Billeder på siden

which we there exposed as an evident interpolation. It comes in here as much out of historical time, form, and truth as there, and needs no further remark. In the proper order and place of the narrative the writer afterward states that Hoshea began to reign in the 12th year of Ahaz and reigned 9 years. The relative dates of Hoshea's and Hezekiah's reign also require that he should begin to reign about the time specified; so that there is a gap of 8 years at this rate unaccounted for between the death of Pekah and the 1st year of Hoshea. It is not material to our chronology whether this be filled up or left blank; but the case of Omri again is exactly in point to prove that either they must be included in Hoshea's reign, or that he did not assassinate Pekah till the 12th of Ahaz. As Hoshea could not however reign sooner than is stated, we are restricted to the latter conclusion. We find this corroborated, besides, by the celebrated Alexandrian MS. which gives 28 years to Pekah; and according to Syncellus (p. 202) the copy of the Scriptures used by Basil had the same reading. Eusebius and some others, more awkwardly, fill up space by giving Pekahiah 10 years instead of 2. The matter seems to be satisfactorily set to rest by Josephus, who says, after recording the death of Ahaz, about the same time Pekah the king of Israel died by the treachery of a friend of his whose name was Hoshea' (Antiq. b. ix. ch. xiii. § 1), a statement that accords with the 12th of Ahaz, but not with the 4th.

[ocr errors]


HEZEKIAH. The 4th and 6th of Hezekiah agree with the 6th and 9th of Hosea, so that the 1st of his reign must coincide with the 4th and not the 3rd year. Josephus dates the accession of Hezekiah in the 4th of Hoshea, as we have found it necessary to do. For the same reason Hoshea's reign must begin in the 13th of Ahaz, though probably he might accomplish his treachery in the end of the year before.

It is now only necessary to add that, in arranging the reigns of the remaining kings of Judah to the close of their history, as we have no equivalent dates to guide us, we have copied from the plan of the preceding reigns. Manasseh we have dated in the year after his father's death, as in the similar long reigns of Asa and Jeroboam. Amon's reign has been arranged on the plan of Nadab's, Elah's and Ahaziah's; while from the 13th year of Josiah we have the dates of Jeremiah's prophesying, and from the 4th of Jehoiakim, the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, to guide us through a very important part of the arrangement.

The result of all these corrections is that there are only 240 years from the disruption of the kingdoms to the captivity of Israel by Salmanezer, and 371 or 370 years to the captivity of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. This is 16 years less than the com


putation of Usher, and 33 less than that of Hales. Without pronouncing on the indubitable certainty of these conclusions that so considerably abbreviate these periods, the writer would simply state that they have received a very unexpected corroboration. After the scheme was constructed, having occasion to examine somewhat particularly the chronology of Josephus in regard to another question, he met with two dates which he begs leave to produce, and with them to leave the reader to draw his own conclusions.

'The 10 tribes of Israel were removed out of Judea 240 years 7 months and 7 days after they had revolted from Rehoboam, and given the kingdom to Jeroboam.' (Antiq. b. ix. ch. xiv. § 1.)

"The entire interval of time which passed from the captivity of the Israelites to the carrying away of the two tribes, proved to be 130 years 6 months and 10 days.' (Antiq. b. x. ch. ix. § 7.)

These when united yield exactly our sum of 370; and what is as important and convincing still, this number, as we shall show in a future article, proves a perfect clue to unravel the present confused chronology of Josephus, by revealing at once the source of its principal errors.


By J. FORBES ROYLE, M.D., F.R.S., L.S. & G.S., &c., Professor of Materia Medica and Therapeutics, King's College, London.

WHEN I lately had the honour of reading a paper before the Royal Asiatic Society, on the Mustard-tree of Scripture, I ventured to make some observations on what I considered to be the requisites for, and the best mode of pursuing, as well as upon what we should admit as proofs in, such inquiries. I proceed now to treat of another biblical plant, which is not less interesting than the Mustard-tree to determine. This is the Hyssop, frequently mentioned in the Old, and twice independently in the New Testament, and which, if we are to judge by the numerous attempts which have been made to ascertain the particular plant that is meant, is not less difficult to determine, than any one of the several unascertained plants of the Bible.

a From the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, No. XV., November, 1844. Reprinted by the permission of the Author, and of the Council of the Royal Asiatic Society.

b The paper on the Mustard Tree here referred to was inserted in the April number of the Journal of Sacred Literature.


That I may not seem to exaggerate what appeared to others the difficulties of ascertaining this plant, I will quote the commencement of the article on Hyssop of the learned and judicious Celsius: De plantis plerisque in Hebræo Veteris Testamenti codice commemoratis, imprimisque de 8, recte pronuntiare, res est longe difficillima. Veritatem hic, si uspiam,

Scruposis sequimur vadis.
Fronte exile negotium,
Et dignum pueris putes.
Aggressis labor arduus,

Nec tractabile pondus est,

ut loqui amat Terentianus.' It was not to Celsius alone that this appeared to be a difficulty; for he says farther on, Aben Ezra, inter Ebræos commentatores facile princeps, suam ignorantiam, circa hanc stirpem, palam, et ingenue fatetur ad Exod. xii. 22;' and he thus translates the passage from the Hebrew of Aben Ezra: Quænam hæc sit plantarum, ignoro,'' cætera, quanta est, Rabbinorum turba modo hanc, modo aliam conjectando, satis declarant, hujus plantæ notitiam sibi, Ebrææque genti periisse.' (Celsius Hierobotanicon, i. pp. 407 et 409.)

