The Old Testament in the Jewish Church

The Old Testament in the Jewish church (1892)
by William Robertson Smith
1895. Copied from
266104The Old Testament in the Jewish church1892William Robertson Smith



In republishing these Lectures, eleven years after their first appearance, I have had to consider what to emend, what to omit, and what to add. First, then, a careful revision of the whole volume has enabled me to correct a certain number of errors, and to make many statements more precise. In the second place, I have pruned away some redundancies more proper to oral delivery than to a printed book; and I have also removed from the "Notes and Illustrations" some things which seemed to be superfluous. As I was resolved to make no change on the general plan of the book, I at first hoped that these omissions would give me space for all necessary additions; for though much good work has been done within the last decade on special problems of Old Testament Criticism, there are not many points where these special researches affect the general arguments and broad results which I desired to set forth. But on mature consideration I came to see that in one direction the book might be profitably enlarged without a fundamental change of plan; it was desirable to give a fuller account of what the critics have to say about the narrative of the Old Testament Books. I have, therefore, made large additions to the part of Lecture V. that treats of the historical books, and, in consequence, have thrown the whole discussion of the Canon into Lecture VI. To the narrative of the Hexateuch I have devoted a supplementary Lecture (XIII.). Further, I have rewritten the greater part of the Lecture on the Psalter (VII.), incorporating the main conclusions of my article on this subject in the ninth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. I have also made considerable changes on Lecture XI., and at several other places I have introduced additional arguments and illustrations. Thus the book has grown till, in spite of omissions, it contains about one-third more matter than the first edition; and so it now appears with a larger page, and with most of the notes placed under the text, instead of being relegated to the end of the volume. Of the few "Additional Notes" which still stand after the text, those marked B, C, and E, except the last paragraph of B, are taken from the first edition; the others are new, and contain some observations which, I hope, may be of interest to Hebrew scholars, as well as to the larger class of readers for whom the book is mainly intended.


Christ's College, Cambridge, 21st March 1892.



The Twelve Lectures now laid before the public had their origin in a temporary victory of the opponents of progressive Biblical Science in Scotland, which has withdrawn me during the past winter from the ordinary work of my Chair in Aberdeen, and in the invitation of some six hundred prominent Free Churchmen in Edinburgh and Glasgow, who deemed it better that the Scottish public should have an opportunity of understanding the position of the newer Criticism than that they should condemn it unheard. The Lectures were delivered in Edinburgh and Glasgow during the first three months of the present year, and the average attendance on the course in the two cities was not less than eighteen hundred. The sustained interest with which this large audience followed the attempt to lay before them an outline of the problems, the methods, and the results of Old Testament Criticism is sufficient proof that they did not find modern Biblical Science the repulsive and unreal thing which it is often represented to be. The Lectures are printed mainly from shorthand reports taken in Glasgow, and as nearly as possible in the form in which they were delivered in Edinburgh after final revision. I have striven to make my exposition essentially popular in the legitimate sense of that word that is, to present a continuous argument, resting at every point on valid historical evidence, and so framed that it can be followed by the ordinary English reader who is familiar with the Bible and accustomed to consecutive thought. There are some critical processes which cannot be explained without constant use of the Hebrew Text; but I have tried to make all the main parts of the discussion independent of reference to these. Of course it is not possible for any sound argument to adopt in every case the renderings of the English Version. In important passages I have indicated the necessary corrections; but in general it is to be understood that, while I cite all texts by the English chapters and verses, I argue from the Hebrew.

The appended notes are designed to complete and illustrate the details of the argument, and to make the book more useful to students by supplying hints for further study. I have made no attempt to give complete references to the modern literature of the subject. Indeed, as the Lectures have been written, delivered, and printed in three months, it was impossible for me to reconsult all the books which have influenced my views, and acknowledge my indebtedness to each. My effort has been to give a lucid view of the critical argument as it stands in my own mind, and to support it in every part from the text of Scripture or other original sources. It is of the first importance that the reader should realise that Biblical Criticism is not the invention of modern scholars, but the legitimate interpretation of historical facts. I have tried, therefore, to keep the facts always in the foreground, and, when they are derived from ancient books not in every one's hands, I have either given full citations, or made careful reference to the original authorities.

The great value of historical criticism is that it makes the Old Testament more real to us. Christianity can never separate itself from its historical basis on the Religion of Israel; the revelation of God in Christ cannot be divorced from the earlier revelation on which our Lord built. In all true religion the new rests upon the old. No one, then, to whom Christianity is a reality can safely acquiesce in an unreal conception of the Old Testament history; and in an age when all are interested in historical research, no apologetic can prevent thoughtful minds from drifting away from faith if the historical study of the Old Covenant is condemned by the Church and left in the hands of unbelievers.

The current treatment of the Old Testament has produced a widespread uneasy suspicion that this history cannot bear to be tested like other ancient histories. The old method of explaining difficulties and reconciling apparent contradictions would no longer be tolerated in dealing with other books, and men ask themselves whether our Christian faith, the most precious gift of truth which God has given us, can safely base its defence on arguments that bring no sense of reality to the mind. Yet the history of Israel, when rightly studied, is the most real and vivid of all histories, and the proofs of God's working among His people of old may still be made, what they were in time past, one of the strongest evidences of Christianity. It was no blind chance, and no mere human wisdom, that shaped the growth of Israel's religion, and finally stamped it in these forms, now so strange to us, which preserved the living seed of the Divine word till the fulness of the time when He was manifested who transformed the religion of Israel into a religion for all mankind.

The increasing influence of critical views among earnest students of the Bible is not to be explained on the Manichean theory that new views commend themselves to mankind in proportion as they ignore God. The living God is as present in the critical construction of the history as in that to which tradition has wedded us. Criticism is a reality and a force because it unfolds a living and consistent picture of the Old Dispensation; it is itself a living thing, which plants its foot upon realities, and, like Dante among the shades, proves its life by moving what it touches.

"Così non soglion fare i piè de' morti."


Aberdeen, 4th April 1881.



LECTURE I: Criticism and the Theology of the Reformation. PAGE 1

LECTURE II: Christian Interpretation and Jewish Tradition. Page 21

LECTURE III: The Scribes. Page 42

LECTURE IV: The Septuagint. Page 73

LECTURE V: The Septuagint (continued) The Composition of Biblical Books. Page 108

LECTURE VI: The History of the Canon. Page 149

LECTURE VII: The Psalter. Page 188


LECTURE VIII: The Traditional Theory of the Old Testament History Page 226

LECTURE IX: The Law and the History of Israel before the Exile Page 254

LECTURE X: The Prophets. Page 278

LECTURE XI: The Pentateuch: The First Legislation. Page 309

LECTURE XII: The Deuteronomic Code and the Levitical Law Page 346

LECTURE XIII: The Narrative of the Hexateuch Page 388

Additional Notes


A. The Text of 1 Sam. xvii. . . . ,431

B. Hebrew Fragments preserved in the Septuagint . 433 Cc Sources of Psalm Ixxxvi. . . . .435

D. Maccabee Psalms in Books I.-III. of the Psalter . 437

E. The Fifty-first Psalm . . . .440

F. The Development of the Eitual System between Ezekiel

and Ezra ...... 442

Index of Passages discussed . . . .451

General Index . . . . . .453



I HAVE undertaken to deliver a course of lectures to you, not with a polemical purpose, but in answer to a request for information. I am not here to defend my private opinion on any disputed question, but to expound as well as I can the elements of a well-established department of historical study. Biblical criticism is a branch of historical science; and I hope to convince you as we proceed that it is a legitimate and necessary science, which must continue to draw the attention of all who go deep into the Bible and the religion of the Bible, if there is any Biblical science at all.

It would be affectation to ignore the fact that in saying so much I at once enter upon ground of controversy. The science of Biblical Criticism has not escaped the fate of every science which takes topics of general human interest for its subject matter, and advances theories destructive of current views upon things with which every one is familiar and in which every one has some practical concern. It would argue indifference rather than enlightenment, if the great mass of Bible-readers, to whom scientific points of view for the study of Scripture are wholly unfamiliar, could adjust themselves to a new line of investigation into the history of the Bible without passing through a crisis of anxious thought not far removed from distress and alarm.

The deepest practical convictions of our lives are seldom formulated with precision. They have been learned by experience rather than by logic, and we are content if we can give them an expression accurate enough to meet our daily wants. And so when we have to bring these convictions to bear on some new question, the formula which has sufficed us hitherto is very apt to lead us astray. For in rough practical formulas, in the working rules, if I may so call them, of our daily spiritual life, the essential is constantly mixed up with what is unimportant or even incorrect. We store our treasures of conviction in earthen vessels, and the broken pipkin of an obsolete formula often acquires for us the value of the treasure which it enshrines.

The persuasion that in the Bible God Himself speaks words of love and life to the soul is the essence of the Christian's conviction as to the truth and authority of Scripture. This persuasion is not, and cannot be, derived from external testimony. No tradition as to the worth of Scripture, no assurance transmitted from our fathers, or from any who in past time heard God's revealing voice, can make the revelation to which they bear witness a personal voice of God to us. The element of personal conviction, which lifts faith out of the region of probable evidence into the sphere of divine certainty, is given only by the Holy Spirit still bearing witness in and with the Word. But then the Word to which this spiritual testimony applies is a written word, which has a history, which has to be read and explained like other ancient books. How we read and explain the Bible depends in great measure on human teaching. The Bible itself is God's book, but the Bible as read and understood by any man or school of men is God's book plus a very large element of human interpretation.

In our ordinary Bible-reading these two things, the divine book and the human understanding of the book, are not kept sharply apart. We are aware that some passages are obscure, and we do not claim divine certitude for the interpretation that we put on them. But we are apt to forget that the influence of human and traditional interpretation goes much further than a few obscure passages. Our general views of the Bible history, our way of looking, not merely at passages, but at whole books, are coloured by things which we have learned from men, and which have no claim to rest on the self-evidencing divine Word. This we forget, and so, taking God's witness to His Word to be a witness to our whole conception of the Word, we claim divine authority for opinions which lie within the sphere of ordinary reason, and which can be proved or disproved by the ordinary laws of historical evidence. We assume that, because our reading of Scripture is sufficiently correct to allow us to find in it the God of redemption speaking words of grace to our soul, those who seek some other view of the historical aspects of Scripture are trying to eliminate the God of grace from His own book.

A large part of Bible-readers never come through the mental discipline which is necessary to cure prejudices of this kind, or, in other words, are never forced by the necessities of their intellectual and spiritual life to distinguish between the accidental and the essential, the human conjectures and the divine truth, which are wrapped up together in current interpretations of Scripture. But those who are called in providence to systematic and scholarly study of the Bible inevitably come face to face with facts which compel them to draw distinctions that, to a practical reader, may seem superfluous.

Consider what systematic and scholarly study involves in contradistinction to the ordinary practical use of the Bible.

Ordinary Bible-reading is eclectic and devotional. A detached passage is taken up, and attention is concentrated on the immediate edification which can be derived from it. Very often the profit which the Bible-reader derives from his morning or evening portion lies mainly in a single word of divine love coming straight home to the heart. And in general the real fruit of such Bible-reading lies less in any addition to one's store of systematic knowledge than in the privilege of withdrawing for a moment from the thoughts and cares of the world, to enter into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the God of love and redemption reveals Himself to the heart, and where the simplest believer can place himself by the side of the psalmist, the prophet, or the apostle, in that inner sanctuary where no sound is heard but the gracious accents of divine promise and the sweet response of assured and humble faith. Far be it from me to undervalue such use of Scripture. It is by this power of touching the heart and lifting the soul into converse with heaven that the Bible approves itself the pure and perfect Word of God, a lamp unto the feet and a light unto the path of every Christian. But, on the other hand, a study which is exclusively practical and devotional is necessarily imperfect. There are many things in Scripture which do not lend themselves to an immediate practical purpose, and which in fact are as good as shut out from the circle of ordinary Bible-reading. I know that good people often try to hide this fact from themselves by hooking on some sort of lesson to passages which they do not understand, or which do not directly touch any spiritual chord. There is very respectable precedent for this course, which in fact is nothing else than the method of tropical exegesis that reigned supreme in the Old Catholic and Mediaeval Church. The ancient fathers laid down the principle that everything in Scripture which, taken in its natural sense, appears unedifying must be made edifying by some method of typical or figurative application.[1] In principle this is no longer admitted in the Protestant Churches (unless perhaps for the Song of Solomon), but in practice we still get over many difficulties by tacking on a lesson which is not really taken out of the difficult passage, but read into it from some other part of Scripture. People satisfy themselves in this way, but they do not solve the difficulty. Let us be frank with ourselves, and admit that there are many things in Scripture in which unsystematic and merely devotional reading finds no profit. Such parts of the Bible as the genealogies in Chronicles, the description of Solomon's temple, a considerable portion of Ezekiel, and not a few of the details of ritual in the Pentateuch, do not serve an immediate devotional purpose, and are really blank pages except to systematical and critical study. And for a different reason the same thing is true of many passages of the prophetical and poetical books, where the language is so obscure, and the train of thought so difficult to grasp, that even the best scholars, with every help which philology can offer, will not venture to affirm that they possess a certain interpretation. Difficulties of this sort are not confined to a few corners of the Bible. They run through the whole volume, and force themselves on the attention of every one who desires to understand any book of the Bible as a whole.

And so we are brought to this issue. We may, if we please, confine our study of Scripture to what is immediately edifying, skimming lightly over all pages which do not serve a direct purpose of devotion, and ignoring every difficulty which does not yield to the faculty of practical insight, the power of spiritual sympathy with the mind of the Spirit, which the thoughtful Christian necessarily acquires in the habitual exercise of bringing Scripture to bear on the daily needs of his own life. This use of Scripture is full of personal profit, and raises no intellectual difficulties. But it does not do justice to the whole Word of God. It is limited for every individual by the limitations of his own religious experience. Reading the Bible in this way, a man comes to a very personal appreciation of so much of God's truth as is in immediate contact with the range of his own life. But he is sure to miss many truths which belong to another range of experience, and to read into the inspired page things from his own experience which involve human error. No man's inner life is so large, so perfectly developed, in a word so normal, that it can be used as a measure of the fulness of the Bible. The Church, therefore, which aims at an all-sided and catholic view, cannot be content with so much of truth as has practically approved itself to one man, or any number of men, all fallible and imperfect. What she desires to obtain is the sum of all those views of divine truth which are embodied in the experience of the inspired writers. She must try to get the whole meaning of every prophet, psalmist, or apostle, not by the rough-and-ready method of culling from a chapter as many truths as at once commend themselves to a Christian heart, but by taking up each piece of Biblical authorship as a whole, realising the position of the writer, and following out the progress of his thought in its minutest details. And in this process the Church, or the trained theologian labouring in the service of the Church, must not be discouraged by finding much that seems strange, foreign to current experience, or, at first sight, positively unedifying. It will not do to make our notions the measure of God's dealings with His people of old. The systematic student must first, and above all, do justice to his text. When he has done this, the practical use will follow of itself.

Up to the time of the Reformation the only kind of theological study which was thought worthy of serious attention was the study of dogma. People's daily spiritual life was supposed to be nourished, not by Scripture, but by the Sacraments. The experimental use of Scripture, so dear to Protestants, was not recognised as one of the main purposes for which God has given us the Bible. The use of the Bible was to furnish proof texts for the theologians of the Church, and the doctrines of the Church as expressed in the Creeds were the necessary and sufficient object of faith. The believer had indeed need of Christ as well as of a creed, but Christ was held forth to him, not in the Bible, but in the Mass. The Bible was the source of theological knowledge as to the mysterious doctrine of revelation, but the Sacraments were the means of grace.

The Reformation changed all this, and brought the Bible to the front as a living means of grace. How did it do so? Not, as is sometimes superficially imagined, by placing the infallible Bible in room of the infallible Church, but by a change in the whole conception of faith, of the plan and purpose of revelation, and of the operation of the means of grace.

Saving faith, says Luther, is not an intellectual assent to a system of doctrine superior to reason, but a personal trust on God in Christ, the appropriation of God's personal word and promise of redeeming love. God's grace is the manifestation of His redeeming love, and the means of grace are the means which He adopts to bring His word of love to our ears and to our hearts. All means of grace, all sacraments, have value only in so far as they bring to us a personal Word, that Word which is contained in the gospel and incarnate in our Lord. The supreme value of the Bible does not lie in the fact that it is the ultimate source of theology, but in the fact that it contains the whole message of God's love, that it is the personal message of that love to me, not doctrine but promise, not the display of God's metaphysical essence, but of His redeeming purpose ; in a word, of Himself as my God. Filled with this new light as to the mean- ing of Scripture, Luther displays profound contempt for the grubbing theologians who treated the Bible as a mere storehouse of proof texts, dealing with it, as he says of Tetzel, "like a sow with a bag of oats." The Bible is a living thing. The Middle Ages had no eye for anything but doctrinal mysteries, and where these were lacking saw only, as Luther complained, bare dead histories "which had simply taken place and concerned men no more." Nay, say the Reformers. This history is the story of God's dealings with his people of old. The heart of love which He opened to them, is still a heart of love to us. The great preeminence of the Bible history is that in it God speaks speaks not in the language of doctrine but of personal grace, which we have a right to take home to us now, just as it was taken by His ancient people.[2]

In a word, the Bible is a book of Experimental Religion, in which the converse of God with His people is depicted in all its stages up to the full and abiding manifestation of saving love in the person of Jesus Christ. God has no message to the believing soul which the Bible does not set forth, and set forth not in bare formulas but in living and experimental form, by giving the actual history of the need which the message supplies, and by showing how holy men of old received the message as a light to their own darkness, a comfort and a stay to their own souls. And so, to appropriate the divine message for our wants, we need no help of ecclesiastical tradition, no authoritative Churchly exegesis. All that we need is to put ourselves by the side of the psalmist, the prophet, or the apostle, to enter by spiritual sympathy into his experience, to feel our sin and need as he felt them, and to take home to us, as he took them, the gracious words of divine love. This it is which makes the Bible perspicuous and precious to every one who is taught of the Spirit. The history of the Reformation shows that these views fell upon the Church with all the force of a new discovery. It was nothing less than the resurrection of the living Word, buried for so many ages under the dust of a false interpretation. Now we all acknowledge the debt which we owe to the Reformers in this matter. We are agreed that to them we owe our open Bible; but we do not always understand what this gift means. We are apt to think and speak as if the Reformation had given us the Bible by removing artificial restrictions on its translation and circulation among the laity. There is a measure of truth in this view. But, on the other hand, there were translations in the vulgar tongues long before Luther. The Bible was never wholly withdrawn from the laity, and the preaching of the Word was the characteristic office of the Friars, and the great source of that popular influence which they strained to the uttermost against the Reformation. The real importance of Luther's work was not that he put the Bible into the hands of the laity, but that he vindicated for the Word a new use and a living interest which made it impossible that it should not be read by them. We are not disciples of the Reformation merely because we have the Bible in our hands, and appeal to it as the supreme judge. Luther's opponents appealed to the Bible as confidently as he did. But they did not understand the Bible as he did. To them it was a book revealing abstract doctrines. To him it was the record of God's words and deeds of love to the saints of old, and of the answer of their inmost heart to God. This conception changes the whole perspective of Biblical study, and, unless our studies are conformed to it, we are not the children of the Reformation.

The Bible, according to the Reformation view, is a history—the history of the work of redemption from the fall of man to the ascension of the risen Saviour and the mission of the Spirit by which the Church still lives. But the history is not a mere chronicle of supernatural deeds and revelations. It is the inner history of the converse of God with man that gives the Bible its peculiar worth. The story of God's grace is expounded to us by psalmists, prophets, and apostles, as they realised it in their own lives. For the progress of Revelation was not determined arbitrarily. No man can learn anything aright about God and His love, unless the new truth come home to his heart and grow into his life. What is still true of our appropriation of revealed truth was true also of its first communication. Inspired men were able to receive and set down new truths of revelation as a sure rule for our guidance, because these truths took hold of them with a personal grasp, and supplied heartfelt needs. Thus the record of revelation becomes, so to speak, the autobiography of the Church—the story of a converse with God, in which the saints of old actually lived.

Accordingly, the first business of the Reformation theologian is not to crystallise Bible truths into doctrines, but to follow, in all its phases, the manifold inner history of the religious life which the Bible unfolds. It is his business to study every word of Scripture, not merely by grammar and logic, but in its relation to the life of the writer, and the actual circumstances in which God's Word came to him. Only in this way can we hope to realise the whole rich personal meaning of the Word of grace. For God never spoke a word to any soul that was not exactly fitted to the occasion and the man. Separate it from this context, and it is no longer the same perfect Word.

The great goodness of God to us, in His gift of the Bible, appears very specially in the copious materials which He has supplied for our assistance in this task of historical exegesis. There are large passages in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, which, taken apart from the rest of the book, would appear quite deficient in spiritual instruction. Crude rationalism often proposes to throw these aside as mere lumber, forming no integral part of the record of revelation. And, on the other hand, a narrowly timid faith sometimes insists that such passages, even in their isolation, must be prized as highly as the Psalms or the Sermon on the Mount. Both these views are wrong, and both err in the same way, by forgetting that a Bible which shall enable us to follow the inner life of the course of Revelation must contain, not only words of grace and answers of faith, but as much of the ordinary history, the everyday life, and the current thoughts of the people to whom Revelation came, as will enable us to enter into their circumstances, and receive the Word as they received it. From this point of view we can recognise the hand of a wise Providence in the circumstance that the Old Testament contains, in far larger proportion than the New, matter of historical and archaeological interest, which does not serve a direct purpose of edification. For, in the study of the New Testament, we are assisted in the work of historical interpretation by a large contemporary literature of profane origin, whereas we have almost no contemporary helps for the study of Hebrew antiquity, beyond the books which were received into the Jewish Canon.[3]

The kind of Bible study which I have indicated is followed more or less instinctively by every intelligent reader. Every Christian takes home words of promise, of comfort, or of warning, by putting himself in the place of the first hearers of the Word, and uses the Bible devotionally by borrowing the answer spoken by the faith of apostles or psalmists. And the diligent reader soon learns that the profit of these exercises is proportioned to the accuracy with which he can compare his situations and needs with those underlying the text which he appropriates. But the systematic study of Scripture must rise above the merely instinctive use of sound principles. To get from the Bible all the instruction which it is capable of yielding, we must apprehend the true method of study in its full range and scope, obtain a clear grasp of the principles involved, and apply them systematically with the best help that scholarship supplies. Let us consider how this is to be done.

In the Bible, God and man meet together, and hold such converse as is the abiding pattern and rule of all religious experience. In this simple fact lies the key to all those puzzles about the divine and human side of the Bible with which people are so much exercised. We hear many speak of the human side of the Bible as if there were something dangerous about it, as if it ought to be kept out of sight lest it tempt us to forget that the Bible is the Word of God. And there is a widespread feeling that, though the Bible no doubt has a human side, a safe and edifying exegesis must confine itself to the divine side. This point of view is a survival of the mediaeval exegesis which buried the true sense of Scripture. Of course, as long as you hold that the whole worth of Revelation lies in abstract doctrines, supernaturally communicated to the intellect and not to the heart, the idea that there is a human life in the Bible is purely disturbing. But if the Bible sets forth the personal converse of God with man, it is absolutely essential to look at the human side. The prophets and psalmists were not mere impassive channels through whose lips or pens God poured forth an abstract doctrine. He spoke not only through them, but to them and in them. They had an intelligent share in the Divine converse with them; and we can no more understand the Divine Word without taking them into account than we can understand a human conversation without taking account of both interlocutors. To try to suppress the human side of the Bible, in the interests of the purity of the Divine Word, is as great a folly as to think that a father's talk with his child can be best reported by leaving out everything which the child said, thought, and felt.

The first condition of a sound understanding of Scripture is to give full recognition to the human side, to master the whole situation and character and feelings of each human interlocutor who has a part in the drama of Revelation. Nay the whole business of scholarly exegesis lies with this human side. All that earthly study and research can do for the reader of Scripture is to put him in the position of the man to whose heart God first spoke. What is more than this lies beyond our wisdom. It is only the Spirit of God that can make the Word a living word to our hearts, as it was a living word to him who first received it. This is the truth which the Westminster Confession expresses when it teaches, in harmony with all the Reformed Symbols, that our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority of Scripture is from the inward work of the Holy-Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

And here, as we at once perceive, the argument reaches a practical issue. We not only see that the principles of the Reformation demand a systematic study of Scripture upon lines of research which were foreign to the Church before the Reformation; but we are able to fix the method by which such study must be carried on. It is our duty as Protestants to interpret Scripture historically. The Bible itself has a history. It was not written at one time, or by a single pen. It comprises a number of books and pieces given to the Church by many instrumentalities and at various times. It is our business to separate these elements from one another, to examine them one by one, and to comprehend each piece in the sense which it had for the first writer, and in its relation to the needs of God's people at the time when it was written. In proportion as we succeed in this task, the mind of the Revealer in each of His many communications with mankind will become clear to us. We shall be able to follow His gracious converse with His people of old from point to point. Instead of appropriating at random so much of the Word as is at once perspicuous, or guessing darkly at the sense of things obscure, we shall learn to understand God's teaching in its natural connection. By this means we shall be saved from arbitrariness in our interpretations. For of this we may be assured, that there was nothing arbitrary in God's plan of revelation. He spoke to the prophets of old, as the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us, "in many parts and in many ways." There was variety in the method of His revelation; and each individual oracle, taken by itself, was partial and incomplete. But none of these things was without its reason. The method of revelation was a method of education. God spake to Israel as one speaks to tender weanlings (Isa. xxviii. 9), giving precept after precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little. He followed this course that each precept, as He gave it, might be understood, and lay a moral responsibility on those who received it (ver. 13); and if our study follows close in the lines of the divine teaching, we too, receiving the Word like little children, shall be in the right way to understand it in all its progress, and in all the manifold richness of its meaning. But to do so, I again repeat, we must put ourselves alongside of the first hearers. What was clear and plain enough to the obedient heart then is not necessarily clear and plain to us now, if we receive it in a different attitude. God's word was delivered in the language of men, and is not exempt from the necessary laws and limitations of human speech. Now it is a law of all speech, and especially of all speech upon personal matters, that the speaker must express himself to the understanding of his hearer, presupposing in him a certain preparation, a certain mental attitude, a certain degree of familiarity with and interest in the subject. When a third person strikes into a conversation, he cannot follow it unless, as the familiar phrase has it, he knows where they are. So it is with the Bible. And here historical study comes in. The mind of God is unchangeable. His purpose of love is invariable from first to last. The manifold variety of Scripture, the changing aspects of Bible truth, depend on no change in Him, but wholly on the varying circumstances and needs of the men who received the Revelation. It is with their life and feelings that we must get into sympathy, in order to understand what God spoke to them. We must read the Bible as the record of the history of grace, and as itself a part of the history. And this we must do with all patience, not weary though our study does not at each moment yield an immediate fruit of practical edification, if only it conducts us on the sure road to edification by carrying us along the actual path trodden by God's people of old; if, opening to us their needs, their hopes, their trials, even their errors and sins, it enables our ears to receive the same voice which they heard behind them, saying, "This is the way; walk ye in it" (Isa. xxx. 21). It is the glory of the Bible that it invites and satisfies such study, that its manifold contents, the vast variety of its topics, the extraordinary diversities of its structure and style, constitute an inexhaustible mine of the richest historical interest, in which generation after generation can labour, always bringing forth some new thing, and with each new discovery coming closer to a full understanding of the supreme wisdom and love of Him who speaks in all Scripture.

And now let us come to the point. In sketching the principles and aims of a truly Protestant study of Scripture I have not used the word criticism, but I have been describing the thing. Historical criticism may be defined without special reference to the Bible, for it is applicable, and is daily applied without dispute, to every ancient literature and every ancient history. The critical study of ancient documents means nothing else than the careful sifting of their origin and meaning in the light of history. The first principle of criticism is that every book bears the stamp of the time and circumstances in which it was produced. An ancient book is, so to speak, a fragment of ancient life; and to understand it aright we must treat it as a living thing, as a bit of the life of the author and his time, which we shall not fully understand without putting ourselves back into the age in which it was written. People talk much of destructive criticism, as if the critic's one delight were to prove that things which men have long believed are not true, and that books were not written by the authors whose names they bear. But the true critic has for his business, not to destroy, but to build up. The critic is an interpreter, but one who has a larger view of his task than the man of mere grammars and dictionaries, one who is not content to reproduce the words of his author, but strives to enter into sympathy with his thoughts, and to understand the thoughts as part of the life of the thinker and of his time. In this process the occasional destruction of some traditional opinion is a mere incident.

Ancient books coming down to us from a period many centuries before the invention of printing have necessarily undergone many vicissitudes. Some of them are preserved only in imperfect copies made by an ignorant scribe of the dark ages. Others have been disfigured by editors, who mixed up foreign matter with the original text. Very often an important book fell altogether out of sight for a long time, and when it came to light again all knowledge of its origin was gone; for old books did not generally have title-pages and prefaces. And, when such a nameless roll was again brought into notice, some half-informed reader or transcriber was not unlikely to give it a new title of his own devising, which was handed down thereafter as if it had been original. Or again, the true meaning and purpose of a book often became obscure in the lapse of centuries, and led to false interpretations. Once more, antiquity has handed down to us many writings which are sheer forgeries, like some of the Apocryphal books, or the Sibylline oracles, or those famous Epistles of Phalaris which formed the subject of Bentley's great critical essay. In all such cases the historical critic must destroy the received view, in order to establish the truth. He must review doubtful titles, purge out interpolations, expose forgeries; but he does so only to manifest the truth, and exhibit the genuine remains of antiquity in their real character. A book that is really old and really valuable has nothing to fear from the critic, whose labours can only put its worth in a clearer light, and establish its authority on a surer basis.

In a word, it is the business of the critic to trace back the steps by which any ancient book has been transmitted to us, to find where it came from and who wrote it, to examine the occasion of its composition, and search out every link that connects it with the history of the ancient world and with the personal life of the author.

This is exactly what Protestant principles direct us to do with the several parts of the Bible. We have to go back step by step, and retrace the history of the sacred volume up to the first origin of each separate writing which it contains. In doing this we must use every light that can be brought to bear on the subject. Every fact is welcome, whether it come from Jewish tradition, or from a comparison of old MSS. and versions, or from an examination of the several books with one another and of each book in its own inner structure. It is not needful in starting to lay down any fixed rules of procedure. The ordinary laws of evidence and good sense must be our guides. For the transmission of the Bible is not due to a continued miracle, but to a watchful Providence ruling the ordinary means by which all ancient books have been handed down. And finally, when we have worked our way back through the long centuries which separate us from the age of Revelation, we must, as we have already seen, study each writing and make it speak for itself on the common principles of sound exegesis. There is no discordance between the religious and the scholarly methods of study. They lead to the same goal; and the more closely our study fulfils the demands of historical scholarship, the more fully will it correspond with our religious needs.

I know what is said in answer to all this. We have no objection, say the opponents of Biblical criticism, to any amount of historical study, but it is not legitimate historical study that has produced the current results of Biblical criticism. These results, say they, are based on the rationalistic assumption that the supernatural is impossible, and that everything in the Bible which asserts the existence of a real personal communication of God with man is necessarily untrue. My answer to this objection is very simple. We have not got to results yet; I am only laying down a method, and a method, as we have seen, which is in full accordance with, and imperatively prescribed by, the Reformation doctrine of the Word of God. We are agreed, it appears, that the method is a true one. Let us go forward and apply it; and if in the application you find me calling in a rationalistic principle, if you can show at any step in my argument that I assume the impossibility of the supernatural, or reject plain facts in the interests of rationalistic theories, I will frankly confess that I am in the wrong. But, on the other hand, you must remember that all truth is one, that the God who gave us the Bible has also given us faculties of reason and gifts of scholarship with which to study the Bible, and that the true meaning of Scripture is not to be measured by preconceived notions, but determined as the result of legitimate research. Only of this I am sure at the outset, that the Bible does speak to the heart of man in words that can only come from God that no historical research can deprive me of this conviction, or make less precious the divine utterances that speak straight to the heart. For the language of these words is so clear that no readjustment of their historical setting can conceivably change the substance of them. Historical study may throw a new light on the circumstances in which they were first heard or written. In that there can only be gain. But the plain, central, heartfelt truths that speak for themselves and rest on their own indefeasible worth will assuredly remain to us. No amount of change in the background of a picture can make white black or black white, though by restoring the right background where it has been destroyed the harmony and balance of the whole composition may be immeasurably improved.

