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R. MANASSEH BEN ISRAEL;
Apparent Contradictions in Holy Scripture,
TO WHICH ARE ADDED
EXPLANATORY NOTES, AND BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES OF THE
PUBLISHED AND SOLD BY THE TRANSLATOR,
4, CASTLE-STREET, HOUNDSDITCH.
TO BE HAD ALSO OF THE PRINTERS.
MANASSEH BEN ISRAEL TO THE READER.
a person should not quit or " אל יפטור אדס מחברו אלא מתוך דברי תורה
A maxim recommended by the ancient Sages, in the Babylonian Talmud, is
“ a depart from his companion without quoting words of the law,” as he, who in his last farewell fixes his thoughts upon God, and has His words in his mouth, may securely promise himself a happy result and successful termination of his journey; for, as the Royal Psalmist says, “ Blessed and happy are they, who, in their journey, walk with the law of the Lord.”
Therefore kind reader, departing from the flourishing Batavia for the far distant Brazils, I judge it to be a duty to take leave of my friends with this theological treatise, the heroic subject of which is the explanation of the divine history.
And, although certain of loss and the little advantage the publication presents, from the many chronological questions, being a work more adapted for the learned than the generality of persons, yet regardless of these difficulties, I have ventured to undertake it for the benefit of the public.
As I would not deviate from the original purpose, which is only to conciliate the passages apparently repugnant, it became necessary to leave unexplained some difficult texts, which I have done, in a separate work. If self-love deceives me not, it seems to me I have rendered a greater service to those of my nation than any one has yet performed, because this work not only contains the best that has been written upon so many select and exalted subjects by ancient and modern authors, but they are arranged and explained, certainly not in a rough form and style, but chastely and intelligibly.
The proof is the general approval and acceptation not of my co-religionists only, but even of other sects, who, by their kind, learned, and familiar epistles extolling the subject, affectionately encouraged me to the completion ; for, as they kindly say of my works, I have always endeavoured to combine the agreeable of Plato with the profitable of Aristotle, which will be more readily perceived in this second part, for the subjects being for the most part sterile, they could not easily be enlarged on, yet without departing from the purpose, I have done all I could, (by amplifying and adorning the Questions in a manner that they may prove agreeable,) to entertain the reader with some pleasure.
It may be that some persons, finding so many difficult questions, may ask, what is the reason God did not speak plainly to man? And what use was there to confuse the mind with amphibological and doubtful words ? To which, R. Simeon ben Jochai, in the Zoar, most learnedly replied that as God did not give bread, which is bodily nutriment, to man ready prepared, kneaded, and baked, but chose that he should work for it, and that it should cost him