10. Smith. (This Selection is still being edited.)
The Book of the Twelve Prophets Commonly Called the Minor, by George Adam Smith, D.D., LL.D. Professor of Hebrew & Old Testament Exegesis. Free Church College, Glasgow. In Two Volumes Vol. I. –Amos, Hosea & Micah; with an Introduction & a Sketch of Prophecy in Early Israel. New York. A. C. Armstrong And Son. 1902. as. Expositor’s Bible, edited by W.R. Nicholl. Vol. II. –Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Obadiah, Haggai, Zechariah 1–8, Malachi, Joel, Zechariah 9–14. And Jonah With Historical & Critical Introductions. London Hodder And Stoughton. 1908.
Preface: The Prophets, to whom this and a following volume are dedicated, have, to our loss, been haunted for centuries by a peddling and an ambiguous title. Their Twelve Books are in size smaller than those of the great Three which precede them, and doubtless none of their chapters soar so high as the brilliant summits to which we are swept by Isaiah and the Prophet of the Exile. But in every other respect they are undeserving of the niggardly name of “ Minor.” Two of them, Amos and Hosea, were the first of all prophecy –rising cliff-like, with a sheer and magnificent originality, to a height and a mass sufficient to set after them the trend and slope of the whole prophetic range. The Twelve together cover the extent of that range, and illustrate the development of prophecy at almost every stage from the eighth cen¬ tury to the fourth. Yet even more than in the case of Isaiah or Jeremiah, the Church has been content to use a passage here and a passage there, leaving the rest of the books to absolute neglect or the almost equal oblivion of routine-reading. Among the causes of this disuse have been the more than usually corrupt state of the text; the consequent disorder and in parts unintelligibleness of all the versions; the ignorance of the various historical circumstances out of which the books arose; the absence of successful efforts to determine the periods and strophes, the dramatic dialogues (with the names of the speakers), the lyric effusions and the passages of argument, of all of which the books are composed. The following exposition is an attempt to assist the bettering of all this. As the Twelve Prophets illustrate among them the whole history of written prophecy, I have thought it useful to prefix a historical sketch of the Prophet in early Israel, or as far as the appearance of Amos. The Twelve are then taken in chronological order. Under each of them a chapter is given of historical and critical introduction to his book; then some account of the prophet himself as a man and a seer; then a complete translation of the various prophecies handed down under his name, with textual footnotes, and an exposition and application to the present day in harmony with the aim of the series to which these volumes belong; finally, a discussion of the main doctrines the prophet has taught, if it has not been found possible to deal with these in the course of the exposition. An exact critical study of the Twelve Prophets is rendered necessary by the state of the entire text. The present volume is based on a thorough examination of this in the light of the ancient versions and of modern criticism. The emendations which I have proposed are few and insignificant, but I have examined and discussed in footnotes all that have been suggested, and in many cases my translation will be found to differ widely from that of the Revised Version. To questions of integrity and authenticity more space is devoted than may seem to many to be necessary. But it is certain that the criticism of the prophetic books has now entered on a period of the same analysis and discrimination which is almost exhausted in the case of the Pentateuch. Some hints were given of this in a previous volume on Isaiah, chapters xl.—lxvi., which are evidently a composite work. Among the books now before us, the same fact has long been clear in the case of Obadiah and Zechariah, and also since Ewald’s time with regard to Micah. But Duhm’s Theology of the Prophets, which appeared in 1875, suggested interpola¬ tions in Amos. Wellhausen (in 1873) and Stade (from 1883 onwards) carried the discussion further both on those, and others, of the Twelve; while a recent work by Andr£e on Haggai proves that many similar questions may still be raised and have to be debated. The general fact must be admitted that hardly one book has escaped later additions—additions of an entirely justifiable nature, which supplement the point of view of a single prophet with the richer experience or the riper hopes of a later day, and thus afford to ourselves a more catholic presentment of the doctrines of prophecy and the Divine purposes for mankind. This general fact, I say, must be admitted. But the questions of detail are still in process of solution. It is obvious that settled results can be reached (as to some extent they have been already reached in the criticism of the Pentateuch) only after years of re¬ search and debate by all schools of critics. Meantime it is the duty of each of us to offer his own conclusions, with regard to every separate passage, on the under¬ standing that, however final they may at present seem to him, the end is not yet. In previous criticism the defects, of which work in the same field has made me aware, are four: i. A too rigid belief in the exact parallelism and symmetry of the prophetic style, which I feel has led, for instance, Wellhausen, to whom we otherwise owe so much on the Twelve Prophets, into many unnecessary emendations of the text, or, where some amendment is necessary, to absolutely unprovable changes. 2. In passages be¬ tween which no connection exists, the forgetfulness of the principle that this fact may often be explained as justly by the hypothesis of the omission of some words, as by the favourite theory of the later intrusion of portions of the extant text. 3. Forgetfulness of the possibility, which in some cases amounts almost to certainty, of the incorporation, among the authentic words of a prophet, of passages of earlier as well as of later date. And, 4, depreciation of the spiritual insight and foresight of pre-exilic writers. These, I am persuaded, are defects in previous criticism of the prophets. Probably my own criticism will reveal many more. In the beginnings of such analysis as we are engaged on, we must be prepared for not a little arbitrariness and want of proportion ; these are often necessary for insight and fresh points of view, but they are as easily eliminated by the progress of dis¬ cussion. All criticism however, is preliminary to the real work which the immortal prophets demand from scholars and preachers in our age. In a review of a previous volume, I was blamed for applying a prophecy of Isaiah to a problem of our own day. This was called “ prostituting prophecy.” The prosti¬ tution of the prophets is their confinement to aca¬ demic uses. One cannot conceive an ending, at once more pathetic and more ridiculous, to those great streams of living water, than to allow them to run out in the sands of criticism and exegesis, however golden these sands may be. The prophets spoke for a practical purpose; they aimed at the hearts of men; and every¬ thing that scholarship can do for their writings has surely for its final aim the illustration of their witness to the ways of God with men, and its application to living questions and duties and hopes. Besides, there¬ fore, seeking to tell the story of that wonderful stage in the history of the human spirit—surely next in wonder to the story of Christ Himself—I have not feared at every suitable point to apply its truths to our lives to-day. The civilisation in which prophecy flourished was in its essentials marvellously like our own. To mark only one point, the rise of prophecy in Israel came fast upon the passage of the nation from an agricultural to a commercial basis of society, and upon the appearance of the very thing which gives its name to civilisation—city-life, with its unchanging sins, problems and ideals. A recent Dutch critic, whose exact scholarship is known to all readers of Stade’s Journal of Old Testament Science, has said of Amos and Hosea: “ These prophecies have a word of God, as for all times, so also especially for our own. Before all it is relevant to 1 the social question ’ of our day, to the relation of religion and morality. . . . Often it has been hard for me to refrain from expressly pointing out the agreement between Then and To-day.”1 This feeling will be shared by all students of prophecy whose minds and consciences are quick; and I welcome the liberal plan of the series in which this volume appears, because, while giving room for the adequate discussion of critical and historical questions, its chief design is to show the eternal validity of the Books of the Bible as the Word of God, and their meaning for ourselves to-day. Previous works on the Minor Prophets are almost innumerable. Those to which I owe most will be found indicated in the footnotes. The translation has bliteral meaning or exact emphasis of the original to the frequent possibility of greater elegance. It reproduces every word, with the occasional exception of a copula. With some hesitation I have retained the traditional spelling of the Divine Name, Jehovah, instead of the more correct Jahve or Yahweh; but where the rhythm of certain familiar passages was disturbed by it, I have followed the English versions and written Lord. The reader will keep in mind that a line may be destroyed by substituting our pronunciation of proper names for the more musical accents of the original. Thus, for instance, we obliterate the music of ” Isra’el ” by making it two syllables and putting the accent on the first: it has three syllables with the accent on the last. We crush Yerushalayim into Jerusalem; we shred off Asshflr into Assyria, and dub Misrairh Egypt. Hebrew has too few of the combinations which sound most musical to our ears, to afford the suppression of any one of them.
(Kai tōn ib’ prophētōn ta hosta: Anathaloi ek tou topou autōn,
Parekalesan de ton Iakōb: Kai elutrōsanto autous en pistei elpidos.)
(And of the Twelve Prophets may the bones: Flourish again from their place,
For they comforted Jacob: And redeemed them by the assurance of hope.)
Contents of Vol. I. Preface. Chronological Table. Introduction. Chapters & Verses:
I. Book of Twelve.
II. Prophet in Early Israel. 1. Earliest Times till Samuel. 2. Samuel to Elisha.
III. Eighth Century in Israel.
IV. Influence of Assyria on Prophecy.
AMOS: (The Book of Amos consists of Three Groups of Oracles, under one title, which is evidently meant to cover them all….
First Section: Chaps. I, II. The Heathen’s Crimes and Israel’s. A series oi short oracles of the same form, directed impartially against the political crimes of all the states of Palestine, and culminating in a more detailed denunciation of the social evils of Israel, whose doom is foretold, beneath the same flood of war as shall overwhelm all her neighbours. Second Section: Chaps. III.—VI. Israel’s Crimes and Doom. A series of various oracles of denunciation, which have no further logical connection than is supplied by a general sameness of subject, and a perceptible increase of detail and articulateness from beginning to end of the section. They are usually grouped according to the recurrence of the formula Hearthis word, which stands at the head of our present chaps, iii., iv. and v.; and by the two cries of Woe at v. 18 and vi. I. But even more obvious than these commencements are the various climaxes to which they lead up. These are all threats of judgment, and each is more strenuous or explicit than the one that has preceded it. They close with iii. 15, iv. 3, iv. 12, v. 17, v. 27 and vi. 14; and according to them the oracles may be conveniently divided into six groups. 1. III. 1-15. After the main theme of judgment is stated in 1, 2, we have in 3-8 a parenthesis on the prophet’s right to threaten doom; after which 9-15, following directly on 2, emphasise the social disorder, threaten the land with invasion, the people with extinction and the overthrow of their civilisation. 2. IV. 1-3, beginning with the formula Hear this word, is directed against women and describes the siege of the capital and their captivity. 3. IV. 4-12, with no opening formula, contrasts the people’s vain propitiation of God by ritual with His treatment of them by various physical chastisements—drought, blight and locusts, pestilence, earthquake—and summons them to prepare for another, unnamed, visitation. Jehovah God of Hosts is His Name. 4. V. 1-17, beginning with the formula Hear this word, and a dirge over a vision of the nation’s defeat, attacks, like the previous group, the lavish ritual, sets in contrast to it Jehovah’s demands for justice and civic purity; and, offering a reprieve if Israel will repent, closes with the prospect of an universal mourning (w. 16, 17), which, though introduced by a therefore, has no logical connection with what precedes it. 5. V. 18-26 is the first of the two groups that open with Woe. Affirming that the eagerly expected Day ofJehovah will be dark¬ ness and disaster on disaster inevitable (18-20), it again emphasises Jehovah’s desire for righteousness rather than worship (21-26), and closes with the threat of captivity beyond Damascus. Jehovah God of Hosts is His Name, as at the close of 3. 6. VI. 1-14. The second Woe, on them that are at ease in Zion (1, 2): a satire on the luxuries of the rich and their in¬ difference to the national suffering (3-6): captivity must come, with the desolation of the land (9, 10); and in a peroration the prophet reiterates a general downfall of the nation because of its perversity. A Nation—needless to name it!—will oppress Israel from Hamath to the River of the Arabah.
Third Section : Chaps. VII.—IX. Visions with Interludes. The Visions betray traces of development; but they are inter¬ rupted by a piece of narrative and addresses on the same themes as chaps, iii.—vi. The First two Visions (vii. 1-6) are of disasters—locusts and drought—in the realm of nature ; they are averted by prayer from Amos. The Third (7-9) is in the sphere, not of nature, but history : Jehovah standing with a plumbline, as if to show the nation’s fabric to be utterly twisted, announces that it shall be overthrown, and that the dynasty of Jeroboam must be put to the sword. Upon this mention of the king, the first in the book, there starts the narrative (10-17) of how Amaziah, priest at Bethel—obviously upon hearing the prophets threat— sent word to Jeroboam; and then (whether before or after getting a reply) proceeded to silence Amos, who, however, reiterates his prediction of doom, again described as captivity in a foreign land, and adds a Fourth Vision (viii. 1-3), of the Kaits or Summer Fruit, which suggests Kets, or End of the Nation. Here it would seem Amos’ discourses at Bethel take end. Then comes viii. 4-6, another exposure of the sins of the rich ; followed by a triple pronouncement of doom (7), again in the terms of physical calamities—earthquake (8), eclipse (9, 10), and famine (11-14), in the last of which the public worship is again attacked. A Fifth Vision, of the Lord by the Altar commanding to smite (ix. 1), is followed by a powerful threat of the hopelessness of escape from God’s punishment (ix. 1^-4); the third of the great apostrophes to the might of Jehovah (5, 6); another statement of the equality in judgment of Israel with other peoples, and of their utter destruction (7-8a). Then (8£) we meet the first qualification of the hitherto unrelieved sentence of death. Captivity is de¬ scribed, not as doom, but as discipline (9): the sinners of the people, scoffers at doom, shall die (10). And this seems to leave room for two final oracles of restoration and glory, the only two in the book, which are couched in the exact terms of the promises of later prophecy (11-15) and are by many denied to Amos. Such is the course of the prophesying of Amos. To have traced it must have made clear to us the unity of his book, as well as the character of the period to which he belonged. But it also furnishes us with a good deal of evidence towards the answer of such necessary questions as these—whether we can fix an exact date for the whole or any part, and whether we can trace any logical or historical development through the chapters, either as these now stand, or in some such re-arrange¬ ment as we saw to be necessary for the authentic prophecies of Isaiah.)
V. Book of Amos.
VI. Man & Prophet.
1. Man & Discipline (1:1; 3:3-8; 7:14,15). 2. Word & Origins (1:2; 3:3-8; &c.).
3. Prophet & Ministry (7; 8:1-4).
VII. Atrocities & Atrocities. (Amos 1:3-2).
VIII. Civilisation & Judgment. (Amos 3:1-4:3).
IX. False Peace of Ritual. (Amos 4:4-6:).
1. For Worship, Chastisement (4:4-13). 2. For Worship, Justice (5:).
3. “At Ease In Zion” (6:). 4. Fragment from Plague (6:9,10).
X. Doom or Discipline? (Amos 8:4-9:).
1. Earthquake, Eclipse & Famine (8:4-14). 2. Nemesis (9:1-6).
3. Voices of Another Dawn (9:7-15).
XI.Common-sense & Reign of Law. (Amos 7:3-8; 4:6-13; 5:8,9; 6:12; 8:8; 9:5,6).
HOSEA: (The Book of Hosea consists of two unequal sec–L tions, chaps, i.—iii. and chaps, iv.—xiv., which differ in the dates of their standpoints, to a large extent also in the details of their common subjects, but still more largely in their form and style. The First Section v is in the main narrative; though the style rises to the pitch of passionate pleading and promise, it is fluent and equable. It one verse be omitted and three others transposed,1 the argument- is continuous. In the Second Section, on the contrary, we have a stream of addresses and reflections, appeals, upbraidings, sar¬ casms, recollections of earlier history, denunciations and promises, which, with little logical connection and almost no pauses or periods, start impulsively from each other, and for a large part are expressed in elliptic and ejaculatory phrases. In the present restlessness of Biblical Criticism it would have been surprising if this difference of style had not prompted some minds to a difference of authorship. Gratz 2 has distinguished two Hoseas, separated by a period of fifty years. But if, as we shall see, the First Section reflects the end of the reign of Jeroboam II., who died about 743, then the next few years, with their revolutionary. changes in Israel, are sufficient to account for the altered outlook of the Second Section ; while the altered style is fully explained by difference of occasion and motive. In both sections not only are the religious principles identical, and many of the characteristic expressions,1 but there breathes throughout the same urgent and jealous temper, which renders Hosea’s personality so distinctive among the prophets. Within this unity, of course, we must not be surprised to find, as in the Book of Amos, verses which cannot well be authentic. First Section: Hosea’s Prophetic Life. With the removal of some of the verses the argu¬ ment becomes clear and consecutive. After the story of the wife and children (i. 2-9), who are symbols of the land and people of Israel in their apostasy from God (2, 4, 6, 9), the Divine voice calls on the living generation to plead with their mother lest destruction come (ii. 2-5, Eng.; ii. 4-7, Heb.2), but then passes definite sentence of desolation on the land and of exile on the people (6-13, Eng.; 8-15, Heb.), which however is not final doom, but discipline,3 with the ultimate promise of the return of the nation’s youth, their renewed betrothal to Jehovah and the restoration of nature (14-23). Then follows the story of the pro¬ phet’s restoration of his wife, also with discipline (chap. iii.). Notice that, although the story of the wife’s full has preceded the declaration of Israel’s apostasy, it is Israel’s restoration which prceedes the wife’s. The ethical significance of this order we shall illustrate in the next chapter. In this section the disturbing verses are i. 7 and the group of three—i. 10, II, ii. 1 (Eng.; but ii. 1-3 Heb.). Chap. i. 7 introduces Judah as excepted from the curse passed upon Israel; it is so obviously intru¬ sive in a prophecy dealing only with Israel, and it so clearly reflects the deliverance of Judah from Senna¬ cherib in 70l^tliat we cannot hold it for anything but an insertion of a date subsequent to that deliverance, and introduced by a pious Jew to signalise Judah’s fate in contrast with Israel’s.1 The other three verses (i. 10, II, ii. I, Eng. ; ii. 1-3, Heb.) introduce a promise of restoration before the sentence of judgment is detailed, or any ethical con¬ ditions of restoration are stated. That is, they break and tangle an argument otherwise consistent and pro¬ gressive from beginning to end of the Section. Every careful reader must feel them out of place where they lie. Their awkwardness has been so much appre¬ ciated that, while in the Hebrew text they have been separated from chap, i., in the Greek they have been separated from chap. ii. That is to say, some have felt they have no connection with what precedes them, others none with what follows them; while our English version, by distributing them between the two chapters, only makes more sensible their superfluity* If they really belong to the prophecy, their proper place is after the last verse of chap, ii.1 This is actually the order in which part of it and part of them are quoted by St. Paul.2 At the same time, when so arranged, they repeat somewhat awkwardly the language of ii. 23, and scarcely form a climax to the chapter. There is nothing in their language to lead us to doubt that they are Hosea’s own; and ver. 11 shows that they must have been written at least before the cap¬ tivity of Northern Israel.3 The only other suspected clause in this section is that in iii. 5, and David their king;4 * but if it be struck out the verse is rendered awkward, if not impossible, by the immediate repetition of the Divine name, which would not have been required in the absence of the suspected clause.6 The text of the rest of the section is remarkably free from obscurities. The Greek version offers few variants, and most of these are due to mistranslation.* In iii. I for loved of a husband it reads loving evil. Evidently this section was written before the death of Jeroboam II. The house of Jehu still reigns; and as Hosea predicts its fall by war on the classic battle¬ ground of Jezreel, the prophecy must have been written before the actual fall, which took the form of an internal revolt against Zechariah, the son of Jeroboam. With this agrees the tone of the section. There are the same evils in Israel which Amos exposed in the prosperous years of the same reign ; but Hosea appears to realise the threatened exile from a nearer standpoint. It is probable also that part of the reason of his ability to see his way through the captivity to the people’s restoration is due to a longer familiarity with the approach of captivity than Amos experienced before he wrote. But, ofcourse, for Hosea’s promise of restoration there were, as we shall see, other and greater reasons of a religious kind.1 (1 In determining the date of the Book of Hosea the title in chap. i. is of no use to us : The Word ofJehovah which was io Hosea ben Be’erl in the days of JJzziah, Jotham, Ahas, Hesekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days ofJeroboam ben Joash, king of Israel. This title is trebly suspicious. First: the given reigns of Judah and Israel do not correspond; Jeroboam was dead before Uzziah. Second: there is no proof either in the First or Second Section of the book that Hosea prophesied after the reign of Jotham. Third : it is curious that in the case of a prophet of Northern Israel kings of Judah should be stated first, and four of them be given while only one king of his own country is placed beside them. On these grounds critics are probably correct who take the title as it stands to be the work of some later Judaean scribe who sought to make it correspond to the titles of the Books of Isaiah and Micah. He may have been the same who added chap. i. 7. The original form of the title probably was The Word of God which was to Hosea son of Be’eri in the days oj Jeroboam ben Joash, king of Israel, and designed only for the First Section of the book, chaps, i.—iii.) Second Section : Chaps, iv.—xiv. When we pass into these chapters we feel that the times are changed. The dynasty of Jehu has passed : kings are falling rapidly : Israel devours its rulers :2 there is no loyalty to the king ; he is suddenly cut off;* 1 all the princes are revolters.2 * Round so despised and so unstable a throne the nation tosses in disorder. Conspiracies are rife. It is not only, as in Amos, the the sins of the luxurious, of them that are at ease in Zion, which are exposed but also literal bloodshed : highway robbery with murder, abetted by the priests; * the thief breaketh in and the robber-troop maketh a raid.4 Amos looked out on foreign nations across a quiet Israel ; his views of the world are wide and clear; but in the Book of Hosea the dust is up, and into what is happening beyond the frontier we get only glimpses. There is enough, however, to make visible another great change since the days of Jeroboam. Israel’s selfreliance is gone. She is as fluttered as a startled bird : They call unto Egypt, they go unto Assyria.6 Their wealth is carried as a gift to King Jareb,6 and they evidently engage in intrigues with Egypt. But every¬ thing is hopeless : kings cannot save, for Ephraim is seized by the pangs of a fatal crisis.7 This broken description reflects—and all the more faithfully because of its brokenness—the ten years which followed on the death of Jeroboam II. about 743.® His son Zechariah, who succeeded him, was in six months assassinated by Shallum ben Jabesh, who within a month more was himself cut down by Menahem ben Gadi.* 1 Menahem held the throne for six or seven years, but only by sending to the King of Assyria an enormous tribute which he exacted from the wealthy magnates of Israel.2 Discontent must have followed these measures, such discontent with their rulers as Hosea describes. Pekahiah ben Menahem kept the throne for little over a year after his father’s death, and was assassinated by his captain,3 Pekah ben Remaliah, with fifty Gileadites, and Pekah took the throne about 736. This second and bloody usurpation may be one of those on which Hosea dwells; but if so it is the last historical allusion in his book. There is no reference to the war of Pekah and Rezin against Ahaz of Judah which Isaiah describes,4 * and to which Hosea must have alluded had he been still prophesying.6 There is no allusion to its consequence in Tiglath-Pileser’s conquest of Gilead and Galilee in 734—733. On the contrary, these provinces are still regarded as part of the body politic of Israel.1 Nor is there any sign that Israel have broken with Assyria; to the last the book represents them as fawning on the Northern Power.2 In all probability, then, the Book of Hosea was closed before 734 b.c. The Second Section dates from the years behind that and back to the death of Jeroboam II. about 743, while the First Section, as we saw, reflects the period immediately before the latter. We come now to the general style of chaps, iv.—xiv. The period, as we have seen, was one of the most broken of all the history of Israel; the political outlook, the temper of the people, were constantly changing. Hosea, who watched these kaleidoscopes, had himself an extraordinarily mobile and vibrant mind. There could be no greater contrast to that fixture of conscience which renders the Book of Amos so simple in argu¬ ment, so firm in style.3 It was a leaden plummet which Amos saw Jehovah setting to the structure of Israel’s life.4 But Hosea felt his own heart hanging at the end of the line ; and this was a heart that could never be still. Amos is the prophet of law; he sees the Divine processes work themselves out, irrespective of the moods and intrigues of the people, with which, after all, he was little familiar. So each of his paragraphs moves steadily forward to a climax, and every climax is Doom —the captivity of the people to Assyria. You can divide his book by these things; it has its periods, strophes and refrains. It marches like the hosts of the Lord of hosts. But Hosea had no such un¬ hampered vision of great laws. He was too familiar with the rapid changes of his fickle people ; and his affection for them was too anxious. His style has all the restlessness and irritableness of hunger about it—the hunger of love. Hosea’s eyes are never at rest. He seeks, he welcomes, for moments of extra¬ ordinary fondness he dwells upon every sign of his people’s repentance. But a Divine jealousy succeeds, and he questions the motives of the change. You feel that his love has been overtaken and surprised by his knowledge; and in fact his whole style, might be described as a race between the two—a race varying and uncertain up to almost the end. The transitions are very swift. You come upon a passage of exquisite tenderness : the prophet puts the people’s penitence in his own words with a sympathy and poetry that are sublime and seem final. But suddenly he remembers how false they are, and there is another light in his eyes. The lustre of their tears dies from his verses, like the dews of a midsummer morning in Ephraim ; and all is dry and hard again beneath the brazen sun of his amazement. WhatshallI do unto thee, Ephraim ? What shall I do unto thee, Judah ? Indeed, this figure of his own is insufficient to express the suddenness with which Hosea lights up some intrigue of the states¬ men of the day, or some evil habit of the priests, or some hidden orgy of the common people. Rather than the sun it is the lightning—the lightning in pursuit of a serpent. The elusiveness of the style is the greater that many passages do not seem to have been prepared for public delivery. They are more the play of the prophet’s mind than his set speech. They are not formally addressed to an audience, and there is no trace in them of oratorical art. Hence the language of this Second Section of the Book of Hosea is impulsive and abrupt beyond all comparison. There is little rhythm in it, and almost no argument. Few metaphors are elaborated. Even the brief parallelism of Hebrew poetry seems too long for the quick spasms of the writer’s heart. “Osee,” said Jerome,1 “ commaticus est, et quasi per sententias loquitur.” He speaks in little clauses, often broken off; he is impatient even of copulas. And withal he uses a vocabulary full of strange words, which the paucity of parallelism makes much the more difficult. To this original brokenness and obscurity of the language are due, first, the great corruption of the text; second, the difficulty of dividing it; third, the uncer¬ tainty of deciding its genuineness or authenticity. I. The Text of Hosea is one of the most dilapidated in the Old Testament, and in parts beyond possibility of repair. It is probable that glosses were found neces¬ sary at an earlier period and to a larger extent than in most other books: there are evident traces of some ; yet it is not always possible to disentangle them.2 The value of the Greek version is curiously mixed. The authors had before them much the same difficulties as we have, and they made many more for themselves. Some of their mistranslations are outrageous : they occur not only in obscure passages, where they may be pardoned ;1 but even where there are parallel terms with which the translators show themselves familiar.2 Sometimes they have translated word by word, without any attempt to give the general sense ; and as a whole their version is devoid both of beauty and compactness. Yet not infrequently they supply us with a better read¬ ing than the Massoretic text. Occasionally they divide words properly which the latter misdivides.3 They often give more correctly the easily confused pronominal suffixes;4 * and the copula.6 And they help us to the true readings of many other words.8 Here and there an additional clause in the Greek is plethoric, perhaps copied by mistake from a similar verse in the context.7 All of these will be noticed separately as we reach them. But, even after these and other aids, we shall find that the text not infrequently remains impracticable. 2. As great as the difficulty of reaching a true text in this Second Section of the book is the difficulty of Dividing it. Here and there, it is true, the Greek helps us to improve upon the division into chapters and verses of the Hebrew text, which is that of our own English version. Chap. vi. 1-4 ought to follow imme¬ diately on to the end of chap, v., with the connecting word saying. The last few words of chap. vi. go with the first two of chap, vii., but perhaps both are gloss. The openings of chaps, xi. and xii. are better arranged in the Hebrew than in the Greek. As regards verses we shall have to make several rearrangements.1 But beyond this more or less conventional division into chapters and verses our confidence ceases. It is im¬ possible to separate the section, long as it is, into sub¬ sections, or into oracles, strophes or periods. The reason of this we have already seen, in the turbulence ofthe period reflected, in the divided interests and abrupt and emotional style of the author, and in the probability that part at least of the book was not prepared for public speaking. The periods and climaxes, the refrains, the catchwords by which we are helped to divide even the confused Second Section ot the Book of Amos, are not found in Hosea. Only twice does the exordium of a spoken address occur : at the beginning of the section (chap. iv. 1), and at what is now the open¬ ing of the next chapter (v. 1). The phrase ’tis the oracle ofJehovah, which occurs so periodically in Amos, and thrice in the second chapter of Hosea, is found only once in chaps, iv.—xiv. Again, the obvious climaxes or perorations, of which we found so many in Amos, are very few,2 and even when they occur the next verses start impulsively from them, without a pause. In spite of these difficulties, since the section is so long, attempts at division have been made. Ewald distinguished three parts in three different tempers: First, iv.—vi. n a, God’s Plaint against His people; Second, vi. 11 b—ix. 9, Their Punishment; Third, ix. 10 —xiv. 10, Retrospect of the earlier history—warning and consolation. Driver also divides into three sub¬ sections, but differently : First’, iv.—viii., in which Israel’s Guilt predominates ; Second, ix.—xi. 11, in which the prevailing thought is their Punishment; Third, xi. 12—xiv. 10, in which both lines of thought are continued, but followed by a glance at the brighter future.1 What is common to both these arrangements is the recognition of a certain progress from feelings about Israel’s guilt which prevail in the earlier chap¬ ters, to a clear vision of the political destruction awaiting them ; and finally more hope of repentance in the people, with a vision of the blessed future that must follow upon it. It is, however, more accurate to say that the emphasis of Hosea’s prophesying, instead of changing from the Guilt to the Punishment of Israel, changes about the middle of chap. vij. from their Moral Decay to their Political Decay, and that the description of the latter is modified or interrupted by Two Visions of better things : one of Jehovah’s early guidance of the people, with a great outbreak of His Love upon them, in chap. xi.; and one of their future Return to Jehovah and restoration in chap. xiv. It is on these features that the division of the following Exposition is arranged. 3. It will be obvious that with a text so corrupt, with a style so broken and incapable of logical division, questions of Authenticity are raised to a pitch of the greatest difficulty. Allusion has been made to the number of glosses which must have been found neces¬ sary from even an early period, and of some of which we can discern the proofs.1 We will deal with these as they occur. But we may here discuss, as a whole, another class of suspected passages—suspected for the same reason that we saw a number in Amos to be, because of their reference to Judah. In the Book of Hosea (chaps, iv.—xiv.) they are twelve in number. Only one of them is favourable (iv. 15) : Though Israel play the harlot} let notJudah sin. Kuenen2 argues that this is genuine, on the ground that the peculiar verb to sin or take guilt to oneself is used several other times in the book,3 and that the wish expressed is in consonance with what he understands to be Hosea’s favourable feeling towards Judah. Yet Hosea nowhere else makes any distinction between Ephraim and Judah in the matter of sin, but condemns both equally; and as iv. 15 f. are to be suspected on other grounds as well, I cannot hold this reference to Judah to be beyond doubt. Nor is the reference in viii. 14 genuine : And Israel forgat her Maker and built temples} and Judah multiplied fenced citiest but I will send fire on his cities and it shall devour her palaces. Kuenen4 refuses to reject the reference to Judah, on the ground that without it the rhythm of the verse is spoiled; but the fact is the whole verse must go. Chap. v. 13 forms a climax, which v. 14 only weakens; the style is not like Hosea’s own, and indeed is but an echo of verses of Amos.1 Nor can we be quite sure about v. 5 : Israel and Ephraim shallstumble by their iniquities, and (LXX.) stumble also shall Judah with them; or vi. 10, 11 : In Bethel I have seen horrors : there playest thou the harlol} Ephraim; there Israel defiles himself; also Judah . . . (the rest of the text is impracticable). In both these passages Judah is the awkward third of a parallelism, and is introduced by an also, as if an afterthought. Yet the afterthought may be the prophet’s own ; for in other passages, to which no doubt attaches, he fully includes Judah in the sinfulness of Israel. Cornill rejects x. 11, Judah must plough, but I cannot see on what grounds ; as Kuenen says, it has no appearance of being an intrusion.2 In xii. 3 Wellhausen reads Israel forJudah, but the latter is justified if not rendered necessary by the reference to Judah in ver. 1, which Wellhausen admits. Against the other references —v. 10, The princes of Judah are as removers of boundaries’, v. 12, I shall be as the moth to Ephraim, and a worm to the house ofJudah ; v. 13, And Ephraim saw his disease, andJudah his sore ; v. 14, For I am as a roaring lion to Ephraim, and as a young lion to the house ofJudah ; vi. 4, What shall I do to thee, Ephraim ? what shall I do to thee, Judah ?—there are no apparent objections; and they are generally admitted by critics. As Kuenen says, it would have been surprising if Hosea had made no reference to the sister kingdom. His judgment of her is amply justified by that of her own citizens, Isaiah and Micah. Other short passages of doubtful authenticity will be treated as we come to them ; but again it may be emphasised that, in a book of such a style as this, certainty on the subject is impossible. Finally, there may be given here the only notable addition which the Septuagint makes to the Book of Hosea. It occurs in xiii. 4, after I am Jehovah thy God: u That made fast the heavens and founded the earth, whose hands founded all the host of the heaven, and I did not show them to thee that thou shouldest follow after them, and I led thee up ”—-from the land of Egypt. At first this recalls those apostrophes to Jehovah’s power which break forth in the Book of Amos; and the resemblance has been taken to prove that they also are late intrusions. But this both obtrudes itself as they do not, and is manifestly of much lower poetical value. See page 203. We have now our material clearly before us, and may proceed to the more welcome task of tracing our prophet’s life, and expounding his teaching.)
