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Title: The Literature of the Old Testament
Author: Moore, Geroge Foot
Language: English
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M.A., D.D., LL.D.

Professor in Harvard University; Editor of the
Harvard Theological Review; Author
of "Commentary on Judges," etc.


The following volumes of kindred interest have already been published
in the Home University Library:--

     BACON, LL.D., D.D.Vol.

     CARPENTER, D.Litt.



     VOL. 54.--ETHICS. By G. E. MOORE, M.A.


  CHAPTER                                                  PAGE

  I THE CANON OF THE OLD TESTAMENT                            7

  LITERATURE                                                 25

  III THE PENTATEUCH                                         29

  IV CHARACTER OF THE SOURCES. GENESIS                       33

  V EXODUS, LEVITICUS, NUMBERS                               47

  VI DEUTERONOMY                                             58

  PENTATEUCH                                                 65

  VIII JOSHUA                                                73

  IX JUDGES                                                  81

  X SAMUEL                                                   91

  XI KINGS                                                  100

  XII CHRONICLES                                            118

  XIII EZRA AND NEHEMIAH                                    128

  XIV STORY BOOKS: ESTHER, RUTH, JONAH                      134

  XV THE PROPHETS                                           144

  XVI ISAIAH                                                147

  XVII JEREMIAH                                             164

  XVIII EZEKIEL                                             174

  XIX DANIEL                                                180

  XX MINOR PROPHETS                                         190

  XXI PSALMS. LAMENTATIONS                                  218

  XXII PROVERBS                                             231

  XXIII JOB                                                 235

  XXIV ECCLESIASTES. SONG OF SONGS                          243

  BIBLIOGRAPHY                                              251

  INDEX                                                     253






The early Christians received the Sacred Books of the Jews as inspired
Scripture containing a divine revelation and clothed with divine
authority, and till well on in the first century of the Christian era
the name Scriptures was applied exclusively to these books. In time,
as they came to attach the same authority to the Epistles and Gospels,
and to call them, too, Scriptures (2 Pet. iii. 16), they distinguished
the Christian writings as the Scriptures of the new dispensation, or,
as they called it, the "new covenant," from the Scriptures of the "old
covenant" (2 Cor. iii. 6, 14), the Bible of the Jews. The Greek word
for covenant (_diathéké_) was rendered in the early Latin translation
by _testamentum_, and the two bodies of Scripture themselves were
called the Old Testament and the New Testament respectively.

The Scriptures of the Jews were written in Hebrew, the older language
of the people; but a few chapters in Ezra and Daniel are in Aramaic,
which gradually replaced Hebrew as the vernacular of Palestine from
the fifth century B.C. The Sacred Books comprise the Law, that is, the
Five Books of Moses; the Prophets, under which name are included the
older historical books (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings) as well as what
we call the Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve, i.e.
Minor Prophets); a third group, of less homogeneous character, had no
more distinctive name than the "Scriptures"; it included Ruth, Psalms,
Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Lamentations, Daniel,
Esther, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Chronicles. The Minor Prophets counted as
one book; and the division of Samuel, Kings, Ezra-Nehemiah, and
Chronicles each into two books was made later, and perhaps only in
Christian copies of the Bible. There are, consequently, according to
the Jewish enumeration twenty-four books in the Bible, while in the
English Old Testament, by subdivision, we count the same books as

The order of the books in the Pentateuch and "Former Prophets"
(Joshua-Kings) is fixed by the historical sequence, and therefore
constant; among the "Latter Prophets" Jeremiah was sometimes put
first, immediately following the end of Kings, with which it was so
closely connected. In the third group there was no such obvious
principle of arrangement, and consequently there were different
opinions about the proper order; that which is given above follows the
oldest deliverance on the subject, and puts them in what the rabbis
doubtless supposed to be a chronological series. So long as the books
were written on separate rolls of papyrus, the question of order was
theoretical rather than practical; and even when manuscripts were
written in codex form (on folded leaves stitched together like our
books), no uniformity was attained.

At the beginning of the Christian era, lessons from the Law were
regularly read in the synagogues on the sabbath (the Pentateuch being
so divided that it was read through consecutively once in three
years), and a second lesson was chosen from the Prophets. The title of
these books to be regarded as Sacred Scripture was thus established by
long-standing liturgical use, and was, indeed, beyond question. Nor
was there any question about the inspiration of most of the books in
the third group, the "Scriptures." There was a controversy, however,
over Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs; some teachers of the
strictest school denied that either of them was inspired, while others
accepted only one of them. The question was voted on in a council of
rabbis held at Jamnia about the beginning of the second century of our
era, and the majority decided for the inspiration of both books. There
were also, even down to the third century, Jewish scholars who did
not acknowledge Esther as Sacred Scripture. On the other hand, some
were inclined to include among the Sacred Books the Proverbs of Ben
Sira, which stand in the English Bible among the Apocrypha under the
title Ecclesiasticus.

It is thus evident that, while there was agreement in general, there
was, down to the second century A.D., no authoritative list of the
"Scriptures," and that about some of the books there were conflicting
opinions among the learned of the most orthodox stamp. An interesting
confirmation of this is the fact that in the first half of that
century it was thought necessary to make a formal deliverance that the
"Gospel and other writings of the heretics" are not Sacred Scripture.
There are other indications that in that generation Jewish
Christianity had a dangerous attraction for some even in rabbinical
circles, and there was evidently ground for apprehension that the
inspiration which the Christians claimed for the Scriptures of the New
Covenant might impose upon well-meaning but uninstructed Jews. In the
same connection it was decided, further, that Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus)
was not Holy Scripture, and that no books written from his time on (about
200 B.C.) were inspired, in accordance with the theory, found also in
Josephus, that inspiration ceased in the age of Ezra and Nehemiah.

By such decisions, recognizing the inspiration of books that had been
challenged and excluding others for which inspiration had been
claimed, the canon of the Scriptures, that is, the authoritative list
of Sacred Books, was defined. The oldest catalogue we have, containing
the titles of all the books, dates probably from the latter part of
the second century, and is not concerned with the point of
canonicity--which it takes for granted--but with the proper order of
the Prophets and the Scriptures.

The Jews had for centuries been widely distributed through the lands
that had been included in the kingdoms of Alexander's successors.
There were large numbers in Babylonia and the neighbouring provinces
of the Parthian empire, and still more in the countries around the
eastern end of the Mediterranean, in Syria and Asia Minor, in Egypt
and Cyrene. In Alexandria the Jews had a whole quarter of the city to
themselves, and Philo estimates their numbers in Egypt in his time
(ca. A.D. 40) at a million.

In cities like Alexandria, where Greek was the common speech of a
population recruited from many races, the Jews soon exchanged their
mother tongue for the cosmopolitan language. The ancient Hebrew of
their Sacred Books was unintelligible, not only to the masses, but
even to most of the educated, who had learned in the schools of Greek
rhetoricians and philosophers rather than at the feet of the rabbis.
If the knowledge of the holy Law by which the distinctive Jewish life
was regulated was not to be lost altogether, the Scriptures must be
translated into Greek. The Pentateuch was doubtless translated
first--legend attributes the initiative to King Ptolemy Philadelphus
(285-246 B.C.); then other books, by different hands and at different
times and places. To some of the books, as to Daniel and Esther,
additions were made in the translation which were not accepted by the
Palestinian Jews.

Besides the books which were finally included in the Jewish canon,
there were various others, written in Hebrew or Aramaic after the
pattern of the several forms of Biblical literature. History, for
example, is represented by 1 Maccabees, relating the struggle of the
Jews in Palestine for religious liberty and national independence in
the second century B.C.; the Proverbs of Solomon have a counterpart in
the Proverbs of Ben Sira, already mentioned; the Psalter, in the
so-called Psalms of Solomon; the story of Judith may be compared with
Esther; the visions of Daniel have their parallel in popular
apocalypses bearing the names of Enoch, Noah, Ezra, Baruch, and other
ancient worthies. These writings were sooner or later translated into
Greek, and some of them attained a wide circulation. The
Greek-speaking Jews, also, produced a religious literature, in part
imitating the familiar Biblical forms, as in the Wisdom of Solomon
and 2 Maccabees, in part cast in Greek moulds, as when prophecy
disguised itself in Sibylline Oracles, or the supremacy of reason over
the emotions was made the subject of a discourse after the pattern of
a Stoic diatribe (4 Maccabees).

The influence of Greek culture on many of these writers was not
confined to language and literary form; they lived in an atmosphere of
Greek thought--the popular philosophy, in which Platonic and Stoic
elements were fused or confused--and a few had a more academic
acquaintance with the Greek thinkers. But, under all this, they were
Jews to the core, devoted to the religion of their fathers, of the
superiority of which they were the more convinced by the spectacle of
heathenism about them: Judaism was the only true religion, its
Scriptures the one divine revelation. The Law and the Prophets had the
same precedence as in the Palestinian synagogue. Of the other
Scriptures there was no authoritative and exclusive list, and among
books read solely for private edification it is not likely that a very
sharp line was drawn; but, on the whole, the practice of the
Greek-speaking Jews does not seem to have been materially different
from that of their countrymen in Palestine.

Outside of Palestine, Christianity was spread by Greek-speaking Jews
who had embraced the new Messianic faith, and their converts in the
fields of their missionary labours, both Jews and Gentiles, spoke
Greek, either as their mother tongue or as the language of common
intercourse. The church, therefore, took over the Jewish Scriptures in
the existing translations: the Christian Old Testament was from the
beginning the Greek Bible, not the Hebrew. They received also from the
Greek-speaking Jews the belief in the divine inspiration of the
translators, by virtue of which the same infallible authority attached
to the version of the Seventy which belonged to the Hebrew original.
In their desire to possess every word of God, they gathered up the
religious books which they found in the hands of the Jews, without
inquiring curiously whether the Jews included them in the narrower
category of Sacred Scriptures or not; and they discovered no reason in
the books themselves why Esther, for example, should be inspired and
Judith not; or why Ecclesiastes, with its scepticism about the destiny
of the soul, should be divinely revealed, and the Wisdom of Solomon,
with its eloquent defence of immortality, a purely human production;
or, again, why the Proverbs of Solomon were Scripture, and the
Proverbs of Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus) nothing but profane wisdom.

Controversies in the second century made the Christian apologists
aware that the Jews did not acknowledge the authority of some of the
books from which their opponents adduced proof-texts, and this
practical concern, rather than purely learned interest, led to the
drawing up of lists of books which were accepted by the Jews as Sacred
Scripture. The oldest of these lists which has come down to us was
made by Melito, Bishop of Sardes, about A.D. 170; it contains the
books of the Jewish canon enumerated above (p. 8), with the noteworthy
exception of Esther, about which, as we have seen, Jewish opinion was
divided. Christian catalogues of the Jewish Old Testament long show an
uncertainty about the right of this book to a place in the canon.

Meanwhile the church had, in its worship and in religious instruction,
established a use and tradition of its own. The Wisdom of Jesus, son
of Sirach, was appropriated for the moral instruction of youth and of
converts, as is shown by the title it bears in the Greek Bible,
Ecclesiasticus, that is, "The Church Book," and other writings not
included in the Jewish canon were highly esteemed in the church. About
A.D. 240, Julius Africanus, Bishop of Emmaus in Palestine, addressed a
critical letter to Origen on the story of Susanna and the Elders in
the Book of Daniel. This story, he said, was not found in the Hebrew
Daniel, and was not acknowledged by the Jews. He proved by internal
evidence that it was not translated from the Hebrew, the language in
which the Scriptures of the Old Testament were inspired, but
originally composed in Greek, and he raised various historical
objections to the tale: it ought not, therefore, to be quoted as
Sacred Scripture. In his answer, Origen, the greatest Biblical scholar
of his age, argued that if the story of Susanna was to be set aside on
the ground that it was not accepted by the Jews, other books, such as
Judith and Tobit, would have to be rejected also. He appeals to the
prescriptive usage of the church itself, which had always used these
books and read them with edification. This immemorial tradition was
authority enough for Christians; there was no reason why the church
should prune its Bible to please the Jews or adapt itself to their
opinions about what was and what was not inspired Scripture; he
reminds his correspondent of the law, "Thou shalt not remove the
ancient landmarks which those before thee have set."

This way of looking at the matter, as might be expected, prevailed in
the church. Lists of the books of the Jewish Bible were handed down,
and scholars were well aware that the Christian Old Testament
contained several books not received by the Jews. By the more critical
of the Greek Fathers these books are not cited with the same authority
for the establishment of doctrine as the books of the Hebrew Bible.
Thus, Athanasius, at the end of a list of the canonical Scriptures of
the Old and New Testaments (A.D. 365), adds: "There are, besides
these, other books, not, indeed, included in the canon, but
prescribed by the Fathers to be read by those who come to the church
and wish to be taught the doctrine of religion, namely, the Wisdom of
Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit, and the
Teaching of the Twelve Apostles." But this learned reserve had no
effect on the liturgical or practical use of the church. The question
of the inspiration and authority of the supernumerary books of the Old
Testament was not decided by any council speaking in the name of the
catholic church; nor was it ever thus determined exactly what these
supernumerary books were, though several local synods made lists of

The Latin Church received its Bible from the Greeks, and the Latin
translations of the Old Testament made from the Greek included, as a
matter of course, the books which the church accepted and the
synagogue rejected. About the beginning of the fifth century, Jerome
undertook a new Latin translation direct from the Hebrew. He lived for
many years at Bethlehem, and had learned Hebrew from Jewish teachers,
whose assistance he employed also in the work of translation. In some
of the prefaces to this translation (which was published in parts),
and in other places in his writings, Jerome gives a catalogue of the
books of the Hebrew Bible, corresponding to the contents of our
English Old Testament, and expressly excludes all others from the
class of canonical Scriptures: "Whatever is not included in this list
is to be classed as apocrypha. Therefore Wisdom (commonly entitled 'of
Solomon'), and the Book of Jesus son of Sirach, and Judith and Tobit
... are not in the canon." The word "apocrypha," literally "secret, or
esoteric, writings," had been used generally for the books of
heretical sects, or suspected of being such, and, more broadly, of
writings which the church repudiated as not only uninspired but
harmful, the reading of which it often forbade. It was, therefore, a
very radical word that Jerome uttered when he applied this name to
books which the church had always regarded as godly and edifying.

Jerome himself did not consistently maintain the position which would
make the Jewish Bible the canon of the Christian church. At the
request of certain bishops he translated Judith and Tobit, noting in
the prefaces that the Jews exclude these books from the canon and put
them among the apocrypha, but significantly adding in the one case
that he thinks it better to oppose the judgment of the Pharisees and
obey the commands of the bishops, in the other pleading not only the
demand of a bishop but the fact that the Nicene Council had included
Judith among the Sacred Books.[1] In another preface he describes
Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom of Solomon as books which the church
reads "for the edification of the people, not for proving the
doctrines of the church"--a definition which accords with the attitude
of many of the Greek Fathers. Jerome thus halts between two opinions:
in relegating to the apocrypha everything that is not in the Hebrew
Bible he speaks as a critic; in recognizing the books found in the
Christian Old Testament, but not in the Hebrew, as useful and
edifying, though of inferior authority for doctrinal purposes, he,
like Origen, takes the ground of the practical churchman. The
mediating position is more clearly defined by Rufinus, who, after
giving a catalogue of the books of the Hebrew Bible, adds: "There are
other books, which older authors called not 'canonical' but
'ecclesiastical,' such as the Wisdom of Solomon, and the so-called
Wisdom of the Son of Sirach, named by the Latins Ecclesiasticus; to
the same class belong Tobit, Judith and the Books of the Maccabees."

  [1] The Nicene Council made no formal deliverance on the subject of
  the canon, and upon what Jerome's appeal to its authority rests is

The great influence of Augustine was thrown wholly on the side of
ecclesiastical tradition; he even remonstrated with Jerome for
translating the Old Testament from the Hebrew and thus disturbing the
minds of the faithful, instead of revising the Old Latin version after
the Greek. In his treatise on Christian Doctrine (ii. 8; written in
A.D. 397) he includes among the canonical books of the Old Testament,
Judith, Tobit, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Ecclesiasticus, and the Wisdom of
Solomon; African provincial synods at Hippo (A.D. 393) and Carthage
(A.D. 397) pronounced themselves in the same sense.

The Syriac-speaking churches, whose Old Testament was translated from
the Hebrew, originally recognized those books only which were found in
the Jewish Bible; it appears, indeed, that the earliest Syriac version
did not extend to Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, but did include
Sirach. Under the influence of the Greek Church, those branches of the
Syrian Church which remained in communion with it gradually added to
their Bible translations of the other books from the Greek; but the
Nestorians, in whose schools Biblical criticism moved more freely than
in the Catholic Church, continued to reject them, or to accord them,
together with several of the books commonly reckoned canonical
(Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Job,
Ecclesiasticus, Wisdom), only qualified authority.

Throughout the Middle Ages learned authors repeated the conflicting
utterances of the Fathers concerning the canon, without being
disturbed by their inconsistency; in practice, the Old Testament
comprised all the books that were usually found in copies of the Greek
or Latin Bible, without regard to the fine distinctions of "canonical"
and "ecclesiastical." The immemorial usage of the church had more
weight than the opinions of scholars. With this concurred the fact
that from the fourth century on the Bible was copied in collective
codices, on folded sheets of parchment or vellum like our books, not
in separate rolls, and thus the canon of the Old Testament became, not
a mere list of Sacred Books, but a physical unity, in which the books
of the Jewish Bible were intermingled with those which the Jews did
not accept.

The question assumed a new significance at the Reformation. In
rejecting the authority of ecclesiastical tradition and the
prescriptive usage of the church and making the Scriptures the only
rule of faith and practice, the Reformers were under the necessity of
deciding what books were inspired Scripture, containing the Word of
God revealed to men, clothed with divine authority, demanding
unqualified faith, and a means of grace to believers. Obviously they
could not logically acknowledge books whose place in the Bible had no
other warrant than that the church had accepted them from very early
times; nothing short of the authority of the New Testament itself
would suffice, and they found in the New Testament no quotations from
these books. To the Jews, St. Paul said, were committed the oracles of
God; it was the Jewish Scriptures to which Jesus and the Apostles

Naturally, therefore, Luther reverted to the position of Jerome: the
books found in the Hebrew Bible, and those only, were the Scriptures
of the Old Testament; whatever was more than these was to be reckoned
among the apocrypha. In the first complete printed edition of his
translation (1534), these books (Judith, Wisdom, Tobit, Sirach,
Baruch, 1 and 2 Maccabees, the Greek additions to Esther and Daniel,
the Prayer of Manasseh) stand between the Old Testament and the New,
with the title (after Jerome) "_Apocrypha_; that is, books that are
not equally esteemed with the Holy Scripture, but nevertheless are
profitable and good to read." The other Protestant versions, on the
Continent and in England, followed this example.

The attitude of Luther toward the Old Testament Apocrypha was
maintained by the Lutheran Churches, whose Confessions do not,
however, attempt a more exact definition of the value and authority of
the Apocrypha. The earlier Reformed (Calvinistic) Confessions take
substantially the same ground: the Ecclesiastical Books, or Apocrypha,
are useful, especially for moral instruction, but they have not the
same authority as the canonical books, and doctrines may not be
deduced from them alone. The Articles of the Church of England (1563;
English translation, 1571) agree on this point with the other Reformed
Confessions: after enumerating the canonical books "of whose authority
there was never any doubt in the Church," the Sixth Article continues:
"And the other books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for
example of life, and instruction of manners; but yet it doth not apply
them to establish any doctrine." A list of such books follows,
comprising those commonly printed in the English Bible under the title

A more radical position was represented by the Synod of Dort (1618)
and by the Westminster Assembly (1643). The latter declares: "The
books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are
no part of the canon of Scripture; and therefore are of no authority
in the church of God, nor to be otherwise approved, or made use of,
than other human writings."

In opposition to the Protestant limitation of the canon of the Old
Testament to the books of the Hebrew Bible, the Roman Church defined
its attitude more sharply. In the Fourth Session of the Council of
Trent (1546) it framed a "Decree concerning the Canonical Scripture,"
in which the books set apart by the Protestants as Apocrypha are
included with the rest. The complete contents of the Old Testament in
the Catholic Bible as thus defined are as follows: The Five Books of
Moses, that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy;
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four Books of Kings [Samuel, Kings], two Books
of Chronicles, 1 and 2 Esdras [Ezra, Nehemiah], Tobit, Judith, Esther,
Job, the Psalter of David, containing one hundred and fifty Psalms,
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Isaiah,
Jeremiah with Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel, the Twelve Minor Prophets, two
Books of Maccabees, namely, the First and Second.... "If any man does
not accept as sacred and canonical these books, entire, with all their
parts, as they have customarily been read in the Catholic Church and
are contained in the ancient common Latin edition ... let him be

This decree not only affirms that all the books in question are Holy
and Canonical Scripture, but seems to put them all in one class, and
deliberately to exclude the ancient distinction between the books of
the Jewish Bible and the Ecclesiastical Books. Many of the Fathers
had, however, made such a distinction, and Catholic scholars, even
after Trent, thought it permissible to class the Ecclesiastical Books
(which Protestants call the Apocrypha) as "deuterocanonic," meaning
not thereby to imply that they are inferior in authority or
infallibility or dignity--for both classes owe their excellence to the
same Holy Spirit--but that they had attained recognition in the church
at a later time than the others. Individuals have sometimes gone
farther, and acknowledged a difference in authority: the
deuterocanonic books are useful for edification, but not for the proof
of doctrines--a position substantially the same as that of the Greek
Fathers and of moderate Protestants; but this is plainly against the
sense of the decree of Trent.



For the religious apprehension of Jews and Christians the Old
Testament is a body of Sacred Scriptures, containing the Word of God
as revealed to the chosen people. The revelation was made "at sundry
times and in divers manners" through many centuries, that is to say,
it has a historical character, an adaptation to the needs or
accommodation to the capacities of men, and, from the Christian point
of view, makes a progressive disclosure of the divine purpose and plan
of salvation. To understand this economy of revelation, or this
pedagogic of religion, it is necessary to distinguish the times, and
to determine the nature, authorship, and age of the several books or
parts of books. The critical questions which lie at the threshold of
every historical inquiry arise, therefore, in the study of the Old
Testament, and much learning and acumen have been expended upon them,
especially in modern times, by scholars of all shades of theological
opinion. That there should be wide divergence in their conclusions on
many points is not surprising, in view of the difficulty of many of
the questions and the insufficiency of the data available for a
solution; the same thing is true in other ancient literatures.

A more radical difference exists in the Old Testament, however,
because, for many scholars, Catholic and Protestant, the deliverances
of the church, or the consent of tradition, or the testimony of the
New Testament, or the concurrence of all these, outweighs, in such a
matter as the unity and Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, the
internal evidence of the books themselves, and makes it their task to
show that the evidence which seems to contradict this attribution is,
when properly interpreted, compatible with it; while others hold that
no external authority and no theory of inspiration can be allowed to
countervail the cumulative weight of internal evidence.

Apart from its religious value and authority for the synagogue and the
church, the Old Testament contains the remains of a national
literature which richly rewards study for its own sake. While its
masterpieces may be read with pleasure and profit without regard to
the age and circumstances in which they were written, they will be
better appreciated as well as better understood in the light of their
own times and in their place in the literature as a whole. In this
literature are also the sources for the political history of the
Hebrew people and for the history of its civilization and religion.
The critical ordering and appraisal of these sources is fundamental
to any solid historical construction and, indeed, to any historical
understanding of the Old Testament.

In the present volume the results of this critical inquiry are
concisely set forth, with primary reference to the history of the
literature and the development of religion, rather than to the sources
for the political history, a complete investigation of which would
require a somewhat different method. The questions are approached in
the same way in which we should deal with similar questions in any
other literature; critical problems, whether in sacred texts or
profane, can be solved only by the application of the established
methods of historical criticism.

All that survives of Hebrew literature prior to the age of Alexander
is preserved in the Jewish Bible. It is not until the beginning of the
third century B.C. that we come upon books written by Jews in Hebrew
or in Greek which are not included in the canon. It is, doubtless,
only a small part of a rich and varied literature that has thus been
rescued across the centuries; much the larger part of what was written
in the days of the national kingdoms, for example, must have perished
in the catastrophes which befell Israel in the eighth century and
Judah in the beginning of the sixth. What was saved was preserved for
its intrinsic religious value or its association with great names of
religious leaders and teachers, not out of a merely literary or
patriotic interest. Nor were these losses confined to the older
literature. Of the history of Judah under the Persian kings, for
example, there must once have been completer records than the dubious
scraps we have in Ezra. Of secular poetry, which there is every reason
to think flourished no less than hymnody, we should have had no
specimens, had not an anthology of love songs somehow got the name of
Solomon, and by a mystical interpretation been converted to religion.
The remains of this literature are scattered unequally over a period
of a thousand years or more. The youngest writings in the canon date
from the second century B.C. (Daniel, Maccabean Psalms), being later
than Sirach, and contemporary with some of the visions of Enoch. All
that is preserved of the earliest writings has been transmitted to us
by later authors, who incorporated in their works longer or shorter
passages extracted from their predecessors.

The books of the Old Testament differ widely in matter and
form--history and story; legislation, civil and ritual, moral and
ceremonial; prophecy and apocalypse; lyric, didactic, and dramatic
poetry. The literary quality of the best in all these kinds is very
high. The Song of Deborah (Judg. 5), notwithstanding the imperfect
state of the text, is one of the greatest of triumphal odes; parts of
Job attain the height of the sublime; some of the Psalms are worthy of
a foremost place among religious lyrics; many oracles of the prophets
are as noteworthy for the perfection of the expression as for the
elevation of the thought; the laws are often formulated with admirable
precision; in the art of narration the older historians are
unsurpassed in ancient literature. These qualities appear even more
conspicuous in comparison with the remains of Egyptian or of
Babylonian and Assyrian writings. It is only among the Greeks that we
find anything to match the finest productions of the Hebrew genius. It
need hardly be said that the Old Testament is not all on this high
level of excellence--what literature is? But, taken as a whole, the
level is surprisingly high, and even in the decadence classical models
are sometimes imitated with no small degree of success.



The Old Testament begins with a comprehensive historical work,
reaching from the creation of the world to the fall of the kingdom of
Judah (586 B.C.), which in the Hebrew Bible is divided into nine books
(Genesis-Kings). The Jews made a greater division at the end of the
fifth book (Deuteronomy) and treated the first five books (the
Pentateuch) as a unit, with a character and name of its own, the Law.
The names of the several books in our Bibles are derived from the
Greek version, and indicate in a general way the subject of the book,
or, more exactly, the subject with which it begins: Genesis, the
creation of the world; Exodus, the escape from Egypt; Leviticus, the
priests' book; Numbers, the census of the tribes; Deuteronomy, the
second legislation, or the recapitulation of the law.

The three middle books of the Pentateuch (Exodus-Numbers) are more
closely connected with one another than with the preceding and
following books (Genesis, Deuteronomy); in fact, they form a whole
which is only for convenience in handling divided into parts. In these
books narrative and legislation are somewhat unequally represented.
Exod. 1-19 is almost all narrative, as are also c. 24, and cc. 32-34;
the story is picked up again in Num. 10, what lies between is wholly
legislative; in Num. 10-27, 28-36, narrative and laws alternate, the
latter predominating. It is evident that from the author's point of
view the narrative was primarily a historical setting for the Mosaic

Deuteronomy begins with a brief retrospect (Deut. 1-3) of the
movements of the Israelites from the time they left the Mount of God
till they arrived in the Plains of Moab, the lifetime of a whole
generation. There, as they are about to cross the Jordan to possess
the Land of Promise, Moses delivers to them the law which they shall
observe in the land, and with many exhortations and warnings urges
them to be faithful to their religion with its distinctive worship and
morals. Thus Deuteronomy also presents itself essentially as

The history of the Israelite tribes opens with the account of the
oppression in Egypt, the introduction to the story of deliverance. Its
antecedents are found in the Book of Genesis, the migration of Jacob
and his sons from Palestine to Egypt several generations earlier in a
time of famine; and this in turn is but the last chapter in the
patriarchal story which begins with the migration of Abraham from
Syria or Babylonia to Palestine. Gen. 1-11 tells of creation and first
men; the great flood; the dispersion of the peoples, with a
genealogical table showing the affinities of the several races and
another tracing the descent of Abraham in direct line from Shem the
son of Noah. But even in Genesis the interest in the law manifests
itself in various ways, such as the sanction of the sabbath, the
prohibition of blood, and the introduction of circumcision.

In regarding the whole Pentateuch as Law, or, to express it more
accurately, as a revelation of the principles and observances of
religion, the Jews were, therefore, doing no violence to the character
and spirit of these books; and in ascribing them to Moses they were
only extending to the whole the authorship which is asserted in
particular of many of the laws, and especially of the impressive
exhortations in Deuteronomy which form the climactic close of his work
as a legislator.

It was early observed, however, that there are numerous expressions in
the Pentateuch which assume the settlement of Israel in Canaan and
look back to the age of Moses as to a somewhat remote past: Gen.
xxxvi. 31, for example, implies the existence of the Israelite
monarchy. In the seventeenth century such anachronisms were bandied
about a good deal, but, inasmuch as they were all brief clauses which
might well be notes or glosses by scribes, they proved nothing about
the age of the main text. The controversy sharpened the eyes of the
critics, and many more conclusive facts were brought to light, which
proved that the Pentateuch was not the product of one author nor of
one age, and that, whatever part Moses may be conceived to have had in
it, much must be ascribed to later writers. No methodical attempt had
been made, however, to distinguish its different strata, or to
discover the sources from which it was compiled. This was first
undertaken by an eminent French physician, Jean Astruc, who in 1753
published the results of his investigations under the modest title
"Conjectures concerning the Original Memoirs which it appears that
Moses used in compiling the Book of Genesis." Astruc's analysis was
suggested by peculiar phenomena in the use of the divine names in
Genesis, and he was led to the hypothesis that Moses had for the
primeval and patriarchal history two principal sources, one of which
employed consistently the proper name Jehovah, the other the
appellative Elohim (God). The two narratives were in large part
parallel, and when they were united in one continuous narrative,
repetitions, contradictions, and chronological difficulties were
created which disappear when the sources are separated and recombined
in their original sequence.

This is not the place for a history of criticism: it must suffice to
say that, as the result of the labours of many scholars in the last
century and a half upon the problem of the sources and composition of
the Pentateuch, historians are now generally agreed that four main
sources are to be recognized, of which three run, in varying
proportion, from Genesis to Numbers and reappear in Joshua, while the
fourth is found in Deuteronomy and Joshua only.



Of the four main sources of the Pentateuch and Joshua, two are easily
recognizable, and may be distinguished with certainty in almost any
combination. The Book of Deuteronomy, though itself a composite work,
constitutes a whole, with a characteristic religious point of view and
marked peculiarities of language and style. The strand akin to it in
Joshua is not always so easy to discriminate from additions and
editorial retouchings in one of the other sources; but since these are
of approximately the same age, the difficulty is, from the historian's
point of view, not of very serious moment.

The second source, more closely interwoven in the narrative of
Genesis-Numbers, and Joshua, has also such strongly marked
peculiarities, not only in religious ideas and in phraseology and
style, but in its whole conception and treatment of the history, that
it stands out in salient contrast to any surroundings in which it may
occur. Its interest is concentrated on the origin of the sacred
institutions of Israel, especially on the priesthood, the worship, and
the distinctive religious customs of the people, for which reason it
is commonly called the "priestly" history and law.

The two remaining sources resemble each other much more closely in
religious conceptions, in language, and in their representation of the
history, so that, where their closely parallel narratives are
intimately interwoven to make one continuous and harmonious story, it
is often impossible to unravel them. As far as Exod. iii. 14 one of
them employs the name Elohim for God, while the other uses Jehovah
from the beginning (see Gen. iv. 26), and this difference frequently
serves as a first clue; but editors and copyists have so often,
purposely or thoughtlessly, interchanged the names of God that it is
by no means a decisive criterion. From Exod. 3 on, this criterion
fails altogether. Closer acquaintance with the two sources discovers,
under all their similarity, individual peculiarities by which they can
ordinarily be recognized. Frequently, also, the connection of the
story itself, references or allusions to incidents already recounted
and preparation for events subsequently to be narrated, serve to
identify passages with one or the other.

For the sake of brevity, it is customary to designate these sources by
symbols: J (Jahvist), the source in which God is from the beginning
called Jehovah (more exactly, Jahveh); E (Elohist), the closely
cognate source in which Elohim (God) is consistently used throughout
Genesis; D, Deuteronomy and the kindred narrative in Joshua; P
(Priestly), the source in which the interest in the religious
institutions predominates. This author also uses Elohim exclusively in
Genesis, and down to Exod. vi. 2 ff.

The two sources, J and E, both narrate the story of the patriarchs at
some length. J begins with the migration of Abraham from Haran (Gen.
12); the corresponding introduction of Abraham in E is not preserved,
and the first passage that can with confidence be attributed to that
source is Gen. 20. From that point through Genesis and down to Exod.
24, J and E furnished the author of the Pentateuch most of his
narrative. The contents of both were evidently drawn from the same
common stock of legend, and they tell in large part the same stories
in variant forms, with differences of incident or of localization.
Sometimes one is ampler and more detailed, sometimes the other. The
author of Genesis in such cases often chose the fuller version,
enriching it here and there from the other; in other places the two
are combined in more equal measure into one continuous narrative; or,
again, as in parts of the story of Joseph, extracts from the two
alternate in large blocks.

J and E are, as has been said above, much alike in language and style,
yet each has distinguishing peculiarities of expression. These of
necessity disappear in a translation, especially in a translation
which, like the Authorized Version, raises everything to one stately
level of noble English prose. Even in translation, however, a
difference in the story-teller's art and manner may be discerned. For
J the reader will find good examples in Gen. 18-19; 24; 38; 39; and
43-44 (which are nearly solid extracts from that source); with the
latter chapters, from the story of Joseph, should be compared Gen.
40-42, chiefly from E. Gen. 22 is also from E. From the literary point
of view, J is the better narrator; he tells his story directly,
swiftly, with almost epic breadth, and with just that measure of
detail which gives the note of reality, never overloading the story
with circumstance. Nor is it only the external action which he causes
thus vividly to pass before us; with the dramatic instinct of the true
story-teller he makes us spectators of the inner play of feeling and

The religious element in the stories of J is pervasive. The
forefathers are favourites of God, who directs their ways, and
protects and blesses them in all their doings. He appears to them in
human form, and converses with them as a man with his friends;
reflection has not yet found such too human behaviour unbecoming in
God. Gen. 18 is a striking instance of this familiarity in the deity:
Jehovah with two companions comes to Abraham's tent, eats of the meal
the patriarch's hospitality provides, predicts that Sarah shall bear a
son before the year is out--a prospect which moves the old woman
listening behind the door to incredulous merriment--and as he departs
announces that he is going down to Sodom to see whether they are as
bad there as has been reported to him. A still more drastic example is
the "man" who wrestles with Jacob, and finding himself no match for
the brawny patriarch, disables him by a foul, putting his hip out of
joint, and finally, to get loose, unmasks as a god, owns Jacob the
winner, and names him "Israel," the man who held his own against a
god (Gen. xxxii. 24 ff.). Or, again, as Moses is on the way to Egypt
by God's command to deliver his people, Jehovah encounters him where
he halts for the night, and tries to kill him, desisting only when
Zipporah bans him by smearing her imperilled husband with the bloody
foreskin of her son (Exod. iv. 24 ff.).

Such extremely human representations belong to the ancient legends
which are incorporated in the history; the author's own conception of
God, if we may judge him by passages like Exod. xxxiii. 12-23; xxxiv.
6-9, was much less crude; but it is significant that such traits were
allowed to remain with so little change.

The legends also attribute to God a partiality for the patriarchs
which lets him protect and prosper them in transactions such as are
repugnant not only to the most rudimentary morality but to savage
manliness, as in Gen. 12 and 26, variants of the story how one of the
forefathers exposed his wife's honour rather than risk his own neck.
Less striking, but no less instructive, is Jacob, who gains the
birthright by overreaching his brother and the blessing of the
first-born by deceiving his father, and in the end outwits the wily
Laban at his own devices and grows rich at his expense. It would be a
mistake to take such stories as reflecting the morality of the
author's time: they were the traditions of another age and another
order of things. But again it is significant that they are narrated
in J without any visible attempt to mitigate their offensive features.
Other authors, as we shall see, toned down these features or
eliminated them.

The second of the authors in the patriarchal history (E) is but little
inferior to J as narrator, and in translation the difference is even
less noticeable than in the original. Where they can be directly
compared, however, E is slightly less vivid and picturesque. A certain
learned, or antiquarian, interest is also apparent. E notes, for
instance, that Laban, who as a Syrian naturally spoke Aramaic, called
the boundary cairn Jegar Sahaduta, while Jacob named it in good Hebrew
Gal 'Ed (a popular etymology of Gilead), and that the ancestors of the
Israelites in their old homes beyond the Euphrates were heathen. He is
particularly well informed in things Egyptian; he knows, for example,
the Egyptian names of the chief personages in the story of Joseph. It
is in accord with this tendency that he introduces the name Jehovah
only after the call of Moses (Exod. iii. 14 ff.), and for the
patriarchal period employs only the appellative, God.

The conception of deity is less naïve than in J: God never appears in
tangible bodiliness like a man, but reveals himself in visions or
dreams, or makes known his will by a voice out of the unseen. Things
objectionable to morals or taste are frequently softened down. In J,
for example, Joseph's brothers, at Judah's instance, sell him to the
Ishmaelites; in E Reuben persuades them to put Joseph into a dry well,
intending to save him from them and restore him to his father; while
he is absent, Midianites steal Joseph out of the well and carry him
off to Egypt. Compare also Gen. 20 (E) with c. 12 (J), noting how in
the former the author takes pains to make clear that no harm came to
Sarah, and that Abraham is a prophet whose intercession is effectual
with God. On the other hand, the interventions of God in E often show
a disposition to magnify the miracle and to give it a magical
character. Thus at the crossing of the Red Sea, in J the waters are
driven back by a strong wind, leaving the shallow basin dry; in E the
miracle is wrought by Moses with his wand (like the plagues), and this
representation is followed by P, in which the waters stand in walls on
either hand while the people march between.

If the author of E was acquainted with J, as it would be natural to
assume, he certainly does not copy him; of literary dependence in a
strict sense there is no sign. The two appear, rather, to be parallel
narratives, drawing on a common stock of tradition, which had already
acquired by repetition, whether oral or written, a comparatively fixed
form. This common stock included traditions of different groups of
tribes and of holy places in different parts of the land. As might be
supposed, the tribes seated in central Palestine, with their kinsmen
east of the Jordan, which constituted the strength of the kingdom of
Israel, make the largest contribution; Judah with its allied clans in
the south comes second.

