JEWS (Heb. Yĕhūdi, man of Judah; Gr. Ἰουδαῖοι; Lat. Judaei), the general name for the Semitic people which inhabited Palestine from early times, and is known in various connexions as “the Hebrews,” “the Jews,” and “Israel” (see § 5 below). Their history may be divided into three great periods: (1) That covered by the Old Testament to the foundation of Judaism in the Persian age, (2) that of the Greek and Roman domination to the destruction of Jerusalem, and (3) that of the Diaspora or Dispersion to the present day.
I. The Land and the People.—For the first two periods the history of the Jews is mainly that of Palestine. It begins among those peoples which occupied the area lying between the Nile on the one side and the Tigris and the Euphrates on the other. Surrounded by ancient seats of culture in Egypt and Babylonia, by the mysterious deserts of Arabia, and by the highlands of Asia Minor, Palestine, with Syria on the north, was the high road of civilization, trade and warlike enterprise, and the meeting-place of religions. Its small principalities were entirely dominated by the great Powers, whose weakness or acquiescence alone enabled them to rise above dependence or vassalage. The land was traversed by old-established trade routes and possessed important harbours on the Gulf of ʽAkaba and on the Mediterranean coast, the latter exposing it to the influence of the Levantine culture. It was “the physical centre of those movements of history from which the world has grown.” The portion of this district abutting upon the Mediterranean may be divided into two main parts:—Syria (from the Taurus to Hermon) and Palestine (southward to the desert bordering upon Egypt). The latter is about 150 m. from north to south (the proverbial “Dan to Beersheba”), with a breadth varying from 25 to 80 m., i.e. about 6040 sq. m. This excludes the land east of the Jordan, on which see Palestine.
From time to time streams of migration swept into Palestine and Syria. Semitic tribes wandered northwards from their home in Arabia to seek sustenance in its more fertile fields, to plunder, or to escape the pressure of tribes in the rear. The course leads naturally into either Palestine or Babylonia, and, following the Euphrates, northern Syria is eventually reached. Tribes also moved down from the north: nomads, or offshoots from the powerful states which stretch into Asia Minor. Such frequently recurring movements introduced new blood. Tribes, chiefly of pastoral habits, settled down among others who were so nearly of their own type that a complete amalgamation could be effected, and this without any marked modification of the general characteristics of the earlier inhabitants. It is from such a fusion as this that the ancestors of the Jews were descended, and both the history and the genius of this people can be properly understood only by taking into account the physical features of their land and the characteristics of the Semitic races in general (see Palestine, Semitic Languages).
2. Society and Religion.—The similarity uniting the peoples of the East in respect of racial and social characteristics is accompanied by a striking similarity of mental outlook which has survived to modern times. Palestine, in spite of the numerous vicissitudes to which it has been subjected, has not lost its fundamental characteristics. The political changes involved in the Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyptian or Persian conquests surely affected it as little as the subsequent waves of Greek, Roman and other European invasions. Even during the temporary Hellenization in the second great period the character of the people as a whole was untouched by the various external influences which produced so great an effect on the upper classes. When the foreign civilization perished, the old culture once more came to the surface. Hence it is possible, by a comprehensive comparative study of Eastern peoples, in both ancient and modern times, to supplement and illustrate within certain limits our direct knowledge of the early Jewish people, and thus to understand more clearly those characteristics which were peculiar to them, in relation to those which they shared with other Oriental peoples.
Even before authentic history begins, the elements of religion and society had already crystallized into a solid coherent structure which was to persist without essential modification. Religion was inseparable from ordinary life, and, like that of all peoples who are dependent on the fruits of the earth, was a nature-worship. The tie between deities and worshippers was regarded as physical and entailed mutual obligations. The study of the clan-group as an organization is as instructive here as in other fields. The members of each group lived on terms of equality, the families forming a society of worship the rites of which were conducted by the head. Such groups (each with its local deity) would combine for definite purposes under the impulse of external needs, but owing to inevitable internal jealousies and the incessant feuds among a people averse from discipline and authority, the unions were not necessarily lasting. The elders of these groups possessed some influence, and tended to form an aristocracy, which took the lead in social life, although their authority generally depended merely upon custom. Individual leaders in times of stress acquired a recognized supremacy, and, once a tribe outstripped the rest, the opportunities for continued advance gave further scope to their authority. “The interminable feuds of tribes, conducted on the theory of blood-revenge, . . . can seldom be durably healed without the intervention of a third party who is called in as arbiter, and in this way an impartial and wise power acquires of necessity a great and beneficent influence over all around it” (W. R. Smith). In time, notwithstanding a certain inherent individualism and impatience of control, veritable despotisms arose in the Semitic world, although such organizations were invariably liable to sudden collapse as the old forms of life broke down with changing conditions.
3. Early History.—Already in the 15th century B.C. Palestine was inhabited by a settled people whose language, thought and religion were not radically different several hundred years later. Small native princes ruled as vassals of Egypt which, after expelling the Hyksos from its borders, had entered upon a series of conquests as far as the Euphrates. Some centuries previously, however, Babylonia had laid claim to the western states, and the Babylonian (i.e. Assyrian) script and language were now used, not merely in the diplomatic correspondence between Egypt and Asia, but also for matters of private and everyday life among the Palestinian princes themselves. To what extent specific Babylonian influence showed itself in other directions is not completely known. Canaan (Palestine and the south Phoenician coast land) and Amor (Lebanon district and beyond) were under the constant supervision of Egypt, and Egyptian officials journeyed round to collect tribute, to attend to complaints, and to assure themselves of the allegiance of the vassals. The Amarna tablets and those more recently found at Taannek (bibl. Taanach), together with the contemporary archaeological evidence (from Lachish, Gezer, Megiddo, Jericho, &c.), represent advanced conditions of life and culture, the precise chronological limits of which cannot be determined with certainty. This age, with its regular maritime intercourse between the Aegean settlements, Phoenicia and the Delta, and with lines of caravans connecting Babylonia, North Syria, Arabia and Egypt, presents a remarkable picture of life and activity, in the centre of which lies Palestine, with here and there Egyptian colonies and some traces of Egyptian cults. The history of this, the “Amarna” age, reveals a state of anarchy in Palestine for which the weakness of Egypt and the downward pressure of north Syrian peoples were responsible. Subdivided into a number of little local principalities, Palestine was suffering both from internal intrigues and from the designs of this northern power. It is now that we find the restless Ḥabiru, a name which is commonly identified with that of the “Hebrews” (’ibrīm). They offer themselves where necessary to either party, and some at least perhaps belonged to the settled population. The growing prominence of the new northern group of “Hittite” states continued to occupy the energies of Egypt, and when again we have more external light upon Palestinian history, the Hittites (q.v.) are found strongly entrenched in the land. But by the end of the first quarter of the 13th century B.C. Egypt had recovered its province (precise boundary uncertain), leaving its rivals in possession of Syria. Towards the close of the 13th century the Egyptian king Merneptah (Mineptah) records a successful campaign in Palestine, and alludes to the defeat of Canaan, Ascalon, Gezer, Yenuam (in Lebanon) and (the people or tribe) Israel. Bodies of aliens from the Levantine coast had previously threatened Egypt and Syria, and at the beginning of the 12th century they formed a coalition on land and sea which taxed all the resources of Rameses III. In the Purasati, apparently the most influential of these peoples, may be recognized the origin of the name “Philistine.” The Hittite power became weaker, and the invaders, in spite of defeat, appear to have succeeded in maintaining themselves on the sea coast. External history, however, is very fragmentary just at the age when its evidence would be most welcome. For a time the fate of Syria and Palestine seems to have been no longer controlled by the great powers. When the curtain rises again we enter upon the historical traditions of the Old Testament.
4. Biblical History.—For the rest of the first period the Old Testament forms the main source. It contains in fact the history itself in two forms: (a) from the creation of man to the fall of Judah (Genesis-2 Kings), which is supplemented and continued further—(b) to the foundation of Judaism in the 5th century B.C. (Chronicles—Ezra-Nehemiah). In the light of contemporary monuments, archaeological evidence, the progress of scientific knowledge and the recognized methods of modern historical criticism, the representation of the origin of mankind and of the history of the Jews in the Old Testament can no longer be implicitly accepted. Written by an Oriental people and clothed in an Oriental dress, the Old Testament does not contain objective records, but subjective history written and incorporated for specific purposes. Like many Oriental works it is a compilation, as may be illustrated from a comparison of Chronicles with Samuel-Kings, and the representation of the past in the light of the present (as exemplified in Chronicles) is a frequently recurring phenomenon. The critical examination of the nature and growth of this compilation has removed much that had formerly caused insuperable difficulties and had quite unnecessarily been made an integral or a relevant part of practical religion. On the other hand, criticism has given a deeper meaning to the Old Testament history, and has brought into relief the central truths which really are vital; it may be said to have replaced a divine account of man by man’s account of the divine. Scholars are now almost unanimously agreed that the internal features are best explained by the Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis. This involves the view that the historical traditions are mainly due to two characteristic though very complicated recensions, one under the influence of the teaching of Deuteronomy (Joshua to Kings, see § 20), the other, of a more priestly character (akin to Leviticus), of somewhat later date (Genesis to Joshua, with traces in Judges to Kings, see § 23). There are, of course, numerous problems relating to the nature, limits and dates of the two recensions, of the incorporated sources, and of other sources (whether early or late) of independent origin; and here there is naturally room for much divergence of opinion. Older material (often of composite origin) has been used, not so much for the purpose of providing historical information, as with the object of showing the religious significance of past history; and the series Joshua-Kings is actually included among the “prophets” in Jewish reckoning (see Midrash). In general, one may often observe that freedom which is characteristic of early and unscientific historians. Thus one may note the reshaping of older material to agree with later thought, the building up of past periods from the records of other periods, and a frequent loss of perspective. The historical traditions are to be supplemented by the great body of prophetic, legal and poetic literature which reveal contemporary conditions in various internal literary, theological or sociological features. The investigation of their true historical background and of the trustworthiness of their external setting (e.g. titles of psalms, dates and headings of prophecies) involves a criticism of the historical traditions themselves, and thus the two major classes of material must be constantly examined both separately and in their bearing on one another. In a word, the study of biblical history, which is dependent in the first instance upon the written sources, demands constant attention to the text (which has had an interesting history) and to the literary features; and it requires a sympathetic acquaintance with Oriental life and thought, both ancient and modern, an appreciation of the necessity of employing the methods of scientific research, and (from the theological side) a reasoned estimate of the dependence of individual religious convictions upon the letter of the Old Testament.
In view of the numerous articles in this work dealing with biblical subjects, the present sketch is limited to the outlines of the traditional history; the religious aspect in its bearing upon biblical theology (which is closely bound up with the traditions) is handled separately under Hebrew Religion. The related literature is enormous (see the bibliographies to the special articles); it is indexed annually in Orientalische Bibliographie (Berlin), and is usefully summarized in the Theologische Jahresbericht (Berlin). On the development of the study of biblical history see C. A. Briggs, Study of Holy Scripture (1899), especially ch. xx. The first scientific historical work was by H. Ewald, Gesch. d. Volkes Israel (1843; 3rd ed., 1864–1868; Eng. trans., 1869–1883), popularized by Arthur Penrhyn Stanley in his Hist. of the Jewish Church (1863–1879). The works of J. Wellhausen (especially Prolegomena to the Hist. of Israel, Eng. trans., 1885, also the brilliant article “Israel” in the 9th ed. of the Ency. Brit., 1879) were epoch-making; his position was interpreted to English readers by W. Robertson Smith (Old Test. in Jewish Church, 1881, 2nd ed., 1892; Prophets of Israel, 1882, 2nd ed. by T. K. Cheyne, 1902). The historical (and related) works of T. K. Cheyne, H. Graetz, H. Guthe, F. C. Kent, A. Kittel, W. H. Kosters, A. Kuenen, C. Piepenbring, and especially B. Stade, although varying greatly in standpoint, are among the most valuable by recent scholars; H. P. Smith’s Old Test. Hist. (“International Theological Library,” Edinburgh, 1903) is in many respects the most serviceable and complete study; a modern and more critical “Ewald” is a desideratum. For the works of numerous other scholars who have furthered Old Testament research in the past it must suffice to refer to the annotated list by J. M. P. Smith, Books for O.T. Study (Chicago, 1908).
For the external history, E. Schrader, Cuneiform Inscr. and the Old Testament (Eng. trans. by O. C. Whitehouse, 1885–1888) is still helpful; among the less technical works are J. F. McCurdy, History, Prophecy and the Monuments; B. Paton, Syria and Palestine (1902); G. Maspero, Hist. ancienne (6th ed., 1904); A. Jeremias, Alte Test. im Lichte d. Alten Orients (2nd ed., 1906); and especially Altoriental. Texte u. Bilder zum Alten Test., ed. by H. Gressman, with A. Ungnad and H. Ranke (1909). The most complete is that of Ed. Meyer, Gesch. d. Alterthums (2nd ed., 1907 sqq.). That of Jeremias follows upon the lines of H. Winckler, whose works depart from the somewhat narrow limits of purely “Israelite” histories, emphasize the necessity of observing the characteristics of Oriental thought and policy, and are invaluable for discriminating students. Winckler’s own views are condensed in the 3rd edition—a re-writing—of Schrader’s work (Keilinschr. u. d. Alte Testament, 1903), and, with an instructive account of the history of “ancient nearer Asia,” in H. F. Helmolt’s World’s History, iii. 1–252 (1903). All modern histories of any value are necessarily compromises between the biblical traditions and the results of recent investigation, and those studies which appear to depart most widely from the biblical or canonical representation often do greater justice to the evidence as a whole than the slighter or more conservative and apologetic reconstructions. Scientific biblical historical study, nevertheless, is still in a relatively backward condition; and although the labours of scholars since Ewald constitute a distinct epoch, the trend of research points to the recognition of the fact that the purely subjective literary material requires a more historical treatment in the light of our increasing knowledge of external and internal conditions in the old Oriental world. But an inductive and deductive treatment, both, comprehensive and in due proportion, does not as yet (1910) exist, and awaits fuller external evidence.
5. Traditions of Origin.—The Old Testament preserves the remains of an extensive literature, representing different standpoints, which passed through several hands before it reached its present form. Surrounded by ancient civilizations where writing had long been known, and enjoying, as excavation has proved, a considerable amount of material culture, Palestine could look back upon a lengthy and stirring history which, however, has rarely left its mark upon our records. Whatever ancient sources may have been accessible, whatever trustworthy traditions were in circulation, and whatever a knowledge of the ancient Oriental world might lead one to expect, one is naturally restricted in the first instance to those undated records which have survived in the form which the last editors gave to them. The critical investigation of these records is the indispensable prelude to all serious biblical study, and hasty or sweeping deductions from monumental or archaeological evidence, or versions compiled promiscuously from materials of distinct origin, are alike hazardous. A glimpse at Palestine in the latter half of the second millennium B.C. (§ 3) prepares us for busy scenes and active intercourse, but it is not a history of this kind which the biblical historians themselves transmit. At an age when—on literary-critical grounds—the Old Testament writings were assuming their present form, it was possible to divide the immediately preceding centuries into three distinct period. (a) The first, that of the two rival kingdoms: Israel (Ephraim or Samaria) in the northern half of Palestine, and Judah in the south. Then (b) the former lost its independence towards the close of the 8th century B.C., when a number of its inhabitants were carried away; and the latter shared the fate of exile at the beginning of the 6th, but succeeded in making a fresh reconstruction some fifty or sixty years later. Finally (c), in the so-called “post-exilic” period, religion and life were reorganized under the influence of a new spirit; relations with Samaria were broken off, and Judaism took its definite character, perhaps about the middle or close of the 5th century. Throughout these vicissitudes there were important political and religious changes which render the study of the composite sources a work of unique difficulty. In addition to this it should be noticed that the term “Jew” (originally Yehudi), in spite of its wider application, means properly “man of Judah,” i.e. of that small district which, with Jerusalem as its capital, became the centre of Judaism. The favourite name “Israel” with all its religious and national associations is somewhat ambiguous in an historical sketch, since, although it is used as opposed to Judah (a), it ultimately came to designate the true nucleus of the worshippers of the national god Yahweh as opposed to the Samaritans, the later inhabitants of Israelite territory (c). A more general term is “Hebrew” (see Hebrew Language), which, whether originally identical with the Ḥabiru or not (§ 3), is used in contrast to foreigners, and this non-committal ethnic deserves preference where precise distinction is unnecessary or impossible.
The traditions which prevailed among the Hebrews concerning their origin belong to a time when Judah and Israel were regarded as a unit. Twelve divisions or tribes, of which Judah was one, held together by a traditional sentiment, were traced back to the sons of Jacob (otherwise known as Israel), the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham. Their names vary in origin and probably also in point of age, and where they represent fixed territorial limits, the districts so described were in some cases certainly peopled by groups of non-Israelite ancestry. But as tribal names they invited explanation, and of the many characteristic traditions which were doubtless current a number have been preserved, though not in any very early dress. Close relationship was recognized with the Aramaeans, with Edom, Moab and Ammon. This is characteristically expressed when Esau, the ancestor of Edom, is represented as the brother of Jacob, or when Moab and Ammon are the children of Lot, Abraham’s nephew (see Genealogy: Biblical). Abraham, it was believed, came from Harran (Carrhae), primarily from Babylonia, and Jacob re-enters from Gilead in the north-east with his Aramaean wives and concubines and their families (Benjamin excepted). It is on this occasion that Jacob’s name is changed to Israel. These traditions of migration and kinship are in themselves entirely credible, but the detailed accounts of the ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as given in Genesis, are inherently doubtful as regards both the internal conditions, which the (late) chronological scheme ascribes to the first half of the second millennium B.C., and the general circumstances of the life of these strangers in a foreign land. From a variety of independent reasons one is forced to conclude that, whatever historical elements they may contain, the stories of this remote past represent the form which tradition had taken in a very much later age.
Opinion is at variance regarding the patriarchal narratives as a whole. To deny their historical character is to reject them as trustworthy accounts of the age to which they are ascribed, and even those scholars who claim that they are essentially historical already go so far as to concede idealization and the possibility or probability of later revision. The failure to apprehend historical method has often led to the fallacious argument that the trustworthiness of individual features justifies our accepting the whole, or that the elimination of unhistorical elements will leave an historical residuum. Here and frequently elsewhere in biblical history it is necessary to allow that a genuine historical tradition may be clothed in an unhistorical dress, but since many diverse motives are often concentrated upon one narrative (e.g. Gen. xxxii. 22-32, xxxiv., xxxviii.), the work of internal historical criticism (in view of the scantiness of the evidence) can rarely claim finality. The patriarchal narratives themselves belong to the popular stock of tradition of which only a portion has been preserved. Many of the elements lie outside questions of time and place and are almost immemorial. Some appear written for the first time in the book of Jubilees, in “the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs” (both perhaps 2nd century B.C.) and in later sources; and although in Genesis the stories are now in a post-exilic setting (a stage earlier than Jubilees), the older portions may well belong to the 7th or 6th cent. This question, however, will rest upon those criteria alone which are of true chronological validity (see further Genesis).
The story of the settlement of the national and tribal ancestors in Palestine is interrupted by an account of the southward movement of Jacob (or Israel) and his sons into a district under the immediate influence of the kings of Egypt. After an interval of uncertain duration we find in Exodus a numerous people subjected to rigorous oppression. No longer individual sons of Jacob or Israel, united tribes were led out by Moses and Aaron; and, after a series of incidents extending over forty years, the “children of Israel” invaded the land in which their ancestors had lived. The traditions embodied in the books Exodus-Joshua are considerably later than the apparent date of the events themselves, and amid the diverse and often conflicting data it is possible to recognize distinct groups due to some extent to distinct historical conditions. The story of the “exodus” is that of the religious birth of “Israel,” joined by covenant with the national god Yahweh whose aid in times of peril and need proved his supremacy. In Moses (q.v.) was seen the founder of Israel’s religion and laws; in Aaron (q.v.) the prototype of the Israelite priesthood. Although it is difficult to determine the true historical kernel, two features are most prominent in the narratives which the post-exilic compiler has incorporated: the revelation of Yahweh, and the movement into Palestine. Yahweh had admittedly been the God of Israel’s ancestors, but his name was only now made known (Exod. iii. 13 sqq., vi. 2 seq.), and this conception of a new era in Yahweh’s relations with the people is associated with the family of Moses and with small groups from the south of Palestine which reappear in religious movements in later history (see Kenites). Amid a great variety of motives the prominence of Kadesh in south Palestine is to be recognized, but it is uncertain what clans or tribes were at Kadesh, and it is possible that traditions, originally confined to those with whom the new conception of Yahweh is connected, were subsequently adopted by others who came to regard themselves as the worshippers of the only true Yahweh. At all events, two quite distinct views seem to underlie the opening books of the Old Testament. The one associates itself with the ancestors of the Hebrews and has an ethnic character. The other, part of the religious history of “Israel,” is essentially bound up with the religious genius of the people, and is partly connected with clans from the south of Palestine whose influence appears in later times. Other factors in the literary growth of the present narratives are not excluded (see further § 8, and Exodus, The).
6. The Monarchy of Israel.—The book of Joshua continues the fortunes of the “children of Israel” and describes a successful occupation of Palestine by the united tribes. This stands in striking contrast to other records of the partial successes of individual groups (Judg. i.). The former, however, is based upon the account of victories by the Ephraimite Joshua over confederations of petty kings to the south and north of central Palestine, apparently the specific traditions of the people of Ephraim describing from their standpoint the entire conquest of Palestine. The book of Judges represents a period of unrest after the settlement of the people. External oppression and internal rivalries rent the Israelites, and in the religious philosophy of a later (Deuteronomic) age the period is represented as one of alternate apostasy from and of penitent return to the Yahweh of the “exodus.” Some vague recollection of known historical events (§ 3 end) might be claimed among the traditions ascribed to the closing centuries of the second millennium, but the view that the prelude to the monarchy was an era when individual leaders “judged” all Israel finds no support in the older narratives, where the heroes of the age (whose correct sequence is uncertain) enjoy only a local fame. The best historical narratives belong to Israel and Gilead; Judah scarcely appears, and in a relatively old poetical account of a great fight of the united tribes against a northern adversary lies outside the writer’s horizon or interest (Judg. v., see Deborah). Stories of successful warfare and of temporary leaders (see Abimelech; Ehud; Gideon; Jephthah) form an introduction to the institution of the Israelite monarchy, an epoch of supreme importance in biblical history. The heroic figure who stands at the head is Saul (“asked”), and two accounts of his rise are recorded. (1) The Philistines, a foreign people whose presence in Palestine has already been noticed, had oppressed Israel (cf. Samson) until a brilliant victory was gained by the prophet Samuel, some account of whose early history is recorded. He himself held supreme sway over all Israel as the last of the “judges” until compelled to accede to the popular demand for a king. The young Saul was chosen by lot and gained unanimous recognition by delivering Jabesh in Gilead from the Ammonites. (2) But other traditions represent the people scattered and in hiding; Israel is groaning under the Philistine yoke, and the unknown Saul is raised up by Yahweh to save his people. This he accomplishes with the help of his son Jonathan. The first account, although now essential to the canonical history, clearly gives a less authentic account of the change from the “judges” to the monarchy, while the second is fragmentary and can hardly be fitted into the present historical thread (see Saul). At all events the first of a series of annalistic notices of the kings of Israel ascribes to Saul conquests over the surrounding peoples to an extent which implies that the district of Judah formed part of his kingdom (1 Sam. xiv. 47 seq). His might is attested also by the fine elegy (2 Sam. i. 19 sqq.) over the death of two great Israelite heroes, Saul and Jonathan, knit together by mutual love, inseparable in life and death, whose unhappy end after a career of success was a national misfortune. Disaster had come upon the north, and the plain of Jezreel saw the total defeat of the king and the rout of his army. The court was hastily removed across the Jordan to Mahanaim, where Saul’s son Ishbaal (Ish-bosheth), thanks to his general Abner, recovered some of the lost prestige. In circumstances which are not detailed, the kingdom seems to have regained its strength, and Ishbaal is credited with a reign of two years over Israel and Gilead (2 Sam. ii. 8-10; contrast v. 11). But at this point the scanty annals are suspended and the history of the age is given in more popular sources. Both Israel and Judah had their own annals, brief excerpts from which appear in the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles, and they are supplemented by fuller narratives of distinct and more popular origin. The writings are the result of a continued literary process, and the Israelite national history has come down to us through Judaean hands, with the result that much of it has been coloured by late Judaean feeling. It is precisely in Saul’s time that the account of the Judaean monarchy, or perhaps of the monarchy from the Judaean standpoint, now begins.
7. The Monarchy of Judah.—Certain traditions of Judah and Jerusalem appear to have looked back upon a movement from the south, traces of which underlie the present account of the “exodus.” The land was full of “sons of Anak,” giants who had terrified the scouts sent from Kadesh. Caleb (q.v.) alone had distinguished himself by his fearlessness, and the clan Caleb drove them out from Hebron in south Judah (Josh. xv. 14 sqq.; cf. also xi. 21 seq.). David and his followers are found in the south of Hebron, and as they advanced northwards they encountered wondrous heroes between Gath and Jerusalem (2 Sam. xxi. 15 sqq.; xxiii. 8 sqq.). After strenuous fighting the district was cleared, and Jerusalem, taken by the sword, became the capital. History saw in David the head of a lengthy line of kings, the founder of the Judaean monarchy, the psalmist and the priest-king who inaugurated religious institutions now recognized to be of a distinctly later character. As a result of this backward projection of later conceptions, the recovery of the true historical nucleus is difficult. The prominence of Jerusalem, the centre of post-exilic Judaism, necessarily invited reflection. Israelite tradition had ascribed the conquest of Jerusalem, Hebron and other cities of Judah to the Ephraimite Joshua; Judaean tradition, on the other hand, relates the capture of the sacred city from a strange and hostile people (2 Sam. v.). The famous city, within easy reach of the southern desert and central Palestine (to Hebron and to Samaria the distances are about 18 and 35 miles respectively), had already entered into Palestinian history in the “Amarna” age (§ 3). Anathoth, a few miles to the north-east, points to the cult of the goddess Anath, the near-lying Nob has suggested the name of the Babylonian Nebo, and the neighbouring, though unidentified, Beth-Ninib of the Amarna tablets may indicate the worship of a Babylonian war and astral god (cf. the solar name Beth-Shemesh). Such was the religious environment of the ancient city which was destined to become the centre of Judaism. Judaean tradition dated the sanctity of Jerusalem from the installation of the ark, a sacred movable object which symbolized the presence of Yahweh. It is associated with the half-nomad clans in the south of Palestine, or with the wanderings of David and his own priest Abiathar; it is ultimately placed within the newly captured city. Quite another body of tradition associates it with the invasion of all the tribes of Israel from beyond the Jordan (see Ark). To combine the heterogeneous narratives and isolated statements into a consecutive account is impossible; to ignore those which conflict with the now predominating views would be unmethodical. When the narratives describe the life of the young David at the court of the first king of the northern kingdom, when the scenes cover the district which he took with the sword, and when the brave Saul is represented in an unfavourable light, one must allow for the popular tendency to idealize great figures, and for the Judaean origin of the compilation. To David is ascribed the sovereignty over a united people. But the stages in his progress are not clear. After being the popular favourite of Israel in the little district of Benjamin, he was driven away by the jealousy and animosity of Saul. Gradually strengthening his position by alliance with Judaean clans, he became king at Hebron at the time when Israel suffered defeat in the north. His subsequent advance to the kingship over Judah and Israel at Jerusalem is represented as due to the weak condition of Israel, facilitated by the compliance of Abner; partly, also, to the long-expressed wish of the Israelites that their old hero should reign over them. Yet again, Saul had been chosen by Yahweh to free his people from the Philistines; he had been rejected for his sins, and had suffered continuously from this enemy; Israel at his death was left in the unhappy state in which he had found it; it was the Judaean David, the faithful servant of Yahweh, who was now chosen to deliver Israel, and to the last the people gratefully remembered their debt. David accomplished the conquests of Saul but on a grander scale; “Saul hath slain his thousands and David his tens of thousands” is the popular couplet comparing the relative merits of the rival dynasts. A series of campaigns against Edom, Moab, Ammon and the Aramaean states, friendly relations with Hiram of Tyre, and the recognition of his sovereignty by the king of Hamath on the Orontes, combine to portray a monarchy which was the ideal.
But in passing from the books of Samuel, with their many rich and vivid narratives, to the books of Kings, we enter upon another phase of literature; it is a different atmosphere, due to the character of the material and the aims of other compilers (see § 9 beginning). David, the conqueror, was followed by his son Solomon, famous for his wealth, wisdom and piety, above all for the magnificent Temple which he built at Jerusalem. Phoenician artificers were enlisted for the purpose, and with Phoenician sailors successful trading-journeys were regularly undertaken. Commercial intercourse with Asia Minor, Arabia, Tarshish (probably in Spain) and Ophir (q.v.) filled his coffers, and his realm extended from the Euphrates to the border of Egypt. Tradition depicts him as a worthy successor to his father, and represents a state of luxury and riches impressive to all who were familiar with the great Oriental courts. The commercial activity of the king and the picture of intercourse and wealth are quite in accordance with what is known of the ancient monarchies, and could already be illustrated from the Amarna age. Judah and Israel dwelt at ease, or held the superior position of military officials, while the earlier inhabitants of the land were put to forced labour. But another side of the picture shows the domestic intrigues which darkened the last days of David. The accession of Solomon had not been without bloodshed, and Judah, together with David’s old general Joab and his faithful priest Abiathar, were opposed to the son of a woman who had been the wife of a Hittite warrior. The era of the Temple of Jerusalem starts with a new régime, another captain of the army and another priest. Nevertheless, the enmity of Judah is passed over, and when the kingdom is divided for administrative purposes into twelve districts, which ignore the tribal divisions, the centre of David’s early power is exempt from the duty of providing supplies (1 Kings iv.). Yet again, the approach of the divided monarchy is foreshadowed. The employment of Judaeans and Israelites for Solomon’s palatial buildings, and the heavy taxation for the upkeep of a court which was the wonder of the world, caused grave internal discontent. External relations, too, were unsatisfactory. The Edomites, who had been almost extirpated by David in the valley of Salt, south of the Dead Sea, were now strong enough to seek revenge; and the powerful kingdom of Damascus, whose foundation is ascribed to this period, began to threaten Israel on the north and north-east. These troubles, we learn, had affected all Solomon’s reign, and even Hiram appears to have acquired a portion of Galilee. In the approaching disruption writers saw the punishment for the king’s apostasy, and they condemn the sanctuaries in Jerusalem which he erected to the gods of his heathen wives. Nevertheless, these places of cult remained some 300 years until almost the close of the monarchy, when their destruction is attributed to Josiah (§ 16). When at length Solomon died the opportunity was at once seized to request from his son Rehoboam a more generous treatment. The reply is memorable: “My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.” These words were calculated to inflame a people whom history proves to have been haughty and high-spirited, and the great Israel renounced its union with the small district of Judah. Jeroboam (q.v.), once one of Solomon’s officers, became king over the north, and thus the history of the divided monarchy begins (about 930 B.C.) with the Israelite power on both sides of the Jordan and with Judah extending southwards from a point a few miles north of Jerusalem.
8. Problems of the Earliest History.—Biblical history previous to the separation of Judah and Israel holds a prominent place in current ideas, since over two-fifths of the entire Old Testament deals with these early ages. The historical sources for the crucial period, from the separation to the fall of Jerusalem (586 B.C.), occupy only about one-twelfth, and even of this about one-third is spread over some fifteen years (see below, § 11). From the flourishing days of the later monarchy and onwards, different writers handled the early history of their land from different standpoints. The feeling of national unity between north and south would require historical treatment, the existence of rival monarchies would demand an explanation. But the surviving material is extremely uneven; vital events in these centuries are treated with a slightness in striking contrast to the relatively detailed evidence for the preceding period—evidence, however, which is far from being contemporary. Where the material is fuller, serious discrepancies are found; and where external evidence is fortunately available, the independent character of the biblical history is vividly illustrated. The varied traditions up to this stage cannot be regarded as objective history. It is naturally impossible to treat them from any modern standpoint as fiction; they are honest even where they are most untrustworthy. But the recovery of successive historical nuclei does not furnish a continuous thread, and if one is to be guided by the historical context of events the true background to each nucleus must be sought. The northern kingdom cherished the institution of a monarchy, and in this, as in all great political events, the prophets took part. The precise part these figures play is often idealized and expresses the later views of their prominence. It was only after a bitter experience that the kingship was no longer regarded as a divine gift, and traditions have been revised in order to illustrate the opposition to secular authority. In this and in many other respects the records of the first monarchy have been elaborated and now reveal traces of differing conceptions of the events (see Dan; David; Eli; Samuel; Saul; Solomon). The oldest narratives are not in their original contexts, and they contain features which render it questionable whether a very trustworthy recollection of the period was retained. Although the rise of the Hebrew state, at an age when the great powers were quiescent and when such a people as the Philistines is known to have appeared upon the scene, is entirely intelligible, it is not improbable that legends of Saul and David, the heroic founders of the two kingdoms, have been put in a historical setting with the help of later historical tradition. It is at least necessary to distinguish provisionally between a possibly historical framework and narratives which may be of later growth—between the general outlines which only external evidence can test and details which cannot be tested and appear isolated without any cause or devoid of any effect.
Many attempts have been made to present a satisfactory sketch of the early history and to do justice to (a) the patriarchal narratives, (b) the exodus from Egypt and the Israelite invasion, and (c) the rise of the monarchy. As regards (b), external evidence has already suggested to scholars that there were Israelites in Palestine before the invasion; internal historical criticism is against the view that all the tribes entered under Joshua; and in (a) there are traces of an actual settlement in the land, entirely distinct from the cycle of narratives which prepare the way for (b). The various reconstructions and compromises by modern apologetic and critical writers alike involve without exception an extremely free treatment of the biblical sources and the rejection of many important and circumstantial data. On the one hand, a sweeping invasion of all the tribes of Israel moved by a common zeal may, like the conquests of Islam, have produced permanent results. According to this view the enervating luxury of Palestinian culture almost destroyed the lofty ideal monotheism inculcated in the desert, and after the fall of the northern tribes (latter part of the 8th cent.) Judah is naturally regarded as the sole heir. But such a conquest, and all that it signifies, conflict both with external evidence (e.g. the results of excavation), and with any careful inspection of the narratives themselves. On the other hand, the reconstructions which allow a gradual settlement (perhaps of distinct groups), and an intermingling with the earlier inhabitants, certainly find support in biblical evidence, and they have been ingeniously built up with the help of tribal and other data (e.g. Gen. xxxiv., xxxviii.; Judg. i. ix.). But they imply political, sociological and religious developments which do not do justice either to the biblical evidence as a whole or to a comprehensive survey of contemporary conditions. Thus, one of the important questions is the relation between those who had taken part in the exodus and the invasion and those who had not. This inquiry is further complicated by (c), where the history of Israel and Judah, as related in Judges and 1 Samuel, has caused endless perplexity. The traditions of the Ephraimite Joshua and of Saul the first king of (north) Israel virtually treat Judah as part of Israel and are related to the underlying representations in (a). But the specific independent Judaean standpoint treats the unification of the two divisions as the work of David who leaves the heritage to Solomon. The varied narratives, now due to Judaean editors, preserve distinct points of view, and it is extremely difficult to unravel the threads and to determine their relative position in the history. Finally, the consciousness that the people as a religious body owed everything to the desert clans (b) (see § 5) subsequently leaves its mark upon (north) Israelite history (§ 14), but has not the profound significance which it has in the records of Judah and Jerusalem. Without sufficient external and independent evidence wherewith to interpret in the light of history the internal features of the intricate narratives, any reconstruction would naturally be hazardous, and all attempts must invariably be considered in the light of the biblical evidence itself, the date of the Israelite exodus, and the external conditions. Biblical criticism is concerned with a composite (Judaean) history based upon other histories (partly of non-Judaean origin), and the relation between native written sources and external contemporary evidence (monumental and archaeological) distinctly forbids any haphazard selection from accessible sources. The true nature of this relation can be readily observed in other fields (ancient Britain, Greece, Egypt, &c.), where, however, the native documents and sources have not that complexity which characterizes the composite biblical history. (For the period under review, as it appears in the light of existing external evidence, see Palestine: History.)
9. The Rival Kingdoms.—The Palestine of the Hebrews was but part of a great area breathing the same atmosphere, and there was little to distinguish Judah from Israel except when they were distinct political entities. The history of the two kingdoms is contained in Kings and the later and relatively less trustworthy Chronicles, which deals with Judah alone. In the former a separate history of the northern kingdom has been combined with Judaean history by means of synchronisms in accordance with a definite scheme. The 480 years from the foundation of the temple of Jerusalem back to the date of the exodus (1 Kings vi. 1) corresponds to the period forward to the return from the exile (§ 20). This falls into three equal divisions, of which the first ends with Jehoash’s temple-reforms and the second with Hezekiah’s death. The kingdom of Israel lasts exactly half the time. Of the 240 years from Jeroboam I., 80 elapse before the Syrian wars in Ahab’s reign, these cover another 80; the famous king Jeroboam II. reigns 40 years, and 40 years of decline bring the kingdom to an end. These figures speak for themselves, and the present chronology can be accepted only where it is independently proved to be trustworthy (see further W. R. Smith, Prophets of Israel, pp. 144–149). Next, the Judaean compiler regularly finds in Israel’s troubles the punishment for its schismatic idolatry; nor does he spare Judah, but judges its kings by a standard which agrees with the standpoint of Deuteronomy and is scarcely earlier than the end of the 7th century B.C. (§§ 16, 20). But the history of (north) Israel had naturally its own independent political backgrounds and the literary sources contain the same internal features as the annals and prophetic narratives which are already met with in 1 Samuel. Similarly the thread of the Judaean annals in Kings is also found in 2 Samuel, although the supplementary narratives in Kings are not so rich or varied as the more popular records in the preceding books. The striking differences between Samuel and Kings are due to differences in the writing of the history; independent Israelite records having been incorporated with those of Judah and supplemented (with revision) from the Judaean standpoint (see Chronicles; Kings; Samuel).
