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  • THE BOOKS OF THE OLD COVENANT
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    I. THE PENTATEUCH, OR FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES

    GENESIS

    This book has its name from the Greek word [genaesis] used by that ancient Greek version of the Scriptures commonly called the Septuagint which signifies generation, or origination; because this book gives an account of the origin or beginning of all things. It begins at the creation of the heavens and the earth; gives an account of the creation and fall of man, the history of the first inhabitants of the world, the origin of nations, the call of Abraham, and the history of the Hebrew patriarchs, and ends at the death of Joseph: comprehending the space of about 2400, or at the lowest computation of 2369 years.

    EXODUS

    The name of this book is also borrowed from the Greek [exodos] Exodus, which signifies the going out or departure; because the departure of the people of Israel from Egypt to go to Canaan, or the land of Judea, promised by God to their father, is the most remarkable fact contained in the book. It gives an account of the birth of Moses, the Jewish lawgiver; and contains a history of the transactions of one hundred and forty-five years, beginning at the death of Joseph, B. C. 1635, where the book of Genesis ends, and coming down to the erection of the tabernacle in the wilderness of Arabia, at the foot of Mount Sinai, B. C. 1490.

    LEVITICUS

    This book has the name of Leviticus, because it treats principally of the Levites, the descendants of Levi, the son of the patriarch Jacob, who were all devoted to the service of God in the tabernacle and temple. It also gives an account of the priests, the sons and descendants of Aaron, the brother of Moses; and of all the ceremonies to be observed in the different sacrifices and religious feasts prescribed by God. It seems to contain little more than the history of what passed during the eight days employed in consecrating Aaron and his sons to the priesthood. The above occurrences are supposed to have taken place in the year of the world 2514, i. e., 1490 years before Christ.

    NUMBERS

    This book has been called Numbers from its containing an account of the numbering and marshaling the Israelites in their journey through the wilderness, or desert of Arabia, to the promised land. It comprehends the history of between thirty-eight and thirty-nine years; i. e., from 1490 B. C. to 1451 B. C., and gives a distinct account of the several stages of the Israelites' journey; the various occurrences in the way; their trials, rebellions, punishments, deliverances, conquests, i.e., with the several laws and ordinances not mentioned in the preceding books; together with a repetition and explanation of several others which had been previously mentioned. The whole forming a most interesting history of the justice, mercy, an providence of God.

    DEUTERONOMY

    This book has its name from the Greek, Deuteronomion, which signifies the second law, because it contains a repetition of the preceding laws. It includes an account of what passed in the wilderness from the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year after the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, to the seventh day of the twelfth month of the same; making in the whole the history of the transactions of exactly five weeks. Beside a repetition of the previous laws, this book gives us the finest illustrations of each, so that it may well be called a spiritual comment on the laws of Moses; and also an account of the death of this most eminent man, and all his last discourses with the people. It is continued about seven days after his death. For he began to deliver his first discourse to the people in the plains of Moab the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year, chap. i, 3, and died on the first day of the twelfth month of the same year, aged one hundred and twenty years.

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