (plantal as well as animal), had a beginning in time.— Discourse, p. 17
PROF. HUXLEY, LL. D., F. R. S.—As the result of his experiments, Francesco Redi, a man of the widest knowledge and most versatile abilities, reached the conclusion, that no life, animal or vegetable, is of spontaneous generation. Omne vivum ex vivo, no life without antecedent life, aphoristically sums up his doctrine. The researches of Schroeder and Dusch, in 1854, and of Schroeder alone, in 1859, confirmed this doctrine by experiments which are simply refinements upon those of Redi. And the last link necessary to complete its demonstration was supplied by M. Pasteur in those beautiful researches which will ever render his name famous; and which, in spite of all attacks upon them, appear to me now, as they did seven years ago, to be models of accurate experimentation and logical reasoning.— Lay Sermons, No. XV.
WILLIAM FRASER, LL. D.—Plant-lifewhence is it? How has it appeared? It is a result beyond physical law. Mark how it acts. Vital force overcomes the law of gravitation, and while it uses chemical combinations, is in its origin independent of them. To all intents and purposes, plant-life is, in relation to the inorganic world, miraculous or supernatural. Higher laws are framed which suspend or modify chemical and mechanical forces. All that chemistry has achieved amid transformations which often startle, and always instruct us, has failed to organize a single form in which life may take up its abode. Life makes its own form, and plies its own force. Plant-life was a new thing in our world. It came into or upon it, supernaturally, not from it.—GOD said, Let the earth bring forth.—Blending Lights, p. 342.
Gen. 1:1212And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:12).—And the earth brought forth grass, and herbs yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
PROF. JAMES D. DANA, M. A.. LL. D.—It strikes us naturally with wonder, that even in senseless plants, without the emotional repugnance of instinct, and with reproductive organs that are all outside, the free winds being often the means of transmission, there should be rigid law sustained against intermixture. The supposed cases of perpetuated fertile hybridity are so exceedingly few, as almost to condemn themselves as no true examples of an abnormity so abhorrent to the system. They violate a principle so essential to the integrity of the plant-kingdom, and so opposed to Nature's whole plan, that we rightly demand long and careful study before admitting the exceptions.— Quoted in What is Truth? p. 189.
WILLIAM FRASER, LL. D.—The brief description of Moses is (in 5:12) repeated with emphasis, as if it were intended to be noticed. Its aptness, as related to Botanical science, will be acknowledged even by those who refuse to admit otherwise its importance. While the Linnæan system of classification according to distinctions in the flower, was brought as near perfection as possible, and served useful ends, it was felt to be inadequate, and in some degree unscientific. Botanists strove to establish a more natural method, and they have succeeded by making the character of the seeds and other affinities of structure the basis of classification. This was found to be so satisfactory, that not long ago it was regarded as another trophy of science. It was, indeed, a new height gained, or rather an old one reached; for Moses was seated there with that very principle written on his scroll, more than three thousand years ago. His distinctions are the same; plants are classified by him according to their " seed" and " kind " or structure; he intimates a basis which is sufficient for every natural division, by whatever route it may be reached, whether by the elementary, the nutritive, or the reproductive function, and to which the labors of Jussieu, De Candolle, Endlicher, Lindley, and others, have added nothing essentially new.—Blending Lights, p. 48.
THE COMPILER.—And God saw that it was good.—Nothing can be more astonishing than the unbounded variety of trees, herbs and grasses that furnish and adorn the earth; nor can anything more clearly exhibit the abounding goodness of the Creator. Nothing that either the necessity, or the improvement, or the pleasure of His creatures could demand, appears to be wanting. Grasses and herbs, in endless diversity, abound, to meet the various tastes and habits of all living things. Fruit-plants and fruit-trees, adapted to every climate and soil, proffer food to man and beast and bird, in every form and of every flavor. Flowers to delight us with their beauties, and to regale us with their odors. Shrubs and vines, without number, to shade and adorn our habitations. Add to all these the forest-trees, which offer to man timber fitted for all the purposes of art and industry—the soft pine and poplar; the hard oak, beech and holly; the light cedar and lime; the heavy ebony and lignum vitae; the flowery mahogany and rosewood; the tough hickory and elm; the incorruptible teak, and durable yew; and a hundred other kinds adapted both for use and ornament. What munificence is here displayed And the grass, the general vegetative covering given to the earth—in this, as in all else, the Divine wisdom and goodness are equally conspicuous. Upwards of three hundred genera, and more than five thousand different species of grass, grow upon the Surface of the earth. This needful sustenance of our herds and flocks, and of the beasts of the forests, is everywhere spread over its dusky soil, and is so constituted as to grow without care or cultivation; nay, in spite of every kind of abuse and violence. Like a living carpet, it covers and adorns the face of Nature. Self-propagating and self-perpetuating, it supplies the wants of every passing age, with undiminished abundance. Though ever trodden upon, and fed upon, it still lives. Lay it low to-day, and to-morrow it is stronger than before. Cut it down, and it renews and multiplies its shoots with fresher vigor. Crush it with the foot, and it sends up richer perfume. Bury it through all the winter months, beneath ice and snow, and in the spring it starts forth with all the glowing verdancy of its first creation. And then the beauty of the grass—in every landscape it is the most conspicuous object, the ground color on which nature embroiders her varied patterns, and from the midst of which the gay hues of flowers come forth in greater brilliancy, by the force of contrast, to arrest the admiring gaze. "The grass of the field: "the very sound carries in it all the charms of nature, all the delights of spring and summer; the silent scented paths; the green banks of the murmuring brook; the waving meadows; the pastures of the meditative shepherd; the verdant lawns, glittering with the pearls of early dew. What a concourse of wonders and beauties and blessings, have we, then, even in the grass, that we so heedlessly and constantly trample under foot! How true and appropriate the words that close the record of the third creative day—"And God saw that it was GOOD. "—Science and the Bible, p. 202—204.
Fourth Day
Gen. 1:14, 1514And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. (Genesis 1:14‑15).—And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
JOHN KITTO, D. D., F. S. A.—The dry land has appeared; the waters have retired to their ocean beds; the scene is invested with all the variety and beauty of vegetation. What more is wanting? More light; by the full manifestation of those bright luminaries, that as yet are hidden by the dense clouds above, which their rays have not been able to dissipate and rarefy into pure azure sky.— Bib. illustrations, p. 27.
HUGH MILLER.—That lower stratum of the heavens, formerly occupied by seething steam, or gray, smoke-like fog, has Been cleared and made transparent, only in an upper region do clouds appear. But there, in the higher strata of the atmosphere they lie, thick and manifold, an upper sea of great waves, separated from those beneath by the transparent firmament, and, like them, too, impelled in rolling masses by the wind. A mighty advance has taken place in creation, its most notable feature being the existence of a transparent atmosphere; of a firmament stretched out over the earth, that separates the waters above from the waters below. And now, again, the Creator speaks, and those manifold clouds break up, disperse, and the stars look out from openings of deep unclouded blue; and as day rises, and the planet of morning pales in the east, the broken cloudlets are transmuted from bronze into gold, and anon the gold becomes fire, and at length the glorious sun arises out of the sea, and enters on his course rejoicing. It is a brilliant day; the waves of a deeper and softer blue than before, dance and sparkle in the light; the earth, with little else to attract the gaze, has assumed a garb of brighter green; and as the sun declines amid even richer glories than those which had encircled his rising, the moon appears full orbed in the east, to the human eye the second great luminary of the heavens, and climbs slowly to the zenith as night advances, shedding its mild radiance on land and sea.—Test. of Rocks, 207-209.
Gen. 1:1616And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. (Genesis 1:16).—And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also.
ROBERT BOYLE, F. R. S.—In almost all ages and countries the generality of philosophers and contemplative men were persuaded of the existence of a Deity from the consideration of the phenomena of the universe; whose fabric and conduct they rationally concluded could not justly be ascribed either to chance or to any other cause than a Divine Being.—Tract on the high Veneration Man's Intellect owes to God.
IDEM.—I am by all means for encouraging the contemplation of the celestial part of the universe, and the shining globes that adorn it, and especially the sun and moon, in order to raise our admiration of the stupendous power and wisdom of Him who was able to frame such immense bodies; and notwithstanding their vast bulk and scarce conceivable rapidity, keep them for so many ages constant both to the lines and degrees of their motion, without interfering with one another.—Essay on Final Causes.
SIR ISAAC NEWTON.—This beautiful system of suns, planets, and comets, could have its origin in no other way than by the purpose and command of an intelligent and powerful Being. He governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as the Lord of the universe.—Optics, scholium in fine.
COLIN MACLAURIN.—Such an exquisite structure of things, as the Solar System, could only arise from the contrivance and powerful influences of an intelligent, free, and most potent Agent.—Account of Newton's Philosophy, p. 407.
WILLIAM WHEWELL, M. A., F. R. S.—These magnitudes and proportions of the universe which leave our powers of conception far behind; that ever expanding view which is brought before us, of the scale and mechanism, the riches and magnificence, the population and activity of creation; may reasonably serve to enlarge and elevate our conceptions of the MAKER and MASTER of all; to feed an ever-growing admiration of His wonderful nature; and to excite a desire to be able to contemplate more steadily, and conceive less inadequately, the scheme of his government and the operation of his power. —Bridgewater Treatise, p. 146.
SIR JOHN HERSCHEL, D. C. L., F. R. S.—The greater Light to rule the day. What I am going to say about the sun will consist of a series of statements so enormous in all their proportions, that I dare say, some may be disposed to regard them as incredible as the mythical stories of the Hindus. And yet there is nothing more certain in modern science than the truth of these statements. The sun is the center of that system of planetary worlds, of which our world is one. By his powerful and all-pervading attraction he holds and guides all these in their appointed orbits, though moving with inconceivable velocities, and at the distance of hundreds and even thousands of millions of miles from him. His diameter is not less than 882,000 miles; his mass or weight is equal to 360,000 times that of the earth; while in bulk he exceeds it 1,331,000 times.
The sun is the dispenser of light and warmth to the whole system, as well as the center of attraction. But how shall I attempt to convey ally conception of the scale on which the great work of warming and lighting is carried on in the sun? All word-painting must break down, and it is only by bringing before you the consideration of great facts in the simplest language, that there is any chance of doing it. The quantity of light and heat that falls upon one square mile of the hot deserts of the equator is great; yet upon the whole sphere of our globe there falls without intermission 50,000,000 times that quantity.
What then must be the amount that descends on the vastly larger globes of Jupiter and Saturn? But take all the planets together, great and small; the light and heat they receive is only one-227 millionth part of the whole quantity thrown out by the sun. All the rest escapes into free space, and is lost among the stars; or does there some other work that we know nothing about.
The temperature or intensity of heat at the surface of the sun is found, by calculation, to be more than 90,000 times greater than the intensity of sunshine here on our globe at noon and under the equator, a heat far greater than sufficient to melt gold, and even plating, into liquid. The heat thrown out from EVERY SQUARE YARD of the sun's surface is equal to that which would be produced by burning on that square yard six tons of coal per hour, and keeping up constantly to that rate of consumption. The most brilliant and beautiful light which can be artificially produced is that of a ball of quicklime kept violently hot by a flame of mixed ignited oxygen and hydrogen gases playing on its surface. This is of an intensity far too great for the eye unprotected. ‘Yet the sun gives out a light 146 times more intense.
Every ray of light which comes from the sun is not a simple but a compound thing; it may be separated, split, sub-divided, not into four, but into many hundreds, nay thousands, of perfectly distinct rays or things, or rather of three distinct sorts or species of rays; of which one sort affects the eyes as light; one the sense of feeling and the thermometer as heat; and one the chemical composition of everything it falls upon, and which produces all the effects of photography. A ray of sunlight is a world in miniature, and if I were to set down all that experiment has revealed to us of its nature and constitution, it would take more volumes than there are pages in this lecture.
The sun not only sways the whole planetary system by his gravitating force, and cheers and animates it by his light and heat, but pours forth also a subtle yet powerful magnetic influence upon its every member. The earth, during certain agitations in the sun, has been thrown into a perfect convulsion of electro-magnetism; creating the most wonderful auroras in the heavens, and thrilling the whole frame of nature.
The solid globe of the sun is wrapped in a luminous atmosphere. This, at times, appears perforated with apertures of various forms and sizes, that seem like so many dark spots on his surface. Such spots, embracing an area of between seven and eight hundred millions of square miles, are by no means uncommon. One spot which I measured in the year 1837 occupied no less than 3,780 millions; and the black space or "umbra" in the middle of one, which was very nearly round, would have allowed the earth to drop through it leaving a thousand miles clear of contact on every side: and many instances of much larger spots than there are on record. What are we to think, then, of the awful scale of hurricane and turmoil and fiery tempest which can in a few days totally change the form of such a region, break it up into distinct parts, open up great abysses in one part, such as that I have just described, and fill up others beside them?
Such, then, is the scale of things with which we become familiar when we contemplate the sun. In what has been said I have been more anxious to dwell upon facts than theories, and rather to supply the imaginations of my readers with materials for forming a just conception of the stupendous magnificence of this member of GOD'S creation, than to puzzle them with physical and mathematical reasonings and arguments.—Lectures on Scientific Subjects, No. II.
SIR JOHN HERSCHEL. The lesser light to rule the night.—The moon, though apparently about the same size as the sun, is, in reality, far smaller, her diameter being only one four-hundredth part of that of the sun, and the light of her full-orbed face but one three-hundred-thousandth part of his light.—See Outlines of Astronomy, Arts. 404, 417.
Gen. 1:1717And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, (Genesis 1:17).—And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth.
G. CHAPLIN CHILD, M. D.—Who can adequately appreciate the evidences of Power, Wisdom, and Beneficence crowded into this glorious creation, and how little do they comprehend its full value who see nothing in it beyond its convenience or its beauty! Light is an essential condition of animated nature—the pivot on which life turns. All that lives upon the earth lives by light. Without it plants could not grow, or assimilate their food, or breathe, or purify the air; and, without plants, animals must perish.— Benedicite, p. 97.
THE COMPILER.—And God saw that it was GOOD.—We are constantly partakers of a thousand benefits that flow from the “great light" that rules the day. The rays of the sun are the ultimate cause of almost every motion which takes place on the face of the earth. By its heat are produced all winds, and all those electrical disturbances we call thunder-storms, which purify the atmosphere we breathe. By its heat also the waters of the ocean ascend in vapors, travel through the air, descend in showers, irrigate the land, supply the springs, and form the rivers. By its vivifying action vegetables are enabled to draw their support from the soil and the air, to put forth their blossoms, to ripen their fruits and seeds, and to become, in their time, the support of man and beast. Through its illuminating power we enjoy the inestimable advantages, and receive all the indefinable pleasures of vision. Every animal, every plant, owns that life and health are due to its light, and all living things rejoice in its presence. Foreseeing these and ten thousand other beneficent rests that would flow from the celestial luminaries, rightly did the Great Creator pronounce them “good. "—Science and the Bible, p. 254.
Fifth Day
Gen. 1:2020And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. (Genesis 1:20).—And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
J W. DAWSON, LL. D., F. R. S.—It will be observed that, according to Genesis, all the arrangements of the inorganic world were perfected, and the dominion of what geologists term " existing causes " fully introduced before the creation of animals. Further, a whole creative on elapsed between the completion of these arrangements, as far as the, earth was concerned, and that event. The first animals are produced by the waters; but these waters are not now the shore-less ocean of the first day. They include depths and shallows of the sea, estuaries, and probably lakes and fresh water streams as well. Thus they afford all the conditions required for a varied and abundant' aquatic fauna.—Nature and the Bible, p. 114.
W. FRASER, LL. D.—Moses tells us that the lowest forms of life commenced to exist; Plants first, Animals next. This is as it ought to be. Plants drawing their nourishment from inorganic substances were first created; and as animals could live only on plants or animals, they were next introduced. Vegetable form-, as they spread, act on the carefully prepared materials in the soil and water; they manufacture food for themselves, and, storing it up in their own fabric, they provide support for the succeeding animals. The Bible record thus harmonizes with that which science has shown to be necessary. Whence all this accuracy? Can it possibly be the outcome of chance?—.Blending Lights, P. 47.
PRINCIPAL J. W. DAWSON, LL. D., F. R. S.—It is remarkable that both the record of Nature and the record of the Bible concur in ascribing the origin and earliest existence of animal life to the sea, where we are told there are "creeping things innumerable." The sea is even yet the great storehouse of animal life, and it would seem' for long geological ages to have been the only theater of its development. This great comical truth, revealed to the ancient Hebrew prophet, is not without its scientific significance. In a physiological point of view, it indicates the important fact that the conditions of animal life are easier in the sea than on the land. There both the most minute and the grandest forms of life can find suitable conditions, and there the feebler tissues and the less energetic vitality can succeed in the battle of life. In its geological relations, it shows that it was necessary that the land itself, to be suitable to the support of the higher forms of life, must be born from the sea, and that the action of marine organisms in heaping up beds of their skeletons was one of the necessary preparations for the actual condition of our continents. Both records give us a grand procession of dynasties of life, beginning from the lower forms and culminating in man.—Nature and the Bible, p. 118.
PROF. H. B. TRISTRAM, LL. D., F. R. S.—Fishes are included in the first chapter of Genesis among the moving creatures created on the fifth day, along with great whales (reptiles) mid birds. They are thus set forth as having been brought into existence prior to the inhabitants of the dry land. The researches of geology have illustrated this order of creation in a striking manner. Fishes, as they are the lowest class in organization of any of the vertebrate animals, so they are the earliest to appear in the strata of which the crust of the earth is composed. In the Old Red Sandstone rocks a few species of Ganoid and Placold fishes are found; and they become more numerous in the more recent strata, until they reach their full development at the end of the Secondary Period or the Chalk epoch, just as warm-blooded mammals or quadrupeds were first beginning to predominate on the earth. Thus geological research' corroborates the order of sequence in the Mosaic record, testifying that “the moving creature that hath life “appeared upon the earth in the waters long before it existed on the dry land.
Let the WATERS bring forth the moving creature and fowl that may fly.—Fish, reptiles and birds are combined in the creation of this day, and all are said to be produced from the water. And it is very noticeable that certain peculiarities are common to them all. All these classes of animals are oviparous, or bring forth their young from eggs or spawn, whilst the creations of the sixth day bring forth their young alive. Besides this point of affinity, between the different orders of the fifth day, microscopists assure us that the globules of the blood of birds and fishes, when closely examined, are seen to be the same, and do not at all resemble the globules of the blood of mammalia, or animals which sprang from the earth on the sixth day.—Natural History of the Bible, p. 282, 283. Gen. 1:2121And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:21).—And God created great whales and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind.
J. W. DAWSON, LL. D., F. R. S., ETC.—Let us pause here a moment to contemplate the greatness of the fact we have been studying—the introduction into our world of the earliest known vertebrate animals which could open their nostrils and literally "breathe the breath of life." All previous animals that we know had respired in the water by means of gills or similar apparatus. Now we have animals which must have been able to draw in the vital air into capacious chambered lungs, and with this power must have enjoyed a far higher and more active style of vitality; and must have possessed the faculty of uttering truly vocal sounds. What wondrous possibilities unknown to these creatures, perhaps only dimly perceived by such rational intelligences as may have watched the growth of our young world, were implied in these gifts! It is one of the remarkable points in the history of creation in Genesis, that this step of the creative work is emphatically marked. Of all the creatures we have noticed up to this point, it is stated that God said, "Let the waters bring forth;" but it is said that " God created (not whales but) great reptiles "—taninim. No doubt these great taninim culminated in the succeeding Mesozoic age, but their first introduction dates as far back as the Carboniferous; and this introduction was emphatically a creation, as being the commencement of a new feature among living beings.—Story of the Earth and Man, p. 150.
H. B. TRISTRAM, M. A., LL. D., F. R. S., ETC.—In the summary of the history of creation, in the first chapter of Genesis, birds are described as being brought into existence after fishes and sea-monsters. This position of birds in the Mosaic record is remarkably in accordance with the geological chronology of their appearance. The earliest traces of birds yet discovered are in the Triassic period; and it is only in the Chalk period, just after the reign of the great sea-monsters and reptiles of the Wealden, that birds appear to any extent in the fossil remains.—Natural History of the Bible, ft. 156.
HUGH MILLER.—God CREATED every living creature after his KIND. The infidel seeks to develop fishes of a higher order out of those of a lower by insensible and fortuitous variation. He substitutes progression for Deity; Geology robs him of his god.—Old Red Sandstone, p. 41.
PROF. AGASSIZ.—While it may be said in a general sense that lower forms have preceded higher ones, it is not true that all the earlier animals were simpler than the latter. On the contrary, many of the lower animals were introduced under more highly organized forms than they have ever shown since, and have dwindled afterward. Animals that should be ancestors, if simplicity of structure is to characterize the first-born, are known to be of later origin; the more complicated forms have frequently appeared first, and the simpler ones later, and this in hundreds of instances. The Development assertion does not bear serious examination. It is just one of those fancied results following the disclosure or presentation of a great law which captivates the mind, and leads it to take that which it wishes to be true for, TRUTH.—Lectures before Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, No. XII.
ST. GEORGE MIVART, F. R. S.—Great whales after their KIND. Those remarkable fossil reptiles, the Ichthyosauria and Plesiosauria, extended through the secondary period, probably over the greater part of the globe; yet no single transitional form has yet been met with in spite of the multitudinous individuals preserved. The same is true with their modern representatives, the Cetacea, or whales.— Genesis of Species, p. 146.
H. B. TRISTRAM, LL. D., F. R. S.—Every winged jowl after his KIND.—Birds are the most distinctive and best characterized class in the whole animal kingdom. There is a constancy in the nature of their covering, which does not admit of the variations found in mammals, reptiles and fishes; for every bird, whether capable of flight or not, is clad with feathers. No species of bird brings forth its young alive, or produces them in any other way than from eggs, consisting invariably of yolk, white and a calcareous shell, and incubated, by artificial heat. No bird deviates in its skeleton from the typical form, as the whale does among mammals, and the serpent among reptiles. No bird deviates from the ordinary mode of generation of its class, as do the marsupials from other quadrupeds.—Natural History of the Bible, p. 157.
PROF. JOSEPH LE CONTE.—The evidence of Geology, to-day, is that species seem to come in suddenly and in full perfection, remain substantially unchanged during the term of their existence, and pass away in full perfection. Other species take their place apparently by substitution, not by transmutation.—Religion and Science, p. 22.
PRINCIPAL J. W. DAWSON, LL. D., F. R. S.—The teeming multitudes of marine creatures in the Cambrian and Silurian periods were so great, that thick beds of limestone are often made up of fragments of their skeletons, and it appears that the seas then brought forth the lower forms of life in abundance since unsurpassed.—Nature and the Bible, p. 122.
Sixth Day
Gen. 1:2424And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. (Genesis 1:24).—And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
PROF. JAMES D. DANA, M. A., LL. D.—The order of events in the. Scripture cosmogony corresponds essentially with that which has been given in this Treatise. First, the lower animals, those that swarm in the waters; then creeping and flying species on the land; then beasts and cattle; and, lastly, man. In this succession, we observe not merely an order of events, like that deduced from science; there is a system in the arrangement, and a far-reaching prophecy; to which philosophy could not have attained, however instructed. The record in the Bible is, therefore, profoundly philosophical in the scheme of creation which it presents. It is both true and divine.—Manual of Geology, Revised Ed., p. 744-746.
J. W. DAWSON, LL. D., F. R. S.—The first animals belong to the lower grades of the aquatic fauna. As we ascend in the geological series, vertebrate life has its commencement, beginning like the lower forms, in the waters, and represented at first only by the fishes; and it is not until we are approaching the close of the: Paleozoic that reptile life is introduced. Reptiles and birds make their appearance abundantly in the earlier and middle Mesozoic, in which also reptilian life culminates in the gigantic and multiform Dinosaurs and their allies, of what is par excellence the Reptilian age. In like manner, the Scripture record of creation, after stating the creation of lower forms, goes on to specify the gigantic reptilian animals of the Mesozoic by the term taninim, and connects with them the birds, which, with allied winged reptiles, were their contemporaries in geological time.
As we pass into the next creative mon, the Mammalia, represented in the Mesozoic of geology by only a few small species, become dominant; and here we have, in the prominence given to the larger Herbivora, a position corresponding to their grandeur and dominance in the Eocene; while in the introduction of the beasts of the earth, or carnivorous mammalia, we have the inauguration of an era, the later Tertiary, in which these assume the highest rank in nature, and take the place of the great reptilian life-destroyers of the Mesozoic. Lastly in this long procession, Man appears, not the product of a separate day, but, in accordance with the revelations of geology, at the close of the same great period, in which the mammalia became dominant.
The progress in animal life thus shortly sketched is sufficient to show the remarkable manner in which Revelation had long ago foreshadowed what in these last days the rocks have opened their mouths to tell.—Nature and the Bible, P. 122.
Gen. 1:2525And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:25).—And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind.
DUKE OF ARGYLL.—The various hypotheses of Development (i. e., of the derivation of one animal from another by slow and fortuitous variations), of which Darwin's theory is only a new and special version, are indeed destitute of proof; and in the form which they have as yet assumed, it may justly be said that they' involve such violations of, or departures from, all that we know of the existing order of things, as to deprive them of all scientific basis:,—Reign of Law, p. 29.
PROF. J. D. DANA, M. A., LL. D.—Species have not been made out of species by any process of growth or development, for the transition forms do not occur.; the evolution or plan of progress was by successive creations of species, in their full perfection. The types are wholly independent, and are not connected lineally, either historically or zoologically. The earliest species of a class were often far from the very lowest, although among the inferior. In many cases the original or earliest group was but little inferior to those of later date, and the progress was toward a purer expression of the type. But geology declares, unequivocally, that the new forms were new expressions, under the type-idea, by created material forms, and not by forms educed or developed from one another.—Bibliotheca Sacra, January and July, 1856.
PROF. L. AGASSIZ.—I wish to enter my earnest protest against the transmutation theory. It is my belief that naturalists are chasing a phantom, in their search after some material gradation among created beings, by which the whole animal kingdom may have been derived by successive development from a single germ, or from a few germs. I confess that there seems to me a repulsive poverty in this material explanation, that is contradicted by the intellectual grandeur of the universe. I insist that this theory is opposed to the process of nature as we have been enabled to apprehend it; that it is contradicted by the facts of Embryology and Paleontology, the former showing us worms of development as distinct and persistent for each group as are the fossil types of each period revealed to us by the latter; and that the experiments on domesticated animals and cultivated plants, on which its adherents base their views, are entirely foreign to the matter in hand.—In Pater Mundi.
IDEM.—That presentation of paleontological phenomena which would make it appear that the whole animal kingdom (says the same authority) has been marshaled in a consecutive procession beginning with the lowest and ending with the highest, is false to nature. There is no inevitable repetition, no mechanical evolution in the geological succession of organic life. It has the correspondence of connected plan. It has just that kind of resemblance in the parts, so much and no more, as always characterizes intellectual work proceeding from the same source. It has that freedom of manifestation, that independence, which characterizes the work of MIND as compared with the work of Law. I believe that all these correspondences between the different aspects of animal life are the manifestations of MIND acting consciously with intention toward one object from beginning to end. This view is in accordance with the working of our minds; it is an instinctive recognition of a mental power with which our own is akin, manifesting itself in nature. For this reason more than any other, perhaps, do I hold that this world of ours is not the result of the action of unconscious organic forces, but the work of an INTELLIGENT, CONSCIOUS POWER.— Lects. before the Museum of Comp. Zoology, No. XII.
God made the: beast, the cattle, and everything that creepeth, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
E. F. BURR, D. D.—Animated Nature is a system philosophic, exquisite and beautiful in a very high degree. The further our researches go into the mechanism and physiology of plants and animals, the louder grows the call for admiration. —Pater Mundi, p. 167.
THE COMPILER.—If the theory of Development had been true, and the earth had been peopled with all its varieties of living creatures by " fortuitous variations," we should discover in Nature nothing like a general Plan, nothing like a System of animal types, nothing like Symmetry of organization, nothing like Order as to age, strength, stature, instinct or habit; for plan, system, symmetry and order cannot proceed from accident or fortuity. We should meet in living creatures with all manner of excesses and deficiencies, all kinds of misplaced and mis-paired members; all kinds of irregularities as to age, stature and disposition; all kinds of deformities and monstrosities; in short, universal disorder and confusion. But how widely different from all this is the existing creation around ups! Nature, through all her realms, clearly exhibits the Plans of far-reaching and all-comprehending INTELLIGENCE—design and adaptation, order and harmony and beauty, are everywhere apparent. The more extended and thorough our study of the characters, habits and wants of animals, whether beasts or birds, reptiles or fishes, insects or worms, the more profoundly are we impressed with the wisdom and goodness displayed in their several allotments; every one being 'fitted for its habitation, and every habitation suited to its given occupants. In all the myriad bundles of living machinery enfolded in animal forms, there is not an organ, not a feature of construction, wherein human wisdom could suggest an improvement, or devise a change that would be for the benefit of the individual in its particular sphere and line of life. "And God saw that it was good."—Present Conflict of Science with the Christian Religion. 213, 216.
HUGH MILLER.—To the close of the Tertiary period, “the evening of the sixth day," Man belongs, at once the last created of terrestrial creatures, and infinitely beyond comparison the most elevated in the scale; and with man's appearance on the scene the days of creation end.—Testimony of the Rocks, p. 203.
WILLIAM FRASER, LL. D.—In the distant past not a trace of man's presence has been found. He is of yesterday. While the stone volume has preserved for us the slight impressions of the Annelid and the foot trail of perished mollusks in the soft mud over which they crawled; while it has restored to us in perfect shape the delicately-constructed many-lensed eye of the Trilobite, and has kept exact record of the death struggles of fishes on the sands of olden seas; while it has delineated, on carboniferous columns, fern-leaves' exquisitely delicate in structure as the finest species of modern times; and while the raindrops of long bygone ages have left imprints which revealed to us the course which even the wind followed; not a trace of man is visible. Only at the close does he appear; science finds him where the Scriptures place him, and sees in him the crown which continuous type had long fore-shadowed.—Blending Lights, p. 83
PROF. JAMES D. DANA, M. A., LL. D.—In the preceding chapters the progress of the vegetable and animal tribes has been followed through the three grand divisions of geological time, the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic. In the latter part of the last era, the animated kingdom reached the highest grade of development presented by the merely animal type. In the era now opening, the animal element is no longer dominant, but Mind in the possession of a being at the head of the kingdoms of life. At the same time the animal structure is brought to its highest perfection in the erect form of Man, completing, as Agassiz has observed, the possible changes in the series to its last term. —Manual of Geology, Revised Ed., p. 573.
