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altar of God itself (ii. 2). All the leading men and every
wise man in the council were put to death ; and the blood of
the inhabitants of Jerusalem was poured out like unclean
water (viii. 23). The inhabitants of the land were carried
away captive into the West, and its princes insulted (xvii.
13, 14, ii. 6, viii. 24). But at last the dragon that had
conquered Jerusalem (ii. 29) was itself put to death on the
mountains of Egypt by the sea-shore. But his body was
allowed to lie unburied (ii. 30, 31). It can scarcely require
any further commentary to prove that we are here dealing
with the time of the conquest of Jerusalem by Pompey, and
that it is to it alone that the circumstances presupposed can
be said to apply. The princes who had been so arrogant as
to assume the rule over Jerusalem and take possession of the
throne of David, are the Hasmonaeans, who, ever since Aristo-
bulus I., had taken the title of king. The last of the princes
of this house, Alexander Jannaeus and Aristobulus II., openly
favoured the Sadducean party, so that in the eyes of our
author, Nvith his Pharisaic leanings, they appeared in the light



20 § 32. THE PALESTINIAN JEWISH LITERATURE.

of sinful and lawless men. The " man of the strange land,"
and " of powerful blows," whom God summons from the end of
the earth, is no other than Pompey. The princes who go out to
meet him are Aristobulus II. and Hyrcanus II. The supporters
of this latter opened the gates of the city to Pompey, who
then proceeded to take by storm (eV Kpiu), ii. 1) the other
portion of the town in which those belonging to Aristobulus's
party had entrenched themselves. All the rest that follows,
the contemptuous treading of the temple by the conquerors,
the mowing down of the inhabitants, the execution of the
leading men among them,^ the carrying away of the captives
to the West, and of tbe princes to be mocked (ei? i^nrai'yixov^
xvii. 14, i.e. for the triumphal procession in Rome), corresponds
with wdiat actually took place. But it is above all the
circumstance of the captives being carried away to the "West
(xvii. 14) that proves that the taking of Jerusalem by Pompt-y
is alone to be thouglit of. For the only other case beside?
this that might possibly be in view is the conquest of Jeru-
salem by Titus, but to this none of the other circumstances
are found to apply.' But if there could be any doubt before,
it utterly vanishes when finally we are told that the conqueror
was killed On the coast of Egypt, on the sea-shore (eVl
Kv/xaTcov), and that his body was left lying without being buried
(ii. 31). For this is precisely what actually took place in
the case of Pompey (in the year 48 B.C.), Consequently the
second psalm was undoubtedly composed soon after this event,
while the eighth and seventeenth, as well as most of the others,
may be assumed to have been written between the years
63—48. There exists no reason whatever for coming down so
late as to the time of Herod. For " the man from the strange
land," who, according to xvii. 9, rose up against the Ilasmonaean

" Ps. viii. '23 : oL-TtuKiaiv oipyj^vrot.; tuvrZv kx) irkmct an(piv iv fiovT^yj, compare
with Joseph. Antt. xiv. 4. 4 {Bcil, Jnd. i. 7. 6) : touj alriov; toD 'no'hifiov t?

Tt>.iKil "hliy^DT^aXTO.

'' There is above all the circumstance that nowhere in our psalms is there
any mention whatever of a destruction of the city and the t€U)ple.



§ 32. THE PALESTINIAN JEWISH LITEKATUEE. 21

princes, is, as the context makes it impossible to douLt, the
same personage who, according to xvii. 14, carries away the
captives to the "West, and therefore not Herod, as Movers,
Delitzsch, and Keim would have us suppose, but Pompey.

The spirit which the psalms breathe is entirely that of
Pharisaic Judaism. They are pervaded by an earnest moral
tone and a sincere piety. But the righteousness which they
preach and the dearth of wliicli they deplore is, all through,
the righteousness that consists in complying with all the
Pharisaic prescriptions, the BtKaioauv-r] Trpoarayfidrcou (xiv. 1).
The fate of man after death is represented as depending
simply upon his works. It is left entirely in his own option
whether he is to decide in favour of righteousness or unright-
eousness (comp. especially ix. 7). If he does the former he
will rise again to eternal life (iii. 16); if the latter, eternal
perdition will be his doom (xiii. 9 sqq., xiv. 2 sqq., xv.) As
a contrast to the unlawful rule of the Hasmonaeans, which
had been put an end to by Pompey, the author cherishes the
confident expectation of that Messianic king of the house of
David who is one day to lead Israel to the promised glory
(xvii. 1, 5, 23-51, xviii. 6-10. Comjx further vii. 9, xi.).

