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ther modern Tranflators, have pointed according to the Maforite Copy, yet I have never heard of any Christian, but who has esteemed those two Prophecies to be demonftrative Proofs that the true Meffiah has been long fince come, and that thefe Prophecies do particularly point out the Time when our Lord Jefus became Man.

Neither is there any Reason why we fhould give much Heed to their Vowel Points, or condemn the LXX, or any other ancient Verfion, when they have tranflated a Word differently from the Signification which the Maforitic Points have now affixed to it. Mr. Johnson, at the End of his Holy David, and his old English Tranflators cleared, has given us a long Catalogue of Paffages wherein our Tranflators of the Pfalms in the Common-Prayer Book have varied from the LXX, and followed the prefent Hebrew Copies. Yet I believe in moft of those Places the Hebrew Text, if read without the Maforitic Vowel Points, will be as agreeable to the LXX, and other ancient Tranflations, as to our English Vertion. To give an Inftance or two. Pfal. ix. 20. our Tranflation is, put them in Fear: The LXX and Latin Vulgate is, Jet thou a Lawgiver over them. The Hebrew Word here is 1, which if you derive it from timuit, fignifies Fear, but derived from docuit, fignifies an Inftructor, a Giver of Rules, or Lawgiver. And very properly may refer to Chrift, who was to come to give a new Law, which fhould take the Gentiles into his Fold; and therefore no Wonder that the Maforites fhould choose the other Interpretation. Pfal. lxviii. 26. our Tranflation is, The Singers go before: The LXX and Latin Vulgate read, The Princes go before. The Hebrew Word fignifies both Singers and Princes. The Maforites have diftinguifhed the different Significations of this Word, by putting a Point on the right Side of the first Letter when it fignifies Singers, and on the left when it fignifies Princes. But no one is obliged to think Singers the most proper Signification in this Place, because the Maforites have by their Point fixed it to that Senfe. For thofe folemn Songs of Praife, here fpoken of, were generally compofed by the Princes or Heads of the People, and they went before in the Proceffion. Thus Mofes, Exod. xv. compofed and began the Song which the People fung when they faw the Egyptians drowned in the Sea. And Miriam, the Sifter of Mofes and Aaron, went before the Women in the Dance on the fame Occafion. So Deborah alfo and Barak were Leaders in the Song they compofed for their Victory over Jabin and his General Sifera, as we read in the 5th Chapter of Judges. So alfo we find, 1 Sam. xix. 20. that when the Company of Prophets prophefied, that is, fung divine Hymns and Pfalms, Samuel, who was a Prince, ftood as appointed over them. And I Chron. xv. 27. when the Ark was brought to Jerufalem, David himself, the King of Ifrael, fung and danced before it. As therefore in the folemn publick Rejoicings the Princes, who were alfo Singers, led the Choir, the holy Penman has ufed a Word which fignifies both Princes and Singers, and for that Reafon, I think, the Hebrew fhould not be pinned down (as it is by the Maforitic Point) to one Senfe, though a Tranflator into another Language cannot give it that double Senfe in one Word.

One might be apt to think the LXX differed very much from the

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prefent Hebrew Copy in Pfal. Ixxxiii. 1. where the LXX and Latin Vulgate read, Who fhall be compared unto thee, O God? And our English Bibles, Hold not thy Tongue, O God: Yet this Difference arifes only from the Ambiguity of one Hebrew Word, 7, which fignifies borh Similitude and Silence; and may be literally tranflated into Latin, Deus non eft Similitudo tibi, or Deus non eft Silentium tibi. Pfal. cxxxii. 1. the LXX and Latin Vulgate read, Lord, remember David and all his Humility: But our Tranflation has it, and all his Trouble. This likewife proceeds from the Ambiguity of the Hebrew Word y, which fignifies both Humility and Trouble or Affliction, and the Context will bear either of these Words. But the Mafcrites by their Points have fixed the Signification to Trouble or Affliction, and our English has followed them, and the LXX have taken the other Senfe of the Word. I will give you one Inftance more from Gen. xlvii. 31. where our Tranflation renders, Ifrael bowed himself upon the Bed's Head. But the LXX render, he bowed himself or worshipped upon the Top of his Staff. And fo the Apoftle cites it, Heb. xi. 21. The Hebrew Word fignifying either a Bed or a Staff. Which different Significations the Maforites have diftinguished by their different Vowel Points. But whether they have always rightly diftinguished their ambiguous Words is the Queftion. Nor are the LXX to be blamed, if they often differ from them with regard to the true Meaning of ambiguous Words. For where Words have various Significations, different Tranflators will tranflate them variously.

But the various Readings between the LXX and our English Bibles do not arife only or chiefly from the Ambiguity of many Hebrew Words, and to which the Maforites by their Points have fixed a Senfe different from that in which they were underftood by the LXX: Many Differences have alfo rifen from a Change in the Hebrew Letters, as well as from the Points. For although, as before obferved, the Jews have not wilfully altered the Letters of the Hebrew Text, yet Variations have arisen in them through the Likeness of one Letter to another, which has occafioned the Tranfcribers to miftake, and put the one for the other. Tranfcribers aifo, fometimes writing haftily, have by Carele nefs or by Overfight tranfpofed a Letter, and put that Letter before, which fhould be behind the other, of which I will give you fome Inftances.

