Copyright
James Sime.

The Kingdom of all-Israel : its history, literature, and worship .. online

. (page 1 of 54)
Online LibraryJames SimeThe Kingdom of all-Israel : its history, literature, and worship .. → online text (page 1 of 54)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


PRINCETON, N. J. ^f





1

i
I

Division. ..rk^..Zj.\X..] i


Shelf


Number I

i
— 1 .



•^i^






Taj^



w^mm



m



THE KINGDOM OF ALL-ISRAEL

ITS HISTORY, LITERATURE,
AND WORSHIP,



MORRISON ANUGIBU, l^^DINBURGH,
KKINTKKS TO HKK MAJI'STY's STATIONERY OFFICE.



THE



KINGDOM OF ALL-ISRAEL



ITS HISTORY, LITERATURE,
AND WORSHIP.



BY



JAMES SIME, M.A.

F. R. S. E.



LONDON:
JAMES NISBET & CO., 21 BERNERS STREET.

1863.



PREFACE.

In the following pages I have endeavoured to tell in our
English tongue a story that was told well-nigh three thousand
years ago in a language, which has long ceased to be a living
language on the earth. It is the story of the kingdom of
All-Israel, as the Hebrew empire was called in its most
flourishing days. Small though that kingdom was, its annals
have always been regarded as a heritage of mankind, fraught
with w^elfare to the whole world.

The w^ritings which contain this history are frequently
described as not altogether worthy of credit. While they
contain much that is undeniably ancient, they are also believed
to contain much that is comparatively recent. The original
books are said to have l^een curtailed of parts which are now
lost beyond recovery ; and parts are alleged to have been
added which can only be ascertained by skilful inquirers and
the application of most delicate tests. Evidently, then, it is the
duty of a historian either to vindicate the reality of the history,
or to separate the wheat of truth from the chaff of romance.
The proofs of authenticity are so numerous and so convincing,
that I have accepted the history, as it is read in the Hebrew,
notwithstanding undoubted difficulties in the narrative.

Of the skill and industry shown by several authors, who,
after careful inquiry into words and things, have undertaken
to distinguish the true from the false in the history, no one
can speak without respect. But the value of their researches
is to be measured, less by the theories they liave proposed,
than by the necessity, under which they have laid those wlio
differ from them, of examining every difficulty that liad
formerly been passed by or lightly esteemed.

The rules of historical research, on which I have worked,
are those which have been applied in verifying the literature
of Greece and Eome. Two of them were first stated in a



vi Preface.

book written eighteen hundred years ago to vindicate the
truth of the Hebrew records. Josephus, a learned Jewisli
priest, was the author of that book ; and the position lie
maintained was the necessity of public documents for an
accurate history of any nation. This involved, first, a know-
ledge of the art of waiting, and second, the drawing up and
the safe keeping of state papers. He also claimed for his
countrymen specially, and for the East generally, the honour
of handing down from remotest antiquity documents which
had been faithfully written and kept by national officials.
On the value of his two tests of a true history there has
long been universal agreement among men. But on the
antiquity of writing and of state or family papers there was
a wide divergence of opinion till, within the last half century,
the revelations of science compelled the same general acquies-
cence in the views first published by Josephus.

Besides these two great principles, science recognises a
third, which gives life and coherence to all literature. Every
nation has a fountainhead of thought, from which a liviuff
stream flows into the darkest corners of its history. Homer's
poems are such a fountainhead ; Shakespeare is another ; the
Pentateuch is a third. If, then, the Pentateuch be the chief
source of Hebrew literature, living rills will be found running
from it throughout the after history in words, in quotations,
and in ideas. I have endeavoured to discover these streams
and threads of life, and to trace them back to the one
fountainhead. Fuerst's Concordance was an indispensable
help in the work ; but the omissions in that book, few though
they be, sometimes occur where the oversights, if undetected,
would have weakened my argument.