The Judaean compiler, with his history of the two kingdoms, looks back upon the time when each laid the foundation of its subsequent fortunes. His small kingdom of Judah enjoyed an unbroken dynasty which survived the most serious crises, a temple which grew in splendour and wealth under royal patronage, and a legitimate priesthood which owed its origin to Zadok, the successful rival of David’s priest Abiathar. Israel, on the other hand, had signed its death-warrant by the institution of calf-cult, a cult which, however, was scarcely recognized as contrary to the worship of Yahweh before the denunciations of Hosea. The scantiness of political information and the distinctive arrangement of material preclude the attempt to trace the relative position of the two rivals. Judah had natural connexions with Edom and southern Palestine; Israel was more closely associated with Gilead and the Aramaeans of the north. That Israel was the stronger may be suggested by the acquiescence of Judah in the new situation. A diversion was caused by Shishak’s invasion, but of this reappearance of Egypt after nearly three centuries of inactivity little is preserved in biblical history. Only the Temple records recall the spoliation of the sanctuary of Jerusalem, and traditions of Jeroboam I. show that Shishak’s prominence was well known. Although both kingdoms suffered, common misfortune did not throw them together. On the contrary, the statement that there was continual warfare is supplemented in Chronicles by the story of a victory over Israel by Abijah the son of Rehoboam. Jeroboam’s son Nadab perished in a conspiracy whilst besieging the Philistine city of Gibbethon, and Baasha of (north) Israel seized the throne. His reign is noteworthy for the entrance of Damascus into Palestinian politics. Its natural fertility and its commanding position at the meeting-place of trade-routes from every quarter made it a dominant factor until its overthrow. In the absence of its native records its relations with Palestine are not always clear, but it may be supposed that amid varying political changes it was able to play a double game. According to the annals, incessant war prevailed between Baasha and Abijah’s successor, Asa. It is understood that the former was in league with Damascus, which had once been hostile to Solomon (1 Kings xi. 24 seq.)—it is not stated upon whom Asa could rely. However, Baasha at length seized Ramah about five miles north of Jerusalem, and the very existence of Judah was threatened. Asa utilized the treasure of the Temple and palace to induce the Syrians to break off their relations with Baasha. These sent troops to harry north Israel, and Baasha was compelled to retire. Asa, it is evident, was too weak to achieve the remarkable victory ascribed to him in 2 Chron. xiv. (see Asa). As for Baasha, his short-lived dynasty resembles that of his predecessors. His son Elah had reigned only two years (like Ishbaal and Nadab) when he was slain in the midst of a drunken carousal by his captain Zimri. Meanwhile the Israelite army was again besieging the Philistines at Gibbethon, and the recurrence of these conflicts points to a critical situation in a Danite locality in which Judah itself (although ignored by the writers), must have been vitally concerned. The army preferred their general Omri, and marching upon Zimri at Tirzah burnt the palace over his head. A fresh rival immediately appeared, the otherwise unknown Tibni, son of Ginath. Israel was divided into two camps, until, on the death of Tibni and his brother Joram, Omri became sole king (c. 887 B.C.). The scanty details of these important events must naturally be contrasted with the comparatively full accounts of earlier Philistine wars and internal conflicts in narratives which date from this or even a later age.
10. The Dynasty of Omri.—Omri (q.v.), the founder of one of the greatest dynasties of Israel, was contemporary with the revival of Tyre under Ithobaal, and the relationship between the states is seen in the marriage of Omri’s son Ahab to Jezebel, the priest-king’s daughter. His most notable recorded achievement was the subjugation of Moab and the seizure of part of its territory. The discovery of the inscription of a later king of Moab (q.v.) has proved that the east-Jordanic tribes were no uncivilized or barbaric folk; material wealth, a considerable religious and political organization, and the cultivation of letters (as exemplified in the style of the inscription) portray conditions which allow us to form some conception of life in Israel itself. Moreover, Judah (now under Jehoshaphat) enjoyed intimate relations with Israel during Omri’s dynasty, and the traditions of intermarriage, and of co-operation in commerce and war, imply what was practically a united Palestine. Alliance with Phoenicia gave the impulse to extended intercourse; trading expeditions were undertaken from the Gulf of Akaba, and Ahab built himself a palace decorated with ivory. The cult of the Baal of Tyre followed Jezebel to the royal city Samaria and even found its way into Jerusalem. This, the natural result of matrimonial and political alliance, already met with under Solomon, receives the usual denunciation. The conflict between Yahweh and Baal and the defeat of the latter are the characteristic notes of the religious history of the period, and they leave their impression upon the records, which are now more abundant. Although little is preserved of Omri’s history, the fact that the northern kingdom long continued to be called by the Assyrians after his name is a significant indication of his great reputation. Assyria was now making itself felt in the west for the first time since the days of Tiglath-Pileser I. (c. 1100 B.C.), and external sources come to our aid. Assur-nazir-pal III. had exacted tribute from north Syria (c. 870 B.C.), and his successor Shalmaneser II., in the course of a series of expeditions, succeeded in gaining the greater part of that land. A defensive coalition was formed in which the kings of Cilicia, Hamath, the Phoenician coast, Damascus and Ammon, the Arabs of the Syrian desert, and “Ahabbu Sirlai” were concerned. In the last, we must recognize the Israelite Ahab. His own contribution of 10,000 men and 12,000 chariots perhaps included levies from Judah and Moab (cf. for the number 1 Kings x. 26). In 854 the allies at least maintained themselves at the battle of Karkar (perhaps Apamea to the north of Hamath). In 849 and 846 other indecisive battles were fought, but the precise constitution of the coalition is not recorded. In 842 Shalmaneser records a campaign against Hazael of Damascus; no coalition is mentioned, although a battle was fought at Sanir (Hermon, Deut. iii. 9), and the cities of Hauran to the south of Damascus were spoiled. Tribute was received from Tyre and Sidon; and Jehu, who was now king of Israel, sent his gifts of gold, silver, &c., to the conqueror. The Assyrian inscription (the so-called “Black Obelisk” now in the British Museum), which records the submission of the petty kings, gives an interesting representation of the humble Israelite emissaries with their long fringed robes and strongly marked physiognomy (see Costume, fig. 9). Yet another expedition in 839 would seem to show that Damascus was neither crushed nor helpless, but thenceforth for a number of years Assyria was fully occupied elsewhere and the west was left to itself. The value of this external evidence for the history of Israel is enhanced by the fact that biblical tradition associates the changes in the thrones of Israel and Damascus with the work of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, but handles the period without a single reference to the Assyrian Empire. Ahab, it seems, had aroused popular resentment by encroaching upon the rights of the people to their landed possessions; had it not been for Jezebel (q.v.) the tragedy of Naboth would not have occurred. The worship of Baal of Tyre roused a small circle of zealots, and again the Phoenician marriage was the cause of the evil. We read the history from the point of view of prophets. Elijah of Gilead led the revolt. To one who favoured simplicity of cult the new worship was a desecration of Yahweh, and, braving the anger of the king and queen, he foreshadowed their fate. Hostility towards the dynasty culminated a few years later in a conspiracy which placed on the throne the general Jehu, the son of one Jehoshaphat (or, otherwise, of Nimshi). The work which Elijah began was completed by Elisha, who supported Jehu and the new dynasty. A massacre ensued in which the royal families of Israel and Judah perished. While the extirpation of the cult of Baal was furthered in Israel by Jonadab the Rechabite, it was the “people of the land” who undertook a similar reform in Judah. Jehu (q.v.) became king as the champion of the purer worship of Yahweh. The descendants of the detested Phoenician marriage were rooted out, and unless the close intercourse between Israel and Judah had been suddenly broken, it would be supposed that the new king at least laid claim to the south. The events form one of the fundamental problems of biblical history.
11. Damascus, Israel and Judah.—The appearance of Assyria in the Mediterranean coast-lands had produced the results which inevitably follow when a great empire comes into contact with minor states. It awakened fresh possibilities—successful combination against a common foe, the sinking of petty rivalries, the chance of gaining favour by a neutrality which was scarcely benevolent. The alliances, counter-alliances and far-reaching political combinations which spring up at every advance of the greater powers are often perplexing in the absence of records of the states concerned. Even the biblical traditions alone do not always represent the same attitude, and our present sources preserve the work of several hands. Hazael of Damascus, Jehu of Israel and Elisha the prophet are the three men of the new age linked together in the words of one writer as though commissioned for like ends (1 Kings xix. 15–17). Hostility to Phoenicia (i.e. the Baal of Tyre) is as intelligible as a tendency to look to Aramaean neighbours. Though Elisha sent to anoint Jehu as king, he was none the less on most intimate terms with Bar-hadad (Old. Test. Ben-hadad) of Damascus and recognized Hazael as its future ruler. It is a natural assumption that Damascus could still count upon Israel as an ally in 842; not until the withdrawal of Assyria and the accession of Jehu did the situation change. “In those days Yahweh began to cut short” (or, altering the text, “to be angry with”) “Israel.” This brief notice heralds the commencement of Hazael’s attack upon Israelite territory east of the Jordan (2 Kings x. 32). The origin of the outbreak is uncertain. It has been assumed that Israel had withdrawn from the great coalition, that Jehu sent tribute to Shalmaneser to obtain that monarch’s recognition, and that Hazael consequently seized the first opportunity to retaliate. Certain traditions, it is true, indicate that Israel had been at war with the Aramaeans from before 854 to 842, and that Hazael was attacking Gilead at the time when Jehu revolted; but in the midst of these are other traditions of the close and friendly relations between Israel and Damascus! With these perplexing data the position of Judah is inextricably involved.
The special points which have to be noticed in the records for this brief period (1 Kings xvii.–2 Kings xi.) concern both literary and historical criticism. A number of narratives illustrate the work of the prophets, and sometimes purely political records appear to have been used for the purpose (see Elijah; Elisha). If Elijah is the prophet of the fall of Omri’s dynasty, Elisha is no less the prophet of Jehu and his successors; and it is extremely probable that his lifework was confined to the dynasty which he inaugurated. In the present narratives, however, the stories in which he possesses influence with king and court are placed before the rise of Jehu, and some of them point to a state of hostility with Damascus before he foresees the atrocities which Hazael will perpetrate. But Ahab’s wars with Syria can with difficulty be reconciled with the Assyrian evidence (see Ahab), and the narratives, largely anonymous, agree in a singular manner with what is known of the serious conflicts which, it is said, began in Jehu’s time. Moreover, the account of the joint undertaking by Judah (under Jehoshaphat) and Israel against Syria at Ramoth-Gilead at the time of Ahab’s death, and again (under Ahaziah) when Jehoram was wounded, shortly before the accession of Jehu, are historical doublets, and they can hardly be harmonized either with the known events of 854 and 842 or with the course of the intervening years. Further, all the traditions point clearly to the very close union of Israel and Judah at this period, a union which is apt to be obscured by the fact that the annalistic summaries of each kingdom are mainly independent. Thus we may contrast the favourable Judaean view of Jehoshaphat with the condemnation passed upon Ahab and Jezebel, whose daughter Athaliah married Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat. It is noteworthy, also, that an Ahaziah and a Jehoram appear as kings of Israel, and (in the reverse order) of Judah, and somewhat similar incidents recur in the now separate histories of the two kingdoms. The most striking is a great revolt in south Palestine. The alliance between Jehoshaphat and Ahab doubtless continued when the latter was succeeded by his son Ahaziah, and some disaster befell their trading fleet in the Gulf of Akaba (1 Kings xxii. 48 seq.; 2 Chron. xx. 35–37). Next came the revolt of Moab (2 Kings i. 1), and Ahaziah, after the briefest of reigns, was followed by Jehoram, whose Judaean contemporary was Jehoshaphat (ch. iii.), or perhaps rather his own namesake (i. 17). The popular story of Jehoram’s campaign against Moab, with which Edom was probably allied (see Moab), hints at a disastrous ending, and the Judaean annals, in their turn, record the revolt of Edom and the Philistine Libnah (see Philistines), and allude obscurely to a defeat of the Judaean Jehoram (2 Kings viii. 20–22). Further details in 2 Chron. xxi.–xxii. 1 even record an invasion of Philistines and Arabians (? Edomites), an attack upon Jerusalem, the removal of the palace treasures and of all the royal sons with the sole exception of Jehoahaz, i.e. Ahaziah (see Jehoram; Jehoshaphat). Had the two kingdoms been under a single head, these features might find an explanation, but it must be allowed that it is extremely difficult to fit the general situation into our present history, and to determine where the line is to be drawn between trustworthy and untrustworthy details. Moreover, of the various accounts of the massacre of the princes of Judah, the Judaean ascribes it not to Jehu and the reforming party (2 Kings x. 13 seq.) but to Athaliah (q.v.). Only the babe Jehoash was saved, and he remained hidden in the Temple adjoining the palace itself. The queen, Athaliah, despite the weak state of Judah after the revolt in Philistia and Edom, actually appears to have maintained herself for six years, until the priests slew her in a conspiracy, overthrew the cult of Baal, and crowned the young child. It is a new source which is here suddenly introduced, belonging apparently to a history of the Temple; it throws no light upon the relations between Judah with its priests and Israel with its prophets, the circumstances of the regency under the priest Jehoiada are ignored, and the Temple reforms occupy the first place in the compiler’s interest. The Judaean annals then relate Hazael’s advance to Gath; the city was captured and Jerusalem was saved only by using the Temple and palace treasure as a bribe. On the other hand, Chronicles has a different story with a novel prelude. Jehoash, it is said, turned away from Yahweh after the death of Jehoiada and gave heed to the Judaean nobles, “wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for their guilt,” prophets were sent to bring them back but they turned a deaf ear. The climax of iniquity was the murder of Jehoiada’s son Zechariah. Soon after, a small band of Syrians entered Judah, destroyed its princes, and sent the spoil to the king of Damascus; the disaster is regarded as a prompt retribution (2 Chron. xxiv.). The inferiority of Chronicles as a historical source and its varied examples of “tendency-writing” must be set against its possible access to traditions as trustworthy as those in Kings. In the present instance the novel details cannot be lightly brushed aside. The position of Judah at this period must be estimated (a) from the preceding years of intimate relationship with Israel to the accession of Jehu, and (b) from the calamity about half a century later when Jerusalem was sacked by Israel. The Judaean narratives do not allow us to fill the gap or to determine whether Judaean policy under the regent Jehoiada would be friendly or hostile to Israel, or whether Judaean nobles may have severed the earlier bond of union. If the latter actually occurred, the hostility of the Israelite prophets is only to be expected. But it is to be presumed that the punishment came from Israel—the use of Syrian mercenaries not excluded—and if, instead of using his treasure to ward off the invasion of Syria, Jehoash bribed Damascus to break off relations with Israel, an alternative explanation of the origin of the Aramaean wars may be found.
12. The Aramaean Wars.—If the records leave it uncertain (a) whether Jehu (like Tyre and Sidon) sent tribute to Shalmaneser as a sign of submission or, while severing relations with Hazael, sought the favour of Assyria, and (b) whether Judah only escaped Hazael’s vengeance by a timely bribe or, in freeing itself from Israel, had bribed Hazael to create a diversion, it appears that the southern kingdom suffered little in the disastrous wars between Damascus and Israel. There were, indeed, internal troubles, and Jehoash perished in a conspiracy. His son Amaziah had some difficulty in gaining the kingdom and showed unwonted leniency in sparing the children of his father’s murderers. This was a departure from the customs of the age, and was perhaps influenced less by generosity than by expediency. Israel, on the other hand, was almost annihilated. The Syrians seized Gilead, crossed over into Palestine, and occupied the land. Jehu’s son Jehoahaz saw his army made “like the dust in threshing,” and the desperate condition of the country recalls the straits in the time of Saul (1 Sam. xiii. 6, 7, 19–22), and the days before the great overthrow of the northern power as described in Judges v. 6–8. The impression left by the horrors of the age is clear from the allusions to the barbarities committed by Damascus and its Ammonite allies upon Gilead (Amos i. 3, 13), and in the account of the interview between Elisha and Hazael (2 Kings viii. 12). Several of the situations can be more vividly realized from the narratives of Syrian wars ascribed to the time of Omri’s dynasty, even if these did not originally refer to the later period. Under Joash, son of Jehoahaz, the tide turned. Elisha was apparently the champion, and posterity told of his exploits when Samaria was visited with the sword. Thrice Joash smote the Syrians—in accordance with the last words of the dying prophet—and Aphek in the Sharon plain, famous in history for Israel’s disasters, now witnessed three victories. The enemy under Hazael’s son Ben-hadad (properly Bar-hadad) was driven out and Joash regained the territory which his father had lost (2 Kings xiii. 25); it may reasonably be supposed that a treaty was concluded (cf. 1 Kings xx. 34). But the peace does not seem to have been popular. The story of the last scene in Elisha’s life implies in Joash an easily contented disposition which hindered him from completing his successes. Syria had not been crushed, and the failure to utilize the opportunity was an act of impolitic leniency for which Israel was bound to suffer (2 Kings xiii. 19). Elisha’s indignation can be illustrated by the denunciation passed upon an anonymous king by the prophetic party on a similar occasion (1 Kings xx. 35–43).
At this stage it is necessary to notice the fresh invasion of Syria by Hadad (Adad)-nirari, who besieged Mari, king of Damascus, and exacted a heavy tribute (c. 800 B.C.). A diversion of this kind may explain the Israelite victories; the subsequent withdrawal of Assyria may have afforded the occasion for retaliation. Those in Israel who remembered the previous war between Assyria and Damascus would realize the recuperative power of the latter, and would perceive the danger of the short-sighted policy of Joash. It is interesting to find that Hadad-nirari claims tribute from Tyre, Sidon and Beth-Omri (Israel), also from Edom and Palaštu (Philistia). There are no signs of an extensive coalition as in the days of Shalmaneser; Ammon is probably included under Damascus; the position of Moab—which had freed itself from Jehoram of Israel—can hardly be calculated. But the absence of Judah is surprising. Both Jehoash (of Judah) and his son Amaziah left behind them a great name; and the latter was comparable only to David (2 Kings xiv. 3). He defeated Edom in the Valley of Salt, and hence it is conceivable that Amaziah’s kingdom extended over both Edom and Philistia. A vaunting challenge to Joash (of Israel) gave rise to one of the two fables that are preserved in the Old Testament (Judg. ix. 8 sqq.; see Abimelech). It was followed by a battle at Beth-shemesh; the scene would suggest that Philistia also was involved. The result was the route of Judah, the capture of Amaziah, the destruction of the northern wall of Jerusalem, the sacking of the temple and palace, and the removal of hostages to Samaria (2 Kings xiv. 12 sqq.). Only a few words are preserved, but the details, when carefully weighed, are extremely significant. This momentous event for the southern kingdom was scarcely the outcome of a challenge to a trial of strength; it was rather the sequel to a period of smouldering jealousy and hostility.
The Judaean records have obscured the history since the days of Omri’s dynasty, when Israel and Judah were as one, when they were moved by common aims and by a single reforming zeal, and only Israel’s vengeance gives the measure of the injuries she had received. That the Judaean compiler has not given fuller information is not surprising; the wonder is that he should have given so much. It is one of those epoch-making facts in the light of which the course of the history of the preceding and following years must be estimated. It is taken, strangely enough, from an Israelite source, but the tone of the whole is quite dispassionate and objective. It needs little reflection to perceive that the position of Jerusalem and Judah was now hardly one of independence, and the conflicting chronological notices betray the attempt to maintain intact the thread of Judaean history. So, on the one hand, the year of the disaster sees the death of the Israelite king, and Amaziah survives for fifteen years, while, on the other, twenty-seven years elapse between the battle and the accession of Uzziah, the next king of Judah.
The importance of the historical questions regarding relations between Damascus, Israel and Judah is clear. The defeat of Syria by Joash (of Israel) was not final. The decisive victories were gained by Jeroboam II. He saved Israel from being blotted out, and through his successes “the children of Israel dwelt in their tents as of old” (2 Kings xiii. 5, xiv. 26 seq.). Syria must have resumed warfare with redoubled energy, and a state of affairs is presupposed which can be pictured with the help of narratives that deal with similar historical situations. In particular, the overthrow of Israel as foreshadowed in 1 Kings xxii. implies an Aramaean invasion (cf. vv. 17, 25), after a treaty (xx. 35 sqq.), although this can scarcely be justified by the events which followed the death of Ahab, in whose time they are now placed.
For the understanding of these great wars between Syria and Israel (which the traditional chronology spreads over eighty years), for the significance of the crushing defeats and inspiring victories, and for the alternations of despair and hope, a careful study of all the records of relations between Israel and the north is at least instructive, and it is important to remember that, although the present historical outlines are scanty and incomplete, some—if not all—of the analogous descriptions in their present form are certainly later than the second half of the 9th century B.C., the period in which these great events fall.
13. Political Development.—Under Jeroboam II. the borders of Israel were restored, and in this political revival the prophets again took part. The defeat of Ben-hadad by the king of Hamath and the quiescence of Assyria may have encouraged Israelite ambitions, but until more is known of the campaigns of Hadad-nirari and of Shalmaneser III. (against Damascus, 773 B.C.) the situation cannot be safely gauged. Moab was probably tributary; the position of Judah and Edom is involved with the chronological problems. According to the Judaean annals, the “people of Judah” set Azariah (Uzziah) upon his father’s throne; and to his long reign of fifty-two years are ascribed conquests over Philistia and Edom, the fortification of Jerusalem and the reorganization of the army. As the relations with Israel are not specified, the sequel to Amaziah’s defeat is a matter for conjecture; although, when at the death of Jeroboam Israel hastened to its end amid anarchy and dissension, it is hardly likely that the southern kingdom was unmoved. All that can be recognized from the biblical records, however, is the period of internal prosperity which Israel and Judah enjoyed under Jeroboam and Uzziah (qq.v.) respectively.
It is difficult to trace the biblical history century by century as it reaches these last years of bitter conflict and of renewed prosperity. The northern kingdom at the height of its power included Judah, it extended its territory east of the Jordan towards the north and the south, and maintained close relations with Phoenicia and the Aramaean states. It had a national history which left its impress upon the popular imagination, and sundry fragments of tradition reveal the pride which the patriot felt in the past. An original close connexion is felt with the east of the Jordan and with Gilead; stories of invasion and conquest express themselves in varied forms. In so far as internal wealth and luxury presuppose the control of the trade-routes, periodical alliances are implied in which Judah, willingly or unwillingly, was included. But the Judaean records do not allow us to trace its independent history with confidence, and our estimate can scarcely base itself solely upon the accidental fulness or scantiness of political details. In the subsequent disasters of Israel (§ 15) we may perceive the growing supremacy of Judah, and the Assyrian inscriptions clearly indicate the dependence of Judaean politics upon its relations with Edom and Arab tribes on the south-east and with Philistia on the west. Whatever had been the effect of the movement of the Purasati some centuries previously, the Philistines (i.e. the people of Philistia) are now found in possession of a mature organization, and the Assyrian evidence is of considerable value for an estimate of the stories of conflict and covenant, of hostility and friendship, which were current in south Palestine. The extension of the term “Judah” (cf. that of “Israel” and “Samaria”) is involved with the incorporation of non-Judaean elements. The country for ten miles north of Jerusalem was the exposed and highly debatable district ascribed to the young tribe of Benjamin (the favourite “brother” of both Judah and Joseph; Gen. xxxvii., xxxix. sqq.); the border-line between the rival kingdoms oscillated, and consequently the political position of the smaller and half-desert Judaean state depended upon the attitude of its neighbours. It is possible that tradition is right in supposing that “Judah went down from his brethren” (Gen. xxxviii. 1; cf. Judg. i. 3). Its monarchy traced its origin to Hebron in the south, and its growth is contemporary with a decline in Israel (§ 7). It is at least probable that when Israel was supreme an independent Judah would centre around a more southerly site than Jerusalem. It is naturally uncertain how far the traditions of David can be utilized; but they illustrate Judaean situations when they depict intrigues with Israelite officials, vassalage under Philistia, and friendly relations with Moab, or when they suggest how enmity between Israel and Ammon could be turned to useful account. Tradition, in fact, is concentrated upon the rise of the Judaean dynasty under David, but there are significant periods before the rise of both Jehoash and Uzziah upon which the historical records maintain a perplexing silence.
The Hebrews of Israel and Judah were, political history apart, men of the same general stamp, with the same cult and custom; for the study of religion and social usages, therefore, they can be treated as a single people. The institution of the monarchy was opposed to the simpler local forms of government, and a military régime had distinct disadvantages (cf. 1 Sam. viii. 11–18). The king stood at the head, as the court of final appeal, and upon him and his officers depended the people’s welfare. A more intricate social organization caused internal weakness, and Eastern history shows with what rapidity peoples who have become strong by discipline and moderation pass from the height of their glory into extreme corruption and disintegration. This was Israel’s fate. Opposition to social abuses and enmity towards religious innovations are regarded as the factors which led to the overthrow of Omri’s dynasty by Jehu, and when Israel seemed to be at the height of its glory under Jeroboam II. warning voices again made themselves heard. The two factors are inseparable, for in ancient times no sharp dividing-line was drawn between religious and civic duties: righteousness and equity, religious duty and national custom were one.
Elaborate legal enactments codified in Babylonia by the 20th century B.C. find striking parallels in Hebrew, late Jewish (Talmudic), Syrian and Mahommedan law, or in the unwritten usages of all ages; for even where there were neither written laws nor duly instituted lawgivers, there was no lawlessness, since custom and belief were, and still are, almost inflexible. Various collections are preserved in the Old Testament; they are attributed to the time of Moses the lawgiver, who stands at the beginning of Israelite national and religious history. But many of the laws were quite unsuitable for the circumstances of his age, and the belief that a body of intricate and even contradictory legislation was imposed suddenly upon a people newly emerged from bondage in Egypt raises insurmountable objections, and underestimates the fact that legal usage existed in the earliest stages of society, and therefore in pre-Mosaic times. The more important question is the date of the laws in their present form and content. Collections of laws are found in Deuteronomy and in exilic and post-exilic writings; groups of a relatively earlier type are preserved in Exod. xxxiv. 14-26, xx. 23-xxiii., and (of another stamp) in Lev. xvii.–xxvi. (now in post-exilic form). For a useful conspectus of details, see J. E. Carpenter and G. Harford-Battersby. The Hexateuch (vol. i., appendix); C. F. Kent, Israel’s Laws and Legal Enactments (1907); and in general I. Benzinger, articles “Government,” “Family” and “Law and Justice,” Ency. Bib., and G. B. Gray, “Law Literature,” ib. (the literary growth of legislation). Reference may also be made, for illustrative material, to W. R. Smith, Kinship and Marriage, Religion of the Semites; to E. Day, Social Life of the Hebrews; and, for some comparison of customary usage in the Semitic field, to S. A. Cook, Laws of Moses and Code of Hammurabi.
14. Religion and the Prophets.—The elements of the thought and religion of the Hebrews do not sever them from their neighbours; similar features of cult are met with elsewhere under different names. Hebrew religious institutions can be understood from the biblical evidence studied in the light of comparative religion; and without going afield to Babylonia, Assyria or Egypt, valuable data are furnished by the cults of Phoenicia, Syria and Arabia, and these in turn can be illustrated from excavation and from modern custom. Every religion has its customary cult and ritual, its recognized times, places and persons for the observance. Worship is simpler at the smaller shrines than at the more famous temples; and, as the rulers are the patrons of the religion and are brought into contact with the religious personnel, the character of the social organization leaves its mark upon those who hold religious and judicial functions alike. The Hebrews shared the paradoxes of Orientals, and religious enthusiasm and ecstasy were prominent features. Seers and prophets of all kinds ranged from those who were consulted for daily mundane affairs to those who revealed the oracles in times of stress, from those who haunted local holy sites to those high in royal favour, from the quiet domestic communities to the austere mountain recluse. Among these were to be found the most sordid opportunism and the most heroic self-effacement, the crassest supernaturalism and—the loftiest conceptions of practical morality. A development of ideals and a growth of spirituality can be traced which render the biblical writings with their series of prophecies a unique phenomenon. The prophets taught that the national existence of the people was bound up with religious and social conditions; they were in a sense the politicians of the age, and to regard them simply as foretellers of the future is to limit their sphere unduly. They took a keen interest in all the political vicissitudes of the Oriental world. Men of all standards of integrity, they were exposed to external influences, but whether divided among themselves in their adherence to conflicting parties, or isolated in their fierce denunciation of contemporary abuses, they shared alike in the worship of Yahweh whose inspiration they claimed. A recollection of the manifold forms which religious life and thought have taken in Christendom or in Islam, and the passions which are so easily engendered among opposing sects, will prevent a one-sided estimate of the religious standpoints which the writings betray; and to the recognition that they represent lofty ideals it must be added that the great prophets, like all great thinkers, were in advance of their age.
The prophets are thoroughly Oriental figures, and the interpretation of their profound religious experiences requires a particular sympathy which is not inherent in Western minds. Their writings are to be understood in the light of their age and of the conditions which gave birth to them. With few exceptions they are preserved in fragmentary form, with additions and adjustments which were necessary in order to make them applicable to later conditions. When, as often, the great figures have been made the spokesmen of the thought of subsequent generations, the historical criticism of the prophecies becomes one of peculiar difficulty. According to the historical traditions it is precisely in the age of Jeroboam II. and Uzziah that the first of the extant prophecies begin (see Amos and Hosea). Here it is enough to observe that the highly advanced doctrines of the distinctive character of Yahweh, as ascribed to the 8th century B.C., presuppose a foundation and development. But the evidence does not allow us to trace the earlier progress of the ideas. Yahwism presents itself under a variety of aspects, and the history of Israel’s relations to the God Yahweh (whose name is not necessarily of Israelite origin) can hardly be disentangled amid the complicated threads of the earlier history. The view that the seeds of Yahwism were planted in the young Israelite nation in the days of the “exodus” conflicts with the belief that the worship of Yahweh began in the pre-Mosaic age. Nevertheless, it implies that religion passed into a new stage through the influence of Moses, and to this we find a relatively less complete analogy in the specific north Israelite traditions of the age of Jehu. The change from the dynasty of Omri to that of Jehu has been treated by several hands, and the writers, in their recognition of the introduction of a new tendency, have obscured the fact that the cult of Yahweh had flourished even under such a king as Ahab. While the influence of the great prophets Elijah and Elisha is clearly visible, it is instructive to find that the south, too, has its share in the inauguration of the new era. At Horeb, the mount of God, was located the dramatic theophany which heralded to Elijah the advent of the sword, and Jehu’s supporter in his sanguinary measures belongs to the Rechabites, a sect which felt itself to be the true worshipping community of Yahweh and is closely associated with the Kenites, the kin of Moses. It was at the holy well of Kadesh, in the sacred mounts of Sinai and Horeb, and in the field of Edom that the Yahweh of Moses was found, and scattered traces survive of a definite belief in the entrance into Palestine of a movement uncompromisingly devoted to the purer worship of Yahweh. The course of the dynasty of Jehu—the reforms, the disastrous Aramaean wars, and, at length, Yahweh’s “arrow of victory”—constituted an epoch in the Israelite history, and it is regarded as such.
The problem of the history of Yahwism depends essentially upon the view adopted as to the date and origin of the biblical details and their validity for the various historical and religious conditions they presuppose. Yahwism is a religion which appears upon a soil saturated with ideas and usages which find their parallel in extra-biblical sources and in neighbouring lands. The problem cannot be approached from modern preconceptions because there was much associated with the worship of Yahweh which only gradually came to be recognized as repugnant, and there was much in earlier ages and in other lands which reflects an elevated and even complex religious philosophy. In the south of the Sinaitic peninsula, remains have been found of an elaborate half-Egyptian, half-Semitic cultus (Petrie, Researches in Sinai, xiii.), and not only does Edom possess some reputation for “wisdom,” but, where this district is concerned, the old Arabian religion (whose historical connexion with Palestine is still imperfectly known) claims some attention. The characteristic denunciations of corruption and lifeless ritual in the writings of the prophets and the emphasis which is laid upon purity and simplicity of religious life are suggestive of the influence of the nomadic spirit rather than of an internal evolution on Palestinian soil. Desert pastoral life does not necessarily imply any intellectual inferiority, and its religious conceptions, though susceptible of modification, are not artificially moulded through the influence of other civilizations. Nomadic life is recognized by Arabian writers themselves as possessing a relative superiority, and its characteristic purity of manner and its reaction against corruption and luxury are not incompatible with a warlike spirit. If nomadism may be recognized as one of the factors in the growth of Yahwism, there is something to be said for the hypothesis which associates it with the clans connected with the Levites (see E. Meyer, Israeliten, pp. 82 sqq.; B. Luther, ib. 138). It is, however, obvious that the influence due to immigrants could be, and doubtless was, exerted at more than one period (see §§ 18, 20; also Hebrew Religion; Priest).
15. The Fall of the Israelite Monarchy.—The prosperity of Israel was its undoing. The disorders that hastened its end find an analogy in the events of the more obscure period after the death of the earlier Jeroboam. Only the briefest details are given. Zechariah was slain after six months by Shallum ben Jabesh in Ibleam; but the usurper fell a month later to Menahem (q.v.), who only after much bloodshed established his position. Assyria again appeared upon the scene under Tiglath-pileser IV. (745–728 B.C.). His approach was the signal for the formation of a coalition, which was overthrown in 738. Among those who paid tribute were Raṣun (the biblical Rezin) of Damascus, Menahem of Samaria, the kings of Tyre, Byblos and Hamath and the queen of Aribi (Arabia, the Syrian desert). Israel was once more in league with Damascus and Phoenicia, and the biblical records must be read in the light of political history. Judah was probably holding aloof. Its king, Uzziah, was a leper in his latter days, and his son and regent, Jotham, claims notice for the circumstantial reference (2 Chron. xxvii.; cf. xxvi. 8) to his subjugation of Ammon—the natural allies of Damascus—for three years. Scarcely had Assyria withdrawn before Menahem lost his life in a conspiracy, and Pekah with the help of Gilead made himself king. The new movement was evidently anti-Assyrian, and strenuous endeavours were made to present a united front. It is suggestive to find Judah the centre of attack. Raṣun and Pekah directed their blows from the north, Philistia threatened the west flank, and the Edomites who drove out the Judaeans from Elath (on the Gulf of ‘Akaba) were no doubt only taking their part in the concerted action. A more critical situation could scarcely be imagined. The throne of David was then occupied by the young Ahaz, Jotham’s son. In this crisis we meet with Isaiah (q.v.), one of the finest of Hebrew prophets. The disorganized state of Egypt and the uncertain allegiance of the desert tribes left Judah without direct aid; on the other hand, opposition to Assyria among the conflicting interests of Palestine and Syria was rarely unanimous. Either in the natural course of events—to preserve the unity of his empire—or influenced by the rich presents of gold and silver with which Ahaz accompanied his appeal for help, Tiglath-pileser intervened with campaigns against Philistia (734 B.C.) and Damascus (733–732). Israel was punished by the ravaging of the northern districts, and the king claims to have carried away the people of “the house of Omri.” Pekah was slain and one Hoshea (q.v.) was recognized as his successor. Assyrian officers were placed in the land and Judah thus gained its deliverance at the expense of Israel. But the proud Israelites did not remain submissive for long; Damascus had indeed fallen, but neither Philistia nor Edom had yet been crushed.
At this stage a new problem becomes urgent. A number of petty peoples, of whom little definite is known, fringed Palestine from the south of Judah and the Delta to the Syrian desert. They belong to an area which merges itself in the west into Egypt, and Egypt in fact had a hereditary claim upon it. Continued intercourse between Egypt, Gaza and north Arabia is natural in view of the trade-routes which connected them, and on several occasions joint action on the part of Edomites (with allied tribes) and the Philistines is recorded, or may be inferred. The part played by Egypt proper in the ensuing anti-Assyrian combinations is not clearly known; with a number of petty dynasts fomenting discontent and revolt, there was an absence of cohesion in that ancient empire previous to the rise of the Ethiopian dynasty. Consequently the references to “Egypt” (Heb. Miṣrayim, Ass. Muṣri) sometimes suggest that the geographical term was really extended beyond the bounds of Egypt proper towards those districts where Egyptian influence or domination was or had been recognized (see further Mizraim).
When Israel began to recover its prosperity and regained confidence, its policy halted between obedience to Assyria and reliance upon this ambiguous “Egypt.” The situation is illustrated in the writings of Hosea (q.v.). When at length Tiglath-pileser died, in 727, the slumbering revolt became general; Israel refused the usual tribute to its overlord, and definitely threw in its lot with “Egypt.” In due course Samaria was besieged for three years by Shalmaneser IV. The alliance with So (Seveh, Sibi) of “Egypt,” upon whom hopes had been placed, proved futile, and the forebodings of keen-sighted prophets were justified. Although no evidence is at hand, it is probable that Ahaz of Judah rendered service to Assyria by keeping the allies in check; possible, also, that the former enemies of Jerusalem had now been induced to turn against Samaria. The actual capture of the Israelite capital is claimed by Sargon (722), who removed 27,290 of its inhabitants and fifty chariots. Other peoples were introduced, officers were placed in charge, and the usual tribute re-imposed. Another revolt was planned in 720 in which the province of Samaria joined with Hamath and Damascus, with the Phoenician Arpad and Ṣimura, and with Gaza and “Egypt.” Two battles, one at Karkar in the north, another at Rapiḥ (Raphia) on the border of Egypt, sufficed to quell the disturbance. The desert peoples who paid tribute on this occasion still continued restless, and in 715 Sargon removed men of Tamūd, Ibādid, Marsiman, Ḥayāpa, “the remote Arabs of the desert,” and placed them in the land of Beth-Omri. Sargon’s statement is significant for the internal history; but unfortunately the biblical historians take no further interest in the fortunes of the northern kingdom after the fall of Samaria, and see in Judah the sole survivor of the Israelite tribes (see 2 Kings xvii. 7–23). Yet the situation in this neglected district must continue to provoke inquiry.
