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latter submitting to the rite of circumcision, and after this rite had been performed on them, and whilst they were in a state of fever and danger from this absurdity, Simeon and Levi enter the city and treacherously assassinate all the males. Can any thing be conceived so horrible as this? Are such men the favourites of the Jewish Deity ? Levi too, from whom the priesthood sprung, a treacherous and bloody assassin! How can our priests and hypocritical rulers preach up morality and the horrors of assassination, when their religion is founded on such a book as this?
I shall now proceed to notice the anomalies in this chapter in point of time, and the ages of Jacob's children, with other contradictions. The first in rotation stands Dinah. Now we are left to understand, by both previous and subsequent chapters, that Jacob and his family were merely passing by this city of the Shechemites from Laban's residence in Syria to that of Isaac in the land of Canaan. According to former chapters, Dinah was the eleventh born child to Jacob, and could not, at the time she is said to have been defiled by Shechem, be more than six
age. If we were to allow a year between each of the children born to Jacob, she could not have been more than one year old when Jacob left Laban. Again, Simeon and Levi, those mighty men who are said to have assassinated the males of a whole city, could neither of them exceed twelve years of age at the time.
at the time. I keep within due bounds according to the present authorized translation of the Bible. I am fully aware that commentators, who are sticklers for the Bible, have endeavoured to get over this contradictory difficulty by saying, that Jacob lived twenty years as a neighbour of Laban, besides the twenty as a servant: but how does this correspond with Laban's following Jacob and challenging hiin, that all the property he had removed with him was not strictly his own. Besides, we find Isaac still alive who was old and blind before Jacob went to his uncle Laban's house. Is it at all probable, that a man, who had so far felt the approach of dissolution, as to call his eldest son to him to receive his patrimony and blessing, should still survive forty years ? Such an incongruity would do for no other book than the Bible. Further, Hamor the father of Shechem is represented as saying, “make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you." Now Jacob had bụt one daughter, and she avowedly an infant, nor had any of his sons arrived at a probable age to have daughters, as commentators have suggested on a succeeding
and similar contradiction. I should like to set Mr. Horne the task of clearing up this difficulty, and of making the Bible as it stands at present, appear to be authentic on this head. I refer to my old assertion, that the Bible is a bad and irregular compilation of loose and traditionary tales, that existed among the various tribes and hordes of men in Asia, put together without order, date, or connection.
I proceed with the thirty-fifth chapter :
“And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there : and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away strange Gods that are among you, and he clean, and change your garments: and let us arise and go up to Beth-el; and I will make tbere altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange Gods which were in their hand, and all their ear-rings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not parsue after the sons of Jacob. So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the Land of Canaan, that is, Beth-cl, he and all the people that were with him. And he built there an altar, and called the place El-beth-el: because there God appeared unto him, when lie fed from the face of his brother. But Deborah Rebekali's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allon-bacloth. And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padan-arain, and blessed him. And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy namc shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name ; and he called his name Israel, And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; and the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land. And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him. And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone; and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon. And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Beth-el. And they journeyed from Beth-el; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed and she had liard labour. And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear pot; thou shalt have this son also. And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his nanie Ben-oni: but his father called him Benjamiy. And Rachel died and was buried ip the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. And Jacob set a pillar
lipon ber grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this daya And Israel journied, and spread bis tent beyond the tower of Edas. And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve: The Sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's first born, and Simeon, and Levi and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulin: The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin: And the sons of Bilbab, Rachel's handmaid : Dan, and Naphiali : And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's landmai:1; Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him Padanaram. And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Momre, unto the cily of Arbah, which is He: bron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned. And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years. And Isare gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.”
