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succeeded in inducing the people to obey certain rules of the
law, such as not marrying foreign wives, and keeping the sab-
bath and the great festivals. He was a reformer, something
like Luther. He began a new phase of Jewish life. Exactly
how long he worked, and how much he accomplished in his life-
time, we don't know; but from his time it was that the Jews
became " the people of the book." We must describe this

3. Formation of the Pentateuch. — In those days (before
Ezra's time) the Israelites had no Bible, no collection of sacred
books, which they regarded as having been given them by God.
Hereafter (Lesson XXIII.) we shall see how their Scriptures
(our Old Testament) were gradually gathered together. It was
in Ezra's time that this collecting began. We do not know
that he himself gathered the laws into a book, — it is more prob-
able that this process had been going on for some time in Baby-
lonia, and that he was only one out of many workers, per-
haps a very able and important one. He may have edited,
as we now say, almost all of the Pentateuch. Let us look
awhile at this book. The word " Pentateuch " (a Greek
word, invented long afterwards in Alexandria) means "the
fivefold book," that is, the great work which contains the
five books, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deu-
teronomy. The Jews regarded it as the book, the Tora
(instruction or law), the foundation and essence of their relig-
ion. But these five books were not written all at once; their


composition extended over several centuries. From time to
time the traditions of the early times (Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob) were committed to writing; this began as early as B.C.
800, or perhaps earlier. Then the accounts of the creation and
the first fortunes of the human race were probably learned from
the Babylonians during the Exile, and all these stories were put
together to form the book of Genesis. Similar traditions con-
cerning the march from Egypt through the wilderness to Canaan
constitute the historical part of Exodus and Numbers. At the
same time collections of law were being made. About B.C. 750
or 800 some man wrote down a little law book, including in it the
chief civil and religious laws of that time. More than a century
later (b.c. 622) the legal part of Deuteronomy was composed.
After this other usages came into existence, and were set down
in books. As the ideas of the temple-worship expanded, the
priests would make new prescriptions. So, finally, the books of
Leviticus and Numbers and the account of the tabernacle in
Exodus were written. Then some one, perhaps Ezra, brought
all this material together, and the Pentateuch was formed. And,
inasmuch as Moses was looked on as the great lawgiver, all of
it was ascribed to him ; that is, it was declared to be all the
word of God; and, indeed, it was believed by the priests to be
necessary to the holiness and happiness of Yahwe's people,
Israel. Many of these ceremonial laws are curious, and deserve
study. They were, no doubt, beneficial in their time ; but they
are of no religious use now; they were superseded by the prin-
ciples that Jesus taught.

4. Character of the Pentateuch. — The Pentateuch may
almost be said to be an epitome of the religious history of
ancient Israel. Some of its narratives (not traditions, but
probably reliable history) go back to B.C. 1000 or 1200, or even
earlier. Some of its customs and laws are equally old. On the
other hand, it contains laws and perhaps narrations which came
into existence after the Exile, as late as the middle of the fifth
century b.c. Its growth is parallel to that of tlie nation. It is
the Israelitisli Thesaurus, or Treasury of Traditions and Laws.
Each narrative or collection of laws bears the impress of the


age in which it originated; the whole is a panorama of the
religion of Israel. Cai'eful examination of the Penta-

teuch shows that its different parts are distinguished by the use
of different divine names, some having Elohim (" God " in the
English version), others Yahwe (The Lord in the English ver-
sion) ; see Gen. i., ii., iii., and iv^ The Yahwe-parts are the
older; the Elohim- portions were written after the people began
to drop the local, national name of the deity, and adopt the
general designation " God." The history of the Flood, for
example (Gen. vi.-ix.), is made up from two distinct narratives.
On looking at it you will see that sometimes " God " and some-
times " The Lord " is used, and there are other differences cor-
responding to these. Thus in chapter vi., verses 11-13 describe
the same thing as verses 5-7 (in verse 5 instead of God read The
Loud) ; vii. 1-5 goes over the same ground as vi. 14.-22.
From this time on the religious history of the Jews is insepar-
ably connected with the Pentateuch. From it they draw their
inspiration of mind and soul; it furnishes their philosophy as
well as their religion.


