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present Hebrew Copy in Pfal. Ixxxiii. 1. where the LXX and Latin Vulgate read, Who shall be compared unto thee, O God? And our English Bibles, Hold not thy Tongue, O God: Yet this Difference arises only from the Ambiguity of one Hebrew Word, 107, which signifies borh Similitude and Silence; and may be literally translated into Latin, Deus non eft Similitudo tibi, or Deus non eft Silentium tibi. Psal. cxxxii. 1. the LXX and Latin Vulgate read, Lord, remember. David and all his Humility : But our Translation has it, and all his Trouble. This likewise proceeds from the Ambiguity of the Hebrew Word nudy, which fignifies both Humility and Trouble or Affliction, and the Context will bear either of these Words. But the Maforites by their Points have fixed the Signification to Trouble or Affliction, and our English has followed them, and the LXX have taken the other Sense of the Word. I will give you one Instance inore from Gen. xlvii. 31. where our Translation renders, Ifrael bowed himself upon the Bed's Head. But the LXX render, he bowed himself or worshipped upon the Top of his Staff And so the Apostle cites it, Heb. xi. 21.". The Hebrew Word 700 signifying either a Bed or a Staff. Which different Significations the Majorites have distinguished by their different Vowel Points. But whether they have always rightly distinguished their ambiguous Words is the Quertion. Nor are the LXX to be blamed, if they often differ from them with regard to the true Meaning of ambiguous Words. For where Words have various Significations, different Translators will translate them variously.
But the various Readings between the LXX and our English Bibles do not arise only or chieťy from the Ambiguity of many Hebrew Words, and to which the Majorites by their Points have fixed a Sense different from that in which they were understood by the LXX : Many Differences have also risen froni a Change in the Hebrew Letters, as well as from the Points. For although, as before observed, the Jews have not wilfully altered the Letters of the Hebrew Text, yet Variations have arisen in them through the Likeness of one Letter to another, which has occafioned the Transcribers to mistake, and put the one for the other. Transcribers aiso, sometimes writing haftily, have by Carelesness or by Oversight transposed a Letter, and put that Letter before, which should be behind the other, of which I will give you fome Instances.
Psal. xxii. 16. The present Hebrew Copies read, Dogs have compaled me; the Assembly of the Wicked have enclosed me As A Lion my Hands and
ту Feet. A Reading one can hardly tell how to make sense of. But in the LXX and all ancient Translations, and in our English Bibles also, it is, THEY PIERCED my Hands and my Feet. Yet we cannot say that the Jews did originally corrupt this. Text wilfully; the Corruption might easily proceed from a Mistake of the Transcriber, or his Carelesness in writing 9 and 1, which might easily happen in hafty Writing, and so instead of 77/3 foderunt, they wrote X3 ficut Leo. This Reading being got into one Copy, many other Copies followed it, and the Jews finding this Reading (though a very absurd one) deprived the Christians of a prophetiek Text relating to the Passion and Death of the blessed Jejus, have stuck to, and still retain, this corrupt
Reading in their Bibles. So Habar. i. 5. our Bibles from the present Hebrew read, Behold ye among the Heathen : But the LXX, behold ye Despisers. Which plainly proceeded from a Mistake occasioned through the likeness of two different Letters, 1 and 7. The present Hebrew Copies have 3 in gentibus, and that from which the LXX tran. Dlated had 2 contemptores.
2 Chron. xx. I. We read in our Bibles, the Children of Moab, and the Children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehonaphat 10 Battle
. But you may observe, as the Word other is printed in the Italick Letter, it is not in the Hebrew Text, but put in by the Translators; for in the Hebrew it is, the Children of Ammon, and with them of the Ammonites : So the Translators put in the Word other, and changed the Word of to beside, in order to make it good Sense. But the LXX have translated it, and with them of the Minæans. The learned Bochart has judiciously observed (Geogr. Sacr. part 1. 1. 2. c. 22.) that this Mistake has happened in the Hebrew Text through the Oversight of a Transcriber, who through Carelesness transposed the Letter y, and instead of setting it after the Letter , as he ought to have done, set it before that Letter. So instead of writing Oriyanto, he wrote Divyno, and others transcribing from this Copy propagated the Mistake. The Hebrew Word which the LXX translates Minæans, is, according as now pointed by the Maforites, read Mebunim,
as appears from our Bibles, 2 Chron. xxvi. 7. And the Place of their 'Habitation is called Maon, Joshua xv. 55. and gave Name to the Wilderness near which they lived, 1 Sam. xxiii. 24, 25.
