J. W. Etheridge, MA
"For this Law is our Inheritance, not only as a lesson of memory, but as a means of knowing the Commandment which the Lord our God hath commanded us, to learn and to teach, to keep and to perform, for this will be our life, and the prolongment of our days." Mendelssohn
The opening of the Christian Dispensation was an epoch replete with wonder-working effects in the intellectual, moral, and civil conditions of human life. Till then, "darkness had covered the earth, and gross darkness the people"; but to the Christian church had been decreed the glory of becoming the instructress of the Gentiles, the angel of revelation to the world. In the record of the great facts embodied in the Gospel, and the doctrines it inculcates,doctrines in which the oracles of the Hebrew revelation culminate in a grandeur visibly Divine,the Bible for all humanity was completed, and a means of enlightenment, at once simple and effectual, developed far and widely, by which all the families of the earth might be made wise to salvation. The day-spring from on high was now to arise, to give light to them who sat blind in the shadow of death, and to guide their feet into the way of peace. Hitherto they had sought, but found not. Dark as sin had made the Gentile mind, the consciousness of its relation to the Divine and Eternal had never been extinguished in its depths, and an unsatisfied yearning after the truth unknown had betrayed itself in the fabrication by some, and the reception by others, of codes of law, sagas of tradition, and decretals of doctrine, which bare, to the belief of their votaries, the seal and authority of Heaven. So the Egyptian deciphered his hieroglyphs; the Chinese listened at the pagoda to the chapters of the Chou-Qing, the "Book of Books"; the Brahmin in his temple heard the Manava Dharma Sastra, and in the laws of Menu recognised the oracles of eternity; the Greek and Roman, in search of the beautiful and true, conversed with the abstractions of Plato, the riddles of Pythagoras, the dogmas of the Stoics, or the more sensuous imaginings of Homer and the poets; while the Celt and the Briton asked for the great secret from the lips of the Druid in the cavern temples of primeval forests.
Meanwhile the great purpose of God for the ultimate renovation of our fallen world had not been forgotten. Time had been designedly given to mankind to test the strength of their own resources. Already had the verdict been pronounced, of which the apostle's famous words are but the true echo,"The world by wisdom cannot know God." "Nothing," said Anaxagoras, "can be surely known; nothing therefore can be learned; nothing can be certain: the senses are limited and delusive; intellect is weak; life is short." Plato therefore carried with him the assent of all the thinking men of his day, when he summed up his own persuasions, and those of the great masters who had gone before him, in affirming, that "if ever man was destined to know the Divine truth, it must be by a revelation from the Deity."That revelation came in its fulness upon the lips of the Incarnate Word: "In Him was life; and the life was the light of men."
The same Spirit who spake by the prophets completed the saving revelations of the Divine will to the apostles of Him who came to fulfil the types and predictions of the Old Testament, and put the world in possession of the Book which tells its dying generations of mercy and immortality.
The Bible is for the world. The families of mankind have in it their common genealogical register, and the Divine charter of their common rights. The great principles of the moral government under which we live are here unfolded; the laws which insure the welfare of our social life, the truth that will correct our errors, the balsam that can heal our wounds, the redemption that has atoned for our guilt, and will at last abolish death, have here their sealed revelation. As in these discoveries every human being has an interest, reason, benevolence, and the mandate of the Spirit who speaks in the word, all bind upon the Church the duty of giving the Bible to the nations of the earth, and, as a matter of necessity for the attainment of this object, of translating it into their various languages.
But while the necessity of translations for the benefit of the Gentile peoples needs no illustration, it might seem strange, on the first view of the fact, that the Hebrew people should require a translation of the Hebrew Bible. This apparent anomaly disappears, however, on our calling to mind the circumstances in which that people were found at the commencement of the Christian era. At that time the Jews resident in Palestine formed but a fragment of the nation; for, besides various colonies scattered among the chief cities of the civilized world, a multitude of them were regularly established in Egypt, and another considerable portion were equally, or more firmly, rooted in the Babylonian lands, from whence, at the close of the Captivity, their ancestors had not chosen to return, and where, in possession of every civil advantage with entire religious liberty, they had become a great and prosperous people. In Egypt the Hellenistic Jews spoke the current Macedonian Greek, and in Babylonia the ordinary Aramaic of the country. In Palestine, also, with very few exceptions, the language in current use was a dialect composed of an Aramaic basis with a slight intermixture of Hebrew and exotic elements. Indeed, from the time of the restoration under Ezra, or rather, as we may say, for nearly a century before it, the Hebrew language, as it exists in the Bible, had ceased to be the vernacular of the Jewish people.
Whether, therefore, denizens of Egypt or of Babylonia, or on their home soil of Palestine, the common people needed a translation of the holy writings into their every-day speech. In Egypt this want was well met by the existence of the Septuagint version, and in Chaldea and the Holy Land by the office of the synagogal meturgeman or "interpreter," which, appointed by Ezra and the national council of the "Great Synagogue," became an established institution in Israel for nearly a thousand years.
The earliest labours of the meturgemanin were merely oral. As the reader in the synagogue recited the lessons for the day from the Hebrew originals, the interpreter rendered them, verse by verse, into the popular dialect; and in those seasons when public discourses were delivered in Hebrew, it was his office, as amora, to give them to the people, passage after passage, in the same way.
This ministerial interpretation of the Scriptures was not long confined to the viva voce* manner; for, whether by the notes of the laity, or by the official pen of the meturgeman, those paraphrases soon took a written form, under the name of Targums:Targuma, interpretatio from Targem, exposuit.* Viva voce = "with living voice" (by word of mouth).Of this description of biblical literature the primeval specimens are no longer extant. We have references in the Talmud to written paraphrases which were evidently in use before the Christian era;* and it has been well argued that Targums on those books imply the existence of others on the Law and the Prophets. It may be noted here also, that the Peschito Syriac version of the Old Testament, which is, strictly speaking, a Targum in the Western Aramaic spoken throughout Syria, is thought by good critics to be a Jewish production of times long anterior to the apostolic age. As a literal and very able translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, that version is beyond all price.* One on Job: Tosefta Shab., c. 14; Shabbath, c. 16, 1; Jerus., with other references in R. Nathan's Aruch and Tract. Soferim, 5, 15. One on Esther, Megilla, f. 3, a. One on the Psalms, Vayikra Rabba, 174, c.The Cuthim, or Samaritans, too, gloried in the possession of the pure text of the Hebrew Pentateuch; but in their temple at Garis the people listened to a paraphrase of it in their own uncouth dialect; a paraphrase which, like the Chaldee Targums, took a written form a long time before the Christian epoch. The general tone of this venerable translation is a literal adherence to the Hebrew text, varied only by the practice of the author, who appears to have been a strict Monotheist, in reducing all anthropomorphistic representations of the Divine Being to other modes of expression, and in rendering tropical phrases into corresponding proper ones. In a manner similar to the Chaldee Targumists in the use of the title, Memra da Yeya, "the Word of the Lord," he employs the title Malak Eloha, "the Angel of God," to express the Divine names, Jehovah and Elohim. The paraphrase was probably retouched in later days from the Targum of Onkelos.
The Chaldee Targums now extant range over the whole area of the Old-Testament Scriptures, with the exception of the Book of Daniel. On the Pentateuch there are two, with the names of Onkelos and Jonathan. On the former and latter prophets one, attributed also to Jonathan; others on the Ketuvim and Megilloth, ascribed, though dubiously, to Mar Josef, a president of the school of Sora in the fourth century; and finally a modern one on the Chronicles and Ezra.
