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cherubim, which are mentioned on Adam's expulsion from Eden. It was scarcely in imitation of these, that Jeroboam set up the calves in Israel ; for they appear to have wanted the other parts of the compound, and if they had been counterparts to those in the temple, they would assuredly have been called such. Jeroboam's long residence in Egypt renders it more likely, that they were imitations of the Mnevis and the Apis.
Dr. Russell's research into the origin of alphabetic letters is recommended by acuteness and learning; but he has been too much swayed by the theories of Mr. Landseer and Dr. Lamb. In these two works fancy has been plentifully put into requisition, and on little more than an aërial foundation an imposing castle has been erected.
That picture-writing preceded alphabetic, but few will deny; but the gradation, in which pictorial and hieroglyphical symbols passed to alphabetical characters, is not easy to be developed. The Chinese characters, to a certain extent, exemplify Dr. Russell's ideas, and in many instances he has cogently appealed to them, as existing illustrations of his positions ; but their principles of combination remove them in a great measure from the question. Egyptian antiquities indeed afford us a considerable light, but not one sufficient to guide us through every dark part of the inquiry: and great as the discoveries of Young and Champollion have been, it is to be feared that they have not fully realized the original hopes, and that very much is wanting to their perfection. Much has certainly been assumed. There are Coptic characters, to which the symbolical counterparts have not been satisfactorily determined; and there is an immense quantity of words lost to the Coptic, since the time of the Ptolemies, very many of which must have been expressed in the hieroglyphics. If we grant, that from phonetic hieroglyphics came alphabetic signs, when they came, and thROUGH WHAT GRADUAL PROCESS they came, remains a question, on which the veil of obscurity is
We do not like to trust to mere theory on such points. Thus, we may not affirm that the Hebrews, the Arabs, and the Phænicians, had a pictorial alphabet, because we cannot affix a date to the simple characters, and are not prepared to show that they did not receive them from some other nation. Aleph, Beth, Gimel, and the rest, may be words denoting sensible objects, and as such be pictorial subjects; so may Alpha, Beta, Gamma, &c. if we seek an interpretation from the Sanskrit; but even if they denoted originally sensible objects, we perceive that the names were retained after the abandonment of pictorial writing; and therefore can draw no just conclusion from their retention in earlier times. And as, with a slight variation, the Hebrew alphabetic names were common to other nations, we cannot exclusively fix their pictorial representatives on the house of Abraham. Be it remembered, that Abraham was a Chaldee; and that the language now called Chaldee, which is cognate to the Hebrew, should more properly be styled the Babylonian : for the real Chaldee (as we might incontrovertibly show from the names of the Chaldean conquerors of Babylon,) was quite distinct from that dialect which now passes under the name, and which is nothing more nor less than Syriac. With respect to Abraham, we may indeed suppose, from the locality of Ur, that Syriac words and forms may have been interblended with his Chaldee ; here, however, let us observe, that the argument which some have urged respecting Yegar Sahadutha (Gen. xxxi. 47.) is totally faulty, because the Syrian was the proper language of Mesopotamia, where Laban resided. Many derive the term Hebrew from Abraham's passage of the Euphrates;we think, incorrectly; and imagine it to be a patronymic, alluding to his descent from Eber. But although in Canaan and its vicinity, there were many dialects cognate to the Hebrew, we find the word first emphatically applied to Abraham: it would therefore seem, that, as we read in the sacred text, that his household consisted of various slaves, his original language may have been so blended by his tribe with that of the country, as to have been called ayn, the dialect of the descendants of Eber.
Now, if in phonetic hieroglyphics the whole animal or symbol was given for the mere sake of its initial alphabetic sound, the advance towards a simplification of the system may have been far more rapid than authors have admitted it to be. Thus, although we may doubt the assertion of Eupolemus, that Moses introduced alphabetic characters, we see no reason to doubt the fact of their existence before his time. We cannot imagine the tables of the Law to have been pictorial or hieroglyphical: the characters must have been alphabetic. The Ogham of the Druids, (which word has been retraced to the Sanskrit IPTY āgămă,) to which Dr. Russell has appealed, were rather mysterious or sacerdotal characters; the cuneiform characters of Babylonia and Persia, the Sassanian inscriptions, the alphabets edited by Hammer, and those more ancient ones to be discovered in India show, that at a very early age secret ciphers were adopted. Let us add the Devá-nagari to the list, also the Cufic, the Zend and Pá-zend; and who shall fathom the antiquity of alphabetic characters ? But more on this subject will appear in the course of the review.
In Dr. Russell's remarks on the religion, arts, sciences, and learning of the Hebrews, his own opinions are skilfully combined with the labours of his predecessors. In his account of the studies of the Levitical colleges, among which were poetry, ethics, oratory, pharmacy, music, and even a certain degree of physical science, he seems closely to have followed Jennings,
and to have consulted the work of Witsius. These colleges were succeeded by the prophetic schools, in which young men, maintained at the public expense, were prepared for certain offices analogous to those which are discharged by the different orders of the christian clergy: in these, it seems, the whole learning of the nation was vested. But among many ancient people we find prophet and poet synonymous terms, and we are not without instances in which the Hebrew X2 exhibits this twofold sense. As in the prophetic schools music was extensively cultivated, and as the ancient prophets commonly delivered their oracles in verse, hence perhaps the synonym arose. But, as Dr. Russell says, any intellectual exertion directed towards the service of God or the advancement of religious knowledge, came within the primitive acceptation of the term: thus Miriam was called a prophetess, and the sons of the prophets at Ramah were said to prophesy, when they performed divine anthems on their psalteries, tabrets, and harps. Deborah was also denominated a prophetess, because she judged Israel. To be a prophet in the secondary sense, it was not therefore necessary to have the power of foretelling future events.
