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The tables of numerals, which Mr. Swinton was enabled to form, are extremely, curious, and intimately connected with the present subject. It appears that unity was expressed by the Pelasgic, or Attic character 1. which for four was repeated as many times. For five, they used a character very much like our small printed (y), from which the Romans, by cutting off the tail, may be supposed to have borrowed their numeral, (v), and by joining another to it at the angular point, their x, or mark for ten. Their ten was represented by a character something like the Hebrew caph, or inverted ?, in the Roman numerals, and 1 on the right hand made it 100, thus ; »l. The Palmyrene pe, which resembles our written figure 3, stood for 20, though the same letter in Hebrew represents 80. The thousand was expressed by the two characters resembling inverted C's
, and unity added, thus; > l. Two thousand was > > Il. Ten thousand >>>l, &c. For this character, the inverted ว)
in time, became a substitute ; and, at last, when united with the I, it formed the D, or mark for 500. In an inscription containing Palmy. rene numerals, published by Gruter, the five was a prostrate > which, when set upright, is precisely the Roman character. Indeed, it is easy to perceive, that this mode of notation resembles the Roman in many respects; but yet the latter 'has some peculiarities of its own. We know that a less numeral standing before a greater,
is to be subtracted from it; and when put after, is to be added to it. Thus, XC is 90, and CX 110; but how should we alter and pervert such numbers as these, CCI OCDXLIX, T5 LX, 1ɔXCIV, X and M, unless we had a clue to solve the difficulty ? Now, it is extremely probable, that something like both these modes of notation, among other contrivances for abbreviation, was introduced into the copies of the Holy Scriptures ; and, in those dark and dreary ages, when the transcripts were made, and all Europe was immersed in ignorance and barbarism, it would have been almost miraculous, if the Jewish Rabbins, to whom, as well as to the rest of the world, the Hebrew had for many ages been a dead language, could have understood what no one else did; or, in CONVERTING TROSE COMPLEX NUMERALS INTO WORDS AT LENGTH, could have avoided such mistakes, as seem to have been inevitable.
To render the subject of notation in general more intricate and perplexing, it was not unusual for the Greeks, when subject to the Romans, to mix Latin letters with their own, particularly on their coins, and in their inscriptions : but if they ever mixed their numerals, we know that the same character X), which, with the Romans, expressed ten, with the Greeks represented a thousand.
“ The learned Vignoles,” says Dr. Kennicott, vol. i. p. 531. “ has offered a conjecture, which well deserves to be considered. It is, that the numbers in the Hebrew Bible were at some former period expressed by marks analogous to our common figures, 1, 2, 3, &c. and that these marks for numbers, having perhaps been communicated by the Arabians, together with their vowel points, were used by some, if not all, the Jewish transcribers, before the Doctors of Tiberias published their particular copy of the Hebrew Bible, in
which all contractions were discontinued, and the numbers were consequently expressed by words at full length.” This conjecture, however new, is countenanced by some numbers, the mistakes in which are most easily accounted for, by admitting the addition, omission, or transposition, of a cipher. In 1 Sam. vi. 19. we read, that the Lord smote 50070 Philistines, for looking into the ark; but in the Syriac and Arabic versions, the sum is only 5070. In 1 Kings, iv. 26. we read, that Solomon had 40,000 stalls for horses; but in 2 Chron. ix. 25. only 4000. And in 2 Chron. xiii. 3. 17. we read, that Abijah took the field with an army of 400,000 • chosen men' of Judah, and was opposed by Jeroboam at the head of 800,000 chosen men’ of Israel; and that there were slain of the men of Israel 500,000. The preceding author's conjecture seems here very probable, that a cipher has been improperly inserted in each of these three sums; the subtraction of which will reduce them to 40,000, 80,000, and 50,000, the very numbers contained in the old Latin translation of Josephus, and doubtless expressed originally in the Greek, which has been altered to corroborate the numbers in Chronicles. It should have been remarked here, that the cipher with the Arabians was a mere point, (.) easily inserted where it was not, and easily omitted where it really was. The Greeks, in all probability, borrowed the use of their point, or short dash, from them; and its power, when put under any of their numerals, it is well known, is a multiplication by a thousand.
