General Reference Glossaries
Of Interest to Theosophists
of Christian Bible
Events and Terms
List of Authorities, and Books Quoted fromxi
The Creation and Fall of Man1
The Trial of Abraham's Faith
Jacob's Vision of the Ladder
Receiving the Ten Commandments
Samson and his Exploits
[Pg viii]CHAPTER IX.
Jonah Swallowed By A Big Fish
Conclusion Of Part First
The Miraculous Birth Of Christ Jesus
The Star Of
The Song of The Heavenly Host
The Divine Child Recognized, and Presented with Gifts
The Birth-place of Christ Jesus
The Genealogy of Christ Jesus
The Slaughter of The Innocents
The Temptation, and Fast Of Forty Days
The Crucifixion of Christ Jesus
The Darkness at the Crucifixion
"He Descended into Hell."
The Resurrection and Ascension of Christ Jesus
The Second Coming of Christ Jesus, and the Millennium
Christ Jesus as Judge of the Dead
Christ Jesus as Creator, and Alpha and Omega
The Miracles of Christ Jesus, and the Primitive Christians
Christ Crishna and Christ Jesus
Christ Buddha and Christ Jesus289
The Eucharist or Lord's Supper305
The Worship of the Virgin Mother
The Birth-day of Christ Jesus
[Pg x]CHAPTER XXXVI.
Paganism in Christianity
Why Christianity Prospered
The Antiquity of Pagan Religions
THE OLD TESTAMENT.
THE CREATION AND FALL OF MAN.
The Old Testament commences with one of its most interesting myths, that of the
of Genesis, the substance of which is as follows:
After God created the "Heavens" and the "Earth," he said: "Let there be light,
and there was light," and after calling the light Day, and the darkness Night,
the first day's work was ended.
God then made the "Firmament," which completed the second day's work.
Then God caused the dry land to appear, which he called "Earth," and the waters
he called "Seas." After this the earth was made to bring forth grass, trees,
&c., which completed the third day's work.
The next things God created were the "Sun,"[1:1] "Moon" and [Pg 2]"Stars," and
after he had set them in the Firmament, the fourth day's work was ended.[2:1]
After these, God created great "whales," and other creatures which inhabit the
water, also "winged fowls." This brought the fifth day to a close.
The work of creation was finally completed on the sixth day,[2:2] when God made
"beasts" of every kind, "cattle," "creeping things," and lastly "man," whom he
created "male and female," in his own image.[2:3]
"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on
the seventh[2:4] day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested on the
seventh day, from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh
day, and sanctified it, because that in it he had rested from all his work which
God created and made."
After this information, which concludes at the third verse of Genesis ii.,
strange though it may appear, another account of the Creation commences, which
is altogether different from the one we have just related. This account
"These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day (not days) that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens."
It then goes on to say that "the Lord God formed man of the dust of the
ground,"[2:5] which appears to be the first thing he made. After planting a
garden eastward in Eden,[2:6] the Lord God put the man therein, "and out of the
ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and
good for food; the Tree of Life,[2:7] also in the midst of the garden, and the
Tree of [Pg 3]Knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water
the garden, and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads." These
four rivers were called, first Pison, second Gihon, third Hiddekel, and the
After the "Lord God" had made the "Tree of Life," and the "Tree of Knowledge,"
he said unto the man:
"Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou
eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Then the Lord God, thinking that it would
not be well for man to live alone, formed—out of the ground—"every beast of the
field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he
would call them, and whatever Adam called every living creature, that was the
After Adam had given names to "all cattle, and to the fowls of the air, and to
every beast of the field," "the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam,
and he slept, and he (the Lord God) took one of his (Adam's) ribs, and closed up
the flesh instead thereof."
"And of the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and
brought her unto Adam." "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and
they were not ashamed."
After this everything is supposed to have gone harmoniously, until a serpent
appeared before the woman[3:2]—who was afterwards called Eve—and said to her:
"Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
The woman, answering the serpent, said:
"We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the
tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it,
lest ye die."
Whereupon the serpent said to her:
[Pg 4]"Ye shall not surely die" (which, according to the narrative, was the
He then told her that, upon eating the fruit, their eyes would be opened, and
that they would be as gods, knowing good from evil.
The woman then looked upon the tree, and as the fruit was tempting, "she took of
the fruit, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband, and he did eat." The
result was not death (as the Lord God had told them), but, as the serpent had
said, "the eyes of both were opened, and they knew they were naked, and they
sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons."
Towards evening (i. e., "in the cool of the day"), Adam and his wife "heard the
voice of the Lord God walking in the garden," and being afraid, they hid
themselves among the trees of the garden. The Lord God not finding Adam and his
wife, said: "Where art thou?" Adam answering, said: "I heard thy voice in the
garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself."
The "Lord God" then told Adam that he had eaten of the tree which he had
commanded him not to eat, whereupon Adam said: "The woman whom thou gavest to be
with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat."
When the "Lord God" spoke to the woman concerning her transgression, she blamed
the serpent, which she said "beguiled" her. This sealed the serpent's fate, for
the "Lord God" cursed him and said:
"Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy
Unto the woman the "Lord God" said:
"I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt
bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule
Unto Adam he said:
"Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the
tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the
ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.
Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the
herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou
return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and
unto dust shalt thou return."
[Pg 5]The "Lord God" then made coats of skin for Adam and his wife, with which
he clothed them, after which he said:
"Behold, the man is become as one of us,[5:1] to know good and evil; and now,
lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live
forever" (he must be sent forth from Eden).
"So he (the Lord God) drove out the man (and the woman); and he placed at the
east of the garden of Eden, Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every
way, to keep the way of the Tree of Life."
Thus ends the narrative.
Before proceeding to show from whence this legend, or legends, had their origin,
we will notice a feature which is very prominent in the narrative, and which
cannot escape the eye of an observing reader, i. e., the two different and
contradictory accounts of the creation.
The first of these commences at the first verse of chapter first, and ends at
the third verse of chapter second. The second account commences at the fourth
verse of chapter second, and continues to the end of the chapter.
In speaking of these contradictory accounts of the Creation, Dean Stanley says:
"It is now clear to diligent students of the Bible, that the first and second
chapters of Genesis contain two narratives of the Creation, side by side,
differing from each other in most every particular of time and place and
Bishop Colenso, in his very learned work on the Pentateuch, speaking on this
"The following are the most noticeable points of difference between the two
"1. In the first, the earth emerges from the waters and is, therefore, saturated
with moisture.[5:3] In the second, the 'whole face of the ground' requires to be
[Pg 6]"2. In the first, the birds and the beasts are created before man.[6:1] In
the second, man is created before the birds and the beasts.[6:2]
"3. In the first, 'all fowls that fly' are made out of the waters.[6:3] In the
second 'the fowls of the air' are made out of the ground.[6:4]
"4. In the first, man is created in the image of God.[6:5] In the second, man is
made of the dust of the ground, and merely animated with the breath of life; and
it is only after his eating the forbidden fruit that 'the Lord God said, Behold,
the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil.'[6:6]
"5. In the first, man is made lord of the whole earth.[6:7] In the second, he is
merely placed in the garden of Eden, 'to dress it and to keep it.'[6:8]
"6. In the first, the man and the woman are created together, as the closing and
completing work of the whole creation,—created also, as is evidently implied, in
the same kind of way, to be the complement of one another, and, thus created,
they are blessed together.[6:9]
"In the second, the beasts and birds are created between the man and the woman.
First, the man is made of the dust of the ground; he is placed by himself in the
garden, charged with a solemn command, and threatened with a curse if he breaks
it; then the beasts and birds are made, and the man gives names to them, and,
lastly, after all this, the woman is made out of one of his ribs, but merely as
a helpmate for the man.[6:10]
"The fact is, that the second account of the Creation,[6:11] together with the
story of the Fall,[6:12] is manifestly composed by a different writer altogether
from him who wrote the first.[6:13]
"This is suggested at once by the circumstance that, throughout the first
narrative, the Creator is always spoken of by the name Elohim (God), whereas,
throughout the second account, as well as the story of the Fall, he is always
called Jehovah Elohim (Lord God), except when the writer seems to abstain, for
some reason, from placing the name Jehovah in the mouth of the serpent.[6:14]
This accounts naturally for the above contradictions. It would appear that, for
some reason, the productions of two pens have been here united, without any
reference to their inconsistencies."[6:15]
Dr. Kalisch, who does his utmost to maintain—as far as his knowledge of the
truth will allow—the general historical veracity of this narrative, after
speaking of the first account of the Creation, says:
"But now the narrative seems not only to pause, but to go backward. The grand
and powerful climax seems at once broken off, and a languid repetition appears
to follow. Another cosmogony is introduced, which, to complete the perplexity,
is, in many important features, in direct contradiction to the former.
"It would be dishonesty to conceal these difficulties. It would be
weakmindedness and cowardice. It would be flight instead of combat. It would be
an ignoble retreat, instead of victory. We confess there is an apparent
[Pg 7]Dr. Knappert says:[7:1]
"The account of the Creation from the hand of the Priestly author is utterly
different from the other narrative, beginning at the fourth verse of Genesis ii.
Here we are told that God created Heaven and Earth in six days, and rested on
the seventh day, obviously with a view to bring out the holiness of the Sabbath
in a strong light."
Now that we have seen there are two different and contradictory accounts of the
Creation, to be found in the first two chapters of Genesis, we will endeavor to
learn if there is sufficient reason to believe they are copies of more ancient
We have seen that, according to the first account, God divided the work of
creation into six days. This idea agrees with that of the ancient Persians.
The Zend-Avesta—the sacred writings of the Parsees—states that the Supreme being
Ahuramazdâ (Ormuzd), created the universe and man in six successive periods of
time, in the following order: First, the Heavens; second, the Waters; third, the
Earth; fourth, the Trees and Plants; fifth, Animals; and sixth, Man. After the
Creator had finished his work, he rested.[7:2]
The Avesta account of the Creation is limited to this announcement, but we find
a more detailed history of the origin of the human species in the book entitled
Bundehesh, dedicated to the exposition of a complete cosmogony. This book states
that Ahuramazdâ created the first man and women joined together at the back.
After dividing them, he endowed them with motion and activity, placed within
them an intelligent soul, and bade them "to be humble of heart; to observe the
law; to be pure in their thoughts, pure in their speech, pure in their actions."
Thus were born Mashya and Mashyâna, the pair from which all human beings are
The idea brought out in this story of the first human pair having originally
formed a single androgynous being with two faces, separated later into two
personalities by the Creator, is to be found in the Genesis account (v. 2).
"Male and female created he them, and blessed them, and named their name Adam."
Jewish tradition in the Targum and Talmud, as well as among learned rabbis,
allege that Adam was created man and woman at the same time, having two faces
turned in two opposite directions, and that the Creator separated the feminine
half from him, in order to make of her a distinct person.[7:4]
[Pg 8]The ancient Etruscan legend, according to Delitzsch, is almost the same as
the Persian. They relate that God created the world in six thousand years. In
the first thousand he created the Heaven and Earth; in the second, the
Firmament; in the third, the Waters of the Earth; in the fourth, the Sun, Moon
and Stars; in the fifth, the Animals belonging to air, water and land; and in
the sixth, Man alone.[8:1]
Dr. Delitzsch, who maintains to the utmost the historical truth of the Scripture
story in Genesis, yet says:
"Whence comes the surprising agreement of the Etruscan and Persian legends with
this section? How comes it that the Babylonian cosmogony in Berosus, and the
Phœnician in Sanchoniathon, in spite of their fantastical oddity, come in
contact with it in remarkable details?"
After showing some of the similarities in the legends of these different
nations, he continues:
"These are only instances of that which they have in common. For such an account
outside of Israel, we must, however, conclude, that the author of Genesis i. has
no vision before him, but a tradition."[8:2]
Von Bohlen tells us that the old Chaldæan cosmogony is also the same.[8:3]
To continue the Persian legend; we will now show that according to it, after the
Creation man was tempted, and fell. Kalisch[8:4] and Bishop Colenso[8:5] tell us
of the Persian legend that the first couple lived originally in purity and
innocence. Perpetual happiness was promised them by the Creator if they
persevered in their virtue. But an evil demon came to them in the form of a
serpent, sent by Ahriman, the prince of devils, and gave them fruit of a
wonderful tree, which imparted immortality. Evil inclinations then entered their
hearts, and all their moral excellence was destroyed. Consequently they fell,
and forfeited the eternal happiness for which they were destined. They killed
beasts, and clothed themselves in their skins. The evil demon obtained still
more perfect power over their minds, and called forth envy, hatred, discord, and
rebellion, which raged in the bosom of the families.
Since the above was written, Mr. George Smith, of the British Museum, has
discovered cuneiform inscriptions, which show conclusively that the Babylonians
had this legend of the Creation and [Pg 9]Fall of Man, some 1,500 years or more
before the Hebrews heard of it.[9:1] The cuneiform inscriptions relating to the
Babylonian legend of the Creation and Fall of Man, which have been discovered by
English archæologists, are not, however, complete. The portions which relate to
the Tree and Serpent have not been found, but Babylonian gem engravings show
that these incidents were evidently a part of the original legend.[9:2] The Tree
of Life in the Genesis account appears to correspond with the sacred grove of
Anu, which was guarded by a sword turning to all the four points of the
compass.[9:3] A representation of this Sacred Tree, with "attendant cherubim,"
copied from an Assyrian cylinder, may be seen in Mr. George Smith's "Chaldean
Account of Genesis."[9:4] Figure No. 1, which we have taken from the same
work,[9:5] shows the tree of knowledge, fruit, and the serpent. Mr. Smith says
"One striking and important specimen of early type in the British Museum
collection, has two figures sitting one on each side of a tree, holding out
their hands to the fruit, while at the back of one (the woman) is scratched a
serpent. We know well that in these early sculptures none of these figures were
chance devices, but all represented events, or supposed events, and figures in
their legends; thus it is evident that a form of the story of the Fall, similar
to that of Genesis, was known in early times in Babylonia."[9:5]
This illustration might be used to illustrate the narrative of Genesis, and as
Friedrich Delitzsch has remarked (G. Smith's Chaldäische Genesis) is capable of
no other explanation.
M. Renan does not hesitate to join forces with the ancient commentators, in
seeking to recover a trace of the same tradition among the Phenicians in the
fragments of Sanchoniathon, translated into Greek by Philo of Byblos. In fact,
it is there said, in speaking of the first human pair, and of Æon, which seems
to be the translation of Havvâh (in Phenician [Pg 10]Havâth) and stands in her
relation to the other members of the pair, that this personage "has found out
how to obtain nourishment from the fruits of the tree."
The idea of the Edenic happiness of the first human beings constitutes one of
the universal traditions. Among the Egyptians, the terrestrial reign of the god
Râ, who inaugurated the existence of the world and of human life, was a golden
age to which they continually looked back with regret and envy. Its "like has
never been seen since."
The ancient Greeks boasted of their "Golden Age," when sorrow and trouble were
not known. Hesiod, an ancient Grecian poet, describes it thus:
"Men lived like Gods, without vices or passions, vexation or toil. In happy
companionship with divine beings, they passed their days in tranquillity and
joy, living together in perfect equality, united by mutual confidence and love.
The earth was more beautiful than now, and spontaneously yielded an abundant
variety of fruits. Human beings and animals spoke the same language and
conversed with each other. Men were considered mere boys at a hundred years old.
They had none of the infirmities of age to trouble them, and when they passed to
regions of superior life, it was in a gentle slumber."
In the course of time, however, all the sorrows and troubles came to man. They
were caused by inquisitiveness. The story is as follows: Epimetheus received a
gift from Zeus (God), in the form of a beautiful woman (Pandora).
"She brought with her a vase, the lid of which was (by the command of God), to
remain closed. The curiosity of her husband, however, tempted him to open it,
and suddenly there escaped from it troubles, weariness and illness from which
mankind was never afterwards free. All that remained was hope."[10:1]
Among the Thibetans, the paradisiacal condition was more complete and spiritual.
The desire to eat of a certain sweet herb deprived men of their spiritual life.
There arose a sense of shame, and the need to clothe themselves. Necessity
compelled them to agriculture; the virtues disappeared, and murder, adultery and
other vices, stepped into their place.[10:2]
The idea that the Fall of the human race is connected with agriculture is found
to be also often represented in the legends of the East African negroes,
especially in the Calabar legend of the Creation, which presents many
interesting points of comparison with the biblical story of the Fall. The first
human pair are called by a bell at meal-times to Abasi (the Calabar God), in
heaven; and in place of the forbidden tree of Genesis are put agriculture [Pg
11]and propagation, which Abasi strictly denies to the first pair. The Fall is
denoted by the transgression of both these commands, especially through the use
of implements of tillage, to which the woman is tempted by a female friend who
is given to her. From that moment man fell and became mortal, so that, as the
Bible story has it, he can eat bread only in the sweat of his face. There
agriculture is a curse, a fall from a more perfect stage to a lower and
Dr. Kalisch, writing of the Garden of Eden, says:
"The Paradise is no exclusive feature of the early history of the Hebrews. Most
of the ancient nations have similar narratives about a happy abode, which care
does not approach, and which re-echoes with the sounds of the purest
The Persians supposed that a region of bliss and delight called Heden, more
beautiful than all the rest of the world, traversed by a mighty river, was the
original abode of the first men, before they were tempted by the evil spirit in
the form of a serpent, to partake of the fruit of the forbidden tree Hôm.[11:3]
Dr. Delitzsch, writing of the Persian legend, observes:
"Innumerable attendants of the Holy One keep watch against the attempts of
Ahriman, over the tree Hôm, which contains in itself the power of the
The ancient Greeks had a tradition concerning the "Islands of the Blessed," the
"Elysium," on the borders of the earth, abounding in every charm of life, and
the "Garden of the Hesperides," the Paradise, in which grew a tree bearing the
golden apples of Immortality. It was guarded by three nymphs, and a Serpent, or
Dragon, the ever-watchful Ladon. It was one of the labors of Hercules to gather
some of these apples of life. When he arrived there he found the garden
protected by a Dragon. Ancient medallions represent a tree with a serpent twined
around it. Hercules has gathered an apple, and near him stand the three nymphs,
called Hesperides.[11:5] This is simply a parallel of the Eden myth.
The Rev. Mr. Faber, speaking of Hercules, says:
"On the Sphere he is represented in the act of contending with the Serpent, the
head of which is placed under his foot; and this Serpent, we are told, is that
which guarded the tree with golden fruit in the midst of the garden of the
Hesperides. But the garden of the Hesperides was none other than the garden of
Paradise; consequently the serpent of that garden, the head of which is crushed
beneath the heel of Hercules, and which itself is described as encircling with
its [Pg 12]folds the trunk of the mysterious tree, must necessarily be a
transcript of that Serpent whose form was assumed by the tempter of our first
parents. We may observe the same ancient tradition in the Phœnician fable
representing Ophion or Ophioneus."[12:1]
And Professor Fergusson says:
"Hercules' adventures in the garden of the Hesperides, is the Pagan form of the
myth that most resembles the precious Serpent-guarded fruit of the Garden of
Eden, though the moral of the fable is so widely different."[12:2]
The ancient Egyptians also had the legend of the "Tree of Life." It is mentioned
in their sacred books that Osiris ordered the names of some souls to be written
on this "Tree of Life," the fruit of which made those who ate it to become as
Among the most ancient traditions of the Hindoos, is that of the "Tree of
Life"—called Sôma in Sanskrit—the juice of which imparted immortality. This most
wonderful tree was guarded by spirits.[12:4]
Still more striking is the Hindoo legend of the "Elysium" or "Paradise," which
is as follows:
"In the sacred mountain Meru, which is perpetually clothed in the golden rays of
the Sun, and whose lofty summit reaches into heaven, no sinful man can exist. It
is guarded by a dreadful dragon. It is adorned with many celestial plants and
trees, and is watered by four rivers, which thence separate and flow to the four
The Hindoos, like the philosophers of the Ionic school (Thales, for instance),
held water to be the first existing and all-pervading principle, at the same
time allowing the co-operation and influence of an immaterial intelligence in
the work of creation.[12:6] A Vedic poet, meditating on the Creation, uses the
"Nothing that is was then, even what is not, did not exist then." "There was no
space, no life, and lastly there was no time, no difference between day and
night, no solar torch by which morning might have been told from evening."
"Darkness there was, and all at first was veiled in gloom profound, as ocean
The Hindoo legend approaches very nearly to that preserved in the Hebrew
Scriptures. Thus, it is said that Siva, as the Supreme Being, desired to tempt
Brahmá (who had taken human form, and was called Swayambhura—son of the
self-existent), and for this object he dropped from heaven a blossom of the
sacred fig tree.
[Pg 13]Swayambhura, instigated by his wife, Satarupa, endeavors to obtain this
blossom, thinking its possession will render him immortal and divine; but when
he has succeeded in doing so, he is cursed by Siva, and doomed to misery and
degradation.[13:1] The sacred Indian fig is endowed by the Brahmins and the
Buddhists with mysterious significance, as the "Tree of Knowledge" or
There is no Hindoo legend of the Creation similar to the Persian and Hebrew
accounts, and Ceylon was never believed to have been the Paradise or home of our
first parents, although such stories are in circulation.[13:3] The Hindoo
religion states—as we have already seen—Mount Meru to be the Paradise, out of
which went four rivers.
We have noticed that the "Gardens of Paradise" are said to have been guarded by
Dragons, and that, according to the Genesis account, it was Cherubim that
protected Eden. This apparent difference in the legends is owing to the fact
that we have come in our modern times to speak of Cherub as though it were an
other name for an Angel. But the Cherub of the writer of Genesis, the Cherub of
Assyria, the Cherub of Babylon, the Cherub of the entire Orient, at the time the
Eden story was written, was not at all an Angel, but an animal, and a
mythological one at that. The Cherub had, in some cases, the body of a lion,
with the head of an other animal, or a man, and the wings of a bird. In Ezekiel
they have the body of a man, whose head, besides a human countenance, has also
that of a Lion, an Ox and an Eagle. They are provided with four wings, and the
whole body is spangled with innumerable eyes. In Assyria and Babylon they appear
as winged bulls with human faces, and are placed at the gateways of palaces and
temples as guardian genii who watch over the dwelling, as the Cherubim in
Genesis watch the "Tree of Life."
Most Jewish writers and Christian Fathers conceived the Cherubim as Angels. Most
theologians also considered them as Angels, until Michaelis showed them to be a
mythological animal, a poetical creation.[13:4]
[Pg 14]We see then, that our Cherub is simply a Dragon.
To continue our inquiry regarding the prevalence of the Eden-myth among nations
The Chinese have their Age of Virtue, when nature furnished abundant food, and
man lived peacefully, surrounded by all the beasts. In their sacred books there
is a story concerning a mysterious garden, where grew a tree bearing "apples of
immortality," guarded by a winged serpent, called a Dragon. They describe a
primitive age of the world, when the earth yielded abundance of delicious fruits
without cultivation, and the seasons were untroubled by wind and storms. There
was no calamity, sickness, or death. Men were then good without effort; for the
human heart was in harmony with the peacefulness and beauty of nature.
The "Golden Age" of the past is much dwelt upon by their ancient commentators.
One of them says:
"All places were then equally the native county of every man. Flocks wandered in
the fields without any guide; birds filled the air with their melodious voices;
and the fruits grew of their own accord. Men lived pleasantly with the animals,
and all creatures were members of the same family. Ignorant of evil, man lived
in simplicity and perfect innocence."
Another commentator says:
"In the first age of perfect purity, all was in harmony, and the passions did
not occasion the slightest murmur. Man, united to sovereign reason within,
conformed his outward actions to sovereign justice. Far from all duplicity and
falsehood, his soul received marvelous felicity from heaven, and the purest
delights from earth."
"A delicious garden refreshed with zephyrs, and planted with odoriferous trees,
was situated in the middle of a mountain, which was the avenue of heaven. The
waters that moistened it flowed from a source called the 'Fountain of
Immortality'. He who drinks of it never dies. Thence flowed four rivers. A
Golden River, betwixt the South and East, a Red River, between the North and
East, the River of the Lamb between the North and West."
The animal Kaiming guards the entrance.
Partly by an undue thirst for knowledge, and partly by increasing sensuality,
and the seduction of woman, man fell. Then passion and lust ruled in the human
mind, and war with the animals began. In one of the Chinese sacred volumes,
called the Chi-King, it is said that:
"All was subject to man at first, but a woman threw us into slavery. The wise
husband raised up a bulwark of walls, but the woman, by an ambitious desire of
knowledge, demolished them. Our misery did not come from heaven, but from a
woman. She lost the human race. Ah, unhappy Poo See! thou kindled the fire [Pg
15]that consumes us, and which is every day augmenting. Our misery has lasted
many ages. The world is lost. Vice overflows all things like a mortal
Thus we see that the Chinese are no strangers to the doctrine of original sin.
It is their invariable belief that man is a fallen being; admitted by them from
The inhabitants of Madagascar had a legend similar to the Eden story, which is
related as follows:
"The first man was created of the dust of the earth, and was placed in a garden,
where he was subject to none of the ills which now affect mortality; he was also
free from all bodily appetites, and though surrounded by delicious fruit and
limpid streams yet felt no desire to taste of the fruit or to quaff the water.
The Creator had, moreover, strictly forbid him either to eat or to drink. The
great enemy, however, came to him, and painted to him, in glowing colors, the
sweetness of the apple, and the lusciousness of the date, and the succulence of
After resisting the temptations for a while, he at last ate of the fruit, and
A legend of the Creation, similar to the Hebrew, was found by Mr. Ellis among
the Tahitians, and appeared in his "Polynesian Researches." It is as follows:
After Taarao had formed the world, he created man out of aræa, red earth, which
was also the food of man until bread was made. Taarao one day called for the man
by name. When he came, he caused him to fall asleep, and while he slept, he took
out one of his ivi, or bones, and with it made a woman, whom he gave to the man
as his wife, and they became the progenitors of mankind. The woman's name was
Ivi, which signifies a bone.[15:3]
The prose Edda, of the ancient Scandinavians, speaks of the "Golden Age" when
all was pure and harmonious. This age lasted until the arrival of woman out of
Jotunheim—the region of the giants, a sort of "land of Nod"—who corrupted
In the annals of the Mexicans, the first woman, whose name was translated by the
old Spanish writers, "the woman of our flesh," is always represented as
accompanied by a great male serpent, who seems to be talking to her. Some
writers believe this to be the tempter speaking to the primeval mother, and
others that it is intended to represent the father of the human race. This
Mexican Eve is represented on their monuments as the mother of twins.[15:5]
[Pg 16]Mr. Franklin, in his "Buddhists and Jeynes," says:
"A striking instance is recorded by the very intelligent traveler (Wilson),
regarding a representation of the Fall of our first parents, sculptured in the
magnificent temple of Ipsambul, in Nubia. He says that a very exact
representation of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden is to be seen in that cave,
and that the serpent climbing round the tree is especially delineated, and the
whole subject of the tempting of our first parents most accurately
Nearly the same thing was found by Colonel Coombs in the South of India. Colonel
Tod, in his "Hist. Rajapoutana," says:
"A drawing, brought by Colonel Coombs from a sculptured column in a cave-temple
in the South of India, represents the first pair at the foot of the ambrosial
tree, and a serpent entwined among the heavily-laden boughs, presenting to them
some of the fruit from his mouth. The tempter appears to be at that part of his
'——his words, replete with guile,
Into her heart too easy entrance won:
Fixed on the fruit she gazed.'
"This is a curious subject to be engraved on an ancient Pagan temple."[16:2]
So the Colonel thought, no doubt, but it is not so very curious after all. It is
the same myth which we have found—with but such small variations only as time
and circumstances may be expected to produce—among different nations, in both
the Old and New Worlds.
Fig. No. 2, taken from the work of Montfaucon,[16:3] represents one of these
ancient Pagan sculptures. Can any one doubt that it is allusive to the myth of
which we have been treating in this chapter?
That man was originally created a perfect being, and is now only a fallen and
broken remnant of what he once was, we have seen to be a piece of mythology, not
only unfounded in fact, but, beyond intelligent question, proved untrue. What,
then, is the significance of the exposure of this myth? What does its loss as a
scientific fact, and as a portion of Christian dogma, imply? It implies that
with it—although many Christian divines who admit this to be a legend, do not,
[Pg 17]or do not profess, to see it—must fall the whole Orthodox scheme, for
upon this MYTH the theology of Christendom is built. The doctrine of the
inspiration of the Scriptures, the Fall of man, his total depravity, the
Incarnation, the Atonement, the devil, hell, in fact, the entire theology of the
Christian church, falls to pieces with the historical inaccuracy of this story,
for upon it is it built; 'tis the foundation of the whole structure.[17:1]
According to Christian dogma, the Incarnation of Christ Jesus had become
necessary, merely because he had to redeem the evil introduced into the world by
the Fall of man. These two dogmas cannot be separated from each other. If there
was no Fall, there is no need of an atonement, and no Redeemer is required.