XII. Book of Hosea
XIII. Problem that Amos Left
XIV. The Story Of The Prodigal Wife . Hosea I.—iii.
XV. The Thick Night Of Israel. Hosea Iv.—xiv.
XVI. A People In Decay I I. Morally. Hosea Iv.—vii. 7.
1. The Lord’s Quarrel With Israel (Iv.).
2. Priests And Princes Fail (V. 1-14).
3. Repentance Fails (V. 15—vii. 2).
4. Wickedness In High Places (Vii. 3-7).
Xvii. A People In Decay: Ii. Politically. Hosea Vii. 8—x.
1. The Confusion Of The Nation (Vii. 8—viii. 3).
2. Artificial Kings And Artificial Gods (Viii. 4-13)-
3. The Effects Of Exile (Ix. 1-9).
4. “The Corruption That Is Through Lust” (Ix. 10-17).
5. Once More: Puppet-kings And Puppet-gods (X.)
Xviii. Fatherhood & Humanity Of God. Hosea Xi.
Xix. The Final Argument. Hosea Xii.—xiv. 1.
1. The People And Their Father Jacob (Xii.).
2. The Last Judgment (Xiii.—xiv. 1).
Xx. Mi Will Be As The Dew. Hosea Xiv. 2-10.
Xxi. The Knowledge Of God. Hosea Passim.
Xxii. Repentance. Hosea Passim.
Xxiii. The Sin Against Love . Hosea I.—iii.; Iv. 11 Ff.; Ix. 10 Ff.; Xi. 8 L
MICAH: (The Book of Micah lies sixth of the Twelve Prophets-I in the Hebrew Canon, but in the order of the Septuagint third, following Amos and Hosea. The latter arrangement was doubtless directed by the size of the respective books;1 in the case of Micah it has coincided with the prophet’s proper chronological position. Though his exact date be not certain, he appears to have been a younger contemporary of Hosea, as Hosea was of Amos. The book is not two-thirds the size of that of Amos, and about half that of Hosea. It has been arranged in seven chapters, which follow, more or less, a natural method of division. They are usually grouped in three sections, distinguishable from each other by their subject-matter, by their temper and standpoint, and to a less degree by their literary form. They are A. Chaps, i.—iii.; B. Chaps, iv., v.; C. Chaps, vi., vii. There is no book of the Bible, as to the date of whose different parts there has been more discussion, especially within recent years. The history of this is shortly as follows :—
Tradition and the criticism of the early years of this century accepted the statement of the title, that the book was composed in the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah—that is, between 740 and 700 b.c. It was generally agreed that there were in it only traces of the first two reigns, but that the whole was put together before the fall of Samaria in 721.1 * Then Hitzig and Steiner dated chaps, iii.—vi. after 721; and Ewald denied that Micah could have given us chaps, vi., vii., and placed them under King Manasseh, circa 690—640. Next Wellhausen* sought to prove that vii. 7-20 must be post-exilic. Stade3 took a furtherstep, and, on the ground that Micah himself could not have blunted or annulled his sharp pronouncements of doom, by the promises which chaps, iv. and v. contain, he withdrew these from the prophet and assigned them to the time of the Exile.4 But the sufficiency of this argument was denied by Vatke.5 Also in opposition to Stade, Kuenen6 refused to believe that Micah could have been content with the announcement of the fall of Jerusalem as his last word, that therefore much of chaps, iv. and v. is probably from himself, but since their argument is obviously broken and confused, we must look in them for interpolations, and he decides that such are iv. 6-8, II-13, and the working up of v. 9-14. The famous passage in iv. 1-4 may have been Micah’s, but was probably added by another. Chaps, vi. and vii. were written under Manasseh by some of the persecuted adherents of Jehovah. We may next notice two critics who adopt an extremely conservative position. Von Ryssel,1 2 as the result of a very thorough examination, declared that all the chapters were Micah’s, even the much doubted ii. 12, 13, which have been placed by an editor of the book in the wrong position, and chap. vii. 7-20, which he agrees with Ewald can only date from the reign of Manasseh, Micah himself having lived long enough into that reign to write them himself. Another careful analysis by Elhorst* also reached the conclusion that the bulk of the book was authentic, but for his proof of this Elhorst requires a radical rearrangement of the verses, and that on grounds which do not always commend themselves. He holds chap, iv. 9-14 and v. 8 for post-exilic insertions. Driver3 contributes a thorough examination of the book, and reaches the conclusions that ii. 12, 13, though obviously in their wrong place, need not be denied to Micah ; that the difficulties of ascribing chaps, iv., v., to the prophet are not insuperable, nor is it even necessary to suppose in them interpolations. He agrees with Ewald as to the date of vi.—vii. 6, and, while holding that it is quite possible for Micah to have written them, thinks they are more probably due to another, though a confident conclusion is not to be achieved. As to vii. 7-20, he judges Wellhausen’s inferences to be unnecessary. A prophet in Micah’s or Manasseh’s time may have thought destruction nearer than it actually proved to be, and, imagining it as already arrived, have put into the mouth of the people a confession suited to its circumstance. Wildeboer4 goes further than Driver. He replies in detail to the arguments of Stade and Cornill, denies that the reasons for withdrawing so much from Micah are conclusive, and assigns to the prophet the whole book, with the exception of several interpolations. We see, then, that all critics are practically agreed as to the presence of interpolations in the text, as well as to the occurrence of certain verses of the prophet out of their proper order. This indeed must be ob¬ vious to every careful reader as he notes the somewhat frequent break in the logical sequence, especially of chaps, iv. and v. All critics, too, admit the authenticity of chaps, i.—iii., with the possible exception ofii. 12, 13 ; while a majority hold that chaps, vi. and vii., whether by Micah or not, must be assigned to the reign of Manasseh. On the authenticity of chaps, iv. and v.— minus interpolations—and of chaps, vi. and vii., opinion is divided ; but we ought not to overlook the remark¬ able fact that those who have recently written the fullest monographs on Micah1 incline to believe in the genuineness of the book as a whole.2 We may now enter for ourselves upon the discussion of the various sections, but before we do so let us note how much of the controversy turns upon the general question, whether after decisively predicting the overthrow of Jerusalem it was possible for Micah to add prophecies of her restoration. It will be remembered that we have had to discuss this same point with regard both to Amos and Hosea. In the case of the former we decided against the authenticity of visions of a blessed future which now close his book; in the case of the latter we decided for the authenticity. What were our reasons for this difference ? They were, that the closing vision of the Book of Amos is not at all in harmony with the exclusively ethical spirit of the authentic prophecies; while the closing vision of the Book of Hosea is not only in language and in ethical temper thoroughly in harmony with the chapters which precede it, but in certain details has been actually anticipated by these. Hosea, therefore, furnishes us with the case of a prophet who, though he predicted the ruin of his impenitent people (and that ruin was verified by events), also spoke of the possibility of their restoration upon conditions in harmony with his reasons for the inevitableness of their fall. And we saw, too, that the hopeful visions of the future, though placed last in the collection of his prophecies, need not necessarily have been spoken last by the prophet, but stand where they do because they have an eternal spiritual validity for the remnant of Israel.1 What was poss¬ ible for Hosea is surely possible for Micah. That promises come in his book, and closely after the conclusive threats which he gave of the fall of Jeru¬ salem, does not imply that originally he uttered them all in such close proximity. That indeed would have been impossible. But considering how often the political prospect in Israel changed during Micah’s time, and how far the city was in his day from her actual destruction—more than a century distant—it seems to be improbable that he should not (in what¬ ever order) have uttered both threat and promise. And naturally, when his prophecies were arranged in per¬ manent order, the promises would be placed after the threats.
First Section : Chaps. I.—III. No critic doubts the authenticity of the bulk of these chapters. The sole question at issue is the date or (possibly) the dates of them. Only chap. ii. 12, 13, are generally regarded as out of place, where they now stand. Chap. i. trembles with the destruction of both Northern Israel and Judah—a destruction either very imminent or actually in the process of happening. The verses which deal with Samaria, 6ff., do not simply announce her inevitable ruin. They throb with the sense either that this is immediate, or that it is going on, or that it has just been accomplished. The verbs suit each of these alternatives : And Ishall set, or am setting, or have set, Samaria for a ruin of the field, and so on. We may assign them to any time between 725 b.c., the beginning of the siege of Samaria by Shalmaneser, and a year or two after its destruction by Sargon in 721. Their intense feeling seems to preclude the possibility of their having been written in the years to which some assign them, 705—700, or twenty years after Samaria was actually overthrown. In the next verses the prophet goes on to mourn the fact that the affliction of Samaria reaches even to the gate of Jerusalem, and he especially singles out as par¬ takers in the danger of Jerusalem a number of towns, most of which (so far as we can discern) lie not between Jerusalem and Samaria, but at the other corner of Judah, in the Shephelah or out upon the Philistine plain.1 This was the region which Sennacherib invaded in 701, simultaneously with his detachment of a corps to attack the capital; and accordingly we might be shut up to affirm that this end of chap. i. dates from that invasion, if no other explanation of the place-names were poss¬ ible. But another i: possible. Micah himself belonged to one of these Shephelah towns, Moresheth-Gath, and it is natural that, anticipating the invasion of all Judah, after the fall of Samaria (as Isaiah1 also did), he should single out for mourning his own district of the country. This appears to be the most probable solution of a very doubtful problem, and accordingly we may date the whole of chap. i. somewhere between 725 and 720 or 718. Let us remember that in 719 Sargon marched past this very district of the Shephelah in his campaign against Egypt, whom he defeated at Raphia.2 Our conclusion is supported by chap. ii. Judah, though Jehovah be planning evil against her, is in the full course of her’ordinary social activities. The rich are absorbing the lands of the poor (vv. i. ff.) : note the phrase upon their beds; it alone signifies a time of security. The enemies of Israel are internal (8). The public peace is broken by the lords of the land and men and women, disposed to live quietly, are robbed (8 ff.). The false prophets have sufficient signs of the times in their favour to regard Micah’s threats ot destruction as calumnies (6). And although he regards destruction as inevitable, it is not to be to-day; but in that day (4), viz. some still indefinite date in the future, the blow will fall and the nation’s elegy be sung. On this chapter, then, there is no shadow of a foreign invader. We might assign it to the years of Jotham and Ahaz (under whose reigns the title of the book places part of the prophesying of Micah), but since there is no sense of a double kingdom, no distinction between Judah and Israel, it belongs more probably to the years when all immediate danger from Assyria had passed away, between Sargon’s withdrawal from Raphia in 719 and his invasion of Ashdod in 710, or between the latter date and Sennacherib’s accession in 705. Chap. iii. contains three separate oracles, which exhibit a similar state of affairs : the abuse of the common people by their chiefs and rulers, who are implied to be in full sense of power and security. They have time to aggravate their doings (4); their doom is still future—then at that time (ib.). The bulk of the prophets determine their oracles by the amount men give them (5), another sign of security. Their doom is also future (6 f.). In the third of the oracles the authorities of the land are in the undisturbed exercise of their judicial offices (9 f.), and the priests and prophets of their oracles (10), though all these professions practise only for bribe and reward. Jerusalem is still being built and embellished (9). But the prophet, not because there are political omens pointing to this, but simply in the force of his indignation at the sins of the upper classes, prophesies the destruction of the capital (10). It is possible that these oracles of chap. iii. may be later than those of the previous chapters.
Second Section : Chaps. IV., V. This section of the book opens with two passages, verses 1-5 and verses 6, 7, which there are serious objections against assigning to Micah. I. The first of these, 1-5, is the famous prophecy of the Mountain of the Lord’s House, which is repeated in Isaiah ii. 2-5. Probably the Book of Micah presents this to us in the more original form.1 The alternatives therefore are four: Micah was the author, and Isaiah borrowed from him; or both borrowed from an earlier source;2 or the oracle is authentic in Micah, and has been inserted by a later editor in Isaiah; or it has been inserted by later editors in both Micah and Isaiah. The last of these conclusions is required by’ the arguments first stated by Stade and Hackmann, and then elaborated, in a very strong piece of reasoning, by Cheyne. Hackmann, after marking the want of con¬ nection with the previous chapter, alleges the keynotes of the passage to be three : that it is not the arbitra¬ tion of Jehovah,3 but His sovereignty over foreign nations, and their adoption of His law, which the passage predicts ; that it is the Temple at Jerusalem whose future supremacy is affirmed ; and that there is a strong feeling against war. These, Cheyne contends, are the doctrines of a much later age than that of Micah; he holds the passage to be the work of a post-exilic imitator of the prophets, which was first intruded into the Book of Micah and afterwards bor¬ rowed from this by an editor of Isaiah’s prophecies. It is just here, however, that the theory of these critics loses its strength. Agreeing heartily as I do with recent critics that the genuine writings of the early prophets have received some, and perhaps considerable, additions from the Exile and later periods, it seems to me ex¬ tremely improbable that the same post-exilic insertion should find its way into two separate books. And I think that the undoubted bias towards the post-exilic period of all Canon Cheyne’s recent criticism, has in this case hurried him past due consideration of the possibility of a pre-exilic date. In fact the gentle temper shown by the passage towards foreign nations, the absence of hatred or of any ambition to subject the Gentiles to servitude to Israel, contrasts strongly with the temper of many exilic and post-exilic prophecies ;* 1 while the position which it demands for Jehovah and His religion is quite consistent with the fundamental principles of earlier prophecy. The passage really claims no more than a suzerainty of Jehovah over the heathen tribes, with the result only that their war with Israel and with one another shall cease, not that they shall become, as the great prophecy of the Exile demands, tributaries and servitors. Such a claim was no more than the natural deduction from the early prophets’ belief of Jehovah’s supremacy in righteous¬ ness. And although Amos had not driven the principle so far as to promise the absolute cessation of war, he also had recognised in the most unmistakable fashion the responsibility of the Gentiles to Jehovah, and His supreme arbitrament upon them.2 And Isaiah himself, in his prophecy on Tyre, promised a still more complete subjection of the life of the heathen to the service of Jehovah.1 Moreover the fifth verse of the passage in Micah (though it is true its connection with the previous four is not apparent) is much more in harmony with pre-exilic than with post-exilic prophecy : All the nations shall walk each in the name of his god, and we shall walk in the name ofJehovah our God for ever and aye. This is consistent with more than one prophetic utterance before the Exile,2 but it is not consistent with the beliefs of Judaism after the Exile. Finally, the great triumph achieved for Jeru¬ salem in 701 is quite sufficient to have prompted the feelings expressed by this passage for the mountain of the house of the Lord; though if we are to bring it down to a date subsequent to 701, we must rearrange our views with regard to the date and meaning of the second chapter of Isaiah. In Micah the passage is obviously devoid of all connection, not only with the previous chapter, but with the subsequent verses of chap. iv. The possibility of a date in the eighth or beginning of the seventh century is all that we can determine with regard to it; the other questions must remain in obscurity. 2. Verses 6, 7, may refer to the Captivity of Northern Israel, the prophet adding that when it shall be re¬ stored the united kingdom shall be governed from Mount Zion ; but a date during the Exile is, of course, equally probable. 3. Verses 8-13 contain a series of small pictures of Jerusalem in siege, from which, however, she issues triumphant.1 It is impossible to say whether such a siege is actually in course while the prophet writes, or is pictured by him as inevitable in the near future. The words thou shalt go to Babylon may be, but are not necessarily, a gloss. 4. Chap. iv. 14—v. 8 again pictures such a siege of Jerusalem, but promises a Deliverer out of Bethlehem, the city of David.2 Sufficient heroes will be raised up along with him to drive the Assyrians from the land, and what is left of Israel after all these disasters shall prove a powerful and sovereign influence upon the peoples. These verses were probably not all uttered at the same time. 5. Verses 9-14.—In prospect of such a deliverance the prophet returns to what chap. i. has already described and Isaiah frequently emphasises as the sin of Judah—her armaments and fortresses, her magic and idolatries, the things she trusted in instead of Jehovah. They will no more be necessary, and will disappear. The nations that serve not Jehovah will feel His wrath. In all these oracles there is nothing inconsistent with authorship in the eighth century : there is much that witnesses to this date. Everything that they threaten or promise is threatened or promised by Hosea and by Isaiah, with the exception of the destruc¬ tion (in ver. 12) of the Maggeboth, or sacred pillars, against which we find no sentence going forth from Jehovah before the Book of Deuteronomy, while Isaiah distinctly promises the erection of a Maggebah to Jehovah in the land of Egypt.1 But waiving for the present the possibility of a date for Deuteronomy, or for part of it, in the reign of Hezekiah, we must remember the destruction, which took place under this king, of idolatrous sanctuaries in Judah, and feel also that, in spite of such a reform, it was quite possible for Isaiah to introduce a Maggebah into his poetic vision of the worship of Jehovah in Egypt. For has he not also dared to say that the harlot’s hire of the Phoenician commerce shall one day be consecrated to Jehovah ?
Third Section : Chaps. VI., VII. The style now changes. We have had hitherto a series of short oracles, as if delivered orally. These are succeeded by a series of conferences or arguments, by several speakers. Ewald accounts for the change by supposing that the latter date from a time of perse¬ cution, when the prophet, unable to speak in public, uttered himself in literature. But chap. i. is alsc dramatic. 1. Chap. vi. 1-8.—An argument in which the prophet as herald calls on the hills to listen to Jehovah’s case against the people (1, 2). Jehovah Himself appeals to the latter, and in a style similar to Hosea’s cites His deeds in their history, as evidence of what He seeks from them (3-5). The people, presumably penitent, ask how they shall come before Jehovah (6, 7). And the prophet tells them what Jehovah has declared in the matter (8). Opening very much like Micah’s first oracle (chap. i. i), this argument contains nothing strange either to Micah or the eighth century. Excep¬ tion has been taken to the reference in ver. 7 to the sacrifice of the first-born, which appears to have become more common from the gloomy age of Manasseh onwards, and which, therefore, led Ewald to date all chaps, vi. and vii. from that king’s reign. But childsacrifice is stated simply as a possibility, and—occurring as it does at the climax of the sentence—as an extreme possibility.1 * * I see no necessity, therefore, to deny the piece to Micah or the reign of Hezekiah. Of those who place it under Manasseh, some, like Driver, still reserve it to Micah himself, whom they suppose to have survived Hezekiah and seen the evil days which followed. 2. Verses 9-16.—Most expositors 8 take these verses along with the previous eight, as well as with the six which follow in chap. vii. But there is no connection between verses 8 and 9; and 9-16 are better taken by themselves. The prophet heralds, as before, the speech of Jehovah to tribe and city (9). Addressing Jerusalem, Jehovah asks how He can forgive such fraud and violence as those by which her wealth has been gathered (10-12). Then addressing the people (note the change from feminine to masculine in the second personal pro¬ nouns) He tells them He must smite ; they shall not enjoy the fruit of their labours (14, 15). They have sinned the sins of Omri and the house of Ahab (query— should it not be of Ahab and the house of Omri ?), so that they must be put to shame before the Gentiles (16). In this section three or four words have been marked as oflate Hebrew.1 But this is uncertain, and the infer¬ ence made from it precarious. The deeds of Omri and Ahab’s house have been understood as the persecution of the adherents of Jehovah, and the passage has, therefore, been assigned by Ewald and others to the reign of the tyrant Manasseh. But such habits of persecution could hardly be imputed to the City or People as a whole; and we may conclude that the passage means some other of that notorious dynasty’s sins. Among these, as is well known, it is possible to make a large selection—the favouring of idolatry, or the tyrannous absorption by the rich of the land of the poor (as in Naboth’s case), a sin which Micah has already marked as that of his age. The whole treat¬ ment of the subject, too, whether under the head of the sin or its punishment, strongly resembles the style and temper of Amos. It is, therefore, by no means imposs¬ ible for this passage also to have been Micah’s, and we must accordingly leave the question of its date undecided. Certainly we are not shut up, as the majority of modern critics suppose, to a date under Manasseh or Amon. 3. Chap. vii. 1-6.—These verses are spoken by the prophet in his own name or that of the people’s. The land is devastated ; the righteous have disappeared ; everybody is in ambush to commit deeds of violence and take his neighbour unawares. There is no justice : the great ones of the land are free to do what they like ; they have intrigued with and bribed the autho rities. Informers have crept in everywhere. Men must be silent, for the members of their own families are their foes. Some of these sins have already been marked by Micah as those of his age (chap, ii.), but the others point rather to a time of persecution such as that under Manasseh. Wellhausen remarks the similarity to the state of affairs described in Mai. iii. 24 and in some Psalms. We cannot fix the date. 4.Verses 7-20. This passage starts from a totally different temper of prophecy, and presumably, therefore, from very different circumstances. Israel, as a whole, speaks in penitence. She has sinned, and bows herself to the consequences, but in hope. A day shall come when her exiles shall return and the heathen acknow¬ ledge her God. The passage, and with it the Book of Micah, concludes by apostrophising Jehovah as the God of forgiveness and grace to His people. Ewald, and following him Driver, assign the passage, with those which precede it, to the times of Maryisseh, in which of course it is possible that Micah was still active, though Ewald supposes a younger and anony¬ mous prophet as the author. Wellhausen1 goes further, and, while recognising that the situation and temper of the passage resemble those of Isaiah xl. ffi, is inclined to bring it even further down to post-exilic times, because of the universal character of the Diaspora. Driver objects to these inferences, and maintains that a prophet in the time of Manasseh, thinking the destruc¬ tion of Jerusalem to be nearer than it actually was, may easily have pictured it as having taken place, and put an ideal confession in the mouth of the people. It seems to me that all these critics have failed to appre¬ ciate a piece of evidence even more remarkable than any they have insisted on in their argument for a late date. This is, that the passage speaks of a restoration of the people only to Bashan and Gilead, the pro¬ vinces overrun by Tiglath-Pileser III. in 734. It is not possible to explain such a limitation either by the circumstances of Manasseh’s time or by those of the Exile. In the former surely Samaria would have been included; in the latter Zion and Judah would have been emphasised before any other region. It would be easy for the defenders of a post-exilic date, and especially of a date much subsequent to the Exile, to account for a longing after Bashan and Gilead, though they also would have to meet the objection that Samaria or Ephraim is not mentioned. But how natural it would be for a prophet writing soon after the captivity of Tiglath-Pileser III. to make this pre¬ cise selection ! And although there remain difficulties (arising from the temper and language of the passage) in the w^y of assigning all of it to Micah or his con¬ temporaries, I feel that on the geographical allusions much can be said for the origin of this part of the passage in their age, or even in an age still earlier: that of the Syrian wars in the end of the ninth century, with which there is nothing inconsistent either in the spirit or the language of vv. 14-17. And I am sure that if the defenders of a late date had found a selection of districts as suitable to the post-exilic circumstances of Israel as the selection of Bashan and Gilead is to the circumstances of the eighth century, they would, instead of ignoring it, have emphasised it as a con¬ clusive confirmation of their theory. On the other hand, ver. 11 can date only from the Exile, or the fol¬ lowing years, before Jerusalem was rebuilt. Again, vv. 18-20 appear to stand by themselves. It seems likely, therefore, that chap. vii. 7-20 is a Psalm composed of little pieces from various dates, which, combined, give us a picture of the secular sor¬ rows of Israel, and of the conscience she ultimately felt in them, and conclude by a doxology to the everlasting mercies of her God.)
