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TRANSLATED FROM THE HEBREW TEXT,
WITH AN INTRODUCTION,
CRITICAL, PHILOLOGICAL, AND EXEGETICAL
Head Master of the Hull Hebrew Schools.
Translator of the “ PROVERBS” and “JOB."
TO BE HAD OF
AND OF THE TRANSLATOR.
The principles on which the Author proceeded in preparing his commentary on Job and the Proverbs of Solomon have been followed also in the present work. He has laid under contribution all the means within his reach in order to ascertain the original state of the Hebrew text, and the true and unsophisticated meaning of that text. He has constantly had recourse to the collection of various readings made by Kennicott and De Rossi ; he has compared the renderings of the lxx., the Targum, the Syriac, the Arabic, the Vulgate, and other ancient versions ; he has consulted the best critical commentaries; he has availed himself of the results of modern philological researches; and he has conducted the whole under the influence of a disposition to place himself in the times of the sacred writers-surrounded by the scenery which they exhibit, and impressed by the different associations, both of a political and a spiritual character, which they embody. In all his investigations he has endeavoured to cherish a deep conviction of the inspired authority of the books which it has been his object to illustrate, and of the heavy responsibility which attaches to all who undertake the interpretation of the oracles of God.
A.E. 29, FRANCIS STREET, WEST,
As the gift of prophecy was the greatest which God gave to men upon earth, so the Prophet, as being the immediate instrument of revealing the will of God to the people, was the greatest, the most important, the most august, venerable, and useful person in the land of Israel. The prophets were to the people the philosophers, the wise men, the divines, and the teachers of truth and godliness. By their intercourse with God, they were His mediators with the people, and their persons as well as their office, were considered as peculiarly sacred. They did not mix with the people, and only appeared in public when they came to announce the will of God.
Most of the ancient Prophets were extraordinary messengers. They were not bred up to the prophetic function : as the office was immediately from God, as well as the message they were to deliver to the people, so they had no previous education--in reference to such an
for no man knew whom the God of Israel might please to call to announce His righteousness to the people. Several of them were taken out of the walks of common life. Jonah appears to have been a private person at Gath-Hepher in Galilee, before God called him to prophesy against Nineveh. Elisha was a ploughman at Abel-Meholah (1 Kings xix., v. 16) when called to the prophetic function. Zechariah appears to have been a husbandman, and a keeper of cattle (ch, xiii., v. 5). Amos was a herdsman of Tekoa, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit (ch. i., v. 1; vii. vv. 14-15); and no doubt several others of the ancient Prophets had an equally mean origin ; but the office and the calling dignified the man.
The Prophets were accustomed to go in mean clothing; either sackcloth, hair-cloth, or coats of skin, appear to have been their ordinary clothing They spoke against the pride and vain-glory of man ; and their very garb and manner gave additional weight to the solemn words they delivered. They lived in a retired manner ; and, when not sent on special errands, they employed their vacant time in the instruction of youth ;-as this is probably what we are to understand by the Schools of the Prophets, such as those over which Elijah, Elisha, and Samuel presided ; though no doubt there were some of their disciples that were made partakers of the prophetic gift.
The Prophets do not appear to have been called to a life of celibacy. The matrimonial state was not considered as disqualifying men from officiating in the most holy offices.
In ancient times those who were afterwards called Prophets were termed Seers (I Sam. ix., v. 9), “ha-roeh,” the seeing person; be who.