In the treatment of the common tradition in J and E, respectively,
local or national interests appear, from which it is generally
inferred that E was written in the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and J in
the Southern (Judah). The question of the age of these writings can be
more profitably considered at a later stage of our inquiry.

The patriarchal history which begins with the migration of Abraham,
Gen. 12, is preceded by what may be called the primeval history of
mankind, Gen. 1-11. In these chapters E is not represented, and it
seems probable that the Israelite historian began his book with
Abraham. The primeval history as we read it, therefore, is derived in
part from J, in part from P. From J come Gen. ii. 4b-iv. 25; vi. 1-8;
a part of the composite story of the Flood (vii. 1-5, 7-10, 12, 17b,
22-23; viii. 6-12, 13b, 20-22); the sons of Noah, ix. 18-27, and part
of the table of nations (x. 8-19, 21, 24-30); the Tower of Babel (xi.
1-9). These pieces do not form a literary unity, and they give
evidence, as we should expect, of diverse origin. There are some among
them which imply a continuous development of civilization, unbroken by
the catastrophe of the Deluge, and Noah himself was originally an
agricultural figure, the first vine-dresser and maker of wine, not the
navigator of the ark. The tradition which ascribes the invention of
the arts of primitive civilization to descendants of Cain (Gen. iv.
17-24) is obviously of different origin from the story of Cain and
Abel. Closer inspection shows that the narrative of J in Gen. 1-11 is
composed of two strands, each having a consistency and continuity of
its own, and similar phenomena appear in subsequent parts of the
history from Genesis to Samuel.

If these various elements are alike designated by the symbol J, it is
because they exhibit the peculiarities of conception and expression
which characterize that work. The God who walks for pleasure in his
garden in the cool of the day, misses his gardeners, and finding that
they have eaten the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge, drives
them out of the garden for fear they might also put out their hands to
the tree whose fruit gives immortality, or who comes down to see the
tower the Babylonian heaven-stormers are building, and apprehending
more presumptuous attempts from their success, breaks up their concert
by the ingenious device of making them talk different languages, is
plainly imagined in quite the same way as the God who visits Abraham
on his way to Sodom or wrestles with Jacob or tries to kill Moses on
the road to Egypt. Even more primitive is the fragment, Gen. vi. 1-4,
telling how deities, captivated by the charms of mortal women, begot
with them a mythical race of giants.

The Deluge has long been known to be a Babylonian myth, which now
forms an episode in a poem celebrating the exploits of a hero named
Gilgamesh. But, though preserving even such details of the Babylonian
original as the sending out of the birds, the Hebrew author has
impressed upon it the stamp of his own religion, effacing its
polytheistic features, and making the Flood a just judgment on
universal sinfulness; while for the Babylonian hero he substituted a
figure of Palestinian legend, and shows his inland bringing-up by
converting the ship into an enormous box. It has frequently been
assumed or asserted that others of these myths of the early world,
particularly the Garden in Eden and the Tower of Babel, are also of
Babylonian origin, but no parallels to them have as yet been
discovered, nor does internal evidence point that way.

The scenery in the Garden in Eden is naïve enough, but the problem of
the myth is one which has exercised the minds of men through all time:
Why is man mortal? or, as it is usually put in myths, How did man fail
of immortality? Two other persistent questions are here joined with
it, Why has man to work so hard for a living? and Why must women bear
children with pangs and peril? The answer evinces a reflection of
which we often think primitive philosophy incapable: man aspired to a
knowledge that God jealously kept to himself--he would not respect his

The third chief narrative source in the Pentateuch, commonly called
the Priestly History (P), is of a different character from those which
we have been examining. A more descriptive title for it would be,
Origins of the Religious Institutions of Israel. In the view of the
author, these institutions were successively ordained by God at
certain epochs in the history of mankind and in connection with
certain historical events; these events he narrates as the occasion or
ground of the institution, which the subsequent observance recalls and
commemorates. These institutions were not all first revealed to Israel
and prescribed for it; on the contrary, the author has a theory of a
progressive revelation of God's will, beginning with the first man and
woman, and amplified from age to age by the addition to its contents
of fresh ordinances, while at the same time its extension gradually
narrows, until, in the Mosaic Law, it is addressed to the chosen
people of Israel alone. The place of each new institution is therefore
fixed not only in a chronological system but in the genealogical
scheme of races and nations. The genealogies which connect one epoch
of revelation with the following one are thus not the bare bones of
history, stripped of its flesh and blood, but serve a distinct and
characteristic purpose.

The Origins begin with the creation of the world (Gen. i.-ii. 4), and
a comparison of this account with that of J in 2-3 well illustrates
the difference between the two sources. The God of P is not one who
fashions man and beast out of clay and breathes with his own lips into
the work of his hands the breath of life; he stands above and apart
from the world, and creates all things by fiat: "Let there be light,
and there was light"--so in sublime simplicity the formula runs. The
creative acts are six natural days: "Evening came and morning came, a
first day." "And he rested (kept sabbath) on the seventh day from all
his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day and made
it holy, because on it he rested from all his creative work." The
ordinance of the sabbath thus has its origin and sanction in the
creation itself, and this is alleged in the Decalogue (Exod. xx. 11)
as the motive for man's sabbath-keeping.

The Flood gives occasion to the blessing of Noah and his sons, in
which for the first time animal food is permitted--like many of the
ancients, P made the first men vegetarians--and with this licence is
coupled a prohibition of flesh with blood in it and the sentence of
God upon murder, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood
be shed; for in the image of God made he man." These commandments,
given to Noah, are binding on all mankind, his descendants. The
genealogies of the antediluvians connect the creation with the Flood
and serve also the chronology; genealogies of the descendants of
Noah's sons follow, the chronology attaching to the line of Shem down
to Terah, the father of Abraham.

Abraham's migration to Canaan and the birth of Ishmael are briefly
told, and then, at large, the covenant with Abraham, the promise of a
son by Sarah, and the institution of circumcision, which is an
ordinance for all the Abrahamic peoples, the Arab descendants of
Ishmael as well as the Israelites and Edomites sprung from Isaac, and
for their slaves, home-born or foreign. The only other incident in
Abraham's life of which P gives a fuller account is the purchase from
the sons of Heth of the cave of Macpelah, the burial-place of the
patriarchs; meagre notices of marriages and deaths, and tedious
pedigrees take the place of the vivid stories of J and E. The contrast
is most striking in the case of Joseph, about whom we have from P only
a few verses. Doubtless this is in part due to the fact that the
author of the Pentateuch preferred the richer narrative of his other
sources, but what is preserved of P shows clearly enough that his
history of Joseph, even when complete, was brief and dry.

The diction and style of P are very unlike that of J and E; a
favourable example of his manner is Gen. 17. Even in a translation,
which necessarily obliterates much, some of the author's
peculiarities can be observed, foremost among them a certain stiffness
and a laborious circumstantiality, which will be felt if Gen. xvi.
1-2, 4-8, 11-14 (J) or xvi. 8-21 (E) be compared with c. 17 (P). In
Gen. 1, thanks to the subject, this dry simplicity gives an impression
of sublimity; but in general, narration is not the author's best gift.
On the other hand, the conception of God, as we have seen in Gen. 1,
is more elevated than in either of the other sources; and in the
little P tells of the patriarchs their deportment is unimpeachable.



In the early chapters of Exodus the narrative is chiefly a combination
of J and E; the first considerable extract from P is Exod. vi. 2-vii.
13, recalling the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and
announcing its approaching fulfilment, adding, as the signature of the
new epoch of the history now opening, the revelation of the name God,
Jehovah (Jahveh), which none of the patriarchs had known.

In the story of the plagues all three sources are interwoven; a
distinctive feature of P is that Aaron with his wand, under Moses'
direction, brings the plagues to pass. The announcement of the last
plague is the occasion for P to introduce the ordinance of the
Passover. The houses of the Israelites are to be marked by the blood
of the victim on the door-posts and lintel: when Jehovah passes
through the land, smiting dead all the first-born of the Egyptians, he
will "skip" the houses so protected--thus the name of the feast is
explained (Exod. xii. 1-13). To this is annexed a law for the
observance of the feast of Unleavened Bread, which in Palestine
immediately followed the Passover (xii. 14-20). With the institution
of the Passover is connected also a change in the calendar: henceforth
the month of the vernal full moon (March-April) is to be the first of
the year. It was so in the ecclesiastical calendar of later times, but
the civil New Year was, and still is, in the Autumn.

All the strands of the triple narrative lead to a holy mountain in the
desert (Sinai in P and probably in J; Horeb in E and D), the Mount of
God, represented in all as the ancient seat of Jehovah. It was on this
mountain that God appeared to Moses and bade him return to Egypt to
deliver Israel: when he had brought the people out of Egypt they
should worship at this mountain. Thither, therefore, Moses directs
their way after crossing the Red Sea. In all the sources God's
presence is manifested by cloud and fire upon the mountain, and Moses
goes to the summit to meet God (Exod. 19, J, E; xxiv. 15^b-18^a, P).
These imposing preparations portend a revelation of no common moment;
and the whole situation bids us expect the organic law of the religion
of Jehovah, the things which he requires of his worshippers.

We find, in fact, in each of the three sources at this point larger or
smaller groups of laws purporting to be delivered to Moses at the holy
mountain, and containing what may be regarded as fundamental
institutions. These bodies of law are, however, very different; the
problem of their relation to one another and to the narratives is
extremely difficult, and the parallel account of the legislation at
Horeb in Deut. 5 adds another element to the complication. If the
reader will attentively compare Exod. 20; 21-23; 24; Deut. 5; ix. 8-x.
5; and Exod. 34, he will get some impression of the nature of the
difficulties. According to Deut. v. 22, the Decalogue (Deut. v. 6-21;
Exod. xx. 1-17, with noteworthy variants) was the law written on the
two tables of stone by the hand of God which Moses dashed down and
shattered when he saw the people wantoning around the golden calf
(Exod. xxxii. 19). God proposes to reproduce the law on two new
tablets (xxxiv. 1), but the Decalogue (xxxiv. 28) written on these
tablets (xxxiv. 14-26) is wholly different from that of Exod. 20,
being not a compend of moral law, but prescriptions for the festivals
and ritual rules, whereas Deut. ix. 8-x. 5 says in so many words that
it was the Decalogue of v. 6-21 which was restored.

It is impossible to discuss these problems here. It must suffice to
say that they arise in part from the attempt to harmonize radically
different representations of what the fundamental law given at Sinai
(or Horeb) was, in part from the tendency of later times to ascribe to
the original Mosaic legislation the whole body of actual law regarded
as having a religious sanction. To the latter cause we may without
hesitation attribute, for example, the introduction of the fragmentary
remains of a Palestinian civil code in Exod. 21-22, to which other
remnants of diverse origin have been attached, as well as the great
mass of ritual and ceremonial laws which are thrust into the framework
of P.

The fundamental law of J, the basis of the original compact between
Jehovah and Israel, is preserved in Exod. xxxiv. 1-5, 10a, 14-28 (with
some manifest amplifications in vss. 15, 16, 24). When this was
combined with the story of the golden calf and the broken tables (E),
it was necessary to take it as a _renewal_ of the law, and this was
accomplished by very slight additions in vss. 1 and 4 ("like unto the
first," "that were on the first tables, which thou brakest").

What the Horeb constitution in E originally was, is less confidently
to be determined. In the form in which E was read by the authors of
Deut. 5 and of ix. 8-x. 5 (end of the seventh century or later), it
was the Decalogue _only_ (Deut. v. 22 f.); but it is not certain that
this was the oldest representation. There are other evidences that E
was revised and enlarged in the seventh century by an author who was
influenced by the prophets, particularly by Hosea; and the story of
the golden calf (with which the Decalogue narrative is closely
connected), a condemnation in advance of the Israelite worship of
Jehovah in the image of a bull, may have been introduced in this
edition, as the repudiation of the sacrifice of children to Jehovah in
the story of Abraham and Isaac (Gen. 22) probably was.

In P the case is clearer. According to his theory all the ordinances
of worship were revealed at Sinai. Legitimate sacrifice presupposes
one legitimate temple and altar, a legitimate priesthood, and a
minutely prescribed ritual. In J and E the patriarchs set up altars
and offer sacrifice in many places; it is an obvious interest of the
authors, or of the local legends of holy places which they follow, to
trace the origin of the altars, sacred stones, holy trees and wells,
at Shechem or Bethel, Hebron or Beersheba, to one of the forefathers.
In P, on the contrary, the patriarchs never offer sacrifice. Until the
tabernacle was erected and God's presence filled it, until Aaron was
consecrated as priest, until the technique of the various species of
offering had been revealed by God and exemplified by Moses or Aaron,
no sacrifice could be anything but impious, like the worship of

Accordingly, the first thing God does when Moses goes up into the
mount is to give him plans and specifications for a sacred tent--a
portable temple--with all its furniture, an altar for sacrifice in the
court before it, the vestments of the priests, and the apparatus of
the high-priestly oracle, and to reveal in detail the ritual for the
consecration of priests (Exod. 25-30). The making of the tabernacle
and all the other things necessary for the complete cultus is
described in Exod. 35-40; the consecration of the priests and the
inaugural sacrifices by Aaron in Lev. 8-9; Lev. x. 1-7 is closely
connected with cc. 8-9, and its sequel (combined with other matter) is
found in c. 16, the ritual of atonement. Lev. 8-9 is a good specimen
of the author's method. In the form of a description of the sacrifices
of consecration and the inaugural sacrifices of Aaron, he gives a
paradigm for every variety of offering.

Here was obviously a natural place to introduce laws prescribing the
ritual of these species of sacrifice and the circumstances which
demand them, and accordingly we find in Lev. 1-7 a collection of such
laws, some of them (e.g. Lev. 1 and 3) unquestionably old both in
substance and formulation, with slight adaptation to their surrounding
(e.g. "the sons of Aaron," i. 5, etc.), or with supplements to meet
new economic and social conditions, such as the burnt offering of
doves (Lev. i. 14-17, cf. vs. 2); others are younger or have been
more extensively enlarged and amended. The chapters thus represent a
growth in actual custom and corresponding rule. In c. 4 we may observe
an example of another kind of legal growth, namely, the systematic
development of principles or ideas. The scale of sin-offerings,
graduated by the social station of the sinner--the high priest, the
whole people, the prince, a common citizen--is consistently thought
out in conformity with a theory. Observe that the prince is assigned a
modest place next the bottom, below the religious community
corporately, while the priest takes his at the top. We can say with
full confidence that this elaborate ritual is not the booking of
usage, but is a product of sacerdotal theory; and, further, that so
long as kings reigned, the most high-church ecclesiastic is not likely
to have arrogated so much to himself, or, at least, to have proclaimed
his ambitions. Only in days when, under foreign governors, the high
priest was really the greatest man in the community is such a table of
precedence conceivable. Whether even then this law was actually put in
operation, may be an open question.

The position of the sacrificial laws, Lev. 1-7, explains itself, as
has been said. In many other cases, however, we see no reason why a
subject is brought in where it is. Thus, Lev. 11-15, on various forms
of uncleanness and the prescribed purifications, to which x. 10 f.
seems to be a fragmentary introduction, have no obvious association
with anything in the context, though they are introduced appropriately
enough before the general purification of the Day of Atonement, c. 16.
The laws, which read like the chapters of an exactly formulated code
of purity, have been expanded by the addition of new paragraphs (e.g.
Lev. xiv. 21-32, 33-53), and in some cases changes in the ritual may
be recognized; compare, for example, Lev. xiv. 1-8 with vss. 10-20.

Chapters 17-26 form a distinct body of law, having certain marked
peculiarities of its own, notably the frequent recurrence of the
motive of "holiness"--that is, the avoidance of things and actions
tabooed by the religion of Israel--often coupled with the appeal to
God's holiness, as in xix. 2, "Ye shall be holy, for I, Jehovah, your
God, am holy," or simply asserting his authority, "I am Jehovah." On
the other hand, much in the laws of this Holiness Book (H), as it now
stands, has close affinity to the mass of ritual and ceremonial laws
in Leviticus and Numbers. The hypothesis which seems best to explain
the phenomena is that an independent collection of laws (or rather the
remains of such a collection), characterized by the motive of
holiness, has been expanded and edited in the spirit and manner of the
priestly legislation, while some laws which were originally included
in this collection have been transposed to other contexts.

The Holiness Book closed with an earnest exhortation and warning to
observe all these laws, promising the blessing of God on obedience and
depicting in strong colours the calamities with which he will punish
defection (Lev. 26). The position and prophetic tenour of this chapter
resemble Deut. 28, and the book in its original form is apparently the
product of the same age with Deuteronomy.

The Origins (P) described in Exod. 28 f. and Lev. 8 f. the choice of
Aaron and his sons to be priests and their installation in the sacred
office. The inferior order of the ministry of the sanctuary, the
levites, is not as yet instituted. This is done in Numbers, and indeed
with a certain redundancy, for Num. 3 and 4 independently deal with
the subject, and c. 18 takes it up afresh without any allusion to a
previous appointment. Much stress is laid on the exclusive prerogative
of Aaron and his sons in the service of the altar and the ministry
"within the veil"; no levite, much less a layman, may presume to these
sacred functions on pain of death. The levites are given to Aaron and
his sons as temple slaves for the menial work of the sanctuary, in
place of the first-born Israelites of all tribes who would naturally
be dedicated to God, i.e. to the temple. Yet, as ministers of
religion, they are supported by a general tithe of the products of the
soil imposed on all the people.

The laws in Numbers present the same variety as in Leviticus. There
are old laws with modifications and enlargements, and many others
which by various signs betray a more recent origin. Num. 28-36 belong
as a whole to the latter class; cc. 28 f. exemplify that growth of the
law by the formulation of sacerdotal ideals or desiderata which has
been noted in the case of Lev. 4. It is to be observed that the
narrative of P has reached in Num. xxvii. 12-23 the end of Moses'
career; nothing is in place after it but the ascent of Mt. Abarim and
Moses' death (Deut. 34). Num. 28-36 thus stand even formally in the
place of an appendix.

The narrative of P (Origin of the Religious Institutions) and the
great mass of ritual and ceremonial laws in the three middle books of
the Pentateuch are often called collectively the Priests' Code. The
name naturally suggests to the English reader an orderly body of law,
compiled, revised, and promulgated by some authority; and, in fact,
many critics--except for the orderliness, which nobody has ventured to
affirm, and with allowance for later additions--regard the Priests'
Code as such a law book, compiled and edited by priestly scribes in
Babylonia, brought to Judæa by Ezra, with the authority of the Persian
king, to reform the many disorders that existed there, and ratified
and put in force in B.C. 444 by the magnates and the people of the
Jews. (See Ezra 7; Neh. 8-10, and below, pp. 129 ff.) Internal
evidence of such an origin and destination is, however, sought in
vain in the laws; the things that Ezra and Nehemiah were most zealous
about, especially the veto on mixed marriages, do not stand out in the
so-called Priests' Code as they do in other parts of the law, while
about a reform of the cultus in Jerusalem in conformity with a new
ritual introduced from Babylonia, the story of Ezra's doings is
significantly silent.

The phenomena we have observed in Exodus-Numbers suggest the
hypothesis, rather, that various old laws, dealing chiefly with
sacrifice and with the rules of clean and unclean--the two principal
subjects of priestly regulation--were inserted at suitable points in
the Origins of the Religious Institutions (P); these received
amendments and supplements both before and after their incorporation;
other more independent developments, whether representing actual
custom or sacerdotal aspirations, found place among or beside them;
and thus the whole Priestly stratum grew by a process of accretion
through many generations into its present inorganic magnitude. It is
antecedently probable that this process went on in Palestine, where
the ritual laws were a practical concern, rather than in the schools
of Babylonia; and only strong evidence to the contrary could overcome
this presumption.



Deuteronomy purports to contain the laws under which Israel is to live
in the land of Canaan. It deals with the conditions of an agricultural
people, settled in towns and villages, in the presence of a native
population to the contamination of whose religion and morals the
Israelites are exposed. This legislation was revealed to Moses at
Horeb (Deut. v. 28-33), but, inasmuch as it was not to go into effect
until Israel was established in the possession of Canaan, being in
fact wholly inapplicable to nomadic conditions--a consideration of
which P, in its code of worship, is oblivious--it was not promulgated
till the moment when the people, encamped opposite Jericho, was on the
point of invading Palestine. Then the aged Moses, about to lay down
his office and his life, delivers to the people, in national assembly,
the law by which they are in future to be governed, and adds his most
urgent injunctions and solemn warnings to be faithful to their
religion and the law of their God.

The book is thus almost wholly in the form of address, and the
hortatory note is insistent. As an introduction, Moses briefly recalls
the history of the wanderings, from Horeb on, impressing at every turn
the lessons of their experience (Deut. 1-3); the material is taken
chiefly from E's narrative, which it was intended to supersede in an
independent Book of Deuteronomy. There follows a hortatory discourse
(iv. 1-40), closely akin to cc. 29-30. The last acts and the death of
Moses are narrated in confused fashion in c. 31; xxxii. 48-52; 34. The
Song of Moses (c. 32), and the Blessing of Moses (c. 33), are
apparently independent compositions which have been given an
appropriate place at the end of the book. The core of Deuteronomy is
cc. 5-11; 12-26; 28. Speaking generally, the first part (cc. 5-11)
expounds the fundamental principles of religion, while the second (cc.
12-26) contains special laws, and, as a fitting and effective
conclusion of the whole, c. 28 sets forth the blessings which God will
bestow on Israel if it keeps his commandments, and the curses it will
incur by unfaithfulness and disobedience. The special laws,
particularly in Deut. 22 ff., are similar in character to those in
Exod. 21-23 and in Lev. 17-25, and doubtless embody in the main
ancient custom; but beside them are provisions of a singularly Utopian
kind, such as those on the conduct of war in c. 20 and the septennial
cancelling of all debts (xv. 1-11).

The conception of religion which dominates the whole book, but is most
conspicuous in cc. 5-11, is the highest in the Old Testament. There is
but one God, supreme in might and majesty, constant in purpose,
faithful to his word, just but compassionate; he is not to be imaged
or imagined in the likeness of anything in heaven or on earth;
idolatry, divination, and sorcery are strictly forbidden. The essence
of religion is love (Deut. vi. 4), the love of God to his people and
their responsive love to him is the ruling motive in worship and
conduct. In the relations of men to their fellows, whether countrymen
or strangers and to the brute creation, humanity and charity are the
prime virtues; the Utopian features of the laws are such only because
they push the ideal of humanity too hard for unideal human nature.

What is most characteristic in the Deuteronomic legislation, the thing
on which it dwells with insistent iteration, is that Jehovah will be
worshipped only at one place, to be chosen by himself in the territory
of one of the tribes. There all sacrifices must be offered, all
festivals celebrated. At the head of the special laws this fundamental
article is repeatedly laid down (Deut. xii. 13-19--seemingly the
oldest formulation--xii. 2-7, 8-12, 20-27), and it recurs in
connection with the laws concerning the disposition of God's share in
man's increase (tithes, firstlings, etc.) and the annual festivals
(Passover, Tabernacles).

This was an innovation which dislocated the whole system of religious
observances, and the Deuteronomic legislation had to provide for the
direct and indirect consequences of so radical a change. By ancient
custom the religious dues were rendered and sacrifices offered at the
village altars ("high places"), and there also the festivals were kept
which marked the seasons of the husbandman's year; beside the altar,
with a simple religious rite, domestic animals were slaughtered
whenever hospitality or a family festival gave occasion. If a man
visited a more renowned sanctuary at a distance from his home, he did
it of his own accord and in his own time and way. The feasts at the
village altars, at which custom prescribed open hospitality, were a
godsend to the poor of the community, many of whom would else seldom
have tasted flesh or eaten their fill. The Deuteronomic law licenses
the slaughter of animals at home without any religious rite, and
introduces a plan of charity tithes to replace the hospitality of the
altar. Its concern for the levites (that is, the priests of the local
sanctuaries), who by the new arrangement were left without a
livelihood, is also to be noted.

The motives for this radical change in immemorial religious custom are
characteristic. In the first place, the "high places" had been seats
of Canaanite worship before they were taken possession of by the
Israelites, and not only did the stigma of aboriginal heathenism cling
to them, but, in fact, many heathenish doings were perpetuated at
them--drunken debauches and consecrated prostitution. But, further,
their existence seemed to be incompatible with strict monotheism: the
many gods were worshipped in many places; the _one_ God seemed to have
as corollary _one_ place of worship. As a matter of experience, the
localizing of Jehovah at numerous sanctuaries--Dan, Bethel, Gilgal,
Beersheba--with their distinctive traditions and local peculiarities
of ritual, doubtless did result, for the apprehension of the common
man, in making a local Jehovah, as happens to the Virgin and the
Saints in Catholic countries. For the Deuteronomist this was only
another kind of polytheism: "Hear, O Israel, Jehovah, our God, is
_one_ Jehovah!"

Deuteronomy is, therefore, the programme of a reform. Fortunately, we
know how this programme was put in execution; the history of it is
written in 2 Kings 22-23. In the course of some repairs in the temple
in Jerusalem, a law book turned up, the reading of which threw King
Josiah and his advisers into consternation. After taking counsel of a
prophetess, an assembly was convoked, and the book publicly ratified
by the notables and the people as the law of the realm. Thereupon the
king proceeded to put the code in force. He not only cleaned house in
the temple in Jerusalem, where a miscellany of foreign gods and cults
was installed, but he destroyed and desecrated all the "high places,"
that is, the immemorial seats of the worship of Jehovah in the towns
and villages of his kingdom, pulling the altars to pieces, smashing
the stone pillars, hewing down the sacred poles, and forcibly carrying
off the priests (levites) to Jerusalem, where he assigned them a
living from the income of the temple, but--in his zeal going beyond
the law of Deut. xviii. 6-8--excluded them from sacrificial functions.

It was seen long ago by some of the Church Fathers that the law book
which Hilkiah found and Josiah enforced can have been no other than
Deuteronomy. The historian of the kingdoms, writing after the reforms
of Josiah and the following reaction and believing that the
prohibition of worship at the high places had been binding since the
building of Solomon's temple, is at pains to say that none of the
kings from Solomon to Josiah, not even those to whom otherwise he
gives the best mark for piety, had paid any attention to this law,
with the sole exception of a brief attempt by Hezekiah. We can go
further, and say that none of the older historians and none of the
prophets of the ninth and eighth centuries show any acquaintance with
such a prohibition. If the prophets assail the worship at the high
places, as Hosea does, it is on the ground that it is heathenish and
immoral, not that it is illegitimate; if Hosea condemns the
pilgrimages to Gilgal and Beersheba, it is not implied that it would
be better to go to Jerusalem; nor, indeed, is any condemnation of the
worship at the high places more drastic than Isaiah's of the cultus
in Jerusalem. Before the latter part of the seventh century there is
no thought that Jehovah has such an exclusive preference for Solomon's

All the other evidence in Deuteronomy points to the same age. Its
conception of God and of religion is derived from the prophets of the
eighth century. The influence of Hosea is particularly plain: that the
essence of religion is love is Hosea's idea, if there is such a thing
as originality in religion. The language and style of Deuteronomy are
of the seventh century, in its excellences and in its defects;
Jeremiah and the author of Kings have the closest resemblance to it in
its rhetorical manner and in its peculiar pathos.

On these grounds, since the latter part of the eighteenth century, an
increasing number of scholars have held that the book was written in
the second half of the seventh century for the purpose of bringing
about a revolution such as actually followed its well-timed discovery;
and this is now the opinion of almost all who admit that the common
principles of historical criticism are applicable to Biblical

Deuteronomy is not all of one piece, as has already been pointed out.
Many older laws were taken up into it at the beginning or introduced
subsequently; considerable additions were made to it after Josiah's
time, and even after the fall of Judah, for in several passages that
catastrophe and the dispersion of the people are an accomplished fact,
an existing situation. It is only the reform programme and what hangs
together with it that can be definitely dated.



Deuteronomy is a fixed point, by reference to which the age of other
strata in the Pentateuch may be determined, at least relatively. Thus
in P the patriarchs never offer sacrifice at the ancient holy places
of Canaan, and the notion that legitimate sacrifice can be made only
on one altar is so fundamental an article of religion that the first
thing at Sinai is the construction of the tabernacle to be transported
from one station to another in the desert. The inference is plain that
P was written at a time when the principle of the unity of the
sanctuary for which Deuteronomy contends with the zeal of innovation
was no longer disputed, at least in the author's surroundings, so that
he has no need to enjoin it, and can, indeed, ignore the fact that
there ever had been other sanctuaries of Jehovah. Such a state of
things never existed while the kingdom stood; it was only in the
Persian period, when Judæa was reduced to a circle of a few miles
about Jerusalem, that the conditions implied in P arose. Only in that
age, through political circumstances, did the high priests attain the
pre-eminence to which P gives the sanction of divine right; and P
itself not obscurely witnesses that these towering pretensions did not
go unchallenged (see especially Num. 16). With this all the other
evidence concurs: the supramundane conception of God and the avoidance
of everything that seems to bring the deity into too close contact
with earthly things or tempts the imagination to figure him too
humanly speak of the progress of theological reflection. The language
is plainly in decadence: apart from words which seem to be new, and
occasionally foreign, the sentence is losing its flexibility, or
authors are losing their mastery of it; it is only necessary to
compare even the best passages in P (such as Gen. 23) with examples of
really classical Hebrew prose (say, in 2 Sam. 11 ff. or the stories of
Elijah in Kings), on the one hand, and with the writing of the
Chronicler (third century B.C.), on the other, to see that P is nearer
to the latter than to the former.

The age of the laws now set in the framework of the Origins is a
distinct question, or rather, as will be understood from what has been
said above, it is a separate question for every law, and often for
successive paragraphs of the same law. And behind the question of the
age of the law in its present formulation is frequently the remoter
problem of the age of the institution or custom. Various criteria are
available in the history of the Kingdoms, in the prophets, in other
collections of laws, and in Ezekiel's programme for the New Jerusalem
(Ezek. 40 ff.). It must be enough here to say that the older laws in P
go back, substantially in their present shape, to the days of the
kingdom, and in many cases represent a prescriptive usage which is of
remote antiquity; while the latest additions to P were made at a time
so recent that they had not found entry into the copies from which the
earliest Greek version was made in the third century B.C.

J and E are both older than Deuteronomy. In Genesis, as has already
been noted, they recite the foundation legends of Shechem, Bethel,
Hebron, Beersheba, and other of the holy places of Canaan, telling how
the patriarchs built the altars, set up the sacred stones, planted the
sacred trees, dug the holy wells, and offered sacrifice to their own
God at these spots, by this origin legitimating as Israelite
sanctuaries what were, at the time of the conquest and long after,
Canaanite "high places." Similarly, in Joshua, Gilgal and Shiloh are
Israelite foundations. These were all, in the time of the kingdoms,
holy places of great repute, frequented by pilgrims from distant
quarters; but there were others, of less ancient pretensions, which
attained equal celebrity. Dan, for instance, which came into the
hands of the Israelites in the time of the Judges, claimed a
priesthood descended from Moses, and became proverbial for the
tenacity with which the good old traditions of Israel were preserved

The narratives in Judges, Samuel, and Kings show that every town and
village had its own holy place, with an altar and a sacred stone, and
sometimes a hall for feasts (e.g. 1 Sam. ix. 22), and that temporary
altars were built whenever and wherever there was reason. This
practice is presumed in an ancient fragment of a law, Exod. xx. 24-26,
which prescribes that all offerings must be made at an altar, which
may be a mound of earth or a heap of field-stones (not hewn stone),
and promises that at every place where God has given signs of his
presence he will come to the sacrifice and bless the offerer. This
rule, which probably originally stood in the context of J, expressly
sanctions the local altars and sacrifices which are so abhorrent to
the deuteronomic reformers of the seventh century.

On the other hand, the strong interest in the origins of the holy
places of Canaan indicates that when J and E were written these high
places were Israelite sanctuaries, which had as such their sacred
legends; indeed, a considerable part of the patriarchal stories is
ultimately derived from these legends of local sanctuaries, which form
a cycle, harmonized and connected by a migration motive. That both J
and E were written long after the settlement of the Israelites in
Palestine is proved even more conclusively by the fact that the
obligatory religious observances are those of an agricultural people.
Thus in Exod. 34, in what was probably according to J the organic law
of the religion of Jehovah, and is indisputably the oldest collection
of religious laws in the Pentateuch, three festivals are ordained, at
which every male is bound "to see the face of Jehovah," that is, to
appear at the high place with his offering--he is warned not to try to
"see Jehovah" without something in his hands--namely, the Feast of
Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks,[2] and the Feast of Ingathering
in the end of the year. The first of these, as we know, came at the
beginning of the barley harvest, at the second the firstfruits of the
wheat harvest were presented, the third celebrated the close of the
vintage and the olive-pressing. The firstlings of the flock and herd,
if we may infer from the order of the prescriptions, were to be
offered at the feast of Unleavened Bread in the Spring. The sabbath is
to be kept as a day of abstention from agricultural labour, "even in
ploughing-time and harvest thou shalt rest." The occupations of a
nomad go on one day like another; the care of the flocks cannot be
suspended for sabbath-keeping.

  [2] The older name, Harvest Feast, is preserved in the parallel, Exod.
  xxiii. 16.

It is difficult to reconstruct the narratives of the exodus and the
wanderings in the desert in J and E as they originally were. Extensive
transpositions seem to have been made at some stage in the
transmission, by which parallel relations of the same occurrence are
separated and appear as distinct events. There were evidently
considerable differences in the traditional accounts which the
earliest authors found current. The holy mountain is in E named Horeb,
in J (probably) as in P, Sinai; Moses' father-in-law in the one is
Jethro, in the other Hobab. In J there are some traces of a tradition,
perhaps the oldest of all, in which there was no mention of Sinai; the
Israelites made their way straight from the Red Sea to Kadesh.

A comparison of J and E with the history of the times of Saul and
David in Samuel, and with the stories of Elijah and Elisha in Kings,
would lead us to ascribe them both to the classic age of Hebrew prose
of which those narratives are specimens. On the other hand, in J and
the older stratum of E there is no influence of the prophetic movement
of the eighth century which left so deep a mark on religion and
literature. On these grounds J may be probably ascribed to the ninth
century, and E, which is somewhat younger, to the first half of the
eighth. Both used older sources, and both were revised and enlarged
by later hands; we have had more than one occasion to refer to an
edition of E which reflects the teaching of the prophets, particularly
of Hosea.

These two histories--the one, as we have seen, Judæan, the other
Israelite--ran so nearly parallel and contained so much matter in
common that an attempt to combine them in one continuous narrative was
natural. The task was accomplished with considerable skill, by a
Judæan historian in the seventh century, who probably introduced
variants or supplementary matter from other sources. The author's own
hand is most certainly recognized in the multiplied and emphasized
warnings against all sorts of heathenism and in a fine tone of
religious reflection on the history and its lessons, in which the
influence of the prophets is plainly visible, but the peculiar
theories of the seventh century historians do not appear. Whether this
history (JE) extended beyond the Book of Joshua, and if so where it
ended, are questions which must be reserved for later consideration.

It is the general opinion that the next stage in the growth of the
Hexateuch (Genesis-Joshua) was the inclusion in a new edition of JE of
the Book of Deuteronomy in the form and dimensions which it had
attained in the generation after the fall of Judah; and, perhaps in
connection with this, the history of the conquest in Joshua as
narrated in JE was recast and much enlarged by an author who was full
of the ideas and phrases of Deuteronomy.

At a considerably later time, perhaps in the fifth century B.C., or
even in the fourth, the Origins of the Religious Institutions, a
product of the Persian period, with the mass of laws that had been
incorporated in it (see above p. 57), was united with JED, thus
bringing together into one volume all that was preserved about the
history down to the conquest of Canaan and all the various
institutions and collections of laws which were attributed to Moses.
The author of this comprehensive work, as was most natural, took P,
with its sharply marked divisions and outstanding epochs, as his
basis, and introduced in each period the parts of JE which seemed to
him to belong there. Where P had a parallel narrative, as in the story
of the Flood, he wove the strands together with more or less
ingenuity, omitting, in ordinary cases, only the most palpable
doublets. It is possible that the same author first incorporated in P
a large part of the so-called priestly laws; it is more certain that,
besides the harmonistic changes necessary in combining his sources, he
made numerous additions; but there is usually no way of distinguishing
his hand from that of earlier or of still later editors.

This hypothesis, which, for all its seeming complexity, is doubtless a
great simplification of the actual literary history, is accepted by
the majority of Old Testament scholars--with many variations in
particulars, it need hardly be said. It is commended to the historian,
not merely by the fact that it explains the confusion and
contradiction which reign in the Pentateuch and offers a solution of
its literary problems, but that, when the sources are distinguished
and reconstructed and their age and relations determined, they become
historical sources of great value for the times in which they were
respectively written, confirming, supplementing, or interpreting the
evidence of the historical books and the prophets, and contributing
important material of various kinds to our knowledge of civilization
in ancient Israel and of its religious development.



In all the sources of the Pentateuch the possession of Canaan is the
goal toward which the whole history moves, from the call of Abraham to
the last exhortations of Moses in the plains of Moab, and they must
all have narrated, however briefly, the occupation of the country. The
history of the conquest and division of Canaan is the subject of the
Book of Joshua. The author has evidently derived his material from
diverse sources, and it is reasonable to expect to find among them
the continuation of the chief sources of the Pentateuch. This
expectation is verified; it is not difficult to recognize in some
places the sequel of the preceding narratives, and other passages
which on internal grounds may confidently be ascribed to one or the
other of them. But the attempt to analyze the book discovers at once
the fact that the problem is different from that in Genesis to
Numbers. The author of the Pentateuch had two chief narrative sources,
a history compiled probably in the first half of the seventh century
and in any case pre-Deuteronomic, which from its two principal strands
is commonly designated by the symbol JE, and the history of the
religious institutions (P), probably of the fifth century. The author
of Joshua had for his sources, besides the continuation of P, a
history of the conquest by a writer belonging to what is not inaptly
called the deuteronomist school of historians, whose thought and style
are moulded by those of Deuteronomy. In cc. 1-12 the author of Joshua
follows this source almost exclusively, only here and there
introducing a passage from the post-exilic narrative (e.g. Jos. v.
10-12); in cc. 13-24, on the other hand, the allotment of the tribal
territories and the assignment of cities in these territories to the
levites and the priests, are chiefly from the later work. Inasmuch as
the style of the deuteronomist and of the priestly writers is
characteristically different, the rough analysis is here comparatively
easy, nor is it ordinarily difficult to recognize the brief passages
which are incorporated from the older sources; but, as in the
Pentateuch, the discrimination of the original contents of the
priestly source from subsequent expansions and from the hand of the
author of Joshua himself is frequently very uncertain. Here also
additions were made by editors at a still later time, some of which
are not found in the Greek version.