So it is with the Bible. The supreme truths which speak to every believing heart, the way of salvation which is the same in all ages, the clear voice of God's love so tender and personal and simple that a child can understand it these are things which must abide with us, and prove themselves mighty from age to age apart from all scientific study. But those who love the truth will not shrink from any toil that can help us to a fuller insight into all its details and all its setting; and those whose faith is firmly fixed on the things that cannot be moved will not doubt that every new advance in Biblical study must in the end make God's great scheme of grace appear in fuller beauty and glory.



At our last meeting, I endeavoured to convey to you a general conception of the methods and objects of Biblical criticism, and to show that the very same rules for the prosecution of this branch of Biblical study may be derived either from the general principles of historical science or from the theological principles of the Protestant Reformation. We ended by seeing that it was the duty of criticism to start with the Bible as it has been delivered to us, and as it now is in our hands, and to endeavour to trace back the history of its transmission, and of the vicissitudes through which it has passed, up to the time of the original authors, so that we may be able to take an historical view of the origin of each individual writing of the Old Testament, and of the meaning which it had to those who first received it and to him who first wrote it.

For this purpose, in speaking to a general audience, it is necessary for me to begin with the English Bible. The English Bible which we are accustomed to use gives us the Old Testament as it was understood by Protestant scholars at the beginning of the seventeenth century. It is not necessary for our present purpose that I should dwell upon the minor differences which separate the Version of 1611 from other versions made about the same period or a little earlier. Speaking broadly, it is sufficient to say that the Authorised Version represents in a very admirable manner the understanding of the Old Testament which had been attained by Protestant scholarship at the beginning of the seventeenth century. We are now to look back and inquire what are the links connecting our English Bible with the original autographs of the sacred writers.

The Protestant versions, of which our Bible is one, were products of the Reformation. To a certain extent they were products of the controversy with the Church of Rome. In other words, there were at that time two main views current in Europe, and among the scholars of Europe, as to the proper way of dealing with the Bible as to the canon of Scripture, the authentic text, and the method of interpretation. The Pre-Reformation exegesis, with which the Protestants had to contend, was the natural descendant of the exegesis of the Old Catholic Church, as it was formed in opposition to the heretics, as far back in part as the second century after Christ. At the time of Luther, as we have already seen, there was no dispute between Protestants and Catholics as to the authority of Scripture; both parties admitted that authority to be supreme, but they were divided on the question of the true meaning of Scripture. According to the Old Church, on which the Catholic party rested, the Bible was not clear and intelligible by its own light like an ordinary book. It was taken for granted that the use of the Bible lies in those doctrines higher than reason, those noëtic truths, as they were called, of a divine philosophy, which it contains. But the earliest fathers of the Catholic Church already saw quite clearly that the supposed abstract and noëtic truths did not lie on the surface of Scripture. To an ordinary reader the Bible appears something quite different from a body of supernatural mysteries and abstract philosophic doctrines. This observation was made by the Catholic fathers, but it did not lead them, nor did it lead the Gnostic heretics, with whom they were engaged in controversy, to anticipate the great discovery of the Reformation, and to see that the real meaning of the Bible must be its natural meaning. On the contrary, the orthodox and the Gnostics alike continued to look in the Bible for mysteries concealed under the plain text of Scripture mysteries which could only be reached by some form of allegorical interpretation. Of course, the allegorical exegesis yielded to every party exactly those principles which that party desired; and so the controversy between the Gnostics and the Catholic Church could not be decided on the ground of the Bible alone, which both sides interpreted in an equally arbitrary manner. To tell the truth, it would have been very difficult indeed for Christian theologians in those days to reach a sound and satisfactory exegesis, conducted upon principles which we could now accept. Very few theologians in the churches of the Gentiles possessed the linguistic knowledge necessary to understand the original text of the Old Testament. Hebrew scholars were few and far between, and the Doctors of the Church were habitually dependent upon the Alexandrian Greek translation, called the Septuagint or Version of the Seventy. To this translation we shall have to advert at greater length by and by. At present it is enough to say that it was a version composed in Egypt and current among the Jews of Alexandria a considerable time before the Christian era, and that it spread contemporaneously with the preaching of the Gospel through all parts of Christendom where Greek was understood. In many parts of the Old Testament this translation was very obscure and really did not yield clear sense to any natural method of exegesis. But indeed, apart from the disadvantage of being thrown back upon the Septuagint, the Christians could not have hoped to understand the Old Testament better than their Jewish contemporaries. Even if they had set themselves to study the original text, they would have required to take their whole knowledge of the Hebrew Bible from the Jews, who were the only masters that could then have instructed them in the language; and in fact, while the Western churches were mainly dependent on the Septuagint, and struck out an independent line of interpretation on the basis of that version, the exegesis of the Oriental churches continued to be largely guided by the teaching of the Synagogue. In Syria and beyond the river Euphrates, the Bible was interpreted by Christian scholars who spoke Syriac—a language akin to Hebrew—upon the methods of the Jewish schools; but by this time the Jews themselves had fallen into an abyss of artificial Rabbinical interpretation, from which little true light could be derived for the understanding of Scripture. The influence of the Jewish interpretation which ruled in the East can be traced, not only in the old Syriac translation called the Peshito (or Pĕshittâ), but in the writings of later Syriac divines. In the Homilies of Aphraates, for example, which belong to the first half of the fourth century, we find clear evidence that the Biblical training and exegetical methods of the author, who, living in the far East, was not a Greek scholar, were largely derived from the Jewish doctors; and the operation of the same influences can be followed far down into the Middle Ages.[4]

Accordingly, in the absence of a satisfactory and scientific interpretation, the conflict of opinions between the orthodox and the heretics was decided on another principle. The apostles, it was said, had received the mysteries of divine truth from our Lord, and had committed them in plain and living words to the apostolic churches. This is a point to which the ancient fathers constantly recur. The written word, they say, is necessarily ambiguous and difficult, but the spoken word of the apostles was clear and transparent. In the apostolic churches, then, the sum of true doctrine has been handed down in an accurate form; and the consent of the apostolic churches as to the mysteries of faith forms the rule of sound exegesis. Any interpretation of Scripture, say the fathers, is necessarily false if it differs from the ecclesiastical canon—that is, from the received doctrinal testimony of the great apostolic churches, such as Corinth, Rome, and Alexandria, in which the teaching of the apostles still lived as it had been handed down by oral tradition.[5]

Such were the principles of exegesis to which the Catholic Church adhered up to the time of the Reformation. New elements were added from time to time to the body of ecclesiastical tradition, and in particular a very great change took place with regard to the received edition of the Old Testament. When the theory of the ecclesiastical canon was first formed, the churches of Europe read either the Greek translation of the Septuagint or a Latin text formed from the Septuagint; but about the year 400 A.D., Jerome, a man of unusual learning for that age, who had studied under Jewish teachers, made a new version direct from the Hebrew, which was greatly assailed at the time as a dangerous innovation, but by and by came to be accepted in the Latin churches as the authentic and received edition of the Bible. When I say that Jerome's version was received by the Western churches, it is proper to observe that it was not received in all its purity, and that the text of this Vulgate or received version (the word vulgate means "currently received"), as it actually existed in the Middle Ages and at the time of the Reformation, was considerably modified by things which had been carried over from the older Latin translations taken from the Greek. Still, the Western Church supposed itself to receive the version of Jerome as the authoritative and vulgate version, and this new Vulgate replaced the old Vulgate, the Greek Septuagint translation made by the Jews in Egypt before the time of Christ.

The Reformers, who were well read in church history, sometimes met their opponents by pointing out that the ecclesiastical tradition on which the Catholics relied as the proper norm or rule of interpretation had itself undergone change in the course of centuries, and they often appealed with success to the earliest fathers against those views of truth which were current in their own times. But Luther's fundamental conception of revelation made it impossible for the Protestants to submit their understanding of the Bible even to the earliest and purest form of the ecclesiastical canon. The ecclesiastical canon—the standard of doctrinal interpretation based on the supposed consent of the apostolic churches—had, as we have seen, been first invented in order to get over the ambiguities of the allegorical method of interpretation. When Luther taught the people that the Bible can be understood like any other book, that the true meaning of its words is the natural sense which appeals to ordinary Christian intelligence, it was plain that for him this whole method of ecclesiastical tradition as the rule of exegesis no longer had any meaning or value.

The Church of Rome, after the Reformation began, took up a definite and formal battle-ground against Protestantism in the Decrees of the Council of Trent. The positions laid down by the Doctors of Trent in opposition to the movement headed by Luther were these:

I. The supreme rule of faith and life is contained in the written books and the unwritten traditions of Christ and his Apostles, dictated by the Holy Spirit and handed down by continual succession in the Catholic Church.

II. The canonical books are those books in all their parts which are read in the Catholic Church and contained in the Latin Vulgate version, the authenticity of which is accepted as sufficiently proved by its long use in the Catholic Church.

III. The interpretation of Scripture must be conformed to the tenets of Holy Mother Church and the unanimous consent of the Fathers.

The Reformers traversed all these three positions; for they denied the validity of unwritten tradition; they refused to admit the authority of the Vulgate, and appealed to the original text; and finally, they denied the existence and still more the authority of the consent of the Fathers, and admitted no principle for the interpretation of the Bible that would not be sound if applied to another book. They affirmed that the reader has a right to form his own private judgment on the sense of Scripture; by which, of course, they did not mean that one man's judgment is as good as another's, but only that the sense of a controverted passage must be decided by argument and not by authority. The one rule of exposition which they laid down as possessing authority for the Church was that in a disputed point of doctrine the sense of an obscure passage must be ruled by passages which are more plain. And this, as you will easily observe, is, strictly speaking, not a rule of interpretation but a principle of theology. It rather tells us which passage we are to choose for the proof or disproof of any doctrine than helps us to get the exact sense of a disputed text. All that it really means is this "Form your doctrines from plain texts, and do not be led astray from the teaching of plain passages by a meaning which some one may extort from an obscure one." So far as the principle is exegetical, it simply means that an all-wise Author for to the Reformers God is the author of all Scripture cannot contradict Himself.

I need not say more upon the first and third positions of the Council of Trent; but the second position, as to the claims of the standard Vulgate edition, is a point which requires more attention. In making the Vulgate the standard edition, the Council of Trent implied two things : (1) that the Vulgate contains all the canonical books in their true text; and (2) that the translation, if not perfect, is exempt from errors affecting doctrine. The Roman Catholics, of course, did not mean to assert that in every particular the Vulgate edition represents the exact text and meaning of the original writers. In justice to them, we must say that for their contention that was not necessary, because all along what they wished to get at was not the meaning of the original writers, but the body of doctrine which had the seal of the authority of the Church; and therefore, from their point of view, the authenticity of the text of the Vulgate was sufficiently proved by the fact that the infallible Church had long used that text without finding any ground of complaint against it; and the authority of the translation, in like manner, was sufficiently supported by the fact that theo- logians had always been able to deduce from it the received doctrines of the Church. That, no doubt, was what they meant. Nevertheless, the two theses which they laid down were very curiously at variance with what Jerome, the author of the Vulgate version, had once and again said about the value of his own labours. They affirmed that the Vulgate contained all the canonical books and none else, and that it contained those books in the true text. Jerome, on the contrary, in that prologue to part of his translation which is generally called the Prologus galeatus, regards all books as apocryphal which he did not translate directly from the Hebrew; and, following this rule, he excludes from the canon, that is, from the number of books that possess authority in matters of doctrine, the Book of Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Judith, Tobit, Baruch, and also the two books of the Maccabees, although he had seen the first of these in Hebrew. The Council of Trent accepts all these books as canonical, and also certain additions to Daniel and Esther which are not found in the Hebrew text.[6]

The second position of the Doctors of Trent also reads curiously in the light of Jerome's own remarks. According to the Council of Trent, the whole translation of Jerome is accurate for all purposes of doctrine, but Jerome in his prefaces makes a very different claim for himself. What he says is this: "If you observe my version to vary from the Greek or Latin copies in your hands, ask the most trustworthy Jew you can find, and see if he does not agree with me."[7] Once and again Jerome claims this, and only this, for his version, that it agrees with the best Jewish tradition; in other words, Jerome sought to correct the current Bibles of his day according to the Hebrew text, as the Jews of his time received it, and to give an interpretation on a level with the best Jewish scholarship. He did this partly by the aid of earlier translations from the Hebrew into the Greek (Aquila, Theodotion, but especially Symmachus) made after the time of Christ, and more in accordance than the Septuagint with the later Rabbinical scholarship;[8] and partly by the help of learned Jews. On one occasion, he tells us, he brought a famous Rabbi from Tiberias to instruct him. At another time he brought a Jewish scholar from Lydda; and in particular he speaks of one called Bar Anina, a teacher who came to him by night for fear of his co-religionists, while the translator resided in Jerusalem and Bethlehem.[9]

In their earlier controversies with the Roman Catholics, the Protestants simply fell back upon these facts, quoting Jerome against the Council of Trent, as is done, for example, in the sixth of the Articles of the Church of England.[10] They quoted Jerome, and therefore adopted his definition that all books which were not extant in Hebrew and admitted to the canon of the Jews in the day of Jerome are apocryphal and not to be cited in proof of a disputed doctrine. Beyond that they did not care to press the question of the canon. There were differences among themselves as to the value of the Apocrypha on the one hand, and as to the canonicity of Esther and some other books of the old canon upon the other. But it was enough for the Protestants in controversy with Rome to be able to refuse a proof text drawn from the Apocryphal books, upon the plain ground that the authority of these books was challenged even by many of the fathers. Thus Calvin, in his Antidote to the Council of Trent, is willing to leave the question of the canon open, contenting himself with the observation that the intrinsic qualities of the Apocryphal books display a manifest inferiority to the canonical writings.[11]

On the question of the true interpretation of Scripture they had much more to say. The revival of letters in the fifteenth century had raised a keen interest in ancient languages, and scholars who had mastered Greek as well as Latin were ambitious to add to their knowledge a third learned tongue, viz. the Hebrew. At first this ambition met with many difficulties. The original text of the Old Testament was preserved only among the scholars of the Synagogue. It was impossible to learn Hebrew except from Jewish teachers; and orthodox Jews refused to teach men who were not of their own faith. Gradually, however, these obstacles were surmounted. Towards the close of the fifteenth century, Hebrew Bibles began to be printed, and some knowledge of the Hebrew tongue became disseminated to a considerable extent; and at length, in the year 1506, John Reuchlin, the great supporter of Hebrew studies north of the Alps, put forth in Latin his Rudiments of the Hebrew language. This Latin work, which was something of the nature of both grammar and dictionary, was almost entirely taken from the Hebrew manuals of the famous Jewish scholar and lexicographer, Rabbi David Kimhi, who flourished about the year 1200 A.D. As soon as Christians were furnished in this way with text-books, the new learning spread rapidly. It ran over Europe just at the time when the Reformation was spreading, and the Reformers, always keenly alive to the best and most modern learning of their time, read the Old Testament in the original Hebrew, and often found occasion to differ from Jerome's version. Observe, they agreed with Jerome in principle. They, like him, aimed only at rendering the text as the best Hebrew scholars would do, and to them, as to him, the standard of scholarship was that of the most learned Jews. But when Jerome wrote, there was no such thing in existence as a Hebrew grammar and dictionary; there were no written commentaries to which a Christian scholar had access. The Reformers had the textbook of Reuchlin, the grammar and lexicon of Kimhi, the commentaries of many Rabbins of the Middle Ages, with other helps denied to Jerome, and therefore they knew that their new learning put them in a position to criticise his work. Often, indeed, they undervalued Jerome's labours, and this ultimately led to controversies between Protestants and Catholics, which were fruitful of instruction to both sides. But, on the whole, the Reforming scholars did know Hebrew better than Jerome, and their versions, including our English Bible, approached much more nearly than his to the ideal common to both, which was to give the sense of the Old Testament as it was understood by the best Jewish scholars. Of course, the Jewish authorities themselves sometimes differed from one another. In such cases, the Protestants leant sometimes on one authority, sometimes on another. Luther was much influenced (through Nicolaus de Lyra) by the commentaries of R. Solomon of Troyes, generally called Rashi, who died 1105 A.D. Our Bible is mainly guided by the grammar and lexicon of the later scholar, R. David Kimhi of Narbonne, who has already been mentioned as the author of the most current text-books of the Hebrew language. But the point which I wish you to observe is that the Reformers and their successors, up to the time when all our Protestant versions were fixed, were in the hands of the Rabbins in all matters of Hebrew scholarship. Their object in the sixteenth century, like Jerome's in the fourth, was simply to give to the vulgar the fruit of the best Jewish learning, applied to the translation of the Scriptures received among the Jews.

It may be asked why the Reformers stopped here. But the answer is clear enough. They went as far as the scholarship of the age would carry them. All sound Hebrew learning then resided with the Jewish doctors, and so the Protestant scholars became their disciples.

But it would be absurd to suppose that the men who refused to accept the authority of Christian tradition as to the number of books in the canon, the best text of the Old Testament, or the principles upon which that text is to be translated, adopted it as a principle of faith that the Jewish tradition upon all these points is final. Luther again and again showed that he submitted to no such authority; and if the Reformers and their first successors practically accepted the results of Jewish scholarship upon all these questions, they did so merely because these results were in accordance with the best lights then attainable. It was left for a later generation, which had lost the courage of the first Reformers because it had lost much of their clear insight into divine things, to substitute an authoritative Jewish tradition for the authoritative tradition of the Catholic Church—to swear by the Jewish canon and the Massoretic text as the Romanists swore by the Tridentine canon and the Vulgate text. The Reformers had too much reverence for God's Word to subject it to the bondage of any tradition. They would gladly have accepted any further light of learning, carrying them back behind the time of Rabbinical Judaism to the first ages of the Old Testament writings.

Scholarship moved onwards, and as research was carried farther it gradually became plain that it was possible for Biblical students, with the material still preserved to them, to get behind the Jewish Rabbins, upon whom our translators were still dependent, and to draw from the sacred stream at a point nearer its source. I have now to explain how this was seen to be the case.

From the time when the Old Testament was written, down to the sixteenth century, there was no continuous tradition of sound Hebrew learning except among the Jews. The little that Christians knew about the Old Testament at first hand had always come from the Rabbins. Among the Jews, on the contrary, there was a continuous scholarly tradition. The knowledge of Hebrew and the most received ways of explaining the Old Testament were handed down from generation to generation along with the original text. I ask you to understand precisely what this means. Before the time of Christ, the Jews had already ceased to speak Hebrew. In the New Testament, no doubt, we read once and again of the Hebrew tongue as spoken and understood by the people of Palestine; but the vernacular of the Palestinian Jews in the first century was a dialect as unlike to that of the Bible as German is to English a different language, although a kindred one. This language is called Hebrew because it was spoken by the Hebrews, just as the Spanish Jews in Constantinople at the present day call their Spanish jargon Hebrew. It was a form of Western Aramaic, which the Jews had gradually substituted for the tongue of their ancestors, after their return from captivity, when they found themselves a small handful living in the midst of nations who spoke Aramaic, and with whom they had constant dealings. In those days Aramaic was the language of business and of government in the countries between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean, just as English is in the Highlands of Scotland, and so the Jews forgot their own tongue for it, as the Scottish Celts are now forgetting Gaelic for English. This process had already gone on to a great extent before the latest books of the Old Testament were completed.[12] Such writers as the authors of Chronicles and Ecclesiastes still use the old language of Israel for literary purposes, but in a way which shows that their thoughts often ran not in Hebrew but in Aramaic. They use Aramaic words and idioms which would have puzzled Moses and David, and in some of the later Old Testament books, in Ezra and in Daniel, although not in those parts of the former book which are autobiographical and written by Ezra himself, there actually are inserted in the Hebrew long Aramaic passages. Before the time of Christ, people who were not scholars had ceased to understand Hebrew altogether;[13] and in the synagogue, when the Bible was read, a Meturgeman, as he was called, that is, a "dragoman," or qualified translator, had to rise and give the sense of the passage in the vulgar dialect. The Pentateuch was read verse by verse, or in lessons from the Prophets three verses were read together, and then the Meturgeman rose, and did not read, but give orally in Aramaic the sense of the original.[14] The old Hebrew, then, was by this time a learned language, acquired not in common life but from a teacher. In order to learn it, the young Jew had to go to school, but he had no grammar or lexicon, or other written help, to assist him. Everything was done by oral instruction, and by dint of sheer memory, without any scientific principle. In the first place, the pupil had to learn to read. In our Hebrew Bibles now, the pronunciation of each word is exactly represented. This is done by a double notation. The letters proper are the consonants, and the vowels are indicated by small marks placed above or below the line of the consonants. These small marks are a late invention. They did not exist in the time of Christ, or even four hundred years after the Christian era, at the time of Jerome.[15] Before this invention the proper pronunciation of each difficult word had to be acquired from a master. When a pupil had learned to read a phrase correctly, he was taught the meaning of the words, and by such exercises, combined with the practice o constantly speaking Hebrew, which was kept up in the Jewish schools, as the practice of speaking Latin used to be kept up in our grammar schools, the pupil gradually learned to understand the sacred texts and at the same time acquired a certain practical fluency in speaking or writing a degraded form of Hebrew, with many barbarous words and still more barbarous constructions, such as are certain to creep into any language which is dead in ordinary life and yet is daily used by teachers and learners, not as a mere philological exercise but as a vehicle of practical instruction in law, theology, and the like. The Jews themselves recognised the difference between this pedantic jargon and the language of their ancient books. The language of the Bible was called "the holy tongue," while the Hebrew spoken in the schools was called "the language of the wise." We have many volumes of the composition of these scholars, chiefly legal works, with some old midrashim, as they are called, or sermonising commentaries on Scripture. These books no doubt are Hebrew in a certain sense, but they are as unlike to the Biblical Hebrew as a lawyer's deed is to a page of Cicero. The men who wrote such a jargon could not have any delicate perception for the niceties of the old classical language, especially as it is written in the most ancient books; and when they came to a difficult passage they could only guess at the sense, unless they possessed an interpretation of the hard text, and the hard words it contained, handed down to them from some older scholar.

Now let me ask you once more to realise precisely how these scribes, at and before the time of Christ, proceeded in dealing with the Bible. They had nothing before them but the bare consonantal text, so that the same words might often be read and interpreted in two different ways. A familiar example of this is given in Heb. xi. 21, where we read of Jacob leaning upon the top of his "staff"; but when we turn to the Hebrew Bible, as it is now printed (Genesis xlvii. 31), we there find nothing about the "staff"; we find the "bed". Well, the Hebrew for "the bed" is " HaMmiTtaH," while the Hebrew for "the staff" is " HaMmaTteH." The consonants in these two words are the same; the vowels are different; but the consonants only were written, and doubled consonants were written only once, so that all that appeared in MSS. was HMTH. Thus it was quite possible for one person to read the word as " bed," as the translators of our English Bible did, following the reading of the Hebrew scribes, and for the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, on the other hand, to understand it as a " staff," following the interpretation of the Greek Septuagint.

Beyond the bare text, which in this way was often ambiguous, the scribes had no guide but oral teaching. They had no rules of grammar to go by; the kind of Hebrew which they themselves wrote often admitted grammatical constructions which the old language forbade, and when they came to an obsolete word or idiom, they depended on their masters to give them the pronunciation and the sense. Now, beyond doubt, the Jewish scholars were most exact and retentive learners, and their teachers spared no pains to teach them all that they knew. We in the West have little idea of the precision with which an Eastern pupil even now can take up and remember the minutest details of a lesson, reproducing them years afterwards in the exact words of his master. But memory, even when cultivated as it is cultivated in the schools of the East, is at best fallible; and even if we could suppose that the whole of the Bible had been taught word by word in the schools, in unbroken succession from the day on which each book was first written, it would still have required a continued miracle to preserve all these lessons perfectly, and without writing, through long generations. But in point of fact the traditional teaching of the Jews was neither complete, nor continuous from the first, nor uniform.

It was not complete; that is, there never was an authoritative interpretation of the whole Bible. It was not continuous; that is, many interpretations, which attained general currency and authority, had not been received by unbroken tradition from the time when the passage was first written, or even from the time when Hebrew became a dead language, but were mere figments of the Rabbins devised out of their own heads. And finally, the Rabbinical tradition was not uniform; that is, the interpretation and even the reading of individual texts was often a subject of controversy in the schools of the Scribes, and at different times we find different interpretations in the ascendant. The proof of these propositions lies partly in the records of Jewish learning still preserved in the Rabbinical literature; partly it lies in the translations and interpretations made at various times by Jewish scholars or under their guidance.

So long as the transmission and interpretation of the Bible were left to the unregulated labours of individual scholars or copyists, it is plain that individual theories and individual errors would have some influence on the work. The Bible had to be copied by the pen. Let us suppose then that the copyist, without any special instruction or guide, simply sat down to make a transcript, probably writing from dictation, of a roll which he had bought or borrowed. In the first place, he was almost certain to make some slips, either of the pen or of the ear; but besides this, in all probability the volume before him would contain slips of the previous copyist. Was he to copy these mistakes exactly as they stood, and so perpetuate the error, or would he not in very many cases think himself able to detect and correct the slips of his predecessor? If he took the latter course, it was very possible for him to overrate his own capacity and introduce a new mistake. And so bit by bit, if there were no control, if each scribe acted independently, and without the assistance of a regular school, errors were sure to be multiplied, and the text would be certain to present many variations. Thus we know that even in recent times the Gaelic version of the Old Testament contains certain alterations upon the original text made in order to remove seeming contradictions. Much more were such changes to be anticipated in ancient times, when there was a far less developed sense of responsibility with regard to the exact verbal transcription of old texts. A uniform and scrupulous tradition, watching over the reading and the meaning of the text in all parts of the Jewish world, could only be transmitted by a regular school of learned doctors, or, as the Jewish records call them, Scribes, in Hebrew Sôpherîm or men of the book men who were professionally occupied with the book of the law.

We are all familiar with the Scribes, or professed Biblical scholars, as they appear in the New Testament. They were not merely, or primarily, verbal scholars, but, above all things, practical lawyers and theologians, who used their linguistic knowledge to support their own doctrines and principles. Their principles at that epoch, as we know, were those of the Pharisees; in fact, the Pharisees were nothing else than the party of the Scribes, in opposition to the Sadducees or aristocratic party, whose heads were the higher priestly nobility. To the Pharisees, or party of the Scribes, belonged the great mass of Jewish scholars who were not closely associated with the higher ranks of the priesthood, together with many who, without being scholars, were eager to obey the law as the Scribes interpreted it. The Scribes were the men who had in their hands the transmission and interpretation of the Old Testament; and our next task, in endeavouring to understand the steps by which the Old Testament has been handed down to us, must be to obtain a clear vision of their methods and objects, and of the work which they actually did upon the text of the Bible. This subject will occupy our attention in the next Lecture.



The subject with which we are to be occupied to-day is the part that was played by the Scribes in the preservation and transmission of the Old Testament. At the close of last Lecture we looked for a moment at the Scribes as they appear in the New Testament in association with the Pharisees. At that time, as one sees from the Gospels and the Acts, they constituted a party long established, and exercising a great and recognised influence in the Jewish state. In fact they can be traced back as far as the later times of the Old Testament. Their father is Ezra, "the Scribe," as he is called par excellence, who came from Babylon to Judæa with the law of God in his hand (Ezra vii. 14), and with a heart "prepared to study the law of the Lord, to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments" (Ezra vii. 10). Ezra accomplished this task, not immediately, but with ultimate and complete success. He did so with the support of the Persian king, and with the active assistance of Nehemiah, who had been sent by Artaxerxes as governor of Jerusalem. At a great public meeting convened by Nehemiah, of which we read an account in chapters viii. to x. of the book which bears his name, the Law was openly read before the people at the Feast of Tabernacles, and, with confession and penitence, the Jews entered into a national covenant to make that law henceforth the rule of their lives. Now I do not ask at present what were the relations of the people to the Law before the time of Ezra. That question must come up afterwards; but any one who reads with attention the narrative in the book of Nehemiah must be satisfied that this work of Ezra, and the covenant which the people took upon them to obey the Law, were of epoch-making importance for the Jewish community. It was not merely a covenant to amend certain abuses in detailed points of legal observance; for the people in their confession very distinctly state that the Law had not been observed by their ancestors, their rulers, or their priests, up to that time (Neh. ix. 34); and in particular it is mentioned that the Feast of Tabernacles had never been observed with the ceremonial prescribed in the Law from the time that the Israelites occupied Canaan under Joshua (Neh. viii. 17). Accordingly this covenant must be regarded as a critical epoch in the history of the community of Israel. From that time forward, with the assistance and under the approval of the Persian king, the Law—that is, the Pentateuch or Torah, as we now have it, for there can be no doubt that the Law which was in Ezra's hands was practically identical with our present Hebrew Pentateuch—became the religious and municipal code of Israel. Now the Pentateuch, viewed as a code, is such a book as imperatively calls for a class of trained lawyers to be its interpreters. I do not ask at present whether, as most critics suppose, there are real contradictions between the laws given in different parts of the five books of Moses. At all events, it is a familiar fact that those who maintain that all the Pentateuchal laws can be reconciled, differ very much among themselves as to the precise method of reconciliation. In such an ambiguity of the Law it is manifest that the Scribes had an indispensable function as guides of the people to that interpretation which was in actual use in the practical administration of the code. Accordingly, by and by, in the time of the Chronicler (1 Chron. ii. 55), we find them organised in regular "families," or, as we should now say, "guilds," an institution quite in accordance with the whole spirit of the East, which forms a guild or trades-union of every class possessing special technical knowledge.

We see, then, that before the close of the Old Testament Canon the Scribes not only existed, continuing the work of Ezra, but that they existed in the form of guilds or regular societies. What were their objects? There can be no doubt that from the first the objects of the Scribes were not philological and literary, but practical. Ezra's object was so. He came to make the Law the practical rule of Israel's life, and so it was still in later ages. The wisdom of the Scribes consisted of two parts, which in Jewish terminology were respectively called "Halacha" and "Haggada." "Halacha" was legal teaching, systematised legal precept; while "Haggada" was doctrinal and practical admonition, mingled with parable and legend. But of these two parts the "Halacha,"—that is, the system of rules applying the Pentateuchal law to every case of practice and every detail of life,—was always the chief thing. The difference between the learned theologian and the unlearned vulgar lay in knowledge of the Law. You remember what the Pharisees say in John vii. 49—"This people, which knoweth not the law, are cursed." The Law was the ideal of the Scribes. Their theory of the history of Israel was this:—In time past Israel had been chastised by God's wrath; the cause of this chastisement was that the people had neglected the Law. Forgetting the Law, Israel had passed and was still passing through many tribulations, and was subjected to the yoke of a foreign power. What was the duty of the Jews in this condition of things? According to the Scribes, it was not to engage in any political scheme whatever for throwing off the foreign yoke, but to establish the Law in their own midst,—to apply themselves, not only to obey the whole Torah, particularly in its ceremonial precepts, but so to develop these precepts that they might embrace every minute detail of life. Then, when by this means Israel had become a law-obeying nation in the fullest sense of the word, Jehovah Himself, in His righteousness, would intervene, miraculously remove the scourge, and establish the glory of His law-fulfilling people. These were the principles of the Scribes and the Pharisees, the principles spoken of by Paul in writing to the Romans, when he tells us that Israel followed after a law of righteousness without attaining to it; that they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own, did not submit themselves to the righteousness of God (Rom. ix. 31, x. 3).