On the authorship of the Targums on the Pentateuch the learned Jews of the present day are divided by two opposite opinions. One class attribute them to Onkelos a proselyte, and to Jonathan ben Uzziel, who are held to have been contemporary students at the rabbinical school in Jerusalem within the half century before Christ. Dr. Zunz may be said to represent the opinion of the greater number of his co-religionists when he says, in general terms, that "Onkelos, somewhere upon the time of Philo, translated the Pentateuch, and that Jonathan ben Uzziel, the paraphrast on the prophetical books, was a scholar of Hillel" (Zunz, G.V., 62).
On the other hand, in the judgment of Luzzatto, and Geiger, and indeed of others before them, these Targums are the work of the Babylonish schoolmen; like the Septuagint, elaborated by a society or college of meturgemanin, who completed them in the fourth century. Two new translations of the Hebrew Bible into Greek had been made a considerable time previously, by Aquilas and Theodotion, which, to the minds of many of the Greek-reading Jews, had eclipsed the old version of the Seventy; and some features of resemblance in the spirit and style of the new Chaldee Targums, with the two favourite Greek versions, induced the authors of the former to indicate that resemblance by giving them the Hebraized names of the popular translators. Thus to the Targum on the Pentateuch they affixed the name of Aquilas, or, as it was pronounced in Babylonia, Ankelos or Onkelos; while the version of the Prophets bore the name of Jonathan, which in Hebrew is of exactly the same meaning as the Greek Theodotion. By this not unusual procedure they intended to say nothing more than that the one Targum was done after the strictly literal manner of Aquilas, and the other, after the more free manner of Theodotion. This opinion will be estimated upon its own merits. It wants historic corroboration, and so far fails to clear up a problem which has not yet been solved.** Aquilas lived in the beginning of the second century. The fragments of his translation yet extant have been edited by Montfaucon: Aquilae V. T. Versionis Fragmenta quae supersunt. They may be found in his Hexaplarum Origenis quae supersunt Fragmenta, tom. 2. Paris, 1714; and by C. F. Bahrdt: Hexapl. Orig. quae supers, Fragmenta auctiora et emendatiora, tom. 2. Leipzig, 1769. On the application of his name to the Targum on the Pentateuch, see Rudolf Anger, De Onkelo, Chaldaico, quem ferunt, Pentateuchi Paraphraste, et quid ei Rationis intercedat cum Akila. Leipzig, 1845. Rich in quotations from the Talmuds and Midrashim bearing on the question. Theodotion was a Jewish proselyte towards the close of the first century. The remains of his version are also treasured in the above work of Montfaucon.Of the characteristics of the Targums at large, I have given some account elsewhere. The few remarks offered here will now refer entirely to the two paraphrases on the Pentateuch.
The Targum of Onkelos is distinguished from the others by the fidelity with which it restricts itself to the simple rendering of the Hebrew text. Whoever did the work, he, or they, gave good evidence of sound judgment and a correct theology. By comparing the books here given with the literal and admirable translation of the same Books in our English Bible, it will be seen that, in general, the Targumist adheres to the letter of the inspired document. In those passages, indeed, in which the Divine dispositions are illustrated, analogically, by the passions and affections of human nature, he uses some metaphrase which takes off the seeming grossness of the expression; but in the current rendering, as a whole, with here and there a touch with the tints of the hagada, he evidently acted on the obligation of giving a faithful representation in Chaldee of what Moses had written in Hebrew. In effecting this he did good service to the students of the Hebrew Bible in all after generations, in recording his own well-qualified judgment on the meaning of many Hebrew words and phrases, about which the Gentile lexicographers and commentators have had conflicting opinions. The other Chaldee paraphrase on the Pentateuch has come down to us in a twofold state; as an entire work, under the title of "The Targum of Jonathan," and in certain fragmentary portions, which have that of the "Targum Jerushalmi." The latter has been commonly considered a production distinct from the so-called Targum of Jonathan; but internal evidence demonstrates them to be one and the same work, the "Targum of Palestine," to which the older rabbins make not infrequent reference; and which, as would appear by various citations* scattered up and down in their writings, extended to others of the books of Holy Scripture as well as to the Pentateuch.* Thus Abudraham cites it on the First Book of Samuel, and Kimchi on that of Judges; and in other places under the name of the Targum shel Tosefta, or "The additional Paraphrase," while Rashi quotes the Targum of Jerusalem on Isaiah. (In Com. on Taanith, 26.)In style and manner, as well as dialect, the Palestinian Targum differs greatly from that of Onkelos. Of the four kinds of biblical interpretation adopted by the Rabbins,Peshat, or the simple rendering of words; Remez, intimation, suggestion of meaning; Derush, illustration, traditio-historical, anecdotal, or allegorical; and Sod, the unfoldment of mystical or esoteric significance, veiled in the types, incidents, or enigmatic oracles of the sacred writings: the third, or Derush, so largely developed in the Midrashim,a branch of Jewish literature which comprises an immense number of works, ethical, metaphysical, and historic, illuminated, so to speak, with the rich colours of the Oriental imagination,becomes prominent on every page. Some of these peculiar illustrations will meet the reader's eye in perusing the Palestinian Targum. These forms of Derush take the general name of Hagada, as distinguished from Halaka. The latter is the common name for whatever is prescriptive of the peculiarities of Jewish life,a rule of conduct, from halak, "to walk." Hagada, on the other hand, (from hagah, "to imagine, invent, describe, or declare,") is a saying, recital, or legend, fabulous or historical, employed in the way of illustration. Both these elements pervade the Targums. They are employed, not to add to the word of God, but to explain it. Once for all, we must distinguish between the Targum and the Text. A Jew would sooner die than alter a word of the text of Holy Scripture; but he thinks himself at liberty to illustrate what he considers to be its meaning by these antique and authorized elucidations, as best suited to the popular capacity. At first sight these hagadoth appear extravagant and preposterous; but while the superficial or conceited pass them over with contempt, the man who has a deeper insight into the workings of the human intellect and heart, and who knows anything of the habitudes of the Asiatic mind, and recollects the manner in which our Saviour Himself adapted His method of instruction to it, by conveying the most sublime and solemn lessons in the form of parables, will pause before he dismisses these picturesque fancies, and study to ascertain the import which lies concealed beneath them. For instance, when, in the Jonathan Targum on Genesis 1, it is said that in the creation of man the Lord Elohim took dust from the place of the sanctuary, and from the four winds of the world, and mixed from all the waters of the world, and created him white, red, and black, there are intimated, 1. The sanctity of our origin; 2. The oneness of the human race, whether black, white, or red, in the mere colour of the skin, formed as all men are from one primitive material; and, 3. The Divine design that the whole earth, in all its varieties of climate and locality, should be peopled with men whose physical constitution is adapted to them.
In the same spirit of allegory, the rabbins have hagadized that the stature of Adam was so high, that his head reached the summit of the heavens; an expression in which loftiness is put for eminence or consummate perfection of nature. On the other hand, it is said, that when he lay down, his head reposed in the east, and his feet in the west: and so is denoted, in reference to the prostration in which our first parent sank through transgression, that though he fell, the intellectual or superior part of his nature, indicated by the head, was not destroyed, but still lay toward the east, "the source of light," while his feet, i. q., his inferior or animal nature, tended to the region of decline and darkness.
