I have written to the king, my lord: Secular Analogies for the Psalms (Hebrew Bible Monographs 1)

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53 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically

Duncker, Geschichte des Altherthums Bd. Geschichte Israel , Fifth Edition. Oppert, Salomon et les successeurs. Maspero, Hist. Schrader, Keilinschriften u. Giessen, Strelitz, , Robertson, D. Baird Lectures, Blackwood, Robinson, Researches in Palestine , 3 vols. Ich nehme dies Wort im weitesten Umfang und in der andringendsten Bedeutung. God has given us many Bibles. It is not so much a book, as the extant fragments of a literature, which grew up during many centuries.

Supreme as is the importance of this "Book of God," it was never meant to be the sole teacher of mankind. We mistake its purpose, we misapply its revelation, when we use it to exclude the other sources of religious knowledge. It is supremely profitable for our instruction, but, so far from being designed to absorb our exclusive attention, its work is to stimulate the eagerness with which, by its aid, we are able to learn from all other sources the will of God towards men.

God speaks to us in many voices. In the Bible He revealed Himself to all mankind by His messages to the individual souls of some of His servants. But those messages, whether uttered or consigned to writing, were but one method of enabling us to hold communion with Him. They were not even an indispensable method. Thousands of the saints of God lived the spiritual life in close communion with their Father in [Pg 4] heaven in ages which possessed no written book; in ages before any such book existed; in ages during which, though it existed, it was practically inaccessible; in ages during which it had been designedly kept out of their hands by priests.

This fact should quicken our sense of gratitude for the inestimable boon of a Book wherein he who runs may now read, and respecting the main teaching of which wayfaring men, and even fools, need not err. But it should at the same time save us from the error of treating the Bible as though it were in itself an amulet or a fetish, as the Mohammedan treats his Koran.

The Bible was written in human language, by men for men. In these respects the Bible cannot be arbitrarily or exceptionally treated. No a priori rules can be devised for its elucidation. It is what it is, not what we might have expected it to be. Language, at the best, is an imperfect and ever-varying instrument of thought.

It is full of twilight, and of gracious shadows. Vast numbers of its words were originally metaphorical. When the light of metaphor has faded from them they come to mean different things at different times, under different conditions, in different contexts, on different lips. Language can at the best be but an asymptote to thought; in other words, it resembles the mathematical line which approaches nearer and nearer to the circumference of [Pg 5] a circle, but which, even when infinitely extended, can never actually touch it. The fact that the Bible contains a Divine revelation does not alter the fact that it represents a nation's literature.

It is the library of the Jewish people, or rather all that remains to us of that library, and all that was most precious in it. Holy men of old were moved by the Spirit of God, but as this Divine inspiration did not make them personally sinless in their actions, or infallible in their judgments, so neither does it exempt their messages from the limitation which attaches to all human conditions. Criticism would have rendered an inestimable service to every thoughtful reader of the Scriptures if it had done nothing more than impress upon them that the component books are not one, but complex and multiform, separated from each other by centuries of time, and of very varying value and preciousness.

They too, like the greatest apostles of God, have their treasure in earthen vessels; and we not only may, but must, by the aid of that reason which is "the candle of the Lord," estimate both the value of the treasure, and the age and character of the earthen vessel in which it is contained.

There are hundreds of texts in Scripture which may convey to some souls a very true and blessed meaning, but which do not in the original possess any such meaning as that which is now attached to them. The words of Hebrew prophets often seem perfectly clear, but in some cases they had another set of connotations in the mouths of those by whom they were originally spoken. It requires a learned and a literary training to discover by philology, by history, or by comparison, what alone they could have meant when they were first spoken.

In many cases their exact significance is [Pg 6] no longer to be ascertained with certainty. It must be more or less conjectural. There are passages of Scripture which have received scores of differing interpretations. There are entire books of Scripture about the general scope of which there have been diametrically opposite opinions.

The spiritual intuition of the saint may in some instances be keener to read aright than the laborious researches of the scholar, because spiritual things can only be spiritually discerned. But in general it is true that the ex cathedra assertions of ignorant readers, though they are often pronounced with an assumption of infallibility, are not worth the breath which utters them. All artificial dogmas as to what Scripture must be, and must mean, are worse than idle; we have only to deal with what it really is , and what it really says.