A different and much more difficult problem is presented by Jos. 1-12,
the problem, namely, of the sources of the deuteronomist history. The
duplication of the narrative is very plain in the story of Jericho
(Jos. 6). One account told how the Israelites marched around the city
once each day for seven days in ominous silence; on the seventh day,
at Joshua's command, they broke out in the war-cry, and rushing upon
the city from every side, took it by storm, and put every living thing
in it to the sword, sparing only Rahab the harlot and her household.
In the parallel narrative a religious procession, the priests bearing
the ark in the midst, compassed the city seven times; on the last
circuit the priests blew a fanfare on their ram's horns, at which the
walls fell flat to the ground, and the Israelites, after bringing
Rahab to a place of safety, burnt the city with fire. Editors or
scribes who were particularly edified by the horn-blowing start it
prematurely in vs. 8 f., 13, and have tried to improve on the story in
other places. The second version shows the same inclination to glorify
the divine interventions by giving them a magical form which has been
remarked in E's account of the deliverance at the Red Sea, while the
simpler story of the unexpected assault--to which there is a close
parallel in a Roman hand-book of military stratagems--resembles in its
naturalness J's account of the crossing of the sea.

Both sources tell of the rescue of Rahab, and thus presuppose some
such story as we find in Jos. 2, where, again, duplication is evident.
The interdict on the spoils of Jericho (vi. 17, J), is the antecedent
to the story of Achan, whose appropriation of a part of the spoil is
the cause of the repulse at Ai (c. 7), and thus the clues can be
followed backward and forward. The chief source in c. 8 (the taking of
Ai) and c. 9 (ruse of the Gibeonites) also is J, with which the
parallel account of E is combined; additions by later hands are
recognizable, the most remarkable being viii. 30-35 (cf. Deut. xxvii.
1-8, 12). In the history of the two campaigns by which the allied
kings of the south and of the north respectively were annihilated
(Jos. 10 and 11) both sources appear. A considerable part of these
chapters, however, is the work of the deuteronomist author, especially
the summary of the conquests, cc. x. 28-43; xi. 10-23. Chapter 12,
which for completeness goes over the conquests east of the Jordan
also, is dependent on Deut. 3; Jos. xiii. 2-6 (the territories
remaining to be conquered) is of the same sort and probably by the
same hand.

It seems, therefore, that both J and E related the crossing of the
Jordan, the taking of Jericho and the operations against Ai, and,
further, the wars with the confederate kings. In these narratives
Israel, from its standing camp at Gilgal, invades the country as one
great army under the command of Joshua; the deuteronomist author
represents them as exterminating the native population root and
branch, "they left not a soul alive." There are, however, scattered
here and there through the text, fragments of a very different story
(xiii. 13; xv. 13-19, 63; xvii. 11-13, 14-18; xix. 47), most of which
are also found continuously in Judg. 1. According to this account, the
Israelite tribes invaded the country separately or in small groups;
their success varied in different regions, but everywhere the walled
cities remained in the possession of their old inhabitants; in some
quarters the Israelites became subject to the Canaanites, in others
they in time reduced them to subjection. This account may not embody a
historical tradition--it could perfectly well have arisen by inference
from the actual situation at the beginning of the kingdom--but it is
at least in a broad sense historical. The case illustrates in an
instructive way the fact that the oldest literary sources of the
history which we can recover had themselves diverse and sometimes
contradictory sources in tradition.

In the Pentateuch it is well established that J and E had been
combined by a historian of the prophetic period (JE), though there is
evidence that the separate works continued to circulate. In Joshua,
also, it is probable that the deuteronomist historian used the
composite JE, and that the harmonizing of these sources and some of
the religious improvement which runs along with it is the work of his
predecessor who combined the two sources. It seems that P also had E
independently, and it is certain that later editors of the
deuteronomist school added their contributions.

The allotment of the tribal territories, the designation of asylum
cities, and the setting apart of cities for the levites and priests,
comes chiefly, as was said above, from a priestly source. How much of
it was in the older history of P (Book of Origins) is doubtful. One,
at least, of the earlier narratives told of the division of the land
by lot, and P, who followed this representation, may have connected
with it some sort of domesday book; but it was probably not so
detailed as that which we now read.

The assignment of forty-eight cities to the priests and levites,
including the most important places in the country, is an extravagance
even for the sacerdotal imagination, comparable to Ezekiel's
partition of the land in parallel strips. It is the counterpart of
Num. xxxv. 1-8, in a late supplement to the priestly laws, and
directly contradicts the older principle (Num. xviii. 21-24) that
neither priests nor levites shall have any landed property. Thus in
Joshua, as in the Pentateuch, the priestly element is neither of one
sort nor of one age: and again the evidence of the Greek version shows
that additions and changes continued to be made in the text till the
neighbourhood of 200 B.C.

There is no evidence that the author of our Book of Joshua was the
same as the author of the present Pentateuch; various indications
point rather to the contrary. Nor can the author of the deuteronomist
history of the conquest be certainly identified with any one of the
hands engaged in the compilation and enlargement of the Book of
Deuteronomy; all that can be affirmed is that he was of the same
spirit, and that literary dependence upon Deuteronomy, and sometimes
on younger parts of it, is visible in many places in Joshua.

The Book of Joshua closes with a farewell address by Joshua to the
tribes of Israel assembled at Shechem, in which, after a brief résumé
of God's dealing with their fathers from the calling of Abraham, the
exodus, and their own more recent experiences down to the present, he
exhorts them to put away the gods which their fathers served "beyond
the river" (in Mesopotamia), and worship Jehovah alone. Thereupon the
people solemnly pledge themselves to serve him only and hearken to his
words (Jos. 24). There is no question that this discourse is derived
from E; a counterpart to it from the hand of the author of the
deuteronomist Joshua stands in c. 23, and corresponds to the address
of Moses in Deut. xxxi. 1-8. The sequel of Jos. xxiv. 28 is found in
Judg. ii. 6-9. The restoration at a late time, of the old fragment
Judg. i. 1-36, and the division of the books at this point, led to the
repetition of the verses in Jos. xxiv. 29 ff. The importance of this
fact is the proof it gives that E narrated the history of the
generations following the death of Joshua as an apostasy from the
religion of Jehovah such as the dying leader had warned the people
against (Jos. xxiv. 19), and thus determined the treatment of the
whole period which we now find in the Book of Judges. The last
injunctions of Joshua in the deuteronomist history (Jos. xxiii. 14-16)
exhibit the same conception of the subsequent history; in Judg. ii.
11-iii. 6, both E and the deuteronomist author are represented.



The Book of Judges falls into three parts, namely, (1) Judg. i. 1-ii.
5, which intrudes, as has already been observed, between the close of
Joshua and its immediate sequel in Judges ii. 6 ff.; (2) Judg. ii.
6-xvi. 31, stories of a succession of champions and deliverers of
Israel in the centuries preceding the establishment of the kingdom;
(3) Judg. 17-18; 19-21, two additional stories laid in the time of the
Judges. In the Christian Bibles the story of Ruth, which also is said
to have occurred in the days of the Judges, follows.

The introduction, Judg. ii. 6-iii. 6, gives a summary of the whole
period: as soon as Joshua and his generation had passed away, the
Israelites fell away from the religion of Jehovah, and worshipped the
gods of Canaan; indignant at this defection, he allowed them to be
overrun and subdued by their enemies; when in their distress they
turned to their own God for help, he raised them up champions who
delivered them; but their amendment was brief, they presently relapsed
into heathenism; and so it went on from bad to worse. In
correspondence with this general scheme each epoch in the history is
opened in some such way as this: The Israelites again did what was
evil in the sight of Jehovah; he delivered them into the power of
such and such a tyrant or nation; when they cried unto him, he raised
up so and so as a deliverer. Thereupon follows the story of the
deliverance (see iii. 7-11; iii. 12-15; iv. 1 ff.). Sometimes, as in
vi. 1-10, x. 6-18, these preambles are expanded, but the purport
remains the same.

Another feature of the book is the systematic chronology in which the
frequency of the numbers twenty, forty, and eighty (forty years being
in the Old Testament equivalent to a generation) at once strikes the
attention; see iii. 11, 30; iv. 3; v. 31; viii. 28; xiii. 1; xv. 20
(xvi. 31). In several other instances the figures vary a little on
either side of twenty (eighteen, twenty-two, etc.). The duration of
the oppression is given in the introduction of the story; the period
of peace and prosperity which succeeded the deliverance, at the end;
see, e.g., iv. 3; v. 31. In the same way the life of Moses is divided
into three parts of forty years each; Eli judged Israel forty years;
David and Solomon each reigned forty years. It can hardly be doubted
that this chronology is artificial, and that the key to it is found in
1 Kings vi. 1, which reckons four hundred and eighty years (i.e.
twelve generations) from the exodus to the building of Solomon's
temple; but the actual figures in Judges and Samuel do not foot up to
this sum, and there are some gaps in the series, namely, the years of
Joshua after the conquest, the rule of Samuel, and that of Saul. The
symmetry of the scheme has been broken by intrusions or accidental
omissions in the later history of the book.

The author of the part of the Book of Judges we are now considering
(ii. 6-xvi. 31) sees in the history of these centuries a series of
"oppressions" by the native kings or by neighbouring peoples which the
Israelites brought upon themselves by neglecting their own God and
worshipping the deities of the Canaanites, the Baals and Astartes.
This is making history illustrate and enforce the prophetic teaching
of Hosea in the eighth century and Jeremiah in the seventh.

About the oppressions the author of Judges had clearly no information
independent of what he extracted from the stories of the deliverances
in his sources. In accordance with his theory of national sin and
national disaster he converted what are in the stories themselves
local conflicts, involving particular tribes or regions, into
oppressions and deliverances of all Israel; where the story tells of
raids by the Midianites, for example, the introduction gives them the
Amalekites and the Eastern Bedouins for allies, and extends the
devastation these wrought across the whole country to the
neighbourhood of Gaza. The exaggeration of the evils and the
emphasizing of the moral, as in other cases, invited later editors to
amplifications in the same spirit. Of the heroes who delivered Israel
from its oppressors the author made a succession of dictators
("judges"), who differed from the kings after them chiefly in that
their office was not hereditary, and to most of them he gives in his
chronology a long reign.

The setting of the history is thus unmistakably a product of the
so-called deuteronomist school of the sixth century which we have
already recognized in Joshua, and shall learn more of in Kings. The
stories themselves have, however, not been recast or extensively
retouched by deuteronomist hands; only at the beginning and the end,
where they had to be fitted into the frame, are such retouches common.

The author's source was a collection of stories of struggles in
different parts of the land, both east and west of the Jordan, with
the older settled populations or with invaders, and the exploits of
the leaders and champions of the Israelite tribes in these struggles.
It included Ehud's assassination of the king of Moab, the defeat of
Sisera and the Canaanite kings of the great Plain by Barak and
Deborah, the rout and pursuit of the Midianite invaders by Gideon, and
Jephthah's victory over the Ammonites in Gilead. The history of
Abimelech's kingdom of Shechem--sequel to the story of Gideon--which
is not accompanied by the author's moralizing comments, and the
stories of Samson, which have no more than a chronological
introduction and close, evidently belong to the same cycle of heroic
legends; as do also the stories of Micah's idol and the migration of
the Danites (cc. 17-18), and the older form of the story of the levite
and his concubine and the sanguinary vengeance on Benjamin in cc.
19-21. The two last-named stories were not comprised in the
deuteronomist Judges, whose doctrine they could not well be made to
exemplify. On the other hand we shall see that this work included Eli
and Samuel among the judges, and came to its natural conclusion with
the establishment of the kingdom, as it began with the death of

In several of the stories we recognize not merely such additions and
improvements as are commonly made to popular tales in the retelling,
but evidences of the combination of two versions of the same exploit
or accounts of other doings of the same hero. This is particularly
plain in the story of Gideon, where in Judg. vii. 24 f. (vs. 23 is a
harmonistic note), viii. 1-3, the business of the chiefs of Midian is
effectually finished, while in viii. 4 ff. it is all still to be done.
The phenomenon is entirely similar to those which we have had repeated
occasion to observe in the Pentateuch and Joshua and is to be
explained in the same way. The two versions of the story had been
united before the time of the author of the deuteronomist Judges, for
in the joints of the narrative no trace of his peculiar motives or
style occur.

The stories recount the exploits of local or tribal heroes, and
doubtless represent the traditions of the regions or tribes concerned;
with the union of the tribes under the kingdom, however, these
traditions became the common property of the nation, and more than one
writer made collections of them. As in the patriarchal legends, two
strands may be distinguished, which have such affinities with the
Judæan and the Israelite histories in the Hexateuch respectively that
they are naturally regarded as the continuations of J and E. To J may
be probably attributed the story of Ehud (disregarding the
introduction and conclusion), say Judg. iii. 16-28; in the story of
Gideon, viii. 4-60 (with small exceptions), and a part of cc. 6-7;
part of the history of Abimelech; and the adventures of Samson. A good
specimen of the other narrator is the beginning of the story of
Abimelech, with the fable of Jotham, Judg. ix. 1-25.

Here, again, additions have been made at various stages of the
transmission: to the sources independently, by the author who first
combined them, by the deuteronomist author, and in some places by
editors at a much later time. These hands cannot always be certainly
discriminated, but the main outlines of the literary history are clear
enough. A peculiar problem is presented by the so-called Minor Judges,
of whom nothing is told but the length of their rule and the sultanly
size of their families (Judg. x. 1-5; xii. 8-15). They seem to be
brought in only for the sake of the chronology, the difficulties of
which they do not diminish.

Except the curt notices that, the Israelites having again offended
their God, he gave them into the power of the Philistines for forty
years, and that Samson judged Israel for twenty years, it has already
been remarked that the stories of Samson have no such introduction and
conclusion as those which precede. The statement about the duration of
Samson's judgeship occurs both at the end of Judg. 15, and at the end
of c. 16, and it has been inferred from this that whoever put this
formal close in xv. 20 left out the adventure with Delilah and
Samson's tragic end (c. 16).

The stories of Micah and the migration of the Danites (Judg. 17-18)
and of the levite and his concubine and the decimation of Benjamin
(cc. 19-21) were not included in the deuteronomist book; but there is
no reason to doubt that they are of the same age as the other stories
in Judges, nor that they were found in one or more of the literary
collections of these stories. In cc. 17-18 the character of the
narrative in the main suggests the same source with the stories of
Samson (J), but there are some duplications and inconsistencies which
may be regarded as fragments of a closely parallel account of not
greatly inferior age. In cc. 19-21, again, the original story seems to
be from J (with perhaps traces of another version in c. 19), but in
the following account of the vengeance taken by all Israel on the
Benjamites, the older narrative has been united with a second, which
in its point of view, its language, and its unimaginable
exaggerations, is evidently akin to parts of the Books of Chronicles,
or to the youngest additions to the Pentateuch such as the vengeance
on the Midianites (Num. 31), and doubtless belongs to the most recent
stratum of the Old Testament.

Judges i. 1-ii. 5, as has been pointed out above, is foreign to the
connection in which it stands, and can only have been introduced there
by a late compiler or editor. It is a remnant of the most historical,
and presumably the oldest, account of the establishment of the tribes
in western Palestine. That, in completer form, it had originally a
place in the Judæan history (J) is unquestioned, and in that work it
may have been closely followed by stories of exploits such as those of
Ehud, Barak, Gideon. Inasmuch as it contradicted the theory of the
complete conquest and extermination of the Canaanites, it was left out
of the works which described the conquest in that way, but scraps of
it were subsequently introduced in Joshua, and finally the whole
restored in its present position. It is easily seen that the recurring
apostasies into Canaanite heathenism, as well as such stories as those
of Deborah and Barak and of Abimelech, assume that the Canaanites had
not been killed off to the last man, but, on the contrary, were very
much alive; and, in fact, the authors of Judg. ii. 20-iii. 4 feel the
necessity of explaining why God had allowed these heathen to survive.

The historical value of the stories in Judges is very great. However
large the element of legendary embellishment may be in them, they give
us a picture of the social and religious conditions in the period
preceding the founding of the kingdom which has an altogether
different reality from the narratives of the exodus and the

The trustworthiness of this picture is confirmed by one contemporary
monument of prime significance, the triumphal ode in Judg. 5, commonly
called the Song of Deborah, celebrating the victory of the Israelite
tribes over Sisera and his hosts and the death of the fleeing king by
the hand of a Bedouin woman in whose tent he sought refuge. The text
in the middle of the poem has suffered greatly, but the beginning and
end are better preserved and display not only a developed poetic art
but poetic inspiration of the highest kind. To the historian it has an
even greater interest for the light which it throws on the times: the
independence of the tribes on both sides of the Jordan, the subjection
of those along the Great Plain to the Canaanite kings with their
walled cities and their formidable chariotry, the summons to the
struggle in the name of religion and the varying response, the victory
of Jehovah over his foes. It should not be overlooked that Judah is
ignored; it was not counted among the tribes of Israel.

The moralizing improvement of the history in the Book of Judges is not
carried beyond the story of Jephthah, but neither at that point nor
after the stories of Samson is there anything to indicate that the
author is done. The introduction in Judg. ii. 11-iii. 6, a passage in
which both the deuteronomist historian and a predecessor in the same
way of thinking have had a hand, seems to require a correspondingly
solemn conclusion, and the example of Deuteronomy and Joshua suggests
that this would take the form of a hortatory address such as Moses and
Joshua deliver as their testament to the people. Exactly such a
discourse is found in 1 Sam. 12, where the aged Samuel, on the point
of laying down his office as judge, reminds the people's conscience of
the chief crises of the times of the judges in terms reminiscent of
the introduction to the Book of Judges and to the several oppressions,
upbraids them for their sin in desiring a king, and closes with
admonitions for the future. Here Samuel appears as a judge, the last
in the succession; as a judge he is represented also in 1 Sam. 7,
where he delivers his people from the Philistines in the great victory
at Ebenezer through the efficacy of his sacrifice and prayers--a
Gideon or a Jephthah went about the business in a more secular
fashion! Eli also is said to have judged Israel forty years. At some
stage in the history of the sources of Judges and Samuel, therefore,
Eli and Samuel were enumerated among the judges, and the close of the
period was marked by the address of Samuel which we now read in 1 Sam.
12. The contents and form of this address have their parallels in the
writings of the sixth century or the latter part of the seventh, and
to that time it is doubtless to be ascribed.



A different division is adopted in the present books of Judges and
Samuel, in which the stories of Eli and of Samuel are not made the
close of the period of the judges but the prelude to the history of
the kingdom. The Greek Bible divides this history into four books of
the Kingdoms, or rather of the Reigns of the Kings; the Hebrew, into
two, Samuel and Kings; the modern translations employ the latter names
but adopt the subdivisions of the Greek, thus making two books of
Samuel and two of Kings. First Samuel shows how the conquest and
occupation of central Palestine by the Philistines led to the
establishment of a national kingdom under Saul, a Benjamite; narrates
the rise of his rival, the Judæan David, and the feud between them,
down to the disastrous battle with the Philistines at Mt. Gilboa in
which Saul and his gallant sons fell. Second Samuel is the history of
David's reign and the tragedy of his house, the conclusion of which,
the intrigue which raised Solomon to the throne and the death of the
aged king, is treated as the prelude to Solomon's reign and carried
over into 1 Kings; one recension of the Greek Bible, however, joins
these chapters (1 Kings 1-2) to the preceding book. The two Books of
Kings recount the reign of Solomon; the division of the kingdom after
his death into two, on the old line, Israel and Judah; the parallel
history of the two kingdoms to the end of Israel in 721 B.C.; and the
rest of the history of Judah to its fall in 586.

In the account of how Saul became king there are two contradictory
representations. One of these, which agrees with 1 Sam. 12 in treating
the desire of the people for a king as the wanton repudiation of
Jehovah their king and of Samuel their divinely appointed judge, is
contained in cc. 8; x. 17-27; 12. The other, according to which God,
seeing the distress the people were in because of the Philistines, of
his own motion resolves to give them a king to deliver them from their
oppressors, is in 1 Sam. ix. 1-x. 16; 11. In c. 9 Samuel appears as a
seer with a neighbourhood reputation of being able to tell where
people's stray asses have gone, not as the prophet and judge, the
first man of his time.

These strands can be followed in both directions beyond the chapters
named: 1 Sam. xiii. 1-xiv. 66 belongs to the second, which we may call
the national version of the matter; c. 15 attaches itself to the
other, say theocratic, representation, though it is of a somewhat
different texture. On the other side, vii. 3-17 plainly goes with c.
8; while iv. 1^b-vii. 2 are akin to the national version, showing how
grievous the situation was and how urgent the need of a king. Chapters
1-3 have a twofold motive; they tell of the wonderful childhood of a
great man, and they explain the disasters of Eli's house. The latter
has reference to cc. 4-6; the former, a favourite theme of popular
tales, is an appropriate introduction to Samuel the prophet.

Of the two accounts of the origin of the kingdom, it takes no great
critical discernment to see that what we have called the national
version is the older and more historical; the other, which condemns
the monarchy as a kind of apostasy, takes the standpoint of Hosea. The
picture of the monarch in 1 Sam. 12 is drawn from sorry experience.

Even in the older narrative not all is of one piece. Chapter 9, in
which Saul is a young man in his father's house, does not tally with
c. 14, where he has a grown-up son. The author of this narrative made
it up from traditions of diverse origin, some of them more strictly
historical, others embellished with legendary traits. In its main
features, however, it gives us a trustworthy account of the
establishment of the kingdom. In c. 13, the breach with Samuel, vs.
7^b-15^a (with x. 8 which prepares for it), are not part of the
original narrative; c. 15 gives another account of the origin of this
breach, which was evidently a standing feature of tradition. In the
remaining chapters of 1 Samuel the central interest is the relations
of David to Saul. Here also there are not only two main literary
sources but evidence of variant traditions underlying the oldest
narrative, and of the additions by later editors, sometimes of their
conception, sometimes taken from old and good sources.

It is impossible here to pursue the analysis of the sources further.
It must suffice to say that the further on we go, the more the older
and better of the histories predominates. In 2 Samuel almost the whole
is from this source (c. 7 is a notable exception, in the spirit and
manner of the seventh century). Abridgment and transposition have
brought matters into disorder at some points; but 2 Sam. 9-20 is a
well-preserved piece of continuous narrative, of which 1 Kings 1-2 is
the sequel. 2 Sam. xxi. 1-14 and c. 24 are from the same source, but
must originally have stood at an earlier point in the history; their
present position is best explained by supposing that they were once
omitted--which their contents make very natural--and subsequently
restored from a completer copy, not in their proper connection but in
an appendix. Chapter xxiii. 8-39 is a very ancient roster of David's
"valiant men," the companions of his days as an outlawed freebooter on
the Philistine border; xxi. 15-22 is of the same character. Two poems
attributed to David are also included in this appendix, c. 22, which,
with many variants, is found also in the Psalter (Ps. 18), and xxiii.

The history of Saul and David gave little invitation to a moralizing
improvement such as we have found in Judges and shall find again in
Kings. Whatever faults those heroes had, a propensity to the worship
of heathen gods could not be laid to them. The national uprising
against the Philistines was, in fact, a revival of religion. If in
times of peace men sought the blessing of the gods of the soil (the
Baals) upon their tillage, in war their only reliance was on Jehovah,
the god of Israel. Nor was the worship of Jehovah at the village
sanctuaries (high places) or upon altars erected for the nonce,
illegitimate, even in deuteronomic theory, till God had taken up his
sole abode in Solomon's temple. Accordingly there is, after 1 Sam. 12,
once the close of a history of the judges, small trace of the motives
or phrases of the seventh-century school of historians; and only in a
few passages can the hand of post-exilic editors be suspected. For the
rest we have in our hands a product of the oldest Hebrew

From a literary point of view the older source in the history of David
is unsurpassed. It has in perfection all the qualities that
distinguish the best Hebrew prose such as are conspicuous in the
Judæan author of the patriarchal stories in Genesis. In the art of
narrative Herodotus himself could do no better.

Its historical value is also very high. The account of David's later
years in 2 Sam. 9-20; 2 Kings 1-2 bears all the marks of contemporary
origin. It comes from one who not only knew the large political events
of the reign, but was intimately informed about the life of the court,
and the scandals, crimes, and intrigues in the king's household which
clouded the end of his glorious career. These things are narrated with
an objectivity and impartiality which cannot fail to impress the
reader. The author has a high admiration for David, but this does not
lead him to gloze over his faults or even his grave sins, nor to
disguise the weakness of his rule in his own house which was the cause
of so much unhappiness. His development of this domestic tragedy is,
indeed, truly dramatic, and the discrimination of the characters--say
of Absalom and Adonijah--shows fine insight. He tells without comment
how only the distrust of some of the Philistine chiefs kept David, as
a vassal of Achish of Gath, from fighting upon the Philistine side
against Saul in the fatal battle of Mt. Gilboa. So, too, he is loyally
minded to Solomon, but he does not conceal the strings of the
harem-intrigue by which the doting old King David was brought to
declare for his succession, or to pass over the ominous beginning of
Solomon's "new course," with the execution of Adonijah, the deposition
of the priest Abiathar, and the murder, at altar where he had sought
asylum, of Joab, to whom more than any other the house of Jesse owed
the throne. The official pretexts are duly recorded, but the facts
speak for themselves. In 1 Kings ii. 5 f. the death of Joab is
enjoined in David's testament; opinions differ whether these verses
are from the same source with ii. 12 ff., or are by the late
seventh-century writer to whom vs. 1-4 are ascribed by all. Without
idealizing David, we may at least allow ourselves the conjecture that,
if his last words decided the death of his old companion in arms and
most loyal servant, Nathan or Bathsheba was at his dying ear.

The crisis in the history of the Israelite tribes which the Philistine
invasion created; the long struggle with these foes, very different
from their conflicts with their petty neighbours; the emergence in
this struggle of a national consciousness at once political and
religious; the union of the tribes in a national kingdom; the conquest
of independence; the following wars of expansion and the foundation
of a short-lived Israelite empire--these were achievements to stir the
soul of a people and be celebrated in song and story. The leaders too,
in these memorable doings were such heroes as ancient history loves to
have in the middle of its stage--Saul with his chivalric son Jonathan;
David with Joab, Abner, and the rest of his gallant band.

The making of great history has often given a first impulse to the
writing of history, and we may well believe that it was so in Israel,
and that the beginning of Hebrew historical literature, in the proper
sense of the word, was made with Saul and David. Around such figures
the popular imagination always weaves a more or less translucent
tissue of legend, and particularly about their youth before they come
out on the stage of history, or the manner of their first appearance.

The historians gathered up tribal tales such as the exploits of the
judges (that is, in the original sense, deliverers, or defenders), the
sacred legends of holy places, the traditions of a wonderful escape
from the Egyptians, a visit to the Mount of God and an agreement to
worship the god of the place as their god, of another sanctuary in the
desert at Kadesh, conflicts with the Bedouins, and attempts to force
an entry into Canaan--in short, all the diverse material which is
preserved in the older narratives in Exodus and Numbers--and combined
them as best they could into a continuous history of the people of

The continuity is, however, only a narrative continuity; historically
there are great gaps in it, or, more exactly, the traditions cluster
about only a few points, such as the exodus and the invasion of
Palestine, and these are embellished with a wealth of legendary and
mythical circumstance beneath which the facts are effectually hidden.
The nature of this material may be judged from the fact that between
Joshua and Eli there are only the episodes of the judges, strung on a
chronological string, generalized as experiences of all Israel, and
put under a theological judgment--invaluable as pictures of
civilization, but as a history of a couple of centuries (the
chronology says four) evidently insufficient. On the other side of the
exodus are, according to the genealogies, three or four generations
(the chronology again makes it four hundred years) of total ignorance;
beyond that lies the patriarchal story, the realm of pure legend.

Out of such materials Judæan authors in the tenth and following
centuries constructed the history of their people from the remotest
antiquity, and, as commonly happens with the first precipitation of
national traditions, preformed all subsequent representations.

This earliest book of history is commonly designated in the Pentateuch
and Joshua by the symbol J. It is disputed whether the oldest history
of the founding of the kingdom in Samuel should be regarded as a
continuation of J. If it were meant thereby to affirm unity of
authorship of this strand from Genesis to Samuel, that would be saying
much more than the facts warrant; but there is through the whole so
noteworthy a congruity of conception and sameness of excellence in
style that it is not inappropriate to use for it the one symbol J in
the sense of the oldest Judæan history.



David took Jerusalem, which till then had been a Jebusite stronghold,
and made it the capital of his kingdom; but he reigned, after as
before, in patriarchal fashion, making, so far as appears, few changes
in the old institutions. Solomon reorganized the monarchy after the
common pattern of Oriental despotisms, dividing the country into
provinces for purposes of taxation, without regard to the autonomy of
the tribes and their liberties. He built a great palace in the
citadel, and, within the same enclosure, a temple, which, as the royal
sanctuary, was also in a sense national. Like other Eastern rulers, he
caused his doings to be recorded in the annals of the kingdom, and
doubtless the priests of the temple kept their own chronicles. From
this time, therefore, sources of a new kind make their appearance in
the history, contemporary records drawn from the royal and priestly
annals. The extracts from these sources in the Book of Kings, like
those of the Assyrian kings, or the Phoenician annals of which
fragments (through Menander) are preserved by Josephus, were brief and
bald records of doings or happenings, not biographical or historical
narratives. But brief and bald as they were they furnished a
groundwork of fact; and, since they set down at the accession of each
king the length of his predecessor's reign, they gave also the data
for a continuous chronology.

It is not to be supposed that the historical literature whose
brilliant beginnings we have seen ceased in the first century of the
kingdom or that the writers occupied themselves solely with the
remoter past. The memorable deeds of great men will not have gone
uncelebrated. The narrative, however, which is the chief source for
the times of Saul and David, breaks off abruptly in 1 Kings 2. The
Books of Kings are of a wholly different fabric. For one thing, while
the two Books of Samuel cover little more than the span of one long
lifetime, Kings, in about the same space, comprises the history of
close on to four centuries. But there is a still greater difference,
as we shall see, in the way in which history is treated.

The grand divisions of the Books of Kings are these: 1 Kings ii.
12-xi. 43 is occupied with the reign of Solomon; the division of the
kingdom after his death is narrated in xii. 1-24; the parallel history
of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah to the fall of Samaria in 721
B.C. runs to 2 Kings xviii. 12; the history of Judah from that date to
its own fall in 586 fills the rest of the book.

The age of the book is easily determined: it tells of the two sieges
of Jerusalem by the Babylonians (597 and 586 B.C.); the destruction of
the temple and palace and the razing of the city walls, the
assassination of Gedaliah, whom Nebuchadnezzar had made governor over
the devastated land; and the flight of the Jews from the king's
vengeance to Egypt. The last event mentioned is the liberation of King
Jehoiachin by Evil-Merodach (Amil-Marduk) in 561 B.C. It is of course
possible that this detached notice (2 Kings xxv. 27-30) was added by a
later hand; but there is no reason to include the story of Gedaliah in
this suspicion. The book in its present form cannot, therefore, be
earlier than, say, about 580 B.C. In some places in the body of the
book, also, the fall of Judah is spoken of as an accomplished fact,
e.g. 2 Kings xvii. 19 f. (in conflict with vss. 18 and 21 ff.). Such
passages are, however, not very numerous, and they commonly sit loose
in their context, like the verses just cited, as if they were thrust
into the narrative by an editor. The bulk of the work, on the
contrary, seems to suppose the existence of the kingdom. It is,
therefore, the general opinion that the book was written before the
fall of Jerusalem, and that a continuator added the account of the
catastrophe and the events immediately subsequent to it.

The older Kings, from beginning to end, is dominated by the conception
and permeated by the phraseology of Deuteronomy and of the prophet
Jeremiah, and must therefore be placed between 621 B.C. (the date of
the introduction of the deuteronomic law) and the beginning of the
last act of the history, that is to say, probably shortly before the
year 600 B.C.

It is not enough to say that Kings was written under the influence of
Deuteronomy; it was written, we might rather say, as a commentary on
the deuteronomic doctrine that falling away from the national religion
is punished by national disaster. In this point of view it resembles
Judges; but while in Judges it is the lapse into Canaanite heathenism,
the worship of the Baals and Astartes, which draws upon Israel
invasion and subjugation, in Kings not only foreign religions but the
worship at the high places, that is, the worship of Jehovah at his
oldest and holiest sanctuaries, provokes the wrath of God; for since
the dedication of Solomon's temple Jehovah had made it his exclusive
abode and all other places of worship were illegitimate. We have seen
that down to Josiah's reform this worship prevailed unchallenged in
both kingdoms. In the author's view, generation after generation,
under bad kings and good, had thus sinned against the organic law of
religion, and all judgments had failed to work amendment. In Israel
idolatry made the case worse; the "golden calves," that is, the small
images of Jehovah in the form of a bull, which Jeroboam had set up at
Bethel and Dan, were worshipped under all his successors. These sins
had in the end brought ruin on Israel, and they were bringing it on
Judah. Manasseh had done even worse than Jeroboam; strange gods from
near and far were installed in the temple itself, and under its walls
men sacrificed their children to "the King" (Moloch). Josiah's reforms
had no lasting results; the reaction under his successors restored the
high places, and heathen cults flourished again. The doom was
imminent; would Judah learn the lesson of history before it was too
late? Some one has said that history is philosophy teaching by
example; for the author of Kings history was prophecy teaching by

It was the lesson of the history that the author was after, and this
ruling motive determined his selection of material as well as the
treatment of it. It explains why he hardly tells anything about some
of the greatest kings and the most glorious periods of the history,
which did not afford illustrations of his thesis, while he dwells on
things of much less historical importance.

The characteristic interests of the author and his highly
characteristic style sharply distinguish his own writing from the
sources which he incorporates. These sources, as will be supposed,
were of different kinds and of various worth; they were naturally not
the same in all parts of the long period he covers, and he has not
always dealt with them in the same way. Part of his material comes,
directly or indirectly, from the annals of the kings, to which the
reader is regularly referred for further information (see e.g., 1
Kings xiv. 19, 29), or from temple records; part of it from more
properly literary sources. Sometimes it has all the marks of
trustworthy tradition originating close to the event; again, it is
embroidered with legendary traits; a smaller part is edifying fiction.
In some cases, as in the stories of Elijah and Elisha, a special
source is recognizable, but in the main the attempt to trace the
literary channels through which the matter reached the author is

In the history of Solomon's reign the central place is taken by a
description of the palace and temple he erected (1 Kings 6-7), for
which c. 5 is a preparation, and c. 8, the dedication of the temple,
the sequel. The interesting account of the provincial organization and
system of taxation in c. 4 is evidently from an authoritative source;
the cession of cities in Galilee to Hiram, the list of cities
fortified, the (mutilated) account of the revolt of Edom, the rise of
the kingdom of Damascus, and the (mutilated) history of the revolt of
Jeroboam, the prelude to the separation of Israel and Judah, are also
of good authority.

By the side of these are stories celebrating the magnificence and
wisdom of Solomon, the beginnings of the exuberant Solomonic legend.
The judgment of Solomon in the case of the two harlots and of the
visit of the Queen of Sheba are examples of the popular tale, and
relatively old. The dedication of the temple has been much expanded by
the author of the Book of Kings; 1 Kings viii. 14-66 are wholly his
composition; ix. 1-9 is an appendix to c. 8. In viii. 1-12 an older
account of the dedication has been improved by various hands.
Comparison with the Greek translation shows that this process went on
to very late times; the latest additions are akin to the priestly
stratum in the Pentateuch. Chapter xi. 1-13 also is by the author of
the Book of Kings, built about a few words from his source in vs. 7;
vss. 29-40 are of the same sort.

1 Kings 12-2 Kings 17 contains the parallel history of Israel and
Judah. The method of the author is to follow the reign of a king, say
of Israel, to its end and then go back to take up the king of Judah
who came to the throne during this reign, follow him to his death, and
return to pick up the Israelite history again in the same way. The
result is, thus, interlocking histories, rather than a parallel
history. The length of each reign is given, probably ultimately from
the annals, with a computed synchronism which is at some points
demonstrably in error. With the introduction of each king a
comprehensive judgment by the standard of the deuteronomic law is
pronounced upon his reign. Thus, "In the eighteenth year of the king
Jeroboam the son of Nebat [king of Israel], began Abijah to reign over
Judah. Three years reigned he in Jerusalem, and his mother's name was
Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. And he walked in all the sins of his
father which he had done before him," etc. "In the third year of Asa
king of Judah began Baasha the son of Abijah to reign over all Israel
in Tirzah, and he reigned twenty and four years. And he did that which
was evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of Jeroboam,
and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin." These judgments are
so stereotyped that they are pronounced even on kings who reigned but
a short time--Zimri, for instance, who lasted only seven days. In the
case of godly kings of Judah, even of such as are credited with
commendable zeal against the worships that Deuteronomy denounces as
Canaanitish heathenism, the reproach of leaving the worship of Jehovah
at the "high places" unmolested is not spared them; see, e.g., 1 Kings
xv. 1-14; xxii. 43.

The conflict between the tribes to whom the name Israel by historical
right belonged, headed by Ephraim, intent on reclaiming the ancient
liberties which Solomon had curtailed and securing adequate guarantees
for them, and Rehoboam, obstinate to maintain the despotism which his
father had established and the supremacy of Judah, ended in the
Israelite tribes refusing to acknowledge the succession and setting up
a kingdom of their own with Jeroboam the son Nebat as king. These
critical events are narrated in the source, 1 Kings xii. 1-20, with
noteworthy impartiality; a comparison with the treatment of the matter
by the author of the Book of Kings himself in xi. 29-39; xii. 21-24,
is instructive. The account of Jeroboam's religious foundations and
innovations in c. xii. 26-33 (with which xiii. 33^b belongs) is
probably based on an old Israelite source (the temples Jeroboam built,
etc.), on which the author of the book has put his own construction
and made his own comments. 1 Kings 13 is a specimen of the edifying
stories--religious fiction--which were added to the historical books
at a very late time and are especially numerous in Chronicles; the
reference to it in 2 Kings xxiii. 17 f. is an interpolation in a
context itself post-exilic. The story of the visit of Jeroboam's wife
to the prophet Ahijah (1 Kings xiv. 1-18) is in the manner of the
author, but seems to have an older basis. The fluid state of the text
at a very late time is again shown by the fact that in some recensions
of the Greek version the story is not found in this place, but,
together with other matter about Jeroboam (in part variant parallel to
1 Kings xi. 26 ff., 40), in a long passage which stands in c. 12
between vss. 24 and 25.

