Isidore Singer.

The Jewish encyclopedia : a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 8) online

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granted in New York, to his daughter Blancha in
1715. Members of this family appear repeatedly in
the records of the New York congregation, but the
name disappears during the nineteenth century.

Bibliography: Piihlications Am. Jew. Hist. Snc. 1. 91-92;
V. 48-49, 112: vii. 102-103 (D. Fergusson, Trial of Gabriel de
iSravadn); Obregtm, Epoca dtloiiial, sefond series, p. ;i57.
Mexico, 1S95; New Yoi'k Hist. Soc. Col. ii. 154; Graetz,
Hist. vol. V.
A. L. Ilij.

of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews of England ;
born in 1688; died May 8, 1751. Mesquita was ap-
pointed haham in 1744, in succession to Isaac Nieto,
who had resigned, and held the office until his death.
He solemnized the second marriage of Isaac Nieto
in 1747, and the marriage of his own daughter, in
1749, to Moses Cohen Dazevedo Ferme, who became
haham in 1760.

Bibliography: Gaster. Hist, of Bevis Marks, pp. 130-131;
Cat. Anylo-Jcw. Hist. Exh. p. 49.
J. I. Co.

MESSENGER. See Agency, Law of.

ROFE) : Italian rabbi, physician, and philosopher;
flourished in Mantua in the latter half of the fifteenth
century. He is said to have been born in Naples.
The name "Leon" is the usual equivalent of "Ju-
dab" and "Messer" (= "Maestro"), the title usual-
ly given to physicians. He was rabbi in Mantua,
where he had a conflict with his colleague Joseph
Colon, in consequence of which both were expelled
from the city (1475). Leon wrote a text-book
on logic entitled "Miklal Yofi " (see Luzzatto in
"Kerem Hemed," v. 48), a grammar under the title
"Libnat haSappir," commentaries to the "Logic"
and the " Ethics " of Aristotle, and a text-book of
rhetoric under tlie title "Nofet Zutim." The last-
mentioned is the only one of his works which lias
been printed ; it was published in Mantua before 1480
and was reedlted by Jellinek in 1863 (Vienna). The
object of the work was both apologetic and propa-
gaudic. The author desired to demonstrate to the
non-Jewish world that the Jews were not devoid of
the literary sense, and he wished to prove to his co-
religionists that Judaism is not hostile to secular
studies, which contribute to a better appreciation of
Jewish literature. His theories follow chietly those
of Cicero and Quintilian. The book, as is evident
from the fact that it was not reprinted within 400
years, had only a small circle of readers, but within

this circle it was highly appreciated. Azariah dei
Rossi (juotes Leon as a witness to the value of secu-
lar studies (ch. ii., in "Me'or 'Enayim," ed. Ben-
jacob, i. 75, Wilna, 1863), and Joseph Solomon Del-
niedigo recommends the book to the Karaite Zarali
ben Nathan (Geiger, "Melo Chofnujiin," p. 19, Ber-
lin, 1840). ^lesser Leon's son, David, also a phy-
sician of Mantua, is the author of "Tehillah le-Da-
wid," a book on philosophy, edited by his grandson
Aaron ben Judah (Constantinople, 1577).

Bibliography: Cat. Bodl. cols. i:)31-i;i;52; Nopi-Ghirondi,
Tolcdiit (lednle I'l-snie/, p. 200 ; Wolf, Bihl. 33;^-
334; De. Rossi, r>ii:((i»u()iii, Ii. 7; Dukes, K/icf //.M'/iWc)/, pp. 55
t'tse(/., Vienna, 1837; Gratz, GcscJt. viii. 243-244.

