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HE Firft and Second Volumes of this Hiftory, which I fome Years ago offered to the Publick, do fo fully explain the Nature and Defign of my Undertaking, that there can be no need of any further Account of it: This Third Volume contains the facred History from the Ifraelites having paffed the Read-Sea to the Death of Joshua, and I have, as in the former Volumes, offered in it, not only fuch Obfervations, as I thought might obviate or anfwer Objections to, or Difficulties in the Scripture Accounts of fome Facts of these Times; but alfo fuch Hints of the Heathen Nations, as can belong to this Period, and may conduce to my being able to deduce the Prophane History in a clear Light, when I fhall come down to an Age, which may afford Plenty of Materials for a Relation of the Affairs of it.
I am fenfible the Reader may expect from
me fome Account of the Jewish Year, which he will not find in the enfuing Volume: If the Ifraelites, when they came into Canaan, had not been inftructed to compute fuch a Number of Days to a Year, as might come very nigh to the true Measure of it, they could not long have continued to keep their fet Feafts in their proper Seafons: The Heathen Nations had as yet no Notion of the Year's containing more than 360 Days (a): But fuch a Year falling fhort five Days, and almoft a quarter of a Day of a true folar Revolution, it must be evident that the stated Feafts of Mofes's Law, if they had been obferved in a Course of such Years, would have returned five Days and almoft a quarter of a Day, in every Year, fooner than the true Seafon of the Year for obferying them could have returned with them, and this in a very few Years must have brought them into a great Confufion (b): Mofes appointed the Paffover to be killed and eaten on the fourteenth Day of the firft Month at Even (c): On the fame Evening they began to eat unleavened Bread (d), and continued the eating it unto the Evening of the one and twentieth Day (e): The Wave-Sheaf was to be offered on the fecond Day of unleavened Bread (f): Fifty Days after
(a) See Pref to Vol. I. (b) They muft in a few Years have come to celebrate the Paffover, before they could have had Lambs fit to be eaten: the Wave Sheaf-offering would have come about, before the Barley was ripe to be reaped, and the Pentecost before the time of Wheat Harveft. Prideaux Pref. to Part I. of his Connection. (c) Exod. xii. 6-8. Levit. xxiii. 5. (d) Exod. xii. 18: Jofeph. Antiq. lib. 3. c. 10.
g), or on the fifth Day of the third Month, two Wave-Loaves were to be offered for the Wheat-Harvest (b); and on the fifteenth Day of the seventh Month (i), they were to celebrate their ending the gathering in all the Fruits of their Land (k): Mofes lived almoft forty Years after his giving the Ifraelites thefe Inftitutions: And if all this while 360 Days had been computed to be a Year, it is evident, that the Feafts of the Law would by this Time have gone backwards almost two hundred and ten Days, from what was the real Season of the Year, at which they were at first appointed; for forty times five Days and almost a quarter of a Day amount to near that Number : But we find that, when the Ifraelites came into Canaan, and were to keep the Passover there on the fourteenth Day of the Month Abib (1), the Corn was ripe in the Fields (m); Jordan was in that Flow over all his Banks, which that River was annually remarkable for, all the Time of Harvest (n); fo that the Paffover, and confequently the other Feafts fell this Year at about the Times, to which Mofes at first stated them: And therefore the Ifraelites must have had fome Method to adjuft their computed Year to the true Measure of a real one, or otherwife the
(g) Lev. xxiii. 15, 16. (b) Exod. xxxiv. 32. (i) Lev. xxiii. 39. (k) In Canaan the Produce of the Earth feems to come on in the fame Courfe as in Egypt: In Egypt the Barley was in the Ear, when the Wheat and the Rye were not grown up, Exod. ix. 31, 32; fo in Canaan the Barley-Harveft came on firft; then the Wheat-Harveft, and after thefe, the gathering their other Fruits, the Fruits of their Vineyards (m) Ibid. and Olive-yards, &c. (4) Jofh. v. 10. See Book XII. 420.
(n) Jofh. iii. 15. A 4
Obfervation of their fet Festivals would in fewer
By what particular Method the ancient Ifraelites regulated their Year in this manner, may perhaps be difficult to be ascertained: However, I would endeavour to offer, what I think may be gathered from fome Hints in Mofes's Inftitutions relating to this Matter.
Mofes, for the calculating and regulating the facred Feftivals directed the Ifraelites to obferve the Month Abib (rr): This Month was to be unto them the Beginning of Months, it was to he the first Month of the Year (s): On the fourteenth Day of this Month at Even, they were to kill and eat the Paffover (t): The Day after, or the fifteenth, was the firft Day of unleavened. Bread (u), and, which ought to be particularly remarked, the first Day of unleavened Bread was always to fall upon a Sabbath: This I take to be hinted, Levit, xxiii. 11. The Wave-Sheaf was to be waved on the Morrow after a Sabe bath (w); but the Waye-Sheaf was thus offered on the fecond Day of unleavened Bread (x), and confequently if that Day was the Morrow after a Sabbath, then the Day preceding or first Day of unleavened Bread was a Sabbath: If this Point be rightly stated, it will be to be remembred, that the Sabbaths in this first Month will fall thus; the first Day à Sabbath, the
(rr) Deut. xvi. 1. 6-8. Levit. xxiii. 5. The Hebrew Words are, Sabbati, on the Day after the Sabbath. Antiq. lib. 3. ubi fup.
(s) Exodus xii. 2.