PROF. EDWARD HITCHCOCK, D. D., LL. D.—The whole depth of rock from which animal remains have been dug out is between 50,000 and 60,000 feet; but I know of no example in which it is pretended that human bones occur as deep below the surface as 100 feet.—Religious Truth Illustrated from Science, p. 193.
DAVID KING, LL. D.—The recent origin of man is one of the hest established facts in geological science. The absence of human remains from all but the most modern and superficial deposits, although very remarkable, is only a fragment of the evidence we can adduce.—Principles of Geology Explained, p. 188.
PRINCIPAL J. W. DAWSON, LL. D., F. R. S.—The continents had now attained to their greatest extension; animal and vegetable life had again overspread the new land to its utmost limits. The glacial period, with its snows and ice, had passed away, and the world rejoiced in a spring-time of renewed verdure and beauty. Many great and formidable beasts of the Tertiary time had disappeared in the revolutions which had occurred, and the existing fauna of the northern hemisphere had been established on the land. Then it was that Man was introduced by an act of creative power.—The Story of the Earth and Man, p. 289, 377.
WILLIAM FRASER, LL. D.—The term "image" or "likeness" seems intended to express man's personality, and his resemblance to the Infinite and Uncreated in every Way possible with a being finite and created. Man, accordingly, though at an immeasurable distance from the infinite I AM, has knowledge, wisdom, power, and therefore dominion over all that has been placed within the sphere of his influence. As he was intellectual and could know, as he was moral and could love, he had a sway which no other creature on earth could wield. With these forces combined, he came forth controlling all the resources of nature which were placed within his reach; and in possessing this spirit, he could be rightly regarded as the lord of this lower world and as the representative of Deity.—Blending Lights, p. 92.
IDEM. —Man, made capable of looking "to the Unseen and Eternal," cherishes the distinctive idea of immortality. His intellect, with its power of comparing; his reason, with its grasp to generalize; his imagination, with its faculty to invent and combine; his conscience, with its recognition of right and wrong; his memory, with its power of reproducing the past; and his conceptions of responsibility, obligation, virtue, and the sanctions of law, connect him with an economy which is utterly beyond the reach of the lower animals. In his intellectual, moral, and spiritual nature, he is supernatural to all beneath and around—p. 345.
CICERO. —This animal—prescient, sagacious, complex, acute, full of memory, reason, and counsel, which we call Man-has been generated by the supreme God in a most transcendent condition. For he is the only creature among all the races and descriptions of animated beings who is endued with superior reason and thought. And what is there, I do not say in man alone, but in all heaven and earth, more divine than reason? The Deity was pleased to create and adorn man to be the chief and president of all terrestrial creatures. The human mind, being derived from Divine Reason, can be compared with nothing but the Deity Himself.—De Leg., lib. I, c. 7 and 9; and Tusc., lib. V, c. 13.
PROF. GEORGE BUSH.—Man was invested with "dominion " over the animal tribes by being created with powers of a higher grade, such as gave him immense advantages over them, and made him capable, in great measure, of reducing them to subjection, and thus of making them subservient to his pleasure or use. —Notes on Genesis.
M. LOUIS FIGUIER. —Intelligence and speech are really the attributes which constitute man; these are the qualities which make him the most complete being in creation, and the most privileged of God's creatures.—L'Homme Primitif, p. 30.
PROF. T. H. HUXLEY, F. R. S., F. L. S.—A great gulf intervenes between the lowest man and the highest ape in intellectual power. There is an immeasurable and practically infinite divergence of the human from the Simian stirps. There is an enormous gulf between them. No one is more strongly convinced than I am of the vastness of the gulf between civilized man and the brutes, or is more certain that, whether from them or not, he is assuredly not of them. He alone possesses the marvelous endowment of intelligible and rational speech, whereby, in the secular period of his existence, he has slowly accumulated and organized the experience which is almost wholly lost with the cessation of every individual life in other animals; so that now he stands raised upon it as on a mountain top, far above the level of his humble fellows, and transfigured from his grosser nature by reflecting here and there a ray from the Infinite Source of truth.—Man's Place in Nature, p. 120-132.
PROF. EDWARD HITCHCOCK, D. D., LL.D.—But man's chief glory lies in his moral nature-that is, in his power of distinguishing right and wrong, virtue and vice; feeling a satisfaction when he conforms to the one, and dissatisfaction when he yields to the other. This power assimilates him more than anything else to the Deity, whose approval of holiness and hatred of sin are infinitely strong.—Religious Truth Illustrated from Science, p. 207.
Gen. 1:2929And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. (Genesis 1:29).—And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
WILLIAM FRASER, LL.D.—Not until we enter upon the Tertiary period do we find flowers, amid which man might have profitably labored as a dresser of gardens, a tiller of fields, or a keeper of flocks and herds. Not, indeed, until late in this period is there any appearance of several orders and families of plants which are useful to man, and which contribute largely to his pleasure. Among these orders we may mention that of the Rosaceæ, to which gardeners invariably look with unfailing interest. It includes the apple, the pear, the cherry, the plum, the peach, the apricot, the nectarine, the raspberry, the strawberry; nor ought we to omit reference to those delight-giving and useful flowers, roses and potentillas, the history of which commenced with that of man. It is no less remarkable that the true grasses, a still more important order, including the grain-giving plants, oats, barley, wheat and others which sustain at least two-thirds of the human species, and which also, in their humble varieties, form the staple food of the grazing animals, do not appear until close on the human period. There are other plants, also, which add to man's comfort or gratify his senses, which are not found in the fossil state—lavender, mint, thyme, hyssop, basil, rosemary, marjoram. They have apparently been introduced to prepare for man their varied fragrance and virtues.
There is distinct evidence of preparation for man in the distribution and adjustments of color, which alone must interest every student of the Bible and the natural sciences. The very appearance of all things has been adapted to the human constitution.—Blending Lights, p. 84-86.
Gen. 1:3030And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. (Genesis 1:30).—And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
DR. WILLIAM FRASER.—While plants draw their nourishment from the inorganic, animals cannot; they live on the organic; they utilize the materials which plants elaborate.—Blending Lights, p. 343.
G. CHAPLIN CHILD, M. D.—In whatever direction we survey the universe, we see that nothing is isolated, and no one thing exists without being adjusted to other things. All is in the most perfect harmony, and everything perfectly answers the end for which it was made. Creation is a Book written by the finger of God himself, and of which every 'page is filled to overflowing with illustrations of his wisdom; it is a picture in which his goodness is painted in colors of perfect truth; it is a sculpturing in which his power is expressed in marvels of form and harmony. Nothing that could be added, or that could be withdrawn, would make creation more perfect than it is.—Benedicite, p. 363, 367.
The Chaldean Record of Creation
MR. GEORGE SMITH, of the Department of Oriental Antiquities, British Museum.—When excavating at Nineveh, in 1873, I discovered a fragment of a tablet, which I afterward recognized as a part of the Chaldean Story of the Creation. Continuing the work of excavation, I afterward found another portion belonging to this story, far more precious—in fact, I think, to the general public, the most interesting and remarkable cuneiform tablet yet discovered.
This turned out to contain the story of man's original innocence, of the temptation and the fall. These tablets were composed of fine clay, and were inscribed with cuneiform characters while in a soft state; they were then baked in a furnace until hard, and afterward transferred to the royal library. Judging from the fragments discovered, there were probably in this library, at Nineveh, over 10,000 inscribed tablets of this kind, including almost every subject in ancient literature. Owing, however, to the vicissitudes through which they have passed—fire, and rains, and overturning—most of them are in a broken or mutilated condition, while others are in whole or in part altogether missing. The Story of Creation, as indicated by the fragments found, when complete, must have consisted of some dozen tablets at least. Those discovered were found in the debris which covers the palaces called the South West Palace, and the North Palace, at Kouyunjik, the former building being of the age of Sennacherib, and the latter belonging to the time of Assurbanipal, who reigned over Assyria B. C. 670, and every copy of the Genesis legends yet found was inscribed during his reign. These tablets of Assurbanipal, it must be observed, are not the originals, but copies from far older texts. During the earlier ages of the world, the history of the creation of the universe and of the infancy of the human race was preserved in the form of traditions. Now, it appears from indications in the tablet inscriptions, that there happened in the interval from B. C. 2000 to B. C. 1850, a general collecting and development of the various traditions of the Creation, Flood, Tower of Babel, and other similar legends. The tablets of Assurbanipal relating the Story of Creation, which have just been discovered, were copies of these more ancient Babylonian texts, which must date at the lowest from the 18th century B. C. Hence his transcribers state that in some cases the old copies had become partly illegible even in their day.
The fragment I found of the First Tablet of Creation gives a description of the void of chaos, and of the generation of the gods, and is as follows:
“When the upper region was not yet called heaven, and the lower region was not yet called earth, and the abyss of Hades had not yet opened its arms, then the chaos of waters gave birth to all of them, and the waters were gathered into one place. No men yet dwelt together; no animals yet wandered about; none of the gods had yet been born; their names, were not spoken; their attributes were not known."
This corresponds to the first two verses of the first chapter of Genesis: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. The correspondence between the inscription and the Scripture is here complete, both stating that a watery chaos preceded the creation, and formed, in fact, the origin and groundwork of the universe. We have here not only an agreement in sense, but, what is rarer, the same word used in both narratives as the name of this chaos, and given also in the account of Damascius.
Next we have in the Inscription the creation of the gods Lahma and Lahama, personifications of motion and production, and correspond to the moving of the Spirit in Genesis. The next stage in the Inscription gives the production of Sar and Kisar, representing the upper expanse and the lower expanse. Here the text becomes so mutilated that little can be made out from it. The three next Tablets are absent altogether, there being only two doubtful fragments of this part of the story. One of these fragments refers to the establishing of the dry land, and reads thus:
“When the foundations of the ground of rock thou didst make, the foundation of the ground thou didst call... thou didst beautify the heaven... to the face of the heaven... thou didst give..."
The next recognizable portion of the Creation Story is the upper part of the Fifth Tablet, which gives the creation of the heavenly bodies, and runs parallel to the account of the Fourth day of creation in Genesis. Here is a translation of it:
"He constructed dwellings for the great gods. He fixed up constellations, whose figures were like animals. He made the year. Into four quarters he divided it. Twelve months he established, with their constellations, three by three. And for the days of the year he appointed festivals. He made dwellings for the planets: for their rising and setting. And that nothing should go amiss, and that the course of none should be retarded, he placed with them the dwellings of BEL and HEA. He opened great gates, on every side: he made strong the portals, on the left hand and on the right. In the center he placed luminaries. The moon he appointed to rule the night, and to wander through the night, until the dawn of day. Every month without fail he made holy assembly-days. In the beginning of the month, at the rising of the night, it shot forth its horns to illuminate the heavens. On the seventh day he appointed a holy day, and to cease from all business he commanded. Then arose the sun in the horizon of heaven in glory."
The colophon at the close of Tablet V. gives us a part of the first line of the VI.th Tablet, but not enough to determine its subject. It is probable that this dealt with the creation of the creatures of the water and fowls of the air.
Of the next Tablet, the following is the only fragment that has yet been found:
“When the gods in their assembly had created... were delightful the strong monsters.... they caused to be living creatures.... cattle of the field, beasts of the field, and creeping things of the field.... they fixed for the living creatures.... cattle and creeping things of the city they fixed.... the assembly of the creeping things the whole which were created.... which in the assembly of my family.... and the god Nin-si-ku caused to be two.... the assembly of the creeping things he caused to go.... flesh beautiful.... pure presence.... pure presence."
This tablet corresponds to the Sixth Day of Creation. It commences with a statement of the satisfaction a former creation, apparently that of the monsters or whales, had given (Gen. 1:2323And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. (Genesis 1:23)). It then goes on to relate the creating of land animals, three kinds being distinguished, exactly agreeing with Genesis; and then we have a curious but broken account of Nin-si-ku creating two beings to be with the animals, the wording of the next fragmentary lines—" flesh beautiful... pure presence "—leading to the suspicion that this was the opening of the account of the creation of Man.
On the next fragment we possess we have what appears to be an address of the Deity to the newly-created human pair. That on the obverse side of the tablet is spoken to the man, and is as follows: ".... evil.... which is eaten by the... stomach.... in growing....consuMed.... extended, heavy... ly thou shalt speak.... and the support of mankind.... thee. Every day thy God thou shalt invoke, sacrifice, prayer of the mouth and instruments.... to thy God in reverence thou shalt carry. Whatever shall be suitable for divinity, supplication, humility, and bowing of the face, fire thou shalt give to him, and thou shalt bring tribute, and in the fear also of God thou shalt be holy. In thy knowledge, and afterward in the writing, worship and goodness.... shall be raised. Sacrifice saving.... and worship.... the fear of God thou shalt not leave.... the fear of the angels thou shalt live in.... With friend and enemy speech shalt thou make.... under speech thou shalt make good.... When thou shalt speak also he will give.... When thou shalt trust also thou.... to enemy also.... thou shalt trust a friend.... thy knowledge also...."
The reverse of this tablet, so far as the sense can be ascertained, appears to be addressed to the woman, informing her of her duties towards her partner:
.... Beautiful place also.... divide.... in beauty and.... thy hand ... and thou to the presence.... thee to the end, in the presence of beauty and.... thou shalt speak of thy beauty and.... beautiful and.... to give drink, circle I fill.... his enemies his rising he seeks.... the man... with the lord of thy beauty thou shalt be faithful; to do evil thou shalt not approach him, at thy illness.... to him at thy distress.... "
The next fragment is a small one, but of importance, because it mentions a speech of Hea to man, and alludes to the dragon in connection with a revolt against the Deity. Connected with this fragment is the account of the curse after the fall. From this it appears that the dragon is included in the curse, and that the gods invoke on the head of the human family all the evils which afflict the race. Wisdom and knowledge shall injure him—he shall have family quarrels—shall submit to tyranny—will anger the gods—he shall not eat of the fruit of his labor—he shall be disappointed in his desires—he shall pour out useless prayer—he shall have trouble of mind and body—he shall commit future sin.
Such is the Babylonian Story of Creation, and which substantially agrees, as far as it is preserved, with the Biblical account. According to it, there was a chaos of watery matter before the creation, and from this all things were generated. We have then a considerable blank, the contents of which we can only conjecture, and after this we come to the creation of the heavenly orbs—the constellations of the stars, the signs of the zodiac, the planets, the moon and the sun. After another blank we have a fragment, which relates the creation of wild and domestic animals, the latter being designated as the "animals of the city." Our next fragments refer to the creation of mankind, called Adam, as in the Bible; he is made perfect, and instructed in his various religious duties; but afterward he joins with the dragon of the deep, the spirit of Chaos, and offends against his God, who curses him, and calls down on his head all the evils and troubles of humanity.—Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 11-91, and 303.
The Sabbath
Gen. 2:2, 32And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (Genesis 2:2‑3).—And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
SACRED HISTORY.—The first Scriptural notice of the Sabbath is that at the close of the record of creation. It is next refereed to, as is generally supposed, in the phrase respecting the sacrifices of Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:33And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. (Genesis 4:3)): “In process of time;" literally, " at the end of days." It is also to be traced in the narrative of the subsidence of the Flood (Gen. 8:1010And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; (Genesis 8:10)): "And he stayed yet other seven days." And we find it recognized by Laban the Syrian (Gen. 29:2727Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. (Genesis 29:27)): “Fulfill her week." This division of time is a marked feature of the Mosaic law, and an institution clearly recognized down through all the history of the Jews, even to the present day.
BABYLONIAN ASTRONOMICAL TABLETS, compiled for Sargon, king of Agane, in the 16th century before Christ.—The moon a rest—on the 7th day, the 14th day, the 21st day, the 28th day—causes.—Trans. of Soc. of Bib. Archœ., Vol. III., p. 145.
BABYLONIAN CREATION TABLET.—Every month without fail he made hold assembly days. In the beginning of the month, at the rising of the night, the moon shot forth its beams to illuminate the heavens. On the seventh day he appointed a holy day, and to cease from all business he commanded.— Trans. of Soc. of Bib. Archœ., Vol. IV., p. 67.
FRANCIS GARDEN, M. A.—The antiquity of the division of time into weeks is so great, its observance so widespread, and it occupies so important a place in sacred things, that it has been very generally dated from the creation of man, who was told from the very first to divide his time on the model of the Creator's order of working and resting. The week and the Sabbath are, if this be so, as old as man himself; and we need not seek for reasons either in the human mind or the facts with which that mind comes in contact, for the adoption of such a division of time, since it is to be referred neither to man's thoughts nor to man's will. A purely theological ground is thus established for the Week, and for the sacredness of the seventh day. —Smith's Diet of Bible, art. Week.
PROF. B. B. EDWARDS.—The measuring of time by a day and night is pointed out to the common sense of mankind by the diurnal course of the sun. Lunar months and solar years are equally obvious to all rational creatures; so that the reason why time has been computed by days, months, and years, is readily given; but how the division of time into weeks of seven days, and this from the beginning, came to obtain universally among mankind, no man can account for, without having respect to some impressions on the minds of men from the constitution and law of nature, with the tradition of a sabbatical rest from the foundation of the world. Yet plain intimations of this weekly revolution of time are to be found in the earliest Greek poets—Hesiod, Homer, Linus—as well as among the nations of the Chaldeans, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Cyclop of Religious Knowledge, p. 1039.
FRANCIS GARDEN, M. A.—The prevalence of the weekly division was very great. It was adopted by all the Shemitic races, and, in the latter period of their history at least, by the Egyptians. Across the Atlantic we find it, or a division all but identical with it, among the Peruvians. It also obtains now with the Hindus, but its antiquity among them is a matter of question. It is possible that it was introduced into India by the Arabs and Mohammedans. So in China we find it, but whether universally or only among the Buddhists admits of doubt.—Smith's Dict. of Bible, p. 3490.
IDEM.—Six days' work and the seventh day's rest conform the life of man to the method of his Creator. In distributing his life thus, man may look up to God as his Archetype. God's rest consists in his seeing that all that he has made is very good; and man's works are in their measure and degree very good when a six days' faithful labor has its issue in a seventh of rest after God's pattern.—Ib., p. 2761.
HESIOD calls the seventh day, "The splendid light of the sun;" and HOMER characterizes it, "The sacred day."
Garden of Eden
PROF. J. W. DAWSON, LL. D., F. R. S.—The last point that I think necessary to bring forward here, is the information which Geology gives as to the locality of the introduction of Man. There can be no hesitation in affirming that to the temperate regions of the Old Continent belongs the honor of being the cradle of humanity. In these regions are the oldest historical monuments of our race; here geology finds the most ancient remains of human beings; here also seems to be the birth-place of the fauna and flora most useful and congenial to man; and here he attains to his highest pitch of mental and physical development. In the preceding geological changes a region of western Asia had been prepared for his residence. It was a table-land at the head waters of the rivers that flow into the Euxine, the Caspian, and the Persian Gulf. Its climate was healthy and bracing, with enough of variety to secure vigor, and not so inclement as to exact any artificial provision for clothing or shelter. Its flora afforded abundance of edible fruits, and was rich in all the beautiful forms of plant life; while its clear streams, alluvial soil, and undulating surface, afforded every variety of station and all that is beautiful in scenery. It was not infested with the more powerful and predacious quadrupeds, and its geographical relations were such as to render this exemption permanent. In this paradise Man found ample supplies of wholesome and nutritious food. His requirements as to shelter were met by the leafy bowers he could weave. The streams of Eden afforded gold which he could fashion for use and ornament, pearly shells for vessels, and agate for his few and simple cutting instruments. He required no clothing, and knew of no use for it. His body was the perfection and archetype of the vertebrate form, full of grace, vigor, and agility. His hands enabled him to avail himself of all the products of nature for use and pleasure, and to modify and adapt them according to his inclination. His intelligence, along with his manual powers, allowed him to ascertain the properties of things, to plan, invent and apply in a manner impossible to any other creature. His gift of speech enabled him to imitate and reduce to systematic language the sounds of nature, and to connect them with the thoughts arising in his own mind, and thus to express their relations and significance. Above all, his Maker had breathed into him a spiritual nature akin to his own, whereby he became different from all other animals, and the very shadow and likeness of God; capable of rising to abstractions and general conceptions of truth and goodness, and of holding communion with his Creator. This was Man Edenic, the man of the golden age, as sketched in the two short narratives of the earlier part of Genesis, which not only conform to the general traditions of our race on the subject, but bear to any naturalist who will read them in their original dress, internal evidence of being contemporary, or very nearly so, with the state of things to which they relate.—The Story of the Earth and Man, p. 373, 378, 379.
GOGUET.—When we examine with attention the manner in which Moses speaks of the abode of the first man, we cannot fail to recognize all the traits which characterize an exact geographical description. He says that the garden was situated in the land of Eden, towards the East; that out of Eden there went forth a river, which divided itself into four branches. He describes the course of each of these streams, and names the countries which they watered: and not only this, but he enumerates the more conspicuous and characterizing productions which each of these countries offered to notice. He even specifies them in a particular manner; he not only tells us that the land of Havilah produces gold, but adds that the gold of that land was good. “There also," continues he, " are found the bdellium and onyx-stone." Such details render it sufficiently evident that, long before the time of Moses, the science of Geography must have made some considerable progress. —Origine des Lois, Vol. I., p. 202.
Gen. 2:1515And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. (Genesis 2:15).—And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden, to dress it and to keep it.
PROF. GEORGE RAWLINSON, M. A.—The first fact in the history of mankind, as placed before us in Genesis, is the primitive innocence of our race, and its existence in a delightful region—the abode of purity and happiness—for a certain space after its creation. A remembrance of this blissful condition seems to have been retained among a large number of peoples. (The following are examples.)—Historical Illust. of the Old Test., p. 8.
THE GREEKS.—In the Golden Age, men lived the life of the gods—a life free from care and without labor or sorrow. Old age was unknown; the body never lost its vigor; existence was a perpetual feast, without a taint of evil. The earth brought forth spontaneously all things that were good in profuse abundance, peace reigned, and men pursued their several employments without quarrel. Their happy life was ended by a death which had no pain, but fell upon them like a gentle sleep.— Hesiod Op. et D. ll. 109-119.
PLATO.—It is said that there was once an earth-born race whom the Deity himself tended and watched over. They had fruit in abundance from many different trees, not grown by tilling, but given spontaneously by the earth. They lived, too, for the most part, naked—the temperament of the seasons not being painful to them. Theirs were soft beds of grass, springing up without grudging from the soil. The men of that time were ten-thousand-fold happier than those of the present.— c. 15, 16.
THE ANCIENT MAGI.—In the Zendavesta, Yima, the first Iranic king, lives in a secluded spot, where he and his people enjoy uninterrupted happiness. Neither sin, nor folly, nor violence, nor poverty, nor deformity have entrance into the region; nor does the Evil Spirit for a while set foot there. Amid odoriferous trees and golden pillars dwells the beautiful race, pasturing their abundant cattle on the fertile earth, and feeding on an ambrosial food which never fails them.—Vendidael, Farg. ii. § 4-41.
THE CHINESE.—In the ancient Books of this people we read that, during the period of the first heaven, the whole creation enjoyed a state of happiness: everything was beautiful; everything was good; all beings were perfect in their kind. In this happy age, heaven and earth employed their virtues jointly to embellish nature. There was no jarring in the elements, no inclemency in the air—all things grew without labor, and universal fertility prevailed. The active and passive virtues conspired together, without any effort or opposition, to produce and perfect the universe.—Faber's Horœ Mosaicœ, p. 146.
THE HINDOOS.—The literature of this people tells of a " first age of the world when justice, in the form of a bull, kept herself firm on her four feet; virtue reigned; no good which mortals possessed was mixed with baseness, and man, free from disease, saw all his wishes accomplished, and attained an age of four hundred years."—Kalisch, Com. on Gen., p. 64.
Traces of a similar belief are found among the THIBETANS, the MONGOLIANS, the CINGALES, and others.
Gen. 2:1919And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. (Genesis 2:19).—And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
PRINCIPAL J. W. DAWSON, LL. D., F. R. S.—We must not understand the Bible as picturing an Eden in which all the animals of the world were contained. This kind of representation belongs only to nursery toy-books. It is expressly said that man was placed in Eden with a selected group of animals as well as of plants, and these animals and plants were with him to spread the habitable earth, replacing everywhere those surviving from the Tertiary age. This is the Bible theory of the mode of the introduction of man, and it corresponds with geological fact, and with what we would a priori expect in the case of the introduction of any new and important type. In both records man is geologically modern, coming at the close of the great procession of animal life; and it is remarkable that geology concurs with revelation in not finding any new species introduced since the creation of man.—Nature and the Bible, p. 176.
SIR CHARLES LYELL, F. R. S.—The study of the actual geographical distribution of organic beings has led naturalists to adopt very generally the doctrine of specific centers, or, in other words, to believe that each species, whether of plant or animal, originated in a single birth-place. Species, and often genera, and still larger groups, have such a range in space as implies that they have spread in all directions from a limited area called a "center of creation," until their progress was stopped by some natural barriers, or conditions in the organic and inorganic world, hostile to their further extension.—Principles of Geology, Vol. II., P. 333, 336.
Gen. 2:21, 2221And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. (Genesis 2:21‑22).—And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof: and the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
PLATO.—Our nature of old was not the same as it is now. It was then one man-woman; whose form and name partook of and was common to both the male and the femAle. Then Jupiter said, I will divide them into two parts.—Sympos., C. 14, 15.
The Fall of Man
W. HOUGHTON, M. A., F. L. S.—It was an ancient belief both amongst Orientals and the people of the Western world, 'that the serpent was endued with a large share of sagacity. The ancients give various reasons for regarding serpents as being endued with wisdom, as that one species, the Cerastes, hides itself in the sand, and bites the heels of animals as they pass; or that, as the head was considered the only vulnerable part, the serpent takes care to conceal it under the folds of the body. Serpents have in all ages been considered as emblems of cunning craftiness. The particular wisdom alluded to by our Lord refers, it is probable, to the sagacity displayed by serpents in avoiding danger. The disciples were warned to be as prudent in not incurring unnecessary persecution. The Chinese consider the serpent as a symbol of superior wisdom and power, and ascribe to the kings of heaven bodies of serpents. And in the Egyptian symbolical alphabet the serpent represents subtlety and cunning, lust and sensual pleasure. In the Zendavesta of Zoroaster, Ahriman or the lord of evil, who first taught men to sin, is represented under the guise of this reptile.—Smith's Dict. of Bible, p. 2928.
Gen. 3:4, 54And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:4‑5).—And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
PLUTARCH.—It was a very ancient opinion, that there are certain wicked and malignant demons, who envy good men, and endeavor to hinder them in the pursuit of virtue, lest they should be partakers at last of greater happiness than they enjoy.—Plut. Dion., § 2.
Gen. 3:6, 76And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. (Genesis 3:6‑7).—And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.
W. FRASER, LL. D.—Traditions of the fall of primitive man are almost as widespread as the human family. Their prevalence is utterly inexplicable, except through the Bible narrative.—Blending Lights, p. 134-136.
JOHN KITTO, D. D., F. S. A.—Seeing that all mankind are descended from one pair who were tempted to disobedience under the enticements of the serpent, and whose disobedience "brought death into the world, and all our woe," we should expect to find throughout the world variously corrupted traditions of that event. The fact that such traditions do exist, and that in them all the main circumstances, as related by Moses, may be recognized, is of very material importance. The variations are not greater than might be expected to arise in the course of ages, among different nations, in different regions, under different degrees of cultivation, and within different systems of religious corruption. Indeed, taking these differences into account, the substantial agreement among them in the essential facts is wonderful, and can in no other way be accounted for than by the literal truth of the account of this event which the Scripture has given to us, and by the belief that, as Moses affirms, all the races of men have a common origin.—Bible Illust., Vol. I., p. 58.
PROF. G. RAWLINSON, M. A.—The races that have retained a remembrance of the primitive state of man have all of them a tradition of the Fall. With some the fall is more gradual than with others. The Greeks pass by gentle degrees from the golden age of primeval man to the iron one, which is the actual condition of human kind when the first writers lived. The Hindus, similarly, bring man, through a second and a third age, into that fourth one, which they recognize as existing in their day. But with some races the Fall is sudden. In the Edda, corruption is suddenly produced by the blandishments of strange women, who deprive men of their pristine integrity and purity. In the Thibetan, Mongolian, and Cingalese traditions, a similar result is brought about by the spontaneous development of a covetous temper. In the earliest of the Persian books, the Fall would ahem to be gradual; but in the later writings, which are of an uncertain date, a narrative appears which is most strikingly in accordance with that of Genesis. The first man and the first woman live originally in purity and innocence. Perpetual happiness is promised to them by Ormazd, if they persevere in their virtue. They dwell in a garden, wherein there is a tree, on whose fruit they feed, which gives them life and immortality. But Ahriman, the Evil Principle, envying their felicity, causes another tree to spring up in the garden, and sends a wicked spirit, who, assuming the form of a serpent, persuades them to eat its fruit, and this fruit corrupts them. Evil feelings stir in their hearts; Ahriman becomes the object of their worship instead of Ormazd; they fall under the power of demons, and become a prey to sin and misery.—Historical Illustrations of the Old Test., p. 11
LAMAISM.—Then were men holy, invisibly nourished and possessing the power of ascending at pleasure to the skies. In an evil hour the earth produced a kind of manna, a honey-sweet substance; a glutton ate of it, and seduced the rest of mankind to follow his example. From that time, man lost his happiness and innocence. His body became gross. His commerce with the skies was passed. His days were shortened; and his stature no longer attained its original gigantic proportions. In time, the manna failed, and man resorted by degrees to food more and more gross; and, at last, all virtue fled the world, and wickedness prevailed. Eventually the spontaneous increase of the earth no longer sufficed, and man began with labor and sorrow to till the ground.—Palas' Travels, Vol. I., p. 334.
