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* OCT 5 1909


BS 1192.5 .P53613 1893
Piepenbring, c.
Theology of the Old








Pastor, and President of the Reformed Consistobt






Propbssor in Boston Univbbsitt







The book of which this is a translation made its appear-
ance in 1886. It seems to have at first attracted little
attention even in Europe, owing probably to the fact that
it was written in French and published in Paris. Schultz,
who mentions a smaller work by Kayser of the same date,
had evidently overlooked this one, when, in 1888, he issued
the last edition of his Theologie. The book was first
brought to the notice of Americans by the Presbyterian
Quarterly, in 1888. The review of it then published was
very favorable. In fact, the reviewer said of it: "On the
whole, we regard it as the best Theology of the Old Testa-
ment that has yet been published."

In view of this estimate it seems strange that a transla-
tion was not at once undertaken. Perhaps the interest in
Biblical Theology did not then warrant such an undertak-
ing; or, perhaps, those who would naturally have encour-
aged it shared a wide-spread prejudice, according to which
"no good thing" in theology can come from France. It
must have been a trace of this prejudice that prevented me
from becoming acquainted with the book. At any rate, I
did not read it until a year ago, and when I finally took it
in hand I did not expect much from its perusal. I was



therefore surprised to find that, though I could not accept
all its statements, it gve^v upon me from the beginning.
I was pleased with the style, its clearness and simplicity ;
but what especially attracted me was a frankness and fear-
lessness, the evident outgrowth of the faith of a sincere
Christian. These characteristics are most apparent in the
Conclusion, which, by the way, the reader will do well to
read next, thus making it also a sort of introduction. This
Conclusion so completely won my confidence, that, when I
had read it, I immediately wrote to M. Piepenbring, asking
him, if he had not already made other arrangements, to let
me put the book into English. He readily assented, and I
at once went to work upon the translation, convinced that
a book written in such a spirit, even if it sometimes yielded
more than was necessary, could not but further the cause
of religion. I trust that many will find it very helpful
in their attempts to adjust themselves to any new ideas that
they may feel obliged to adopt.

The reader will doubtless be interested to know something
personal about the author, although his biography sounds
strangely (for a European's) like that of an American
clergyman. He is a native of Alsace, having been born in
Mittelbergheim, of that (formerly French, now German)
province, in 1840. There he grew to manhood, receiving
only the rudiments of an education at the schools of his
native village. When he became a man, having chosen an
industrial career, he went to Paris to seek his fortune. In
that city he fortunately found himself surrounded by Chris-
tian influences, the result of which was the conviction

translator's preface. V

that he was called to the ministry. In obedience to this
call he abandoned his former employment, and entered a
preparatory school in Paris-Batignolles. There he took
a degree in Arts, and thence he went to Strassburg to take
a theological course. At the university he came in contact
with several distinguished theologians, but the one who
seems to have exerted most influence over him was the
venerable critic Keuss, to whose works, as will be noticed,
he constantly refers.

In 1871, when he was thirty-one years of age (late for a
European), M. Piepenbring received the degree of Bachelor
of Divinity, and left the University to become pastor of a
small parish at Fonday, near Waldersbach, also in Alsace.
Here he remained eight years, at the end of which period
he was called to the position of French pastor of the Re-
formed parish in Strassburg. This position he still holds,
as well as that of President of the Consistory to which he

Though actively engaged in the duties of a Christian
minister, M. Piepenbring has found time to do no little liter-
ary work. He is a regular contributor to several periodi-
cals. For the Revue de VHistoire des Religions (Paris),
he has written a series of articles, chapters from a forth-
coming History of Israel. He also has a Theology of the
New Testament in preparation.

A word, in conclusion, respecting the translation. I have
endeavored to confine myself to the functions of an inter-
preter. Now and then, however, I have been obliged to
make slight changes or additions in order to adapt the book


to the needs or requirements of its new readers. Thus, in
the notes, while, wherever a book cited was translated, I
have simply given the English title with the corresponding
page, etc., wherever there are references to books not yet
translated, and only such, I have added references to Eng-
lish authorities such as I thought the author would naturally
quote in the given cases.

