« הקודםהמשך »
T H E
THE First and Second Volumes of
this History, which I fome Years T. ago offered to the Publick, do so
fully explain the Nature and Design
of my Undertaking, that there can be no need of any further Account of it: This Third Volume contains the facred History from the Israelites having paffed the Read-Sea to the Death of Joshua, and I have, as in the former Volumes, offered in it, not only such Observations, as I thought might obviate or anfwer Objections to, or Difficulties in the Scripture Accounts of fome Facts of these Times; but also such Hints of the Heathen Nations, as can belong to this period, and may conduce to my being able to deduce the Prophane History in a clear Light, when I shall come down to an Age, which may afford Plenty of Materials for a Relation of the Affairs of it. I am sensible the Reader may expect from me fome Account of the Jewish Year, which he will not find in the ensuing Volume; If the Israelites, when they came into Canaan, had not been instructed to compute such a Number of Days to a Year, as might come very nigh to the true Measure of it, they could not long have continued to keep their fet Feasts in their proper Seasons: The Heathen Nations had as yet no Notion of the Year's containing more than 360 Days (a): But such a Year fala ling short five Days, and almost a quarter of a Day of a true solar Revolution, it must be evident that the stated Feasts of Moses's Law, if they had been observed in a course of such Years, would have returned five Days and almost a quarter of a Day, in every Year, fooner than the true Season of the Year for observing them could have returned with them, and this in a very few Years must have brought them into a great Confusion (b): Mofes appointed the Pallover to be killed and eaten on the fourteenth Day of the first Month at Even (c): On the fame Evening they began to eat unleavened Bread(d), and continued the eating it unto the Evening of the one and twentieth Day (e): The Wave-Sheaf was to be offered on the second Day of unleavened Bread (f): Fifty Days after
(a) See Pref to Vol. I. (b) They must in a few Years have come to celebrate the Paffover, before they could have had Lambs fit to be eaten: the Wave speaf-offering would have come about, before the Barley was ripe to be reaped, and the Pentecost before the time of Wheat. Harvest. Prideaux Pref. to Part I. of his Connection. (c) Exod. xii. 6-8. Levit. xxiii. 5:
(d) Exod. xii. 18. fe) Ibid. Jofeph. Antiq. lib. 3. c. 10.
(g), or on the fifth Day of the third Month, two Wave-Loaves were to be offered for the Wheat-Harvest (b); and on the fifteenth Day of the seventh Month (i), they were to celebrate their ending the gathering in all the Fruits of their Land (k): Mofes lived almost forty Years after his giving the Israelites these Institutions : And if all this while 360 Days had been computed to be a Year, it is evident, that the Feafts of the Law would by this Time have gone backwards almost two hundred and ten Days, from what was the real Season of the Year, at which they were at first appointed; for forty times five Days and almost a quarter of a Day amount to near that Number : But we find that, when the Israelites came into Canaan, and were to keep the Passover there on the fourteenth Day of the Month Abib (l), the Corn was ripe in the Fields (m); Jordan was in that Flow over all his Banks, which that River was annually remarkable for, all the Time of Harvest (n); fo that the Passover, and consequently the other Feasts fell this Year at about the Times, to which Mofes at first stated them : And therefore the Israelites must have had some Method to adjust their computed Year to the true : Measure of a real one, or otherwise the
(8) Lev. xxiii. 15, 16. (5) Exod. xxxiv. 32. (i) Lev. xxiii. 39.
(k) In Canaan the Produce of ihe Earth seems to come or in the same Course as in Egypt: In Egypt the Barley was in the Ear, when the Wheat and the Rye were not grown up, Exod. ix. 31, 32 ; fo in Canaan the Barley-Harveft came on first; then the Wheat-Harvest, and after these, the gathering their other Fruits, the Fruits of their Vineyards and Olive-yards, &c. () Jolh. v. 10. (m) Ibid. See Book XII. 420.
(n) Joh. ii. 15.
Obfervation of their fet Festivals would in fewer Years have remarkably varied from their true Seasons.
By what particular Method the ancient Ifraèlites regulated their Year in this manner, may perhaps be difficult to be ascertained : However, I would endeavour to offer, what I think may be gathered from some Hints in Moses's Inftitutions relating to this Matter.
Mojes, for the calculating and regulating the facred Festivals directed the Ifraelites to observe the Month Abih (rr): This Month was to be unto them the Beginning of Mmths, it was to be the firft Month of the Year (s): On the fourteenth Day of this Month at Even, they were ta kil} and eat the Passover (1): The Day after, or the fifteenth, was the first Day of unleavened Bread (u), and, which ought to be particularly remarked, the first Day of unleavened Bread was always to fall upon a Sabbath : This I take to be hinted, Levit. xxiil, II. The Wave-Sheaf was to be wayed on the Morrow after a Sabe bath (w); but the Waye-Sheaf was thus offered on the second Day of unleavened Bread (x), and consequently if that Day was the Morrow after a Sabbath, then the Day preceding or first Day of unleavened Bread was a Sabbath : If this Point be rightly stated, it will be to be remembred, that the Sabbaths in this first Month will fall thus; the first Day à Sabbath, the
(rr) Deut. xvi. 1. (s) Exodus xii. 2.
(1) Ibid. 6- 3. Le it. xxiii. 5.
(u) Ver. 6.
(w) Ver. !!. The tiebrew Words are, 5001777702, i.e. crastino Sabbati, on the Day after the Sabbath.
(*) Jofeph. Antiq. lib. 3. ubi fup.