CHINESE MYTHOLOGY.—Man, in the beginning, was obedient to the gods. His state was one of innocence and happiness. There was no sickness, no death. He was good and wise by nature. He was all spirit. But his strong desire for knowledge, with the temptation of the woman, was his ruin. Man held no more power over himself; lust and passion gained the ascendency over him, and he lost, his intellectual pre-eminence. All beasts and birds and reptiles now waged war against him; and as he acquired science,' all creatures became his enemies.—Memoires Chinoises, Vol. I., p. 107.
VISHNU PURANA.—The beings who were created by Brama were, at first, endowed with righteousness and perfect faith. They abode wherever they pleased, unchecked by any, impediment. Their hearts were free from guile; they were pure, made free from soil by the observance of the sacred institutes. In their sanctified minds Hari dwelt; and they were filled with perfect wisdom, where-with they contemplated the glory of Vishnu. After a time, that portion of Hari which has been described as one with Kala, infused into created beings sin, as yet feeble, though formidable, and passion, and he like. The impediment of the soul's liberation—the seed of iniquity—arose from darkness and desire. The innate perfectness of human nature was then no more evolved. All the perfections were impaired, and these becoming feeble, sin gained strength, and mortals became subject to pain.—Professor Horace Wilson's Translation.
Gen. 3:1515And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15).—And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise its heel.
EGYPTIAN MONUMENTS.—On the monuments of Egypt there not infrequently occurs the figure of a man in regal costume (probably an incarnate deity), piercing with a spear the head of a large serpent—remarkably suggestive of a tradition of the prophecy that "the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head." —Tristram's Nat. Hist. of the Bible, p. 280.
TEMPLES OF INDIA.—In one of the most ancient pagodas of India is a figure of Chreeshna, one of the Avatars of Vishnu, trampling on the crushed head of a serpent, the kali-naga, or black snake—it is his triumph. In another figure, the serpent is seen compassing Chreeshna with its folds, and biting his heel. In all this, and much more, we cannot fail to perceive adumbrated the remarkable prediction which accompanied the fall of man.—Murray's Truth of Revel. Demonstrated, p. 197.
ANCIENT COINS.—In a Tyrian coin, a serpent appears twisted around a tree, with a Petra ambrosiana on either side. Ancient coins of Athens, from their figures, appear associated with the same mythological belief—on them is represented a human figure in connection with the serpent-god. And on an early Roman coin is represented a female with a mural crown, a palm branch in her hand, and a dove by her side; she is trampling on a serpent.—Ib, p. 199, 200.
Gen. 3:17-1917And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (Genesis 3:17‑19).—Unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
THE NINEVEH CREATION TABLETS.—Hea called his assembly. He said to the gods his sons.... I made them.... shall not stretch, until before he turns. Their wickedness I am angry at, their punishment shall not be small, I will look to judge the people, in their stomach let food be exhausted, above let Vul drink up his rain, let the lower regions be shut up, and the floods not be carried in the streams, let the ground be hardened which was overflown, let the growth of corn cease, may blackness overspread the fields, let the plowed fields bring forth thorns, may the cultivation be broken up, food not arise, and it not produce; may distress be spread over the people, may favor be broken off, and good not be given.—Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 154.
Gen. 3:2424So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24),—So he drove out the man: and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
MR. GEORGE SMITH, British Museum.—The tree of life, in Genesis, certainly appears to correspond to the sacred grove of Anu, which the following fragment states was guarded by a sword turning to all the four points of the compass.
CHALDEAN TABLET, describing the battle between Bel, Creator and Lord of the world, and the Dragon:
" ... . and with it his right hand he arMed. His flaming sword he raised in his hand. He brandished his lightnings before him. A curved scymitar he carried on his body. And he made a sword to destroy the dragon, which turned four ways; so that none could avoid its rapid blows. It turned to the south, to the north, to the east, and to the west."—Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 88 and 96.
Development of Trades and Arts
ARCHBISHOP RICHARD WHATELEY, D. D.—The process by which men emerged from their primitive state, and gradually invented the various arts of life, has been supposed to be this: One man, wishing to save himself the trouble of roaming through the woods in search of wild plants and roots, would bethink himself of collecting the seeds of these, and cultivating them in a plot of ground cleared and broken up for the purpose. And finding that he could thus raise more than enough for himself, he might agree with some of his neighbors to exchange a part of his produce for some of the game or fish taken by them. Another man, again, it has been supposed, would contrive to save himself the labor and uncertainty of hunting by catching some kind of wild animals alive, and keeping them in an enclosure to breed, that he might have a supply always at hand. And again, others, it is supposed, might devote themselves to the occupation of dressing skins for clothing, or of building huts or canoes, or of making bows and arrows, or various kinds of tools, each exchanging his productions with his neighbors for food. And each, by devoting his attention to some one kind of manufacture, would acquire increased skill in that, and would strike out new inventions. And then, these having in this way become divided into husbandmen, shepherds, and artisans of several kinds, would begin to enjoy the various advantages of division of labor, and would advance, step by step, in all the arts of civilized life.— Exeter Hall Lects., 9-11.
PROF. GEORGE RAWLINSON, M. A.—The early invention of the arts, recorded in Genesis 4., is in harmony with the Greek tradition, according to which Prometheus, in the infancy of our race, not only " stale fire from heaven," but taught men "all the arts, helps and ornaments of life," especially the working in metals. It is in equal agreement with the Babylonian legend of Oannes, who, long before the Flood, instructed the Chaldeans both in art and in science, "so that no grand discovery was ever made afterward." And it receives confirmation from the fact that, both in Egypt and in Babylonia, the earliest extant remains, which go back to a time that cannot be placed long after the Flood, show signs of a tolerably advanced civilization, and particularly of the possession of metallic tools and implements.— Historical Illust. of the Old Test., p. 14.
Longevity of the Antediluvians
Gen. 5:5-325And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died. 6And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos: 7And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters: 8And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died. 9And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan: 10And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters: 11And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died. 12And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel: 13And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters: 14And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died. 15And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared: 16And Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters: 17And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died. 18And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch: 19And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 20And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died. 21And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: 22And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 23And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: 24And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. 25And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech: 26And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters: 27And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died. 28And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son: 29And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed. 30And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters: 31And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died. 32And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Genesis 5:5‑32).—And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died. And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died. And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died.—Etc.
PROF. G. RAWLINSON, M. A.—Patriarchal longevity presents itself as one of the most striking of the facts concerning mankind which the early history of the Book of Genesis places before us. Objections have been brought against it on grounds which are called scientific. But these have little weight, as they have failed to convince such men as Haller and Buffon. Now it is beyond a doubt that there is a large amount of consentient tradition to the effect that the life of man was originally far more prolonged than it is at present, extending to at least several hundred years. The Babylonians, Egyptians, and Chinese exaggerated these hundreds into thousands. The Greeks and Romans, with more moderation, limited human life within a thousand or eight hundred years. The Hindus still further shortened the term. Their books taught that in the first age of the world, man was free from diseases, and lived ordinarily four hundred years; in the second age the term of life was reduced from four hundred to three hundred; and in the third it became two hundred; and in the fourth and last it was brought down to one hundred. So certain did the fact appear to the Chinese, that an Emperor who wrote a medical work proposed an inquiry into the reasons why the ancients attained to so much more advanced an age than the moderns.—Hist. Illust. of the Old Test., p. 13.
THE MAHA-WANSI, of Buddhism.—At that time all beings lived an assankaya of years (incredible number of years); no sin was in the world; the immense duration of their life caused men to forget their birth, and to be unmindful of their death; they knew not the infirmities of life nor the miseries of the world. They derided the very deities, as these were not the fortunate partakers of such a length of days; so that at that time the life of mankind in this world outlasted the existence of the gods.—Upham's Literal Translation.
JOSEPHUS.—Let no one upon comparing the lives of the ancients with our lives, and with the few years which we now live, think that what we have said of them is false; or make the shortness of our lives at present an argument, that neither did they attain to so long a duration of life. I have for witnesses to what I have said, all those that have written antiquities, both among the Greeks and Barbarians; for even Manetho, who wrote the Egyptian history, and Berosus, who collected the Chaldean monuments, and Mochus and Hestiæus, and besides these Hieronymus the Egyptian, and those that composed the Phenician history, agree to what I here say. Hesiod also, and Hecatæus, and Hellanicus, and Acusilaus; and besides these, Ephorus and Nicolaus relate that the ancients lived a thousand years.—Antiquities, B. I., chap. 3, § 9.
Giants
Gen. 6:44There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:4).—There were giants (nephilim) in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
PROF. GEORGE BUSH.—Nephilim—by the Greeks, this class of men are termed Gigantes, from two words, signifying to be born of the earth; a term from which we learn both the origin and the import of the English word "giant." The giants of the ancient mythology are fabled to have sprung from the earth, from some broken traditions respecting these antediluvian apostates, who, in the sense of being earthly, sensual, vile, despising heavenly things, might be justly denominated “earth-born."—Notes on Genesis.
PLUTARCH.—Those times produced men of strong and indefatigable powers of body, and of extraordinary swiftness and agility; tut they applied those powers to nothing just or useful; on the contrary, their genius, their disposition, and their pleasures, tended only to insolence, to violence and rapine.—Thes., c, 6.
PRINCIPAL J. W. DAWSON, LL. D., F. R. S., F. G. S.—The oldest men whose remains have been found are not of a different species from modern men, but, on the contrary, are nearly allied to the most widely distributed modern race; while their great stature and physical power remind us of the Nephilim, or Giants, of Genesis. They testify, in short, to a specific identity and common descent of all men; and their great bodily development, accompanied probably with great longevity, is such as geological facts would lead us to anticipate in the case of a new type recently introduced, rather than in one which had descended through a long course of struggle for existence from an inferior ancestry.—Nature and the Bible, p. 177.
J. W. FARRAR, D. D.; F. R. S.—All nations have had a dim fancy that the aborigines who preceded them, and the earliest men generally, were of immense stature. Berosus says that the ten antediluvian kings of Chaldea were giants. That we are dwarfs compared to our ancestors was a common belief among the Latin and Greek poets.—In Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, p. 911.
The Deluge
HESIOD.—
(Speaking of those of the silver or second age of the world)—
Their frantic follies wrought them pain and woe;
Nor mutual outrage would their hand forego;.
Nor would they serve the gods, nor altars raise,
That in just cities shed their holy blaze.
Them angry Jove engulfed, who dared refuse
The gods their glory and their sacred dues.
Oper. et. Dier. v. 126.
ARATUS.—
What an unworthy and degenerate race
Our golden sires bequeathed!
Phenom., V. 1 2 3.
PROF. H. B. HACKETT, Trevor Hall.—The history of the great wickedness of men, and of a general inundation, as related in the Mahâbhârata and other Indian Asiatic writings, affords an unmistakable agreement with the Mosaic writings. In the translation of a part of that work out of the Sanskrit, the eminent orientalist, Prof. Bopp, states the substance of the story as follows:—" The Lord of creatures, Brahmâ, the highest existence, appeared to a pious king named Manus, and announced to him the impending deluge, which was to destroy everything. He commanded him to build a ship, and in the time of danger to enter it, and to take with him seeds of all kinds, as they would be named to him, separated from one another. Manus obeyed the command of the Deity, and brought all seeds into the ship, into which he himself then entered. But the ship, guided by the Deity, swam many years upon the sea, until it finally settled upon the highest summit of the mountain Himawân, when it was bound fast at the command of the Deity. And from Manus descends the present race of mankind."—Bibl. Sacra, XXII., 422.
POLYNESIAN TRADITIONS. —Traditions of the Deluge have been found to exist among the natives of the South Sea Islands, from the earliest periods of their history. The principal facts are the same in the traditions prevailing among the inhabitants of the different groups, although they differ in several minor particulars. In one group, the accounts stated that Taarsa—the principal god, according to their mythology—being angry with men on account of their disobedience to his will, overturned the world into the sea, when the earth sunk in the waters, excepting a few projecting points, which, remaining above its surface, constituted the present cluster of Islands.—Ellis' Polynesian Researches, Vol. II., p. 57, etc.
CHALDEAN TRADITION.—During the reign of Xisuthrus, in the tenth generation of mankind, the god Chronos appeared to this king in a vision, and warned him that, on the fifteenth day of the month Dasius, there would be a flood, by which mankind would be destroyed. He therefore enjoined him to build a vessel, and take with him into it his friends and relations, and to convey on board everything necessary to sustain life, together with all the different animals, both birds and quadrupeds, and to trust himself fearlessly to the deep. In obedience to these directions, Xisuthrus built a vessel five stadia (nearly three quarters of a mile) in length, and two in breadth, into which he put everything, he had prepared, and last of all went into it himself, with his wife, children and friends—Cory’s Ancient Fragments.
GREEK MYTHOLOGY.—There was another race of men before the present, which owes its origin to Deucalion. The first race of men were a fierce and haughty people, who committed most heinous iniquities. For this a horrible calamity came over them. All at once the waters burst forth from all parts of the earth, and floods of rain came down from above, till the earth was covered with water, and all mankind perished. Deucalion alone was preserved, on account of his piety and uprightness, for the propagation of a new race. He had a very large chest, into which he packed his wives and children, and last of all went in himself. Just as he was entering, there came running to him all kinds of wild beasts and creeping things, pair-wise. He took them all in, and Jupiter instilled into them such peaceful dispositions that they did him no harm, but lived in the most peaceful accord together, and were thus preserved in the chest, as in a ship, so long as the flood lasted.—Lucian, De Dea Syria.
ASIATIC INDIAN TRADITIONS. —In ancient times, the god Vishnu appeared to the sun-born monarch, Satyavrata, in the form of a fish, and said: “In seven days all creatures that have offended me shall be destroyed by a deluge, but thou shalt be preserved in a capacious vessel miraculously forMed. Take therefore all kinds of medicinal herbs and esculent grains for food, and, together with seven holy men, your respective wives, and pairs of all animals, enter the ark without fear." Satyavrata conformed himself to these directions, when, after seven days, the floods descended and drowned the world.-Sir William Jones' Asiatic Researches, Vol. II., p. 116, 117.
CHINESE TRADITION.—Fa-he, the reputed founder of Chinese civilization, is represented as escaping from the waters of a deluge; and he reappears as the first man at the production of a renovated world, attended by his wife, three sons, and three daughters.—Hardwick's Christ and Other Masters, Part III., p. 16.
AMERICAN TRADITIONS.—Traditions of the Flood are, if possible, more common in the New World than in the Old. The form in which the natives relate them agrees so strikingly with the traits of the Bible History, that we cannot blame the astonished Spaniards, the first European discoverers, if they were ready to believe, on account of these and similar traditions, that the Apostle Thomas must have preached Christianity there.—Prof. Hackett's Translation from Auberlen.
MEXICAN TRADITION.—This people had a tradition that a deluge had destroyed all animals, with the exception of one man and his wife, who escaped in the hollow trunk of an Ahahuete, or cypress tree; and that, after this, they had a numerous race of children born to them.—Humboldt's Vues des Cordil leras, p. 26, 206, 207.
MECHOACHAN TRADITION.—This nation, neighbors to the Mexicans, believed that mankind, becoming forgetful of their duties and origin, were punished by a universal deluge, from which the priest Tezpi, and his wife and children, were alone preserved. He shut himself up in a large chest of wood, into which he nut all kinds of animals and useful seeds. When the Great Spirit ordered the waters to subside, Tezpi sent out a bird called Aura, which, finding food in dead carcasses, returned; then several other birds, till at length the hummingbird returned with a branch in his beak.—Humboldt's Researches, Vol. II., p. 65.
THE GREAT LAKE TRIBES' TRADITION.—These, believe that the father of all their Tribes originally dwelt towards the setting sun, where, being warned in a dream that a Flood was coming, he built a Raft, on which he preserved his own family, and the whole of the animal world. The Raft drifted for many months upon the waters, till at length a new earth was made, and man and the animals placed upon it.—Thatcher's Indian. Traits, II., 148, 149.
HESIOD.—
The sea gave Nereus life, unerring seer
And true; most ancient of his race, whom all
Hail as the sage, for mild and blameless he:
Remembering still the right, still merciful
As just in counsels.
Theog., V. 233.
OVID.—
(Speaking of the survivors of the Flood, says)—
The most upright of mortal men was he,
The most sincere and holy woman she.
Metam., Lib. I., v. 322.
CHINESE TRADITION.—Fa-he, the father and founder of the nation, after escaping the perils of the Flood, reappeared as the first man at the production of the renovated world, attended by his wife, three sons, and three daughters (daughters-in-law).—Hardwick's Christ and Other Masters, Part III., p. 16,
FIGI TRADITION.—The Figi Islanders have a very clear and distinct tradition of a deluge, from which one family only, eight in number, was saved in a canoe.—Hardwick, III., p. 185.
Gen. 7:11, 12, 1911In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. (Genesis 7:11‑12)
19And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. (Genesis 7:19)
.—In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth, and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.
THE COMPILER.—Geology offers proofs that a Deluge was possible.—The developments of geology abundantly demonstrate that the occurrence of a deluge is quite possible, and entirely credible. Infidels were wont to argue that all the waters of the earth were altogether insufficient to overflow the land—and, in fact, that ocean must be heaped upon ocean to do so. But this bold and seemingly decisive objection against the Mosaic Deluge, like many others, has vanished before the progress of science. It is now proved, and conceded by every intelligent man, that any region, however elevated above the level of the sea, may, by subsidence of that region, be laid beneath its waters; and that, as a matter of fact, every portion of the earth's surface has once and again been the bed of the ocean. In the Cretaceous or Chalk Period, Europe was but an archipelago, by far the larger portion of its present area being submerged, as was also that of Asia, while the Pyrenees, the Alps, and the Himalayas did but just lift their tops above the general level of the waters. And since that period, the British Isles and the proximate parts of the continent have been upheaved and submerged, again and again.—Present Confl. of Sci. with Religion, 509.
Geology furnishes examples and illustrations of a Deluge.—At one of the most charming spots on the coast of Norfolk, England, you will see the boulder clay forming a vast mass, which lies upon the chalk, and must consequently have come into existence after it. Interposed between the chalk and the drift is a comparatively insignificant layer, containing vegetable matter. But that layer tells a wonderful history. It is full of stumps of trees, standing as they grew. Fir-trees are there with their cones, and hazel bushes with their nuts; there stand the stools of oak and yew-trees, beeches and alders. Hence, this stratum is appropriately called the "forest bed." It is obvious that the chalk must have been upheaved and converted into dry land, before the timber trees could grow upon it. As the bolls of some of these trees are from two to three feet in diameter, it is no less clear that the dry land thus formed remained in the same condition for long ages. And not only do the remains of stately oaks and well-grown firs testify to the duration of this condition of things, but additional evidence to the same effect is afforded by the abundant remains of elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotami, and other great wild beasts. When you look at a collection of such remains, and bethink you that these elephantine bones did veritably carry their owners about, and these great grinders crunch, in the dark woods of which the " forest bed " is now the only trace, it is impossible not to feel that they are as good evidence of the lapse of time as the annual rings of the tree-stumps.
Thus there is a writing upon the wall of the cliffs of Norfolk, and whoso runs may read it. It tells us, with an authority that cannot be impeached, that the ancient sea-bed of the chalk sea was raised up, and remained dry land, until it was covered with forest, stocked with the great game whose spoils have rejoiced your geologists. How long it remained in that condition cannot be said; but "the whirligig of time brought its revenges" in those days as in these. The dry land, with the bones and teeth of generations of long-lived elephants, hidden away among the gnarled roots and dry leaves of its ancient trees, sank gradually to the bottom of the icy sea, which covered it with 'rouge masses of drift and boulder clay. Sea-beasts, such as the walrus, now restricted to the extreme north, paddled about where birds had twittered among the topmost twigs of the fir trees. How long this state of things endured we know not, but at length it came to an end. The upheaved glacial mud hardened into the soil of modern Norfolk. Forests grew once more, the wolf and the beaver replaced the reindeer and the elephant; and at length what we call the history of England dawned.—Huxley's Lay Sermons, No. IX.
Geology points to specific Facts corroborative of the Mosaic. Deluge.—As we have already stated, says M. Figuier, there is very distinct evidence of two successive deluges in our hemisphere, during the Quaternary Epoch. The two may be distinguished as the European Deluge, and the Asiatic Deluge. The European Deluge occurred prior to the appearance of man; the Asiatic Deluge happened after that event; and the Human Race, then in the early days of its existence, certainly suffered from this cataclysm.World Before the Deluge, 367.
In the Post-glacial Era, relates Principal Dawson, the land had reached its maximum elevation, but its foundations, " standing in the water and out of the water," were not yet securely settled; and it had to take one more plunge-bath before attaining its modern fixity. This seems to have been a comparatively rapid subsidence and re-elevation, leaving but lender traces of its occurrence, but changing to some extent the levels of the continents, and failing to restore them fully to their former elevation, so that large areas of the lower grounds still remained under the sea. If, as the greater number of geologists now believe, man was then on the earth, it is not impossible that this constituted the Deluge recorded in the remarkable " log-book" of Noah preserved to us in Genesis, and of which the memory remains in the traditions of most ancient nations. This is at least the geological deluge which separates the Post-glacial period from the modern, and the earlier from the later pre-historic period of the archeologists. I have long thought that the narrative in Gen. 7 and 8 can be understood only on the supposition that it is a contemporary journal or " log " of an eyewitness incorporated by the author of Genesis in his work. The dates of the rising and fall of the water, the note of soundings over the hill-tops when the maximum was attained, and many other details, as well as the whole tone of the narrative, seem to require this supposition, which also removes all the difficulties of interpretation which have been so much felt.—Story of Earth and Man, 290.
Geology shows the means and manner in which the Deluge might have been produced.—If we take a slender brass or iron hoop, and with the finger press it inward at any point, it will necessarily bulge out on either side in proportion to the depression made by the finger; and conversely, if we push it outward, the parts on this side and on that side of the point of pressure will sink or be drawn inward. Now similar results are produced in the earth's crust by the pressure of subterranean forces; the elevation by these of a continent, or of any considerable part of a continent, will be attended by a corresponding depression of the bed of the adjoining ocean; or, the elevation of that ocean's bed will necessarily be followed by a depression of the continent. This is not mere theory, but an established fact. At this present time, while Scandinavia on one side of the North Atlantic is steadily rising from its waters, Greenland on the other side is as steadily sinking into them. This fact may help us to a conception of the manner in which the Noahian deluge was brought about.
Noah, and the living creatures to be preserved with him, having been safely lodged in the ark, and the fatal hour decreed having arrived, let us suppose that, at the behest of Omnipotence, the ocean beds encompassing that region of the globe inhabited by the antediluvians had been elevated step by step by the repeated impulses of subterranean forces, occurring, as they often do, at 'intervals of one, two, or three days; and that at the same time the whole of that region, and to a distance beyond, had subsided at the same rate: what would have been the consequences of all this? what would have taken place in the ocean, and what would have befallen the land and its inhabitants? The answer is obvious—the waters of the ocean, on every side, in far-reaching and tumultuous waves, would have rushed in upon the land, as if "the fountains of the great deep had been broken up."
It was in some such manner as this, we may suppose, the Noahian deluge was brought about; at any rate, many of our eminent geologists hold that some of the formidable cataclysms of the Pre-Adamite periods were occasioned in this way, by the sudden upheaval of vast tracts of the sea-bed, which, by displacing great bodies of water, and rolling them outwards in the form of enormous waves, inundated wide regions, elevated hundreds of feet over the ocean level, and strewed them over with the clays, gravels and organic remains of deep sea-bottoms.
It is further worthy of notice, as evidence of the accuracy of Scripture history, that just such rains as are indicated by the forcible expression, “the windows of heaven were opened," are the usual concomitants of convulsions and cataclysms, such as was the Deluge. “Subterranean movements and volcanic eruptions," 'says Sir Charles Lyell (Principles, I, 595), "are often attended not only by incursions of the sea, but also by violent rains."Present Conflict of Science with Religion, p. 529, 534, 535.
DAVID KING, LL. D.—It is now proved and conceded that vast regions of the earth have been laid under water, and that such events as the deluge have incontrovertibly happened. It is of great consequence to observe that deluges are thus shown to be a part of the course of nature. When this is admitted, and no one now denies it, all that we are required to believe in regard to the Noahian deluge is that God, in a particular instance, employed, in a very signal manner, his natural and usual administration to fulfill his moral purposes. Principles of Geology Explained, p. 65.
Gen. 41:21, 22, 2321And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill favored, as at the beginning. So I awoke. 22And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good: 23And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them: (Genesis 41:21‑23).—And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.
LYCOPHRON.—
Jove spread the sluices of the skies
In wild uproar: Earth heard the billows break
About her, and above; high palaces
Came crashing down; and the pale sons of men
Swam, and saw death in every swelling wave.
On fruits, and acorns, and the growth of grapes,
Sea-monsters batten'd: e'en upon that couch
Where luxury had languished, cumbrous forms,
Dolphins, and orcs, wallowed unwieldily.
Cassand., v. 79.
THE COMPILER.—Such is the Scripture account of the most terrible catastrophe that has I befallen our world since it has been inhabited by man—an event so appalling that it so strongly impressed itself on the mind of the race that it has never been forgotten, but has lived and floated down through the ages, in one form or another, in the traditions of all the branches of the human family. The mythologies and histories of all the ancient nations are full of the remembrances of it. It is described in the stories of the Greeks, and sung in the verses of the Latins. Its memory is enshrined in the sacred books of the Parsee, the Brahmin and the Mahommedan, and has been assigned a place in the Legend of the Scandinavian, and in the mythic records of the Chinaman. His symbols are found stamped on the coins of ancient Greece, may be traced amid the hoary hieroglyphics of Egypt, recognized in the sculptured caves of Hindustan, and detected even in the pictured writings of Mexico. In Cuba and Tahiti, on the banks of the Orinoco, on the Pampas of Brazil, in the mountains of Peru, and in the Islands of the Pacific, the traveler has met with traces or traditions of the Flood, the Ark, and the rescue of the Favored Few. "The tradition of the Flood," says Hugh Miller, " may be properly regarded as universal,, seeing there is scarcely any considerable race of man among which, in some of its forms, it is not to be found." And Humboldt speaking of this fact says: “These ancient traditions of the human race, which we find dispersed over the whole surface of the globe, like the relics of a vast shipwreck, are highly interesting in the philosophical study of our own species. How many different tongues, belonging to branches that appear totally distinct, transmit to us the same facts. The traditions concerning races that have been destroyed, and the renewal of nature, scarcely vary in reality, though every nation gives them a local coloring. In the great continents, as in the smallest islands of the Pacific Ocean, it is always on the nearest and loftiest mountain that the remains of the human race have been saved; and this event appears the more recent in proportion as the nations are uncultivated, and as the knowledge they have of their own existence has no very remote date." So long as the descendants of Noah remained together in one region, the story of the Deluge would be one and the same among all. But as they multiplied and became dispersed, the account which the different tribes carried with them would unavoidably grow more or less blurred, and in time more or less distorted., as affected by the events of their own history, and by the features of their respective localities, till, though retaining the main facts, it assumed the varied, forms and colorings in which we now find it among the different nations of the globe. In these widespread but wonderfully concurrent traditions, therefore, we have a remarkable corroboration of the sacred history; for on no other ground can we rationally or credibly account for them, than that they have had their origin in one and the same event—the Deluge of the Bible.—Present Conflict of Science with Religion, 503.
PINDAR.—
In tales of ancient lore 'tis said
O'er earth, the whelming waters spread,
Urged all their congregated force.
But Jove's high will his headlong course
Bade the usurping foe restrain,
And sink absorbed the refluent main.
Olymp., IX., 75.
Gen. 8:44And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. (Genesis 8:4).—And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
MAHABHARATA.—The ship, guided by the deity, swam many years upon the sea, until it finally settled upon the highest summit of the mountain Himawân (Himalaya), when it was bound fast at the command of the deity. This summit is therefore still named at this day Nau Bandhanann (i. e., ship-binding); and from Manus descends the present race of mankind.—Prof. Bopp's Translation from the Sanskrit.
NICOLAUS. —There is a great mountain in Armenia, over Minyas, called Baris, upon which it is reported that many who fled at the time of the Deluge were saved; and that one who was carried in an ark came on shore on the top of it, and that the remains of the timber were a great while preserved.—Quoted in Josephus, Antiquities, B. I., Chap. 3, §6.
BEROSUS.—But there was one among those ancient giants that reverenced the gods, and was more wise and prudent than all the rest. This man, fearing the destruction, which he foresaw from the stars, would come to pass, began, in the seventy-eighth year before the inundation, to build a ship covered like an ark. Seventy-eight years from the time he began to build this ship, the ocean of a sudden broke out, and all the inland seas and the rivers and fountains bursting from beneath, attended by the most violent rains from heaven for many days, overflowed all the mountains, so that the whole human race was buried in the waters, except this man and his family, who were saved by means of the ship, which, being lifted up by the waters, rested at last upon the top of the Gendyœ or mountain, on which, it is reported, there now remaineth some part, and that men take away the bitumen from it, and make' use of it by way of charm or expiation to avoid evil.—Josephus, Ib.
OVID.—Here a mountain, named Parnassus, advances with two tops toward the stars, and with his lofty front rises above the clouds. When here Deucalion (for the sea had covered all the rest), carried in a little bark with the partner of his bed, first rested, they adore the Corycyan nymphs, the, deities of the mountains.—Metamorphoses, lines 315-320.
Gen. 8:6, 7, 86And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: 7And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. 8Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; (Genesis 8:6‑8).—And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; and he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. And he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground.
CHALDEAN TRADITION.—After the flood had been upon the earth, and was in time abated, Xisuthrus sent Out birds from the vessel, which, finding no food or place for rest, returned to him. After some days he sent them forth again, and they returned with their feet tinged with mud. Subsequently he made a third trial with them, and they returned no more, by which he judged that the surface of the earth had appeared above the waters. He therefore made an opening in the vessel, and on looking out found that it was stranded upon a mountain, which he afterward found to be in the land of Armenia.—Cory's Ancient Fragments.
MECHOACHAN TRADITION.—When the Great Spirit ordered the waters to subside, Tezpi sent out a bird called aura, which, finding food in dead carcasses, returned; then several other birds, till at length the humming bird returned with a branch in its beak.—Humboldt's Researches, Vol. II., p. 65.