There are a great many various Readings in the Hebrew Bibles arising from the Points : For there were two eminent Jews, one at Tiberias called Ben Ascher, the other at Babylon called Ben Naphtali, who about the same Time undertook to publish each of them a correct
' Edition of the Hebrew Scriptures with the Points, wherein they differ much : The Eastern Jews, for the most Part, follow the Edition of Ber Naphtali, and the Western that of Ben Ascher. There are also other different Readings between the Eastern and Western Jews. Buc this chiefly concerns the Points. However, the Jews, also acknowledge many various Readings, even with regard to the Letters; which various Readings are noted in the Margin of the Hebrew Bibles, and are called op Keri, and Ketib. Keri signifies read, and Ketib, written.
The Word which stands in the Text is not to be read, and therefore is called Ketib, i. e, the written : But the other is called Keri, the read, because though it is not written in the Text, but in the Margin, yet it is to be read instead of that in the Text. This Keri and Ketib is the Work of the Maforites, and is supposed to have proceeded from hence. Designing to publish a correct Edition of their' Bible, they took that which they efteemed their most authentick Copy, and not daring to make any Alterations in the Text of that Copy, yet finding in other Copies a different Reading, which they judged to be the more genuine, they placed it in the Margin, and gave Directions to their Scholars to read that marginal Word instead of the other, thereby giving the Preference to that Word, though they feared to put it into the Text. Bishop Walton, in his Appendix to his Polyglot, has given us all those VOL. III. B
various Readings of Ben Ascher and Ben Naphtali of the Oriental and Occidental Jews, and of the Keri and Ketib. But those who are skilled in the Hebrew, even those who are most zealous for the Integrity of the Hebrew Text, tell us, that there are many other various Readings in the Manuscript Bibles, though I know of none who has taken the Pains to make a Collection of them, as Dr. Milles and others have done the various Readings of the New Testament.
The LXX is the most ancient Translation of the Scriptures that has been made. Some indeed pretend that there was an elder Version of the Jewish Scriptures into Grcek, made about the Time of the Babylonish Captivity, or soon after, before the Reign of Cyrus, from whence Pythagoras and Plato learned many Things, for which they cite one Ariftobulus, some Fragments of whose Books have been preserved, and handed down to us by Clemens Alexandrinus, Eusebius, and others of the ancient Fathers, who generally accuse the Philosophers of having stolen many of their Doctrines from the holy Scriptures, and corrupted them with a Mixture of their own Notions. But though Ariftobulus and the Fathers accuse them of this Theft, they do not say that the Scriptures, but only some small parts of the Law, were translated into Greek. And this is said only on Conjecture, and not historical Authority. They tell us, that Pythagoras, Plato, and other Philosophers, travelled into Egypt and Babylon, and others Parts where the fews were dispersed, from converfing with whom they learned many of those Things which were written in the Scriptures, and which could not be known but from thence. All this might easily be done, without a Translation of any Book of the Scriptures into Greek. No Question can be made but that Pythagoras and Plato, and other Philosophers who travelled into Chaldea and Egypt to obtain the Learning of those Countries, and for which Purpose they sojourned there many Years, would, in order to attain that Learning, endeavour to attain a tolerable Knowledge in the Language of the Country where they sojourned, that they might freely converse with the learned Men of those Countries, who before the Macedonian Conquests had no Occasion to learn Greek: The Learning of that Age residing amongst them, and they had no Occasion to seek any from the Greeks. But when the Macedonians had conquered the Persian Empire, and after the Death of Alexander had there erected their several Kingdoms, the Greek became the Court-Language in all those Nations, and the Learning of Egypt and Chaldea was translated into Greek, which by that Means became an universal Language over all those Parts of the World.
When the Greeks were thus become Masters of all those Countries, and had there for a considerable Time firmly established their Empire, Ptolemy Lagus, the first Macedonian King of Egypt, gave great Encouragement to all learned Men to settle in his Dominions : And his Son Ptolemy Philadelphus erected a noble Library for their Use at Alexandria his capital City. Demetrius Phalereus, his Library Keeper, acquainted that Prince, that the Law of the Jews ought to have a Place in his Library. The King answered him, that it was his Fault if it was not put there. Demetrius replied, that it must be translated first, because it was written in a Language and Characters unknown to the Egyp
tians. Hereupon the King resolved to write to the High Priest of the Jews to send him the Book, with Interpreters to translate it. Then Arifteas, a great Officer in the Court, and who wrote the History of this Transaction, represented to the King, that he could not send Ambassadors to the Jews, while he kept so many Jews in Slavery in his Kingdom, being no less than 100,000; all 'which, with their Wives and Children, the King redeemed from their Malters, paying out of his Treafury twenty Drachmas a Head for every one. Then Deme. trius acquainted hiin, that it would be convenient to write to the High Priest at ferusalem, to send him fix Men out of every Tribe, noted for their Learning, Virtue and Age, to make an exact Version of the Books of the Jews. Aristeas gives us a Copy of the King's Letter to Eleazar the High Priest, and the Names of the 72 Persons fent to translate the Law, with an Account of the magnificent Presents the King made to the High Priest, to the Temple at Jerusalem, and to the 72 Interpreters, so that, as Dean Prideaux has computed, the whole Expence the King was at on this Occasion amounted to near two Millions of our Money. Demetrius conducted the Interpreters to a House prepared for them in the isand Pharus, where in 72 Days they finished their Verfion.