The original has no indexes. I have prepared for the
translation four, one of which contains all the passages
cited in the text of the book. It did not seem worth while
to include those in the notes.

Perhaps I ought to add for the benefit of any who may
not be familiar with Hebrew, that in the Hebrew words
that occur, the consonants are to be given their usual
sounds, except in the following cases : hh is to be pronounced
like Vj dh like tli in this, hh like the German ch, s like a
sharp s, and q not unlike a Z?.^ The vowels should be pro-
nounced after what is called the Continental method.

1 In transliterating these words I have not followed the scheme of
the author, but (substantially) the more common one of Gesenius'
Hebrew Grammar.


We do not think that this publication needs a prolix
justification. There are only two works in French that
treat of this subject: the first part of Haag's Theologie
Bihlique and Oehler's Theologie de V Ancien Testament,
translated from the German by M. de Kougemont. But
though these works both contain excellent features, they
both also present lacunm. They can be criticised especially
as not showing, as completely and yet as succinctly as pos-
sible, the development of the religious thought and life of
Israel, using the learned works of Germany as we intend
to do. May this book contribute in some measure to a
better knowledge of biblical truth in the churches that use
the French language.

We must not forget to thank in this public manner Pro-
fessor Kayser for the valuable hints which he has kindly
given us, and of which we have made great use in the final
elaboration of this work.^

