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Old Testament

WILLIAM E. HARPEE, Pli. D., Editor.




The American Publication Society of Hebrew,

p. O. Address, Morgan Park, III.


Table of Conteits.



















I. SoM^: FKA'rnncs of Hebrew Poetry. Prof. Edward L. Curtis

II. The HisTOKicAL Argument in the Pentateuch Problem. Prof. George H.

Schoddc, Ph. D

III. The Words of Amos. Prof. Charles Elliott, D.D

IV. Studies in Archeology and Comparative Religion: IX. The Literature

of Paganism. Justin A. SmitJi, D. D

"V. The Sunday School Lessons. Prof. W. J. Beecher, D.D

VI. Contributed Notes

VII. General Notes

VIII. Editorial Notes

IX. Book Notices

X. Semitic and Old Testament Bibliography


I. The Meaning OF Sheol IN the Old Testament. Pr-cst. Alvah Hovey,D. D 4!i— 53

II. Origin OF THE Old Testament Religion. Prf.F.A.Gast,D.D 52—61

III. The Revised Veusion of the Old Testament. Prof. H. P. Smith, D.D 61— 67

IV. The Sunday School Lessons. Prof. W.J. Beecher, D. D 67—74

V. Studies in Archaeology and Comparative Religion: Pagan Literature iu

Relation to Pagan Faith. Justin A. Smitli, D. D 75— 82

VI. Contributed Notes 83— 84

VII. General Notes 85—86

VIII. Editorial Notes 87— 90

IX. Book Notices 91— 94

X, Semitic and Old Testament Bibliography 95— 96


I. Jerusalem. Selnh Merrill, D.D., LL.D 97—103

II. The Hebrew "Wisdom." Prof. R. V. Foster, D.D 104—107

III. Okigin OF the Old Testament Religion: II. Prof. F. A. Gast, D.D 107-111

IV. The Prince in Ezekiel. Edward G. King. D. D 111—116

V. The Sunday School Lessons. Prof. W. J. Beecher, D.D 117—125

VI. The Story of Balaam Reconsidered. Rev. B. F. Simpson 125—128

VII. Studies in Archeology and Comparative Religion: XI. The Idea of Evil,

as to Origin. Jusiln A. Smith, D.D 128—135

VITI. Editorial Notes 136—138

IX. Book Notices 139—142

X. Semitic and Old Testament Bibliography 143—144


I. The Authority of Holy Scripture: I. Prof. .J. G. Murphy, D. D., LL.D 14.5—150

II. The Revised Psalter. Prof. Edwin Cine Bissell, D. D 15U— 157

III. The Value of the Old Testament for a Correct Knowledge of the Neav.

Prof. S. Burnham, D.D 157—161

IV. Egypt Before B. C. 2.000: I. Prof. Howard Osgood, D.D 161-106

V. The Sunday School Lessons. Prof. W. J. Beecher, D.D 166—171

VI. Studies IN Archeology and Comparative Religion: XII. The Idea of Evil,

as to its Nature. Justin A. Smith, D. D 171-177

VII. General Notes 178—180

VIII. Editorial Notes 181—183

IX. Book Notices 184—188

X. Semitic and Old Testament Bibliography 189—192


I. Sun Images and the Sun of Righteousness. TaWot IF. Chamhers, D. D 193—203

II. The Authority of Holy Scripture: II. Rev. .J. G Murphy, D. D., LL.D 203—207

III. The Revision of the Book of Exodus. P7-of. F. B. Denio: 207—212

IV. Egypt Before B. C. 2,000 : II. Prof. Howard Osgood, D.D 213—219

V. The Value of the Old Testament for a Correct Knowledge of the New.

Prof. S. Burnham, D.D : 220—223

VI. The Sunday School Lessons. Prof. IF. J. Beecher. D.D 322—228

VII. Studies in Archeology and Comparative Relfgion: XIII. The Idea of Re-
demption.— First Article. Justin A. Smith, D.D 228—233

VITI. Editorial Notes -234-235

IX. Book Notices 236-238

X. Semitic and Old Testament Bibliography 239—240


Table of Contents.




The^Re^sed' JPsalter" II. " 'Prof'. Edwin Cone Bisseii, b.D

Tnp Saortfices. Howard Crosby, D.D., LL.D • "A" "-i,'

T^ PROPER Attitude of the Ministry towards Biblical Critics. Rev. B.

