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pure hands they practised iniquity; and performed rites to the last degree foul and abominable. We learn from Herodotus and other writers, that the most bestial and unnatural practices were carried on within the precincts of their temples, for which the neatness and elegance of the sanctuary could not atone. The judgment at this time inflicted was attended with such propriety in
direction, that the priests and magicians perceived immediately from what hand it
The two preceding plagues had been antecedently mentioned to Pharaoh : and notice was given concerning the hand, that would inflict them. But of this third plague there was no warning afforded: yet the application was too plain to be mistaken : and the magicians said immediately---this is the finger of God.
Such is the history of this judgment, and of the consequences, which ensued. But as
? An Hebrew term, as well as an Egyptian; by which was signified the power of God. Our Saviour says,- If I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. Luke, c. 11. v. 20.
Louiseya Tay duxtun 8. Psalm, 8. v. 4.
some have raised doubts about the means which were used; and have thought, that a different object was employed, it is necessary to proceed somewhat farther upon the subject, in order to obviate their notions : for upon this article the propriety of the miracle depends. Of the Cinnim or Conim (095) Lice, and of the
different Interpretations mistakenly given : Exodus viii. 16.
The uncertainty above mentioned has arisen from the Greek version, where the original word cinnim or conim, pediculi, is rendered OKVITTE6; which seems to be a term not very common, and of a different signification. This insect, the orvot, or aut, has been variously described by the writers, who have treated of it: though they all suppose it to have been a species of fly. The best judges about a Greek word are the Grecians: and among them · Theophrastus : and he speaks of it as a fly or gnat, which hurt the vines and fig-trees.
But the plague in Egypt was upon man and beast; therefore no such species of gnat · could be alluded to in this history. Besides,
'Hist. Plant. 1. 4. c. 17.
it it were a winged and a stinging insect, as Jerome, Origen, and others have supposed, the plague of fies is unduly anticipated : and the next miracle will be only a repetition of the former : for the very next is the plague of flies. Hence 3 Bochart very truly says--Sed Græci oruitwy nomine quicquid intellexerint, hebræo nomine, bu), puto pediculos potius, quam culices, significari.---Mihi occurrit nulla ratio, cur culices dicantur cinnim; sed pediculis hoc nomen vel maxime convenit. Taylor, Buxtorf, and le Clerc agree with Bochart; and interpret the word in the same sense, pleiges, sive pediculi, lice.
4 Bochart farther observes, that from the Hebrew cinnim, or conim, came the Greek words xenia, and zondes, which signify nits, and small lice. From the derivative, therefore, the - sense of the original may be known. s Hesychius accordingly explains xuvvoce by fubiega obergia, small lice. And the same in
Homilia Tertia in Exodum. Exodus, viii. 20. 3 Bochart. Hierozii. Pars Poster. 1. iv. p. 574. See the whole Treatise de Pediculis.
4 Ibid. p. 575.
5 It is rendered xxnce; but is corrected by the learned Bruno. See Hesych. Alberti. p. 257. n. 10.
sects are described in their first state by · Dioscorides under the name of rondes. He informs us, φθειρας και κονιδας φθειρει μελιτι περιxgoobstoa zedgos, that the wood of Cedar, anointed with honey, kills both lice and nits.
Josephus, as an Hebrew, must be an unexceptionable judge in the case before us : and he could not but know the general opinion of the Jews in his time. In describing the Mosaic account of this plague he says--. påsigar τους Αιγυπτιοις εξήνθησαν απειρον τι πληθος. There came forth all over the Egyptians an immense quantity of lice.
As the word occurs often among the Hebrew commentators, it is by them uniformly interpreted in the same sense, as in Josephus, and they must have been the best judges of a word in their own language. We cannot, therefore, have better authority to countenance this interpretation. 3 Bochart accordingly tells us--idem sequuntur Chaldæi, Jonathan, Onkelos, Syrus, Samaritanus, &c. ---Hebræi omnes, nullo excepto. After these proofs we cannot, I think, doubt about the purport of the word.
' In Libro de Melle. See Bochárt above.
Antiq. Jud. 1. 2. p. 109. Havercamp. 3 Bochart above.
The disorder with which the Egyptiaris were afflicted, was odious, and detestable in its nature; as being in general the consequence of filth, and animal corruption ; which of all things they abominated most. This perhaps was the reason, why the authors of the Greek version, the Hellenistic Jews of Alexandria, gave another name to these vermine, that they might not be guilty of fence to the natives. For they wrote under the eyes
of the Ptolemies : and their translation could be no secret to the priests of the country. These were men of power, and influence, who held their ancestors in great veneration. It might therefore have brought much evil upon the Jews of Alexandria, as well as of other parts ; and no small odium upon their sacred Pentateuch; if there had been published to the world, that the whole body of the most sacred order in Egypt, had once swarmed with these detestable vermine. This, I imagine, was the reason for suppressing the truth; and giving a different turn to the history. The priests might look upon
the pollution of their river, and the introduction of frogs, with all the subsequent plagues, as great calamities. But the tradition about Lice,