Those, then, who consent in recognizing in Christ Jesus a God and Redeemer, and
who, notwithstanding, cannot resolve upon admitting the story of the Fall of man
to be historical, should exculpate themselves from the reproach of
inconsistency. There are a great number, however, in this position at the
Although, as we have said, many Christian divines do not, or do not profess to,
see the force of the above argument, there are many who do; and they, regardless
of their scientific learning, cling to these old myths, professing to believe
them, well knowing what must follow with their fall. The following, though
written some years ago, will serve to illustrate this style of reasoning.
The Bishop of Manchester (England) writing in the "Manchester Examiner and
"The very foundation of our faith, the very basis of our hopes, the very nearest
and dearest of our consolations are taken from us, when one line of that sacred
volume, on which we base everything, is declared to be untruthful and
The "English Churchman," speaking of clergymen who have "doubts," said, that any
who are not throughly persuaded "that the Scriptures cannot in any particular be
untrue," should leave the Church.
The Rev. E. Garbett, M. A., in a sermon preached before the University of
Oxford, speaking of the "historical truth" of the Bible, said:
[Pg 18]"It is the clear teaching of those doctrinal formularies, to which we of
the Church of England have expressed our solemn assent, and no honest
interpretation of her language can get rid of it."
"In all consistent reason, we must accept the whole of the inspired autographs,
or reject the whole."
Dr. Baylee, Principal of a theological university—St. Aiden's College—at
Birkenhead, England, and author of a "Manual," called Baylee's "Verbal
Inspiration," written "chiefly for the youths of St. Aiden's College," makes use
of the following words, in that work:
"The whole Bible, as a revelation, is a declaration of the mind of God towards
his creatures on all the subjects of which the Bible treats."
"The Bible is God's word, in the same sense as if he had made use of no human
agent, but had Himself spoken it."
"The Bible cannot be less than verbally inspired. Every word, every syllable,
every letter, is just what it would be, had God spoken from heaven without any
"Every scientific statement is infallibly correct, all its history and
narrations of every kind, are without any inaccuracy."[18:1]
A whole volume might be filled with such quotations, not only from religious
works and journals published in England, but from those published in the United
States of America.[18:2]
[1:1] The idea that the sun, moon and stars were set in the firmament was
entertained by most nations of antiquity, but, as strange as it may appear,
Pythagoras, the Grecian philosopher, who flourished from 540 to 510 B. C.—as
well as other Grecian philosophers—taught that the sun was placed in the centre
of the universe, with the planets roving round it in a circle, thus making day
and night. (See Knight's Ancient Art and Mythology, p. 59, and note.) The
Buddhists anciently taught that the universe is composed of limitless systems or
worlds, called sakwalas.
They are scattered throughout space, and each sakwala has a sun and moon. (See
Hardy: Buddhist Legends, pp. 80 and 87.)
[2:1] Origen, a Christian Father who flourished about A. D. 230, says: "What man
of sense will agree with the statement that the first, second, and third days,
in which the evening is named and the morning, were without sun, moon and
stars?" (Quoted in Mysteries of Adoni, p. 176.)
[2:2] "The geologist reckons not by days or by years; the whole six thousand
years, which were until lately looked on as the sum of the world's age, are to
him but as a unit of measurement in the long succession of past ages." (Sir John
"It is now certain that the vast epochs of time demanded by scientific
observation are incompatible both with the six thousand years of the Mosaic
chronology, and the six days of the Mosaic creation." (Dean Stanley.)
[2:3] "Let us make man in our own likeness," was said by Ormuzd, the Persian God
of Gods, to his WORD. (See Bunsen's Angel Messiah, p. 104.)
[2:4] The number SEVEN was sacred among almost every nation of antiquity. (See
[2:5] According to Grecian Mythology, the God Prometheus created men, in the
image of the gods, out of clay (see Bulfinch: The Age of Fable, p. 26; and
Goldzhier: Hebrew Myths, p. 373), and the God Hephaistos was commanded by Zeus
to mold of clay the figure of a maiden, into which Athênê, the dawn-goddess,
breathed the breath of life. This is Pandora—the gift of all the gods—who is
presented to Epimetheus. (See Cox: Aryan Myths, vol. ii., p. 208.)
[2:6] "What man is found such an idiot as to suppose that God planted trees in
Paradise, in Eden, like a husbandman." (Origen: quoted in Mysteries of Adoni, p.
176.) "There is no way of preserving the literal sense of the first chapter of
Genesis, without impiety, and attributing things to God unworthy of him." (St.
[2:7] "The records about the 'Tree of Life' are the sublimest proofs of the
unity and continuity of tradition, and of its Eastern origin. The earliest
records of the most ancient Oriental tradition refer to a 'Tree of Life,' which
was guarded by spirits. The juice of the fruit of this sacred tree, like the
tree itself, was called Sôma in Sanscrit, and Haôma in Zend; it was revered as
the life preserving essence." (Bunsen: Keys of St. Peter, p. 414)
"According to the Persian account of
Arduisir nourishes the Tree of Immortality, the Holy Hom." (Stiefelhagen: quoted
in Mysteries of Adoni p. 149.)
to the Chinese myth, the waters of the
the fountain of immortality, which divides itself into four rivers." (Ibid., p.
Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i., p. 210.) The Hindoos call their
[3:2] According to Persian legend, Arimanes, the Evil Spirit, by eating a
certain kind of fruit, transformed himself into a serpent, and went gliding
about on the earth to tempt human beings. His Devs entered the bodies of men and
produced all manner of diseases. They entered into their minds, and incited them
to sensuality, falsehood, slander and revenge. Into every department of the
world they introduced discord and death.
[4:1] Inasmuch as the physical construction of the serpent never could admit of
its moving in any other way, and inasmuch as it does not eat dust, does not the
narrator of this myth reflect unpleasantly upon the wisdom of such a God as
Jehovah is claimed to be, as well as upon the ineffectualness of his first
[5:1] "Our writer unmistakably recognizes the existence of many gods; for he
makes Yahweh say: 'See, the man has become as ONE OF US, knowing good and evil;'
and so he evidently implies the existence of other similar beings, to whom he
attributes immortality and insight into the difference between good and evil.
Yahweh, then, was, in his eyes, the god of gods, indeed, but not the only god."
(Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 51.)
[5:2] In his
memorial sermon, preached in
of Sir Charles Lyell. He further said in this address:—
"It is well known that when the science of geology first arose, it was involved
in endless schemes of attempted reconciliation with the letter of Scripture.
There was, there are perhaps still, two modes of reconciliation of Scripture and
science, which have been each in their day attempted, and each have totally and
deservedly failed. One is the endeavor to wrest the words of the Bible from
their natural meaning, and force it to speak the language of science." After
speaking of the earliest known example, which was the interpolation of the word
"not" in Leviticus xi. 6, he continues: "This is the earliest instance of the
falsification of Scripture to meet the demands of science; and it has been
followed in later times by the various efforts which have been made to twist the
earlier chapters of the book of Genesis into apparent agreement with the last
results of geology—representing days not to be days, morning and evening not to
be morning and evening, the deluge not to be the deluge, and the ark not to be
[5:3] Gen. i. 9, 10.
[5:4] Gen. ii. 6.
[6:1] Gen. i. 20, 24, 26.
[6:2] Gen. ii. 7, 9.
[6:3] Gen. i. 20.
[6:4] Gen. ii. 19.
[6:5] Gen. i. 27.
[6:6] Gen. ii. 7: iii. 22.
[6:7] Gen. i. 28.
[6:8] Gen. ii. 8, 15.
[6:9] Gen. i. 28.
 Gen. ii. 7, 8, 15, 22.
 Gen. ii. 4-25.
 Gen. iii.
 Gen. i. 1-ii. 8.
 Gen. iii. 1, 3, 5.
 The Pentateuch Examined, vol. ii. pp. 171-173.
 Com. on Old Test. vol. i. p. 59.
[7:2] Von Bohlen: Intro. to Gen. vol. ii. p. 4.
[7:3] Lenormant: Beginning of Hist. vol. i. p. 6.
[7:4] See Ibid. p. 64; and Legends of the Patriarchs, p. 31.
[8:1] "The Etruscans believed in a creation of six thousand years, and in the
successive production of different beings, the last of which was man." (Dunlap:
Spirit Hist. p. 357.)
[8:2] Quoted by Bishop Colenso: The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 115.
[8:3] Intro. to Genesis, vol. ii. p. 4.
[8:4] Com. on Old Test. vol. i. p. 63.
[8:5] The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 158.
[9:1] See Chapter xi.
[9:2] Mr. Smith says, "Whatever the primitive account may have been from which
the earlier part of the Book of Genesis was copied, it is evident that the brief
narration given in the Pentateuch omits a number of incidents and
explanations—for instance, as to the origin of evil, the fall of the angels, the
wickedness of the serpent, &c. Such points as these are included in the
cuneiform narrative." (Smith: Chaldean Account of Genesis, pp. 13, 14.)
[9:3] Smith: Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 88.
[9:4] Ibid. p. 89.
[9:5] Ibid. p. 91.
[10:2] Kalisch's Com. vol. i. p. 64.
[11:1] Goldziher: Hebrew Mythology, p. 87.
[11:2] Com. on the Old Test. vol. i. p. 70.
[11:4] Ibid. "The fruit, and sap of this 'Tree of Life' begat immortality."
(Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 240.)
[11:5] See Montfaucon: L'Antiquité Expliquée, vol. i. p. 211, and Pl. cxxxiii.
[12:1] Faber: Origin Pagan Idolatry, vol. i. p. 443; in Anacalypsis, vol. i. p.
[12:2] Tree and Serpent Worship, p. 13.
[12:3] Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 159.
[12:4] See Bunsen's Keys of St. Peter, p. 414.
[12:5] Colenso: The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 153.
[12:6] Buckley: Cities of the Ancient World, p. 148.
[12:7] Müller: Hist. Sanskrit Literature, p. 559.
[13:1] See Wake: Phallism in Ancient Religions, pp. 46, 47; and Maurice: Hist.
Hindostan, vol. i. p. 408.
[13:2] Hardwick: Christ and Other Masters, p. 215.
[13:3] See Jacolliot's "Bible in India," which John Fisk calls a "very
discreditable performance," and "a disgraceful piece of charlatanry" (Myths, &c.
p. 205). This writer also states that according to Hindoo legend, the first man
and woman were called "Adima and Heva," which is certainly not the case. The
"bridge of Adima" which he speaks of as connecting the island of Ceylon with the
mainland, is called "Rama's bridge;" and the "Adam's footprints" are called
"Buddha's footprints." The Portuguese, who called the mountain Pico d' Adama
(Adam's Peak), evidently invented these other names. (See Maurice's Hist.
Hindostan, vol. i. pp. 301, 362, and vol. ii. p. 242).
[13:4] See Smith's Bible Dic. Art. "Cherubim," and Lenormant's Beginning of
History, ch. iii.
[15:1] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. pp. 206-210, The Pentateuch Examined,
vol. iv. pp. 152, 153, and Legends of the Patriarchs, p. 38.
[15:2] Legends of the Patriarchs, p. 31.
[15:3] Quoted by Müller: The Science of Relig., p. 302.
[15:4] See Mallet's Northern Antiquities, p. 409.
[15:5] See Baring Gould's Legends of the Patriarchs; Squire's Serpent Symbol, p.
161, and Wake's Phallism in Ancient Religions, p. 41.
[16:1] Quoted by Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 403.
[16:2] Tod's Hist. Raj., p. 581, quoted by Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 404.
[16:3] L'Antiquité Expliquée, vol. i.
[17:1] Sir William Jones, the first president of the Royal Asiatic Society, saw
this when he said: "Either the first eleven chapters of Genesis, all due
allowance being made for a figurative Eastern style, are true, or the whole
fabric of our religion is false." (In Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 225.) And
so also did the learned Thomas Maurice, for he says: "If the Mosaic History be
indeed a fable, the whole fabric of the national religion is false, since the
main pillar of Christianity rests upon that important original promise, that the
seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent." (Hist. Hindostan, vol.
i. p. 20.)
[18:1] The above extracts are quoted by Bishop Colenso, in The Pentateuch
Examined, vol. ii. pp. 10-12, from which we take them.
[18:2] "Cosmogony" is the title of a volume lately written by Prof. Thomas
Mitchell, and published by the American News Co., in which the author attacks
all the modern scientists in regard to the geological antiquity of the world,
evolution, atheism, pantheism, &c. He believes—and rightly too—that, "if the
account of Creation in Genesis falls, Christ and the apostles follow: if the
book of Genesis is erroneous, so also are the Gospels."
[Pg 19]CHAPTER II.
After "man's shameful fall," the earth began to be populated at a very rapid
rate. "The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they
took them wives of all which they chose. . . . . There were giants in the earth
in those days,[19:2] and also . . . mighty men . . . men of renown."
But these "giants" and "mighty men" were very wicked, "and God saw the
wickedness of man . . . and it repented the Lord that he had made man upon the
earth,[19:3] and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said; I will destroy
man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the
creeping thing, and the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made
them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (for) Noah was a just man . .
. and walked with God. . . . And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is
come before me, for the earth is filled with violence through them, and, behold,
I will [Pg 20]destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood,
rooms shalt thou make in the ark, (and) a window shalt thou make to the ark; . .
. . And behold I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy
all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven, and every thing
that is in the earth shall die. But with thee shall I establish my covenant; and
thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons'
wives, with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort
shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male
and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every
creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come in to
thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and
thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee and for them.
Thus did Noah, according to all that God commanded him."[20:1]
When the ark was finished, the Lord said unto Noah:
"Come thou and all thy house into the ark. . . . Of every clean beast thou shalt
take to thee by sevens, the male and his female; and of beasts that are not
clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the
male and the female."[20:2]
Here, again, as in the Eden myth, there is a contradiction. We have seen that
the Lord told Noah to bring into the ark "of every living thing, of all flesh,
two of every sort," and now that the ark is finished, we are told that he said
to him: "Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens," and, "of fowls
also of the air by sevens." This is owing to the story having been written by
two different writers—the Jehovistic, and the Elohistic—one of which took from,
and added to the narrative of the other.[20:3] The account goes on to say, that:
"Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into
the ark. . . . Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls,
and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, there went in two and two, unto
Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah."[20:4]
We see, then, that Noah took into the ark of all kinds of beasts, of fowls, and
of every thing that creepeth, two of every sort, and that this was "as God had
commanded Noah." This clearly shows that the writer of these words knew nothing
of the command [Pg 21]to take in clean beasts, and fowls of the air, by sevens.
We are further assured, that, "Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded
After Noah and his family, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle
after their kind, the fowls of the air, and every creeping thing, had entered
the ark, the Lord shut them in. Then "were all the fountains of the great deep
broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the
earth forty days and forty nights. . . . . And the waters prevailed exceedingly
upon the earth; and all the hills, that were under the whole heaven, were
covered. Fifteen cubits upwards did the waters prevail; and the mountains were
covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl and of
cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth,
and every man. And Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the
ark."[21:1] The object of the flood was now accomplished, "all flesh died that
moved upon the earth." The Lord, therefore, "made a wind to pass over the earth,
and the waters assuaged. The fountains of the deep, and the windows of heaven,
were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. And the waters decreased
continually. . . . . And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah
opened the window of the ark, which he had made. And he sent forth a raven,
which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
He also sent forth a dove, . . . but the dove found no rest for the sole of her
foot, and she returned unto him into the ark." . . .
At the end of seven days he again "sent forth the dove out of the ark, and the
dove came in to him in the evening, and lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf,
At the end of another seven days, he again "sent forth the dove, which returned
not again to him any more."
And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month,
upon the mountains of Ararat. Then Noah and his wife, and his sons, and his
sons' wives, and every living thing that was in the ark, went forth out of the
ark. "And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord, . . . and offered burnt offerings
on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour, and the Lord said in his
heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake."[21:2]
[Pg 22]We shall now see that there is scarcely any considerable race of men
among whom there does not exist, in some form, the tradition of a great deluge,
which destroyed all the human race, except their own progenitors.
The first of these which we shall notice, and the one with which the Hebrew
agrees most closely, having been copied from it,[22:1] is the Chaldean, as given
by Berosus, the Chaldean historian.[22:2] It is as follows:
"After the death of Ardates (the ninth king of the Chaldeans), his son Xisuthrus
reigned eighteen sari. In his time happened a great deluge, the history of which
is thus described: The deity Cronos appeared to him (Xisuthrus) in a vision, and
warned him that upon the fifteenth day of the month Desius there would be a
flood, by which mankind would be destroyed. He therefore enjoined him to write a
history of the beginning, procedure, and conclusion of all things, and to bury
it in the City of the Sun at Sippara; and to build a vessel, and take with him
into it his friends and relations, and to convey on board everything necessary
to sustain life, together with all the different animals, both birds and
quadrupeds, and trust himself fearlessly to the deep. Having asked the deity
whither he was to sail, he was answered: 'To the Gods;' upon which he offered up
a prayer for the good of mankind. He then obeyed the divine admonition, and
built a vessel five stadia in length, and two in breadth. Into this he put
everything which he had prepared, and last of all conveyed into it his wife, his
children, and his friends. After the flood had been upon the earth, and was in
time abated, Xisuthrus sent out birds from the vessel; which not finding any
food, nor any place whereupon they might rest their feet, returned to him again.
After an interval of some days, he sent them forth a second time; and they now
returned with their feet tinged with mud. He made a trial a third time with
these birds; but they returned to him no more: from whence he judged that the
surface of the earth had appeared above the waters. He therefore made an opening
in the vessel, and upon looking out found that it was stranded upon the side of
some mountain; upon which he immediately quitted it with his wife, his daughter,
and the pilot. Xisuthrus then paid his adoration to the earth, and, having
constructed an altar, offered sacrifices to the gods."[22:3]
This account, given by Berosus, which agrees in almost every particular with
that found in
Genesis, and with that found by George Smith of the
cotta tablets in
But, says Mr. Smith:
consider the difference between the two countries of
It was only natural that, in relating the same stories, each nation should [Pg
23]color them in accordance with its own ideas, and stress would naturally in
each case be laid upon points with which they were familiar. Thus we should
expect beforehand that there would be differences in the narrative such as we
actually find, and we may also notice that the cuneiform account does not always
coincide even with the account of the same events given by Berosus from Chaldean
The most important points are the same however, i. e., in both cases the
virtuous man is informed by the Lord that a flood is about to take place, which
would destroy mankind. In both cases they are commanded to build a vessel or
ark, to enter it with their families, and to take in beasts, birds, and
everything that creepeth, also to provide themselves with food. In both cases
they send out a bird from the ark three times—the third time it failed to
return. In both cases they land on a mountain, and upon leaving the ark they
offer up a sacrifice to the gods. Xisuthrus was the tenth king,[23:2] and Noah
the tenth patriarch.[23:3] Xisuthrus had three sons (Zerovanos, Titan and
Japetosthes),[23:4] and Noah had three sons (Shem, Ham and Japhet).[23:5]
As Cory remarks in his "Ancient Fragments," the history of the flood, as given
by Berosus, so remarkably corresponds with the Biblical account of the Noachian
Deluge, that no one can doubt that both proceeded from one source—they are
evidently transcriptions, except the names, from some ancient document.[23:6]
This legend became known to the Jews from Chaldean sources,[23:7] it was not
known in the country (Egypt) out of which they evidently came.[23:8] Egyptian
history, it is said, had gone on [Pg 24]uninterrupted for ten thousand years
before the time assigned for the birth of Jesus.[24:1] And it is known as
absolute fact that the land of Egypt was never visited by other than its annual
beneficent overflow of the river Nile.[24:2] The Egyptian Bible, which is by far
the most ancient of all holy books[24:3], knew nothing of the Deluge.[24:4] The
Phra (or Pharaoh) Khoufou-Cheops was building his pyramid, according to Egyptian
chronicle, when the whole world was under the waters of a universal deluge,
according to the Hebrew chronicle.[24:5] A number of other nations of antiquity
are found destitute of any story of a flood,[24:6] which they certainly would
have had if a universal deluge had ever happened. Whether this legend is of high
antiquity in India has even been doubted by distinguished scholars.[24:7]
The Hindoo legend of the Deluge is as follows:
"Many ages after the creation of the world, Brahma resolved to destroy it with a
deluge, on account of the wickedness of the people. There lived at that time a
pious man named Satyavrata, and as the lord of the universe loved this pious
man, and wished to preserve him from the sea of destruction which was to appear
on account of the depravity of the age, he appeared before him in the form of
Vishnu (the Preserver) and said: In seven days from the present time . . . the
worlds will be plunged in an ocean of death, but in the midst of the destroying
waves, a large vessel, sent by me for thy use, shall stand before thee. Then
shalt thou take all medicinal herbs, all the variety of feeds, and, accompanied
by seven saints, encircled by pairs of all brute animals, thou shalt enter the
spacious ark, and continue in it, secure from the flood, on one immense ocean
without light, except the radiance of thy holy companions. When the ship shall
be agitated by an impetuous wind, thou shalt fasten it with a large sea-serpent
on my horn; for I will be near thee (in the form of a fish), drawing the vessel,
with thee and thy attendants. I will remain on the ocean, O chief of men, until
a night of Brahma shall be completely ended. Thou shalt then [Pg 25]know my true
greatness, rightly named the Supreme Godhead; by my favor, all thy questions
shall be answered, and thy mind abundantly instructed."
Being thus directed, Satyavrata humbly waited for the time which the ruler of
our senses had appointed. It was not long, however, before the sea, overwhelming
its shores, began to deluge the whole earth, and it was soon perceived to be
augmented by showers from immense clouds. He, still meditating on the commands
of the Lord, saw a vessel advancing, and entered it with the saints, after
having carried into effect the instructions which had been given him.
Vishnu then appeared before them, in the form of a fish, as he had said, and
Satyavrata fastened a cable to his horn.
The deluge in time abated, and Satyavrata, instructed in all divine and human
knowledge, was appointed, by the favor of Vishnu, the Seventh Menu. After coming
forth from the ark he offers up a sacrifice to Brahma.[25:1]
The ancient temples of Hindostan contain representations of Vishnu sustaining
the earth while overwhelmed by the waters of the deluge. A rainbow is seen on
the surface of the subsiding waters.[25:2]
The Chinese believe the earth to have been at one time covered with water, which
they described as flowing abundantly and then subsiding. This great flood
divided the higher from the lower age of man. It happened during the reign of
Yaou. This inundation, which is termed hung-shwuy (great water), almost ruined
the country, and is spoken of by Chinese writers with sentiments of horror. The
Shoo-King, one of their sacred books, describes the waters as reaching to the
tops of some of the mountains, covering the hills, and expanding as wide as the
vault of heaven.[25:3]
The Parsees say that by the temptation of the evil spirit men became wicked, and
God destroyed them with a deluge, except a few, from whom the world was peopled
In the Zend-Avesta, the oldest sacred book of the Persians, of whom the Parsees
are direct descendants, there are sixteen countries spoken of as having been
given by Ormuzd, the Good Deity, for the Aryans to live in; and these countries
are described as a land of delight, which was turned by Ahriman, the Evil Deity,
into a [Pg 26]land of death and cold, partly, it is said, by a great flood,
which is described as being like Noah's flood recorded in the Book of
The ancient Greeks had records of a flood which destroyed nearly the whole human
race.[26:2] The story is as follows:
"From his throne in the high Olympos, Zeus looked down on the children of men,
and saw that everywhere they followed only their lusts, and cared nothing for
right or for law. And ever, as their hearts waxed grosser in their wickedness,
they devised for themselves new rites to appease the anger of the gods, till the
whole earth was filled with blood. Far away in the hidden glens of the Arcadian
hills the sons of Lykaon feasted and spake proud words against the majesty of
Zeus, and Zeus himself came down from his throne to see their way and their
doings. . . . Then Zeus returned to his home on Olympos, and he gave the word
that a flood of waters should be let loose upon the earth, that the sons of men
might die for their great wickedness. So the west wind rose in its might, and
the dark rain-clouds veiled the whole heaven, for the winds of the north which
drive away the mists and vapors were shut up in their prison house. On hill and
valley burst the merciless rain, and the rivers, loosened from their courses,
rushed over the whole plains and up the mountain-side. From his home on the
highlands of Phthia, Deukalion looked forth on the angry sky, and, when he saw
the waters swelling in the valleys beneath, he called Pyrrha, his wife, and said
to her: 'The time has come of which my father, the wise Prometheus, forewarned
me. Make ready, therefore, the ark which I have built, and place in it all that
we may need for food while the flood of waters is out upon the earth.' . . .
Then Pyrrha hastened to make all things ready, and they waited till the waters
rose up to the highlands of Phthia and floated away the ark of Deukalion. The
fishes swam amidst the old elm-groves, and twined amongst the gnarled boughs on
the oaks, while on the face of the waters were tossed the bodies of men; and
Deukalion looked on the dead faces of stalwart warriors, of maidens, and of
babes, as they rose and fell upon the heavy waves."
When the flood began to abate, the ark rested on Mount Parnassus, and Deucalion,
with his wife Pyrrha, stepped forth upon the desolate earth. They then
immediately constructed an altar, and offered up thanks to Zeus, the mighty
being who sent the flood and saved them from its waters.[26:3]
According to Ovid (a Grecian writer born 43 B. C.), Deucalion does not venture
out of the ark until a dove which he sent out returns to him with an olive
[Pg 27]It was at one time extensively believed, even by intelligent scholars,
that the myth of Deucalion was a corrupted tradition of the Noachian deluge, but
this untenable opinion is now all but universally abandoned.[27:1]
The legend was found in the West among the Kelts. They believed that a great
deluge overwhelmed the world and drowned all men except Drayan and Droyvach, who
escaped in a boat, and colonized Britain. This boat was supposed to have been
built by the "Heavenly Lord," and it received into it a pair of every kind of
The ancient Scandinavians had their legend of a deluge. The Edda describes this
deluge, from which only one man escapes, with his family, by means of a
bark.[27:3] It was also found among the ancient Mexicans. They believed that a
man named Coxcox, and his wife, survived the deluge. Lord Kingsborough, speaking
of this legend,[27:4] informs us that the person who answered to Noah entered
the ark with six others; and that the story of sending birds out of the ark,
&c., is the same in general character with that of the Bible.
Dr. Brinton also speaks of the Mexican tradition.[27:5] They had not only the
story of sending out the bird, but related that the ark landed on a mountain.
The tradition of a deluge was also found among the Brazilians, and among many
Indian tribes.[27:6] The mountain upon which the ark is supposed to have rested,
was pointed to by the residents in nearly every quarter of the globe. The
mountain-chain of Ararat was considered to be—by the Chaldeans and Hebrews—the
place where the ark landed. The Greeks pointed to Mount Parnassus; the Hindoos
to the Himalayas; and in Armenia numberless heights were pointed out with
becoming reverence, as those on which the few survivors of the dreadful scenes
of the deluge were preserved. On the Red River (in America), near the village of
the Caddoes, there was an eminence to which the Indian tribes for a great
distance around paid devout homage. The Cerro Naztarny on the Rio Grande, the
peak of Old Zuni in New Mexico, that of Colhuacan on the Pacific coast, Mount
Apoala in Upper Mixteca, and Mount Neba in the province of Guaymi, are some of
many elevations asserted by the neighboring [Pg 28]nations to have been places
of refuge for their ancestors when the fountains of the great deep broke forth.
The question now may naturally be asked, How could such a story have originated
unless there was some foundation for it?
In answer to this question we will say that we do not think such a story could
have originated without some foundation for it, and that most, if not all,
legends, have a basis of truth underlying the fabulous, although not always
discernible. This story may have an astronomical basis, as some suppose,[28:1]
or it may not. At any rate, it would be very easy to transmit by memory the fact
of the sinking of an island, or that of an earthquake, or a great flood, caused
by overflows of rivers, &c., which, in the course of time, would be added to,
and enlarged upon, and, in this way, made into quite a lengthy tale. According
to one of the most ancient accounts of the deluge, we are told that at that time
"the forest trees were dashed against each other;" "the mountains were involved
with smoke and flame;" that there was "fire, and smoke, and wind, which ascended
in thick clouds replete with lightning." "The roaring of the ocean, whilst
violently agitated with the whirling of the mountains, was like the bellowing of
a mighty cloud, &c."[28:2]
A violent earthquake, with eruptions from volcanic mountains, and the sinking of
land into the sea, would evidently produce such a scene as this. We know that at
one period in the earth's history, such scenes must have been of frequent
occurrence. The science of geology demonstrates this fact to us. Local deluges
were of frequent occurrence, and that some persons may have been saved on one,
or perhaps many, such occasions, by means of a raft or boat, and that they may
have sought refuge on an eminence, or mountain, does not seem at all improbable.
During the Champlain period in the history of the world—which came after the
Glacial period—the climate became warmer, the continents sank, and there were,
consequently, continued local floods which must have destroyed considerable
animal life, including man. The foundation of the deluge myth may have been laid
at this time.