XXIV. The Book Of Micah
Xxv. Micah The Morasthite . Micah I,
Xxvi. The Prophet Of The Poor . . Micah Ii., Iii.
Xxvii. On Time’s Horizon • • • •Micah Iv. 1-7.
Xxviii. The King To Come • • • .Micah Iv. 8—v.
Xxix.The Reasonableness Of True Religion. Micah Vi. 1-8.
Xxx. The Sin Of The Scant Measure . .Micah Vi. 9—vii. 6.
Xxxi. Our Mother Of Sorrows • . •Micah Vii. 7-20.
Preface (to Volume II): The first volume on the Twelve Prophets dealt with the three who belonged to the Eighth Century : Amos, Hosea and Micah . This second volume includes the other nine books arranged in chronological order : Zephaniah, Nahum and Habak kuk, of the Seventh Century ; Obadiah, of the Exile ; Haggai, Zechariah i. – viii., “ Malachi” and Joel, of the Persian Period, 538—331 ; “ Zechariah ” ix . — xiv . and the Book of Jonah, of the Greek Period, which began in 332, the date of Alexander’s Syrian campaign .
The same plan has been followed as in Volume I. A historical introduction is offered to each period. To each prophet are given , first a chapter of critical introduction , and then one or more chapters of ex position . A complete translation has been furnished, with critical and explanatory notes. All questions of date and of text, and nearly all of interpretation , have been confined to the introductions and the notes, so that those who consult the volume only for expository purposes will find the exposition un encumbered by the discussion of technical points .
The necessity of including within one volume so many prophets, scattered over than three centuries, and each of them requiring a separate introduction , has reduced the space available for the practical application of their teaching to modern life . But this is the less to be regretted, that the contents of the nine books before us are not so applicable to our own day, as we have found their greater predecessors to be. On the other hand , however, they form a more varied introduction to Old Testament Criticism , while, by the long range of time which they cover, and the many stages of religion to which they belong, they afford a wider view of the development of prophecy. Let us look for a little at these two points.
1. To Old Testament Criticism these books furnish valuable introduction — some of them , like Obadiah, Joel . and “ Zechariah ” ix. — xiv., by the great variety of opinion that has prevailed as to their dates or their relation to other prophets with whom they have* pas sages in common ; some, like Zechariah and “ Malachi,” by their relation to the Law , in the light of modern theories of the origin of the latter ; and some, like Joel and Jonah , by the question whether we are to read them as history, or as allegories of history, or as apocalypse. That is to say, these nine books raise , besides the usual questions of genuineness and integrity, every other possible problem of Old PREFACE vii Testament Criticism . It has, therefore, been neces sary to make the critical introductions full and detailed. The enormous differences of opinion as to the dates of somemust start the suspicion of arbitrariness, unless there be included in each case a history of the develop ment of criticism , so as to exhibit to the English reader the principles and the evidence of fact upon which that criticism is based. I am convinced that what is chiefly required just now by the devout student of the Bible is the opportunity to judge for himself how far Old Testament Criticism is an adult science ; with what amount of reasonableness it has been prosecuted ; how gradually its conclusions have been reached, how jealously they have been contested ; and how far, amid the many varieties of opinion which must always exist with reference to facts so ancient and questions so obscure, there has been progress towards agreement upon the leading problems. But, besides the accounts of past criticism given in this volume, the reader will find in each case an independent attempt to arrive at a conclusion . This has not always been successful. A number of points have been left in doubt ; and even where results have been stated with some degree of positiveness, the reader need scarcely be warned (after what was said in the Pre face to Vol. I.) that many of these must necessarily be provisional. But, in looking back from the close of this work upon the discussions which it contains, viii PREFACE I am more than ever convinced of the extreme pro bability of most of the conclusions. Among these are the following : that the correct interpretation of Habakkuk is to be found in the direction of the posi tion to which Budde’s ingenious proposal has been carried on pages 123 ff. with reference to Egypt ; that the most of Obadiah is to be dated from the sixth century ; that “ Malachi” is an anonymous work from the eve of Ezra’s reforms ; that Joel follows “ Malachi” ; and that “ Zechariah ” ix . — xiv . has been rightly assigned by Stade to the early years of the Greek Period. I have ventured to contest Kosters’ theory that there was no return of Jewish exiles under Cyrus, and am the more disposed to believe his strong argument inconclusive, not only upon a review of the reasons I have stated in Chap. XVI., but on this ground also , that many of its chief adherents in this country and Germany have so modified it as virtually to give up its main contention. I think, too, there can be little doubt as to the substantial authenticity of Zephaniah ii. (except the verses on Moab and Ammon ) and iii. 1-13, of Habakkuk ii. 5 ff., and of the whole of Haggai; or as to the ungenuine character of the lyric piece in Zechariah ii. and the intrusion of “ Malachi” ii. II- 13a . On these and smaller points the reader will find full discussion at the proper places.
[ I may here add a word or two upon some of the critical conclusions reached in Vol. I. , which have PREFACE ix on been recently contested. The student will find strong grounds offered by Canon Driver in his Joel and Amos for the authenticity of those passages in Amos which , following other critics , I regarded or suspected as not authentic . It makes one diffident in one’s opinions when Canon Driver supports Professors Kuenen and Robertson Smith the other side. But on a survey of the case I am unable to feel that even they have removed what they admit to be “ forcible ” objections to the authorship by Amos of the passages in question. They seem to me to have established not more than a possibility that the passages are authentic ; and on the whole I still feel that the probability is in the other direction . right, then I think that the date of the apostrophes to Jehovah’s creative power which occur in the Book of Amos, and the reference to astral deities in chap. v . 27, may be that which I have suggested on pages 8 and 9 of this volume. Some critics have charged me with inconsistency in denying the authen ticity of the epilogue to Amos while defending that of the epilogue to Hosea. The two cases, as my arguments proved, are entirely different. Nor do I see any reason to change the conclusions of Vol. I. upon the questions of the authenticity of various parts of Micah. ] The text of the nine prophets treated in this volume If I am | Cambridge Bible for Schools, 1897 X PREFACE has presented even more difficulties than that of the three treated in Vol. I. And these difficulties must be my apology for the delay of this volume. 2. But the critical and textual value of our nine books is far exceeded by the historical. Each exhibits a development of Hebrew prophecy of the greatest interest. From this point of view , indeed , the volume might be entitled “ The Passing of the Prophet.” For throughout our nine books we see the spirit and the style of the classic prophecy of Israel gradually dissolving into other forms of religious thought and feeling. The clear start from the facts of the prophet’s day, the ancient truths about Jehovah and Israel, and the direct appeal to the conscience of the prophet’s contemporaries, are not always given, or when given are mingled, coloured and warped by other religious interests, both present and future, which are even powerful enough to shake the ethical absolutism of the older prophets . With Nahum and Obadiah the ethical is entirely missed in the presence of the claims — and we cannot deny that they were natural claims— of the long-suffering nation’s hour of revenge upon her heathen tyrants . With Zephaniah prophecy, still austerely ethical, passes under the shadow of apocalypse ; and the future is solved , not upon purely historical lines, but by the intervention of ” supernatural” elements. With Habakkuk the ideals of the older prophets encounter PREFACE xi the shock of the facts of experience : we have the prophet as sceptic. Upon the other margin of the Exile, Haggai and Zechariah (i. — viii.), although they are as practical as any of their predecessors, exhibit the influence of the exilic developments of ritual, angelology and apocalypse. God appears further off from Zechariah than from the prophets of the eighth century, and in need of mediators, human and super human . With Zechariah the priest has displaced the prophet, and it is very remarkable that no place is found for the latter beside the two sons of oil, the political and priestly heads of the community, who, according to the Fifth Vision , stand in the presence of God and between them feed the religious life of Israel. Nearly sixty years later “ Malachi ” ex hibits the working of Prophecy within the Law , and begins to employ the didactic style of the later Rab binism . Joel starts, like any older prophet, from the facts of his own day, but these hurry him at once into apocalypse ; he calls , as thoroughly as any of his predecessors, to repentance, but under the immi nence of the Day of the Lord, with its ” supernatural” terrors, he mentions no special sin and enforces no single virtue. The civic and personal ethics of the earlier prophets are absent. In the Greek Period, the oracles now numbered from the ninth to the fourteenth chapters of the Book of Zechariah repeat to aggravation the exulting revenge of Nahum and xii PREF4CE Obadiah, without the strong style or the hold upon history which the former exhibits, and show us prophecy still further enwrapped in apocalypse. But in the Book of Jonah, though it is parable and not history, we see a great recovery and expansion of the best elements of prophecy. God’s character and Israel’s true mission to the world are revealed in the spirit of Hosea and of the Seer of the Exile , with much of the tenderness, the insight, the analysis of character and even the humour of classic prophecy. These qualities raise the Book of Jonah , though it is probably the latest of our Twelve, to the highest rank among them . No book is more worthy to stand by the side of Isaiah xl.—lv. ; none is nearer in spirit to the New Testament. All this gives unity to the study of prophets so far separate in time, and so very distinct in character, from each other. From Zephaniah to Jonah, or over a period of three centuries, they illustrate the dissolution of Prophecy and its passage into other forms of religion. · The scholars, to whom every worker in this field is indebted, are named throughout the volume. I regret that Nowack’s recent commentary on the Minor Prophets (Gצttingen : Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht) reached me too late for use (except in footnotes) upon the earlier of the nine prophets . George Adam Smith.
Contents of Vol. II.
Preface: Chronological Tables. Chapters & Verses.
Introduction to Prophets of Seventh Century.
1. Seventh Century Before Christ.
1. Reaction Under Manasseh & Amon (695 ? -639) .
2. Early Years of Josiah (639-625): Jeremiah & Zephaniah.
3. Rest of Century (625-586 ): Fall of Niniveh; Nahum & Habakkuk.
ZEPHANIAH: (The Book of Zephaniah is one of the most difficultin the prophetic canon . The title is very gener ally accepted ; the period from which chap. i. dates is recognised by practically all critics to be the reign of Josiah , or at least the last third of the seventh century. But after that doubts start, and we find present nearly every other problem of introduction.
To begin with , the text is very damaged. In some passages we may be quite sure that we have not the true text ; 1 in others we cannot be sure that we have it, and there are several glosses. The bulk of the second chapter was written in the Qinah, or elegiac measure, but as it now stands the rhythm is very much broken . It is difficult to say whether this is due to the dilapidation of the original text or to wilful insertion of glosses and other later passages. The Greek version of Zephaniah possesses the same general features as that of other difficult prophets. Occasion ally it enables us to correct the text ; but by the time it was made the text must already have contained the same corruptions which we encounter, and the translators were ignorant besides of the meaning of some phrases which to us are plain . The difficulties of textual criticism as well as of translation are aggravated by the large number ofwords, grammatical forms and phrases which either happen very seldom in the Old Testament, or nowhere else in it at all. Of the rare words and phrases , a very few (as will be seen from the appended notes) are found in earlier writings. Indeed all that are found are from the authentic prophecies of Isaiah, with whose style and doctrine Zephaniah’s own exhibit most affinity . All the other rarities of vocabulary and grammar are shared only by later writers ; and as a whole the language of Zephaniah exhibits symptoms which separate it by many years from the language of the prophets of the eighth century , and range it with that of Jeremiah , Ezekiel, the Second Isaiah and still later literature . It may be useful to the student to collect in a note the most striking of these symptoms of the comparative lateness of Zephaniah’s dialect.
We now come to the question of date, and we take, to begin with,the First Chapter. It was said above that critics agree as to the general period — between 639, when Josiah began to reign, and 600. But this period was divided into three very different sections, and each of these has received considerable support from modern criticism . The great majority of critics place the chapter in the early years of Josiah, before the enforce ment of Deuteronomy and the great Reform in 621.2 Others have argued for the later years of Josiah , 621–608, on the ground that the chapter implies that the great Reform has already taken place , and other wise shows knowledge of Deuteronomy ; while some prefer the days of reaction under Jehoiakim , 608 ff.,4 and assume that the phrase in the title, in the days of Josiah, is a late and erroneous inference from i. 4 .
The evidence for the argument consists of the title and the condition of Judah reflected in the body of the chapter. The latter is a definite piece of oratory. Under the alarm of an immediate and general war, Zephaniah proclaims a vast destruction upon the earth . Judah must fall beneath it : the worshippers of Baal, of the host of heaven and of Milcom , the apostates from Jehovah, the princes and house of the king, the imitators of foreign fashions, and the forceful and fraudulent, shall be cut off in a great slaughter . Those who have grown sceptical and indifferent to Jehovah shall be unsettled by invasion and war. This shall be the Day of Jehovah , near and immediate, a day of battle and disaster on the whole land.
The conditions reflected are thus twofold — the idola trous and sceptical state of the people, and an impending invasion . But these suit, more or less exactly , each of the three sections of our period. For Jeremiah distinctly states that he had to attack idolatry in Judah for twenty -three years,627 to 604 ; 1 he inveighs against the falseness and impurity of the people alike before the great Reform , and after it while Josiah was still alive, and still more fiercely under Jehoiakim . And, while before 621 the great Scythian invasion was sweeping upon Palestine from the north , after 621, and especially after 604, the Babylonians from the same quarter were visibly threatening the land. But when looked at more closely , the chapter shows several features which suit the second section of our period less than they do the other two. The worship of thehost of heaven, probably introduced under Manasseh , was pu down by Josiah in 621 ; it revived under Jehoiakim , but during the latter years of Josiah it cannot possibly have been so public as Zephaniah describes.3 Other reasons which have been given for those years are inconclusive_the chapter, for instance , makes no indubitable reference to Deuteronomy or the Covenant of 621 — and on the whole we may leave the end of Josiah’s reign out of account. Turning to the third section, Jehoiakim’s reign, we find one feature of the prophecy which suits it admirably. The temper de scribed in ver . 12 — men who are settled on their lees, who say in their heart, Jehovah doeth neither good nor evil — is the kind of temper likely to have been produced among the less earnest adherents of Jehovah by the failure of the great Reform in 621 to effect either the purity or the prosperity of the nation . But this is more than counterbalanced by the significant exception of the king from the condemnation which ver . 8 passes on the princes and the sons of the king. Such an ex ception could not have been made when Jehoiakim was on the throne ; it points almost conclusively to the reign of the good Josiah . And with this agrees the title of the chapter — in the days of Josiah . We are, therefore, driven back to the years of Josiah before In these we find no discrepancy either with the chapter itself, or with its title. The southward march of the Scythians, between 630 and 625, accounts for Zephaniah’s alarm of a general war, including the invasion of Judah ; the idolatrous practices which he describes may well have been those surviving from the days of Manasseh , and not yet reached by the drastic measures of 621; the temper of scepticism and hopelessness condemned by ver. 12was possible among those adherents of Jehovah who had hoped greater things from the overthrow of Amon than the slow and small reforms of the first fifteen years of Josiah’s reign . Nor is a date before 621 made at all difficult by the genealogy of Zephaniah in the title. If, as is probable, the Hezekiah given as his great- great grandfather be Hezekiah the king, and if he died about 695, and Manasseh, his successor, who was then twelve, was his eldest son , then by 630 Zephaniah cannot have been much more than twenty years of age, and not more than twenty -five by the time the Scythian invasion had passed away.’ It is therefore by no means impossible to suppose that he prophesied before 625 ; and besides, the data of the genealogy in the title are too precarious to make them valid , as against an inference from the contents of the chapter itself.
The date, therefore, of the first chapter of Zephaniah may be given as about 625 B.C., and probably rather before than after that year, as the tide of Scythian invasion has apparently not yet ebbed.
The other two chapters have within recent years been almost wholly denied to Zephaniah . Kuenen doubted chap. iii. 9-20. Stade makes all chap. iii. post-exilic, and suspects ii. 1-3, II. A very thorough examination of them has led Schwally ? to assign to exilic or post exilic times the whole of the little sections comprising them , with the possible exception of chap. iii. 1-7 , which ” may be ” Zephaniah’s. His essay has been subjected to a searching and generally hostile criticism by a number of leading scholars ; 3 and he has admitted the inconclusiveness of some of his reasons.
Chap. ii. 1-4 is assigned by Schwally to a date later than Zephaniah’s, principally because of the term meek ness ( ver . 3), which is a favourite one with post-exilic writers. He has been sufficiently answered ; ‘ and the close connection of vv. 1-3 with chap. i. has been clearly proved. Chap. ii. 4-15 is the passage in elegiac measure but broken , an argument for the theory that insertions have been made in it. The subject is a series of foreign nations – Philistia (5-7 ), Moab and Ammon (8-10), Egypt ( 11) and Assyria ( 13-15). The passage has given rise to manydoubts ; every onemust admit the difficulty of coming to a conclusion as to its authenticity. On the one hand, the destruction just predicted is so universal that, as Professor Davidson says, we should expect Zephaniah to mention other nations than Judah.? The concluding oracle on Niniveh must have been published before 608, and even Schwally admits that it may be Zephaniah’s own. But if this be so , then we may infer that the first of the oracles on Philistia is also Zephaniah’s, for both it and the oracle on Assyria are in the elegiac measure, a fact which makes it probable that the whole passage, however broken and intruded upon, was originally a unity . Nor is there anything in the oracle on Philistia incompatible with Zephaniah’s date . Philistia lay on the path of the Scythian invasion ; the phrase in ver. 7 , shall turn their captivity , is not necessarily exilic. As Cornill, too, points out, the expression in ver. 13, Hewill stretch out His hand to the north, implies that the prophecy has already looked in other directions. There remains the passage between the oracles on Philistia and Assyria . This is not in the elegiac measure. Its subject is Moab and Ammon , who were not on the line of the Scythian invasion, and Wellhausen further objects to it , because the attitude to Israel of the two peoples whom it describes is that which is attributed to them only just before the Exile and surprises us in Josiah’s reign . Dr. Davidson meets this objection by pointing out that, just as in Deuteronomy, so here, Moab and Ammon are denounced, while Edom , which in Deuteronomy is spoken of with kindness, is here not denounced at all. A stronger objection to the passage is that ver. II predicts the conversion of the nations, while ver. 12 makes them the prey of Jehovah’s sword, and in this ver . 12 follows on naturally to ver. 7. On this ground as well as on the absence of the elegiac measure the oracle on Moab and Ammon is strongly to be suspected . On the whole, then , the most probable conclusion is that chap. ii. 4-15 was originally an authentic oracle of Zephaniah’s in the elegiac metre, uttered at the same date as chap. i.-ii. 3 , the period of the Scythian , invasion , though from a different standpoint; and that it has suffered considerable dilapidation (witness especially vv. 6 and 14), and probably one great intrusion , vv. 8-10 .
There remains the Third Chapter. The authenticity has been denied by Schwally , who transfers the whole till after the Exile. But the chapter is not a unity.” In the first place, it falls into two sections, vv. 1-13 and 14-20. There is no reason to take away the bulk of the first section from Zephaniah. As Schwally admits, the argumenthere is parallel to that ofchap. i.-ii. 3. It could hardly have been applied to Jerusalem during or after the Exile, but suits her conditions before her fall. Schwally’s linguistic objections to a pre- exilic date have been answered by Budde. He holds ver. 6 to be out of place and puts it after ver. 8, and this may be. But as it stands it appeals to the impenitent Jews of ver. 5 with the picture of the judgment God has already completed upon the nations, and contrasts with ver. 7 , in which God says that He trusts Israelwill repent. Vv. 9 and 10 are, we shall see, obviously an intrusion , as Budde maintains and Davidson admits to be possible.”
We reach more certainty when we come to the second section of the chapter, vv. 14-20. Since Kuenen it has been recognised by the majority of critics that we have here a prophecy from the end of the Exile or after the Return . The temper has changed . In stead of the austere and sombre outlook of chap. i.–ii. 3 and chap. iii. 1-13, in which the sinful Israel is to be saved indeed , but only as by fire , we have a triumphant prophecy of her recovery from all afflic tion (nothing is said of her sin ) and of her glory among the nations of the world . To put it otherwise, while the genuine prophecies of Zephaniah almost grudgingly allow a door of escape to a few righteous and humble Israelites from a judgment which is to fall alike on Israel and the Gentiles, chap. iii. 14-20 predicts Israel’s deliverance from her Gentile oppressors, her return from captivity and the establishment of her renown over the earth . The language, too, has many re semblances to that of Second Isaiah.’ Obviously there fore we have here, added to the severe prophecies of Zephaniah, such a more hopeful, peaceful epilogue as we saw was added , during the Exile or immediately after it, to the despairing prophecies of Amos.)
Ii. The Book Of Zephaniah 35
Iii. The Prophet And The Reformers 46
Zephaniah I.—ii. 3 .
Iv . Ninive Delenda . 61
Zephaniah Ii . 4-15.
V. So As By Fire 67
NAHUM: (The Book of Nahum consists of a double title and three odes. The title runs Oracle of Niniveh: Book of the Vision of Nahum the Elķoshite. The three odes, eager and passionate pieces, are all of them apparently vibrant to the impending fall of Assyria. The first, chap. i. with the possible inclusion of chap . ii. 2 , is general and theological, affirming God’s power of vengeance and the certainty of the overthrow of His enemies. The second, chap. ii. with the omission of ver. 2,” and the third , chap. iii., can hardly be disjoined ; they both present a vivid picture of the siege, the storm and the spoiling of Niniveh. The introductory questions, which title and contents start, are in the main three : 1. The position of Elķפsh , to which the title assigns the prophet ; 2. The authenticity of chap. i.; 3. The date of chaps. ii., iii. : to which siege of Niniveh do they refer?)
Vi. The Book Of Nahum
1. The Position Of Elkפsh .
2. The Authenticity Of Chap. I.
3. The Date Of Chaps. Ii. And Iii.
Vii. The Vengeance Of The Lord 90
Viii. The Siege And Fall Of Niniveh 96
Nahum Ii. And Iii .
HABAKKUK: (As it has reached us, the Book of Habakkuk , under the title The Oracle which Habakkuk the prophet received by vision , consists of three chapters, which fall into three sections. First: chap. i. 24ii. 4 ( or 8 ), a piece in dramatic form ; the prophet lifts his voice to God against the wrong and violence of which his whole horizon is full, and God sends him answer. Second : chap . ii. 5 (or 9 )-20 , a taunt- song in a series of Woes upon the wrong- doer. Third : chap. iii., part psalm , part prayer, descriptive of a Theophany and expressive of Israel’s faith in their God. Of these three sections no one doubts the authenticity of the first ; opinion is divided about the second ; about the third there is a growing agreement that it is not a genuine work of Habakkuk, but a poem from a period after the Exile .
1. CHAP. I. 2- II. 4 ( OR 8) .
Yet it is the first piece which raises the most difficult questions. All ‘ admit that it is to be dated somewhere along the line of Jeremiah’s long career, c. 627-586 . There is no doubt about the general trend of the argument : it is a plaint to God on the sufferings of the righteous under tyranny, with God’s answer. But the order and connection of the paragraphs of the argument are not clear. There is also difference of opinion as to who the tyrant is – native, Assyrian or Chaldee ; and this leads to a difference , of course , about the date, which ranges from the early years of Josiah to the end of Jehoiakim’s reign , or from about 630 to 597.
As the verses lie, their argument is this. In chap. i. 2-4 Habakkuk asks the Lord how long the wicked are to oppress the righteous, to the paralysing of the Torah, or Revelation of His Law , and the making futile of judgment. For answer the Lord tells him , vv. 5-11, to look round among the heathen : He is about to raise up the Chaldees to do His work, a people swift, self-reliant, irresistible. Upon which Habakkuk resumes his question , vv. 12-17, how long will God suffer a tyrant who sweeps up the peoples into his net like fish ? Is he to go on with this for ever ? In ii . i Habakkuk prepares for an answer, which comes in ii. 2 , 3, 4 : let the prophet wait for the vision though it tarries ; the proud oppressor cannot last, but the righteous shall live by his constancy , or faithfulness.