Again, on Genesis 3, we read, that "before He had created the world, the Lord created the Law, and prepared Eden for the good and Gehenna for the wicked"; a sentiment which is amplified in the "Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer" and the talmudic treatise Pesachim, where they affirm that "seven things existed before the creation of the world: the law, hell, paradise, repentance, the throne of glory, the temple, and the name of the Messiah." Extravagant as this dictum may appear, it is nevertheless founded upon the philosophic principle, that intellectual design must, in the order of things, precede the act which fulfils it. In a word, this hagada of the Hebrews illustrates their axiom, that "the last in operation is the first in thought";* an axiom which lies at the basis of Aristotle's equally strange-looking assertion, that "a commonwealth is prior by nature to each individual." Punishments and rewards, and the whole moral apparatus of man's probationary and post-probationary existence, were contemplated by the Creator before the creation.* Soph maaseh bemachshebah techillah.We need not go beyond the first chapter in the Targum on Genesis for another example. It is there said that the Lord made two great luminaries which for a time were equal in glory; but that afterward "the moon recited against the sun a false report, and she was thereupon diminished, and the sun appointed to be the greater light." Here the moral purpose is explained by the Jewish commentators to inculcate a lesson on the sin and punishment of an envious and calumnious temper. The expression, I have rendered "a false report," is lishan telithaai, literally "a triple tongue," an idiom for slander peculiar to the Hebrew and Aramaic, which the rabbins illustrate by the aphorism that "the triple (slanderous) tongue injures three persons at once: the slanderer himself, the slandered one, and whoever receives and reports the falsehood."** Compare the philological notes on this idion, along with the parable of the serpent's tongue, from Tanchuma, in that admirable collection, the Rabbinische Blumenlese of Leopold Dukes, No. 461.In the Talmud (Cholin, 60, 2) there is an allegory which has an evident reference to this place of the Targum. "The moon spake before the Eternal, blessed be He, Lord of the world, Is it possible that two monarchs can use one crown? Then said He to her, Depart, and let thy strength be diminished," etc.; a parable which Herder has (too diffusely) rendered in his "Garland from the Oriental Poets," in this kind of style: " Daughter of beauty, beware of being envious. Envy has cast down angels from heaven, and darkened the gentle form which gives loveliness to the night. From the council of the Eternal went forth the creating voice: Two lights shall reign resplendent in the skies, to order the roll of the seasons. It was done. Up rose the sun: as the bridegroom comes forth from his chamber, or the hero upon his victorious way, so did he appear, clad with splendour from the glance of God. All colours blended in the crown which circled his brow. The earth rejoiced, the herbs shed perfumes, and the flowers put on their ornaments.
"The other light stood jealous, while she saw how impossible it was to outshine the sun. How, murmured she, can two monarchs possess the same throne? Why must I be second, and not first?
"At once, as if from the stress of her interior grief, her beautiful radiance fled away. Away it fled, wide in the heavens, and became a host of stars.
"Luna, shamed before all heaven, stood ghastly as a corpse. Weeping, she prays for mercy.
"The angel of God appeared to the darkened, and thus spake: Because thou hast been jealous of the light of the sun, in future thou art to shine only by its aid; and when yonder earth passes before thee, thy borrowed beams will either partly or altogether fade away."
It would be easy to multiply these examples. The Rabboth on the Pentateuch, the Yalkuts, and other works of that class, are crowded with them. These are sufficient to give an idea of the ethical significance of many of the hagadoth. At the same time we have no disposition to endorse them indiscriminately; for some of them are absurd, and others abominable. Against such the more eminent rabbins themselves have recorded their protest. Maimonides strongly cautions the Jewish people against them. "He who writes them," says Jehoshua ben Levi, "will have no portion in the world to come; he who explains them will be scorched; and he who listens to them will find no reward."
In the texts in Genesis which refer to Esau and Laban, the reader of the Targum will be either amused or indignant at the bad animus which ancient Judaism entertained towards those personages; a base, calumnious spirit, which hesitates not to express itself in bare-faced lies. This feeling, it gives me great pleasure to remark, does not appear to be approved by the modern Jews. To see the contrast, compare what the Targum Jonathan says in chapter 33:4-11, on the interview between Jacob and his brother after their long estrangement, with the noble words of a recent Jewish commentator on the Pentateuch:"But now the character of Esau appears in its most beautiful light. He is throughout the full and genuine man of nature; his heart overflows with a true and impulsive kindness; he spreads a genial glow over the scene: the truthful simplicity of his mind stands out in pleasing relief against the complicated emotions which hitherto had kept Jacob in constant struggle aud excitement. The sight of his brother at once, as if by magic force, wipes away all the animosity of the past; he is irresistibly attracted by the mysterious tie of relationship formed by nature; he hastens towards his trembling brother, and sheds tears of joy in a long and cordial embrace. Who does not feel the overwhelming pathos of the scene? Who has not portrayed to himself the hardy chief, careless, wild, but uncorrupted in feeling, and generously forgiving, in the arms of the man of refined intellect, aspiring, scheming, at last repentant, and restored to his better self?" ("Historical and Critical Commentary on the Old Testament," by Dr. M.M. Kalisch).
Among the momenta of the Targums there is one of such great importance to the Christian theologian, that it would be unpardonable to omit it in these brief notices. I allude to the remarkable use in them of the title, מֵימְרׇא דַיְיׇ Memra da-Yeya, "the Word of the Lord."[JCR - Please see another of our online books: Plurality in the Godhead or How Can Three Be One? by Rabbi Tzvi Nassi (CWH Pauli)]The Aramaic term מֵימְרׇא Memra, is a noun, composed with the formative מ from the root אֲמַר, "to speak." In the numerous passages referred to, it is employed with the genitive of the Divine Name, די יהוה, or, as the Targumists abridge it, די יי, answering to the New Testament epithet, ο Λογος του Θεου, ho Logos tou Theou as applied to the Messiah.* This appellation is employed in the Targums with such an intimacy of relation to the Almighty as to render it in many cases a synonym for the Divine Name itself; and the question is, Whether it is not used to express a hypostatic distinction in the Infinite Subsistence; whether the monotheism of the ancient Jews precluded the belief in a plurality of Persons in the Godhead; whether, in brief, the Memra da Yeya be not equivalent with the ho Logos tou Theou of the Gospel of St. John?* The expression "Memra" is commonly used with a personal reference: for "a word," in the sense of merely articulate speech, the Targumists employ the nouns pithgama, millah, &c.The theologians of modern Judaism and the rationalists among Christian divines take the negative side, and resolve the formula "Word of God" into a figurative personification. They maintain that as the words of a man represent his thoughts and purposes, so the Word of God has efficiency or action ascribed to it, and so becomes and is nothing more than the symbol or representation of the mind and will of the Deity. Such a canon, however, will be found utterly insufficient to explain the use of this formula as it occurs in many of the most weighty passages of the Holy Scriptures.
We admit that the term Memra, like that of Logos, does not etymologically necessitate the idea of personal subsistence. Each termthe former in the Targums, and the latter in the New Testament, the apocryphal books, and the writings of Philois taken in a variety of acceptations; but, as in the New Testament, where, along with nearly thirty aspects of meaning, there is one in which the ho Logos tou Theou shines resplendent as a title of Him who was in the beginning, who was with God, who was God, and by whom all things were made; so in the Targums, among several applications there are some about which it is impossible, with any show of truth, to deny that they set forth a personal subsistence, and one personal subsistence as distinguished from another in the Divine nature.
We admit, also, that the Targumists sometimes use this form Memra da Yeya to denote the energy of God in action; as when the Word is said to give forth the snow and the floods (Job 37:10) or when the Lord sends forth His Word as arrows for the destruction of the wicked (Psa 18:15); or by His Word He founds the earth and builds up the heavens (Isa 45:12).