[Pg 29]Some may suppose that this is dating the history of man too far back,
making his history too remote; but such is not the case. There is every reason
to believe that man existed for ages before the Glacial epoch. It must not be
supposed that we have yet found remains of the earliest human beings; there is
evidence, however, that man existed during the Pliocene, if not during the
Miocene periods, when hoofed quadrupeds, and Proboscidians abounded, human
remains and implements having been found mingled with remains of these
Charles Darwin believed that the animal called man, might have been properly
called by that name at an epoch as remote as the Eocene period.[29:2] Man had
probably lost his hairy covering by that time, and had begun to look human.
Prof. Draper, speaking of the antiquity of man, says:
"So far as investigations have gone, they indisputably refer the existence of
man to a date remote from us by many hundreds of thousands of years," and that,
"it is difficult to assign a shorter date from the last glaciation of Europe
than a quarter of a million of years, and human existence antedates that."[29:3]
Again he says:
"Recent researches give reason to believe that, under low and base grades, the
existence of man can be traced back into the Tertiary times. He was contemporary
with the Southern Elephant, the Rhinoceros-leptorhinus, the great Hippopotamus,
perhaps even in the Miocene, contemporary with the Mastodon."[29:4]
[Pg 30]Prof. Huxley closes his "Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature," by
"Where must we look for primeval man? Was the oldest Homo Sapiens Pliocene or
Miocene, or yet more ancient? . . . If any form of the doctrine of progressive
development is correct, we must extend by long epochs the most liberal estimate
that has yet been made of the antiquity of man."[30:1]
Prof. Oscar Paschel, in his work on "Mankind," speaking of the deposits of human
remains which have been discovered in caves, mingled with the bones of wild
"The examination of one of these caves at Brixham, by a geologist as trustworthy
as Dr. Falconer, convinced the specialists of Great Britain, as early as 1858,
that man was a contemporary of the Mammoth, the Woolly Rhinoceros, the
Cave-lion, the Cave-hyena, the Cave-bear, and therefore of the Mammalia of the
Geological period antecedent to our own."[30:2]
The positive evidence of man's existence during the Tertiary period, are facts
which must firmly convince every one—who is willing to be convinced—of the great
antiquity of man. We might multiply our authorities, but deem it unnecessary.
The observation of shells, corals, and other remains of aquatic animals, in
places above the level of the sea, and even on high mountains, may have given
rise to legends of a great flood.
Fossils found imbedded in high ground have been appealed to, both in ancient and
modern times, both by savage and civilized man, as evidence in support of their
traditions of a flood; and, moreover, the argument, apparently unconnected with
any tradition, is to be found, that because there are marine fossils in places
away from the sea, therefore the sea must once have been there.
It is only quite recently that the presence of fossil shells, &c., on high
mountains, has been abandoned as evidence of the Noachic flood.
Mr. Tylor tells us that in the ninth edition of "Horne's Introduction to the
Scriptures," published in 1846, the evidence of fossils is confidently held to
prove the universality of the Deluge; but the argument disappears from the next
edition, published ten years later.[30:3]
Besides fossil remains of aquatic animals, boats have been found on tops of
mountains.[30:4] A discovery of this kind may have given rise to the story of an
ark having been made in which to preserve the favored ones from the waters, and
of its landing on a mountain.[30:5]
[Pg 31]Before closing this chapter, it may be well to notice a striking incident
in the legend we have been treating, i. e., the frequent occurrence of the
number seven in the narrative. For instance: the Lord commands Noah to take into
the ark clean beasts by sevens, and fowls also by sevens, and tells him that in
seven days he will cause it to rain upon the earth. We are also told that the
ark rested in the seventh month, and the seventeenth day of the month, upon the
mountains of Ararat. After sending the dove out of the ark the first time, Noah
waited seven days before sending it out again. After sending the dove out the
second time, "he stayed yet another seven days" ere he again sent forth the
This coincidence arises from the mystic power attached to the number seven,
derived from its frequent occurrence in astrology.
We find that in all religions of antiquity the number seven—which applied to the
sun, moon and the five planets known to the ancients—is a sacred number,
represented in all kinds and sorts of forms;[31:1] for instance: The candlestick
with seven branches in the temple of Jerusalem. The seven inclosures of the
temple. The seven doors of the cave of Mithras. The seven stories of the tower
of Babylon.[31:2] The seven gates of Thebes.[31:3] The flute of seven pipes
generally put into the hand of the god Pan. The lyre of seven strings touched by
Apollo. The book of "Fate," composed of seven books. The seven prophetic rings
of the Brahmans.[31:4] The seven stones—consecrated to the seven planets—in
Laconia.[31:5] The division into seven castes adopted by the Egyptians and
Indians. The seven idols of the Bonzes. The seven altars of the monument of
Mithras. The seven great spirits invoked by the Persians. The seven archangels
of the Chaldeans. The seven archangels of the Jews.[31:6]
[Pg 32]The seven days in the week.[32:1] The seven sacraments of the Christians.
The seven wicked spirits of the Babylonians. The sprinkling of blood seven times
upon the altars of the Egyptians. The seven mortal sins of the Egyptians. The
hymn of seven vowels chanted by the Egyptian priests.[32:2] The seven branches
of the Assyrian "Tree of Life." Agni, the Hindoo god, is represented with seven
arms. Sura's[32:3] horse was represented with seven heads. Seven churches are
spoken of in the Apocalypse. Balaam builded seven altars, and offered seven
bullocks and seven rams on each altar. Pharaoh saw seven kine, &c., in his
dream. The "Priest of Midian" had seven daughters. Jacob served seven years.
Before Jericho seven priests bare seven horns. Samson was bound with seven green
withes, and his marriage feast lasted seven days, &c., &c. We might continue
with as much more, but enough has been shown to verify the statement that, "in
all religions of antiquity, the number SEVEN is a sacred number."
[19:1] See "The Deluge in the Light of Modern Science," by Prof. Wm. Denton: J.
P. Mendum, Boston.
[19:2] "There were giants in the earth in those days." It is a scientific fact
that most races of men, in former ages, instead of being larger, were smaller
than at the present time. There is hardly a suit of armor in the Tower of
London, or in the old castles, that is large enough for the average Englishman
of to-day to put on. Man has grown in stature as well as intellect, and there is
no proof whatever—in fact, the opposite is certain—that there ever was a race of
what might properly be called giants, inhabiting the earth. Fossil remains of
large animals having been found by primitive man, and a legend invented to
account for them, it would naturally be that: "There were giants in the earth in
those days." As an illustration we may mention the story, recorded by the
traveller James Orton, we believe (in "The Andes and the Amazon"), that, near
Punin, in South America, was found the remains of an extinct species of the
horse, the mastodon, and other large animals. This discovery was made, owing to
the assurance of the natives that giants at one time had lived in that country,
and that they had seen their remains at this certain place. Many legends have
had a similar origin. But the originals of all the Ogres and Giants to be found
in the mythology of almost all nations of antiquity, are the famous Hindoo
demons, the Rakshasas of our Aryan ancestors. The Rakshasas were very terrible
creatures indeed, and in the minds of many people, in India, are so still. Their
natural form, so the stories say, is that of huge, unshapely giants, like
clouds, with hair and beard of the color of the red lightning. This description
explains their origin. They are the dark, wicked and cruel clouds, personified.
[19:3] "And it repented the Lord that he had made man." (Gen. iv.) "God is not a
man that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent." (Numb.
[20:1] Gen. iv.
[20:2] Gen. vi. 1-3.
[20:3] See chapter xi.
[20:4] The image of Osiris of Egypt was by the priests shut up in a sacred ark
on the 17th of Athyr (Nov. 13th), the very day and month on which Noah is said
to have entered his ark, (See Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 165, and Bunsen's
Angel Messiah, p. 22.)
[21:1] Gen. vi.
[21:2] Gen. viii.
[22:1] See chapter xi.
[22:2] Josephus, the Jewish historian, speaking of the flood of Noah (Antiq. bk.
1, ch. iii.), says: "All the writers of the Babylonian histories make mention of
this flood and this ark."
[22:3] Quoted by George Smith: Chaldean Account of Genesis, pp. 43-44; see also,
The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 211; Dunlap's Spirit Hist. p. 138; Cory's
Ancient Fragments, p. 61, et seq. for similar accounts.
[23:1] Chaldean Account of Genesis, pp. 285, 286.
[23:2] Volney: New Researches, p. 119; Chaldean Acct. of Genesis, p. 290; Hist.
Hindostan, vol. i. p. 417, and Dunlap's Spirit Hist. p. 277.
[23:4] Legends of the Patriarchs, pp. 109, 110.
[23:5] Gen. vi. 8.
[23:6] The Hindoo ark-preserved Menu had three sons; Sama, Cama, and Pra-Japati.
(Faber: Orig. Pagan Idol.) The Bhattias, who live between Delli and the Panjab,
insist that they are descended from a certain king called Salivahana, who had
three sons, Bhat, Maha and Thamaz. (Col. Wilford, in vol. ix. Asiatic
Researches.) The Iranian hero Thraetona had three sons. The Iranian Sethite
Lamech had three sons, and Hellen, the son of Deucalion, during whose time the
flood is said to have happened, had three sons. (Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, pp.
70, 71.) All the ancient nations of Europe also describe their origin from the
three sons of some king or patriarch. The Germans said that Mannus (son of the
god Tuisco) had three sons, who were the original ancestors of the three
principal nations of Germany. The Scythians said that Targytagus, the founder of
their nation, had three sons, from whom they were descended. A tradition among
the Romans was that the Cyclop Polyphemus had by Galatea three sons. Saturn had
three sons, Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto; and Hesiod speaks of the three sons
which sprung from the marriage of heaven and earth. (See Mallet's Northern
Antiquities, p. 509.)
[23:7] See chap. xi.
[23:8] "It is of no slight moment that the Egyptians, with whom the Hebrews are
represented as in earliest and closest intercourse, had no traditions of a
flood, while the Babylonian and Hellenic tales bear a strong resemblance in many
points to the narrative in Genesis." (Rev. George W. Cox: Tales of Ancient
Greece, p. 340. See also Owen: Man's Earliest History, p. 28, and ch. xi. this
[24:1] See Taylor's Diegesis, p. 198, and Knight's Ancient Art and Mythology, p.
107. "Plato was told that Egypt had hymns dating back ten thousand years before
his time." (Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 185.) Plato lived 429 B. C. Herodotus
relates that the priests of Egypt informed him that from the first king to the
present priest of Vulcan who last reigned, were three hundred forty and one
generations of men, and during these generations there were the same number of
chief priests and kings. "Now (says he) three hundred generations are equal to
ten thousand years, for three generations of men are one hundred years; and the
forty-one remaining generations that were over the three hundred, make one
thousand three hundred and forty years," making eleven thousand three hundred
and forty years. "Conducting me into the interior of an edifice that was
spacious, and showing me wooden colossuses to the number I have mentioned, they
reckoned them up; for every high priest places an image of himself there during
his life-time; the priests, therefore, reckoning them and showing them to me,
pointed out that each was the son of his own father; going through them all,
from the image of him who died last until they had pointed them all out."
(Herodotus, book ii. chs. 142, 143.) The discovery of mummies of royal and
priestly personages, made at Deir-el-Bahari (Aug., 1881), near Thebes, in Egypt,
would seem to confirm this statement made by Herodotus. Of the thirty-nine
mummies discovered, one—that of King Raskenen—is about three thousand seven
hundred years old. (See a Cairo [Aug. 8th,] Letter to the London Times.)
[24:2] Owen: Man's Earliest History, p. 28.
[24:3] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 185.
[24:4] Ibid. p. 411.
[24:5] Owen: Man's Earliest History, pp. 27, 28.
[24:6] Goldzhier: Hebrew Mytho. p. 319.
[24:7] Ibid. p. 320.
[25:1] Translated from the Bhagavat by Sir Wm. Jones, and published in the first
volume of the "Asiatic Researches," p. 230, et seq. See also Maurice: Ind. Ant.
ii. 277, et seq., and Prof. Max Müller's Hist. Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p.
425, et seq.
[25:2] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 55.
[25:3] See Thornton's Hist. China, vol. i. p. 30, Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p.
205, and Priestley, p. 41.
[25:4] Priestley, p. 42.
[26:1] Bunce: Fairy Tales, Origin and Meaning, p. 18.
[26:2] The oldest Greek mythology, however, has no such idea; it cannot be
proved to have been known to the Greeks earlier than the 6th century B. C. (See
Goldzhier: Hebrew Mytho., p. 319.) This could not have been the case had there
ever been a universal deluge.
[26:3] Tales of Ancient Greece, pp. 72-74. "Apollodorus—a Grecian mythologist,
born 140 B. C.,—having mentioned Deucalion consigned to the ark, takes notice,
upon his quitting it, of his offering up an immediate sacrifice to God."
(Chambers' Encyclo., art, Deluge.)
[26:4] In Lundy's Monumental Christianity (p. 209, Fig. 137) may be seen a
representation of Deucalion and Pyrrha landing from the ark. A dove and olive
branch are depicted in the scene.
[27:1] Chambers' Encyclo., art. Deucalion.
[27:2] Baring-Gould: Legends of the Patriarchs, p. 114. See also Myths of the
British Druids, p. 95.
[27:3] See Mallet's Northern Antiquities, p. 99.
[27:4] Mex. Antiq. vol. viii.
[27:5] Myths of the New World, pp. 203, 204.
[27:6] See Squire: Serpent Symbol, pp. 189, 190.
[28:1] Count de Volney says: "The Deluge mentioned by Jews, Chaldeans, Greeks
and Indians, as having destroyed the world, are one and the same
physico-astronomical event which is still repeated every year," and that "all
those personages that figure in the Deluge of Noah and Xisuthrus, are still in
the celestial sphere. It was a real picture of the calendar." (Researches in
Ancient Hist., p. 124.) It was on the same day that Noah is said to have shut
himself up in the ark, that the priests of Egypt shut up in their sacred coffer
or ark the image of Osiris, a personification of the Sun. This was on the 17th
of the month Athor, in which the Sun enters the Scorpion. (See Kenrick's Egypt,
vol. i. p. 410.) The history of Noah also corresponds, in some respects, with
that of Bacchus, another personification of the Sun.
[28:2] See Maurice's Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 268.
[29:1] "In America, along with the bones of the Mastodon imbedded in the
alluvium of the Bourbense, were found arrow heads and other traces of the
savages who had killed this member of an order no longer represented in that
part of the world." (Herbert Spencer: Principles of Sociology, vol. i. p. 17.)
[29:2] Darwin: Descent of Man, p. 156. We think it may not be out of place to
insert here what might properly be called: "The Drama of Life," which is as
Act i.Azoic: Conflict of Inorganic Forces.
Act ii.Paleozoic: Age of Invertebrates.
Scene i. Eozoic: Enter Protozoans and Protophytes.
Scene ii. Silurian: Enter the Army of Invertebrates.
Scene iii. Devonian: Enter Fishes.
Scene iv. Carboniferous: (Age of Coal Plants) Enter First Air breathers.
Act iii.Mesozoic: Enter Reptiles.
Scene i. Triassic: Enter Batrachians.
Scene ii. Jurassic: Enter huge Reptiles of Sea, Land and Air.
Scene iii. Cretaceous: (Age of Chalk) Enter Ammonites.
Act iv.Cenozoic: (Age of Mammals.)
Scene i. Eocene: Enter Marine Mammals, and probably Man.
Scene ii. Miocene: Enter Hoofed Quadrupeds.
Scene iii. Pliocene: Enter Proboscidians and Edentates.
Act v.Post Tertiary: Positive Age of Man.
Scene i. Glacial: Ice and Drift Periods.
Scene ii. Champlain: Sinking Continents; Warmer; Tropical Animals go
Scene iii. Terrace: Rising Continents; Colder.
Scene iv. Present: Enter Science, Iconoclasts, &c., &c.
[29:3] Draper: Religion and Science, p. 199.
[29:4] Ibid. pp. 195, 196.
[30:1] Huxley: Man's Place in Nature, p. 184.
[30:2] Paschel: Races of Man, p. 36.
[30:3] Tylor: Early History of Mankind, p. 328.
[30:4] Ibid. pp. 329, 330
[30:5] We know that many legends have originated in this way. For example, Dr.
Robinson, in his "Travels in Palestine" (ii. 586), mentions a tradition that a
city had once stood in a desert between Petra and Hebron, the people of which
had perished for their vices, and been converted into stone. Mr. Seetzen, who
went to the spot, found no traces of ruins, but a number of stony concretions,
resembling in form and size the human head. They had been ignorantly supposed to
be petrified heads, and a legend framed to account for their owners suffering so
terrible a fate. Another illustration is as follows:—The Kamchadals believe that
volcanic mountains are the abode of devils, who, after they have cooked their
meals, fling the fire-brands out of the chimney. Being asked what these devils
eat, they said "whales." Here we see, first, a story invented to account for the
volcanic eruptions from the mountains; and, second, a story invented to account
for the remains of whales found on the mountains. The savages knew that this was
true, "because their old people had said so, and believed it themselves."
(Related by Mr. Tylor, in his "Early History of Mankind," p. 326.)
[31:1] "Everything of importance was calculated by, and fitted into, this number
(SEVEN) by the Aryan philosophers,—ideas as well as localities." (Isis Unveiled,
vol. ii. p. 407).
[31:2] Each one being consecrated to a planet. First, to Saturn; second, to
Jupiter; third, to Mars; fourth, to the Sun; fifth, to Venus; sixth, to Mercury;
seventh, to the Moon. (The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 269. See also The
Angel Messiah, p. 106.)
[31:3] Each of which had the name of a planet.
[31:4] On each of which the name of a planet was engraved.
[31:5] "There was to be seen in Laconia, seven columns erected in honor of the
seven planets." (Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 34.)
[31:6] "The Jews believed that the Throne of Jehovah was surrounded by his seven
high chiefs: Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel, &c." (Bible for Learners, vol.
iii. p. 46.)
[32:1] Each one being consecrated to a planet, and the Sun and Moon. Sunday,
"Dies Solis," sacred to the SUN. Monday, "Dies Lunae," sacred to the MOON.
Tuesday, sacred to Tuiso or Mars. Wednesday, sacred to Odin or Woden, and to
Mercury. Thursday, sacred to Thor and others. Friday, sacred to Freia and Venus.
Saturday, sacred to Saturn. "The (ancient) Egyptians assigned a day of the week
to the SUN, MOON, and five planets, and the number SEVEN was held there in great
reverence." (Kenrick: Egypt, i. 238.)
[32:2] "The Egyptian priests chanted the seven vowels as a hymn addressed to
Serapis." (The Rosicrucians, p. 143.)
[32:3] Sura: the Sun-god of the Hindoos.
[Pg 33]CHAPTER III.
THE TOWER OF BABEL.
We are informed that, at one time, "the whole earth was of one language, and of
one speech. And it came to pass, as they (the inhabitants of the earth)
journeyed from the East, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they
"And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them
thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.
"And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach
unto heaven, and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the
face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower,
which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one,
and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will
be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down,
and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's
speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the
earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called
Babel, because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth; and
from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the
Such is the "Scripture" account of the origin of languages, which differs
somewhat from the ideas of Prof. Max Müller and other philologists.
Bishop Colenso tells us that:
"The story of the dispensation of tongues is connected by the Jehovistic writer
with the famous unfinished temple of Belus, of which probably some wonderful
reports had reached him. . . . The derivation of the name Babel from the Hebrew
word babal (confound) which seems to be the connecting point between the story
and the tower of Babel, is altogether incorrect."[33:2]
[Pg 34]The literal meaning of the word being house, or court, or gate of Bel, or
gate of God.[34:1]
John Fiske confirms this statement by saying:
"The name 'Babel' is really 'Bab-il', or 'The Gate of God'; but the Hebrew
writer erroneously derives the word from the root 'babal'—to confuse—and hence
arises the mystical explanation, that Babel was a place where human speech
The "wonderful reports" that reached the Jehovistic writer who inserted this
tale into the Hebrew Scriptures, were from the Chaldean account of the confusion
of tongues. It is related by Berosus as follows:
The first inhabitants of the earth, glorying in their strength and size,[34:3]
and despising the gods, undertook to raise a tower whose top should reach the
sky, in the place where Babylon now stands. But when it approached the heavens,
the winds assisted the gods, and overthrew the work of the contrivers, and also
introduced a diversity of tongues among men, who till that time had all spoken
the same language. The ruins of this tower are said to be still in
Josephus, the Jewish historian, says that it was Nimrod who built the tower,
that he was a very wicked man, and that the tower was built in case the Lord
should have a mind to drown the world again. He continues his account by saying
that when Nimrod proposed the building of this tower, the multitude were very
ready to follow the proposition, as they could then avenge themselves on God for
destroying their forefathers.
"And they built a tower, neither sparing any pains nor being in any degree
negligent about the work. And by reason of the multitude of hands employed on
it, it grew very high, sooner than any one could expect. . . . . It was built of
burnt brick, cemented together, with mortar made of bitumen, that it might not
be liable to admit water. When God saw that they had acted so madly, he did not
resolve to destroy them utterly, since they were not grown wiser by the
destruction of the former sinners, but he caused a tumult among them, by
producing in them divers languages, and causing, that through the multitude of
those languages they should not be able to understand one another. The place
where they built the tower is now called Babylon."[34:5]
The tower in Babylonia, which seems to have been a foundation for the legend of
the confusion of tongues to be built upon, was [Pg 35]evidently originally built
for astronomical purposes.[35:1] This is clearly seen from the fact that it was
called the "Stages of the Seven Spheres,"[35:2] and that each one of these
stages was consecrated to the Sun, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and
Mercury.[35:3] Nebuchadnezzar says of it in his cylinders:
"The building named the 'Stages of the Seven Spheres,' which was the tower of
Borsippa (Babel), had been built by a former king. He had completed forty-two
cubits, but he did not finish its head. From the lapse of time, it had become
ruined; they had not taken care of the exits of the waters, so the rain and wet
had penetrated into the brick-work; the casing of burnt brick had bulged out,
and the terraces of crude brick lay scattered in heaps. Merobach, my great Lord,
inclined my heart to repair the building. I did not change its site, nor did I
destroy its foundation, but, in a fortunate month, and upon an auspicious day, I
undertook the rebuilding of the crude brick terraces and burnt brick casing,
There is not a word said here in these cylinders about the confusion of tongues,
nor anything pertaining to it. The ruins of this ancient tower being there in
Babylonia, and a legend of how the gods confused the speech of mankind also
being among them, it was very convenient to point to these ruins as evidence
that the story was true, just as the ancient Mexicans pointed to the ruins of
the tower of Cholula, as evidence of the truth of the similar story which they
had among them, and just as many nations pointed to the remains of aquatic
animals on the tops of mountains, as evidence of the truth of the deluge story.
The Armenian tradition of the "Confusion of Tongues" was to this effect:
The world was formerly inhabited by men "with strong bodies and huge size"
(giants). These men being full of pride and envy, "they formed a godless resolve
to build a high tower; but whilst they were engaged on the undertaking, a
fearful wind overthrew it, which the wrath of God had sent against it. Unknown
words were at the same time blown about among men, wherefore arose strife and
The Hindoo legend of the "Confusion of Tongues," is as follows:
There grew in the centre of the earth, the wonderful "World [Pg 36]Tree," or the
"Knowledge Tree." It was so tall that it reached almost to heaven. "It said in
its heart: 'I shall hold my head in heaven, and spread my branches over all the
earth, and gather all men together under my shadow, and protect them, and
prevent them from separating.' But Brahma, to punish the pride of the tree, cut
off its branches and cast them down on the earth, when they sprang up as Wata
trees, and made differences of belief, and speech, and customs, to prevail on
the earth, to disperse men over its surface."[36:1]
Traces of a somewhat similar story have also been met with among the Mongolian
Tharus in the north of India, and, according to Dr. Livingston, among the
Africans of Lake Nganu.[36:2] The ancient Esthonians[36:3] had a similar myth
which they called "The Cooking of Languages;" so also had the ancient
inhabitants of the continent of Australia.[36:4] The story was found among the
ancient Mexicans, and was related as follows:
Those, with their descendants, who were saved from the deluge which destroyed
all mankind, excepting the few saved in the ark, resolved to build a tower which
would reach to the skies. The object of this was to see what was going on in
Heaven, and also to have a place of refuge in case of another deluge.[36:5]
The job was superintended by one of the seven who were saved from the
flood.[36:6] He was a giant called Xelhua, surnamed "the Architect."[36:7]
Xelhua ordered bricks to be made in the province of Tlamanalco, at the foot of
the Sierra of Cocotl, and to be conveyed to Cholula, where the tower was to be
built. For this purpose, he placed a file of men reaching from the Sierra to
Cholula, who passed the bricks from hand to hand.[36:8] The gods beheld with
wrath this edifice,—the top of which was nearing the clouds,—and were much
irritated at the daring attempt of Xelhua. They therefore hurled fire from
Heaven upon the pyramid, which threw it down, and killed many of the workmen.
The work was then discontinued,[36:9] as each family interested in the building
of the tower, received a language of their own,[36:10] and the builders could
not understand each other.
[Pg 37]Dr. Delitzsch must have been astonished upon coming across this legend;
for he says:
"Actually the Mexicans had a legend of a tower-building as well as of a flood.
Xelhua, one of the seven giants rescued from the flood, built the great pyramid
of Cholula, in order to reach heaven, until the gods, angry at his audacity,
threw fire upon the building and broke it down, whereupon every separate family
received a language of its own."[37:1]
The ancient Mexicans pointed to the ruins of a tower at Cholula as evidence of
the truth of their story. This tower was seen by Humboldt and Lord Kingsborough,
and described by them.[37:2]
We may say then, with Dr. Kalisch, that:
"Most of the ancient nations possessed myths concerning impious giants who
attempted to storm heaven, either to share it with the immortal gods, or to
expel them from it. In some of these fables the confusion of tongues is
represented as the punishment inflicted by the deities for such
[33:1] Genesis xi. 1-9.
[33:2] The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 268.
[34:1] Ibid. p. 268. See also Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 90.
[34:2] Myths and Myth-makers, p. 72. See also Encyclopædia Britannica, art.
[34:3] "There were giants in the earth in those days." (Genesis vi. 4.)
[34:4] Quoted by Rev. S. Baring-Gould: Legends of the Patriarchs, p. 147. See
also Smith: Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 48, and Volney's Researches in
Ancient History, pp. 130, 131.
[34:5] Jewish Antiquities, book 1, ch. iv. p. 30.
[35:1] "Diodorus states that the great tower of the temple of Belus was used by
the Chaldeans as an observatory." (Smith's Bible Dictionary, art. "Babel.")
[35:2] The Hindoos had a sacred Mount Meru, the abode of the gods. This mountain
was supposed to consist of seven stages, increasing in sanctity as they
ascended. Many of the Hindoo temples, or rather altars, were "studied
transcripts of the sacred Mount Meru;" that is, they were built, like the tower
of Babel, in seven stages. Within the upper dwelt Brahm. (See Squire's Serpent
Symbol, p. 107.) Herodotus tells us that the upper stage of the tower of Babel
was the abode of the god Belus.
[35:3] The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 269. See also Bunsen: The Angel
Messiah, p. 106.
[35:4] Rawlinson's Herodotus, vol. ii. p. 484.
[35:5] Legends of the Patriarchs, pp. 148, 149.
[36:1] Ibid. p. 148. The ancient Scandinavians had a legend of a somewhat
similar tree. "The Mundane Tree," called Yggdrasill, was in the centre of the
earth; its branches covered over the surface of the earth, and its top reached
to the highest heaven. (See Mallet's Northern Antiquities.)
[36:2] Encyclopædia Britannica, art. "Babel."
[36:3] Esthonia is one of the three Baltic, or so-called, provinces of Russia.
[36:4] Encyclopædia Britannica, art. "Babel."
[36:5] Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 27.
[36:6] Brinton: Myths of the New World, p. 204.
[36:7] Humboldt: American Researches, vol. i. p. 96.
[36:9] Ibid., and Brinton: Myths of the New World, p. 204.
[36:10] The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 272.
[37:1] Quoted by Bishop Colenso: The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 272.
[37:2] Humboldt: American Researches, vol. i. p. 97. Lord Kingsborough: Mexican
[37:3] Com. on Old Test. vol. i. p. 196.
[Pg 38]CHAPTER IV.
THE TRIAL OF ABRAHAM'S FAITH.
The story of the trial of Abraham's faith—when he is ordered by the Lord to
sacrifice his only son Isaac—is to be found in Genesis xxii. 1-19, and is as
"And it came to pass . . . that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him:
'Abraham,' and he said: 'Behold, here I am.' And he (God) said: 'Take now thy
son, thine only son, Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of
Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which
I will tell thee of.'
"And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of
his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt
offering, and rose up and went into the place which God had told him. . . .
