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31, it is said "And Israel served the Lord all the days
of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that over-lived Joshua." Now,
in the name of common sense, can it be Joshua that relates what people
had done after he was dead? This account must not only have been written
by some historian that lived after Joshua, but that lived also after the
elders that out-lived Joshua.

There are several passages of a general meaning with respect to time,
scattered throughout the book of Joshua, that carries the time in which
the book was written to a distance from the time of Joshua, but without
marking by exclusion any particular time, as in the passage above
quoted. In that passage, the time that intervened between the death
of Joshua and the death of the elders is excluded descriptively and
absolutely, and the evidence substantiates that the book could not have
been written till after the death of the last.

But though the passages to which I allude, and which I am going to
quote, do not designate any particular time by exclusion, they imply a
time far more distant from the days of Joshua than is contained between
the death of Joshua and the death of the elders. Such is the passage, x.
14, where, after giving an account that the sun stood still upon Gibeon,
and the moon in the valley of Ajalon, at the command of Joshua, (a tale
only fit to amuse children) [NOTE: This tale of the sun standing still
upon Motint Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon, is one of
those fables that detects itself. Such a circumstance could not have
happened without being known all over the world. One half would have
wondered why the sun did not rise, and the other why it did not set; and
the tradition of it would be universal; whereas there is not a nation
in the world that knows anything about it. But why must the moon stand
still? What occasion could there be for moonlight in the daytime, and
that too whilst the sun shined? As a poetical figure, the whole is well
enough; it is akin to that in the song of Deborah and Barak, The stars
in their courses fought against Sisera; but it is inferior to the
figurative declaration of Mahomet to the persons who came to expostulate
with him on his goings on, Wert thou, said he, to come to me with the
sun in thy right hand and the moon in thy left, it should not alter my
career. For Joshua to have exceeded Mahomet, he should have put the sun
and moon, one in each pocket, and carried them as Guy Faux carried his
dark lanthorn, and taken them out to shine as he might happen to want
them. The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related that it
is difficult to class them separately. One step above the sublime makes
the ridiculous, and one step above the ridiculous makes the sublime
again; the account, however, abstracted from the poetical fancy, shews
the ignorance of Joshua, for he should have commanded the earth to have
stood still.--Author.] the passage says: "And there was no day like
that, before it, nor after it, that the Lord hearkened to the voice of a
man."

The time implied by the expression after it, that is, after that day,
being put in comparison with all the time that passed before it, must,
in order to give any expressive signification to the passage, mean a
great length of time:--for example, it would have been ridiculous to
have said so the next day, or the next week, or the next month, or the
next year; to give therefore meaning to the passage, comparative with
the wonder it relates, and the prior time it alludes to, it must mean
centuries of years; less however than one would be trifling, and less
than two would be barely admissible.

A distant, but general time is also expressed in chapter viii.; where,
after giving an account of the taking the city of Ai, it is said, ver.
28th, "And Joshua burned Ai, and made it an heap for ever, a desolation
unto this day;" and again, ver. 29, where speaking of the king of Ai,
whom Joshua had hanged, and buried at the entering of the gate, it is
said, "And he raised thereon a great heap of stones, which remaineth
unto this day," that is, unto the day or time in which the writer of the
book of Joshua lived. And again, in chapter x. where, after speaking of
the five kings whom Joshua had hanged on five trees, and then thrown in
a cave, it is said, "And he laid great stones on the cave's mouth, which
remain unto this very day."

In enumerating the several exploits of Joshua, and of the tribes, and
of the places which they conquered or attempted, it is said, xv. 63, "As
for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah
could not drive them out; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of
Judah AT JERUSALEM unto this day." The question upon this passage is, At
what time did the Jebusites and the children of Judah dwell together at
Jerusalem? As this matter occurs again in judges i. I shall reserve my
observations till I come to that part.

Having thus shewn from the book of Joshua itself, without any auxiliary
evidence whatever, that Joshua is not the author of that book, and
that it is anonymous, and consequently without authority, I proceed, as
before-mentioned, to the book of Judges.