It is employed, too, we allow, as an exponent for the dispositions of the Divine mind, and as such is an equivalent for the Hebraistic idiom, "the heart of God"; as, where in Hebrew we have, "God said in His heart," the Targum gives it, "God said in His Word" (Gen 8:21); or chapter 6:6, Hebrew, "It grieved Him in His heart"; Chaldee, "in His Word."
In other places, moreover, it signifies, the Divine wisdom displayed in the dispensations of Providence; as when the Word of the Lord is said to deliver the law, to punish the guilty, and to be the helper of the good.
But though he who considers even these examples will find it difficult to divest them of the idea of substantial personality, he will meet with a variety of other passages in which the phrase in question is only used to express the presence and agency of a real Person. In those texts the emphatic pronouns themselves are metaphrased by the use of the appellation Memra. Thus, Hebrew, "By Myself have I sworn"; Chaldee, "By My Word have I sworn" (Gen 22:16). Who does not here see that the form is equivalent with an intensive pronoun, and becomes a designation of the personal Deity Himself?
With this personal import the term is commonly used in the Targums to denote the Divine Being in self-manifestation; for example, to Adam and Eve in Paradise (Gen 3:8); to Abraham at Mamre (Gen 18:1, Jerusalem Targum); or to Israel in the wilderness in the pillar of cloud and fire (Deut 9:3; Exo 13:21; Jon.); and to Job out of the whirlwind, (42:9, 12).
The visible manifestation of the Divine presence, known in Hebrew by the name of the Shekinah, is not infrequently identified in the Targums with the Memra. Compare Numbers 21:5, where it is recorded that the people "imagined in their hearts, and spake against the Word of the Lord, and contended against Moses," with verse 7, in which they repentantly confess, "We have sinned because we imagined, and spake against the Glory of the Shekinah of the Lord, and contended against Thee." Thus, too, in Genesis 16, Hagar sees the angel of the Lord (Heb.) in the Targum, the Memra; and afterward says that in Him she had beheld the Shekinah.* Yet is this manifested God so spoken of as to indicate a distinction between Him and God considered in another personality, as one who is sent is distinguishable from the sender. Examples. In the eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of Genesis, Jehovah appears to Abraham, and reveals His purpose to destroy the guilty cities. The Targum says, "The Word of the Lord appeared." In the twenty-fourth verse of chapter 19, where the Hebrew reads, "Jehovah rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven," the Targum has it that the Word of the Lord sent down upon them sulphur and fire from the presence of the Lord out of heaven. So in Genesis 20:3, the Memra comes to Abimelech from the presence of the Lord. Mark the distinction, also, in Isaiah 45:18-22 (Targ. Jon.): "These things saith the Lord, who created the heavens...Look unto My Word, and be ye saved"; and in verse 24: "He said to me that by the Word of the Lord he would bring righteousness."* Vide, also, Joshua 22:31; Psalm 66:6-12; Isaiah 6:5,6,8.In the Hebrew Bible we often read of a Divine Person who bears the name of the (Malak) Angel, "one who is sent"; the Malak ha-berith, "the Angel of the Covenant," ha-malak ha-goel, "the Angel who redeems," ha-malak Jehovah, "the Angel, the Lord." The passages which describe the manifestation of His presence to the patriarchs and others, designate Him in the Targums the Memra. We have an example in a text already quoted. In Genesis 16 the Angel-Jehovah appears to Hagar in the wilderness; speaks to her as God, (verse 10,) and is adored by her, (verse 13,) as Jehovah that spake unto her, with the invocation of, "Thou God seest me," or, "The God of seeing; for she said, Do I even still see (live) after seeing God?" (Kalisch's translation). Now, the Targum (Jon.) gives the paraphrase thus: "And she returned thanks before the Lord, whose Word spake unto her; and thus she said: Thou art living and eternal, who seest and art not seen; for she said, after the vision, Here hath been revealed the glory of the Shekinah of the Lord." The Jerusalem fragment reads, "And Hagar returned thanks and prayed in the name of the Memra of the Lord, who had appeared to her."
Onkelos, on Genesis 28:20, paraphrases, "And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If the Memra of the Lord will be my help, and will keep me in that way in which I go, and will give me bread to eat and raiment to wear, and bring me again in peace to my father's house, the Memra of the Lord shall be my God." But in chapter 31 the Malak Jehovah appears to Jacob, with, "I am God, who was revealed to thee at Bethel." So in Numbers 22 the Malak or Angel who appears to Balaam is called by Onkelos the Memra from the face or presence of the Lord. In like manner the Angel-Jehovah, who spoke to Moses at the flaming bush, (Exo 3:14) is designated by the Jerusalem Targum the Memra of the Lord.
In Isaiah 63:7-10, the Targum of Jonathan recognises an identity of person in the Angel, the Redeemer, the Memra, and Jehovah: "I will remember the kindness of the Lord, and the praise of the Lord...for they are My people, said the Lord, children who do not lie; and His Memra was their Redeemer. Every time that they sinned before Him, so that He might have brought tribulation upon them, He did not afflict them, and the Angel sent from His presence redeemed them. In His love and in His pity, behold, He liberated them, and bare them, and carried them all the days of old;...but they would not obey; so His Memra became their enemy, and fought against them."
And in the last Old Testament oracle, (Malachi 3), the same Targum makes the Coming One to be in Himself the Angel of the Covenant and the Memra of the Lord.
These examples are selected from a multitude. In reading only the Targum of Onkelos on the Pentateuch, I have made a memorandum of more than a hundred and fifty places in which the Memra da Yeya is spoken of in one way or another. And with the facts before us which I have stated above, it seems, I repeat, impossible to restrict the signification of the epithet in question to a mere figurative personification, and not to perceive that St. John, when he wrote the first verses of his Gospel, communicated to the Gentile churches a mystery of the truth which had long been held sacred by the ancient people of God.
This conclusion becomes yet more strong when we take into account the use of the corresponding term, ho Logos tou Theou, by the Jewish theologians of the ante-apostolic age, who wrote in the Greek language. Take a sentence from the apocryphal Book of Wisdom, where the author, speaking of the fatal night when all the first-born died in Egypt, says, "For while all things were in quiet silence, and that night was in the midst of her swift course, thy almighty Word (pantodunamos sou Logos leaped down from heaven out of Thy royal throne as a fierce warrior into the midst of the land of desolation, bearing Thy truthful commandment as a sharp sword, and standing, filled all with death." Here the personal Logos is distinguished from the spoken word or commandment.** Chapter 18:14, 15; compare Exodus 12:29: And it came to pass at midnight, that the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the first-born of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the first-born of cattle.And in the writings of Philo of Alexandria there is a profusion of passages in which the personal Word of God is referred to in terms not less absolute. Philo employs the term Logos not only in the common acceptation of articulate speech, nor in the philosophic sense, of intellect or reason, whether human or Divine, nor in the religious sense, as denoting an oracle or revelation only, but also in regard to the subject before us, as setting forth the hypostatic subsistence of a Divine person, in and by whom God the Father created and governs the universe. This will be apparent from the following citations:
"Placed over the ark, and winged, are the Cherubim, who represent the creative and royal power. But over these is the Divine Word, who does not assume a visible appearance, nor resemble any thing accessible by sense, but, existing as the Image of God, is the Eldest of all things that can be known, placed nearest, and without any thing intervening, to Him who alone is the Self-Existent."De Profugis.
"It was not fitting that the soul of man should have been modelled after any created being, but after the Word of God. Man being His copied image, the Creator breathed upon his face, which is the throne of the senses...Every man, with respect to his understanding, is related to the Divine Word, being an impression, a derivation, a radiance of that blessed nature."De Mund. Opific.
