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cxxxvii. 1) ; but in general the most of them were comfortable.
It was as if they had all migrated to this distant land (whence
their forefathers had long ago come). Their conquerors, tlie
Babylonians, were not unkind to them. They seem to have liad
a district of their own, where they built houses, and planted, and
reaped, and managed their own affairs; and the prophet Jeremiah
exhorted them to be obedient and friendly to the people among
whom they lived (Jer. xxix. 5-7). Indeed, he believed that the
hope of the nation lay in these captives, whom God was purifying
by this chastisement. Not that they all became righteous and
devoted to God. There was discontent, murmuring, oppression,
and probably idolatry among them. Towards the end of the
Exile, possibly, the hand of their masters pressed heavily on
them (Isa. lii., liii.). But by all their experiences the better part
of the people were learning of God's ways; and we shall find
out something of their religious ideas from the two great proph-
ets, Ezekiel and him who is commonly called the Second Isaiah.

2. Ezekiel. — Our only source of information about Ezekiel
is his book; please turn as often as possible to the references,
and see for yourselves what he says. 1. Ezekiel seems to have
been carried off to Mesopotamia at the same time with King
Jehoiachin (b.c. 5!)8) (Ezek. i. 1, 2 Kings xxiv. 15), and to
have lived there the rest of his life in a place called Tel-Abib,
by the river or canal Kebar (Ezek. iii. 15). He began to
prophesy B.C. 593. He was a priest (i. 3), and though there


was no temple of Yah we in Babylon, and he could not offer
sacrifices, he was very much interested in the ritual, as we shall
see; in this he was unlike Jeremiah, who, though a priest, cared
little for sacrifices. He was married (xxiv. 18), and seems to
have lived comfortably in his own house (Jeremiah was un-
married). He was friendly to the Babylonians, and probably
mixed with them and studied their religious customs. He
was a bold and resolute man ; his style of writing is not highly
imaginative, but is striking by his free use of bold imagery.

2. His book may be divided as follows: first come reproofs and
threatenings directed against Israel, all dated before the de-
struction of Jerusalem (i.-xxiv.) ; then prophecies against
foreign nations (xxv.-xxxii.) ; a word when the city was taken
(xxxiii.), followed by prophecies of comfort to Israel, and a
word against Seir or Edom (xxxiv.-xxxix.); finally, a great
vision of the restored Israel, an account of the temple and
worship when the people should go back to Canaan (xl.-xlviii.).

3. Ezekiel believed that the captivity was ordered by God, that
he might purify his people, and show forth his power to the
other nations (xxxvii. 27, 28). He expected that Israel would
be restored as a nation to Canaan, that a king of the line of
David would reign over them as in former times (xxxvii. 21-
26) , that the temple would be rebuilt in greater splendor than
before, and that the people would dwell in their land forever.
They did indeed go back to Canaan, but not just as he expected ;
God's plans were not exactly those of the prophet. 4. Expect-
ing his people's return to their land, he drew up a constitution
or religious code for that happy time. He wrote this in the form
of a vision ; it is contained in chapters xl.-xlviii. It was never
carried into effect, for, when the people did return to Canaan,
they were too poor and weak to adopt his magnificent plans.
From the rules and laws that he gives it appears that he was
not acquainted with the code of Numbers and Leviticus; this
was drawn up later. But he goes beyond the code of Deuter-
onomy. 5. EzekiePs ethical code is lofty and clear. He felt
deeplj' his own i-esponsibility as a religious teacher (iii., xxxiii.).
He insisted strongly on every man's personal responsibility
(xviii.) ; he who does wrong, said he, must answer for it him-


self. He was a firm believer in the holiness and justice of the
God of Israel, and a faithful teacher of his people. He was a
priest, and perhaps thought overmuch of the temple and sacri-
fices. But these were really necessary at that time, and he was
truly a God-fearing man, filled with the spirit of God.

