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look forward, in the proportion of their humble order, with apostolic hopes and feelings, is the sincere desire and the hearty prayer of,
ALDINGHAM ; January 20th, 1824.
The vision of Zechariah is an entirely separate and independent portion of his book, with the posterior part of which it has even less connexion, than with some other prophetic parts of scripture. He has not only recorded its particular date, but he bas dated also the two revelations, which immediately precede and follow it; and since he has neglected that note of time in his subsequent predictions, we may in all reason presume, that he intended to discriminate this part of his prophecy by a peculiar mark, if not of eminence, at least of distinction, from the rest. Zechariah's vision was, like that of St. John, the revelation of a single night; and therein the deep designs of the divine providence, in ordering the events of futurity, were communicated to the prophet by a mode of spiritual influence quite different from any, under which the succeeding oracles were given, and by the medium of symbolical representations, which were in no other instance made the vehicles of revelation to him. In the opinion of some critics the distinction bas descended even to his style; so that I consider myself fully justified in treating this vision, as an independent prophecy, not less distinct from the remainder of Zechariah's volume, than from the predictions delivered by any other prophet.
The narrative is contained in a small compass, occupying no more than seventy seven verses, which extend from the eighth verse of the first chapter to the end of the sixth. But though a short, it is an highly interesting portion of boly writ, evidently including much, that meets not the simple apprehension, and more, than has yet been unfolded to studious observation. I do not doubt therefore, that a commentary upon
it will be acceptable to those, who are disposed to search the prophetic parts of the sacred writings.
But few and imperfect attempts have been hitherto made towards the elucidation of this vision in our native language. The work of Archbishop Newcome on the minor prophets in general, and that of Dr. Blaney, though limited to the prophecy of Zechariah in particular, are rather critical than explanatory; and, as I think, fall far short of conveying to the mind of the reader that satisfaction, which can be afforded only by a comprehensive view of the whole propbetic drama, as it is collected from a distinct apprehension of its several scenes, representing the events of futurity in connected succession. To the translation and annotations
however of those two learned persons I have felt myself bound to pay diligent attention, but especially to those of the latter, because be professedly follows in the track of the Archbishop, intending only to supply deficiencies, to correct errors and to defend some variations from the authorized version, to which strong objections had been made. His eminent character also, as an Hebrew critic, and more especially the circumstance of his having singled out the prophecy of Zechariah, from the circle of the minor propbets, for the subject of a separate publication, to which he had of course devoted a more than common portion of his thoughts and labour, have bound me to the application of serious and repeated consideration, before I could venture to record my dissent from him, and have also induced me to state the reasons for my dissent, at least in all such in. stances, as are, of any importance. Unfortunately the points of difference have turned out to be more numerous, and the differences wider, tban:could bave been wished: but I trust it will be found in every such instance, that I have not failed of the respect due to the abilities and attainments of the learned professor, especially from one, who is conscious of having no pretensions to compare with him in a critical knowledge of the Hebrew tongue, and of being indebted for much of what he bas, to the advantage of having in early life attend ed his lectures,
The renderings of Dr. Blaney, which I have controverted, (for except where the translation is concerned, I have rarely, if ever, found it necessary to enter into any length of discussion,) are, for the most part, those, in which he also has departed from our authorized English version; and many of those deviations are the result of correspondent various readings, which he has received into the Hebrew text. Of these some rest on very slight authority, and none, as it appears to me, on grounds sufficient to support them. So far therefore from thinking it allowable to follow him therein, I have felt myself bound by duty to oppose those innovations. Except in a single instance*, in which also our translators have gone before me, I have strictly adhered to the printed copy of Van der Hooght. For although I am far from maintaining the absolute integrity of the Hebrew text, a point long since abandoned by all, and am convinced, that it is capable of receiving considerable improvement from the means now in our hands, yet am I
* Cap. iv. 2, where the weight of authority prodigiously
,ויאמר instead of ואמר preponderates in favour of