Page images

Valafridus Strabo informs us, chapter xxv. de. Reb. Eccles. and is in fact the Vulgata Hodierna.

Now not only in the Verfio Itala, but also in the Vulgata Hodierna the reading is aures autem perfecisti mihi : whence it follows that the ancient reading of the lxx, agreed with the Hebrew, as it now stands. Aquila reads ωτια δε εσκαψας μοι: Theodotion WTIC de xorngtiow Mos, & Hieronymus, aures fodisti mihi.-Also in the Catena Corderiana on the words wro de κατηρτισω μου, we read, αλλ υπακρόν με απήτησας μόνον, ότα γαρ την υπακοήν λέγει. See Expos. Græ. Patr. in Psalm. by Balthasar Corderius, Tom. I. Ed. Antverp. pag. 735. To the same purpose Theodorus Heracleota. So that it is most evident that the genuine reading is that now preserved in the Hebrew ; and probably the Apostle, as Hammond obferves, read owua de

κατηρτισω μου “ merely in order to fit it more perfectly to the incarnation of Christ."! And accordingly the Greek scholiaft also remarks, το δε ώτία κατηρτισω μοι, και μακαριος Παυλος εις το σωμα μεταβαλων ειρηκεν, εκ αγνόων το εβραικον αλλα προς τον οικειον σκοπον τ8τω χρησαμενος. . See Exp. Gr. Pat. a Cord. Antverp. p. 749. And afterwards, as Hammond remarks, the copiers of the Septuagint thought fit to accord it to the Apostolic style, and so put

inftead of ωτια. owia

. The same thing happened in the Latin Vulgate, which, as we have shewn, originally read aures; but in the Roman Psalter, the corruptions of which had given rise to the second Ed. of St. Jerom, and in the Complut. Ed, in the 16th century, we find the reading to be corpus autem &c. In the same manner likewise in the ancient Syriac

; copies, as in Cod. vii. Bibl. Reg. the reading is

but in more modern ; אדנא דן נקבת לי copies we read

.adapted to the reading of St פגרא דן תקנת לי


The book of Psalms, we may observe, abounds more in various readings than any


of the sacred code ; nor need we wonder at this ; for as it consists of odes or songs which were sung upon different occasions, we must suppose that there were very many copies dispersed among the Jewish bards: but according as copies are multiplied, so will be the number of various readings; nor, adds Bishop Hare, did the obfcurity of the book itself contribute a little to encrease the number of errors, as it afforded greater room to the rashness and ignorance of transcribers. Of the historical books there were not so

many copies, as they were records consulted only on particular occasions. And though the law was read every fabbath day in the synagogue, yet the copies were only in the hands of the Priest, the people listening: besides we know the religious attention that was paid to preserving the text of the law pure and incorrupt, which arose from

a divine ordinance that did not extend to other books of the Jewish canon.

We are to observe that the Hebrew poetry naturally resolves itself into short lines, which in general are nearly of the same length; and that this length is for the most part to be determined by the sense. The most manifest indication of Hebrew poetry is in the acrostick or alphabetical Psalms, whose structure is this; the Psalm consists of twenty-two lines or systems of lines, according to the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet; and the several lines or stanzas begin with each letter in order, as it stands in the alphabet. This was certainly intended, as Le Clerc observes, for the affistance of the memory; and was chiefly used in subjects of common use, as maxims of morality, between the detached sentences of which there fubfifted little or no connection. Of this structure there are seven Psalms, the xxv. xxxiv.xxxvii. cxi. cxii. cxix. and cxlv. From these Psalms it appears that Hebrew poetry did not consist in rhyme, or similar and correfpondent founds at the end of the verses, as Le Clerc thought. And as the true pronunciation of Hebrew is lost, and the due quantity and accent of fyllables therefore unknown, it is impossible to ascertain in what the harmony or cadence, the metre or rythm did actually consist. Accordingly every attempt to reduce this poetry to any regular meafure, like that of the Greeks and Romans, has utterly failed. Nevertheless, an attention to Hebrew poetry so far as to distinguish it from profe, by a regular arrangement of sentences, has been found of great use not only in making an approach towards the harmony of poetical numbers, but likewise in discovering the corruptions of the text, as well as the connection between the different members. It is observable that the verses are divided into parts which have a certain relation or correspondence to each other, which Bishop Lowth calls Parallelism; of which, he observes, there are three forts, Synonymous, Antithetic, and Synthetic; and that their different species of Parallelisin are perpetually mixed with each other, which gives a variety and beauty to the composition. Synonymous parallels are those which express the same sentiment in different but equivalent terms, as in Pfalm. xxi. 1. 2. There are also Parallel Triplets, when three lines correspond together, and form a kind of stanza, of which however only two are commonly Synonymous, as Pfalm cxii. IO. There are likewise Parallels of four fines, two distichs being so connected together by the sense and construction, as to make one stanza, as in Psalm xxxvii. These Quaternions are -sometimes correspondent in the alternate lines, as in Psalm ciii. 11. The second sort of Parallels are the Antithetic, when two lines correspond with each other by an opposition of terms and sentiments, as in Psalm xx.


7. 8. xxx. 6. The third sort of Parallelism is the Synthetic or Constructive, which consists only in the similar form of Construction, as in Psalm cxlviii. 7.

[ocr errors]

The sudden change of person in these poems

often surprises us, and appears, at first, to destroy the connexion of the parts ; but we should remember that in the singing of many of them, different parts were assigned to different fingers; and that singing responsively was practised by the Jews is manifeft from Exod. xv. 21. and i Sam. xviii.


In Psalm lxi. the five first verses appear' to have been sung by King David, the vi. and vii. by the people, and again the viii. by the king himself. But this hypothesis will not only contribute to elucidate the connection of the Psalm, but will also add much to our conception of the grandeur and folemnity of the performance. Thus in Psalm xxiv, where the subject is the removal of the ark to Mount Sion, the two first verses were probably sung by the leader of the procession; the third by the persons who composed the procession; the iv. and v. again by the leader, and the vi. by the others. By this time they are arrived at the doors of the temple, and the leader of the procession sings that fine verse, Lift up your

heads Oh ye gates, &c.” Then the Priest from within fings, “ Who is the King of Glory?" To which the leader of the procession answers in that wonderfully sublime verse, “ The Lord, strong

« PreviousContinue »