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These collections, though generally made while the events were fresh in memory, and by persons who were cotemporary with the periods to which they severally relate, appear to have been thrown into the present form, and to have received some additions, at a much later period. Hence, the days when the transactions took place are sometimes spoken of as being long since past, and things are frequently mentioned as “ remaining to this day." (Josh. iv. 9; v.9; vii. 26; viii. 29 ; x, 27; Judg. i. 21, 26; xv. 19; xviii. 12; 1 Sam. vi. 18; ix. 9; xxvii. 6; 2 Kings, xiv. 7 ; xvii. 41.)
“ While the twelve tribes were united under one government, their history is represented in one general point of view. When a separation took place, the kingdom of Judah, from which tribe the Messiah was to descend, was the chief object of attention with the sacred historians; they, however, occasionally treat of the events that occurred in Samaria, especially when connected with the concerns of Judah. It should be remarked that the sacred writers, in chronological accounts, frequently calculated in round numbers, where accuracy was not of any consequence. They likewise assumed various epochs. Thus in Genesis, Moses reckoned only by the ages of the patriarchs. In Exodus, he, as succeeding prophets, dated from the departure from Egypt; and others, who lived in later times, from the building of the temple ; from the reigns of their several kings; from their captivities and deliverances, and other important national events; or, lastly, from the reigns of foreign kings, whom, if they described by names different from those under which they are mentioned in profane history, it was in accommodation to the titles by which they were known to the Jews.” (See Dan. i. 7.)
The difficulties that occur on a superficial perusal of the scriptures chiefly originate in a want of attention to these considerations; and they who have not the leisure and industry which are necessary to elucidate such particulars, will do well to consult some able commentator, or spend their time in collecting the obvious instruction which is richly spread through every page of the sacred volume, rather than to engage in .profitless speculations, or entangle themselves in objections which result from ignorance.
The historical, like all the other parts of scripture, have every mark of genuine and unsophisticated truth. Many relations are interwoven with accounts of other nations, now entirely extinct, yet no inconsistencies have been detected. A connected and dependent chain of history, a uniform and pervading spirit of piety, and co-operating designs, invariably prevail in every part of the sacred books; and the historical, unfold the accomplishment of the prophetic parts.”—(Grey's Key.)
THE BOOK OF JOSHUA.
This book is the first in order of those generally termed historical. The whole of the Jewish and Christian churches, with the exception of a few individuals, have uniformly acknowledged it to be the work of Joshua, the servant of Moses, in support of which, the following reasons offer themselves to our consideration.
“ 1. It is well known that Moses kept an accurate register of all the events that took place during his administration in the wilderness; at least, from the giving of the law till the time of his death. Now, it is not likely that Joshua, the constant companion and servant of Moses, could see all this, be convinced, as he must be, of its utility, and not adopt the same practice; especially as, at the death of Moses, he came into the same office. It is much more likely that he was instructed by Moses to continue that work which he himself had begun.
2. It is certain that Joshua did record some of the events which transpired under his administration ; " and Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of the Lord,” (chap. xxiv. 26,) which renders it still more probable that he kept a regular register of events.
3. Whoever the author might be, it is more than barely hinted that he was one of those who passed into Canaan, for he says, “ The Lord had dried up the waters, until we were passed over.” (Chapter v. 1.)
4. The latter part of the twenty-fourth chapter, where the death and burial of Joshua are related, and which was obviously added by a later hand, differs in style from the rest of the book; the same as the style of the latter part of Deuteronomy differs from the rest of that book.
Against this opinion, it is urged, that there are several things inserted in this book which show that it could not have been coeval with the transactions
it records. The statement (chap. iv. 9,) that the twelve stones set up as a memorial of the passage of the Jordan remain to this day,' was evidently written at a much later period. The same remark applies to the account of Ai. (chap. viii. 28.) Thus again we read (chap. xv. 63,) that the children of Judah could not drive out the Jebusites, the ancient inhabitants of Jerusalem, “but the Jebusites, dwell with the children of Judah to this day.” This last passage shows, however, that the book of Joshua could not have been compiled later than the reign of David, for he took the strong hold of Zion, and expelled the Jebusites. (2 Sam. v.7—9.)
But in reply to these objections, it may be asked, “may not the same argument be urged against the genuineness of some of the books of the Pentateuch ?" And if it is not allowed to have any weight in that case, why should it in this?
Upon the whole, then, it appears that the book, in the main, is the composition of Joshua himself.1. Because Joshua wrote it. 2. Because it is the relation of his own account, in the conquest, division and settlement of the promised land. 3. Because it contains a multitude of particulars that only himself, or a constant eye witness, could possibly relate. 4. Because it was evidently designed to be a continuation of the book of Deuteronomy, and is so connected with it, in narrative, as to prove that it must have been immediately commenced on the termination of the other.”---(C. B. Vol. 2, p. 129.)
This book contains an account of the mission of Joshua,—the spies who went to view the land,—the miraculous passage of the Jordan,--the renewal of the covenant,—the conquest of Jericho, and Ai, the history of the Gibeonites,—the conquest of the five kings,—the miracle of the sun standing still, the conquest of Canaan completed,—general division of Canaan,-cities of refuge, Joshua's last and faithful addresses to the tribes,—his death, &c.
“ It comprises the history of about seventeen years, and is one of the most important documents in the old covenant. Between this book and the five books of Moses, there is the same analogy as between the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The Pentateuch contains a history of the foundation of the Jewish church, and the laws by which it was to be governed. The book of Joshua gives an account of the establishment of that church in the land of Canaan, according to the oft repeated declarations and promises of God. The Gospels give an account of the origin and laws of Christianity, and the Acts of the Apostles give an account of the actual establishment of the Christian church, according to the predictions and promises of its great founder. Thus then, the Pentateuch bears a striking relation to the gospel, and the book of Joshua to the Acts of the Apostles. On this principle, it would be well to read these parts of the Old and New Testaments together, as they reflect a strong and mutual light upon each other.
“Whoever goes immediately from the reading of the Pentateuch to the reading of the Gospels, and from the reading of Joshua to the reading of the Acts, will carry with him advantages from this plan, which he will seek in vain from any other. To see the wisdom and goodness of God in the ritual of