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ses, and one which happened only a little before the war broke out with the Romans, in the reign of Claudius and pontificate of Ishmael, about their ab, stinence from all use of a supply of corn which arrived at the passover, though the famine was so severe before, that an assar * had been fold for four drachmas, in order to fhew the credibility of the Scripture accounts of the respect paid to their legislator, by the immense numbers whom he led through the wilderness, seeing the statutes delivered by him had still so great force and authority, that their enemies themselves confessed a divine establishment of their polity by Moses, he, in like manner, says, “ But every one will receive these things as to him seemeth fit.' The true key therefore to these phrases appears to be, not that he rejected, or even suspected, the di, vinity of the Mofaic religion, but that he was de
As I could not find this ancient measure in any tables of ArbuthRot and others, I was a while uncertain about its capacity, though desirous to explain it to the reader. I have, however, at last discovered, that Josephus translates by this term the Hebrew word gno, mer, which we turn omer, as indeed his Greek word aroapwr is easily formed from the Hebrew gnasharon, which is used as equivalent to it, Exod. xxix. 40, &c. for the omer is declared to have been (as gnaSharon fignifies) the tenth part of the ephah, Exod. xvi. 36. thus, An riq. 3. 1. 6. he uses it to express the measure of manna which was to be gathered for every man, which all know to have been an omer; now an omer is reckoned equal to sto pints of English corn measure, being the tenth part of the ephah, which made three pecks, three pints, or a bushel and a half, sixteen pints going to compose the peck, and two pecks to form the bufhel. By consequence, Jofephus's meaning is, that a measure of meal, containing about a third part of our peck, was sold at half a crown, the drachm being about seven pence half-penny of our currency. A great dearth indeed!
sirous to obviate the prejudices of the heathens against it as unfociable, and against himself and his countrymen who embraced it as turbulent; and to wipe off the imputation, frequently cast upon them, as if they required that all men should renounce their opinions for theirs, and would not allow the world to live in tranquillity, without such a change in their faith t. And this point he might think more important to be accomplished, as they were then in a state of distress and affliction, through the belief which the Romans entertained of their restless and perverse temper.
As to the quotations which Dr. Middleton further brings from Philo, Clemens Alexandrinus, and Eufebius, to justify his hypothesis, That Moses had recourse to the fiction of having received his law from God, that he might give it greater force and authority, every one must be sensible it would require a long digression to examine them; the hy. pothesis which he urges them to support, must ine deed seem very strange in one who professed himself a sincere friend to Christianity, and was vested with the character of a public teacher of it, after the clear declarations by Jesus, Paul, and Stephen, that Moses was a prophet of God; and the more strange, that, notwithstanding these, he pronounces the opposite scheme only a senseless I prejudice, which it becomes rational apologists for the gospel to destroy
+ The same account Dr. Warburton gives of these expressions in the Jewish historian, which have a sceptical or libertine air, while in other passages, he hath all the marks of a zealous believer, as I have lately observed. Div. Legation, vol. 4. book 5. p. 274, and 280,
$ See Dr. Middleton's Defence, &c. p. 71,
in this age, when it is so vigorously assaulted; even as a skilful engineer demolishes the weak outworks of a place he would defend, that serve only for a shelter and lodgement to the enemy, whence to batter it the more effectually. Nevertheless the accurate discussion of his arguments for it, as I aim at brevity, cannot be now undertaken. I will only therefore remark concerning Philc's * words, who is the sole Jewish evidence he offers after Josephus, 'Whatever · Moses dictated to them, whether he had invented it • himself, or received it from the deity, they imputed • it all to God.' That they can never afford any good ground to conclude such was his creed, as he reprefents, since he must be reasonably thought there to express himself according to the principles of those enemies of their polity, with whom he had been arguing, when he speaks of Moses's having contrived his statutes himself, as in numberless other places of his writings he afferts his divine mission and guidance. And I refer to Pearce + for full satisfaction about the teft.
If this article hath been more prolix, it is hoped the # Philo, apud Euseb Praepar. lib. 8 cap. 6.
+ He at that time curate of St. Martin's in the Fields, and since bishop of Rochester, was, if I mistake not, author of the Reply to Dr. Middleton's Letter to Waterland, and of the Reply to his Defence of it, and shews, according to my information. (for I have not been able to procure a sight of these pieces,) that Clement of Alexandria, where he makes him fpeak of the Greeks borrowing from Moses the practice of lying, to serve the ends of government, intends no more than the use of stratagems of war against enemies; and that Eufebius Praepar. lib. 2. where he says there are infinite examples of fictions for the benefit of mankind in the books of Moses, only means metaphorical representations of God, as susceptible of human paffions.
plausibility of Dr. Middleton's pretences for thinking that Josephus supposed Mofes only to feign a divine commission, together with his distinguithed reputation for literature, and the moment of thewing there was no folid foundation for such an inference about his sentiments, will abundantly vindicate it from any blame.
Of his lame and defective Account of JOSEPHUS'S
Prediction to VESPASIAN in Chapter thirty-first.
THE next example I will mention of Voltaire's
misrepresentation of the Jewish historian, is from his thirty-first chapter*. Having related Josephus's prediction to Vespasian, in the name of the God of the Jews, that he and his son would become emperors, and observed that hereby he ran no risque, he goes on, Vespasian informed this Josephus, that, if ' he were a prophet, he should have foretold him’ (Voltaire should have said, himself) “the loss of Joto.
pat, which he had ineffectually defended against
the Roman army. Josephus replied, that he had in « fact foretold it; which was not very surprizing. • What commander, who sustains a siege in a small
place against a numerous army, does not foretel " that the place will be taken?' But is this a just account of Josephus's reply? far from it; though I mean not to defend the truth of the story about his prophecy, only to correct Voltaire's recital of the fact.
* Page 139, 140.
The historian's + narrative runs thus : When Josephus had foretold the advancement of Vespasian
and Titus to the imperial dignity, Vespasian seem' ed at first to give him no credit, and suspected he
spoke those things craftily, to save himself. But by degrees he was induced to believe he would be raised to the government by divine providence---He ' found also Josephus true in other things: for one
of the two friends, who with Titus was present at · this private conference, said he wondered that he • neither foretold to the Jotopatans the taking of their town, nor to himself his being made a prisoner, if these things were not fictions from a desire to avert
his displeasure. But Josephus answered, “ That he “ had predicted to the Jotopatans, that they would “ be taken after the forty-seventh day of the siege, « and that he himself would be taken captive by the “ Romans.” These things, upon private inquiry of 'the prisoners, Vespasian learned to have happened,
and began to believe his prophecies about his own preferment.' Indeed Josephus was too wise to rest Vespasian's faith of his prediction, that he would be exalted to the throne, upon the fulfilment of another prophecy by him, about the fate of that post, which he was employed to maintain against the Romans, so general, vague, and indeterminate, as that which Voltaire mentions. He easily saw it behoved him to make it more minute and circumstantial: he therefore represents himself to have thewed, that it would baile and disappoint all the efforts of the enemy for forty-seven days; but that at the expiration of this
De Bello, 3.7.9.