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A Commentary on the New Testament
from the Talmud and Hebraica
Exercitations upon the Evangelist St. Luke
2. Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
[Annas and Caiaphas being high priests.] They do constitute two high priests at one time. True indeed: but they promoted a sagan, together with a high priest.
The 'sagan,' as to his degree, was the same to the high priest, as he that was next or second to the king.
They substituted, indeed, on the vespers of the day of expiation, another priest to the high priest, that should be in readiness to perform the office for the day, if any uncleanness should by chance have befallen the high priest.
"It is storied of Ben Elam of Zipporim, that when a gonorrhea had seized the high priest on the day of expiation, he went in and performed the office for that day. And another story of Simeon Ben Kamith, that as he was walking with the king on the vespers of the day of expiation, his garments were touched with another's
spittle, so that Judah his brother went in and ministered. On that day the mother of them saw her two sons high priests."
It is not without reason controverted, whether the sagan were the same with this deputed priest: the Jews themselves dispute it. I would be on the negative part: for the sagan was not so much the vice high priest, as (if I may so speak) one set over the priests. The same with the ruler of the temple; of whom we
have such frequent mention among the doctors: upon him chiefly did the care and charge of the service of the temple lie.
"The ruler of the temple saith to them, Go out and see if it be time to slay the sacrifice." "The ruler saith, Come and cast your lots who shall slay the sacrifice, who shall sprinkle the blood," &c. The Gloss is, the ruler is the 'sagan.'
He is commonly called the 'sagan' of the priests: which argues his supremacy among the priests, rather than his vicegerency under the high priest.
"When the high priest stands in the circle of those that are to comfort the mourners, the sagan and he that is anointed for the battle, stand on his right hand, and the head of the father's house, those that mourn, and all the people stand on his left hand."
Mark here the order of the sagan; he is below the high priest, but above the heads of all the courses.
2 Kings 23:4, the priests of the second order: Targum, the 'sagan' of the priests. And chapter 25:18, Zephaniah the second priest: Targum, Zephaniah 'the sagan' of the priests.
Caiaphas therefore was the high priest, and Annas the sagan or ruler of the temple; who, for his independent dignity, is called high priest as well as Caiaphas; and seems therefore to be named first, because he was the other's father-in-law.
There was a dissension between Hanan and the sons of the chief priests, &c. It was in a judicial cause, about a wife requiring her dower, &c. Where the scruple is, who should these chief priests be? whether the fathers and heads of the courses, or the high priest only and the sagan. It was a
council of priests: which we have already spoken to at Matthew 26:3. Now the question is, whether by the "sons of the chief priests," be meant the sons of the fathers of courses, or the fathers of courses themselves, or the sons of the high priest and the sagan; where the high priest in that court was like the prince in the Sanhedrim, and the sagan
the father of the Sanhedrim.
"Moses was made a sagan to Aaron. He put on his garments, and took them off [viz. on the day of his consecration]. And as he was his sagan in life, so he was in death too."
5. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
[Every valley shall be filled.] The Jews have a tradition, that some such thing was done by the cloud that led Israel in the wilderness. Instead of many instances, take the Targumist upon Canticles 2:6: "There was a cloud went before them, three days' journey, to take down the hills and raise the valleys: it slew
all fiery serpents in the wilderness, and all scorpions; and found out for them a fit place to lodge in."
What the meaning of the prophet in this passage was, Christians well enough understand. The Jews apply it to levelling and making the ways plain for Israel's return out of captivity: for this was the main thing they expected from the Messiah, viz. to bring back the captivity of Israel.
"R. Chanan saith, Israel shall have no need of the doctrine of Messiah the King in time to come; for it is said, To him shall the Gentiles seek (Isa 11:10), but not Israel. If so, why then is Messiah to come? and what is he to do when he doth come? He shall gather together the captivity of Israel,"
8. Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves. We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
[Of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.] We do not say the Baptist played with the sound of those two words banaia and abanaia: he does certainly, with great scorn, deride the vain confidence and glorying of that nation (amongst whom nothing was more ready and usual in their mouths than to boast that they
were the children of Abraham), when he tells them, That they were such children of Abraham, that God could raise as good as they from those very stones.
11. He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
[He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none.] It would be no sense to say, He that hath two coats, let him give to him that hath not two; but to him that hath none: for it was esteemed for religion by some to wear but one single coat or garment: of which, more elsewhere.
