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by his Hexapla to bring this confusion into some regular order ; but what between his obelisks and asterisks, and his various diacritical distinctions, like many other reformers, he only made matters worse, till much of the version became almost a Cretan labyrinth ;

“Chaos umpire sits,
And by decision more embroils the fray.”

Now it is the object of the Christian Knowledge Society, and of Mr. Field, their man of business, to rectify this disorder.

This edition of the Septuagint is unique and unrivalled. It exhibits the Greek text in exact correspondence of order with the Hebrew. It makes the version the counterpart of the original in chapter and verse. Hitherto, it has been a task of no small difficulty to collate the Greek translation with the original text, so many were the mutilations and mislocations. Indeed, the attempt was hopeless, unless you had the aid of one of the early Polyglots. We say the early Polyglots; for our boasted English Polyglot, by Walton, has left all these transpositions and mutilations untouched and uncorrected. It is a foul blot on that noble undertaking.

However, Mr. Field and the Christian Knowledge Society have at length discharged that debt to the Alexandrian translators, which has been so long unpaid by the Christian Church. It is strange indeed, and not very creditable to theological scholars and learned universities, whether at home or abroad, that this obligation should have been so long delayed. The bad condition of the text was complained of by Origen, even in the third century of the Christian era ; but with the splendid exception of Ximenes, no hand was put forth to remedy the evil. It was adduced by Jerome as one of his many accusations against the Septuagint, but not one of its advocates came forward to remove the numerous blemishes. There have been many ecclesiastics promoted to the bench, who have derived their reputation from amending Greek tragic and comic authors; but not one has been found to rectify the clerical blunders of that version of the Old Testament which is so often cited by the Evangelists and Apostles. This long neglect, however, enhances the importance of this in

comparable edition of the Septuagint, and we shall hereafter engage in its study free from those impediments which have hitherto restricted its utility and depreciated its value.

We are well aware, that by many the Greek version is viewed chiefly as the rival and antagonist of the Hebrew text. The echoes of the ancient disputes between Jerome and Augustine have reverberated in the ears of modern critics and theologians. Because the early Fathers, for the first three centuries, from their ignorance of Hebrew, exalted the version to the rank of the original, many are now disposed to deny its real merit and importance, nay, to rank it as no higher than an English version, or as one of the multitude which have been printed and published by the British and Foreign Bible Society. As we deem this a very false and dangerous estimate, we shall now briefly state the prerogatives which set the Septuagint apart from all other Biblical versions, whether ancient or modern.

First, a version of the Old Testament made between two and three centuries before the Christian era must ever hold a very different position from those subsequently executed. Considered as an original and impartial witness to prophetic announcements concerning the Messiah, it could alone be adduced as an expositor of the Hebrew. Had there been no such version, the expectation of the Messiah must have been confined to Judæa, the Gentile races must have been left in darkness, and the prophecies respecting them must have remained unfulfilled. The Septuagint version, therefore, is not to be regarded merely as a version, but as a powerful instrument in the hands of Providence for preparing the world for the coming of Christ.

Whoever is conversant with the history of Alexander's conquests will recollect that, B. C. 332, after the capture of Tyre, he marched against Jerusalem, with the intention of severely punishing its inhabitants for having disobeyed his commands. By the intervention of Providence, he was moved with compassion, mingled with awe, on beholding the Pontifical procession which came out to meet him and to tender submission. He not only spared the city, but conferred some privileges on the Jewish population. He left, accordingly, a general impression

in his favor, which induced many of the Jews to enlist under his victorious standard. On his death, Ptolemy I., surnamed

. Lagus, succeeded to that part of his empire which included Egypt, Syria, and Palestine. As might have been expected, various attempts were made to throw off his authority, and amongst others the Jews rose in insurrection. He marched against Jerusalem, and carried about a hundred thousand of its inhabitants into Egypt as captives. He placed them chiefly in “Libya, and the parts about Cyrene.” It was the descendants of these captive Jews who are mentioned as going up to Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.