16. Judah and Assyria.—Amid these changes Judah was intimately connected with the south Palestinian peoples (see further Philistines). Ahaz had recognized the sovereignty of Assyria and visited Tiglath-pileser at Damascus. The Temple records describe the innovations he introduced on his return. Under his son Hezekiah there were fresh disturbances in the southern states, and anti-Assyrian intrigues began to take a more definite shape among the Philistine cities. Ashdod openly revolted and found support in Moab, Edom, Judah, and the still ambiguous “Egypt.” This step may possibly be connected with the attempt of Marduk (Merodach)-baladan in south Babylonia to form a league against Assyria (cf. 2 Kings xx. 12); at all events Ashdod fell after a three years’ siege (711) and for a time there was peace. But with the death of Sargon in 705 there was another great outburst; practically the whole of Palestine and Syria was in arms, and the integrity of Sennacherib’s empire was threatened. In both Judah and Philistia the anti-Assyrian party was not without opposition, and those who adhered or favoured adherence to the great power were justified by the result. The inevitable lack of cohesion among the petty states weakened the national cause. At Sennacherib’s approach, Ashdod, Ammon, Moab and Edom submitted; Ekron, Ascalon, Lachish and Jerusalem held out strenuously. The southern allies (with “Egypt”) were defeated at Eltekeh (Josh. xix. 44). Hezekiah was besieged and compelled to submit (701). The small kings who had remained faithful were rewarded by an extension of their territories, and Ashdod, Ekron and Gaza were enriched at Judah’s expense. These events are related in Sennacherib’s inscription; the biblical records preserve their own traditions (see Hezekiah). If the impression left upon current thought can be estimated from certain of the utterances of the court-prophet Isaiah and the Judaean countryman Micah (q.v.), the light which these throw upon internal conditions must also be used to gauge the real extent of the religious changes ascribed to Hezekiah. A brazen serpent, whose institution was attributed to Moses, had not hitherto been considered out of place in the cult; its destruction was perhaps the king’s most notable reform.
In the long reign of his son Manasseh later writers saw the deathblow to the Judaean kingdom. Much is related of his wickedness and enmity to the followers of Yahweh, but few political details have come down. It is uncertain whether Sennacherib invaded Judah again shortly before his death, nevertheless the land was practically under the control of Assyria. Both Esar-haddon (681–668) and Assur-bani-pal (668–c. 626) number among their tributaries Tyre, Ammon, Moab, Edom, Ascalon, Gaza and Manasseh himself, and cuneiform dockets unearthed at Gezer suggest the presence of Assyrian garrisons there (and no doubt also elsewhere) to ensure allegiance. The situation was conducive to the spread of foreign customs, and the condemnation passed upon Manasseh thus perhaps becomes more significant. Precisely what form his worship took is a matter of conjecture; but it is possible that the religion must not be judged too strictly from the standpoint of the late compiler, and that Manasseh merely assimilated the older Yahweh-worship to new Assyrian forms. Politics and religion, however, were inseparable, and the supremacy of Assyria meant the supremacy of the Assyrian pantheon.
If Judah was compelled to take part in the Assyrian campaigns against Egypt, Arabia (the Syrian desert) and Tyre, this would only be in accordance with a vassal’s duty. But when tradition preserves some recollection of an offence for which Manasseh was taken to Babylon to explain his conduct (2 Chron. xxxiii.), also of the settling of foreign colonists in Samaria by Esar-haddon (Ezra iv. 2), there is just a possibility that Judah made some attempt to gain independence. According to Assur-bani-pal all the western lands were inflamed by the revolt of his brother Samas-sum-ukin. What part Judah took in the Transjordanic disturbances, in which Moab fought invading Arabian tribes on behalf of Assyria, is unknown (see Moab). Manasseh’s son Amon fell in a court intrigue and “the people of the land,” after avenging the murder, set up in his place the infant Josiah (637). The circumstances imply a regency, but the records are silent upon the outlook. The assumption that the decay of Assyria awoke the national feeling of independence is perhaps justified by those events which made the greatest impression upon the compiler, and an account is given of Josiah’s religious reforms, based upon a source apparently identical with that which described the work of Jehoash. In an age when the oppression and corruption of the ruling classes had been such that those who cherished the old worship of Yahweh dared not confide in their most intimate companions (Mic. vii. 5, 6), no social reform was possible; but now the young Josiah, the popular choice, was upon the throne. A roll, it is said, was found in the Temple, its contents struck terror into the hearts of the priests and king, and it led to a solemn covenant before Yahweh to observe the provisions of the law-book which had been so opportunely recovered.
That the writer (2 Kings xxii. seq.) meant to describe the discovery of Deuteronomy is evident from the events which followed; and this identification of the roll, already made by Jerome, Chrysostom and others, has been substantiated by modern literary criticism since De Wette (1805). (See Deuteronomy; Josiah.) Some very interesting parallels have been cited from Egyptian and Assyrian records where religious texts, said to have been found in temples, or oracles from the distant past, have come to light at the very time when “the days were full.” There is, however, no real proof for the traditional antiquity of Deuteronomy. The book forms a very distinctive landmark in the religious history by reason of its attitude to cult and ritual (see Hebrew Religion, § 7). In particular it is aimed against the worship at the numerous minor sanctuaries and inculcates the sole pre-eminence of the one great sanctuary—the Temple of Jerusalem. This centralization involved the removal of the local priests and a modification of ritual and legal observance. The fall of Samaria, Sennacherib’s devastation of Judah, and the growth of Jerusalem as the capital, had tended to raise the position of the Temple, although Israel itself, as also Judah, had famous sanctuaries of its own. From the standpoint of the popular religion, the removal of the local altars, like Hezekiah’s destruction of the brazen serpent, would be an act of desecration, an iconoclasm which can be partly appreciated from the sentiments of 2 Kings xviii. 22, and partly also from the modern Wahhabite reformation (of the 19th century). But the details and success of the reforms, when viewed in the light of the testimony of contemporary prophets, are uncertain. The book of Deuteronomy crystallizes a doctrine; it is the codification of teaching which presupposes a carefully prepared soil. The account of Josiah’s work, like that of Hezekiah, is written by one of the Deuteronomic school: that is to say, the writer describes the promulgation of the teaching under which he lives. It is part of the scheme which runs through the book of Kings, and its apparent object is to show that the Temple planned by David and founded by Solomon ultimately gained its true position as the only sanctuary of Yahweh to which his worshippers should repair. Accordingly, in handling Josiah’s successors the writer no longer refers to the high places. But if Josiah carried out the reforms ascribed to him they were of no lasting effect. This is conclusively shown by the writings of Jeremiah (xxv. 3–7, xxxvi. 2 seq.) and Ezekiel. Josiah himself is praised for his justice, but faithless Judah is insincere (Jer. iii. 10), and those who claim to possess Yahweh’s law are denounced (viii. 8). If Israel could appear to be better than Judah (iii. 11; Ezek. xvi., xxiii.), the religious revival was a practical failure, and it was not until a century later that the opportunity again came to put any new teaching into effect (§ 20). On the other hand, the book of Deuteronomy has a characteristic social-religious side; its humanity, philanthropy and charity are the distinctive features of its laws, and Josiah’s reputation (Jer. xxii. 15 seq.) and the circumstances in which he was chosen king may suggest that he, like Jehoash (2 Kings xi. 17; cf. xxiii. 3), had entered into a reciprocal covenant with a people who, as Micah’s writings would indicate, had suffered grievous oppression and misery.
17. The Fall of the Judaean Monarchy.—In Josiah’s reign a new era was beginning in the history of the world. Assyria was rapidly decaying and Egypt had recovered from the blows of Assur-bani-pal (to which the Hebrew prophet Nahum alludes, iii. 8–10). Psammetichus (Psamtek) I., one of the ablest of Egyptian rulers for many centuries, threw off the Assyrian yoke with the help of troops from Asia Minor and employed these to guard his eastern frontiers at Defneh. He also revived the old trading-connexions between Egypt and Phoenicia. A Chaldean prince, Nabopolassar, set himself up in Babylonia, and Assyria was compelled to invoke the aid of the Aškuza. It was perhaps after this that an inroad of Scythians (q.v.) occurred (c. 626 B.C.); if it did not actually touch Judah, the advent of the people of the north appears to have caused great alarm (Jer. iv.-vi.: Zephaniah). Bethshean in Samaria has perhaps preserved in its later (though temporary) name Scythopolis an echo of the invasion. Later, Necho, son of Psammetichus, proposed to add to Egypt some of the Assyrian provinces, and marched through Palestine. Josiah at once interposed; it is uncertain whether, in spite of the power of Egypt, he had hopes of extending his kingdom, or whether the famous reformer was, like Manasseh, a vassal of Assyria. The book of Kings gives the standpoint of a later Judaean writer, but Josiah’s authority over a much larger area than Judah alone is suggested by xxiii. 19 (part of an addition), and by the references to the border at Riblah in Ezek. vi. 14, xi. 10 seq. He was slain at Megiddo in 608, and Egypt, as in the long-distant past, again held Palestine and Syria. The Judaeans made Jehoahaz (or Shallum) their king, but the Pharaoh banished him to Egypt three months later and appointed his brother Jehoiakim. Shortly afterwards Nineveh fell, and with it the empire which had dominated the fortunes of Palestine for over two centuries (see § 10). Nabonidus (Nabunaid) king of Babylonia (556 B.C.) saw in the disaster the vengeance of the gods for the sacrilege of Sennacherib; the Hebrew prophets, for their part, exulted over Yahweh’s far-reaching judgment. The newly formed Chaldean power at once recognized in Necho a dangerous rival and Nabopolassar sent his son Nebuchadrezzar, who overthrew the Egyptian forces at Carchemish (605). The battle was the turning-point of the age, and with it the succession of the new Chaldean or Babylonian kingdom was assured. But the relations between Egypt and Judah were not broken off. The course of events is not clear, but Jehoiakim (q.v.) at all events was inclined to rely upon Egypt. He died just as Nebuchadrezzar, seeing his warnings disregarded, was preparing to lay siege to Jerusalem. His young son Jehoiachin surrendered after a three months’ reign, with his mother and the court; they were taken away to Babylonia, together with a number of the artisan class (596). Jehoiakim’s brother, Mattaniah or Zedekiah, was set in his place under an oath of allegiance, which he broke, preferring Hophra the new king of Egypt. A few years later the second siege took place. It began on the tenth day of the tenth month, January 587. The looked-for intervention of Egypt was unavailing, although a temporary raising of the siege inspired wild hopes. Desertion, pestilence and famine added to the usual horrors of a siege, and at length on the ninth day of the fourth month 586, a breach was made in the walls. Zedekiah fled towards the Jordan valley but was seized and taken to Nebuchadrezzar at Riblah (45 m. south of Hamath). His sons were slain before his eyes, and he himself was blinded and carried off to Babylon after a reign of eleven years. The Babylonian Nebuzaradan was sent to take vengeance upon the rebellious city, and on the seventh day of the fifth month 586 B.C. Jerusalem was destroyed. The Temple, palace and city buildings were burned, the walls broken down, the chief priest Seraiah, the second priest Zephaniah, and other leaders were put to death, and a large body of people was again carried away. The disaster became the great epoch-making event for Jewish history and literature.
Throughout these stormy years the prophet Jeremiah (q.v.) had realized that Judah’s only hope lay in submission to Babylonia. Stigmatized as a traitor, scorned and even imprisoned, he had not ceased to utter his warnings to deaf ears, although Zedekiah himself was perhaps open to persuasion. Now the penalty had been paid, and the Babylonians, whose policy was less destructive than that of Assyria, contented themselves with appointing as governor a certain Gedaliah. The new centre was Mizpah, a commanding eminence and sanctuary, about 5 m. N.W. of Jerusalem; and here Gedaliah issued an appeal to the people to be loyal to Babylonia and to resume their former peaceful occupations. The land had not been devastated, and many gladly returned from their hiding-places in Moab, Edom and Ammon. But discontented survivors of the royal family under Ishmael intrigued with Baalis, king of Ammon. The plot resulted in the murder of Gedaliah and an unsuccessful attempt to carry off various princesses and officials who had been left in the governor’s care. This new confusion and a natural fear of Babylonia’s vengeance led many to feel that their only safety lay in flight to Egypt, and, although warned by Jeremiah that even there the sword would find them, they fled south and took refuge in Tahpanhes (Daphnae, q.v.), afterwards forming small settlements in other parts of Egypt. But the thread of the history is broken, and apart from an allusion to the favour shown to the captive Jehoiachin (with which the books of Jeremiah and Kings conclude), there is a gap in the records, and subsequent events are viewed from a new standpoint (§ 20).
The last few years of the Judaean kingdom present several difficult problems.
(a) That there was some fluctuation of tradition is evident in the case of Jehoiakim, with whose quiet end (2 Kings xxiv. 6 [see also Lucian]; 2 Chron. xxxvi. 8 [Septuagint]) contrast the fate foreshadowed in Jer. xxii. 18 seq., xxxvi. 30 (cf. Jos. Ant. x. 6, 2 seq.). The tradition of his captivity (2 Chron. xxxvi. 6; Dan. i. 2) has apparently confused him with Jehoiachin, and the latter’s reign is so brief that some overlapping is conceivable. Moreover, the prophecy in Jer. xxxiv. 5 that Zedekiah would die in peace is not borne out by the history, nor does Josiah’s fate agree with the promise in 2 Kings xxii. 20. There is also an evident relation between the pairs: Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah (e.g. length of reigns), and the difficulty felt in regard to the second and third is obvious in the attempts of the Jewish historian Josephus to provide a compromise. The contemporary prophecies ascribed to Jeremiah and Ezekiel require careful examination in this connexion, partly as regards their traditional background (especially the headings and setting), and partly for their contents, the details of which sometimes do not admit of a literal interpretation in accordance with our present historical material (cf. Ezek. xix. 3–9, where the two brothers carried off to Egypt and Babylon respectively would seem to be Jehoahaz and his nephew Jehoiachin).
(b) Some fluctuation is obvious in the number, dates and extent of the deportations. Jer. lii. 28–30 gives a total of 4600 persons, in contrast to 2 Kings xxiv. 14, 16 (the numbers are not inclusive), and reckons three deportations in the 7th (? 17th), 18th and 23rd years of Nebuchadrezzar. Only the second is specifically said to be from Jerusalem (the remaining are of Judaeans), and the last has been plausibly connected with the murder of Gedaliah, an interval of five years being assumed. For this twenty-third year Josephus (Ant. x. 9, 7) gives an invasion of Egypt and an attack upon Ammon, Moab and Palestine (see Nebuchadrezzar).
(c) That the exile lasted seventy years (? from 586 B.C. to the completion of the second temple) is the view of the canonical history (2 Chron. xxxvi. 21; Jer. xxv. 11, xxix. 10; Zech. i. 12; cf. Tyre, Isa. xxiii. 15), but it is usually reckoned from the first deportation, which was looked upon as of greater significance than the second (Jer. xxiv. xxix.), and it may be a round number. Another difficulty is the interpretation of the 40 years in Ezek. iv. 6 (cf. Egypt, xxix. 11), and the 390 in v. 5 (Septuagint 150 or 190; 130 in Jos. x. 9, 7 end). A period of fifty years is allowed by the chronological scheme (1 Kings vi. 1; cf. Jos. c. Ap. i. 21), and the late book of Baruch (vi. 3) even speaks of seven generations. Varying chronological schemes may have been current and some weight must be laid upon the remarkable vagueness of the historical information in later writings (see Daniel).
(d) The attitude of the neighbouring peoples constitutes another serious problem (cf. 2 Kings xxiv. 2 and 2 Chron. xxxvi. 5, where Lucian’s recension and the Septuagint respectively add the Samaritans!), in view of the circumstances of Gedaliah’s appointment (Jer. xl. 11, see above) as contrasted with the frequent prophecies against Ammon, Moab and Edom which seem to be contemporary (see Edom; Moab).
(e) Finally, the recurrence of similar historical situations in Judaean history must be considered. The period under review, with its relations between Judah and Egypt, can be illustrated by prophecies ascribed to a similar situation in the time of Hezekiah. But the destruction of Jerusalem is not quite unique, and somewhat later we meet with indirect evidence for at least one similar disaster upon which the records are silent. There are a number of apparently related passages which, however, on internal grounds, are unsuitable to the present period, and when they show independent signs of a later date (in their present form), there is a very strong probability that they refer to such subsequent disasters. The scantiness of historical tradition makes a final solution impossible, but the study of these years has an important bearing on the history of the later Judaean state, which has been characteristically treated from the standpoint of exiles who returned from Babylonia and regard themselves as the kernel of “Israel.” From this point of view, the desire to intensify the denudation of Palestine and the fate of its remnant, and to look to the Babylonian exiles for the future, can probably be recognized in the writings attributed to contemporary prophets.
18. Internal Conditions and the Exile.—Many of the exiles accepted their lot and settled down in Babylonia (cf. Jer. xxix. 4–7); Jewish colonies, too, were being founded in Egypt. The agriculturists and herdsmen who had been left in Palestine formed, as always, the staple population, and it is impossible to imagine either Judah or Israel as denuded of its inhabitants. The down-trodden peasants were left in peace to divide the land among them, and new conditions arose as they took over the ownerless estates. But the old continuity was not entirely broken; there was a return to earlier conditions, and life moved more freely in its wonted channels. The fall of the monarchy involved a reversion to a pre-monarchical state. It had scarcely been otherwise in Israel. The Israelites who had been carried off by the Assyrians were also removed from the cult of the land (cf. 1 Sam. xxvi. 19; Ruth i. 15 seq.). It is possible that some had escaped by taking timely refuge among their brethren in Judah; indeed, if national tradition availed, there were doubtless times when Judah cast its eye upon the land with which it had been so intimately connected. It would certainly be unwise to draw a sharp boundary line between the two districts; kings of Judah could be tempted to restore the kingdom of their traditional founder, or Assyria might be complaisant towards a faithful Judaean vassal. The character of the Assyrian domination over Israel must not be misunderstood; the regular payment of tribute and the provision of troops were the main requirements, and the position of the masses underwent little change if an Assyrian governor took the place of an unpopular native ruler. The two sections of the Hebrews who had had so much in common were scarcely severed by a border-line only a few miles to the north of Jerusalem. But Israel after the fall of Samaria is artificially excluded from the Judaean horizon, and lies as a foreign land, although Judah itself had suffered from the intrusion of foreigners in the preceding centuries of war and turmoil, and strangers had settled in her midst, had formed part of the royal guard, or had even served as janissaries (§ 15, end).
Samaria had experienced several changes in its original population, and an instructive story tells how the colonists, in their ignorance of the religion of their new home, incurred the divine wrath. Cujus regio ejus religio—settlement upon a new soil involved dependence upon its god, and accordingly priests were sent to instruct the Samaritans in the fear of Yahweh. Thenceforth they continued the worship of the Israelite Yahweh along with their own native cults (2 Kings xvii. 24–28, 33). Their descendants claimed participation in the privileges of the Judaeans (cf. Jer. xli. 5), and must have identified themselves with the old stock (Ezra iv. 2). Whatever recollection they preserved of their origin and of the circumstances of their entry would be retold from a new standpoint; the ethnological traditions would gain a new meaning; the assimilation would in time become complete. In view of subsequent events it would be difficult to find a more interesting subject of inquiry than the internal religious and sociological conditions in Samaria at this age.
To the prophets the religious position was lower in Judah than in Samaria, whose iniquities were less grievous (Jer. iii. 11 seq., xxiii. 11 sqq.; Ezek. xvi. 51). The greater prevalence of heathen elements in Jerusalem, as detailed in the reforms of Josiah or in the writings of the prophets (cf. Ezek. viii.), would at least suggest that the destruction of the state was not entirely a disaster. To this catastrophe may be due the fragmentary character of old Judaean historical traditions. Moreover, the land was purified when it became divorced from the practices of a luxurious court and lost many of its worst inhabitants. In Israel as in Judah the political disasters not only meant a shifting of population, they also brought into prominence the old popular and non-official religion, the character of which is not to be condemned because of the attitude of lofty prophets in advance of their age. When there were sects like the Rechabites (Jer. xxxv.), when the Judaean fields could produce a Micah or a Zephaniah, and when Israel no doubt had men who inherited the spirit of a Hosea, the nature of the underlying conditions can be more justly appreciated. The writings of the prophets were cherished, not only in the unfavourable atmosphere of courts (see Jer. xxxvi., 21 sqq.), but also in the circles of their followers (Isa. viii. 16). In the quiet smaller sanctuaries the old-time beliefs were maintained, and the priests, often perhaps of the older native stock (cf. 2 Kings xvii. 28 and above), were the recognized guardians of the religious cults. The old stories of earlier days encircle places which, though denounced for their corruption, were not regarded as illegitimate, and in the form in which the dim traditions of the past are now preserved they reveal an attempt to purify popular belief and thought. In the domestic circles of prophetic communities the part played by their great heads in history did not suffer in the telling, and it is probable that some part at least of the extant history of the Israelite kingdom passed through the hands of men whose interest lay in the pre-eminence of their seers and their beneficent deeds on behalf of these small communities. This interest and the popular tone of the history may be combined with the fact that the literature does not take us into the midst of that world of activity in which the events unfolded themselves.
Although the records preserve complete silence upon the period now under review, it is necessary to free oneself from the narrow outlook of the later Judaean compilers. It is a gratuitous assumption that the history of (north) Israel ceased with the fall of Samaria or that Judah then took over Israelite literature and inherited the old Israelite spirit: the question of the preservation of earlier writings is of historical importance. It is true that the situation in Israel or Samaria continues obscure, but a careful study of literary productions, evidently not earlier than the 7th century B.C., reveals a particular loftiness of conception and a tendency which finds its parallels in Hosea and approximates the peculiar characteristics of the Deuteronomic school of thought. But the history which the Judaean writers have handed down is influenced by the later hostility between Judah and Samaria. The traditional bond between the north and south which nothing could efface (cf. Jos. Ant., xi. 8, 6) has been carried back to the earliest ages; yet the present period, after the age of rival kingdoms, Judah and Israel, and before the foundation of Judaism, is that in which the historical background for the inclusion of Judah among the “sons” of Israel is equally suitable (§§ 5, 20, end). The circumstances favoured a closer alliance between the people of Palestine, and a greater prominence of the old holy places (Hebron, Bethel, Shechem, &c.), of which the ruined Jerusalem would not be one, and the existing condition of Judah and Israel from internal and non-political points of view—not their condition in the pre-monarchical ages—is the more crucial problem in biblical history.
19. Persian Period.—The course of events from the middle of the 6th century B.C. to the close of the Persian period is lamentably obscure, although much indirect evidence indicates that this age holds the key to the growth of written biblical history. It was an age of literary activity which manifested itself, not in contemporary historical records—only a few of which have survived—but rather in the special treatment of previously existing sources. The problems are of unusual intricacy and additional light is needed from external evidence. It will be convenient to turn to this first. Scarcely 40 years after the destruction of Jerusalem, a new power appeared in the east in the person of Cyrus the Great. Babylon speedily fell (539 B.C.) and a fresh era opened. To the petty states this meant only a change of masters; they now became part of one of the largest empires of antiquity. The prophets who had marked in the past the advent of Assyrians and Chaldeans now fixed their eyes upon the advance of Cyrus, confident that the fall of Babylon would bring the restoration of their fortunes. Cyrus was hailed as the divinely appointed saviour, the anointed one of Yahweh. The poetic imagery in which the prophets clothed the doom of Babylon, like the romantic account of Herodotus (i. 191), falls short of the simple contemporary account of Cyrus himself. He did not fulfil the detailed predictions, and the events did not reach the ideals of Hebrew writers; but these anticipations may have influenced the form which the Jewish traditions subsequently took. Nevertheless, if Cyrus was not originally a Persian and was not a worshipper of Yahweh (Isa. xli. 25), he was at least tolerant towards subject races and their religions, and the persistent traditions unmistakably point to the honour in which his memory was held. Throughout the Persian supremacy Palestine was necessarily influenced by the course of events in Phoenicia and Egypt (with which intercourse was continual), and some light may thus be indirectly thrown on its otherwise obscure political history. Thus, when Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, made his great expedition against Egypt, with the fleets of Phoenicia and Cyprus and with the camels of the Arabians, it is highly probable that Palestine itself was concerned. Also, the revolt which broke out in the Persian provinces at this juncture may have extended to Palestine; although the usurper Darius encountered his most serious opposition in the north and north-east of his empire. An outburst of Jewish religious feeling is dated in the second year of Darius (520), but whether Judah was making a bold bid for independence or had received special favour for abstaining from the above revolts, external evidence alone can decide. Towards the close of the reign of Darius there was a fresh revolt in Egypt; it was quelled by Xerxes (485–465), who did not imitate the religious tolerance of his predecessors. Artaxerxes I. Longimanus (465–425), attracts attention because the famous Jewish reformers Ezra and Nehemiah flourished under a king of this name. Other revolts occurred in Egypt, and for these and also for the rebellion of the Persian satrap Megabyzos (c. 448–447), independent evidence for the position of Judah is needed, since a catastrophe apparently befell the unfortunate state before Nehemiah appears upon the scene. Little is known of the mild and indolent Artaxerxes II. Mnemon (404–359). With the growing weakness of the Persian empire Egypt reasserted its independence for a time. In the reign of Artaxerxes III. Ochus (359–338), Egypt, Phoenicia and Cyprus were in revolt; the rising was quelled without mercy, and the details of the vengeance are valuable for the possible fate of Palestine itself. The Jewish historian Josephus (Ant. xi. 7) records the enslavement of the Jews, the pollution of the Temple by a certain Bagoses (see Bagoas), and a seven years’ punishment. Other late sources narrate the destruction of Jericho and a deportation of the Jews to Babylonia and to Hyrcania (on the Caspian Sea). The evidence for the catastrophes under Artaxerxes I. and III. (see Artaxerxes), exclusively contained in biblical and in external tradition respectively, is of particular importance, since several biblical passages refer to disasters similar to those of 586 but presuppose different conditions and are apparently of later origin. The murder of Artaxerxes III. by Bagoses gave a set-back to the revival of the Persian Empire. Under Darius Codomannus (336–330) the advancing Greek power brought matters to a head, and at the battle of Issus in 333 Alexander settled its fate. The overthrow of Tyre and Gaza secured the possession of the coast and the Jewish state entered upon the Greek period. (See § 25.)
During these two centuries the Jews in Palestine had been only one of an aggregate of subject peoples enjoying internal freedom provided in return for a regular tribute. They lived in comparative quietude; although Herodotus knows the Palestinian coast he does not mention the Jews. The earlier Persian kings acknowledged the various religions of the petty peoples; they were also patrons of their temples and would take care to preserve an ancient right of asylum or the privileges of long-established cults. Cyrus on entering Babylon had even restored the gods to the cities to which they belonged. Consequently much interest attaches to the evidence which illustrates the environment of the Jews during this period. Those who had been scattered from Palestine lived in small colonies, sometimes mingling and intermarrying with the natives, sometimes strictly preserving their own individuality. Some took root in the strange lands, and, as later popular stories indicate, evidently reached high positions; others, retaining a more vivid tradition of the land of their fathers, cherished the ideal of a restored Jerusalem. Excavation at Nippur (q.v.) in Babylonia has brought to light numerous contract tablets of the 5th century B.C. with Hebrew proper names (Haggai, Hanani, Gedaliah, &c.). Papyri from Elephantine in Upper Egypt, of the same age, proceed from Jewish families who carry on a flourishing business, live among Egyptians and Persians, and take their oaths in courts of law in the name of the god “Yahu,” the “God of Heaven,” whose temple dated from the last Egyptian kings. Indeed, it was claimed that Cambyses had left the sanctuary unharmed but had destroyed the temples of the Egyptians. In Elephantine, as in Nippur, the legal usages show that similar elements of Babylonio-Assyrian culture prevailed, and the evidence from two such widely separated fields is instructive for conditions in Palestine itself.
20. The Restoration of Judah.—The biblical history for the Persian period is contained in a new source—the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, whose standpoint and period are that of Chronicles, with which they are closely joined. After a brief description of the fall of Jerusalem the “seventy years” of the exile are passed over, and we are plunged into a history of the return (2 Chron. xxxvi.; Ezra i.). Although Palestine had not been depopulated, and many of the exiled Jews remained in Persia, the standpoint is that of those who returned from Babylon. Settled in and around Jerusalem, they look upon themselves as the sole community, the true Israel, even as it was believed that once before Israel entered and developed independently in the land of its ancestors. They look back from the age when half-suppressed hostility with Samaria had broken out, and when an exclusive Judaism had been formed. The interest of the writers is as usual in the religious history; they were indifferent to, or perhaps rather ignorant of, the strict order of events. Their narratives can be partially supplemented from other sources (Haggai; Zechariah i.–viii.; Isa. xl.–lxvi.; Malachi), but a consecutive sketch is impossible.
In 561 B.C. the captive Judaean king, Jehoiachin, had received special marks of favour from Nebuchadrezzar’s son Amil-marduk. So little is known of this act of recognition that its significance can only be conjectured. A little later Tyre received as its king Merbaal (555–552) who had been fetched from Babylonia. Babylonia was politically unsettled, the representative of the Davidic dynasty had descendants; if Babylon was assured of the allegiance of Judah further acts of clemency may well have followed. But the later recension of Judaean history—our sole source—entirely ignores the elevation of Jehoiachin (2 Kings xxv. 27 sqq.; Jer. lii. 31–34), and proceeds at once to the first year of Cyrus, who proclaims as his divine mission the rebuilding of the Temple (538). The Judaean Sheshbazzar (a corruption of some Babylonian name) brought back the Temple vessels which Nebuchadrezzar had carried away and prepared to undertake the work at the expense of the royal purse. An immense body of exiles is said to have returned at this time to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel, who was of Davidic descent, and the priest Jeshua or Joshua, the grandson of the murdered Seraiah (Ezra i.–iii.; v. 13–vi. 5). When these refused the proffered help of the people of Samaria, men of the same faith as themselves (iv. 2), their troubles began, and the Samaritans retaliated by preventing the rebuilding. The next historical notice is dated in the second year of Darius (520) when two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, came forward to kindle the Judaeans to new efforts, and in spite of opposition the work went steadily onwards, thanks to the favour of Darius, until the Temple was completed four years later (Ezra v. 2, vi. 13 sqq.). On the other hand, from the independent writings ascribed to these prophets, it appears that no considerable body of exiles could have returned—it is still an event of the future (Zech. ii. 7, vi. 15); little, if anything, had been done to the Temple (Hag. ii. 15); and Zerubbabel is the one to take in hand and complete the great undertaking (Zech. iv. 9). The prophets address themselves to men living in comfortable abodes with olive-fields and vineyards, suffering from bad seasons and agricultural depression, and though the country is unsettled there is no reference to any active opposition on the part of Samaritans. So far from drawing any lesson from the brilliant event in the reign of Cyrus, the prophets imply that Yahweh’s wrath is still upon the unfortunate city and that Persia is still the oppressor. Consequently, although small bodies of individuals no doubt came back to Judah from time to time, and some special mark of favour may have been shown by Cyrus, the opinion has gained ground since the early arguments of E. Schrader (Stud. u. Krit., 1867, pp. 460–504), that the compiler’s representation of the history is untrustworthy. His main object is to make the new Israel, the post-exilic community at Jerusalem, continuous, as a society, with the old Israel. Greater weight must be laid upon the independent evidence of the prophetical writings, and the objection that Palestine could not have produced the religious fervency of Haggai or Zechariah without an initial impulse from Babylonia begs the question. Unfortunately the internal conditions in the 6th century B.C. can be only indirectly estimated (§ 18), and the political position must remain for the present quite uncertain. In Zerubbabel the people beheld once more a ruler of the Davidic race. The new temple heralded a new future; the mournful fasts commemorative of Jerusalem’s disasters would become feasts; Yahweh had left the Temple at the fall of Jerusalem, but had now returned to sanctify it with his presence; the city had purged its iniquity and was fit once more to become the central sanctuary. So Haggai sees in Zerubbabel the representative of the ideal kingdom, the trusted and highly favoured minister who was the signet-ring upon Yahweh’s hand (contrast Hag. ii. 24 with Jer. xxii. 23). Zechariah, in his turn, proclaims the overthrow of all difficulties in the path of the new king, who shall rule in glory supported by the priest (Zech. vi.). What political aspirations were revived, what other writers were inspired by these momentous events are questions of inference.
A work which inculcates the dependence of the state upon the purity of its ruler is the unfinished book of Kings with its history of the Davidic dynasty and the Temple. Its ideals culminate in Josiah (§ 16, end), and there is a strong presumption that it is intended to impress upon the new era the lessons drawn from the past. Its treatment of the monarchy is only part of a great and now highly complicated literary undertaking (traceable in the books Joshua to Kings), inspired with the thought and coloured by language characteristic of Deuteronomy (especially the secondary portions), which forms the necessary introduction. Whatever reforms Josiah actually accomplished, the restoration afforded the opportunity of bringing the Deuteronomic teaching into action; though it is more probable that Deuteronomy itself in the main is not much earlier than the second half of the 6th century B.C. It shows a strong nationalist feeling which is not restricted to Judah alone, but comprises a greater Israel from Kadesh in Naphtali in the north to Hebron in the south, and even extends beyond the Jordan. Distinctive non-Judaean features are included, as in the Samaritan liturgical office (Deut. xxvii. 14–26), and the evidence for the conclusion that traditions originally of (north) Israelite interest were taken over and adapted to the later standpoint of Judah and Jerusalem (viz. in the Deuteronomic book of Kings) independently confirms the inferences drawn from Deuteronomy itself. The absence of direct testimony can be partially supplied by later events which presuppose the break-up of no inconsiderable state, and imply relations with Samaria which had been by no means so unfriendly as the historians represent. A common ground for Judaism and Samaritanism is obvious, and it is in this obscure age that it is to be sought. But the curtain is raised for too brief an interval to allow of more than a passing glimpse at the restoration of Judaean fortunes; not until the time of Nehemiah, about 140 years after the fall of Jerusalem, does the historical material become less imperfect.
Upon this blank period before the foundation of Judaism (§§ 21, 23) much light is also thrown by another body of evidence. It has long been recognized that 1 Chron. ii. and iv. represent a Judah composed mainly of groups which had moved up from the south (Hebron) to the vicinity of Jerusalem. It includes Caleb and Jerahmeel, Kenite or Rechabite families, scribes, &c., and these, as “sons” of Hezron, claim some relationship with Gilead. The names point generally to an affinity with south Palestine and north Arabia (Edom, Midian, &c.; see especially the lists in Gen. xxxvi.), and suggest that certain members of a closely related collection of groups had separated from the main body and were ultimately enrolled as Israelites. It is also recognized by many scholars that in the present account of the exodus there are indications of the original prominence of traditions of Kadesh, and also of a journey northwards in which Caleb, Kenites and others took part (§ 5). On these and on other grounds besides, it has long been felt that south Palestine, with its north Arabian connexions, is of real importance in biblical research, and for many years efforts have been made to determine the true significance of the evidence. The usual tendency has been to regard it in the light of the criticism of early Israelite history, which demands some reconstruction (§ 8), and to discern distinct tribal movements previous to the union of Judah and Israel under David. On the other hand, the elaborate theory of T. K. Cheyne involves the view that a history dealing with the south actually underlies our sources and can be recovered by emendation of the text. Against the former is the fact that although certain groups are ultimately found in Judah (Judg. i.), the evidence for the movement—a conquest north of Kadesh, almost at the gate of the promised land—explicitly mentions Israel; and against the latter the evidence again shows that this representation has been deliberately subordinated to the entrance of Israel from beyond the Jordan. In either case the history of separate sections of people may have been extended to Israel as a whole, but there is no evidence for any adequate reconstruction. Yet the presence of distinct representations of the history may be recognized, and since the Judaean compilers of the Old Testament have incorporated non-Judaean sources (e.g. the history of the northern monarchy), it is obvious that, apart from indigenous Judaean tradition, the southern groups which were ultimately enrolled in Judah would possess their own stock of oral and written lore. Hence it is noteworthy that the late editor of Judges has given the first place to Othniel, a Kenizzite, and therefore of Edomite affinity, though subsequently reckoned as a Judaean (Judg i. 13, iii. 9; cf. Gen. xxxvi. 11; 1 Chron. iv. 13). Of Kenite interest is the position of Cain, ancestor of heroes of culture and of the worship of Yahweh (Gen. iv. 17 sqq.). One fragmentary source alludes to a journey to the Midianite or Kenite father-in-law of Moses with the Ark (q.v.); another knows of its movements with David and the priest Abiathar (a name closely related to Jether or Jethro; cf. also 1 Chron. iv. 17). Distinctively Calebite are the stories of the eponym who, fearless of the “giants” of Palestine, gained striking divine promises (Num. xiv. 11–24); Caleb’s overthrow of the Hebronite giants finds a parallel in David’s conflicts before the capture of Jerusalem, and may be associated with the belief that these primitive giants once filled the land (Josh. xi. 21 seq.; see § 7, and David; Samuel, Books of). Calebite, too, are Hebron and its patron Abraham, and both increase in prominence in the patriarchal narratives, where, moreover, an important body of tradition can have emanated only from outside Israel and Judah (see Genesis). Although Judah was always closely connected with the south, these “southern” features (once clearly more extensive and complete) are found in the Deuteronomic and priestly compilations, and their presence in the historical records can hardly be severed from the prominence of “southern” families in the vicinity of Jerusalem, some time after the fall of Jerusalem. The background in 1 Chron. ii. presupposes the desolation after that disaster, and some traces of these families are found in Nehemiah’s time; and while the traditions know of a separation from Edom (viz. stories of Jacob and his “brother” Esau), elsewhere Edom is frequently denounced for unbrotherly conduct in connexion with some disaster which befell Jerusalem, apparently long after 586 B.C. (see § 22). The true inwardness of this movement, its extent and its history, can hardly be recovered at present, but it is noteworthy that the evidence generally involves the Levites, an ecclesiastical body which underwent an extremely intricate development. To a certain extent it would seem that even as Chronicles (q.v.) has passed through the hands of one who was keenly interested in the Temple service, so the other historical books have been shaped not only by the late priestly writers (symbolized in literary criticism by P), but also by rather earlier writers, also of priestly sympathies, but of “southern” or half-Edomite affinity. This is independently suggested by the contents and vicissitudes of the purely ecclesiastical traditions.
