THE PROPHETS OF ISRAEL AND THEIR PLACE IN HISTORY TO THE CLO

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: THE PROPHETS OF ISRAEL AND THEIR PLACE IN HISTORY TO THE

Postby admin » Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:39 pm

Part 2 of 2

But though Hosea dwells on the sonship of Ephraim with great tenderness, especially in speaking of the childhood of the nation, the age of its divine education (xi. 1 seq.), this analogy does not exhaust the whole depth of Israel's relation to Jehovah. In ancient society the attitude of the son to the father, especially that of the adult son employed in his father's business, has a certain element of servitude (Mal. iii. 17). The son honours his father as the servant does his master (Mal. i. 6.; Exod. xx. 12). Even now among the Arabs the grown-up son and the slave of the house do much the same menial services, and feel much the same measure of constraint in the presence of the head of the house. It is only towards his little ones that the father shows that tenderness which Hosea speaks of in describing the childhood of Ephraim. And so the whole fulness of Jehovah's love to His people, and the way in which Israel has proved unfaithful to that love, can be fitly brought out only in the still more intimate relation of the husband to his spouse.

In looking at the allegory of Jehovah's marriage with mother-Israel, or with the mother-land, we must again begin by considering the current ideas which served to suggest such a conception. Alike in Israel and among its heathen neighbours, the word Baal, that is "Lord" or "Owner," was a common appellative of the national Deity. Instead of the proper names compounded with Jehovah, which are common from the time of Elijah, we frequently find in old Israel forms compounded with Baal which are certainly not heathenish. When we meet with a son of Saul named Ish-Baal, a grandson Meri-Baal, both names meaning "Baal's man," while David in like manner gives to one of his sons the name of Beeliada, "Baal knoweth,'' we may be sure that Baal is here a title of the God of Israel. [12] In Hosea's time the worshipping people still addressed Jehovah as Baali, "my Lord," and the Baalim of whom he often speaks (ii. 13; xiii. 1, 2) are no other than the golden calves, the recognised symbols of Jehovah. Now, among the Semites the husband is regarded as the lord or owner of his wife (1 Pet. iii. 6), whom in fact, according to early law, he purchases from her father for a price (Exod. xxi. 8; xxii. 17). [13] The address Baali is used by the wife to her husband as well as by the nation to its God, and so in an early stage of thought, when similarities of expression constantly form the basis of identifications of idea, it lay very near to think of the God as the husband of the worshipping nationality, or of the mother-land. [14] It is not at all likely that this conception was in form original to Hosea, or even peculiar to Israel; such developed religious allegory as that which makes the national God, not only father of the people, but husband of the land their mother, has its familiar home in natural religions. In these religions we find similar conceptions, in which, however, as in the case of the fatherhood of the deity, the idea is taken in a crass physical sense. Marriage of female worshippers with the godhead was a common notion among the Phoenicians and Babylonians, and in the latter case was connected with immoral practices akin to those that defiled the sanctuaries of Israel in Hosea's day. [15] It even seems possible to find some trace in Semitic heathenism of the idea of marriage of the Baal with the land which he fertilises by sunshine and rain. Semitic deities, as we saw in Lecture I. (p. 26), are conceived as productive powers, and so form pairs of male and female principles. Heaven and Earth are such a pair, as is well known from Greek mythology; and, though Baal and Ashtoreth are more often represented as astral powers (Sun and Moon, Jupiter and Venus), it is certain that fertilising showers were one manifestation of Baal's life-giving power. Even the Mohammedan Arabs retained the name of Baal (ba'l) for land watered by the rains of heaven. The land that brings forth fruit under these influences could not fail to be thought of as his spouse; and, in fact, we have an Arabic word ('athary) which seems to show that the fertility produced by the rains of Baal was associated with the name of his wife Ashtoreth. [16] If this be so, it follows that in point of form the marriage of Jehovah with Israel corresponded to a common Semitic conception, and we may well suppose that the corrupt mass of Israel interpreted it in reference to the fertility of the goodly land, watered by the dews of heaven (Deut. xi. 11), on principles that suggested no higher thoughts of God than were entertained by their heathen neighbours.

This argument is not a mere speculation; it gives us a key to understand what Hosea tells us of the actual religious ideas of his people. For we learn from him that the Israelites worshipped the Baalim or golden calves under just such a point of view as our discussion suggests. They were looked upon as the authors of the fertility of the land and nothing more (ii. 5); in other words, they were to Israel precisely what the heathen Baalim were to the Canaanites, natural productive powers. We have already seen that a tendency to degrade Jehovah to the level of a Canaanite Baal had always been the great danger of Israel's religion, when the moral fibre of the nation was not hardened by contest with foreign invaders, and that in early times the reaction against this way of thought had been mainly associated with a sense of national unity, and with the conception of Jehovah as the leader of the hosts of Israel. These patriotic and martial feelings were still strong during the Syrian wars; and in the time of Amos, in spite of the many Canaanite corruptions of the sanctuaries, Jehovah was yet pre-eminently the God of battles, who led Israel to victory over its enemies. But a generation of peace and luxury had greatly sapped the warlike spirit of the nation, while the disorders of the state had loosened the bonds of national unity. The name of Jehovah was no longer the rallying cry of all who loved the freedom and integrity of Israel, and the help which Ephraim had been wont to seek from Jehovah was now sought from Egypt or Assyria. Jehovah was not formally abjured for Canaanite gods; but in the decay of all the nobler impulses of national life He sank in popular conception to their level; in essential character as well as in name the calves of the local sanctuaries had become Canaanite Baalim, mere sources of the physical fertility of the land. And that this view of their power was embodied in sexual analogies of a crass and physical kind, such as we have found to exist among the heathen Semites, is proved by the prevalence of religious prostitution and widespread disregard of the laws of chastity, precisely identical with the abominations of Ashtoreth among the Phoenicians, and accompanied by the same symbolism of the sacred tree, which expressed the conception of the deity as a principle of physical fertility (Hosea iv. 13 seq.).

Thus, in looking at Hosea's doctrine of the marriage of Jehovah with Israel, we must remember that the prophet was not introducing an entirely new form of religious symbolism. The popular religion was full of externally similar ideas; the true personality and moral attributes of Jehovah were lost in a maze of allegory derived from the sexual processes of physical life; and the degrading effects of such a way of thought were visible in universal licentiousness and a disregard of the holiest obligations of domestic purity. In such circumstances, we might expect to find the prophet casting aside the whole notion of a marriage of Jehovah, and falling back like Amos on the transcendency of the Creator and Ruler of the moral universe. But he does not do so. Instead of rejecting the current symbolism he appropriates it; but he does so in a way that lifts it wholly out of the sphere of nature religion and makes it the vehicle of the profoundest spiritual truths. Jehovah is the husband of His nation. But the essential basis of the marriage relation is not physical, but moral. It is a relation of inmost affection, and lays upon the spouse a duty of conjugal fidelity which the popular religion daily violated. The betrothal of Jehovah to Israel is but another aspect of the covenant already spoken of; it is a betrothal "in righteousness and in judgment, in kindness and in love," a betrothal that demands the true knowledge of Jehovah (ii. 19, 20). A union in which these conditions are absent is not marriage, but illicit love; and so the Baalim or local symbols of Jehovah, with which the nation held no moral fellowship, worshipping them merely as sources of physical life and growth, are not the true spouse of Israel; they are the nation's paramours, and their worship is infidelity to Jehovah. There is no feature in Hosea's prophecy which distinguishes him from earlier prophets so sharply as his attitude to the golden calves, the local symbols of Jehovah adored in the Northern sanctuaries. Elijah and Elisha had no quarrel with the traditional worship of their nation. Even Amos never speaks in condemnation of the calves. But in Hosea's teaching they suddenly appear as the very root of Israel's sin and misery. It is perfectly clear that in the time of Hosea, as in that of Amos, the popular worship was nominally Jehovah worship. The oath of the worshippers at Gilgal and Bethel was by the life of Jehovah (iv. 15); the feasts of the Baalim were Jehovah's feasts (ii. 11; 13, ix. 5); the sanctuary was Jehovah's house (ix. 4), the sacrifices His offerings (viii. 13). But to Hosea's judgment this ostensible Jehovah worship is really the worship of other gods (iii. 1). With the calves Jehovah has nothing in common. He is the living God (i. 10), the calves are mere idols, the work of craftsmen (xiii. 2); and the nation which calls the work of its hands a god (xiv. 3) breaks its marriage vow with Jehovah and loves a stranger.

If the prophecy of Hosea stood alone it would be reasonable to think that this attack on the images of the popular religion was simply based on the second commandment. But when we contrast it with the absolute silence of earlier prophets we can hardly accept this explanation as adequate. Amos is as zealous for Jehovah's commandments as Hosea; and, if the one prophet condemns the worship of the calves as the fundamental evidence of Israel's infidelity, while the other, a few years before, passes it by in silence, it is fair to conclude that the matter appeared to Hosea in a much more practical light than it did to Amos. Our analysis of Hosea's line of thought enables us to understand how this was so. Amos judges of the religious state of the nation by its influence on social relations and the administration of public justice. But Hosea places the essence of religion in personal fidelity to Jehovah and a just conception of His covenant of love with Israel. The worship of the popular sanctuaries ignored all this, setting in its place a conception of the Godhead which did not rise above the level of heathenism. The attachment of Israel to the golden calves was not the pure and elevated affection of a spouse for her husband. It was in its very nature a carnal love, and therefore its objects were false lovers, who had nothing in common with the true husband of the nation. Hosea does not condemn the worship of the calves because idols are forbidden by the law; he excludes the calves from the sphere of true religion because the worship which they receive has no affinity to the true attitude of Israel to Jehovah. By this judgment he proves the depth of his religious insight; for the whole history of religion shows that no truth is harder to realise than that a worship morally false is in no sense the worship of the true God (Matt. vi. 24; vii. 22).

As we follow out the various aspects of Hosea's teaching we see with increasing clearness that in all its parts it can be traced back to a single fundamental idea. The argument of his prophecy is an argument of the heart, not of the head. His whole revelation of Jehovah is the revelation of a love which can be conceived under human analogies, and whose workings are to be understood not by abstract reasonings but by the sympathy of a heart which has sounded the depths of human affection, and knows in its own experience what love demands of its object. One of the first points that struck us in Hosea's impassioned delineation of Israel's infidelity, in the inward sympathy with which he mourns over his nation's fall, yet holding fast the assurance that even in that fall the love of Jehovah to His people shall find its highest vindication, was that Jehovah's affection to Israel is an affection that burns within the prophet's own soul, which he has not learned to speak of by rote but has comprehended through the experience of his own life. It is a special characteristic of the Hebrew prophets that they identify themselves with Jehovah's word and will so completely that their personality seems often to be lost in His. In no prophet is this characteristic more notable than in Hosea, for in virtue of the peculiar inwardness of his whole argument his very heart seems to throb in unison with the heart of Jehovah. Amos became a prophet when he heard the thunder of Jehovah's voice of judgment; Hosea learned to speak of Jehovah's love, and of the workings of that love in chastisement and in grace towards Israel's infidelity, through sore experiences of his own life, through a human love spurned but not changed to bitterness, despised yet patient and unselfish to the end, which opened to him the secrets of that Heart whose tenderness is as infinite as its holiness.

In the first chapters of the book of Hosea the faithlessness of Israel to Jehovah, the long-suffering of God, the moral discipline of sorrow and tribulation by which He will yet bring back His erring people, and betroth it to Himself for ever in righteousness, truth, and love, are depicted under the figure of the relation of a husband to his erring spouse. This parable was not invented by Hosea; it is drawn, as we are expressly told, from his own life. The Divine Word first became audible in the prophet's breast when he was guided by a mysterious providence to espouse Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, who proved an unfaithful wife and became the mother of children born in infidelity (1, 2, 3). The details of this painful story are very lightly touched; they are never alluded to in that part of the book which has the character of public preaching — in chapter 1. the prophet speaks of himself in the third person; and as Hosea gave names to the children of Gomer, names of symbolic form, to each of which is attached a brief prophetic lesson (1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 seq.), it is plain that he concealed the shame of their mother and acknowledged her children as his own, burying his bitter sorrow in his own heart. But this long-suffering tenderness was of no avail. In chapter iii. we learn that Gomer at length left her husband, and fell, under circumstances of which Hosea spares the recital, into a state of misery, from which the prophet, still following her with compassionate affection, had to buy her back at the price of a slave. He could not restore her to her old place in his house and to the rights of a faithful spouse; but he brought her home and watched over her for many days, secluding her from temptation, with a loyalty which showed that his heart was still true to her. [17] These scanty details embrace all that we know of the history of Hosea's life; everything else in chapters i. and iii., together with the whole of chapter ii., is pure allegory, depicting the relations of Jehovah and Israel under the analogy suggested by the prophet's experience, but working out that analogy in a quite independent way.

It is difficult to understand how any sound judgment can doubt that Hosea's account of his married life is literal history; it is told with perfect simplicity, and yet with touching reserve. "We feel that it would not have been told at all, but that it was necessary to explain how Hosea became a prophet, how he was led to that fundamental conception of Jehovah's love and Israel's infidelity which lies at the root of his whole prophetic argument. Those who shrink from accepting the narrative in its literal sense are obliged to assume that Hosea was first taught by revelation to think of Jehovah's relation to Israel as a marriage, and that then, the better to impress this thought on his auditors, he translated it into a fable, of which he made himself the chief actor, clothing himself with an imaginary shame which could only breed derision. But in truth, as we have already seen, the history of Hosea's life is related mainly in the third person, and forms no part of his preaching to Israel. It is a history that lies behind his public ministry; and we are told that it was through his marriage with Gomer-bath-Diblaim — whose very name shows her to be a real person, not a mere allegory — that Hosea first realised the truths which he was commissioned to preach. The events recorded in chap. i. are not Hosea's first message to Israel, but Jehovah's first lesson, to the prophet's soul. God speaks in the events of history and the experiences of human life. He spoke to Amos in the thundering march of the Assyrian, and he spoke to Hosea in the shame that blighted his home. [18]

Apart from the still surviving influence of the old system of allegorical interpretation, which, though no longer recognised in principle, continues to linger in some corners of modern interpretation, the chief thing that has prevented a right understanding of the opening chapters of our book is a false interpretation of chap. i. 2, as if Hosea meant us to believe that under divine command he married a woman whom he knew from the first to be of profligate character. But the point of the allegory is that Gomer's infidelity after marriage is a figure of Israel's departure from the covenant God, and the struggle of Hosea's affection with the burning sense of shame and grief when he found his wife unfaithful is altogether inconceivable unless his first love had been pure, and full of trust in the purity of its object. Hosea did not understand in advance the deep prophetic lesson which Jehovah desired to teach him by these sad experiences. It was in the struggle and bitterness of his spirit in the midst of his great unhappiness that he learned to comprehend the secret of Jehovah's heart in his dealings with faithless Israel, and recognised the unhappiness of his married life as no meaningless calamity, but the ordinance of Jehovah, which called him to the work of a prophet. This he expresses by saying that it was in directing him to marry Gomer that Jehovah first spoke to him (comp. Jer. xxxii. 8, where in like manner the prophet tells us that he recognised an incident in his life as embodying a divine word after the event). It was through the experience of his own life, which gave him so deep an insight into the spiritual aspect of the marriage tie, that Hosea was able to develop with inmost sympathy his doctrine of the moral union of Jehovah to Israel, and to transform a conception which in its current form seemed the very negation of spiritual faith, full of associations of the merest nature worship, into a doctrine of holy love, freed from all carnal alloy, and separating Jehovah for ever from the idols with which His name had till then been associated.

The possession of a single true thought about Jehovah, not derived from current religious teaching, but springing up in the soul as a word from Jehovah Himself, is enough to constitute a prophet, and lay on him the duty of speaking to Israel what he has learned of Israel's God. But the truth made known to Hosea could not be exhausted in a single message, like that delivered to Amos. As the prophet's own love to his wife shaped and coloured his whole life, so Jehovah's love to faithless Israel contained within itself the key to all Israel's history. The past, the present, and the future took a new aspect to the prophet in the light of his great spiritual discovery. Hosea had become a prophet, not for a moment, but for all his life.

We have already seen that the greater part of the book of Hosea, from chap. iv. onwards — the only part that has the form of direct address to his people — appears to date from the period of increasing anarchy, while the briefer prophecies in chap, i., associated with the names of Gomer's three children, belong to the reign of Jeroboam II. It would seem, therefore, that Hosea was conscious of his prophetic calling for some years before he appeared as a public preacher; and this fact we can well understand in a nature so poetically sensitive, and in connection with the personal circumstances that first made him a prophet. But it was impossible for him to be altogether silent. He felt that he and his family were living lessons of Jehovah to Israel, and in this feeling he gave to the three children symbolical names, to each of which a short prophetic lesson was attached. In this he was followed by Isaiah, whose sons, Mahar-shalal-hash-baz and Shear-jashub, also bore names expressive of fundamental points in the prophet's teaching.

The eldest of Gomer's sons was named Jezreel. "For yet a little while," saith Jehovah, "and I will punish the house of Jehu for the sin of Jezreel, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. And in that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel" — the natural battlefield of the land. To Hosea, as to Amos, the fall of the house of Jehu and the fall of the nation appear as one thing; both prophets, indeed, appear to have looked for the overthrow of the reigning dynasty, not by intestine conspiracy, as actually happened, but at the hand of the destroying invader. It was fitting, therefore, that the great sin of the reigning dynasty should hold the first place in the record of the nation's defection. To Hosea that sin begins with the bloodshed of Jezreel, the treacherous slaughter of the house of Ahab. The very existence of the ruling dynasty rests on a crime which cries for vengeance.

He's a queer man, Captain Ahab -- so some think -- but a good one. Oh, thou'lt like him well enough; no fear, no fear. he's a grand, ungodly, god-like man, Captain Ahab; doesn't speak much; but, when he does speak, then you may well listen. Mark ye, be forewarned; Ahab's above the common; Ahab's been in colleges, as well as 'mong the cannibals; been used to deeper wonders than the waves; fixed his fiery lance in mightier stranger foes than whales. His lance! aye, the keenest and the surest that out of all our isle! Oh! he ain't Captain Bildad; no, and he ain't Captain Peleg; he's Ahab, boy; and Ahab of old, thou knowest, was a crowned king!"

-- Moby Dick, by Herman Melville


That Hosea judges thus of a revolution accomplished with the active participation of older prophets is a fact well worthy of attention. It places in the strongest light the limitations that characterise all Old Testament revelation. It shows us that we can look for no mechanical uniformity in the teaching of successive prophets. Elisha saw and approved one side of Jehu's revolution. He looked on it only as the death-blow to Baal worship; but Hosea sees another side, and condemns as emphatically as Elisha approved. In the forefront of his condemnation he places the bloodshed, still unatoned, which, according to the view that runs through all the Old Testament and was familiar to every Hebrew, continued to cry for vengeance from generation to generation. But we must not suppose that in Hosea's judgment all would have been well if the house of Omri had retained the throne. The Northern kingship in itself, and quite apart from the question of the particular dynasty, is a defection from Jehovah — "They have made kings, but not by Me; they have made princes, and I knew it not " (viii. 4); "Where now is thy king to save thee in all thy cities, and thy judges, of whom thou, saidst, Give me a king and princes? I gave thee a king in Mine anger, and take him away in My wrath" (xiii. 10, 11). The kingdom of Ephraim, in all its dynasties, rests on a principle of godless anarchy. What wonder, then, that the nation devours her judges like a fiery oven: [19] all their kings are fallen (vii. 7), the monarchy of Samaria is swept away as foam upon the water (x. 7). The ideal which Hosea holds up in contrast to the unhallowed dynasties of the North is the rule of the house of David. In the days of restoration the people shall inquire after Jehovah their God, and David their king (iii. 5). Now, it is not surprising that Amos, who was himself a man of Judah, should represent the re-establishment of the ancient kingdom of David as part of the final restoration; but when Hosea, a Northern prophet, gives utterance to the same thought, he places himself in striking contrast to all his predecessors, who never dreamed of a return of Ephraim to the yoke cast off in the days of the first Jeroboam. No doubt there were many things which made such a thought natural, at least in the days of anarchy that followed the death of Jeroboam II. The stability of the Davidic throne stood in marked contrast to the civil discords and constant changes of dynasty to which the prophet so often alludes; and, though he speaks of Judah as sharing Israel's sin and Israel's fall (v. 5, 10, 13, 14; viii. 14), Hosea regards the corruption of the Southern kingdom as less ancient (xi. 12; Heb., xii. 1) and deep-rooted (iv. 15), and, in his earlier prophecies at least, excludes Judah from the utter destruction of the North. When Jehovah's mercy is withdrawn from Israel He will yet save Judah, though not by war and battle as in days gone by (i. 7). Hosea is so essentially a man of feeling, and not of strict logic, that it would be fruitless to attempt to form an exact picture of his attitude to Judah, expressed as it is in a series of brief allusions scattered over a number of years. In his last picture of Israel's restoration the house of David is not mentioned at all, and images of political glory have no place in his conception of the nation's true happiness. One part of the ideal of Amos is the resubjugation of the heathen once tributary to David; he looks for a return of the ancient days of victorious warfare. But Hosea has altogether laid aside the old martial idea as we found it expressed in Deut. xxxiii. The fenced cities of Judah are a sin, and shall be destroyed by fire (viii. 1-i). The deliverance of Judah is not to be wrought by bow or sword (i. 7); repentant Ephraim says, "We will not ride upon horses" (xiv. 3). His picture of the future, therefore, lacks all the features that give strength to an earthly state; it reads like a return to Paradise (ii. 21 seq.; xiv.). In such a picture the kingship of David is little more than a figure. The return of David's kingdom, as it actually was, would by no means have corresponded with his ideal; but the name of David is the historical symbol of a united Israel. To Hosea the unity of Israel is a thing of profound significance. His whole prophecy, as we know, is penetrated by the conception of the people of Jehovah as a moral person; the unity of Israel and the unity of God are the basis of his whole doctrine of religion as a personal bond of love and fidelity. Thus the political divisions of Israel on the one hand, and on the other the idolatry which broke up the oneness of Israel's God, are set forth by Hosea as parallel breaches of covenant; when he mentions the one he instinctively joins the other with it (viii. 4; x. 1 seq.). In contrast to this twofold defection and division "Jehovah their God and David their king" appear in natural connection.

One sees from all this that in Hosea's hands the old national theory of the religion of Jehovah is on the point of breaking up, and that new hopes take its place. This was indeed inevitable. The ideal of a victorious and happy nation, dwelling apart in a goodly land and secure from invasion in Jehovah's blessing on its warlike prowess, as we find it in the prophecies of Balaam or the Blessing of Moses, was hopelessly shattered by the first contact with a great conquering empire such as Assyria. Amos was the first to realise that the advance of Assyria meant the ruin of Israel as it actually was, but he did not see that the new movements of history meant more than speedy captivity, that Israel could never again be restored on its old footing. To him it still seems possible that the remnant of the nation, purified by sifting judgment, may return to Canaan and restore the ancient kingdom of David. His picture of the last days is no more than a glorified image of the best days of the past, when the flow of Jehovah's blessings, victory in war and prosperous seasons in time of peace, is renewed in fuller measure to a nation purged of sinners. The realism of this picture has no counterpart in Hosea's eschatology. The total dissolution of national life which he foresees is not a mere sifting judgment, but the opening of an altogether new era. Hosea never draws a distinction between the sinners who must perish in captivity and the righteous remnant which shall return. To him Ephraim is not a mingled society of the righteous and the wicked, but a single moral person which has sinned and must repent as one man. Amos does not look for national repentance; the wicked remain wicked, and perish in their sins, the righteous return in their old righteousness, and so the new Israel is just a continuation of the old. But to Hosea the repentance of the nation is a resurrection from the dead. "Come and let us return to Jehovah, for He hath torn and He will heal is; He hath smitten and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us, in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live before Him" (vi. 1 seq.; xiii. 14). Even Ephraim's hard heart cannot for ever resist Jehovah's love. "He will allure her and lead her into the wilderness" of exile "and speak to her heart" (ii. 14). The desolate valley of Achor shall be to her the gate of hope, and there "she shall answer as in the days of her youth and the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt" (ii. 15). When His people are scattered in exile Jehovah shall roar like a lion, and the wanderers shall come fluttering to His call like a bird from Egypt, like a dove from the land of Assyria (xi. 10, 11). The purpose of the judgment is not penal; it is meant to teach them that Jehovah alone is the husband of Israel, and the giver of those good things which in their blindness she esteemed the gifts of the Baalim (ii. 5 seq.). Taught by adversity, Ephraim shall acknowledge that neither the alliance of strange empires, nor his own prowess, nor his vain idols can give deliverance; "Asshur shall not save us, we will not ride upon horses, neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods; for in Thee the fatherless findeth mercy." And so at length all Israel shall be saved; but in this redemption every feature of the old nation has disappeared — its state, its religion, its warlike might, its foreign policy, king and prince, sacrifice and sanctuary, images (ephod) and teraphim. The very face of nature is changed; the wild beasts of the field, the fowls of heaven, the creeping things of the earth are at peace with Jehovah's people; sword and battle are broken out of the earth that they may lie down safely (ii. 18). Jehovah alone remains overshadowing Israel and Israel's land with His infinite compassion (xiv. 7). And then the voice of Ephraim is heard, "What have I to do any more with idols? I answer and look to Him; I am as a green fir-tree, from me is Thy fruit found." [20]

It is no mere accident that Hosea in this closing picture returns to the image of the evergreen tree which played so large a part in that nature-religion which it was his chief work to contend against. In translating religion into the language of the most spiritual human affections, Hosea fixed forever the true image of religious faith; and we still find in his book a fit expression of the profoundest feelings of repentant devotion — a delineation of Jehovah's forgiving love which touches the inmost chords of our being. But to Hosea the worshipping subject, the object of God's redeeming grace is the nation in its corporate capacity, not a true person but a personified society. So long as the individual side of religion fails to receive that central place which it holds in the Gospel it is impossible to represent the highest spiritual truth without some use of physical analogies; and this shows itself in the most characteristic way when the book of Hosea closes with an image derived from mere vegetative life. The true goal of Hosea's ideas lay beyond his own horizon, in a dispensation when the relation of the redeeming God to every believing soul should have all that tenderness and depth of personal affection with which he clothes the relation of Jehovah to Israel. [21]
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Re: THE PROPHETS OF ISRAEL AND THEIR PLACE IN HISTORY TO THE

Postby admin » Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:40 pm

Part 1 of 2

LECTURE 5: THE KINGDOM OF JUDAH AND THE BEGINNINGS OF ISAIAH'S WORK.

"We have now reached the point in the Old Testament history at which the centre of interest is transferred from Ephraim to Judah. Under the dynasties of Omri and Jehu, the Northern Kingdom took the leading part in Israel; even to the Judaean Amos it was Israel par excellence, Judah was not only inferior in political power, but in the share it took in the active movements of national life and thought. In tracing the history of religion and the work of the prophets, we have been almost exclusively occupied with the North; Amos himself, when charged with a message to the whole family that Jehovah brought up out of Egypt, leaves his home to preach in a Northern sanctuary. During this whole period we have a much fuller knowledge of the life of Ephraim than of Judah; the Judaean history consists of meagre extracts from official records, except where it comes into contact with the North, through the alliance of Jehoshaphat with Ahab; through the reaction of Jehu's revolution in the fall of Athaliah, the last scion of the house of Ahab, and the accompanying abolition of Baal worship at Jerusalem, or, finally, through the presumptuous attempt of Amaziah to measure his strength with the powerful monarch of Samaria. While the house of Ephraim was engaged in the great war with Syria, Judah had seldom to deal with enemies more formidable than the Philistines or the Edomites; and the contest with these foes, renewed with varying success generation after generation, resolved itself into a succession of forays and blood-feuds such as have always been common in the lands of the Semites (Amos i.), and never assumed the character of a struggle for national existence. It was the Northern Kingdom that had the task of upholding the standard of Israel: its whole history presents greater interest and more heroic elements; its struggles, its calamities, and its glories were cast in a larger mould. It is a trite proverb that the nation which has no history is happy, and perhaps the course of Judah's existence ran more smoothly than that of its greater neighbour, in spite of the raids of the slave-dealers of the coast, and the lawless hordes of the desert. But no side of national existence is likely to find full development where there is little political activity; if the life of the North was more troubled, it was also larger and more intense. Ephraim took the lead in literature and religion as well as in politics; it was in Ephraim far more than in Judah that the traditions of past history were cherished, and new problems of religion became practical and called for solution by the word of the prophets. So long as the Northern Kingdom endured, Judah was content to learn from it for evil or for good. It would he easy to show in detail that every great wave of life and thought in Ephraim was transmitted with diminished intensity to the Southern Kingdom.

In many respects the influence of Ephraim upon Judah was similar to that of England upon Scotland before the union of the crowns, but with the important difference that after the accession of Omri the two Hebrew kingdoms were seldom involved in hostilities. At the first division of North and South, upon the death of Solomon, the house of David was disposed to treat the seceding tribes as rebels, and the accumulated wealth and organised resources of the capital enabled Rehoboam for a time to press hard upon his rival. [2] The invasion of Shishak, in which Rehoboam was impoverished and severely chastised, restored the natural balance of things, and soon after we find Asa, king of Judah, reduced to the necessity of calling on the Syrians to help him against Baasha; but the house of Omri cultivated friendly relations with the Davidic kings. Jehoshaphat was the ally of Ahab and his sons, and an ally on inferior terms, bringing a contingent to their aid in the Syrian and Moabite wars. From this time forward the North and the South seem to have felt that they had common interests and dangers; indeed, when the power of Damascus was at its height Judah as well as Ephraim suffered from the inroads of Hazael (2 Kings xii. 17 seq.). The wanton attempt of Amaziah to provoke a conflict with King Joash, about the close of the Syrian period, ended in humiliation; but Joash made no attempt to incorporate Judah in his dominions, and the popular rising which cost Amaziah his life probably expressed the dissatisfaction of his subjects with his presumptuous policy. Amaziah was succeeded by Uzziah, whose long and prosperous reign appears to have corresponded pretty exactly with that of Jeroboam II. The current chronology, which obscures this correspondence, is certainly corrupt, and we shall not be far wrong if we view Uzziah and Jotham as the contemporaries of Jeroboam II. and Menahem, while Ahaz of Judah came to the throne soon after Menahem's death, and saw the greater part of the wars which began with the invasion of Tiglath Pileser and closed with the fall of Samaria. [3] The date of Hezekiah's accession is much disputed by chronologers; but he appears to have taken the sceptre before the fall of Samaria, while the greater part of his reign certainly falls after that event. Thus, speaking broadly, we may say that in the time of Hosea and Amos, under Kings Uzziah and Jotham, Judah was at peace with Israel, and still free from implication in the stream of larger politics. Ahaz, on the contrary, was attacked by Pekah and Eezin, and to escape this danger accepted the position of an Assyrian vassal; but his land was not yet brought into direct contact with Assyria. Under Hezekiah the Assyrian armies were close to Judah, conducting operations, not only against Samaria, but against other neighbouring states, so as to become a source of imminent danger to Judah itself, which could only hope for safety by patiently fulfilling the duties of a vassal state, and rejecting every temptation to chafe under the Assyrian yoke; but meantime it had become plain that Egypt was the ultimate goal of the Assyrian operations in Palestine. Egyptian diplomacy was busy in the Palestinian states, with tempting promises to encourage revolt against the empire of the Tigris. Judah had to choose between absolute political quietude, accepting the present situation as it stood and leaving the great struggle to be fought out by others, and the task of entering for the first time into the movements of an imperial policy, in which the principal actors were great empires altogether different from the petty states with which it had formerly had to do. The alternative was pregnant with important issues, not only for the political existence of the little nation, but for the religion of Jehovah, and to indicate the religious solution of the problems of this crisis was the work of the greatest of Judaean prophets, Isaiah the son of Amos. The famous expedition of Sennacherib, which marks the culminating point of his prophetic life, fell in the year 701 B.C., twenty years after the capture of Samaria and thirty-three after the expedition of Tiglath Pileser against Pekah and Rezin, which gave occasion to the first important series of Isaiah's prophecies. To the student of prophecy these years are the most important in the Old Testament history, and as such they claim from us a very careful study; but to understand them aright it will be necessary to go back to the epoch of prosperity running parallel to the reign of Jeroboam II., and consider the political and religious position of Judah in the reign of Uzziah. Amos, it will be remembered, flourished under this king, and the call of Isaiah, described in chapter vi. of his book, took place in the year of Uzziah's death. Our business, therefore, is to examine the state of things in the Southern Kingdom at the time when Amos and Hosea were prophesying in the North, and at the commencement of Isaiah's ministry.

From the overthrow of Athaliah to the accession of Ahaz and the acceptance by him of the position of an Assyrian vassal is something more than a century. It was, on the whole, a century of material progress, of political stability, and of successful war. Two kings indeed, Joash and Amaziah, met a violent death; but, while in the North the assassination of a monarch was always followed by a change of dynasty, the people of Judah remained constantly attached to the house of David, and the order of succession was never broken. The judgments passed upon the character of Judaean sovereigns in the book of Kings have almost exclusive reference to their actions in regard to the affairs of public worship; but the stability of the dynasty is the best proof that the generally favourable estimate of their conduct was borne out by the opinion of their contemporaries. Their religious policy, indeed, may be fairly assumed to be typical of the general principles of their rule. These principles were conservative; the son followed in the footsteps of his father (2 Kings xv. 3; xvi. 3); and so, if no high ideal was aimed at, there were at least no new and crying abuses to excite discontent. The conservative character of the Judaean state is readily explained from the history of the house of David. The earliest political unity in Israel was not the nation, but the tribe or its subdivision the clan. The heads of clans and communities were the hereditary aristocracy, the natural leaders in peace and in war; and we have already seen that this form of organisation is that which history proves to be most conducive to stability and good order among Semitic peoples (supra, p. 93 seq.). The natural aim of a strong monarchy, ruling over a confederation of tribes, is to break down the tribal system, and bring all parts of the kingdom more directly under the control of the capital; while the natural conservatism of the individual provinces opposes this process, and seeks to limit the power of the king to the supreme command in war, and the office of deciding appeals laid before him in peace. In the Northern Kingdom, as we have further seen, the overthrow of the old tribal system was already part of Solomon's policy, and the more powerful of the kings of Ephraim appear, in like manner, to have laboured in the direction of centralisation and political absolutism. Prolonged and exhausting wars naturally favoured this policy, but at the ruinous cost of breaking up old social bonds and opening a fatal gulf between the aristocracy of the court and the mass of the people. In Judah the course of events was different. In his own tribe Solomon appointed no such provincial governors or tax-gatherers as excited the discontent of Northern Israel with his rule, — moved perhaps by the example of his father David, who, after the revolt of Absalom, in which Judah was the first to rise and the last to return to obedience, appears to have deemed it necessary to treat his own tribe with special favour, and recognise its willing support as the chief prop of his throne. The Judaeans remained loyal to Rehoboam, because their prejudices and ancestral usages had not been violated like those of the North; and when the kingdom was practically narrowed to a single tribe, and could no longer pretend to play the part of a great power, neither policy nor interest urged the Davidic kings to startling innovations in government. Thus the internal condition of the state was stable, though little progressive; the kings were fairly successful in war, though not sufficiently strong to maintain unbroken authority over Edom, the only vassal state of the old Davidic realm over which they still claimed suzerainty, and their civil administration must have been generally satisfactory according to the not very high standard of the East; for they retained the affections of their people, the justice and mercy of the throne of David are favourably spoken of in the old prophecy against Moab quoted in Isaiah xv, xvi., and Isaiah contrasts the disorders of his own time with the ancient reputation of Jerusalem for fidelity and justice (i. 21). This reputation hardly proves that any very ideal standard of government was reached or aimed at, but we may conclude that ancient law and usage were fairly maintained, and that administrative or judicial innovations, which irritate an Eastern people much more than individual miscarriages of justice, were seldom attempted. The religious conduct of the house of David followed the same general lines. Old abuses remained untouched, but the cultus remained much as David and Solomon had left it. Local high places were numerous, and no attempt was made to interfere with them; but the great temple on Mount Zion, which formed part of the complex of royal buildings erected by Solomon, maintained its prestige, and appears to have been a special object of solicitude to the kings, who treated its service as part of their royal state.

It is common to imagine that the religious condition of Judah was very much superior to that of the North, but there is absolutely no evidence to support this opinion. Throughout the Old Testament history the abuses of popular worship are brought into prominence mainly in connection with efforts after reform. In Judah there was no movement of reform to record between the time of Joash, when the Tyrian Baal was abolished, and the time of Hezekiah, who acted under the influence of Isaiah. Thus, in the narrative of Kings, the history of religion remains an absolute blank during the century with which we are particularly concerned, and it is only just before Hezekiah arose that the historian finds it necessary to call unfavourable attention to the fact that Ahaz sacrificed on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree. His predecessors had undoubtedly done the same, for they accepted the high places as legitimate; the guilt of Ahaz is not measured by his deflection from the standard of his ancestors, but by his refusal to rise to the higher standard which prophets like Isaiah began to set forth. There can be no question that the worship of the Judaean sanctuaries was as little spiritual as that of the Northern shrines. Isaiah has as much to say against idols as Hosea. "Their land," he says, "is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands" (ii. 8). And these idols were not new things; the brazen serpent, destroyed by Hezekiah, was worshipped as the work of Moses, which certainly implies a cultus of immemorial antiquity. In detail, no doubt, there was considerable difference between the idolatry of the North and the South. We read of a brazen serpent, but not of golden calves as symbols of Jehovah; nor does the name of Baalim, by which the latter were known in Ephraim, appear in Isaiah or Micah. The association of the Godhead with symbols of natural growth and reproductive power, which proved so fatal to religion and morality in the North, was not lacking: in Judah as in Israel the people worshipped under evergreen trees — the Canaanite symbol of the female side of the divine power; and the ashera, which has the same meaning, was found in Judaean as in Northern sanctuaries (Isa. i. 29; xvii. 8; Micah v. 14, where for groves read asheras). Other Canaanite elements were not wanting; the worship of Adonis or Tammuz, for which we have direct evidence in the last days of Jerusalem (Ezek. viii. 14), appears to be already alluded to by Isaiah. But on the whole it is probable that the popular religion was not so largely leavened with Canaanite ideas and Canaanite immorality as in the North; there is nothing in the prophecies of Isaiah and Micah corresponding to the picture of vile licentiousness under the cloak of religion drawn by Amos and Hosea. This, indeed, is what we should expect; for in the population of Judaea the fusion of Canaanite and Hebrew elements was not so great as in Ephraim and Manasseh; in Southern Judah the chief non-Hebrew element was, of Arab stock; and the great sanctuaries of the South do not appear to have been to the same extent as in the North identical with Canaanite holy places. Judah, moreover, was a much poorer country than Ephraim; there was less natural wealth, and apparently the whole conditions of life were simpler and more primitive; so that we should naturally expect to find less sympathy with the luxurious Canaanite worship, but at the same time more relics of the ancient superstitions of the Hebrews before Moses. These, again, can hardly have been without affinity to the original beliefs of the incorporated Arab elements, and a variety of circumstances make it probable that a species of fetichism or totemism was largely current in Judah as in the neighbouring desert. Such ancestral superstitions are probably alluded to in Amos ii. 4, and their nature is illustrated in the worship of family gods, in the form of unclean animals, described in Ezek. viii. 10 seq. One of the most characteristic proofs of the prevalence of the lowest superstitions is the frequent reference made by the Judaean prophets to various forms of magic and divination, such as the consultation of familiar spirits through "wizards that peep and mutter'' — a kind of ventriloquists (Isa. viii. 19, comp, xxix. 4). [4] The practice of divination was not confined to the masses. Isaiah reckons "the cunning magician and the man skilled in enchantments" along-side of the captains and counsellors as recognised props of the state (iii. 3); while Micah characterises the ordinary prophets as diviners (iii. 7, 11, comp. v. 12). Isaiah represents these superstitious practices as of foreign, in part of Philistine, character (ii. 6); and, when we take along with this the undisturbed existence of the sanctuaries built by Solomon for his foreign wives, we must conclude that the opposition to distinctively foreign elements which characterises the worship of Ephraim, from the time of Elijah was not so strongly marked in the religious practices of Judah. Under the dynasty of Jehu Jehovah had nominally undivided allegiance from the house of Ephraim; foreign elements were eschewed, and the superstitions incorporated with the ritual of the sanctuaries, which led Hosea to declare that the popular religion was not Jehovah worship at all, were those indigenous to the land of Canaan. In Judah the influence of the work of Elijah had been only indirectly felt; the nation had passed through no such great crisis as the long battle of the Northern prophets with the house of Ahab; and thus the prevalent superstitions were partly of a different character from those we meet with in Ephraim, and partly indicated a less hopeless condition of religious life, because a higher ideal of Jehovah worship had never been so distinctly set before the mass of the people. All this, of course, must be understood as not excluding a great influence of the North on the minor kingdom. On the one hand it is clear that Amos had thoroughly assimilated the teaching of Elijah, while Isaiah and Micah appropriate the teaching of Hosea on the subject of idolatry. In truth, everything that we possess of the sacred literature and history of the North has been conveyed to us through Judaean channels. On the other hand, the growing corruption of Ephraim in religion and social order was full of peril to Judah. Hosea warns the Judaeans against participation in the guilt of Israel (iv. 15), and Micah tells us that the transgressions of Israel were found in his own land (i. 13, comp. vi. 16).