The difficulties are these. Who are the wicked oppressors in chap. i. 2-4 ? Are they Jews, or some heathen nation ? And what is the connection between vy. 1-4 and vv. 5-11 ? Are the Chaldees, who are described in the latter, raised up to punish the tyrant complained against in the former ? To these questions three different sets of answers have been given . First: the great majority of critics take the wrong complained of in vv. 2-4 to be wrong done by unjust and cruel Jews to their countrymen , that is , civic disorder and violence, and believe that in vv. 5-1 Jehovah is represented as raising up the Chaldees to punish the sin of Judah – a message which is pretty much the same as Jeremiah’s . But Habakkuk goes further : the Chaldees themselves with their cruelties aggravate his problem , how God can suffer wrong, and he appeals again to God, vv. 12-17. Are the Chaldees to beallowed to devastate for ever ? The answer is given, as above, in chap . ii. 1-4. Such is practically the view of Pusey, Delitzsch, Kleinert, Kuenen, Sinker, Driver, Orelli, Kirkpatrick , Wildeboer and Davidson , a formidable league, and Davidson says ” this is the most natural sense of the verses and of the words used in them .” But these scholars differ as to the date . Pusey, Delitzsch and Volck take the whole passage from i. 5 as prediction, and date it from before the rise of the Chaldee power in 625, attributing the internal wrongs of Judah described in vv . 2-4 to Manasseh’s reign or the early years of Josiah.? But the rest, on the grounds that the prophet shows some experience of the Chaldean methods of warfare, and that the account ofthe internal disorder in Judah does not suit Josiah’s reign, bring the passage down to the reign of Jehoiakim , 608—598, or of Jehoiachin , 597. Kleinert and Von Oreili date it before the battle of Carchemish , 506 , in which the Chaldean Nebuchadrezzar wrested from Egypt the Empire of the Western Asia, on the ground that after that Habakkuk could not have called a Chal dean invasion of Judah incredible (i. 5 ). But Kuenen, Driver, Kirkpatrick , Wildeboer and Davidson date it after Carchemish. To Driver it inust be immediately after, and before Judah became alarmed at the conse quences to herself. To Davidson the description of the Chaldeans ” is scarcely conceivable before the battle,” ” hardly one would think before the deportation of the people under Jehoiachin .” 1 This also is Kuenen’s view , who thinks that Judah must have suffered at least the first Chaldean raids, and he explains the use of an undoubted future in chap. i. 5 , Lo , I am about to raise up the Chaldeans, as due to the prophet’s pre dilection for a dramatic style. “ He sets himself in the past, and represents the already experienced chastise ment [ of Judah ] as having been then announced by Jehovah . His contemporaries could not have mistaken his meaning.”
Second: others, however, deny that chap. i. 2-4 refers to the internal disorder of Judah , except as the effect of foreign tyranny. The righteous mentioned there are Israel as a whole, the wicked their heathen oppres sors. So Hitzig, Ewald , Kצnig and practically Smend. Ewald is so clear that Habakkuk ascribes no sin to Judah , that he says we might be led by this to assign the prophecy to the reign of the righteous Josiah ; but he prefers, because of the vivid sense which the prophet betrays of actual experience of the Chaldees, to date the passage from the reign of Jehoiakim , and to explain Habakkuk’s silence about his people’s sinfulness as due to his overwhelming impression of Chaldean cruelty . Kצnig : takes vv . 2-4 as a general complaint of the violence that fills the prophet’s day, and vv. 5-11 as a detailed description of the Chaldeans, the instru ments of this violence. Vv. 5-11, therefore, give not the judgment upon the wrongs described in vv. 2-4 , but the explanation of them . Lebanon is already wasted by the Chaldeans (ii. 17 ) ; therefore the whole prophecy must be assigned to the days of Jehoiakim . Giesebrecht ? and Wellhausen adhere to the view that no sins of Judah are mentioned, but that the righteous and wicked of chap. i. 4 are the same as in ver. 13, viz . Israel and a heathen tyrant. But this leads them to dispute that the present order of the paragraphs of the prophecy is the right one. In chap. i. 5 the Chaldeans are represented as about to be raised up for the first time, although their violence has already been described in vv . 1-4, and in vv. 12-17 these are already in full career. Moreover ver. 12 follows on naturally to ver. 4. Accordingly these critics would remove the section vv. 5-11. Giesebrecht prefixes it to ver. I, and dates the whole passage from the Exile. Wellhausen calls 5-11 an older passage than the rest of the prophecy , and removes it altogether as not Habakkuk’s. To the latter he assigns what remains, i. 1-4 , 12-17, ii. 1-5 , and dates it from the reign of Jehoiakim.
Third: from each of these groups of critics Budde of Strasburg borrows something, but so as to construct an arrangement of the verses, and to reach a date, for the whole, from which both differ.1 With Hitzig, Ewald , Kצnig, Smend, Giesebrecht and Wellhausen he agrees that the violence complained of in i. 2-4 is that in flicted by a heathen oppressor, the wicked , on the Jewish nation , the righteous. But with Kuenen and others he holds that the Chaldeans are raised up, according to i. 5-11, to punish the violence complained of in i. 2-4 and again in i. 12-17 . In these verses it is the ravages of another heathen power than the Chaldeans which Budde descries. The Chaldeans are still to come, and cannot be the same as the devastator whose long continued tyranny is described in i. 12-17. They are rather the power which is to punish him . He can only be the Assyrian . But if that be so, the proper place for the passage, i. 5-11, which describes the rise of the Chaldeans must be after the description of the Assyrian ravages in i. 12-17, and in the body of God’s answer to the prophet which we find in ii. 2 ff . Budde, therefore, places i. 5-11 after ii. 2-4. But if the Chaldeans are still to come, and Budde thinks that they are described vaguely and with a good deal of imagination , the prophecy thus arranged must fall somewhere between 625, when Nabopolassar the Chaldean made himself independent of Assyria and King of Babylon, and 607, when Assyria fell. That the prophet calls Judah righteous is proof that he wrote after the great Reform of 621 ; hence, too , his reference to Torah and Mishpat (i. 4 ), and his complaint of the obstacles which Assyrian supremacy presented to their free course . As the Assyrian yoke appears not to have been felt anywhere in Judah by 608, Budde would fix the exact date of Habakkuk’s prophecy about 615. To these conclusions of Budde Cornill, who in 1891 had very confidently assigned the prophecy of Habakkuk to the reign of Jehoiakim , gave his adherence in 1896.
Budde’s very able and ingenious argument has been subjected to a searching criticism by Professor David son, who emphasises first the difficulty of accounting for the transposition of chap. i. 5-11 from what Budde alleges to have been its original place after ii. 4 to its present position in chap. i.? He points out that if chap. i. 2-4 and 12-17 and ii. 5 ff. refer to the Assyrian , it is strange the latter is not once mentioned. Again , by 615 we may infer (though we know little of Assyrian history at this time) that the Assyrian’s hold on Judah was already too relaxed for the prophet to impute to him power to hinder the Law , especially as Josiah had begun to carry his reforms into the northern kingdom ; and the knowledge of the Chaldeans dis played in i. 5-11 is too fresh and deta:led to suit so early a date : it was possible only after the battle of Carchemish . And again , it is improbable that we have two different nations, as Budde thinks, described by the very similar phrases in i. u , his own power becomes his god , and in i. 16 , he sacrifices to his net. Again , chap. i. 5-11 would not read quite naturally after chap. ii. 4. And in the woes pronounced on the oppressor it is not one nation, the Chaldeans, which are to spoil him , but all the remnant of the peoples (ii. 7 , 8 ). These objections are not inconsiderable . But are they conclusive ? And if not, is any of the other theories of the prophecy less beset with difficulties ? The objections are scarcely conclusive. We have no proof that the power of Assyria was altogether removed from Judah by 615 ; on the contrary, even in 608 Assyria was still the power with which Egypt went forth to contend for the empire of the world . Seren years earlier her hand may well have been strong upon Palestine. Again , by 615 the Chaldeans, a people famous in Western Asia for a long time, had been ten years independent : men in Palestine may have been familiar with their methods of warfare ; at least it is impossible to say they were not. There is more weight in the objection drawn from the absence of the name of Assyria from all of the passages which Budde alleges describe it ; nor do we get over all difficulties of text by inserting i. 5-11 between ij. 4 and 5. Besides, how does Budde explain i. 12b on the theory that it means Assyria ? Is the clause not premature at that point ? Does he propose to elide it, like Wellhausen ? And in any case an erroneous transposition of the original is impossible to prove and difficult to account for.
But have not the other theories of the Book of Habakkuk cqually great difficulties ? Surely, we can not say that the righteous and the wicked in i. 4 mean something different from what they do in i. 13 ? But if this is impossible the construction of the book supported by the great majority of critics ? falls to the ground. Professor Davidson justly says that it has ” something artificial in it ” and ” puts a strain on the natural sense.’ How can the Chaldeans be described in i. 5 as just about to be raised up, and in 14-17 as already for a long time the devastators of earth ? Ewald’s, Hitzig’s and Kצnig’s views t are equally beset by these difficulties ; Kצnig’s exposition also “ strains the natural sense.” Everything, in fact, points to i. 5-11 being out of its proper place ; it is no wonder that Giesebrecht, Wellhausen and Budde independently arrived at this conclusion . Whether Budde be right in inserting i. 5-11 after ii. 4 , there can be little doubt of the correctness of his views that i. 12-17 describe a heathen oppressor who is not the Chaldeans. Budde says this oppressor is Assyria . Can he be any one else ? From 608 to 605 Judah was sorely beset by Egypt, who had overrun all Syria up to the Euphrates. The Egyptians killed Josiah , deposed his successor, and put their own vassal under a very heavy tribute ; gold and silver were exacted of the people of the land : the picture of distress in i. 1-4 might easily be that of Judah in these three terrible years. And if we assigned the prophecy to them , we should certainly give it a date at which the knowledge of the Chaldeans ex pressed in i. 5-11 wasmore probable than at Budde’s date of 615. But then does the description in chap. i. 14-17 suit Egypt so well as it does Assyria ? We can hardly affirm this, until we know more of what Egypt did in those days, but it is very probable .
Therefore, the theory supported by the majority of critics being unnatural, we are, with our present meagre knowledge of the time, flung back upon Budde’s interpretation that the prophet in i. 24ii. 4 appeals from oppression by a heathen power, which is not the Chaldean, but upon which the Chaldean shall bring the just vengeance of God. The tyrant is either Assyria up to about 615 or Egypt from 608 to 605, and there is not a little to be said for the latter date.
In arriving at so uncertain a conclusion about i.-ii. 4 , we have but these consolations, that no other is possible in our present knowledge, and that the un certainty will not hamper us much in our appreciation of Habakkuk’s spiritual attitude and poetic gifts.?
2. CHAP. II. 5-20 .
The dramatic piece i. 2 — ii. 4 is succeeded by a series of fine taunt- songs, starting after an introduction from 6b, then 9, 11, 15 and (18) 19, and each opening with Woe ! Their subject is, if we take Budde’s interpreta tion of the dramatic piece, the Assyrian and not the Chaldean ‘ tyrant. The text, as we shall see when we come to it , is corrupt. Some words are manifestly wrong, and the rhythm must have suffered beyond restoration . In all probability these fine lyric Woes, or at least as many of them as are authentic – for there is doubt about one or two – were of equal length . Whether they all originally had the refrain now attached to two is more doubtful.
Hitzig suspected the authenticity of some parts of this series of songs. Stade 2 and Kuenen have gone further and denied the genuineness of vv . 9-20 . But this is with little reason. As Budde says, a series of Woes was to be expected here by a prophet who follows so much the example of Isaiah . In spite of Kuenen’s objection , vv. 9-11 would not be strange of the Chaldean , but they suit the Assyrian better. Vv. 12-14 are doubtful: 12 recalls Micah iii . 10 ; 13 is a repetition of Jer. li . 58 ; 14 is a variant of Isa . xi. 9. Very likely Jer. li . 58, a late passage, is borrowed from this passage ; yet the addition used here, Are not these things from the Lord of Hosts ? looks as if it noted a citation . Vv. 15-17 are very suitable to the Assyrian ; there is no reason to take them from Habakkuk . The final song, vv. 18 and 19, has its Woe at the beginning of its second verse, and closely resembles the language of later prophets. Moreover the refrain forms a suitable close at the end of ver . 17. Ver. 20 is a quotation from Zephaniah, perhaps another sign of the composite character of the end of this chapter. Some take it to have been inserted as an introduction to the theophany in chap. iii. Smend has drawn up a defence of thewhole passage, ii. 9-20, which he deems not only to stand in a natural relation to vv. 4-8, but to be indispensable to them . That the passage quotes from other prophets, he holds to be no proof against its authenticity . If we break off with ver. 8 , he thinks thatwemust impute to Habakkuk the opinion that the wrongs of the world are chiefly avenged by human means — a conclusion which is not to be expected after chap. i.-ii. i ff .
3. CHAP. III.
The third chapter, an Ode or Rhapsody, is ascribed to Habakkuk by its title. This, however, does not prove its authenticity : the title is too like those assigned to the Psalms in the period of the Second Temple. On the contrary, the title itself, the occurrence of the musical sign Selah in the contents, and the colophon suggest for the chapter a liturgical origin after the Exile. (* 4 Cf. Kuenen, who conceives it to have been taken from a post- exilic collection of Psalms. See also Cheyne, The Origin of the Psalter : ” exilic or more probably post-exilic ” (p . 125). “ The most natural position for it is in the Persian period. It was doubtless appended to Habakkuk , for the same reason for which Isa . Ixiii. 7 – lxiv . was attached to the great prophecy of Restoration, viz . that the earlier national troubles seemed to the Jewish Church to be typical of its own sore troublesafter theReturn . … The lovely closing versesofHab. iii. are also in a tone congenial to the later religion ” ( p . 156). Much less certain is the assertion that the language is imitative and artificial ( ibid .) ; while the statement that in ver. 3 – cf. with Deut. xxxiii. 2– we have an instance of the effort to avoid the personalname of the Deity (p . 287) is disproved by the use of the latter in ver. 2 and other verses. *) That this is more probable than the alternative opinion , that, being a genuine work of Habakkuk , the chapter was afterwards arranged as a Psalm for public worship , is confirmed by the fact that no other work of the prophets has been treated in the same way. Nor do the contents support the authorship by Habakkuk. They reflect no definite historical situation like the pre ceding chapters . The style and temper are different. While in them the prophet speaks for himself, here it is the nation or congregation of Israel that addresses God. The language is not, as some have maintained, late ; ‘ but the designation of the people as Thineanointed , a term which before the Exile was applied to the king, undoubtedly points to a post-exilic date. The figures, the theophany itself, are not necessarily archaic, but are more probably moulded on archaic models. There are many affinities with Psalms of a late date .
At the same time a number of critics ? maintain the genuineness of the chapter, and they have some grounds for this. Habakkuk was, as we can see from chaps. i. and ii., a real poet. There was no need why a man of his temper should be bound down to reflecting only his own day. If so practical a prophet as Hosea, and one who has so closely identified himself with his times, was wont to escape from them to a retrospect of the dealings of God with Israel from of old , why should not the same be natural for a prophet who was much less practical and more literary and artistic ? There are also many phrases in the Psalm which may be inter preted as reflecting the same situation as chaps. i., ii. All this, however , only proves possibility .
The Psalm has been adapted in Psalm lxxvii. 17-20 .
FURTHER NOTE ON CHAP. I. – II, 4 .
Since this chapter was in print Nowack’s Die Kleinen Fropheten in the “ Handkommentar z. A. T.” has been published . He recog nises emphatically that the disputed passage about the Chaldeans, chap . i. 5-11, is out of place where it lies (this against Kuenen and the other authorities cited above, p . 117), and admits that it follows on, with a natural connection, to chap. ii. 4, to which Budde pro poses to attach it. Nevertheless, for other reasons, which he does not state, he regards Budde’s proposal as untenable ; and reckons the disputed passage to be by another hand than Habakkuk’s, and in truded into the latter’s argument. Habakkuk’s argument he assigns to after 605 ; perhaps 590. The tyrant complained against would therefore be the Chaldean . – Driver in the 6th ed. of his Introduction ( 1897 ) deems Budde’s argument “ too ingenious,” and holds by the older and most numerously supported argument (above, pp. 116 ff.). On a review of the case in the light of these two discussions, the presentwriter holds to his opinion that Budde’s rearrangement, which he has adopted, offers the fewest difficulties.)
Ix . The Book Of Habakkuk · 115
1. Chap. I. 2 – Ii. 4 (Or 8 ).
2. Chap. Ii. 5-20 .
3. Chap . Iii.
X. The Prophet As Sceptic · 129
Habakkuk I.-ii. 4 .
Xi. Tyranny Is Suicide · 143
Habakkuk Ii . 5-20.
Xii, “ In The Midst Of The Years ” 149
OBADIAH: (The Book of Obadiah is the smallest among theprophets, and the smallest in all the Old Testa ment. Yet there is none which better illustratęs many of the main problems of Old Testament criticism . It raises, indeed, no doctrinal issue nor any question of historical accuracy. All that it claims to be is The Vision of Obadiah ; ‘ and this vague name, with no date or dwelling -place to challenge comparison with the contents of the book, introduces us without preju dice to the criticism of the latter. Nor is the book involved in the central controversy of Old Testament scholarship , the date of the Law . It has no reference to the Law . Nor is it made use of in the New Testa ment. The more freely , therefore, may we study the literary and historical questions started by the twenty-one verses which compose the book. Their brief course is broken by differences of style, and by sudden changes of outlook from the past to the future. Some of them present a close parallel to another passage of prophecy, a feature which when present offers a difficult problem to the critic. Hardly any of the historical allusions are free from ambiguity, for although the book refers throughout to a single nation – and so vividly that even if Edom were not named wemight still discern the character and crimes of that bitter brother of Israel – yet the conflict of Israel and Edom was so prolonged and so monotonous in its cruelties, that there are few of its many centuries to which some scholar has not felt himself able to assign , in part or whole , Obadiah’s indignant oration. The little book has been tossed out of one century into another by successive critics, till there exists in their estimates of its date a difference of nearly six hundred years. Such a fact seems, at first sight, to convict criticism either of arbitrariness or helplessness ; yet a little consideration of details is enough to lead us to an appreciation of the reasonable methods of Old Testament criticism , and of its indubitable progress towards certainty, in spite of our ignorance of large stretches of the history of Israel. To the student of the Old Testament nothing could be more profitable than to master the historical and literary questions raised by the Book of Ohadiah , before following them out among the more complicated problems which are started by other prophetical books in their relation to the Law of Israel, or to their own titles, or to claims made for them in the New Testament.
The Book of Obadiah contains a number of verbal parallels to another prophecy against Edom which appears in Jeremiah xlix . 7-22. Most critics have regarded this prophecy of Jeremiah as genuine, and have assigned it to the year 604 B.C. The question is whether Obadiah or Jeremiah is the earlier. Hitzig and Vatke answered in favour of Jeremiah ; and as the Book of Obadiah also contains a description of Edom’s conduct in the day of Jerusalem’s over throw by Nebuchadrezzar, in 586 , they brought the whole book down to post-exilic times. Very forcible arguments, however, have been offered for Obadiah’s priority. Upon this priority, as well as on the facts that Joel, whom they take to be early, quotes from Obadiah, and that Obadiah’s book occurs among the first six –presumably the pre -exilic members — of the Twelve, a number of scholars have assigned all of it to an early period in Israel’s history. Some fix upon the reign of Jehoshaphat, when Judah was invaded by Edom and his allies Moab and Ammon, but saved from disaster through Moab and Ammon turning upon the Edomites and slaughtering them .” To this they refer the phrase in Obadiah 9, the men of thy covenant have betrayed thee. Others place the whole book in the reign of Joram of Judah ( 849– 842 B.C.), when , according to the Chronicles, Judah was invaded and Jerusalem partly sacked by Philistines and Arabs. But in the story of this invasion there is no mention of Edomites, and the argument which is drawn from Joel’s quotation of Obadiah fails if Joel, as we shall see, be of late date. With greater prudence Pusey declines to fix a period .
The supporters of a pre-exilic origin for the whole Book of Obadiah have to explain vv. 11-14, which appear to reflect Edom’s conduct at the sack of Jerusalem by Nebuchadrezzar in 586, and they do so in two ways. Pusey takes the verses as predictive of Nebuchadrezzar’s siege. Orelli and others believe that they suit better the conquest and plunder of the city in the time of Jehoram . But, as Calvin has said , “ they seem to be mistaken who think that Obadiah lived before the time of Isaiah .”
The question , however, very early arose, whether it was possible to take Obadiah as a unity. Vv. 1-9 are more vigorous and firm than vv . 10-21. In vv. 1-9 Edom is destroyed by nations who are its allies ; in vv. 10-21 it is still to fall along with other Gentiles in the general judgment of the Lord. Vv. 10-21 admittedly describe the conduct of the Edomites at the overthrow of Jerusalem in 586 ; but vv. 1-9 pro bably reflect earlier events ; and it is significant that in them alone occur the parallels to Jeremiah’s pro phecy against Edom in 604 . On some of these grounds Ewald regarded the little book as consisting of two pieces, both of which refer to Edom , but the first of which was written before Jeremiah, and the second is post-exilic. As Jeremiah’s prophecy has some features more original than Obadiah’s,” he traced both prophecies to an original oracle against Edom , of which Obadiah on the whole renders an exact version . He fixed the date of this oracle in the earlier days of Isaiah, when Rezin of Syria enabled Edom to assert again its independence of Judah , and Edom won back Elath , which Uzziah had taken. Driver, Wildeboer and Cornill ? adopt this theory, with the exception of the period to which Ewald refers the original oracle. According to them , the Book of Obadiah consists of two pieces, vv. 1-9 pre-exilic, and vv. 10-21 post exilic and descriptive in 11-14 of Nebuchadrezzar’s sack of Jerusalem .
This latter point need not be contested. But is it clear that 1-9 are so different from 10-21 that they must be assigned to another period ? Are they necessarily pre- exilic ? Wellhausen thinks not, and has constructed still another theory of the origin of the book , which , like Vatke’s, brings it all down to the period after the Exile .
There is no mention in the book either of Assyria or of Babylonia. The allies who have betrayed Edom (ver. 7) are therefore probably those Arabian tribes who surrounded it and were its frequent confederates.’ They are described as sending Edom to the border (ib .). Wellhausen thinks that this can only refer to the great northward movement of Arabs which began to press upon the fertile lands to the south -east of Israel during the time of the Captivity . Ezekiel : prophesies that Ammon and Moab will disappear before the Arabs, and we know that by the year 312 the latter were firmly settled in the territories of Edom . Shortly before this the Hagarenes appear in Chronicles, and Se’ir is called by the Arabic name Gebal,” while as early as the fifth century ” Malachi” 3 records the desolation of Edom’s territory by the jackals of the wilderness, and the expulsion of the Edomites, who will not return. The Edomites were pushed up into the Negeb of Israel, and occupied the territory round, and to the south of, Hebron till their conquest by John Hyrcanus about 130 ; even after that it was called Idumזa. Well hausen would assign Obadiah 1-7 to the same stage of this movement as is reflected in “ Malachi” i. 1-5 ; and, apart from certain parentheses, would therefore take the whole of Obadiah as a unity from the end of the fifth century before Christ. In that case Giesebrecht argues that the parallel prophecy, Jeremiah xlix. 7-22, must be reckoned as one of the passages of the Book of Jeremiah in which post- exilic additions have been inserted.5 Our criticism of this theory may start from the seventh verse of Obadiah : To the border they have sent thee, all the men of thy covenant have betrayed thee, they have overpowered thee, the men of thy peace. On our present knowledge of the history of Edom it is im possible to assign the first of these clauses to any period before the Exile. No doubt in earlier days Edom was more than once subjected to Arab razzias. But up to the Jewish Exile the Edomites were still in possession of their own land. So the Deuteronomist implies, and so Ezekiel? and perhaps the author of Lamentations. Wellhausen’s claim , therefore, that the seventh verse of Obadiah refers to the expulsion of Edomites by Arabs in the sixth or fifth century B.C. may be granted. But does this mean that verses 1-6 belong, as he maintains, to the same period ? A negative answer seems required by the following facts. To begin with , the seventh verse is not found in the parallel prophecy in Jeremiah. There is no reason why it should not have been used there, if that prophecy had been compiled at a time when the ex pulsion of the Edomites was already an accomplished fact. But both by this omission and by all its other features, that prophecy suits the time of Jeremiah , and we may leave it , therefore, where it was left till the appearance of Wellhausen’s theory – namely, with Jeremiah himself. Moreover Jeremiah xlix . 9 seems to have been adapted in Obadiah 5 in order to suit verse 6. But again , Obadiah 1-6 , which contains so many parallels to Jeremiah’s prophecy, also seems to imply that the Edomites are still in possession of their land. The nations (we may understand by this the Arab tribes) are risen against Edom , and Edom is already despicable in face of them (vv. I, 2 ) ; but he has not yet fallen, any more than , to the writer of Isaiah xlv . — xlvii., who uses analogous language, Babylon is already fallen . Edom is weak and cannot resist the Arab razsias. But he still makes his eyrie on high and says : Who will bring me down ? To which challenge Jehovah replies, not ‘ I have brought thee down,’ but I will bring thee down. The post-exilic portion of Obadiah , then , I take to begin with verse 7 ; and the author of this prophecy has begun by incorporating in vv. 1-6 a pre-exilic prophecy against Edom , which had been already, and with more freedom , used by Jeremiah . Verses 8-9 form a difficulty . They return to the future tense, as if the Edomites were still to be cut off from Mount Esau. But verse Io , as Wellhausen points out, follows on naturally to verse 7, and, with its successors, clearly points to a period sub sequent to Nebuchadrezzar’s overthrow of Jerusalem . The change from the past tense in vv . 10-11 to the imperatives of 12-14 need cause, in spite of what Pusey says, no difficulty, but may be accounted for by the excited feelings of the prophet. The suggestion has been made, and it is plausible, that Obadiah speaks as an eye-witness of that awful time. Certainly there is nothing in the rest of the prophecy ( vv . 15-21) to lead us to bring it further down than the years following the destruction of Jerusalem . Everything points to the Jews being still in exile. The verbs which describe the inviolateness of Jerusalem ( 17), and the reinstatement of Israel in their heritage (17, 19 ), and their conquest of Edom ( 18 ), are all in the future. The prophet himself appears to write in exile ( 20 ) . The captivity of Jerusalem is in Sepharad (ib.) and the saviours have to come up to Mount Zion ; that is to say, they are still beyond the Holy Land (21).