"The Divine Word about to make Himself the companion of the lonely soul, suddenly shining forth, diffuses joy unexpected and surpassing hope. God hath for His image His most complete Word, who is His light."Quod a Deo mittantur Somnia. Opp., tom. 1.
"The eternal Word of the everlasting God is the strongest and steadfast support of the universe. From the centre to the extremities, and from the utmost limit to the midst He pervades the long range of nature, binding together all its parts. For the Father who begat Him hath made Him the indissoluble bond of the universe."De Plant. Noae.
"For as those who cannot look upon the sun himself, behold him in his reflected light, even thus do they regard the Image of God, who is His Angel, the Word, as God Himself."Ibid.
"Moses, wondering at the boundless excellence of the Unbegotten, saith, Thou shalt swear by His name, not by Himself: it is enough to pledge our faith by the Begotten, and to invoke the Divine Word to witness."De Leg. Alleg.
"Over these (the things created) God has placed His (orthon Logon) right Word, His First-Begotten Son, who, as the Viceroy of a mighty King, receives the charge of the sacred flock. Thus also it is written: Behold I Am: I will send mine Angel before thy face to keep thee in the way."De Agricul.
"To the Archangel, the Eldest Word, the Father of the universe hath accorded this illustrious gift, that, standing as a Mediator, He should determine between the creature and the Creator. He is at once the Suppliant on behalf of perishing mortals to the Incorruptible, and the Ambassador of the Sovereign to His subjects."Quis Rer. Div. Haer.
"Adorned after this manner did the high priest proceed to the sacred rites. The twelve stones of the pectoral...became the oracle of the Word, who holds and directs the universe. For it was needful that he who performed the priestly rites to the Father of the world, should employ as his Advocate the Son most perfect in virtue, for the pardon of sins, and for the supply of the most abundant blessings."De Vita Mosis.
The resemblance between the doctrine of this Jewish philosopher of Alexandria, and that of the apostles of Christianity, on the personality and Divine dignity of the Logos, appears throughout his works in a multitude of parallelisms. Let the student compare these following expressions of Philo with the texts of the New Testament given in juxtaposition with them.
The Divine Word is superior to all angels.De Profugis. Compare Hebrews 1:4-6.
He is superior to the whole creation.De Allegor. Hebrews 2:8.
He is before all things.De Ling. Conf. Colossians 1:17; John 1:2, 18, 5:26.
He is nearest to God.John 1:1.
He ordered all things.Quis Rer. Div. Colossians 1:15, 16; Hebrews 11:3.
Unites, preserves, and perfects the world.De Prof. John 3:35; Colossians 1:16.
He is the First-Begotten of God.De Somn. Colossians 1:15; John 1:18.
The Son of God.De Agric. Mark 1:1.
The (deuteros Theos) Second God, the Word.John 1:1.
The Image of God.De Mund. Opif. Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:2.
The intellectual sun, the light of the world.De Somn. John 1:4-9; John 8:12.
The fountain of wisdom.De Prof. John 4:14, 7:38; 1 Corinthians 1:24.
He is nearest to God.De Prof. John 1:1, 18, 17:11.
He is sent from God.Quis Rer. Div. John 5:37, 8:29, 42.
He is the Mediator standing between the living and the dead.Quis Rer. Div. 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 8:1-6.
The High Priest (Archiereus).De Somn. Hebrews 4:14.
The Healer of evils.De Alleg. Luke 4:18; 1 Peter 2:24.
The Advocate of mortal man.Quis Rer. Romans 8:21; 1 John 2:1.
The Shepherd of God's flock.De Agric. John 10:14; 1 Peter 2:25.
He is possessed of regal power.De Prof. 1 Corinthians 15:25; Ephesians 1:21,22; Revelation 17:14.
He liberates men from corruption, and entitles them to immortality.De Congregat. Erudit. Romans 8:21; 1 Corinthians 15:52, 53; 1 Peter 1:3, 4.
Imparts spiritual freedom.Ibid. John 8:36.
He is the sure refuge of those who seek Him.De Prof. Matthew 11:28; 1 Peter 2:25.
He is the heavenly bread of the soul.Fragm. John 6:32, 35.
It was He who called to Adam in the garden.De Somn.; spake to Hagar,De Cherub.; wrestled with Jacob,De Nom. mutand.; and spoke to Moses from the bush.De Somn.
Now when we consider that these statements were written by the Alexandrian theologue some years before an evangelist or apostle had set pen to parchment, and, in fact, before our Saviour had begun His public ministry, we are shut up to the conclusion that the Divine personality of the Word was a doctrine already believed among the Jews. In philosophy, indeed, Philo was a Platonist; and many of his speculations are strongly tinged with the colours of that school; but the Platonic learning never taught him the wonders which he has recounted of the Eternal Word. Philo was not merely a Platonist, he was a Jew; and in the theologisms we have cited he gives expression to the traditional dogmas of his own people.
We have given these quotations from Philo and the Targums to prove an historic and incontrovertible fact,that the Jews of the ante-apostolic age believed in a Divine Personality in the Godhead, whom they distinguished from another therein by the appellation of the Word. On the question whether they were warranted in such a belief by the teachings of Divine Revelation, I need not now enter. The appeal here would be not to the Targums, as such, but to the text of the canonical Hebrew Scriptures; and he who searches them with intelligence, and with freedom from prejudice, will be sure to find that they were right.
It was this Divine Person who, with the names of the Word and the Angel, appeared, as Jehovah, to the patriarchs: Genesis 3:8-21
, 12:7. Compare 17:1, 15:1, 18:1-16
8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden toward the cool of the day; and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 9 And the LORD God called unto the man, and said unto him: 'Where art thou?' 10 And he said: 'I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.' 11 And He said: 'Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?' 12 And the man said: 'The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.' 13 And the LORD God said unto the woman: 'What is this thou hast done?' And the woman said: 'The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.' 14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent: 'Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou from among all cattle, and from among all beasts of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; they shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise their heel.'
16 Unto the woman He said: 'I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy travail; in pain thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.'
17 And unto Adam He said: 'Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying: Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.' 20 And the man called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins, and clothed them.
, 18:33, 19:17-24
1 And the LORD appeared unto him by the terebinths of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2 and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood over against him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed down to the earth, 3 and said: 'My lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant. 4 Let now a little water be fetched, and wash your feet, and recline yourselves under the tree. 5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and stay ye your heart; after that ye shall pass on; forasmuch as ye are come to your servant.' And they said: 'So do, as thou hast said.' 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said: 'Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes.' 7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto the servant; and he hastened to dress it. 8 And he took curd, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. 9 And they said unto him: 'Where is Sarah thy wife?' And he said: 'Behold, in the tent.' 10 And He said: 'I will certainly return unto thee when the season cometh round; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.' And Sarah heard in the tent door, which was behind him.—11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, and well stricken in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.—12 And Sarah laughed within herself, saying: 'After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?' 13 And the LORD said unto Abraham: 'Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying: Shall I of a surety bear a child, who am old? 14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD. At the set time I will return unto thee, when the season cometh round, and Sarah shall have a son.' 15 Then Sarah denied, saying: 'I laughed not'; for she was afraid. And He said: 'Nay; but thou didst laugh.'
16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked out toward Sodom; and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.
, 22:11, 12, 26:2, 24, 28:11, 20, 31:11-13, 32:24-30
17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said: 'Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the Plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be swept away.' 18 And Lot said unto them: 'Oh, not so, my lord; 19 behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shown unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest the evil overtake me, and I die. 20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one; oh, let me escape thither—is it not a little one?—and my soul shall live.' 21 And he said unto him: 'See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow the city of which thou hast spoken. 22 Hasten thou, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither.'—Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.—23 The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot came unto Zoar. 24 Then the LORD caused to rain upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;
, with Hosea 12:4, 5; Genesis 48:15, 16.
