Imagens das páginas

tains that Paul adopts the Septuagint chronology. Calvin follows the Septuagint in his commentary on Gen. xv. 13: "Ex sexto capite colligere promptum sit, non ultra ducentos et triginta annos, vel cireiter, elapsos esse, ex quo descendit illuc Jacob usque ad liberationem." Lighfoot (Vol. II, 355) remarks: "From the giving of the promise to Abraham to the deliverance out of Egypt were 430 years." This sum of years divided itself into two equal parts; for half of it was spent before their going into Egypt, and'half of it in their being there; for they spent in Egypt ninetyfour years before the death of Levi, and 121 after; for Levi and Joseph were born in Jacob's second apprenticeship. Levi was forty-three years old at the descent, and from Exodus vi. 16, lived 137 years; so that they were there ninetyfour years before his death, and from the genealogies, Exodus vi., 121 years after.

Kiippen1 maintains that the residence in Egypt was 215 years; for Joseph lived seventy-one years after the descent, being thirty-nine years old at that time, and he died at the age of 110 years. From Joseph's death till Moses's birth was sixty-four years; from Moses's birth to the Exodus,eighty years, which add, 71-|-64+80=:215. But how do we know that it was sixty-four years from Joseph's death to Moses's birth? It is said, Exodus i. 6, that the oppression began after Joseph died and all that generation. Kohath (Gen. xlvi. 11) was dead. He was 133 years old at his death, and survived Joseph sixty years. Moses, Kiippen assumes, was born very soon after, when the oppression was at its height, say four years.

In summing up the authorities on both sides, we find Gesenius, Michaelis, Scaliger, Petavius, Usher, Newton, Kennedy, Playfair, Koppe, Jahn, Vater, Stuart, Jost, Millman, have adopted the Hebrew reckoning of 430 years as the length of the residence in Egypt; while Walton, Vossius, Houbigant, Hales, Pezronius, Calvin, Lightfoot, Hudson, Whiston, Kennicott, Jackson, Hammond, Whitby, Pat

1 Kuppen, Bibel, Vol. I. p. 203.

rick, Doddridge, Geddes, have held to the shorter period of 215 years.

The most difficult of all chronological questions, according to Houbigant, now remains. How long was the period from the Exodus to the building of Solomon's temple? In 1 Kings vi. 1 we read: "And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, he began to build the house of the Lord." But in Acts xm. 20 it is said: "God gave them judges for the space of about 450 years, until Samuel, the prophet." If the last statement is correct, then we must add to the 450 years the age of Moses and Joshua, sixty-five years, and the reigns of Saul and David, each forty years, and four years of Solomon's, eighty-four years, which will give us 599 years as the period from the Exodus to the temple. If we subtract the age of Moses and Joshua and reigns of David and Saul from 480, we have only 331 years for the time of the judges. If we add up the number of years each of the judges ruled, we have 500 years. So great are these difficulties that Hales, Kuinoel and others have regarded the Hebrew in 1 Kings vi. 1 as an error of the transcriber. In favor of this, Josephus computes the same period at 592 years. The Chinese Jews1 who emigrated to China, A. D. 73, have the reading 592.

Lightfoot2 thus reconciles Kings and Acts: "The Judges were for 299 years; the oppressors 111 years, and Eli's administration was forty years, until Samuel, the prophet." We might add that the Septuagint, 1 Kings vi. 1, reads 440, and Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, 490.

We come now to the era of the nativity of our Lord ; and here we find a surprising diversity of opinions. We subjoin a table of these differences:

Tillemont, Prie?tly, 7 B. C.

Kepler, Dodwell, and Winer, 6 B. C.

Chrysostom, Petavius, Prideaux, Playfair, Hales, 5 B. C.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Usher, Calmet. 4 B. C.
IreiiEeus, Tertullian, Clem, Alex., Eusebius,

Syncellus, Baronns, 3 B. C.

Kpiphanius, Jerome, Bede, Scaliyer, 2 B. C.

Dionysius, Luther, 1 B. C.

