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13 called the seer; and it is by this term that Saul enquires after
him, ver. 11, "And as they [Saul and his servant] went up the hill to
the city, they found young maidens going out to draw water; and they
said unto them, Is the seer here?" Saul then went according to the
direction of these maidens, and met Samuel without knowing him, and said
unto him, ver. 18, "Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer's house is? and
Samuel answered Saul, and said, I am the seer."

As the writer of the book of Samuel relates these questions and answers,
in the language or manner of speaking used in the time they are said
to have been spoken, and as that manner of speaking was out of use when
this author wrote, he found it necessary, in order to make the story
understood, to explain the terms in which these questions and
answers are spoken; and he does this in the 9th verse, where he says,
"Before-time in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he
spake, Come let us go to the seer; for he that is now called a prophet,
was before-time called a seer." This proves, as I have before said, that
this story of Saul, Samuel, and the asses, was an ancient story at the
time the book of Samuel was written, and consequently that Samuel did
not write it, and that the book is without authenticity.

But if we go further into those books the evidence is still more
positive that Samuel is not the writer of them; for they relate things
that did not happen till several years after the death of Samuel. Samuel
died before Saul; for i Samuel, xxviii. tells, that Saul and the witch
of Endor conjured Samuel up after he was dead; yet the history of
matters contained in those books is extended through the remaining part
of Saul's life, and to the latter end of the life of David, who succeeded
Saul. The account of the death and burial of Samuel (a thing which he
could not write himself) is related in i Samuel xxv.; and the chronology
affixed to this chapter makes this to be B.C. 1060; yet the history of
this first book is brought down to B.C. 1056, that is, to the death of
Saul, which was not till four years after the death of Samuel.

The second book of Samuel begins with an account of things that did not
happen till four years after Samuel was dead; for it begins with the
reign of David, who succeeded Saul, and it goes on to the end of David's
reign, which was forty-three years after the death of Samuel; and,
therefore, the books are in themselves positive evidence that they were
not written by Samuel.

I have now gone through all the books in the first part of the Bible,
to which the names of persons are affixed, as being the authors of those
books, and which the church, styling itself the Christian church, have
imposed upon the world as the writings of Moses, Joshua and Samuel; and
I have detected and proved the falsehood of this imposition.--And now ye
priests, of every description, who have preached and written against the
former part of the 'Age of Reason,' what have ye to say? Will ye with
all this mass of evidence against you, and staring you in the face,
still have the assurance to march into your pulpits, and continue to
impose these books on your congregations, as the works of inspired
penmen and the word of God? when it is as evident as demonstration can
make truth appear, that the persons who ye say are the authors, are not
the authors, and that ye know not who the authors are. What shadow of
pretence have ye now to produce for continuing the blasphemous fraud?
What have ye still to offer against the pure and moral religion of
deism, in support of your system of falsehood, idolatry, and pretended
revelation? Had the cruel and murdering orders, with which the Bible
is filled, and the numberless torturing executions of men, women, and
children, in consequence of those orders, been ascribed to some friend,
whose memory you revered, you would have glowed with satisfaction at
detecting the falsehood of the charge, and gloried in defending his
injured fame. It is because ye are sunk in the cruelty of superstition,
or feel no interest in the honour of your Creator, that ye listen to the
horrid tales of the Bible, or hear them with callous indifference. The
evidence I have produced, and shall still produce in the course of this
work, to prove that the Bible is without authority, will, whilst it
wounds the stubbornness of a priest, relieve and tranquillize the minds
of millions: it will free them from all those hard thoughts of the
Almighty which priestcraft and the Bible had infused into their minds,
and which stood in everlasting opposition to all their ideas of his
moral justice and benevolence.

I come now to the two books of Kings, and the two books of
Chronicles.--Those books are altogether historical, and are chiefly
confined to the lives and actions of the Jewish kings, who in general
were a parcel of rascals: but these are matters with which we have no
more concern than we have with the Roman emperors, or Homer's account of
the Trojan war. Besides which, as those books are anonymous, and as we
know nothing of the writer, or of his character, it is impossible for
us to know what degree of credit to give to the matters related therein.
Like all other ancient histories, they appear to be a jumble of fable
and of fact, and of probable and of improbable things, but which
distance of time and place, and change of circumstances in the world,
have rendered obsolete and uninteresting.

