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Note [A] p. 219.
As a specimen of the manner in which some of the German scripture critics take upon them to treat the interpretations which Christ and his apostles delivered, of Old Testament prophecies, I extract the following passage from Psalmus XVI. Varietate Lectionis et Perpetuá Adnotatione illustratus, à G. A. Ruperti ; published in 1794 as a Specimen of an intended Commentary on the whole book of Psalms. It is, indeed, a painful specimen of arrogance and impiety: but it may serve as a monition of the caution, and the rigorous investigation, with which we should read the voluminous and often ostentatious publications of this school.
Many commentators incline to the opinion that, in this poem, the Messiah is speaking ; first, under the calamities which overwhelmed him declaring his confidence in the divine goodness; then (v. 4. 5.) professing his priestly office; and finally expressing his assurance that God would raise him from the dead, and preserve his body from corruption. An interpretation which is not only utterly repugnant to the genius and construction of the poetic diction of the Hebrews, but does not even correspond with the notion of the Messiah which the Jews have always formed : for their conception of their Messiah was that he would be a most mighty hero, king, and conqueror ; but not a priest, or a man conflicting with adverse fortune and numerous distresses. But only let this Psalm be read by any one whose mind is imbued, not with preconceived opinions, but with a just taste in Hebrew poetry; and who is not acquainted with what the New Testament teaches, and ancient and modern interpreters have advanced ; and I would lay any wager that he would hardly find a single expression that would strongly induce him, still less oblige him, to think once of the Messiah : while many particulars occur (as I shall shew on v. 1, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11.) which cannot be referred to Christ without quite torturing their meaning. It can scarcely be told to what wretched shifts those interpreters are put who have got the notion of the Messiah fixed in their minds.
-But probably nobody would have fallen into this system of interpretation, if two apostles, Peter and Paul (Acts ii. 25—31 ; xxvii. 35, &c.), had not applied the words of this Psalm to Christ. But how insufficient that is to overturn my opinion, on the sense of the Psalm, I need not now spend words in proving. The necessity of that is superseded by the late learned disquisitions of Eckermann, Eichhorn, Paulus, Behn, and others, on such citations in the New Testament."
In opposition to all this flippant dogmatism we maintain :
1. That the Blessed Jesus and his apostles, taught and constantly guided by the Spirit of truth, were infinitely better judges of the meaning of Old Testament passages, than these persons who so unblushingly vaunt their own interpretative faculty.
2, That, if the apostles believed that any passages contained a reference and conveyed a sentiment, which they did not contain or convey, they were ignorant of what they professed to know, they were not adequate (*ckavoi) ministers of the “ New Covenant," and their whole testimony to the Christian doctrine is rendered uncertain.
3. That if, as Eckermann and others (see Rosenmüller in Psalm. ii. Argum.) maintain, the apostles used a wise policy in convincing and instructing the Jews by the adducing of testimonies and arguments which they knew to signify no such thing as they attributed to them ;-they were “ false witnesses in the name of God.”
4. That, as Christ and his apostles frequently rested their claims
upon the single point of the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy, yea of the identical passages by them assumed to be prophecies, but which these wise men of our times have discovered not to be so ;—they have failed in that on which they staked their cause, and the gospel is proved to be a “ cunningly devised fable.”
5. But, that the fair, impartial, and grammatical construction of the passages in question, is really such as cannot apply to any other than the Messiah. Not that we suppose those passages to have been otherwise than imperfectly understood, at the time of their promulgation; for that would contradict a principal characteristic in the plan of prophecy; but that enough of their meaning was from the first apparent, to convince the men of those times that their proper application was hidden in the darkness of futurity.
These remarks, once for all, will serve as reasons for not noticing, in every instance, the cavils of these infidels or semiinfidels. The positive evidence of our interpretations is submitted to the reader; and let it speak for itself.
Note [B] p. 219.
I shall need no apology for inserting Dr. Kennicott's annotation, and his version of the whole Psalm. The remarkable difference from other versions in v. 2 and 3, arise from reading Ips, that is only adding', by the authority of a great number of MSS. and all the Anc. Vers.—and from transposing ya and 33, which has some MS. authority, and in v. 2. that of the Syr. Vers. but not, I apprehend, amounting to sufficient support to warrant the alteration; besides that there appears no adequate
by diuinaties and אדירים and קדושים grounds for his rendering
heroes in the idolatrous sense.
“Ps. xvi. An hymn prophetically descriptive of the Messiah; as expressing his abhorrence of the general idolatry of mankind, and his own zeal for the honour of Jehovah: with the full assurance of his being raised from the dead, before his body should be corrupted in the grave. That David did not here speak of himself, but of the Messiah, and of him only-is asserted by S.
Peter and S. Paul: see Acts ï. 25–32; with xiii. 35–37. And if this Psalm speaks, in a literal sense, concerning an actual and speedy resurrection ; by that same literal sense, David himself is necessarily excluded.
“1. Preserve me, O God; for I have trusted in thee : “ 2. I have said unto Jehovah, “Thou art my Lord; my goodness is not without thee.'
“ 3. As for the divinities, which are upon the earth ; these, and the heroes, my delight is not in them.
“4. Their idols are multiplied, after them do men run: “but I will not offer their drink-offerings of blood; “nor will I take even their names upon my lips.
“ 5. Jehovah ! thou hast appointed my portion, and my cup; “ thou hast maintained for me my lot.
“ 6. The lines are fallen to me very pleasantly; yea, mine inheritance is to me delightful.
“7. I will bless Jehovah, who hath given me counsel ; “ and by nights mine own thoughts instruct me.
“8. I have set Jehovah before me continually ; “ for He is on my right hand, I shall not be moved.
“9. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth; my flesh also shall rest in hope.
“ 10. For thou wilt not abandon my life to the grave; “ thou wilt not give Thy Holy One to see corruption.
“11. Thou shalt make me know the path of life ; " thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance : “ at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.”
Kennicott's Posthum. Rem. p. 177.
Note [C] p. 220. “Ps. xxii. Part the first prophetically sets forth the Messiah, as in a state of violent suffering; and the beginning was expressly spoken by Jesus, upon the cross: Matt. 27, 46. The insults of the Jews, on that occasion, here predicted in verses 7 and 8, are recorded by the same Evangelist; 27, 43. The crucifixion itself is foretold, in the words they pierce my hands and my feet :' ver. 16. And the circumstances of his garments parted' (i. e. divided in pieces among the soldiers) and lots being cast for his vesture, which was not divided-are recorded in Matt. xxvii. 35. and John xix. 23, 24. Note also, that these extraordinary particulars, thus predicted of the Messiah, and fulfilled in Jesus, and thus proving Jesus to be the Messiah, do not admit any just application to David; nor derive the least countenance, as to him, from the very long history given of him in the Old Testament. It it equally impossible to apply properly to David the second part of this hymn; which expresses the triumph of the Messiah, after his resurrection, and the progress of Christianity through the world.-Kennicott's Posthumous Remarks, p. 182.