[ocr errors]

Trusting that according to the acknowledged difficulties of the undertaking, so will be the indulgence accorded to any attempt to unravel its intricacies, I proceed, in the first instance, to adduce the passages in Scripture referring to hyssop.

The first mention of hyssop in the Old Testament is immediately previous to the departure of the Israelites out of Egypt, and at the first institution of the Passover, when Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said unto them (Exod. xii. 22), ‘And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason.' From this passage it is evident that the plant must have been indigenous in Lower Egypt, and that it must have been sufficiently large and leafy, to be fit for sprinkling the door posts as directed. 2. The next notices of the hyssop are in Leviticus and in Numbers, which books having been written by Moses, indicate that the substances which he directs to be employed for sacrificial purposes, must have been procurable in the situations where the Israelites wandered, that is, in the countries between Lower Egypt and Palestine. Thus in the ceremony practised in declaring lepers to be clean, the priest is directed (Levit. xiv. 4) to take for him that is to be cleansed, two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop.' These are again all mentioned both in verse 6 and in verse 52. So in Numbers xix. 6, in the ceremony of burning the heifer and preparing the water of separation, the directions are: And the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer;' and in verse 18, That a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there,' &c. Here we again see that the hyssop must have been large enough to be suitable for the purposes of sprinkling; that it must have been procurable on the outskirts of Palestine, probably in the plain of Moab. It is to this passage that the apostle alludes in Hebrews ix. 19: For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves, and of goats, with water and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people.' In this passage we obtain no additional information, but as in the Septuagint, the application of the Greek term σownos as the equivalent of the Hebrew name esof. 3. The next passage where hyssop is mentioned in chronological order is in the beautiful psalm of David, where the royal penitent says (li. 2), Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin;' and in verse 7, 'Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.' This expression is considered by Bishop Horne (and also by others), in his Commentary on the Psalms, to refer to the rite described in the above passages, as the ceremony of sprinkling the unclean person with a bunch of hyssop,' dipped in the water of separation.' But though the passage no doubt has a figurative signification, yet, with all due deference to such high authorities, the mode of expression is so direct, as to appear to me, as if the hyssop itself did possess, or was supposed to have, some cleansing properties. If so, such might have led originally to its selection for the different ceremonies of purification, or such properties may have been ascribed to it in later ages, in consequence of its having been employed in such ceremonies. At all events, if the plant which we suppose to be the hyssop of Scripture can bear this signification, it will not be less appropriate. 4. The next notice of hyssop is in 1 Kings iv. 33, where in the account of the wisdom of Solomon it is said: And he spake of trees, from the cedar-tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.' In this passage we find that the plant which is alluded to by the name of esob must also have grown upon a wall, though not necessarily to the exclusion of all other situations. Some commentators have inferred that the plant alluded to must have been one of the smallest, to contrast well with the cedar of Lebanon, and thus show the extent of the knowledge and wisdom of Solomon. But nothing of this kind appears in the text. The last passage




which we have to adduce occurs in the New Testament, where in the crucifixion of our Saviour the apostle John relates (xix. 29): Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.' This passage has elicited the remarks of various critics, and inferences have been drawn respecting the nature of the plant, from the use to which it was applied. Others have observed, that the evangelists Matthew and Mark, in relating the same circumstance, make no mention of the hyssop, but state that the sponge was put upon a reed, and given him to drink. The deductions which we may legitimately draw from the above passage are, that the hyssop was a plant of Judea, found indeed in the immediate neighbourhood of Jerusalem, and that it seems to have been used as a stick to which the sponge was fixed. If the plant which I suppose to be hyssop is calculated to answer this purpose, it will likewise answer for the elucidation of the parallel passages in the other evangelists. Salmasius, as quoted by Celsius says: "Quodcunque feceris, et licet in omnia tete vertas, probabilem aliam verbis Evangelista explicationem adplicare non possis, præter eam, quæ voowov pro calamo, vel virga hyssopi, cui alligata erat spongia Christo porrigenda, accipit. Ibi rownov locum plane occupat xaλáμov, cujus eandem ad rem usus apud alium Evangelistam.'

Before proceeding to ascertain the particular plant which is alluded to in the above passages, it is necessary to notice the name of hyssop in the Hebrew, as also those which were considered its synonymes in the several ancient versions of the Scriptures. For this information I am indebted chiefly to Celsius. The Hebrew name in esobh, written also esob and esof, also by some azub, Celsius derives from a Hebrew root : Nempe Arabum idem est, quod Hebr. fluere, quo nostrum


1 referri solet; ut ab aspergendo nomen acceperit.' Greek he derives from the Hebrew name: 'abans esob derivandum esse Græcorum voownov, unde Latini hyssopum habent, nulla est ratio, cur dubitemus, nam equidem frustra sunt, qui 18 Ebræorum, et voownov Græcorum, re et nomine differre volunt, ac in nominibus illis non esse nisi fortuitam soni vicinitatem; unde concludunt, haud esse necessarium, ut, quæ planta Ebræis est

, sit omnino statuenda oσnos Græcorum; ex qua hypothesi tot diversæ plantæ ab unica in versionibus interpretum propullularunt. In this derivation agree Salmasius de Homonymis Hyles Iatricæ, p. 19, and Bochart Geogr. Sacr. 494, ‘duumviros reipublicæ literariæ clarissimos;' and Celsius adds, Neminem puto fore tam morosum, ut etymi hujus veritatem in dubium vocare sustineat.'

« ForrigeFortsæt »