The^hSew Wisdom'.-The book ofJob." Pro/. B.F. Foster." D." b: '. ! ! ! ! ! l ! '. '. ! '.
The Sunday School Lessons. Prof. W. J. Beechtr, D. i*—- • ■ • ■ ■ • v • v ;• • • -f v.- •
Studies IN Archaeology and Comparative Religion: XIV. The Idea of Re-

demption.-Second Article. Justin A. Smith, D. D... ■■■■■■■■

VIII. Old Testament Studies —An Announcement. By the hjditor

IX. General Notes

X. Book Notices ••

XL Semitic and Old Testament Bibliography



















;93— 395


The Revised Psalter: IIL Prof. Edwin ,%• •vi^i.vrr/ n Qn^ ?ns

the INTERPRETATION OF GENESIS XLix., 10. Prof. Charles Elhntt, D.D 305-|08

The Sunday School Lessons. Prof. W.J. Beecher, D.D ■m^m

A Book-Study: First Samuel. By t/ie Editor • ^J^g^gjg

Book Notices

Current Old Testament Literature


The Alphabetical Psalms. Geo. Dana Boardman,D.D.

The Interpretation of Amos v., 35, 36. Prof. F. B. Denw. ... •■■■■••••

The Future Life in Historical Religions. .Justin A. Snuth, D.D...

The Sunday School Lessons. Prof. W. J Beecher, D.D

A Book-Study : Second Samuel. By the Editor

Book Notices •

Current Old Testament Literature









342— 34;S


a'symp'o^ium on "bible-Study 11^.^™ .Theological Sem


II. Henry


pirdTRHeber Newton, D. D.; C. E. Rolmison D. D^; A. J. Rowland, D. D.,

Wm. M. Taylor, D.D.; H. L. Wayland, D. D. : W. C. Wilkimon, D.D

The Biblical Creation. Prof. M. S. Teiry, S.T. ••••£■■• • • • a-;-^-)- ■ pi; V)" ' ' '

The Book of Kings in Modern Criticism. Prof. George H. Schodde, Ph. v....

The Sunday School Lessons. Prof. W. J. Beecher D.D

A Book Study: First and Second Samuel. By the Editor

Book Notices ■ .

Current Old Testament Literature







Th" ASSYRIAN EPOn"ym" CAn6n XnD "tHE " CHR6il6LdG"Y ■6FTHE"B"l"BiE. Mr. L. F.

How WE^SHOULD "Study THis" BIBLE." ' 'oeorge Dana Boardman, D.D

Hebrew in College. Prof. John P. Peters, fh.D^

The Messianic Element in Hagoai. Prof. F. B. Demo.

Pagan Wisdom; Christian Inspiration. Justm A. Smm, D. u

A Book Study : First and Second Samuel. By the tijaitor

Book Notices

Current Old Testament Literature

General Index to Vol. V


399— 40J



Vol. V. SEPTEMBER, 1885. No. i.


By Professor Edward L. Curtis,

Presbyterian Theological Seminary of the North West, Chicago.

Hebrew Poetry is usually characterized first as religious. This is its
grand and glorious distinction, to present the sublimest of all themes,
God and his relation to man. Heavenly choirs as well as earthly
repeat its thought, if not its words. For this it is chiefly worthy of
study. But not all Hebrew Poetry was religious. There were bac-
chanalian songs of revelry. 1 Isaiah quotes as well known the song of
the harlot.^ Dirges were lamented over the dead which contained
not one religious thought. Such are the two of David over Jonathan
and Abner.^ They are purely secular, though the former is of great
pathos and beauty. Of those sung by Hebrew maidens over Jephtha's
daughter we have no knowledge.^ We also have the song of the well,
chanted doubtless by the women drawing water.^ And the smith, in
those days when there was one, may have sung at his forge the
ungodly sword song of Lamech.^ There were songs of marriage
feasts in praise of maidens,'^ songs of the times of the vintage,^ songs
to welcome the warrior returning home.^ Love, too, was not forgot-
ten. The Song of Songs may have been in its origin one of many
poems designed to set forth simply human passion. But being so
beautiful a masterpiece, it may thus have been taken as an illustration
of Jehovah's love, which so often had been likened by the prophet to
the same, and thus found a place among the sacred writings. How
suggestive also are the titles of some of the Psalms, if they contain,
as is held by many, catch words of songs giving names to melodies.
Then there was a song beginning, "Hind of the dawn, "1° another,
" The silent dove in the far off land,"" and a warlike song of Gath,i2 g.

1 Isa. v., 13; Amos vi., 5. 2 Isa. xxiii., 16. 3 3 Sam. i., 19-37; iii., 33, 34. 4 Judg. xi., 40. s Num.
xxi., 17, 18. 6 Gen. iv., 23, 24. ' Ps. Ixxviii., 63. s Judg. xxi., 31. » 1 Sam. xvili., 7. 10 Ps. xxii., 1.
11 Ps. Ivi., 1. 12 Ps. viii., 1.