The material prosperity of Ephraim in the last generation of the house of Jehu had its counterpart, as we have already seen, in the condition of Judah under Uzziah. Edom was again reduced to subjection, and thus the harbour of Elath on the Red Sea came into the possession of the house of David, which at the same time obtained the control of the important caravan route from Sela to Southern Arabia (2 Kings xiv. 7, 22). These successes gave Judah an important commercial position, and led to the formation of a fleet (Isa. ii. 16) and a great development of wealth (Isa. ii. 7). The resources of the monarchy were enlarged, and its warlike strength was increased by the multiplication of chariots and horses (Isa. ii. 7; Micah i. 13; v. 10; comp. Hosea i. 7; viii. 14). But to a nation situated like the Hebrews the sudden expansion of commerce brought grave social dangers. Society was constructed on the basis of a purely agricultural life, the merchants of early times were not Hebrews, but Canaanites, who had a trading quarter of their own at Jerusalem (Zeph. i. 11, where for merchant read Canaanite). The newly-developed trade could not but fall largely into the hands of the grandees and courtiers, and the wealth they accumulated changed their relations to the commonalty, and gave them opportunity for the exactions and injustice from which, in Eastern society, the wealthy seldom keep themselves pure. Hosea complains that in Ephraim commerce, deceit, and oppression went hand in hand (xii. 7), and in Judah the case was not otherwise. The centralisation of large capital in a few hands led to the formation of huge estates, the poorer landowners being either bought out when they fell into the power of their creditors, or ejected by violence and false judgment (Isa. V. 8; Micah ii. 2, 9). Judicial corruption increased; every man had his price (Micah iii. 11), and the poor in such a state of things could do nothing against the tyrants who, in the forcible phrase of Micah, "stripped the skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones" (iii. 2). These evils, no doubt, assumed an intenser form after the calamitous war with Pekah and Rezin had spread desolation in the land, and when the burden of taxation, which in the East always falls heaviest on the poor, was increased by the tribute to Assyria; and it is to this later time that the most melancholy prophetic pictures of the state of Judah apply. But the fatal degeneracy of the higher classes, unequal distribution of wealth, oppression of the poor, corrupt luxury, and the like are dwelt on in the earliest utterances of Isaiah (chaps, ii.-v.), at a time when the external prosperity of the nation was still uninterrupted, Isaiah began his work in the year of Uzziah's death, and when he accepted the task of a prophet he already pictures his nation as so corrupt that it could be purified only by a consuming judgment.

The year of Uzziah's death cannot be determined with precision. The present chronology gives to his son Jotham a reign of sixteen years, which in all probability is a good deal too much. But at all events Isaiah began to prophesy some years before 734 B.C., and his influence was at its height during the expedition of Sennacherib in 701, so that his career covers a period of some forty years at the least. More happy in his work than Amos and Hosea, he succeeded during this long period in acquiring a commanding position in the state. In the time of Hezekiah, plans which it was known he would condemn were carefully concealed from him by the politicians he opposed (Isa. xxix. 15); and in the day of Jerusalem's sorest trouble the king and his people sought from him the help which only the word of Jehovah could supply. Though we are not expressly told so in the narrative of Kings, there can be no doubt that it was he who inspired Hezekiah's plans of reformation in the national worship, and at his death he left behind him a prophetic party so strong that the counter-reformation of Manasseh was only carried out by the aid of bloody persecution. And, though his work thus seemed for a time to be undone, its influence was not extinguished. It is the teaching of Isaiah that forms the starting-point of the book of Deuteronomy, and of the reformation of Josiah, of which that book was the programme; and thus the ideas of the great prophet continued to exercise a decisive influence on the affairs of Judah more than a century after they were first proclaimed. In truth, the whole subsequent history of the Hebrew people bears the impress of Isaiah's activity. It was through him that the word of prophecy, despised and rejected when it was spoken by Amos and Hosea, became a practical power not only in the state but in the whole life of the nation. We can readily understand that so great a work could not have been effected by an isolated mission like that of Amos, or by a man like Hosea, who stood apart from all the leaders of his nation, and had neither friend nor disciple to espouse his cause. Isaiah won his commanding position, not by a single stroke, but by long-sustained and patient effort. His work must have commenced when he was still a young man, and it was continued into old age with the same unfailing courage which marks his first appearance as a prophet. The work of a prophet was the vocation of his life, to which every energy was devoted; even his wife is called the prophetess (viii. 3); his sons bore prophetic names, not enigmatic like those given by Hosea to Gomer's children, but expressing in plain language two fundamental themes of his doctrine — the speedy approach of judgment by hostile invasion (Maher-shalal-hash-baz, viii. 3), and the hope of return to Jehovah and His grace by the remnant of the nation (Shear-jashub, vii. 3; the name is translated in X. 21). The truths which he proclaimed he sought to make immediately practical in the circle of disciples whom he gathered round him (viii. 16), and through them to prepare the way for national reformation. And in this work he was aided by personal relations within the highest circles of the capital. Uriah, the chief priest of the temple, was his friend, and appears associated with him as witness to a solemn act by which he attested a weighty prophecy at a time when king and people had not yet learned to give credence to his words (viii. 2). His own life seems to have been constantly spent in the capital; but he was not without support in the provinces. The countryman Micah, who prophesied in the low country on the Philistine border near the beginning of Hezekiah's reign, was unquestionably influenced by his great contemporary, and, though his conceptions are shaped with the individual freedom characteristic of the true prophet, and by no means fit mechanically into the details of Isaiah's picture of Jehovah's approaching dealings, the essence of his teaching went all to further Isaiah's aims. Thus Isaiah ultimately became the acknowledged head of a great religious movement. It is too little to say that in his later years he was the first man in Judah, practically guiding the helm of the state, and encouraging Jerusalem to hold out against the Assyrian when all besides had lost courage. Even to the political historian Isaiah is the most notable figure after David in the whole history of Israel. He was the man of a supreme crisis, and he proved himself worthy by guiding his nation through the crisis with no other strength than the prophetic word. His commanding influence on the history of his nation naturally suggests the comparison with Elisha, the author of the revolution of Jehu, and the soul of the great struggle with Syria. The comparison illustrates the extraordinary change which little more than a century had wrought in the character and aims of prophecy. Elisha effected his first object — the downfall of the house of Ahab — by entering into the sphere of ordinary political intrigue; Isaiah stood aloof from all political combinations, and his influence was simply that of his commanding character, and of the imperial word of Jehovah preached in season and out of season with, unwavering constancy. Elisha in his later years was the inspiring spirit of a heroic conflict, encouraging his people to fight for freedom, and resist the invader by armed force. Isaiah well knew that Judah had no martial strength that could avail for a moment against the power of Assyria. He did not aim at national independence; and, rising above the dreams of vulgar patriotism, he was content to accept the inevitable, and mark out for Judah a course of patient submission to the foreign yoke, in order that the nation might concentrate itself on the task of internal reformation till Jehovah Himself should remove the scourge appointed for His people's sin. In this conception he seized and united in one practical aim ideas which had appeared separately in the teaching of his predecessors, Amos and Hosea. Amos had taught the salvation of a righteous remnant in a nation purified by judgment, Hosea had pointed out that warlike effort and political combinations could not help Israel, which must seek its deliverance in repentance and reliance on Jehovah's sovereignty. With Isaiah the doctrine of the remnant becomes a practical principle; the true Israel within Israel, the holy seed in the fallen stock of the nation, is the object of all his solicitude. Living in the very midst of the winnowing judgment which Amos had seen approaching from afar, he sought to give the vital elements of the nation a centre round which they could rally, and a task of internal reformation conformed to the duty of national repentance. This alone was Israel's wisdom; Jehovah's power and Jehovah's spirit must accomplish the rest without help from the arm of flesh. In the supreme crisis of the Assyrian wars Isaiah was not less truly the bulwark of his nation than Elisha had been during the Syrian wars. But his heroism was that of patience and faith, and the deliverance came as he had foretold, not by political wisdom or warlike prowess, but by the direct intervention of Jehovah.

When we endeavour to trace the history of Isaiah's prophetic activity by the aid of his own writings, we are met by the difficulty that his book is not arranged in strict chronological order. Thus the inaugural vision in which he received his consecration as Jehovah's messenger to Judah is not the first but the sixth chapter of the book; or again chap, xx., which is dated from the year of the capture of Ashdod by the general of Sargou, i.e. B.C. 711, would in chronological order stand after chap, xxviii., which speaks of the kingdom of Ephraim as still in existence. It is plain, then, that the book as it stands is in a somewhat disordered state. Presumably Isaiah himself issued no collected edition of all his prophecies, but only put forth from time to time individual oracles or minor collections, which were gathered together at a later date, and on no plan which we can follow. Some of the prophecies bear a date, or even have brief notes of historical explanation; others begin without any such preface, and their date and occasion can only be inferred from the allusions they contain. We cannot even tell when or by whom the collection was made. The collection of all remains of ancient prophecy, digested into the four books named from Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets, was not formed till after the time of Ezra, two hundred and fifty years at least after the death of Isaiah. In one of these four books every known fragment of ancient prophecy had to take its place, and no one who knows anything of the collection and transmission of ancient books will think it reasonable to expect that the writings of each separate prophet were carefully gathered out and arranged together in such a way as to preclude all ambiguity as to their authorship. [5] If every prophecy had had a title from the first the task of the editor would have been simple; or if he did not aim at an exact arrangement we could easily have rearranged the series for ourselves. But there are some prophecies, such as those which occupy the last twenty-seven chapters of Isaiah, which have no title at all, and in some other cases there is conclusive evidence that the titles are not original, because, in point of fact, they are incorrect. In the absence of precise titles giving names and dates to each separate prophecy, an editor labouring after the time of Ezra would be quite as much at a loss as a modem critic, if he made it his task to give what is now called a critical edition of the remains that lay before him. But ancient editors did not feel the need of an edition digested according to the rules of modern literary workmanship. Their main object was to get together everything that they could find, and arrange their material in volumes convenient for private study or use in the synagogue. In those days one could not plan the number of volumes, the number of letters in a page, and the size and form of the pages, with the freedom to which the printing press has accustomed us; the cumbrous and costly materials of ancient books limited all schemes of editorial disposition. In ancient books the most various treatises are often comprised in one volume; the scribe had a certain number of skins, and he wished to fill them. Thus, even in the minor collections that fell into the hands of the editor of the prophets, a prophecy of Isaiah and one from another source might easily occupy the same roll; copies were not so numerous that it was always possible to tell by comparison of many MSS. what pieces had always stood together, and what had only come together by accident; and so, taking all in all, we need not be surprised that the arrangement is imperfect according to our literary lights, but will rather expect to find much more serious faults of order than the lack of a just chronological disposition. If the present book of Isaiah has itself been made up from several MSS., a conclusion which the lack of chronological order renders almost inevitable, we must deem it probable that at the end of some of these MSS. prophecies not by Isaiah at all may have been written in to save waste of the costly material; and so, when the several small books came to be joined together, prophecies by other hands would get to be embedded in the text of Isaiah, no longer to be distinguished except by internal evidence. That what thus appears as possible or even probable actually took place is the common opinion of modern critics. We must not accept this opinion without examination, and we cannot now pause to go over every chapter of the book in detail; but, on the other hand, we cannot hope to get a just picture of Isaiah's life and work without keeping our minds open to the possibilities now suggested. Instead of taking up his prophecies in the order in which they now stand, we must look for internal evidence to connect each oracle with one or other part of his career. Those sections of the book which cannot be read in clear connection with any part of the prophet's life and times must provisionally be set on one side. Even if they are Isaiah's they can have but secondary importance for our present business, which is to study the prophetic word in the light of the history of the prophet's own times; and in fact the more clearly we come to see that the rest of the book is full of references to present history the more shall we be disposed to ask whether these prophecies too have not an historical setting of their own, but one which belongs to a later stage of the Old Testament progress. It may be well to say at once that most parts of the book of Isaiah whose authorship is disputed have a plain connection with the Chaldaean period. Whether this connection is of a kind which justifies us in holding that they were written in that period is a question which almost every critic answers in the affirmative, but which cannot be profitably discussed in these Lectures, because the discussion involves an historical study of the age of the Exile. The critical problems of Isaiah belong to the history of prophecy under the Chaldaean empire, and even those scholars who still believe that the whole book is from the pen of Isaiah ascribe the prophecies against Babylon to his old age, after his active life was over, so that it at least can be completely studied without them. And it is further agreed that these prophecies had no part in the great influence which Isaiah exerted on the immediately subsequent age, so that for the whole study of the Old Testament religion before the Exile we lose nothing by leaving them out of account.
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Re: THE PROPHETS OF ISRAEL AND THEIR PLACE IN HISTORY TO THE

Postby admin » Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:40 pm

Part 2 of 2

The period of Isaiah's ministry falls into three parts: — (1) The time previous to the Syro-Ephraitic war, when Judah enjoyed external peace and apparent prosperity; (2) The troubles under the reign of Ahaz, when the land was invaded by Pekah and Rezin, and the Judaean monarch became a vassal of Assyria to obtain the help of Tiglath Pileser; (3) The time of Assyrian suzerainty, when Judah's growing impatience of the yoke at length led the nation to intrigue with Egypt, and exposed it to the vengeance of Sennacherib. The last section of the prophet's life culminates in the great invasion and marvellous deliverance of the year 701 B.C. We may not in every case be able to give a precise chronological view of the progress of the prophet's work, but at least we may hope to distribute his prophecies under these three periods, and to gain an approximate conception of the order of those which belong to the last and longest of the three, especially by comparing the many historical allusions with the Assyrian monuments. Without going into detail at the present stage of the discussion, it may be convenient to indicate broadly some conclusions to which we are led by this method.

In the first place, then, it is plain that the general survey of the state of Judah given in chap. i. cannot belong to the first period of Isaiah's work, for it represents the land as reduced to the utmost distress by foreign invasion. It must have been chosen to open the book on account of its general character, and so displaced from its proper chronological setting. On the other hand, the prophecy which begins, with a separate title, at chap. ii. 1 belongs to the earliest part of Isaiah's ministry. Here there is no allusion to present wars, and at ii. 16 the ships of Tarshish appear as one of the glories of the nation. But Elath, the only Judaean harbour, was taken in the war of Pekah and Rezin, and the Syrians (or Edomites) continued to hold the town long after (2 Kings xvi. 6). This prophecy, or at least a connected series of prophecies which presumably were published by Isaiah in a single book, goes on to the end of chap, v., and there is great probability that ix. 8 to x. 4 originally formed part of the close of this publication. So common an accident as the displacement of part of a manuscript would sufficiently account for the transposition of these verses to their present place.

The account of the inaugural vision of the prophet in chap. vi. does not belong to Isaiah's first published work, but stands at the head of a new series of prophecies dating from the great trouble at the commencement of Ahaz's reign. There is no reason to doubt that this arrangement is due to Isaiah himself. He might have many reasons for not speaking of the vision at the time when it occurred, and its contents form a very appropriate introduction to the series of prophecies which it now precedes, extending from vii. 1 to ix. 7. The prophecy of the downfall of Damascus (xvii. 1-11) plainly belongs to the same period. All the remaining parts of the book appear to be subsequent to the Assyrian intervention (B.C. 734). Most of them refer more or less clearly to successive stages in the progress of the Assyrians, which in the present state of our knowledge must often remain obscure. They cannot have been all published at once, and probably Isaiah himself, in reducing selections of his prophecies to writing from time to time, united oracles of various date. Chap. xxviii., for example, must have been first spoken before the fall of Samaria, but as we now read it it is closely connected with several following chapters which seem to be of later composition. For our present purpose it is enough to regard all the prophecies of Isaiah's third period as one group, without attempting at this stage to arrange them more exactly. The parts of the book which do not fall under any one of the three groups now spoken of, and which, as already explained, I shall pass over altogether, are the prophecies against Babylon, xiii. 1 to xiv. 23; xxi. 1-10; [6] the very remarkable and difficult section, chaps, xxiv. to xxvii.; the prophecy against Edom, chap, xxxiv; and the great prophecy, chaps, xl. to lxvi., which is separated from the rest of the book by an historical section, certainly not written by Isaiah himself. There are also two lyrical chapters, xii. and xxxv., of which the latter seems to go with chap, xxxiv. Both are so unlike the style of Isaiah that it will be prudent to pass them over also. [7]

Although Isaiah did not publish the account of the vision in which he received his prophetic consecration until the second period of his work (chap, vi.), it is reasonable that we should take it first. In the year of Uzziah's death, he tells us, he saw Jehovah seated on a lofty throne, while the skirts of His kingly robes filled the palace. Jehovah's palace is the common name of the great temple at Jerusalem, and the features of the temple are reproduced in the vision. There was an altar (ver. 6), a threshold (ver. 4, where for posts of the door read sockets of the thresholds), and a cloud of smoke filling the house during the adoration of the seraphim, like the smoke of incense or sacrifice during ordinary acts of worship. In the earlier history of the temple the Debir or Holy of Holies appears not to have been shut off by doors from the holy place (1 Kings vi. 21 as contrasted with ver. 31), and in like manner Isaiah's palace forms one great hall, so that the prophet standing at the door, where he felt the rocking of the thresholds at the thunder of the Trisagion, could see the seat of Divine majesty within. Yet the palace of Isaiah's conception is not the earthly temple but the heavenly seat of Jehovah's sovereignty. The lofty throne of Jehovah takes the place of the ark, and the ministers of the palace are not human priests but fiery beings, — the seraphim. It is plain that the very idea of the dwelling-place of Jehovah involves to human minds the aid of figure and symbol; it cannot be realised at all except under images derived from visible things. The scenery of Isaiah's vision is of necessity purely symbolical, and the form of the symbol was naturally determined by the old Hebrew conception of the sanctuary as God's palace on earth, while the additional feature of the fiery, winged seraphim appears to have been suggested by a current conception analogous to that of the cherubim. The Old Testament contains more than one trace of weird personification of atmospheric or celestial phenomena. The cherubim are possibly a personification of the thunder cloud, and the seraphim of the lightning. [8] But the origin of the scenery is immaterial for the ideal meaning of Isaiah's vision; temple and seraphim are nothing more than the necessary pictorial clothing of the supreme truth that in this vision his soul met the Infinite and Eternal face to face, and heard the secrets of Jehovah's counsel directly from His own mouth. Nor can it be of importance to us to determine how far the description is conscious poetry, and how far the pictures described passed without any effort of thought or volition before his inward eye. Even in the highest imaginings of poetical genius this question would be hard to answer; much less can we expect to be able to analyse the workings of the prophet's soul in a supreme moment of converse with God.

In some quarters a great deal too much stress has been laid upon the prophetic vision as a distinctive note of supernatural revelation. People speak as if the divine authority of the prophetic word were somehow dependent on, or confirmed by, the fact that the prophets enjoyed visions. That, however, is not the doctrine of the Bible. In the New Testament Paul lays down the principle that in true prophecy self-consciousness and self-command are never lost — the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets (1 Cor. xiv. 32). In like manner the prophets of the Old Testament never appeared before their auditors in a state of ecstasy, being thus clearly marked off from heathen soothsayers, who were held to be under the influence of the godhead just in proportion as they lost intelligent self-control. And, as the true prophets never seek in heathen fashion to authenticate their divine commission by showing themselves in a state of visionary ecstasy, so also they do not record their visions as a proof that they are inspired. They knew very well that vision and ecstasy were common in heathenism, and therefore could prove no commission from Jehovah (Jer. xxiii.); and so, as we have seen, Isaiah did not even publish his inaugural vision at the time, but reserved it till his ministry had been public for years. Moreover, the Hebrews were aware that the vision, in which spiritual truth is clothed in forms derived from the sphere of the outer senses, is not the highest method of revelation. In the twelfth chapter of Numbers, which belongs to the part of the Pentateuch composed before the rise of written prophecy, Moses, who received his revelation in plain words not involved in symbolic imagery, is placed above those prophets to whom Jehovah speaks in vision or in dream. This view is entirely conformed to the conclusions of scientific psychology. Dream and vision are nothing more than a peculiar kind of thought, in which the senses of the thinker are more or less completely shut to the outer world, so that his imagination moves more freely than in ordinary waking moments among the pictures of sensible things stored up in the memory. Thus, on the one hand, the images of fancy seem to stand out more brightly, because they are not contrasted with the sharper pictures of sense-perception, while, on the other hand, the power of the will to conduct thought in a predetermined direction is suspended, or so far subdued that the play of sensuous fancy produces new combinations, which appear to rise up of themselves before the mind like the images of real things before the physical senses. The ultimate elements of such a vision can include nothing absolutely new; the conceptions of which it is built up are exclusively such as are supplied by previous waking experience, the whole novelty lying in their combination. So far, therefore, as its structure is concerned, there is no essential difference between a vision and a parable or other creation of poetic fancy; and this is as strictly true for the visions of the prophets as for those of other men, so that it is often difficult to say whether any particular allegory set forth by a prophet is visionary or not — that is to say, we often cannot tell whether the prophet is devising an instructive figure by a deliberate act of thought, or whether the figure rose, as it were, of itself before his mind in a moment of deep abstraction, when his thoughts seemed to take their own course without a conscious effort of will.

In the experience of the greatest prophets visions were of very rare occurrence. Isaiah records but one in the course of forty years' prophetic work. As a rule, the supreme religious thought which fills the prophet's soul, and which comes to him not as the result of argument but as a direct intuition of divine truth, an immediate revelation of Jehovah, is developed by the ordinary processes of the intellect. There is nothing rhapsodical or unintelligible in the prophetic discourses; they address themselves to the understanding and the heart of every man who feels the truth of the fundamental religious conceptions on which they rest. But all thought about transcendental and spiritual things must be partly carried out by the help of analogies from human life and experience, and in the earlier stages of revelation, before the full declaration of God in His incarnate Son, the element of analogy and symbol was necessarily larger in proportion as the knowledge of God's plan was more imperfect. The prophets, as we are taught in the first verse of the Epistle to the Hebrews, saw only fragmentary parts and individual aspects of divine truth. This is not a peculiarity of early revelation alone; it applies equally to early thought about the things of nature, which in like manner reveal themselves only in isolated aspects to the primitive observer, so that all thought is in its beginnings fragmentary, and, being so, requires to bridge over gulfs by the aid of analogy and figure, in a way which in later ages is mainly confined to the poetic imagination. And for this reason early thought is less clearly self-conscious than the scientific reasonings of later time. The thinker loses himself in his thought, and seems to be swept on by his own ideas instead of ruling and guiding them. The further back we can go in the history of human ideas the more closely do we approach a stage in which all new intellectual combinations are expressed in symbol, and in which the symbol, instead of being used only for purposes of illustration, is the necessary vehicle of thought. At this stage new ideas appear, not as logical inferences, but as immediate intuitions, in which the volition of the thinker has little or no share; and when such symbolic views of abstract or spiritual things rise before the mind in a moment of deep abstraction, as they most naturally do, they may without impropriety be called visions, though they are not necessarily associated with the symptoms of ecstasy in the strict sense. It is thus easy to understand that vision, in the sense now defined, was a predominant characteristic of the earliest stages of prophecy, as Num. xii. seems to imply, but that it fell more and more into the background with the great prophets of the eighth century, as their conceptions of spiritual truth became more articulate and wider in range. For purposes of exposition it was still necessary to make a large use of symbol and analogy, but vision begins to merge more and more into conscious parable, till at length in the teaching of Jesus we reach a stage where vision altogether disappears in direct communion with the Father, and parable is no longer a means of thinking out religious problems, but simply a method of bringing truth home to popular understanding. At every stage, however, in the history of prophecy the spiritual value of vision is precisely the same as that of parable, and is proportioned to the measure in which the symbolic picture presents spiritual things under a true analogy. Whether the prophet merely set forth in symbolic form truths which he had reached in another way, or whether he consciously devised a symbol, in order to have the aid of analogy to bridge over gaps in his view of divine things, or whether the symbol rose up before his mind without a conscious effort of the intellect, does not affect its value as a vehicle of spiritual truth. The value of the symbol or vision depends simply on the fact that in one or other way he was guided to the use of imagery fitted to give larger and deeper views of spiritual realities.

Of the spiritual realities impressed on Isaiah's mind in his great vision, and which continued to exercise a profound influence on his whole career, the first is the holiness of Jehovah. The notion of holiness belongs to the ancient stock of common Semitic conceptions, being expressed in all the Semitic languages by the same root (). The etymological idea of the root is obscure. If the Arabic commentaries on the Koran may be believed, it is that of distance or separation; but the word was so early appropriated to a special religious sense that its primary notion can no longer be traced with certainty. [9] The traditional etymology seems, however, to be so far justified by usage. To the Semite everything divine is also holy, and in this connection the word does not in its earliest use seem to convey any positive conception, but rather to express the distance and awful contrast between the divine and the human. The supreme Godhead of Jehovah is expressed in 1 Sam. ii. 2 by saying, "There is no holy one like Jehovah; yea, there is none beside Thee." "I am God, and not man," says Hosea; "the Holy One in the midst of thee".(xi. 9). Holiness, in fact, is the most comprehensive predicate of the Godhead, equally familiar to the Hebrews and their heathen neighbours. The "holy gods" is a standing designation of the Phoenician deities, as we learn from the monument of Eshmunazar; and so the word in its original use cannot have conveyed any idea peculiar to the religion of Jehovah. Its force lay in its very vagueness, for it included every distinctive character of Godhead, and every advance in the true knowledge of God made its significance more profound; thus the doctrine of Jehovah's holiness is simply the doctrine of His true Godhead. When the first sound that Isaiah hears in the heavenly temple is the Trisagion of the seraphim —

"Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of Hosts;
All that the earth contains is His wealth,"


we see that Isaiah does not find the starting-point of his prophetic work in the contemplation of any one attribute of Jehovah — His universal justice, as it is set forth by Amos, or His love, as developed in the teaching of Hosea — but in the thought that all the predicates of true Godhead are concentrated in Jehovah, and in Him alone.

The prophets who preceded Isaiah did not preach a doctrine of abstract monotheism, they did not start from the idea that there can be only one God; but, looking at Jehovah, Israel's God, as He was actually known to His people, they interpreted His being and character in a way that placed a great gulf between Him and the nature-gods of the heathen. Thus the Godhead of Jehovah as taught by the prophets meant something quite different from the godhead or holiness attributed to idols or to heathen deities. There was no longer any meaning in applying the same terms to both; Jehovah alone was holy, or, what is practically the same thing, He alone was God in the true sense of these words. It is this truth which forms the foundation of Isaiah's teaching. The whole earth is full of the signs of Jehovah's sovereignty; He dwells on high, exalted over all (xxxiii. 5); He reigns supreme alike in the realm of nature and the sphere of human history; and the crash of kingdoms, the total dissolution of the old order of the Hebrew world, which accompanied the advance of Assyria, is to the prophet nothing else than the crowning proof of Jehovah's absolute dominion, asserting itself in the abasement of all that disputes His supremacy. The loftiness of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and Jehovah alone shall be exalted in that day (ii. 17).

But with all this Isaiah does not cease to regard Jehovah's kingship as essentially a kingship over Israel. At first sight this may seem to us a strange limitation on the part of one who declares that all that the earth contains is Jehovah's wealth; but in reality the limitation gives to his doctrine a concrete and practical force otherwise unattainable. The kingship of Jehovah is to our prophet not a mere figure but a literal truth, and so His kingdom can only consist of the nation whose affairs He administers in person, whose human rulers reign as His representatives, and which receives its law and polity from His mouth. To Isaiah, therefore, Jehovah is not simply the Holy One in an abstract sense; He is the Holy Being who reigns over Israel; or, to use the prophet's favourite phrase, "The Holy One of Israel." When the idea of holiness is thus brought into connection with Jehovah's relation to His people, it becomes at once a practical factor in religion; for in the ordinary language of the Hebrews holiness was not limited to the Deity, but could also be predicated of earthly things specially set apart for Him. The sanctuary was a holy place, the religious feasts were holy seasons, material things were consecrated or rendered holy by being appropriated to use in the worship of the Deity, or presented to the sanctuary. And in like manner holiness could be predicated of persons; the prophet who stood in a particular relation of nearness to the Godhead was "a holy man of God" (2 Kings iv. 9); the ordinary Israelite was not holy in this sense, but at least he was consecrated, or made holy, by special ceremonies before engaging in an act of sacrificial worship (1 Sam. xvi. 5); and the same expression is used of the ceremonial purification employed to purge away those impurities which excluded an Israelite from participation in holy functions (2 Sam. xi. 4).

In all this, you observe, there is nothing proper to spiritual religion, nothing that goes beyond the sphere of the primitive conceptions common to the Israelites with their heathen neighbours. Holy places, things, or times are such as are withdrawn from common use and appropriated to a religious purpose, and in like manner holiness, as ascribed to persons, is no moral attribute; it refers only to the ritual separation from things common and unclean, without which the worshipper dare not approach the divine presence. Holiness and immorality might even go side by side; the "holy women" (kedeshot) of the Canaanite religion, found also in the popular Hebrew shrines, were Hierodouloi consecrated to immoral purposes. But when the teaching of the prophets brought Jehovah's holiness into sharp contrast with the pretended godhead of the Baalim, the holiness of Jehovah's people could not but in like manner take a sense different from that which prevailed in heathenism. So already in Amos the licentious practices of the Hierodouloi are said to profane Jehovah's holy name (Amos ii. 7). But with Isaiah this transformation of the notion of Israel's holiness has a wider scope. He does not develop the idea in special connection with distinctively religious acts. The holiness of Israel rather depends on the thought that Israel, in all its functions, civil as well as religious, is Jehovah's people, Jehovah's property (His vineyard, as he puts it in chap, v.), the immediate sphere of His personal interest and activity. Thus the whole land of Judah, but more especially Jerusalem, the centre of the state, is, as it were, a great sanctuary, the holy mountain of Jehovah (xi. 9), and within this holy mountain everything ought to be ordered in conformity with His sanctity. The requisites of ceremonial sanctity fall altogether into the background; the task of Israel as a holy nation is to give practical recognition to Jehovah's holiness — that is, to acknowledge and reverence His Godhead, in those moral characters which distinguish Him from the idols and false gods (viii. 13; xxix. 23). According to Isaiah, "the knowledge and fear of Jehovah" (xi. 2) are the summary requisites for the right ordering of the state of Israel; where these are supreme the conditions of Israel's holiness are satisfied. The ideal condition of Jehovah's holy mountain is one in which the earth is full of the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters cover the sea (xi. 9). And, conversely, where these things are lacking, where the homage due to Him is shared by idols, where heathen divinations are looked to instead of "the revelation and the testimony " of Jehovah (viii. 20), where injustice and oppression flourish in defiance of the righteous king of Israel, the holiness of His people is changed to uncleanness, and cannot be restored save by fiery judgment purging away the filth of the daughters of Zion and the bloodguiltiness of Jerusalem (iv. 3, 4).

It is easy to see that in this view of the religious problem of his times, Isaiah builds on the foundations laid by his predecessors Amos and Hosea. But his treatment of the problem is more comprehensive and all-sided. The preaching of Amos was directed only to breaches of civil righteousness, and supplied no standard for the reformation of national worship — it left even the golden calves untouched. Hosea, on the other hand, has a clear insight into the right moral attitude of the religious subject to God; but that subject is to him the personified nation, sinning and repenting as one man, and therefore he has no practical suggestions applicable to the actual mixed state of society; his prophecy leaves an unexplained hiatus between Israel's present sin and its future return to Jehovah. Isaiah, on the contrary, finds in Jehovah's holiness a principle equally applicable to the amendment of the state and the elevation of religious praxis, an ideal which supplies an immediate impulse to reformation, and which, though it cannot be fully attained without the intervention of purging judgments, may at least become the practical guide of those within Israel who are striving after better things. In every question of national conduct presented by the eventful times in which he lived Isaiah was ready with clear decisive counsel, for in every crisis Israel's one duty was to concentrate itself on the task of shaping the internal order of the state in conformity with the holy character of Jehovah, and to trust the issue to His sovereignty.

In very truth the task of internal reform was more than sufficient for one generation. The whole order of the state was glaringly at variance with right conceptions of Jehovah; or, in the language now familiar to us, the actual life of the nation was not holy but unclean. A strong sense of this uncleanness was the feeling which sprang to the prophet's lips when he first saw the vision of Jehovah's holiness — "Woe is me! for I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for mine eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of hosts.'' On the old ritual view of holiness there was fatal danger in contact with holy things to any one ceremonially unclean. But the impurity of which Isaiah speaks is impurity of lips — that is, of utterance. In Hebrew idiom, a man's words (debarim) include his purposes on the one hand, his actions on the other, and thus impurity of lips means inconsistency of purpose and action with the standard of divine holiness. The prophet himself supplies the translation of his metaphor at iii. 8 — "Jerusalem is ruined and Judah is fallen, for their tongue and their doings are against Jehovah of hosts, to provoke the eyes of His glory," and the expansion of this sentence forms the main burden of his first great discourse to the house of Israel (chap. ii. seq.). There is, however, a special reason why, in this vision, the uncleanness of the people is particularised as uncleanness of lip. The vision is Isaiah's consecration as Jehovah's messenger, and for the discharge of such a function "pure lips" (Zeph. iii. 9) are necessary. But Isaiah feels himself to be personally involved in the impurity or unholiness of his people; his own lips are impure and unfit for personal converse with Jehovah. And so the act of consecration is symbolically represented as the purging of his lips by contact with a glowing stone taken from Jehovah's sacred hearth. "Lo, this hath touched thy lips," says the ministering seraph, "and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged." The form of this visionary transaction is suggested by the old familiar symbolism of ceremonial holiness. In primitive religious thought, the idea of godhead is specially connected with that of fresh unfading life, and the impurity or unholiness which must be kept aloof from the sanctuary is associated with physical corruption and death. Fire and water, the pure and life-like elements, man's chief aids in combating physical corruption, are the main agents in ceremonies of ritual sanctification (Num. xxxi. 23; this passage belongs to the later legislation, but the antiquity of the principle appears from Josh. vi. 19, 24). But fire is a more searching principle than water. Fiery brightness is of old the highest symbol of Jehovah's holiness, and purification by fire the most perfect image of the total destruction of impurity. To Isaiah, of course, the fire of Jehovah's holiness is a mere symbol. That which cannot endure the fire, which is burned up and consumed before it, is moral impurity. "Who among us shall dwell with devouring fire, who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh in righteousness and speaketh uprightly, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood [consenting to bloodshed], and shutteth his eyes from beholding [delighting in] evil; he shall dwell on high; his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks, his bread shall be given him, his water shall be sure" (xxxiii. 14 seq.). That which can endure the fire is that which is fit to enter into communion with Jehovah's holiness, and nothing which cannot stand this test can abide in His sanctuary of Israel. Thus the fire which touches Isaiah's lips and consecrates him to prophetic communion with God has its counterpart in the fiery judgment through which impure Israel must pass till only the holy seed, the vital and indestructible elements of right national Life, remain. As silver is purified by repeated smeltings, so the land of Judah must pass, not once, but again and again through the fire. "Though but a tenth remain in it, it must pass again through the fire" (vi. 13), till all that remain in Zion are holy, "even every one that is ordained to life in Jerusalem, when Jehovah shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem by the blast of judgment, and the blast of burning" (iv. 4 seq.).

That this is the law of Jehovah's holiness towards Israel is revealed to the prophet as soon as his own lips are purged. For the prophetic insight into Jehovah's purpose is the insight of spiritual sympathy, and thus, as soon as his sin is taken away and his own life penetrated by the power of the divine holiness, he who had before heard only the awful voice of the seraphim shaking the very threshold at which he stood, and filling his heart with terror at the unendurable majesty of the Most High, hears the voice of Jehovah Himself asking, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" and replies without fear, "Here am I; send me." But from the first he is made to know that his mission cannot bear sudden fruit, that no swift and superficial repentance can correspond to Jehovah's plan. He is sent to men who shall be ever hearing, but never understand; ever seeing Jehovah's work, but never recognising its true import; whose heart (or intelligence) becomes more gross, their ears more dull, their eyes veiled with thicker clouds of spiritual blindness under the prophetic teaching, who refuse to turn and receive healing from Jehovah till cities lie waste without inhabitants, and houses without inmates, and the land is changed to a desert by invading foes. And yet Isaiah knows from the first that this consuming judgment at the hand of the Assyrians moves in the right line of Jehovah's purpose of holiness. The axe is laid at the root of the tree, and the present state, corrupt beyond the reach of partial remedies, must be hewn to the ground. But the true life of Israel cannot perish. "Like the terebinth and the oak, whose stock remains when they are hewn down," and sends forth new saplings, so "the holy seed" remains as a living stock, and a new and better Israel shall spring from the ruin of the ancient state.

Such are the first principles of Isaiah's teaching as he presents them in describing his vision of consecration. Their development and application in his public ministry must be reserved for another Lecture.
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Re: THE PROPHETS OF ISRAEL AND THEIR PLACE IN HISTORY TO THE

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Part 1 of 2

LECTURE 6: THE EARLIER PROPHECIES OF ISAIAH.

We found in last Lecture that the arrangement of the extant collection of Isaiah's prophecies points to the conclusion that the prophet, at different times in his life, put forth several distinct volumes embodying the sum of certain parts of his oral teaching. In the case of Amos and Hosea it is not clear that anything of this kind took place, and as regards Amos we may take it as certain that his book was not written till his whole message to Israel had been delivered and rejected. Isaiah, on the other hand, used the publication of his past prophecies as an agency supplementing his continued oral work. He was not left to the same isolation as Amos and Hosea. At an early period of his ministry we find him surrounded by a circle of disciples, to whom it would appear that his written prophecies were in the first instance committed (viii. 16); and in this way he was able to influence a wider circle than he could have reached by mere oral preaching. The adoption of this method of teaching by books, and even, it would seem, by placards fixed in some public place (viii 1; xxx. 8) [1] implies the existence of a considerable reading public; and it may be noticed, as an interesting illustration of this fact, that the recently discovered inscription in the rock-cut tunnel of Siloam, probably dating from the lifetime of Isaiah, is no official record, but seems to have been carved by the workmen on their own account. Reading and writing must therefore have been pretty common accomplishments (comp. Isa. xxix. 11 seq.), and the well-timed publication of connected selections of prophecy, disseminated by the friends of Isaiah, had no doubt much to do with the solid and extensive influence which he gradually acquired. We must not suppose that Isaiah's publications were mere fly-sheets containing single oracles. Each of them was manifestly a well-planned digest of the substance of teaching which, in its first delivery, may have occupied several years; chaps, ii. - v., for example, with the connected passage ix. 8 to x. 4, cover all the prophet's teaching before the war of 734, and can hardly have been published till the outbreak of that war, to the first stage of which some of the allusions appear to point. The gravity of the crisis made it natural for Isaiah to make a special effort to lead his nation to form a just estimate of its religious significance, and this he could best do by recalling in summary form the substance of the lessons which year after year he had been laying before them. A book written in this way became something more than a series of skeleton sermons: it took the shape of a prophetic commentary on the political events, the social and religious phenomena, of a certain period of Judah's history, in which predictive announcements were mingled with historical retrospect. The peculiarities of Hebrew grammar and prophetic style often make it difficult to distinguish between narrative and prediction, and the difficulty is increased by the fact that predictions referring to the near future were sometimes fulfilled before they were set forth in a book. If the highest object of the prophet had been to show that he could foresee future events, he would no doubt have been careful to draw a sharp line between the predictive and retrospective parts of his writings; but in reality prediction was only one element in the work of explaining to the nation what Jehovah's present dealings meant, and how He desired them to be laid to heart. It would have been mere pedantry to sacrifice this object to that of recording each prediction exactly as it was first made. When historical events had thrown new light on any part of the prophet's argument, he used that new light in its proper place, and thus, on the whole, though many parts of Isa. ii.-v. are no doubt in the main a good deal older than the commencement of Ahaz's reign, we must take this section of Isaiah's prophecies as practically representing the stage, to which his prophetic argument had advanced, after a good many years of prophetic work, about the beginning of the war with Pekah and Rezin, or, which is the same thing, about the time of the accession of Ahaz.

The situation of the kingdom when this book appeared is clearly described by the prophet in his peroration, but to the English reader the sense of this passage is somewhat obscured not only by the transposition of ix. 8-x. 4 from its proper place, but by the inaccurate translation of many of the tenses as futures instead of perfects, so that the Authorised Version puts as prediction statements which are really descriptive of the present condition of affairs. To restore the order and the sense we must read ix. 8 seq. immediately after v. 25, so as to form a series of four strophes, describing in ascending series the evils that had already fallen on the Hebrews, and each closing with the words, "For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still." The final judgment therefore lies still in the future, the Assyrians are the instruments destined to accomplish it, and their approach is pictured in the predictive passage, v. 26-30, with which the book closes.

King Jotham, the last of a series of strong and generally successful princes, had died at a critical moment, when Pekah and Rezin were maturing their plans against his kingdom. The opposing parties in Northern Israel suspended their feuds to make common cause against Judah (ix. 21), and the proud inhabitants of Samaria hoped by this policy to more than restore the prestige forfeited in previous years of calamity (ix. 9, 10). At the same time the Syrians began to operate in the eastern dependencies of Judah, their aim being to possess themselves of the harbour of Elath on the Red Sea, while the Philistines attacked the Judaeans in the rear, and ravaged the fertile lowlands (ix. 12; 2 Kings xvi. 6). A heavy and sudden disaster had already fallen on the Judaean arms, a defeat in which head and tail, palm-branch and rush — that is, the highest officers and the common multitude of the host — had been mowed down in indiscriminate slaughter (ix. 14). [2] Ahaz was no fit leader in so critical a time; his character was petulant and childish, his policy was dictated in the harem (iii. 12). Nor was the internal order of the state calculated to inspire confidence. Wealth, indeed, had greatly accumulated in the preceding time of prosperity, but its distribution, as we saw in last Lecture, had been such that it weakened rather than added strength to the nation. The rich nobles were steeped in sensual luxury (v. 11 seq.), the Court was full of gallantry, and feminine extravagance and vanity gave the tone to aristocratic society (iii. 16 seq.,; comp. iii. 12, iv. 4), which, like the noblesse of France on the eve of the Revolution, was absorbed in gaiety and pleasure, while the masses were ground down by oppression, and the cry of their distress filled the land (iii. 15; v. 7). All social bonds were loosed in the universal reign of injustice, every man was for himself and no man for his brother (ix. 19 seq.). The subordination of classes was undermined (iii. 4, 5), things were tending to a pass when ere long none would be found willing to accept a post of authority, or to risk his own substance for the good of the state (iii. 6 seq.).

