Obrazy na stronie

and others suppose that the bouk was written in the wilderness after the promulgation of the law, and Rabbi Moses Ben Nachman proposes the hypothesis, that God dictated the contents of the book to Moses during the furty days in which he was permitted to be in communication with the Deity on Mount Sinai, and that on his descent he committed the whole to writing. It is, however, as Bishop Gray reinarks, “as impossible as it is of little consequence to determine which of these opinions is best founded. It is sufficient for us to know that Moses was assisted by the spirit of infallible truth in the composition of this sacred work, which he deemed a proper introduction to the laws and judgments delivered in the subsequent books, as exhibiting the grounds upon which the divine claims to worship are established, and the consideration upon which the statutes were made, where God is represented as the Creator to whom all obedience is due.'-- Key to the Old Test., p. 77.

The internal and external evidence which leads to the conviction that Doses was the author of the book of Genesis, leaves untouched a very interesting question, which has not received much attention from English writers on Biblical Introduction; but which is of so much real importance, and has been so long and so earnestly discussed abroad, that it claims our most careful consideration. It is this—Since the work contains the narration of events which took place long before the time of the author, whence did he obtain his information ? He must have derived liis knowledge of the facts recorded either from immediate divine revelation, or from oral tradition, or from written documents or other monuments. We know that the author of Genesis was one of those holy men of old who wrote as they were inspired by the Holy Ghost (2 Pet. i. 21); and we are aware that Moses in particular, gave evidence, by prophecy and miracles, that he declared even known and common facts under a sanction more than human. But from the nature of many of the facts recorded in Genesis, and from the minuteness of the narration, it has been regarded as improbable that such detailed accounts were communicated by immediate revelation. That this information should have been derived from oral tradition appears morally impossible, when we consider the great number of names, of ages, and of dates, and of minute events which are recorded. If this be admitted, it remains that he must have derived his information froin written documents, coeval, or nearly so, with the events which they have recorded, and composed by persons intimately acquainted with the subjects to which they refer. That these were few in number appears probable from the simple and uncultivated habits, and the humble occupations of the Hebrews previously to their removal to Egypt, and from their oppressed and degraded state while there. Under this view, it is alleged that we are to conceive of the history given by Moses in Genesis, as being derived principally from short memoranda and genealogical tables, written by the patriarchs or under their superintendence, and preserved by their posterity until the time of Moses, who made use of them, with additions from authentic tradition or existing monuments, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and thus prepared his work. Indeed it is not impossible that the Hebrew legislator introduced some patriarchal narratives into his book with little or no alteration. The existence of written documents anterior to the time of Moses is unquestionable. The authority of the book of Job (xix. 23, 24, see the note there), and the recent Egyptian discoveries, place this beyond a doubt. And it is difficult to think that such documents were not used in preparing narratives like that of Joseph, and some parts of the histories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Thus in Gen. xlix. we have the dying address of Jacob to his sons, apparently word for word as he uttered it; and in Gen. xxvii. the blessing of Isaac on his two sons. So several of the first chapters of Genesis, if we may judge of their style and structure, and from the several distinct titles by which the narratives are introduced, are not original compositions by Moses, but selections made by hin, under divine direction, from very ancient documents in his possession, by different wiiters at different periods. Perhaps the same may be said of Gen. xxxvi., which gives an account of the posterity of Esau, and of Gen, xxxviii., which relates the crimes and follies of Judah and his sons.