1 Since these lines were written Professor Kayser has been removed
by death from the affectionate circle of his friends.



Preface iii

Introduction 1

I. Method and plan 1

II. Literature 3


§ 1. MOSAISM 7

§2. Ancient Prophetism and the Art op Divination 11

§ 3. The Idea of God 21

§4. The Covenant of Jehovah with Israel 29

§ 5. Ethical Life 34

§ 6. Worship 39

I. Places of worship 39

II. The priesthood 43

III. Religious festivals 47

1. The Sabbath 47

2. The new moon 48

3. The three pilgrim feasts 49

a. The feast of passover, and of unleavened bread 50

h. The feast of the harvest 54

c. The feast of tabernacles 55

IV. Religious rites 57

1. Circumcision 57

2. Sacrifices 59

3. The offering of the first-born, first-fruits, and tithes 63

4. Prayer 65

5. Vows QQ

6. The anathema 67

7. The nazirate 68

8. Fasting 71

9. Purifications and Levitical purity 73





§ 7. Prophetism in its Purity 81

§ 8. Unity and Spirituality of God 91

I. Unity of God 92

II. Spirituality of God 96

§ 9. Names and Attributes of God 99

I. Names of God 99

1. Jehovah 99

2. Jehovah, God of hosts 103

3. The Holy One of Israel 106

4. God, the Strong One, the Mighty One, the Most-

High, the Lord Ill

II. Attributes of God 114

1. Moral attributes 114

2. Metaphysical attributes 120

§ 10. Creation 124

§ 11. Providence 129

§ 12. The Manifestation of God in the World 137

I. The glory, the name, the face, the malakh of God . . . 138

1. The glory of God 138

2. The name of God 141

3. The face of God 143

4. The malakh of God 144

II. Cherubim and Seraphim 147

1. Cherubim 147

2. Seraphim 150

III. Angels 153

IV. The spirit of God 156

§ 13. The Nature of Man 159

§ 14. The Dignity of Man 167

§ 15. Faithfulness to Jehovah 173

§16. Worship 178

§ 17. Israel's Unfaithfulness and the Essence of Sin.... 185

§ 18. The Extent op Sin 189

§ 19. The Origin of Sin 192

§ 20. The Guilt of Sin 197

§ 21. The Day of Judgment 201



§ 22. Salvation 207

I. The restoration of Israel under the new covenant .... 207

II. The participation of the gentiles in the new covenant. 212

§ 23. The Messiah 217

§ 24. The Servant or Jehovah , 223

§ 25. Retribution and Theodicy , , . . 233


§ 26. Holy Scripture 241

§ 27. The Doctrine of God . . . . , 247

§ 28. Angelology 253

§ 29. Demonology 256

§ 30. Death and the Future Life , 263

§ 31. Levitism 276

I. The sanctuary 280

II. The priesthood 285

III. Religious festivals 292

1. The sabbath 292

2. The sabbatical year 296

3. The year of jubilee 298

4. The new moon . , 299

5. The pilgrim feasts 300

6. The day of atonement 304

7. The feast of purim 306

IV. Religious rites 307

§ 32. Forgiveness and Atonement 309

§ 33. Ethical Life 316

I. Pharisaism 316

II. Exclusivism .320

III. Skepticism 323

IV. Wisdojn 325

§ 34. The Apocalypse of Daniel 331

Conclusion 343

Indexes 351



We shall follow the exegetical and historical method.
It does not need to be vindicated. All modern theo-
logians worthy of the name recognize its excellence.
The dogmatic method, hitherto generally followed, is
more and more neglected even by conservative theo-

The majority of the works that treat our subject
are divided into two principal parts : the first gives
a resume^ more or less complete, of the history of the
religion of Israel in general; the second discusses the
religious ideas and practices, without taking account
of their successive development. Other works present
only a detailed historical discussion, divided into a large
number of periods. The disadvantage of this last
method is that it sacrifices the total effect to the de-
tails, necessitates numerous repetitions, and does not
show the historical connection of the various topics
treated. The other method is faulty in presenting only
the history of the religion of Israel in general, and
neglecting the historical development demonstrable in
matters of detail. It will be best, we think, to leave to
works that narrate the history of Israel the task of giv-
ing a general view of their religion, and confine our-



selves to showing, as far as possible, the historical
development of each particular topic.

A number of works, that of Oehler, for example,
confine themselves exclusively to the teaching of the
canonical books. Others, like those of de Wette and
von Colin, include, in the theology of the Old Testa-
ment, the religious ideas that are found among the Jews
at the beginning of the Christian era. As for us, we
shall not confine ourselves to the canonical books alone ;
we shall take into consideration the principal apocryphal
books, but only so far as the teaching that they contain
is found to develop or supplement that of the canonical
literature. We do not think it necessary to go further
and discuss the Jewish theology of the time of Jesus
and the apostles, since this subject has been treated, and
well treated, by two French scholars, — MM. Nicolas and

We shall divide our work into three periods. The
first, from Moses to the beginning of the eighth century,
is distinguished by the preponderating influence exer-
cised by traditional ideas and usages, modified only in
part by early prophecy. The second, from the appear-
ance of the oldest prophetical books to the end of the
Exile, is marked by the great influence of prophecy, now
at its apogee. The third, from the Exile to the first
century before the Christian era, is characterized by the
extraordinary influence of the written law and the

We shall not, in every period, treat all the questions
to which the documents bearing on it refer. This would
be a decidedly mechanical process that would necessitate
numerous repetitions. We shall treat, as far as possible,


in each period, questions that, for the time being, are
most prominent, and refer to the same questions in the
other periods only when they are presented in a new


A historical discussion of the religion of Israel pre-
supposes a knowledge of the literature of this people,
and exact notions concerning the dates of the various
documents belonging to this literature. We^are of
course not able here to enter into a discussion of the
numerous and complicated problems that are treated in
works on introduction to the Old Testament ; we must
confine ourselves to giving the results that appear to
us certain or probable, referring the reader to special
treatises for details.

The literature of the first period is the following:
The oldest portion of the Pentateuch and the book
of Joshua, which we shall call document A, the residue
after removing the Deuteronomic portion and the
Elohistic or Priestly document, of which more here-
after ; the book of Judges, the books of Samuel, and
the first ten chapters of 1 Kings, with the exception
of the additions made by the last editor of these books ;
finally, the Song of Songs.