2 Thk Old Testament Student.

marseillaise, sung in all probability by David's faithful mercenaries.
Indeed everything which moved the heart of the multitude found
expression in Hebrew Poetry.

But though varied in subject matter, Hebrew Poetry is noticeable
for its simplicity. This is shown in its external form; there is no
metre, no rhyme, only rythm, which belongs to the best prose, and a
certain uniformity in the length and structure of lines, and the balanc-
ing of the thought of one line over against another,— parallelism.
Hence, often no strict line of separation can be drawn between
Hebrew Poetry and prose, and no poetry probably suffers less by
translation. This simplicity adapts it for being the vehicle of the
sublimest thought. What simpler than the utterance :

God said,

Let tliere be light, and there was light.i

What simpler in expression than Ps xix.:

The heavens declare the glory of God,

And the firmament sheweth his handiwork.

Day unto day uttereth speech,

Night unto night declareth knowledge ;

There is no speech nor language.

Their voice is not heard.

What grander.? What more sublime than these.' Compare this
latter with a modern treatment of the same theme.
Alone by the waves, starry midnight on high.
O'er the sea not a mist, not a cloud in the sky,

I stood, and beyond the seen world I had sight ;
And the woods, and the hills, and all Nature seemed stirred,
Confusedly, plaintively, asking a word

Of the ocean's dumb tide, of the heavenly light.
Then the fiery planets, an infinite host.
Loud, faint, as their myriad harmonies crossed.

Spake, each bowing down with his circlet of gold :
And spake the blue flood that no hand shall arrest.
Inclining superbly its foam-jeweled crest :

" Behold the Lord God ! The Eternal behold ! "
This last of Victor Hugo is fine, very fine, but it will be forgotten,
while the simple Hebrew melody will live on forever.

Take another example, Ps. XXIX. One on a first reading prob-
ably would not be struck with it in any way except that it was full of
repetitions that seemed almost childish. But let one study it more
carefully and he will find it artistic and most sublime. It is a descrip-
tion of a thunder storm.

iGen. i., 3.

Some Features of Hebrew Poetry. 3

There is first a prelude, where we have an angel or priestly chorus
praising God,

Give unto Jehovah, O ye sons of God,
Give unto Jehovah glory and strength.
Give unto Jehovah the glory due his name.
Worship Jehovah in lioly vestments.

Then follow three strophes describing the storm. The first gives us
its beginning, the low faint muttering thunder in the heavens.

The voice of Jehovali is upon the waters,
The God of Glory thunderetli ;
Jehovah is upon many waters ;
The voice of Jehovah is in might,
Tlie voice of Jehovali is in majesty.

Then follows the description of the storm at its height, when it crashes
the cedars and shakes the mountains.

Tlie voice of Jehovah breaketli the cedars.
Yea, Jehovah breaketh the cedars of Lebanon ;
And he maketh them to skip like a calf,
Lebanon and Sirion like the young of the wild ox.
The voice of Jehovah cleaveth flames of tire.

Then we are told how with one long peal after another the storm dies
away off in the wilderness and forest to the south.

The voice of Jehovah maketh the wilderness to tremble ;
Jehovah maketh the wilderness of Kadesh to tremble ;
The voice of Jehovah boweth the hinds in travail pangs,
And strippeth the forest of their leaves.
And in his temple all that are therein cry, " Glory."

Then there is another strophe in conclusion, a beautiful summary
of all.

Jehovah sat enthroned above the flood.

Yea, Jehovah sitteth enthroned a king forever.

Jehovah giveth strength to his people ;

Jehovah blesseth his people with peace.

Thus out of the mighty convulsions of nature we have this beau-
tiful ending of peace. The psalm truly begins, as one has said, with
a gloria in excelsis and ends with a pax in terris}

This psalm leads us to speak of the poetic treatment of nature.
The Hebrews were a people of outdoor life, and given to lively
impression. This is shown by their language. Their vocabulary is
relatively small, yet there is a profusion of sensuous epithets. More
than 250 botanical names appear in the Old Testament. There are

1 In this translation and analysis of Ps. xxix., I have followed Perowne. See his Commen-

The Old Testament Student.

nearly as many words about sea and water as the English language
can muster when technicalities are reckoned. There are five, if not
seven, distinct names of the lion. Hence their poetry abounds in
allusions to the external world. We are impressed with this in every
poem we read. The godly is like a tree planted by the rivers.^ The
wicked are like the chaff driven by the wind." The wicked are a lion
longing to tear in pieces.^ A young lion lurking in secret places.*
Man's troubles are waves and billows.^ The place of his distress is the
pit.^ It is the flood that beareth man away." He is as grass ; in the
morning it flourisheth, and groweth up ; in the evening it is cut down,
and withereth.*^