(When Abraham was near the appointed place) he said unto his young men: 'Abide
ye here with the ass, and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come
again to thee. And Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering, and laid it
upon (the shoulders of) Isaac his son, and he took the fire in his hand, and a
knife, and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his
father, and said: 'Behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the
burnt offering?' And Abraham said: 'My son, God will provide himself a lamb for
a burnt offering.' So they went both of them together, and they came to the
place which God had told him of. And Abraham built an altar there, and laid the
wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And
the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said: 'Abraham!
Abraham! lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him, for
now I know that thou fearest God, seeing that thou hast not withheld thy son,
thine only son from me.'
"And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught
in a thicket by his horns, and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up
for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. . . . And the angel of the Lord
called unto Abraham, out of heaven, the second time, and said: 'By myself have I
sworn saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not
withheld thy son, thine only son, . . . I will bless thee, and . . . I will
multiply thy seed as the stars in the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the
sea shore, and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. And in thy seed
shall all the nations of the earth be blest, because thou hast obeyed my voice.'
So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to
Beer-sheba, and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba."
[Pg 39]There is a Hindoo story related to the Sânkhâyana-sûtras, which, in
substance, is as follows: King Hariscandra had no son; he then prayed to Varuna,
promising, that if a son were born to him, he would sacrifice the child to the
god. Then a son was born to him, called Rohita. When Rohita was grown up his
father one day told him of the vow he had made to Varuna, and bade him prepare
to be sacrificed. The son objected to being killed and ran away from his
father's house. For six years he wandered in the forest, and at last met a
starving Brahman. Him he persuaded to sell one of his sons named Sunahsepha, for
a hundred cows. This boy was bought by Rohita and taken to Hariscandra and about
to be sacrificed to Varuna as a substitute for Rohita, when, on praying to the
gods with verses from the Veda, he was released by them.[39:1]
There was an ancient Phenician story, written by Sanchoniathon, who wrote about
1300 years before our era, which is as follows:
"Saturn, whom the Phœnicians call Israel, had by a nymph of the country a male
child whom he named Jeoud, that is, one and only. On the breaking out of a war,
which brought the country into imminent danger, Saturn erected an altar, brought
to it his son, clothed in royal garments, and sacrificed him."[39:2]
There is also a Grecian fable to the effect that one Agamemnon had a daughter
whom he dearly loved, and she was deserving of his affection. He was commanded
by God, through the Delphic Oracle, to offer her up as a sacrifice. Her father
long resisted the demand, but finally succumbed. Before the fatal blow had been
struck, however, the goddess Artemis or Ashtoreth interfered, and carried the
maiden away, whilst in her place was substituted a stag.[39:3]
Another similar Grecian fable relates that:
"When the Greek army was detained at Aulis, by contrary winds, the augurs being
consulted, declared that one of the kings had offended Diana, and she demanded
the sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia. It was like taking the father's
life-blood, but he was persuaded that it was his duty to submit for the good of
his country. The maiden was brought forth for sacrifice, in spite of her tears
and supplications; but just as the priest was about to strike the fatal blow,
Iphigenia suddenly disappeared, and a goat of uncommon beauty stood in her
There is yet still another, which belongs to the same country, and is related
"In Sparta, it being declared upon one occasion that the gods demanded a human
victim, the choice was made by lot, and fell on a damsel named Helena. [Pg
40]But when all was in readiness, an eagle descended, carried away the priest's
knife, and laid it on the head of a heifer, which was sacrificed in her
The story of Abraham and Isaac was written at a time when the Mosaic party in
Israel was endeavoring to abolish idolatry among their people. They were
offering up human sacrifices to their gods Moloch, Baal, and Chemosh, and the
priestly author of this story was trying to make the people think that the Lord
had abolished such offerings, as far back as the time of Abraham. The Grecian
legends, which he had evidently heard, may have given him the idea.[40:2]
Human offerings to the gods were at one time almost universal. In the earliest
ages the offerings were simple, and such as shepherds and rustics could present.
They loaded the altars of the gods with the first fruits of their crops, and the
choicest products of the earth. Afterwards they sacrificed animals. When they
had once laid it down as a principle that the effusion of the blood of these
animals appeased the anger of the gods, and that their justice turned aside upon
the victims those strokes which were destined for men, their great care was for
nothing more than to conciliate their favor by so easy a method. It is the
nature of violent desires and excessive fear to know no bounds, and therefore,
when they would ask for any favor which they ardently wished for, or would
deprecate some public calamity which they feared, the blood of animals was not
deemed a price sufficient, but they began to shed that of men. It is probable,
as we have said, that this barbarous practice was formerly almost universal, and
that it is of very remote antiquity. In time of war the captives were chosen for
this purpose, but in time of peace they took the slaves. The choice was partly
regulated by the opinion of the bystanders, and partly by lot. But they did not
always sacrifice such mean persons. In great calamities, in a pressing famine,
for example, if the people thought they had some pretext to impute the cause of
it to their king, they even sacrificed him without hesitation, as the highest
price with which they could purchase the Divine favor. In this manner, the first
King of Vermaland (a province of Sweden) was burnt in honor of Odin, the Supreme
God, to put an end to a great dearth; as we read in the history of Norway. The
kings, in their turn, did not spare the blood of their subjects; and many of
them even shed that of their children. Earl Hakon, of Norway, offered his son in
sacrifice, to obtain of Odin the victory over the Jomsburg pirates. Aun, King of
Sweden, [Pg 41]devoted to Odin the blood of his nine sons, to prevail on that
god to prolong his life. Some of the kings of Israel offered up their first-born
sons as a sacrifice to the god Baal or Moloch.
The altar of Moloch reeked with blood. Children were sacrificed and burned in
the fire to him, while trumpets and flutes drowned their screams, and the
mothers looked on, and were bound to restrain their tears.
The Phenicians offered to the gods, in times of war and drought, the fairest of
their children. The books of Sanchoniathon and Byblian Philo are full of
accounts of such sacrifices. In Byblos boys were immolated to Adonis; and, on
the founding of a city or colony, a sacrifice of a vast number of children was
solemnized, in the hopes of thereby averting misfortune from the new settlement.
The Phenicians, according to Eusebius, yearly sacrificed their dearest, and even
their only children, to Saturn. The bones of the victims were preserved in the
temple of Moloch, in a golden ark, which was carried by the Phenicians with them
to war.[41:1] Like the Fijians of the present day, those people considered their
gods as beings like themselves. They loved and they hated; they were proud and
revengeful; they were, in fact, savages like themselves.
If the eldest born of the family of Athamas entered the temple of the Laphystian
Jupiter, at Alos, in Achaia, he was sacrificed, crowned with garlands, like an
The offering of human sacrifices to the Sun was extensively practiced in Mexico
and Peru, before the establishment of Christianity.[41:3]
[39:1] See Müller's Hist. Sanscrit Literature; and Williams' Indian Wisdom, p.
[39:2] Quoted by Count de Volney; New Researches in Anc't Hist., p. 144.
[39:3] See Inman's Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 104.
[39:4] Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 302.
[40:2] See chapter xi.
[41:1] Baring-Gould: Orig. Relig. Belief, vol. i. p. 368.
[41:2] Kenrick's Egypt, vol. i. p. 448.
[41:3] See Acosta: Hist. Indies, vol. ii.
[Pg 42]CHAPTER V.
JACOB'S VISION OF THE LADDER.
In the 28th chapter of Genesis, we are told that Isaac, after blessing his son
Jacob, sent him to Padan-aram, to take a daughter of Laban's (his mother's
brother) to wife. Jacob, obeying his father, "went out from Beer-sheba (where he
dwelt), and went towards Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried
there all night, because the sun was set. And he took of the stones of the
place, and put them for his pillow, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he
dreamed, and behold, a ladder set upon the earth, and the top of it reached to
heaven. And he beheld the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And,
behold, the Lord stood above it, and said: 'I am the Lord God of Abraham thy
father, and the God of Isaac, the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give
it, and to thy seed.' . . . And Jacob awoke out of his sleep, and he said:
'Surely the Lord is in this place, and I know it not.' And he was afraid, and
said: 'How dreadful is this place, this is none other than the house of God, and
this is the gate of Heaven.' And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took
the stone that he had put for his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and poured
oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Beth-el."
The doctrine of Metempsychosis has evidently something to do with this legend.
It means, in the theological acceptation of the term, the supposed transition of
the soul after death, into another substance or body than that which it occupied
before. The belief in such a transition was common to the most civilized, and
the most uncivilized, nations of the earth.[42:1]
It was believed in, and taught by, the Brahminical Hindoos,[42:2] the
Buddhists,[42:3] the natives of Egypt,[42:4] several philosophers of [Pg
43]ancient Greece,[43:1] the ancient Druids,[43:2] the natives of
Madagascar,[43:3] several tribes of Africa,[43:4] and North America,[43:5] the
ancient Mexicans,[43:4] and by some Jewish and Christian sects.[43:5]
"It deserves notice, that in both of these religions (i. e., Jewish and
Christian), it found adherents as well in ancient as in modern times. Among the
Jews, the doctrine of transmigration—the Gilgul Neshamoth—was taught in the
mystical system of the Kabbala."[43:6]
"All the souls," the spiritual code of this system says, "are subject to the
trials of transmigration; and men do not know which are the ways of the Most
High in their regard." "The principle, in short, of the Kabbala, is the same as
that of Brahmanism."
"On the ground of this doctrine, which was shared in by Rabbis of the highest
renown, it was held, for instance, that the soul of Adam migrated into David,
and will come in the Messiah; that the soul of Japhet is the same as that of
Simeon, and the soul of Terah, migrated into Job."
"Of all these transmigrations, biblical instances are adduced according to their
mode of interpretation—in the writings of Rabbi Manasse ben Israel, Rabbi
Naphtali, Rabbi Meyer ben Gabbai, Rabbi Ruben, in the Jalkut Khadash, and other
works of a similar character."[43:4]
The doctrine is thus described by Ovid, in the language of Dryden:
"What feels the body when the soul expires,
By time corrupted, or consumed by fires?
Nor dies the spirit, but new life repeats
Into other forms, and only changes seats.
Ev'n I, who these mysterious truths declare,
Was once Euphorbus in the Trojan war;
My name and lineage I remember well,
And how in fight by Spartan's King I fell.
In Argive Juno's fame I late beheld
My buckler hung on high, and own'd my former shield
Then death, so called, is but old matter dressed
In some new figure, and a varied vest.
Thus all things are but alter'd, nothing dies,
And here and there the unbodied spirit flies."
The Jews undoubtedly learned this doctrine after they had been subdued by, and
become acquainted with other nations; and the writer of this story, whoever he
may have been, was evidently endeavoring to strengthen the belief in this
doctrine—he being an advocate of it—by inventing this story, and making Jacob a
witness to the truth of it. Jacob would have been looked upon at the time the
story was written (i. e., after the Babylonian captivity), [Pg 44]as of great
authority. We know that several writers of portions of the Old Testament have
written for similar purposes. As an illustration, we may mention the book of
Esther. This book was written for the purpose of explaining the origin of the
festival of Purim, and to encourage the Israelites to adopt it. The writer, who
was an advocate of the feast, lived long after the Babylonish captivity, and is
The writer of the seventeenth chapter of Matthew has made Jesus a teacher of the
doctrine of Transmigration.
The Lord had promised that he would send Elijah (Elias) the prophet, "before the
coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord,"[44:2] and Jesus is made to
say that he had already come, or, that his soul had transmigrated unto the body
of John the Baptist, and they knew it not.[44:3]
And in Mark (viii. 27) we are told that Jesus asked his disciples, saying unto
them; "Whom do men say that I am?" whereupon they answer: "Some say Elias; and
others, one of the prophets;" or, in other words, that the soul of Elias, or one
of the prophets, had transmigrated into the body of Jesus. In John (ix. 1, 2),
we are told that Jesus and his disciples seeing a man "which was blind from his
birth," the disciples asked him, saying; "Master, who did sin, this man (in some
former state) or his parents." Being born blind, how else could he sin, unless
in some former state? These passages result from the fact, which we have already
noticed, that some of the Jewish and Christian sects believed in the doctrine of
According to some Jewish authors, Adam was re-produced in Noah, Elijah, and
other Bible celebrities.[44:4]
The Rev. Mr. Faber says:
"Adam, and Enoch, and Noah, might in outward appearance be different men, but
they were really the self-same divine persons who had been promised as the seed
of the woman, successively animating various human bodies."[44:5]
We have stated as our belief that the vision which the writer of the
twenty-eighth chapter of Genesis has made Jacob to witness, was intended to
strengthen the belief in the doctrine of the Metempsychosis, that he was simply
seeing the souls of men ascending and descending from heaven on a ladder, during
We will now give our reasons for thinking so.
The learned Thomas Maurice tells us that:
[Pg 45]The Indians had, in remote ages, in their system of theology, the
sidereal ladder of seven gates, which described, in a symbolical manner, the
ascending and descending of the souls of men.[45:1]
We are also informed by Origen that:
This descent (i. e., the descent of souls from heaven to enter into some body),
was described in a symbolical manner, by a ladder which was represented as
reaching from heaven to earth, and divided into seven stages, at each of which
was figured a gate; the eighth gate was at the top of the ladder, which belonged
to the sphere of the celestial firmament.[45:2]
That souls dwell in the Galaxy was a thought familiar to the Pythagoreans, who
gave it on their master's word, that the souls that crowd there, descend and
appear to men as dreams.[45:3]
The fancy of the Manicheans also transferred pure souls to this column of light,
whence they could come down to earth and again return.[45:4]
Paintings representing a scene of this kind may be seen in works of art
illustrative of Indian Mythology.
Maurice speaks of one, in which he says:
"The souls of men are represented as ascending and descending (on a ladder),
according to the received opinion of the sidereal Metempsychosis in Asia."[45:5]
Mons. Dupuis tells us that:
"Among the mysterious pictures of the Initiation, in the cave of the Persian God
Mithras, there was exposed to the view the descent of the souls to the earth,
and their return to heaven, through the seven planetary spheres."[45:6]
And Count de Volney says:
"In the cave of Mithra was a ladder with seven steps, representing the seven
spheres of the planets by means of which souls ascended and descended. This is
precisely the ladder of Jacob's vision. There is in the Royal Library (of
France) a superb volume of pictures of the Indian gods, in which the ladder is
represented with the souls of men ascending it."[45:7]
In several of the Egyptian sculptures also, the Transmigration of Souls is
represented by the ascending and descending of souls from heaven to earth, on a
flight of steps, and, as the souls of wicked men were supposed to enter pigs and
other animals, therefore pigs, monkeys, &c., are to be seen on the steps,
descending from heaven.[45:8]
"And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it
reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it."
[Pg 46]These are the words of the sacred text. Can anything be more convincing?
It continues thus:
"And Jacob awoke out of his sleep . . . and he was afraid, and said . . . this
is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."
Here we have "the gate of heaven," mentioned by Origen in describing the
According to the ancients, the top of this ladder was supposed to reach the
throne of the most high God. This corresponds exactly with the vision of Jacob.
The ladder which he is made to see reached unto heaven, and the Lord stood above
"And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for
his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of
This concluding portion to the story has evidently an allusion to Phallic[46:3]
worship. There is scarcely a nation of antiquity which did not set up these
stones (as emblems of the reproductive power of nature) and worship them. Dr.
Oort, speaking of this, says:
Few forms of worship were so universal in ancient times as the homage paid to
sacred stones. In the history of the religion of even the most civilized
peoples, such as the Greeks, Romans, Hindoos, Arabs and Germans, we find traces
of this form of worship.[46:4] The ancient Druids of Britain also worshiped
sacred stones, which were set up on end.[46:5]
Pausanias, an eminent Greek historian, says:
"The Hermiac statue, which they venerate in Cyllenê above other symbols, is an
erect Phallus on a pedestal."[46:6]
This was nothing more than a smooth, oblong stone, set erect on a flat
The learned Dr. Ginsburg, in his "Life of Levita," alludes to the ancient mode
of worship offered to the heathen deity Hermes, or Mercury. A "Hermes" (i. e., a
stone) was frequently set up on the road-side, and each traveller, as he passed
by, paid his homage to the deity by either throwing a stone on the heap (which
was thus collected), or by anointing it. This "Hermes" was the symbol of
[Pg 47]Now, when we find that this form of worship was very prevalent among the
Israelites,[47:1] that these sacred stones which were "set up," were called (by
the heathen), BÆTY-LI,[47:2] (which is not unlike BETH-EL), and that they were
anointed with oil,[47:3] I think we have reasons for believing that the story of
Jacob's setting up a stone, pouring oil upon it, and calling the place Beth-el,
"has evidently an allusion to Phallic worship."[47:4]
The male and female powers of nature were denoted respectively by an upright and
an oval emblem, and the conjunction of the two furnished at once the altar and
the Ashera, or grove, against which the Hebrew prophets lifted up their voices
in earnest protest. In the kingdoms, both of Judah and Israel, the rites
connected with these emblems assumed their most corrupting form. Even in the
temple itself, stood the Ashera, or the upright emblem, on the circular altar of
Baal-Peor, the Priapos of the Jews, thus reproducing the Linga, and Yoni of the
Hindu.[47:5] For this symbol, the women wove hangings, as the Athenian maidens
embroidered the sacred peplos for the ship presented to Athênê, at the great
Dionysiac festival. This Ashera, which, in the authorized English version of the
Old Testament is translated "grove," was, in fact, a pole, or stem of a tree. It
is reproduced in our modern "Maypole," around which maidens dance, as maidens
did of yore.[47:6]
[42:1] See Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Transmigration."
[42:2] Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Transmigration." Prichard's Mythology, p. 213,
and Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 59.
[42:3] Ibid. Ernest de Bunsen says: "The first traces of the doctrine of
Transmigration of souls is to be found among the Brahmins and Buddhists." (The
Angel Messiah, pp. 63, 64.)
[42:4] Prichard's Mythology, pp. 213, 214.
[43:1] Gross: The Heathen Religion. Also Chambers's Encyclo., art.
[43:2] Ibid. Mallet's Northern Antiquities, p. 13; and Myths of the British
Druids, p. 15.
[43:3] Chambers's Encyclo.
[43:5] Ibid. See also Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, pp. 63, 64. Dupuis, p. 357.
Josephus: Jewish Antiquities, book xviii. ch. 13. Dunlap: Son of the Man, p. 94;
and Beal: Hist. Buddha.
[43:6] Chambers, art. "Transmigration."
[44:1] See The Religion of Israel, p. 18.
[44:2] Malachi iv. 5.
[44:3] Matthew xvii. 12, 13.
[44:4] See Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 78.
[44:5] Faber: Orig. Pagan Idol, vol. iii. p. 612; in Anacalypsis, vol. i. p.
[45:1] Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 202.
[45:2] Contra Celsus, lib. vi. c. xxii.
[45:3] Tylor: Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 324.
[45:5] Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 262.
[45:6] Dupuis: Origin of Religious Beliefs, p. 344.
[45:7] Volney's Ruins, p. 147, note.
[45:8] See Child's Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. pp. 160, 162.
[46:1] Genesis xxviii. 12, 13.
[46:2] Genesis xxviii. 18, 19.
[46:3] "Phallic," from "Phallus," a representation of the male generative
organs. For further information on this subject, see the works of R. Payne
Knight, and Dr. Thomas Inman.
[46:4] Bible for Learners, vol. i. pp. 175, 276. See, also, Knight: Ancient Art
and Mythology; and Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. i. and ii.
[46:5] See Myths of the British Druids, p. 300; and Higgins: Celtic Druids.
[46:6] Quoted by R. Payne Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, p. 114, note.
[46:7] See Illustrations in Dr. Inman's Pagan and Christian Symbolism.
[46:8] See Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. i. pp. 543, 544.
[47:1] Bible for Learners, vol. i. pp. 177, 178, 317, 321, 322.
[47:2] Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 356.
[47:4] We read in Bell's "Pantheon of the Gods and Demi-Gods of Antiquity,"
under the head of Baelylion, Baelylia or Baetylos, that they are "Anointed
Stones, worshiped among the Greeks, Phrygians, and other nations of the East;"
that "these Baetylia were greatly venerated by the ancient Heathen, many of
their idols being no other;" and that, "in reality no sort of idol was more
common in the East, than that of oblong stones erected, and hence termed by the
Greeks pillars." The Rev. Geo. W. Cox, in his Aryan Mythology (vol. ii. p. 113),
says: "The erection of these stone columns or pillars, the forms of which in
most cases tell their own story, are common throughout the East, some of the
most elaborate being found near Ghizni." And Mr. Wake (Phallism in Ancient
Religions, p. 60), says: "Kiyun, or Kivan, the name of the deity said by Amos
(v. 26), to have been worshiped in the wilderness by the Hebrews, signifies God
of the pillar."
[47:5] We find that there was nothing gross or immoral in the worship of the
male and female generative organs among the ancients, when the subject is
properly understood. Being the most intimately connected with the reproduction
of life on earth, the Linga became the symbol under which the Sun, invoked with
a thousand names, has been worshiped throughout the world as the restorer of the
powers of nature after the long sleep or death of winter. But if the Linga is
the Sun-god in his majesty, the Yoni is the earth who yields her fruit under his
The Phallic tree is introduced into the narrative of the book of Genesis: but it
is here called a tree, not of life, but of the knowledge of good and evil, that
knowledge which dawns in the mind with the first consciousness of difference
between man and woman. In contrast with this tree of carnal indulgence, tending
to death, is the tree of life, denoting the higher existence for which man was
designed, and which would bring with it the happiness and the freedom of the
children of God. In the brazen serpent of the Pentateuch, the two emblems of the
cross and serpent, the quiescent and energising Phallos, are united. (See Cox:
Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. pp. 113, 116, 118.)
[47:6] See Cox: Aryan Mytho., ii. 112, 113.
[Pg 48]CHAPTER VI.
THE EXODUS FROM EGYPT, AND PASSAGE THROUGH THE RED SEA.
The children of Israel, who were in bondage in Egypt, making bricks, and working
in the field,[48:1] were looked upon with compassion by the Lord.[48:2] He heard
their groaning, and remembered his covenant with Abraham,[48:3] with Isaac, and
with Jacob. He, therefore, chose Moses (an Israelite, who had murdered an
Egyptian,[48:4] and who, therefore, was obliged to flee from Egypt, as Pharaoh
sought to punish him), as his servant, to carry out his plans.
Moses was at this time keeping the flock of Jeruth, his father-in-law, in the
land of Midian. The angel of the Lord, or the Lord himself, appeared to him
there, and said unto him:
"I am the God of thy Father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God
of Jacob. . . . I have seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and
have heard their cry by reason of their tormentors; for I know their sorrows.
And I am come down to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians, and to
bring them up out of that land into a good land and a large, unto a land flowing
with milk and honey. I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth
my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."
Then Moses said unto the Lord:
"Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, the
God of your fathers hath sent me unto you, and they shall say unto me: What is
his name? What shall I say unto them?"
Then God said unto Moses:
"I am that I am."[48:5] "Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I am
hath sent me unto you."[48:6]
[Pg 49]And God said, moreover, unto Moses:
"Go and gather the Elders of Israel together, and say unto them: the Lord God of
your fathers . . . appeared unto me, saying: 'I have surely visited you, and
seen that which is done to you in Egypt. And I have said, I will bring you up
out of the affliction of Egypt . . . unto a land flowing with milk and honey.'
And they shall hearken to thy voice, and thou shall come, thou and the Elders of
Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him: 'the Lord God of the
Hebrews hath met with us, and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days journey
in the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.'[49:1]
"I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.
And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders, which I
will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go. And I will give
this people (the Hebrews) favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and it shall come
to pass, that when ye go, ye shall not go empty. But every woman shall borrow of
her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver and
jewels of gold, and raiment. And ye shall put them upon your sons and upon your
daughters, and ye shall spoil the Egyptians."[49:2]
The Lord again appeared unto Moses, in Midian, and said:
"Go, return into Egypt, for all the men are dead which sought thy life. And
Moses took his wife, and his son, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to
the land of Egypt. And Moses took the rod of God (which the Lord had given him)
in his hand."[49:3]
Upon arriving in Egypt, Moses tells his brother Aaron, "all the words of the
Lord," and Aaron tells all the children of Israel. Moses, who was not eloquent,
but had a slow speech,[49:4] uses Aaron as his spokesman.[49:5] They then appear
unto Pharaoh, and falsify, "according to the commands of the Lord," saying: "Let
us go, we pray thee, three days' journey in the desert, and sacrifice unto the
Lord our God."[49:6]
The Lord hardens Pharaoh's heart, so that he does not let the children of Israel
go to sacrifice unto their God, in the desert.
[Pg 50]Moses and Aaron continue interceding with him, however, and, for the
purpose of showing their miraculous powers, they change their rods into
serpents, the river into blood, cause a plague of frogs and lice, and a swarm of
flies, &c., &c., to appear. Most of these feats were imitated by the magicians
of Egypt. Finally, the first-born of Egypt are slain, when Pharaoh, after having
had his heart hardened, by the Lord, over and over again, consents to let Moses
and the children of Israel go to serve their God, as they had said, that is, for
The Lord having given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, they
borrowed of them jewels of silver, jewels of gold, and raiment, "according to
the commands of the Lord." And they journeyed toward Succoth, there being six
hundred thousand, besides children.[50:1]
"And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of
the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day, in a pillar of a cloud, to
lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light to go by
day and night."[50:2]
"And it was told the king of Egypt, that the people fled. . . . And he made
ready his chariot, and took his people with him. And he took six hundred chosen
chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, . . . and he pursued after the children
of Israel, and overtook them encamping beside the sea. . . . And when Pharaoh
drew nigh, the children of Israel . . . were sore afraid, and . . . (they) cried
out unto the Lord. . . . And the Lord said unto Moses, . . . speak unto the
children of Israel, that they go forward. But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch
out thine hand over the Red Sea, and divide it, and the children of Israel shall
go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. . . . And Moses stretched out his
hand over the sea,[50:3] and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east
wind that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the
children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground; and the
waters were a wall unto them upon the right hand, and on their left. And the
Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all
Pharaoh's horses, and his chariots, and his horse-men."
After the children of Israel had landed on the other side of the sea, the Lord
said unto Moses:
"Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the
Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horse-men. And Moses stretched
forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength. . . . And the
Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned,
and covered the chariots, and the horse-men, and all the host of Pharaoh [Pg
51]that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.
But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea, and the
waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. . . . And
Israel saw the great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians, and the people
feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and his servant Moses."[51:1]
The writer of this story, whoever he may have been, was evidently familiar with
the legends related of the Sun-god, Bacchus, as he has given Moses the credit of
performing some of the miracles which were attributed to that god.
It is related in the hymns of Orpheus,[51:2] that Bacchus had a rod with which
he performed miracles, and which he could change into a serpent at pleasure. He
passed the Red Sea, dry shod, at the head of his army. He divided the waters of
the rivers Orontes and Hydaspus, by the touch of his rod, and passed through
them dry-shod.[51:3] By the same mighty wand, he drew water from the rock,[51:4]
and wherever they marched, the land flowed with wine, milk and honey.[51:5]
Professor Steinthal, speaking of Dionysus (Bacchus), says:
Like Moses, he strikes fountains of wine and water out of the rock. Almost all
the acts of Moses correspond to those of the Sun-gods.[51:6]
Mons. Dupuis says:
"Among the different miracles of Bacchus and his Bacchantes, there are prodigies
very similar to those which are attributed to Moses; for instance, such as the
sources of water which the former caused to sprout from the innermost of the
In Bell's Pantheon of the Gods and Heroes of Antiquity,[51:8] an account of the
prodigies attributed to Bacchus is given; among these, are mentioned his
striking water from the rock, with his magic wand, his turning a twig of ivy
into a snake, his passing through the Red Sea and the rivers Orontes and
Hydaspus, and of his enjoying the light of the Sun (while marching with his army
in India), when the day was spent, and it was dark to others. All these are
parallels too striking to be accidental.
We might also mention the fact, that Bacchus, as well as Moses [Pg 52]was called
the "Law-giver," and that it was said of Bacchus, as well as of Moses, that his
laws were written on two tables of stone.[52:1] Bacchus was represented horned,
and so was Moses.[52:2] Bacchus "was picked up in a box, that floated on the
water,"[52:3] and so was Moses.[52:4] Bacchus had two mothers, one by nature,
and one by adoption,[52:5] and so had Moses.[52:6] And, as we have already seen,
Bacchus and his army enjoyed the light of the Sun, during the night time, and
Moses and his army enjoyed the light of "a pillar of fire, by night."[52:7]
In regard to the children of Israel going out from the land of Egypt, we have no
doubt that such an occurrence took place, although not in the manner, and not
for such reasons, as is recorded by the sacred historian. We find, from other
sources, what is evidently nearer the truth.
