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the children of Israel before his death." This should be read in connexion with the blessing of Jacob, which it very much resembles. What it says of Joseph is full of sweetness, and its closing verses are a sublime strain of religious and patriotic ferv our, worthy indeed to be recorded as the last words of the man of God, who had led his chosen people, till they could view afar off the promised land, who was himself to “see it with his eyes,” from the suinmit of Pisgah, and then to be gathered to the dead in silence, and solitude, and awful secresy, by the hand of the Almighty.
These are all the poetry in the historical books of Moses; the next poetical piece in order is the sublime song of Deborah contained in the fifth chapter of Judges. Next is the prayer, (as it is called in the translation) of Hannah, I Sam. ii. 1-10, which may be compared with the song of Mary, Luke i. 46-55. Then we find the pathetic lamentation of David over Saul and Jonathan; JI. Sam. i. 19-27. Then David's song of gratitude to God, “ for deliverance from the hand of all his enemies and of Saul," II Sam. xxii. This contains what is perhaps the sublimest description in all Hebrew poetry, not excepting even the compositions of Isaiah. It also exhibits in a very beautiful manner the placid spirit of David, and the confidence of his trust in God his deliverer. This song forms with some sliyht alterations, the 18th Psalın, and should be examined along with it. In the next chapter, (xxiii.) verses 2–7, we have “the last words of David,—the son of Jesse, the man raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel;"-a beautiful morsel, full of his own sweet, rural, confiding manner. In I Chron. xvi. 8-36, we find a sublime song of thanksgiving, composed by David on occasion of bringing up the ark from the house of Obed-edom to the city of Jerusalem, part of which constitutes the 96th Psalm, which will be found translated on page 461. .
These we believe, are all the poetical remains contained in the historical portions of the Hebrew Scriptures. They are full of beauty, and the study of them, standing as they do, in the midst of plain prose, will give the pupil a more forcible idea of the nature and peculiarities of Hebrew poetry, even than the perusal of the exclusively poetical books. Having brought the enumeration down to the last production of David, we shall close with the following fine extract from Campbell, on the influence and character of his genius.
“The gifted influence of David evidently created a new era in the productions of the Hebrew muse. It is impossible to conceive his example and genius as a poet, combined with the splendid circumstances of his reign, having failed to communicate an enthusiastic impulse to the imaginations of his people. He extended their empire, he subdued their enemies, and founded their capital, Jerusalem, in Zion, which he had won from the Jebusites; and having brought the ark of the cove
nant to the consecrated city, he invested the national worship with a pomp of attendance, and a plenitude of vocal and instrumental music, calculated to give an inspiring effect to its solemnities. He himself relieved the cares attending a diadem, with the harp, which had been the solace of his adversities and the companion of his shepherd days; and leading his people in devotion as he had led them in battle, he employed his genius in the composition of beautiful strains for the accompaniment of their sacred riteg. He must have thus diffused a taste for music and poetry, much beyond what the nation had hitherto possessed.
His traits of inspiration are lovely and touching, rather than daring and astonishing. His voice, as a worshipper, has a penetrating accent of human sensibility, varying from plaintive melancholy to luxuriant gladness, and even rising to ecstatic rapture. In grief, “his heart is melted like war; and deep answers to deep, whilst the waters of affliction pass over him.” Or his soul is led to the green pastures by the quiet waters. Or his religious confidence pours forth the metaphors of a warrior in rich and exulting succession. “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer-my God, any strength, in whom I will trust-my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” Some of the sacred writers may excite the imagination more powerfully than David, but none of them appeal more interestingly to the heart. Nor is it in tragic so much as in joyous expression that I conceive the power of his genius to consisi. Its most inspired aspect appears to present itself, when he looks abroad on the universe with the eye of a poet, and with the breast of a glad and grateful worshipper. When he looks up to the starry firmament, his soul assimilates to the splendour and serenity which he contemplates. This lofty but bland spirit of devotion peculiarly reigns in the 8th and in the 19th Psalms. But above all, it expands itself in the 104th into a minute and richly diversified picture of the creation. Verse after verse in that Psalm, leads on the mind through the various objects of nature as through a mighty landscape, and the atmosphere of the scene is coloured, not with a dim or mystic, but with a clear and warm light of religious feeling. He spreads his sympathies over the face of the world, and rejoices in the power and goodness of its protecting Deity. The impression of that exquisite ode dilates the heart with a pleasure too instinctive and simple to be described.”
PART OF THE PROPHECY OF BALAAM.
NUMBERS, xxiii, xxiv.
How shall I curse whom God hath not cursed?
I shall see him, but not now:
FROM THE SONG OF MOSES TO THE CONGREGATION OF
The portion of Jehovah is his people;
Spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them,
CLOSE OF THE BLESSING PRONOUNCED BY MOSES ON THE
CHILDREN OF ISRAEL.
Therefore shall Israel dwell securely ;
Happy art thou, O Israel!
DAVID's LAMENTATION FOR SAUL AND JONATHAN.*
II. SAMUEL. i. 19-29.
Oh mountains of Gilboa ! let there be no dew,
* All those extracts from the Sacred Poets, to which the name of the translator is not prefixed, are translated by the Editor. The English translators of the Bible performed their task with beautiful simplicity, and much faithfulness ;-and though the critical translator requires the most unwearied patience in long, minute, and repeated investigation, yet, with the Editor of the present volume, whose object is simply to present an unstudied picture of the beauty of the original, it is often times. sufficient for the accomplishment of his purpose, to divide the common version (almost unaltered except in the correction of evident mistakes) into the parallelistic lines of the Hebrew.
For there the shield of the mighty was thrown away;
From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty,
Saul and Jonathan !
o daughters of Israel! weep over Saul !
How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!
Jonathan, slain in thine high places !
How' are the mighty fallen!
THE TRIUMPHAL SONG OF MOSES AFTER THE PASSAGE OF
THE RED SEA.
Jehovah is a man of war: Jehovah is his name.
sea; And his choicest leaders are thrown in the Red Sea. The floods have covered them: they went down; Into the abyss (they went down] as a stone. Thy right hand, o Jehovah, hath made itself glorious in
power: Thy right hand, O Jehovah, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the strength of thy majesty thou hast destroyed thine
adversaries. Thou didst let loose thy wrath: it consumed them like
stubble. With the blast of thy nostrils the waters were heaped together : The rowing waters * stood upright as an heap: The floods were congealed in the heart of the sea.
* In the original,—“The flowing stood upright" &c. the participle of the verb to flow being the poetical form for waters.