Recent criticism goes to show that there is a very considerable body of biblical material, more important for its attitude to the history than for its historical accuracy, the true meaning of which cannot as yet be clearly perceived. It raises many serious problems which concentrate upon that age which is of the greatest importance for the biblical and theological student. The perplexing relation between the admittedly late compilations and the actual course of the early history becomes still more intricate when one observes such a feature as the late interest in the Israelite tribes. No doubt there is much that is purely artificial and untrustworthy in the late (post-exilic) representations of these divisions, but it is almost incredible that the historical foundation for their early career is severed from the written sources by centuries of warfare, immigration and other disturbing factors. On the one hand, conservative scholars insist upon the close material relation between the constituent sources; critical scholars, on the other hand, while recognizing much that is relatively untrustworthy, refrain from departing from the general outlines of the canonical history more than is absolutely necessary. Hence the various reconstructions of the earlier history, with all their inherent weaknesses. But historical criticism is faced with the established literary conclusions which, it should be noticed, place the Deuteronomic and priestly compilations posterior to the great changes at and after the fall of the northern monarchy, and, to some extent, contemporary with the equally serious changes in Judah. There were catastrophes detrimental to the preservation of older literary records, and vicissitudes which, if they have not left their mark on contemporary history—which is singularly blank—may be traced on the representations of the past. There are external historical circumstances and internal literary features which unite to show that the application of the literary hypotheses of the Old Testament to the course of Israelite history is still incomplete, and they warn us that the intrinsic value of religious and didactic writings should not depend upon the accuracy of their history. Future research may not be able to solve the problems which arise in the study of the period now under discussion; it is the more necessary, therefore, that all efforts should be tested in the light of purely external evidence (see further § 24; and Palestine: History).
21. Nehemiah and Ezra.—There is another remarkable gap in the historical traditions between the time of Zerubbabel and the reign of Artaxerxes I. In obscure circumstances the enthusiastic hopes have melted away, the Davidic scion has disappeared, and Jerusalem has been the victim of another disaster. The country is under Persian officials, the nobles and priests form the local government, and the ground is being prepared for the erection of a hierocracy. It is the work of rebuilding and reorganization, of social and of religious reforms, which we encounter in the last pages of biblical history, and in the records of Ezra and Nehemiah we stand in Jerusalem in the very centre of epoch-making events. Nehemiah, the cup-bearer of Artaxerxes at Susa, plunged in grief at the news of the desolation of Jerusalem, obtained permission from the king to rebuild the ruins. Provided with an escort and with the right to obtain supplies of wood for the buildings, he returned to the city of his fathers’ sepulchres (the allusion may suggest his royal ancestry). His zeal is represented in a twofold aspect. Having satisfied himself of the extent of the ruins, he aroused the people to the necessity of fortifying and repopulating the city, and a vivid account is given in his name of the many dangers which beset the rebuilding of the walls. Sanballat of Horon, Tobiah the Ammonite, and Gashmu the Arabian (? Edomite) unceasingly opposed him. Tobiah and his son Johanan were related by marriage to Judaean secular and priestly families, and active intrigues resulted, in which nobles and prophets took their part. It was insinuated that Nehemiah had his prophets to proclaim that Judah had again its own king; it was even suggested that he was intending to rebel against Persia! Nehemiah naturally gives us only his version, and the attitude of Haggai and Zechariah to Zerubbabel may illustrate the feeling of his partisans. But Tobiah and Johanan themselves were worshippers of Yahweh (as their names also show), and consequently, with prophets taking different sides and with the Samaritan claims summarily repudiated (Neh. ii. 20; cf. Ezra iv. 3), all the facts cannot be gathered from the narratives. Nevertheless the undaunted Judaean pressed on unmoved by the threatening letters which were sent around, and succeeded in completing the walls within fifty-two days.
In the next place, Nehemiah appears as governor of the small district of Judah and Benjamin. Famine, the avarice of the rich, and the necessity of providing tribute had brought the humbler classes to the lowest straits. Some had mortgaged their houses, fields and vineyards to buy corn; others had borrowed to pay the taxes, and had sold their children to their richer brethren to repay the debt. Nehemiah was faced with old abuses, and vehemently contrasted the harshness of the nobles with the generosity of the exiles who would redeem their poor countrymen from slavery. He himself had always refrained from exacting the usual provision which other governors had claimed; indeed, he had readily entertained over 150 officials and dependants at his table, apart from casual refugees (Neh. v.). We hear something of a twelve-years’ governorship and of a second visit, but the evidence does not enable us to determine the sequence (xiii. 6). Neh. v. is placed in the middle of the building of the walls in fifty-two days; the other reforms during the second visit are closely connected with the dedication of the walls and with the events which immediately follow his first arrival when he had come to rebuild the city. Nehemiah also turns his attention to religious abuses. The sabbath, once a festival, had become more strictly observed, and when he found the busy agriculturists and traders (some of them from Tyre) pursuing their usual labours on that day, he pointed to the disasters which had resulted in the past from such profanation, and immediately took measures to put down the evil (Neh. xiii. 18; cf. Jer. xvii. 20 sqq.; Ezek. xx. 13–24; Isa. lvi. 2, 6; lviii. 13). Moreover, the maintenance of the Temple servants called for supervision; the customary allowances had not been paid to the Levites who had come to Jerusalem after the smaller shrines had been put down, and they had now forsaken the city. His last acts were the most conspicuous of all. Some of the Jews had married women of Ashdod, Ammon and Moab, and the impetuous governor indignantly adjured them to desist from a practice which was the historic cause of national sin. Even members of the priestly families had intermarried with Tobiah and Sanballat; the former had his own chamber in the precincts of the Temple, the daughter of the latter was the wife of a son of Joiada the son of the high priest Eliashib. Again Nehemiah’s wrath was kindled. Tobiah was cast out, the offending priest expelled, and a general purging followed, in which all the foreign element was removed. With this Nehemiah brings the account of his reforms to a conclusion, and the words “Remember me, O my God, for good” (xiii. 31) are not meaningless. The incidents can be supplemented from Josephus. According to this writer (Ant. xi. 7, 2), a certain Manasseh, the brother of Jaddua and grandson of Joiada, refused to divorce his wife, the daughter of Sanballat. For this he was driven out, and, taking refuge with the Samaritans, founded a rival temple and priesthood upon Mt Gerizim, to which repaired other priests and Levites who had been guilty of mixed marriages. There is little doubt that Josephus refers to the same events; but there is considerable confusion in his history of the Persian age, and when he places the schism and the foundation of the new Temple in the time of Alexander the Great (after the obscure disasters of the reign of Artaxerxes III.), it is usually supposed that he is a century too late. At all events, there is now a complete rupture with Samaria, and thus, in the concluding chapter of the last of the historical books of the Old Testament, Judah maintains its claim to the heritage of Israel and rejects the right of the Samaritans to the title (see § 5).
In this separation of the Judaeans from religious and social intercourse with their neighbours, the work of Ezra (q.v.) requires notice. The story of this scribe (now combined with the memoirs of Nehemiah) crystallizes the new movement inaugurated after a return of exiles from Babylonia. The age can also be illustrated from Isa. lvi.-lxvi. and Malachi (q.v.). There was a poor and weak Jerusalem, its Temple stood in need of renovation, its temple-service was mean, its priests unworthy of their office. On the one side was the grinding poverty of the poor; on the other the abuses of the governors. There were two leading religious parties: one of oppressive formalists, exclusive, strict and ritualistic; the other, more cosmopolitan, extended a freer welcome to strangers, and tolerated the popular elements and the superstitious cults which are vividly depicted (Isa. lxv. seq.). But the former gained the day, and, realizing that the only hope of maintaining a pure worship of Yahweh lay in a forcible isolation from foreign influence, its adherents were prepared to take measures to ensure the religious independence of their assembly. It is related that Ezra, the scribe and priest, returned to Jerusalem with priests and Levites, lay exiles, and a store of vessels for the Temple. He was commissioned to inquire into the religious condition of the land and to disseminate the teaching of the Law to which he had devoted himself (Ezra vii.). On his arrival the people were gathered together, and in due course he read the “book of the Law of Moses” daily for seven days (Neh. viii.). They entered into an agreement to obey its teaching, undertaking in particular to avoid marriages with foreigners (x. 28 sqq.). A special account is given of this reform (Ezra ix. seq.) and the description of Ezra’s horror at the prevalence of intermarriage, which threatened to destroy the distinctive character of the community, sufficiently indicates the attitude of the stricter party. The true seed of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners (not, however, without some opposition) and formed an exclusively religious body or “congregation.” Dreams of political freedom gave place to hopes of religious independence, and “Israel” became a church, the foundation of which it sought in the desert of Sinai a thousand years before.
22. Post-exilic History.—The biblical history for the period in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah is exceptionally obscure, and it is doubtful how far the traditions can be trusted before we reach the reign of Artaxerxes (Ezra vii. sqq., Neh.). The records belonging to this reign represent four different stages: (a) The Samaritans reported that the Jews who had returned from the king to Jerusalem were rebuilding the city and completing its walls, an act calculated to endanger the integrity of the province. Artaxerxes accordingly instructed them to stop the work until he should give the necessary decree, and this was done by force (Ezra iv. 7–23, undated; 1 Esdras ii. 16 sqq. mentions a building of the Temple!). (b) It was in the 7th year (i.e. 458 B.C.) that Ezra returned with a small body of exiles to promulgate the new laws he had brought and to set the Temple service in order. Fortified with remarkable powers, some of which far exceed the known tolerance of Persian kings, he began wide-sweeping marriage reforms; but the record ceases abruptly (vii.–x.). (c) In the 20th year (445 B.C.) Nehemiah returned with permission to rebuild the walls, the citadel and the governor’s house (Neh. ii. 5, 8; see § 21 above). But (d), whilst as governor he accomplishes various needed reforms, there is much confusion in the present narratives, due partly to the resumption of Ezra’s labours after an interval of twelve years, and partly to the closely related events of Nehemiah’s activity in which room must be found for his twelve-years’ governorship and a second visit. The internal literary and historical questions are extremely intricate, and the necessity for some reconstruction is very generally felt (for preliminary details, see Ezra and Nehemiah). The disaster which aroused Nehemiah’s grief was scarcely the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., but a more recent one, and it has been conjectured that it followed the work of Ezra (in b above). On the other hand, a place can hardly be found for the history of Ezra before the appearance of Nehemiah; he moves in a settled and peaceful community such as Nehemiah had helped to form, his reforms appear to be more mature and schematic than those of Nehemiah; and, whilst Josephus handles the two separately, giving Ezra the priority, many recent scholars incline to place Nehemiah’s first visit before the arrival of Ezra. That later tradition should give the pre-eminence to the priestly reforms of Ezra is in every way natural, but it has been found extremely difficult to combine the two in any reconstruction of the period. Next, since there are three distinct sources, for (a) above, and for the work of Nehemiah and of Ezra, implicit reliance cannot be placed upon the present sequence of narratives. Thus (a), with its allusion to a further decree, forms a plausible prelude to the return of either Ezra (vii. 13) or Nehemiah (i. 3, ii. 3); and if it is surprising that the Samaritans and other opponents, who had previously waited to address Artaxerxes (Ezra iv. 14 sqq., v. 5, 17), should now interfere when Nehemiah was armed with a royal mandate (Neh. ii. 7–9), it is very difficult not to conclude that the royal permits, as now detailed, have been coloured by Jewish patriotism and the history by enmity to Samaria. Finally, the situation in the independent and undated record (a) points to a return, a rebuilding (apparently after some previous destruction), and some interference. This agrees substantially with the independent records of Nehemiah, and unless we assume two disasters not widely separated in date—viz. those presupposed in (a) and (c)—the record in (a), may refer to that stage in the history where the other source describes the intrigues of the Samaritans and the letters sent by Tobiah (cf. Tabeel in Ezra iv. 7) to frighten Nehemiah (Neh. vi. 19). Their insinuations that Nehemiah was seeking to be ruler and their representations to Artaxerxes would be enough to alarm the king (cf. Neh. vi. 5–9, 19, and Ezra iv. 15 seq., 20 seq.), and it may possibly be gathered that Nehemiah at once departed to justify himself (Neh. vii. 2, xiii. 4, 6). Nevertheless, since the narratives are no longer in their original form or sequence, it is impossible to trace the successive steps of the sequel; although if the royal favour was endorsed (cf. the account ascribed to the time of Darius, Ezra v. seq.), Nehemiah’s position as a reformer would be more secure.
Although there was a stock of tradition for the post-exilic age (cf. Daniel, Esther, 1 Esdras, Josephus), the historical narratives are of the scantiest and vaguest until the time of Artaxerxes, when the account of a return (Ezra iv. 12), which otherwise is quite ignored, appears to have been used for the times of Darius (1 Esdras iv. seq.) and subsequently of Cyrus (Ezra i.–iii.). Moreover, although general opinion identifies our Artaxerxes with the first of that name, certain features suggest that there has been some confusion with the traditions of the time of Artaxerxes II. and III. (§ 19). But the problems are admittedly complicated, and since one is necessarily dependent upon scanty narratives arranged and rearranged by later hands in accordance with their own historical theories, it is difficult to lay stress upon internal evidence which appears to be conclusive for this or that reconstruction. The main facts, however, are clear. Jerusalem had suffered some serious catastrophe before Nehemiah’s return; a body of exiles returned, and in spite of interference the work of rebuilding was completed; through their influence the Judaean community underwent reorganization, and separated itself from its so-called heathen neighbours. How many years elapsed from beginning to end can hardly be said. Tradition concentrated upon Ezra and his age many events and changes of fundamental importance. The canonical history has allowed only one great destruction of Jerusalem, and the disaster of 586 B.C. became the type for similar disasters, but how many there were criticism can scarcely decide. Allusions to Judah’s sufferings at the hands of Edom, Moab and Ammon often imply conditions which are not applicable to 586. A definite series knows of an invasion and occupation by Edom (q.v. end), a people with whom Judah, as the genealogies show, had once been intimately connected. The unfriendliness of the “brother” people, which added so much to the bitterness of Judah, although associated with the events of 586 (so especially 1 Esdras iv. 45), probably belongs to a much later date. The tradition that Edomites burned the Temple and occupied part of Judah (ib. vv. 45, 50) is partially confirmed by Ezek. xxxv. 5, 10, xxxvi. 5; Ps. cxxxvii. 7; but the assumption that Darius, as in 1 Esdras, helped the Jews against them can with difficulty be maintained. The interesting conjecture that the second Temple suffered another disaster in the obscure gap which follows the time of Zerubbabel has been urged, after Isa. lxiii. 7–lxiv. 12, by Kuenen (afterwards withdrawn) and by Sellin, and can be independently confirmed. In the records of Nehemiah the ruins of the city are extensive (ii. 8, 17, iii.; cf. Ecclus. xlix. 13), and the tradition that Nehemiah rebuilt this Temple (Jos. Ant. xi. 5, 6; 2 Macc. i. 18) is supported (a) by the explicit references to the rebuilding of the Temple in the reign of Artaxerxes (1 Esdras ii. 18, not in Ezra iv. 12; but both in a context relating to the history of the Temple), and (b) by the otherwise inaccurate statement that the Temple was finished according to the decree of “Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes king of Persia” (Ezra vi. 14).
The untrustworthy account of the return in the time of Cyrus (Ezra i. sqq.) or Darius (1 Esdras iv. seq.; probably the older form) is curiously indebted to material which seems to have belonged to the history of the work of Nehemiah (cf. Ezra ii. with Neh. vii.), and the important return in the reign of Artaxerxes (Ezra iv. 12) seems to be connected with other references to some new settlement (Neh. xi. 20, 23, 25, especially xii. 29). The independent testimony of the names in Neh. iii. is against any previous large return from Babylon, and clearly illustrates the strength of the groups of “southern” origin whose presence is only to be expected (p. 285). Moreover, the late compiler of 1 Chronicles distinguishes a Judah composed almost wholly of “southern” groups (1 Chron. ii. and iv.) from a subsequent stage when the first inhabitants of Jerusalem correspond in the main to the new population after Nehemiah had repaired the ruins (1 Chron. ix. and Neh. xi.). Consequently, underlying the canonical form of post-exilic history, one may perhaps recognize some fresh disaster, after the completion of Zerubbabel’s temple, when Judah suffered grievously at the hands of its Edomite brethren (in Malachi, date uncertain, vengeance has at last been taken); Nehemiah restored the city, and the traditions of the exiles who returned at this period have been thrown back and focussed upon the work of Zerubbabel. The criticism of the history of Nehemiah, which leads to this conjecture, suggests also that if Nehemiah repulsed the Samaritan claims (ii. 20; cf. Ezra iv. 3, where the building of the Temple is concerned) and refused a compromise (vi. 2), it is extremely unlikely that Samaria had hitherto been seriously hostile; see also C. C. Torrey, Ezra Studies, pp. 321–333.
 The book has no finale and the sudden break may not be accidental. It is replaced by Chronicles, which, confining itself to Judaean history from a later standpoint (after the Persian age), includes new characteristic traditions wherein some recollection of more recent events may be recognized. Thus, the south Judaean or south Palestinian element shows itself in Judaean genealogies and lists; there are circumstantial stories of the rehabilitation of the Temple and the reorganization of cultus; there are fuller traditions of inroads upon Judah by southern peoples and their allies. There is also a more definite subordination of the royal authority to the priesthood (so too in the writings of Ezekiel, q.v.); and the stories of punishment inflicted upon kings who dared to contend against the priests (Jehoash, Uzziah) point to a conflict of authority, a hint of which is already found in the reconciliation of Zerubbabel and the priest Joshua in a passage ascribed to Zechariah (ch. vi.).history ends with the triumph of the Judaean community, the true “Israel,” the right to which title is found in the distant past. The Judaean view pervades the present sources, and whilst its David and Solomon ruled over a united land, the separation under Jeroboam is viewed as one of calf-worshipping northern tribes from Jerusalem with its one central temple and the legitimate priesthood of the Zadokites. It is from this narrower standpoint of an exclusive and confined Judah (and Benjamin) that the traditions as incorporated in the late recensions gain fresh force, and in Israel’s renunciation of the Judaean yoke the later hostility between the two may be read between the lines. The history in Kings was not finally settled until a very late date, as is evident from the important variations in the Septuagint, and it is especially in the description of the time of Solomon and the disruption that there continued to be considerable fluctuations.
23. Post-exilic Judaism.—With Nehemiah and Ezra we enter upon the era in which a new impulse gave to Jewish life and thought that form which became the characteristic orthodox Judaism. It was not a new religion that took root; older tendencies were diverted into new paths, the existing material was shaped to new ends. Judah was now a religious community whose representative was the high priest of Jerusalem. Instead of sacerdotal kings, there were royal priests, anointed with oil, arrayed with kingly insignia, claiming the usual royal dues in addition to the customary rights of the priests. With his priests and Levites, and with the chiefs and nobles of the Jewish families, the high priest directs this small state, and his death marks an epoch as truly as did that of the monarchs in the past. This hierarchical government, which can find no foundation in the Hebrew monarchy, is the forerunner of the Sanhedrin (q.v.); it is an institution which, however inaugurated, set its stamp upon the narratives which have survived. Laws were recast in accordance with the requirements of the time, with the result that, by the side of usages evidently of very great antiquity, details now appear which were previously unknown or wholly unsuitable. The age, which the scanty historical traditions themselves represent as one of supreme importance for the history of the Jews, once seemed devoid of interest, and it is entirely through the laborious scholarship of the 19th century that it now begins to reveal its profound significance. The Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis, that the hierarchical law in its complete form in the Pentateuch stands at the close and not at the beginning of biblical history, that this mature Judaism was the fruit of the 5th century B.C. and not a divinely appointed institution at the exodus (nearly ten centuries previously), has won the recognition of almost all Old Testament scholars. It has been substantiated by numerous subsidiary investigations in diverse departments, from different standpoints, and under various aspects, and can be replaced only by one which shall more adequately explain the literary and historical evidence (see further, p. 289).
The post-exilic priestly spirit represents a tendency which is absent from the Judaean Deuteronomic book of Kings but is fully mature in the later, and to some extent parallel, book of Chronicles (q.v.). The “priestly” traditions of the creation and of the patriarchs mark a very distinct advance upon the earlier narratives, and appear in a further developed form in the still later book of Jubilees, or “Little Genesis,” where they are used to demonstrate the pre-Mosaic antiquity of the priestly or Levitical institutions. There is also an unmistakable development in the laws; and the priestly legislation, though ahead of both Ezekiel and Deuteronomy, not to mention still earlier usage, not only continues to undergo continual internal modification, but finds a further distinct development, in the way of definition and interpretation, outside the Old Testament—in the Talmud (q.v.). Upon the characteristics of the post-exilic priestly writings we need not dwell. Though one may often be repelled by their lifelessness, their lack of spontaneity and the externalization of the ritual, it must be recognized that they placed a strict monotheism upon a legal basis. “It was a necessity that Judaism should incrust itself in this manner; without those hard and ossified forms the preservation of its essential elements would have proved impossible. At a time when all nationalities, and at the same time all bonds of religion and national customs, were beginning to be broken up in the seeming cosmos and real chaos of the Graeco-Roman Empire, the Jews stood out like a rock in the midst of the ocean. When the natural conditions of independent nationality all failed them, they nevertheless artificially maintained it with an energy truly marvellous, and thereby preserved for themselves, and at the same time for the whole world, an eternal good.”
If one is apt to acquire too narrow a view of Jewish legalism, the whole experience of subsequent history, through the heroic age of the Maccabees (q.v.) and onwards, only proves that the minuteness of ritual procedure could not cramp the heart. Besides, this was only one of the aspects of Jewish literary activity. The work represented in Nehemiah and Ezra, and put into action by the supporters of an exclusive Judaism, certainly won the day, and their hands have left their impress upon the historical traditions. But Yahwism, like Islam, had its sects and tendencies, and the opponents to the stricter ritualism always had followers. Whatever the predominant party might think of foreign marriages, the tradition of the half-Moabite origin of David serves, in the beautiful idyll of Ruth (q.v.), to suggest the debt which Judah and Jerusalem owed to one at least of its neighbours. Again, although some may have desired a self-contained community opposed to the heathen neighbours of Jerusalem, the story of Jonah implicitly contends against the attempt of Judaism to close its doors. The conflicting tendencies were incompatible, but Judaism retained the incompatibilities within its limits, and the two tendencies, prophetical and priestly, continue, the former finding its further development in Christianity.
The Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis (§ 4) does not pretend to be complete in all its details and it is independent of its application to the historical criticism of the Old Testament. No alternative hypothesis prevails, mere desultory criticism of the internal intricacies being quite inadequate. Maintaining that the position of the Pentateuch alone explains the books which follow, conservative writers concede that it is composite, has had some literary history, and has suffered some revision in the post-exilic age. Their concessions continue to become ever more significant, and all that follows from them should be carefully noticed by those who are impressed by their arguments. They identify with Deuteronomy the law-roll which explains the noteworthy reforms of Josiah (§ 16); but since it is naturally admitted that religious conditions had become quite inconsistent with Mosaism, the conservative view implies that the “long-lost” Deuteronomy must have differed profoundly from any known Mosaic writings to which earlier pious kings and prophets had presumably adhered. Similarly, the “book of the Law of Moses,” brought from Babylon by Ezra (Ezra vii.; Neh. viii.), clearly contained much of which the people were ignorant, and conservative writers, who oppose the theory that a new Law was then introduced, emphasize (a) the previous existence of legislation (to prove that Ezra’s book was not entirely a novelty), and (b) the gross wickedness in Judah (as illustrated by the prophets) from the time of Josiah to the strenuous efforts of the reformers on behalf of the most fundamental principles of the national religion. This again simply means that the Mosaism of Ezra or Nehemiah must have differed essentially from the priestly teaching prior to their arrival. The arguments of conservative writers involve concessions which, though often overlooked by their readers, are very detrimental to the position they endeavour to support, and the objections they bring against the theory of the introduction of new law-books (under a Josiah or an Ezra) apply with equal force to the promulgation of Mosaic teaching which had been admittedly ignored or forgotten. Their arguments have most weight, however, when they show the hazardous character of reconstructions which rely upon the trustworthiness of the historical narratives. What book Ezra really brought from Babylon is uncertain; the writer, it seems, is merely narrating the introduction of the Law ascribed to Moses, even as a predecessor has recounted the discovery of the Book of the Law, the Deuteronomic code subsequently included in the Pentateuch.
The importance which the biblical writers attach to the return from Babylon in the reign of Artaxerxes forms a starting-point for several interesting inquiries. Thus, in any estimate of the influence of Babylonia upon the Old Testament, it is obviously necessary to ask whether certain features (a) are of true Babylonian origin, or (b) merely find parallels or analogies in its stores of literature; whether the indebtedness goes back to very early times or to the age of the Assyrian domination or to the exiles who now returned. Again, there were priestly and other families—some originally of “southern” origin—already settled around Jerusalem, and questions inevitably arise concerning their relation to the new-comers and the literary vicissitudes which gave us the Old Testament in its present form. To this age we may ascribe the literature of the Priestly writers (symbolized by P), which differs markedly from the other sources. Yet it is clear from the book of Genesis alone that in the age of Priestly writers and compilers there were other phases of thought. Popular stories with many features of popular religion were current. They could be, and indeed had been made more edifying; but the very noteworthy conservatism of even the last compiler or editor, in contrast to the re-shaping and re-writing of the material in the book of Jubilees, indicates that the Priestly spirit was not that of the whole community. But through the Priestly hands the Old Testament history passed, and their standpoint colours its records. This is especially true of the history of the exilic and post-exilic periods, where the effort is made to preserve the continuity of Israel and the Israelite community (Chronicles—Ezra—Nehemiah). The bitterness aroused by the ardent and to some extent unjust zeal of the reforming element can only be conjectured. The traditions reveal a tendency to legitimate new circumstances. Priesthoods, whose traditions connect them with the south, are subordinated; the ecclesiastical records are re-shaped or re-adjusted; and a picture is presented of hierarchical jealousies and rivalries which (it was thought) were settled once and for all in the days of the exodus from Egypt. Many features gain in significance as the account of the Exodus, the foundation of Israel, is read in the light of the age when, after the advent of a new element from Babylonia, the Pentateuch assumed its present shape; it must suffice to mention the supremacy of the Aaronite priests and the glorification of uncompromising hostility to foreign marriages. The most “unhistorical” tradition has some significance for the development of thought or of history-writing, and thus its internal features are ultimately of historical value. Only from an exhaustive comparison of controlling data can the scattered hints be collected and classified. There is much that is suggestive, for example, in the relation between the “post-exilic” additions to the prophecies and their immediately earlier form; or in the singular prominence of the Judaean family of Perez (its elevation over Zerah, a half-Edomite family, Gen. xxxviii.; its connexion with the Davidic dynasty, Ruth iv.; its position as head of all the Judaean sub-divisions, 1 Chron. ii. 5 sqq.); or in the late insertion of local tradition encircling Jerusalem; or in the perplexing attitude of the histories towards the district of Benjamin and its famous sanctuary of Bethel (only about 10 m. north of Jerusalem). Although these and other phenomena cannot yet be safely placed in a historical frame, the methodical labours of past scholars have shed much light upon the obscurities of the exilic and post-exilic ages, and one must await the more comprehensive study of the two or three centuries which are of the first importance for biblical history and theology.
24. Old Testament History and External Evidence.—Thus the Old Testament, the history of the Jews during the first great period, describes the relation of the Hebrews to surrounding peoples, the superiority of Judah over the faithless (north) Israelite tribes, and the reorganization of the Jewish community in and around Jerusalem at the arrival of Ezra with the Book of the Law. The whole gives an impression of unity, which is designed, and is to be expected in a compilation. But closer examination reveals remarkable gaps and irreconcilable historical standpoints. For all serious biblical study, the stages in the growth of the written traditions and the historical circumstances which they imply, must inevitably be carefully considered, and upon the result depends, directly or indirectly, almost every subject of Old Testament investigation. Yet it is impossible to recover with confidence or completeness the development of Hebrew history from the pages of the Old Testament alone. The keen interest taken by the great prophets in the world around them is not prominent in the national records; political history has been subordinated, and the Palestine which modern discovery is revealing is not conspicuous in the didactic narratives. To external evidence one must look, therefore, for that which did not fall within the scope or the horizon of the religious historians. They do not give us the records of the age of the Babylonian monarch Khammurabi (perhaps Amraphel, Gen. xiv.), of the Egyptian conquests in the XVIIIth and following dynasties, or of the period illustrated by the Amarna tablets (§ 3). They treat with almost unique fullness a few years in the middle of the 9th century B.C., but ignore Assyria; yet only the Assyrian inscriptions explain the political situation (§ 10 seq.), and were it not for them the true significance of the 8th–7th centuries could scarcely be realized (§ 15 seq.). It would be erroneous to confuse the extant sources with the historical material which might or must have been accessible, or to assume that the antiquity of the elements of history proves or presupposes the antiquity of the records themselves, or even to deny the presence of some historical kernel merely on account of unhistorical elements or the late dress in which the events are now clothed. External research constantly justifies the cautious attitude which has its logical basis in the internal conflicting character of the written traditions or in their divergence from ascertained facts; at the same time it has clearly shown that the internal study of the Old Testament has its limits. Hence, in the absence of more complete external evidence one is obliged to recognize the limitations of Old Testament historical criticism, even though this recognition means that positive reconstructions are more precarious than negative conclusions.
The naïve impression that each period of history was handled by some more or less contemporary authority is not confirmed by a criticism which confines itself strictly to the literary evidence. An interest in the past is not necessarily confined to any one age, and the critical view that the biblical history has been compiled from relatively late standpoints finds support in the still later treatment of the events—in Chronicles as contrasted with Samuel—Kings or in Jubilees as contrasted with Genesis. It is instructive to observe in Egypt the form which old traditions have taken in Manetho (Maspero, Rec. de travaux, xxvii., 1905, l. 22 seq.); cf. also the late story of Rameses II. and the Hittites (J. H. Breasted, Anc. Rec. of Egypt, iii. 189 seq.); while in Babylonia one may note the didactic treatment, after the age of Cyrus, of the events of the time of Khammurabi (A. H. Sayce, Proc. Soc. Biblical Archaeol., 1907, pp. 13 sqq.).
The links which unite the traditional heroes with Babylonia (e.g. Abraham, Ezra), Mesopotamia (e.g. Jacob), Egypt (e.g. Joseph, Jeroboam), Midian (e.g. Moses, Jethro), &c., like the intimate relationship between Israel and surrounding lands, have a significance in the light of recent research. Israel can no longer be isolated from the politics, culture, folk-lore, thought and religion of western Asia and Egypt. Biblical, or rather Palestinian, thought has been brought into the world of ancient Oriental life, and this life, in spite of the various forms in which it has from time to time been shaped, still rules in the East. This has far-reaching consequences for the traditional attitude to Israelite history and religion. Research is seriously complicated by the growing stores of material, which unfortunately are often utilized without attention to the principles of the various departments of knowledge or aspects of study. The complexity of modern knowledge and the interrelation of its different branches are often insufficiently realized, and that by writers who differ widely in the application of such material as they use to their particular views of the manifold problems of the Old Testament. It has been easy to confuse the study of the Old Testament in its relation to modern religious needs with the technical scientific study of the much edited remains of the literature of a small part of the ancient East. If there was once a tendency to isolate the Old Testament and ignore comparative research, it is now sometimes found possible to exaggerate its general agreement with Oriental history, life and thought. Difficulties have been found in the supernatural or marvellous stories which would be taken as a matter of course by contemporary readers, and efforts are often made to recover historical facts or to adapt the records to modern theology without sufficient attention to the historical data as a whole or to their religious environment. The preliminary preparation for research of any value becomes yearly more exacting.
Many traces of myth, legend and “primitive” thought survive in the Old Testament, and on the most cautious estimate they presuppose a vitality which is not a little astonishing. But they are now softened and often bereft of their earlier significance, and it is this and their divergence from common Oriental thought which make Old Testament thought so profound and unique. The process finds its normal development in later and non-biblical literature; but one can recognize earlier, cruder and less distinctive stages, and, as surely as writings reflect the mentality of an author or of his age, the peculiar characteristics of the extant sources, viewed in the light of a comprehensive survey of Palestinian and surrounding culture, demand a reasonable explanation. The differences between the form of the written history and the conditions which prevailed have impressed themselves variously upon modern writers, and efforts have been made to recover from the Old Testament earlier forms more in accordance with the external evidence. It may be doubted, however, whether the material is sufficient for such restoration or reconstruction. In the Old Testament we have the outcome of specific developments, and the stage at which we see each element of tradition or belief is not always isolated or final (cf. Kings and Chronicles). The early myths, legends and traditions which can be traced differ profoundly from the canonical history, and the gap is wider than that between the latter and the subsequent apocalyptical and pseudepigraphical literature.
Where it is possible to make legitimate and unambiguous comparisons, the ethical and spiritual superiority of Old Testament thought has been convincingly demonstrated, and to the re-shaping and re-writing of the older history and the older traditions the Old Testament owes its permanent value. While the history of the great area between the Nile and the Tigris irresistibly emphasizes the insignificance of Palestine, this land’s achievements for humanity grow the more remarkable as research tells more of its environment. Although the light thrown upon ancient conditions of life and thought has destroyed much that sometimes seems vital for the Old Testament, it has brought into relief a more permanent and indisputable appreciation of its significance, and it is gradually dispelling that pseudo-scientific literalism which would fetter the greatest of ancient Oriental writings with an insistence upon the verity of historical facts. Not internal criticism, but the incontestable results of objective observation have shown once and for all that the relationship between the biblical account of the earliest history (Gen. i.–xi.) and its value either as an authentic record (which requires unprejudiced examination) or as a religious document (which remains untouched) is typical. If, as seems probable, the continued methodical investigation, which is demanded by the advance of modern knowledge, becomes more drastic in its results, it will recognize ever more clearly that there were certain unique influences in the history of Palestine which cannot be explained by purely historical research. The change from Palestinian polytheism to the pre-eminence of Yahweh and the gradual development of ethical monotheism are facts which external evidence continues to emphasize, which biblical criticism must investigate as completely as possible. And if the work of criticism has brought a fuller appreciation of the value of these facts, the debt which is owed to the Jews is enhanced when one proceeds to realize the immense difficulties against which those who transmitted the Old Testament had to contend in the period of Greek domination. The growth of the Old Testament into its present form, and its preservation despite hostile forces, are the two remarkable phenomena which most arrest the attention of the historian; it is for the theologian to interpret their bearing upon the history of religious thought. (S. A. C.)
25. Alexander the Great.—The second great period of the history of the Jews begins with the conquest of Asia by Alexander the Great, disciple of Aristotle, king of Macedon and captain-general of the Greeks. It ends with the destruction of Jerusalem by the armies of the Roman Empire, which was, like Alexander, at once the masterful pupil and the docile patron of Hellenism. The destruction of Jerusalem might be regarded as an event of merely domestic importance; for the Roman cosmopolitan it was only the removal of the titular metropolis of a national and an Oriental religion. But, since a derivative of that religion has come to be a power in the world at large, this event has to be regarded in a different light. The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 concludes the period of four centuries, during which the Jews as a nation were in contact with the Greeks and exposed to the influence of Hellenism, not wholly of their own will nor yet against it. Whether the master of the provinces, in which there were Jews, be an Alexander, a Ptolemy, a Seleucid or a Roman, the force by which he rules is the force of Greek culture. These four centuries are the Greek period of Jewish history.
The ancient historians, who together cover this period, are strangely indifferent to the importance of the Jews, upon which Josephus is at pains to insist. When Alexander invaded the interior of the Eastern world, which had hitherto remained inviolable, he came as the champion of Hellenism. His death prevented the achievement of his designs; but he had broken down the barrier, he had planted the seed of the Greek’s influence in the four quarters of the Persian Empire. His successors, the Diadochi, carried on his work, but Antiochus Epiphanes was the first who deliberately took in hand to deal with the Jews. Daniel (viii. 8) describes the interval between Alexander and Antiochus thus: “The he-goat (the king of Greece) did very greatly: and when he was strong the great horn (Alexander) was broken; and instead of it came up four other ones—four kingdoms shall stand up out of his nation but not with his power. And out of one of them came forth a little horn (Antiochus Epiphanes) which waxed exceeding great towards the south (Egypt) and towards the East (Babylon) and towards the beauteous land (the land of Israel).” The insignificance of the Jewish community in Palestine was their salvation. The reforms of Nehemiah were directed towards the establishment of a religious community at Jerusalem, in which the rigour of the law should be observed. As a part of the Persian Empire the community was obscure and unimportant. But the race whose chief sanctuary it guarded and maintained was the heir of great traditions and ideals. In Egypt, moreover, in Babylon and in Persia individual Jews had responded to the influences of their environment and won the respect of the aliens whom they despised. The law which they cherished as their standard and guide kept them united and conscious of their unity. And the individuals, who acquired power or wisdom among those outside Palestine shed a reflected glory upon the nation and its Temple.