The one difficulty in assigning this date to the pro phecy is that nothing is said in the Hebrew of ver. 19 about the re-occupation of the hill-country of Judזa itself, but here the Greek may help us.’ Certainly every other feature suits the early days of the Exile .
The result of our inquiry is that the Book of Obadiah was written at that timeby a prophet in exile, who was filled by the same hatred of Edom as filled another exile, who in Babylon wrote Psalm cxxxvii.; and that, like so many of the exilic writers, he started from an earlier prophecy against Edom , already used by Jeremiah. [Nowack (Comm., 1897) takes vv. 1-14 (with additions in vv . 1, 5, 6 , 8 f. and 12) to be from a date not long after the Fall of Jerusalem , alluded to in vv. 11-14 ; and vv. 15-21 to belong to a later period, which it is impossible to fix exactly. ] There is nothing in the language of the book to disturb this conclusion . The Hebrew of Obadiah is pure ; unlike its neighbour, the Book of Jonah, it contains neither Aramaisms nor other symptoms of decadence. The text is very sound. The Septuagint Version enables us to correct vv. 7 and 17 , offers the true division between vv. 9 and 10, but makes an omission which leaves no sense in ver. 17.3 It will be best to give all the twenty-one verses together before commenting on their spirit……)
XIII. Book of Obadiah. Vision of Obadiah.
Xiv. Edom & Israel. Obadiah.
Introduction to Prophets of Persian Period (539-331 B.C.).
Xv. Israel under Persians.
Xvi. Return from Babylon to Building of Temple (536-516 B.C.); with Discussion of Professor Kosters’ Theory.
HAGGAI: (The Book of Haggai contains thirty – eight verses,which have been divided between two chapters. The text is, for the prophets, a comparatively sound The Greek version affords a number of correc tions, but has also the usual amount of misunderstand ings, and , as in the case of other prophets, a few additions to the Hebrew text. These and the variations in the other ancient versions will be noted in the translation below.3 The book consists of four sections, each recounting a message from Jehovah to the Jews in Jerusalem in 520 B.C., the second year of Darius (Hystaspis ), by the hand of the prophet Haggai. The first, chap. i., dated the first day of the sixth month, during our September, reproves the Jews for building their own cieled houses, while they say that the time for building Jehovah’s house has not yet come ; affirms that this is the reason of their poverty and of a great drought which has afflicted them . A piece of narrative is added recounting how Zerubbabel and Jeshua, the heads of the community, were stirred by this word to lead the people to begin work on the Temple, on the twenty-fourth day of the same month . The second section , chap. ii. 1-9, contains a message, dated the twenty-first day of the seventh month, during our October, in which the builders are encouraged for their work . Jehovah is about to shake all nations, these shall contribute of their wealth , and the latter glory of the Temple be greater than the former. The third section , chap. ii . 10-19, contains a word of Jehovah which came to Haggai on the twenty- fourth day of the ninth month , during our December. It is in the form of a parable based on certain ceremonial laws, according to which the touch of a holy thing does not sanctify so much as the touch of an unholy pollutes. Thus is the people polluted, and thus every work of their hands. Their sacrifices avail nought, and adver sity has persisted : small increase of fruits, blasting, mildew and hail. But from this day God will bless. The fourth section, chap. ii. 20-23, is a second word from the Lord to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month . It is for Zerubbabel, and declares that God will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the forces of many of the Gentiles by war. In that day Zerubbabel, the Lord’s elect servant, shall be as a signet to the Lord. The authenticity of all these four sections doubted by no one, till ten years ago W. Bצhme, besides pointing out some useless repetitions of single wordsand phrases, cast suspicion on chap. i. 13,and ques tioned the whole of the fourth section, chap. ii . 20-23. With regard to chap. i. 13, it is indeed curious that Haggai should be described as the messenger of Jehovah ; while the message itself, I am with you, seems super fluous here, and if the verse be omitted, ver. 14 runs on naturally to ver. 12.2 Bצhme’s reasons for disputing the authenticity of chap. ij. 20-23 are much less sufficient. He thinks he sees the hand of an editor in the phrase for a second time in ver . 20 ; notes the omission of the title ” prophet ” 3 after Haggai’s name, and the difference of the formula the word came to Haggai from that employed in the previous sections, by the hand of Haggai, and the repetition of ver. 6b in ver. 21 ; and otherwise concludes that the section is an insertion from a later hand . But the formula the word came to Haggai occurs also in ii . 10 : 4 the other points are trivial, and while it was most natural for Haggai the contemporary of Zerubbabel to entertain of the latter such hopes as the passage expresses, it is in conceivable that a later writer, who knew how they had not been fulfilled in Zerubbabel, should have invented them .” Recently M. Tony Andrיe, privat-docent in the Univer sity of Geneva, has issued a large work on Haggai, in which he has sought to prove that the third section of the book, chap. ii. ( 10 ) 11-19, is from the hand of another writer than the rest. He admits that in neither form , nor style, nor language is there anything to prove this distinction, and that the ideas of all the sections suit perfectly the condition of the Jews in the time soon after the Return . But he considers that chap. ii. ( 10) 11-19 interrupts the connection between the sections upon either side of it ; that the author is a legalist or casuist, while the author of the other sections is a man whose only ecclesiastical interest is the rebuilding of the Temple ; that there are obvious contradictions between chap. ii . (10) 11-19 and the rest ofthe book ; and that there is a difference of vocabulary. Let us consider each of these reasons. The first, that chap. ii. ( 10 ) 11-19 interrupts the con nection between the sections on either side of it , is true only in so far as it has a different subject from that which the latter have more or less in common. But the second of the latter, chap. ii. 20-23, treats only of a corollary of the first, chap. ii . 1-9 , and that corollary may well have formed the subject of a separate oracle. Besides, as we shall see, chap . ii. 10-19 is a natural development of chap. i.? The contradictions alleged by M. Andrיe are two. He points out that while chap. i. speaks only of a drought, chap. ii . ( 10 ) 11-19 mentions as the plagues on the crops shiddāphפn and yērākón, generally rendered blasting and mildew in our English Bible , and bārād, or hail ; and these he reckons to be plagues due not to drought but to excessive moisture. But shiddāphפn and yērākפn , which are always connected in the Old Testament and are words of doubtfulmeaning, are not referred to damp in any of the passages in which they occur, but, on the contrary, appear to be the consequences of drought. The other contradiction alleged refers to the ambiguous verse ii. 18, on which we have already seen it difficult to base any conclusion , and which will be treated when we come to it in the course of translation . Finally , the differences in language which M. Andrיe cites are largely imaginary, and it is hard to understand how a responsible critic has come to cite, far more to emphasise them , as he has done. We may relegate the discussion of them to a note, and need here only remark that there is among them but one of any significance : while the rest of the book calls the Temple the House or the House of Jehovah (or of Jehovah of Hosts), chap . ii. ( 10 ) 11-19 styles it palace, or temple, of Jehovah.’ On such a difference between two comparatively brief passages it would be unreasonable to decide for a distinction of authorship . There is , therefore, no reason to disagree with the consensus of all other critics in the integrity of the Book of Haggai. The four sections are either from himself or from a contemporary of his. They probably represent, not the full addresses given by him on the occasions stated, but abstracts or summaries of these. “ It is never an easy task to persuade a whole popula tion to make pecuniary sacrifices , or to postpone private to public interests ; and the probability is , that in these brief remains of the prophet Haggai we have but one or two specimens of a ceaseless diligence and persistent determination, which upheld and animated the whole people till the work was accomplished.” 3 At the same time it must be noticed that the style of the book is not wholly of the bare, jejune prose which it is sometimes described to be. The passages of Haggai’s own exhortation are in the well-known parallel rhythm of prophetic discourse : see especially chap . i., ver. 6 . The only other matter of Introduction to the prophet Haggai is his name. The precise form is not else where found in the Old Testament ; but one of the clans of the tribe of Gad is called Haggi, and the letters H GI occur as the consonants of a name on a Phoenician inscription. Some4 have taken Haggai to be a contraction of Haggiyah , the name of a Levitical family , but although the final yod of some proper names stands for Jehovah , we cannot certainly con clude that it is so in this case. Others see in Haggai a probable contraction for Hagariah, as Zaccai, the original of Zacchזus, is a contraction of Zechariah. A more general opinion takes the termination as adjectival,10 and the root to be “ hag ,” feast or festival.11 In that case Haggai would mean festal, and it has been supposed that the name would be given to him from his birth on the day of some feast. It is impossible to decide with certainty among these alternatives. M. Andrיe, who accepts the meaning festal, ventures the hypothesis that, like “ Malachi,” Haggai is a symbolic title given by a later hand to the anonymous writer of the book , because of the coincidence of his various prophecies with solemn festivals. But the name is too often and too naturally introduced into the book to present any analogy to that of “ Malachi” ; and the hypothesis may be dismissed as improbable and unnatural. Nothing more is known of Haggai than his name and the facts given in his book . But as with the other prophets whom we have treated , so with this one, Jewish and Christian legends have been very busy. Other functions have been ascribed to him ; a sketch of his biography has been invented . Accord ing to the Rabbis he was one of the men of the Great Synagogue, and with Zechariah and “ Malachi ” trans mitted to that mythical body the tradition of the older prophets. He was the author of several ceremonial regulations, and with Zechariah and ” Malachi ” intro duced into the alphabet the terminal forms of the five elongated letters. The Christian Fathers narrate that he was of the tribe of Levi,” that with Zechariah he prophesied in exile of the Return, and was still young when he arrived in Jerusalem , where he died and was buried. A strange legend, founded on the doubtful verse which styles him the messenger of Jehovah, gave out that Haggai, as well as for similar reasons “ Malachi” and John the Baptist, were not men, but angels in human shape. With Zechariah Haggai appears on the titles of Psalms cxxxvii., cxlv.– cxlviii. in the Septuagint ; cxi., cxlv., cxlvi. in the Vulgate ; and cxxv., cxxvi. and cxlv.cxlviii. in the Peshitto.2 the Temple at Jerusalem he was the first who chanted the Hallelujah, … wherefore we say : Hallelujah , which is the hymn of Haggai and Zechariah .” All these testimonies are, of course , devoid of value. Finally, the modern inference from chap. ii . 3, that Haggai in his youth had seen the former Temple , had gone into exile, and was now returned a very old man,’ may be probable, but is not certain . We are quite ignorant of his age at the time the word of Jehovah came to him .)
Xvii. The Book Of Haggai · 225
Xviii. Haggai And The Building Of The Temple . 234
Haggai I., Ii.
1. The Call To Build (Chap. I.).
2. Courage, Zerubbabel ! Courage, Jehoshua And
All The People ! (Chap. Ii. 1-9 ).
3. The Power Of The Unclean (Chap. Ii. 10-19).
4. The Reinvestment Of Israel’s Hope (Chap. Ii . 20-23) .
ZECHARIAH (1-8): (The Book of Zechariah, consisting of fourteenchapters , falls clearly into two divisions : First, chaps. i. — viii., ascribed to Zechariah himself and full of evidence for their authenticity ; Second , chaps. ix. — xiv., which are not ascribed to Zechariah, and deal with conditions different from those upon which he worked. The full discussion of the date and character of this second section we shall reserve till we reach the period at which we believe it to have been written . Here an introduction is necessary only to chaps. i. – viii.
These chapters may be divided into five sections.
I. Chap. i. 1.6 . – A Word of Jehovah which cameto Zechariah in the eighth month of the second year of Darius, that is in November 520 B.C., or between the second and the third oracles of Haggai. In this the prophet’s place is affirmed in the succession of the prophets of Israel. The ancient prophets are gone, but their predictions have been fulfilled in the calamities of the Exile, and God’s Word abides for ever.
II. Chap. i. 7 – vi. 9.- A Word of Jehovah which came to Zechariah on the twenty -fourth of the eleventh month of the sameyear, that is January or February 519, and which he reproduces in the form of eight Visions by night. (1 ) The Vision of the Four Horsemen : God’s new mercies to Jerusalem (chap . i. 7-17). ( 2 ) The Vision of the Four Horns, or Powers of the World, and the Four Smiths, who smite them down (ii. 1-4 Heb., but in the Septuagint and in the English Version i. 18-21). (3 ) The Vision of the Man with the Measuring Rope : Jerusalem shall be rebuilt, no longer as a narrow fortress, but spread abroad for themultitude of her population (chap . ii . 5-9 Heb., ii. 1-5 LXX. and Eng.). To this Vision is appended a lyric piece of probably older date calling upon the Jews in Babylon to return , and celebrating the joining of many peoples to Jehovah, now that Hetakes up again His habitation in Jerusalem ( chap. ii . 10-17 Heb ., ii. 6-13 LXX. and Eng. ). (4 ) The Vision of Joshua, the High Priest, and the Satan or Accuser : the Satan is rebuked, and Joshua is cleansed from his foul garments and clothed with a new turban and festal apparel ; the land is purged and secure ( chap. iii.). (5 ) The Vision of the Seven -Branched Lamp and the Two Olive- Trees (chap. iv. 1-6a , 106-14 ) : into the centre of this has been inserted a Word of Jehovah to Zerubbabel (vv. 6b- 10a ), which interrupts the Vision and ought probably to come at the close of it. (6 ) The Vision of the Flying Book : it is the curse of the land, which is being removed, but after destroying the houses of the wicked (chap . v. 1-4 ). (7) The Vision of the Bushel and the Woman : that is the guilt of the land and its wickedness ; they are carried off and planted in the land of Shinar (v. 5-11). (8 ) The Vision of the Four Chariots : they go forth from the Lord of all the earth , to traverse the earth and bring His Spirit, or anger, to bear on the North country (chap. vi. 1-8). III. Chap. vi. 9-15. – A Word of Jehovah, undated (unless it is to be taken as of the same date as the Visions to which it is attached ), giving directions as to the gifts sent to the community at Jerusalem from the Babylonian Jews. A crown is to bemade from the silver and gold , and, according to the text, placed upon the head of Joshua. But, as we shall see,’ the text gives evident signs of having been altered in the interest of the High Priest ; and probably the crown was meant for Zerubbabel, atwhose right hand the priest is to stand, and there shall be a counsel of peace between the two of them . The far- away shall come and assist at the building of the Temple. This section breaks off in the middle of a sentence.
IV . Chap. vii. — The Word of Jehovah which came to Zechariah on the fourth of the ninth month of the fourth year of Darjus, that is nearly two years after the date of the Visions. The Temple was approaching completion ; and an inquiry was addressed to the priests who were in it and to the prophets concerning the Fasts, which had been maintained during the Exile ,while the Temple lay desolate (chap. vii. 1-3) . This inquiry drew from Zechariah a historical explanation of how the Fasts arose (chap. vii. 4-14 ).
V. Chap. viii. — Ten short undated oracles, each introduced by the same formula, Thus saith Jehovah of Hosts, and summarising all Zechariah’s teaching since before the Temple began up to the ques tion of the cessation of the Fasts upon its completion — with promises for the future. (1) A Word affirming Jehovah’s new zeal for Jerusalem and His Return to her (vv. 1, 2). (2 ) Another of the same ( ver. 3 ). ( 3) A Word promising fulness of old folk and children in her streets ( vv. 4, 5 ). (4 ) A Word affirming that nothing is too wonderful for Jehovah ( ver. 6 ). (5 ) A Word promis ing the return of the people from east and west ( vv. 7, 8 ) . (6 and 7) Two Words contrasting, in terms similar to Haggai i., the poverty of the people before the foundation of the Temple with their new prosperity : from a curse Israel shall become a blessing. This is due to God’s anger having changed into a purpose of grace to Jerusalem . But the people themselves must do truth and justice, ceasing from perjury and thoughts of evil against each other (vv. 9-17) . (8 ) A Word which recurs to the question of Fasting, and commands that the four great Fasts, instituted to commemorate the siege and overthrow of Jerusalem , and the murder of Gedaliah , be changed to joy and gladness (vv. 18, 19 ). (9 ) A Word pre dicting the coming of the Gentiles to the worship of Jehovah at Jerusalem (vv. 20-22). (10) Another of the same (ver. 23).
There can be little doubt that, apart from the few interpolations noted, these eight chapters are genuine prophecies of Zechariah, who is mentioned in the Book of Ezra as the colleague of Haggai, and contemporary of Zerubbabel and Joshua at the time of the rebuild ing of the Temple. Like the oracles of Haggai, these prophecies are dated according to the years of Darius the king, from his second year to his fourth . Al though they may contain some of the exhortations to build the Temple, which the Book of Ezra informs us that Zechariah made along with Haggai, the most of them presuppose progress in the work , and seek to assist it by historical retrospect and by glowing hopes of the Messianic effects of its completion. Their allusions suit exactly the years to which they ar assigned . Darius is king. The Exile has lasted about seventy years. Numbers of Jews remain in Babylon, and are scattered over the rest of the world . The community at Jerusalem is small and weak : it is the mere colony of young men and men in middle life who came to it from Babylon ; there are few children and old folk . Joshua and Zerubbabel are the heads of the community, and the pledges for its future. The exact conditions are recalled as recent which Haggai spoke of a few years before. Moreover , there is a steady and orderly progress throughout the prophecies, in harmony with the successive dates at which they were delivered . In November 520 they begin with a cry to repentance and lessons drawn from the past of prophecy. In January 519 Temple and City are still to be built.8 Zerubbabel has laid the foundation ; the completion is yet future. The prophet’s duty is to quiet the people’s apprehensions about the state of the world,10 to provoke their zeal,” give them confidence in their great men,12 and, above all, assure them that God is returned to them 13 and their sin pardoned.14 But in December 518 the Temple is so far built that the priests are said to belong to it ; 15 there is no occasion for continuing the fasts of the Exile, the future has opened and the horizon is bright with the Messianic hopes.? Most of all, it is felt that the hard struggle with the forces of nature is over, and the people are exhorted to the virtues of the civic life . They have time to lift their eyes from their work and see the nations coming from afar to Jerusalem .
These features leave no room for doubt that the great bulk of the first eight chapters of the Book of Zechariah are by the prophet himself, and from the years to which he assigns them , November 520 to December 518. The point requires no argument.
There are, however, three passages which provoke further examination — two of them because of the signs they bear of an earlier date, and one because of the alteration it has suffered in the interests of a later day in Israel’s history .
The lyric passage which is appended to the Second Vision (chap. ii. 10-17 Heb ., 6-13 LXX. and Eng.) suggests questions by its singularity : there is no other such among the Visions. But in addition to this it speaks not only of the Return from Babylon as still future 5_this might still be said after the First Return of the exiles in 536 6_but it differs from the language of all the Visions proper in describing the return of Jehovah Himself to Zion as still future. The whole, too , has the ring of the great odes in Isaiah xl.—lv., and seems to reflect the same situation , upon the eve of Cyrus’ conquest of Babylon . There can be little doubt that we have here inserted in Zechariah’s Visions a song of twenty years earlier , but we must confess inability to decide whether it was adopted by Zechariah himself or added by a later hand.1 Again , there are the two passages called the Word of Jehovah to Zerubbabel, chap. iv. 6b- 10a ; and the Word of Jehovah concerning the gifts which came to Jerusalem from the Jews in Babylon , chap. vi. 9-15. The first, as Wellhausen has shown,” is clearly out of place ; it disturbs the narrative of the Vision, and is to be put at the end of the latter . The second is undated, and separate from the Visions. The second plainly affirms that the building of the Temple is still future, The man whose name is Branch or Shoot is designated : and he shall build the Temple of Jehovah. The first is in the same temper as the first two oracles of Haggai. It is possible then that these two passages are not, like the Visions with which they are taken , to be dated from 519 , but represent that still earlier pro phesying of Zechariah with which we are told he assisted Haggai in instigating the people to begin to build the Temple.
The style of the prophet Zechariah betrays special features almost only in the narrative of the Visions. Outside these his language is simple , direct and pure, as it could not but be, considering how much of it is drawn from , or ‘modelled upon, the older prophets,3 and chiefly Hosea and Jeremiah . Only one or two lapses into a careless and degenerate dialect show us how the prophet might have written , had he not been sustained by the music of the classical periods of the language.
This directness and pith is not shared by the language in which the Visions are narrated.? Here the style is involved and redundant. The syntax is loose ; there is a frequent omission of the copula, and of other means by which, in better Hebrew , connection and conciseness are sustained. The formulas, thus saith and saying, are repeated to weariness. At the same time it is fair to ask, how much of this redundancy was due to Zechariah himself ? Take the Septuagint version. The Hebrew text, which it followed, not only included a number of repetitions of the formulas, and of the designations of the personages introduced into the Visions, which do not occur in the Massoretic text,3 but omitted some which are found in the Massoretic text. These two sets of phenomena prove that from an early date the copiers of the original text of Zechariah must have been busy in increasing its redundancies. Further , there are still earlier intrusions and expan sions, for these are shared by both the Hebrew and the Greek texts : some of them very natural efforts to clear up the personages and conversations recorded in the dreams, some of them stupid mistakes in under standing the drift of the argument. There must of course have been a certain amount of redundancy in the original to provoke such aggravations of it , and of obscurity or tortuousness of style to cause them to be deemed necessary. But it would be very unjust to charge all the faults of our present text to Zechariah himself, especially when we find such force and sim plicity in the passages outside the Visions. Of course the involved and misty subjects of the latter naturally forced upon the description of them a laboriousness of art, to which there was no provocation in directly exhorting the people to a pure life , or in straight forward predictions of the Messianic era.
Beyond the corruptions due to these causes, the text of Zechariah i.viii. has not suffered more than that of our other prophets. There are one or two clerical errors ; 4 an occasional preposition or person of a verb needs to be amended . Here and there the text has been disarranged ; ‘ and as already noticed , there has been one serious alteration of the original.? From the foregoing paragraphs it must be apparent what help and hindrance in the reconstruction of the text is furnished by the Septuagint. A list of its variant readings and of its mistranslations is appended.?)
XIX. The Book Of Zechariah ( 1. – Viii .) · 255
Xx. Zechariah The Prophet . 264
Zechariah I. 1-6 , Etc.; Ezra V. I, Vi. 14 .
Xxi. The Visions Of Zechariah · 273
Zechariah I. 7 – Vi.
I. The Influences Which Moulded The Visions.
2. General Features Of The Visions.
3. Exposition Of The Several Visions :
The First : The Angel-horsemen (I. 7-17).
The Second : The Four Horns And The Four
Smiths ( I. 18-21 Eng . ).
The Third : The City Of Peace (Ii . 1-5 Eng.).
The Fourth : The High Priest And The Satan (Iii.).
The Fifth : The Temple Candlestick And The
Two Olive – Trees (Iv .).
The Sixth : The Winged Volume (V . 1-4 ) .
The Seventh : The Woman In The Barrel ( V . 5-11) .
The Eighth : The Chariots Of The Four Winds
(Vi. 1-8 ).
The Result Of The Visions ( Vi. 9-15) .
Xxii. The Angels Of The Visions 310
Zechariah I. 7 – Vi. 8 .
66 The Seed Of Peace ” · 320
Zechariah Vii., Viji.
MALACHI: (This book, the last in the arrangement of theprophetic canon, bears the title : Burden or Oracle of the Word of Jehovah to Israel by the hand of malč’akhi. Since at least the second century of our era the word has been understood as a proper name, Malachi or Malachias. But there are strong objections to this, as well as to the genuineness of the whole title, and critics now almost universally agree that the book was originally anonymous. It is true that neither in form nor in meaning is there any insuperable obstacle to our understanding “ male’akhi” as the name of a person . If so, however, it cannot have been , as some have suggested, an abbre viation of Malě’akhiyah , for, according to the analogy of other names of such formation , this could only express the impossible meaning Jehovah is Angel. But, as it stands, it might have meant My Angel or Messenger, or it may be taken as an adjective, Angelicus. Either of these meanings would form a natural name for a Jewish child , and a very suitable one for a prophet. There is evidence, however, that some of the earliest Jewish interpreters did not think of the title as containing the name of a person . The Septuagint read by the hand of His messenger,? ” malē’akho ” ; and the Targum of Jonathan , while re taining “ male’akhi,” rendered it My messenger, adding that it was Ezra the Scribe who was thus designated. This opinion was adopted by Calvin .
Recent criticism has shown that, whether the word was originally intended as a personal name or not, it was a purely artificial one borrowed from chap. iii. 1, Behold , I send Mymessenger, “ malē ‘akhi,” for the title , which itself has been added by the editor of the Twelve Prophets in the form in which we now have them . The peculiar words of the title, Burden or Oracle of the Word of Jehovah, occur nowhere else than in the titles of the two prophecies which have been appended to the Book of Zechariah, chap. ix. I and chap. xii , 1, and immediately precede this Book of “ Malachi.” In chap. ix . I the Word of Jehovah belongs to the text ; Burden or Oracle has been inserted before it as a title ; then the whole phrase has been inserted as a title in chap. xii. 1. These two pieces are anonymous, and nothing is more likely than that another anonymous prophecy should have received, when attached to them , the same heading, The argument is not final, but it is the most probable explanation of the data , and agrees with the other facts. The cumulative force of all that we have stated — the improbability of mală’akhi being a personal name, the fact that the earliest versions do not treat it as such , the obvious suggestion for its invention in the male’akhi of chap. iii . 1, the absence of a father’s name and place of residence, and the character of the whole title – is enough for the opinion rapidly spreading among critics that our book was, like so much more in the Old Testament, originally anonymous. The author attacks the religious authorities of his day ; he belongs to a pious remnant of his people, who are overborne and perhaps oppressed by the majority . In these facts, which are all we know of his personality , he found sufficient reason for not attaching his name to his prophecy.
The book is also undated, but it reflects its period almost as clearly as do the dated Books of Haggai and Zechariah . The conquest of Edom by the Nabateans, which took place during the Exile, is already past. The Jews are under a Persian viceroy. They are in touch with a heathen power, which does not tyrannise over them , for this book is the first to predict no judgment upon the heathen , and the first, moreover, to acknowledge that among the heathen the true God is worshipped from the rising to the setting of the sun . The only judgment predicted is one upon the false and disobedient portion of Israel, whose arrogance and success have cast true Israelites into despair. All this reveals a time when the Jews were favourably treated by their Persian lords. The reign must be that of Artaxerxes Longhand, 464-424.
The Temple has been finished , and years enough have elapsed to disappoint those fervid hopes with which about 518 Zechariah expected its completion . The congregation has grown worldly and careless. In particular the priests are corrupt and partial in the administration of the Law . There have been many marriages with the heathen women of the land ; and the laity have failed to pay the tithes and other dues to the Temple. These are the evils against which we find strenuous measures directed by Ezra, who returned from Babylon in 458, and by Nehemiah, who visited Jerusalem as its governor for the first time in 445 and for the second time in 433. Besides, “ the religious spirit of the book is that of the prayers of Ezra and Nehemiah . A strong sense of the unique privileges of the children of Jacob, the objects of electing love,4 the children of the Divine Father,” is combined with an equally strong assurance of Jehovah’s righteousness amidst the many miseries that pressed on the unhappy inhabitants of Judזa. … Obedience to the Law is the sure path to blessedness.” 6 But the question still remains whether the Book of “ Malachi ” prepared for, assisted or followed up the reforms of Ezra and Nehemiah. An ancient tradition already alluded to ? assigned the authorship to Ezra himself.