13. And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
[Exact no more than that which is appointed you.] When the Rabbins saw that the publicans exacted too much, they rejected them, as not being fit to give their testimony in any case. Where the Gloss hath it, too much, that is more than that which is appointed them. And the father of R. Zeirah is commended in the
same place, that he gently and honestly executed that trust: "He discharged the office of a publican for thirteen years: when the prince of the city came, and this publican saw the Rabbins, he was wont to say to them, Go, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, Isaiah 26:20." The Gloss is, "Lest the prince of the city should see you; and, taking
notice what numbers you are, should increase his tax yearly."
14. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
[Neither accuse any falsely.] "The manner of sycophants is, first to load a person with reproaches, and whisper some secret, that the other hearing it may, by telling something like it, become obnoxious himself."
[With your wages.] A word used also by the Rabbins: The king distributeth wages to his legions. "The king is not admitted to the intercalation of the year, because of the 'opsonia'": that is, lest he should favour himself in laying out the years with respect to the soldiers' pay.
22. And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
[Like a dove.] If you will believe the Jews, there sat a golden dove upon the top of Solomon's sceptre. "As Solomon sat in his throne, his sceptre was hung up behind him: at the top of which there was a dove, and a golden crown in the mouth of it."
23. And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,
[Being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph.] "A parable. There was a certain orphaness brought up by a certain epitropus, or foster-father, an honest good man. At length he would place her in marriage. A scribe is called to write a bill of her dower: saith he to the girl, 'What is thy name?' 'N.' saith she. 'What
the name of thy father?' She held her peace. To whom her foster-father, 'Why dost thou not speak?' 'Because,' saith she, 'I know no other father but thee.' He that educateth the child is called a father, not he that begets it." Note that: Joseph, having been taught by the angel, and well satisfied in Mary, whom he had espoused, had owned Jesus for his son from his first
birth; he had redeemed him as his first-born, had cherished him in his childhood, educated him in his youth: and therefore, no wonder if Joseph be called his father, and he was supposed to be his son.
II. Let us consider what might have been the judgment of the Sanhedrim in this case only from this story: "There came a certain woman to Jerusalem with a child, brought thither upon shoulders. She brought this child up; and he afterward had the carnal knowledge of her. They are brought before the Sanhedrim, and the Sanhedrim
judged them to be stoned to death: not because he was undoubtedly her son, but because he had wholly adhered to her."
Now suppose we that the blessed Jesus had come to the Sanhedrim upon the decease of Joseph, requiring his stock and goods as his heir; had he not, in all equity, obtained them as his son? Not that he was, beyond all doubt and question, his son, but that he had adhered to him wholly from his cradle, was brought up by him as his son, and
always so acknowledged.
III. The doctors speak of one Joseph a carpenter: "Abnimus Gardieus asked the Rabbins of blessed memory, whence the earth was first created: they answer him, 'There is no one skilled in these matters; but go thou to Joseph the architect.' He went, and found him standing upon the rafters."
It is equally obscure, who this Joseph the carpenter, and who this Abnimus was; although, as to this last, he is very frequently mentioned in those authors. They say, that "Abnimus and Balaam were two the greatest philosophers in the whole world." Only this we read of him, That there was a very great
familiarity betwixt him and R. Meir.
[Which was the son of Heli.] I. There is neither need nor reason, nor indeed any foundation at all, for us to frame I know not what marriages, and the taking of brothers' wives, to remove a scruple in this place, wherein there is really no scruple in the least. For,
1. Joseph is not here called the son of Heli, but Jesus is so: for the word Jesus must be understood, and must be always added in the reader's mind to every race in this genealogy, after this manner: "Jesus (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, and so the son of Heli, and of Matthat, yea and, at length, the son of
Adam, and the Son of God." For it was very little the business of the evangelist either to draw Joseph's pedigree from Adam, or, indeed, to shew that Adam was the son of God: which not only sounds something harshly, but in this place very enormously, I may almost add, blasphemously too. For when St. Luke, verse 22, had made a voice from heaven, declaring that Jesus was the Son of
God, do we think the same evangelist would, in the same breath, pronounce Adam 'the son of God' too? So that this very thing teacheth us what the evangelist propounded to himself in the framing of this genealogy; which was to shew that this Jesus, who had newly received that great testimony from heaven, "This is my Son," was the very same that had been promised to Adam
by the seed of the woman. And for this reason hath he drawn his pedigree on the mother's side, who was the daughter of Heli, and this too as high as Adam, to whom this Jesus was promised. In the close of the genealogy, he teacheth in what sense the former part of it should be taken; viz. that Jesus, not Joseph, should be called the son of Heli, and consequently, that the same Jesus, not Adam,
should be called the Son of God. Indeed, in every link of this chain this still should be understood, "Jesus the son of Matthat, Jesus the son of Levi, Jesus the son of Melchi"; and so of the rest...