In connexion with Alexander’s march through Palestine Josephus gives a tradition of his visit to Jerusalem. In Arrian’s narrative of Alexander’s exploits, whose fame had already faded before the greater glory of Rome, there is no mention of the visit or the city or the Jews. Only Tyre and Gaza barred the way to Egypt. He took, presumably, the coast-road in order to establish and retain his command of the sea. The rest of Palestine, which is called Coele-Syria, made its submission and furnished supplies. Seven days after the capture of Gaza Alexander was at Pelusium. According to the tradition which Josephus has preserved the high priest refused to transfer his allegiance and Alexander marched against Jerusalem after the capture of Gaza. The high priest dressed in his robes went out to meet him, and at the sight Alexander remembered a dream, in which such a man had appeared to him as the appointed leader of his expedition. So the danger was averted: Alexander offered sacrifice and was shown the prophecy of Daniel, which spoke of him. It is alleged, further, that at this time certain Jews who could not refrain from intermarriage with the heathen set up a temple on Mt Gerizim and became the Samaritan schism (§ 21 above). The combination is certainly artificial and not historical. But it has a value of its own inasmuch as it illustrates the permanent tendencies which mould the history of the Jews. It is true that Alexander was subject to dreams and visited shrines in order to assure himself or his followers of victory. But it is not clear that he had such need of the Jews or such regard for the Temple of Jerusalem that he should turn aside on his way to Egypt for such a purpose.
However this may be, Alexander’s tutor had been in Asia and had met a Jew there, if his disciple Clearchus of Soli is to be trusted. “The man,” Aristotle says, “was by race a Jew out of Coele-Syria. His people are descendants of the Indian philosophers. It is reported that philosophers are called Calani among the Indians and Jews among the Syrians. The Jews take their name from their place of abode, which is called Judaea. The name of their city is very difficult; they call it Hierusaleme. This man, then, having been a guest in many homes and having come down gradually from the highlands to the sea-coast, was Hellenic not only in speech but also in soul. And as we were staying in Asia at the time, the man cast up at the same place and interviewed us and other scholars, making trial of their wisdom. But inasmuch as he had come to be at home with many cultured persons he imparted more than he got.” The date of this interview is probably determined by the fact that Aristotle visited his friend Hermias, tyrant of Atarneus, in 347–345 B.C. There is no reason to doubt the probability or even the accuracy of the narrative. Megasthenes also describes the Jews as the philosophers of Syria and couples them with the Brahmins of India. This hellenized Jew who descended from the hills to the coast is a figure typical of the period.
26. The Ptolemies.—After the death of Alexander Palestine fell in the end to Ptolemy (301 B.C.) and remained an Egyptian province until 198 B.C. For a century the Jews in Palestine and in Alexandria had no history—or none that Josephus knew. But two individuals exemplify the different attitudes which the nation adopted towards its new environment and its wider opportunities, Joseph the tax-farmer and Jesus the sage.
The wisdom of Jesus ben Sira (Sirach) is contained in the book commonly called Ecclesiasticus (q.v.). At a time when men were attracted by the wisdom and science of the Greeks, he taught that all wisdom came from Yahweh who had chosen Israel to receive it in trust. He discouraged inquiries into the nature and purpose of things: it was enough for him that Yahweh had created and ruled the universe. If a man had leisure to be wise—and this is not for many—he should study the Scriptures which had come down, and so become a scribe. For the scribe, as for the man at the plough-tail, the Law was the rule of life. All, however much or little preoccupied with worldly business, must fear God, from whom come good things and evil, life, death, poverty and riches. It was not for men to meddle with secrets which are beyond human intelligence. Enough that the individual did his duty in the state of life in which he was set and left behind him a good name at his death. The race survives—“the days of Israel are unnumbered.” Every member of the congregation of Israel must labour, as God has appointed, at some handicraft or profession to provide for his home. It is his sacred duty and his private interest to beget children and to train them to take his place. The scholar is apt to pity the smith, the potter, the carpenter and the farmer: with better reason he is apt to condemn the trader who becomes absorbed in greed of gain and so deserts the way of righteousness and fair dealing. As a teacher Jesus gave his own services freely. For the soldier he had no commendation. There were physicians who understood the use of herbs, and must be rewarded when their help was invited. But, whatever means each head of a family adopted to get a livelihood, he must pay the priest’s dues. The centre of the life of Israel was the Temple, over which the high priest presided and which was inhabited by Yahweh, the God of Israel. The scribe could train the individual in morals and in manners; but the high priest was the ruler of the nation.
As ruler of the nation the high priest paid its tribute to Egypt, its overlord. But Josephus reports of one Onias that for avarice he withheld it. The sequel shows how a Jew might rise to power in the civil service of the Egyptian Empire and yet remain a hero to some of the Jews—provided that he did not intermarry with a Gentile. For Joseph, the son of Tobiah and nephew of Onias, went to court and secured the taxes of Palestine, when they were put up to auction. As tax-farmer he oppressed the non-Jewish cities and so won the admiration of Josephus.
But while such men went out into the world and brought back wealth of one kind or another to Palestine, other Jews were content to make their homes in foreign parts. At Alexandria in particular Alexander provided for a Jewish colony which soon became Hellenic enough in speech to require a translation of the Law. It is probable that, as in Palestine an Aramaic paraphrase of the Hebrew text was found to be necessary, so in Alexandria the Septuagint grew up gradually, as need arose. The legendary tradition which even Philo accepts gives it a formal nativity, a royal patron and inspired authors. From the text which Philo uses, it is probable that the translation had been transmitted in writing; and his legend probably fixes the date of the commencement of the undertaking for the reign of Ptolemy Lagus.
The apology for the necessary defects of a translation put forward by the translator of Ecclesiasticus in his Prologue shows that the work was carried on beyond the limits of the Law. Apparently it was in progress at the time of his coming to Egypt in the reign of Ptolemy Euergetes I. or II. He seems to regard this body of literature as the answer to the charge that the Jews had contributed nothing useful for human life. Once translated into Greek, the Scriptures became a bond of union for the Jews of the dispersion and were at least capable of being used as an instrument for the conversion of the world to Judaism. So far as the latter function is concerned Philo confesses that the Law in his day shared the obscurity of the people, and seems to imply that the proselytes adopted little more than the monotheistic principle and the observance of the Sabbath. According to Juvenal the sons of such proselytes were apt to go farther and to substitute the Jewish Law for the Roman—
Romanas autem soliti contemnere leges;
Judaicum ediscunt et servant ac metuunt ius
Tradidit arcano quodcunque volumine Moyses.
27. The Seleucids.—Toward the end of the 3rd century the Palestinian Jews became involved in the struggle between Egypt and Syria. In Jerusalem there were partisans of both the combatants. The more orthodox or conservative Jews preferred the tolerant rule of the Ptolemies: the rest, who chafed at the isolation of the nation, looked to the Seleucids, who inherited Alexander’s ideal of a united empire based on a universal adoption of Hellenism. At this point Josephus cites the testimony of Polybius:—“Scopas, the general of Ptolemy, advanced into the highlands and subdued the nation of the Jews in the winter. After the defeat of Scopas, Antiochus gained Batanaea and Samaria and Abila and Gadara, and a little later those of the Jews who live round the Temple called Jerusalem adhered to him.” From this it appears that the pro-Syrian faction of the Jews had been strong and active enough to bring an Egyptian army upon them (199–198 B.C.). Josephus adds that an Egyptian garrison was left in Jerusalem. This act of oppression presumably strengthened the Syrian faction of the Jews and led to the transference of the nation’s allegiance. The language of Polybius suggests that he was acquainted with other Jewish communities and with the fame of the Temple: in his view they are not an organized state. They were not even a pawn in the game which Antiochus proposed to play with Rome for the possession of Greece and Asia Minor. His defeat left the resources of his kingdom exhausted and its extent diminished; and so the Jews became important to his successors for the sake of their wealth and their position on the frontier. To pay his debt to Rome he was compelled to resort to extraordinary methods of raising money; he actually met his death (187 B.C.) in an attempt to loot the temple of Elymais.
The pro-Syrian faction of the Palestinian Jews found their opportunity in this emergency and informed the governor of Coele-Syria that the treasury in Jerusalem contained untold sums of money. Heliodorus, prime minister of Seleucus Philopator, who succeeded Antiochus, arrived at Jerusalem in his progress through Coele-Syria and Phoenicia and declared the treasure confiscate to the royal exchequer. According to the Jewish legend Heliodorus was attacked when he entered the Temple by a horse with a terrible rider and by two young men. He was scourged and only escaped with his life at the intercession of Onias the high priest, who had pleaded with him vainly that the treasure included the deposits of widows and orphans and also some belonging to Hyrcanus, “a man in very high position.” Onias was accused by his enemies of having given the information which led to this outrage and when, relying upon the support of the provincial governor, they proceeded to attempt assassination, he fled to Antioch and appealed to the king.
When Seleucus was assassinated by Heliodorus, Antiochus IV., his brother, who had been chief magistrate at Athens, came back secretly “to seize the kingdom by guile” (Dan. xi. 21 seq.). On his accession he appointed Jesus, the brother of Onias, to the high-priesthood, and sanctioned his proposals for the conversion of Jerusalem into a Greek city. The high priest changed his name to Jason and made a gymnasium near the citadel. The principle of separation was abandoned. The priests deserted the Temple for the palaestra and the young nobles wore the Greek cap. The Jews of Jerusalem were enrolled as citizens of Antioch. Jason sent money for a sacrifice to Heracles at Tyre; and the only recorded opposition to his policy came from his envoys, who pleaded that the money might be applied to naval expenditure. Thus Jason stripped the high-priesthood of its sacred character and did what he could to stamp out Judaism.
Menelaus supplanted Jason, obtaining his appointment from the king by the promise of a larger contribution. In order to secure his position, he contrived the murder of Onias, who had taken sanctuary at Daphne. This outrage, coupled with his appropriation of temple vessels, which he used as bribes, raised against Menelaus the senate and the people of Jerusalem. His brother and deputy was killed in a serious riot, and an accusation was laid against Menelaus before Antiochus. At the inquiry he bought his acquittal from a courtier and his accusers were executed. Antiochus required peace in Jerusalem and probably regarded Onias as the representative of the pro-Egyptian faction, the allies of his enemy.
During his second Egyptian campaign a rumour came that Antiochus was dead, and Jason made a raid upon Jerusalem. Menelaus held the citadel and Jason was unable to establish himself in the city. The people were presumably out of sympathy with Hellenizers, whether they belonged to the house of Onias or that of Tobiah. When Antiochus finally evacuated Egypt in obedience to the decree of Rome, he thought that Judaea was in revolt. Though Jason had fled, it was necessary to storm the city; the drastic measures which Menelaus advised seem to indicate that the poorer classes had been roused to defend the Temple from further sacrilege. A massacre took place, and Antiochus braved the anger of Yahweh by entering and pillaging the Temple with impunity. The author of 2 Maccabees infers from his success that the nation had forfeited all right to divine protection for the time (2 Macc. v. 18–20).
The policy which Antiochus thus inaugurated he carried on rigorously and systematically. His whole kingdom was to be unified; Judaism was an eccentricity and as such doomed to extinction. The Temple of Jerusalem was made over to Zeus Olympius: the temple of Gerizim to Zeus Xenius. All the religious rites of Judaism were proscribed and the neighbouring Greek cities were requested to enforce the prohibition upon their Jewish citizens. Jerusalem was occupied by an army which took advantage of the Sabbath and proceeded to suppress its observance. An Athenian came to be the missionary of Hellenism and to direct its ceremonies, which were established by force up and down the country.
28. The Maccabees.—Jerusalem and Gerizim were purged and converted to the state religion with some ease. Elsewhere, as there, some conformed and some became martyrs for the faith. And the passive resistance of those who refused to conform at length gave rise to active opposition. “The king’s officers who were enforcing the apostasy came into the city of Modein to sacrifice, and many of Israel went over to them, but Mattathias . . . slew a Jew who came to sacrifice and the king’s officer and pulled down the altar” (1 Macc. ii. 15 sqq.). Whether led by this Mattathias or not, certain Jews fled into the wilderness and found a leader in Judas Maccabaeus his reputed son, the first of the five Asmonean (Hasmonean) brethren. The warfare which followed was like that which Saul and David waged against the Philistines. Antiochus was occupied with his Parthian campaign and trusted that the Hellenized Jews would maintain their ascendancy with the aid of the provincial troops. In his last illness he wrote to express his confidence in their loyalty. But the rebels collected adherents from the villages; and, when they resolved to violate the sabbath to the extent of resisting attack, they were joined by the company of the Assideans (Hasidim). Such a breach of the sabbath was necessary if the whole Law was to survive at all in Palestine. But the transgression is enough to explain the disfavour into which the Maccabees seem to fall in the judgment of later Judaism, as, in that judgment, it is enough to account for the instability of their dynasty. Unstable as it was, their dynasty was soon established. In the country-side of Judaea, Judaism—and no longer Hellenism—was propagated by force. Apollonius, the commander of the Syrian garrison in Jerusalem, and Seron the commander of the army in Syria, came in turn against Judas and his bands and were defeated. The revolt thus became important enough to engage the attention of the governor of Coele-Syria and Phoenicia, if not of Lysias the regent himself. Nicanor was despatched with a large army to put down the rebels and to pay the tribute due to Rome by selling them as slaves. Judas was at Emmaus; “the men of the citadel” guided a detachment of the Syrian troops to his encampment by night. The rebels escaped in time, but not into the hills, as their enemies surmised. At dawn they made an unexpected attack upon the main body and routed it. Next year (165 B.C.) Lysias himself entered the Idumaean country and laid siege to the fortress of Bethsura. Judas gathered what men he could and joined battle. The siege was raised, more probably in consequence of the death of Antiochus Epiphanes than because Judas had gained any real victory. The proscription of the Jewish religion was withdrawn and the Temple restored to them. But it was Menelaus who was sent by the king “to encourage” (2 Macc. xi. 32) the Jews, and in the official letters no reference is made to Judas. Such hints as these indicate the impossibility of recovering a complete picture of the Jews during the sovereignty of the Greeks, which the Talmudists regard as the dark age, best left in oblivion.
Judas entered Jerusalem, the citadel of which was still occupied by a Syrian garrison, and the Temple was re-dedicated on the 25th of Kislev (164 B.C.). So “the Pious” achieved the object for which presumably they took up arms. The re-establishment of Judaism, which alone of current religions was intolerant of a rival, seems to have excited the jealousy of their neighbours who had embraced the Greek way of life. The hellenizers had not lost all hope of converting the nation and were indisposed to acquiesce in the concordat. Judas and his zealots were thus able to maintain their prominence and gradually to increase their power. At Joppa, for example, the Jewish settlers—two hundred in all—“were invited to go into boats provided in accordance with the common decree of the city.” They accepted the invitation and were drowned. Judas avenged them by burning the harbour and the shipping, and set to work to bring into Judaea all such communities of Jews who had kept themselves separate from their heathen neighbours. In this way he became strong enough to deal with the apostates of Judaea.
In 163 Lysias led another expedition against these disturbers of the king’s peace and defeated Judas at Bethzachariah. But while the forces were besieging Bethzur and the fortress on Mount Zion, a pretender arose in Antioch, and Lysias was compelled to come to terms—and now with Judas. The Jewish refugees had turned the balance, and so Judas became strategus of Judaea, whilst Menelaus was put to death.
In 162 Demetrius escaped from Rome and got possession of the kingdom of Syria. Jakim, whose name outside religion was Alcimus, waited upon the new king on behalf of the loyal Jews who had hellenized. He himself was qualified to be the legitimate head of a united state, for he was of the tribe of Aaron. Judas and the Asmoneans were usurpers, who owed their title to Lysias. So Alcimus-Jakim was made high priest and Bacchides brought an army to instal him in his office. The Assideans made their submission at once. Judas had won for them religious freedom: but the Temple required a descendant of Aaron for priest and he was come. But his first act was to seize and slay sixty of them: so it was clear to Judas at any rate, if not also to the Assideans who survived, that political independence was necessary if the religion was to be secure. In face of his active opposition Alcimus could not maintain himself without the support of Bacchides and was forced to retire to Antioch. In response to his complaints Nicanor was appointed governor of Judaea with power to treat with Judas. It appears that the two became friends at first, but fresh orders from Antioch made Nicanor guilty of treachery in the eyes of Judas’s partisans. Warned by the change of his friend’s manner Judas fled. Nicanor threatened to destroy the Temple if the priests would not deliver Judas into his hands. Soon it came to his knowledge that Judas was in Samaria, whither he followed him on a sabbath with Jews pressed into his service. The day was known afterwards as Nicanor’s day, for he was found dead on the field (Capharsalama) by the victorious followers of Judas (13th of Adar, March 161 B.C.). After this victory Judas made an alliance with the people of Rome, who had no love for Demetrius his enemy, nor any intention of putting their professions of friendship into practice. Bacchides and Alcimus returned meanwhile into the land of Judah; at Elasa “Judas fell and the rest fled” (1 Macc. ix. 18). Bacchides occupied Judaea and made a chain of forts. Jonathan, who succeeded his brother Judas, was captain of a band of fugitive outlaws. But on the death of Alcimus Bacchides retired and Jonathan with his followers settled down beyond the range of the Syrian garrisons. The Hellenizers still enjoyed the royal favour and Jonathan made no attempt to dispossess them. After an interval of two years they tried to capture him and failed. This failure seems to have convinced Bacchides that it would be well to recognize Jonathan and to secure a balance of parties. In 158 Jonathan began to rule as a judge in Michmash and he destroyed the godless out of Israel—so far, that is, as his power extended. In 153 Alexander Balas withdrew Jonathan from his allegiance to Demetrius by the offer of the high-priesthood. He had already made Jerusalem his capital and fortified the Temple mount: the Syrian garrisons had already been withdrawn with the exception of those of the Akra and Bethzur. In 147 Jonathan repaid his benefactor by destroying the army of the governor of Coele-Syria, who had espoused the cause of Demetrius. The fugitives took sanctuary in the temple of Dagon at Azotus. “But Jonathan burned the temple of Dagon and those who fled into it.” After the death of Balas he laid siege to the Akra; and “the apostates, who hated their own nation,” appealed to Demetrius. Jonathan was summoned to Antioch, made his peace and apparently relinquished his attempt in return for the addition of three Samaritan districts to his territory. Later, when the people of Antioch rose against the king, Jonathan despatched a force of 3000 men who played a notable part in the merciless suppression of the insurrection. 1 Maccabees credits them with 100,000 victims. Trypho, the regent of Antiochus VI., put even greater political power into the hands of Jonathan and his brother Simon, but finally seized Jonathan on the pretext of a conference. Simon was thus left to consolidate what had been won in Palestine for the Jews and the family whose head he had become. The weakness of the king enabled him to demand and to secure immunity from taxation. The Jewish aristocracy became peers of the Seleucid kingdom. Simon was declared high priest: Rome and Sparta rejoiced in the elevation of their friend and ally. In the hundred and seventieth year (142 B.C.) the yoke of the heathen was taken away from Israel and the people began to date their legal documents “in the first year of Simon the great high priest and commander and leader of the Jews.” The popular verdict received official and formal sanction. Simon was declared by the Jews and the priests their governor and high priest for ever, until there should arise a faithful prophet. The garrison of the Akra had been starved by a close blockade into submission, and beyond the boundaries of Judaea “he took Joppa for a haven and made himself master of Gazara and Bethsura.”
29. John Hyrcanus and the Sadducees.—But in 138 B.C. Antiochus Sidetes entered Seleucia and required the submission of all the petty states, which had taken advantage of the weakness of preceding kings. From Simon he demanded an indemnity of 1000 talents for his oppression and invasion of non-Jewish territory: Simon offered 100 talents. At length Antiochus appeared to enforce his demand in 134. Simon was dead (135 B.C.) and John Hyrcanus had succeeded his father. The Jewish forces were driven back upon Jerusalem and the city was closely invested. At the feast of tabernacles of 132 Hyrcanus requested and Antiochus granted a week’s truce. The only hope of the Jews lay in the clemency of their victorious suzerain, and it did not fail them. Some of his advisers urged the demolition of the nation on the ground of their exclusiveness, but he sent a sacrifice and won thereby the name of “Pious.” In subsequent negotiations he accepted the disarmament of the besieged and a tribute as conditions of peace, and in response to their entreaty left Jerusalem without a garrison. When he went on his last disastrous campaign, Hyrcanus led a Jewish contingent to join his army, partly perhaps a troop of mercenaries (for Hyrcanus was the first of the Jewish kings to hire mercenaries, with the treasure found in David’s tomb). After his death Hyrcanus took advantage of the general confusion to extend Jewish territory with the countenance of Rome. He destroyed the temple of Gerizim and compelled the Idumaeans to submit to circumcision and embrace the laws of the Jews on pain of deportation.
In Jerusalem and in the country, in Alexandria, Egypt and Cyprus, the Jews were prosperous (Jos. Ant. xiii. 284). This prosperity and the apparent security of Judaism led to a breach between Hyrcanus and his spiritual directors, the Pharisees. His lineage was (in the opinion of one of them at least) of doubtful purity; and so it was his duty to lay down the high-priesthood and be content to rule the nation. That one man should hold both offices was indeed against the example of Moses, and could only be admitted as a temporary concession to necessity. Hyrcanus could not entertain the proposal that he should resign the sacred office to which he owed much of his authority. The allegation about his mother was false: the Pharisee who retailed it was guilty of no small offence. A Sadducean friend advised Hyrcanus to ask the whole body of the Pharisees to prescribe the penalty. Their leniency, which was notorious, alienated the king or probably furnished him with a pretext for breaking with them. The Pharisees were troublesome counsellors and doubtful allies for an ambitious prince. They were all-powerful with the people, but Hyrcanus with his mercenaries was independent of the people, and the wealthy belonged to the sect of the Sadducees. The suppression of the Pharisaic ordinances and the punishment of those who observed them led to some disturbance. But Hyrcanus “was judged worthy of the three great privileges, the rule of the nation, the high-priestly dignity, and prophecy.” This verdict suggests that the Sadducees, with whom he allied himself, had learned to affect some show of Judaism in Judaea. If the poor were ardent nationalists who would not intermingle with the Greeks, the rich had long outgrown and now could humour such prejudices; and the title of their party was capable of recalling at any rate the sound of the national ideal of righteousness, i.e. Sadaqah.
The successor of Hyrcanus (d. 105) was Judas Aristobulus, “the friend of the Greeks,” who first assumed the title of king. According to Strabo he was a courteous man and in many ways useful to the Jews. His great achievement was the conquest of a part of Ituraea, which he added to Judaea and whose inhabitants he compelled to accept Judaism.
The Sadducean nobility continued in power under his brother and successor Alexander Jannaeus (103–78); and the breach between the king and the mass of the people widened. But Salome Alexandra, his brother’s widow, who released him from prison on the death of her husband and married him, was connected with the Pharisees through her brother Simon ben Shetach. If his influence or theirs dictated her policy, there is no evidence of any objection to the union of the secular power with the high-priesthood. The party may have thought that Jannaeus was likely to bring the dynasty to an end. His first action was to besiege Ptolemais. Its citizens appealed to Ptolemy Lathyrus, who had been driven from the throne of Egypt by his mother Cleopatra and was reigning in Cyprus. Alexander raised the siege, made peace with Ptolemy and secretly sent to Cleopatra for help against her son. The result of this double-dealing was that his army was destroyed by Ptolemy, who advanced into Egypt leaving Palestine at the mercy of Cleopatra. But Cleopatra’s generals were Jews and by their protests prevented her from annexing it. Being thus freed from fear on the side of Ptolemy, Alexander continued his desultory campaigns across the Jordan and on the coast without any apparent policy and with indifferent success. Finally, when he officiated as high priest at the feast of tabernacles he roused the fury of the people by a derisive breach of the Pharisaic ritual. They cried out that he was unworthy of his office, and pelted him with the citrons which they were carrying as the Law prescribed. Alexander summoned his mercenaries, and 6000 Jews were killed before he set out on his disastrous campaign against an Arabian king. He returned a fugitive to find the nation in armed rebellion. After six years of civil war he appealed to them to state the conditions under which they would lay aside their hostility. They replied by demanding his death and called in the Syrians. But when the Syrians chased him into the mountains, 6000 Jews went over to him and, with their aid, he put down the rebellion. Eight hundred Jews who had held a fortress against him were crucified; 8000 Pharisees fled to Egypt and remained there. Offering an ineffectual resistance to the passage of the Syrian troops, Alexander was driven back by Aretas, king of Arabia, against whom they had marched. His later years brought him small victories over isolated cities.
On his deathbed it is said that Alexander advised his wife to reverse this policy and rely upon the Pharisees. According to the Talmud, he warned her “to fear neither the Pharisees nor their opponents but the hypocrites who do the deed of Zimri and claim the reward of Phinehas:” the warning indicates his justification of his policy in the matter of the crucifixions. In any case the Pharisees were predominant under Alexandra, who became queen (78–69) under her husband’s will. Hyrcanus her elder son was only high priest, as the stricter Pharisees required. All the Pharisaic ordinances which Hyrcanus had abolished were reaffirmed as binding. Simon ben Shatach stood beside the queen: the exiles were restored and among them his great colleague Jehudah ben Tabai. The great saying of each of these rabbis is concerned with the duties of a judge; the selection does justice to the importance of the Sanhedrin, which was filled with Pharisees. The legal reforms which they introduced tended for the most part to mercy, but the Talmud refers to one case which is an exception: false witnesses were condemned to suffer the penalty due to their victim, even if he escaped. This ruling may be interpreted as part of a campaign directed against the counsellors of Alexander or as an instance of their general principle that intention is equivalent to commission in the eye of the Law. The queen interposed to prevent the execution of those who had counselled the crucifixion of the rebels and permitted them to withdraw with her younger son Aristobulus to the fortresses outside Jerusalem. Against their natural desire for revenge may be set the fact that the Pharisees did much to improve the status of women among the Jews.
On the death of Alexandra (69 B.C.) Aristobulus disputed the succession of Hyrcanus. When their forces met at Jericho, Hyrcanus, finding that the bulk of his following deserted to Aristobulus, fled with those who remained to the tower Antonia and seized Aristobulus’s wife and children as hostages for his own safety. Having this advantage, he was able to abdicate in favour of Aristobulus and to retire into private life. But he was not able to save his friends, who were also the enemies of the reigning king. In fear of reprisals Antipas (or Antipater), the Idumaean, his counsellor, played on the fears of Hyrcanus and persuaded him to buy the aid of the Nabataean Arabs with promises. Aristobulus could not withstand the army of Aretas: he was driven back upon Jerusalem and there besieged. The Jews deserted to the victorious Hyrcanus: only the priests remained loyal to their accepted king; many fled to Egypt.
30. The Romans and the Idumaeans.—At this point the power of Rome appeared upon the scene in the person of M. Aemilius Scaurus (stepson of Sulla) who had been sent into Syria by Pompey (65 B.C.). Both brothers appealed to this new tribunal and Aristobulus bought a verdict in his favour. The siege was raised. Aretas retired from Judaea; and Aristobulus pursued the retreating army. But, when Pompey himself arrived at Damascus, Antipater, who pulled the strings and exploited the claims of Hyrcanus, realized that Rome and not the Arabs, who were cowed by the threats of Scaurus, was the ruler of the East. To Rome, therefore, he must pay his court. Others shared this conviction: Strabo speaks of embassies from Egypt and Judaea bearing presents—one deposited in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus bore the inscription of Alexander, the king of the Jews. From Judaea there were three embassies pleading, for Aristobulus, for Hyrcanus, and for the nation, who would have no king at all but their God.
Pompey deferred his decision until he should have inquired into the state of the Nabataeans, who had shown themselves to be capable of dominating the Jews in the absence of the Roman army. In the interval Aristobulus provoked him by his display of a certain impatience. The people had no responsible head, of whom Rome could take cognisance: so Pompey decided in favour of Hyrcanus and humoured the people by recognizing him, not as king, but as high priest. Antipater remained secure, in power if not in place. The Roman supremacy was established: the Jews were once more one of the subject states of Syria, now a Roman province. Their national aspirations had received a contemptuous acknowledgment, when their Temple had been desecrated by the entry of a foreign conqueror.
Aristobulus himself had less resolution than his partisans. When he repented of his attempted resistance and treated with Pompey for peace, his followers threw themselves into Jerusalem, and, when the faction of Hyrcanus resolved to open the gates, into the Temple. There they held out for three months, succumbing finally because in obedience to the Law (as interpreted since the time of Antiochus Epiphanes) they would only defend themselves from actual assault upon the sabbath day. The Romans profited by this inaction to push on the siege-works, without provoking resistance by actual assaults until the very end. Pompey finally took the stronghold by choosing the day of the fast, when the Jews abstain from all work, that is the sabbath (Strabo). Dio Cassius calls it the day of Cronos. On this bloody sabbath the priests showed a devotion to their worship which matched the inaction of the fighting men. Though they saw the enemy advancing upon them sword in hand they remained at worship untroubled and were slaughtered as they poured libation and burned incense, for they put their own safety second to the service of God. And there were Jews among the murderers of the 12,000 Jews who fell.
The Jews of Palestine thus became once more a subject state, stripped of their conquests and confined to their own borders. Aristobulus and his children were conveyed to Rome to grace their conqueror’s triumphal procession. But his son Alexander escaped during the journey, gathered some force, and overran Judaea. The Pharisees decided that they could not take action on either side, since the elder son of Alexandra was directed by the Idumaean Antipater; and the people had an affection for such Asmonean princes as dared to challenge the Roman domination of their ancestral kingdom. The civil war was renewed; but Aulus Gabinius, the proconsul, soon crushed the pretender and set up an aristocracy in Judaea with Hyrcanus as guardian of the Temple. The country was divided into five districts with five synods; and Josephus asserts that the people welcomed the change from the monarchy. In spite of this, Aristobulus (56 B.C.) and Alexander (55 B.C.) found loyalists to follow them in their successive raids. But Antipater found supplies for the army of Gabinius, who, despite Egyptian and Parthian distractions, restored order according to the will of Antipater. M. Crassus, who succeeded him, plundered the Temple of its gold and the treasure (54 B.C.) which the Jews of the dispersion had contributed for its maintenance. It is said that Eleazar, the priest who guarded the treasure, offered Crassus the golden beam as ransom for the whole, knowing, what no one else knew, that it was mainly composed of wood. So Crassus departed to Parthia and died. When the Parthians, elated by their victory over Crassus (53 B.C.) advanced upon Syria, Cassius opposed them. Some of the Jews, presumably the partisans of Aristobulus, were ready to co-operate with the Parthians. At any rate Antipater was ready to aid Cassius with advice; Taricheae was taken and 30,000 Jews were sold into slavery (51 B.C.). In spite of this vigorous coercion Cassius came to terms with Alexander, before he returned to the Euphrates to hold it against the Parthians.
Two years later Julius Caesar made himself master of Rome and despatched the captive Aristobulus with two legions to win Judaea (49 B.C.). But Pompey’s partisans were beforehand with him: he was taken off by poison and got not so much as a burial in his fatherland. At the same time his son Alexander was beheaded at Antioch by Pompey’s order as an enemy of Rome. After the defeat and death of Pompey (48 B.C.) Antipater transferred his allegiance to Caesar and demonstrated its value during Caesar’s Egyptian campaign. He carried with him the Arabs and the princes of Syria, and through Hyrcanus he was able to transform the hostility of the Egyptian Jews into active friendliness. These services, which incidentally illustrate the solidarity and unity of the Jewish nation and the respect of the communities of the dispersion for the metropolis, were recognized and rewarded. Before his assassination in 44 B.C. Julius Caesar had confirmed Hyrcanus in the high-priesthood and added the title of ethnarch. Antipater had been made a Roman citizen and procurator of the reunited Judaea. Further, as confederates of the senate and people of Rome, the Jews had received accession of territory, including the port of Joppa and, with other material privileges, the right of observing their religious customs not only in Palestine but also in Alexandria and elsewhere. Idumaean or Philistine of Ascalon, Antipater had displayed the capacity of his adoptive or adopted nation for his own profit and theirs. And when Caesar died Suetonius notes that he was mourned by foreign nations, especially by the Jews (Caes. 84).
In the midst of all this civil strife the Pharisees and all who were preoccupied with religion found it almost impossible to discern what they should do to please God. The people whom they directed were called out to fight, at the bidding of an alien, for this and that foreigner who seemed most powerful and most likely to succeed. In Palestine few could command leisure for meditation; as for opportunities of effective intervention in affairs, they had none, it would seem, once Alexander was dead.
There is a story of a priest named Onias preserved both by Josephus and in the Talmud, which throws some light upon the indecision of the religious in the period just reviewed. When Aretas intervened in the interest of Hyrcanus and defeated Aristobulus, the usurper of his brother’s inheritance, the people accepted the verdict of battle, sided with the victor’s client, and joined in the siege of Jerusalem. The most reputable of the Jews fled to Egypt; but Onias, a righteous man and dear to God, who had hidden himself, was discovered by the besiegers. He had a name for power in prayer; for once in a drought he prayed for rain and God had heard his prayer. His captors now required of him that he should put a curse upon Aristobulus and his faction. On compulsion he stood in their midst and said: “O God, king of the universe, since these who stand with me are thy people and the besieged are thy priests, I pray thee that thou hearken not to those against these, nor accomplish what these entreat against those.” So he prayed—and the wicked Jews stoned him.
Unrighteous Jews were in the ascendant. There were only Asmonean princes, degenerate and barely titular sons of Levi, to serve as judges of Israel—and they were at feud and both relied upon foreign aid. The righteous could only flee or hide, and so wait dreaming of the mercy of God past and to come. As yet our authorities do not permit us to follow them to Egypt with any certainty, but the Psalms of Solomon express the mind of one who survived to see Pompey the Great brought low. Although Pompey had spared the temple treasure, he was the embodiment of the power of Rome, which was not always so considerately exercised. And so the psalmist exults in his death and dishonour (Ps. ii.): he prayed that the pride of the dragon might be humbled and God shewed him the dead body lying upon the waves—and there was none to bury it. As one of those who fear the Lord in truth and in patience, he looks forward to the punishment of all sinners who oppress the righteous and profane the sanctuary. For the sins of the rulers God had rejected his people; but the remnant could not but inherit the promises, which belong to the chosen people. For the Lord is faithful unto those who walk in the righteousness of his commandments (xiv. 1): in the exercise of their freewill and with God’s help they will attain salvation. As God’s servant, Pompey destroyed their rulers and every wise councillor: soon the righteous and sinless king of David’s house shall reign over them and over all the nations (xvii.).
31. Herod the Great.—After the departure of Caesar, Antipater warned the adherents of Hyrcanus against taking part in any revolutionary attempts, and his son Herod, who, in spite of his youth, had been appointed governor of Galilee, dealt summarily with Hezekiah, the robber captain who was overrunning the adjacent part of Syria. The gratitude of the Syrians brought him to the knowledge of Sextus Caesar the governor of Syria; but his action inspired the chief men of the Jews with apprehension. Complaint was made to Hyrcanus that Herod had violated the law which prohibited the execution of even an evil man, unless he had been first condemned to death by the Sanhedrin. At the same time the mothers of the murdered men came to the Temple to demand vengeance. So Herod was summoned to stand his trial. He came in answer to the summons—but attended by a bodyguard and protected by the word of Sextus. Of all the Sanhedrin only Sameas “a righteous man and therefore superior to fear” dared to speak. Being a Pharisee he faced the facts of Herod’s power and warned the tribunal of the event, just as later he counselled the people to receive him, saying that for their sins they could not escape him. Herod put his own profit above the Law, acting after his kind, and he also was God’s instrument. The effect of the speech was to goad the Sanhedrin into condemning Herod: Hyrcanus postponed their decision and persuaded him to flee. Sextus Caesar made him lieutenant-governor of Coele Syria, and only his father restrained him from returning to wreak his revenge upon Hyrcanus.
It is to be remembered that, in this and all narratives of the life of Herod, Josephus was dependent upon the history of Herod’s client, Nicolaus of Damascus, and was himself a supporter of law and order. The action of the Sanhedrin and the presence of the women suppliants in the Temple suggest, if they do not prove, that this Hezekiah who harassed the Syrians was a Jewish patriot, who could not acquiesce and wait with Sameas.
Malichus also, the murderer or reputed murderer of Antipater, appears to have been a partisan of Hyrcanus, who had a zeal for Judaism. When Cassius demanded a tribute of 700 talents from Palestine, Antipater set Herod, Phasael and this Malichus, his enemy, to collect it. Herod thought it imprudent to secure the favour of Rome by the sufferings of others. But some cities defaulted, and they were apparently among those assigned to Malichus. If he had been lenient for their sakes or in the hope of damaging Antipater, he was disappointed; for Cassius sold four cities into slavery and Hyrcanus made up the deficit. Soon after this (43 B.C.) Malichus succeeded, it is said, in poisoning Antipater as he dined with Hyrcanus, and was assassinated by Herod’s bravoes.
After the departure of Cassius, Antipater being dead, there was confusion in Judaea. Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus, made a raid and was with difficulty repulsed by Herod. The prince of Tyre occupied part of Galilee. When Antony assumed the dominion of the East after the defeat of Cassius at Philippi, an embassy of the Jews, amongst other embassies, approached him in Bithynia and accused the sons of Antipater as usurpers of the power which rightly belonged to Hyrcanus. Another approached him at Antioch. But Hyrcanus was well content to forgo the title to political power, which he could not exercise in practice, and Antony had been a friend of Antipater. So Herod and Phasael continued to be virtually kings of the Jews: Antony’s court required large remittances and Palestine was not exempt.
In 40 B.C. Antony was absent in Egypt or Italy; and the Parthians swept down upon Syria with Antigonus in their train. Hyrcanus and Phasael were trapped: Herod fled by way of Egypt to Rome. Hyrcanus, who was Antigonus’ only rival, was mutilated and carried to Parthia. So he could no more be high priest, and his life was spared only at the intercession of the Parthian Jews, who had a regard for the Asmonean prince. Thus Antigonus succeeded his uncle as “King Antigonus” in the Greek and “Mattathiah the high priest” in the Hebrew by grace of the Parthians.