1. On Ezra and his works: the commentaries and diction-
aries. His legendary history is given in Fourth Esdras (Second

2. On the origin and construction of the Pentateuch: the
Introductions of DeWette-Schrader and Bleek-Wellhausen;
articles " Bible " and " Pentateuch " and articles on the several
books of the Pentateuch in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.


To what point must we now go back ? What shall we have to ask ?

1. How did the Israelit'.?s get on before they had a written law ? What
happened as societ}' became better organized ? As devotion to Yahwe in-
creased, what was more strongly felt? How was this feeling strengthened?
What did the more thoughtful men think they wanted ? What did they
begin to do? Who then became important? What is meant by being
priest-ridden V Did the priests have a good motive in what the}' did ?


2. At what time did Ezra live ? What Jews were particularly zealous
in the study of the law ? Why not those of Palestine ? What was p]zra
surprised to hear ? What did he do ? Did he succeed in his attempt ?
Was he a reformer V Like whom V Do we know exactly what he accom-
plished in his life-time ? What was true of the Jews from his time '?

3. Had the Jews a Bible before Ezra's time ? What do j'ou mean b^'
a Bible V When did the collecting of the Scriptures begin V Was it he who
collected them ? What may he have done ? What is the meaning of the
word Pentateuch ? What books does it comprise ? How did the Jews
regard it ? Were these books all written at once V Can you tell how the
book of Genesis arose? — the historical part of Exodus and Numbers?
When was the first collection of laws made, so far as we know ? What fol-
lowed next ? What then ? What books came thus to be written ? How
was the Pentateuch then formed ? To whom was it ascribed ? Why ?
What did this signify? What did the priests believe? What maj' be
said of the ceremonial laws ?

4. What may the Pentateuch be said to be ? How early are some of
its narratives and laws ? How late are others ? What would you saj' of
its growth? What is meant b}' calling it a thesaurus ? In what sense is
it a panorama ? How are its different parts distinguished ? What are the
two divine names ? Which parts are the older? What example can you
give of a narrative made out of two other narratives? From this time what
is true of the religious history of the Jews ?



The Period of Ezra. — For several hundred years after the
Restoration (the return to Canaan) the Jews of Babylonia and
Palestine were chiefly occupied with working out their Law ;
their religious mission was to fix the rules of religious life which
they believed had been divinely revealed to them. Ezra and
his friends, as we have seen, composed the Pentateuch ; and his
disciples after him for two hundred years continued to study it
zealously. We may therefore call this period (say B.C. 500-250)
by his name. Besides the prophets already mentioned (Lesson
XVII.) this period produced several interesting books of which
we must now say a word.


1. The Book of Chronicles. — The book of Chronicles is a
history of Judah, composed or finished about B.C. 300. As
early as the middle of the Exile there had been written a liistory
of the whole nation, from the time of the Judges down to the
carrying away to Babylon ; this history is given in the books of
Judges, Samuel, and Kings (see Lesson XV.). But it was com-
posed before the final Pentateuchal legislation ; it breathes the
spirit of the prophets and the book of Deuteronomy, that is, it
lays little stress on the ceremonial law. But a change had now
come over the nation. The temple-ritual had been introduced.
All the details of the service, such as the offerings and the sing-
ing, were now thought to be very important. jS'aturally those
who had become used to these things supposed that they had
always existed. It was equally natural to wish to have a history
of the temple from the beginning. So, after a while, some pious
priest or Levite sat down to compose a history of the kingdom
of Jerusalem, in which the temple was situated. This history
(our book of Chronicles) goes over the same ground as Second
k.'amuel and Kings. But it leaves oat much that they have, and
puts in much that they have not. It leaves out a good deal of
the political and personal history ; it pats in a great deal relat-
ing to the temple-service. The author cites older writings ; but
he fills up the picture according to his own ideas. Thus the
book is not valuable as a history of the kingdom of Judah ; we
cannot usually rely on it where it differs from Samuel and
Kings. But it is very valuable as an exposition of the ideas of
the author's own time. It shows us that som.e of the Jews then
attached more importance to temple-ceremonies than to any
other part of religion.