2. Suppose it could be granted that Joseph might be called the son of Heli (which yet ought not to be), yet would not this be any great solecism, that his son-in-law should become the husband of Mary, his own daughter. He was but his son by law, by the marriage of Joseph's mother, not by nature and generation.
There is a discourse of a certain person who in his sleep saw the punishment of the damned. Amongst the rest which I would render thus, but shall willingly stand corrected if under a mistake; He saw Mary the daughter of Heli amongst the shades. R. Lazar Ben Josah saith, that she hung by the glandules of her breasts. R. Josah
Bar Haninah saith, that the great bar of hell's gate hung at her ear.
If this be the true rendering of the words, which I have reason to believe it is, then thus far, at least, it agrees with our evangelist, that Mary was the daughter of Heli: and questionless all the rest is added in reproach of the blessed Virgin, the mother of our Lord: whom they often vilify elsewhere under the name of
27. Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri.
Please see Genealogies of the Bible: A Neglected Subject (111k) at the Arthur Custance Doorway Papers Library site for more info.]
[The son of Rhesa, the son of Zorobabel, the son of Salathiel, the son of Neri.] I. That Pedaiah, the father of Zorobabel, 1 Chronicles 3:19, is omitted here, is agreeable with Ezra 5:2; Haggai 1:1, &c.; but why it should be omitted, either here or there, is not so easy to guess.
II. As to the variation of the names both here and 1 Chronicles 3, this is not unworthy our observation: that Zorobabel and his sons were carried out of Babylon into Judea; and, possibly, they might change their names when they changed the place of their dwelling. It was not very safe for him to be known commonly in Babylon by the name of
Zorobabel, when the import of that name was the winnowing of Babel; so that he was there more generally called Sheshbazzar. But he might securely resume the name in Judea, when Cyrus and Darius had now fanned and sifted Babylon. So his two sons, Meshullam and Hananiah, could not properly be called, one of them Abiud, the glory of my father, and the other Rhesa, a
prince, while they were in Babylon; but in Judea they were names fit and suitable enough.
III. Of the variation of names here, and in Matthew 1, I have already spoken in that place: to wit, that Neri was indeed the father of Salathiel; though St. Matthew saith Jechoniah (who died childless, Jer 22:30) begat him: not that he was his son by nature, but was his heir in succession.
36. Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech,
[The son of Cainan.] I will not launch widely out into a controversy that hath been sufficiently bandied already. I shall despatch, as briefly as I may, what may seem most satisfactory in this matter:
I. There is no doubt, and indeed there are none but will grant that St. Luke hath herein followed the Greek version. This, in Genesis 11:12,13, relates it in this manner: "Arphaxad lived a hundred and five and thirty years, and begat Cainan; and Cainan lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat Salah: and Cainan lived
after he had begot Salah three hundred and thirty years."
Consulting Theophilus about this matter, I cannot but observe of this author, that he partly follows the Greek version, in adding to Arphaxad a hundred years, and partly not, when he omits Cainan: for so he; Arphaxad, when he was a hundred and thirty-five years of age, begat Salah. Nor can I but wonder at him that translates him, that
he should of his own head insert, "Arphaxad was a hundred and thirty-five years old, and begat a son named Cainan. Cainan was a hundred and thirty years old, and begat Salah": when there is not one syllable of Cainan in Theophilus. A very faithful interpreter indeed!
1. I cannot be persuaded by any arguments that this passage concerning Cainan was in Moses' text, or indeed in any Hebrew copies which the Seventy used; but that it was certainly added by the interpreters themselves, partly because no reason can be given how it should ever come to be left out of the Hebrew text, and partly because there may
be a probable reason given why it should be added in the Greek; especially when nothing was more usual with them than to add of their own, according to their own will and pleasure.