From the frequent wars between the Ptolemies and the neighboring successors of Alexander, the Jews became more and more scattered and diffused over the East, till such were their numbers in Alexandria, in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, B. C. 276, that they petitioned for a fresh translation of their sacred books. It is probable that they were at first satisfied with the version of the Pentateuch, and that the rest of the Old Testament was not finished till some time afterward. This is the version which is denominated the Septuagint, and which held the foremost place among the agencies for bringing the Gentiles into the Christian Church. In assigning to it this pre-eminence, we consider the very limited influence of the Hebrew text, and the limited time for which that text was vernacular, even in Judæa. After the Babylonish captivity, B. C. 530, the knowledge of Biblical Hebrew was confined chiefly to doctors of the Law, while the common people spoke “a Babylonish dialect,” composed of Syriac, Chaldee, and Syro-Phænician. The last of their Prophets was Malachi, B. C. 400, and with him Biblical Hebrew came to its close. During the interval between Malachi and the version of the Seventy, the Jews became more and more dependent; they were scattered over every part of the civilized world, particularly over Asia Minor and the coasts of the Mediterranean, and thus they were brought into political, social, and commercial connections with the Greek colonies.

There were two remarkable events which accelerated their dispersion before the Christian era. The first took place B. C. 200, when Antiochus transported two thousand families

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of the Jews of Babylonia to the coasts of Phrygia and Lydia, in order to suppress some local seditions. They multiplied and established their synagogues over all the neighboring provinces. At a later date, B. C. 136, Alexandria was so cruelly oppressed by Ptolemy Physcon that its inhabitants fled in great numbers. “Amongst these,” says Prideaux, “were many grammarians, philosophers, geometricians, physicians, and musicians, and thus their banishment became the means of reviving learning in Greece, the Lesser Asia, and the isles, and in all other places where they went.” Now there can be no reasonable doubt, that, as they carried the Greek language, they carried with them the knowledge of the Greek Scriptures. Accordingly we find, that, on the first preaching of Christianity, it was in those very countries that multitudes of Jewish proselytes were amongst its earliest converts. On the day of Pentecost, it was the “devout men” from every part of the East, who had been instructed by the Greek version, that went up to worship at Jerusalem. These are great and incontestable facts in the records of our religion, and they ought ever to be remembered in our estimate of the Alexandrian version of the Old Testament. They show that, whatever may be its defects and short-comings as the representative of the Hebrew text, it was employed by Providence as the chief instrument in preparing the world for the advent of the Redeemer. Granted, for instance, that the Greek version of Isaiah is mutilated, imperfect, and unsatisfactory ; yet these imperfections are as nothing compared with the service which the evangelical prophet has rendered in that very form to the Universal Church. With all its imperfections, it was deemed worthy of constant reference and citation by Christ and his Apostles. Nay, such was their respect for it, that we believe there is not a single passage in the New Testament adduced from those parts of Isaiah which are wanting in the Septuagint. How shall we account for the non-citation of that remarkable passage, (chap. ix. 6,) “Unto us a child is born, &c., but from its absence from the version which was universally received and credited by the Hellenistic Jews and their proselytes ? Nay, this version is followed occasionally even in its discrepancies with the Hebrew. Thus; St. Stephen,

in his speech before the Sanhedrim, follows it as to the number who came into Egypt, though it contradicts the original. (Compare Gen. xlvi. 27 with Acts vii. 14.) So in their chronology (as in Acts xiii. 20) the writers of the New Testament accord with Josephus and the Seventy. We do not adduce such passages to magnify the version at the expense of the original, but only to illustrate its vast influence and authority in the first age of Christianity.

There is another consideration which should qualify and moderate any comparison disparaging to the Septuagint. The immaculate purity of the Hebrew text is no longer credited. The collations of Kennicott and De Rossi have shown that there is the same diversity of readings in Hebrew as in Greek manuscripts. The Seventy, it must be remembered, translated unpointed copies, which always allow some variety of interpretation. Add to this our limited and imperfect knowledge of the exact import of any single Hebrew word, apart from the context and this version, and it becomes evident that we should always use the utmost caution and delicacy ere we give a positive verdict, either for or against the version. We think that Houbigant and Cappellus were far too bold in their conjectural emendations of the Hebrew text, and that Isaac Vossius was absurd in claiming a spotless purity for the Alexandrian version. But we accord with the sound and discreet criticism of Bishop Pearson in his Præfatio Parænetica, in which he shows the great and incontestable value of the Septuagint, without trespassing on the unquestionable prerogative of the Hebraica Veritas. For ourselves, we are quite disposed to acknowledge the supremacy of the Hebrew text, but we can recognize it without any triumph over the Greek version. Nay, while we regard the version as indispensable to the knowledge of the original, vice versa, we think that the Septuagint would have sounded almost like senseless jargon, if we could not have collated it with the Hebrew. It is in the strict order of Providence that they should co-operate in the transmission of Divine truth. The Hebrew is a fossil language. As a spoken and vernacular tongue, it has been buried for more than two thousand years. Its study (with the slight exceptions of Origen and

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