2. The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. — The books of Ezra
and Nehemiah formed originally one book, and were, moreover,
a part or a continuation of Chronicles. It brings the history
down to the Exile and mentions the Restoration ; they begin
with the Restoration, and come down to the end of Nehemiah's
government (about B.C. 430) ; they also give a list of priests
down to the time of Alexander the Great (Neh. xii. 10, 11).
Their object is to describe the building of the second temple.


and the enforcement of the Law by Ezra and Nehemiali. This
was, in fact, the introduction of the complete ceremonial law. Jt
was the founding of the new Jewish Church.

3. The Book of Jonah. — In contrast with this legal litera-
ture is another work, which may be assigned to this period,
though its exact date is uncertain. The story of the book of
Jonah is familiar to us all. The prophet is sent to preach the
wrath of God to the great city of Nineveh. The people rej^ent
and God pardons them. At this the prophet murmurs ; but
God teaches him that it is right to be merciful even to the
heathen. Thus, while the legalists were building a wall of
ceremonies between Israel and the other nations, the unknown
autlior of this little book taught that God's mercy is not
bounded by national lines. It is a teaching worthy of the
New Testament (see Matt. xii. 41). The hero of the story
is the prophet of the time of Jeroboam II. (2 Kings xiv.
25) , but the book is a religious apologue composed long after
this. Its religious value is independent of the adventures in
chapter i.

4. The Book of Esther. — The book of Esther was written
to give an account of the Jewish feast of Purim, which is still
celebrated on the llth and 15th days of the month Adar (about
the first of March). It is referred to in 2 Maccabees xv. 30,
under the name of the day of Mardochseus (Mordecai). This feast
commemorates a deliverance of the Jews from a Persian pei'se-
cutor, and is highly valued by them. But the book breathes no
pure religious spirit ; it contains nothing but hatred and revenge.
The name of God does not occur in it, and it says nothing of
prayer. It is merely a record of national feeling. To make up
for its religious deficiencies, some chapters containing prayers
were afterwards added to it ; these are found in the Greek ver-
sion, but not in the Hebrew. The story is laid in the time of
the Persian king Xerxes (Ahasuerus). It is hardly reliable

5. The Book of Job. — It is probably to this period- (though
it may be a hundred years earlier) that we are to assign a re-


markable book (Job), which introduces us to a new species of
literature and a new phase of Israelitisli thought. Israel had
not only prophets, who preached trust in and obedience to Israel's
holy God, and priests, who directed his worship in the temples,
but also wise men or sages, who studied philosophy. By phil-
osophy we mean the explanation of man's soul, of human life,
and of the world. The Israelitish philosophers seem to have
confined themselves at first to giving short descriptions of facts
of life, and rules for its guidance, in the form of apothegms or
proverbs (see Lessons XXI. and XXII.). Afterwards they dis-
cussed wider questions, and especially whether goodness is
always rewarded with outward prosperity in this world. The
great mystery was that sometimes good men seem to suffer, and
bad men to be prosperous and happy ; how could a holy God
permit this ? For a long time the sages explained this by say-
ing that good men were always eventually rewarded and bad
men always came to a bad end (see, for example, Ps. Ixxiii.).
Nobody said anything of a future life ; on this point the ancient
Israelites had very dim ideas. But this explanation

was not satisfactory to all thinkers ; it is, in fact, not true. It
did not satisfy the author of the book of Job, and he looks for
some other solution. The plan of the book is this. A rich and
powerful sheikh or pastoral prince is suddenly overwhelmed with
misfortunes ; he loses his property and his children, and is
afflicted with loathsome leprosy. Thi-ee of his friends come to
condole with him (chapters i. , ii.). Then they fall to discussing
his case, — why was he thus stricken ? The three friends give
the old explanation : it was, they said, because he had been a
great sinner, and this suffering was the just punishment of his
sins. He answered that he was not a great sinner; that he had,
on the contrary, been upright, and that he would prove it, if he
could only see God, and plead his cause face to face. Finally,
however, he affirmed his confidence in God (iii.-xxxi.). Then,
in the original form of the poem, followed the address of Yahwe
(xxxviii.-xli.), in which he sets forth his power, and leaves Job
to infer that he is to submit to God's providences without being
able to' understand them. And at the end, Job regains pros-
perity and happiness (xlii.). Afterwards an addition was made


