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reading and interpretation of the words, they made their benches of icory inlaid on box, brought out of the iles Chittim, that is out of the iles of the Mediterranean, and moft probably from Coifica, which was famous above all places for box, as Bochart hath proved by the teftimonies of Pliny, Theophraftus, and Diodorus. Daniel foretelling the exploits of Antiochus Epiphanes, faith (XI. 29, 30.) that he fhould come towards the fouth, that is invade Egypt. but the hips of Chittim fhall come against him, therefore he shall be grieved and return: the fhips of Chittim can be none other than the thips of the Romans, whofe (7) embaffadors coming from Italy to Greece, and from thence to Alexandria, obliged Antiochus, to his great grief and difappointment, to depart from Egypt without accomplithing his defigns. The author of the first book of Maccabees, fpeaking of Alexander fon of Philip the Macedonian, faith (I. 1.) that he came out of the land of Chettüm: and afterwards (VIII. 5.) Perfeus, the last king of Macedon, he calleth king of the Cittims. By thefe inftances it appears, that the land of Chittim was a general name for the countries and lands in the Mediterranean: and therefore when Balaam faid that Jhips Jhould come from the coaft of Chittim, he might mean either Greece, or Italy, or both, the particular names of thofe countries being at that time perhaps unknown in the eaft: and the paffage may be the better. understood of both, becaufe it was equally true of both, and Greece and Italy were alike the fcourges of Afia.

And fhall afflict Ashur. Ashur, as we noted before, fignifies properly the defcendants of Asthur, the Affyrians: but (8) their name was of as large extent as their empire, and the Syrians and Affyrians are often confounded together, and mentioned as one and the fame people. Now it is fo well known as to require no particular proof, that the Grecians under the command of Alexander the Great fubdued all thofe countries. The Romans afterwards extended their empire into the fame

(7) Vide Livii Lib. 45. Cap. 10, 11, 12. Polyb. Legat. p. 915, 916. Edit. Cafaubon.

(8) Tam latè patuit hoc nomen

quam late patuit imperium,-multi veterum Seros et Affyrios pro iisdem habent. Bochart. Phaleg. Lib. 2, Cap. 3. Col. 72. G 4


regions; and as (9) Dion informs us, Affyria properly fo called was conquered by the emperor Trajan.

And fhall afflict Eber. Two interpretations are propofed of the word Eber, either the pofterity of a man fo called, or the people who dwelt on the other fide of the river Euphrates. If by Eber we understand the pofterity of Eber, as by Ashur the pofterity of Asfhur, which appears a very natural conftruction: then Balaam, who was commiffioned to blefs Ifrael at firft, prophefied evil concerning them at last, though under another name: but men and manners ufually degenerate in a long courfe of time; and as the virtues of the progenitors might intitle them to a bleffing, fo the vices of the defcendents might render them obnoxious to a curfe. However we may avoid this feeming inconfiftence, if we follow the other interpretation, and by Eber underftand the people who dwelt on the other fide of the river Euphrates, which fenfe is given by (1) Onkelos, and is approved by fever, ral of the ancients, as well as by many of the most able commentators among the moderns, and is particularly enforced by a learned (2) profeffor of eminent skill in the oriental languages. The two members of the period would then better connect together, and the fenfe of the latter would be fomewhat exegetical of the former; and Shall afflict Ashur and shall afflict Eber, fhall afflict the Affyrians and other neighbouring nations bordering upon the river Euphrates. And this interpretation I would readily embrace, if I could fee any inftance of a parallel expreffion. Beyond the river, meaning Euphrates, is indeed a phrafe that fometimes occurs in feripture, and the concordance will fupply us with inftances: but where doth beyond alone ever bear that fignification? I know Gen. X. 21. is ufually cited for this purpofe; but that text is as much controverted as this, and the queftion is the fame there as here, whether Eber be the proper name of a man, or only a prepofition fignifying beyond, and beyond fignifying the people beyond the river Euphrates: or in other words, whether the paffage should be tranflated

(9) Dionis Hift. Rom. Lib. 68. p. 783. Edit. Leunclav. Hanov. 1606. (1) Et lubjicient trans flumen Eu

phratem. Onk.

