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and things which were to precede the coming of the Mesa siah, the accomplishment of which having taken place, is confirming proof that he is come, I shall now refer the learned Jews to the writers of their Targums, in order to show, that these eminent commentators applied different texts of scripture to the Messiah, as the Christians do.
Åre commentaries made from the Hebrew text into the Chaldee language, and are on that account called Chaldee paraphrases.
There are two which are received by the Jews, with almost equal veneration with the text, viz. the Targum of Onkelos on the law, and that of Jonathan on the prophets. The Targum of Onkelos on the law, and the Targum of Jonathan on the prophets, are received by the Jews as more ancient than the time of Christ, and this is also the opinion of all Christian writers. They are written in the Jerusalem Chaldee dialect, which was the national language of the Jewish nation at the time of Christ. In these Targums, we find, that the passages in the Old Testament are interpreted in the same manner as Christians interpret them respecting the Messiah, which is additional proof that the Messiah is come.
Gen. xlix. 10. “ The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come. This has been understood by Christians in all ages to mean the Messiah, and therefore as the Jewish state and government have passed away, as the sceptre and lawgiver have departed 1800 years since; the true Messiah, according to the obvious meaning of this prophecy, must long ago have come, even prior to the dispersion of that people. For this long period, there has not been any regal power in Judah, no king, no prince, no governor, ruling over them with the emblem of power, the sceptre; no lawgiver, no judicial authority, has been known among them since the coming of Christ. They have for these eighteen hundred years been governed where they have been driven, by foreign monarchs, even to the most remote corners of the earth.
Some of the more modern rabbies, having been sensible of the force of this in aid of the Christian cause, have attempted to show that the word v Shebet, which is rendered to mean a sceptre, the emblem of authority, may also be translated to mean a rod, to signify punishment, and thus that their present punishment, among the different nations, shall not depart from them until the true Messiah comes to take them to their own land: where they are to enjoy uninterrupted rule over all nations. But this does not agree with Onkelos, for his translation runs thus,—66 There shall not be taken away from Judah one having the principality, nor the scribe from the sons of his children, till the Messiah shall come.' This is plain proof, that in his time the word you Shebet, was understood to mean, the principality, or government, should not depart from the Jewish nation until Messiah came.
And this is also in perfect agreement with the Jerusalem Targum, and with Jonathan's, for they translated the word Shebet, to mean the principality, and the word izbovy Shiloh, the Messiah ; from which it must be evident, that the testimonies of these ancient authorities most effectually refute the arguments of the modern Jews, as to the coming of the Messiah.
Numbers xxiv. 17, 56 There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel.” Onkelos, as well as Christians, interprets this to mean the Messiah. The Targum of Jonathan gives the same application, Maimonides also says, that “this was not to
be a kingdom for the Jews only, but that it was to be an universal kingdom for all men." See Melakin. cap. 11. sec. 1.
Micah v. 2. “ But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that is to be ruler in Israel.”—Many of the Jewish writers having seen how this was accomplished in the person of Christ, that he came out of Bethlehem, knowing also, that it was anciently understood, that the Messiah was to be born in that place, which is now no more (of which above) have laboured to give this passage a different application. Some have applied it to Hezekiah, some to Zerubbabel who led them from the captivity in Babylon. But the Targum of Jonathan asserts it to mean the Messiah, as Christians do. The translation is, 5 out of thee shall come forth before me the Messiah, who shall exercise sovereign rule over Israel.”'
Psalm ii. 2. “ The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against his Anointed.” All Christians have understood this to refer to the Messiah : and that it was accomplished in Christ. In the same manner, the apostles understood, that it meant the Messiah. Acts iv. 25—27. xiii. 33. Heb. i. But since the time of the apostles, the Jews have endeavoured to overturn this view, by asserting, contrary to the ancient Jews, before and at the time of Christ, that it applied to David; however, the Targum interprets this Psalm, verse 2d, to mean the Messiah.
Great stress is laid by Jewish writers of modern date concerning the words by, my people ; Dy, thy people ; aby's, his people ; which they presumptuously apply to themselves, and thus they have vainly supposed, that they are the people of God; some Christian writers have been weak enough to fall into this error. But if
we attend to the history, we shall find, that the Jews cannot lay any claim to the high-sounding title of, people of God. For though they had the most astonishing dis-play of the divine goodness in their favour, when they were brought out of Egypt, and had seen those things, which, had they been done to the idolatrous nations, they would have worshipped no other god than the God of heaven; yet in six weeks, they solemnly bowed themselves before the golden calf, saying, these are thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee out of Egypt. If we pursue them through the history, we find, immediately after the death of Joshua, that they forsook the worship of God, and served the idols, “Baalim Baal, and Ashteroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines.” In the time of their kings, the sacred historian has given an impartial account of their idolatries, and notwithstanding the prophets were sent to reclaim them, and the pious example of many who feared God among them, the great majority of the nation frequently abolished the worship of God, and established idolatrous worship.
Jeremiah complains of their ingratitude to God, and transmitted to posterity a list of this shameful abomination. Ch. xi. 6, 7, 8, 10, 13. 66 Then the Lord said unto me, proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them. For I earnestly protested unto your fathers, in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, saying, obey my voice. Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart. They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers. For, according to the number of thy cities, were thy gods, 0 Judah: and ac
cording to the number of the streets of Jerusalem, have ye set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense unto Baal.” Surely if any Jew seriously considers the transactions of his progenitors as a nation, he will not conclude, that they were the only people of God. There was always a distinction made between those Jews who were the people of God, and those who were not. A covenant was made, which was of course conditional, and whoever fulfilled the conditions of that covenant, were called the people of God, and those who did not were cursed. Jer. xi. 2-4. Hear
the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And say thou unto them, thus saith the Lord God of Israel, cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant, which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you; so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God.”
In order to show, that they were never, as a nation, considered as the only people of God, any more than other nations, who worshipped God, were the people of God; we will turn to Hosea ii. 23. “ and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy, and I will say to them which were not my people, thou art my people : and they shall say, thou art my God.”
If the Jews apply these words to themselves as a nation, then they must allow, that there was a time when they were not the people of God, viz. 5 and I will say unto them which were not my people, thou art my people.” If, on the other hand, they be not willing to grant this, they are under the necessity of allowing, that nations who were not the people of God, were to be the people of God, viz. 66 and I will say unto them which were not my people,