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ates the statement that they are only wood, and human
productions, and for still others, their contemporaries,
idols had absolutely no reality. ^

II. Spirituality of God.

We have seen that the ancient Israelites pictured
God to themselves in the form of man. Even the doc-
uments of our period swarm with the boldest anthropo-
morphisms. It is therefore superfluous to ask if the
people Israel conceived of their God as a personal God.
There is no possibility of doubt on this point. We
must rather ask if God was not conceived as too per-
sonal, too human ; if his personality is not asserted at
the expense of his spirituality. This is certainly the

1 Deut. iv. 28 ; Jer. ii. 11, 27 f . ; iii. 9 ; v. 7 ; viii. 19 ; x. 1-16 ; xvi.
18-20 ; xviii. 15 ; Hab. ii. 18 f. ; Isa. xl. 18-20 ; xli. 7, 21-24, 29 ; xliv.
9-20 ; xlix. 1-7.

2 [Kuenen, Beligion of Israel, I. pp. 45 ff.]


case in earlier times, and to some extent even in our
period. But there is the less reason for wondering
at these imperfections, as even now Christian people,
wherever they have received but scant culture, cherish
analogous ideas.

Yet, on this subject also, the prophets, freeing them-
selves from the gross ideas of early times, rose to purer
conceptions. It is only necessary to recall the follow-
ing statements : Jehovah is God, and not man ; ^ he has
not fleshly eyes, neither sees he as men see;^ he neither
slumbers nor sleeps,^ neither does he weary ; ^ he neither
eats nor drinks ; ^ in fine, he cannot be likened to any-
thing terrestrial;^ the heights of heaven [literally, the
heaven of heavens] would not hold him.^

This last passage is particularly instructive. It
is taken from the prayer that the author of the books of
Kings places in the mouth of Solomon on the occasion
of the dedication of the temple, which, however, doubt-
less belongs to a much later date. It shows that the
author had comparatively pure and lofty conceptions of
God. And yet, in this same prayer, the heavens are
regarded as the abode of Jehovah.^ This latter fact
shows clearly that even those who had risen above pop-
ular and imperfect ideas still used the faulty language
of the people. This, however, should not surprise us,
since, to this day, preachers often find themselves
obliged to do thus to suit themselves to the capacity
of their hearers.

On the other hand, it must be admitted that we no-

1 Hos. xi. 9. 2 Job. X. 4. 3 Ps. xii. 1, 4. ^ iga. xl. 28.

5 Ps. 1. 13. 6 isa. xl. 18. 7 1 Kings viii. 27.

8 1 Kings viii. 30, 32, 34, 36, etc.


where, in the Old Testament, find the statement that
God is a pure spirit. Schultz, following de Wette,
asserts, and justly, that even in the writings of the
prophets, the spirituality of God is conceived, not in
a metaphysical, but in an anthropological and popular
fashion ; that, according to them, God is spiritual as is
the human intellect, in contrast with that which is sen-
sual ; that the most explicit statement on this subject is
found in the following passage of Isaiah: ^ "The Egyp-
tian is man and not God; his horses are flesh and not
spirit. "2 He says further that it is not the spirituality
of God, least of all in the philosophical and absolute
sense, that, under the old covenant, forms the founda-
tion of faith in God, but his complete and living per-
sonality, conceived in all simplicity like the personality
of man ; that the philosophical idea of the spirituality
of God nowhere finds expression in the Old Testament;
that God is conceived in a religious and not in a phil-
osophical fashion.^

It is of course impossible to conclude from the pas-
sages in which there is reference to the spirit of God,
that God is a pure spirit, since the spirit of God was
spoken of as we ourselves speak of the spirit of man.
It must, as we have already said, be frankly admitted
that the prophets were not, and did not wish to be,
theologians or philosophers, schoolmen, but men of
action, and that, in their works, religious thought is
very imperfect. It must, however, also be admitted
that their religious life was strong enough to bear with-
out disadvantage some purely theoretical imperfections.

1 xxxi. 3. 2 ii_ pp^ 112 f. ; comp. de Wette, Bihl. Dogmatik, § 100.
8 II. pp. 110 f.