Dr. Turner, whose statement of this view we here chiefly follow (Companion to Genesis, New York, 1841, p. 16), cites a remark of Ewald, who in his ingenious book on the composition of Genesis (Komposition der Genesis, 1823, p. 85), states respecting the narrative of the Flood, that although indeed it might have been abbreviated, and some collateral circumstances omitted, yet the writer evidently intends to show the divine agency even in the details ; that he is under the influence of strong feeling, and describes the tragic event with minuteness and particularity, as if he had himself been an eye-witness. This is, as he adds, strikingly characteristic of Hebrew history, and is by no means confined to the account of the Flood, but pervades the whole book of Genesis. The artist draws from the life, and delineates the vivid scene with the freshness of nature and reality. It is not to be questioned that this might be done by a writer who lived long after the facts related; but the opinion that Moses enıployed certain patriarchal accounts, composed by some one who had himself beheld the scene related, or else had heard it from an eye-witness, is probable, to say the least. On such a theory, it is urged, that the credibility, historical accuracy, and inspired authority of the book, derive additional strength; for the original author becomes an eye. witness, and either contemporaneous or nearly so with the facts related; while yet some of the facts

are of such a nature that they could only be derived from immediate revelation; and the whole being compiled by an inspired writer, have received the sanction of the Holy Spirit in an equal degree with his original productions.

The result of this view then is, that Genesis appears as the work of Moses, in preparing which he was guided by divine inspiration, suggesting what could not otherwise be known; by documents previously written; by standing monuments raised to commemorate historical or domestic facts; and by oral traditions handed down from early ages.

The view embodied in this statement has not been in this country strongly urged with special reference to Genesis ; but the principle on which it proceeds, as to the use of documents in the historical Scriptures, has been fully admitted by our best writers on the general subject of inspiration, such as Horsley, Horne, Henderson, and others. There are now very few who deem it necessary to regard a sacred writer as describing only from special revelation, facts which might have been known to him, or even which could not but have been known to him, from ordinary sources of information ; and there are, on the other hand, still fewer who dispute that the same Divine Spirit which revealed to them things which could not be thus known, guided them from error in the selection and use of the facts with which they they were acquainted from monuments, from tradition, and from written documents. The reverse of error is not truth, but error' (Cecil's Remains, p. 39). So, the belief that every word and fact in the book of Genesis was an original revelation to the writer, is indeed the reverse of the error which refuses to ascribe any kind or degree of divine inspiration to it; but it is not therefore necessarily the truth, which more probably lies in the medium view which lias been indicated. This view is also most in accordance with the usual course of God's dealings with man, in even the extraordinary manifestations of his power and goodness, as evinced in the Scripture miracles, where we see natural means employed so far as they may, or can be made to, subserve the object in view, and the supernatural is brought into action only where such means fail to realize the desired end. In the present case, we know that Moses was well versed in all the learning of his day (Acts vii. 22). Whatever the nations believed of former times, and whatever their traditions and records could teach, he knew ; and there were many matters on which he could not want for information so much as for the power, which we believe to have been supernaturally imparted to him, of distinguishing the true from the false, and of determining what was proper or not proper for the purpose he had in view. It is clear, for instance, that Moses must have had obvious means of information concerning all the facts which he relates respecting Joseph ; but without supernatural guidance he could scarcely have apprehended, so clearly as he displays it, the whole scope of the mystery of Providence, with respect to the Hebrew nation, which his history of Joseph embodies.

Again, we are sure from the other books of the Pentateuch, that Moses did use such documents when they served his purpose ; and what he did with respect to contemporary documents, he might do with respect to those of a former age. Thus in Num. xxiii., xxiv., there are some magnificent and highly finished pieces of poetry, ascribed to Balaam. Now if the book in which these are found is worthy of credit, these are not the compositions of Moses but of Balaam ; for Moses did not profess to write fiction, but true history : and it will not be alleged that Moses, having obvious means of learning what Balaam had said, needed a direct revelation for the purpose. Again, in Num. xxi. 14, 15, there is an avowed quotation from an ancient writing called “the Book of Jehovah's Wars.' In verses 17, 18, of the same chapter a quotation from a joyous song with which the Israelites celebrated the discovery of a well in the desert; and the verses 27-30 contain an extract from an ancient war-song of the Amorites in commemoration of their victory over Moab. Now if all these are what they profess to be, quotations from ancient, from recent, and from contemporary documents, and not original compositions of Moses, it cannot be objectionable to hold that there may have been a similar use of documents in Genesis. It will not be urged that Numbers is less an inspired book than Genesis ; and what was done by the author of the former book, might well be done by the author of the latter : and if the author of a book describing events which occurred under his own cognizance, and in which he was the prime mover, did avowedly quote other compositions, how much more might not the same writer be expected to use such documents in writing of events which occurred before the times in which he lived ?