"We must not suppose that to ordinary political observers at the time these internal wounds of the state appeared so aggravated and so patent as Isaiah represents them. The best Oriental administrations permit abuses which we would think intolerable, and in particular the wrongs and sufferings of the poor make little noise, and find no ready access to the supreme seat of government. The attention of the rulers was doubtless directed almost exclusively to the dangers that menaced from without; their schemes of deliverance took the shape of warlike preparations, or were already turned to the project of an alliance with Assyria. As yet they saw no cause for despondency; the accumulated resources of the nation were not exhausted, and the characteristic Hebrew obstinacy, which in later times more than once plunged the Jews into hopeless struggle with irresistible antagonists, was backed up by false religious confidence. The idols of which the land was full had not lost their reputation; Isaiah alone foresaw the approach of the hour of despair when these vain deliverers should be confronted with stern realities (x. 10, 11), when the nations and their gods, from the Euphrates to the Mediterranean, should go down before the brute force of the Assyrian hosts, when men should cast their idols to the moles and to the bats, before the terror of Jehovah when He cometh to shake the earth (ii. 21). To the mass of Israel, the contrast which Isaiah draws between Jehovah and the idols did not exist; the idols themselves were associated with the sanctuaries of the national Deity, and men fancied, as the house of Ephraim fancied in the days of Amos, that Jehovah had no part in the calamities that befell His land; that though He was inactive for the moment, He must soon interpose, and could only interpose on behalf of Judah. But to Isaiah, these supposed tokens of Jehovah's temporary inactivity had quite an opposite sense: they proved that the King of Israel had risen for judgment, and would no longer pass by the sins of the state. "Jehovah setteth Himself to plead, and standeth up to judge His people; Jehovah will enter into judgment with the elders of His people, and the princes thereof, for ye have eaten up the vineyard, the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord Jehovah of hosts" (iii. 13 seq). "The vineyard of Jehovah of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant planting: and He looked for judgment, but behold bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold a cry " (v. 7). Once and again does Isaiah expose the strange delusion which could see no connection between the sins of the state and the threatening conjunction of foreign powers, the insensate conduct of the nobles who went on their course of lawlessness and riot without turning their eyes to the work of Jehovah or regarding the operation of His hands (v. 12). The whole perceptions of these men were radically perverted: they called evil good and good evil, they put darkness for light and light for darkness, bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter (v. 20). Far from reading the lesson of Jehovah's displeasure, written so plainly on the page of contemporary events, they longed for His interposition as the cure for all their troubles. "Let Him make speed," they said, "and hasten His work that we may see it, and let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh that we may know it." Thus, in their blindness to all moral distinctions and to all the signs of the times, they went on courting destruction, "drawing guilt upon themselves with the cords of their vain policy, and sin as it were with a cart rope." In their own conceit they were full of political wisdom (v. 21), but they had no eyes for the cardinal truth which Isaiah saw to outweigh every principle of earthly politics — that Jehovah was the one dispenser of good and evil to Israel, and that the law of His rule was the law of holiness and righteousness; "They had cast away the revelation of Jehovah of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel " (v. 24). And now this whole fabric of sin and self-delusion must perish in a moment utterly, like chaff and stubble at the touch of fire (v. 24). "Sheol [the under world] hath enlarged its maw and opened its mouth without measure, and her glory and her multitude and her pomp and the joyous ones of Zion shall descend into it. And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled. And Jehovah of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and the Holy God shall be sanctified in righteousness" (v. 14 seq.). Jehovah shall be exalted, for it is at His call that the messengers of destruction are hastening towards the doomed nation. Past and present warnings have been alike despised. What Israel has already suffered has brought no fruit of repentance, and Jehovah's wrath is still unappeased. And now "He lifts up a standard to far nations and hisses to them from the ends of the earth, and behold they come with speed swiftly. None is weary, and none stumbleth among them; they slumber not nor sleep; the girdle of their loins is not loosed, nor the latchet of their shoe broken. Their arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent; their horses' hoofs are like the flint, and their chariot wheels like the whirlwind. Their roar is like the lioness, they roar like young lions, moaning and seizing the prey and carrying it off safe, and none can deliver." The roar of the lion marks the moment of his spring, the sullen moaning that follows shows that the prey is secured. Judah lies prostrate in the grasp of the Assyrian, and over all the land no sound is heard but the deep growl of brutal ferocity as he crouches over the helpless victim. "In that day he shall moan over Judah like the moaning of the sea, when the mariner looks for land, but lo, darkness hems him in, and light is turned to darkness by the clouds" (v. 26-30).

This picture of judgment, you observe, has all the precision due to the fact that Isaiah is not describing an unknown danger, but one very real and imminent — the same danger which Amos had seen so clearly a generation before. The intervention of Assyria in the affairs of the Palestinian states could not in the nature of things involve anything less than a complete dissolution of the old balance of power, and of the whole political system. There was nothing in the circle of the nations round about Judah which could offer successful resistance to the well-directed force of a great and disciplined martial power, and the smallest acquaintance with the politics of Assyria was sufficient to prove that the absorption of the Mediterranean seaboard by that empire was only a question of time, and could in no case be very remote. The politicians of Judah were blinded to this truth by their characteristic Semitic vanity, by the truly Oriental indolence which refuse to look beyond the moment, but above all by a false religious confidence. The kind of Jehovah worship which had not learned to separate the God of Israel from idols, which left men to seek help from the work of their own hands, was only possible to those who knew as little about the world as about God. A just estimate even of the natural factors of the world's history would have shown them that the Assyrian was stronger than the idols, though it needed a prophet's faith to perceive that there was a God in Israel to whose commands Assyria itself was constrained to yield unconscious obedience. But, in truth, the leaders of Judah dared not face the realities of a situation which broke through all their established ideas, which offered no prospect but despair. Isaiah had courage to see and proclaim the truth, because he was assured that amidst the crash of nations, Jehovah's throne stood unmoved, and He was exalted when all was abased.

The whole meaning of the impending crisis is summed up by the prophet in a sentence already quoted: "Jehovah of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and the Holy God shall be sanctified in righteousness." But to understand the scope of the judgment, the plan of the righteousness here spoken of, we must be on our guard against taking these terms in such a technical sense as they bear in modern theology. When Isaiah speaks of Jehovah's righteousness, he does so because he thinks of Jehovah as the King of Israel, discharging for His people, either directly or through His human vice-regent, all the ordinary functions of civil government. Jehovah's righteousness is nothing else than kingly righteousness in the ordinary sense of the word, and its sphere is the sphere of His literal sovereignty — that is, the land of Israel. Jehovah's great work of judgment by the hand of the Assyrians has for its object precisely the same things as a good and strong human judge aims at — not the transformation of the hearts of men, but the removal of injustice in the state, the punishment of offenders, the re-establishment of law and order, and the ultimate felicity of an obedient nation. "I will again bring my hand upon thee," says Jehovah, "smelting out thy dross as with lye, and taking away all thine alloy; and I will make thy judges to be again as aforetime, and thy counsellors as at the beginning; thereafter thou shalt be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city'' (i. 25, 26). No doubt when Isaiah limits the divine purpose to the restitution of Jerusalem as it had once been, we must remember that the days of David were idealised in the nation's memory. It is the virtues of ancient Jerusalem that are to be reproduced without its long-forgotten faults; but for all that it is plain that the ideal is simply a state perfectly well ordered — not a heavenly state, in which every individual is free from all sin in the New Testament sense of the word. It is such an ideal as would be actually realised if the judges and counsellors of the nation again were what they ought to be in a land whose king is the Holy One of Israel. [3]

The limitation of Isaiah's conception of the divine judgment leads us at once to observe the corresponding limitation in his use of the words sin, sinners, and the like. Sin, as we have seen in a former Lecture (p. 102 seq.), is to the Hebrew any action that puts a man in the wrong with one who has the power to make him rue it. Sin against Jehovah, therefore, is such conduct as He must take cognisance of in His quality of king and supreme judge in Israel, not sin in the New Testament sense, but on the one hand offences against social righteousness and equity, and on the other hand idolatry, which is the denial of Jehovah's true kingship. Hence the prophet has no doctrine of universal sinfulness. The Israelites are divided into two classes — the righteous, who have nothing to fear from Jehovah, and the wicked, whom His presence fills with terror (xxxiii 14). Weal to the righteous, who shall eat the fruit of their doings; woe to the wicked, because the deserving of his hands shall be rendered to him — is the law of Jehovah's justice (iii. 10, 11); and when it is executed in all its fulness the ideal of His sovereignty is fully realised. The redemption of Zion is conceived in the same plain sense: "Zion shall be redeemed by judgment, and those in her that return by righteousness'' (i. 27). The redemption is not the spiritual deliverance of the individual but the deliverance of the state, which can only be accomplished by purging out the sinners and their sin, and bringing back the remnant of the nation to obedience and right worship. If more than this were meant there would be no truth in Isaiah's representation of the fall of the might and independence of the state before Assyria as the means of redemption. But when we take the prophet's doctrine as he sets it forth himself, without complicating it by importing ideas from a later stage of revelation, the force of his argument at once becomes plain. The first condition of social reformation was the downfall of the corrupt rulers. While they held the reins there could be no hope of amendment, and in the approach of the Assyrians Isaiah sees the appointed means to level their pride and tyranny with the dust. And in like manner the first condition of true worship and homage to Jehovah was that men should recognise the nothingness of the idols, which the Assyrians in all their campaigns broke down or carried away captive.

Thus Isaiah looks forward without fear to the day when all the might of Judah shall be brought low, when great and fair houses shall be without inhabitant (v. 9), when wandering shepherds shall range at will over the rich corn-land and fertile vineyards of Judah (v. 17). He does so because Jehovah rules as Israel's king in the midst of judgment, and rules in grace for the remnant of Israel (iv. 2). In the day of utmost distress, when the land is shorn of all the artificial glories of man's making, "the spring of Jehovah [4] shall be the beauty and the wealth, the fruit of the land shall be the pride and the ornament of them that are escaped of Israel" (iv. 2). Once more, as in the old days, the Hebrews shall recognise the fruits of the land of Canaan, the simple blessings of agricultural life, as the best tokens of Jehovah's goodness, the best basis of a happy and God-fearing life, and shall cease to regret the lost splendours of the time when the land was full of silver and gold, of horses and chariots, and all the apparatus of human luxury and grandeur. All that remain in Zion shall be holy, for the filth of the daughters of Zion and the blood-guiltiness of Jerusalem have been purged away by the fiery blast of judgment.

We also understand the abominable customs of the Babylonians, about which Herodotus (I,199) speaks. In the holy grove of Aphrodite women sit in rows, there is much coming and going, and the ''foreign men" copulate with the women there. The same is reported by Baruch VI and Strabo (745). Especially convincing is a passage in Lucian (de Syr. dea, 14), where he calls the hybrid form of Derketo a theema xenon (foreign apparition). Xenika and voluptuousness are mentioned together by him in Kynikos 8. The angels, as well as Sodom, have whored after ''foreign'' flesh, says the Judas epistle 7 (cf. I Esdr. IX.2).

As to why humans, especially women, hit upon this loathsome vice, Ez. XXIII.20 says: ''Women were crazy for the voluptuousness of fornication with those whose members are like the members of asses and whose flood of semen is like the flood of semen from a stallion," and Ez.XVI.26: "woman whored with the people of Misraim with their big members." Figs. 3, 12, and 16 show archaeological evidence for this assumption. Diodor reports that the Greeks worshipped Priapus because of his large genital member. ...

Woe to the brood of Sodom when we settle our accounts with them! They are more dangerous now than ever before. We have ourselves bred them upward. The wheat-fields of mankind have become sallow and over-ripe. Both ''wheat'' and "weeds" have grown up (Mt. XIII.30). The linen-wick of Sodom is still glimmering, the reed of Sodom is not yet broken. From the chalice, which the adulterous "foreign" wives of our fathers' fathers mixed, from which they slurped the frothing mellow-wine of raging Sodomite lust -- from this we must now drink the bitter dregs. The time has come about which the Sibyl (II.154) spoke: "But whenever ... children are born with grey temples from birth, then affliction will overcome mankind; fools who do not notice that when the female of the species no longer gives birth, the harvest of mortal men has come. The time is here! Women cannot, or do not want to, bear healthy children! Those women who would have been suited to have been mothers lament their existences as old maids, the whore gets married and rules over our domestic and public life. The whore in the whorehouse is no sin, there she fulfills her purpose. But the whore in the marriage-bed is the downfall of peoples and states. Pleasure-apes burn down the city (Prov. XXIX.8). We must finally start to "breed humans," The experiments which the landed proprietor Rashatinov performed in Perm had surprising success. As early as the second generation he obtained persons of virtually divine beauty (pol.-anth. Revue, Eisenach). Obviously this example merely concerns Slavic material. What a race we could breed from our Frisians! The kind of force a race can be has been proven by the Boers....

Only noble men alone, men with a heroic way of thinking, who know what it means to raise and support a child, only men who cherish children, only they will then engender children. But those who seek out copulation only for purposes of lascivious enjoyment, the nymphomaniacal baboon she-creatures afraid of birth pains -- they will exterminate themselves, will strangle themselves with the rubber. Everywhere and always we must protect the institution of marriage, for it is the secure refuge of the race, the warm nest of the young phoenix and the future God-Man.

-- Theozoology, or the Science of the Sodomite Apelings and the Divine Electron, by Dr. Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels


Jehovah Himself shall overshadow His people, protecting them from all ill. His glory, manifested in smoke and cloud by day, in flaming fire by night, shall rest like a canopy over Mount Zion. He shall be their shadow by daytime from the heat, their hiding-place and cover from storm and from rain (iv. 3 seq.).

The picture of Israel's restoration, we observe, has none of that full precision of detail with which the prophet describes the present, or delineates the approaching judgment. The method of Jehovah's ideal government is as yet all vague; the grand but undefined image of overshadowing glory expresses no more than the constant presence and all-sufficient help of the King of Israel. And this is the law of all prophecy. It is a great fallacy to suppose that the seers of Israel looked into the far future with the same clear perception of detail which belongs to their contemplation of present events. The substance of Messianic prophecy is ideal, not literal; the business of the prophet is not to anticipate history, but to signalise the principles of divine grace which rule the future, because they are eternal as Jehovah's purpose. True faith asks nothing more than this: it is only unbelief that inquires after times and seasons, that claims to know not only what Jehovah's purpose is as it bears on the practical questions of the present, but how it will shape itself to needs and circumstances still remote. The law of prophetic revelation is that already laid down by Amos; the Lord Jehovah does nothing without revealing His secret to His servants the prophets. He deals with them as a prudent king does with a trusty counsellor. He never leaves them in the dark as to the scope and meaning of His present action, and He opens the future as far as is requisite to this end, but not further.

The vain confidence of the rulers of Judah described by Isaiah in his first prophetic book, was rudely shaken by the progress of the war with Pekah and Rezin. "It was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate [5] with Damascus. And the heart of the king and the hearts of his people were moved as the trees of the wood are moved by the wind " (vii. 2). The plan of the confederates was directed to the entire destruction of the Davidic dynasty, and a new king of Judah had already been selected in the person of a certain "son of Tabeel" (vii. 6). The allies obtained important successes, the Syrians in particular making themselves masters of the port of Elath. But an attempt to take Jerusalem failed, and though Ahaz was hard pressed on every side, his position could not be called desperate while he still held the strongest fortress of Palestine. On the part of the king and his princes, however, unreasoning confidence had given place to equally unreasoning panic. They saw only one way of escape, namely, to throw themselves on the protection of Assyria. They were well aware that the only conditions on which this protection would be vouchsafed were acceptance of the Assyrian suzerainty with the payment of a huge tribute, and an embassy was despatched laden with all the treasures of the palace and the temple, to announce that the king of Judah regarded himself as "the servant and the son" of Tiglath Pileser (2 Kings xvi. 7 seq.). The ambassadors had no difficulty in attaining their object, which perfectly fell in with the schemes of the Great King. The invincible army was set in motion, Damascus was taken and its inhabitants led captive, and Gilead and Galilee suffered the same fate. At Damascus Tiglath Pileser received the personal homage of Ahaz, whose frivolous character was so little capable of appreciating the dangers involved in his new obligations that he returned to Jerusalem with his head full of the artistic and religious curiosities he had seen on his journey. In a national crisis of the first magnitude he found no more pressing concern than the erection of a new altar in the temple on a pattern brought from Damascus (2 Kings xvi. 10 seq.). The sundial of Ahaz (2 Kings XX. 11), and an erection on the roof of the temple, with altars apparently designed for the worship of the host of heaven (2 Kings xxiii. 12), [6] were works equally characteristic of the trifling and superstitious virtuoso, who imagined that the introduction of a few foreign novelties gave lustre to a reign which had fooled away the independence of Judah, and sought a momentary deliverance by accepting a service the burden of which was fast becoming intolerable. The Assyrians had no regard to the welfare of their vassals. The principle of the monarchy was plunder; and Ahaz, whose treasures had been exhausted by his first tribute, was soon driven by the repeated demands of his masters to strip the temple even of its ancient bronze-work and other fixed ornaments (2 Kings xvi. 17 seq.). The incidental mention of this fact in a fragment of the history of the temple incorporated in the book of Kings is sufficient indication of the straits to which the Kingdom of Judah was reduced. The time was not far off when the rapacity of the Assyrian could no longer be satisfied, and his plundering hordes would be let loose upon the land.

At the moment when Ahaz and his panic-stricken counsellors were framing the desperate resolution of entrusting the state to the tender mercies of the Great King, Isaiah was the only man in Judah who retained his composure and his faith. He had long foreseen that judgment was inevitable, and he knew that the disasters of the Syro-Ephraitic war were only the prelude of a greater catastrophe in which the scourge of Assyria must fall on Judah and Ephraim alike. He had proclaimed these truths when no one else perceived the danger, and the publication of the first volume of his prophecies was almost coincident with the sudden collapse of national confidence. But to Isaiah the downfall of the sinners of Judah was not more certain than the indestructibility of the holy seed, the deliverance of those who were ordained to life in Jerusalem. In the moment of panic it was this side of prophetic truth that asserted its supremacy, and it did so in the form of absolute assurance that the scheme of Pekah and Rezin, which aimed at nothing less than the dissolution of the Judaean monarchy, could not succeed. "Take heed," he said to Ahaz, "and be still; fear not because of these two smoking ends of firebrands, in the hot rage of Rezin with Syria and the son of Eemaliah. Whereas they plot mischief against thee, saying, Let us go up against Judah, and strike terror into it, and conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in it; thus saith the Lord Jehovah, It shall not stand, and it shall not come to pass. For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin, and the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If ye will not believe, ye shall not be established" (vii. 4-9).

In translating this prophecy I follow the best recent commentators in rejecting as irrelevant the clause which in the Hebrew text stands at the end of verse 8, breaking the parallelism and weakening the force of the contemptuous allusion to Rezin and Pekah. The historical reference of the interpolated clause has become clear to us from the Assyrian monuments. When the Kingdom of Ephraim fell before Shalmaneser and Sargon, the Assyrians set up a vassal kingdom in Samaria (supra, p. 153), which is mentioned on the monuments for the last time a little less than sixty-five years after the date of Isaiah's prophecy to Ahaz. After that time we find the district of Samaria administered by an Assyrian prefect. It is plain that a reference to this change — which had no bearing on the fortunes of Judah or the history of Israel's religion — is quite out of place in the prophet's argument; it could afford no ground for his confidence, no consolation to Ahaz's fears. When Isaiah bids Ahaz consider that the whole strength of his enemies has no better front than the two half-consumed and smouldering firebrands, Pekah and Rezin, and then adds, "If ye will not have faith ye shall not be established," he plainly contrasts the mere human leaders of Ephraim and Damascus with the strength of Jehovah, the King of Israel. The same thought recurs at viii. 12, "Speak not of conspiracy [or formidable alliance] when this people speaks of conspiracy; and fear not what they fear, neither be ye afraid. Sanctify Jehovah of hosts, and let Him be your fear and let Him be your dread." The strength of Judah lies in its divine king, against whom man can do nothing; and lack of faith in Him can alone imperil the continuance of the state.

The delivery of this divine message to Ahaz marks an epoch in the work of Isaiah and in the history of Old Testament prophecy. In it Isaiah first appears as a practical statesman, no longer speaking of sin, judgment, and deliverance in broad general terms, but approaching the rulers of the state with a precise direction as to the course they should hold in a particular political juncture. The older prophets of Israel down to the time of Amos were habitually consulted on affairs of state. In all matters of difficult decision "the mouth of Jehovah" was appealed to; it was not doubted that He was with His people, that the cause of Jehovah was the cause of the nation, and that He was ever ready with prophetic counsel when man's wisdom failed. The influence of a great prophet like Elisha was therefore an influence directly political; in the period of the Syrian wars Elisha was the very soul of the struggle for independence. Jehovah and His people were still allied in a common cause, and the word of the prophet was accepted and obeyed accordingly. The doctrine of Amos and Hosea broke through the ancient faith in the unity of Jehovah's will with the immediate political interests of the nation. As the God of righteousness, they taught, Jehovah had nothing but chastisement to offer to an unrighteous nation; as a God of holy and jealous love He could not accord the privileges of a true spouse to a faithless people. The cause of Jehovah was for the present entirely divorced from the interests of Israel's political prosperity; the sinners of His people must be destroyed, or, on Hosea's view, Israel must pass through a moral resurrection before the union of the God with His nation could be restored and the felicity of the Hebrew state again become the central object of Jehovah's solicitude. The picture of a nation victorious and happy in Jehovah, which in the Blessing of Moses appears as realised, or at least in the course of realisation, in the events of present history, becomes to Amos and Hosea an ideal of the future, between which and the sin and misery of the present there yawns a great gulf, bridged over only by faith in the ultimate victory of righteousness and love. The breach between Jehovah and His people brings with it the suspension of prophetic guidance in the present difficulties of the state. The new prophecy has no counsel or comfort to offer to the corrupt rulers, whom Jehovah has not appointed and whose acts He does not recognise. When the people go with their flocks and herds to seek Jehovah they shall not find Him, He hath withdrawn Himself from them (Hosea v. 6). In the day of judgment "they shall wander from sea to sea, and run to and fro from north to south to seek the word of Jehovah, but they shall not find it" (Amos viii. 11 seq.). There were still prophets enough in Israel and in Judah who were ready with pretended divine counsel, but the prophets of the new spiritual school do not recognise them; they are not true prophets but diviners (Micah iii.). The disseverance of true prophecy from the political questions of the day is absolute; the faith that looks forward to a future redemption casts no light upon the affairs of the present; of them it can only be said that Jehovah has rejected His people (Isa. ii. 6), and that the cup of judgment must be filled up before brighter days dawn.

The position of Amos and Hosea is also the position of Isaiah in the prophecies that precede the campaign of Pekah and Rezin. Like his predecessors, he speaks both of mercy and of judgment; but the vision of judgment fills the immediate horizon, the picture of mercy lies all in the future, and its purely ideal outlines stand in the sharpest contrast with the historical realities of the present. The assurance of Israel's redemption rests on an act of pure faith; there is nothing to bear it out in Jehovah's present relations to His people. The work of mercy is not yet seen to be going on side by side with the work of judgment.
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Re: THE PROPHETS OF ISRAEL AND THEIR PLACE IN HISTORY TO THE

Postby admin » Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:46 pm

Part 2 of 2

This complete dissociation of the two sides of Jehovah's dealings with Israel belongs, it is plain, to the fragmentary and imperfect character which in the Epistle to the Hebrews is attributed to all Old Testament prophecy. There is a want of unity in the prophetic argument. When we are told by Amos that the overthrow of the Hebrew state by the Assyrians has for its purpose the destruction of the sinners of Jehovah's people, in order that the righteous may remain and form a new and better Israel, we naturally ask how this separation of the righteous from the wicked can be effected in accordance with the ordinary laws of history. Or when Hosea predicts that the remnant of Israel scattered in Egypt and Assyria shall hear and answer the call of Jehovah in the day of restoration, the question forces itself upon us how that measure of the knowledge of Jehovah which the possibility of such a return implies can be kept alive in the midst of exile. To such questions Amos and Hosea supply no answer; they never tell us how the work of judgment is to be limited in order that the subsequent redemption may remain an historical possibility. And yet it is plain that there must be a continuity in Jehovah's work, and that in the midst of judgment the course of events must be so shaped as to give a basis and starting-point for the future work of grace. Provision must be made for the unbroken preservation of God's cause in Israel. The new Israel has its roots in the old; the new work of grace rests on the same principles with the great things which Jehovah did for His people in the past, and the work of judgment cannot sever this connection.

It is this principle which comes to the front in that second great group of Isaiah's prophecies to which chap. vi. serves as a preface, and which contains in chaps, vii.- ix. 7 the summary account of his teaching in the crisis of the Syro-Ephraitic war. The question which Isaiah proposes in vi. 11 is the key-note of this teaching. What are the limits prescribed to the impending judgment by the purpose that underlies it? The certainty of Jehovah's plan of grace involves the certainty that He will preserve to Judah in the coming disaster all that is necessary to make its realisation a practical possibility, and in this certainty the limits and measure of the judgment are prescribed. Hence the fundamental thesis expressed in vi. 13; the stock of the people of Jehovah is imperishable, the holy seed retains its vitality through all the work of judgment. In other words, the community of God's grace in Israel can never be extinguished. Within the corrupt mass of Judah there ever remains a seed of true life, a precious remnant, the preservation of which is certain.

The Original Semites were the fifth and most important of the seven Atlantean Races, because in them we find the first germ of the corrective quality of Thought. Therefore the Original Semitic Race become the "seed race" for the seven races of the present Aryan Epoch....

The Original Semites regulated their desires to some extent by the mind, and instead of mere desires, came cunning and craftiness -- the means by which those people sought to attain their selfish ends. Though they were a very turbulent people, they learned to curb their passions to a great extent and accomplish their purposes by the use of cunning, as being more subtle and potent than mere brute strength. They were the first to discover that "brain" is superior to "brawn."...

Under the guidance of a great Entity, the Original Semitic Race was led eastward from the continent of Atlantis, over Europe, to the great waste in Central Asia which is known as the Gobi Desert. There it prepared them to be the seed of the seven Races of the Aryan Epoch, imbuing them potentially with the qualities to be evolved by their descendants....now his thoughts were to be turned from the visible Leaders, the Lords from Venus, whom he worshiped as messengers from the gods -- to the idea of the true God, the invisible Creator of the System. Man was to learn to worship and obey the commands of a God he could not see....

Fourfold also are the steps by which man climbs upward to God. First, through fear, he worships the God whom he begins to sense, sacrificing to propitiate Him, as do the fetish-worshipers. Next, he learns to look to God as the giver of all things, and hopes to receive from Him material benefits here and now. He sacrifices through avarice, expecting that the Lord will repay a hundredfold, or to escape swift punishment by plague, war, etc. Next, he is taught to worship God by prayer and the living of a good life; and that he must cultivate faith in a Heaven where he will be rewarded in the future; and to abstain from evil that he may escape a future punishment in Hell. At last he comes to a point where he can do right without any thought of reward, bribe, or punishment, but simply because "it is right to do right." He loves right for its own sake and seeks to govern his conduct thereby, regardless of present benefit or injury, or of painful results at some future time.

The Original Semites had reached the second of these steps. They were taught to worship an invisible God and to expect to be rewarded by material benefits, or punished by painful afflictions. Popular Christianity is at the third step. Esoteric Christians, and the pupils of all occult schools are trying to reach the highest step, which will be generally achieved in the Sixth Epoch, the new Galilee, when the unifying Christian religion will open the hearts of men, as their understanding is being opened now....

To transmute Cunning into Reason proved no easy task. The earlier changes in man's nature had been easily brought about. He could then be led without difficulty because he had no conscious desire, nor mind to guide him, but by the time of the Original Semites he had become cunning enough to resent limitations of his liberty and to circumvent repeatedly the measures taken to hold him in line. The task of guiding him was all the more difficult because it was necessary he should have some liberty of choice, that he might in time learn self-government. Therefore a law was enacted which decreed immediate rewards for obedience and instant punishment for disregard of its provisions. Thus was man taught, coaxed and coerced into reasoning in a limited manner that "the way of the transgressor is hard," and that he must "fear God," or the Leader who guided him.

Out of all who were chosen as "seed" for the new Race, few remained faithful. Most of them were rebellious and, so far as they were concerned, entirely frustrated the purpose of the Leader by intermarrying with the other Atlantean Races, thus bringing inferior blood into their descendants. That is what is meant in the Bible where the fact is recorded that the sons of God married the daughters of men. For that act of disobedience were they abandoned and "lost." Even the faithful died, according to the body, in the Desert of Gobi (the "Wilderness") in Central Asia, the cradle of our present Race. They reincarnated, as their own descendants of course, and thus inherited the "Promised Land," the Earth as it is now. They are the Aryan Races, in whom Reason is being evolved to perfection.

Image

SLOWLY ... SLOWLY ... IT DAWNED ON ME
NOW WHY DID I KEEP TRYING?
THE ANSWER IS VERY SIMPLE AND ALMOST ALL
OF YOU KNOW THE ANSWER ALREADY
THE ANSWER IS: ONCE THE SEED HAS
BEEN PLANTED
ONCE YOU HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN
YOU DON'T HAVE
ANY CHOICE!

-- Be Here Now, by Ram Dass


The rebellious ones who were abandoned are the Jews, of whom the great majority are still governed more by the Atlantean faculty of Cunning than by Reason. In them the race-feeling is so strong that they distinguish only two classes of people: Jews and Gentiles. They despise the other nations and are in turn despised by them for their cunning, selfishness and avarice....

Races are but an evanescent feature of evolution. Before the end of the Lemurian Epoch there was a "chosen people," different from the ordinary humanity of that time, who became the ancestors of the Atlantean Races. From the fifth race of those, another "chosen people" was drawn, from which the Aryan Races descended, of which there have been five and will be two more. Before a new Epoch is ushered in, however, there must be "a new Heaven and a new earth"; the physical features of the Earth will be changed and its density decreased. There will be one Race at the beginning of the next Epoch, but after that every thought and feeling of Race will disappear....

[E]xtra care must be taken that as few of the spirits as possible become enmeshed in the fetters of Race. This is exactly what happened to the spirits reborn in the Jewish Race-bodies. They attached themselves so firmly to the Race that they are drawn back into it in successive births. "Once a Jew, always a Jew" is their slogan. They have entirely forgotten their spiritual nature and glory in the material fact of being "Abraham's seed." Therefore they are neither "fish nor flesh." They have no part in the advancing Aryan Race and yet they are beyond those remnants of the Lemurian and Atlantean peoples which are still with us. They have become a people without a country, an anomaly among mankind.

Because of their bondage to the Race-idea, their one-time Leader was forced to abandon them, and they became "lost." That they might cease to regard themselves as separate from other peoples, other nations were stirred up against them at various times by the Leaders of humanity, and they were led captive from the country where they had settled, but in vain. They stubbornly refused to amalgamate with others. Again and again they returned in a body to their arid land. Prophets of their own Race were raised up who mercilessly rebuked them and predicted dire disaster, but without avail.

As a final effort to persuade them to cast off the fetters of Race, we have the seeming anomaly that the Leader of the coming Race, the Great Teacher Christ, appeared among the Jews. This still further shows the compassion and Wisdom of the great Beings who guide evolution. Among all the Races of the Earth, none other was "lost" in the same sense as the Jews; none other so sorely needed help. To send them a stranger, not one of their own Race, would have been manifestly useless. It was a foregone conclusion that they would have rejected him. As the great spirit known as Booker T. Washington incarnated among the Negroes, to be received by them as one of themselves, and thus enabled to enlighten them as no white man could, so the great Leaders hoped that the appearance of Christ among the Jews as one of their own might bring them to accept Him and His teachings and thus draw them out of the meshes of the Race-bodies. But sad it is to see how human prejudice can prevail. "He came unto His own and" they chose Barabbas.

The rejection of Christ by the Jews was the supreme proof of their thralldom to Race. Thenceforth all efforts to save them as a whole by giving them special prophets and teachers, were abandoned and, as the futility of exiling them in a body had been proven, they were, as a last expedient, scattered among all the nations of the earth. Despite all, however, the extreme tenacity of this people has prevailed even to the present day, the majority being yet orthodox. In America, however, there is now a slight falling away. The younger generation is commencing to marry outside the Race. In time, an increasing number of bodies, with fewer and fewer of the Race characteristics, will thus be provided for the incarnating spirits of the Jews of the past. In this manner will they be saved in spite of themselves. They become "lost" by marrying into inferior Races; they will be saved by amalgamating with those more advanced.

As the present Aryan Races are reasoning human beings, capable of profiting by past experience, the logical means of helping them is by telling them of past stages of growth and the fate that overtook the disobedient Jews. Those rebels had a written record of how their Leaders had dealt with them. It set forth how they had been chosen and rebelled; were punished; but were yet hopeful of ultimate redemption. That record may be profitably used by us, that we may learn how not to act....

The Original Semites were set apart and forbidden to marry into other tribes or peoples, but they were a stiff-necked and hard people, being yet led almost exclusively by desire and cunning, therefore they disobeyed the command. Their Bible records that the sons of God married the daughters of man -- the lower grades of their Atlantean compatriots. They thus frustrated the designs of Jehovah and were cast off, the fruit of such cross-breeding being useless as seed for the coming Race.

These cross-breeds were the progenitors of the present Jews, who now speak of "lost tribes." They know that some of the original number left them and went another way, but they do not know that those were the few who remained true. The story of the ten tribes being lost is a fable. Most of them perished, but the faithful ones survived, and from that faithful remnant have descended the present Aryan Races.

-- The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, by Max Heindel


In Sap. IV.6 it is said: "Offspring of illicit intercourse are the progeny of depravity against their progenitors," and "the seed of unnatural (paranomos) nuptials ought to be eradicated" (Sap. III. 16). '"The defilement of entities, the alteration of birth (bastardization), the lack of discrimination in marriage, and the breeding of nameless idols is the cause of all evil, in the beginning and in the end," thus it is profoundly written in Sap. XIV.26. The word "entity" (= Heb. nepes, Lat. anima = Gk. psyche) certainly cannot be translated by "soul." This is because from the Talmud we know that the se'irim seek out Sodomite relationships, kelaim; and that from this imperfect nepes result. In Sap. XII.6 it is said that the forefathers of the Canaanites were helpless "souls," and that their seed has been cursed from the beginning.

--Theozoology, or the Science of the Sodomite Apelings and the Divine Electron, by Dr. Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels


That Chamberlain is a strong Anti-Semite adds to the value of the testimony which he bears to the nobility of the Sephardim, the intensely aristocratic Jews of Spain and Portugal, the descendants of the men whom the Romans, dreading their influence, deported westward. "That is nobility in the fullest sense of the word, genuine nobility of race! Beautiful forms, noble heads, dignity in speech and in deportment.... That out of the midst of such men prophets and psalmists should go forth, that I understood at the first glance -- something which I confess the closest observation of the many hundred 'Bochers' in the Friedrichstrasse in Berlin had failed to enable me to do."

-- The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, by Houston Stewart Chamberlain


Beyond this the prophet sets no limit to the severity of the troubles through which the land must pass. In the first years of Isaiah's ministry this principle seemed to slumber; it was not wholly forgotten, for in chap. iv. it is the remnant ordained to life in Jerusalem that appears as constituting the commonwealth of the redeemed in the final glory; but it is not brought into practical connection with the events of the present. But in the day of Judah's calamity, when kings and princes trembled for the endurance of the state, the doctrine of the remnant became immediately practical in the prophetic argument that, because the community of Jehovah is indestructible, the state of Judah and the kingdom of the house of David cannot he utterly overthrown. We shall best understand the bearings of this proposition, and the validity of the argument on which it rests, by comparing it with the prophecy of total captivity made by Jeremiah a century later. Both prophets start from the same inflexible conviction of the sovereignty of Jehovah's purpose; both are persuaded that the sphere of that purpose is the nation of Israel, and its goal the establishment in the land of Canaan of a nation conformed to Jehovah's holiness. But at this point the teaching of the two prophets diverges. Isaiah is convinced that the dissolution of the political existence of Judah is inconsistent with the accomplishment of the divine purpose. Jeremiah, on the other hand, regards the temporary suspension of the national existence in the land of Canaan as the necessary path to the future glory. According to Isaiah, the holy seed must remain rooted in Canaan, and must remain under the headship of the house of David. According to Jeremiah, Jerusalem and the cities of Judah shall be desolate, without inhabitant, and the kingdom of the house of David shall come to an end, not for ever, but till the day when Jehovah again gathers His captives. Each prophet was borne out by the events of the immediate future. Isaiah continued to affirm the inviolability of Jerusalem through all the dangers of the Assyrian invasion, and the event justified his confidence. Jeremiah foretold the captivity of Jerusalem, and Nebuchadnezzar accomplished his prediction. But we should do little justice to the sacred wisdom of the prophets if we regarded the fulfilment of their predictions as relieving us from all further inquiry into the reason why they took such widely divergent views of the method of Jehovah's sovereignty. When we look at Isaiah's prophecies more closely we see that in every one of them he directly connects the Assyrian judgment with the inbringing of the final glory. The maintenance of the continuity of Judah's political existence appears to him the necessary condition of the future redemption. To Jeremiah this necessity no longer exists; to him it appears possible, while to Isaiah it seems impossible, that the religion of Jehovah can survive the fall of the state. This difference of view is not arbitrary, and is not to be referred to an unintelligible secret of divine providence; it rests on a difference in the religious condition of Israel at the times of the two prophets.

We have already seen, in speaking of the fall of Northern Israel (supra, p. 154), how the history of the Ten Tribes, after the fall of Samaria, proves that the religion of Jehovah, as it existed in Ephraim in the eighth century, was not able to survive in exile from the land of Canaan. The continued existence of a religion implies the maintenance of a religious community, united by acts of worship, and handing down the knowledge of God from father to son by inculcation not only of religious doctrine but of religious praxis. At the time when Samaria fell these conditions could not be fulfilled beyond the limits of the land of Canaan. Hosea expressly states that all religious observances were necessarily suspended in the exile of Israel. The feasts, the sacrifices, and all the other recognised elements of the worship of Jehovah demanded access to the sanctuary. When this was denied the whole life of the nation became unclean (Hosea ix. 3 sew.); and Israel was divorced from Jehovah (chap. iii.). The relapse of the Ten Tribes into heathenism was the inevitable consequence of their exile; nay, even the remnant that remained in Canaan was unable to maintain any consistent tradition of Jehovah worship in the dissolution of the independent monarchy, which had till then been universally regarded as the visible representation of Jehovah's sovereignty. The national religion of Judah was not more advanced than that of Ephraim. There, also, the ideas of the state and the religious community were inseparable; and, though isolated prophets could see that the elements of religion were independent of the traditional sanctuaries and their ritual, there was no community of men confirmed in these ideas, who could have held together in captivity, and nurtured their faith in Jehovah by spiritual exercises, unsupported by those visible ordinances which demanded regular access to the holy places of Canaan. In Judah as in Ephraim captivity and the dissolution of the state could have meant nothing else than relapse into heathenism, and the total obliteration of faith in Jehovah's kingship. In the time of Jeremiah all this was changed, and changed mainly by the work in which Isaiah was the chief instrument. The abolition of the provincial high places had taught religion to dispense with constant opportunity of access to the sanctuary; the formation of a consolidated prophetic party, which was the great work of Isaiah's life, provided a community of true faith able to hold together even in times of persecution, and conscious that its religion rested on a different basis from that of the idolatrous masses; and the accumulation of a sacred literature, of which only the first beginnings existed when Isaiah rose, kept the knowledge of Jehovah alive in the Exile, supplied materials for religious instruction, and permitted the development of the synagogue service, in which the captives found opportunity for those visible acts of united worship without which no religion can subsist.

"Nazim": Nazim's origin is Arabic. Nazim means "a prophet's name."

-- RhymingNames.com


Nazim: The Creator, often Compared to God, or the Devil. However he is one and the same. He can create and destroy with a single blink of his eye. He is the Koorbullah, the one we must all worship. He alone we love, and he alone we seek for help.

-- Urban Dictionary


We must only further discuss the pronunciation of the Arabic words. They are to be pronounced as they are written, the transcription is very precise. The S is pronounced like a Z, as is the Z also. So one does not say natzim but rather nazim. With words of more than one syllable the emphasis is on the second syllable, alam - alám. The CH is a guttural which may cause some difficulties. It is harder than the ch in German ach, and tends more toward the k-sound. In Arabic the Science of the Key is also called the Science of the Scale: Ilm el Nazan....

The words of recognition are: key, water, fire, level, black, white, red, rose, stone. As will be understood later, these words describe the entire work. Among the Oriental Masons the work is called the Science of the Key: llm el miftach and the Masons themselves often refer to themselves as Beni el Mim -- Sons of the Key.

The sheikh opens the session with the Fire-sign and the word alam, which the Beni el Mim actually use to mean: "Let's begin..." After the questions to the warden, the steward and the runner, as to whether everything is in order, the sheikh says: "My brothers, we are secure, we are provided for, and we are served. The Sun is shining, let us open heaven. Brother runner, hast thou the key?"

-- The Practice of the Ancient Turkish Freemasons: The Key to the Understanding of Alchemy, by Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorf


Thus the faith of Jehovah survived the Exile, and was handed down from father to son in the Chaldaean dispersion in a way that would have been impossible in the Assyrian period; and so we see that Isaiah and Jeremiah measured the conditions, each of his own time, with equal accuracy, when the older prophet taught that the preservation of the community of Jehovah's religion involved the preservation of the Judaean state, and his successor looked forward to captivity as the only means of liberating the true faith from entanglement with a merely political Jehovah-worship.

