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which are to fall to the priests, i.e. fines to be paid to
the priests, as reparation for injustice committed, and
which are regarded as offerings made to Jehovah. 2
In Ezekiel, on the contrary, there is reference to verita-
ble sin and guilt offerings, such as we see in document
C.3 Though special names to designate the expiatory
sacrifice are only found from the Exile onward, and
they were not made a separate class until then, this does
not mean that these sacrifices were not known before
that time. The Israelites, like the other peoples, cer-
tainly from remote antiquity offered expiatory sacri-
fices; but in this case they employed burnt-offerings
and thank-offerings.* Even in document C are found
proofs that the burnt-offering might also serve as an
expiatory sacrifice.^


This is the proper place to consider more particularly
the two subjects, forgiveness and atonement, the latter
of which, especially, attained in this period alone its
complete development.

1 1 Sam. vi. 3-8. 2 2 Kings xii. 16 ; comp. Num. v. 5-10.

3 Lev. iv. f.; vi. 17-vii. 7.

* Gen. viii. 20 ; Ex. xx. 24 ; xxiv. 5 ; Jud. xx. 26 ; xxi. 3 f . ; 1
Sam. xiii. 9 ; 2 Sam. xxiv. 18-25 ; Job i. 5 ; xlii. 8; Mic. vi. 6 f. ; Ezra
xlv. 15, 17, 5 Lev. i. 4 ; xiv. 20 ; xvi. 24.


According to the Old Testament there are mortal
sins, that can neither be forgiven nor expiated, ^ that
must be punished by death. In the various codes of
the Pentateuch a large number of passages pronounce
the sentence of death upon the guilty. ^ Noav these
sentences should not be regarded simply from the jurid-
ical standpoint; it is Jehovah who pronounces them,
or who causes them to be pronounced and executed,
that he may extirpate from the midst of his people and
exclude from his covenant those who have become guilty
of unpardonable sins. According to Num. xv. 27-31,
involuntary sins may be expiated and pardoned, but
sins committed with a high hand, i.e. intentionally,
deliberately, defiantly, and contemptuously,^ do not
obtain forgiveness; they must be punished by death.
This distinction, however, is found only in document
C;^ elsewhere, on the contrary, we see that forgiveness
is granted even to sins committed in a perfectly con-
scious condition.

Often, in fact, the people Israel were unworthy of
forgiveness. Jehovah forgave them then for 'lis own
sake, and for the sake of his name, to sanctify, glorify
his name among the heathen nations, that it might not
be exposed to their scoffs, and allowed to be profaned ; ^

1 Ex. xxxii. 30-35 ; 1 Sam. iii. 14.

2 Gen. xvii. 14 ; Ex. xii. 15, 19 ; xxxi. 14 f. ; xxxv. 2 ; Lev. vii.
20 ff. ; xvii. 4 ; xxiii. 29 ; etc.

3 Comp. Num. xxxiii. 3 ; Ex. xiv. 8.

* Lev. iv. 2 ff., 13 ff., 22 ff., 27 ff. ; v. 15 ff. ; xxii. 14 ; Num. xv.
22 ff. ; xxxv. 11, 15, 22 ff. ; Josh. xx. 3 ff., 9.

5 Num. xiv. 13 ff. ; Deut. ix. 24 ff. ; Jer. xiv. 20 f. ; Ezek. xx. 8 f.,
13 f., 21 f., 43 f. ; xxxvi. 17 ff., 22 ff. j Isa. xUii, 25 ; xlviii, 9-11 ; Ps,
Ixxix. 9 f .


or perhaps for the sake of Zion and Jerusalem, chosen
by Jehovah as a place for his name ; ^ or again perhaps
on account of the fathers, of the covenant made with
them, and the promises made to them under oath;^
finally, on account of the intercession or the faithful-
ness of genuine servants of God.^ All this amounts
to saying that Jehovah grants to his people unmerited
forgiveness, gratuitous forgiveness.