Intensity of feeling allowed the Hebrew writer to pass quickly
from one natural object to another. When Isaiah pictures the onset
of Assyria, he hears the roar of the lion as it springs on its victim,
followed by the low and awful moan which shows its prey is secured.
But presently this moan waxes more and more intense, until it passes
into the grim murmur of a storm-lashed sea, while the hot breath and
overshadowing terror of the lion are transmuted into a dark and
murky storm cloud which enwraps the land of Judaea in the gloom of
hopeless night.

His roar is like the lioness,
He roars like the young lions,

And moans, and clutches his prey and bears it off, and none can save.
He moans over Judah like the moan of the sea.

"When they looked to the land, lo stifling gloom, and day grown black in lowering
clouds. 9

But nature was more than a store-house of similes and metaphors,
bright colors to clothe each passing thought. Nature seemed really
a part of man. Its destiny was inseparably linked with his. Man
sins. Cursed is the ground for his sake. Man is redeemed. The
mountains and hills break forth into singing, and all the trees of the
field clap their hands. When misfortune and calamity befall, the
sun is turned into darkness and the moon into blood. There appears
an inalienable connection between the course of nature and the
progress of the divine kingdom. The earth throbs and pulsates in
correspondence to human weal and woe.

And it will be in that day,
I will answer, saith the Lord,
Will answer the heavens,

IPs. i., 3. 2Ps. i.,.4. 3 Ps. X., 9. 4 Ps. xvii., 13. s Ps. xlii., 7. 6 Ps. lxi.\., 15. i Ps. xc, 5. s Ps.
xc, 6.

a Isa. v., 30. Translation and illustration given by W. Kobertsou Smith, in BritisJi Quarterly,
Januai-y, l^TT.

Some Features of Hebrew Poetry. 5

And they will answer the earth,

And the earth will answer the corn and the wine and the oil,

And they will answer Jezreel.i

Nature must thus respond. Eyes refused to see what heart could
not assimilate. No beauty of smiling fields must stand in contrast to
grief and sorrow.

Ye mountains of Gilboa,

No dew no rain be upon you,

For the shield of the mighty lies rusting,

The shield of Saul not anointed with oil. 2

Nature must join in every emotion.

Praise Jeliovah from the earth,
Ye dragons and all ye ocean depths \
Fire and hail, snow and smoke,
Stormy wind fulfilling his word ;
Mountains and all hills ;
Fruit trees and all cedars. ^

But nature was never viewed for her own sake. She had no inde-
pendent self-existence. The word nature or its equivalent does not
appear in Hebrew. She was an outer garment of the Almighty. All
her movements were of him. And when he moved, it was through
her power and force. One prophet, it is true, found the Lord not in
the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire. But this was his usual
form of manifestation. Out of the whirlwind he answered Job. The
thunder was his voice, "^ the lightning came from his mouth, -^ the earth-
quake was his anger,^ the light his garment,'^ the clouds his chariot, the
winds his messengers,^ the ice came from his breath. ^^ He was enthroned
above the cherubim, symbols of the living powers of nature.

But God is never identified with nature. He giveth life to all, is
the life of all, is in all natural phenomena, but is independent, apart,
separate, and Lord of all. No natural scene or object is ever pic-
tured for its own sake, to leave the impression of itself alone. Beauty
of form, harmony of color, were conceptions foreign to the Hebrews.
Ezekiel's Cherubim defy artistic representation. The creations of
Job, his magnificent description of a war-horse, for example, suggest
no pictorial treatment. Lideed it may rather be said to defy such
treatment. Can we conceive of a picture under which could be
written :

Ilast thou given the horse his might V

Hast thou clothed his neck with the quivering mane ?

1 Hos. ii., 21, 23. 2 3 Sam. i., 31. a Ps. cxlviii., la, 7-9. 4 Ps. xxix., 3. s Ps. xviii., 8. e Ps. xviii.,
7. 1 Ps. civ., 2. 8 Ps. civ., 3. 9 civ., 4. lo Job xxxvii., 10.

The Old Testament Student,

Ilast thou made him to leap as a locust V

The glory of his snorting is terrible.

lie paweth in the valley and rejoiceth in strength ;

lie goeth out to meet the armed men.

lie mocketh at fear, and is not dismayed ;

Neither turneth he back from the sword. \

The quiver rattleth against him,

The flashing spear and javelin.

lie swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage ;

Neither believeth he that it is the voice of the trumpet.

