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106 $99. History, GENEALogy, AND CHRONology.
§ 99. History, GENEAlogy, AND CHRONology.
That the art of historical writing was anciently much cultivated in the East, the Bible itself is an ample testimony; for it not only relates the prominent events, from the creation down to the fifth century before Christ, but speaks of many historical books, which have now perished; and also of many monuments, erected in commemoration of remarkable achievements and furnished with appropriate inscriptions. These monuments are denominated by various names, as Hogg, o, jinzi. The Babylonians also, the Assyrians, the Persians, and Tyrians had their Historical Annals. Among the Egyptians, there was a separate order, viz, the Priests, one part of whose duty it was, to write the history of their country. In the primitive ages the task of composing annals fell in most nations upon the priests, but at a later period, the king had his own secretaries, whose special business it was to record the royal sayings and achievements. The prophets among the Hebrews recorded the events of their own times, and, in the earliest periods, the genealogists interwove many historical events with their accounts of the succession of families. Indeed, it should not be forgotten, that ancient history generally partakes more of a genealogical, than a chronological character. Hence the Hebrew phrase for genealogies, no-on-Yo, is used also for history, Gen. 6: 9.10: 1; and hence no Epoch, more ancient than that of Nabonassar, is any where found. In the Bible, however, this defect, in regard to a regular chronological system, is in a manner compensated by the insertion in various places of definite periods of time, and by chronological genealogies. In giving a concise account of the genealogy of a person, the Hebrews, as well as the Arabs, took the liberty to omit, according to their own pleasure, one or more generations, Ruth 18: 22. Ezra 7: 1–5. Matt. 1:8. It was considered so much of an honour, to have a name and a place in these family Annals, that the Hebrews, from their first existence as a nation, had public genealogists, denominated E**\thus, -thuj. •
Not only the Hebrews, but, if we may credit Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, the Egyptians also, assigned a certain period to a generation. According to their estimation, three generations § 100. ARITHMETick, MATHEMAticks, Etc. 107
made an hundred years. In the time of Abraham, however, when men lived to a greater age, an hundred years made a generation. This is clear from Gen. 15:13, 16, and from the circumstance, that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob dwelt two hundred and fifteen years in the land of Canaan, and yet there were only two generations.
§ 100. ARITHMETICK, MATHEMATICKs, ASTRONoMy, AND Astrology.
I. Arithmetick. The more simple methods of arithmetical calculation are spoken of in the Pentateuch, as if they were well known. The merchants of that early period must, for their own convenience, have been possessed of some method of operating by numbers. And that they were able to do it, to some considerable extent, may be argued from the fact, that they had separate words, viz. Man and Hon, for so large a number, as 10,000. II. Mathematicks. By this we understand Geometry, Mensurations, Navigation, &c. . As far as a knowledge of them was absolutely required by the condition and employments of the people, we may well suppose, that knowledge actually existed; although no express mention is made of them. III. Astronomy. The interests of agriculture and navigation required some knowledge of astronomy. An evidence, that an attempt was made at a very early period, to regulate the year by the annual revolution of the sun, may be found in the fact, that the Jewish months were divided into thirty days each, see Gen. 7: 11.8; 4. In astronomy, the Egyptians, Babylonians, and Phenicians exhibited great superiority. We are informed, there were magicians or enchanters in Egypt, Exod. 7: 11. Lev. 20:27. 19:31, Deut. 18:20, denominated in Hebrew bogen, because they computed eclipses of the sun and moon, and pretended to the people, that they produced them, by the efficacy of their own enchantments. Some of the constellations are mentioned by name, Job 9: 9.38: 31, 32. Isa. 13: 10. Amos 5: 8. 2 Kgs. 23: 5. IV. Astrology. It is by no means a matter of wonder, that the Hebrews did not devote greater attention to astronomy, since the study of astrology, which was intimately connected with that of astronomy, and was very highly estimated among the neighbouring nations, Isa. 47: 9. Jer. 27: 9. 50: 35. Dan. 2: 13, 48, was interdicted to the Hebrews, Deut. 18:19, Lev. 20:27. Daniel, indeed,
108 § 101. Division of the DAY AND NIGHT.
studied the art of astrology at Babylon, but he did not practise it, Dan. 1: 20. 2: 2. The astrologers, (and those wise men mentioned in Matt. 2: 1, et seq. appear to have been such,) divided the heavens into apartments or habitations, to each one of which apartments, they assigned a ruler or president. This fact developes the origin of the word, 68.8%&Bovā, śhat oxil, or the Lord of the (celestial) dwelling, Matt. 10; 25. 12: 24, 27. Mark 3:22. Luke 1 1: 15—19.
v/ § 101. Division of THE DAY AND NIGHT.