It is related by the historian Choeremon, that, at one time, the land of Egypt
was infested with disease, and through the advice of the sacred scribe
Phritiphantes, the king caused the infected people (who were none other than the
brick-making slaves, known as the children of Israel), to be collected, and
driven out of the country.[52:8]
Lysimachus relates that:
"A filthy disease broke out in Egypt, and the Oracle of Ammon, being consulted
on the occasion, commanded the king to purify the land by driving out the Jews
(who were infected with leprosy, &c.), a race of men who were hateful to the
Gods."[52:9] "The whole multitude of the people were accordingly collected and
driven out into the wilderness."[52:10]
Diodorus Siculus, referring to this event, says:
"In ancient times Egypt was afflicted with a great plague, which was attributed
to the anger of God, on account of the multitude of foreigners in Egypt: by whom
the rites of the native religion were neglected. The Egyptians accordingly drove
them out. The most noble of them went under Cadmus and Danaus to Greece, but the
greater number followed Moses, a wise and valiant leader, to Palestine."[52:11]
[Pg 53]After giving the different opinions concerning the origin of the Jewish
nation, Tacitus, the Roman historian, says:
"In this clash of opinions, one point seems to be universally admitted. A
pestilential disease, disfiguring the race of man, and making the body an object
of loathsome deformity, spread all over Egypt. Bocchoris, at that time the
reigning monarch, consulted the oracle of Jupiter Hammon, and received for
answer, that the kingdom must be purified, by exterminating the infected
multitude, as a race of men detested by the gods. After diligent search, the
wretched sufferers were collected together, and in a wild and barren desert
abandoned to their misery. In that distress, while the vulgar herd was sunk in
deep despair, Moses, one of their number, reminded them, that, by the wisdom of
his councils, they had been already rescued out of impending danger. Deserted as
they were by men and gods, he told them, that if they did not repose their
confidence in him, as their chief by divine commission, they had no resource
left. His offer was accepted. Their march began, they knew not whither. Want of
water was their chief distress. Worn out with fatigue, they lay stretched on the
bare earth, heart broken, ready to expire, when a troop of wild asses, returning
from pasture, went up the steep ascent of a rock covered with a grove of trees.
The verdure of the herbage round the place suggested the idea of springs near at
hand. Moses traced the steps of the animals, and discovered a plentiful vein of
water. By this relief the fainting multitude was raised from despair. They
pursued their journey for six days without intermission. On the seventh day they
made halt, and, having expelled the natives, took possession of the country,
where they built their city, and dedicated their temple."[53:1]
Other accounts, similar to these, might be added, among which may be mentioned
that given by Manetho, an Egyptian priest, which is referred to by Josephus, the
Although the accounts quoted above are not exactly alike, yet the main points
are the same, which are to the effect that Egypt was infected with disease owing
to the foreigners (among whom were those who were afterwards styled "the
children of Israel") that were in the country, and who were an unclean people,
and that they were accordingly driven out into the wilderness.
When we compare this statement with that recorded in Genesis, it does not take
long to decide which of the two is nearest the truth.
Everything putrid, or that had a tendency to putridity, was carefully avoided by
the ancient Egyptians, and so strict were the Egyptian priests on this point,
that they wore no garments made of any animal substance, circumcised themselves,
and shaved their whole bodies, even to their eyebrows, lest they should
unknowingly harbor any filth, excrement or vermin, supposed to be bred from
putrefaction.[53:2] We know from the laws set down in Leviticus, that the
Hebrews were not a remarkably clean race.
[Pg 54]Jewish priests, in making a history for their race, have given us but a
shadow of truth here and there; it is almost wholly mythical. The author of "The
Religion of Israel," speaking on this subject, says:
"The history of the religion of Israel must start from the sojourn of the
Israelites in Egypt. Formerly it was usual to take a much earlier
starting-point, and to begin with a religious discussion of the religious ideas
of the Patriarchs. And this was perfectly right, so long as the accounts of
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were considered historical. But now that a strict
investigation has shown us that all these stories are entirely unhistorical, of
course we have to begin the history later on."[54:1]
The author of "The Spirit History of Man," says:
"The Hebrews came out of Egypt and settled among the Canaanites. They need not
be traced beyond the Exodus. That is their historical beginning. It was very
easy to cover up this remote event by the recital of mythical traditions, and to
prefix to it an account of their origin in which the gods (Patriarchs), should
figure as their ancestors."[54:2]
Professor Goldzhier says:
"The residence of the Hebrews in Egypt, and their exodus thence under the
guidance and training of an enthusiast for the freedom of his tribe, form a
series of strictly historical facts, which find confirmation even in the
documents of ancient Egypt (which we have just shown). But the traditional
narratives of these events (were) elaborated by the Hebrew people."[54:3]
Count de Volney also observes that:
"What Exodus says of their (the Israelites) servitude under the king of
Heliopolis, and of the oppression of their hosts, the Egyptians, is extremely
probable. It is here their history begins. All that precedes . . . is nothing
but mythology and cosmogony."[54:4]
In speaking of the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt, Dr. Knappert says:
"According to the tradition preserved in Genesis, it was the promotion of
Jacob's son, Joseph, to be viceroy of Egypt, that brought about the migration of
the sons of Israel from Canaan to Goshen. The story goes that this Joseph was
sold as a slave by his brothers, and after many changes of fortune received the
vice-regal office at Pharaoh's hands through his skill in interpreting dreams.
Famine drives his brothers—and afterwards his father—to him, and the Egyptian
prince gives them the land of Goshen to live in. It is by imagining all this
that the [Pg 55]legend tries to account for the fact that Israel passed some
time in Egypt. But we must look for the real explanation in a migration of
certain tribes which could not establish or maintain themselves in Canaan, and
were forced to move further on.
"We find a passage in Flavius Josephus, from which it appears that in Egypt,
too, a recollection survived of the sojourn of some foreign tribes in the
north-eastern district of the country. For this writer gives us two fragments
out of a lost work by Manetho, a priest, who lived about 250 B. C. In one of
these we have a statement that pretty nearly agrees with the Israelitish
tradition about a sojourn in Goshen. But the Israelites were looked down on by
the Egyptians as foreigners, and they are represented as lepers and unclean.
Moses himself is mentioned by name, and we are told that he was a priest and
joined himself to these lepers and gave them laws."[55:1]
To return now to the story of the Red Sea being divided to let Moses and his
followers pass through—of which we have already seen one counterpart in the
legend related of Bacchus and his army passing through the same sea
dry-shod—there is another similar story concerning Alexander the Great.
The histories of Alexander relate that the Pamphylian Sea was divided to let him
and his army pass through. Josephus, after speaking of the Red Sea being divided
for the passage of the Israelites, says:
"For the sake of those who accompanied Alexander, king of Macedonia, who yet
lived comparatively but a little while ago, the Pamphylian Sea retired and
offered them a passage through itself, when they had no other way to go . . .
and this is confessed to be true by all who have written about the actions of
He seems to consider both legends of the same authority, quoting the latter to
substantiate the former.
"Callisthenes, who himself accompanied Alexander in the expedition," "wrote, how
the Pamphylian Sea did not only open a passage for Alexander, but, rising and
elevating its waters, did pay him homage as its king."[55:3]
It is related in Egyptian mythology that Isis was at one time on a journey with
the eldest child of the king of Byblos, when coming to the river Phœdrus, which
was in a "rough air," and wishing to [Pg 56]cross, she commanded the stream to
be dried up. This being done she crossed without trouble.[56:1]
There is a Hindoo fable to the effect that when the infant Crishna was being
sought by the reigning tyrant of Madura (King Kansa)[56:2] his foster-father
took him and departed out of the country. Coming to the river Yumna, and wishing
to cross, it was divided for them by the Lord, and they passed through.
The story is related by Thomas Maurice, in his "History of Hindostan," who has
taken it from the Bhagavat Pooraun. It is as follows:
"Yasodha took the child Crishna, and carried him off (from where he was born),
but, coming to the river Yumna, directly opposite to Gokul, Crishna's father
perceiving the current to be very strong, it being in the midst of the rainy
season, and not knowing which way to pass it, Crishna commanded the water to
give way on both sides to his father, who accordingly passed dry-footed, across
This incident is illustrated in Plate 58 of Moore's "Hindu Pantheon."
There is another Hindoo legend, recorded in the Rig Veda, and quoted by Viscount
Amberly, from whose work we take it,[56:4] to the effect that an Indian sage
called Visvimati, having arrived at a river which he wished to cross, that holy
man said to it: "Listen to the Bard who has come to you from afar with wagon and
chariot. Sink down, become fordable, and reach not up to our chariot axles." The
river answers: "I will bow down to thee like a woman with full breast (suckling
her child), as a maid to a man, will I throw myself open to thee."
This is accordingly done, and the sage passes through.
We have also an Indian legend which relates that a courtesan named Bindumati,
turned back the streams of the river Ganges.[56:5]
We see then, that the idea of seas and rivers being divided for the purpose of
letting some chosen one of God pass through is an old one peculiar to other
peoples beside the Hebrews, and the probability is that many nations had legends
of this kind.
That Pharaoh and his host should have been drowned in the Red Sea, and the fact
not mentioned by any historian, is simply impossible, especially when they have,
as we have seen, noticed the fact of the Israelites being driven out of
Egypt.[56:6] Dr. Inman, speaking of this, says:
[Pg 57]"We seek in vain amongst the Egyptian hieroglyphs for scenes which recall
such cruelties as those we read of in the Hebrew records; and in the writings
which have hitherto been translated, we find nothing resembling the wholesale
destructions described and applauded by the Jewish historians, as perpetrated by
their own people."[57:1]
That Pharaoh should have pursued a tribe of diseased slaves, whom he had driven
out of his country, is altogether improbable. In the words of Dr. Knappert, we
may conclude, by saying that:
"This story, which was not written until more than five hundred years after the
exodus itself, can lay no claim to be considered historical."[57:2]
[48:1] Exodus i. 14.
[48:2] Exodus ii. 24, 25.
[48:3] See chapter x.
[48:4] Exodus ii. 12.
[48:5] The Egyptian name for God was "Nuk-Pa-Nuk," or "I am that I am."
(Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 395.) This name was found on a temple in Egypt.
(Higgins' Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 17.) "'I am' was a Divine name understood by
all the initiated among the Egyptians." "The 'I am' of the Hebrews, and the 'I
am' of the Egyptians are identical." (Bunsen: Keys of St. Peter, p. 38.) The
name "Jehovah," which was adopted by the Hebrews, was a name esteemed sacred
among the Egyptians. They called it Y-ha-ho, or Y-ah-weh. (See the Religion of
Israel, pp. 42, 43; and Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 329, and vol. ii. p. 17.) "None
dare to enter the temple of Serapis, who did not bear on his breast or forehead
the name of Jao, or J-ha-ho, a name almost equivalent in sound to that of the
Hebrew Jehovah, and probably of identical import; and no name was uttered in
Egypt with more reverence than this Iao." (Trans. from the Ger. of Schiller, in
Monthly Repos., vol. xx.; and Voltaire: Commentary on Exodus; Higgins' Anac.,
vol. i. p. 329; vol. ii. p. 17.) "That this divine name was well-known to the
Heathen there can be no doubt." (Parkhurst: Hebrew Lex. in Anac., i. 327.) So
also with the name El Shaddai. "The extremely common Egyptian expression Nutar
Nutra exactly corresponds in sense to the Hebrew El Shaddai, the very title by
which God tells Moses he was known to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob." (Prof.
Renouf: Relig. of Anc't Egypt, p. 99.)
[48:6] Exodus iii. 1, 14.
[49:1] Exodus iii. 15-18.
[49:2] Exodus iii. 19-22. Here is a command from the Lord to deceive, and lie,
and steal, which, according to the narrative, was carried out to the letter (Ex.
xii. 35, 36); and yet we are told that this same Lord said: "Thou shalt not
steal." (Ex. xx. 15.) Again he says: "That shalt not defraud thy neighbor,
neither rob him." (Leviticus xix. 18.) Surely this is inconsistency.
[49:3] Exodus iv. 19, 20.
[49:4] Exodus iv. 10.
[49:5] Exodus iv. 16.
[49:6] Exodus v. 3.
[50:1] Exodus vii. 35-37. Bishop Colenso shows, in his Pentateuch Examined, how
ridiculous this statement is.
[50:2] Exodus xiii. 20, 21.
[50:3] "The sea over which Moses stretches out his hand with the staff, and
which he divides, so that the waters stand up on either side like walls while he
passes through, must surely have been originally the Sea of Clouds. . . . A
German story presents a perfectly similar feature. The conception of the cloud
as sea, rock and wall, recurs very frequently in mythology." (Prof. Steinthal:
The Legend of Samson, p. 429.)
[51:1] Exodus xiv. 5-13.
[51:2] Orpheus is said to have been the earliest poet of Greece, where he first
introduced the rites of Bacchus, which he brought from Egypt. (See Roman
Antiquities, p. 134.)
[51:3] The Hebrew fable writers not wishing to be outdone, have made the waters
of the river Jordan to be divided to let Elijah and Elisha pass through (2 Kings
ii. 8), and also the children of Israel. (Joshua iii. 15-17.)
[51:4] Moses, with his rod, drew water from the rock. (Exodus xvii. 6.)
[51:5] See Taylor's Diegesis, p. 191, and Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 19.
[51:6] The Legend of Samson, p. 429.
[51:7] Dupuis: Origin of Religious Beliefs, p. 135.
[51:8] Vol. i. p. 122.
[52:1] Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 122; and Higgins: Anacalypsis vol. ii. p. 19.
[52:2] Ibid. and Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 174.
[52:3] Taylor's Diegesis, p. 190; Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. under "Bacchus;" and
Higgins: Anacalypsis ii. 19.
[52:4] Exodus ii. 1-11.
[52:5] Taylor's Diegesis, p. 191; Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. under "Bacchus;" and
Higgins: p. 19, vol. ii.
[52:6] Exodus ii. 1-11.
[52:7] Exodus xiii. 20, 21.
[52:8] See Prichard's Historical Records, p. 74; also Dunlap's Spirit Hist., p.
40; and Cory's Ancient Fragments, pp. 80, 81, for similar accounts.
[52:9] "All persons afflicted with leprosy were considered displeasing in the
sight of the Sun-god, by the Egyptians." (Dunlap: Spirit. Hist. p. 40.)
[52:10] Prichard's Historical Records, p. 75.
[52:11] Ibid. p. 78.
[53:1] Tacitus: Hist. book v. ch. iii.
[53:2] Knight: Anc't Art and Mythology, p. 89, and Kenrick's Egypt, vol. i. p.
447. "The cleanliness of the Egyptian priests was extreme. They shaved their
heads, and every three days shaved their whole bodies. They bathed two or three
times a day, often in the night also. They wore garments of white linen, deeming
it more cleanly than cloth made from the hair of animals. If they had occasion
to wear a woolen cloth or mantle, they put it off before entering a temple; so
scrupulous were they that nothing impure should come into the presence of the
gods." (Prog. Relig. Ideas, i. 168.)
"Thinking it better to be clean than handsome, the (Egyptian) priests shave
their whole body every third day, that neither lice nor any other impurity may
be found upon them when engaged in the service of the gods." (Herodotus: book
ii. ch. 37.)
[54:1] The Religion of Israel, p. 27.
[54:2] Dunlap: Spirit Hist. of Man, p. 266.
[54:3] Hebrew Mythology, p. 23.
[54:4] Researches in Ancient History, p. 146.
[55:1] The Religion of Israel, pp. 31, 32.
[55:2] Jewish Antiq. bk. ii. ch. xvi.
[55:3] Ibid. note.
"It was said that the waters of the Pamphylian Sea miraculously opened a passage
for the army of Alexander the Great. Admiral Beaufort, however, tells us that,
'though there are no tides in this part of the Mediterranean, considerable
depression of the sea is caused by long-continued north winds; and Alexander,
taking advantage of such a moment, may have dashed on without impediment;' and
we accept the explanation as a matter of course. But the waters of the Red Sea
are said to have miraculously opened a passage for the children of Israel; and
we insist on the literal truth of this story, and reject natural explanations as
monstrous." (Matthew Arnold.)
[56:1] See Prichard's Egyptian Mytho. p. 60.
[56:2] See ch. xviii.
[56:3] Hist. Hindostan, vol. ii. p. 312.
[56:4] Analysis Relig. Belief, p. 552.
[56:5] See Hardy: Buddhist Legends, p. 140.
[56:6] In a cave discovered at Deir-el-Bahari (Aug., 1881), near Thebes, in
Egypt, was found thirty-nine mummies of royal and priestly personages. Among
these was King Ramses II., the third king of the Nineteenth Dynasty, and the
veritable Pharaoh of the Jewish captivity. It is very strange that he should be
here, among a number of other kings, if he had been lost in the Red Sea. The
mummy is wrapped in rose-colored and yellow linen of a texture finer than the
finest Indian muslin, upon which lotus flowers are strewn. It is in a perfect
state of preservation. (See a Cairo [Aug. 8th] letter to the London Times.)
[57:1] Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 58.
[57:2] The Religion of Israel, p. 41.
[Pg 58]CHAPTER VII.
RECEIVING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.
The receiving of the Ten Commandments by Moses, from the Lord, is recorded in
the following manner:
"In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land
of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai, . . . and there
Israel camped before the Mount. . . .
"And it came to pass on the third day that there were thunders and lightnings,
and a thick cloud upon the Mount, and the voice of the tempest exceedingly loud,
so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. . . .
"And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it
in fire, and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole
Mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the tempest sounded long, and waxed
louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.
"And the Lord came down upon the Mount, and called Moses up to the top of the
Mount, and Moses went up."[58:1]
The Lord there communed with him, and "he gave unto Moses . . . . two tables of
testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God."[58:2]
When Moses came down from off the Mount, he found the children of Israel dancing
around a golden calf, which his brother Aaron had made, and, as his "anger waxed
hot," he cast the tables of stone on the ground, and broke them.[58:3] Moses
again saw the Lord on the Mount, however, and received two more tables of
stone.[58:4] When he came down this time from off Mount Sinai, "the skin of his
face did shine."[58:5]
[Pg 59]These two tables of stone contained the Ten Commandments,[59:1] so it is
said, which the Jews and Christians of the present day are supposed to take for
They are, in substance, as follows:
1—To have no other God but Jehovah.
2—To make no image for purpose of worship.
3—Not to take Jehovah's name in vain.
4—Not to work on the Sabbath-day.
5—To honor their parents.
6—Not to kill.
7—Not to commit adultery.
8—Not to steal.
9—Not to bear false witness against a neighbor.
10—Not to covet.[59:2]
We have already seen, in the last chapter, that Bacchus was called the
"Law-giver," and that his laws were written on two tables of stone.[59:3] This
feature in the Hebrew legend was evidently copied from that related of Bacchus,
but, the idea of his (Moses) receiving the commandments from the Lord on a
mountain was obviously taken from the Persian legend related of Zoroaster.
Prof. Max Müller says:
"What applies to the religion of Moses applies to that of Zoroaster. It is
placed before us as a complete system from the first, revealed by Ahuramazda
(Ormuzd), proclaimed by Zoroaster."[59:4]
The disciples of Zoroaster, in their profusion of legends of the master, relate
that one day, as he prayed on a high mountain, in the midst of thunders and
lightnings ("fire from heaven"), the Lord himself appeared before him, and
delivered unto him the "Book of the Law." While the King of Persia and the
people were assembled together, Zoroaster came down from the mountain unharmed,
bringing with him the "Book of the Law," which had been revealed to him by
Ormuzd. They call this book the Zend-Avesta, which signifies the Living
[Pg 60]According to the religion of the Cretans, Minos, their law-giver,
ascended a mountain (Mount Dicta) and there received from the Supreme Lord
(Zeus) the sacred laws which he brought down with him.[60:1]
Almost all nations of antiquity have legends of their holy men ascending a
mountain to ask counsel of the gods, such places being invested with peculiar
sanctity, and deemed nearer to the deities than other portions of the
According to Egyptian belief, it is Thoth, the Deity itself, that speaks and
reveals to his elect among men the will of God and the arcana of divine things.
Portions of them are expressly stated to have been written by the very finger of
Thoth himself; to have been the work and composition of the great god.[60:3]
Diodorus, the Grecian historian, says:
The idea promulgated by the ancient Egyptians that their laws were received
direct from the Most High God, has been adopted with success by many other
law-givers, who have thus insured respect for their institutions.[60:4]
The Supreme God of the ancient Mexicans was Tezcatlipoca. He occupied a position
corresponding to the Jehovah of the Jews, the Brahma of India, the Zeus of the
Greeks, and the Odin of the Scandinavians. His name is compounded of Tezcatepec,
the name of a mountain (upon which he is said to have manifested himself to man)
tlil, dark, and poca, smoke. The explanation of this designation is given in the
Codex Vaticanus, as follows:
[Pg 61]Tezcatlipoca was one of their most potent deities; they say he once
appeared on the top of a mountain. They paid him great reverence and adoration,
and addressed him, in their prayers, as "Lord, whose servant we are." No man
ever saw his face, for he appeared only "as a shade." Indeed, the Mexican idea
of the godhead was similar to that of the Jews. Like Jehovah, Tezcatlipoca dwelt
in the "midst of thick darkness." When he descended upon the mount of
Tezcatepec, darkness overshadowed the earth, while fire and water, in mingled
streams, flowed from beneath his feet, from its summit.[61:1]
Thus, we see that other nations, beside the Hebrews, believed that their laws
were actually received from God, that they had legends to that effect, and that
a mountain figures conspicuously in the stories.
Professor Oort, speaking on this subject, says:
"No one who has any knowledge of antiquity will be surprised at this, for
similar beliefs were very common. All peoples who had issued from a life of
barbarism and acquired regular political institutions, more or less elaborate
laws, and established worship, and maxims of morality, attributed all this—their
birth as a nation, so to speak—to one or more great men, all of whom, without
exception, were supposed to have received their knowledge from some deity.
"Whence did Zoroaster, the prophet of the Persians, derive his religion?
According to the beliefs of his followers, and the doctrines of their sacred
writings, it was from Ahuramazda, the God of light. Why did the Egyptians
represent the god Thoth with a writing tablet and a pencil in his hand, and
honor him especially as the god of the priests? Because he was 'the Lord of the
divine Word,' the foundation of all wisdom, from whose inspiration the priests,
who were the scholars, the lawyers, and the religious teachers of the people,
derived all their wisdom. Was not Minos, the law-giver of the Cretans, the
friend of Zeus, the highest of the gods? Nay, was he not even his son, and did
he not ascend to the sacred cave on Mount Dicte to bring down the laws which his
god had placed there for him? From whom did the Spartan law-giver, Lycurgus,
himself say that he had obtained his laws? From no other than the god Apollo.
The Roman legend, too, in honoring Numa Pompilius as the people's instructor, at
the same time ascribed all his wisdom to his intercourse with the nymph Egeria.
It was the same elsewhere; and to make one more example,—this from later
times—Mohammed not only believed himself to have been called immediately by God
to be the prophet of the Arabs, but declared that he had received every page of
the Koran from the hand of the angel Gabriel."[61:2]
[58:1] Exodus xix.
[58:2] Exodus xxxi. 18.
[58:3] Exodus xxii. 19.
[58:4] Exodus xxxiv.
It was a common belief among ancient Pagan nations that the gods appeared and
conversed with men. As an illustration we may cite the following, related by
Herodotus, the Grecian historian, who, in speaking of Egypt and the Egyptians,
says: "There is a large city called Chemmis, situated in the Thebaic district,
near Neapolis, in which is a quadrangular temple dedicated to (the god) Perseus,
son of (the Virgin) Danae; palm-trees grow round it, and the portico is of
stone, very spacious, and over it are placed two large stone statues. In this
inclosure is a temple, and in it is placed a statue of Perseus. The Chemmitæ (or
inhabitants of Chemmis), affirm that Perseus has frequently appeared to them on
earth, and frequently within the temple." (Herodotus, bk. ii. ch. 91.)
[59:1] Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, had TEN commandments. 1. Not to kill. 2.
Not to steal. 3. To be chaste. 4 Not to bear false witness. 5. Not to lie. 6.
Not to swear. 7. To avoid impure words. 8. To be disinterested. 9. Not to avenge
one's-self. 10. Not to be superstitious. (See Huc's Travels, p. 328, vol. i.)
[59:2] Exodus xx. Dr. Oort says: "The original ten commandments probably ran as
follows: I Yahwah am your God. Worship no other gods beside me. Make no image of
a god. Commit no perjury. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day. Honor your
father and your mother. Commit no murder. Break not the marriage vow. Steal not.
Bear no false witness. Covet not." (Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 18.)
[59:3] Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 122. Higgins, vol. ii. p. 19. Cox: Aryan
Mytho. vol. ii. p. 295.
[59:4] Müller: Origin of Religion, p. 130.
[59:5] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. pp. 257, 258. This book, the Zend-Avesta,
is similar, in many respects, to the Vedas of the Hindoos. This has led many to
believe that Zoroaster was a Brahman; among these are Rawlinson (See Inman's
Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 831) and Thomas Maurice. (See Indian Antiquities,
vol. ii. p. 219.)
The Persians themselves had a tradition that he came from some country to the
East of them. That he was a foreigner is indicated by a passage in the
Zend-Avesta which represents Ormuzd as saying to him: "Thou, O Zoroaster, by the
promulgation of my law, shalt restore to me my former glory, which was pure
light. Up! haste thee to the land of Iran, which thirsteth after the law, and
say, thus said Ormuzd, &c." (See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 263.)
[60:1] The Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 301.
[60:2] "The deities of the Hindoo Pantheon dwell on the sacred Mount Meru; the
gods of Persia ruled from Albordj; the Greek Jove thundered from Olympus, and
the Scandinavian gods made Asgard awful with their presence. . . . Profane
history is full of examples attesting the attachment to high places for purpose
of sacrifice." (Squire: Serpent Symbols, p. 78.)
"The offerings of the Chinese to the deities were generally on the summits of
high mountains, as they seemed to them to be nearer heaven, to the majesty of
which they were to be offered." (Christmas's Mytho. p. 250, in Ibid.) "In the
infancy of civilization, high places were chosen by the people to offer
sacrifices to the gods. The first altars, the first temples, were erected on
mountains." (Humboldt: American Researches.) The Himalayas are the "Heavenly
mountains." In Sanscrit Himala, corresponding to the M. Gothic, Himins; Alem.,
Himil; Ger., Swed., and Dan., Himmel; Old Norse, Himin; Dutch, Hemel; Ang.-Sax.,
Heofon; Eng., Heaven. (See Mallet's Northern Antiquities, p. 42.)
[60:3] Bunsen's Egypt, quoted in Isis Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 367. Mrs. Child
says: "The laws of Egypt were handed down from the earliest times, and regarded
with the utmost veneration as a portion of religion. Their first legislator
represented them as dictated by the gods themselves and framed expressly for the
benefit of mankind by their secretary Thoth." (Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p.
[60:4] Quoted in Ibid.
[61:1] See Squire's Serpent Symbol, p. 175.
[61:2] Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 301.
[Pg 62]CHAPTER VIII.
SAMSON AND HIS EXPLOITS.
This Israelite hero is said to have been born at a time when the children of
Israel were in the hands of the Philistines. His mother, who had been barren for
a number of years, is entertained by an angel, who informs her that she shall
conceive, and bear a son,[62:1] and that the child shall be a Nazarite unto God,
from the womb, and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hands of the
According to the prediction of the angel, "the woman bore a son, and called his
name Samson; and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him."
"And Samson (after he had grown to man's estate), went down to Timnath, and saw
a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up and told
his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the
daughters of the Philistines; now therefore get her for me to wife."
[Pg 63]Samson's father and mother preferred that he should take a woman among
the daughters of their own tribe, but Samson wished for the maid of the
Philistines, "for," said he, "she pleaseth me well."
The parents, after coming to the conclusion that it was the will of the Lord,
that he should marry the maid of the Philistines, consented.
"Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to
the vineyards of Timnath, and, behold, a young lion roared against him (Samson).
And the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him (the lion) as
he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand."
This was Samson's first exploit, which he told not to any one, not even his
father, or his mother.
He then continued on his way, and went down and talked with the woman, and she
pleased him well.
And, after a time, he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the
carcass of the lion, and behold, "there was a swarm of bees, and honey, in the
carcass of the lion."
Samson made a feast at his wedding, which lasted for seven days. At this feast,
there were brought thirty companions to be with him, unto whom he said: "I will
now put forth a riddle unto you, if ye can certainly declare it me, within the
seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets,
and thirty changes of garments. But, if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye
give me thirty sheets, and thirty changes of garments." And they said unto him,
"Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it." And he answered them: "Out of the
eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness."
This riddle the thirty companions could not solve.
"And it came to pass, on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson's wife:
'Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle.'"
She accordingly went to Samson, and told him that he could not love her; if it
were so, he would tell her the answer to the riddle. After she had wept and
entreated of him, he finally told her, and she gave the answer to the children
of her people. "And the men of the city said unto him, on the seventh day,
before the sun went down, 'What is sweeter than honey, and what is stronger than
Samson, upon hearing this, suspected how they managed to find out the answer,
whereupon he said unto them: "If ye had not ploughed with my heifer, ye had not
found out my riddle."
[Pg 64]Samson was then at a loss to know where to get the thirty sheets, and the
thirty changes of garments; but, "the spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he
went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and
gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle."