Another rule, which cannot be too strongly insisted on,
is to use professional w^ords in the sense attached to them in
the legal or historical books of a nation. Both Josephus and
Philo recognised its importance for the literature of their
people, by the care which they took to expound the twofold



Preface. vii

meaning of the legal word ' sacrifice.* Had modern writers
attended to their teaching, much useless discussion might
liave been avoided.

No history or biography can be trusted, if the autlior dis-
regards these four rules. And a book of annals, in which all
four are observed, gives its readers the best guaranU?e (jf
historical accuracy. Such a record is the book of Samuel.
But an observance of these rules by a historian cann(jt re-
move every bit of ruggedness from a reader's path. On tlie
contrary, an ancient book in which unvarying smootlniess
distinguishes the narrative, will always be regarded with sus-
picion. A brief record of remote antiquity, which contains no
difficulty in fact or in law, may be a record from which
all difficulties have been skilfully and designedly removed :
' An English judge once remarked on hearing minutely cir-
cumstantial evidence, that when a lock works too smoothly,
there is reason to believe it has been oiled.'

I have had recourse to footnotes only where they seemed
necessary for elucidating the meaning or showing the agree-
ment of the past with the present. I have also avoided using
Hebrew and Greek words ; for an English reader, wlio wishes
to master the deepest secrets of the history, can do so without
difficulty in his own tongue. And I have generally adhered
to our English translation, though sometimes changes had to
l>e made on it, especially in passages, which a fuller study of
the original has proved to have been erroneously rendered.

The chronology of the history is still in a state of un-
certainty. At present we can only be said to Ije groping after
accuracy. Something similar is true of the length of the
Hebrew cubit, and of Hebrew weights and measures generally.

The Old Testament referred to, in estimating the number of
pages in any of the books, is Hahn's (Van der Hooght) large
type edition, containing 1392 pages.

Edinburgh, Fclruary 1883.



^>



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.



THE ELECTION OF A KINO



Nature of Hebrew historical writing,

Doubts regarding its trustworthiness,

Supposed order of merit among the books,

Unity of the Tribes ; their rejection of Jehovah,

Introduction of Saul ; his ignorance of Samuel,

The sacrifice— not a sacrifice proper,

The anointing, and the 'signs,'

* Is even Saul among the prophets ? '

Self-command of Saul,

The choice by lot ; reasons for it, .

Accuracy of the story.

Proofs of indebtedness to older writings,



PAGE

1
5
7

10
15
22
25
29
30
31
35
36



CHAPTER II.

THE TESTING OF SAUL.

Nahash at Jabesh ; his 'reproach ' on All-Israel,
Saul's kingly spirit towards the messengers.
Distinction between Israel and Judah,
The feint of the messengers ; its success, .
• Renewal of the kingdom ; sacrifices.

Leave-taking of Samuel ; mixing up of first person and third,



41
44
45
47
49



CHAPTER III.

THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.



Blank in the chronology, .

Prostration of Israel under the Philistines,

Rising inaugurated by ' the burnt-olfering,



54
55
58



Contents.



March of Philistines by Beth-horon,
Saul's alarm, ami disobedience at Gilgal, .
Position of Samuel and Saul : the two armies,
Surprise by .lonathan and his armour-bearer,
Saul's rash vow ; the pursuit,
The curse ; the sin ; the altar ; the lots, .
Shadow on Jonathan's life and on Saul's. .
Triumphs of Saul : prolepsis,



CHAPTER IV.



FIXAL REJECTION OF SAUL.



Order to destroy Amalek, .

The Kenites, ....

Saul's trimming policy,

Message to Samuel ; his meeting with Saul,

Obedience to ' the voice,' .

Proofs of accuracy in the narrative,

jMoralitv of the destruction of Amalek,



CHAPTER V.



LAW AND LEGISLATION AMONG THE HEBREWS.

Laws not enacted or codified by kings,

Origin of legislation — Moses,

Earliest Code, Ex. xxi.-xxiii., may have been in force in Egypt,

Laws taken into the desert sanctioned on Sinai,

Not contradicted by later laws,

High civilisation of earliest Code : Twelve Tables, etc.