This might serve, perhaps, to account for the final ciphers in the numbers of the tribes, and also for the remarkable circumstance, that in all numbers above a thousand, in the books of the Old Testament, before the time of Ezra, there are but about six that end with one (, and not half that number which end with any other figure. All the rest end with two or three O's; and the instances, as they appear from the Concordances, are nearly three hundred.
An ingenious author has lately attempted to reconcile, with some more probable accounts, the enormous numbers mentioned in the Hindoo Chronology, by omitting two or three of the ciphers; and the experiment has succeeded better than could have been expected. The same mode of correction has been applied with success to two or three passages
of Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus. See A Companion to the Holy Bible, p. 63. 64. 182. where the reader will find much curious information and conjectural criticism on the present subject.
If any one should be disposed to doubt the incorrectness of the numbers in the Bible, as they now stand, it may be only necessary for him to refer to the learned Dr. Kennicott's Dissertations on the State of the Hebrew Text, where this subject is frequently mentioned; or, particularly to the three copies of the catalogue of those who returned from the captivity, in consequence of the decree of Cyrus. These three copies, taken from Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esdras, notwithstanding
variations that are to be found in them at present, must have originally agreed, being evidently meant to record the very same names, with the very same numbers. The numbers, though varying much in several of the particular sums, are yet added ap, in all the three printed catalogues, and form the same. total, 42,360; " and yet," says Dr. Kennicott, “ the real sum total, at present, of the largest of the three sets of numbers is less than 42,360 by 8400.”
These general remarks on the different modes of notation used by the Jews, on the various causes which might have led to error and misrepresentation, without the least wilful intention to alter or deprave the Holy Scriptures, may serve, at least, to remove the objections of serious, well-disposed persons, with respect to the very extraordinary magnitude of some numbers in the inspired writings, and their discrepancy with respect to others, that are used on the same occasions.
Similar causes have produced similar errors in ALL ancient books; and, in reprinting modern works, mistakes with respect to numbers are most frequent, and seem unavoidable.
When we consider the great antiquity of the Hebrew Scriptures, the different
in which they were written, the times through which they passed, the
great number of copies that have been made from them by Scribes of the Jewish nation in different ages, under persecutions and privations, by no means favorable to literary accuracy, we may consider it as a signal blessing of Divine Providence, that the Holy Bible should have reached us in such purity and integrity as we now find it; that there should be no various readings, that can affect any essential article of faith, or practice; nor any thing that can detract from the general credibility of its narratives: but that all the principal discrepancies arising from arbitrary and variable signs, not well understood, from partial obliterations of some copies, perhaps, or, lastly, from unavoidable ignorance and misapprehension, should relate only to NAMES of PERSONS and PLACES, and mere NUMBERS.
Ηπαρ, says Hesychius, έξω του σπλάγχνου, ή βαθύγειος γη. Martin. here observes—" Profundum solum, simile hepati succum habenti multum et dividenti per corpus ; aut respiciendum ad v teipoç ” and Kuster observes-- Videtur referendum ad žreigos, quod Hesychius hic cum trag confuderit.” The following quotation from the Thesaurus Lingua Grace of H. Stephens is sufficient to vindicate Hesychius : “ Agroetas apud Apollonii Schol. dicit ήπαρ, sicut et ούταρ, παρά πολλούς dici την εύκαρπον γήν, terram frugiferam; per allegoricum illud, Promethei jecur ab aquila laniari, declarari dicens, optimam regionem Promethei ab Aeto fluvio vastari.”
E. H. BARKER, Trin. Coll. Camb. July 1. 1812.
ON THE TYRIAN INSCRIPTION.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CLASSICAL JOURNAL. I feel myself much obliged to your correspondent ED. CALM, for his interpretation of the Tyrian Inscription, of which I gave some account in your Ninth Number. He will allow me, however, to make a few observations on the new readings which he proposes.
1. I do not find that E.C. has given a sufficient reason for setting aside the reading proposed by Barthelemy, and adopted by me, when we add an aleph to jy. The arguments, which I submitted to you on this subject, are not answered by your learned correspondent; he must, therefore, allow me to consider them in the mean time, at least, as valid.