From ancient times forgiveness is placed in close
relation with atonement. But this latter, in Judaism,
is understood otherwise than in Hebraism, and the
terms used to denote it in the Old Testament have a
signification different from that which we attach to the
word atone.

The Hebrew terms that are generally rendered by
this English word or its derivatives come from the root
haphar^ which means cover. Thus, according to Gen.
xxxii. 20, Jacob seeks to cover the face of Esau with
presents, that the latter may not see his fault, and that
he himself may look his brother in the face without
further fear of his anger. When the people Israel have
offended Jehovah by the worship of the golden calf,
Moses seeks to cover the sin of the people by entreating
the forgiveness of God.* According to Deut. xxxii. 43,
Jehovah covers his country and his people by aveng-
ing the blood of his servants, and avenging himself on

1 1 Kings xi. 13, 32, 36 ; xiv. 21.

2 Ex. xxxii. 13 f . ; Lev. xxvi. 40-45 ; Deut. ix. 27 ; 1 Kings xi. 13,
32, 34, 36 ; xv. 3-5 ; 2 Kings viii. 18 f. ; xiii. 23 ; xix. 34 ; xx. 6.

3 Gen. xviii. 26 ff. ; xx. 7; Ex. xxxii. 11-14; Num. xiv. 13-20;
Deut. ix. 25 ff. ; 1 Sam. vii. 5 ; Job xlii. 8 f. ; Ps. cvi. 23 ; Jer. v. 1 ;
Ezek. xxii. 30 : Isa. liii. ; Ixv. 8. * Ex. xxxii. 30.


his adversaries.^ Gocl declares on his oath that the
sin of Eli shall never be covered by sacrifices. ^ The
term in question also designates the reparation that
David makes to the Gibeonites, for the injury done
them by Saul.^ This reparation is at the same time a
satisfaction rendered to Jehovah, who has sent upon
his people famine in punishment of this crime. It
consists in delivering to the Gibeonites seven sons of
Saul, that they may be hanged before Jehovah at
Gibeah.^ When Isaiah, at the time of his call, thinks
himself undone, because he, though unclean, has seen
Jehovah, a seraph touches his lip with a glowing stone
taken from the altar of the sanctuary, and says to him :
"Thy iniquity is taken away, and thy sin is covered."^
Thenceforward the prophet has nothing to fear from
the holy presence of God. In another series of pas-
sages, it is generally God who covers the sin of men,
clearly as not taking account of it, as forgiving it.^ In
Prov. xvi. 6 man is regarded as himself covering sin
by virtue, as for example, a little farther on in verse
14, the wise man is said to cover the wrath of the king,
i.e. appease it. The verb kasah, which evidently means
cover^ is used in the same sense as kapliar^ but more

In the foregoing it is difficult to find a distinct theory
on the subject under discussion. What appears most
clearly is that sin needs to be covered before the holy

1 Riehm, Studien u. Kritiken, 1877, p. 24; [Schultz, I. pp. 397 f.].

2 1 Sam. iii. 14. s 2 Sam. xxi. 3.
4 2 Sam. xxi. 1-6. s jga. vi. 5-7.

6 Deut. xxi. 8; Jer. xviii. 23; Ezek. xvi. 63; 2 Chron. xxx. 18;
Ps. Ixv. 3 ; Ixxviii. 38 ; Ixxix. 9 ; comp. Isa. xxii. 14 ; xxvii. 9 ; Dan.
ix. 24. " Prov. x. 12 ; xvii. 9 ; Neh. iv. 5 ; Ps. xxxii. 1 ; Ixxxv. 2.