Great respect is due to that feeling of reverence for Scripture, which turns with reluctance from anything that seems calculated to weaken the authority of the Divine word ; but the thoughtful mind will discover no just ground for this holy jealousy in the view which has been described. An American writer puts this in a just point of view by an exceedingly apt illustration which we cannot forbear to quote: Do all these accurate quotations impair the credit of the Mosaical books, or increase it? Is Marshall's Life of Washington to be regarded as unworthy of credit because it contains copious extracts from Washington's correspondence, and literal quotations from important public documents? Is not its value greatly enhanced by this circumstance? Is not the clear, direct style of Judge Marshall as obvious throughout the work as it would have been if it had not contained a single quotation? The objection is altogether futile.'--Stowe's Introduction, p. 58.

The success or failure of the attempts-made to mark out the various documents employed in the composition of Genesis ought by no means to be regarded as affecting the question whether such documents were or were not employed. We are disposed to agree with Rosenmüller, and even with Havernick, who is still more decided on this point (Einleitung, i. $ 112; and his art. 'GENESIS in the Cyclop. of Biblical Literature), that if the writer of this book did employ such documents, he has so blended them into a coherent mass with his more original matter, that the book is one united work in which the component documents cannot with any precision be discriminated.

Such attempts have been made to rest chiefly upon the differences in the use of the Divine Names in this book. It is hardly possible to read the book of Genesis even in a translation, and much less in the original, without observing that the Deity is therein designated by different names, and that those names are used in a very remarkable manner. Sometimes the term Dag Elohim, 'God,' occurs; sometimes niny JEHOVAH, Lord;' and sometimes both are united in the form of dink niny JEHOVAH-ELOHIM, “ Lord-God. In chaps. i., ii. 3, . Elohim’ is invariably used; in ii. 4, iii. 24;