Pfal. xxii. 16. The prefent Hebrew Copies read, Dogs have compafled me; the Aembly of the Wicked have enclosed me AS A LION my Hands and my Feet. A Reading one can hardly tell how to make Sense of. But in the LXX and all ancient Tranflations, and in our English Bibles alfo, it is, THEY PIERCED my Hands and my Feet. Yet we cannot say that the Jews did originally corrupt this Text wilfully; the Corruption might eafily proceed from a Miftake of the Tranfcriber, or his Carelefnefs in writing and 1, which might eafily happen in hafty Writing, and fo instead of 1 foderunt, they wrote ficut Leo. This Reading being got into one Copy, many other Copies followed it, and the Jews finding this Reading (though a very abfurd one) deprived the Chriftians of a prophetick Text relating to the Paffion and Death of the bleffed Jefus, have ftuck to, and still retain, this corrupt

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Reading in their Bibles. So Habac. i. 5. our Bibles from the prefent Hebrew read, Behald ye among the Heathen: But the LXX, behold ye Defpifers. Which plainly proceeded from a Mistake occafioned through the likeness of two different Letters, 1 and 7. The prefent Hebrew Copies have in gentibus, and that from which the LXX tranDated had contemptores.

2 Chron. xx. 1. We read in our Bibles, the Children of Moab, and the Children of Ammon, and with them other befide the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to Battle. But you may obferve, as the Word other is printed in the Italick Letter, it is not in the Hebrew Text, but put in by the Tranflators; for in the Hebrew it is, the Children of Ammon, and with them of the Ammonites: So the Tranflators put in the Word other, and changed the Word of to befide, in order to make it good Senfe. But the LXX have tranflated it, and with them of the Mineans. The learned Bochart has judiciously obferved (Geogr. Sacr. part 1. 1. 2. c. 22.) that this Miftake has happened in the Hebrew Text through the Overfight of a Tranfcriber, who through Carelefnefs tranfpofed the Letter, and inftead of fetting it after the Letter, as he ought to have done, fet it before that Letter. So inftead of writing ans, he wrote, and others tranfcribing from this Copy propagated the Miftake. The Hebrew Word which the LXX tranflates Mineans, is, according as now pointed by the Maforites, read Mebunim, as appears from our Bibles, 2 Chron. xxvi. 7. And the Place of their Habitation is called Maon, Joshua xv. 55. and gave Name to the Wildernefs near which they lived, 1 Sam. xxiii. 24, 25.

There are a great many various Readings in the Hebrew Bibles arifing from the Points: For there were two eminent Jews, one at Tiberias called Ben Afcher, the other at Babylon called Ben Naphtali, who about the fame Time undertook to publish each of them a correct Edition of the Hebrew Scriptures with the Points, wherein they differ much: The Eastern Jews, for the moft Part, follow the Edition of Ben Naphtali, and the Western that of Ben Afcher. There are alfo other different Readings between the Eastern and Western Jews. But this chiefly concerns the Points. However, the Jews, alfo acknowledge many various Readings, even with regard to the Letters; which various Readings are noted in the Margin of the Hebrew Bibles, and are called Keri, Ketib. Keri fignifies read, and Ketib, written. The Word which ftands in the Text is not to be read, and therefore is called Ketib, i, e. the written: But the other is called Keri, the read, because though it is not written in the Text, but in the Margin, yet it is to be read inftead of that in the Text. This Keri and Ketib is the Work of the Maforites, and is fuppofed to have proceeded from hence. Defigning to publifh a correct Edition of their Bible, they took that which they esteemed their most authentick Copy, and not daring to make any Alterations in the Text of that Copy, yet finding in other Copies a different Reading, which they judged to be the more genuine, they placed it in the Margin, and gave Directions to their Scholars to read that marginal Word instead of the other, thereby giving_the_Preference to that Word, though they feared to put it into the Text. Bishop Walton, in his Appendix to his Polyglot, has given us all thofe

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various Readings of Ben Afcher and Ben Naphtali of the Oriental and Occidental Jews, and of the Keri and Ketib. But those who are skilled in the Hebrew, even thofe who are most zealous for the Integrity of the Hebrew Text, tell us, that there are many other various Readings in the Manufcript Bibles, though I know of none who has taken the Pains to make a Collection of them, as Dr. Milles and others have done the various Readings of the New Teftament.