God, that God usually covers it himself, and that the
intercession of a man of God, the offering of sacrifices,
repentance, and faithfulness, are the means of coveiing
it. With the appearance of the two Levitical theorists,
Ezekiel and the author of document C, the subject is
presented in a more uniform manner, and otherwise than
in the early documents. According to them, in fact,
it is persons, unclean or unholy souls, not sin, that
need to be covered; it is not God that covers them, but
the priesthood ; and the means used are the sacred rites,
chiefly sacrifices, and especially sin and guilt offerings.^
There is even reference to the covering of things, espe-
cially sacred objects, to make them clean, holy ; ^ thus
the land that has been polluted by the blood of a per-
son intentionally slain can be covered only by the
blood of the murderer. ^

All this proves that the word atone^ by which the
verb kaphar is usually rendered, distorts the primitive
and characteristic idea that it is intended to express.
This is best shown by the fact that document C, which
gave to this idea the importance that was afterwards
attributed to it, like Ezekiel, speaks of objects that
must be covered. The translators are therefore obliged,
in conformity with established usage, to speak of an
altar, a sanctuary, etc., for which atonement must be

1 Ezek. xlv. 15, 17 ; Ex. xxix. 33, 36 ; xxx. 10-16 ; Lev. i. 4 ; iv.
20 ff. ; V. 6 ff. ; vi. 30 ; vii. 7 ; viii. 34 ; ix. 7 f . ; x. 17 ; xii. 7 f. ; xiv.
18-21, 29-31, 52 f. ; xv. 15, 30 ; xvi. 6 ff. ; xvii. 11 ; xix. 22 ; xxiii.
27 f. ; Num. v. 8 ; vi. 11 ; viii. 12 ff. ; xv. 25, 28 ; xvi. 46 f. ; xxv. 13 ;
xxviii. 22, 30 ; xxix. 5, 11 ; xxxi. 50 ; 1 Chron. vi. 49 ; 2 Chron. xxix.
24 ; xxx. 18.

2 Ezek. xliii. 20, 26 ; xlv. 18-20 ; Ex. xxix. 36 f. ; xxx. 10 ; Lev.
viii. 15 ; xiv. 53 ; xvi. 16, 18, 20, 33. » Num. xxxv. 33.


made, that it may be or remain consecrated to Jehovah.
This is a false idea,, and one that the Old Testament
does not intend to express. What it means is that men
and things, in a sinfnl or unclean condition, or in a
profane condition, need to be clothed in moral or Levit-
ical holiness to exist in the presence of the God of
holiness, to be pleasing to him, or consecrated to his

Though the Old Testament speaks of various means
of atonement, though it represents certain sacrifices as
means of expiation par excellence^ as means of covering
the sins of men before the holy God, it does not explain
just how atonement is effected. Too often, in seeking
a solution of this question, almost exclusive atten-
tion has been paid to Lev. xvii. 11, and it has been
concluded that there can be no atonement and forgive-
ness without the shedding of blood. ^ But the passage
is not so absolute. It says, indeed, that blood serves
the purpose of atonement; it does not say that it alone
serves this purpose. And even if it did say so, we
should here have only the view of document C, and not
that of the Old Testament in general; for we have
become acquainted with other means of expiation.
But this document itself recognizes that the shedding
of blood is not indispensable to atonement. It speaks
of bloodless atoning sacrifices.^ It shows that the
offering of incense also effects atonement,'^ as well as
the offering of money brought by each Israelite Avhen
the people are numbered.* Finally in atoning sacri-
fices all parts of the victims and all the sacrificial acts

1 Heb. ix. 22. 2 Lev. v. 11-1.3.

3 Num. xvi. 46 f. * Ex. xxx. 11-16.


contribute to atonement, for only after the performance
of all these acts is it usually said that the priest shall
thus make atonement for the guilty, and that they shall
be forgiven. 1 The blood of the atoning victims should
not, therefore, be regarded as the principal means of
atonement. According to Lev. xvii. 11, it has this
effect, because the blood is the seat of the soul or the
life of the victim ; this is the reason why it can make
atonement for souls. But whence comes it that the
blood is the seat of life, has this effect? The Scrip-
tures do not say. We think that it is because, in the
Old Testament, life is always regarded as the most
precious and the most sacred of things. ^ The special
part played by the blood in the offering of expiatory
sacrifices is indicated by the peculiar way in which it
is sprinkled.^

