« ZurückWeiter »
he endeavours to prove from Isa. xix. iS. In that Day ft:all five Cities in the Land of Egypt speak the Language (or Lip as it is in the Margin) of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of Hosts. Speaking the Language of Canaan implies (fays he) no more than being of the same Religion with the Jews who inhabited the Land of Canaan. But why may it not be interpreted literally as it is in our Version? Does any absurd Sense arise from that Interpretation? Might not those five Cities particularly, to shew the Value and Reverence that they had for the Religion of the Jews, learn their Language, especially since they would be thereby better enabled to understand the Books of Moses and the Prophets, which were writ-* ten in that Tongue? Do not the Mahometans . wherever they are, Turks) 'Tartars, Persians, Moguls or Mores, all learn Arabic; because Mahomet writ the Alcoran in that Language? The Sense to which he would confine the Words of the Prophet, is low and flat in Comparison of this literal one, and any one that reads the whole Chapter must I think conclude so. In that Day Egypt Jhall be like unto Women, it
UNO nn&l DQ phe ehhad. Conscntientes Pseudo-prophetae ore uno bonum pollicentur, i Reg. xxii. 13. Hiric labio alicujus loqui perinde est ac consentire, quod constat ex loco Esaiae allato: Die Mo erunt quinque Urbes in AEgypto loquenteslabium Cbanaan, & jurantes per Jehovam Deum exercituum; hoc est,, idem sentientes cum Hebraeis, qui Chanaanitidem incolebant. Cleriius in Gen. xi. 1,
Jhall be afraid and fear; because of the soaking of the Band of the LORD of Hop, which he Jhaketh over it, is it. And the Land of Judah stall be a 'Terror unto Egypt, $s ij. And again in the 19th Verse. In that Day stall there be an Altar to the LO RD, in the midst of the Land of Egypt. They shall become Proselytes to the Law of Moses, and that they may not mistake in understanding the Sense of the Law, which they shall then embrace, they will agree to learn that Language in which it is written. This I take to be the true meaning of the Place.
But we read, Jost. ix. 2. That the Kings of Canaan gathered themselves together to fight with Jostua, and with Israel with one Accord; what we render with one Accord, in the Hebrew is one Mouth; and so it is noted in the Margin of our Bibles. So also the false Prophets promised Ahab Success, "intf NG phe ehhad with one Mouth, i. e. unanimously, when he went against Ramoth Gilead, 1 Kings xxii. 13. Phe ehhad has no Preposition affixed to it in Jost. ix. 2. which shews that the two Words so joined, are to be understood adverbially, and governed by a Verb either express'd, as it is there, or necessarily and plainly understood, as it is in 1 Kings xxii. 13. and consequently have no Relation to Shaphah, (Lip) here in Moses. I would not accuse Mr. Le Clerc of Malignity here, as if he brought these Quotations to destroy the Miracle j but I cannot acquit him of
Negligence, Negligence, when he thought that his Interpretation of Shaphah ehhad, one Lip or Language in this Place, could be strengthened by this Phe ehhad, which is always used adverbially, for what in English we call unanimously, or with one Accord. For though Shaphaht Lip, is figuratively used fqr Language in Hebrew, yet it does not follow that Phe, Mouthy should be so too; and in Fact it is not; or that, because one Mouth may in that Tongue be metaphorically and adverbially used for one Accord, therefore one Lip should have the same Sense: I believe he will hardly mew us one single Instance, but this in Isaiah, (which we have no Reason to give up, and by what Mojes says, Gen. xi. 7. it appears ought not to be given up) in which one Lip properly signifies, not a mutual Agreement, or one Mind of many Men who join in the same Undertaking, but one Language which all they spoke, who joyned together in that Design. And this I think is sufficient to destroy his Interpretation, and what I believe he wist yield to, especially since he does not in the least disbelieve the Power of God to work this Miracle, no more t.han his Power of teaching Adam and Eve to speak at first, or of inspiring the Apostles with the Gift of Languages at the great Pentecost in the second Chapter of the Acls.
This certainly was the Reason why so many pf the ancient Interpreters, both Jews and
C Z Christians Chrijliam understood this'Confusion of Babel, to be a Confusion of Languages, not Opinions. They saw the Text, if literally understood, required it: They observed a surprizing Variety of Tongues, essentially different from one another. And they knew that this was not in the feast inconsistent with the Power of God. They did not question, but that he that made the Tongue, could make it speak what and how he pleased, and they acquiesced as all wise and honest Interpreters ought to do, in the literal Explication, seeing that nothing unworthy of God, or in itself either im'possible or trifling, resulted from that Interpretation.
But it is here objected, that we need not recurr to a Miracle, since a bare Separation of these Workmen, and a subsequent Settlement in very distant Regions, where all mutual Commerce and Intercourse was destroyed, would be sufficient. We see in a thousand Years what Alterations and Deviations have been made from the Latin in France, Italy, Spain, and the Subalpine Regions. In France the Gascon, and Provencal Dialects are hardly understood at Paris; and the Language of their Poets still exstant in those Dialects, is more different from the common French, by great oddsj c than Chaucer's Idiom is from Waller's or Priors. In Spain, besides the Castillan, there are two large and copious Idioms, the
c Sec the Recueil des Pcetcs Gajcovs, printed at Amsterdam in 1700.
Tortugucze. Portugueze and the Catalan, neither of which are readily intelligible, especially the Portugueze, by one that knows only the Third. A Man may know all the rest of the Dialects that are derived from the Latin, and yet be wholly to seek in the Grisons Language. And yet all these Tongues, which have each one their particular Marks, which Marks are plainly different from each other, and some of them very widely too, owe their Original within twelve hundred Years to the Latin; and besides, there has always been a mutual Commerce and Intercourse between these several Nations, which derive their Languages from the same common Stock. In the Languages which are derived from the Teutonic, there has happen'd full as great a Variation in the same compass of Time : How different is the ancient Saxon in AElfred's Time, from the Language about the Time of Hen. II. And that from the Language of Pierce Plowman or Chaucer1? And their Idiom from ours? AnE«glifiman cannot understand a Hollander; nor he a Saxon; nor any of them a Swede or a Dane. The IJIandijh (or the old Norm, or Norwegian Language) which is the Mother of the Danish and Swedish Idioms, is not intelligible now without Study, by a Native of Copenhagen or Stockholm. The Fragments of the Gospels, published by jfunius, are written in a different Dialect from the Francic of Wilier am and Otfrid, and their Tongue differs as much