The view previously held by Gratz, that our psalms are of
Christian origin, seems to have been abandoned by that writer
himself,^ and, in any case, does not call for serious refutation.
But neither have we any right to assume that they contain
even Christain interpolations. For the sinlessness and holi-
ness which the autlior ascribes to the Messiah expected by
him (xvii. 41, 46), is not sinlessness in the sense of Christian
dogmatics, but simply rigid .legalism in the Pharisaic sense.

Despite Hilgenfeld's view to the contrary, it is almost
universally allowed that the psalms were originally composed
in Hebrew. And undoubtedly not without good reason. Por
the diction of the psalms is so decidedly Hebrew in its
character that it is impossible to suppose that they were

^ The remark here referred to (Ocsch. der Judcn, yoI. iiL 2D(i ed. p. 439)
is uot repeated in the 3rd ed. vol. iii. p. o'2l.



22 § 32. THE PALESTINIAN JEWISH LITERATURE.

written originally in Greek. And for tliis reason it is no less
certain that they were not written in Alexandria, but in
Palestine. It may not be amiss to mention further the
correspondence, to some extent a verbal one, between Psalm
xi. and the fifth chapter of Barucli. If we are correct in
supposing that the psalms were written originally in Hebrew,
then the imitation must be regarded as being on the part of
Baruch.

The place assigned to our psalms in the Christian canon: I. Among the
ot.vrCKiyoy.ivai.: (1) in the Stichometria of Nicephorus as given in Credncr,
Zur Geschichte des Kanons (1847), p. 120, Nicephori opuscula, ed. de Boor
(Lips. 1880), p. 134. (2) In the Sytiopsis Athanasii, as given in Credner,
Zur Gesch. dcs Kanons, p. 144. II. Among the xTroxpv^xm an anonymous
list of canonical books which has been printed (1) from a certain Codex
Coislinianus as given in Montfaucon's Blhliotheca CoisUniana, Paris 1715,
p. 194 ; (2) from a Parisian manuscript as given in Cotelier's Patrum
apost. 0pp. vol. i. 1698, p. 196 ; (3) from a certain Codex Baroccianus at
Oxford, and as given in Hody's De Bibliorum tcxtibus, 1705, p. 649, col, 44 ;
(4) from a Vatican codex as given in Pitra's Juris ecclesiastici Graecorum
liistoria et moniimenta, vol. i. 1864, p. 100 (on the relation of those four
texts to each other, see No. V. below, the chapter on the lost Apocalypses).
III. In his scholia to the decrees of the Council of Laodicea, Zonoras
observes in connection with the 69th canon (Beveregius, Pandictae
canomim, Oxon. 1672, vol. i. p. 481): ty-rog ruv pv -^uKyuv tov A«/3io
iVfiianO'JTXi Kcci nvii inpoi Kiyocitvot Toi la'Ko/.cuvTo; tlvxi x.xt xXKuv rivuv,
ots "*"' i^io)~iy.ovf u'joyxaxv o/ Trxripig kxI /icri Kiyeadxi iv tJj iKx-'htfiic^
"hiiTx^xvTo. Similarly Balsamon (in Beveregius, i. 480). IV. In the Codex
Alexandrinus of the Greek Bible the Psalms of Solomon, as is shown by
the list of contents prefixed to the codex, found a place in the Appendix to
the New Testament after the Epistles of Clement (see Credner, Gesch. des
veutestamcntl. Kanons, 1860, p. 238 sq.). In the Vienna manuscript, on the
other hand, where the Psalms are still extant, they come in between the
"Wisdom of Solomon and Jesus the Son of Sirach.