The invasion of Shishak, king of Egypt (1 Kings xiv. 25-28), is
introduced by the author with a catalogue of the deuteronomic
transgressions which provoked God to punish the kingdom in this way;
the similarity to the introduction to the oppressions in Judges is
apparent. So in the following chapters: the author's facts probably
come from annalistic sources which can in places be recognized, but
the religious interpretation of the events, which he sometimes gives
in his own quality as historian, sometimes puts into the mouth of a
prophet (e.g. xvi. 1-7, cf. xiv. 1-18), is from the point of view of
the deuteronomist school.

Another characteristic of the author's method is illustrated by his
treatment of the reign of Omri (1 Kings xvi. 23-28). Omri was the
founder of the greatest dynasty of the northern kingdom, and was one
of its greatest kings. From an inscription of the Moabite king Mesha,
we learn that Omri subjugated the lands east of the Jordan (see also 2
Kings i. 1; iii. 4 ff.), and it is probable that his conquests were
pushed to the north-east into Syria; the Assyrian kings long after his
death call Israel the "house of Omri." But the long and brilliantly
successful reign of a king who in religion followed in the footsteps
of the kings of Israel before him, "golden calves" and all, obviously
could not be made to exemplify the doctrine that such sins are
regularly visited by condign judgment in national disaster.
Consequently, all that our author records of Omri, beyond the
revolutions which paved for him the way to the throne (1 Kings xvi.
16-18), is contained in one verse, 1 Kings xvi. 24--he built a capital
on a new site, Samaria!

In the following reign, however, Israel had troubles enough; the
conquests east of the Jordan were lost, and the long chapter of Syrian
wars began. This was material more to the author's purpose, and he
makes good use of it. Here also, in addition to the annals and
whatever other sources were at his hand for the preceding period, he
had a new and peculiarly grateful source in the stories of Elijah and
Elisha. To the fact that these prophets were outstanding figures in
some of the crises of the Syrian wars we owe it that so much of the
history of that struggle is preserved; for what the author has
extracted from the annals is as meagre as elsewhere.

From such "lives and times" of the prophets is derived much the
greater part of 1 Kings 17-2 Kings 10, with 2 Kings xiii. 14-21. The
stories of Elijah (1 Kings 17-19; 21; 2 Kings 1; ii. 1-18) are among
the most striking in the Old Testament; the supernatural in them seems
the natural setting for a figure of such heroic mould, and is a
stronger testimony than any record of fact could be to the impression
of the superman on the imagination of ordinary mortals. Through the
vesture of legend, we too have the impression of a something titanic
in the man who dared solitary to stand for his God against kings,
priests, prophets, and people, and, worse than all, the vengeful fury
of a woman! We can see, also, that his conflict against the prophets
of Baal makes an era in the history of religion in Israel. "If Jehovah
be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him," he thunders at the
people on Mt. Carmel. It was not the first assertion of the jealousy
of Jehovah and the exclusiveness of the true religion; but the issue
had never before been so dramatically joined. The intolerant
monotheism of Judaism had found its war cry.

1 Kings 17-19, Elijah at Sarepta, on Carmel, and at Horeb, belong
together; the beginning, which must in some way have brought Elijah
upon the stage, is not preserved; 1 Kings 21 (Naboth's vineyard) may
very well be from the same source; in the end of the chapter (vs.
20^b-26) the author of the Book of Kings has the word, and in the
other chapters there are slight traces of the same hand. With these
small exceptions the stories are old, and probably received their
present literary form in the ninth century, certainly before the
prophetic movement of the eighth. 2 Kings i. 2-17 is a legend of a
different kind and presumably considerably younger. 2 Kings ii. 1-18,
on the other hand, is akin to the older stories in 1 Kings 17-19, 21;
it forms the connecting link with Elisha.

Among the stories of Elijah stand other episodes of the Syrian wars in
which prophets figure, 1 Kings 20; xxii. 1-38. The second of these,
Micaiah ben Imlah before Ahab and Jehoshaphat, is of peculiar
interest. They are apparently of the same age with their surroundings.
In both a few verses are from later editors. To the same cycle
probably belong 2 Kings iii. 4-27, the campaign against Moab, as well
as 2 Kings ix. 1-x. 27, Jehu's revolt instigated by Elisha, the murder
of King Ahaziah and of the queen mother, Jezebel, the massacre of the
princes of the house of Omri and the extirpation of the worship of

Beside these are a group of stories about Elisha, chiefly celebrating
him as a wonder-worker, and bringing him into connection with the
"sons of the prophets," who seem to have formed a kind of dervish
order. The collector or editor has accumulated them all in one reign,
probably against their original intention. Scattered through the
narratives drawn from the lives of the prophets are brief notices from
the annals and the usual deuteronomist appraisals by the author of

The attempt of Jehu to exterminate the dynasty of Omri, involving the
slaughter of the Judæan princes, had the unintended result of enabling
the queen mother, Athaliah, a daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, to seize
the throne. The revolution, planned by the chief priest of Jerusalem,
which overthrew the usurper and brought the true heir, the
seven-year-old Joash, to his own, is told in 2 Kings xi. 1-20; a
somewhat minute account of the restoration of the temple in his reign
follows in c. xii. 4-16, both from a good Judæan source, perhaps
ultimately a temple chronicle. The author of Kings has his usual
formulas, including the tolerated high places, in c. xii. 1-3. The
extract from the annals at the end of the chapter, the straits into
which Hazael of Syria brought Joash, and his death by a treasonable
conspiracy, which might be thought to prove that piety is not always
crowned with prosperity, is anticipated by the author of Kings in 2
Kings xii. 3--Joash's piety lasted only as long as he was in the
leading strings of the priest Jehoiada.

In the following reigns the material derived from narrative sources is
more scanty; a noteworthy passage of this kind is the account,
evidently from an Israelite writer, of the chastisement Jehoash of
Israel inflicted on the presumptuous Amaziah of Judah (2 Kings xiv.
8-14). The contemporary reigns of Jeroboam II of Israel and Azariah,
or Uzziah, of Judah, lasting half a century, a period of great
prosperity in both kingdoms, are dispatched with extreme brevity, and
are followed by the swiftly successive conspiracies and revolutions in
which the northern kingdom declined to its fall. The story of treason
and bloodshed is suspended to tell of the reign of Ahaz in Judah (2
Kings 16) from a source chiefly interested in the temple, and then the
last act of Israel's tragedy opens. To the brief account of the fall
of Samaria in 2 Kings xvii. 1-6, is appended the moral of the whole
history, VSS. 7-41. This homiletic improvement of the catastrophe was
an inviting task, and besides the author of Kings, the exilian
continuator and perhaps still later editors contributed to draw it out
and emphasize it.

From this point the historian has only Judah to deal with. The reign
of Hezekiah is narrated at some length in 2 Kings 18-20. A
considerable part of these chapters (xviii. 13-XX. 19) is found also
in the Book of Isaiah (Isa. 36-39), with variations which are of much
interest for the history of the text. The psalm, Isa. xxxviii. 9-20,
for instance, is not found in Kings; 2 Kings xviii. 14-16 is not in
Isaiah, and minor differences occur in almost every verse. The
introduction to the reign of Hezekiah by the author of Kings is
somewhat longer than usual, and attributes to him not only the
destruction of the serpent idol in the temple which Moses was
believed to have made (cf. Num. xxi. 8 f.), and of other apparatus of
heathenism, but the removal of the high places, making him thus
anticipate the reforms of Josiah a century later (2 Kings xviii. 4).
This probably exaggerates Hezekiah's good works, but for the bronze
serpent to which sacrificial worship had been paid from time
immemorial, as well as for vs. 7 f. (Hezekiah's rebellion), which is
the antecedent of vs. 13 ff., he may have had the authority of the

From the annals probably come also 2 Kings xviii. 13-16, with their
brief record of the penalty Hezekiah paid for his revolt. Of this we
have also Sennacherib's account in his inscriptions, where he tells
how he took the cities of Judah and shut up Hezekiah in Jerusalem
"like a bird in a cage," and gives the figures of the heavy indemnity
he imposed upon him. There follow two longer accounts of Sennacherib's
operations, 2 Kings xviii. 17-xix. 8 and xix. 9-37, which are commonly
regarded as parallel and somewhat discrepant relations of the same
campaign, but by some are thought to refer to two different occasions,
at an interval of ten years or more. 2 Kings xx. 1-11 (cf. Isa. 38) is
perhaps from a life of Isaiah, who is the chief figure in it; vs.
12-19 (Isa. 39), the embassy of the chronic Babylonia rebel, Merodach
Baladan, presumably to undermine Hezekiah's shaky loyalty to his
Assyrian lord, seems to belong at an earlier point in the story; in it
also Isaiah is the central person. In the closing paragraph the
author of Kings has preserved an interesting annalistic notice of an
aqueduct and reservoir which Hezekiah constructed, not improbably the
Siloam tunnel and the reservoir it feeds.

Of the fifty-five years' reign of Manasseh, and the two years of his
son Amon, a half-century of peace and prosperity in which the country
recuperated from the disasters Hezekiah had brought upon it, nothing
is told. Instead we have a long catalogue of Manasseh's religious
obliquities, which includes all the crimes most abhorrent to the
seventh-century prophets and laws, and the proclamation of God "by his
servants the prophets" that these sins sealed the doom of Judah. This
prediction is made from the standpoint of the accomplished fact, and
indeed most of the chapter seems to be by the exilian continuator of
Kings or a still later writer.

With the reforms of Josiah (621 B.C.; 2 Kings 22-23) we arrive at
events which, if not within the personal knowledge of the author of
Kings, were known to his older contemporaries. This does not, of
course, exclude the use of written records or narratives, and, in
fact, there seem to be traces of such in the chapters. More certain it
is that the continuator of the book made some changes in the account;
the oracle of Huldah, for example, seems to have been revised in the
light of the event.

To this continuator, as has already been said, the history of the two
sieges of Jerusalem, the deportations, and the misfortunes of those
who were left in the land are to be attributed. In several places in
earlier parts of the history we have had occasion to observe that
additions and changes continue to be made by the editors or
scribes--and every scribe who copied a book in those days wielded an
editor's pen when he chose--until a time close to the age of the Greek
translation, that is, the third century B.C.

The age in which the Pentateuch and the several Historical Books
(Joshua-Kings), the product of the long and obscure process which we
have attempted to outline in the preceding chapters, were adjusted and
connected so as to make a continuous history from the creation to the
fall of the Judæan state, can be fixed only by the fact that the
author of Chronicles (about 300 B.C. or somewhat later; see below)
seems to have read these books in the order and, so far as his use of
them permits a judgment, substantially with the contents of our
present Old Testament. This arrangement, or edition, if we choose to
call it so, as has been shown, did not put an end to additions and
alterations, though they gradually became less frequent and less
important in the following centuries. A standard and stable Hebrew
text was established only in the second century after the Christian



By the side of this comprehensive history stands another which is in
part parallel, in part supplementary, to it, Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah.
It differs from the former in being the work of one author, whose
characteristic conceptions, interests, and manner make it easy to
distinguish his writing from the sources he incorporates. His
peculiarities are the better known because there is so much of his own
in the books--not far from half the matter contained in them.

The succession of the high priests is brought down to Jaddua, who was
contemporary with Alexander the Great, and lists of heads of priestly
and levitical families are given in Neh. 12 for the reign of Darius
(Codomannus), the last Persian king. The book can, therefore, not be
put much, if any, before 300 B.C., and more probably it was written in
the following century.

The history begins with the death of Saul and the election of David as
king by all Israel at Hebron (1 Chron. 10-11). The preceding chapters
are filled with genealogies, beginning with Adam. Twenty-six verses
bring us to Abraham, and the second chapter opens with the sons of
Israel, while the third is a list of the sons of David and of his
successors on the throne to the fall of the kingdom, with the
descendants of the last king through several generations. These
genealogies, to which historical notices of different kinds are
frequently attached, are in part compiled from various places in the
Pentateuch and Historical Books, in part more freely reproduced from
such passages; but a large remainder has no parallel in the older
work. The author, here as elsewhere, evidently attaches great
importance to these lists, in particular to those which enabled the
families of his own time, clerical and lay, or the inhabitants of
towns and villages, to trace their pedigree back to remote times.

It is not without reason that the historical narrative sets in with
David, and that the first event of his reign recorded is the taking of
Jerusalem; for Jerusalem is from first to last the centre of the
author's interest. He writes the history of Judah alone, touching upon
the kingdom of Israel only in its relation to Judah. The desire to
magnify and glorify the kingdom of Judah in its great days, especially
under David and Solomon, to represent it as the most powerful,
wealthy, and magnificent among the nations, not only of its time but
of any time, frequently expresses itself in enormous exaggerations.
David could raise a native army of a million and a half, almost as
many as, according to Herodotus--who certainly does not underestimate
the numbers--Xerxes mustered from the whole Persian empire for the
invasion of Greece; he laid away, "out of his poverty," to build the
temple, a hundred thousand talents of gold and a million talents of
silver--over three times the national debt of the United Kingdom in
1912; at the dedication of the temple Solomon sacrificed 22,000
bullocks and 120,000 sheep and goats; and so on. It is evident that
the author has raised the figures out of the grasp of his own

From the same motive, if it is possible to avoid it, he tells nothing
to discredit the kings whom he thus extols. David's sin in taking a
census is necessarily related, because the sequel of it was the choice
of a site for the future temple, but, characteristically, not God but
Satan tempted him to number the people; otherwise none of the misdeeds
and misfortunes which are set down so impartially in 2 Samuel is so
much as alluded to by the Chronicler; David is in his pages the model
king. Solomon fares as well; nothing is said of the perverting
influence of his foreign wives nor the temples he erected to their
gods. Indeed, his piety is such that he will not allow Pharaoh's
daughter, apparently the only foreign wife the Chronicler gives him,
to live in the city of David, for the neighbourhood of the ark is
holy. Solomon's press-gangs were one of the greatest grievances of the
tribes; the author of Chronicles takes pains to aver that Solomon
raised his corvée from the remnants of the Hittites and other heathen;
no Israelites were put to such work. In Kings we read that Solomon
ceded twenty towns in Galilee to Hiram, king of Tyre, in payment for
materials and services in the building of the temple; to the
Chronicler such a transaction is unimaginable, and he amends it by
making Hiram give the towns to Solomon.

All this is, however, incidental to the main purpose of the book to
exalt Jerusalem as the religious capital, its temple as the place
which God has chosen for his abode, its liturgy as the correct form of
worship, its priests and levites as the only ministry of valid orders
and unimpeachable succession. It is not solely the pride of the
churchman which prompts him to dwell on these things. The assertion is
so emphasized and reiterated that we can hardly mistake in inferring a
controversial animus, especially when we recall that at the time of
writing there was a rival temple on Mt. Gerizim near Shechem, at one
of the most venerable holy places in the land.

This temple is said by Josephus to have been erected in the time of
Alexander the Great, in avowed rivalry to the temple in Jerusalem. The
high priests of the Samaritan temple were a branch of the Jewish
high-priestly line, its ritual was the same, the Pentateuch was the
Law in Shechem as well as in Jerusalem. If the Jews maintained that
Jerusalem was the only place in the land where sacrifice might
lawfully be made to God, the Samaritans made the same exclusive claim
for their temple: Shechem, not Jerusalem, was the place (unnamed in
Deuteronomy) which God had chosen out of all the tribes to put his
name there. At Shechem was held the first great religious assembly of
Israel after the invasion of Canaan; there, on Gerizim, the first
altar of Jehovah was erected by his express command (see Deut. xi.
26-29; Jos. viii. 30-35; Jos. 24; especially Deut. xxvii. 4, where
"Ebal" in the Jewish Bible is an anti-Samaritan substitute for the
original "Gerizim"). The rivalry of Shechem was thus a serious menace,
and so the Jerusalem Jews treated it.

In their eyes the people of the old territory of Ephraim were
descendants of the assorted heathen whom the Assyrian kings had
colonized in the cities of Samaria after transplanting to the eastern
provinces of the empire the old Israelite population of the region
(see 2 Kings 17--a very late passage--noting especially vs. 34, "unto
this day"). On the other hand, Jerusalem and the region about it,
after lying waste for seventy years, had been repeopled under Cyrus by
Jews of pure race returning from the exile in Babylonia, who rebuilt
the temple and restored the worship as prescribed in the law. They
were surrounded by the "peoples of the land," who were regarded as
descendants of the ancient heathen of Canaan with whom intermarriage
was forbidden in the law. This is the Chronicler's representation: the
returned exiles are the only genuine stock, their priesthood the only
legitimate sons of Aaron, the rest of the ministry, down to the temple
slaves, was authenticated by recorded pedigrees (see Ezra ii. 59-63),
and the elaborate liturgy of his own time the same in all particulars
which had been used in the temple from its foundation.

The author has an exaggerated interest in this liturgy, and especially
in the part taken in it by the minor orders of the clergy, levites,
musicians, singers, door-keepers, and the rest. The levites are
provided for in the Pentateuch, but the orchestra and choruses,
according to the Chronicler, were organized by David (1 Chron. 23-26),
who thus provided for the proper execution of his Psalms. When a great
religious function is described, the music invariably comes in for a
prominent notice (e.g. 2 Chron. v. 12 f.).

We have seen that the historians of the seventh and following
centuries, the so-called deuteronomist school, wrote or interpreted
the history to exemplify the doctrine that defection from the national
religion is surely punished by national calamities. The Chronicler's
doctrine of retribution is at once harder and more individual. He also
turns it about: unusual suffering is proof of sin. Thus, Asa was,
according to Kings, a conspicuously good king, but in his old age he
had the gout. The Chronicler, by the mouth of a prophet, explains why:
he relied on the king of Syria to help him against Israel, instead of
relying on the Lord. The king clapped the prophet into prison for
meddling with affairs of state, and so added another affront to God.
He was impenitent, however, for though the gout was very bad, "yet
sought he not unto the Lord, but to the physicians." Uzziah, another
godly king, was in his later years afflicted with leprosy, a disease
which was regarded as peculiarly the stroke of God. The Chronicler
gives the reason: the king presumed to burn incense on the altar in
spite of the protest of the priest, and was smitten with leprosy on
the spot.

There is no reason to impugn the author's good faith in such
emendations of his sources. He thought he knew the laws of history,
and if in the particular instance the record did not correspond, it
must be defective. But whatever apology may be made for his good
intentions, it need hardly be said that the unsupported testimony of a
doctrinaire historian who deals so sovereignly with the facts is of no

The Chronicler names a considerable number of books as authorities for
different periods of the history; the Book of the Kings of Judah and
Israel (or Israel and Judah) and the Book of the Kings of Israel are
repeatedly cited for things not related in our Book of Kings. For more
information about Joash the reader is referred to the "Midrash of the
Book of Kings," and for Abijah to the "Midrash of the Prophet Iddo,"
titles that in later times, at least, would designate an edifying
exposition in which full licence was given to the imagination to
embroider the theme with picturesque inventions. The favourite
references, however, are to writings bearing the names of
prophets--Samuel, Nathan, Gad, Ahijah, Iddo, Shemaiah, Jehu son of
Hanani. The title History of Samuel the Seer, of Nathan the Prophet,
and so on, may mean either _about_ Samuel or _by_ Samuel. Very likely
the author entertained the theory which subsequently prevailed among
the Jews that in each age the prophets wrote down the events of their
own time in which many of them had a conspicuous part.

The question is of no other interest; for an examination of the
extracts from his sources which the Chronicler has incorporated or
condensed shows that (with small possible exceptions to be considered
hereafter) his material was all taken from our Book of Kings. This
enables us to confront his history of Judah with his sources and
acquaint ourselves with his habitual way of dealing with them, an
investigation not only instructive for his method, but of the greatest
importance when we come to the Chronicler's history of the Persian
period, where, for the most part, his sources are not independently

In the first place it will be noticed that he has selected from the
history in Samuel and Kings the parts which particularly interested
him for their own sake, such as the description of religious
ceremonies, or could be used as a text for the doctrines he had most
at heart, and has therefore passed over a very large part of the
contents of his source. Precisely so, the author of Kings, two
centuries earlier, had dealt with his sources, though with a different
interest. What the Chronicler chose to include he generally copied out
without much change; the present variations in the text are chiefly
due to divergent transmission. (Compare, for illustration, 1 Chron. x.
1-xi. 47 with 1 Sam. 31 and 2 Sam. xxiii. 8-39, or 1 Chron. xvii.
1-xx. 8 with 2 Sam. 7, 8, 10 and 12.). Often he introduces in these
extracts, or appends to them, notes of his own which would in almost
all cases be certainly recognizable on internal evidence even if we
had not the text of Kings before us. In a few places he condenses or
abridges the narrative of Kings, as in 2 Chron. xxxii. 1-23 compared
with 2 Kings xviii. 13-xix. 37.

Of alterations, or, from the author's own point of view, corrections,
of the older history several examples have been given above. One more,
of a striking character, may be cited, viz. 2 Chron. xxii. 10-xxiii.
21 compared with 2 Kings 11. The Carian mercenaries of the guard in
the sacred precincts of the temple (2 Kings xi. 4) were a plain
profanation, of which the pious chief priest could not have been
guilty. The Chronicler accordingly rewrites the story, substituting
the levites (note 2 Chron. xxiii. 6) for the obnoxious heathen.
Finally, he sometimes freely expands on his text, as in the building
of Solomon's temple (2 Chron. 2-3).

In view of the Chronicler's multiplied references to authorities, it
has frequently been assumed that his immediate source was not the
Books of Samuel and Kings, but a work of a "midrashic" character--that
is, euphemistically, a work with more concern for edification than for
historical verity--written not long before his time from the same
point of view and with the same salient interests, which the
Chronicler in all simplicity took for authentic history. This ghost
source eludes, however, all attempts to catch it actually walking. It
may perfectly well be that the Chronicler did not invent everything in
the book which is plainly invention, but if not, we can only apply the
famous contribution of an undergraduate to Homeric criticism, "the
Iliad was not written by Homer, but by another man of the same name."

There remain a few short notices, not derived from the Pentateuch or
Historical Books, whose contents and form suggest that they are scraps
which the Chronicler picked up from some other source, e.g. the
migration of the Simeonites, 1 Chron. iv. 24-43 (in the main). But
these passages are so few, and generally of so little historical
importance, that the question need here not be pursued farther.



The books which in our Bible bear the names Ezra and Nehemiah (in the
Jewish Bible, one book, Ezra) are the immediate continuation of
Chronicles, by the same author. When they were divided, 2 Chron.
xxxvi. 22-23, the necessary sequel of vss. 20-21 was repeated at the
beginning of Ezra (Ezra i. 1-3). The reason for the division is plain:
down to the end of the exile the work was no more than an epitome of
the Pentateuch and Historical Books; but from the time of Cyrus to
Alexander it was the only history the Jews possessed. This part was
therefore separated from what went before as the book of post-exilic
history, and named "Ezra" after the figure most prominent in the
earlier half of it, on the same principle that the history of the
founding of the kingdom was named Samuel. The subdivision into two
books of Ezra as in the Greek Bible, or as we name them Ezra and
Nehemiah, is apparently due to Christian hands.

This part of the Chronicler's work begins, as has been said, with an
edict of Cyrus permitting the Jews in Babylonia to return to Jerusalem
and rebuild the temple. There follows a list (given again in Neh. 7)
of the families who availed themselves of this permission, shortly
after 538 B.C. The restoration of the temple is begun, then stopped by
the machinations of their enemies under Xerxes (486-465 B.C.) and
Artaxerxes (465-424 B.C.), but happily completed (by the same
Zerubbabel and Joshua who began it) in the sixth year of Darius
(Nothus, 424-405 B.C.). "After these things, in the reign of
Artaxerxes," Ezra came up from Babylonia, armed with large powers by
an edict of the king, to order things according to the law of his God
in the province "beyond the river" (Euphrates, Ezra 7 f.). He found
things enough that needed reform; particularly the frequent
intermarriages of all classes, including the clergy, with the "peoples
of the land," and succeeded in inducing the Jews, in a great act of
penitence, to divorce these "foreign women" (cc. 9-10).

At this point the History of Nehemiah sets in abruptly in the form of
personal memoirs. Nehemiah, a favourite cup-bearer of the Persian king
Artaxerxes, hearing that the wall of Jerusalem was broken down and the
gates burned, asks permission to go thither and repair the damaged
fortifications, and is sent with a commission as royal governor of the
district. In spite of dangerous opposition from jealous neighbours in
Samaria and elsewhere, by the utmost endeavours he accomplishes the
rebuilding of the walls in a very brief space (Neh. 1-6). In all this
there is not so much as a mention of Ezra, who is supposed to have
been now thirteen years in Jerusalem, but in Neh. 8 he suddenly
appears on the scene with his law-book. The law is read, and the
people solemnly covenant by sign and seal to observe it; Nehemiah's
name stands at the head of the list of signers, but otherwise he is
entirely ignored (Neh. 8-10). Lists of the inhabitants of Jerusalem
and of other settlements, a catalogue of the priests and levites who
came up under Cyrus, and a description of the dedication of the walls,
in which the singers shine, fill Neh. 11-12. That the Chronicler is
the author is palpable. Finally, in c. 13, Nehemiah, who had returned
to court, reappears, and finds a sad state of things; a foreigner, and
an Ammonite at that, lodged by the high priest in a chamber of the
temple, flagrant violations of the sabbath by market men, and the old
grievance of mixed marriages in full gait. Even the high priest's
family was not pure: one of its scions was son-in-law to Nehemiah's
arch-enemy, Sanballat of Samaria. Naturally Nehemiah expelled him.

It has been necessary to give this somewhat detailed synopsis of the
books to make intelligible the problems they present. On this point it
is further to be observed that the book is not all written in Hebrew:
Ezra iv. 8-vi. 18; vii. 12-26, containing chiefly correspondence with
the Persian court and documents issuing from it, are in Aramaic, the
official language of the western provinces of the empire. Moreover,
the oldest Greek translation of the Chronicler's history, part of
which is preserved in the Bible of the church as 1 Esdras, differs
both in matter and order from the Jewish standard text and the later
Greek version; it contains, for example, the famous exhibition of wits
by the three Jewish youths at the court of Darius (1 Esdr. 3 f.), as a
result of which Zerubbabel obtains from Darius permission to go up to
Jerusalem. In 1 Esdras the reading of the law (Neh. 8) immediately
follows the act of penitence for the strange wives (Ezra 10).

A large part of Ezra-Nehemiah exhibits the Chronicler's familiar
motives and manner; in other places he has incorporated extracts from
the sources with or without annotations of his own. Of these sources
the only ones which have been independently preserved are the
prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah, from which the author takes,
however, no more than the facts that at the instance of these prophets
Zerubbabel and Joshua began to rebuild the temple in the second year
of Darius (Ezra v. 1 f.); the completion of the work by the same
hands, which according to the Chronicler took place in the sixth year
of Darius and was celebrated in a great dedication ceremony, is in
Zech. iv. 9 still prediction. Another source which stands out
distinctly is the Memoirs of Nehemiah, of which Neh. 1-6 (except c. 3)
is a solid piece. There is, moreover, a series of documents: Ezra 1,
the edict of Cyrus; Ezra iv. 7-vi. 12, complaints to the court of the
Jews' building operations, and answers of the kings Artaxerxes and
Darius respectively. Ezra vii. 11-26, commission of Artaxerxes to
Ezra. A diplomatic appearance is given to these by the fact
that--except the edict of Cyrus--they are all couched in the official
Aramaic; and, inasmuch as in cc. iv. 7-vi. 18 the connecting links of
narrative are also in Aramaic, the presumption is that this material
was taken bodily from an Aramaic book in which the letters and
rescripts were already embodied.

Finally, a distinct source is commonly assumed for the history of
Ezra. This is chiefly told of Ezra in the third person; but in some
parts for a considerable space together Ezra speaks in the first
person (I or we), and it is accordingly thought by most scholars that
the Chronicler had in his hands Memoirs of Ezra as well as of
Nehemiah, which in part he incorporated intact (e.g. Ezra 8 f.), in
part recast into the form of a narrative about Ezra (as in Ezra 10;
Neh. 8 f.). It is evident that the story of Ezra, whatever its origin,
is badly dislocated: the chapters which now stand in Neh. 8-10 have no
business there, and, as has been noticed above, in 1 Esdras the
reading of the law immediately follows Ezra 10. On the other hand,
there is a gap at the end of Ezra 6; chapter 9 cannot well be its
original sequel. And, lastly, Neh. 9 f. does not seem naturally to
follow c. 8. The most probable restoration of the order is Ezra 8;
Neh. vii. 70-73; 8; Ezra 9-10; Neh. 9-10. This arrangement gives a
continuous and consistent story, and the numerous dates fall into
sequence. Incidentally another connection is thus restored, Neh. 11
follows vii. 5^a. The list (Neh. vii. 5^b-60) of the exiles who
returned with Zerubbabel and his company ( = Ezra 2) is obviously not
what is required here. The dismemberment of the story of Ezra is not
to be attributed to the Chronicler, but to misadventures of copying
such as are not infrequent in ancient manuscripts.

The extract from the Memoirs of Nehemiah breaks off with Neh. 6;
though perhaps in vii. 1-4; xi. 1-3 the Chronicler has utilized in his
own way some further sentences. In Neh. xii. 27-43, the procession at
the dedication of the walls is described, ostensibly by Nehemiah in
the first person, and the passage has on this ground been taken for an
extract from the Memoirs. It is, however, an unmistakable piece of the
Chronicler's own composition. In c. 13, also, Nehemiah, in the first
person, gives an account of his reforming enterprises on a second
visit to Jerusalem. An unaltered extract from the Memoirs, however,
the chapter cannot well be; the Chronicler's vein crops out in too
many places.

It does not belong to our present task to discuss the historical
value of these sources; but it may not be amiss to say that the
authority of the Memoirs of Nehemiah alone is unimpeached. The
question is of peculiar interest in the case of the supposed Memoirs
of Ezra, because Neh. 8 has been generally understood by recent
critics to be the account of the formal introduction of a new, or
newly codified, law, the Priests' Code or the Pentateuch, which Ezra
brought up from Babylonia.



Besides the older and younger historical books we have been
considering, the Jewish Bible contains some examples of what we should
call the short story, and the church has preserved others. The
canonical books of this class are Esther, Ruth, and Jonah; among the
apocrypha are Judith and Tobit; others, such as 3 Maccabees, are found
in manuscripts of the Greek and Latin Bibles, or in Oriental
translations, but did not attain official recognition of any of the
great churches. These stories, which, as might be expected, differ
widely in literary quality as well as in subject and motive, are
doubtless only the rare survivors of a larger literature of this kind,
but they suffice to give us a notion of the popular reading of the
Jews in the last centuries before the Christian era. It would be more
exact, perhaps, to say the popular story-telling, for probably the
written books were chiefly used by the story-tellers, who reproduced
their contents orally and freely, just as the Moslem story-tellers
to-day recite stories from the Arabian Nights or the Antar romance.
Some of them, however, like Esther, attached themselves to popular
festivals and were recited or read as part of the celebration.

ESTHER.--Esther is the story of a beautiful Jewess of Susa whom Xerxes
raises from the ranks of his concubines to be his queen, and who uses
her influence over him to save her people from a general massacre
which the grand vizier has prepared for them by way of avenging an
affront from one of the race. The plot is developed with noteworthy
art. The deposition of Vashti, which, so far as the main matter goes,
is necessary only to make room for Esther, under the author's hand
becomes a brilliant first act. The embroilment of Mordecai and Haman
is skilfully managed; the stiffnecked Jew refuses homage to the proud
vizier, who schemes a generous revenge. Esther ventures her life for
her people by intruding into the audience chamber, but the
_dénouement_ is artfully retarded--instead of a pathetic plea for the
imperilled Jews, an invitation for the king and his prime minister to
a _petit dîner_ in the queen's apartments! At the banquet the king
offers Esther her wish, but again the issue is postponed. Haman, in
his elation at such signal marks of queenly favour, builds a gallows
for Mordecai seventy-five feet high--and next day has to parade the
streets of the capital at the bridle of the hated Jew's horse
proclaiming him the object of the king's special honour!

The scene in the banqueting hall when Esther at last makes her
petition is highly dramatic. She makes it a plea for her own life,
"for we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and
to perish." The king, who has no inkling that she is a Jewess, and is
incensed at the thought of such a plot against his queen, angrily
asks, "Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to
do so?" The climax so skilfully prepared comes in the stunning words,
"This wicked Haman here!" Thenceforth the action matches swiftly: the
king bursts out of the room to collect himself by a turn in the
garden; the fallen vizier sinks a suppliant on the queen's couch,
where the king, returning, finds him; the sinister eunuch standing by
describes the fine new gallows Haman has at home, ready for Mordecai,
and on his own gallows, in poetic justice, Haman is hanged, fifty
cubits high! Mordecai succeeds to the seal of state, and conceives the
counter-stroke by which, instead of the heathen massacring the Jews,
the Jews slaughter the heathen. An annual festival celebrates the
joyful issue.

For the full account of Mordecai's greatness the reader is referred to
the royal annals of Media and Persia, where it will be found, he says,
recorded along with the mighty deeds of Xerxes, including his
subjugation of the Greeks. Despite this authority, it should be
unnecessary to say that the Book of Esther is a work of fiction.
Whether it is pure invention, or whether some of the incidents are
borrowed from fact, is an idle question, because a wholly unanswerable
one. If the local colour, which is laid on pretty thick, is good, as
some modern archæologists aver, it would not be strange that a Jewish
novelist who wrote not so long after the passing of Persia should
prove as well acquainted with it as a modern archæologist.

Some recent interpreters find in the story a mythical background:
Esther is Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of love; Mordecai, "Marduk's
man," was originally Marduk himself, the great god of Babylon; the
name of Haman sounds something like one way of pronouncing the name of
an Elamite god in the epic of Gilgamesh. The triumph of Mordecai and
Esther over Haman would thus be an echo of ancient strife between the
gods of Babylonia and Elam. It will be obvious, however, to the
mythologically unsophisticated understanding, that if these very
problematical combinations are right, the author of the Book of
Esther was quite innocent of them, and therefore that for the
interpretation of the story he tells they are wholly irrelevant.

The Book of Esther, it was long ago observed, is singular among the
books of the Bible in that there is no mention of God in it. It is
Jewish with a sanguinary loyalty to race, but of Judaism as religion
there is not a trace; it is in fact somewhat obtrusive by its absence.
When Mordecai warns Esther that if she fails her people in their hour
of need deliverance will come "from another place," the word God is
ostentatiously avoided; before her great adventure she fasts three
days, but there is no suggestion of prayer; in the celebrations of
rescue and the annual commemoration of it there is feasting and
gladness, but no thanksgiving to God. It is no wonder that orthodox
rabbis doubted the inspiration of so conspicuously secular romance,
nor that the Greek translators made good the religious deficiencies of
the book by putting pious prayers into the mouth of Mordecai and
Esther at the appropriate junctures.

The age of the book cannot be very closely determined; it is pretty
certainly not older than the third century B.C., more likely from the
second. A note at the end of the Greek version says that this
translation was brought from Jerusalem to Egypt in the year which
corresponds to 114 B.C. The earliest mention of the festival of Purim
is in 2 Macc. xv. 36, where it is called Mordecai Day.

RUTH.--The story of Ruth is laid in the time of the Judges, for which
reason it was placed in the Greek Bible and in modern versions between
Judges and Samuel. It tells of a young Moabitess, the childless widow
of a Judæan from Bethlehem, who accompanies her widowed mother-in-law
back to Bethlehem, embracing her religion. Ruth goes out to glean
after the reapers and by chance comes to the field of Boaz, a kinsman
of her husband, who shows her kindness. By Naomi's contrivance, she
reveals to him who she is under circumstances that appeal to his
chivalry, and, after a nearer of kin has waived his right, Boaz takes
the widow with the land, and they live happy ever after. Their son
Obed is David's grandfather. The legal proceedings in the last chapter
are different from anything we otherwise know of Israelite custom, but
our ignorance is no warrant for assuming that the usage there
described is fictitious.

If the story of Esther is told with dramatic power, that of Ruth is
told with idyllic grace. The pathos of the moment in which Naomi bids
her daughters-in-law return to their mothers' homes and Ruth refuses
to part from her is unforced. The picture of the gleaners in the
fields; the delicacy with which the night at the threshing-floor is
treated; the scene at the city gate, where the waiver and redemption
are witnessed and the shoe given in attestation; the blessing of the
townsmen on the union, all have the charm of simple and unaffected

The question what the book was written for has received diverse
answers. It has been thought that the author meant to protest against
the narrowness of those who condemned all marriages with foreigners
and put the Moabites under a special ban, by showing that David
himself had Moabite blood in his veins; others see the point of the
book in the commendation of the marriage of childless widows, not by
brothers-in-law only as the levirate law required, but by remoter
kinsmen. Others have conjectured otherwise. In this state of the case
it is safe to say that if the author had an ulterior motive, he
concealed it more successfully than is common to story-tellers who
write with a purpose.

There are no very definite signs in the book of the age in which it
was written. The author is familiar with the Hebrew literature of the
good period, and writes a better imitation of it than some. It is
precisely this imitative character which stands in the way of putting
the book in the days of the kingdom. But where, in the centuries of
the Persian or Greek dominion it belongs, it is impossible to say.

JONAH.--The third of the short stories, Jonah, is not found, like
Esther and Ruth, in the Jewish Bible in the miscellaneous collection
of "Scriptures" and in the Christian Bible among the Historical Books,
but in the prophetic canon, as one of the Minor Prophets. The reason,
doubtless, is that it is not only a story about a prophet and his
mission, but was thought to be written by himself.