The Hebrews, in conformity with the Mosaic law, reckoned the day from evening to evening. The natural day, i.e. the portion of time from sunrise to sunset, was divided by the Hebrews, as it is now by the Arabians, into six unequal parts. These divisions were, as follows. I. origi, also n;, the break of day. This portion of time was at a recent period divided into two parts, in imitation of the Persians; the first of which began, when the eastern, the second, when the western division of the horizon was illuminated. The authors of the Jerusalem Talmud divided it into four parts, the first of which was called in Hebrew orign nox, which occurs in Ps. 22: 1, and corresponds to the phrase, Atav Trgot, in the New Testament, Mark 16: 2. John 20: 1. II. "Ea. the morning or sunrise. III. Dior, En, the heat of the day. It begins about nine o'clock, Gen. 18: 1. 1 Sam. 11:... I 1. IV. Fox, or midday. V. Bhor, no-h, the cool of the day, literally the wind of the day. These expressions are grounded in the fact, that a wind commences blowing regularly a few hours before sunset, and continues till evening, Gen. 3: 8. VI. Roy, the evening. It was divided into two parts, box; the first of which began according to the Karites and Samaritans at sunset, the second, when it began to grow dark. But according to the Rabbins, the first commenced just before sunset, the second precisely at sunset. The Arabians agree with the Karites and Samaritans; and in this way the Hebrews appear to have computed, previous to the Captivity.
§ 101. Division of THE DAY AND NIGHT. 109
Hours, Hop. The mention of them occurs first in Dan. 3: 6, 15. 5: 5. Hours were first measured by gnomons, which merely indicated the Meridian ; afterwards, by the hour-watch, oxwoogazov ; and subsequently still, by the clepsydra, or instrument for measuring time, by means of water. The hour watch or dial, otherwise called the sun-dial, is mentioned in the reign of king Hezekiah, 2 Kgs. 20:9, 10. Isa. 38; 8. Its being called the “sundial of Ahaz,” renders it probable, that Ahaz first introduced it from Babylon, whence also Anaximenes, the Milesian, brought the first skiathericon into Greece. This instrument was of no use during the night, nor indeed, during a cloudy day. In consequence of this defect, the clepsydra was invented, which was used in Persia, as late as the 17th century in its simplest form. The clepsydra was a small circular vessel, constructed of thinly beaten copper or brass, and having a small perforation through the bottom. It was placed in another vessel, filled with water. The diameter of the hole, in the bottom of the clepsydra, was such, that it filled with water in three hours, and sunk. It was necessary, that there should be a servant to tend it; who should take it up, when it had sunk, pour out the water, and place it again empty, on the surface of the water in the vase. The hours of principal note, in the course of the day, were the third, the sixth, and the ninth. These hours, it would seem, were consecrated by Daniel to prayer, Dan. 6: 10, comp. Acts 2: 15. 3:1. 10: 9. The day was divided into twelve hours, which of course, varied in length, being shorter in the winter and longer in the summer, John 11 : 9. In the winter, therefore, the clepsydras were covered internally with wax, that the water might subside from them more rapidly. The hours were numbered from the rising of the sun, so that at the season of the equinox, the third corresponded to the ninth of our reckoning, the sixth to our twelfth, and the ninth to 3 o'clock in the afternoon. At other seasons of the year, it is necessary to observe the time, when the sun rises, and reduce the hours to our time accordingly. We observe, therefore, that the sun in Palestine, at the summer solstice, rises at five of our time, and sets about seven. At the winter solstice, it rises about seven and sets about five. Before the captivity, the night was divided into three watches. The FiRST, which continued till midnight, was denominated to Non 1 10 § 102. of weeks.
nois the commencing or first watch, Lam. 2. 19. The second was denominated Hi-"r hypos, the middle watch, and continued from midnight, till the crowing of the cock. The THIRD, called -par, nois, the morning watch, extended from the second to the rising of the sun. These divisions and names appear to have owed their origin to the watches of the Levites in the tabernacle and temple, Exod. 14:24. 1 Sam. 11:11. In the time of Christ however, the night, in imitation of the Romans, was divided into four watches. According to the English mode of reckoning they were as follows. I. Ops, the evening, from twilight to nine o'clock. II. Msgovvktvov, the midnight, from nine to twelve. III. Akéxtogospovitz, the cock-crowing, from twelve to three. IV. IIgow, from three o'clock till day-break. The assertions of the Talmudists in opposition to this statement are not to be regarded.
§ 102. OF WEEKs. *
A period of seven days, under the usual name of a week, orp, is mentioned as far back as the time of the deluge, Gen. 7: 4, 10. 8: 10, 12, also Gen. 29:27, 28. It must, therefore, be considered a very ancient division of time, especially, as the various nations, among whom it has been noticed, for instance the Nigri in Africa, (see Oldendorp's Gesch. der Mission I. 308.) appear to have received it from the sons of Noah. The enumeration of the days of the week commenced at Sunday. Saturday was the last or seventh, and was the Hebrew sabbath, or day of rest. The Egyptians gave to the days of the week the same names, that they assigned to the planets. From the circumstance, that the Sabbath was the principal day of the week, the whole period of seven days was likewise called nzo, Syriack Nnaj, in the New Testament, Goffflotov and gaggara The Jews, accordingly, in designating the successive days of the week, were accustomed to say, the first day of the sabbath, i.e. of the week, the second day of the Sabbath, viz. Sunday, Monday, &c. Mark 16: 2,9. Luke 24: 1. John 20:1, 19. In addition to the week of days, the Jews had three other seasons, denominated weeks, Lev.25: 1–17. Deut. 16: 9–10. -