MESSIAH (Ilebr., "Ha-Mashiah " ; Aramaic,
" Meshiha "— " anointed one "): The name or title of
the ideal king of the Messianic age; used also with-
out the article as a proper name — " .Mashiah " (in
the Babylonian Talmud and in the midrash litera-
ture), like Xpiaro^ in the Gospels. The Grecized
Meaaing of the New Testament (John i. 41, i v. 25) is a
transliteration of the Aramaic form, Aramaic being
the spoken language of Palestine in the time of
Jesus. "The Messiah " (with the article and not in
apposition with another word) is, however, not an
Old Testament expression, but occurs for the first
time in apocalyptic literature. Similarly, in all
probability the use of the word '' Masliiah " to denote
the Messianic king is not found earlier than the
apocalyptic literature. In the Old Testament the
earliest use of the word is with Yiiwii (or with a
pronominal suflfix referring to Ynwn) as a title of the
ruling sovereign Meshiah Yiiwii ("God's anointed
one"; I Sam.^ii. 10, 35; xii. 3, 5; xvi. 6; xxvi. 9,
11, 16,23; II Sam. i. 14, 16; xix. 21 ; II
The Name. Chron. vi. 42; Ps. xviii. 51 [A. V. 50];
XX. 7 [A. V. 6]; cxxxii. 17 [applying
to David] ; Lam. iv. 20). In post-exilic times, the
high priest, tilling the place formerly occupied by
the king, is spoken of as " ha-Kohen ha-Mashiah " (the
anointed priest; Lev. iv. 3, 5, 16; vi. 5), also (Dan.
ix. 25, 26) as "Mashiah Nagid" (an anointed one, a
ruler) and simply "Mashiah" (an anointed one), re-
ferring to Onias III. As the anointing of the high
priest consecrated him above all his brethren to
God's service and gave him immediate access to God
(comp. Lev. viii. 12, xxi. 10-12; Zech. iii. 7), so the
anointing of the king made him Meshiah Yiiwii,
placed him in a special relationship to God, and estab-
lished him as the one chosen by God to represent His
rulership in Israel and to bear witness to His glory
befoie the nations (comp. II Sam. vii. 8-11, 14: Isa.
Iv. 4: Ps. Ixxxix. 4, 21-29). As "God's anointed
one " the king was sacrosanct and inviolable (comp.
I Sam. xxvi. 9). Hence the later applications of the
title "Meshiah Yiiwii " in the Old Testament.

In Isa. xlv. 1 Cyrusis called "God'sanointedone,"
because God has called him and given him victory
after victory for the distinct purpose of putting an
end to the Babylonian kingdom and the worship of
idols, of setting free exiled Israel, and thus intro-
ducing the new era of God's universal domini(m.
In Ps. cv. 15 the Patriarchs are called "God's
anointed ones" because they are under the special
protection of God and therefore inviolable. Fi-
nallv, in Ilab. iii. 13, Ps. xxviii. 8. Ixxxiv. 10 (A. V.




9), and possibly in Ix.xxix. 39, 52 (A. V. 3b, 51),
the title is applied to Israel, God's choseu people.

■'Mashiah" (auointed one of God) in Ps. ii. 2,
whieli was formerly thought to have Messianic ref-
erence, is now taken as referring either to a Ilas-
monean king or to Israel. The latter interpretation
is that prevailing in the Midrash (comp. Midr. Kab-
bah anil Tanhuma, Enior; Yalkut, Toledot, near
end; Midr. Shoher Toh, ad lac), tiiough the Messi-
anic interpretation occurs in the eschatological de-
scription (Pesik. Zutarta, Balak).

But though the name is of later origin, the idea
of a personal Messiah runs through the Old Testa-
ment. It is the natural outcome of the prophetic
future hope. The tirst prophet to give a detailed
picture of the future ideal king was Isaiah (ix. 1-6,
xi. 1-10, xxxii. 1-5). Of late the authenticity of
these i)assages, and also of those pas-
The Ideal sages in Jeremiah and E/ekiel which
in Isaiah, give expression to the hope in a Mes-
siah, has been disputed by various
Biblical scholars (comp. Hackmann, " Die Zukunfts-
ervvartung des Jesaiah " ; Volz, " Die Vorexilische
Jahweprophetie und der Messias"; Marti, " Gesch.
der Israelitischen Religion," pp. 190 et seq.; idem,
"Das Buch Jcsaia " ; Cheyne, "Introduction to Isa-
iah," and edition and transl. of Isaiah in "S. B. O. T.").