I have asked you to consider the bearings of Isaiah's doctrine of the indestructibility of the Jewish state in the light of later history and prophecy, because in this way we not only see why the doctrine was true and necessary in the prophet's own time, but also learn that, as the divine purpose moved onwards, the community of grace came to exist under new conditions, which made the preservation of the kingdom of Judah no longer a matter of religious necessity, or, in other words, no longer a matter of faith. This, however, is a view of the case which goes beyond what was revealed to Isaiah. His faith in the preservation of Jerusalem and the Davidic kingdom amidst the troubles of the Syrian and Assyrian wars was not the special application of a general principle of religious truth, which he had grasped, and was able to express, in a form independent of the concrete circumstances of his age and nation. The prophets, as we have once and again had occasion to observe, saw only individual aspects and particular phases of divine truth; they apprehended the laws of Jehovah's dealings with men, not in their universal form, but in the particular shape applicable to present circumstances; and therefore they were altogether unconscious of the limitations of the principles of faith which they proclaimed. When we should say that, in order to preserve alive the knowledge and fear of the true God and maintain the continuity of Jehovah's purpose un earth, it was necessary that the kingdom of Judah should be saved through the Assyrian troubles, till the spiritual preaching of the prophets had formed a society within Israel in which true religion could be preserved even in exile, Isaiah says simply and without limitation that the sphere of Jehovah's purpose and the Kingdom of Judah are identical. Jehovah sits as King in Zion (viii. 18). His supreme purpose is to remodel the kingdom of Judah as a holy kingdom, and He will not suffer the hostile efforts of any nation to impede the development of this design. This view is altogether remote from the theory of the popular religion that the political interests of Israel and the interests of Jehovah's kingdom are always identical, that the mere fact that Jehovah is Israel's God secures His help in every emergency. On the contrary, all the evils that have befallen and are still to befall the state are Jehovah's work, but amidst these it remains true that Jehovah has a purpose of grace towards His nation, and that He will not suffer the enemies whose attacks He himself directs to do anything inconsistent with that purpose. And therefore the first duty of the rulers of Judah is to make no vain attempt to resist Jehovah's chastisement, but to submit to it with patience, and in the faith that He will bring the troubles of the nation to an end in His own way and in His own good time. The true policy of Judah is "to take heed and be quiet" (vii. 4). The safety of the kingdom depends on the maintenance of an attitude of faith: "If ye will not have faith, ye shall not endure'' (vii 9).

The chief practical object of Isaiah at this time was to prevent the scheme of alliance with Assyria. He saw plainly that Assyria was the real danger to all the Palestinian states; Damascus and Ephraim were mere smouldering firebrands. Confident upon grounds of faith that their immediate enterprise could not lead to the dissolution of the Judaean Kingdom, Isaiah also saw that Pekah and Rezin were not likely to trouble Judah in the future. It was indeed as clear as day that the Assyrians would not suffer extensive schemes of conquest to be carried on by their own rebellious vassals. If Ahaz had not called in the aid of Tiglath Pileser, his own interests would soon have compelled the Assyrian to strike at Damascus; and so, if the Judaean king had had faith to accept the prophet's assurance that the immediate danger could not prove fatal, he would have reaped all the advantages of the Assyrian alliance without finding himself in the perilous position of a vassal to the robber empire. As yet the schemes of Assyria hardly reached as far as Southern Palestine. Even Pekah was left upon his throne when Damascus was led captive, and so, if Isaiah had been followed, Judah would at all events have had twelve years of respite before she met Assyria face to face; and what might not have been accomplished in these years in a nation once more obedient to the prophetic word? The advice of Isaiah, therefore, displayed no less political sagacity than elevation of faith; but it could not approve itself to a king who had neither courage nor faith to accept the prophet's assurance that Jehovah would secure the defeat of Pekah and Rezin without the aid of the politicians of Judah. In vain did Isaiah seek to convey to the pusillanimous monarch some part of his own confidence by encouraging him to ask from Jehovah a sign or pledge of His help. Ahaz would ask nothing; he would not put Jehovah to the proof (vii. 12). The Assyrian alliance was finally determined on, and Judah was at once hopelessly involved in the toils of the empire of the Tigris.

Isaiah received the refusal of Ahaz as the loss of a great opportunity, a deliberate thwarting of Jehovah's counsel. The house of David, he says, are not content to try the patience of man by their silly obstinacy; they must, forsooth, try God's patience too. The phrase is characteristic of the intense realism with which he conceived the religious situation. Never for a moment doubting the final execution of Jehovah's purpose, he yet saw quite clearly that that purpose must be realised along the lines of the historical movement of the time, and that the conduct of Ahaz interposed a new difficulty, and must of necessity lead to new and perilous complications. The first result of the Assyrian intervention must be the fall of Pekah and Rezin, and this could not be delayed more than two or three years. Before a child born in the following spring was of age to say, "My father," and "My mother," or to distinguish good and evil (vii. 16; viii. 4), the land whose two kings had filled Ahaz with terror should be forsaken, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria should be taken away before the king of Assyria. And then Judah's turn must come." Jehovah shall bring upon thee and upon thy father's house such days as have not been since the time when Ephraim broke off from Judah" (vii. 17). For with the fall of Northern Israel, and the acceptance by Judah of the position of a vassal, the last barrier interposed between the empires of the Tigris and the Nile would have disappeared. A prolonged conflict must ensue between the two great powers, and their hosts shall swarm over the land of Judah like clouds of noxious insects (vii. 18 seq.), and lay the whole country utterly waste. The strongholds of Judah shall lie in ruins like the old hill-forts of the Amorites after the Hebrew conquest (xvii. 9). [7] Even the operations of agriculture shall become impossible: briers and thorns shall cover the whole face of the land, and the fair hillsides now crowned with terraced vineyards or blooming under careful tillage shall fall back into jungle, where sheep and oxen roam unchecked, where no human foot penetrates save that of the archer pursuing the gazelle or the mountain partridge. Bread shall be hardly known to the scanty remnant of the Judaeans (vii. 22), honey and sour milk shall be the chief articles of diet, and human life shall be reduced to its most primitive elements. [8]

Thus far Isaiah does no more than describe the natural consequences of Ahaz's foolish policy. His anticipations of evil show a clear appreciation of the dangers of the situation; but they are of the nature of a shrewd political forecast rather than of exceptional prediction, and as the future actually shaped itself his worst anticipations were not realised. The fall of Samaria did not come so soon as he expected (viii. 4), the conflict of Assyria and Egypt was deferred, and when it actually took place, thirty years later, the field of battle was in the extreme south of Palestine, and more in Philistine than in Judaean territory. The land suffered grievously from the armies which the Assyrian directed against Egypt, but the distress never reached the pitch which Isaiah feared. It is well to note these facts, for they show us that the prophetic predictions, even when they applied to the near future, were not always fulfilled in that literal way for which some theologians think it necessary to contend. And, as Isaiah did not lose his credit as a true prophet when it became plain that he had overstated the immediate danger, we are justified in believing that, in the age when prophecy was a living power, the hard-and-fast rule of literal interpretation which is the basis of so much modern speculation about the prophetic books was not recognised. It was understood that the prophets speak in broad poetically effective images, the essential justice of which is not affected by the consideration that they are not exactly reproduced in the future, so long as they embody true principles and indicate right points of view for the direction of conduct. In the case before us the practical object of Isaiah was to inspire new faith where all trust in the God of Israel seemed to be paralysed by terror. Ahaz had refused to put Jehovah to the proof; the oracles of the sanctuary and the vulgar herd of prophets were silent. Men knew no better counsel than to turn, as Saul had done in the moment of his despair, to the lowest forms of divination, to the peeping and muttering wizards, the ventriloquists who pretended to raise the shades of the dead that they, forsooth, might give help to the living. But to Isaiah it appeared that Jehovah had never been more clearly manifested as the living King of Israel. In the days of false prosperity it could be said with truth that He had cast off His people (ii. 6); then indeed there was no present token of the sovereignty of the holy God in a nation where everything that was inconsistent with His rule was suffered to run its course unchecked. But now the signs of Jehovah's presence and personal activity were plain. He had risen to shake the earth, and the lethargy that had so long covered the circle of Palestinian states was dispelled. On all sides the nations were astir, girding themselves for battle, knitting secret alliances, forging plans of defence against the approach of the Assyrian; and above all this turmoil Jehovah sat supreme. As the might of the heathen went down before the irresistible conqueror, as their plans were broken and their proud words of confidence brought to nought, each day made it more clear that there was no god but the God of Israel. The religions of the world were on their trial, and the verdict is pronounced by Isaiah in the words, "With us is God" (Isa. viii. 10).

What is the evidence on which Isaiah bases this verdict? We are all, I suppose, more or less accustomed to fancy that in Bible times the truths of religion were brought home to men's minds by evidence of a more tangible kind than in the present day. The ordinary method of dealing with the historical evidences of Christianity encourages the notion that the most serious difficulty of belief lies in the fact that we are separated by so many centuries from the time when God actually proved Himself a living God and the God of salvation; and we fancy that, if we had lived in the days of the prophets and seen with our own eyes the things that Jehovah wrought then, it would have been easy to believe, or rather impossible not to do so, because the supernatural in those days was as palpable to the senses as natural phenomena are now. An examination of the grounds which led Isaiah to declare that God was with Israel shows how erroneous this idea is. The events that gave him assurance of a present God were the same events that filled Ahaz with despair. It was indeed abundantly clear that the gods of the nations were naught, for none of them could save his worshippers from the Assyrian. But where was the proof that Israel was in a better case? The men of Judah might well say, as Gideon had said in the days of Midianite oppression, "If Jehovah be with us, why then is all this befallen us, and where be all His miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not Jehovah bring us up from Egypt? but now Jehovah hath cast us off." To the spirit that will not believe except it see signs and wonders the natural inference from the Assyrian victory was that Asshur and not Jehovah was the God who ruled on earth. But to Isaiah divine rule means the rule of holiness. Judgment and mercy are equally valid proofs of the sovereignty of Jehovah in Israel. Where Amos had said, Jehovah knows Israel alone of all nations, therefore He punishes their sins, Isaiah inverts the argument and says, Because Jehovah punishes His people's sins there is verily a living God in Israel. Ahaz had refused to ask a pledge of Jehovah's interest in His people; but Jehovah Himself supplies that pledge in the swift approach of the calamity which Ahaz's rebellion entails.

The circumstance that Isa. vii, 14 seq. is applied in Mat. i. 23 to the birth of our Saviour has too often served to divert attention from the plain meaning of the sign or pledge which the prophet sets before the men of Judah. It is perfectly certain that the New Testament writers, in citing passages from the Old, do not always confine themselves to the original reference of the words they quote. The Old Testament Scriptures were an abiding possession of the Church. Their meaning was not held to have been exhausted in the events of past history; they all pointed to Christ, and every passage that could be brought into relation with the Gospel history might, it was felt, be legitimately adduced in that connection. The New Testament writers therefore do not help us to understand what a text of Isaiah meant to the prophet himself, or to those whom he personally addressed. They tell us only what it meant to the first generation of Christianity. The discussion of this secondary sense lies altogether beyond our present purpose. As historical students of prophecy, we have only to ask what the prophet designed to convey to his own contemporaries; and to them, it is clear, he offered a present token of Jehovah's presence, and of the truth of the prophetic word in its reference to current events. That token was not a miraculous conception. The word which the English version renders "virgin" means, strictly speaking, nothing else than a young woman of age to be a mother. On the person of the future mother Isaiah lays no stress; it does not appear that he pointed his hearers to any individual. He says only that a young woman who shall become a mother within a year may name her child "God with us." For, before the babe begins to develop into intelligent childhood, the lands of Pekah and Rezin shall be laid waste, and Judah as well as Israel shall be stripped of all its artificial wealth, and reduced to wild pasture ground, whose inhabitants feed on sour milk and honey. [9] In the collapse of all human resources, in the return of the nation to that elemental form of life in which the creations of human skill and industry no longer come between man and his Maker, it will become plain that there is a God in Israel. "In that day man shall look unto his Maker, and his eyes shall be turned to the Holy One of Israel. And they shall not look to the altars, the work of their hands, neither shall they turn to that which their own fingers have made, to the asherim and the sun-pillars" (xvii. 7, 8). To put the thought in modern language, the proof that God is with Israel, and with Israel alone, lies in this, that no other conception of godhead than that of the Holy God preached by Israel's prophets can justify itself as consistent with the course of the Assyrian calamity. The world is divided between two religions, the religion that worships things of man's making, and the religion of the Holy One of Israel. Judah is called to choose between these faiths, and its rulers have chosen the former. Their trust is in earthly things; — be these chariots and horses, strong cities and munitions of war, commercial wealth and agricultural prosperity, carnal alliances and schemes of human policy, or idols, altars, and sun-pillars, is alike to Isaiah's argument. When Jehovah rises in judgment all these vain helpers are swept away, and the Holy One of Israel alone remains. The plans of earthly policy which Ahaz and his counsellors had matured with so much care are likened by the prophet to the Adonis gardens [10] or pots of quickly withering flowers, which the ancients used to set at their doors or in the courts of temples: "Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore thou shalt plant Adonis gardens, and set them with strange slips. In the day that thou hedgest in thy plants, in the morning that thou makest thy seed to bud, the harvest is vanished in a day of grief and of hopeless sorrow" (xvii. 10 seq.).

Meantime, the duty of the prophet and his disciples is to hold themselves aloof from the rest of the nation, to take their stand on the sure word of revelation, and patiently await the issue. "Jehovah hath laid His strong hand on me, and taught me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, Speak not of confederacy where this people speaketh of confederacy, and fear not what they fear, neither be ye afraid. Sanctify Jehovah of hosts Himself, and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. And He shall prove a sanctuary [asylum], but a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, a gin and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem." "Bind up God's testimony, seal the revelation among my disciples. And I will wait for Jehovah that hideth His face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for Him" (viii. 11 seq). The circle that gathered round Isaiah and his household in these evil days, holding themselves apart from their countrymen, treasuring the word of revelation, and waiting for Jehovah, were indeed, as Isaiah describes them, "signs and tokens in Israel from Jehovah of hosts that dwelleth in Mount Zion." The formation of this little community was a new thing in the history of religion. Till then no one had dreamed of a fellowship of faith dissociated from all national forms, maintained without the exercise of ritual services, bound together by faith in the divine word alone. It was the birth of a new era in the Old Testament religion, for it was the birth of the conception of the Church, the first step in the emancipation of spiritual religion from the forms of political life, — a step not less significant that all its consequences were not seen till centuries had passed away. The community of true religion and the political community of Israel had never before been separated even in thought; now they stood side by side, conscious of their mutual antagonism, and never again fully to fall back into their old identity.

Isaiah, indeed, and the prophets who followed him were still far from seeing how deep was the breach between the physical Israel and the spiritual community of faith. To them the dissociation of these two qualities appeared to be merely temporary; they pictured the redemption of Israel as the vindication of the true remnant in a day of national repentance, when the state should accept the prophetic word as its divine rule. For the order of salvation is first light and then deliverance. In the depth of Israel's despair, when men walk in darkness, hardly bested and hungry, "they shall curse their king and their god, and look upward" (viii. 21). As their eyes turn to Him whom they cast off for the things they now curse as false helpers, the darkness is lifted from the land. "She who is in anguish shall not be in darkness." The work of redemption begins where the desolation of Israel by Assyria began, in the northern lands of Galilee by the shores of the Lake of Tiberias (ix. 1). But all Israel shares the great deliverance, in which the yoke of Assyria is broken, and Jehovah's zeal for His people manifested in a glorious reintegration of the Davidic kingdom. "The people that walk in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of deep shade, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast made the gladness great. [11] Thou hast increased their joy; they joy before Thee according to the joy in harvest, as men are glad when they divide the spoil. For Thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, the rod of his back, the staff of his oppressor, as in the day of [battle with] Midian. For the greaves of the warrior that stampeth in the fray, and the garments rolled in blood, shall be cast into the fire as fuel for the flame. For to us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be on his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor — God, the mighty One — Everlasting Father — Prince of Peace, for the increase of the government, and for peace without end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to confirm it and to establish it in judgment and in righteousness, from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this" (ix. 2-7).

In these words the picture of Israel's final glory assumes a much preciser form than in the earlier prophecy of chap. iv. There is still a large element of figure and symbol, so used as to show that the prophet does not possess a detailed revelation of the process of the work of salvation, but is guided, as was the case in the earlier predictions, by general principles of faith, too large to be immediately translated into the language of literality. But he has now gained a clearer view of the nature and limits of the work of judgment than was expressed in chaps, ii. and iii., and the new light shed on the present casts its rays into the future. The turning-point of Israel's history is the destruction of the power of the Assyrian oppressor, and with this deliverance the Messianic days begin. To Isaiah, therefore, the law of Jehovah's kingship is still the same as in ancient days. The new salvation is parallel to the great things which God did for His people in times of old, when the victories of Israel over such enemies as Midian were recognised as victories of Jehovah, and proved the chief means of confirming the national faith. But now the deliverance is no temporary victory over a mere Arab horde, but the final and complete discomfiture of the great power which represented all that man could do against the kingdom of Jehovah. The blood-stained relics of the struggle are cast into the fire. War has ceased for ever, and the reign of perpetual peace begins under a child of the seed of David, whose throne is established in righteousness and for evermore. In this last conception we meet for the first time with the idea of a personal Messiah. In chap. iv. it was Jehovah's glory, manifested in fire and cloud, that overshadowed and protected the ransomed nation. Now this image is translated into a new and more concrete form. The establishment and enlargement of the divine kingdom is committed to a human representative of Jehovah's sovereignty, and it is in a fresh scion of the house of David that Israel finds the embodiment of more than human wisdom, divine strength, and an everlasting reign of fatherly protection and peace. The further examination of these Messianic ideas must, however, be deferred till we can compare the prediction now before us with the later prophecies in which Isaiah recurs to the same subject.
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Re: THE PROPHETS OF ISRAEL AND THEIR PLACE IN HISTORY TO THE

Postby admin » Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:48 pm

LECTURE 7: ISAIAH AND MICAH IN THE REIGN OF HEZEKIAH

The reign of Ahaz was not a very long one; lie did not live to see the revolt of Hoshea and the fall of Samaria. The last rebellion of Northern Israel was not an isolated rising; it was accompanied or followed by a general revolt of all the Syrian principalities from Philistia in the south to Hamath and Arpad in the north. Hoshea, as we know, was encouraged by the hope of support from So (Sewe), king of Egypt (2 Kings xvii. 4), and this monarch, the Sebech of the Assyrian monuments, was in fact concerned with the whole movement that threatened the Assyrian supremacy in the districts west of the Euphrates. The interference of Egypt at this juncture is explained by the fact that, for some time before, that country had been much divided and weakened by contests between an Ethiopian dynasty in the upper country and the princes of the Delta. But the Ethiopians at last prevailed, and under Sebech Egypt and Ethiopia formed a single power, able to devote itself to foreign affairs. After taking Samaria, Sargon in B.C. 720 reduced the Philistine cities, and, advancing to Raphia (now Rafah) on the border of the desert on the short caravan road from Egypt to Gaza, encountered and defeated Sebech. [2] The victory was not pursued into Egypt itself, but it secured the subjection of Syria, and for some years the only operations of Sargon in the west of which we hear were directed against Arab tribes. But in B.C. 711, nine years after the battle of Raphia, Ashdod was once more in revolt under a king named Yaman. The Egyptians of course were again pulling the strings, and the affair must have been regarded as serious, for Sargon speaks of it at length in several of his inscriptions. He acted with great promptitude, crossing the Tigris and Euphrates while the waters were still in flood, and advancing with the characteristic rapidity which forms a chief feature in Isaiah's description of the Assyrian armies (Isa. v.) "In the anger of my heart," says Sargon, according to Oppert's translation (R.P. vii. 40; ix. 11), "I marched against Ashdod with my warriors, who did not leave the trace of my feet." The Egyptians were far from exhibiting equal energy. All through the history of this period their policy was made up of large promises and small performance; they were always stirring up plots against their Eastern rivals, but never ready when the moment for action came; and Isaiah fitly sums up their conduct in the two words "turbulence and inactivity" (xxx. 7). In the present instance, they left Ashdod to its fate, and Pharaoh was glad to make his peace with Sargon by surrendering Yaman, who had taken refuge in Egypt.

This campaign has a special interest for ns, because it is referred to in the first prophecy of Isaiah after the Syro-Ephraitic war, the date of which is altogether undisputed. In the year of the siege and capture of Ashdod, so we are told in chap, xx., Isaiah, under Divine command, put off the sackcloth from his loins and the shoe from his foot, and continued for three years to walk naked and barefoot, as a sign and token upon Egypt and Ethiopia. Even so, he explained, Egypt and Ethiopia shall be led captive by the king of Assyria, naked and barefoot, to the shame of all who looked to them for help. "Then the inhabitants of this coast shall say, So have they fared to whom we looked and to whom we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria; and how can we escape? " The only point in this chapter that demands explanation is the three years' continuance of the prophet's symbolic action, which plainly implies that for three years the lesson still required to be enforced. Here the annals of Sargon come to our help. The siege of Ashdod, as we have seen, fell in 711, and for the next two years Sargon was wholly engrossed by a revolt of the Babylonians under Merodach Baladan. It was this, perhaps, that prevented him from pressing forward against Egypt as Isaiah had expected him to do on the fall of Ashdod. At all events, the revolt of Babylon gave hopes of independence to Assyria's western vassals, for we are told in the Annals that the kings of Cyprus, who had previously refused tribute, voluntarily submitted themselves when they heard of the humiliation of Merodach Baladan. Cyprus, the Phoenicians, and the Philistines were closely connected in trade and politics; so it appears that in the third year of Isaiah's symbolical conduct the Palestinian nations gave up all further hope of escape from the Assyrian yoke. It is true that this result had not come about in the way that Isaiah anticipated; but his assurance that their efforts after independence were hopeless had none the less justified itself, and there was no further motive for continuing the sign by which he had confirmed it.

Prom this date to the death of Sargon (B.C. 705) things appear to have remained quiet in Palestine; but before we pass on to the reign of Sennacherib, we are called to examine more closely the attitude and fortunes of Judah and the activity of the prophets during the events already described. In the wars of 722-720 against Samaria and the Philistines, the Judaeans seem to have had no direct part; they still adhered to Assyria, as was natural enough, since Philistia and Ephraim had been dangerous enemies but a few years before. To this date Isa. xxviii. can most naturally be assigned. The prophet looks forward to the fall of Samaria, when the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim shall be trodden under foot, and the glory of Samaria pass as a fading flower; and still he sees in the near catastrophe but a fresh pledge of the approach of the day when Jehovah shall be the crown and pride of the remnant of His people, giving "the spirit of justice to him who sitteth for justice, and of valour to them that turn back battle from the gate." He at least has not lost faith or changed his hope during the ten years that have elapsed since he withdrew from public life with his disciples, to wait for better days; the purpose of Jehovah has been deferred, but not abandoned, and in the new crisis Isaiah sees Him rising up to accomplish it in His ancient might, as that was displayed at Baal-Perazim and Gibeon (2 Sam. v. 20 seq.; Josh. X.). Thus, in spite of the threatening aspect of the present, Jehovah's purpose appears to Isaiah as a purpose of grace to Israel — but of grace that can only be realised by those who are willing to yield obedience to the Divine precepts. The condition of deliverance is still national repentance, and from this the rulers of Judah and the official heads of Judah's religion (ver. 7) are far removed. The chiefs of the people are like men in the last stage of a drunken debauch (vers. 7, 8), incapable of listening to sane counsel, deaf to Jehovah's words when He declares to them by His prophet where rest for the weary and refreshing for the exhausted nation are to be found (ver. 12). In this prophecy Isaiah does not again detail, what he had explained at length before, the course in which these blessings are to be found. But throughout life he pointed steadily to the establishment of civil justice and the abolition of the idols as the things most necessary, and we may safely conclude that in these respects there was as yet no real amendment. The "scornful men" who guided the helm of the state were absorbed in schemes which left no room for the thought that the fate of kingdoms is governed by Jehovah's providence and by the supremacy of His holy will. They had made lies their refuge, and hid themselves under falsehood. They had made their covenant with death and Sheol — that is, with the fatal power of the Assyrian — and trusted that when the ''overflowing scourge," the all-destroying invasion, passed through it should not reach them. Isaiah had no share in this illusion. He saw that the present state of things was intolerable and could not last; " the bed was too short for a man to stretch himself on it, the coverlet too narrow for a man to wrap himself in it " (ver. 20). The Assyrian alliance must soon be dissolved, "Your covenant with death shall be annulled, your agreement with Sheol shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge passeth through, ye shall be trodden down by it." Once and again the invading host shall pass through the land and smite its inhabitants (ver. 19). So long as the policy of irreligion lasts, it can only serve to prolong the bondage of the nation (ver. 22). Jehovah's purpose is now decisive and final (ver. 22); the measure of strict justice shall be applied to those who have mocked at judgment and righteousness (ver. 17). In the universal overthrow there is but one thing fixed and immutable: " Jehovah hath laid in Zion a stone, a stone of proof, a precious corner-stone of sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste" (ver. 16). Those who have faith in the sovereign providence that rules in Israel, and is surely working out Jehovah's counsel, can await the future with patience; they, and they alone, for " hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place." It is still the old faith in the inviolability of Zion, the prophetic confidence in the continuity of Jehovah's purpose, that forms the root of Isaiah's hope; but now more clearly than before the prophet lays the basis of this faith in the doctrine of an all-embracing divine ordinance, the same ordinance that rules the actions of every-day industry. The wisdom that tells the husbandman how to plough and sow, which directs the daily labours of agricultural life, is also a part of Jehovah's teaching (vers. 24-29). And the same God, "wonderful in counsel and excellent in practical wisdom," who prescribes the order of common toil, rules in the affairs of the state and lays down the inviolable laws of Israel's happiness.

The argument from the operations of husbandry with which Isaiah closes this prophecy is too characteristic to be passed over without further remark. To recognise its full force we must remember that all such operations were guided by traditional rules which no one dreamed of violating. These rules were the law of the husbandman, and like all traditional laws among ancient nations they had a sacred character. Every one understood that it was part of religion to observe them, and that it would be in the highest degree unlucky to set them aside. The modern mind is disposed to laugh at such ideas, but Isaiah takes them in all seriousness. In the sedulous observance of the traditional lore which expressed the whole wisdom of the peasant, and was reverently accepted as a divine teaching, the husbandman brought his religion into the daily duties of his humble toil, and every operation became an act of obedience to God. And thus his life appears to the prophet as a pattern for the scornful rulers of Judah. They too in their seat of judgment and government have a divine law set before them, in the observance of which the felicity of the nation lies. But they refuse to learn. The incessant prophetic inculcation of "command upon command, rule upon rule, here a little and there a little" — in brief, the attempt to make the word of God the practical guide of every action — seems to them only fit for babes (ver. 9). But Jehovah will not suffer His lessons to remain unlearned. What they refuse to hear at the mouth of the prophet they must learn from the harsher accents of the Assyrian tyrant. "With barbarous lips and in a strange tongue will He speak to this people" (ver. 11). Thus the doctrines of divine chastisement and divine grace are gathered up into one larger doctrine of Jehovah's teaching to Israel. The word of the prophet and the rod of the Assyrian are conjoint agencies, working together for the in-bringing of a time when, as the prophet elsewhere expresses it, the land shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, when the practical rules of conduct which He dictates shall be as supreme in the administration of the state as in the ordering of the daily tasks of the husbandman.

The way in which the rulers of Judah are addressed in this prophecy appears to show that, in spite of the increasing sufferings which the Assyrian exactions imposed on the poorer classes — for these in the East are the taxpayers — the princes still found their account in the maintenance of the settlement effected by Ahaz. Isaiah does not blame them for their acquiescence in a position of political nonentity; he certainly would not have encouraged them to cast in their lot with Samaria; but he urges that the sins which have proved the ruin of Samaria will be their ruin too. The accession of Hezekiah, it is plain, had done nothing for the cure of the internal wounds of the state; all social disorders were as rampant as at the outbreak of the Syro-Ephraitic war; the Assyrian suzerainty was tolerated for no other reason than that it maintained the governing classes in their positions, and enabled them to continue their course of riot and oppression. This picture of the state of Judah receives independent confirmation from the earlier part of the book of Micah, [3] which also dates from the days of the last struggle of Samaria, as we learn from a comparison of Micah i. with Jer. xxvi. 18. Micah was a man of Moresheth Gath, a small place, as Jerome tells us, near Eleutheropolis on the Philistine frontier, and the proximity of his home to one part of the field of war helps to explain his keen interest in the progress of the Assyrian arms. At all events, the crisis which drew Isaiah from his retirement to proclaim to Judah the lesson preached by the impending ruin of Ephraim, called forth the countryman Micah to give a like warning. In the storm that was ready to burst upon Samaria he beheld Jehovah going forth from His heavenly palace, and marching over the mountains of Palestine in righteous indignation to visit the sins of Jacob. Samaria shall become a heap of the field; the stones of her fortifications shall be rolled down into the valley, her graven images dashed to pieces. But Judah too has shared the sin of Samaria, and the same judgment menaces Zion (i. 1-9). It is the cities of his own district that are in immediate danger (i. 10-15) — a natural thought, since they lay next to the scene of war in Philistia; but the centre of Judah's sin is the capital; and the evil that has come down from Jehovah already stands at the gate of Jerusalem (i. 5, 9, 12). The sins which Micah has in view are the same as those signalised by Isaiah: on the one hand, a religion full of idolatry and heathenish sorceries (iii. 7; v. 12 seq.), a spurious confidence in Jehovah, which has no regard to His moral attributes, and is bolstered up by lying oracles (ii. 11; iii. 5, 11, comp. Isa. xxviii. 7), while it refuses to hear the warnings of true prophecy (ii. 6; iii. 8, comp. Isa. xxviii. 9 seq.); on the other hand, the gross corruption and oppressions of the ruling classes, who "build up Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with iniquity" (iii. 10). But Micah depicts the sufferings of the peasantry at the hands of their lords from much closer personal observation than was possible to Isaiah as a resident in the capital. He speaks as a man of the people, and reveals to ns, as no other prophet does, the feelings of the commonalty towards their oppressors. To the peasantry the nobles seem to have no object but plunder (ii. 1 seq.). The poorer agriculturists are daily stripped of their houses and holdings by violence or false judgment. The true enemies of the people are their own rulers (ii. 8), [4] and the prophet contemplates with a stern satisfaction, which doubtless found an echo in many breasts, the approach of the destroyer who shall carry into exile "the luxurious sons" (i. 16) of this race of petty tyrants, and leave them none " to stretch the measuring line on a lot in the congregation of Jehovah " (ii. 5). " Arise," he cries, " and depart, for this is not your place of rest."

The strong personal feeling which Micah displays towards the governing classes gives a peculiar turn to his whole prophecy. Isaiah speaks as severely of the sins of the nobles, but never, as Micah does, from the standpoint of a man of the people. Isaiah's own circle belonged to the upper classes; the chief priest of the temple was his friend; and an aristocratic habit of thought appears in more than one of his prophecies. His doctrine of the indestructibility of Zion as the condition of the continuity of the national existence of Judah seems to indicate that the capital and the Court appeared to him as the natural centre of the true remnant. There is nothing democratic in his picture of Israel's restoration; he looks for the amendment of the ruling classes (i. 26), who retain their old place in the reconstruction of the state (chap, xxxii.). Micah, on the contrary, conceives the work of judgment essentially as a destruction of the government and the nobles. The race of the unjust aristocrats shall be rooted out of the land (ii. 5); the proud and guilty capital shall be ploughed as a field; Jerusalem shall become as heaps and the mountain of the temple as the heights of the forest (iii. 12); the judge or king of Israel shall suffer the last indignities at the hand of the enemy (v. 1; Heb., iv. 14). It has often been supposed from these predictions that Micah, unlike Isaiah, looked forward to a total captivity; and that his words were referred by the Jews themselves to the Babylonian exile, appears from the fact that at an early date the gloss, " and shalt come even to Babylon," was inserted in iv. 10. [5] But a closer examination does not bear out this view. When the aristocrats are carried captive " the congregation of Jehovah" remains in the land (ii. 5). The glory of Israel is not banished from Canaan, but takes refuge in Adullam, as in the old days, when a band of freebooters and broken men contained the true hope of the nation (i. 15). The days of David, when the ruler of Israel came forth from Bethlehem, a town too small to be reckoned as a canton in Judah (v. 2), the times of "the first kingdom," when Jerusalem itself was but a hill fort, "a tower of the flock " (iv. 8), appear to Micah as the true model of national well-being; the acquisitions of later civilisation and political development, horses and chariots and fenced cities — always associated with tyranny in the minds of the common people — are stamped by him as sins, and shall be utterly abolished in the days of restoration (i. 13; v. 10, 11). [6] Hence, though Micah no less than Isaiah recognises Zion as the centre of Jehovah's sovereignty, from which divine instruction and decisions shall go forth in the days to come to all the surrounding nations, who shall lay aside their weapons of war and make Jehovah the arbiter of their strifes (iv. 1 seq.), the fall of the Zion of the present, the city built up by bloodshed and guilt, the strong fortress of Israel's oppressors, appears to our prophet as a necessary step in the redemption of the nation. The daughter (or population) of Zion must pass through the pangs of labour before her true king is born; she must come forth from the city and dwell in the open field; there, and not within her proud ramparts, Jehovah will grant her deliverance from her enemies. For a time the land shall be given up to the foe, but only for a time. Once more, as in the days of David, guerilla bands gather together to avenge the wrongs of their nation (v. 1). A new David comes forth from little Bethlehem, and the rest of his brethren return to the children of Israel — that is, the kindred Hebrew nations again accept the sway of the new king, who stands and feeds his flock in the strength of Jehovah, in the majesty of the name of Jehovah his God. Then Assyria shall no longer insult Jehovah's land with impunity. The national militia, again numerous and warlike as of old, has no lack of captains to meet the invader, and the tide of battle shall be rolled back into the land of Nimrod, which the sword of Israel shall lay waste. The remnant of Judah shall flourish in the midst of the surrounding peoples, like grass fertilised by the waters of heaven, that tarry not for man nor wait for the sons of men. Judah shall be among the nations irresistible as a lion among flocks of sheep; for its strength comes down from Jehovah, like dew from the skies, and all false helpers, strongholds and chariots, enchantments and graven images, asherim and macceboth, are swept away. And Jehovah will execute judgment in wrath and fury on the nations that refuse obedience (v. 2-15).

It is interesting to observe that according to Jer. xxvi. 19 the prophecy of Micah produced a great impression on his contemporaries. And this is not strange; for he spoke to the masses of the people as one of themselves, and his whole picture of judgment and deliverance was constructed of familiar elements, and appealed to the most cherished traditions of the past. David, as it is easy to recognise from the narrative of the books of Samuel, was the hero of the common people; and no more effective method of popular teaching could have been devised than the presentation of the antique simplicity of his kingdom in contrast to the corruptions of the present. Thus Micah's teaching went straighter to the hearts of the masses than the doctrine of Isaiah, which at this time was still working only as a leaven in a small circle. Isaiah's work, in truth, was the higher as it was the more difficult; it was a greater task to consolidate the party of spiritual faith, and by slow degrees to establish its influence in the governing circle, than to arouse the masses to a sense of the incongruity of the present state of things with the old ideal of Jehovah's nation. But both prophets had their share in the great transformation of Israel's religion which began in the reign of Hezekiah and found definite expression in the reformation of Josiah. It is Micah's conception of the Davidic king which is reproduced in the Deuteronomic law of the kingdom (Deut. xvii. 14 seq.), and his prophecy of the destruction of the high places (v. 13), more directly than anything in Isaiah's book, underlies the principle of the one sanctuary, the establishment of which, in Deuteronomy, and by Josiah, was the chief visible mark of the religious revolution which the teaching of the prophets had effected.

These remarks, however, threaten to carry us too far out of the course of the history which we are pursuing. Let us return to Judah and its rulers as they were on the eve of Samaria's calamity, when Micah was preaching the fall of the corrupt nobles, and Isaiah was appealing to the grandees of the capital to be warned by the fate of their compeers in Samaria. At the time, we may well suppose, the words of Micah found no audience beyond his own district, and the prophecy of Isaiah xxviii. was little heeded, so that, if we may judge from the present arrangement of his book, he deemed it fitting to republish it many years later as a seasonable introduction to a collection of prophecies of the time of Sennacherib. But the events that followed proved that Isaiah's foresight was sound. The sum of his warning had been, "Be ye not mockers, lest your fetters be made strong." Judah refused his admonition, and the Assyrian bondage became every year more grievous. The tone of chap. xx. makes it hardly questionable that ten years later, in 711 B.C., the Judaeans took a lively and favourable interest in the uprising of Philistia, which, by its close connection with Egypt on the one hand and Phoenicia on the other, as well as by the physical advantages of its position in the rich Mediterranean coast-land, was marked out as the natural focus of Palestinian revolt. The pressure of the foreign yoke caused ancestral enmities to be forgotten, and Judah leaned more and more to the scheme of an Egyptian alliance embracing all the Syrian states. Sargon himself, on a cylinder which repeats the main facts of the war of 711, already described from his Annals, tells us that the tributary states of Judah, Edom, and Moab, were speaking treason and beseeching the alliance of Egypt, and many recent inquirers have supposed that at this time Hezekiah and his people broke out into open revolt, and shared the miseries of the war that ensued. This conjecture has considerable interest for the interpretation of Isaiah's prophecies. The prophet was not an ordinary preacher; his voice was mainly heard in great political crises, and in uneventful times he might well be silent for years. But in the day of danger, when Jehovah was pre-eminently at work, the fundamental law of prophecy came into play: " The Lord Jehovah doeth nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets." If Judah was actively engaged in the war of 711, and was reduced by force, it is scarcely doubtful that the book of Isaiah must preserve some record of the fact; and so the latest English commentator, Mr. Cheyne, developing the suggestions of Professor Sayce and other Assyriologists, proposes to ascribe to this period, not only chaps, x. 5 to xi. 16, but chaps, i., xiv. 29-32, xxii., xxix.-xxxii. If we accept this view we must conclude that Judah had a very large share in the campaign of 711, that the whole land was overrun by the enemy and the provincial cities taken and burned (i. 7), that Jerusalem itself was besieged (xxii.) — in short, that Judah suffered precisely in the same way and to the same extent as under the invasion of Sennacherib ten years later. But, more than this, we must conclude that Isaiah held precisely similar language in the two cases, — that under Sargon, as under Sennacherib, he taught that the Assyrian might indeed approach and lay siege to Jerusalem, but Jehovah in the last extremity would Himself protect His holy mountain and strike down the invader, and that he did this in the second invasion without making any reference back to the events of the siege which had called forth similar predictions ten years before.

The mere statement of this hypothesis is, I think, sufficient to show its extreme improbability. History does not repeat itself exactly, and even if the two invasions of the hypothesis ran a similar course, as up to a certain point they might well do, they must have had very different issues. If Jerusalem was besieged in 711 the issue certainly was the submission of Hezekiah and his return to obedience. And if this were so, it is highly improbable that he would have been allowed to restore the Judaean fortresses, and regain so large a measure of military strength as is implied in the fact that ten years later he was the most important member of the rebel confederation. On the contrary, the fact that the campaign of 711 was essentially a campaign against Ashdod, Judaea not being so much as named in the account of it in the Annals, while that of 701 was as essentially a campaign against Judaea, in which the Philistines played quite a subordinate part, seems to be clear evidence that, though Hezekiah may for a moment have thought of revolt on the earlier occasion, he did not take an active part in the war. The extraordinary rapidity of Sargon's movements, specially emphasised on the monuments, enabled him to crush Ashdod before the Egyptians could send aid to their allies, and no doubt nipped in the bud all schemes of revolt on the part of the neighbouring states. That this was the actual course of events is further clear from Isa. xx. The language of the prophet must have been very different if at this time Judah had been actively engaged on the side of Ashdod. And finally, it can hardly be supposed that the book of Kings would have been altogether silent on the subject, if Sargon as well as Sennacherib had besieged Jerusalem and captured the cities of Judah. But the attempt of the Assyriologists to find in 2 Kings xviii. 13 seq. some trace of an earlier invasion which has got mixed up with that of Sennacherib is altogether chimerical. Everything in the narrative of Kings is either borne out by the monuments of Sennacherib, or is altogether inapplicable to the expedition of Sargon. Sennacherib tells only of his successes, not of his ultimate retreat and the escape of Hezekiah, and so his account corresponds only with 2 Kings xviii. 13-l7a. But everything spoken of in these verses agrees exactly with the Assyrian record. [7]

If we are compelled to reject the theory of an invasion of Judaea under Sargon, the only prophecy in Mr. Cheyne's list which can be held to be earlier than the reign of Sennacherib appears to be that extending from X. 5 to xi. 16, which sets forth with greater completeness than any other single discourse preserved to us the whole views of Isaiah concerning the mission of Assyria as an instrument of Jehovah's anger, the ultimate fate of the robber empire, and the future glory of Jehovah's people. The destruction of Samaria, the final captivity of Northern Israel — which the prophet does not seem to have contemplated in the discourses of the reign of Ahaz — and the thorough subjugation of all Syria and Northern Palestine, which were stripped by Sargon of the last shadow of independence, were events that could not fail to produce a deep impression in Judah; and, while others stood aghast at the terrible portent which had changed the whole face of the Hebrew world, Isaiah — who had not lost confidence in the ultimate victory of Jehovah's cause, or ceased to associate that victory with the preservation through all trouble of the visible kingdom of Jehovah in Israel, which had its centre on Mount Zion — could hardly fail to feel it necessary to restate his view of the future of Judah in a form that took account of recent events. The great prophecy of chaps, x. and xi. corresponds to this description. The cardinal thoughts are the same as in chap, xxviii.; [8] but the date is after the fall of Samaria, the destruction of the principalities of Syria, such as Hamath and Arpad, which we know to have taken place at the same time with the final subjugation of Ephraim, is alluded to as a recent event (x. 9), and the immediate historical background of the prophecy is the total revolution which the successes of Assyria and the policy of captivities en masse (x. 13) had worked in all the countries between Judaea and the Euphrates. It is difficult for us to conceive the terror which these events must have inspired among the petty nations of Palestine, who for centuries past had gone on their way, each walking in the name of its god (Micah iv. 5), and fancying itself secure in his help from any greater danger than was involved in the usual feuds with its neighbours. To Isaiah, however, the progress of the Assyrian had no terrors and brought no surprise. There was neither strength nor permanency in the idolatrous kingdoms, which one after another had fallen before the all-conquering power. So far as they were concerned, Assyria was irresistible; its mission upon earth, confided to it by Jehovah Himself, was to prove that there was no God but the Holy One of Israel. But Jehovah's kingdom and Jehovah's citadel of Zion stood in a very different position. The Assyrian in his greatest might is but the rod of Jehovah's anger; and though he knows not this, but deems that the strength of his own hand has gotten him the victory, and that he can deal with Jerusalem and her idols at his will as he has done with Samaria and her idols, it is as impossible for him to lift himself up against Jehovah as for the axe to boast itself against him that heweth therewith, or for the rod to shake the hand that wields it. It is indeed plain that the pride of the Assyrian will not acknowledge this limitation of his might, and that his all-devouring greed will soon carry him onwards to open assault on Judah, which as yet is itself unconscious of its high destiny, still "leaning on him who smites it" — that is, as appeared in chap, xxviii., still depending on that treaty of tributary alliance which, Isaiah saw, could not be long observed. But when the crisis comes, when Jehovah has accomplished His whole work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He will punish the proud heart and stout looks of the king of Assyria, and it shall be seen that the conqueror who has removed the bounds of nations and gathered all the earth as a man gathers eggs from a deserted nest, where there is none that moves a wing or opens the mouth or peeps, is powerless before the walls of Jehovah's citadel. Thus, as King Sargon continued his career of universal conquest, the history of the world appeared to Isaiah to converge towards one great decision, when all other nations should have disappeared from the struggle, and the supreme world- power should come face to face with the God who has founded Zion as His inexpugnable sanctuary. This thought shaped itself to the prophet's mind in the picture of a great invasion, in which the Assyrian advances through the pass of Michmash, in the fulness of his arrogancy and might, sweeping the helpless inhabitants before him till he stands upon the broad ridge of Scopus looking down upon Jerusalem from the north, and shakes his hand in contemptuous menace at the mount of the daughter of Zion. Then Jehovah arises in His might and prostrates the proud host, as a mighty forest falls before the axe of the woodman. Compare xiv. 24-27.