The senate of Rome under the influence of Antony and Octavian ratified the claims of Herod, and after some delay lent him the armed force necessary to make them good. In the hope of healing the breach, which his success could only aggravate, and for love, he took to wife Mariamne, grandniece of Hyrcanus. Galilee was pacified, Jerusalem taken and Antigonus beheaded by the Romans. From this point to the end of the period the Jews were dependents of Rome, free to attend to their own affairs, so long as they paid taxes to the subordinate rulers, Herodian or Roman, whom they detested equally. If some from time to time dared to hope for political independence their futility was demonstrated. One by one the descendants of the Asmoneans were removed. The national hope was relegated to an indefinite future and to another sphere. At any rate the Jews were free to worship their God and to study his law: their religion was recognized by the state and indeed established.
This development of Judaism was eminently to the mind of the rulers; and Herod did much to encourage it. More and more it became identified with the synagogue, in which the Law was expounded: more and more it became a matter for the individual and his private life. This was so even in Palestine—the land which the Jews hoped to possess—and in Jerusalem itself, the holy city, in which the Temple stood. Herod had put down Jewish rebels and Herod appointed the high priests. In his appointments he was careful to avoid or to suppress any person who, being popular, might legitimize a rebellion by heading it. The Pharisees, who regarded his rule as an inevitable penalty for the sins of the people, he encouraged. Pollio the Pharisee and Sameas his disciple were in special honour with him, Josephus says, when he re-entered Jerusalem and put to death the leaders of the faction of Antigonus. How well their teaching served his purpose is shown by the sayings of two rabbis who, if not identical with these Pharisees, belong to their period and their party. Shemaiah said, “Love work and hate lordship and make not thyself known to the government.” Abtalion said, “Ye wise, be guarded in your words: perchance ye may incur the debt of exile.” Precepts such as these could hardly fall to effect some modification of the reckless zeal of the Galileans in the pupils of the synagogue. Many if not all of the professed rabbis had travelled outside Palestine: some were even members of the dispersion, like Hillel the Babylonian, who with Shammai forms the second of the pairs. Through them the experience of the dispersion was brought to bear upon the Palestinian Jews. Herod’s nominees were not the men to extend the prestige of the high-priesthood at the expense of these rabbis: even in Jerusalem the synagogue became of more importance than the Temple. Hillel also inculcated the duty of making converts to Judaism. He said, “Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace, and pursuing peace, loving mankind and bringing them nigh to the Law.” But even he reckoned the books of Daniel and Esther as canonical, and these were dangerous food for men who did not realize the full power of Rome.
So long as Herod lived there was no insurrection. Formally he was an orthodox Jew and set his face against intermarriage with the uncircumcised. He was also ready and able to protect the Jews of the dispersion. But that ability was largely due to his whole-hearted Hellenism, which was shown by the Greek cities which he founded in Palestine and the buildings he erected in Jerusalem. In its material embodiments Greek civilization became as much a part of Jewish life in Palestine as it was in Alexandria or Antioch; and herein the rabbis could not follow him.
When all the Jewish people swore to be loyal to Caesar and the king’s policy, the Pharisees—above 6000—refused to swear. The king imposed a fine upon them, and the wife of Pheroras—Herod’s brother—paid it on their behalf. In return for her kindness, being entrusted with foreknowledge by the visitation of God, they prophesied that God had decreed an end of rule for Herod and his line and that the sovereignty devolved upon her and Pheroras and their children.
From the sequel it appears that the prophecy was uttered by one Pharisee only, and that it was in no way endorsed by the party. When it came to the ears of the king he slew the most responsible of the Pharisees and every member of his household who accepted what the Pharisee said. An explanation of this unwarrantable generalization may be found in the fact that the incident is derived from a source which was unfavourable to the Pharisees: they are described as a Jewish section of men who pretend to set great store by the exactitude of the ancestral tradition and the laws in which the deity delights—as dominant over women-folk—and as sudden and quick in quarrel.
Towards the end of Herod’s life two rabbis attempted to uphold by physical force the cardinal dogma of Judaism, which prohibited the use of images. Their action is intelligible enough. Herod was stricken with an incurable disease. He had sinned against the Law; and at last God had punished him. At last the law-abiding Jews might and must assert the majesty of the outraged Law. The most conspicuous of the many symbols and signs of his transgression was the golden eagle which he had placed over the great gate of the Temple; its destruction was the obvious means to adopt for the quickening and assertion of Jewish principles.
By their labours in the education of the youth of the nation, these rabbis, Judas and Matthias, had endeared themselves to the populace and had gained influence over their disciples. A report that Herod was dead co-operated with their exhortations to send the iconoclasts to their appointed work. And so they went to earn the rewards of their practical piety from the Law. If they died, death was inevitable, the rabbis said, and no better death would they ever find. Moreover, their children and kindred would benefit by the good name and fame belonging to those who died for the Law. Such is the account which Josephus gives in the Antiquities; in the Jewish War he represents the rabbis and their disciples as looking forward to greater happiness for themselves after such a death. But Herod was not dead yet, and the instigators and the agents of this sacrilege were burned alive.
32. The Settlement of Augustus.—On the death of Herod in 4 B.C. Archelaus kept open house for mourners as the Jewish custom, which reduced many Jews to beggary, prescribed. The people petitioned for the punishment of those who were responsible for the execution of Matthias and his associates and for the removal of the high priest. Archelaus temporized; the loyalty of the people no longer constituted a valid title to the throne; his succession must first be sanctioned by Augustus. Before he departed to Rome on this errand, which was itself an insult to the nation, there were riots in Jerusalem at the Passover which he needed all his soldiery to put down. When he presented himself before the emperor—apart from rival claimants of his own family—there was an embassy from the Jewish people who prayed to be rid of a monarchy and rulers such as Herod. As part of the Roman province of Syria and under its governors they would prove that they were not really disaffected and rebellious. During the absence of Archelaus, who would—the Jews feared—prove his legitimacy by emulating his father’s ferocity, and to whom their ambassadors preferred Antipas, the Jews of Palestine gave the lie to their protestations of loyalty and peaceableness. At the Passover the pilgrims attacked the Roman troops. After hard fighting the procurator, whose cruelty provoked the attack, captured the Temple and robbed the treasury. On this the insurgents were joined by some of Herod’s army and besieged the Romans in Herod’s palace. Elsewhere the occasion tempted many to play at being king—Judas, son of Hezekiah, in Galilee; Simon, one of the king’s slaves, in Peraea. Most notable of all perhaps was the shepherd Athronges, who assumed the pomp of royalty and employed his four brothers as captains and satraps in the war which he waged upon Romans and king’s men alike—not even Jews escaped him unless they brought him contributions. Order was restored by Varus the governor of Syria in a campaign which Josephus describes as the most important war between that of Pompey and that of Vespasian.
At length Augustus summoned the representatives of the nation and Nicholaus of Damascus, who spoke for Archelaus, to plead before him in the temple of Apollo. Augustus apportioned Herod’s dominions among his sons in accordance with the provisions of his latest will. Archelaus received the lion’s share: for ten years he was ethnarch of Idumaea, Judaea and Samaria, with a yearly revenue of 600 talents. Antipas became tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea, with a revenue of 200 talents. Philip, who had been left in charge of Palestine pending the decision and had won the respect of Varus, became tetrarch of Batanaea, Trachonitis and Auranitis, with 100 talents. His subjects included only a sprinkling of Jews. Up to his death (A.D. 34) he did nothing to forfeit the favour of Rome. His coins bore the heads of Augustus and Tiberius, and his government was worthy of the best Roman traditions—he succeeded where proconsuls had failed. His capital was Caesarea Philippi, where Pan had been worshipped from ancient times, and where Augustus had a temple built by Herod the Great.
33. Archelaus.—Augustus had counselled Archelaus to deal gently with his subjects. But there was an outstanding feud between him and them; and his first act as ethnarch was to remove the high priest on the ground of his sympathy with the rebels. In violation of the Law he married a brother’s widow, who had already borne children, and in general he showed himself so fierce and tyrannical that the Jews joined with the Samaritans to accuse him before the emperor. Archelaus was summoned to Rome and banished to Gaul; his territory was entrusted to a series of procurators (A.D. 6–41), among whom was an apostate Jew, but none with any pretension even to a semi-legitimate authority. Each procurator represented not David but Caesar. The Sanhedrin had its police and powers to safeguard the Jewish religion; but the procurator had the appointment of the high priests, and no capital sentence could be executed without his sanction.
34. The Procurators.—So the Jews of Judaea obtained the settlement for which they had pleaded at the death of Herod; and some of them began to regret it at once. The first procurator Coponius was accompanied by P. Sulpicius Quirinius, legate of Syria, who came to organize the new Roman province. As a necessary preliminary a census (A.D. 6–7) was taken after the Roman method, which did not conform to the Jewish Law. The people were affronted, but for the most part acquiesced, under the influence of Joazar the high priest. But Judas the Galilean, with a Pharisee named Sadduc (Sadduk), endeavoured to incite them to rebellion in the name of religion. The result of this alliance between a revolutionary and a Pharisee was the formation of the party of Zealots, whose influence—according to Josephus—brought about the great revolt and so led to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70. So far as this influence extended, the Jewish community was threatened with the danger of suicide, and the distinction drawn by Josephus between the Pharisees and the Zealots is a valid one. Not all Pharisees were prepared to take such action, in order that Israel might “tread on the neck of the eagle” (as is said in The Assumption of Moses). So long as the Law was not deliberately outraged and so long as the worship was established, most of the religious leaders of the Jews were content to wait.
It seems that the Zealots made more headway in Galilee than in Judaea—so much so that the terms Galilean and Zealot are practically interchangeable. In Galilee the Jews predominated over the heathen and their ruler Herod Antipas had some sort of claim upon their allegiance. His marriage with the daughter of the Arabian king Aretas (which was at any rate in accordance with the general policy of Augustus) seems to have preserved his territory from the incursions of her people, so long as he remained faithful to her. He conciliated his subjects by his deference to the observances of Judaism, and—the case is probably typical of his policy—he joined in protesting, when Pilate set up a votive shield in the palace of Herod within the sacred city. He seems to have served Tiberius as an official scrutineer of the imperial officials and he commemorated his devotion by the foundation of the city of Tiberias. But he repudiated the daughter of Aretas in order to marry Herodias and so set the Arabians against him. Disaster overtook his forces (A.D. 36) and Tiberius, his patron, died before the Roman power was brought in full strength to his aid. Caligula was not predisposed to favour the favourites of Tiberius; and Antipas, having petitioned him for the title of king at the instigation of Herodias, was banished from his tetrarchy and (apparently) was put to death in 39.
Antipas is chiefly known to history in connexion with John the Baptist, who reproached him publicly for his marriage with Herodias. According to the earliest authority, he seems to have imprisoned John to save him from the vengeance of Herodias. But—whatever his motive—Antipas certainly consented to John’s death. If the Fourth Gospel is to be trusted, John had already recognized and acclaimed Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah for whom the Jews were looking. By common consent of Christendom, John was the forerunner of the founder of the Christian Church. It was, therefore, during the reign of Antipas, and partly if not wholly within his territory, that the Gospel was first preached by the rabbi or prophet whom Christendom came to regard as the one true Christ, the Messiah of the Jews. Josephus’ history of the Jews contains accounts of John the Baptist and Jesus, the authenticity of which has been called in question for plausible but not entirely convincing reasons. However this may be, the Jews who believed Jesus to be the Christ play no great part in the history of the Jews before 70, as we know it. Many religious teachers and many revolutionaries were crucified within this period; and the early Christians were outwardly distinguished from other Jews only by their scrupulous observance of religious duties.
The crucifixion of Jesus was sanctioned by Pontius Pilate, who was procurator of Judaea A.D. 26–36. Of the Jews under his predecessors little enough is known. Speaking generally, they seem to have avoided giving offence to their subjects. But Pilate so conducted affairs as to attract the attention not only of Josephus but also of Philo, who represents for us the Jewish community of Alexandria. Pilate inaugurated his term of office by ordering his troops to enter Jerusalem at night and to take their standards with them. There were standards and standards in the Roman armies: those which bore the image of the emperor, and therefore constituted a breach of the Jewish Law, had hitherto been kept aloof from the holy city. On learning of this, the Jews repaired to Caesarea and besought Pilate to remove these offensive images. Pilate refused; and, when they persisted in their petition for six days, he surrounded them with soldiers and threatened them with instant death. They protested that they would rather die than dare to transgress the wisdom of the laws; and Pilate yielded. But he proceeded to expend the temple treasure upon an aqueduct for Jerusalem; and some of the Jews regarded the devotion of sacred money to the service of man as a desecration. Pilate came up to Jerusalem and dispersed the petitioners by means of disguised soldiers armed with clubs. So the revolt was put down, but the excessive zeal of the soldiers and Pilate’s obstinate adherence to his policy widened the breach between Rome and the stricter Jews. But the death of Sejanus in 31 set Tiberius free from prejudice against the Jews; and, when Pilate put up the votive shields in Herod’s palace at Jerusalem, the four sons of Herod came forward in defence of Jewish principles and he was ordered to remove them. In 35 he dispersed a number of Samaritans, who had assembled near Mt Gerizim at the bidding of an impostor, in order to see the temple vessels buried there by Moses. Complaint was made to Vitellius, then legate of Syria, and Pilate was sent to Rome to answer for his shedding of innocent blood. At the passover of 36 Vitellius came to Jerusalem and pacified the Jews by two concessions: he remitted the taxes on fruit sold in the city, and he restored to their custody the high priest’s vestments, which Herod Archelaus and the Romans had kept in the tower Antonia. The vestments had been stored there since the time of the first high priest named Hyrcanus, and Herod had taken them over along with the tower, thinking that his possession of them would deter the Jews from rebellion against his rule. At the same time Vitellius vindicated the Roman supremacy by degrading Caiaphas from the high-priesthood, and appointing a son of Annas in his place. The motive for this change does not appear, and we are equally ignorant of the cause which prompted his transference of the priesthood from his nominee to another son of Annas in 37. But it is quite clear that Vitellius was concerned to reconcile the Jews to the authority of Rome. When he marched against Aretas, his army with their standards did not enter Judaea at all; but he himself went up to Jerusalem for the feast and, on receipt of the news that Tiberius was dead, administered to the Jews the oath of allegiance to Caligula.
35. Caligula and Agrippa I.—The accession of Caligula (A.D. 37–41) was hailed by his subjects generally as the beginning of the Golden Age. The Jews in particular had a friend at court. Agrippa, the grandson of Herod the Great, was an avowed partisan of the new emperor and had paid penalty for a premature avowal of his preference. But Caligula’s favour, though lavished upon Agrippa, was not available for pious Jews. His foible was omnipotence, and he aped the gods of Greece in turn. In the provinces and even in Italy his subjects were ready to acknowledge his divinity—with the sole exception of the Jews. So we learn something of the Palestinian Jews and more of the Jewish community in Alexandria. The great world (as we know it) took small note of Judaism even when Jews converted its women to their faith; but now the Jews as a nation refused to bow before the present god of the civilized world. The new Catholicism was promulgated by authority and accepted with deference. Only the Jews protested: they had a notion of the deity which Caligula at all events did not fulfil.
The people of Alexandria seized the opportunity for an attack upon the Jews. Images of Caligula were set up in the synagogues, an edict deprived the Jews of their rights as citizens, and finally the governor authorized the mob to sack the Jewish quarter, as if it had been a conquered city (38). Jewesses were forced to eat pork and the elders were scourged in the theatre. But Agrippa had influence with the emperor and secured the degradation of the governor. The people and the Jews remained in a state of civil war, until each side sent an embassy (40) to wait upon the emperor. The Jewish embassy was headed by Philo, who has described its fortunes in a tract dealing with the divine punishment of the persecutors. Their opponents also had secured a friend at court and seem to have prevented any effective measure of redress. While the matter was still pending, news arrived that the emperor had commanded Publius Petronius, the governor of Syria, to set up his statue in the temple of Jerusalem. On the intervention of Agrippa the order was countermanded, and the assassination of the emperor (41) effectually stopped the desecration.
36. Claudius and the Procurators.—Claudius, the new emperor, restored the civic rights of the Alexandrian Jews and made Agrippa I. king over all the territories of Herod the Great. So there was once more a king of Judaea, and a king who observed the tradition of the Pharisees and protected the Jewish religion. There is a tradition in the Talmud which illustrates his popularity. As he was reading the Law at the feast of tabernacles he burst into tears at the words “Thou mayest not set a stranger over thee which is not thy brother”; and the people cried out, “Fear not, Agrippa; thou art our brother.” The fact that he began to build a wall round Jerusalem may be taken as further proof of his patriotism. But the fact that he summoned five vassal-kings of the empire to a conference at Tiberias suggests rather a policy of self-aggrandisement. Both projects were prohibited by the emperor on the intervention of the legate. In 44 he died. The Christian records treat his death as an act of divine vengeance upon the persecutor of the Christian Church. The Jews prayed for his recovery and lamented him. The Gentile soldiers exulted in the downfall of his dynasty, which they signalized after their own fashion. Claudius intended that Agrippa’s young son should succeed to the kingdom; but he was overruled by his advisers, and Judaea was taken over once more by Roman procurators. The success of Agrippa’s brief reign had revived the hopes of the Jewish nationalists, and concessions only retarded the inevitable insurrection.
Cuspius Fadus, the first of these procurators, purged the land of bandits. He also attempted to regain for the Romans the custody of the high priest’s vestments; but the Jews appealed to the emperor against the revival of this advertisement of their servitude. The emperor granted the petition, which indeed the procurator had permitted them to make, and further transferred the nomination of the high priest and the supervision of the temple from the procurator to Agrippa’s brother, Herod of Chalcis. But these concessions did not satisfy the hopes of the people. During the government of Fadus, Theudas, who claimed to be a prophet and whom Josephus describes as a wizard, persuaded a large number to take up their possessions and follow him to the Jordan, saying that he would cleave the river asunder with a word of command and so provide them with an easy crossing. A squadron of cavalry despatched by Fadus took them alive, cut off the head of Theudas and brought it to Jerusalem.
Under the second procurator Tiberius Alexander, an apostate Jew of Alexandria, nephew of Philo, the Jews suffered from a great famine and were relieved by the queen of Adiabene, a proselyte to Judaism, who purchased corn from Egypt. The famine was perhaps interpreted by the Zealots as a punishment for their acquiescence in the rule of an apostate. At any rate Alexander crucified two sons of Simon the Galilean, who had headed a revolt in the time of the census. They had presumably followed the example of their father.
Under Ventidius Cumanus (48–52) the mutual hatred of Jews and Romans, Samaritans and Jews, found vent in insults and bloodshed. At the passover, on the fourth day of the feast, a soldier mounting guard at the porches of the Temple provoked an uproar, which ended in a massacre, by indecent exposure of his person. Some of the rebels intercepted a slave of the emperor on the high-road near the city and robbed him of his possessions. Troops were sent to pacify the country, and in one village a soldier found a copy of Moses’ laws and tore it up in public with jeers and blasphemies. At this the Jews flocked to Caesarea, and were only restrained from a second outbreak by the execution of the soldier. Finally, the Samaritans attacked certain Galileans who were (as the custom was) travelling through Samaria to Jerusalem for the passover. Cumanus was bribed and refused to avenge the death of the Jews who were killed. So the Galileans with some of the lower classes of “the Jews” allied themselves with a “robber” and burned some of the Samaritan villages. Cumanus armed the Samaritans, and, with them and his own troops, defeated these Jewish marauders. The leading men of Jerusalem prevailed upon the rebels who survived the defeat to disperse. But the quarrel was referred first to the legate of Syria and then to the emperor. The emperor was still disposed to conciliate the Jews; and, at the instance of Agrippa, son of Agrippa I., Cumanus was banished.
37. Felix and the Revolutionaries.—Under Antonius Felix (52–60) the revolutionary movement grew and spread. The country, Josephus says, was full of “robbers” and “wizards.” The high priest was murdered in the Temple by pilgrims who carried daggers under their cloaks. Wizards and impostors persuaded the multitude to follow them into the desert, and an Egyptian, claiming to be a prophet, led his followers to the Mount of Olives to see the walls of Jerusalem fall at his command. Such deceivers, according to Josephus, did no less than the murderers to destroy the happiness of the city. Their hands were cleaner but their thoughts were more impious, for they pretended to divine inspiration.
Felix the procurator—a king, as Tacitus says, in power and in mind a slave—tried in vain to put down the revolutionaries. The “chief-robber” Eleazar, who had plundered the country for twenty years, was caught and sent to Rome; countless robbers of less note were crucified. But this severity cemented the alliance of religious fanatics with the physical-force party and induced the ordinary citizens to join them, in spite of the punishments which they received when captured. Agrippa II. received a kingdom—first Chalcis, and then the tetrarchies of Philip and Lysanias—but, though he had the oversight of the Temple and the nomination of the high priest, and enjoyed a reputation for knowledge of Jewish customs and questions, he was unable to check the growing power of the Zealots. His sister Drusilla had broken the Law by her marriage with Felix; and his own notorious relations with his sister Berenice, and his coins which bore the images of the emperors, were an open affront to the conscience of Judaism. When Felix was recalled by Nero in 60 the nation was divided against itself, the Gentiles within its gates were watching for their opportunity, and the chief priests robbed the lower priests with a high hand.
In Caesarea there had been for some time trouble between the Jewish and the Syrian inhabitants. The Jews claimed that the city was theirs, because King Herod had founded it. The Syrians admitted the fact, but insisted that it was a city for Greeks, as its temples and statues proved. Their rivalry led to street-fighting: the Jews had the advantage in respect of wealth and bodily strength, but the Greek party had the assistance of the soldiers who were stationed there. On one occasion Felix sent troops against the victorious Jews; but neither this nor the scourge and the prison, to which the leaders of both factions had been consigned, deterred them. The quarrel was therefore referred to the emperor Nero, who finally gave his decision in favour of the Syrians or Greeks. The result of this decision was that the synagogue at Caesarea was insulted on a Sabbath and the Jews left the city taking their books of the Law with them. So—Josephus says—the war began in the twelfth year of the reign of Nero (A.D. 66).
38. Festus, Albinus and Florus.—Meanwhile the procurators who succeeded Felix—Porcius Festus (60–62), Albinus (62–64) and Gessius Florus (64–66)—had in their several ways brought the bulk of the nation into line with the more violent of the Jews of Caesarea. Festus found Judaea infested with robbers and the Sicarii, who mingled with the crowds at the feasts and stabbed their enemies with the daggers (sicae) from which their name was derived. He also, had to deal with a wizard, who deceived many by promising them salvation and release from evils, if they would follow him into the desert. His attempts to crush all such disturbers of the peace were cut short by his death in his second year of office.
In the interval which elapsed before the arrival of Albinus, Ananus son of Annas was made high priest by Agrippa. With the apparent intention of restoring order in Jerusalem, he assembled the Sanhedrin, and being, as a Sadducee, cruel in the matter of penalties, secured the condemnation of certain lawbreakers to death by stoning. For this he was deposed by Agrippa. Albinus fostered and turned to his profit the struggles of priests with priests and of Zealots with their enemies. The general release of prisoners, with which he celebrated his impending recall, is typical of his policy. Meanwhile Agrippa gave the Levites the right to wear the linen robe of the priests and sanctioned the use of the temple treasure to provide work—the paving of the city with white stones—for the workmen who had finished the Temple (64) and now stood idle. But everything pointed to the destruction of the city, which one Jesus had prophesied at the feast of tabernacles in 62. The Zealots’ zeal for the Law and the Temple was flouted by their pro-Roman king.
By comparison with Florus, Albinus was, in the opinion of Josephus, a benefactor. When the news of the troubles at Caesarea reached Jerusalem, it became known also that Florus had seized seventeen talents of the temple treasure (66). At this the patience of the Jews was exhausted. The sacrilege, as they considered it, may have been an attempt to recover arrears of tribute; but they were convinced that Florus was providing for himself and not for Caesar. The revolutionaries went about among the excited people with baskets, begging coppers for their destitute and miserable governor. Stung by this insult, he neglected the fire of war which had been lighted at Caesarea, and hastened to Jerusalem. His soldiers sacked the upper city and killed 630 persons—men, women and children. Berenice, who was fulfilling a Nazarite vow, interposed in vain. Florus actually dared to scourge and crucify Jews who belonged to the Roman order of knights. For the moment the Jews were cowed, and next day they went submissively to greet the troops coming from Caesarea. Their greetings were unanswered, and they cried out against Florus. On this the soldiers drew their swords and drove the people into the city; but, once inside the city, the people stood at bay and succeeded in establishing themselves upon the temple-hill. Florus withdrew with all his troops, except one cohort, to Caesarea. The Jews laid complaint against him, and he complained against the Jews before the governor of Syria, Cestius Gallus, who sent an officer to inquire into the matter. Agrippa, who had hurried from Alexandria, entered Jerusalem with the governor’s emissary. So long as he counselled submission to the overwhelming power of Rome the people complied, but when he spoke of obedience to Florus he was compelled to fly. The rulers, who desired peace, and upon whom Florus had laid the duty of restoring peace, asked him for troops; but the civil war ended in their complete discomfiture. The rebels abode by their decision to stop the daily sacrifice for the emperor; Agrippa’s troops capitulated and marched out unhurt; and the Romans, who surrendered on the same condition and laid down their arms, were massacred. As if to emphasize the spirit and purpose of the rebellion, one and only one of the Roman soldiers was spared, because he promised to become a Jew even to the extent of circumcision.
39. Josephus and the Zealots.—Simultaneously with this massacre the citizens of Caesarea slaughtered the Jews who still remained there; and throughout Syria Jews effected—and suffered—reprisals. At length the governor of Syria approached the centre of the disturbance in Jerusalem, but retreated after burning down a suburb. In the course of his retreat he was attacked by the Jews and fled to Antioch, leaving them his engines of war. Some prominent Jews fled from Jerusalem—as from a sinking ship—to join him and carried the news to the emperor. The rest of the pro-Roman party were forced or persuaded to join the rebels and prepared for war on a grander scale. Generals were selected by the Sanhedrin from the aristocracy, who had tried to keep the peace and still hoped to make terms with Rome. Ananus the high priest, their leader, remained in command at Jerusalem; Galilee, where the first attack was to be expected, was entrusted to Josephus, the historian of the war. The revolutionary leaders, who had already taken the field, were superseded.
Josephus set himself to make an army of the inhabitants of Galilee, many of whom had no wish to fight, and to strengthen the strongholds. His organization of local government and his efforts to maintain law and order brought him into collision with the Zealots and especially with John of Giscala, one of their leaders. The people, whom he had tried to conciliate, were roused against him; John sent assassins and finally procured an order from Jerusalem for his recall. In spite of all this Josephus held his ground and by force or craft put down those who resisted his authority.
In the spring of 67 Vespasian, who had been appointed by Nero to crush the rebellion, advanced from his winter quarters at Antioch. The inhabitants of Sepphoris—whom Josephus had judged to be so eager for the war that he left them to build their wall for themselves—received a Roman garrison at their own request. Joined by Titus, Vespasian advanced into Galilee with three legions and the auxiliary troops supplied by Agrippa and other petty kings. Before his advance the army of Josephus fled. Josephus with a few stalwarts took refuge in Tiberias, and sent a letter to Jerusalem asking that he should be relieved of his command or supplied with an adequate force to continue the war. Hearing that Vespasian was preparing to besiege Jotapata, a strong fortress in the hills, which was held by other fugitives, Josephus entered it just before the road approaching it was made passable for the Roman horse and foot. A deserter announced his arrival to Vespasian, who rejoiced (Josephus says) that the cleverest of his enemies had thus voluntarily imprisoned himself. After some six weeks’ siege the place was stormed, and its exhausted garrison were killed or enslaved. Josephus, whose pretences had postponed the final assault, hid in a cave with forty men. His companions refused to permit him to surrender and were resolved to die. At his suggestion they cast lots, and the first man was killed by the second and so on, until all were dead except Josephus and (perhaps) one other. So Josephus saved them from the sin of suicide and gave himself up to the Romans. He had prophesied that the place would be taken—as it was—on the forty-seventh day, and now he prophesied that both Vespasian and his son Titus would reign over all mankind. The prophecy saved his life, though many desired his death, and the rumour of it produced general mourning in Jerusalem. By the end of the year (67) Galilee was in the hands of Vespasian, and John of Giscala had fled. Agrippa celebrated the conquest at Caesarea Philippi with festivities which lasted twenty days.
In accordance with ancient custom Jerusalem welcomed the fugitive Zealots. The result was civil war and famine. Ananus incited the people against these robbers, who arrested, imprisoned and murdered prominent friends of Rome, and arrogated to themselves the right of selecting the high priest by lot. The Zealots took refuge in the Temple and summoned the Idumaeans to their aid. Under cover of a storm, they opened the city-gates to their allies and proceeded to murder Ananus the high priest, and, against the verdict of a formal tribunal, Zacharias the son of Baruch in the midst of the Temple. The Idumaeans left, but John of Giscala remained master of Jerusalem.
40. The Fall of Jerusalem.—Vespasian left the rivals to consume one another and occupied his army with the subjugation of the country. When he had isolated the capital and was preparing to besiege it, the news of Nero’s death reached him at Caesarea. For a year (June 68-June 69) he held his hand and watched events, until the robber-bands of Simon Bar-Giora (son of the proselyte) required his attention. But, before Vespasian took action to stop his raids, Simon had been invited to Jerusalem in the hope that he would act as a counterpoise to the tyrant John. And so, when Vespasian was proclaimed emperor in fulfilment of Josephus’ prophecy, and deputed the command to Titus, there were three rivals at war in Jerusalem—Eleazar, Simon and John. The temple sacrifices were still offered and worshippers were admitted; but John’s catapults were busy, and priest and worshippers at the altar were killed, because Eleazar’s party occupied the inner courts of the Temple. A few days before the passover of 70 Titus advanced upon Jerusalem, but the civil war went on. When Eleazar opened the temple-gates to admit those who wished to worship God, John of Giscala introduced some of his own men, fully armed under their garments, and so got possession of the Temple. Titus pressed the attack, and the two factions joined hands at last to repel it. In spite of their desperate sallies, Jerusalem was surrounded by a wall, and its people, whose numbers were increased by those who had come up for the passover, were hemmed in to starve. The famine affected all alike—the populace, who desired peace, and the Zealots, who were determined to fight to the end. At last John of Giscala portioned out the sacred wine and oil, saying that they who fought for the Temple might fearlessly use its stores for their sustenance. Steadily the Romans forced their way through wall after wall, until the Jews were driven back to the Temple and the daily sacrifices came to an end on the 17th of July for lack of men. Once more Josephus appealed in vain to John and his followers to cease from desecrating and endangering the Temple. The siege proceeded and the temple-gates were burned. According to Josephus, Titus decided to spare the Temple, but—whether this was so or not—on the 10th of August it was fired by a soldier after a sortie of the Jews had been repelled. The legions set up their standards in the temple-court and hailed Titus as imperator.
Some of the Zealots escaped with John and Simon to the upper city and held it for another month. But Titus had already earned the triumph which he celebrated at Rome in 71. The Jews, wherever they might be, continued to pay the temple-tax; but now it was devoted to Jupiter Capitolinus. The Romans had taken their holy place, and the Law was all that was left to them.
41. From A.D. 70 to A.D. 135.—The destruction of the Temple carried with it the destruction of the priesthood and all its power. The priests existed to offer sacrifices, and by the Law no sacrifice could be offered except at the Temple of Jerusalem. Thenceforward the remnant of the Jews who survived the fiery ordeal formed a church rather than a nation or a state, and the Pharisees exercised an unchallenged supremacy. With the Temple and its Sadducean high priests perished the Sanhedrin in which the Sadducees had competed with the Pharisees for predominance. The Sicarii or Zealots who had appealed to the arm of flesh were exterminated. Only the teachers of the Law survived to direct the nation and to teach those who remained loyal Jews, how they should render to Caesar what belonged to Caesar, and to God what belonged to God. Here and there hot-headed Zealots rose up to repeat the errors and the disasters of their predecessors. But their fate only served to deepen the impression already stamped upon the general mind of the nation. The Temple was gone, but they had the Law. Already the Jews of the Dispersion had learned to supplement the Temple by the synagogue, and even the Jews of Jerusalem had not been free to spend their lives in the worship of the Temple. There were still, as always, rites which were independent of the place and of the priest; there had been a time when the Temple did not exist. So Judaism survived once more the destruction of its central sanctuary.
When Jerusalem was taken, the Sicarii still continued to hold three strongholds: one—Masada—for three years. But the commander of Masada realized at length that there was no hope of escaping captivity except by death, and urged his comrades to anticipate their fate. Each man slew his wife and children; ten men were selected by lot to slay the rest; one man slew the nine executioners, fired the palace and fell upon his sword. When the place was stormed the garrison consisted of two old women and five children who had concealed themselves in caves. So Vespasian obtained possession of Palestine—the country which Nero had given him—and for a time it was purged of revolutionaries. Early Christian writers assert that he proceeded to search out and to execute all descendants of David who might conceivably come forward as claimants of the vacant throne.
In Egypt and in Cyrene fugitive Zealots endeavoured to continue their rebellion against the emperor, but there also with disastrous results. The doors of the Temple in Egypt were closed, and its sacrifices which had been offered for 243 years were prohibited. Soon afterwards this temple also was destroyed. Apart from these local outbreaks, the Jews throughout the empire remained loyal citizens and were not molested. The general hope of the nation was not necessarily bound up with the house of David, and its realization was not incompatible with the yoke of Rome. They still looked for a true prophet, and meanwhile they had their rabbis.
Under Johanan ben Zaccai (q.v.) the Pharisees established themselves at Jamnia. A new Sanhedrin was formed there under the presidency of a ruler, who received yearly dues from all Jewish communities. The scribes through the synagogues preserved the national spirit and directed it towards the religious life which was prescribed by Scripture. The traditions of the elders were tested and gradually harmonized in their essentials. The canon of Scripture was decided in accordance with the touchstone of the Pentateuch. Israel had retired to their tents to study their Bible.
Under Vespasian and Titus the Jews enjoyed freedom of conscience and equal political rights with non-Jewish subjects of Rome. But Domitian, according to pagan historians, bore hardly on them. The temple-tax was strictly exacted; Jews who lived the Jewish life without openly confessing their religion and Jews who concealed their nationality were brought before the magistrates. Proselytes to Judaism were condemned either to death or to forfeiture of their property. Indeed it would seem that Domitian instituted a persecution of the Jews, to which Nerva his successor put an end. Towards the end of Trajan’s reign (114–117) the Jews of Egypt and Cyrene rose against their Greek neighbours and set up a king. The rebellion spread to Cyprus; and when Trajan advanced from Mesopotamia into Parthia the Jews of Mesopotamia revolted. The massacres they perpetrated were avenged in kind and all the insurrections were quelled when Hadrian succeeded Trajan.
In 132 the Jews of Palestine rebelled again. Hadrian had forbidden circumcision as illegal mutilation: he had also replaced Jerusalem by a city of his own, Aelia Capitolina, and the temple of Yahweh by a temple of Jupiter. Apart from these bitter provocations—the prohibition of the sign of the covenant and the desecration of the sacred place—the Jews had a leader who was recognized as Messiah by the rabbi Aqiba. Though the majority of the rabbis looked for no such deliverer and refused to admit his claims, Barcochebas (q.v.) drew the people after him to struggle for their national independence. For three years and a half he held his own and issued coins in the name of Simon, which commemorate the liberation of Jerusalem. Some attempt was apparently made to rebuild the Temple; and the Jews of the Dispersion, who had perhaps been won over by Aqiba, supported the rebellion. Indeed even Gentiles helped them, so that the whole world (Dio Cassius says) was stirred. Hadrian sent his best generals against the rebels, and at length they were driven from Jerusalem to Bethar (135). The Jews were forbidden to enter the new city of Jerusalem on pain of death.
Bibliography.—The most comprehensive of modern books dealing with the period is Emil Schürer, Geschichte des Jüdischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi (3 vols., Leipzig, 1901 foll.). Exception has been taken to a certain lack of sympathy with the Jews, especially the rabbis, which has been detected in the author. But at least the book remains an indispensable storehouse of references to ancient and modern authorities. An earlier edition was translated into English under the title History of the Jewish People (Edinburgh, 1890, 1891). Of shorter histories, D. A. Schlatter’s Geschichte Israel’s von Alexander dem Grossen bis Hadrian (2nd ed., 1906) is perhaps the least dependent upon Schürer and attempts more than others to interpret the fragmentary evidence available. Dr R. H. Charles has done much by his editions to restore to their proper prominence in connexion with Jewish history the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, The Book of Jubilees, Enoch, &c. But Schürer gives a complete bibliography to which it must suffice to refer. For the Sanhedrin see Synedrium. (J. H. A. H.)
III.—From the Dispersion to Modern Times
42. The Later Empire.—With the failure in 135 of the attempt led by Barcochebas to free Judaea from Roman domination a new era begins in the history of the Jews. The direct consequence of the failure was the annihilation of political nationality. Large numbers fell in the actual fighting. Dio Cassius puts the total at the incredible figure of 580,000, besides the incalculable number who succumbed to famine, disease and fire (Dio-Xiphilin lxix. 11–15). Jerusalem was rebuilt by Hadrian, orders to this effect being given during the emperor’s first journey through Syria in 130, the date of his foundations at Gaza, Tiberias and Petra (Reinach, Textes relatifs au Judaïsme, p. 198). The new city was named Aelia Capitolina, and on the site of the temple of Jehovah there arose another temple dedicated to Jupiter. To Eusebius the erection of a temple of Venus over the sepulchre of Christ was an act of mockery against the Christian religion. Rome had been roused to unwonted fury, and the truculence of the rebels was matched by the cruelty of their masters. The holy city was barred against the Jews; they were excluded, under pain of death, from approaching within view of the walls. Hadrian’s policy in this respect was matched later on by the edict of the caliph Omar (c. 638), who, like his Roman prototype, prevented the Jews from settling in the capital of their ancient country. The death of Hadrian and the accession of Antoninus Pius (138), however, gave the dispersed people of Palestine a breathing-space. Roman law was by no means intolerant to the Jews. Under the constitution of Caracalla (198–217) all inhabitants of the Roman empire enjoyed the civil rights of the Cives Romani (Scherer, Die Rechtsverhältnisse der Juden, p. 10).