3. The Second Isaiah. — Ezekiel wrote in the early part of
the captivity, when Israel's part was to submit to the Babylo-
nians. After a while the Medes and Persians began to be
powerful, and the Israelites hoped to be delivered by them, and
restored to their own land. Then the prophets began to speak
against the Babylonians. Toward the end of the tlxWe there
lived a great prophet, whose name we do not know. It hap-
pened somehow that his writings were joined on to those of
Isaiah, whom we have already studied (Lesson XII.), and they
are now printed in our Bible as chapters xl.-lxvi. of the proph-
ecy of Isaiah. For want of a better name we call him the
Second Isaiah (it is possible that his name was really Isaiah,
and that this was the reason of his being confounded with the
earlier prophet). The later Jews thought he was the same as
the Isaiah of Hezekiah's time; but we know from his writings
that he lived in the latter part of the Exile. About him we
may say: 1. His style is marked by loftiness of imagination;
more than any other prophet he maintains his thought in the
region of the poetic and the ideal. 2. He looks to the speedy
restoration of his people to their own land. He speaks of the
great Persian king, Cyrus, as having already conquered many
nations, and as now approaching Babylon, and calls him "right-
eous," and Yahwe's " shepherd," and " anointed one " (xli. 2,
xliv. 28, xlv. 1-4) ; by him the Chaldeans (Babylonians) shall
be destroyed, and Israel sent back to worship Yah we in Jerusa-
lem (xb/ii. 1, lii. 1-12). 3. He has little to say about temple
and sacrifices. He rather describes Israel as the " servant of
Yahwe," chastened by captivity that it may more perfectly
perform the divine will in enlightening and saving the other
nations. See xli. 8, xlii. 1-4, 19, xliv. 1-8, xlix. 1-3. In one
or two places he speaks of the pious of Israel as atoning by their
suffering for the sins of their own people and of other nations;



so in xlix. 6 and the section from lii. 13 to the end of liii.
This last passage, particularly chapter liii., is a beautiful de-
scription of an innocent person suffering for others. The
prophet is speaking of the pious people of Israel, the spiritual
kernel of the nation ; but it is true of all God's servants, and
particularly of Jesus, to whom it is applied in the New Testa-
ment (Acts viii. 32, 33). He was in a special sense the " ser-
vant of the Lord" (see Luke iv. 17-21). 4. It is hard to give
an outline of the prophet's thought. His book is one continued
strain (with here and there a slight exception) of splendid por-
traiture of Israel's coming glory through its knowledge of
Yahwe. He ridicules idolatry (xl. 18-20, xliv. 9-20; and com-
pare Ps. cxv. 4-8), but he has nothing to say against any foreign
nation but Babylon.

4. Other Exilian Writings. — About this time also were
probably written the following prophecies: Is. xiii., xiv. 1-27,
xxxiv., XXXV., Jer. 1., li. ; and several of the Psalms, such as
xiv. (and liii., which is the same thing), cxxx., cxxxvii., and
perliaps li.


1. On the Exile in general: the histories of Israel, and par-
ticularly Ewald's.

2. On Ezekiel: articles in encyclopedias and commentaries,
particularly Smend's (in the " Kurzgefasstes Exegetisches Hand-
buch ").

3. On Isaiah II.: Ewald's "Prophets," commentaries of
Knobel and Cheyne; article in Encycl. Brit.; Matthew Arnold
has printed an excellent little edition of the prophecy, with
brief notes, London, 1872.


1. What became of the first Israelitish captives in Assyria? — what of
the later .Judean captives in Babylon? Did they snffer? Were their con-
querors unkind to them? Did they make homes for themselves in Babvlon?
What advice did Jeremiah give themV What did he believe in reference to
them? Were they all good? From what source shall we learn something of
their religious ideas?


2. What is our source of information about Ezekiel? When was he
carried away to Mesopotamia? When did he begin to prophesy? What
was his calling in life? Wherein was he like and wherein unlike Jeremiah?
How did he feel toward the Babylonians? What was his character? — his
style? Can you turn to his book and point out its divisions by chapters?
What did he think was the object of the captivity? What did he expect for
his people? Did this come to pass exactly according to his ideas? What
did he draw up for the people? Did they adopt it when they returned to
Canaan? Why not? Is his ritual as full as that of Leviticus and Numbers?
Is it fuller than that of Deuteronomy? What is the character of his ethical
code? How did he feel for himself? What did he insist on? Was he a
faithful teacher and prophet?