All that the Scribes did for the transmission, preservation, and interpretation of the Old Testament, was guided by their legal aims. In the first instance, they were not scholars, not preachers, but "lawyers" (νομικοἰ), as they are often called in the New Testament. In their juridical decisions they were guided partly by study of the Pentateuch, but partly also by observation of the actual legal usages of their time, by those views of the Law which were practically acknowledged, for example, in the ceremonial of the temple and the priesthood. There was thus, in the wisdom of the Scribes, an element of use and wont,—an element of common law, which of course existed in Jerusalem, as in every other living community, side by side with the codified written law; and this element of common law, or use and wont, was the source of the theory of legal tradition familiar to all of us from allusions in the New Testament. According to this theory, Moses himself had delivered to Israel an oral law along with the written Torah. The oral law was as old as the Pentateuch, and had come down in authentic form through the prophets to Ezra. The conception of an oral law, as old and venerable as the written law, necessarily influenced the Scribes in all their interpretations of Scripture. It introduced into their handling of Scripture an element of uncertainty and falsity, upon which Jesus Himself, as you will remember, put His finger, with that unfailing insight of His into the unsound parts of the religious state of His time. Through their theory of the traditional law the Scribes were led into many a departure from the spirit, and even from the letter of the written Word (Matt. xii. 1-8, xv. 1-20, xxiii.).

To the Scribes, then, the whole law, written and oral, was of equal practical authority. What they really sought to preserve intact, and hand down as binding for Israel, was not so much the written text of the Pentateuch as their own rules,—partly derived from the Pentateuch, but partly, as we have seen, from other sources,—which they honestly believed to be equally an expression of the mind of the Revealer, even in cases where they had no basis in Scripture, or only the basis of some very strained interpretation. Now, you can readily conceive that the traditional interpretation of the law could not be stationary. In fact, we know that it was not so. The subject has been gone into with great care by Jewish scholars, who are more interested than we are in the traditional law; and they have been able to prove, from their own books and written records of the legal traditions, that the law underwent, from century to century, not a few changes. This was no more than natural. So long as a nation has a national life, lives and develops new practical necessities, there must also from time to time be changes in the law and its application. In part, then, the growth of the traditional law was owing to changes and new necessities of the national life. It would doubtless, from this source alone, have grown and changed very much more, but for the fact that during the centuries between Ezra and Christ the Jews were almost continuously under foreign domination, so that they had not perfect freedom of civil or even religious development. At the same time, they always retained a certain amount of municipal independence; and so long as the municipal life remained active, the law necessarily underwent modifications from time to time.

But there was another reason for continual changes in the traditional law. The party headed by the Scribes, which finally developed into the sect of the Pharisees, were so carried away with the idea that God's blessing on Israel and the removal of all national calamity depended on a punctilious observance of the minutest legal ordinances, that they deemed it necessary to make, as they put it, "a hedge round the Law"—in other words, to fence in the life of the Israelite with new precepts of their own devising, at every point where the boundary line between the legal and the illegal appeared to be indistinctly marked. There was therefore a constant tendency to add new and more complicated precepts of conduct, and especially of ceremonial observance, to those already prescribed in the Pentateuch and in the oldest form of tradition, so that it might be impossible for a man, if he held by all traditional rules, to come even within sight of a possible breach of the Law.

The legal system thus developed had not at first the weight of an authoritative legislation; for the Scribes and Pharisees were not the governing class in Judæa. The rulers of the nation in its internal matters were the priestly aristocracy, with the high priest at their head as a sort of hereditary prince over Israel. And in the decay of the Greek power in Syria, when the Jews were able for a time to assert their political independence, the Hasmonean or Maccabee priestprinces were the actual sovereigns of Judsea (142-37 B.C.) Nevertheless the great Rabbins of the party of Scribes were men whose legal ability gained for them a commanding position and influence; the mass of the Pharisees, by their claim of special sanctity and special legality, also acquired great weight with the common people; and in consequence of this the authority of the party ultimately became so great that, as we learn from Josephus, the priestly aristocracy, who were the civil as well as the religious heads of the Jews, and who themselves were no more inclined than any other aristocracy to make changes that were not for their own personal profit, yet found themselves compelled by the pressure of public opinion to defer in almost every instance to the doctrines of the Scribes.[17] The municipal and legal administration took place by means of councils bearing the name of Synedria or Sanbedrin. There was a central council with judicial and administrative authority the Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem and there were local councils in provincial towns. These councils were mainly occupied by Sadducees, or men of the aristocratic party; but ultimately the Scribes, as trained lawyers, gained a considerable proportion of seats in them; and during the latter time of the Maccabees under Queen Salome, and still more after the fall of the Hasmonean dynasty, when it was the policy of Herod the Great to crush the old nobility and play off the Pharisees against them, the influence of the Scribes in the national councils of justice came greatly to outweigh that of the aristocratic Sadducees. In this way, as you will observe, the interpreters of the law gained a very important place in the practical life of Israel; and they continued active, developing and applying their peculiar system, until the overthrow of the city by Titus in the year A.D. 70. When the Temple was destroyed and the Jewish nationality crushed, a great part of the public ordinances decreed by the Scribes necessarily fell into desuetude; but private and personal observances of ceremonial

righteousness were still insisted upon, and in one sense the Scribes became more influential than ever; for those parts of the law which could still be put in force were the only remaining expression of national spirit, and the doctors of the law were accepted as the natural leaders of all loyal Jews. Now for the first time Judaism and Pharisaism became identical; for Pharisaism alone, with its strict code of ceremonial observance, made it possible for the Jew to remain a Jew when the state had perished and the Temple lay in ruins. But at the same time the legal system ceased to be subject to the play of those living forces which during the ages of national or municipal independence had continually modified its details. Further development became impossible, or was limited to a much narrower range; and after the last desperate struggle of the Jews for liberty under Hadrian, 132 to 135 A.D., the Scribes, no longer able to find a practical outlet for their influence in the guidance of the state, devoted themselves to systematising and writing down the traditional law in the stage which it had then reached. This systematisation took shape in the collection which is called the Mishna, which was completed by Rabbi Judah the Holy about 200 A.D.[18]

I have directed your attention to the history of the traditional law because its transmission is inseparably bound up with the transmission of the text of the Bible. As we have seen, the whole law, written and oral, was one in the estimation of the Scribes. The early versions and the early Jewish commentaries show us that the interpretation of the Pentateuch was guided by legal much rather than by philological principles. The Bible was understood by the help of the Halacha quite as much as the Halacha was based upon the Bible; and so, as the traditional law underwent many changes, these reacted upon the interpretation and even to a certain extent upon the reading of the text of the Pentateuch. Let me take an example of this from what we find in the Bible itself. In Neh. x. 32 [33] we read that the people made a law for themselves, charging themselves with a yearly polltax of one-third of a shekel for the service of the Temple. In the time of Christ this tribute of one-third of a shekel had been increased to half a shekel (didrachma; Matt. xvii. 24); and the impost which in the time of Nehemiah was a tax voluntarily taken upon themselves by the people without any written warrant, was in this later time supposed to be based upon Exodus xxx. 12-16. This view of the matter, indeed, is already taken by the Chronicler; for he speaks of a yearly Mosaic impost for the maintenance of the Temple (2 Chron. xxiv. 5, 6), and therefore even in his time the law of Exodus must have been held to be the basis of the poll-tax. Yet that tax was a new tax; it was first devised in the time of Nehemiah; and it is only an afterthought of the Scribes to base it upon the Pentateuch.—[19] This example illustrates one way in which the conception of the law changed in the hands of the Scribes. In other cases they actually took it upon themselves to alter Pentateuchal laws. For example, the tithes were transferred from the Levites to the priests, and the use of the liturgy prescribed in Deuteronomy xxvi. 12-15 on occasion of the tithing, which was not suitable after that change had been made, was abolished by John Hyrcanus, the Hasmonean prince and high priest.[20] These are but single examples out of many which might be adduced, but they are enough to show that so long as the development of the oral law was running its course, the written law was treated by the Scribes with a certain measure of freedom.

Their real interest, I repeat, lay not in the sacred text itself, but in the practical system based upon it. That comes out very forcibly in repeated passages of the Rabbinical writings, in which the study of Scripture is spoken of almost contemptuously, as something far inferior to the study of the traditional legislative system.

Now, people often think of the Jews as entirely absorbed, from the very first, in the exact grammatical study and literal preservation of the written Word. Had this been so, they could never have devised so many expositions which are plainly against the idiom of the Hebrew language, but which flowed naturally and easily from the legal positions then current. The early Scribes had neither the inclination nor the philological qualifications for exact scholarly study, and when they did lay weight upon some verbal nicety of the sacred Text, they did so in the interest of their legal theories, and upon principles to which we can assign no value. No doubt the Scribes and their successors in the Talmudic times (200 to 600 A.D.) must themselves have been often aware that the meanings which they forced upon texts, in order to carry out their legal system, were not natural and idiomatic renderings. But this did not greatly trouble them, for it was to them an axiom that the oral and the written laws were one system, and therefore they were bound to harmonise the two at any sacrifice of the rules of language. The objections to such an arbitrary exegesis did not come to be strongly felt till long after the Talmudic period, when a new school of Jewish scholars arose, who had grammatical and scientific knowledge, mainly derived from the learning of the Arabs. When in the Middle Ages these Rabbins introduced a stricter system of grammatical interpretation, it came to be felt that the Talmudic way of dealing with Scripture was often forced and unnatural, and so it was found necessary to draw a sharp distinction between the traditional Talmudic interpretation of any text, which continued to have the value of an indisputable legal authority, and the grammatical interpretation or P'shat, representing that exact and natural sense of the passage which more modern study had enabled men to determine with sharpness and precision.

The mediaeval Rabbins concentrated their attention on the plain grammatical sense of Scripture, and their best doctors, who were the masters of our Protestant translators, rose much above the Talmudical exegesis, although they never altogether shook off the false principle that a good sense must be got out of everything, and that if it cannot be got out of the text by the rules of grammar, these rules must give way. Even our own Bible, which rests almost entirely upon the better or grammatical school of Jewish interpretation, does, in some passages, show traces of the Talmudical weakness of determining to harmonise things, and get over difficulties, even at the expense of strict grammar; but this false tendency was confined within narrow limits; and, on the whole, the influence of the Talmudists was almost completely conquered in the Protestant versions, although it is still felt in the harmonistic exegesis of the anti-critical school.[21]

A much more serious question is raised by the consideration that although we are able to correct the interpretation of the ancient Scribes, we have the text of the Hebrew Old Testament as they gave it to us; and we must therefore inquire whether they were in a position to hand down to us the best possible text. Let me illustrate the significance of this question, by referring to the history of the text of the New Testament. The books of the New Testament circulated in manuscript copies, and it is by a comparison of such old codices as still remain to us that scholars adjust the printed texts of their modern editions. The comparison shows that the old copies often differ in their readings. Some of the variations are mere slips of the transcriber, which any Greek scholar can correct as readily as one corrects a slip made in writing a letter; but others are more serious. Those of you who have not access to the Greek Testament, will find sufficient examples either in the small English New Testament published by Tischendorf in 1869, which gives the readings of three ancient MSS., or in that very convenient book, Eyre and Spottiswoode's Variorum Bible, which, on the whole, is the best edition of the English version for any one who wishes to look below the surface. Now if you consult such collections of various readings as are given in these works, you will find that, in various MSS., words, clauses, and sentences are inserted or omitted, and sometimes the insertions change the whole meaning of a passage. In one or two instances a complete paragraph appears in some copies, and is left out in others. The titles in particular offer great variations. The oldest MSS. do not prefix the name of Paul to the Epistle to the Hebrews, and they do not put the words "at Ephesus," into the first verse of the first chapter of Ephesians. Such changes as these show that the copyists of these times did not proceed exactly like law clerks copying a deed. They made additions from parallel passages, they wrote things upon the margin which afterwards got into the text; and, when copying from a rubbed or blotted page, they sometimes had to make a guess at a word. In these and other ways mistakes came in and were perpetuated; and it takes the best scholarship, combined with an acuteness developed by long practice, to determine the true reading in each case, and to eliminate all corruptions.

Of course, the old Christian scholars were quite aware that such variations existed among copies, and in later times they did their best to correct the text, and reduce it to uniformity; and so we find that, while the oldest MSS. of the New Testament show great variations, the later MSS. present a very uniform text, so that from them alone we could not guess how great was the range of readings current in the early Church. Yet no one will affirm that the shape which the New Testament ultimately took in the hands of the scholars of Antioch and Constantinople, is as near to the first hand of the Apostles as the text which a good modern editor is able to make by comparing the oldest copies. The mere fact that a particular form of the text got the upper hand, and became generally accepted in later times, does not prove it to be the best form of the text, i.e. the most exact transcript of the very words that were written by the apostles and evangelists. To the critical editor the variations of early copies are far more significant than the artificial uniformity of late manuscripts.

Now as regards the Old Testament, we certainly find a great uniformity among copies. All MSS. of the Hebrew Bible represent one and the same text. There are slight variations, but these are, almost without exception, mere slips, such as might have been made even by a careful copyist, and do not affect the general state of the text. The text, therefore, was already fixed by the beginning of the tenth century after Christ, which is the age of the oldest MS. of undisputed date. But a comparison of the ancient translations carries us much further back. We may say that the text of the Hebrew Old Testament which we now have is the same as lay before Jerome 400 years after Christ; the same as underlies certain translations into Aramaic called Targums, which took shape in Babylonia about the third century after Christ; indeed the same text as was received by the Jews early in the second century, when the Mishna was being formed, and when the Jewish proselyte Aquila made his translation into Greek. I do not affirm that there were no various readings in the copies of the second or even of the fourth century, but the variations were slight and easily controlled, and such as would have occurred in manuscripts carefully transcribed from one standard copy.[22]

The Jews, in fact, from the time when their national life was finally extinguished, and their whole soul concentrated upon the preservation of the monuments of the past, devoted the most strict and punctilious attention to the exact transmission of the received text, down to the smallest peculiarity of spelling, and even to certain irregularities of writing. Let me explain this last point. We find that when the standard manuscript had a letter too big, or a letter too small, the copies made from it imitated even this, so that letters of an unusual size appear in the same place in every Hebrew Bible. Nay, the scrupulousness of the transcribers went still further. In old MSS., when a copyist had omitted a letter, and when the error was detected, as the copy was revised, the reviser inserted the missing letter above the line, as we should now do with a caret. If, on the other hand, the reviser found that any superfluous letter had been inserted, he cancelled it by pricking a dot above it. Now, when such corrections occurred in the standard MS. from which our Hebrew Bibles are all copied, the error and the correction were copied together, so that you will find, even in printed Bibles (for the system has been carried into the printed text), letters suspended above the line to show that they had been inserted with a caret, and letters "pointed" with a dot over them to show that they form no proper part of the text.[23]It is plain that such a system of mechanical transmission could not have been carried out with precision if copying had been left to uninstructed persons. The work of preserving and transmitting the received text became the specialty of a guild of technically trained scholars, called the Massorets, in Hebrew Baale hammassoreth, or "possessors of tradition," that is, of tradition as to the proper way of writing and reading the Bible. The work of the Massorets extended over centuries, and they collected many orthographical rules and great lists of peculiarities of writing to be observed in passages where any error was to be feared, which are still preserved either as marginal notes and appendices to MSS. of the Bible, or in separate works. But, what was of more consequence, the scholars of the period after the close of the Talmud that is, after the sixth Christian century, or thereby devoted themselves to preserving not only the exact writing of the received consonantal text, but the exact pronunciation and even the musical cadence proper to every word of the sacred text, according to the rules of the synagogal chanting. This was effected by means of a system of vowel points and musical accents, consisting of small dots and apices attached to the consonants of the Hebrew Bible. The idea of introducing such vowel points, which were still unknown in the time of Jerome, appears to have been borrowed from the Syrian Christians, and was developed in different directions among the Palestinian and the Babylonian Jews. The Palestinian system ultimately prevailed and is followed in all printed Bibles. The form of the pointed text which after ages received as authoritative was fixed in the tenth century by a certain Aaron, son of Moses, son of Asher, generally known as Ben Asher, whose ancestors for five previous generations were famous as Nahdanim, or "punctuators." But even the first of this family, Asher "the elder," rested on the labours of earlier scholars. Some recent writers are disposed to think that the use of written vowel points and accents may have begun even in the sixth century at all events the system must have been pretty fully worked out before 800 A.D.[24]

A remarkable feature in the work of the Massorets is that in certain cases they direct the reader to substitute another word for that which he finds written in the consonantal text. In such cases the vowel points attached to the word that is to be suppressed in reading are not its own vowels but those proper to the word to be substituted for it. The latter word is placed in the margin with the note 'p {i.e. Keri, "read thou," or KerS, "read"). The word in the text which is not to be uttered is called KetMh ("written"). These marginal readings are of various kinds; in a great part of them the difference between text and margin turns upon points of a purely formal character, such as varieties of orthography, pronunciation, or grammatical form; others are designed to soften expressions which it was thought indecorous to read aloud; while a small proportion of them make a change in the sense, and are either critical conjectures or readings which must once have stood in the text itself. There is no reason to think that in these matters the Massorets departed from their office as conservators of old tradition; their one object was to secure that the whole Bible should be written according to the standard consonantal text and read according to the traditional use of the Synagogue service. It appears, therefore, that up to the time of the Massorets a certain small number of real variants to the written text still survived in the oral tradition of the Synagogue, and that the respect paid to the written text, great as it was, was not held to demand the suppression of these oral variants. In fact, the tradition of the right interpretation of Scripture, of which the rules of reading formed an integral part, ran, to a certain extent, a distinct course from the tradition of the consonantal text. The Targums, which are the chief monument of exegetical tradition before the work of the Massorets, generally agree with the Keri against the Kethih.

These facts are not without importance as a corrective to the exaggerated views sometimes put forth as to the certainty of every letter of the Hebrew Text. But on the other hand, it must not be forgotten that all the real variants of the Targum and of the Massoretic notes amount to very little. A few words, or rather a few letters, were still in dispute among the traditional authorities, but the substance of the text was already fixed. There are many passages in the Hebrew Bible which cannot be translated as they stand, and where the text is undoubtedly corrupt. In a few such cases, where the corruption does not lie very deep, the marginal Keri or the Targum supplies the necessary correction; but for the most part the margin is silent, and the Targum, with all other versions and authorities later than the first Christian century, had exactly the same reading as the received Hebrew text. For good or for evil they all follow a single archetype, and vary from one another only in points so minute as seldom to affect the sense. But this uniformity in the tradition of the text does not reach back beyond the time of the Apostles. On the contrary, there is abundant evidence that in earlier ages Hebrew MSS. differed as much as MSS. of the New Testament, or more. We shall have to look at the proof of this in some detail by and by. For the present, it is enough to point out some of the chief sources of the evidence. The Samaritans, as well as the Jews, have preserved the Hebrew Pentateuch, writing it in a peculiar character. Now the copies of the Samaritan Pentateuch, which they received from the Jews for the first time about 430 B.C., differ very considerably from our received Hebrew text. One or two of the variations are corruptions wilfully introduced in favour of the schismatic temple on Mount Gerizim; but others have no polemical significance, affecting such points as the ages assigned to the patriarchs.[25] Then, again, the old Greek version, the Alexandrian version of the Septuagint, which, in part at least, was written before the middle of the third century B.C., contains many various readings, sometimes omitting large passages, or making considerable insertions; sometimes changing the order of chapters and verses; sometimes presenting only minor variations, more similar to those with which we are familiar in Greek MSS. Nay, even among learned Jews who read Hebrew, the text was not fixed up to the first century of our era. For the Booh of Juhilees, a Hebrew work which was written apparently but a few years before the fall of the Temple, agrees with the Samaritan Pentateuch in some of the numbers in the patriarchal chronology, and in other readings.[26]

Now, observe the point to which we are thus brought. After the fall of the Jewish state, when the Scribes ceased to be an active party in a living commonwealth, and became more and more pure scholars, gathering up and codifying all the fragments of national literature and national life that remained to them, we find the text of the Old Testament carefully conformed to a single archetype. But we cannot trace this text back through the centuries when the nation had still a life of its own. Nay, we can be sure that in these earlier centuries copies of the Bible circulated, and were freely read even by learned men like the author of the Book of Jubilees, which had great and notable variations of text, not inferior in extent to those still existing in New Testament MSS. In later times every trace of these varying copies disappears. They must have been suppressed, or gradually superseded by a deliberate effort, which has been happily compared by Professor Noldeke to the action of the Caliph Othman in destroying all copies of the Koran which diverged from the standard text that he had adopted. There can be no question who were the instruments in this work. The Scribes alone possessed the necessary influence to give one text or one standard MS. a position of such supreme authority. Moreover, we are able to explain how it came about that the fixing of a standard text took place about the Apostolic age, or rather a little later than that date, and not at any earlier time. We have already glanced at the political causes which made the power of the Scribes greater in the time of Herod than it had ever been before. The doctors of the Law wielded a great authority, and were naturally eager to consolidate their legal system. In earlier times the oral and written law went independently side by side, and each stood on its own footing. Therefore, variations in the text did not seriously affect any practical question. But under Rabbi Hillel, a contemporary of Herod the Great, and the grandfather of the Gamaliel who is mentioned in the fifth chapter of Acts, a great change took place. It was the ambition of Hillel to devise a system of interpretation by which every traditional custom could be connected with some text from the Pentateuch, no matter in how arbitrary a way. This system was taken up and perfected by his successors, especially by Rabbi Akiba, who was a prominent figure in the revolt against Hadrian.[27] The new method of exegesis laid weight upon the smallest word, and sometimes even upon mere letters of Scripture; so that it became a matter of great importance to the new school of Rabbins to fix on an authoritative text. We have seen that when this text was fixed, the discordant copies must have been rigorously suppressed. The evidence for this is only circumstantial, but it is quite sufficient. There is no other explanation which will account for the facts, and the conclusion is confirmed by what took place among the Greek-speaking Jews with reference to their Greek Bible. The Bible of the Greek-speaking Jews, the Septuagint, had formerly enjoyed very great honour even in Palestine, and is most respectfully spoken of by the ancient Palestinian tradition; but it did not suit the newer school of interpretation, it did not correspond with the received text, and was not literal enough to fit the new methods of Rabbinic interpretation, while the Christians, on the contrary, found it a convenient instrument in their discussions with the Jews. Therefore it fell into disrepute, and early in the second century, just at the time when, as we have seen, the new text of the Old Testament had been fixed, we find the Septuagint superseded among the Greek-speaking Jews by a new translation, slavishly literal in character, made by a Jewish proselyte of the name of Aquila, who was a disciple of the Rabbi Akiba, and studiously followed his exegetical methods.[28]

It was then the Scribes that chose for us the Hebrew text which we have now got. But were they in a position to choose the very hest text, to produce a critical edition which could justly be accepted as the standard, so that we lose nothing by the suppression of all divergent copies? Well, this at least we can say: that if they fixed for us a satisfactory text, the Scribes did not do so in virtue of any great critical skill which they possessed in comparing MSS. and selecting the best readings. They worked from a false point of view. Their objects were legal, not philological. Their defective philology, their bad system of interpretation, made them bad critics; for it is the first rule of criticism that a good critic must be a good interpreter of the thoughts of his author. This judgment is fully borne out by the accounts given in the Talmudical books of certain small and sporadic attempts made by the Scribes to exercise something like criticism upon the text. For example, we read of three MSS. preserved in the Court of the Temple, each of which had one reading which the other MSS. did not share. The Scribes, we are told, rejected in each case the reading which had only one copy for it and two against it.[29] Now, every critic knows that to accept or reject a reading merely according to the number of MSS. for or against it is a method which, if applied on a larger scale, would lead to a bad text. But further there is some evidence, though it cannot be said to be unambiguous, that the Scribes made certain changes in the text, apparently without manuscript authority, in order to remove expressions which seemed irreverent or indecorous. We have seen that in later times, after the received text was fixed, the Jewish scholars permitted themselves, in such cases, to make a change in the reading though not in the writing; but in earlier times, it would seem, the rule was not quite so strict. There is a series of passages in which, according to Jewish tradition, the expressions now found in the text depart from the form of words which ought to be used to convey the sense that was really in the mind of the sacred writers. These are referred to as the eighteen TikMni Sdpherim (corrections or determination of the Scribes). Thus in Job vii. 20, where the present text reads, "I am a burden to myself," the tradition explains that the expression ought to have been, "I am a burden upon thee," i.e. upon Jehovah. Again in Genesis xviii. 22, where our version says, "Abraham stood yet before the Lord," tradition says that this stands in place of "The Lord stood yet before Abraham." And again, in Habakkuk i. 12, where our version and the present Hebrew text read, "Art thou not from everlasting, Jehovah my God, my Holy One? We shall not die," the tradition tells us that the expression should have been, "Thou canst not die," which was changed because it seemed irreverent to mention the idea of God dying, even in order to negative it. It is sometimes maintained by Jewish scholars that the tradition as to these Tikûnê Sôpherîm does not imply any tampering with the text on the part of the Scribes, but only that the sacred writers themselves disguised their thought by refusing to use expressions which they thought unseemly; but it is highly improbable that this was the original meaning of the tradition, and quite certain that the more explicit traditional accounts can have no other meaning than that the first Scribes, the so-called men of the Great Synagogue, corrected the text, and made it what we now read. It may indeed be doubted whether the details of the tradition are of any critical value. In most of the passages in question the Septuagint agrees with our present text, and the internal evidence is on the same side; while in some cases, as 2 Sam. XX. 1, where the original expression is said to have been "every man to his gods " instead of "his tents," the supposed older reading is manifestly absurd. On the other hand, in 1 Sam. iii. 13, where a TikMn is registered upon the expression "his sons made themselves vile" [Eev. V.: "did bring a curse on themselves "], there is plainly something wrong, and the Septuagint, with the change of a single letter in the Hebrew, produces the good sense "did revile God," which agrees with the Jewish tradition. On the whole, therefore, we are entitled to conclude that the Rabbins had some vague inaccurate knowledge of old MS. readings which departed from the received text. And what is more important, the tradition implies a recognition of the fact that the early guardians of the text did not hesitate to make small changes in order to remove expressions which they thought unedifying.[30] Beyond doubt, such changes were made in a good many cases of which no record has been retained. For example, in our text of the books of Samuel, Saul's son and successor is called Ishbosheth, but in 1 Chronicles viii. 33, ix. 39, he is called Eshbaal. Eshbaal means "Baal's man," a proper name of a well-known Semitic type, precisely similar to such Arabic names as Imrau-1-Cais, "the man of the god Cais." We must not, however, fancy that a son of Saul could be named after the Tyrian or Canaanite Baal. The word Baal is not the proper name of one deity, but an appellative noun meaning lord or owner, which the tribes of the Northern Semites applied each to their own chief divinity. In earlier times it appears that the Israelites did not scruple to give this honorific title to their national God Jehovah. Thus the golden calves at Bethel and Dan, which were worshipped under the supposition that they represented Jehovah, were called Baalim by their devotees; and Hosea, when he prophesies the purification of Israel's religion, makes it a main point that the people shall no longer call Jehovah their Baal (Hosea ii. 16, 17; comp. xiii. 1, 2). This prophecy shows that in Hosea's time the use of the word was felt to be dangerous to true religion; and indeed there is no question that the mass of the people were apt to confound the true God with the false Baalim of Canaan, the local divinities ar lords of individual tribes, towns, or sanctuaries. And so in process of time scrupulous Israelites not only desisted from applying the title of Baal to Jehovah, but taking literally the precept of Exod. xxiii. 13, "Make no mention of the name of other gods," they were wont, when they had occasion to refer to a false deity, to call him not Baal but Bosheth, "the shameful thing," as a euphemism for the hated name. The substitution of "Ishbosheth" for "Eshbaal," and other cases of the same kind, such as Mephibosheth for Meribaal (man of Baal), are therefore simply due to the scruples of copyists or readers who could not bring themselves to write or utter the hated word even in a compound proper name. Of course no man, and certainly no king, ever bore so absurd a name as "The man of the shameful thing," and as Chronicles still preserves the true form, we may be pretty certain that the change in the name in the book of Samuel was made after he wrote, and is a veritable "correction of the Scribes."

These, then, are specimens of the changes which we can still prove to have been made by early editors, and they are enough to show that these guardians of the text were not sound critics. Fortunately for us, they did not pretend to make criticism their main business. It would have been a very unfortunate thing for us indeed, if we had been left to depend upon a text of the Hebrew Bible which the Scribes had made to suit their own views. There can be no doubt, however, that the standard copy which they ultimately selected, to the exclusion of all others, owed this distinction not to any critical labour which had been spent upon it, but to some external circumstance that gave it a special reputation. Indeed, the fact, already referred to, that the very errors and corrections and accidental peculiarities of the manuscript were kept just as they stood, shows that it must have been invested with a peculiar sanctity; if indeed the meaning of the so-called extraordinary points that is, of those suspended and dotted letters, and the like had not already been forgotten when it was chosen to be the archetype of all future copies.

Now, if the Scribes were not the men to make a critical text, it is plain that they were also not in a position to choose, upon scientific principles, the very best extant manuscript; but it is very probable that they selected an old and well-written copy, possibly one of those which were preserved in the Court of the Temple. Between this copy and the original autographs of the Sacred Writers there must have been many a link. It may have been an old manuscript, but it was not an exorbitantly old one. Of that there are two proofs. In the first place, it was certainly written in Aramaic characters, not very different from the "square" or "Assyrian" letters used in our modern Hebrew Bibles; but in old times the Hebrews used the quite different character usually called Phoenician. According to Jewish tradition, which is disposed to ascribe everything to Ezra which it has not the assurance to refer to Moses, the change on the character in which the sacred books were written was introduced by Ezra; but we know that this is a mistake, for the Samaritans, who acquired the Pentateuch after Ezra's publication of the Law, received it in the old Phoenician letter, which they retain in a corrupted form down to the present day. It is most improbable that the Jews adopted the Aramaic character for Biblical MSS. before the third century B.C., and that therefore would be the earliest possible date for the archetype of our present Hebrew copies.[31] Another proof that the copy was not extraordinarily old lies in the spelling. In Hebrew, as in other languages, the rules of spelling varied in the course of centuries, and as we have a genuine specimen of old Hebrew spelling in the inscription of Siloah (eighth century B.C.), and also possess a long Moabite inscription of still earlier date and many Phoenician inscriptions of different periods, evidence is not lacking to decide which of two orthographies is the older. ISTow, it can be proved that the copies which lay before the translators of the Septuagint in the third, and perhaps in the second, century B.C., often had an older style of spelling than existed in the archetype of our present Hebrew Bibles. It does not follow of necessity that in all respects these older MSS. were better and nearer to the original text; but certainly the facts which we have been developing give a new importance to the circumstance that the MSS. of the LXX. often contained readings very different from those of our Hebrew Bibles, even to the extent of omitting or inserting passages of considerable length.

In this connection there is yet another point worth notice. In these times Hebrew books were costly and cumbrous, written on huge rolls of leather, not even on the later and more convenient parchment. Copies therefore were not very numerous, and, being much handled, were apt to get worn and indistinct. For not only was leather an indifferent surface to write on, but the ink was of a kind that could be washed off, a prejudice existing against the use of a mordant.[32] No single copy, therefore, however excellent, was likely to remain long in good readable condition throughout. And we have seen that collation of several copies, by which defects might have been supplied, was practised to but a small extent. Often indeed it must have been difficult to get manuscripts to collate, and once at least the whole number of Bibles existing in Palestine was reduced to very narrow limits. For Antiochus Epiphanes (168 B.C.) caused all copies of the Law, and seemingly of the other sacred books, to be torn up and burnt, and made it a capital offence to possess a Pentateuch (1 Mac. i. 56, 57; Josephus, Ant. xii. 5, 4). The text of books preserved only in manuscript might very readily suffer in passing through such a crisis, and it is most providential that before this time, the Law and other books of the Old Testament had been translated into Greek and were current in regions where Antiochus had no sway. This Greek version, called the Septuagint, of which the greater part is older than the time of Antiochus, still exists, and supplies, as we shall see in the next Lecture, the most valuable evidence for the early state of the Old Testament text.