Even when opinions respecting it have been all but unanimously pronounced by the representatives of all the Churches, they have nevertheless been again and again shown to be absurdly erroneous. The slow light of scholarship, of criticism, of comparative religion, has proved that in many instances not only the interpretations of former ages, but the very principles of interpretation from which they were derived, had no basis whatever in fact. And the methods of interpretation—dogmatic, ecclesiastical, mystic, allegorical, literal—have changed from age to age.

The duty of the Church in the present day is neither to make out that the Bible is what men have imagined that it was, nor to repeat the assertions of ancient writers as to what they declared it to be, but honestly [Pg 7] and truthfully to discover the significance of the actual phenomena which it presents to the enlightened and cultivated intelligence. If it were not so common a failing to ignore the lessons of the past, it might have been hoped that a certain modesty, of which the necessity is taught us by centuries of error, would have saved a multitude of writers from rushing into premature and denunciative rejection of results which they have not studied, and of which they are incapable to judge.

Jerome complained that in his day there was no old woman so fatuous as not to assume the right to lay down the law about Scriptural interpretation. It is just the same in these days. This has been done over and over again in our own lifetime; and yet such self-constituted and unauthorised defenders of their own prejudices and traditions—which they always identify with the Catholic faith—are impotent to prevent, impotent even greatly to retard, the spread of real knowledge. Many of the now-accepted certainties of science were repudiated a generation ago as absurd and blasphemous.

As long as it was possible to put them down by persecution, the thumbscrew and the stake were freely used by priests and inquisitors for their suppression. E pur si muove. Theologians who mingled the gold of Revelation with the clay of their own opinions have been driven to correct their past errors. Untaught by experience, religious prejudice is ever heaping up fresh obstacles to oppose the progress [Pg 8] of new truths. The obstacles will be swept away in the future as surely as they have been in the past.

The eagle, it has been said, which soars through the air does not worry itself how to cross the rivers. It is probable that no age since that of the Apostles has added so much to our knowledge of the true meaning and history of the Bible as has been added by our own. The mode of regarding Scripture has been almost revolutionised, and in consequence many books of Scripture previously misunderstood have acquired a reality and intensity of interest and instructiveness which have rendered them trebly precious.

A deeper and holier reverence for all eternal truth which the Bible contains has taken the place of a meaningless letter worship. The fatal and wooden Rabbinic dogma of verbal dictation—a dogma which either destroys intelligent faith altogether, or introduces into Christian conduct some of the worst delusions of false religion—is dead and buried in every capable and well-taught mind. Truths which had long been seen through the distorting mirage of false exegesis have now been set forth in their true aspect.

We have been enabled, for the first time, to grasp the real character of events which, by being set in a wrong perspective, had been made so fantastic as to have no relation to ordinary lives. Figures which had become dim spectres moving through an unnatural atmosphere now stand out, full of grace, instructiveness and warning, in the clear light of day.

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The science of Biblical criticism has solved scores of enigmas which were once disastrously obscure, and has brought out the original beauty of some passages, which, even in our Authorised Version, conveyed no intelligible meaning to earnest readers. The Revised Version alone has corrected [Pg 9] hundreds of inaccuracies which in some instances defaced the beauty of the sacred page, and in many others misrepresented and mistranslated it. Intolerance has been robbed of favourite shibboleths, used as the basis of cruel beliefs, which souls unhardened by system could only repudiate with a "God forbid!

Can there be any doubt that mankind has everything to gain and nothing to lose from the ascertainment of genuine truth? Are we so wholly devoid of even an elementary faith as to think that man can profit by consciously cherished illusions? Does it not show a nobler confidence in facts to correct traditional prejudices, than to rest blindly content with conventional assertions?

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If we do not believe that God is a God of truth, that all falsity is hateful to Him,—and religious falsity most hateful of all, because it adds the sin of hypocrisy to the love of lies,—we believe in nothing. If our religion is to consist in a rejection of knowledge, lest it should disturb the convictions of times of ignorance, the dicta of "the Fathers," or dogmas which arrogate to themselves the sham claim of Catholicity—if we are to give only to the Dark Ages the title of the Ages of Faith, then indeed.

To me it is clear that it [Pg 10] will be mischievous, as it always has been, if used dogmatically and capriciously; beneficial, as it always has been, if accepted didactically for our instruction and with feeling. I do not see how there can be any loss in the positive results of what is called the Higher Criticism. Certainly its suggestions must never be hastily adopted.


