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|HE necessarily limited space at our disposal 
for the treatment of a subject at once 
so interesting and important as the rare 
manuscripts of the Bible, admonishes us to waive 
all needless introductory remarks, and proceed at 
once to the matter in hand. Our readers will 
hardly need to be reminded that the word manu- 
script (usually written MS., or, in the plural, MSS.,) 
signifies written by the hand (from the Latin manus, 
the hand ; and scribo, scripium, to write) ; or that, 
before the invention of printing, all books were 
produced in this form; each copy of any work 
being laboriously built up, letter by letter, by men 
who were called scribes (writers); or that the books 
so written were called scriptures (writings), and that, 
tiierefore, the inspired books were called, par 
excellence^ the Scriptures; or, as the Greek name 
is, the Hagb'grapha^ or Holy Writings. Less 
familiar than with these things may some be with 
the materials employed by the old scribes; with 

Bible Lore, 

the form of their writings when complete; with 
the most ancient MSS. that have been preserved 
from the ravages of time, the torch of the in- 
cendiary, and the bigot zeal of ignorant fanatics; 
and with the text by which the date of a MS. may 
be approximately ascertained. 

I. The cheapness and perfection of om* writing 
materials present a striking contrast to the cost 
and rudeness of those of primitive times; while 
the invention of printing renders it less needful 
than formerly that the material should be of so 
durable a nature, since more accurate copies can 
be indefinitely multiplied at a price that often 
appears to be ridiculously small In the very 
remote times, tables of wood or stone, called 
caudices, or codices, were used. Hence the term 
codex came to be employed for a MS. on any sub- 
stance. Such tables were frequently used for legal 
purposes where durability was of consequence, and 
hence a system of laws was called a code. The 
common material on which we are now writing — 
paper — reminds us by its name of one of the most 
ancient substances known, — a preparation of the 
papyrus^ ox paper-iQtd {t\\t papyrus nilotkia). The 
thin concentric coats, surrounding the triangular 
stock of this plant, were cut into strips, and placed 

Rare Manuscripts of the Bible, 5 

side by side on a tqjjle. To prevent splitting, 
another layer was then pasted crosswise, so as to 
form a sheet of convenient thickness, which, after 
being pressed and dried in the sun, was polished 
with a shell or some other smooth substance. A 
number of these sheets, about twenty in general, 
were glued together to form a scapus or roll, and 
such a roil^ of whatever material, was called by the 
Romans a volumeriy whence our word volume. The 
breadth of the roll was determined by the length 
of the strips, and was usually from ten to fifteen 
inches. The length might be carried to any extent; 
some have been found as long as thirty feet Many 
of these papyri^ as rolls of this material are called, 
are still to be met with in various museums. One 
in the Vatican is dated, according to Champollion, 
B.C. 640. Others, said to be of the age of Darius, 
are in the collections of Paris and Turin. A book 
made of sheets of papyrus sewed together was 
brought some years ago from Egypt by Dr. Hogg, 
and is now in the British Museum. The MS. is 
a copy, in Greek, of part of the Book of Psalms. 
Herodotus (v. 58) calls the papyrus bibloSy from 
the Egyptian name of the plant, and hence, proba- 
bly, the Greek name biblion for book — ^whence our 
word Bible, the book — ^has been derived. Although 

Bible Lore, 

the papyrus continued to be used in Italy till about 
the twelfth century, other materials came into use 
long before that time. At best the papyrus was 
but brittle, and not therefore so serviceable for 
documents that were subject to frequent handling. 
For such writings — the Sacred Scriptures, for ex- 
ample — some substance with a tougher texture was 
required. This desideratum was met by the em- 
ployment of the prepared skins of various animals, 
now known under the general name of parchment. 
It is said that parchment (of which the finer sort, 
made of the skins of very young calves, is called 
vellum) was invented by Eumenes II., King of 
Pergamos (b.c. 197 — 159), in consequence of the 
prohibition of the export of papyrus from Egypt by 
Ptolemy Epiphanes. This may be true of parch- 
ment proper, but Herodotus (who was bom b.c 
484) mentions writing on skins as common in his 
time ; and Ctlesias (B.a 398) describes the ancient 
Persian records as written on leather. The word 
Pergamena is supposed by some to prove its inven- 
tion at Pergamos, where, probably, it was improved 
and largely manufactn'*'*'!, but the word itself was 
not in use until many years after Eumenes, its 
supposed inventor, died. According to Mabillon, 
it first occurs in the writings of Tatto, a monk of 

Rare Manuscripts of the Bible, 7 

the fourth century, before whose time the usual 
term was tnembrana^ the word we find m the Greek 
Testament (2 Tun, iv. 13). Parchment was neces- 
sarily an expensive material ; hence, and because of 
its increasing scarcity as writers multiplied, because 
also the ancient parchment was better than that 
which was afterwards made when each writer pre- 
pared his own, it was not an uncommon thing for 
parchment upon which the characters had grown 
dim with age, or had been partially obliterated by 
artificial means, to be afterwards used for other 
writings. Such MSS. are called codices rescripti^ 
%3(t palimpsests (from the Greek palimsestos^ rubbed 
a second time ; from paliriy again ; and psm^ to rub 
away) ; and the labours of the learned have brought 
to light many remains of biblical and classical litera- 
ture which had thus been compelled to make room 
for monkish legends and other equally worthless 
productions. The ink was made, it is asserted, of 
lamp-black dissolved in gall juice, or sometimes in 
gall and in vitriol; and it was applied with a 
pointed reed (Jer. xxxvii. 18; 2 Cor. iiL 3 ; 2 
John 12 ; 3 John 13), the characters being painted 
rather than written, since ancient writing in uncial 
or capital letters had not the fine strokes of modern 
writing. When the material to be written upon 

8 Bible Lore. 

was hard, a pointed stylus (whence our word styU)^ 
sometimes of iron, was used (Job xix. 24 ; Psalm 
xiv. I ; Isa. viiL i ; Jer. viiL 8). 

2. Let us now glance a| s©me of the most 
Ancient MSS. of the Bible that hjave come down 
to us. The principal original languages of Scrip- 
ture were Hebrew, for the Old Testament; and 
Greek, for the New. Of the more ancient Hebrew 
MSS. none have survived to our times. But since 
a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into the 
Greek, called the Septuagint (of which something 
will be said in a subsequent paper), was made 
about B.c 300, and was the version usually quoted 
by our Lord and the Apostles, we may regard it 
as a faithful rendering of the old original Hebrew. 
We are further warranted in relying upon its 
fjeneral fidelity by the fact that it does not differ 
in essentials from the oldest existing Hebrew MSS., 
which themselves are transcripts of the still more 
ancient Hebrew writings. In the value of the 
completed work, in proportion to its exactness, in 
the rigid rules that governed the copyists, and in 
the sense of awful responsibility with which a 
Jewish scribe pursued his work of transcribing the 
word of God, we have ample guarantees for the 
general authenticity of the sacred text. " Indeed, 

Rare Manuscripts of the Bible. g 

the substantial agreement of the MSS. of Scrip- 
ture is — the number of transcriptions they have 
passed through being taken into account — one of 
the most extraordinary facts in the history of litera- 
ture, and almost irresistibly suggest the idea of % 
superintending providence." Some of the nfxost 
ancient of existing Hebrew MSS. belong to the 
Bible Society of Odessa, But the oldest known 
in the world is at St. Petersburg, whither it was 
brought from Derbend in Daghestan. It is a 
pentateuch roll on leather ; and, since the subscrip- 
tion states that it was corrected in the year a.d. 
580, it must have been written some time before, 
and can hardly be less than 1,300 years old. Of 
Hebrew MSS., of various ages, there are vast num- 
bers in existence. Thus Dr. Kennicott collated 
630 for his critical edition of the Hebrew Bible; 
and De Rossi collated 734 more. How great an 
advantage, therefore, has the Holy Scriptures over 
the classical writings of the Greeks and Romans ! 
Of them, about ten or twenty MSS. are considered 
sufficient to form an accurate text In very few 
instances can they be dated so near to the time of 
their authors, as in the case of the copies of the 
writings of prophets and apostles. Thus, of Hero- 
dotus only fifteen MSS. are known, and of these 

lo Bible Lore, 

none belong to a period more remote than the tenth 
century ; yet no one doubts that we have a correct 
text of the old historian. The Greek MSS., con- 
taining the New Testament and the Septuagint 
version of the Old Testament, are of much greater 
antiquity. These also are very numerous, while 
some, for their great age, deserve special mention 
even in this brief paper. — Until very recently the 
Vatican MS. {Codex Vaticanus) was believed to 
be the oldest in existence. It is the first that 
came into the possession of the learned of Europe. 
Whence the Vatican library originally obtained it 
is not now known, but it appears as No. 1209 in 
the first catalogue of the library, which was com- 
piled in 1475. Such was the special value attached 
to this one MS., that to it alone has been given 
habitually the name it bears, as if it were the one 
distinctive treasure amongst the thousands of MS. 
volumes in the pontifical library, called by De 
Wette, while walking through its wondrous gal- 
leries, "a magnificent mausoleum for dead books." 
This MS. includes both the Old and the New 
Testaments. Of the New it now contains the four 
Gospels, the Acts, the seven General Epistles, nine 
of St Paul's Epistles, and that to the Hebrews as 
far as chap, ix., ver. 14. All that follows this place 

Rare Manuscripts of the Bible. 1 1 

is lost The text is written in three columns to a 
page. It is believed to have been written in Egypt 
between a.d. 300 and 400. (Though Alford — see 
his Greek Testament, Prolegomena — says, "the 
latter end of the fifth, or the sixth century.") For 
a long time the Roman court seldom granted 
access to it; but in 1828 Cardinal Angelo Mai 
undertook an edition of it by command of Leo 
XII. This edition appeared in 1857, and was 
found to be full of mistakes. Tischendorf cor- 
rected Mai's New Testament, in several hundred 
passages, in his Novum Testamentum Vaticanum, 
published in 1867. Since then other corrections 
have been supplied in the facsimile edition of 
1868, by Vercellone and Cozza, also inserted in 
the Appendix Novi Testamenti Vaticaniy 1869. — 
Next to the Vatican MS., the Alexandrian MS. 
(Codex Alexandrinus) was considered, till recently, 
the most important This MS., now in four volumes, 
small folio (sometimes called quarto), was presented 
in 1628, by Cyrillus Lucaris, the patriarch of Con- 
stantinople, to Charles I. of England ; and is now 
in the British Museum. It receives its name from 
Alexandria; whence Lucaris obtained it It is 
written in two columns to a page, on thin vellum. 
The New Testament is imperfect, Matt L to xxv. 6 ; 

12 Bible Lore, 

John vL 50 to viii. 52 ; and 2 Cor. iv. 13 to xii. 
6, being lost It has the two epistles of Clement 
of Rome ("which in it alone have descended to 
posterity"), an epistie of Athanasius, and a pro- 
duction by Eusebius on the Psalter. It is believed 
to have been written about the middle of the fifth 
century. It is very much dilapidated, the ink of 
the letters having eaten through the vellum, in 
consequence of which it would be extremely dif- 
ficult to photograph efiectively. Still an edition, 
in t)^es imitating the original, page for page, and 
line for line, has been published (Woide, London, 
1768), and Mr. B. Harris Cowper published an 
octavo edition, in ordinary t)^e, in i860. — The 
claims of these two famous MSS. have been 
recently rivalled, if not eclipsed, by that of the 
celebrated Sinaitic MS. {Codex Sinaiticus\ This 
was discovered in the year 1844, by Dr. Tischen- 
dorf, at the convent of St. Catherine, on Mount 
SinaL He first found a portion of the Septuagint 
in a basket of supposed rubbish destined for the 
flames. The monks willingly gave him this, think- 
ing it of no value ; but on theu- learning from him 
the probable antiquity of the writing, they declined 
to let him have the rest The portion he had 
obtained he then took to Berlin, and published 

Rare Manuscripts of tJie Bible. 1 3 

under the name of the Codtx-Friderico-Augustanus^ 
declanng that he had seen much more of the same 
document After an unavailing attempt to obtain 
the remainder in 1853, he visited the monasteiy 
again in 1859, when, being under the protection 
of the Emperor of Russia, he obtained permission 
to copy it at Cairo. Afterwards, things were so 
managed, that the original work was handed over 
to the Emperor Alexander. This MS., containing 
much of the Old and the whole of the New Testa- 
ment, with the exception of one leaf, is written 
with sometimes two and sometimes four columns 
to a page. To the New Testament are appended 
the epistie of Barnabas, and part of the Shepherd 
of Hennas, which, so late as the beginning of the 
fourth century, were reckoned canonical by many. 
All scholars of eminence are now agreed that this 
codex was written about the middle of the fourth 
centiuy. At the cost of the Emperor Alexander 
II. of Russia, a splendid edition of this MS., by 
Tischendorf, was printed in 1863, page for page 
and line for line, with types cast to imitate the 
letters of the original Copies of this edition were 
presented by the emperor to most of the consider- 
able European libraries. Some are of opinion that 
this famous codex formed one of the fifty copies 

14 Bible Lore, 

of the Bible which in a.d. 331 were ordered by the 
Emperor Constantine to be executed in Constanti- 
nople, under the superintendence of Eusebius, the 
ecclesiastical historian. Should this surmise be cor- 
rect, probably the Emperor Justinian, who founded 
the convent at Sinai, sent it from Constantinople 
as a present to the monks of St Catherine. — 
Among the most valuable of ancient writings is the 
Parisian MS. {Codex J^egius) now in the imperial 
library at Paris. Unfortunately it is only a series 
of considerable fragments. It is of the kind called 
palimpsest, some of the Greek works of Ephrem 
the Syrian (whence it is sometimes called the Codex 
Ephremi) having been written over the ancient 
writing. It appears to have at one time included 
the Septuagint version of the Old, and the New 
Testament Cardinal Ridolfi, of Florence, was its 
former owner. It was probably written in Egypt 
about A.D. 450. — The Cambridge MS. was pre- 
sented by Beza (whence it is sometimes called the 
Codex Bezoi) to the library of the University of 
Cambridge in 1581. It contains the Gospels and 
the Acts, but with many omissions (as, for example. 
Matt vi. 20 to ix. 2 ; John L 16 to iiL 26, xviii. 
13 to XX. 13; Acts viii. 29 to x. 14, and xxii. 29 
to the end). It is believed to have been written 

Rare Manuscripts of the Bible. 1 5 

at the close of the fifth, or at the commencement 
of the sixth century. — Besides these and some 
other very ancient and rare codices, the number of 
MSS. is immense : " upwards of 500 MSS. of the 
Gospels, ranging in date from the tenth to the 
sixteenth century, have been inspected, more or 
less cursorily ; more than 200 contain the Acts and 
catholic Epistles; upwards of 300 the Pauline 
Epistles, and 100 have the Apocalypse" (David- 
son, Bibl, Crit iL 324). 

3. The tests by which the antiquity of a MS. is 
decided are various, intricate, and scarcely — all 
of them — appreciable by a general reader. Some 
of them we may be content with specifying, and 
some others we may more fully explain. Suppose 
a MS. of unknown date to come under critical in- 
spection : (i) The quality and appearance of the 
vellum would be one of the first things to be 
examined. The most ancient and valuable parch- 
ment was prepared from the skin of the antelope 
or the ass. The aid of the microscope would there- 
fore be called in to decide this point. The quality 
of the parchment would be a further test The 
oldest in appearance is not necessarily the most 
ancient. About the eleventh century the quality 
deteriorated, hence a dirty-coloured parchment is 

\6 Bible Lore. 

evidence of the want of antiquity. This may 
possibly arise from the circumstance, that writers 
of this time prepared their own parchment, and thiy 
were doubtless less skilful as manufacturers. A 
curious passage from a sermon of Hildebert, Arch- 
bishop of Tours (bom in 1054), proves and illus- 
trates this fact The sermon (xv. Paris folio, 1708) 
is on the "Book of Life," which he exhorts his 
hearers to obtain. " Do you know what a writer 
does? He first cleanses his parchment from the 
grease, and takes oflf the principal part of the dirt ; 
he then entirely rubs oflf the hair and fibres with 
pumice-stone ; if he did not do so, the letters written 
upon it would not be good, nor would they last 
long. He then rules lines, that the writing may 
be straight. All these things you ought to do, if 
you wish to possess the book which I have been 
displaying to you." (2) The number of the columns 
on the open leaf would be noted. This marks the 
transition from the old volumes^ or rolled books. 
(3) The form of the characters, and the absence 
of large letters at the beginning of sentences, would 
be carefully examined before the writing itself were 
relegated to the style of a given age. The most 
ancient MSS. are written in what are termed uncial 
letters, that is, square or capital letters, and all of 

Rare Manuscripts of the Bible. 1 7 

one size. The words are not separated, and there 
is an absence of punctuation. In later times it 
became the custom to begin sentences with larger, 
and sometimes with what are called illuminated 
capitals. (4) The presence, as in the case of the 
Codex Sinaiticus, of the works of Barnabas and 
Hermas, would be regarded as indicating a MS. 
of the early period when the canon of Scripture 
had not been settled. (5) If the examiners ob- 
served corrections by diflferent hands in different 
ages, in diff:rent styles, and of various shades of 
ink, these would be minutely scrutinized, and certain 
inferences would be deduced therefrom by qualified 
palaeographers. (6) Various readings often furnish 
a most important clue to the age of a MS. Let 
us give an example or two. (a) The usual con- 
clusion of the Gospel of St Mark (xvi. 9 — 21) is 
found in more than 500 Greek MSS., in all Syriac 
and Coptic MSS., in nearly all the Latin, and in 
the Gothic version. But Eusebius and Jerome say 
expressly that in nearly all the correct copies of 
their time, St Mark's Gospel ends with the eighth 
verse of the last chapter, and were without verses 
9 — 21. With these famous MSS. of Eusebius, who 
died A.D. 340, there agree — among all extant Greek 
MSS. — only the Sinaitic and the Vatican. They 


l8 Bible Lore. 

therefore must, in all probabUity, be referred to 
the period of which he speaks, (p) In the begin- 
ning of the Epistle to the Ephesians we read, " To 
the saints which are at Ephesusj" but Marcion 
(a.d. 130 — 140) did not find the words, "at 
Ephesus," in his copy. The same is true of 
Origen (a.d. 185 — 254); and Basil the Great, 
who died a.d. 379, affirmed that these words were 
wanting in all old copies. And this omission 
accords very well with the encyclical or general 
character of this epistie. At the present day our 
ancient Greek MSS., and all ancient versions, con- 
tain the words "at Ephesus." Now, only the 
Vatican and the Sinaitic correspond with the old 
copies of Basil, and those of Origen and Marcion. 
We cannot conclude this paper, on the MSS. of 
the Bible, in words more forcible and appropriate 
than those of one of the greatest critics of the 
sacred text Dr. Bentley says, " The real text of 
the sacred writer does not now (since the originals 
have been so long lost) lie in any single manuscript 
or edition, but is dispersed in them all. It is 
competently exact indeed, even in the worst manu- 
script now extant; nor is one single article of 
faith or moral precept either perverted or lost in 




HE word version (from the Latin verto^ 
versum, to turn) denotes the transferring 
of some written composition from one 
language to another; and is now chiefly applied 
to the various translations of the sacred Scrip- 
tures. At the present time there are very few 
important languages into which the Word of God 
has not been either altogether, or in great part, 
translated. "The Book and its Story," or the 
Reports of the " British and Foreign Bible Society," 
will show the wonderful extent to which this has 
been done : and a very interesting volume, entitled 
" The Bible of Every Land," will furnish the Bible 
student with a history of the Holy Scriptures in 
nearly every language and dialect into which 
translations have been made, illustrated by speci- 
mens in native characters. In this paper it is our 
intention to present our readers with a brief and 
condensed account of some of the most ancient 
of these translations. 

22 Bible Lore, 

I. Pre-eminent amongst these, both because of 
its antiquity and its importance, stands the Sep- 
TUAGiNTj or, the translation of the seventy (and 
therefore, in Biblical works, usually written seventy 
in Roman numerals, thus, LXX.). It seems to 
have derived its title, not as Eichhom supposes, 
from the approval of the Alexandrian Sanhedrim 
of seventyy or seventy-two; but from the general 
belief, at one time, in a letter of Aristeas, in which 
he describes the work of seventy-two learned men 
who came from Jerusalem to Alexandria to trans- 
late the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. The pur- 
port and history of this letter, which Josephus has 
transcribed {Antiquities xJL 2, 4), are as follows : 
Aristeas, who was an officer of the court of Ptolemy 
Philadelphus, addressing his brother Philocrates, 
states, in this so-called letter, that the king — at the 
instigation of his librarian, Demetrius Phalerus — 
sent an embassy to Jerusalem, to request a copy 
of the Hebrew Scriptures; and that seventy-two 
persons might accompany it, six from each tribe, 
skilled in the Hebrew and Greek languages, by 
whose aid a translation might be made into the 
latter tongue. Philo, a learned Jew, adds to this 
letter some notes of his own, in which he asserts 
that the translators were placed in, the island of 

Ancient Versions of the Bible, 23 

Pharos, each by himself, and made so many sepa- 
rate translations, and that these most miraculously 
agreed, word for word, with each other. Irenaeus 
(iil 24) relates the same story. Justin Martyr 
adds that he was taken to see the cells in which 
the interpreters worked Epiphanius, however 
asserts that the translators were divided into pairs, 
in thirty-six cells, each pair being provided with 
two scribes, and that thirty-six versions, agreeing 
in every point, were produced by the gift of the 
Holy Spirit While St Augustine agrees with 
the inspiration of the translators, St Jerome 
courageously throws.- aside the entire account of 
both the cells and the inspiration. Such is the 
story — together with a few of the opinions upon it 
— ^which in all probability gave to this ancient 
Greek version the title of Septuagint, Probably 
the more genuine account is that given by Aristo- 
bulus (cir, b.c 200), who says, " It is manifest 
that Plato has followed our law, and studied dili- 
gently all its particulars. For, before Demetrius 
Phalerus, a translation had been made by others, 
of the history of the Hebrews going forth out of 
Egypt, and of all that happened to them, and of the 
conquest of the land, and of the exposition of the 
whole law. Hence it is manifest that the aforesaid 

24 Bible Lore, 

philosopher borrowed many things ; for he was very 
learned, as was Pythagoras, who also transferred 
many of our doctrines into his system. But the 
etitire translation of our whole law was made in 
the time of the king named Philadelphus, a man 
of greater zeal, under the direction of Demetrius 
Phalerus." "This," says Mr. W. A. Wright, "pro- 
bably expresses the belief which prevailed in the 
second century befcre Christ ; viz., that some por- 
tions of the Jewish history had been pubjished in 
Greek before Demetrius, but that in his time, and 
under his directions, the whole law was translated: 
and this agrees with the story of Aristeas." After 
a most careful examination of the whole history, 
it is now currently believed by those who are best 
qualified to judge, that, during the reign of Ptolemy 
Lagus, Demetrius Philareus proposed the fitness, in 
a literary point of view, of a translation of the 
Jewish Scriptures ; that the work then commenced 
was carried on at intervals, and was finally com- 
pleted in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus (suc- 
cessor of Ptolemy Lagus) about the year 285 B.a 
The moving cause which gave birth to this version 
is thus explained by the last-quoted \vriter : " It 
is well known that after the Jews returned from the 
captivity of Babylon, having lost, in great measure. 

Ancient Versions of tJie Bible, 25 

the familiar knowledge of the ancient Hebrew, the 
readings from the books of Moses, in the syna- 
gogues of Palestme, were explained to them in the 
Chaldaic tongue, in Targums or paraphrases [these 
will be explained in a subsequent paper of this 
series] ; and the same was done with the books of 
the prophets, when at a later time they also were 
read in the synagogues. The Jews of Alexandria 
had probably still less knowledge of Hebrew ; their 
familiar language was Alexandrian Greek. They 
had settled in Alexandria in large numbers soon 
after the time of Alexander, and under the early 
Ptolemies. They would naturally follow the same 
practice as their brethren in Palestine; the law 
first, and afterwards the prophets would be explained 
in Greek, and from this practice would arise in time 
an entile Greek version. All the phenomena of 
the version seem to confirm this view; the Pen- 
tateuch is the best part of the version ; the other 
books are more defective, betraying probably the 
increasing degeneracy of the Hebrew MSS., and 
the decay of Hebrew learning with the lapse of 
time." Whether it was a purely literary purpose, as 
suggested above, or whether it was the necessity 
of a people who had lost, in great measure, the 
Hebrew, and adopted the Greek tongue, that origi- 

26 Bible Lore, 

natcd the LXX., it is instructive to observe how the 
providence of God overruled heathen curiosity or 
Hebrew exigencies for giving to the world the old 
Hebrew Scriptures in that language in which the 
(yOSj)cl should first be preached When the Apostles 
j)rcachcd Jesus and the resurrection, and suppoited 
their arguments by quotations from the writings of 
Moses and the prophets, their hearers were able^ 
like those of Berea, to "search the Scriptures 
daily, whether those things were sa" Whatever 
its inaccuracies, the LXX. must have very materially 
aided in the establishment of Christianity amongst 
tlic peoples of the Gentile world. It was the version 
that was publicly read wherever Greek was spoken. 
With the exception of Origen and Jerome, the early 
r\ithers of the Church were ignorant of Hebrew; 
they therefore used this version; and from it all 
the early translations were made, the Syriac alone 
excepted. In the form of the vulgate, the Church 
of Rome still reads it, and to this day it is the 
version in common use in the Greek and the greater 
number of the Oriental churches. 

2. I'he language spoken by the people of northern 
Syria and Mesopotamia, and, after the captivity, by 
the inhabitants of Galilee also, was the Syrian, or 
western Aramaic So close is the resemblance 

Ancient Versions of the Bible. 2*j 

between this tongue and the Chaldee, or eastern 
Aramaic, that Chaldee, written in Syrian characters, 
and without the point, is good Syriac, with the 
exception only of one inflection of the verbs. 
The two dialects differ mainly in the matter of the 
vowel points, and in the use of a different character. 
Into this ancient Syriac language several transla- 
tions of the Old Testament were made at a very 
early date. Of these, two are regarded as pre- 
eminent among the Syriac versions, (i) The 
Peschito, or literal version (from a Syrian word 
signifying simple^ or literal)^ is so called on account 
of its close adherence to the text, without the 
admixture of any allegorical interpretations. This 
"Old Syriac version" is one of the most ancient 
and valuable translations of the Bible. Various 
traditions ascribe it to the age of Solomon (who is 
said, by the Syrians themselves, to have had it made 
for the use of Hiram, king of Tyre), or to Asa, a 
Samaritan priest ; while the New Testament, so it 
is asserted, was translated by Thaddeus and other 
apostles, in the time of Agbarus, king of Syria. 
Ephrem the Syrian referred to it in the middle of 
the fourth century as being then generally known 
and' used, and therefore it must have been in exist- 
ence a considerable time before. The majority of 

28 Bible Lore, 

modern critics refer its date to the first centuiy. 
Michaclis, whose opinion on this point is usually 
followed, ascribed the translation of both Testa- 
mcnts to the most flourishing period of the Syrian 
churches; namely, the end of the first or the 
beginning of the second century. The New Testa- 
ment, which contains the four Gospels, the Acts, 
the Epistles of St Paul (including the Hebrews), 
the first of St. John, the first of St Peter, and of St 
James, is one of the best versions in any language ; 
and is used as their standard by the churches of 
Syria and of the East (2) The second of the 
principal Syriac versions is the Syro-Philoxenian 
version of the New Testament; and is named 
after Philoxenus (Bishop of Hierapolis, in the pro- 
vince of Aleppo, 488-518), under whose auspices it 
was translated by Polycarp from the Greek text 
It was subsequently (a.d. 616) revised by Thomas 
of Hcraclea (whence it is sometimes called the 
Ilcradcan version), but is considered very inferior 
to the Peschito. To the Bible student, this version 
is the more interesting from the fact that it was the 
common language of Palestine in the time of our 


In addition to these famous ancient versions 
— the i.XX. and the Syriac — three others may be 

Ancient Versions of the Bible. 


briefly mentioned. The version of Aquila (a.d. 
128), who was first a heathen, and then a Christian, 
and finally a Jew; and who, making his Greek 
translation to oblige the Jews, rendered the original 
so literally that Jerome was wont to say it was a 
good dictionary to give the exact meaning of 
Hebrew words. The version of Theodotion (a.d. 
160), which is said to have been intended for an 
amended issue of the LXX., is less literal than the 
version of Aquila, and less free than the version 
of Symmachus (a.d. 200), which gives the sense 
rather than the words of the original, and was 
thought to excel in purity of Greek expression. 
Of the Samaritan version^ it must suffice to say 
that it is a literal translation of the Hebroeo-Samari- 
tan text, into the Samaritan dialect, and that it was 
made considerably before the Christian era. 

3. The history of the Latin Vulgate is both in- 
teresting and instructive. About the year a.d. 
382, Jerome, a Dalmatian presbyter at that time, 
undertook, at the request of Damasus, Bishop of 
Rome, a revision of an older Latin version, of 
which fragments are found in the works of the 
early Latin Fathers — such as Tertullian and Augus- 
tine. By whom that older Latin version was made 
no one knows. Its 'birthplace was, however, not 

30 Bible Lan. 

Italy, where at that time Greek was the ecclesiastical 
language, but the Roman province oH nortfaem 
Africa, in which Latin had become the vemacalar 
tijngue. As Jerome advanced in the Old Testa- 
ment he noted the inaccuracy of the LXX., fixim 
which the old Latin version was drawn; and re- 
solved to make an entirely new Latin transladcm 
from the original Hebrew. This work occupied 
twenty-one years, and received, from the language 
in which it was made, the name of the Vu^aU 
— the I-»atin being a language that was generalkf 
knoivn at tlmt time. At length, after considerable 
oi>j)osition from those who favoiured the LXX., 
from which it very greatly differed, it was approved 
by Gregory the Great, and became the authorized 
version of the Latin Church. In this version, the 
Psalter — because of its liturgical use — and many 
of the Apocryphal books — which Jerome excluded, 
but which the Romish Church still holds to be 
canonical — continued in the old Latin. In con- 
scciucncc of this the text fell into confusion. 

Somewhat analogous to this, in our day, is the 
confusion occasioned by the retention, in the "Book 
of Common IVayer," of a translation of the Psalms 
older than that contained in the authorized version 
o( the Bible. 

Ancient Versions of the Bible. 31 

Many attempts w^e made to restore it, — ^by 
Alcuin (at the instance of Charlemagne); by 
Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury ; by Cardinal 
Nicholas, and others ; but little was really effected. 
At length a commission, appointed by the Council 
of Trent (a.d. 1545), pronounced that the text was 
so corrupt that only the pope could correct the 
evil; the Council, however, declared the Vulgate 
to be authentic, and ordered that a new edition 
should be undertaken. While the commission, 
which, by the way, Paul III. superseded, was 
about this work, the doctors of Louvain issued a 
new editioa This was prohibited by Paul IV., 
who promised that he would publish an authentic 
text At length Sextus V. (a.d. 1590) issued the 
promised edition, with a preface by himself, in 
which he extolled its accuracy in the highest terms. 
Being infallible, he was, of course, competent to 
pronounce in this emphatic way. So many errors, 
however, were soon detected in this edition, that 
another, differing very materially from its pre- 
decessor, was speedily issued : in its turn guaranteed 
by the infallible authority of Gregory XIV. and 
Clement VIII. But this also disclosed so many 
blemishes to the keen eye of textual criticism, that 
Clement himself presently published a third edition 

32 Bible Lore. 

(in A.I). 1593), containing many fresh correcdonsL 
All siil)sc(]uent editions of the Vulgate are tran- 
scrij)t.s of this, which is regarded as the standard 
edition of the Romish Church. For a long time it 
was not regarded as a source of criticism^ but since 
the times of Mill and Bendey "its claims have 
been admitted as a witness to ancient readings, and, 
should a critical revision of it ever be accomplished, 
the gain to Biblical literature will be very great" 

4. We pass away from these celebrated versions 
to another, which, if less important, is full of 
historical interest Soon after the Visi-Goths were 
I)ermittcd by the Emperor Valens {cir, a.d. 375) to 
settle in Moesia (whence they obtained the name 
of Mceso-Goths), they were converted to Chris- 
tianity. Their second bishop was Ulphilas, and 
he it was who achieved the work of translating 
the Bible into the Gothic language. It is believed 
that he also invented the characters in which the 
translation was originally written. These are formed, 
with very slight alterations, from the capitals of 
the Greek and Latin alphabets. It was not till 
towards the elosc of the sixteenth century that this 
version became known, by the discovery of a MS. 
in the library of the Abbey of Werden, in West- 
phalia. Subseciuently, after the capture of league, 

Ancient Versions of tlie Bible, 33 

by the Swedes (1648), the celebrated Codex 
Argentius was brought to light in that city. This 
MS. of the four Gospels, on purple vellum, in silver 
letters (whence its name Argentius, from the Latin 
argentum — silver) is now preserved in the library 
of the University of Upsal, in Sweden. This 
copy is judged to be nearly as ancient as the time 
of Ulphilas, or at least not more than a century or 
two later. Palimpsest fragments of this Gothic ver- 
sion^ though not in the silver character, have since 
been found in other places. One, containing part 
of the epistle to the Romans, was discovered at 
Wolfenbuttel, and since then other fragments, con- 
taining small portions of Esdras and Nehemiah, 
part of 25th, 26th, and 27th chapters of St. 
Matthew, of St Paul's epistles to the Philippians, 
Titus, and Philemon ; and of a homily and calendar, 
were discovered in separate leaves in t':e Ambrosian 
library at MilaiL Although this version does not 
rank very high as a source of criticism, the English 
Bible student cannot but regard it with interest, 
since the old Gothic tongue in which it is written 
is the very fountain-head of our own Anglo-Saxon 

Although these ancient versions are the most 
important, they are by no means all that were 


34 Bible Lore, 

made at a very early date. Space forbids that 
wc should give anything like a detailed account 
of any one of these. A brief summary of the 
j)rincipal is all that we can attempt Thit j£thujfu 
version y in the Gheez, or ancient sacred tongue of 
the country, was made, it is believed, in the fourth 
century. About the same time several Mgyptian 
versions were made — e,g, the Coptic, or Memphitic, 
the dialect of I-ower Egypt; the Sahidic, or 
Thebaic, in the language of Upper Egypt ; and 
ihe Bashmuric, a mixture of the other two. About 
the fifth century, two scholars were sent from 
Armenia to Alexandria to acquire a knowledge of 
(ireek, and so the whole Bible was translated from 
that language, and what are termed the Armenian 
versions were obtained A version called the 
Geor^iiiany was made about the sixth century in 
the Armenian character. The Persian version was 
made also at a very early period (dr. a.d. 800). 
And the Arabic versions^ of which there are several, 
(late, some of them, as far back as the tenth 

The student will do well to remember that 
these versions were made from the original Hebrew 
of the Old Testament, and Greek of the New; 
and that they are connecting links between the 

Ancient Versions of t/te Bible, 35 

original MSS. and modern translations. Done at 
different times, by different hands, in various lan- 
guages; they all were obtained, through different 
channels, from one original source. Long after 
some of the oldest were made — the LXX. for 
example — ^the Old Hebrew MSS., or accepted 
copies of them, were in existence, and were re- 
peatedly collated for purpo§es of minute correc- 
tion. Thus on the margin of the oldest MSS., 
such as the Sinaitic Codex, numerous emendations 
are inserted. He will do well also to bear in 
mind that translations in one language — ^as the 
Vatican, the Alexandrian, and the Sinaitic — ^made 
at different times, by different persons, so nearly 
resemble each other — the various readings being 
of no vital consequence — as to leave not the slight- 
est doubt of their being all obtained from authentic 
sources. So clear is this, that if, from these ancient 
versions, a copy of the Old Testament in Hebrew, 
and of the New in Greek, were composed ; such 
a result would be found almost to literally coincide 
with the original documents, could they be brought 
to light In other words, the discovery, were it 
possible, of the original MSS. of all the inspired 
writers from Moses to John, would not, in any 
material point, affect the authenticity of those 

36 BibU Lore. 

numerous versions of the Holy Scriptures^ now 
existing in almost eveiy language, as a proof of 
the human consciousness of the need of a Divine 
revelation ; of the acceptance of this one Book by 
the reason and conscience of universal man ; and, 
above all, of the all-wise and merciful providence 
of God, who, in the events of history, has made 
so wondrous a provision for the conservation and 
cliflfusion of the Word of Life and Salvation. 






Y the word commentary — ^from the Latin 
commentus^ a thought, a reflection — is 
generally meant an exposition of the 
words and truths contained in the sacred writings. 
Very great is the number of commentaries, both 
upon the whole Bible, and upon each of the books 
composing the canon of Scripture. Very varied, 
also, are the characteristic features of many of the 
works that bear this general title. Hence we have 
critical, philological, grammatical, practical, exposi- 
tory, devotional commentaries. Commentaries in 
which many of these features are combined. Some 
that are rather exhibitions of learned pedantry, than 
of intelligent piety : . huge compilations of things in 
heaven, and things on earth, and things under the 
earth, overshadowing the light of truth, darkening 
the counsel of God with a great cloud of words 
without knowledge. Some that exhibit another 
phase of human weakness, and illustrate the 

40 Bible Lore. 

strength of that imaginative faculty which discoven 
in the Word of God what in truth was never there: 
expositions of a class to which that must have 
belonged, of which its o^ner — a simple-minded 
(Christian woman — said, that she thought she could 
undcrsund the sacred text, and was not quite with- 
out hope that one of these days she would be able 
to understand the explanation. Our present busi- 
ness is not so much to speak of conmientaries in 
the general, nor yet of modem ones in particular, 
as it is to bring under the notice of the Bible 
student some writings of the conmientaiy genus 
that are not so universally known. Some of the 
tnoHt curious and, to the scholar, the most useful 
commentaries on the Scriptures are of Jewish origin. 
And although, in all likelihood, few of our readers 
may have access to them, they will have often met 
with their titles in theological works, and will 
naturally desire to know what such writings as the 
7li/mu(lj the Tan^ms^ and the Masorah are. To 
these let UH first attend. 

I . Hie 7iiri^ims. When the Jews returned from 
\\\i' jj.'ihylonian cajjtivity, and the "book of the law 
ol Moses" was read to them by Ezra, the Levites 
**<;iiified the people to understand the law; and 
the p(*c)ple stood in their place. So they read in 

Celebrated Commentaries on the Bible, 41 

he book in the law of God distinctly, and gave 
he sense, and caused them to understand the 
•eading." While some are of opinion that the work 
>f these Levites consisted in explaining to the 
Deople, many of whom had become very ignorant, 
vhat Ezra had read ; others maintain that Ezra read 
he law in pure Hebrew, while the Levites trans- 
ated it, as he proceeded, into Chaldee, the ver- 
lacular dialect which the exiles spoke in Babylon. 
iVhichever opinion be correct, we have here the 
irst idea of a cpmmentary. At first, and for some 
ame, these explanations were merely oral. Deli- 
vered in the hearing of the Levites, they were handed 
lown from generation to generation. In the course 
)f time such explanations were committed to writ- 
ng, and from their being not simple versions, but 
explanatory paraphrases, they were called by the 
Chaldee word Targum, which signifies "an explana- 
ion." Of these Targums there are at present ten 
n existence, (i) Of these, the most ancient is the 
Targum on the Pentateuch, called the Targum of 
Onkelos, This Onkelos is supposed to have lived 
Lt Babylon, and is made by the Babylonish Talmud 
o have been a contemporary of Gamaliel, at the 
rery beginning of the Christian era; certainly no 
aitics place him lower than the second century. 


-3^ secrets o:h'!^->d«id,TVlo1jrT 

'^s having 

Celebrated Commentaries on the Bible. 43 

been erroneously ascribed to the last-named author, 
is far inferior to the Targum of Jonathan in purity 
of dialect, in its general style, and in its mode of 
expression. It moreover abounds in silly fables, 
and not only displays great ignorance of the He- 
brew language, but from its mention of the Turks 
and Lombards it is evident that it could not 
have been written earlier than the seventh century. 
(4) Still another Targum on the Pentateuch is called 
the yerusalem Targum^ from the corrupt language 
in which it is written, and is probably a compilation 
from various authors made in the seventh or eighth 
century. It generally follows closely the pseudo- 
Jonathan, occasionally departing from it for the 
worse. The remaining six Targums scarcely de- 
mand specific mention. In order that our readers 
may more clearly understand the great difference 
between these ancient Jewish paraphrases we sub- 
join the following specimens, which we quote from 
the " Introduction to Notes, critical and practical, 
on the Book of Genesis," by Prof. Bush. They 
should be read by the side of our own authorised 


largum of Onkelos (Gen. i a), " And the earth 
was waste and empty ; and darkness was upon the 
face of the abyss : and a wind from the Lord 

44 BibU Lore. 

breathed over the face of the waters." (Verse 20), 
<' And the Lord said. Let the waters produce the 
creeping thing endowed with the principle of life, 
and fowl that may fly over the earth upon the face 
of the expanse of heaven." (iL 9), ''And the Lord 
God caused to spring up from the earth every tree 
that was desirable to be seen, or good for food, and 
the tree of life in the midst of the garden, and the 
tree of whose fruit they who eat are wise in discern- 
ing between good and evil" (iiL 15), "And I will 
put enmity between thee and the woman, and be- 
tween thy son and her son. He shall remember 
against thee what thou hast done to Him from the 
beginning, and thou shalt be observant of Him 
unto the end." 

Targum of pseudo-yonathan (Gen. L 2), "But 
the earth was confusion and emptiness, destitute of 
the sons of men, and bare of all cattle ; and dark- 
ness ^as upon the face of the abyss ; and the spirit 
of mercies from before the Lord breathed over the 
surfiicc of the water." (Verse 16), "And the Lord 
made the two great lights : and they were equal in 
their glory twenty and one years, subtracting from 
these six hundred and seventy parts of an hour. 
13ut after this, the moon brought a calumnious 
accusation against the sun, and she was made less : 

Celebrated Commentaries on tlie Bible. 45 

and He appointed the sun, which was the greater 
light, to rule in the day, and the moon, which was 
the lesser light, to rule in the night: with the 
stars also." (Verse 27), "And the Lord created 
man in His own likeness : in the image of the 
Lord created He him, with two himdred and forty- 
eight members, and three himdred and sixty-five 
sinews, and clothed him with a skin, and filled him 
' with flesh and blood : male and female in their 
body created He them." 