Up to the present time the manuscripts that have been found are five in
number: (1) Tlie manuscript from which the cditio princcps of de la Conla
was printed ; it was brought from Constantinople in the year 1615, was in
the possession of David Ilcischel, and then found its way to the Augsburg
library (Fabricius, Cod. pseudepiyr. i. 973, 914 sq.), but it has now dis-
appeared. (2) A Vicuna codex {cod. gr. theol. 7), Ilaupt's collation of
which Ililgenfeld made use of in his edition of the Psalms. (3) A Copen-
hagen manuscript, an account of which i.s given by Graux in the lievtie
Critiipic, 1877, No. 46, pp. 291-293. (4) A Moscow manuscript and (5) a
Parisian one, both of which were discovered and collated by Gebhardt (see
Theol. Litcraturzcitung, 1877, p. 627 sq.). The three last-mentioned MSS.
have not yet been made use of in any edition of our Psalms.



§ 32. THE PALESTINIAN JEWISH LITERATURE. 23

Editions: (1) De la Cerda, Adversaria sacra, Lyons 1626, Appendix.
(2) Fabricius, Codex pseudepigraphts Veteris Testamenti, vol. i. 1713, pp.
9U-999. (3) Hilgenfeld, Zeitschrift fur wissenschaftl Theologie, 1868, pp.
134-168. Idem, Messias Judaeorum, Lips. 1869, pp. 1-33. (4) Eduard
Ephiam Geiger, Der Psalter Salotno's heratisgegeben und erkidrt, Augsburg
1871. (5) Fritzsche, Lihri apocryphi Veteris Testamenti graece, Lips. 1871,
pp. 569-589. (6) Pick, Presbyterian Review, 1883, Oct. pp. 775-812. A
new edition was prepared by Gebhardt for the " Texte und Unter-
suchungen," edited by himself and Harnack.

German translations with explanatory notes have been published by
Geiger as above. Hilgenfeld, Die Psalmen Salomons deutsch ubersetzt una
aiifs Neue untersucht {Zeitschr. filr ivissenscliaftl. Theologie, 1871, pp. 383-
418). Wellhausen, Die Pharisaer rind die Sadducder (1874), pp. 131-164.
There is an English translation by Pick as above.

On the circumstances under irhich our Psalms were written: J. Ewald,
Geschickte des Volkes Israel, iv. 392 sq. (subsequently Ewald hit upon the
idea of dating the Psalms back to the time pf Ptolemy Lagus; see the
reviews of the writing of Geiger and Carriere in the Gottinger gel. Anzeigen,
1871, pp. 841-850, and 1873, pp. 237-240). Grimm, Exeget. Handbuch zn
1 Makk. p. 27. Oehler, art. " Messias," in Herzog's Real-Enc. 1st ed.
ix. 426 sq. Dillmann, art. "Pseudepigraphen," in Herzog's Real-Enc. 1st
ed. xii. 305 sq. Weiffenbach, Quae Jesu in regno coelesti dignitas sit
synopticorum senientia exponitur (Gissae, 1868), p. 49 sq. Anger, Vorlesungen
iiber die Geschickte der messianischen Idee (1873), p. 81 sq. II. Movers in
Wetzer und Welte's Kirchenlex. 1st ed. i. 340. Delitzsch, Commentar iiber
den Psalti^r, 1st ed. ii. 381 sq. Keim, Geschickte Jesu von Nazara, i. 243.
in. Langen, Das Judentkum in Paldstina (1866), pp. 64-70. Hilgenfeld,
Zeitschr. 1868, Messias Judaeorum proleg., Zeitschr. 1871. Noldeke, Die
alttestamentl. Liter atur (1868), p. 141 sq. W&n^vKih, Neutestamentl. Zeitgesch.
2nd ed. i. pp. 157 sq., 168. Geiger in his edition of our Psalms. Fritzsche,
prolegom. to his edition. Wittichen, Die Idee des Reiches Gottes (1872),
pp. 155-160. Carriere, De psalterio Salomo?iis, Argentorati 1870. Well-
hausen, Die Pharisaer und die Sadducder, p. 112 sqq. Stahelin, Jahrb. fiir
deutsche Tkeol. 1874, p. 203. Drummond, The Jewish Messiah (1877), pp.
133-142. Kaulen in Wetzer und Welte's Kirchenlex. 2nd ed. i. 1060 sq.
Lucius, Der Essenismus (1881), pp. 119-121. Eeuss, Gesch. der heil.
Sckriften A. T.'s, § 526. Dillmann in Herzog's Real-Enc. 2nd ed. vol.
xii. 1883, p. 346. Pick, The Psalter of Solomon (Presbyterian Review, 1883,
Oct. pp. 775-812).



in. THE GNOMIC WISDOM.