Nor is it likely that they will be. They have to fight their way through crowds of opposing prejudices. They are first held up to ridicule as absurd; then exposed to anathema as irreligious; at last they are accepted as obviously true. The very theologians who once denounced them silently ignore or readjust what they previously preached, and hasten, first to minimise the importance, then to extol the value of the new discoveries. It is quite right that they should be keenly scrutinised.

All new sciences are liable to rush into extremes. Their first discoverers are misled into error by premature generalisations born of a genuine enthusiasm. They are tempted to build elaborate superstructures on inadequate foundations. But when they have established certain irrefragable principles, can the obvious deductions from those principles be other than a pure gain?

Can we be the better for traditional delusions? Can mistakes and ignorance—can anything but the ascertained fact—be desirable for man, or acceptable to God? No doubt it is with a sensation of pain that we are compelled to give up convictions which we once regarded as indubitable and sacred. That is a part of our human nature. We must say with all gentleness to the passionate devotees of each old erroneous mumpsimus —.

Our blessed Lord, with His consummate tenderness, and Divine insight into the frailties of our nature, made tolerant allowance for inveterate prejudices. There must always be more value in results earned by heroic labour than in conventions accepted without serious inquiry. Already there has been a silent revolution. Many of the old opinions about the Bible have been greatly modified. There is scarcely a single competent scholar who does not now admit that the Hexateuch is a composite structure; that much of the Levitical legislation, which was once called Mosaic, is in reality an aftergrowth which in its present form is not earlier than the days of the prophet Ezekiel; that the Book of Deuteronomy belongs, in its present form, whatever older elements it may contain, to the era of Hezekiah's or Josiah's reformation; that the Books of Zechariah and Isaiah are not homogeneous, but preserve the writings of more prophets than their titles imply; that only a small section of the Psalter was the work of David; that the Book of Ecclesiastes was not the work of King Solomon; that most of the Book of Daniel [Pg 12] belongs to the era of Antiochus Epiphanes; and so forth.

In what respect is the Bible less precious, less "inspired" in the only tenable sense of that very undefined word, in consequence of such discoveries? In what way do they touch the outermost fringe of our Christian faith? Is there anything in such results of modern criticism which militates against the most inferential expansion of a single clause in the Apostolic, the Nicene, or even the Athanasian Creed?

Do they contravene one single syllable of the hundreds of propositions to which our assent is demanded in the Thirty-nine Articles? I would gladly help to mitigate the needless anxiety felt by many religious minds. When the Higher Criticism is in question I would ask them to distinguish between established premisses and the exorbitant system of inferences which a few writers have based upon them. They may rest assured that sweeping conclusions will not be hastily snatched up; that no conclusion will be regarded as proved until it has successfully run the gauntlet of many a jealous challenge.

They need not fear for one moment that the Ark of their faith is in peril, and they will be guilty not only of unwisdom but of profanity if they rush forward to support it with rude and unauthorised hands. There never has been an age of deep thought and earnest inquiry which has not left its mark in the modification of some traditions or doctrines of theology. But the truths of essential Christianity are built upon a rock. They belong to things which cannot be shaken, and which remain. The intense labours of eminent scholars, English and German, thanklessly as they have been received, have not robbed us of so much as a fraction of a single precious element of revelation.

On the contrary, they [Pg 13] have cleared the Bible of many accretions by which its meaning was spoilt, and its doctrines wrested to perdition, and they have thus rendered it more profitable than before for every purpose for which it was designed, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

When we study the Bible it is surely one of our most primary duties to beware lest any idols of the caverns or of the forum tempt us "to offer to the God of truth the unclean sacrifice of a lie. They are treated as one book in the Talmud and the Peshito. The Western Bibles followed the Alexandrian division into two books called the third and fourth of Kings , and Jerome adopted this division in the Vulgate Regum , iii.

But if this separation into two books was due to the LXX. Jerome's version of the Books of Samuel and Kings appeared first of his translations, and in his famous Prologus Galeatus he mentions these facts. The History was intended to be a continuation of the Books of Samuel. Some critics, and among them Ewald, assign them to the same author, but closer examination of the Book of Kings renders this more than doubtful.