The tale is too familiar to have to be retold at length. The Israelite
prophet, Jonah the son of Amittai, is commissioned by God to go to
Nineveh and announce its impending destruction; to escape this
unwelcome errand he embarks on a Phoenician ship bound for Spain, at
the other end of the world; a tempest threatens to engulf the ship;
the seamen cast lots to discover against whom the gods are so angry;
the lot falls on Jonah, and he is cast into the sea, which thereupon
becomes calm; Jonah is swallowed by a monstrous fish, which after
three days sets him ashore safe and sound. He goes to Nineveh and
delivers his message; the people repent of their sins, and God repents
of his purpose to destroy them, whereat the prophet is very indignant
and upbraids God with his soft-heartedness; he expected this from the
beginning, and therefore tried to flee to Tarshish. By his own grief
for the death of the plant "which sprang up in a night and perished in
a night," the prophet is taught the lesson of the divine compassion:
"How should I not have compassion on this great city, Nineveh, in
which are more than a hundred and twenty thousand human beings which
do not know their right hand from their left, not to speak of cattle?"
With this rebuke the book ends.

These closing words leave no room for question about the purpose of
the book. In the person of Jonah, the rebuke is addressed to the Jews,
to whom God's long-suffering with the heathen was a stumbling-block.
The greater prophetic books, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, all contain a
long array of oracles against foreign nations, predicting their total
and remediless destruction, some of them very precise as to time and
agent (see, for example, Isa. 13 f., against Babylon). The fulfilment
of these prophecies, the final breaking of the power of the heathen
world, must come before the golden age of Israel could dawn. Yet the
generations came and went, and the heathen still ruled the earth!
Then, too, the Jews doubtless felt that they, as the people of God,
had an exclusive claim on his affections, as he asserted exclusive
claims to theirs. The author of Jonah not only extends to mankind
God's word in Ezekiel, "Have I any pleasure in the death of the
wicked? saith the Lord God, and not rather that he should return from
his way and live?" but he asserts the all-embracing compassion of God.
The one God is the creator of the heathen as well as of Israel, his
merciful providence is over all his works.

The higher spirit of Judaism here reproves the lower, narrow,
exclusive, and intolerant spirit, which could unfortunately allege so
much warrant for itself from the law and the prophets. Therein the
author had many and noble successors, not only among the sages, with
their cosmopolitan wisdom, but in the circles of the law.

It is not the fault of the author that modern readers and interpreters
have had their attention diverted from the moral of the book to the
fable in which it is conveyed; he could not have imagined the
pseudo-historical frame of mind to which the question whether it all
happened thus and so was of such absorbing importance that it might
almost be said that the sea-monster swallowed the commentators as well
as the prophet. For one of the difficulties of the book he is not
responsible, the psalm (Jonah ii. 2-9) which Jonah sings in the fish's
belly was put in his mouth by a later editor; vs. 10 is the immediate
sequel of vs. 1. The poem was evidently not composed for the place; it
is a hymn of thanksgiving not a prayer for deliverance; but the
(figurative) references to the depths of the abyss seemed appropriate
to Jonah's situation.

The hero of the story is a historical character, of whom, to be sure,
we know only that he came from a place named Gath-hepher, and
predicted the reconquest of lost Israelite territories which Jeroboam
II. achieved (2 Kings xiv. 25). It has been conjectured that the
author of our book may have heard in some way that he went on a
mission to Nineveh; but if he had, that would not make the book any
more historical.

Jonah, like Ruth and Esther, belongs to the later period of Hebrew
literature; it is more likely that it was written after the time of
Alexander than before, but greater definiteness is not justified.



In the old story of Saul and Samuel (1 Sam. 9 f.) Samuel is named "the
seer," that is, a man endowed with what we call second sight, and a
note by an editor explains that what in his time was called a prophet
used to be called a seer. Samuel was, indeed, in the apprehension of
later times, a prophet, but the story itself makes a clear distinction
between the two. The band of prophets whom Saul meets coming down from
the high place, working up by music an enthusiasm, or possession,
which makes them beside themselves, raving in the prophetic fury
(raving and prophesying, in such connections, is the same word in
Hebrew), an enthusiasm which Saul catches, to the surprise and scandal
of his townsmen, are evidently something quite different from the
village seer; they must have been outwardly very much like modern
Moslem dervishes.

In the ninth century of the Syrian wars, these gregarious prophets
appear in many places; especially in the stories of Elisha they are
organized societies of devotees, living by themselves in colonies of
huts or cells under a superior--again very much like a dervish
order--and sometimes turning their religious zeal into political
channels, as when they incite Jehu to the revolt which overthrew the
house of Omri.

Beside them are others who also bear the name prophet, but stand apart
from the order and often in opposition to it. Such a figure is Micaiah
son of Imlah, confronting the four hundred prophets whom Ahab got
together, and declaring their unanimity of inspiration to be the work
of a lying spirit sent from God to lure the king to his doom (1 Kings
22). Such a figure, above all as we have already seen, is Elijah, who,
solitary, champions Jehovah's right to the undivided allegiance of
Israel, or thunders the doom of the dynasty at the authors of Naboth's
judicial murder. It is in such men as these, rather than in the common
herd of prophets by profession, that the ethical prophets of the
eighth century have their forerunners.

The moral conception of God had its roots far down in the religion of
Israel, as may be seen in the older (certainly preprophetic) strata
in Samuel, and better still in the patriarchal legends, which received
their present form in the same age; but after the establishment of the
kingdom it was crossed by the national idea. It was not till the
eighth century that the men came who thought through what the moral
idea of God involves, and had the courage to proclaim its
consequences, fatal though they might be to both state and church.
These prophets, beginning with Amos, not only preached a new doctrine,
they employed a new method. The message which they spoke to the
heedless, incredulous, or hostile ears of their contemporaries, they
also recorded, whether in the hope to reach through the written page a
larger audience, or to perpetuate their words to generations
following. Thus there begins a prophetic literature which is one of
the most characteristic features of the Old Testament. Four prophets
of the second half of the eighth century have given their names to
such prophetic books, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah. Then, in the
latter part of the seventh century and the beginning of the sixth,
follow the little books of Zephaniah, Nahum, and Habbakuk, and the
great one of Jeremiah, whose younger contemporary in Babylonia is
Ezekiel. Haggai and Zechariah were instrumental in the rebuilding of
the temple in the reign of Darius I. In the discussion of these books
we shall not attempt a chronological disposition, but follow the order
of the English Bible.



The first of the prophetic books bears the name of Isaiah, a Judæan
prophet, who dates his call "in the year that king Uzziah died," a
year which cannot be fixed with certainty, but was at all events not
very long before 734 B.C., and whose latest dated utterances are from
the time of Sennacherib's invasion in the year 701. His prophecies
thus range over a period of not far from forty years. He witnessed the
humbling of Israel by Tiglath-Pileser in 734, the fall of Samaria in
721, the Assyrian campaigns in the west in 720 and 711, and the
condign punishment Sennacherib inflicted on Judah in 701; and all
these events (of which we have historical knowledge from both Assyrian
and Jewish sources) are reflected in his prophecies.

The book contains, however, much besides the prophecies of Isaiah in
the different periods of his long career. It has already been noted
that Isa. 36-39 are found also, with some variations, in 2 Kings
18-20, where they are an integral part of the narrative. That this
extract from Kings was copied into the Book of Isaiah is explained by
the fact that the prophet is a prominent figure in the story. It does
not stand in immediate connection with the prophecies of Isaiah
during the campaign of Sennacherib in cc. 28-33, from which it is
separated by several oracles of different character and date; and the
natural presumption is that this historical appendix was added at the
end of a roll, just as Jer. 52, also an extract from Kings (2 Kings
xxiv. 18-xxv. 21), is appended at the end of the roll of Jeremiah.

In the present Book of Isaiah, cc. 36-39 are followed by another
prophetic book of considerable length (Isa. 40-66), which has no
title, and in which, from first to last, no prophet's name appears.
The theme which is announced in the first verses of this book and runs
through a large part of it is the approaching deliverance of the Jews
from the Babylonian captivity, their return to their own land, and the
restoration of Zion.

In Isa. 1-35 certain larger divisions are at once apparent; cc. 1-12,
a collection of prophecies, chiefly, as appears from dates and other
indications, from the earlier years of Isaiah's ministry; cc. 13 to
23, a collection of oracles mainly against foreign nations; cc. 24-27,
previsions of a great judgment, in a peculiarly mysterious tone; cc.
28-33, chiefly from the time of Sennacherib, followed by c. 34, in
which God's fury is poured out on Edom, and c. 35, a prophecy of
restoration akin to cc. 40 ff. It is thus evident that the present
book is made up from several older collections of prophecies gathered
by different hands; the peculiar titles in cc. 13-23, for instance,
are most probably to be attributed to the editor of an independent
book of prophecies against the heathen.

The same phenomenon appears on a smaller scale in Isa. 1-12. That
these chapters, at one stage in the history of the collections, formed
a roll by themselves is probable from the fact that they begin with a
grand overture (c. 1), in which the leading motives of Isaiah's
prophecy are heard, and close (c. 12) with a psalm of praise for the
messianic deliverance which is the subject of c. 11. But the order of
the prophecies is not chronological: the inaugural vision and Isaiah's
call to be a prophet stands, not at the beginning, as in Jeremiah and
Ezekiel, but in c. 6 (dated in the year of King Uzziah's death), while
the chapters that precede it (cc. 2 f.; 5), with what was once an
initial title (ii. 1), may confidently be assigned, on internal
grounds, to the reigns of Uzziah's successors. Chapters 7 and 8 (dated
under Ahaz) seem to have originally followed close on c. 6, as they do
now. Whatever may be the reason for this singular arrangement, it
seems evident that the compiler had several smaller groups or loose
leaves of oracles, which he put together for better preservation,
rather, perhaps, by affinity of subject than in order of time.

This must have taken place at a comparatively late time, for not only
does his roll begin with a prophecy (Isa. i. 2-9) which vividly
depicts the devastation of Judah and the isolation of Jerusalem by
Sennacherib in 701 (perhaps the latest oracle of Isaiah preserved in
the book), but it contains passages (e.g. xi. 11-16) which bear all
the marks of a time several centuries after Isaiah's death; the psalm
in c. 12 is perhaps later still. Another indication that the
collection was made at a date remote from the age of the prophet is
the fragmentary character of several of the oracles in cc. 2-5. The
refrain verses here afford a certain clue; they show that prophecies
originally composed with much art in balanced strophes with closing
refrains came into the compiler's hands mutilated and dislocated.
Thus, v. 25 has the refrain of ix. 8-21; x. 4, while x. 1-3 is a "woe"
which has strayed away from v. 18 ff., and the refrain ii. 9, 11, 17
recurs in v. 15.

Fragmentary as many of these prophecies are, enough remains to show
that Isaiah had poetical genius as well as unequalled mastery of the
peculiar literary form of the Hebrew oracle. The parable of the
vineyard (Isa. v. 1-7), or the picture of the swift, resistless
advance of the Assyrian (v. 26-30), or the description of devastated
Judah (i. 2-8), or the oracle against Samaria (ix. 8-21), in the
authorized English Version illustrate in different ways the art with
which Isaiah handles this traditional form.

The earlier prophecies of Isaiah, whether directed against Israel and
its allies or against Judah, are unsparing in their condemnation of
the political and social evils of the time, and predict the imminent
and irremediable ruin of both nations. This is revealed to Isaiah in
the vision which made him a prophet, in terms so drastic that the
closing words were piously erased by some late editor (so in the Greek
Bible), and a meaningless phrase put in their place in the curtailed
sentence by a still later hand (our Hebrew text). With this the tenor
of his utterances in cc. ii. 5-iii. 26; v. 1-30; ix. 8-x. 4, wholly
agrees. These unrelieved forebodings of doom led in later times not
only to excisions such as we have noted in vi. 13, but to
interpolations; hopeful pendants were attached to the prophet's gloomy
pictures, sometimes written for the purpose--a particularly
instructive example is iv. 2-6, after iii. 16-iv. 1--sometimes
borrowed from other prophetic contexts. To the latter class belongs
the famous messianic oracle, ix. 1-7, which is very imperfectly
connected (by changes in viii. 22) with the preceding climactic
denunciation of doom, the end of which is missing. If Isa. ix. 1-7 is
a prophecy by Isaiah, it can only belong to his latest years.

One other feature of Isaiah's message must be signalized. His God
indignantly rejects the sacrifices and all the pompous worship which
are offered him in his temple in Jerusalem (Isa. i. 10-17). Men think
they can thus gain the favour of God and persuade him to overlook or
condone their sins against their fellows! Such worship is an insult
to God. So Amos a few years before had condemned the worship at Bethel
(Amos v. 21-25). So their successors repeat in no uncertain terms (see
Mic. vi. 6-8; Jer. 7, especially vss. 21-23). It is the fundamental
doctrine of prophecy: the will of God is wholly moral. For worship he
cares nothing at all; for justice, fairness, and goodness between man
and man he cares everything. Such a God is capable of destroying the
nation for the wrongs men do their fellow men; he is not capable of
being bribed by offerings, or flattered with psalms, or wheedled with
prayers. He will listen to no intercession (Jer. xv. 1 ff., after c.
14); nothing but complete reformation and reparation will he call
repentance--and there comes a pass where repentance is impossible.

The book of prophecies against the heathen (Isa. 13-23) begins with
two remarkable chapters (xiii. 1-xiv. 23) declaring the imminent
destruction of Babylon by the Medes, whom the prophet sees already in
motion against the doomed city, and exulting over the descent of the
king of Babylon to hell, greeted by the taunts of the mighty of the
earth who were before him there. The two prophecies are connected by a
prediction of the deliverance of captive Israel, which will be
restored to its own land and rule over its oppressors (xiv. 1-4^a).
The situation is not that of Isaiah's time, in which Babylon was a
province of the Assyrian empire, and when, under Merodach Baladan, it
for a while reasserted its independence, seems to have sought an
alliance with Hezekiah against their common oppressor, Assyria (Isa.
39 = 2 Kings xx. 12 ff.). The Medes had been in league with the
Babylonians against Assyria until its fall in 606 B.C.; it was not
until the time of Cyrus that the Medes became a menace to Babylonia,
and only after Cyrus's conquest of Lydia (546 B.C.) that the turn of
Babylon was visibly come. On the other hand, the sack and ruin of
Babylon, pictured with vengeful satisfaction in Isa. 13, did not come
to pass at that time. The Persian armies, after a decisive battle in
northern Babylonia, entered the city in the autumn of 538 without
resistance. Babylonian inscriptions acclaim Cyrus as a deliverer, and
Babylon became one of the capitals of his great empire. On these
grounds the prophecy is generally thought to fall between 546 and 538

It is immediately followed by a short oracle (Isa. xiv. 24-27) against
the Assyrians, quite in the tone of the prophecies of Isaiah in the
time of Sennacherib (701 B.C.), and by an enigmatical warning to the
inhabitants of the Philistine cities, said in the title to have come
"in the year that King Ahaz died." Another prophecy concerned with the
inhabitants of these cities, bearing Isaiah's name and definitely
dated (711 B.C.), is Isa. 20. Chapter 17, entitled "The Burden of
Damascus," is in fact chiefly against the kingdom of Israel, and
falls in line with prophecies of Isaiah in the time of the alliance of
the two kingdoms against Judah (ca. 736 B.C.); compare Isa. 7. In Isa.
xxii. 15-25 is a prophecy of Isaiah singular in the fact that it is
launched at an individual, the major domo of King Hezekiah.

Besides these, the collection contains oracles against Moab (Isa. 15
f.), Nubia (c. 18), Egypt (c. 19), another vision of the fall of
Babylon before the armies of Elam and Media (xxi. 1-10), but in a
different spirit from cc. 13-14, the Arabs (xxi. 11 f., 13-17), Tyre
(c. 23), and one with the mysterious (editorial) title "Burden of the
Valley of Vision" (xxii. 1-14). The last-named, in the form of a
vision, depicts a crisis in the history of Jerusalem, and condemns the
frivolous behaviour of its inhabitants on the eve of a siege or, as
some think, during the respite given by a temporary raising of a
siege. It was probably uttered by Isaiah at an early stage in
Hezekiah's revolt against Sennacherib (704 or 703 B.C.), before the
actual appearance of the Assyrian army. The oracle against Tyre (Isa.
xxiii. 1-14--what follows is a later supplement) seems more
appropriate to the thirteen years' siege by Nebuchadnezzar than to the
operations of Shalmanezer or of Sennacherib in Isaiah's days.

Thus Isa. 13-23, like cc. 1-12, contains prophecies of Isaiah from
both the earliest and the latest period of his activity, intermingled
with others having a totally different historical horizon and dating
from a much later time, and to both additions have been made by
editors or scribes. A very interesting example of the latter
phenomenon is Isa. xix. 18 ff. The passage is, in all probability,
from the time of the Greek kingdoms of Egypt and Syria, the name of
the city in the Greek Bible, "City of Righteousness," referring to
Leontopolis, where a Jewish temple was erected about 170 B.C., with
high priests of the legitimate line exiled from Jerusalem. "City of
Destruction" (_heres_) in the Hebrew text is a hostile perversion,
possibly by way of another reading "City of the Sun" (_heres_).

Each of the three large prophetic books has such a group of oracles
about gentile nations, Isa. 13-23; Jer. 46-51; Ezek. 25-32. They are
in part levelled at the immediate neighbours of Judah, in part against
the great powers, Babylon and Egypt. Many of them are in such general
terms--or, if they refer to specific events and situations, our
knowledge of the history is so incomplete--that it is peculiarly
difficult to fix their age. It was also a kind of prophecy which
peculiarly invited imitation. Under the foreign yoke the Jews wore for
so many centuries, it must often have been a relief of soul to repeat
what God was going to do to the heathen; the spirit of the author of
Jonah was not for everybody. Moreover, if there is any place in the
Old Testament where it would be easier than another for oracles of the
"false prophets" to slip in and be preserved, it is in these
collections; about the doom of the enemies of Israel they were as
orthodox and as emphatic as the best. It is not strange, therefore,
that there should be more than usual uncertainty about the origin of
these anathemas on the gentiles.

Isaiah 24-27 contains a series of prophecies of judgment to come which
differ from others in the book in having no particular address. The
vision seems to widen to a judgment of the world, in which the earth
itself reels and sinks under the weight of men's sin, and the
celestial powers (the heavenly bodies, which are the tutelary deities
of the heathen) and the kings of the earth are cast into the pit and
shut up in prison, while the Lord of Hosts reigns gloriously in Zion.
In another passage God, with his great sword, punishes the leviathan,
the swift and winding serpent, and slays the great dragon in the sea.
The mythological eschatology of Judaism made much of such imagery,
which is itself doubtless of mythical ancestry.

The diction and style of these chapters alone would suffice to acquit
Isaiah of responsibility for them; anything more unlike his writing
could not be imagined. The author, whosoever he was, riots in plays on
words, many of them, as is the fate of laborious punsters, forced or
far-fetched. As to the age of the chapters, apart from the language,
prophecy is here plainly making the transition to apocalypse with
those visionary revelations of the last judgment in which Jewish
invention was so fertile. This of itself points to a late time in the
post-exilic period. The historical allusions which have been scented
out in the chapters are too uncertain to reckon with; only, as in c.
19, the way in which Egypt and Assyria (or Syria) are conjoined seems
plainly to point to the divisions of Alexander's empire.

In chapters 28-33 are brought together a number of oracles of Isaiah
from the years of Hezekiah's revolt and Sennacherib's punitive
expedition. These oracles are generally brief and pointed; they agree
in form and spirit with his prophecies in cc. 1-12 quite as closely as
the writing of an aging man ordinarily resembles that of his youth. In
xxviii. 1-4, indeed, an early prophecy against Samaria is made to
serve as text for a counterpart addressed to Jerusalem.

Mingled with these is a series of passages which foretell the
destruction of the foe and the miraculous escape of Judah from
imminent ruin, or, taking higher flight, picture the golden age to
come. To the former class belong, for example, xxx. 27-33; xxxi. 4-9;
to the latter, xxix. 18-24; xxx. 18-26; xxxii. 1-8, 16-20; while c. 33
partakes of both characters. That Isaiah predicted the deliverance of
Jerusalem in the last extremity is reported also in Kings, and need
not be questioned (see also Isa. x. 5-14; xiv. 24-27). Most of the
prophecies of the golden age are, however, alien to their context, and
the unmediated transition from the unsparing predictions of judgment
to these messianic idylls makes them suspicious. It is not to be
believed that the prophet thus took the sting out of his most pungent
oracles, but the position of the passages in question can have no
other intention. If, then, these are utterances of Isaiah at all, they
cannot have been spoken in their present connection. Some of them, at
least, are much more likely by other hands. This is true most
evidently of c. 33, which was probably once the end of this little
book of prophecies from the time of Sennacherib (Isa. 28-33).

Isaiah 34 is a prophecy against all the nations, which at once
concentrates itself upon Edom, and is remarkable for its rancour, in
which, as in other respects, it resembles cc. 13 f. The supernatural
features of the judgment remind us also of Isa. 27: it is too little
that the people are annihilated, its very land is turned into an
uninhabitable waste, and, as by some prodigious volcanic convulsion,
its dust becomes brimstone and its soil burning pitch. This is the
Lord's vengeance for the wrong of Zion. The cause of this unusual
passion is known from other prophets (see Obad. vss. 10-12; Ezek. xxv.
12-14; c. 35): in the life and death struggle against Nebuchadnezzar,
the Edomites, Judah's next neighbours and near kin, had been on the
side of the Babylonians, and were the chief gainers by the ruin of
Judah, occupying permanently the whole south of the country to a line
north of Hebron, making good in this way the part of their own old
territory which had been taken by the Nabatæans. The injury was
lasting and the hatred durable, but the flaming passion of Isa. 34
would incline us to think that it was written while the grief was
still fresh. The pendant to this, Isa. 35, a prophecy of the return of
the dispersion and restoration of Zion, is quite in the manner of Isa.
40 ff., and not improbably by the same author.

Of Isa. 36-39 (2 Kings 18-20) account has already been given (see
above, pp. 112 f.).

There remains the anonymous prophetic book, Isa. 40-66, which not only
has no title, but in which--in striking contrast to the frequency with
which Isaiah's name occurs in the earlier chapters of the book--no
prophet's name appears.

It begins with the announcement that the Jews have now been
sufficiently punished for their sins; their guilt has been expiated by
suffering. The hour of national restoration is at hand. God has
already called the deliverer, who will bring low the pride of Babylon
and set free captive Israel; by his edict Jerusalem shall be rebuilt
and the temple restored. The Jews, not only from Babylonia but from
the wide and distant lands of their dispersion, shall flock back to
their own country, the cities of Judah shall be repeopled, and Zion
shall be too strait for its inhabitants. The deliverer is Cyrus (Isa.
xliv. 28; xlv. 1), who is called God's friend, his anointed one
(messiah); the victories he has already gained have been won in the
might of Jehovah, who, all unknown to him, girds him for the battle,
and will go before him to new conquests.

The prophet's prediction was met with incredulity; the power of
Babylon seemed invincible, the resurrection of the dead nation
impossible. Impossible, maybe, to men, but not to the Almighty God,
the creator of heaven and earth, the sovereign ruler of the nations!
As surely as the words of former prophets have come true, so signally
shall these foretellings be fulfilled. For history is the unfolding of
God's plan from the beginning, which he reveals by chapters to his
servants the prophets.

That this prophecy was delivered by Isaiah of Jerusalem, a century
before the fall of Judah and a century and a half before the time of
Cyrus, would never have entered anybody's head had these chapters not
been appended to a roll which bore at its beginning the name of Isaiah
and contained many oracles of the eighth-century prophet. But this
physical fact, which may be due to no intention more profound than a
desire to economize writing material, cannot count against the
conclusive internal evidence; background and foreground in Isa. 40 ff.
are not merely totally different from those of the prophecies of
Isaiah and his contemporaries, they are alike inconceivable in his
age. Nor is the fact that the Jews in New Testament times, including
the New Testament writers, quoted these chapters as Isaiah and
believed him the author of them, prove anything except that such was
the opinion of the Jews in that age.

The historical situation in Isa. 40 ff. would of itself be conclusive
against Isaiah's authorship; but it is not the only proof of the
contrary. The author of these chapters has not inappropriately been
called the theologian among the prophets. His idea of God is
conspicuously more advanced than that of the prophets of the eighth
century; it lies in the same line with the monotheism of Deuteronomy
and Jeremiah, but lies beyond them. And it is characteristic that, in
contrast to the older prophets, this one reasons about it. He argues
the omnipotence of God in history from his omnipotence in creation,
and makes large use of the evidence from the fulfilment of prophecy to
prove that Jehovah is the only God; he can predict because he
foreordains and brings to pass. With him begins the polemic, not
against the worship of heathen gods, but against their existence. What
the heathen bow down to are naught but helpless, senseless idols, the
work of their own hands. He is fond of inviting his readers to an
image-maker's shop to see how a god is made (see, e.g., Isa. xliv.
9-20). Such are the impotent gods that the Babylonians expect to save
them out of the hands of the creator of the world!

The style of Isa. 40 ff. is not less decisive. Translation necessarily
in large measure effaces the differences, but even in translation a
comparison of two passages on similar themes such as Isa. x. 5-19 and
Isa. 47 may perhaps give some impression of them. The style of Isaiah
and his contemporaries--Amos, Hosea, Micah--is concise and pregnant,
the sentences are short and have often an oracular ring. The author of
Isa. 40 ff. writes with a freer pen in flowing periods; he develops
his thought and his figures more at large; if he is obscure, it is
seldom from compression. Here again, Deuteronomy and Jeremiah, the
whole literature of the seventh century, is an intermediate stage. The
later author is a poet, as Isaiah is, but with other themes and in
other forms; compare, e.g., Isa. 5 with Isa. xlii. 1-9. In short, each
has a highly characteristic style, and the two are totally different.

The historical situation, as it has been defined above, appears most
distinctly in Isa. 40-55. In the following chapters two passages were
long ago seen not to correspond to that situation, viz. lvi. 9-lvii.
13 and c. 65 (especially vss. 1-16), in which the vehement attack on
idolatrous and abominable rites practised by Jews under the prophet's
eyes was thought to indicate a pre-exilic origin. It was a serious
error, however, to conceive that the so-called exile cured all the
Jews once and for all of every inclination to heathenism; the history
of the Seleucid period sufficiently proves the contrary. There is
nothing in the chapters inconsistent with the view, now generally
entertained, that these flaming denunciations were delivered in
Palestine in the Persian or the Greek period; and there is no warrant
for assuming that they were specifically addressed to the half-heathen
population of the old territory of Israel, still less to the so-called
Samaritan sect, that is, the worshippers at the rival temple on

Other chapters (Isa. lvii. 14-21; 60; 61 f.) resemble in spirit and
manner the prophecies in Isa. 40-55, but are more probably by later
writers under the influence of those prophecies than by their author.
Their optimism contrasts with the depressed tone of lviii. 1-lix.
15^a, in which the sense of sin is borne in on the community by the
delay in the coming of the good times. In lix. 15^b-21, and lxiii. 1-6
God's fury is poured out on foreign nations, in the latter
specifically on Edom; lxiii. 7-lxiv. 12 is a cry for God's
intervention in dire distress (see lxiii. 18; lxiv. 10 f., devastation
of Judah, burning of the temple); c. 66 contains diverse elements,
consolation to Jerusalem of the school of Isa. 40-45, and censures of
abominable rites (lxvi. 3 f., 17 ff.).

Isaiah 56-66 is, therefore, generally regarded as an appendix to the
book of consolation, cc. 40-55, containing very diverse elements.

It would be nothing strange if alien prophecies and editorial
expansions were found in Isa. 40-55 also, and displacements are
probably in more than one passage. The question of authorship is of
peculiar interest in the case of three prophecies which have for their
subject the mission and suffering of the "Servant of Jehovah," Isa.
xlii. 1-9; xlix. 1-13; lii. 13-liii. 12, which are thought by some to
be taken wholly or in part from an older prophet, by others to be
later insertions. The reasons for ascribing the "Servant" passages to
a different author do not seem decisive.

The Book of Isaiah is thus a great collection of prophecies of various
ages, from the middle of the eighth century B.C. down perhaps to the
third, with some minor additions of even later date.



Jeremiah dates his call to the arduous mission of prophet in the
thirteenth year of King Josiah (626 B.C.), and he lived till after the
fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., so that, like his predecessor Isaiah a
century earlier, his career spans a period of about forty years in a
time of great events. Only five years after he began to prophesy,
Josiah reformed religion in Judah on the new model of the law-book
discovered by Hilkiah (Deuteronomy; see above, pp. 62 f.). Jeremiah,
scion of a priestly family native in Anathoth, a few miles north of
Jerusalem, which very likely traced its descent from Abiathar, David's
priest, whom Solomon deposed in favour of Zadok, was therefore one of
those priests of the high places who were hit hardest by the
suppression of the local sanctuaries. That his townsmen of Anathoth
sought his life (Jer. xi. 18 ff.) has been attributed to their
indignation that Jeremiah should dare to preach Josiah's "covenant" to
them (see Jer. xi. 1-17). Whatever hopes he may have entertained at
first, Jeremiah was not long in seeing that the reform had cleaned
only the outside of the cup and the platter, while men fortified their
consciences behind the "covenant" against an investigation of the
inside. In 608 B.C. Josiah fell in battle at Megiddo against the
Egyptian king Necho. After a brief vassalage to Egypt, Judah came
under the Babylonian yoke. Jeremiah saw all this; saw, too, Jerusalem
twice taken by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar (597, 586 B.C.), the
temple burned and the walls razed; and was at last forced to accompany
the refugees to Egypt after the murder of Gedaliah.

Early in the reign of Jehoiakim, Jeremiah delivered himself of a
fulminant oracle in the gate of the temple (Jer. vii. 1-15, cf. c.
26), in which he declared that the Jews' faith in the temple as the
palladium of the city was a delusion; unless they altogether amended
their ways, God would make the temple a ruin like the ancient
sanctuary at Shiloh. Priests, prophets, and people clamoured with one
voice for the blasphemer's death, but he hurled back at them a
reiteration of his warning. The intervention of some of the magnates
saved his life; but another prophet who lacked such influential
protection was extradited from Egypt and put to death.

Under these circumstances Jeremiah took another way of reaching the
public (see Jer. 36). He dictated to Baruch the prophecies which he
had uttered from the beginning of his mission to that time, and sent
Baruch to read the roll in the temple at the fast in the ninth month
in the fifth year of Jehoiakim (603 B.C.). Some of the nobles had
Baruch give them a private reading, and then carried the book to the
king, first giving Baruch the friendly advice to put himself and
Jeremiah out of harm's way. The king, as he read the roll, cut off the
pages, and burned them on the brazier in his chamber. Jeremiah
thereupon dictated to the faithful Baruch another roll containing all
the prophecies that were in the first, "and there were added besides
unto them many like words." We may be sure that the second edition
would have been even less agreeable reading to Jehoiakim than the
first. One of the additional words is indeed preserved in Jer. xxxvi.
29-31. The chapter is of peculiar interest, because it is an
account--the only one in the Old Testament--of the origin of a
prophetic book. We see the prophet reproducing, doubtless from memory,
the content of oracles uttered in the course of the preceding twenty
years or more, and enlarging the collection for a second edition. It
is a fair conjecture that this second roll furnished to our Book of
Jeremiah most, if not all, the prophecies prior to the fifth year of
Jehoiakim; but it is certain that the roll itself is not incorporated
as such in the present book. There are also several prophecies from
later years of Jehoiakim, and many from the reign of the last king,
Zedekiah, especially from the time of his revolt and the siege of
Jerusalem by the Babylonians.

A distinctive feature of the Book of Jeremiah is the presence of
passages of considerable extent derived from a biographical source.
From this comes the account of the making and reading of the collected
volume of prophecies in the fourth and fifth years of Jehoiakim of
which we have already spoken (Jer. 36), and particularly the narrative
of Jeremiah's fortunes during the last siege of Jerusalem and
afterward, including the flight to Egypt and his experiences with the
refugees there, covering thus three or four years beginning with 588
(Jer. 37-44). To the same source it is natural to ascribe c. 26,
relating to the circumstances and consequences of the prophecy
delivered in the temple at the beginning of Jehoiakim's reign (c. 7);
c. 28 (collision with the "false prophet" Hananiah, in the beginning
of the reign of Zedekiah); c. 29 (letter to the Jews in Babylonia,
about the same time); and parts of cc. 32, 34, and 35.

There is good reason to believe that the author of this biography was
Baruch, who not only stood in intimate relations with Jeremiah before
the fall of Jerusalem, but accompanied him to Egypt (Jer. xliii. 6).
It is consequently a historical source of the best possible kind. For
the first half of Jeremiah's career this source fails us; and, as we
have seen, it is continuous only from the last years of Zedekiah. It
is possible that Baruch's association with Jeremiah began in the time
of Jehoiakim, and his narrative may have commenced there.

Unfortunately this life of Jeremiah has not been preserved complete or
intact. The prophecies contained in it led later compilers to
introduce other oracles which seemed appropriate to the context, and
to supplement the words of Jeremiah by edifying compositions of their
own. Their aim, it must constantly be borne in mind, was not to
produce a critical edition of the prophecies of Jeremiah, but to make
a book effective to impress the truths and motives of religion on
their own contemporaries, and with changing times and situations to
keep the book, so to speak, up to date. If the words of an old
prophet suggested to them a good moral, they wrote it out for him,
without dreaming that they were doing either him or morality a wrong,
or thinking how much trouble they were making for future historical
students. It is exactly the same procedure and the same motive which
meets us in innumerable places in the Pentateuch and Historical Books.
To stigmatize such interpolations as literary fraud is absurd. These
additions are often recognizable by their prosaic preachiness or by
their composite imitativeness.

Of one kind of prediction the Jews of later centuries could not have
enough, the prophecies of deliverance from the foreign yoke and the
better time to follow. They not only cherished the hopeful words of
former prophets and wrote variations on their themes, but gave
expression to their faith and their ideals in their own way. That they
often took their inspiration from Isa. 40 ff. is natural. In Jeremiah
such promises of a happier future are accumulated in cc. 30-33, which
contain, with some oracles of Jeremiah, pieces of various authorship
and age, some of them such pendants to gloomy pictures as we have
found numerous in Isaiah (e.g. Jer. xxx. 1 ff. to vss. 12-15), others
more independent compositions.

These stand interspersed among the extracts from Baruch's life of
Jeremiah. In the first half of the book (Jer. 1-25) there is no such
history for a framework. It will be observed here that the prophet
commonly introduces his message in personal form, "The word of Jehovah
came to me, saying," or "Then Jehovah said to me," or the like.
Sometimes an oracle begins, as in c. 18, "The words which came to
Jeremiah," as a kind of title, while in the sequel the prophet speaks
in the first person. Dates are infrequent in this part of the book,
and if a chronological order was observed in Baruch's roll, it has
been broken up in the present arrangement. Internal evidence does not
always suffice to fix the age of the utterances, the less because some
of the early oracles have obviously been adapted to a later situation.
This is peculiarly evident in cc. 1-6. In these chapters are several
prophecies from the years when the wild horsemen from the Scythian
steppes were overrunning western Asia and striking terror into the
stoutest hearts by their barbarous appearance and fierce manners.
Jeremiah saw in them the scourge of God (see e.g. Jer. iv. 5-8,
27-31), the day of doom was come! It was, indeed, such a vision of
doom that first met his gaze, when God made him a prophet (Jer. i. 13
ff.). But in the present shape of these chapters the enemy out of the
north which menaces ruin is not the wild Scythian hordes, but the
serried armies of Babylon. It is not at all improbable that this
change of horizon was made by Jeremiah himself, when at the beginning
of Jehoiakim's reign the Scythian flood had run off, and, by the
overthrow of Nineveh and Nebuchadnezzar's defeat of Pharaoh Necho on
the Euphrates, the new Babylonian empire had become the impending fate
of Syria and Palestine.

Among the prophecies of Jeremiah in this part of the book also are
introduced pieces, larger or smaller, which are the product of later
generations; two conspicuous examples are Jer. ix. 23-34; x. 1-16 (x.
17 is the immediate continuation of ix. 22), and xvii. 19-27.

Jeremiah's experience in the pursuit of his calling was a hard one.
His Cassandra forebodings gained him the enmity of all, and hostility
grew to bitter hatred as the dire fulfilment stared them in the face.
His countrymen in Anathoth plotted his death; the prophecy in the
temple all but cost him his life, and was an end, for the time at
least, of public appearances; the coming of his collected oracles into
Jehoiakim's hands drove him and the scribe into hiding. During the
last siege, he first was kept in arrest in a private house, then cast
into an empty cistern, where he would have perished but for the
friendliness of a negro eunuch; then confined in the court of the
guard till the taking of the city; released by the Babylonians, his
counsel to the refugees not to flee to Egypt was badly received, and
he was constrained to accompany them. In Egypt, again denouncing and
predicting ill, he disappears; Jewish legend says, killed by his
exasperated countrymen.

But these outward perils and pains were not all he had to bear for
being a prophet. In anguish of soul he suffered twice the tragedy of
his people, in foresight and in fact--suffered as only a man of
sensitive spirit and unflinching will can suffer. That needs no
commentary; but there is another element we do not so easily conceive:
Jeremiah believed that the word of God he had to utter was not merely
a prediction, but the effectual cause, of the ruin of Judah (see Jer.
i. 9 f.). It is not strange that the task God had laid on him seemed
too heavy to be borne. He feels himself a man of contention to the
whole earth. He remonstrates, he reproaches God for having misled him,
he resolves never again to speak in the name of the Lord; but there is
within him as it were a burning fire shut up in his bones, he cannot
hold in (Jer. xx. 7-18; see also xv. 10 f., 15-18; xii. 1-6). These
"confessions," as they have been called, are of the greatest interest;
they are a revelation of the prophet's soul such as has no counterpart
in the Old Testament, and, with Baruch's simple story, bring him as a
man nearer to us than any of the other prophets.

In the Hebrew (and therefore in the English) Bible, the last chapters
of the book (Jer. 46-51) contain a collection of prophecies against
foreign nations, to which is appended (c. 52) an extract from the Book
of Kings (2 Kings xxiv. 18-xxv. 21), describing the taking of
Jerusalem by the Babylonian army in 586 B.C. In the Greek Bible the
oracles against the foreign nations come in between Jer. xxv. 13 and
vs. 15, but in an altogether different order. They evidently formed a
little book by themselves, which in one recension of the Book of
Jeremiah were appended to the volume of his prophecies, in another
were inserted in the middle of it as the corresponding collections of
foreign oracles are placed in Ezek. 25-32 and Isa. 13-23. The question
of the original place and disposition of these prophecies is of
importance only for the relation of the two forms of the book to each
other, and need not be pursued here.