Jehovah-Elohim,' except in iii. 1, 3, 5, where the speaker is a different person from the author ; and in chap. iv. Jehovah' occurs alone, except in verse 25, where Eve is introduced as speaking. The facts, in relation to this point, which an examination of the whole book exhibits, plainly show that these terms are frequently employed in such a manner as could not have been the result of chance, or of a mere intention to relieve the mind of the reader by an agreeable variety. To ascertain the grounds on which the sacred writer has ordinarily employed the one or the other of these names in denoting the Almighty, is undoubtedly a question of no small interest; and from the great amount of learning, ingenuity, and research which has been brought to bear on the subject, it is a matter of regret that more space cannot here be devoted to it. The fact itself had been observed from the earliest times, by various Jewish and Christian writers, who indulged in much pointless conjecture on the subject. The first who thought of applying it to the discrimination of the documents supposed to be embodied in the book, was a Belgian physician named Astruc, in his work Conjectures sur les Mémoires originaux, dont il paraît que Moyse s'est servi pour composer le Livre de la Genèse, Brux. 1753-58. But his view met with little attention till it was taken up and exhibited in a very improved form by Eichhorn in his Einleitung, when it obtained general acquiescence, and spread with great rapidity, so that few German scholars of any name were to be found who did not embrace it, with some modifications of view as to the number and character of the documents which might be thus discriminated. Some made them two only, holding that Genesis exhibited in close and skilful combination two narratives in one, of which the name Elohim, and in the other the name Jehovah, prevailed; while others thought they could by this means distinguish a greater number of documents, varying, with different writers, from three to ten. The theory of two interwoven documents, generally traceable by the use of these names, is that, however, which now prevails among one class of theological writers in Germany, and has been vigorously upheld, with some modifying differences, by Stähelin, De Wette, Von Ewald, Von Bohlen, Tuch, and others. But, on the other hand, it has been opposed by such eminent writers as Ranke, Hengstenberg, Dreschler, and Havernick, who maintain that the book of Genesis is the work of one writer, and closely connected in all its parts; and who utterly deny that the different documents, which may or may not have been employed in its composition, are to be distinguished by the use of the Divine Names. The use of the different names they do not indeed suppose to have been arbitrary or uncertain; but they refer to the different signification of those names, and contend that Jehovah and Elohim are everywhere in Genesis adapted to the sense of the passages in which the writer has, with a distinct intention, inserted the one name or the other. For the able and interesting arguments by which this view is supported, the reader may be referred to Hengstenberg, Authentie des Pentateuches, 1836, more than half of the first volume of which is devoted to a most interesting history of and disquisition on this subject, under the head Die Gottesnamen im Pentateuch (the Divine Names in the Pentateuch); Ranke, Untersuchungen über der Pentateuch, 1840; Dreschler, Die Einheit und Aechtheit der Genesis, 1838; and Havernick, Einleitung, ii. 205, sq. A very able statement of the question, from these and other sources, may also be seen in Dr. Turner's Companion to Genesis, New York, 1841. In these works will also be found much interesting inquiry respecting the signification of the Divine Names occurring in the Pentateuch, which forms the necessary groundwork of the hypothesis which assumes that they are employed according to their signification. Some of the results may be found in our note on Exodus vi. 3. Besides the works already cited, see further on the topics indicated in the following works:Vitringa, Observatt. Sacre, i. 4, $ 2; Calmet, Commentaire Littérale, Préface sur la Genèse; La Bible de Vence, i. 286, seq.; Rosenmüller, Prolegomena in Scholia in Vetus Testament, : the Introductions (Einleitungen) of Eichhorn, Bertholdt, Jahn, De Wette, Havernick; Hasse, Entdeckungen im Felde der ältesten Erd- und Menschengeschichte, &c., 1804; Ilgen, Die Urkunden des 1 B. von Moses in ihrer Urgestalt, &c., Halle, 1797 ; Eichhorn in Repertorium, iv. p. 173, seg.; Horsley's Biblical Criticism, 1804; Holden On the Fall, p. 32, seq. ; Gleig, Introduct. to Stackhouse's Hist. of the Bible ; Horne, Critical Introduction, i. 55, sq. ed. 6th ; Henderson On Divine Inspiration, 1836; Gaussen, Theopneustia, 1840; Kelle, Die Heilige Schriften in ihrer Urgestalt, Freyberg, 1817; Sack, De Usu Nominum Dei Elohim et Jehorah, in lib. Geneseos, Bonn, 1821 ; Rinck, Veber die Einheit der Mosaischen Schöpfungsberichte, Heidelberg, 1822; Stähelin, Kritische Untersuchungen über die Genes., Basel, 1829; Gramberg, Libri Genescos, &c., Leipz. 1828; Von Bohlen, Die Genesis ubersucht mit Anmerkk. Leipz. 1835; Hartmann, Hist. Krit. Forschungen über die 5 Bücher Moses, Rost. 1831. The treatises and commentaries on separate portions and chapters of Genesis are without number; and it would be useless to enumerate even the chief of them without such characterising remarks as cannot here be introduced : some of them are named in the notes to the several chapters.