MEXICAN TRADITION.—The Mexicans had paintings, representing the event, which showed a man and woman in a boat, or on a raft, a mountain rising above the waters, and a dove delivering the gift of language to the children of the saved pair.—Prescott, History of Mexico, Vol. III., p. 309, 310.
Gen. 8:1818And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him: (Genesis 8:18).—And Noah went forth [of the ark], and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him.
APAMÆAN MEDAL.—We have a striking memorial of Noah and his family quitting the ark in the famous Apamæan Medal. It was struck during the reign of Philip the Elder (in the fourth century B. C.), at the town of Apamæa in Phrygia. The city is known to have been formerly called Kibotos, or "The Ark;" and it is also known that the coins of cities in that age exhibited some leading point in their mythological history. The medal in question represents a kind of square vessel floating in the water. Through an opening in it are seen two persons, a man and a woman, the latter wearing a veil. Upon the upper verge of this chest or ark is perched a bird, and over against it another, which seems to flutter with its wings, and bears a branch, with which it approaches the ark. Before the vessel is a man following a woman, who, by their attitude, seem to have just quitted it, and to have gotten on the dry land. These are doubtless the same pair, shown at successive points of time in the scene. Whatever doubt might be entertained as to the purport of this representation, seems to be removed by the letters engraved upon the ark itself, beneath the persons enclosed therein. These letters are NΩE,. Noe; being the very name of Noah in its Greek form, and as used in the New Testament. This is a most surprising circumstance; not the representation, for we have others nearly as distinct, but that the very name of Noah should have been so long preserved among the heathen, in nearly its original form.—See Seguin's Selecta Numismata Antigua.
EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHICS.—Eminent Egyptologers assure us that the name of Noah is found on the monuments, represented as the "god of water." Osburn cites Champollion and Birch in favor of this interpretation of Nh, Nuh, Nou, etc., and has no doubt that the name is that of the Patriarch through whom the race was perpetuated after the Flood. The names of the First of the eight great gods of the Egyptians, as given by Wilkinson from the monuments, are believed to be different forms of the name of Noah. In the legend of Osiris, the chief primitive divinity of the Egyptians, incidents are stated which seem clearly to identify that deity with Noah of the Hebrew Scriptures. And we have perhaps a reminiscence of the three sons of Noah in the occurrence of numerous localities in Egypt in which a triad of deities was worshipped. Wilkinson gives a list of a number of such places, among them Thebes, with the names of the deities.—Prof. Hackett's Note in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, p. 2187.
Gen. 8:2020And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (Genesis 8:20).—And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar.
ASSYRIAN INSCRIPTIONS.—In the story of the Flood occurs this notable passage:—I sent the animals forth from the vessel to the four winds. I poured out a libation. I built an altar on the peak of the mountain, by seven herbs I cut, at the bottom of them I placed reeds and pines and simgar. The gods collected at its burning, the gods collected at its good burning, the gods like sum be over the sacrifice gathered. From of old also, the Great God in his course, the great brightness of Anu had created; when the glory of these gods, as of Ukni stone, on my countenance I could not endure; in those days I prayed that forever I might not endure.—Mr. George Smith's Translation.
POLYNESIAN MEMORIAL.—The tradition preserved by the inhabitants of Eimeo of the deluge states, that, after the inundation of the land, when the water subsided, a man landed from a canoe, near Tiatarpura, in their island, and erected an altar in honor of his god, and offered sacrifice.—Ellis, Polynesian Researches, Vol. II., p. 57.
Gen. 9:11And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. (Genesis 9:1).—And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
PROF. GEO. RAWLINSON, A. M.—To deny the occurrence of a Deluge, or to conclude that, in respect to mankind, it was partial, because some of the great divisions of the human family had no tradition on the subject, is to draw a conclusion directly in the teeth of the evidence. The evidence shows a consentient belief-a belief which has all the appearance of being original and not derived—among members of ALL the great races into which ethnologists have divided mankind. Among the Semites, the Babylonians, and the Hebrews—among the Hamites, the Egyptians—among the Aryans, the Indians, the Armenians, the Phrygians, the. Lithuanians, the Goths, the Celts, and the Greeks—among the TUranians, the Chinese, the Mexicans, the Red Indians, and the Polynesian Islanders, held the belief, which has thus the character of universal tradition—a tradition of which but one rational account can be given, namely, that it embodies the recollection of a fact in which all mankind was concerned.
It is remarkably confirmatory of the Biblical narrative to find that it unites details, scattered up and down the various traditional accounts, but nowhere else found in combination. It begins with the warning, which we find also in the Babylonian, the Hindu, and the Cherokee Indian versions. It comprises the care for animals, which is a feature of the Babylonian, the Indian and of one of the Polynesian stories. It reckons the saved as eight, as do the Fiji and Chinese traditions; as in the Chinese story these eight are a man, his wife, his three sons, and three daughters-in-law. In assigning a prominent part to birds in the experiments made before quitting the ark, it accords (once more) especially with the tradition of the Babylonians. In its mention of the dove, it possesses a feature preserved also by the Greeks and by the Mexicans. The olive-branch it has in common with the Phrygian legend, as appears from the famous medal struck at Apamæa Chibotus. Finally, in its record of the building of an altar, immediately after the saved quitted the ark, it has a touch that forms equally a portion of the Babylonian and of one Polynesian story.
Altogether, the conclusion seems irresistibly forced upon us that the Hebrew is the authentic narrative, of which the remainder are more or less corrupted versions. It is impossible to derive the Hebrew account from any of the other stories, while it is quite possible to derive all of them from it. Suppose the Deluge a fact, and suppose its details to have been such as the author of Genesis declares them to have been, then the wide-spread, generally accordant, but in part divergent, tradition is exactly what might have been anticipated under the circumstances. No other theory gives even a plausible explanation of the phenomena.—Historical Illust. of the Old Test., 21-23.
PROF. H. B. HACKETT, D. D., LL. D.—Some fifteen years ago, in excavating the site of the old palace of Nineveh, the debris of the royal library was found there. History in that age was written on clay tablets, and some of those found here were twenty-five hundred years old. They were brought to England, and deposited in the British Museum. Among those who have studied these inscriptions is Mr. George Smith, connected with the Museum, whom Sir Henry Rawlinson pronounces the greatest Assyrian scholar now living. Among these tablets Mr. Smith found some relating to the Flood, of which three different copies exist containing duplicate texts, and belonging to the time of Assurbanipal, about 670 B. C. The original text, as appears from the tablets, must have belonged to the city of Erech, and have been translated into the Semitic Babylonian at a very early period. The original composition is decided to be as old at least as the Nineteenth Century before the Christian era. The principal personage in these legends is Izdubar, a king who lived near the time of the great Deluge, and belonged to Erech, the capital of Nimrod. Izdubar, having conquered Belesus, a great king, and put on his rival's crown, and having married Ishtar, a princess of great beauty, became ill and began to fear death, man's great enemy. To escape such a fate he wandered forth in search of a patriarch named Sisit, whom the Babylonians supposed to have become immortal without having died. Izdubar hoped to learn from him the secret of his escape from the common lot of mortals, Arrived at the place where Sisit dwelt, he made known his request to him-but must converse across a stream which divided the immortal and the mortal from each other. Izdubar inquires of Sisit how he became immortal. Sisit, in answer to this question, relates
The Chaldean Story of the Flood
Izdubar after this manner said to Sisit afar off: Sisit, the account do thou tell to me, the account do thou tell to me to the midst to make war. I come up after thee; say how thou hast done it and in the circle of the gods life thou hast gained.
Sisit after this manner said to Izdubar: I will reveal to thee, Izdubar, the concealed story, and the wisdom of the gods I will relate to thee. The city Surippak, the city which thou hast established.... placed, was ancient, and the gods within it dwelt.... The great gods Anu, Bel, Ninip, lords of Hades, their will revealed in the midst of hearing, and he spoke to me thus: Surrippakite, son of Ubaratulu, make a great ship for thee. I will destroy the sinners and life; cause to go in the seed of life, all of it to preserve them. The ship which thou shalt make, cubits shall be the measure of its length, and cubits the amount of its breadth and its height. Into the deep launch it. I perceived, and said to Hea my lord, " Ilea, my lord, this that thou commandest me I will perform, it shall be done." Hea opened his mouth and spoke, and said to me his servant, " Thou shalt say unto them, he has turned from me and fixed.... " (Here there are about fifteen lines entirely lust; the absent passage probably'. scribed part of the building of the ark.).... I brought on the fifth day.... it. In its circuit fourteen measures.... Its sides, fourteen measures it measured....
Over it I placed its roof on it.. I enclosed it. I rode in it for the sixth time.
I ... . for the seventh time into the restless deep.... Its planks the water within it admitted. I saw breaks and holes.... My hand placed three measures of bitumen I poured over the outside; three measures of bitumen I poured over the inside; three measures the men carrying its baskets took.... They fixed an altar.... the altar for an offering. Two measures the altar ... .Paziru the pilot for... slaughtered oxen of ... .in that day also. Altar and grapes like the waters of a river, and like the day I covered, and when.... covering my hand placed. And Shamas  ... . the material of the ship completed. Strong and reeds I spread above and below. Went in two-thirds of it. All I possessed I collected it; all I possessed I collected of silver. All I possessed I collected of gold. All I possessed I collected of the seed of life; the whole I caused to go up into the ship; all my male and female servants: The beasts of the field, the animals of the field, and the sons of the army all of them, I caused to go up.
A flood Shamas made, and he spake saying in the night, "I will cause it to rain from heaven heavily; enter to the midst of the ship, and shut thy door." A flood he raised, and he spake saying in the night, “I will cause it to rain from heaven heavily." In the day that I celebrated his festival, the day which he had appointed, fear I had. I entered to the midst of the ship, and shut my door. To guide the ship, to Buzursadirabl the pilot, the palace I gave to his hand. The raging of a storm in the morning arose from the horizon of heaven extending and wide. Vul in the midst of it thundered, and Nebo and Saru went in front; the throne bearers went over mountains and plains; the destroyer Nergal overturned; Ninip went in front, and cast down; the spirits carried destruction; in their glory they swept the earth. Of Vul the flood, reached to heaven; the bright earth to waste was turned; the surface of the earth, like....it swept; it destroyed all life from the face of the earth. The strong tempest over the people reached to heaven. Brother saw not his brother, it did not spare the people. In heaven, the gods feared the tempest, and sought refuge; they ascended to the heaven of Anu. The gods, like dogs with tails hidden, couched down. Spake Ishtar a discourse, uttered the great goddess her speech,—" The world to sin has turned, and then I in the presence of the gods prophesied evil; to evil were devoted all my people; and I prophesied thus,—' I have begotten man, and let him not like the sons of the fishes fill the sea.' “The gods concerning the spirits, were weeping with her; the gods in seats, seated in lamentation; covered were their lips for the coming evil.
Six days and nights passed, the wind tempest and storm overwhelmed; on the seventh day in its course, was calmed the storm, and all the tempest, which had destroyed like an earthquake, quieted. The sea he caused to dry, and the wind and tempest ended. I was carried through the sea. The doer of evil, and the whole of mankind who turned to sin, like reeds their corpses floated. I opened the window, and the light broke in; over my refuge it passed; I sat still, and over my refuge came peace. I was carried over the shore, at the boundary of the sea, for twelve measures it ascended over the land. To the country of Nizir went the ship; the mountain of Nizir stopped the ship, and to pass over it, it was not able. The first day and the second day, the mountain of Nizir the same. The third day and the fourth day, the mountain of Nizir the same. The fifth and sixth, the mountain of Nizir the same.
On the seventh day, in the course of it, I sent forth a dove, and it left. The dove went and searched, and a resting-place it did not find, and it returned. I sent forth a swallow, and it left. The swallow went and searched, and a resting-place it did not find, and it returned. I sent forth a raven, and it left. The raven went, and the corpses on the waters it saw, and it did eat, it swam, and wandered away, and did not return. I sent the animals forth to the four winds. I poured out a libation. I built an altar on the peak of the mountain; by seven herbs I cut, at the bottom of them, I placed reeds, pines, and simgar. The gods collected at its burning, the gods collected at its good burning, the gods like sum be over the sacrifice gathered. From of old also, the great God in his course, the great brightness of Anu had created; when the glory of these gods, as of Ukni stone, on my countenance, I could not endure; in those days I prayed that forever I might not endure.
May the gods come to my altar; may Bel not come to my altar, for he did not consider, and had made a tempest, and my people he had consigned to the deep from of old; also Bel saw, in his course, the ship; and went Bel with anger filled to the gods and spirits: " Let not any one come out alive, let not a man be saved from the deep." Ninip his mouth opened and spake, and said, to the warrior Bel: “Who then will be saved? " Hea the words understood, and Hea knew all things. Hea his mouth opened and spake, and said to the warrior Bel: " Thou prince of the gods, warrior, when thou wast angry a tempest thou madest; the doer of sip did his sin, the doer of evil did his evil, may the exalted not be broken, may the captive not be delivered; instead of thee making a tempest, may lions increase and men be reduced; instead pf, thee making a tempest, may leopards increase and men be reduced; instead of thee making a tempest, may pestilence increase and men be destroyed." I did not peer into the wisdom of the gods, reverent and attentive a dream they sent, and the wisdom of the gods he heard.
When his judgment was accomplished, Bel went up to the midst of the ship; he took my hand and brought me out, me he brought out; he caused to bring my wife to my side; he purified the country; he established in a covenant, and took the people in the presence of Sisit and the people. When Sisit and his wife and the people, to be like the gods, were carried away, then dwelt. Sisit in a remote place at the mouth of the river; they took me, and in a remote place, at the mouth of the rivers, they seated me; when to thee whom the gods have chosen, thee and the life which thou hast sought, after thou shalt gain, this do for six days and seven nights, like I say also, in bonds bind him, the way like a storm shall be laid upon him. Sisit after this manner said to his wife: "announce that the chief who grasps at life the way like a storm shall be laid upon him; " his wife, after this manner, said to Sisit afar off: "Purify him, and let the man be sent away the road he came may he return in peace, the great gate open, and may he return to his country "Sisit, after this manner, said to his wife: "The cry of a man alarms thee; this do, his scarlet cloth place on his head; " and the day when he ascended the side of the ship, she did; his scarlet cloth she placed on his head, and the day when he ascended on the side of the ship.
Izdubar and Urhamsi rode in the boat, where they placed them they rode. His wife, after this manner, said to Sisit afar off: "Izdubar goes away, is satisfied, performs that which thou hast given him, and returns to his country;" and he heard, and after Izdubar he went to the shore. Sisit, after this manner, said to Izdubar: “Izdubar, thou goest away, thou art satisfied, thou performest that which I have given thee, and thou returnest to thy country. I have revealed to thee, Izdubar, the concealed story."—Mr. George Smith's Translation.
THE COMPILER.—The above Legend, while it embraces some things that are fabulous and not a little that is obscure, yet clearly embodies all the main facts connected with the deluge and the saving of Noah and his family, as related in the Bible. In it we have plainly set forth the excessive wickedness of mankind—God's warning of a coming Flood to destroy them—His command to his righteous servant to build an ark or ship—The measurements and directions given for its construction—The pitching of it within and without—The collecting of animals and food into it—The closing of the door—The heavy rain—The attendant earthquake convulsions—The rising of the waters higher and higher—The Flood over sweeping the whole face of the earth—All human and animal life destroyed—The gradual subsiding of the water—The ship or ark resting at length on the top of a mountain—The sending forth of birds one after another—The living creatures disembarked—The good man and his wife finally going forth—Their building of an altar and offering a sacrifice—And the gracious covenant of the Deity with them as they are sent forth to replenish the earth The number, the definiteness, and the high antiquity of these various corroborations of the sacred narrative, place this Assyrian Legend among the most wonderful and important archaeological discoveries of the present age.
Unity of the Race
PROF. HUXLEY, LL.D., F. R. S.—I am one of those that believe that, at present, there is no evidence whatever for saying, that mankind sprang originally from any more than a single pair; I must say, that I cannot see any good ground whatever, or even any tenable sort of evidence, for believing that there is more than one species of Man.—Origin of Species, p. 113.
PROFESSOR OWEN, F. R. S.—I have come to the conclusion that man forms one species, and that differences are but indicative of varieties. The unity of the human species is demonstrated, by the constancy of those osteological and dental characters to which the attention is more particularly directed in the investigation of the corresponding characters in the higher quadrumana.—Lecture before Cambridge University, p. 103.
PROF. CHARLES DARWIN, LL.D.—I have no doubt that all the races of man are descended from a single primitive stock.—Desc. of Man, I., p. 220.
DR. JOHN HARRIS.—Physiology demonstrates the identity of the various races of mankind in all the great laws of animal economy. The most dissimilar races are found also to be psychologically identical. All are amenable to the same laws of motive and action. Sympathies and emotions in common proclaim "the whole world kin." Comparative Philology, likewise, tends, as far as its researches have hitherto gone, to affirm positively the unity of the human race. The descent of mankind from a single stock is further supported by analogy. In short, all the branches of evidence appropriate to the inquiry support each other, and unite in authenticating the conclusion that the human species is one, and that all the differences which it exhibits are to be regarded merely as varieties.—Man Primeval, 26-30.
BARON HUMBOLDT.—The different races of men are forms of one sole species; they are not different species of a genus. Deeply rooted in the innermost nature of man, and enjoined upon him by the highest tendencies, the recognition of this bond of humanity becomes one of the noblest leading principles in the history of mar kind.—Cosmos.
JOHN KITTO, D. D., F. S. A.—That all the tribes and nations of mankind have a common origin, is the doctrine of Scripture, and that doctrine has been abundantly confirmed by the most learned and able researches into the physical history of man.—Daily Bible Illustrations, p. 163.
Noah Drinking Wine
Gen. 9:20-2320And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: 21And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. 22And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. 23And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. (Genesis 9:20‑23).—And Noah began to be a husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: and he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And them and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and they saw not the nakedness of their father.
HENRY HUNTER, D. D.—Behold the juice of the grape in a new state, possessing a quality unheard of before. Eaten from the tree, or dried in the sun, it is simple and nutritious, like the grain from the stalk of corn; pressed out and fermented, it acquires a fiery force, it warms the blood, it mounts to the brain, it leads reason captive, it overpowers every faculty, it triumphs over its lord. How often have arts been invented which have proved fatal to the inventors?—. Sacred Biography.
THE PADMA-PURAN, of the Hindus.—Satayvarman (the Rescued One), being continually delighted with devout meditation, and seeing his sons fit for dominion, laid upon them the burden of government, whilst he remained honoring and satisfying the gods, and priests, and kine. One day, by the act of destiny, the king, having drunk mead, became senseless, and lay asleep naked; then was he seen by C'harma, and by him were his two brothers called, to whom he said, " What now has befallen? In what state is this our sire?" By those two was he hidden with clothes, and called to his senses again. Having recovered his intellect, and perfectly knowing what had passed, he cursed 'C'harma, saying, "Thou shalt be the servant of servants; and since thou wart a laughter in their presence, from laughter thou shalt acquire a name." Then he gave to Sherma the wide domain, on the south of the snowy mountains; and to Jyapeti he gave all in the north of the snowy mountains; but he, by the power of religious contemplation, attained supreme bliss.—Sir William Jones Translation.
Genealogy of the Sons of Noah
Gen. 10:1-321Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. 2The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. 3And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. 4And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. 5By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. 6And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. 7And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtecha: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan. 8And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. 9He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. 10And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, 12And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city. 13And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, 14And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim. 15And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth, 16And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, 17And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, 18And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. 19And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha. 20These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations. 21Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born. 22The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram. 23And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash. 24And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber. 25And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan. 26And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah, 27And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah, 28And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba, 29And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan. 30And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the east. 31These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations. 32These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood. (Genesis 10:1‑32).—Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah; Shem, Ham and Japheth and unto them were sons born after the flood, etc.
W. FRASER, LL. D.—The very first historical sections of the Bible, so long held in contempt, have of late not only attracted the attention of the greatest scholars, but have won their homage. No unbiased scholar will now dare to scoff at the tenth chapter of Genesis. To this chapter, as an ethnological table, scholars of opposite religious tendencies have united in paying homage. In the study of the earliest monarchies—the Egyptian, the Chaldæan, and the Assyrian—historians thankfully turn to the Book which was long scoffed at by those who plumed themselves on their varied scholarship. It sheds so much light on the first movements of different peoples, and on the foundation of empires, that it cannot be repudiated without injury to historical science.—Blending Lights, 253-255.
PROF. TAYLOR LEWIS.—The tenth chapter of Genesis is as essential to an understanding of the Bible, and of history in general, as is Homer's catalog in the second Book of the Iliad to a true knowledge of the Homeric poems and the Homeric times.—Lange's Commentary on Genesis, In loco.
PROF. G. RAWLINSON, M. A.—In the genealogy of the tenth chapter of Genesis, the first feature which strikes us is the enumeration of the various races under three heads—" the sons of Japheth," " the sons of Ham," and " the sons of Shem." Now here it is at once noteworthy, that modern ethnological science, having set itself by a careful analysis of facts to establish a classification of races, has similarly formed a triple division of mankind, and speaks of all races as either, Semitic, Aryan, or TUranian. Moreover, when we examine the groups which the author of the tenth chapter of Genesis has thrown together, we find, to say the least, a most remarkable agreement between the actual arrangement which he has made, and the conclusions to which ethnological inquirers have come from a consideration of the facts of human language and physical type. Setting aside the cases where the ethnic names employed are of doubtful application, it cannot reasonably be questioned that the author has in his account of the sons of Japheth, classified together the Cymry or Celts (Gomer), the Medes (Madai), and the Ionians or Greeks (Javan), thereby anticipating what has become known in modern times as " the Indo-European theory," or the essential unity of the Aryan (Asiatic) race with the principal races of Europe, indicated by the Celts and the Ionians. Nor can it be doubted that he has thrown together, under the one head of " children of Shem," the Assyrians (Asshur), the Syrians (Aram), the Hebrews (Eber), and the Joktanian Arabs (Joktan), four of the principal races which modern ethnology recognizes under the heading of " Semitic." Again, under the heading of “sons of Ham," the author has arranged " Cush," i. e., the Ethiopians; " Mizraim," the people of Egypt; " Sheba and Dedan," or certain of the southern Arabs; and " Nimrod," or the ancient people of Babylon; four races between which the latest linguistic re searches have established a close affinity. Beyond a question, the tendency of modern ethnological inquiry has been to establish the accuracy of the document called in Genesis the Toldoth Beni Noah, or the Genealogy of the sons of Noah, and to create a feeling among scientific ethnologists that it is a record of the very highest value; one which, if it can be rightly interpreted, may be thoroughly trusted.—Hist. Illust. of the Old Test., p. 24-26.
SIR H. RAWLINSON.—The tenth chapter of Genesis is the most authentic record that we possess for the affiliation of nations.—Journal of the Asiatic Society, Vol. XV., p. 230.
DR. KARL RITTER.—Of all the writings of antiquity, none are receiving such confirmation from the modern researches in geography and ethnography as this chapter of Genesis.-Quoted by Prof. H. B. Hackett.
DR. KALISCH. —This unparalleled list, the combined result of reflection and deep research, is no less valuable as a historical document than as a lasting proof of the brilliant capacity of the Hebrew mind.—Comment. on Genesis, p. 194.
Primitive Babylonian Kingdom
BABYLONIAN DOCUMENTS.—The primitive Babylonian kingdom is declared in the tenth chapter of Genesis to have been Cushite. Baron Bunsen held that there were no Cushites out of Africa, and that "an Asiatic Cush existed only in the imagination of Biblical interpreters, and was the child of their despair." But an analysis of the earliest documents recovered from Babylonia has shown that the primitive Babylonian people, that which raised the first structures whereof any trace remains in the country, and whose buildings had gone to ruin in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, was (at any rate to a large extent) Cushite, its vocabulary being " undoubtedly Cushite or Ethiopian," and presenting numerous analogies with those of the non-Semitic races of Abyssinia. Hence modern historical science, in the person of one of its best representatives, M. Lenormant, commences now the history of the East with a " First Cushite Empire," which it regards as dominant in Babylonia for several centuries before the earliest Semitic Empire arose.—Prof. Geo. Rawlinson, Modern Skepticism, p. 271.
DR. DANIEL MARCH.—The founder of Nineveh is described in the Bible as “a mighty hunter before the Lord." His successors in the monarchy retained the spirit and prowess of their great ancestor. Tiglath-pileser, who repeatedly overran Palestine with his devastating armies, caused his exploits in the chase to be recorded upon a terra-cotta cylinder, which was found amid the ruins of his palace. In that inscription he claims to have killed 920 lions with his own hand. The bas-reliefs of other kings make them as mighty in conflict with the king of beasts. The walls of temples and palaces are covered with sculptures and inscriptions, representing these mighty hunters engaged in hand-to-hand conflict with lions, bulls, buffaloes and wild boars. They claim the homage of their people and the admiration of mankind as much for victories over beasts as for the defeat of great armies, and the capture of strong cities.—Research and Travels in Bible Lands.
INSCRIPTION OF TIGLATH-PILESER. I. (B. C. 1150.)—.I have omitted many hunting expeditions which were not connected with my warlike achievements. In pursuing after the game, I traversed the easy tracts in my chariots, and the difficult tracts on foot. I demolished the wild animals throughout my territories. Under the auspices of Hercules, my guardian deity, four wild bulls, strong and fierce, in the desert, with my long arrows tipped with iron, and with heavy blows I took their lives. Their skins and their horns I brought to my city of Ashur. Ten large wild buffaloes in the country of Kharran, and the plains of the river Khabur, I slew. Four buffaloes I took alive. Under the auspices of my guardian deity Hercules two sass of lions fell before me. In the course of my progress on foot I slew them, and 800 lions in my chariots, in my exploratory journeys, I laid low. All the beasts of the field and the flying birds of heaven I made the victims of my shafts.—Records of the Past, Vol. V., p. 20.
Gen. 10:1010And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. (Genesis 10:10).—And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
MR. GEORGE SMITH, BRIT. Mus.—I identify Nimrod with Izdubar. In the Chaldean Tablets, Izdubar is a prominent and leading character. He appears as a mighty leader—a man strong in war and hunting—a giant who gained dominion in Babylonia. The whole Euphrates valley was at this time divided into petty kingdoms, and Izdubar, by his prowess, subdued many of these, making thus the first empire in Asia. The center of his empire appears to have lain in the region of Shinar, at Babylon, Accad, Erech, and Nissur, and agrees with the site of the kingdom of Nimrod, according to Genesis. All these cities were ultimately within the dominion of Izdubar, whose character as a hunter, leader and king corresponds with that of Nimrod. For these and other reasons I identify him with Nimrod.Chaldean Genesis, p. 174.
Relation of Assyria to Babylonia
Gen. 10:11, 1211Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, 12And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city. (Genesis 10:11‑12).—Out of that land (Shinar) went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; the same is a great city.
MESOPOTAMIAN MONUMENTS.—Of this account by Moses the most remarkable points are, (1) The contrast of ethnic character noted as existing between the two neighboring peoples; (2) The priority ascribed to Babylon over Nineveh, and to the primitive Babylonian over the Assyrian Kingdom; and (3) The derivation of the Assyrians from Babylonia. Till within a few years these statements seemed to involve great difficulties. Almost all ancient writers spoke of the Babylonians and Assyrians as kindred races, if not even as one people. Those who profess to be acquainted with their early history declared that Assyria was the original seat of empire; that Nineveh was built before Babylon; and that the latter city owed its origin to an Assyrian princess, who conquered the country and built there a provincial capital. It is one of the main results of the recent Mesopotamian researches to have entirely demolished this view, which rests really on the sole authority of Ctesias. The recovered monuments show that THE MOSAICAL ACCOUNT IS, IN ALL RESPECTS, TRUE. The early Babylonians are proved to hive been of an entirely distinct race from the Assyrians, whose language is Semitic, while that of their southern neighbors is Cushite. A Babylonian kingdom is found to haste flourished for centuries before there was any independent Assyria, or any such city as Nineveh.—Prof. George Rawlinson, Historical Illustrations of the Old Testament, p. 32, 33.
The City of Calah
ASSYRIAN INSCRIPTIONS.—J. L. Porter identifies Calah with Kalah-Shergat, forty miles south of Nimrûd, on the right bank of the Tigris. This, he observes, was one of the most ancient places in Assyria. On a cylinder discovered there is an inscription recording the fact that the King Tiglath-pileser restored a monument which had been taken down sixty years previously, after having stood for 641 years. It must, therefore, have been founded about B. C. 1870. On the bricks and pottery found at Kalah are the names and titles of the earliest known Assyrian Kings. The name Asshur is found among them.—Smith's Dirt. of the Bible, ft. 343.
Confusion of Tongues
Gen. 11:11And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. (Genesis 11:1).—And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech.
WILLIAM LATHAM BEVAN, M. A.—No one can doubt that the tendency of all linguistic research is in the direction of unity of language. Already it has brought within the bonds of a well-established relationship languages so remote from each other in external guise, in age, and in geographical position as Sanskrit and English, Celtic and Greek. It has done the same for other groups of languages equally widely extended, but presenting less opportunities of investigation. It has recognized affinities between languages which the ancient Greek ethnologist would have classed under the head of "barbarian" in reference to each other, and even in many instances where the modern philologist has anticipated no relationship. The lines of discovery therefore point in one direction, and favor the expectation that the various families of tongues may be combined by the discovery of connecting links into a single family, comprehending in its capacious bosom all the languages of the world.—In Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, p. 3287.
JAMES COWLES PRICHARD, M. D., F. R. S., M. R. I. A.—There is internal evidence in the whole group of Japhetic languages themselves sufficient to prove that they grew by gradual dialectic development out of one common matrix. Any person who considers, with competent knowledge of these languages, the nature of their relations to each other, the fact that their original roots are for the most part common, and that in the great system of grammatical inflection pervading these languages there is nothing else than the varied development of common principles, must be convinced that the differences between them are but the result of the gradual deviation of one common language into a multitude of diverging dialects; and the ultimate conclusion that is forced upon us is that the Indo-European nations are the descendants of one original people, and consequently, that the varieties of complexion, form, stature and other physical qualities which exist among them, are the results of deviation from an original type. —Report on Ethnology, p. 244.