I might, perhaps, acknowledge this one slip, and be apt to believe that Cainan had once a place in the original, but, by I know not what fate or misfortune, left now out; but that I find a hundred such kind of additions in the Greek version, which the Hebrew text will by no means own, nor any probable reason given to bear with it. Let us
take our instances only from proper names, because our business at present is with a proper name.
Genesis 10:2: Elisa is added among the sons of Japhet: and, verse 22, another Cainan among the sons of Shem.
Genesis 46:20: Five grandchildren added to the sons of Joseph; Malachi 4:5, the Tishbite.
Exodus 1:11: the city On, is added to Pithom and Raamses.
2 Samuel 20:18: the city Dan is added to Abel. Not to mention several other names of places in the Book of Joshua.
Now can I believe that these names ever were in the Hebrew copy, since some of them are put there without any reason, some of the against all reason (particularly Dan being joined with Abel, and the grandchildren of Joseph), and all of them with no foundation at all?
II. I question not but the interpreters, whoever they were, engaged themselves in this undertaking with something of a partial mind; and as they made no great conscience of imposing upon the Gentiles, so they made it their religion to favour their own side. And according to this ill temperament and disposition of mind, so did they manage
their version; either adding or curtailing at pleasure, blindly, lazily, and audaciously enough: sometimes giving a very foreign sense, sometimes a contrary, oftentimes none: and this frequently to patronise their own traditions, or to avoid some offence they think might be in the original, or for the credit and safety of their own nation. The tokens of all which it would not be difficult to
instance in very great numbers, would I apply myself to it, but it is the last only that is my business at this time.
III. It is a known story of the thirteen places which the Talmudists tell us were altered by the LXXII elders when they wrote out the law (I would suppose in Hebrew) for Ptolemy. They are reckoned up, and we have the mention of them sprinkled up and down; as also, where it is intimated as if eighteen places had been altered.
Now if we will consult the Glossers upon those places, they will tell us that these alterations were made, some of them, lest the sacred text should be cavilled at; others that the honour and peace of the nation might be secured. It is easy, therefore, to imagine that the same things were done by those that turned the whole Bible. The thing
itself speaks it.
Let us add, for example's sake, those five souls which they add to the family of Jacob; numbering up five grandchildren of Joseph, who, as yet, were not in being,--nay, seven, according to their account, Genesis 46:27. Children that were born to Joseph in the land of Egypt, even nine souls.
Now, which copy do we think it most reasonable to believe, the Greek or the Hebrew? and as to the question, whether these five added in the Greek were anciently in Moses' text, but either since lost by the carelessness of the transcribers or rased out by the bold hand of the Jews, let reason and the nature of the thing judge. For if Machir,
Gilead, Shuthelah, Tahan, and Eran, were with Joseph when Jacob with his family went down into Egypt, (and if they were not, why are they numbered amongst those that went down?) then must Manasseh at the age of nine years, or ten at most, be a grandfather; and Ephraim at eight or nine. Can I believe that Moses would relate such things as these? I rather wonder with what kind of forehead the
interpreters could impose such incredible stories upon the Gentiles, as if it were possible they should be believed.
IV. It is plain enough to any one that diligently considers the Greek version throughout, that it was composed by different hands, who greatly varied from one another, both in style and wit. So that this book was more learnedly rendered than that, the Greek reading more elegant in this book than in that, and the version in this book comes
nearer the Hebrew than in that; and yet in the whole there is something of the Jewish craft, favouring and patronising the affairs of that nation. There is something of this nature in the matters now in hand, the addition of Cainan, and the five souls to the seventy that went down into Egypt.
How mighty the Jewish nation valued themselves beyond all the rest of mankind, esteeming those seventy souls that went down with Jacob into Egypt beyond the seventy nations of the world; he that is so great a stranger in the Jewish affairs and writings, that he is yet to learn, let him take these few instances; for it would be needless to
"Seventy souls went down with Jacob into Egypt, that they might restore the seventy families dispersed by the confusion of tongues. For those seventy souls were equal to all the families of the whole world. And he that would be ruling over them, is as if he would usurp a tyranny over the whole world."
"How good is thy love towards me, O thou congregation of Israel! It is more than that of the seventy nations."