Among the separate commentaries and works on the book of Genesis, the following are the most important :-Calvini in lib. Geneseos Commentarius, ed. Hengstenberg, Berlin, 1838; Hughes, Analytical Exposition of Genesis, 1672 ; Schmid, super Mosis lib. 1 Adnott., 1697 ; Cartwright, Electa Targumico-Rabbinica, sive Adnott. in Genesin ex triplici Targum., Lond. 1648; Paræus, Comment. in Genesin, Francf. 1604; Delany, Revelation Examined, Lond. 1733-a curious work consisting of dissertations upon the principal facts in Genesis ; Holloway, Letter and Spirit, or Annott. upon the Holy Scriptures, 1753—an allegorical exposition of Genesis ; Fuller, Expository Discourses on Genesis, 1805; Tuch, Kommentar über d. Genesis, Halle, 1838; Bush, Notes on Genesis, New York, 1839; Turner, Companion to the Book of Genesis, New York, 1841.

the beginning God created 'אב


8 And God called the firmament Heaven. | The creation of heaven and earth, 3 of the light, And the evening and the morning were the

6 of the firmament, 9 of the carth separated from second day. the waters, 11 and made fruitful, 14 of the sun, | 9 9 And God said, 'Let the waters under moon, and stars, 20 of fish and fowl, 24 of beasts

the heaven be gathered together unto one and cattle, 26 of man in the image of God. 29 Also the appointment of food.

place, and let the dry land appear : and it was so.

10 And God called the dry land Earth , the heaven and the earth. and the gathering together of the waters

2 And the earth was with- called he Seas : and God saw that it was out form and void ; and dark good. ness was upon the face of the 11 And God said, Let the earth bring deep. And the Spirit of God forth grass, $the herb yielding sced, and the moved upon the face of the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose waters.

seed is in itself, upon the earth : and it was so. 3 | And God said, “Let 12 And the earth brought forth grass, there be light: and there was and herb yielding seed after his kind, and light.

the tree yielding fruit, whosc seed was in 4 And God saw the light, itself, after his kind : and God saw that it that it was good : and God was good. divided the light from the 13 And the evening and the morning were darkness.

the third day. 5 And God called the light 14 | And God said, Let there be 'lights Day, and the darkness he in the firmament of the heaven to divide called Night. “And the even '°the day from the night; and let them be ing and the morning were the for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and first day.

years : 6 T’And God said, 'Let 15 And let them be for lights in the there be a “firmament in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon Lmidst of the waters, and let it the earth: and it was so. ha divide the waters from the 16 And God made two great lights; the waters.

greater light "to rule the day, and the lesser 7 And God made the firmament, and | light to rule the night: he made the stars divided the waters which were under the | also. firmament from the waters which were above 17 And God set them in the firmament of the firinainent : and it was so.


the heaven to give light upon the earth, 1 Psalm 33. 6, and 136. 5. Acts 14. 15, and 17. 24. lleb. 11.3. 22 Cor. 4.6. 8 Heb, between the light and between the dark.css.

4 leb, Anil the crening was, and the morning was, &c Psalm 33, 7, and 136. 6.

1 Heb. tender grass. 1 leb. for the rule of the day, &c.

5 P'salın 136, 5. Jerem. 10. 12, and 51. 13, 6 lleb, e.rpansion. 7 Job 38. 8. 9 Dent, 4, 9, Psalm 136. 7.

10 Heb. beturcon the day and betrecen the night,

18 And to "rule over the day and over the ' in our image, after our likeness : and let night, and to divide the light from the dark- them have dominion over the fish of the sea, ness : and God saw that it was good.

and over the fowl of the air, and over the 19 And the evening and the morning were | cattle, and over all the earth, and over every the fourth day.

creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 20 | And God said, "Let the waters bring 27 So God created man in his own image, forth abundantly the “*moving creature that in the image of God created he him ; 'male hath Slife, and fowl that may fly above the and female created he them. earth in the 'open firmament of heaven. I 28 And God blessed them, and God said

21 And God created great whales, and unto them, 2oBe fruitful, and multiply, and every living creature that moveth, which replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have the waters brought forth abundantly, after dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the their kind, and every winged fowl after his fowl of the air, and over every living thing kind : and God saw that it was good.

that 'moveth upon the earth. 22 And God blessed them, saying, "Be 29 And God said, Behold, I have given fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in you every herb " bearing seed, which is upon the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. the face of all the earth, and every tree, in

23 And the evening and the morning were the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed ; the fifth day.

23 to you it shall be for meat. 24 And God said, Let the earth bring | 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, every fowl of the air, and to every thing that and creeping thing, and beast of the earth creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is a*life, after his kind : and it was so.

