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HISTORICAL AND CRITICAL
THE OLD TESTAMENT,
A NEW TRANSLATION
M. KALISCH, Phil. Doc., M.A.
I BORE YOU ON EAGLES' WINGS, AND BROUGHT YOU TO MYSELF,-XIX. 4.
ALMOST marvellous is the progress which the Biblical sciences have made since the beginning of this century; it amounts to a total regeneration, and
comprises nearly all branches of sacred literature. The knowledge of the holy tongue has been materially promoted by the profoundest grammatical and lexicographical researches; the vigorous study of Biblical history has facilitated our insight into the organic connection of the different books; whilst the critical analysis of universal history has disclosed the natural relation of the people of Israel with the other nations of antiquity; a host of eminent travellers have explored the geography of the East; have made us familiar with the customs of the Oriental nations; and have described many usages and institutions, which enable us correctly to understand numerous obscure Biblical passages and allusions.
However, all these efforts have hitherto remained isolated; no attempt has been made to unite them in one focus, and to bring them into immediate application on the exposition of the sacred books; the existing English Commentaries are mostly without the refreshing and animating breath of modern science; they are essentially composed of antiquated materials; they cannot entirely satisfy the educated or the learned reader, for the spirit of our time is that of progress and historical disquisition. It is the aim of the present work to attempt that amalgamation of modern enquiries; in the simplest possible form we have endeavoured to illustrate the sacred text in its various relations, and thus systematically to prepare the way for a more comprehensive penetration into the spirit of the Biblical records.
That such undertaking is really an urgent desideratum, is confirmed by the following remarks of the Rev. S. Davidson (in Kitto's Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature, i. p. 455),
cultivates other branches than Oriental literature, we should recommend the larger edition, in which he will find the necessary references and a statement of the
In this smaller edition everything is omitted which might be deemed superfluous by the general reader.
We have commenced with the publication of the Second Book of the Pentateuch, because it forms the centre of Divine revelation, and because it is best calculated to convey a correct idea of the spirit and tendency of our Commentary; we have treated the explanation of the Mosaic laws with more copiousness than is the case in the existing Commentaries; for it is by its laws that the people of Israel was distinguished from all the other nations; by its theology it became the holy, the chosen people; whilst by its manners and customs it is only a member in the common family of the Oriental nations (see pp. vii. viii). The commentary on Genesis will follow next, and then the other books in due order.
The author, by observing, in conclusion, that he has endeavoured to sum up, as it were, the previous researches, in order to promote, however modestly, the Biblical exegesis, by calm and impartial combinations, has, at the same time established his claim to the indulgent examination of the learned public; he has undertaken the arduous work, strengthened by his love for the sacred and earliest sources of human civilization; and he willingly confides it to the benign protection of Divine grace.
London, June 1st., 1855.
§ 1.-IMPORTANCE, NAME, CONTENTS, DIVISION, AND
UNITY OF EXODUS.
1. The history of Israel, and the progress of Divine
1 Comp. Gen. xv. 13–16, and Exod. xii. 40.