We have passed -under review the vicissitudes of the Hebrew Text, as far back as the days of Antiochus Epiphanes. We have found that all our MSS. go back to one archetype. But the archetype was not formed by a critical process which we can accept as conclusive. It was not so ancient but that a long interval lay between it and the first hand of the Biblical authors ; and the comparative paucity of books in those early times, combined with the imperfect materials used in writing, and the deliberate attempt of Antiochus to annihilate the Hebrew Bible, exposed the text to so many dangers that it cannot but appear a most welcome and providential circum- stance that the Greek translation, derived from MSS. of which some at least were presumably older than the arche- type of our present Hebrew copies, and preserved in countries beyond the dominions of Antiochus, offers an independent witness to the early state of the Biblical books, vindicating

^ On the subject of this Lecture compare, in general, Wellhausen's article Septuagint {Enc. Brit., 9th ed.). The two books which have perhaps done most to exemplify the right method of using the Septuagint for criticism of the Hebrew text are Lagarde, Anmerkungen zur Griechischen Uehersetzung der Proverbien (Leipzig, 1863) ; Wellhausen, Der Text der Bilcher Samuelis (Gott., 1871). For English students the best practical introduction to the critical use of the LXX. is Driver, Notes on the Hebrew Text of the Books of Samuel (Oxford, 1890). On the relation of the Septuagint to the Palestinian tradi- tion compare Geiger, op. cit., and Frankel, Ueber den Einfluss der paldstin- ischen Exegese auf die Alexandrinische Hermeneutik (Leipzig, 1851).


the substantial accuracy of the transmission of these records ; while, at the same time, it displays a text not yet fixed in every point of detail, exhibits a series of important various readings, and sometimes indicates the existence of corruptions in the received Hebrew recension corruptions which it not seldom enables us to remove, restoring the first hand of the sacred authors.

Nevertheless, there have been many scholars who altogether reject this use of the Septuagint. One of the latest represent- atives of this party is Keil, from whose Introdioction (Eng. trans., vol. ii. p. 306) I quote the following sentences :

" The numerous and strongly marked deviations [of the Septuagint] from the Massoretic text have arisen partly at a later time, out of the carelessness and caprice of transcribers. But in so far as they existed originally, almost in a mass they are explained by the uncritical and wanton passion for emendation, which led the translators to alter the original text (by omissions, additions, and transpositions) where they misunderstood it in consequence of their own defective knowledge of the language, or where they supposed it to be unsuitable or incorrect for historical, chronological, dogmatic, or other reasons ; or which, at least, led them to render it inexactly, according to their own notions and their uncertain conjectures."

If this judgment were sound, we should be deprived at one blow of the most ancient witness to the state of the text ; and certainly, at one time, the opinion advocated by Keil was generally current among Protestant scholars. We have glanced, in a previous Lecture (supra, p. 32), at the reasons which led the early Protestants to place themselves, on points of Hebrew scholarship, almost without reserve in the hands of the Jews. Accepting the received Hebrew text as trans- mitted in the Jewish schools, they naturally viewed with distrust the very different text of the Septuagint. However, the question of the real value of the Greek version was stirred early in the seventeenth century, mainly by two French scholars, one of whom was a Catholic, Jean Morin (Morinus),


priest of the Oratory, the other a Protestant, Louis Cappelle (Cappellus).

The controversy raised by the publication of the Exerdta- tiones BiUicce of Morinus (Paris, 1633-1660) was unduly pro- longed by the introduction of dogmatic considerations which should have had no place in a scholarly argument as to the history of the Biblical text. These considerations lost much of their force when all parties were compelled to admit the value of the various readings of MSS. and versions for the study of the New Testament ; and, since theological prejudice was overcome, it has gradually become clear to the vast majority of conscientious students that the Septuagint is really of the greatest value as a witness to the early history of the text.

It is very difficult to convey, in a popular manner, a sufficiently clear idea of the arguments by which this position is established. Even the few remarks which I shall make may, I fear, seem to you somewhat tedious ; but I must ask your attention for them, because it is of no slight consequence to know whether, in this, the oldest, version, we have or have not a valuable testimony to the way in which the Old Testa- ment has been transmitted, an independent basis for a rational and well-argued belief as to the state of the Hebrew text.

In judging of the Septuagint translation, we must not put ourselves on the standpoint of a translator in these days. We must begin by realising to ourselves the facts brought out in Lecture II., that Jewish scholars, before the time of Christ, had no grammar and no dictionary; that all their knowledge of the language was acquired by oral teaching; that their exegesis of difficult passages was necessarily tradi- tional ; and that, where tradition failed them, they had for their guidance only that kind of practical knowledge of the language v/hich they got by the constant habit of reading the sacred text, and speaking some kind of Hebrew among them-


selves in the schools. We must also remember that, when the Septuagint was composed, the Hebrew language was either dead or dying, and that the mother-tongue of the translators was either Greek or Aramaic. Hence we must not be surprised to find that, when tradition was silent, the Septuagint translators made many mistakes. If they came to a difl&cult passage, say of a prophet, of which no traditional interpretation had been handed down in the schools, or which contained words the meanings of which had not been taught them by their masters, they could do nothing better than make a guess sometimes guided by analogies and similar words in Aramaic sometimes by other considerations. The value of the translation does not lie in the sense which they put upon such passages, but in the evidence that we can find as to what Hebrew words lay in the MSS. before them.

Apart from the inherent defects of scholarship derived entirely from tradition, we find that the Septuagint some- times varies from the older text for reasons which are at once intelligible when we understand the general principles of the Scribes at the time. We have already seen, for example, that the Scribes in Palestine did not hesitate occasionally to make a dogmatic correction, removing from the writing, or at least from the reading, of Scripture some expression which they thought it indecorous to pronounce in public. In like manner we find that the translators of the Septuagint sometimes changed a phrase which they thought likely to be misunder- stood, or to be used to establish some false doctrine. Thus, in the Hebrew text of Exodus xxiv. 10, we read that the elders who went up towards Sinai with Moses " saw the God of Israel." This anthropomorphic expression, it was felt, could not be rendered literally without lending some coun- tenance to the false idea that the spiritual God can be seen by the bodily eyes of men, and offering an apparent contra- diction to Exodus xxxiii. 20. The Septuagint therefore changes


it, and says, " They saw the place where the God of Israel had stood." One change on the text, made by the Septuagint in deference to an early and widespread Jewish scruple, is followed even in the English Bible. The ancient proper name of the God of Israel, which we are accustomed to write as Jehovah, is habitually suppressed by the Greek translators, the word o KvpLo^; (A. V. the Lord) taking its place. This agrees with the usage of the Hebrew-speaking Jews, who in reading substituted Adonai (the Lord), or, in certain cases, Elohim (God), for the " ineffable name." So strictly was this rule carried out that the true pronunciation of the name was ultimately forgotten among the Jews ; though several early Christian writers had still access to authentic information on the subject. From their testimony, and from a comparison of the many old Hebrew proper names which are compounded with the sacred name, we can still make out that the true pronunciation is laliwh. The vulgar form Jehovah is of very modern origin, and arises from a quite arbitrary combination of the true consonants with the vowel points which the Massorets set against the word in all passages where they meant it to be read Adonai and not Elohim. Unhappily, this spurious form is now too deeply rooted among us to be displaced, at least in popular usage.

Again, we have already seen that the interpretation of the Scribes was largely guided by the Halacha, that is, by oral tradition ultimately based upon the common law and habitual usage of the sanctuary and of Jerusalem. The same influence of the Halacha is found in the Septuagint transla- tion. Thus, in Lev. xxiv. 7, where the Hebrew text bids frankincense be placed on the shewbread, the Septuagint makes it " frankincense and salt," because salt, as well as frankincense, was used in the actual ritual of their period.

Such deviations of the Septuagint as these need not seriously embarrass the critic. He recognises the causes from which they came. He is able, approximately, to estimate their extent by what he knows of Palestinian tradition, and he is not likely, in a case of this sort, to be misled into the supposition that the Septuagint had a different text from the Hebrew. Once more, we find that the translators allowed themselves certain liberties which were also used by copyists of the time. Their object was to give the thing with perfect clearness as they understood it. Consequently they some- times changed a " he " into " David " or " Solomon," naming the person alluded to ; and they had no scruple in adding a word or two to complete the sense of an obscure sentence, or supply what appeared to be an ellipsis. Even our extant Hebrew MSS. indicate a tendency to make additions of this description. The original and nervous style of early Hebrew prose was no longer appreciated, and a diffuse smoothness, with constant repetition of standing phrases and elaborate expansion of the most trifling incidents, was the classical ideal of composition. The copyist or translator seldom omitted anything save by accident ; but he was often tempted by his notions of style to venture on an expansion of the text. Let me take a single example. In passages in the Old Testament where we read of some one eating, a compas- sionate editor, as a recent critic humorously puts it, was pretty sure to intervene and give him also something to drink. Sometimes we find the longer reading in the Septuagint, sometimes in the Hebrew text. In 1 Samuel i. 9 the Hebrew tells us that Hannah rose up after she had eaten in Shiloh and after she had drunk, but the Septuagint has only the shorter reading, "After she had eaten." Conversely, in 2 Samuel xii. 21, where the Hebrew text says only, " Thou didst rise and eat bread," the Septuagint presents the fuller text, "Thou didst rise and eat bread, and drink." In cases of this sort, the shorter text is obviously the original.

For our present purpose these three classes of variations do not come into account. First of all we must put aside the cases where, having the present Hebrew text before them, the translators failed to understand it, simply because they had no tradition to guide them. We must not say that they were ignorant or capricious, because they were not able to make a good grammatical translation of a difficult passage at a time when such a thing as grammar or lexicon did not exist even in Palestine. In the next place, we must put on one side the cases where the interpretation was influenced by exegetical considerations derived from the dogmatic theology of the time or from the traditional law. And, thirdly, we can attach no great importance to those variations in which, without changing the sense, the translator, or perhaps a copyist before him, gave a slight turn to an expression to remove ambiguity, or to gain the diffuse fulness which he loved.

But after making every allowance for these cases a large class of passages remains, in which the Septuagint presents important variations from the Massoretic text. The test by which the value of these variations can be determined is the method of retranslation. A faithful translation from Hebrew into an idiom so different as the Greek especially such a translation as the Septuagint, the work of men who had no great command of Greek style cannot fail to retain the stamp of the original language. It will be comparatively easy to put it back into idiomatic Hebrew, and even the mistakes of the translator will often point clearly to the words of the original which he had before him. But where the translator capriciously departs from his original, the work of retranslation will at once become more difficult. For the capricious translator is one who substitutes his own thought for that of the author, and what he thinks in Greek even in lumbering Jewish Greek will not so naturally lend itself to retroversion into the Hebrew idiom. The test of retranslation gives a very favourable impression of the fidelity of the Alexandrian version. With a little practice one can often put back whole chapters of the Septuagint into Hebrew, reproducing the original text almost word for word. The translation is not of equal merit throughout, and it is plain that the different parts of the Bible were rendered by men of unequal capacity; but in general, and under the limitations already indicated, it is safe to say that the trans- lators were competent scholars as scholarship then went, and that they did their work faithfully and in no arbitrary way. Now as we proceed with the work of retranslation, and when all has gone on smoothly for perhaps a whole chapter, in which we find no considerable deflection from the present Hebrew, we suddenly come to something which the practised hand has no difficulty in putting back into Hebrew, which indeed is full of such characteristic Hebrew idiom that it is impossible to ascribe it to the caprice of a translator thinking in Greek, but which, nevertheless, diverges from the Massoretic text. In such cases we can be morally certain that a various reading existed in the Hebrew MS. from which the Septuagint was derived. Nay, in some passages, the moral certainty becomes demonstrative, for we find that the translator stumbled on a word which he was unable to render into Greek, and that he contented himself with transcribing it in Greek letters. A Hebrew word thus bodily transferred to the pages of the Septuagint, and yet differing from what we now read in our Hebrew Bibles, constitutes a various reading which cannot be explained away. An example of this is found in 1 Sam. xx., in the account of the arrangement made between Jonathan and David to determine the real state of Saul's disposition towards the latter. In the Hebrew text (ver. 19) Jonathan directs David to be in hiding "by the stone Ezel ;" and at verse 41, when the plan agreed on has been carried out, David at a given signal emerges "from beside the Negeb." The Negeb is a district in the south of Judsea, remote from the city of Saul, in the neighbourhood of which the events of our chapter took place ; and the attempt of the English version to smooth away the difficulty is not satisfactory either in point of grammar or of sense. But the Septuagint makes the whole thing clear. At verse 19 the Greek reads " beside yonder Ergab," and at verse 41 " David arose from the Ergab." Ergah is the transcription in Greek of a rare Hebrew word signifying a cairn or rude monument of stone, which does not occur elsewhere except as a proper name (Argob). The translators transliterated the word because they did not understand it, and the reading of the Massoretic text, which involves no considerable change in the letters of the Hebrew, probably arose from similar lack of knowledge on the part of Palestinian copyists.

The various readings of the Septuagint are not always so happy as in this case ; but in selecting some further examples, it will be most instructive for us to confine ourselves to passages where the Greek gives a better reading than the Hebrew, and where its superiority can be made tolerably manifest even in an English rendering. It must, however, be remembered that complete proof that the corruption lies on the side of the Hebrew and not of the Greek can be offered only to those who understand these languages. Our first example shall be 1 Sam. xiv. 18.

Hebrew. And Saul said to Ahiah, Bring hither the ark of God. For the ark of God was on that day and \noi as E. V. with] the children of Israel.

Septuagint And Saul said to Ahiah, Bring hither the ephod, for he bare the ephod on that day before Israel.

The Authorised Version smooths away one difficulty of the Hebrew text at the expense of grammar. But there are other difficulties behind. The ark was then at Gibeah of Kirjath-jearim (1 Sam. vii. 1 ; 2 Sam. vi. 3), quite a different place from Gibeah of Benjamin; and its priest was not Ahiah, but Eleazar ben Abinadab. Besides, Saul's object was to seek an oracle, and this was done, not by means of the ark, but by the sacred lot connected with the ephod of the priest (1 Sam. xxiii. 6, 9). This is what the Septuagint actually brings out, and there can be no doubt that it pre- serves the right reading. The changes on the Hebrew letters required to get the one reading out of the other are far less considerable than one would imagine from the English.

Another example is the death of Ishbosheth (2 Sam. iv. 5,6,7): -

Hebrew. [The assassins] came to the house of Ishbosheth in the hottest part of the day, while he was taking his midday siesta. (6) And hither they came into the midst of the house fetching wheat, and smote him in the flank, and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped. (7) And they came into the house as he lay on his bed, . . . and smote him and slew him, etc

Septuagint. They came to the house of Ishbosheth in the hottest part of the day, while he was taking his midday siesta. And lo, the woman who kept the door of the house was cleaning wheat, and she slum- bered and slept, and the brothers Rechab and Baanah passed in un- observed and came into the house as Ishbosheth lay on his bed, etc.

In the Hebrew there is a meaningless repetition in verse 7 of what has already been fully explained in the two preceding verses. The Septuagint text gives a clear and pro- gressive narrative, and one which no " capricious translator " could have derived out of his own head. As in the previous case, the two readings are very like one another when written in the Hebrew.

Another reading, long ago appealed to by Dathe as one which no man familiar with the style of the translator could credit him with inventing, is found in Ahithophel's advice to Absalom (2 Sam. xvii. 3) :


I will bring back all the people
to thee. Like the return of the
whole is the man whom thou
seekest. All the people shall
have peace.


I will make all the people turn
to thee as a bride turneth to her
husband. Thou seekest the life
of but one man, and all the people
shall have peace.

The cumbrousness of the Hebrew text is manifest. The Septuagint, on the contrary, introduces a graceful simile, thoroughly natural in the picturesque and poetically-coloured language of ancient Israel, but wholly unlike the style of the prosaic age when the translator worked.

The Books of Samuel, from which these examples are selected, are, on the whole, the part of the Old Testament in which the value of the Septuagint is most manifest and most generally recognised. The Hebrew text has many obscurities which can only be explained as due to faulty transmission, and the variations of the Septuagint are numerous and often good. In the Pentateuch, on the other hand, the Septuagint seldom departs far from the Hebrew text, and its variations seldom give a better reading. This is just what we should expect, for from a very early date the Law was read in the synagogues every Sabbath day (Acts xv. 21) in regular course, the whole being gone through in a cycle of three years. The Jews thus became so familiar with the words of the Pentateuch that copyists were in great measure secured from important errors of transcription ; and it is also reason- able to suppose that the rolls written for the synagogue were transcribed with special care long before the fuU development of the elaborate precautions which were ultimately devised to exclude errors from all the sacred books. Sections from the prophetic books were also read in the synagogue (Acts xiii. 15), but not in a complete and systematic manner. At the time of Christ, indeed, it would seem that the reader had a certain freedom of choice in the prophetic lessons (Luke iv. 17). Such books as Samuel, again, had little place in the syna- gogue service, while the interest of the narrative caused them to be largely read in private. But private study gave no such guarantee against the introduction of various readings as was afforded by use in public worship. Private readers must no doubt have often been content to purchase or tran- scribe indifferent copies, and a student might not hesitate to make on his own copy notes or small additions to facilitate the sense, or even to add a paragraph which he had derived from another source, a procedure of which we shall find examples by and by. Under such circumstances, and in the absence of official supervision, the multiplication of copies opened an easy door to the multiplication of errors ; which might, no doubt, have been again eliminated by a critical collation, but might very easily become permanent when, as we have seen, a single copy, without critical revision, acquired the position of the standard manuscript, to which all new transcripts were to be conformed.

In general, then, we must conclude, first, that many various readings once existed in MSS. of the Old Testament which have totally disappeared from the extant Hebrew copies ; and, further, that the range and distribution of these variations were in part connected with the fact that all books of the Old Testament had not an equal place in the official service of the synagogue. But the force of these observations is sometimes met by an argument directed to depreciate the value of the Septuagint variations. It is not denied that the MSS. which lay before the Greek translators contained various readings ; but it is urged that these MSS, were pre- sumably of Egyptian origin, and that the Jews of Egypt had probably to content themselves with inferior copies, trans- mitted and multiplied by the hands of scholars who were neither so learned nor so scrupulous as the Scribes of Jerusalem. Upon this view we are invited to look upon the Septuagint as the witness to a corrupt Egyptian recension of the text, the various readings in which deserve little atten- tion, and afford no evidence that Palestinian MSS. did not agree even at an early period with the present Massoretic text.

We have already seen that this view is at any rate ex- aggerated, for we have had cases before us in which no sober critic will hesitate to prefer the so-called Egyptian reading. But further it is to be observed that the whole theory of a uniform Palestinian recension is a pure hypothesis. There is not a particle of evidence that there was a uniform Palestinian text in the sense in which our present Hebrew Bibles are uniform or, in other words, to the exclusion even of such variations and corruptions as are found in MSS. of the New Testament before the first century of our era. Nay, as we have seen, the author of the Booh of Jubilees, a Palestinian scholar of the first century, used a Hebrew Bible which often agreed with the Septuagint or the Samaritan recension against the Massoretic text (supra, p. 62).

But let us look at the history of the Greek translation, and see what ground of fact there is for supposing that it was made from inferior copies, and could pass muster only in a land of inferior scholarship. The account of the origin of the Septuagint version of the Law which was current in the time of Christ, and may be read in Josephus and Eusebius, is full of fabulous embellishments, designed to establish the authority of the version as miraculously composed under divine inspira- tion. The source of these fables is an epistle purporting to be written by one Aristeas, a courtier in Alexandria under Ptolemy Philadelphus (283–247 B.C.) This epistle is a forgery, but the

^ Critical edition of the text of the letter of Aristeas to Philocrates, by M. Schmidt, in Merx's Archiv, i. 241 sq. (Halle, 1870). It is unnecessary to sketch its contents, for which the English reader may turn to the translations of Eusebius and Josephus. What basis of truth underlies the fables depends author seems to have linked on his fabulous stories to some element of current tradition ; and there is other evidence that in the second century B.C. the uniform tradition of the Jews in Egypt was to the effect that the Greek Pentateuch was written for Ptolemy II. Philadelphus, to be placed in the royal library collected by Demetrius Phalereus. This tradi- tion is not wholly improbable, and at all events the date to which it leads us has generally commended itself to the judgment of scholars; it is confirmed by the fact that the fragments of the Jew, Demetrius, who wrote a Greek history of the kings of Judsea under Ptolemy IV. (222–205 B.C.), betray acquaintance with the Septuagint Pentateuch. The other books were translated later, but they probably followed pretty fast. The author of the prologue to Ecclesiasticus, who wrote in Egypt about 130 B.C., speaks of the law, the prophets, and the other books of the fathers, as current in Greek in his time. The Septuagint version, then, was made in Egypt under the Ptolemies. Under these princes the Jewish colony in Egypt was not a poor or oppressed body ; it was very numerous, very influential. Jews held important posts in the kingdom, and formed a large element in the population of Alexandria. Their wealth was so great that they were able to make frequent pilgrimages and send many rich gifts to the Temple at Jerusalem. They stood, therefore, on an excellent footing with the authorities of the nation in Palestine, and there is not the slightest evidence that they were regarded as heretics, using an inferior Bible, or in any way falling short of all the requisites of true Judaism. There was, indeed, a schismatic temple in Egypt, at Leonto- polis ; but that temple, so far as we can gather, by no means attracted to it the service and the worship of the greater part

mainly on the genuineness of the fragments of Aristobulns. See on the one side Wellhausen-Bleek, 279, on the other Kuenen's Religion of Israel, note 1 to chap. xi. For Demetrius see Schiirer, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 730, and for Aristobulus, ibid. p. 760 ; see also ibid. p. 697 sqq., p. 819 sqq.

of the Greek-speaking Jews in Egypt. Their hearts still turned towards Jerusalem, and their intercourse with Pales- tine was too familiar and frequent to suffer them to fall into the position of an isolated and ignorant sect.

All this makes it highly improbable that the Jews of Egypt would have contented themselves with a translation below the standard of Palestine, or that they would have found any difficulty in procuring manuscripts of the approved official recension, if such a recension had then existed. But the argument may be carried further. In the time of Christ there were many Hellenistic Jews resident in Jerusalem, with synagogues of their own, where the Greek version was necessarily in regular use. We find these Hellenists in Acts vi., living on the best terms with the religious authorities of the capital. Hellenists and Hebrews, the Septuagint and the original text, met in Jerusalem without schism or controversy. Yet many of the Palestinian scholars were familiar with Greek, and Paul cannot have been the only man born in the Hellenistic dispersion, and accustomed from infancy to the Greek version, who afterwards studied under Palestinian doctors, and became equally familiar with the Hebrew text. The divergences of the Septuagint must have been patent to all Jerusalem. Yet we find no attempt to condemn and suppress this version till the second century, when the rise of the new school of exegesis, and the consequent introduction of a fixed official text, were followed by the discrediting of the old Greek Bible in favour of the new translation by Aquila. On the contrary, early Eabbinical tradition expressly recognises the Greek version as legiti- mate. In some passages of the Jewish books mention is made of thirteen places in which those who "wrote for Ptolemy" departed from the Hebrew text. But these changes, which are similar in character to the "corrections of the Scribes" spoken of in the last Lecture, are not reprehended; and in one form of the tradition they are even said to have been made by divine inspiration. The account of these thirteen passages contains mistakes which show that the tradition was written down after the Septu- agint had ceased to be a familiar book in Palestine. It is remarkable that the graver variations of the Egyptian text are passed over in absolute silence, and had apparently fallen into oblivion. But the tradition recalls a time when Hebrew scholars knew the Greek version well, and noted its variations in a spirit of friendly tolerance. These facts are entirely inconsistent with the idea that the Egyptian text was viewed as corrupt. To the older Jewish tradition its variations appeared, not in the light of deviations from an acknowledged standard, but as features fairly within the limits of a faithful transmission or interpretation of the text.^ And so the comparison of the Septuagint with the Hebrew Bible not merely furnishes us with fresh critical material for the text of individual passages, but supplies a measure of the limits of variation which were tolerated

^ Compare Morinus, Exercilatio viii. In Mishna, Megilla, i. 8, we read, "The Scriptures maybe written in every tongue. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel says they did not suffer the Scriptures to be written except in Greek." On this the Gemara observes, " R. Judah said, that when our Rabbins permitted writing in Greek, they did so only for the Torah, and hence arose the transla- tion made for King Ptolemy," etc. So Joseph us, though an orthodox Pharisee, makes use of the LXX., even where it departs from the Hebrew (1 Esdras). The thirteen variations are given in the Gemara, ut supra, and in Sdpherim, i. 9. In both places God is said to have guided the seventy-two translators, so that, writing separately, all gave one sense. Side by side with this favour- able estimate, Soph. i. 8, following the glosses on Megillath Taanith, gives the later hostile tradition, which it supposes to refer to a different version. "That day was a hard day for Israel like the day wlien they made the golden calf," because the Torah could not be adequately translated. See further, on the gradual growth of the prejudice against the Greek translation, Muller's note, op. cit. p. 11. Jerome, following the text supplied by Jewish tradition, will have it that the LXX. translators purposely concealed from Ptolemy the mysteries of faith, especially the prophecies referring to the advent of Christ. See Quosst. in Gen. p. 2 (ed. Lagarde, 1868), and Praef, in Pent.

two hundred years after Ezra, when the version was first written, and indeed from that time downwards until the apostolic age. For in the times of the New Testament the Greek and Hebrew Bibles were current side by side; and men like the apostles, who knew both languages, used either text indifferently, or even quoted the Old Testament from memory, as Paul often does, with a laxness surprising to the reader who judges by a modern rule, but very natural in the condition of the text which we have just characterised. It may be observed in passing that these considerations re- move a great part of the difficulties which are commonly felt to attach to the citations of the Old Testament in the New.

When we say that the readings of the Septuagint afford a fair measure of the limits of variation in the early history of the text, it is by no means implied that the Greek version, taken as a whole, is as valuable as the Hebrew text. A translation can never supply the place of a manuscript. There is always an allowance to be made for errors and licences of interpretation, and the allowance is necessarily large in the) case of the Septuagint, which was the first attempt at a translation of the Bible, and perhaps the first considerable translation ever made. Thus, even if we possessed the Septuagint in its original form it would be necessary to use it with great caution as an instrument of textual criticism. But in reality this use of the Septuagint is made greatly more difficult and uncertain by many corruptions which it underwent in the course of transmission. The Greek text was in a deplorable state even in the days of Origen, in the first half of the third Christian century. In his Hexaplar Bible, in which the Hebrew, the Septuagint, and the later Greek versions were arranged in parallel columns, Origen made a notable attempt to purify the text, and indicate its variations from the Hebrew. But the use made of Origen's labours by later generations rather increased the mischief, and in the present day it is an affair of the most delicate scholarship to make profitable use of the Alexandrian version for the confirmation or emenda- tion of the Hebrew. The work has often fallen into incom- petent hands, and their rashness is a chief reason why cautious scholars are still apt to look with unjustifiable indifference on what, after all, is our oldest witness to the history of the text of the Old Testament.

For our present purpose it is not necessary that I should conduct you over the delicate ground which cannot be safely trodden save by the most experienced scholarship. My object will be attained if I succeed in conveying to you by a few plain examples a just conception of the methods of the ancient copyists as they stand revealed to us in the broader differences between the Hebrew and the Septuagint. It will conduce to clearness if I indicate at the outset the conclusions to which these differences appear to point, and the proof of which will be specially contemplated in the details which I shall presently set before you. I shall endeavour to show that the comparison of the Hebrew and Greek texts carries us beyond the sphere of mere verbal variations, with which textual criticism is generally busied, and introduces us to a series of questions affecting the composition, the editing, and the collection of the sacred books. This class of questions forms the special subject of the branch of critical science which is usually distinguished from the verbal criticism of the text by the name of Higher or Historical Criticism. The value of textual criticism is now admitted on all hands. The first collections of various readings for the Xew Testa- ment excited great alarm, but it was soon seen to be absurd to quarrel with facts. Various readings were actually found in MSS., and it was necessary to make the best of them. But while textual criticism admittedly deals with facts, the higher criticism is often supposed to have no other basis than the subjective fancies and arbitrary hypotheses of scholars. When critics maintain that some Old Testament writings, tradi- tionally ascribed to a single hand, are really of composite origin, and that many of the Hebrew books have gone through successive redactions or, in other words, have been edited and re-edited in different ages, receiving some addition or modification at the hand of each editor it is often supposed that these are mere idle theories unsupported by evidence. Here it is that the Septuagint comes in to justify the critics. The variations of the Greek and Hebrew text reveal to us a time when the functions of copyist and editor shaded into one another by imperceptible degrees. They not only prove that Old Testament books were subjected to such processes of successive editing as critics maintain, but that the work of redaction went on to so late a date that editorial changes are found in the present Hebrew text which did not exist in the MSS. of the Greek translators. The details of the evidence will make my meaning more clear, but in general what I desire to impress upon you is this. The evidence of the Septuagint proves that early copyists had a very different view of their responsibility from that which we might be apt to ascribe to them. They were not reckless or indifferent to the truth. They copied the Old Testament books knowing them to be sacred books, and they were zealous to preserve them as writings of Divine authority. But their sense of responsibility to the Divine word regarded the meaning rather than the form, and they had not that highly-developed s.>^!^\^' sense of the importance of preserving every word and every . letter of the original hand of the author which seems natural to us. When we look at the matter carefully, we observe that the difference between them and us lies, not in any religious principle, but in the literary ideas of those ancient times. From our point of view a book is the property of the author. You may buy a copy of it, but you do not thereby acquire a literary property in the work, or a right to tamper with the style and alter the words of the author even to make his sense more distinct. But this idea was too subtle for those ancient times. The man who had bought or copied a book held it to be his own for every purpose. He valued it for its contents, and therefore would not disfigure these by arbitrary changes. But, if he could make it more convenient for use by adding a note here, putting in a word there, or incorporating additional matter derived from another source, he had no hesitation in doing so. In short, every ancient scholar who copied or annotated a book for his own use was very much in the position of a modern editor, with the differ- ence that at that time there was no system of footnotes, brackets, and explanatory prefaces, by which the insertions could be distinguished from the original text.

In setting before you some examples of the evidence which enables us to prove this thesis, I shall begin with the question of the titles which are prefixed to some parts of the Old Testament. And here it is proper to explain that the general titles prefixed to the several books in the English Bible, such as " The First Book of Moses called Genesis," " The Book of the Prophet Isaiah," and so forth, are no part of the Hebrew text. Even the shorter titles of the same kind found in our common printed Hebrew Bibles lack manuscript authority. The only titles that form an integral part of the textual tradition are those which appear in the English Bible in the body of the text itself such titles, for example, as are contained in Proverbs i. 1, x. 1, xxv. 1, or in Isaiah i. 1, xiii. 1, etc. etc. This being understood, it immediately appears that a large proportion of the books of the Old Testa- ment are anonymous. The Pentateuch, for example, bears no author's name on its front, although certain things in the course of the narrative are said to have been written down by Moses. All the historical books are anonymous, with the single exception of one of the latest of them, the memoirs of


Nehemiah, in which the author's name is prefixed to the first chapter. This fact is characteristic. Why do the authors -j^

not give their names ? Because the literary public was in- J^ (^a

terested in the substance of the history, but was not concerned ^ ^j^J^'v^ to know who had written it.

To give this observation its just weight, we must remem- ber that most of the historical books are not contemporary memoirs, written from personal observation, but compila- tions, extending over long periods, for which the authors must have drawn largely from earlier sources, or from oral tradition. Moreover, the frequent changes of style and other marks of composite authorship which occur in these histories prove that the work of compilation largely consisted in piecing together long quotations from older books. In such circumstances a modest compiler might very well prefer to\ remain anonymous ; but then, according to modern ideas of the way in which literary work should be done, he ought to have given full and careful indications of the sources from which he drew. In the Book of Kings reference is habitually made, for certain particulars in the political history of each reign, to the official chronicles of the sovereigns of Judah and Israel, and in 2 Sam. i. 18 a poem of David is quoted from the Book of Jashar, which is also cited in Josh. x. 13. But for the mass of the narrative of the Earlier Prophets (Joshua Kings) the compilers give no indication of the sources from which they worked. In short, the whole his- torical literature of Israel before the Exile is written by and for men whose interest in the story of the nation was not combined with any interest in the hands by which the story had been first set forth, or from time to time reshaped. To these ages a book was a book, to be taken or rejected on its internal merits, without regard to the personality that lay behind it.

