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actually exist before the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, the date of the Greek version. Be it supposed, though it cannot be admitted, that the incredulous Jews of the second century had mutilated the genuine chronology of Moses, much more probable it is, that certain Christians, more zealous than honest, did actually corrupt certain copies of the Hebrew Pentateuch, by fuisting in the amplified numbers of the Greek version. This might have been done by some proselytes from Judaism to Christianity, whose attachment to the enlarged chronology prompted them to procure it the sanction of Moses' authority. In the register of Jacob's family, Gen. xlvi. are various interpolations. Joseph's age was but 39 in the 130th of his father. The son at the age of 30 was introduced to Pharaoh, and was then unmarried. After 9 years, on the arrival of Jacob, Manasseh and Ephraim are in the Hebrew mentioned as the whole of Joseph's family. But in the Greek version Manasseh and Ephraim had, each, two sons and a grandson. These were undoubtedly taken by the translators from a more recent catalogue. In like manner, six or seven sons of Benjamin were inserted in that list, from the Hebrew books of numbers, or 1 Chronicles, many ages, perhaps, before the date of the Septuagint version. Moses could not possibly construct that register in its present form : so many and obvious are its errors. Kennicott dil not apprehend it to be in the least degree corrupied; and in none of his bulky volumes does one hint occur for an emendation. These, and the like interpolations, might
have been introduced, without an intention to falfify the original. More regard, however, was had to the number of names, than to physical possibility.
-3. WHETHER the Hebrew numbers were curtailed, or those of the Greek version enlarged, the fraud was executed, wilfully, methodically, with provident forefight, and every plausible art of deception. Who were the agents? whether the Jews, or the Christians, of the second century? Against the Jews the charge is thus produced, in form and substance, by very expert practitioners in the court of calumny.
“ The Jews had a mind to have left out a century in the ages of all the patriarchs, before they begat chile dren, and to have added it to the after-term of their lives : but they found, that, if they dropped the centuries in the ages of Jared, Methuselah, and Lamech, before they begat children, (as they had done of all the reft), and added them to the remainder of their lives; they must, by this reckoning, have extended their three lives, beyond the Flood *.”
It is replied, That no reason, which could induce the Jews of the second century to falsify their records, occurs, or can be assigned. The contested notations from Adam to Abraham relate primarily to the genea. logies of the intermediate families, and eventually to the accumulating years of the world. But in the first or second century, neither the Jews, nor the Christians, computed times by the Mofaical numbers. In private
• Jackson's Chronol. vol. i. p. 56. and Kennicott's Select Remarks, p. 17.
families, and in their public assemblies for worship and instruction, the Greek version, as better understood, was by both parties preferred. Certain it is, that the numbers in that version were enlarged at its very formation *. Now, if either party were convinced that an origin too remote by several centuries was ascribed to the creation, the natural method would have been to reduce the notations in the Greek Pentateuch to a more authentic standard. That standard must have been the Hebrew text; if so be that the Alexandrian interpreters first deviated from the Mosaical computation.
4. That the Jews, as a colle&tive body, could, at no time after Mofes, and before the final catastrophe of Jerusalem, by a public deed, vitiate their sacred records, and escape detection, are points so intuitively obvious, that every attempt to evince the impossibility of success in attempts for that end, would be a needless expence of argument.
5. On the other hand, every suspicious circumstance, every colour of actual guilt, and every probable temptation to amplify numbers, rests on the Alexandrine interpreters.
It is said, that they were but five in number, one for each volume of the Pentateuch; and all confined to separate cells f. But te it admitted that the number was lxxii. much stronger is the probability that so
• See Yardley's Genealogies, and Winder on Knowledge.
† For the truth of this fact Prideaux refers to the authority of Tract. Sopherim. cap.i.
small a number of men should agree in a fraud, than that the whole Jewish nation, magistrates, priests, levites, scribes, and people, did unanimously vitiate their sacred books. Such a project could not have been executed without a controversy, and historians would have recorded the names of the agents, the time, the place, the motives, the circumstances, which obstructed or favoured the reception of the scheme. The impostor Aristeas takes notice, that only one true copy of the Hebrew original was transmitted from Jerusalem to Alexandria. To prevent the danger of a shameful detection, that one copy, if dismembered and destroyed, could never be produced, as an evidence either of fidelity or fraud. But at Jerusalem an immediate dis. covery mul have been unavoidable.
6. It must farther be considered, that the translators of the Septuagint, whatever was their number, had very Specious and prevalent inducements to amplify the Hebrew antiquities. Herodotus, milled by the oftentatious vanity of the Egyptian priests, assigned to that Empire an incredibly remote establishment. This national pride, like the pestilence, soon infected the contiguous inhabitants of Samaria and Phænicia. The former, one full century prior to the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, had procured a copy of the law for the use of the temple on mount Gerizim ; and from every probable circumstance it is inferred, that the amplified numbers were first inserted in that copy, (the Samaritan) and afterwards in the Greek version, where freedoms, far more unreasonable, were taken with the vencrable original ;
which, however, both parties left immaculate. The result of all these presumptions is, that the numbers of the Hebrew text were not retrenched, but those of the Greek version exaggerated. Be the terms of the indi&tment, as framed by Jackson and Kennicott, inverted, the following will be its tenor :
« The translators at Alexandria had a mind to add one century to the ages of all the patriarchs before they begat children, and to shorten in proportion the after-term of their lives : but they found, that, if they augmented the ages of Jared, Methuselah, and Lamech, before they begat children, (as they had done of all the reft), they must, by this reckoning, have extended these three lives beyond the Flood.” Every competent and impartial judge, who weighs probabilities in an equal balance, will pronounce, without hesitation, that the Alexandrian Jews, biassed by an attachment to an exorbitant chronology, added about fifteen centuries to the Mofaical numbers, with the view of sheltering the Hebrews from the supposed reproach of an upstart race, and a recent origin.
7. KENNICOTT feigns an imaginary motive which he thinks influenced the Jews of the second century, « Let it not be forgotten, that their plan was to bring back the birth of Jesus Chrift from the vith to the ivth Chiliad, from about the year 5500 to 3760; in order to prove, that, at the birth of Jesus, the time for the Messiah, was not then come *."
. Gen. Differt. p. 32, and Remarks, p. 30.