« PreviousContinue »
Note [B] p. 167.
The Targums are paraphrastic versions of some parts of the Old Testament, made in the Chaldee language, after the Hebrew had ceased to be vernacular among the Jews. The most ancient of these, in Dean Prideaux's opinion, is that of Onkelos, who is supposed to have been a contemporary of the apostle Paul. It is upon the Pentateuch only, a very close and faithful version, and written with great purity of idiom. The Targum on the Prophets (in the Jewish phrase, including Joshua, Judges, the two books of Samuel, those of Kings, and the writings usually by us called Prophetical, with the exception of Daniel) is by Jonathan Ben Uzziel, who is generally believed to have flourished in the same age with Onkelos, and many authors maintain that his work was written first. It is more paraphrastic than the former, and has frequent amplifications for the purpose of exposition. Another Targum on the Pentateuch is ascribed to the same Jonathan, but without sufficient authority, and against internal evidence. There is another on select passages of the Pentateuch, written at a later period, and called, from its dialect, the Jerusalem Targum. There are three others on some of the remaining books of the Old Testament, which are believed to have been written after the sixth century of our era, and are in little estimation. For a larger account, see Prideaux's Connect. of the O. and N. Test. Part II. Book viii.
ENUMERATION OF PASSAGES IN THE JEWISH SCRIPTURES,
CONCEIVED TO BE DESCRIPTIVE OF THE MESSIAH.
In this enumeration it is proposed to bring forwards, not every text which has been adduced by biblical interpreters as referring to the Messiah, but only those which, according to the criteria above laid down, carry certain, or, at least, probable evidence of having been so designed. The degrees of that evidence will, of course, be various: but if the passages which appear to be of the least convincing kind be struck out of the following list, still it is apprehended that enough will remain to furnish a satisfactory conclusion. The number might be greatly reduced, without at all diminishing the weight of the argument.
SEED OF THE WOMAN.
Gen. iii. 15. “I will put enmity between thee and the wo
man, and between thy seed and her seed: He for it, N17] “shall brúise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his for its,] heel."*
NOTHING can be conceived more congruous with the divine benevolence, than an interposition of mercy and intimation of deliverance, in the circumstances of guilt and horror which belonged to the first parents of mankind, at the hour of their crime and conviction. This passage, in general
*“ I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and be
tween thy son and her son. He shall call to mind, with re“ spect to thee, what thou didst to him at the beginning: and “ thou shalt keep a watch upon him to the end." Targ. Onkelos.
between the seed of thy son and the seed of her sons : **and it shall be, that when the sons of the woman shall be ob« servant of the commandments of the law, they shall use effort, " and shall smite thee on thy head: and when they shall foris sake the commandments of the law, thou shalt use effort, and “ and shalt strike them on their heel. But yet, to them there “ shall be a remedy, but to thee no remedy shall be: and they “ shall be prepared to apply a remedy (literally a bruising, i. e.
a composition of bruiscd medicinal substances,] to their heel in “ the days of the King MESSIAH." Targ. Jonath. The Jerusalem is substantially the same.
and figurative, but intelligible terms, reveals such a merciful intention. Two of the Targums, or ancient Jewish paraphrases, understand the word “ seed” in its collective sense, denoting the general posterity of Eve; yet the fulfilment of the promise they expressly refer to “ the days of the King Messiah.” But the final clause seems to require the word to be taken in the individual sense. The passage is not cited in the New Testament; but from the appeals of Jesus himself to the testimonies of Moses, * it is reasonable to expect a more considerable number of
in the Pentateuch referring to the Messiah, than the very few which are specified in the evangelical records. There may be an allusion to it in the expression of Paul: “ God sent forth his son, , made of a woman.”+
Admitting this passage to have the design which Christians in general attribute to it, and which perhaps the greater number of impartial thinkers will deem reasonable and suited to the occasion, it will supply these characters of the Messiah : that he should be a human being, in a peculiar sense the offspring of the female ; and that, though previously a partial sufferer by the evil and malignant power, he should, in the end, completely conquer it. $
John v. 46. Luke xxiv. 44. + Gal. iv. 4.
The reader will be gratified by the curious and striking train of observations on this text, in Bishop Horsley's Sermons, vol. ii. p. 38-54.
MAN FROM JEHOVAH.
Gen. iv. 1.
6c I have obtained a man from Jehovah."
From the special record of this exclamation of Eve on the birth of her first son, and from the importance which is thus given to it, it may reasonably be considered as the expression of her mistaken expectation that the promise (ch. ii. 15) was beginning to be accomplished. Some, taking ne as a demonstrative and emphatic particle, render it," a man,
But, though this is the proper and most common sense of ns, it is also used as a preposition. No certainty, therefore, could be pleaded for this interpretation. All that we infer from the passage is, that Eve, and of course Adam, expected the Deliverer to be a human being.
+ Cocceii Lex. Hebr. in voc. ON.