And this feeling was not confined to historical books. No ancient poem excites in the modern mind a more eager


curiosity as to the personality of the author than the wonder- ful Book of Job. We can understand that hymns like some of the Psalms, which speak the common feelings of all pious minds, are appropriately left anonymous. But the Book of Job is an individual creation, as clearly stamped with the impress of a great personality as the prophecies of Isaiah. And yet the author is nameless and unknown.

The only part of the older Hebrew literature in which the rule of anonymity does not prevail is the prophetical books. And the reason for this is obvious. Most of the pro- phets to say all would be to prejudge a question that must come before us presently were preachers first of all, and writers only in the second instance. Their books are not products of the closet, but summaries of a course of public activity, in which the personality of the preacher could not be separated from his words. And so their books make no exception to the rule that in old Israel a man could not make himself known and perpetuate his name by literary labours. If a man was already prominent in the eyes of his contemporaries, and wrote, as he spoke, with the weight of a public character, he had a reason to put his name to his books, and others had a reason for remembering what he had written ; but not otherwise. Even in the Book of Psalms the only names that occur in the titles are those of famous his- torical characters Moses, David, Solomon ; and possibly, for here the individual reference of the names is doubtful, those of the founders and ancestors of Temple choirs Asaph, Heman, Ethan.

After the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, when the Church took the place of the State, and the scribes succeeded to the empty seat of the prophets, all this began to change. A great part of the spiritual and intellectual energy of the Jews was turned into purely literary channels; and ultimately, after the decline of the Hasmonean power, the men of books


became the acknowledged leaders of national life, and letters the recognised means of public distinction. To the doctors of the Law, who knew no other greatness than that of learn- ing, all the heroes of ancient Israel, even the rude warrior Joab, appeared in the character of book-men and students. To this point of view the anonymity of the old literature was a great stumbling-block. It seemed obvious to the Rabbins that the leaders of the ancient nation must have been, above all things, the authors of the national literature, and they proceeded with much confidence to assign the composition of the nameless books to Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and so forth. Even Adam, Melchizedek, and Abraham were not excluded from literary honours, each of them being credited with the authorship of a psalm.^

In the times of the Talmud, when these strange conjec- tures took final shape, and were admitted into the body of authoritative Jewish tradition, the text of the Bible was ^-

already rigidly fixed, so that no attempt could be made to embody them in titles prefixed to the several books. But the tendency that culminates in the Talmudic legends is much older than the Talmud itself, and no one, I imagine, will be prepared to affirm on general grounds that the Jews of the last pre-Christian centuries either lacked curiosity as to the authorship of their sacred books, or were prepared to restrain fi^t D-'T their curiosity within the limits prescribed by the rules of ^ evidence. But in these ages, as we have already seen, the Biblical text was still in a more or less fluid state, and we dare not say a priori that the introduction of a title based on conjecture would have seemed to exceed the licence allowed to a copyist. We know that such conjectural titles found a place in manuscripts of the New Testament, where, for example, many copies prefix the name of Paul to the Epistle

1 See the famous passage, Bdhd Bdthra, 14, b, quoted at length by Driver, Introduction, p. xxxii. sq.


to the Hebrews, though it is certain that the oldest manu- scripts left it anonymous. Whether something of the same sort took place in copies of the Old Testament is a question not to be answered on general grounds, but only on the evidence of facts; and the Septuagint supplies us with facts that are to the point.

The part of the Old Testament in which the system of titles has been carried out most fully is the Book of Psalms. The titles to the Psalms are to a large extent directions for their liturgical performance in the service of the Temple music ; but they also contain the names of men David, the Sons of Korah, and so forth. Are we to suppose that there is no title of a psalm in the Hebrew Bible which does not go back to the author of the psalm, or at least to a time when his name was known from contemporary evidence? Let us consult the Septuagint, and what do we find? We find, in the first place, that the Septuagint has the words "of" or "to David" in a number of psalms where the Hebrew has no author's name (Psalms xxxiii. xliii. Ixvii. Ixxi. xci. xciii. to xcix. civ.^ cxxxvii.) ; and, conversely, it omits the name of David from four, and the name of Solomon from one, of the Psalms of Degrees (Psalms cxxii. cxxiv. cxxxi. cxxxiii. cxxvii.).^ Now the large number of cases in which the Septuagint inserts the name of David is evidence of a tendency to ascribe tohim an ever-increasing

^ In Ps. civ., according to the Syro-Hexaplar, Aquila has "of David," so that these words may have stood in his Hebrew copy.

2 Strack, in a review of the first edition of these Lectures {Theol. Literatur- hlatt, 1882, No. 41), takes the objection that the Sinaitic MS. has the name of David in the four Psalms of Degrees cited by me, and that the evidence of the Vatican MS. is lacking owing to a lacuna. But no one who knows the elements of textual criticism will set the evidence of the Sinaitic Codex against the overwhelming mass of MSS. on the other side, even though it is reinforced in the case of two of the four psalms by the Memphitic version. The materials given in Field's Hexapla show clearly that we have here to do with Hexaplar additions, i.e. with words added by Origen from the Hebrew, and originally marked as additions by an asterisk, which Sin. has dropped.


number of psalms. That tendency, we know, went on, till at length it became a common opinion that he w^as the author of the whole Psalter. We cannot therefore suppose that the Greek version, or the Hebrew MSS. on which it rested, would omit the name of David in any case where it had once stood ; and the conclusion is inevitable that at least in four cases our Hebrew Bibles have the name of David where it has no right to be, and that the insertion was made by a copyist after the time when the text of the Septuagint branched off. But if this be so, it is impossible to maintain on principle that the titles of the Psalms are throughout authoritative : and if there is no principle involved, it is not only legitimate, but an absolute duty, to test every title by comparing it with the internal evidence supplied by the poem itself. I shall have occasion to return to this subject in Lecture VII.

Similar variations, leading to similar conclusions, are found in other parts of the Old Testament, and even in the prophetical books. In Jer. xxvii. 1 the Hebrew has a title which the Septuagint omits, and which every one can see to be a mere accidental repetition of the title of chap. xxvi. For the prophecy which the title ascribes to the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim is addressed in the most explicit way to Zedekiah, king of Judah (verses 3, 12). So again the Septuagint omits the name of Jeremiah in the title to the prophecy against Babylon (chaps. 1. li.), which, for other reasons, modern critics generally ascribe to a later prophet. Here, it is true, chap. li. 59-64 may seem to be a subscription establishing the traditional authorship. But a note at the end of the chapter in the Hebrew expressly says that the words of Jeremiah end with "they shall be weary," the close of verse 58. This note is the real subscrip- tion to the prophecy, and it is also omitted by the Septuagint.^

^ It is argued by those who ascribe chaps. 1. li. to Jeremiah, that the expression ** all these words" in chap. li. 60 necessarily refers to the context


98 TITLES IN THE lect. iv

As a detailed survey of the prophetical writings does not fall within the plan of these Lectures I will take the oppor- tunity, before passing from the subject, to make some further remarks on the titles of the prophetic books, going beyond the indications to be derived from the Septuagint. You are aware that according to the traditionally received opinion there is not in these books any such thing as an anonymous prophecy : the Books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel con- tain prophecies by these three men alone, and in like manner the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets, which in Hebrew is reckoned as one book, contains prophecies by the Twelve who are named in the titles and by no other hand. Modern critics reject this opinion, and maintain that various prophecies, such as chaps. xl.-lxvi. of the Book of Isaiah, chaps. 1. li. of the Book of Jeremiah, and some parts of Micah and Zechariah, are not the composition of the prophets to whose works they are traditionally reckoned. It is not argued that these pieces are spurious works palmed off under a false name. They are ac- cepted as genuine writings of true prophets, but it is main- tained that their style and other characters, above all the historical situation which they presuppose, show that they are not the work of the hand and age to which current tradition refers them. Thus in the case of Isaiah xl.-lxvi. it is pointed out that the prophet addresses his words of consolation and exhortation to Israel in its Babylonian exile. This exile is to him the present situation, not an event foreseen in the far prophetic future, and therefore, it is argued, the prophecy must have been written in the days of the Captivity. It is not disputed on any hand that the custom of the prophets is to speak to the needs and

immediately preceding. But the order of Jeremiah's prophecies is greatly disturbed {infra, p. 109 sq.). No one^will argue that " these words " in chap, xlv. 1 refer to chap. xliv. ; yet the argument is as good in the one case as in the other. Compare Budde, "IJeber die Capitel L. und LI. des Buches Jeremia" in Jahrhh. f. D. Theol. vol. xxiii. p. 428 sq., p. 529 sq.




actual situation of their contemporaries. However far their visions reach into the future, they take their start from the present. Had they failed to do this their word could not have been the direct message of God to their own con- temporaries. Accordingly it is admitted by those who still argue for Isaiah as the author of Isa. xl.-lxvi. that that great prophet in his later years must have been supernaturally transported out of his own historical surroundings, and set, as it were, in vision, in the midst of the community of the Captivity, that he might write a word of prophetic exhortation, not for his own contemporaries but for the future generation of Babylonian exiles. To make this theory plausible it; must further be maintained that the prophecy so written re-j mained a sealed book for a hundred and fifty years ; for it is manifest that subsequent prophets, like Jeremiah, who were very familiar with other parts of Isaiah's teaching, had no acquaintance with this wonderful revelation. Surely there is a difficulty here which is not the creation of scepticism, but must be felt by every thoughtful reader. There is a method in Eevelation as much as in Nature, and the first law of that method, which no careful student of Scripture can fail to grasp, is that God's Eevelation of Himself is unfolded gradually, in constant contact with the needs of religious life. Every word of God is spoken for all time, but every word none the less was first spoken to a present necessity of God's people. The great mass of the prophecies are obviously con- formed to this rule, and the burden of proof lies with those who ask us to recognise an exception to it. In the case before us we are asked to admit an exception of the most startling kind, in spite of the fact that the chapters in question are very different in style and language from the undisputed writings of Isaiah, and in spite of the fact that for a hundred and fifty years the teaching of the prophets who continued Isaiah's work remained uninfluenced by what.


on the traditional view, was the crowning achievement of Isaiah's ministry. The defenders of tradition make no serious attempt to remove these difficulties.^ They seek to cut the discussion short by two arguments (1) that the synagogue and the Church agree in ascribing the chapters to Isaiah ; and (2) that if they are not by Isaiah it is impossible to explain how they could have been admitted into his book. (See Keil, Introduction, Eng. trans., i. 331.)

Now as regards the testimony of the synagogue and the Church it is true that Ecclus. xlviii. 24 (27) already cites Isa. xl. 1 as the words of Isaiah, and from this it may be taken as probable that five hundred years after the death of Isaiah, when the son of Sirach wrote (circa 200 B.C.), the whole Book of Isaiah was assumed to be by a single hand. But on what authority was this assumed ? The son of Sirach had no other written sources for the literary history of the Bible than those we still possess, and it is plain, therefore, that the opinion of his time simply rested on the fact that the disputed prophecies already stood in the same book with the unquestioned writ- ings of Isaiah, and were held to be covered by the general title in Isa. i. 1. Thus the two arguments reduce themselves to one, the supposed incredibility that a writing not by Isaiah could have been included in Isaiah's book. Let us understand what this argument means. In ancient times a book meant a separate roll or volume, and the Jewish division of the pro- phetic writings into four books means that they were usually comprised in four volumes, of which the Book of Isaiah was one, as we see from Luke iv. 17. But these volumes were

^ Some trifling and totally inadequate attempts have been made to mini- mise the differences of style, and a few passages have been pointed out in which there are points of contact, rather in expression than in thought, between Isa. xl. sqq. and prophets who lived between Isaiah and the Exile. None of these coincidences has any force as proving the priority of the great anonymous prophecy, and none of these petty arguments touches the broad and decisive fact that Jeremiah and his compeers are totally uninfluenced by the leading ideas of Isa. xl. -Ixvi.

not constructed on the principle that each writer should have a separate roll for himself, for the twelve minor prophets formed a single book. Why then should it be inconceivable that a separate prophecy, too short to make a volume by itself, should have been placed at the end of Isaiah's volume, which, without this appendix, would have been very much shorter than the other three prophetic books ? You may object that if this had been done the collector would at least have been careful to mark off the true Isaiah from the addition. But this assumption is not warranted. It may be taken as certain that a prophecy composed in the Exile, when the Jews were scattered and had no public life, was never preached, but circulated from the first in writing, passing privately from hand to hand. Under these circumstances the author was not likely to put his name to his book, and the collector of the present Book of Isaiah, who received it without a title, would transmit it in the same way. It is true that by so doing he left it possible for readers to draw a false inference as to the authorship ; but every one who has handled Eastern manuscripts knows that scribes constantly copy out several works into one volume without taking the precautions necessary to prevent an anonymous piece from being ascribed to the author of the work to which it is attached. To prevent mistakes of this sort it is necessary that every piece which bears an author's name should be furnished not only with a title but with a . subscription marking the point at which it ends. But in the prophetic books subscriptions are the exception not the rule ; the only formal one, which professes to say where the words of a particular prophet end, is Jer. li. 64, and this, as we have already seen, is absent from the Septuagint, and presumably formed no part of the original text. We have no right, therefore, to expect a formal indica- tion of the point at which the actual words of Isaiah end ; but in point of fact the main part of the book is very clearly separated from the Babylonian chapters by the historical section, chaps, xxxvi.-xxxix. Apart from the psalm of Hezekiah, these chapters are found also with slight variations in the Book of Kings, and the nature of the variations proves (as you may see in detail by consulting Prof. Driver's Intro- duction) that the text of Kings is the original, and that the narrative of Isaiah is extracted from that book. These extracts form an appendix, which cannot have been added to the volume of Isaiah's prophecies till the time of the Captivity at the earliest, and Isaiah xl.-lxvi. constitutes a second and still later addition.

As another instance of the futility of the arguments from authority that are used to cut short critical discussion as to the authorship of prophetical pieces, I may take the case of Zechariah ix.-xiv. On what authority are these declared to form part of the Book of Zechariah ? In the Hebrew Bible there is no such book. There is not even a general title to the section of the fourth prophetic volume in which these chapters stand ; for the titles in Zech. i. 1, vii. 1, refer only to single prophecies of Zechariah delivered at particular dates. At chapter ix. we have an entirely separate prophecy with a separate title, in which Zechariah is not named, a different historical situation, and a quite different style and manner. Further, we must remember that the volume of Minor Prophets is a miscellaneous collection, not even arranged on chronological principles (since, for example, Hosea precedes Amos), but gathering up all the remains of prophetic literature that were not already comprised in the Books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Under these circumstances there is absolutely no inference to be drawn from the fact that the anonymous prophecies, Zech. ix.-xiv., stand immediately after others that bear Zechariah's name. The later Jews ascribed them to Zechariah, but that is no evidence for us ; for they did so on exactly the same absurd



priuciple on which, in the days of Origen, they ascribed all anonymous psalms to the author of the nearest preceding psalm that bears a title.^

I now return to the Septuagint, and propose to call your attention to an example of editorial redaction, involving a series of changes running through the whole structure of a passage. For this purpose I select the twenty -seventh chapter of Jeremiah, the Hebrew title of which has already been shown to be an editorial insertion. We are now to see that the hand of an editor has been at work all through the chapter. Let me say at the outset that the example is a some- what unusual one. There are not many parts of the Old Testament where the variations of the Greek and Hebrew are so extensive as in Jeremiah ; but it is necessary to choose a well-marked case in order to convey a distinct conception of the limits of editorial interference. To facilitate com- parison, I print a translation of ;the Hebrew text, putting everything in italics which is omitted by the Septuagint. The Greek has some other slight variations, which are not of consequence for our present purpose. The essential difference between the two texts is that the Hebrew, with- out omitting anything that is in the Greek, has a number of additional clauses and sentences.

In the reign of King Zedekiah a congress of ambassadors from the neighbouring nations was held at Jerusalem, to concert a rising against Nebuchadnezzar. The prophets and diviners encouraged this scheme ; but Jeremiah was com- manded by the Lord to protest against it, and declare that the empire of Nebuchadnezzar had been conferred on him by

^ See for the rule as to the anonymous psalms, Origen, ii. 514 sq., Kue ; Jerome, Ep. cxl. ad Cypr. That the same principle was applied to the Psalter and the Book of the Minor Prophets is not a mere conjecture, but appears from Jerome's Praef. in XII. Proph. and the Preface to his Commentary on Malachi. In the case of the prophets, the principle was applied to settle the chronology ; where the title gives no date the prophecy was delivered in the reigns of the kings mentioned in the next preceding dated title.


Jehovah's decree, and that it was vain to rebel. The pro- phetic message delivered in the name of the God of Israel

ran thus :

Jer. xxvii. 5. I have made the earth, the man and the heast which are upon the face of the earth, by my great power and outstretched arm, and give it to whom I please. (6.) And now I have given all these lands [LXX. the earth] into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. . . . (7.) And all nations shall serve him and his son and his son's son, till the time of his land come also, and mighty nations and great kings make him their servant. (8.) And the nation and kingdom which will not serve him, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, will I punish, saith the Lord, with the sword, and with famine, and with pestilence, till I have consumed them by his hand. (9.) Therefore hearken ye not to your prophets, . . . which say ye shall not serve the king of Babylon. (10.) For they prophesy lies to you to remove you from your land, and that I should drive you out and ye should perish. . . .

(12.) And to Zedekiah, king of Judah, I spake with all these words, saying, Bring your neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live. (13.) Why will ye die, thou and thy people, by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, as the Lord hath spoken against the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon ? (14.) Therefore hearken not unto the words of the prophets who speak unto you, saying, Serve not the king of Babylon ; for they [emphatic] prophesy lies unto you. (15.) For I have not sent them, saith the Lord, and they prophesy lies in my name. . . .

(16.) And to the priests and to all this people [LXX. to all the people and the priests] I spake saying. Thus saith the Lord, Hearken not to the words of your prophets who prophesy to you, saying. Behold the vessels of the house of the Lord shall be brought back from Babylon tww quickly, for they prophesy a lie unto you. (17.) Hearken not unto tliem [LXX. I have not sent them], serve the king of Babylon^ and live ; wherefore should this city be laid waste ? (18.) But if they are prophets, and if the word of the Lord is with them, let them intercede with the Lord of Hosts [LXX. with me], that the vessels which are left in the house of the Lord, and the house of the king of Judah, and in Jerusalem, come not to Babylon. (19.) For thus saith the Lord of Hosts concerning the pillars and the sea and the bases, and the rest of the vessels left in this city, (20) Which Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon took not when he carried Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim king of Judah captive from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem; (21.) For thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, con- cerning the vessels left in the house of God, and in the house of the king of Judah and Jerusalem; (22.) They shall be taken to Babylon, and there shall they be unto the day that I visit them, saith the Lord ; then IV ill I bring them up and restore them to this place.


Throughout these verses the general effect of the omissions of the Septuagint is to make the style simpler, more natural, and more forcible. At verses 8, 10, 12, 13, 17, the additional matter of the Massoretic text is mere expansion of ideas fully expressed in the shorter recension ; and at verse 14 the omis- sions of the Septuagint give the proper oratorical value to the emphatic " they " of the original, which the prophet, in genuine Hebrew style, must have spoken with a gesture pointing to the false prophets who stood before the king. It is not to be thought that a later copyist added nerve and force to the prophecy by pruning the prolixities of the original text. Jeremiah is no mean orator and author, and( the prolixities are much more in the wearisome style of the; later Jewish literature.

But in some parts the two recensions differ in meaning as well as language. At verse 7 the Hebrew text inserts in the midst of Jeremiah's exhortation to submission a prophecy that the Babylonians shall be punished in the third genera- tion. No doubt Jeremiah does elsewhere predict the fall of Babylon and the restoration of Israel. He had done so at an earlier date (xxv. 11-13). But is it natural that he should turn aside to introduce such a prediction here, in the very midst of a solemn admonition on which it has no direct bearing? And is this a thing which a copyist would be tempted to omit ? Much rather was it natural for a later scribe to introduce it. Again, at verse 16, the Hebrew text modifies the prediction of the restoration of the sacred vessels made by the false prophets, by the insertion of the words "now quickly." There was no motive for the omission of these words, if they are original. But a later scribe, reflect- ing on the fact that the sacred vessels were restored by Cyrus, might well insert the qualification " now quickly " to deprive the false prophets of any claim to have spoken truly after all. In reality it does not need these words to prove them


liars ; for their prediction, taken in the context, plainly- meant that the alliance should defeat Nebuchadnezzar and recover the spoil. But the words stand or fall with the prediction put into Jeremiah's mouth, in verse 22, that the vessels of the temple and the palace, including the brazen pillars, sea, and bases, should be taken indeed to Babylon, but be brought back again in the day of visitation. This is plainly the spurious insertion of a thoughtless copyist, who had his eye on chapter lii. 17. For it is true that the pillars, the sea, and the bases were carried to Babylon, but they were not and could not have been brought back. These huge masses could not have been transported entire across the mountains and deserts that separated Judaea from Babylon. And so we are expressly told in chapter lii. that they were broken up and carried off as old brass, fit only for the melting- pot. Jeremiah and his hearers knew well that they could not reach Babylon in any other form, and in his mouth the prediction which we read in the Hebrew text would have been not only false, but palpably absurd. That such a pre- diction now stands in the text only proves what the thought- lessness of copyists was capable of, and makes the reading of the Septuagint absolutely certain.

We conclude, then, from a plain argument of physical impossibility, that Jeremiah did not predict the restoration of the spoils of the Temple. And by this result we remove a serious inconsistency from his religious teaching. For the restoration to which Jeremiah constantly looks is not the re-establishment of the old ritual, but the bringing in of a spiritual covenant when God's law shall be written on the hearts of the people (chap. xxxi.). IsTo prophet thinks more lightly of the service of the Temple (chap. vii.). He denies that God gave a law of sacrifice to the people when they left Egypt. They may eat their burnt-offerings as well as the other sacrifices, and God will not condemn them (vii. 21, 22).


Even the ark of the covenant is in his eyes an obsolete symbol, which in the day of Israel's conversion shall not be missed and not be remade (iii. 16, E. V., marg.). To the false prophets and the people who followed them, the ark, the temple, the holy vessels, were all in all. To Jeremiah they were less than nothing, and their restoration was no part of his hope of salvation/

^ There is one passage in Jeremiah, as we read it which appears incon- sistent with the view I have ventured to take of the prophet's attitude to the temporary elements of the Old Testament ritual. In Jer. xxxiii. 14-26 it is predicted that the Levitical priesthood and its sacrifices shall be perpetual as the succession of day and night. This passage is also wanting in the Septua- gint. No reason can be suggested for its omission ; for we know from Philo that even those Jews of Alexandria who sat most loosely to the ceremonial law regarded the Temple and its service as an essential element in religion {De Migr. Abra. cap. xvi.). If taken literally, the eternity of Levitical sacrifices, as expressed in xxxiii. 18, seems quite inconsistent with all else in Jeremiah's prophecies. Taken typically, the verse only fits the sacrifice of the mass, to which Roman Catholic expositors refer it ; for the sacrifices are to be offered continually in all time.



In the last Lecture we began to examine those features of the Septuagint which bear witness to the kind of labour that was spent on the text by ancient editors. We have seen how redactors or copyists sometimes added titles to anonymous pieces, and how by a series of small editorial changes, running from verse to verse through a chapter, the form and even the meaning of an important passage were sometimes consider- ably modified.

We now come to another part of the subject, in which I propose to use the variations between the Greek and Hebrew text to throw light on the structure of the books of the Bible. The main point which I desire to enforce in this Lecture is that certain books which we have been wont to look upon as continuous unities are really composite in character. Some evidence to this effect, especially as regards the prophetic books, has already come before us when we looked at the question of titles. To-day we have to deal with another branch of evidence, drawn from the transpositions of the Sep- tuagint, the entire omission of certain sections, and so forth. I hope to be able to handle these evidences in a way that will not only confirm the results at which we have already arrived, but will give us valuable insight into deeper critical questions, especially as regards the historical books.


I begin with the transpositions of the Septuagint text, and choose as my first example the chapters comprising Jeremiah's prophecies against the heathen nations. In our Bibles, and in the Hebrew Bible, these prophecies occupy chapters xlvi. to li. In the Septuagint they follow the 13th verse of the twenty- fifth chapter, and appear in a different order. In the Hebrew the sequence is Egypt, Philistines, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Damascus, Kedar and Hazor, Elam, Babylon. The Septuagint sequence is Elam, Egypt, Babylon, Philistines, Edom, Ammon, Kedar and Hazor, Damascus, Moab. Can we then assume that in this case the translator of the Septuagint version, having before him a fixed and certain order of aU Jeremiah's oracles, took the liberty to shift the prophecies against the nations through one another, and to put them in an entirely different part of the book ? Erom what we have seen already as to the general way in which these translators acted, such an assumption is highly improbable. Eather we are to suppose that in their copy these prophecies already occupied a different place from what they hold in the Hebrew Bible.

What does that lead us to conclude ? Variations in the order of the individual pieces may very well happen in collected editions of writings originally published separately, but not in a single book of one author. And that is just what the facts lead us otherwise to suppose, for we know that Jeremiah's prophecies were not all written down at one time, or in the order in which they now stand. We learn from chap, xxxvi. that a record of the first twenty-three years of his prophetic ministry was dictated by the prophet to Baruch in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. But this bock does not correspond with the first part of the present Book of Jeremiah,in which prophecies later than the reign of Jehoiakim such as chap. xxiv. precede others which must have stood in the original collection (chap. xxvi.). Jeremiah's book.

110 VARIATIONS OF lect. v

then, as we have it, is not a continuous record of his pro- phecies, which he himself kept constantly posted up to date, but a compilation made up from several prophetic writings originally published separately. In this compilation the natural order is not always observed, for it is plain that chap, xlv., containing a brief prophecy addressed to Baruch, "when he wrote these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim" (ver. 1), must originally have stood at the close of the collection spoken of in chap, xxxvi. It is easy, then, to understand that, when several distinct books of Jeremiah's words and deeds were brought together into one volume, there might be variations of order in different copies of the collection, just as modern editions of the collected works of one author frequently differ in arrangement.

It is very doubtful whether this group of prophecies appears just as they were first published, either in the Septua- gint or in the Hebrew. The order of the individual pro- phecies seems to be more suitable in the Hebrew and English texts ; for chap. xxv. 15 sq. contains a sort of brief summary or general conspectus of Jeremiah's prophecies against the nations, and here the order agrees very closely with that in our present Hebrew text as against the Septuagint ; but then, on the other hand, the summary of Jeremiah's prophecies against the nations is found in the twenty -fifth chapter, whereas in our present edition the details under this general sketch begin at chap. xlvi. Much more natural in this respect is the arrangement of the Septuagint, placing all the details in immediate juxtaposition with the general summary; so that here we seem to have a case in which neither edition of Jeremiah's prophecies is thoroughly satisfactory and in good order. But the general conclusion is that the trans- positions give us a key to the way in which the book came together, showing that it was not all written and published in continuous unity by Jeremiah himself, but has the character of a collected edition of several writings originally distinct. We observe, also, that the compilers did not execute their work with perfect skill and judgment ; and so it would plainly be unreasonable to call every critic a rationalist who ventures to judge, on internal or other evidence, that the collection may possibly contain some chapters, such as 1. and li., which are not from the hand of Jeremiah at all.

Another example of the important inferences that may be drawn from the transpositions of the Septuagint occurs in the Book of Proverbs. I presume that many of us have been accustomed to think of the Proverbs as a single composition, written from first to last by Solomon. But here again we find such transpositions as indicate that the book is not so much one continuous writing as a collected edition of various proverbial books and tracts. For example, the first fourteen verses of Proverbs xxx., containing the words of Agur, are placed in the Septuagint collection after the 22d verse of chap. xxiv. Then immediately upon that follows chap. xxiv. 23-34, a little section which in the Hebrew has a separate title, "These also are [words] of the wise." After that comes chap. xxx. 15-xxxi. 9. Then comes the collection of "proverbs of Solomon" copied out by the men of King Hezekiah (xxv.-xxix.) ; and the book closes with the descrip- tion of the virtuous woman (xxxi. 10-31). It is natural to explain the fact that these several small collections of pro- verbs are grouped in such different order in the Septuagint and in the Hebrew respectively by the hypothesis that they originally existed as separate books ; for in that case, when they came to be collected into one volume, differences of order might readily arise, which could hardly have happened if the whole had been the original composition of Solomon alone. And indeed the existence of such separate collections is more than an hypothesis, as the sub-titles of the book show. For after the general title, chap. i. 1-6, and a long section, not proverbial in form, containing poetical admoni- tions in praise of wisdom, morality, and religion (chap. i. 7- ix. 18), we come on a collection of proverbs or aphorisms extending from chap. x. 1 to chap. xxii. 16, and headed (in the Hebrew) " Proverbs of Solomon." This again is followed by a collection of "Words of the wise" (chap. xxii. 17- xxiv. 22), with a preface of its own (chap. xxii. 17-21). Then comes the second collection of words of the wise already referred to, and then again the second collection of Proverbs of Solomon, copied out by the "Men of Hezekiah." The men of Hezekiah's time, we see, had written materials before them. And the coryus of proverbs which they formed from these must once have existed side by side with the great collection of Proverbs of Solomon in chaps, x. sqq., and in an independent form. For the title runs : " These also are the proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah copied out." The word " also " shows that this title was written when two separate collections of Salomonic Proverbs were brought for the first time into one volume. In like manner the title in chap. xxiv. 23 : " These also are [words] of the wise," shows that the preceding collection of Words of the Wise once stood by itself without the appendix in xxiv. 23 sg'^'., from which, in fact, it is separated in the Septuagint.^

1 That the two Salomonic collections were formed independently, and not by the same hand, appears most clearly from the many cases in which the same proverb appears in both (see the Introduction to Delitzsch's Com- mentary, 3). Even these parts of the book, therefore, were not collected by Solomon himself, and the title in chap. i. 1 is not from his hand, but was added by some collector or editor. Hence there is no reason to suppose that Solomon is the author of chaps, i.-ix. any more than of the "Words of the Wise. " The whole book bears the name of Solomon's Proverbs, because the two great Salomonic collections are the leading element in it. Compare on the whole subject Professor A. B. Davidson's article Proverbs in the 9th ed. of the Encyclopoedia Britannica ; Professor Cheyne's Job and Solomon (London, 1887) ; and Professor Driver's Introduction to the 0. T. (Edinburgh, 1891). There are close analogies between the composition of the Book of Proverbs and that of the Psalter. See Lecture VIL


Let us now pass on to the historical books. In these the questions of composition are more complicated, because a historian whose object is to produce a continuous narrative, covering a long period, by the aid of a series of older histories or memories, has it open to him to deal with these materials in various ways. He may content himself with choosing one good narrative for each section of the history, transcribing or abridging it, and adding little of his own except at the points where he passes from one source to another. Or while mainly following this plan, he may from time to time insert supple- mentary matter taken from other sources. Or, on the other hand, if he has before him several histories of the same period, he may frame from them a combined narrative. And in this case he may either recast the whole story in his own words as modern historians do, or he may take short extracts from his several sources and piece them together in a sort of mosaic, so that the language, style, and colour of each of the sources are still largely preserved, though the old fragments are reset in a new pattern and frame.