24 And he took them, and sent them over the stream, and sent over that which he had. 25 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 26 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was strained, as he wrestled with him. 27 And he said: 'Let me go, for the day breaketh.' And he said: 'I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.' 28 And he said unto him: 'What is thy name?' And be said: 'Jacob.' 29 And he said: 'Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed.' 30 And Jacob asked him, and said: 'Tell me, I pray thee, thy name.' And he said: 'Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name?' And he blessed him there.
It was He who delivered Israel from Egypt, and became their Guardian and Guide to the promised land. Exodus 3:1-14
, with John 8:58; Exodus 14:19, 20, 19:3-11
1 Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the farthest end of the wilderness, and came to the mountain of God, unto Horeb. 2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3 And Moses said: 'I will turn aside now, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.' 4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said: 'Moses, Moses.' And he said: 'Here am I.' 5 And He said: 'Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.' 6 Moreover He said: 'I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. 7 And the LORD said: 'I have surely seen the affliction of My people that are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their pains; 8 and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 9 And now, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto Me; moreover I have seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt.' 11 And Moses said unto God: 'Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?' 12 And He said: 'Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be the token unto thee, that I have sent thee: when thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.' 13 And Moses said unto God: 'Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them: The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me: What is His name? what shall I say unto them?' 14 And God said unto Moses: 'I AM THAT I AM'; and He said: 'Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel: I AM hath sent me unto you.'
, 19:16-18; Acts 7:38; Exodus 23:20-25
3 And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying: 'Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto Myself. 5 Now therefore, if ye will hearken unto My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be Mine own treasure from among all peoples; for all the earth is Mine; 6 and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.' 7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the LORD commanded him. 8 And all the people answered together, and said: 'All that the LORD hath spoken we will do.' And Moses reported the words of the people unto the LORD. 9 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and may also believe thee for ever.' And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD. 10 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Go unto the people, and sanctify them to-day and to-morrow, and let them wash their garments, 11 and be ready against the third day; for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.
Isaiah 63:9; Exodus 24:9-15
Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee by the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Take heed of him, and hearken unto his voice; be not rebellious against him; for he will not pardon your transgression; for My name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed hearken unto his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For Mine angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Canaanite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; and I will cut them off. Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their doings; but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and break in pieces their pillars. And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.
, 32:33, 34; 33:2-4, 33:14, 34:5-7, 34:10-14; Joshua 5:14, 15; Judges 2:1-4. Compare this last important passage with Exodus 34:10-14; Judges 6
9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; 10 and they saw the God of Israel; and there was under His feet the like of a paved work of sapphire stone, and the like of the very heaven for clearness. 11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not His hand; and they beheld God, and did eat and drink.
12 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Come up to Me into the mount and be there; and I will give thee the tables of stone, and the law and the commandment, which I have written, that thou mayest teach them.' 13 And Moses rose up, and Joshua his minister; and Moses went up into the mount of God. 14 And unto the elders he said: 'Tarry ye here for us, until we come back unto you; and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you; whosoever hath a cause, let him come near unto them.' 15 And Moses went up into the mount, and the cloud covered the mount.
1 And the children of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. 2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel; and because of Midian the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and the caves, and the strongholds. 3 And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east; they came up against them; 4 and they encamped against them, and destroyed the produce of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance in Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. 5 For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came in as locusts for multitude; both they and their camels were without number; and they came into the land to destroy it. 6 And Israel was brought very low because of Midian; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.
7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of Midian, 8 that the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel; and he said unto them: 'Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel: I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; 9 and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land. 10 And I said unto you: I am the LORD your God; ye shall not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; but ye have not hearkened unto My voice.'
11 And the angel of the LORD came, and sat under the terebinth which was in Ophrah, that belonged unto Joash the Abiezrite; and his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him: 'The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.' 13 And Gideon said unto him: 'Oh, my lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where are all His wondrous works which our fathers told us of, saying: Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath cast us off, and delivered us into the hand of Midian.' 14 And the LORD turned towards him, and said: 'Go in this thy might, and save Israel from the hand of Midian; have not I sent thee?' 15 And he said unto him: 'Oh, my lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.' 16 And the LORD said unto him: 'Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.' 17 And he said unto him: 'If now I have found favour in thy sight, then show me a sign that it is thou that talkest with me. 18 Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and lay it before thee.' And he said: 'I will tarry until thou come back.' 19 And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of meal; the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the terebinth, and presented it. 20 And the angel of God said unto him: 'Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth.' And he did so. 21 Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there went up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight. 22 And Gideon saw that he was the angel of the LORD; and Gideon said: 'Alas, O Lord GOD! forasmuch as I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.' 23 And the LORD said unto him: 'Peace be unto thee; fear not; thou shalt not die.' 24 Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it 'Adonai-shalom'; unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
25 And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him: 'Take thy father's bullock, and the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the Asherah that is by it; 26 and build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this stronghold, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt-offering with the wood of the Asherah which thou shalt cut down.' 27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had spoken unto him; and it came to pass, because he feared his father's household and the men of the city, so that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night. 28 And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built. 29 And they said one to another: 'Who hath done this thing?' And when they inquired and asked, they said: 'Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing.' 30 Then the men of the city said unto Joash: 'Bring out thy son, that he may die; because he hath broken down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the Asherah that was by it.' 31 And Joash said unto all that stood against him: 'Will ye contend for Baal? or will ye save him? he that will contend for him, shall be put to death before morning; if he be a god, let him contend for himself, because one hath broken down his altar.' 32 Therefore on that day he was called Jerubbaal, saying: 'Let Baal contend against him, because he hath broken down his altar.'
33 Now all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east assembled themselves together; and they passed over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel. 34 But the spirit of the LORD clothed Gideon; and he blew a horn; and Abiezer was gathered together after him. 35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; and they also were gathered together after him; and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them. 36 And Gideon said unto God: 'If Thou wilt save Israel by my hand, as Thou hast spoken, 37 behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing-floor; if there be dew on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the ground, then shall I know that Thou wilt save Israel by my hand, as Thou hast spoken.' 38 And it was so; for he rose up early on the morrow, and pressed the fleece together, and wrung dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. 39 And Gideon said unto God: 'Let not Thine anger be kindled against me, and I will speak but this once: let me make trial, I pray Thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.' 40 And God did so that night; for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.
And it was He who was so often manifested in glory and grace to the prophetic seers. Ezekiel 1:28, with 9:3, 43:3, seq. Daniel 12:1, with 10:5, 6. Jeremiah 1:4, 11, 13, with 24:1; Amos 7:7, 9:1; Zechariah 1:1-13
1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying: 2 'The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers. 3 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts: Return unto Me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. 4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying: Thus saith the LORD of hosts: Return ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings; but they did not hear, nor attend unto Me, saith the LORD. 5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? 6 But My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? so that they turned and said: Like as the LORD of hosts purposed to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath He dealt with us.'
7 Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying— 8 I saw in the night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle-trees that were in the bottom; and behind him there were horses, red, sorrel, and white. 9 Then said I: 'O my lord, what are these?' And the angel that spoke with me said unto me: 'I will show thee what these are.' 10 And the man that stood among the myrtle-trees answered and said: 'These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.' 11 And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle-trees, and said: 'We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.' 12 Then the angel of the LORD spoke and said: 'O LORD of hosts, how long wilt Thou not have compassion on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which Thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? 13 And the LORD answered the angel that spoke with me with good words, even comforting words
, 3:1-4; Malachi 3:1-3.