Recent criticism has been divided among the years immediately before Ezra’s arrival in 458, those imme diately before Nehemiah’s first visit in 445, those between his first government and his second, and those after Nehemiah’s disappearance from Jerusalem . But the years in which Nehemiah held office may be excluded, because the Jews are represented as bringing gifts to the governor, which Nehemiah tells us he did not allow to be brought to him . The whole question depends upon what Law was in practice in Israel when the book was written . In 445 Ezra and Nehemiah , by solemn covenant between the people and Jehovah , insti tuted the code which we now know as the Priestly Code of the Pentateuch . Before that year the ritual and social life of the Jews appear to have been directed by the Deuteronomic Code. Now the Book of ” Malachi ” enforces a practice with regard to the tithes, which agrees more closely with the Priestly Code than it does with Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy commands that every third year the whole tithe is to be given to the Levites and the poor who reside within the gates of the giver, and is there to be eaten by them . “ Malachi” commands that the whole tithe be brought into the storehouse of the Temple for the Levites in service there , and so does the Priestly Code. On this ground many date the Book of “ Malachi” after 445.? But ” Malachi’s ” divergence from Deuteronomy on this point may be explained by the fact that in his time there were practically no Levites outside Jerusalem ; and it is to be noticed that he joins the tithe with the tērnah or heave-offering exactly as Deuteronomy does. On other points of the Law he agrees rather with Deuteronomy than with the Priestly Code. He follows Deuteronomy in calling the priests sons of Levi,” while the Priestly Code limits the priesthood to the sons of Aaron . He seems to quote Deuteronomy when forbidding the oblation of blind, lame and sick beasts ;? appears to differ from the Priestly Code which allows the sacrificial beast to be male or female , when he assumes that it is a male ;’ follows the expres sions of Deuteronomy and not those of the Priestly Code in detailing the sins of the people ; 3 and uses the Deuteronomic phrases the Law of Moses, My servant Moses, statutes and judgments, and Horeb for the Mount of the Law . For the rest, he echoes or implies only Ezekiel and that part of the Priestly Code ף which is regarded as earlier than the rest, and probably from the first years of exile. Moreover he describes the Torah as not yet fully codified . The priests still deliver it in a way improbable after 445. The trouble of the heathen marriages with which he deals ( if indeed the verses on this subject be authentic and not a later intrusion ) was that which engaged Ezra’s attention on his arrival in 458, but Ezra found that it had already for some time been vexing the heads of the community. While, therefore, we are obliged to date the Book of “ Malachi” before 445 B.C., it is uncertain whether it preceded or followed Ezra’s attempts at reform in 458. Most critics now think that it preceded them .”
The Book of “ Malachi” is an argument with the prophet’s contemporaries, not only with the wicked among them , who in forgetfulness of what Jehovah is corrupt the ritual, fail to give the Temple its dues, abuse justice, marry foreign wives,” divorce their own, and commit various other sins ; but also with the pious, who, equally forgetful of God’s character, are driven by the arrogance of the wicked to ask, whether He loves Israel, whether He is a God of justice, and to murmur that it is vain to serve Him . To these two classes of his contemporaries the prophet has the following answers. God does love Israel. He is wor shipped everywhere among the heathen. He is the Father of all Israel. He will bless His people when they put away all abuses from their midst and pay their religious dues ; and His Day of Judgment is coming, when the good shall be separated from the wicked. But before it come, Elijah the prophet will be sent to attempt the conversion of the wicked, or at least to call the nation to decide for Jehovah . This argument is pursued in seven or perhaps eight para graphs, which do not show much consecutiveness, but are addressed , some to the wicked, and some to the despairing adherents of Jehovah .
1. Chap. i. 2-5 . — To those who ask how God loves Israel, the proof of Jehovah’s election of Israel is shown in the fall of the Edomites.
2. Chap. i. 6-14 . — Charge against the people of dishonouring their God, whom even the heathen reverence.
3. Chap. ii . 1-9. — Charge against the priests, who have broken the covenant God made of old with Levi, and debased their high office by not reverencing Jehovah, by misleading the people and by perverting justice. A curse is therefore fallen on them — they are contemptible in the people’s eyes.
4. Chap. ii . 10-16. – A charge against the people for their treachery to each other ; instanced in the heathen marriages, if the two verses, II and 12, upon this beauthentic, and in their divorce of their wives.
5. Chap. ii. 17 – iii. 5 or 6. – Against those who in the midst of such evils grow sceptical about Jehovah . His Angel, or Himself, will come first to purge the priesthood and ritual that there may be pure sacrifices, and second to rid the land of its criminals and sinners.
6. Chap. jii. 6 or 7-12. — A charge against the people of neglecting tithes. Let these be paid , disasters shall cease and the land be blessed.
7. Chap . iii. 13-21 Heb., Chap. iii. 13 – iv. 2 LXX. and Eng. Another charge against the pious for saying it is vain to serve God. God will rise to action and separate between the good and bad in the terrible Day of His coming .
8. To this, Chap. iii. 22-24 Heb., Chap. iv. 3-5 Eng., adds a call to keep the Law , and a promise that Elijah will be sent to see whether he may not convert the people before the Day of the Lord comes upon them with its curse.
The authenticity of no part of the book has been till now in serious question. Bצhme, indeed, took the last three verses for a later addition , on account of their Deuteronomic character, but, as Kuenen points out, this is in agreement with other parts of the book. Sufficient attention has not yetbeen paid to the question of the integrity of the text. The Septuagint offers a few emendations. There are other passages obviously or probably corrupt.3 The text of the title, as we have seen , is uncertain , and probably a later addition . Professor Robertson Smith has called attention to chap. ii. 16 , where the Massoretic punctuation seems to have been determined with the desire to support the rendering of the Targum “ if thou hatest her put her away,” and so pervert into a permission to divorce a passage which forbids divorce almost as clearly as Christ Himself did . But in truth the whole of this passage, chap. ii. 10-16 , is in such a curious state that we can hardly believe in its integrity . It opens with the statement that God is the Father of all us Israelites, and with the challenge, why then are we faithless to each other ? -ver. IO . But vv. II and 12 do not give an instance of this : they describe the marriages with the heathen women of the land, which is not a proof of faithlessness between Israelites. Such a proof is furnished only by vv. 13-16 , with their condemnation of those who divorce the wives of their youth. The verses, therefore, cannot lie in their proper order, and Vv. 13-16 ought to follow immediately upon ver . 10 . This raises the question of the authenticity of vv. II and 12, against the heathen marriages. If they bear such plain marks of having been intruded into their position, we can understand the possibility of such an intrusion in subsequent days, when the question of the heathen marriages came to the front with Ezra and Nehemiah . Besides, these verses II and 12 lack the characteristic mark of all the other oracles of the book : they do not state a general charge against the people, and then introduce the people’s question as to the particulars of the charge. On the whole , therefore, these verses are suspicious. If not a later intrusion, they are at least out of place where they now lie. The peculiar remark in ver. 13, and this secondly ye do, must have been added by the editor to whom we owe the present arrangement.)
Xxiv. The Book Of Malachi ” · 331
Xxv. From Zechariah To Malachi 341
Xxvi. Prophecy Within The Law 348
“ Malachi” I.-iv. (Eng .) .
I. God’s Love For Israel And Hatred Of Edom
2. “ Honour Thy Father ” (I. 6-14).
3. The Priesthood Of Knowledge (Ii. 1-9).
4. The Cruelty Of Divorce (Ii . 10-16 ).
5. “ Where Is Thegod Of Judgment ? ” (Ii. 17 — Iii. 5 ) .
6. Repentance By Tithes (Iii. 6-12 ).
7. The Judgment To Come (Iii , 13 – Iv . 2 Eng.) .
8. The Return Of Elijah ( Iv . 3-5 Eng .).
JOEL: (In the criticism of the Book of Joel there exist differences of opinion — upon its date, the exact reference of its statements and its relation to parallel passages in other prophets – as wide as even those by which the Book of Obadiah has been assigned to every century between the tenth and the fourth before Christ. As in the case of Obadiah, the problem is not entangled with any doctrinal issue or question of accuracy ; but while we saw that Obadiah was not involved in the central controversy of the Old Testament, the date of the Law, not a little in Joel turns upon the latter . And, besides, certain descriptions raise the large question between a literal and an allegorical interpretation . Thus the Book of Joel carries the student further into the problems of Old Testament Criticism , and forms an even more excellent introduction to the latter, than does the Book of Obadiah.) (2. Interpretation of the Book : Is it Description, Allegory or Apocalypse? : Another question to which we must address our selves before we can pass to the exposition of Joel’s prophecies is of the attitude and intention of the prophet. Does he describe or predict ? Does he give history or allegory ? Joel starts from a great plague of locusts, which he describes not only in the ravages they commit upon the land, but in their ominous foreshadowing of the Day of the Lord. They are the heralds of God’s near judgment upon the nation. Let the latter repent instantly with a day of fasting and prayer . Per adventure Jehovah will relent, and spare His people. So far chap . i. 2 – ii. 17. Then comes a break. An uncertain interval appears to elapse ; and in chap. ii. 18 we are told that Jehovah’s zeal for Israel has been stirred , and He has had pity on His folk . Pro mises follow , first, of deliverance from the plague and of restoration of the harvests it has consumed, and second, of the outpouring of the Spirit on all classes of the community : chap. ii. 17-32 (Eng. ; ii. 17 – iii . Heb.). Chap. iii. (Eng. ; iv. Heb.) gives another picture of the Day of Jehovah, this time described as judgment upon the heathen enemies of Israel. They shall be brought together , condemned judicially by Him , and slain by His hosts, His ” supernatural” hosts . Jerusalem shall be freed from the feet of strangers, and the fertility of the land restored. These are the contents of the book . Do they describe an actual plague of locusts, already experi enced by the people ? Or do they predict this as still to come ? And again , are the locusts which they describe real locusts, or a symbol and allegory of the human foes of Israel ? To these two questions, which in a measure cross and involve each other, three kinds of answer have been given . A large and growing majority of critics of all schools ‘ hold that Joel starts, like other prophets, from the facts of experience . His locusts, though described with poetic hyperbole –for are they not the vanguard of the awfulDay of God’s judgment ? — are real locusts ; their plague has just been felt by his contemporaries, whom he summons to repent, and to whom , when they have repented, he brings promises of the restoration of their ruined harvests , the outpouring of the Spirit, and judgment upon their foes. Prediction is there fore found only in the second half of the book (ii. 18 onwards) : it rests upon a basis of narrative and exhorta tion which fills the first half. But a number of other critics have argued ( and with great force) that the prophet’s language about the locusts is too aggravated and too ominous to be limited to the natural plague which these insects periodically inflicted upon Palestine. Joel (they reason ) would hardly have connected so common an adversity with so singular and ultimate a crisis as the Day of the Lord . Under the figure of locusts he must be describing some more fateful agency of God’s wrath upon Israel. More than one trait of his description appears to imply a human army. It can only be one or other, or all, of those heathen powers whom at different periods God raised up to chastise His delinquent people ; and this opinion is held to be sup ported by the facts that chap. ii. 20 speaks of them as the Northern and chap. iii. (Eng. ; iv . Heb .) deals with the heathen. The locusts of chaps. i. and ii. are the same as the heathen of chap. iii . In chaps. i. and ii . they are described as threatening Israel, but on condition of Israel repenting (chap . ii . 18 ff.) the Day of the Lord which they herald shall be their destruction and not Israel’s ( chap. jii.). The supporters of this allegorical interpretation of Joel are, however, divided among themselves as to whether the heathen powers symbolised by the locusts are described as having already afflicted Israel or are predicted as still to come. Hilgenfeld ,’ for instance, says that the prophet in chaps. i. and ii. speaks of their ravages as already past. To him their fourfold plague described in chap. i. 4 symbolises four Persian assaults upon Palestine, after the last of which in 358 the prophecy must therefore have been written , Others read them as still to come. In our own country Pusey has been the strongest supporter of this theory. To him the whole book , written before Amos, is prediction . ” It extends from the prophet’s own day to the end of time.” Joel calls the scourge the Northern : he directs the priests to pray for its removal, that the heathen may not rule over God’s heritage ; 4 he describes the agent as a responsible one; ‘ his imagery goes far beyond the effects of locusts, and threatens drought, fire and plague,ק the assault of cities and the terrifying of peoples. The scourge is to be destroyed in a way physically in applicable to locusts; and the promises of its removal include the remedy of ravages which mere locusts could not inflict : the captivity of Judah is to be turned, and the land recovered from foreigners who are to be banished from it. Pusey thus reckons as future the relenting of God, consequent upon the people’s penitence : chap. ii. 18 ff. The past tenses in which it is related , he takes as instances of the well known prophetic perfect, according to which the: prophets express their assurance of things to come: by describing them as if they had already happened. This is undoubtedly a strong case for the predictive: and allegorical character of the Book of Joel; but au little consideration will show us that the facts on which it is grounded are capable of a different explanation than that which it assumes, and that Pusey has overlooked a number of other facts which force us to a literal interpretation of the locusts as a plague already past, even though we feel they are described in the language of poetical hyperbole. For, in the first place, Pusey’s theory implies that the prophecy is addressed to a future generation, who shall be alive when the predicted invasions of heathen come upon the land. Whereas Joel obviously ad dresses his own contemporaries. The prophet and his hearers are one. Before our eyes, he says , the food has been cut off ? As obviously, he speaks of the plague of locusts as of something that has just happened . His hearers can compare its effects with past disasters, which it has far exceeded ; and it is their duty to hand down the story of it to future generations. Again , his description is that of a physical, not of a political, plague. Fields and gardens, viņes and figs, are devastated by being stripped and gnawed. Drought accompanies the locusts , the seed shrivels beneath the clods, the trees languish, the cattle pant for want of water.” These are not thetrail which an invading army leave behind them . In support of his theory that human hosts are meant, Pusey points to the verses which bid the people pray that the heathen rule not over them , and which describe the invaders as attacking cities.’ But the former phrase may be rendered with equal propriety, that the heathen make not satirical songs about them ; and as to the latter, not only do locusts invade towns exactly as Joel describes, but his words that the invader steals into houses like a thief are far more applicable to the insidious entrance of locusts than to the bold and noisy assault of a storming party . Moreover Pusey and the other allegorical interpreters of the book overlook the fact that Joel never so much as hints at the invariable effects of a human invasion , massacre and plunder. He describes no slaying and no looting ; but when he comes to the promise that Jehovah will restore the losses which have been sustained by His people, he defines them as the years which His army has eaten .» But all this proof is clenched by the fact that Joel com pares the locusts to actual soldiers. They are like horsemen , the sound of them is like chariots, they run like horses, and like men of war they leap upon the wall. Joel could never have compared a real army to itself ! The allegorical interpretation is therefore untenable. But somecritics,while admitting this, areyet not disposed to take the first part of the book for narrative. They admit that the prophet means a plague of locusts, but they deny that he is speaking of a plague already past, and hold that his locusts are still to come, that they are as much a part of the future as the pouring out of the Spirit ‘ and the judgment of the heathen in the Valley of Jehoshaphat.” All alike, they are signs or accom paniments of the Day of Jehovah, and that Day has still to break. The prophet’s scenery is apocalyptic ; the locusts are ” eschatological locusts,” not historical This interpretation of Joel has been elaborated by Dr. Adalbert Mers, and the following is a summary of his opinions.” ones. none, After examining the book along all the lines of exposition which have been proposed, Merx finds himself unable to trace any plan or even sign of a plan ; and his only escape from perplexity is the belief that no plan can ever have been meant by the author. Joel weaves in one past, present and future, paints situations only to blot them out and put others in their place, starts many processes but develops His book shows no insight into God’s plan with Israel, but is purely external; the bearing and the end of it is the material prosperity of the little land of Judah . From this Merx concludes that the book is not an original work, but a mere summary of passages from previous prophets, that with a few reflections of the life of the Jews after the Return lead us to assign it to that period of literary culture which Nehemiah inaugurated by the collection of nationalwritings and which was favoured by the cessation of all politi cal disturbance, Joel gathered up the pictures of the Messianic age in the older prophets, and welded them together in one long prayer by the ferrid belief that that age was near. But while the older prophets spoke upon the ground of actual fact and rose from this to a majestic picture of the last punishment, the still life of Joel’s time had nothing such to offer him and he had to seek another basis for his prophetic flight. It is probable that he sought this in the relation or Type and Antitype. The Antitype he found in the liberation from Egypt, the darkness and the locusts of which he transferred to his canvas from Exodus x . 4-6 . The locusts, therefore, are neither real nor symbolic, but ideal. This is the method of the Midrash and Haggada in Jewish literature, which constantly placed over against each other the deliverance from Egypt and the last judgment. It is a method that is already found in such portions of the Old Testament as Ezekiel xxxvii. and Psalm lxxviji. Joel’s locusts are borrowed from the Egyptian plagues, but are presented as the signs of the Last Day. They will bring it near to Israel by famine, drought and the in terruption of worship described in chap. i. Chap . ii., which Merx keeps distinct from chap. i., is based on a study of Ezekiel, from whom Joel has borrowed, among other things, the expressions the garden of Eden and the Northerner. The two verses generally held to be historic, 18 and 19, Merx takes to be the continuation of the prayer of the priests, pointing the verbs so as to turn them from perfects into futures. The rest of the book, Merx strives to show , is pieced together from many prophets, chiefly Isaiah and Ezekiel, but without the tender spiritual feeling of the one, or the colossal magnificence of the other. Special nations are mentioned, but in this portion of the work wehave to do not with events already past, but with general views,and these not original, but conditioned by the expressions of earlier writers. There is no history in the book : it is all ideal, mystical, apocalyptic. That is to say, according to Merx, there is no real prophet or prophetic fire, only an old man warming his feeble hands over a few embers that he has scraped together from the ashes of ancient fires, now nearly wholly dead . Merx has traced Joel’s relations to other prophets, and reflection of a late date in Israel’s history, with care and ingenuity ; but his treatment of the text and exegesis of the prophet’s meaning are alike forced and fanciful. In face of the support which the Massoretic reading of the hinge of the book, chap . ii. 18 ff., receives from the ancient versions, and of its inherent probability and harmony with the context, Merx’s textual emendation is unnecessary, besides being in itself unnatural. While the very same objections which we have already found valid against the allegorical interpretation equally dispose of this mystical one. Merx outrages the evident features of the book almost as much as Hengstenberg and Pusey have done. He has lifted out of time altogether that which plainly purports to be historical. His literary criticism is as unsound as his textual. It is only by ignoring the beautiful poetry of chap. i. that he trans plants it to the future. Joel’s figures are too vivid , too actual, to be predictive or mystical. And the whole interpretation wrecks itself in the sameverse as the allegorical, the verse, viz., in which Joel plainly speaks of himself as having suffered with his hearers the plague he describes. We may, therefore, with confidence conclude that the allegorical and mystical interpretations of Joel are impossible ; and that the only reasonable view of our prophet is that which regards him as calling, in chap . i. 24ii. 17, upon his contemporaries to repent in face of a plague of locusts, so unusually severe that he has felt it to be ominous of even the Day of the Lord ; and in the rest of his book , as promising material, political and spiritual triumphs to Israel in consequence of their repentance , either already consummated , or anticipated by the prophet as certain . It is true that the account of the locusts appears to bear features which conflict with the literal interpreta tion . Some of these , however, vanish upon a fuller knowledge of the awful degree which such a plague has been testified to reach by competent observers within our own era. Those that remain may be attributed partly to the poetic hyperbole of Joel’s style, and partly to the fact that he sees in the plague far more than itself. The locusts are signs of the Day of Jehovah. Joel treats them as we found Zephaniah treating the Scythian hordes of his day. They are as real as the latter, but on them as on the latter the lurid glare of Apocalypse has fallen , magnifying them and investing them with that air of ominousness which is the sole justification of the allegorical and mystic interpretation of their appearance. To the same sense of their office as heralds of the last day, we owe the description of the locusts as the Northerner.’ The North is not the quarter from which locusts usually reach Palestine, nor is there any reason to suppose that by naming the North Joel meant only to emphasise the unusual character of these swarms. Rather he takes a name employed in Israel since Jeremiah’s time to express the instruments of Jehovah’s wrath in the day of His judgment of Israel. The name is typical of Doom , and therefore Joel applies it to his fateful locusts.)
Xxvii. The Book Of Joel · 375
1. The Date Of The Book
2. The Interpretation Of The Book .
3. State Of The Text And The Style Of The
Xxviii. The Locusts And The Day Of The Lord 398
Joel I.-ii. 17.
Xxix . Prosperity And The Spirit . · 418
Joel Ii . 18-32 (Eng.) .
1. The Return Of Prosperity ( Ii. 19-27) .
2. The Outpouring Of The Spirit ( Ii . 28-32).
Xxx . The Judgment Of The Heathen 431
Joel Iii. (Eng .).
Introduction to Prophets of Grecian Period (331- ? B.C.)
XXXI. Israel & Greeks.
ZECHARIAH: XXXII. Zechariah 9-14. (We saw that the first eight chapters of the Book of Zechariah were, with the exception of a few verses, from the prophet himself. No one has ever doubted this. No one could doubt it : they are obviously from the years of the building of the Temple, 520-516 B.C. They hang together with a consistency exhibited by few other groups of chapters in the Old Testament.
But when we pass into chap. ix . we find ourselves in circumstances and an atmosphere altogether different. Israel is upon a new situation of history, and the words addressed to her breathe another spirit. There is not the faintest allusion to the building of the Temple the subject from which all the first eight chapters depend. There is not a single certain reflection of the Persian period, under the shadow of which the first eight chapters were all evidently written . We have names of heathen powers mentioned, which not only do not occur in the first eight chapters, but of which it is not possible to think that they had any interest whatever for Israel between 520 and 516 : Damascus, Hadrach , Hamath , Assyria , Egypt and Greece. The peace, and the love of peace, in which Zechariah wrote, has disappeared. Nearly everything breathes of war actual or imminent. The heathen are spoken of with a ferocity which finds few parallels in the Old Testament. There is a revelling in their blood, of which the student of the authentic prophecies of Zechariah will at once perceive that gentle lover of peace could not have been capable. And one passage figures the imminence of a thorough judgment upon Jerusalem , very different from Zechariah’s outlook upon his people’s future from the eve of the completion of the Temple. It is not surprising, therefore, that one of the earliest efforts of Old Testament criticism should have been to prove another author than Zech ariah for chaps. ix. — xiv. of the book called by his name.
The very first attempt of this kind was made so far back as 1632 by the Cambridge theologian Joseph Mede, who was moved thereto by the desire to vindicate the correctness of St. Matthew’s ascription ? of “ Zech.” xi. 13 to the prophet Jeremiah. Mede’s effort was developed by other English exegetes. Hammond assigned chaps. x.– xii., Bishop Kidder 3 and William Whiston , the translator of Josephus, chaps. ix . — xiv., to Jeremiah . Archbishop Newcome 4 divided them , and sought to prove that while chaps. ix.—xi. must have been written before 721, or a century earlier than Jeremiah, because of the heathen powers they name, and the divisions between Judah and Israel, chaps. xii. — xiv . reflect the imminence of the Fall of Jerusalem . In 1784 Flgge 5 offered independent proof that chaps. ix . – xiv . were by Jeremiah ; and in 1814 Bertholdt ? suggested that chaps. ix.—xi. might be by Zechariah the contemporary of Isaiah , and on that account attached to the prophecies of his younger namesake. These opinions gave the trend to the main volume of criticism , which , till fifteen years ago, deemed ” Zech.” ix . – xiv . to be pre-exilic . So Hitzig , who at first took the whole to be from one hand, but afterwards placed xii.— xiv. by a different author under Manasseh . So Ewald , Bleek, Kuenen (at first), Samuel Davidson , Schrader, Duhm (in 1875), andmore recently Kצnig and Orelli, who assign chaps. ix.—xi. to the reign of Ahaz, but xii. — xiv . to the eve of the Fall of Jerusalem , or even a little later.
Some critics, however, remained unmoved by the evidence offered for a pre-exilic date . They pointed out in particular that the geographical references were equally suitable to the centuries after the Exile. Damascus, Hadrach and Hamath, though politically obsolete by 720, entered history again with the cam paigns of Alexander the Great in 332—331, and the establishment of the Seleucid kingdom in Northern Syria. Egypt and Assyria ף were names used after the Exile for the kingdom of the Ptolemies, and for those powers which still threatened Israel from the north , or Assyrian quarter. Judah and Joseph or Ephraim were names still used after the Exile to express the whole of God’s Israel; and in chaps. ix . — xiv . they are presented, not divided as before 721, but united . None of the chapters give a hint of any king in Jerusalem ; and all of them , while representing the great Exile of Judah as already begun, show a certain dependence in style and even in language upon Jeremiah , Ezekiel and Isaiah xl. – Ixvi. Moreover the language is post-exilic , sprinkled with Aramaisms and with other words and phrases used only, or mainly , by Hebrew writers from Jeremiah onwards. But though many critics judged these grounds to be sufficient to prove the post-exilic origin of “ Zech .” ix . — xiv ., they differed as to the author and exact date of these chapters. Conservatives like Hengstenberg, 1 Delitzsch , Keil, Kצhler and Pusey used the evidence to prove the authorship of Zechariah himself after 516 , and interpreted the references to the Greek period as pure prediction . Pusey says that chaps. ix.—xi. extend from the completion of the Temple and its deliverance during the invasion of Alexander, and from the victories of the Maccabees, to the rejection of the true shepherd and the curse upon the false ; and chaps. xi. — xii. ” from a future repentance for the death of Christ to the final conversion of the Jews and Gentiles. ” 3
But on the same grounds Eichhorn 4 saw in the chapters not a prediction but a reflection of the Greek period . He assigned chaps. ix . and x . to an author in the time of Alexander the Great ; xi. – xiii. 6 he placed a little later, and brought down xiii. 7 – xiv. to the Maccabean period . Bצttchers placed the whole in the wars of Ptolemy and Seleucus after Alexander’s death ; and Vatke, who had at first selected a date in the reign of Artaxerxes Longhand, 464-425, finally decided for the Maccabean period, 170 ff.$
In recent times the most thorough examination of the chapters has been that by Stade,’ and the con clusion he comes to is that chaps. ix . — xiv . are all from one author, who must have written during the early wars between the Ptolemies and Seleucids about 280 B.C., but employed, especially in chaps. ix ., X., an earlier prophecy. A criticism and modification of Stade’s theory is given by Kuenen. He allows that the present form of chaps. ix. – xiv . must be of post exilic origin : this is obvious from the mention of the Greeks as a world -power ; the description of a siege of Jerusalem by all the heathen ; the way in which (chaps. ix . II f., but especially x . 6-9) the captivity is presupposed, if not of all Israel, yet of Ephraim ; the fact that the House of David are not represented as governing ; and the thoroughly priestly character of all the chapters. But Kuenen holds that an ancient prophecy of the eighth century underlies chaps. ix.—xi., xiii . 7-9 , in which several actual phrases of it survive ; 2 and that in their present form xii. — xiv. are older than ix.—xi., and probably by a contemporary of Joel, about 400 B.C.