This was the hero's second exploit.
His anger being kindled, he went up to his father's house, instead of returning
to his wife.[64:1] But it came to pass, that, after a while, Samson repented of
his actions, and returned to his wife's house, and wished to go in to his wife
in the chamber; but her father would not suffer him to go. And her father said:
"I verily thought that thou hadst utterly hated her, therefore, I gave her to
thy companion. Is not her younger sister fairer than she? Take her, I pray thee,
instead of her."
This did not seem to please Samson, even though the younger was fairer than the
older, for he "went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and
turned (the foxes) tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two
tails. And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing
corn of the Philistines, and burned up both the shocks and also the standing
corn, with the vineyards and olives."
This was Samson's third exploit.
When the Philistines found their corn, their vineyards, and their olives burned,
they said: "Who hath done this?"
"And they answered, 'Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he had taken
his wife, and given her to his companion.' And the Philistines came up, and
burned her and her father with fire. And Samson said unto them: 'Though ye have
done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease.' And he
smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter, and he went and dwelt in the
top of the rock Etam."
This "great slaughter" was Samson's fourth exploit.
"Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in
Lehi. And the men of Judah said: 'Why are ye come up against us?' And they
answered: 'To bind Samson are we come up, and to do to him as he hath done to
us.' Then three thousand men of Judah went up to the top of the rock Etam, and
said to Samson: 'Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? What
is this that thou hast done unto us?' And he said unto them: 'As they did unto
me, so have I done unto them.' And they said unto him: 'We are come down to bind
thee, that we may deliver thee into the hands of the Philistines.' And Samson
said unto them: 'Swear unto me that ye will not fall upon me yourselves.' And
they spake unto him, saying, 'No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee
into their hands: but surely we will not kill thee.' And they bound him with two
new cords, and [Pg 65]brought him up from the rock. And when he came unto Lehi,
the Philistines shouted against him; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily
upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burned
with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands. And he found a new jaw-bone
of an ass, and put forth his hand and took it, and slew a thousand men with it."
This was Samson's fifth exploit.
After slaying a thousand men he was "sore athirst," and called unto the Lord.
And "God clave a hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water
thereout, and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived."[65:1]
"Then went Samson to Gaza and saw there a harlot, and went in unto her. And it
was told the Gazites, saying, 'Samson is come hither.' And they compassed him
in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all
the night, saying: 'In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.' And
Samson lay (with the harlot) till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the
doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar
and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of a
hill that is in Hebron."
This was Samson's sixth exploit.
"And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Soreck,
whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and
said unto her: 'Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by
what means we may prevail against him.'"
Delilah then began to entice Samson to tell her wherein his strength lay.
"She pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed
unto death. Then he told her all his heart, and said unto her: 'There hath not
come a razor upon mine head, for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my
mother's womb. If I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall
become weak, and be like any other man.' And when Delilah saw that he had told
her all his heart, she went and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying:
'Come up this once, for he hath showed me all his heart.' Then the lords of the
Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hands (for her).
"And she made him (Samson) sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and
she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to
afflict him, and his strength went from him."
The Philistines then took him, put out his eyes, and put him in prison. And
being gathered together at a great sacrifice in honor of their God, Dagon, they
said: "Call for Samson, that he may make us sport." And they called for Samson,
and he made them sport.
"And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand. Suffer me that I may
feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them.
[Pg 66]"Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the
Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men
and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.
"And Samson called unto the Lord, and said: 'O Lord God, remember me, I pray
thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at
once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.'
"And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood and
on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with
his left. And Samson said: 'Let me die with the Philistines.' And he bowed
himself with all his might; and (having regained his strength) the house fell
upon the lords, and upon the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew
at his death, were more than they which he slew in his life."[66:1]
Thus ended the career of the "strong man" of the Hebrews.
That this story is a copy of the legends related of Hercules, or that they have
both been copied from similar legends existing among some other nations,[66:2]
is too evident to be disputed. Many churchmen have noticed the similarity
between the history of Samson and that of Hercules. In Chambers's Encyclopædia,
under "Samson," we read as follows:
"It has been matter of most contradictory speculations, how far his existence is
to be taken as a reality, or, in other words, what substratum of historical
truth there may be in this supposed circle of popular legends, artistically
rounded off, in the four chapters of Judges which treat of him. . . .
"The miraculous deeds he performed have taxed the ingenuity of many
commentators, and the text has been twisted and turned in all directions, to
explain, rationally, his slaying those prodigious numbers single-handed; his
carrying the gates of Gaza, in one night, a distance of about fifty miles, &c.,
That this is simply a Solar myth, no one will doubt, we believe, who will take
the trouble to investigate it.
Prof. Goldziher, who has made "Comparative Mythology" a special study, says of
"The most complete and rounded-off Solar myth extant in Hebrew, is that of
Shimshôn (Samson), a cycle of mythical conceptions fully comparable with the
Greek myth of Hercules."[66:3]
We shall now endeavor to ascertain if such is the case, by comparing the
exploits of Samson with those of Hercules.
The first wonderful act performed by Samson was, as we have seen, that of
slaying a lion. This is said to have happened when he was but a youth. So
likewise was it with Hercules. At the age of eighteen, he slew an enormous
The valley of Nemea was infested by a terrible lion; Eurystheus ordered Hercules
to bring him the skin of this monster. After [Pg 67]using in vain his club and
arrows against the lion, Hercules strangled the animal with his hands. He
returned, carrying the dead lion on his shoulders; but Eurystheus was so
frightened at the sight of it, and at this proof of the prodigious strength of
the hero, that he ordered him to deliver the accounts of his exploits in the
future outside the town.[67:1]
To show the courage of Hercules, it is said that he entered the cave where the
lion's lair was, closed the entrance behind him, and at once grappled with the
Samson is said to have torn asunder the jaws of the lion, and we find him
generally represented slaying the beast in that manner. So likewise, was this
the manner in which Hercules disposed of the Nemean lion.[67:3]
The skin of the lion, Hercules tore off with his fingers, and knowing it to be
impenetrable, resolved to wear it henceforth.[67:4] The statues and paintings of
Hercules either represent him carrying the lion's skin over his arm, or wearing
it hanging down his back, the skin of its head fitting to his crown like a cap,
and the fore-legs knotted under his chin.[67:5]
Samson's second exploit was when he went down to Ashkelon and slew thirty men.
Hercules, when returning to Thebes from the lion-hunt, and wearing its skin
hanging from his shoulders, as a sign of his success, met the heralds of the
King of the Minyæ, coming from Orchomenos to claim the annual tribute of a
hundred cattle, levied on Thebes. Hercules cut off the ears and noses of the
heralds, bound their hands, and sent them home.[67:6]
Samson's third exploit was when he caught three hundred foxes, and took
fire-brands, and turned them tail to tail, and put a fire-brand in the midst
between two tails, and let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines.
There is no such feature as this in the legends of Hercules, the nearest to it
in resemblance is when he encounters and kills the Learnean Hydra.[67:7] During
this encounter a fire-brand figures conspicuously, and the neighboring wood is
set on fire.[67:8]
[Pg 68]We have, however, an explanation of this portion of the legend, in the
following from Prof. Steinthal:
At the festival of Ceres, held at Rome, in the month of April, a fox-hunt
through the circus was indulged in, in which burning torches were bound to the
This was intended to be a symbolical reminder of the damage done to the fields
by mildew, called the "red fox," which was exorcised in various ways at this
momentous season (the last third of April). It is the time of the Dog-Star, at
which the mildew was most to be feared; if at that time great solar heat follows
too close upon the hoar-frost or dew of the cold nights, this mischief rages
like a burning fox through the corn-fields.[68:1]
He also says that:
"This is the sense of the story of the foxes, which Samson caught and sent into
the Philistines' fields, with fire-brands fastened to their tails, to burn the
crops. Like the lion, the fox is an animal that indicated the solar heat, being
well suited for this both by its color and by its long-haired tail."[68:2]
Bouchart, in his "Hierozoicon," observes that:
"At this period (i. e., the last third of April) they cut the corn in Palestine
and Lower Egypt, and a few days after the setting of the Hyads arose the Fox, in
whose train or tail comes the fires or torches of the dog-days, represented
among the Egyptians by red marks painted on the backs of their animals."[68:3]
Count de Volney also tells us that:
"The inhabitants of Carseoles, an ancient city of Latium, every year, in a
religious festival, burned a number of foxes with torches tied to their tails.
They gave, as the reason for this whimsical ceremony, that their corn had been
formerly burnt by a fox to whose tail a young man had fastened a bundle of
He concludes his account of this peculiar "religious festival," by saying:
"This is exactly the story of Samson with the Philistines, but it is a Phenician
tale. Car-Seol is a compound word in that tongue, signifying town of foxes. The
Philistines, originally from Egypt, do not appear to have had any colonies. The
Phenicians had a great many; and it can scarcely be admitted that they borrowed
this story from the Hebrews, as obscure as the Druses are in our own times, or
that a simple adventure gave rise to a religious ceremony; it evidently can only
be a mythological and allegorical narration."[68:4]
So much, then, for the foxes and fire-brands.
Samson's fourth exploit was when he smote the Philistines "hip and thigh," "with
[Pg 69]It is related of Hercules that he had a combat with an army of Centaurs,
who were armed with pine sticks, rocks, axes, &c. They flocked in wild
confusion, and surrounded the cave of Pholos, where Hercules was, when a violent
fight ensued. Hercules was obliged to contend against this large armed force
single-handed, but he came off victorious, and slew a great number of
them.[69:1] Hercules also encountered and fought against an army of giants, at
the Phlegraean fields, near Cumae.[69:2]
Samson's next wonderful exploit was when "three thousand men of Judah" bound him
with cords and brought him up into Lehi, when the Philistines were about to take
his life. The cords with which he was bound immediately became as flax, and
loosened from off his hands. He then, with the jaw-bone of an ass, slew one
A very similar feature to this is found in the history of Hercules. He is made
prisoner by the Egyptians, who wish to take his life, but while they are
preparing to slay him, he breaks loose his bonds—having been tied with cords—and
kills Buseris, the leader of the band, and the whole retinue.[69:4]
On another occasion, being refused shelter from a storm at Kos, he was enraged
at the inhabitants, and accordingly destroyed the whole town.[69:5]
Samson, after he had slain a thousand Philistines, was "sore athirst," and
called upon Jehovah, his father in heaven, to succor him, whereupon, water
immediately gushed forth from "a hollow place that was in the jaw-bone."
Hercules, departing from the Indies (or rather Ethiopia), and conducting his
army through the desert of Lybia, feels a burning thirst, and conjures Ihou, his
father, to succor him in his danger.
[Pg 70]Instantly the (celestial) Ram appears. Hercules follows him and arrives
at a place where the Ram scrapes with his foot, and there instantly comes forth
a spring of water.[70:1]
Samson's sixth exploit happened when he went to Gaza to visit a harlot. The
Gazites, who wished to take his life, laid wait for him all night, but Samson
left the town at midnight, and took with him the gates of the city, and the two
posts, on his shoulders. He carried them to the top of a hill, some fifty miles
away, and left them there.
This story very much resembles that of the "Pillars of Hercules," called the
"Gates of Cadiz."[70:2]
Count de Volney tells us that:
"Hercules was represented naked, carrying on his shoulders two columns called
the Gates of Cadiz."[70:3]
"The Pillars of Hercules" was the name given by the ancients to the two rocks
forming the entrance or gate to the Mediterranean at the Strait of
Gibraltar.[70:4] Their erection was ascribed by the Greeks to Hercules, on the
occasion of his journey to the kingdom of Geryon. According to one version of
the story, they had been united, but Hercules tore them asunder.[70:5]
Fig. No. 3 is a representation of Hercules with the two posts or pillars on his
shoulders, as alluded to by Count de Volney. We have taken it from Montfaucon's
J. P. Lundy says of this:
[Pg 71]"Hercules carrying his two columns to erect at the Straits of Gibraltar,
may have some reference to the Hebrew story."[71:1]
We think there is no doubt of it. By changing the name Hercules into Samson, the
legend is complete.
Sir William Drummond tells us, in his "Œdipus Judaicus," that:
"Gaza signifies a Goat, and was the type of the Sun in Capricorn. The Gates of
the Sun were feigned by the ancient Astronomers to be in Capricorn and Cancer
(that is, in Gaza), from which signs the tropics are named. Samson carried away
the gates from Gaza to Hebron, the city of conjunction. Now, Count Gebelin tells
us that at Cadiz, where Hercules was anciently worshiped, there was a
representation of him, with a gate on his shoulders."[71:2]
The stories of the amours of Samson with Delilah and other females, are simply
counterparts of those of Hercules with Omphale and Iole. Montfaucon, speaking of
"Nothing is better known in the fables (related of Hercules) than his amours
with Omphale and Iole."[71:3]
Prof. Steinthal says:
"The circumstance that Samson is so addicted to sexual pleasure, has its origin
in the remembrance that the Solar god is the god of fruitfulness and
procreation. We have as examples, the amours of Hercules and Omphale; Ninyas, in
Assyria, with Semiramis; Samson, in Philistia, with Delila, whilst among the
Phenicians, Melkart pursues Dido-Anna."[71:4]
Samson is said to have had long hair. "There hath not come a razor upon my
head," says he, "for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb."
Now, strange as it may appear, Hercules is said to have had long hair also, and
he was often represented that way. In Montfaucon's "L'Antiquité Expliquée"[71:5]
may be seen a representation of Hercules with hair reaching almost to his waist.
Almost all Sun-gods are represented thus.[71:6]
Prof. Goldzhier says:
"Long locks of hair and a long beard are mythological attributes of the Sun. The
Sun's rays are compared with locks of hair on the face or head of the Sun.
[Pg 72]"When the sun sets and leaves his place to the darkness, or when the
powerful Summer Sun is succeeded by the weak rays of the Winter Sun, then
Samson's long locks, in which alone his strength lies, are cut off through the
treachery of his deceitful concubine, Delilah, the 'languishing, languid,'
according to the meaning of the name (Delilah). The Beaming Apollo, moreover, is
called the Unshaven; and Minos cannot conquer the solar hero Nisos, till the
latter loses his golden hair."[72:1]
Through the influence of Delilah, Samson is at last made a prisoner. He tells
her the secret of his strength, the seven locks of hair are shaven off, and his
strength leaves him. The shearing of the locks of the Sun must be followed by
darkness and ruin.
From the shoulders of Phoibos Lykêgênes flow the sacred locks, over which no
razor might pass, and on the head of Nisos they become a palladium, invested
with a mysterious power.[72:2] The long locks of hair which flow over his
shoulders are taken from his head by Skylla, while he is asleep, and, like
another Delilah, she thus delivers him and his people into the power of
Prof. Steinthal says of Samson:
"His hair is a figure of increase and luxuriant fullness. In Winter, when nature
appears to have lost all strength, the god of growing young life has lost his
hair. In the Spring the hair grows again, and nature returns to life again. Of
this original conception the Bible story still preserves a trace. Samson's hair,
after being cut off, grows again, and his strength comes back with it."[72:4]
Towards the end of his career, Samson's eyes are put out. Even here, the Hebrew
writes with a singular fidelity to the old mythical speech. The tender light of
evening is blotted out by the dark vapors; the light of the Sun is quenched in
gloom. Samson's eyes are put out.
Œdipus, whose history resembles that of Samson and Hercules in many respects,
tears out his eyes, towards the end of his career. In other words, the Sun has
blinded himself. Clouds and darkness have closed in about him, and the clear
light is blotted out of the heaven.[72:5]
The final act, Samson's death, reminds us clearly and decisively of the
Phenician Hercules, as Sun-god, who died at the Winter Solstice in the furthest
West, where his two pillars are set up to mark the end of his wanderings.
Samson also died at the two pillars, but in his case they are not the Pillars of
the World, but are only set up in the middle of a great banqueting-hall. A feast
was being held in honor of [Pg 73]Dagon, the Fish-god; the Sun was in the sign
of the Waterman, Samson, the Sun-god, died.[73:1]
The ethnology of the name of Samson, as well as his adventures, are very closely
connected with the Solar Hercules. "Samson" was the name of the Sun.[73:2] In
Arabic, "Shams-on" means the Sun.[73:3] Samson had seven locks of hair, the
number of the planetary bodies.[73:4]
The author of "The Religion of Israel," speaking of Samson, says:
"The story of Samson and his deeds originated in a Solar myth, which was
afterwards transformed by the narrator into a saga about a mighty hero and
deliverer of Israel. The very name 'Samson,' is derived from the Hebrew word,
and means 'Sun.' The hero's flowing locks were originally the rays of the sun,
and other traces of the old myth have been preserved."[73:5]
Prof. Oort says:
"The story of Samson is simply a solar myth. In some of the features of the
story the original meaning may be traced quite clearly, but in others the myth
can no longer be recognized. The exploits of some Danite hero, such as Shamgar,
who 'slew six hundred Philistines with an ox-goad' (Judges iii. 31), have been
woven into it; the whole has been remodeled after the ideas of the prophets of
later ages, and finally, it has been fitted into the framework of the period of
the Judges, as conceived by the writer of the book called after them."[73:6]
Again he says:
"The myth that lies at the foundation of this story is a description of the
sun's course during the six winter months. The god is gradually encompassed by
his enemies, mist and darkness. At first he easily maintains his freedom, and
gives glorious proofs of his strength; but the fetters grow stronger and
stronger, until at last he is robbed of his crown of rays, and loses all his
power and glory. Such is the Sun in Winter. But he has not lost his splendor
forever. Gradually his strength returns, at last he reappears; and though he
still seems to allow himself to be mocked, yet the power of avenging himself has
returned, and in the end he triumphs over his enemies once more."[73:7]
Other nations beside the Hebrews and Greeks had their "mighty men" and
lion-killers. The Hindoos had their Samson. His name was Bala-Rama, the "Strong
Rama." He was considered by some an incarnation of Vishnu.[73:8]
[Pg 74]Captain Wilford says, in "Asiatic Researches:"
"The Indian Hercules, according to Cicero, was called Belus. He is the same as
Bala, the brother of Crishna, and both are conjointly worshiped at Mutra;
indeed, they are considered as one Avatar or Incarnation of Vishnou. Bala is
represented as a stout man, with a club in his hand. He is also called
There is a Hindoo legend which relates that Sevah had an encounter with a tiger,
"whose mouth expanded like a cave, and whose voice resembled thunder." He slew
the monster, and, like Hercules, covered himself with the skin.[74:2]
The Assyrians and Lydians, both Semitic nations, worshiped a Sun-god named
Sandan or Sandon. He also was believed to be a lion-killer, and frequently
figured struggling with the lion, or standing upon the slain lion.[74:3]
Ninevah, too, had her mighty hero and king, who slew a lion and other monsters.
Layard, in his excavations, discovered a bas-relief representation of this hero
triumphing over the lion and wild bull.[74:4]
The Ancient Babylonians had a hero lion-slayer, Izdubar by name. The destruction
of the lion, and other monsters, by Izdubar, is often depicted on the cylinders
and engraved gems belonging to the early Babylonian monarchy.[74:5]
Izdubar is represented as a great or mighty man, who, in the early days after
the flood, destroyed wild animals, and conquered a number of petty kings.[74:6]
Izdubar resembles the Grecian hero, Hercules, in other respects than as a
destroyer of wild animals, &c. We are told that he "wandered to the regions
where gigantic composite monsters held and controlled the rising and setting
sun, from these learned the road to the region of the blessed, and passing
across a great waste of land, he arrived at a region where splendid trees were
laden with jewels."[74:7]
He also resembles Hercules, Samson, and other solar-gods, in the particular of
long flowing locks of hair. In the Babylonian and Assyrian sculptures he is
always represented with a marked physiognomy, and always indicated as a man with
masses of curls over his head and a large curly beard.[74:8]
[Pg 75]Here, evidently, is the Babylonian legend of Hercules. He too was a
wanderer, going from the furthest East to the furthest West. He crossed "a great
waste of land" (the desert of Lybia), visited "the region of the blessed," where
there were "splendid trees laden with jewels" (golden apples).
The ancient Egyptians had their Hercules. According to Herodotus, he was known
several thousand years before the Grecian hero of that name. This the Egyptians
affirmed, and that he was born in their country.[75:1]
The story of Hercules was known in the Island of Thasos, by the Phenician colony
settled there, five centuries before he was known in Greece.[75:2] Fig. No. 4 is
from an ancient representation of Hercules in conflict with the lion, taken from
Another mighty hero was the Grecian Bellerophon. The minstrels sang of the
beauty and the great deeds of Bellerophon throughout all the land of Argos. His
arm was strong in battle; his feet were swift in the chase. None that were poor
and weak and wretched feared the might of Bellerophon. To them the sight of his
beautiful form brought only joy and gladness; but the proud and boastful, the
slanderer and the robber, dreaded the glance of his keen eye. For a long time he
fought the Solymi and the Amazons, until all his enemies shrank from the stroke
of his mighty arm, and sought for mercy.[75:3]
The second of the principal gods of the Ancient Scandinavians was named Thor,
and was no less known than Odin among the Teutonic nations. The Edda calls him
expressly the most valiant of the sons of Odin. He was considered the "defender"
and "avenger." He always carried a mallet, which, as often as he discharged it,
returned to his hand of itself; he grasped it with gauntlets of iron, and was
further possessed of a girdle which had the virtue of renewing his strength as
often as was needful. It was with these formidable arms that he overthrew to the
ground the monsters and giants, when he was sent by the gods to oppose their
enemies. He was represented of gigantic size, and as the stoutest and strongest
[Pg 76]of the gods.[76:1] Thor was simply the Hercules of the Northern nations.
He was the Sun personified.[76:2]
Without enumerating them, we can safely say, that there was not a nation of
antiquity, from the remotest East to the furthest West, that did not have its
mighty hero, and counterpart of Hercules and Samson.[76:3]
[62:1] The idea of a woman conceiving, and bearing a son in her old age, seems
to have been a Hebrew peculiarity, as a number of their remarkable personages
were born, so it is said, of parents well advanced in years, or of a woman who
was supposed to have been barren. As illustrations, we may mention this case of
Samson, and that of Joseph being born of Rachel. The beautiful Rachel, who was
so much beloved by Jacob, her husband, was barren, and she bore him no sons.
This caused grief and discontent on her part, and anger on the part of her
husband. In her old age, however, she bore the wonderful child Joseph. (See
Genesis, xxx. 1-29.)
Isaac was born of a woman (Sarah) who had been barren many years. An angel
appeared to her when her lord (Abraham) "was ninety years old and nine," and
informed her that she would conceive and bear a son. (See Gen. xvi.)
Samuel, the "holy man," was also born of a woman (Hannah) who had been barren
many years. In grief, she prayed to the Lord for a child, and was finally
comforted by receiving her wish. (See 1 Samuel, i. 1-20.)
John the Baptist was also a miraculously conceived infant. His mother,
Elizabeth, bore him in her old age. An angel also informed her and her husband
Zachariah, that this event would take place. (See Luke, i. 1-25.)
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born of a woman (Anna) who was "old and stricken
in years," and who had been barren all her life. An angel appeared to Anna and
her husband (Joachim), and told them what was about to take place. (See "The
Gospel of Mary," Apoc.)
Thus we see, that the idea of a wonderful child being born of a woman who had
passed the age which nature had destined for her to bear children, and who had
been barren all her life, was a favorite one among the Hebrews. The idea that
the ancestors of a race lived to a fabulous old age, is also a familiar one
among the ancients.
Most ancient nations relate in their fables that their ancestors lived to be
very old men. For instance; the Persian patriarch Kaiomaras reigned 560 years;
Jemshid reigned 300 years; Jahmurash reigned 700 years; Dahâk reigned 1000
years; Feridun reigned 120 years; Manugeher reigned 500 years; Kaikans reigned
150 years; and Bahaman reigned 112 years. (See Dunlap: Son of the Man, p. 155,
[64:1] Judges, xiv.
[65:1] Judges, xv.
[66:1] Judges, xvi.
[66:2] Perhaps that of Izdubar. See chapter xi.
[66:3] Hebrew Mythology, p. 248.
[66:4] Manual of Mythology, p. 248. The Age of Fable, p. 200.
[67:1] Bulfinch: The Age of Fable, p. 200.
[67:2] Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 249.
[67:3] Roman Antiquities, p. 124; and Montfaucon, vol. i. plate cxxvi.
[67:4] Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 249.
[67:5] See Ibid. Greek and Italian Mythology, p. 129, and Montfaucon, vol. i.
plate cxxv. and cxxvi.
[67:6] Manual of Mythology, p. 247.
[67:7] "It has many heads, one being immortal, as the storm must constantly
supply new clouds while the vapors are driven off by the Sun into space. Hence
the story went that although Herakles could burn away its mortal heads, as the
Sun burns up the clouds, still he can but hide away the mist or vapor itself,
which at its appointed time must again darken the sky." (Cox: Aryan Mytho., vol.
ii. p. 48.)
[67:8] See Manual of Mytho., p. 250.
[68:1] Steinthal: The Legend of Samson, p. 398. See, also, Higgins: Anacalypsis,
vol. i. p. 240, and Volney: Researches in Anc't History, p. 42.
[68:3] Quoted by Count de Volney: Researches in Ancient History, p. 42, note.
[68:4] Volney: Researches in Ancient History, p. 42.
[69:1] See Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 251.
"The slaughter of the Centaurs by Hercules is the conquest and dispersion of the
vapors by the Sun as he rises in the heaven." (Cox: Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. p.
[69:2] Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 257.
[69:3] Shamgar also slew six hundred Philistines with an ox goad. (See Judges,
"It is scarcely necessary to say that these weapons are the heritage of all the
Solar heroes, that they are found in the hands of Phebus and Herakles, of
Œdipus, Achilleus, Philoktetes, of Siguard, Rustem, Indra, Isfendujar, of
Telephos, Meleagros, Theseus, Kadmos, Bellerophon, and all other slayers of
noxious and fearful things." (Rev. Geo. Cox: Tales of Ancient Greece, p. xxvii.)
[69:4] See Volney: Researches in Ancient History, p. 41. Higgins: Anacalypsis,
vol. i. p. 239; Montfaucon: L'Antiquité Expliquée, vol. i. p. 213, and Murray:
Manual of Mythology, pp. 259-262.
It is evident that Herodotus, the Grecian historian, was somewhat of a skeptic,
for he says: "The Grecians say that 'When Hercules arrived in Egypt, the
Egyptians, having crowned him with a garland, led him in procession, as
designing to sacrifice him to Jupiter, and that for some time he remained quiet,
but when they began the preparatory ceremonies upon him at the altar, he set
about defending himself and slew every one of them.' Now, since Hercules was but
one, and, besides, a mere man, as they confess, how is it possible that he
should slay many thousands?" (Herodotus, book ii. ch. 45).
[69:5] Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 263.
[70:1] Volney: Researches in Anc't History, pp. 41, 42.
In Bell's "Pantheon of the Gods and Demi-Gods of Antiquity," we read, under the
head of Ammon or Hammon (the name of the Egyptian Jupiter, worshiped under the
figure of a Ram), that: "Bacchus having subdued Asia, and passing with his army
through the deserts of Africa, was in great want of water; but Jupiter, his
father, assuming the shape of a Ram, led him to a fountain, where he refreshed
himself and his army; in requital of which favor, Bacchus built there a temple
to Jupiter, under the title of Ammon."
[70:2] Cadiz (ancient Gades), being situated near the mouth of the
Mediterranean. The first author who mentions the Pillars of Hercules is Pindar,
and he places them there. (Chambers's Encyclo. "Hercules.")
[70:3] Volney's Researches, p. 41. See also Tylor: Primitive Culture, vol. i. p.
[70:4] See Chambers's Encyclopædia, Art. "Hercules." Cory's Ancient Fragments,
p. 36, note; and Bulfinch: The Age of Fable, p. 201.
[70:5] Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Hercules."
[70:6] Vol. i. plate cxxvii.
[71:1] Monumental Christianity, p. 399.
[71:2] Œd. Jud. p. 360, in Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 239.
[71:3] "Rien de plus connu dans la fable que ses amours avec Omphale et
Iole."—L'Antiquité Expliquée, vol. i. p. 224.
[71:4] The Legend of Samson, p. 404.
[71:5] Vol. i. plate cxxvii.
[71:6] "Samson was remarkable for his long hair. The meaning of this trait in
the original myth is easy to guess, and appears also from representations of the
Sun-god amongst other peoples. These long hairs are the rays of the Sun." (Bible
for Learners, i. 416.)
"The beauty of the sun's rays is signified by the golden locks of Phoibos, over
which no razor has ever passed; by the flowing hair which streams from the head
of Kephalos, and falls over the shoulders of Perseus and Bellerophon." (Cox:
Aryan Mytho., vol. i. p. 107.)
[72:1] Hebrew Mytho., pp. 137, 138.
[72:2] Cox: Aryan Myths, vol. i. p. 84.
[72:3] Tales of Ancient Greece, p. xxix.