The objections of these scholars, however, rest
principally on the hypothesis that the idea of the
Messiah is inseparably bound up with the desire for
imiversal dominion, whereas, in reality, this feature
is not a characteristic of the Messianic hope until a
later stage of its development. The ideal king to
whom Isaiah looks forward 'vvill be a scion of the
stock of Jesse, on whom will rest the spirit of God
as a spirit of wisdom, valor, and religion, and who
will rule in the fear of God, his loins girt with right-
eousness and faithfulness (xi. l-3a, 5). He will not
engage in war or in the conquest of nations; the
paraphernalia of war will be destroyed (ix. 4); his
sole concern will be to establish justice among his
people (ix. 6b; xi. 3b, 4). The fruit of his right-
eous government will V)e peace and order through-
out the land. The lamb will not dread the wolf,
nor will the leopard harm the kid (xi. 8); that is,
as the following verse explains, tyranny and vio-
lence will no longer be practised on God's holy
mountain, for the land will be full of the knowledge
of God as the water covers the sea (comp. xxxii. 1,
2, 16). The people will not aspire to political great-
ness, but will lead a pastoral life (xxxii. 18, 20).
Under such ideal conditions the country can not but
prosjjer, nor need it fear attack from outside nations
(ix. Ga, xxxii. 15). The newly risen scion of Jesse
will stand forth asal)eacon to other nations, and they
will come to him for guidance and arbitration (xi.
10). He will rightly be called "Wonderful Coun-
selor," "Godlike Hero," "Constant Father," "Prince
of Peace " (ix. 5).

This picture of the future fully accords with
Isaiah's view, that the judgment will lead to a
spiritual regeneration and bring about a state of
moral and religious perfection : and it agrees also
with the doctrine, which, in his bitter opposition to
the alliances with A.ssyria and Egypt, he preached

to his people — the doctrine, namely, that their sole
concern should be God and their sole reliance be on
Him, for thus, and thus onlj', might they endure (vii.
9; comp. also v. 4, viii. 13, xxx. 15). The prophets
advocated a government which would be in con-
formity with God's will and be regulated by His
laws of righteousness. In connection with Isaiah's
Messianic hope it remains to be observed that the
"Immanuel" passage, Isa. vii. 14, which is inter-
preted in Matt. i. 23 as referring to the birth of
Jesus, has, as Robertson Smith ("The Prophets of
Israel," pp. 271 et seq., 426 et seq.) and others have
pointed out, no Messianic import wjiatever. The
name has reference merely to events
The " Im- of the inuuediate present. He means

manuel " to give a token by which the truth of

Passage, his prophetic word may be tested,
saying that any young woman giving
birth to a son in the near future will call him "Im-
manuel" (= " God with us "), in remembrance of the
withdrawal of the Syrian-Ephraimitic armies from
the country (v. 16). "'Almah" does not mean
" virgin " (as given in A. V. and other versions; the
only word meaning this is "betulah "), but "a young
woman sexually mature," whether married or tm-
married; the article "ha-" of "ha-'almah" is the
generic article.

The idea of a personal Messiah is not met wi th again
until the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel (the Messianic
picture of Micah v. 1, 3-8, as is proved by the fact
that in it Israel and the Messiah hold dominion over
the nations, according to this view can not be a
pre-exilic product of prophecy; in fact, it must
have originated late in post-exilic times). Jere-
miah's picture of the Messiah is not a detailed one;
but, like his future hope in general, it agrees in all
essentials with that of Isaiah. The Messiah will be
"a righteous sprout of David," who will establisii
just judgment and wise government in the country,
and whose name will be IJpnV nirf (= "God is our
salvation"; xxiii. 5, 6; these two

In Jere- verses recur in almost the same form
miah and in xxxiii. 15, 16, but in the latter verse

Ezekiel. the name is applied to Jerusalem, an
application which did not originate
with Jeremiah. Ch. xxx. 9 et.ieq., 21 does not claim
consideration here, as it is of later origin).

In Ezekiel, the Messiah is a purely passive figure,
the only personal reference to him being in xvii. 23
— "he will become a mighty cedar" (Hebr.). The
regeneration of the people, like their restoration, is
exclusively the work of God.

