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were found too frail and feeble to withstand the serpent's subtilty, it could scarce be in the power of their descendants, in this fallen state, to conquer and subdue him by their own strength or policy, but that work will require one endued with an extraordinary power from on high.
Besides, this work of bruising the head of the serpent, or Satan, is referred to in other parts of the Old Testament, in passages applied to the Messiah by our Rabbins. I will name but two, which Yarchi considers as one in sense. Ps. 110: 6. “He shall wound the heads over many countries." The whole of this psalm is applied to the Messiah, as I have shown already. The word Rosh is singular, and not plural, and frequently signifies a chief, captain, ruler, or governor. Hence the words may justly be translated, He shall wound the head," i. e. him that is the head or ruler "over a large country,” which is no other than Satan, the god and prince of this world. The other passage is Hab. 3: 13. “Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation for thine anointed; thou woundest the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the meek.” R. Kimchi applies this to the Messiah, and his comment may be thus paraphrased; “ As thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, when they entered into the land of Canaan ; so wilt thou go forth for the salvation of thy people, by the hands of the Messiah, the Son of David, who shall wound Satan, who is the head, the king and prince of the house of the wicked, and shall raze up all his strength, power, policy, and dominion.” All this, my dear Benjamin, and inuch more, has been accomplished by my blessed Jesus, as I shall show you hereafter.
$ 12. 4. Our ancient Rabbins, as with one voice, have declared that by the seed of the woman, who was to bruise the head of the serpent, is meant the Messiah. You know, as well as I, their common saying, “that before the serpent had wounded our first parents, God had prepared a
plaster for their healing; and that as soon as sin had made its entrance into our world, the Messiah had made his appearance.” Hence both the Targums, that of Onkelos, and that of Jonathan, say, "that the voice which our first parents heard walking in the garden, was the Memra Jehovah, i. e. the word of the Lord, or the Messiah, who is always meant by this expression; (as shall be shown hereafter ;) and the Jerusalem Targum commences the verse thus : “And the word of the Lord God called unto Adam." The reason assigned by our Rabbins for calling the Messiah Memra Jehovah, is, because that, after man had sinned, God refused to have any further personal or immediate intercourse with him, but made known his mind and will by the Messiah, as we do by our words, either spoken or written. Hence, says the author of Zeror Hammor, in Bereshith, "before they sinned, they saw the glory of the blessed God speaking with them; but, after their sin, they only heard his voice walking." In the Targum of Jonathan, and that of Jerusalem, it is said, “the seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent, and they shall obtain healing, or a plaster for the heel, (the hurt received by the Serpent,) in the days of Messiah the King."
§ 13. 5. I would next observe, that if the Messiah is not revealed or promised in this passage, then have we no account of him until the days of our father Abraham, a period of more than 1500 years. But that the saints before that period did believe in the Messiah, is beyond doubt. For we are assured by the inspired apostle, in his epistle to our people, the Hebrews, chap. 11. that Abel offered
his sacrifice by faith in the Messiah, (as shall be made evident hereafter,) and also that “by faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him; for, before his translation, he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” But "how can two walk together, except they be agreed ?" And there is no reconciliation with God, but through the Mediator, (as has already been proved.) And as Enoch is said to have pleased God, he must have had faith in the Messiah ; " For without faith,” says the same apostle, “it is impossible to please God.” But faith in the Messiah comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. It is therefore evident that both Abel and Enoch had the knowledge of a Messiah revealed or promised. † Permit me, my dear Benjamin, to detain you a few moments longer on this important subject, by observing, in the next place,
§ 14. 6. That we have reason to conclude that our first parents believed in the coming of the Messiah. Adam seems to have expressed his faith in the Messiah, the seed of the woman, by calling his wife by a new name, viz. Eve, or rather Chavwah, from the root Chayah, to live; saying, " because she was the mother of all living," i. e. appointed to be the mother of him who is the cause of spiritual life; or the mother of all believers, as Abraham was called the father, and Sarah the mother of the faithful. See Rom. 4: 11, 16. Gal. 4: 22, 28, 31. 1 Pet. 3. 6.
The faith of Eve in a Messiah is expressed in a still more remarkable manner. Her first born son she called Kain, from the root Kanah, to obtain, possess; saying, “ I have gotten a man from the Lord,” or literally, “I have gotten a man, Jehovah," doubtless expecting that she had given birth to the promised Messiah, that was to bruise the head of the serpent. Memorable are the words of Jonathan ben Uziel on this passage. “And Adam,” says he, “knew his wife, which desired the angel, and she conceived and bare Kain, and said, “I have obtained the Man, the Angel of the Lord.” I need not inform you, my dear Benjamin, that by the Angel of the Lord, our Rabbins understand the Messiah. Hence, (as I have stated in my narrative, chap. 2,)when parting with our dear father, he laid his hand upon my head, and said, “the Angel of the Covenant be with thee." Great has been the controversy on this pas
sage, but nothing has appeared to me more judicious and pious than the statement made by the Rev. Pye Smith, D. D. and believing that my dear Benjamin will be much pleased with reading it, I will transcribe it in my next letter.
THE SUBJECT CONTINUED.
§ 1. Agreeably to my promise, I now transcribe the sentiment of Dr. Pye Smith on the reason assigned by our mother Eve for calling her first born son Kain, viz. “ I have obtained a man, Jehovah." “From the special record of this exclamation of Eve on the birth of her first son, and from the very marked importance which is given to it, it may reasonably be considered as the expression of her eager and pious, though mistaken expectation that the promise, (ch. 3: 15,) which could not but have created the strongest feeling of interest and hope, was now beginning to be accomplished. The primary, proper, and usual force of the particle Eth, placed here before the word Jehovah, is to designate an object in the most demonstrative and emphatical
In this use it occurs immediately before and after this clause, and forty times in the first four chapters of these primeval records, not including the instance before us, nor those in which it has a pronominal suffix; it is also prefixed to every proper name in the governed case throughout the fifth chapter. This prodigious number of instances, all
occurring in the same connexion, in the same strain of topic and discourse, in the same most venerable document, is surely sufficient to determine a grammatical question.* It is true, that, in subsequent periods of the language, this particle came to be used as a preposition, to denote with, or by the instrumentality of; but this was but a secondary idiom, and many of its supposed instances, on a closer consideration, fall into the ordinary construction. There seems, therefore, no option to an interpreter, who is resolved to follow faithfully the fair and strict grammatical signification of the words before him, but to translate the passage as it is given above.
" Yet the result of this straight and impartial course appears so difficult and harsh, that no surprise can be felt that interpreters have very generally thought it incumbent upon them to devise some mode of eluding it. For this purpose, the established meaning of the language has been more or less violated. But, however true and just is the sentiment contained in each of these interpretations, they all labor under the objection of being invented to escape a difficulty, and consequently of being at variance with the principle of a faithful adherence to the philological sense. If in any emergency we sacrifice that principle, we unsettle the solid rules of interpretation, and destroy the certainty of our conclusions from any written document. Better is it, in any case, to acknowledge the existence of a difficulty, should it even be to our present prowess, insuperable, than thus to break up the foundations on which all just criticism must rest.
"The mode of rendering adopted by the Targum ascribed to Jonathan, suggests a strong presumption that the ordi
* Except the case under consideration, and ch.5 : 24, there is not the shadow of deviation from the usage. But this last is really not an exception, for that verb was used, in both Kal and Hithpawl, as a transitive, and taking the accusative case of the object. E. g. Deut. 1: 19; 2: 7; 2 Chron. 9: 21; Job, 22: 14; 29 : 3; Prov. 6:12; Isa. 33: 15; Mica, 2: 11.