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النشر الإلكتروني

THE LITERARY MAN'S BIBLE

I. HISTORICAL SECTION

HISTORICAL SECTION

PREHISTORIC PERIOD, GENESIS I.-XI.

The Creation.-The Hebraic cosmogony was, with but little doubt, derived from the Babylonian myths. Mr. George Smith's epoch-making discovery (1872-1876) of tablets in the Library of Assurbanipal in Nineveh proves that this was the ultimate, if not the immediate, source. The contents of the tablets are very old, far older than the Book of Genesis, older even than the oldest elements of Genesis. Berossus, a Babylonian priest (300 B.C.), also gives us some details.

In the tablets we read a sort of epic poem, in which the triumph of Marduk (Merodach, Jer. 1. 2), Babylon's supreme god, is recorded. Marduk has a combat with Tiamat, or Chaos, dividing her into two portions, the upper portion to form the heavens, and the lower part (so Berossus says) to form the earth. He then made the sun and the moon, and apportioned the years and months. Then he makes man.

My blood will I bake, and bone [I will fashion]

I will make man that man may

I will create man who shall inhabit [the earth]. [See L. W. King, "The Seven Tablets of Creation" (1902).]

How this Babylonian myth (which is, of course, full of polytheistic details, as compared with the Hebrew monotheism), was introduced among the Hebrews is uncertain. There were many links of association between the nomad Israelites and Mesopotamia [cf. legend of Abraham at Ur of the Chaldees (Gen. xi. 28)], and in all probability Babylonian influences were strong in Canaan before the Israelites entered the land. There, perhaps, the early traditions were assimilated. It is unlikely that the story could have been derived as late as the Babylonian exile, though, of course, the Priestly writer edited the older legends after the time of Ezra. But the assimilation of an alien myth, and its naturalization among the Israelites, must have taken some time. The El-Amarna tablets (1400 B.C.) prove the early relations between Babylonia and Canaan.

This narrative (P.) dates between 570 (end of Ezekiel's activity) and 458 (arrival of Ezra in Jerusalem). Observe its formal divisions.

1 IN the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the

waters.

The Priestly
Narrative

I., II. 1-3

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the

darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

:

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day.

And the

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and

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