W. FRASER, LL.D.—The inference is fully warranted by what has been ascertained, that nothing valuable has been added to the substance of languages, that its changes have been those of form only, and that no new root or radical has been invented by later generations. The Teutonic languages of Europe are illustrated by the language of Persia; the Latin of Italy connects itself with Russian idioms; and Greek with the Sanskrit of India. From Ceylon, with its fragrant breezes, to Iceland with its wintry storms, there is, irrespective of form, of color, of social life, and religious institutions, but one belt of language. The
American tribes of the far West, Humboldt has assured us, are indissolubly united to the inhabitants of Asia; the languages of Shem, Ham and Japheth have a common affinity; hills, plains, and climates change, but language in its substantial elements is really more enduring than the pyramids of Egypt, the ruins of Palmyra, or the statues of Greece.—Blending Lights, p. 132.
KLAPROTH.—All languages in the world are connected with one origin: a universal affinity is completely demonstrated. HERDER.—The human race and human language go back to one source.—Quoted In Present Conflict of Science with Religion, p. 380.
The various facts that have proved to the satisfaction of such men as HUXLEY, DARWIN, HUMBOLDT, LYELL, PRICHARD, SMITH, BALBI, ADELUNG, ROUGEMONT, and BACHMAN, that the whole human race has descended from a single primitive stock-prove with equal conclusiveness that there was a time when, according to the Scripture, " the whole earth was of one lip and of one speech."
HERODOTUS.—The earth of the trench (for the walls of Babylon) was first of all laid in heaps, and when a sufficient quantity was obtained, made into square bricks, and baked in a furnace. They used as cement a composition of heated bitumen, which, mixed with the tops of reeds, was placed between every thirtieth course of bricks.—Clio, c. 179.
XENOPHON.—The wall of Media was built of burned bricks laid in bitumen.
Anab., Lib. II., c. 4.
STRABO.—The liquid asphaltus, which is called naphtha, is found in Susiana; the dry kind, which can be made solid, in Babylonia. There is a spring of it near the Euphrates. Others say that the liquid kind also is found in Babylonia. —Strati., Lib. XVI., c. 1.
Gen. 11:44And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. (Genesis 11:4).—And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven: and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
ALEXANDER POLYHISTOR.—(This writer, who flourished about one hundred years before Christ, has the following passage): Eupolemus, in his book concerning the Jews of Assyria, says, that the city of Babylon was first built by those who had been preserved from the Deluge; that they were giants; that they also erected the tower of which history gives account; but that it was overthrown by the mighty power from God, and consequently the giants were scattered abroad over fly:, whole earth.—As quoted in Noah and his Times, p. 336.
ABYDENUS.—(This writer lived in the fourth century before Christ, and states): There are some who say that the first men sprung out of the earth; that they boasted of their strength and size; that they contemptuously maintained themselves to be superior to the gods; that they erected a lofty tower where now is Babylon; then, when it had been carried up almost to heaven, the very winds came to assist the gods, and overthrew the vast structure upon its builders. Its ruins were called Babylon. The men, who before had possessed one tongue, were brought by the gods to a many-sounding voice; and afterward war arose between Saturn and Titan. Moreover, the place in which they built the tower is now called Babylon, on account of the confusing of the prior clearness with respect to speech; for the Hebrews call “confusion” Babel.—Abyden. ap. Euseb. Prœp., Ev. IX., 14.
PROF. GEO. RAWLINSON, M. A.—It may have been a recollection of this event, though one much dimmed and faded, which gave rise to the Greek myth of the war between the gods and the giants, and the attempt of the latter to scale heaven by piling one mountain upon another.—Historical Illustrations of the Old Testament, p. 28.
Gen. 11:5, 75And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. (Genesis 11:5)
7Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. (Genesis 11:7)
.—And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the children of men builded; and there confounded their language that they might not understand one another's speech.
REV. W. FRASER, LL. D.—It would have been inconsistent with the method of the divine government, so far as we can judge, to introduce a multitude of dialects, and make each, man unintelligible to his companion; and it appears from the record itself that the confusion was orderly or regulated, for we are told anticipatively in the tenth chapter that the descendants of Japheth, of Ham, and of Shem, were divided " after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations." Of each of the three, successively, is the same account given. Is it not very significant to find the descendants of Japheth, Ham, and Shem separately described as peopling the earth “after their families and after their tongues?" From these families, it would seem, have all the languages in the world been gradually evolved; and is it not perfectly consistent with this Bible statement to find eminent philologists of all ranks concurring in the conclusion, that the languages and dialects of the world are reducible to three distinct families or groups—the Aryan, the Semitic, and TUranian?—Blending Lights, p. 255.
CHEV. BUNSEN.—Comparative philology would have been compelled to set forth as a postulate the supposition of some such division of languages in Asia, especially on the ground of the relation of the Egyptian language to the Shemitic, even if the Bible had not assured us of the truth of this great historical event.
It is truly wonderful—it is matter of astonishment—it is more than a mere astounding fact, that something so purely historical, yet divinely fixed-something so conformable to reason, and yet not to be conceived of as a mere natural development—is here related to us out of the oldest primeval period, and which now, for the first time, through the new science of philology, has become capable of being historically and philosophically explained.—Blending Lights, 256.
Gen. 11:88So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. (Genesis 11:8).—So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
BARON VON HUMBOLDT.—The comparative study of languages shows us that races now separated by vast tracts of land are allied together, and have migrated from one common primitive seat; it indicates the course and direction of all migrations, and, in tracing the leading epochs of development, recognizes, by means of the more or less changed structure of the language in the permanence of certain forms, or in the more or less advanced destruction of the formative system, which race has retained most nearly the language common to all who had emigrated from the general seat of origin.—Cosmos, II., 471.
CHEV. BUNSEN.—From the mutual affinities exhibited by their languages, all the nations which, from the dawn of history to our days, have been the leaders of civilization in Asia, Europe and Africa, must have had one beginning. This is the chief lesson which the knowledge of the Egyptian language teaches us.—Report on Ethnology, p. 294.
THE NINEVEH CREATION TABLETS.—The father.... of him, his heart was evil.... against the father of all the gods was wicked... of him his heart was evil.... Babylon brought to subjection, small and great he confounded their speech. Their strong place (tower) all day long they founded; to their strong place in the night entirely, he made an end. In his anger also word thus he poured out: to scatter abroad he set his face. He gave, this command, their counsel was confounded.... the course he broke... fired the sanctuary. —Chaldean Account of Genests, p. 160.
PROF. GEORGE RAWLINSON, M. A.—A further tangible evidence of the confusion of man's speech in Babylonia, or, at any rate, a fact which harmonizes completely with the scriptural statement that Babylonia was the scene of the confusion, is to be found in the character of the language which appears on the earliest monuments of the country-monuments which reach back to a time probably as remote as B. c. 2300, and almost certainly anterior to the date of Abraham. This monumental language is especially remarkable for its mixed character. It is TUranian in its structure, Cushite or Ethiopian in the bulk of its vocabulary, while at the same time it appears to contain both Semitic and Aryan elements. The people who spoke it must, it would seem, have been living in close contact with Aryan and Semitic races, while they were themselves TUranian, or Turano-Cushite, and must have adopted from those races a certain number of terms.
This would be natural if the varieties of human speech were first found in Babylonia, and if the dispersion of mankind took place from thence, for some portions of the race that migrates almost always remain in the original country. It must be added that, except in Babylonia, a mixed character is not observable in such early languages as are known to us, which are commonly either distinctly TUranian, distinctly Aryan, or distinctly Semite.—Hist. Illus. of O. T., p. 28.
DR. OPPERT.—(This writer, who is admitted to be the highest authority on Babylonian antiquities, makes the following' statements): The history of the confusion of languages was preserved at Babylon, as we learn by the testimonies of classical and Babylonian authorities. The Talmudists say that the true site of the Tower of Babel was at Borsif, the Greek Borsippa, the Birs Nimrud, seven miles and a half from Hillah, S. W., and nearly eleven miles from the northern ruins of Babylon. The Babylonian name of this locality, Barsip, or Barzipa, we explain by "Tower of Tongues." The French Expedition to Mesopotamia found at the Birs Nimrud a clay cake, dated from Barsip, the Both day of the 6th month of the 16th year of Nabonid, and the discovery confirmed the hypothesis of several travelers, who had supposed the Birs Nimrud to contain the remains of Borsippa. Borsippa, or the Tongue Tower, was formerly a suburb of Babylon, when the old Babel was merely restricted to the northern ruins, before the great extension of the city, which, according to ancient writers, was the greatest that the sun ever warmed with its beams. The historical writers respecting Alexander state that Borsippa had a great sanctuary dedicated to Apollo and Artemis, and the former is the building elevated on the very basement of the Old Tower of Babel. This building, erected by Nebuchadnezzar, is the same that Herodotus describes as the Tower of Jupiter Belus. The temple of Borsippa is written with an ideogram, composed of the signs for house and spirit, the real pronunciation of which was probably Sarakh, Tower. Nebuchadnezzar gives notice of this building in the Borsippa inscription (given below). He named it the temple of the Seven Lights of the Earth, i. e., the planets.—In Smith's Dict. of the Bible, p. 3303.
BORSIPPA INSCRIPTION.—Nabuchodonosor, king of Babylon, shepherd of peoples, who attests the immutable affection of Merodach, the mighty ruler-exalting Nebo; the savior, the wise man who, lends his ears to the orders of the highest god; the lieutenant without reproach, the repairer of the pyramid and the Tower, eldest son of Nabopallassar, king of Babylon.
We say: Merodach, the great master, has created me: he has imposed on me to reconstruct his building. Nebo, the guardian over the legions of heaven and the earth, has charged my hands with the scepter of justice.
The pyramid is the temple of the heaven and the earth, the seat of Merodach, the chief of the gods; the place of the oracles, the spot of his rest, I have adorned in the form of a cupola, with shining gold.
The Tower, the eternal house, which I founded and built, I have completed its magnificence with silver, gold, other metals, stone, enameled bricks, fir, and pine.
The first, which is the house of the earth's base, the most ancient monument of Babylon, I built and finished it; I have highly exalted its head with-bricks covered with copper.
We say for the other, that is, this edifice, the House of the Seven-lights of the Earth, the most ancient monument of Borsippa: a former king built it (they reckon 42 ages), but he did not complete its head. Since a. remote time people had abandoned it, without order expressing their words. Since that time, the earthquake and the thunder had dispersed its sun-dried clay; the bricks of the casing had been split, and the earth of the interior had been scattered in heaps. Merodach, the great lord, excited my mind to repair this building. I did not change the site, nor did I take away the foundation-stone. In a fortunate month, an auspicious day, I undertook to build porticos around the crude brick masses, and the casing of burnt bricks. I adapted the circuits. I put the inscription of my name in the Kitir of the porticos.
I set my hand to finish it, and to exalt its head. As it had been in former times, so I founded, I made it; as it had been in ancient days, so I exalted its summit.
Nebo, son of himself, ruler who exaltest Merodach, be propitious to my works to maintain my authority. Grant me a life until the remotest time, a seven-fold progeny, the stability of my throne, the victory of my sword, the pacification of foes, the triumph over the lands! In the columns of thy eternal table, that fixes the destinies of the heaven and of the earth, bless the course of my days, inscribe the fecundity of my race.
Imitate, O Merodach, king of heaven and earth, the father who begot thee: bless my buildings, strengthen my authority. May Nebuchadnezzar, pie king-repairer, remain before thy face!
This allusion to the Tower of the Tongues is the only one that has as yet been discovered in the cuneiform inscriptions. The story is a Shemitic and not only a Hebrew one, and we have no reason whatever to doubt of the existence of the same story at Babylon. The ruins of the building elevated on the spot where the story placed the Tower of the Dispersion of Tongues, have therefore a more modern origin, but interest nevertheless by their stupendous appearance.— Oppert, in Smith's Dict. of the Bible, p. 3304.
Egypt in the Time of Abraham
Gen. 12:10-2010And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. 11And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: 12Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. 13Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee. 14And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 15The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. 16And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. 17And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife. 18And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? 19Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. 20And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had. (Genesis 12:10‑20).—And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there: for the famine was grievous in the land. And it came to pass, when he was come near, etc.
PROF. GEORGE RAWLINSON, M. A.—This history is very concise. Abram is living as a nomad chief in Palestine, when there occurs a severe famine, which induces him to take refuge in Egypt. There the king of the country, who is called Pharaoh, hearing of the beauty of Abraham's wife, whom he has represented as his sister, sends for her, intending to marry her; but before the marriage is consummated, discovering her real relationship to the patriarch, he rebukes him and sends the pair away. The narrative is very brief; but we learn from it: 1. That Egypt was already under a settled government, having a king, and "princes" who acted as the king's subordinates. 2. That the name or title of the monarch was one which to the ears of the Hebrews sounded “Pha-ra-oh." 3. That the country was one to which recourse was naturally had by the inhabitants of neighboring lands in a time of scarcity. Now on all these points the sacred narrative is in harmony with profane sources. History Proper, the history of states, begins with Egypt, where there is reason to believe that a settled government was established, and monarchical institutions set up, at an earlier date than in any other country.
That a name, or title, near to Pharaoh, might be borne by an Egyptian king, appears from Herodotus; and modern hieroglyphic research has pointed out more than one suitable title (ex. gr. Ph' Ra, Peraa, Perao), which Hebrews might represent by the characters found in Genesis. The character of Egypt as a granary of surrounding nations is notorious; and this character has attached to her throughout the entire course of her history. The narrative of Gen. 12:10-2010And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. 11And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: 12Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. 13Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee. 14And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 15The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. 16And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. 17And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife. 18And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? 19Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. 20And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had. (Genesis 12:10‑20), therefore, brief as it is, contains at least three points capable of confirmation or refutation from profane sources, and on all these points those sources confirm it.—Hist. Illus. of the O. T., p. 35-37.
Abraham at Bethel
Gen. 13:33And he went on his journeys from the south even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Hai; (Genesis 13:3), 4.—And Abram went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.
MR. GEORGE GROVE, Crystal Palace, London.—When on the spot little doubt can be felt as to the localities of this interesting place. The round mount southeast of Bethel must be the mountain on which Abram built the altar, and on which he and Lot stood when they made their division of the land (Gen. 13: 10). It is still thickly strewn on its top with stones formed by nature for the building of “altar " or sanctuary. As the eye turns involuntarily eastward, it takes in a large part of the plain of Jordan opposite Jericho; distant it is true, but not too distant to discern in that clear atmosphere the lines of verdure that mark the brooks which descend from the mountains beyond the river, and fertilize the plain even in its present neglected state. Further south lies, as in a map, fully half of that sea which now covers the once fertile oasis of " the cities of the plain," and which in those days was " as the garden of the Lord, even as the land of Egypt." Eastward again of this mount, at about the same distance on the left that Bethel is on the right, overlooking the Wady Suweinit, is a third hilt crowned by a remarkably desolate-looking mass of gray debris, the most perfect heap of ruin to be seen in that country of ruins. This is Tell er-Rijmeh, “the mound of the heap," agreeing in every particular of name, aspect, and situation with Ai.—In Smith's Dict. of the Bible, p. 289.
Gen. 13:5, 65And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 6And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. (Genesis 13:5‑6).—And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together; for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.
PROF. H. B. HACKETT, D. D., LL. D.—The sojourn of Abram and Lot with their flocks and herds in this region implies that it was very fertile, and Well' suited to their pastoral occupations. The writer can testify that it maintains still its ancient character in this respect. The cattle which he saw there surpassed in number and size any that he saw at any one time in any other place. Springs abound: and a little to the west, toward Jafna, the Roman Gophna, was a flooded meadow, which as late as the 28th of April was almost large enough to be called a lake.—In Smith's Dict. of the Bible, p. 290.
Gen. 13:1010And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. (Genesis 13:10).—And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as thou comest unto Zoar.
J. L. PORTER, A. M.—In the early morning, crossing a rocky glen, I ascended the mountain to the spot where Abraham pitched his tent and built his altar, "having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east." Here I found a little plateau, stony but fertile, on the very crest of the hill; and on reaching it the valley of. the Jordan, and the glittering waters of the Dead Sea suddenly burst upon my view, lying deep, deep down at the foot of a dreary wilderness. On this spot Abraham and Lot had that memorable interview after their herdsmen had disputed, and “they found that the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together, for their substance was great." There and then they resolved to separate; and "Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan that it was well watered: " and he chose that region as his abode. How wonderfully graphic did the whole narrative appear to me as I read it on that mountain-top!—Giant Cities of Bashan, p. 178.
Gen. 13:14, 1514And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. (Genesis 13:14‑15).—And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and lo thy seed forever.
PROF. ARTHUR PENRHY STANLEY, D. D.—Bethel was the first place where Abraham is said to have "pitched his tent," when he journeyed through the land, "going on still toward the south," on his way to Egypt; and to the same spot, " even to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, unto the place of the altar which he had made there at the first " (so emphatically is the locality marked), he came again as to the familiar scene of his first encampment, on his return to Egypt. The tent and the altar were not, however, strictly speaking, at Bethel, but on “the mountain east of Bethel, having Bethel on the west, and Ai on the east." This is a precision the more to be noticed, because it makes the whole difference in the truth and vividness of the remarkable scene which follows. Immediately east of the low gray hills on which the Canaanitish Luz and the Jewish Bethel afterward stood, rises—as the highest of a succession of eminences, each now marked by some vestige of ancient edifices—a conspicuous hill, its topmost summit resting, as it were, on the rocky slopes below, and distinguished from them by the, olive grove which clusters over its broad surface above. From this height, thus offering a natural base for the patriarchal altar"; and a fitting shade for the patriarchal tent, Abraham and Lot must be conceived as taking the wide survey of the country " on the right hand and on the left," such as can be enjoyed from no other point in the neighborhood. To the east there rises in the foreground the jagged range of the hills above Jericho; in the distance the dark wall of Moab; between them lies the wide valley of the Jordan—its course marked by the tract of forest in which its rushing stream is enveloped; and down to this valley, a long and deep ravine, now, as always, the main line of communication by which it is approached from the central hills of Palestine; a ravine rich with vine, olive, and fig, winding its way through ancient reservoirs and sepulchers, remains of a civilization now extinct, but in the times of the patriarchs not yet begun. To the south and the west the view commanded the bleak hills of Judaea, varied by the heights crowned with what were afterward the cities of Benjamin, and overhanging what in a later day was to be Jerusalem; and in the far distance the southern range on whose slope is Hebron. Northward are the hills which divide Judaea from the rich plains of Samaria.
This is the view which was to Abraham what Pisgah was afterward to his great descendant. "And the Lord said to Abram after that Lot had separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward; for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever.... and I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth, so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it, for I will give it unto thee." Those bleak hills were indeed to be the sites of cities whose names would be held in honor after the very ruins of the seats of a corrupt civilization in the garden of the Jordan would have been swept away; that dreary view, unfolded then in its primeval desolation before the eyes of the now solitary patriarch, would be indeed peopled with a mighty nation through many generations, with mighty recollections " like the dust of the earth in number, forever."—Sinai and Palestine, ft. 214-216.
Invasion of Chedorlaomer
Gen. 14:1-121And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations; 2That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. 3All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea. 4Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim, 6And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto El-paran, which is by the wilderness. 7And they returned, and came to En-mishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezon-tamar. 8And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim; 9With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five. 10And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain. 11And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. 12And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. (Genesis 14:1‑12).—And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations; that these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar, etc.
PROF. GEO. RAWLINSON, M. A.—It appears by the narrative of this chapter ‘Gen. 14.) that in the interval between the time of Nimrod and that of Abraham, power had passed from the hands of the Babylonians into those of a neighboring nation, the Elamites, who exercised a suzerainty over the lower Mesopotamian country, and felt themselves strong enough to make warlike expeditions into the distant land of Palestine. The king of Elam in the time of Abraham was Chedor-laomer; who, assisted by his vassal-monarchs, invaded Palestine, defeated the princes of the country, and forced them to become his subjects. After twelve years, however, they revolted, and a second expedition was led by Chedor-laomer into the country, which resulted in another defeat of the Palestinian monarchs.—Hist. Illust. of the Old Testament, p. 37.
IDEM.—Now till very recently there was no profane evidence that Elam had ever been an independent state (as indicated in Scripture), much less a powerful kingdom, and still less one that at so remote a date could have exercised suzerainty over so many and such important nations. But the Assyrian cuneiform inscriptions have shown that throughout almost the whole of the Assyrian period Elam maintained herself as an independent state, and one of considerable military strength, on the south-eastern borders of the empire; and very recently (1868) it has further been discovered that, according to the Assyrian belief,-an Elamite king was strong enough to invade and plunder Babylonia; at a date which expressed in our ordinary manner would be B. c. 2286, or somewhat earlier than the time commonly assigned to Abraham.—Modern Skepticism, 273.
IDEM.—Of the expeditions into Palestine profane history contains no account. But the change in the position of Babylon, the rise of the Elamites to power and pre-eminence, and the occurrence about this time of Elamitic expeditions into Palestine or the adjacent districts, are witnessed to by documents recently disinterred from the mounds of Mesopotamia. The name, too, of the Elamitic king, though not yet actually found on any monument, is composed of elements both of which occur in Elamite documents separately, and is of a type exactly similar to other Elamitic names of the period. To give the evidence more fully, it is stated in an inscription of Asshurbanipal, the son of Esar-haddon, that 1635 years before his own capture of Susa, or about B. C. 2286, Kudur-Nakhunta, then king of Elam, led an expedition into Babylonia, took the towns, plundered the temples, and carried off the images of the gods to his own capital, where they remained to the time of the Assyrian conquest. From Babylonian documents of a date not much later (B. C. 2200-2100), it appears that an Elamitic dynasty had by that time been established in Babylonia itself, and that a king called Kudur-Mabuk, an Elamite prince, who held his court at Ur, in Lower Chaldea, carried his arms so far to the westward, that he took the title of " Ravager of the West," or " Ravager of Syria,"—a title which is found inscribed on his bricks. The element Kudur, which commences the name of this prince, and also that of Kudur-Nakhunta, is identical with the Hebrew Chedor, while Lagamer is elsewhere found as an Elamitic god, which is the case also with Mabuk and Nakhunta. Thus Chedor-laomer (Kudur-Lagamer) is a name of exactly the same type with Kudur-Nakhunta and Kudur-Mabuk; its character is thoroughly Elamitic; and it is appropriate to the time at which the writer of Genesis places the monarch bearing it.—Hist. Illust. of Old Test., p. 39.
Gen. 14:33All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea. (Genesis 14:3).—All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the Salt Sea.
CHEMICAL ANALYSIS.—" The Salt Sea "—this is the most ancient and at the same time most natural name of the lake now known as the Dead Sea. This is pre-eminently the Salt Sea. From careful analysis, it appears that each gallon of the water, weighing 12¼ lbs., contains nearly 37, lbs. of matter in solution-an immense quantity when we recollect that sea-water, weighing 10¼ lbs. per gallon, contains less than half a pound. Of this 31/3 lbs., nearly 1 lb. is common salt (chloride of sodium); about 2 lbs. chloride of magnesium, and less than half a pound chloride of calcium. The quantity of salt in solution in this lake is very large, and is supplied from the salt rocks of Jebel Usdum, and the copious briny springs on both shores.—U. S. Expedition, 4 to, pp. 204, 377.
H. B. TRISTRAM, M. A., LL. D., F. R. S.—Bitumen is sometimes found in large masses floating on the surface of the Dead Sea, especially after earthquakes. We gathered some very large fragments. It also appears in the adjoining Wadys in the form of Bituminous shales, and sometimes oozes through the limestone as pure bitumen, at other times strongly impregnated with sulfur. There are also bitumen wells in other parts of the Jordan valley, the "slime-pits” of Siddim of old. There are also bitumen wells as far north as the neighborhood of Hasbeiya, under Hermon.—Natural History of the Bible, p. 24.
Ishmael and His Descendants
Gen. 16:22And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. (Genesis 16:2).—And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
REV. J. ROBERTS.—In the East, it is not uncommon for a man of property to keep a concubine in the same house with his wife; and, strange as it may appear, it is sometimes at the wife's request. I know a couple with whom this occurred; and the wife delights in nursing and bringing up the offspring of her husband's Concubine.—Orient. Illust., p. 25.
Gen. 16:11, 1211And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. 12And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. (Genesis 16:11‑12).—And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
ALEXANDER KEITH, D. D.—The fate of Ishmael is here identified with that 'of his descendants; and the same character is common to them both. The historical evidence of the fact, the universal tradition, and constant boast of the Arabs themselves, their language, and the preservation for many ages of an Original rite (circumcision) derived from him as their progenitor,—confirm the truth of their descent from Ishmael. The fulfillment of the prediction is obvious. The Arabs have maintained a perpetual independence. “The arms of Sesostris and Cyrus, of Pompey and Trajan, says Gibbon, could never achieve the conquest of Arabia." The independence of the Arabs was proverbial in ancient as well as in modern times. They not only subsist unconquered to this day, but the prophesied and primitive wildness of their race, and their hostility to all, remain unsubdued and unaltered. They are a wild people; their hand is against every man, and every man's hand is against them.
In the words of Gibbon, which strikingly assimilate with those of the prophecy, “they are armed against mankind." Plundering is their profession. Their alliance is never courted, and can never be obtained; and all that the Turks or Persians or any of their neighbors can stipulate for from them is a partial and purchased forbearance. They have continued wild or uncivilized, and have retained their habits of hostility towards all the rest of the human race, though they possessed for three hundred years countries the most opposite in their nature from the mountains of Arabia. The greatest part of the temperate zone was included within the limits of the Arabian conquests; and their empire extended from India to the Atlantic, and embraced a wider range of territory than ever was possessed by the Romans; those boastful masters of the world. The period of their conquest and dominion was sufficient, under such circumstances, to have changed the manners of any people; but whether in the land of Shinar or in the valleys of Spain, on the banks of the Tigris or the Tagus, in Araby the Blessed or Araby the Barren, the posterity of Ishmael have ever maintained their prophetic character: they have remained, under every change of condition, a wild people; their hand has still been against every man, and every man's hand against them.—Evid. of Proph., 247.
DR. WILLIAM FRASER. —In all ages historians have described the Bedouin Arab as a “wild man," or a wild ass man; as roving, predatory, engaged in ceaseless feuds with his neighbors, reckless of the milder restraints of civilization, and setting at defiance those international laws which regulate the intercourse of surrounding nations. The Ishmaelites or Arabians have ever held fast by the same country. Anchored in one land, they have swung over surrounding communities, only to settle, at last, in their own appointed territory, and to retain precisely the same characteristics. The “wildness " which in other tribes and nations has been first softened, then effaced, has, in their features, never been lessened by the lapse of ages. Not dispersed by conquest, nor wasted by migration, they dwell still “in the presence of all their brethren," a strange national spectacle, utterly inexplicable by those laws which regulate other races. Comparatively fugitive and unstable as are the general characteristics „of nations while the influence of centuries sweep over them as tidal waves on the shore, the Ishmaelites remain the same as when the strangely-expressed prophecy was first uttered by the angel of the Lord. The more powerful national influences, the attractions of fairer lands, and the luxury of indolent races, utterly failed to change, in the least, their characteristic features, during that splendid period when their empire extended from the borders of India to the Atlantic. Through all, they stood forth a perpetual representation of the facts predicted in their history, and their present condition harmonizes with that of many ages ago.—Blending Lights, p. 305.
BISHOP THOMAS NEWTON, D. D.—"And he will be a wild man." In the original it is a wild ass-man, and the learned Bochart translates it, "tam ferus quam onager," as wild as a wild ass. But what is the nature of the creature to which Ishmael is so particularly compared? It cannot be described better than it is in the book of Job: “Who hath sent out the wild ass as free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass? Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his dwellings. He scorneth the multitude of the city, neither regardeth he the crying of the driver. The range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searcheth after every green thing." Ishmael, therefore, and his posterity were to be wild, fierce, savage, ranging in the deserts, and not easily softened and tamed to society: and whoever hath read or known anything of this people, knoweth this to be their true and genuine character.
“His hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him." The one is the natural and almost the necessary consequence of the other. Ishmael lived by prey and rapine in the wilderness; and his posterity have all along infested Arabia and the neighboring countries with their robberies and incursions. They live in a state of continual war with the rest of the world, and are both robbers by land and pirates by sea. As they have been such enemies to mankind it is no wonder that mankind have been enemies to them again, that several attempts have been made to extirpate them; and even now as well as formerly travelers are forced to go with arms, and in caravans or large Companies, and to march and keep watch and guard like an army, to defend themselves from the assaults of these freebooters, who run about in troops, and rob and plunder all whom they can by any means subdue. These robberies they also justify by alleging the hard usage of their father Ishmael, who, being turned out-of-doors by Abraham, had the open plains and deserts given him by God for his patrimony, with permission to take whatever he could find there. And on this account they think they may, with a safe conscience, indemnify themselves as well as they can, not only on the posterity of Isaac, but also on everybody else; always supposing a kind of kindred between themselves and those they plunder. And in relating their adventures of this kind, they think it sufficient to change the expression, and instead of “I robbed a man of such or such a thing," to say, "I gained it."
"And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." This is very extraordinary, that “his hand should be against every man, and every man's hand against him," and yet that he should be able to " dwell in the presence of all his brethren; " but, extraordinary as it was, this also hath been fulfilled, both in the person of Ishmael and in his posterity. One would think it should be for the interest of the neighboring princes and states at any hazard to root out such a pestilent race of robbers, and actually it hath several times been attempted, but never accomplished.' They have from first to last maintained their independency, and, notwithstanding the most powerful efforts for their destruction, still dwell in the presence of all their brethren, and in the presence of all their enemies.