to the argument; another speaker (Elihu) was introduced, who
affirmed that the object of suffering is to make men better (xxxii.
-xxxvii.J. So the argument of the book is not conclusive; but it
contains noble religious sentiments (especially emphasizing trust
in God), and it shows us how earnestly one part of Israel were at
this time seeking to know the ways of God with men. God spoke
to his people and to us no less through the sages than through
the prophets and the priests. The book of Job is one of the most
splendid poetical productions of the world. The narrative por-
tion (chapters i., ii., xlii.) is only a frame- work for the relig-
ious argument. There may have been a man named Job who
suffered great misfortunes; but the scenes in wliich Satan ap-
pears, and the speeches of Job and his friends and of Yahwe,
are the invention of the author of the book.


1. On Chronicles : see Lesson VII. The works on Intro-
duction may be consulted for all books.

2. On Ezra and Nehemiah : Bertheau's Commentary, and
articles in encyclopaedias and dictionaries.

3. On Jonah : the commentaries on the ]\Iinor Prophets,
and the books on Prophecy.

4. On Esther: " Kurzgefasstes Exegetisches Handbuch ; "
articles in cyclopedias.

5. On Job : commentaries of Delitzsch, Merx, Cox, Lange;
articles in cyclopedias; W. H. Green's "Book of Job;"
Kenan's French translation; Froude, " Short Studies," I.


How were the Jews of Babylonia and Palestine occupied after the Restora-
tion ? What was their mission ? What did Ezra and his friends and dis-
ciples do ? Why may we call this the Ezra period ? What is its date ?
Wiiat books were then written ?

1, What is the book of Chronicles ? Abont when was it written ? What
history of tlie whole nation was before tliis in existence ? What sjiirit did
it breathe ? Wliat change had now come over the people ? What did those
who had been used to these things tliink ? What did they wish ? What



did a priest or Levite do ? Over wliat ground does this history go ? What
does it leave out ? What does it put in ? What does the author do ? Is
the book valuable as a history of the kingdom of Judah i" How is it valu-
able ? What does it show ?

2. What is the relation of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah to Chronicles ?
Where does Chronicles end ? Where do Ezra and Nehemiah begin V [Com-
pare 2 Chron. xxxvi. 22, 23, with Ezra i 1—3.] What list of priests do they
give y What is their object ? What was this in fact ?

3. What book stands in contrast with this legal literature ? What is the
story f)f the book V What did its author teach ? Is this worthy of the
New Testament ? Who is the hero of the story V Was the book composed
by him ? Of what is its religious value independent ? Can you explain
what you mean by this ?

4. For what purpose was the book of Esther written V Where is this
feast mentioned V What was it intended to commemorate V What is its
spirit y What does not occur in it y How did this happen y [The author
was thinking wholly of the event he was describing, as a national triumph.]
What were afterwards added to it 'i Where are these found ? In what time
is the story laid ? Is it reliable history y

5. What other book is probably to be assigned to this period y Does it
belong to a different sort of literature from that we have been considering ?
What writers did Israel huve besides priests and prophets y What did the
prophets do y — the priests y What did the sages study ? What is philoso^
phy y To what did the Israelitish philosophers at first confine themselves ?
What question particularly did they afterwards discuss ? What was the
great mystery to them y How did they explain it for a long time 'i In what
Psalm is the explanation given ? [Read the Psalm.] Did they speak of a
future life y Why not y [We shall see how they gradually got clearer
ideas.] Was this explanation satisfactorj- to all persons y Did it satisfy the
author of the book of Job y Do we know who he was y [No.] What is
the p'an of the book y Can you point out the divisions by chapters y Does
the b ok after all explain why good men sometimes suffer, and bad men are
sometimes prosperous y Can you explain this ? What does the book con-
tain y What does it show us y How did God speak to his people y What
is to be said of the book of Job as poetrj' y What of the narrative portion y
Was there a man named Job y What parts of the book are the composition
of the author y




The Struggle for Freedom. — In a former Lesson (XVII.)
we have followed the political history down to the point where
Judea fell under the control of the Greek kingdom of Syria.
We must now describe the Jews' straggle for freedom, and the
foi'tiines of the native dynasty that thence arose ; it is a time of
splendid heroism, when for one brief moment the national life
flamed out gloriously before it sank forever under the iron power
of Rome.