Jerusalem Targum (Gen. iiL 9), " And the word 
of the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto 
him, Behold, the world which I have created is 
laid open before Me : darkness and light are open 
before Me, and how didst thou expect the place, 
in the midst of which thou art, not to be dis- 
covered before Me ? Where is the commandment 
which I enjoined thee?" (Verse 15), "Audit shall 
be when the sons of the woman shall attend to the 
law, and perform the precepts thereof, they shall 
prepare to wound thee on thy head, and shall kill 
thee : but when the sons of the woman shall forsake 
the commandments of the law, and shall not per- 
form the precepts thereof, thou shalt be in readi- 
ness, and shalt bite them upon their heel, and shalt 
affict them with sickness. Nevertheless, there 

t ' 


'•or thee o r^'^ '°^^^^^^^T--— 
^ roi: Bush aJso K "^ * ' 

''^ ^' from tie r"^""^ *^*^ a« it s^ ^^ ^ 

f ^ '^«ote„ess ofT ' ^^ P^^iZ "^ 

^^^« the wei^rh? r^"^^> their testfl ^'^ '"^«' 
'^'■^"-s. b"?^;' '^^^ °f direct 1^°"'' "^^ 

^ense put 5 y^ ^ to us the earliest Z * .'*^e' 

°' ^e sacred ti-fr "'°° '"^^^^ obL7''°°-7 
*^'« point is r ^'' ^d coJctinf ^^*^es 

™^"^"tlj. useful... OftCV ^^^T^gu«s 

"^^'^^ the follow. 

Celebrated Commentaries on the Bible, 47 

ing may serve as an illustration: "Gen. xlix. 10, 
Jacob prophesieth that the sceptre should not depart 
from yudah^ nor a lawgiver from between his feet^ 
until Shiloh should come. Christians understand 
this of the Messiah, and from thence prove against 
the Jews that the Messiah must, according to this 
prophecy of Him, have been long since come, 
because long since — that is, for many ages past — 
there hath been no regal power in Judah, no 
prince of that nation ruUng with the sceptre over 
them; nor any from between their feet — that is, 
any from that people — ^to make laws or administer 
justice among them : because for many ages past 
the whole Jewish policy hath utterly ceased from 
among them, and they have nowhere, since the 
time of Jesus Christ, the true Messiah, been 
governed by their own princes or their own laws ; 
but everywhere by strangers, and the laws of 
strangers, among whom they have lived. The 
Jews, to evade the force of this manifest argument 
against them, object first, that the word Shebel, in 
the Hebrew text, which we interpret a sceptre, the 
instrument of rule, signifieth also a rod, which is the 
instrument of chastisement, and therefore say that 
though this should be understood of the Messiah, 
the meaning would be no more than that their 

48 Bibk Lore. 

chastisement — that is, the banishznent which thCT 
now suffer in their dispersion among strange natioas 
. — should not cease (as they all reckon it will not) 
till their Mtssiah shall come to deliver them fiom 
iL But in the second place they object^ that tfaev 
do not allow that the Messiah is meant by the 
word S/ii/oh in this prophecy. But in both these 
j)articulars the Chaldee paraphrases are against 
them. For the words of Onkelos in this text are, 
77icre sliall fiot be iakai away from Judah one having 
the principality^ nor the scribe from the sons of the 
children^ till the Messiah shall came. And the 
Jerusalem Targum or paraphrase, and that called 
yonathan's, agree with him in both these i)articu- 
lars ; for they both interpret Shd?el of the prmd- 
pality, and Shiloh of the Messiah^ and therefore all 
three of them help the Christian cause in this 
matter. Pridcaux" " Connection,'^ Pt ii., book viii. 
2. TJie Talmuds. About a. d. 150, Rabbi Judah 
Hakkadosh (or the Holy) committed to writing 
various traditions explanatory of the Law of Moses. 
This compilation is called the Mishfiah (i,e, the 
second)^ or oral law of the Jews. Upon this work a 
commentary exists, called the Gemara (i.e, comple- 
tion or perfection). Of these commentaries there 
arc two. One, compiled (about a.d. 300) by Rabbi 

Celebrated Commentaries on tJu Bible, 49 

^ "■* ■ I ■ »^— ^^M^M^.^ ■ ^ ■ ■ m il —^1^^ I — — ^ I ■ M 

Jochanan, for forty years president of the academy 
ill Palestine, is called the Gemara of Jerusalem; 
the other, entitled the Gemara of Babylon, was 
composed by Rabbi Asa, president of the School 
of Sora, near Babylon, some time in the fifth 
century. The Mishnah and Gemara united are 
called the Talmud {i,e, doctrine or learning). When 
accompanied by the Gemara of Jerusalem, the 
Mishnah is called the yerusalem Talmud; when the 
Gemara of Babylon is subjoined, it is called the 
Babylonian Talmud, This latter is held by the 
Jews in the highest estimation. It was to some of 
the traditions afterwards compiled into the Mishnah 
that the " Pharisees and Scribes," in all probability, 
referred when they said to o:u: Lord, "Why do 
Thy disciples transgress the traditions of the 
elders ? for they wash not their hands when they 
eat bread." And He answered by asking, " Why 
do ye also transgress the commandment of God 
by your tradition ? " Of the estimation in which 
these traditions (Latin traditio, from trado, I de- 
liver, hand down, exactly agreeing with the original 
Tapa5o<ris, from irapaSiSufu, I deliver, transmit) were 
held by the Jews, the following may serve as an 
example: "The words of the Scribes are lovely 
beyond the words of the law ; for the words of the 


50 BibU Lan. 

law are weighty and light, but the words of tbe 
Scribes are all weighty." The Rabbins say, '' Tlie 
Biblical text is like water, and the Mishnah like 
wine." '' The law is like salt, the Mishnah like 
pepper."* Such extravagant praises of the oral 
traditions agree with the Saviouz's words : '* Mak- 
ing the word of God of none effect through your 
tradition which ye have delivered." Of these 
traditions the following may be taken as an 
example : '^ Abba Saul said, When I was an in- 
terrer of the dead, I had once to pursue after a 
gazelle ; I entered into the hollow of a hip-bone 
of a dead man, and ran after it three miles, and 
yet I reached neither the gazelle nor the end of 
the hip-bone ; when I turned back, they told me 
this bone belonged to Og, the king of Bashan. 
Abba Saul said, Once upon a time, when I had 
been interring the dead, a cave opened under me, 
and I found myself standing up to my nostrils 
in the socket of a dead man's eye; when I re- 
turned, they told me it was the eye of Absalom. 
Perhaps thou wouldst say, Abba Saul was a short 
man ; Abba Saul was the tallest in his generation." 
(^Quoted by Dr, Davidson^ in KiMs Encydopcsdia^ 
art. Talmud,) Notwithstanding many such ridicu- 
lous and improbable fictions, and their wild 

Celebrated Commentaries on the Bible, 5 1 

superstitions, the Talmuds afiford many happy 
elucidations of Scripture, especially relative to the 
manners and customs of the Jews. 

This seems to be the proper place in which to 
insert a brief notice of the celebrated Jewish com- 
mentator, Moses Maimonides, This great luminary, 
the glory of Israel, the second Moses, the Reformer 
of Judaism, as he is called, was bom at Cordova, 
March 30th, 1135. In consequence of a decree of 
the fanatic Caliph Almohades against the Jews, 
he was compelled to quit his native land (1148); 
and while yet a traveller in search of a home he 
began (1158) his stupendous Commentary on the 
Mishna, his knowledge of the Talmud being so 
great that he could dispense with the aid of books. 
This remarkable work, which was written in Arabic, 
was finished in ten years (1168), and entitled 7 he 
Book of Light, The author now became the great 
oracle in all matters of religion, was appealed to 
(1175) by his countrymen for his opinion on 
difficulties connected with the law, and was nomi- 
nated Rabbi of Raheia in 11 77. In another ten 
years (1170 — 80) he completed his second great 
work, called yad Hachezaka, Le, the Mighty Hand 
(in allusion to Deut. xxxiv. 12). The fourteen 
books of which the work consists form a cyclopaedia 

52 Bible Lore. 

of every branch of Biblical and Jodaistic Hteratiue. 
'' When it is added that Maimonides has given in 
every article a lucid abstract of the ancient tra- 
ditional expositions of those who were r^aided 
as the oracles in their respective departments, 
the immense importance of this remarkable pro- 
duction to the Biblical student can hardly be 
overrated" {Dr, Ginsburg), This "great luminary** 
was extinguished December 13, 1204. The Jews 
of Jerusalem proclaimed a day of public humilia- 
tion, reading publicly the threatenings of the law 
(Dcut. xxviii.), and the history of the capture of 
the ark by the Philistines (i Sam. iv., etc); for they 
looked ui)on Maimonides as the ark containing 
tlie hw. The profound regard the Jews still have 
for his memory is expressed by the well-known 
saying, "From Moses the lawgiver to Moses 
(Maimonides) no one hath arisen like Moses" (in 
allusion to Deut. xxxiv. 10). 

3. In addition to the Targum and the Talmud, 
there is another ancient work, entitled the Masorah^ 
a kind of grammatico-critical commentary on the 
01(1 Testament, which is exceedingly interesting, 
and not without its use. The Masorah {i.e. tra- 
dition) is a compilation of criticisms on the sacred 
text by a set of men called Masters cf the Masorah^ 

Celebrated Commentaries on the Bible, 53 

or, as they are more usually termed, Masarites, 
It is very uncertain who they were, and where they 
pursued their work, and at what time. If the 
Jewish tradition may be relied upon, the work 
began with Moses; from him it was committed 
to the wise men till the times of Ezra and the great 
synagogue, and that subsequently the learned men 
at Tiberius committed it to writing, and called it 
the Masorah. The contents of this curious work 
embrace notes on the Hebrew consonants, on the 
vowel points, on the words, and on the verses. 
Thus, in respect of the words, the Masorites tell us 
how many times certain words occur at the 
beginning of a verse, and how many times other 
words occur at the end of a verse, and they 
laboured to fix the meaning of words whose sense 
had become ambiguous. In respect of the verses, 
we are told how many tliere are in each book of 
the Old Testament, which is the middle verse of 
each book, and in many cases the number of the 
letters. The form of the Masorah was at first a 
number of separate leaves or books. Subsequently 
they were added as marginal notes to the text 
Some editions of the A. V. of the English Bible are 
printed with these notes, as, for example, Bagster^s 
" Comprehensive Bible'' The following illustration 

54 BibU Lore. 

of i)u*m, as applied to our English BiUe, may be 
in(cM(*sting to the young Bible student The 
lunnhcr of hh^ks in the O.T. is 39 ; in the N.T., 
J 7 ;, 66. Of chapters there are, in the O.T., 
<)^«) ; in the N.T., 260; total, 1,189. Oi virus 
OuMo arc*, in the O.T., 23,214; in the N.T., 7,959; 
!t>!.»l, p , 1 73. Of words the O.T. contains 592,493 ; 
(Uul !ho N.r. contains 181,253; total, 773,746. 
1)1 kftifs \\\ the O.T. there are 2,728,100; and in 
Ihr NT. there arc 838,380 ; totol, 3,566,480. [The 
Apiuivplu contains 14 books, 183 chapters, 6,081 
MiM'?», anil 1^5,185 words.] The middle chapter 
in ihc* liihie, which is also the least, is Psalm cxviL 
The* mUdU verse is Psalm cxviii. 8. The middle 
hn^ in 3 C'hron. iv. 16. The word ^^and'' occurs 
in the O, T. 35,535 times, and 10,684 in the N.T. ; 
total, ^o.Jiy times. The word Jehovah occurs 
6,855 liu\es, Oi the Old Testament, the middle 
Ah»>6 is Proverbs ; the middle chapter is Job xxix. ; 
tlie nuiUlle verse is a Chron. xx. 18; and the shortest 
verst' is i Chron. i. i. Of the New Testament the 
middle A»i»>^ is 3 Thess. ; the middle chapter is 
between Rom. xiii. imd Rom. xiv. ; the middle 
verse is Acts xvii. 17; the shortest verse^ which is 
also the shortest in the whole Bible, is John xi. 13. 
Ezra vii. 2 1 contains all the letters in the alphabet 

Celebrated Commentaries on tJie Bible, 55 

Two chapters in the Bible are alike, namely, 2 
Kings xix. and Isaiah xxxviL In the Book of 
Esther, nei±er the word "God" nor "Lord" 
occurs. On the Masorah, Dr. Alexander observes : 
" Whilst there is much in it that can be regarded 
in no other light than as laborious trifling, it is 
far from deserving the scorn which has sometimes 
been poured upon it There can be no doubt that 
it preserves to us much valuable traditional infor- 
mation concerning the constitution and meaning 
of the sacred text It is the source whence ma- 
terials for a critical revision of the O.T. text can 
now alone be derived." 

Having thus described these famous Jewish 
commentaries, we will conclude this paper with 
a few words on modem Christian commentaries. 
Often, very often, have we been asked by young 
Bible students and others, "What commentary 
on the Bible do you recommend as the best ? " A 
very puzzling question, and one to which, for 
obvious reasons, the same reply could not be given 
in each case. The work we mi^t recommend to 
one might not be so well adapted to the means 
and requirements of another. One needs an exposi- 
tion for family reading, another for private con- 
sultation; one desiderates an exhaustive doctrinal 

56 BibU Lang, 

commenUiyy another is more curums to be in- 
formed on matters relating to Biblical science; t 
third is prepared to enter upon a cridcal exami- 
nation of the original languages^ while a fourth 
recjuircs something stiggestive and homiletic 
Elsewhere we have said that "we have long held 
that a perfect commentary on the whole Bible can- 
not be produced by any one pen. The veiy 
unequal value of the faris^ where this has been 
attempted, sufficiently warrants this belief Even 
those that aim less at the critical than at the 
devotional and practical exposition of the sacred 
writings, are not of equal merit throughout The 
various languages in which the books of Scripture 
were originally composed ; the purposes for which 
they were written ; the subjects of which they treat; 
and their other manifold characteristics, require 
for their apt elucidation specially constituted minds 
and appropriate mental tastes. Each book, too, 
has many sides : the historical, the scientific, the 
doctrinal, the devotional, the practical, often meet 
in the briefest treatise. Hence not only may all 
the resources of one mind be laid under contribu- 
tion by one short book, but a combination of 
minds, peculiarly gifted, is often needed for its full 
and perfect explanation. Some are skilful in dear- 

Celebrated Commentaries on the Bible, 57 

ing up verbal difficulties, others in identifying 
natural objects, or in tracing historical and scientific 
allusions, while the special forte of a third class is 
to deal with doctrinal matters. From all this it 
follows that, so far from any one man being fully 
competent to produce a perfect commentary on the 
entire Holy Scriptures, many men are needed fiilly 
to expound each individual booL" The young 
Bible student should conunence by procuring " The 
Portable Commaitary^^ in tvvo volumes, which he 
may obtain for a few shillings : adding to it, first, 
KittOy and then, as opportunity may afford, and as 
the study of special books may suggest, the most 
approved works on the various sections or books 
of the Bible. In this ^yay he may build up by 
degrees a library of Biblical literature far supe- 
rior, for practical purposes, to the bulk of volu- 
minous and expensive commentaries, though all 
of them were ranged in majestic order upon his 

The existence of such an immense array of com- 
ments on Scripture proves not only how precious, 
but how inexhaustible are the thoughts of God to 
pious men ; and though many commentators may 
be regarded as " worthy folks who too often write 
on books, as men with diamonds write on glass. 

5^ Bible Lore. 

obscuring light with scratcheSy" and of some othen 
it may be said, — 

'* How commentatort each dark passage shun, 
And hold their farthing candle to the sun ! " 

the student will be thankful that so much learning 
and piety have been in all ages brought to the 
elucidation of those writings that we are com- 
manded to search because they are able to make us 
wise unto salvation. 


^ixmm €n0U5]^ ^icHnsIattons xrf % lilrle. 





ONG before the appearance of the present 
authorized version of the Holy Scriptures 
many attempts were made at different 
times, and by different hands, to translate the 
Word of God into the language of the English 
people. Thoughtful men had, in very early times, 
conceived the notion that it would be a good thing, 
both for the sake of truth and righteousness, if 
those who were able to read had the thoughts of 
God before them in their own tongue. It seemed 
unreasonable that a revelation made in a dark age 
to an ignorant people in the vernacular dialect 
should, through ages more enlightened, remain 
concealed in the sepulchre of a dead language 
from those who most needed it Surely if the 
Hebrews might be entrusted with God's Word in 
Hebrew, to the English might be as safely com- 
mitted the same Word in plain Saxon. As 
reasonably might Evangelists and Apostles have 

62 Bible Lore. 

HTittcn their Gospels and Epistles in the Cbinot 
language to men speaking Greek, as that men 
speaking English should have God's truth only ia 
the languages of Palestine and Asia Minor and 
Italy; — ^languages ^-ith which even the learned 
were not too familiar. It seemed fit that if the 
Oreat Father of all had anything to say to His 
children it should be said, as it was at first, in 
words that His children could understand. To 
retain the Scriptures in their original tongues was 
like locking the bread of life in a strong casket, 
out of the reach of starving people. Very naturally 
also, in coiurse of time, the people might think 
that there were certain good reasons why the Word 
should be kept from them. They might think that, 
either what professed to be a revelation firom Heaven 
would not bear the test of an examination con- 
ducted on the principles of plain common sense, or 
that tlie assumptions of their spiritual guides, and 
tlie doctrines taught by them, would not bear com- 
I)arison with the plain statements of Holy Scrip- 
ture. Elaborate concealments provoke suspicion. 
Such susi)icion would increase as men became more 
enliglUcncd and inquiring. If the priests were 
true men, teaching truth, neither they nor their 
utterances could sufifer from other men having 

Famous English Translations of the Bible, 63 

the opportunity of searching " the Scriptures daily, 
whether these things were so or no." If Apostles 
could endure this test, why not their so-called 
successors also? So many wise and good men 
thought in the olden time, and thinking thus, they 
resolved that the Word of God should be exhumed 
from the sepulchre of dead languages, and like 
the Living Word Himself, whom the common peo- 
ple heard so gladly, should go about doing good. 

Of the earliest of these attempts, few, and those 
but fragmentary, accounts have come down to us. 
The first, of which we know anything certainly, 
dates back upwards of a thousand years. Although 
it is a mistake to suppose that the venerable Bede 
(who died a.d. 735) made a complete translation of 
the Bible into Saxon, it is certain that he translated 
portions of the Scriptures. No event of his Hfe is 
better authenticated than that he was engaged upon 
the translation of the Gospel of St. John at the 
time of his death ; notwithstanding, all the early 
writers are not agreed as to ±e extent to which 
he had proceeded with that work. The most com- 
mon story is, that in his last hour he was engaged 
in dictating to one of his amanuenses the last verse 
of the twentieth chapter. " It is finished, master," 
said the scribe. " It is finished," replied the dying 

64 BitkUr^ 

nint; **lift up my head, let me sit in mf cdl,k 
the place where I have ao often pnjed ; and m, 
glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to die Holf 
Ghost;" and with these woids Us spirit fled. 
About the time that Bede was dms employed at 
Jarrow, in Durham, Bishop Adhefan (a-d. 706) was 
engaged upon a translation of the Psalter into Ae 
Saxon, at Sherborne, in Dorsetshire. AichlMsbop 
Usher tells us that King Egbert (who re^ed fiom 
A.D. 827 — 839) made a Saxon translation of the 
Evangelists ; and that in his day one Mr. Robert 
Bower possessed the MS. But in the Cottonian 
library is a Latin MS. of the four EvangeGsta^ 
written most exquisitely by Egbert himself with t 
Saxon version added by Aldred, a priest Egbert's 
son, Ethelwolf, did the illiuninations, the capital 
letters, the picture of the cross, and the four Evan- 
gelists ; and Bilfred, the anchoret, adorned it with 
gold and silver .plates and precious stones. Alfred 
the Great also (who died a.d. 901) is said, by the 
old Ely chronicle, to have translated the entire 
Bible into Anglo-Saxon ; but it is more likely that 
he finished only the Psalms and some other por- 
tions. ^Ifric, Archbishop of Canterbury, also 
translated several books of the Old Testament into 
the same language in the tenth century. At that 

Fanums English Translations of theBiby. 65 


eaxly day devout persons, and those chiefly of the 
upper classes, or of the priesthood — ^for such only 
had sufficient learning — seem to have employed 
themselves in rendering portions of the Scriptures 
into the language spoken in this country, when 
what we call Saxon was becoming what we now 
call English. It is believed that in this way, and 
by different hands, the whole of the Scriptures had 
been translated prior to the thirteenth century. 

Having glanced at these Anglo-Saxon times, it is 
now of purely English translations that we have to 

I. John de Wiclif, Wiclifl^ or Wickliflfe, as his 
name is variously spelled, "the Morning Star of 
the Reformation," the " Gospel Doctor," and great- 
est of all the "Reformers before the Reformation," 
was bom in the parish of WiclifFe, near Richmond, 
in Yorkshire, in 1324; and having studied at Ox- 
ford, he first emerged into public notice, in 1361, 
as the master of Balliol College, as the hall of 
that name was then called. Being instituted in 
the spring of that year to the rectory of Fylingham, 
in Lincolnshire, he resigned his mastership. It 
was in 1363 that he took his degree, and com- 
menced reading those lectures in Oxford which 
first exhibit his anti-Romish views. Exchanging 


66 BibU Lore. 

in 1368 the rectory of Fylingham for the living of 
Ludgershall, in Bucks, he was, in 1374, promoted 
to a prebend in the diocese of Worcester, and at 
the same time presented to the parish of Lutter- 
worth, of which he continued priest until his death, 
in 1384. His visit to Bruges — ^whither he had gone 
in 1374, as second in a commission to confer with 
the papal legate as to certain abuses on the part 
of the papacy complained of by the English parlia- 
ment — seems to have had the effect of confirming 
his previous suspicions. Hence he is said to have 
soon afterwards styled the pope " Antichrist," " the 
proud worldly priest of Rome, the most cursed of 
clippers and purse-kervers " (cut-purses). In con- 
sequence of this plain speaking the papal authority 
was invoked against him, and Gregory VI. com- 
manded, by several bulls addressed to sundry 
bishops and the University of Oxford, an inquiry 
into his doctrines. WiclifFe escaped the evident 
purpose of this inquest, and became henceforth a 
more thorough reformer. Now commenced his 
great work — "the great event of the fourteenth 
century " — of translating and circulating the Scrip- 
tures among the common people. In this work he 
was aided by a great following of poor preachers, 
who travelled from village to village, carrying copies 

Famous English Translations of the Bible, 67 

of portions of them. The age was hardly ripe for 
this undertaking, but so strong an impression did 
he make that the Lollards, as his disciples were 
called (though the term properly designated the 
members of a semi-monastic society formed in 
Antwerp about 1300), were to be found among all 
classes, in the cottage, the church, the castle, and 
the palace. So rapidly did his doctrine spread 
after his death, that a writer of that day has angrily 
recorded, that " a man could not meet two people 
on the road but one of them was a disciple of 
John Wicliffe." It will be remembered that this 
translation, which was derived from the Latin, was 
made before the invention of printing ; indeed, to 
this day the New Testament is the only portion of 
it that has yet been committed to the press. Slowly 
produced by the pen of the copyist, the Bible was 
at this time a very costly booL In 1274 the cost 
of a complete copy was ;^3o, while the pay of a 
labouring man was ijd. a day. The difficulty of 
proouing a copy may be gathered from the circum- 
stance that, in 1240, it cost only ;^ 2 5 to build two 
arches of London Bridge. It can be no wonder 
that ignorance and superstition so universally pre- 
vailed, and that these early translators and reform- 
ers had to encounter so many difficulties. 

68 Bible Lore. 

2. The next translation in antiquity to Widiffe's 
is that of William Tyndale, who also led the van in 
printing any part of the Bible in English.* It was 
while the doctrines of Wicliffe were yet remembered 
and circulated by the children of that generation 
that had heard the " Gospel Doctor" preach, and 
while the first printers were perfecting their ait, 
and while by these means — at home and abroad 
— the way was being prepared by Providence, that 
William Tyndale was bom in the year 1483, in 
Gloucestershire, and probably at North Nibley, in 
the hundred of Berkeley. From his earliest years 
he was brought up at Oxford as a scholar, where, 
as old Master Fox says of him, '* By long continu- 
ance he grew up and increased, as well in the 
knowledge of tongues and other liberal arts as 
especially in the Scriptures, insomuch that he read 
privily to certain students and fellows in Magdalene 

• The first Bible, or book of any kind, ever printed from 
movable metal types was a Latin Bible, the "Mazarin 
Bible" in two volumes folio, containing 1282 pages, printed 
at Mentz by John Guttenburgh, between the years 1450 
and 1455. Only eighteen copies are known to exist, viz., 
four on vellum and fourteen on paper. Two on vellum and 
ten on paper have found their way to this country. At the 
sale of the Duke of Sussex's library one of the paper copies 
brought £190, and in 1827 one of the vellum copies sold 
for ;^504. 

Famous English Translations of the Bible. 69 

College some parcel of divinity, instructing them in 
the knowledge and truth of the Scriptures." About 
15 19 he removed from Cambridge (whither, "spy- 
ing his time," he had gone from Oxford), to the 
residence of Sir John Walsh, the manor-house of 
Little Sudbury. It was here that, during one of his 
frequent discussions with the friars, one of the 
priests observed, " Well, we had better be without 
God*s law than the pope's." This fired the spirit 
of Tyndale, who answered with righteous indig- 
nation, " I defy the pope and all his laws, and if 
God give me life, ere many years the ploughboys 
of England shall know more of the Scriptures than 
you do." A very memorable time was that There 
were giants on the earth in those days. Taking 
the year 1520 as our stand-point, how many great 
men appear at different parts of the horizon. There 
is Lefevrey now at sixt}'-five, advancing the reform- 
ing work in France ; there is Erasmus, the scholar 
of Rotterdam, at the age of fifty-three, still at work 
with untired zeal, having four years before completed 
his edition of the Greek Testament, a copy of which, 
two years ago, Tyndale has seen at Oxford ; there 
is Luther, at the age of thirty-seven, exclaiming at 
the Diet of Worms, " I cannot retract, so help me 
God!" there is that wonderful scholar J[/J?/<3://^^^;z, 

/O Bible Lore. 

standing, at the age of twenty-three, by the side 
of Luther ; there is ^ing/ius, at the age of thirty- 
six, doing good service amid the valleys of Switzer- 
land ; and there are the two Johns, yoAn Calm 
and yo/:n Knox^ both mere lads as yet, — the one 
eleven, the other fifteen years of age — and both 
(in the buoyancy of their youth) happily uncoDr 
scions of the stem part they will take in the 
world's politics a few years hence; and by our 
side is the brave Englishman, William Tyndale, of 
the same age as Luther, putting on his harness, and 
wrestling with portly abbots and sturdy dogmatic 
priests by his friend's fireside down in Gloucester- 
shire. Having spoken his mind thus freely, he 
soon found that he must leave the Stichcomb 
manor-house, yet resolved to carry out his design 
of placing the word of God within the reach of 
English ploughboys. At first he hoped to find a 
patron in Tonstal, Bishop of London, but was 
disappointed, and at length he " understood," as he 
said, "not only that there was no room in my 
lord of London's palace to translate the New Testa- 
ment, but also that there was no place to do it in 
all England, as experience doth now openly declare." 
Tyndale therefore repaired to Hamburgh, where — 
and afterwards at various other places — he trans- 

Famous English Translations of the Bible. Ji 

lated and printed by the year 1525 two editions — 
one in quarto, the other in octavo — of the New 
Testament He commenced with the quarto, and 
had advanced with the printing to the tenth sheet, 
when his doings were discovered, and a full de- 
scription of it was sent to England. Tyndale, hear- 
ing of this, commenced, and in an incredibly short 
time completed, the octavo edition, many copies of 
which found their way to England. When this 
ruse was at length detected by those who, at first, 
were searching for the quarto copies, Tonstal, to 
suppress the book, bought up the whole impression, 
and had it burnt at St Paul's Cross. The proceeds 
of the sale (the books were sold at three shillings 
and fourpence a copy, — a large sum in those days) 
enabled Tyndale to prepare new editions in various 
sizes up to the year 1536, when, having advanced 
in the Old Testament as far as the Pentateuch, he 
suffered death (by strangulation, his body being 
afterwards burned) for Christ's sake at Villefort, 
near Brussels. His last words, uttered with a loud 
voice, were, "Lord, open the eyes of the king 
of England." " Surely if ever the lines of England's 
choicest Christian poet were strictly applicable to 
any single man, every word by way of eminence 
belongs to William Tyndale. 

^^ Bible Lon. 

"*. • . Hit blood WM ihed 
In confirmation of the noUeit claim. 
Out claim to feed upon immortal truth. 
To walk with God, to be divinely free. 
To soar, and to anticipate the skies. 
Yet few remember him : he lived unknown 
Till persecution dragged him into fame, 
And chased him up to heaven. His ashes flew^ 
No marble tells us whither. With his name 
No bard embalms, and sanctifies his song; 
And history (so warm on meaner things) 
Is cold on this.* " 

Thus perished, at the age of fifty-three, that 
famous Englishman, William Tyndale, the translator 
of the first printed edition of the English Bible — a 
' book which, beyond all things else, did most to 
overthrow the power of the pope in this country, 
and lay the foundation of the Protestant constitu- 
tion of these realms. 

3. Henry VIII. having, for various reasons, 
domestic and political, favoured the Protestant 
cause in England, and some of the clergy having 
remonstrated against Tyndale's translation, the 
king ordered that a new version should be made, 
and entrusted the execution of it to Miles Coverdale^ 
afterwards bishop of Exeter. Coverdale, being 
ignorant of the original tongues, translated from 

Famous English Translations of the Bible, 73 

the Latin and German, five of which versions he 
is said to have used. His translation was printed 
at Zurich, about 1535, and dedicated to Henry 
VIII., by whom it was favomrably received The 
dedication is " Unto the Moost Victorious Piynce, 
and om* Moost Gracyous Soveraygne Lorde, K)aige 
Henry the Eighth, Kynge of England and of 
France, Lorde of Ireland, etc., Defendour of the 
fajrth, and under God the Chefe and Supreme 
Heade of the Chm-ch of Englande, etc.," (sub- 
scribed) " Your Grace's humble Subjecte and daylie 
Oratoiu', Miles Coverdale." The year following its 
publication, Thomas Cromwell, the king's vicar- 
general and vicegerent in ecclesiastical matters, 
enjoined that a copy of this translation should be 
laid in the choir of every parish church in England, 
for every one to read at his pleasiure. It is hardly 
needful to remind om: readers that Coverdale's was 
the first English Bible of which the whole was 

4. As Coverdale's Bible was issued a year before 
the mart3n:dom of T)aidale, so, a year after that 
event, namely, in 1537, another edition appeared, 
under the fictitious name of Thomas Maihew; 
hence this is commonly called ^^Matheiv's Bible,^^ 
Its real editor was one yohn Rogers, a student of 

74 BHU 

Cardinal CoIlq;e, who wis engigied bj Ae kinifi 
printers (Grafton and Whitdnnch) to improve 
Coverdale's version. It was but a mere fiiflon of 
T>iidale*s and Coverdale's vcxskmsi and ^ms 
what we should now caU a 'bookseller's specohr 
tion/ by which it is evident diere was a growiqg 
demand for English Bibles for public readio^ 
Cranmer thought it a better version than its pre- 
decessors, and used his influence to back the 
importunity of the printers for Letters Patent mak- 
ing it the only authorized versioiL Only 1,500 
copies were printed, and die price was fixed at a 
sum equivalent to about £1 of our money/' 

5. In the year 1539, one Richard Tavemer^ also 
a student of Cardinal College, revised the last 
edition for the printers. From the name of the 
editor, this issue is usually termed **7avenur's 
liibUy In the editor's preface there first appears 
the suggestion that a complete revision could only 
l)e eflectcd by the combination of several learned 

6. When Mathew^s Bible appeared, 2,500 copies 
htui been printed at Paris, by permission of Francis 
'•» for the use of English Christians. These, by 
^* ' 1«T of the Inquisition, were burned. It happened, 

Famous English Translations of the Bible. 75 

however, that a part of the impression was saved, 
and, with the type and the printers, was conveyed 
to England. This portion of the issue of Mathew^s 
Bibleyfds then pubHshed, in 1539, under the patron- 
age of Cranmer. From its size it bears the name 
of the Great Bible; and, from the archbishop hav- 
ing prefixed a prologue to it, it is sometimes termed 
" Cranmer' s Bible'* The tidepage of this, the first 
authorized EngKsh Bible, is embellished by a wood 
engraving of remarkable beauty, generally supposed 
to be taken fi-om a design by Hans Holbein, the 
principal division of which represents the king 
delivering copies of the book to Cranmer and 
CromwelL Along with the injunction that this 
Bible should be placed in the churches,* is the 
following "item": "You shall discourage no man 
privily or openly from reading or hearing the said 
Bible, but shall expressly provoke, stir, and exhort 
every person to read the same, as that which is the 
very lively word of God, that every Christian man 
is bound to embrace, believe, and follow, if he look 
to be saved; admonishing them, nevertheless, to 
avoid all contentious altercation therein, and to use 

* An engraving representing a copy of this Bible chained 
to a reading desk will be found in the Pictorial History of 
England, vol. ii. 714, and a splendid copy of the book itself 
is preserved in the British Museum. 

76 BibU Lore. 

an honest sobriety in the inquisition of the true 
sense of the same, and refer the explication of the 
obscure places to men of higher judgment in 

7. When the Marian persecution drove many of 
the prominent Protestants from England, some of 
them found refuge in Geneva. Here the chief of 
these refugees — ^including Coverdale, Gilly, Whit- 
tingham, Woodman, Sampson, Knox, and Cole — 
issued a new edition of the Bible, which was partly 
a new translation and partly a revision of former 
versions. Of this book — called, from the town 
of its nativity, the " Genevan ^^Zf"— eighty-four 
editions were issued from 1560 to 161 1, when 
King James's version was published; and even 
after that period it continued to be printed and 
circulated so late as 1644. This is the first in the 
English language distinguished by numerals and 
verses. Sometimes the " Genevan Bible ** is called 
the " Breeches Bible," from the ciuious rendering 
of Gen. iii 7 : "They sewed figge-tree leaves 
together, and made themselves breeches." 

8. When Elizabeth ascended the throne, a new 
edition of the Bible was needed for the parish 
churches, whence it had been excluded in the reign 
of Mary. Archbishop Parker, having received the 

Famous English Translations of the Bible. J J 

royal command to superintend this work, allotted 
distinct portions of the Great Bible to various men 
of learning, for the purpose of revision and correc- 
tion. Since eight of these divines were bishops, 
this edition, which was published in 1568, was 
called the Bishops Bible, While the Genevan 
Bible continued to be read in private houses, and 
was an especial favourite with the Puritans of that 
age, the Bishops Bible was used in the public 
services of the church ; and in another fifty years 
served as the basis of the present Authorized Ver- 
sion^ the histoiy of which we shall relate in our next 



%}li ^tA\omtli ^mm of % iUrU. 




F the various translations of the Bible into 
English, described in the last chapter, tlie 
Bishops^ Bible continued to be used in 
the services of the church, while the Geneva Bible 
— ^an especial favourite with the Puritan party — 
kept its place in the homes of the people. Copies 
also of previous translations were scattered up and 
down the country, but were fast becoming scarce. 
This to 1611, when the present, or Authorized 
Version (commonly ^written A,Vi) made its appear- 
ance under the authority and sanction of the king, 
James the First of England and Sixth of Scotland. 
To relate the story of this translation is our present 

When, in 1603, that "bright occidental star," 
Queen Elizabeth, faded from human view, the eyes 
of the nation were anxiously turned towards her 
" cousin of Scotland." The Puritans hailed the 
new monarch with the liveliest satisfaction. He 


82 Bib^e Lore. 

had been educated a Presbyterian ; he had sub- 
scribed to the solemn league and covenant; he 
had subsequently restated his attachment to its 
principles. In the general assembly at Edinburgh, 
in 1590, ''when standing with his boimet ofi^ and 
his hands lifted up to heaven, 'he praised God that 
he was bom in the time of the light of the gospel, 
and in such a place as to be king of such a church, 
the sincerest [purest] kirk in the world. The 
Church of Geneva,' said he, 'keep Pasche and 
Yule ; what have they for them ? They have no 
institution. As for our neighbour kirk of England, 
their service is an evil-said mass in English ; they 
want nothing of the mass but the liftings. I 
charge you, my good ministers, doctors, elders, 
nobles, gentlemen, and barons, to stand to your 
]:)urity, and to exhort the people to do the same ; 
and I, forsooth, as long as I brook my life, shall 
maintain the same.* " While the Puritans rejoiced 
at the advent of such a king, the Bishops, on the 
other hand, " dreaded the reckoning which was to 
come." "For, indeed," says Strype, "he [AVhit- 
gift] and some of the bishops, particularly the 
Bishop of London [Bancroft], feared much that 
when this king came to reign in this realm, he 
would favour the new discipline, and make altera- 

The Authorized Version of the Bible. 83 

tions in the ecclesiastical government and liturgy." 
Scarcely had James crossed the border on his royal 
progress to London, before he showed what manner 
of spirit he was of. It is said that, in conversing 
with some of his English counsellors about his 
prerogative, he exclaimed joyously, "Do I make 
the judges? Do I make the bishops? Then, 
God's wounds ! I make what likes me, law and 
gospel." " Though he had hardly ever had the due 
and proper authority of a king in his own country, 
he had long indulged in a speculative absolutism, 
and, as far as his cowardice and indolence allowed 
him, he came fully prepared to rule the people of 
England as a despot" Ready at length to take a 
definite position, he issued (October 24th, 1603) a 
proclamation, summoning a meeting of leading 
Churchmen and Puritans, for the discussion of 
ecclesiastical matters. At this conference at 
Hampton Courts sixteen dignitaries of the Church 
— of whom nine were bishops — ^represented the 
prelatical party, and only four Puritan ministers — 
and those selected by the king — ^were allowed to 
appear on the other side. Even these four were 
not admitted at the first meeting of the conference 
(held January 14th, 1604) ; but, while the bishops 
entered the privy chamber, they — Dr. Rainolds, Dr. 

84 Bible Lore. 

Sparkes, Mr. Knewstubbs, and Mr. Chaderton, — 
were left sitting on a form outside ; when " the 
door was dose shut by my Lord ChamberlaiD." 
Yet to one of these insulted men it was that we 
are principally indebted for our present version 6L 
the sacred Scriptures, which, more truly than the 
iMitings of "Dan Chaucer," maybe called "the 
well of English undefiled." On the other side of 
that closed door the king opened the conference 
with an oration of an hour's length, whose opening 
sentence was the key-note of the whole : " Religion 
is the soul of a kingdom, and imity the life of 
religion." On the second day of the conference 
they were called in, not so much for the free state- 
ment of their opinions, as to be subjected to five 
hours' brow-beating from the monarch and his 
friends, in illustration, it is assumed, of that religion 
and unity of which the "English Solomon" had 
spoken. When, for example, Dr. Rainolds (at 
that time a distinguished professor in the Univer- 
sity of Oxford) objected to the apocr}T)hal books, 
and quoted Ecclesiasticus xlviii. lo, his Majesty said, 
" with a pleasant apostrophe to the lords : \Vhat, 
trow ye, makes these men so angry with Ecclesias- 
ticus ? By my soul, I think he was a bishop ; or they 
would never use him so." And when the same 

The Authorized Version of the Bible, 85 

learned divine proposed that the inferior country 
clergy should be allowed to meet together at fixed 
times for the discussion of theological subjects, 
James broke forth: "If you aim at a Scottish 
Presbytery, it agreeth as well with monarchy as 
God and the devil. Then Jack and Will and 
Dick shall meet and censure me and my council. 
Therefore, I say again, Le roi s*avisera. Stay, I 
pray you, one seven years ; and then, if you find 
me grow pursy and fat, I may perhaps hearken 
imto you ; for that government will keep me in 
breath, and give riie work enough." This second 
session of the conference closed by the king saying, 
of the Puritan quartemion, as he left the chamber, 
** If this be all they have to say, I shall make them 
conform themselves, or I will harry them out of 
the land, or else do worse." The worse was sug- 
gested during the third and last session (January 
1 8th), when the king defended the proceedings of 
the Spanish Inquisition. Upon this, Whitgift ex- 
claimed, in a rapture of admiration, "Undoubtedly 
your Majesty speaks by the special assistance of 
God's Spirit ! " and Bancroft, falling upon his 
knees, said, " I protest, my heart melteth with 
joy, that Almighty God, of His singular mercy, 
hath given us such a king as, since Christ's time, 
the like hath not been 1 " 

86 Bible Lore. 

It was at the second session of this memorable 
conference that Dr. Reynolds proposed a new 
transiaiion of the Scriptures, " To which motion,'* 
says Barlow (Sum and Substance of the Conference^ 
p. 45), "there was at present no gainsaying, the 
objections being trivial and old, and already in 
print, often answered ; only my Lord of London 
well added that, if every man's humour should be 
followed, there would be no end of translating. 
Wliereupon his Highness wished that some special 
pains should be taken in that behalf, for one uni- 
form translation (professing that he had never yet 
seen a good translation into English, but the worst 
of all he thought the Genevan to be), and this 
is to be done by the best learned men of both 
Universities ; after them to be reviewed by the 
Bishops and the chief learned men of the Church ; 
from them to be presented to the Privy Council ; 
and lastly to be ratified by his royal authority; 
and so this whole Church to be bound unto it, and 
no other." "And hence it was," says Conant, 
" that though this measure was suggested by the 
obnoxious party he was resolved to crush, and was 
evidently relied on by the Nonconformist leaders 
for the promotion of the New Discipline, it was 
quietly appropriated by James, and used for his own 

The Authorized Version of the Bible, 87 

Bancroft, having been appointed the general 
overseer and final reviser of the work, pushed it 
forward with great alacrity. By the end of July 
fifty-four translators had been selected from the 
most eminent scholars in the country, and ar- 
ranged into six committees, of which two were to 
sit at Westminster, two at Oxford, and two at 
Cambridge. It may be not uninteresting to the 
reader to be informed who those were who com- 
posed these several companies, and the mode in 
which they performed the task allotted to them. 