The first verse of this chapter is particularly worthy of notice as a ridiculous absurdity. " And God said, make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esąu thy brother.” How many Gods had Jacob? In the next verse he charges his household “ to put away their strange gods and be clean, and change their garments.” Is not this a sufficient proof, that both Jacob and all his household worshipped some image or images, and that he possessed one in which he fancied there was a superior efficacy. I cannot read this part of the Bible in any other light. A little further on we are told, “ that the household gave up all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the ark which was by Shechem.” Perhaps they are there now they would prove a rare treasure of relics for some Jew or Christian if they could be found. I would recommend some Christian Association, or Bible Society, to send out some persons to the spot where Shechem stood, and explore the soil for them. We are next told that Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died and was buried at Bethel: the tale is introduced as if she was travelling with Jacob; but this could not be, neither is it probable that the nurse of Jacob's mother could be living up to this time. It is strange that the death of Rebekah's nurse is shoved in here without the least affinity to the surrounding subject, whilst we have no mention whatever of the death of Rebekah herself. We have here again an account of the change of Jacob's name to Israel. What need could there be of this repetition, unless it be to say the former is not the true account. The Jewish Deity appears to have been very fond of changing the names of his favourites, perhaps the cause is
similar to that of our English Kings, when any of their ministers have rendered themselves truly infamous, they get their names changed by some title, and are then lost sight of for a time.
Another circumstance is worthy of notice, that of Reuben laying with his father's concubine. Bilhah, of course, was more to be blamed than Reuben, for we must suppose him to be but a mere youth, under twenty years of age. Jacob takes it very quietly, and we have no complaint from him on this head. What a wretched family is here depicted! The chapter finishes with the account of Isaac's death, just as if the old man had lived on purpose for Jacob to come home and bury him. It is a madness for our holy commentators to affix any thing like a chronology to the Bible: I am inclined to think, that this single circumstance has made more infidels to it than all the rest put together. When we are told that this book was written by a divine interposition and inspiration, we are led, of course, to expect it as correct and as regular as the works of nature. How wide the difference! The God of nature has no connection with the Bible God.
I shall not insert the thirty-sixth chapter, as it contains nothing more than a genealogy of the descendants of Esau, and why this chapter is in the Holy Book I cannot perceive. In the seventh verse we have a repetition of the old tale, that Esau and Jacob were so very rich, and had such an abundance of cattle, that the land wherein they were strangers could not contain them. After finding a great number of the children of Esau enumerated, we come to one Anah, and here a stop is made for a piece of important information for the Holy Bible to contain, namely: “This was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father.” Most holy and important circumstance! I have another verse to notice in this chapter, which has been brought forward by Paine and others as an objection to Moses being the author of Genesis, and has an averment that it could not have been written before Saul had reigned in Israel. It is the thirty-first verse, as follows : “ And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel.” The priestly commentators have endeavoured to stride over this objection, some by giving it a different reading, others by affirming it to be an interpolation ; but we are compelled, according to our present “wise dispensers of the law,” to take the Bible as it stands : there is the same ground for giving other parts of it a different read,
ing as there is for this verse. It is a bone for those to growl over who stickle for the inspiration of the book. How apt is the Scripture phrase to those men: “ the blind leading the blind.”
I shall also pass over the thirty-seventh chapter, as it contains nothing more than a commencement of the history of Joseph, the dreaming Joseph, and the cruelty and wickedness of his brethren, in first consulting to kill him, and subsequently selling him for a slave: so far we have found the Jewish God's chosen people to be a vile race indeed! The cruelty of those wretches, first in selling their brother, and then the presentation of his coat torn and bloody to their aged father, is not to be paralleled in the history of any other people but the Jews.
I now come to a chapter, which if the Society, who have associated for the pretended suppression of vice, were sincere in their professions, and did their duty conscientiously, they would, with many other chapters in the Bible, endeavour to suppress. I shall insert it here under the hope, that if they prosecute me for it, I shall be able to plead the precedent of publication as a justification; the matter itself I cannot justify, and must apologize to my readers that its insertion is essential to my purpose. I would here state, that I have been informed by some very celebrated Hebraists, that the translation of such chapters is much less indecent, than the original Hebrew, and that in the book of Ezekiel, particularly, the conduct and character of a prostitute is painted in such colours and in such a manner, as has never been equalled by the voluptarian publications of this or any other country. I proceed with the chapter, but I shall not make one word of comment upon it. The priestly commentators get over it by saying, that it is a proof of the impartiality of the inspired writer, and that its insertion in the Bible was necessary to shew the true descent of the Messiah. The pretended Saviour of the world came through a most foul and polluted channel!
“ And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Cananite, whose name was Shualı; and he took her, and wept in unto her. And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er. And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan. And she yet again conceived, and bare a son ; and called bis name Shelah : and he was at Chezib, when she bare him. And Judah took a wife for Er his first boru, whose name was Tama. And Er, judah's first born, was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the