It is very doubtful whether Jeremiah had any hand whatever in these
chapters. The prolix prophecy against Babylon (Jer. 50-51) is a purely
literary exercise, for which contributions have been levied right and
left, and was written at a time when Babylon had long ceased to be of
historical importance. Others of the prophecies borrow from earlier
prophets generously. An examination, by the aid of the marginal
references in the Revised Version (Oxford and Cambridge edition,
1898), of the appropriations and reminiscences will give a profitable
notion of this literary imitation of prophecy.

The different order of the prophecies is not the only, nor the most
important, difference between the Hebrew and the Greek Jeremiah.
Besides a great number of variant readings of the ordinary kind, the
oldest Greek version is much shorter than the Hebrew; it has been
reckoned that in the neighbourhood of 2700 words in the latter have
nothing corresponding to them in the translation. Some part of this
may be due to abridgment by the translators, to which the repetitions
in parts of Jeremiah--chiefly secondary parts--invited; but when all
allowance is made for this, it remains that the Hebrew copies from
which the translation was made had a much briefer text than the
Palestinian Hebrew in our hands, and it is probable that the greater
part of this difference, which is chiefly in comparative verbosity, is
due to padding with stock phrases and turns of thought in the
Palestinian text. In some instances oracles or tags to oracles which
on other grounds are recognized as late additions to our text had not
got into that of the Greek translators.



Ezekiel was one of the priests of Jerusalem who was carried off to
Babylonia with King Jehoiachin in the deportation of 597 B.C. Those
who were thus deported were the upper classes, including, of course,
the royal family and the court and the aristocracy of the priesthood,
and skilled artisans, particularly the smiths (armorers). Having thus
removed the natural leaders of the rebellious people, Nebuchadnezzar
made Zedekiah, an uncle of Jehoiachin, king in his stead and gave
Judah another trial. The eight or ten thousand Jews with their
families who were removed to Babylonia were colonized at different
points, Ezekiel repeatedly mentions the river Chebar, that is,
probably, the grand canal in the vicinity of Nippur. The patricians in
exile thought very poorly of the new lords who had stepped into their
shoes in Jerusalem, and they flattered themselves that events would
soon take such a turn that they would return to Judæa and to power.
They had prophets and diviners among them who encouraged them in this
expectation. When Zedekiah revolted and the Babylonian armies a second
time besieged Jerusalem, their faith in the inviolability of Zion,
confirmed, rather than shaken, by the outcome of things in 597 B.C.,
when Jehoiachin surrendered and the holy city took no harm, made them
refuse hearing to Ezekiel's prediction of ruin; they may even have
dreamed that Nebuchadnezzar would find out his mistake and restore to
Judah its legitimate rulers, chastened by experience, and pack
Zedekiah and his advisers into exile in their place.

Against this vain and superstitious optimism Ezekiel had to contend
until the disastrous issue made a rude end of all their dreams and
threw the exiles into the depths of hopelessness: Bel had triumphed
over Jehovah, and it was all over with the nation. Thenceforth
Ezekiel's task was to save them from despair by the assurance that God
still had a purpose to fulfil with them, and that, in his own time,
when they had been thoroughly purged from their old sins and filled
with a new spirit, he would restore them to their own land and bring
to life again the dead nation.

These two periods of the prophet's mission sharply divide the Book of
Ezekiel. To the day when the word came to him that the Babylonian
armies had invested Jerusalem (Ezek. 24) he combats delusion; from the
arrival of the tidings of the fall of the city (xxxiii. 21 ff.) he
combats despair. The first part is all menace, the second is full of
promise. Numerous dated oracles serve as landmarks, especially in the
first part.

Between the two, in the two years of suspense, when about his own
people the prophet is dumb, is placed the group of prophecies against
foreign nations (cc. 25-32), beginning with oracles against the
neighbours of Judah who held true to Nebuchadnezzar in this crisis and
had their reward at Judah's cost--Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites, and
Philistines. These are followed by long predictions of the ruin of
Tyre, over whose calamity the prophet exults more loudly than the
grievance of Jerusalem (Ezek. xxvi. 2) seems to justify.
Nebuchadnezzar did in fact besiege Tyre for thirteen years (585-572
B.C.), and doubtless inflicted upon it great losses; but the island
city, with its command of the sea, he could not take. Ezekiel himself,
in a remarkable passage which is perhaps his latest word in the book,
admits that his predictions of the capture of Tyre (xxvi. 7-14) had
not been fulfilled--Nebuchadnezzar had had to raise the long and
ineffectual siege--but he promises that Jehovah will reward him for
these fruitless labours in the Lord's service by giving him Egypt
instead (xxix. 17-21). The animosity against Egypt which finds
expression in the predictions of the Babylonian subjugation of that
country is more easily explained. Egypt had been the evil genius of
Judah, instigating rebellion against the Babylonian suzerainty, and
promising armed aid which always failed in the decisive hour; it was
meet that it should taste the cup of humiliation itself. In c. 32 the
descent of Egypt to the hell of fallen nations is vividly depicted; a
similar picture of the descent of the Babylonian king in Isa. 14 has
already been noted. Not improbably Babylonian notions of the nether
world may have influenced the imagery of both, as a myth of paradise
seems to have suggested the imagery of Tyre in Eden (xxviii. 12 ff.).
Outside this group is an oracle against Edom (c. 35), and the great
prophecy of the irruption of Gog and his hordes and their fate (cc.
38 f.).

A conspicuous feature of the Book of Ezekiel are the extended visions
and the elaborated symbolical actions. In the inaugural vision (Ezek.
i.-iii. 15), for instance, God appears, a veritable _deus ex machina_,
on a high seat in a curious motor car made up of animated wheels and
winged monsters. In a later vision (c. 10) he sees God leave the
doomed temple in Jerusalem and mount this cherubim car, in which he is
whirled away through the air to the east; and in the great vision of
the new temple in the golden age God returns to his abode in the same
conveyance (c. 43). Striking examples of symbolical actions may be
found in Ezek. 4, and in xii. 1-20. They are of such an extraordinary
character as to raise the question whether they were really enacted
before the eyes of the people or only described in discourse.

Ezekiel's visions are sometimes ecstatic states, in which he is
instantaneously translated from place to place. At the end of the
inaugural vision, "the spirit" lifted him up and took him away,
setting him down in amazement among the colonists at Tell-Abib. In
viii. 1 ff., as he sat in his own house in the midst of a company of
the elders of Judah, the spirit, which is described as a strange
luminous creature, took him up by the hair of his head and wafted him
"in the visions of God" to Jerusalem, where his conductor showed him
all the idolatrous cults and the abominable mysteries that were
practised in the temple under the very eyes of "the glory of the God
of Israel" (c. 8); after seeing God take his flight from the
desecrated sanctuary, the prophet is translated by the spirit to
Chaldæa again. Another such vision in ecstasy is the famous scene in
the valley of dry bones (Ezek. 37). In such cases it is impossible to
say how much is actually the experience of the visionary, how much
literary form.

In the great vision of the restoration, cc. 40-48, which also is
introduced as an ecstasy with the translation of the prophet to
Palestine, we may be pretty sure that the element of conscious
composition predominates. The chapters contain a programme for the
coming age when all the twelve tribes, gathered together from exile
and dispersion, shall reoccupy the holy land, with a new, geometrical
division of the territory, with a new plan for the city of Jerusalem,
a new constitution for the state, a new temple after the old model, a
reorganized ministry of religion, and a reformed worship. The ruling
idea which runs through all is to make impossible those sins against
the holiness of God, his land, his house, his people, which had been
the cause of former ruin.

The Book of Ezekiel seems to have been arranged and published by the
author, and though some derangements and repetitions may be observed,
it has not been much meddled with by later editors, and, to whatever
reason it may be attributed, exhibits none of the phenomena of
compilation and amplification which we have found in Isaiah and
Jeremiah. The Hebrew text, however, has suffered more than most books
in transmission, and has reached us in an unusually corrupt state. The
author has a style of his own, which can rise to eloquence (as in the
oracles against Tyre), but is generally pedestrian and sometimes
clumsy. He has plenty of imagination, not always regulated by taste or
restrained by decency. His drastic figures of the unfaithfulness of
Israel and Judah are often unfit to translate.



In the Hebrew Bible the Book of Daniel stands, not as in our Bible
among the Prophets, after Ezekiel, but among the miscellaneous books
in the third division, the "Scriptures." Various reasons have been
suggested for this, but by far the most probable is that at the time
when Daniel became current, in the second century B.C., the Prophets
were already a definite group of writings with a traditional use in
the readings of the Synagogue, to which a new book could not well be

The Book of Daniel consists of two parts, stories about Daniel and his
three comrades (cc. 1-6), and visions of Daniel (cc. 7-12); in the
latter Daniel reports his visions in the first person as Ezekiel
habitually does, and it was only natural that he should be taken for
the author of the book.

According to the introduction to the first story, Daniel and his three
friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, were Jewish youths of high
birth who were carried captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in the
first deportation (which is erroneously dated in the third year of
Jehoiakim). One story (Dan. 1) tells how these youths contrived to
avoid all danger of eating unclean food, and how God blessed them in
body and mind for their scrupulousness in observance of the dietary
laws; another (c. 3), how the three were saved from Nebuchadnezzar's
overheated furnace, into which they were thrown for refusing to
worship the idol; a third (c. 6), how Daniel was cast into the lions'
den for praying to his God despite the edict of Darius. These
miraculous deliverances constrain the heathen kings publicly to
acknowledge that the God of the Jews is the greatest of gods. The same
acknowledgment is drawn from Nebuchadnezzar when Daniel recalls his
forgotten dream and interprets it, after all the diviners of Babylon
had failed (c. 2); he alone is able to decipher and explain for
Belshazzar the handwriting on the wall (c. 5). The stories of
Nebuchadnezzar's madness (c. 2) and of Belshazzar's feast (c. 5) teach
also how God punishes kings who in their pride of power exalt
themselves before him, or in their arrogance profane his holy things.

All of them thus magnify the God of the Jews as in power and wisdom
above all other gods, and two of the most striking of them have for
their theme the deliverance from mortal peril of men who stood
faithful to their religion against the king's commandment. These
obvious motives, as we shall presently see, have a bearing on the age
of the stories.

In the second part of the book are four visions, or revelations, which
stand in chronological order (according to the author's chronology):
c. 7 in the first year of Belshazzar; c. 8 in his third year; c. 9 in
the first year of "Darius son of Xerxes, of the race of the
Medes"--not properly a vision, but a revelation by Gabriel; and cc.
10-12 in the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia. By the side of these
must be put Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Dan. ii. 28-45 (second year of
Nebuchadnezzar), which, in its four-empire scheme, corresponds to
Daniel's vision in c. 7. The interpretations which Daniel gives to
Nebuchadnezzar or the angel gives to Daniel, though sometimes
surrounded with an impressive air of mystery, give all the necessary
clues to the understanding of the visions, and obscure allusions are
often made plain by a more explicit parallel.

Under fantastic and varied imagery, they unroll the history of the
empires which succeed one another in the dominion of the world, from
the Babylonian (Dan. 2 and 7), or the Medo-Persian (c. 8), or Persian
(cc. 10-12)--that is from the assumed standpoint of Daniel--through
the dominion of Alexander and the kingdoms into which his empire was
broken up, ending always with the reign of Antiochus IV. (175-164
B.C.). The goal in them all is the destruction of the heathen power
and the establishment of the eternal kingdom of the holy people of the
Most High, otherwise, the Jews.

The simplest form of this scheme is Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Dan. 2.
The image with head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and
thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet part of iron and part of clay,
stands for four empires in a scale of deterioration, like the four
ages of Hesiod, beginning with the Babylonian, represented by
Nebuchadnezzar himself. This is followed by an inferior kingdom, and
that by a third universal empire; the destructive strength of the
fourth is figured by iron which shatters all that it smites; the feet
and toes signify a divided kingdom, in part strong as iron, in part
brittle as pottery. The stone which smote the image on the feet and
broke them to pieces, whereupon the whole image collapsed into dust
and was whirled away by the wind, while the stone grew to a great
mountain and filled all the earth, is the kingdom which the God of
heaven shall establish in those days, "which shall never be destroyed,
nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people, but it
shall break in pieces and annihilate all those empires, and it shall
stand forever."

The image thus represents the rule of the heathen as one world-empire,
the dominion being exercised successively by four kingdoms and by the
divisions of the fourth; in the destruction of these last the heathen
world-empire is forever annihilated, and the eternal kingdom of God
subdues and rules the whole earth. What is said about the second and
third kingdoms is too general to identify them; the iron strength and
destructiveness of the fourth, and its divisions with their mingled
strength and weakness, naturally suggest Alexander and his successors,
and this impression is strengthened by the one specific trait in the
whole picture; the vain effort to make iron and wet clay combine
signifies, we are told, an equally futile attempt to bind the divided
kingdoms together by intermarriages (Dan. ii. 43). We know from the
historians that attempts to ally the kingdoms of the Ptolemies in
Egypt and the Seleucids in Syria by dynastic marriages were repeatedly
made in vain, and the author of Daniel himself, in c. 11, refers to
these alliances and their disastrous failure in plain terms.

The vision of Daniel in c. 7 brings in the four empires under the
symbol of four monstrous beasts. The fourth, more terrible and more
destructive than the others, has ten horns ("out of this kingdom ten
kings shall arise," vs. 24); another horn, "with the eyes of a man and
a boastful mouth," arises which roots out three of the ten. Daniel
sees how he makes war on the "holy men" (i.e. the Jews) and prevails
over them (vs. 21); the interpreting angel describes in more detail
the crimes of the last king: he will utter speeches against the
Highest, and wear out the holy men of the Most High, and try to change
(religious) seasons and law (religion). God's people will be delivered
into his power till the expiration of three and a half years (cf. xii.
7). Then the proud king and his kingdom will be annihilated and the
universal and eternal empire of the Jews established.

Still more definite is the description of the doings of the "little
horn" which springs up on the head of the great he-goat in the vision
of c. 8. Here the interpreter becomes explicit: the he-goat is by name
the Macedonian empire. The little horn is a king who shall arise in
the latter time of the divided kingdoms of Alexander's successors.
This king magnifies himself against the chief of the heavenly host,
casts down his sanctuary, takes away his daily burnt-offerings, and
destroys the holy people; and is then himself suddenly "broken without
hand." In the further explanation given to Daniel in ix. 26 ff., the
cessation of the daily sacrifice is to last half a week (of years),
i.e. three and a half years; the profanation of the sanctuary and
suppression of the sacrifices and the persecution of the Jews occur
again in xi. 31 ff. (cf. xii. 5-12). In connection with this we hear
of setting up of a "desolating (or appalling) abomination," in the
temple. The common use of "abomination" (loathsome thing) for idols or
other objects of heathen worship leaves no doubt that some such object
is meant here: the king not only stopped the worship of the God of the
Jews in his own temple, but established in its place a heathen cult.
It is, indeed, not improbable that the words translated "appalling
abomination" are an intentional distortion of the proper name of the
heathen god Baal Shamaim, i.e. Jupiter.

The definiteness of all this proves that the author is not creating an
imaginary monster in whom all the sins of the heathen rulers against
the God of Heaven and his people are accumulated, but describing a
historical figure. Nor is there the smallest room for question whose
portrait he is painting: every feature of it belongs to Antiochus IV.,
Epiphanes (Manifest God, the title means, which Antiochian wits
perverted to Epimanes, Manifest Madman), who in 168 B.C. took
possession of the temple in Jerusalem, suppressed the worship of its
God, erected an altar of Jupiter on the great altar of burnt offering,
and inaugurated heathen sacrifices. Not only that, but he forbade
circumcision, the observance of the sabbath, and the possession of
copies of the scriptures, and commanded that Jews should certify their
abjuration of their own religion by sacrificing to his gods. Those who
ignored or defied his decrees were persecuted; many of them put to
death. This attempt to extirpate the Jewish religion and forcibly
heathenize the people provoked a revolt led by Judas Maccabæus and his
brothers, who three years later recovered the temple, purged it, and
restored the sacrifices.

If there could be any doubt about the identification, it would be
removed by Dan. 11, which, as was recognized by Porphyry in the third
century of our era, contains a minute history of the relations of the
Ptolemies and Seleucids, their intermarriages and their wars, with
increasing detail, down to the Egyptian campaigns of Antiochus
Epiphanes--mentioning, for instance, the rebuff he received from the
Roman envoy (Popillius Laenas), and in the sequel of this his
desecration of the temple in Jerusalem and persecution of the
law-abiding Jews--and there the history ends.

All this is supposed to be revealed to Daniel in the days of
Nebuchadnezzar and under later Babylonian and Median kings down to the
first year of Cyrus, that is, according to the historical chronology,
about three hundred and seventy-five years before the event. Such
visionary panoramas form a recognized genus of Jewish literature, and
they are regularly unrolled to some man of God in the remote or
remotest past. In the second and first centuries before our era a
great variety of such visions were attributed to Enoch, others to
Noah; revelations to Seth the son of Adam were once popular, and Adam
himself had some. Another class, like Daniel, bore the names of men of
the exile; Baruch is the putative father of several such revelations;
one of the most notable of the kind is the apocalypse of Ezra, which
stands in the Apocrypha in our Bible as Second Esdras.

The age of such apocalypses is determined, not by the date assigned to
the imaginary seer, but by the actual standpoint of the author as
disclosed in the visions. In Daniel the historical panorama is
unrolled every time to the reign of Antiochus IV., and there stops.
The writer had witnessed the desecration of the temple and the
persecution of the Jews for their religion, he had seen the first
small successes of the Maccabees, but the recovery of the temple and
the restoration of sacrifice had not yet occurred. The death of
Antiochus is circumstantially predicted, but in a place and manner
very remote from the reality (Dan. xi. 45). The visions of Daniel
fall, therefore, between December 168 B.C., the date of the
desecration of the temple, and December 165, the restoration. The
motives of the stories also (see above, p. 178 f.) are most
appropriate to the situation under Antiochus. It is possible that they
are adaptations of older tales, but there is no reason to think that
they are of high antiquity. The Greek Bible has three additional
stories about Daniel (Susanna and the Elders, Bel, and the Dragon)
which stand in our Bibles among the Apocrypha.

One peculiarity of the Book of Daniel remains for brief mention. Like
Ezra, it is in two languages: Dan. i. 1-ii. 4 is in Hebrew, from ii. 4
b to the end of c. 7 in Aramaic, and from the beginning of c. 8 the
rest is in Hebrew again. The Aramaic begins appropriately where the
Chaldæans (diviners) are introduced speaking in what the author
evidently conceives to be the language of the country; the text does
not, however, revert to Hebrew when this conference is over, but holds
on, not only through all the rest of the stories, but through the
first vision (c. 7). A motive for just this distribution of the two
tongues is not discoverable; in the chapter of accidents are various
possibilities which offset one another. As in Ezra--though there are
some differences between the two books--the Aramaic is of a kind which
was vernacular in Palestine in the last centuries before our era.



The Minor Prophets--so called not in depreciation, but because their
books are smaller than those of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel--form in
the Jewish Bible one book, in which are brought together oracles in
the name of various prophets from the eighth century B.C. (Amos,
Hosea) to the fifth (Haggai, Zechariah), and one anonymous book
(Malachi). As in the collections which bear in their titles the names
of Isaiah and Jeremiah, so in the collection of the Twelve, prophecies
have been attributed, by error or conjecture or accident, to prophets
to whom they do not belong, and additions and alterations have been
made by compilers or editors. The extent of this alien matter differs
in different books; Hosea, for example, seems to contain little of it,
while in Micah it is considerable.

HOSEA.--In our Bibles, in which the Minor Prophets stand and are
counted individually, the first is Hosea. This position, which it has
also in the Hebrew Bible, may have been given the book, partly on
account of its age, partly on account of its length; but it might also
claim it by reason of its worth, for Hosea is one of the greatest of
the prophets, not in Minor company alone, but in the canon. No other
contributed so much, through his own words and through his great
successors, Jeremiah and the Deuteronomists, to deepen and
spiritualize the conception of religion.

Hosea was an Israelite who began to prophesy to his countrymen in the
reign of Jeroboam II., probably about 750 B.C., and after Jeroboam's
death witnessed at least the beginning of that procession of
assassinations and revolutions through which the kingdom hurried to
meet its fate; but it does not appear from his book that he lived to
see the invasion of Tiglath-Pileser and the loss of Gilead and Galilee
in 734 B.C. in which his own predictions of impending doom had so
signal a verification. Their complete fulfilment came in 721, when
Sargon made an end forever of the kingdom of Israel, and deported many
of the people of Samaria to remote quarters of his empire.

The Book of Hosea opens with chapters out of the prophet's experience
with his unfaithful wife, in which he sees a counterpart and symbol of
God's experience with Israel. This discovery of this significance in
the tragedy of his life is what made him a prophet. He saw then that
it was for this he had been led to marry a woman who turned out a
gross adulteress. When he drove her from his house, when later he
bought her out of the servitude into which she had sunk, and by
seclusion and a discipline at once firm and kind tried to win her back
by love to virtue, that, too, was an apologue of God's dealing with
his people (see specially Hos. i. 2-9; iii. 1-5). He is the first,
apparently, to use the metaphor adultery, or fornication, for
religious defection. The oracle, ii. 2-23, translates it into its
historical terms and discloses Hosea's construction of the religious
history of Israel. The root of Israel's apostasy was the belief that
the gods of the soil of Canaan, the baals, gave the corn and the wine
and the oil which in reality its own God, Jehovah, bestowed. Therefore
he will take away all these, which she deems the gift of the baals,
the wages of her prostitution, and will lead the people into the
desert of exile. But he will be with them there to comfort and
encourage, and Israel will return to its first love as in the early
days when it was alone with God in the desert of the exodus. Then the
old relation will be restored, never to be broken, and the gifts in
the new betrothal are uprightness and justice and charity and kindness
of heart and faithfulness and the knowledge of God (Hosea's word for
religion). That will be the golden age! (See Hos. ii. 18-23.)

When the Jew says his _Shema_ or the Christian his Great Commandment,
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and with all
thy soul and with all thy might," it is Hosea's great thought he is
repeating. Hosea interprets God's dealing with his people by his faith
in God's inextinguishable love. Outraged love may smite harder than
offended righteousness, but its blows are remedial, not retributive or
expiatory; its aim not to satisfy justice, but to recover the erring.
The exile, which for Amos is the final vindication of God's
righteousness in the death of the sinful nation, is for Hosea a
chastisement which leads to repentance and restoration. He is
therefore the author of that ideal of a golden age of godliness and
uprightness and happiness, beyond the impending judgment or the
present oppression, which is one of the leading motives of the
so-called messianic prophecy.

The rest of the book (cc. 4-14) consists of a collection of oracles,
without titles, and often without obvious boundaries. They contain an
appalling picture of the sins of the nation as a whole and of all
classes of society; kings and princes, priests and prophets and
people--all are corrupt. The theme of the whole may be read in Hos.
iv. 1 f.: "There is no truth, nor charity, nor knowledge of God
(religion) in the land; naught but swearing and breaking faith and
murder and theft and adultery." Therefore ruin yawns before the
nation. Yet God will not destroy utterly; all the pathos of the divine
love finds words in such passages as xi. 8 ff., "How can I give thee
up, Ephraim?" or xiv. 1 ff., "O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God."

This book of a prophet of the northern kingdom has come down to us
through Judæan hands; the title, with its list of Judæan kings
(exactly the same as in the title of Isaiah), is doubtless due to a
Jewish editor, and we are not surprised to find in the text itself
Jewish touches, such as the words "and David their king" in iii. 5, or
i. 11, but these are not numerous nor important. The text of Hosea is,
however, unusually corrupt. The prophet's style is very difficult, and
scribes did as they commonly do with a difficult text, they made
mechanical mistakes because they did not understand and false
emendations because they thought they understood what they did not.

JOEL.--Joel was probably put between Hosea and Amos because the
editors of the Book of the Twelve thought that he was one of the
earlier prophets, and, chiefly because of its position, this opinion
has been general until recent times. In the book itself there are
neither names nor identifiable historical allusions by which its age
can be determined. The whole situation, however, is that of the
so-called post-exilic times.

The occasion of the prophecy with which the book begins was a
portentous plague of locusts, whose invasion and ravages are described
in Joel 1-2 in highly poetical imagery. Locusts and drought together
have so devastated the land that both men and beasts are perishing,
and--the last touch of the extremity--the obligatory daily offerings
in the temple have been cut off. The prophet calls to fasting and
supplication; perhaps God may be entreated to have mercy on them (ii.
12-17). God had pity on his people; the following oracle (ii. 18-27)
promises relief and everlasting prosperity. The visitation seems to
the prophet an omen of the dread "Day of the Lord." He sees the
nations gather beneath the walls of Jerusalem (in the valley with the
ominous name, Jehoshaphat, "Jehovah judges") for the last onset, to be
annihilated by the intervention of God. Then the golden age will be
ushered in.

The heads of the people are priests and elders; of king and princes
there is no word. The Judah and Jerusalem which the prophet addresses
are the religious community which assembles in the temple; people and
congregation are the same thing. This one observation takes Joel out
of the company of Amos and Hosea and puts him by the side of Malachi.
All the other features of the book confirm this date. Assyrians or
Babylonians, without whom no picture of the Day of the Lord in the
pre-exilic prophets would be complete, are not here; Israel has

The author has read much prophetic literature; reminiscences in
thought and phrase meet us at every turn. The heathen in the Valley of
Jehoshaphat are Ezekiel's hordes of Gog (Ezek. 38 f.); the fountain
that flows from the house of the Lord is a modest counterpart of the
river that sweetens the Dead Sea (Ezek. 47). The thumb-prints of
editorial hands have been thought to betray themselves in several
places, and some students would give a larger range to this
observation. The additions, if such they are, are not far remote in
time from the original book, and reflect the same religious

AMOS.--A dramatic scene in Amos vii. 10-17 describes the appearance of
Amos at Bethel on a high festival, with his presages of swift and
utter ruin for Israel (cf. vii. 1-9). That his hearers greeted the
message with incredulity can well be believed, for under Jeroboam II.
Israel was at the very culmination of its power and prosperity. The
chief priest of Bethel was not minded to let such speech pass in his
diocese; as scornfully as Creon dismisses the prophet Teiresias in the
Antigone, he bids Amos be gone: "O Seer, be off, flee to the land of
Judah; make thy living there, and there do thy prophesying. But
prophesy no more at Bethel, for it is a royal temple and a residence
city." Spurning the contemptuous insinuation, Amos answers: "No
prophet am I, and no member of the prophetic order, but a herdsman am
I and a ripener of sycamore figs. Jehovah took me from following the
flock, and bade me, Go prophesy against my people Israel."
Incidentally we see in how low esteem the professional prophet stood,
that the priest should make a taunt of the name and the prophet
indignantly repel it.

The priest followed up his warning by a report to the king, and we may
safely conclude that Amos prophesied no more at Bethel. Perhaps it was
the rude end of his mission that prompted him to collect his oracles
into a book, the earliest example of such a collection, as a witness
to his own generation and to that which should see the fulfilment.

The title, this part of which may well be original, describes Amos as
a shepherd from Tekoa, in the wilderness of Judah. Beyond the brief
scene at Bethel nothing more is told of him in the book or out of it.
But the book is his monument.

It is one of the easiest of the prophetic books to understand and one
of the best preserved. Chapters 1 and 2 contain a series of brief
oracles, on the same plan, against the neighbours of Israel, the
Syrians of Damascus, the Philistines, Phoenicians, Edomites,
Ammonites, Moabites, Judæans, leading up to a longer indictment of
Israel and denunciation of God's judgment upon it. This is followed by
prophecies against Israel (cc. 3-6), which seem to be formally divided
into three parts by the introductory formula, "Hear this word" (iii.
1; iv. 1; v. 1), but by subject would naturally fall into a larger
number of oracles. Chapter 7 begins with three visions, the delivery
of which at Bethel may have provoked Amaziah's interference (vii.
10-17); c. 8 again opens with a vision, in which the basket of summer
fruit _(kais)_ is to the prophet a symbol of the coming end
_(k[=e]s)_ of Israel; in c. 9 Amos sees the Lord standing beside the
altar and pronouncing the word of destruction and inescapable doom
(ix. 1-8^a), from which an awkward transition (ix. 8^b-10) carries us
to a prediction of the restoration of David's kingdom and the
prosperity of the golden age.

The doom which Amos sees impending over Israel is visited upon it in
retribution for the wrongs which men inflict upon their fellows, the
oppression of the poor by the rich, the small man by the great; the
injustice, often in the forms of law, by which men are deprived of
property and liberty; the luxury, aping foreign modes, which is not
only corrupting in itself, but is the chief motive of injustice and
oppression and fraud. The very prosperity of the nation was its ruin.

With all this, Israel is very religious; it acknowledges the success
in war and the profit of commerce as the gift of the national God and
evidence of his favour, and does not grudge him his share even of
ill-gotten gains. Amos's God has a conscience--that was a new idea
about gods!--and abhors such religion; he hates their festivals,
refuses their sacrifices, spurns their hymns of praise. "But let
justice roll down like floods, and right like an unfailing stream."
That is the only worship he owns.

The standard of right is not one thing in Israel and another among the
heathen: Amos summons the Philistines and the Egyptians to behold
with amazement and horror the doings in Samaria. In the oracles with
which the book opens, he pronounces the judgment of God on the peoples
neighbour to Israel, not solely because they have wronged Israel, as
in so many of the prophecies against the nations, but because they
have violated the principles of humanity. It is the first assertion in
the Old Testament that there is such a thing as an international
morality. Amos is the first in the succession of ethical prophets, the
author, so far as we know, of a new idea of religion. It is deeply
significant that he and Hosea are contemporaries; hardly more than ten
years can lie between Amos's appearance at Bethel and the earliest of
Hosea's prophecies against the house of Jehu. The God of Amos is the
apotheosis of right, the conscience of the world that can neither be
corrupted nor sophisticated; the God of Hosea was born in the heart of
a man whose love the grossest wrong could not quench. Retribution is
the divinity of the one, redemption of the other.

Amos's conception was the first to take hold; the earlier prophecies
of Isaiah against Judah are wholly in that mood. Hosea had to wait a
century before his greater thought found a fruitful soil in Jeremiah
and the Deuteronomists.

The predictions of judgment in Amos are so sweeping and ultimate that
later readers found the message incomplete. Especially the last
oracle (ix. 1 ff.) was an ill-omened close. Consequently, a messianic
pendant was attached to it (ix. 11-15) by a Judæan editor, and an
imperfect juncture made by the introduction of vs. 8^b (which flatly
contradicts the first half verse) and 9^b (no grain shall fall to the
ground) perhaps displacing some words of the original.

It seems that some imitative pieces have been inserted also in c. 1;
the prophecy against Judah in ii. 4 f. with its deuteronomic sins,
falls out of the scheme and is generally recognized as editorial.
Slight retouches elsewhere (e.g. iv. 13; v. 8 f.; ix. 6) need not
detain us. In general the book has suffered little from the improvers,
and the text is in relatively good preservation.

OBADIAH.--The single chapter of Obadiah, the shortest of the Old
Testament books, is a prophecy against the Edomites, toward whom, as
we have repeatedly seen, the Jews cherished an implacable animosity
from the time of the fall of Jerusalem. Obadiah vss. 1-9 has close
parallels in Jer. xlix. 7-22 (cf. Obad. vss. 1-4 with Jer. xlix.
14-16; Obad. vs. 5 f., Jer. xlix. 9 f.; Obad. vs. 8, Jer. xlix. 7).
The question which is the borrower has been differently answered.
Obadiah vss. 15-21, in which Edom gets its judgment in the Day of the
Lord on the nations, is probably later than vss. 1-14, but the whole
is post-exilic.

JONAH.--The Book of Jonah has already been discussed along with the
stories of Esther and Ruth.

MICAH.--The prediction of Micah, the Morashtite, that Zion should be
plowed as a field and Jerusalem be a heap of ruins and the temple hill
become like forest shrines (Mic. iii. 2), is quoted under his name in
Jer. xxvi. 18--the only example of such a prophetic quotation in the
Old Testament. The author, a resident of Moresheth-Gath in the Judæan
Lowland, is said in the title to have prophesied in the days of
Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, which is the editor's way of saying that
he was a younger contemporary of Isaiah. The reign of Hezekiah is
attested by the tradition in Jeremiah. It is probable that only cc.
1-3 (with perhaps some dubious possibilities in the following
chapters) can be attributed to Micah.

The book opens with an oracle against Samaria (Mic. i. 2-8). Samaria
fell in 721 B.C., while the sequel (vs. 9 ff.) portrays the imminent
peril of Judah, presumably in the time of Sennacherib (701 B.C.). The
case seems to be similar to Isa. xxviii. 1 ff.: the fate of Samaria,
though it is already fact, is represented prophetically for a closer
parallel to the following. Verses 10-16 are little more than a string
of ominous puns on the names of towns in the author's Lowland, which
in translation lose what little point they have. The second chapter
gives the cause of the woe much as in Amos or Isaiah, but perhaps with
local emphasis on the wrongs the capitalists of the great city inflict
on the peasant proprietors. His forebodings and censures are not well
received, men bid him stop his preaching, it is a different sort of
prophet they like (ii. 6-11). "If a man, walking in wind and
falsehood, should lie, 'I will preach to thee of wine and drink,' he
will be the preacher for this people." Micah has more to say, but not
better, about the demagogue prophets in the following oracle (iii.
5-7). The predictions of disaster in ii. 1-11 have their point blunted
in vs. 12 f. in the way the editors of the prophetic books so often do

Chapter 3 returns to condemnation, which turns at last on the heads of
the rulers "who build up Zion with blood and Jerusalem with iniquity,"
and ends with the prediction of the total destruction of the city
which has already been quoted.

Then the unexpected follows, in the prophecy that Jerusalem shall
become the religious centre of the earth, to which all nations flow,
and the law of God the universal arbiter in an age of universal peace
(Mic. iv. 1-5). Verses 1-3 are found also, in no more suitable
context, in Isa. ii. 2-4. They belong to neither Isaiah nor Micah. For
the rest, Mic. 4-5 and cc. 6-7 contain a number of pieces of diverse
age and origin. Chapters iv. 6-v. 1 are as a whole of good omen, yet
after the promise of restoration in iv. 8, Jerusalem is suddenly in
desperate straits; exile awaits its people, and only beyond the exile
(the words "thou shalt come even unto Babylon" may be a gloss, but the
meaning is not essentially changed) redemption waits (iv. 9 f.). In
iv. 11-13, again, many nations gather against Zion, but it crushes
them like sheaves on the threshing floor. There follows (v. 2-9,
10-15) a messianic prophecy, in which an allusion to Isa. vii. 14

No less strangely assorted are the oracles in Mic. 6-7, of which there
are four: vi. 1-8; vi. 9-16; vii. 1-6; vii. 7-20. The first of these
contains the quintessence of the prophetic conception of religion: God
does not demand holocausts and costly offerings in expiation of sin;
nor the supreme expiation which the prophets and the laws of the
seventh century so often reject and condemn: "Shall I give my
first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of
my soul? He hath showed thee, O man. What is good and what doth God
require of thee, but to do justice and love mercy and walk humbly with
thy God?"

Trenchant condemnations of the sins of the times fill vi. 9-16 and
vii. 1-6, the former of which, at least, is pre-exilic; while the book
closes in the situation and spirit of Isa. 40 ff. Thus the Book of
Micah, like that of his contemporary Isaiah, has been a depository for
prophecies differing in age by several centuries. Perhaps the book
once stood at the end of a roll, and was therefore the natural place
to add stray and nameless pieces, as happened later to the Book of
Zechariah at the end of the volume of the Minor Prophets.

NAHUM.--In the three larger prophetic books we have found groups of
oracles against foreign nations, some relatively old, many late and
literary variations on given motives--it was evidently a grateful
theme. In Nahum we have a whole book occupied with the impending fall
of Nineveh and the Assyrian empire, which had so long and so brutally
tyrannized over all western Asia. Now its hour has struck, and the
prophet triumphs over the fate of the old lion, who "rent in pieces to
satisfy his whelps and strangled for his lionesses, and filled his
dens with prey and his lairs with ravin." His imagination revels in
the terrors of the onslaught, the horrors of the sack, which he
depicts with unsurpassed vividness and great poetic power. It is the
judgment of the Lord, long deferred, but sure and final (Nah. 1).

In Nah. iii. 8-10 the fate of the Egyptian Thebes is adduced as an
historic example: all her power could not save her, and it shall fare
no better with Nineveh. The reference is probably to the capture of
Thebes by Assurbanipal in 661 B.C. Nineveh itself fell about 606 B.C.
under an attack of enemies from the north (Medes or Scythians), and
was destroyed never to be restored. With it the Assyrians disappear
from history. The prophecy of Nahum was probably delivered shortly
before this event, though a date twenty years earlier, when, according
to Herodotus, Nineveh barely escaped from a similar onset by Cyaxares,
is not strictly impossible.

It is thought by many scholars that the first chapter (with which ii.
2 must go) is a later composition, a poem, much deranged, originally
in acrostic form.

HABAKKUK.--The Book of Habakkuk predicts that Jehovah is about to
raise up the fierce Chaldæan nation, which marches through the breadth
of the earth to occupy habitations not belonging to it, which scoffs
at kings and has dynasts in derision, laughing at all fortresses,
against which it casts up a mound and takes them (Hab. i. 5-11). Such
a prophecy would be timely in the last years of the seventh century:
the Chaldæan, or New Babylonian, kingdom dates its independence from
625, and is hardly likely to have attracted much attention in the West
before the fall of Nineveh in 606 B.C. and the defeat of Pharaoh Necho
on the Euphrates in 605 B.C.

The prophecy, which does not specifically threaten Judah, intrudes
between i. 4 and i. 12 ff., where the plaint of vss. 2-4 is continued,
so that vss. 5-11 are at least misplaced. This complaint is of the
oppression of "the righteous" (Judah) by "the wicked" (heathen, i.
13-17). From his watch tower the prophet sees a vision of a distant
time, which he is bidden record, and of whose ultimate fulfilment he
is assured (ii. 1-3). What follows is a series of invectives which the
nations he has gathered under his robber rule shall heap upon the
fallen oppressor, "the man who was greedy as hell, insatiable as

The date of the prophecy depends on the identification of this tyrant
of the nations. If it is Babylon, the oracle must be considered later
than i. 5-11, which greets the rise of the Babylonian power to execute
God's judgment on the world. An ingenious solution of the difficulty
has been proposed, viz., to transfer i. 5-11 from c. 1 to a place
after ii. 4, and see in it the contents of the vision spoken of in ii.
3: the Babylonians would then be the ministers of God's avenging
justice on the Assyrian robbers of the world, and the whole might have
been uttered about 615 B.C. All parts of these chapters abound in
reminiscences of the eighth-century prophets; the resemblances to
Jeremiah may be explained by the contemporaneousness of the authors.

