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PROPHECY OF BALAAM.
Israel; but the angel of the Deity appears to the seer, who is thus compelled to bless instead of cursing them, and he next proceeds to sketch in a brief manner the future destinies of the people. He prophesies for Israel a “king that shall be higher than Agagl” (in allusion to Saul who conquered Agag, king of the Amalekites2); he predicts that a prince would succeed him who should conquer the Moabites and Edomites 3 (which actually happened under David4); he also foretells the Assyrian captivity, and finally he prophesies that ships from Chittim would afflict Asshur. This is the termination of the prediction, and it refers, according to the admirable explanation of Hitzig, to whom we are indebted for the first solution of the difficulty?, to the invasion of Cilicia by the Greeks (B.C. 710.) with a fleet from Cyprus. The Assyrians advanced to attack them, but were repulsed with great loss, which was a determinate and very important event, and must have been of great consequence to the Jews as they were themselves sufferers in common with the Assyrians.
Now the prophet Micah, who lived in the reign of Heze-' kiah, or very soon after this period, (and therefore before
1 " His king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.”-Num. xxiv. 7.
2 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.”—1 Sam. xv. 7.
8 “There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.”—Num. xxiv. 17.
4 See De Wette, Krit. p. 364.
5 « The Kenite shall be wasted, until Asshur shall carry thee away captive.”-Num. xxiv. 22.
6 « Ships shall come from the coast of Chittim, and shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber, and he also shall perish for ever.”— Nur. xxiv. 24.
· Kritik, p. 54, &c.
PROPHECY OF BALAAM.
B.C. 698), was acquainted with this prophecy of Balaam'; and thus it appears that this passage may be fully explained, although Bertholdt considered it as an interpolation, and referred it to the time of Alexander. The author of the Pentateuch had previously introduced into his work an ancient poem 2 belonging to the brightest period of the Hebrew history, and had applied it to the purposes of his epic: with a similar object he afterwards introduced the prophecy of Balaam, and certainly nothing could have better conduced to the glorification of Israel than to have had her triumphs celebrated in this manner by a foreign seer.
I “O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal ; that ye may know the righteousness of the Lord.”—Micah vi. 5.
? Gen. xlix. [The description of the twelve tribes in the blessing of Jacob.]
THE WEEK, THE SABBATH, AND THE THREE ANNUAL
FEASTS OF THE HEBREWS.
HEBREW festivals are still brought forward to prove the high antiquity of the Pentateuch, but it will be found on examination that these festivals, as well as other arrangements derived from the ancient calendar, and which may be properly termed astronomical arguments, are in reality peculiarly well fitted to authenticate the later date of the writings in question.
Periodical cycles, and especially that of the week, are the first to claim our attention, though we must not repeat here all that we have already said in a former work on Ancient India'. The short weekly period, with the rest on the seventh day, is not so peculiar to the Hebrews as De Wette has imagined?, but belongs to many Sabæan religions of antiquity, and is evidently founded on that knowledge of the planets which gave to the number seven so important a character among the eastern nations. It further appears, that in every instance the days succeed each other exactly in the same order,—a coincidence which can only be explained by the influence of eastern astrology; but such a succession must clearly have been
See Von Bohlen, Alt. Indien, ii. 244, and the Appendix to this volume.
? Archäolog. $ 214.
ANCIENT SACRED DAYS.
communicated from some one people, and it only remains for us to choose, according to the best evidence the case will allow, between the Hindoos, the Chaldæans, and the Egyptians. The particular day regarded as especially sacred varied among different nations, according to the heavenly body to whose worship they were especially attached. In most nations the day was that dedicated to the Sun, but among the ancient Arabs it was that dedicated to Venus, in whose honour young virgins were exposed and human sacrifices were offered down to the time of Heraclius; and among the Egyptians and Phænicians the most sacred day was dedicated to Saturn, who was called Rempha, or the Heavenly. To this planet a beneficent influence was originally ascribed as the inventor of agriculture and the god of justice, from whence he received his Semitic name of Kiun (or Chiun], the Just2. He was for a long period the guardian of the Caaba at Mecca'; the Tyrians sacrificed boys to him, and even the Hebrews had devoted themselves to his service5. Lastly, the Hebrews adopted the day of Saturn, and, without making any concession to idolatrous worship, it was beautifully ordained by Moses
See Porphyrius de Abstin. ii. 56. Eutych. Zygabenus. “The Saracens (or Arabs] adored idols until the time of king Heraclius, worshiping Lucifer, the Morning Star, and Venus, whom they called, in their own language, Chabar, which word means 'the great,' i. e. in Arabic Chabir.” Compare further Abutaleb, edit. by Norberg in the Onomast. Cod. Nasir, pp. 4, 10, 30, 78, 97, 138, and Pococke, Speci. men Hist. Arab. p. 90, &c.
2 Compare Curtius, iv. 15. Eusebius Præp. Evang. i. 10, and Das Saturninische Zeitalter (The Age of Saturn).
3 See Pococke, Specimen Hist. Arab. p. 140.
5 “Ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.”-- Amos
that this day should be set apart for what was called a national memorial of the bondage in Egypt'. This, however, is a mode of explaining the origin of the week which betrays the comparatively recent date of the poem of the creation in Genesis?, and is completely opposed to the whole of the remainder of that book; for Genesis continually brings the week before the reader, and even mentions it by its peculiar name of shevua” 3. But if the institution of the sabbath, like many others, was borrowed from foreign nations, we may gather from the earliest passages that make mention of it, that it only found admission by degrees, and that it was not finally established until about the time of Hezekiah. The people were partial to the sabbath as a kind of market-day, and the worship of Jehovah did not derive much advantage from it, because on such a day the intercourse with the Phoenicians was naturally more unrestrained4. Hence the very first men
1 “And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched-out arm : therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath-day.”—Deut. v. 15.
“ Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.”—Ezek. xx. 12.
“And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant.”Nehemiah ix. 14.
2 Genesis, chap. i.
3 Compare Gen. vii. 4, [in the account of the deluge]“ (at) seven days (le-yamim shiv”ah),” and 10, “after seven (the) days, (le-shiv”ath hayamim);” viii. 10 & 12, “seven days, (shiv”ath yamin);” xxix. 27, “week, (shevua').".
4 Compare the following verses :
“Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with ; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.”—Isaiah i. 13.
“I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her