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ALL THIS LAW which I fet before you this day?



Every word of GOD is pure-ADD thou not unto HIS WORDS, left He reprove thee, and thou be found a LYAR.




Referred to vol. i. p.

In which the cafe of Hannah-1 Sam. i.-is more particularly confidered.


S I should be forry to be mifled myself, fo I fhould be equally anxious not to mislead others, with respect to any scripture quoted, referred to, or explained in the foregoing pages, and fo many of which have been employed to prove that polygamy is neither against any law given before the Sinaicovenant, nor against any law then delivered; confequently, is not finful-for fin is not imputed where there is no law-and where there is no law there is no tranfgreffion. Rom. v. 13. iv. 15.

As a proof of God's own fentiments on the matter, I have produced the striking inftance of Elkanah the Levite, and his two wives, Peninnab and Hannah; and by confidering Hannah as taken after, and in the lifetime of Peninnah, have drawn arguments, which appear to me conclufive, with regard to the main point, viz. that if polygamy was a tranfgreffion of the original inftitution of marriage of the feventh commandment—or of any other pofitive law of GOD, it is highly unreafonable and abfurd to fuppofe, that God fhould fo fignally blefs, and own it as lawful,


in fo many inftances, and particularly in that of Hannah.—But I find it is an usual opinion, and that feveral commentators rather seem to embrace it, that Peninnah was the fecond wife, and Hannah the first; I have the more earnestly and more diligently examined the whole paffage, as willing to retract what I have faid if it be falfe, as to abide by it if it be true.

The ground on which the opinion that Hannah was the first wife is built, is a very uncertain one, viz. that "he is * named firft,


* The Hebrew words--though they may be rendered first and fecond, yet are fo frequently used for one and the other (as in our translation) that nothing conclufive can be gathered from them in this place. See Exod. i. 15. Numb. xi. 26. Ruth i. 4. 2 Sam. iv. 2. The beft way of confidering the matter, is to advert to the whole of the following context; in which it appears from many circumftances, that Hannah was the fecond or after-taken wife.

And indeed there is a very natural and obvious reason why Hannah, though the fecond-taken wife, fhould yet be named firft in the beginning of the hiftory-because the fubfequent parts of it principally relate to her and her fon Samuel.

For a like reason we may fuppofe Shem to be mentioned firft of the fons of Noah-Gen. x. 1.-though not the eldeft, Shem and his defcendents being the chief fubje& of the facred history.

So Mofes is commonly placed before Aaron (though three years younger, See Exod. vii. 7.) wherefoever they are named together, Mofes being the principal perfon treated of.

When the fons of Levi are mentioned, Numb. iii. 17. they ftand thus-Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. In Numb. iv. where their feveral charges are fet forth, they ftand in a different order-first, the fons of Kohath-then the fons of Gershon-and then the fons of Merari.

1 Sam. i. 2. But the very next fentence furnishes us with just as good a reafon for fuppofing Hannah was the fecond, for there Peninnah ftands first-And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children:—and the reason ftill grows ftronger for fuppofing Peninnab to be firft, ver. 4. for there the is not only mentioned first, but has the precedency of a first wife given her by her hufband Elkanah, who ferved her first of the peace-offerings:-And when the time was come that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her fons and daughters, portions; and to Hannah he gave a more worthy portion, for he loved Hannah; i. e. fhe was his favourite, as Rachel was Jacob's, Gen. xxix. 30. The custom of placing the eldeft firft was very ancient, as we find, Gen. xliii. 33. And they fet before him, the eldest according to his birth-right, and the youngest according to

*The first wife among the Jews, as among the Turks at this day, was the principal, and had distinguishing honours paid her.

Lady M. W. Montague fays, that among the Turks the first made choice of, was, always after, the first in


See that very ingenious, learned, and inftructive writer, Mr. HARMER-Outlines of a new commentary on Sol. Song, p. 52, 53;

+ The particle Vau is fometimes rendered by poftea, et poftea-afterwards-and afterwards. See Nold. part. fub 1, N° 41.

This fenfe of it occurs 1 Sam. ii. 16. and in numbers of other places cited by Noldius; he mentions this also to be the fenfe of xa in fome paffages of the New Tefta



his youth and he took and fent messes to them from before him; but Benjamin's was five times as much as any of theirs. Benjamin was diftinguished as the favourite of his brother Jofeph, though younger than all the rest; so was Hannah, the youngest or after-taken wife, diftinguished as the favourite of Elkanah, and though, as youngest, helped after Peninnah, and her fons and daughters, yet had a larger share, or, as it is mentioned in the margin, a double portion. This is our tranflation; but the words 'DN nns n literally fignify" a piece, part, or portion of the roafted meat"-fome more choice part, we may fuppofe, which he had referved for her. Elkanah's love, and preference of Hannah in his affections, would hardly have suffered him to place her after Peninnah, if Hannah had not been the youngest and after-taken wife; any more than Jofeph's affection to Benjamin would have fuffered him to have placed him below the reft of his brethren, had it not been against all rule to have done otherwife.

But if we look more deeply into this scripture, we may gather from Hannah's fong, chap. ii. 1—10, a certain proof that Hannah was the fecond wife. The Song itself is evidently prophetical, it treats upon the fame fubject as that of the Virgin Mary, which is recorded Luke i. 46-54; and thefe two wives of Elkanah, are fpoken of as typical of what should come to pass in the latter days, when the Jews, the elder profeffing people

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