The fall of the Assyrian closes the first act of the divine drama as it unfolds itself before the spiritual eyes of the prophet, and this great deliverance seals the repentance of Jehovah's people. "In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon Jehovah the Holy One of Israel in truth" (x. 20). The judgment is past, and days of blessing begin. The Davidic kingdom starts into new life, or, as the prophet expresses it, a new sapling springs from the old stock of Jesse, on whom the spirit of Jehovah rests in full measure, as a spirit of wisdom, heroism, and true religion, who rules in the fear of Jehovah, his loins girt about with righteousness and faithfulness, doing justice to the poor without respect of persons, and consuming the evildoers out of the land by the sovereign sentence of his lips, till crime and violence are no longer known in Jehovah's holy mountain, and the land of Israel is full of the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters cover the sea. No figure is too strong to paint this reign of peace and order. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp. It would be puerile to take these expressions literally, and the prophet himself interprets his figure when he represents the abolition of all hurt and harm as the fruit of just judgment and pure government.

The blessings of this Messianic time belong, in the first instance, to Israel alone; the other nations share. in them only in so far as they seek arbitration and guidance from the kingly house of Jesse, which stands forth as a beacon to the surrounding peoples. But the restoration of Israel is complete. Jehovah will gather back the remnant of His people, scattered in Egypt and Assyria and all the four corners of the earth, opening a way before the returning exiles by drying up seas and rivers, as in the day when Israel came up out of Egypt. Judah and Ephraim shall no more be foes, and their united armies shall restore the ancient conquests of David. On the west they shall swoop down victoriously on Philistia; to the east they shall spoil the children of the desert; and Edom, Ammon, and Moab shall return to their old obedience.

The connection of ideas in this prophecy is so clear, and it sets forth with so much completeness Isaiah's whole view of Jehovah's purpose towards Judah, that we may regard it as a typical example of what is usually called Messianic prediction. The name Messiah is never used in the Old Testament in that special sense which we are accustomed to associate with it. The Messiah (with the article and no other word in apposition) is not an Old Testament phrase at all, and the word Messiah (Mashiah) or "anointed one" in the connection "Jehovah's anointed one" is no theological term, but an ordinary title of the human king whom Jehovah has set over Israel. Thus the usual way in which the time of Israel's redemption and final glory is called the Messianic time is incorrect and misleading. So long as the Hebrew kingdom lasted, every king was "Jehovah's anointed," and it was only after the Jews lost their independence that the future restoration could be spoken of in contrast to the present as the days of the Messiah. To Isaiah the restoration of Israel is not the commencement but the continuation of that personal sovereignty of Jehovah over His people of which the Davidic king was the recognised representative. As the holy seed which repeoples the land after the work of judgment is done is a fresh growth from the ancient stock of the nation (vi. 13), so too the new Davidic kingship is a fresh outgrowth of the old stem of Jesse. We are apt to think of the days of the Messiah as an altogether new and miraculous dispensation. That was not Isaiah's view. The restoration of Jerusalem is a return to an old state of things, interrupted by national sin. "I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy councillors as at the beginning; afterward thou shalt be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city " (i. 26). And so when we examine the picture presented in chap. xi. with care, and make allowance for traits so plainly figurative as the lion which eats straw like the ox, the seas and rivers dried up to facilitate the return of the exiles of Judah, we find but one fundamental difference between the old and the new Israel: the land shall be full of the know- ledge of Jehovah, and shall enjoy the happiness which in all ages, past as well as future, has accompanied obedience to the laws of its Divine King. And this obedience again is not taken in a New Testament sense, as if it rested on a new birth in every heart. Obedience to Jehovah as a King is not the affair of the individual conscience, but of the nation in its national organisation; the righteousness of Israel which Isaiah contemplates is such righteousness as is secured by a perfectly wise and firm application of the laws of civil justice and equity. It is this which gives so much importance to the person of the future king. It is the exercise of his functions that abolishes crime and violence, and makes the land which he governs worthy to be called Jehovah's holy mountain. Thus the cardinal point in the prophecy is the equipment of the Davidic king for the perfect exercise of his task by the spirit of Jehovah which rests upon him. But even here the prophet does not bring in any absolutely novel element, marking off the future felicity of Israel as a new dispensation. That good and strong government was the fruit of Jehovah's spirit poured upon the king of Israel was the ancient faith of the Hebrews. So we read that a divine spirit, or the spirit of Jehovah, descended first on Saul and afterwards on David at their respective anointings (1 Sam. x. 6, 10; xvi. 13, 14), as in earlier times the same spirit came upon the judges of Israel and strengthened them for their deeds of heroism (Judges iii. 10; vi. 34; xi. 29). Isaiah himself does not confine this operation of the spirit to the king of the future. In the day of deliverance Jehovah shall be for a spirit of judgment to him that sits for judgment, and of might to them that turn back the battle in the gate (xxviii. 6). All power to do right and noble deeds is Jehovah's gift, and the operations of His spirit are everywhere seen where men do great things in the strength of true faith. And so the indwelling of this spirit in the Davidic king does not constitute an absolutely new departure in the kingship, or offer anything inconsistent with the conception that Jehovah will restore the judges of Jerusalem as they were in the beginning. The new thing is the completeness with which this divine equipment is bestowed, so that the king's whole delight is set on the fear of Jehovah, and his rule is wise and just, without error or defect of any kind.

But does not such an indwelling of the divine spirit, it may be asked, imply that the new king must be more than human? Does not Isaiah himself regard his rule as eternal, and bestow upon him in ix. 6 names that imply that he is God as well as man? In looking at this question, we must not allow ourselves to be influenced by the fuller light of the Christian dispensation which we possess, but which Isaiah had not. To us it is clear that the ideal of a kingdom of God upon earth could not be fully realised under the forms of the Old Testament. The dispensation of the New Testament is not a mere renewal of the days of David in more perfect form. The kingdom of God means now something very different from a restoration of the realm of Judah, and a resubjugation of Philistia and Edom, Ammon and Moab, under a sovereign reigning visibly on Zion; and its establishment on earth was not, and could not be, the fruit of any such outward event as the destruction of the Assyrian monarchy. The very fact that Isaiah did not foresee this, that it was still possible for him immediately to connect the glory of the latter days with the fall of Assyria, and to speak of it as a restoration of the peace, the independence, the political supremacy of the land of Judah, is enough to show that the lineaments of Ms future king are not yet identical with the image of the New Testament Christ. The question, then, which we have to consider is whether Isaiah looked forward to a time when an immortal God-man should sit on the earthly Zion and use his divine strength and wisdom to make the Hebrew race happy and victorious over their neighbours. And to this question I think the answer must be in the negative. We believe in a divine and eternal Saviour, because the work of salvation, as we understand it in the light of the New Testament, is essentially different from the work of the wisest and best earthly king. Isaiah's ideal is only the perfect performance of the ordinary duties of monarchy: for this end he sees a king to be required who reigns in Jehovah's name, and in the strength of His Spirit, but there is no proof and no likelihood that he thought of more than this. It is by no means clear that he looks for an everlasting reign of one king, or indeed that he ever put to himself the question whether the new offshoot from the root of Jesse is to be one person or a race of sovereigns. It is the function and equipment of the kingship, not the person of the king, that absorbs all his attention. And though the names of the child who is to be born to Israel wonderfully foreshadow New Testament ideas, there is no reason to think that they denote anything metaphysical. The king of Israel reigns in Jehovah's name. In him Jehovah's rule becomes visible in Israel, and his great fourfold name speaks rather of the divine attributes that shine forth in his sovereignty, than of the transcendency of a person that is God as well as man. The prophet does not say that the king is the mighty God and the everlasting Father, but that his name is divine and eternal, that is, that the divine might and everlasting fatherhood of Jehovah are displayed in his rule. [9] That the person of the Messiah has not that foremost place in Isaiah's theology which has often been supposed appears most clearly from the fact that in his later utterances he ceases to speak of the rise of a new king. In the prophecies of the time of the war with Sennacherib he says only that the king shall reign for righteousness and princes rule for justice, that the churl shall no more be called princely, and the man of guiles a gracious lord. The right men shall be at the head of the state, and their authority shall bring protection and refreshing to the distressed (xxxii. 1 seq.); Jerusalem's princes and judges shall be such as they were in the good old days (i. 26). So long as the throne was filled by a king like Ahaz, or while his successor was still in the hands of a corrupt nobility, the contrast of the present and future kingship was a point to be specially emphasised; but when there was promise of better days, when a vizier like Shebna had to give way to a man whom Isaiah esteemed so highly as Eliakim (xxii. 15 seq.), and the king himself began to rule on sounder principles, the sharpness of this contrast disappeared, and the prophet spoke rather of the glorious Jehovah Himself, who, above and through the earthly sovereign, was the true Judge, Lawgiver, King, and Saviour of Israel.

To realise what Isaiah looked to when he described a state of things in which the land of Israel should be full of true religion, or, as he expresses it, of practical knowledge of Jehovah, it is well to remember how in chap, xxviii. he presents the daily toil of the husbandman as itself regulated by divine revelation. The Hebrew state consisted essentially of two classes, the peasants and the governors or nobles. Husbandry on the one side, good government and justice on the other, are the twin pillars of the state, and for prince and peasant alike the knowledge of Jehovah means the knowledge of the duties of his vocation as sacred rules enforced by divine sanction and blessed by divine grace. Well-ordered and peaceful industry on the one hand, strict and impartial justice on the other, are the marks by which it is known that Jehovah's law is supreme in Israel; and He Himself crowns such obedience by blessing the fruits of the land, by giving unfailing direction in every time of need, and protecting the righteous nation from every enemy. Compare xxx. 18 seq.

Such is Isaiah's conception of the ideal of the internal order of the state, and his view of the foreign relations of Israel is not less plain and practical. It contains, as we have seen, two elements, the subjugation of the vassal nations which in old days did homage to David, and the establishment of a kind of informal headship over more distant tribes who seek arbitration and direction from Jerusalem. The first of these elements is easy to understand. The new kingdom cannot fall short of the glories of David's reign, and Amos had already predicted that, in the last days, the house of Israel should possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that in doing homage to Israel had acknowledged the sovereignty of Jehovah. Less than this, indeed, could not be regarded as sufficient to establish the peace and security of the Hebrews, who in every generation had been harassed by the enmity of Philistia and Edom, of Ammonites and Moabites. The other element in like manner contains no new thought. It is expressed in a passage which is now read in the books both of Isaiah and Micah (Isa. ii. 2 seq.; Micah iv. 2), and which, if it has a right to stand in both places, and has not rather been transferred from Micah to the text of Isaiah, must be a quotation from an older prophet. For Isaiah ii, was written long before Micah i -v.; and Micah, on the other hand, is certainly not quoting Isaiah. [10] But, in truth, the thought that when justice and mercy rule on the throne of David foreign nations shall willingly bring their feuds before it for arbitration is expressed in the old prophecy, Isa. xvi. {supra, p. 92). This is far from implying a world-wide sovereignty of Israel; the thought covers no more than that kind of influence which a just and strong government always obtains among Semitic populations in its neighbourhood, which we ourselves, for example, exercise at the present day among the Arabs in the vicinity of Aden. The interminable feuds of tribes, conducted on the theory of blood-revenge, which makes no conclusive peace possible while either side has an outstanding score against the other, can seldom be durably healed without the intervention of a third party who is called in as arbiter, and in this way an impartial and wise power acquires of necessity a great and beneficent influence over all around it. Such an influence Israel must obtain when the knowledge and fear of Jehovah are established in the midst of the land.

And now, in conclusion, the practical simplicity and apparently restricted scope of Isaiah's ideal must not cause us to undervalue the pure and lofty faith on which it rests. A too prevalent way of thinking, which is certainly not Biblical, but which leavens almost the whole life of modem times, has accustomed us to regard religion as a thing by itself, which ought indeed to influence daily life, but nevertheless occupies a separate place in our hearts and actions. To us the exercises of religion belong to a different region from the avocations of daily life; God seems to us to stand outside and above the world, which has laws and an order of its own, in which it costs us a distinct effort to recognise the evidence of a personal providence. When we are dealing with the world we seem to have turned our backs upon God, and when we look to Him in the proper exercises of religion we strive to leave the world behind us. Hence our whole thoughts of God are dominated by the contrast of the natural and the supernatural; the miracles by which God approves Himself as God seem to us to have evidential force only in so far as they break through the laws of nature. To us, therefore, the ideal of an existence in full converse with God is apt to present itself as that of a new world in which everything is supernatural, a heaven in which the tasks of common life have no more place, and the natural limitations of earthly being have disappeared. The time when faith shall have passed into sight seems to us to be necessarily a time in which everything is miraculous, in which life is a dream of the fruition of God. To such a habit of thought the ideal of Isaiah is necessarily disappointing, and that not so much on account of the unquestionable imperfection of the Old Testament standpoint which considers the Divine Kingship only in reference to the nation of Israel, as on account of the realism which represents the state of perfected religion as consistent with the continuance of earthly conditions and the common order of actual life. But in reality it is just this realism which is the greatest triumph of Isaiah's faith. For him that contrast of the natural and supernatural which narrows all the religion of the present has no existence. He knows nothing of laws of nature, of an order of the world which can be separated even in thought from the constant personal activity of Jehovah. The natural life of Israel is already, if I may use terms which the prophet would have refused to recognise, as thoroughly penetrated by the supernatural as any heavenly state can be. It is not in the future alone that the Holy One of Israel is to become a living member in the daily life of His people. To him who has eyes to see and ears to hear the presence and voice of Jehovah are already manifested with absolute and unmistakable clearness. It requires no argument to rise from nature to nature's God; the workings of Jehovah are as palpable as those of an ordinary man. In the time of future glory His presence cannot become more actual than it is now; it is only the eyes and ears of Israel that require to be opened to see and hear what to the prophet is even now a present reality.

With all its faults, the old popular religion of Israel had one great excellence: it made religion an inseparable part of common life. The Hebrew saw God's hand and acknowledged His presence in his sowing and his reaping, in his sorrows and his joys. The rules of husbandry were Jehovah's teaching, the harvest gladness was Jehovah's feast, the thunderstorm Jehovah's voice. It was the armies of Jehovah that went forth to battle, the spirit of Jehovah that inspired the king, the oracle of Jehovah that gave forth law and judgment. This simple faith was obscured and threatened with utter extinction by the intrusion into the life of the nation of new and heterogeneous elements, by the gradual dissolution of the ancient balance of society, and above all by the advent of the Assyrian, who swept away in the tide of conquest the whole traditional life of the conquered nations. Then it was that the prophets arose to preach a kingdom of Jehovah supreme even in the crash of nations and the dissolution of the whole fabric of society. But the very cardinal point of their faith, which alone gave it value and power, was the doctrine that the God who reigned in the storm that raged round Israel was no new deity, but the ancient God of Jacob; the kingdom of the future was one with the kingdom of the past, and the task of that divine grace in which they never ceased to trust was not to set a new religion in the place of the old, but to re-establish the ancient harmony of religion and daily experience, and make common life as full of Jehovah's presence as it had been in times gone by. To this end a work of judgment must sweep away all that comes between man and his Maker. The sins of Israel are the things that hide Jehovah from its eyes, and from this point of view idols and idolatrous sanctuaries stand on one line with wealth and luxury, fortresses and chariots, everything that can hold man's heart and prevent it from turning in every concern directly to the Holy One of Israel. To the prophet all these things are emptiness and vanity. The one thing real on earth is the work of Jehovah in relation to His people. To Isaiah, therefore, the supernatural is not something added to and differing from the common course of things. Everything real is supernatural, and supernatural in the same degree. Where we contrast the supernatural and the natural, Isaiah contrasts Jehovah and the things of nought. To him the fall of Assyria by the stroke of the Holy One of Israel is just as supernatural and just as natural as the previous conquests of the Great King; he sees the hand of Jehovah working alike in both, and both exemplify the same principle of the absolute sovereignty of the King who reigns in Zion. Prom our point of view the picture drawn in chaps, x. and xi. is apt to seem a strange mixture of the most surprising miracle and the most prosaic matter of fact. The Assyrian falls by no human sword, and presently the men of Judah are engaged in the petty conquest of Philistia or Edom. Or again, in chap. XXX., the light of the Holy One of Israel flashes forth from Zion, Jehovah causes His glorious voice to be heard and scatters His enemies with flame of a devouring fire, with crashing storm and hail; and when the tempest is past we see the cattle feeding in large, pastures, the oxen and the asses that plough the ground eating savoury provender winnowed with the shovel and the fork. But to Isaiah the miracles of history and the providences of common life bring Jehovah alike near to faith. His religion is the religion of the God without whose will not even a sparrow can fall upon the ground, the God whose greatness lies in His equal sovereignty in things small and vast.

The first requisite to a better understanding of the religion of the Bible is that we should learn to enter with simplicity into this point of view, and to this end we must remember above all things that the Bible knows nothing of that narrow definition of miracle which we have inherited from mediaeval metaphysics. When Isaiah draws a distinction between Jehovah's wonders and the things of daily life he thinks of something quite different from what we call miracle. " Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear towards Me is a precept of men learned by rote: therefore behold I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a miracle, and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid" (xxix. 13, 14). A marvel or miracle is a work of Jehovah directed to confound the religion of formalism, to teach men that Jehovah's rule is a real thing and not a traditional convention to be acknowledged in formulas learned by rote. And the mark of such a work is not that it breaks through laws of nature — a conception which had no existence for Isaiah — but that all man's wisdom and foresight stand abashed before it. The whole career of Assyria is part of the marvel that confounds the hypocrisy and formalism of Judah; even as the prophet speaks the work is already begun and proceeding to its completion. And therefore it was of no moment to Isaiah's faith whether his picture of the sudden downfall of the enemy before the gates of Jerusalem was fulfilled, as we say, literally. The point of his prophecy was not that the deliverance of Judah should take place in any one way, or with those dramatic circumstances of the so-called supernatural which a vulgar faith demands as the proof that God is at work. In truth the crisis came, as we shall see in next Lecture, in a form far less visibly startling than is pictured in chap. x.; but it was none the less true that Jehovah so worked His supreme will that man's wisdom was confounded before it, that it was made manifest to the eyes of Israel that Jehovah reigns supreme and that there is no help or salvation save in Him. And in this sense the age of miracle is not past. All history is full of like proofs of divine sovereignty and divine grace, when in ways incalculable, and through combinations that mocked the foresight and policy of human counsellors, God's cause has been proved indestructible, and the faith in a very present God and Saviour which Isaiah preached has come forth in new life from the wreck of societies in which religion had become a mere tradition of men.
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Re: THE PROPHETS OF ISRAEL AND THEIR PLACE IN HISTORY TO THE

Postby admin » Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:49 pm

Part 1 of 2

LECTURE 8: THE DELIVERANCE FROM ASSYRIA [1]

Between the Syro-Ephraitic war and the accession of Sennacherib to the throne of Nineveh the power of Assyria had been steadily on the increase. The energy and talent of Sargon, devoted to the consolidation rather than the unlimited extension of his empire, effectually put down every movement of independence on the part of subjects and tributaries, and even the united realm of Egypt and Ethiopia no longer ventured to measure its strength with his. The nations groaned under a tyranny that knew no pity, but they had learned by repeated experience that revolt was hopeless while the reins of empire were held by so firm a hand. At length, in the year 705, Sargon died, and the crown passed to his son, Sennacherib. A thrill of joy ran through the nations at the fall of the great oppressor (Isa. xiv, 29). In a few months Babylon was in full revolt, the Assyrian vassal king was overthrown, Merodach Baladan — either the old adversary of Sargon, or a son of the same name — assumed the sovereignty, and for two years (704-3), according to the canon of Ptolemy, the Assyrian kingship in Chaldaea was interrupted. The rebel king sought alliances far and wide; the monuments tell us that he found support in Elam (the region to the east of the lower Tigris, now part of Khuzistan), among the Aramaeans of Mesopotamia, and among the Arab tribes, and that two campaigns were occupied in reducing the revolt in these districts. But the plan of Merodach Baladan had not been limited to Chaldaea and the neighbouring regions. The far West was equally impatient of Assyrian rule with the eastern provinces, and the first hope of the Babylonian leader was to raise the whole empire in simultaneous insurrection from the shores of the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. It is to this date that we must refer his embassy to Hezekiah spoken of in 2 Kings xx. (Isa. xxxix), for which the sickness of the king of Judah can have been no more than the formal pretext, since we are told that Hezekiah "hearkened to the ambassadors," and displayed before them the resources of his kingdom. Such a reception given to a declared rebel against Assyria could have but one meaning. It meant that the king of Judah was more than half inclined to join the revolt. Merodach Baladan, in fact, had not misjudged the feelings of the Palestinian nations. The Philistine states especially, the old hotbed of revolt, were in a ferment of exultation at the news of Sargon's death, and already committed to war, and the contagion of their enthusiasm had reached Judah. Hezekiah, however, does not seem to have engaged himself to immediate action. He was not disposed to advance without the aid of Egypt, and the diplomacy of the Pharaohs moved slowly. But while the king hesitated, Isaiah had at once taken up his position. At the first news of the attitude of the Philistines he had sounded a note of warning in the brief prophecy preserved in xiv. 29- 32. "Rejoice not, all Philistia, that the rod that smote thee is broken; for from the root of the serpent shall come forth a basilisk, and its fruit shall be a flying dragon." Sennacherib, that is to say, will prove an enemy still more dangerous than his father. The cities of Philistia are doomed, "for a smoke cometh out of the north" — the cloud that marks the approach of the Assyrian host — '' and there is no straggler in his bands." But if Judah hold the safe course, and eschew all connection with foreign schemes of liberation, the destruction shall not be suffered to affect Hezekiah, or disturb the peace of the poorest in his land (xiv. 30). What answer then should be made to the ambassadors of the nation which solicits the Judaean alliance? "That Jehovah hath founded Zion, and in it His afflicted people shall find shelter." [2] Thirty years had passed since Isaiah first struck this very note of warning and of hope in his famous interview with Ahaz, at a time when the leaders of Judah were as eager to commit themselves to the Assyrian tutelage as they now were impatient to throw it off. The new generation which had grown up in the interval, and now held the reins of the state, had seen greater changes take place in their own lifetime than had passed before all the generations of their fathers from the time of Solomon downwards. Judah was like a ship that had lost its rudder, drifting at the mercy of shifting winds. Every ancient principle of national policy had disappeared or been reversed. No one knew whither the state was tending, or what results might flow from the new alliance with Philistia and Egypt, so contrary to all the traditions of past history, which the king and his counsellors were disposed to welcome as offering at least a hope of momentary relief from a bondage that had become intolerable. During these thirty years Isaiah alone had remained ever constant to himself, alike free from panic and flattering self-delusion, unshaken by the successes of Assyria, assured that no political combination which lay within the horizon of Judaean statesmanship could stem the tide of conquest, but not less assured that Jehovah's kingdom stood immovable, the one sure rock in the midst of the surging waters. An attitude so imposing in its calm and steadfast faith, and justified by so many proofs of true insight and sound political judgment, could not fail to secure for Isaiah a deep and growing influence. He no longer, as in the days of Ahaz, confronted the king as a mere isolated individual, whose counsels could be contemptuously brushed aside. The prophetic word had become a power in Jerusalem, and though the "scornful men," who despised Jehovah's word and trusted in oppression and crooked ways (xxx. 9-12), were still predominant in the counsels of state, they were afraid openly to challenge the opposition of Isaiah until the nation was too deeply committed to draw back. Their plans of revolt were matured in all secrecy; they hid their counsel deep from Jehovah and kept their actions in the dark — so Isaiah complains — saying, Who seeth us and who knoweth us? (xxix. 15). The prolonged wars of Sennacherib in the east gave them time to ripen their plans in private negotiation with Egypt. An embassy was sent to Zoan with a train of camels and asses bearing a rich treasure as the best argument to secure the assistance of Pharaoh (xxx. 1-6). The delay which attended these negotiations was in itself sufficient to ruin the prospects of the conspirators, for it gave Sennacherib time to crush the Babylonians and their allies in detail, before the flame of war broke out in the west. Even the common political judgment must justify Isaiah when he pointed out that the strength of the Assyrian was in no sense broken by the death of Sargon, and that the inertness of the Egyptians gave no promise of effectual help (xxx. 7). When Sennacherib had secured his eastern provinces, and at last moved westward (701 B.C.), the allies had effected as good as nothing. No Egyptian army was yet in the field. The Philistines had risen in conjunction with Hezekiah, and King Padi of Ekron, the vassal of Sennacherib, had been laid in chains in Jerusalem; the Phoenician cities were also in revolt, but no scheme of joint action was prepared, and the Great King advanced victoriously along the Mediterranean coast. The first blow fell upon Tyre, Zidon, and the minor Phoenician ports, and, when they were reduced, the Samaritans, Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites, and even a part of the Philistines, hastened to bring gifts and do homage to the conqueror. Still continuing his march along the coast, Sennacherib successively reduced Ashkelon and the other maritime cities of Philistia; and, having thus thrown his force between the Palestinian rebels and their tardy allies of Egypt, he was able to turn his arms inland against Ekron and Judaea without fear of their forces effecting a junction with Tirhakah. Tirhakah, in fact, had already begun to move, and sent an army to the relief of Ekron, but it was defeated at Eltekeh, [3] and compelled to retire without effecting its purpose. From this moment the fall of Ekron was assured, and the Judaeans, who had been the soul of the revolt in Southern Palestine, bad no human hope of deliverance from the Great King. The crisis had arrived which Isaiah had so long foreseen; the last act of the Divine judgment had opened, and all eyes could now see the madness of a policy which had sought help and counsel from man and not from God.

During the three years of suspense that intervened between the embassy of Merodach Baladan to Hezekiah and the defeat of the forces of Egypt and Ethiopia at Eltekeh, Isaiah had never wavered in his judgment on the insensate folly of the rulers of Judah. "When the secret of the negotiations with Egypt, so long hid with care from Jehovah and His prophet, was at length divulged, and the whole nation was carried away by a tide of patriotic enthusiasm, his indignation found utterance in burning words. The political folly of the scheme was palpable; the enthusiasm with which it was greeted was mere intoxication (xxix. 9). Yet it was not for miscalculating the relative strength and readiness of Egypt and Assyria that Isaiah blamed his countrymen, but for entering at all into a calculation which left Jehovah out of the reckoning. "Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help, and stay on horses and trust in chariots because they are many, and on horsemen because they are a great host; but they look not to the Holy One of Israel, neither do they consult Jehovah. Yet He is wise, and bringeth evil, and will not call back His words, but will rise against the house of evildoers and the help of them that work iniquity. The Egyptians are men and not God, and their horses flesh and not spirit: Jehovah stretcheth forth His hand, and the helper stumbleth, and he that is holpen falls, yea, all of them shall fail together " (xxxi. 1 seq). Their plans had left out of account the one factor that really makes history, the supreme purpose and will of the Holy One of Israel. A judicial blindness seemed to cover the eyes of Judah. Jehovah had poured upon them a spirit of deep sleep; His revelation had become a sealed and illegible book to the nation which called itself Jehovah's people, but refused to hear His counsel (xxix. 10 seq.). He had long since set before His people the path of true deliverance. "Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, By returning and rest ye shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength: but ye would not." The rest and quietness which Isaiah prescribes are not the rest of indolence; he calls on Israel to abjure the vain bustle of foreign politics and put their trust in Jehovah; but faith in Jehovah brings its own obligations, — conformity to Jehovah's law, the establishment of religion as a practical power in daily life, and not as a mere precept of men learned by rote. To think that the divine wrath expressed in the continuance of Assyrian oppression can be escaped where these conditions are ignored is to reduce Jehovah to the level of man; it is not against Assyria but against Jehovah Himself that the plans of Judah are directed. "Out of your perversity," he cries; "shall the potter be esteemed as the clay, that the thing made should say of him that made it, He made me not? or the thing framed of him that framed it. He hath no understanding?" (xxix. 16). Not by such vain rebellion against the Maker of Israel can peace and help be found. Jehovah's salvation must be sought in His own way, and when it comes it shall sweep away not only the foreign tyrant, but the idolatry and traditional formalism of the masses, the oppressive and untruthful rule of the godless nobles (xxxi. 7; xxxii. 1 seq.).

To a superficial view the teaching of Isaiah in this juncture may seem to present the aspect of political fatalism. The apparent patriotism of his opponents enlists a ready sympathy, and the prophet's declaration that it was vain to attempt anything against the Assyrian till Jehovah Himself rose to bring deliverance is very apt to be confounded with, the vulgar type of Oriental indolence, which, identifies submission to the divine will with a neglect of the natural means to a desired end, leaving the means and the end alike to the sovereignty of fate. Such a view altogether mistakes the true point of Isaiah's argument. He does not refuse the use of means, but condemns the choice of means that are necessarily inadequate because they ignore the conditions of Jehovah's sovereignty. If the plans of Hezekiah and his princes had succeeded, they would still have contributed nothing to the true deliverance of Judah. To be freed from Assyria only that the rulers of the land might continue their oppressions uncontrolled, that religion might go on in its old round of formal observances which had no influence on conduct, that the credit of the idols might be re-established, and the true word of Jehovah still treated with contumely, would have been no benefit to the land. Isaiah was not the enemy of patriotic effort, but only of the spurious patriotism that identifies national prosperity with the undisturbed persistence of cherished abuses; he did not value political freedom less than his countrymen did, but he valued it only when it meant freedom from internal disorders as well as from foreign domination, the substitution for Assyrian bondage of the effective sovereignty of Jehovah's holiness.

And so the criticism which Isaiah directed against the policy of Egyptian alliance was not merely negative. As a true prophet he could not preach the vanity of mere human helpers without at the same time unfolding the all-sufficiency of the divine Saviour. The crisis which the folly of the rulers had brought upon the nation had to Isaiah a meaning of mercy as well as of judgment, for mercy and judgment meet in those supreme moments of history when the wisdom of the wise and the understanding of the prudent are confounded before Jehovah's counsel, when the arm of flesh is broken, and the might of Jehovah stands revealed to every eye. The impending destruction of the human helpers of Judah, the confusion that awaits those who put their trust in idols and in that religion learned by rote (xxix. 13) of which the idols were a part (xxxi. 7), the disasters which are prepared for the armies of Hezekiah (xxx. 17), the overthrow of citadel and fortress, and the desolation of the fruitful land (xxxii. 9 seq.), are so many steps towards the great turning-point of Israel's history, when all the delusive things of earth that blind men's eyes to spiritual realities are swept away, and Jehovah alone remains as the supreme reality and the one help of His people. "In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book [of revelation, xxix. 11], and the eyes of the blind shall see out of darkness and out of obscurity. And the afflicted ones shall renew their joy in Jehovah, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the tyrant is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watched for iniquity are cut off, that make men to sin by their words, and lay a snare for him that judgeth in the gate, and undo him that is in the right by empty guiles." Jehovah's deliverance, you observe, is not limited to the overthrow of the Assyrian; its goal is the establishment of His revelation as the law of Israel, and especially as a law that restores justice in the land and enables the poor and oppressed to rejoice in their divine King. "Therefore, thus saith Jehovah, who redeemed Abraham, unto the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale; for when his children see it, even the work of My hands in the midst of him, they shall sanctify My name and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel, And they that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn instruction " (xxix. 18-24).

Thus the words of stern rebuke which Isaiah continued to direct against the princes and their carnal policy (chaps, xxix.-xxxii.) are mingled with pictures of salvation, in which the main ideas are those already developed in earlier prophecies, but set forth with a depth of sympathy and tender feeling to which none of the earlier prophecies attain. The prophet's fire had not been quenched, but his spirit was chastened and his faith mellowed by the experience of forty years spent in waiting for the salvation which Judah's unbelief had so long deferred. One can see that the old man had begun to live much in the future, that he was glad to look beyond the present, and delight himself in the images of peace and holiness that lay on the other side of the last and crowning trouble which the nation had so wantonly drawn upon itself. Jehovah is ready with grace and help at the first voice of repentant supplication. "He waiteth long that He may be gracious unto you; He lifteth Himself on high that He may have compassion upon you, for Jehovah is the God of judgment; blessed are all they that wait for Him. Nay! weep no more, people of Zion, that dwellest in Jerusalem; He will surely be gracious to thee at the voice of thy cry, even as He heareth it He will answer thee. And when the Lord giveth you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy Revealer be hidden any more, but thine eyes shall see thy Revealer; and thine ears shall hear a word behind thee saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand or to the left. Then ye shall defile the silver plating of your graven images, and the golden overlaying of your molten images; thou shalt cast them away as a foul thing; thou shalt say to it, Get thee hence. Thus He shall give the rain of thy seed that thou sowest the ground withal, and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be rich and full; in that day shall the cattle feed in large pastures. . . . Moreover, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, in the day that Jehovah bindeth up the hurt of His people and healeth the stroke of their wound" (xxx. 18, seq.). In these pictures of assured prosperity in a nation that has cast aside its idols to seek deliverance and continual guidance from the true Teacher. Isaiah dwells again and again, and with a fulness which we are apt to think disproportionate, on images of fertility and natural abundance, of plenty and contentment for man and beast, when streams flow on every mountain (xxx. 25), when Lebanon is changed to a fruitful field, and the fruitful field of to-day shall be esteemed as a forest (xxix. 17). There is true poetical pathos in these images of rural peace and felicity, drawn by an old man whose life had been spent in the turmoil of the capital, in the midst of the creations of earthly pride, where the works of man's hands disguised the simple tokens of Jehovah's goodness. But the emphasis which Isaiah lays on the gifts of natural fertility has more than a poetic motive. From the days of his earliest prophecies he had pointed to the "spring of Jehovah," the God-given fruits of the earth, as the true glory of the remnant of Israel, — the best of blessings, because they come straight from heaven, and are the true basis of a peaceful and God-fearing life (chap. iv.). And so he draws once more the old contrast between the immediate prospect of a land desolated by invading hosts, when the pleasant fields and the fruitful vineyards lie waste, when the gladsome houses of the joyous cities of Judah are covered with thorns and briers, when the citadel is forsaken and the turmoil of the city changed to silence, when ruined fortress and tower are the haunt of the wild asses, a pasture for flocks, and the days of Israel's restoration, "when the spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness shall be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest." To Isaiah the fertility of the land is a spiritual blessing, the token of acceptance with Jehovah, the seal of the return of the nation to the paths of righteousness and true obedience. The desert is transformed to fertility, for judgment dwells in it, and righteousness abides in the fruitful field. "And the effect of righteousness shall be peace, and the reward of righteousness quietness and security for ever. And My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation and in sure dwellings and in quiet resting-places." "Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, sending forth the feet of the ox and the ass" to tread in the seed. Blessed is Israel, when the turmoil of the present has passed away for ever, and all corners of the land are again the scene of the yearly routine of simple husbandry (xxxii. 12, seq.).

There is a tinge of weariness, an earnest longing after rest, in these idyllic pictures, but Isaiah did not suffer them to withdraw his attention from the pressing questions of the present. Step by step he watched the progress of events. While all around him were still steeped in careless security, while the feasts still ran their round, and more than one year passed by and brought no tidings of the approach of Sennacherib, he continued to send forth words of warning. Jehovah Himself is preparing the onslaught. He will camp against Zion round about, and build siege-works and forts against the city of David, and the deliverance shall not come till Jerusalem is humbled to the dust, and her plaintive cry seems to rise from the depths of the earth like the voice of a ghost. But in the last extremity her help is sure, and her adversaries vanish as chaff before the wind. "She shall be visited of Jehovah of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire. And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel — the hearth of God — even all that fight against her and her munition, and they that distress her, shall be as a dream, a vision of the night" (xxix. 1 seq). Thus assured of the limits of the appointed judgment, Isaiah follows with calmness the gradual evolution of Jehovah's purpose. The Assyrian is drawing nigh to discharge his last commission, to complete the work of judgment, and then to disappear for ever. The greatness of the crisis and the lofty eminence of faith from which Isaiah looks down upon it declare themselves in an expansion of the prophetic horizon. The impending decision is not merely the turning-point of Israel's history, it is the crisis of the history of the world; the future not of Judah alone, but of all the nations, from Tarshish in the Mediterranean West, and Meroe in the distant South, to the far Eastern lands of Elam, hangs upon the approaching conflict. On every side the nations are mustering to battle; Assyria, on its part, is gathering the peoples of the East (xvii. 12; xxii. 6; xxix. 7); on the Nile swift messengers are hurrying to and fro betwixt Ethiopia and Egypt (xviii. 2); and the centre of all this turmoil is Jehovah's mountain land of Judah. For Jehovah hath sworn that in His land the Assyrian shall be broken, and on His mountains He will tread him under foot. "This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all nations" (xiv. 24-27). And so the prophet calls upon all the inhabitants of the world to watch for the decisive moment, the signal of Jehovah's visible intervention, when the ensign is lifted up on the mountains, and the trumpet blast proclaims the great catastrophe. Meanwhile Jehovah in His heavenly dwelling-place looks down at ease upon the gradual ripening of His purpose, as the skies seem lazily to watch the ripening grapes on a clear bright day in the hot autumn. "For before the vintage, when the blossom is over and the flower gives place to the ripening grape, He shall cut off the sprigs with pruning-hooks, and the branches shall He hew away," Thus surely and without interruption shall the Assyrian mature his plans of universal conquest, till Jehovah Himself strikes in, and the invincible armies of Nineveh are left together to the fowls of the mountains and to the beasts of the earth; and the vultures shall summer upon their carcasses, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them. Then shall Mount Zion, the place of the name of Jehovah of hosts, be known to all the ends of the earth, and from far Ethiopia tribute and homage shall flow to Jehovah's shrine (xviii. 4-7).

Thus, while Isaiah does not cease to concentrate his chief attention on Israel, or to regard the restoration and true redemption of the ancient people of Jehovah as the central feature of the Divine purpose, the largeness of the historical issues involved in the downfall of the supreme world-power carries the prophetic vision far beyond the narrow limits of Judah, and in the destruction of the Assyrian tyrant the King of Israel declares Himself Lord of all the earth. And so when Babylon had fallen (xxiii. 13), and Sennacherib at length began his destroying march upon the western provinces, Isaiah followed his progress with absorbing and almost sympathetic interest. First he announces the speedy discomfiture of the Arab tribes; within a short year all the glory of Kedar shall be consumed, and the remnant of the bowmen of the desert shall be few (xxi. 13 seq.). And next, as we know was the actual course of events, the stroke shall fall on the proud city of Tyre, the mart of nations, whose merchants are princes, and her traffickers the honourable of the earth; for Jehovah of hosts hath purposed to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth (chap, xxiii.). And still the career of the destroyer has not reached its end: "Behold Jehovah rideth upon a swift cloud, and cometh unto Egypt, and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at His presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst thereof." The strength of Pharaoh is brought to nought, and the wisdom of his counsellors is changed to folly; the land is divided against itself and passes under the hand of a cruel Lord — the merciless king of Assyria (chap. xix.). It is Jehovah Himself that leads the armies of Nineveh in this career of universal conquest, paralysing the arms of their enemies; all the nations must be abased before Him, the strength of the world must be laid low, that His majesty may be exalted and every land do homage to Him. The crowning decision has assumed proportions so vast that its issue can be nothing less than the subjugation of the inhabited world to Jehovah's throne. For the desolation of the kingdoms is no longer, as it had appeared to earlier prophecy, a mere work of judgment on a godless world. To them as well as to Judah, if not in so exalted a sense, the judgment is the prelude to a great conversion. Tyre shall be forgotten for seventy years — the period, as the prophet explains it, of a single reign — and then Jehovah shall visit her in mercy, and she shall return to her merchandise and her gains, no longer to heap up treasure in the temple of Melkarth, but to consecrate her wealth to Jehovah, and supply abundance of food and princely clothing to the people of Israel that dwell in His presence.