Moreover, a spiritual revival mitigated the crushing effects of material ruin. The synagogue had become a firmly established institution, and the personal and social life of the masses had come under the control of communal law. The dialectic of the school proved stronger to preserve than the edge of the sword to destroy. Pharisaic Judaism, put to the severest test to which a religious system has ever been subject, showed itself able to control and idealize life in all its phases. Whatever question may be possible as to the force or character of Pharisaism in the time of Christ, there can be no doubt that it became both all-pervading and ennobling among the successors of Aqiba (q.v.), himself one of the martyrs to Hadrian’s severity. Little more than half a century after the overthrow of the Jewish nationality, the Mishnah was practically completed, and by this code of rabbinic law—and law is here a term which includes the social, moral and religious as well as the ritual and legal phases of human activity—the Jewish people were organized into a community, living more or less autonomously under the Sanhedrin or Synedrium (q.v.) and its officials.
Judah the prince, the patriarch or nāsī who edited the Mishnah, died early in the 3rd century. With him the importance of the Palestinian patriarchate attained its zenith. Gamaliel II. of Jamnia (Jabne Yebneh) had been raised to this dignity a century before, and, as members of the house of Hillel and thus descendants of David, the patriarchs enjoyed almost royal authority. Their functions were political rather than religious, though their influence was by no means purely secular. They were often on terms of intimate friendship with the emperors, who scarcely interfered with their jurisdiction. As late as Theodosius I. (379–395) the internal affairs of the Jews were formally committed to the patriarchs, and Honorius (404) authorized the collection of the patriarch’s tax (aurum coronarium), by which a revenue was raised from the Jews of the diaspora. Under Theodosius II. (408–450) the patriarchate was finally abolished after a régime of three centuries and a half (Graetz, History of the Jews, Eng. trans. vol. ii. ch. xxii.), though ironically enough the last holder of the office had been for a time elevated by the emperor to the rank of prefect. The real turning-point had been reached earlier, when Christianity became the state religion under Constantine I. in 312.
Religion under the Christian emperors became a significant source of discrimination in legal status, and non-conformity might reach so far as to produce complete loss of rights. The laws concerning the Jews had a repressive and preventive object: the repression of Judaism and the prevention of inroads of Jewish influences into the state religion. The Jews were thrust into a position of isolation, and the Code of Theodosius and other authorities characterize the Jews as a lower order of depraved beings (inferiores and perversi), their community as a godless, dangerous sect (secta nefaria, feralis), their religion a superstition, their assemblies for religious worship a blasphemy (sacrilegi coetus) and a contagion (Scherer, op. cit. pp. 11–12). Yet Judaism under Roman Christian law was a lawful religion (religio licita), Valentinian I. (364–375) forbade the quartering of soldiers in the synagogues, Theodosius I. prohibited interference with the synagogue worship (“Judaeorum sectam nulla lege prohibitam satis constat”), and in 412 a special edict of protection was issued. But the admission of Christians into the Jewish fold was punished by confiscation of goods (357), the erection of new synagogues was arrested by Theodosius II. (439) under penalty of a heavy fine, Jews were forbidden to hold Christian slaves under pain of death (423). A similar penalty attached to intermarriage between Jews and Christians, and an attempt was made to nullify all Jewish marriages which were not celebrated in accordance with Roman law. But Justinian (527–565) was the first to interfere directly in the religious institutions of the Jewish people. In 553 he interdicted the use of the Talmud (which had then not long been completed), and the Byzantine emperors of the 8th and 9th centuries passed even more intolerant regulations. As regards civil law, Jews were at first allowed to settle disputes between Jew and Jew before their own courts, but Justinian denied to them and to heretics the right to appear as witnesses in the public courts against orthodox Christians. To Constantine V. (911–959) goes back the Jewish form of oath which in its later development required the Jew to gird himself with thorns; stand in water; and, holding the scroll of the Torah in his hand, invoke upon his person the leprosy of Naaman, the curse of Eli and the fate of Korah’s sons should he perjure himself. This was the original of all the medieval forms of oath more judaico, which still prevailed in many European lands till the 19th century, and are even now maintained by some of the Rumanian courts. Jews were by the law of Honorius excluded from the army, from public offices and dignities (418), from acting as advocates (425); only the curial offices were open to them. Justinian gave the finishing touch by proclaiming in 537 the Jews absolutely ineligible for any honour whatsoever (“honore fruantur nullo”).
43. Judaism in Babylonia.—The Jews themselves were during this period engaged in building up a system of isolation on their own side, but they treated Roman law with greater hospitality than it meted out to them. The Talmud shows the influence of that law in many points, and may justly be compared to it as a monument of codification based on great principles. The Palestinian Talmud was completed in the 4th century, but the better known and more influential version was compiled in Babylonia about 500. The land which, a millennium before, had been a prison for the Jewish exiles was now their asylum of refuge. For a long time it formed their second fatherland. Here, far more than on Palestinian soil, was built the enduring edifice of rabbinism. The population of the southern part of Mesopotamia—the strip of land enclosed between the Tigris and the Euphrates—was, according to Graetz, mainly Jewish; while the district extending for about 70 m. on the east of the Euphrates, from Nehardea in the north to Sura in the south, became a new Palestine with Nehardea for its Jerusalem. The Babylonian Jews were practically independent, and the exilarch (resh-galutha) or prince of the captivity was an official who ruled the community as a vassal of the Persian throne. The exilarch claimed, like the Palestinian patriarch, descent from the royal house of David, and exercised most of the functions of government. Babylonia had risen into supreme importance for Jewish life at about the time when the Mishnah was completed. The great rabbinic academies at Sura and Nehardea, the former of which retained something of its dominant rôle till the 11th century, had been founded, Sura by Abba Arika (q.v.) (c. 219), but Nehardea, the more ancient seat of the two, famous in the 3rd century for its association with Abba Arika’s renowned contemporary Samuel, lost its Jewish importance in the age of Mahomet.
To Samuel of Nehardea (q.v.) belongs the honour of formulating the principle which made it possible for Jews to live under alien laws. Jeremiah had admonished his exiled brothers: “Seek ye the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace” (Jer. xxix. 7). It was now necessary to go farther, and the rabbis proclaimed a principle which was as influential with the synagogue as “Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” became with the Church. “The law of the government is law” (Baba Qama 113 b.), said Samuel, and ever since it has been a religious duty for the Jews to obey and accommodate themselves as far as possible to the laws of the country in which they are settled or reside. In 259 Odenathus, the Palmyrene adventurer whose memory has been eclipsed by that of his wife Zenobia, laid Nehardea waste for the time being, and in its neighbourhood arose the academy of Pumbedita (Pombeditha) which became a new focus for the intellectual life of Israel in Babylonia. These academies were organized on both scholastic and popular lines; their constitution was democratic. An outstanding feature was the Kallah assemblage twice a year (in Elul at the close of the summer, and in Adar at the end of the winter), when there were gathered together vast numbers of outside students of the most heterogeneous character as regards both age and attainments. Questions received from various quarters were discussed and the final decision of the Kallah was signed by the Resh-Kallah or president of the general assembly, who was only second in rank to the Resh-Metibta, or president of the scholastic sessions. Thus the Babylonian academies combined the functions of specialist law-schools, universities and popular parliaments. They were a unique product of rabbinism; and the authors of the system were also the compilers of its literary expression, the Talmud.
44. Judaism in Islam.—Another force now appears on the scene. The new religion inaugurated by Mahomet differed in its theory from the Roman Catholic Church. The Church, it is true, in council after council, passed decisions unfriendly to the Jews. From the synod at Elvira in the 4th century this process began, and it was continued in the West-Gothic Church legislation, in the Lateran councils (especially the fourth in 1215), and in the council of Trent (1563). The anti-social tendency of these councils expressed itself in the infliction of the badge, in the compulsory domicile of Jews within ghettos, and in the erection of formidable barriers against all intercourse between church and synagogue. The protective instinct was responsible for much of this interference with the natural impulse of men of various creeds towards mutual esteem and forbearance. The church, it was conceived, needed defence against the synagogue at all hazards, and the fear that the latter would influence and dominate the former was never absent from the minds of medieval ecclesiastics. But though this defensive zeal led to active persecution, still in theory Judaism was a tolerated religion wherever the Church had sway, and many papal bulls of a friendly character were issued throughout the middle ages (Scherer, p. 32 seq.).
Islam, on the other hand, had no theoretic place in its scheme for tolerated religions; its principle was fundamentally intolerant. Where the mosque was erected, there was no room for church or synagogue. The caliph Omar initiated in the 7th century a code which required Christians and Jews to wear peculiar dress, denied them the right to hold state offices or to possess land, inflicted a poll-tax on them, and while forbidding them to enter mosques, refused them the permission to build new places of worship for themselves. Again and again these ordinances were repeated in subsequent ages, and intolerance for infidels is still a distinct feature of Mahommedan law. But Islam has often shown itself milder in fact than in theory, for its laws were made to be broken. The medieval Jews on the whole lived, under the crescent, a fuller and freer life than was possible to them under the cross. Mahommedan Babylonia (Persia) was the home of the gaonate (see Gaon), the central authority of religious Judaism, whose power transcended that of the secular exilarchate, for it influenced the synagogue far and wide, while the exilarchate was local. The gaonate enjoyed a practical tolerance remarkable when contrasted with the letter of Islamic law. And as the Bagdad caliphate tended to become more and more supreme in Islam, so the gaonate too shared in this increased influence. Not even the Qaraite schism was able to break the power of the geonim. But the dispersion of the Jews was proceeding in directions which carried masses from the Asiatic inland to the Mediterranean coasts and to Europe.
45. In Medieval Europe: Spain.—This dispersion of the Jews had begun in the Hellenistic period, but it was after the Barcochebas war that it assumed great dimensions in Europe. There were Jews in the Byzantine empire, in Rome, in France and Spain at very early periods, but it is with the Arab conquest of Spain that the Jews of Europe began to rival in culture and importance their brethren of the Persian gaonate. Before this date the Jews had been learning the rôle they afterwards filled, that of the chief promoters of international commerce. Already under Charlemagne this development is noticeable; in his generous treatment of the Jews this Christian emperor stood in marked contrast to his contemporary the caliph Harun al-Rashid, who persecuted Jews and Christians with equal vigour. But by the 10th century Judaism had received from Islam something more than persecution. It caught the contagion of poetry, philosophy and science. The schismatic Qaraites initiated or rather necessitated a new Hebrew philology, which later on produced Qimḥi, the gaon Saadiah founded a Jewish philosophy, the statesman Ḥasdai introduced a new Jewish culture—and all this under Mahommedan rule. It is in Spain that above all the new spirit manifested itself. The distinctive feature of the Spanish-Jewish culture was its comprehensiveness. Literature and affairs, science and statecraft, poetry and medicine, these various expressions of human nature and activity were so harmoniously balanced that they might be found in the possession of one and the same individual. The Jews of Spain attained to high places in the service of the state from the time of the Moorish conquest in 711. From Hasdai ibn Shaprut in the 10th century and Samuel the nagid in the 11th the line of Jewish scholar-statesmen continued till we reach Isaac Abrabanel in 1492, the date of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. This last-named event synchronized with the discovery of America; Columbus being accompanied by at least one Jewish navigator. While the Spanish period of Jewish history was thus brilliant from the point of view of public service, it was equally notable on the literary side. Hebrew religious poetry was revived for synagogue hymnology, and, partly in imitation of Arabian models, a secular Hebrew poetry was developed in metre and rhyme. The new Hebrew Piyut found its first important exponent in Kalir, who was not a Spaniard. But it is to Spain that we must look for the best of the medieval poets of the synagogue, greatest among them being Ibn Gabirol and Halevi. So, too, the greatest Jew of the middle ages, Maimonides, was a Spaniard. In him culminates the Jewish expression of the Spanish-Moorish culture; his writings had an influence on European scholasticism and contributed significant elements to the philosophy of Spinoza. But the reconquest of Andalusia by the Christians associated towards the end of the 15th century with the establishment of the Inquisition, introduced a spirit of intolerance which led to the expulsion of the Jews and Moors. The consequences of this blow were momentous; it may be said to inaugurate the ghetto period. In Spain Jewish life had participated in the general life, but the expulsion—while it dispersed the Spanish Jews in Poland, Turkey, Italy and France, and thus in the end contributed to the Jewish emancipation at the French Revolution—for the time drove the Jews within their own confines and barred them from the outside world.
46. In France, Germany, England, Italy.—In the meantime Jewish life had been elsewhere subjected to other influences which produced a result at once narrower and deeper. Under Charlemagne, the Jews, who had begun to settle in Gaul in the time of Caesar, were more than tolerated. They were allowed to hold land and were encouraged to become—what their ubiquity qualified them to be—the merchant princes of Europe. The reign of Louis the Pious (814–840) was, as Graetz puts it, “a golden era for the Jews of his kingdom, such as they had never enjoyed, and were destined never again to enjoy in Europe”—prior, that is, to the age of Mendelssohn. In Germany at the same period the feudal system debarred the Jews from holding land, and though there was as yet no material persecution they suffered moral injury by being driven exclusively into finance and trade. Nor was there any widening of the general horizon such as was witnessed in Spain. The Jewries of France and Germany were thus thrown upon their own cultural resources. They rose to the occasion. In Mainz there settled in the 10th century Gershom, the “light of the exile,” who, about 1000, published his ordinance forbidding polygamy in Jewish law as it had long been forbidden in Jewish practice. This ordinance may be regarded as the beginning of the Synodal government of Judaism, which was a marked feature of medieval life in the synagogues of northern and central Europe from the 12th century. Soon after Gershom’s death, Rashi (1040–1106) founded at Troyes a new school of learning. If Maimonides represented Judaism on its rational side, Rashi was the expression of its traditions.
French Judaism was thus in a sense more human if less humane than the Spanish variety; the latter produced thinkers, statesmen, poets and scientists; the former, men with whom the Talmud was a passion, men of robuster because of more naïve and concentrated piety. In Spain and North Africa persecution created that strange and significant phenomenon Maranism or crypto-Judaism, a public acceptance of Islam or Christianity combined with a private fidelity to the rites of Judaism. But in England, France and Germany persecution altogether failed to shake the courage of the Jews, and martyrdom was borne in preference to ostensible apostasy. The crusades subjected the Jews to this ordeal. The evil was wrought, not by the regular armies of the cross who were inspired by noble ideals, but by the undisciplined mobs which, for the sake of plunder, associated themselves with the genuine enthusiasts. In 1096 massacres of Jews occurred in many cities of the Rhineland. During the second crusade (1145–1147) Bernard of Clairvaux heroically protested against similar inhumanities. The third crusade, famous for the participation of Richard I., was the occasion for bloody riots in England, especially in York, where 150 Jews immolated themselves to escape baptism. Economically and socially the crusades had disastrous effects upon the Jews (see J. Jacobs, Jewish Encyclopedia, iv. 379). Socially they suffered by the outburst of religious animosity. One of the worst forms taken by this ill-will was the oft-revived myth of ritual murder (q.v.), and later on when the Black Death devastated Europe (1348–1349) the Jews were the victims of an odious charge of well-poisoning. Economically the results were also injurious. “Before the crusades the Jews had practically a monopoly of trade in Eastern products, but the closer connexion between Europe and the East brought about by the crusades raised up a class of merchant traders among the Christians, and from this time onwards restrictions on the sale of goods by Jews became frequent” (op. cit.). After the second crusade the German Jews fell into the class of servi camerae, which at first only implied that they enjoyed the immunity of imperial servants, but afterwards made of them slaves and pariahs. At the personal whim of rulers, whether royal or of lower rank, the Jews were expelled from states and principalities and were reduced to a condition of precarious uncertainty as to what the morrow might bring forth. Pope Innocent III. gave strong impetus to the repression of the Jews, especially by ordaining the wearing of a badge. Popular animosity was kindled by the enforced participation of the Jews in public disputations. In 1306 Philip IV. expelled the Jews from France, nine years later Louis X. recalled them for a period of twelve years. Such vicissitudes were the ordinary lot of the Jews for several centuries, and it was their own inner life—the pure life of the home, the idealism of the synagogue, and the belief in ultimate Messianic redemption—that saved them from utter demoralization and despair. Curiously enough in Italy—and particularly in Rome—the external conditions were better. The popes themselves, within their own immediate jurisdiction, were often far more tolerant than their bulls issued for foreign communities, and Torquemada was less an expression than a distortion of the papal policy. In the early 14th century, the age of Dante, the new spirit of the Renaissance made Italian rulers the patrons of art and literature, and the Jews to some extent shared in this gracious change. Robert of Aragon—vicar-general of the papal states—in particular encouraged the Jews and supported them in their literary and scientific ambitions. Small coteries of Jewish minor poets and philosophers were formed, and men like Kalonymos and Immanuel—Dante’s friend—shared the versatility and culture of Italy. But in Germany there was no echo of this brighter note. Persecution was elevated into a system, a poll-tax was exacted, and the rabble was allowed (notably in 1336–1337) to give full vent to its fury. Following on this came the Black Death with its terrible consequences in Germany; even in Poland, where the Jews had previously enjoyed considerable rights, extensive massacres took place.
In effect the Jews became outlaws, but their presence being often financially necessary, certain officials were permitted to “hold Jews,” who were liable to all forms of arbitrary treatment, on the side of their “owners.” The Jews had been among the first to appreciate the commercial advantages of permitting the loan of money on interest, but it was the policy of the Church that drove the Jews into money-lending as a characteristic trade. Restrictions on their occupations were everywhere common, and as the Church forbade Christians to engage in usury, this was the only trade open to the Jews. The excessive demands made upon the Jews forbade a fair rate of interest. “The Jews were unwilling sponges by means of which a large part of the subjects’ wealth found its way into the royal exchequer” (Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, ch. xii.). Hence, though this procedure made the Jews intensely obnoxious to the peoples, they became all the more necessary to the rulers. A favourite form of tolerance was to grant a permit to the Jews to remain in the state for a limited term of years; their continuance beyond the specified time was illegal and they were therefore subject to sudden banishment. Thus a second expulsion of the Jews of France occurred in 1394. Early in the 15th century John Hus—under the inspiration of Wycliffe—initiated at Prague the revolt against the Roman Catholic Church. The Jews suffered in the persecution that followed, and in 1420 all the Austrian Jews were thrown into prison. Martin V. published a favourable bull, but it was ineffectual. The darkest days were nigh. Pope Eugenius (1442) issued a fiercely intolerant missive; the Franciscan John of Capistrano moved the masses to activity by his eloquent denunciations; even Casimir IV. revoked the privileges of the Jews in Poland, when the Turkish capture of Constantinople (1453) offered a new asylum for the hunted Jews of Europe. But in Europe itself the catastrophe was not arrested. The Inquisition in Spain led to the expulsion of the Jews (1492), and this event involved not only the latter but the whole of the Jewish people. “The Jews everywhere felt as if the temple had again been destroyed” (Graetz). Nevertheless, the result was not all evil. If fugitives are for the next half-century to be met with in all parts of Europe, yet, especially in the Levant, there grew up thriving Jewish communities often founded by Spanish refugees. Such incidents as the rise of Joseph Nasi (q.v.) to high position under the Turkish government as duke of Naxos mark the coming change. The reformation as such had no favourable influence on Jewish fortunes in Christian Europe, though the championship of the cause of toleration by Reuchlin had considerable value. But the age of the ghetto (q.v.) had set in too firmly for immediate amelioration to be possible. It is to Holland and to the 17th century that we must turn for the first real steps towards Jewish emancipation.
47. Period of Emancipation.—The ghetto, which had prevailed more or less rigorously for a long period, was not formally prescribed by the papacy until the beginning of the 16th century. The same century was not ended before the prospect of liberty dawned on the Jews. Holland from the moment that it joined the union of Utrecht (1579) deliberately set its face against religious persecution (Jewish Encyclopedia, i. 537). Maranos, fleeing to the Netherlands, were welcomed; the immigrants were wealthy, enterprising and cultured. Many Jews, who had been compelled to conceal their faith, now came into the open. By the middle of the 17th century the Jews of Holland had become of such importance that Charles II. of England (then in exile) entered into negotiations with the Amsterdam Jews (1656). In that same year the Amsterdam community was faced by a serious problem in connexion with Spinoza. They brought themselves into notoriety by excommunicating the philosopher—an act of weak self-defence on the part of men who had themselves but recently been admitted to the country, and were timorous of the suspicion that they shared Spinoza’s then execrated views. It is more than a mere coincidence that this step was taken during the absence in England of one of the ablest and most notable of the Amsterdam rabbis. At the time, Menasseh ben Israel (q.v.) was in London, on a mission to Cromwell. The Jews had been expelled from England by Edward I., after a sojourn in the country of rather more than two centuries, during which they had been the licensed and oppressed money-lenders of the realm, and had—through the special exchequer of the Jews—been used by the sovereign as a means of extorting a revenue from his subjects. In the 17th century a considerable number of Jews had made a home in the English colonies, where from the first they enjoyed practically equal rights with the Christian settlers. Cromwell, upon the inconclusive termination of the conference summoned in 1655 at Whitehall to consider the Jewish question, tacitly assented to the return of the Jews to this country, and at the restoration his action was confirmed. The English Jews “gradually substituted for the personal protection of the crown, the sympathy and confidence of the nation” (L. Wolf, Menasseh ben Israel’s Mission to Cromwell, p. lxxv.). The city of London was the first to be converted to the new attitude. “The wealth they brought into the country, and their fruitful commercial activity, especially in the colonial trade, soon revealed them as an indispensable element of the prosperity of the city. As early as 1668, Sir Josiah Child, the millionaire governor of the East India company, pleaded for their naturalization on the score of their commercial utility. For the same reason the city found itself compelled at first to connive at their illegal representation on ’Change, and then to violate its own rules by permitting them to act as brokers without previously taking up the freedom. At this period they controlled more of the foreign and colonial trade than all the other alien merchants in London put together. The momentum of their commercial enterprise and stalwart patriotism proved irresistible. From the exchange to the city council chamber, thence to the aldermanic court, and eventually to the mayoralty itself, were inevitable stages of an emancipation to which their large interests in the city and their high character entitled them. Finally the city of London—not only as the converted champion of religious liberty but as the convinced apologist of the Jews—sent Baron Lionel de Rothschild to knock at the door of the unconverted House of Commons as parliamentary representative of the first city in the world” (Wolf, loc. cit.).
The pioneers of this emancipation in Holland and England were Sephardic (or Spanish) Jews—descendants of the Spanish exiles. In the meantime the Ashkenazic (or German) Jews had been working out their own salvation. The chief effects of the change were not felt till the 18th century. In England emancipation was of democratic origin and concerned itself with practical questions. On the Continent, the movement was more aristocratic and theoretical; it was part of the intellectual renaissance which found its most striking expression in the principles of the French Revolution. Throughout Europe the 18th century was less an era of stagnation than of transition. The condition of the European Jews seems, on a superficial examination, abject enough. But, excluded though they were from most trades and occupations, confined to special quarters of the city, disabled from sharing most of the amenities of life, the Jews nevertheless were gradually making their escape from the ghetto and from the moral degeneration which it had caused. Some ghettos (as in Moravia) were actually not founded till the 18th century, but the careful observer can perceive clearly that at that period the ghetto was a doomed institution. In the “dark ages” Jews enjoyed neither rights nor privileges; in the 18th century they were still without rights but they had privileges. A grotesque feature of the time in Germany and Austria was the class of court Jews, such as the Oppenheims, the personal favourites of rulers and mostly their victims when their usefulness had ended. These men often rendered great services to their fellow-Jews, and one of the results was the growth in Jewish society of an aristocracy of wealth, where previously there had been an aristocracy of learning. Even more important was another privileged class—that of the Schutz-Jude (protected Jew). Where there were no rights, privileges had to be bought. While the court Jews were the favourites of kings, the protected Jews were the protégés of town councils. Corruption is the frequent concomitant of privilege, and thus the town councils often connived for a price at the presence in their midst of Jews whose admission was illegal. Many Jews found it possible to evade laws of domicile by residing in one place and trading in another. Nor could they be effectually excluded from the fairs, the great markets of the 18th century. The Sephardic Jews in all these respects occupied a superior position, and they merited the partiality shown to them. Their personal dignity and the vast range of their colonial enterprises were in striking contrast to the retail traffic of the Ashkenazim and their degenerate bearing and speech. Peddling had been forced on the latter by the action of the gilds which were still powerful in the 18th century on the Continent. Another cause may be sought in the Cossack assaults on the Jews at an earlier period. Crowds of wanderers were to be met on every road; Germany, Holland and Italy were full of Jews who, pack on shoulder, were seeking a precarious livelihood at a time when peddling was neither lucrative nor safe.
But underneath all this were signs of a great change. The 18th century has a goodly tale of Jewish artists in metal-work, makers of pottery, and (wherever the gilds permitted it) artisans and wholesale manufacturers of many important commodities. The last attempts at exclusion were irritating enough; but they differed from the earlier persecution. Such strange enactments as the Familianten-Gesetz, which prohibited more than one member of a family from marrying, broke up families by forcing the men to emigrate. In 1781 Dohm pointed to the fact that a Jewish father could seldom hope to enjoy the happiness of living with his children. In that very year, however, Joseph II. initiated in Austria a new era for the Jews. This Austrian reformation was so typical of other changes elsewhere, and so expressive of the previous disabilities of the Jews, that, even in this rapid summary, space must be spared for some of the details supplied by Graetz. “By this new departure (19th of October 1781) the Jews were permitted to learn handicrafts, arts and sciences, and with certain restrictions to devote themselves to agriculture. The doors of the universities and academies, hitherto closed to them, were thrown open. . . . An ordinance of November 2 enjoined that the Jews were everywhere considered fellow-men, and all excesses against them were to be avoided. The Leibzoll (body-tax) was also abolished, in addition to the special law-taxes, the passport duty, the night-duty and all imposts which had stamped the Jews as outcast, for they were now (Dec. 19) to have equal rights with the Christian inhabitants.” The Jews were not, indeed, granted complete citizenship, and their residence and public worship in Vienna and other Austrian cities were circumscribed and even penalized. “But Joseph II. annulled a number of vexatious, restrictive regulations, such as the compulsory wearing of beards, the prohibition against going out in the forenoon on Sundays or holidays, or frequenting public pleasure resorts. The emperor even permitted Jewish wholesale merchants, notables and their sons, to wear swords (January 2, 1782), and especially insisted that Christians should behave in a friendly manner towards Jews.”
48. The Mendelssohn Movement.—This notable beginning to the removal of “the ignominy of a thousand years” was causally connected with the career of Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1786; q.v.). He found on both sides an unreadiness for approximation: the Jews had sunk into apathy and degeneration, the Christians were still moved by hereditary antipathy. The failure of the hopes entertained of Sabbatai Zebi (q.v.) had plunged the Jewries of the world into despair. This Smyrnan pretender not only proclaimed himself Messiah (c. 1650) but he was accepted in that rôle by vast numbers of his brethren. At the moment when Spinoza was publishing a system which is still a dominating note of modern philosophy, this other son of Israel was capturing the very heart of Jewry. His miracles were reported and eagerly believed everywhere; “from Poland, Hamburg and Amsterdam treasures poured into his court; in the Levant young men and maidens prophesied before him; the Persian Jews refused to till the fields. ‘We shall pay no more taxes,’ they said, ‘our Messiah is come.’” The expectation that he would lead Israel in triumph to the Holy Land was doomed to end in disappointment. Sabbatai lacked one quality without which enthusiasm is ineffective; he failed to believe in himself. At the critical moment he embraced Islam to escape death, and though he was still believed in by many—it was not Sabbatai himself but a phantom resemblance that had assumed the turban!—his meteoric career did but colour the sky of the Jews with deeper blackness. Despite all this, one must not fall into the easy error of exaggerating the degeneration into which the Jewries of the world fell from the middle of the 17th till the middle of the 18th century. For Judaism had organized itself; the Shulḥan aruch of Joseph Qaro (q.v.), printed in 1564 within a decade of its completion, though not accepted without demur, was nevertheless widely admitted as the code of Jewish life. If in more recent times progress in Judaism has implied more or less of revolt against the rigors and fetters of Qaro’s code, yet for 250 years it was a powerful safeguard against demoralization and stagnation. No community living in full accordance with that code could fail to reach a high moral and intellectual level.
It is truer to say that on the whole the Jews began at this period to abandon as hopeless the attempt to find a place for themselves in the general life of their country. Perhaps they even ceased to desire it. Their children were taught without any regard to outside conditions, they spoke and wrote a jargon, and their whole training, both by what it included and by what it excluded, tended to produce isolation from their neighbours. Moses Mendelssohn, both by his career and by his propaganda, for ever put an end to these conditions; he more than any other man. Born in the ghetto of Dessau, he was not of the ghetto. At the age of fourteen he found his way to Berlin, where Frederick the Great, inspired by the spirit of Voltaire, held the maxim that “to oppress the Jews never brought prosperity to any government.” Mendelssohn became a warm friend of Lessing, the hero of whose drama Nathan the Wise was drawn from the Dessau Jew. Mendelssohn’s Phaedo, on the immortality of the soul, brought the author into immediate fame, and the simple home of the “Jewish Plato” was sought by many of the leaders of Gentile society in Berlin. Mendelssohn’s translation of the Pentateuch into German with a new commentary by himself and others introduced the Jews to more modern ways of thinking. Two results emanated from Mendelssohn’s work. A new school of scientific study of Judaism emerged, to be dignified by the names of Leopold Zunz (q.v.), H. Graetz (q.v.) and many others. On the other hand Mendelssohn by his pragmatic conception of religion (specially in his Jerusalem) weakened the belief of certain minds in the absolute truth of Judaism, and thus his own grandchildren (including the famous musician Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy) as well as later Heine, Börne, Gans and Neander, embraced Christianity. Within Judaism itself two parties were formed, the Liberals and the Conservatives, and as time went on these tendencies definitely organized themselves. Holdheim (q.v.) and Geiger (q.v.) led the reform movement in Germany and at the present day the effects of the movement are widely felt in America on the Liberal side and on the opposite side in the work of the neo-orthodox school founded by S. R. Hirsch (q.v.). Modern seminaries were established first in Breslau by Zacharias Fränkel (q.v.) and later in other cities. Brilliant results accrued from all this participation in the general life of Germany. Jews, engaged in all the professions and pursuits of the age, came to the front in many branches of public life, claiming such names as Riesser (d. 1863) and Lasker in politics, Auerbach in literature, Rubinstein and Joachim in music, Traube in medicine, and Lazarus in psychology. Especially famous have been the Jewish linguists, pre-eminent among them Theodor Benfey (1809–1881), the pioneer of modern comparative philology; and the Greek scholar and critic Jakob Bernays (1824–1881).
49. Effect of the French Revolution.—In close relation to the German progress in Mendelssohn’s age, events had been progressing in France, where the Revolution did much to improve the Jewish condition, thanks largely to the influence of Mirabeau. In 1807 Napoleon convoked a Jewish assembly in Paris. Though the decisions of this body had no binding force on the Jews generally, yet in some important particulars its decrees represent principles widely adopted by the Jewish community. They proclaim the acceptance of the spirit of Mendelssohn’s reconciliation of the Jews to modern life. They assert the citizenship and patriotism of Jews, their determination to accommodate themselves to the present as far as they could while retaining loyalty to the past. They declare their readiness to adapt the law of the synagogue to the law of the land, as for instance in the question of marriage and divorce. No Jew, they decided, may perform the ceremony of marriage unless civil formalities have been fulfilled; and divorce is allowed to the Jews only if and so far as it is confirmatory of a legal divorce pronounced by the civil law of the land. The French assembly did not succeed in obtaining formal assent to these decisions (except from Frankfort and Holland), but they gained the practical adhesion of the majority of Western and American Jews. Napoleon, after the report of the assembly, established the consistorial system which remained in force, with its central consistory in the capital, until the recent separation of church and state. Many French Jews acquired fame, among them the ministers Crémieux (1796–1879), Fould, Gondchaux and Raynal; the archaeologists and philologians Oppert, Halévy, Munk, the Derenbourgs, Darmesteters and Reinachs; the musicians Halévy, Waldteufel and Meyerbeer; the authors and dramatists Catulle Mendès and A. d’Ennery, and many others, among them several distinguished occupants of civil and military offices.
50. Modern Italy.—Similar developments occurred in other countries, though it becomes impossible to treat the history of the Jews, from this time onwards, in general outline. We must direct our attention to the most important countries in such detail as space permits. And first as to Italy, where the Jews in a special degree have identified themselves with the national life. The revolutions of 1848, which greatly affected the position of the Jews in several parts of Europe, brought considerable gain to the Jews of Italy. During the war against Austria in the year named, Isaac Pesaro Marogonato was finance minister in Venice. Previously to this date the Jews were still confined to the ghetto, but in 1859, in the Italy united under Victor Emanuel II., the Jews obtained complete rights, a privilege which was extended also to Rome itself in 1870. The Italian Jews devoted themselves with ardour to the service of the state. Isaac Artom was Cavour’s secretary, L’ Olper a counsellor of Mazzini. “The names of the Jewish soldiers who died in the cause of Italian liberty were placed along with those of their Christian fellow soldiers on the monuments erected in their honour” (Jewish Encyclopedia, vii. 10). More recently men like Wollemberg, Ottolenghi and Luzzatti rose to high positions as ministers of state. Most noted of recent Jewish scholars in Italy was S. D. Luzzatto (q.v.).
51. Austria.—From Italy we may turn to the country which so much influenced Italian politics, Austria, which had founded the system of “Court Jews” in 1518, had expelled the Jews from Vienna as late as 1670, when the synagogue of that city was converted into a church. But economic laws are often too strong for civil vagaries or sectarian fanaticism, and as the commerce of Austria suffered by the absence of the Jews, it was impossible to exclude the latter from the fairs in the provincesfrom the markets of the capital. As has been pointed out above, certain protected Jews were permitted to reside in places where the expulsion of the Jews had been decreed. But Maria Theresa (1740–1780) was distinguished for her enmity to the Jews, and in 1744 made a futile attempt to secure their expulsion from Bohemia. “In 1760 she issued an order that all unbearded Jews should wear a yellow badge on their left arm” (Jewish Encyclopedia, ii. 330). The most petty limitations of Jewish commercial activity continued; thus at about this period the community of Prague, in a petition, “complain that they are not permitted to buy victuals in the market before a certain hour, vegetables not before 9 and cattle not before 11 o’clock; to buy fish is sometimes altogether prohibited; Jewish druggists are not permitted to buy victuals at the same time with Christians” (op. cit.). So, too, with taxation. It was exorbitant and vexatious. To pay for rendering inoperative the banishment edict of 1744, the Jews were taxed 3,000,000 florins annually for ten years. In the same year it was decreed that the Jews should pay “a special tax of 40,000 florins for the right to import their citrons for the feast of booths.” Nevertheless, Joseph II. (1780–1790) inaugurated a new era for the Jews of his empire. Soon after his accession he abolished the distinctive Jewish dress, abrogated the poll-tax, admitted the Jews to military service and their children to the public schools, and in general opened the era of emancipation by the Toleranzpatent of 1782. This enlightened policy was not continued by the successors of Joseph II. Under Francis II. (1792–1835) economic and social restrictions were numerous. Agriculture was again barred; indeed the Vienna congress of 1815 practically restored the old discriminations against the Jews. As time went on, a more progressive policy intervened, the special form of Jewish oath was abolished in 1846, and in 1848, as a result of the revolutionary movement in which Jews played an active part, legislation took a more liberal turn. Francis Joseph I. ascended the throne in that year, and though the constitution of 1849 recognized the principle of religious liberty, an era of reaction supervened, especially when “the concordat of 1855 delivered Austria altogether into the hands of the clericals.” But the day of medieval intolerance had passed, and in 1867 the new constitution “abolished all disabilities on the ground of religious differences,” though anti-Semitic manipulation of the law by administrative authority has led to many instances of intolerance. Many Jews have been members of the Reichsrath, some have risen to the rank of general in the army, and Austrian Jews have contributed their quota to learning, the arts and literature. Löw, Jellinek, Kaufmann, as scholars in the Jewish field; as poets and novelists, Kompert, Franzos, L. A. Frankl; the pianist Moscheles, the dramatist Mosenthal, and the actor Sonnenthal, the mathematician Spitzer and the chess-player Steinitz are some of the most prominent names. The law of 1890 makes it “compulsory for every Jew to be a member of the congregation of the district in which he resides, and so gives to every congregation the right to tax the individual members” (op. cit.). A similar obligation prevails in parts of Germany. A Jew can avoid the communal tax only by formally declaring himself as outside the Jewish community. The Jews of Hungary shared with their brethren in Austria the same alternations of expulsion and recall. By the law “De Judaeis” passed by the Diet in 1791 the Jews were accorded protection, but half a century passed before their tolerated condition was regularized. The “toleration-tax” was abolished in 1846. During the revolutionary outbreak of 1848, the Jews suffered severely in Hungary, but as many as 20,000 Jews are said to have joined the army. Kossuth succeeded in granting them temporary emancipation, but the suppression of the War of Independence led to an era of royal autocracy which, while it advanced Jewish culture by enforcing the establishment of modern schools, retarded the obtaining of civic and political rights. As in Austria, so in Hungary, these rights were granted by the constitution of 1867. But one step remained. The Hungarian Jews did not consider themselves fully emancipated until the Synagogue was “duly recognized as one of the legally acknowledged religions of the country.” This recognition was granted by the law of 1895–1896. In the words of Büchler (Jewish Encyclopedia, vi. 503): “Since their emancipation the Jews have taken an active part in the political, industrial, scientific and artistic life of Hungary. In all these fields they have achieved prominence. They have also founded great religious institutions. Their progress has not been arrested even by anti-Semitism, which first developed in 1883 at the time of the Tisza-Eslar accusation of ritual murder.”