We do not find that they were ever subject to either of their powerful neighbors. So true is the assertion of Diodorus, that " neither the Assyrians formerly, nor the kings of the Medes and Persians, nor yet of the Macedonians, were able to subdue them; nay, though they led many and great forces against them, yet they could not accomplish their attempts." When, in all human probability, they were upon the brink of ruin, then they were signally and providentially delivered. Alexander was preparing an expedition against them, when an inflammatory fever cut him off in the flower of his age. Pompey was in the career of his conquests, when urgent affairs called him elsewhere. Ælius Gallus had penetrated far into the country, when a fatal disease destroyed great numbers of his men, and obliged him to return. Trojan besieged their capital city, but was defeated by thunder and lightning and whirlwind. Severus besieged the same city twice, and was twice repelled from before it; and the historian Dion, a man of rank and character, though an heathen, plainly ascribes the defeat of these two emperors to the interposition of a divine power. We, who know the prophecies, may be more assured of the reality of a divine interposition; and indeed otherwise how could a single nation stand out against the enmity of the whole world for any length of time, and much more for near four thousand years together? The great empires round them have all in their turns fallen to ruin, while they have continued the same from the beginning, and are likely to continue the same to the end; and this in the natural course of human affairs was so highly improbable, if not altogether impossible, that as nothing, but a divine prescience could have foreseen it, so nothing but a divine power could have accomplished it. This is having as it were ocular demonstration for our faith. This is proving by plain matter of fact that “the Most High ruleth in the kingdoms of men," and that his truth, as well as his mercy, endureth forever.—Dissertations on the Prophecies, p. 25-37.
DR. THOMAS SHAW.—With regard to the manners and customs of the Bidoweens, it is to be observed that they retain a great many of those we read of in sacred as well as profane history; being, if we accept their religion, the same people they were two or three thousand years ago, without sever embracing any of those novelties in dress or behavior, which have had so many periods and revolutions in the Moorish and Turkish cities. While they often exhibit great hospitality, yet the outward behavior of the Arab frequently gives the lie to his inward temper and inclination. For he is naturally thievish and treacherous, and it sometimes happens that those very persons are overtaken and pillaged in the morning, who were entertained the night before with all the instances of friendship and hospitality. Neither are they to be accused for plundering strangers only, and attacking almost every person whom they find unarmed and defenseless, but for those many implacable and hereditary animosities, which continually subsist among them, literally fulfilling to this day the prophecy, that " Ishmael should be a wild man; his hand should be against every man, and every man's hand against him."—Shaw' s Travels, p. 300, etc.
SIR ROBERT K. PORTER.—On the smallest computation, such must have been the manners of those people for more than three thousand years; thus in all things verifying the prediction given of Ishmael at his birth, that he, in his posterity, should be a wild man, and always continue to be so, though they shall dwell forever in the presence of their brethren. And that an acute and active people, surrounded for ages by polished and luxuriant nations, should, from their earliest to their latest times, be still found a wild people, dwelling in the presence of all their brethren (as we may call these nations), unsubdued and unchangeable, is, indeed, a standing miracle—one of those mysterious facts which, establish the truth of prophecy.—Travels, p. 304.
Gen. 17:2020And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. (Genesis 17:20).—And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
BISHOP THOMAS NEWTON, D. D.—"Twelve princes shall he beget." This circumstance is very particular, but it was punctually fulfilled; and Moses has given us the names of these princes, by which we are to understand, not that they were so many distinct sovereign princes, but only heads of tribes or clans. Strabo frequently mentions the Arabian phylarchs, as he denominates them, or rulers of tribes; and Melo, quoted by Eusebius from Alexander Polyhistor, a heathen historian, relates that "Abraham of his Egyptian wife begat twelve sons (he should have said one son who begat twelve sons), who, departing into Arabia, divided the region between them, and were the first kings of the inhabitants, whence even to our days the Arabians have twelve kings of the same names as the first." And ever since the people have been governed by phylarchs, and have lived in tribes, and still continue to do so, as Thevenot and other modern travelers testify.
"And I will make him a great nation." This is repeated twice or thrice; and it was accomplished as soon as in the regular course of nature it could be accomplished. His seed in process of time grew into a great nation, and such they continued for several ages, and such they remain to this day. They might, indeed, emphatically be styled a great nation when the Saracens had made those rapid and extensive conquests, and erected one of the largest empires that ever were in the world.— Dissert. on Prophecies, p. 26.
Circumcision
Gen. 17:1010This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. (Genesis 17:10).—This is my covenant which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee, Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
ALEXANDER KEITH, D. D.—Every man and male child of the Hebrew race bears in his body the " token of that covenant " which the Lord made with Abraham; and after the extinction of a hundred generations, it is at this day a memorial of the fact, in confirmation of which it was ordained as an ordinance forever.—Demonstration of the Truth of Christianity, p. 117.
DR. W. M. THOMSON.—It is certainly a fine corroboration of the book of Genesis to stand in the plain of Mamre (as I have done), and witness the ceremonies of that solemn religious rite which Abraham here received as a seal of the righteousness of faith which he had, yet being uncircumcised.—The Land and the Book, II., 403.
Gen. 14:25.—And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
JOSEPHUS. —And they circumcised Isaac upon the eighth day; and from that time the Jews continue the custom of circumcising their sons within that number of days. But as for the Arabians, they circumcise after the thirteenth year, because Ishmael, the founder of their nation, who was born to Abraham of the concubine, was circumcised at that age.—Ant., 1., 12, § 2.
PROF. T. T. PEROWNE, B. D.—Though Mohammed did not enjoin circumcision in the Koran, he was circumcised himself, according to the custom of his country; and circumcision is now as common amongst the Mohammedans as amongst the Jews.—In Smith's Dict. of Bible, p. 464.
W. M. THOMSON, D. D.—What does this curious and irregular procession signify? I inquired. “It is a circumcision," replied our friend; " and it is generally attended with just such music and buffoonery." Well, that is interesting, certainly, to find this rite still practiced in the very place where it was first instituted by command of God, nearly four thousand years ago, and among the descendants of Ishmael, the great ancestor of these Arabs, who was among the very first to receive the rite.— Land and Book, II., 401.
Patriarchal Hospitality
Gen. 13:1-81And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. 2And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. 3And he went on his journeys from the south even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Hai; 4Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord. 5And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 6And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. 7And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. 8And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. (Genesis 13:1‑8).—And Abraham sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, and said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree; and I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do as thou hast said. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it to a young man; and he hasted to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by 'them under the tree, and they did eat.
F. L. PORTER, A. M.—Both the land and people of Moab remain thoroughly Oriental. Nowhere else is patriarchal life so fully or so strikingly exemplified. The social state of the country and the habits of the people are just what they were in the days of Abraham or Job. As we neared Hebrân, our little cavalcade was seen approaching, and ere we reached the brow of the hill the whole population had come out to meet and welcome us. The sheikh, a noble-looking young Druse, had already sent a man to bring a kid from the nearest flock to make a feast for us, and we saw him bounding away through an opening in the forest. He returned in half an hour with the kid on his shoulder. We assured the hospitable sheikh that it was impossible for us to remain. Our servants were already far away over the plain, and we had a long journey before us. He would listen to no excuse. The feast must be prepared-," My lord could not pass by his servant's house without honoring him by eating a morsel of bread, and partaking of the kid which is being made ready. The sun is high; the day is long; rest for a time under my roof; eat and drink, and then pass on in peace." There was so much of the true spirit of patriarchal hospitality here, so much that recalled to mind scenes in the life of Abraham, and Manoah, and other Scripture celebrities, that we found it hard to refuse.—Giant Cities of Bashan, p. 17, 87.
H. B. TRISTRAM, M.A., LL. D., F. A. S.—The most famous existing Oak of the species Q. pseudo-coccifera in the Holy Land, is the so-called Abraham's Oak near Hebron, which has for several centuries taken the place of the once-renowned Terebinth which marked the site of Mamre, on the other sick of the city. The Terebinth existed at Mamre in the time of Vespasian, and under it the captive Jews were sold for slaves. It disappeared about A. D. 330, and no tree now marks the grove of Mamre. The present Oak is the noblest tree in Southern Palestine, being twenty-three feet in girth, and the diameter of the foliage, which is unsymmetrical, being about ninety feet.—Nat. Hist. of the Bible, p. 369.
Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
Gen. 19:24, 2524Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; 25And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. (Genesis 19:24‑25).—Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
ESDRAS.—Remember what the Lord did unto Sodom and Gomorrah, whose land lieth in clods of pitch and heaps of ashes.—Book II., ch. 2, v. 9.
JOSEPHUS. —Adjoining this sea is Sodomitis, once a blessed region abounding in produce and in cities, but now entirely burnt up. They say that it was destroyed by lightning for the impiety of its inhabitants. And even to this day the relics of the Divine fire and the traces of five cities are to be seen there.—B. J., IV., 8, § 4.
PROF. H. B. TRISTRAM, LL. D., F. R. S.—The materials for the conflagration were at hand in the sulfur abounding near, and in the bitumen with which, dug from the slime-pits of the plain, the houses were probably constructed, or at least cemented. (Nat. Hist., 25.) There are exposed on the sides of Wady Mahawat, a broad, deep ravine at the north end of Jebel Usdum, large masses of bitumen, mingled with gravel. These overlie a thin stratum of sulfur, which again overlies a thick stratum of sand, so strongly impregnated with sulfur that it yields powerful fumes on being sprinkled over a hot coal. Many great blocks of the bitumen have been washed down the gorge, and lie scattered on the plain below, along with huge 'boulders and other traces of tremendous floods. The phenomenon commences about half a mile from where the Wady opens up on the plain, and may be traced at irregular intervals for nearly a mile further. The bitumen has many small water-worn stones and pebbles embedded in it. Again, the bitumen, unlike that which we pick up on the shore, is strongly impregnated with sulfur, and yields an overpowering sulfurous odor; above all, it is calcined, and bears the marks of having been subjected to extreme heat.—I have a great dread of seeking forced corroborations of Scriptural statements from questionable physical evidence, for the skeptic is apt to imagine that when he has refuted the wrong argument adduced in support of a Scriptural statement, he has refuted the Scriptural statement itself; but so far as I can understand this deposit, if there be any physical evidence left of the catastrophe which destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, or of similar occurrences, we have it here. The whole appearance points to a shower of hot sulfur, and of an eruption of bitumen upon it, which would naturally be calcined and impregnated by its fumes; and this at a geological period quite subsequent to all the diluvial and alluvial action of which we have such abundant evidence. The vestiges remain exactly as the last relics of a snow-drift remain in spring—an atmospheric deposit. The catastrophe must have been since the formation of the Wady, since the deposition of the marl, and while the water was at its present level; therefore probably during the historic period.—Land of Israel, 356-362.
DR. SAMUEL WOLCOTT.—No historic proof can be more clear and complete, than that the site of Sodom, from the time of its destruction to the Christian era, and subsequently, was a blasted region, an utter desolation (such as Moses describes it in his own day, Deut. 29:2323And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the Lord overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath: (Deuteronomy 29:23)). The entire southwest coast and adjacent territory from above Sebbeh round to the fertile border of the Ghor essâfieh on the extreme southeast, relieved at a single point by the verdure of the small oasis of Zuweirah, is, and has been, from the time of Sodom's destruction, the image of enthroned desolation. The sombre wildness and desolateness of the whole scene; the tokens of volcanic action, or of some similar natural convulsion; the Sodom mountain, a mass of crystallized salt, furrowed into fantastic ridges and pillars; the craggy sun burnt precipices and ravines on the west; the valley below Usdum, with the mingled sand, sulfur, and bitumen, which have been washed down the gorges; the marshy plain of the adjacent Sabkah, with its briny drainings, destitute of every species of vegetation; the stagnant sea, with its border of dead driftwood; the sulfurous odor; "the sterility and death-like solitude " (Robinson); "desolation elsewhere partial, here supreme; nothing in the Saharah more desolate" (Tristram); "the unmitigated desolation" (Lynch); "scorched and desolate tract" (W.); "desolation which, perhaps, cannot be exceeded anywhere upon the face of the earth" (Grove); "utter and stern desolation, such as the mind can scarcely conceive" (Porter); these and the like features impress all visitors as a fit memorial of such a catastrophe as the sacred writers have recorded.—In Smith's Dict. of Bible, 3072.
Well of Beer-Sheba
MR. GEORGE GROVE, Crystal Palace, London.—The wells of Beersheba are among the first objects encountered on the entrance into Palestine from the south, and being highly characteristic of the life of the Bible, at the same time that the identity of the site is beyond all question, the Wells of Beersheba never fail to call forth the enthusiasm of the traveler. The two principal wells are close to the northern bank of the Wady es-Seba'. They lie just a hundred yards apart, and are so placed as to be visible from a considerable distance. The larger of the two, which lies to the east, is, according to the careful measurements of Dr. Robinson, 12½ feet in diameter, and at the time of his visit (April 12) was 44½ feet to the surface of the water: the masonry which encloses the well reaches downward for 28½ feet. The other well is 5 feet in diameter, and was 42 feet to the water. The curbstones round the mouth of both wells are worn into deep grooves by the action of the ropes of so many centuries, and look "as if frilled or fluted all round." Round the larger well there are nine, and round the smaller five large stone troughs; some much worn and broken, others nearly entire, lying at a distance of 10 or 12 feet from the edge of the well. There were formerly ten of these troughs at the larger well. The circle around is carpeted with a sward of fine short grass with crocuses and lilies. The water is excellent.—In Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, J. 266.
DEAN STANLEY, D. D.—The Wells of Beersheba, in the wide frontier valley of Palestine, are indisputable witnesses of the life of Abraham.Sinai and Palestine, p. 146.
PROF. H. B. TRISTRAM, LL. D., F. R. S.—About two clock we reached Beersheba, where the tents were already pitched round one of Abraham's wells. These wells vary from five to thirteen feet in diameter. The one at which we were camped was twelve and a half feet in diameter, thirty-four feet till we reached the living rock, and, as we were told by the Arabs, twice that depth. At present the water stood at thirty-eight feet from the surface. The native visitors to our camp pointed out, with all the pride of race, that the wells were the work of Ibrahim el Khulil—"Abraham the Friend." The well above the rock was built with finely-squared large stones, hard as marble, and the ropes of water-drawers for 4,000 years have worn the edges of the hard limestones with no less than 143 flutings, the shallowest of them four inches deep. The ancient marble troughs were arranged at convenient distances round the mouth in an irregular circle, some oblong, most of them round, for the convenience of the cattle. From their style and material, they are probably coeval with the original well. All day long, our men, or the Bedouin herdsmen and their wives, were drawing water in skins, and filling these troughs for the horses, camels, cattle and sheep, recalling many a scene in the lives of the Patriarchs of Rebecca and of Zipporah. There are traces of an ancient open roof over the well.—Land of Israel, p. 376, 377.
Burial of Sarah
Gen. 23:1-201And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2And Sarah died in Kirjath-arba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. 3And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, 4I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight. 5And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him, 6Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead. 7And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth. 8And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, 9That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you. 10And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying, 11Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead. 12And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. 13And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there. 14And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him, 15My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead. 16And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. 17And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure 18Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city. 19And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan. 20And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth. (Genesis 23:1‑20).—And Sarah was a hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died in Kirjath-arba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth saying, I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight, etc.
DR. W. M. THOMSON.—No city in Palestine so carries one back to Patriarchal times as Hebron. Manners and customs, and modes of action, and even idioms of speech, have changed but little since the Bible was written, or from what they were when Abraham dwelt here among " the sons of Heth." Take the account of the death and burial of Sarah, as it is found in the 23rd chapter of Genesis as an example. " Sarah died in Kirjath-arba—the same is Hebron— and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her." There is something formal in this remark, but it is in perfect accordance with present customs. Should such a person die here to-morrow, there would be a solemn public mourning and weeping, not as indicating the grief of the family so much as in honor of the dead. Such was this funeral mourning of the great emeer Abraham; but, besides this public tribute to the memory of Sarah, he, no doubt, sincerely lamented her death in the privacy of his own tent.
Abraham's negotiation for a sepulcher is also very oriental and striking. Such a purchase was quite necessary. There has always been in this country the utmost exclusiveness in regard to tombs, and although these polite Hittites said: " Hear us, my lord; thou art a mighty prince among us; in the choice of our sepulchers bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulcher, but that thou mayest bury thy dead." Abraham was too experienced an Oriental not to know that this was merely compliment. The thing was quite out of the question; nor would Abraham himself have consented thus to mingle his dead with the dust and bones of strangers, even if they had been willing. He knew well how to understand the offer, and therefore pressed his request to be allowed to purchase. Nor is such a negotiation easily arranged. If you or I had occasion to make a similar contract to-day from these modern Hittites, we should find it even more delicate and tedious than did Abraham. I do not believe that we could succeed, even with the aid of all the mediators we could employ.
In concluding the purchase with Ephron, we see the process of a modern bargain admirably carried out. The polite son of Zohar says " Nay, my lord, hear me; the field give I thee, and the cave that there is within I give it thee. In the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee; bury thy dead." Of course! And just so I have had a hundred houses, and fields, and horses given to me, and the bystanders called upon to witness the deed, and a score of protestations and oaths taken to seal the truth of the donation; all which, of course, meant nothing whatever, just as Abraham understood the true intent and value of Ephron's buksheesh.—He therefore urged forward the purchase, and finally brought the owner to state definitely his price, which he did at four hundred shekels of silver. Now, without knowing the relation between silver and a bit of barren rock at that time and in this place, my experience of such transactions leads me to suppose that this price was treble the actual value of the field. “But," says the courteous Hittite, "four hundred shekels! what is that betwixt me and thee? ‘Oh! how often you hear those identical words on similar occasions, and yet, acting upon their apparent import, you would soon find out what and how much they meant. Abraham knew that, too; and as he was then in no humor to chaffer with the owner, whatever might be his price, he proceeded forthwith to weigh out the money. Even this is still common; for, although coins have now a definite name, size and value, yet every merchant carries a small apparatus by which he weighs each coin, to see that it has not been tampered with by Jewish clippers. In like manner the specifications in the contract are just such as are found in modern deeds. It is not enough that you purchase a well-known lot; the contract must mention everything that belongs to it, and certify that fountains or wells in it, trees upon it, etc., are sold with the field. If you rent a house, not only the building itself, but every room in it, above and below, down to the kitchen, pantry, stable and hen-coop, must be specified. Thus Abraham bought this field, and the cave that was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, and that were in all the borders round about, were made sure. I see this negotiation in all its details enacted before me, and hear the identical words that passed between the parties. The venerable patriarch, bowed down with sorrow, rises from beside the couch on which lay the lifeless body of his beloved Sarah. He stands before the people—the attitude of respect which etiquette still demands. He addresses them as beni Heth—sons of Heth; and in the same words he would address these Arabs about us as beni Keis, beni Yemen, etc., etc., according as each tribe is now designated. Again, Abraham begins his plea with a reference to his condition among them as a stranger—the very idiom now in use—I, a stranger, and ghurîb; and this plea appeals strongly to the sympathies of the hearers. It is by such an appeal that the beggar seeks now to enlist your compassion, and succeeds, because all over the East the stranger is greatly to be pitied. He is liable to be plundered and treated as an enemy, and among these denizens of the desert strangers are generally enemies, and dealt with as such. The plea, therefore, was natural and effective.
Abraham stood and bowed himself to the children of Heth; another act of respect in accordance with modern manners, and the next step is equally so. He does not apply directly to the owner of the field, but requests the neighbors to act as mediators on his behalf; and were we anxious to succeed in a similar bargain with these people, we must resort to the same roundabout mode. There is scarcely anything in the habits of Orientals more annoying to us Occidentals than this universal custom of employing mediators to pass between you and those with whom you wish to do business. Nothing can be done without them. A merchant cannot sell a piece of print, nor a farmer a yoke of oxen, nor any one rent a house, buy a horse, or get a wife, without a succession of go-betweens. Of course, Abraham knew that this matter of the field could not be brought about without the intervention of the neighbors of Ephron, and therefore he applies to them first. How much maneuvering, taking aside, whispering, nodding of heads, and clasping of hands there was before the real owner was brought within reasonable terms, we are not told, but at length all the preliminary obstacles and conventional impediments are surmounted according to the most approved style of etiquette, and the contract is closed in the audience of all the people that went in at the gate of the city. This also is true to life. When any sale is now to be effected in a town or village, the whole population gather about the parties at the usual place of concourse, around or near the gate, where there is one. There all take part, and enter into the pros and cons with as much earnestness as if it were their own individual affair. By these means, the operation, in all its circumstances and details, is known to many witnesses, and the thing is made sure, without any written contract. In fact, up to this day, in this very city, a purchase thus witnessed is legal, while the best drawn deeds of a London lawyer, though signed and sealed,, would be of no avail without such living witnesses.—So Abraham obtained the cave of Machpelah for the possession of a burying-place for himself and his descendants, and thus became legal proprietor of a portion of the promised inheritance.—The Land and the Book, Vol. II., p. 381-384.
Eliezer Seeking a Wife for Isaac
Gen. 24:44But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. (Genesis 24:4).—Thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
W. M. THOMSON, D. D.—This is in exact correspondence with the custom of the Eastern nobility; nor need we limit the remark to the higher classes. Certain degrees of affinity excepted, a relative always has the preference in matrimonial negotiations. The strict injunction of Abraham, therefore, to bring none but a relative from his own family, though enforced by religious considerations, was in no sense a departure from established usages and social laws in regard to marriage.— The Land and the Book, II., 403.
Gen. 24:1010And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. (Genesis 24:10).—And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hands: and he arose and went into Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor.
DR. W. M. THOMSON.—The preparation and outfit for this journey agree in all respects with the persons concerned, the nature of the country, and the habits of the people. Eliezer took ten camels loaded with provisions and presents; and such an expedition would not now be undertaken from Hebron with any other animals, nor with a less number.—The Land and the Book, II., 404.
Gen. 24:1111And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water. (Genesis 24:11).—And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.
PROF. H. B. TRISTRAM, LL. D., F. R. S.—To enable the camel to receive its load, by a special provision of Nature, it is formed to kneel down whenever it desires to rest, or to drink, and it also prefers feeding in this posture. This habit of kneeling down is not merely the result of training; it is their natural posture of repose, as is shown also by the callosities upon the joints of the legs, and especially by that upon the breast, which serves as a pedestal to support the huge body.—Nat. Hist. of Bible, 60.
DR. W. M. THOMSON.—Every phrase of the eleventh verse of the twenty-fourth chapter of Genesis contains an allusion to matters Oriental. “He made the camels kneel "—a mode of expression taken from actual life. The action is literally kneeling; not stooping, sitting or lying down on the side like a horse, but kneeling on his knees, and this the camel is taught to do from his youth. The place is said to have been by "a well of water," and this well was “outside the city." In the East, where wells are scarce, and water indispensable, the existence of a well or fountain determines the site of the village. The people build near it, but prefer to have it outside the city, to avoid the noise, dust and confusion always occurring at it, and especially if the place is on the public highway. It is around the fountain that the thirsty traveler and the wearied caravan assemble; and if you have become separated from your own company before arriving at town, you need only inquire for the fountain, and there you will find them. It was perfectly natural, therefore, for Eliezer to halt at the well. The time was evening; but it is further stated that it was when the women go forth to draw water. True to life again. At that hour the peasant returns home from his labor, and the women are busy preparing the evening meal, which is to be ready at sunset. Cool, fresh water is then demanded, and of course there is a great concourse around the well. But why limit it to the women? Simply because such is the fact. About great cities men often carry water, both on donkeys and on their own backs, but in the country, among the unsophisticated natives, women go only to the well or the fountain; and often when traveling, have I seen long files of them going and returning with their pitchers, "at the time when women go out to draw water."—The Land and the Book, II., p. 404.
Gen. 24:15-1815And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. 16And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up. 17And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher. 18And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. (Genesis 24:15‑18).—And it came to pass before Eliezer had done speaking (in prayer), that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder; and she went down to the well and filled her pitcher, and came up. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me I pray thee drink a little water of thy pitcher. And she said, Drink, my lord: and she halted and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.
DR. W. M. THOMSON.—Again: the description of Rebekah; the account she gives of herself, and the Whole dialog with Eliezer, agree admirably with Oriental customs. Even the statement as to the manner of carrying her pitcher, or rather jar, is exact—on her shoulder. The Egyptian and the Negro carry on the head, the Syrian on the shoulder or the hip. She went down to the well; and nearly all wells in the East are in wadies, and many of them have steps down to the water—fountains of course have. Eliezer asks water to drink; she hastens and lets down the pitcher on her hand. How often have I had this identical act performed for myself, when traveling in this thirsty land. Rebekah's address to the servant, Drink, my lord—Ishrub ya seedy—will be given to you in the exact idiom by the first gentle Rebekah you ask water from.—The Land and the Book, II., p. 405.
Gen. 24:2222And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold; (Genesis 24:22).—And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold.
DR. W. M. THOMSON.—The jewels, also, for the face, forehead and arms, are still as, popular among the same class of people as they were in the days of Abraham. Not only are the head, neck and arms adorned with a profusion of gold and silver rings, chains, and other ornaments, but rings are suspended on the face, from the side of the nose, etc., etc.—The Land and the Book, II., p. 405.
Gen. 24:29, 31, 3229And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well. (Genesis 24:29)
31And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the Lord; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels. 32And the man came into the house: and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men's feet that were with him. (Genesis 24:31‑32)
.—And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Labatt ran out unto the man, unto the well. And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the Lord. Wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels. And the man came into the house: and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men's feet that were with him.
DR. W. M. THOMSON.—Laban's address, " Come in, thou blessed of the Lord," is still in good taste. I have often been welcomed in set phrases even more complimentary and sacred. The camels, it appears, were included in the invitation, and were brought "into the house;” and I have often slept in the same room with these peaceful animals, in company with their owner and all his family. "Straw and provender” were given to them; that is tibin, and some kind of pulse or grain. There is no hay in the East. Water to wash the feet of the wearied travelers was of course given, and the same kind act will be done to you under similar circumstances.—The Land and the Book, II., p. 406.
F. L. PORTER, A. M.—We are among a people of patriarchal manners and genuine patriarchal hospitality. We were looked on and treated as welcomed guests. We could not pass town or village without being entreated to accept hospitality. “Will not my lord descend while his servants prepare a little food?" is the urgent language of every village sheikh. The coffee is always on the hearth; a kid or lamb is at hand, and can be "got ready" with all the dispatch of ancient days. Food for servants, “provender" for horses, accommodation for all, are given as matters of course. In traveling through Bashan one fancies himself carried back to the days when the patriarchs sat in their tent doors, ready to welcome every visitor and hail every passerby.—Giant Cities of Bashan, p. 48.
Gen. 24:50, 51, 5350Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the Lord: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. 51Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife, as the Lord hath spoken. (Genesis 24:50‑51)
53And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things. (Genesis 24:53)
.—Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the Lord: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. Behold. Rebekah is before thee; take her, and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife, as the Lord hath spoken. And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.
DR. W. M. THOMSON.—So also the mode of negotiating the marriage contract, the presenting of gifts, etc., are all in perfect accordance with modern usages. The parents manage the whole affair, often, however, with the advice of the eldest son and heir, as Laban was in this case. And if the father be dead, the eldest son takes his place, and assumes his authority in the disposal of his sisters. Presents are absolutely essential in betrothals. They are given with much ceremony before witnesses, and the articles presented are described in a written document, so that if the match be broken off, the bridegroom can obtain them back again, or their value, and something more as a compensation for the injury.—The Land and the Book, II., p. 406.
DR. W. M. THOMSON.—Finally, the behavior of Rebekah, when about to meet Isaac, was such as modern etiquette requires. It is customary for both men and women, when an emir or great personage is approaching, to alight some time before he comes up with them. Women frequently refuse to ride in the presence of men, and when a company of them are to pass through a town, they often dismount and walk. It was, no doubt, a point of Syrian etiquette for Rebekah to stop, descend from her camel, and cover herself with a veil in the presence of her future husband. In a word, this Biblical narrative is so natural to one familiar with the East, so beautiful also, and life-like, that the entire scene seems to be an affair in which he has himself been but recently an actor.—The Land and the Book, II., 406.
Death and Burial of Abraham
Gen. 25:8, 98Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. 9And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; (Genesis 25:8‑9).—And Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age. And his sons, Isaac and Ishmael, buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron, the son of Zohar, the Hittite, which is before Mamre.
DEAN STANLEY.—And now I am in Hebron, looking on the sight of a sepulcher whose genuineness has never yet been questioned. The cave of Machpelah is concealed, beyond all reasonable doubt, by the Mosque of Hebron. (See the testimonies given under Gen. 49:3030In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace. (Genesis 49:30), and 1:12, 13.)—Sinai and Palestine, 102, 148.
Jacob's Red Pottage
PROF. H. B. TRISTRAM, LL. D., F. R. S.—The Lentil is a species of Vetch, very like some of our wild sorts, especially the Tine-tare, and is much Cultivated on the poorer soils in Palestine. There are several varieties recognized, but the Red Lentil is considered the best. We have eaten it mixed with meal for bread; but it is more generally used as pottage, or cooked as the Spaniards cook haricot beans, stewed with oil, and flavored with red pepper. It is by no means an unsavory dish.—Nat. Hist. of Bible, 462.
REV. W. M. THOMSON, D. D.—In my rambles about the outskirts of Hebron last evening, I lit upon a company of Ishmaelites sitting round a large saucepan, regaling themselves with their dinner. As they said “Tufuddal " very earnestly, I sat down among them, and, doubling some of their bread spoon-fashion, plunged into the saucepan as they did, and I found their food very savory indeed. The composition was made of that red kind of lentils which we examined in the market, and I can readily believe that to a hungry hunter it must have been very tempting. It is a singular fact that our Frank children born in this country are extravagantly fond of this same adis pottage. I can testify, also, that when cooking, it diffuses far and wide an odor extremely grateful to a hungry man. It was, therefore, no slight temptation to Esau, returning weary and famished from an unsuccessful hunt in this burning climate. I have known modern hunters so utterly spent as to feel, like him, that they were about to die.—The Land and the Book, II., 397.
The Oath of Peace
Gen. 29:28, 2928And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. 29And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. (Genesis 29:28‑29).—Then Abimelech said to Isaac, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, Even between us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee; that thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace.
DR. W. M. THOMSON.—Just so at this day the towns, and even cities, such as Hamath and Hums in the north, and Gaza and Hebron in this region, cultivate with great care friendly relations with the sheikhs of prosperous tribes on their borders. The strife about the wells had been a fruitful source of annoy-pee to both parties no doubt.—The Land and the, Book, II., 350.
Watering the Flocks
Gen. 29:9-119And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them. 10And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. 11And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. (Genesis 29:9‑11).—And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep; for she kept them. And it came to pass when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept.