3. When did the prophets Ezekiel and Jeremiah speak kindly of the
Babylonians? What change took place in the circumstances? How did the
prophets then speak of Babylon? At what time did a great anonymous
prophet arise? What happened to his writings? Where are they now
printed? What do we call him? What did the later Jews think of him?
What date for him do his writings indicate? What is his style? What did
he look to for the peojile? How does he speak of Chorus? What does he call
him? What does he expect him to do for Israel? Does he say much of
temples and sacrifices? How does he describe Israel? What does he say
of atoning by suffering? What chapter speaks especially of this? Is this
true of all true servants of God? Of whom is it particularly true? Is it
easy to give an outline of the thought of the whole prophesy? How does
it si)eak of idolatry? May we suppose that Ezekiel and the Second Isaiah
represent different sides of the ideas of the Jewish captives? Can you tell
what the more pious and spiritual among them hoped for? [See what is
said in the Lesson of the hopes of the two prophets.]

4. AVhat other prophecies were probably written during the Exile? What
Psalms? Why do we suppose that these were composed in Exile? [Because
they contain references and allusions to the Exile.]



1. Character of the Period. — We have now reached the
priestly period of the history of the Israelitish religion. The
great prophets had done their work; they had preached right-


eousness of life and spirituality of worship. Through the guid-
ance of God Israel had thrown ofE idolatry, and now, when the
Exile was over, had come to worship one God. But now also,
just in proportion as they honored their God, they began to wish
for stricter rules of outward religious service. They felt that
they must keep themselves separate from the other nations, who
worshipped idols; and to do this they must build around them-
selves a hedge of laws and ceremonies. This sort of service
would of course be directed by priests. A few prophets spoke
after the Exile; but the priests gradually got the control of
things. It is this religious progress that we are most concerned
with, from the return from exile to the time of the Maccabees;
the political history is meagre and of little interest.

2. The Return from Exile. — In the year B.C. 539 Baby-
lon was taken and the Babylonian empire destroyed by the
Medes and Persians under Cyrus. The new empii-e thus estab-
lished by the Persians comprised the whole of western Asia, and
Judea was one of its provinces. The Persian king was not un-
willing to have a people friendly to him dwelling on the border
of his empire towards Egypt; so he gave permission to the
Jewish captives in Babylon to go back to their own land, and
some of them accordingly went (B.C. 536). Not all of the people
returned; perhaps the majority stayed in Babylon, not choosing
to risk the chances of the desolate and defenceless land of Judah,
and in Babylon their descendants dwelt for more than a thousand
years. About 40,000 (with 7,000 servants) returned to Canaan,
under the lead of Zerubbabel (Ezra i., ii. 64), and of these over
4,000 were priests. Very few Levites came. Till a short while
before, all Levites had been priests (so it is in the book of Deu-
teronomy), but about Ezekiel's time a distinction was made
between them; the Levites were not permitted to offer sacri-
fices, and were in an inferior position. Hence not many of
them cared to go back to Canaan, where they could not expect
positions of honor.

3. The Building of the Temple. — We can easily under-
stand that the returned exiles were kept busy building their


houses, sowing their fields, and bringing their little community
into shape. However, they did not forget the claims of religion;
soon after their return they set up the altar, and laid the founda-
tions of the temple. But there were various hinderances : the
people, hard pressed to get their daily bread (Hag. i. 6), were
probably slack in work; and it seems that their jealous neigh-
bors made trouble for them at the Persian court (Ezra iv. 24).
For about sixteen j'ears nothing was done. Then (b.c. 520) the
prophets Haggai and Zechariah came forward with exhortations,
the people set to woi-k, and the new temple (called the second
temple) was finished in the sixth year of Darius Hystaspis,
B.C. 515. It was not as grand as Ezekiel's, nor as splendid as
kSolomon's; when the foundations were laid, the old men, re-
membering the glory of the first house of Yahwe, wept in the
midst of their rejoicing, seeing how much less was the outward
glorjf of this second house (Ezra iii. 12, 13). But Haggai told
them afterwards that the glory of the latter house should be
greater than that of the former (Hag. ii. 9) ; and so it turned
out. This handful of people had founded the new Jewish

4. Haggai and Zechariah. — Two prophets belong to this
period. Of the first, Haggai, a few words have been pi'eserved,
spoken in the second year of Darius, b c. 520. They are exhor-
tations to build the temple, and promises of blessing. He seems
to have expected political power for his people (ii. 20-23) ; but
God had other designs. The second prophet, Zecha-
riah, had a number of visions (b.c. 520), encouraging the people
to build the temple, and again (b.c. 518), taught them tliat they
were not to fast in commemoration of the capture of the city
(chapter vii.), but to be righteous in their lives, and hope for
God's blessing (viii.). Only chapters i.-viii. of this book are
the production of this prophet, the contemporary of Haggai;
chapters ix.-xiv. belong to a different time.