(2) Hyde Hift. Relig. Vet. Perf. Cap. 2. P. 53-57.


the father of all the children of Eber, or the father of all the children of the people on the other fide of the river Euphrates. Ifaiah's manner of fpeaking of the fame people is by them beyond the river, by the king of Affyria: (VII. 20.) and one would expect the like here, jhall afflict Ashur, and fhall afflict them beyond the river. But which ever of thefe interpretations we prefer, the prophecy was alike fulfilled. If we understand it of the people bordering upon the Euphrates, they as well as the Affyrians were fubdued both by the Grecians and Romans. If we understand it of the pofterity of Eber, the Hebrews were afflicted, though not much by Alexander himfelf, yet by his fucceffors the Seleucidæ, and particularly by Antiochus Epiphanes, who fpoiled Jerufalem, defiled the temple, and flew all those who adhered to the law of Mofes. (1 Maccab. I.) They were worse afflicted by the Romans, who not only fubdued and oppreffed them, and made their country a province of the empire, but at laft took away their place and nation, and fold and difperfed them over the face of the earth.

And he alfo fhall perish for ever, that is Chittim, whọ is the main fubject of this part of the prophecy, and whofe thips were to afflict Ashur and to afflict Eber: but this notwithstanding, he alfo fhall be even to perdition, he alfo fhall be deftroyed as well as Amalek, for in the original the words are the fame concerning both. He in the fingular number cannot well refer to both Ashur and Eber. He muft naturally fignify Chittim the principal agent and if by Chittim be meant the Grecians, the Grecian empire was entirely fubverted by the Roman; if the Romans, the Roman empire was in its turn broken into pieces by the incurfion of the northern nations. The name only of the Roman empire and Cæfarean majefty is fubfifting at this day, and is transferred to another country and another people.

It appears then that Balaam was a prophet divinely infpired, or he could never have foretold fo many diftant events, fome of which are fulfilling in the world at this time and what a fingular honour was it to the people of Ifrael, that a prophet called from another


country, and at the fame time a wicked man, should be obliged to bear teftimony to their righteousness and holinefs? The commendations of an enemy, amoug enemies, are commendations indeed. And Mofes did juftice to himfelf as well as to his nation in recording thefe tranfactions. They are not only a material part of his hiftory, but are likewife a ftrong confirmation of the truth of his religion. Balaam's bearing witness to Mofes is fomewhat like Judas's attesting the innocence of Jefus.




OSES is a valuable writer, as upon many occounts, fo particularly upon this, that he hath not only preferved and tranfmitted to pofterity feveral ancient prophecies, but hath likewife fhown himself a prophet, and inferted feveral predictions of his own, Among thefe none is more memorable, than that of another prophet to be raised like unto himself. He was now about to leave his people, and comforts them with the promife of another prophet. Deut. XVIII. 15. The Lord thy God will raife up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye fhall hearken. The fame is repeated at ver. 18, in the name of God, I will raife them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I jhall command him. It is farther added at ver. 19. And it shall come to pass that whofoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. Plain as this prophecy is, it hath ftrangely been perverted and mifapplied: but I conceive nothing will be wanting to the right understanding both of the prophecy


and the completion, if we can thow firft what prophet was here particularly intended, if we fhow fecondly that this prophet refembled Mofes in more refpects than any other perfon ever did, and if we thow thirdly that the people have been and ftill are feverely punished for their infidelity and difobedience to this prophet.

I. We will endevor to fhow what prophet was here particularly intended. Some have been of opinion, (1) that Joshua was the perfon; because he is faid in Ecclefiafticus (XLVI. 1.) to have been fucceffor of Mofes in prophecies and as the people were commanded to hearken unto this prophet, unto him ye shall hearken; fo they faid unto Jofhua, (I. 17.) According as we hearkened unto Mofes in all things, fo will we hearken unto thee, Some again have imagined, (2) that Jeremiah was the perfon; becaufe he frequently applies (fay they) the words of Mofes; and Abarbinel in his preface to his commentary upon Jeremiah reckons up fourteen particulars wherein they refemble each other, and obferves that Jeremiah prophefied forty years, as Mofes alfo did, Others, and thofe many more in number, (3) underftand this neither of Jothua, nor of Jeremiah, nor of any fingle perfon, but of a fucceffion of prophets to be raised up like unto Mofes; because (fay they) the people being here forbidden to follow after inchanters and diviners, as other nations did, nothing would have fecured them effectually from following after them, but having true prophets of their own, whom they might confult upon occafion; and the latter are oppofed to the former. But ftill the propounders and favorers of thefe different opinions, I think, agree generally in this, that tho' Joshua, or Jeremiah, or a fucceffion of prophets was primarily intended, yet the main cnd and ultimate fcope of the prophecy was the Meffiah: and indeed there appear fome very good reafons for understanding it of him principally, if not of him folely, befides the preference of a litteral to a typical interpretation.

(1) See Munfter, Drufius, Fagius, Calmet, &c. (2) See Munter, Fagius, Patrick,

Calmet, &c.

(3) See Fagius, Poole, Le Clerc, Calmet, &c.


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