It has often been taught that the atoning victim was
slain in the place of the sinner, that it suffered the
death that the latter had deserved. But this is not so.
According to the Israelitish law, the man who has de-
served death is obliged to suffer it, he cannot redeem
himself by any victim whatsoever. Expiatory sacrifices
can only cover sins committed by inadvertence, which
do not incur the penalty of death. Nor does anything
in the ceremony connected with expiatory sacrifices
indicate that the victims suffer death in place of the
guilty. The atoning victims are slain like the others.
Their slaughter is simply the means of obtaining the
blood, the fat, and the flesh, each of which contributes
to the sacrificial act. It is equally wrong to suppose

1 Lev. iv. 20, 26, 35 ; v. 10, 13. 2 [Schultz, I. pp. 385 f.]

3 Lev. iv. 6 f., 16-18, 25 ; comp. i. 5 ; iii. 2.


that in placing his hand upon the head of the victim
the offender transfers his guilt to it. This act is pre-
scribed for sacrifices in general, as, for example, for
peace-offerings, 1 by Avhich thanks are rendered to God.^
Since the atoning sacrifice, like any other sacrifice,
is a qorhan^ an offering,^ we must come to the conclu-
sion that it is an offering made to God by an offender,
to make amends for a reparable transgression, and to
obtain forgiveness for it. It is in reality a means of
grace, a means offered by Jehovah to members of his
people who have inadvertently sinned against him, by
which they may be restored to favor before him, be
reconciled to him, and thus continue to enjoy the
covenant with him.

I. Pharisaism.

Since worship, the external side of religion, played a
preponderant part in Judaism, the internal, the moral
and religious, life necessarily had to suffer. An exag-
gerated value attributed to external worship, in fact,
leads man to believe that the strict performance of
religious ceremonies constitutes the prime duty of life,
that this is the sum total of religion, and even moralit}^
The Jews were the more liable to fall into this error,
since, for them, as for the Hebrews, morality was
essentially religious, inseparable from religion. In
strict devotion to the latter they believed that they
faithfully fulfilled all their duties.

1 Lev. iii. 2 Lev. vii. 11 ff. 3 Lev. iv. 23, 28, 32 ; v. 11.


When religion is purely legal and formalistic, as was
that of the Jews, it is, moreover, easier to meet its
demands than when it consists of holiness of heart and
life. In the latter case there is always something lack-
ing even in the best. Legality is easier of attainment
than genuine piety and morality. Formalism and
legalism, therefore, necessarily issue in pride. They
engender the doctrine of the merit of works, of salvation
by one's own righteousness. They produce contempt
for all who do not observe, or do not strictly enough
observe, the elaborate and often wearisome rites of

All this we learn from Pharisaism, as it presents
itself to us in the New Testament, whence we see that
it was not merely a sect or a tendency in the midst of
Judaism, but the dominant tendency, so that Judaism
and Pharisaism finally became identical. But the
Pharisaical tendency existed among the Jews before
the rise of the Pharisaical party. We shall describe
some of its characteristic features.

It should first of all be observed that the old cove-
nant, with its essentially legal regime^ develops in man
the idea of his own righteousness, and largely issues in
the doctrine of the merit of works. The whole Old
Testament teaches that the salvation of each one de-
pends upon his righteousness, upon the faithful observ-
ance of the commands of God, formulated by the written
law or the prophets. Thus when Schultz declares that
there is no self-righteousness in Israel, that there is
only a righteousness given by God and springing from
free grace, he does not state the matter correctly, but
confounds the view of the Old Testament with that of


