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satisfactory, it cannot be necessary, and may be presumptuous, to attempt to account for the author's not mentioning his proper name; butitis, at least, no improbable conjecture, that, as the word Solomon signifies peace, the omission of it might be intended to intimate, that he had forfeited his name of peace, since, by his former transgression, he had troubled Israel; (1 Kings xi. 14, 23;) and as the name Koheleth, or Preacher, is derived from his custom of addressing assembled auditories, he might design, by the assumption of this title, to declare himself a true penitent, and a sincere advocate of religion. As, notwithstanding his former vices, he was now become a real convert, and a zealous preacher of righteousness, there seems a peculiar propriety in selecting an appellation expressive of this circumstance.
IV. Obj. “Foreign, and particularly Chaldaic, expressions occur in the book, which evince its origin in an age later than that of Solomon.”* From the great importance attached to this objection by the advocates of the late composition of the book, they appear to consider themselves as having here occupied unassailable ground; it is, nevertheless, untenable, as must be evident from the consideration, that words and inflections pronounced by
Grotius, Prolegom, in Eccles. Eichhorn, Einleitung, $ 658.
some critics to be Aramæan, are discovered in books decidedly more ancient than Solomon. Granting, therefore, the existence of some expressions bearing the impression of a foreign stamp, this will be no proof of its being a production of so late a date as the Babylonian captivity; especially as it would be so easy, in the present instance, to account for their introduction, since Solomon might have acquired them by conversation with the many foreign women whom he loved; (1 Kings xi. 1, 2;) or they might have been imported in the intercourse which subsisted at that period between the Israelites and the neighbouring nations.*
But we may go farther, and fairly question whether the objection be founded in fact. Although a few words used by the author of the Ecclesiastes occur nowhere else, except in the Chaldee part of Daniel and in the Targums, none have been produced in form and inflection unequivocally Chaldaic; and, for any thing that appears to the contrary, they may have been pure Hebrew words, in familiar circulation while that language continued to be vernacular. That words employed by any of the Old Testament writers are found in the sister dialects, is no argument against their purity, for this is very often the case with such as are confessedly genuine Hebrew. Neither are the amaz deyoueva, or words occurring only once, any evidence of a foreign origin; they are discoverable in almost every book of the Old Testament, and only serve to demonstrate the immense wreck which the Hebrew language has sustained in the lapse of time.
* 1 Kings iv. 24, 34, X, 24, 25, 28. 2 Chron. i. 16, ix. 14, 23, 24, 26. Pococke, Notæ in Portu Mosis, p. 151, ed. Twells. Huet, Dem. Evangel. prop. iv. p. 247.
Chaldaisms, in fact, supply no sure criterion to determine the late origin of a work in which they are found; for Hebrew, Syriac, Chaldee, and Arabic, having emanated from one common source, the higher we ascend, the greater will be the resemblance.* Hence the numerous dialectical coincidences which have been observed in the book of Job, the most ancient of all the canonical writings.
In short, the argument I have been combating is completely hollow and unsound.
It can neither be proved, that the author of the Ecclesiastes has used words or phrases which are not pure Hebrew, nor, if it could, would it be conclusive evidence against ascribing it to the royal son of David. It is not required, therefore, to enter into a minute examination of the words which have been pointed out as indicative of an age posterior to Solomon's; but a brief review of them is given in the subjoined note, from which it will further appear, that the objection is entirely groundless.*
* Michaelis, Not. et Epim. in Lowth, p. 200, Oxon. 1810. Bishop Magee, On Atonement, No. 59.