[72:4] The Legend of Samson, p. 408.
[72:5] Cox: Aryan Mytho., vol. ii. p. 72.
[73:1] The Legend of Samson, p. 406.
[73:2] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 237. Goldzhier: Hebrew Mythology, p.
22. The Religion of Israel, p. 61. The Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 418.
Volney's Ruins, p. 41, and Stanley: History of the Jewish Church, where he says:
"His name, which Josephus interprets in the sense of 'strong,' was still more
characteristic. He was 'the Sunny'—the bright and beaming, though wayward,
likeness of the great luminary."
[73:3] Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 237, and Volney's Researches, p. 43,
[73:4] See chapter ii.
[73:5] The Religion of Israel, p. 61. "The yellow hair of Apollo was a symbol of
the solar rays." (Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 679.)
[73:6] Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 414.
[73:7] Ibid. p. 422.
[73:8] Williams' Hinduism, pp. 108 and 167.
[74:1] Vol. v. p. 270.
[74:2] Maurice: Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 155.
[74:3] Steinthal: The Legend of Samson, p. 386.
[74:4] Buckley: Cities of the World, 41, 42.
[74:5] Smith: Assyrian Discoveries, p. 167, and Chaldean Account of Genesis, p.
[74:6] Assyrian Discoveries, p. 205, and Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 174.
[74:7] Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 310.
[74:8] Ibid. pp. 193, 194, 174.
[75:1] See Tacitus: Annals, book ii. ch. lix.
[75:2] Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 92.
[75:3] See Tales of Ancient Greece, p. 153.
[76:1] See Mallet's Northern Antiquities, pp. 94, 417, and 514.
[76:2] See Cox: Aryan Mythology.
[76:3] See vol. i. of Aryan Mythology, by Rev. G. W. Cox.
"Besides the fabulous Hercules, the son of Jupiter and Alcmena, there was, in
ancient times, no warlike nation who did not boast of its own particular
Hercules." (Arthur Murphy, Translator of Tacitus.)
[Pg 77]CHAPTER IX.
JONAH SWALLOWED BY A BIG FISH.
In the book of Jonah, containing four chapters, we are told the word of the Lord
came unto Jonah, saying: "Arise, go to Ninevah, that great city, and cry against
it, for their wickedness is come up against me."
Instead of obeying this command Jonah sought to flee "from the presence of the
Lord," by going to Tarshish. For this purpose he went to Joppa, and there took
ship for Tarshish. But the Lord sent a great wind, and there was a mighty
tempest, so that the ship was likely to be broken.
The mariners being afraid, they cried every one unto his God; and casting
lots—that they might know which of them was the cause of the storm—the lot fell
upon Jonah, showing him to be the guilty man.
The mariners then said unto him; "What shall we do unto thee?" Jonah in reply
said, "Take me up and cast me forth into the sea, for I know that for my sake
this great tempest is upon you." So they took up Jonah, and cast him into the
sea, and the sea ceased raging.
And the Lord prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah, and Jonah was in the
belly of the fish three days and three nights. Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord
out of the fish's belly. And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out
Jonah upon the dry land.
The Lord again spake unto Jonah and said:
"Go unto Ninevah and preach unto it." So Jonah arose and went unto Ninevah,
according to the command of the Lord, and preached unto it.
There is a Hindoo fable, very much resembling this, to be found in the Somadeva
Bhatta, of a person by the name of Saktideva who was swallowed by a huge fish,
and finally came out unhurt. The story is as follows:
"There was once a king's daughter who would marry no one [Pg 78]but the man who
had seen the Golden City—of legendary fame—and Saktideva was in love with her;
so he went travelling about the world seeking some one who could tell him where
this Golden City was. In the course of his journeys he embarked on board a ship
bound for the Island of Utsthala, where lived the King of the Fishermen, who,
Saktideva hoped, would set him on his way. On the voyage there arose a great
storm and the ship went to pieces, and a great fish swallowed Saktideva whole.
Then, driven by the force of fate, the fish went to the Island of Utsthala, and
there the servants of the King of the Fishermen caught it, and the king,
wondering at its size, had it cut open, and Saktideva came out unhurt."[78:1]
In Grecian fable, Hercules is said to have been swallowed by a whale, at a place
called Joppa, and to have lain three days in his entrails.
Bernard de Montfaucon, speaking of Jonah being swallowed by a whale, and
describing a piece of Grecian sculpture representing Hercules standing by a huge
sea monster, says:
"Some ancients relate to the effect that Hercules was also swallowed by the
whale that was watching Hesione, that he remained three days in his belly, and
that he came out bald-pated after his sojourn there."[78:2]
Bouchet, in his "Hist. d'Animal," tells us that:
"The great fish which swallowed up Jonah, although it be called a whale (Matt.
xii. 40), yet it was not a whale, properly so called, but a Dog-fish, called
Carcharias. Therefore in the Grecian fable Hercules is said to have been
swallowed up of a Dag, and to have lain three days in his entrails."[78:3]
Godfrey Higgins says, on this subject:
"The story of Jonas swallowed up by a whale, is nothing but part of the fiction
of Hercules, described in the Heracleid or Labors of Hercules, of whom the same
story was told, and who was swallowed up at the very same place, Joppa, and for
the same period of time, three days. Lycophron says that Hercules was three
nights in the belly of a fish."[78:4]
We have still another similar story in that of "Arion the Musician," who, being
thrown overboard, was caught on the back of a Dolphin and landed safe on shore.
The story is related in "Tales of Ancient Greece," as follows:
Arion was a Corinthian harper who had travelled in Sicily and
[Pg 79]Italy, and had accumulated great wealth. Being desirous of again seeing
his native city, he set sail from Taras for Corinth. The sailors in the ship,
having seen the large boxes full of money which Arion had brought with him into
the ship, made up their minds to kill him and take his gold and silver. So one
day when he was sitting on the bow of the ship, and looking down on the dark
blue sea, three or four of the sailors came to him and said they were going to
kill him. Now Arion knew they said this because they wanted his money; so he
promised to give them all he had if they would spare his life. But they would
not. Then he asked them to let him jump into the sea. When they had given him
leave to do this, Arion took one last look at the bright and sunny sky, and then
leaped into the sea, and the sailors saw him no more. But Arion was not drowned
in the sea, for a great fish called a dolphin was swimming by the ship when
Arion leaped over; and it caught him on its back and swam away with him towards
Corinth. So presently the fish came close to the shore and left Arion on the
beach, and swam away again into the deep sea.[79:1]
There is also a Persian legend to the effect that Jemshid was devoured by a
great monster waiting for him at the bottom of the sea, but afterwards rises
again out of the sea, like Jonah in the Hebrew, and Hercules in the Phenician
myth.[79:2] This legend was also found in the myths of the New World.[79:3]
It was urged, many years ago, by Rosenmüller—an eminent German divine and
professor of theology—and other critics, that the miracle recorded in the book
of Jonah is not to be regarded as an historical fact, "but only as an allegory,
founded on the Phenician myth of Hercules rescuing Hesione from the sea monster
by leaping himself into its jaws, and for three days and three nights continuing
to tear its entrails."[79:4]
That the story is an allegory, and that it, as well as that of Saktideva,
Hercules and the rest, are simply different versions of the same myth, the
significance of which is the alternate swallowing up and casting forth of Day,
or the Sun, by Night, is now all but universally admitted by scholars. The Day,
or the Sun, is swallowed up by Night, to be set free again at dawn, and from
time to time suffers a like but shorter durance in the maw of the eclipse and
Professor Goldzhier says:
[Pg 80]"The most prominent mythical characteristic of the story of Jonah is his
celebrated abode in the sea in the belly of a whale. This trait is eminently
Solar. . . . As on occasion of the storm the storm-dragon or the storm-serpent
swallows the Sun, so when he sets, he (Jonah, as a personification of the Sun)
is swallowed by a mighty fish, waiting for him at the bottom of the sea. Then,
when he appears again on the horizon, he is spit out on the shore by the
The Sun was called Jona, as appears from Gruter's inscriptions, and other
In the Vedas—the four sacred books of the Hindoos—when Day and Night, Sun and
Darkness, are opposed to each other, the one is designated Red, the other
The Red Sun being swallowed up by the Dark Earth at Night—as it apparently is
when it sets in the west—to be cast forth again at Day, is also illustrated in
like manner. Jonah, Hercules and others personify the Sun, and a huge Fish
represents the Earth.[80:4] The Earth represented as a huge Fish is one of the
most prominent ideas of the Polynesian mythology.[80:5]
At other times, instead of a Fish, we have a great raving Wolf, who comes to
devour its victim and extinguish the Sun-light.[80:6] The Wolf is particularly
distinguished in ancient Scandinavian mythology, being employed as an emblem of
the Destroying Power, which attempts to destroy the Sun.[80:7] This is
illustrated in the story of Little Red Riding-Hood (the Sun)[80:8] who is
devoured by the great Black Wolf (Night) and afterwards comes out unhurt.[80:9]
The story of Little Red Riding-Hood is mutilated in the English version. The
original story was that the little maid, in her shining Red Cloak, was swallowed
by the great Black Wolf, and that she came out safe and sound when the hunters
cut open the sleeping beast.[80:10]
[Pg 81]In regard to these heroes remaining three days and three nights in the
bowels of the Fish, they represent the Sun at the Winter Solstice. From December
22d to the 25th—that is, for three days and three nights—the Sun remains in the
Lowest Regions, in the bowels of the Earth, in the belly of the Fish; it is then
cast forth and renews its career.
Thus, we see that the story of Jonah being swallowed by a big fish, meant
originally the Sun swallowed up by Night, and that it is identical with the
well-known nursery-tale. How such legends are transformed from intelligible into
unintelligible myths, is very clearly illustrated by Prof. Max Müller, who, in
speaking of "the comparison of the different forms of Aryan Religion and
Mythology," in India, Persia, Greece, Italy and Germany, says:
"In each of these nations there was a tendency to change the original conception
of divine powers; to misunderstand the many names given to these powers, and to
misinterpret the praises addressed to them. In this manner some of the divine
names were changed into half-divine, half-human heroes, and at last the myths
which were true and intelligible as told originally of the Sun, or the Dawn, or
the Storms, were turned into legends or fables too marvellous to be believed of
common mortals. This process can be watched in India, in Greece, and in Germany.
The same story, or nearly the same, is told of gods, of heroes, and of men. The
divine myth became an heroic legend, and the heroic legend fades away into a
nursery tale. Our nursery tales have well been called the modern patois of the
ancient sacred mythology of the Aryan race."[81:1]
How striking are these words; how plainly they illustrate the process by which
the story, that was true and intelligible as told originally of the Day being
swallowed up by Night, or the Sun being swallowed up by the Earth, was
transformed into a legend or fable, too marvellous to be believed by common
mortals. How the "divine myth" became an "heroic legend," and how the heroic
legend faded away into a "nursery tale."
In regard to Jonah's going to the city of Ninevah, and preaching unto the
inhabitants, we believe that the old "Myth of Civilization," [Pg 82]so
called,[82:1] is partly interwoven here, and that, in this respect, he is
nothing more than the Indian Fish Avatar of Vishnou, or the Chaldean Oannes. At
his first Avatar, Vishnou is alleged to have appeared to humanity in form like a
fish,[82:2] or half-man and half-fish, just as Oannes and Dagon were represented
among the Chaldeans and other nations. In the temple of Rama, in India, there is
a representation of Vishnou which answers perfectly to that of Dagon.[82:3] Mr.
Maurice, in his "Hist. Hindostan," has proved the identity of the Syrian Dagon
and the Indian Fish Avatar, and concludes by saying:
"From the foregoing and a variety of parallel circumstances, I am inclined to
think that the Chaldean Oannes, the Phenician and Philistian Dagon, and the
Pisces of the Syrian and Egyptian Zodiac, were the same deity with the Indian
In the old mythological remains of the Chaldeans, compiled by Berosus, Abydenus,
and Polyhistor, there is an account of one Oannes, a fish-god, who rendered
great service to mankind.[82:5] This being is said to have come out of the
Erythraean Sea.[82:6] This is evidently the Sun rising out of the sea, as it
apparently does, in the East.[82:7]
Prof. Goldzhier, speaking of Oannes, says:
"That this founder of civilization has a Solar character, like similar heroes in
all other nations, is shown . . . in the words of Berosus, who says: 'During the
day-time Oannes held intercourse with man, but when the Sun set, Oannes fell
into the sea, where he used to pass the night.' Here, evidently, only the Sun
can be meant, who, in the evening, dips into the sea, and comes forth again in
the morning, and passes the day on the dry land in the company of men."[82:8]
Dagon was sometimes represented as a man emerging from a fish's mouth, and
sometimes as half-man and half-fish.[82:9] It was believed that he came in a
ship, and taught the people. Ancient history abounds with such mythological
personages.[82:10] There was also a Durga, a fish deity, among the Hindoos,
represented as a full grown man emerging from a fish's mouth[82:9] The
Philistines [Pg 83]worshiped Dagon, and in Babylonian Mythology Odakon is
applied to a fish-like being, who rose from the waters of the Red Sea as one of
the benefactors of men.[83:1]
On the coins of Ascalon, where she was held in great honor, the goddess Derceto
or Atergatis is represented as a woman with her lower extremities like a fish.
This is Semiramis, who appeared at Joppa as a mermaid. She is simply a
personification of the Moon, who follows the course of the Sun. At times she
manifests herself to the eyes of men, at others she seeks concealment in the
The Sun-god Phoibos traverses the sea in the form of a fish, and imparts lessons
of wisdom and goodness when he has come forth from the green depths. All these
powers or qualities are shared by Proteus in Hellenic story, as well as by the
fish-god, Dagon or Oannes.[83:3]
In the Iliad and Odyssey, Atlas is brought into close connection with Helios,
the bright god, the Latin Sol, and our Sun. In these poems he rises every
morning from a beautiful lake by the deep-flowing stream of Ocean, and having
accomplished his journey across the heavens, plunges again into the Western
The ancient Mexicans and Peruvians had likewise semi-fish gods.[83:5]
Jonah then, is like these other personages, in so far as they are all
personifications of the Sun; they all come out of the sea; they are all
represented as a man emerging from a fish's mouth; and they are all benefactors
of mankind. We believe, therefore, that it is one and the same myth, whether
Oannes, Joannes, or Jonas,[83:6] differing to a certain extent among different
nations, just as we find to be the case with other legends. This we have just
seen illustrated in the story of "Little Red Riding-Hood," which is considerably
mutilated in the English version.
[Pg 84]Fig. No. 5 is a representation of Dagon, intended to illustrate a
creature half-man and half-fish; or, perhaps, a man emerging from a fish's
mouth. It is taken from Layard. Fig. No. 6[84:1] is a representation of the
Indian Avatar of Vishnou, coming forth from the fish.[84:2] It would answer just
as well for a representation of Jonah, as it does for the Hindoo divinity. It
should be noticed that in both of these, the god has a crown on his head,
surmounted with a triple ornament, both of which had evidently the same meaning,
i. e., an emblem of the trinity.[84:3] The Indian Avatar being represented with
four arms, evidently means that he is god of the whole world, his four arms
extending to the four corners of the world. The circle, which is seen in one
hand, is an emblem of eternal reward. The shell, with its eight convolutions, is
intended to show the place in the number of the cycles which he occupied. The
book and sword are to show that he ruled both in the right of the book and of
[78:1] Tylor: Early Hist. Mankind, pp. 344, 345.
[78:2] "En effet, quelques anciens disent qu' Hercule fut aussi devorà par la
beleine qui gurdoit Hesione, qu'il demeura trois jours dans son ventre, et qu'il
sortit chauve de ce sejour." (L'Antiquité Expliqueé, vol. i. p. 204.)
[78:3] Bouchet: Hist. d'Animal, in Anac., vol. i. p. 240.
[78:4] Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 638. See also Tylor: Primitive Culture, vol. i.
p. 306, and Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Jonah."
[79:1] Tales of Ancient Greece, p. 296.
[79:2] See Hebrew Mythology, p. 203.
[79:3] See Tylor's Early Hist. Mankind, and Primitive Culture, vol. i.
[79:4] Chambers's Encyclo., art. Jonah.
[79:5] See Fiske: Myths and Myth Makers, p. 77, and note; and Tylor: Primitive
Culture, i. 302.
[80:1] Goldzhier: Hebrew Mythology, pp. 102, 103.
[80:2] This is seen from the following, taken from Pictet: "Du Culte des
Carabi," p. 104, and quoted by Higgins: Anac., vol. i. p. 650: "Vallancy dit que
Ionn étoit le même que Baal. En Gallois Jon, le Seigneur, Dieu, la cause
prémière. En Basque Jawna, Jon, Jona, &c., Dieu, et Seigneur, Maître. Les
Scandinaves appeloient le Soleil John. . . . Une des inscriptions de Gruter
montre ques les Troyens adoroient le même astre sous le nom de Jona. En Persan
le Soleil est appelè Jawnah." Thus we see that the Sun was called Jonah, by
different nations of antiquity.
[80:3] See Goldzhier: Hebrew Mythology, p. 148.
[80:4] See Tylor: Early History of Mankind, p. 845, and Goldzhier: Hebrew
Mythology, pp. 102, 103.
[80:5] See Tylor: Early History of Mankind, p. 345.
[80:6] Fiske: Myths and Myth Makers, p. 77.
[80:7] See Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, pp. 88, 89, and Mallet's Northern
[80:8] In ancient Scandinavian mythology, the Sun is personified in the form of
a beautiful maiden. (See Mallet's Northern Antiquities, p. 458.)
[80:9] See Fiske: Myths and Myth Makers, p. 77. Bunce: Fairy Tales, 161.
[80:10] Tylor: Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 307.
"The story of Little Red Riding-Hood, as we call her, or Little Red-Cap, came
from the same (i. e., the ancient Aryan) source, and refers to the Sun and the
"One of the fancies of the most ancient Aryan or Hindoo stories was that there
was a great dragon that was trying to devour the Sun, and to prevent him from
shining upon the earth and filling it with brightness and life and beauty, and
that Indra, the Sun-god, killed the dragon. Now, this is the meaning of Little
Red Riding-Hood, as it is told in our nursery tales. Little Red Riding-Hood is
the evening Sun, which is always described as red or golden; the old grandmother
is the earth, to whom the rays of the Sun bring warmth and comfort. The
wolf—which is a well-known figure for the clouds and darkness of night—is the
dragon in another form. First he devours the grandmother; that is, he wraps the
earth in thick clouds, which the evening Sun is not strong enough to pierce
through. Then, with the darkness of night, he swallows up the evening Sun
itself, and all is dark and desolate. Then, as in the German tale, the
night-thunder and the storm-winds are represented by the loud snoring of the
wolf; and then the huntsman, the morning Sun, comes in all his strength and
majesty, and chases away the night-clouds and kills the wolf, and revives old
Grandmother Earth, and brings Little Red Riding-Hood to life again." (Bunce,
Fairy Tales, their Origin and Meaning, p. 161.)
[81:1] Müller's Chips, vol. ii. p. 260.
[82:1] See Goldzhier's Hebrew Mythology, p. 198, et seq.
[82:2] See Maurice: Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 277.
[82:3] See Isis Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 259. Also, Fig. No. 5, next page.
[82:4] Hist. Hindostan, vol. i. pp. 418-419.
[82:5] See Pilchard's Egyptian Mythology, p. 190. Bible for Learners, vol. i. p.
87. Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 646. Cory's Ancient Fragments, p. 57.
[82:6] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 646. Smith: Chaldean Account of
Genesis, p. 39, and Cory's Ancient Fragments, p. 57.
[82:7] Civilizing gods, who diffuse intelligence and instruct barbarians, are
also Solar Deities. Among these Oannes takes his place, as the Sun-god, giving
knowledge and civilization. (Rev. S. Baring-Gould: Curious Myths, p. 367.)
[82:8] Goldzhier: Hebrew Mythology, pp. 214, 215.
[82:9] See Inman's Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 111.
[82:10] See Chamber's Encyclo., art "Dagon."
[83:1] See Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, and Chambers's Encyclo., art.
"Dagon" in both.
[83:2] See Baring-Gould's Curious Myths.
[83:3] See Cox: Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. p. 26.
[83:4] Ibid. p. 38.
[83:5] Curious Myths, p. 372.
[83:6] Since writing the above we find that Mr. Bryant, in his "Analysis of
Ancient Mythology" (vol. ii. p. 291), speaking of the mystical nature of the
name John, which is the same as Jonah, says: "The prophet who was sent upon an
embassy to the Ninevites, is styled Ionas: a title probably bestowed upon him as
a messenger of the Deity. The great Patriarch who preached righteousness to the
Antediluvians, is styled Oan and Oannes, which is the same as Jonah."
[84:1] From Maurice: Hist. Hindostan, vol. i. p. 495.
[84:2] Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 634. See also, Calmet's Fragments, 2d
Hundred, p. 78.
[84:3] See the chapter on "The Trinity," in part second.
[84:4] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 640.
[Pg 85]CHAPTER X.
In the words of the Rev. Dr. Giles:
"The rite of circumcision must not be passed over in any work that concerns the
religion and literature of that (the Jewish) people."[85:1]
The first mention of Circumcision, in the Bible, occurs in Genesis,[85:2] where
God is said to have commanded the Israelites to perform this rite, and thereby
establish a covenant between him and his chosen people:
"This is my covenant (said the Lord), which ye shall keep, between me and you
and thy seed after thee; every male child among you shall be circumcised."
"We need not doubt," says the Rev. Dr. Giles, "that a Divine command was given
to Abraham that all his posterity should practice the rite of
Such may be the case. If we believe that the Lord of the Universe communes with
man, we need not doubt this; yet, we are compelled to admit that nations other
than the Hebrews practiced this rite. The origin of it, however, as practiced
among other nations, has never been clearly ascertained. It has been maintained
by some scholars that this rite drew its origin from considerations of health
and cleanliness, which seems very probable, although doubted by many.[85:4]
Whatever may have been its origin, it is certain that it was practiced by many
of the ancient Eastern nations, who never came in contact with the Hebrews, in
early times, and, therefore, could not have learned it from them.
The Egyptians practiced circumcision at a very early period,[85:5] [Pg 86]at
least as early as the fourth dynasty—pyramid one—and therefore, long before the
time assigned for Joseph's entry into Egypt, from whom some writers have claimed
the Egyptians learned it.[86:1]
In the decorative pictures of Egyptian tombs, one frequently meets with persons
on whom the denudation of the prepuce is manifested.[86:2]
On a stone found at Thebes, there is a representation of the circumcision of
Ramses II. A mother is seen holding her boy's arms back, while the operator
kneels in front.[86:3] All Egyptian priests were obliged to be
circumcised,[86:4] and Pythagoras had to submit to it before being admitted to
the Egyptian sacerdotal mysteries.[86:5]
Herodotus, the Greek historian, says:
"As this practice can be traced both in Egypt and Ethiopia, to the remotest
antiquity, it is not possible to say which first introduced it. The Phenicians
and Syrians of Palestine acknowledge that they borrowed it from Egypt."[86:6]
It has been recognized among the Kaffirs and other tribes of Africa.[86:7] It
was practiced among the Fijians and Samoans of Polynesia, and some races of
Australia.[86:8] The Suzees and the Mandingoes circumcise their women.[86:9] The
Assyrians, Colchins, Phenicians, and others, practiced it.[86:10] It has been
from time immemorial a custom among the Abyssinians, though, at the present
The antiquity of the custom may be assured from the fact of the New Hollanders,
(never known to civilized nations until a few years ago) having practiced
The Troglodytes on the shore of the Red Sea, the Idumeans, Ammonites, Moabites
and Ishmaelites, had the practice of circumcision.[86:11]
The ancient Mexicans also practiced this rite.[86:13] It was also [Pg 87]found
among the Amazon tribes of South America.[87:1] These Indians, as well as some
African tribes, were in the habit of circumcising their women. Among the Campas,
the women circumcised themselves, and a man would not marry a woman who was not
circumcised.[87:2] They performed this singular rite upon arriving at the age of
Jesus of Nazareth was circumcised,[87:4] and had he been really the founder of
the Christian religion, so-called, it would certainly be incumbent on all
Christians to be circumcised as he was, and to observe that Jewish law which he
observed, and which he was so far from abrogating, that he declared: "heaven and
earth shall pass away" ere "one jot or one tittle" of that law should be
dispensed with.[87:5] But the Christians are not followers of the religion of
Jesus.[87:6] They are followers of the religion of the Pagans. This, we believe,
we shall be able to show in Part Second of this work.
[85:1] Giles: Hebrew and Christian Records, vol. i. p. 249.
[85:2] Genesis, xvii. 10.
[85:3] Giles: Hebrew and Christian Records, vol. i. p. 251.
[85:4] Mr. Herbert Spencer shows (Principles of Sociology, pp. 290, 295) that
the sacrificing of a part of the body as a religious offering to their deity,
was, and is a common practice among savage tribes. Circumcision may have
originated in this way. And Mr. Wake, speaking of it, says: "The origin of this
custom has not yet, so far as I am aware, been satisfactorily explained. The
idea that, under certain climatic conditions, circumcision is necessary for
cleanliness and comfort, does not appear to be well founded, as the custom is
not universal even within the tropics." (Phallism in Ancient Religs., p. 36.)
[85:5] "Other men leave their private parts as they are formed by nature, except
those who have learned otherwise from them; but the Egyptians are circumcised. .
. . They are circumcised for the sake of cleanliness, thinking it better to be
clean than handsome." (Herodotus, Book ii. ch. 36.)
[86:1] We have it also on the authority of Sir J. G. Wilkinson, that: "this
custom was established long before the arrival of Joseph in Egypt," and that
"this is proved by the ancient monuments."
[86:2] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, pp. 414, 415.
[86:3] Ibid. p. 415.
[86:4] Ibid. and Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, p. 89.
[86:5] Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 415.
[86:6] Herodotus: Book ii. ch. 36.
[86:7] See Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 114. Amberly: Analysis Religious
Belief, p. 67, and Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 309.
[86:8] Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 414, and Amberly's Analysis, pp. 63, 73.
[86:9] Amberly: Analysis of Relig. Belief, p. 73.
[86:10] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 414: Amberly's Analysis, p. 63; Prog.
Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 163, and Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. pp. 18, 19.
[86:11] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 414.
[86:12] Kendrick's Egypt, quoted by Dunlap; Mysteries of Adoni, p. 146.
[86:13] Amberly's Analysis, p. 63, Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 309, and
Acosta, ii. 369.
[87:1] Orton: The Andes and the Amazon, p. 322.
[87:2] This was done by cutting off the clytoris.
[87:3] Orton: The Andes and the Amazon, p. 322. Gibbon's Rome, vol. iv. p. 563,
and Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 319.
"At the time of the conquest, the Spaniards found circumcised nations in Central
America, and on the Amazon, the Tecuna and Manaos tribes still observe this
practice. In the South Seas it has been met with among three different races,
but it is performed in a somewhat different manner. On the Australian continent,
not all, but the majority of tribes, practiced circumcision. Among the Papuans,
the inhabitants of New Caledonia and the New Hebrides adhere to this custom. In
his third voyage, Captain Cook found it among the inhabitants of the Friendly
Islands, in particular at Tongataboo, and the younger Pritchard bears witness to
its practice in the Samoa or Fiji groups." (Oscar Peschel: The Races of Man, p.
[87:4] Luke, ii. 21.
[87:5] Matthew, v. 18.
[87:6] In using the words "the religion of Jesus," we mean simply the religion
of Israel. We believe that Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew, in every sense of the
word, and that he did not establish a new religion, or preach a new doctrine, in
any way, shape, or form. "The preacher from the Mount, the prophet of the
Beatitudes, does but repeat with persuasive lips what the law-givers of his race
proclaimed in mighty tones of command." (See chap. xi.)
[Pg 88]CHAPTER XI.
CONCLUSION OF PART FIRST.
There are many other legends recorded in the Old Testament which might be
treated at length, but, as we have considered the principal and most important,
and as we have so much to examine in Part Second, which treats of the New
Testament, we shall take but a passing glance at a few others.
In Genesis xli. is to be found the story of
PHARAOH'S TWO DREAMS,
which is to the effect that Pharaoh dreamed that he stood by a river, and saw
come up out of it seven fat kine, and seven lean kine, which devoured the fat
ones. He then dreamed that he saw seven good ears of corn, on one stalk, spring
up out of the ground. This was followed by seven poor ears, which sprang up
after them, and devoured the good ears.
Pharaoh, upon awaking from his sleep, and recalling the dreams which he dreamed,
was greatly troubled, "and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt,
and all the wise men thereof, and Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was
none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh." Finally, his chief butler tells
him of one Joseph, who was skilled in interpreting dreams, and Pharaoh orders
him to be brought before his presence. He then repeats his dreams to Joseph, who
immediately interprets them to the great satisfaction of the king.