Ariftobulus, who was Tutor to Ptolemy Physcon, Philo also, who lived in our Saviour's Time, and was Contemporary to the Apostles, and Jofephus, who saw and wrote the History of the Destruction of Jerufalem by the Romans, all speak of this Translation as made by 72 Interpreters, by the Care of Demetrius Phalereus, under the Reign of Ptolemy Philadelpus. And all Christians, who mention how this Tranflation was made, for 1500 Years, speak of it as made by 72 Interpreters (or by 70, which is the nearest round Number to 72, and from thence gave it the Name of the Septuagint) in the Time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, without any Exception. It is true, they have differed in several Circumstances relating to the Manner of their Translating, as whether they were shut up every Interpreter in a Cell by himself, or whether there were two in one Cell, or whether they conferred all together as often as they pleased, and other Circumftantials : But in the main both Jews and Christians were agreed until after the Year 1500, that this most ancient Greek Translation was made by 72, or, as called for the Sake of the round Number, 70 Interpreters, in the Time of Ptolemy Philadelphus. But since that 'Time Criticks are arisen who question every Thing; and not only the Circumstances wherein the Ancients both fews and Christians differ in their Relation, but even where they all agree, are denied. They question whether this Version was made in the Reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, by 72 Persons. And say, were not 12 enough, and more than sufficient?
Du Pin, who, in his Compleat History of the Canon of Scripture, has rejected all the Accounts given by Aristeas, Ariftabulus, Poilo, Julephus, and the Ancient Fathers concerning this Translation, as fabulous Stories, yet grants the Transation to be as old as the Reign of Philadelphus. For, speaking of the History of Aristeas, the ancienteft and most particular of all that is written concerning this Matter, he says, " That how fabulous foever it be in its Circumstances, it has a true
“ Foundation: Aristeas, and the other j ws of Al xandria, would never " have wrote such Things, had not the Law been translated into Greek “ by the Jews in the Reign of Ptolen.y Philadelphus. There muft be “ some Truth that hath given Rise to his Fable, and that this Prince “ did in Eff: et demand, and cause to be made a Greek Version of the “ Books of the Law.” Well then, thus much is granted by one of the greatest Adversaries to this Verfion; and I know of none that have absolutely denied this Antiquity. Dean Prideaux, who seems to be one of the greatest Adversaries to this Tranflation, allows the five Books of Moses to have been translated in the Time of Ptolemy Philadelphus by the Alexandrian Jews, and repofited in his Library. But if Philadelphus, or his Library-Keeper, defired to have these Books of the Jews, why should they not rather desire to have them from ferusalem, the Fountain Head, than from the Alexandrian Jews ? Dr. Prideaux himself tells
us, " That they seized all the Books, that were by “ any Greek or other Foreigner brought into Egypt, and sending them " to the Mufæum, caused them there to be written out by those of that “ Society, whom they there maintained, and then sent the Transcripts " to the Owners, and kept the Originals to lay up in the Library. This thews that they were curiously nice to have the best and moft authenticki Copies in their Library.' Can we think then, that when they wanted the Books of the Jews, they would not rather send for them to Jerusalem, which was in a bordering Country, and under Ptolemy's jurisdiction, than take it from an Alexandrian Copy? And to desire a Copy immediately taken from the Original reposited in the Temple? And as that Copy was in a Language the wife Men of Egypt understood not, to defire a Number of Tranflators well versed both in the Hebrew and Greek, who might foon make a faithful Translation of it? This was certainly the best Method to fecure a good Tranilation of this Book.
But lays Du Pin, “ Why must 72 Perfons be sent to make this “ Tranuation? Were not 12 enough, and more than sufficient to “ accomplish it? This great Number was fit for nothing but to con“ found the Work.” It may be answered, that such a Number of Persons was convenient, and would be so far from confounding the Wor that it would forward it very much. Indeed, in a Number of Years one Man might translate the whole, as we know St. Ferom did, and others have done since : But where a Translation is foon wanted, a Number is necessary. When our King James I. ordered a new Translation of the Bible, no fewer than 54 Persons were appointed for, and laboured in that Work. Each Man had bis Part allotted him to translate, and then it was supervised and corrected until it was approved by the rest. And 72 Persons might very well do the fame. The Number 70, OF 72, is therefore no Argument against that Number of Interpreters. Bat says Dean Prideaux, it was done by Alexandrians, for it is in the Alexandrian Dialect. But I conceive the Alexandrian and Jewish Greek Dialect was the same at that Time : For both learned that Language from the Macedonians, which was hardly formed into different Dialects between the Conquest made by Alexander and the Reign of Philadelphus. Then he also pretends that only the