The book of Judges is anonymous on the face of it; and, therefore, even
the pretence is wanting to call it the word of God; it has not so much
as a nominal voucher; it is altogether fatherless.

This book begins with the same expression as the book of Joshua. That of
Joshua begins, chap i. 1, Now after the death of Moses, etc., and this
of the Judges begins, Now after the death of Joshua, etc. This, and the
similarity of stile between the two books, indicate that they are the
work of the same author; but who he was, is altogether unknown; the only
point that the book proves is that the author lived long after the time
of Joshua; for though it begins as if it followed immediately after his
death, the second chapter is an epitome or abstract of the whole book,
which, according to the Bible chronology, extends its history through a
space of 306 years; that is, from the death of Joshua, B.C. 1426 to the
death of Samson, B.C. 1120, and only 25 years before Saul went to seek
his father's asses, and was made king. But there is good reason to
believe, that it was not written till the time of David, at least, and
that the book of Joshua was not written before the same time.

In Judges i., the writer, after announcing the death of Joshua, proceeds
to tell what happened between the children of Judah and the native
inhabitants of the land of Canaan. In this statement the writer, having
abruptly mentioned Jerusalem in the 7th verse, says immediately after,
in the 8th verse, by way of explanation, "Now the children of Judah had
fought against Jerusalem, and taken it;" consequently this book could
not have been written before Jerusalem had been taken. The reader will
recollect the quotation I have just before made from Joshua xv. 63,
where it said that the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at
Jerusalem at this day; meaning the time when the book of Joshua was
written.

The evidence I have already produced to prove that the books I have
hitherto treated of were not written by the persons to whom they are
ascribed, nor till many years after their death, if such persons ever
lived, is already so abundant, that I can afford to admit this passage
with less weight than I am entitled to draw from it. For the case is,
that so far as the Bible can be credited as an history, the city of
Jerusalem was not taken till the time of David; and consequently, that
the book of Joshua, and of Judges, were not written till after the
commencement of the reign of David, which was 370 years after the death
of Joshua.

The name of the city that was afterward called Jerusalem was originally
Jebus, or Jebusi, and was the capital of the Jebusites. The account of
David's taking this city is given in 2 Samuel, v. 4, etc.; also in 1
Chron. xiv. 4, etc. There is no mention in any part of the Bible that it
was ever taken before, nor any account that favours such an opinion.
It is not said, either in Samuel or in Chronicles, that they "utterly
destroyed men, women and children, that they left not a soul to
breathe," as is said of their other conquests; and the silence here
observed implies that it was taken by capitulation; and that the
Jebusites, the native inhabitants, continued to live in the place
after it was taken. The account therefore, given in Joshua, that "the
Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah" at Jerusalem at this day,
corresponds to no other time than after taking the city by David.

Having now shown that every book in the Bible, from Genesis to Judges,
is without authenticity, I come to the book of Ruth, an idle, bungling
story, foolishly told, nobody knows by whom, about a strolling
country-girl creeping slily to bed to her cousin Boaz. [The text of
Ruth does not imply the unpleasant sense Paine's words are likely to
convey.--Editor.] Pretty stuff indeed to be called the word of God. It
is, however, one of the best books in the Bible, for it is free from
murder and rapine.

I come next to the two books of Samuel, and to shew that those books
were not written by Samuel, nor till a great length of time after
the death of Samuel; and that they are, like all the former books,
anonymous, and without authority.

To be convinced that these books have been written much later than the
time of Samuel, and consequently not by him, it is only necessary
to read the account which the writer gives of Saul going to seek his
father's asses, and of his interview with Samuel, of whom Saul went
to enquire about those lost asses, as foolish people now-a-days go to a
conjuror to enquire after lost things.

The writer, in relating this story of Saul, Samuel, and the asses, does
not tell it as a thing that had just then happened, but as an ancient
story in the time this writer lived; for he tells it in the language or
terms used at the time that Samuel lived, which obliges the writer to
explain the story in the terms or language used in the time the writer
lived.

Samuel, in the account given of him in the first of those books, chap.
ix.



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