« AnteriorContinuar »
dren of Eber.” This is a strong testimony to the distinguished character of Eber, as well as a proof that all his descendants were to be called after him. The reason of mentioning this in the history, is to show that from Shem were to be descended those who, on that account, were to be called “ Hebrews,"—that is, Abraham and his family, and the Israelites. This is decisive proof that Abraham and his family were called Hebrews, from Eber, or Heber, and that the Hebrew language was the language of the patriarchal family.
The confusion and dispersion happened in the days of Peleg; “for in his days the earth was divided." Gen. x. 25. The meaning of the name was " division,” or “ dispersion.”* And “ the earth was divided," means the dispersion consequent on the confusion of languages. He was the son of Eber, who had two sons, Peleg and Joktan. On account of Peleg alone being mentioned, it is supposed, with great appearance of probability, that the confusion happened between the births of Peleg and Joktan. We may, at least, be certain that it happened before the birth of Reu, Peleg's son; after which Peleg would not have been mentioned. Reu was born when Peleg was thirty years of age, and the event must have happened within those thirty years. But taking the utmost possible range, it must have happened in Peleg's lifetime; and Peleg died before Noah, Shem, and Eber. For my present argument, it does not signify at what time of his life it happened; and therefore, for the sake of precision and calculation, let us fix upon the twentieth
•• Peleg, in Hebrew, signifies a division, a portion, and also (as in Job xx. 17) a stream, by which water is distributed: hence the Greek word melayos, and the Latin pelagus. It occurs in Judges v. 15, 16; 2 Chron. xxxv. 5, 13; and in Chaldee, Dan. ii. 41; vii. 25. Ezra, vi. 18.'.-H. S.
year* of Peleg, as the year of confusion. That would have been a hundred and twenty-one years after the flood. Now, Noah lived three hundred and fifty-eight years after the flood, Shem five hundred and two years, and Eber five hundred and thirty-one years. Therefore Noah outlived the confusion and dispersion upwards of two hundred years; Shem three hundred and eighty; and Eber more than four hundred years. Noah lived fifty-eight years after Abraham was born. Shem and Eber both lived many years after Abraham's departure from Haran, (or Charran,) to come to Canaan. Shem outlived Abraham thirty-five years; and Eber outlived Abraham sixty-four years. When Eber died, Jacob was seventy-nine years of age. Well, therefore, might Abraham and his descendants be called the children of Eber.
It is quite clear, then, that the confusion and dispersion must have taken place many years before the death of
* The following table of Chronology after the flood will show the dates of the births and deaths of the patriarchs necessary to be known for the understanding of the above argument.
Years between each.
Birth—Year after the
after the flood.
Between the flood and Ar
phaxad, son of Shem . 2 Arphaxad - - 2 Arphaxad to Salah - - 35 Salah . . 37 Salah to Eber - - 30 Eber - - - 67 Eber to Peleg
• 101 Peleg to Reu
. 131 Reu to Serug
Serug . - - 163 Serug to Nabor . 30 Nahor - - - 193 Nahor to Terah - 29 Terah - - - 222 Terah to Abram - - 70 Abram - - - 292
from Cbarran 367 Abraham to Isaac - 100 Isaac . - 392 Isaac to Esau and Jacob - 601 Esau and Jacob 452
Terah - 427
Noah, Shem, and Eber. And from the favourable mention made of these three patriarchs, it is most improbable that they, and particularly Noah and Shem, who had witnessed the wonders and vengeance of the flood, should have lapsed from the worship of the true God, more especially as we find that worship to have been maintained in that same country for many years after. And as to Noah, we are absolutely certain that he persevered in his devoted obedience to the end of his life, because he is mentioned as the head of the faithful, by the Almighty himself, long after his death. Ezek. xiv. 14. “ Though Noah, Job, and Daniel were in it,” &c. And in Heb. xi. 7, we have a strong commendation of his faith. Whence it is certain that he continued faithful unto his death, which happened two centuries after the dispersion. We know also, from many other passages of scripture, that the knowledge and worship of the true God were preserved in that country for many years after the transactions of Babel. See Gen. xxiv. 31--50; xxix. 32, 33, 35; xxx. 6, 27; xxxi. 29, 49, 50, 53.
There is one strong argument remaining to prove, that the Hebrew language,—the language of Heber and his descendants, and of the patriarchs, and of the inhabitants of Chaldea—was not confounded or changed. It appears that all the rebellious, all who builded the tower, had their language confounded, and were scattered and dispersed from that country. It follows, therefore, that those who were not scattered, had not their language confounded; but Eber and his descendants still remained settled in the same country, were not scattered, and therefore their language—the Hebrew language—was not confounded or altered, but remained the same as it did before the attempt to build the tower of Babel; and consequently the same as it had been from the creation. And in that language,-taught by God himself to man at the creation, the
number seven, or seventh, is indissolubly connected with rest, and with the sabbath.
WILDERNESS OF sin.
We come now to a most interesting and important stage of our journey through this investigation, as it was to the Israelites in their passage through the wilderness. In the transactions in the Wilderness of Sin, the able authors who are opposed to us think that they find irrefragable proof, that the sabbath was not known to, or practised by, the Israelites before that time; and yet in those very transactions I think I can discover sufficient evidence not only to refute their arguments, but to establish a directly opposite conclusion. Great and eminent men are against me,Heylyn, Bramhall, Mede, &c. But here, again, the great genius of these men has led them into error. These lofty travellers, mounted on their stately dromedaries, in passing the desart, have surveyed with eagle-eye the vast expanse ; but they have been too highly raised to see the light prints of angels' footsteps, which have shown to me, who travelled on foot and close to the ground, the path which has led me to the truth, and saved me from error. And that my readers may arrive at the same conclusion, I must request their diligent perusal of the sacred narrative of the transaction. A minute investigation of this passage of scripture is calculated to clear up many difficulties in our subject, and will amply reward the diligent inquirer after truth, and the admirers of holy writ; which, the more closely it is examined, the more consistency and harmony it unfolds.
It appears from Exod. xvi. 1, that the Israelites came to the Wilderness of Sin on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure out of Egypt. So far we are all agreed; but here our agreement ends.
Heylyn says, that this day was the sevennight of the sabbath kept after the six days of manna. This I deny. He says also, that on that very night of their arrival, the quails were sent, and on the next morning the manna. This I will show to be impossible. Hence he argues that this ought to have been the sabbath, if a sabbath had been previously kept, and yet they travelled on it. But I hope to show that not that day, but the next, the sixteenth, not only ought to have been, but actually was, the sabbath.
With reference to the same transaction, Mede says, • Certain I am that the Jews kept not that sabbath till the raining of manna; for that, which should have been their sabbath the week before, had they then kept the day, which afterwards they kept, was the fifteenth day of the second month, on which day we read, in the sixteenth of Exodus, that they marched a wearisome march, and came at night into the Wilderness of Sin, where they murmured for their poor entertainment, and wished they had died in Egypt. That night the Lord sent them quails, and the next morning it rained manna, which was the sixteenth day, and so six days together: the seventh, which was the twenty-second, it rained none; and that day they were commanded to keep their sabbath. Now, if the twenty-second day of the month was the sabbath, the fifteenth should have been, if that day had been kept before; but the text tells us expressly that they marched that day, and, which is strange, the day of the month is never named, unless it be once: otherwise it