I. The^frx/, ten in number, sat at Westminster, 
under the presidency of Dr, Launcelot Andrews 
(Dean of Westminster, and afterwards Bishop of 
Winchester), who was also president of the whole 
body of translators. Bishop Andrews was familiar 
with fifteen different languages, exclusive, it is said, 
of Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, Greek, and Latin. 
Dr, yohn Overall (Dean of St Paul's, afterwards 
Bishop of Norwich); Dr Adrian d Savaria 
(Canon of Westminster) ; Dr, Richard Clarke (one 
of the six preachers) ; Dr, yohn Layfield (after- 
wards Rector of St Clement* s Danes); Dr Robert 
Ttghe (Archdeacon of Middlesex) ; Dr, Francis 
Burleigh (Vicar of Bishop Stortford) ; I>r, Geoffry 
or Wilfrid King (Regius Professor of Hebrew in 

[^8 Bible Lore. 

Caiiibridge); Richard Thompson^ M.A, ; and Wil- 
Ham KeJwel/y the best Arabic scholar of his time, 
of whom Lightfoot says, "The industrious and 
lliricc-learaed, to whom I will rather be a scholar 
than take on me to teach others." To this com- 
pany was allotted Genesis to the end of the Second 
Book of Kings. 

2. The second y which sat at Cambridge, under 
the direction of Edward Livlie (Regius Professor 
of Hebrew, Cambridge), included Dr, yoAn Rich- 
ardson (Master of Trinity) ; Dr. Laur^ce Chader- 
ton (First Master of Emmanuel College — " If you 
will not be master," said Sir Walter Mildmay, " I 
will not be founder") ; Francis Dillingham (an 
eminent Grecian) ; TJiomcLs Harrison (Vice-Chan- 
cellor of Trinity) ; Dr, Roger Andrews (brother of 
l^uncelot, and afterwards Prebendary of Chiches- 
ter) ; Dr, Robert Spalding (afterwards successor 
of Livlie as Regius Professor of Hebrew) ; Dr. 
Andrciv King (afterwards successor of Spalding as 
Kegius Professor of Hebrew). To this company 
was apportioned i Chronicles to Ecclesiastes, 

3. The third sat at Oxford, under the presidency 
of Dr. yohn Harding (then Regius Professor of 
Hebrew at Oxford). Under him were -Dr. yohn 

The Authorized Version of the Bible, 89 

Rainolds (President of Corpus Christi, the man 
who moved the king for this new translation. 
" The memory and reading of that man," said 
Bishop Hall, "were near to a miracle; and all 
Europe at the time could not have produced three 
men superior to Rainolds, Jewell, and Ussher, all 
of this same college.'' He died while the work 
was in progress. Even during his sickness his 
coadjutors met at his lodgings once a week, to 
compare and perfect their notes). Dr. Thomas 
Holland (Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford) ; 
Dr. Richard Kilby (afterwards Professor of He- 
brew); Dr. Miles Smith (afterwards Bishop of 
Gloucester); Dr. Richard Brett (a most eminent 
linguist, Rector of Quainton) ; and Richard Fair- 
dough (Rector of Bucknell). The work of this 
company was the translation of the remaining 
books of the Old Testament 

4. The fourth committee also sat at Oxford, 
under the direction of Dr. Thomas Ravis (after- 
wards Bishop of London), and comprised Dr. 
George Abbott (afterwards Archbishop of Canter- 
bury); Dr. yohn Aglionby (Principal of St Ed- 
mund's Hall); Dr. Giles Tomson (afterwards Bishop 
of Gloucester) ; Sir Henry Savile (Greek Tutor to 
Elizabeth, Provost of Eton, and Editor of St 

90 Bible Lore. 

Chr>'sostom's Works in Greek) ; Dr yohn Peryn 
(Professor of Greek); Dr, Leonard /fatten (Vicar 
of Flower) ; and Dr, yohn Harmer (Warden of 
Winchester College). Matthew to the Acts, inclu- 
sive, and the Revelation, were allotted to this 

5. "YYit fifth committee sat at Westminster, under 
the management of Dr, William Barlow (Bishop 
of Rochester), and included Dr, jRalph Hutchenson 
(President of St John's, Oxford); Dr. yohn 
Spencer (who succeeded Rainolds as President of 
Corpus Christi) ; Dr, Roger Fenton (Prebendary of 
St. Paul's) ; Michael Rabbett, B,D, (Rector of St 
Vedast, London); Dr, Tlwmas Sanderson (Arch- 
deacon of Rochester) ; and William Dakins, B,D, 
(Greek Lecturer, Cambridge). This company un- 
dertook Romans to Jude, inclusive. 

6. The sixth committee, under the presidency of 
Dr. Duport^ sat at Westminster, and included seven 
translators, to whom were assigned the books of 
the Apocrypha. 

These committees having been appointed, cer- 
tain instructions, of which the following is a sum- 
mary, were sent to each of them, by authority of 
^^e king : — (i) The Bishops' Bible to be followed, 
^^d as little altered as possible. (2) The proper 

TJu Authorized Version of the Bible. 91 

names to be retained as they are commonly used. 
(3) The old ecclesiastical words to be kept ; as the 
word churchy not to be translated congregation, (4) 
That meaning of a word to be kept which has 
been commonly used by the ancient Fathers. (5) 
The division of chapters to be altered as litde as 
possible. (6) No marginal notes to be affixed, save 
as explanations of the Hebrew or Greek words. 
(7) References to other texts of Scripture to be 
inserted in the margin. (8) Each man of each 
company to take the same portion, and then the 
rest of the company to revise what was thus done. 
(9) On a book being done by ore company, it was 
to be sent to the rest in succession for further 
revision. (10) The committees to meet together 
for the settlement of any renderings on which there 
may not be perfect agreement (11) The judg- 
ment of all learned men to be solicited on doubt- 
ful or obscure places. (12) The bishops and the 
clergy to be requested to forward to the committees 
any notes they may have made on particular pas- 
sages. (13) This rule related to the appointment 
of the presidents of the committees. (14) Tyn- 
dale's, Matthew's, Coverdale's, Cranmer's, and the 
Genevan translation to be used when they agree 
better with the text than the Bishops' Bible. 

92 Bible Lore. 

Such were the committees, and such were their 
instructions. The learned Selden (Table Talk\ 
obsen-es : " The English translation of the Bible is 
the best translation in the world. . . . The 
translation of King James's time took an excellent 
way. That part of the Bible was given to him who 
was most excellent in such a tongue, as the Apo- 
crypha to Andrew Downs; and then they met 
together, and one read the translation, the rest 
holding in their hands some Bible, either of the 
learned tongues, or French, Spanish, Italian, etc 
If they found any fault, they spoke ; if not, he 
read on." So great a work took much time ; and 
yet less than, from its important nature, and the 
care with which it was executed, might have been 
expected. "It is not fully ascertained when these 
men sat down to their work. The different parties 
might not all commence at the same moment, but, 
on the whole, it may be presumed, that, with the 
Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of 
the New before them all along, the first revision of 
the sacred text by the forty-seven occupied about 
four years; the second examination by twelve, or 
two selected out of each company, nine mont/is 
more ; and the sheets passing through the press, 
other two years, when tlie Bible of 1611 was finished 

TJie Authorized Version of tJie Bible. 93 

and first issued " (Anderson), Its passage through 
the press was superintended by Dr. Miles Smith 
and Thomas Bilson, Bishop of Winchester, of 
whom the former, afterwards Bishop of Gloucester, 
wrote the preface. 

"And now, after long expectation, and great 
desire," says Mr. Fuller, "came forth the new 
translation of the Bible, most beautifully printed, l^ 
a select and competent number of divines appointed 
for that purpose ; not being too many, lest one 
should trouble another; and yet many, lest many 
tilings might haply escape them ; who, neither 
coveting praise for expedition, nor fearing reproach 
for slackness (seeing in a business of moment none 
deserve blame for convenient slowness), had ex- 
pended almost three [? four] years on the work, not 
only examining the channels by the fountain^ trans- 
lations with the original^ which was absolutely 
necessary, but also comparing channels with chan- 
nels^ which was abundantly useful in the Spanish, 
Italian, French, and Dutch (German) languages. 
These, with J^acob, rolled away tJie stone from the 
mouth of the well of life; so that now even Racheis 
weak women may freely come both to drink them- 
selves and water the flocks of their families at the 
same." The great pains bestowed upon this work 

94 Bible Lore. 

by the translators may be suggested by an incident 
recorded by Isaac Walton, in his life of Dr. Sander- 
son. It will be seen, on referring to the foregoing 
list of the translators, that Dr. Sanderson was a 
member of one of tlie Westminster conmiittees. 
At that time a very young man (he was bom 1587), 
it is probable that, although he possessed " a meta- 
physical brain and a matchless memory," he was 
less consulted on some points than men of riper 
scholarship. Some time after, Sanderson, preach- 
ing in some church in Derbyshire, took occasion to 
censure one part of the translation, and showed 
three reasons why a particular word should have 
been otherwise translated. It happened that Dr. 
Kilbie, another of the translators, but upon another 
committee, was present, and " honest Isaac " says, 
"When evening prayer was ended, the preacher 
was invited to the Doctor's friend's house, where, 
after some slight conference, the Doctor told him 
he might have preached more useful doctrine, and 
not have filled his auditors' ears \\^th needless 
exceptions against the late translation ; and that for 
that word for which he offered to that poor con- 
gregation three reasons why it ought to have been 
translated as he said, he and others had considered 
all them, and found thirteen more considerable reasons 

The Autliorized Version of tJie Bible, 95 

why it was translated as now printed." From this 
incident it may be surmised how greatly each doubt- 
ful point was debated, and what pains the translators 
were at to render exacdy the words of the original 
toxt After all this care, the evidence in favour 
of one rendering seemed many times as strong as 
in favour of the one retained ; and in such cases, 
words in italics were inserted in the margin ; in other 
instances, where no English equivalent could be 
hit upon, words to complete the sense, also in 
italics, were inserted in the text Rather than too 
greatly disturb the division of chapters and verses, 
which would have had the effect of throwing all 
quotations from the Scriptures in other writings into 
confusion, the paragraph mark (/>. IT) was used at 
certain points to denote that at that place a new 
subject was commenced. 

The work of translating and issuing this new 
version was not completed without great cost. Yet, 
on examining the history, we find that it was " not 
an afifair of government, not a royal undertaking 
at his Majesty's expense, according to the popular 
and very erroneous historical fiction, but simply a 
transaction in the course of business. If we inquire 
for any single royal grant, or look for any act of 
personal generosity, we search in vain." Mr- 

g6 Bible Lore, 

William Ball, in the year 165 1, defending the 
patented monopoly enjoyed by the Barkers for 
more than seventy years, says: "I conceive the 
sole printing of the Bible and Testament, with 
power of restraint in others, to be of right the pro- 
perty of one Matthew Barker, citizen and stationer 
of London, in regard that his father paid for the 
amended or corrected translation of the Bible 
;^3,5oo; by reason whereof the translated copy 
did belong to him and his assigns." Indeed, from 
1577 to 1709, that is, for 132 years, "not a single 
copy of the sacred volume had issued from the 
press in which this one family — father, sons, and 
grandsons — had not a personal pecuniary interest" 
The sum of ;£^3,5oo, named above, more than 
covered all the charges of the work of translating. 
Jt does not appear that the translators received 
anything while they were working in detached 
committees ; and that only very moderate expenses 
were incurred when representatives from each com- 
mittee took up their residence in London during 
the final revision. 

More than two centuries and a half have passed 
away since the present authorized version made 
its first appearance. During that time many words 
in our language (some of them to be hereafter ex- 

The AutJiorized Version of tJte Bible. 97 

plained) have either become obsolete or have 
changed their meaning. The patient studies of 
philologists, the persevering investigations of travel- 
lers and historians, the discovery of ancient manu- 
scripts — as, for example, the Codex Vaticanus^ in 
our own times, and the light that a more perfect 
knowledge and advanced science have thrown upon 
many things that were formerly obscure; have 
suggested to many minds that the time has come 
when an altogether new translation, or, at any rate, 
a corrected version of the one now in use, might 
advantageously be made. Against such an under- 
taking, many powerful reasons may be adduced. 
But whether or not this great work be undertaken 
by duly authorized and competent hands, of this 
we may be assured, that the most advanced scholar- 
ship of the present day — though it might here and 
there substitute more appropriate words and phrases 
for others that have, with the lapse of time, become 
obscure or obsolete — would not alter in any ma- 
terial degree the substantial teaching of that book 
which, to quote the words of John Locke, " has 
God for its author ; salvation for its end ; and truth, 
without any admixture of error, for its water." To 
the man who values the thoughts of God, "the 
Bible is a precious storehouse, and the Magna 


98 Bible Lore, 

Charta of a Christian. There he reads of his 
heavenly Father's love, and of his dying Saviour's 
legacies. There he sees a map of his travels 
through the wilderness, and a landscape, too, of 
Canaan. And when he climbs on Pisgah's top, and 
views the promised land, his heart begins to bum, 
delighted with the blessed prospect, and amazed 
at the rich and free salvation. But a mere pro- 
fessor, though a decent one, looks on the Bible as a 
dull book, and peruseth it with such indifference 
as you would read the title-deeds belonging to 
another man's estate."* 

* Berridge* 



^istonnl Caries nxA €mms ®biit(ms 

jof ilit iible. 




JN the course of these chapters on matters 
connected with Bible Lore — popularly 
treated — ^we now pass away from subjects 
that to many of our readers may have seemed dry, 
to others that, to a larger number, will probably be 
more interesting, and perhaps not less instructive. 
While the Bible, including the story of the 
MSS. of celebrated commentaries ; of famous ver- 
sions, and translations ancient and modem, has a 
wonderful history of its own; so also have many 
single copies and editions of the Book. Treasured 
up in private collections, stowed away on the 
shelves of public libraries, or exposed to view 
under glass cases in various museums, are copies 
of the Sacred Word, which, for their historical 
associations, vie in interest with any domestic relics 
that have survived the influences of time and 
change. Indeed, within the narrower circle of 

102 Bible Lore. 

private history, how many old copies of God's 
Word there are, prized as heirlooms, that, if they 
could speak, would tell strange tales of fiunily 
vicissitudes ! Old Bibles with valued family registers 
and precious autographs, esteemed chiefly as con- 
taining the thoughts of God ; but also, though in a 
less degree, because in some former generation 
they were centres of such scenes as the Scottish 
poet has described with such inimitable pathos in 
words familiar to us all : — 

** The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face 
They round the ingle form a circle wide ; 
The sire turns o*er, wi* patriarchal grace, 
The big ha'-Bible, ance his father*s pride ; 
His bonnet reverently is laid aside, 
His lyart haffets wearin* thin an' bare ; 
Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide, 
He wales a portion with judicious care ; 
And ' Let us worship God I ' he says, with solemn air." 

Books bought when the bread of life was dear — 
by hoarded savings, painfully accumulated ; bought, 
not for religious ornaments, to be presently displayed 
with ponderous clasps and resplendent binding 
on some conspicuous sideboard — reminding one 
somewhat painfully of the ostentatious phylactery 
of olden Pharisee ; but bought for pious uses, of 
which the fragrant memories seem yet to hover 


Curious Editions of the Bible. 103 

over their well-worn pages. Books in plain but 
substantial bindings, exhibited to curious visitors 
by humble cottagers, and that with no small pride 
on accoimt of the words, "From your friend 
Victoria," inscribed upon the fly-leaf. Books— one, 
at any rate — ^with more attractive exterior, presented 
to a swarthy savage prince by the same noble 
woman in answer to an inquiry concerning " The 
true source of Britain's greatness;" or purchased 
with the pence of many thousand scholars in our 
Sunday-schools, and presented to a royal princess 
as a bridal gift Books — ^these latter ones — that 
need only to be viewed through the haze of a 
greater antiquity, to be regarded as interestingly 
historical as that famous copy of the sacred writings 
which brave Hugh Latimer presented to our eighth 
Henry, with, so it is said, the leaf turned down 
that contained our Lord's exposition of the law of 

Steering away from these little creeks of private 
narrative, with all their picturesque surroundings, 
for the open sea of public history ; it is there, as 
among islands of the ocean, that we find the most 
fitting examples of what we mean by historical 
copies of the word of God. And even here, though 
our skiff wind among an archipelago of noble 

104 Bible Lore, 

instances, we can pause to mention only three or 
four, as illustrations of many, that the Bible student, 
ciuious in such matters, may roister in his book of 

I. What a dainty volume must this have been 
when, in its cover of royal blue velvet, it first came 
from the binder's hands, enriched with ornamental 
devices by the decorator's art I Still clearly dis- 
tinguishable upon it are the badge of the Princi- 
pality within the quarter, siumounted by a royal 
coronet in silver gilt ; the initials C.P., apparently 
improperly altered to an R. ; and the badges of the 
Rose and Thistle. When Mr. Roach Smith wrote 
a description of this volume in his Collectanea 
Antigua, it was in the possession of James Skene, 
Esq. (formerly of Rubislaw, and afterwards of 
Oxford), the last survivor of the six friends to 
whom Sir Walter Scott dedicated the respective 
cantos of Marmion, The interest that attaches to 
this volume is derived from the fact that it is 
believed to have been a dying gift of King Charles 
I. to his son, the Prince of Wales. Sir Thomas 
Herbert, who was in attendance upon the king, 
says (in his Threnodia Carolina — last two years 
of Charles I.), "The king thereupon gave him his 
hand to kiss : having the day before been graciously 

Curious Editions of the Bible. 10$ 

pleased, under his royal hand, to give him a 
certificate that the said Mr. Herbert was not im- 
posed tipon him, but by his Majesty made choice 
of to attend him in his bedchamber, and had 
served him with faithfulness and loyal affection. 
His Majesty also delivered him his Bible, in the 
margin whereof he had, with his own hand, written 
many annotations and quotations, and charged 
him to give it to the prince so soon as he returned." 
The story that it was to "honest, plain-spoken 
Juxon," Bishop of Winchester, that this gift was 
confided on the scaffold, may have been originated 
by the fact that after that prelate had said, " You 
have now but one stage more — ^the stage is turbu- 
lent and troublesome, but it is a very short one — 
it will soon carry you a very great way — ^it will 
carry you firom earth to heaven;" the king gave 
his George to Juxon, with the single word "Re- 
member 1" It was not unnatural that afterwards the 
idea should arise that the Bible went with the 
George^ as indeed it may have done, having been 
probably entrusted to the worthy bishop for that 
purpose by Sir Thomas Herbert himself. Whether 
the son greatly profited by the fathers dying be- 
quest will be doubted by most who are at all con- 
versant with the character of the merry monarch. 

io6 Bible Lore. 

2. A remarkable contrast to the last, both in 
appearance and history, is presented by the field- 
preaching Bible of the apostolic Wesley, whose 
first sermon in the fields is said to have been 
delivered, the rain meanwhile descending in tor- 
rents, as he stood imder a sycamore tree in the 
neighbourhood of Kingswood, from that singularly 
appropriate text, " For as the rain cometh down, 
and the snow from heaven," etc This constant 
companion of the great modem evangelist, a small 
pocket Bible, is now held, along with the "Con- 
ference seal," by the President of the Wesleyan 
Conference for the time being. If not a ** key of 
office," it is a constant reminder of that great 
religious leader who, like his Divine Master, went 
out into the highways and hedges, preaching the 
gospel to the poor, and whom the common people 
heard so gladly; and who, writing to one whose 
style was very fine, said, "When I had been a 
member of the University about ten years, I wrote 
and talked much as you do now ; but when I talked 
to plain people in the castle or the town, I observed 
they gaped and stared. This quickly obliged me 
to alter my style, and adopt the language of those 
I spoke to. And yet there is a dignity in this sim- 
plicity which is not disagreeable to those of the 

Curious Editions of the Bible, 107 

highest ranL" May the mission of Methodism be 
vigorously promoted by a practical remembrance 
of the use of this pocket Bible of its venerated 
founder ! 

3. Carefully preserved beneath a glass case in 
the British Museum, where any visitor may see it, 
is the volume known as the Bible of Charlemagne. 
This great king invited from England the learned 
Alcuin, made him his companion, employed him 
to write in the defence of orthodox Christianity, 
and founded an academy over which Alcuin pre- 
sided. It is certainly creditable to an age essen- 
tially Popish that Alcuin presented his illustrious 
pupil with this magnificent folio copy of the sacred 
Scriptures. " It is bound in velvet, the leaves are 
of vellum, and the writing is in double columns. 
Prefixed is a richly ornamented frontispiece in gold 
and colours. It is enriched with four large paint- 
ings, besides seals, historical allusions, initial 
capitals, and emblematical devices, which well re- 
present, not only the state of the art at that early 
date, but also the undoubted reverence that was 
then paid to the Holy Scriptures." This precious 
manuscript was sold in 1836, by public auction in 
London, for ;^7oo. 

4. About twenty years before this last-named 

io8 Bible Lore, 

Bible was brought to the hammer, i,e, in March, 
1 814, the library of the Rev. S. Palmer, of Hackney, 
was sold. Among the books then disposed of was 
a Bible bound in morocco, and printed by Bill and 
Barker. This book, put up by itself, was presently 
knocked down to Samuel Whitbread, Esq., for the 
sum of ;^2i. So high a price for so impretending 
a volume is accounted for by the fact that, along 
with the "Book of Martyrs," it constituted the 
whole library of John Bunyan during his long im- 
prisonment in Bedford gaoL The glorious old 
dreamer has gone to the land where dreaming is 
unknown, but where the purest visions of earth are 
more than realized. His wish is fulfilled : " Now, 
just as the gates were opened to let in the men, 
I looked in after them, and behold, the city shone 
like the sun ; the streets also were paved with gold, 
and in them walked many men, with crowns on 
their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps, 
to sing praises withal. There were also of them 
that had wings, and they answered one another 
without intermission, saying, Holy, holy, holy is the 
Lord ! And, after that, they shut up the gates ; 
which when I had seen, I wished myself among 
them." He has realized his dream, of which the 
record remains, "as natural as Shakespeare, as 

Cufious Editions of the Bible, 109 

familiar as Robinson Crusoe, and as idiomatic as 
the Authorized Version, the spring and fountain 
of the glorious dreamer's inspiration ; it has been 
read with avidity wherever the English language is 
spoken, and has been translated into more than 
thirty languages besidei, — an honour paid to no 
other book, the Book of God alone excepted." 

5. On some accounts a copy of the Bible now 
to be described is yet more interesting than those 
already referred to. It is with this Bible that the 
name of William Bowyer is associated, and hence 
it is known as the " Bowyer Bible." This William 
Bowyer, having procured a copy of Macklin*s edi- 
tion of the Bible (so called from the Macklins of 
Fleet Street, engravers, though it was printed and 
published by Thomas Bensley, who died in 1835), 
occupied the leisure of nearly thirty years in illus- 
trating it From every part of Europe he obtained 
original drawings, etchings, and engravings relating 
to biblical subjects. This collection also included 
tlie best Scripture atlases; but its most original 
features were two hundred drawings by Lauther- 
bourg. Thus, for all these years, he advanced in 
his work, bringing into requisition every artist, from 
Michael Angelo and Raffaelle to Reynolds and 
Wesl^ whose Scripture subjects had been engraved. 

1 10 Bible Lore. 

His Bible, interleaved with these sevm thousand 
illustrations, including examples from nearly six 
himdred different engravers, expanded to forty-five 
folio volumes, and is said, with its costly binding 
and an oak cabinet to contain it, to have cost him 
four ihous&nd guineas^ and to have been insured 
in the Albion Fire Office for ;£5,ooo. William 
Bowyer at length died, and his Bible having been 
disposed of by lottery, for the benefit of his daugh- 
ter, became the prize of a Somersetshire farmer. 
Since then it has passed into various hands in suc- 
cession, and is now the property of Mr. Robert 
Heywood, of Bolton, by whom it was purchased, 
in 1856, at the sale of the extensive library of Mr. 
Albinson of the same town, for ;^55o. "Pon- 
derous as such a work must be for any private 
library, it would nevertheless be a pity that so 
unique a collection should ever be broken up and 

Very easy would it be to fill an entire volume, 
and that not of the smallest, with pleasant gossip 
about many historical copies of the Bible, of which 
those named may be regarded as examples. But 

another matter has also to be discussed in this one 

Several editions of the Holy Scriptures, or of 


Curious Editions of the Bible, 1 1 1 

books passing under the name of Bibles^ have at 
various times been issued from the press, which the 
young Bible student will pronounce curious in an 
eminent degree. 

I. Thus, between the years 1420 and 1435 ^^is 
executed, in a sort of bkck letter, what "was called 
" The Biblia Pauperum;' or, Poor Man's Bible. It 
is a pictorial abridgment of the Bible, containing 
forty leaves, of a small folio size. These rudely 
executed cuts, intermingled with Latin inscriptions 
by way of explanation, are ten inches in length, 
by seven and a half inches in breadth. Each of 
these full-page engravings contains three subjects, 
taken from the Scriptures, in separate compartments, 
and form half-length figures of prophets and other 
Bible worthies in smaller divisions, two at the 
top and two at the bottom. Some knowledge of 
Divine truth must have been made intelligible to 
the comprehension of the people generally, who, 
although much of error was contained in the rude 
embellishments, and what there was of truth might 
be concealed by the Latin of the inscriptions, would 
yet desire to possess more of a book that professed 
to be Divine and to show the way to eternal life. 
Probably the cuts were intended as a popular trans- 
latiotl of the Latin inscriptions, and not impossibly, 

112 Bible Lore. 

were designed to be a clever evasion of a law of 
Henry V., passed just before "the Biblia Pau- 
perum '* was issued; wherein it is enacted " that 
whatsoever they were that should read the Scriptures 
in the mother-tongue, they should forfeit land, 
catel, lif, 4nd godes fron|:their heyres, for ever ; 
and so be condemned for heretykes to God, ene- 
mies to the crown, and most errant traitors to the 
lande." Indeed, it was not till near a hundred years 
after this, in the time of Henry VIIL, and when 
the Reformation was an accomplished fact, that a 
law Was made, " that all men might read the Scrip- 
tures, except servants ; but no women, except ladies 
and gentlewomen, who had leisure, and might ask 
somebody the meaning." The passing of this law 
shows that Bibles had greatly multiplied at that 
time, that people had access to them, and were not 
unwilling to make use of the opportunity of reading 
God's word : while the repeal of this law in the next 
reign may suggest the growth of public opinion, 
and the increased knowledge of the book itself 

2. In the year 1643 Oliver Cromwell ordered an 
edition of the Bible to be prepared for the use of 
his army. Until very recently bibliographers had 
not been able to decide what edition of the Bible 
was selected for the purpose. At length a Mr. 


Curious Editions of the Bifile. 113 

■III III » ^ I > 

Livermore, of Cambridge, Mass., discovered what 
is known as ^^The Soldier's Bible ;^^ and after a long 
and diligent search in many libraries one other 
copy has been found, and that is in the British 
Museum. " The Soldier's Pocket Bibfe " consisted 
of appropriate seledftons from the Scriptures, 
printed in a pamphlet form, on a single sheet 
folded in i6mo, and making sixteen pages. It was 
generally buttoned between the coat and the vest, 
next the heart The title-page reads as follows : 
" The Souldier*s Pocket Bible : containing the most 
(if not all) those places contained in Holy Scripture, 
which doe shew the qualifications of his inner man, 
that is, a fit souldier to fight the Lord's battels, both 
before he fight, in the fight, and after the fight; 
which scriptures are reduced to several heads, and 
fitly applyed to the souldier's several occasions, and 
so may supply the want of the whole Bible, which 
a souldier cannot conveniently carry about him. 
And may be also usefuU for any Christian to medi- 
tate upon, now in this miserable time of warre. — 
Imprimature, Edm, Calauny, Printed at London^ 
by G. B. and r. w. for a c. 1643.*' The selections 
firom Scripture are divided into eighteen chapters, 
each with an appropriate heading to indicate the 
dail of scripture contained therein. A few examples 


114 Bible Lore, 

of these headings and tides will sufficiently show 
their general character. " i. A souldier must not 
doe wickedly. 2. A souldier must be valiant for 
God*s cause. 3. A souldier must pray before he 
go to fight" Mr. Livermore refers to the remark- 
able fact, " that the success of Cromwell's army 
commenced immediately on the publication of the 
Souldier's Pocket Bible ; and they never after lost 
a battle." 

3. Perhaps the most curious editions of the 
sacred Scriptures that have yet been issued from 
the press are those intended for the use of the blind ; 
the distinguishing featiu*e of each of these being the 
use of raised uncoloured characters of a large and 
peculiar form, and on one side only of the paper. 
These characters in relief upon the paper are like 
the impression of a seal ; while on the under side of 
the paper they seem pressed in on a seal It is 
supposed that now about two thousand blind per- 
sons in this country are, by the help of these curious 
contrivances, " feeling after God, if haply they may 
find Him." 

4. Curious editions of the Bible contain some 
remai'kable instances of interpretations and omis- 
sions. To the former of these belong a French 
Bible, printed at Paris in 1538, by Anthony Bonne- 


Curious Editions of the Bible, 115 

mere, wherein it is related " that the ashes of the 
golden calf which Moses caused to be burnt and 
mixed with the water that was drunk by the Israel- 
ites, stuck to the beards of such as had fallen down 
before it ; by which they appeared with gilt beards, 
as a peculiar mark to distinguish those who had 
worshipped the calf." This idle story is actually in- 
terwoven with the thirty-second chapter of Exodus. 
And Bonnemere says in his preface, this French 
Bible was printed in 1495, ^.t the request of his 
most Christian Majesty Charles VIII. ; and declares 
further, that the French translator " has added no- 
thing but the genuine truths, according to the 
express terms of the Latin Bible ; nor omitted any- 
thing but what was improper to be translated !'* 
So that we are to look upon this fiction of the 
gilded beards as matter of fact ; and another of the 
same stamp, inserted in the chapter above men- 
tioned, viz., " that upon Aaron's refusing to make 
gods for the Israelites, they spat upon him with so 
much fiuy and violence that they quite suffocated 
him." "These passages are probably traditions, 
but they are sufficient proofs of that shameless auda- 
city of interpolation which would endeavour to taint 
even the most sacred of books." We have all 
heard of an edition of the Bible in which the word 

Ii6 Bible Lore. 

^^nof* was omitted from certain of the command* 
ments, by which printer's error they were made to 
enforce the vices they were designed to prohibit 
Besides the suppression in Paris of Mattheu/s Bible^ 
already noted in the fourth chapter of this work, 
there were other editions printed in whole or in 
part, that for sundry reasons, good or bad, were 
suppressed. Such was the faXit of the Dutch Bible, 
by Jacob Van Leisvdt (1542), famous also as 
having been the cause <^ the decapitation of its 
printer; of the French Bible, by Rene Benoist, of 
Paris (1566), in three folio volumes ; of a Swedish 
Bible, in 4to, printed in 1622, at Lubeck, and 
which was very defective ; of a German Bible, of 
which only a part was printed in 1666, at Hehn- 
stedt ; and of the French Bible of Marolles, printed 
in folio in 1671, and of which only about half the 
Pentateuch had left the press. It would be easy to 
extend the length of this chapter by an enumeration 
of some of the incorrect editions that have at 
different times appeared. Thus, in 1698, Mrs. 
Anderson of Edinburgh issued a Bible that was 
notoriously incorrect and ill-printed. In it are such 
blunders as the following: ^^ against Satan,'* for 
^^ against himself * (Mark iiL 26); ^^ye w^e not the 
servants of sin^* for ^^ ye were the servants of sin " 


Curious Editions of the Bible, 117 

Rom. vii. 17); ^^ eject^^ for "^^^/"(Rom. viii. 33); 
and many more errors of an equally glaring descrip- 
tion. Some editions of the Bible are curious on 
account of their being complete translations by 
private individuals. Such, for example, is the one 
by John McRay of Londbn, the Glasgow edition 
of whose Bible, printed in 181 5, bears the fol- 
lowing title : " A revised translation and interpre- 
tation of the Sacred Scriptures, after the eastern 
manner, from concurrent authorities of the critics', 
interpreters', and commentators* copies and ver- 
sions, shewing that the Inspired Writings contain 
the seeds of the valuable sciences, being the source 
whence the ancient philosophers derived them; 
also the most ancient histories, and greatest anti- 
quities, with a philosophical and medical commen- 
tary j the use of the commentary is not to give the 
sense of the text, as that is done in the interpreta- 
tion, but to describe the works of nature, shewing 
the connection of natural science with Revealed 

The young Bible student, whose eye rests 
upon these pages, may not be so fortunate as to 
possess any copy of the word of God that the mere 
antiquarian would very highly prize or covet ; but 
the Book that he loves to study may, through 

Ti8 Bible Lore. 

him, become historic in its influence, as did the 
Bible that young Luther read at Erfurt Inspired 
by the truths it reveals, and actuated by the prin- 
ciples it inculcates, his shilling copy of the sacred 
Scriptures may, through him, afifect the hearts of the 
companions of his evening walks, or of the subjects 
of his Sabbath toil ; and in futiu*e ages, when every 
secret thing shall be made known, it may be dis- 
covered how God's truth, radiating from him, as from 
a heaven-illuminated centre, has attracted within the 
religious world men who became historic personages 
in the Church of Christ, and who, in their own 
persons, and in the fruit of their labours, have con- 
tributed to the fulfilment of that glorious prediction, 
" He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall 
be satisfied." 


T^tai&it tSSiath% vxib J^^um in ilgt Wibh 





EW things have undergone greater changes, 
with the progress of time, than language. 
Languages that were once the vernacular 
dialects of mighty nations have altogether ceased 
to be spoken; while other tongues have under- 
gone such important changes that if an English- 
man — ^to take our own nation as an example — ^who 
had fallen asleep some five centuries ago, were to 
awake, and think to express his wants in the lan- 
guage last upon his lips, he would find himself as 
little understood by his own descendants as if he 
were a native of the Celestial Empire newly arrived 
in England firom Hong Kong. Probably there are 
not many living languages that have undergone 
such extensive and rapid changes as our own. Our 
commercial and other relations with foreign coun- 
tries are constantly resulting in the importation of 
words from abroad ; while the multiplying of inven- 
tions and new processes in the arts and sciences 

122 Bible Lore, 

is as constantly issuing in the creation of new 
words as the adopted symbols of new things. 

Words once in common use have been rel^ated 
to nooks and comers of provincial dialects, where 
they yet maintain a brave but unequal conjQiict with 
the march of refinement Other words, now more 
commonly used than ever in some cases, or less 
frequendy in others, have so parted from their 
original meaning that a sentence composed two 
or three hundred years ago, in the purest English 
spoken then, needs now to be translated by the 
aid of a dictionary as ancient as the book in which 
the sentence stands. It is no uncommon thing, 
when the works of some old author are reissued, 

, for the editor to tell us that the spelling has been 
modernized throughout, and that obsolete words 
have been replaced by their modem equivalents, or 
explained in some other more convenient mode. 
Recent editions of the Puritan divines, many of 
whom were not bom till after the present authorized 
version of the Bible made its appearance, are note- 
worthy illustrations of this modernizing process ; 
and even the Bible itself has in part been subjected 
to it, since many of the old spellings of the first 
edition of 1611 have been replaced by more familiar 
forms. " Language, being a living organic thing, 

Peculiar Words and Phrases in the Bible, 123 

is, by the very condition of its vital existence, by 
the law of life itself, necessarily always in a pro- 
gressive or, at least, a fluctuating state. To fix 
it, therefore, to petrify it into immutable forms, is 
impossible; and, were it possible, would be fatal 
to it as a medium of intercommunication suited to 
the ever-changeful life of man." 

Now, with the exception of some few instances 
of corrected spelling, the appearance of the Eng- 
lish Bible at this day is the same as the first issue 
of two hundred and sixty years ago. In common 
with all books printed at that remote period, it 
contains a vast number of words and phrases which 
are scarcely intelligible to many readers. To remedy 
this evil, some propose an entirely new translation 
of the original text, for which there are greater 
facilities than the last body of translators possessed ; 
some would be content with a simple revision of 
the present version; and others think that the 
English people should be educated "up to the 
comprehension of the purest and most idiomatic 
forms of expression which belong to their mother- 
tongue." One very competent authority does not 
hesitate to avow his " conviction that, if any body 
of scholars, of competent Greek and Hebrew learn- 
ing, were now to undertake, not a revision of the 

124 Bibk Lore. 

existing version^ but a new translation, founded on 
the principle of employing the current phraseology 
of the day, it would be found much less intelligible 
to the mass of English-speaking people than the 
standard version at this moment is. ... To at- 
tempt a new translation of the Bible, in the hope of 
finding within the compass of the English language 
a clearer, a more appropriate, or a more forcible 
diction than that of the standard version, is to be- 
tray an ignorance of the capabilities of our native 
speech with which it would be in vain to reason ; 
and I suppose no scholars, whose opinions are 
entitled to respect, seriously propose anything 
beyond a revision which should limit itself to the 
correction of ascertained errors, the introduction 
of greater uniformity of expression, and the substi- 
tution of modem words for such as have become 
either obsolete or so changed in meaning as to 
convey to the unlearned a mistaken impression." 

Our purpose in this paper is not to express an 
opinion as to the course which may be most ad- 
vantageously pursued, but simply to state the case, 
and to point out to the young student of the word 
of God a few out of the great multitude of the 
peculiar words and phrases that exist in the present 
authorized version of the English Bible. 


Peculiar Words and Phrases in the Bible, 125 

I. Prominent among these are such words as 
have during the last two centuries and a half be- 
come altogether or nearly obsolete. It may not be 
possible to form an exact classification of such 
words; but a little consideration will show that 
many of them must relate to exploded opinions, 
and to old fashions and customs that have long 
since passed away. Take, as an example, the 
military art The study of " the art of war " has 
produced quite a new order of things in the equip- 
ments of the soldier, and in modes of attack and 
defence. The very term by which the warrior was 
designated — " man of war " (Exod. xv. 3 ; Josh. 
xviL I j Luke xxiii. 11) — is now limited to "ships 
of the line," though both J^hakspeare* and 
Bacon t apply it to the soldier; while the intro- 
duction of improved accoutrements have rendered 
hors de combat such words as " habergeon " (= a 
little coat-of-mail covering the head and shoulders, 
Exod. xxviiL 32; Neh. iv. 16, etc), and ^^buckler^^ 
(= a shield with a boucle, or knob, 2 Sam. xxiL 31 ; 
Job. XV. 26, etc), and ^^ greaves^* (= plates of 

• " How far is it to Berkley ? And what stir keeps good 
old York there with his men of war ? " — Richard II,, ii. 3. 

f •* Kings have to deale with their neighbours ; . . . 
their merchants ; their commons ; and their men ofwarreP 
— Essay xix. 

126 Bible Lore, 

brass to cover the legs, i Sam. xviL 6), and "^w)r- 
f^/" (= defensive armour for the throat, i Sam. 
xviL 6), and ^^ target'' (= a shield, i Sam. xviL 6 ; 
I Kings X. 1 6). " Shield " is only known as a verb, 
the nomi having passed out of use. " Harness " 
(i Kings XX. II, xxiL 34; 2 Chron. xviii. 33, ix. 
24 ; Psalm IxxviiL 9), which once meant accoutre- 
ments in general, whether for man or ^orse, is now 
applied to the latter alone ; and though a soldier 
may still carry a sword, he does not call it a "/au- 
chion " (Jud. xiiL 6). He does not now use the 
" haitlebow " (ZecL ix. 10, x. 4); and hence " artiL 
lery'' (i Sam. xx. 40; i Mace. vi. 51) in its Bible 
sense is obsolete, the word having come to mean, 
not only a missile weapon, but the instrument from 
whence it is projected. ^'^ Munition " (= a fortress, 
a defence, Isa. xxix. 7, xxxiii. 16 ; Nahum ii. i ; 
Dan. xi. 15, 38, etc.; in some places the word is 
translated ^^ stronghold '')y altered to ammunition^ 
now signifies means of defence of a special kind ; 
while the word ^^rereward'' (= the rearguard of an 
army, i Sam. xxix. 2; Isa. lii. 12, IviiL 8) has now 
dropped out of the language. Very similar are the 
changes that have taken place in musical terms 
The " cithern " * (i Mace. iv. 54), the sackbut " (Gen. 

* A.-S. citere^ Gk. %\ihet^ cittern (Shakespeare), gyterne 

Peculiar Words and Phrases in tJu Bible. 127 

xxxviL 34 ; Isa. iii. 24), the " tabret^^ (Gen. xxxi. 27 , 
Job. xviL 6), the ^^ timbrel*^ (Exod. xv. 20; Judges 
xL 34), the ^^vioP^ (Isa. v. 12, xiv. 11 ; Amos v. 
23, vL s)> can scarcely be identified, have no place 
in any modem orchestra — ^in this country at least ; 
and hence these words cease to convey any intel- 
ligible idea to ordinary readers. The same may be 
said of manv of the terms employed for articles 
of fashionable attire, than which few things are the 
subjects of such rapid change. An old poet * has 

said, — 

*' Fashions that are now called new, 
Have been worn by more than you; 
Elder times have worn the same, 
Though the new ones get the name ; " 

instead of the old name being revived with the old 
fashion. In Isa. iiL 16 — 24, we have a full descrip- 
tion of an ancient fine lady of the olden time ; 
many of the words descriptive of whose manner and 
dress have now become obsolete, or stand for some- 
thing else. It is thus with ^^cauP* (= net-work 
for confining braids of hair, the English word being 
from the French cale, a small cap ; whence calotUy 

(Piers Ploughman's Viz, 8493), the modem guitar^ and 
the Chaldee kathros (^ harp in Dan. iii. 5, 7), are forms 
of the same words. — Bible Wo. d-Book, 
* Middleton. 