But in xxxiv. ^Zetwq., xxxvii. 24 et seq., which
passages date from exilic times, there is an entirely
new feature— the propliecy that David will be the
king of tlie future state. As after the decline of
the Holy Roman P]m])ir(! of the return
of the emperorhero Barbarossa, so, after the fall of
the nation, the Jews of the Exile dreamed of the
coming of a second David, who would reestablish
them as a glorious nation. So p^zekiel lays empha-
sis on the fact that the future Israel is to l)ea united
nation as it was under David of old. The hope in
the return of David is exjiressed also in the spurious
passage Tuentioned above (Jer. xxx. 9) iuid in the
gloss to Hos. iii. 5 ("and David their king"), and is




met witli sporadically also in NcoIIcbraic apocalyp-
tic literature (see below).

In post-exilic prophetic literature the hope iu a
Messiah is found only in the first two prophets of
the post-exilic conninnuty, Haggai and Zechariali.
and in DeuteroZechariah, cii. ix., whicii, probably,
dates from the time of the Seleucids. Haggai and
Zechariali see in Zerubbabel the promised "sprout
of David"; but they state merely that he will re-
builil the Temple and attain great eminence as a
ruler (Hag. ii. 23; Zech. iii. 8, vi. 12).

Deutero-Zechariah's Messiah has nuich in com-
mon with Isaiah's. He is described (Zech. ix. 9, 10)
as a righteous Prince of Peace, who will rise from
the ranks of the pious and oppressed, who will ride
into Jerusalem not in military splendor, but on an
ass (comp. Jesus' entry into Jer\isalem on an ass,
and also Ibu Kutaibah's account of Salman, the
governor of Medina at the time of the dissensions
of the califs, who rode upon an ass in order to
show his advocacy of peace). For, unlike worldly
rulers, he will not maintain his dominion by the
sword — he will destroy all the instruments of
v.-ar (if, instead of '^m3n, is read in accordance
with the LXX. n"l3n, 3d s. m.); but, by his ju-
risdiction, which will extend to the ends of the
earth, he will establish peace among the nations.
Thus Deutero-Zechariah'sconception of the Messiah
combines Isaiah's conception with the hope of world-
dominion cherished by his own age.

The personal IMessiah does not figure at all in the
future hope of Deutero-Isaiah, whose lofty univer-
salism marks the final step in the development of
the religious ideas of the Prophets.
Ideal of The salvation of mankind is the goal
the Second of history, and Israel's prerogative be-
Isaiah. comes but the privilege of suffering
for the good of the whole world. God
has called Israel for the realization of His purpose
toward man. Israel, and not an individual, is "the
servant of God " (Isa. xlii. 1-6, xlix. 1-6. 1. 4-9,
Iii. 18-liii. 12), through whom the regeneration of
mankind will be accomplished, who will spread the
true religion among all nations, convert all men into
willing servants of God, and lead all tongues to
confess Him (xlv. 23). Naturally, not the actual
Israel of the present is meant, but the ideal Israel
of the future, risen to spiritual heights in conse-
quence of his wonderful deliverance by God. For
this high destiny Israel has been especially fitted by
reason of the religious experience which God has
stored up in him in the course of his history ; and,
by submitting, iu accordance with God's will, to suf-
fering and ignominy, he fulfils his mission and ad-
vances toward his final goal. In Isa. ii. 1-4 and
Micah iv. 1-4 there is the same picture of the Mes-
sianic future as in Deutero-Isaiah— Jerusalem as the
religious center of the world, whence salvation will
radrate to all men— but contain the additional prom-
ise that universal peace will ensue in consequence
thereof. In like manner the post-exilic prophets
Trito-Isaiah, Malachi, and Joel, and the post-exilic
Apocalypse of Isaiah, xxiv.-xxvii., have no personal
:\ressiah. According to them, God Himself, without
the instrumentality of a man, will redeem Israel from
his present misery and bring about the new era of sal-

vation. 'I'he conclusion, however, of Malachi (the
authorship of which is doubtful) speaks of a mes-
.senger, Elijah, whom God w ill send to convert men
and thus pave the way for His own coming.