Renewal of the Covenant : objections.

Legislation of Leviticus : Bleek's ' probables,

Use of * Levite ' in legislation progressive,

liook of Numbers —

(1) The gap of thirty-eight years,

(2) The Sabbath-breaker,

(3) Beginning age of the Levites,

(4) 'Southside southward,' .

Quoting and borrowing by Ezekiel

(5) The first-borns ; the priesthood, ,



CHAPTER VL

ANOINTING AND ADVANCEMENT OF DAVID.



Samuel at Bethlehem— rei)ctition of history,
A sacrifice or a fei\st ? — Josephus's view, .



128
132



Cant cuts.



XI



Feeling of Samiiol towards David,

Contrast between Saul and David — their meeting ]iTevente

Positions and nature of the two armies,

'The j\Ian,' Goliath, reproaches All-Israel,

His ' reproach ' stands unavenged,

David arrives in the camp,

First meeting with Saul : Saul's equal,

He rolls away 'the reproach of Goliath,* .

His first meeting with Jonathan, .

The women's songs and Saul's madness,

Saul attempts David's life.

The great difficulty no difficulty, .



1 l»v border war,



VKV,V,

las

135
1:57
139
141
143
146
148

\:a
If. 5
ir.7

159



CHAPTER VII.



DAVID AN OUTLAW AND AN EXILE



Betrothal of Michal : delay about dow-ry,

Renewal of attempts on David's life,

Flight to Samuel and Ramah,

Flight to Bethlehem — Ezel or Argob,

Flight to Gath — Ahimclech's fear,

The debateable land,

Saul, Doeg, and the priests,

David's elegy on the ' Saints of the Lord,

At Keilah and Ziph — 'the Courses,'

Engedi — David's magnanimity,

The story of Nabal — 'the sling,' .

David's marriages and renewed persecution.

References to the law-book,

The struggle between Providence and Saul

David at Gath and Ziklag ; his doings,



161
165
169
171
175
178
179
183
184
188
191
197
201
202
203



CHAPTER VIII.



THE DEATH OF SAUL.



David's Policy and its consequences.

Invasion of Israel by the Philistines,

Position of Saul — visit to Endor, .

The witch ; her knowledge and skill.

Her pretences and Saul's terror.

Her prediction ; her vengeance,

Discussion of the reality of the Vision,

Aphek and Gilboa,

Sack of Ziklag ; recovery of the booty.

The Amalekite's story,

Hebron — David's first public anointin<



206
207
208
212
215
217
218
2 J 2
2'J6
231
233



Xll



Contents.



CHAPTER IX.



LlTEUATUllF, AND WOllSIIIP OF THE I'EOPLE.



Rending ami writing common iu Israel,

Lyric poetry : Hebrew and Greek, .

Professional literature,

Temple at Shiloh ; its doors and sanctuary,

Its Sacrifices ; Dent, xviii. (Quoted in 1 Sam.

Incense, and feasts,

Golden Candlestick and Shewbread,

The ark : professional terms and places, .

Priests and temple servants,

* The garments : ' the cphod and the me"il,

Urim and Thummim,

Law of vows — Hannah ; Elkanah ; Absalom,



ii. 1



CHAPTER X.



RECONSTRUCTION OF ALL- ISRAEL.



Beginning of David's reign in Hebron,

Abner and Joab ; the one battle ; its results,

The king-maker, and his end.

Captains of Ishbosheth ; their crime and fate,

David king of All- Israil, .

Jerusalem ; its capture and importance, .

Alarm of the Philistines, .

Zion becomes a national high place,

The story of IMichal,

A temple proposed ; preparations for it, .

David's conquests : reasons for them ; prophecy,

David's allies, ministers, and courtiers.

War with Ammon ; orilers of Moses,

David's goodness— story of Mephibosheth,

David's wickedness — story of Bathsheba, .



CHAPTER XI.

THE AVENGER OF BLOOD.



First stroke of the Avenger's * sword,'

Reason of David's sudden composure,

War at Rabbah, and in Philistia, .