6 Then said I: 'Whither goest thou?' And he said unto me: 'To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof.' 7 And, behold, the angel that spoke with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, 8 and said unto him: 'Run, speak to this young man, saying: 'Jerusalem shall be inhabited without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein. 9 For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and I will be the glory in the midst of her.
10 Ho, ho, flee then from the land of the north, saith the LORD; for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD. 11 Ho, Zion, escape, thou that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.'
12 For thus saith the LORD of hosts who sent me after glory unto the nations which spoiled you: 'Surely, he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. 13 For, behold, I will shake My hand over them, and they shall be a spoil to those that served them'; and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me.
In the study of these texts good help may be obtained from Dr. Pye Smith's "Scripture Testimony to the Messiah"; and a more compact Dissertation of J. J. Gurney, in his "Biblical Notes on the Deity of Christ," No. 14. It may be acceptable to the student to subjoin here a compendium of the bibliography on the Targums at large.
I. Principal Editions.Onkelos: in the Polyglots. Bononia, with the Commentary of Jarchi, folio, 1482. Soria, 1490. Constantinople, 4to., 1505. Wilna, 8vo., 1852.
Jonathan, on the Pentateuch (Palestinian Targum): in the Polyglots. Venice, 4to., 1591. Prague, 1646. Basil, folio, 1607. Hanau, 8vo., 1614. Berlin, 4to., 1705. Amsterdam, 1760. Ostroh, 8vo., 1826.
__________, on the Prophets: Polyglots and Rabbinical Bibles of Venice and Basil. Separate books of the Prophets have been published in numerous editions, with and without Latin translations.
__________, on the Ketuvim or Hagiographa: in the Polyglots and Rabbinical Bibles, and in separate books; as, Job, Franeker., 1663. Canticles, Basil., 1553. Esther, Prague, 1601, &c. The Chaldee Paraphrase on Chronicles was edited by Beck at Augsburg, 1680.
II. Literature.De Onkeloso ejusque Paraphrasi Dissertatio, Georg. Benedict Winer. Lips., 4fto., 1820.
Ben Zion Jehuda Berkowitz,Eteh Or: a Treatise on the hermeneutical Rules of the Targum of Onkelos. Wilna, 8vo., 1843.
Isaiah Berlin,Minee Targuma: a Glossary and Commentation on the Targum of Onkelos.
Geor. Ben. Winer,De Jonathanis in Pentateuchum Paraphrasi Chaldaica. Erlangen, 1828.
J. H. Petermann,De Duabus Pentateuchi Paraphrasibus Chaldaicis. Berlin, 1829.
Walton's twelfth Prolegomenon to the Polyglot, and the extensive disquisition of Wolf in the second volume of his Bibliotheca Hebraea. To those who read Arabic it may be worth mentioning, that the Abbe Barges and Dr. Goldberg have recently edited the epistolary treatise of Rabbi Jehuda Ben Koreisch on the Utility of the Study of the Targums: printed in Hebrew characters. Paris: Duprat. This work contains a valuable glossary of words and terms. In the latter department the work of Phibel Ben Davidan Exposition of difficult Words in the Targums: Hanover, 1614also deserves attention. The fifth chapter of the Gottesdienstlichen Vortrage der Juden of Dr. Zunz is a masterly exposition; and in an excursus in the work of Geiger, already referred to, the Urschrift und Uebersetzungen der Bibel, there will be found an extensive collection of readings from the Pentateuch Targums. In Schichard's Bechinath ha-perushim, and the Commentary of Rittangel on the Sefer Jetsira, there are some curious researches, which would reward a few hours' reading. And on the important subject of the Memra, or Word of the Lord, good collateral help is obtained in Jacob Bryant's Treatise "On the Sentiments of Philo Judaeus," Cambridge, 1797. I refer also with pleasure to the "Inquiry into the Doctrine of the Eternal Sonship of our Lord Jesus Christ," by the late Rev. Richard Treffry; and to an excellent compendium by the Rev. F. Denham in the "Journal of Sacred Literature," for 1849.
As to the question whether the ancient Hebrew doctors identified the Memra or personal Word of God with the Messiah, I may not speak with such confidence. On the one hand there are passages in the Targums which strongly imply that identity. Thus Onkelos, on Numbers 23:21, reads, "The Memra of the Lord helpeth them, and the Shekinah of their King is among them." The Jerusalem on the same passage has, "The Memra of the Lord is with them, and a shout from the glory of their King protecteth them"; and the so-called Jonathan Targum, "The Memra of the Lord their God is a helper to them, and the shout of the King Messiah is heard among them." (Compare also Onkelos on Judges 6:11, 13.) There is a text also in Jonathan on Isaiah 16:1, which brings to mind the saying of St. Stephen in Acts 7, "This is He who was with the church in the wilderness." "They shall bring gifts to the Messiah of the Israelites who shall be strong, because He Himself was in the wilderness, the Rock of the church of Zion." On the other hand, they sometimes make a distinction between the Memra and the Messiah, which seems to forbid the idea of personal identity. Thus, Jonathan on Isaiah 42:1: "Behold My Servant the Messiah: I will draw nigh to Him; My Chosen, in whom My Memra hath delighted." But to the Messiah Himself, the Prince and Deliverer of Israel and the Redeemer of the world, the Targums abound with solemn and affecting references. We will offer a conspectus of the principal passages.
1. His Divine names. "Said the prophet to the house of David: For to us a Son is born, to us a Son is given: and He shall receive the Law upon Him to keep it; and His name is called from of old, Wonderful, Counsellor, Eloha the Mighty, Abiding to Eternity, the Messiah; because peace shall be multiplied upon us in His days." (Isa 9:6).
2. The Son of David. "And there shall go forth a King from the sons of Jesse, and the Messiah shall be anointed from his children's children." (Isa 11:1) Descended from Ruth, "And he said, Bring the covering that is over thee, and hold it; and she held it; and he measured six measures of barley, and placed them upon her. And strength to bear them came to her from before the Lord: and forthwith it was spoken in prophecy, that hereafter would proceed from her the six righteous ones of the world, (zedikey olma,) who should each of them be destined to be blessed with six blessings: David, Daniel and his companions, and the King Messiah." (Ruth 3:15.)
3. The Brother of Man. "And in that time shall the King Messiah (Malka Mashicha) be revealed to the congregation of Israel. Then shall the children of Israel say, Come, be Thou with us for a Brother." (Song 8:1.)
4. The Healer of the original wound. "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between the seed of thy sons and the seed of her sons. And it shall be when the sons of the woman shall keep the commandments of the law, they will turn and smite thee upon thy head; but when they forsake the commandments of the law, thou wilt turn thyself and wound them in their heel. Nevertheless for them there shall be medicine, but for thee no medicine: and they shall make a remedy for the heel* in the days of the King Messiah." (Gen 3:15.)* Some translate, "They will be able in the days of the King Messiah to make a bruise with the heel." שפיותא is variously rendered in the lexicons, contritio, emplastrum, heiltmittel.5. The Lord our Righteousness. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise up to David the Messiah who is righteous, (tsadikaya, righteousness,) and He shall reign a King, and shall prosper, and execute the judgment of truth and justice in the earth. In His days they who are of the house of Jehudah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name by which they will invoke Him, Righteousness shall be wrought for us from before the Lord." (Jer 23:5.)
6. The Servant of God. "Behold my Servant, the Messiah. I will bring Him near, my chosen One, in whom my Word taketh delight. I will put the Spirit of Holiness upon Him; my judgments to the nations shall He reveal." (Isa 42:1.)