DR. H. B. TRISTRAM. —Many of the most attractive scenes of Oriental life and history cluster round the sheep-troughs. It was at the well where they waited to water the sheep that Jacob first saw his cousin Rachel, and " went near and rolled away the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban, his mother's brother, and Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept." By a well in the land of Midian the exiled Moses sat down, and defended the daughters of Reuel from the shepherds, who would have disputed their right of watering their flocks, and for his gallant protection was soon rewarded by finding a home and a wife among them. And still “the places of drawing water" are the spots where the youth and girls of Bedouin life congregate, and at the wells alone is Oriental courtship carried on to this day. The Syrian girl, especially if a Druse or Christian, unlike the secluded daughter of the towns, is frequently entrusted, like Rachel or Zipporah, with the care of her father's flock. The well, the most precious of possessions, is carefully closed with a heavy slab until all those whose flocks are entitled to share its water have gathered. The time is noon. The first-comers gather and report the gossip of the tribe. The story of the twenty-ninth chapter of Genesis is, in its most minute details, a transcript of tie Arab life of to-day.—Nat. Hist. of the Bible, 141, 142.
Tender Eye
Gen. 29:1717Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favored. (Genesis 29:17).—Leah was tender-eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favored.
HENRY HAYMAN, B. D.—Ophthalmia is perhaps more common in Syria and Egypt than anywhere else in the world, especially in the fig season, the juice of the newly ripe fruit (according to Hippocrites) having the power of giving it.—Smith's Dict., 1863.
Marriage Deception
REV. JOHN HARTLEY.—In a conversation with an Armenian of Smyrna, the following fact was related to me: A young Armenian in Smyrna had solicited in marriage a younger daughter who had obtained his preference The girl's parents consented to the match; but when the time for solemnizing the marriage arrived, the eldest daughter was conducted (closely veiled) by the parents to the altar, and the young man was quite unconsciously married to her. The deception was not discovered till it could not be rectified. I naturally exclaimed, “Why that is just the deception that was practiced upon Jacob." “What deception? “he replied. As the Old Testament is not yet translated into any language with which the Armenians are familiar, he was ignorant of the story. And this father, as the relator stated, excused his conduct in precisely the same way as Laban, alleging that custom did not warrant the marriage of the younger before the elder daughter.—Researches in Greece and the Levant.
ROBERTS.—It has been said, and with much truth, that could Alexander now revisit India, he would find the same customs and manners that prevailed in his day. From age to age there is a careful and reverent adherence to ancient fashions and usages. When the eldest daughter is deformed, or blind, or deaf, or dumb, then the younger may be given first; but under other circumstances it would be disgraceful in the extreme. Should any one wish to alter the order of things, the answer of Laban would be given. Should a father, however, have a very advantageous offer for a younger daughter, he will exert all his powers previously to obtain a suitable match for the elder; and this can be accomplished, the younger will not be married.—Orient. Plus., p. 34.
Mandrakes
Gen. 30:1414And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes. (Genesis 30:14).—And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes.
PROF. H. B. TRISTRAM, LL. D., F. R. S.—The mandrake is a plant of very peculiar appearance. It sends up in early spring a broad disk of leaves, lying flat on the ground, being a foot in length and four inches wide. In the center of these come out the blossoms singly; they are cup-shaped, and of a rich purple color. The fruit is of the size of a large plum, quite round, yellow, and full of soft pulp. The mandrake is universally distributed over all parts of Palestine, and its fruit is much valued by the natives, who still hold to the belief, as old as the time of Rachel, that when eaten it ensures conception.-Nat. Hist. of the Bible, 466.
W. HOUGHTON, M. A., F. L. S.—Venus was called Mandragositis by the ancient Greeks, and the fruit of the plant was termed “apples of love."—In Smith's Dict. of Bible, p. 1778.
DR. W. M. THOMSON.—Reuben gathered mandrakes in wheat harvest, and it is then that they are still found ripe and eatable on the lower ranges of Lebanon and Hermon, where I have most frequently seen them. The Arabs believe them to be exhilarating and stimulating.— Land and the Book, II., 380.
Household Gods
JOSEPHUS.—It was the custom of the Mesopotamians to have all the idols (teraphim) they worshipped in their own houses, and to take them with them on their journeys.
REV. DR. W. M. THOMSON.—It is still very common for Arabs to hide stolen property under the padding of their saddles. Nor does this act of stealing a god to worship strike these people as monstrous or absurd. I have known many such thefts of modern teraphim, pictures and images, and that by women, too. And why not? It is surely not absurd to steal the god whose aid you invoke to assist you to steal other things. The Moslems often pray for success in their lowest intrigues.—The Land and the Book, II., 24.
Shepherd Life of Jacob
W. M. THOMSON, D. D.—The terms with which Laban and Jacob reproved and berated each other are in admirable keeping with the parties and the story, and abound in allusions to Oriental customs, especially of a pastoral people. Twenty years long, cries Jacob, have I served thee. The ewes of thy flock have not cast their young; evidence of most careful and successful treatment. The rams of thy flock have t not eaten; implying that then, as now, the males of the flock alone were used for food, or sold to the butcher. Then, as now, wild beasts tore some of the flock: but Jacob the shepherd, not Laban the landlord, bore the loss. Then, too, as at this day, thieves prowled about; but Jacob made good whatever was stolen. Of course, he had to watch by day and by night, in winter's storms and summer's burning suns. It was, therefore, no mere figure of speech that the drought consumed him by day and the frost by night.
Thus do the hardy shepherds suffer in the same regions at the present time. But it is a dog's life, in spite of all the Eclogues and pastorals of love-sick poets. —The Land and the Book, II., 26.
ROBERTS.—One of the most solemn oaths taken in the East is that of swearing by the Father, whether he be living or dead. Is a man accused of some great crime? he says, "By my father I swear that I am innocent." "I have sworn in the name of my father, therefore believe me."—Orient. Illust., p. 38.
Mount Seir
Gen. 32:33And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom. (Genesis 32:3).—And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.
MR. GEORGE GROVE, Crystal Palace, London.—Seir was the original name of the mountain ridge extending along the east side of the Valley of Arabah, from the Dead Sea to the Elanitic Gulf. This mountain range was originally inhabited by the Horites, or "troglodites," who were doubtless the excavators of those singular rock dwellings found in such numbers in the ravines and cliffs around Petra. They were dispossessed, and apparently annihilated, by the posterity of Esau, who dwelt in their stead. The history of Seir thus early merges into that of Edom.—In Smith's Dict. of Bible, p. 2902.
Milch Camels
Gen. 32:1515Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals. (Genesis 32:15).—And Jacob took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother:—thirty milch camels with their colts.
PROF. H. B. TRISTRAM, LL. D., F. R. S.—Camels' milk is very largely used in the East, and is excellent. The milk is rich and strong, but not very sweet. It is usually curdled and drunk sour, in which state it is both nourishing and refreshing, and to many a traveling Arab supplies both food and drink.— Nat. Hist. of Bible, p. 65.
Flocks Journeying
Gen. 32:1616And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove. (Genesis 32:16).—And Jacob delivered them into the hands of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove.
DR. W. M. THOMSON.—During the months of November and December, 1853, the whole line of coast was covered with flocks; they came from Northern Syria and from Mesopotamia; and their shepherds, in dress, manners, and language, closely resembled those of Abraham and Job, as I believe. At a distance the flocks look exactly like droves of hogs going to Cincinnati; their progress is quite as slow, and their motions are very similar. The shepherds put a space between drove and drove, and then lead on softly, as Jacob's shepherds did, and for the same reason. If they over-drive them, the flock dies, and even with the greatest care many give out and perish.—The Land and the Book, I., 513.
Deborah's Grave
DR. H. B. TRISTRAM.—Great and remarkable Oaks were favorite resorts for the performance of idolatrous rites; and of old under their shadow great persons were buried, as to the present day they are invariably chosen for the burial places of Arab sheikhs or saints.—Nat. Hist. of the Bible, 371.
Rachel's Tomb
Gen. 35:16, 19, 2016And they journeyed from Beth-el; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labor. (Genesis 35:16)
19And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. 20And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day. (Genesis 35:19‑20)
.—And they journeyed from Beth-el: and there was but little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed and she had hard labor. And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. And Jacob set a pillar on her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day.
REV. W. L. GAGE.—On the highland a little north of Bethlehem, at a place called Ephrath, Rachel died and was buried. The place of her burial, kept in remembrance by successive structures, one of which, of comparatively modern construction, can be seen even now, is unquestionably authentically preserved. She could not be carried to Hebron, it would seem; she must be buried by the wayside, where she fell.—Studies in Bible Lands, p. 61.
DR. W. M. THOMSON.—From there we passed round to the southwest, and came in fifteen minutes to the tomb of Rachel. This is a plain Saracenic mausoleum, having no claims to antiquity in its present form, but deeply interesting in sacred associations, for, by the singular consent of all authorities in such questions, it marks the actual site of her grave. Such a spot must ever be regarded with that sort of respect and tender emotion which are accorded to deep sorrow.—The Land and the Book, II., 501.
DEAN STANLEY.—The sepulcher which is called the Tomb of Rachel agrees exactly with the spot described as "a little way from Bethlehem."—Sinai and Palestine, p. 147.
Dothan
Gen. 37:1717And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan. (Genesis 37:17).—And the man said, Thy brethren are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.
MR. GEORGE GROVE. —Dothan was known to Eusebius, whit) places it twelve miles to the north of Sebaste (Samaria); and here it has at length been discovered in our own times by Mr. Van de Velde and Dr. Robinson, still bearing its ancient name unimpaired, and situated at the south end of a plain of the richest pasture, four or five miles southwest of Jenin, and separated only by a swell or two of hills from the plain of Esdraelon.—In Smith's Dict. of Bible, p. 613.
PROF. H. B. HACKETT.—The situation of Dothan, on the present line of travel from East-Jordan to Egypt, confirms the truth of the Biblical History; for it is implied that the Dothan of Moses was on the great thoroughfare which led from Gilead beyond the Jordan to the great center of traffic in the valley of the Nile. Mr. Tristram speaks of meeting there “a long caravan of asses and mules laden” (like the Ishmaelites of old), " on their way from Damascus to Egypt." Precisely here is found, at the present day, the best pasturage in all the region; and thus, though the narrative is silent as to the reason why the sons of Jacob went from Shechem to Dothan, we see that it is the very place which herdsmen, such as they were, would naturally seek after having exhausted the supplies of their previous pasture-ground. It is distant from Shechem about twelve miles, and could be easily reached.—In Smith's Dict. of Bible, p. 614.
Gen. 37:23, 2423And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him; 24And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. (Genesis 37:23‑24).—And it came to pass when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped him of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him; and they took him and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, and there was no water in it.
LIEUT. S. ANDERSON, R. E.—In the continuation of this plain, and a little to the westward, is a hill called Dotan, which has been recognized as the site of Dothan, where Joseph's brethren were feeding their flocks, when he came from his father's settlement, at Hebron, to visit them. The numerous rock-hewn cisterns that are found everywhere would furnish a suitable pit into which they might have thrust him; and as these cisterns are shaped like a bottle, with a narrow mouth, it would be impossible for anyone imprisoned within to extricate himself without assistance.—Recovery of Jerusalem, p. 360.
Gen. 37:2525And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. (Genesis 37:25).—And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spices and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down into Egypt.
DR. VINCENT.—Here, upon opening the oldest history in the world, we find the Ishmaelites from Gilead conducting a caravan loaded with the spices of India, the balsam and myrrh of Hadramant; and in the regular course of their traffic proceeding to Egypt for a market. The date of this transaction is more than seventeen centuries before the Christian era, and notwithstanding its antiquity, it has all the genuine features of a caravan crossing the desert at the present hour.—Commerce and Navigation of the Ancients, II., 262.
Egypt in the Time of Joseph
PROF. GEORGE RAWLINSON, M. A.—Some thirty or forty years ago, attempts were made in Germany to prove that the description of Egypt contained in the latter portion of the book of Genesis exhibited "numerous mistakes and inaccuracies; " but the " mistakes and inaccuracies" alleged were scarcely of an historical character, and the writers who alleged them have been so triumphantly refuted by Hengstenberg, and others, that the skeptical school has ceased to urge the point, and now allows the entire truthfulness and accuracy of the whole account. Few things are in truth more remarkable than the complete harmony and accordance which exist between the picture of ancient Egypt and the ancient Egyptians, as drawn for us by Moses, and that portraiture of them which is now obtainable from their own contemporary writings and monuments. —Modern Skepticism, p. 274.
Gen. 39:11And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. (Genesis 39:1)—And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, bought Joseph of the hands of the Ishmaelites, which had brought him down thither.
ROSELLINI.—Pharaoh had a body-guard, which is constantly seen on the sculptures, in close attendance upon his person.—Monuments of Egypt, II., 201.
J. KENDRICK, M. A.—The monuments have given us a long list of officers, who ministered to the state and luxury of the sovereign. The king always appears surrounded by numerous military and sacerdotal attendants. Men of high rank, and even princes of the blood, formed his train, screening him from the heat or cooling him, and chasing away the flies with a feather fan.Ancient Egypt under the Pharaohs, Vol. IL, p. 28.
Gen. 39:44And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. (Genesis 39:4).—And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.
REV. DANIEL MARCH, D. D.—Potiphar made Joseph overseer in his house, and the whole management of everything in the great establishment of the Egyptian lord was left in the hands of the Hebrew stave. Joseph himself had such a confidential steward after he became prime minister to Pharaoh. In a tomb at Kumel el Ahmar is a picture for which Joseph might have sat when he managed the affairs of Potiphar's house. The steward is taking an account of stores received and given out. His clerks are about him with account-books and implements of writing. One has the pen over his ear, the paper in his hand, and the writing-table under his arm.—Research and Travel in Bible Lands, in “Wood’s Animals of the Bible," p. 697.
Gen. 39:77And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. (Genesis 39:7).—And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph: and she said, Lie with me.
PROF. GEO. RAWLINSON, M. A.—The liberty allowed to women is likewise seen on the monuments, where, in the representation of entertainments, we find men and women frequently sitting together, both strangers and also members of the same family; and that this liberty was liable to degenerate into license, appears both from what Herodotus says of the character of Egyptian women, and from the story told in the Papyrus d'Orbiney.—Historical Illust. of the O. T., p. 47.
W. R. COOPER, Sec. of Sod. of Biblical Archœology.—The corrupt manners of the period, to which so many allusions are found in the Pentateuch, are fully proven by an Egyptian romance written to entertain king Rameses II., and recently translated by M. Chabas. This Novel, probably the oldest in the world's literature, turns entirely upon the affection of two brothers for each other, the wife of the elder of whom, Anepou, endeavors to seduce the younger into an adulterous connection with her. On his resistance, her guilty passion, artifice and hatred, all the story turns, and the interposition of the gods is at last necessary to avenge the innocent and to punish the guilty.—Faith and Free Thought, P. 227.
Gen. 40:22And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. (Genesis 40:2).—And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers.
LENORMANT.—The domestic establishment and court of Pharaoh were magnificent, and comprised various grand functionaries, whose tombs are among the most splendid of the early remains of Egyptian art.—Manuel d'Histoire Anc. de I' Orient., I., 333
Gen. 40:33And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. (Genesis 40:3).—And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.
SIR J. G. WILKINSON.—The authority of the Egyptian king was well nigh, if not altogether, absolute, as abundantly appears from Herodotus, Diodorus, and others. He enacted laws, administered justice, and executed or pardoned offenders at his pleasure.—Ancient Egypt, II., 22.
Gen. 40:9-119And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me; 10And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: 11And Pharaoh's cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand. (Genesis 40:9‑11).—And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me; and in the vine were three branches; and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: and Pharaoh's cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand.
PROF. GEO. RAWLINSON, M. A.—Though Herodotus denies the existence of the vine in Egypt, and Plutarch states that wine was not drunk there till the reign of Psammetichus, yet it is now certain, from the monuments,. that the cultivation of the grape, the art of making wine, and the practice of drinking it, were well known in Egypt, at least from the time of the Pyramids.—Histor. Illust. of the O. T., p. 52.
SIR J. G. WILKINSON.—Wine was universally used by the rich throughout Egypt, and beer supplied its place at the tables of the poor, not because they had no vines in the country, but because it was cheaper.— In Rawlinson' s Herodotus, Vol. II., p. 107.
REV. DANIEL MARCH, D. D.—In the oldest tombs of Gizeh are representations of vines trained upon poles, of gathering grapes in baskets, treading the wine-press, straining of the juice, bottling, decanting, and storing the wine. At Thebes, boys are seen frightening 'away birds from the vineyards. At Beni Hassan kids are browsing among the vines after the vintage. Many monuments represent kings presenting offerings of wine to the gods. And these pictures go back to the time when the chief butler told his dream to Joseph in prison.—Research and Travel in Bible Lands, in “Wood’s Bible Animals," p. 697.
SIR J. G. WILKINSON.—The form of the Egyptian bread-basket is delineated in the Tomb of Rameses III. And the practice of men carrying burdens “on the head " both appears on the monuments, and is also noticed by Herodotus.—Ancient Egypt, II., 151, 385.
Gen. 40:1717And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head. (Genesis 40:17).—And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bake meats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.
REV. DANIEL MARCH, D. D.—This verse describes just what I have seen many a time in the streets of old Cairo—bakers and confectioners carrying wide wicker-baskets on their heads, and birds flying about among the people and alighting on the burdens which men and beasts are carrying. In the ancient tombs at Biban el Moluk and elsewhere are found fancy loaves of wheaten and barley bread, kneaded in the form of stars, triangles, disks, and other figures; and the monuments show that the custom of carrying on the head was then, as now, universal.—Research and Travel in Bible Lands, in " Wood's Bible Animals," p. 697.
Gen. 50:2020But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. (Genesis 50:20).—And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh's birth-day, that he made a feast unto all his servants.
WILKINSON.—The birth-days of the kings were in Egypt celebrated with great pomp. They were looked upon as holy; no business was done upon them, and all classes indulged in the festivities suitable to the occasion. Every Egyptian attached much importance to the day, and even to the hour of his birth.—Ancient Egypt, V., 290.
Gen. 41:1414Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. (Genesis 41:14).—Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.
HENRY HAYMAN, B. D.—Western Asiatics have always cherished the beard as the badge of the dignity of manhood, and attached to it the importance of a feature. The Egyptians, on the contrary, sedulously, for the most part, shaved the hair of the face and head, and compelled their slaves to do the like. Herodotus mentions it as a peculiarity of the Egyptians, that they let the beard grow in mourning, being at all other times shaved. Hence Joseph when released from prison, “shaved “his beard to appear before Pharaoh.—In Smith's Dict. of Bible, p. 258.
DR. JOHN KITTO.—In any country mentioned in the Bible, excepting only Egypt, dressing the beard or the hair, instead of “shaving," would have been the kind of preparation required. But in Egypt, arid in Egypt only, a man put himself into decent condition by an operation which, in any other country, would have been ignominious. But this is one of the minute touches by which the exact historical truth of the narrative is established: for the testimony of all antiquity, as well as the sculptured and pictured monuments, concurs with this intimation in describing the Egyptians as a shaven people.—Daily Illustrations, p. 364.
Gen. 41:2222And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good: (Genesis 41:22).—And I saw in my dream, and behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good.
REV. W. HOUGHTON, M. A., F. L. S.—Egypt, in ancient times, was celebrated for the growth of its wheat; the best quality, according to Pliny, was grown in the Thebaid; it was all bearded; and the same varieties, Sir G. Wilkinson writes, existed in ancient as in modern days, among which may be mentioned the " seven-eared " quality described in Pharaoh's dream.—In Smith's Dict. of Bible, p. 3510.
Gen. 41:2323And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them: (Genesis 41:23).—And, behold, seven ears, withered, thin and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them.
UKERT.—As long as the southeasterly wind, in Egypt, continues, doors and windows are closed, but the fine dust penetrates everywhere; everything dries up; wooden vessels warp and crack. The thermometer rises suddenly from 16:2020And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Romans 16:20) degrees up to 30, 36, and even 38 degrees Reaumur. This wind works destruction upon everything. The grass withers, so that it entirely perishes, if this wind blows long.—See Ægypten and Mose, p. 10.
Gen. 41:37, 3837And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. 38And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? (Genesis 41:37‑38).—And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?
DIODORUS SICULUS.—The king of Egypt was assisted in the management of state affairs by the advice of a council, consisting of the most able and distinguished members of the priestly order.—Diod. Sic., I., 73.
Gen. 41: 41, 42.—And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand.
JOHN KITTO, D. D., F. S. A.—The ring was no doubt the signet of sovereignty with which the royal acts were to be sealed, and which rendered them authentic and authoritative. It empowered the person who held it to enforce his measures by the royal authority. It doubtless contained the name or insignia of the king. We are well acquainted with the signet and other rings of the ancient Egyptians, as many specimens have been found. They are usually of gold. The form of the scarabæus, or sacred beetle, was that usually preferred for this purpose. In some cases the stone, flat on both faces, turned on pins, like many of our seals at the present day; and the ring itself was bound round at each end, where it was inserted into the stone with gold wire.—Daily Illust., P. 373.
PROF. GEORGE RAWLINSON, M. A.—The use of a signet-ring by the monarch of Egypt has recently received a remarkable illustration by the discovery of an impression of such a signet on fine clay at Koyunjik, the site of the ancient Nineveh. This seal appears to have been impressed from the bezel of a metallic finger-ring; it is an oval, two inches in length by one inch wide, and bears the image, name, and titles of the Egyptian king, Sabaco. Other impressions of royal signets have been found in Egypt; and the actual signet-rings of two of the ancient monarchs, Cheops and Horus, have been recovered.—Hist. Illust. of O. T., p. 48.
SIR J. G. WILKINSON.—One of the largest ancient signets I ever saw was in the possession of a French gentleman at Cairo which contained twenty pounds worth of gold. It consisted of a massive ring, half an inch in its largest diameter, having an oblong plinth, on which the devices were engraved, one inch long, six-tenths in its greatest, and four-tenths in its smallest breadth. On the face was the name of a king, the successor of Amunoph III., who lived about 1460 B. c.; on the other a lion, with the legend “lord of strength," referring to the monarch: one side a scorpion, on the other a crocodile. (Here then we have an undoubted specimen of a royal signet.,—In Kitto's Daily Illust., P. 374.
SIR J. G. WILKINSON.—I have in my possession actual specimens of Egyptian "fine linen," the quality of which fully justifies all the praises of antiquity, and excites equal admiration at the present day; being to the touch comparable to silk, and not inferior in texture to our finest cambric.—In Kitto's Daily Illust., 375.
W. R. COOPER, Sec. of Society of Biblical Arehœology.—When Joseph appeared before Pharaoh, the Bible asserts that he was vested in a chain and collar of gold, and garments of fine linen. True in even its smallest details is this wonderful narrative, for the Egyptian monuments have shown us, that what we should call the blue ribbon of a military official, or a distinguished civil officer, was a golden collar. This, king Amenophis I. is reported to have bestowed on his servant Aahmes; in whose tomb at Beni Hassan there is a picture, which has been several times engraved, representing a similar investiture. In the Berlin Museum, there are portions of similar decorations.—Faith and Free Thought, p. 221.
Gen. 41:4343And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. (Genesis 41:43).—And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had: and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.
SIR J. G. WILKINSON.—When Pharaoh left his palace for any purpose, he invariably rode in a chariot. His subjects, wherever he appeared, bowed down or prostrated themselves. These prostrations are frequently represented in the sepulchers.—Ancient Egypt, II., p. 24.
Gen. 41:4444And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. (Genesis 41:44).—And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I AM PHARAOH: and without thee shall no man lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.
W. R. COOPER, Sec. of Society of Bib. Archœology.—I am Pharaoh—this mode of expression was quite in accordance with a principle of the Egyptian theology, only recently revealed to us. According to the tenets of that faith, the king, from the moment of his accession, became deified, and spoke with corresponding assumption and authority. “I am Ra in the land of the Living," says the King, in an inscription yet preserved to us. "The King is as God," declares another Papyrus, that of Prisse d'Avennes. "Even from thy birth thou hast been as God," attests the inscription of Karnak to Rameses II.—Faith and Free Thought, p. 220.
REGINALD STEWART POOLE, British Museum.—The city of On, or Heliopolis, was situated on the east side of the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, just below the point of the Delta, and about twenty miles northeast of Memphis. The chief object of worship at Heliopolis was the Sun, under the forms RA (the sun simply), and ATUM (the setting sun). The temple of the Sun described by Strabo, is now only represented by the single beautiful obelisk, which is of red granite, 68 feet 2 inches high above the pedestal, and bears a dedication, showing that it was sculptured in or after the thirtieth year of Sesertesen I., or B. C. 2050. There were probably far more than a usual number of obelisks before the gates of this temple, on the evidence of ancient writers, and the inscriptions of some yet remain elsewhere, and no doubt the reason was that these monuments were sacred to the sun. The name of Asenath's father was appropriate to a Heliopolite, and especially to a priest of that place, for it means "Belonging to RA," or the sun.—In Smith's Dict. of Bible, 2251, 2252.
DEAN STANLEY.—At the very extremity of this cultivated ground; the ruins of On or Heliopolis remain to this day. They consist simply of a wide enclosure of earthen mounds, partly planted with gardens. In these gardens are two Vestiges of the great Temple of the Sun. One is a pool, overhung with willows and aquatic vegetation-" The Spring of the Sun." The other, now rising wild amidst garden shrubs, the solitary obelisk which stood in front of the temple, then in company with another, whose base alone now remains. This is the first obelisk I have seen standing in its proper place, and there it has stood for nearly 4,000 years. It was raised before the coming of Joseph; it has looked down on his marriage with Asenath; it has seen the growth of Moses; and Plato sat under its shadow.—Sinai and Palestine, 31. page.
REV. DANIEL. MARCH, D. D.—In the tombs of Elethya and Beni Hassan there are pictures of the storehouse and of the whole process of taking in grain as it was prescribed by Joseph. The accountant stands by, writing down the number of bushels, the measurer pours the grain into sacks, porters carry the full bags into the granary, and still another overseer chalks down the tally of bushels in rude characters on the wall of the storehouse. And these pictures run parallel to the words of Moses, that Joseph gathered corn as the sands of the sea very much, till he left off numbering.—Research and Travel in Bible Lands, in " Wood's Bible Animals," p. 697.
Gen. 41:5656And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. (Genesis 41:56).—And the famine was over all the face of the earth: and Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians: and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. PROF. GEORGE RAWLINSON.—To deny, as Von Bohlen does, the possibility of famine in Egypt, is absurd. Ancient writers constantly notice its liability to this scourge, when the inundation of the Nile falls below the average; and history tells of numerous cases in which the inhabitants of the country have suffered terribly from want. Several famines are mentioned on the monuments,—Hist. Illust. of the O. T., p. 54.
SIR J. G. WILKINSON.—The monuments abound with representations of Stewards and Granaries.—See Ancient .Egypt, II., 135.
Gen. 42:14, 1514And Joseph said unto them, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies: 15Hereby ye shall be proved: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither. (Genesis 42:14‑15).—And Joseph said unto them, Ye are spies: hereby ye shall be proved. By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither.
W. R. COOPER, Sec, of Soci. of Bib. Archœ.—Joseph, here, as an Egyptian, swore the official oath, and that very act of his, which has been explained away by some commentators, palliated by others, and been a stumbling-block to all, is in itself an inferential evidence of the truth of the narrative which contains the adjuration. The common ranks of Egyptian society swore by their namesake, or local gods; priests swore by the deity to whose worship they were devoted; but all who filled an official capacity, swore “By the life of Pharaoh."
Men from the common ranks were prohibited from swearing thus “by the king; " to do so was a punishable offense. One Mesu, a slave, having committed this sin, was immediately reported to the proper officer: the report is preserved on a fragment of a Papyrus, in the Musee de Louvre, and which reads as follows: " I have sent this report of the slave Mesu to my lord, not being willing to, and not knowing how to, act till I receive his instructions upon it; for it is no part of my duty to punish him for his oath By the life of Pharaoh." Hence from a mutilated fragment of papyrus is derived a wonderful explanation and a singular attestation of the veracity of an event in the life of Joseph.—Faith and Free Thought, p. 222-224.
Gen. 42:2626And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence. (Genesis 42:26).—And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence.
DR. W. M. THOMSON.—Returning from my ramble down the vale of Hebron this morning, I met a company of men and donkeys, going out apparently for grain, and I was struck with the resemblance of the animals themselves to those in pictures now found on the monuments of Egypt. The saddles and sacks of some appeared to be precisely like those used in the days when the sons of Jacob descended along the same valley to get corn from Egypt. Doubtless there has been but little change in all these matters from that time to this, and the resemblance is often still more exact from the fact that when the crops of this country fail through drouth or other causes, the people still go down to Egypt to buy corn, as they did in the time of the patriarch.—The Land and the Book, II., 407.
Gen. 43:1616And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon. (Genesis 43:16).—And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon.
REV. GEO. RAWLINSON, M. A.—The denial of the use of flesh for food among high-caste Egyptians is one of those curious errors into which learned men occasionally fall, strangely and unaccountably. There is really no ancient writer who asserts that even the priests abstained ordinarily from animal food, while the best authors distinctly declare the contrary (Herod., 2., 37). And the cooking scenes, which abound on the Egyptian monuments of all ages, show that animal food was the principal diet of the upper classes.—Hist. Illust. of the O. T., p. 52.
Gen. 43:3232And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians. (Genesis 43:32).—And they set on for Joseph by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians which did eat with him by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.
DR. JOHN KITTO, F. S. A.—The table used by the ancient Egyptians is very similar to that of the present day in Egypt. This is a small stool supporting a round tray, on which the dishes are placed. These tables were sometimes brought in and removed with the dishes on them. Occasionally each guest had a table to himself.—Daily Illustrations, 13th week.
HERODOTUS.—This writer testifies clearly and fully to the strong feeling of the Ancient Egyptians with respect to " uncleanness," and to their fear of contracting defilement by contact with people of another nation.—See Herod., ii., 45.
PROF. GEO. RAWLINSON, M. A.—The practice of sitting at meals, which was unlike the patriarchal and the common Oriental custom, is in complete accordance with the numerous representations of banquets found in the tombs.—Hist. Illust. of the O. T., p. 47.