Even from the English Bible an attentive reader may satisfy himself that the history of the Hebrew kings is not a homogeneous literary composition like Macaulay's History of England. Many minor marks of variety in language and style that are very apparent in the Hebrew necessarily dis- appear in translation ; but the broader characteristics of style and literary treatment survive, and these are so different in different parts of the narrative as to leave no d6ubt that the compiler used a number of sources and followed them closely, retaining in great measure the very words of his predecessors. Sometimes a single source is followed without interruption for a number of chapters, as in the so-called " court history " of David, 2 Sam. ix.-xx. Eead this whole section continuously, and while your mind is still under the impression, look back to chap. viii. You pass in a moment from a narrative full of life and colour to a bare chronicle of public affairs, mainly foreign wars. Note further that to a certain extent both narratives cover the same ground ; both speak of David's wars with the Syrians. But the particulars given are not the same, and the choice of particulars shows that the authors of the two accounts had different interests. The writer of the longer history is a student of human nature, who has taken David and his court as his field of observation, and loves to dwell on every incident, however trivial, that illus- trates character. But he has no great interest in foreign wars ; many of David's campaigns he passes over altogether, and his mention of the Syrian campaigns seems to be due to their connection with the war with Ammon, which through the matter of Uriah had a very special bearing on David's personal history. The other account is wholly interested in the public glories of David's reign, and, brief as it is, finds room for particulars about rich booty and tributes of voluntary homage to which the court history never alludes.

jSTow pass on to 1 Kings i. ii. You cannot, I think, fail to realise that here we are again in the hands of the court historian. The style, the manner, the character of the pictur- esque details is the same, and the main thread of the narra- tive is still that which forms the thread of most personal histories of an Eastern court intrigues about the succession. Lastly, note that the two great extracts from the court history are separated by 2 Sam. xxi.-xxiv., a series of appendices of very various content, all of which hang quite loose from one another and from the continuous well-knit narrative which they interrupt.

I have begun with a very simple example of the incorporation of an older document in the Bible history, and one that raises no questions to alarm the most timid faith. I now pass on to a case one degree more complex, in which, however, we are not wholly dependent on internal evidence,


but get some assistance from the Greek version. Many of you have probably observed the way in which the history of the sovereigns of Judah and Israel is arranged in the Book of Kings. Here the narrative is concerned with the affairs of two monarchies, and has to pass backwards and forwards from the one to the other. The plan on which this is effected is to take up each king, whether of Judah or of Ephraim, in the order of his accession to the throne, and follow his reign to the end. For example, after the history of Asa of Judah we have the story of all the northern kings, from Nadab to Ahab, who came to the throne in Asa's life- time, and then the narrative goes back to Jehoshaphat of Judah, who came to the throne in the fourth year of Ahab. For the better execution of this plan the history of each reign is, so to speak, framed in and kept apart by an intro- duction and conclusion of stereotyped form (2 Kings xiii. 1) : " In the three and twentieth year of Joash the son of Ahaziah king of Judah Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years." . . . (ver. 8) " Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz, ... are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel ? And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers ; and they buried him in Samaria: and Joash his son reigned in his stead." For the kings of Judah the formula is slightly fuller but of the same type.

These set formulas constitute a chronological framework binding the whole narrative together. But the details within the framework do not form a continuous story, and are plainly not all written by one hand or on a uniform plan. One reign is full of striking episodes and picturesque incident, another is comparatively barren in detail and style, and sometimes we find sections that are distinguished not only by variety of style and phrase but by marked peculiarities of grammatical form. On closer examination we observe that


each reign is furnished with a brief epitome of affairs, a mere enumeration of important events, combined with a moral judgment on the king. For some reigns we have nothing more than this meagre epitome ; but even where the story is filled out by long and interesting narratives the epitome is not lacking. It forms, along with the chronological frame- work, a uniform feature in the history, and appears to be based on the royal chronicles or official records of the two kingdoms, to which reference is regularly made at the close of each reign. That the epitome is all by one hand is evident from the precise similarity in tone and language w^hich marks all its moral judgments on the kings. On the other hand, the longer and richer narratives show great variety of tone and style, and in many cases it is clear from the nature of their contents that they cannot be derived from the royal chronicles. The sympathetic account of Elijah's work, for example, cannot have been recorded in the annals of his enemy Ahab. The compiler of the Book of Kings, therefore, must have had access to unofficial as well as to official sources. From the former he abstracted the brief notices that make up the skeleton of his work, but the living flesh and blood of the history he supplied by long extracts from narratives of a more popular and interesting kind.

There is no reason to doubt that most of these extracts were selected and worked in by the compiler of the epitome, who may therefore be properly called the main author of the Book of Kings. But the book did not leave his hands in absolutely fixed and final form. Many of the episodes are so loosely attached to the surrounding context that they might be moved to another place without inconvenience. In the Septuagint not a few passages are transposed, and sometimes with advantage to the reader. For example, the story of ]N"aboth's vineyard (1 Kings xxi.) stands in the Greek before chap. XX., so that the narrative of Ahab's Syrian wars is made



continuous. Again, in the history of King Solomon, which is largely made up of disjointed anecdotes and notices, the Greek order differs enormously from the Hebrew. And here we find also variations in the substance of the narrative, an omission here and an insertion there, to warn us that, in a book so loosely constructed that its parts can be freely moved about, we must also be prepared to find unauthorised addi- tions creeping into the text. This last point is of too much consequence to be passed over without further illustration ; and perhaps the best example for our purpose is found in the history of Jeroboam. The Greek, as commonly read, gives two distinct accounts of Jeroboam's elevation to the throne. One account agrees substantially with the Hebrew, supplying only a few various readings. Some of these are improve- ments, and enable us to emend the Hebrew text, so as to remove the discrepancy which every reader must observe between 1 Kings xii. 2, 3, 12, and verse 20. In the English version the emendations may be thus effected. Place xii. 2 before xii. 1, so as to make Jeroboam hear of Solomon's death, not of the congress at Shechem, and change the last words (by altering one letter in the Hebrew) into "Then Jero- boam returned from Egypt." In verse 3 omit the whole first part down to " came," leaving only " And they spake before Eehoboam, saying." In verse 12 omit the words " Jero- boam and." The whole is then in accord with verse 20, which implies that Jeroboam (though within reach, and probably acting as a secret instigator of the rebel leaders) was not present at Shechem.

This first account is common to the Hebrew and all Greek copies. The second Greek account, which comes in after chap, xii. 24 in many copies, goes again over the whole ground of chap. xi. 26 to xii. 24, and partly in the very same words. But the arrangement is different, and so are some of the leading incidents. Jeroboam (as the first account also hints)


was engaged in a plot against Solomon before he fled to Egypt. On Solomon's death he returned to his native city, fortified by a marriage with an Egyptian princess, and put himself at the head of Ephraim. Then he convened the congress at Shechem, which issued in the revolt of all the northern tribes. But the most serious difference between the two accounts lies in the action ascribed to the prophets Ahijah and Shemaiah. In the Hebrew the promise of king- ship over ten tribes was given to Jeroboam by Ahijah at Jerusalem in the time of Solomon. In the second Greek account there is nothing of this, but a similar prophecy, with the same symbolism of the torn mantle, is put into the mouth of Shemaiah at the congress at Shechem.

The two Greek accounts of how Jeroboam became king cannot possibly have stood from the first in the same volume. They are alternative versions of a single story, and though both of them evidently rest on Hebrew originals, they repre- sent two distinct recensions of the Hebrew text. Thus it appears that, when the two versions were made, the Hebrew text was still so little fixed that one copy could ascribe to Shemaiah, at Shechem, in the days of Eehoboam, what another copy ascribed to Ahijah, at Jerusalem, in the days of Solomon. It is certain that one or other account must be wrong ; but it is probable that neither account forms any part of the original history. If the original compiler of the Book of Kings had related the story of Ahijah's tearing his garment into twelve pieces, and giving ten to Jeroboam in promise of sovereignty, it is hard to believe that a later copyist would have ventured to suppress this narrative and substitute another entirely different ; and, further, when we look at Ahijah's prophecy, as it is given in 1 Kings xi. 29-39, we cannot but feel that it fits badly into the context. At verses 26, 27 we are promised an account of a rebellion of Jeroboam against Solomon ; and verse 40, which relates that


Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam, seems to imply that some overt act of rebellion really took place. But the intervening verses tell only of Ahijah's prophecy, which, as we are ex- pressly told, was a private communication to Jeroboam of which no third party could know anything.

To all this you may object that one form of the Greek bears out the Hebrew text, and that it is unfair to build on the second Greek version, which may be a quite recent interpolation. But it is certain that the second as well as the first Greek is translated from the Hebrew, and therefore deserves some consideration. And, further, it is noteworthy that where Ahijah is again mentioned in the Hebrew in chap, xiv., the Septuagint shows a blank.^ This, indeed, seems to be due to a transposition; for a shorter form of the prophecy of Ahijah to Jeroboam's wife still occurs in the second Greek, in an impossible place, wedged into the account of the events that preceded the congress of Shechem. But while the Hebrew of chap. xiv. distinctly refers to Ahijah's earlier prophecy to Jeroboam, this Greek version introduces him as a new personage who has not been heard of before. How can we then escape the inference that both parts of the story of Ahijah represent a fluctuating and uncertain element in the text, which cannot be accepted with confidence as part of old and genuine historical tradition ?

Now I cannot but suppose that to some of you the idea that a whole narrative could be interpolated into the Hebrew text must appear both startling and extravagant. And if the case with which we have been dealing stood alone, one would hesitate to build on it. But there are other cases of the same kind, where the presence of an interpolation forces itself on our notice by manifest inconsistencies in the Hebrew text, and where the variations of the Septuagint serve not to create the difficulty, but to ' remove it. One of the most

^ In some copies the blank is supplied from Aquila's version.


familiar and striking of these is the story of David and Goliath (1 Sam. xvii.), which, as it appears in our English Bible, presents inextricable difficulties. In chap. xvi. 14 s^g-. we are told how David is introduced to the court of Saul, and becomes a favourite with the king. Then suddenly we have in chap. xvii. the account of a campaign, and find that David, although he was Saul's armour-bearer, did not follow him to the field. This is singular enough, and it is not made more intelligible by xvii. 15, which explains that David used to go to and fro from Saul's court to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem (see E. Y. ; the translation of A. V. is inaccurate). Presently David is sent by his lather on a message to the camp to carry supplies to his brothers. He is also entrusted with a small gift to the captain of their thousand, i.e. of the local regiment of militia to which they belong ; but he has no such gift for Saul, and does not even present himself at headquarters to salute the king. And, further, when he reaches the camp, his brethren treat him with a degree of petulance not likely to be displayed even by elder brothers to a youth who already stood well at court. But, in fact, it appears from the close of the chapter that David is utterly unknown at court, neither Saul nor Abner having ever heard of him before. But in the Septuagint version xvii. 12-31, 41, 50, and also the verses from xvii. 55 to xviii. 5 inclusive, are omitted, and when these are removed we get a far more consistent account of the matter. We find David in the camp (xvii. 54) and close to the person of Saul (ver. 32), just as we should expect from chap. xvi. When all are afraid to face the Philistine champion, he volunteers to accept the challenge, and so springs at once from the position of a mere apprentice in arms to that of a celebrated warrior. On the other hand, if we take the verses omitted in the Septuagint and read them consecutively, we cannot fail to observe that they are fragments of an independ-


ent account which gives a different turn to the whole story. According to this account David was still an unknown shepherd lad when his father sent him to the camp with provisions for his brethren and he volunteered to fight the Philistine. After the victory he was retained at court, and Jonathan, with impulsive generosity, at once received him as his bosom friend. It is needless to insist that this account is inconsistent with that which the text of the LXX. offers, and that the slight attempt to reconcile the two which is made in xvii. 1 5 is totally inadequate. There are only two alternatives before us. Either we must recognise that the LXX. has preserved the true text, and that the additions of the Hebrew are interpolations, fragments of some lost history of David, which have got into the Hebrew text by accident, or else we must suppose that the shorter text is due to a^ deliberate omission; that is to say, the . translators, or some ' Hebrew scribe before their time, may have felt the difficulties ' that encumbered the longer text, and deliberately left out a number of verses in order to make the narrative run n^ore smoothly. But it is difficult to believe that simple omis- sions, made without changing a word of what was left, could/ produce a complete and consecutive narrative. It is obvious that verse 32 follows on verse 11 much more smoothly than verse 12 does. And it is still more remarkable that verses , 12-31 are quite complete in themselves, as far as they go. They take nothing for granted that' has been already men- tioned in verses 1-11, but tell all about the pampaign, the. champion, and so forth, over again, in a way perfectly natural in an independent story, but not natural if the whole chapter, as it stands in the Hebrew, was originally a continuous narra- tive. Note also that xvii. 1-11 are plainly part of a his- tory of public affairs ; it is Saul and the children of Israel that occupy the foreground of the narrative. But as plainly verses 12-31 are part of a biography of David; he is the


central figure whose movements are followed, and public affairs, the campaign, the champion, the king's promise to the victor, are all brought in at the point where they touch him. Thus the champion comes up and is introduced to us by name, while David is talking with his brethren, and the king's promise is first referred to in a conversation with David. Moreover, that promise itself is sufficient to show that the narrative of verses 12-31 is a fragment foreign to the main narrative of the Book of Samuel ; for though David did ulti- mately marry the king's daughter, he did not receive her hand as a reward for slaying the Philistine, but for quite different services, as we shall see presently. On the whole, therefore, we must conclude that the verses lacking in the Septuagint are not arbitrarily omitted. They are interpola- tions in the Hebrew text, extracts from a lost biography of David, which some ancient reader must have inserted in his copy of the Book of Samuel. At first, we may suppose, they stood in the margin, and finally, like so many other marginal glosses on ancient books, they got into the text ; but they were not found in the text that lay before the Septuagint translators.^

Another excellent example of the critical value of the Septuagint may be found in the account of the gradual progress of Saul's hostility to David (1 Sam. xviii.). When the women came out to meet the victorious Israelites and praised David above Saul

1 Sam. xviii. 8. Saul was very wroth and the saying displeased him [LXX. Saul], and he said, They have ascribed unto David myriads, and to me they have ascribed thousands, arid what can he have more hut the kingdom ? (9.) Arid Saul eyed David from that day, and forward. (10, 11.) Next day Saul casts a javelin at David. (12.) And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him and was departed from Saul. (13.) And /SawZ removed him from his person, and made him his captain over a thousand, and he went out and in before the people. (14.) And David was successful in all that he undertook, and the Lord

^ For further remarks on this passage see additional Note A.




was with him. (15.) And when Saul saw that he was so successful, he dreaded him. (16.) But all Israel loved David, because he went out and came in before them. (17-19.) Saul promises Merdb to David, hut disappoints him. (20-27.) Michal falls in love with David, and Saul avails himself of this opportunity to put him on a dangerous enterprise in the hope that he will fall. David, however, succeeds, and marries Michal.i (28.) And when Saul saw, and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal the daughter of Saul (LXX. all Israel) loved him, (29) he came to fear David still more, and hated David continually. (30.) Thereafter David again distinguishes himself in war. (xix. 1.) Saul proposes to his son and servants to kill David.

The words and verses quoted or summarised in italics are omitted in the Septuagint. Without them the progress of the narrative is perspicuous and consistent. Saul's jealousy is first roused by the praises bestowed on David, and he can no longer bear to have him constantly attached to his person. Without an open breach of relations, he removes him from court by giving him an important post. David's conduct, and the popularity he acquires in his new and more in- dependent position, intensify Saul's former fears into a fixed dread. But there is still no overt act of hostility on the king's part; he hopes to lead David to destruction by stimulating his ambition to a desperate enterprise; and it is only when this policy fails, and David returns to court a universal favourite, with the new importance conferred by his alliance with the royal family, that Saul's fears wholly conquer his scruples, and he plans the assassination of his son-in-law. The three stages of this growing hostility are marked by the rising strength of the phrases in verses 12, 15, 29. The additions of the Hebrew text destroy the psychological truth of the narrative. Here Saul's fears reach the highest pitch as soon as his jealousy is first aroused, and on the very next day he attempts to slay David with his own hand. In the original narrative this attempt comes much later, and is accepted by David as a

1 The words in 21 and 26, which refer to the incident of Merab, are not in the LXX.


warning to flee at once (xix. 10). The other additions are equally inappropriate, and the episode of Merab is particu- larly unintelligible. It seems to hang together with xvii. 25, that is, with the interpolated part of the story of Goliath; and in 2 Sam. xxi. 8, Michal, not Merab, appears as the mother of Adriel's children. In that passage the English version has attempted to remove the difficulty by making Michal only the foster-mother, but the Hebrew will not bear such a sense.

Here, then, we have another case where all probability is in favour of the Greek text, and a fresh example of the principle alluded to in the last Lecture, that, where there are two recensions of a passage, the shorter version is in most cases to be recognised as that which is nearest to the hand of the original author. Sometimes, indeed, we meet with an insertion which is valuable because de- rived from an ancient source, such as the quotation from the Book of Jashar, preserved in the Septuagint of 1 Kings viii. 53. But seldom indeed did a copyist, unless by sheer oversight, omit anything from the copy that lay before him.^

A remarkable case of variations between the Hebrew and the Greek is found, where we should least expect it, within the Pentateuch itself. The translation of the Law is the oldest part of the Septuagint, and in the eyes of the Jews was much the most important. And as a rule the variations are here confined within narrow limits, the text being already better fixed than in the historical books. But there is one considerable section, Exod. xxxv.-xL, where extraordinary variations appear in the Greek, some verses being omitted altogether, while others are transposed and knocked about with a freedom very unlike the usual manner of the translators of the Pentateuch. The details of the varia-

^ See further, on this subject, additional Note B.



tions need not be recounted here; they are fully exhibited in tabular form in Kuenen's Onderzoek, 2d ed., vol. i. p. 77, and in Driver's Introduction, p. 37 sq^. The variations prove either that the text of this section of the Pentateuch was not yet fixed in the third century before Christ, or that the translator did not feel himself bound to treat it with the same reverence as the rest of the Law. But indeed there are strong reasons for suspecting that the Greek version of these chapters is not by the same hand as the rest of the Book of Exodus, various Hebrew words being represented by other Greek equivalents than those used in the earlier chapters. And thus it seems possible that this whole section was lacking in the copy that lay before the first translator of the Law. It is true that the chapters are not very essential, since they simply describe, almost in the same words, the execution of the directions about the tabernacle and its furniture already given in chaps, xxv.-xxxi. Most modern critics hold chaps, xxxv.- xl. for a late addition to the text, and see in the variations between the Hebrew and the Greek proof that the form of the addition underwent changes, and was not finally fixed in all copies when the Septuagint version was made. In favour of this view several considerations may be ad- duced which it would carry us too far to consider here. But in any case those who hold that the whole Pentateuch dates from the time of Moses, and that the Septuagint translators had to deal with a text that had been fixed and sacred for a thousand years, have a hard nut to crack in the wholly exceptional freedom with which the Greek version treats this part of the sacrosanct Torah.

These examples must suffice as indications of what may be learned from the Septuagint with regard to the way in which the Biblical books were originally compiled, and the changes which the text underwent at the hand of



later editors. There is yet another important matter the history of the Old Testament Canon which may be most conveniently approached by comparing the Hebrew and Greek Bibles, but this subject I propose to defer to another Lecture. The lessons which we have already learned from the Septuagint have applications of a far- reaching kind that have not yet been considered, and to which we may profitably turn our attention before we pass on to a new topic.

The variations between the Hebrew and the Greek give us a practical insight into the kind of changes to which the Old Testament text was exposed in the course of transmission, and the kind of work which compilers and editors did in the way of retouching the text, rearranging its component parts, and introducing new matter. But, after all, the Hebrew text only represents one manuscript and the Septuagint another. By direct comparison of the two we learn broadly how great the variations between copies still were in the third century B.C. or later, and we get also a general and most instructive insight into the cause of these differences. But two copies are not enough to give us a full knowledge of all the variations that were still found in MSS. at the time when the Septuagint version was made; much less are they enough to enable us to determine all the vicis- situdes through which each book had passed in earlier ages. It is to be presumed that the same causes which make the Septuagint so different from the Hebrew had always been at work in the transmission of the text ; and we have no right to suppose that, in all passages which they affected, one or other of the two copies before us must have preserved the original hand of the first author. In some cases the Hebrew text is evidently better than the Greek, in others the converse is true ; but both give us a text which has passed through the hands of many editors and copyists, who dealt very freely



with the materials before them, and sometimes added matter of doubtful authority, derived from inferior sources. Now the genealogy of manuscripts is like the genealogy of men ; the copy used by the Septuagint and the copy represented by our Hebrew Bible are cousins, and to judge by their general resemblance not very distant cousins. At all events, as cousins they have a common ancestor, or as critics would say, a common archetype, a manuscript from which both texts have descended through successive generations of copies and copies of copies. It is not probable that this archetype was separated by many generations from the time of the Septu- agint translators ; it would be a very bold thing to suppose that for any part of the Old Testament the two recensions had branched off before the time of Ezra. To any changes that may have been made on the text before the date of the common archetype the comparison of the Greek and the Hebrew can afford no clue ; yet the older books must have been copied and recopied many times before that archetype was written, and every time they were copied there was at any rate a possibility that changes would creep into the text changes of the same general kind as now separate the two extant recensions. To the way in which the text was treated in the earliest times, before the date of the common archetype of the Greek and Hebrew, we have no clue except internal evidence. " Very good," says the conservative school ; " and that being so, there is an end of the matter. For internal evidence is notoriously uncertain and delusive, and so our best course is quietly to acquiesce in what we have received by tradition." This is a convenient counsel, and appeals to the indolence that forms a part of every man's nature, even though he be bound by the most sacred vows, and by the responsibility of high cfiice in the churches, to give the strength of his life to the study of divine truth. To such men, above all others, a short and easy argument, which can be learned and repeated in an


armchair, and which serves the double purpose of furnishing a plausible reply to suspicious innovations and dispensing the man who uses it from making a fresh and laborious study of the Bible, comes either as a godsend or as a temptation of the flesh. I leave it to the consciences of those dignitaries and leaders of the English and Scottish churches who have refused and still refuse to study the modern criticism, to determine whether their lofty indifference to matters that have been to every diligent student of the Scriptures the cause of great searchings of heart, is indeed a fruit of surer faith and truer insight than is given to those who bear the burden and heat of the day in the field of Biblical study ; but to plain men, who desire to know the truth and are willing to look it in the face, I cannot think that an airy contempt for all internal evidence will be apt to commend itself in the view of the facts that have already come before us. You propose (do you ?) to acquiesce in the received tradition and to ask no questions as to the history of the Biblical books beyond the point for which you have a direct witness in the divergence of the Greek and Hebrew texts. That would be very well if the comparison of these two texts had taught you that, as far back as the third century before Christ, editors and copyists scrupulously abstained from touching a letter of the books they received as holy. But we have learned the very opposite of this. We know that changes were made as far back as we can follow the history of the text by external evidence. To shut our eyes to the probability that similar changes were made before that time, and to do this under the name of faith, is to confound faith with agnosticism. Those of us who do care to know the truth for its own sake, and not simply as much of the truth as is consistent with going on smoothly in our old ruts, will surely remember that in all other branches of ancient history internal evidence has a recognised value, that for many points in the history of the Biblical records no


other evidence is attainable, and that to reject it for this history while it is accepted for all others is to place the study of the Bible at a disadvantage, which in the long run can only end in its entire exclusion from the field of sober historical research.

The test of all this lies in the application. And to bring the matter to an issue in brief compass I will not occupy your time on minor matters. It would be easy to show that the common archetype of the Greek and Hebrew texts already contained verbal corruptions, that the text was already in some instances contaminated by glosses, and so forth. But these things are comparatively trivial. We have seen that in later manuscripts variations occurred of a far more serious type. In the story of Goliath, as we read it in Hebrew and in English, two narratives are mixed up together which differ in essential particulars. The one is not a mere supplement to the other, but if one is true the other must be regarded as containing serious errors. In that case, and in the similar case of the history of David's estrangement from Saul, we still have direct evidence from the Greek that one of the two inconsistent stories has inferior authority and came into the text at a late date. Let us ask whether there is convincing internal evidence that in like manner some passages which are older than the common archetype, and appear both in the Greek and in the Hebrew, are nevertheless of no better autho- rity than the interpolated story of David and Goliath.

To reduce this inquiry to the simplest form I will separate it as far as may be from all questions as to how and when discrepant accounts of the same event came into the text, and will simply address myself to prove that the Bible does in certain cases give two accounts of the same series of occur- rences, and that both accounts cannot be followed. The cases in point may again be divided into two classes.

(1.) Those in which the two accounts are stiU quite sepa-



rate, so that we have no more to do than to put the one against the other.

(2.) Cases where the present context of the narrative already presents an attempt to reconcile two accounts origin- ally distinct and discordant, by working the two (or parts of them) into a consecutive story. The first class of pases is obviously the easiest to deal with, and I propose, therefore, to begin with examples drawn from it.

(1.) A very simple case is the twofold explanation of the proverb, "Is Saul also among the prophets?" (1 Sam. x. 12 ; ihid. xix. 24). The same proverb cannot have two origins, but nothing is commoner than to find two traditions about the origin of a single saying. The compiler of the Book of Samuel had two such traditions before him, and thought it best to insert both, without deciding which deserved the pre- ference. And here it may be noticed further that 1 Sam. xix. 24 is inconsistent with 1 Sam. xv. 35, which tells us that Samuel never saw Saul after the death of Agag. The Eng- lish Version departs from its usual fidelity when it softens this absolute statement and writes that "Samuel came no more to see Saul."

An example on a larger scale is supplied by the two accounts of the conquest of Canaan, and especially of southern Canaan. According to Joshua x. the conquest of all southern Canaan from Gibeon to Kadesh-barnea was effected in a single campaign, undertaken by Joshua in person at the head of the united forces of all Israel, immediately after the defeat of the five kings before Gibeon. The conquest was complete, for the enemy was exterminated, not a soul being left alive. But according to Judges i. the land of Judah was conquered not by all Israel under Joshua, but by Judah and Simeon alone. As the narrative now stands we learn from Judges i. 1 that the separate campaign of Judah and Simeon took place after the death of Joshua. Yet the events of the campaign in-


eluded the taking of Hebron and Debir, which, according to the other account, had been already taken by Joshua, and their inhabitants utterly destroyed. The difference in details is insuperable ; but still more important is the fundamental difference between the two accounts as regards the whole method of the conquest. In Judges i. (with which agree certain isolated passages of Joshua that stand out very clearly from the surrounding narrative) the conquest of Canaan is represented as a very gradual process, carried out by each tribe fighting for its own hand ; whereas the Book of Joshua depicts a series of great campaigns in which all Israel fought as a united host, with the result that the Canaanites were swept out of existence through the greater part of the country, and their vacant lands divided by lot among the tribes. It is impossible that both these accounts can be correct. If Joshua had merely overrun the country, the serious work of driving out the Canaanites and occupying their land might have remained for the next generation ; but the account in Joshua excludes any such view, and says in the strongest way that the Canaanites were exterminated, and their lands occupied peaceably. (See especially Josh. x. xi. and xxi. 43-45.)

Plainly we have here two accounts of the conquest, which were originally quite distinct and have been united only in the most artificial manner by the note of time (" and it came to pass after the death of Joshua "), which has been inserted by a later hand in Judges i. 1. Of the two accounts that in Judges is the plain historical version, while the other has this characteristic mark of a later and less authoritative narrative, that it gathers up all the details of slow conquest and local struggle in one comprehensive picture with a single hero in the foreground. In precisely the same way the later accounts of the establishment of the Saxons in England extend the sphere of Hengest's original conquests far beyond the narrow

132 DEATH OF SISERA lect. y

region to which they are confined by older and more authentic tradition.

As a last example under this head I will take the case of the death of Sisera, for which we have a prose narrative in Judges iv. and the statements of a contemporary poem in Judges V. In the prose narrative Jael kills Sisera in his sleep by hammering a wooden tent-peg into his forehead an ex- traordinary proceeding, for the peg must have been held with one hand and hammered with the other, which is not a likely way to drive a blunt tent-peg through and through a man's skull without awakening him. But in the poem we read

" He asked water, and she gave him milk ; She brought forth sour milk in an ample bowl."

Then, while Sisera, still standing, buried his face in the bowl, and for the moment could not watch her actions

" She put her hand to the peg,
And her right hand to the workmen's hammer ;
And she hammered Sisera, she broke his head,
And crushed and pierced his temples.
Between her feet he sank down, he fell, he lay :
Between her feet he sank down, he fell :
Where he sank, there he fell overcome."

All this is perfectly plain if we note that, according to the manner of Hebrew parallelism, *' she put her hand to the peg " or pin, i.e. the handle of the hammer, means the same thing as " and her right hand to the hammer." The act by which Jael gained such renown was not the murder of a sleeping man, but the use of a daring stratagem which gave her a momentary chance to deliver a courageous blow. But the word " peg " suggested a tent-peg, and so the later prose story took it, and thereby misunderstood the whole thing.

(2.) I now pass to a more complicated class of cases, where two independent accounts have been woven together by a later editor so that it requires some dissection to


separate them. The most important series of such cases is found in the Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua, and will engage our attention in some detail at a later point in our course. For the present I will cite only one simple instance from this portion of the history, viz. the account of the taking of Ai given in Joshua viii. The capture of this city was effected by stratagem, Joshua and the main body of the host of Israel drawing the enemy away from their city by a feigned retreat, so that it was left an easy prey to an ambush that lay concealed on the west side of the town. But of the setting of this ambush we have two inconsistent accounts. According to verse 3 the ambush consisted of thirty thousand men, and was sent out from Gilgal by night to take up its post behind Ai, while Joshua and the mass of the host did not leave Gilgal till the following morning (verses 9, 10). But in verse 12 the ambush consists of but five thousand men, and is not sent from Gilgal, but detached from the main army after Joshua has taken up his position in front of Ai. These are two versions of the same occurrence, for in both accounts the place of ambush is the same, viz. the west side of the city between Bethel and Ai, and the subsequent verses speak only of one ambush. We conclude, therefore, that the editor used, and to some extent fused together, two separate ac- counts of the taking of Ai ; and this conclusion is confirmed when we observe that verses 20 and 21 also tell the same thing twice over with slight variations of detail and ex- pression such as would naturally occur in two independent stories.

In the books that follow Joshua, cases where two narra- tives are worked together to form a mosaic of small fragments become less frequent, but something of the kind can still be traced in parts of the Book of Samuel, especially in the history of Saul, where, as we have already seen, the Septuagint some-


times helps us to dissect out late additions to the story. There are other doublets (double versions) of passages in Saul's history which are common to the Hebrew and the Greek, and can be recognised only by internal evidence. Such, for example, are the two accounts of Saul's rejection by Samuel at Gilgal, of which one is found in 1 Sam. xv. and the other from 1 Sam. xiii. 7 (second half) to ver. 15 (first halfj, a passage to which chap. x. 8 must once have formed the introduction. Any one who reads chap. xv. with care must see that the writer of this narrative knew nothing of an earlier rejection of Saul. And further, the Gilgal episode in chap. xiii. gives no reasonable sense. Saul had waited for Samuel the full time appointed ; it was a matter of urgency to delay military operations no longer, and according to ancient usage the war had to be opened with religious ceremonies. What was the crime of performing these without Samtiel's presence ? There is not a word in the story to imply that no one but Samuel could do acceptable sacrifice, or that the king's offence lay in an encroachment on the prerogatives of the priesthood. The sin, if there was a sin, lay in Saul's presuming to begin a necessary war without Samuel's express orders. But it is plain from the whole history that the kings of Israel never were mere puppets in the hands of the prophets, and that the prophets never claimed the right to make them so. The story is unhistorical, and nothing more than an early and unauthorised interpolation, as appears from the fact that both xiii. 7 &-15 a, and the associated verse, x. 8, dislocate the context of the passages in which they are inserted.-^ Here we have two versions of a passage in Saul's history which have been allowed to stand side by side without any attempt to work them into unity. But in the history of Saul's appointment

1 See "Wellhausen, Composition (1889), p. 247 sq. ; Budde, Richter und Samuel, p. 191 sqq. The mention of Gilgal in 1 Sam. xiii. 4 seems to have been added along with the greater interpolation, for Gilgal is an impossible rendezvous for an army gathering to meet a Philistine invasion.


as king, where there are also two accounts, each is broken up and passages of the one are intercalated in the other. This may be shown by a table as follows ^

Acct. A, 1 Sam. ix., x. 1-16. xi. 1-11. xi. 15.