the New.i It is true that the covenant of Jehovah with
his people is represented as a pure favor on the part of
God. But when this grace is once granted by God and
accepted by the people, God is bound by his righteous-
ness and his faithfulness to grant his blessings to his
people, as they are bound to be righteous and faithful,
that they may not be punished or rejected by God.
And what is true of the entire people is true also of
each individual Israelite. He who does not strictly
observe the commands of God cannot share in his cov-
enant and his blessings. It is impossible to cite here
all the passages that contain such a declaration, but
this is not necessary for one who is acquainted with
the Old Te'stament; it will suffice to refer to Deuter-
onomy and the book of Job, the worthiest productions of
the early religion of Israel. The former of these books
expresses the view dominant in the Old Testament in
these words : " Jehovah hath commanded us to put into
practice all these laws, and to fear Jehovah, our God,
that we may always be happy, and that he may preserve
us alive. "^ This view is also maintained against Job
by his friends, when they say to him: "Doth not thy
fear of God sustain thee ? Is not thy hope, thy integ-
rity ? " 2 The tragical character of the book of Job arises
from the fact that the traditional religion of Israel
demands that the hero of the book be perfectly happy,
because of his integrity and his uprightness, while, in
reality, he is very unhappy. That hapjDiness bears an
exact ratio to faithfulness, was a fundamental principle
in the Israelitish religion, and when facts happened to
belie it, the believer, as the book of Job shows, was
1 n. 30 f. 2 Deut. vi. 24 ; comp. xxx. 15 ff. ^ job iv. 6.

THirvD PERIOD. — § 33. ETHICAL LIFE. 319

thrown into great embarrassment. Take, again, the
prayer of the sick Hezekiah asking God to cure him:
*' Jehovah! remember that I have walked before thy
face in faithfuhiess and integrity of heart, and that I
have done Avhat is good in thy eyes ! " ^ Here is an
expression of the feeling that must have filled the heart
of every Israelite who was, or believed himself, faith-
ful, and that, in fact, often recurs in the Psalms, a
considerable number of which date from the period
before the Exile. ^

Though the idea of the merit of works is inseparable
from the essence of the religion of Israel, this idea was
nevertheless destined to gain much in intensity in the
midst of Judaism, when the voice of the prophets had
died away, and the letter of the law, especially of the
ceremonial law, had become the basis of religion.
External practices always played an important part in
the religion of Israel, which was far from comprehend-
ing that God is a spirit, and that he must be worshipped
in spirit and in truth. But the prophets vigorously
opposed the external and superficial piety of the multi-
tude, and sought to awaken in the heart a more vital
piety. After the Exile, on the contrary, prophetism
disappeared, and external worship, developed under the
influence of a marked predilection for it, obtained legal
sanction in document C. Thenceforward formalism
and legalism, so agreeable to the natural tendencies of
the human heart, which seeks an easy and comfortable
religion, got the upper hand and with it the claim to
self- righteousness.

1 2 Kings XX. 3.

2 Ps. vii. 8 ; xvii. 1 ff. ; xviii. 20, 24 ; xxvi. ; xxxv. 23 f. ; xli. 12 ;
xliv. 17 ff. ; etc.


The example of Nehemiah, one of the fathers of Juda-
ism, is a striking proof of this. The principal object
of his efforts was to lead the ^^eople to submit to the
ceremonial law. Now he imagined that he thus ac-
quired the greatest merit. He is constantly saying:
" Remember me in favor, O my God, on account of all
that I have done for this people ! Forget not my pious
deeds ! " ^ Daniel, likewise, says to King Nebuchadnez-
zar: "Cancel thy sins by kindnesses and thy iniquities
by compassion toward the unfortunate, and thy happi-
ness may be prolonged. "^ Finally, the book of Tobit
frequently and naively expresses the idea of the merit
of works, especially alms and other acts of charity done
to the brethren. 3 It goes so far as to declare that alms
deliver from death and cleanse from all sin, and that
those who give alms will be blessed with long life.*

II. Exclusivism.

Another characteristic feature of the religion of Israel,
which we encounter from early times, and which takes
exaggerated proportions in Judaism, is a hostile atti-
tude toward strangers. The fundamental idea of this
religion, that God has chosen Israel from among all the
peoples of the earth to make them a peculiar people,
must naturally give birth to national pride, though, in
theory, it was admitted that this covenant was purely a
divine favor. By virtue of their election, Israel believed
themselves possessed of peculiar privileges and rights