We see from this detail that Isaiah still pictures the conversion of the nations under the limitations prescribed by the national idea of religion, which the Old Testament never wholly laid aside, which could not indeed be superseded in an age to which all cosmopolitan ideas were utterly foreign. But, while Isaiah was unable to conceive of the conversion of foreign nations to Jehovah in any other form than that of homage done to the Divine King that reigned on Zion, and tribute paid to His courts we should greatly err if we imagined that this conception sprang, as has sometimes been supposed, from mere national vanity. The subjection of the nations to Jehovah's throne, and the share which they thus obtain in the blessings of peace and good governance that are ministered by His sovereign word of revelation (ii. 2 seq.) is no grievous bondage, but their best privilege and happiness, their redemption from the cruel yoke which pressed so heavily on all the earth. This appears most clearly in the prophecy of the conversion of Egypt in chap. xix. On no land do the evils of a selfish and oppressive government weigh so grievously as on the valley of the Nile, where the very conditions of life and the maintenance of the fertility of the soil depend on a continual attention to the canals and other public works, the condition of which has, in all ages, been the best criterion of a strong and considerate administration. [4] This characteristic feature of the economy of the nation does not escape Isaiah, for the lofty spirituality of his aims is always combined with a penetrating insight into actual historical conditions. Under the cruel king whose advent dissolves the government of the Pharaohs, and sets free the intestine jealousies of the Egyptian nomes, the prophet describes the canals as dried up, and all the industries that depended on them as paralysed. Then the Egyptians shall cry unto Jehovah because of their oppressors, and He shall send them a saviour and a prince, and He shall deliver them. "And Jehovah shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know Jehovah on that day, and shall do worship with sacrifice and oblation, and shall vow vows to Jehovah, and perform them." Then all the lands of the known world from Egypt to Assyria shall serve the God of Jacob, "Israel shall be the third with Egypt and Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom Jehovah of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance." Never had the faith of prophet soared so high, or approached so near to the conception of a universal religion, set free from every trammel of national individuality. For now the history of the world had narrowed itself to a single issue; the fate of all nations turned on the decisive contest between the Assyrian and the God of Zion; and it was plain that Jehovah's kingship in Israel was naught unless it could approve itself by arguments that spoke to all the earth. [5]

If the vindication of the divine mission of the prophets of Israel must be sought in the precision of detail with which they related beforehand the course of coming events, the hopes which Isaiah continued to preach during the victorious advance of Sennacherib must be reckoned as vain imaginations. The great decision which shall call back the earth to the service of the true God is still an object of faith, and not an accomplished reality. The Assyrians passed away, and new powers rose upon the ruins of their greatness to repeat in other forms the battle of earthly empire against the Kingdom of God. As Babylonia and Persia, Greece and Rome, successively rose and fell, the sphere of the great movements of history continually enlarged, till at length a new world went forth from the dissolution of ancient society, the centre of human history was shifted to lands unknown to the Hebrews, and its fortunes were committed to nations still unborn when Isaiah preached. Not only have Isaiah's predictions received no literal fulfilment, but it is impossible that the evolution of the divine purpose can ever again be narrowed within the limits of the petty world of which Judah was the centre and Egypt and Assyria the extremes. Fanciful theorists who use the Old Testament as a book of curious mysteries, and profane its grandeur by adapting it to their idle visions at the sacrifice of every law of sound hermeneutics and sober historical judgment, may still dream of future political conjunctions which shall restore to Palestine the position of central importance which it once held as the meeting-place of the lands of ancient civilisation; but no sane thinker can seriously imagine for a moment that Tyre will again become the emporium of the world's commerce or Jerusalem the seat of universal sovereignty. The forms in which Isaiah enshrined his spiritual hopes are broken, and cannot be restored; they belong to an epoch of history that can never return, and the same line of argument which leads us reverently to admire the divine wisdom that chose the mountains of Palestine as the cradle of true religion at a time when Palestine was, in a very real sense, the physical centre of those movements of history from which the modern world has grown, refutes the idea that the Kingdom of the living God can again in any special sense be identified with the nation of the Jews and the land of Canaan. These indeed are considerations which have long been obvious to all but a few fantastic Millenarians, whose visions deserve no elaborate refutation. But even serious students of Scripture do not always clearly realise the full import of the failure of the literalistic view of prophecy; and the doctrine of literal fulfilment, rejected in principle, is still apt to exercise a fatal influence on the details of prophetic exegesis. If we repudiate the dream of an earthly Millennium, with Jerusalem and a Jewish restoration as its centre, we have no right to reserve for literal fulfilment such details of the prophecies as seem more capable of being reconciled with the actual march of history, or to rest the proof of the prophets' inspiration on the literal realisation of isolated parts of their pictures of the future, while it is yet certain that as a whole these pictures can never be translated into actuality — nay, that there is boundless variety and discrepancy of detail between the pictures contained in the various prophetic books, or even between those drawn by the same prophet at different periods of his career.

The perception of these difficulties, which can escape no thoughtful reader of the prophecies, has therefore long formed the chief support of the figurative or allegorical school of exegesis, which, not only in the Old Catholic and Mediaeval Churches, but in modern Protestantism, may claim to be viewed as the official type of prophetic exegesis. It is plain, however, that this method of exegesis labours under precisely the same difficulties when applied to prophecy with those which have caused its general abandonment as regards other parts of Scripture. The general law of allegorical interpretation, as developed in the ancient Church, is that everything which in its literal sense seems impossible, untrue, or unworthy of God must be rescued from this condemnation by the hypothesis of a hidden sense, which was the real meaning of the inspiring Spirit, and even of the prophet himself, except in so far as he was a mere unintelligent machine in the hand of the revealer. Now, it is certainly true, as we saw in a former Lecture (supra, p. 221 seq.), that all early thought about abstract and transcendental ideas is largely carried out by the aid of figure and analogy, and that general truths are apprehended and expressed in particular and even accidental forms. But this is something very different from the doctrine of a spiritual sense in the traditional meaning of the word. It means that the early thinker has apprehended only germs of universal truth, that he expresses these as clearly as he can, and that the figurative or imperfect form of his utterance corresponds to a real limitation of vision. That is not the principle of current allegorical exegesis, which holds rather that the obscurity of form is intentional, at least on the part of the revealing Spirit, and so that the true meaning of each prophecy is the maximum of New Testament truth that can be taken out of it by any use of allegory which the Christian reader can devise. Such a method of exegesis is purely arbitrary; it enables each man to prove his own dogmas at will from the Old Testament, and leaves us altogether uncertain what the prophets themselves believed, and what work they wrought for God in their own age. All this uncertainty disappears when we read the words of the prophets in their natural sense. The teaching of Isaiah, the greater part of which has now fallen under our survey, is the very reverse of unintelligible, if we consent to understand it by the plain rules of ordinary human speech, and in connection with the life of his own age. We do not need to carry with us to the study of the prophet any formulated principles of prophetic interpretation; the true meaning of his words unfolds itself clearly enough as soon as we realise the historical surroundings of his ministry, and the principles of spiritual faith, or, in other words, the conception of Jehovah and the laws of His working, which dominated all Isaiah's life. The kingship of Jehovah, the holy majesty of the one true God, the eternal validity of His law of righteousness, the certainty that His cause on earth is imperishable and must triumph over all the wrath of man, that His word of grace cannot be without avail, and that the community of His grace is the one thing on earth that cannot be brought to nought, — these are the spiritual certainties the possession of which constituted Isaiah a true prophet. Everything else in his teaching is nothing more than an attempt to give these principles concrete shape and tangible form in relation to the problems of his own day. The practical lessons which he drew from them for the conduct of Israel were in all respects absolutely justified. At every point his insight into the actual position of affairs, his judgment on the sin of Judah and the right path of amendment, his perception of the true sources of danger and the true way of deliverance, had that certainty and clear decisiveness which belong only to a vision purged from the delusions of sense by communion with things eternal and invisible. But when he embodied his faith and hope in concrete pictures of the future, these pictures were, from the necessity of the case, not literal forecasts of history, but poetic and ideal constructions. Their very object was to gather up the laws of God's working into a single dramatic action, — to present in one image, and within the limited scene of action that lay before the Hebrews, the operation of those divine forces of which Isaiah had only apprehended the simplest elements, and which since his day have expanded themselves, in new and more complex workings, through all the widening cycles of history. In such dramatic pictures it is only artistic or poetical truth that can be looked for. The insight of the prophet, like that of the unprophetic dramatist, vindicates itself in the delineation of true motives, — in the representation of the actual forces that rule the evolution of human affairs, — not in the exact reproduction of any one stage of past or future history. Actual history, as we know, is far too complex a thing to make it possible to isolate any one part of its action and delineate it literally in perfectly dramatic form; and just as every drama of human life maintains its ideal truth and perfection, as an exhibition of historical motives, only by abstracting from many things that the literal historian must take account of, so the drama of divine salvation, as it is set forth by the prophets, gives a just and comprehensive image of God's working only by gathering into one focus what is actually spread over the course of long ages, and picturing the realisation of the divine plan as completed in relation to a single historical crisis.

The supreme art with which the great prophets of Israel apply these laws of poetic or ideal truth to the dramatic representation of the divine motives that govern the history of Israel was no doubt in great measure the unconscious and childlike art of an age in which all lofty thought was still essentially poetical, and the reason was not yet divorced from the imagination. And yet I think it is plain from the very freedom with which Isaiah recasts the details of his predictions from time to time, — adapting them to new circumstances, introducing fresh historical or poetic motives, and cancelling obsolete features in his older imagery, — that he himself drew a clear distinction between mere accidental and dramatic details, which he knew might be modified or wholly superseded by the march of history, and the unchanging principles of faith, which he received as a direct revelation of Jehovah Himself, and knew to be eternal and invariable truth. Jehovah and Jehovah's purpose were absolute and immutable. Through all the variations of history He was the true asylum of His people, and in Him the victory of faith over the world was assured. The proof that this faith was true and all-sufficient was not dependent on the completeness or finality of the divine manifestation that vindicated it in any one crisis of history. Isaiah's faith was already victorious over the world, and had proved itself a source of invincible steadfastness, of peace and joy which the world could not take away, when it raised him high above the terrors and miseries of the present, and filled his mouth with triumphant praises of Jehovah's salvation in the depth of Judah's anguish and abasement. There was no self-delusion in the confidence with which he proclaimed Jehovah's victory amidst the crash of the Palestinian cities and the advance of Sennacherib from conquest to conquest. For, though the victory of divine righteousness came not at once in that complete and final form which Isaiah pictured, it was none the less a real victory. "When the storm rolled away, the word of Jehovah and the community of the faith of Jehovah still remained established on Mount Zion, a pledge of better things to come, a living proof that Jehovah's kingdom ruleth over all, and that though His grace tarry long it can never come to nought, and must yet go forth triumphant to all the ends of the earth.
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Re: THE PROPHETS OF ISRAEL AND THEIR PLACE IN HISTORY TO THE

Postby admin » Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:49 pm

Part 2 of 2

When we learn to seek the true significance of the work of the prophets, not in the variable details of their predictions, but in the principles of faith which are common to all spiritual religion, and differ from the faith of the New Testament only as the unexpanded germ differs from the fall growth, we see also that the complete proof of their divine mission can only be found in the efficacy of their work towards the maintenance and progressive growth of the community of spiritual faith. It is the mark of God's word that it does not return to Him void, that in every generation it is not only true but fruitful, that by its instrumentality things spiritual and eternal become a power on earth, and an efficient factor in human history. Thus we have seen how the ministry of Elijah was taken up and continued by Amos, how the word of Amos and Hosea, despised and rejected by the men of Ephraim, yet formed the basis of the teaching of the Judaean prophets, Isaiah and Micah. But it was the special privilege of Isaiah that, unlike his immediate predecessors, he was permitted to enter in no small degree into the fruit of his own labours, and that the patient endurance of forty years was at last crowned by his personal participation in a victory of faith which produced wide and lasting effects on the subsequent course of Old Testament history.

As soon as he had secured his position on the coast, Sennacherib felt himself free to direct part of his forces against King Hezekiah. [6] One by one the fortresses of Judah yielded to the foe (2 Kings xviii. 13). Sennacherib claims on his monuments to have taken forty-six strong cities and 200,000 captives. "Your country," says Isaiah, [7] "is desolate, your cities burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as in the overthrow of Sodom. And the daughter of Zion is left as a hut in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city'' (Isa. i. 7). As yet, however, there was no movement of true repentance. There was indeed a great external display of eagerness for Jehovah's help: solemn assemblies were convened in the courts of the temple, the blood of sacrifices flowed in streams, the altars groaned under the fat of fed beasts, and the blood-stained hands of Jerusalem's guilty rulers were stretched forth to the sanctuary with many prayers (i. 11 seq.). Against these outward signs of devotion, accompanied by no thought of obedience and amendment, Isaiah thundered forth the words of his first chapter. Jehovah's soul hates the vain religion of empty formalism. "When ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; turn away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; follow judgment, correct the oppressor, give justice to the fatherless, plead for the widow." Even now it is not too late to repent. "If ye be willing to obey, ye shall eat the fruit of the land. But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall he devoured with the sword: for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it." Always practical and direct in his admonitions, Isaiah concentrates his indignation on the guilty rulers, and announces their speedy fall as the first step to restoration (i. 23 seq.); one in especial, the vizier Shebna, he singles out by name, and declares that he shall be hurled from his post and dragged captive to a distant land (xxii. 15 seq.). For the moment these denunciations had no recognised effect; but already Isaiah felt himself master of the situation, and so sure was he that the march of events would set his party at the helm of the state that he even proceeded to nominate "Jehovah's servant," Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, as the successor of the wicked minister (xxii. 20 seq.). Meantime a strong Assyrian column advanced against the capital, and the affrighted inhabitants found the city in no fit state of defence. Some hasty preparations were made, which are graphically described in Isaiah xxii. The armoury was examined, the walls of the city of David were found to be full of breaches, and houses were pulled down that the material for needful repairs might be quickly available, and a store of water was accumulated in a new reservoir between the two walls at the lowest part of the town. But no confidence was felt in these provisions; there was no calm and deliberate courage to abide the issue. Many of the nobles fled from the danger (xxii. 3), and those who remained knew no better counsel than to drown their cares in wine, and spend in riot the few days of respite that remained to them. "Jehovah of hosts called to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth: and behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen and killing sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine: let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." Nevertheless, it would appear from the monuments of Sennacherib that Hezekiah resolved to stand the siege; and it was not till the operations of the assailants had made some progress that he made his submission as recorded in 2 Kings xviii. 14. All his treasures were surrendered to the Assyrian, the captive Padi of Ekron was delivered up, and large portions of Judaean territory were detached and given over to Philistine princes of the Assyrian party; but Hezekiah was left upon his throne; perhaps, indeed, Sennacherib thought this the safest course to adopt, as it is very clear from the whole tenor of Isaiah's prophecies that Hezekiah was not a man of much personal strength of character, and had during the previous years been little more than a passive instrument in the hand of Shebna and the other princes. No doubt, provision was made for a change of administration, and the party of war was effectually superseded; for a little later we actually find Eliakim in place of Shebna in the possession of the dignity for which Isaiah had marked him out (2 Kings xviii. 37).

Notwithstanding the hard conditions laid upon Hezekiah, these changes were, in a certain sense, of good omen for the future of the state. The party which had so long resisted all internal reformation had been hurled from power, the delusive visions of a brilliant foreign policy were dissipated, and the influence of the prophetic party, which took for its maxim the reform of religion, the abolition of idolatry, and the administration of equal justice to rich and poor, was greater than at any previous moment. But, on the other hand, the land was exhausted by the disastrous progress of the war, and by the enormous sacrifices which had been demanded as the price of peace. The Assyrian yoke pressed more heavily than ever upon Judah; and, though the nation was at length convinced that Isaiah's words were not to be despised, the course of events which had justified his foresight was by no means calculated to inspire that buoyancy and confidence of faith which were necessary to unite all classes in a vigorous and successful effort to reorganise the shattered life of the nation on higher principles than had been followed in time past. True religion cannot live without the experience of grace, and as yet Jehovah had shown all the severity of His judgment, but little or nothing of His forgiving love. This onesidedness, if I may so call it, of the historical demonstration of His effective sovereignty in Israel was fraught with special danger in a community like that of Judah. Where religion was so intimately bound up with the idea of nationality, the depression of all the energies of national life, involved in the abject humiliation of the land before the Assyrian, could not fail to prove a great stumbling-block to living faith; and to this must be added the marked tendency to a brooding melancholy which characterises the Hebrew race, and in later ages of oppression exercised a stifling influence on the religion of the Jews, changing its joy to gloom, and transforming the gracious Jehovah of the prophets into the pedantic taskmaster of Rabbinical theology. When we remember what Judaism became under the Persian and Western Empires, or what strange developments of cruel superstition and gloomy fanaticism displayed themselves a generation after Isaiah, in the reign of King Manasseh, we can form some conjecture as to the dangers which true religion would have run if Sennacherib had retired victorious, and Judah had been left to groan under a chastisement more grievous than had ever before fallen on its sins. But the divine wisdom decreed better things for Jehovah's land.

The submission of Hezekiah and the fall of Ekron had not completed Sennacherib's task. Some strong places on the Philistine frontier of Judah, such as Lachish and Libnah, still held out, and Tirhakah was not disabled by the defeat of the army he had sent to the relief of Ekron. On the contrary, Sennacherib now learned that the king of Ethiopia was marching against him in person (2 Kings xix. 9), and that the most serious part of the campaign was yet to come. Under these circumstances he began to feel that he had committed a grave strategical error in allowing Hezekiah to retain possession of the strongest fortress in the land. It cost the treacherous Assyrian no difficulty to devise a pretext for cancelling the newly-ratified engagement; and, while the siege of Lachish occupied the main army, a great officer was sent to Jerusalem to charge Hezekiah with complicity with Tirhakah, and to demand the surrender of the city. The troops that accompanied Rabshakeh were not sufficient to enforce submission; the Assyrians supposed that intimidation and big words would be sufficient to overawe the weak king of Judah. But Hezekiah was now in very different hands from those which had conducted his previous conduct. At this critical moment Isaiah was the real leader of Judah, and the confidence of Zion was no longer set on man but on God. At length the prophet knew that the turning-point had come, the false helpers had perished, and Jehovah was near to deliver His people, "Be not afraid," he said to Hezekiah, "of the words that thou hast heard, wherewith the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Behold, I will send a blast against him, and he shall hear a rumour and return to his own land, and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land." Against such confidence the menaces of Rabshakeh were of no avail. The populace, which he hoped to enlist on his side, stood firm by Hezekiah and Isaiah, and he returned to his master without accomplishing anything. [8]

Hezekiah's refusal was of course equivalent to a renewed declaration of war. But Sennacherib's hands were too full in the quarter where he awaited the advance of Tirhakah to allow him at once to detach a force sufficient for the reduction of a great city like Jerusalem. Again he had recourse to menaces, and again Isaiah responded in tones of confident assurance and scornful indignation against the presumption that dared to challenge Jehovah's might. "The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee. Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel." The Assyrian boasts that his own power has subdued the nations, "Nay," says Isaiah, "hast thou not heard that it was I that ordained it from afar, and that of old I formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest lay waste fenced cities into ruinous heaps. Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded: they were as the grass of the field or the green herb, like grass on the housetops and blasted corn. Thy rising up and thy sitting down are before Me; [9] I know thy going out and thy coming in, and thy rage against Me. Because thy rage against Me and thy tumult is come up unto Mine ears, I will put My hook in thy nose, and My bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way in which thou earnest. . . . And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward: for out of Jerusalem shall go forth, a remnant, and they that are escaped out of Mount Zion: the zeal of Jehovah of hosts shall do this" (2 Kings xix. 21 seq.; Isa. XXX vii.). Isaiah's confidence was not misplaced. A great and sudden calamity overwhelmed the army of Sennacherib (2 Kings xix. 35), and he was compelled to return to his own land, leaving Jerusalem unmolested. [10] Of the details of the catastrophe, which the Bible narrative is content to characterise as the act of God, the Assyrian monuments contain no record, because the issue of the campaign gave them nothing to boast of; but an Egyptian account preserved by Herodotus (ii. 141), though full of fabulous circumstances, shows that in Egypt as well as in Judaea it was recognised as a direct intervention of divine power. The disaster did not break the power of the Great King, who continued to reign for twenty years, and waged many other victorious wars. But none the less it must have been a very grave blow, the effects of which were felt throughout the empire, and permanently modified the imperial policy; for in the following year Chaldaea was again in revolt, and to the end of his reign Sennacherib never renewed his attack on Judah.

The retreat of the Assyrian was welcomed at Jerusalem with an outburst of triumphant joy, the expression of which may be sought with great probability in more than one of the hymns of the Psalter, especially in Psalm xlvi. The deliverance was Jehovah's work. He had returned to His people as in the days of old, and the burden of Judah's song of thanksgiving was, "Jehovah of hosts is with us, the God of Israel is our high tower.'' And the God who had wrought such great things for His people was not the Jehovah of the corrupt popular worship, for He had refused to hear the prayers of the adversaries of the prophet, but the God of Isaiah, whose name or manifestation the prophet had seen afar off drawing near in burning wrath and thick rising smoke, his lips full of angry foam and his tongue like a devouring fire, and his breath like an overflowing torrent reaching even to the neck, to sift the nations in the sieve of destruction, to bridle the jaws of peoples, and turn them aside from their course (xxx. 27 seq.). The eyes of the prophet had seen the salvation for which he had been waiting through so many weary years; the demonstration of Jehovah's kingship was the public victory of Isaiah's faith, and the word of spiritual prophecy, which from the days of Amos downward had been no more than the ineffective protest of a small minority, had now vindicated its claim to be taken by king and people as an authoritative exposition of the character and will of the God of Israel.

The acknowledged victory of Isaiah's doctrine contained an immediate summons to a practical work of reformation, and prescribed the rules to be followed in the reconstitution of the shattered fabric of the state, which was the first concern of the government when the invader evacuated the land. It would be of the highest interest to know in full detail how Hezekiah addressed himself to this task, and how Isaiah employed his well-won influence in the direction of the work. Unfortunately the history of the kings of Judah is almost wholly silent as to the last years of Hezekiah, and we have no prophecy of Isaiah which serves to fill up the blank. The record of the prophet's work closes with the triumphant strains of the thirty-third chapter, written perhaps before the catastrophe of Sennacherib, but after the result was already a prophetic certainty, because Judah had at length bent its heart to obedience to Jehovah's word. In this most beautiful of all Isaiah's discourses the long conflict of Israel's sin with Jehovah's righteousness is left behind; peace, forgiveness, and holy joy breathe in every verse, and the dark colours of present and past distress serve only as a foil to the assured felicity that is ready to dawn on Jehovah's land. ''Ha, thou that spoilest and thou wast not spoiled, that robbest and they robbed not thee; when thou makest an end of spoiling thou shalt be spoiled; when thou ceasest to rob they shall rob thee. Jehovah, be gracious, unto us; we have waited for Thee: be Thou our arm every morning, our victory also in the time of trouble. At the noise of the tumult the peoples fled; at the lifting up of Thyself the nations are scattered. . . . Jehovah is exalted; for He dwelleth on high: He hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness. Then shall there be stability of thy seasons, plenitude of victory, wisdom, and knowledge: the fear of Jehovah shall be thy treasure. . . . Hear, ye that are afar off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the godless men. Who among us shall dwell with devouring fire? who shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh in righteousness and speaketh upright things; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood and shutteth his eyes from looking on evil; he shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: his bread shall be given him; his water shall be sure. Thine eyes shall behold the King in His beauty: they shall see a land that reaches far. Thy heart shall muse on the past terror; where is he that inscribed and weighed the tribute? where is he that counted the towers? . . . Look upon Zion, the city of our solemn feasts: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a peaceful habitation, a tent that shall never be removed. . . . For there shall Jehovah sit in glory for us; but the place of broad rivers and streams — that is, the place of the overflowing empires of the Tigris and the Nile— no galley with oars shall go therein, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby. For Jehovah is our Judge, Jehovah is our Lawgiver, Jehovah is our King; He will save us. . . . And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein are forgiven their iniquity."

And so Jehovah's word to Isaiah ends, as it had begun, with the forgiveness of sins. "Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged" (vi. 7). "The people that dwell therein are forgiven their iniquity." The goal of prophetic religion is reached when Israel, as a nation, is brought nigh to God in the same assurance of forgiveness, the same freedom of access to His supreme holiness, the same joyful obedience to His moral kingship, that made Isaiah a true prophet, and sustained his courage and his faith through the long years of Israel's rebellion and chastisement.

The culminating points of the world's history are not always those which are inscribed in boldest characters in the common records of mankind. The greatest event of all history, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, has scarcely left a trace in the chronicles of the Roman empire, and in like manner only a faint and distorted echo of the retreat of Sennacherib is heard beyond the narrow field of Judaean literature. The mere political historian of antiquity might almost refuse a place in his pages to a reverse which barely produced a momentary interruption in the victorious progress of the Assyrian monarchy. And yet the event, so inconsiderable in its outward consequences, has had more influence on the life of subsequent generations than all the conquests of Assyrian kings; for it assured the permanent vitality of that religion which was the cradle of Christianity. When Sennacherib's messenger approached the walls of Jerusalem with the summons of surrender, the fate of the new world, which lay in germ in Isaiah's teaching, seemed to tremble in the balance. "The children were come to the birth, and there was not strength to bring forth " (Isa. xxxvii. 3). Jehovah supplied the lacking strength, and the new community of prophetic faith came forth from the birth-throes of Zion (comp. Micah v. 3). But very soon it became manifest that this new born community of grace, the holy remnant, the fresh offshoot of the decaying stock of Israelm was not identical with the political state of Judah. Isaiah himself was far from suspecting this truth. All his prophecies are shaped by the assumption that in the future, as in the past, the people of Jehovah and the subjects of the Davidic monarchy must continue to be interchangeable ideas. The vindication of Jehovah's sovereignty was in his mind inseparable from such a national conversion as should stamp the impress of Jehovah's holiness on all the institutions of national life. This point of view is as plainly dominant in his latest prophecy as in his earliest discourses. The rulers of Zion, who dwell in the full blaze of Jehovah's consuming holiness, must be men whose hands are clear of bribes, who refuse to hear suggestions of crime, or to open their eyes to plans of iniquity. The salvation of God's people is manifested in the stability of national welfare, the regular succession of the natural seasons and unbroken victory going side by side with wisdom and knowledge and the fear of Jehovah. Hence the prophetic ideal of a redeemed nation contained, as has been already indicated, the outlines of a scheme for the reorganisation of national life, but of a scheme which, even at the outset, was found to be encompassed with imsurmountable practical difficulties. A radical renovation of society cannot be effected through the organs of national action, for a nation has no personal identity or invariable fixity of purpose; and the momentary impression of the great deliverance, when, for an instant, all Israel seemed to bend as one man before Jehovah's will, could not secure a permanent and unfailing concentration of every class, in its own place in society, towards the realisation of the prophetic ideal. The effective regeneration of society, as the gospel teaches us, must necessarily begin with the individual heart, and the true analogy of the workings of the kingdom of God is not found in the forms of earthly government, but in the hidden operations of a pervading leaven. Such a leaven did indeed exist in Isaiah's day, but it was not co-extensive with the nation of Judah; it consisted of the comparatively few whose adherence to spiritual religion was an affair of settled conviction, and not a passing impulse determined by one of those rare junctures when the power of spiritual things shows itself for an instant with all the palpable reality of a phenomenon of sense. It is not the law of divine providence that such visible manifestations of the hand of God, vouchsafed as they are only in supreme crises, should continue permanently, and supersede the exercise of the faith that endures as seeing that which is invisible; and nothing short of a continued miracle could have held the nation as a nation in that frame of repentance and new obedience which seemed to be universal in the first burst of exultation at Jehovah's victory.

The reforms which Hezekiah was able to introduce touched only the surface of national life; a radical amendment of social life, even as regarded the administration of equal and impartial justice, and the establishment of kindlier relations between the rich and poor, — points which Isaiah had always emphasised as fundamental, — lay altogether beyond their scope. In this respect the utmost that was accomplished was a temporary mitigation of crying abuses. It was less difficult to work a change in those parts of the visible ordinances of religion which were plainly inconsistent with prophetic teaching. The abolition of idolatry, or at least of its more public and flagrant manifestations, was undoubtedly attempted; indeed we might be led to infer from the prominence assigned to Hezekiah's religious reforms in the history of Kings that some movement in this direction may have been made in the earlier part of his reign. But it is quite clear from the prophecies of Isaiah that Hezekiah was wholly in the hands of the adversaries of the prophetic party till the last period of the Assyrian war; not till after his first surrender and the discomfiture of the politicians of whom Shebna was the leader could it be said of Hezekiah, in the language of 2 Kings xviii, 5, 6, that he trusted in Jehovah and clave to Him. Even in the discourses of the reign of Sennacherib Isaiah speaks of the abolition of the idols as a thing still in the future (xxx. 22; xxxi. 7), so that any earlier work of reformation, such as may possibly have been suggested by the lesson of Samaria's fall, as it was enforced by the contemporary prophecies of Isaiah and Micah, can at best have been only imperfect and transitory. The character which Hezekiah bears in history and the reforms connected with his name really refer to the years that followed the victory of Isaiah.

Isaiah had never ceased to declare that the rejection of the idols must be one of the first-fruits of Judah's repentance, but he did not attempt to indicate a scheme of reformed worship to take their place. The idols shall be cast away when the eyes of the nation are turned to the Holy One of Israel, and His voice is heard behind them to guide all their goings. To Isaiah, in truth, ritual worship had very little significance. He certainly did not distinctly look forward to its complete abolition, for he speaks of the Egyptians as serving Jehovah by sacrifice, and even of altar and macceba, such as characterised the common provincial shrines of Judah, erected within Egypt in token of homage to Jehovah (xix. 19, 21). And in like manner the solemn feasts at Jerusalem — from which a figure is derived in XXX. 29 — are assumed to continue in the days of Israel's redemption (xxxiii. 20). But, on the other hand, he not only represents the sacrifice of guilty hands as unacceptable to Jehovah (chap, i.), but there is never the slightest indication that repentance and obedience require to be embodied in acts of ritual worship in order to find acceptance with God. There is not a line in all the prophecies that have come before us which gives the slightest weight to priesthood or sacrifice. Nay, in xvii. 8 the altars as well as the asherim and the sun-pillars appear as things of man's making that come between Israel and its God. It is not the temple that is the glory of the new Jerusalem and the seat of Jehovah's presence; the true meaning of Jehovah's residence on Zion lies in the fact that the capital is the centre of His effectual kingship in Judah; and even the name of the "hearth of God," which Isaiah bestows on the holy city, and not on the sanctuary alone, has rather reference to the consuming fire of the divine holiness than to altar or sacrificial flame. If Jerusalem appears to Isaiah as the centre of that sanctity which belongs to all Jehovah's "holy mountain land," and as the point of assembly where His people meet before Him, the meaning of this conception is that in Jerusalem Jehovah holds His kingly court, and that from Zion His prophetic word goes forth to guide His subjects. Thus, while Isaiah insists on the removal from religion of things that hide the true character of Jehovah, he has no positive views as to the institution of a reformed worship: the positive task on which he always lays stress is the purification of the organs of judgment and administration, so that the leaders of the state may be able to dwell safely in the consuming fire of Jehovah's holiness.

Isaiah had looked for the spontaneous repudiation of the idols in an impulse of national repentance which needed no official decree to guide it; the reforms of Hezekiah were the act of the government in a nation not wholly converted to Jehovah; and, in the absence of that pure spontaneity which the prophets regard as the true spring of right religion they must have been directed to an external aim, the establishment of a fixed type of official worship. The attempt was confronted from the first by a formidable difficulty: the idols, the sun-pillars, the asherim, the sacred trees, and all the other pagan or half-pagan symbols, so plainly inconsistent with the prophetic faith, were of the very substance of Israel's worship in the popular sanctuaries. So much was this the case that Isaiah, as we have just seen, was practically indifferent to all forms of cultus: the social exercises of his faith as described in Isa. viii. 16 seq. were altogether of another kind, anticipating the worship of the New Testament Church. Hezekiah could not propose to himself, and Isaiah had never formally contemplated, the entire abolition of the traditional ritual; and yet it was scarcely possible to introduce any effective reform without a great limitation, an almost radical subversion, of the ancient shrines. But at this point the zeal of Hezekiah was powerfully aided, and the plan of reformation practically determined, by the fact that almost every considerable provincial town of Judah had been ruined by the armies of Sennacherib. The local Baalim of the high places had been of no avail to save their worshippers; their shrines were burned or laid waste, and in many cases, no doubt, in accordance with the common practice of the Assyrians, the idols had been carried away to grace the triumph of Sennacherib. This destruction of the strongholds and sanctuaries of the land corresponded in the most marked way with the predictions of Micah, the influence of which on the conduct of Hezekiah is expressly attested in the book of Jeremiah. Micah, it is true, had not exempted the fortress and sanctuary of Zion from the universal destruction; his picture of the future left no room for any vestige of the ancient ritual; to him the Zion of the latter days is a religious centre, not as a place of worship, but as the seat of Jehovah's throne and of a revelation of law and judgment. But for the mass of the people the temple of Zion had received a new importance in connection with the effectual proof of the inviolability of Jehovah's holy mountain. They were unable to separate the idea of holiness from its traditional association with observances of ritual service, and the natural or even inevitable interpretation of the lesson written on the blackened ruins of the provincial holy places was that the "mountain of the house" was the true sanctuary of Judah's worship. [11] Thus the scheme of Hezekiah necessarily assumed, with more or less explicitness, the form of a superseding of the provincial shrines and the centralisation of worship in the temple of Jerusalem, purged from heathenish corruptions. At first this change would not appear very startling or difficult to carry out, for Sennacherib had left the provinces a desert (Isa. i. 7; xxxiii. 8, 9), and his monuments aver that 200,000 of their inhabitants were carried off as slaves. Judah and Jerusalem were for the moment almost identical ideas, and the sphere of Hezekiah's reforms was perhaps confined to the immediate vicinity of the capital. Even here there was one strange omission in his work. The shrines of foreign deities which had stood around Jerusalem since the days of Solomon were for some reason left untouched — probably because of privileges of worship that could not be refused to the Phoenicians and other aliens, who occupied in the capital a quarter or suburb called the Maktesh (Zeph. i. 11); and in the sequel these shrines exercised more influence on Judaean religion than they had ever done before. [12]

Thus the visible impulse of the great victory of Isaiah's faith appeared to have exhausted itself in a scheme of external reform which fell far short of giving full expression to the spirituality of prophetic teaching, and, carried out as it was by the authority of the government rather than by the spontaneous impulse of the whole nation, was sure to lead to the reaction that always follows on the enforcement by external authority of principles not thoroughly understood or sympathised with. As the nation fell back into the grooves of its old existence, ancient customs began to reassert their sway. The worship which the prophets condemned and which Hezekiah had proscribed was too deeply interwoven with all parts of life to be uprooted by royal decree, and the old prejudice of the country folk against the capital, so clearly apparent in Micah, must have co-operated with superstition to bring about the strong revulsion against the new reforms which took place under Hezekiah's son, Manasseh. A bloody struggle ensued between the conservative party and the followers of the prophets, and the new king was on the side of the reaction. Perhaps in this struggle the motives of the unpopular faction were less pure, as their aims were certainly less ideal, than Isaiah's. There were worldly interests involved in the policy of religious centralisation which claimed to represent the spiritual aspirations of the prophets; and the priests of Jerusalem, whose revenues and influence were directly concerned, were at no time the most unselfish of reformers. Thus we can well suppose that the religious war which ensued had on both sides a demoralising tendency; a contest as to forms of worship and ecclesiastico-political organisation is seldom for the advantage of spiritual faith. No great prophet arose as the champion of Hezekiah's reforms; and the one voice of lofty faith which speaks to us from these disastrous days, in the last two chapters of the book of Micah, [13] is the voice of a man who belongs to neither of the contending factions, and feels himself alone in Judah, as Isaiah had never been, in a society where all moral corruption is rampant, where justice, honesty, and truth are unknown, where the good man is perished out of the earth, and there is none upright among men, where the son dishonoureth his father, and the daughter riseth up against her mother, where the nearest friend cannot be trusted, where a man dare not speak freely even to the wife of his bosom. And yet in a certain sense religious earnestness was deeper than before. The reaction had brought back all the old corruptions, but not the old lightness of heart with which Israel rejoiced before its God in every holy place. The terrible experiences of the Assyrian wars had left behind them a residuum of gloomy apprehension. If Jehovah's deliverance was forgotten by the men who no longer clave to the faith of Isaiah, the terrors of his wrath, as they had been experienced in the ravages of Sennacherib and perhaps in subsequent calamities — for in Manasseh's time the Assyrians again became lords of the land — still weighed upon the nation, and gave a sombre tinge to all religion. In this respect Judah did not stand alone. To all the Palestinian nations the Assyrian crisis had made careless confidence in the help of their national deities a thing impossible. As life was embittered by foreign bondage, the darker aspects of heathenism became dominant. The wrath of the gods seemed more real than their favour; atoning ordinances were multiplied, human sacrifices became more frequent, the terror which hung over all the nations that groaned under the Assyrian yoke found habitual expression in the ordinances of worship; and it was this aspect of heathenism that came to the front in Manasseh's imitations of foreign religion.

Thus once more, and within a few years of Isaiah's great victory, the national ideal of Jehovah worship had broken down, and the old controversy of Jehovah with His people was renewed, but with other and deeper issues, in the development of which a new race of prophets was to take part. So far as appeared on the surface of Judaean society the results of the Assyrian judgment and the prophetic preaching that interpreted it had been purely negative. The old joyous religion of Israel had broken down, but the faith of Isaiah had not taken its place. The glad confidence in Jehovah, making it an easy thing to obey His precepts and a privilege to be called by His name, which Isaiah had continually set forth as the right disposition of true religion, was lost in gloomy superstition. The grace of Jehovah, so often manifested in the past history of Israel, was forgotten (Micah vi. 4 seq.), and His name had become a name of terror, not of hope. This was the true secret of Manasseh's polytheism. He sought other gods, not because Jehovah was powerless, but because he despaired of securing His help (comp. Jer. xliv. 18; Ezek. viii. 12). But beneath all this it is not difficult to see that a real advance had been made, and that the basis was laid for a new development of spiritual truth which should carry the religion of Israel another stage towards its goal in the religion of Christ.

The failure of Hezekiah's plans of reformation involved more than a merely negative result. And it did so in two ways. In the first place, it became manifest that to purge the religion of Judah from heathenish elements it was necessary that the whole notion of sacrificial worship should undergo a radical change. The code of Deuteronomy, which must be regarded as in great measure a product of reflection on the failure of Hezekiah's measures, starts from the observation that it is impossible to get rid of Canaanite elements of worship until sacrifice and ritual observances are confined to one sanctuary, and that this again is impossible till the old principle is given up that all food, and especially every animal slain for a feast, is unclean unless presented at the altar. By dissociating the ideas of slaughter and sacrifice, which till then had been absolutely indistinguishable and expressed by a single word, the law of Deuteronomy revolutionised the religion of daily life, and practically limited the sphere of ritual worship to the pilgrimage feasts and other occasions of special importance. This principle found no complete access to the mass of the people so long as the Kingdom of Judah stood; but it put in a tangible and easy shape at least one aspect of the prophetic teaching that the religion of ordinary life does not consist in ritual, but in love to God and obedience to Him, and so prepared many in Israel to maintain their faith in Jehovah in the approaching dissolution of national existence, when ritual service was not merely restricted in scope but altogether suspended. From one point of view the law of the single sanctuary seems a poor outcome for the great work of Isaiah, and yet when it was construed in the way set forth in Deuteronomy it implied a real step towards the spiritualisation of all the service of God, and the emancipation of religion from its connection with the land and holy places of Canaan (supra, p. 262). That the movement which finds expression in Deuteronomy became strong enough under Josiah to lead to a second and more effective suppression of the high places was not in itself a matter of great importance, for the new reformation was not more permanent in genuine results of a visible character than that of Hezekiah; but the spiritual power that lay behind the political action of Josiah is not to be measured by visible and immediate results. The book of Deuteronomy could not have touched the conscience of the nation even in a momentary and superficial way unless there had been many in Judah who sympathised with the spirit of that prophetic teaching to which the new code strove to give expression under forms which were indeed, as the sequel proved, too strait for its spiritual substance. The introduction now prefixed to the Deuteronomic code shows clearly that it was by spiritual motives, derived from the prophetic teaching, that the new system of ordinances was commended to Israel; the great limitation of visible acts of worship presented itself to thoughtful minds not as a narrowing of the sphere of religion but as a sublimation of its contents. Jehovah requires nothing of His people but "to fear Jehovah thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love and serve Him with all thy heart and all thy soul" (Deut. X. 12).

Thus we see, in the second place, that behind the legal aspect of the movement of reformation, as it is expressed in the Deuteronomic code, there lay a larger principle, which no legal system could exhaust, and which never found full embodiment till the religion of the Old Testament passed into the religion of Christ. The failure of Hezekiah's attempt to give a political expression to the teaching of Isaiah must have thrown back the men who had received the chief share of the prophet's spirit upon those unchanging elements of religion which are independent of all political ordinances. The religious life of Judah was not wholly absorbed in the contest about visible institutions, the battle between the one and the many sanctuaries. The organised prophetic party of Isaiah, which still found its supporters in the priesthood as it had done in the first days of that prophet's ministry, may soon have begun to degenerate into that empty formalism which took for its watchword "the Temple of Jehovah," against which Jeremiah preached as Isaiah had preached against the formalism of his day (Jer. x. 4). In Jeremiah's day the doctrine of the inviolability of Zion became in fact the very axiom of mere political Jehovah-worship. That has always been the law of the history of religion. What in one generation is a living truth of faith becomes in later generations a mere dead formula, part of the religion learned by rote with which living faith has to do battle upon new issues. But even in the darkest hours of Israel's history the true faith of Jehovah was never left without witness, and the men to whom Isaiah's teaching was more than a formula, the community of those that waited for Jehovah in a higher sense than the mass even of the so-called party of pure worship, withdrew more and more from all the forms of political religion to nourish their religious life in exercises purely spiritual, and to embody their hope of Jehovah's salvation in thoughts that stretched far beyond the limits of the old dispensation to days when Jehovah's precepts should be written on every heart (Jer, xxxi.). And in this new development of prophetic thought, of which Jeremiah is the great representative, standing to the second stage of the history of prophecy in much the same relation as Amos and Hosea stood to the first, the deeper, though misdirected, sense of guilt so characteristic of the gloomy days of Judah's decadence became an important element. The sense of sin was not extenuated, but it was interpreted aright and conquered by a new and profounder conception of redeeming grace, in which the idea of the spiritual as distinguished from the natural Israel, the servant of Jehovah, whose sufferings are the path of salvation, takes the place of the older and more mechanical notion of judgment on the wicked and salvation to the righteous (Isa. xl. seq.).