Though Jewish scholasticism first, and Christian scho-
lasticism afterwards, have succeeded in correcting, on
some points, the religious thought of the Hebrew
prophets, they have always displayed great lack of the
mighty inspiration from on high which was the chief
strength and will be the lasting glory of these men of

I. Names of Crod.

In order to a better understanding of the idea of God
in Israel, we must consider the names that are given to
him in the documents of the first two periods. In the
Old Testament, names, least of all proper names, are
not arbitrary designations; they denote the character-
istics of the persons or things to which they are applied.
This is the case with the names of God; they tell what
God is.

1. Jehovah. — We begin with the name Jehovah,
which we find in the oldest documents. It is the proper
name of the God of Israel. Therefore the Old Testa-
ment never gives it to foreign gods. If we should suc-
ceed in grasping its exact signification, we should know
what idea the Israelites, from ancient times, formed of
their God. Unfortunately scholars have not yet been
able to agree on this subject. We can, nevertheless,
put aside the numerous explanations that give to the
name Jehovah a metaphysical signification. -The Isra-
elites gave it to their God at a time when, far from
busying themselves with metaphysics, they still had
very rude conceptions of the Deity. Two interpreta-


tions only deserve to be taken into account: that pro-
posed by Schrader, which has won many adherents, and
that which Dillmann, among others, defends in a very
satisfactory manner.

The name Jehovah, in Hebrew Yahweh, probably
comes from the root hayah or hawah^ he. Schrader
claims that it is a Hiphil, and that its significance is,
not he who is^ as Ex. iii. 14 would have it, he who pos-
sesses life, but he who provides life, who is the author
of it, who is the creator.^ Let us first observe that
Yahweh can be a Qal as well as a Hiphil. From the
grammatical point of view, therefore, the biblical inter-
pretation, "he who is," is as well founded as that of
Schrader. Besides, we are inclined to believe that this
scholar is not in the right because his explanation is too
metaphysical, and does not harmonize with the religious
ideas of the early Israelites. They did not regard Jeho-
vah as above all the Creator, the author of all that
exists, but as their king and their protector.

We find an interpretation of this name, Ex. iii.,
which belongs to document A. We read there as fol-
lows : When God wished to send Moses to the children
of Israel to deliver them from Egyptian servitude, he
said ; " I will go then to the children of Israel and say
to them: The God of your fathers sends me to you.
But if they ask me what his name is, what shall I an-
swer them ? " And God replied to him : " I am he who
is." He afterwards commissioned him to go and say to
the children of Israel : " It is Ehyeh (I am) who sends
me to you." "It is Yahweh (He who is), the God of
your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac,
1 Bibel-Lexikon, art. Jehova ; [cornp. KAT on Gen. ii. 4 6].


and the God of Jacob, who sends me to you. This is
my name forever." ^

This interpretation of the name of Jehovah seems per-
fectly correct from the etymological point of view. It
should not then be placed on the same level with the
false etymologies that are found in large numbers in
the Old Testament and even in document A.^ How-
ever, the adoption of this interpretation does not enable
one to grasp the exact signification of the term under
discussion. Many of those who have adopted it have
found in the name Jehovah only the assertion of the
real or the eternal existence of God. Hence the well-
known [French] rendering: VEternel. But the most
accomplished scholars now reject this too abstract in-
terpretation, and adopt another and simpler. Dill-
mann is of the number. He points out that the passage
Ex. iii., lays stress on the fact that Jehovah is the Goc
of the fathers, and that in this respect he remained for
the people what he was for their ancestors. He theiv.
fore concludes that the name Jehovah must be a re>
minder that the God of Israel is and will be always the
same, that he is unchangeable, not in the metaphysical,
but in the moral sense. He adds that several passages ^
prove this signification to have been accepted in later
times.* The name Jehovah, then, taken in the sense
of moral immutability, would imply the idea of the
faithfulness of God, as has been perceived by Haver-
nick,^ Oehler,^ and Schultz.'^

1 vv. 13-15, 2 Dillmann on Ex. iii. 14 f. ; [Delitzsch on Gen. ii. 4 6].

3 Hos. xii. 4-6 ; Isa. xxvi. 4 ; Mai. iii. 6.

* Exodus u. Leviticus^ p. 35.

