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were given with a prophetical view.

Upon this hypothesis, we must suppose the patriarchs were all under divine direction. Is this probable? Have we any reason to suppose that in the extreme depravity of the world, those men should all have been favored with divine communications? And further, is it compatible with our ideas of the Supreme Being, to believe that he would reveal important truths in a series of names, given to a succession of men through the period of a thousand years? For we are to observe, that the revelation must constitute a connected sentence, the first word of which begins with Adam, the second is added at the distance of 130 years, in the name of Seth, the third, at the distance of 105 years, in the name of Enos, &c. In this case a revelation must consist of detached parts, which could not be combined till the birth of Noah; a thousand years after the creation of Adam. Of what use would be such a revelation? And is such a mode of communicating the divine will consonant to any rational scriptural ideas of the character of Jehovah?


Men are found in every period of the world who search for mysteries and enigmas in the plainest parts of one of the plainest books ever written, and even the Masoretic points have been found to contain most wonderful truths. But the real friends of divine revelation should be very cautious not to countenance such fanciful speculations. The imagination, left to ramble in the wilds of con


jecture, will set no limits to its fictions.

The points in Hebrew, as in Syriac and Arabic, are intended to show the exact customary pronunciation of words: and whether an invention of earlier or later date, is a question of no moment. Some of them supply the place of vowels; others mark distinctions in the consonants. They were doubtless invented much later than letters, and they serve to show how far the popular pronunciation had deviated, at the time of their invention, from the original pronunciation. The scheme is somewhat analagous to those of Kenrick, Sheridan, Walker and Perry, in the English,-a scheme attended with some good, and much evil, as it never fails to perpetuate the corruptions of a language. Thus, for example, the genuine sound of u is that of oo, as it is used in Italian, Spanish, German, and Russian, and as it was used in our mother tongue, the Saxon. The sound was changed in England under the Norman princes, by the influence of the French, and rendered somewhat similar to that of the French u, but its present sound is not the French-nor iş it precisely that of the letters eu or yu; but as it approaches that of eu, the compilers of elementary books wrote the name of the letter yu. The corruption hav ing proceeded thus far, men who wished to be minutely accurate, thought they must conform to this mode of uttering the sound of the letter. But this being difficult in many positions, and extremely unnatural, especially af, ter t and d, as in natyure, dyuty, 28

the effect of the attempt was to change the preceding consonant; and hence nachure, and juty. These corruptions being established, the letters having lost their true pronunciation, and of consequence, their use, a scheme was invented by lexicographers to write over the words a second time in different letters, and mark the sounds of the vowels by figures, or other characters. In this manner, the most mis chievous innovations are perpetuated by authority; the uses of the alphabet, in a degree, lost, and the difficulty of learning the language greatly greatly increased. Such was the fate of the Hebrew, and such will be the fate of the English.

Were it a matter of indifference, in regard to historical truth, it would be amusing to contemplate the effects of the association of ideas in the human mind, on the subject of the Hebrew language. The Old Testament being written in Hebrew, men who revere the sacred oracles, are led to transfer their veneration to the language itself; considering it as the most ancient, of divine origin, and of wonderful and singular construction. With regard to the origin of language, I would offer no opinion; for having no certain testimony on the subject, any opinion respecting it, must be formed solely by reasoning and inference. One thing is certain, the Hebrew is of the same origin as the Arabic, Syriac, and European languages; and if the Hebrew was of divine origin, so was the English. In structure, it coincides with the Arabic, Syriac, Samaritan, Ethipic and Chaldaic; being a mere

dialect of the Assyrian stock, and of no higher antiquity than the other dialects, nor of higher antiquity, than the Celtic and Teutonic languages in Europe. And it is really astonishing that such eminently learned men as Castell, Parkhurst, and other lexicographers, frequently deduce Chaldaic and Arabic words from the Hebrew, as though they were of later origin; when we have numerous express declarations of Scripture,that the nations who inhabited Syria and Egypt, were ancient nations, when the Israelites settled in Canaan.