"The holy blessed God created seventy nations; but he found no pleasure in any of them, save Israel only."
"Saith Abraham to God, 'Didst thou not raise up seventy nations unto Noah?' God saith unto him, 'I will raise up that nation unto thee of whom it is written, How great a nation is it!'" The Gloss is: "That peculiar people, excelling all the seventy nations, that holy nation, as the holy
language excels all the seventy languages."
There are numberless passages of that kind. Now when this arrogant doctrine and vainglorying, if familiarly known amongst the Gentiles, could not but stir up a great deal of hatred, and consequently danger to the Jews, I should rather think the interpreters might make such additions as these, through the caution and cunning of avoiding the
danger they apprehend, than that ever they were originally in the text of Moses. To wit, by adding another Cainan, and five souls to those seventy in Jacob's retinue, they took care that the Gentiles should not, in the Greek Bibles, find exactly the seventy nations in Genesis 10, but seventy-two (or seventy-three if we reckon Elisa also;) as also not seventy, but seventy-five souls that
went down into Egypt.
It was the same kind of craft they used in that version, Deuteronomy 32:8; whence that comparison between the seventy souls and the seventy nations took its rise. Moses hath it thus; "When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the
children of Israel." But they render it thus; He set the bounds of the nations, according to the number of the angels of God. A sense indeed most foreign from that of Moses, yet which served to obscure his meaning, so far as might avoid any danger that might arise from the knowledge of it. Making the passage itself so unintelligible, that it needs an Oedipus to unriddle
it; unless they should allude to the Jewish tradition (which I do a little suspect) concerning the seventy angels, set over the seventy nations of the world.
V. But now if this version be so uncertain, and differs so much from the original, how comes it to pass that the evangelists and apostles should follow it so exactly, and that even in some places where it does so widely differ from the Hebrew fountain?
Ans. I. It pleased God to allot the censers of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram to sacred use, because they were so ordained and designed by the first owners: so doth it please the Holy Ghost to determine that version to his own use, being so primarily ordained by the first authors. The minds, indeed, of the interpreters were not perhaps
very sincere in the version they made, as who designed the defence and support of some odd things: so neither were the hearts of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram sincere at all, but very perverse in offering their incense: but so long as their incense had been dedicated to sacred use, it pleased God to make their censers holy. So the Greek version designed for sacred use, as designed for the Holy Bible,
so it was keept and made use of by the Holy Ghost.
II. Whereas the New Testament was to be wrote in Greek, and come into the hands chiefly of the Gentiles, it was most agreeable, I may say most necessary for them, to follow the Greek copies, as being what the Gentiles were only capable of consulting; that so they, examining the histories and quotations that were brought out of the Old
Testament, might find them agreeing with, and not contradicting them. For instance; they, consulting their Greek Bibles for the names from David backward to Adam, there find "Cainan, the son of Arphaxad." If St. Luke should not also have inserted it, how readily they might have called his veracity in question, as to the other part of the genealogy, which had been
extracted out of tables and registers not so familiarly known!
III. If there be any credit to be given to that story of the Greek version, which we meet with in Aristeas and Josephus, then we may also believe that passage in it which we may find in Aristeas. "When the volumes of the law had been read through, the priests, and interpreters, and elders, and governors of the city, and all the
princes of the people standing by, said 'Forasmuch as this interpretation is rightly, religiously, and in every thing so very accurately finished, it is fit that all things should continue as they are, and no alteration should be made.' When all had by acclamations given their approbation to these things, Demetrius commanded that, according to their custom, they should imprecate curses upon any
that should, by addition, or alteration, or diminution, ever make any change in it. This they did well in, that all things might be kept entire and inviolate for ever."
If this passage be true, it might be no light matter to the Jew, when quoting any thing in Greek out of the Old Testament, to depart in the least from the Greek version; and indeed it is something a wonder, that after this they should ever dare to undertake any other. But supposing there were any credit to be had to this passage, were the
sacred penmen any way concerned in these curses and imprecations? Who saith they were? But, however, who will not say that this was enough for them to stop the mouths of the cavilling Jews, that they, following the Greek version, had often departed from the truth of the original to avoid that anathema; at least, if there were any truth in it.
Object. But the clause that is before us (to omit many others) is absolutely false: for there was neither any Cainan the son of Arphaxad; nor was Jesus the son of any Cainan that was born after the flood.