Habakkuk 3, entitled "A Prayer by Habakkuk the Prophet," with a
musical direction following, as in the Psalms, is in fact a psalm, and
the presence of the musical directions, implying liturgical use,
suggests that it once stood in a hymn book like the Psalter. It is a
fine ode, by an author well read in the classic literature of his
nation. The theophany (iii. 2 ff.) is indebted to Exod. xxxiii. 2 ff.
and Judg. v. 4 ff. The ode belongs with the Psalms of the Persian
period. It is imitated in Ps. 77. The title ascribing it to Habakkuk
the prophet is of no greater authority than the ascription Pss.
146-148 in the Greek Bible to Haggai and Zechariah.

ZEPHANIAH.--The pedigree of Zephaniah is carried back to his
great-great-grandfather, Hezekiah. As such genealogical proper names
have seldom more than three terms, it has been conjectured that the
particular reason for adducing two extra generations here was that the
prophet boasted royal blood--Hezekiah was the king of that name. The
thing is possible, though the generations are somewhat rapid; the
parallel royal line counts four. It would be a romantic touch if the
prophet was a great-grand-nephew of Manasseh, and a second cousin of
Josiah, of the manners and morals of whose courts he has so bad an

The title says that he prophesied in the reign of Josiah, and with
this the tenor of a large part of the book agrees. Like the earliest
prophecies of Jeremiah (Jer. 1-6) Zephaniah's Day of the Lord is
inspired by the irruption of the Scythian hordes which threatened to
engulf the civilized nations of western Asia in a common ruin, as the
Mongol and Turkish hordes, pouring out of the same cradle of the
commissioned races, the scourges of God, did successively in later
ages. For Judah it is the day of reckoning for the sins which made the
reign of Manasseh a by-word with prophets and historians, and which
went on unrestrained through the short years of his successor and the
minority of Josiah down to the reforms of his eighteenth year. Nowhere
is the state of things in that three quarters of a century more
clearly exposed than in the first oracle of Zephaniah.

The second chapter holds out the possibility that repentance may still
save Judah; the wave of invasion has taken, as we know from historical
sources it did, the way by the coast, bringing calamity on the
Philistine cities. It surged on to the very frontier of Egypt, where
it was stayed, more likely by the payment of a great indemnity than by
force of arms, and rolled back whence it came. Zephaniah sees the
storm break over Assyria, and predicts the total destruction of the
proud city of Nineveh which had so long said in her heart, "I, and
none beside me." Several verses in this chapter are suspected of being
later amplifications, viz. ii. 7^a (Judah profits by the ruin of the
Philistine plain; vs. 7^b connects directly with vs. 6), and
especially the oracles against Moab and Ammon, which accuse them of
their enmity to Judah in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, a generation
after Zephaniah.

The first oracle in Zeph. 3 is incomplete; the original conclusion, a
sentence of doom upon Judah, the only imaginable sequel to vss. 1-7,
is supplanted by the inconsequent pouring out of God's fury on the
nations, whereupon the heathen are converted, the dispersion returns,
and, purified and chastened the remnant of Judah enjoys a modest
golden age (iii. 8-13). The book closes in a more jubilant salutation
of the good time coming (iii. 14-20).

Thus in Zephaniah, as in so many other prophetic books, all turns out
well in the end; but as in most of the others, the happy endings are
an afterthought of later generations for whom the judgment was in the
past but the golden age had not yet come.

HAGGAI.--Haggai dates his first revelation to the very day of the
month--a new fashion which he and his contemporary Zechariah have--the
first day of the sixth month (of the Jewish calendar) in the second
year of Darius (Hystaspis), that is, 520 B.C. He has the word of the
Lord for Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, and Joshua, the chief
priest, that it is high time to rebuild the temple; the lean years
they have been having are due to God's displeasure that he is thus
neglected. The civil and religious heads of the community stir up the
people and the work begins; again the exact date is given.

Three other oracles follow, all in the same year. The first of these
(ii. 1-9) encourages Zerubbabel and the people to more zeal by the
prediction that the great crisis of history is at hand: yet a little
while and the Lord will shake the heavens and the earth; he will shake
all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations shall flow to
his temple (cf. Isa. lx. 9 ff.), and God will fill the house with his
glory. The third (ii. 20-23), to Zerubbabel, foretells the overthrow
and destruction of the kingdoms of the nations; and, in prudently
veiled phrase--since such great expectations might have ill
consequences if they reached Persian ears--the restoration of
Zerubbabel to the throne of his fathers, fulfilling the messianic
predictions of earlier prophets. The intervening oracle (ii. 10-19) is
another spur to zeal in rebuilding the temple.

The immediate restoration of Jewish nationality which Haggai and
Zechariah so confidently foretold was not merely the expression of a
general faith or the result of studies in their predecessors. For in
reality God was shaking the nations; in particular the Persian empire,
newly made master of the world, was shaken to its foundations by the
usurpation of the pretended Smerdis, the death of Cambyses, the
conspiracy of the nobles against Smerdis, and the elevation of Darius
to the throne. In the years when the Jewish prophets were making their
predictions, Darius was confronted by formidable rebellions in every
quarter of the empire except the west. It might well appear to Haggai
that the armies of the nations were falling every one by the sword of
his fellow.

In the end Darius put down all opposition and welded the empire
together more strongly than ever; the brief dream of Jewish
independence under a Davidic prince and the brighter vision of the
golden age faded.

ZECHARIAH.--Zechariah's first oracle is dated in the month after that
in which Haggai's first was delivered. It is a brief exhortation to
his countrymen to repent, and not neglect the warnings of the prophets
as their fathers had done, to their sorrow when the predicted
judgments overtook them (Zech. i. 1-6). Then follow, in i. 7-vi. 15,
under the common date (second year of Darius, 11th month, 24th day), a
series of eight visions, the meaning of which is interpreted to the
prophet by an angel. They symbolize the shattering of the power of the
nations; the rebuilding of the temple and city, and the golden age to
follow; the removal of the sin of Judah; the recognition of the
Messiah (Zerubbabel); the harmony of prince and priest.

At the end of this group of visions is a bit of history of high
interest. A crown was made of gold and silver brought by some
representatives of the Babylonian Jews, and set by the prophet on the
head of Zerubbabel, who was saluted as "the Scion," i.e., the Messiah
(Jer. xxiii. 5), with the prediction that he should rebuild the
temple, assume majesty, and sit and rule upon his throne. The
coronation, it need hardly be said, was in the secrecy of a private
house, and is to be regarded as a symbolical act; the Babylonian
envoys kept the crown as a memento. But its significance is

The prediction was not fulfilled. Whatever became of Zerubbabel--he
disappears with this scene--he never wore a real crown nor sat upon
the throne of his fathers. This has led to more than one change in the
text, which, however, as in many other cases, were not sufficiently
thorough-going to pass unnoticed. First, the crown is once made
plural, "crowns," as though the intention was to crown both the prince
and the priest; when it comes to the coronation, however, only Joshua,
the high priest, receives the honour (vi. 11). But vss. 12, 13^a,
which are left untouched, can refer only to Zerubbabel. Verse 13^b
originally read, "and [Joshua] shall be priest _at his right hand_ (so
the Greek Bible, instead of "on his throne"), and there shall be
harmony between the two." In vs. 14 there is only one crown.

In Zech. 7 the question is asked of the prophet by some pilgrims from
Bethel, whether, now that the temple was rebuilding, they should
continue to keep the fast for the burning of the temple in the fifth
month; his response, that what God wants of them is not fasting but
justice, charity, compassion, that none should oppress his neighbour
nor devise evil against him, is quite in the spirit of the earlier
prophets to whom he appeals.

He goes on, in c. 8, to picture the coming golden age, when the fasts
shall all be turned into cheerful feasts, a prophecy which is one of
the finest of its kind in the Old Testament and a fitting crown to the

The prophecies of Zechariah (cc. 1-8) are definitely dated; they
spring out of a definite historical and religious situation which is
everywhere apparent and consistent. Not so the chapters which follow
(cc. 9-14). The titles (ix. 1; xii. 1) have a different form
("Burdens"), the situations which give their background to the oracles
are wholly unlike that which stands out so clearly in Haggai and
Zechariah; the character of the prophecies, with their affected
obscurity, easily penetrable, doubtless, to contemporaries, but
impenetrable to us who have not the historical key, and their
apocalyptic eschatology, are in strong contrast to the manner of
Zechariah; the evidence of diction confirms that of situation and

It has, therefore, long been recognized that none of these prophecies
can be by the author of Zech. 1-8: they are anonymous oracles which
have been appended at the close of his book or of the Book of the
Minor Prophets. They are not all by the same author: cc. 12-14
contain two pictures (xiii. 1-xiii. 6; xiv. 1-21) of the final onset
of the heathen on Jerusalem, their destruction, and the golden age of
pious prosperity that ensues, variations of Ezekiel's original in the
great prophecy of Gog (Ezek. 38-39) which gave the scheme for all
subsequent revelations on the last times. A notable difference between
the two pictures is that in Zech. 12 the heathen are destroyed by the
clans of Judah, who deliver Jerusalem; while in c. 14 Jerusalem is
taken by the heathen and subjected to all the horrors of a sack, half
of its inhabitants being carried into slavery, before Jehovah himself,
descending on the Mount of Olives, fights against the nations and
cleaves the mount itself in twain.

In cc. xii. 1-xiii. 6 concrete features of the author's time are
probably discernible, in the fact, for instance, that Judah (that is
the inhabitants of the other towns and the country) besieges Jerusalem
in company with the neighbouring heathen peoples, and in the striking
animosity displayed toward the prophets, who are in the same
condemnation with the idols and arouse much intenser feeling (xii.
2-6). Our ignorance of the internal history of the Jewish community
for two or three centuries is, however, so complete that these
allusions furnish us no clue.

In Zech. 9-11 also there are two sections, viz. ix. 1-xi. 3 and xi.
4-17 + xiii. 7-9. The age of these can be fixed with greater
confidence by the external historical situation. The heathen power
the overthrow of which ushers in the golden age is named, in ix. 13,
the Greeks. Egypt and Syria ("Assyria"), that is, the kingdoms of the
Ptolemies and the Seleucids, shall be brought low (x. 11). "The land
of Hadrach," to which the first oracle is directed, is in all
probability the region of Antioch, the Seleucid capital. The bad
"shepherds" of cc. 11; xiii. 7-9, who are over the flock of God, are
very good likenesses of the Jewish high priests of the Greek time,
though it is impossible to identify the concrete historical persons
and events of c. 11. Taking all together, we shall not go amiss in
ascribing these to the early part of the third century B.C.--say
between the year 200, when Judæa came under Seleucid rule and the
religious persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabæan revolt,
to neither of which is there any allusion in the chapters. Chapters
12-14 may perhaps be put in the century before.

MALACHI.--A third appendix to the Book of Zechariah is the anonymous
book which we call Malachi. The earliest title, "The Burden of the
Word of the Lord against Israel," is word for word the same as that in
Zech. xii. 1 (cf. ix. 1), and doubtless was prefixed by the same
editor. Subsequently, perhaps to give the book an independent status
and thus round out the number of the Minor Prophets to twelve, the
words "by 'My Messenger'" (Heb. _malaki_; iii. 1 f.) were added.
Jewish tradition in later times identified this messenger with Ezra.
In the versions the word was naturally taken for a proper name.

The book consists of two parts, Mal. i. 2-ii. 9, which from i. 6 on is
addressed to the priests, and ii. 10-iv. 3, to the people at large.
The priests treat the worship in the temple with professional
disrespect, under which lurks an equally professional scepticism. Any
kind of blemished or diseased victim is good enough--the prophet
invites them to make such a scurvy gift to the governor! The perpetual
routine of sacred services they find tiresome. They are no less
negligent in their other great function as the religious teachers and
guides of the people. The _Tora_, that is, the revealed will of God,
is committed to them, and they, degenerate successors of the faithful
priests in the good old times, have not only themselves abandoned the
right way, but have caused many to fall by their false instructions.
They have earned the contempt in which men hold them. The curse of God
is on them.

One of the most notable words in the Bible stands in this indignant
denunciation (Mal. i. 11 f.). Jehovah's own priests in his own temple
treat his worship with contempt; he refuses their offerings: "For from
the rising of the sun to the setting, my name is great among the
nations, and in every place pure sacrifices are burnt to my name among
the nations, saith Jehovah of Hosts; but _ye_ profane it by thinking
that the table of Jehovah may be polluted and his food despised." That
the sacrifices of the heathen may be "pure" sacrifices, though not
according to the Mosaic rite, because all true worship is the worship
of the true God, is a conception quite unparalleled in the Old
Testament. The author's polemic against the priests of Jerusalem has
doubtless made him say more than he would have stood by as a dogmatic
statement; more, indeed, than any church has ever been ready to
acknowledge, but it was fitting that it should be said, for it is the
final consequence of the ethical conception of religion of which the
Hebrew prophets from Amos on are the exponents.

Of the remaining oracles, one (Mal. iii. 6-12) urges to the honest
consecration of the tithes (dues to the temple); another (ii. 10-16),
as commonly interpreted, condemns the marriages with heathen women
which so disturbed the soul of Nehemiah and Ezra, and especially the
divorce of native wives to take foreign ones; but the language should
perhaps rather be taken as figurative for foreign worship. The two
remaining prophecies (ii. 17-iii. 5; iii. 13-iv. 3) are addressed to
such as thought that God did not trouble himself about men's affairs:
the long threatened day of doom gave no sign of coming, nor was the
promised reward of serving God bestowed. The prophet declares that the
Day will come, sudden and terrible, and the ungodly will get their
deserts. The last verses (iv. 4-6) are not improbably an addition by
an editorial hand.



The Book of Psalms counts one hundred and fifty hymns, and this
evidently by design, for the Greek Version, which sometimes unites in
one what are two psalms in the Hebrew and divides one Hebrew psalm
into two, comes out with the same number. It is divided into five
books, as is indicated in the Revised English Version, vis. Book I.,
Pss. 1-41; Book II., Pss. 42-72; Book III., Pss. 73-89; Book IV., Pss.
90-106; Book V., Pss. 107-150, each book ending with a liturgical
doxology. The rabbis were probably right in the opinion that this
fivefold division was made in imitation of the five books of the
Pentateuch, but in some cases, as we shall see, the limits correspond
to those of older separate books. The psalter has not inaptly been
called the hymn book of the second temple. We learn from Jewish
tradition that certain psalms were used in the liturgy of the
Herodian temple on certain days or at certain seasons, and to many of
them musical or liturgical directions are prefixed and interludes are
noted ("Selah"), from which, apart from tradition, such a use would be
inferred. It is evident from the familiarity with the Psalms which is
shown in the New Testament and in contemporary Jewish writings, both
Greek and Hebrew, that, like our hymn books, the Psalter was largely
used for private devotion and edification.

The poems contained in the Psalter are from different ages and
authors, and of widely diverse religious worth and poetical
excellence. Some of them are unsurpassed in the religious literature
of the world; others are the tedious production of authors who, like
so many hymnists of all climes, were neither born nor made poets.
Thanks to the translators, such pieces are a great deal better, so far
as expression goes, in the Authorized English Version or in Luther's,
than the original.

A modern hymn book is seldom, if ever, a fresh compilation from the
sources; it is habitually made up from collections already in use,
with the addition, perhaps, of the editor's gleanings from the
sources, or of recent poems. The names of the collections thus used
may be given, and the names of the authors--often taken along without
verification. Editors of hymn books have also generally allowed
themselves great liberties with the text of hymns, altering them to
suit their own taste or the religious and theological idiosyncrasies
of their sect; abridging, transposing, expanding, without scruple; and
only in very modern times has a tardily awakened literary conscience
constrained them to give notice of such changes. In this way mediæval
Catholic poets are made to sing good Protestant songs, or Calvinists
and Methodists to drop their shibboleths and express themselves in a
manner acceptable to Unitarians. The familiar hymn,

    "O for a thousand tongues to sing my dear Redeemer's praise,"

has been adapted to Buddhist use as,

    "O for a thousand tongues to sing my holy Buddha's praise,
    The glories of my teacher great, the triumphs of his grace,"

with similar changes throughout, and if we did not know the Christian
hymn, we might take the author for a good Shin-shu Buddhist, though an
indifferent poet.

The editors of the Psalter proceeded in the same way, and the older
recollections on which they worked can in part be recognized. It is
observed that Books II. and III. of the Psalter (Pss. 42-89), or, more
exactly, Pss. 42-83, must once have formed a collection by themselves,
whose editor was averse to the use of the proper name Jehovah, and
accordingly altered the text of the hymns where this name occurred by
substituting the appellative God (Elohim), giving rise to such strange
expressions as "O God, my God." Thus Ps. 53 is the same with Ps. 14,
but wherever Jehovah stands in Ps. 14, "God" takes its place in Ps.
53; Ps. 70 is merely an extract from Ps. 40 (vss. 13-17) with the same
change. In the latter, however, copyists, influenced by the parallel
passage, have restored "Jehovah" in one (Greek) or two (Hebrew)
places, as they have done in other of these psalms. This occurrence of
the same hymn in two parts of the Psalter, of which another instance
is Ps. 108 (made up of parts of two psalms in the elohistic book,
lvii. 7-11, and lx. 5-12), is itself presumptive evidence that these
parts once existed separately. At the time when the musical directions
were prefixed to the psalms, the last two books (Pss. 90-150) seem not
to have been included in the temple hymn book; for these directions,
scattered through Pss. 1-89, are lacking from that point on,
notwithstanding the fact that a larger proportion of the psalms in
Pss. 90-150 were manifestly composed for public worship than in Pss.

The titles of Psalms give the names of other collections from which
individual psalms were taken. Thus twelve psalms, Pss. 42, 44-49, 84,
85, 87, 88, are hymns or songs of the Korahites, and eleven, Pss. 50,
73-83, of Asaph, who were according to the Chronicler--a good
authority on the worship of his time--families, or hereditary guilds,
of temple musicians, and seem, in this capacity, to have had special
hymn books containing psalms which they sang, and which may also have
been composed by members of the guild. The fact that the Korahite and
Asaphite psalms are not scattered through the present Psalter, but
appear in groups, and only in the elohistic hymn book (Pss. 42-89),
confirms this view. When they were incorporated in the collection, the
source was indicated by prefixing the name of the guild book to the
individual psalms.

Another group of fifteen psalms (Pss. 120-134) bear in their titles,
"The Song of the Ascents," a phrase which, by the irregularity of its
form, shows that it was transferred mechanically from the title of the
collection ("The Songs of the Ascents") to the individual poems. The
ancient interpretation makes the "ascents" the fifteen steps, or
ascending platforms, on which the levitical orchestra stood at the
festival of the water-drawing on the evening after the first day of
Tabernacles (hence the Authorized Version, Song of Degrees, i.e.
Steps). We need not discuss the question; that these psalms constitute
a liturgical unit selected for a specific ceremony is plain.

A considerable number of psalms have loosely prefixed to them the
words Hallelu Jah (Praise ye Jah), which in the Hebrew text are
frequently found at the end, having been erroneously carried back from
the beginning of a following psalm. When this displacement (which is
later than the Greek translation) is corrected, the Hallelujah psalms
are 105-107, 111-118, 135, 136, 146-150. Here also a liturgical
collection is naturally inferred. Jewish tradition informs us about
the use of the "Hallel" (Pss. 113-118) and the "Great Hallel" (Ps.
136) at the festivals, and the name Hallel is also sometimes given to
Pss. 146-148. Both the Hallels and the Songs of Degrees, it will be
observed, are in the last of the three parts of the Psalter (Pss.

Of greater interest is the large collection of psalms which bear
individually the name of David. This name is found in the titles of
all the psalms in Book I. (Pss. 1-41), except Pss. 1 and 2, 10
(properly a part of 9, as in the Greek Bible), and 33 (in the Greek
Bible Davidic); further, in Book II., two groups, Pss. 51-65, 68-70,
and thereafter, scattering, Pss. 86, 101, 103, 108-110, 122, 124, 131,
133, 138-145--73 psalms in all, or almost half the Psalter.
Manuscripts of the Greek Bible add a varying number of others, and
other versions do the same.

In the light of the phenomena we have already observed, we may
confidently infer that there was once a collection of religious lyrics
bearing some such title as "Hymns of David." So long as this book had
a separate existence, the name would naturally not be repeated at the
head of the individual poems in it; such repetition became necessary,
however, when psalms from this book were taken up into a larger hymn
book containing not only psalms from the Korahite and Asaphite
collections but many anonymous hymns; just as the name of Charles
Wesley would be attached to one of his hymns only when it was taken
out of his own volume and included in a composite hymn book. By good
fortune we have the colophon of this Davidic Psalter in Ps. lxxii. 20,
in the words of a scribe: "The Prayers (an older name for Psalms) of
David son of Jesse are finished," that is, the roll containing them is
copied to the end--a very common Oriental form of colophon. Curiously
enough, the hymn to which this note is annexed is said in its title to
be by Solomon, to whom Ps. 127 (one of the Songs of Degrees) is
similarly attributed. In both cases the ground of the ascription is
plain: the editor thought that Ps. cxxvii. 1 referred to the building
of the temple, while the prayer for wisdom with which Ps. 72 begins
suggested to him Solomon's dream, 1 Kings 3.

From this Davidic hymn book came what is now the first book of the
Psalter entire, except Ps. 1 and probably 2; further the groups in
Book II. (51-65, 68-70, with 72), which probably stood immediately
after Ps. 41. For it will be noted that the second (elohistic) part of
the present Psalter (Pss. 42-89) is made up of Korahite, Asaphite, and
Davidic psalms, and that in their present position the Davidic
psalms, say Pss. 51-72, are thrust into the otherwise solid group of
Asaphite hymns Pss. 50 ... 73-83. Further, the transposition of the
Davidic psalms to the beginning of the book would bring the hymns of
the guilds together. The elohistic recension does not extend
consistently beyond Ps. 83; and Pss. 84-89 (Korahite) may therefore be
regarded as a supplementary extract from the guild book.

The titles of several of the Davidic psalms specify the occasion and
circumstances in which the poem was composed; these historical notes
are especially numerous in the group Pss. 51-72 (see Pss. 51, 52, 54,
56, 57, 59, 60, 63), but occur also in the First Book (Pss. 3, 7, 18,
34), and in Ps. 142 (cf. Ps. 57). The incidents referred to are, with
one exception, all narrated in the Books of Samuel. There is no reason
to imagine that the editor had any tradition about the origin of these
particular poems, much less authentic information on the subject.
Precisely as in the ascription of Pss. 72 and 127 to Solomon, he
combined what he took to be allusions to a historical situation in the
poems with the history as he read it. Psalm 51, for example, is a
confession of deep sinfulness, and seems to specify blood-guilt (vs.
14). When had David reason to express himself in this manner? Clearly
after his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. It is a
very familiar procedure. Modern commentators have made many similar
guesses, but nobody attaches any authority to them.

Whether the scattered Davidic psalms in the last part of the Psalter
(Pss. 90-150) are a gleaning from the Davidic hymn book of poems which
had not been included by previous editors or come from some other
source is uncertain; the latter is the more probable hypothesis.

The Psalter, in the form in which we have it, is one of the latest
books in the Old Testament, for it contains poems in which the
religious persecution of Antiochus IV. and the Maccabæan struggle are
clearly reflected, and very likely events still further down in the
second century B.C. This was shown by an acute critic at the beginning
of the fifth century A.D., and in the Reformation century John Calvin
rightly referred Pss. 44 and 74 to the Maccabæan times, and admitted
the same possibility for Ps. 79. All these are from the Korahite and
Asaphite collections included in the elohistic hymn book, which itself
is not the youngest of the sources of our Psalter.

Numerous other psalms are, with greater or less probability, assigned
to the same age; thus, Ps. 149, where the saints, with the high
praises of God in their mouths and a two-edged sword in their hands,
execute judgment on the heathen, is singularly apt to the Maccabæan
victories. Psalm 110 ("Davidic") most naturally is understood as one
of the Asmonæan princes, since in them alone priesthood and royalty
were united.

There are, however, other and more conclusive criteria than references
to historical events or persons. The religious situation in the Jewish
community reflected in very many of the psalms is that of the Persian
and Greek period, not that of the days of the kingdom. The strife of
parties or of classes, on one side the righteous, the pious, the poor,
for whom the psalmists speak, on the other, the wicked, the ungodly,
the rich and the great; here those whose delight is in the law of God
(religion), there those who contemn it and pursue evil ways regardless
of its precepts and prohibitions, is a new condition, not in the
behaviour of the wicked, but in the self-consciousness of the pious,
who feel themselves a distinct class and are evidently crystallizing
into a party or a sect.

The religious conceptions and the conception of religion are drawn
chiefly from Jeremiah and the Deuteronomists, and from Isaiah 40 ff.,
but on the subjective side of religion, piety, the best of the psalms
represent a more advanced stage than the prophets of the seventh and
sixth centuries. The hopes of the future of God's people and of the
world run with the prophets of the Persian period and the contemporary
anonymous and editorial additions to the older prophetic books. That
the long rehearsals of the ancient history like Pss. 78, 105, 106, or
eulogies of the law such as Ps. 119, or litanies of the fashion of
Ps. 136, belong to a stage in the history of the liturgy such as
rouses the enthusiasm of the Chronicler is also apparent. The evidence
of language tends the same way. Fine hymns were written even at a late
time; but on a large part of the psalms the decadence has set its

Such is the impression the Psalter makes as a whole, and it indicates
that not only is the existing collection late, but that most of the
hymns in it were comparatively modern when they were brought together.
This is what would be expected in a hymn book, which for devotional
even more than for liturgical use, needs to express and nurture the
type of piety prevalent in its own time and circle. Protestant hymn
books fifty years ago, outside the Anglican communion, had hardly any
hymns in them more than a couple of hundred years old, except
versified translations of the psalms, modernized and Christianized in
the operation.

It would be going much beyond the evidence to say there were no psalms
in the Psalter that were composed in the days of the kingdom; there
may be a considerable number. But the proof that any particular psalm
came from that period is difficult and seldom very convincing. This is
true even of the psalms which speak of the king; for, aside from the
impossibility of deciding in some instances whether a reigning king is
meant or the king of the good time coming (Messiah), a foreign king
may sometimes be in mind (Ps. 45 is so interpreted by many), or an
Asmonæan king.

LAMENTATIONS.--The fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. is the subject of
five poems of considerable length which together make the Book of
Lamentations. The mistaken opinion that the prophet Jeremiah was the
author caused this book to be put immediately after Jeremiah in the
Christian Bible, with an introduction explicitly attributing the
poems, or the first of them, to the prophet. In the Hebrew Bible the
book stands among the miscellaneous Scriptures. The first four poems
are in the Hebrew elegiac metre, the verse used for dirges, the
characteristic of which is that each line is divided by a cæsura into
unequal parts, oftenest in the ratio of three to two, as in Amos v. 1.

    Fállen no móre to ríse | is Ísrael's dáughter!
    Próstrate to éarth she líes, | nó one to líft her.

In Lamentations 1-4 this is combined with an alphabetic acrostic. In
cc. 1 and 2 the poem consists of twenty-two tiercets, the first line
of each beginning with a letter of the alphabet in order; c. 4, of as
many couplets; while in c. 3 each line of the tiercet begins with the
proper letter. Chapter 5 is neither alphabetic nor in elegiac metre.
The alphabetic artifice is not uncommon with Hebrew poets, the most
elaborate example being Ps. 119, where in stanzas of seven verses
each line of the stanza begins with A, B, G, D, and so on.

The five Lamentations differ considerably in character and poetic
merit. Chapters 2 and 4 are distinctly superior to the rest, and
describe the agony of Jerusalem in vivid and moving images; peculiarly
direct and poignant is c. 5; while c. 3 has more the character of a

The poems are not all by the same author. Those which seem to stand
nearest to the catastrophe (cc. 2 and 4 at least) were probably
written no very long time after it; the others perhaps in the
following generation. There is nothing in them that would lead us to
think of Jeremiah as the author. Perhaps the statement of the
Chronicler that Jeremiah made a dirge for King Josiah which was
written among the Lamentations, and recited in later times by the
professional singers of dirges, may imply that he ascribed one of the
poems to the prophet. At any rate, it became "tradition," and has
chiefly contributed to get Jeremiah the injurious reputation of the
weeping prophet.



The Book of Proverbs bears the title "The Proverbs of Solomon son of
David, King of Israel." Other titles scattered through the book prove
that it is made up of several collections of proverbs which once
circulated independently. Thus Prov. 10 begins, "The Proverbs of
Solomon"; xxii. 17-21 is an introduction inviting the reader to give
attention to "Sayings of Sages," and dwelling on the profit of so
doing; xxiv. 23, "These also are by the Sages"; xxv. 1, "These also
are Proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah
edited"; xxx. 1, "The Sayings of Agur son of Jakeh"; xxxi. 1, "The
sayings of Lemuel King of Massa (?), which his mother taught him";
finally, xxxi. 10-31 is an anonymous alphabetic poem in praise of the
good housewife.

The inference of diverse origin drawn from these titles is confirmed
by diversity of character and form, and by the repetition of proverbs
in the different sections, especially in Prov. x. 1-xxii. 16 and cc.
25-29; on the other hand, the similarity of all parts of the book in
thought and expression indicates that there is among them no wide
difference in time. The theme of the book is "wisdom," by which is
meant primarily a practical wisdom in the conduct of individual life
under the social, political, and economic conditions of the time. The
end is a prosperous and happy life, and the motive is enlightened
self-interest. Experience shows that morality conduces to prosperity
and happiness, and immoral and unsocial actions to the opposite. To
inculcate this truth and to apply it is the aim of the wise, who make
this knowledge the foundation of virtue and of well-being.

Their instruction is not given in the form of a philosophical ethic,
with a discussion of the nature of the highest good and of the
principles and motives of conduct, but in sententious maxims, or
aphorisms, sometimes grouped upon a central theme, often without any
thread of connection. Religion is affirmed by the most reflective of
these authors to be the first principle of wisdom (Prov. i. 7; ix. 10;
cf. xv. 33), but there is no appeal to a divine law or to the
conscience of the individual; the maxims are based on observation and
experience. The opposite of wisdom is folly; it is an unintelligent
selfishness which ignores the consequences of its course, and sooner
or later involves itself in loss or ruin. For ruin is the end of
persistent folly as happiness is the fruit of wisdom. This is the
order of the world; God's ordering, no doubt, but working itself out
by natural law. Wise men and fools are two permanent classes of men,
divided by as hard a line as in the Stoic ethics is drawn between the
virtuous man and the rest of mankind. The authors know no degrees of
wisdom; they recognize different kinds of folly, but no difference in

The pictures of society they draw are chiefly of city life, with its
temptations and vices, and they closely resemble those which Jesus the
son of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) paints about 200 B.C. Monotheism is
taken for granted; among the many follies the sages condemn, the folly
of polytheism and idolatry does not appear. The national particularism
of the Jewish religion is nowhere in evidence; the cultus is hardly
referred to, except to say that the sacrifice of the wicked is an
abomination, or that justice is more acceptable to the Lord than

These features are doubtless due in part to the distinctive tendencies
of the moralists, but they also reflect the times. We find them in
Job, in Sirach, and in Ecclesiastes, other products of Jewish "Wisdom"
which date from the later Persian or Greek period; and we have every
reason to believe that this peculiar development, of which we have no
trace earlier, was characteristic of that age. With this the evidence
of language accords.

Of the several parts of the book, Prov. x. 1-xxii. 16 seem to be the
oldest, and may be from the Persian period; the following chapters are
later. So also is Prov. 1-9, which may well have been written under
Ptolemaic rule (say 320-200 B.C.), when the Jews enjoyed times of
peace and prosperity. The latter author treats his topics more
sustainedly, though without logical disposition or connection, in a
warm and friendly tone such as an experienced elder might use toward a
youth. The style is easy and flowing, and sometimes rises to poetic
inspiration. The personifications of wisdom and folly in c. 9 give a
good example of his manner. A more philosophical mind is recognized in
c. 8, with its personification of the divine wisdom, first of God's
creations, the skilled artificer who was by his side at the making of
the world, rejoicing in God's habitable earth and the sons of men who
people it. Here the author comes near the conceptions of the Greek
"Wisdom of Solomon," and prepares the way for the theological
hypostases of Wisdom and the divine Reason and Word (Logos).

Even among the aphorisms of the older collections, there are few that
have the stamp of true popular proverbs, the wisdom of the generations
finding the pregnant phrase in the mouth of the people; they are, what
indeed they profess to be, maxims of the sages, fashioned with
conscious art for a didactic end. And these sages seem to have been,
like the Greek sophists, professional teachers of the youth of the
well-to-do classes.

That the bulk of this wisdom, when compilation of it came to be made,
should have been labelled Solomonic, is explained by Solomon's fame
for wisdom, which is the subject of numerous anecdotes in the
historical books (see 1 Kings iii. 4-15, with the examples, ibid. vs.
16-28; 1 Kings x. 1-14, etc.), coupled with the explicit statement
that he "spake three thousand proverbs," not to mention his songs and
his expeditions into natural history (1 Kings iv. 29-34). In later
times Solomon's fame for wisdom was not that of an ethical philosopher
but of an adept in magic. It is almost a pity to take away from
Solomon the urgent warnings against women in which the Proverbs
abound; they have in his mouth such a mordant irony.



The Book of Job is the greatest work of Hebrew literature that has
come down to us, and one of the great poetical works of the world's
literature. In the form of a colloquy between Job and his friends, in
which at last God intervenes, it discusses the gravest problem of
theodicy, How can the suffering of a good man be reconciled with the
moral government of God?

In a prose introduction the reader is apprised of the true cause of
Job's sufferings, of which the parties to the colloquy are, of course,
ignorant: they are a trial of his uprightness, more specifically, of
his disinterested virtue. In this "prologue in heaven," Satan insists
that Job's exemplary virtue is no wonder, since God rewards him so
well for it, and God, who has full faith in the patriarch, gives Satan
permission to test him. In an hour all his wealth is swept away and
his children perish, but Job bows submissive to God's will. Then he
himself is smitten with a loathsome and distressful ailment which was
regarded as in a peculiar sense the stroke of God, his wife bids him
"bless" God (a euphemism for "curse") and die; but he rebukes her:
"What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not
receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips." His three
friends come to bemoan him and to comfort him, but the sight of his
misery makes them dumb; they sit down with him in silence for seven
days. So far the prologue.

On this scene the poem opens: Job's long suppressed grief breaks out
in bitter words; he curses the day of his birth, he envies the dead
who are at rest. The eldest of the three friends answers him, and so
the colloquy begins. The structure of the poem is symmetrical. Each
friend speaks in turn and to each Job replies. The cycle is thrice
repeated (cc. 4-14; 15-21; 22-26), but, at least in the present text,
the third round is incomplete--Zophar has no speech. The friends being
apparently convinced that it is useless to argue with him, Job
soliloquizes (cc. 27-31), contrasting his former prosperity with his
present adversity, and again protesting his good conscience before God
and men.

Now a new disputant comes on the scene, whose name does not appear
among the dramatis personæ, the youthful Elihu; a short prose
introduction tells us who he is, and why he intrudes. He is incensed
at them all; at Job for justifying himself at God's expense, at the
friends for not having found arguments to put him down. For his part,
he is so full of words that he cannot hold in. He delivers himself,
accordingly, of four speeches (cc. 32 f.; 34; 35; 36), to which Job
vouchsafes no reply.

Suddenly God, whom Job had alternately challenged and implored to
appear, answers him out of the whirlwind (cc. 38-41); with Job's
confession of his presumption in speaking of things he understood not
(xlii. 1-6), the poem ends.

In the prose epilogue God condemns the three friends, whom he pardons
at Job's prayer; and the trial over, God, in poetical justice,
restores Job to a prosperity greater than the first.

In the argument, the three friends and Elihu maintain throughout the
view of divine retribution which was plainly the orthodoxy of the
author's time: God rewards piety and virtue with prosperity and
requites sin with adversity. This law is grounded in the righteousness
of God; it is inconceivable that he should act otherwise.
Consequently if a man is overwhelmed by calamity, as Job is, the only
explanation their religion can allow is that he is a great sinner; any
other interpretation would impugn the justice of God or bring into
question the existence of a divine providence. They recognize, indeed,
that in sending suffering God may design through chastisement or by
way of warning to bring the sinner to repentance and amendment; they
admit that suffering may be a trial of man's faith. They present the
matter to Job thus, especially in their earlier speeches; but the
character of Job's replies convinces them that neither of these is his
case, and they come at last to outspoken accusation.

Job denies their insinuations and their charges. He has done nothing
to deserve such a fate; if they insist on calling this God's justice,
he will say straight in God's face that he is an almighty tyrant, who
unjustly destroys an innocent man. If God slay him for it, he will not
belie his conscious rectitude.

The argument goes round and round, takes this or that turn, grows
hotter as it proceeds, but does not get beyond this deadlock. The
author's motive so far is clear: he means to controvert the dogma that
all suffering, or at least extraordinary suffering, is retributive,
and to show in the instance of Job how this doctrine may drive a godly
man to the denial of God's justice altogether. With remarkable
psychological insight, however, he makes Job not only cling to the
belief that God is more just than his dealings with him show, but
makes this faith grow in even steps with his passionate charges of
injustice. He appeals from the injustice of God to the just God who
some day will have to justify him.

The author meant to refute the doctrine that God's providence is
exhaustively explained by distributive justice. Had he his own
solution of the problem of theodicy to put in the place of that cruel
dogma? Job, we have seen, finds no solution. In the speeches of
Jehovah, where dramatic fitness would lead us to look for the author's
solution if he had one, there is no refutation of Job's charges, no
response to his pleadings. The speeches are splendid, but the gist of
them is that God's ways are inscrutable. If man cannot comprehend
God's operations in nature, what folly, what presumption, to pretend
to fathom his dealings in providence! In that Job acquiesces for the
soul of man. Let his sufferings be a mystery, he can submit and trust;
call them punitive, and he revolts against the injustice. That is the
end to which the author would bring his readers. Some one has said
that there is nothing about which men are usually so sure as about the
character of God, and nothing they are so ready to do as to interpret
his dealings by his character--especially his dealings with others.
Such were Job's friends. And from this point of view we have no
difficulty in understanding, what has stumbled some critics, how
they, with their zeal for God's character--that is, for their orthodox
conception of it--come off in the epilogue with so smart a rebuke,
while Job, whose words seemed to them sheer blasphemy, is praised for
saying what was right about God.

