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most unfortunate; and the consequence was, that those who believed that justice and goodness are the attributes of Deity found it impossible to comprehend the designs of Providence, or to justify the ways of God to man. The perplexities and the struggles—the doubts and the fears—the scepticism and the despair into which the more enlightened were plunged by the difficulties of this doctrine of temporal rewards and punishments, are sufficiently discernible in the Psalms, in the Book of Job, and in Ecclesiastes.
These preliminary observations will be exemplified in the investigation of the books of the Old Testament.
EXAMINATION OF THE NOTIONS ENTERTAINED CONCERNING GOD
BEFORE THE TIME OF MOSES. — THE BOOK OF GENESIS.
Antiquity of the Records Jehovah and Elohim. THE Book of Genesis has long ceased to be regarded as the original production of Moses; and it is now generally acknowledged to be a compilation from different records. The laborious researches of Astruc, Michaelis, Eichhorn, Möller, and Ilgen, have removed this long-contested point beyond further dispute. Two Records are principally distinguished—the Record Jehovah, and the Record Elohim; so called from the different name for God which each Record usually employs. These two Records are interspersed throughout the Book of Genesis. Besides these, there are two other small, but distinct, fragments: the one is found in the second and third chapters, the other in the fourteenth chapter.*
Before we examine the notions contained in these Records it is necess
essary to make a few observations respecting the period at which they are supposed to have been written. We shall confine our remarks to the two largest Recordsthe Record Jehovah and the Record Elohim.
We do not doubt that the authors obtained their materials from ancient traditions, songs, and written memorials ; but we are not convinced that these Records were compiled before the time of Moses ; on the contrary, we are inclined to believe that they did not obtain their present form earlier
* De Wette, speaking of the fragmentary compilation of the Book of Ge
“ It is pretty generally acknowledged that this book consists of component parts of a dissimilar character. They may be distinguished by the different appellations, Jehovah and Elohim, given to ine Deny; by a variation in the style of composition, and by several other particulars.” He refers to the works of Astruc, Eichhorn, Ilgen, Gramberg, J. J. Stähelin, Kelle, Bertholdt, Möller, Ewald, Hartmaun, Vater, and others.—TR.
than the time of David. The following considerations lead us to this conclusion :
I. The name Jehovah is found in the Records Jehovah and Elohim; yet it was Moses who first used it as the appellation of the Deity. In the Book of Exodus it is written
“ God spake unto Moses and said unto him, I am Jehovah : And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them." - Exod. vi. 2, 3. We are aware that, in order to get rid of this difficulty, the passage is explained thus: “ God appeared unto the patriarchs as the almighty God, but not as the faithful God, who fulfils his promises. To the fathers he promised the land of Canaan, but he now accomplishes that promise by giving it to their posterity : he now shows himself as the Jehovah—the unchangeable in his decrees.” But if we compare Exodus iii. 14, with Exodus vi. 2, 3, it will be seen that this name originated with Moses. Moses inquires of God what answer he shall give the Israelites if they ask, “ Who is the God who has sent him unto them?” What is the name of this God of their fathers? And God says to Moses, “ I am that I am.
Thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." Here God speaks of himself in the first person 17478 (Ehjeh) “ I am.” When speaking of God it became necessary to use the third person-thus, 1797 (Jijeh)," he is; or, according to the more ancient dialect, thus, T JU1777(Jiveh ascher jiveh), “ he is that he is,” that is—the unchangeable. The Hebrew word, when abridged thus, 17??? (Jiveh), or thus, TT (Jahaveh), we pronounce according to the Hebrew punctuation Jehovah.
We deem it impossible that an impartial investigator can compare these two passages without being convinced that Moses first introduced this name: and if the name Jehovah originated with Moses, the Records Jehovah and Elohim could not have received their present form prior to the time of Moses, since it occurs in both Records.
II. We must either admit that divine revelations were imparted to Abraham; that absolute predictions of remote and contingent events were actually communicated to him (an admission which will not be readily made by those who are acquainted with the modern discussions on the Hebrew prophecies); or else we must allow that the following passages were written subsequently to the time of Moses :
“ And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in the land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years ; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shall be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again : for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet
full.”—Gen. xv. 13-16. We have here a reference to the residence of the Israelites in Egypt; their slavery and afflictions; their departure from the land of bondage, carrying with them the gold and silver vessels of the Egyptians; and the drowning of Pharaoh and his host. Have we sufficient evidence on which to ground our belief that these minutely detailed facts were indeed made known to Abraham by the Almighty! or must we rather conclude that the passage was written after the events had taken place ?
Jehovah made a covenant with Abraham, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto
the great river, the river Euphrates.”—Gen. xv. 18. The possessions of the Israelites did not extend to the river Euphrates till the reign of David. Of Ishmael it is said
“ 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.”—Gen. xvi. 12. “ In the presence,” in the sight of, that is, towards the east.
If a Hebrew wished to define the four cardinal points, geographically, he always turned his face towards the east. Arabia, the country of the Idumeans, lay to the east of Palestine. This passage was evidently written when the Israelites were already in possession of the Land of Promise, and the Idumeans were inhabiting the region to the east of Canaan. The author, however, represents Hagar as being supernaturally informed of the future abode of her posterity. To Sarah the promise is made:
“I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee." -Gen. xvii. 6. Does not this passage point to a time when Israel was governed by kings ? Genesis, chapter xlix., contains Jacob's benedictory song. It is considered to belong to the Record Jehovah, yet it could not have been written before the reign of David, for then, first, was the king chosen from the tribe of Judah, and Israel became an hereditary kingdom.
Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise : thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee.”
“ The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet,” &c.— Gen. xlix. 8 and 10. III. The history of Moses, given in the first and second chapters of Exodus, is from the Record Elohim. This is probably a mythical narration,* and, if it be such, a considerable time must have elapsed between the death of Moses and its composition, for a history acquires such mythical additions only through a long series of oral transmissions.
The promise made to Sarah, which we noticed just above in the Record Jehovah, is repeated in the Record Elohim.
“ And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.”—Gen. xvii. 16. Isaac says to Esau
“ Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven fro above; and by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his
yoke from off thy neck.”—Gen. xxvii. 39, 40. It was David who conquered the Idumeans, the descendants of Esau, and reduced them to servitude. It was easy to foresee that they would resist the yoke, and seize the first opportunity of throwing it off. Events which the author had learned from the history of his own time he represents the aged Isaac as foretelling in a prophetic song; yet this chapter, from the 29th verse, belongs to the Record Elohim.
* That the life of Moses is mythically narrated, in the first and second chapters of Exodus, the author has endeavoured to show, “ in einer Abhandlung des Gablerishen Journals ; über das Mythische in der Jugendgeschichte Mosis.”