Page:Againstprofanede00kebl.djvu/24

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18
AGAINST PROFANE DEALING

of probability: if its correctness be only just possible: that were enough, surely, to deter a religious heart from venturing so much as the advocates of this change do, on the ordinary construction of the verse. It is too slight a thread to sustain so great a weight. The dispensation ought to be as distinct as the prohibition, if it is to be acted on in faith: and in such matters, “whatsoever is not of faith, is sin.”

The correctness of our present translation has been here assumed: nor do I believe that Oriental scholars in general see good reason to doubt it. The variations, as far as I know, which have ever been proposed in the rendering, would make the law rather more strict. The one is that of the Karaites, or opponents of tradition among the ancient Hebrews. They considered the verse, as we may see in the margin of our Bibles, to interdict Polygamy altogether: “Thou shalt not take one wife to another, to vex her…beside the other in her lifetime.”

Upon another construction, the verse might run thus: “And a woman to her sister thou shalt not take, vexatiously…as long as she” (i.e. the woman first mentioned) “liveth:” the phrase in the original being the same which is