Acct. B, 1 Sam. viii. x. 1-24 (25-27 ?). (xi. 12, 13 ?).

Editor. (X. 25-27 ?). (xi. 12, 13 ?). xi. 14.

The main clues to this analysis are two. In the first place, the status of Samuel is different in chaps, viii. and ix. ; in the former he is the acknowledged judge of all Israel, in the latter he is a seer of great local reputation, but hardly known outside of his own district. In the second place, chap. xi. presents Saul to us as still a private person. The messengers from Jabesh do not come specially to seek him, and he acts by no public authority, but on his own initiative under the impulse of the Divine Spirit. But in chap. ix. he has already been made king amidst the acclamations of the whole nation. Other points of difference I leave you to note for yourselves ; the best justification of the analysis is to sketch the two stories, and show that each is complete in itself.

According to the older story (A) the establishment of the kingship in Israel was not of man's seeking but of God. The Hebrews were hard pressed by the Philistines and other foes, against whom they could make no head for want of organisation and a recognised captain. Only one man in Israel, the seer Samuel, who in this narrative appears as little known beyond his own district, saw by divine revela- tion that the remedy lay in the appointment of a king, and was guided to recognise the leader of Israel in a young man, the son of a Benjamite noble, who came to consult him on a trivial affair of lost asses. Seizing his opportunity, Samuel took Saul aside and anointed him king in the name of Jehovah, commanding him to return home and await an

1 I borrow the plan of this table from Driver's tables of the analysis of the Hexateuch.


occasion to prove his vocation by deeds : " Do as thy hand shall find; for God is with thee." Saul obeyed the com- mand, and silently returned to the daily work of his father's estate; but God had changed his heart; Samuel's words burned within him, and his neighbours, though they knew not the cause, saw that he was a different man from what he had been. A month later (1 Sam. x. 27, Sept. ; see the margin of R V.) the opportunity of action arrived. Jabesh- gilead was threatened by ISTahash the Ammonite, and the messengers whom the Gileadites sent through the land to demand succour were everywhere received with tears of helpless sympathy. "But the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard these things, and his wrath was kindled greatly. And he took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the coasts of Israel by the hands of messengers, and said. Whoso cometh not forth after Saul [and after Samuel], so shall it be done unto his oxen. And the fear of the Lord fell upon the people, and they came out as one man." Nahash was defeated, the Israelites knew that they had found a leader, and with one consent they went to Gilgal and made Saul king before the Lord.

In the second account (B) aU this vivid concrete picture disappears, and we find in its place a meagre skeleton of narrative only just sufficient to support an exposition, in the form of speeches, of the author's judgment upon the Hebrew kingship as an institution not strictly compatible with the ideal of Jehovah's sovereignty in Israel. In this narrative Samuel appears as the recognised head and supreme judge of all Israel. In his old age, when he has delegated part of his functions to his sons and they prove corrupt judges, the people insist on the appointment of a king. Samuel re- monstrates, but is divinely instructed to grant their wish, after warning them that to seek a human king is to depart


from Jehovah, and that they will repent too late of their disobedience, when they experience the heavy hand of despotism. But as they persist in their wish a solemn convocation is called at Mizpeh, and appeal is made to the sacred lot to determine the tribe, the family, and the man on whom Jehovah's choice falls. When the lot falls on Saul he is nowhere to be found, till a second oracle reveals that he is hidden among the baggage. " And they ran and fetched him thence : and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward. And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people ? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king."

It is not so easy, nor is it necessary for our present purpose, to follow the double thread of the narrative farther. All critics agree that the immediate sequel of the first account is found in chaps, xiii. xiv., while, on the other hand, chaps, xii. and xv. stand in close connection with the second account. Further, xi. 14, which speaks of renewing the kingdom, is an editorial addition designed to harmonise the two narratives by suggesting that Saul was crowned twice. But it is not quite clear whether x. 25-27, xi. 12, 13, are also editorial additions (Budde) or fragments of the second narrative. On the latter view we must, I think, suppose that that narrative contained an account of the war with Nahash in a different form, associating Samuel with the campaign, and making Saul act at the head of the valiant men whose hearts God had touched (x. 26). It is unreasonable to expect to attain certainty on such minor points ; nor do they affect the broad lines of our analysis and the broad contrast between the first account, in which the events unfold themselves naturally, so that the Divine Spirit in Samuel and Saul guides the action of human forces without suppressing or distorting them, and the second account, in which the supernatural element is far


more mechanical, and, if I may venture to use such a word, unreal. In saying this I do not mean that the second account is a deliberate fiction ; the incident of Saul's hiding in the baggage is evidently traditional, and indeed has close parallels in Arabian folk-lore.-^ But the two traditions cannot both be equally genuine, and there can be no doubt which is the older and better one. In the second account we already see the distorting influence on historical tradition of that mechanical conception of Jehovah's rule in Israel which prevailed more and more among the later Jews, and ulti- mately destroyed all feeling for historical reality, and at the same time all true insight into the methods of divine governance.

According to the prophets and apostles God's government in Israel differs from His government of the rest of the world in so far as Israel had greater privileges and greater responsi- bilities (Amos iii. 2, ix. 7, 8 ; Acts xvii. 30 ; Eom. ii. 12) ; a thesis which by no means involves, but rather implicitly excludes, the notion that the boundaries of Canaan formed a magic circle, within which the ordinary laws of Providence were suspended, and the sequence of well-doing and pros- perity, sin and punishment, was determined by a special and immediate operation of divine sovereignty. But it requires insight and faith to see the hand of God in the ordinary processes of history, whereas extraordinary coincidences between conduct and fortune are fitted to impress the dullest minds. Hence, when the religious lesson of any part of history has been impressed on the popular mind, there is

^ See the story about Mohammed in Ibn Hisham, p. 116, and that about Mosailima in Ibn Sa'd, ed. Wellhausen, No. 101. These stories may be influenced by the Bible, but it is remarkable that both of them bring out the point of the incident more clearly than the passage of Samuel expresses it. The man who stays behind with the baggage is the youngest or obscurest of the company. Saul remained there because " he was little in his own sight " (1 Sam. XV. 17). Compare the similar incidents in the story of David, 1 Sam. xvi. 11, xvii. 28.


always a tendency to reshape the story in such a way as to bring the point out sharply and drop all details that have not a direct religious significance. There are a hundred examples of this in modern history : the story of the Armada, for example, is habitually told in a way that accentuates the providential interposition which preserved English Protest- antism " afflavit Deus et dissipati sunt," as the conimemo- rative medal has it by laying too little weight on the action of human forces in which God's providence was not less truly, though it was less strikingly, present. The history of the Old Testament, taken as a whole, forms so remarkable a chain of evidence establishing the truth of what the prophets had taught as to the laws of God's government on earth, that we cannot be surprised to find that in the circles influenced by prophetic ideas all parts of the historical tradition came to be studied mainly in the spirit of religious pragmatism. That is to say, religious students of the past times of the nation concentrated their attention in an increasing degree, and ultimately in an exclusive way, on the explanation of events by religious considerations. The effect of this, especially after the establishment of the post-exile theocracy, was that the parts and incidents of the history which did not admit of a direct religious interpretation fell out of sight, and that the story of Israel's past ultimately resolved itself into a mechanical sequence of sin and punishment, obedience and prosperity. The point of view which Jesus condemns in Luke xiii. 1-4, in speaking of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices, is that from which later Judaism looks at the whole sacred history, with the result that the manifold variety of God's workings among men shrivels up into a tedious repetition of lifeless formulas. That this is true as regards the Eabbinical literature no one will attempt to deny; but the example that has come before us leads us to consider whether, in a less degree, something of the same tendency may not have to be allowed for in interpreting parts of the Bible.

The chief case in point, upon which critics have come to a very definite conclusion, is that of the Chronicles as com- pared with the Book of Kings. Our traditional education, and our hereditary way of looking at the Bible, incline us to suppose that all books of the Old Testament are of equal value as historical authorities; and that, when Kings and Chronicles appear to differ, it is as legitimate to read the older history in the light of the newer as vice versd. In dealing with sources for profane history, however, we should never dream of putting books of such different age on the same footing ; the Book of Kings was substantially complete before the Exile, in the early years of the sixth century B.C., while the Chronicler gives genealogies that go down at least six generations after Zerubbabel, and probably reach to con- temporaries of Alexander the Great.^ This is an interval of at least two hundred and fifty years; and it must also be remembered that the Book of Kings is largely made up of verbal extracts from much older sources, and for many purposes may be treated as having the practical value of a contem- porary history. Hence, according to the ordinary laws of research, the Book of Kings is a source of the first class, and the Chronicles have a very secondary value. It is the rule of all historical study to begin with the records that stand

^ The genealogy of the descendants of Zerubbabel in 1 Chron. iii. 19 sqq. is somewhat confused, but it seems to be impossible by any fair treatment of the text to get less than six generations (Hananiah, Shechaniah, Shemaiah, Neariah, Elioenai, Hodaiah and his brethren). The text of the Septuagint gives eleven generations, and this may be the true reading, for it removes the obscurity that attaches to the Hebrew text by the very slight correction, four times reading 1^3 for 'J^, and once adding 133 before "JJ2") (at the end of verse 21). But further it is almost certain that Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah once formed a single book {infra, p. 182 sq.), and in Nehemiah we have mention of Darius Codomannus and of Jaddua, who was high priest at the time of the Macedonian conquest (Neh. xii. 22). See further Driver, Introduction, p. 486, p. 511 sq.

nearest to the events recorded and are written under the living impress of the life of the time described. Many features of old Hebrew custom, which are reflected in lively form in the Former Prophets, were obsolete long before the time of the Chronicler, and could not be revived except by archseological research. The whole life of the old kingdom was buried and forgotten ; Israel was no longer a nation, but a church. No theory of inspiration, save the theory of the Koran, which boasts that its fabulous legends were super- naturally conveyed to Mohammed without the use of docu- ments or tradition, can affirm that a history written under these conditions is a primary source for the study of the ancient kingdom.^ It is manifest that the Chronicler, writ- ing at a time when the institutions of Ezra had universal currency, had no personal knowledge of the greatly different praxis of Israel before the Exile, and that the general picture which he gives of the life and worship of the Hebrews under the old monarchy cannot have the same value for us as the records of the Book of Kings. These considerations alone are sufficient to condemn the use made of the Chronicles by a certain school of theologians, who, finding that the narrative of that book comes closer to their own traditional ideas than the record of the ancient histories, seek to explain away everything in the latter which the younger historian does not homologate. The Book of Kings, for example, contains a mass of evidence that the best monarchs of Judah before the Captivity countenanced practices inconsistent with the Penta- teuchal Law. Thus we are told in 1 Kings xv. 14, xxii. 43, that Asa and Jehoshaphat did not abolish the high places. The Chronicler, on the contrary, says that they did abolish them (2 Chron. xiv. 5, xvii. 6) a flat contradiction. There

^ Mohammed boasts of his fabulous version of the story of Joseph, that he had it by direct revelation, not having known it before (Sura xii. 3). The Bible historians never made such a claim, which to thinking minds is one of the clearest proofs of Mohammed's imposture.

is an end to historical study if in such a case we accept the later account against the earlier; for it is evident that the Chronicler, writing at a time when every one was agreed in rejecting high places as idolatrous, was unable to conceive that good kings could have tolerated them.^ We shall see, however, in Lecture VIII., that a mass of concurrent evidence, derived from the prophets as well as the historical books, shows that there was no feeling against the high places even in the most enlightened circles in Israel tiU long after the time of Asa and Jehoshaphat.

The cases where the Chronicler flatly contradicts the Book of Kings are pretty numerous ; but there is not one of them where an impartial historical judgment will decide in favour of the later account. It is true that the Chronicler had access to some old sources now lost, especially for the genealogical lists which form a considerable part of his work.^ But for the history proper, his one genuine source was the series of the Former Prophets, the Books of Samuel and especially of Kings. These books he read in manuscripts which occasionally preserved a good reading that has been corrupted in the Massoretic text (supra, p. 68), but where he adds to the narrative of Kings or departs from it, his variations are never such as to inspire confidence. In large measure these variations are simply due to the fact that, as we have already seen in the example of the high places, he takes it for granted that the religious institutions of his own time must have existed in the same form in old Israel. Hence he assumes that the Levitical organisation of his own

1 That here the Chronicler is arbitrarily changing the record appears incidentally from 2 Chron. xv. 17, xx. 33, where he is inconsiderate enough to copy the opposite statement of 1 Kings in connection with some other particulars which he has occasion to transfer from that book to his own,

2 The genealogies are not all of equal value, but the great historical im- portance of some of them has been demonstrated by Wellhausen in his Habilitationschrift, De Gentihus et Familiis Judaeis, Gott,, 1870. Only a summary of the results is reproduced in his Prolegomena.


time, and especially the three choirs of singers, were estab- lished by David. Of all this the old history has not a word, and the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah show that even after the restoration, a much simpler system was in force, and was only gradually elaborated into the form described in Chronicles {infra, Lecture VII,). But, indeed, the text of Chronicles contains distinct internal evidence that the author is really describing later institutions, although he brings his description into the life of David. The gates, etc., mentioned in 1 Chron. xxvi. presuppose the existence of a temple, and as the gate Parbar bears a Persian name, it is clear that he is thinking of the second Temple.-^ And this case does not stand alone. In 2 Chron. xiii. 10 sqq^. Abijah boasts against Jeroboam of the superior legitimacy of the ritual of Jerusalem, which was conducted according to all the rules of the Law. But the ritual described is that of the second Temple, for reference is made to the golden candlestick. In Solomon's Temple there was not one golden candlestick in front of the oracle, but ten (1 Kings vii. 49). Further, Abijah speaks of the morning and evening holocausts. But there is a great concurrence of evidence that the evening sacrifice of the first Temple was not a holocaust, but a cereal oblation (1 Kings xviii. 36, Heh. ; 2 Kings xvi. 15 ; Ezra ix. 4, Heb.)}

^ A curious point, remarked by Ewald {Lehrbuch, 274 b), and more clearly brought out by "Wellhausen, is that six heads of the choir of the guild of Heman bear the names (1) I have given great (2) and lofty help (3) to him that sat in distress ; (4) I have spoken (5) a superabundance of (6) prophecies (1 Chron. xxv. 4). As actual names of men, in the time of David, these designations are impossible. But the words seem to form an anthem in which six choirs of singers may well have had parts, and these may have received names from their parts. In like manner Jeduthun, which, if the description of the Temple music is literal history of David's time, must be the name of a chief singer, is really, as we see from the titles of the Psalms, a musical term.

^ Cp. Kuenen, Religion of Israel, chap. ix. note 1. Note also, as characteristic of the freedom used with facts in the speeches in Chronicles, that in 2 Chron. xiii. 7 Abijah says that Jeroboam's rebellion took place when Rehoboam was a lad and soft-hearted, and could not pluck up courage

So again, in 2 Chron. v. 4, the ark is borne by Levites, accord- ing to the rule of the Levitical law ; but the parallel passage of 1 Kings viii. 3 says that it was borne by the priests, and the latter statement is in accordance with Deut. xxxi., and with all the references to the carrying of the ark in the pre- exilic histories (Josh. iii. 3, vi. 6, viii. 33 ; 2 Sam. xv. 24, 29). Once more, in 2 Kings xi., Jehoiada's assistants in the revolution which cost Athaliah her life are the foreign bodyguard, which we know to have been employed in the sanctuary up to the time of Ezekiel (infra, p. 262). But in 2 Chron. xxiii. the Carians and the footguards are replaced by the Levites, in accordance with the rule of the second Temple, which did not allow aliens to approach so near to the holy things.

These examples are enough to show that the Chronicler is no authority in any point that touches difference of usage between his own time and that of the old monarchy ; but further, he does not hesitate to make material changes in the tenor of narratives that do not agree with his doctrine of the uniformity of religious institutions before and after the Exile. Of this one example must suffice. In 2 Kings xxiii. Josiah's action against the high places is represented as taking place in the eighteenth year of his reign, as the imme- diate result of his repentance on hearing the words of the Law found in the Temple, and in pursuance of the covenant of reformation made on that occasion. But in 2 Chron. xxxiv. the reformation begins in Josiah's twelfth year, that is, as soon as he emerged from his minority.^ Josiah was a good

to withstand the rebels. But according to 1 Kings xiv. 21 the "lad" was forty-one years old, and he certainly did not lose his kingdom for softness of heart.

^ Josiah came to the throne when he was eight years old, so that in his twelfth year he would be nineteen years old. He began to seek God, says the Chronicler, in the eighth year of his reign, i.e. at the age of fifteen. Accord- ing to the Mishna {Aboth, v. 21) a boy should begin to learn Talmud at fifteen, marry at eighteen, and pursue business at twenty.

king, and therefore the Chronicler felt that there must be a mistake in the account which made him wield an independ- ent sceptre for many years before he touched the idolatrous abuses of his land. That the result of this is to put the solemn repentance and covenant of reformation ten years after the reformation itself is an inconsistency which seems never to have struck him.

The tendency to construct history according to a mechan- ical rule, which we meet with in this example, is only one side of the general tendency of later Judaism, already characterised, to sacrifice all interest in the veritable facts of sacred history to a mechanical conception of God's government of the world at large, and of Israel in particular. Another side shows itself in the Book of Chronicles in the constant endeavour to make the divine retribution act immediately, after the fashion of the falling of the tower of Siloam. This is sometimes spoken of as a moralising tendency, and the name is not amiss if we make it clear to ourselves that it is moralising of a different kind from what we find in the prophets. To prophets like Amos and Isaiah, the retributive justice of God is manifest in the general course of history. The fall of the Hebrew nation is the fruit of sin and rebellion against Jehovah's moral commands; but God's justice is mingled with long-suffering, and the prophets do not for a moment suppose that every sin is promptly punished, and that tem- porary good fortune is always the reward of righteousness. But a very large part of the novel additions made in the Chronicles to the old history is meant to show that in Israel retribution followed immediately on good or bad conduct, and especially on obedience or disobedience to prophetic warnings. Some good remarks on this head, with a list of illustrative passages, will be found in Driver's Introduction, p. 494; I must here content myself with one or two conspicuous examples out of many.

In 1 Kings xxii. 48 we read that Jehoshaphat built Tarshish ships (i.e. such great ships as the Phoenicians used in their trade with southern Spain) at Ezion-geber for the South Arabian gold trade ; but the ships were wrecked before starting. For this the Chronicler seeks a religious reason ; and, as 1 Kings goes on to say that, after the disaster, Ahaziah of Israel offered to join Jehoshaphat in a fresh enterprise, and the latter declined, we are told in 2 Chron. xx. 37 that the king of Israel was partner in the ships that were wrecked, and that Jehoshaphat was warned by a prophet of the certain failure of an undertaking in which he was associated with the wicked Ahaziah. That this is a mere pragmatical in- ference from the story in Kings, and does not rest on some good independent source, is confirmed by the fact that the Chronicler misunderstands the words of 1 Kings, and changes " Tarshish ships " into " ships to go to Tarshish," as if ships for the Mediterranean trade could possibly be built on the Oulf of Akaba in the Eed Sea! On the other hand, in 2 Kings iii., we read of a war with Moab, in which Jehosha- phat was associated with the wicked house of Ahab, and came off scatheless. In Chronicles this war is entirely omitted, and in its place we have a war of Jehoshaphat alone against Moab, Ammon, and Edom, in which the Jewish king, having begun the campaign with suitable prayer and praise, has no further task than to spoil the dead of the enemy who have fallen by one another's hands. The idea of this easy victory is taken from the story of the real war with Moab (2 Kings iii. 21 sq.), where we learn that the Moabites fell into a trap by imagining that their enemies of Israel, Judah, and Edom had quarrelled and destroyed one another. Let me ask you, taking this hint with you, to read 2 Kings iii. and 2 Chron. xx. carefully through, and consider the difference between the old and the new conception of the supernatural in Israel's history. In reading the old account observe that


verses 16, 17, 20 describe the way in which the underground water descending from the Edomite mountains can still be obtained, by digging water pits, in the Wady el-Ahs^ (" valley of water pits "), on the southern frontier of Moab, which was the scene of the events in question.-^

In Chronicles the kings undergo alternate good and bad fortune, according to their conduct immediately before. Eeho- boam is first good and strong, then he forsakes the Law, and Shishak invades the land ; then he repents, and the rest of his reign is prosperous. And so it goes with all his successors. According to 1 Kings xv. 14 Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days. But in his old age he had a disease in his feet (1 Kings xv. 23). Accordingly the Chronicler tells us that for three years before this misfortune (2 Chron. xvi. 1, 12) he had done several wicked things, one of which, his alliance with Damascus, is also recounted in Kings, but without the slightest hint that there was anything in it dis- pleasing to God. To bring this incident into the place that fits his theodicea, the Chronicler has to change the chronology of Baasha's reign (2 Chron. xvi. 1 compared with 1 Kings XV. 33). Similarly the misfortunes of Jehoash, Amaziah, Azariah are all explained by sins of which the old history knows nothing, and Pharaoh Necho himself is made a pro- phet, that the defeat and death of Josiah may be due to disobedience to revelation (2 Chron. xxxv. 21, 22), while, on the other hand, the wicked Manasseh is converted into a penitent to justify his long reign. All this is exactly in the style of the Jewish Midrash; it is not history but Haggada, moralising romance attaching to historical names

^ See Wellhausen, Composition, p. 287, with "Wetzstein in Delitzsch, Genesis, ed. 4, p. 567 as there cited. Cp. further Doughty, Travels, i 26 sq., and for the kind of bottom, yielding water under the sand, implied in the name el- Ahsa (el-His^, el-Hisy), Yacut, i. 148 ; Zohair, ed. Landberg, p. 95 ; Ibn Hisham, Stra, p. 71, 1. 9. The point of the miracle lies in the copiousness of the supply obtained by the use of ordinary means.


and events. And the Chronicler himself gives the name of Midrash (E. V. " story ") to two of the sources from which he drew (2 Chron. xiii. 22, xxiv. 27), so that there is really no mystery as to the nature of his work when it departs from the old canonical histories.

I have dwelt at some length on this topic, because the practice of using the Chronicles as if they had the same his- torical value as the older books has done more than any other one cause to prevent a right understanding of the Old Testa- ment and of the Old Dispensation. To admit what I think has been proved in the previous pages involves a serious shock to received ideas of the equal authority of the whole Hebrew Canon ; but if the thing is true and the proofs that it is true may be greatly added to the consequences must be faced. Moreover, we shall see in the next Lecture that the difficulty as to admitting the truth which is supposed to arise from the history of the Canon is really imaginary, and that no sacred authority binding on the Christian conscience fixes the precise limits of the Canon, and excludes all criticism of its contents.


In this Lecture I propose to discuss the main points in the history of the Old Testament Canon ; inquiring what books were accepted by the Jews as Sacred Scriptures; at what date the list of canonical books was closed ; and on what principles the list was formed.^ Here I would again ask you to begin by comparing the Hebrew Bible with the Greek.

The Hebrew Bible has twenty-four books, arranged in three great sections the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagio- grapha. The first section consists of the Pentateuch, or, as the Hebrews call it, the "Five-Fifths of the Law." The second section has two subdivisions (a) The old histories, which were believed to have prophets for their authors, and are called the "Earlier Prophets," or, more exactly, the " Former Prophets " ; and (h) the prophetic books proper, which are called the "Latter Prophets." In these designa- tions, the words " Former " and " Latter " cannot refer to the date of composition, but must be taken to indicate the order of the books in the canonical collection. Each subdivision of the Prophets contains four books ; for the Hebrews count

^ On the subject of this Lecture see especially the excellent little book of Professor G. Wildeboer of Groningen {Die Entstehung des AUtestaTnentlichen Kanons, ed. 2, Gotha, 1891). Many points of detail to which it was impossible to refer in the present volume are lucidly discussed by Dr. Wildeboer, and by my friend Prof. Ryle, whose Canon of the 0. T. (London, 1892) reaches me as these sheets are passing through the press.

but one book of Samuel and one of Kings, and the Twelve Minor Prophets are reckoned as one book. The third section of the Hebrew Bible consists of what are called the Hagio- grapha, or " Kethlibim," that is [sacred] writings. At the head of these stand three poetical books Psalms, Proverbs, and Job. Then come the five small books of Canticles, Euth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther, which the Hebrews name the Megilloth, or " rolls." They have this name because they alone among the Hagiographa were used on certain annual occasions in the service of the synagogue, and for this purpose were written each in a separate volume. Last of all, at the end of the Hebrew Bible, stand Daniel, Ezra with Nehemiah (forming a single book), and the Chronicles, also forming a single book. As the contents of these books are historical and prophetical, we should naturally have expected to find them in the section of Prophets. The reason why they hold a lower place will fall to be examined later. This number of twenty-four books, and the division into the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa, were perfectly fixed dur- ing the Talmudic period, that is, from the third to the sixth century of our era.^ The order in each division was to some extent variable.^ The number of twenty-four books seems

^ The scheme of the Hebrew Canon may be put thus : I. The five-fifths of the Law . . . . . .5

II. The Prophets- Earlier Prophets : Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kiugs . . .4 Later Prophets : Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, The Twelve . . 4 III. Hagiographa or Ket'Q.bim

Poetical Books : Psalms, Proverbs, Job .... 3

The Megilloth : Canticles, Kuth, Lamen., Eccles., Esther . . 5

Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, Chronicles .... 3


2 The fundamental passage in the Babylonian Gemara, Bdhd Bdthra, ff. 14, 15, says, "The order of the prophets is Joshua and Judges, Samuel and Kings, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Isaiah and the Twelve. Hosea is the first because it is written, 'the beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea' (Hos. i. 2). . . . But, because his prophecy is written along with the latest prophets, Haggai, Zechariah, aud Malachi, he is counted with them. Isaiah is earlier than Jeremiah and Ezekiel. . . . But because Kings ends with

to be found in the Second (or Fourth) Book of Esdras, towards the close of the first Christian century.^

Another division into twenty-two books is adopted in the earliest extant list of the contents of the Hebrew Bible, that given by Josephus in his first book against Apion, chap. viii. This scheme was still well known in the time of Jerome, who prefers to reckon twenty-two books, joining Euth to Judges, and Lamentations to Jeremiah ; although he also mentions the Talmudic enumeration of twenty-four books, and a third scheme which reckons twenty-seven, dividing Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and Ezra-Nehemiah, as is done in our modern Bibles, and separating Jeremiah from Lamentations. It is proper to observe that the scheme of twenty-two books is conformed to the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Jerome draws a parallel between this arrangement and the alphabetical acrostics in the Psalms, Lamentations, and Proverbs xxxi. 9-31, and there can be little doubt that it is artificial. Nor is there any clear evidence that it had an established place in Palestinian tradition.

destruction and Jeremiah is all destruction, while Ezekiel beginning with de- struction ends in consolation and Isaiah is all consolation, destruction is joined to destruction and consolation to consolation. The order of the Hagiographa is Ruth and Psalms and Job and Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, and Lamentations, Daniel and Esther, Ezra and Chronicles." Compare Miiller's note on Sdpherim, iii. 5. Isaiah follows Ezekiel in some MSS. (Lagarde, Sym7nicta, i. 142), and the order of the Hagiographa varies considerably ; comp. Driver, Introd. p. xxviii., and Ryle, pp. 229, 281.

1 Even after Professor Bensly's researches the Latin text of 4 Esdras xiv. 44, 46 remains obscure. Nor is the evidence of the Oriental versions quite unambiguous. But on the whole it can hardly be doubted that the original text spoke of ninety-four books, of which seventy were esoteric, leaving twenty-four published and canonical books. (See infra, p. 168.)

^ See the three enumerations in Jerome, Prol. Galeat. His order for the Hagiographa is Job, David, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Daniel, Chronicles, Ezra, Esther. On the Canon of Josephus see below, p. 164 and note. I agree with Wildeboer that it is very doubtful whether the division into twenty-two books ever had an established place in Palestine. Jerome himself in his preface to Daniel says that the Jews reckon five books of the Law, eight Prophets, and eleven Hagiographa ; the testimony of Origen, ap. Eus. H. E. vi. 25, is plainly not an unmixed reflex of Palestinian tradition, since it

It is often taken for granted that the list of Old Testament books was quite fixed in Palestine at the time of our Lord, and that the Bible acknowledged by Jesus was precisely identical with our own. But it must be remembered that we have no list of the sacred books earlier than the time of Josephus, who wrote at the very end of the first century. Before this date the nearest approach to a cata- logue is the panegyric on the famous men of Israel in Ecclesiasticus xliv.-l., in which authors are expressly included. The writer takes up the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve Minor Prophets in order. He also mentions the psalms of David, and the songs proverbs and parables of Solomon. Daniel and Esther are passed over in silence, and Nehemiah is mentioned without Ezrai^ Neither Philo nor the New Testament enables us to make up a complete list of Old Testament books, for there are some of the Hagiographa (Esther, Canticles, Ecclesiastes) which are quoted neither by the apostles nor by their Alexandrian contemporary. On the other hand, there is no reason to believe that any books were received in Palestine at the time of Christ which have now fallen out of the Canon.

When we turn to the Septuagint we find, in the first place, a very different arrangement of the books. There is no division into Law, Prophets, and Hagiographa; but the

includes not only Lamentations but the Epistle of Jeremiah in the Book of Jeremiah ; and no weight can be laid on Epiphanius, Be Mens, et Pond. 4 (ed. Lagarde, p. 156), whose division into four pentateuchs and two odd books stands quite by itself. Finally, the statement that the Book of Jubilees reckoned twenty-two books is' not borne out by the extant (Ethiopic) text, but rests on a doubtful inference from Syncellus (p. 5, Bonn ed.) and Cedrenus (p. 9, Bonn ed.), where the citation from the Leptogenesis (Book of Jubilees) may refer only to the parallel between the twenty-two works of- creation and the twenty-two generations from Adam to Jacob (against Ronsch, Buck der Juh. (1874), p. 527 sq. ) As Josephus does not follow the Hebrew division or arrange- ment of the books, it is not safe, when the other authorities thus break down, to assume that he had Hebrew authority for the number twenty-two.

Law and the historical books come first, the poetical and didactic books follow, and the prophets stand at the end as in our English Bibles. But there is another difference. MSS. and editions of the Septuagint contain, interspersed through the books of the Hebrew Canon, certain additional writings which we call Apocrypha. The Apocrypha of the Septuagint are not precisely identical with those given in the English Authorised Version. The apocalyptic book called Second (or Fourth) Esdras is not extant in Greek. The Prayer of Manasseh is not in all copies of the Septuagint, but is found in the collection of hymns or Canticles which some MSS. append to the Psalms. All our MSS. of the LXX. are of Christian origin, and these Canticles comprise the Magni- ficat and other JSTew Testament hymns. On the other hand, the Septuagint reckons four books 6f Maccabees, while the English Apocrypha have only two.

The additional books contained in the Septuagint may be divided into three classes ':

I. Books translated from the Hebrew. Of these 1 Macca- bees and Ecclesiasticus were still extant in Hebrew in the time of Jerome, and the Books of Tobit and Judith were translated or corrected by him from Aramaic copies. Baruch, in his day, was no longer current among the Hebrews.

II. Books originally composed in Greek by Hellenistic Jews, such as the Second Book of Maccabees, the principal part of which is an epitome of a larger work by Jason of Cyrene, and the Wisdom of Solomon, which, though it pro- fesses to be the work of the Hebrew monarch, is plainly the production of an Alexandrian Jew trained in the philosophy of his time.

III. Books based on translations from the canonical books, but expanded and embellished with arbitrary and fabulous additions. In the Greek Book of Esther the " Addi- tions " given in the English Apocrypha form an integral part of the text. Similarly, the Septuagint Daniel embodies Susanna, the Song of the Three Children, and Bel and the Dragon ; but these are perhaps later additions to the Greek version. 1 Esdras is based on extracts from Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, but treats the text freely, and adds the fabulous history of Zerubbabel.