5 Theologie des A. T., 2 ed,, p. 46. o § 39. 7 n. p. 138.


We prefer this latter interpretation, because origi-
nally, and ever afterwards, the unchangeable faithful-
ness of God was of prime importance from the standpoint
of the religion of Israel, which had as a foundation the
covenant between the people and God, and as a cap-
stone the most glowing divine promises. What was of
most importance to Israel was to know that God re-
mained faithful to his promises, to the covenant estab-
lished. This is exceedingly well expressed, Deut. vii.
9, where it is said that Jehovah is a faithful God, who
keeps his covenant and his mercy. The early documents
also very frequently extol the faithfulness of God, at
times connecting this attribute with the name Jehovah.
We read, Ex. xxxiv. 5 f., that Jehovah passed before
Moses and proclaimed his name, saying: "Jehovah,
Jehovah, merciful and compassionate God, slow to
anger, rich in grace and faithfulness ! " In the old
song, Deut. xxxii., the sacred poet, after having invoked
heaven and earth to hearken to the solemn words about
to follow, proceeds, v. 3, in these terms: "I will pro-
claim the name of Jehovah. Give glory to our God!
He is the rock. . . . He is a faithful God and without
iniquity; he is just and upright." Jehovah is here
called the rock. This designation must evidently
denote his unshakable faithfulness. The song several
times calls Jehovah by this name.^ In other passages
more or less early, Jehovah is called the rock of Israel,
a rock for all times, or, in parallelism, to express the
same idea, a buckler, a fortress, a sure refuge. ^ Hosea,

1 vv. 15, 18, 30 f.

2 Isa. XXX. 29 ; xxvi. 4 ; Ps. xviii. 2, 30 ; xxviii. 1 ; xxxi. 2 f. j xlii.
9 ; Ixixix. 18, 26 ; xci. 4 ff., 9 ff . ; cxliv. 1 ff.


addressing Israel in Jehovah's name, says: "I will
betroth thee to me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know
Jehovah." 1 He calls Jehovah the faithful Holy One.^
We will quote one more early passage in which the
unchangeableness and faithfulness as well as the truth-
fulness of Jehovah are admirably described; "God is
not man, that he should lie, nor a son of man that he
should repent. What he hath said, will he not do?
What he hath uttered, will he not perform? "^ Else-
where we find declarations of the same sort, expressing
the idea that Jehovah does not recall his word, that he
neither changes nor repents, that he keeps his promises
and fulfils his threats.*

It appears from all the above passages, — and many
others of the same import might be cited, — that the
prophets, and the Israelites generally, far from engag-
ing in transcendental speculations concerning God, or
approaching the idea of God from the metaphysical side,
attached so much the more importance to his moral
perfections, especially his unchangeable faithfulness.

2. Jehovah, Crod of Hosts. — We must, in the second
place, consider a name of God composed of Sehhaoth,
hosts, and Yahiveh or Elohim (God), or both : Yahweh
Sehhaoth, Elohe Sehhaoth, Yahweh Elohe Sehhaoth.^ This
composite name is not used in all the books of the Old
Testament. It is not met in the oldest documents,

1 ii. 20. 2 xi. 12.

3 Num. xxiii. 19 ; comp. 1 Sam. xv. 29.

4 Isa. xxxi. 2 ; Ezek. xxiv. 14 ; xvii. 24 ; Zech. viii. 14 f. ; Mai. iii. 6 :
Ps. cii. 25-27 ; ex. 4.

5 1 Sam. i. 3 ; iv. 4 ; Amos iii. 13 ; iv. 13 ; Hos. xii. 5 ; Zech. ix. 15 ;
X. 3 ; Mic. iv. 4 ; Isa. i. 9, 24 ; v. 24 ; Jer. ii. 19 ; vi. 6, 9 ; Ps. Ixxx.


and it disappears again after the Exile. It is found
especially in the books oi Samuel, those of Kings, a
number of prophetical books, from Amos to Isaiah, and
in a series of psalms.