When Abram migrated from Haran to Canaan, we are informed, "the Canaanite was then in the land." When he went to reside in Egypt, we find a king upon the throne; and after his return, we read of a war between four kings or princes of the east, with five kings of Syria. From these facts the inference is unavoidable, that Syria and Egypt, in the days of Abram, were popu lous countries. When Jacob's sons determined to rid themselves of Joseph, they sold him to a company of merchants from Gilead, who, "with their camels, bearing spicery and balm and myrrh," were going to Egypt. That was a company now called a caravan. This commercial intercourse implies a high antiquity of the natives of Syria and Egypt; and leads necessarily to the conclusion, that those countries were populous and rich, for ages before the Hebrews became a nation. I need not recite the various passages of Scripture, that establish this conclusion, such as the strength of the native nations of Syria, and the walled cities mentioned

by the spies sent by Moses to explore the land--the number of the tribes and princes conquered by Joshua, and the state of cultiva tion, when the Israelites were promised the possession of vine yards and olive-yards, not of their own planting-that they of Ham had dwelt there of old, &c. Yet in the face of all this evidence, we find lexicographers and commentators, who pretend that all the languages of that region are borrowed from the Hebrew, or are shoots from the Hebrew stock. The truth is, the Hebrew is of the same origin as the other languages of that region; but as a national language, is the most modern of all the dialects of the Assyrian stock; and more modern than the primitive languages of Europe. It is a fact susceptible of satisfactéry proof, that Europe was, to a great extent, peopled, before the

Hebrews became a nation.

To show how important it is to historical truth, that the learned world should be disabused of their prejudices on this subject, I will add a few examples of the mistakes which have their origin in this source.

Mizraim, in a translation of proper names, annexed to some copies of the Bible, is rendered tribulations, and in the tenth chapter of Genesis, Mizraim is called a son of Ham. But Mizraim, signifies the Egyptians, or their country, and this through out the Old Testament. In the singular number, it is used for an Egyptian. Gen. xxxix, 1, and 5, yn, misri; in the plural, [not the dual] Egyptians, or Egypt, yp,misrim,and as pointed,Misraim,ch. xli, 19,30,&c. This name written with the same letters and

points, in Gen. x, 6, is given to one of the sons of Ham, considered as an individual. In 2 Kings, xix, 24, y masor, is Egypt.

The difficulty of accounting for the use of the plural, has led some writer, who has treated of this subject, to suppose the word to signify the descendants of Mesr, or Mezer, who was a son of Ham. But the signification of the word overthrows this hypothesis-for it is agreed by all writers that the word is formed from the root or my to surround, inclose or make fasta root of most extensive use, in all the Assyrian dialects, and written with various vowels and prefixes. The word sp, masor, or mesor, signifies a fortress, an inclosed place, a castle or for tified town. This was the name of the metropolis of Egypt; a name by which only it was known to the Arabians, and by which they have continued to call it from the earliest ages to this day. The Arabians still call Cairo, Mesr or Meser; the name of the capital gave name to the country, and in the plural, Misraim, signifies the inhabitants or Egyptians. In the same manner, Egypt had its origin in the name of another principal town, Cobt or Copt-called by the Greeks, with their article Coptos-that is, a fortress, from a root which signified to surround, which is retained in the Sanscrit, gupta, inclosed, guarded—and in the Greek KUTTW, to bend. Hence the modern copt and coptic, and Ægyptus, Egypt.

Bochart alleges that Misraim is not the name of a man. "Misrajim non est nomen hominis— id non patitur forma dualis."The mistake of considering the

word as in the dual number arises from the supposition of its being a regular Hebrew word, whereas it is the name of the Egyptians in the plural, written and pointed according to the popular or customary pronunciation. Another mistake, which runs through the translation of the tenth chapter of Genesis proceeds from considering the Hebrew word beni, as equivalent to the English word sons, in its strict sense, that is, de. scendants in the first degree; whereas the word signifies descendants, issue, offspring. Ver. 6. The descendants of Ham were Cush, or the Cushites; Misraim, the Egyptians-Phut and Canaan-Ver. 13. "And Misraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim." Ludim is also a word in the plural number-It is not inserted in the table of names before mentioned, and as it is not a Hebrew word, the translators were probably unable to explain it. I say it is not Hebrew, though it may be from the same source as the Heb. nh, luz; for the dentals and sibilants are convertible. The root of the word is in the Arabic, and signifies to bend, or wind; to be crooked or broken Hence it gives rise to words which signify the winding of a river, and a declivity or cliff and in the latter sense, the word is used in our mother tongue, the Anglo-Saxon. The Ludim were the inhabitants of the cliffs or mountains at the head of the Nile-known to us under the names of Abyssinians and Ethiopians.