But to develop these and all the other ideas that come before us in the great prophecies of the Chaldaean period, to trace the course of the new religious issues that shaped themselves in the decline and fall of the Judaean Kingdom, and finally in exile and restoration, would be a task as large as that which we have already accomplished, and must be reserved for a future opportunity. Meantime, the record of the first period of prophetic religion may fitly close with the words in which the solitary voice crying out of the darkness of Manasseh's reign sets forth the sum of all preceding prophetic teaching, and gathers up the whole revealed will of Jehovah in answer to the false zeal of the immoral bigotry of the age.

''O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherewith have I wearied thee? testify against Me. For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of bondage, and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. . . . Wherewith shall I come before Jehovah, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old? Will Jehovah be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, man, what is good, and what doth Jehovah require of thee, but to do judgment, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah vi. 2 seq.).

It is no mere religion of legal obedience that these words proclaim. Jehovah requires of man not only to do but to love, mercy. A heart that delights in acts of piety and loving-kindness, the humility that walks in lowly communion with God, — these are the things in which Jehovah takes pleasure, and this is the teaching of the law and the prophets, on which our Lord Himself has set His seal (Matt. xxii. 37 seq.).

Thus in the deepest darkness of that age of declension which sealed the fate of ancient Israel, when the true prophet could no longer see any other end to the degenerate nation than a consuming judgment that should leave the land of Canaan a desolation and its inhabitants a hissing and a reproach among the nations (Mic, vi. 16), the voice of spiritual faith rises high above all the limits of the dispensation that was to pass away, and sets forth the sum of true religion in words that can never die. The state of Israel perished; the kingdom of Judah and all the hopes that had been built upon it crumbled to the dust; but the word of the God of Israel endureth for ever.
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Re: THE PROPHETS OF ISRAEL AND THEIR PLACE IN HISTORY TO THE

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Part 1 of 4

NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS (W/SYMBOLS)

Lecture I.

Note 1, p. 4. — With all its defects, the Federal theology of Cocceius is the most important attempt, in the older Protestant theology, to do justice to the historical development of revelation. See Diestel's essay in Jahrb. f. d, Theol., vol. x. pp. 209-276, and the briefer discussion in his Geschichte des Alten Testamentes in der christlichen Kirche (Jena, 1869). The first conception, however, of the Bible record as the history of true religion, of the adoption and education of the Church from age to age in a scheme of gradual advance, appears pretty distinctly in Calvin; and the method of Calvinistic theology, in which all parts of the plan of grace are considered in dependence on the idea of the sovereign Divine Providence, made it natural for theologians of his school to busy themselves with the demonstration of the historical continuity of revelation. So long, however, as it was attempted to find the law of this continuity by speculative and dogmatic methods rather than by ordinary historical investigation, no result really satisfactory could be reached. In this connection a reference may be added to the History of Redemption of Jonathan Edwards.

Note 2, p. 5. — In illustration of the position taken up by the older Protestant divines, I may refer to Witsius's treatment of the Protevangelion, Gen. iii. 14 seq., in his OEconomia Foederum, lib. iv., cap. 1. After deducing from the words addressed to the serpent the principal theses of systematic theology, including the doctrines of Saving Faith, Sanctification, and the Resurrection of the body, he remarks (§ 26) that it was not unreasonable that so large a range of doctrines should be summed up in a, few enigmatic words. The splendour of midday was not appropriate to the first dawn of the day of grace; "and besides, God did not even then withdraw revelations of Himself from our first parents, but by frequent instruction and gracious illumination of their minds expounded to them the things that concern faith and piety. And it is fair to suppose that they treasured up this promise of salvation in particular, thought over it with care, and expounded it in frequent discourse to one another and their children." In other words, they received from the Revealer, and handed down to their posterity, a traditional exposition of the words of Scripture.

Note 3, p. 13. — The great empires of the East overran foreign countries, reducing them to subjection, or even transplanting their inhabitants to new seats, but made no attempt to break down differences of national custom between the several parts of their realm, or to assimilate the conquered peoples to a single cosmopolitan type. The motley character of the great Persian empire, for example, is strikingly illustrated in the picture drawn by Herodotus (vii. 61 seq.) of the various contingents that served in the army of Xerxes, each in its own national garb. In contrast with the earlier empires the kingdom of the Greeks appears to the prophet Daniel, as "diverse from all kingdoms, devouring the whole earth, treading it down, and breaking it in pieces" (Dan. vii.). And so King Antiochus, who sought to Hellenise his subjects, is spoken of as "changing times and laws " (Ibid. ver. 25). But the first thoroughgoing and successful attempt to create an empire possessing an organic unity, with a cosmopolitan civilisation and institutions displacing the old varieties of local custom and law, was the monarchy of Caesar. See Mommsen's History, bk. v. ch. 11.

Note 4, p. 19. — A large mass of translations from Assyrian and Babylonian texts is now accessible to the English reader, in numerous separate publications, such as those of the late G. Smith, in the Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, and in the somewhat unequal but very convenient collection published by Messrs. Bagster under the title of Records of the Past. In this collection the volumes with odd numbers (i. to xi.) contain the Assyrian texts. There can be no question that the sense of a great many texts, especially simple historical narratives, has been determined with sufficient certainty to afford the greatest assistance in the study of the Bible history; and most fortunately the Assyrian chronology, as determined in particular by the Eponym Canon (supra, p. 150), is one of the most certain as it is one of the most important of the new discoveries. But, on the other hand, many details even of historical texts are too imperfectly understood to justify the large conclusions too often built on them, and, above all, the reading and identification of proper names in certain ways of writing them — for in Assyrian character the same sounds may be written in different ways, and the same character may have different sounds — are often highly precarious. The doubts that still attach to many things which have been accepted, often on the faith of a single Assyriologist who does not himself distinguish his facts from his conjectures, have been very forcibly set forth, though perhaps with an extreme of scepticism, by Prof. v. Gutschmid in his Neue Beitrage, Leipzig, 1876, and a more popular demonstration of the amount of uncertainty still attaching to the translations of historical texts will be found in the recent brochure of M. A. Delattre, Les inscriptions historiques de Ninive et de Babylone (Paris, 1879). In truth, there are few Assyriologists in Europe whose tact, caution, and general knowledge of the Semitic dialects entitle them to speak with authority upon problems far more difficult than those, for example, of the Phoenician inscriptions, where our best orientalists are often not ashamed to confess themselves at a loss. The very nature of the material often compels the translator to guess at the general import of a mutilated text or at the true sense of a word. It is fair, indeed, to remember that the vast extent of the material now available and the great sameness of style and expression which characterises Assyrian historical documents often counterbalance these difficulties. As regards the application of Assyrian results to the Old Testament, it is too often forgotten that the fruits of Assyrian study can be of no substantial use to the Biblical student except in connection with a critical study of the Hebrew sources.

As I am not able to make independent use of the cuneiform monuments, I do not venture to build upon them in the present volume except where the sense seems to be thoroughly made out by the consent of the best scholars.

Note 5, p. 23. — On the Hittites see Mr. Cheyne's article in the ninth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. On the identification of Carchemish with the modern Jirbas (Yakut ii. 688) — that is, the Syriac Agropos, Greek — see G. Hoffmann, Syrische Akten Persischer Martyrer (1880), p. 161 seq.; Delitzsch, Wo lag das Paradies? (1881), p. 265 seq. The name Ierabolus given by some travellers is false. The town lay on the west side of the Euphrates opposite Der Kinnisre. The passage of Stephanas Byzantius, quoted by Hoffmann, which says that Oropus was formerly called , presumably , not only confirms the identification with Carchemish, but shows that the latter is a Semitic word, "castle of Mish."

Note 6, p. 26. — See Wellhausen, Jahrb. f.d. Theol., vol. xxi. p. 602; Meyer in Stade's Zeitschrift, vol. i. p. 122; Stade, Geschichte, p. 110. An essay by Steinthal, Z. f. Volkerpsychologie, vol. xii. p. 267, is referred to by the last two writers.

Note 7, p. 28. — See especially Wellhausen, De Gentibus et Familiis Judaeis, Gott., 1870, and Geschichte, vol. i. p. 225 seq., for the analysis of the genealogy of the originally nomad elements of Judah, the Hezronites. The great clan of the Kalibbites (Caleb) belonged to this branch of the population of Southern Judaea. For the Amalekites and their original connection with Mt. Ephraim, see Judges v. 14; xii. 15; Noldeke, Ueber die Amalekiter, u.s.w., Gott, 1864.

Note 8, p. 29. — As we shall hear of these routes again in connection with the history of Judah, I may here refer to Pliny's account of the great incense road from Thomna to Gaza (H. X. xii. 14), and the discussion in Sprenger's Alte Geographie Arabiens, Bern, 1875, p. 141 seq. On this inland route the Edomite capital of Petra was a station. The incense trade, it must be remembered, was of enormous importance in ancient times from the use of frankincense in all temples.

Note 9, p. 29. — The land of Goshen did not belong to the Delta proper, which never can have been given up to a shepherd tribe, and would not have suited their way of life. In all ages nomadic or half nomadic tribes, quite distinct from the Egyptians proper, have pastured their flocks on the verge of the rich lands of the Delta. The Eastern shepherd or herdsman does not base his conception of good pasture ground on anything like an English meadow, and it is not necessary to suppose that the south-eastern borders of the Delta were much more fertile in the days of Moses than they are now. That the Israelites at this time came under any considerable influence of Egyptian civilisation must appear highly improbable to any one who knows the life of the nomads of Egypt even in the present day, when there is a large Arab element in the settled population. It is impossible here to enter into details on the supposed traces of Egyptian culture and religion in the institutions of Israel; but it may safely be affirmed that they are far fewer than is often stated, and that those which are beyond question cannot be traced back to the oldest times, and may with great probability be held to have come in for the most part, not from Egypt direct, but through the Phoenicians.

Note 10, p. 29. — The important assistance rendered to Israel by the Kenites comes out clearly in the oldest parts of the Pentateuchal narrative. Compare Exod. xviii. and Num. x, 29 seq., with Judges i. 16; iv. 11; 1 Sam, xv. 6.

Note 11, p. 29. — The classical passage in this connection is Judges i.; comp. Josh, xviii. 14 seq.; Judges xvii. 1 seq. See especially Graf, Der Stamm Simeon, Meissen, 1866.

Note 12, p. 30. — On the stone of Dibon, which records the victories of King Mesha (2 Kings iii.) over the Israelites, we read that he slew the whole inhabitants of Nebo, seven thousand in number, for they were devoted by the ban to Ashtar-Kamosh — a deity related to the god Chemosh, who is repeatedly mentioned in the Bible.

Note 13, p. 34, — See The Old Testament in the Jewish Church (1881), especially Lectures xi. and xii. It may be convenient to repeat that the three main masses of legislation still distinguishable in the Pentateuch are — (1) The Book of the Covenant, as it is generally called, Exod. xxi.-xxiii., a primitive legislation designed for a very simple state of agricultural society, and corresponding in its precepts with the traces of the actual usage and law of Israel found in the history of the age of the Judges and the earlier monarchy. (2) The Deuteronomic Code, Deut. xii.-xxvi,, in which the laws of the Book of the Covenant are recast with special reference to the limitation of ritual worship to a single sanctuary. This limitation is introduced as a new thing. It was unknown up to the time of Isaiah and Hezekiah, but was formally accepted as law when the Deuteronomic code was promulgated as binding in the great reformation of the reign of Josiah. The code must have been written between this date (B.C. 621 or 622) and the reforms which Hezekiah adopted after the retreat of Sennacherib in B.C. 701 (see Lect. viii.). (3) The Priestly or Levitical Legislation, composed after the book of Ezekiel and adopted as the law of the New Jerusalem (in conjunction with the rest of the Pentateuch) under Ezra, B.C. 445. See Neh. viii. seq.

Note 14, p. 35. — The main passage for the way in which Moses organised the administration of justice in Israel is Exod. xviii. Compare O. T. in Jewish Church, p. 334.

Note 15, p. 36. — "Every Arab tribe," says Burckhardt, "has its chief sheikh, and every camp is headed by a sheikh, or at least by an Arab of some consideration; but the sheikh has no actual authority over the individuals of his tribe. . . Should a dispute happen between two individuals the sheikh will endeavour to settle the matter; but if either party be dissatisfied with his advice he cannot insist upon obedience. The Arab can only be persuaded by his own relations; and if they fail war commences between the two families and all their kindred respectively. . . , In fact the most powerful Aeneze chief dares not inflict a trifling punishment on the poorest man of his tribe without incurring the risk of mortal vengeance from the individual and his relations. The prerogative of the sheikhs consists in leading their tribe against the enemy; in conducting negotiations for peace or war; in fixing the spot for encampments; in entertaining strangers of note, etc., and even these privileges are much limited." — Bedouins and Wahahys, 8vo ed., p. 11 5 seq.

Note 16, p. 39. — See O. T. in Jewish Church, p. 225 seq., p. 257 and note (Shechem in the time of Abimelech was a Canaanite town), p. 78 seq.; and infra, Lect ii. note 6.

Lecture II.

Note 1, p. 47. — On the one hand, the great Phoenician trading cities, with the usual jealousy of commercial monopolists, were little disposed to form a close and equal union with any outside their own circle. Nor were they disposed to warlike operations to extend their territory. Carthage, it will be remembered, neither made the natives Carthaginians nor even sought to make them subjects till a comparatively late date. See Mommsen's History of Rome, bk. iii. chap. 1. The jealousy and political inertness of the Phoenicians had two results. It long prevented the Hebrews from becoming a trading people, and so saved them from rapid social changes which would greatly have endangered their old life and religion; and, on the other hand, it left them free to deal as they could with the Canaanites of the interior. Even in the interior the Canaanites continued to be the trading class, and, as the Hebrews occupied the land, became more and more exclusively traders. Between traders and cultivators of the soil there was a natural class-antagonism, which no doubt helped to maintain the distinct character of Israel. On the other hand, the Israelites of the frontier, in Judah and beyond the Jordan in Gilead, evidently retained not a little of the ancient nomad habits, and in part were closely allied with other tribes of the wilderness. Thus we find from time to time expressions of that characteristic distaste for the ease and luxuries of settled life which belongs to the genuine Bedouin, The Nazarite vow against drinking wine and the laws of the Rechabites are cases in point. And the Rechabites, like the Nazarites, were on the side of the old Jehovah worship, and against the Canaanite Baal.

Note 2, p. 47. — That the institution of the kingship was a necessary step in the development of national unity, and therefore also in the progress of the religion of Jehovah, is often overlooked under the too exclusive influence of 1 Sam. viii.; x. 17-27; xii. But it is always a mistake to estimate the real significance of events in ancient history by the speeches — never literally reported and often used as a convenient and, on ancient literary methods, legitimate vehicle for reflections of a later age influenced by changed circumstances — which are now interwoven with the context of the narrative, instead of allowing ourselves to be guided by the historical context of events; and as a matter of fact no one can doubt that the institution of the kingship was a great blessing to Israel, putting an end to the state of anarchy which the book of Judges justly represents as most unfavourable to religious progress. Nor is it less clear that Israel from the first recognised this blessing as a special gift of Jehovah, who sanctioned the kingship by bestowing His spirit on the king (1 Sam. X. 6; xvi. 13). In the Blessing of Moses the kingship is represented as the crowning gift of Jehovah, by which the branches of the nation and the tribes of Jacob were united together (Deut. xxxiii. 5). Modern criticism has made all this much more plain by pointing out that there are two distinct but parallel accounts of the choice of Saul, the older version being preserved in 1 Sam. ix.; x. 1-16; xi. (omitting v. 14). After his unction Saul returns to his father's house, awaiting the opportunity indicated in x. 7; after about a month (so the LXX. in xi. 1), this opportunity arises in the invasion of Nahash, and the sovereignty which Saul had assumed on this occasion in virtue of a divine impulse (xi. 6), is solemnly confirmed after the victory. The detailed proof of the separate character and greater antiquity of this form of the narrative may be found in Bleek's Einleitung, 4th ed., by Wellhausen, p. 210 seq., with which compare the corresponding discussion in Wellhausen's Text der Bucher Samuelis. It is to be noted that the attacks on Samuel so current in the older sceptical school (see, for example, Volney's Histoire de Samuel), derive their whole plausibility from the one-sidedness of the current uncritical treatment of the history.

Note 3, p. 50. — The English reader will find an account of this celebrated monument, now in the Louvre, and the translation of the inscription which it bears, in an article [by Professor W. Wright of Cambridge], printed in the North British Review, October 1870, or in Dr. Ginsburg's Moabite Stone (2d ed 1871), where an account is also given of the literature of the subject. Dr. Ginsburg's version is reprinted in Records of the Past, vol. xi. . p. 165. See also Dr. A. B. Davidson in the B. and F. Ev. Review, 1871.

Note 4, p. 51. — The history of this celebrated monument and a list of the literature connected with it are to be found in the Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum, pars I., tom, i., p. 1 seq. (Paris 1881). The inscription dates from the Persian period.

Note 5, p. 53. — On tithes in antiquity outside Israel see the essays of Selden and Hottinger, Spemer, Leg, Rit. Heb., lib. iii. c. 10; "Winer, s.v. "Zehnten," Ewald, Alterthumer, p. 398 (Eng. tr., p. 300); Knobel on Lev. xxvii. 30 seq. The practice of paying tithes to the gods was widely diffused, both in the form in which it appears in Gen. xiv. 20, where tithes are paid from booty (which in Greece was the commonest case), and in the shape of a regular tribute on the products of agriculture, trade, or the like. It is sufficient for the present purpose to indicate the prevalence and scope of tithes among Semitic nations or in regions of Semitic influence. Here it is to be noted first that tithes were paid to the king (as in 1 Sam. viii.) according to the ancient Babylonian law revived under Alexander (Aristot. (Econ., ii. p. 1352 b of the Berlin ed.; comp. p. 1345 seq.). Next, as regards tithes to the gods, it is attested by Diodorus, xx. 14, that the Carthaginians as a Tyrian colony paid tithes to the Tyrian sun-god Melkarth or Herakles, the divine king of the city; and in like manner Hercules was the god to whom the Romans paid tithes (Diodor., iv. 21; Plut., Mor. ii. 267 E; compare the authorities collected by "Wyttenbach in his index to Plut., Mor. s.v.). Among the Arabs of the frankincense country tithes of this product were paid to the priests of the sun-god Sabis (Plin. xii. 32). Among the Arabs, says the scholiast to Harith (Moal, ed, Arnold, p. 186), "men used to vow" — just as Jacob vowed at Bethel — "If God gives me a hundred sheep I will sacrifice one in every ten." The discharge of this vow was not enforced, and often "his soul grudged what he had vowed, and he would hunt a gazelle and substitute it for the sheep that were due" (cf. Mai. i. 14). The tax on the produce of their mines paid by the Siphnians at Delphi (Hdt. iii. 57; Pausan. x. 11.2) may be plausibly ascribed to Phoenician influence, and tithes are also an institution in various parts of Asia Minor, where we know the influence of Semitic religion to have been very great; e.g., in Lydia there was a tithe on cattle (Nic. Damasc. in Muller's Fragm. Hist. Gr., iii. 371). The mention of the Kabiri also speaks for a Semitic element in the sacrifice of tithes or first-fruits — note the connection of the two ideas — by the Pelasgi mentioned by Dion. Hal., A. R. i. 23.

Note 6, p. 56. — In the oldest legislation (Exod. xxiii. 14 seq.; xxxiv. 18 seq.) the three annual feasts are (1) the feast of unleavened bread, (2) the feast of harvest, (3) the feast of ingathering (of autumn fruits). The two first mark the beginning and end of the corn-harvest; compare Deut. xvi. 9; Lev. xxiii. 10. Thus the agricultural reference of all these feasts is clear, and they are to be compared with similar agricultural festivals and offerings of first-fruits among other ancient nations. Pliny, for example, says of the ancient Romans that they would not even taste the new corn or wine till the priests had tasted the first-fruits (H. N. xviii. 2) and — to take an instance from Semitic races — a feast of first-fruits in the month of May was celebrated according to En-Nedim by the heathen Harranians (Chwolson, Ssabier, ii. 25; Fihrist, ed. Flugel, p.322). See Spencer, Op. cit. lib. iii. cap. 8, 9. To trace correspondences in detail between the Hebrew feasts and those of the surrounding nations is not so easy. The occasions of the Hebrew festivals are those naturally suggested by the course of the seasons of husbandry, while at an early date we find among their neighbours feasts determined rather by astronomical considerations, and having reference to the worship of the heavenly bodies; such, for example, as the Tyrian feast of the awakening of the sun (Herakles), Jos. Ant., viii. 5, 3. This feast, however, is said to have been feast instituted by Hiram, and it is probable that in general agricultural festivals were older than astronomical ones. Thus, in Judges ix. 27 we find a Canaanite vintage feast corresponding to the Hebrew feast of ingathering, which in the early books appears as the principal yearly feast, or at least as the pilgrimage feast, when men had leisure to visit distant shrines (1 Kings xii. 32). Ewald (Ant, E. T. p. 351, comp. Z.f.d. Kunde des Morgenlandes, iii. 419), who conjectures that a spring and an autumn feast were known to the Hebrews before the time of Moses, points to the fact that according to the scholion cited in last note, the Arabs paid tithes in the month Rajab, and that the Arabs had of old two sacred months — Moharram, the first month from autumn, and Eajab, the seventh. See, however, Sprenger in Z. D. M. G., 1859, p. 134 seq.; Leben Mohammed's, iii. 516 seq.; Dozy, Israeliten te Mekka, p. 138, from which it will be seen that there is still considerable obscurity about the holy seasons of the heathen Arabs. The ancient holiness of Rajab as a sacrificial season (see Lane s.v.) is the best established point, and as this month corresponds to the Hebrew Nisan, the sacrifices then offered may be taken as a probable parallel to the paschal sacrifices of the Hebrews.

That there were great similarities in the method of celebration between the feasts of the Hebrews and their heathen neighbours is clear from the Bible, especially from the undoubted fact of the admixture of elements of Baal worship with the service of Jehovah. The custom of holding feasts in tents or booths (Hosea xii. 9) reappears in the Babylonian Sacoea and elsewhere in the East; see Movers, Phoenizier, i. 483 seq. Again, the Hebrew technical term reappears in the worship of the Tyrian Baal, 2 Kings x. 20. The description of Syrian festivals given by Posidonius (Muller, Fragmenta, iii. 258), the copious eating and drinking, the portions carried home, the noisy music, recalls forcibly what we read of the Hebrew feasts (1 Sam. i. 14; 2 Sam. vi. 19; Lam. ii. 7, etc.).

In addition to the great yearly feasts, Hosea ii. 13 specially designates the Sabbath and the New Moon as occasions of festal joy. The latter of these was also a sacred season among the Phoenicians celebrated by special offerings, Corp. Inscr. Sem., pars i. cap. 2, No. 86. The Sabbath, on the other hand, as a day of joy, stands in marked contrast to the unlucky seventh day of the Babylonians, on which see Sayce in Records of the Past, i. 164; vii. 157 seq. The relation, of the Hebrew Sabbath to the planetary week of the Babylonians, in which the seventh day is connected with Saturn, is still far from clear. The week is perhaps originally nothing else than the fourth part of a lunation. Thus among the Harranians, if we may believe En-Nedim, four days in each month were suitable for sacrifices, and to these belonged the new moon, the first quarter, and the twenty-eighth day. (Chwolson, ii. 8; Fihrist, ed. Fl., 319.)

Note 7, p. 56. — The literature of the sacrificial tablet of Marseilles is cited, and the inscription itself published with a commentary in Schroder's Phoninische Sprache, p. 237 seq,. It contains an account of the dues in money or in parts of the victim to be paid to the priest for every kind of sacrifice. A fragment of a similar tablet from Carthage may be found in the same work, or in Davis, Carthage and her Remains, p. 296 seq.

Note 8, p. 57. — See in particular the inscription of Iehawmelek (C. I. S., p. i. cap. 1. Art. 1, where the king records the erection of a brazen altar, of golden chased work, and of a portico and columns. The aspect of a Phoenician temple, with its court and portico and a lofty obelisk or sun-pillar, is best seen on the coin of Byblus, figured ibid. p. 6, and in Renan's Miss, de Phenicie, p. 177. The brazen altar recurs in the Sardo trilinguis (Schroder, p. 249; Levy, Phon. Stud., iii. 40). The palm-tree or palm-branch found among the temple ornaments is one of the commonest of Phoenician symbols. See, for example, the woodcuts in Renan's Mission, p. 651 seq.; the woodcut from Yarun, Survey of Western Palestine, i. 259, and the coins figured by Schroder, Plate xviii. 10-14. Compare further Old Test, in J. Ch., p. 248 and note 2 there. For the classes of ministers in a Phoenician sanctuary, see 0. I. S., No. 86.

Note 9, p. 57. — See Old Test, in J. Ch, p. 285 and note 4 there.

Note 10, p. 62. — The ancient exegesis of Exod. iii. 14 flowed in two main channels. The Hellenistic tradition, attaching itself to the rendering of the LXX., , finds the meaning of the ineffable name in the absolute being and aseity of God; the Palestinian tradition, on the other hand, understands the name of God's eternity and immutability. The former view is untenable on linguistic grounds, for the Hebrew substantive verb has not the sense of metaphysical entity, and the imperfect does not mean I am, but I will be [something]. This the Palestinian exegesis recognised (Aq., Theod.), and, taking the verb, not in the abstract metaphysical sense of the Hellenistic interpretation, but in the simpler sense of actuality (Daseyn), which it certainly has, at least in later Biblical Hebrew, they seem to have got the notion of eternity by rendering I will be in existence, I will not cease to be. In that case the whole clause must be rendered [My name is] I will be, [that is] I who will be. As A. ben Ezra puts it, is an explanatory apposition to . This view of the grammatical structure of the clause has been recently supported by Mr. W. A. Wright (Jour. PhiL, iv. 70) and Wellhausen (Z.f.d. Th., xxi. 540), who, however, do not object to retain the present tense, which I think is impossible in such a connection and with the substantive verb. For my own part, I doubt if even the notion of actuality, as we find it in the Hebrew of Ecclesiastes, can be given to the substantive verb in such an early passage. The sense of is not so much I exist or I will exist as will be it — an incomplete predication. On this view the predication, incomplete in the simple or , is completed in the fuller . This clause may certainly be grammatically rendered Be I what I may — a view adopted and grammatically justified with his usual wealth of illustration by Lagarde, Psalt. Hieron., p. 156 seq. To the passages from various languages which he cites — the Biblical ones are Gen. xliii. 14; 1 Sam. i. 24; xxiii. 13; 2 Sam. xv. 20; Zech. X. 8; Ezek. xii. 25 — I add in illustration of the idiom, Deut. ix. 25; Exod. iv. 13; xvi. 23; xxxiii. 19; Esther iv. 16; Mishna, Shab. xiv. 4 ; Freytag, Prov. Ar., i. 339, No. 212, Ujlus heith tajlus; Tabary, iii. 93, 1. 3, qataltu man qataltu. The great difficulty in the view of Professor Lagarde, and indeed in almost every view except that of A. ben Ezra, is that the meaning of the full disappears in the shorter form or the whole clause being essential to the sense. In a paper in Brit, and For. Ev. Rev., Jan. 1876, I proposed to meet this difficulty by following out the hint given by R. Jehuda Hallevy (Kusari, ed. Cassel, p. 304), who explains to mean " I will be present to them when they seek me," and appeals to ver. 12, "I will be with thee," in support of this interpretation. In truth this divine I will be rings through the whole Bible in varying form (Gen. xxvi. 3; Josh. i. 6: Judges vi. 16; Jer. xxiv. 7; Zech. ii. 5 [9]; viii. 8, etc.) Is there not a presumption that this oft-repeated I will be is akin to the of ver. 14, and that the latter must also mean, not I will exist, but I will he — something which lies implicitly on the mind of him who uses the name? In this case it is possible with R. Jehuda and A. ben Ezra to take the as an apposition, but it seems more reasonable to think that the added, I will be what I will be, expresses more distinctly the fact that the predicate is vague. The construction, in fact, is in principle analogous to the well-known idiom to express the indefinite subject. The relative clause is without emphasis — as appears from the parallels cited above, and the sense is not that God reserves for His own arbitrium to determine what He will be, but simply that what He will be to His people He will be, will approve Himself to be, without fail. The vagueness is inevitable, for no words can sum up all that Jehovah will be to His people; it is enough for them to know that He will be it (comp. Isa. Ixiv. 3; Lam. iii. 23). On this view the clause is exactly parallel to Exod. xxxiii, 19, which does not mean that God will choose the objects of His grace arbitrarily, but that to those to whom He is gracious — who they are is left vague — He will be gracious. I am disposed to think that this exegesis of the passage is as old as Hosea iii. 9, where the words, "I will not be for you," seem to be chosen in direct contrast to the promise, "I will save Judah in the quality of Iahwe their God." It must of course be remembered that Exod. iii. 14 does not give the original sense of the name Iahwe, which is still obscure (O. T. in J. Ch., p. 423; compare Delitzsch, Wo lag das Paradies? p. 158 seq., and the reply of Tiele, Theol.Tijd, 1882, p. 262 seq.), but an adaptation of the name, so that we need not be surprised to find a little awkwardness in the expression.

Note 11, p. 64. — This monument may now be seen in the Louvre. "Let them," says Eshmunazar, have no bed with the shades, and let them not be buried in a grave, nor let there be to them son or seed in their stead, and let the holy gods deliver them into the hand of a powerful kingdom . . let them have no root downward or fruit upward (comp. Isa. xxxvii. 31), nor any comeliness among the living under the sun." — C. I. S., ut supra, No. 3. The Authorised Version of the Bible unfortunately obliterates the characteristic ideas of the "underworld" (Sheol) and the "shades" (Rephaim). In Isa. xiv. 9, for example, the former word is rendered "hell," and the latter "dead."

Note 12, p. 72.— A reference may here he added to the latest discussion of the derivatives of the root CDK by Prof. Kantzsch of Tubingen (Festeinladung, 6 Marz 1881), who concludes that the fundamental idea of the root is conformity to a norm. Even this, perhaps, is too wide, and does not lay sufficient weight on the distinctly forensic element which the author recognises as preponderant in the earlier Hebrew writings. The roots and are correlatives, and ought to be taken together. All the other uses of the derivatives of CDK may, I think, lie traced from the primitive forensic sense; but the more complex developments belong to a later period than that covered by the present volume. Prof. Kantzsch is certainly right in declining to start from the very doubtful considerations of etymology often put in the front, and especially from the obscure Arabic phrase rumh cadq.

Note 13, p. 7 5. — The Biblical narrative is here supplemented by the "Moabite Stone" erected by King Mesha.

Note 14, p. 79. — The sources for the history of Elijah are not all of one date, and do not all reproduce with equal immediacy the aspect in which his work presented itself to his contemporaries. See Wellhausen's edition of Bleek's Einleitung, and the article Kings, Books of, in the forthcoming volume of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Note 15, p. 81. — In Hosea vi. 5 for read with LXX. .

Note 16, p. 84. — On wine and wine-drinking among the Arabs before Islam, see especially I. Guidi, Delia Sede primitiva dei popoli Semitici (Rome, 1879), p. 43 seq. Like all barbarians, the Arabs were fond enough of getting drunk, but wine was a foreign and costly luxury, and the opposition to its use found distinguished advocates before Mohammed. Among the Nabataeans of the Syrian desert, according to Diodorus (xix. 94, 3), it was a law neither to sow nor to plant any fruit-bearing plant, nor to use wine, nor to construct a house, and death was the penalty of disobedience. See also Ammianus, xiv. 4.

Note 17, p. 85. — See G. Hoffman, Verhandlungen der Kirchenversammlung zu Ephesus, etc., Kiel, 1873, p. 89; "bar naggare is not the son of a carpenter, but a carpenter as member of the incorporation." The current notion that the prophets were not a guild is derived from too exclusive attention to the prophets of the school that arose with Amos and expressly disclaimed connection with the established guilds. In Jerusalem, as we see from Jeremiah, the prophets were under a certain official control on the part of the priests.

Note 18, p. 86. — The etymological sense of the Hebrew nabi is much disputed. It must be observed that there is nothing in extant Hebrew literature by which it can be determined, for Exod. iv. 16; vii. 1; Jer. xv. 19, cannot be taken as giving the meaning of the word, or as proving that it ever meant a speaker or interpreter in general, but only as evidence how the function of the prophet in relation to God was conceived among the Israelites. Nabi, in the Old Testament, always has the technical sense of a prophet, and the other derivatives of the root (nibba and hithnabbe, prophesy) are denominatives formed from nabi. The word, in short, has no root in Hebrew of the historical period, and we must suppose either that it has survived from very remote antiquity or that it is a loan word. It is not, however, like kohen, "priest," a common Semitic term; the other Semitic dialects have certainly borrowed it from the Hebrews (Noldeke, Gesch, d. Qorans, p. 1). Thus it belongs to an isolated sphere of Semitic religious life; and as the Nebi'im were common to Israel and the worshippers of Baal, while according to I Sam. ix. 9 nabi superseded the old Hebrew term ro'eh after the time of Samuel, it is hardly likely that the word is older than the settlement of the Hebrews in Canaan. This circumstance, taken with the fact that the root is not otherwise found in Hebrew, certainly favours the view of several recent inquirers that the name is of Canaanite origin. In this case the etymology becomes comparatively unimportant, and in any case the origin of the name lies too remote from the historical development of Hebrew prophecy to be of value in illustration of the conception of a prophet among the Israelites.

As regards the meaning of the root, it is hardly doubtful that the ultimate stem is NB with the notion of protrusion (Fleischer in Delitzsch's Genesis, 4th ed. p. 552), and so the Taj el 'Arus (i. 131) remarks that naba'a 'ala, in the sense of hajama watala'a, is interchangeable with nabaha and naba'a. But this fundamental idea not only divided itself under a variety of triliteral roots; the root naba'a itself, according to the Arabic lexicographers, has very various meanings, among which it is difficult to find one that can be regarded as central. Thus, when Kuenen (Onderzoek, ii. 3; comp. Godsdienst, chap. iii. note, and Prophets, p. 42) selects the notion of bubbling up, and regards the prophet as one who bubbles up under inspiration, this hypothesis has no more value than that of a guess guided by the particular development of the root idea found in and . The most interesting etymological question is whether nabi may not originally mean simply a "speaker" or "herald" of God. This view is supported mainly from the Arabic by Ewald (Propheten, i. 7), Fleischer (ut supra), and many others, while Hupfeld (Z. f. d. K. des Morgenl, iii. 40) and Riehm (Mess. Weiss., p. 21), also starting from the Arabic, take the view, less accordant with the grammatical form of the word, that the nabi is one to whom God whispers His revelation. Kuenen (Prohets, p. 42), in opposing the argument from the Arabic, goes so far as to say that the Arabic verb is probably derived from nabi, and so is a Hebrew loan word. I presume that he does not mean to deny that there is a real Arabic root naba'a with the sense of prominence, impetus, etc., but only refers to the use of Conjugations II., IV., in the sense of "tell" (akhbara), and to the nom. act. of Conj. I. explained by khahar, news. And no doubt the usage of the Koran is to reserve these words for divine or supernatural communications, and Ragheb, cited at length in the Taj el 'Arus, explains that nab' is not to be used of any khabar, but is confined to announcements that are valuable and promote knowledge and are certain truth, like the word of God and His prophet. Yet it seems impossible to treat Conj. II. as a mere theological term derived from the Hebrew. Even in the Koran (lxvi. 3) it is used in a wider sense, and, what is more important, it is so found in old Arabic, e.g. in 'Antara (Moall., 1. 61 of Arnold's ed., or 1. 68 of Ahlwardt's Divans, p. 48). This circumstance adds importance to the fact that in Assyrian naba means to "announce," Delitzsch, Ass. Lesestucke, 2d ed. (1878), p. 3. Nab'at, "a gentle sound" (Harith, Moall, 1. 11, and Taj el 'Arus i. 131, foot), is also an old word. It cannot, however, be said that the sense "speaker," or "newsbringer," is as yet established as the etymological meaning of nabi.

Note 19, p. 86. — From 1 Sam. x. 5, 10 seq.; xix. 20 seq., we see that the nebi'im at their first appearance in Israel formed bands or companies. Their "prophesying" was a joint act; Samuel, in xix, 20, stands presiding over them, precisely like the sheikh in a zikr of Dervishes. Further, these exercises were sometimes gone through in sacred processions, sometimes at a fixed place, as at the Naioth at Ramah, which ought probably to be rendered "dwellings" — a sort of coenobiam. They were accompanied by music of a somewhat noisy character, in which the hand-drum and pipe played a part, as was otherwise the case in festal processions to the sanctuary (2 Sam. vi. 5; Isa. xxx. 29). Thus the religious exercises of the prophets seem to be a development in a peculiar direction of the ordinary forms of Hebrew worship at the time, and the fact that the "prophesying" was contagious establishes its analogy to other contagious forms of religious excitement. That Saul under the influence of these exercises stripped off his clothes, and so joined in the prophesying, is precisely identical with what Ibn Khallikan (ed. Slane, p. 610; Eng. Tr. ii. 538) relates of Kukubury, that he used, under the influence of religious music, to become so excited as to pull off part of his clothes. It does not seem that at this early time the prophetic exercises necessarily involved any gift of prophecy in the ordinary sense of the word, but it was recognised that "a divine spirit" (ruah elohim) came upon those who participated in them; Saul was, as an Arab would now say, malbus. The connection of music with the prophetic inspiration is still found in the time of Elisha (2 Kings iii. 15).

The exercises of the prophets of Baal, as described in 1 Kings xviii., were much more violent and ecstatic. They correspond exactly with the later descriptions of the fantastic enthusiasm of the wandering priests of the Syrian goddess given by Apuleius, Metam. lib. viii., and Lucian, Asinus, c. 37. These priests correspond to the kelabim (literally "dogs") of the Phoenician sanctuaries (C. I. S., No. 86), and of Deut, xxiii. 18, who again are the same with the kedeshim of 1 Kings xv. 12; 2 Kings xxiii. 7. At the time of Josiah's reformation these wretched creatures had dwellings in the temple.
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Re: THE PROPHETS OF ISRAEL AND THEIR PLACE IN HISTORY TO THE

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Part 2 of 4

Lecture III.

Note 1, p. 91. — The vagueness of 2 Kings xiii. 5 is not an isolated phenomenon. Amos never mentions the Assyrians by name, though he plainly alludes to them, as at vi. 14. So, too, Wellhausen (Bleek's Einl., 4th ed. p. 251 seq.) remarks that the cause of the sudden raising of the siege of Samaria (2 Kings vii. 6) can have been nothing else than an invasion of the Damascene territory by the Assyrians; but the Hebrew narrator plainly did not know this.

NOTE 2, p.91. — The "torrent of the 'Arabah," in Amos vi, 14, is identical with the brook of the 'Arablm, or willows (Arabic gharab; Celsius, Hierobot., i. 304: seq.; I can testify from personal observation that a tree of this name is still common in the Zor of the Jordan valley), the southern boundary between Moab and Ammon. The sea of the 'Arabah in 2 Kings xiv. 25 is, of course, the Dead Sea, the 'Arabah (A. V. "Wilderness") being the great depressed trough in which the Jordan flows and the Dead Sea lies.

Note 3, p. 92. — Isaiah closes his citation with the words: "This is the word that Jehovah spake concerning Moab long ago. And now within three short years [comp, xxi. 16] the glory of Moab shall be brought to contempt," etc. Isaiah presumably cited the old prophecy at some period of revolt against Assyria, most likely in the great rising against Sennacherib, when, however, Moab made voluntary submission after the fall of the Phoenician cities (supra, p. 322; G. Smith, Hist, of Sennacherib, p. 55). That the prophet quoted by Isaiah is Jonah is a conjecture of Hitzig (Des proph. Jonas Orakel uber Moab, u.s.w., 1831; Der Prophet Jesaia, 1833, p. 178 seq.). See also Cheyne's Prophecies of Isaiah.

Note 4, p. 94. — I transcribe, by way of illustration, a passage from Sprenger's Alte Geographie Arabiens, p. 213, referring to the Druses. "The government is a patriarchal aristocracy. The common people are distinguished by industry, the hereditary aristocracy by chivalry and disinterestedness, and both by a frugality bordering on asceticism. The individual is lost in the tribe, and within the community a rigid observance of the laws of morality is enforced. The people have the most absolute confidence in their leaders, who are not without education, and obey their smallest sign. . . . By such institutions the Druses have been able to effect brilliant military successes, and fill their neighbours with a sort of superstitious belief that they are invincible. . . . There have always been such tribes with military organisation in Arabia, and such are still the Dhu Mohammed and Dhu Hoseyn spoken of by Maltzan." See Maltzan, Reisen in Arabien, ii. 404 seq.

Note 5, p. 95. — Saul governed essentially as a Benjamite, and his court consisted, at least mainly, of men of his own tribe (1 Sam. xxii. 7). David's original policy was more enlarged. He chose a capital with no tribal connection, formed a foreign bodyguard, and showed no exceptional favour to his own tribe, as is clear from the fact that the men of Judah were the first to rebel under Absalom, and the last to return to obedience. In fact, David had to win them over by a promise that he would in future recognise their position as his brethren (2 Sam. xix. 12, 13). Under Solomon the Judueans continued to enjoy special favour. They did not share the discontent of Northern Israel, and the chief mark of their favoured position is that, in 1 Kings iv. 7 seq., Judah is exempted from the system of non-tribal government — essentially for purposes of taxation — applied in the other parts of Canaan. It is quite clear, too, from 1 Kings V. 13; xi. 28 (where for charge read harden, with reference to the forced labour employed in the repair of the city of David) that Solomon did not exempt Israelites from forced labour, as 2 Chron. viii. 9 supposes. The system of government by rulers of provinces — that is, the system of centralisation, destructive of old tribal organisation — reappears in the time of Ahab (1 Kings XX. 14 seg.). The word ''provinces" is rather Aramaic than Hebrew, which may point to an influence of foreign models on the organisation of the state.