In order to get the true signification of this name we
must allow ourselves to be guided by the word Sehha-
oth. Now this plural always denotes terrestrial armies,
more particularly those of Israel. On this fact has
been based the opinion that the name Yahveli^ or MoJie,
Sehhaoth denotes only the God of the hosts of Israel.^
Others, on the contrary, claim that it denotes chiefly
or only the God of the celestial hosts, the stars and the
angels.^ Havernick, in his turn, asserts that this name
takes its origin from Gen. ii. 1, and that the term
Sehhaoth includes all the creatures of God, and not
merely the army of Israel or the stars. ^ Still others
maintain that originally this name referred only to the
hosts of Israel, but that afterwards it was applied also
to the starry and angelic hosts.* We think that the
last come nearest to the truth.

Even in the song of Deborah, as well as all the rest
of the Old Testament, the wars of Israel are regarded
as the wars of Jehovah.^ In the oldest documents,

1 Baur on Ps. xxiv. 10, in de Wette's Commentary, 5 ed. ; Schrader,
Bihel-Lexikon, V. pp. 702 f. ; Jahrbucher fur prot. TheoL, 1875, pp.
319 f.; [Schultz, II. 139f.].

2 Hupfeld and Delitzscli on Ps. xxiv. 10 ; Oehler, §§ 195 ff. ; Reuss,
Les Prophetes, I. pp. 32 f. ; [Cheyne on Isa. i. 9].

3 Theologie des A. T., pp. 48 f.

4 De Wette, Archeologie, § 97 ; von Colin, Bib. Theologie, I. pp.
104 f. ; Schultz, II. pp. 139 f.

"^ Jud. V. 23 ; comp. vii. 18, 20 ; 1 Sam. xvii. 47 ; xviii. 17 ;
XXV. 28 ; etc.


when Israel is at war with another people, it is Jehovah
who directs the conflict, and, when Israel obtains the
victory, it is Jehovah to whom the glory redounds. ^
Jehovah is very early represented as a warrior. ^ A
document perhaps older than any that we now possess
bore the title : " Wars of Jehovah." ^ It is in all proba-
bility this mode of thought that gave rise to the name
Yahweh Sehhaoth. The hosts of Jehovah were at first the
armies of Israel, as 1 Sam. xvii. 45 says in so many

It is possible to show from a series of passages that
the host or hosts of Jehovah are the stars* and the
angels ^ or even all creatures.^ It must, however, be
observed that these passages almost all belong to late
documents that do not employ the plural Sehhaoth ; so
that the origin and primitive signification of this name
of God are not to be sought in them.

It is clearly necessary to suppose a development and
to some extent a transformation of the original idea of
this name. It had at first a restricted sense, was applied
only to the army or people of Israel, Jehovah being
regarded solely as the national God of this people. But,
little by little, it acquired a broader, more general sig-
nification, and finally, when Jehovah was recognized as
the only true God and the creator of all things, it came
to include all the works of creation. It even became

1 Jud. V. ; Ex. XV. ; comp. Ex. xiv. 14 ; Jud. iv. 14 ; 2 Sam. v. 24.

2 Ex. XV. 3. 3 Num. xxi. 14.

* Jer. xxxiii. 22 ; Isa. xl. 26 ; xxxiv. 4 ; Neh. ix. 6 ; Ps. xxxiii. 6.

5 Josh. V. 14 f. ; comp. Gen. xxxii. 1 f. ; Deut. xxxiii. 2 ; 1 Kings
xxii. 19 ; 2 Kings vi. 16 f. ; Isa. xxiv. 21 ; Job i. 6 ff. ; ii. 1 ff. ;
Ps. Ixxxix. 5-7 ; cxlviii. 2.

6 Ps. ciii. 21 f. : cxlviii, 2 ff. : Gen. ii. 1.


synonymous with almighty creator, supreme ruler,
governor of the entire world ; for the Seventy in many
23assages render it iravTOKpdrwp.^ Though, in the be-
ginning, this name w^as simply intended as a reminder
that Jehovah was the head of the army or of the people
Israel, that he directed the conflicts of Israel and secured
them victory, afterwards, as we have just seen, when
the religious horizon was broadened, it took a broader
and higher signification.