The Christian era was introduced by Dionysius Exiguus, 'a Roman abbot, and Scythian by birth, who flourished in the reign of Justinian. Before his time the era of Diocletian was in use; as his memory, in consequence of his persecutions, was abhorred by Christians, Dionysius was led to change the era. He was led to date the year of the nativity A. U. C. 753, four years too late, from Luke's account that John the Baptist began his ministry in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, and that Jesus at his baptism "was beginning to be about thirty years of age." For Tiberius succeeded Augustus at his death, U. C. 767; his fifteenth year was then U. C. 782, from which subtract the year of the nativity, 753, and the remainder is twenty-nine years complete. But Jesus was born, according to Matthew, before Herod's death, which took place, according to Josephus, just before the passover, U. C. 750. Some have maintained that the fifteenth year of Tiberius was to be reckoned from his admission by Augustus into the partnership of the government with him. But Ideler and Hengstenberg1 have shown that history knows no other mode of reckoning than from the beginning of his actual reign, after the death of Augustus.

In the ninth chapter of Daniel it is predicted that from the issue of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to Messiah's public appearance would be sixty-nine sevens of years, 483 years. The terminus a quo of this prophecy has been shown by Hengstenberg to have been 455 B. C. or 299 U. C, to which add 483, and we have 782 U. C. as the year of Christ's public appearance. Hengstenberg remarks: "Among all the current chronological opinions of this period, not one differs over ten years from the prophecy. The

1 Hcngstenlierg's Christology, Vol. II. 39.3, 394. Stuart on Prophecy, p. 81. Winer, Real-Lexicon, Art. Jesus.

only one among them which is correct, makes the prophecy and history correspond with each other even to a year." Miinter and Ideler have attempted to determine the year of the nativity by ingenious but uncertain astronomical calculations. Winer in his Real-Lexicon has fixed upon the year 747 as the true date of the nativity. The subject has been fully discussed by Wieseler in an Article in the Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 3, 166, and we need not add anything more.

As to the duration of Christ's ministry and the year of the crucifixion, there has been much diversity of opinion. Eusebius declares that the whole period of our Saviour's teaching and working miracles was three years and a half, and this appears from a critical examination of John's gospel.

Hengstenberg (vol. 2, 408) has followed the suggestion of Eusebius, and has shown in opposition to Hug, Tholuck, Winer, and Liicke, that the feast spoken of in John v. 1 was not the feast of Purim but that of the Passover. It is called a feast of the Jews to show its importance. There was a Sabbath during it, for the sick man was healed on a Sabbath. It is not to be supposed that Jesus would go up to a civil feast, and neglect the passover a month later.

If we could determine in what year between A. D. 28 and A. D. 37 the passover occurred on Thursday or Friday, we might ascertain the year of our Saviour's crucifixion. If we suppose our Saviour anticipated the passover by a day, it will fall on Friday. If he partook of it at the legal time, then it will fall on Thursday. Roger Bacon found by computation that the paschal full moon, A. D. 33, fell on Friday; and this led him and Scaliger, Usher, Pearson, and Newton to conclude that this was the year of the crucifixion. Ferguson, in his Astronomy, has shown that in A. D. 30, there was a paschal full moon on Thursday, April 6, which Bengel thought was the true date. Usher adopts April 3, as the true date of the crucifixion.

We will not enter upon the vexed question, whether our Lord anticipated the legal time of the passover by a day. It has been fully discussed by Rauch,' Tholuck in his Commentary on John, Hengstenberg on the Pentateuch, vol. 2, 308, Robinson's Harmony, p. 212, De Wette's Studien und Kritiken for 1834, p. 939, Prot. E. Q. Review, 1. 190, an Essay by Dr. Turner.



The precise force and value of analogical reasonings from the physical world to the truths of Revelation, are not yet clearly defined. It is even doubted by some whether they deserve any higher name than mere illustrations. But illustrations are sometimes arguments in their effect upon the understanding. They present solid truth in a clearer light, and no argument can do more. Some benefits at least result from a familiarity with such analogies; and it would be as unwise in us not to avail ourselves of their proper uses, as it would be to try to press them beyond those uses.

To a mind troubled about certain truths of the Scriptures, it is a substantial relief to find that the same sort and quality of difficulty runs through the kingdom of Nature also. This indeed does not solve the first difficulty; in one sense it enlarges it; but in showing that it is wide-spread, it shows that it is not peculiar to the Scriptures, but is a something which runs through the various departments of the creation, and therefore must have been comprehended in the original perfect plan of the creation. Convinced of this, we then fall back upon our confidence in the fundamental wisdom and benevolence of the Creator. As our confidence in the gen

1 Biblical llepository, Vol. IV. 108.

« AnteriorContinuar »