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II. Sometimes numbers are to be taken exclusively, and sometimes inclusively.

Matt. xvii. 1. Mark ix. 2. Luke ix. 28. and John xx. 26. may be mentioned as examples of this remark. See them further explained in p. 547. § V. infra.

III. Differences in numbers not unfrequently arise from false readings. As the Hebrews antiently used the letters of their alphabet to denote numders, many of those numbers, which to us appear almost incredible in some places, and contradictory in others, are owing to inistakes in some of the similar letters. Thus, in 2 Kings viii. 26. we read that Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he began to reign; but in 2 Chron. xxii. 2. he is said to have been forty-two years old, which is impossible, as he could not be born two years before Jehoram his father, who was only forty years old. Twenty-two years, therefore, is the proper reading, a Kaph 2, whose numeral power is twenty, being put for a Mem r, whose numeral power is forty. In like manner, in 2 Sam. viii. 4. and x. 18. we read seven hundred, which in 1 Chron. xviii. 4. ard xix. 18. is seven thousand, the proper number.1

As the Jews antiently appear to have expressed numbers by marks analogous to our common figures, the corruption (and consequently the seeming contradiction) may be accounted for, from the transcribers having carelessly added or omitted a single cipher. Thus, in 1 Sam. vi. 19. we read that the Lord smote fifty thousand and seventy Philistines for looking into the ark; which number in the Arabic and Syriac versions, is five thousand and seventy.2 In 1 Kings iv. 26. we are told that Solomon had forty thousand stalls for horses, which number, in 2 Chron. ix. 23. is only four thousand, and is most probably correct, a cipher having been added.3 In 2 Chron. xiii. 3. 17. we meet with the following numbers, four hundred thousand, eight hundred thousand, and five hundred thousand, which, in several of the old editions of the Vulgate Latin Bible, are forty thousand, eighty thousand, and fifty thousand: the lat ter are probably the true numbers.4

By the application of this rule, some critics have endeavoured to reconcile the difference relative to the hour of Christ's crucifixion, which by Mark (xv. 25.) is stated to be the third, and by St. John (xix. 14.) the sixth hour: for, as in antient times all numbers were written in manuscripts, not at length, but with numeral letters, it was easy for r, three, to be taken for 5, six. Of this opinion are Griesbach, in his elaborate edition of the New Testament, Semler, Rosenmuller, Doddridge, Whitby, Bengel, Cocceius, Beza, Erasmus, and by far the greater part of the most eminent critics. What further renders this correction probable is, that besides the Codex Bezæ, and the Codex Stephani (of the eighth century), there are four other manuscripts which read Tpirn, the third, in John xix. 14. as well as the Alexandrian Chronicle, which professes to cite accurate manuscripts-even the autograph copy of St. John himself. Such also is the opinion of Severus Antiochenus, Ammonius and some others cited by Theophylact on the passage; to whom must be added Nonnus, a Greek poet of Panopolis in Egypt, who flourished in the fifth century, and wrote a poetical paraphrase of the Gospel of Saint John, and who also found rpern in the manuscript used by him.5

IV. Apparent contradictions in the numbers of the New Testament arise from the sacred writers sometimes quoting the numbers of the Septua gint or Alexandrian version, not those of the Hebrew Text.

This is evidently the case in Acts vii. 14. where Jacob's family is stated, at the time of his going into Egypt, to have consisted of three score and fifteen souls; whereas Moses, in Gen. xlvi. 27. fixes it at three score and ten souls. What further confirms this remark is, that the Septuagint version of Gen. xlvi. 20. enumerates five persons more than the Hebrew, which being added to the three score and ten mentioned by Moses, exhibits the exact number,

1 Kennicott, Diss. i. pp. 96-99. 462, 463. Diss. ii. p. 209. Other similar remarks are interspersed in the same elaborate volumes.

2 Ibid. Diss. i, p. 532. Diss. ii, 208.

3 Ibid. Diss. i. p. 532. Diss. 1. p. 208.

4 Ibid. Diss. i. pp. 532-534. Diss. ii. pp. 196-218. Other examples occur in Diss. ii. p. 219, et seq.

5 See Griesbach, Rosenmüller, Kuinöel, Doddridge, Whitby, Dr. A. Clarke, and other commentators on the passage in question.

seventy-five. To this we may add (although it does not strictly belong to numbers) the well-known passage, Luke iii. 36. where, in giving the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the evangelist notices a Cainan, whose name does not occur in the pedigree recorded by Moses, but which appears in the Septuagint version of Gen. x. 24.2 On the subject of quotations from the Old Testament in the New, see Vol. II. Part I. Chap. IX.