5. The History up to the Maccabees. — After the building
of the temple, the Jews in Canaan seem to have gone on quietly
for a number of years, under Persian governors; we have no


account of this period. But their religion moved steadily for-
ward. Those Jews who had stayed in Babylonia had been study-
ing the law, and about B.C. 457 one of them, named Ezra, came
over to Judea and introduced or gave a great impulse to this study
among the jjeople. His efforts were seconded by Nehemiah, who
about B.C. 444 was sent over by the Persian king to be governor.
Xeheniiah also built the walls of Jerusalem, and decidedly
strengthened the feeble little nation. See the interesting ac-
count of all this in his book, and in Ezra vii.-x. After this the
Jewish political history is a blank for almost 300 years ; there
are no reliable records relating to it. Judea remained a prov-
ince of the Persian empire till its overthrow by Alexander the
Great (b.c. 332), and then came into the hands of the Greeks.
For many years it was a bone of contention between the Greek
kingdoms of Egypt and Syria, but finally came into the posses-
sion of the latter (b.c. 198). Then followed soon tlie INIaccabean
struggle (Lesson XX.). Meanwhile several important

events had occurred. 1. Nearly the whole of Canaan, or, as it was
afterwards called, Palestine, was filled up by Jews; and a good
many foreigners likewise came to live in it. 2. On the other
hand, the Jews began to settle in all the countries of the Greek
and Roman world, where they became very prosperous. They
were especially numerous and influential in Egypt. They even
built a temple there, at a place called Leontopolis in Heliopolis,
but this did not amount to much; all over the world the Jews
remained faithful to the temple at Jerusalem. More important
was the Greek translation of the Old Testament which the
Alexandrian Jews began about B.C. 275 and finished about B.C.
100. This is what is now called the Septuagint; it is a great
help in the study of the Old Testament. 8. The Samaritans
(see Lesson XI.) gradually came to be a distinct religious com-
munity. They built a temple on Mount Gerizim (Deut. xxvii.
12), and kept up a worship of the one God independent of Jeru-
salem (John iv. 20). They also had a copy of the Pentateuch,
the text of which has been preserved. 4. The Jews seem to have
accepted certain religious ideas from the Persians, and to have
developed certain of their own ideas under Persian influence.
For example, the doctrine of angels becomes distincter in this


period, and the idea of guardian angels, found in the books of
Daniel and Tobit, is very much like that of the Persians. Pos-
sibly also it was under Persian influence that the doctrine of tlie
resurrection of the body was acquired. 5. During this period
synagogues were established (see Lesson XXI V.).

6. Malachi, Joel, Zechariah II., Zechariah III. — We can

barely mention the prophets of this period. Malachi (about
B.C. 420) may be called a legal prophet; he rebukes the people
for their failure to fulfil the requirements of the temple-service.
Joel probably lived early in the Greek period. On the occasion
of a great plague of locusts (i.-ii. 27) he predicted the outpour-
ing of God's spirit on all flesh (ii. 28-32; see Acts ii. 16-21), and
announced a judgment of the nations (iii.). Not far from this
time belongs the prophecy contained in Zech. xii.-xiv., which
predicts the triumph of Yahwe's worship at Jerusalem. The date
of Zech. ix.-xi. is uncertain, but it also seems to belong to the
Greek period, perhaps about B.C. 300. It speaks of Israel's suffer-
ing and futui'e restoration to prosperity. All these prophets taught
that holiness of life, in obedience to God, and with faith in him,
would bring blessing to the people; and the blessing did really
come, not in the shape of political independence and power, but in
the person of the Great Teacher whom God raised up out of Israel.


1. On the history: Ewald's " History of Israel;" Prideaux's
"Connection;" Stanley's "Jewish Church," vol. iii.; Reuss,
" Geschichte des Alten Testaments," Braunschweig, 1881.

2. On the Septuagint: the books of Introduction and the

3. On the histoi-y of the doctrines of angels and the resurrec-
tion: Nicolas, "Doctrines Religieuses des Juifs; " articles in
Herzog, Schenkel, Encyclopaedia Britannica; histories of Ewald
and others.