The Avenger's 'sword,' — Tamar ; Amnon,

Disaffection in the kingdom ; Absalom's return,

Plans and popularity of Absalom,



Contents.



xiu



Increasing disaffection : three years' famine,

Ahithophel's hand,

Absalom's feast at Hebron,

David's flight : ' grace and truth ; ' 'a seer,'

Turning of the tide ; Hushai, Ziba, Shimei,

The Avenger's 'sword :' Ahithoiihel and Hushai

The spies ; Azmaveth's wife,

Rebels and royalists ; the march ; the battle.

Carelessness of Absalom — The Avenger's ' sword,

The two runners, ....

David's excessive grief ; reasons for it,

Return of the king ; sullenness of Jndah, .

David's treatment of traitors and friends, .

Disaffection in ten parts of All-Israel,

Murder of Amasa ; death of Sheba-ben-Bichri,



pac;e
328
333
336
336
340
342
345
346
350
354
357
361
362
367
368



CHAPTER XII.



THE CLOSE OF DAVID S REIGN.



Numbering of the people, .

Sin of king and people ; what was it ?

The muster-rolls ; their lessons.

The plague ; another Avenger's ' sword,' .

' The plague was stayed' — a quotation,

Araunah — the two prices for Moriah,

David's order of ' Mighties, '

His army ; his judges ; his people,

Adonijah's imitations of Absalom,

Nathan procures the coronation of Solomon,

David's dying charge justifiable, .

David's character as a man and a king,

David as a poet and a prophet,



373
375
377
380
382
383
387
389
392
394
400
403
409



CHAPTER XII I.

DEUTERONOMY — ANTIQUITY OF THE BOOK— INTERNAL EVIDENCE.

Positions of the writer and editor of the book,

Comparison with Thucydides, Book viii., ....

Proof—

(1) Changes in Israel ; Assyria, ....
Theory of interpolations, .....

(2) There ought to be mention of Jerusalem, .

(3) Remembrances of Egypt ; horses and chariots ; forbidden birds and

beasts, ....•••

(4) References to, and quotations from, the three ["receding books.



412
414

415
417
419

420
425



XIV



Contents.



Ditfioulties —

^1) 'On this side Jordan,' ....

(2) 'The land of his possession,'

(3) ' Passovers of the flock and the herd,'

(4) Boiling the passovi-r, ....

(5) Central altar law — quotations from it in later books,

Examination of proofs alleged for its non-existence,
Samuel's principle and procedure,
Proofs of a dispensing power,

(6) The law of the king, ....

Traces of its existence in the time of the Judges,

Applies to Gideon as well as to Solomon,

Cannot have been borrowed from Solomon's court,



435
437
438
440
441
445
447
454
456
458
460
461



CHAPTER XIV.



BKGINXING OF SOLOMON S FAME.



Sources of the histor}' : their purity,

Kenewed conspiracy, and its results,

Solomon's dealings with Shimei, .

The new high places — The vision,

Solomon's wisdom in judgment,

Pharaoh ; his daughter and his visit,

Social comlitiou of Solomon's cities and people,



464
465
470
473
475
477
479



CHAPTER XV.



THE TEMPLE AND PALACE OF SOLOMON.



The temple enclosure, platform, and ramparts.

Inscription ; and comparison with other temples,

Historians : the builders, and their payment.

Gold, silver, copper, and iron used,

Castings for the temple ; the roads,

Workers ; drains ; water-supply, .

The temple ; its threshold and surroundings,

The court ; its furniture and sacrificial system,

The interior, fully described in the history,

The gates and guards.

The living forces ; their permanence.

The dedication ; the prayer of Solomon, .

Solomon's i)alace ; its courts and halls,

j\Iillo : the tower of David,

Fortifications of passes and trade routes, .

Store cities ; chariot cities.



482
483
485
488
490
492
496
498
502
508
510
513
523
526
527
529



Conte7its.



XV



CHArTKlJ XVI.



GREATNESS OF SOLOMON.