4. Apparent Contradictions in the Relation of Events in one Passage, and References to them in another.

These contradictions are of two kinds.

1. Sometimes events are referred to as having taken place, which are not noticed by the inspired historians; these apparent contradictions have already been considered in § 2. Obs. 1. pp. 538, 539.

2. Sometimes the reference appears contradictory to circumstances actually noticed in the history.

1 Various other solutions have been given, in order to reconcile this seeming difference between the numbers of Jacob's family, as related in the Old and New Testaments the most satisfactory of all is the following one of Dr. Hales: which by a critical comparison of Gen. xlvi. 27. with Acts vii. 14. completely reconciles the apparent discrepancy.

"Moses," he remarks, "states that all the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which issued from his loins (except his sons' wives) were sixty-six souls,' Gen. xlvi. 26. and this number is thus collected :

Jacob's children, eleven sons and one daughter

Reuben's sons

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"If to these sixty-six children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, we add Jacob himself, Joseph and his two sons born in Egypt, or four more, the amount is seventy, the whole number of Jacob's family which settled in Egypt. In this statement the wives of Jacob's sons, who formed part of the household, are omitted, but they amounted to nine; for of the twelve wives of the twelve sons, Judah's wife was dead, (Gen. xxxviii. 12.) and Simeon's also, as we may collect from his youngest son, Shaul, by a Canaanitess (xlvi. 19.) and Joseph's wife was already in Egypt. These nine wives therefore, added to the sixty-six, gave seventy-five souls, the whole amount of Jacob's household that went down with him to Egypt; critically corresponding with the statement in the New Testament, that " Joseph sent for his father Jacob and all his kindred, amounting to seventy-five souls:"the expression, all his kindred, including the wives who were Joseph's kindred, not only by affinity, but also by consanguinity; being probably of the families of Esau, Ishmael, or Keturah. Thus does the New Testament furnish an admirable commentary on the Old."

From the preceding list, compared with that of the births of Jacob's sons, it appears that some of them married remarkably early. Thus Judah, Er, and Pharez, respectively married at the age of about fourteen years; Asher, and his fourth or youngest son (Beriah,) under twenty; Benjamin about fifteen; and Joseph's sons and grandsons could not have been much above twenty years old when they married, in order that he should have great-grandchildren in the course of seventy-three years. What further confirms this statement is, that they must have necessarily married at a very early age (as we know is practised to this day in the East), to have produced in the course of two hundred and fifteen years, at the time of their departure, no less than six hundred thousand men, above twenty years of age, exclusive of women and children; so that the whole population of the Israelites, who went out of Egypt, must have exceeded two millions. Dr. Hales's New Analysis of Chronology, vol. îì. part i. Pp. 159-162.

2 Dr. Hales has proved this second Cainan to be an interpolation in the Septuagint, New Analysis, vol. i. pp. 90-94.

Thus, in Numb. xiv. 30. it said that none of the Israelites should come into the land of Canaan, save Caleb and Joshua; and yet, in Josh, xiv. 1. and xxii. 13, we read, that Eleazar and others entered into that land. But this seeming repugnance will disappear when it is recollected that nothing is more common in the most serious and considerate writers, than to speak of things by way of restriction and limitation, and yet to leave them to be understood with some latitude, which shall afterwards be expressed and explained when they treat of the same matter. So, here we read that none but Caleb and Joshua entered into the land of promise, this being spoken of the chief leaders, who had that privilege and honour: but if we consult other passages where this subject is more particularly related, we shall find that a more comprehensive meaning was not excluded. It is not to be supposed that the tribe of Levi were denied entrance into Canaan : because it is evident from the history that they did not murmur: and it is equally evident that against the murmurers only was the denunciation made, that they should not see the land which God sware unto their fathers (Numb. xiv. 22, 23.): therefore Eleazar and Phineas, being priests are excepted. Again, the threatening cannot be intended to include those who were gone as spies into the land of Canaan, for they were not among the murmurers: and, consequently, the denunciation above mentioned could not apply to them. Thus, the statement in the book of numbers, is perfectly consistent with the facts recorded in the book of Joshua.