128 Bible Lore. 

a skull cap), and "AW ( = a head-dress ; see also 
Ezek. xxiv. 17, 23 ; Judges x. 3, xvL 8 : the Per- 
sian tiara is supposed to be the origin of this word, 
which, now changed to attire, is applied to more 
than it represented when Milton spelled it tiar — 

'* Of beaming tunnie raiet, a golden Har 
Circled his head"); 

and *^ mufflers^* (:=a small thin veil fbr the lower 
part of the face); and ^^ bonnets^* (=the conical 
part of the turban); and ^^ tablets** (= smelling 
bottles), and ^^ wimples** (= small shawls), and 
^^crisping-pins** (= reticules; see also 2 Kings v. 
23), and ^^ glasses** (= dresses of some diaphanous 
material). The term " mincing^* 3l word that happily 
expresses the meaning of the original, the root of 
which signifies to trip, or to walk with short steps 
like children, has been supplanted by other terms 
— t/ie Grecian bend, for example — ^that mean pretty 
much the same kind of feminine affectation.* 

• *• I would like to know," said Matinka, " what sense- 
less person invented all this foolery, which looks as if only 
intended for deforming and mocking the works of God." 
'*That I will willingly tell," said MenzikofF, laughing: 
" One short dame, who would yet appear tall, invented 
the high-heeled shoes and the tower-like head-dress ; 
another, too lean, or too stout, pressed her body together 
by means of the bodice to make the fulness across the 


Peadiar Words and Phrases in the Bible, 129 

While the lady herself, addicted to "changeable 
suits of apparel," is no longer called a " damosell " 
(Deut xxii. 15, etc., ed. of 161 1), whose modem 
form " damser* (the diminutive of dame, = the mis- 
tress of a house) is more frequently applied by us 
to the maid than to her young mistress. 

The march of discovery in the various sciences 
has thrust many words out of use, and given to 
many others a meaning different from that which 
they now convey. This is the case with "cocka- 
trice*' a word which, to the merest tyro in the study 
of natural history, conveys no intelligible idea of 
any existing animal. It was an imaginary creature, 
supposed to have been hatched by a cock from the 
tgg of a viper, the fable having been invented to ac- 
count for the name. In heraldry it is depicted as 
a cock with a dragon's tail. Yet our translators 
could not have meant this fabulous animal to be 
imderstood, since in four out of the five passages 

chest more visible ; a third concealed her deformed legs 
under the hooped petticoat ; a fourth, her grey hairs with 
white powder ; a fifth, her pale face by means of rouge, 
etc., etc." {Perils of Greatness). If these things be 
true, there was some force in the words of the old Scotch 
preacher : "Ye people of Aberdeen get your fashions from 
Glasgow, and Glasgow from Edinburgh, and Edinburgh 
from London, and London from Paris, and Paris from the 
devil 1 " 

130 Bible Lore. 

(Isa. XL 8, xiv. 29, lix. 5; Jer. viil 17; Prov. 
xxiiL 32, maig.) "adder" is given, either in thie 
text or the margin, as an equivalent Most likely 
they thought that 'cockatrice' and 'basilisk' were 
synonymous. ^^ Falnurworm" (Joel L 4, il 25; 
Amos iv. 9) may mean certain insects in the cater- 
pillar stage, whose ravages, on the palm-tree es- 
pecially, would be noted. The word is now almost 
obsolete, except, perhaps, in some parts of Dorset- 
shire, where it is yet the designation of caterpillars 
in general " Unicom*\ ^^ leviathan*\ and ^^Behe- 
motk'* are other well-known examples. Many 
other instances might be quoted. We do not now 
say ^^neesing** (Job xlL i8), but 'sneezing'; nor 
^^ master builder'* (i Cor. iiL lo), but 'architect'; 
nor "/df/^" (Ps. viL 16), but 'crown of the head' ; 
nor ^^scrip'^ (Matt x. 10, etc), but 'wallet', or 
'satchel'; nor ^^ seethe** (Exod. xvi. 23, etc.), but 
'bo'i'; nor ^^ servitor** (2 Kings iv. 43), but 'man- 
servant*; nor ^^ shamefacedness** (i Tim. ii. 9), but 
'bashfulness', or 'modesty* ; not ^^ scrabble** (i Sam. 
xxi. 13), but 'scrawl'; not ^^bray** (Prov. xxviL 
22), but 'bruise'; noX.amer:s (Deut xxiL 19), but 
'impose a fine'; not ^^ bruit** (Jer. x. 22), but 
'report', or 'rumour'; not ^^straightway** (Prov. 
viL 22, etc.), but 'directly'. In such, and in a vast 

Peculiar Words and Phrases in the Bible, 131 

number of like instances, have words that were 
once in common use given place to other words, 
as the results of that wondrous transformation that 
the English language — ^because an intensely living 
tongue — is constantly imdergoing. 

2. While many words and forms of speech have 
become obsolete^ others, yet in use, have so changed 
in meaning that the sense they now convey is widely 
different — sometimes quite opposite — from that 
which they imparted at the first The word 
^^prevenV^ is a very notable example, and unless 
the old meaning be borne in mind, it will be 
difficult to understand some passages in which 
the word occurs. Formerly it meant, as its ety- 
mology suggests, "to go before", "to anticipate", 
"to help"; now it means to hinder. When the 
Psalmist said, " I prevented the dawning of the 
morning," etc (Ps. cxix. 147), he intended to 
convey the idea that he anticipated the dawn with 
his devotions, and not that he hindered the morn- 
ing from dawning. When St Paul said, "We 
which are alive and remain imto the coming of the 
Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep" 
(i Thess. iv. 15), he did not mean that the living 
should not hinder the dead from rising, but that 
after the dead were raised the living should meet 

132 Bible Lore. 

the Lord, and not before the resurrection had taken 
place. The word ^^ prevent'' is derived from the 
Latin prce-venire (= to go before) ; but men who 
go before others have been so addicted to the habit 
of hindering those who follow, that the word " pre- 
vent" has now quite lost its proper etymological 
sense. And that may remmd us that it is the 
tendency o^ many words, after the lapse of time, 
to convey a less noble meaning than they origin- 
ally bore. Thus the word "charity" is now utterly 
inadequate to express the idea intended by the 
apostle in the word d^dri; (i Cor. xiiL 3, etc.), 
that means warm, devoted ^^love'\ and was the 
word used by our Lord when He said (John 
xxi. 15) " Lovest thou me ?" (A7ot^s Ate). " Charity*' 
was once used to indicate what was most earnest 
and fervid, most warm and loving ; now it is often 
used to denote what is formal and cold, as in 
the common phrase, "as cold as charity." In 
many places, if the word ^^ love'* be put for the 
word ''^charity'', the old and true meaning of the 
sacred text will be strikingly apparent. Describing 
the uproar at Thessalonica (Acts xvii. 5), St. Luke 
speaks of "certain lcu> d (tWows of the Oascr sort,** 
a passage that, read in the light of modern mean- 
ings of words, plainly teaches that those who made 

Peculiar Words and Phrases in the Bible, 133 

this riot were men of most corrupt morals, since 
the word lewd now means indecent, immodest, 
in the direction of licentiousness. But how does 
the case really stand ? The word lewd is derived 
from the Anglo-Saxon leode^ the people; and was 
generally applied to the common people, irrespective 
of moral character ; while the word baser ^ from the 
French bas^ low, humble, does not necessarily mean 
worthless or wicked. Lewd, therefore, got to 
signify * ignorant, unlearned '. " From this it came 
to have the meaning of * lay* as opposed to * clerical* 
— lay in fact springing from the same root,** a con- 
trast that may be seen in the following passages : — 

" The leude man, the grete clerke, 
Shall stonde upon his owne werke." * 

" For if a prest be foul, on whom we truste, 
No wondur is a lewid man to ruste." f 

The force, then, of the passage in Acts is this, 
that the Jews stirred up a mob of the common 
and ignorant people — the "roughs'* — of the 
town : instruments suited to their purpose, as 
being men whose passions were easily excited ; 
and who, being dull in their perception of nice 
questions, and unversed in the processes of ratioci- 

• Gower, Conf, Am,, i., 274. 
t Chaucer, C. T., ProL, 504. 

134 Bible Lore. 

nation, would not be readily impressed with the 
apostle's arguments ; — a trick that is often most 
unworthily adopted in the present day by noisy 
opponents of the truth, whose clap-trap orations — 
full of swelling words of vanity — are dexterously 
suited to rouse the animalism of a mob, the 
impenetrable bosses of whose ignorance can 
scarcely be pierced by the polished shaft from the 
quiver of true knowledge. In Psalm ixvii. 2, occurs 
the curious phrase ^^ saving health,** Nov/ the Saxon 
word 'health' (hcsld) literally means whole^ and 
our word * whole ' is derived from it. More fre- 
quently the Hebrew word here translated ^^saving 
health" is rendered ^^ salvation *\ which means 
* saving us wholly* from the ills that afflict or 
threaten us. In an older version "///<? helmet oj 
salvation** (Eph. vi. 17) was "the helmet of 
health** Hence old Hugh Latimer says: "Take 
also the helmet or head-piece of health, or true 
health in Jesus Christ ; for there is no health in 
any other name ; not the health of a grey friar's 
coat, nor the health of this pardon or that pardon." 
Health, then, means wholeness ; and hence, when 
Jesus said to the man at the pool of Bethesda 
(John V. 6), "Wilt thou be made whole V* He 
meant, " Wilt thou be restored to perfect health ? " 

Peculiar Words and Phrases in tlie Bible. 135 

— in other words, " Wilt thou be saved ? " It is 
obvious that from the prescribed limits of this 
chapter, so full an account cannot be given of 
each of even a very few of the words in our 
English Bible that have imdergone important 
changes of meaning since the present version was 
made. It must content us to say less of each, 
that a larger number of such changes may be 
indicated. Thus vex (Exod. xxii. 21; Acts xiL i, 
etc) once meant *to torment, harass, oppress' ; it 
now signifies to irritate by small provocations. 
Virtue (Mark v. 30; Luke vi. 19; 2 Peter L 5) 
meant * manliness, or that which is excellent in 
man,' and hence moral robustness. Conversation 
(Heb. xiii. 5, etc) once meant * general deport- 
ment, behaviour,' and not merely colloquial inter- 
course. Ancient (Isa. iii. 14; Jer. xix. i, etc), 
once a noun signifying *an elder', is now an 
adjective applicable to old things and times. Closet 
(Matt vL 6), now a large cupboard, was a private 
apartment, usually a bedroom. (It is derived from 
the Latin claudo, clausum; whence close^ cloister). 
Coast (Matt viii. 34, etc), now applied only to 
the seaside, once was a * border', or 'frontier' 
generally. Wit (Exod. ii 4), with us a humorous 
conjunction of incongruous ideas, meant in the 

136 Bible Lore, 

old time knowledge ; and " wiity inventions " 
(Prov. viii. 21) signifies * ^^fz/^ inventions*. Sober 
(2 Cor. V. 13 ; I Tim. iii. 2), by us restrictel chiefly 
to one form of temperance, had once the wider 
meaning of * grave, discreet, sedate *. Simple (Rom. 
xvL 19), now used principally in the sense of 
* silly, foolish*, meant 'artless, guileless*; it is 
from the Latin simplex, which is said to be from 
sine plica, i,e, without fold; and so, *open, un- 
designing*.* Publican (Matt v. 46, 47, etc), a 
word that came into English with the translation, 
is from the Latin publicanus, one who farms the 
public taxes. Painful (Psalm Ixxiii. 16), now 
applied to physical injuries, had the sense of 
toilsome, laborious. A * painful preacher * was a 
painstaking, laborious minister whose long dis- 
courses of two or three hours each would now 
be painful after another fashion to most modem 
audiences. Religion (Acts xxvi 5 ; Gal. i. 13 ; 
James i. 26) was, "not, as too often now, used 
as equivalent for godliness ; but, like OprjaKela, 
for which it stands (James i. 27), it expressed the 
outer form and embodiment which the inward 
spirit of a true or a false devotion assumed " ; t 

• See Trench, " Study of Words," p. 44. 
f Trench, " Select Glossary." 

Peculiar Words and Phrases in the Bible, lyj 

and piety (i Tim. v. 4), now applied to devout- 
ness, meant especially filial affection. Hence 
Erasmus ("On the Creed") says, "To the love 
of God and to the love of our parentes, is gyven 
one commune name in the Latyne, that is to "vrjrte 
pietas. For pietas properly is called the affection 
or love towardes God and towardes our parentes, 
and towardes our countre, which is as it were a 
commune parente of many men, lykewyse as God 
is tlie Father of all men." Purchase (i Tim. iii. 5), 
which now means "to buy", formerly meant to 
win, to acquire, to obtain, without any restriction 
as to method. " There is no man doth a wrong 
for the wrong's sake; but thereby to purchase 
himselfe profit, or pleasure, or honour, or the like." * 
Reward (Deut xxxiL 41 ; Psalm liv. 5 ; 2 Tim. iv. 
14) was formerly to requite, or to recompense, 
without regard to good or evil. Riot (Titus i. 6 ; 
I Peter iv. 4), now applied to the noise and 
mischief of an ungovernable mob, once was 
applied, as in the case of the prodigal son (Luke 
XV. 13), to dissolute or luxurious living. Replenish 
(Gen. i. 28, ix. i) signified "to fill", not as now 
" to fill again ". A report (Acts vi. 3, x. 22 ; Heb. 
XL 2) is now a mere idle rumour as likely to be 

* Bacon, Essay iv., 14. 

138 Bible Lore. 

false as true : it once was limited to fame, reputa- 
tion, or the spreading of a true thing. Poll (Exod. 
xvL 16 ; Num. i. 2, 18, 20, 22, etc) signified a 
head ; the word still remains in poll-tzx^ or head 
money, and the fioll at elections, in which voters 
are counted by their polls, or heads. Populous 
(Deut xxvL 5), like the Latin populosus, used of 
nations and armies, meant 'numerous', and was 
not, as now, confined to cities or countries. Softly 
(Gen. xxxiii. 14; Isa. viiL 6) meant gently; and 
not, necessarily, without noise. Sore (2 Chron. xxL 
19; Job ii. 7; Psalm ii 5 (signified, as an adjec- 
tive, "heavy, severe**; now it is usually applied, 
as a noun, to a wound causing pain. Voyage (Jud. 
ii. 19), now used of journeys by water only, was 
once applied to travels by land as well Vile 
(Jer. xxix. 17; Phil. iii. 21; James iL 2) signified 
cheap, worthless, contemptible; it has now the 
sense of moral corruptness. Venison (Gen. xxv. 28, 
xxviL 3, 5, 7), now applied to flesh of the deer 
kind, was once used of the flesh of all beasts 
taken in hunting, game. Vagabond (Gen. iv. 12, 
14; Psalm cix. 10), a wanderer, a fugitive, has 
acquired a disreputable sense from the character 
of those to whom it was originally applied. 

3. To words obsolete^ and words whose meanings 


Peculiar Words and Phrases in the Bible. 139 

have changed^ may be added, as among the "peculiar 
words in the Bible," those whose spelling has be- 
come antiquated. Many of these which appeared 
in i6n, in the first edition of the authorized ver- 
sion, have been corrected in subsequent editions ; 
and those that yet remain hardly require to be 
pointed out to the young Bible student Yet 
we may indicate a few. We have astonied for 
astonished; bewray for betray; chaws for jaws; 
causey for causeway ; cotes for cots ; crudle for 
curdle; sope for soap; tentation for temptation; 
fat for vat ; fitch for vetch ; defenced for fenced ; 
marish for marsh ; magnifical for magnificent ; knop 
for knob ; garner for granery ; sherd for shred ; 
passages for passes ; ummoveable for immoveable ; 
and many more. Yet, odd as these things seem to 
us, necessitated though they be by the inevitable 
aws of progress, the present translation is for us 
a wonderful advantage over those of former times. 
Two hundred years farther back we find Wycliffe 
using words that would be utterly incomprehensible 
to many English readers, though some of them 
might be more readily understood by our neigh- 
bours north of the Tweed. The Scotch still use 
oker for interest, and orison for oration, and almery 
fur a press or cupboard, and sad for firm or solid, 

140 Bible Lore. 

and tolbooth for a place to receive taxes, and toun 
for farm, and scarry for precipitous, and repe for a 
handful of com straw, zxAforleit for left altogether. 
But we should need a glossary to explain such 
passages as " He seith a man sythynge in a tolbothe^ 
Matheu by name** (Matt ix. 9). " The first saide, 
I have bouchte a toun^ and I have nede to go out 
and se it" (Luke xiv. 19). " Whanne thou repest 
com in the feeld, and forgetist and leevest a repe^ 
thou schalt not turn agen to take it** (Deut xxiv. 


And yet, such has been the growth of popular 
education, such the facilities for Bible study afiforded 
even to the very young, such the ^unconscious re- 
ception, by means of popular treatises and lectures, 
of the results of diligent research and scholarly 
investigation, that the diction of the Bible " is even 
now scarcely further removed from the current 
phraseology of life and books than it was two hun 
dred years since. The subsequent movement of 
the English speech has not been in a right line of 
recession from the scriptural dialect. It has rather 
been a curve of revolution around it. Were it 
not carrying the metaphor too far, I would say it is 
an elliptical curve, and that the speech of England 
* See " Book of Days," Chambers, i. 57. 

Peculiar Words and Phrases in the Bible, 141 

has now been brought by it nearer to that great 
solar centre, that focus of genial warmth and cheer- 
ful light, than it was a century ago, when hundreds 
of words in its vocabulary, now as familiar as the 
alphabet, were complained of as strange or obso- 
lete. In fact, the English Bible sustains, and 
always has sustained to the general English tongue, 
the position of a treatise upon a special knowledge, 
requiring, like any branch of science, a special 
nomenclature and phraseology. The language of 
the law, for example, in both vocabulary and struc- 
ture, differs widely from that of improfessional life ; 
the language of medicine, of metaphysics, of as- 
tronomy, of chemistry, of mechanical art, — all these 
have their appropriate idioms, very diverse from 
the speech which is the common heritage of alL 
Why, then, should theology, the highest of know- 
ledges, alone be required to file her tongue to the 
vulgar utterance, when every other human interest 
has its own appropriate expression, while no man 
thinks of conforming to a standard that, because 
it is too common, can hardly be other than 
unclean ?"* 

Meanwhile, without waiting for any authorized 
version of the present version, let the young Bible 

* Marsh, " Lectures on the English Language," p. 449. 

143 BibU Lort. 

student earnestly pursue his researches into the 
word-lore of Scripture, remembezing that the ''letter 
killeth" only as it is misunderstood; and that the 
''spirit giveth life" only as the true force of the 
letter is discovered and applied And let him not 
think that this is a mere " question of words," but 
of such " words^^ as, when rightly known and felt, 
do by their ^^eiUranu^ into the heart and mind 
"^nn^ light ;^ the utterances even of the eternal 
Ward—ihe great Teacher Himself— -who said, 
"The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, 
and they are life.'* 


®htmt fctoms D;enti0iKir ox iefemir t0 

in % §Urk 



O say that a "knowledge of the manners 
and customs of the Jews is of great service 
in interpreting Scripture," is to indicate 
but very faintly the close connection between that 
knowledge and the elucidation of many portions of 
the word of God. Add to the customs and manners 
of the J^ewSy those of the Greeks and Romans, 
those also of the Arabians, of the Persians, and of 
other Oriental peoples; then assert that a know- 
ledge of the manners and customs of tliese nations 
is an indispensable pre-requisite for the under- 
standing of the Bible, and something much nearer 
to the whole tfuth on this matter will then be said. 
Written by, and primarily for, those with whom 
these customs were familiar things, it is not sur- 
prising that so much should be said of them in 
the way of barest allusion, and few explanations 
should be given concerning them. This circum- 
stance is, indeed^ jiipgarded as one internal evi- 

146 Bible Lore. 

dence, among many, of the antiquity and genuine- 
ness of the sacred writings. Had they been com- 
posed in times comparatively modem, they would 
not have contained even bare allusions to matters 
not then fully understood ; while it is but natiural 
to conclude that manners and customs less obscure 
and better known in such later times would have 
been enlarged upon with a very suspicious minute- 
ness of detail It is only within modem times that 
the East has yielded its ample stores of information 
on, and illustrations of, these subjects. Many are 
the reasons why it has not done so before ; many, 
also, why it has done so since. Into these we 
may not enter. Suffice it to say that the ex- 
plorations of the traveller, the labours of the mis. 
sionary, the enterprise of the merchant, the ambition 
of the conqueror, the patient researches of the anti- 
quarian, together with those of the oriental and 
classical scholar, have resulted in the accumulation 
of an immense mass of information on this subject 
No doubt a spur to these investigations in many 
quarters has been furnished — unintentionally, of 
course — ^by the blatant assertions and covert 
inuendoes of avowed antagonists and ill-masked 
traitors to the word of life. While classical writings 
and remains sufficiently preserve the records of life 

Obscure Customs referred to in the Bible, 147 

and manners among the ancient nations of southern 
Europe, men have been greatly aided in their pur- 
suit of these studies as they relate to the Jews and 
other Bible peoples, by the stereotyped condition 
of society as we find it in southern and western 
Asia at this day. Well has Dr. Stanley said that 
"every English pilgrim to the Holy Land, even 
the most reverential and the most fastidious, is 
delighted to trace and to record the likeness of 
patriarchal manners and customs in the Arabian 
chiefs. To refuse to do so would be to decline 
the use of what we may almost call a singular 
gift of Providence. The unchanged habits of flie 
East render it in this respect a kind of living Pom- 
peii. The outward appearances which, in the case 
of the Greeks and Romans, we know only through 
art and writing, through marble, fresco, and parch- 
ment, in the case of Jewish history we know through 
the forms of actual men, living and moving before 
us, wearing ahnost the same garb, speaking in al- 
most the same language, and certainly with the same 
general terms of speech and tone and manners."* 

I. One who is familiar with the Bible can hardly 
travel far in any Oriental country without meeting 
with illustrations of manners and customs mentioned 
• " Jewish Church," i. n. 

148 Bible Lore. 

in the Scriptures, some of which are very curious 
and instructive. Thus, in Baibary, where, says 
Dr. Kitto, the simple ancient customs of the Jews 
'' are perhaps better preserved than in many other 
parts," Mr. Urquhart noticed an incident at a 
Jewish wedding which both reminded him o^ and 
interpreted, a passage in the Book of Ruth. "I 
was standing," he says, "beside the bridegroom 
when the bride entered ; and, as she crossed the 
threshold, he stooped down and slipped off his shoe^ 
and struck her with the heel on the nape of the 
neck."* The bride was thus reminded by this 
striking custom that she had passed under the 
authority of another ; and the shoe is here " used 
in sign of the obedience of the wife and the supre- 
macy of the husband." The passage in Ruth 
(iv. 7) on which, in this way, light was thrown, 
refers to the shoe as the emblem of authority 
or proprietorship. When " a man plucked oflf his 
shoe, and gave it to his neighbour," it was a sign 
that he parted with his right In many Eastern 
countries the shoe is a symbol of authority. In 
the regalia of Morocco is a pair of embroidered 
slippers, which "used to be carried before the 
Sultan, as among us the sceptre, or sword of state." 
♦ *' Pillars of Hercules," i. 305. 

Obscure Customs referred to in tJie Bible, 149 

Mr. Roberts,* when travelling in the East, noticed 
that " an aflfectionate widow never parts with her 
late husband's shoes. They are placed near her 
when she sleeps; she kisses them and puts her 
head upon them; and nearly every time after 
bathing she goes to look at them." They are a 
perpetual memento to her of the protection that 
she has lost The Highland custom of striking a 
bride with an old sHpper "for good luck," and 
the custom, still kept up in many parts, of casting 
a slipper after the newly wedded pair, may have 
been in some way derived from the custom referred 
to in the Book of Ruth, and which was itself 
founded upon an ancient law (Deut. xxv. 7, 9). 

Within the memory of some yet living, the 
peasantry of Ireland, of the Isle of Man, and pf 
the Scottish Highlands were accustomed, on the 
I St of May, to kindle fires on the tops of hills. 
It was the last relic of the custom called Beltein^ 
observed by the barbarous Celtic populations of 
Europe, and supposed, with some show of reason, 
to have been derived from the worship of Baal, or 
the sun. None of those who so recently kept up 
Beltein thought of its origin, or could say more 
in its defence than may be offered in apology for 
* ** Oriental Illustrations.*' 

150 Bible Lore, 

many another custom ''more honoured in the 
breach than in the observance," that it is "a 
reason for irrational things, .and an excuse for 
inexcusable ones." 

2. Another form connected with covenants and 
contracts, called ^^ striking hands^ has maintained 
its ground among civilized nations down to the 
present time. Both the Greeks and the Romans 
practised it (see Hiad^ il 341, and yEneid^ iv. 597). 
Solomon often alludes to this mode of confirming a 
bargain, showing that it was common with the Jews 
(Prov. vi. I, xviL 18, xxil 26). The custom may 
be traced in ages long anterior to the time of the 
wise man, for Job himself alludes to it (xvil 3) ; we 
have an instance also in the history of Jehu (2 Kings 
x. 15). In Ockley's history of the Saracens we have 
another striking instance, which is quoted by Calmet 
Telha, just before he died, asked one of All's men 
if he belonged to the Emperor of the Faithful ; and 
being informed that he did, " Give me then," said 
he, " your hand, that I may put mine in it, and 
by this action renew the oath of fidelity which I 
have already made to Ali." Another example is 
supplied by Mr. Bruce, the traveller. "I was so 
enraged," says he, "at the traitorous part which 
Hassan had acted, that, at parting, I could not help 

Ohsmre Customs refe7'red to in the Bible, 151 

saying to Ibrahim, * Now, sheikh, I have done every- 
thing you have desired, without ever expecting fee 
or reward \ the only thing I now ask you, and it is 
probably the last, is that you revenge me upon this 
Hassan, who is every day in your power.' Upon 
this he gave me his hand^ saying, * He shall not die 
in his bed, or I shall never see old age.' " Amongst 
us, also, it is a very common thing when two persons 
have made a bargain, for the transaction to be 
sealed by one of the parties saying to the other, 
" Give me your hand upon it" 

3. A knowledge of some of the customs relating 
to the ^<f^r^will be found to throw light upon many 
scriptures whose force does not at once appear. 
Let it be understood that, from time immemorial, 
the beard has been regarded by Oriental peoples 
with the profoundest respect In the mountains of 
Yemen, where strangers are seldom seen, it is 
a disgrace to appear shaven. Among the Arabians 
it is more infamous for any one to have his beard 
cut oflf, than among us to be publicly whipped or 
branded with a hot iron. Many in that country 
would prefer death to such a punishment Hence 
the shaving ofif half their beards by Hanun (2 Sam. 
X. 4) is mentioned as an equally gross affront with 
the other indignities ofiiered to the ambassadors of 

152 Bible Lore. 

David, and only to be answered by an appeal to 
arms; and in the same spirit, in the year 1764, a 
Persian emir having cut off the beard of an officer 
sent to demand his tribute, Kerim Khan marched 
against him iK-ith a large army, and conquered all 
his country {Nicbuhr). This great reverence for the 
beard v^ill explain how it was that the dishonour 
done by David to his beard, of letting his spittle 
fall on it (i Sam. xxL 13), seems at once to have 
convinced Achish of his being insane, as no man 
in health of body and mind would defile what was 
esteemed so honourable. Hence, also, we may per- 
ceive the meaning of Mephibosheth's neglect, in his 
not trimming his beard (2 Sam. xix. 24). So great 
is the regard of the Arabians for the beard, that the 
wives kiss the husbands' and the children their 
fathers' beards when they salute them. And when 
two friends meet, they thus salute each other 
{UAurimoc), This will explain 2 Sam. xx. 9, 
which, literally translated, would read, " And Joab 
held in his right hand the beard of Amasa, that 
he might give it a kiss." Burckhardt, in his 
Materials for a History of the Wahabys," relates an 
anecdote which strongly illustrates the force of 
Arabian feeling on this point " Saoud had long 
been desirous to purchase the mare of a sheikh 

Obscure Customs referred to in the Bible. 153 

belonging to the tribe of Beni-Shammar, but the 
owner refused to sell her for any sum of money. 
At this time. a sheikh of the Kahtan Arabs had 
been sentenced to lose his beard for some offence. 
When the barber produced his razor in the 
presence of Saoud, the sheikh exclaimed, * O 
Saoud, take the mare of Shammary as a ransom 
for my beard!' The punishment was remitted; 
the sheikh was allowed to go and bargain for the 
mare, which cost him 2,500 dollars, the owner 
declaring that no consideration could have induced 
him to part wit'i her, had it not been to save the 
beard of a noble Kahtany {quoted by Kitto). The 
same traveller observes that the Arabs who had 
the misfortune to incur this disgrace invariably 
concealed themselves from view until their beards 
grew again. It was pr<jbably, therefore, on this 
account, to save them from public scorn, that 
David permitted his half-shaven ambassadors to 
tarry at Jericho until their beards were grown 
(2 Sam. X. 5). 

4. While a fine head of hair was esteemed a 
great ornament (2 Sam. xiv. 26; Cant. v. 11), 
baldness was a source of contempt In the East, 
the falling off of the hair is known to be sometimes, 
and in connection with other symptoms, a strong 

154 Bible Lore. 

criterion of leprosy; and there actually is a par- 
ticular kind of leprosy limited either to the fore or 
hind part of the head. It became necessary to 
provide that if no other symptom of leprosy than 
mere baldness occurred, the person was not to 
be suspected of being a leper. Indeed, the Hebrew 
word for baldness (kareach) means, etymologically, 
one who has boilsy and therefore, originally, perhaps, 
a leper. These regulations will be better understood 
from the fact that the Orientals distinguish two 
sorts of baldness; the first is that which begins 
from the forehead, and the other that which begins 
behind. The Hebrew has a distinct name for each 
of these. By the Arabian poets, also, the former is 
distinguished as the " noble baldness," because it 
generally proceeded from the wearing of a helmet ; 
while the latter was stigmatized as "servile bald- 
ness." With this understanding let us read the 
terms " bald " — kareach (Lev. xiii. 40), and ** fore- 
head-bald " — gibbeach^ in the next verse. It may 
be noted that when the youths of Bethlehem called 
after Elisha, " Go up, thou baldhead " (2 Kings 
ii. 23), they used the word kareach^ i,e, the term 
of reproach ; * implying that he was a leper, 
unclean, and should therefore be thrust out of 

* See Michaelis, iii. 285. 

Obscure Customs referred to in tJie Bible, 155 

society; and further, that, since leprosy was re- 
garded as " the stroke of God," it was mere pre- 
sumption on his part to profess to be a prophet 
of the Most High. Some, however, think that the 
baldness of Elisha arose from the custom of shaving 
the head as a sign of mourning (Job i. 20). This 
seems to be tlie view of Dr. Stanley ; * and certainly 
the recent loss of Elijah, followed by the rending 
of his own clothes (2 Kings ii. 12), another 
mourning custom, lends some probability to this 
opinion, notwithstanding Dr. Kitto inclines to the 
former view.t The epithet ^^ baidhead,* whatever 
its origin, " was a term of contempt, equivalent to 
calling him a mean and unworthy fellow — a social 
outcast In this sense it is still employed as a 
term of abuse in the further East, and as such is 
often applied to men whose heads are well covered 
with hair." % " In viewing this subject,*' says Mr. 
Roberts, "does not the mind naturally revert to 
the baldheaded Samson, bereft of his strength, and 
made the sport of the lords of the Philistines? 
Would such an event as that soon be forgotten? 
Is it not likely that the extreme folly of Samson, 

* '* Lectures on Jewish Church," second series, 324. 
f »' Daily Bible IllustTations," iv. 282. 
{ Roberts, ** Oriental Illustrations," 214. 

156 Bible Lore. 

in disclosing the secret of his strength, would give 
rise to such an epithet? When was Samson killed? 
About A.M, 2884. When was Elisha mocked ? In 
AM. 3108, which makes it only 324 years after the 
event Samson was a servant of the true God 
(Heb. XL 32); those who conquered him in con* 
sequence of his bald head were heathens. Elisha 
was a servant of the true God; those who applied 
the epithet to him were also heathens ; who were 
* going up into Bethel,' which has been called 
'the mother-dty of idolatry.* Some young 
heathen * lads' met the servant of the Lord, 
and mocked him, sapng, **'Go up, thou bald- 
head I go up, thou baldhead ! " As did thy master 
Elijah, so do thou, go up to heaven.' The spirit 
of this is in excellent keeping with modem heathen- 
ism; and it is the way in which they show their 
contempt for those who are weak and for those 
servants of the true God among them who now 
labour for their conversion to Christianity. Hence 
the epithet has been often applied to Christian 
missionaries : *WTiat can those baldheads do ? * " 

5. We refer to another custom, which can hardly 
be called obscure, because of the signification it 
gives to one of the titles of the Lord. According 
to tlie Levirate law (Lev. xxv. 25 — 48), if a man had 

Obscure Customs referred to in the Bible. 157 

become poor, and had been compelled to sell his 
inheritance, he still retained the right of buying it 
back — that is, of redeeming it ; but if he con- 
tinued poor, and unable to buy it back, then his 
next of kin, if rich enough, might buy it back for 
him. He who thus bought back the inheritance 
was called the ^^gdeiy This was the word used 
by Job (xix. 25) when he said, "I know that my 
redeemer liveth." The Book of Ruth contains a 
very interesting account of tlie practice of redeem- 
ing a lost inheritance as it existed among the Jews. 
In ch. iL 20, it is stated that Boaz was a near 
kinsman to Ruth ; but Boaz himself acknowledges 
(iii. 12) that there is a kinsman still nearer than 
himself When, therefore, the time came for Boaz 
to rebuy Ruth's property, he first challenged the 
nearer relation, promising that, if he declined to 
exercise the kinsman's right, he himself would do 
so (iv. I — 11). The words ^^redeem^** ^^ redeemer ^^ 
*^ redemption^' — "to buy back,'* "one who buys 
back," " the act of buying back '* — from the Latin 
re-dimo {re^ back ; and emo^ emptum^ to buy) repre- 
sent several different words, both Hebrew and 
Greek, in the Scriptures. The Hebrew word ^aaly 
with its particle g6el^ signifies to ransom something, 
as a field sold, by paying back the price ; and Christ 

158 Bible Lore, 

is our g6el, our near kinsman, our elder brother, who 
has purchased back the heavenly inheritance into 
the human family. The words in the New Testa- 
ment used regarding the glorious matter of man's 
redemption all signify the obtaining of something 
by paying a proper price for it Sometimes the 
simple verb 'a7o/)af«, to buy, is used ; so the re- 
deemed are said to be bought unto God by the 
blood of Christ, and to be bought from the earth, 
and to be bought from among men, and to be 
bought with a price; that is, with the price of 
Christ's blood (i Cor. vi. 20). Hence the Church 
of God is said to be purchased with it (Acts xx. 28). 
Sometimes the compound word i^ayopatw is used, 
which signifies to buy again, or out of the hands of 
another, as the redeemed are bought out of the 
hands of justice (Gal. iii. 13, iv. 5). In other places 
\vTp6(a is used, or other words derived from it, which 
signifies the deliverance of a slave or captive from 
thraldom by paying the ransom price for him ; so 
the saints are said to be redeemed, not with silver 
or gold, the usual ransom, but with a far greater 
one, the blood and life of Christ, which He came 
into this world to give as a random price for many, 
and even Himself, which is dvTiXvrpoPj an answerable, 
adequate, and full price for them (i Peter i. 18) 

Obscure Customs r^erred to in the Bible, 159 

It was the well-known custom of buying back a 
forfeited possession that gave such force to words 
redeemer, redeem, redemption, when their equiva- 
lents were first employed in the Hebrew and Greek 
Scriptures in relation to Jesus Christ and His 
glorious work. 

A knowledge of the customs referred to in the 
New Testament — some of which were peculiar to 
the Greeks and Romans — is specially useful in eluci- 
dating the meaning of many passages tliat would 
otherwise be obscure, and in giving force to many 
terms that would not otherwise be fully understood. 
As examples, take the following : — 

I. In Gal. iii. 24, 25, we read of a schoolmaster. 
The Greek word is irat8a7W76s, whence we have the 
word pedagogue (literally, boy-leader), which with 
us signifies schoolmaster — in the strict sense of the 
word, as an " instructor of youth.'' But the peda- 
gogue was not, save in a very limited sense, a 
schoolmaster. He was usually a slave, sometimes 
a freedman, to whose care the boys of a family were 
committed, who trained them up, instructed them 
at home, and accompanied them to the public 
school {Robinson), His work as instructor was 
limited to the rehearsing of the lessons learned 
at school, to examining into what had been already 

i6o Bible Lore. 

imparted, and to prepare the scholar for the true 
schoolmaster. As a boy-leader^ he had to lead 
the boys to school. When this is xmderstood, it 
will be seen how the law is not so much a school- 
master, finishing our education, giving us final 
lessons to prepare us for the business of life, but 
simply a leader or guide, conducting us to Christ, 
who is our true Master^ Magister^ Doctor. He is 
our true Schoolmaster, teaching us the truth of God, 
not making void the law, but magnifying it, and 
making it honourable. The pedagogue would show 
the scholar how the principles and rules he learned 
at school were to be applied in the practice of home 
duties, and the scholar would learn to understand 
those principles, and to value them as he applied 
them to his relations as son and heir. So Jesus 
says, "If any man will do his will, he shall know 
of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I 
speak of myself" (John vii. 17). In proportion as 
we obey the law of God, and enjoy the fruit of 
obedience, shall we be led to an understanding and 
appreciation of the teachings of the great Teacher ; 
hence as scholars we mind the pedagogue, so shall 
we be led nearer to Christ in thought, will, endea- 
vour ; and His higher lessons will be the more clear- 
as we daily practise what the moral law enjoins. 

Obsaire Customs referred to in tJu Bible, i6i 

There is another sense, self-evident, in which the 
ceremonial law led, through types and shadow, up to 
Jesus, the "end of the law for righteousness tojevery 
one that believeth!" On this we need not expatiate. 
2. In Rom. viL 24,* there seems to be ha allusion 
to another obscure practice. Even if the apostle 
does not, as some think, refer to it, it may at least 
convey a vivid idea and illustration of his meaning, 
that he felt sin to be a nauseous, intolerable, and 
fatal burden. The Romans sometimes compelled 
a captive to be joined face to face with a dead 
body, and to bear it about until the horrible effluvia 
destroyed the life of the living victim. Of this 
atrocious practice, one of the most remarkable 
instances is that mentioned by Virgil when de- 
scribing the tyrannous conduct of Mezentius : — 

'* What words can paint those execrable times ? 
• ••**•• 

The living and the dead, at his command, 
Were coupled face to face and hand to hand. 
Till, choked with stench, in loathed embraces tied, 
The lingering wretches pined away and died." 

Dryden's Trans, JEneid^ vii. 

Doddridge paraphrases the latter half of this verse 
thus : " Who shall rescue me, miserable captive 

* For the exegesis of this passage, the Bible student 
will do well to consult Oldshausen in he. 


i62 Bible Lore. 

w ' 

as I am, from the body of this death — from this 
continual burden which I carry about with me^ 
and niiich is cumbersome and odious as a dead 
carcase tied to a living body, to be dragged along 
with it wherever it goes." He explains, in a note^ 
'^It is well known that some ancient writers 
mention this as a cruelty practised by some tyrants 
upon miserable captives who fell into their hands ; 
and a more forcible and expressive image of the 
sad case represented cannot surely enter into the 
mind of man.** " Doddridge," says Elitto, "is not 
by any means singular in his opinion that the 
apostle derives an allusion from this horrid punish- 
ment, although perhaps the text is sufficiently in- 
telligible without the Illustration it thus receives. 
Philo, in an analogous passage, more obviously 
alludes to it, describing the body as a burden to 
the soul, carried about like a dead carcase, which 
may not till death be laid aside." 

3. In reference to the privileges — ^present and 
prospective — of Christians, St Paul (Rom. viiL 
i5» 23 ; GaL iv. 5 ; Eph. i. 5) uses an expression 
{yloe^ffla) metaphorically, with which, by the trans- 
lation " adopiioUy^ we are all familiar. This term 
literally means ^^ placing as a son^ The apostle 
doubtiess alludes to the Roman custom of adop- 


Obscure Customs referred to in tlie Bible, 163 

tion, by which a person, not having children of his 
OMji, night adoJ>t as his son one bom of other 
parents. This was a formal act, effected fither 
by the process called adrogation when the person 
to be adopted was independent of his ]^ent, or 
by adoptio* specifically so called when in the power 
of his parent "The eflfect of it was that the 
adopted child was entitled to the name and sacra 
privata of his new father, and ranked as his 
heir-at-law; while the father, on his part, was 
entitled to the property of the son, and exercised 
towards him all the rights and privileges of a father. 
In short, the relationship was to all intents and 
purposes the same as existed between a natural 
father and son. The selection of a person to be 
adopted implied a decided preference and love on 
the part of the] adopter ; and St Paul aptly trans- 
fers the well-known feeling and customs connected 
with the act to illustrate the position of the Chris 
tianized Jew or Gentile." On adoption, Flavell 
has well said, V Betwixt civil and sacred adoption 
there is a twofold agreement and disagreement 
They agree in this, that both flow from the pleasure 
and good-will of the adoptant ; and in this, that 
both confer a right of privileges which we have not 

* See Smith's ** Diet, of Gk. and Rom. Antiq./' art. Adoptio, 

• » 


164 Bible Lore. * ♦. 

by nature : but in this they differ — one is an act 
imitating nature, the other transcends nature ; ^e 
one was found out for the comfort of them that 
had no children, the other for the comfort of them 
that had no father. Divine adoption is in Scripture 
either taken properly for that actor sentence of God 
by which we are made sons, or for the privileges 
with which the adopted are invested. We lost our 
inheritance by the fall of Adam; we receive it 
b/'the death of Christ, which restores it again to 
us by a new and better title." Thus the difference 
between human and Divine adoption is succinctly 
put by another writer {Bowes) : " i. Men generally 
adopt when they have no children of their own ; 
but God had a Son, His dear Son, His well-beloved 
Son ; He had angels. 2. Men generally adopt 
such as they think deserving ; God adopts criminals, 
traitors,^ enemies. 3. Men adopt living children ; 
God, those that are by nature spiritually dead. 
4. Man generally adopts one only; God adopts 

Thus have we in this chapter treated of some of 
the customs alluded to in the Old and New Testa- 
ment Scriptures. This we have done, not with the 
remotest pretence of exhausting a subject on which 
many learned volumes have been composed, but 

Obscure Customs referred to in tJie Bible, 165 

with the hope of giving to th^ earnest young Bible 
student some idea, however faint, of the great im- 
portance of a knowledge of the manners and cus- 
toms of the East and of the past for him who 
would understand the beauty and see the force of 
many passages in the word of God which cannot, in 
the absence of that knowledge, be so distinctly 
intelligible. He who carries to the reading of hist 
Bible some acquaintance with these matters in^^ 
memory will find that many a dark saying is full of 
light, and many a passage, otherwise hard to be 
imderstood, is pregnant with, to him, a new truth, 
and force, and beauty. 


