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The portable Commentary.
CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY,
OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS,
JOB-MALACHI. REV. A. R. FAUSSET, A.M.
PREFACE TO THE PENTATEUCH AND HISTORICAL BOOKS.
THE Pentateneb, the name by which the first five books of the Bible are designated, is derived from two Greek words, 1 peate, five, and feuchos, a volume, thus signifying the fivefold volume, Originally these books formed one continuous work, as in the Hebrew manuscripts they are still connected in one unbroken roll. At what time they were divided into Sve portions, each having a separate title, is not known, but it is certain that the distinction dates at or before the time of the Septuagint translation. The names they bear in our English version are borrowed from the LXX, and they were applied by those Greek translators as descriptive of the principal subjects--the leading contents of the respective books, In the later Seriptures they are frequently comprehended under the general designation, The Law, The Book of the Law, since, to give a detailed account of the preparations for, and the delivery of, the divine code, with all the civil and sacred institutions that were peculiar to the ancient economny, is the object to which they are exclusively devoted. They have been always placed at the beginning of the Bible, not only on account of their priority in point of time, but as forming an appropriate and indispensable introduction to the rest of the saered books. The numerous and oft-recurring references made in the later Scriptures to the events, the ritual, and the doctrines of the ancient Church would have not only lost much of their point and significance, but have been absolutely unintelligible without the information which these five books coutin They constitute the groundwerk or basis on which the whole fabric of revelation rests, and a knowledge of the Rathority and importance that is thus attached to them will suficiently account for the determined assaults that infidels hare made on these books, as well as for the zeal and earnestness which the friends of the truth have displayed in their defence
The Mosaie origin of the Pentateuch is established by the concurring voices both of Jewish and Christian tradition; and their unsninous testimony is supported by the internal character and statements of the work itself. That Moses did keep a written record of the important transactions relative to the Israelites is attested by his own express affirmation, For in relating the victory over the Amalekites, which he was commanded by divine authority to record, the language employed. " yrite this for a memorial in a book (IIebrew, the book)," (Exodus, 17. 14.), shows that that narrative was to form part of a register already in progress, and various circumstances combine to prove that this register was a continuous bustory of tbe special goodness and care of divine providence in the choice, protection, and guidance of the Hebrew bation First, there are the repeated assertions of Moses himself that the events which chequered the experience of that people were written down as they occurred (see Exodus, 24. 4-7; 34. 2: Numbers, 33. 2.). Secondly, there are the testimonies borbe in various parts of the later historical books to the Pentateuch as a work well known, and familiar to all the people (see Joshua, 1. 9; 34; 23. 6; 24. 28; 1 Kings, 2, 3, etc.). Thirdly, frequent references are made in the works of the prophets to the facts recorded in the books of Moses (cf. Isaiah, 1. 9, with Genesis, 19.1; 12. 2, with Exodus, 15. 9; 51, 2, with Genesis, 112, 54, 9, with Genesis, 8. 91, 2; Hosea, 9. 10, cf. with Numbers, 25, 3; 11. 8. with Genesis, 19, 24; 12. 4, with Genesis, 32. 14,5; 12 14, with Genesis, 28. 5; 99.9); Joel, 1. 9, cf. with Numbers, 15. 4-7; 28. 7-14; Deuteronomy, 12. 6, 7; 16, 10, 11 ; Ano, 2%, ef. with Numbers, 21, 21; 4. 4, with Numbers, 28. 3; 4. 11, with Genesis, 19. 24; 9. 13, with Leviticus, 26. 5; Micah, & 8, ef. with Numbers, 93-25; 6. 6, with Leviticus, 9. 2; 6. 15, with Leviticus, 28. 16, etc. Fourthly, the testimony of Christ and the Apostles 19 repeatedly borne to the books of Moses (Matthew, 19. 7; Luke, 16. 29; 24, 27; John, 1. 17; 7 19, Acts, a. 2; 2.33; Romans, 10. 5.). Indeed the references are so numerous, and the testimonies so distinctly borne to the extstence of the Mosaic books throughout the whole history of the Jewish nation, and the unity of cbaracter, desigu, sad style pervading these books is so clearly perceptible, notwithstanding the rationalistic assertions of their forming a
ries of separate and unconnected fragments, that it may with all safety be said, there is immensely stronger and more vaned evidence in proof of their being the authorship of Moses tharrof any of the Greek or Roman classics being the productions of the authors whose names they bear. But admitting that the Pentateuch was written by Moses, an important question arises, as to whether the books which compose it have reached us in an authentic form; whether they exist geanine and entire we they came from the hands of their author. In answer to this question, it might be sufficient to state that, in the pablic and periodical rehearsals of the law.in the solemn religious assemblies of the people, implying the existence of numerous copies, provision was made for preserving the integrity of "The Book of the Law." But besides this, two remarkable facts, the one of which occurred before and the other after the captivity, afford conclusive evidence of the genuineness and authenticity of the Pentateuch. The first is the discovery in the reign of Josiah of the autograph copy which was deposited by Moses in the ark of the testimony; and the second is the schism of the Samaritans, who erected a temple on Mount Gerizim, and who, appealing to the Mosaic law as the standard of their faith and worship equally with the Jews, watched with jealous mare over every circunstance that could affect the purity of the Mosaic record. There is the strongest reason, then, for believing that the Pentateuch, as it exists now, is substantially the same as it came from the hands of Moses. The appearance of a later hand, it is true, is traceable in the narrative of the denth of Moses at the close af Deuteronomy, and some few interpolations, such as inserting the altered names of places, may have been made by Ezra, who revised and corrected the version of the ancient Scriptures. But, substantially the Pentateuch is the gebnite work of Moses, and many, who once impugned its claims to that character, and looked upon it as the production of a later age, have found themselves compelled, after a full and unprejudiced investigation of the subject, to proclaim their caviction that its authenticity is to be fully relied on.
The genuineness nod authenticity of the Pentateuch being admitted, the inspiration and canonical authority of the work below as a necessary consequence. The admission of Moses to the privilege of frequent and direct communion with God (Exodus, S5, 22; 33. 3; Numbers, 7. 89; 9.8;); his repeated and solemn declarations that he spoke and wrote by command of God; the submissive reverence that was paid to the authority of his precepts by all classes of the Jewish people, including the king himself (Deuteronomy, 17, 18; 27. 3;); and the acknowledgment of the divine mission of Moses by the writers of the Xar Testament, all prove the inspired character and authority of his books. The Pentateuch possessed the strongest elaires en the attention of the Jewish people, as forming the standard of their faith, the rule of their obedience, the record of their whole civil and religious polity. But it is interesting and important to all mankind, inasmuch as besides rorealing the origin and early development of the divine plan of grace, it is the source of all authentic knowledge, giving the true phureophy, history, geography, and chronology of the ancient world. Firally, the Pentateuch is indispensable to the stule revelation contained in the Bible; for Genesis being the legitimate preface to the law; the law being the Datural