CHRONOLOGY is a branch of learning, which is most difficult to be exactly adjusted; because it depends upon so many circumstances and comprehends so great a variety of events in all ages and nations, that with whatever punctuality the accounts of time might have been set down in the original manuscripts, yet the slightest change in one word or letter may cause a material variation in copies. Besides, the difference of the æras adopted in the computations of different countries, especially at great distances of time and place is such, that the most exact chronology may easily be mistaken, and may be perplexed by those who endeavour to rectify what they conceive to be erroneous; for that which was exact at first is often made incorrect by him who thought it false before. Chronological differences do undoubtedly exist in the Scriptures, as well as in profane historians; but these differences infer no uncertainty in the matters of fact themselves. It is a question yet undetermined, whether Rome was founded by Romulus or not, and it is a point equally litigated, in what year the building of that city commenced; yet, if the uncertainty of the time when any fact was done imply the uncertainty of the fact itself, the necessary inference must be, that it is uncertain whether Rome was built at all, or whether such a person as Romulus was ever in existence. Further, differences in chronology do not imply that the sacred historians were mistaken, but they arise from the mistakes of transcribers or expositors, which may be obviated by applying the various existing aids to the examination and reconciliation of the apparent contradictions, in scriptural chronology. I. Seeming contradictions in Chronology arise from not observing, that what had before been said in the general, is afterwards resumed in the particulars comprised under it.

1 Concerning the extravagant chronology and antiquity claimed by the Egyptians, Chaldeans, Hindoos, and Chinese, see pp. 172-176. of this volume.

2 Jenkin on the Reasonableness and Certainty of the Christian Religion, vol. ii. p. 151. It would require too extensive an inquiry for the limits of this work, to enter into a detail of the various systems of chronology extant: the most recent is the elaborate Analysis of Dr. Hales, in 3 vols. 4to. to which we can confidently refer the reader.

For, the total sum of any term of years being set down first, before the particulars have been insisted on and explained, has led some into mistake, by supposing that the particulars subsequently mentioned were not to be com prehended in it, but were to be reckoned distinctly as if they had happened afterwards in order of time, because they are last related in the course of the history. Thus, in Gen. xi. 26. it is said that Terah lived seventy years and begat ABRAM and in verse 32. that the days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran. But, in Gen. xii. 4. it is related that Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran; which is inconsistent, if we suppose Abram to have resided in Haran till the death of his father Terah. But, if we consider that the whole number of years, during which Terah lived, is set down in Gen. xi. 32. and that Abram's departure from Haran, which is related in Gen. xii. 4. happened before his father's death, there will be no inconsistency; on the contrary, if Terah were only seventy years old when Abram was begotten, and if Abram were only seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran, it will be evident that Abram left his father Terah in Haran, where the latter lived after his son's departure, to the age of two hundred and five years; although during Terah's life, Abram occasionally returned to Haran, for his final removal did not take place until the death of his father, as we learn from Acts vii. 4. Now, if this way of relating the general first, which is afterwards particularly set forth, be attended to in the interpretation of the Scriptures, it will afford a natural and easy solution of many otherwise Inexplicable difficulties. Another explanation has been offered for the above apparent chronological difference, viz. that Abram was Terah's youngest son though first mentioned. What renders this solution probable is, that it is no unfrequent thing in Scripture, when any case of dignity or pre-eminence is to be distinguished, to place the youngest son before the eldest, though contrary to the usage of the Scriptures in other cases. Thus, Shem the second son of Noah is always placed first; Abram is placed before his two elder brothers Haran and Nahor; Isaac is placed before Ishmael; Jacob the youngest son of Isaac has the pre-eminence over Esau ; and Moses is mentioned before his elder brother Aaron. Whatever chronological difficulties, therefore, arise upon this supposition, that the son first named must necessarily be the first-born, must consequently proceed from mistake.

II. Sometimes the principal number is set down, and the odd or smaller number is omitted; which, being added to the principal number in some other place, causes a difference not to be reconciled but by considering that it is customary in the best authors not always to mention the smaller numbers, where the matter does not require it.

Of this we have evident proof in the Scriptures. Thus, the Benjamites that were slain, are said in Judges xx. 35. to be 25,100, but in verse 46. they are reckoned only at 25,000. So the evangelist Mark says, xvi. 14. that Jesus Christ appeared to the eleven as they were sitting at meat, though Thomas was absent. The observation already made, on the use of round numbers in computations,1 will apply in the present instance; to which we might add numerous similar examples from profane writers. Two or three however will suffice. One hundred acres of land were by the Romans called centuria; but in progress of time the same term was given to double that number of acres.2 The tribes, into which the population of Rome was divided, were so denominated, because they were originally three in number; but the same appellation was retained though they were afterwards augmented to thirty-five; and in like manner the judges, styled centumviri, were at first five more than one hundred, and afterwards were nearly double that number,3 yet still they retained the same name. Since, then, it is evident that smaller numbers are sometimes omitted 1 See § 3. Remark I. p. 541.