■ -t 




HAT, indeed, can be more remarkable than 
prophecy and its fulfilment ? An event is 
foretold, which, in its nature, and in the 
time of its occurrence, is beyond all human calcu- 
lation and foresight ; long before the event takes 
place the prophecy is known ; the accomplishment 
of the prediction is brought about "without an iiH 
tentional regard to the Divine purpose on the part 
of the agent ;" yet the event answers as exactly to 
the prediction as do the letters on this page to the 
type of which they are the impression. Can any 
evidence of the source of Scriptiure be stronger than 


the correspondence — ^with these accompanying con- 
ditions — between the prophecy and its accomplish- 
ment? "If prudence could have foreseen the 
result, the predic^on may be but an instance of 
human sagacity. If the result was not foretold^ 
there is no prophetic evidence. And if the pre- 
diction led men to seek its fulfilment, the fulfilmssX 


I70 Bible Lore. 

is the result of human contrivance."* But these 
conditions, needful to constitute prophetic evidence, 
concur in the prophecies of the word of God; 
hence prophecy has been well termed ^^a miracle 
of knowledge." 

There is also one oljier remarkable and character- 
istic feature of the prophecies of the Bible. What 
Dr. Arnold said of all Scripture is as true of pro- 
phecy as of any other part of the word of God; 
it '^ is practical, and intended to minister to our 
improvement rather than to oiu: curiosity." "In 
the prophetic Scriptures this peculiarity is equally 
obvious. They are all either intensely moral, or 
■ evangelical, or both. It might have been other- 
wise, without injury to prophecy as an outward 
evidence of Scripture. The gift of prediction and 
of moral teaching might have been disjoined ; but 
in feet they are not : what might have ministered to 
the gratification of natural curiosity only, is enlisted 
on the side of practical holiness. The prophet is 
the teacher, and the history of the future (which 
prophecy is) becomes, like the history of the past, 
the handmaid of evangelical truth and of spiritual 
improvement." Of the intention of prophecy to 
be a moral instructor, rather than a solver of curious 

* Angus. 

Remarkable Predictions in the Bible. 171 

inquiries, we have a striking ^Kample in the con- 
versation of our Lord with Peter (John xxi. 18 — 23). 
That apostle, — the accomplishment of whose pre- 
dicted denial of his Master, as well as of the fore- 
told treachery of Judas, must have prepared him to 
regard, as of inevitable fulfilment, any prophecy 
from the same infallible source, — ^was warned as to 
his own future ; but along with the prophecy went 
the lesson, "Follow Me." Peters curiosity con- 
cerning the future of another of the apostles is ex- 
cited, and he inquires respecting John, " And what 
shall this man doV^ Jesus saw the motive that 
urged the question, and, though He knew the 
future of John as perfectly as of Peter, He declines 
the exercise of prophetic power unless it can be 
subordinated to some great moral purpose. Hence 
His reply was, " What is that to thee ? follow thou 
Me." And the very next verse admonishes tte that 
the reproof of a too curious spirit should not be 
wrested into the delivery of a prediction. 

Keeping in mind, then, these two things (i) The 
conditions^ zjtA (2) the moral purpose of prophecy, 
let us glance at some of the predictions which are 
recorded in the Bible. 

I. Some of its most remarkable prophecies relate 
to nations. 

1/2 Bible Lam 

I. Let us take that very prominent Bible countiyy 
JuDAA, ''the Land <^ Promise," a comitry that was 
afterwards ranked by Greeks and Romans among 
their finest provinces; a land dotted with cities, and 
crowded with villages, and whose fruits outrivalled 
those of Italy; a land called by the Greeks a 
garden, and described in the Bible as ''a land 
flowing with milk and honey." Concerning this 
country let the prophecies contained in the follow- 
ing passages be carefiLlly read . — Lev. xxvL 31 — 35; 
Isa. i 7; xxiv. i — 12; xxxix. 9 — 14; Jer. iv. 20, 
26 — 28; xiL 7 — 13; Ezek. xiL 19, 20; these pas- 
sages being but a few of many in which the present 
state of the land was accurately portrayed many 
generations before the state of things so minutely 
described had actually come to pass. Compare, 
then, the prophetic picture with the facts of history, 
and with what eye-witnesses have beheld. Succes- 
sively overrun by Chaldeans, Egyptians, Romans, 
it was afterwards laid waste by Mohamm^Sans, by 
several civil wars, was the great battlefield of the 
crusaders, who contended for the possession of its 
ruins, amid which at this day reside a wretched mon- 
grel population of Turks and Arabs and poverty- 
stricken Jews, whose clamours for backshish would 
have been deemed impossible by the subjects of tliat 

Remarkable Predictions in the Bible, 173 

king who had made silver to be plentiful in Jerusa- 
lem as the stones of the street. . All travellers describe 
this once favoured, wealthy, mighty, and populous 
country as a field of ruins without roads, inns, or 
conveyances ; inhabited by a scanty population of 
sad, ill-fed, and ill-govemed people. If at some 
time that famous "traveller from New Zealand 
shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand 
on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the 
ruins of St. Paul's," some one may be disposed to 
suggest that Macauley's* "Review of Ranke's 
History of the Popes," should it survive to that 

* Macauley used the same image in the concluding^ pas- 
sage of a review of Mitford's Greece (1824), and again in 
his review of Mill's Essay on Government (1829). But it 
was not original* Volney {Ruins, chap, ii.) says, " Who 
knows but that hereafter some traveller like myself will sit 
down upon the banks of the Seine, the Thames, or the 
Zuyder Zee, where now, in the tumult of enjoyment, the 
heart and the eyes are too slow to take in the multitude of 
sensations ? Who knows but he will sit down solitary 
amid silei^ ruins, and weep a people inurned, and their 
gre|tness changed into an empty name ? *' The same idea 
had previously occurred to Horace Walpole (Letter to 
Mason, Nov. 24, 1774): "At last some curious traveller 
from Lima will visit England, and give a description of the 
ruins of St. PauPs, like the editions of Baalbec and 
Palmyra." Both Kirke White (Time), and Shelley (Dedi^ 
cation to Peter Bell) employed the same idea before 
Macauley's New Zealander was heard of. 

174 Bible Lore. 

remote period, may set up a rival claim to inspira- 
tion. This, however, will have to be remembered, 
that Macaulcy and Volney, etc, had only predicted 
something similar to what had akeady happened in 
the history of nations. They spoke of historic 
possibilities, not of predetermined events. Moses, 
Isaiah, and Jeremiah were not writing amongst the 
**ruins of empires;^* their eyes had not rested on 
dismantled capitals such as to the modem writer 
were suggestive of the possible decay of London. 
In their time, the great empires of the eastern 
world were in the full tide of their life, and giving 
no evidence of decline ; while of those of the 
west, (Irecce only received the Phoenician letters 
from Cadmus (n.c. 1493) two years before Moses 
led the Israelites out of the "house of bondage;" 
and Rome was not founded when Isaiah wrote^ 
and was only building its port — Ostia — when Jere- 
miah foretold the seventy years* captivity. The 
inspired prophets had no historic precedent for the 
pictures they were limning. But let us retfim. 
Bishop Newton and Dr. Graves have shown at 
great length how fully accomplished are the striking 
predictions relative to the Jews that are contained 
in the twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy, of 
which, to specify a few particulars : " Moses fore- 

Remarkable Predictions in the Bible, 175 

told that they should be removed into all the king- 
doms of the earth, scattered among all people from 
one end of the earth even unto the other, find no 
ease or rest, be oppressed and crushed alway, be 
left few in number among the heathen, pine away 
in their iniquity in their enemy's land, and become 
an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword unto 
all nations," How literally all this has been ful- 
filled, is matter of common observation and of 
universal history. The student will also do well 
to consult, and compare with their fulfilment, the 
following predictions : Lev. xxvi. 33, 36 — 39, 44 ; 
Deut iv. 27; Jer. xv.^; xvL 13; ix. i6; xxiv. 9, 
10; XV. 7; xxix. 18; Ezra v. 10; xiL 15 ; vil 19; 
Isa, Ivii. 17 j Amos ix. 9 ; Jer. viil 3; Hos. ix. i 7; 
Isa. vi. 10 — 12; Amos ix. iv; Jer. xlvi. 28; Hos. 
iii. 4, 5 ; and also to remember that in their pros- 
perity Isaiah foretold their captivity; and in their 
captivity, when threatened with destruction, and 
when ten ttibes had already disappeared, Jeremiah 
predicted their deliverance (xxx. 10, 11; xxxiii. 25, 
26 ; xlvi. 27, 28). 

2. Take as another example the prophecies re" 
lating to Edom. Ti|at Edom was at one time a 
great nation is proved by the ruins of thirty towns 
within three days' journey from the Red Se^.. 

176 Bible Lore, 

Having applied themselves to commerce and agri- 
culture, and obtained possession of the sea in their 
part of the Arabian Gulf, ihey were reduced to 
subjection by the conquering arms of David, who 
placed garrisons in their country (2 Sam. viiL 14), 
and celebrated his victory in two of his Psalms 
(Ix. 8, cviiL 9) : and subsequently Joab is said, 
during his six months* campaign, to have cut off 
every male in Edom (i Kings xL 16). Thus was 
fulfilled that part of the prophecy of Isaac, which 
said that Esau should serve his brother (Gen. xxviL 
40), and that remarkable prediction of Balaam 
respecting the future glory of Jacob (Num. xxiv. 
18). In after times the Edomites revolted from 
Judah (2 Kings viiL 22), regained their liberty and 
importance, and hence the latter part of the pro- 
phecy was fulfilled, that Esau should break the 
yoke of Jacob from oflf his neck (Gen. xxvii. 40). 
Still the old animosity never slept Edom rejoiced 
at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian 
conqueror, and the calamities of the Israelites 
(Obad. 12—14); and in the fatal day of Jerusalem 
they cried, "Rase it, rase it, even to the foun- 
dation thereof" (Ps. cxxxvil 7). For this they 
were reproved (Ezek. xxxv. 15), and ultimately 
destroyed (Isa. xxiv. 11; Jer xlix. 7 — 22). So 

Remarkable Predictions in the Bible, 177 

utterly had Edom perished, that it was not till the 
time of Buckhardt that the present existing proofs 
of the fulfilment of the prophetic denunciation were 
discovered. The old inhospitality which was first 
the sin of Edom (Num. xx. 18) seems to have be- 
come its punishment (Isa. xxxiv. 10); many had 
tried to explore the region (as Seetzen, Joliffe, Hen- 
niker, etc.), but had signally failed. At length 
Buckhardt (181 1), under the name of Sheikh Ibra- 
ham, and in the guise of a poor Arab, succeeded 
in obtaining, with great difficulty and danger, a hasty 
glimpse of the wonderful valley of Petra, which 
exceeded all that the Arab rumours had promised, 
and at once cleared away all the clouds and diffi- 
culties which had hitherto involved the Divine 
denunciations against Edom. Irby and Mangles, 
with their retinue, were forced to return, though 
protected by powerful Arab chiefs ; and only after 
repeated efforts (18 18) did they succeed in pene- 
trating to the city of Petra. Once famous for 
knowledge (Jer. xlix. 7 ; Obad. 8), the present in- 
habitants look upon the ruins as the work of spirits 
(Isa. xxxiv. 10), and Keith says that "the Arabs 
are afraid to enter it, or conduct any within its 

3. Arabia is another land whose wanderla^tdh^'s* 


178 Bible Lore, 

remind us of one of the most striking of the pro- 
phecies of Scripture, and its literal accomplishment 
Carefully study the terms of the predictions con- 
tained in Gen. xvi. 10 — 12; xvii, 20; and xxv. 
12 — 18; and compare those prophecies with the 
known history of the Arabs, and with their condi- 
tion and character at this day. It was said of 
Ishmael, their- great progenitor, ^^Ile will be a wUd 
mati'^ (Gen. xvi. 12), or, literally, "« wild ass-man,^' 
that is to say, as wild as a wild ass ; and the ac- 
count of that animal in Job xxxix. 5 — 8, aflfords the 
best possible description of the wandering, lawless, 
and freebooting lives and manners of the Arabs. 
" From the commencement of the Ishmaelites to 
the present day they have maintained their inde- 
pendency; and if there were no other argument to 
evince the Divine origin of the Pentateuch, the 
accoimt of Ishmael, and the prophecy concerning 
his descendants, collated with their history and 
manner of life during a period of nearly four thou- 
sand years, would be sufficient ; it may indeed be 
pronounced absolutely demonstrative." * 

4. The same precision in the accomplishment 
of prophecy may be noticed in the cases of Egypt 
(Ezek. xxix. lo, 15; xxx. 6, 12, 13), of Ethiopia 

* Home. 

Remarkable Predictions in tJte Bible. 179 

(Nah. iii. 8 — 10), and other nations of antiquity. 
Indeed, so exactly does the history of the four 
great monarchies correspond with the prophecies 
of Daniel (ii. 39, 40; vii. 17 — 24; viiL and ix.) 
that the celebrated infidel Porph)n*y (a.d. 233 — 304\ 
could only evade the force of their evidence by 
declaring, contrary to all evidence, that they were 
written long after the events ; " which is as absurd 
as if any one should maintain that the works of 
Virgil were not written under Augustus, but after 
his time ; . for. the Book of Daniel was as public, as 
widely dispersed, and as universally received as 
any book could ever possibly be." 

II. Leaving the remarkable predictions relating 
to nations, let us now consider two or three re- 
specting some of the famous cities of the Bible. 

I. Few of the cities of the past were, in their way, 
more flourishing and wealthy than the celebrated 
Tyre, The Hebrew prophets, being commanded 
to foretell its overthrow, on account of the wicked- 
ness of the inhabitants, delivered their predictions 
with great minuteness and circumstantiality (see 
Isa. xxiii.j,Jer. xxv.; Ezek, xxvi. — xxviii. ; Amos 
i. 9, 10; Zech. ix. i — 8; Joel iii. 4 — 8). That 
these predictions have been literally accomplished, 
let the present state of this once famous citY b^*^ 

Remarkable Predictions in the Bible, i8i 

voice of prophecy. Nor can I make any lamenta- 
tion for her ; she is a greater blessing to the world 
now, than in the day of her highest prosperity." * 
The entire overthrow of this famous city recals the 
lines of Howitt : — 

" Ere long came on a traveller, slowly paced ; 
Now east, now west, he turned with curious eye, 
Like one perplexed with an uncertainty. 
Awhile he looked upon the sea, and then 
Upon a book, as if it might supply 
The thing he lacked ; he read, and gazed again ; 
Yet, as if unbelief so on him wrought, 
He might not deem that shore the shore he sought." 

2. Nineveh affords another example of a remark- 
able prophecy and its fulfilment. Consider what is 
well kr.own of the history, condition, and character 
of this " exceeding great city," and then compare 
the following prophecies with its present state 
(Nah. i. 8, lo ; ii. 6 — 9 ; iii. 13 — 17 ; Zeph. ii. 13 — 
15), and remember that Zephaniah wrote one 
hundred years after Nahum, and fifty years before 
the event he predicted, when as yet there were no 
signs of decay in that empire city of the East. 
"The account of the prophet," says Dr. Angus, 
" when compared with the narrative of the historian 
(Diodorus Siculus), reading more like history than 

* See also Robinson, Bibs K^s. v\. a^^'>^^. 

1 82 

Bible Lore. 

prophecy. Lucian, who flourished in 200 
ivas a native of that region, affinns tha 
utterly perished, and there was no foots 
remaining." For many years the very site 
unknown, and only latterly have the rese: 
Layard and Botta made the frequenters 
European museums familiar with a few of 1 
of this vast metropolis of ancient Assyria, < 
from " an extended waste, interspersed i 
with heaps of rubbish." 

3. Babylon also furnishes another i 
One hundred and sixty years be.'ore its o\ 
Isaiah {xiii. ig, xiv, 22, xxL 2, xlv. i, 3 
delivered his predictions. One hundred yc 
this, Jeremiah prophesied (1. i, 11, 27, 30 
57). Isaiaii names its conquerors, tlieii 
and states how it will be entered. Both | 
describe its subsequent condition. Hi 
(I!k. i. 114), who hved 250 y.^ars after Isa 
Xcnophon {Cyrop. v, ciii. 38), who li\ 
years aftei Herodotus, furnish minute proo 
accuracy of the fulfilment Strabo says th 
time " the city was a vast solitude." Lucia 
aftirms that " Babylon will soon be sought 
not found, as is already the case with K 
Pausanias (c. viii. 33) states that nothing 

Remarkable Predictions in the Bible. 183 

but the walls ; Jerome, that in his time it was a 
receptacle for beasts; and modern travellers (in- 
cluding Sir R. K. Porter) testify to the universal 
desolation. "It is little better than a swamp, and 
I could not help reflecting (says one) how faithfully 
the various prophecies have been fulfilled " {Angus). 
"Surrounded by such scenes as the modem tra- 
veller describes,* and comparing them with the 
pictures of history and prophecy, one may well 
exclaim with Brownlee ; — 

** Where are the cities which of old in mighty grandeur rose 
Amid the desert's burning sands, or girt with frozen snows ? 
Is there no Testige now remains, their wondrous tale to tell, 
Of how they blazed like meteor-stars, and how, like them, 

they fell ? 
Hark! harkl the voice of prophecy comes o'er the desert 

wide I 
Come down, come down, and in the dust thy virgin beau- 
ties hide : 
O * daughter of Chaldea,* thou no more enthroned > halt be, 
For the desert and the wilderness alone shall tell of thee. 
Though old Euphrates still rolls in his everlasting: 8t:eam, 
Thy brazen gates and golden halls, as though they ne'er 

had been ; 
Where stood thy massy tower-crowned walls, and palaces 

of pride. 
The dragon and the wild beast now therein Fecurely hide; 
The * besom of destruction * o'er thee hath swept its way 
In wrath, because thine impious hand on God's Anointed 

* " Topics for Teachers," iu 1^* 

184 Bib^e Lore, 

III. Our space warns us that though much more 
might be said concerning nations and cities (Jeru- 
salem to wit), we must turn to some of the pro- 
phecies respecting individuals, Ishmael has been 
already referred to. 

1. Three hundred and sixty-one years before the 
event, Josiah was prophetically announced by name, 
and his acts for the suppression of idolatry were 
recounted by a prophet who came out of Judah on 
purpose to denounce the judgments of God upon 
the priests of the altar, and upon the altar itself, 
which Jeroboam had then recently erected at 
Bethel (compare i Kings xiii. i — 10, with 2 Kings 
xxiii. 15 — 20). 

2. One of the most remarkable characters of 
ancient history, and one that is particularly interest- 
ing to the biblical student, is Cyrus, who was the 
subject of a prophecy that the most stubborn un- 
believer cannot deny to have been fulfilled. The 
advent, and name, and acts of this great monarch 
were with a wonderful exactness predicted by the 
prophet Isaiah (xliv. 28, xlv. i — 4, 13), and were 
most wonderfully accomplished (compare Ezra i. 
I — 4). Josephus, indeed, narrates {A?itiq. xi. i. 
I, 2) a remarkable story. He says that the pro- 
phecies of Isaiah respecting Cyrus were shown to 

Remarkable Predictions in the Bible, 185 

that king, and that, struck with the divine record, 
he was induced to issue his decree. 

3. But remarkable as such predictions concerning 
persons are, they bear no comparison with those 
that relate to yesus Christ Predictions that prove 
in their precise accomplishment that "the testimony 
of Jesus was the spirit of prophecy,** and that in 
Him " was fulfilled all that the prophets had written 
concerning Him." So numerous and so minute 
are the prophecies relating to the Son of God, that 
we might weaken the force of the great lesson they 
teach, if we were to indicate some of the most 
striking; we prefer, therefore, to present a condensed 
summary of the whole of the most important, 
leaving it to the Bible student to examine for 
himself, in each case, the prediction and its fulfil- 
ment : — 

Son of God (Ps. ii. 7, cf, Luke L 32, 35); seed 
of woman (Gen. iii. 15, ^ Gal. iv. 4) ; of Abraham 
(Gen. xvii. 7, xxii. 18, ^ Gal. iii. 16); of Isaac 
(Gen. xxi. 12, ^ Heb. xi. 17 — 19); of David (Ps. 
cxxxii. 11; Jer. xxiii. 5, cf. Acts xiiL 23 ; Rom. 
i. 3) ; coming at set time (Gen. xlix. xo; Dan. ix. 
24, 2^, cf. Luke ii. i); born of virgin (Isa. vii. 14, 
cf. Matt. i. 18; Luke ii. 7); called Immanuel (Isa. 
vii. 14, cf M-itt. L 22, 23) ; at Bethlehem of Jude* 

1 86 Bible Lore. 

(Micah V. 2, cf. Matt ii. i ; Luke ii 4 — 6) ; great 
persons come to worship (Ps. Ixxii. 10, ^ Matt u. 
I — 11); slaying of children (Jer. xxxL 15, $/C Matt 
ii. 16—18); called out of Egypt (Hos. xi. i, cf. 
Matt ii. 15); His herald (Isa. xL 3 ; MaL iiL i, 
cf. Matt iii. i — 3; Luke L 17); anointed with 
Spirit (Ps. xlv. 7 ; Isa. xL 2, IxL i, ^ Matt iii. 16; 
John iii. 34 ; Acts x 38). Like Moses (Deut xviiL 
15 — 18, cf Acts iiL 20, 22); Priest Melchizedek 
(Ps. ex 4, cf Heb. V. 5, 6); ministry, entering 
(Isa, Ixi. I, 2, cf Luke iv. 16 — 21, 43). Galilee 
(Isa. ix I, 2, cf Matt iv. 12 — 16, 23) ; entering 
Jerusalem (Zech. ix 9, cf Matt xxL i — 5) ; temple 
(Hag. ii. 7, 9 ; Mai. iii i, cf Matt xxL 12 ; Luke 
ii. 27 — 32 ; John ii. 13 — 16); poverty (Isa. liiL 2, 
cf, Mark vi. 3 ; Luke ix 58) ; meekness (Isa. xliL 
2, cf Matt xii. 15 — 19; tenderness (Isa, xL 11, 
xlii. 3, cf Matt xii. 15, 20; Heb. iv. 15); without 
guile (Isa. liii. <), cf 1 Pet ii. 22); zeal (Ps. Ixix 
9, cf John ii. 17) ; parables (Ps. IxxviiL 2, cf Matt 
xiii. 34, 35); miracles (Isa. xxxv. 5, 6, cf Matt xL 
4 — 6 ; John xi. 47) ; bearing reproach (Ps. xxii. 6, 
Ixxix 7, 9, 20, cf Rom. xv. 2) ; rejected (Ps. bcxix. 
8; Isa. liii. 3, cf John i. 11, vii. 5); to Jews, stone 
of stumbling (Isa. viii. 14, cf. Rom. ix. 32 ; i Pet 
»• 8) ; they hated Him (Ps. Ixix 4 ; Isa. xlix 7, cf. 

Remarkable Predictions in the Bible, 187 

John XV. 24, 25); rejected Him (Ps. cxviii. 22, cf. 
Matt. xxi. 42 ; John vii. 48) ; combination against 
Him (Ps. ii. i, 2, ^ Luke xxiii. 12 ; Acts iv. 27) ; 
betrayal (Ps. xlL 9, Iv. 12 — 14, cf. John xiii. 18, 21); 
forsaken by disciples (Zech. xiii. 7, cf. Matt xxvi. 
31, 56); sold (Zech. xi. 12, 13, cf. Matt. xxvL 15, 
xxvii. 7); sufferings (Ps. xxil 14, 15, (/^ Luke xxiL 
42, 44); for others (Isa. liii. 4 — 6, 12 ; Dan. ix. 
26, cf Matt. XX. 28); patience (Isa, liii. 7, (/". Matt, 
xxvi. (i2i^ xxviL 12 — 14); smitten (Mic. v. i, cf. 
Matt, xxvii. 30) ; visage marred (Isa. lii. 14, liii. 3, 
cf John xix. 5) ; scourged, etc (Isa. 1. 6, cf Mark 
xiv. 65 ; John xix. i); crucifixion (Ps. xxii. id^ cf 
John xix. 18, XX. 25) ; forsaken of God (Ps. xxii. i, 
cf Matt, xxvii. 46); mocked (Ps. xxii. 7, 8, cf. 
Matt, xxvii. 39 — 44) ; gall, etc, to drink (Ps. bdx. 
21, (/[ Matt xxvii. 34; garments parted (Ps. xxil 
18, ^ Matt xxvii 35); with transgressors (Isa. 
liii. 12, (/[ Mark xv. 28); intercession (Isa. liii. 12, 
cf. Luke xxiii. 34); death (Isa. liii. 12, cf. Matt. 
xxvii. 50) ; no bone broken (Exod. xii. 46 ; Ps. 
xxxiv. 20, cf, John xix. 33, 36) ; pierced (Zech. xii. 
10, cf, John xix. 34, 37) ; buried with rich (Isa. 
liii. 9, cf. Matt, xxvii. 57 — 60) ; flesh not corrupted 
(Ps. xvi. 10, cf. Acts. ii. 31) ; resurrection (Ps. xvi. 
10 ) Isa. xxvi. 19, cf. Luke xxiv. 6, 31, 34); 

1 88 Bible Lore. 

ascension (Ps. IxviiL i8, ^ Luke xxiv. 51 ; Acts L 
9) ; rig^t hand of God (Ps. ex. i, cf, Heb. i. 3) ; 
Priest for ever (Zech. vi. 13, ^/^ Rom. viiL 34); 
corner-stone of Church (Isa. xxviii. 16, ^ i PeL 
ii. 6, 7) \ King in Zion (Ps. ii. 6, cf. Luke L 32 ; 
John xix. 33 — 37) ; conversion of Gentiles (Isa. xL 
10, xlii. I, cf. Matt. i. 17, 20; John x. 16 ; Acts x. 
45 — 47) \ government (Ps. xlv. 6, 7, cf, John v. 30 ; 
Rev. xix. ii)j universal dominion (Ps. Ixxii. 8; 
Dan. vii. 14, cf, Phil. ii. 9, 11); everlasting king- 
dom (Isa. ix. 7 ; Dan. vii. 14, cf. 1. 32, 33). Thus 
in every minute detail were the Scriptures fulfilled ; 
for "to Him give all tlie prophets witness" (Acts 

X. 43)-* 

With this summary of the predictions relating to 

the Redeemer, we close our chapter on some of the 

remarkable prophecies of the Bible ; reminding 

the reader, as we do so, of those words of the 

apostle (2 Pet. i. 21), which are so eminently sug- 

[^cstive of the Divine origin of the book containing 

these wonderful announcements, and so clearly 

explanatory of the reason of their precise fulfilment, 

" For the prophecy came not in the old time by 

the will of man : but holy men of God spake as 

they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 

• *' Topics for Teachers," ii. 192, 193. 





ET us first illustrate what is meant when 
we speak of " striking coincidences in the 
^ Bible." On the i8th of June, 1770, there 
died an old man, named John Hatfield, at the age 
of 102, whose life had many years before been 
saved by a striking coincidence. He had been a 
soldier in his early days, in the time of William 
and Mary. At that time be was charged with 
having fallen asleep when on duty on the terrace 
at Windsor Castle. An obituary notice which ap- 
peared in the Public Advertiser goes on to state 
that " he absolutely denied the charge against him, 
and solemnly declared (as a proof of his having been 
awake at the time) that he heard St. Paul's clock 
strike thirteen^ the truth of which was much doubted 
by the court, by reason of the great distance." 
John Hatfield was found guilty, and sentence of 
death was passed upon him. While he was await- 
ing his execution, several persons came forward, 

192 Bible Lore. 

and made an affidayft Ihat the clock did actually 
strike thirteen, instead of twelve, upon which he 
received his Majesty's pardon. It was a remark- 
able thing that the clock should strike thirteen that 
night \ that he, at that great distance, should hear 
Ud count the strokes of the bell, there being a 
fevourable condition of the atmosphere then ; that 
he should have been charged with being asleep at 
that very time \ and that other people should have 
heard and counted the same number of strokes 
upon the bell. His statement in defence coincided 
with the fact, between which and the individual 
experience of several persons there was another 
coincidence. Now suppose that John Hatfield, with- 
out having been charged with sleeping at his post, 
had gone off duty, and, some time after, in writing 
an account of his night watch in a letter to a friend, 
had incidentally alluded to those thirteen strokes 
in this way : " As I was walking along the terrace 
at twelve o'clock, I saw, just after I had heard the 
clock of St. Paul's, London, strike thirteen, the 
following sight," etc. Almost any person, on 
reading that letter, would be disposed to doubt the 
soldier's statement For one wou d say, " I doubt 
whether John Hatfield is speaking the truth in this 
letter. The main point is what he saw. But he 

Striking Coincidences in the Bible. 193 

incickntally says he saw it jiMt after St. Paul's clock 
had struck thirteen. Now it is most improbable that 
the clock did strike thirteen; and#ill less pr^f^ible 
that he heard it strike at all at so great a distance.". 
It would be very natural for a person to come to 
the conclusion that the soldier's letter was lll^ 
unreliable document A doubt on one portion of 
it would be presently conmiunicated to the whole. 
Presently, however, this person receives a lettei* 
from a friend in town, who, after describing a 
sleepless night, adds, "I think the authorities 
should see to the repairing of St Paul's clock ; for 
on such a night" (the date corresponding with 
Hatfield's letter) "it struck thirteen instead of 
twelve," etc. The receiver of the letter would 
then begin to think that, after all, there was not. 
so much reason to doubt the soldier's veracity. 
Still, the great distance is a difficulty. One day, 
ho .vever, he meets with a book descriptive of Lon- 
don, and reads therein an account of the clock 
of St Paul's, and how, on a still night, and with a 
favourable condition of the atmosphere and direc- 
tion of the wind, the deep tones of the bell may be 
heard upwards of twenty miles away. Knowing 
there has been no collusion between his friend who 
had the sleepless night, and the author oCl\sfi.^<^Ofc. 

194 BibU Lore. 

alx;ut Ix^ndon, and John Hatfield, die reader of 
the three documents is forced to the ooncliisioii 
that ihcy corro^rate each other. He has been 
led to that conclusion by the striking annddaia 
in the three disconnected statements. 

Such coincidences abound in all parts of the 
word of God ; and they present an unanswerable 
arj;ument for the veracity of the inspired writers 
of that booL Dr. Paley employed it with great 
effect in his work entided Hara Faulifug; and 
before his time Doddridge, in his introduction to 
his paraphrase and notes on the First Episde to the 
llicssalonians, had said, ''AMioever reads over 
St Paul's Kpistles with attention will discern such 
intrinsic characters in their genuineness, and the 
]>ivine authority of the doctrines they contain, as 
will perhaps produce in him a stronger conviction 
than all the external evidence with which they are 
attended 'I o which we may add, that the exact 
coincidence observable between the many allusions 
to particular facts, in this, as well as in other 
Epistles^ and the accounts of the facts themselves 
as they are recorded in the history of the Acts^ is a 
reniarka]>le confirmation of the truth of each. More 
recently this branch of sacred criticism has been 
treated in a work of great merit by the Rev. T. T. 

Striking Coincidences in the Bible, 195 

Blunt, B.D.,* which we most earnestly commend to 
the attention of the young Bible student, who, in addi- 
tion to the work named above, of Dr. Paley, and Dr. 
Graves's two lectures on the Pentateuch, may also 
consult with advantage that part of the first volume 
of Home's " Introduction to the Critical Study and 
Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures " which relates 
to the " genuineness and authenticity " of the Old 
and New Testaments. Akin to this question of 
coincidence between independent writers is that of 
consistency between the various statements of one 
writer, A few examples of these matters will 
be interesting to the more thoughtful of our readers. 
It may well surprise us, as Lardner (vol. i. p. 27) 
suggests, that Felix should hope for any bribe at the 
hands of Paul (Acts xxiv. 26), unless we suppose 
that the venal Roman remembered what his 
prisoner had previously stated (Acts xxiv. 17) ; for 
it is evident from the expression of Lysias (Acts 
xxii. 28) that there was a suspicion in his mind of 
Paul's veracity, his appearance giving no evidence 
of means for procuring citizenship by purchase. 
Yet, though his appearance was one of great 
poverty, Felix expected a bribe, thinking probably 

* •• Undesigned Coincidences in the Writings both of the 
Old and New Testament.** (Murray.^ 

196 Bible Lore. 

that all the alms had not been distributed, and that 
other money was within the apostle's reach ; hence 
we have an explanation of the charge to the 
centurion who kept Paul (Acts xxiv. 23). Such a 
minute and undesigned consistency between the 
speech of Paul and the conduct of Felix should 
" convince us that it is no fictitious or forged nana- 
tive that we are reading, but a true and very accu- 
rate detail of an actual occurrence." 

Read in succession the 5th, loth, and 38th 
verses of Acts xxvii. The continuous stoiy told 
by these verses is not seen till they are thus 
combined. We find that the vessel was a ^*ship 
of Alcxandriay sailing into Italy^ We read of 
the lading; it was therefore a merchant-vesseL 
The cargo, whatever it was (we do not discover 
this till afterwards), was so valuable that it was 
only cast overboard in the last extremity. By-and- 
by we discover that that cargo was wheat. One by 
one these circumstances drop out "at intervals 
in the course of the narrative, unarranged, unpre- 
meditated, thoroughly incidental; so that the 
chapter might be read twenty times, and their 
agreement with one another, and with contemporary 
history, be still overlooked." Now how does this 
consistent narrative coincide mth. known facts of 

Striking Coincidences in tJie Bible, 197 

history ? Thus : Egypt was the great corn-pro- 
ducing country of antiquity. It sometimes grew 
com enough in one year to last for two, and supply 
other countries. The famine-stricken Israelites 
went down to the valley of the Nile to buy com in 
the days of Joseph. In the days of Paul it was 
the granary of Rome. It was from the Egyptian 
port of Alexandria that this vessel sailed Sueto- 
nius tells us* {NerOy § 45) that in times of scarcity 
the vessels coming from that port to Italy were 
watched with intense anxiety as they approached 
the coast What was by no means usual in the 
vessels of that day, these merchant-ships of Alexan- 
dria were in size almost equal to some of our old 
men-of-war, and might therefore well accommodate 
the centurion and his numerous party, in addition 
to its own crew and lading." 

In I Kings xviL we have the story of Elijah and 
the ravens, concerning which there is much diver- 
sity of opinion. It will be known to most that 
originally the Hebrew Bible was written simply with 
consonants, and that the vowels — ^which are not 
letters at all, but simply points placed below the 
true letters — ^are a modem innovation. Leamed 

* " Nam et fort& accidit, ut in publica fama Alexatidtvcca^ 
navis nunciaretur pulverem luctalonbus 3i>aX\c\.% ^^n^^v^^sa* 

198 Bible Lore, 

Hebraists (e.g. Lightfoot, Boothroyd, eta) prefer 
the old original Hebrew, which is still used in the 
Jewish synagogues, where custom supplies the 
sound. The introduction of the vowels to repre- 
sent sounds was to a great extent arbitrary, and 
not always with the happiest results. Hence the 
word orebim^ here rendered " ravens," is precisely 
the same word which is elsewhere — ^with the vowel 
points slightly altered — ^rendered "Arabians," or 
"Arabs." So far, therefore, as the word is con- 
cerned, the food may have been brought to the 
prophet by Arabs. The most distinguished of the 
Jewish rabbis incline to this idea, and so also 
do many others, including our own Dr. Kitto, who 
illustrates the changes wrought in words by the 
introduction of the vowels, by the word grn, which 
by the addition of vowels may be grain^ or green^ 
or groan, or grin,^ Now on the supposition that 
Dr. Kitto and others who hold this view are right, 
is there anything in the history that by way of co- 
incidence will support it ? Yes, there is. "We find, 
on glancing at the top of the page in our Bible 
with marginal notes, that the date of this event is 
B. c. cir, 9 1 o — about 910. The chronology is a ilttle 
uncertain. It may have been two or three years 
• •• Daily Bible Illustrations," iii. 210 ff. 

Striking Coincidences in the Bible. 199 

before or after. On turning to 2 Chron. xvii. 1 1, we 
find that Arabians were in that region at about that 
time, B.C. 914. They must have been there some 
time, for we cannot suppose that 15,400 animals 
were collected and driven over all at once. The 
quantity is accounted for by the famine that pre- 
vailed at that time. The probabilty is, that the 
Arabs, finding a good market in this time of gene- 
ral scarcity, and having also political reasons for 
conciliating the king of Judah, made a sort of 
depot on the banks of the Jordan, and from time 
to time sent across the flocks they collected ; some 
for sale, and some as presents to the king. It is 
also a curious coincidence that Elijah was himself 
a native of that very region, " A Itshbite of the 
inhabitants of Gileadr Added to the fact that 
he was their own countryman, there are also the 
circumstances of Arab hospitality and S)nnpathy 
with outlawed men to be taken into account Being 
the allies of the king of Judah, they would be the 
more ready to assist one upon whose head a price 
had been set by the king of Israel, There are 
also some very important considerations of a moral 
kind that favour this hypothesis ; but these we pass 
over, as we have to do with coincidences only. 
Among these we find that timt^ flau^ articles oj 

200 Bible Lore. 

trade^ and the nation of the traders, with their kfurwn 
character^ coincide with all that the supposition 

We read in Luke iil 14, that while John the 

Baptist was preaching in the neighbourhood of the 

Jordan, some soldiers came to him, and " demanded 

of himy saytn^y Wliat shall we do ?** "VVho were 

these soldiers? It does not appear that the 

Romans who were tlien stationed in Judea were 

engaged in any war. Besides, the word used by 

the Evangelist is not <rr/>aTccirroi, or soldiers^ but 

ffT/MTcvo^cyoc, i.e. men who were adually under arms^ 

or marching to battle. There must have been a 

sufficient reason for the use of the word, of which 

another form crrporcverai (i Cor. ix. 7) is rendered 

^^gocth a warfare." Michaelis (i. 51) indicates 

a very striking coincidence here by pointing out the 

fact that at that time, as Josephus informs us {Ant. 

xviiL 5, I. 2), Herod was at tJiat very time engaged 

in a war with his father-in-law, Aretas, a petty king 

of Arabia Petrsea, whose daughter he had married, 

but who had returned to her father in consequence 

of Herod's ill-treatment The army of Herod, then 

on its march from Galilee, passed of necessity 

through the country where John was baptizing ; and 

the military men who questioned him were a part 

Striking Coincidences in the Bible, 20l 

of that army. ** So minute, so perfect, and so 
latent a coincidence was never discovered in a for- 
gery of later ages." 

Dr. Marsh (Lectures^ part v. 78 — 82) points out 
another coincidence in ver. 19, 20 of the same 
chapter of St. Luke. What connection was there 
between the soldiers of ver. 14 and the place of 
John's imprisonment, which was in the neighbour- 
hood of the place where the Baptist was preach- 
ing? The EvangeHst Mark (vL 17 — 28) relating 
the circumstances of the apprehension and death 
of John, speaks of an executioner^ but does not 
explain why a person in actual military service 
((TTCKouXarw/)) was employed, or why Herodias should 
have so hated John as to have demanded his death. 
Now Josephus, in the passage above cited, explains 
both circumstances. Herod was at war with Aretas. 
On the march against his father-in-law, Herod gave 
an entertainment in the fortress of Machaerus, not 
far distant from where John was preaching. He- 
rodias was the cause of that war, since it was on 
her account that Herod's wife had taken refuge 
with her father. She had a special interest in 
accompanying- Herod on his march; "and her 
hatred of John, who had reproved Herod on her 
account, at that particular time is thus clearly 

202 Bible Lore. 

accounted for. No spurious productions could bear 
so rigid a test as that which is here applied to the 
Gospels of Mark and Luke." 

St. Luke informs us (Acts xxvii i) that when 
St Paul was sent from Csesarea to Rome, he was, 
with other prisoners, committed to the care of 
Julius, an officer of the Augustan cohort ; that is, 
a Roman cohort which had the honour of bearing 
the name of the emperor. On this statement Bishop 
Marsh (LedureSy part v. 82 £) makes the following 
comment: "Now it appears from the account 
which Josephus has given in his second book on 
the Jewish war {BdL J^ud. ii 13. 7), that when 
Felix was procurator of Judea, the Roman garri- 
son at Caesarea was chiefly composed of soldiers 
who were natives of Syria, But it also appears, as 
well from the same book (cap. xii. 5) as from the 
twentieth book of his " Antiquities " (cap. vi.), that 
a small body of Roman soldiers was stationed there 
at the same time, and that this body of Roman 
soldiers was dignified with the title of 2EBATH, 
or Augustan, the same Greek word being employed 
by Josephus as by the author of the Acts of the 
Apostles. This select body of Roman soldiers 
had been employed by Cumarus, who immediately 
preceded Felix in the procuratorship of Judea, for 

Striking Coi?tcidences in the Bible, 203 

the purpose of quelling an insurrection {Ant, J^ud, 
XX. 6). And when Festus, who succeeded Felix, 
had occasion to send prisoners from Caesarea to 
Rome, he would of course intrust them to the care 
of an officer belonging to the select corps. Even 
here we have a coincidence which is worthy of 
notice ; a coincidence which we should never have 
discovered without consulting the writings of Jose- 
phus. But that which is most worthy of notice is 
the circumstance that this select body of soldiers 
bore the title of Augustan. This title was, of 
course, known to St Luke, who accompanied St 
Paul from Caesarea to Rome. But that, in the 
time of the Emperor Nero, the garrison of Caesarea, 
which consisted chiefly of Syrian soldiers, con- 
tained also a small body of Roman soldiers, and 
that they were dignified by the epithet Augustan, 
are circumstances so minute that no impostor of a 
later age would have known them ; and they prove 
incontestably that the Acts of the Apostles could 
have been written only by a person in the situation 
of St Luke." 