A very similar story is related in the Buddhist Fo-pen-hing—one of their sacred
books, which has been translated by Prof. Samuel Beal—which, in substance, is as
Suddhôdana Raja dreamed seven different dreams in one night, when, "awaking from
his sleep, and recalling the visions he had seen, was greatly troubled, so that
the very hair on his body stood erect, and his limbs trembled." He forthwith
summoned to his side, within his palace, all the great ministers of his council,
and [Pg 89]exhorted them in these words: "Most honorable Sirs! be it known to
you that during the present night I have seen in my dreams strange and potent
visions—there were seven distinct dreams, which I will now recite (he recites
the dreams). I pray you, honorable Sirs! let not these dreams escape your
memories, but in the morning, when I am seated in my palace, and surrounded by
my attendants, let them be brought to my mind (that they may be interpreted.)"
At morning light, the king, seated in the midst of his attendants, issued his
commands to all the Brahmans, interpreters of dreams, within his kingdom, in
these terms, "All ye men of wisdom, explain for me by interpretation the meaning
of the dreams I have dreamed in my sleep."
Then all the wise Brahmans, interpreters of dreams, began to consider, each one
in his own heart, what the meaning of these visions could be; till at last they
addressed the king, and said: "Mahâ-raja! be it known to you that we never
before have heard such dreams as these, and we cannot interpret their meaning."
On hearing this, Suddhôdana was very troubled in his heart, and exceeding
distressed. He thought within himself: "Who is there that can satisfy these
doubts of mine?"
Finally a "holy one," called T'so-Ping, being present in the inner palace, and
perceiving the sorrow and distress of the king, assumed the appearance of a
Brahman, and under this form he stood at the gate of the king's palace, and
cried out, saying: "I am able fully to interpret the dreams of Suddhôdana Râja,
and with certainty to satisfy all the doubts."
The king ordered him to be brought before his presence, and then related to him
his dreams. Upon hearing them, T'so-Ping immediately interpreted them, to the
great satisfaction of the king.[89:1]
In the second chapter of Exodus we read of
MOSES THROWN INTO THE NILE,
which is done by command of the king.
There are many counterparts to this in ancient mythology; among them may be
mentioned that of the infant Perseus, who was, by command of the king (Acrisius
of Argos), shut up in a chest, and cast into the sea. He was found by one
Dictys, who took great care of the child, and—as Pharaoh's daughter did with the
child Moses—educated him.[89:2]
[Pg 90]The infant Bacchus was confined in a chest, by order of Cadmus, King of
Thebes, and thrown into the Nile.[90:1] He, like Moses, had two mothers, one by
nature, the other by adoption.[90:2] He was also, like Moses, represented
Osiris was also confined in a chest, and thrown into the river Nile.[90:4]
When Osiris was shut into the coffer, and cast into the river, he floated to
Phenicia, and was there received under the name of Adonis. Isis (his mother, or
wife) wandered in quest of him, came to Byblos, and seated herself by a fountain
in silence and tears. She was then taken by the servants of the royal palace,
and made to attend on the young prince of the land. In like manner, Demeter,
after Aidoneus had ravished her daughter, went in pursuit, reached Eleusis,
seated herself by a well, conversed with the daughters of the queen, and became
nurse to her son.[90:5] So likewise, when Moses was put into the ark made of
bulrushes, and cast into the Nile, he was found by the daughters of Pharaoh, and
his own mother became his nurse.[90:6] This is simply another version of the
In the second chapter of the second book of Kings, we read of
ELIJAH ASCENDING TO HEAVEN.
There are many counterparts to this, in heathen mythology.
Hindoo sacred writings relate many such stories—how some of their Holy Ones were
taken up alive into heaven—and impressions on rocks are shown, said to be
foot-prints, made when they ascended.[90:7]
According to Babylonian mythology, Xisuthrus was translated to heaven.[90:8]
The story of Elijah ascending to heaven in a chariot of fire may also be
compared to the fiery, flame-red chariot of Ushas.[90:9] This idea of some Holy
One ascending to heaven without dying was found in the ancient mythology of the
The story of
DAVID KILLING GOLIATH,
by throwing a stone and hitting him in the forehead,[90:11] may be [Pg
91]compared to the story of Thor, the Scandinavian hero, throwing a hammer at
Hrungnir, and striking him in the forehead.[91:1]
We read in Numbers[91:2] that
BALAAM'S ASS SPOKE
to his master, and reproved him.
In ancient fables or stories in which animals play prominent parts, each
creature is endowed with the power of speech. This idea was common in the whole
of Western Asia and Egypt. It is found in various Egyptian and Chaldean
stories.[91:3] Homer has recorded that the horse of Achilles spoke to him.[91:4]
We have also a very wonderful story in that of
JOSHUA'S COMMAND TO THE SUN.
This story is related in the tenth chapter of the book of Joshua, and is to the
effect that the Israelites, who were at battle with the Amorites, wished the day
to be lengthened that they might continue their slaughter, whereupon Joshua
said: "Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou, Moon, in the valley of
Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had
avenged themselves upon their enemies. . . . And there was no day like that
before it or after it."
There are many stories similar to this, to be found among other nations of
antiquity. We have, as an example, that which is related of Bacchus in the
Orphic hymns, wherein it says that this god-man arrested the course of the sun
and the moon.[91:5]
An Indian legend relates that the sun stood still to hear the pious ejaculations
of Arjouan after the death of Crishna.[91:6]
A holy Buddhist by the name of Mâtanga prevented the sun, at his command, from
rising, and bisected the moon.[91:7] Arresting the course of the sun was a
common thing among the disciples of Buddha.[91:8]
The Chinese also, had a legend of the sun standing still,[91:9] and a legend was
found among the Ancient Mexicans to the effect that one of their holy persons
commanded the sun to stand still, which command was obeyed.[91:10]
[Pg 92]We shall now endeavor to answer the question which must naturally arise
in the minds of all who see, for the first time, the similarity in the legends
of the Hebrews and those of other nations, namely: have the Hebrews copied from
other nations, or, have other nations copied from the Hebrews? To answer this
question we shall; first, give a brief account or history of the Pentateuch and
other books of the Old Testament from which we have taken legends, and show
about what time they were written; and, second, show that other nations were
possessed of these legends long before that time, and that the Jews copied from
The Pentateuch is ascribed, in our modern translations, to Moses, and he is
generally supposed to be the author. This is altogether erroneous, as Moses had
nothing whatever to do with these five books. Bishop Colenso, speaking of this,
"The books of the Pentateuch are never ascribed to Moses in the inscriptions of
Hebrew manuscripts, or in printed copies of the Hebrew Bible. Nor are they
styled the 'Books of Moses' in the Septuagint[92:1] or Vulgate,[92:2] but only
in our modern translations, after the example of many eminent Fathers of the
Church, who, with the exception of Jerome, and, perhaps, Origen, were, one and
all of them, very little acquainted with the Hebrew language, and still less
with its criticism."[92:3]
The author of "The Religion of Israel," referring to this subject, says:
"The Jews who lived after the Babylonish Captivity, and the Christians following
their examples, ascribed these books (the Pentateuch) to Moses; and for many
centuries the notion was cherished that he had really written them. But strict
and impartial investigation has shown that this opinion must be given up; and
that nothing in the whole Law really comes from Moses himself except the Ten
Commandments. And even these were not delivered by him in the same form as we
find them now. If we still call these books by his name, it is only because the
Israelites always thought of him as their first and greatest law-giver, and the
actual authors grouped all their narratives and laws around his figure, and
associated them with his name."[92:4]
As we cannot go into an extended account, and show how this is known, we will
simply say that it is principally by internal evidence that these facts are
[Pg 93]Now that we have seen that Moses did not write the books of the
Pentateuch, our next endeavor will be to ascertain when they were written, and
We can say that they were not written by any one person, nor were they written
at the same time.
We can trace three principal redactions of the Pentateuch, that is to say, the
material was worked over, and re-edited, with modifications and additions, by
different people, at three distinct epochs.[93:1]
The two principal writers are generally known as the Jehovistic and the
Elohistic. We have—in speaking of the "Eden Myth" and the legend of the
"Deluge"—already alluded to this fact, and have illustrated how these writers'
narratives conflict with each other.
The Jehovistic writer is supposed to have been a prophet, who, it would seem,
was anxious to give Israel a history. He begins at Genesis, ii. 4, with a short
account, of the "Creation," and then he carries the story on regularly until the
Israelites enter Canaan. It is to him that we are indebted for the charming
pictures of the patriarchs. He took these from other writings, or from the
About 725 B. C. the Israelites were conquered by Salmanassar, King of Assyria,
and many of them were carried away captives. Their place was supplied by
Assyrian colonists from Babylon, Persia, and other places.[93:3] This fact is of
the greatest importance, and should not be forgotten, as we find that the first
of the three writers of the Pentateuch, spoken of above, wrote about this time,
and the Israelites heard, from the colonists from Babylon, Persia, and other
places—for the first time—many of the legends which this writer wove into the
fabulous history which he wrote, especially the accounts of the Creation and the
The Pentateuch remained in this, its first form, until the year 620 B. C. Then a
certain priest of marked prophetic sympathies wrote a book of law which has come
down to us in Deuteronomy, iv. 44, to xxvi., and xxviii. Here we find the
demands which the Mosaic party at that day were making thrown into the form of
laws. It was by King Josiah that this book was first introduced and proclaimed
as authoritative.[93:4] It was soon afterwards wove into the work of the first
Pentateuchian writer, and at the same time [Pg 94]"a few new passages" were
added, some of which related to Joshua, the successor of Moses.[94:1]
At this period in Israel's history, Jehovah had become almost forgotten, and
"other gods" had taken his place.[94:2] The Mosaic party, so called—who
worshiped Jehovah exclusively—were in the minority, but when King Amon—who was a
worshiper of Moloch—died, and was succeeded by his son Josiah, a change
immediately took place. This young prince, who was only eight years old at the
death of his father, the Mosaic party succeeded in winning over to their
interests. In the year 621 B. C., Josiah, now in the eighteenth year of his
reign, began a thorough reformation which completely answered to the ideas of
the Mosaic party.[94:3]
It was during this time that the second Pentateuchian writer wrote, and he makes
Moses speak as the law-giver. This writer was probably Hilkiah, who claimed to
have found a book, written by Moses, in the temple,[94:4] although it had only
just been drawn up.[94:5]
The principal objections which were brought against the claims of Hilkiah, but
which are not needed in the present age of inquiry, was that Shaphan and Josiah
read it off, not as if it were an old book, but as though it had been recently
written, when any person who is acquainted, in the slightest degree, with
language, must know that a man could not read off, at once, a book written eight
hundred years before. The phraseology would necessarily be so altered by time as
to render it comparatively unintelligible.
We must now turn to the third Pentateuchian writer, whose writings were
published 444 b. c.
At that time Ezra (or Ezdras) added to the work of his two predecessors a series
of laws and narratives which had been drawn up by some of the priests in
Babylon.[94:6] This "series of laws and narratives," which was written by "some
of the (Israelitish) priests in Babylon," was called "The Book of Origins"
(probably containing the Babylonian account of the "Origin of Things," or the
"Creation"). Ezra brought the book from Babylon to Jerusalem. He made some
modifications in it and constituted it a code of law for Israel, dove-tailing it
into those parts of the Pentateuch which existed before. A few alterations and
additions were [Pg 95]subsequently made, but these are of minor importance, and
we may fairly say that Ezra put the Pentateuch into the form in which we have it
(about 444 B. C.).
These priestly passages are partly occupied with historical matter, comprising a
very free account of things from the creation of the world to the arrival of
Israel in Canaan. Everything is here presented from the priestly point of view;
some events, elsewhere recorded, are touched up in the priestly spirit, and
others are entirely invented.[95:1]
It was the belief of the Jews, asserted by the Pirke Aboth (Sayings of the
Fathers), one of the oldest books of the Talmud,[95:2] as well as other Jewish
records, that Ezra, acting in accordance with a divine commission, re-wrote the
Old Testament, the manuscripts of which were said to have been lost in the
destruction of the first temple, when Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem.[95:3] This
we know could not have been the case. The fact that Ezra wrote—adding to, and
taking from the already existing books of the Pentateuch—was probably the
foundation for this tradition. The account of it is to be found in the
Apocryphal book of Esdras, a book deemed authentic by the Greek Church.
Dr. Knappert, speaking of this, says:
"For many centuries, both the Christians and the Jews supposed that Ezra had
brought together the sacred writings of his people, united them in one whole,
and introduced them as a book given by the Spirit of God—a Holy Scripture.
"The only authority for this supposition was a very modern and altogether
untrustworthy tradition. The historical and critical studies of our times have
been emancipated from the influence of this tradition, and the most ancient
statements with regard to the subject have been hunted up and compared together.
These statements are, indeed, scanty and incomplete, and many a detail is still
obscure; but the main facts have been completely ascertained.
"Before the Babylonish captivity, Israel had no sacred writings. There were
certain laws, prophetic writings, and a few historical books, but no one had
ever thought of ascribing binding and divine authority to these documents.
"Ezra brought the priestly law with him from Babylon, altering it and
amalgamating it with the narratives and laws already in existence, and thus
produced the Pentateuch in pretty much the same form (though not quite, as we
shall show) as we still have it. These books got the name of the 'Law of Moses,'
or simply the 'Law.' Ezra introduced them into Israel (B. C. 444), and gave them
binding authority, and from that time forward they were considered
From the time of Ezra until the year 287 B. C., when the Pentateuch was
translated into Greek by order of Ptolemy [Pg 96]Philadelphus, King of Egypt,
these books evidently underwent some changes. This the writer quoted above
admits, in saying:
"Later still (viz., after the time of Ezra), a few more changes and additions
were made, and so the Pentateuch grew into its present form."[96:1]
In answer to those who claim that the Pentateuch was written by one person,
Bishop Colenso says:
"It is certainly inconceivable that if the Pentateuch be the production of one
and the same hand throughout, it should contain such a number of glaring
inconsistencies. . . . No single author could have been guilty of such
absurdities; but it is quite possible, and what was almost sure to happen in
such a case, that, if the Pentateuch be the work of different authors in
different ages, this fact should betray itself by the existence of
contradictions in the narrative."[96:2]
Having ascertained the origin of the Pentateuch, or first five books of the Old
Testament, it will be unnecessary to refer to the others here, as we have
nothing to do with them in our investigations. Suffice it to say then, that: "In
the earlier period after Ezra, none of the other books which already existed,
enjoyed the same authority as the Pentateuch."[96:3]
It is probable[96:4] that Nehemiah made a collection of historical and prophetic
books, songs, and letters from Persian kings, not to form a second collection,
but for the purpose of saving them from being lost. The scribes of Jerusalem,
followers of Ezra, who were known as "the men of the Great Synagogue," were the
collectors of the second and third divisions of the Old Testament. They
collected together the historical and prophetic books, songs, &c., which were
then in existence, and after altering many of them, they were added to the
collection of sacred books. It must not be supposed that any fixed plan was
pursued in this work, or that the idea was entertained from the first, that
these books would one day stand on the same level with the Pentateuch.[96:5]
In the course of time, however, many of the Jews began to consider some of these
books as sacred. The Alexandrian Jews adopted books into the canon which those
of Jerusalem did not, and this difference of opinion lasted for a long time,
even till the second century after Christ. It was not until this time that all
the books of the Old Testament acquired divine authority.[96:6] It is not known,
however, just when the canon of the Old Testament was closed. The time and
manner in which it was done is [Pg 97]altogether obscure.[97:1] Jewish tradition
indicates that the full canonicity of several books was not free from doubt till
the time of the famous Rabbi Akiba,[97:2] who flourished about the beginning of
the second century after Christ.[97:3]
After giving a history of the books of the Old Testament, the author of "The
Religion of Israel," whom we have followed in this investigation, says:
"The great majority of the writers of the Old Testament had no other source of
information about the past history of Israel than simple tradition. Indeed, it
could not have been otherwise, for in primitive times no one used to record
anything in writing, and the only way of preserving a knowledge of the past was
to hand it down by word of mouth. The father told the son what his elders had
told him, and the son handed it on to the next generation.
"Not only did the historian of Israel draw from tradition with perfect freedom,
and write down without hesitation anything they heard and what was current in
the mouths of the people, but they did not shrink from modifying their
representation of the past in any way that they thought would be good and
useful. It is difficult for us to look at things from this point of view,
because our ideas of historical good faith are so utterly different. When we
write history, we know that we ought to be guided solely by a desire to
represent facts exactly as they really happened. All that we are concerned with
is reality; we want to make the old times live again, and we take all possible
pains not to remodel the past from the point of view of to-day. All we want to
know is what happened, and how men lived, thought, and worked in those days. The
Israelites had a very different notion of the nature of historical composition.
When a prophet or a priest related something about bygone times, his object was
not to convey knowledge about those times; on the contrary, he used history
merely as a vehicle for the conveyance of instruction and exhortation. Not only
did he confine his narrative to such matters as he thought would serve his
purpose but he never hesitated to modify what he knew of the past, and he did
not think twice about touching it up from his own imagination, simply that it
might be more conducive to the end he had in view and chime in better with his
opinions. All the past became colored through and through with the tinge of his
own mind. Our own notions of honor and good faith would never permit all this;
but we must not measure ancient writers by our own standard; they considered
that they were acting quite within their rights and in strict accordance with
duty and conscience."[97:4]
It will be noticed that, in our investigations on the authority of the
Pentateuch, we have followed, principally, Dr. Knappert's ideas as set forth in
"The Religion of Israel."
This we have done because we could not go into an extended investigation, and
because his words are very expressive, and just to the point. To those who may
think that his ideas are not the same as those entertained by other Biblical
scholars of the present [Pg 98]day, we subjoin, in a note below, a list of works
to which they are referred.[98:1]
We shall now, after giving a brief history of the Pentateuch, refer to the
legends of which we have been treating, and endeavor to show from whence the
Hebrews borrowed them. The first of these is "The Creation and Fall of Man."
Egypt, the country out of which the Israelites came, had no story of the
Creation and Fall of Man, such as we have found among the Hebrews; they
therefore could not have learned it from them. The Chaldeans, however, as we saw
in our first chapter, had this legend, and it is from them that the Hebrews
The account which we have given of the Chaldean story of the Creation and Fall
of Man, was taken, as we stated, from the writings of Berosus, the Chaldean
historian, who lived in the time of Alexander the Great (356-325 B. C.), and as
the Jews were acquainted with the story some centuries earlier than this, his
works did not prove that these traditions were in Babylonia before the Jewish
captivity, and could not afford testimony in favor of the statement that the
Jews borrowed this legend from the Babylonians at that time. It was left for Mr.
George Smith, of the British Museum, to establish, without a doubt, the fact
that this legend was known to the Babylonians at least two thousand years before
the time assigned for the birth of Jesus. The cuneiform inscriptions discovered
by him, while on an expedition to Assyria, organized by the London "Daily
Telegraph," was the means of doing this, and although by far the greatest number
of these tablets belong to the age of Assurbanipal, who reigned over Assyria B.
C. 670, it is "acknowledged on all hands that these tablets are not the
originals, but are only copies from earlier texts." "The Assyrians acknowledge
themselves that this literature was borrowed from Babylonian sources, and of
course it is to Babylonia we have to look to ascertain the approximate dates of
the original documents."[98:2] Mr. Smith then shows, from "fragments of the
Cuneiform account of the Creation and Fall" which have been discovered, that,
"in the period from b. c. 2000 to [Pg 99]1500, the Babylonians believed in a
story similar to that in Genesis." It is probable, however, says Mr. Smith, that
this legend existed as traditions in the country long before it was committed to
writing, and some of these traditions exhibited great difference in details,
showing that they had passed through many changes.[99:1]
Professor James Fergusson, in his celebrated work on "Tree and Serpent Worship,"
"The two chapters which refer to this (i. e., the Garden, the Tree, and the
Serpent), as indeed the whole of the first eight of Genesis, are now generally
admitted by scholars to be made up of fragments of earlier books or earlier
traditions, belonging, properly speaking, to Mesopotamia rather than to Jewish
history, the exact meaning of which the writers of the Pentateuch seem hardly to
have appreciated when they transcribed them in the form in which they are now
John Fiske says:
"The story of the Serpent in Eden is an Aryan story in every particular. The
notion of Satan as the author of evil appears only in the later books, composed
after the Jews had come into close contact with Persian ideas."[99:3]
Prof. John W. Draper says:
"In the old legends of dualism, the evil spirit was said to have sent a serpent
to ruin Paradise. These legends became known to the Jews during their Babylonian
Professor Goldziher also shows, in his "Mythology Among the Hebrews,"[99:5] that
the story of the creation was borrowed by the Hebrews from the Babylonians. He
also informs us that the notion of the bôrê and yôsêr, "Creator" (the term used
in the cosmogony in Genesis) as an integral part of the idea of God, are first
brought into use by the prophets of the captivity. "Thus also the story of the
Garden of Eden, as a supplement to the history of the Creation, was written down
Strange as it may appear, after the Genesis account, we may pass through the
whole Pentateuch, and other books of the Old Testament, clear to the end, and
will find that the story of the "Garden of Eden" and "Fall of Man," is hardly
alluded to, if at all. Lengkerke says: "One single certain trace of the
employment of the story of Adam's fall is entirely wanting in the Hebrew Canon
(after the Genesis account). Adam, Eve, the Serpent, the woman's [Pg
100]seduction of her husband, &c., are all images, to which the remaining words
of the Israelites never again recur."[100:1]
This circumstance can only be explained by the fact that the first chapters of
Genesis were not written until after the other portions had been written.
It is worthy of notice, that this story of the Fall of Man, upon which the whole
orthodox scheme of a divine Saviour or Redeemer is based, was not considered by
the learned Israelites as fact. They simply looked upon it as a story which
satisfied the ignorant, but which should be considered as allegory by the
Rabbi Maimonides (Moses Ben Maimon), one of the most celebrated of the Rabbis,
says on this subject:—
"We must not understand, or take in a literal sense, what is written in the book
on the Creation, nor form of it the same ideas which are participated by the
generality of mankind; otherwise our ancient sages would not have so much
recommended to us, to hide the real meaning of it, and not to lift the
allegorical veil, which covers the truth contained therein. When taken in its
literal sense, the work gives the most absurd and most extravagant ideas of the
Deity. 'Whosoever should divine its true meaning ought to take great care in not
divulging it.' This is a maxim repeated to us by all our sages, principally
concerning the understanding of the work of the six days."[100:3]
Philo, a Jewish writer contemporary with Jesus, held the same opinion of the
character of the sacred books of the Hebrews. He has made two particular
treatises, bearing the title of "The Allegories," and he traces back to the
allegorical sense the "Tree of Life," the "Rivers of Paradise," and the other
fictions of the Genesis.[100:4]
Many of the early Christian Fathers declared that, in the story of the Creation
and Fall of Man, there was but an allegorical fiction. Among these may be
mentioned St. Augustine, who speaks of it in his "City of God," and also Origen,
"What man of sense will agree with the statement that the first, second, and
third days, in which the evening is named and the morning, were without sun,
moon and stars? What man is found such an idiot as to suppose that God planted
trees in Paradise like an husbandman? I believe that every man must hold these
things for images under which a hidden sense is concealed."[100:5]
[Pg 101]Origen believed aright, as it is now almost universally admitted, that
the stories of the "Garden of Eden," the "Elysian Fields," the "Garden of the
Blessed," &c., which were the abode of the blessed, where grief and sorrow could
not approach them, where plague and sickness could not touch them, were founded
on allegory. These abodes of delight were far away in the West, where the sun
goes down beyond the bounds of the earth. They were the "Golden Islands" sailing
in a sea of blue—the burnished clouds floating in the pure ether. In a word, the
"Elysian Fields" are the clouds at eventide. The picture was suggested by the
images drawn from the phenomena of sunset and twilight.[101:1]
Eating of the forbidden fruit was simply a figurative mode of expressing the
performance of the act necessary to the perpetuation of the human race. The
"Tree of Knowledge" was a Phallic tree, and the fruit which grew upon it was
In regard to the story of "The Deluge," we have already seen[101:3] that
"Egyptian records tell nothing of a cataclysmal deluge," and that, "the land was
never visited by other than its annual beneficent overflow of the river Nile."
Also, that "the Pharaoh Khoufou-cheops was building his pyramid, according to
Egyptian chronicle, when the whole world was under the waters of a universal
deluge, according to the Hebrew chronicle." This is sufficient evidence that the
Hebrews did not borrow the legend from the Egyptians.
We have also seen, in the chapter that treated of this legend, that it
corresponded in all the principal features with the Chaldean account. We shall
now show that it was taken from this.
Mr. Smith discovered, on the site of Ninevah, during the years 1873-4, cylinders
belonging to the early Babylonian monarchy, (from 2500 to 1500 B. C.) which
contained the legend of the flood,[101:4] and which we gave in Chapter II. This
was the foundation for the Hebrew legend, and they learned it at the time of the
Captivity.[101:5] The myth of Deucalion, the Grecian hero, was also taken from
the same source. The Greeks learned it from the Chaldeans.
We read in Chambers's Encyclopædia, that:
"It was at one time extensively believed, even by intelligent scholars, that [Pg
102]the myth of Deucalion was a corrupted tradition of the Noachian deluge, but
this untenable opinion is now all but universally abandoned."[102:1]
This idea was abandoned after it was found that the Deucalion myth was older
than the Hebrew.
What was said in regard to the Eden story not being mentioned in other portions
of the Old Testament save in Genesis, also applies to this story of the Deluge.
Nowhere in the other books of the Old Testament is found any reference to this
story, except in Isaiah, where "the waters of Noah" are mentioned, and in
Ezekiel, where simply the name of Noah is mentioned.
We stated in Chapter II. that some persons saw in this story an astronomical
myth. Although not generally admitted, yet there are very strong reasons for
believing this to be the case.
According to the Chaldean account—which is the oldest one known—there were seven
persons saved in the ark.[102:2] There were also seven persons saved, according
to some of the Hindoo accounts.[102:3] That this referred to the sun, moon, and
five planets looks very probable. We have also seen that Noah was the tenth
patriarch, and Xisuthrus (who is the Chaldean hero) was the tenth king.[102:4]
Now, according to the Babylonian table, their Zodiac contained ten gods called
the "Ten Zodiac gods."[102:5] They also believed that whenever all the planets
met in the sign of Capricorn, the whole earth was overwhelmed with a deluge of
water.[102:6] The Hindoos and other nations had a similar belief.[102:7]
It is well known that the Chaldeans were great astronomers. When Alexander the
Great conquered the city of Babylon, the Chaldean priests boasted to the Greek
philosophers, who followed his army, that they had continued their astronomical
calculations through a period of more than forty thousand years.[102:8] Although
this statement cannot be credited, yet the great antiquity of Chaldea cannot be
doubted, and its immediate connection with Hindostan, or Egypt, is abundantly
proved by the little that is known concerning its religion, and by the few
fragments that remain of its former grandeur.
In regard to the story of "The Tower of Babel" little need be said. This, as
well as the story of the Creation and Fall of Man, and the Deluge, was borrowed
from the Babylonians.[102:9]
[Pg 103]"It seems," says George Smith, "from the indications in the (cuneiform)
inscriptions, that there happened in the interval between 2000 and 1850 B. C. a
general collection of the development of the various traditions of the Creation,
Flood, Tower of Babel, and other similar legends." "These legends were, however,
traditions before they were committed to writing, and were common in some form
to all the country."[103:1]
The Tower of Babel, or the confusion of tongues, is nowhere alluded to in the
Old Testament outside of Genesis, where the story is related.
The next story in order is "The Trial of Abraham's Faith."
In this connection we have shown similar legends taken from Grecian mythology,
which legends may have given the idea to the writer of the Hebrew story.
It may appear strange that the Hebrews should have been acquainted with Grecian
mythology, yet we know this was the case. The fact is accounted for in the
Many of the Jews taken captive at the Edomite sack of Jerusalem were sold to the
Grecians,[103:2] who took them to their country. While there, they became
acquainted with Grecian legends, and when they returned from "the Islands of the
Sea"—as they called the Western countries—they brought them to Jerusalem.[103:3]
This legend, as we stated in the chapter which treated of it, was written at the
time when the Mosaic party in Israel were endeavoring to abolish human
sacrifices and other "abominations," and the author of the story invented it to
make it appear that the Lord had abolished them in the time of Abraham. The
earliest Targum[103:4] knows nothing about the legend, showing that the story
was not in the Pentateuch at the time this Targum was written.
We have also seen that a story written by Sanchoniathon (about B. C. 1300) of
one Saturn, whom the Phenicians called Israel, bore a resemblance to the Hebrew
legend of Abraham. Now, Count de Volney tells us that "a similar tradition
prevailed among the Chaldeans," and that they had the history of one
Zerban—which means "rich-in-gold"[103:5]—that corresponded in many respects with
the history of Abraham.[103:6] It may, then, have been from the Chaldean story
that the Hebrew fable writer got his idea.
[Pg 104]The next legend which we examined was that of "Jacob's Vision of the
Ladder." We claimed that it probably referred to the doctrine of the
transmigration of souls from one body into another, and also gave the apparent
reason for the invention of the story.