Ans. I. There could be nothing more false as to the thing itself than that of the apostle, when he calleth the preaching of the gospel foolishness, 1 Corinthians 1:21; and yet, according to the common conceptions of foolish men, nothing more true. So neither was this true in itself that is asserted here; but only so in the
opinion of those for whose sake the evangelist writes. Nor yet is it the design of the Holy Ghost to indulge them in any thing that was not true; but only would not lay a stumblingblock at present before them: "I am made all things to all men, that I might gain some."
II. There is some parallel with this of St. Luke and that in the Old Testament, 1 Chronicles 1:36: "The sons of Eliphaz, Teman, and Omar, and Zephi, and Gatam, and Timnah, and Amalek." Where it is equally false, that Timnah was the son of Eliphaz, as it is that Cainan was the son of Arphaxad. But far, far be it
from me to say, that the Holy Ghost was either deceived himself, or would deceive others. Timnah was not a man, but a woman; not the son of Eliphaz, but his concubine; not Amalek's brother, but his mother, Genesis 36:12. Only the Holy Ghost teacheth us by this shortness of speech, to recur to the original story from whence these things are taken, and there consult the determinate explication of
the whole matter: which is frequently done by the same Holy Spirit, speaking very briefly in stories well known before.
The Gentiles have no reason to cavil with the evangelist in this mater; for he agrees well enough with their Bibles. And if the Jews, or we ourselves, should find fault, he may defend himself from the common usage of the Holy Ghost, in whom it is no rare and unusual thing, in the recital of stories and passages well enough known before, to
vary from the original and yet without any design of deceiving, or suspicion of being himself deceived; but, according to that majesty and authority that belongs to him, dictating and referring the reader to the primitive story, from whence he may settle and determine the state of the matter, and inquire into the reasons of the variation. St. Stephen imitates this very custom, while he is
speaking about the burial of the patriarchs, Acts 7:15,16; being well enough understood by his Jewish auditory, though giving but short hints in a story so well known.
III. It is one thing to dictate from himself, and another thing to quote what is dictated from others, as our evangelist in this place doth. And since he did, without all question, write in behalf of the Gentiles, being the companion of him who was the great apostle of the Gentiles, what should hinder his alleging according to what had been
dictated in their Bibles?
When the apostle names the magicians of Egypt, Jannes and Jambres, 2 Timothy 3:9, he doth not deliver it for a certain thing, or upon his credit assure them that these were their very names, but allegeth only what had been delivered by others, what had been the common tradition amongst them, well enough known to Timothy, a thing about which
neither he nor any other would start any controversy.
So when the apostle Jude speaks of "Michael contending with the devil about the body of Moses," he doth not deliver it for a certain and authentic thing; and yet is not to be charged with any falsehood, because he doth not dictate of his own, but only appeals to something that had been told by others, using an
argument with the Jews fetched from their own books and traditions.
IV. As it is very proper and even necessary towards the understanding some sentences and schemes of speech in the New Testament, to inquire in what manner they were understood by those that heard them from the mouth of him that spoke them, or those to whom they were written; so let us make a little search here as to the matter now in hand.
When this Gospel first appeared in public amongst the Jews and Gentiles, the Gentiles could not complain that the evangelist had followed their copies: and if the Jews found fault, they had wherewithal to answer and satisfy themselves. And that particularly as to this name of 'Cainan' being inserted, as also the five souls being added to the retinue of Jacob; the learned amongst them knew from
whence he had it; for what reason this addition had been made in the Greek version, and that St. Luke had faithfully transcribed it thence: so that if there were any fault, let them lay the blame upon the first authors, and not upon the transcriber.
V. To conclude: Before the bible had been translated for Ptolemy (as it is supposed) into the Greek tongue, there were an infinite number of copies in the Hebrew in Palestine, Babylon, Egypt, even everywhere, in every synagogue: and it is a marvellous thing, that in all antiquity there should not be the least hint or mention of so much as
one Hebrew copy amongst all these that agrees with the Greek version. We have various editions of that version which they call the Septuagint, and those pretty much disagreeing among themselves: but who hath ever heard or seen one Hebrew copy that hath in every thing agreed with any one of them? The interpreters have still abounded in their own sense, not very strictly obliging themselves to the
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