The incessant use of the prefix "King," the extreme frequency of the description "Man of God," the references to the law, and above all the [Pg 15] constant condemnation of high places, counterbalance the minor resemblance of style, and prove a difference of authorship. Has it in any way shaken their value, while it has undoubtedly added to their intelligibility and interest? It emphasises the fact that they are a compilation.

In this there is nothing either new or startling, for the fact is plainly and repeatedly acknowledged in the page of the sacred narrative. The sources utilised are:—. By comparing the authority referred to in 1 Kings xi. In the narrative of a history of years from b. Whether he consulted the original documents in the archives of Jerusalem, or whether he utilised some outline of them which had previously been drawn up, cannot easily be determined.

The work would have been impossible but for the existence of the officials known as recorders and historiographers Mazkirim, Sopherim , who first make their appearance in the court of David.

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But the original documents could hardly have survived the ravages of Shalmanezer in Samaria and of Nebuchadnezzar in Jerusalem, so that Movers is probably right in the conjecture that the author's extracts were made, not immediately, but from the epitome of an earlier compiler. Although no direct quotations are referred to other documents, it seems certain from the style, and from various minor touches, that the compiler also utilised [Pg 17] detailed accounts of great prophets like Elijah, Elisha, and Micaiah son of Imlah, which had been drawn up by literary students in the Schools of the Prophets.

The stories of prophets and men of God who are left unnamed were derived from oral traditions so old that the names had been forgotten before they had been committed to writing. The work of the compiler himself is easily traceable. King of Israel reigned And his mother's name was The prominent and frequent mention of the queen-mother is due to the fact that as Gebira she held a far higher rank than the favourite wife. To the compiler is also due the moral aspect given [Pg 18] to the annals and other documents which he utilised.

Something of this religious colouring he doubtless found in the prophetic histories which he consulted; and the unity of aim visible throughout the book is due to the fact that his standpoint is identical with theirs. Thus, in spite of its compilation from different sources, the book bears the impress of one hand and of one mind.

Sometimes a passing touch in an earlier narrative shows the work of an editor after the Exile, as when in the story of Solomon 1 Kings iv. Here the rendering of the A. To this high moral purpose everything else is subordinated. Like all his Jewish contemporaries, the writer attaches small importance to accurate chronological data. He pays little attention to discrepancies, and does not care in every instance to harmonise his own authorities.

The date of the book as it stands was after b. The language—later than that of Isaiah, and earlier than that of Ezra—confirms this conclusion. That the book appeared before b. But it is generally agreed that the book was substantially complete before the Exile about b. This date of the book—which cannot but have some bearing on its historic value—is admitted by all, since the peculiarities of the language from the beginning to [Pg 20] the end are marked by the usages of later Hebrew.

Criticism cannot furnish us with the name of this great compiler. But unless we accept the late and worthless Jewish assertion that, after being carried to Egypt by Johanan, son of Kareah Jer.

Verse 12:34

The critics who are so often charged with rash assumptions have been led to the conclusions which they adopt by intense and infinite labour, including the examination of various books of Scripture phrase by phrase, and even word by word. The sum total of their most important results as regards the Books of Kings is as follows:—. The books are composed of older materials, retouched, sometimes expanded, and set in a suitable framework, mostly by a single author who writes throughout in the same characteristic phraseology, and judges the actions and characters of the kings from the standpoint of later centuries.

The annals which he consulted, and in part incorporated, were twofold—prophetic and political. The compiler's work is partly of the nature of an epitome, [22] and partly consists of longer narratives, of [Pg 22] which we can sometimes trace the Northern Israelitish origin by peculiarities of form and expression.

The synchronisms which he gives between the reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah are computed by himself, or by some redactor, and only in round numbers. The speeches, prayers, and prophecies introduced are perhaps based on tradition, but, since they reflect all the peculiarities of the compiler, must owe their ultimate form to him.

This accounts for the fact that the earlier prophecies recorded in these books resemble the tone and style of Jeremiah, but do not resemble such ancient prophecies as those of Amos and Hoshea. The numbers which he adopts are sometimes so enormous as to be grossly improbable; and in these, as in some of the dates, allowance must be made for possible errors of tradition and transcription. The principles which, in his view, the history as a whole is to exemplify, are already expressed succinctly in the [Pg 23] charge which he represents David as giving to his son Solomon 1 Kings ii.

