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OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS.
CAREFULLY PRINTED FROM THE MOST CORRECT COPIES OF THE PRESENT
MARGINAL READINGS AND PARALLEL TEXTS:
A COMMENTARY AND CRITICAL NOTES;
DESIGNED AS A HELP TO A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE SACRED WRITINGS:
BY ADAM CLARKE, LL.D., F.S.A., &c.
A NEW EDITION, WITH THE AUTHOR'S FINAL CORRECTIONS.
FOR WHATSOEVER THINGS WERE WRITTEN AFORETIME WERE WRITTEN FOR OUR LEARNING; THAT WE, THROUGH
PATIENCE AND COMFORT OF THE SCRIPTURES, MIGHT HAVE HOPE.--Rom. xv. 4.
THE OLD TESTAMENT.
VOLUME 1. GENESIS TO DEUTERONOMY.
PUBLISHED BY T. MASON & G. LANE,
JAMES COLLORD, PRINTER.
THE different nations of the earth, which have received the Old and New Testaments as a Divine
revelation, have not only had them carefully translated into their respective languages, but have also agreed in the propriety and necessity of illustrating them by comments. At first, the insertion of a word or sentence in the margin, explaining some particular word in the text, appears to have constituted the whole of the comment. Afterwards, these were mingled with the text, but with such marks as served to distinguish them from the words they were intended to illustrate; sometimes the comment was interlined with the text, and at other times it occupied a space at the bottom of the page.
Ancient comments written in all these various ways I have often seen; and a Bible now lies before me, written, probably, before the time of Wiclif, where the glosses are all incorporated with the text, and only distinguished from it by a line underneath; the line evidently added by a later hand. As a matter of curiosity I shall introduce a few specimens.
And seide, uwath, or wele, k am chaufid. * sawe the filr. Isa. xliv. 16.
We eete baye as an ore, and with dewe of beven his body was informid or defoulto, till his perts wefidero into licnesse of eglis, and his naplis as naylis or clees of briodis. Dan. iv. 33.
Me that is best in hem is as a palyure, that is a scharp busche, or a thistel or firse. Micah vii. 4.
We schal baptise or christend gou, with the hooly goost and flír, whos whynwinge clothe or fan in his hond.
who ever schal leeve his wiit, gebe be to her a lybel, that is, a lytil book of forsakinge. Matt. v. 31.
Blynde men seen, crokid men wandren, mesels ben maad clene, deef men heeren, deed men rysen agein, port men ben taken to prechynge of the gospel, or been maad kepers of the gospel. Matt. xi. 5.
* schal bolke out, or telle out thingis hid fro making of the world. Matt. xii. 35.
Zee serpentis fruytis of burrownyngis of edurís that sleen her modris, how schuln zee dee fro the dome of helle. Matt. xxiii. 33.
Weroude tetraarcha, that is, prince of the fourth parte. Luke iii. 1.
Comments written in this way have given birth to multitudes of the various readings afforded by ancient manuscripts; for the notes of distinction being omitted or neglected, the gloss was often considered as an integral part of the text, and entered accordingly by succeeding copyists.
This is particularly remarkable in the Vulgate, which abounds with explanatory words and phrases, similar to those in the preceding quotations. In the Septuagint also, traces of this custom are easily discernible, and to this circumstance many of its various readings may be attributed.
In proportion to the distance of time from the period in which the sacred oracles were delivered, the necessity of comments became more apparent; for the political state of the people to whom the Scriptures were originally given, as well as that of the surrounding nations, being in the lapse of time essentially changed, hence was found the necessity of historical and chronological notes, to illustrate the facts related in the sacred books.
Did the nature of this preface permit, it might be useful to enter into a detailed history of commentators and their works, and show by what gradations they proceeded from simple verbal glosses to those colossal accumulations in which the words of God lie buried in the sayings of men. But this at present is impracticable; a short sketch must therefore suffice.
Perhaps the most ancient comments containing merely verbal glosses were the Chaldee Paraphrases, or Targums, particularly those of Onkelos on the Law, and Jonathan on the Prophets ; the former written a short time before the Christian era, the latter about fifty years after the incarnation. These comments are rather glosses on words, than an exposition of things; and the former is little more than a verbal translation of the Hebrew text into pure Chaldee.
The TARGUM YERUSHLEMEY is written in the manner of the two former, and contains a paraphrase, in very corrupt Chaldee, on select parts of the five books of Moses.