3. The Holy One of Israel. — The Old Testament not
only predicates of Jehovah holiness ; it also calls him
the Holy One or the Holy One of Israel. This, again,
is one of the names of God. It is fitting, therefore,
that we should speak of it at this point.

What does the Old Testament mean by the holiness
of God? To this question scholars have given very
divergent answers. ^ Nor is the etymology decisive.^
It is, however, certain that the English word holy is
far from being an exact rendering of the Hebrew term
qadhosh. We must, therefore, by a careful study of
the original, gain an exact idea of the meaning of holi-
ne^'s in Hebrew literature. This is what Baudissin has
undertaken in the excellent study already quoted, which
will doubtless put an end to the arbitrary and erroneous
explanations hitherto given of the term and the concep-
tion under discussion.

Even in the old passage : " Who is like thee among
the gods, O Jehovah? Who is like thee, glorious in

1 2 Sam. V. 10 ; vii. 8, 25, 27 ; 1 Kings xix. 10, 14 ; Amos iii. 13 ;
iv. 13 ; etc.

2 Baudissin, Studien, II. pp. 5 ff. ; [Schultz, II. pp. 167 f.].

3 Baudissin, Stitdien, II. pp. 19 ff. ; [W. K. Smith, Prophets,
p. 224].


holiness, fearful in praise, doing wonders?" ^ — the
holiness of God denotes his majesty, his greatness, his
exaltation, his matchlessness. Another old song calls
God holy, thereby meaning that he is incomparable and
infinitely exalted.^ It even seems as if this epithet,
placed at the beginning of the song, must sum up all
the other perfections of God that are celebrated in it,
denoting chiefly his supreme power. ^ In the prophecy
of Hosea, Jehovah says : " I am God, and not a man ; I
am the Holy One in the midst of thee." * He reproaches
Judah with their inconstancy toward God, the faithful
Holy One.^ It is evident that here the terms God and
Holy One are synonymous. It is well known that, in
first and second Isaiah, Jehovah is very often called the
Holy One of Israel, or simply the Holy One, i.e. the
God of Israel or the true God.^ It is the same else-
where.'^ According to Ezekiel God makes himself
known as Jehovah, the God of Israel, the mighty and
true God, by sanctifying himself or manifesting his
holiness.^ It is, moreover, to be observed that God
swears by his holiness^ as he swears by himself. ^*^

Holiness then seems to be synonymous with divinity.
Baudissin, in fact, justly maintains that the Hebrew

1 Ex. XV. 11. 2 1 Sam. ii. 2.

3 Comp. Isa. xl. 25 ff. ; Ps. Ixxvii. 13 ff.

4 xi. 9. ^ xi. 12.

6 Isa. i. 4 ; v. 19, 24, etc. ; xl. 25 ; xli. 14, 16, 20, etc.

7 Hos. xi. 12 ; Job vi. 10 ; Hab. i. 12 ; iii. 3 ; Jer. 1. 29 ; li. 5 ;
Ezek. xxxix. 7 ; Ps. Ixxi. 22 ; Ixxviii. 41 ; Ixxxix. 18.

8 XX. 41 f. ; xxviii. 22 ; xxxvi. 23 ; xxxviil. 16, 23 ; xxxix. 7 ; comp.
Baudissin, Studien, II. pp. 80 ff.

9 Amos iv. 2 ; Ps. Ixxxix. 35 ; Ix. 6.

10 Gen. xxii. 16 ; Ex. xxxii. 13 j Amos vi. 8 ; Jer. xxii. 5 ; xlix. 13 ;
11. 14 ; Isa, xlv. 23.


said holy where we say divine or heavenly.^ Conse-
quently holiness, when predicated of Jehovah, denotes
not so much one of his peculiar attributes, as the en-
tirety of his divine character. We shall find what we
have just asserted confirmed further on, where we shall
see that angels are called holy ones, and gods or sons
of gods. The English expression that best expresses the
idea of holiness in the sense of the Old Testament is
divine exaltation or majesty. It is only necessary to
examine the numerous passages in which, under various
forms, there is reference to the divine holiness, to be
convinced that they most frequently convey the idea of
divine glory, majesty, exaltation, greatness.