So oft as the trumpet soundeth he saith, Aha !

And he smelleth the battle afar off,

The thunder of the captains, and the shouting. i

While how easy to place beneath a portrait and recognize as a true
likeness Barry Cornwall's description of the Blood Horse.

Gamara is a dainty steed,

Strong, black, and of a noble breed,

Full of fire, and full of bone,

With all his line of fathers known ;

Fine his nose, his nostril thin.

But blown abroad by the pride within ;

His mane is like a river flowing.

And his eyes like embers glowing

In the darkness of the night.

And his pace as swift as light.

What a contrast between these two. One is the description of a
horse for his own sake, a fit embellishment of a jockey's manual ; the
other is given for something higher, the exaltation of the Almighty, a
fit embellishment of the Word of God.

As all nature was a manifestation of the divine presence, so was
all human action a manifestation of divine power. Man had no
strength, no wisdom, no might, which did not come from God. Hence
the earliest anthology which is mentioned, while doubtless made up
of songs based upon the deeds of men, is called the Book of the Wars
of Jehovah." The victorious march of Israel from the wilderness, and
the conquest of Canaan as accomplished by the skill and valor of
Joshua and his warriors, is forgotten in poetry. It is only remembered
as the triumphal entry of Jehovah, for it is said :

Lord, when thou wentest forth out of Seir,

When thou marchest forth out of the field of Edom.3

David, leading the charge against some hostile band, or the assault
against some tower, scaling the lofty and high battlements, or climb-

1 Job xxxix., 19. 2 Num. x\i., 14. sjudg-. v.,4.

Some Features of Hebrew Poetry. 7

ing, like the wild goat, precipitous and dangerous mountain side, or
bending with mighty arms the bow of bronze, is not one endowed
with human strength and skill, but of divine power and schooling.

For by thee I run upon a troop ;

And by my God do I leap over a wall.

He maketh my feet like hind's feet;

He setteth me upon my high places.

He teacheth my hands to war;

So that mine arms do bend a bow of brass. i

There is no thought of personal prowess in David's Psalms. But
at the same time there is no belittling man's own dignity and worth.
He is viewed, even as he was created in the beginning, a little lower
than God, crowned with glory and honor, having dominion, with all
things put under his feet." There are also words which seem too bold
for Christian humility and a sense of human weakness and sin.

Thou hast proved mine heart ; thou hast visited me in the night ;
Thou hast tried me and findest nothing.
My steps have held fast to thy paths ;
My feet have not slipped. ^

But these and other similar expressions spring from no Pharisaic spirit
of self-righteousness, but from a just and manly consciousness of one's
own integrity and honesty of purpose when contrasted with the

Hebrew Poetry, then, is all subjective. This is characteristic of
the Semitic race, who were not given to analytical reflection, but
grasped knowledge by intuition ; and in whom feeling and emotion
predominated. This is why their poetry is for all time and all peo-
ples. The heart of humanity is found there. No other sacred book
has given more of comfort, more of strength, than the Hebrew
Psalter. This is not due to its inspiration, although it is inspired.
But the church doctrine of inspiration covers also the driest bits of
history and the dullest lists of names, of interest only to the antiquary.
This is not because the Psalms are a message from God to men.
Although they are God-given, for in general the prophet proclaimed the
will of God to men, made known what God is, and what God required.
While, on the other hand, the poet proper gave utterance to the
longings, aspirations, fears, doubts and anxieties of man's heart. He
spoke to God for man. And this is why the Psalter has such a hold
and charm over Christian men. It mirrors their feelings. It says just
what they would like to say ; transfigures their own unuttered
thoughts. This, indeed, is the work of poetry, to transfigure life, to

1 Ps. xviii., as, 33, 34. 2 ps. viii., 5, 6. 3 Ps. xvii., 3, 3.

8 The Old Testament Student.

give an imaginative representation of what men believe, think, feel,
see and do ; and the greatest poet is the one who does the most of this.
And because the Psalmist has done so much, he stands pre-eminent
among all poets. One need not give illustrations of this. Too many
lines of familiar Psalms, repeated oft in joy, in sorrow, in faith, in
fear, in praise, in penitence, suggest themselves.

If one, then, will hold communion with the heart of humanity, if
he will know its throbbing beats among the people who were chosen
to give religion to the world, let him study Hebrew Poetry, let him
live in song with their shepherds, warriors, priests and kings, freemen,
tillers of their own soil, captives languishing in exile, let him live thus
with them and he will hold communion too with God.

Online LibraryWilliam Rainey HarperThe Old Testament student (Volume 5) → online text (page 1 of 54)