2. E. C. reads the doubtful letter, of which I have said so much, as a mem in one place, and as a shin in all the other instances of its occurrence. I think he will see, on further reflection, that he must make his choice between the two. The same letter (for the form is still the same) cannot have the power both of m and of sh. 3. E. C. reads the last letter of the first line as a daleth. I am still inclined to think with Barthelemy, Swinton, and Bayer, that it is a resh. Let its form be accurately examined, and compared with that of the resh in other parts of the Inscription:
4. 77 IAN-constantly, or firmly beloved. I have, I confess, some difficulties about this new reading. 138 was used, undoubtedly, in Hebrew, as a particle of affirmation, assent, &c. It repeatedly recurs as such in the 27th chapter of Deuteronomy, and seems to amount in signification to, “ be it so,"~" this is true,"-or some such expression. But I know of no example in Hebrew, which, I think, could strictly justify the phrase 77 ox. In the Syro-Chaldaic, however, E. C. may find some authority for his reading. 'The word TOX occurs once as a substantive noun in the 0. T. The passage is in the 65th chapter of Isaiah – 10xx than', “shall bless
« himself in the God of truth.” This yersion is strictly accurate, for 7x is evidently in regimen; and therefore this translation is to be preferred to that of the LXX, who take 138 adjectively súhoynoóvuory γαρ τον θεόν τον αληθινον. Now the Syriac translator renders these sane words to post malo, “ skall bless himself truly in God.” The Syriac, indeed, has the verb in the Part, Ethp., while in the Hebrew it is in the Fut. Ithp.; and 261
can only be translated adverbially. In Syro-Chaldaic the word was probably thus written ; and it is certainly used adverbially in the N. T.' Thus in St. Matthew, ’Auriu déyw viv, &c. It appears, then, that amen gradually became more extended in its use and signification. But though I have said as much as I can în favor of the hypothesis of E. C. I am yet doubtful whether 77 99X be consistent with the idiom of the Hebrew, or the Syriac, or the Chaldaic. I have likewise to observe, that 77, which
יתברך באלהי אמן
ܕܡܬܟܪܟ ]ܠܗܕ ܐܡܢܢ
דודי In the Song of Solomon
שמר שן .6
E.C. of course reads for 777, ought to be, (to serve his purpose) a participle. I believe, however, that he will find no example of the occurrence of 77, or 777, from which it can be inferred that it is ever used but as a substantive noun. recurs very frequently—“ my love,” or, “ amica mea,” as Jerome has it. But if 777 be always used as a substantive noun, the difficulty, with respect to the reading proposed, becomes yet greater.
5. The next remark, which I have to make, relates to the parti cle), which E. C. translates s otherwise. I recollect only one example, by which this interpretation can be sanctioned by the English version of the 0. T.-1719") ---“ Otherwise it shall come to pass." (1 Kings, i. 21.) Now upon this single, and, I must add, dubious example, (for it is not authorised either by the Septuagint or by the Vulgate,) E. C. can hardly expect us to translate the , in our Phoenician Iuscription" otherwise,” when ten thousand examples
“ prove that the common meaning of this conjunctive particle was simply " and.”
preserved a second time.” In order to suit the sense, which E. C. would give to the Inscription, the verb ought to be in the part. pret. Kal — 91aw. It is true, that the vau is sometimes, though rarely, omitted.
7. DRTY 12 19 70832—" Benassur, safely preserved, son of Obedassur." E. C. connects these words with the preceding part of the sentence, by supposing the intervention of the conjunctive particle
with,” which, however, is not to be found in the original. I would suggest to E. C. that the use which he makes of the part. pret. Kaldoes not seem to be quite authorised; and his nominatives absolute are likewise rather unusual.
8. Op you—“who equally heard their cries.” I suppose, that E. C. translates the particle of similitude ), by the word “ equally.” I do not recollect any authority for this. But where does he get the relative pronoun
" who?" 5p cannot be translated “ their cries :" it signifies, - their voice." If the inscriber had intended to write « their cries,” or rather “ their voices,” we should have had onbo.
“6 and blessed them.” I can find no conjunctive particle here which may be translated “and." Tha' is the third person sing. of the fut. Kal—of the verb 773. How then can it be rendered in the past time?
10, In the new readings proposed by E. C. the collocation of the words does not always appear to me to be usual.
Upon the whole, then, I hope E. C. will pardon me, if I recommend it to him to re-consider the Inscription.
- יברכם .9
Logie Almond, July 17. 1812.