Holiness in the sense of the English word, denoting
the opposite of moral evil, is seldom expressed by the
word qadhesh and its derivatives, though it is attributed
to God in the whole Old Testament. It can be proven
from every page that the God of Israel hates evil and
loves only good. The book of Job especially gives a
very exalted idea of the holiness of God thus under-
stood. It says that God finds even the angels guilty of
sin. 2 Some portions of Hebrew literature, especially
document C,^ also predicate of God holiness as con-
trasted with Levitical uncleanness. Hence the numer-
ous instances in which uncleanness of this sort is for-
bidden in the Pentateuch. On account of his holiness,
God is also exalted above all that is profane, resenting
the profanation of his holy name.*

^ 1 Pp. 79, 114 f ., 124 f . 2 iv. 18 ; XV. 15 ; comp. xxv. 4-6 ; Hab. i. 13.

3 Lev. xi. 44 1; xix. 2 ; xx. 7, 26.

4 Amos ii. 7 ; Ezek. xx. 22, 39 ; xxxvi. 20-23 ; xxxix. 7, 25 ; xliii.
7 f. ; Isa. xliii. 27 f. ; Mai. i. 11 f. ; Lev. xx. 3 ; xxii. 2, 32.


The holiness of God bears an intimate relation to his
jealousy, his wrath, and his vengeance. The connec-
tion between the holiness of God and his jealousy is
indicated even in document A, in which Joshua says
to the people : " Ye cannot serve Jehovah, for he is a
holy God, he is a jealous God."^ According to Oehler
the jealousy of God is nothing but his holiness active,
breaking forth. ^ What most provokes the jealousy of
God is the idolatry of Israel, the worship paid by them
to other gods.^ Schultz justly remarks that the idea of
the jealousy of God rests on that of the conjugal union
between him and his people.* Hence the use of the
word adultery to designate idolatry in Israel. But
God is also moved to jealousy for his people when he
sees them in a condition of distress or humiliation.^
This latter sentiment, called jealousy with reference to
foreign peoples and oppressors, may change to pity for
Israel.^ It is this sort of jealousy that Moses and
Joshua seek to arouse in God in order to placate him
toward his people and change his wrath into for-

The wrath of God, like his jealousy, is a result, a
manifestation, of his holiness.^ This appears very
clearly, Ezek. xxxviii. 18-23, where it is said that, in

1 Josh. xxiv. 19. 2 § 48 ; comp. Schultz, II. pp. 175 ff.

3 Ex. XX. 3-5; xxxiv. 13 f . ; Deut. xxxii. 16, 21; iv. 23 f.; vi.
14 f. ; xxix. 18-20 ; Ps. Ixxviii. 58. * n. p. 177.

5 Ezek. xxxvi. 5 ; Joel ii. 18 ; 2 Kings xix. 31 ; Zech. i. 14 ; viii. 2.

6 Joel ii. 18.

7 Ex. xxxii. 11 ff. ; Num. xiv. 13 ff. ; Deut. ix. 25 ff. ; Josh. vii.

8 Oehler, § 48 ; Schultz, II. pp. 175 f. ; Ritschl, Bechtfertigung u.
Versohnung, II. p. 137.


his jealousy and his wrath, Jehovah will execute judg-
ment upon the country of Israel, and thus glorify and
sanctify himself. Deut. xxxii. 16 and 22 ff. show that
the jealousy aroused in God by the idolatry of Israel
afterwards kindles his wrath and impels him to punish
the guilty. The same is the case in Deut. vi. 15 and
Ps. Ixxviii. 58 f. These passages show to some extent
what idea Israel had of the wrath of God. Other illus-
trations, drawn exclusively from early passages, will
confirm the above result.

In the old song, Ex. xv., the poet, speaking to Je-
hovah, cries: "In the greatness of thy majesty thou
overthrowest thy adversaries ; thou loosest thy wrath ;
it consumeth them as stubble." ^

In another song in document A, the poet says to the
people: "Thou hast forsaken the Rock that gendered
thee, and thou hast forgotten the God that begot thee.
Jehovah saw it, and he became angry, indignant at his
sons and his daughters." ^ The wrath of God is kindled
against Moses, when he hesitates to betake himself to
Egypt to deliver the children of Israel.^ It is inflamed

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