In the main Cheyne, Cornill,4 Wildeboer and Staerk 6 adhere to Stade’s conclusions. Cheyne proves the unity of the six chapters and their date before the Maccabean period. Staerk brings down xi. 4-17 and xiii. 7-9 to 171 B.C. Wellhausen argues for the unity, and assigns it to the Maccabean times . Driver judges ix.—xi., with its natural continuation xiii. 7-9, as not earlier than 333 ; and the rest of xii. – xiv . as certainly post-exilic, and probably from 432—300. Rubinkam ? places ix . I – 10 in Alexander’s time, the rest in that of the Maccabees, but Zeydner all of it to the latter. Kirkpatrick , after showing the post-exilic character of all the chapters , favours assigning ix.—xi. to a different author from xii. – xiv. Asserting that to the question of the exact date it is impossible to give a definite answer, he thinks that the whole may be with considerable probability assigned to the first sixty or seventy years of the Exile, and is therefore in its proper place between Zechariah and “ Malachi.” The reference to the sons of Javan he takes to be a gloss, probably added in Maccabean times.4
It will be seen from this of conclusions that the prevailing trend of recent criticism has been to assign “ Zech .” ix . — xiv. to post-exilic times, and to a different author from chaps. i. – viii.; and that while a few critics maintain a date soon after the Return , the bulk are divided between the years following Alexander’s campaigns and the time of the Maccabean struggles.
There are, in fact, in recent years only two attempts to support the conservative position of Pusey and Hengstenberg that the whole book is a genuine work of Zechariah the son of Iddo. One of these is by C. H. H. Wright in his Bampton Lectures. The other is by George L. Robinson , now Professor at Toronto, in a reprint ( 1896 ) from the American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, which offers a valuable history of the discussion of the whole question from the days of Mede, with a careful argument of all the evidence on both sides . The very original conclusion is reached that the chapters reflect the history of the years 518-516 B.C.
In discussing the question, for which our treatment of other prophets has left us too little space, we need not open that part of it which lies between a pre exilic and a post-exilic date . Recent criticism of all schools and at both extremes has tended to establish the latter upon reasons which we have already stated, and for further details of which the student may be referred to Stade’s and Eckardt’s investiga tions in the Zeitschrift fr A. T. Wissenschaft and to Kirkpatrick’s impartial summary. There remain the questions of the unity of chaps. ix . — xiv . ; their exact date or dates after the Exile, and as a consequence of this their relation to the authentic prophecies of Zechariah in chaps, i. – viii.
On the question of unity we take first chaps. ix.-xi., to which must be added (as by most critics since Ewald) xiii. 7-9, which has got out of its place as the natural continuation and conclusion of chap. xi.
Chap. ix. 1-8 predicts the overthrow of heathen neighbours of Israel, their possession by Jehovah and His safeguard of Jerusalem . Vv. 9-12 follow with a prediction of the Messianic King as the Prince of Peace ; but then come vv. 13-17, with no mention of the King, but Jehovah appears alone as the hero of His people against the Greeks, and there is indeed sufficiency of war and blood . Chap . x .makes a new start : the people are warned to seek their blessings from Jehovah, and not from Teraphim and diviners, whom their false shepherds follow . Jehovah , visiting His flock , shall punish these , give proper rulers, make the people strong and gather in their exiles to fill Gilead and Lebanon . Chap. xi. opens with a burst of war on Lebanon and Bashan and the overthrow of the heathen (vv. 1-3 ), and follows with an allegory, in which the prophet first takes charge from Jehovah of the people as their shepherd , but is contemptuously treated by them (4-14 ), and then taking the guise of an evil shepherd represents what they must suffer from their next ruler ( 15-17). This tyrant, however , shall receive punishment, two-thirds of the nation shall be scattered, but the rest, further purified, shall be God’s own people (xiii. 7-9 ).
In the course of this prophesying there is no conclu sive proof of a double authorship . The only passage which offers strong evidence for this is chap. ix . The verses predicting the peaceful coming of Messiah (9-12) do not accord in spirit with those which follow predicting the appearance of Jehovah with war and great shedding of blood . Nor is the difference altogether explained, as Stade thinks, by the similar order of events in chap. x., where Judah and Joseph are first represented as saved and brought back in ver. 6 , and then we have the process of their redemp tion and return described in vv. 7 ff. Why did the same writer give statements of such very different temper as chap. ix . 9-12 and 13-17 ? Or, if these be from different hands, why were they ever put together ? Otherwise there is no reason for breaking up chaps. ix.-xi., xiii. 7-9. Rubinkam , who separates ix . I- 10 by a hundred and fifty years from the rest ; Bleek , who divides ix . from x.; and Staerk , who separates ix.-xi. 3 from the rest, have been answered by Robinson and others. On the ground of language, grammar and syntax, Eckardt has fully proved that ix.—xi. are from the same author of a late date, who, however, may have occasionally followed earlier models and even introduced their very phrases.?
More supporters have been found for a division of authorship between chaps. ix.—xi., xiii. 7-9, and chaps. xii. — xiv. (less xiii. 7-9). Chap. xii. opens with a title of its own. A strange element is introduced into the historical relation . Jerusalem is assaulted not by the heathen only, but by Judah , who, however, turns on finding that Jehovah fights for Jerusalem , and is saved by Jehovah before Jerusalem in order that the latter may not boast over it (xii. 1-9). A spirit of grace and supplication is poured upon the guilty city, a fountain opened for uncleanness, idols abolished , and the prophets, who are put on a level with them , abolished too, where they do not disown their profession ( xii. 10 –xiii . 6 ). Another assault of theheathen on Jerusalem is described, half of the people being taken captive. Jehovah appears , and by a great earthquake saves the rest. The land is transformed. And then the prophet goes back to the defeat of the heathen assault on the city , in which Judah is again described as taking part ; and the surviving heathen are converted, or, if they refuse to be, punished by the withholding of rain . Jerusalem is holy to the Lord (xiv.). In all this there is more that differs from chaps. ix.—xi., xiii. 7-9, than the strange opposition of Judah and Jerusalem . Ephraim , or Joseph , is not mentioned, nor any return of exiles, nor punishment of the shepherds, nor coming of the Messiah, the latter’s place being taken by Jehovah. But in answer to this we may remember that the Messiah, after being described in ix . 9-12, is immedi ately lost behind the warlike coming of Jehovah . Both sections speak of idolatry, and of the heathen , their punishment and conversion, and do so in the same apocalyptic style. Nor does the language of the two differ in any decisive fashion. On the contrary, as Eckardt ‘ and Kuiper have shown, the language is on the whole an argument for unity of authorship.3 There is, then, nothing conclusive against the position , which Stade so clearly laid down and strongly fortified , that chaps. ix. — xiv. are from the same hand, although , as he admits, this cannot be proved with absolute certainty . So also Cheyne : “ With perhaps one or two exceptions, chaps. ix.—xi. and xii. — xiv . are so closely welded together that even analysis is impossible.” +
The next questions we have to decide are whether chaps, ix . — xiv. offer any evidence of being by Zechariah , the author of chaps. i. — viii., and if not to what other post-exilic date they may be assigned.
It must be admitted that in language and in style the two parts of the Book of Zechariah have features in common. But that these have been exaggerated by defenders of the unity there can be no doubt. We cannot infer anything from the fact that both parts contain specimens of clumsy diction, of the repetition of the same word, of phrases (not the same phrases) unused by other writers ; or that each is lavish in vocatives ; or that each is variable in his spelling. Resemblances of that kind they share with other books : some of them are due to the fact that both sections are post-exilic. On the other hand, as Eckardt has clearly shown, there exists a still greater number of differ ences between the two sections, both in language and in style. Not only do characteristic words occur in each which are not found in the other , not only do chaps. ix . – xiv. contain many more Aramaisms than chaps. i. – viii., and therefore symptoms of a later date ; but both parts use the same words with more or less different meanings, and apply different terms to the same objects. There are also differences of grammar, of favourite formulas, and of other features of the phraseology, which, if there be any need, complete the proof of a distinction of dialect so great as to require to account for it distinction of authorship .
The same impression is sustained by the contrast of the historical circumstances reflected in each of the two sections. Zech, i.viii. were written during the build ing of the Temple. There is no echo of the latter in “ Zech.” ix. — xiv . Zech . i.—viii. picture thewhole earth as at peace, which was true at least of all Syria : they portend no danger to Jerusalem from the heathen , but describe her peace and fruitful expansion in terms most suitable to the circumstances imposed upon her by the solid and clement policy of the earlier Persian kings. This is all changed in “ Zech.” ix . — xiv. The nations are restless ; a siege of Jerusalem is imminent, and her salvation is to be assured only by much war and a terrible shedding of blood. We know exactly how Israel fared and felt in the early sections of the Persian period : her interests in the politics of the world , her feelings towards her governors and her whole attitude to the heathen were not at that time those which are reflected in “ Zech .” ix . — xiv . Nor is there any such resemblance between the religious principles of the two sections of the Book of Zechariah as could prove identity of origin . That both are spiritual, or that they have a similar ex pectation of the ultimate position of Israel in the history of the world , proves only that both were late offshoots from the same religious development, and worked upon the same ancientmodels. Within these outlines, there are not a few divergences . Zech. i. — viii. were written before Ezra and Nehemiah had imposed the Levitical legislation upon Israel ; but Eckardt has shown the dependence on the latter of ” Zech.” ix . — xiv.
We may, therefore, adhere to Canon Driver’s asser tion , that Zechariah in chaps. i. – viii. ” uses a different phraseology, evinces different interests and moves in a different circle of ideas from those which prevail in chaps. ix . – xiv.” 1 Criticism has indeed been justified in separating , by the vast and growing majority of its opinions, the two sections from each other. This was one of the earliest results which modern criticism achieved, and the latest researches have but established it on a firmer basis .
If, then, chaps. ix . — xiv . be not Zechariah’s, to what date may we assign them ? We have already seen that they bear evidence of being upon the whole later than Zechariah, though they appear to contain fragments from an earlier period . Perhaps this is all we can with certainty affirm . Yet something more definite is at least probable. The mention of the Greeks, not as Joel mentions them about 400, the most distant nation to which Jewish slaves could be carried , but as the chief of the heathen powers, and a foe with whom the Jews are in touch and must soon cross swords, appears to imply that the Syrian campaign of Alexander is happening or has happened , or even that the Greek kingdoms of Syria and Egypt are already contending for the possession of Palestine. With this agrees the mention of Damascus, Hadrach and Hamath , the localities where the Seleucids had their chief seats. In that case Asshur would signify the Seleucids and Egypt the Ptolemies : 3 it is these, and not Greece itself, from whom the Jewish exiles have still to be redeemed. All this makes probable the date which Stade has proposed for the chapters , between 300 and 280 B.C. To bring them further down , to the time of the Maccabees, as some have tried to do, would not be impossible so far as the historical allusions are concerned ; but had they been of so late a date as that, viz . 170 or 160, we may assert that they could not have found a place in the prophetic canon , which was closed by 200 , but must have fallen along with Daniel into the Hagiographa.
The appearance of these prophecies at the close of the Book of Zechariah has been explained , not quite satisfactorily, as follows. With the Book of “ Malachi” they formed originally three anonymous pieces, which because of their anonymity were set at the end of the Book of the Twelve. The first of them begins with the very peculiar construction ” Massa’ Děbar Jehovah,” oracle of the word of Jehovah , which , though partly be longing to the text, the editor read as a title, and attached as a title to each of the others. It occurs nowhere else . The Book of “ Malachi” was too distinct in character to be attached to another book, and soon came to have the supposed name of its author added to its title . But the other two pieces fell, like all anonymous works, to the nearest writing with an author’s name. Perhaps the attachmentwas hastened by the desire to make the round number of Twelve Prophets .)
XXXIII. Contents of Zechariah 9-14.
1. Coming Of The Greeks (Ix . 1-8) . Oracle.
2. Prince Of Peace (Ix . 9-12).
3. Slaughter Of The Greeks (Ix . 13-17) .
4. Against The Teraphim And Sorcerers ( X . 1, 2 ).
5. Against Evil Shepherds ( X . 3-12).
6. War Upon The Syrian Tyrants ( Xi. 1-3 ).
7. Rejection Murder Of The Good Shepherd (Xi. 4-17, Xiii. 7-9).
8. Judah Versus Jerusalem ( Xii . 1-7).
9. Four Results Of Jerusalem’s Deliverance (Xii. 8 – Xiii. 6 ).
10. Judgment Of The Heathen And Sanctification Of Jerusalem (Xiv.) .
JONAH: (The Book of Jonah is cast throughout in the formof narrative — the only one of our Twelve which is This fact, combined with the extraordinary events which thenarrative relates, starts questions not raised by any of the rest. Besides treating, therefore, of thebook’s origin , unity, division and other commonplaces of intro duction, we must further seek in this chapter reasons for theappearance of such a narrative among a collection of prophetic discourses. We have to ask whether the narrative be intended as one of fact ; and if not, why the author was directed to the choice of such a form to enforce the truth committed to him .
The appearance of a narrative among the Twelve Prophets is not, in itself, so exceptional as it seemsto be. Parts of the Books of Amos and Hosea treat of the personal experience of their authors. The same is true ofthe Books of Isaiah , Jeremiah and Ezekiel, in which the prophet’s call and his attitude to it are regarded as elements of his message to men . No : the peculiarity of the Book of Jonah is not the presence of narrative, but the apparent absence of all prophetic discourse.
Yet even this might be explained by reference to the first part of the prophetic canon – Joshua to Second Kings. These Former Prophets, as they are called, are wholly narrative – narrative in the prophetic spirit and written to enforce a moral. Many of them begin as the Book of Jonah does : they contain stories, for instance , of Elijah and Elisha, who flourished immediately before Jonah and like him were sent with commissions to foreign lands. It might therefore be argued that the Book of Jonah, though narrative, is as much a prophetic book as they are, and that the only reason why it has found a place, not with these histories, but among the Later Prophets, is the exceedingly late date of its composition .
This is a plausible, but not the real, answer to our question . Suppose we were to find the latter by discovering that the Book of Jonah, though in narrative form , is not real history at all , nor pretends to be ; but, from beginning to end, is as much a prophetic sermon as any of the other Twelve Books, yet cast in the form of parable or allegory ? This would certainly explain the adoption of the book among the Twelve ; nor would its allegorical character appear without precedent to those (and they are among the most conservative of critics) who maintain (as the present writer does not) the allegorical character of the story of Hosea’s wife.4 It is, however, when we pass from the form to the substance of the book that we perceive the full justifi cation of its reception among the prophets. The truth which we find in the Book of Jonah is as full and fresh a revelation of God’s will as prophecy anywhere achieves. That God has granted to the Gentiles also repentance unto life 1 is nowhere else in the Old Testa ment so vividly illustrated. It lifts the teaching of the Book of Jonah to equal rank with the second part of Isaiah , and nearest of all our Twelve to the New Testa ment. The very form in which this truth is insinuated into the prophet’s reluctant mind, by contrasting God’s pity for the dim population of Niniveh with Jonah’s own pity for his perished gourd, suggests themethods ofour Lord’s teaching, and invests the book with the morning air of that high day which shines upon the most evangelic of His parables.
One other remark is necessary. In our effort to appreciate this lofty gospel we labour under a dis advantage. That is our sense of humour – our modern sense of humour. Some of the figures in which our author conveys his truth cannot but appear to us grotesque. How many have missed the sublime spirit of the book in amusement or offence at its curious details ! Even in circles in which the ac ceptance of its literal interpretation has been demanded as a condition of belief in its inspiration , the story has too often served as a subject for humorous remarks. This is almost inevitable if we take it as history. But we shall find that one advantage of the theory, which treats the book as parable , is that the features, which appear so grotesque to many, are traced to the popular poetry of the writer’s own time and shown to be natural. When we prove this, we shall be able to treat the scenery of the book as we do that of some early Christian fresco, in which , however rude it be or untrue to nature, we discover an earnestness and a success in expressing the moral essence of a situation that are not always present in works of art more skilful or more correct.)
Xxxiv . The Book Of Jonah • · 493
1. The Date Of The Book .
2. The Character Of The Book.
3. The Purpose Of The Book.
4. Our Lord’s Use Of The Book .
5. The Unity Of The Book .
Xxxv. The Great Refusal Jonah I.
Xxxvi. The Great Fish And What It Means. The Psalm Jonah Ii .
Xxxvii. The Repentance Of The City · Jonah Iii.
Xxxviii. Israel’s Jealousy Of Jehovah Jonah Iv .
Scale of 2 Kilometers: 0_____._____1_____._____2
Plan of Nineveh.
(From the Enc;•clopaedia Biblica, iii . 3423, by permission of the Publishers, Messrs. A. and C. Blac k.) Explanation of Symbols: N = Nahum; A = Later Addition.
Special Charts. -mjm.
Bible Hands..10 Key Books
Bible Reflections Chart..Golden Lampstand.
CBR: Summary Reflections of the Old Testament: Genesis – Malachi.
The Bible as God’s Word, as the Revelation to mankind, as the Holy Scriptures of the Jewish People, the ancient Hebrews to the modern Israelis, is a Holy Book and Divine Writings through inspiration, and historical transmission by the people. When I come to its pages in my rebellious teen years, very illiterate and ignorant of the world I lived in, it instructed me with spiritual truth that I was amazed by and attracted to in the simplest way. It’s been 52 years that I have travelled with this Book of Life. Now in my 68th year, after reflecting on this Text of God, writing from my hospital bed, approaching death, I am anxious to complete the Christian Biblical Reflections as my last will and testament to my Family, Friends, and all the others who might by chance encounter this work. Many ask, “Why do you believe, follow, and value this Book?” My testimony is this: the Holy Bible of both the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament has been my salvation in God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. So, let us turn to the Book.
The Book has educated and guided me in countless ways and in a manner that I did not readily perceive. It nurtured me in the English tongue and in other languages. Th reading of its pages, book by book, introduced a world of knowledge that soon captured my heart and mind. As it taught me, molded my thinking, I discovered a world of Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others that its doctrines taught. In order to understand this Book, we are led into a world of learning and literature. It causes us to learn our languages in a very clear and detailed way. We are made to attend to the letters, words, sentences, verses, chapters, and the books in a thorough manner. It makes us think and ask questions; it gives us answers in our quest. We are made to reflect on ancient things and discover new things in turn.
Earliest Human Development, Evolution & Civilization in Genesis. (Gen 1-12).
World of Adam, Noah, Abram. (Gen. 1-50). Mankind & Gentiles. (2,000 Years)
World of Moses. Egyptians & Wilderness. Joshua. Gentiles. (200 Years)
World of Judges: Joshua – Samuel. Gentiles. (400 Years)
World of Monarchs & Kings: Saul – David – Solomon. Divided Monarchy. Gentiles. (600 Years)
Prophets: Isaiah to Malachi. Messiah. Gentiles. (400 Years)
World between Old & New Testaments: Messiah & Gentiles: Malachi – Messiah. (400 Years)
Genesis to Malachi and Mathew to Revelation tell a continuous historical story of a Land, People, and Book, comprising the story of Creation, Judgement, and Salvation. In Genesis, the origin of this story begins. God is declared existing as Creator of all things of Heaven and Earth and the world of man. It tells of the Creation Week, of the account of the creation of man, of the earliest civilization of mankind in the land of Shinar or Mesopotamia, of the Great Flood and the end of that world, of the new beginning of Noah and his three sons, and of the Tower of Babel in human unification and Divine intervention in the creation of languages, races, and nations. Then we have the chosen Shemites, the Hebrews, in the Call of Abram or Abraham, whose story continues in Isaac, then Jacob-Israel and the Twelve Sons of Israel. In this story of some 2,000 years from Adam to Abraham, we have God (Elohim) whose Name is Jehovah (YHWH) as the Lord of all the earth and mankind. We see Him interacting with His creatures from time to time and in various ways as in dreams and visions or appearances. All that He does conforms to the rule of life and purpose, that is, what He makes He also maintains to judge or save. He allows man, the human race, to evolve, develop, grow, multiply, invent, and spread throughout the world. He never loses sight of His Words, Commands, Demands, Promises, and Prophecies.
When we come to Genesis, the first Book of the Old Testament or Covenant, we confront doctrines and claims that are opposed to many of our knowledge, teachings, and ideas or theories. Nature as we know it in all its physical, material, and substantial forms, visible or invisible, is declared to be the Work of His Hands. It’s a simple or simplified story that we read, but it is clearly the claim of a Personal God as Creator and Maker, the Almighty or Shaddai, who involves Himself with those He chooses and Who follow Him. His Image and Likeness in man is of the utmost concern to Him, and He seeks to form and develop the divine life and nature in His people. He covenants with them, He cultivates spiritual qualities like faith, hope, and love, like joy and gratitude, like obedience, faithfulness, and sympathy, etc., etc. He does not impose His Will and Way on mankind in a capricious way, or as a Tyrant controlling man as a robot. These things and many such things are found in the Book.
God makes a Land for the People where His Words are fulfilled and unfolded, and in that People to produce the Story in the Book, which once recorded, becomes the Divine Scrolls of the Sacred Scriptures. In the Book of God’s Words man is offered a divine way to live which will lead to blessings, salvation, and eternal life. The Book will educate us in many ways which we will find surprising. We will discover that our English language is related to other languages as a class, that our Alphabet is derived from Latin, which got it from Greeks, which got it from the Phoenicians and Hebrews, which got it from earlier peoples: India’s Sanskrit and the early Sumerians. We learn from the Book the tongue expresses the thoughts of the mind. We learn that the Egyptian Hieroglyphics (Holy Writings in Pictures) were like the earliest Sumerians’, which indicate that man’s speech as a language is expressed in symbols and pictures. These symbols and pictures representing words and ideas are organized in syllables, sounds, and letters after the pattern of names and actions. The basic principle of symbolic representation of human thoughts would develop in time into more advanced grammar and syntax with fixed rules and distinction from other cognate tongues. We see this common history of languages everywhere, and in the tongues of the Canaanites with the Hebrews. In time, the written word became the means of communication among the nations and peoples in the trade and traditions. This development of language became very advanced in Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, and modern languages. Other nations also developed their writing from similar manners, until the modern world is filled with words and meanings far beyond the primitive origins.
In the Bible is found History, Religion, Science, Wisdom & such like; but it is not a History Book, Science Book, Medicine Book, Law Book, Philosophy Book, or the like; it records those things more or less, as part of the Divine Story of God’s participation in humanity. God’s interest is with His creative interest & design, His Will & Purpose. The Plan of God is a creative history, or story, a generational account of human life from its genesis to its completion. From Adam to Noah we find an ancient world, consisting of the simplest things of human life. We are given very little details, only seeds that will develop, evolve, & spread as civilization. It was a primitive world where God, as the Lord God, Jehovah, responds to man as he grows, moves & lives. We are not to think that God ordered the generations as a unrelated Participant, but seeks man’s response to Himself as Face to Face. Some say that “the chicken comes before the egg?” But in the Bible we have the Eternal Infinite Transcendent God creating all things, including the chicken & man from His own Being & Substance, His Spiritual Nature. This is the genesis, germ, grain, seed, kernel, the point of the creation of the universe & all in it, in the heavens or earth. What is determined is being, existence & life. The creative egg must produce or become the chicken, hence the chicken lays the eggs, the eggs become many chicken to this date. This is so with man. Adam was not formed out of nothing, but in Genesis he is created in God’s Word & Will. God’s Word is the Seed of Life by which he formed, molded, built man. Adam out of earth becomes a living soul, a life that lives, by the spirit, or divine breath. Always remember, “From nothing comes nothing,” zero is nothing by itself; it is no number. But God is One, & all must come from Him as a seed. It is the divine generation that Genesis of the Bible records & relates the earliest
Earliest Human Development, Evolution & Civilization in Genesis. (Gen 1-12). Scripture teaches me of God as Creator, a Personal God Who speaks, sees, moves, and exists in time & space. He does things in order & design, according to His Plan & Will or Desire. He is the Maker of all things: of the universe, nature, the world, life, reality, existence, being, substance, time, space, & whatever can be named of His Creation & Production. This is the Biblical Theology, Philosophy, Religion, Science, & Doctrine. It teaches me in simplicity & uniquely of truth, wisdom, & life. The world exists, nature is, man is, & Scripture testifies that this creation of things & beings is of God the Creator. Further it teaches you of created things that live, move, grow, reproduce, and such like. It teaches of man, humans, as the highest form of life on earth, above the vegetation, above the fishes of the sea & all aquatic life, above the birds of the air & all Aves creatures on land & in the air, above all animal life, above the mammals of the earth. Man is presented to us as the replica of the Divine, divine reproduction & representation, as superior to all other creatures, as the lord of the earth. Man as chief of creatures has meaning different than animals, has purpose, has place, responsibility, & accountability. Man, both male & female, is the Image & Likeness of God, God-like, divine. He is not God or Deity or the Divine One. Man’s formation is given, his 1st home & relations to animals, his purpose & role as a creature, as an earthling of nature in the world. He is the work of the Lord God, Jehovah, or Lord, & is placed in a Garden in Eden in lower Mesopotamia near the Persian Gulf. His original charge was very simple; but he failed, the failure or fall was judged & they were expelled from the Garden of Eden. Their fall was the snare of a serpent, later called Satan & Devil, as man’s enemy. Man by the Woman would continue in the earth as a seed, the Seed of Woman, at war with the serpent’s seed. Man in Adam’s fall, is punished, exiled, sentenced to labor till death; hard labor & toil, struggle, & all that comes with survival. Man, as Male, is head, the woman, as Female, is subject to the husband as the male; she suffers giving life or birth; woman as female, as wife, submits to husband’s headship; she is a mother of life in her suffering as her punishment & her reward. Their nakedness & innocence is replaced with clothes & shame, guilt, suffering, & death.