I have given every green herb for meat: and 25 And God made the beast of the earth | it was so. after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and 31 And as God saw every thing that he every thing that creepeth upon the earth after had made, and, behold, it was very good. his kind : and God saw that it was good. | And the evening and the morning were the

26 T And God said, 'Let us make man / sixth day. 19 Jer. 31. 35. 13 2 Esdr. 6. 47. 14 Or, creepiny. 15 Heb. soul. 16 Heb. face of the firmament of heaven. 17 Chap. 8. 17, and 9. 1. 18 Chap. 5. 1, and 9. 6. Wisd. 2. 23. Cor. 11. i. Ephes. 4. 24. Col. 3. 10. 19 Matth. 19. 1. 20 Chap. 9.1. 21 Lieb. creepeth. 22 fleb, seeding secd. 23 Chap. 9. 3. 24 Heb. a living soul. 95 Ecclus. 39. 16.

Verse 1. In the beginning, etc.-The recent discussions on geological science, in connection with Scripture, render it a question of great interest, Whether this first verse is an introduction, intended to state as a general proposition the same course of action which the subsequent verses specify,-or whether it relates the original creation of the mass itself, out of which the world was formed in the order and manner afterwards recounted? We apprehend that it cannot with confidence be affirmed that either of these interpretations of the verse is, and that the other is certainly not, the nature of the declaration contained therein. The object of Scripture is to teach us not science, but the knowledge of God: and as this knowledge of God has been necessary, and has been acceptable, to men in different states of cultivation with respect to science, it was indispensable that certain statements, such as this, coming with divine authority, while they can have but one meaning as regards the higher theological truth which is intended to be taught, should, in the secondary sense, be stated in such open phrases as may convey an intelligible meaning to the most uncultivated mind to which they may be presented; but which shall yet prove, in their deeper meaning, compatible with the discoveries of the highest advancement in science of which man is capable, So, in this verse, the great theological truth, that God is the Creator of whatever exists, is distinct and clear, and not liable to diversity of interpretation : but the secondary matters--the what, where, and how-are stated in terms less definite, - terms in which every sincere man may find enough to rest his mind upon, while the highest intellect will find nothing there that is not perfectly consistent with whatever is true in the ultimate results of its investigations. On no other principle could a book intended for all ages, and suited for man in all states of his intellectual

- VOL. I.

and social progress, have been written, without embarrassing its statements throughout with such limitations and explanations as would have utterly marred its simplicity, and have merged its primary in its secondary objects.

It consists neither with the plan por limits of this work, to examine all the questions which have been raised upon the connections or discrepancies between geological science and the first chapter of Genesis. This view is therefore, once for all, reverently put forth, as suited to all the exigencies which can arise out of the discussion; and we submit that the course thus indicated-which could only be practicable to that Infinite Wisdom which sees the end,' the ultimate results of human inquiry, from the beginning,' the dark gropings of untutored minds-does furnish a new and strong argument for the Divine origin and authority of those sacred books on which we rest our knowledge and our hopes.

Under this view, there can be no doubt that the language of this chapter, in its account of the creation, will, when rightly understood, be found conformable with all that is true in geological discovery. There are two favourite interpretations under which this conformity is sought to be established ; and if neither of these is true, we must suppose that the deeper meaning of the sacred writer has not yet been brought to light. The first of these explanations assumes, that this first verse relates to the formation of the material which formed the substance of the world, and regards the remainder of the account as a history of its arranged and orderly construction, at some subsequent period, leaving sufficient time between the two for the production of the various phenomena which the crust of the earth exhibits, and which, as geologists allege, requires for it a date greatly more ancient than that which the Mosaical account assigns to the creation of man. The other expla

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