As in the prophetic writings just enumerated, so
in the Apocryplia of tlie Old Testament the figure
of the Messiah lias no prominence whatever. In
I >Iaccabees there isa brief general ref-
ill the erence to the pronuse given to David.
Apocry- that his throne would be reestablished
pha. (ii. 57). but Ecclcsiasticus, Judith,

Tobit, Baruch, II ^^laccabees, and the
Wisdom of Solomon contain no mention of the
Davidic hope. The Hellenistic author of the Wis-
dom of Solomon is so thoroughly universalistic that
the idea of a Messiah is precluded. His eschatolog-
ical picture shows no nationalistic feature whatever.
The natural deduction from the facts thus far out-
lined is that while from the time of the Prophets the
belief in an ideal future determined the character
and tendency of Jewish religious life and thought
to such an extent that this belief may be called the
special characteristic of the Jewish genius, still, in
the periods thus far covered, the idea of a personal
Messiah is far from having that general prominence
which one would, at first, be inclined to assume.
Further, it has been seen how Deutero-Isaiah lier-
aldcd Cyrus as the favorite of God, the hero called
by God to introduce the new era of universal bliss.
In like manner, no doubt, as Kampers has shown in
his "Alexander dcr Grosse uud die Idee des Welt-
imperiums in Prophetic und Sage," the Jewish con-
temporaries of Alexander the Great, dazzled by his
glorious achievements, hailed him as the divinely
appointed deliverer, the inaugurator of the period
of universal peace promised by the Prophets. Proof
of this is: (1) The legend related in
Alexander Josephus ("Ant." xi. 8) and iu the
as Mes- Talmud (Yoma 67b) of the audience
siah. of the high priest Jaddua (in the Tal-
mud it is Simon the Just) with Alex-
ander the Great in Gaza. Alexander recognizes in
the high priest the man who had appeared to him
in a dream, urging him to the conquest of Asia and
promising him that he himself wouUl lead his army
and deliver the Persian kingdom into his hands; he
prostrates himself to worship God, whose name he
sees inscribed on the plate of gold on the high
priest's cidaris, accompanies the high priest to Jeru-
salem to sacrifice to God in His Temple, and is there
shown the Book of Daniel, in which it is written
that the Persian kingdom will be conciuered by a
Gieek— a prophecy which Alexander applies to
himself. (2) The Various sagas which sprang up
about Alexander, chiefly among the Jews in Alex-
andria, and out of which the Alexander romance
of pseudo-Callisthenes grew, the only explanation
of which is that Alexander had once been the cen-
tral figure in their future hope. (3) The apocalyp-
tic traditions about Alexander the Great iu medieval
apocalyptic literature and also in the midrashic liter-
ature-^for example, the tradition (mentioned by
Josephus) of Alexander imprisoning Gog and 3Iagog
i)ehind the mountains of darkness iu the far north.
The version of this legend given by Jacob of
Serug (521 c.e.) and in the Koran, sura 18 (comp.




Kampers, I.e. pp. 73, 76 et seq.) leaves no doubt that
it was purely of apocalyptic origin.

But while all these hopes centering in Alexander
the Great bear witness to the liberality and broad-
mindedness of the Jews of that time, they, on the
other hand, corroborate the conclusion, expressed
above, that the hope in the Messiah had, as yet, no
definite form and can not have been commonly an
article of faith. This is true, not only of the time
of Alexander the Great, but even as late as the first
period of apocalyptic literature, and is proved by
the absence of a personal Messiah in the oldest apoc-
iilyptic writing, the Book of Daniel, as well as in
tlie oldest part of the Book of Enoch ("The Apoca-
lypse of the Ten Weeks") and in the Book of Jubi-
lees, which also date from the Maccabean period,
apart from the fact, pointed out above, that in the
contemporaneous apocrypha there is but vague ref-
erence to the Messiah. The "one of the likeness of
man" ("ke-bar enash ") of Dan. vii. 13 (Hebr.), to
whom the rulership in the divine world-monarchy
will be entrusted, is, according to the author's own
explanation (vii. 18, 22, 27), the nation of God's holy
ones (i.e., the faithful Jews). These constitute the
earthly representatives of God in the "civitas Dei,"
and in contrast to the other nations of the world,
who are represented under the figures of ani-
mals, they are represented under the figure of a
man in order to signify that in them the divine
ideal of manhood has preserved itself most faith-