The LXX is the moft ancient Tranflation of the Scriptures that has been made. Some indeed pretend that there was an elder Verfion of the Jewish Scriptures into Greek, made about the Time of the Babylonifh Captivity, or foon after, before the Reign of Cyrus, from whence Pythagoras and Plato learned many Things, for which they cite one Ariftobulus, fome Fragments of whofe Books have been preserved, and handed down to us by Clemens Alexandrinus, Eufebius, and others of the ancient Fathers, who generally accufe the Philofophers of having ftolen many of their Doctrines from the holy Scriptures, and corrupted them with a Mixture of their own Notions. But though Ariftobulus and the Fathers accuse them of this Theft, they do not fay that the Scriptures, but only fome fmall Parts of the Law, were tranflated into Greek. And this is faid only on Conjecture, and not hiftorical Authority. They tell us, that Pythagoras, Plato, and other Philofophers, travelled into Egypt and Babylon, and others Parts where the Jews were difperfed, from converfing with whom they learned many of thofe Things which were written in the Scriptures, and which could not be known but from thence. All this might eafily be done, without a Tranflation of any Book of the Scriptures into Greek. No Queftion can be made but that Pythagoras and Plato, and other Philofophers who travelled into Chaldea and Egypt to obtain the Learning of thofe Countries, and for which Purpose they fojourned there many Years, would, in order to attain that Learning, endeavour to attain a tolerable Knowledge in the Language of the Country where they fojourned, that they might freely converfe with the learned Men of thofe Countries, who before the Macedonian Conquefts had no Occafion to learn Greek: The Learning of that Age refiding amongst them, and they had no Occafion to feek any from the Greeks. But when the Macedonians had conquered the Perfian Empire, and after the Death of Alexander had there erected their feveral Kingdoms, the Greek became the Court-Language in all thofe Nations, and the Learning of Egypt and Chaldea was tranflated into Greek, which by that Means became an univerfal Language over all thofe Parts of the World.

When the Greeks were thus become Masters of all thofe Countries, and had there for a confiderable Time firmly established their Empire, Ptolemy Lagus, the first Macedonian King of Egypt, gave great Encouragement to all learned Men to fettle in his Dominions: And his Son Ptolemy Philadelphus erected a noble Library for their Ufe at Alexandria his capital City. Demetrius Phalereus, his Library Keeper, acquainted that Prince, that the Law of the Jews ought to have a Place in his Library. The King answered him, that it was his Fault if it was not put there. Demetrius replied, that it must be tranflated firft, because it was written in a Language and Characters unknown to the Egyp

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tians. Hereupon the King refolved to write to the High Prieft of the Jews to fend him the Book, with Interpreters to tranflate it. Then Arifleas, a great Officer in the Court, and who wrote the History of this Tranfaction, represented to the King, that he could not fend Ambaffadors to the Jews, while he kept fo many Jezus in Slavery in his Kingdom, being no less than 100,000; all which, with their Wives and Children, the King redeemed from their Mafters, paying out of his Treafury twenty Drachmas a Head for every one. Then Demetrius acquainted him, that it would be convenient to write to the High Prieft at Jerufalem, to fend him fix Men out of every Tribe, noted for their Learning, Virtue and Age, to make an exact Verfion of the Books of the Jews. Arifteas gives us a Copy of the King's Letter to Eleazar the High Prieft, and the Names of the 72 Perfons fent to tranflate the Law, with an Account of the magnificent Prefents the King made to the High Prieft, to the Temple at Jerufalem, and to the 72 Interpreters, fo that, as Dean Prideaux has computed, the whole Expence the King was at on this Occafion amounted to near two Millions of our Money. Demetrius conducted the Interpreters to a Houfe prepared for them in the Iland Pharus, where in 72 Days they finished their Verfion.

Ariftobulus, who was Tutor to Ptolemy Phyfcon, Philo alfo, who lived in our Saviour's Time, and was Contemporary to the Apoftles, and Jofephus, who faw and wrote the Hiftory of the Deftruction of Jerufalem by the Romans, all speak of this Tranflation as made by 72 Interpreters, by the Care of Demetrius Phalereus, under the Reign of Ptolemy Philadelpus. And all Chriftians, who mention how this Tranflation was made, for 1500 Years, fpeak of it as made by 72 Interpreters (or by 70, which is the nearest round Number to 72, and from thence gave it the Name of the Septuagint) in the Time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, without any Exception. It is true, they have differed in feveral Circumftances relating to the Manner of their Tranflating, as whether they were fhut up every Interpreter in a Cell by himself, or whether there were two in one Cell, or whether they conferred all together as often as they pleafed, and other Circumftantials: But in the main both Jews and Chriftians were agreed until after the Year 1500, that this most ancient Greek Tranflation was made by 72, or, as called for the Sake of the round Number, 70 Interpreters, in the Time of Ptolemy Philadelphus. But fince that Time Criticks are arifen who queftion every Thing; and not only the Circumstances wherein the Ancients both Jews and Chriftians differ in their Relation, but even where they all agree, are denied. They queftion whether this Verfion was made in the Reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, by 72 Perfons. And fay, were not 12 enough, and more than fufficient?

Du Pin, who, in his Compleat Hiftory of the Canon of Scripture, has rejected all the Accounts given by Arifteas, Ariftobulus, Philo, Jofephus, and the Ancient Fathers concerning this Tranflation, as fabulous Stories, yet grants the Tranflation to be as old as the Reign of Philadelphus. For, fpeaking of the Hiftory of Arifteas, the ancienteft and moft particular of all that is written concerning this Matter, he fays, "That how fabulous foever it be in its Circumstances, it has a true "Founda

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