4. On the prophets : the commentaries on the ISIinor
Prophets; articles in Encyclopaedia Britannica. On Zech. ix.-
xiv., Stade in the "Zeitschrift fUr Alttestamentliche Wissen-



1. What period have we uow reached ? What had the prophets preached V
What had Israel doueV What did they now wish ? Why should they keep
themselves separate from other nations? How could they do this? Who
would have the control of this service ? With what are we concerned in
this period?

2. When and by whom was Babvlon taken ? What was the extent of
the Persian empire? Why was the Persian king willing that the Jews
should return to their land? When did they go back ? Did all go ? Why
not ? How many returned ? How many of these were priests? Why did
more priests than Levites return ?

3. How were the returned exiles at first employed? Did they forget the
claims of religion ? What did they do ? What hinderances were in their
way ? When did the two prophets come forward ? When was the tem-
ple finished ? Why did the old men weep ? What did Haggai say? What
had this handful of people founded ?

4. When did Haggai prophesy ? ' What does he say ? What did he ex-
pect ? What was the object of Zechariah's visions ? What else did he
teach ? What part of the book called Zechariah belongs to this time ?

5. After the building of the temple, what was the condition of the Jews?
Did their religion go forward? What Jews had been studying the law?
Who came to Judea ? When ? Whence ? For what purpose ? Who
seconded his efforts ? What did he do ? What of the history for the next
three hundred years ? Into whose hands did Judea finally fall ? Mention an
important event that occurred during this period ? Mention another ?
Where were the Jews especially numerous ? What did they build ?
Did it amount to much? What translation did they make? When?
What third event occurred ? What did they build ? What book had they ?
Under what influence do the Jews seem at this time to have attained new
religious ideas ? What doctrines now first clearl3^ appear ? What religious
gatherings now came into use ?

6. When did Joel probabl}' live ? Can you point out the divisions of his
book? Who quotes him in the New Testament? Has God's spirit been
poured out on all men ? What is the date of Zech. sii.-xiv. ? What does
it predict ? The date of Malachi ? For what does he rebuke the people ?
Of what does Zech. ix.-xi speak ? Do we know its date certainly ? What
did all these prophets teach ? How has the blessing come ?




We must go back, and look for a moment at the great relig-
ious movement which is connected with the name of Ezra. We
shall have to ask what it is that he did, and how the Pentateuch
came to have its present form. This is the starting-point of
the Judaism of Christ's time.

1. Progress of Legal and Priestly Ideas. — It was a long
time before the Israelites built up their great Law, which we now
have in the Pentateuch. At first they got on without written
law. Their judges and kings governed according to their own
notions of right. The priests offered sacrifices all over the land
according to customs that had been handed down from genera-
tion to generation. Gradually, as society became better organ-
ized, the religious laws or rules were more accurately defined, and
the priests, who carried out these laws, became more and more
influential. Small collections of laws were made by pious men.
As the devotion to Yahwe, God of Israel, increased, the necessity
for a formal worship according to rule was more deeply felt.
This feeling was strengthened during the Exile, when the more
thoughtful Israelites began to reflect on the condition of the
nation. What is it, they asked, that we want? And the
answer was : We want a law, which shall keep us near Yahwe,
and separate us from the other nations. So they began to
gather up all the old laws, and make new ones, and write them
down. And of course, along with this, the priests became very
important persons. At last, indeed, they bpcame the most
powerful class in the nation; the more that the political inde-
pendence of the people was lost. The nation came to be priest-
ridden. Yet it is probable that the priests and others who
made these laws wished to train the people to be holy, so that
they might have the blessing of the holy Yahwe.

2. "What Ezra did. — Ezra lived at the time when the col-
lection of religious laws was very nearly completed. As we have


seen, it was the Jews in Babylonia who were particularly zealous
in this legal study; those who had returned to Palestine were
so busy with the bodily labors of a new settlement that they had
little time for study of any sort, but the Babylonian Jews had
leisure to think and write. Among them Ezra had learned the
law. No doubt he was surprised and shocked when he heard
from occasional visitors that his brethren in Palestine were not
living according to its prescriptions. So he determined to go
and teach them, and accordingly got permission from the Per-
sian king (Artaxerxes Longimanus), came to Jerusalem, and
began his work. With the aid of Nehemiah he seems to have

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