Solomon's study of botany and natural history, .

Transplanting trees ; his gardens and fountains, .

Trading voyages to Ophir and Tarshish, .

His throne ; his palancjuin ; his guards, .

His cabinet council of ten,

Purveyance ; tribute, ....

Proverbs: 'tablet of thine heart,'

' A tree, a way, a fountain of life,'

Historical origin of proverbs,

Priests, Levites, temple, etc., not mentioned,

Use of ' seven ' ; no coarseness,

Ecclesiastes, a speculation not a repentance,

Aramaic forms no argument against authorship by Solomon,
Examination of Eccles. xii. 12, v. 6, ix. 14, 15,



I'AC.K

531
533
534
540
542
543
545
548
549
549
550
552
554
556



CHAPTER XVII.



FALL OF SOLOMON.

Solomon's scruples of conscience, .

His second vision — a warning,

Eising in the North,

Visit of the Queen of Sheba : the palace kitchen,

Solomon's wives, ....

Silence or helplessness of his counsellors, .

Toleration of idolatry,

* Hill of the Destroyer,'

Change on the influence of women,

Duty of the prophet,

Edom and Damascus,

Civil strife : rending of the kingdom,

Lesson learned by Jeroboam in Egypt,

Failure of Solomon's administration.

Causes —

(1) The price paid by Israel for his magnificence,

(2) The monopolies of the king, .

(3) Taxes in gold as well as in kind,

(4) Disregard of the Divine law : the lifting of himself

brethren ' — Apostasy, . . . •



above hi



559
560
562
563
566
567
569
570
671
572
573
575
577



573
5S0
5S1

5S2



CHAPTER XVIII

PRIESTS AND LEVITES.

Denial of this distinction before the captivity,
Graf's view of it in the Pentateuch examined,



585

587



XVI



Contents,



The Priests tlie Lcvites,' were tlie sons of Aaron —

(1) Refusal of evidence, .......

(2) Witnesses accepted on all sides, Isa. Ixvi. 21 ; Ezek. xlviii. 11, 13 ;

1 Kings viii. 4, .
Efforts made to rebut their evidence,
(.3) Evidence from Deut. x. 8, .

(4) Evidence from Dent, xviii. 1-8, .

(a) Distinction between ' fire-otferings ' and ' priest's due
(ft) Distinctions in the tribe of Levi, .

(5) First contradiction in the Mosaic law of the priests —

(a) Peace-offerings and the priest's due,
{h) Twofold meaning of sacrifice,
(c) Views of Josephus and Philo, .

(6) Second contradiction —

(a) A first tithe and a second tithe,

(6) * The third year, the year of the tithe,' .

(c) Female and twin (male) firstlings,

(7) The concluding chapters of Ezekiel —

(a) Prove the difference (1) between Jerusalem and Shiloh — (2) be

tvveen Zadok's sons and Eli's,
(ft) And distinguish between faithful priests and wandering or

usurping Levites, ....



592
593
596
599
600
601

603
606
608

609
612
614



616
619



CHAPTEE I.

THE ELECTIOX OF A KING.
(1 Sam, viii. 1-x. 27, xii.)

The history and tlie legislation of the Hebrew race are of
an unusual character. They are not like any other history
or any other legislation. From the beginning the national
records, regarded as pieces of literature only, bear a stamp of
their own. In the great conflict with the Egyptian king, at
the outset of the history, only two actors can be said to appear
upon the stage. But there are, besides, an overseer and a
chorus. The overseer is one who, to use the words of the
greatest of Greek poets, ' sees and hears all things from above/
The chorus is a trembling nation, cowering beneath the task-
master's rod, and sending up its bitter cry to the umpire in
heaven. Never were the ancient rules of Greek tragedy
more singularly observed ; they were followed ages before that
tragedy was born. There are two actors, and two only. Never
are more than two speakers introduced on the world's stage.
But the chorus, that is, the whole Hebrew people, pass tlieir
remarks on what is said and done ; feel the weight of decisions
come to ; and, while they are the prize of war, they enjoy as
victors and suffer as vanquished in the drama. Two men, and
two only, stand out before a wondering world, each armed
with immense power. One of them wields the might of the
empire of Egypt, with its vast resources in men and material
of war ; the other is an aged sage, without armies at his back,

