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by Haggai and Zechariah, had rebuilt the temple, but its career for the next eighty years was troubled and precarious. The dominant religious interest of the time was in the regulation of ritual observances. It was voiced by the prophet Malachi in an appeal to keep the service of Jehovah pure, and it led to the writing of a history of Israel's laws and institutions, now distinguished in the early Old Testament books as the Priestly Document. In 444 B. C., the patriot Nehemiah came to Jerusalem with royal permission to rebuild its walls. Under his energetic leadership the civil and religious life of the community was thoroughly organized on the basis of the Levitical law. The Jewish state became identified with the Jewish Church; and this conception of the state some years later inspired the composition of Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah.
For the next two centuries the history of the Jews is very obscure. The division of Alexander's empire left Palestine in its old unhappy position as debated ground between two overshadowing kingdoms, the Syrian kingdom of the Seleucids and the Egyptian kingdom of the Ptolemies. The spread of Greek civilization widened the Jewish outlook upon the world. It also reacted upon Jewish religious thought. The great increase of city life gave importance to the synagogues for local worship, and to the scribes, who now replace the prophets as religious leaders. Devotion to the law found expression in many of the Psalms which date from this period; reflection on moral and religious questions gave rise to the "wisdom literature," including Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes; and the sense of Israel's mission to the Gentiles prompted the writing of Jonah. In course of time, however, Greek culture threatened to sap the national religion. The brightness of Greek life its free play of reason, its art, its enthusiasm for a rounded training of body and mind was bound to appeal to liberal Jews. By 175 B. c., therefore, there was a strong Hellenizing party at Jerusalem. The danger to the national faith had already roused a zealous puritan party, when the Syrian king Antiochus attempted to force Greek religion upon the community. This tyrannical act may have seemed to the Gentile peoples of his time in some measure provoked by an illiberal exclusiveness common among the stricter Jews,
a spirit that appears in the book of Esther. But persecution only brought out their heroic qualities. The faithful suffered at first unresistingly, many doubtless finding comfort in the
book of Daniel, with its examples of constancy under trial, and its visions of Messianic deliverance. Then came the uprising of the Maccabees. One after another of the patriot brothers headed their little bands against the armies of Syria, until under Simon in 142 B. C. they won a period of national independence. The varying fortunes of that struggle are in this book followed only to the rededication of the temple in 165, since this event, marking the assured continuance of the national worship, was the more important for the future of religion. "It was not merely a local triumph of Hebraism over Hellenism, but it represents the reëntry of the East into the civilization of the West." 1
2. THE OLD TESTAMENT NARRATIVE
In the foregoing review of Old Testament history the reader may wonder that no mention occurs of the familiar names by which we know the chief narrative books from Genesis to Kings. The reason is that in their present form these books represent the last of several stages of composition. The first stage was the committal to writing, in the ninth and eighth centuries, B. C., of traditions running back to the time of Moses and before. This gave the two almost parallel narratives, already mentioned as the Judean and the Ephraimite. The style of the older Judean is well shown in the sending of Eliezer for Rebekah (pp. 33 ff.), but both of these writings are characterized by simple, direct, and picturesque story-telling. At about 650 B. c. an editor or editors blended these two into a single narrative, by piecing together their corresponding parts. The result was a fuller anecdotal history of Israel from patriarchal times to the death of Joshua, perhaps even to the early monarchy.
In 621 appeared the code of Deuteronomy, insisting with flowing eloquence on a pure worship of Jehovah as the one national requisite. This book strongly influenced the editors who, at the fall of Jerusalem, collected the annals and literary remains of their country. To the combined prophetic narrative they now added from these sources, writing in connective passages and comments, until they had given the Mosaic law its setting and application in a fairly consecutive history of Israel from the Creation to the Captivity. The summary on pp. 167168 is an example of the Deuteronomic style and teaching.
1 Israel Abrahams: Judaism.
Finally, during and after the exile, the growing zeal for ceremonial law led to the writing of the Priestly Document. This gives the laws, with the precedents in history for their observance, from God's institution of the Sabbath at Creation to Joshua's partition of Canaan among the tribes. Its stately, formal, repetitious style is illustrated in Abraham's purchase of the cave of Machpelah (p. 32). This work was in its turn interwoven with the Deuteronomic history, the result being the present form of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua. In these books, therefore, the earliest religious conceptions of the Old Testament appear side by side with the latest.
In the Hebrew Holy Scripture the first five books (which are really only mechanical divisions of a single work) form its first part, called the Torah or "Law." The second part (Nebhi'im or "Prophets ") includes: (1) the prophetic histories, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings; (2) Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve (the Minor Prophets). The third part (Kethûbhîm or "Writings") includes: (1) the poetical books, Psalms, Proverbs, Job; (2) the five Megilloth or "Festival Rolls," Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther; (3) Daniel, and the late history, Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah, of which Chronicles is chiefly a revision of the Deuteronomic history from David on. This list was by a synod of rabbis held at Jamnia about A. D. 90, defined as the complete Canon, or authoritative scripture. The Alexandrine Jews, however, included in the Canon a number of additional books, among them 1st Maccabees, part of which is used in this volume. Their Greek version of the Old Testament (called the Septuagint, or Version of Seventy, from the legend that the translation was made by seventy-two elders) groups the books loosely by their subjectmatter as Law (Pentateuch), History, Poetry, and Prophecy, and this arrangement is followed in our English Bibles.
Since several books contain a variety of matter- history, poetry, laws, etc.— neither of these arrangements can give the narrative in a consecutive order. Thus a number of chapters in the prophets supplement the story in Kings. Moreover the narrative itself in the earlier composite books shows a great deal of repetition. In this volume, therefore, the Old Testament story is given alone, without repeated matter, and in the order of its events.
THE OLD TESTAMENT NARRATIVE
THE BEGINNINGS OF HISTORY
The Creation (Gen. i., ii.). In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, "Let there be light:" and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness; and God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters;" and God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so; and God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
And God said, "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: " and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: " and it was so; and the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after its kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after its kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day.
And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the
1 firmament. The solid vault of heaven, thought of as spanning the earth like a great dome. See the diagram, p. 2.