Nevertheless, it was one part of the duty of the prophet, properly so called, to enforce and elucidate Divine truth, and to apply himself to the study of the sacred books: he was taught to examine the import of the sacrifices and the ceremonial laws, and to investigate every thing which prefigured the Messiah. “Thus, Daniel understood by books the number of years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet.” With respect to the scenical representations of the prophetic oracles,
* In the New Testament #popNTEvelv is very widely used, and in a manner corresponding to the Hebrew word. The native Arabic Lexica identify the root lu with us! he showed, he told, he indicated, which appears to be the primitive sense of the Hebrew; and in the Hebrew the root in Niphal and Hithpahel seems to be often synonymous with yaw (ualvetal,) he was seized with a furor or impetus, &c. Examining the various passages, in which Nabi X')) occurs, we find reason to interpret it at one time a prophet kar' coxriv, at others, a poet, (and perhaps a musical performer,) and an interpreter of the Divine oracles. In this latter sense the verb is frequently used in the New Testament. It is worthy of remark, that the Latin vates has the double sense of prophet and poet, and appears to have proceeded from some root corresponding to the Sanskrit, aa . vad (which exactly answers in sense to the Arabic W or 761) whencea Ifaa vādin, nom. vādī, a sage, or from faa , vid, to know, whence afaa vēdựn, nom. vēdī, a pandit, a teacher.
and other particulars connected with the prophetic habits and institutions, the reader must consult the luminous chapter which we have thus briefly noticed.
Yet although the occupations of the early Israelites were chiefly agricultural, they had advanced to some knowledge of the arts: they had become "acquainted with the properties of metals, the texture of various kinds of cloth, and even the fixing of colours. The skill of the founder, the carver, and the statuary was put into requisition, as we perceive from the Teraphim, * the carved and molten images, which were in the land. In geography they were very imperfect; in astronomy and chemistry they never arose to eminence. Their medical acquirements at no time deserved the name of a science.
We must now consider the commerce of the Hebrews and of the contiguous nations. The caravans which periodically crossed the Syrian desert, on their journeys between the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf, rendered Palestine a most favourable situation for commercial transactions; and we find mention made of these caravans as far back as the days of Jacob.+ Abraham must have obtained his riches by barter with them; for Palestine produced not the gold and silver of which he was possessed; nor could the wealth found at Jericho, among which was a Babylonian garment, nor that stated to be in possession of the Midianites and others, have been procured by any other
Consequently, the Canaanites must have had a con
* This may be a foreign word borrowed from the idolaters. What the Teraphim were we do not exactly know. From Ezekiel xxi. 21 ; Zech. x. 2; some have derived them from oil he inquired or consulted, but they do not appear in the more early ages to have been applied to divination. Albert Schultens, believing them to have been household gods, retraced them to he abounded with the good things of life, to which 79 trip-to please, satisfy, or content, may be compared. If we suppose them to have been Penates, agot tărpănă, which comes from this root, and means satisfaction given or received—a religious rite—and the presentation of water to deceased ancestors,—may not be undeserving of attention. For though the Penates were domestic deities, the word Patrii is applied to them by Horace and Hyginus; and there may probably be some distant trace of the term in fuo3 pindă, (d and t being interchangeable,) which denotes an oblation to deceased ancestors, as a ball or lump of meat, rice, &c.
Mollivit aversos Penates,
Farre pio et saliente mica.--Hor. Od. iii. 23, 20. † Gen. xxxvii. 25. Obgyowinnox, a caravan
nexion with foreign countries very long before the invasion of Joshua-possibly, very long before the migration of Abraham from Ur: and it is to be observed that the trading people of Canaan, such as the Tyrians and Sidonians, although idolaters, were “not among those against whom Moses commanded the Hebrews to wage a war of extermination.” Hiram was the ally of David and Solomon ; and the Jewish arms do not appear to have penetrated into the districts possessed by the maritime cities. David's victories gave Solomon ports on the Red Sea: ships, mariners, and pilots were supplied by his Tyrian allies.
The disputes on the situations of Ophir and Tarshish have never been satisfactorily settled. From the conjunction of Ophir with Havilah and Jobab, in the tenth chapter of Genesis, many have determined in favour of Arabia Felix, and the treasures brought from thence correspond to the productions of the country. Dr. Russell shows that there is no inconsistency in the duration of the voyage ; for “ the Phænicians, as we find indicated in one of the poems of Homer, combined the two professions of seamen and merchants, and, moving from one port to another, bought and sold according to the nature of their cargo, and the wants of the people whom they visited. They found it necessary to remain at successive harbours, until they had disposed of their merchandise, and supplied themselves with articles suited to the consumption of the home market. In those days, it was not uncommon for a fleet to be absent from their native port five or six years; the leaders devoting their attention all the while to commerce rather than to navigation.”
But there are traces in the books of Moses of an older commerce than that of the Phænicians; one, of which Arabia was the centre or medium, the main channel of which was directed towards Egypt. The spices brought into that country, and those mentioned in Exodus, were the produce of India or Arabia; but the cinnamon in this list could not have been procured from a nearer quarter than Ceylon, or the coast of Malabar. “ If then these commodities were found at Thebes and Jerusalem, it is evident that they must have been imported from India; and it is equally obvious there were, even in those early times, regular carriers between the most remote nations of Asia and the kingdom of the west-a stated communication between the cities of the Nile and the farmers of Hindostan." To this assertion Heeren has added positive proofs. For, although the Assyrian empire enjoyed the Indian trade through Persia and the northern provinces, a very large proportion of it found its way to the Arabian ports. Dr. Russell conceives that the communication with India existed before the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt; that even prior to the patriarchal era the intercourse took place between it and Arabia, and that Thebes itself owed much of its splendour to this traffic.