Note 6, p. 98. — See on all these points Old Test, in J. Ch., Lect. viii., p. 223 seq.

Note 7, p. 110. — See O. T. in J. Ch., Lect. xi., p. 336 seq.

It is strange that a sound Hebraist like Prof. W. H. Green (Presb. Rev., iii. 123) should still maintain that Exod. xx. 24 refers, not to co-existing sanctuaries in Canaan, but to altars successively reared at different places in the wilderness, and even assert that the Authorised Version "in all places" does not accurately represent the Hebrew. The Authorised Version is perfectly accurate, and the idiom quite common, Exod. i. 22; Deut. iv. 3; 1 Sam. iii. 17; Jer. iv. 29; Ewald, Lehrb., 290 c. But the climax of absurdity is reached when Prof. Green regards this law, with its express provision that if an altar is built of stone it shall not be of hewn stone, as referring to the earth with which the frame of the brazen altar was filled. So, again, it is suggested that Exod. xxii. 30 may have been a law only for the wilderness journey, when all Israel was encamped in the vicinity of the tabernacle. But it is certain that there was no regular sacrificial observance in the wilderness (Amos v. 25; Jer. vii. 22), and the whole law to winch Exod. xxii. 30 belongs is on the face of it a law for Canaan; the offering of the firstlings on the eighth day is only part of an ordinance embracing also the first-fruits of cereals and liquors (ver. 29). How Prof. Green can possibly deny that the asylum in Exod. xxi, 12-14 is the altar, and that in Deuteronomy the idea of asylum-cities is separated from connection with the sanctuary, I do not understand.

Note 8, p. 119. — For the interpretation of this most important chapter see especially, in addition to the commentaries on Deuteronomy, Graf, Der Segen Mose's, Leipzig, 1857; Wellhausen, Geschichte, i. 266, 376. In verse 2 the text must be corrected as suggested by Ewald, Gesch., ii. 280, so as to read, "came to (from?) Meribath Kadesh."

Note 9, p. 120. — "With the exception of Vater's Amos (Halle, 1810) and the lengthy work of G. Baur (Giessen, 1847), the recent commentaries on Amos are incorporated in books on the prophets in general or on the minor prophets. Among modern English works Prof. Gandell's Amos in the Speaker's Commentary closely follows Dr. Pusey's Minor Prophets. The prophet is also included in the second volume of Heilprin's Historical Poetry of the Ancient Hebrews (New York, 1880). Of German commentaries those of Ewald, Keil, and Schmoller (in Lange's Bibelwerk) are translated. The most influential modern commentaries have been those of Ewald (Propheten, vol. i.), and Hitzig in his Kleine Propheten, of which the last edition by Steiner (1881) contains little new matter of consequence. Of the older commentaries that of Le Mercier (Mercerns) is the most valuable. There have been a good many recent discussions of individual questions, especially of the difficult passage, v. 26, which will he alluded to below. See also the section on Amos in Duhm's Theologie der Propheten (Bonn, 1875); an essay, containing a great deal that is arbitrary, by Oort, Theol. Tijdsch., 1880, p. 114 seq.; Noldeke's valuable article in Schenkel's Bibellexikon; and the excellent remarks of Wellhausen, Encyc. Brit., xiii. 410. I have not seen Juynboll, Disp. de Amoso, 1828.

Note 10, p. 120. — If we could venture to suppose that 1 Chron. ii. 24, iv. 5 refer to the settlement of Judah before the Exile, we should gather that the ancient inhabitants of Tekoa were not pure Hebrews, but belonged to the Hezronites, nomads from the desert who had settled down in the southern part of the land of Judah. In this case we should have an interesting line of connection between the kinship of Amos and the Kenite family of the Rechabites, who gave their support to Jehu in the interests of ancient nomadic simplicity. The analysis of Wellhausen, however, De Gentibus et Familiis Judaeis, 1870, makes it probable that the connection of the Hezronites with the district of Bethlehem began after the Exile, when their older seats in. the south had been occupied by the Edomites. On Tekoa and the surrounding district see especially the preface to Jerome's Gomm. in Amos; Reland, Paloestina, vol. ii. p. 1028; Tobler, Denkblatter aus Jerusalem, 682 seq.; Robinson, Biblical Researches, 2d ed. p. 486; Stickel, Das Buch Hiob, p. 269 seq., whose remarks on the active movements of commerce in this district serve, as Kuenen has pointed out [Onderzoek, ii. 335), to throw light on the range of the prophet's historical and geographical knowledge. The idea that Amos belonged to the Northern Kingdom and to some other and unknown Tekoa (Gratz, Oort, ut supra) is quite arbitrary. That Amos has a thorough knowledge of the Northern Kingdom proves nothing. Oort's most striking argument is derived from the mention of sycamore culture as the prophet's occupation. The chief home of this tree was certainly in the plains, especially in the low country on the Mediterranean coast (1 Kings x. 27; compare the notice of a great sycamore grove between Rafah and Gaza in Yakut, ii. 796); and Jerome (on Amos vii.) already remarks that it did not exist in the wilderness of Tekoa, and conjectures that the bramble is meant. According to Tristram (Land of Israel, p. 34), it seems only to be found "on the sea-coast, where frost is unknown, or in the still warmer Jordan valley." It is, however, rather daring to affirm that the sycamore can never have grown in the vicinity of Tekoa or between Tekoa and the Dead Sea, as it was certainly widely distributed in Palestine. Compare on the whole subject Celsius, Hierob., i. 310; Gesenius, Thes., s.v.; Winer, s.v. "Maulbeerfeigenbaum"; and especially "Warnekros in Eichhorn's Repertorium, xi. 224 seq. That Amos was a Judaean is clear from the way in which he alludes to the sanctuary of Zion, i. 2.

Note 11, p. 124. — The phrase "eat bread" for "earn one's bread" is common to Hebrew and Arabic. See De Goeje's glossary to the Bib. Geog. Arab. (vol. iv. p. 180). Mokaddasy says, "I am not one of those who eat their loaf by their knowledge." Thus Amaziah distinctly treats prophecy as a trade by which men live.

Note 12, p. 125. — That the text in both these passages is corrupt hardly admits of doubt. With regard to iv. 3 this is generally admitted; for ix. 1 see Lagarde, Anm. zur Gr. Ueb. d. Proverbien, p. v. In some other places there are irregular spellings (vi. 8; viii. 8; v. 11; comp. Wellh. in Bleek, p. 633), which must rather be put to the account of transcribers than taken as indications of dialectic peculiarities of the prophet, and probably there may be one or two other passages where LXX. has preserved better readings, but Oort (ut supra) goes too far in the numerous corrections he introduces. The text is on the whole in an unusually good state, nor can I see that there is evidence of such extensive interpolations as Duhm, Oort, and even Wellhausen assume (infra, note 18).

Note 13, p. 126. — An interesting example of this will he found in Ibn Khallikan's article on Ibn al-Kirriya (p. 121, or i. 236 seq. of the English translation).

Note 14, p. 128. — On the origin and date of the several parts of this tableau of the geography (not the ethnography) of the Hebrews see, in addition to the comnientaries, De Goeje in the Theol. Tijdsclirift, 1870, p. 233 seq., and Wellhausen in Jahrb. f. D. Theol, 1876, p. 395 seq. The problems of the chapter are still far from being conclusively solved, and De Goeje, for example, is disposed to regard the parts of the chapter which are not from the hand of the main author as later additions. But it is more probable that Wellhausen is right in assigning them to the earlier history JE. The verses which he regards as most ancient are 8-19, 21, 25-30. The distant northern nations of Japhet mentioned in the later part of Gen. A. are not known to Amos.

Note 15, p. 13-2. — The current idea that the day of Jehovah is primarily a day of judgment, or assize-day, is connected with the opinion that the earliest prophecy in which the idea occurs is that of Joel. See, for example, Ewald, Propheten, i. 90 seq. But if the book of Joel, as there is reason to believe (see Encyc. Brit, s.v.), is really one of the latest prophetical books, Amos V. 18 is the fundamental passage, and here the idea appears, not as peculiar to the prophet, but as a current popular notion, which Amos criticises and, so to speak, turns upside down. The popular idea in question cannot have been that of a day of judicial retribution; the day which the men of Ephraim expected must have been a day of national deliverance, and, from the whole traditions of the warlike religion of old Israel, presumably a day of victory like the "day of Midian " (Isa. ix. 4). The last cited passage shows that among the Hebrews, as among the Arabs, the word "day" is used in the definite sense of "day of battle." Illustrations of the Arabic idiom have been collected by Gesenius on Isa. ix. and Schultens on Job, p. 54, to which may be added a reference to the section on the "Days of the Arabs" in the ''Ikd of Ibn 'Abd Rabbih, Egyptian ed., iii. 60 seq. The "days" of the Arabs often derive their name from a place, but may equally be named from the combatants, e.g., "the days of Tamim against Bekr" ('Ikd, p. 80). By taking the day of Jehovah to mean His day of battle and victory we gain for the conception a natural basis in Hebrew idiom. The same idea seems still to preponderate in Isa. ii., and is quite clearly seen in many later prophecies. That the day of Jehovah's might is not necessarily a day of victory to Israel over foreign powers, but a day in which His righteousness is vindicated against the sinners of Israel as well as of the nations, is the characteristic prophetic idea due to Amos, and from this thought the notion of the day of judgment was gradually developed.

Note 16, p. 135. — Offences against the dead appear to antiquity as among the gravest breaches of natural piety, as is well known from the story of Antigone. The same feeling finds frequent expression in the Old Testament (Deut. xxi. 23; Josh. X. 27; Ps. lxxix. 2, 3; Jer. xxxvi. 30). The feeling is connected with the doctrine of the Underworld — "All the kings of the nations lie in glory, every one in his own house; but thou art cast out of thy grave like a worthless sapling — the slain are thy covering, pierced through with the sword, who go down to the stones of the pit — like a carcase trodden under feet" (Isa. xiv. 19). The curse of Eshmunazar on those who disturb his grave (supra, p. 387) is a pertinent illustration. Compare also the account in Jos. Ant, xvi. 7, of the portents which deterred Herod from his attempt to violate the grave of David, and of the costly monument that he erected by way of expiation. The attempt was deemed so unseemly that the eulogist of Herod, Nicolaus of Damascus, omitted to record it in his history.

Note 17, p. 135. — The tablet of Marseilles seems to show that among the Phoenicians the "whole burnt-offering was used especially in supplicating the favour of the deity, or as an exceptional thankoffering (Schroeder, o'p. cit). So it appears also in old Israel (Judges xi. 31; 1 Sam. vii. 9; 2 Sam. xxiv. 25). Thus Amos means that Jehovah will not pay regard even to those offerings which were regarded as of special importance and delicacy.

Note 18, p. 136. — Duhm, Theologie der Propheten, p. 119, followed by Oort, ut supra, p. 116, proposes to reject Amos ii. 4, 5, as a Deuteronomistic interpolation. But it is plain that Amos could not have excepted Judah from the universal ruin which he saw to threaten the whole land, or at all events such exception would have required to he expressly made on special grounds. Such grounds did not exist; for in vi. 1 the nobles of Judah and Samaria are classed together, and both kingdoms are mentioned in vi. 2. Comp. iii. 1, where all who came up from Egypt are included. Nor is there anything suspicious in the language used about Judah. " To reject the Torah of Jehovah" is a pre-Deuteronomic phrase, Isa. v. 24, comp. Hosea ii. 4, "thou hast rejected knowledge;" and "the statutes of God and His Torah " appear together just as in our passage in the undoubtedly ancient narrative, Exod. xviii. 16. See also Dent. XXX. 10. In all these parallel passages the reference is to ordinances of civil righteousness, and such, probably, are meant by Amos. It is therefore a second, though not unconnected, offence that the men of Judah have been led astray by the deceitful superstitions practised by their ancestors. This again is quite a natural accusation, for in Josh. xxiv. ancestral superstition appears as one of the two great temptations leading the people away from Jehovah. The worship of the brazen serpent is an instance in point, and Ezek. viii. 10, 11 is a clear proof of the survival of primitive totemism in the last days of the king- dom. The connection makes it probable that Amos views these superstitions as producing moral obliquity. That, however, is in the highest degree natural. Observations in all parts of the world show that totemism is directly connected with peculiar systems of social ethic, and particularly with such practices as are condemned in Lev. xviii., and were still common in the time of Ezekiel (xxii. 10, 11). Comp. Journ. of Philology, vol. ix. pp. 94, 97. Duhm further proposes to reject as later additions iv. 13; V. 8 seq.; ix. 5, 6, and in this he is followed not only by Oort, but by Wellhausen, Geschichte, i. 349 seq., who compares these passages to the lyrical intermezzi celebrating Jehovah as Lord of the Universe, which characterise Isa. xl.-lxvi., and argues that Jehovah's all-creating power acquires a sudden prominence in the Exilic literature; Jehovah becomes Lord of the World when the realm of Israel falls to pieces. It may be conceded that these verses are not closely connected with the movement of the prophet's argument in detail; but they are thoroughly appropriate to its general purport. To Amos Jehovah is not merely the God of Israel, and Wellhausen has himself observed that the prophet studiously avoids the use of this familiar title. It is true that the universal Godhead of Jehovah appears to Amos rather as a sovereignty over all mankind than as a sovereignty over the mere powers of nature. He uses nature as a factor in history as a means of dealing with man; and this agrees with the older account of creation in Gen. ii. But undoubtedly Amos teaches that all nature is at Jehovah's command for the execution of His moral purpose (vii. 4; ix. 2 seq., etc.), and thus it is natural that the prophet should make occasional direct appeal to that lordship over nature which is the clearest proof that Jehovah's purpose is wider and higher than the mass of Israel supposed. That such appeal takes an ejaculatory form is not surprising under the general conditions of prophetic oratory, and in each case the appeal comes in to relieve the strain of intense feeling at a critical point in the argument. It is certainly possible that v. 8, 9 originally stood in direct connection with iv. 13; but even this transposition rests too much on merely subjective arguments to claim general acceptance.

Note 19, p. 140. — In this verse there are two disputed points. The first is with reference to the tense of See, besides the commentaries, Merx in the Bibel-lex. s. v. "Chiun "; Graf in Merx's Archiv, ii. 93 seq.; Kleinert, Das Deuteronomium (1872), p. 111; Smend, Moses apud Prophetas, p. 23 seq.; Driver, Hebrew Tenses, 2d ed. p. 167; and references to discussions of the point in Holland in Oort, ut supra, p. 145. The question is whether (a) Amos in this verse describes the idolatry of the wilderness (so Hitzig, De Goeje, Kuenen, Merx, Keil, and others), or (b) describes the present services of the Israelites as consisting of a carrying about of certain idolatrous objects in sacred procession (so Kamphausen, Schnltz, etc.), or (c) predicts that they shall have to carry these things away into captivity (so Rashi, Ewald, etc.). The question of the consecution of tenses is complicated by the fact that the preceding verb is an interrogative, and thus De Goeje in support of his view appeals to Job xxviii. 21, , which, however, is no exact parallel. An allusion to the sins of Israel in the wilderness would be singularly out of place in this connection. Amos, like the other older prophets, regards the wilderness journey as a time when Jehovah's favour was specially manifested (ii. 1 0), and his argument is that this favour was enjoyed without sacrifice. Compare the argument of the Clementine Homilies (iii. 45), that " God did not desire sacrifices, for He slew those who lusted after the taste of flesh in the wilderness." (Lightfoot, Colossians, p. 373.) In point of fact there is no close syntactical connection between v. 26 and v. 25, and the force of the consecutive Waw is rather to be determined by following, which is a true future. Thus the captivity of the idols seems to be alluded to, as in Isa. xlvi. 1, 2. It was a known practice of the Assyrians to carry off the palladia of vanquished cities, and the captives are here represented as compelled to bear them.

If, now, the allusion is to religious institutions of the prophet's own time, it is still a difficult question what these were. What is plain is that the allusion is to astral worship, and to idols, the work of man's hands. The verse contains two unique words (A.V. tabernacle), and (A. V. Chiun). Are these common or proper names? As regards the first the whole weight of the early versions supports the English version, and, as the form in from may be an abstract used as a concrete, there is no difficulty in supposing a reference to the well-known portable chapels or tabernacles of Phoenician worship (Diod. XX. 14, 65; comp. 2 Kings xxiii. 7, where we read of women who wove tents for the Ashera), and it is not necessary with Ewald to compare the Syriac sekkitha, " post." With regard to the second word, however, where the Septuagint introduces a problematic Raiphan, or Rephan, there is an early variation of the tradition. Whether the Raiphan of the oldest version is a synonym of Saturn, borrowed from the Egyptians, is highly doubtful; it may be a mere error, and Theodotion does not take the word as a proper name. But the Syriac and perhaps the Tgm. do take it so, and both Jewish and Syriac expositors identify it with Keiwan, Saturn. According to Abulwalid, most Jewish interpreters took this view, though he himself prefers the opinion, essentially that of most recent commentators, that the word is like , a pedestal. The great difficulty is that the name Keiwan is not Semitic (see Fleischer in Levy, Chald. Wort., i. 428), but probably Persian. So too, when Schrader (Stud, und Krit., 1874, p. 324 seq.; Riehm's Handw., i. 234 seq.) will have it that is Sakkuth, an epithet of the god Adar, we are met by the difficulty that this also is no Semitic name, but so-called Accadian (Delitzsch in the German transl. of Smith's Genesis, p. 274). It is hardly credible that elements of Eastern religion not common to all Semites could have been established in Israel at the time of Amos, or that the Adrammelech (Adar), the introduction of whose worship is re- corded in 2 Kings xvii. 31, was known before that time under a non-Semitic name; while, on the other hand, the identification of with Keiwan naturally suggested itself when that name of Saturn became current; but this interpretation can hardly have existed when the pronunciation expressed by the Massorets was adopted. That our word may be the source of the Greek is suggested by Hitz. in loc. and Lagarde, Abhandlungen, p. 13.

Note 20, p. 140. — See O.T. in J. Ch.., Lect. xi. p. 341, and note 7.

Lecture IV.

Note 1, p. 145. — The chronological discussions which I have felt it necessary to introduce in one or two places in these Lectures start chiefly from the results obtained by Noldeke, Untersuchungen zur Kritik des Alten Testaments: " 4, Die Chronologie der Richterzeit," and Wellhausen, Jahrbb. f. Deutsche Theologie, 1875, p. 607 seq. (compare Bleek's Einleitung, 4th edition, p. 264 seq.; Geschichte, i. 287; and Krey, Zeitsch. f. Wiss. Theol, 1877, p. 404 seq.). The observation of the trisection of the 480 and 240 periods of Judah and Ephraim, by which I confirm the systematic character of the chronology already pointed out by these scholars, was first published in the Journal of Philology, x. 209 seq., to which I refer for various details. In several notes to the present volume I have endeavoured to carry further the argument there opened. The material for the Assyrian synchronisms is excellently brought together by G. Smith, The Assyrian Eponym Canon, where also an account will be found of various proposals for harmonising the dates. Another attempt is that of Oppert, Salomon et ses successeurs, 1877. I do not accumulate references to other works, because it appears certain that the first basis of a sound treatment of the problem is the recognition of the fact long ago pointed out by Ewald, that the synchronisms of Judah and Israel are not independent chronological data [infra, note 2). The first chronologer who has used the Assyrian data in a thoroughly critical spirit is therefore Ewald's scholar Wellhausen. The ordinary schemes of harmonists are mere guesswork. For students who desire to look into the subject for themselves, and are not yet familiar with the literature, I may add a reference to Scaliger's Thesaurus Temporum; Ussher's Annals of the World, 1658 (preceded by the Latin Annales, 1650-54); and G. Syncellus, Bonn ed., i. 388 seq., where the famous Canon of Ptolemy is preserved.

Note 2, p. 146. — In fixing on this particular means of harmonising the two lines chronologers were guided by the so-called synchronisms or cross references which in the present text of the books of Kings occur as the beginning of each reign, to the effect that A, king of Judah, came to the throne in such a year of B, king of Israel, or vice versa. Jeroboam II. is said to have begun his reign in the 15th year of Amaziah, and his son Zachariah succeeded in the 38th year of Azariah. Thus the interval between the two accessions is 523 years, instead of 41, which is explained by assuming an interregnum of 1 1 years. On the other hand, we are told that Amaziah lived 15 years after the death of Jehoash ort he accession of Jeroboam, and yet the accession of Amaziah's son Azariah is placed in the 27th year of Jeroboam (2 Kings XV. 1). In other words, the synchronisms themselves are not exact, and the right to use them as a key to the chronology becomes doubtful. In fact, when we go over the whole series of synchronisms, as has been done at length by Wellhausen (Jahrb. f. D. Theol., 1875, pp. 607 seq.), we are forced to the conclusion that they are not independent data, furnishing additional material for the chronological scheme, but have simply been added by a later hand, who calculated them out so as to harmonise as he best could the already discrepant lines of the Judaean and Northern chronology. This view was expressed by Ewald (Geschichte, iii. 464), and subsequent inquiry has fully confirmed its correctness; for not only are the synchronisms full of such inconsistencies as were inseparable from the task of harmonising two sets of data that do not agree, but an exact examination of the text shows that they are inserted in such a way as to disturb the natural construction of the sentences in which they occur. See Wellhausen, ut supra, p. 611. For chronological purposes, therefore, it is not only legitimate, but imperative, to ignore these synchronisms, and for simplicity's sate I have passed them by in the text of my Lecture. There are only two synchronisms of which account must he taken, viz. the contemporaneous accession of Jehu and Athaliah, and the siege of Samaria from the fourth to the sixth year of Hezekiah.

Note, 3, p. 148. — On forty as a round number see Gesenius, Thesaurus, p. 1258 seq.; Lepsius, Chr. der Aegypt, i.

Note 4, p. 151. — The precise year of the fall of Samaria is still open to dispute. The siege began under Shalmaneser, while the conquest is claimed by Sargon. The data which determine Sargon's first year have given rise to considerable discussion, and are difficult to harmonise. See Schrader, K. A. T., p. 158 seq.; Oppert in Records of the Past, vii. 22, 28, Smith; Assyrian Eponym Canon, pp. 125, 129, 174; the criticism of v. Gutschmid, Neue Beitrage, 101 seq.; and Schrader again in K. G. F., p. 313 seq. It seems pretty certain, however, that Sargon came to the throne in 722, and reckoned 721 as his first year. He records the siege and capture of Samaria together, as happening in the beginning of his reign, apparently distinguishing this from his first year, when he was occupied with a revolt in Babylonia, This leaves it uncertain whether he records the capture in the first year of the siege or the siege in the year of capture, but the extreme limits for the commencement of the siege are 724 and 722, assuming always that the latter year is that of Shalmaneser's death. Now, it is noteworthy that in 720 Sargon was in Syria and Palestine meeting a revolt supported by the Egyptians, in which Samaria is mentioned as taking part, and, on the other hand, that 2 Kings xvii. 4 seq. seems to place the defeat and capture of Hoshea before the three years' siege. This would fit very well with the hypothesis that the fall of Samaria took place in two acts, the first falling in 722 and the second in 720. If we do not accept this solution we must suppose that a revolt broke out in Samaria immediately after its capture, of which the Bible tells us nothing. Were it possible to go by a tablet in the Louvre, aided by a conjecture of v. Gutschmid (ut supra), based on the variations which Assyriologists themselves have given in the rendering of an obscure word, we might even place Shalmaneser's death and the commencement of the siege in 721; but this seems hardly possible in view of the line, indicating a change of rule, placed in the Eponym Canon before 722. The year 721 would lend itself to the theory of Sayce and others, that 2 Kings xviii. 9, 13 are to be harmonised by making the latter verse refer to an expedition in 711; but that theory has so many other difficulties that it cannot be allowed to influence the dates with which we are now concerned.

Note 5, p. 153. — See Schrader in Jahrbb. f. prot. Theol, 1875, p. 329 seq., and in particular A. V. Gutschmidt, Neue Beitrage, p. 143 seq.

Note 6, p. 154. — The literature upon the book of Hosea is in large part the same with that upon Amos, but there are several special German commentaries of recent date, by Simson (1851), Wunsche (1868), and Nowack (1880). The last-named gives a very complete view of recent discussions. There is also a very excellent old commentary by Pococke (1685). Further references to books are given in Encyc. Brit., xii. 298, where also some notices of the traditions about the prophet may be found. Many parts of the book of Hosea are very imperfectly understood, and this not merely from the intrinsic difficulties of the prophet's style, but from the fact that the text is often manifestly corrupt.

Note 7, p. 156. — In the title to Hosea's prophecy i. 1, his date is given by the reigning kings of Judah and Israel. He prophesied, we are told, (1) in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah; (2) in the days of Jeroboam, the son of Joash, king of Israel. As Jeroboam died probably in the lifetime of Uzziah, and certainly long before the accession of Ahaz, these two periods do not coincide, and it can hardly be thought that they are both from the same hand or of equal authority. As the first part of the book was certainly written under Jeroboam II., and Hosea himself would not date by the kings of a foreign realm it seems natural to suppose with EAvald and other scholars that the date by Jeroboam is original, but stood at first as a special title to chaps, i. ii., or to these chapters along with chap. iii. and that the special title was generalised by a later hand, which inserted the words, "Uzziah, etc., kings of Judah and in the days of." The later editor or scribe cannot have been a man of Ephraim, and perhaps was the same who penned the identical date prefixed to the book of Isaiah. In this case he must have lived a considerable time after Hosea, for the title of Isa. i. 1 can hardly be older than the collection of Isaiah's prophecies in their present form (see p. 215 seq.), and we are hardly entitled to accept his statement as proving more than that he knew Hosea to have been a contemporary of Isaiah. If the title were correct, Hosea, on the common chronology, must he held to have continued to prophesy for a period of some sixty years. This difficulty, indeed, is now removed by the shortening of the last period of the history of Ephraim, which we have seen to be demanded by the Assyrian synchronisms. But the fact still remains that there is nothing in the book of Hosea that points to the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah, or justifies the later title. Some writers indeed, including Dr. Pusey, suppose that the Shalman of x. 14 is Shalmaneser IV., the successor of Tiglath Pileser. But of this there is no proof. Dr. Pusey's theory is that Beth Arbel is the Arbela in the plain of Jezreel known to Eusebius, and that it was sacked by Shalmaneser when he first received Hoshea's submission at the beginning of his reign. But a town in this quarter, important enough to be used to supply a figure for the fall of Samaria, could hardly have remained without mention in the historical books, and it does not appear that Hoshea ventured to resist Shalmaneser at the time referred to, Hosea is fond of historical allusions, and does not confine himself to such as lie near at hand. There was another Arbela known to Eusebius (Onom., ed. Lagarde, p. 214), east of the Jordan near Pella, which might conceivably have been reached by Shalmaneser III, This combination has been suggested by Schrader (K. A. T., p. 283), who, however, himself admits its very problematic character, and offers the more plausible alternative that Shalman may have been a Moabite king, a sovereign of Moab of that name (Salamanu), actually appearing on the monuments (comp. Smith, Eponym Canon, p. 124). An episode in the ferocious wars of Gilead, spoken of by Amos, may indeed very well be referred to, and in any case the allusion is too obscure to be used to fix the date of any part of Hosea's prophecies.

Note 8, p. 156. — The general sense of this passage has been best illustrated by "Wellhausen, Geschichte, i. 141, who is certainly right in saying that the direct address to the priests does not begin with verse 6, but must include verse 5. In spite of the objection taken by Nowack, there is no difficulty in understanding (A. V. mother) of the stock or race of the priests, 2 Sam. XX. 19; Ezek. xix. 2; Arabic, ummah. But to gain a proper connection between ver. 5 and ver. 4 is more difficult, and seems to require a slight readjustment of the text. The lines on which this must proceed have been clearly laid down by Wellhausen. Hosea in ver. 4 suddenly breaks off in his rebuke of the nation at large, " Yet let no man accuse and no man rebuke for . . . " What follows must be to the effect that the real blame in the matter lies with the priests, whose destruction is then announced in ver. 5 following. It is they who, by rejecting the knowledge of Jehovah which they were set to teach, have banished that knowledge from the laud. But the reading which Wellhausen accepts, , "for my people is like its priests," is not satisfactory; and are not synonyms, and the conjectured reading not only leaves an unexplained at the end, but does not do justice to the circumstance that, in order to get a natural transition to ver. 5, the clause must be addressed to the priests and the concluding word a vocative. This requisite of a plausible conjecture is in so far met by Heilprin's , " thy people are like its accusers, priest." But the priests were judges, not accusers, and the people at large could hardly be called the priest's people. Rather the people of the priest must be the priestly caste or clan, and this points to the very slight correction , "thy people have rebelled against me, priest." The corruption might easily arise, especially with scriptio defectiva, under the influence of the preceding Perhaps, indeed, it would be enough to change the pointing and simply read, "Thy people are as mine enemies, priest" (1 Sam. ii. 10).

Note 9, p. 160. — The etymological relations of are obscure. In Syriac we find two words hesda: the first, written according to Bar Hebraeus with hard d, means " reproach," the latter with rukkakha, hesdha, is the Hebrew . The aspiration is exactly the opposite of what we should expect, especially as the hard form seems to correspond with Arabic hasad, envy. The sense "reproach" or "shame" in Hebrew (Lev. xx. 17; Prov. xiv. 34) may safely be regarded as an Aramaism; and in all probability the two like-sounding words are etymologically distinct; the one corresponds to the Arabic root HSD, the other to HSHD, in which the idea of friendly combination appears to lie, in correspondence with the fact that in Hebrew is the virtue that knits together society. It is noteworthy that hashada has ii special application, in the phrase hasadu lahu, to the joint exercise of hospitality to a guest.

It ought never to be forgotten that in Hebrew thought there is no contrast such as is drawn in certain schools of theology between justice, equity, and kindness. Kindness and truth are the basis of society, and righteousness — even forensic righteousness — involves these, for it is the part of good government not to administer a hard-and-fast rule, but to insist on considerate and brotherly conduct. If we forget this we shall not do justice to the emphasis laid by the prophets on civil righteousness. Compare, for example, 2 Sam. xiv.

Note 10, p. 166. — The difficulties which surround the literal interpretation of Gen. xxxiv. are in part so obvious that they were felt even by the old interpreters. The latest stage of inquiry into the meaning of the chapter may be studied in "Wellhausen's Composition des Hexateuchs (Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol., vol. xxi. p. 435 seq.), Dillmann's Genesis, and Kuenen's essay in Theol. Tijdschrift, 1880, p. 257 seq., and leads to the result that the narrative, as it now stands, has passed through a complicated history which need not occupy us here. It is plain that the two individuals Simeon and Levi could not take and destroy a city; that in verse 30 Jacob speaks of himself, not as an individual, but as a community, " I am a few men;" and that in Gen. xlix. 6 he speaks of his sons as tribes, for two men do not form an "assembly" As regards what is said of Reuben in Gen. xxxv. 22; xlix. 4, it is to be observed that the Hebrew undoubtedly were accustomed to state facts as to the relationships and fusion of clans or communities under the figures of paternity and marriage; and this plan inevitably led in certain cases to the figurative supposition of very strange connections. A clear instance of such figurative use of marriage with a father's wife is found in 1 Chron. ii. 24, as the text has been restored by Wellhausen after the LXX. (e Gentibus, etc., p. 14); and the story of the birth of Moab and Ammon, as well as of the elements of the tribe of Judah spoken of in Gen. xxxviii. (see Encyc. Brit, 9th ed., article Judah), may be probably explained in a similar way. The form of the figure was probably not repulsive when first adopted, as marriage with a stepmother is a, Semitic practice of great antiquity, and at one time was known to the Israelites (Journ. of Phil., vol. is. pp. 86, 94; O. T. in J. Church, p. 438). The precise meaning of the deed of Reuben is, however, obscure. The tribes of Bilhah were subordinate branches of the house of Joseph, and perhaps some combination against the unity of Israel and the hegemony of Joseph may be alluded to. That these historical allegories turn largely on marriage and fathership is not unworthy of note in connection with Hosea.

Note 11, p. 167. — That in Hosea xiii. 10 either stands for or must be corrected into is the almost unanimous opinion of ancient and modern interpreters, from the LXX. downwards. The prophet, therefore, does not say, "I will be thy king,"" but "Where now is thy king?"

Note 12, p. 171.— Compare Noldeke in Z.D.M.G., xv. 809, Wellhausen, Text der Bucecr Samuelis, p. 30 seq. Beeliada of 1 Chron. xiv. 7 is the same as Eliada of 2 Sam, x. 16 or as Jehoiada.

Note 13, p. 171, -- For the meaning of the word mohar, dowry, and the corresponding verb, see Hoffmann's Bar Ali, 5504, where the corresponding Syriac word denotes "what the son-in- law gives to the parents of the bride." In the same sense the Syrians say , he espoused his daughter, lit. bought her from him (Bernstein, Chrest., p. 37). The Hebrew word eres, "betroth" (Exod. xxii. 15, Hosea ii. 16), properly means to barter or hire, so that eris in Palestinian Syriac is it farmer (Lagarde, Semitica, i. 50). In Exod. xxii. the primitive sense is still felt, as also in 2 Sam. iii. 14, where eres is construed as a verb of buying with the preposition 2. Note also the law of Exod. xxi. referring to a secondary wife, where the provision that the marriage is not dissolved at the close of seven years may be directed against the principle of temporary marriages as practised among the Arabs (nikahu 'l mut'ati: Mowatta, iii. 24; Bokhari, Bulak ed., vi. 124; Ibn Khallikan, Slane's transl. iv. 36). For our present purpose it is important to note that this view of marriage explains how Hosea had to buy back his wife (iii. 2). This would constitute a new betrothal, and so Jehovah betroths Israel to Himself anew (ii. 19).

Note 14, p. 171. — The variation of the form of the metaphor, in which the spouse of Jehovah is now the land (Hosea i. 2), now the stock of the nation (ii. 2 seq.), belongs to the region of natural symbolism, in which land and nation form a natural unity. The nation, as it were, grows out of the land on which it is planted (Hosea ii. 23; Amos ix. 15); the living stock of the race has its roots in the land, and is figured as a tree (Isa. vi. 13; xvi. 8; Hosea xiv. 5, 6; Num. xxiv. 6, etc.). From this point of view the multiplication of the nation is just one aspect of the productivity of the land, and it is indifferent whether we say that the deity marries the land and so makes it productive, or marries the stock of the nation. In Semitic heathenism, in fact, 'Ashtoreth the spouse of Baal is not so much connected with the earth as with the stock of the earth's vegetation. Her symbol is the sacred tree, the Arabic 'athary is the palm tree planted on the ba'l land, and the same conception of the sacred tree was found in the popular worship of Israel (Hosea iv. 13). The heathenish element in these conceptions is the constant reference to natural productivity, the identification of the godhead with a natural fertilising principle. Hosea entirely strips off this conception. The heaven-watered land of Israel and its goodly growth are Jehovah's gift (Hos. ii. 8, 22, 23), not his offspring. But all analogy leads us to believe that the physical use of the symbolism of marriage was the earlier, and without this supposition the details of the allegory can hardly be explained. Even in Isaiah (iv. 2) the spring of Jehovah is analogous to the Arabic ba'l (Lagarde, Semitica, i. 8), and must be interpreted, not in a moral sense, but of the natural products of Jehovah's land.

Note 15, p. 172. — In Euting, Punische Steine (1871) p. 15, we find a woman's name "the espoused of Baal." For Babylon and parallel examples from other nations see Herodot. i. 181 seq. See also Jos., Ant., xviii. 3 § 4.

Note 16, p. 172. — On the Arabic ba'l see Wetzstein in Z. D. M. G., xi. 489; Sprenger, ibid, xviii. 300 seq.; Lagarde, Semitica, i. p. 8. The glossaries to De Goeje's Beladsori and to the Bib. Geog. Ar. supply examples. The term is also Talmudic. But for the illustration of the conception of the marriage of the deity with his land, it is more important to look at the term ''athary or 'aththary, for which see Lane s. v.; Prof. W. Wright in Trans. Bib. Arch., vi. 439; Lagarde in Nachr. K.G.W. Gott. 1881, p. 396 seq.; and in particular the glossary to Beladsori s. v. ba'l. The connection of ''athary with 'Ashtoreth seems to have been first observed by G. Hoffmann. The land of Baal, or the growth springing from such land, fertilised by the rains of Baal, bears a name derived from 'Ashtoreth, and this appears to be a clear enough indication of the ancient prevalence of the ideas touched on in the text.

Note 17, p. 179. — One or two corrections are necessary in the English version of Hosea iii. in order to bring out the full sense. In verse 1, read "Go and love once more a woman beloved of a paramour, and an adulteress." It is the same faithless wife to whom Hosea is still invited to show his affection. The qualifies the main verb, not the ; comp. for this construction Cant. iv. 8. The grape cakes in the end of the verse (not " flagons of wine ") are a feature of Dionysiac Baal-worship (O. T. in J. Ch., p. 434). In ver. 3 the sense seems to be that for many days she must sit still, not finding a husband (Jer. iii, 1) — not merely as A. V., not marrying another, but not enjoying the rights of a lawful wife at all — while at the same time Hosea is "towards her," watching over and waiting for her (the phrase is as 2 Kings vi. 11; Jer. xv. 1; comp. Hosea i. 9).

Note 18, p. 181. — The true sense of this narrative was, I believe, first explained by Ewald. The older literal interpretation, in the form still maintained by Dr. Pusey, was offensive to every sound moral sense. The idea that a divine command could justify a marriage otherwise highly improper, and that the offensive circumstances magnify the obedience of the prophet, substitutes the nominalistic notion of God for that of Scripture. In addition to Ewald's exposition, the remarks of Wellhausen in Bleek, Einl, p. 406 seq., well deserve perusal. See also Encyc. Brit., xii. 297, for an indication of the various interpretations that have been offered, and Nowack, op. cit., p. xxxvi., for a catalogue of recent Continental literature on the question.

Note 19, p. 185. — A remark may here be offered on the difficult passage, vii. 5 seq. The prophet is describing the wickedness of the king, princes, and people as a hot fever, an eager and consuming passion, which bums up the leaders of the nation, and makes Ephraim like a cake not turned, and so spoiled by the fire. In v. 5 this figure is mingled with that of the heat of intoxication. " In the day of our king the princes were sick with the heat of wine, they stretched out their hands with scorners" or reckless despisers of right. The figure here is quite similar to Isa. xxviii. 1 .seq. In the following verse we must plainly read , " For their inward parts are as a furnace," with the same enallage numeri as in for in ver. 5; or, as is suggested by Schorr (in Heilprin, ii. 145), we may read (many supposed enallages are probably corruptions of text, and in old writing can as well be plural as singular). The following words may be defended from Jer ix. 8 [Heb. ix. 7] , to which the construction stands related as to . It will then be a circumstantial clause. The prophet is speaking of a wicked project of king and princes in which they join hands with impious men in the intoxication of their evil passions, and proceeds, " for their inward part is as a furnace, when their heart is in their guiles." [There is, however, a good deal that is attractive in Schorr's proposal to read , "their heart burns within them."] In what follows, Houbigant long ago thought of (perfect) for , but neither he, nor Wunsche, who follows him, saw that is simply an obsolete orthography for the imperfect , like for , Psalm, xxviii. 8, so that the passage is to be explained by Deut. xxix. 20 [Heb. 19]. Thus the verse goes on, "their anger ( as Tgm. Syr.) smokes all the night, in the morning it flames forth like blazing fire."

Note 20, p. 189. — I adhere, though not without some hesitation, to the of the Massoretic text of Hosea xiv. 8 and the traditional view that the prefixed indicates Ephraim as the speaker, as against the of the LXX., which has found favour with many recent writers. The elliptical indication of the change of speaker, though unique, is not incredible, for it causes no insuperable obscurity. But in this view I think it is quite necessary to regard the whole verse as spoken by Ephraim. The first , indeed, on this view, marks an emphasis which we would not express in English; but precisely in the pronominal expression or suppression of emphasis Hebrew and English differ greatly. The main difficulty in the LXX. reading seems to me to be much greater than any that attaches to the other view. The comparison of Jehovah to a fir-tree is not only without parallel, but in strange contrast to all prophetic thought. The evergreen tree is in Semitic symbolism the image of receptivity, of divinely nourished life, not of quickening power. Ephraim bears fruit to Jehovah, not Jehovah to Ephraim. Moreover, the "answering" in our verse corresponds to that of ii. 15.

Although the rendering " cypress" for "fir-tree" has of late become so common, I hesitate to adopt it for two reasons. (1) Ebusus, the modern Iviza, is according to the coins and what this means appears from the Greek (see Schroder, Phon. Spr., p. 99). (2) The Berosh is according to Scripture the characteristic tree of Lebanon along with the cedar. Now it is true that the cypress occurs on Lebanon in association with the cedar, but a species of Abies is equally characteristic of these mountains, at a lower altitude, and to judge from its present frequency must have always been a prominent feature in the forests.

Note 21, p. 190. — According to most recent critics, the prophecy in Ztechariah ix.-xi. ought to come in here to close the prophetic record of the Northern Kingdom; but Slade, in his essay on "Deuterozecharia," in the Zeitschrift fur alttestamentliche Wissenschaft (not yet completely published), and in the Gaessner Ludwigstag Programm, 1880, following Vatke and a few others, has put this question in a new light, and assigns Zech. ix.-xiv. to a very late date. That Ewald's view of Zech. xii.-xiv. is untenable, and that these chapters at least are post-Exilic, has been my conviction for many years. Stade seems to have shown that the same thing holds good for ix.-xi.
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