REGINALD STUART POOLE,. British Museum.—The account of the noontide dinner of Joseph agrees with the representations of the monuments, although it evidently describes a far simpler repast than would be usual with an Egyptian minister. The attention to precedence, which seems to have surprised Joseph's brethren, is perfectly characteristic of Egyptian customs.—In Smith's Dict. of Bible, p. 678.
PROF. GEO. RAWLINSON, M. A.—Divination by cups is noted as an Egyptian superstition by Jamblichus.—Hist. must., p. 48.
REGINALD STUART POOLE.—A Gnostic papyrus in Greek, written in Egypt in the earlier centuries of the Christian era, now preserved in the British Museum, describes the practice of the boy with the bowl, and alleges results strikingly similar to the alleged results of the well-known modern magician, whose divination would seem, therefore, to be a relic of the famous magic of Ancient Egypt.—In Smith's Dict. of Bible, p. 1745.
JOSEPH BENOMI, F. R. S. L.—The evidences upon the walls lead us to suppose that in this chamber were practiced the mysteries of Divination, both by the cup and arrows. Many cups of the form of those seen in the hand of the king were found by Layard, in the ruins of Nimroud, and are now deposited in the British Museum. They are made of bronze, of exquisite workmanship, embossed in separate compartments with numerous figures, representing men and animals.
One of the most frequently-repeated figures is that so common in Egyptian sculptures, bearing reference to time, or cycles, or periods. There can hardly exist a doubt, from the nature of the decoration, that these are cups for divining—a practice common to Syria and Egypt.—Nineveh and its Palaces, p. 269.
Gen. 45:59.—Take you wagons out of the land of Egypt, for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father and come.
REV. HENRY WRIGHT PHILLOTT, M. A.—In the monuments of Ancient Egypt representations are found of wagons or carts, with two wheels, having four or six spokes, used for carrying produce, and of one used for religious purposes having four wheels with eight spokes.—In Smith's Dict. of the Bible, p. 392.
SIR J. G. WILKINSON.—Whatever may have been its origin or cause, the Egyptian aversion and contempt for herdsmen appear abundantly on the monuments, where they are commonly represented as dirty and unshaven; on the tombs near the Pyramids of Geezeh, they are caricatured as a deformed and unseemly race.—See Ancient Egyptians, Vol. II., p. 16.
Gen. 47:1313And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine. (Genesis 47:13).—And there was no bread in all the land: for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.
EDWARD STANLEY POOLE, M. R. A. S.—The modern history of Egypt throws some curious light on these ancient records of famine; and instances of their recurrence may be cited to assist us in understanding their course and extent. They have not been of very rare occurrence since the Mohammedan conquest.
One of great severity, following a deficient rise of the Nile, was experienced A. D. 1200. But the most remarkable famine was that of the reign of the Fatimee Khaleefeh, El-Mustansir billah, which is the only instance on record of one of seven years' duration in Egypt since the time of Joseph. This was A. D. 1064-1071. This famine exceeded in severity all others of modern times. Vehement drought and pestilence continued for seven consecutive years, so that the people ate corpses, and animals that died of themselves; the cattle perished; a dog was sold for five deenars, and a cat for three deenars; and an ardeb (about five bushels) of wheat for one hundred deenars—and then it failed altogether. All the horses of the Khaleefeh, save three, perished. Numerous instances are given by the historian of the terrible visitation of the straits to which the wretched inhabitants were driven, and of the organized bands of kidnappers who infested Cairo and caught passengers in the streets by ropes furnished with hooks and let down from the houses. This account is confirmed by El-Makreezee, from whom we further learn that the family, and even the women of the Khaleefeh fled, by the way of Syria, on foot, to escape the peril that threatened all ranks of the population. The whole narrative is worthy of attention, since it contains a parallel to the duration of the famine of Joseph, and at the same time enables us to form an idea of the character of famines in the East.—In Smith's Dict: of Bible, p. 811.
Gen. 47:2222Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands. (Genesis 47:22).—Only the lands of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands.
HERODOTUS AND DIODORUS. —While the monuments offer no evidence of the priests' privilege with respect to land, yet this is mentioned by both Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus.—See Herod., ii., 168, and Diod. Sic., i., 73.
Gen. 47:2323Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land. (Genesis 47:23).—Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.
W. R. COOPER, Sec. of Soci. of Bib. Archœ.—The sale of families and children occurs again and again on the tablets in the British Museum, which form a class by themselves. The kings of Egypt, in other respects some of the most enlightened sovereigns the world ever possessed, were but slave-dealers on a large scale, and many of their wars were undertaken for no less brutal a purpose.—Faith and Free Thought, p. 226.
PROF. GEORGE RAWLINSON, M. A.—It may be broadly stated that, in the entire description given in Genesis, there is not a single feature which is out of harmony with what we know of the Egypt of this remote period from other sources. Nay, more, almost every point in it is confirmed either by the classical writers, by the monuments, or by both—Hist. Illust. of the O. T., p. 43.
The Prophetic Blessing of Jacob
Gen. 48: 1, 5.—And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. And Jacob said unto Joseph, Now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt, before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.
PROF. GEORGE BUSH.—Thus Joseph, who otherwise would have obtained but a single share of the promised inheritance, obtained a double portion. Joseph, accordingly, in the subsequent history (of the Jews) is reckoned as two tribes instead of one.—Notes In loco.
The Blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh
Gen. 48:1616The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. (Genesis 48:16).—The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.
PROF. GEORGE BUSH.—According to the purport of this prophetic blessing, the issue of Joseph by his two sons, amounted in the time of Moses, to 85,000, a number surpassing that of any of the rest of the tribes.—Notes In loco.
Gen. 48:18, 1918And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head. 19And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. (Genesis 48:18‑19).—And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head. And his father refused and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.
PROF. GEORGE BUSH.—According to this saying we find that at the first numbering of the people of Israel in the wilderness the children of Ephraim exceeded those of Manasseh by upwards of eight thousand; and in later times it is clear that Ephraim was the chief of the ten tribes that separated themselves from the children of Judah. We have no account of the comparative numbers of the tribes; but we know that Ephraim was frequently the royal tribe, and that it gave a name to the whole kingdom.—Notes In loco.
The Blessing of Reuben
Gen. 49:11And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. (Genesis 49:1)-.4.—And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.—Reuben, thou art my first-born:— unstable as water, thou shalt not excel.
DR. ADAM CLARKE.—This tribe never rose to any eminence in Israel; was not so numerous by one-third, as either Judah, Joseph or Dan, when Moses took the sum of them in the wilderness, and was among the first that was carried into captivity.—Notes In loco.
MR. GEORGE GROVE, Cryst. Pal., London.—No judge, no prophet, no hero of the tribe of Reuben is handed down to us.—In Smith's Dict., 2721.
PROF. GEORGE BUSH.—We learn from the sacred narrative that this tribe, which was few in number, and reproached for their pusillanimity by Deborah, never distinguished themselves by any noble exploits. None of the ancient heroes whose names are yet famous belonged to this tribe. Neither the priesthood nor the royalty was given to the tribe of the first-born of Jacob. Though there were Kings of the different tribes, yet none, as far is we know, of the tribe of Reuben.—Notes In loco.
The Blessing of Simeon and Levi
MR. GEORGE GROVE.—Both were divided and scattered. But how differently!" The dispersion of the Levites arose from their holding the post of honor in the nation, and being spread, for the purposes of education and worship, broadcast over the face of the country. In the case of Simeon the dispersion seems to have arisen from some corrupting element in the tribe itself, which first reduced its numbers, and at last drove it from its allotted seat in the country; not as Dan, because it could not, but because it would not stay; and thus in the end caused it to dwindle and disappear entirely.—In Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, p. 3043.
PROF. GEORGE BUSH.—The tribe of Simeon, as we learn from Joshua 19., was in great measure merged in that of Judah; and their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah; while that of Levi had their cities assigned them in the midst of the other tribes, all over the land of Canaan.—Notes In loco.
The Blessing of Judah
PROF. GEORGE BUSH.—The intrepid and successful bravery of the men of Judah was often the subject of admiration. As soon as the tribes of Israel sent forth separate armies against the Canaanites, the tribe of Judah gained a high distinction, which was well maintained in succeeding generations. The fiercest giants about the region of Hebron could not stand before Caleb and his brave associates. David was of the tribe of Judah. By him was the kingdom of Israel raised to a pitch of power and glory which made his name great in distant lands. —Notes In loco.
Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grates: his eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk. This indicates the exceeding fertility of his inheritance in the land of Canaan, particularly in the production, of the vine. So luxuriant should be the growth of vines in his allotment that it should not be unusual for men to bind their young asses to them as they do in other countries to any kind of barren timber, nor would they heed their eating their tender shoots and leaves, any more than if they were grass. And not only so; wine was to be produced in such rich abundance, that the people might wash their garments in wine, and their clothes in the blood of grapes, as if it had been so much water. Of course the language is to be understood as a hyperbolical expression for the most teeming fecundity of soil. In support of this, reference is made to the mammoth cluster of grapes which grew at Eschol, in the tract assigned to Judah, which was carried back on a staff between two, as a specimen of the growth of the country.—Ibid.'
DEAN STANLEY.—The Lowland, or that broad belt between the central highlands and the Mediterranean Sea, was the garden and the granary of the tribe. Its cities at this day are remarkable for the beauty and profusion of the gardens which surround them; the scarlet blossoms of the pomegranates, the enormous oranges which gild the green foliage of their famous groves. From the edge of the sandy tract, which fringes the immediate shore, right up to the very wall of the hills of Judah, stretches the immense plain of corn-fields. These rich fields must have been the great source at once of the power and the value of Philistia; the causes of its frequent aggressions on Israel, and of the unceasing efforts of Israel to master the territory. It was in fact a "little Egypt." From these fields were gathered the enormous cargoes of wheat, which were sent by Solomon in exchange for the arts of Hiram, and which in the time of the Herods still nourished the countries of Tyre and Sidon. There were the olive-trees, the sycamore-trees, and the treasures of oil, the care of which was sufficient to task the energies of two of David's special officers.—See Sinai and Palestine, 253, 254.
The Blessing of Zebulun
Gen. 59:13.—Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for a haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.
JOSEPHUS.—The tribe of Zebulun's lot included the land which lay as far as the lake of Genesareth, and that which belonged to Carmel and the Sea.—Ant. v., 1, § 22.
PROF. GEORGE BUSH.—It is unquestionable that a portion of the tribe of Zebulun occupied the havens on the coast, and addicted themselves to seafaring pursuits. This prophetic designation, uttered two hundred and fifty years before the event took place, corresponds with remarkable exactness with the geographical character of the lot of Zebulun in Canaan. It extended from the vicinity of the Mediterranean Sea, on the west, to the lake of Genesaret on the east, and lay therefore very commodiously for the purpose of trade and navigation.—Nothing but the inspiration of the speaker can account for this clear and accurate designation of the country which Zebulun was to occupy in Canaan. Jacob says concerning the inheritance of this tribe what would not have been true had it been said of any other of the inheritances of the twelve tribes, except Asher, and yet was strictly true concerning them, that they should dwell at the haven of the sea, and enjoy the advantages of commodious harbors in the neighborhood of the ancient city of Zidon. How could Moses, too, when he committed this prophecy to writing, have known that it would be verified? In no other way but by his faith in the word of God. There could be no artifice used to effect an agreement between the lots used in the division of the land, and the prophecies of Jacob or Moses. The whole disposing of the lot was of God. Thus we know enough to fill us with wonder and praise, and to banish all doubts concerning the divine original of the word of prophecy.—Notes In loco.
Gen. 49: 14, 15.—Issachar is a strong ass, couching down between two burdens ; and he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.
PROF. G. BUSH.—The qualities of the ass are patience, gentleness, great capability of endurance, laborious exertion, and a meek submission to authority.
And Issachar was the progenitor of a race singularly docile, and distinguished for their patient industry.— Couching down between two burdens. The two panniers of the laden ass form prominences, sticking upon each side above the back of the animal when lying down, which is the posture here described. This expression, as applied to a region of country, would naturally be supposed to imply two very marked and conspicuous limits, as for instance two ranges of mountains enclosing a valley ; and by a very remarkable coincidence the tribe of Issachar received for its lot, in the distribution of the land, the fertile and delightful vale of Esdraelon, lying between ranges of hills, in the peaceful and industrious occupancy of which they might very justly be likened to an ass reposing between his protuberant panniers. And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant. Surrounded by the other tribes, and seeing, his portion of the good land that it was very fertile, he devoted himself to the labors of husbandry. Accordingly Josephus says of Issachar's inheritance, "It is fruitful to admiration, abounding in pastures and nurseries of all kinds, so that it would make any man in love with husbandry."—Notes In loco.
MR. GEORGE GROVE.—The territory of Issachar was, and still is, among the richest land in Palestine. Westward was the famous plain which derived its name, " The seed-plot of God "—such is the signification of Jezreel—from its fertility. On the North is Tabor, which even under the burning sun of that climate is said to retain the glades and dells of an English wood. On the East, behind Jezreel, is the opening which conducts to the plain of the Jordan—to that Bethshean which was proverbially among the Rabbis the gate of Paradise for its fruitfulness. It is this aspect of the territory of Issachar which appears to be alluded to in the Blessing of Jacob.—In Smith's Dict. of Bible, 1179.
DEAN STANLEY, D. D.—But there is another aspect under which the Plain of Esdraelon must be considered. Every traveler has remarked on the richness of its soil—the exuberance of its crops. Once more the palm appears, waving its stately tresses over the village enclosures. The very weeds are a sign of what in better hands the vast plain might become. The thoroughfare which it forms for every passage, from east to west, from north to south, made it in peaceful times the most available and eligible possession of Palestine. It was the allotted portion of Issachar ; and in its condition—thus exposed to the good and evil fate of the beaten highway. of Palestine—we read the fortunes of the tribe which, for the sake of this possession, consented to sink into the half-nomad state of the Bedouins who wander over it—into the condition of tributaries to the Canaanite tribes whose iron chariots drove victoriously through it. “Issachar is a strong ass, couching between two burdens ; and he saw that rest was good; and the land that it was pleasant ; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute." Once only did the sluggish tribe shake off this yoke ; when under the heavy pressure of Sisera, the chiefs of Issachar were with Deborah.—S. and P., p. 340.
The Blessing of Issachar
Gen. 49:14, 1514Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: 15And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute. (Genesis 49:14‑15).—Issachar is a strong ass, couching down between two burdens; and he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.
PROF. G. BUSH.—The qualities of the ass are patience, gentleness, great capability of endurance, laborious exertion, and a meek submission to authority. And Issachar was the progenitor of a race singularly docile, and distinguished for their patient industry.—Couching down between two burdens. The two panniers of the laden ass form prominences, sticking upon each side above the back of the animal when lying down, which is the posture here described. This expression, as applied to a region of country, would naturally be supposed to imply two very marked and conspicuous limits, as for instance two ranges of mountains enclosing a valley; and by a very remarkable coincidence the tribe of Issachar received for its lot, in the distribution of the land, the fertile and delightful vale of Esdraelon, lying between ranges of hills, in the peaceful and industrious occupancy of which they might very justly be likened to an ass reposing between his protuberant panniers. And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant. Surrounded by the other tribes, and seeing, his portion of the good land that it was very fertile, he devoted himself to the labors of husbandry. Accordingly Josephus says of Issachar's inheritance, “It is fruitful to admiration, abounding in pastures and nurseries of all kinds, so that it would make any man in love with husbandry."—Notes In loco.
MR. GEORGE GROVE.—The territory of Issachar was, and still is, among the richest land in Palestine. Westward was the famous plain which derived its name, “The seed-plot of God "—such is the signification of Jezreel—from its fertility. On the North is Tabor, which even under the burning sun of that climate is said to retain the glades and dells of an English wood. On the East, behind Jezreel, is the opening which conducts to the plain of the Jordan—to that Bethshean which was proverbially among the Rabbis the gate of Paradise for its fruitfulness. It is this aspect of the territory of Issachar which appears to be alluded to in the Blessing of Jacob.—In Smith's Dict. of Bible, 1179.
DEAN STANLEY, D. D.—But there is another aspect under which the Plain of Esdraelon must be considered. Every traveler has remarked on the richness of its soil—the exuberance of its crops. Once more the palm appears, waving its stately tresses over the village enclosures. The very weeds are a sign of what in better hands the vast plain might become. The thoroughfare which it forms for every passage, from east to west, from north to south, made it in peaceful times the most available and eligible possession of Palestine. It was the allotted portion of Issachar; and in its condition—thus exposed to the good and evil fate of the beaten highway of Palestine—we read the fortunes of the tribe which, for the sake of this possession, consented to sink into the half-nomad state of the Bedouins who wander over it—into the condition of tributaries to the Canaanite tribes whose iron chariots drove victoriously through it. “Issachar is a strong ass, couching between two burdens; and he saw that rest was good; and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute." Once only did the sluggish tribe shake off this yoke; when under the heavy pressure of Sisera, the chiefs of Issachar were with Deborah.—S. and P., p. 340.
The Blessing of Dan
Gen. 16-48.—Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord!
REV. WILLIAM HOUGHTON, M. A., F. L. S.—The habit of the serpent, Shephiphon, alluded to in Jacob's prophecy, namely, that of lurking in the sand, and biting at the horse's heels, suits the character of a well-known species of venomous snake, the celebrated horned viper, the asp of Cleopatra, which is found abundantly in the sandy deserts of Egypt, Syria and Arabia.—In Smith's Dict. op the Bible, 30.
MR. GEORGE GROVE, Cryst. Pal., Lond.Dan furnished a "prince" to the apportionment of the land; and the tribe was appointed to stand on. Mount Ebal, at the ceremony of blessing and cursing; and “the prince of the tribe of Dan " is mentioned in the list of 1 Chron. 27:2222Of Dan, Azareel the son of Jeroham. These were the princes of the tribes of Israel. (1 Chronicles 27:22).—In Smith's Dict. of the Bible, is. 533, 534.
PROF. GEO. BUSH.—" Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel." Accordingly it is expressly stated (in the sacred history) that Samson, of the tribe of Dan, “judged Israel twenty years." “Dan shall be a serpent by the way, etc." Although, Dan in the person of his future representative should be renowned as a warrior, yet he should not accomplish his victories so much by open bravery and the direct force of arms as by subtlety and stratagem, surprising the enemy by unexpected assaults, as a serpent concealed by the wayside suddenly darts upon the unwary traveler. We have only to consult the history of Samson's warfare with the Philistines to see how strikingly this predicted character was then realized.—Notes In loco.
The Blessing of Gad
Gen. 49:1919Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last. (Genesis 49:19).—Gad, a troop shall overcome him; but he shall overcome at the last.
PROF. GEO. BUSH.—The drift of the oracle is to pre-intimate the fact, abundantly verified by the history, that this tribe should be annoyed, wasted, and sometimes brought into subjection by the predatory bands of Ammonites, Philistines, Hagarines, and other hostile, powers bordering upon their territory.— Notes In loco.
MR. GEORGE GROVE.—The character of the 'tribe of Gad is throughout strongly marked, fierce, and warlike, "strong men of might, men of war for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, their faces the faces of lions, and like roes upon the mountains for swiftness." Such is the graphic description given of those eleven heroes of Gad, “the least of them more than equal to a hundred, and the greatest to a thousand," who joined their fortunes to David at the time of his greatest discredit and embarrassment, undeterred by the natural difficulties of " flood and field " which stood in their way. Surrounded, as they were, by Ammonites, Midianites, Hagarites, “Children of the East," and all the other countless tribes, animated by a common hostility to the strangers whose coming had dispossessed them of their fairest districts, the warlike propensities of the tribe must have had many opportunities of exercise. One of its great engagements is related in I Chron. 5:19-22. Here their opponents were the wandering Ishmaelite tribes of Jetur, Nephish, and Nodab, nomad people, possessed of an enormous wealth in camels, sheep and asses, to this day the characteristic possessions of their Bedouin successors. This immense booty came into the hands of the conquerors, who seem to have entered with it on the former mode of life of their victims: probably pushed their way further into the eastern wilderness in the “steads" of these Hagarites. "A troop shall overcome him, but he shall overcome at the last."—In Smith's Dict, of the Bible, p. 849.
The Blessing of Asher
Gen. 49:2020Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties. (Genesis 49:20).—Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.
MR. GEORGE GROVE.—The territory of Asher contained some of the richest soil in all Palestine, and in its productiveness it well fulfilled the promise involved in the name "Asher" (fatness), and in the blessings which had been pronounced on him by Jacob and by Moses. Here was the oil in which he was to " dip his foot," the bread which was to be " fat," and the royal " dainties " in which he was to indulge.—In Smith's Dict. of the Bible, p. 173.
The Blessing of Naphtali
Gen. 49:2121Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words. (Genesis 49:21).—Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.
MR. GEORGE GROVE.—The translation of this difficult passage given by Ewald (Geschichte, ii., 380) has the merit of being more intelligible than the ordinary version, and also more in harmony with the expressions of Deborah's song: Naphtali is a towering Terebinth; he hath a goodly crest. The allusion, at once to the situation of the tribe at the very apex of the country, to the heroes who towered at the head of the tribe, and to the lofty mountains on whose summits their castles, then as now, were perched—is very happy, and entirely in the vein of these ancient poems.—In Smith's Dict. of the Bible, p. 2066.
The Blessing of Joseph
Gen. 59:22-26.—Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over the wall: etc.
PROF. GEORGE BUSH.—The drift of the blessing is to announce the prolific character of the seed of Joseph, the numerous issue that should proceed from his two sons. The emblem of "the vine running over the wall” aptly denotes a population swelling beyond the compass of the bounds which they were to occupy. How strikingly this was fulfilled in the case of Joseph, may be seen from the ensuing narrative: "And the children of Joseph spice unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the Lord hath blessed me hitherto? And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power; thou shalt not have one lot only But the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine." Thus that part of the birthright which consisted in the "double portion" still accrued to Joseph.—Notes In loco.
MR. GEORGE GROVE.—The territory allotted to the house of Joseph was in central Palestine—consisting of rounded hills, separated by valleys, with wide plains in the heart of the mountains, streams of running water, and continuous tracts of vegetation. All travelers bear testimony to the general growing richness and beauty of the country in going northwards from Jerusalem, the innumerable fountains and streamlets, the villages more thickly scattered than anywhere in the south, the continuous cornfields and orchards, the moist and vapory atmosphere: these are the precious things of the earth, and the fullness thereof which were invoked and predicted to the house of Joseph.—In Smith's Dict. of the Bible, 753.
The Blessing of Benjamin
Gen. 49:2727Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. (Genesis 49:27).—Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.
DEAN STANLEY.—Small as the tribe of Benjamin was, its ambiguous situation gave it considerable importance-an importance which was increased by a further peculiarity of the Benjamite territory. Of all the tribes of Israel, none, except perhaps Manasseh, contained such important passes of communication into the adjacent plains—none possessed such conspicuous heights, whether for defense or for “high places" of worship. These advantages in the hand of a hardy and warlike tribe ensured an independence to Benjamin, which the Hebrew records constantly contrast with its numerical feebleness, and limited territory. In his mountain fastnesses—the ancient haunts of beasts of prey— "Benjamin ravined as a wolf in the morning," descended into the rich plains of Philistia on the one side, and of the Jordan on the other, and “returned in the evening to divide the spoil." In the troubled period of the Judges, the tribe of Benjamin maintained a struggle, unaided, and for some time with success, against the whole of the rest of the nation. And to the latest times they never could forget that they had given birth to the first king.— Sinai and Pal., p. 196.
Death and Burial of Jacob
Gen. 49:29-3129And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace. 31There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah. (Genesis 49:29‑31).—And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a burying-place. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah.
DR. W. M. THOMSON.—I have no doubt that this El Haram encloses the identical cave, and the graves of the six ancestors of the Hebrew nation, and therefore regard it as the most interesting of all spots on the face of the earth. Others might be equally sacred and precious could we be sure of their identity —the manger at Bethlehem, Calvary in Jerusalem, or the last resting place of Adam or Noah, for example; but doubt and obscurity, absolute and impenetrable, rest on all such sites. Here, however, there is no room for skepticism. We have before us the identical cave in which these patriarchs, with their wives, were reverently “gathered unto their people," one after another, by their children. Such a cave may last as long as " the everlasting hills " of which it is a part; and from that to this day it has so come to pass, in the providence of God, that no nation or people has had possession of Machpelah who would have been disposed to disturb the ashes of the illustrious dead within it.—It is located on the declivity of the hill, with the town mostly below in the wady south and west of it. The rock above it is intensely hard, and portions of it are of a pale red color, like that from which books, crosses, and other curiosities are made for the pilgrims. I succeeded, in 1838, in breaking off specimens of it, though not without danger of a mob. The cave is beneath this foundation of hard rock.—The Land and the Book, II., 385.
Gen. 1: 2.—And Joseph commanded his servants, the physicians, to embalm his father.
HERODOTUS.—Egypt claims the invention of the healing art. And the medical practice among the Egyptians is divided as follows: each physician is for one kind of sickness, and no more; and all places are crowded with physicians; for there are physicians for the eye, physicians for the head, physicians for the teeth, physicians for the stomach, and for internal disease.—In Kitto's Ill. In loco.
HENRY HAYMAN, B. D.—Egypt was the earliest home of medical skill for the region of the Mediterranean basin, and every Egyptian mummy of the more expensive and elaborate sort involved a process of anatomy. This gave opportunities for inspecting a vast number of bodies, varying in every possible condition. Such opportunities were sure to be turned to account by the more diligent among the faculty. The reputation of its practitioners in historic times was such that both Cyrus and Darius sent to Egypt for physicians.—In Smith's Dict., p. 1854.
Gen. 1:1, 21In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:1‑2).—And the physicians embalmed Israel. And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him three score and ten days.
HERODOTUS.—(This historian describes the process of embalming as follows:) The embalmers first removed part of the brain through the nostrils, by means of a crooked iron, and destroyed the rest by injecting caustic drugs. An incision was then made along the flank with a sharp Ethiopian stone, and the whole of the intestines removed. The cavity was rinsed out with palm-wine, and afterward scoured with pounded perfumes. It was then filled with pure myrrh pounded, cassia and other aromatics, except frankincense. This done, the body was sewn up, and steeped in natron for seventy days. When the seventy days were accomplished, the embalmers washed the corpse and swathed it in bandages of linen, cut in strips and smeared with gum. They then gave it up to the relatives of the deceased, who provided for it a wooden case, made in the shape of a man, in which the dead was placed.—Herod., ii., 86-89.
REV. W. L. GAGE.—It is not too much to say that, in a good measure of probability, the body of Jacob, embalmed as it was in Egypt, is in as perfect a condition there to-day as are the mummies which are disinterred on the Nile; and it may be, the first layers of the masonry to be still seen at Hebron were laid by Joseph himself, on the occasion of his father's sumptuous funeral. That this is no idle fancy is shown by the power and the wealth of the man, whose father had been a Hebrew shepherd, but who had wrought out his fortune with such signal success in Egypt. Here Joseph had become habituated to magnificent sepulchers, as well as to sumptuous sepulchers, and after that costly pageantry of burial described so strikingly in the closing chapter of Genesis, it is hardly to be supposed that he would fail to designate, with some architectural memorial, the simple rock-grave which his great-grandfather purchased, and which for three generations had lain in its original rudeness.—Studies in Bible Lands, 55.
DEAN STANLEY.—This afternoon we walked, under the guard of the Quarantine, around the western hills of Hebron. There was little to add to the first impressions, except the deep delight of treading the rocks and drinking in the view which had been trodden by the feet and met the eyes of the patriarchs and kings. And marvelous it was, too, to think that within the massive enclosure of that Mosque, lies, possibly, not merely the last dust of Abraham and Isaac, but the very body—the mummy—the embalmed bones of Jacob, brought in solemn state from Egypt to this (as it then was) lonely and beautiful spot.—Sinai and Palestine, p. 103.
Death of Joseph
Gen. 1:2020And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. (Genesis 1:20).—As for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
SOCRATES.—To a good man nothing is evil, neither while living nor when dead, nor are his' concerns neglected by the gods. And what has befallen me is not the effect of chance; but this is clear to me, that now to die and be freed from my cares is better for me. On this account the warning in no way turned me aside; and I bear no resentment towards those who condemned me, or against my accusers, although they did not accuse, me with this intention, but thinking to injure me; and in this respect they deserve to be blaMed.Plat. Socr. Apolog., c. 33.
HERODOTUS.—The body after having been duly embalmed, was given back to the relatives, who enclosed it in a wooden case which they made for the purpose, shaped into the figure of a man.— Rawlinson' s Herodotus, ii., 143.
WORDSWORTH.—If a massive tomb or lofty pyramid had been erected to his memory, and if his mortal remains had been deposited there like those of the princes of Egypt, it would have been supposed that his body would remain in Egypt till the day of doom. But he would not permit this to be done; he took an oath of the children of Israel that they should carry up his bones from Egypt to Canaan, and for this reason he was content with a simple coffin of wood.—Genesis, p. 197.
PROF. GEORGE RAWLINSON, M. A.—The coffin of Menkeres, discovered in the third pyramid (which belongs to about B. C. 2300-2200), was of sycamore wood—Hist. Illust. of O. T. p. 46.
BURDER.—Antique coffins of stone and sycamore wood are still to be seen in Egypt—Annot In loco.
PROF. W. JENKS, D. D.—Coffins of wood, containing mummies, have reached America.—Comp. Com. In loco.
J. KENRICK, M. A.—In a mummy found at Saccara, thin plates of gold were wrapped round each limb and each finger, inscribed with hieroglyphics. Exterior to all bandages was a case usually of sycamore wood, sometimes excavated from the solid tree, at others composed of several pieces and secured by wooden pegs, which fasten the receptacle and the cover firmly together. This is sometimes enclosed in a second, and that in a third wooden case, the outermost being also adorned with hieroglyphics, and with rich colors and elaborate gilding. The outermost case is of various forms, but most commonly adapted to that of the mummy. According to Herodotus, when the process of embalmment was completed, the case in which the body was enclosed was deposited in a sepulchral chamber against the wall. This however was done only when the tomb was not ready, or when interment was forbidden or delayed.—Ancient Egypt under the Pharaohs, Vol. I., p. 416, 418.