Lehabim, which our translators render flames or inflamed, as the word signifies in Hebrew, is

from a root not found in the Hebrew, but in Arabic and other cognate dialects. In Arabic it signifies to burn, to inflame, to burn with thirst, to be thirsty or dry. Hence its derivatives signify heat, burning, thirst, &c. Lehab, then, is a dry, parched country, and Lehabim, the inhabitants of that country. They were a tribe that inhabited some part of the desert bordering on Egypt. Another verb of this stock, and probably a dialectical orthography of the same root is

lub which is not in the Hebrew; but in Arabic signifies to thirst or be dry. From this root was named 75 Lub, the dry country; which with the common termination ia, added by the Greeks, forms Lybia-the extensive sandy desert of Africa-Lubim, in the Scriptures, signifies, the Lybians, the inhabitants of the dry desert. 2 Chron. xil, 3. The same region is named, in some modern maps, Zaara, from a root which signifies to dry, to sear,

Among the sons of Misraim we find also Caphtorim. But this is a plural word, and signifies a nation or tribe; as we learn from Deut. ii, 23, "The Caphtorim came forth out of Caphtor."

Among the sons of Javan is mentioned Dodanim; but the word is corrupt; it ought to be Rodanim, as it is in the Samaritan copy, and in the Septuagint. The mistake of a Hebrew for

is not at all surprising. The word Rodanim is formed by a Hebrew plural termination added to the Celtic name of the Rhone. Every student of ancient history knows that the primitive name of that river was Rodan, of which Rhone is a contraction.

We see it in the Greek Padanos, and in the Latin Rhodanus but we should remark that us, the Greek os, is a mere termination and no part of the original word, in this or any other case. Rodan or Rhodan is a compound word-Rho, or Rha, from the root of ρεω, ruo, to flow -whence the ancient name of the Volga, Rha-and dana Celtic word signifying bold, vehement, rapid-a word which enters into Danube, Danister, Danieper-now contracted into Don. Rhodan is a great or a rapid river. Hence we learn the mistake of Bochart, who decides correctly that Rodanim in Gen. X, 4, signifies the inhabitants of the Rhone; but suggests that the river took its name from the people. The fact is demonstrably the reverse. The people took their name from the river. By recurring to the signification of primitive names, we find them all significant and descriptiveand almost all the original settlers of a country took their appellation from the name of the place where they lived. They were called the dwellers on a river-a mountain-a plain-in a forest, &c.

If it should be inquired how Misraim, the Egyptians could be said to beget Ludim, the mountaineers, &c. the answer will be found in the 15th, 16th, and 17th verses of Gen. x. "Canaan begat Sidon, and the Jebusite, the Amorite, the Girgasite, the Hivite, the Arkite," &c. which represent tribes of people. It is sufficient for us to observe that such was the language of the age.

These remarks may suffice to

show the importance of etymological researches towards a cor. rect knowledge of history, sacred and profane. The tenth chapter of Genesis specifies the nations from Spain to Asiatic Tartary, east and west, and from the sources of the Nile to Germany and Russia, from north to south-but it seems not fully to be understood. A principal source of error on this subject has been the opinion that all the names found in the Old Testament are of Hebrew origin; whereas many of them are foreign words, and not to be understood without resorting to other languages.


Were not my time otherwise occupied, I could enter largely into this subject. But in addition to the want of time, serious objections occur to the execution of such a purpose. The limits of your periodical work are too narrow to permit a full elucidation of the subject, without interfering with its more important objects. Besides, critical remarks on the subject of languages, should be accompanied with proofs, which ought to be cited in the original; but many of these cannot be printed in this country for want of suitable types, and if printed, could not be extensively read. Suffice it to remark, that the more I examine the subject, the more I find occasion to deplore the imperfect state of etymological learning; and still more, the prejudices which exist against researches into the origin and signification of words. Imperfect investigations have filled our systems of philology, our lexicons, grammars, and commentas

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