1 Neh. V. 19 ; xiii. 14, 22, 31. 2 jy. 27.

3 i. 2 f., 16 ff. ; ii. 2 ff., 14 ; iv. 7 ff., 16 ; xii. 8 f. ; xiv. 2, 7 ff-

* xu, 9,


over all the other peoples. Hence the thought that they
could exterminate without scruple the inhabitants of
the land of Canaan, and that they must make alliance
Avith no foreign people. This view is expressed not
only in the early documents, but even in Deuteronomy . i
In the prophetical period this exclusive tendency was
modified by a higher view. The prophets express the
hope of a universal salvation. In Deuteronomy we
frequently find the injunction to deal kindly with the
strangers who live in the midst of Israel. This breadth,
the product of the prophetical spirit, could not be de-
veloped in the midst of Judaism; it was stifled, like so
many other excellent elements of prophetism, until
the time when the gospel revivified these germs of truth
and life, and allowed them to be even more grandly

The tendency of which we have just spoken mani-
fested itself from the return of the exiles onward.
The Samaritans, since they worshipped the same God
as the Jews, desired to take part in the restoration of
the temple. This offer of fraternal cooperation, instead
of being favorably accepted, was repelled, and the
Samaritans were informed that they had neither part
nor right nor memorial in Jerusalem. ^ It is well
known that this was the beginning of a hateful rivalry
that lasted for centuries. Exaggeration of the national
sentiment and the national purity was also the chief
cause of the pitiless dismissal of all foreign wives,
required by Ezra and Nehemiah.^ Complete separation
from strangers appears to have been an essential feature

1 Chap. vii. 2 Ezra iv. 2 f . ; Neb. ii. 20.

3Ezraix. 1; Neh. xiii. 23 ff.


of Jewish fidelity. 1 What a difference between this
view and that betrayed by the book of Ruth, in which
conjugal union between Israelites and Moabites appears
so harmless that the author undertakes to show that one
of the ancestors of David was the Moabitess, Ruth !

The national pride of the Jews finds expression in
the book of Daniel. Canaan is called the most beauti-
ful of all countries ; ^ the Jews receive the extravagant
title of saints of the Most-High,^ and appear as the
favorites of God ; * finall}^ even the glorification of
their God by the mouths of the gentiles is to serve
to enhance the glory of the Jews.^ This tendency
reaches its culmination in the book of Esther. With
boundless national pride is here associated a profound
hatred of enemies, and an extreme pleasure in the ven-
geance taken upon them; the whole is crowned by a
feast destined to perpetuate the memory of the massa-
cre of their enemies. The same spirit recurs in the
book of Judith. It, in fact, confesses that all means
are allowable by which the Jews can destroy their
enemies, and that God will grant success even to per-
fidious and criminal enterprises undertaken with this
object;^ it also expresses the conviction that God, on
the day of judgment, will execute vengeance upon all
the enemies of the Jews, sending fire and worms upon
their bodies to torment them forever." Sirach himself
approves hatred of enemies and vengeance taken on

1 Neh. ix. 2 ; x. 28, 30 ; xiii. 30. 2 yiii. 9 ; xi. 16, 41.

3 vii. 18, 21 f., 25, 27 ; viii. 24 ; xii. 7.

* i. 17 ft.; ii. 25 ff., 46 ff.; iii. 30 ; iv. 8 f., 18 ; v. 11, 14, 29 ; vi. 28.

s ii. 47 ; iii. 26, 28 f . ; iv, 1-3, 34-37 ; vi. 20, 25-27.

6 Chaps, viii. ff. '' xvi. 17.


them.i A considerable number of psalms contain un-
disguised expressions of the same sentiments, for
example this praj^er to God: "Shed thy fur}^ upon the
nations that know not thee, and upon the kingdoms that
call not upon thy name."^ These are sentiments
entirely opposed to those of most of the prophets, who
wished and hoped that Jehovah would make his name
known to all nations. Elsewhere a psalmist cries:
"Daughter of Babylon, the wasted, happy he who
repayeth thee in kind the evil that thou hast done us !
Happy he who seizeth thy children, and dasheth them
upon the rock! "^ Other psalms give utterance to the
same spirit of hatred and vengeance against enemies,
against strangers.*

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