We are told by St Matthew, that " as Jesus sat 
at meat in the house^ behold, many publicans and 
sinners came and sat down with Him " (ix. 9, 10). 
Speaking of an occurrence that concerned hims^lC^ 


204 Bible Lore. 

it was quite natural that Matthew should simply 
say the house, without naming its owner, and with- 
out perceiving that there was anything vague or 
obscure in what to him was so plain. St Mark 
and St. Luke, who narrate the same incident as 
historians, and not as participators, tell us whose 
house it was. St Mark (iL 15), speaking of the 
call of Levi, says that " Jesus sat at meat in his 
house; " and St Luke (v. 29) tells us that, "Levi 
made Him a great feast in his own house." The 
reason that Matthew speaks of the publicans may 
be found in the fact that the writer followed origin- 
ally the same occupation. " I think," says Blunt, 
" the odds are very great against the probability of 
a writer preserving consistency in trifles like these, 
were he only devising a story. I can scarcely 
imagine that such a person would hit upon the 
phrase, * in the house,' as an artful way of suggest- 
ing that the house was, in fact, his own, and him- 
self an eye-witness of the scene he described ; still 
less that he would refine yet further, and make 
the company assembled there to consist of pub- 
licans, in order that the whole picture might be 
complete and harmonious. It may be added that 
Capernaum, which was the scene of St. Matthew's 
call, was precisely the place where we might expect 

Striking Coincidences in the Bible, 205 

to meet with a man of his vocation, it being a 
station where such merchandise as was to be con- 
veyed by water-carriage along the Jordan, south- 
wards, might be very conveniently shipped, and 
where a custom-house would consequently be esta- 
blished. There is a similar propriety in the habitat 
of Zaccheus (Luke xix. 2); he was *a chief 
?mong the publicans,' and Jesus is said to have 
fallen in with him near yericho. Now Jericho 
was the centre of the growth, preparation, and ex- 
port of balsam, a very considerable branch of trade 
in Judea, and, therefore, a town which invited the 
presence of tax-gatherers. These are small matters, 
but such as bespeak truth in those who detail them." 
In the case of Elijah and the ravens we have 
given what may be termed a ^(^«/>^rdf/ coincidence. 
To this class belongs the following. Read, first in 
succession. Matt iv. 21, viii. 21, xx. 20, xxvii, 55, 
56. It appears, from the first of these passages, 
that when James and John were called to follow 
Christ, their father, Zebedee^ was alive. From the 
third quotation it appears that he was dead, since 
it was the mother of Zebedeis children who appealed 
to Christ on behalf of his sons ; and since he was 
not at the crucifixion, but the mother of Zebedeis 
children^ and since also she is not spoken of as the 

2o6 Bible Lore, 

wife of Zebedee, but as the mother of his children, 
all this seems to imply that she was a widow. It 
was during the period between iv. 21 and xx. 20, 
that one of our Lord's disciples asked of Him 
permission "/^ go and bury his father'^ The in- 
terval was brief, and the number of the disciples 
was small, amongst whom the sons of Zebedee 
were included. The " inference, therefore, is that 
the death of Zebedee is here alluded to, and that 
St Matthew, without a wish perhaps, or thought, 
either to conceal or express the individual (for 
there seems no assignable motive for his study- 
ing to do either), betrays an event familiar to our 
mind, in that inadvertent and unobtrusive manner 
in which the truth so often comes out" 

It is of the circumstantiality of the entire narra- 
tive, as well as the coincidence of the accounts de- 
livered in the New Testament with the history of 
those times, that Michaelis thus writes : " Whoever 
undertakes to forge a set of writings, and ascribe 
them to persons who lived at a former period, ex- 
poses himself to the utmost danger of a discord- 
ancy with the history and manners of the age to 
which his accounts are referred ; and this danger 
increases in proportion as they relate to points not 
mentioned in general history, but to such as belong 

Striking Coincidences in the Bible. 207 

only to a single city, sect, religion, or school. • Of 
all books that ever were written, there is none, if 
the New Testament is a forgery, so liable to detec- 
tion. The scene of the action is not confined to a 
single country, but displayed in the greatest cities 
in the Roman empire ; allusions are made to the 
various manners and principles of the Greeks, the 
Romans, and the Jews, which are carried so far 
with respect to the last nation as to extend even to 
the trifles and follies of their schools. A Greek or 
Roman Christian who lived in the second or third 
century, though as well versed in the writings of 
the ancients as Eustathius or Aconius, would still 
have been wanting in Jewish literature ; and a 
Jewish convert in those ages, even the most learned 
rabbi, would have been equally deficient in the 
knowledge of Greece or Rome. If, then, the ^^Tew 
Testament, thus exposed to detection (had it been 
an imposture), is found, after the severest researches, 
to harmonize with the history, the manners, and the 
opinions of the fijrst century ; and since, the more 
minutely we inquire, the more perfect we find the 
coincidence, we must conclude that it was beyond 
the reach of human abilities to effectuate so won- 
derful a deception" {Michaelis^s Introduction, i. 49), 
Speaking of the coincidences alone, Paley says 

2o8 , ^ihfe Lore. ^- § 

■ — iC^ 

(Bmdet^ceSj iL 136): ''And the undes^^dnes/^di 
these agreements (which undesignedness is gaAere^ 
froiA their latenqr, their minuteness, their obliquily, 
•the suitableness of the circumstances in which they 
consist to the places in which those circumstances 
occur, and the circuitous references by which they 
are traced out) demonstrates that they have not 
f)een produced by meditation, or by any firaudtdent 
contrivance; but coincidences from which these 
causes are excluded, and which are too dose and 
numerous to be accounted for by accidental occor- 
rences of fietioni must neeessaifly have truth fg 
their foundation." 

« ' 

• • 









N some old copies of the present autho- 
rized version of the Bible we find, between 
what we are accustomed to call the Old 
Testament and the New Testament, a number of 
books that pass by the name of the Apocrypha. 
What is the meaning of the word "apocrypha"? 
Why do these books bear that name ? Why are 
they found in some old copies of the Bible ? Are 
there any other books to which the term "apocry- 
pha " may be applied ? Such are some of the 
questions that we design to answer in this chapter. 
The word apochrypha — derived from the Greek 
OTTO, from ; and KpvirTUj, to hide — literally signifies 
hiddm^ secreted^ mysterious. A burial place beneath 
a church, as distinguished from the ordinary grave- 
yard, is called a crypt; and by that word, also from 
the root KpvirTU), we understand a concealed or select 
place of interment A large class of plants, in- 
cluding the ferns, we call /rrj^/ogamia, because they 
have their fructification concealed. In the two or 

212 Bible Lore, 

three places where the word occurs in the New 
Testament it has the sense of concealed ; thus 
(Mark iv. 22), " There is nothing hid (/cpuirrdir) 
which shall not be manifested, neither was anything 
kept secret (i.v6Kpwi>w) but that it should come 
abroad." By degrees the word apocryp/ia, as ap- 
plied to books, came to have a bad sense, and to 
signify " spurious,^ or ^^ forged,'' For the use of 
the term a number of reasons have been given, of 
which none are hardly tenable. Dismissing such 
reasons, " we may fairly suppose that books were 
denominated ^ apocryphaP either because they were 
not read in public, being kept as it 'were in the 
background, or else because they were regarded as 
containing mysterious doctrines, which were to be 
withheld from the multitude, and to be communi- 
cated only to those of understanding, to the initiated. 
Some there were of mythical character beyond any 
in the collection now known as ' Apocrypha : * to 
these such a designation would still more fitly apply. 
And, as several such books claimed to be the pro- 
ductions of illustrious men, prophets, and inspired 
— whose names, it was soon evident, were falsely 
assumed — both the propriety of the term is obvious, 
and the natural consequent depravation of its mean 
ing readily accounted for. I'he last-named reason, 

The ApocrypJial Books of the Bible, 213 

therefore, for the application of the word * apocry- 
pha' would seem the more probable one."* The 
Dominican Fathers, Richard and Girand, define 
the term to signify (i) anonymous or pseudepi- 
graphal books; (2) those which are not publicly 
read, although they may be read with edification in 
private ; (3) those which do not pass for authentic 
and of Divine authority, although they pass for 
being composed by a sacred author or an apostle,* 
as the Epistle of Barnabas; (4) dangerous books 
composed by ancient heretics to favour their opi- 
nions ; and (5) books which, after having been con- 
tested, are put into the canon by consent of the 
churches, as Tobit^ etct The term has also been 
applied by Jerome to certain books not found in 
the Hebrew canon, but yet publicly read from time 
immemorial in the Christian Church for edification, 
although not considered authority in controversies 
of faith. It is in allusion to this saying of the old 
father that we find the following in the sixth article 
of the English Church. After enumerating the 
canonical writings of the Old Testament, the article 
proceeds : "And the other books (as Hierome 
saith) the Chiurch doth read for example of life and 

* Rev. John Ayre, M.A. 

f See art. Apocrypha^ Kitto's Ency. 

214 Bible Lore, 


instruction of manners ; but yet it doth not apply 
them to establish any doctrine." To this day, 
therefore, portions of the apocryphal writings may 
be found among the Scripture lessons appointed to 
be read in the services of the English Church. 

When the light of the Reformation began to 
dawn, the question of the canonicity of these writings 
stood out more definite and distinct Their imper- 
fect authority was then more fully exposed. On 
the other hand, the Church of Rome gave them 
that formal sanction which they had never before 
received; pronounced all but the two Books of 
Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh sacred canoni- 
cal Scripture, and anathematized those who refused 
to regard them in that light. In the Roman canon, 
therefore, they are not called Apocrypha, nor are 
they placed together, as though there were anything 
— in the way even of historical doubt — that dis- 
tinguished them from books whose inspiration is 
unquestioned, but they are distinguished according 
to their assumed dates or contents. Tobit and 
Judith have their place with the historical books of 
Scripture; Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus are placed 
with the writings of Solomon, on the assumption 
thit he was their author ; and the Rest of Esther is 
ini orporated with the book of that name ; while 

The Apocrypfial Books of the Bible, 215 

the Story of the Three Children, Susanna, and Bel 
and the Dragon are connected with the canonical 
Book of Daniel; and Baruch comes immediately 
after Jeremiah. Their presence in this Romish 
canon may, in part, be accounted for the view en- 
tertained of apocryphal writings by the Dominican 
Fathers, quoted above, when they termed them 
"dangerous books, composed by ancient heretics 
to favour their opinions, ^^ Passages in some of them 
do certainly favour the opinions of the Romish 
Church. Thus, praying for the dead is inculcated 
by 2 Mace. xiL 43 — 45 ; and the intercession of 
saints by Bar. iiL 4; while there are also many 
assertions which are not in harmony with the 
doctrine of justification by faith; as Tob. xiL 8; 
Ecclus. iiL 3, 30; xviL 22; xxxv. 3. In view of 
these things it is not difficult to see why the 
Roman Catholic Church should be so anxious to 
retain these writings as canonical, notwithstand- 
ing the terms of strong commendation in which 
even suicide is mentioned (2 Mace xiv. 41 — 46) ; 
nor why the Protestant Church should repudiate 
these writings as sacred, unsupported as they are 
by any sufficient testimony, and containing as 
they do doctrines which are alien from those of 

2i6 BiUe 

The external evidence for rejecting tfaeir andiontjr 
as Divine is most condnsive. In no catalogue of 
canonical Scriptures made during the first four ooi- 
turies are they even named. It was not till tbe 
decision of the Council of Trent, in 1545, tltaf ^mj 
were accepted as part of the rule of feith Whik 
J oscphus expressly excludes them ( Cont, Apum, i 8)1 
Philo never quotes them as he does the saoed 
Scriptures. By the Jews they were never viewed 
as part of the canon. Jesus and His apostles never 
quote them — z. isuct of no small weight in consider- 
ing their claims, since Paul several times quoted 
heathen poets. It is to be observed also diat 
Malachi, the last inspired prophet, closes his predic- 
tions by recommending the books of Moses, and 
intimating that no other messenger is to be ex- 
I)cctcd by his countrymen till the coming of the 
Hccond Elijah (MaL iv. 4 — 6). "Against this de- 
cisive external evidence must be placed the fact 
th;it [)articular books have been quoted as canoni- 
c.'il ])y one or more of the Fathers. Banich alone 
is rjuotcd as canonical by Origan, Athanasius, Cyril, 
and Mj)iphanius. Of the Latin Church, Augustine 
(f/o^t/' ruiotcs as canonical Tobit, Judith, Wisdom 
of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, and i and 2 Maccabees. 
}iy other writers of the thiid axidfoAxx\k c^TAxirlea^ 

TJie Apocryplial Books of the Bible. 217 

the books are not cited, or their canonicity is 

Equally conclusive against their inspiration is 
internal evidence, (i) None of the writers claim 
Divine authority; while some (2 Mace, il 23, xv. 38, 
and Prol. of Ecclus.) virtually disoTMi it. (2) Some 
of the statements contained in these books are at 
variance with history. Thus the story of Bel and 
the Dragon contradicts the account of Daniel's 
being cast into the den of lions ; while Baruch (i. 2) 
does not agree with Jeremiah (xliii. 6, 7). (3) Some 
of the statements are also self contradictory. Thus 
in one place (i Mace. vL 4 — 16) Antiochus ' Epi- 
phanes is said to have died in Babylon ; while in 
another (2 Mace i. 13 — 16) it is stated that he was 
stoned to death in the temple of Nanea, in Persia ; 
and the writer of the Book of Wisdom asserts that 
it was composed by Solomon, notwithstanding that 
he quotes (xiii. 11 — 18) the writings of Isaiah (xliv. 
10 — 17), which were not in existence till about two 
hundred years after Solomon had died. (4) Be- 
sides inculcating doctrines which are unscriptural, 
as cited above, they (5) contain precepts which are 
directly opposed to the word of God. Thus sanc- 
tion is given to falsehood (Tob. v. 12, xii. 15,) 
• Angus, " Handbook to t\itB\\i\^r ^^^'^V 

2i8 Bible 

assassination is praised (Jud. ix. 2 — 9 ; cf. Gen. 
xlix. 7), and sorcery is allowed (Tob. vi 16, ifj. 
Still, although they are of no authority as part of 
the rule of faith, they are of value as historical 
documents, and may even be consulted for "in- 
struction of manners," in the measure in which 
they "exemplify the spirit and precepts of the 
(;ospcl." " The whole illustrate the progress of 
knowledge among the Jews, their taste^ their reli- 
gious character, and their government ; while some 
of the books explain ancient prophecies, and prove 
the fulfilment of them, and others exhibit the most 
exalted sentiments and principles of uninspired 


So far our remarks have been limited to the 
ai)()cryphal writings of the Old Testament Scrip- 
tures. Only these ordinarily go by the name 
Apocrypha, and doubtless by a great number it is 
assumed that there are no other biblical writings 
of an apocryphal character. Such, however, is not 
the case. In connection with the New Testament 
there are apocryphal writings — both gospels and 
ei)istlcs— which, although without the least authority, 
are not without interest. Many of our readers will 
l)c surprised to hear of " The History of Joseph the 
Carpenter;" of "The Gospel oC ti^a iGfiarLCTj -^^ q£ 

The Apocryphal Books of the Bible, 219 

" The Protevangelion of James/' and " The Gospel 
of Thomas the Israelite ; " of " The Gospel of the 
Nativity of Mary," and " The History of the Na- 
tivity of Mary and the Saviour; " of " The Gospel 
of Marcion ; " of " The Gospel of Nicodemus ; " of 
" The Apprehension and Death of Pilate ; " of 
the mutilated and altered " Gospel of St. John," 
preserved in the archives of the Templars of St 
John of Jerusalem, in Paris ; of " The Epistle of 
Paul to the Laodiceans ;" of "The Third Epistle 
of Paul to the Corinthians ; " of " The Epistle of 
Peter to James ; " and of " The Epistles of Paul 
and Seneca." Yet such are the titles of some of 
the books of an apocryphal character connected 
with the New Testament, and bearing the names, 
in some instances, of well-known New Testament 
worthies. Another book, entitled " The Shepherd 
of Hermas," said to have been written by Hermas, 
of Rome, to whom Paul addressed special saluta- 
tions (Rom. xvi. 14), is of very high antiquity, and 
has usually been classed with the epistles of the so- 
called Apostolic Fathers. Until very recently, only 
a few fragments of this work have been known as 
quotations in other authors. But in 1859 the first 
part of the original, being nearly one-fourth of the 
whole; was discovered by TVscXveii^QA ^\. "^^ ^2^^ 

220 Bible Lore. 

of the Ccdcx Sinaiticus (see supra^ chajp. L). TTic 
" Epistle of Bamabas " (also refeired to in the 
first chapter of this work) has been the subject of 
controversy almost ever since its first pubKcation in 
tlie seventeenth century. " The external evidence 
for its genuineness, it may be allowed, is consider- 
able ; but, besides some conflicting testimonies, 
criteria furnished by the Epistle itsejf lead to tbe 
opposite conclusion " {Ryland), 

" The information which the Evangelists were not 
instructed to give, there were many who, in the 
early ages of Christianity, undertook to supply, and 
it would need a larger disquisition than would be 
proper here,* to render intelligible how it happened 
that certain apocryphal gospels, or narratives framed 
entirely from the fancy, could not only be written 
by well-meaning men, who thought that they did 
God service ; but that such narratives should have 
been received and credited by large bodies of 
Christians. Two general principles seem to have 
conspired in the construction of the narrative por- 
tions of these books. One was the desire to fill 
up gaps, or remove imagined discrepancies in the 
canonical Gospels, and thus make the story com- 
plete; the other was a wish to fulfil all the pro- 

* Kitto's " Daily Biblical lUustratvoti^C* '^^^^^ "s.^v 

The ApocrypJial Books of the Bible. 221 

phecies of the Old Testament by having ready a 
fact for every supposed prediction. The operation 
of these principles will best be shown by a few ex- 
amples. The Gospel history is fragmentary. Whole 
passages in the life of Jesus are passed over in 
silence ; for instance, not only His childhood and 
youth, but the period between His resurrection and 
ascension. But how did Jesus grow up? What 
were His occupations and tastes? How was He 
regarded at home by His parents and neighbours? 
Did He laugh? Did He play? Did He mingle 
with the boys of His age ? Did He go to school ? 
Did He exhibit any extraordinary wisdom? any 
miraculous power ? Did He work at any trade ? 
These were, in some degree, natural questions. 
Curiosity also seized upon the recorded incidents 
of His biography, and demanded further informa- 
tion. It wanted to know the private history of 
the immaculate birth ; and what took place on the 
journey to Egypt, and there ; whether Jesus was 
circumcised. It asked how His trial was conducted, 
and who were His judges, and a thousand other 
things, not forgetting to claim the solution of all 
historical doubts and disagreements. Such ques- 
tions, in such an age, could not fail of receiving 
answers. Fancy is never slow to gratify vclq^^- 

223 Bible 

tiveness, and inquisitiveness win not be dainty I 
it only can be satisfied It seems, acoonfiii^, 
as if every possible qneiy respectiiig Christ iras 
met, in these apocryphal gospels, with the most 
fearless confidence and the faith of the readeiSi 
and tlieir incapacity for historical criticism. Let 
us give some examples. The particulars of the 
flight into Egypt are related with the utmost 
minuteness of detail Besides the docile trees^ 
the spontaneous springs, and the marvellous cuies^ 
wild beasts escort the holy family, and the rob- 
bers of the desert flee before them. But the 
way to Egypt is long. Perhaps it was difficult 
to invent miracles enough to beguile it Jesus 
ihercforc shortens the distance, so that the journey 
of many days is accomplished in one : * straight- 
way the mountains of Egypt came in sight' In 
a wilderness, as they are travelling, the pilgrims 
fell in with tAVO robbers who are afterwards cru- 
cified with Jesus; their names are Titus and 
Duniachus. The former bribes the latter to let 
till* strangers pass unmolested, and Jesus predicts 
his blessed fate on the spot In Egypt, the sick 
and leprous iu*e cured, and the dead are raised, by 
application of the water in which His person or 
His clothing had been washed." " The apocryphal 

The Apocryphal Books of the Bible. 223 

gospels/* says another writer,* " abject productions 
as, whether contemplated in a literary or moral 
point of view, they must be allowed to be, are yet 
instructive in this respect, that they show us what 
manner of gospels were the result, when men drew 
from their own fancy, and devised Christs of their 
own, instead of resting on the basis of historical 
truth, and delivering to the world faithful records 
of Him who indeed had lived and died among 
them. Here, as ever, the glory of the true comes 
out into strongest light by its comparison with the 
false. But in nothing, perhaps, are these apocryphal 
gospels more worthy of note than in the difference 
between the main features of their miracles and 
those of the canonical Gospels. Thus, in the 
canonical, the miracle is indeed essential, yet, at the 
same time, ever subordinated to the doctrine which 
it confirms, a link in the great chain of God's mani- 
festation of Himself to men ; its ethical significance 
never falls into the background ; but the wonder 
work of grace and power has, in every case where 
this can find room, nearer or remoter reference to 
the moral condition of the person or persons in 
whose behalf it is wrought. The miracles even 

* Archbishop Trench, *• Notes on the Miracles of our 
Lord," p. 40. 

224 Bible Lore. 

lead us off from themselves to their author; tky 
appear as emanations from the glory of the Son of 
God ; but it is in Him we rest, and not in them; 
they are but the halo round Him, and have thdr 
worth from Him — noV contrariwise. He from them. 
They are held, too, together by His strong and cen- 
tral personality, which does not leave them a con- 
glomerate of mar\'ellous anecdotes, accidentally 
heaped together; but parts of a great organic whole, 
of which every part is in vital coherence with all 
other. But it is altogether otherwise in these 
apocr}phal narratives. To say that the miracle 
occupies in them the foremost place, would very 
inadequately express the facts of the case. They 
are eveiy thing. Some of these so-called histories 
are nothing else but a string of these ; which yet 
(and this, too, is singularly characteristic) stand 
wholly disconnected from the ministry of Christ : 
not one of them belongs to the period after His 
baptism ; but they are all miracles of the infancy : 
in other words, of that time whereof the canonical 
history relates no miracle, and not merely does not 
relate any, but is remarkably at pains to tell us that 
during it no miracle was \\Tought, the miracle in 
Cana of Galilee being His first (John ii. 1 1 ). Indeed, 
so far from having a religious^ they are often want- 

The Apocryphal Books of the Bible, 225 

ing in a moral element. The Lord Jesus appears 
in them as a wayward, capricious, passionate child ; 
to be feared, indeed, seeing that He is furnished 
with such formidable powers of avenging every 
wrong or accidental injury which He meets ; and 
so bearing Himself, that the request which some 
other parents of some other children are repre- 
sented as making, that He may be kept within the 
house, for He brings harm and mischief wherever 
He comes, is perfectly justified by the facts. It 
may be well to cite a few examples in proof, how- 
ever harshly some of them may jar on the Christian 
ear. Thus, some children refuse to play with Him, 
hiding themselves from Him; He pursues, and 
turns them all into kids. Another child by accident 
runs against Him, and throws Him down ; where- 
upon He, being exasperated, exclaims, *As thou 
hast made Me to fall, so shalt thou fall and not rise ;* 
at the same hour the child fell down and expired. 
He has a dispute with the master who is teaching 
Him letters, concerning the order in which He 
shall go through the Hebrew alphabet, and His 
master strikes Him ; whereupon Jesus curses him, 
and straightway his arm is^withered, and he falls on 
his face and dies. This goes on, till at length 
Joseph says to Mary, * Henceforward let us keep 


226 BibU Lore. 

Him "VNithin doors, for whosoever sets himself 
against Him perishes.* His passionate readiness 
to avenge Himself shows itself at the very earliest 
age. At five years old he has made a pool of 
water, and is moulding sparrows from the clay. 
Another child, the son of a scribe, displeased that 
He should do this on the Sabbath, opens the sluices 
of the pool, and lets out the water. On this, Jesus 
is indignant, gives him many injurious names, and 
causes him to wither and wholly dry up with the 
curse. Such is the image which the authors of 
these books give us of the holy child Jesus ; and no 
wonder, for man is not only unable to realize the 
perfect, he is unable to conceive it The idea is as 
much a gift, as the power to realize that idea. Even 
the miracles which are not of this revolting charac- 
ter, are childish tricks, like the tricks of a conjuror, 
never solemn acts of power and love. Jesus enters 
the shop of a dyer, who has received various cloths 
from various persons, to be dyed of divers colours. 
In the absence of the master. He throws them all 
into the dying vat together; and when the dyer 
returns and remonstrates, draws them out of the 
vat, each dyed according to the colour which was 
enjoined. He and some other children make birds 
and animals of clay; while each is boasting the 

The Apocryphal Books of the Bible, 227 

superiority of his work, Jesus says, * I will cause 
those which I have made to go ; * which they do, 
the animals leaping, and the birds flying, and at 
His bidding retiuning, and eating and drinking from 
His hand. While yet an infant at His mother's 
breast. He bids a palm-tree to stoop that she may 
pluck the fruit; it obeys, and only returns to its 
position at His command. Another time, His 
mother sends Him to the well for water j the pitcher 
breaks, and He brings the water in His cloak. And 
as the miracles which He does, so those that are 
done in regard to Him, are idle and monstrous; 
the ox and ass worshipping Him, a new-bom infant 
in the crib, may serve as an example. . . . Tha 
most striking, perhaps, of the miracles related in 
regard of the child Jesus, is that of the falling down 
of the idols of Egypt at His presence in the land ; 
for it has in it something of a deeper significance, 
as a symbol and prophecy of the overthrow of the 
idol worship of the world by Him who was now 
coming into the world. . . . But with very 
few such partial exceptions as these, the apocryphal 
gospels are a barren and dreary waste of wonders 
without object or aim; and only instructive as 
making us strongly to feel, more strongly than but 
for these examples we might have felt, how nee.d&sl 

228 Bible 

are other factors besides power for the prododog 
of a true miracle; that wisdom and love most be 
there also ; that where men conceive of power as 
its chiefest element, that gives us only a hatefbi 
mockery of the divine. Had a Christ such as 
these gospels portray actually lived upon earth, He 
had been no more than a potent and wayward 
magician, from whom all men would have shrunk 
with a natural instinct of distrust and fear." 

We shall be pardoned for quoting at so great 
length from the writings of Trench and Kitto, since 
they place before the reader so vividly the charac- 
ter of the spurious^ and by contrast make the genuine 
so conspicuously a divine production. " The result 
of the whole," to quote once more from the words 
of Kitto, " is to render us deeply thankful that God 
has given and preserved to us authentic and 
divinely inspired narratives, free from all error or 
stain of man's devices ; which have stood the most 
cxrniciating processes of criticism, and on which 
every tnith-secking mind is able to rely with the 
most unwavering confidence." 




PART from its inspiration — ^its Divine au- 
thority, as a rule of faith and practice — its 
wondrous influence upon the heart and 
life of man — ^and other questions related to its 
origin, and contents, and history — the Bible^ re- 
garded simply as a literary production, stands forth, 
in the presence of all other works of authorship, 
unique, unrivalled, unapproachable. It is of its 
literary characteristics we shall now speak — or 
rather we will chiefly ask some others, coroneted 
peers in the parliament of letters, to speak of them. 
In the Holy Scriptures the old Spartan prayer, 
" Grant us the beautiful with the good," is abun- 
dantly realized. " When God made the Bible as 
the guide and oracle of man, had He meant it as a 
mere lesson book of duty, a volume less various 
and less attractive would have answered every end. 
A few plain paragraphs, announcing God's own 
character and His disposition towards us sinners 
here on earth, mentioning the provision which He 

232 BibU 

\\;v% marlc for our future happmesi^ an^f ?»v?;ratay 
the rliflcrcnt duties which He woald have i» po- 
form— a few Kimple sentences would liare sdSced 
to tell UH what God is, and what He wixui Imt 
tift to do. llicre was no need clE the pkrtazcsqae 
i);irrativc and the majestic poem — no need of die 
prrivcrby the story, and the psahn. A di i j m of 
theology, and another of morals, a short j^v^?«nit 
of the lnc:amation and the great Atonement and a 
few pages of rules and directions for the Christian 
life, might have contained the vital essence of 
S( ri))ture, and have supplied us with a Bible of 
hitiipleMt meaning and smallest size; and in that 
t'lVM'. the nible would have been consulted only by VAVi: and wistful spirits to whom the great 
llcreailer i.s a subject of anxiety, who are really 
iinxiouM to know what God is, and how they them- 
firlvcH may please Him. But, in giving that Bible, 
il!i Divine Author had regard to the mind of ma n, 
\\v. knew that man has more curiosity than piety, 
njortr i.'iste than sanctity, and that more persons 
jiir jinxiouH to hear some new or read some beau- 
iroiiM ihini; than to hear or read about God and 
I he \\\'v\\i salvation. He knew that few would ever 
ji:.k, * WJiiit must I do to be saved?' till they came 
in i onlacl with the Bible itself, and therefore He 

The Literary Features of the Bible. 233 

made the Bible not only an instructive book, but 
an attractive one — not only true, but enticing. He 
filled it with marvellous incident and engaging his- 
tory — ^with sunny pictures from Old-World scenery, 
and affecting anecdotes from the patriarchal times. 
He replenished it with stately argument and thrill* 
ing verse, and sprinkled it over with sententious 
wisdom and proverbial pungency. He made it a 
book of lofty thoughts and noble images — z, book 
of heavenly doctrine, but withal of earthly adapta- 
tion. In preparing a guide to immortality. Infinite 
Wisdom gave not a dictionary, nor a grammar, but 
a Bible — a book which, in tr3ring to catch the heart 
of man, should captivate his taste, and which, in. 
transforming his affections, should also expand his 
intellect The pearl is of great price, but even the 
casket is of exquisite beauty. The sword is of 
ethereal temper, and nothing cuts so keen as its 
double edge ; but there are jewels on the hilt, and 
exquisite inlaying on the scabbard. The shekels 
are of the purest ore, but even the scrip which con- 
tains them is of a texture more curious than that 
the artists of earth could fashion it The apples 
are gold, but even the basket is silver."* Yet 
withal the Bible is a terriribly earnest booL A 

♦ Rev. J. Hamilton, D.D. 

234 Bible 

book that should chamiy but not instruct^ vodld 
be a toy rather than a teacher. It might ocaqrya 
vacant moment, but not illuminate a thoughtfol 
hour. For mere amusement, a superstructure of 
fiction on a shallow foundation of fact, or a weak 
trellis of prose adorned with the many-tinted 
flowers of poesy, would have sufficed. Such is not 
the book that God has given to the woiid. Its 
Author addresses both the heart and the head, 
both the fancy and the judgment, of maiL While 
its s}'mpathy and love touch all hearts, its wise 
thoughtfulness tests, satisfies, and surpasses the 
strength of all finite intellects. "It is," says 
Bishop Hopkins, "a ford wherein a lamb may 
wade, and a sea wherein an elephant may swim." 
"There is no book," says that famous jurist. Sir 
Matthew Hale, " like the Bible for excelling wis- 
dom, learning, and use." That great orientalist, 
Sir William Jones, might well say, " I have care- 
fully and regularly perused these Holy Scriptures, 
and am of opinion that the volume, independ- 
ently of its Divine origin, contains more sublimity, 
purer morality, more important history, and finer 
strains of eloquence, than can be collected from 
all other books, in whatsoever language they may 
have been written." Few writers composed with 

The Literary Features of the Bible. 235 

more of masculine strength and beauty and purity 
than Coleridge, whose opinion it was that "intense 
study of the Bible will keep any writer from being 
vulgar in point of style;'* and that rare scholar, 
Robert Boyle, said of it, "It is a matchless volume; 
it is impossible that we can study it too much, or 
esteem it too highly. I use the Scriptures, not as 
an arsenal, to be resorted to only for arms and 
weapons, but as a matchless temple, where I de- 
light to contemplate the beauty, the symmetry, and 
the magnificence of the structure, and to increase 
my awe, and excite my devotion to the Deity there 
preached and adored." 

To pronounce an eulogium upon the literary 
excellencies and beauties of the Bible is not, after 
all, the object we have before us ; for, — 

** To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, 
To throw a perfume on the violet, 
To smooth the ice, or add another hue 
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light 
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish, 
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess." 

Let us rather illustrate these features from the book 
itself "There are no songs," said Milton, "com- 
parable to the songs of Zion, no orations equal to 
those of the prophets, and no politics like those 

236 Bibie Lore. 

the Scriptures teach." Let us glance at some flf 
these matters. 

Take the fodry of the Bible as an enmplft 
Shall we speak of its varieties — the lyriq die dcgfi 
the patriotic war-song, the funeral requiem, dtt 
dramatic, the idyl, the epic ? or of its elements— 
the descriptive, the sublime, the pathetic? or of its 
characteristics — its (mginality, its spontaneity, its 
religiousness ? Alas! we have not space to analyze; 
nor to classify or catalogue even the principal iUus- 
trations of each variety have we room. A volume 
of entrancing beauty and grandeur might be eaailf 
compiled of " poetical extracts " from the word of 
God — ^not merely of long quotations from the Song 
of Solomon, the Psalms of David, and the Book of 
Job — ^books in their very construction poetical — 
but also of passages fiill of poetic thought and 
imagery, deeply imbedded, — like Israels song of 
triumph by the Red Sea shore, or the song of 
Deborah and Barak on the fall of Sisera, or the 
solemn dirge that David chanted when " the beauty 
of Israel was slain," — in the midst of the chronicles 
of nations and the histories of men. Scarcely does 
the shout of victory ring through any martial song 
with a clearer note than in the lofty paean that 
Moses opened, and Miriam with her timbrel closed. 

The Literary Features of t/te Bible. 237 

as with her maidens, in response to the men's 

deeper voices, she led oflf the refrain, "Sing ye 
to the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously; 
the horse and the rider hath He thrown into the 
midst of the sea.*' Scarcely can a line of deeper 
pathos be found in any tragic verse than Deborah's 
description of the mother of Sisera looking out of 
a window, and crying through the lattice, "Why 
is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the 
wheels of his chariot?" Nor do we remember to 
have read anything more touching than the plain- 
tive wail of David, in which the exulting remem- 
brance of his lost friend's prowess alternates with 
passionate appeals to the "mountains of Gilboa," 
and the " daughters of Israel," and the distressful 
sobbings of his loving heart But it is in such 
compositions as the Book of Job that the spirit 
of Hebrew poetry sustains her sublimest flight. 
** I call that," says Carlyle, speaking of this book, 
** apart from all theories about it, one of the 
grandest things ever written with pen. One feels, 
indeed, as if it were not Hebrew, such a noble 
imiversality, diflferent from noble patriotism and 
sectarianism, reigns in it A noble book I all men*s 
book 1 It is our first, oldest statement of the 
never-ending problem, man's destiny axvd G^^ 

238 Bible Lore. 

ways with him here in this earth. And all in such 
free flowing outlines — grand in its sincerity, in its 
simplicity, in its epic melody, and repose of recon- 
cilement. There is the seeing eye, the mildly- 
understanding heart So true every way; true 
eyesight and vision for all things — ^material things 
no less than spiritual: the horse, 'hast thou 
clothed his neck with thunder f^ — *he laughs at 
the shaking of the spear 1' Such living likenesses 
were never since drawn. Sublime sorrow, sublime 
reconciliation ; oldest choral melody as of the heart 
of mankind — so soft, and great ; as the summer 
midnight, as the world with its seas and stars! 
There is nothing >\Titten, I think, in the Bible, or 
out of it, of equal literary merit." 

" Without dwelling upon or even specif)4ng the 
poetical passages of the Scriptures, which would 
be, indeed, to enumerate no small part of the texts 
and themes of this wonderful book — for the Bible 
is a mass of beautiful figures; its words and its 
thoughts are alike poetical ; it has gathered around 
its central truths all natural beauty and interest; 
it is a temple with one altar and one God, but 
illuminated by a thousand varied lights, and stud- 
ded with a thousand ornaments;"* — there is one 

* George Gilfillan. 

The Literary Features of the Bible, 239 

point especially in connection with its contents, 
and their relation to modem compositions, that 
deserves attention. We refer to its promotion of 
literature and the fine arts. And in regard to 
poetry, as the subject now under consideration, 
the Bible has supplied the principal poets with their 
most attractive themes, " As the profoundest philo- 
sophy of ancient Rome and Greece lighted her 
taper at Israel's altar, so the sweetest strains of the 
pagan muse were swept from harps attuned on 
Zion*s hills.*' * Much more are modem, and espe- 
cially Christian, poets indebted, for thought and 
language and subject, to the word of God. There 
did he, most gifted of them all, find a theme equal 
to the immensity of his imagination and the wide 
sweep of his poetic vision. When the author of the 
"Allegro" and the "Penseroso" essayed at length 
to build the grandest epic the world has ever seen, 
the subject selected was from this book. Had 
Moses not written the Pentateuch, Milton could 
not have written the " Paradise Lost." His next 
great epic was the "Paradise Regained." Thus 
the New Testament, as well as the Old, winged 
the loftiest poetic genius ever possessed by un- 
inspired man. The Bible, in its two parts of Old 

♦ Dr. Thompson. 



^««amcnt and \er^:^^--^^_^ 
f^^ 'na.:., of ^l ^'. ^P'cai id^* *^ ^i' 

-Jteu to the BibJe. n, ^^ Poets ai* «» n. 
Jerusalem DeJiveri.^'" * "I^eru^T^ 

^"^ *° ' 's cL°' ^'''^^ ^«>s ^r ""^ 

"^-' '" ''-r^; aS T'^ *« -S Oft? '^"^ 

P"c.s ,„,^ ,f °2 ;^;n those recoTl^ '"'^ °' 
^'"••'■•n " is c-n u ''"'' Spenser, J^ ^° ""ese 

Temp,,. :?.,'""««; Herbert, I? °'"^ ^^^^ 

/ »tii,i inun^i^i, .„ . save us "r/ir;.** 


The Literary Features of the Bible, 241 

Donne, and Crashaw, and Cowley, and Pamell, 
who all derived their choicest thoughts from this 
one book. Co^vper also sang of Faith, Hope, and 
Charity ; Grahame, of the Sabbath ; Blair, of the 
Grave; Heber, of Palestine; Montgomery, of 
"The World before the Flood;" and Michael 
Bruce, of "The Last Day:" all biblical subjects. 
Even Byron has given us his " Hebrew Melodies ; " 
and Moore, his "Song of Miriam,*' and other 
pieces full of Bible thought;" and Pope,. "The 
Messiah;'* while Bums*s "Cottar's Saturday Night," 
perhaps the most beautiful piece that flowed from 
his p.n, derives its force from the "big a' Bible" 
of which he speaks. Our hymnology obviously 
could not have existed but for that book whose 
precepts and doctrines and promises have supplied 
it both with subject and inspiration.* Not only 
has the Bible supplied the poets with themes and 
material, it has had an immense indirect influence in 
moulding and colouring our poetic literature. Two 
things ensure this. A true poet will be an inter- 
preter of the spirit of the age in which he lives. 
Now, the spirit of the age is, somehow, deeply 
penetrated with the spirit of the Bible. It has 

* For further illustrations of this subject, see *' Literaiy 
Characteristics of the Bible," by Rev, W. Trail, ^.\(L. 

242 Bible Lore, 

pervaded and imbued the popular mind. The 
poet, catching by reflection the spirit or the ideas 
of the age — ideas which the Bible has sent afloat — 
would set himself to shape them into verse, im- 
conscious, it might be, whence they had come. 
That is one reason. The age — unconsciously, 
perhaps — thinks and feels in the diction of the 
Bible ; the poet, interpreting this spirit, clothes 
his verse with Bible phrase and thought Then, 
secondly, if the poet himself has come in contact 
with the book which thus leavens the age, then, 
owing to its assimilating power and the poet's 
temperament, there would be transferred to his 
soul its higher forms of thought and deeper moods 
of feeling, which, when he afterwards shaped them 
into his own verse, would be but reflections from 
its pages, though he might not remember them as 
such. In this way the indirect influence of the 
Bible over our natural poetry is immense. 

Fully as much might be said of the histories, the 
biographies, and the sciences of the Bible — fully as 
much of the relation of the book to sculpture, and 
painting, and music. It may, indeed, be called 
the painter's book. The picture galleries of Europe 
are hung with innumerable proofs that, far beyond 
all others, it has furnished subjects for the pencil 

The Literary Features of the Bible. 243 

of the artist. The great works of Raphael, Angelo, 
Titian, Corregio, Murillo, Leonardo, Rubens, 
Rembrandt, Poussin, indeed of all the great 
masters, are biblical subjects. While the master- 
pieces of those peerless composers, Handel and 
Haydn, are they not founded on subjects that this 
inexhaustible treasury has furnished ? 