To the second i^eriod belong nearly all the prophetical
books, in the following order : —

End of the ninth century or beginning of the eighth :
Isa. XV. 1-xvi. 12. First half of the eighth century:
Amos, Hosea, and perhaps Zech. ix.-xi. Second half
of the eighth century: Isa. i.-xii. ; xiv. 24-32; chaps,
xvii.-xx.; xxi. 11-xxiii. 18; chaps, xxviii.-xxxiii. ;


xxxvii. 21-35 ; xxxviii. 9-20 ; Micah, and perhaps
Nahum. Second half of the seventh century : Jeremiah,
with the exception of the last three chapters ; Zepha-
niah, Habakkuk and perhaps Zech. xii.-xiv. Begin-
ning of the sixth century and of the Exile : Ezekiel
and Lamentations. Middle of the sixth century and
toward the end of the Exile: Jer. l.-lii. ; Isa. xiii.
1-xiv. 23; xxi. 1-10; chaps, xxiv.-xxvii. ; chaps,
xxxiv. f . ; chaps, xl.-lxvi. (deutero-Isaiah).

To this period also probably belongs the book of Job,
although it is diiBcult to say at just what date it was

In 622 was discovered in the temple at Jerusalem the
legislation of Deuteronomy. Nearly all of this book
and some fragments of the book of Joshua seem to be
the work of the same hand or at least of the same epoch.
"We shall call this portion of the Pentateuch and the
book of Joshua document B.

It was at the end of this period when a single editor
put the books of Judges, Samuel, and Kings into their
final form. Many portions of these books bear clear
marks of the last redaction. The contents of the
books of Kings, and those of the other historical books
above mentioned, were, in great part, based on earlier
written sources.

To this period also we refer the book of Ruth.

At the beginning of the third period stand the book
of Haggai, written 520, and Zech. i.-viii., written be-
tween 520 and 518. It may be that Joel and Obadiah
also date from this epoch, although the majority of
critics regard the former as the oldest of the propheti-
cal books, and some likewise consider the latter very


ancient. Malachi was written toward 440, and Jonah
in the fifth or even in the fourth century.

In the fifth century occurred also the redaction of the
most recent portions of the Pentateuch and the book of
Joshua, usually styled the Elohistic document, which we
shall call document C. The oldest portion of it is the
section Lev. xvii.-xxvi., which was probably written
during the Exile.

Toward the end of the fourth century, or at the be-
ginning of the third, appeared Chronicles, as well as the
books of Ezra and Nehemiah. They contain memoirs
from the hands of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Ecclesiastes was written toward the end of the third
century; so also Esther; Daniel dates from 167-164.

We merely mention here Proverbs and the Psalms,
because they both belong to epochs very various and
uncertain. A large number of proverbs were a sort of
heritage of the whole nation, passing from mouth to
mouth, and from one generation to another, a long time
before they became part of a written collection. In
the second and fourth parts of the book of Proverbs (x.
1-xxii. 16, and chaps, xxv.-xxix.) are found the oldest
maxims. Chapters i.-ix. seem to be the latest portion ;
we think that they had their origin not earlier than the
third period. The book, then, in its present form, can-
not be older. It is difificult to say precisely at what
epoch each of the various parts of the collection was
formed, and when the whole received its final shape.

What we have just said of Proverbs applies, in part,
to the Psalms. It is impossible to say just when the
various psalms were written, when each of the five
books of the Psalter was compiled, and when the whole


received its present form. There are psalms that may
be attributed to David, and others that belong perhaps
to the epoch of the Maccabees ; but there is a lack of
data reliable enough for determining the date of each.
It seems certain, however, that in the first book of the
Psalter we have the oldest psalms, and that the last
books contain the latest.

The apocryphal books that will be taken into account
were written between the beginning of the second and
the end of the first century before the Christian era.
To the second century also belongs the translation of
the Seventy, to which frequent reference will be made.

We shall usually cite passages of the apocryphal
books according to this version, because the various
modern versions differ so widely from one another in
the division of the chapters and verses.

As there is sometimes the same liability to confusion
in the case of the canonical books, we shall cite passages
taken from them according to Segond's translation,
which is already very widely known and will grow in
popularity. When we have occasion to refer to the
original, we shall of course quote the Hebrew Bible.
The reader who cannot refer to this text will do well to
consult the Lausanne translation, wdiich is more literal
than the others, and which will better enable him to see
the reason for, or the aptness of, a given citation.^

1 [The translator might have substituted, for quotations from the
French Bible, the words of the Revised English Version, and for those
from the original, direct translations of his own, but it has seemed
fairer to the author simply to translate all these quotations from the
text of his book.]