2 Centuriam nunc dicimus (ut idem Varro ait) ducentorum jugerum modum olim autem ab centum jugeribus vocabatur centuria: sed, mox duplicata, nomen retinuit: sicuti tribus dictæ primum a partibus populi tripartito divisi, quæ tamen nunc multiplicate pristinum nomen possident. Columella de Re Rust. lib. v. c. 1. tom ii p. 199. ed. Bipont. Ernesti, in his Index Latinitatis Ciceroniana, article Tribus, has adduced several similar instances.

3 In Pliny's time they were one hundred and eighty in number. Ep. lib vi ep 33 69


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both in the Old and in the New Testament, as well as in profane writings, and the principal or great numbers only, whether more or less than the precise calculation, are set down, and at other times the smaller numbers are specified; nay, that sometimes the original number multiplied retains the same denomination therefore it is reasonable to make abatements, and not always to insist rigorously on precise numbers, in adjusting the accounts of scriptural chronology.1

III. As sons frequently reigned with their fathers, during the Hebrew monarchy, the reigns of the former are not unfrequently made, in some instances, to commence from their partnership with their fathers in the throne, and in others from the commencement of their sole government after their fathers' decease: consequently the time of the reign is sometimes noticed as it respects the father, sometimes as it respects the son, and sometimes as it includes both. Thus Jotham is said (2 Kings xv. 3.) to have reigned sixteen years, yet in the preceding verse 30. mention is made of his twentieth year. This repugnance is reconcileable in the following manner; Jotham reigned alone sixteen years only, but with his father Uzziah (who, being a leper, was therefore unfit for the sole government) four years before, which makes twenty in the whole. In like manner we read (2 Kings xiii. 1.) that, "in the three-and-twentieth year of Joash the son of Ahaziah king of Judah, Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years:" but in verse 10. of the same chapter it is related that," in the thirty-seventh year of the same Joash began Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz to reign over Israel in Samaria." Now, if to the three-and-twenty years of Joash, mentioned in the first passage, we add the seventeen years of Jehoahaz, we come down to the thirty-ninth or fortieth year of Joash; when on the death of Jehoahaz, the reign of Jehoash may be supposed to have begun. Yet it is easy to assign the reason why the commencement of his reign is fixed two or three years earlier, in the thirty-seventh year of Joash, when his father must have been alive, by supposing that his father had admitted him as an associate in the government, two or three years before his death. This solution is the more probable, as we find from the case of Jehoshaphat and his son (2 Kings viii. 16.) that in those days such a practice was not uncommon." The application of the rule above stated, will also remove the apparent contradiction between 2 Kings xxiv. 8. and 2 Chron. xxxvi. 9. Jehoiachim being eight years old when he was associated in the government with his father, and eighteen years old when he began to reign alone. The application of this rule will reconcile many other seeming contradictions in the books of Kings and Chronicles: and will also clear up the difficulty respecting the fifteenth year of the emperor Tiberius mentioned in Luke iii.1. which has exercised the ingenuity of many eminent, philologers who have endeavoured to settle the chronology of the New Testament. Now, we learn from the Roman historians that the reign of Tiberius had two commencements: in the first, when he was admitted to a share in the empire (but without the title of emperor,) in August of the year 764 from the foundation of the city of Rome, three years before the death of Augustus; and the second when he began to reign alone, after that emperor's decease. It is from the first of these commencements that the fifteenth year mentioned by Saint Luke is to be computed; who, as Tiberius did not assume the imperial title during the life of Augustus, makes use of a word, which precisely marks the nature of the power exercised by Tiberius, viz. in the fifteenth year rns nyomas of the administration of Tiberius Cæsar. Consequently, this fifteenth year began in August 778. And if John the Baptist entered on his ministry in the spring following, in the year of Rome 779, in the same year of Tiberius, and, after he had preached about twelve months, baptised Jesus in the spring of 780, then Jesus (who was most probably born in September or October 749) would at his baptism be thirty-three years of age and some odd months, which perfectly agrees with what St. Luke says of his being at that time about thirty years old.3

1 Jenkin's Reasonableness of Christianity, vol. ii. p. 157.

2 Dick's Essay on the Inspiration of the Scriptures, p. 299.

3 Lardner's Credibility, part 1. book ii. chap. iii. (Works, vol. i. pp. 339-382. 8vo.) Doddridge's Family Expositor, vol. i. sect. 15. note (b). Macknight's Harmony, vol. í. Chronological Dissertations, No. iii.

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