Adam’s children multiplied near Eden, near the Garden of Eden, within 100 miles North & South near the Great Rivers of Mesopotamia. The doctrines & the truth of what we have in chapters 1-3, must be enlarged & grow towards fulfillment in chapters 1-6, the old & earliest world. The commands of God, His worship, knowledge, wisdom, life & living, marriage, family, work or duty, & 100s of other doctrines of the 1st world. The generations from Adam to Noah consisting of some 1500 years of the ancient calendar of the pre-flood world, which is unknown to us, leading up to Moses. We see the continuation of Adam’s Fall, the Sin, & sin-nature, in his seed or progeny in the cosmic & human conflict of good & evil. Sins multiplied in countless forms, & multiplied in men or mankind, such as: hate, murder, lies, enmity, violence, rape, sexual promiscuity & perversions, excess, self-will, & countless other forms of man’s sinfulness. We must keep in mind that the Words of God must continue in man’s exile, in human development, & continues to this very day. God’s creation must continue, His judgment must be executed, & His salvation must operate & advance in adaptation or response to mankind. Man’s unique abilities begin to appear in his works, inventions, tools, instruments, food, clothing, trades, music, & much more. His knowledge of himself and His world, of nature & life, compounded according to his numbers. In time, men & women would compete with & against each other; they would fight & war; they would make & defend claims, revenge, enslave, etc. God’s judgment on the old world was a Great Flood that destroyed the Old World, sparing only a select few. But not only the evil is revealed but the good also, like: grace of God, His glory, wisdom, kindness, mercy, judgment, creating, preserving, saving, destroying, dividing, etc. Man also has virtues, blessings, goodness, rule, care, wisdom, knowledge, choice, will, feelings, discrimination, imagination, thinking, joy, protection, guardian-ship, faith, obedience, etc. Thus far for Adam’s Headship.
After the Great Flood of Noah & Noah’s three sons, we have the Federal Headship added in Noah with a New Covenant, a Testament & Will. Noah becomes the Patriarch of a New World, the Gentiles of the earth. Noah’s three sons (Shem, Ham, Japhet) become the Father of peoples, tongues, nations of all mankind in the world. Noah’s additional children, born after the Great Flood, also multiplied the people of the earth near & far. Also following the 2 Great Rivers, east & west; other generations would later follow other rivers & water places flowing & steaming in other directions. The story is told of 2 nations & peoples by the time of Abraham the Shemite “the River Crosser”. With the Age of Adam, Noah, & his 3 sons, came the Age of Gentiles. Mankind evolved in various ways overcoming struggles, adaptations, and mutations (Survival of the Fittest). The roots of unification quickly turned into an unhealthy fear, arrogance, and disbelief of humanity’s goodness. Nimrod is introduced of the Hametic roots as well as the last Usurper of Divine Power through War and Subjugation of the Mesopotamian people. The Sumerian Hamites became the 1st civilization developing thousands of diverse habits of living, encompassing both Good and Evil.
From these roots all other generations of mankind learned, copied, traded, followed, & added additional practices & innovations of their own. They created their own customs, traditions, inventions, adding knowledge, wisdom, & government. Evolving from primitive wars and conflicts, tools, weapons, & techniques were perfected to subdue & overpower their enemies. During this age slavery evolved, as well as racism, prejudice of other nationalities, jealousy, pride & unspeakable evils. Conversely, mankind with his depraved nature also developed the good,& better ways & things. Mankind of all the nations & tongues, family units & tribes in every country & land with national pride. The Sumerian way, the Accadian way; others, likewise from far east to west, and slowly learning how to communicate with each other through Pictographs, Hieroglyphics, Cuneiforms developing the Alphabet including every tongue everywhere. Through this constant intermarriage and intermingling of customs, languages, trading of commerce, slaves, captives of war, etc… laid the foundation for our modern world & civilizations. The major doctrines of human civilization was being birthed into education, customs, traditions, culture, etc… This gave way to the framework of theology, philosophy, religion, wisdom, governments, Kingships, Lordships, family, industry, trade, craftsmanship, schools, learning, writing, etc…
These five centuries between the Great Flood & the call of Abraham, shows God’s interest in the Gentiles, of which the Noahic Covenant was formed, according to the prophecy of the Father & Patriarch Noah, determined each unique place in the dispensation & the occupation of land. Shem was prophetically chosen, blessed and favored by God. Shem’s progeny (his seed) were to preserve the knowledge of the Biblical God & the origins of all things & all mankind. The divine truth, preserved in part, was often distorted, forgotten, altered, & displaced in various forms of idolatry & lies. Mankind fell into darkness & depravity: Wars waged, the Semites conquered the Hamites, and after 1,000 years Accadians, Babylonians, & Assyrians ruled over other the nations & peoples of other tongues. The skill of writing became necessary in order to exchange information & interact with each other. The 100s of years the Gentiles were in power from the Tower of Babel to Abram (400) years, & from Abram to Moses, some (400) years; which lead us lead to Assyria & Egypt at odds in competition & wars in the Middle East, foremost in Canaan & Arabia. Abram the Hebrew of Padan-Aram or Chaldea-Aramea, was called and led by Divine Words to become Abraham the Believer, Friend of God, Prophet & Patriarch of a new race of followers of the One True Living God. Abraham would witness of God in a world of Gentiles & testify of Divine Truth to mankind. His Testimony of God’s Covenant with man was of Faith & Obedience according to the Truth & Wisdom from Above. His purpose was to fulfill his dispensational call & prophetic responsibility & ministry, to become Father of many Nations, Spiritual Nations & of the Hebrews. In Isaac & Jacob, this was transferred & ratified by Word and Blood. In Jacob, who became Israel, who became the Patriarch of 12 Tribes of Israel, to whom the dispensational Covenant of God to Abraham was transferred to him as Jacob-Israel Israel still is not in possession of the Promised Land, nor has become a Nation from whom many Nations. He becomes a people in Aram, married to Arameans Semites & Hebrews. Israel with his 12 sons & 12 tribes of Israel return to Canaan, & still not in possession of the any part of the Land, except for a burial ground for his wives, Rachael and Leah. Meanwhile his other slave wives. In Egypt he becomes a great numerous people awaiting deliverance.
World of Moses. Egyptians & Wilderness. Joshua. Gentiles. (200 Years)
From the birth of Moses to the death of Joshua was some 200 years. During those 2 centuries the Hebrews multiplied as the house of Israel, they suffered as foreigners & slaves; were delivered by the LORD through Moses, Aaron & 10 plagues of judgment on Egypt, crossed the Red Sea (Yam Sof), lived & wondered in the wilderness, or the Arabian Desert. In the wilderness at Mount Sinai, or Horeb. God delivered to Moses 10 Words or Commandments of His Law or Torah as the Covenant between God and Israel as a Nation. In Adam His dispensational covenant was in His commandments, to Adam with Eve, was obedience to eternal life; a covenant which continued in man thence forward as a promise to Noah to Abraham, to Israel to David & to Messiah, Christ, in Whom it was a gift of God by the Holy Spirit, & in Christ offered to all men, Jews & Gentiles, continuing till Christ returns. Though the dispensations change, the covenants are not deleted but another placed above & beyond it, with better promises & properties, conditions, feature, etc. The world had become lawless, disorderly, vile, depraved & in endless such things, & only altered in the statistics of more in number, which invented more devices of a moral condition that was contagious, that made leprosy looked clean. God would fulfill His Promises, His Work would meet the need of this sickness & disease.
The Law, 10 Words, would be the moral medicine to prescribe for the diagnosis. We read the 10 Commandments of God’s Law, His words, written on Tablets of stones by the Finger of God, then rewritten by Moses on New Tablets. In the 10 Plagues of Egypt’s judgment, we read of the 1st & 10th as related & corresponding. As with the human hands in anatomy, our body has a left & a right, with 5 fingers on each, just like 2 tablets. The 1st tablet started with the great commandment in the Law on Sinai, as a thumb the great finger; the 2nd tablet ended with the great commandment of the voice of God adding no more. 2 hands with 5 fingers, each with a thumb as the first & the Last when the hands are held out with palms visible. In between are 8 fingers in pairs matching, each different set of 2. These hands & fingers interact with each other to do anything & everything. When the palms are turned down & become hidden, then they connect at the thumbs, while the fingers moved opposite each other.
These things are prophetic symbolism of a unique kind in the 10 Commandments, when explored & understood, they explain the Law, the Torah. In analogy, we see in the divine Word in 10 Books are to be understood the essential books to our picture of the Bible. Here are the 10 Books you must compare against your list: on the left is the Old Testament consisting of Genesis, Deuteronomy, Psalms, Isaiah & Daniel; on the right is the New Testament consisting of the Gospel of John, Romans, Ephesians, Hebrews & Revelation (Apocalypse). In Genesis all is hidden as seeds; in the Apocalypse all is matured as to what they became. I have fully substantiated the 5 Old Testament books in Christian Biblical Reflections of the Old Testament of the Bible. So too, Exodus, is not one of the five O.T. essential Books, but supports Genesis & Deuteronomy (the 2nd Law). Deuteronomy as the 2nd Law replacing the 1st Law is the key book of the Torah, all the essentials of Exodus, Leviticus & Numbers are in Deuteronomy, the Words of Moses, the lawgiver, prophet & deliverer of Israel. All the rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices, offerings, anointings, the Aaron & Leviticus priesthood all displace by the Melchizedek priesthood symbolized in Genesis, revealed in Psalms, prophesized in in the prophets form Israel to Malachai. Israel as a Nation was expected to witness to the Gentiles of God & His kingdom. The temple hid the tabernacle; prophets prophesied of Messiah would fulfill & displace the law, priesthood & monarchy, the poetic Books of Job, David, Psalms, Proverbs, Solomon’s Song, are incorporated in the spiritual truth of the New Testament as useful to this new dispensation.
Egypt has left remains of the great empire of Kings & Pharaohs who ruled for some 2500 years, more or less in various degrees of power & at times by foreigners. The Egyptian world is well documented in thousands of tests & artifacts, monuments, & testimonies of other nations. In Moses’ day it had a long rich culture, advanced far beyond the days of Joseph the son of Jacob, who like Moses, became a prince of Egypt. Polytheism, idolatry, was grotesquely weird & insane. Its holy language & script was means of perpetuating this falsification of God & His truth. It was the Emperial Power, along with a few other powers to the north, south, east, and west. It was the envy of the world, & jealousy of the kingdoms of the north-west, & of the north-east. It became the teacher of many nations, peoples, & countries. Even in our age its glory is golden & strange. Moses, the Hebrew, was raised in all this, just as was Joseph Jacob’s son in his teen years, Moses treated as an Egyptian, raised in royalty, & power as a prince. Then he fled Egypt from Pharaoh, & settled among the ancient Arabs, the Midianites, in the land that covered what the Arabs now call “the Hegira’, where the sacred pilgrimage journey from Medina to Mecca in Saudi Arabia covers, & where many returns from Mecca to Medina to the sacred mosque of Mohammed the Prophet of the Quran of Allah. In Midia (“northwest Arabian Peninsula, on the east shore of the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea”) he married Jethro’s, the Midian priests, daughter & worked as a shepherd of Jethro’s flock.
Thus, Moses the Hebrew, from birth, nursed by his mother an Israelite slave, from early childhood learned the way of Egypt till he was a grown man; then from manhood to senior years lived as a Midianite among the ancient Arabs, who were descendants of Abraham the Semitic Hebrew. In this world & age Moses was called of God to deliver Israel from Egyptian slavery, to become God’s people & servants. In this, God created a new dispensation with Moses, as lawgiver, & the Torah’s foundation of the new nation. The five Books of Moses speak of all these things, where God by Moses & Aaron established a national people of a divine theocracy to further his purpose with man. But this dispensation, as a Mosaic system, was doomed to fail, because of the natural man’s reluctance to faith & obedience to God. Though the were progeny seed of Abraham the Friend of God, they followed not Abraham as a nation from time to time. But God had his witness & testimony in the world among the nations in his own people.
Though the Mosaic system failed, the Books of Moses, the Torah, would not fail, but continue to this hour. The Writings of Moses would lead to the Judges from Joshua to Samuel, thence the Monarchy from David to Messiah, Who according to Moses’ Law & Prophecy, foretold us of the Messiah-Prophet, Who would make the Law glorious in its fulfillment, & add a new dispensation, the new Testament & Covenant, established better things, promises, & purposes. In the Book He would form a Nation by the Book, beginning with Joshua or Jesus,then all the 20 Judges of Israel,the Monarchy of the 20 Kings of Judah, and the 20 Kings of Israel, with the 20 Prophets of the Divided Monarchy, that is, the 2 Kingdoms. The Gentiles would have a Sign & Wonder, Testimony and Example of the Divine Word, fulfilling the transformation of the natural man to the spiritual man. Then the Word Incarnate would appear, and with him a New Testament,to complete the Bible, the Book of God, the Word of God. This new dispensation would continue with the Jews or Hebrew or Israelites till the Second Advent of Christ-Messiah. The Hebrew Bible becomes the Third of the themes of God with His creation. He needs and wants a Land, a People, a Book; in order to create the people as the Lord’s so He may have a Home to Dwell in and with them as God. The Gentiles would enter relations with God by their treatment to Israel; Israel would be disciplined by God by using the Gentiles to punish Israel for disobedience to the Law of Moses, and their disregard for God, their unfaithfulness, unbelief, ingratitude and idolatry, till the Times of the Gentiles are come to full end. The Church of the New Testament is also subject to the power of the Gentiles till the End. Both Jews and Christians are to be a spiritual people subject to a higher power, living in a spiritual Kingdom with spiritual Laws. The Arabs too, in the Quran, where it substantiates the Bible, confirms scripture, supports Truth and the Doctrines of the Word of God, are blessed with the true believers as children of Abraham the Believer.
World of Judges: Joshua – Samuel. Gentiles. (400 Years)
World of Judges, from Joshua to Samuel, some 400 years plus, was the period between Joshua to Samuel. The Book of the Law of Moses was to be read, studied, obeyed and fulfilled by the children of Israel of the 12 sons of Jacob, in covenant with the Lord their God. The Judges were not Kings but deliverers of Israel from the local Gentile powers in and around Canaan or Palestine. Joshua’s conquest of Canaan by eradicating or expelling the 7 Gentile nations of Canaan was incomplete at the time of his death. Israel was to complete the conquest and possess the land as the land of Israel, by doing so making Canaan or Palestine to be Israel. But they constantly failed in disobedience to God and the neglect of the Law of Moses, the Word of God, the Bible, the Book, that is Scripture. Instead Israel intermarried with the forbidden Gentiles of Canaan, & practiced the idolatries of the Gentiles; making the God of Israel like to one of the dumb vain idols, so-called gods? But often repentant in their affliction by the Gentiles, sought the Lord their God with tears, & He in mercy & compassion, remembering His promise to the Patriarchs, would deliver them repeatedly. This period of the Judges progressed increasingly worse from generation after generation; and they were delivered by Judges spectacular ways. Barack & Deborah, Gideon, Jepthah, Samson, & at last Samuel. Samuel was a Priest, Prophet or Seer, & Judge, who would anoint their first two kings, Saul and David, in the creating the Monarchy, subjugating the Theocracy of the Mosaic system to human Kingship and Lordship, thus rejecting God, the Lord, as their true King. The Gentiles continued to spread throughout the earth entering ever new countries and lands. Mankind continued to alienate themselves from the truth of God, the way of God and the knowledge of God. The Gentile powers and rule of governments increasingly became imperial, where a King became a Great King or King of Kings, as we read in Genesis, in the days of Abraham, against the Mesopotamian Great King Chedorlaomer of Elam, invading the southern nations and Canaan. By the time we reach Samuel the Land of Israel was dominated by the Lords & Kings of the Philistines or the ancient Palestanians, the Ishmaelites, Medianites, Moabites, Ammorites, desert Arabs and others; all were multiplying in numbers and power. Israel would often ally themselves with these nations, often fight with them, & intermarry with them, & fornicated with them in idolatry. Samson & Samuel shows how degraded the people had become not trusting in the Lord to defend and protect them, to bless and keep them. The Law of Moses was almost vanquished and nullified, its feasts rarely kept, & at Shiloh they looked for a King like those of the Gentiles. They demanded old Samuel to find and anoint for them a King to put their hope and trust in, to fight their battles, & to rule over them as a Lord over slaves. Samuel was reluctant to do so, but the Lord God granted their wish and gave to them Saul of Benjamin, in whom they delighted to their own harm and loss. King Saul proved to be useless against the Lords of the Philistines; he became cowardly & yielded to the Peoples’ lust; he was rejected by the Lord, & slowly became insane.
World of Monarchs & Kings: Saul – David – Solomon. Divided Monarchy. Gentiles. (600 Years)
World of the Monarch & Kings of Israel and Judah; Saul, David, Solomon and their 2 kingdoms with their 20 Kings each. King Saul was helpless against the Philistine who defied the Lord God of Israel openly, challenging the army of Saul to battle, and even to offer one man to one man contest to decide the battle.The hero champion of the Philistines was the giant named Goliath, which terrified the warriors of Israel and Saul. Then came David, a shepherd boy, to bring food to his brothers in the battle, including his uncle Joab, a Captain in King Saul’s army. David defied the giant for defying God and Israel. He accepted the challenge from the giant Goliath; and with his slingshot and five smooth stones in his hand, met the giant Goliath in the battle field. With one fatal shot, the giant fell dead on the ground and David cut off his head with Goliath’s own sword, thus defeating the Philistines, who fled from the battlefield. This lad, David the shepherd boy, was the one Samuel had secretly anointed at the Word of the Lord. The transfer of the Throne & the Kingdom of the Monarchy was now of utmost necessity, but the insane King Saul would resist it in every way. When he knew the people rejoiced in David who slew 10,000 and Saul merely his 1,000, His insanity became openly displayed to kill David. Samuel was preparing to die; so, set in order the matter of the Kingdom to be transferred to David by the choice of God. Samuel died. Soon after, King Saul and his son Jonathan died in battle while fighting against the Philistines, thus David became King over Israel & Judah.
The Philistines occupied the coastal borderland plains in South Canaan going towards Egypt. The Northern Coastland was possessed by the Phoenicians, above the Sea of Galilee, in upper Galilee. These nations were never dispossessed from the times of Joshua to David, their great cities still flourished, & their maritime commerce never ceased. They traded & interacted with many other Gentiles in the spread & dissemination of language, culture, & goods. The way of Gentiles could be seen everywhere in Israel. The idols of the Gentiles also were established in Israel north, south, east, and west. The world of the Gentile Nations continued to lead humanity to ever greater and newer civilizations, and Israel moved in it’s current direction. King David, with his mighty men and great army, led by his generals or chief captains, and marshalled by his uncle Joab, fought the Philistines & other Canaanites & conquered many local nearby countries, thus making them subservient to Israel. King David established the Kingdom, then he set his heart on the House of God: It’s construction, the Priesthood, the worship in rituals, ceremonies, & musical celebrations in conformity to the Law of Moses that had been given by the Lord. King David composed many Psalms and songs which became part of the book of Psalms of David, with contributions by many others from Solomon to Hezekiah, all the way to Josiah. He built a great Palace for the Monarch, like the great Houses of the Gentile Kings. He wanted to build a great Temple for the God of Israel, far exceeding all the Temples of the Gentiles, the greatest and magnificent House of Jehovah God, the God of Israel. He allied himself with the Gentiles to collect all the supplies and material for the Great House. However, the Lord would not permit him to construct the Temple of God because the blood of his hands. The Lord chose his son Solomon to build the House of God and to establish all things related to the House and it’s worship, Priesthood, & much more. So the Monarch of Israel reached its golden glory in the days of King Solomon, after the death of King David. King Solomon married the daughter of the Pharaoh of Egypt & built a great House in Judea outside Jerusalem, which took 20 years to build, & before he moved hi wife, & wives into it. He married 100s of daughters of the Kings & Lords of the Gentiles all around himself. These were his concubines and all this was to maintain peace and acquire help and wealth. Even so, peace was short lived.
King Solomon had taxed the people heavily, burdened with labor greatly, in order to build the Temple and pay the Gentiles for their help. The 10 Tribes of Israel which resorted to the House of Saul, led by Jeroboam I in the rebellion & division of the Kingdom of the Kingdom in the South, as the Capitol, with the Priesthood of Levites. The Northern Kingdom of Israel of 10 Tribes made Samaria the Capitol & Jeroboam 1 its King. All this was allowed by the Lord through the mouth of the prophet Ahijah. But God intended to restore and reunite the kingdom to the House of David, but King Jeroboam resisted the will of God, to keep the Kingdom for himself. The 2 Kingdoms continued till their captivity, & exile by the Gentile powers; the north conquered by the Assyrian, in the days of its 20th King. Judah and Jerusalem continued longer, but were conquered by neo-Babylonia in the days of its 20th & last King, King Hoshea. This period from Jeroboam I to their captivity was above 250 years, & none of the Kings of Samaria were good. The Southern Kingdom of Jerusalem & Judah continued over 100 years (total sum of of less than 350 years) till there conquest, destruction, captivity, exile, deportation, and dispersion among the Gentiles. The Kings of Jerusalem had 10 bad Kings & 10 good Kings, & of the good kings the greatest were Hezekiah & Josiah. We must leave the age of the Monarchy of Israel & turn our focus to the Prophets.
Prophets: Isaiah to Malachi. Messiah. Gentiles. (400 Years)
Prophets of the Divided Monarchy & their Captivity: Elijah to Isaiah to Malachi: (400 Years). Those who God has revealed Himself, & spoken to & sent to speak on His behalf are prophets. We are concerned with the line and School of Prophets from Samuel to Messiah. The prophets of the Monarchy were many; the Prophets of the Divided Monarchy into 2 Kingdoms were 20. The 20 Prophets were the Monarchal Prophets ministering during the days & the years of the Kings. Elijah is the first introduced to us in the reign of King Ahab & his wife Jezebel, in the Northern Kingdom of Samaria of the 10 Tribes of Israel. The idolatry had become so prevalent that God needed to intervene. Jezebel had 400 false prophets to her shame. The spectacular and miraculous ministry of Elijah & Elisha were recorded to develop the Scriptures in its prophetical testimony of the Word of God. In the Prophetical Books of Isaiah to Malachi, God revealed His dispensational relationship with His people by the federal headship of their Kings & Rulers. The Kings were God’s representatives to the Nation, & as such were responsible to God for the state of the Nation before Him. The continual need to send them Prophets, like He sent Judges in the period of the Judges, raising up deliverers & Judges, to recall them to the Law of Moses, to Himself as their God, to obedience unto righteousness & holiness, to faithfulness & usefulness, only confirmed the sinful nature of man. How is He to save the world if his chosen people were as bad as the Gentiles who knew Him not? & how could He treat the Gentiles with judgement & punishment if Israel was as guilty, if not more guilty than the Gentiles, because they had the Divine Word in the Law of Moses?
The Lord must keep His Word & His Promise, Israel must be chastised by the hands of the Gentiles, till he send the salvation and blessing promised since the days of King David & King Solomon. The Prophetic Spirit testifies of Messiah, Who from the beginning pf creation was the Model of our creation in God’s glory; Who was promised as the Seed of Woman to deal with the enmity between Satan & sin, & by the conflict of this enmity He would prevail in regaining what was lost, that is innocence, life, eternal life, and God’s presence. The law of Moses, that is the Mosaic system, was given to guide Israel till Messiah, Who would complete the work the Law in the transformation of man’s inner man, to make the natural into a spiritual man. In the internal guidance of the Law, God would use Israel as light & testimony & example to the Gentiles, that He might reclaim man &thus save the world. The Prophets who would review Israel’s behavior & state, would preview a coming King & Lord & Messiah, by this word the law of life & salvation. This distinct purpose was symbolically by signs & wonders, by poetry & parables, & by graphic examples in the life & ministry by the Prophets. Elijah & Elisha were the 1st to exhibit this typology; after them other prophets would be used in a lesser fashion. The 4 Major Prophets of Isaiah, Jeramiah, Ezekiel, & Daniel showed a fuller prophetic feature of this. Then all the 12 Minor Prophets from Hosea to Malachi completed the work in specific or targeted systems and conditions, supporting the witness of the Major Prophets. The emphasis & focus of the Major & Minor Prophets always brought judgement on Israel for their failure, though always giving hope to a Remnant. The Gentile powers in afflicting & destroying Israel, were by that, accountable to the Lord God for their actions, & God would deal with them accordingly. Israel as a people, nation, congregation, son, wife, and other such relations to God, as man, that is Adam, the 1st man, to prepare for the 2nd & Last Man, the Lord from heaven. So, the Prophetic Word concerning Messiah & His Kingdom & 100s of or related things, was given of the future for both Israel & Jews & all Gentiles. Malachi gives the promise of the coming Messiah.
World between Old & New Testaments: Messiah & Gentiles. Malachi – Messiah. (400 Years)
After Malachi, the last of the Prophets, came the period prophesied by Daniel, concerning the 4 Great Monarchies of the Gentiles: Neo-Babylonians, Medo-Persians, Greeks, & Romans. The Jews would be ruled by these Gentile Powers, dispersed & disintegrated as a People, no longer a Nation. The Mosaic system of the Law barely survived, the Hebrew language all but vanished. The Greeks would influence the Jews until they were Hellenist Jews, not Hebrews. They translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek (called the LXX, Septuagint, or 70). Various Apocryphal Books came to be popular, as seen in the Latin Vulgate of the Roman Catholics & in most of the older versions up to the Protestant Reformation. These Apocryphal Books were modeled after the Bible Books in Poetry, History, & Wisdom literature. In them memory of the Hebrew Bible was kept alive, Mosaic system kept alive in parts and pieces. The Jewish Wars with Greeks is seen in the Books of the Maccabees. Longing for Messiah increased in many ways. The Samaritan Version was preserved the ancient Hebrew as the Sacred Scroll. Greek Philosophy was absorbed into Jewish mysticism, producing a Jewish Philosophy seen in various parts of the Apocrypha, & ultimately seen in the Philo of Alexandria. In Josephus, all these things may be learned, & all the details relevant to them. The Maccabean Dynasty in seeking to restore Judaism, resisted the Greeks & were destroyed. The Romans conquered the Greeks and ruled the Jews.
Among the Jews who long for a restored Judaism of the Torah, the Essenes became the most prominent & influential. They are now known by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls of Qumran. Their Jewish Asceticism & Mysticism were a rejection of Jerusalem’s Judaism as corrupt. Their community was male celibates in white linen gowns. In contrast to another form of Judaism before the New Testament developed into the Sadducees of the Temple, & the Pharisees of the Law. Other sects were like the Zealots wanting to overthrow the Romans. These & other forms of the Jews under the Great Gentile Powers prepared the way for the Messiah & His kingdom. The Messianic longing becomes great as they saw in the Book of Daniel & all the Prophets.
Here ends the Summary of Christian Biblical Reflections of the Old Testament Bible. -mjm, 2021. (This Summary was typed from the hand-written original by all my kids, a grandson. Thanks.)