1. Antiochus Epiphanes. — While the successoi's of Alex-
ander had been quarrelling among themselves over his empire,
the Roman republic had been slowly gathering strength, and
now, having conquered its neighbors in Europe, had begun to
interfere in the affairs of western Asia. It acted as arbiter and
judge between rival powers. However, it did not always inter-
fere in the internal management of the various kingdoms. It
allowed Syria to govern Judea ; and after a while the Jews re-
belled against Syrian oppression. It happened in this way. In
the year 175 b.c. Antiochus IV., called Epiphanes (the illus-
trious), ascended the throne of Syria. He was a man not with-
out military skill and administrative capacity, but extravagant,
inordinately ambitious, cruel, and bent on carrying out his plans
witliout regard to the rights or comfort of others. Vexed at the
failure of one of his attacks on Egypt (when the Romans inter-
fered and stopped him), he vented his anger on the Jews, many
of whom he put to death Finally he determined to force them
to give up their own religion, and adopt his. He carried off the
sacred vessels of the temple, and built an altar to Zeus (Jupiter)
on the altar of burnt offering in the temple-court; he caused
swine's flesh to be sacrificed in the sacred place; he forbade the
people to circumcise their children; and he tried to destroy the
sacred books. The Jews bore loss of property and of life; but
they could not give up the religion of their fathei's. They re-


2. The Two Jewish Parties. — But not all the people
opposed the designs of the Syrian king. They were divided in-
to two parties, one of which was favorable to foreign ideas, while
the other was bitterly hostile to them. The former was the
Hellenizing party ; those who belonged to it adopted Grecian
names, introduced games and gymnasiums, and tried to be as
much like Greeks as possible. The other was the national party,
who believed in holding to the customs of their forefatliers ;
they were also called the Hasidim, that is, the Pious. We see
it was a dispute very much like that between the prophets and
the Baal-worshippers long before (Lesson IX.). The Helleniz-
ing party aided Antiochus in his designs, and the Samaritans
sent word to him that they were unconnected with and hostile
to the Jews.

3. The "War of Freedom. — The national party were de-
termined to resist the king. War was brought on, very much
as in the American Revolution (battle of Lexington). One day
a Syrian (Greek) officer came to a little place called Modin to
set up the Grecian worship there. An old priest named Matta-
thias slew him, and then fled with his friends to the wilderness.
Here, aided by his five valiant sons, he kept up a war against
the Syrians. After his death his son Judas became the leader
of the national party. He is the hero of the war. Fertile in
invention, able in action, with a courage that nothing could
daunt, ardently devoted to the religion of Israel, he was the idol
of the patriots, and the saviour of his country. Over and over
again he defeated large bodies of Syrians with a handful of
troops. He recovered Jerusalem, and purged the temple of
idols. Meantime King Antiochus died, and in December, 161
B.C., the temple was dedicated anew to the God of Israel, and a
feast instituted in commemoration of the happy event. This
was the Feast of tlie Dedication of which we read in the New
Testament (John x. 22). From his bravery Judas received the
name of Maccabaeus (which perhaps means " the hammer"), and
his family are thence called the Maccabees, and this period the
Maccabean age. He fell in battle, and was succeeded by his
brothers Jonathan and Simon. The latter was a wise and good
man ; under him the Syrians made a treaty with the Jews, and


ne sent an embassy to Rome, which was favorably received.
The independence of the nation was now established; Simon
became the chief political and religious officer (prince and high-

4. The Hasmonean Dynasty. — Thus was established a
native Judean dynasty of priest-princes. They were called Ilas-
moneans (or Asmoneans), the origin of which name is uncertain.
Simon died B.C. 135. His son, John Ilyrcanus I., conquered
the Idumeans (EdomJ, and destroyed the Samaritan temple on
Mount Gerizim. John's son Aristobulus is said by Josephus to
be the first of the line who assumed the title of king. Now
began tiic decline of the little kingdom. After Aristobulus came
his brother, Alexander Jann.ieus, whose sons, Hyrcanus and Aris-
tobulus, after his death disputed the crown between them. The
Ivomans interfered, and Pompey captured Jerusalem (b.c. 64),

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