The style of literature to which this third class of Apo- crypha belongs was also known in Palestine; and we still possess many Eabbinical books of similar character, contain- ing popular reproductions of the canonical books interwoven with fabulous additions. This kind of literature is a branch of the Midrash, or treatment of the sacred books for purposes of popular edification. It seems to have had its origin in the Synagogue, where the early Meturgemans and preachers did not confine themselves to a faithful reproduction of Bible teaching, but added all manner of Haggada, ethical and fabulous, according to the taste of the time. But in Pales- tine the Haggadic Midrash was usually kept distinct from the text, and handed down either orally or in separate books. In Alexandria, on the contrary, the Jews seem to have been content, in certain instances, to receive books through a Midrash instead of an exact version, or to admit Midrashic additions to the text.

Prom the fact that the Apocrypha stand side by side with the canonical books in the MSS. and editions of the Septua- gint, some have leaped to the conclusion that the Canon of the Alexandrian Jews contained all these books, or, in other words, that they were recognised in Alexandria as being divine and inspired in the same sense as the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms. There are, however, several reasons which should make us hesitate to draw such an infer- ence. In the first place, we observe that the number of Apocryphal books is not identical in all copies, and that some of the books are found in two recensions with very consider-


able variations of form.-^ This in itself is a strong reason for doubting the existence of a fixed Alexandrian Canon. In the second place, all our manuscripts of the Septuagint are of Christian origin. The presence of an Apocryphon in a Chris- tian MS. shows that it had a certain measure of recognition in the Church, but does not prove that full canonical authority was ascribed to it in the Synagogue. Again, in the third place, the books must have been current one by one before they were collected into a single volume. We learn from the prologue to Ecclesiasticus and the subscription to the Apocryphal Book of Esther that some of them at least were translated by private enterprise without having any official sanction. Whatever position, then, they ultimately attained, they were not translated as part of an authoritative Canon. And finally, Philo, the greatest of Jewish Hellenists, who flourished in the time of our Lord, knew the Apocrypha indeed, for he seems sometimes to borrow the turn of a phrase from them, but he never quotes from them, much less uses them for the proof of doctrine as he habitually uses most of the books in our Old Testament. There are, then, sufficient reasons for hesitating to believe that the Alexandrian Jews received all these books as authoritative, in the same sense as the Law and the Prophets. But, on the other hand, we are bound to explain how such books ever came to stand so closely associated with the canonical books as they do in our Greek copies. If the line of demarcation between canonical and uncanonical books had been sharply fixed, it is hard to see how they could have got into the Septuagint at all. And how did it come to pass that certain of the Hagiographa were not used in Alexandria in their canonical form, but only in the shape of Haggadic reproductions ? These phenomena

^ Two Greek recensions of Esther and Tobit exist. See for the former book Lagarde's edition of the Septuagint (Gott., 1883), where the two recen- sions are printed on opposite pages, and for Tobit, Swete's edition, where the recension of the Sinaiticus stands under the text of the Yaticanus.


point to a time when the idea of canonicity was not yet fixed, and when certain books, even of the Hebrew Canon, were only pushing their way gradually towards universal recognition. In Alexandria, for example, the Book of Esther cannot have been accepted as beyond dispute ; for instead of a proper translation we find only a Midrash, circulating in two varying recensions, and not claiming by its subscription to be more than a private book brought to Alexandria in the fourth year of Ptolemy and Cleopatra by one Dositheos, who called him- self a priest.

These facts force us to inquire upon what principles the Jews separated the sacred writings from ordinary books. But, before doing this, let me ask you to look at the Apocrypha as they appear to us in the light of history. All the books of the Apocrypha are comparatively modern. There is none of them, on the most favourable computation, which can be supposed to be older than the latest years of the Persian empire. They belong, therefore, to the age when the last great relicrious movement of the Old Testament under Ezra had passed away when prophecy had died out, and the nation had settled down to live under the Law, looking for guidance in religion, not to a continuance of new revelation, but to the written Word, and to the interpretations of the Scribes. To place these books on the same footing with the Law and the Prophets is quite impossible to thehistorical student. They belong to a new literature which rose in Judaea after the cessation of prophetic originality, when the law and the tradition were all in all, when there was no man to speak with authority truths that he had received direct from God, but the whole intellect of Israel was either con- centrated on the development of legal Halacha, or, in men of more poetical imagination, exercised itself in restating and illustrating the old principles of religion in ethical poetry, like that of Ecclesiasticus, or in romance and fable of a re-


ligious complexion, like the Books of Judith and Tobit. Halacha, Midrash, and Haggada became the forms of all literary effort ; or if any man tried a bolder flight, and sought for his work a place of higher authority, he did so by assum- ing the name of some ancient worthy. This last class of pseudepigraphic works, as they are called, consists largely of pseudoprophetic books in apocalyptic form, like 2 (4) Esdras.^ It is plain, then, on broad historical considerations, without entering into any matters of theological dispute, as to the nature of inspiration and so forth, that there is a dis- tinct line of demarcation between the Apocrypha and the books which record the progress of Israel's religion during the ages when prophets and righteous men still looked for their guidance in times of religious need not to a written book and its scholastic interpreters, but to a fresh word of revela- tion. But how far was this understood by those who separ- ated out the books of our Hebrew Bible as canonical, and

^ The line between the old literature and the new cannot be drawn with chronological precision. The characteristic mark of canonical literature is that it is the record of the progress of fresh truths of revelation, and of the immediate reflection of these truths in the believing heart. The Psalms are, in part, considerably later than Ezra, but they record the inner side of the history of his work of reformation, and show us the nature of the faith with which Israel apprehended the Law and its institutes. This is a necessary and most precious element of the Old Testament record, and it would be arbitrary to attempt to fix a point of time at which this part of Old Testament Scripture must necessarily have closed. But the direct language of faith held by the psalmists is intrinsically different from such artificial reflection \on the law, in the manner of the schools, as is found in Ecclesiasticus. The difference can be felt rather than defined, and a certain margin of un- certainty must attach to every determination of the limits of what is canonical. But, on the whole, the instinct that guided the formation of the Hebrew Canon was sound, because the theories of the schools affected only certain outlying books, while the mass of the collection established itself in the hearts of all the faithful in successive generations, under historical circumstances of a sifting kind. The religious struggle under the Maccabees, which threw the people of God upon the Scriptures for comfort when the outward order of the theocracy was broken, doubtless was for the later books of the Canon a period of proof such as the Captivity was for the older literature.

  1. According to Origen, Princip. Bk. iv. p. 173, the literal sense of Scripture is often impossible, absurd, or immoral, and this designedly, lest, cleaving to the letter alone, men should remain at a distance from the dogmata, and learn nothing worthy of God. Augustine in his hermeneutical treatise, De Dodrina Christiana (Bk. iii. c. 10), teaches that "Whatever has no proper bearing on the rule of life or the verity of faith must be recognised as figurative." A good example of the practical application of these principles will be found in the preface to Jerome's Commentary on Hosea.
  2. See, in particular, the first part of the Freiheit eines Christenmenschen, and the preface to Luther's German Bible. On Tetzel see Freiheit des Sermons vom Ablass (Werke, ed. Irmischer, vol. xxvii. p. 13). Compare Calvin's Institutio, Bk. iii. chap. 2—"The Word itself, however it be conveyed to us, is like a mirror in which faith beholds God."
  3. The Old Testament writers possessed Hebrew sources now lost, such as the Book of the Wars of Jehovah, the Book of Jashar, and the Annals of the Kings of Israel and Judah. (See below, Lectures V. and XI.) But Josephus, and other profane historians, whose writings are still extant, had no authentic Hebrew sources for the canonical history, except those preserved in the Bible. It is only in quite recent times that the lack of contemporary books illustrative of the Old Testament period has been partly supplied by the discovery and decipherment of the monumental inscriptions of Palestine (the Moabite stone, the inscription of Siloam, the Phoenician inscriptions) and the cuneiform records of Babylonia, Assyria, and Persia. Valuable as these new sources are, they touch only individual parts of the Biblical record. The Egyptian monuments, again, from which so much was hoped, have hitherto given little help for Bible history.
  4. See, especially, the Arabic catena on Genesis published by Professor Lagarde in his Materialien zur Kritik und Geschichte des Pentateuchs (Leipzig, 1867) from a Carshunic MS. of the sixteenth century. This compilation of a Syriac scribe is full of Jewish traditions, and even in form, as the editor observes, is quite of the character of a Jewish Midrash.
  5. On the Regula Fidei, and its connection with the ambiguity of the allegorical interpretation, so keenly felt in controversy with heretics, compare Diestel, Geschichte des alien Testaments in der Christlichen Kirche, p. 38 (Irenæus, Tertnllian), p. 85 (Augustine). The principle is clearly laid down by Origen: "Many think that they have the mind of Christ, and not a few differ from the opinions of the earlier Christians; but the preaching of the Church, handed down in regular succession from the Apostles, still abides, and is present in the Church. Therefore, the only truth to be believed is that which in no point departs from ecclesiastical and apostolical tradition." (Princip., Praef. §2.)
  6. Prologus galeatus.—"This prologue may fit all the books which we have translated from the Hebrew. Books outside of these are apocryphal. Therefore the so-called Wisdom of Solomon, the book of Jesus son of Sirach, Judith, Tobit, and The Shepherd are not canonical. The first book of Maccabees I found in Hebrew, the second is Greek, as may be proved from its very idiom." Praef. in Jeremiam.—"We have passed by the book of Baruch, Jeremiah's amanuensis, which the Hebrews neither read nor possess." Praef. in Librum Esther.—"The Book of Esther has unquestionably been vitiated by various translators. I have translated it word for word as it stands in the Hebrew archives." Praef. in Danielem.—"The story of Susanna, the Song of the Three Children, and the fables of Bel and the Dragon are not found in the Hebrew Daniel; but as they are current throughout the world we have added them at the end, marking them with an obelus, lest the ignorant should fancy us to have excised a great part of the volume." Jerome adds an interesting account of arguments against the additions to Daniel, which he had heard from a Jewish doctor, leaving the decision to his readers. Of the Apocryphal books contained in the English Authorised version of 1611, three are not accepted as canonical by the Church of Rome, viz. First and Second Esdras (otherwise called Third and Fourth Esdras), and the Prayer of Manasseh. The canonicity of the additions to Esther and Daniel is rightly held by Bellarmin to be implied in the decree of Trent which accepts the books of the Old Testament, "cum omnibus suis partibus, prout in ecclesia catholica legi consueverunt." (Controv. I. Be Verio Dei, Lib. i. capp. 7, 9.)
  7. The quotation is from the Prologus galeatus. Compare the preface to Chronicles addressed to Domnio and Rogatianus.
  8. The version of Aquila, a Jewish proselyte and disciple of the famous Rabbi Akiba, was made expressly in the interests of Jewish exegesis, and reproduced with scrupulous accuracy the received text of the second Christian century. Symmachus and Theodotion followed later, but still in the second century. The former, according to Eusebius and Jerome, was an Ebionite, one of the sect of Jewish Christians who still held to the observance of the law, like the opponents of Paul. It is uncertain whether Theodotion was an Ebionite (Jerome), or a proselyte (Irenæus). [[w:Aquila of Sinope|Aquila}}, says Jerome, sought to reproduce the Hebrew word for word; Symmachus aimed at a clear expression of the sense; while Theodotion rather sought to give a revised edition not very divergent from the Greek of the Septuagint. These versions were arranged in parallel columns in the Hexapla of Origen, composed in the first half of the third century. The fragments of them which remain in Greek MSS. of the Septuagint, in the Patristic literature, or in the Syriac translation of the fifth column of the Hexapla made by Paul of Telia, in Alexandria, 617 A.D., are collected in Dr. Field's edition, Origenis Hexaplorum quae supersunt (Oxford, 1867-75).
  9. Praef. in Lihrum Job. "To understand this book I procured, at no small cost, a doctor from Lydda, who was deemed to hold the first place among the Hebrews." Praef. in Chron. ad D. et R.—"When your letters reached me, asking a Latin version of Chronicles, I got a doctor of Tiberias, in high esteem among the Hebrews, and with him collated everything, as the proverb goes, from the crown of the head to the tip of the nails. Thus confirmed, I have ventured to comply with your request." Bar Anina is named in Epist. 84. Jerome never gained such a knowledge of Hebrew as gave him confidence to dispense with the aid of the Jews.
  10. The passage quoted in Art. VI. is from Praef. in lihros Salomonis. "As the Church reads Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees, but does not receive them among the canonical Scriptures, so let her read these two books [Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom of Solomon] for the edification of the laity, but not to confirm the authority of ecclesiastical doctrines."
  11. "On their promiscuous acceptance of all books into the Canon, I will say no more than that herein they depart from the consensus of the early Church. For it is known what Jerome reports as the common judgment of the ancients. ... I am not aware, however, that the decree of Trent agrees with the third Œcumenical Council, which Augustine follows in his book De Doctrina Christiana. But as Augustine testifies that all were not agreed upon the matter in his time, let this point be left open. But if arguments are to be drawn from the books themselves, there are many proofs, besides their idiom, that they ought to take a lower place than the fathers of Trent award to them," etc. Compare the statement, Institut. iv. 9, 14.
  12. On the assumption that the Aramaic part of Daniel was written in Chaldæa by Daniel himself, the Biblical Aramaic used to be called Chaldee, and it was supposed that the Jews forgot their old tongue and learned that of Chaldæa during the Captivity. It is now known that this opinion is altogether false. The Aramaic dialect of the Jews in Palestine, of which the so-called Chaldee parts of Ezra and Daniel are the oldest monuments, is not Babylonian, but Western in character, as appears unmistakably by comparison with the Aramaic monuments of other districts west of the Euphrates. Peculiarities, for example, which used to be characterised as Hebraisms, reappear on the Palmyrene and Nabatæan inscriptions. The Jews, therefore, lost their Hebrew, and learned Aramaic in Palestine after the return. They certainly still spoke Hebrew in the time of Nehemiah, whose indignation against the contamination of the Jewish speech by the dialect of Ashdod (Neh. xiii. 24) is quite unintelligible on any other supposition. Compare for the whole subject Nöldeke's article, Semitic Languages, in the ninth edition of the Encyclopæedia Britannica.
  13. See the evidence of this from the Rabbinical literature in Zunz's Gottesdienstliche Vorträge der Juden, p. 7 (Berlin, 1832). Our Lord upon the cross quoted Ps. xxii. in a Targum.
  14. Mishna, Megilla, iv. 4. "He who reads in the Pentateuch must not read to the Meturgeman more than one verse, and in the prophets three verses. If each verse is a paragraph, they are read one by one. The reader may skip in the prophets, but not in the law. How long may he spend in searching for another passage ? So long as the Meturgeman goes on speaking." The practice of oral translation into Aramaic led ultimately to the formation of written Targums or Aramaic paraphrases; but these were long discouraged by the Scribes.
  15. The structure of the Semitic languages makes it much easier to dispense with the vowels than an English reader might suppose. The chief difficulty lay with vowels, or still more with diphthongs, at the end of a word, and was met at a very early date by the use of weak consonants to indicate cognate vowel-sounds {e.g. 'W=au, u; Y = ai, i). Such vowel-consonants are found even on the stone of Mesha, and have been adopted in various measure, not only in Hebrew, but in Syriac and Arabic. But in all these languages the plan of marking every vowel-sound by points above or below the line came in comparatively late, was developed slowly, and never extended to all books. The testimonies of the Talmudists and of Jerome are quite express to show that at their time the true vocalisation of ambiguous words was known only by oral teaching. Jerome, for example, says that in Hab. iii. 5 the Hebrew has only D, B, and R, without any vowel, which may be read either as dabar, "word," or deber, "plague." A supposed interest of orthodoxy long led good scholars like the Buxtorfs to fight for the antiquity and authority of the points. There is now no question on the subject; for MSS. brought from Southern Russia and Arabia, containing a different notation for the vowels, prove that our present system is not only comparatively recent, but is the outcome of a gradual process, in which several methods were tried in different parts of the Jewish world. The rolls read in the synagogue are still unpointed, a relic of the old condition of all MSS. Compare Lect. III. p. 58 sq.
  16. For the history of the period covered by this Lecture the best and most complete book is Schürer, Gesch. des Jüdischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1886, 1890 (also in an English translation), where a full account of the literature of the subject will be found. More popular and very useful is W. D. Morrison, The Jews under Roman Rule, in the "Story of the Nations" Series (2d ed., London, 1891). Wellhausen's monograph, Die Pharisäer und die Sadducäer (Greifswald, 1874), and the later chapters of Kuenen's Religion of Israel (Eng. trans., vol. iii., London, 1875), may also be specially recommended to the student; and among works by Jewish authors, J. Derenbourg, Essai sur l'histoire . . . dela Palestine (Paris, 1867). The oldest and most important traditions about the early Scribes are found in the Mishnic treatise Aboth, which has been edited, with an English version and notes, by Dr. C. Taylor (Sayings of the Jewish Fathers, Cambridge, 1877), and with German notes by Prof. H. Strack (Leipzig, 1882).
  17. 1 Josephus, Antiquities, xiii. 10, 6.—"The Sadducees had only the well-to-do classes on their side. The populace would not follow them; but the Pharisees had the multitude as auxiliaries." Ibid, xviii. 1, 4: "The Sadducees are the men of highest rank, but they effect as good as nothing, for in affairs of government they are compelled against their will to follow the dicta of the Pharisees, as the masses would otherwise refuse to tolerate them." The best account of the relative position of the Scribes and the governing class at different periods is given in Wellhausen's monograph on the Pharisees and Sadducees cited above. See also Ryle and James, Psalms of the Pharisees, commonly called the Psalms of Solomon (Cambridge, 1891). On the position of the two parties in the Sanhedrin, Kuenen's essay Over de samenstelling van het Sanhedrin, in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Amsterdam, 1866, is conclusive. On this topic, and on the whole meaning of the antithesis of the Pharisees and Sadducees, older scholars went astray by following too closely the unhistorical views of later Jewish tradition. When Judaism had. ceased to have a national existence, and was merely a religious sect, the schoolmen naturally became its heads; and the tradition assumed that it had always been so, and that the whole history of the nation was made up of such theological and legal controversies as engrossed the attention of later times. (See Taylor's Sayings of the Fathers, Excursus III.). This view bears its condemnation on its face. Before the fall of the state the party of the Scribes was opposed, not to another theological sect, but to the aristocracy, which had its centre in the high priesthood, and pursued practical objects of political and social aggrandisement on very different lines from those of scholastic controversy. That the Sadducees are the party headed by the chief priests, and the Pharisees the party of the Scribes, is plain from the New Testament, especially from Acts v. 17. The higher priesthood was in spirit a very secular nobility, more interested in war and diplomacy than in the service of the Temple. The theological tenets of the Sadducees, as they appear in the New Testament and Josephus, had a purely political basis. They detested the doctrine of the Resurrection and the fatalism of the Pharisees, because these opinions were employed by their adversaries to thwart their political aims. The aristocracy suffered a great loss of position by the subjection to a foreign power of the nation which they had ruled in the early Hasmonean period, when the high priest was a great prince. But the Pharisees discouraged all rebellion. Israel's business was only to seek after the righteousness of the law. The redemption of the nation would follow in due time, without man's interference. The resurrection would compensate those who had suffered in this life, and the hope of this reward made it superfluous for them to seek a present deliverance.
  18. The word Mishna means "instruction," literally "repetition," "inculcation." From the same root in Aramaic form the doctors of the Mishna bear the name of Tannâ, teacher (repeater). After the close of the Mishna the collection and interpretation of tradition was carried on by a new succession of scholars whose contributions make up the Gemara ("decision," "doctrine"), a vast and desultory commentary on the Mishna. There are two Gemaras, one Palestinian, the other Babylonian, and each of these rests on a new recension of the Mishnic text. The Palestinian Mishna was long supposed to be lost, but has recently been printed by Lowe from a Cambridge MS. (Cambridge, 1883). The name for a doctor of the Gemara is Amôra, speaker. Mishna and Gemara together make up the Talmud. The Babylonian Gemara was not completed till the sixth century of our era. The whole Mishna was published, with a Latin translation and notes, by G. Surenhusius, in 6 vols, folio (Amsterdam, 1698-1703). There is a German translation by Rabe (1760-1763), and another printed in Hebrew letters by Jost (Berlin, 1832-1834). There is no complete English version, but eighteen treatises, still important for the daily life of the Jews, were translated by Raphall and De Sola (London, 1845). Another selection is given by Dr. Barclay, the late Bishop of Jerusalem, in his work, The Talmud (London, 1878). See further the article Mishna, by Dr. Schiller-Szinessy, in the ninth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.
  19. For the purpose in hand it is not necessary to carry the argument further. But it may be observed that on the facts we must make a choice between two alternatives. Either Exod. xxx. is simply the historical record of an impost once levied by Moses for a special purpose (and so it is taken in Exod. xxxviii. 21-31), in which case we see that it was not made the ground of a permanent ordinance till after the time of Nehemiah; or, on the other hand, Exod. xxx. 11 sqq. is meant as a general ordinance for future ages, in which case the passage cannot have been written till after Nehemiah's time. In support of the latter view see Kuenen, Onderzoek, 2d ed., I. i. § 15, note 30. The point will be touched on again in Lecture XII.
  20. Mishna, Maaser Sheni, v. 15 (ed. Surenh., vol. i. p. 287), and Sota, ix. 10, with Wagenseil's note in Surenh., iii. 296. This is the earlier and undoubtedly the historical account, but the Gemara tries to establish the change on a better footing by ascribing it to Ezra, who thus punished the Levites for refusing to return from Babylon an account which is in flat contradiction with Nehem. x. 37 [38]. SeeWellhausen, Prolegomena, p. 172 sq. On the change in the law of redemption, introduced by Hillel, which is another example in point, see Derenbourg, Essai (Paris, 1867), p. 188. Compare also Zunz, Gottesdienstliche Vorträge der Juden, pp. 11, 45 (Berlin, 1832).
  21. The point in which the exegesis of the Mediaeval Jews (and of King James's translators) was most defective was that they always assumed it to be possible to interpret what lay before them, and would not recognise that many difficulties arise from corruption of the text. In a book of profane antiquity, a passage that cannot be construed grammatically is at once assumed to be corrupt, and a remedy is sought from MSS. or conjecture. The Jews, and until recently the great majority of Christian scholars, refused to admit this principle for the Hebrew Scriptures. The Septuagint proves the existence of corruptions in the Hebrew text, and often supplies the correction. But many corruptions are older than the Septuagint version, and can be dealt with only by conjectural emendation. The English reader may form a fair idea of the state of the Old Testament text, and of what has been done by modern scholarship to correct it, from the notes of Professors Cheyne and Driver in the Variorum Bible, 3d ed., 1889 (Eyre and Spottiswoode). Examples of the few cases where the Authorised "Version has been misled by dogmatical or historical prepossessions will come before us in the course of these Lectures.
  22. In the last century great hopes were entertained of the results to be derived from a collation of Hebrew MSS. The collections of Kennicott (1776-1780) and De Rossi (1784-1788) showed that all MSS. substantially represent one text, and, so far as the consonants are concerned, recent discoveries have not led to any new result. On the text that lay before the Talmudic doctors compare Strack, Prolegomena Critica in Vetus Testamentum Hehraicum (Leipzig, 1873). On Aquila see supra, p. 30, note 2; infra, p. 64. On the Targums see Schürer, i. 115, and infra, p. 64, note 1.
  23. That all copies of the H ebrew text belong to a single recension, and come from a common source, was stated by Eosenmiiller in 1834 (see Stade's Zeitschrift, 1884, p. 303). In 1853 J. Olshausen, in his commentary on the Psalms, p. 17 sq., argued that there must have been, at least as far back as the first ages of Christianity, an official recension of the text, extremely similar to that of the Massorets, and that this text was not critical, but formed by slavishly copying a single MS. , which in many places was in very imperfect condition. In his notes on Ps. Ixxx. 14, 16 (comp. also that on Ps. xxvii. 13), he applies this view to explain the so-called "extraordinary points." In 1863, independently of Olshausen, whose observations seem to have attracted little notice, Lagarde in his Anmerkungen zur GriecMschen XJebersetzung der ProverUen again maintained the origin of all Hebrew MSS. from one archetype, using the extraordinary points to prove his thesis. Olshausen had explained the extraordinary points from the assumption of a single archetype, but to him the evidence for the latter lay in comparison of the versions and in the observation that all our authorities agree even in the most palpable mistakes. The doctrine of the single archetype has been accepted by Noldeke (whose remarks in Hilgenfeld's Zeitschrift, 1873, p. 444 sqq., are worthy of notice), and by other scholars. I know of no attempt to refute the arguments on which it rests.
  24. See as regards Ben Aslier, Baer and Strack, DikduTce Hateamim (Leipzig, 1879), p. ix. sqq., and compare Z. D. M. G. Jahresbericht for 1879, p. 124; also, for the musical accents, Wickes's Hebrew Accentuation (Oxford, 1881), p. 1 sqq.
  25. Up to the time of Neliemiah's second visit to Jerusalem, there was still a party, even among the priests, which entertained friendly relations with the Samaritans, cemented by marriages. Nehemiah broke up this party; and an unnamed priest, who was Sanballat's son-in-law, was driven into exile. This priest, who would naturally flee to his father-in-law, is plainly identical with the priest Manasseh, son-in-law of Sanballat, of whom Josephus (Antiq. xi. 8) relates that he fled from Jerusalem to Samaria, and founded the schismatic temple on Mount Gerizim, with a rival hierarchy and ritual. The account of Josephus is confused in chronology and untrustworthy in detail; but the main fact agrees with the Biblical narrative, and it is clear that the establishment of the rival temple was a natural consequence of the final defeat of the Samaritans in their persistent efi'orts to establish relations with the Jewish priesthood and secure admission to the temple at Jerusalem. This determines the age of the Samaritan Pentateuch. The Samaritans cannot have got the law before the Exile through the priest of the high place at Samaria mentioned in 2 Kings xvii. 28. For the worship of Jehovah, as practised at Samaria before the fall of the Northern Kingdom, was remote from the ordinances of the law, and up to the time when the books of Kings were written the Samaritans worshipped images, and did not observe the laws of the Pentateuch (2 Kings xvii. 34, 41). The Pentateuch, therefore, was introduced as their religious code at a later date; and this can only have happened in connection with the ritual and priesthood which they received from Jerusalem through the fugitive priest banished by Nehemiah.
  26. On the Book of Jubilees, see especially H. Rönsch, Das Bach der Jubiläen (Leipzig, 1874), and Schürer, op. cit. vol. ii. p. 677 sqq. On the various readings of the book, Rönsch, pp. 196, 514.
  27. On Hillel and his school, see especially Derenbourg, op. cit. chap, xi.; and on the development of his system by E. Ishmael and R. Akiba, ibid. chap, xxiii. "Akiba adopted, not only the seven rules of Hillel, but the thirteen of Ishmael; even the latter did not suflBice him in placing all the halachoth, or decisions of the Rabbins, under the shield of the word of the Pentateuch. His system of interpretation does not recognise the limits established by the usage of the language, and respected by Ishmael; every word which is not absolutely indispensable to express the intention of the legislator, or the logical relations of the sentences of a law and their parts, is designed to enlarge or restrict the sphere of the law, to introduce into it the additions of tradition, or exclude what tradition excludes. No particle or conjunction, be it augmentative or restrictive, escapes this singular method of exegesis." Thus the Hebrew prefix eth, which marks the definite accusative, agrees in form with the preposition with. Hence, when Deut. x. 20 says, "Thou shalt fear eth-Jehovah thy God," Akiba interprets, "Thou shalt fear the doctors of the law along with Jehovah." So Aquila, the disciple of Akiba, translates the mark of the accusative by σὑν. See Field, Proleg. p. xxii. Compare on the whole subject Schürer, op. cit. vol. ii. § 25.
  28. The progress of the stricter exegesis, and its influence on the treatment of the text, may also be traced in the history of the Targums or Aramaic paraphrases. Targum means originally the oral interpretation of the Meturgeman in the synagogue {supra, p. 36). The Meturgemanim did not keep close to their text, but added paraphrastic expositions, practical applications, poetical and romantic embellishments. But there was a restraint on individual liberty of exegesis. The translators formed a guild of scholars, and their interpretations gradually assumed a fixed type. By and by the current form of the Targum was committed to writing; but there was no fixed edition, and those Palestinian Targums which have come down to us belong to various recensions, and contain elements added late in the Middle Ages. This style of interpretation, in which the text was freely handled, and the exposition of the law did not stand on the level of the new science of Akiba and his associates, fell into disfavour with the dominant schools, just as the Septuagint did. The Targum is severely censured in the Rabbinical writings; and at length the orthodox party took the matter into their own hands, and framed a literal Targum, which, however, did not reach its final shape till the third Christian century, when the chief seat of Jewish learning had been moved to Babylonia. The Babylonian Targum to the Pentateuch is called the Targum of Onkelos, i.e. the Targum in the style of Aquila (Akylas). The corresponding Targum to the Prophets bears the name of Jonathan. As Jonathan is the Hebrew equivalent of Theodotion, this perhaps means only the Targum in the style of Theodotion. At any rate these Targums are not the private enterprise of individual scholars, but express the official exegesis of their age. The Targums to the Hagiographa have not an official character. Comp. Geiger, Ursdirift u. Uebersetzungen (Breslau, 1857), p. 163 sqq., p. 451 sqq.
  29. Geiger, Urschrift, p. 232; Mas. Sôpherîm, vi. 4. A copy of the Law was carried away by Titus among the spoils of the Temple; Josephus, B. J. vii. 5, § 5.
  30. The oldest list of the Tikkûnê Sôpherîm is in the Mechilta, a work of the second century, and contains only eleven passages. See also Geiger, op. cit. p. 309, and the full list in Ochla w'ochla, ed. Frensdorff, No. 168 (Hannover, 1864). On the value of this tradition comp. Nöldeke in Gött. Gel. Anz., 1869, p. 2001 sq.
  31. Tables of the forms of the Semitic alphabet at various times, by the eminent calligrapher and palaeographer. Prof. Euting of Strassburg, are appended to the English translation of Bickell's Hebrew Grammar (1877), and to the latest edition of Kautzsch - Gesenius, Heir. GrammatiTc (1889). Fuller tables by the same skilful hand are in Chwolson's Inscr. Heh. (Petersburg, 1882), and Syrisch-nestor. Ordbinschriften (Petersburg, 1890); the last also separately. Tabula Scripturoe Aramaicce (Strassburg, 1890). On the history of the Hebrew alphabet see "Wright, Lectures on the Comp. Grammar of the Sem. Languages (Cambridge, 1890), p. 35 sqq.; Driver, Notes on Samuel (Oxford, 1890), Introduction; and comp. the plates in the Oriental Series of the Palaeographical Society. The old character must still have been generally understood when the first Jewish coins were struck (141 B.C.); for though conservatism may explain its retention on later coins, an obsolete letter would not have been chosen by Simon when he struck Hebrew money for the first time. On the other hand, the expressions in Matt. v. 18 imply that in the time of our Lord the Aramaic script was used; for in the old character Yod ("jot ") was not a very small letter. Indeed, it seems to be pretty well made out that parts, at least, of the Septuagint were translated from MSS. in the Aramaic character. See Vollers in Stade's Zeitschrift 1883, p. 230 sqq., and the literature there cited.
  32. That the old Hebrew ink could be washed off appears from Numb. v. 23, Exod. xxxii. 33. From the former passage is derived the Rabbinic objection to the use of a mordant in ink. See Sopherim, i. 5, 6, and the notes in Miiller's edition (Leipzig, 1878); Mishna, Sola, ii. 4, and Wagenseil's Commentary (Surenh., iii. p. 206 sq.) The Jews laid no value on old copies, but in later times prized certain MSS. as specially correct. A copy in which a line had become obliterated, or which was otherwise considerably defective, was cast aside into the Geniza or lumber-room (Sdpherhn, iii. 9). There was a difference of opinion as to touching-up faded letters {ibid. 8, and Miiller's note). Compare Havkavy in Ileni. de VAcad. de S. Petersbourg, xxiv. p. 57.


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