A



2 The Kingdom of A II- Israel : its History,

without outward show, saving the support of a brother more
aged than himself; but he is gifted with unequalled powers
of word and thought, and utters a name which all nature
obeys. The majesty of man, in its grandest form, meets in
conflict with the majesty of heaven, embodied in two feeble
old men. The text of the great story is the ultimate triumph
of right over wrong. A down-trodden nation is the spoil of
battle between the opposing forces.

It is not usual to write history on these principles and in
this way. With all truth it may be said never to have been
done save in this one instance, and by authors of the same
race, who followed the example thus set. Were it not a
record of facts, it would be called a tragedy on the model of
the great dramas written in Athens a thousand years later. It
is not a history like the work of Livy or Tacitus, like the books
of Herodotus or Thucydides. These writers delight to de-
scribe the crossincT and recrossingr of the threads of human
life, the play of intrigue amongst men, the working of human
passions, the march of movements in a state. But the triumph
of right over wrong, gradually reached by a long course of
events in which wrong has often the better in the conflict,
was not before these authors' minds as the great theme of their
writing. When the march of events hurled a sinner from
his pride of place, and brought a good man to well-earned
honour, they were surprised by the results ; but the tracing
of these results in human life was not their first and their
chief aim. With them the actors are ever shifting, the scenes
are always changing, the stage is full of living things, which
distract the eye even while they impress the imagination. In
the Hebrew story the plot is managed differently. From the
outset the triumph of right is kept steadily in view. Although
the actors are but two in number, the interest never fiao^s, the
living things on the stage are nameless but active, speechless
but full of language. This is history of a different kind from
any other which the world knows of. Each of the two



The Election of a King, 3

speakers is surrounded with servants waiting on his w^ord ; hut
not a name is given to draw a bystander's eye off the chief
figures on the stage. Motives are analyzed with marvellous
power ; hut no one can say that imputations are undeservedly
thrown on king or people, or unworthiness attributed without
reason. To keep firm hold of what he has unjustly seized is
the principle acted on by the king of Egypt, It is a common
failins: with men in all aojes and in all ranks. But this fail-
ing is lifted up to its loftiest height in the history. A whole
nation is the prize won by the king ; cities built, temples
beautified, strongholds fortified, canals dug, without cost to
him or labour to his own people, are the gains he has made
and is determined to increase. The greatness of an empire,
the easing of his own subjects, are the wish and purpose of
the king. Injustice and violence seem gilded over with the
brightest hues of nobleness when he puts forward as pleas for
them, as he may be supposed to have done, the refuge his
country has been to those fugitives, and the welfare of his
own warlike subjects. If wrong could ever be turned into
right, a case could have been made out for it in this plea.
But the great Overseer above looks down on the violence that
is done. He is not deceived by fair seeming. He hears the
cry of the enslaved. And in one man's breast He plants the
resolve to break their fetters, to lead them forth from bondage,
to make them the central figure for all time in the history of
men. A tragedy so grand, ending as it does in so fearful an
overthrow of armed power, leaves no room for fiction. The
very plainness of the facts surpasses imagination. To describe
the tragedy as a kernel of fact, overgrown with brilliant
products of human fancy, is to attribute to man's mind a
power of invention which it has never possessed, and has
never approached since. Xor can the conception and
working out of scenes the most impressive known in
history be attributed to two thinkers, living in different
an-es and writing independently of each other. One mind is



4 Tiic Kingdom of A II- Israel : its History.

seen at work in the thinking, one hand in the writing out of
the narrative.

Only once again is a similar tragedy enacted. And again
the speakers are few in number, the motives clear, and the



Online LibraryJames SimeThe Kingdom of all-Israel : its history, literature, and worship .. → online text (page 1 of 54)