1. Jesus the Son of SiracJi.

There is nothing that shows so clearly the practical character
of the Palestinian Jewish literature of our period, as the fact



24 § 32. THE PALESTINIAN JEWISH LITERATUKE.

that even in the merely theoretical speculations of the time
there was always an eye to the practical aims and tasks of
life. A theoretical philosophy strictly so called was a thing
entirely foreign to genuine Judaism. Whatever it did happen
to produce in the way of " philosophij " { = iviscloni, '"i^rC) either
had practical religious problems as its theme (Job, Ecclesiastes),
or was of a directly practical nature, being : directions based
upon a thought/id study of human things for so regulating our
life as to ensure our being truly happiy. The form in which
those contemplations and instructions were presented was that
of the ''V'9> i^^^ apothegm, which contained a single thought
expressed in concise and comprehensive terms, and in a form
more or less poetical, and in which there was nothing of the
nature of discussion or argument. A collection of aphorisms
of this sort had already found a place among the canonical
writings of the Old Testament in the shape of the so-called
proverbs of Solomon. We have a collection of a similar
character in the book known as Jesus the Son of Sirach, and
which we now proceed to consider. This book takes that
older collection as its model, not only as regards the form, but
the matter as well, though it contributes a large number of
new and original thoughts. The fundamental thought of the
author is that of wisdom. For him the highest and most
perfect wisdom resides only in God, who has established and
who continues to govern all things in accordance with His
marvellous knowledge and understanding. On the part of
man, therefore, true wisdom consists in his trusting and
obeying God. The fear of God is the beginning and end of
all wisdom. Hence it is that the author, living as he did at
a time when the fear of God and the observance of tlie law
were already regarded as one and the same thing, inculcates
above all the duty of adhering faithfully to the law and keep-
ing the commandments. But besides this he also points out
in the next place how the truly wise man is to comport
himself in the manifold relationships of practical life. And
accordingly his book contains an inexhauslible fund of rules



§ 32. THE PALESTINIAN JEWISH LITEEATURE. 25

for the regulation of one's conduct in joy and sorrow, in pro-
sperity and adversity, in sickness and in health, in struggle
and temptation, in social life, in intercourse with friends and
enemies, with high and low, rich and poor, with the good and
the wicked, the wise and the foolish, in trade, business and
one's ordinary calling, above all, in one's own house and family
in connection with the training of children, the treatment of
men-servants and maid-servants, and the way in which a man
ought to behave toward his own wife and the fair sex generally.
For all those manifold relationships the most precise directions
are furnished, directions that are prompted by a spirit of
moral earnestness which only now and then degenerates into
mere worldly prudence. The counsels of the author are the
mature fruit of a profound and comprehensive study of human
things and of a wide experience of life. In entering as they
do into such a multiplicity of details, they at the same time
furnish us with a lively picture of the manners and customs
and of the culture generally of his time and his people.
How far the thoughts expressed, as well as the form in which
they are expressed, were the author's own, and how far he
only collected what was already in current and popular use
it is of course impossible in any particular instance to deter-
mine. To a certain extent he may have done both. But in
any case he was not a mere collector or compiler, the charac-
teristic personality of the author stands out far too distinctly
and prominently for that. Notwithstanding the diversified
character of the apothegms, they are all the outcome of one
connected view of life and the world.