The chief use I shall make of those books will be that of comparing
them with each other, and with other parts of the Bible, to show the
confusion, contradiction, and cruelty in this pretended word of God.

The first book of Kings begins with the reign of Solomon, which,
according to the Bible chronology, was B.C. 1015; and the second
book ends B.C. 588, being a little after the reign of Zedekiah, whom
Nebuchadnezzar, after taking Jerusalem and conquering the Jews, carried
captive to Babylon. The two books include a space of 427 years.

The two books of Chronicles are an history of the same times, and in
general of the same persons, by another author; for it would be absurd
to suppose that the same author wrote the history twice over. The first
book of Chronicles (after giving the genealogy from Adam to Saul, which
takes up the first nine chapters) begins with the reign of David; and
the last book ends, as in the last book of Kings, soon, after the reign
of Zedekiah, about B.C. 588. The last two verses of the last chapter
bring the history 52 years more forward, that is, to 536. But these
verses do not belong to the book, as I shall show when I come to speak
of the book of Ezra.

The two books of Kings, besides the history of Saul, David, and Solomon,
who reigned over all Israel, contain an abstract of the lives of
seventeen kings, and one queen, who are stiled kings of Judah; and
of nineteen, who are stiled kings of Israel; for the Jewish nation,
immediately on the death of Solomon, split into two parties, who chose
separate kings, and who carried on most rancorous wars against each
other.

These two books are little more than a history of assassinations,
treachery, and wars. The cruelties that the Jews had accustomed
themselves to practise on the Canaanites, whose country they had
savagely invaded, under a pretended gift from God, they afterwards
practised as furiously on each other. Scarcely half their kings died a
natural death, and in some instances whole families were destroyed
to secure possession to the successor, who, after a few years, and
sometimes only a few months, or less, shared the same fate. In 2 Kings
x., an account is given of two baskets full of children's heads, seventy
in number, being exposed at the entrance of the city; they were the
children of Ahab, and were murdered by the orders of Jehu, whom Elisha,
the pretended man of God, had anointed to be king over Israel, on
purpose to commit this bloody deed, and assassinate his predecessor. And
in the account of the reign of Menahem, one of the kings of Israel who
had murdered Shallum, who had reigned but one month, it is said, 2 Kings
xv. 16, that Menahem smote the city of Tiphsah, because they opened
not the city to him, and all the women therein that were with child he
ripped up.

Could we permit ourselves to suppose that the Almighty would distinguish
any nation of people by the name of his chosen people, we must suppose
that people to have been an example to all the rest of the world of
the purest piety and humanity, and not such a nation of ruffians and
cut-throats as the ancient Jews were,--a people who, corrupted by and
copying after such monsters and imposters as Moses and Aaron, Joshua,
Samuel, and David, had distinguished themselves above all others on the
face of the known earth for barbarity and wickedness. If we will not
stubbornly shut our eyes and steel our hearts it is impossible not to
see, in spite of all that long-established superstition imposes upon the
mind, that the flattering appellation of his chosen people is no other
than a LIE which the priests and leaders of the Jews had invented to
cover the baseness of their own characters; and which Christian priests
sometimes as corrupt, and often as cruel, have professed to believe.

The two books of Chronicles are a repetition of the same crimes; but the
history is broken in several places, by the author leaving out the reign
of some of their kings; and in this, as well as in that of Kings, there
is such a frequent transition from kings of Judah to kings of Israel,
and from kings of Israel to kings of Judah, that the narrative
is obscure in the reading. In the same book the history sometimes
contradicts itself: for example, in 2 Kings, i. 17, we are told, but in
rather ambiguous terms, that after the death of Ahaziah, king of Israel,
Jehoram, or Joram, (who was of the house of Ahab), reigned in his stead
in the second Year of Jehoram, or Joram, son of Jehoshaphat, king of
Judah; and in viii. 16, of the same book, it is said, "And in the fifth
year of Joram, the son of Ahab, king of Israel, Jehoshaphat being then
king of Judah, Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat king of judah, began to
reign." That is, one chapter says Joram of Judah began to reign in the
second year of Joram of Israel; and the other chapter says, that Joram
of Israel began to reign in the fifth year of Joram of Judah.

Several of the most extraordinary matters related in one history, as
having happened during the reign of such or such of their kings, are not
to be found in the other, in relating the reign of the same king: for
example, the two first rival kings, after the death of Solomon, were
Rehoboam and Jeroboam; and in i Kings xii.



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