Another literary peculiarity of the word of God 
is its universal adapation. Nearly all lands, and 
well-nigh every tribe — civilized, barbarian, bond 
and free — ^meet here. The sable Ethiopian, the 
dusky Arabian, the swarthy Assyrian, the child of 
the desert, the warrior of Rome, the polished 
Grecian, and that strange cosmopolitan the Jew, 
all " live, and move, and have their being " in its 
densely populated pages. There is scarcely a land 
to which we can carry the Bible, of which the 
natives may not find something addressed to their 
sympathies through some representatives of their 
race. Still further is the universality of the book 
shown in the wide sweep it takes of almost all 
branches of human inquiry, and in its numerous 
references to almost every class and calling. The 
king may here learn something that concerns him- 
self, and which, if studied and practised by princes, 
would have preserved to many a one his crown, 

244 Bible 

and have saved many a nation from that worst nf 
public nuisances, a godless ruler. The working 
man may here read of his crafty and, in the afln- 
sion to it, discover that the God of the whole earth 
thinketh upon the poor and lowly. The mercbant 
is reminded of the true merchandise, the pearl of 
great price, and is recommended to buy the truth, 
and sell it not The judge and the witness may 
find a word to them ; nor will those who have a fatal 
facility for figuring in courts of justice search in 
vain for wise precepts that would preserve them 
from the anxieties of annoying litigation, or the 
gloomy shadows of the prisoner's celL The soldier 
amid many records of "hair-breadth 'scapes i' the 
imminent deadly breach," will find also an account 
of the good fight of faith, of the invulnerable 
"armour of God," and the victory of Him who 
comes off more than a conqueror at last The 
sailor may not only read the story of a voyage and 
a shipwreck — which by competent judges has been 
pronounced the finest piece of composition in the 
(jrcek language — but he may also learn how to 
navigate the not less stormy sea of life, and reach 
at last the desired haven.- The tradesman may not 
only find many shrewd hints on buying and selling, 
but may also learn the truth — of which he has, in 

The Literary Features of the Bible, 245 

some cases, ^need to be reminded — that a just 
balance is the delight of the Lord. The husband- 
man finds in this volume allusions almost innume- 
rable to his calling, and by them is conducted to 
the understanding of the "good seed," of the 
growth of the Christian character from the early 
blade to the " full com in the ear,** and is led by 
familiar images to reflect upon the great harvest of 
the world. . And students, everywhere, are urged 
" to give attendance to reading," and are reminded 
of what they often experience, that " much study 
is a weariness to the flesh.'* It is addressed to all 
stages of human life. Childhood never tires of 
the coat of many colours, of the ark of bulrushes, 
of the Shunamite*s son, of the youth that slew 
the giant, of the captive maid, of the story of young 
Josiah, or of the wonderful Child found, after two 
days' anxious search, surrounded by grave doctors, 
"and both hearing and asking them questions." 
Youth finds entertainment as well as instruction in 
the biographies .of Joseph, and Jacob, and Daniel, 
and other "holy men of old." Manhood is ever 
and everywhere charmed by the holy maxims, the 
just retributions, the unexpected deliverances, the 
heavenly principles, and the sublime doctrines of 
this old booL And old age is never weai^ ol 

246 Bible Lore. 

reading, though with failing vision, of its own crown 
of glory, of the fruit it may yield to the end of lifc^ 
and of those promises which never fail amid the 
fleeting shows and tinselled splendours of the 
" present evil world." It is universal also from its 
adaptation to every state of the human heart Here 
the presumptuous sinner is condemned, the proud 
is confounded, the humble is exalted, the x>enitent 
is comforted, the trembling believer is confirmed, 
the hypocrite is unmasked, the painted Pharisee is 
stripped of his disguises, the rejoicing saint is cau- 
tioned; and man, whatever his spiritual condition, 
finds himself addressed by One who " knoweth him 
altogether, and who understandeth his thoughts afar 
off" This universal fitness of the word of God 
arises from tw^o circumstances : the unity of the race 
it addresses, and the human sympathy that breathes 
throughout its pages. There is "one touch of 
nature*' that "makes the whole world kin;" for 
" God hath made of one blood all nations of men." 
'*Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel 
unto every creature," is the command of One 
who fashioneth our hearts alike. 

To other points in its literary features we can 
only briefly allude. The Bible '' has a sdf-fer- 
peiuating and multiplying power. Infidels have 

The Literary Features of the Bible, 247 

written books; where are they? Where is Por- 
phyry, Julian ? Fragments of them there are ; but 
we are indebted even for this to Christian criticism. 
Where is Hume, Voltaire, Bolingbroke? It re- 
quires the world's reprieve to bring a copy out of 
the prison of their darkness. Where is the Bible ? 
Wherever there is light. Speaking the language of 
heaven in seven-score and three of the tongues of 
earth, and giving the word of God by forty millions 
of voices to five times as many millions of ears, and 
in tongues spoken by six hundred millions of men ; 
and, having swept its path of storm through all time, 
it still walks triiunphant, despite earth's dying 
malice and hell's eternal wrath; and, like the 
apocalyptic angel, though it wraps its mantle of 
cloud around it, calmly looks out upon the world 
with a face as it were the sun encircled with the 
rainbow. ' ' While Seneca was composing his morals, 
while Lucanus was pouring out his verse, while 
Pliny the elder was collecting his facts of natural 
history, while Quintilian was arranging his principles 
of rhetoric, while Juvenal was trimming his satires, 
while Pliny the younger was inditing his letters, and 
while Tacitus was compiling his history, the Chris- 
tian author, Paul, was dictating his epistles to Rome 
and Corinth and elsewhere. Their works have some 

248 Bible Lore. 

of them perished ; and while, of those that survive, 
the theories of many are exploded, the iJEurts of 
others are disputed, and all are found only on the 
shelves of academic libraries or on the desks of 
scholars, the writings of Gamaliel's old pupil, 
translated now into one hundred and fifty spoken 
languages, are read to this day by prince and 
peasant the wide world over. Very litde do we care 
about the rounded periods of the ancient rhetori- 
cian, or the ethics of the old moralist; but the 
words of Paul are still pregnant with a spirit and 


life — a treasury for the preacher, a manual for the 
teacher of youth, an armoury whence those who 
are set for the defence of the Gospel provide them- 
selves with weapons, keen-edged and sharp-pointed 
as ever, wherewith to cut through the thick-skinned 
coverings of prejudice and sin. 

Viewed simply as a literary production, " the 
Bible is a standing and astonishing miracle. 
Written fragment by fragment, throughout the 
course of fifteen centuries, under different states of 
society, and in diflferent languages, by persons 
of the most opposite tempers, talents, and con- 
ditions, learned and unlearned, prince and peasant, 
bond and free — cast into every form of instructive 
composition and good writing, history, prophecy, 

The Literary Features of tJie Bible. 249 

poetry, allegory, emblematical representation, judi- 
cious interpretation, literal statement, precept, ex- 
ample, proverb, disquisition, epistle, sermon, prayer 
— in short, all rational shapes of human discourse 
— ^and treating, moreover, of subjects not obvious, 
but most difficult — its authors are not found, like 
other writers, contradicting one another upon the 
most ordinary matters of fact and opinion, but are 
at harmony upon the whole of their sublime and 
momentous scheme." * 

Finally, as it has penetrated human life, and 
shaped human experience, so this Book of books 
has found its way, in its letter or in its spirit, into 
all other living books. The principles it inculcates 
are the conserving elements of living literature, 
whether in prose or verse. Bible truth is the floating 
power of books whose mere literary merit would 
not otherwise have saved them. Many a literary 
argosy, richly freighted with a choice cargo of hu- 
man thoughts, has perished, and hardly a waif from 
the wreck, inscribed with the name of the vessel, 
has drifted to the shores of the present hour ; while 
many a rudely constructed bark, rendered weather 
and storm-proof by the heavenly truth it carried, 
has passed triumphantly through the tempest, and 

* Maclagan. 

250 Bible 

is yet dischaxging its caigo on the strands of die 
present age. 

Such considerations, though not of the highest, 
may well prompt us to render a diligent obedience 
to the Sa\'ioui's command, **Searck the Scriphira; 
fcr in them ye think ye have eternal Kfo: and these an 
they which testify of MeP 

" Marked iK-ith the seal of high Divinity, 
On e\-ery leaf bedewed with drops of love 
Dn'ine, and with the eternal heraldry 
And signature of God Almighty stamped 
From first to last ; — this ray of sacred light. 
This lamp, from off the everlasting throne 
Mercy took doiK'n, and in the night of Time 
Stood, casting on the dark her gracious bow * 
And c\'ermore beseeching men, with tears 
And earnest sighs, to read, believe, and live."f 

• PoUok. 


potebU flaws mmtioEebf i» % ^Mt. 


: BH 




OME years ago I was standing by the side 

of a glass case in the geological depart- 
ment of the British Museum, listening, 
with about thirty others, to the discourse of one 
of the tutors of the college in which I was at 
that time a student ; when, seeing this little crowd, 
and wondering what the attraction was, a country- 
woman — fresh from the provinces, and now doing 
London under the guidance of a city cousin — 
elbowed her way into our midst. Great was her 
astonishment when she saw only a case filled with 
quartz or fossils, and great was our amusement when 
we heard her exclaim, as she elbowed her way out 
again, " Hey, dear ! why if s nothing but a heap of 
old stones." So to the uninitiated and uninterested 
this chapter on Scripture Archaeology will seem little 
else than a "heap of old stones ;" but to those who 
can find "sermons in stones" we can venture to 

^54 Bible 

V^vY-v,*? :hii "the stones of Palestine " shall yidd 
jt5 r/.uoh of romantic incident as " the stones i 
Y;rr.iof ; ' whac to the BidU studaU, who travds- 
\ii>.>r:>.;rr intVt or in (anc>- — through the Holy Land 
>fc ::>. A K; on his lips at every step, a reply 
!V.y, of hi$:orical incident and of moral suggestiw- 
r.ess shjul be iiiwn ; •* for the stone shall cry oat 
v^f :hs^ ^-jtV.. anvi the beam out of the timber shall 

1^:MU\;1 Arch»olog>- is a subject so vast in its 
raor\^ rx^$tno:ed sense, and has of late been made 
to v.^.o^.Uvlt' so much* that, in two brief chapteis, I 
ivu\l hAx\ilv do more than sununarize the whole; 
or. \\ ',:h a j;rtMter amplitude of detail, confine my 
•><\i :o ov.o branch in particular. This latter plan 
\vi*.\ 1 bo'iove, be more interesting and instructive 
to n\v youHi: readers ; just as I believe that a 
huUi^n- tn.m would derive more satisfaction from 
the discu:>sion of one slice cut from one limb of an 
ox than he would from the contemplation of all 
the bones of the animal, however definitely they 
might be anioulatetl by the skill of the anatomist 

Archeology has been defined to be *' an expla- 
nation of those ancient monuments in which former 
nations have left us the tmces or records of their 
religion, histor)-, politics, arts, and sciences." Bibli- 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible, 255 

cal Archaeology is, therefore, an explanation of such 
monuments as belong to the nations referred to in 
the Bible. Those nations comprise, as you are 
aware, many more than simply the Jewish people. 
They include the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the 
Greeks, and the Romans, as well as the race of 
Abraham in the two great lines of Isaac and IshmaeL 
The monuments of those nations include their 
architectural remains, their literary treasures, their 
pubhc and domestic institutions, their religious rites 
and ceremonies, their commercial and industrial 
transactions ; in short, all that we usually sum up by 
the comprehensive term — antiquities. From a very 
cursory glance at any article under the word Archae- 
ology in almost any Biblical Encyclopaedia it will 
be at once manifest that the whole subject would 
require for its worthy treatment many goodly volumes, 
rather than a small fraction of one small book. 

From the motive already named I will therefore 
restrict myself to one limited but interesting branch 
of this great subject, and will proceed to jot down 
a few notes on the architectural remains that, in the 
form of well and fountain, of crumbling wall and 
disintegrated and unidentified heap of mouldering 
stones, lie thickly strewn over Palestine and its 

256 Bible Lore. 

I/Ct us not forget, as we pursue our faonkd 
journey from Beersheba to Dan, that others hxve 
been here before us, and have left their traces b^ 
hind lliem, — traces as bewildering as the aatograpH 
and monograms, and senseless hieroglyphics cot 
— with ShefTield whittle by Brown, and Jones, and 
Robinson — in the sandstone cliffs of the written 
valley. The memory of this will teach us to be 
careful how we identify the Moorish tomb now 
standing over the sepulchre of Rachel with Ac 
original monument erected by the loving hands of 
Jacob ; or the ruins of the church of St John at 
Samaria, a relic of mediaeval times, and the Hero- 
diun colonnades around it, with the original erections 
of Oniri, king of Israel 

Walking, some time ago, round the walls of the 
old city of Chester, I noted that the parapet, over 
which I glanced at the spot once occupied by the 
parliamentary forces, was in many places built, as 
it were, but yesterday ; a little further down in the 
old grey walls might be distinguished the work of 
masons who had repaired the ravages of war and 
time from the Norman Conquest and onwards; 
while, lower still, might be traced, here and there, 
some few courses of stone with which, indubitably, 
those famous builders, the Romans, had surrounded 

Notable Places mentioned in tlie Bible. 257 

their original castrum. Local wiseacres may speak 
of those walls as pure Roman; but one has to 
exercise a judicious discrimination. Those who 
reside on the spot, notwithstanding their preten- 
sions on that account, are often but ill-informed in 
matters of local history ; as a certain " shepherd of 
Salisbury Plain," for example, who told John Foster, 
in the presence of a friend of mine, that Stonehenge 
was once a magnificent temple in which the former 
inhabitants worshipped the devil! "I ought to 
know," he added, " because I was bom in these 
parts, and have lived here all my life." Many of 
the Arabs of Edom believe to this day that the rock 
city of Petra was the work of gins and demons. 
The Arabs of the Holy Land may be listened to 
with deferential courtesy, but their tales must be 
received for what they are worth, and that is often 
very little. In Palestine the traveller finds the 
whole region bristling with local traditions and 
monkish legends \ and an almost impenetrable en- 
tanglement of fabulous stories will sometimes effec- 
tually guard and conceal the truth for which he is 
searching, as with a hedge of interlacing branches 
and exasperating thorns. 

Proceeding with a not too-credulous mind, we 
pitch our tents, on entering Palestine frotsv ^^ 

r 5 Sihli' I^crti 

sr»'»:ih. a: i snx sbooz mihraj between the lower 
im^: n: L.. r>£ai Sea oc oar rEglit; and the Medi- 
T-rraneat or onr lefe : wiii oar &ces towazd Jera- 
SwUOT. at ibf uarfL 'Ha ./ul^z^iii, or peasant, 
V. n.>« von.icrin^ jxfc insT miea xemind ns of the 
slt: .?:« v-i± vhki & fl^ck of sheep win sometimes 
*-or.T£m:ii:ir:e i tlH^tot rsix c&ZI the spot Bir-es- 
,N '.: vTir. this ie BarShs^ - ITie well of the 
cc.w .: sc viic* 25 the insij? See, already oar 

Siv'-'ilTjI? XiTf" L-TSWHIC WEIST JOT OCT CaiSip ^| SfJS- 

]«r.;r.:nc their*, ocr n£fis;riiig Ifne t^T?^ xxs that 
;:-!>? vvi: is iJi.Tii: rv* iVs: i^d a KaH" across, 
r.-.;. r.xv^: 3.-irn--:vo fee: deep ta cje sisface of 
:x iv.\-:. •• r.^e vtrsr is desr srsd c:>od. The 
5 ■ •<.;;* :? £5 ci'ii £5 Abri2u=: : £rd this is 
■".'■!".'.■. rr*f VT— iZiuc ry "—^ Gcs- dL 3c ; but 
• "., ; .'■.>v r.: :rM":5s:jn:T of the racer: is nore iznasi'' 
r; r. : : r-^v hf Arcthiziic : i: rasv be Jewish : i: 
vv ^, Vsr.-£r i: nt- :«e Clrlstiiz: it ziiv be 
'\ '. -v."-..-.-...- «-hc sh::]' s=T iriLich?'"* V-v>v- ^ 
V,.. ■-;- -"-.^ :c thi rjch: is £r:±er well the 
Nv-v ,v.vh hLt iX-i-: ter fee: 2cr:>ss. This 

« ». ■ - • ^- ■ •"•-■•. ^ r« •>' ^T- ~ ^ ~ • ■» »»-'^ ">^- «■ T.^^__^ t_ 

** ^* *.«*^ •. ^ ^ ^ It ^» * _^oc - ' i_^ »«CvJlS 


'•.. ^,"v:\^nc rV'V.-";::n:c cc" his dir m^v rj\-e 
• x\- >- rrvTw^ i-T.:w-; sr^rrlv j; wi:er r--'^ the 

Notable Places mentioned in tJie Bible, 259 

older well yielded. The Bible does not, indeed, 
say that there were two wells ; but it does tell us 
that " Isaac's servants came and told him concern- 
ing the well which they had digged." * As we pass 
round the "cup of cold water," refreshing to the 
thirsty traveller as good news from a far country, 
we call to mind that the Arabic Bir of the modem 
map is equivalent to the Hebrew Beer of Old 
Testament history. Whenever you meet with that 
prefix you may be pretty sure that something about 
a well is bound up with the story of the person or 
place to whose name that prefix is added. We 
find BeeTy pure and simple, in two places. Beer- 
elim, "the well of heroes," in another. Beeri^ 
identical with Anah, was the man who foimd the 
warm springs in the wildemess.t About ten miles 
north of Jerusalem we found a heap of ruins called 

♦ Gen. xxvi. 32 ; see also Gen. xxvi. 23 — 25. 

t The word translated tnuleS'-ySmSn — is found only in 
Gen. xxxvi. 24; at that time horses were unknown, and 
hence mules could not have been **found^^ there (Michaelis), 
Gesenius and others say yimen =hot springs. Hence the 
text reads, " This was that Anah, who, while he was feed- 
ing his father's asses in the desert, found some hot springs." 
This translation is now generally accepted as correct. 
The springs may be those to which Herod went for a 
cure {^osefhus, Antiq. xvii. vi. 55), and are probably the 
£n-eglaim {fountain of the two calves) of Ezek. xlvii. 10, at 
the north-east end of the Dead Sea. — Topics for r<acKAt%« 

26o Bible Lore. 

el'Birehy doubtless the Beeroth of the Hivites, and 
said to have been the place where Jesus was first 
missed by his parents. Behind us is the ancient 
Beeroth-bene-Iaakatiy that is, " the wells of the sons 
of laakan;" and a little in front, but rather to the 
left, is Beer-lahai-roij " the well of the Living One 
that sees me," where the angel's words yielded to 
Hagar a greater refreshment than even its thirst- 
quenching waters ; and where, in after days, Isaac 

meditating at eventide — ^went out at the sound of 
the camel bells to enjoy his first meeting with 
Rebekah ; suggestmg to all young courting couples 
the wisdom of remembering, at every tiysting places 
"the Living One who sees" them. 

Leaving "the well of the oath,'' we begin to 
climb up the barrier of the hills of Judaea, every 
step of the toilsome ascent giving emphasis to the 
expression, " They went down into Egypt"* Still 
climbing and advancing northwards over the barren 
and boulder-strewn limestone hills, past the remains 
of some ancient city whose origin dates back fur- 
ther than Roman, or Jewish, or even than patri- 
archal history, and wherein of old some of the 
mighty race of Anak dwelt — dismembered ruins 
that in Sicily we should relegate to the time of the 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible. 261 

Cyclops* — ^we approach Hebron. Called afore- 
time Kirjath'Arha^ " the city of Arba," because it 
was the residence of that Arba who was the ances- 
tor of the Anakim; known as Hebron in early 
Bible story, and now named el-KuhlU, " the friend," 
in remembrance of that "friend of God," whose 
burial-place, "the cave of Machpelah," was here. 
(In passing, we may remind our readers that the word 
Kirjath, so often met with in the topography of the 
Land of Promise, signifies " city.") Although the 
present mosque of Hebron is by no means that by 
which Abraham marked the place — ^if, indeed, he 
erected any building here, — ^it undoubtedly marks 
the site of the ancient cave, and is itself of great 
antiquity. Within this enclosure the Prince of 
Wales and Dr. Stanley penetrated in 1862. No 
other European, except two or three in disguise, 
had been permitted to enter since 11 87. When 
they entered the building, of which the external 
measurement, as given by Robinson and Pierotti, 
is about two hundred feet by one hundred and fifty 
feet, whose height is fifty feet, whose stones axe 
some of them thirty-eight feet long, and form a 
wall of six feet and a half in thickness, what there 
did they find ? They discovered a spacious oblong 

* Dr. Bonar. 

262 Bible Lore. 


quadrangle sormounted by several domes, and sur- 
rounded by broad passages containing the shrines of 
Joseph, Jacob, and Leah. The quadrangle itself is 
divided into two pretty nearly equal parts. The 
one nearer to the entrance contains the shrines of 
Isaac and Rebekah ; the other those of Abraham 
and Sarah. These shrines are separate chapels, 
closed with gates or railings similar to those which 
surround the chapels or ro3ral tombs in Westminster 
Abbey. The shrine of Abraham, guarded by silver 
gates, is a chamber cased with marble. The so- 
called tomb consists of a coffin-like structure about 
six feet high, built up of plastered stone or marble^ 
and hung with three green and gold embroidered 
carpets.* The dead, in whose honour these ceno- 
taphs have been erected, are supposed to repose 
beneath. But where is the cave? Well, just in 
front of the wall which divides the quadrangle, and 
at that comer of it opposite to which is the shrine 
of Abraham, there is in the ground a small circular 
hole about eight inches across, of which the upper 
surrounding surface is strong masonry, and the 
lower part, so far as can be seen and felt, is the 
living rock. Over this hole a lamp is suspended, 
which at night is said to be let down to bum on the 

• Dr. Stanley. 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible, 263 

sacred grave of " the Father of the Faithful" This 
cavity appears to open into a dark space beneath, 
and that space, which the guardians of the mosque 
believe to extend under the whole platform, can 
hardly be anything else than the cave of Mach- 

Leaving Hebron by the highroad to Jerusalem, 
twenty-two miles away to the north, we see in the 
dim distance on the right the faint outline of the hills 
of Moab ; in a valley on the other side of which 
was found, a little while ago, one of the most inte- 
resting of recentiy discovered relics. Until a recent 
date few Europeans had so much as penetrated that 
mysterious region; but rumours of extraordinary 
ruins had come to the ears of bibliologists and geo- 
graphers \ and now Captain Warren, the agent of 
the Palestine Exploration Society, has obtained, and 
secured to the British Museum, a monumental stone 
covered with most curious inscriptions. When the 
Arabs heard that the Franks were inquiring about 
their well-known monolith, they broke it into seve- 
ral pieces, and hid it away in their corn-pits. But, 
what between Captain Warren and the French con- 
sulate, all the fragments have been recovered, and 
tracings, or " squeezes," of two portions have been 
already submitted to Mr. Deutsch, the accomplished 

264 Bible Lore, 

Shemitic scholar. This gentleman has discovered, 
imperfect as are the sub-Phoenician characters, the 
title of ^^Mesha king of Moab^^ with a list of the 
cities that " Ibuilt^^ among which are many biblical 
names, like \hostoi Beth-4>amothy Horonaim, Dhibon^ 
and Beth-Baal-Meon, Here then, no doubt, is a 
contemporaneous pillar of that Moabite king whose 
bloody deeds are recorded in Scripture. It is a 
living witness to that scene of dark and unspeak- 
able superstition, the offering of human sacrifice to 
propitiate the gods of his country. He who carved 
it consummated that same horrible oflfering to 
" Chemosh of the Moabites;" and no page of the 
world's history could better explain, than does this 
lithographed one, how the mildest and noblest faith 
of humanity has ever had to fight its way over the 
ruins of old and devilish beliefs. Mr. Groves, one 
of the contributors to Smith's Biblical Dictionary, 
remarks: "(i) If the stone be a Moabite record, 
it is the first fragment of the literature of that people 
that has just been encountered; and (2) if the 
* Mesha ' whose name appears in the first line is the 
hero of the tragical story of 2 Kings iii., then we have, 
indeed, a discovery which may well make us stand 
breathless till the whole document be deciphered." 
To find a passage of Moabite chronicle, parallel in 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible, 26$ 

date to a portion of the Bible, is an event of no 
mean importance j and it should stimulate us to 
further researches in the same direction. 

Meditating on that wonderful stone, we pass 
Ramah, and presently anive at Beth-lehem, Here 
I would submit to the notice of the young Bible 
student another prefix that may serve as a guide to 
the meaning of many other names of places in 
Palestine. Let me pave the way by an illustration. 
In England there are many places with the word 
castrum, in its anglicised form, interwoven with their 
names j such as Ilchester, Dorchester, Winchester, 
Chichester, Rochester, Doncaster, Manchester, and 
the like. Now, as the Roman word castrum signi- 
fied " a fortified camp,'\ we know that in these places 
the Romans had their military stations at the time 
when this country was imder their rule, and that 
the towns whose names have castrum interwoven 
were of Roman origin. So in England, also, we 
have such particles as " wick,' " by,'' or ^^ham " in- 
terwoven also in the names of places; such as 
Berwick, Alnwick, Appleby, Derby, Southampton, 
Northampton, etc. " Wick " occurs more in the 
north, and is of Norse origin ; " ^^ ** occurs more 
in the midland and north-east, and is of Danish 
paternity; while ^^ham'' is found chiefly in the 

266 BibU ton. 

south and south-east, and is Saxon. Now each of 
these words signifies a dweUing or home\ and they 
aid us veiy considerably in tracing the occupancy 
of the ancient inhabitants of Britain. In like man- 
ner we have in the nomenclature of Scripture many 
places with the prefix ^^Beth^^ the ordinary Hebrew 
word for house or dwdling^ and of which the modem 
Arabic equivalent is *^Bdt,** Hence we have 
Bdhany^ ''the house of dates;" Bethphage^ ''die 
house of figs;" Bethd, "the house of God;" 
Bdhoron^ "the house in the hollow/' etc. This 
Bethlehem^ or " house of bread," as the name signi- 
fies, was the centre of the great com country of 
the south. Y u will remember that it was hither 
that Ruth came in the '* end of the barley harvest," 
and where she gleaned in the fields of Boaz. So 
fertile was this region that sometimes it was called 
Ephratah^ or "fruitful;" and sometimes the two 
words are combined into the superlative Bethlehem- 
Ephratah; that is to say, " the house of bread, the 
fruitful." Truly, a singularly appropriate name for 
the native place of Him who is the inexhaustible 
** bread of life " for the spiritually hungry world. 

About a mile further on our attention is attracted 
by a small building of very distinct Mohammedan 
origin, known as "Rachel's tomb." There is no 

Notable Places mentioned in tlte Bible. 267 

reason to doubt the site, and one cannot help being 
thankful that the Mohammedans have even such a 
superstitious veneration for the worthies of Jewish 
history, as, from time to time, to have repaired or 
rebuilt in their own style many of the old Hebrew 
monuments. Travellers who have penetrated the 
wall of the external building have found that it was 
erected over a previous structure, itself raised over 
a third building that now lies, a heap of crumbling 
stones, in the centre of the whole. 

Before us, still to the north, about five miles off, 
is el-Kuds^ " the Holy City \ " our Arab guides some- 
times call it Beit el-Makdis, " the holy house." The 
prophet called it (Isa. xidx, i, 2 ; ^ Ezek. xliii. 16) 
Ariely " the lion of God." The emperor Hadrian 
(Aelius Hadrianus), who rebuilt a portion of it, 
called it Adia Capitolina; and to this day we may 
find these two names of the emperor inscribed in a 
stone in the south wall of the Aksa, one of the few 
Roman relics about which there can be no dispute. 
The Hebrews called it Yeritshalaim, The name 
most familiar to us is that which it most frequently 
bears in the Holy Scriptures — yerusalem. 


i^otalrle '$\Mt» vmx&amh m % §ibl(. 




T would fill several chapters to enumerate 
and describe the numerous matters of 
archaeological interest in this one place 
alone. I must content myself with saying a word 
or two about only two or three of them, and espe- 
cially about some of the more recent explorations. 

Most of the old cities of the world are now under 
ground. If, for example, London could be swept 
away, and an army of "navvies" were to turn up the 
ground for from six to twenty feet below the pre- 
sent foundations, they would arrive at, as partial 
excavations have clearly proved, the foundations of 
the old Roman city j and lay bare the streets and 
tesselated pavements of ancient houses and temples. 

" Captain Warren, as is well known, has been in- 
dustriously uncovering the roads of the ancient city. 
His subterranean labours have revealed what may 
be termed stratified Jewish history. He has gone 

272 Bible Lore. 

CL(yKn as much as ninety feet in one spot \ and at 
the comer of the Haram especially, at the dq)th 
of eighty feet, he has disclosed the foundation 
stones of the old Temple, standing upon the living 
rock, besides chambers, ^trails, aqueducts, cistens, 
and arches ; which begin, after incredible toil, to 
range themselves into an intelligible plan, reveal- 
ing to us the real Jerusalem of the past At tbc 
foot of the south-east rampart, which novv^ supports 
the mosques of Omar and Aksa, have been unveiled 
stones bearing letters incised virith a chisel, or painted 
in red. These have been studied by Mr. Deutsch, 
and declared to be the construction marks of the 
Phoenician masons who built the Temple. The 
fac-similcs of them, thus far brought home, are 
very niiicli like the first attempts of a small school- 
boy to make figures on a slate \ but they are as- 
suredly of immense antiquity, and no doubt they 
represent the actual memoranda of the stone layers 
of Tyre and Sidon, *who took the contract' from 
Solomon to built his temple. To enumerate the 
various articles — as Jewish weights — made of stone, 
and elaborately carved with arabesques, lamps, 
vases, and other articles of ceramic ware, would 
occupy nnich space. There is an especially strik- 
ing round-bellied \^s»s»^l ftora. * Robinson's arch,* 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible, 273 

discovered at seventy-two feet below the surface, 
of dark red clay, and almost as thin as biscuit 
china. It may have held the *fine flour mingled 
with oil,' or the * drink-offering of wine, the fourth 
part of a bin,' presented when ' Kore, the son of 
Imnah the Levite, was porter towards the east, 
over the precious offerings ' in the reign of Heze- 
kiah. From the same spot, and indeed from many 
others in these workings, have been sent a large 
number of tiny earthenware lamps. One glance 
at these recognizes them as identical with the 
Arab assiras which our guides use throughout 
oiu: travels. They are little pear-shaped flattened 
things, the like of which almost a tool-mark may 
be bought at Nazareth, at the rate of three for a 
piastre. Mr. Vaux, I believe, of the British Museum, 
pronounces the greater part of them to be of about 
the date 150 B.C. j and doubtless it was just such 
a domestic article which met the eye of Him who 
told the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, 
and counselled all to have their ' loins girded, and 
their lamps burning.' With these are mingled some 
curious little jars of a more primitive type, believed 
to be Sidonian ; though, as they are exactly of the 
same shade of colour, and made apparently of the 
same clay, they may, as likely as not, have beeiL 

274 Bible Lore. 

Jewish vessels to contain oil or essences, in reli- 
gious Qx domestic ose. Under Mount Zion have 
been foond spindle-shaped vessels, small, and pos- 
sessing the character of * lachrymatories.' If these 
were tear botdes, they may have belonged to the 
class to which David refers in that fa^miliar passage 
in which his Divine Friend is spoken of as treasur- 
ing his tears (Ps. IvL 8). Among the most ancient 
of these remains may be noticed ' a saucer-shaped 
piece of good manufacture and perfect glaze, 
which exacdy resembles the articles made in the 
Punjaub to hold camels'-milk cheese, though it 
may very well be, for aught we know, the identical 
* lordly dish ' in which Jael, the wife of Heber the 
Kenite, brought butter to Sisera — preserved in the 
Temple, or one of the * empties ' not returned to 
the Queen of Sheba after her celebrated visit with 
so many presents to the spot which is here for the 
first time laid bare after four thousand years." 
Ascending from these subterranean regions, we 
stand at length on the site of the Temple itself. 
Above us is the dome of the " Sakrah," and at our 
feet is one of the most remarkable objects of in- 
terest in Jerusalem. Projecting for about five feet 
above the marble pavement is a strange bald rock, 
some sixty fe^l \oxi^ b^ ^fty feet broad. It appears 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible, 275 

to be the natural surface of Mount Moriah. Marks 
of chiseling may be seen in various parts ; at its 
south-eastern comer there is an excavated cham- 
ber, to which access is -gained by a flight of stone 
steps, and an aperture through the rocky roof. 
This chamber, of irregular form and with an ave- 
rage height of seven feet, is capable of accommo- 
dating fifty persons. In its centre there is a circular 
slab of marble, which, on being struck, emits a 
hollow sound suggestive of an excavation or a well 
beneath. Many have been the curious speculations 
to which this rock has given birth. Some, as Mr. 
Fergusson, have suggested that it was the rock of 
the Holy Sepulchre : others have supposed it to be 
a part of the rock on which once stood the fortress 
of Antonia. Professor Willis lurges " its claim to 
be the rock overhanging the threshing-floor of 
Araunah, selected by David, and afterwards con- 
tinued by Solomon and Zerubbabel, as the 'unhewn 
stone' on which to build the altar ; the cave within 
being the sink described in the Talmud as that 
into which blood and offal of the sacrifices were 
drained offl" "One argument which Professor 
Willis has omitted in favour of his position may 
be noticed. In i Chron. xxL 20, 21, it is said that 
*Oman and his four sons hid themselves^ apparently 

276 Bible Lore, 

A\ithin the threshing-floor ; for it is added that, as 
David came to Oman, * Oman looked and went out 
of the threshing-floor.' Possibly it was customary 
to have a cave under the rock of the threshing-floor 
to conceal the com — as in the case of Gideon in the 
wine-press under the rock of Ophrah, where the 
altar was afterwards raised." * Meanwhile the rock 
remains, whatever be its origin, the most curious 
monument of Old Jerusalem, and not the least so, 
from the unrivalled variety of associations which 
it has gathered to itself in the vicissitudes of 
centuries. But we must not linger longer in the 
Holy City. 

And as we have much ground yet to traverse, we 
must not turn to the right as we leave Jerusalem 
to visit Jericho and Ain-Stiltan, or, as it is called 
by some " the fountain of Elisha ; " the road to 
which " city of palm-trees " being down hill all the 
thirteen miles to a point 3,624 feet below the level 
of the highest point of Jerusalem. So literally did 
the man who "fell among thieves" go ^^ down^^ on 
his way to Jericho. Yet, even here, as we take our 
way to the ancient Sychar, I would pause to remind 
you that the " AtJi " you so frequently encounter as 
a prefix to names of places on modem maps of the 

* Dr. Stanley. 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible, 277 

Holy Land, is the Arabic form of the old Hebrew 
En^ which signifies " a fountain." Thus, the witch 
whom Saul, forsaken of God, consulted, lived at 
Endor, " the fountain of the dwelling." En-eglaim 
means " the fountain of the two calves." En-gan- 
niin signifies " the fountain of gardens." En-gediy 
the place so famous in the early history of David, 
was " the fountain of the kid." The frequent re- 
currence of Beer and En in the names of Hebrew 
localities, shows the high repute in which a pastoral 
people held wells and fountains, just as their Beth^ 
and the Saxon ham, is suggestive of the ancient re- 
cognition of the truth that " there is no place like 

Crossing the head of the Wady Kelt, which is 
really what its name imports, "a cutting^' in the 
lime-stone rocks down amid the oleander shrub- 
beries and cavernous sides of which the Tishbite 
concealed himself from the rage of Ahab, we push 
on to the centre of Palestine, leaving Gibeon on 
the right, through Bethel, leaving Shiloh on the left 
with Lebanah opposite j and after a march of forty 
miles from Jerusalem, we encamp at the entrance 
of a valley stretching out towards the left. Imme- 
diately before us is Mount Ebal, behind us is Mount 
Gerizim, and the opening in the ground, around 

2-S Bible 

^cii':h w>* biTte fonned oar encampment, \s Jacob's 

w-Z. If ny rrmaiy intention in this chapter were 

t: >e iev:6?::ul, or esperimental^ or doctrinal, I 

>>ou."I her? recommend you to pause, and read 

.•^rtiiir. rcrdrns cf the Book of Genesis, and the 

::f:rir. :hircer of the Gospel according to Sl John; 

r:v ycir:'C5<? reh^r. however, archaeological, we have 

*-is> r? c? wiu: Jacob who dug the well, or with 

' r^vh who soc^ht his brethren in this vaUey, or 

»i± :he fclinnr scholar in the class of the Great 

Te-jLv h^er. ±.in with the material surroundings of the 

yuLoe. Thi: wh:^f Mussulman chapel close upon 

v^ vW^r? the illeged tomb of Joseph, buried thus 

*-^ :he " iv-rc;^! of cround " which his father be- 

.•u^-iihe*.! :.^ I -in:'- That little chapel which you see 

,:rcct ^ r:Ljr:er of a mile otF, towards the slope of 

O'iTi.-'in". is .'.1>? shown as the tomb of Joseph, and 

:s Sv^xi ^v the Sarnaritans to be so called after Eabbi 

' .^c>cvh cf Niriusw Of course you will not have 

f,^r^r::er- that we were sho^n the shrine of Joseph 

•:^. the :v..^>.yue at Hebron. The burial of Joseph 

,:t S>e'ehen: is vet}- distinctly mentioned in Josh. 

w . 5- : .—vi this seems to be confirmed by the 

s. :vv\^hat vert le.vh:^ statement in Acts A-iL 15, 16. 

AvWrvlir.^ to the general tradition of the country, 

*u>::r.cvl, y<th.\vs^ as \>x. ^\ax!J^^^ ^>\^ests^ by an 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible, 279 

ambiguous expression of Josephus,* the body of 
Joseph, after having been deposited first at Shechem, 
was subsequently transported to Hebron. The 
guardian of the mosque accounted for the shrine of 
Joseph being there by the story that Joseph was 
buried in the Nile, and that Moses recovered the 
body, 1,005 years afterwards, by marrying an Egyp- 
tian wife who knew the secret. Glancing at the 
twin mountains, and measuring at the same time 
the distance between them, " Was it possible," we 
ask, " that the voices of the Levites, reading the 
curses and blessings of the law could be heard 
across this valley ? " Yes ; for in recent times the 
experiment has been often tried, and with demon- 
strative success. Mr. Mills, for example, tells us+ 
that he ascended Gerizim, while a friend stood on 
Ebal, and as he read out the blessings, his friend on 
Ebal heard them, and then read the curses with a 
corresponding result : " We all heard every word arid 
syllable." Again he says : " One day, when passing 
down the valley, we heard two shepherds holdiiig 
a conversation. One was on the top of Gerizim, 
out of sight, and the other was close to us in the 
valley." There before us is Sychar, the ancient 
Shechem, — to whose folly-stricken inhabitants Jo- 
• " Antiquities," ii. 8. 2. f Niblus, 58 fifi 

28o Bible Lore. 

tham shrieked out his warning parable from one of 
the lofty precipices that literally overhang the city. 
The dramatis persona of his parable were all before 
hini. First, there was the olive, the special tree of 
Nablus, clearly marked out as the rightfiil sovereign; 
next to this would follow the rarer but still com- 
manding fig tree, and the trailing festoons of the 
vine ; last of all, the briar or bramble, whose worth- 
less branches are still used for the fire-wood of the 
sacrificial oven, and whose unsightly bareness con- 
trasts on the hill-side with the rich verdure of his 
nobler brethren."* " Nor would it be difficult to be 
heard, as everybody knows who has listened to the 
public crier of the \'illages of Lebanon. In the 
stillness of evening, after the people have returned 
home from their distant cornfields, he ascends the 
mountain-side above the place, or to the roof of 
some prominent house, and there * lifts up his voice, 
and cries,' as Jo tham did ; and he gives forth his 
message with such distinctness that all can hear 
him, and understand it Indeed, the people in 
these mountain countries are able, from long prac- 
tice, so to pitch their voices as to be heard distinctly 
at distances almost incredible. They talk with per- 
sons across enormous wadies, and give the most 

• Dr. Stanley, '♦ Sitvai and PaLstine," 240. 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible, 281 

minute directions, which are perfectly understood \ 
and in doing this they seem to speak very little 
louder than their usual tone of conversation."* In 
the Samaritan synagogue at Sychar, or Nablus, as it 
is now called, is a venerable Pentateuch roll, said 
to have been written by Abishua, the son of Phine- 
has (i Chron. vl 3, 4), or nearly 3,500 years old. 
" It is a regular volumen, * a thing rolled jind un- 
rolled,' a Megillah such as that which Jeremiah took, 
and Baruch wrote in, and Jehudi fetched, and 
Jehoiakim cut with his penknife, and burned in the 
fire of his winter house (Jer. xxxvi. 2, 4, 27)." + 

A few miles further on, and on the other side of 
Ebal, are the remains of Samaria, the ancient 
capital of Israel, now called Sefiistieh, Here we 
find the valley strangely diversified with the crum- 
bling ruins of many edifices, of many dates, of many 
builders. Some few of those stones may have been 
wrought by Omri's masons. That colonnade, num- 
bering with the prostrate jind broken columns 
nearly three hundred majestic pillars, was the work 
of Herod. Those circular, buttressed walls are the 
remnants of the church of St John, erected in 

• Dr. Thomson, " Land and Book," 473; Dr. Bonar'a 
•* Land of Promise," 371. 
f Dr. Bonar. 

2S2 Bible Lore, 

medue^TJ tiines, one d the numerous footprints 
of cnisading annies. It must have been a noble 
c:n\ ''Set on a hill, in the midst of a vast 
mountainous amphitheatre, ten miles at least in 
diameter, it cannot be hid. On every side it is 
\-:>dble, and in fomier days, with its circling colon- 
nades and towering temples, it must have looked 
surpassingly noble. There is nothing like it even 
in Palestine, whose hills and vaUeys seem as if 
specially laid out as sites for castles, and palaces, 
and cities." 

Hurr}-ing on past Dothan, which we leave on our 
left ; with En-Jeddln, " the fountain of gardens," on 
our right : glancing at the mountains of Gilboa on 
the one hand, and the flower)'^ slopes of Carmel on 
the other, we traverse the plain of Esdraelon, the 
old battle-ground of S}Tia ; and at length find our- 
selves wandering amid the principal scenes in the 
life of our Lord. Galilee is strewn all over with 
heaps of ruins, separated fix)m each other by sundry 
hills of no great ele\-ation, and occasionally still 
showing feeble signs of life, where mean Arab towns 
and hanilets — some of them bearing yet the ancient 
names — mark the sites of what were once populous 
and powerful cities. This little heap of ruins, called 
i\t7>;, is unques\.\ox\a\il^' live ancient Ndin, and it is 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible, 283 

" in keeping with one historic incident (Luke viL 
II — 17) that renders it dear to the Christian, that 
its only jintiquities are tombs." * Whether yonder 
little modem village of Kenna, four miles and a half 
north-west of Nazareth, or the deserted village of 
Kdnd-el-yelil was the scene of the first miracle, no 
one can now positively declare. Nazareth, now 
called en-Nazirah, with its 3,000 inhabitants, may 
be recognized sleeping amid its fifteen gently 
rounded hills, that " seem as if they had met to 
form an enclosure for this peaceful basin j tiiey rise 
round it like the edge of a shell to guard it from 
intrusion." + In the words of the old topographer, 
Quareanius, " Nazareth is a rose, and, Uke a rose, 
has the same rounded form, enclosed by mountains 
as the flower by its leaves." The poor inhabitants, 
to whom all travellers suggest a harvest, rush out on 
our approach, and carry us off to the cave of annun- 
ciation, and the kitchen of Mary, and the workshop 
of Joseph, and the dining-table of our Lord and 
His disciples, and the synagogue where He read 
the prophet Isaiah. And then we turn away from 
their foolish tales, and fond traditions, and clamours 
for backshhhy and climb the mount of precipitation, 
a cliflf about forty feet high, in the abrupt face of 
• Dr. Thomson. f Dr. Stanley. 