Not until after the fall of the Maccabean dynasty,
when thedespotic government of Herod the Great and
his family, and the increasing tyranny
Rise of of the Roman empire had made their
Popular condition ever more unbearable, did
Belief in a the Jews seek refuge in the hope of a
Personal personal Messiah. They yearned for
Messiah, the promised deliverer of the house of
David, who would free them from the
yoke of the hated foreign usurper, would put an end
to the impious Roman rule, and would establish His
own reign of peace and justice in its place. In this
way their hopes became gradually centered in the
Messiah. As evidence that in the Roman period the
Messianic hope had become universal among the
Jews may be adduced: (1) Jesus' conviction that
he was the Messiali, a conviction inspired in him by
the current belief in a Messiali, as is shown by the
fact tiiat on his entry into Jerusalem the populace
hailed him as such; (2) the testimony of Jose-
phus (•• B. J." vi. 5, ^ 4), Tacitus (" Hist." v. 13), and
Suetonius (Vespasian, iv.) regarding the i\Iessianic
belief of the Jewish people at that Time; (3) the fact
that even in Philo's picture of the future, in spite
of its moralistic tendency, the Messianic king has
a place (comp. " De Pnemiis et Pcenis," ^ 16). It
may be noted in this connection that the " Prayer
for the (Jomin'j: of the Messiah," as the version of it
given both in the Babylonian and in the Palestinian
recensions of the Shemonkii 'Esueii shows ('^ee
Nos. 14 and \~i respectively), can not have be-
come an integral \r.u\ of the daily i)rayers later
than the time immediately following the destruction
of the Temple, for in that period the "Shemoneh
'Esreh " received its present form. Hillel's assert ion

(Sanh. 98b) that there would be no future Messiah
for Israel since the latter had had its Messiah in the
days of Hezekiah, can have no weiglit as a contrary
argument, as Hillel lived in the reign of Herod
the Great, at the beginning of the period which
marks the development of the popular belief in the

As the future hopes of the Jews became Messianic
in character the figure of the Messiah assumed a
central and permanent place in apocalyptic litera-
ture; and as apocalyptic literature in general, so
the Messiah-concept in particular, embodies a mul-
titude of bizarre fantasies which can not possibly
be reconciled or woven into anything like a con-
nected picture. There are many factors which con-
tributed to this manifold and variegated imagery.
Not only was all the Messianic and quasi-Messianic
material of the Scriptures collected, and out of it,
by means of subtle combinations, after the manner
of the Midrash, a picture of the Messiah sedulously
drawn, but everything poetical or figurative in the
Prophets' descriptions of the future was taken in
a literal sense and expounded and dogmatized ac-
cordingly. Many foreign elements, moreover, crept
in at this time and became part of the general pot-
pourri of imagery relating to the Messiah. This
being the case, an exceedingly complex and dilfi-
cult question arises— where, in the Messiah-pictures,
and, indeed, in the pictures of the future in general,
presented by apocalyptic literature,
Develop- has one to deal with organic develop-
ment of ment from prophetic ideas, and where
Coneep- with foreign religious elements ? At
tion. present it is not possible to form a
final judgment in regard to the place
of origin of these foreign ideas. The material
from the Assyro-Babylonian religion and mythology
which has been offered in recent years by Assyriol-
ogists shows what an involved question is presented
in this one point, and that a series of preliminary
and exhaustive studies is necessary before a final
decision can be reached regarding it or the various
questions bound up with it. The one thing safe to
maintain in this connection is, perhaps, that, accord-
ing to the time at which the heterogeneous char-
acter of the conceptions becomes noticeable in the

Online LibraryIsidore SingerThe Jewish encyclopedia : a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 8) → online text (page 124 of 169)