7. The Restorer of Israel. "The children of Israel shall abide many days without a King of the house of David, and without one who exerciseth dominion over Israel, or who offereth the sacrifices of pleasantness in Jerusalem, and without ephod or annunciation. Afterward shall the children of Israel return and seek the service of the Lord their God, and be obedient to Messiah, the Son of David their King: and He shall teach them the worship of the Lord, and increase the good that is to come to them at the end of the days." (Hosea 3:4, 5.)
"Their King shall arise from their children, and their Redeemer from among themselves; He shall be among them and gather them." (Num 24:7.)
"The fourth night will be when the world shall arrive at its end to be dissolved: the cords of the wicked shall be consumed, and the iron yoke be broken. Moses will come forth from the desert, and Messiah from the high place...This is the Passover Night before the Lord." (Exo 12:42.)
"What art thou to be reckoned, O mighty kingdom, before Zerubbabel? Is it not as a plain? For He shall reveal His Messiah whose name is declared from of old, and He shall rule over all kingdoms." (Zech 4:7.)
"Gog and Magog and their army will go up against Jerusalem, but by the hand of the King Messiah they shall fall." (Num 11:26.)
"I shall see Him, but not now; I shall behold Him, but not near, when there shall reign a mighty King of the house of Jacob, and Messiah be anointed, and a strong sceptre be from Israel. And He shall kill the princes of the Moabites, and all the children of Sheth, the army of Gog who will set the ranks of war in array against Israel; and all their bodies will fall before Him...The first of the nations who waged war with Israel was Amalek; and their end in the days of the King Messiah is to set in array the ranks of war, with all the sons of the East, against the house of Israel; but the end of the one and the other is, that they shall perish for ever. Ships will be sent forth with instruments of war, and they shall go out with many burden-bearers from the land of Italia, and join themselves with the legions who go out from Constantine:...but the end of both of them is to fall by the hand of the King Messiah and perish for ever." (Num 24:20.)
"If any there be of your dispersed ones in the ends of the heavens, from thence will the Word of the Lord your God gather you by the hand of Elijah the high priest, and from thence will He bring you by the hands of the King Messiah." (Deut 30:4.)
8. The King of Israel. "Now these are the words of the prophecy of David which he prophesied concerning the end of the world, concerning the days of consolation which are hereafter to come: David the Son of Jesse said,...The God of Israel spake by me, the Mighty One of Israel who ruleth among the sons of men, judging truly, said that He would set up to me a King who is Messiah, that hereafter shall come and rule in the fear of the Lord." (2 Sam 23:1-3.)
"Thou wilt prolong the days of the King Messiah, and His years as the generations of the world, and the generations of the world to come. He shall abide before the Lord for ever...So will I glorify thy name when I shall perform my vows in the day of the redemption of Israel, and in the day that the King Messiah is anointed to rule." (Psa 61:7-9.)
9. The Gatherer of the Nations, and the King of the World. "There shall not cease kings from the house of Jehudah, nor scribes teaching the Law from his children's children, until the time when the King Messiah shall come, whose is the kingdom, and to Him are all the kingdoms of the earth to be subject. How beauteous is the King Messiah who shall arise from the house of Jehudah!" (Gen 49:10.)
"My heart produceth a good thing: I will speak of the work of the King; my tongue is like the pen of a swift writer. Thy beauty, O King Messiah, is more than that of the sons of men; the spirit of prophecy is ingiven to Thy lips, because the Lord hath blessed Thee for ever...The throne of Thy glory, O God, (Yeya,) shall stand for ever and ever; a sceptre of grace is the sceptre of Thy kingdom. Because Thou hast loved justice and hated wickedness, therefore the Lord Thy God hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows." (Psa 45:1-8.)
Such, on the evidence of these venerable documents, was the faith of Israel of olden ages in the majesty and mediatorial glory of their Saviour and King; and such, though with various drawbacks and darkening influences, is substantially the expectant faith of the pious in Israel at the present time. Unhappily, however, too many among the modern Jews have declined from the hope of their fathers, and exchanged the heavenly light of faith in the revealed promises of God for the ignis fatuus of infidel rationalism, and the poor dreams of secular aggrandizement with their Gentile neighbours. Yet may we hope that this forlorn infidelity is not the last reprobate condition of any of them; and most ardently should we pray that the breath of God may come upon them, to renew them to repentance. For though the veil is indeed to this very day upon the national heart, we read in the sure oracles of mercy that when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Nor are there wanting among them many who desire such a consummation more devoutly than we ourselves do; many, in whose prayerful bosoms live those solemn presentiments and spirit-stirring vows which find expression from year to year in their old Litany of the Hosannas.
"For Thy sake, O our God, save us. For Thy sake, O our Creator, save us. For Thy sake, O our Redeemer, save us. For Thy sake, Thou who wilt seek for us, save us.
"For the sake of Thy truth; for the sake of Thy covenant; for the sake of Thy greatness and Thy glory; for the sake of Thy law, Thy institutions, and Thy memorial; for the sake of Thy mercy and goodness, Thy unity and Thy honour, Thy kingdom, Thy strength, and Thy glory; for the sake of Thy holiness and the sake of Thy praise; O save Thy people.
"As the eyes of servants look up to the master for help, so we come before Thee for protection, we look up to Thee for succour; for the contenders have striven with us, and we are trodden under foot. Save us, O God our Saviour!
"O Everlasting, build in mercy. Save the foundation stone, even the chosen house, the threshing-floor of Arnon, the hidden oracle, Mount Moriah, and the mount where it shall be seen; Thy glorious habitation in the city where David dwelt, goodly Lebanon, the beautiful clime, the joy of all the earth, the perfection of beauty, the dwelling of righteousness, the tranquil habitation, the tabernacle of peace; whither the tribes went up; the precious corner-stone, resplendent Zion, the holy of holies, paved with love, Thy glorious presence, for the heap of sharp-pointed armour. Save us now.
"The voice of him (Elijah) who bringeth glad tidings and saith, Thy salvation will I confirm when He (the Messiah) cometh. It is the voice of my beloved coming:
"And I will declare the glad tidings.
"It is the voice of Him who cometh with myriads of saints, standing on the Mount of Olives:
"And I will declare the glad tidings.
"It is the voice of Him (Messiah) when He cometh at the sound of the great trumpet, when the mountain will divide:
"And I will declare the glad tidings.
"It is the voice of my Beloved that knocketh, and shineth forth from Seir, and the mountains of the East shall divide:
"And I will declare the glad tidings.
"It is the voice of Elijah proclaiming redemption, and the Messiah coming with all His holy ones with Him:
"And I will declare the glad tidings.
"It is the voice of the Bathkol thundering from Zion, proclaiming freedom to the whole world:
"And I will declare the glad tidings.
"It is the voice of Salvation proclaiming the welcome time of the earth's acknowledging the Oneness of His Name:
"And I will declare the glad tidings.
"It is the voice of the Mighty One of heaven and earth, exclaiming, Can a nation be born at once?
"And I will declare the glad tidings.
"It is the voice proclaiming the time of redemption, when the people shall see light, and it shall come to pass at eventide there shall be light:
"And I will declare the glad tidings.
"It is the voice to make glad the Rose of Sharon; for they shall rise who sleep in Hebron:
"And I will declare the glad tidings.
"It is the voice of the Man whose name is the Branch:
"And I will declare the glad tidings.
"It is the voice proclaiming, Arise from the dust, awake, and sing, ye who dwell in the dust:
"And I will declare the glad tidings.
"It is the voice of granting salvation to His people for ever, even to David, and to his children for evermore."Order of the Hosanna Rabba.
"Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again; He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities, and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth unto Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which Thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old."
Hear O Israel