The theme of the Book of Job is one which exercised the greatest of
the Greek tragic poets, and it is treated with an Æschylean grandeur;
in conception and execution it declares the genius of its author. It
has not come into our hands altogether as it left his, and certain
parts of the poem are generally recognized as additions by other pens.

The most considerable of these are the speeches of Elihu (cc. 32-36).
It has already been noted that Elihu's name is not in the prologue, he
comes in with a bit of a prologue of his own (xxxii. 1-5); and when
the three friends are rebuked in the epilogue, he, who surely deserved
the same condemnation, is ignored. All his speeches, provocative
enough, draw no reply from Job. When, at the end of Elihu's discourse,
God answers out of the whirlwind (xxxviii. 1 ff.), "Who is this that
darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge," it is to Job he
addresses himself, not Elihu; and the appearance of God is naturally
taken as the response to Job's challenge in xxxi. 35, "O that I had
one to hear me," etc., just before Elihu breaks in. All these signs
indicate that Elihu is an intruder. This inference is borne out by
the arguments so pretentiously announced. They are in the main
variations on the themes in the preceding speeches of the friends,
with a certain evident predilection for the idea that suffering is a
warning. It would seem that another poet thought, as he makes Elihu
boast, that he could improve on the arguments of the friends. The
unbiassed reader, without depreciating the poetical merit of the
speeches, will be likely to differ with him.

The eulogy of the divine wisdom (Job 28) is a very fine poem, in the
vein of Prov. 8, of which it is probably not independent, but it is,
to say the least, inappropriate in the mouth of Job at this point in
the debate. The description of ancient mining is particularly
noteworthy. In the speeches of God, the long descriptions of the
hippopotamus and the crocodile (xl. 15-xli. 34) are not without reason
suspected of being purple patches, and in putting them in some damage
has been done to the margins. It has been questioned whether the prose
prologue and epilogue really belong with the poem; but it would not be
intelligible without them.

In Ezek. xiv. 14, 20 the name of Job occurs with Noah and Daniel as
exemplary righteous men, who, if they were alive, could nevertheless
not save the wicked city of Jerusalem from its doom; but whether the
story Ezekiel knew about Job had any resemblance to the prologue of
our book, no one can tell. It may very well be that there was a prose
book of Job (in which, possibly, the friends played the opposite rôle
from that given them in the poem), and that the poet took from it the
incidents and setting that he needed; but about that also nothing can
be known.

The age of the book is determined chiefly by the problem with which it
deals. The doctrine of individual retribution is the application to
the individual of the prophetic teaching about God's dealing with the
nation; it appears in a peculiarly crude and hard form in Ezekiel at
the moment of the break up of the nation. It was furthered by the
teaching of the sages, as in Proverbs, about the connection between
prosperity and happiness and virtue. Experience contradicted the
dogma, and so the problem of theodicy arose--arose in a peculiarly
difficult form, because all that befell a man was attributed to the
immediate act of God, who was not relieved of any part of his
responsibility by talk of second causes and natural laws, and because
the sphere of retribution was limited to this life, with no relief in
the possible compensations of another.

This is the problem of Job, and of itself suffices to put the book in
what is called the post-exilic age. It belongs to the literature of
Jewish Wisdom, with Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. The latter book, one of
the latest certainly in the Old Testament, is much concerned with the
same conflict of dogma with experience, though in a very different
spirit. Job may be a work of the fifth century B.C., or perhaps of
the fourth. The language would incline us to the earlier date.



Two singular books remain, about the inspiration of both of which the
straitest sect of the Pharisees in the first century of our era had
grave difficulties, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs. Both are
attributed to Solomon, the Song by title, Ecclesiastes by implication
in the book itself, and doubtless the supposed authorship had much to
do with finally securing the two books a place in the Jewish Bible.

ECCLESIASTES.--The title of Ecclesiastes runs, "The words of Koheleth
the son of David, king in Jerusalem," under which pseudonym no one but
Solomon can be meant; see also Eccl. i. 12, and especially ii. 1-11.
In the body of the book, Koheleth is regularly used as a proper name;
it is apparently coined for the nonce. Like many pseudonyms in other
literatures, it is probably a mystification, piquant to the author's
contemporaries but impenetrable to us. That it means "Preacher"--an
ancient guess--is highly improbable; but even if the meaning were
transparent, there is no more reason for translating a fictitious
proper name than a real one.

The theme of this symphony of pessimism is stridently announced in the
first notes of the overture: "Vanity of vanities, vanity of vanities!
Everything is vanity." The world and its happenings, man and his
strivings, pleasure, pain, wisdom, folly, good and evil--all is
utterly empty; existence has no meaning and no worth. All is chance
and change, in which things endlessly go round and round, but plan,
purpose, progress is nowhere to be seen. And as all have one lot, even
this senseless and inconstant fortune, so death sooner or later
overtakes all alike and ends the strange play without plot we call
human life.

Of a divine providence directed to any end or by any principle, of a
justice above which requites men according to their deeds, long years
and happiness to the wise and good, adversity and premature death to
the wicked and foolish, Koheleth, looking on the world of things as
they are with searching eyes, discovers no sign. Of another world and
an immortal soul, with which some of his contemporaries consoled
themselves, he, keeping his thinking within the bounds of experience,
knows nothing. Man dies as the beast dies, the same vital breath is in
them both, all are of dust and turn to dust again; nor has man any
advantage over the beast, they all have the same end (iii. 19-21; ix.
4-6). There is consolation in this thought, when the misery of the
world weighs too heavy on the heart. The dead are better off than the
living, but happier still it would be never to be born to see the
evils that are under the sun (iv. 2 f.).

When we look the facts squarely in the face, the only counsel of
wisdom is to make the most of what capricious fortune gives us in its
friendly moods, to enjoy the pleasures life offers while we can, with
abandon, but without excess. For the "too much" is always evil, even
too much wisdom and virtue! "Be not over righteous nor put on too much
wisdom, why shouldest thou die before thy time?" (vii. 16 f.).

The author's religion makes God somehow the cause of what happens
under the sun, the evil and the good. In one place he seems to express
the belief that all that God does is fine and opportune, if man could
only understand it; but God has denied man the intelligence to
penetrate the secret of his ways. So there is nothing better for man
to do than to be merry, and have a good time while he is alive!

It is easy to imagine what scandal all this gave to pious souls, and
it was very natural that orthodox editors should try to neutralize
Koheleth's scepticism and his epicurean counsels by notes in an
opposite sense. A modern editor would have put his protests into
footnotes, as for example to Gibbon's famous chapters on the spread of
Christianity; an ancient editor, having no footnotes, put his
incontinently into the text.

To these editorial improvements belong the last verses (Eccl. xii. 13
f.), with its conclusion, "Fear God and keep his commandments, for
this is the business of every man; for God will bring every deed into
the judgment on all secrets, whether it be good or bad." The judgment
after death is evidently meant. The warning against many books and
much reading in xii. 12 is also a gloss, while xii. 9-11 appears to be
written by an earlier editor of the book, commending it to reading and
study. In the body of the book, also, several verses are obviously
introduced to give an orthodox twist to the author's very heterodox

That Ecclesiastes belongs to the latest stratum of Hebrew Biblical
literature is evident from both its matter and its style; but there is
nothing in it by which its age can be exactly fixed.

SONG OF SONGS.--A verse already quoted (1 Kings iv. 32) tells that,
besides three thousand proverbs, Solomon composed a thousand and five
songs. We shall probably not err in assuming that this verse was in
the mind of the editor who prefixed the title "The Song of Songs (that
is, the very best of songs), by Solomon." There is nothing in the
book to indicate that Solomon was the author or that the poet meant
his productions to be attributed to him.

The one theme of the book, running through many variations, is the
love of man and woman, passionate and sensuous. In the second century
of our era its songs were warbled at banquets or wedding feasts, a
profane abuse on which a scandalized rabbi denounced damnation. In the
first century it was, in spite of Solomon's name, no Holy Scripture
for the straitest sect, and was not finally admitted to the canon, we
may be pretty sure, until an allegorical sense had been discovered in
it, or rather imposed on it: it sang, under the figure of wedded love,
of the relation of the Lord to Israel. The Fathers took over all the
allegory, only making the lover Christ, the beloved the Church (as
still in the running titles of the Authorized Version), or the soul.
The mediæval church saw in the bride the Virgin Mary. The allegorical
interpretation was a necessary corollary of the dogmatic assumption
that the canon of inspired scripture could contain nothing but books
of religious instruction and edification. Allegorical love
poetry--usually the love of God and the soul--is not uncommon in
mystical sects or circles of various creeds; and the ultra-spiritual
poets often revel in an ultra-sensual imagery of passion and fruition;
but nothing in the Song of Songs suggests such an origin, nor have we
knowledge of a Jewish mysticism of this erotic type in the centuries
from which it must come.

The literary criticism of the last century chiefly spent itself in
endeavours to discover in the book a lyric drama with a moral
tendency, on some such theme as the triumph of pure love over lust.
Great ingenuity was expended in dividing the text into regular acts
and scenes and assigning the speeches to the leading actors and the
chorus. In its simplest form there were but two actors, the virtuous
village maiden and the harem-jaded Solomon; a more plausible scheme
gave the girl a rustic lover, which added much to the piquancy of the
scenes with Solomon, and to the _dénouement_, in which the king,
foiled by the maiden's constancy, confesses virtue triumphant, and
sends her back to her shepherd swain. More recent supporters of the
dramatic hypothesis have modified this scheme in a way to remove some
of its plainest difficulties, but have complicated it in proportion.

Other interpreters take the book for a collection of love songs, or,
more specifically, of wedding songs, such as are sung to-day at
village weddings in Syria and Palestine. A certain dramatic quality in
the songs, and their relation to successive stages of the festivities,
would give the appearance of a progressive action which has been urged
for the dramatic theory. The Syrian peasant to-day, in the region of
Damascus, is for his bride-week in song and salutation a king or
prince; a sledge on the village threshing-floor is his throne, and the
bride is queen. Through the week the royal pair are honoured by the
villagers with songs and dances. If in the Hebrew songs the
bridegroom-king is sometimes called Solomon, it is because Solomon was
the richest and most splendid of kings. This view of the nature of the
book is simpler and more probable. The several poems are not
distinguished by titles, and there is room for difference of opinion
about the divisions; but this is a small difficulty compared with the
partition into roles in the supposed play.

The songs are fine examples of popular poetry, with traditional
subjects, forms, and imagery. Nothing requires us to suppose that they
are the production of one poet; we may think of them rather as an
anthology of love songs, not necessarily all composed for wedding
festivities, but all appropriate for use on such occasions.

The language of the songs proves that they belong to a very late
period in Hebrew literature, though the type is doubtless old enough.
Such popular poetry has no motive for preserving or imitating
archaism, as hymn writers do, but modernizes itself from generation to
generation. The wedding songs of old Israel may have been like enough
to these in character, but they were in another speech.

It was a fortunate misunderstanding that has preserved them; but the
accidental preservation of these few pages emphasizes the loss of
almost every other vestige of Hebrew secular poetry.


1. =General.=--SMITH, W. ROBERTSON. _The Old Testament in the Jewish
Church._ 1892.--These lectures, first published in 1881, were meant to
give to laymen an account of the problems and methods of criticism.
They are a remarkably lucid exposition of the subject, and may still
be read with profit as a general introduction to criticism.

2. =The Canon.=--RYLE, H. E. _The Canon of the Old Testament._ 1892;
2nd ed. 1895.--A history of the growth of the Old Testament rather
than a history of the canon. In that growth there were, according to
the author, three stages; in the first, which began with the
ratification of Deuteronomy in 621 B.C., the Law (Pentateuch) was the
only recognized collection of Sacred Scripture; in the second the Law
and the Prophets; and in the third the Law, the Prophets, and the
"Writings." The latter part of the volume, which treats of the history
of the canon in the usual meaning of the term, is a convenient but not
very accurate compilation.

The article "Canon" (of the Old Testament) in the _Encyclopaedia
Biblica_, by Karl Budde, and the article "Old Testament Canon" in
Hastings' _Dictionary of the Bible_, by F. H. Woods, are concise
presentations of generally accepted opinions by competent scholars.

3. =Literature of the Old Testament.=--DRIVER, S. R. _Introduction to
the Literature of the Old Testament._ 6th ed., revised, 1897. A volume
of the _International Theological Library_, designed primarily for
ministers and students of theology. The technical matter (lists of
Hebrew words and the like) is, however, set off from the body of the
text, and the work can therefore be used with profit by laymen for
purposes of study. The synopses of the contents of Biblical books will
be found helpful. The author is a scholar of conservative temper and
cautious about accepting new or radical theories.

CORNILL, CARL. _Introduction to the Canonical Books of the Old
Testament._ Translated by G. H. Box. New York. 1907.--Originally one
of a German series of theological handbooks, this volume is on a
smaller scale than Driver's and goes less into details which are of
interest only to the professional student. The author's criticism is
much less conservative than Driver's and more original.

KENT, C. F. _The Student's Old Testament._ 1904-1910.--I. _Narratives
of the Beginnings of Hebrew History_, 1904; II. _Israel's Historical
and Biographical Narratives_, 1905; III. _The Sermons, Epistles, and
Apocalypses of Israel's Prophets_, 1910; IV. _Israel's Law and Legal
Precedents_, 1907. (Two volumes on the Poetical Books will complete
the series.) The sources of the Pentateuch and the Historical Books
are separated, and where the narratives are parallel they are printed
in parallel columns with headings indicating their origin. The
analysis is also set out in tabular form, and maps and chronological
charts are added. The oracles of the prophets are arranged, so far as
possible, in chronological order, additions and interpolations being
set in smaller type. The author is an experienced teacher and
book-maker, and has a fine talent for exposition.

according to the Revised Version._ 2 vols. 1900.--The first volume
(separately reprinted, 1902) contains an excellent history of
criticism, and develops fully and very clearly the evidence for the
prevailing theory concerning the sources and composition of the
Hexateuch. Tabular appendices exhibit the linguistic evidence in a
form which makes it available, as far as possible, to the reader who
does not know Hebrew; they also give a synopsis of the laws and
institutions, and an analysis and conspectus of the several codes. The
second volume presents in the text of the Revised Version the analysis
of the Pentateuch and Joshua in an extremely ingenious typographical

The articles on the Books of the Old Testament, from Genesis to Judges
inclusive, in the _Encyclopaedia Biblica_, by the author of the
present volume, may be referred to for a fuller statement of the
reasons for his views and a more detailed analysis. The article
"Historical Literature" in the same Encyclopaedia gives a
comprehensive survey of the Hebrew historiography from its beginnings
down to the time of Josephus. The article on "Prophecy and Prophets"
in Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, by A. B. Davidson, though not
dealing primarily with critical questions, may be strongly commended,
and the article on "Psalms," by W. T. Davison, in the same volume, is
good. An excellent article on "Proverbs" in the _Encyclopaedia
Biblica_ should also be mentioned.


  Abomination, Dan. 8, 186

  Acrostics, 229 f.

  Alexander and successors in Dan., 185 f.

  Allegory, in Song of Songs, 247

  Amos, Book, 196 ff.

  Annals, royal and temple, 100

  Antiochus Epiphanes, 186, 187 f.

  Apocalypses, character of, 188
  ----age, how determined, 188

  Apocrypha, older use of the name, 18
  ----Jerome, 17 f.
  ----Luther, 21 f.
  ----_See_ Canon

  Aramaic, in Ezra, 130
  ----in Daniel, 189 f.

  Asa, king, 123

  Assyria, Greek kingdom (Syria), 155, 215

  Astruc, analysis of Genesis, 32

  Athanasius, 16

  Augustine, 19 f.

  Baal, Tyrian, 111

  Baals and Astartes, 83, 192

  Babylon, destruction, prophesied, 152
  ----taken by Cyrus, 153

  Babylonian myths in Genesis, 43 f.

  Baruch, scribe of Jeremiah, 166 f., 168

  Bible, Jewish, _see_ Old Testament

  Calvin, on Maccabæan Psalms, 226

  Canaan, conquest, in Jos., 77 f., 88 f.

  Canon, Jewish, formation of, 11
  ----of Greek-speaking Jews, 13
  ----Jewish, in Church Fathers, 14 ff.
  ----of Greek Church, 13 ff.
  ----Latin Church, 17 ff.
  ----Syrian churches, 20
  ----in the Middle Ages, 20
  ----the Reformation, 21
  ----Reformed churches, 22
  ----Council of Trent, 23
  ----_See_ also Apocrypha

  Chaldæans, in Hab., 205
  ----in Dan., 189

  Cherubim car, 178

  Chron.--Ezra--Neh., one book 118

  Chronicles, Book, 118 ff.
  ----sources, 124 f.
  ----genealogies, 119
  ----historical value, 124

  Chronology in Judg., 82
  ----in Kings, 101

  Commandments, Ten, 49 f.

  Criticism, historical, 25 f.
  ----of Pentateuch, 31 ff.

  Cyrus, edict of, 128
  ----deliverer, messiah, 160

  Daniel, Book, 180 ff.
  ----two languages in, 189
  ----Nebuchadnezzar's dream, 183 f.
  ----the four beasts, _c. 7_, 184 f.
  ----ram and he-goat, _c. 8_, 185
  ----Seleucids and Ptolemies, _c. 11_, 187 f.
  ----age of the book, 188

  Darius Hystaspis, 209 f.

  David, history, 96 f., 109
  ----Psalms of, 223

  Day of the Lord, in Zeph., 207
  ----in Joel, 195
  ----in Mal., 217 f.

  Deborah, Song of, 89

  Decalogue, 49 f.

  Deluge, Babylonian myth, 43 f.

  Deuterocanonic Books, 24

  D (Deuteronomy, Deuteronomist), 35, 84

  Deuteronomists, historians, 84
  ----_See_ also Jos., Judg., Kings

  Deuteronomy, 58 ff.
  ----programme of a reform, 62
  ----age of the book, 64 f.

  Dragon of the sea, 156

  E (Elohist), 35
  ----characteristics, 39 ff.
  ----origin, 41
  ----age, 67 f.
  ----Horeb constitution in, 50
  ----in Jos. _1-12_, 75 ff.
  ----in Judg., 86

  Ecclesiastes, Book, 243 ff.

  Ecclesiastes, interpolations, 246 f.
  ----age, 246
  ----inspiration, 8 ff., 245

  Ecclesiastical Books, 17, 24

  Ecclesiasticus, in the Church, 15 f.

  Eden, Garden in, 43

  Eden, Prince of Tyre in, 177

  Edom, prophecies against, 158 f., 177, 197, 199
  ----Obad., 200

  Egypt, Ezekiel's prophecy, 177

  Eli, a judge, 90

  Elihu, in Job, 240 f.

  Elijah, 110 f., 145

  Elisha, 112 f.

  Esther, Book, 135 ff.
  ----mythical interpretation, 137
  ----age, 138, 139 f.
  ----inspiration, 8, 138
  ----additions in Greek, 138

  Exile, theory of the return, 122

  Exodus, Book, 47 f.

  Ezekiel, Book, 174 ff.
  ----against foreign nations (_cc. 25-32_), 176 f.
  ----state of the text, 180

  Ezra, 129 ff.
  ----Priests' Code, 56 f.
  ----two languages in, 130

  Ezra and Neh., sequel of Chron., 118
  ----contents, 128 ff.
  ----sources, 131 f.
  ----historical value, 133
  ----derangement, 132 (_cf._ 128-131)

  Fast, the true, 212

  Feasts, agricultural, 69

  Fool, in Proverbs, 232 f.

  Foreign nations, oracles against, 142, 152 ff., 158 f., 171 f.,
        176 ff., 195, 197, 200, 204 f., 206, 214 f.

  Genesis, Book, 33 ff.

  Gerizim, temple on, 121

  God, national idea, 146
  ----moral idea, 145
  ----in J, 37 f.
  ----in E, 39 f.
  ----in P, 47
  ----in Amos, 198 f.
  ----in Hosea, 193, 199
  ----in Deuteronomy, 59 f.
  ----in Isaiah _40-66_, 161

  Gog and his hordes, 178, 200
  ----echo in Zech., 214

  Golden age, prophecies of, 151, 157, 158, 169 ff., 176, 179,
        193, 198 f., 213 f.

  Golden calves, 104

  Gospels, inspiration of, 10

  Greek versions of O. T., 11

  Greeks, kingdom doomed, 215

  Habakkuk, Book, 205 ff.

  Hadrach, 215

  Haggai, Book, 209

  Heavenly bodies, judgment on, 156

  Hezekiah, king, 114 f.

  High places, 65 f., 95, 103, 117
  ----untouched by good kings, 107
  ----Hezekiah's measures, 114 f.
  ----Josiah, 61 f., 116

  Historical literature, 98 ff.
  ----oldest, 99 _cf._ 96 f.

  History, religious lessons, 104

  Holiness, Law of, Lev. _17-26_, 54 f.

  Horeb, Mount of God, 48

  Hosea, Book, 190 ff.

  Idolatry, satire on, 161

  Idols, _see_ Golden Calves, Serpent

  Immortality, denied in Eccles., 244

  Inspiration, cessation of, 10
  ----of Eccles. and Cant., 8 ff.
  ---of Gospels, 10

  Isaiah, prophet, 115, 147
  ----genius of, 150
  ----earlier utterances, 150
  ----rejection of sacrifice, 151

  Isaiah, Book, 147 ff.
  ----main divisions, 147 f.
  ----_cc. 1-12_, 149 f.
  ----_cc. 13-23_, 152 ff.
  ----_cc. 24-27_, 156 f.
  ----_cc. 28-33_, 157 f.
  ----_cc. 34-35_, 158 f.
  ----_cc. 36-39_, 147
  ----_cc. 40-66_, 159 ff.

  J and E, characteristics of, 35 ff.
  ----in Gen., common tradition, 40 f.
  ----diversity of tradition, 70
  ----combined in one book (J E), 71
  ----in Jos., 78
  ----in Judg., 85

  J (Jahvist), 35

  J, literary quality, 36
  ----in Gen. _1-11_, two strands, 41 f.
  ----anthropomorphism, 37 f., 42
  ----religious element, 37 ff.
  ----origin, 41
  ----age, 67 f.
  ----fundamental law in, 50 f.
  ----in Jos., 74 ff.
  ----in Judg., 86
  ----in Sam., 99

  Jehoash, king of Israel, 113

  Jehoiakim, king, 165

  Jehu, king, 112, 118

  Jeremiah, prophet, 164
  ----his hard lot, 171 f.
  ----"confessions," 172
  ----not author of Lam., 230

  Jeremiah, Book, 164 ff.
  ----later additions, 168 f., 171, 173
  ----Hebrew and Greek texts, 172 f.

  Jericho, taking of, 75 f.

  Jeroboam I., 104, 108

  Jeroboam II., 114

  Jerome, 17, 18

  Jerusalem, two sieges, 117 f., 174
  ----in Chron., 121

  Joash, king of Judah, 113

  Job, mention of in Ezek., 241

  Job, Book, 235 ff.
  ----prologue and epilogue, 241
  ----structure of the poem, 236 f.
  ----purpose of author, 239 f.
  ----age, 242 f.
  ----later additions, 240 ff.

  Joel, Book, 194 ff.

  Jonah, Book, 140 ff.

  Joshua, Book, 73 ff.

  Josiah, king, 116
  ----his reforms, 62
  ----reaction, 103 f.

  Judas Maccabæus, 187

  Judges, Book, 81 ff.
  ----stories of deliverance, 84 ff.
  ----interpretation of history, 81, 83
  ----original close of the Book, 91

  Judgment, last, in Isa. _24-27_, 156 f.

  Julius Africanus, 15

  Kadesh, 70

  Kingdom, founding, two accounts, 92
  ----division of, 108

  Kings, Books, 100 ff.
  ----2 Kings _18-20_ = Isa. _36-39_, 114

  Koheleth, the name, 243

  Lamentations, Book, 229 ff.

  Latin Bible, 17

  Laws, given at Sinai, 49
  ----Ezra's, ratification of, 130

  Legends, rise of, 98

  Leviathan, 156

  Levites, choice of, in Num., 55 f.
  ----in Chron., 123

  Leviticus, Book, 52 ff.

  Little Horn, Dan. 8, 185

  Love, principle of religion in Hos., 192 f.

  Malachi, Book, 215 f.

  Manasseh, king, his sins, 104

  Medes, 152

  Merodach Baladan, 116, 153

  Messianic prophecy, _see_ Golden Age

  Micah, Book, 201 ff.

  Micaiah ben Imlah, 112, 145

  Midrash, of Kings, 124, 127

  Minor Prophets, 190 ff.

  Mixed marriages, 129, 130, 217

  Myths, Babylonian, in Gen., 177 f.

  Moloch, 104

  Monotheism, in Deut., 59
  ----in Isa. _40-66_, 161

  Naboth's vineyard, 111

  Nahum, Book, 204 f.

  Nehemiah, mission to Jerusalem, 129 f.
  ----Memoirs, 129, 131, 183
  ----Book, 118, 128 ff.

  New Year, 48

  Nineveh, prophecy against, Zeph., 208
  ----Nah., 204 f.

  Numbers, Book, 55 ff.

  Obadiah, Book, 200

  Old Testament, the name, 7
  ----Jewish, divisions, 8
  ----order of books, 8
  ----sacred scriptures, 25
  ----a national literature, 26 ff.
  ----literary quality, 28 f.

  Omri, king, 109 f.

  Origen, 16

  P (Priestly authors), 35 f.
  ----Origins of Religious Institutions, 44 f.
  ----in Gen., contents, 45 ff.
  ----diction and style, 46
  ----conception of God, 47
  ----the revelation at Sinai, 51
  ----age of the laws in, 66 f.
  ----age and origin of P, 56 f., 65 f.
  ----united with J E D, 72
  ----in Jos., 78

  Passover, 48

  Patriarchs, in J and E, 35 ff.

  Pentateuch, 29 ff.
  ----the law of Moses, 31
  ----names of the books, 29
  ----contents, 29-31
  ----beginnings of criticism, 32 ff.
  ----main sources, 33 ff.
  ----method of the author, 72 f.
  ----composition, 65 ff.
  ----age of, as a whole, 72 f.
  ----_See_ under the several Books, also, J, E, D, P.

  Peoples of the land, 122

  Porphyry, 187

  Priesthood, in Chron., 121, 122 f.

  Priests' Code, 56 f., 130, 134

  Priests and levites, cities, in Jos., 78

  Priests, invective in Mal., 216

  Primeval History, sources, 41
  ----ultimate sources, 42 f.

  Prophets, Former and Latter, 8
  ----in old Israel, 144 f.
  ----societies, or orders of, 145 f.
  ----popular, 202 f.
  ----bad repute of, 196, 214
  ----ninth century, 110 ff.
  ----eighth century, 146 f., 190, 199

  Proverbs, Book, 231 ff.

  Providence, scepticism in Eccles., 243, 244

  Psalms, Book, 218 ff.
  ----older hymn books, 220
  ----liturgical and devotional use, 218 f.
  ----titles, 219
  ----Elohistic book (Ps. _42-82_), 220, 224
  ----Davidic, 223, 224, 225, 226
  ----Asaphite and Korahite, 221, 224
  ----Songs of Ascents, Hallels, 222
  ----Maccabæan, 226 f.
  ----age of the Book, 223 ff.
  ----religious conceptions, 227 f.

  Purim, 139

  Religion, idea of, in Hos., 191 f.
  ----in Deut. 59
  ----in Mic., 203
  ----in Isa. _40-66_, 161 f.
  ----in Proverbs, 232
  ----true, among the heathen, 216

  Restoration, in Ezek., 179
  ----in Isa., 148 ff.
  ----_See_ Golden Age

  Retribution, orthodoxy of Job's friends, 237

  Ruth, Book, 139 ff.

  Sacrifice, patriarchal, 51 f.
  ----ritual laws, in Lev. _1-7_, 52
  ----prophetic rejection, 151 f., 198

  Samaria, Omri's new capital, 110
  ----fall of, 114

  Samaritan sect, in Jewish eyes, 122

  Samuel, last of the judges, 90 f.

  Samuel, Books, 91 ff.

  Sanballat, 130

  "Scriptures," class of sacred books, 8
  ----disputed, 9

  Scythians, 170 f., 207

  Seers, 144

  Sennacherib, siege of Jerusalem, 115

  Septuagint, _see_ Greek Version

  Serpent, idol, in temple, 114 f.

  Servant of Jehovah, in Isa., _40_ ff., 164

  Sheol, imagery, 152, 156, 177 f.

  Shishak, invasion by, 109

  Siloam tunnel, 116

  Sinai, 48

  Sirach, Book, _see_ Ecclesiasticus

  Scepticism, 217

  Solomon, 97
  ----character of his reign, 100
  ----his wealth and wisdom, 105
  ----reputation for wisdom, 234
  ----Proverbs ascribed to, 234 f.
  ----Eccles. ascribed to, 243
  ----Psalms ascribed to, 223 f.

  Song of Deborah, 89

  Song of Songs, 246 ff.
  ----allegorized, 247
  ----age, 249
  ----inspiration, 8, 247

  Story books, Jewish, 134 ff.

  Suffering of the good, in Job, 237 ff.

  Susanna and the Elders, 15, 189.

  Symbolical actions in Ezek., 178

  Syria ("Assyria"), 155, 215

  Syriac Bible, contents of O. T., 20

  Syrian wars, 110

  Tabernacle, in P, 51

  Temple, dedication of, 106
  ----abode of Jehovah, 103
  ----no protection to the city, 166
  ----rebuilding of, 209

  Theodicy, in Job, 237 ff., 242

  Tyre, prophecy against, Ezek., 176

  Uncanonical books, Hebrew and Greek, 12
  ----_See_ also Apocrypha

  Valley of dry bones, 179

  Visions, in prophets, 149, 178, 183 ff., 197, 211

  Wedding songs, 248

  Wisdom, in Proverbs, 232
  ----personified, 233
  ----divine, in Job _28_, 241 f.

  Worship, prophetic attitude, 151 f.
  ----_See_ Sacrifice

  Zechariah, Book, 211 ff.

  Zech., _9-11, 12-14_, age, 214, 215

  Zedekiah, king, 175 f.

  Zephaniah, Book, 207 ff.

  Zerubbabel, Messianic hopes, 210 f.


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     study."--_Christian World._


     By Prof. J. W. GREGORY, F.R.S. (With 38 Maps and Figures.)
     "A fascinating little volume.... Among the many good things
     contained in the series this takes a high place."--_The

     _57. THE HUMAN BODY_

     By A. KEITH, M.D., LL.D., Conservator of Museum and
     Hunterian Professor, Royal College of Surgeons.
     (Illustrated.) "It literally makes the 'dry bones' to live.
     It will certainly take a high place among the classics of
     popular science."--_Manchester Guardian._

     _58. ELECTRICITY_

     By GISBERT KAPP, D.Eng., Professor of Electrical Engineering
     in the University of Birmingham. (Illustrated.) "It will be
     appreciated greatly by learners and by the great number of
     amateurs who are interested in what is one of the most
     fascinating of scientific studies."--_Glasgow Herald._


     By Dr BENJAMIN MOORE, Professor of Bio-Chemistry, University
     College, Liverpool. "Stimulating, learned,
     lucid."--_Liverpool Courier._

     _67. CHEMISTRY_

     By RAPHAEL MELDOLA, F.R.S., Professor of Chemistry in
     Finsbury Technical College, London. Presents clearly,
     without the detail demanded by the expert, the way in which
     chemical science has developed, and the stage it has

     _72. PLANT LIFE_

     By Prof. J. B. FARMER, D.Sc., F.R.S. (Illustrated.)
     "Professor Farmer has contrived to convey all the most vital
     facts of plant physiology, and also to present a good many
     of the chief problems which confront investigators to-day in
     the realms of morphology and of heredity."--_Morning Post._

     _78. THE OCEAN_

     A General Account of the Science of the Sea. By Sir JOHN
     MURRAY, K.C.B., F.R.S. (Illus.) "A life's experience is
     crowded into this volume. A very useful feature is the ten
     pages of illustrations and coloured maps at the
     end."--_Gloucester Journal._

     _79. NERVES_

     By Prof. D. FRASER HARRIS, M.D., D.Sc. (Illustrated.) A
     description, in non-technical language, of the nervous
     system, its intricate mechanism and the strange phenomena of
     energy and fatigue, with some practical reflections.

     _Philosophy and Religion_


     By Prof. D. S. MARGOLIOUTH, M.A., D.Litt. "This generous
     shilling's worth of wisdom.... A delicate, humorous, and
     most responsible tractate by an illuminative
     professor."--_Daily Mail._


     By the Hon. BERTRAND RUSSELL, F.R.S. "A book that the 'man
     in the street' will recognise at once to be a boon....
     Consistently lucid and non-technical
     throughout."--_Christian World._

     _47. BUDDHISM_

     By Mrs RHYS DAVIDS, M.A. "The author presents very
     attractively as well as very learnedly the philosophy of
     Buddhism as the greatest scholars of the day interpret
     it."--_Daily News._


     By Principal _W. B. Selbie_, M.A. "The historical part is
     brilliant in its insight, clarity, and proportion; and in
     the later chapters Dr Selbie proves himself to be an ideal
     exponent of sound and moderate views."--_Christian World._

     _54. ETHICS_

     By G. E. MOORE, M.A., Lecturer in Moral Science in Cambridge
     University. "A very lucid though closely reasoned outline of
     the logic of good conduct."--_Christian World._


     By Prof. B. W. BACON, LL.D., D.D. "Professor Bacon has
     boldly, and wisely, taken his own line, and has produced, as
     a result, an extraordinarily vivid, stimulating, and lucid
     book."--_Manchester Guardian._


     By Mrs CREIGHTON. "Very interestingly done.... Its style is
     simple, direct, unhackneyed, and should find appreciation
     where a more fervently pious style of writing
     repels."--_Methodist Recorder._


     By Prof. J. ESTLIN CARPENTER, D.Litt., Principal of
     Manchester College, Oxford. "Puts into the reader's hand a
     wealth of learning and independent thought."--_Christian


     By J. B. BURY, Litt.D., LL.D., Regius Professor of Modern
     History at Cambridge. "A little masterpiece, which every
     thinking man will enjoy."--_The Observer._


     By Prof. GEORGE MOORE, D.D., LL.D., of Harvard. A detailed
     examination of the books of the Old Testament in the light
     of the most recent research.

_Social Science_

     _1. PARLIAMENT_

     Its History, Constitution, and Practice. By Sir COURTENAY P.
     ILBERT, G.C.B., K.C.S.I., Clerk of the House of Commons.
     "The best book on the history and practice of the House of
     Commons since Bagehot's 'Constitution.'"--_Yorkshire Post._


     By F. W. HIRST, Editor of "The Economist." "To an
     unfinancial mind must be a revelation.... The book is as
     clear, vigorous, and sane as Bagehot's 'Lombard Street,'
     than which there is no higher compliment."--_Morning


     By Mrs J. R. GREEN. "As glowing as it is learned. No book
     could be more timely."--_Daily News._


     By J. RAMSAY MACDONALD, M.P. "Admirably adapted for the
     purpose of exposition."--_The Times._


     By LORD HUGH CECIL, M.A., M.P. "One of those great little
     books which seldom appear more than once in a
     generation."--_Morning Post._


     By J. A. HOBSON, M.A. "Mr J. A. Hobson holds an unique
     position among living economists.... Original, reasonable,
     and illuminating."--_The Nation._

     _21. LIBERALISM_

     By L. T. HOBHOUSE, M.A., Professor of Sociology in the
     University of London. "A book of rare quality.... We have
     nothing but praise for the rapid and masterly summaries of
     the arguments from first principles which form a large part
     of this book."--_Westminster Gazette._


     By D. H. MACGREGOR, M.A., Professor of Political Economy in
     the University of Leeds. "A volume so dispassionate in terms
     may be read with profit by all interested in the present
     state of unrest."--_Aberdeen Journal._

     _26. AGRICULTURE_

     By Prof. W. SOMERVILLE, F.L.S. "It makes the results of
     laboratory work at the University accessible to the
     practical farmer."--_Athenæum._


     By W. M. GELDART, M.A., B.C.L., Vinerian Professor of
     English Law at Oxford. "Contains a very clear account of the
     elementary principles underlying the rules of English
     Law."--_Scots Law Times._

     _38. THE SCHOOL: An Introduction to the Study of Education._

     By J. J. FINDLAY, M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Education in
     Manchester University. "An amazingly comprehensive
     volume.... It is a remarkable performance, distinguished in
     its crisp, striking phraseology as well as its inclusiveness
     of subject-matter."--_Morning Post._


     By S. J. CHAPMAN, M.A., Professor of Political Economy in
     Manchester University. "Its importance is not to be measured
     by its price. Probably the best recent critical exposition
     of the analytical method in economic science."--_Glasgow

     _69. THE NEWSPAPER_

     By G. BINNEY DIBBLEE, M.A. (Illustrated.) The best account
     extant of the organisation of the newspaper press, at home
     and abroad.


     By H. N. BRAILSFORD, M.A. "Mr Brailsford sketches vividly
     the influence of the French Revolution on Shelley's and
     Godwin's England; and the charm and strength of his style
     make his book an authentic contribution to
     literature."--_The Bookman._


     By ANEURIN WILLIAMS, M.A.--"A judicious but enthusiastic
     history, with much interesting speculation on the future of
     Co-partnership."--_Christian World._


     By E. N. BENNETT, M.A. Discusses the leading aspects of the
     British land problem, including housing, small holdings,
     rural credit, and the minimum wage.


     By Prof. P. VINOGRADOFF, D.C.L.


     By Prof. A. C. PIGOU, M.A.


        Litt. D.
  _SEX._ By Prof. J. A. THOMSON and Prof. PATRICK GEDDES.
  _POLITICAL THOUGHT IN ENGLAND: From Bentham to J. S. Mill._ By Prof.
        W. L. DAVIDSON.
  _POLITICAL THOUGHT IN ENGLAND: From Herbert Spencer to To-day._ By

                  London: WILLIAMS AND NORGATE

             _And of all Bookshops and Bookstalls._

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Minor typographical errors and inconsistencies have been silently
normalized except for the following:

Page 27: "eighth century and Judah in the beginning of the sixth".
"of" has been added.

Page 100: "saying much more that the facts warrant". "that" has been
changed to "than".

Page 139: "the festiva of Purim". "festiva" has been changed to

Page 224: "the editor thought that Ps. cxxv i. 1 referred to the
building of the temple". "cxxv i" has been changed to "cxxvii" which
according to the context appears to be intended.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Literature of the Old Testament" ***

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