52. Other European Countries.—According to M. Caimi the present Jewish communities of Greece are divisible into five groups: (1) Arta (Epirus); (2) Chalcis (Euboea); (3) Athens (Attica); (4) Volo, Larissa and Trikala (Thessaly); and (5) Corfu and Zante (Ionian Islands). The Greek constitution admits no religious disabilities, but anti-Semitic riots in Corfu and Zante in 1891 caused much distress and emigration. In Spain there has been of late a more liberal attitude towards the Jews, and there is a small congregation (without a public synagogue) in Madrid. In 1858 the edict of expulsion was repealed. Portugal, on the other hand, having abolished the Inquisition in 1821, has since 1826 allowed Jews freedom of religion, and there are synagogues in Lisbon and Faro. In Holland the Jews were admitted to political liberty in 1796. At present more than half of the Dutch Jews are concentrated in Amsterdam, being largely engaged in the diamond and tobacco trades. Among famous names of recent times foremost stands that of the artist Josef Israels. In 1675 was consecrated in Amsterdam the synagogue which is still the most noted Jewish edifice in Europe. Belgium granted full freedom to the Jews in 1815, and the community has since 1808 been organized on the state consistorial system, which till recently also prevailed in France. It was not till 1874 that full religious equality was granted to the Jews of Switzerland. But there has been considerable interference (ostensibly on humanitarian grounds) with the Jewish method of slaughtering animals for food (Sheḥitah) and the method was prohibited by a referendum in 1893. In the same year a similar enactment was passed in Saxony, and the subject is a favourite one with anti-Semites, who have enlisted on their side some scientific authorities, though the bulk of expert opinion is in favor of Sheḥitah (see Dembo, Das Schlachten, 1894). In Sweden the Jews have all the rights which are open to non-Lutherans; they cannot become members of the council of state. In Norway there is a small Jewish settlement (especially in Christiania) who are engaged in industrial pursuits and enjoy complete liberty. Denmark has for long been distinguished for its liberal policy towards the Jews. Since 1814 the latter have been eligible as magistrates, and in 1849 full equality was formally ratified. Many Copenhagen Jews achieved distinction as manufacturers, merchants and bankers, and among famous Jewish men of letters may be specially named Georg Brandes.
The story of the Jews in Russia and Rumania remains a black spot on the European record. In Russia the Jews are more numerous and more harshly treated than in any other part of the world. In the remotest past Jews were settled in much of the territory now included in Russia, but they are still treated as aliens. They are restricted to the pale of settlement which was first established in 1791. The pale now includes fifteen governments, and under the May laws of 1892 the congestion of the Jewish population, the denial of free movement, and the exclusion from the general rights of citizens were rendered more oppressive than ever before. The right to leave the pale is indeed granted to merchants of the first gild, to those possessed of certain educational diplomas, to veteran soldiers and to certain classes of skilled artisans. But these concessions are unfavourably interpreted and much extortion results. Despite a huge emigration of Jews from Russia, the congestion within the pale is the cause of terrible destitution and misery. Fierce massacres occurred in Nizhniy-Novgorod in 1882, and in Kishinev in 1903. Many other pogroms have occurred, and the condition of the Jews has been reduced to one of abject poverty and despair. Much was hoped from the duma, but this body has proved bitterly opposed to the Jewish claim for liberty. Yet in spite of these disabilities there are amongst the Russian Jews many enterprising contractors, skilful doctors, and successful lawyers and scientists. In Rumania, despite the Berlin Treaty, the Jews are treated as aliens, and but a small number have been naturalized. They are excluded from most of the professions and are hampered in every direction.
53. Oriental Countries.—In the Orient the condition of the Jews has been much improved by the activity of Western organizations, of which something is said in a later paragraph. Modern schools have been set up in many places, and Palestine has been the scene of a notable educational and agricultural revival, while technical schools—such as the agricultural college near Jaffa and the schools of the alliance and the more recent Bezalel in Jerusalem—have been established. Turkey has always on the whole tolerated the Jews, and much is hoped from the new régime. In Morocco the Jews, who until late in the 19th century were often persecuted, are still confined to a mellah (separate quarter), but at the coast-towns there are prosperous Jewish communities mostly engaged in commerce. In other parts of the same continent, in Egypt and in South Africa, many Jews have settled, participating in all industrial and financial pursuits. Recently a mission has been sent to the Falashas of Abyssinia, and much interest has been felt in such outlying branches of the Jewish people as the Black Jews of Cochin and the Bene Israel community of Bombay. In Persia Jews are often the victims of popular outbursts as well as of official extortion, but there are fairly prosperous communities at Bushire, Isfahan, Teheran and Kashan (in Shiraz they are in low estate). The recent advent of constitutional government may improve the condition of the Jews.
54. The United Kingdom.—The general course of Jewish history in England has been indicated above. The Jews came to England at least as early as the Norman Conquest; they were expelled from Bury St Edmunds in 1190, after the massacres at the coronation of Richard I.; they were required to wear badges in 1218. At the end of the 12th century was established the “exchequer of the Jews,” which chiefly dealt with suits concerning money-lending, and arranged a “continual flow of money from the Jews to the royal treasury,” and a so-called “parliament of the Jews” was summoned in 1241; in 1275 was enacted the statute de Judaismo which, among other things, permitted the Jews to hold land. But this concession was illusory, and as the statute prevented Jews from engaging in finance—the only occupation which had been open to them—it was a prelude to their expulsion in 1290. There were few Jews in England from that date till the Commonwealth, but Jews settled in the American colonies earlier in the 17th century, and rendered considerable services in the advancement of English commerce. The Whitehall conference of 1655 marks a change in the status of the Jews in England itself, for though no definite results emerged it was clearly defined by the judges that there was no legal obstacle to the return of the Jews. Charles II. in 1664 continued Cromwell’s tolerant policy. No serious attempt towards the emancipation of the Jews was made till the Naturalization Act of 1753, which was, however, immediately repealed. Jews no longer attached to the Synagogue, such as the Herschels and Disraelis, attained to fame. In 1830 the first Jewish emancipation bill was brought in by Robert Grant, but it was not till the legislation of 1858–1860 that Jews obtained full parliamentary rights. In other directions progress was more rapid. The office of sheriff was thrown open to Jews in 1835 (Moses Montefiore, sheriff of London was knighted in 1837); Sir I. L. Goldsmid was made a baronet in 1841, Baron Lionel de Rothschild was elected to Parliament in 1847 (though he was unable to take his seat), Alderman (Sir David) Salomons became lord mayor of London in 1855 and Francis Goldsmid was made a Q.C. in 1858. In 1873 Sir George Jessel was made a judge, and Lord Rothschild took his seat in the House of Lords as the first Jewish peer in 1886. A fair proportion of Jews have been elected to the House of Commons, and Mr Herbert Samuel rose to cabinet rank in 1909. Sir Matthew Nathan has been governor of Hong-Kong and Natal, and among Jewish statesmen in the colonies Sir Julius Vogel and V. L. Solomon have been prime ministers (Hyamson: A History of the Jews in England, p. 342). It is unnecessary to remark that in the British colonies the Jews everywhere enjoy full citizenship. In fact, the colonies emancipated the Jews earlier than did the mother country. Jews were settled in Canada from the time of Wolfe, and a congregation was founded at Montreal in 1768, and since 1832 Jews have been entitled to sit in the Canadian parliament. There are some thriving Jewish agricultural colonies in the same dominion. In Australia the Jews from the first were welcomed on perfectly equal terms. The oldest congregation is that of Sydney (1817); the Melbourne community dates from 1844. Reverting to incidents in England itself, in 1870 the abolition of university tests removed all restrictions on Jews at Oxford and Cambridge, and both universities have since elected Jews to professorships and other posts of honour. The communal organization of English Jewry is somewhat inchoate. In 1841 an independent reform congregation was founded, and the Spanish and Portuguese Jews have always maintained their separate existence with a Ḥaham as the ecclesiastical head. In 1870 was founded the United Synagogue, which is a metropolitan organization, and the same remark applies to the more recent Federation of Synagogues. The chief rabbi, who is the ecclesiastical head of the United Synagogue, has also a certain amount of authority over the provincial and colonial Jewries, but this is nominal rather than real. The provincial Jewries, however, participate in the election of the chief rabbi. At the end of 1909 was held the first conference of Jewish ministers in London, and from this is expected some more systematic organization of scattered communities. Anglo-Jewry is rich, however, in charitable, educational and literary institutions; chief among these respectively may be named the Jewish board of guardians (1859), the Jews’ college (1855), and the Jewish historical society (1893). Besides the distinctions already noted, English Jews have risen to note in theology (C. G. Montefiore), in literature (Israel Zangwill and Alfred Sutro), in art (S. Hart, R.A., and S. J. Solomon, R.A.) in music (Julius Benedict and Frederick Hymen Cowen). More than 1000 English and colonial Jews participated as active combatants in the South African War. The immigration of Jews from Russia was mainly responsible for the ineffective yet oppressive Aliens Act of 1905. (Full accounts of Anglo-Jewish institutions are given in the Jewish Year-Book published annually since 1895.)
55. The American Continent.—Closely parallel with the progress of the Jews in England has been their steady advancement in America. Jews made their way to America early in the 16th century, settling in Brazil prior to the Dutch occupation. Under Dutch rule they enjoyed full civil rights. In Mexico and Peru they fell under the ban of the Inquisition. In Surinam the Jews were treated as British subjects; in Barbadoes, Jamaica and New York they are found as early as the first half of the 17th century. During the War of Independence the Jews of America took a prominent part on both sides, for under the British rule many had risen to wealth and high social position. After the Declaration of Independence, Jews are found all over America, where they have long enjoyed complete emancipation, and have enormously increased in numbers, owing particularly to immigration from Russia. The American Jews bore their share in the Civil War (7038 Jews were in the two armies), and have always identified themselves closely with national movements such as the emancipation of Cuba. They have attained to high rank in all branches of the public service, and have shown most splendid instances of far-sighted and generous philanthropy. Within the Synagogue the reform movement began in 1825, and soon won many successes, the central conference of American rabbis and Union College (1875) at Cincinnati being the instruments of this progress. At the present time orthodox Judaism is also again acquiring its due position and the Jewish theological seminary of America was founded for this purpose. In 1908 an organization, inclusive of various religious sections, was founded under the description “the Jewish community of New York.” There have been four Jewish members of the United States senate, and about 30 of the national House of Representatives. Besides filling many diplomatic offices, a Jew (O. S. Straus) has been a member of the cabinet. Many Jews have filled professorial chairs at the universities, others have been judges, and in art, literature (there is a notable Jewish publication society), industry and commerce have rendered considerable services to national culture and prosperity. American universities have owed much to Jewish generosity, a foremost benefactor of these (as of many other American institutions) being Jacob Schiff. Such institutions as the Gratz and Dropsie colleges are further indications of the splendid activity of American Jews in the educational field. The Jews of America have also taken a foremost place in the succour of their oppressed brethren in Russia and other parts of the world. (Full accounts of American Jewish institutions are given in the American Jewish Year-Book, published annually since 1899.)
56. Anti-Semitism.—It is saddening to be compelled to close this record with the statement that the progress of the European Jews received a serious check by the rise of modern anti-Semitism in the last quarter of the 19th century. While in Russia this took the form of actual massacre, in Germany and Austria it assumed the shape of social and civic ostracism. In Germany Jews are still rarely admitted to the rank of officers in the army, university posts are very difficult of access, Judaism and its doctrines are denounced in medieval language, and a tone of hostility prevails in many public utterances. In Austria, as in Germany, anti-Semitism is a factor in the parliamentary elections. The legend of ritual murder (q.v.) has been revived, and every obstacle is placed in the way of the free intercourse of Jews with their Christian fellow-citizens. In France Edouard Adolphe Drumont led the way to a similar animosity, and the popular fury was fanned by the Dreyfus case. It is generally felt, however, that this recrudescence of anti-Semitism is a passing phase in the history of culture (see Anti-Semitism).
57. The Zionist Movement.—The Zionist movement (see Zionism), founded in 1895 by Theodor Herzl (q.v.) was in a sense the outcome of anti-Semitism. Its object was the foundation of a Jewish state in Palestine, but though it aroused much interest it failed to attract the majority of the emancipated Jews, and the movement has of late been transforming itself into a mere effort at colonization. Most Jews not only confidently believe that their own future lies in progressive development within the various nationalities of the world, but they also hope that a similar consummation is in store for the as yet unemancipated branches of Israel. Hence the Jews are in no sense internationally organized. The influence of the happier communities has been exercised on behalf of those in a worse position by individuals such as Sir Moses Montefiore (q.v.) rather than by societies or leagues. From time to time incidents arise which appeal to the Jewish sympathies everywhere and joint action ensues. Such incidents were the Damascus charge of ritual murder (1840), the forcible baptism of the Italian child Mortara (1858), and the Russian pogroms at various dates. But all attempts at an international union of Jews, even in view of such emergencies as these, have failed. Each country has its own local organization for dealing with Jewish questions. In France the Alliance Israélite (founded in 1860), in England the Anglo-Jewish Association (founded in 1871), in Germany the Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden, and in Austria the Israelitische Allianz zu Wien (founded 1872), in America the American Jewish Committee (founded 1906), and similar organizations in other countries deal only incidentally with political affairs. They are concerned mainly with the education of Jews in the Orient, and the establishment of colonies and technical institutions. Baron Hirsch (q.v.) founded the Jewish colonial association, which has undertaken vast colonizing and educational enterprises, especially in Argentina, and more recently the Jewish territorial organization has been started to found a home for the oppressed Jews of Russia. All these institutions are performing a great regenerative work, and the tribulations and disappointments of the last decades of the 19th century were not all loss. The gain consisted in the rousing of the Jewish consciousness to more virile efforts towards a double end, to succour the persecuted and ennoble the ideals of the emancipated.
58. Statistics.—Owing to the absence of a religious census in several important countries, the Jewish population of the world can only be given by inferential estimate. The following approximate figures are taken from the American Jewish Year-Book for 1909–1910 and are based on similar estimates in the English Jewish Year-Book, the Jewish Encyclopedia, Nossig’s Jüdische Statistik and the Reports of the Alliance Israélite Universelle. According to these estimates the total Jewish population of the world in the year named was approximately 11,500,000. Of this total there were in the British Empire about 380,000 Jews (British Isles 240,000, London accounts for 150,000 of these; Canada and British Columbia 60,000; India 18,000; South Africa 40,000). The largest Jewish populations were those of Russia (5,215,000), Austria-Hungary (2,084,000), United States of America (1,777,000), Germany (607,000, of whom 409,000 were in Prussia), Turkey (463,000, of whom some 78,000 resided in Palestine), Rumania (250,000), Morocco (109,000) and Holland (106,000). Others of the more important totals are: France 95,000 (besides Algeria 63,000 and Tunis 62,000); Italy 52,000; Persia 49,000; Egypt 39,000; Bulgaria 36,000; Argentine Republic 30,000; Tripoli 19,000; Turkestan and Afghanistan 14,000; Switzerland and Belgium each 12,000; Mexico 9000; Greece 8000; Servia 6000; Sweden and Cuba each 4000; Denmark 3500; Brazil and Abyssinia (Falashas) each 3000; Spain and Portugal 2500; China and Japan 2000. There are also Jews in Curaçoa, Surinam, Luxemburg, Norway, Peru, Crete and Venezuela; but in none of these does the Jewish population much exceed 1000.
Bibliography.—H. Graetz, Geschichte der Juden (11 vols., 1853–1875; several subsequent editions of separate volumes; Eng. trans. 5 vols., 1891–1892); the works of L. Zunz; Jewish Encyclopedia passim; publications of Jewish societies, such as Études Juives, Jewish historical societies of England and America, German historical commission, Julius Barasch society (Rumania), Societas Litteraria Hungarico-Judaica, the Viennese communal publications, and many others to which may be added the 20 vols. of the Jewish Quarterly Review; Scherer, Rechtsverhältnisse der Juden (1901); M. Güdemann Geschichte des Erziehungswesens und der Cultur der Juden (1880, &c.); A. Leroy-Beaulieu, Israel among the Nations (1895); I. Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages (1896); G. F. Abbott, Israel in Europe (1905); G. Caro, Wirtschaftsgeschichte der Juden (1908); M. Philippson, Neueste Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes (1907, &c.); Nossig, Jüdische Statistik (1903); and such special works as H. Gross, Gallia Judaica (1897), &c. (I. A.)
- On the homogeneity of the population, see further, W. R. Smith, Religion of the Semites (2nd ed., chaps, i.-iii.); T. Nöldeke, Sketches from Eastern History, pp. 1-20 (on “Some Characteristics of the Semitic Race”); and especially E. Meyer, Gesch. d. Altertums (2nd ed., i. §§ 330, sqq.). For the relation between the geographical characteristics and the political history, see G. A. Smith, Historical Geography of the Holy Land.
- For fuller information on this section see Palestine: History, and the related portions of Babylonia and Assyria, Egypt, Hittites, Syria.
- Or land Israel, W. Spiegelberg, Orient. Lit. Zeit. xi. (1908), cols. 403–405.
- It is useful to compare the critical study of the Koran (q.v.), where, however, the investigation of its various “revelations” is simpler than that of the biblical “prophecies” on account of the greater wealth of independent historical tradition. See also G. B. Gray, Contemporary Review (July 1907); A. A. Bevan, Cambridge Biblical Essays (ed. Swete, 1909), pp. 1-19.
- See primarily Bible: Old Testament; the articles on the contents and literary structure of the several books; the various biographical, topographical and ethnical articles, and the separate treatment of the more important subjects (e.g. Levites, Prophet, Sacrifice).
- On the bearing of external evidence upon the internal biblical records, see especially S. R. Driver’s essay in Hogarth’s Authority and Archaeology; cf. also A. A. Bevan, Critical Review (1897, p. 406 sqq., 1898, pp. 131 sqq.); G. B. Gray, Expositor, May 1898; W. G. Jordan, Bib. Crit. and Modern Thought (1909), pp. 42 sqq.
- For the sections which follow the present writer may be permitted to refer to his introductory contributions in the Expositor (June, 1906; “The Criticism of the O.T.”); the Jewish Quarterly Review (July 1905–January 1907 = Critical Notes on O.T. History, especially sections vii.–ix.); July and October 1907, April 1908; Amer. Journ. Theol. (July 1909, “Simeon and Levi: the Problem of the Old Testament”); and Swete’s Cambridge Bib. Essays, pp. 54–89 (“The Present Stage of O.T. Research”).
- On the name see Jehovah, Tetragrammaton.
- The story of Joseph has distinctive internal features of its own, and appears to be from an independent cycle, which has been used to form a connecting link between the Settlement and the Exodus; see also Ed. Meyer, Die Israeliten u. ihre Nachbarstämme (1906), pp. 228, 433; B. Luther, ibid. pp. 108 seq., 142 sqq. Neither of the poems in Deut. xxxii. seq. alludes to an escape from Egypt; Israel is merely a desert tribe inspired to settle in Palestine. Apparently even the older accounts of the exodus are not of very great antiquity; according to Jeremiah ii. 2, 7 (cf. Hos. ii. 15) some traditions of the wilderness must have represented Israel in a very favourable light; for the “canonical” view, see Ezekiel xvi., xx., xxiii.
- The capture of central Palestine itself is not recorded; according to its own traditions the district had been seized by Jacob (Gen. xlviii. 22; cf. the late form of the tradition in Jubilees xxxiv.). This conception of a conquering hero is entirely distinct from the narratives of the descent of Jacob into Egypt, &c. (see Meyer and Luther, op. cit. pp. 110, 227 seq., 415, 433).
- This is especially true of the various ingenious attempts to combine the invasion of the Israelites with the movements of the Ḥabiru in the Amarna period (§ 3).
- Cf. Winckler, Keil. u. das Alte Test. p. 212 seq.; also his “Der alte Orient und die Geschichtsforschung” in Mitteilungen der Vorderasiat. Gesellschaft (Berlin, 1906) and Religionsgeschichtlicher u. gesch. Orient (Leipzig, 1906); A. Jeremias, Alte Test. (p. 464 seq.); B. Baentsch, Altorient. u. Israel. Monotheismus (pp. 53, 79, 105, &c.); also Theolog. Lit. Blatt (1907) No. 19. On the reconstructions of the tribal history, see especially T. K. Cheyne, Ency. Bib. art. “Tribes.” The most suggestive study of the pre-monarchical narratives is that of E. Meyer and B. Luther (above; see the former’s criticisms on the reconstructions, pp. 50, 251 sqq., 422, n. 1 and passim).
- 2 Chron. xii. 8, which is independent of the chronicler’s artificial treatment of his material, apparently points to some tradition of Egyptian suzerainty.
- See for chronology, Babylonia and Assyria, §§ v. and viii.
- See Jew. Quart. Rev. (1908), pp. 597–630. The independent Israelite traditions which here become more numerous have points of contact with those of Saul in 1 Samuel, and the relation is highly suggestive for the study of their growth, as also for the perspective of the various writers.
- See W. R. Smith (after Kuenen), Ency. Bib., col. 2670; also W. E. Addis, ib., 1276, the commentaries of Benzinger (p. 130) and Kittel (pp. 153 seq.) on Kings; J. S. Strachan, Hastings’s Dict. Bible, i. 694; G. A. Smith, Hist. Geog. of Holy Land, p. 582; König and Hirsch, Jew. Ency. v. 137 seq. (“legend . . . as indifferent to accuracy in dates as it is to definiteness of places and names”); W. R. Harper, Amos and Hosea, p. xli. seq. (“the lack of chronological order . . . the result is to create a wrong impression of Elisha’s career”). The bearing of this displacement upon the literary and historical criticism of the narratives has never been worked out.
- Careful examination shows that no a priori distinction can be drawn between “trustworthy” books of Kings and “untrustworthy books” of Chronicles. Although the latter have special late and unreliable features, they agree with the former in presenting the same general trend of past history. The “canonical” history in Kings is further embellished in Chronicles, but the gulf between them is not so profound as that between the former and the underlying and half-suppressed historical traditions which can still be recognized. (See also Palestine: History.)
- For the former (2 Kings xii. 17 seq.) cf. Hezekiah and Sennacherib (xviii. 13–15), and for the latter, cf. Asa and Baasha (1 Kings xv. 18–20; above).
- It is possible that Hadad-nirari’s inscription refers to conditions in the latter part of his reign (812–783 B.C.), when Judah apparently was no longer independent and when Jeroboam II. was king of Israel. The accession of the latter has been placed between 785 and 782. It is now known, also, that Ben-hadad and a small coalition were defeated by the king of Hamath; but the bearing of this upon Israelite history is uncertain.
- Cf. generally, 1 Sam. iv., xxxi.; 2 Sam. ii. 8; 1 Kings xx., xxii.; 2 Kings vi. 8–vii. 20; also Judges v. (see Deborah).
- Special mention is made of Jonah, a prophet of Zebulun in (north) Israel (2 Kings xiv. 25). Nothing is known of him, unless the very late prophetical writing with the account of his visit to Nineveh rests upon some old tradition, which, however, can scarcely be recovered (see Jonah).
- This is philosophically handled by the Arabian historian Ibn Khaldūn, whose Prolegomena is well worthy of attention; see De Slane, Not. et extraits, vols. xix.–xxi., with Von Kremer’s criticisms in the Sitz. d. Kais. Akad. of Vienna (vol. xciii., 1879); cf. also R. Flint, History of the Philosophy of History, i. 157 sqq.
- Cf. J. G. Frazer, Adonis, Attis, Osiris (1907), p. 67: “Prophecy of the Hebrew type has not been limited to Israel; it is indeed a phenomenon of almost world-wide occurrence; in many lands and in many ages the wild, whirling words of frenzied men and women have been accepted as the utterances of an in-dwelling deity. What does distinguish Hebrew prophecy from all others is that the genius of a few members of the profession wrested this vulgar but powerful instrument from baser uses, and by wielding it in the interest of a high morality rendered a service of incalculable value to humanity. That is indeed the glory of Israel. . . .”
- The use which was made in Apocalyptic literature of the traditions of Moses, Isaiah and others finds its analogy within the Old Testament itself; cf. the relation between the present late prophecies of Jonah and the unknown prophet of the time of Jeroboam II. (see § 13, note 5). To condemn re-shaping or adaptation of this nature from a modern Western standpoint is to misunderstand entirely the Oriental mind and Oriental usage.
- The condemnation passed upon the impetuous and fiery zeal of the adherents of the new movement (cf. Hos. i. 4), like the remarkable vicissitudes in the traditions of Moses, Aaron and the Levites (qq.v.), represents changing situations of real significance, whose true place in the history can with difficulty be recovered.
- Formerly thought to be the third of the name.
- Perhaps Judah had come to an understanding with Tiglath-pileser (H. M. Haydn, Journ. Bib. Lit., xxviii. 1909, pp. 182-199); see Uzziah.
- The fact that these lists are of the kings of the “land Ḥatti” would suggest that the term “Hittite” had been extended to Palestine.
- So K. Budde, Rel. of Israel to Exile, pp. 165–167. For an attempt to recover the character of the cults, see W. Erbt, Hebräer (Leipzig, 1906), pp. 150 sqq.
- See G. Maspero, Gesch. d. morgenländ. Völker (1877), p. 446; E. Naville, Proc. Soc. Bibl. Archaeol. (1907), pp. 232 sqq., and T. K. Cheyne, Decline and Fall of Judah (1908), p. 13, with references. [The genuineness of such discoveries is naturally a matter for historical criticism to decide. Thus the discovery of Numa’s laws in Rome (Livy xl. 29), upon which undue weight has sometimes been laid (see Klostermann, Der Pentateuch (1906), pp. 155 sqq., was not accepted as genuine by the senate (who had the laws destroyed), and probably not by Pliny himself. Only the later antiquaries clung to the belief in their trustworthiness.—(Communicated.)]
- Both kings came to the throne after a conspiracy aimed at existing abuses, and other parallels can be found (see Kings).
- But see N. Schmidt, Ency. Bib., “Scythians,” § 1.
- So also one can now compare the estimate taken of the Jews in Egypt in Jer. xliv. with the actual religious conditions which are known to have prevailed later at Elephantine, where a small Jewish colony worshipped Yahu (Yahweh) at their own temple (see E. Sachau, “Drei aram. Papyrusurkunde,” in the Abhandlungen of the Prussian Academy, Berlin, 1907).
- Sargon had removed Babylonians into the land of Hatti (Syria and Palestine), and in 715 B.C. among the colonists were tribes apparently of desert origin (Tamud, Hayapa, &c.); other settlements are ascribed to Esar-haddon and perhaps Assur-bani-pal (Ezra iv. 2, 10). See for the evidence, A. E. Cowley, Ency. Bib., col. 4257; J. A. Montgomery, The Samaritans, pp. 46–57 (Philadelphia, 1907).
- The growing recognition that the land was not depopulated after 586 is of fundamental significance for the criticism of “exilic” and “post-exilic” history. G. A. Smith thus sums up a discussion of the extent of the deportations: “. . . A large majority of the Jewish people remained on the land. This conclusion may startle us with our generally received notions of the whole nation as exiled. But there are facts which support it” (Jerusalem, ii. 268).
- On the place of Palestine in Persian history see Persia: History, ancient, especially § 5 ii.; also Artaxerxes; Cambyses; Cyrus; Darius, &c.
- The evidence for Artaxerxes III., accepted by Ewald and others (see W. R. Smith, Old Testament in Jewish Church, p. 438 seq.; W. Judeich, Kleinasiat. Stud., p. 170; T. K. Cheyne, Ency. Bib., col. 2202; F. C. Kent, Hist. , pp. 230 sqq.) has however been questioned by Willrich, Judaica, 35–39 (see Cheyne, Ency. Bib., col. 3941). The account of Josephus (above) raises several difficulties, especially the identity of Bagoses. It has been supposed that he has placed the record too late, and that this Bagoses is the Judaean governor who flourished about 408 B.C. (See p. 286, n. 3.)
- Thus a decree of Darius I. takes the part of his subjects against the excessive zeal of the official Gadatas, and grants freedom of taxation and exemption from forced labour to those connected with a temple of Apollo in Asia Minor (Bulletin de correspondance hellénique, xiii. 529; E. Meyer, Entstehung des Judenthums, p. 19 seq.; cf. id. Forschungen, ii. 497).
- In addition to this, the Egyptian story of the priest Uza-hor at the court of Cambyses and Darius reflects a policy of religious tolerance which illustrates the biblical account of Ezra and Nehemiah (Brugsch, Gesch. Aeg. pp. 784 sqq.; see Cheyne, Jew. Relig. Life after the Exile, pp. 40–43).
- From Têma in north Arabia, also, there is monumental evidence of the 5th century B.C. for Babylonian and Assyrian influence upon the language, cult and art. For Nippur, see Bab. Exped. of Univ. of Pennsylvania, series A., vol. ix. (1898), by H. V. Hilprecht; for Elephantine, the Mond papyri, A. H. Sayce and A. E. Cowley, Aramaic Papyri Discovered at Assuan (1906), and those cited above (p. 282, n. 1). For the Jewish colonies in general, see H. Guthe, Ency. Bib., art. “Dispersion” (with references); also below, § 25 sqq.
- See Ezra and Nehemiah with bibliographical references, also T. K. Cheyne, Introd. to Isaiah (1895); Jew. Religious Life after the Exile (1898); E. Sellin, Stud. z. Entstehungsgesch. d. jüd. Gemeinde (1901); R. H. Kennett in Swete’s Cambridge Biblical Essays (pp. 92 sqq.); G. Jahn, Die Bücher Esra u. Nehemja (1909); and C. C. Torrey, Ezra Studies (1910).
- There is an obvious effort to preserve the continuity of tradition (a) in Ezra ii. which gives a list of families who returned from exile each to its own city, and (b) in the return of the holy vessels in the time of Cyrus (contrast 1 Esdras iv. 43 seq.), a view which, in spite of Dan. i. 2, v. 2 seq., conflicts with 2 Kings xxiv. 13 and xxv. 13 (see, however, v. 14). That attempts have been made to adjust contradictory representations is suggested by the prophecy ascribed to Jeremiah (xxvii. 16 sqq.) where the restoration of the holy vessels finds no place in the shorter text of the Septuagint (see W. R. Smith, Old Test. and Jew. Church, pp. 104 sqq.).
- The view that Deuteronomy is later than the 7th century has been suggested by M. Vernes, Nouvelle hypothèse sur la comp. et l’origine du Deut. (1887); Havet, Christian. et ses origines (1878); Horst, in Rev. de l’hist. des relig., 1888; and more recently by E. Day, Journ. Bib. Lit. (1902), pp. 202 sqq.; and R. H. Kennett, Journ. Theol. Stud. (1906), pp. 486 sqq. The strongest counter-arguments (see W. E. Addis, Doc. of Hexat. ii. 2–9) rely upon the historical trustworthiness of 2 Kings xxii. seq. Weighty reasons are brought also by conservative writers against the theory that Deuteronomy dates from or about the age of Josiah, and their objections to the “discovery” of a new law-roll apply equally to the “re-discovery” and promulgation of an old and authentic code.
- See, for Cheyne’s view, his Decline and Fall of Judah. Introduction (1908). The former tendency has many supporters; see, among recent writers, N. Schmidt, Hibbert Journal (1908), pp. 322 sqq.; C. F. Burney, Journ. Theol. Stud. (1908), pp. 321 sqq.; O. A. Toffteen, The Historic Exodus (1909), pp. 120 sqq.; especially Meyer and Luther, Die Israeliten, pp. 442–440, &c. For the early recognition of the evidence in question, see J. Wellhausen, De gentibus et familiis Judaeis (Göttingen, 1870); Prolegomena (Eng. trans.), pp. 216 sqq., 342 sqq., and 441–443 (from art. “Israel,” § 2, Ency. Brit. 9th ed.); also A. Kuenen, Relig. of Israel (i. 135 seq., 176–182); W. R. Smith, Prophets of Israel, pp. 28 seq., 379.
- For the prominence of the “southern” element in Judah see E. Meyer, Entstehung d. Judenthums (1896), pp. 119, 147, 167, 177, 183 n. 1; Israeliten, pp. 352 n. 5, 402, 429 seq.
- See § 23 end, and Levites. When Edom is renowned for wisdom and a small Judaean family boasts of sages whose names have south Palestinian affinity (1 Chron. ii. 6), and when such names as Korah, Heman, Ethan and Obed-edom, are associated with psalmody, there is no inherent improbability in the conjecture that the “southern” families settled around Jerusalem may have left their mark in other parts of the Old Testament. It is another question whether such literature can be identified (for Cheyne’s views, see Ency. Bib. “Prophetic Literature,” “Psalms,” and his recent studies).
- One may recall, in this connexion, Caxton’s very interesting prologue to Malory’s Morte d’Arthur and his remarks on the permanent value of the “histories” of this British hero. [Cf. also Horace, Ep. 1. ii. and R. Browning, “Development.”]
- It is noteworthy that Josephus, who has his own representation of the post-exilic age, allows two years and four months for the work (Ant. xi. 5, 8).
- The papyri from Elephantine (p. 282, n. 1, above) mention as contemporaries the Jerusalem priest Johanan (cf. the son of Joiada and father of Jaddua, Neh. xii. 22), Bagohi (Bagoas), governor of Judah, and Delaiah and Shelemiah sons of Sanballat (408–407 B.C.) They ignore any strained relations between Samaria and Judah, and Delaiah and Bagohi unite in granting permission to the Jewish colony to rebuild their place of worship. If this fixes the date of Sanballat and Nehemiah in the time of the first Artaxerxes, the probability of confusion in the later written sources is enhanced by the recurrence of identical names of kings, priests, &c., in the history.
- The Samaritans, for their part, claimed the traditions of their land and called themselves the posterity of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh. But they were ready to deny their kinship with the Jews when the latter were in adversity, and could have replied to the tradition that they were foreigners with a tu quoque (Josephus, Ant. ix. 14, 3; xi. 8, 6; xii. 5, 5) (see Samaritans).
- The statement that the king desired to avoid the divine wrath may possibly have some deeper meaning (e.g. some recent revolt, Ezra vii. 23).
- It must suffice to refer to the opinions of Bertholet, Buhl, Cheyne, Guthe, Van Hoonacker, Jahn, Kennett, Kent, Kosters, Marquart, Torrey, and Wildeboer.
- C. F. Kent, Israel’s Hist. and Biog. Narratives (1905), p. 358 seq. The objections against this very probable view undervalue Ezra iv. 7–23 and overlook the serious intricacies in the book of Nehemiah.
- There are three inquiries: (a) the critical value of 1 Esdras, (b) the character of the different representations of post-exilic internal and external history, and (c) the recovery of the historical facts. To start with the last before considering (a) and (b) would be futile.
- For example, to the sufferings under Artaxerxes III. (§ 19) have been ascribed such passages as Isa. lxiii. 7–lxiv. 12; Ps. xliv., lxxiv., lxxix., lxxx., lxxxiii. (see also Lamentations). In their present form they are not of the beginning of the 6th century and, if the evidence for Artaxerxes III. proves too doubtful, they may belong to the history preceding Nehemiah’s return, provided the internal features do not stand in the way (e.g. prior or posterior to the formation of the exclusive Judaean community, &c.). Since the book of Baruch (named after Jeremiah’s scribe) is now recognized to be considerably later (probably after the destruction of Jerusalem A.D. 70), it will be seen that the recurrence of similar causes leads to a similarity in the contemporary literary productions (with a reshaping of earlier tradition), the precise date of which depends upon delicate points of detail and not upon the apparently obvious historical elements.
- See H. Winckler, Keil. u. Alte Test., 295, and Kennett, Journ. Theol. Stud. (1906), p. 487; Camb. Bib. Essays, p. 117. The Chaldeans alone destroyed Jerusalem (2 Kings xxv.); Edom was friendly or at least neutral (Jer. xxvii. 3, xl. 11 seq.). The proposal to read “Edomites” for “Syrians” in the list of bands which troubled Jehoiakim (2 Kings xxiv. 2) is not supported by the contemporary reference, Jer. xxxv. 11.
- It is at least a coincidence that the prophet who took the part of Tobiah and Sanballat against Nehemiah (vi. 10 seq.) bears the same name as the one who advised Rehoboam to acquiesce in the disruption (1 Kings xii. 21–24), or announced the divine selection of Jeroboam (ib. v. 24, Septuagint only).
- See Hebrew Religion, § 8 seq., and the relevant portions of the histories of Israel.
- J. Wellhausen, art. “Israel,” Ency. Brit. 9th ed., vol. xiii. p. 419; or his Prolegomena, pp. 497 seq.
- An instructive account of Judaism in the early post-exilic age on critical lines (from the Jewish standpoint) is given by C. G. Montefiore, Hibbert Lectures (1892), pp. 355 sqq.; cf. also the sketch by I. Abrahams, Judaism (1907).
- Cf. the story of Phinehas, Num. xxv. 6 sqq.; on Gen. xxxiv., see Simeon. Apropos of hostility towards Samaria, it is singular that the term of reproach, “Cutheans,” applied to the Samaritans is derived from Cutha, the famous seat of the god Nergal, only some 25 m. N.E. of Babylon itself (see above, p. 286, n. 4).
- The various tendencies which can be observed in the later pseudepigraphical and apocalyptical writings are of considerable value in any consideration of the development of thought illustrated in the Old Testament itself.
- Reference may be made to H. Winckler, Gesch. Israels, ii. (1900); W. Erbt, Die Hebräer (1906); and T. K. Cheyne, Traditions and Beliefs of Ancient Israel (1907).
- On the writers mentioned below see articles s.v.
- For the importance of the Portuguese Jews, see Portugal: History.