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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. and xiii. an account is given
of Jeroboam making an offering of burnt incense, and that a man, who
is there called a man of God, cried out against the altar (xiii. 2): "O
altar, altar! thus saith the Lord: Behold, a child shall be born unto
the house of David, Josiah by name, and upon thee shall he offer the
priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones
shall be burned upon thee." Verse 4: "And it came to pass, when king
Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the
altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay
hold on him; and his hand which he put out against him dried up so that
he could not pull it again to him."

One would think that such an extraordinary case as this, (which is
spoken of as a judgement,) happening to the chief of one of the parties,
and that at the first moment of the separation of the Israelites into
two nations, would, if it,. had been true, have been recorded in both
histories. But though men, in later times, have believed all that the
prophets have said unto them, it does appear that those prophets, or
historians, disbelieved each other: they knew each other too well.

A long account also is given in Kings about Elijah. It runs through
several chapters, and concludes with telling, 2 Kings ii. 11, "And it
came to pass, as they (Elijah and Elisha) still went on, and talked,
that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire,
and parted them both asunder, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into
heaven." Hum! this the author of Chronicles, miraculous as the story is,
makes no mention of, though he mentions Elijah by name; neither does he
say anything of the story related in the second chapter of the same book
of Kings, of a parcel of children calling Elisha bald head; and that
this man of God (ver. 24) "turned back, and looked upon them, and cursed
them in the name of the Lord; and there came forth two she-bears out of
the wood, and tare forty and two children of them." He also passes over
in silence the story told, 2 Kings xiii., that when they were burying a
man in the sepulchre where Elisha had been buried, it happened that the
dead man, as they were letting him down, (ver. 21) "touched the bones
of Elisha, and he (the dead man) revived, and stood up on his feet." The
story does not tell us whether they buried the man, notwithstanding he
revived and stood upon his feet, or drew him up again. Upon all these
stories the writer of the Chronicles is as silent as any writer of the
present day, who did not chose to be accused of lying, or at least of
romancing, would be about stories of the same kind.

But, however these two historians may differ from each other with
respect to the tales related by either, they are silent alike with
respect to those men styled prophets whose writings fill up the latter
part of the Bible. Isaiah, who lived in the time of Hezekiab, is
mentioned in Kings, and again in Chronicles, when these histories are
speaking of that reign; but except in one or two instances at most, and
those very slightly, none of the rest are so much as spoken of, or even
their existence hinted at; though, according to the Bible chronology,
they lived within the time those histories were written; and some of
them long before. If those prophets, as they are called, were men of
such importance in their day, as the compilers of the Bible, and priests
and commentators have since represented them to be, how can it be
accounted for that not one of those histories should say anything about
them?

The history in the books of Kings and of Chronicles is brought forward,
as I have already said, to the year B.C. 588; it will, therefore, be
proper to examine which of these prophets lived before that period.

Here follows a table of all the prophets, with the times in which they
lived before Christ, according to the chronology affixed to the first
chapter of each of the books of the prophets; and also of the number of
years they lived before the books of Kings and Chronicles were written:

TABLE of the Prophets, with the time in which they lived before Christ,
and also before the books of Kings and Chronicles were written:

Years Years before
NAMES. before Kings and Observations.
Christ. Chronicles.

Isaiah............... 760 172 mentioned.


(mentioned only in
Jeremiah............. 629 41 the last [two] chapters
of Chronicles.

Ezekiel.............. 595 7 not mentioned.

Daniel............... 607 19 not mentioned.

Hosea................ 785 97 not mentioned.

Joel................. 800 212 not mentioned.

Amos................. 789 199 not mentioned.

Obadiah.............. 789 199 not mentioned.

Jonah................ 862 274 see the note.

Micah................ 750 162 not mentioned.

Nahum................ 713 125 not mentioned.

Habakkuk............. 620 38 not mentioned.

Zepbaniah............ 630 42 not mentioned.

Haggai Zechariah all three after the year 588 Medachi [NOTE In 2 Kings
xiv. 25, the name of Jonah is mentioned on account of the restoration of
a tract of land by Jeroboam; but nothing further is said of him, nor
is any allusion made to the book of Jonah, nor to his expedition to
Nineveh, nor to his encounter with the whale.--Author.]

This table is either not very honourable for the Bible historians, or
not very honourable for the Bible prophets; and I leave to priests and
commentators, who are very learned in little things, to settle the point
of etiquette between the two; and to assign a reason, why the authors of
Kings and of Chronicles have treated those prophets, whom, in the former
part of the 'Age of Reason,' I have considered as poets, with as much
degrading silence as any historian of the present day would treat Peter
Pindar.

I have one more observation to make on the book of Chronicles; after
which I shall pass on to review the remaining books of the Bible.

In my observations on the book of Genesis, I have quoted a passage from
xxxvi. 31, which evidently refers to a time, after that kings began to
reign over the children of Israel; and I have shown that as this
verse is verbatim the same as in 1 Chronicles i. 43, where it stands
consistently with the order of history, which in Genesis it does not,
that the verse in Genesis, and a great part of the 36th chapter, have
been taken from Chronicles; and that the book of Genesis, though it is
placed first in the Bible, and ascribed to Moses, has been manufactured
by some unknown person, after the book of Chronicles was written, which
was not until at least eight hundred and sixty years after the time of
Moses.

The evidence I proceed by to substantiate this, is regular, and has in
it but two stages. First, as I have already stated, that the passage in
Genesis refers itself for time to Chronicles; secondly, that the book
of Chronicles, to which this passage refers itself, was not begun to be
written until at least eight hundred and sixty years after the time of
Moses. To prove this, we have only to look into 1 Chronicles iii. 15,
where the writer, in giving the genealogy of the descendants of
David, mentions Zedekiah; and it was in the time of Zedekiah that
Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem, B.C. 588, and consequently more than
860 years after Moses. Those who have superstitiously boasted of the
antiquity of the Bible, and particularly of the books ascribed to Moses,
have done it without examination, and without any other authority
than that of one credulous man telling it to another: for, so far as
historical and chronological evidence applies, the very first book in
the Bible is not so ancient as the book of Homer, by more than three
hundred years, and is about the same age with AEsop's Fables.

I am not contending for the morality of Homer; on the contrary, I think
it a book of false glory, and tending to inspire immoral and mischievous
notions of honour; and with respect to AEsop, though the moral is in
general just, the fable is often cruel; and the cruelty of the fable
does more injury to the heart, especially in a child, than the moral
does good to the judgment.

Having now dismissed Kings and Chronicles, I come to the next in course,
the book of Ezra.

As one proof, among others I shall produce to shew the disorder in which
this pretended word of God, the Bible, has been put together, and the
uncertainty of who the authors were, we have only to look at the first
three verses in Ezra, and the last two in 2 Chronicles; for by what kind
of cutting and shuffling has it been that the first three verses in Ezra
should be the last two verses in 2 Chronicles, or that the last two in 2
Chronicles should be the first three in Ezra? Either the authors did not
know their own works or the compilers did not know the authors.

Last Two Verses of 2 Chronicles.

Ver.



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