At the close of the book, chap. L. 27, the author calls
himself 'Irjaov^ uto? ^ipci'^' 6 ' lepoaoXv/j.lrr)'?. Many manu-
scripts insert 'EXed^ap after ^cpd')(^; but this, despite the
strong testimony in its favour, must be regarded as a gloss
(see Fritzsche's edition and commentary). The name ^ipd-^ is
equivalent to the Hebrew i^yo^ " a coat of mail " (the accent
being on the final syllable as in dKeXBa/xdx, Acts i. 19). The
singular mistake of Syncellus {Chron. ed. Dindorf, i. 525),



2G § 32. THE PALESTINIAN JEWISH LITER ATL'EE.

wlio alleges that he was a high priest, can only have arisen
from the fact that in the chronicle of Eusebius, which
Synccllus makes use of, our Jesus the Son of Siracli is
mentioned after the high priest, Simon the son of Onias II.,
though not as a high priest, but only as the author of the
book now under consideration (Euseb. Chron. ad 01. 137—38,
ed. Schoene, ii. 122). Again, the notion that he was an
ordinary priest is also entirely without foundation, notwith-
standing the fact that it has found expression in the text of
the cod. Sinaiticus, L. 27. The time at which he lived may
be determined with tolerable precision. His grandson, who
translated the book into Greek, states in the prologue prefixed
to it that he (the grandson) came to Egypt iv rut oySofo Kal
rptaKOdTw erei i'rrX tov Euepyirov ^aaCkkoi^. By the " thirty-
eighth year " he, of course, does not mean that of his own
age, but the thirty-eighth year of the reign of Euergetes.
Now seeing that of the two Ptolemys who bore this surname,
the one reigned only twenty-five years, it is only the second
that can be intended, and whose full name was Ptolemaeus
VII. Physcon Euergetes II. This latter in the first instance
shared the throne along with his brother (from the year 170
onwards), and subsequently reigned alone (from the year 145
onwards). But he was in the habit of reckoning the years of
his reign from the former of those dates. Consequently that
thirty-eighth year in which the grandson of Jesus the son of
Sirach came to Egypt would be the year 132 B.C. That
being the case, his grandfather may be supposed to have
lived and to have written his book somewhere between 190
and 170 B.C. This further accords with the fact that in tlie
book (1. 1-26) he pays a respectful tribute to the memory
of the high priest, Simon the son of Onias, by whom we
are to understand, not Simon I. (in the beginning of the third
century, see Joseph. Antt. xii. 2. 4), but Simon II. (in the
beginning of the second century, see Joseph. Antt. xiL 4. 10).
Jesus the son of Sirach passes an encomium upon the
meritorious character of this personage, who had just passed



§ 32. THE PALESTINIAN JEWISH LITEKATUKE. 27

away from the world, and the thought of whom was still so
fresh in his memory.

The book has come down to us only in the form of the
Greek translation which, according to the prologue, was exe-
cuted by the author's grandson. We further learn from this
prologue what is also confirmed by the character of the diction,
that the work was originally composed in Hebrew, by which we
are to understand Hebrew strictly so called and not Aramaic
(see Fritzsche, Excget. Handbuch, p. 18). The Hebrew text
was still in existence in the time of Jerome, who tells us that
he had seen it, see Praef. in vers. lihr. Salom. (Vallarsi, ix.
1293 sq.) : Fertur et iravapero'^ Jesu filji Sirach liber et alius
■^IrevSeTTiypacpo';, qui Sapientia Salomonis inscribitur. Quorum
priorem Hebraicum reperi, non Ecclesiasticum, ut apud
Latinos, sed Parabolas praenotatum, cui juncti erant Ecclesi-
astes et Canticum Canticorum, ut similitudinera Salomonis
non solum librorum numero, sed etiam materiarum genere
coaequaret.

The fact that a Hebrew text was still extant in the time
of Jerome is evidence of itself that the book was also prized
within the circle of Kabbinical Judaism. Not only so, but
quotations from it are repeatedly met with in Talmudic
literature. But it was prized far more highly still within the
Christian Church. It is frequently quoted as ^pacf)^ by the
Greek and the Latin Fathers alike, and that too in the form in
which it has come down to us in the manuscripts of the Bible.
The restricting of the Christian canon to precisely the same
number of books as was in the Hebrew Bible was, in the
early Church and that of the Middle Ages, almost always a
pure matter of theory, and was only practically recognised
and acted upon for the first time in the Protestant Church.

On the quotations from j



Online LibraryEmil SchürerA history of the Jewish people in the time of Jesus Christ .. (Volume 2 pt.3) → online text (page 3 of 51)