only two can at all be ,גומץ ,פשר ,אביונח ,סיר ,pure Hebrew
* Of the four words pronounced by Grotius to be foreign, and not
, , , , , , considered as belonging to his argument; for the first occurs Exod. xvi. 3, and the second may be derived from a genuine Hebrew root, as may be seen in the following note to ch. xii. 5. The two last only occur ch. viii. I, and x. 8, and, though they are found in Chaldee, they may likewise be Hebrew.-(See Calovius, Proleg. in Eccles.; Bossuet, Pref. in Eccles.; Huet, ut supra; Findlay, Vindication of the Sacred Books, par. iii. $ 4, p. 471; Witsius, Miscel. Sac. 1. i. cap. 18, 936; Carpzov, Introd. ad Lib. Bibl. par. ii. cap. 5, $ 2.) Eichhorn has been more copious in his appeals than Grotius, and notices the following words as modern or Aramæan. 1. Swa in ch. viii. 17. But it occurs in Jonas i. 7, 12; it is a compound particle, and is found nearly in the same form in Canticles iii. 7. 2. 0717 ch. ii. 22; which occurs, however, in Job, Proverbs, and often in the Psalms. 3. 179 ch. iv. 2, 3; a contraction for 737 78, which is used in Genesis, &c. 4. 73), a particle only occurring in the Ecclesiastes, yet it betrays no marks of a Chaldaic or foreign form, 5. 117ws, like the former, only occurs in the Ecclesiastes, at the same time it has all the appearance of being pure Hebrew. 6. 017 niya and 119 17'yn, which occur nowhere else, but the roots are of frequent occurrence. 7. 7891, a priest, ch. v. 5, and in this sense it occurs Malachi iii. 1. It is, however, often applied to human agents, for which reason it cannot be inferred that a book, where it is found in the sense of a priest, is of later origin than the age of Solomon. 8. Dand ch. viii. 11; but, thongh it occurs Esther i. 20, and in the Chaldee of Daniel, why should we suppose it not to have been in use among the ancient Hebrews, since the form is not specifically Chaldaic? 9. D'0778 ch. ii, 5; yet this occurs also in Canticles iv, 13. Such are the words instanced by Eichhorn as being more modern than Solomon; yet of these it may justly be said, first, that not one of them is indubitably, or even probably, of the Chaldaic form : secondly, some are anat day, from which nothing can be concluded; and, thirdly, others are found either in Solomon's acknowledged writings, or in older books; consequently, none of them can be evidence of the late composition of the Ecclesiastes.
It is further observed by Eichhorn, that the genius of the Chaldee language appears still stronger in the frequent compounded words with
V. Obj. “ The book contains some of the peculiar notions of the Pharisees and Sadducees, against which it appears to be directed; and since these sects arose, as is generally supposed, about the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, it cannot be allowed an earlier date."* This objection is built upon the assumption, that the Pharisean and Sadducean notions are discoverable in it; an assumption resting upon no substantial basis. There appears, on the contrary, the strongest reason for believing, that it could not receive any colouring from the peculiar opinions of these sects; for, if it were adopted into the canon previous to their existence, the thing is impossible; or, if afterwards, it is inconceivable that
the prefix w, which, says he, coincides with the Chaldee 1. One is surprised at such an observation from any Hebrew scholar, since it is as clear as the day, that the prefix w is very common in the Psalms, and in Solomon's other productions, and is likewise found in Judges and Genesis. It certainly occurs frequently, about seventeen or eighteen times, in the Ecclesiastes, and Desvoeux thinks it is employed to form the parallelism of the versification ; (Philol. Obs. 1. ii. c. 1, $ 2;) but, whatever may be thought of this conjecture, it would be uncritical to infer, from its frequent occurrence, that the book was not written by Solomon. There are also, says Eichhorn, other Chaldaic-like expressions; but he has given no examples, and other Oriental scholars cannot perceive in the book of Ecclesiastes any thing, either in the style or composition, unsuitable to the age of Solomon.
Zerkel, in his Untersuchungen, or Researches respecting the Preacher, pretends to discover some Greek expressions in the Ecclesiastes, which, however, is a palpable mistake. See Jahn, Introduct. ud Vet. Test. § 213.
* Jahn, Introduct. ad Vet. Test. § 213, 215. Bauer, Hermeneut. Sac. $68. Horne, Introduction to the Scriptures, vol. iv. p. 130, ed. 2da.
Le Clerc apud Witsii Miscel. Sac. vol. i. p. 227.