284 J^iiMf Lore. 

die limestone lock at the soutk-west comer dL the 
town, and reflect^ as we look down upon Nazareth, 
how nearly infideli^ and saperstition are allied; 
and contrast die ancient rejection of die Lord of 
trudi by His own townsmen widi die vehement pro- 
testations of die genuineness of the table, and the 
workshop, by die present wretched inhabitants of 
die place. Not unnatural is it that our thoughts 
should wander off to other people^ who, by the way, 
would treat diese Nazarenes with majestic scorn, 
and yet seem to have &r more £dth in the wooden 
utterances of their neighbours' tables, than in the 
*' lively oracles " that lie neglected on thdr own; 
nor strange may it be thought if, as the wind-up of 
such reflections, we should take the New Testament 
from our wallet, and note how Paul with an inspired 
prescience had anticipated the " lying wonders" of 
modem times (2 Thess. iL 7 — 12). 

From Nazareth, journeying towards the east and 
south, we begin, after a few miles of gently undu- 
lated country, to climb Mount Tabor, the scene of 
many a notable event. Here it was that Barak col- 
lected his forces ; and hence it was that, at the 
bidding of Deborah, he and his men rushed like a 
torrent down upon Sisera (Judges iv. 6, 12 — 14). 
Here it was that, according to tradition, our Lord 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible, 285 

was transfigured ; and saying so tradition proves — 
and not for the first time — that it has erred. For 
not only was Christ at Csesarea Philippi a little 
while before (Matt. xvi. 13), but at that time the 
summit of Mount Tabor was occupied by a fortified 
town. As we stand here, 1,900 feet above the level 
of the sea, we find ourselves surrounded by " a con- 
fused mass of broken walls, towers, vaults, cisterns, 
and houses, some of which indicate the sites of the 
convents and churches erected by the crusaders." * 
Erected by them, probably, out of the ruins of pre- 
vious edifices. 

Descending Tabor, and continuing our journey 
eastwards, we cross the Jordan between the Jar- 
miik, flowing into the Jordan, on the right hand ; 
and the sea of Galilee to the left and north. Push- 
ing our way still eastwards, through the forests of 
walnut and cherry and apricot trees that grow on 
the edge of the ravine, through which, at a depth of 
250 feet, the Jarmiik flows, we found ourselves pre- 
sently in the Hauran, called in all the old and 
larger works on Palestine and Syria, " yob's father- 

• Dr. Thomson. 


Rotable ^hm vrndaamli m % ^iblt. 




|N the Hauran we constantly hear of " the 
patient man." We remark upon the 
fhiitfuhiess of the district, and one of the 
Arabs replies,* " Is it not the land of Job ?" {pilM 
EjM) ; or " Does it not belong to the villages of 
Job?" {di& EjM). The Arabs told Scetzen that 
Bozra was "a city of Job;" and Eli Smith was 
informed that the country, for miles around, was 
" the land of Job." "What is that great building 
yonder ?"^we are pointing to a structure belonging 
to the Roman or Byzantine period. The peasants 
reply, " The summer palace of Job." We encamp 
at night at Dd,Hl^ and the shepherds say that the 
place of our encampment was "Job's pasture 
ground.'* When Buckingham saw in the distance 
the village of Gherbiy his attendants told him that 

BibU Lore. 

* X wns :htt birthpLurc and residence of Job."* 
I"^rct.>.L X <c<;ms as though the Hauran and "the 
Oiu- .rf T-^ * '^^ ^yaonymoosw How came all these 
^nvriucns ? I do aoc beiLe\-e that the " man of Uz" 
'^uilt ::iac palace. I have grave and reasonable 
,:v*i;i^> c>*itcx:rxn^ maav other ruins that bear his 

t^iitiv: vr. Tcovtciiscmding he was ** greatest of all 
.:k ttc't -ri iic ^J:?c"' the architecture is too mani- 

v'^■^ m^•cm* as vX^mpared with that of the diys 
,»\ V \r..\:itu ^^ricjie coacemporarv he wasw Yet 
.tK*^' tuiv 'cc 5caitf basis of truth for all these 
\v^i ^v-rcs OS wx; inow there is for the traditions 
o.*itvx''*ti:ti: itc racrarchs and Tesus to which we 

i>iv -o- ,*iT .-^c .*c*v:r >;^:^^ cf tiie r:v,ir. To this 
^..^ -v ' v; ::-;.* "^ ••cr:LL::Sv ±.e most fertile district 

It :\.. V..*. ,*i -to Vjsw I: ^~i5 iiL tbii re^.on ±at 
*"t. V'l-v' • ''-vc 11 ^^nc >>LLy :or ziore "r-.^rx cwennr 

if...-^ -.1 !. -iv..j^-u >r-ri:r<c :u''jr>:i:^'i ±.e docks ct n 

V .-.l'^ "Iv ' N.v.;-v ••: tiic same discric: ie wis 

■^ . -v >^.i!tv •:'. v^cr ■• .-^"c uvcii a rccr ciTSv 

\^ .V. *V''"' 'l • .♦■■.-•.-••^■^■•••» •_ :"»: " •" • -^ 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible, 291 

The tents of his people had been pitched on the 
banks of the Orontes ; their camels and goats were 
feeding on the plain. A troop of Anezeh came sud- 
denly upon them, and swept them all away — camels, 
goats, tents, women and children. . . . Property is 
as insecure still on the borders of the Arabian desert 
as it was in the days of Job."* (Job i. 14, 15.) 

Now that we are on the east of the Jordan, and 
intend to finish our travels by going round the head 
of the sea of Galilee, it will be worth our while to 
pay a hasty visit to Argob. 

Leaving " the land of Job " behind us in the 
south, we inquire for the land of the ruined cities 
of the giants. I read (Deut. iil 4, 5, 14) that in 
Argob, one of the little provinces of Bashan, Jair 
took no less than sixty great cities^ " fenced with 
high walls, gates, and bars ; besides unwalled 
towns a great many." Of course the arithmetic of 
Dr. Colenso would prove the statement to be 
incredible \ for how could a province, thirty miles 
by twenty, support so many, especially when the 
greater part of it was a wilderness of rock ? Let us 
go and see for ourselves. We ride on through the 
richly watered plain, musing on " the patience of 
Job," till by-and-by, as the shadows of evening 
• *• Giant Cities of Bashan," 307. 

2g2 Bible Lan. 

gjn&gx xoand us, we heffsk to ascend a xodiy 
bamer, snnoiiiiding a great platfomi of basah on. 
which the giant dtiie&aie iofOD^ H foond at 
alL As Ae dadmess thirkfina^ and the gloom 
becomes impenetrable^ we aze consdous— by dye 
ringing of the horses hoo& on die hard rocky 
gromid — that we have left die grassy slopes behind 
usy and are stambling on throng^ the gloom over 
a hard and barren floor. The rain drifts in omr 
fiicesy so that we can see nothing, and die moon 
has not yet risen. We ask pur Arab guide if diere 
is any spot where we can get shelter fix>m die ram. 
He tells us that there is a house ready for us, and 
close at hand. " A house ! Is there a house here?" 
"Hundreds of them," is the ready and startling 
answer. In wondering silence we still mount up a 
steep ascent, which, from the way our horses climb 
and stumble, must be somewhat like a ruined stair- 
case, and at length the dark outlines of high walls ap- 
pear against the sky ; and presently we enter a paved 
street Here we dismount, and an Arab striking 
a light, and inviting us to follow, we pass through a 
low, gloomy doorway into a spacious chamber. 
While our evening meal is being prepared, let us 
seize a torch, and explore our lodgings. The walls 
are perfect, and nearly five feet in thickness. They 

Notable Places mentioned in tJu Bible, 293 

are built of large blocks of hewn stone, laid without 
lime or cement of any kind. The roof is formed 
of large slabs of stone twelve feet long, and eighteen 
inches broad, and six inches thick. These slabs 
rest upon a cornice which projects for about a foot 
from each of the side walls. The room is twenty 
feet long, and twelve feet broad, and ten feet high. 
The outer door is a vast slab of stone, four and a 
half feet high, four feet wide, and eight inches thick. 
Notwithstanding that it is so massive, the pivots 
working in the lintel and threshold are so skil- 
fully made that we can open and close it with ease. 
At one end of the room there is a small window 
with a stone shutter; at the other end there is 
another door, also of stone. See, it communicates 
with another chamber, in size and construction like 
the one we have left At the far end of this room 
there is a larger door. Whither does it lead? 
Mind ! There is a flight of steps. Down we go, 
carefully, and wondering whither they will lead us. 
We stand in a spacious hall, twenty-five long by 
twenty high. Our reverie is ruthlessly disturbed 
by a voice summoning us to supper. As we sit 
down to it in the room we first entered, we 
cannot help reflecting that the original occupants 
must have been a stalwart xa.cfc \.o Ynsn^ ^^rr.^^^ 

294 Bible Lore. 

an apartment of ten feet high. The more so 
since men were not wont in those da]^ to btdld 
rooms much higher than they absolutely needed ; 
and since the lifting about of stones so vast must 
have been a toilsome work even with modem ap- 
pliances. Still the men who built the Pyramids 
were not a gigantic race ; . hence we must be 
guarded in our inferences. Supper despatched, we 
wrap our rugs around us, and lie down to sleep, 
and dream of mighty King Og, and wonder if his 
bedstead of iron were not constructed of the black 
basalt on the iron floor of which we were stretching 
our weary limbs. 

The morning comes at last, and, mounting our 
camels and horses once more, we set out over the 
island of basalt, and travel on from mile to mile 
from one deserted city to another. Owls fly round 
the grey towers, foxes and jackals rush away from 
us into the empty houses; and as we wend our 
way through these miles of silent streets the words 
of the prophet come to mind : " Wild beasts of the 
desert shall lie there, and their houses shall be full 
of doleful creatures ; and owls shall dwell there ; 
and satyrs shall dance there."* "One of these 
cities alone is five miles in circuit; its walls are 

* Isaiah xiii. 2Z. 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible, 295 

lofty and massive, and its castle one of the largest 
and strongest fortresses in Syria. Among the more 
modern ruins we find the remains of two theatres, 
six temples, ten or twelve churches and mosques, 
besides palaces, baths, fountains, aqueducts, trium- 
phal arches, and other great and beautiful buildings, 
some of which grace the proudest capitals of modem 
Europe." "There can be little doubt," adds Dr. 
Porter, in another place, " that these are the very 
cities erected and inhabited by the Rephaim, the 
aboriginal inhabitants of Bashan." And the lan- 
guage of Carl Ritter appears to be true : " These 
buildings remain as eternal witnesses of the con- 
quest of Bashan by Jehovah." 

Still pursuing our way northwards, and leaving 
Argob behind us, we arrive, after a ten or twelve 
miles* march, at Damascus. Famous in Bible story, 
bound up with the history of Abraham and David 
and Solomon, of Naaman and Elisha and Saul 
of Tarsus, it is still what Isaiah called it, " the head 
of Syria ; " while Babylon is a heap in the desert, 
and Tyre is a ruin on the shore. Celebrated for its 
productions, both natural and industrial, Damascus 
has a conspicuous place in both profane and sacred 
story. While other cities have risen and decayed, 
it still retains those marks of beauty which caused 

296 Bible Lore. 

Mohammedy on beholding it, to exdaim — as he 
compared it with another paradise^ and tinned 
away reluctantly ixooL the glorious dty^ — *^ Man 
can have but one paiadise in life : my panulise is 
&[ed above ;** whidi caused Lamartine to designate 
it '^ A predestined capital; ".and Dr. MUlmantocaU 
it ^^The queen dL dties." No sword used by 
ancient warrior was counted equal to a good 
Damascus blade: amcmg its texile &d»tcs <me kind, 
called ^^Mcx^, is known to this day; its firuits 
and its flowers are fiunoos as £ur as the luscious 
Ikmascene plum zsA the de^nlyed damask rase 
are known. The street ^^ which is called straight^ 
is still there — a narrow thoroughfare — in which the 
house of Judas, where Ananias met with Paul, is 
still pointed out I can do as I please about believ- 
ing it to be the very dwelling : as also I can about 
accepting the story as true, that that Saracenic wall 
contained the window — ^now conveniently walled 
up— whence the apostle was let down in a basket 
I wonder they do not show me that rope and 
basket Perhaps they are even now being manu- 
factured for the wonderment of some future pilgrims. 
About forty yards in front of that walled-up gate- 
way is a small cupola of wood, and the tomb be- 
neath it — ^around which certain pilgrims are praying 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible. 297 

yet for the soul of the departed — is said to contain 
the dust of St George, the porter who helped Paul 
to escape. I can do as I please about believing 
that: as also I can when I am taken to a spot 
half a mile to the east^ and told that "the great 
apostle to the Gentiles was converted here." I 
cannot help remarking that I thought it was on the 
great highroad coming from Jerusalem, when I am 
gravely informed that so it was beUeved till within 
the last century, when the spot on that road being 
judged to be too far distant for pilgrims to walk, or 
for holy fathers to conduct them; and that part 
of the city, moreover, being inhabited by bigoted 
Moslems, it has been deemed advisable of late to 
transfer the scene to the eastward! "Sceptics 
may smile at the absurdity of placing it on the 
east side of the city, while the great road to Jeru- 
salem runs westward ; but the faithful can reply, as 
some have done with regard to the Church of the 
Holy Sepulchre, that the very unlikelihood of its 
situation forms a convincing argument for its 
genuineness I" * To those who believe, all things 
are possible, it is said ; but we must crave an ex- 
ception in favour of the legends and traditions of 
the monks at Damascus. 

• T>t. Porter, " Five Yeata uv D«m9&c>a%^*' \»<^;. 

29S Bibk Lore. 

Bidding adieu to the city of " the golden river,'' 
and those atrocious jokers, the " monks of old," we 
take our way westwards by a long and weary march 
through the passes of Lebanon to the sea coast 
Here and there on those grim and silent mountains 
we stumble upon the remnants of some old altar 
where of old, as on Carmel, Baal had his high 
places. South of the road by which we travel is 
little Hermon, or some south-western spire of which 
was the scene of the transfiiguration ; and far away 
to the north, past the ruins of Baalbec, is ^' the vale 
of cedars.'' We have not time to make a detour to 
" the city of the sun," but must press on to JBetrHty 
where we take ship for a brief cruise along the 
coast We pass Sidon, the mother of Tyre; and 
Sarepta, the refuge of the fugitive prophet ; and 
cast our anchor in the roadstead of Tyre. But can 
this be Tyre? Nature is beautiful enough, and 
flourishing as of old. " The gardens and orchards of 
Sidon are charming ; oranges, lemons, citrons, bana- 
nas, and palms grow luxuriantly, and give the envi- 
rons of the old city a look of eternal spring." 
Indeed, the palm — PhcBtiix dadylifera — gave its 
name to Phoenicia, " the land of pahns." But as 
for arty ruins are scattered at intervals all along the 
coast Tombs, where await the last day the remains 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible, 299 

of " the merchant princes," " dot the mountain side, 
and have already yielded a rich harvest to the anti- 
quary of Phoenician sarcophagi, Greek coins, funeral 
ornaments, and crystal vases." Says Dr. Porter, 
** Heaps of hewn stones, and quantities of marble 
tesserae lay in my path, while broken mounds of 
rubbish were seen to the right and left, — here crown- 
ing a cliff, there washed by the waves." As we are 
rowed to the shore, we note that down through the 
clear waters we can distinctly perceive the remains 
of the ancient sea wall that bravely bade defiance 
to the billows of the great sea, in the days when the 
merchant princes of Tyre commanded the commerce 
of the world ; and when Hiram, the sea-king of the 
East, made a treaty with mighty Solomon, and sent 
him cedars from the groves on his upland provinces, 
and men to hew and polish the stones of that 
temple which struck so much wonder into the soul 
of Sheba's queen. Glancing around us, we see some 
fishermen pursuing their calling ; in their nets spread 
on the surf-beaten relics of the ancient towers we 
recognize the literal fulfilment of the old prediction. 
Slow pacing over the shore, where the shells of the 
purpura, or murex, a species of univalve whence the 
famous T)Tian dye was once extracted, are thickly 
scattered, we enter the city, and find its wretched 

300 Bible Lore. 

population di about 3,000 souls dwelling in poor 
hovels forming nairow and dirty streets among the 

^ ruins of what was once proud old Tyre. It must 
have been a city of columns and temjdes /0r ^»^ 
knee. The whole of the north end appears to have 
been one vast colonnade. Some fifteen feet beneath 

' the miserable roads along which we pdc our way 
among the ^i!i^3(xA^i^eeking crowd, some excavators 
found a beautiful marble pavement, and laid bare 
the foundations of many buildings, and numerous 
works of art, as exquisite istatues, and the like. 
Thus we walk on wonderingly over wredks of 
ancient splendour that ast(Hiished arid de%hted 
even the well-travelled " Father of History," four 
centuries before the birth of Christ* 

Here our wanderings among the archseological 
wonders of the Holy Land must end. We once 
more enter our vessel, the sailors of which seem 
anxious to quit the deserted roadstead where once 
the masts of the mightiest navy in the world lined 
the shore like a forest. We sit at the stem of the 
ship, and watch the low time-worn ruins sink into 
the waves reddened over by the setting sun. 

" The archaeology of the Bible is both more diffi- 
cult and more interesting than that of the Greeks 

• l>x. Thomson. 

Notable Places mentioned in tJie Bible. 301 

and Romans, and its interest is commensurate with 
its importance. To reproduce in living pictures the 
bygone life of other ages, must always be a worthy 
task for the thoughtful student ; and lessons of the 
utmost importance will arise from the endeavour to 
resuscitate an extinct civilization. But when such a 
study is pursued in order to understand the charac- 
ter and institutions of that peculiar nation to which 
was entrusted the propagation of a revealed religion, 
it becomes worthy of the highest intellect ; without 
it no true conception can be formed of the views and 
circumstances which lent their chief force and value 
to many of the profoundest utterances of inspired 
philosophy during a period of fifteen centuries; and 
the neglect with which it was long treated gave rise 
to many unnecessary difficulties and unworthy 
sneers. Had the peculiarities of Jewish civilization 
been thoroughly understood, half of the innuendoes 
which delighted the admirers of Bayle and Volney 
would only have raised a smile.""* At length, the 
present seems to be atoning for the supineness 
and, perhaps, the timidity of the past Assured 
that the truth cannot suffer from the most crucial 
test j and believing that the Bible contains the truth 
that saves, surrounded by the facts of history and 

• Rev. W. F. Farrar. 

302 BibU Lore. 

of social and of scientific life^ as concrete forms 
were given to those truths in the land of patriarchs 
and prophets, of Hebrew poets and Christian apos- 
tles ; such men as Robinson, and Thomson, and 
Stanley, and Tristram, and Kitto, and Porter, and 
a host of others, equally known to fame, have gone 
forth with measuring line and pickaxe; with theo- 
dolite and quadrant, to tap the rocks, and bore the 
earth, and analyse the waters, and measure the 
height of the moimtains, and sound the depth of the 
lakes and rivers of the East From Dan to Beer- 
sheba they have surveyed the land more scientific- 
ally and accurately, and with fiir less fear than the 
spies of old. And if they have not brought us 
back a " cluster" from the vineyards of Eshcol, they 
have returned with what is far better for us, even 
the rich ripe fruit of varied knowledge and induc- 
tive observation, wherewith the Bible student and 
the Christian teacher may fhore vigorously enforce 
and livingly illustrate the heavenly truths he ad- 
vances ; and pointing to the dismantled towers and 
cities of Palestine, whose ruin was the consumma- 
tion of the moral degradation of their builders, may 
vindicate Eternal Providence, and justify the ways 
of God to man. 





Abishua's Pentateuch Roll ..... 

Acts, Book of the, evidence of its authorship 

Acts xvii., consistent Narrative of . . . 

^thiopic Version of the Bible, the 

Alexander, Dr., on the Massorah 

Ancient Jewish Remains 

Ancient MSS. of the Bible : 

The Alexandrian MS. (Coif^^r i4/^;irawrfn««s) . .11 
The Cambridge MS. {Codex Bezce) , . . .14 
The Parisian MS. [Codex Regius) . . . .14 
The Sinaitic MS. {Codex Sinaiticus) . . .12 
The Vatican MS. Codex Vaticanus) . . . 10 

Ancient Versions of the Bible : 

The iEthiopic Version 34 

The Arabic Versions 34 

The Arminian „ 34 

The Egyptian „ 34 

The Georgian Version ....'. 34 
The Gothic ,, {Codex Argentius) . . . 32 

The Latin „ 29 

The Persian ,, ...... 34 

The Samaritan Version 29 

The Septuagint ,, . . . . . .22 

The Syriac Versions — ^The Peschito . . . .27 

,, ,, The Syro-Philoxenian Version . 28 

The Version of Aquila 29 

Symmachus 29 

Theodotion 29 

Ancient Versions of the Bible, Authenticity of the . 35 
„ ,, ,, Collation of, for correction 35 

Antiquity of MSS., tests of the 15 

Apocrypha, derivation and signification of the word 21 1, 213 
Number of Books, Chapters, Verses, and 
Words contained in the . . , - V* 


304 Index. 


Apocrfpha, Reasons for t]ie applicsdcm of tibe term lo 

Books • . . . ; • >|9 
Apociyp^accoiintoftheFliglit into Egypt . .12 
yy Books of the BiUe, the . . . 209 21 
yy ' Ciospdsy a barren waste <^ (Objectless wcmders 24 
,y yy Diffisrence between thdr Miracles 

y, yy and those of th^ Canonical Gkxpels 22 

„ yy Examples of the . . . .22 

», „ Qaestionsrespei;t]iigC3uis|metintJbil^22 

„ ,» Keasonsfortheoi^^oftfae . . igs 

„ Gospels, Epistles, etc . . . , 9&^ 
„ Narratives, the i^thjlessneia ai4, ijoimoralitg; 

of the , . . . . ... .. 2ja 

„ Mirades, J^omiples of . . . . 22; 

„ Writings connected with tih^ N^v^ Te^ameiM^ 2li 
„ 99 Exposure of thek In^pcaiisct sm- 

tluMity . . * : • 1 11^ 
,, ,9 External evidence IcNt ejecting this 

Divine aathority of th« . . . 2i< 
„ ,« Internal evidenice for r^ectmg the. 

Divine anthority of the*' • .21; 
„ „ The Church of Rome's formal^anc^ 

tionofthe .... 2li 

„ „ The unscriptural Doctrines and Pre- 

cepts of the . . . .21; 

,, ,, Their favouring of the notions of 

the Romish Church . . • 2I« 
,, „ Their representation of the charac- 

ter of Jesus . . . .22' 

,, ,, Their self-contradictory statements ii\ 

,, ,, Valuable as historical documents . 2ii 

Arabia, Prophecies relating to . . . . .17! 

Arabic Versions of the Bible y. 

Archaeological Remains in Palestine . . . .25' 
Archaeologists, labours of in Palestine . . . .302 
Archaeology, derivation of the term . . . .25^ 
Arguments and Reasons for the Translation of the Scrip- 
tures 61 

Arminian Versions of the Bible 3^ 

Authorized Version of the Bible, the basis of the . . 75 
a ,, ,, The cost of its production 95 

9> „ „ The story of its translation 81 

>> ») f> 

Index, 305 


Authorized Version of the Bible, the time occupied in its 

production . . .92 
The Translators' mode of 
procedure . . .87 
Authority, the Shoe a symbol of, in the East . . 148 

Authorship of the Acts of the Apostles, evidence of the . 202 

Babylon, Prophecies relating to 182 

Babylonian Talmud, the 49 

Balaam's Prediction, fidhlment of . . .176 

Baldness and Leprosy 154 

Barbary, preservation of Ancient Jewish Customs in . 148 
Beard, Oriental Peoples' respect for the . . • 'Si 

Beer or BiVy signification of 259 

Beer-lahai-roi 260 

Beeroth-bene-Isakon 260 

Beersheba to Dan, Tourney from ..... 256 
Beth or Beit^ signification of Names compounded with . 266 

Bible, Charlemagne's . 107 

Complete Translations of tl>e by private individuals 117 

Derivation of the word 5 

for the Blind 1 14 

Inaccurate Editions of the 116 

John Bunyan's 108 

iCing Charles the First's gift of the, to his son . 104 
Manners and Customs, present illustrations of in 

Oriental Countries 147 

New Version of the, proposition of a . . -97 

Suppression of the 116 

Peculiar interest attaching to single copies . . loi 
Peculiar Words and Phrases in the . . 119 — 142 
The Authorized Version of the . . . 79 — 98 

The burning of Matthews' 74 

The first authorized English . . . '74 
The first complete Edition of the . . • 73 

The first printed Edition of the . . . .68 

The Great 75 

The Poetry of the 236 

The Poor Man's ill 

The Soldier's II3 

Bible, the, a standing Miracle 24» 

Its attractiveness and adaptability to Masl . x^ 
Its influence on Poetic MdoV^«\k\&x»toafe'iA^^afc^ 

Authorized Version of the Bible, the time occupied in iU 

Eroduction . 
e TranskUora" mode of 

Authority, the Shoe a symhol of, in ihc l^ast 

Authorship of the Acts of the Apostles, evidence of the 

Babylon, Prophecies relating to , 

Bal^lonian Talmud, the 

Balaam's Prediction, fulMment of . ■ ■ 

Baldness !tnd Leprosy 

Barbary, preservation of Ancient Jewinh Custom* in 

Beard, Oriental Peoples' respect for Ihe 

B*ir or Bir, signification uf 

Beer-lahai-roi . 

Beeroth'bene-Isakon ...... 

Beertheba lo Dan, Joumey from 

Btth or Beit, signilication of Nai 

Bible, Charlcmaj^e's 
„ Complete TianslalionEj of Itie by private 
„ Derivation of the word . . . . 

„ (or the Blind 

„ Inaccurate Editions of Ihe . . . ■ 

.. John Bunyan's .... . - 

Kins CiMflcitbeFinfi gift of tbe^ tobaaMB 

s comiiuundcd «i>k 


3o6 IiuUx. ^ 


Bibk^ dw^ its influence upon tbe age Mhd 6ie popular 

mind • • • ^. . • • 242 
Its influence npaA die En^isli Tongue . . 140 
Its influence npon the Fine Arts . 242 

Its matchless ezoellenoe . 234 

Its sdf-peipetuating and ninUip^riqg power . 246 
Its varied Contents • • . • . 24S 
Its unireEsal adaptation . . . 243 

The Christian's Map^na C3iaxta . . •97 
The source of Britam's greatness . . 10^ 

The source of the princ^Ml Poets' most attnc- 
tive themes ...... 239 

B&lia Panperum, the . iii 

BiUical Ardueologjr . 254 

„ y, An interesting and woithT pursuit . 300 

„ ,, Difficulties connected wim . 300 

Bir-es-Seba 258 

Bishops' Bible, the . . .77 

Bishop Ulphilas' Gothic Translation of the Bible • . 32 

Book of Light, the 51 

Books, Chapters, Verses, Words, and Letters in the 
Bible, number of the ..*... 54 

Bowyer Bible, the 109 

Breeches Bible, the 76 

Burial of Joseph, the 278 

Burning of Matthews* Bible 74 

Bush, Professor, on the Targums 46 

Cave of Machpelah, the 262 

Celebrated Commentaries on the Bible . . 37 — 58 

Chamber of the Giants, a visit to a . . . . 292 
Chapters in the Bible and the Apocrypha, number of . 54 
Character of Jesus, the Apocryphal representation of the 255 
Church of Rome's sanction of tne Apocryphal Writings . 214 

Codex Argentius, the 33 

„ Regius, the 14 

„ Sinaiticus, the * 12, 220 

,, Vaticanus, the . . . . . . .10 

Coincidences between the Writers of the New Testament 

Epistles 194 

Coincidences, striking, in the Bible . . . 189—208 
Conunentaries, celebrated, on the Bible . 37 — 58 

]ems\i , , . . • 40 — ^55 



Index. 307 


Commentaiy, derivation of the tenn , . .39 

„ Which is the best ? . . . '55 

Conference at Hampden Court Chamber^, the first . 83 
Conjectural Coincidences in the Bibl« . , . . 205 
Consistency between the various statements of the New 

Testament Writers .195 

Correspondence of Ancient and Modem Heathenism . 156 
Correspondence of the History of the Four Great Mon- 

archs with the Prophecies of Daniel . . • • ^^79 
Coverdale's, Miles, Translation of the Bible . . .72 

Cranmer*s Bible 75 

Curious Editions of the Bible : 
Anderson's Bible (notoriously incorrect) . . .116 

Bible for the Blind 1 14 

Biblia Pauperum, the ; or, the Poor Man's Bible , ill 
Bonnemere's Bible (French) . . , , • Jii5 

Soldiers' Bible, the , - JI13 

Customs and Manners, Oriental, importance of a know- 
ledge of . , , 147 
„ mformation, of how 

derived . , . 146 
Customs connected with the Shoe .... 148 

,, Obscure, mentioned or referred to in the 

Bible 143 — 165 

C3rrus, Prophecies relating to, and their accomplishment 184 
Damascus, its Products, Traditions, etc. . . . 295 
Dan to Beersheba, a Journey from . , . , 256 
Desolation of the Cities of the Giants, the . . . 294 
„ „ Mighty Cities of Old, the . . .183 

Divine Authority for the Apocryphal Writings disclaimed 

by the writers 217 

East, Ancient Habits in the 147 

Ebal and Gerizim, remarkable effects of sound upon . 279 

Edom, Prophecies relating to 175 

,, the Ruins of 177 

Egypt, a great Corn-producing country . . . 197 

'E^pt and Ethiopia, Prophecies relating to . . .178 

Egyptian Versions of the Bible 34 

El-Bireh 260 

Elijah and the Arabians . . . . . . 199 

„ „ Ravens ^^*\'.'»»'^ 

m-Kuds •^^•v 


3o8 Index. 

MUf tjgnififitinit oi MnBCt oonponidcd widi • ^77* ^^ 

Sof^ BiUc^ die fist aodiorised .... 7$ 

^ LflflgiH^^ cb i ie o IB die .... 121 

„ Tnmflatian of ne Kble, die ioperiority of die . 92 

,, Tnadatioiif of die BSkUt, die carikst : 

Bedels TnadadoB ....... 63 

CoTCvUc^s ,, 72 

TyiMk^% „ 68 

Widdiffe^s 99 ... t .66 

wgiiHinrfinii of 266 

of BemibM ... 13, 220 

of St Paul, die ifitrmfic paminenesi of die . 194 
yy die New XestUBen^ ootocideocet between die 

Writenofdie 194 

EfMigflifH, SttMn Tnmflatian of die .... 64 
External Evidenoe for figecting die Divine antbority of 

die Apocrndial Writinffii 216 

FamoosEni^Tiandationf of tbe Bible . » 59—77 
Fnst oomplete Edition of tbe Bible^ tbe • • • 73 
Flight into I^Tpt, tbe Apoaypbal acooont of tbe . . 222 

Gaal, G6el, sigmficatian of 157 

Galilee 282 

Gemara of Babylon, the 49 

,f Jerusalem, the 49 

Georgian Version of the Bible, the .... 34 

Genevan Bible, the 76 

Gothic Version of the Bible 32 

Hauran, the 289 

Hebrew MSS., number of the 9 

Historical Copies and Curious Editions of the Bible 99 — 118 

History of the Latin Vulgate, the 29 

Ishmael and his Descendants, a proof of the Divine 

origin of the Pentateuch 178 

Ishmael, fulfilment of Prophecies respecting . . .178 

Jericho 276 

Jerusalem 267 

Jewish Commentaries : 

TheTalmuds 48 

„ Babylonian Talmud 49 

,, Gemara 48 

,, „ of Babylon 49 

„ „ ]cruaa\«iv . , . .49 








Jewish Commentaries : 
The Jerusalem Talmud , 
Jerusalem Targum , 



Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel . 
,, Onkelos . 

„ Pseudo- Jonathan 

Jewish War, the . . . , . 

„ Wedding, Patriarchal Observance at 
John the Baptist and Herod's Army 
Josiah, Prophecies relating to 
Judea, a Journey through 

,, Prophecies relating to, and their fulfilment 
Kiijath-Arba .... 
Kissing the Beard 
Latin Vulgate, the History of the 
Legends and Traditions in Palestine 
Letters in the Bible, number of . 
Literary Features of the Bible 
LXX., importance of the 
,, inaccuracy of the 
Matthew's Bible .... 
Matthew's Feast .... 
Middle Chapter, Verse, and Line of the Bible 
"Mighty Hand," the. 
Miles Coverdale's Translation of the Bible 
Miracles of Christ, the great purpose of the 

the Apocryphal Gospels, examples of the 
,, Canonical and Apocryphal Gospels, con 
trast between the 
Mishna, the 
Moabite Relics . 
Moses Maimonides 
Mount Tabor 

MSS., tests of the antiquity of 
Nain ..... 







229 — 250 ' 







Nations referred to in the Bible 

Nazareth, Traditions of 

New Testament MSS., the number of the 

The circumstaiit\a]L\\.-^ Ok^ \Jwt «^cet^ 
Narrative oi l\it 









New TestaBMnt, The danger of ionpgthe writu^ of the 206 
y, The nimiber (u Books, Ooapters, 

Veises, Words, and Letters in the . 54 
»» Writers, thdr alluaons to various man- 

ners and prmc^>les of difoent Peoples 207 
^ », Writers, their under^gned ag^Deemeat 20S 

New ThttslatiQa of Uie Bible, proposition of a . . 123 
Nineveh, Precedes relating to . % . 181 

», The correspondence ^ Prc^khecy with the 

known Ifistory of • . . 181 

„ The utter destruction of • . . . ^ 182 

Noble Baldness . . 154 

Notable Places mentioned or referred to in the 

Bible , i 25I-T-302 

Notions of the Romish Church fiivoured by the Apocry- 
phal Writings 215 

Obscure Customs menticmed or referred to in the 

Bible .... 143 — 165 

n »* Information of whence derived . 146 

Obsolete Words in the Bible . .125 

Oldest Hebrew MS., the 9 

Oriental Countries, present illustrations of Bible Cus- 
toms in . . 147 

Origin of the Apocryphal Gospels, reasons for the . 220 

Palestine, Archaeological Remains of . . . • 255 

Palimpsests 7 

Papyrus, preparation and use of 4 

Parchment, invention and preparation of . . .6 
Patriarchal Manners and Customs among Arabian 

Chiefe 147 

„ Observance at a Jewish Wedding . . 148 

Paulas Epistles, an armoury for the Christian Soldier . 248 

„ „ and Contemporary Writings . . . 248 

Peculiar Words and Phrases in tne Bible . . 119 — 142 

Pedagogue, the vocation of the 159 

Pentateuch, the Divine origin of the, demonstrated by 

Ishmael and his Descendants 178 

Persian MS., the "14 

„ Version of the Bible 33 

TeschitOy the, or thelAtex^Veisvon of the Bible . . 27 
Plucking off the Shoe, \htCM?Xawvo1 . , . .148 

Poetry of the Bible, the '^'^ 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible, 279 

ambiguous expression of Josephus,* the body of 
Joseph, after having been deposited first at Shechem, 
was subsequently transported to Hebron. The 
guardian of the mosque accounted for the shrine of 
Joseph being there by the story that Joseph was 
buried in the Nile, and that Moses recovered the 
body, 1,005 years afterwards, by marrying an Egyp- 
tian wife who knew the secret. Glancing at the 
twin mountains, and measiuing at the same time 
the distance between them, " Was it possible," we 
ask, " that the voices of the Levites, reading the 
curses and blessings of the law could be heard 
across this valley ? " Yes ; for in recent times the 
experiment has been often tried, and with demon- 
strative success. Mr. Mills, for example, tells ust 
that he ascended Gerizim, while a friend stood on 
Ebal, and as he read out the blessings, his friend on 
Ebal heard them, and then read the curses with a 
corresponding result : " We all heard every word aiid 
syllable." Again he says : " One day, when passing 
down the valley, we heard two shepherds holding 
a conversation. One was on the top of Gerizim, 
out of sight, and the other was close to us in the 
valley." There before us is Sychar, the ancient 
Shechem, — to whose folly-stricken inhabitants Jo- 
• " Antiquities," ii. 8. a. f N^blus, 58 fif. 

312 Index. 


Sumiiuy of Propbedesrdatiiig to Christ . . . 185 
Sapperina CSiamberofthe Qants .... 293 

Simpresskm of the Bible no 

%j&»x . . 29o 

Syriac VeraoosofthelKble ^7 

STn>-PhiloxeiiiaaVersioD<^ the New Testament . 28 

Talmuds, the . . . . . . .48 

Taignm of Jonathaii Ben Uzzid ..... 42 

,, Onkelos» the 43 

„ Pseudo-Jonathan 42 

Tavemer's Bible 74 

Temple, the Site of the 274 

The Apocryphal Books of the Bible . . .209—228 
„ Authenticity of Ancient Versions of the Bible . 35 
», Authorked Version of the Bible . . • 81^—90 
„ Bishops' Bible . . . . . . •77 

„ Book of Light ....... 51 

„ Bowjrer Bible 109 

y. Breeches Bible 76 

Gemara 48 

Great Bible .75 

Jewish War 202 

,, Literary Features of the Bible . . .229 — 250 

,, Massorah 55 

Matchless excellence of the Bible .... 234 

" Mighty Hand " 51 

Mishna ........ 48 

Mosque of Hebron 261 


,, Pentateuch Roll of Abishua 281 

„ Poetry of the Bible 236 

,, Poor Man's Bible ill 


f I 

Shepherd of Hermas, discovery of the . . 13, 219 
Soldier's Bible . . . . . . .113 

Self-perpetuating power of the Bible . . . 240 

Varied Contents of the Bible 248 

Talmuds ........ 48 

Targums ........ 40 

Undesigned agreement of the New Testament 

Writers 208 

„ Vocation of t\ie PeAa§,o^t 159 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible. 281 

minute directions, which are perfectly understood; 
and in doing this they seem to speak very little 
louder than their usual tone of conversation."* In 
the Samaritan synagogue at Sychar, or N^blus, as it 
is now called, is a venerable Pentateuch roll, said 
to have been written by Abishua, the son of Phine- 
has (i Chron. vL 3, 4), or nearly 3,500 years old. 
" It is a regular volumen, * a thing rolled and un- 
rolled,' a Megillah such as that which Jeremiah took, 
and Baruch wrote in, and Jehudi fetched, and 
Jehoiakim cut with his penknife, and burned in the 
fire of his winter house (Jer. xxxvi. 2, 4, 27)." + 

A few miles further on, and on the other side of 
Ebal, are the remains of Samaria, the ancient 
capital of Israel, now called Sefustiek, Here we 
find the valley strangely diversified with the crum- 
bling ruins of many edifices, of many dates, of many 
builders. Some few of those stones may have been 
wrought by Omri's masons. That colonnade, num- 
bering with the prostrate and broken columns 
nearly three hundred majestic pillars, was the work 
of Herod Those circular, buttressed walls are the 
remnants of the church of St. John, erected in 

• Dr. Thomson, •* Land and Book," 473; Dr. Bonar's 
"Land of Promise," 371. 
f Dr. Bonar. 


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Notable Places mentioned in tlie Bible, 283 

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II — 17) that renders it dear to the Christian, that 
its only antiquities are tombs." * Whether yonder 
little modem village of Kenna, four miles and a half 
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Kdnd-el'J^eHl was the scene of the first miracle, no 
one can now positively declare. Nazareth, now 
called en-Nazirah, with its 3,000 inhabitants, may 
be recognized sleeping amid its fifteen gently 
rounded hills, that " seem as if they had met to 
form an enclosure for this peaceful basin ; they rise 
round it like the edge of a shell to guard it from 
intrusion." t In the words of the old topographer, 
Quaresmius, " Nazareth is a rose, and, like a rose, 
has the same rounded form, enclosed by mountains 
as the flower by its leaves." The poor inhabitants, 
to whom all travellers suggest a harvest, rush out on 
our approach, and carry us off to the cave of annun- 
ciation, and the kitchen of Mary, and the workshop 
of Joseph, and tlie dining-table of our Lord and 
His disciples, and the synagogue where He read 
the prophet Isaiah. And then we turn away from 
their foolish tales, and fond traditions, and clamours 
for backshish, and climb the mount of precipitation, 
a cliff about forty feet high, m the abnipt face of 
♦ Dr. Thomson. f ^r- Stanley. 

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''" LONDON : 

HODDER & STOUGHTON, 27, Paternoster Row. 

Notable Places mentioned in the Bible. 285 

was transfigured ; and sa3dng so tradition proves — 
and not for the first time — that it has erred. For 
not only was Christ at Csesarea Philippi a little 
while before (Matt, xvi 13), but at that time the 
summit of Mount Tabor was occupied by a fortified 
town. As we stand here, 1,900 feet above the level 
of the sea, we find ourselves surrounded by " a con- 
fused mass of broken walls, towers, vaults, cisterns, 
and houses, some of which indicate the sites of the 
convents and churches erected by the crusaders." * 
Erected by them, probably, out of the ruins of pre- 
vious edifices. 

Descending Tabor, and continuing our journey 
eastwards, we cross the Jordan between the Jar- 
m^k, flowing into the Jordan, on the right hand ; 
and the sea of Galilee to the left and north. Push- 
ing our way still eastwards, through the forests of 
walnut and cherry and apricot trees that grow on 
the edge of the ravine, through which, at a depth of 
250 feet, the Jarmiik flows, we found ourselves pre- 
sently in the Hauran, called in all the old and 
larger works on Palestine and Syria, " yoVs father- 

• Di, Thomson.