It is well known that the Pentateuch attributes to
Moses a work of truly colossal proportions : the deliver-
ance of the people Israel from bondage in Egypt, their
religious and social organization, and finally a very
extensive and complicated legislation. But, in view
of the results of modern criticism, one may well ask
whether it is now possible to know for certain any-
thing concerning the person and work of the great

When one closely examines the historical books of
the Old Testament, it is easily perceived that the his-
torical sense was not developed to any greater extent
among the Israelites than among most of the other
peoples of antiquity ; they constantly construct the past
according to the present, or transfer the present to the
past; they imagine the institutions existing at any given
epoch as dating from the remotest antiquity, and write
history accordingly. This should not, however, surprise
us, since the same phenomenon is reproduced in the
bosom of the Christian Church. Even now most Catho-
lics imagine that the institutions of their church go back
to Jesus and the apostles, and ecclesiastical history has
been written in good faith from this point of view. In



the various Protestant churches also it is fondly believed
that the dogmas held are a faithful expression of the
teaching of Jesus and the apostles, and more than once
this teaching has, in all sincerity, been modelled after
modern dogmatic systems.

One has only to compare Chronicles with the parallel
accounts of the books of Samuel and Kings, and the
parallel accounts of these last with one another, to see
that, in the various narratives, the same event is often
reported in different ways, sometimes from entirely
different points of view, and that the history of Israel
is transformed and transfigured by passing from mouth
to mouth and from one generation to another. The
same fact may be observed in the Pentateuch.

In Genesis we have a double account of the creation
and the deluge, and the two narratives differ greatly
from each other. In the history of the patriarchs, also,
many events are narrated two, or even three, times, and
in a manner often very different. It is the same with
other accounts of the Pentateuch and the book of
Joshua. This is explained by the fact that the Penta-
teuch and the book of Joshua are a compilation of
materials drawn from sources of different epochs and
origins. What is true of the narratives is equally true
of the legislative portions. The oldest laws are found
in Ex. xx.-xxiii. and xxxiv. Now, when this legis-
lation is compared with that of Deuteronomy, it is
discovered that, while there are numerous analogies,
there are still more numerous differences. And when
these two series of laws are placed alongside the other
legislative provisions contained in Exodus, Leviticus,
and Numbers, the discrepancies appear even more pro-


nounced. The French work of M. Reus3 on the Bible,
and the majority of the commentaries, furnish abundant
proof in support of these assertions.

These legislative collections, so different and often
even contradictory, cannot all have originated with
Moses. We have seen, indeed, that one portion of the
legislation of the Pentateuch dates only from the time
of Ezra, and another from the time of Josiah. There
remains the oldest portion above mentioned. Is it by
Moses ? The most competent critics agree that it is not,
but that, on the contrary, it did not originate before David.
It has even been demonstrated that the Decalogue, the
kernel of which may well be as old as Moses, in its pres-
ent form, is not of so ancient a date. What, then, can
we know for certain concerning the legislative activity
of Moses, in which we are particularly interested ? It is
difficult to say. It has even been suggested that Moses
is only a mythical personage. But since the people Israel
attributed to him the laws successively developed among
them, as they attributed their psalms to David and their
proverbs to Solomon, we are authorized to think that
Moses is a historical personage as much as these two
kings, and that he was the first great legislator of Israel,
as David was their first important hymnist, and Solomon
their first distinguished didactic poet. Just, however,
as it is next to impossible to distinguish the genuine
psalms of David and the genuine proverbs of Solomon
from those that were later erroneously attributed to them,
so it is impossible to distinguish the laws originating with
Moses from those that do not belong to him. We are
perfectly certain that a large number of the laws of the
Pentateuch are not Mosaic. There are others that may


be, although we have not the means of establishing the

Online LibraryC PiepenbringTheology of the Old Testament → online text (page 1 of 26)