Obedience to the Deuteronomic law is the qualification for an approving verdict; deviation from it is the source of ill success 1 Kings xi. Every king of the Northern Kingdom is characterised as doing 'that which was evil in the eyes of Jehovah. It must not be imagined that the late compilation of the book, or its subsequent recensions, or the dogmatic colouring which it may have insensibly derived from the religious systems and organisations of days subsequent to the Exile, have in the least affected the main historic veracity of the kingly annals.

The discovery and deciphering of the Moabite stone, and of the painted vaunts of Shishak at Karnak, and of the cuneiform inscriptions, confirm in every case the general truth, in some cases the minute details, of the sacred historian. In so passing an allusion as that in 2 Kings iii. The continuity of the Scriptures is marked in an interesting way by the word "and," with which so many of the books begin. The Jews, devout believers in the work of a Divine Providence, saw no discontinuities in the course of national events.

As regards the text no one will maintain the old false assertion that it has come down to us in a perfect condition. The marginal annotations known as Q'ri, "read" plural, Qarjan , consist of glosses and euphemisms which were used in the service of the [Pg 26] synagogue in place of the written text K'tib ; the oral tradition of these variations was known as the Massora i. It presents many additions and variations in the Books of Kings.

All Hebrew manuscripts, as is well known, are of comparatively recent date, owing to the strict rule of the Jewish Schools that any manuscript which had in the slightest degree suffered from time or use was to be instantly destroyed. The oldest Hebrew manuscript is supposed to be the Codex Babylonicus at St. Petersburg a. Ginsburg in the British Museum be older.

Most Hebrew manuscripts are later than the twelfth century. The variations in the Samaritan Pentateuch, and in the Septuagint version—the latter of which are often specially valuable as indications of the original text—furnish abundant proof that no miracle has been wrought to preserve the text of Scripture from the changes and corruptions which always arise in the course of constant transcriptions. A further and serious difficulty in the reproduction of events in their historic exactitude is introduced by the certainty that many books of the Bible, in their [Pg 27] present form, represent the results arrived at after their recension by successive editors, some of whom lived many centuries after the events recorded.

In the Books of Kings we probably see many nuances which were not introduced till after the epoch-making discovery of the Book of the Law perhaps the essential parts of the Book of Deuteronomy in the reign of Josiah, b. There appear to be liturgical touches, or alterations as indicated by the variations of the text in 1 Kings viii. In xviii. As regards the difficult question of Chronology we need add but little to what has been elsewhere said.

The Chronology of the Kings, as it now stands, is historically true in its general outlines, but in its details presents us with data which are mutually irreconcilable. It is obviously artificial, and is dominated by slight modifications of the round number In the Chronicles there are eleven high priests from Azariah ben-Ahimaaz to the Exile of [Pg 28] Jozadak, which, with the Exile period, gives twelve generations of 40 years each.

Again, from Rehoboam to the Fall of Samaria in the sixth year of Hezekiah, following the 40 years' reign of Saul, of David, and of Solomon, we have:—. The history of the Northern Kingdom seems to be roughly trisected into 80 years before Benhadad's first invasion, 80 years of Syrian war, 40 years of prosperity under Jeroboam II. Forty is repeatedly used as a sacred number in connexion with epochs of penitence and punishment.

Similarly Stade thinks that [Pg 29] 16 is the basal number for the reigns of kings from Jehu to Hoshea, and 12 from Jeroboam to Jehu. It is possible that the synchronistic data did not proceed from the compiler of the Book of Kings, but were added by the last redactor.

Are these critical conclusions so formidable? Are they fraught with disastrous consequences? Which is really dangerous—truth laboriously sought for, or error accepted with unreasoning blindness and maintained with invincible prejudice? Were we to judge the compiler or epitomator of the Book of Kings from the literary standpoint of modern historians, he would, no doubt, hold a very inferior place; but so to judge him would be to take a mistaken view of his object, and to test his merits and demerits by conditions which are entirely alien from the ideal of his contemporaries and the purpose which he had in view.

It is quite true that he does not even aim at fulfilling the requirements demanded of an ordinary secular historian. He does not attempt to present any philosophical conception of the political events and complicated interrelations of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. His method of writing the story of the Kings of Judah and Israel in so many separate paragraphs gives a certain confusedness to the general picture.

It leads inevitably to the repetition of the same facts in the accounts of two reigns. Each king is judged from a single point of view, and that not the point of view by which his own age was influenced, but one arrived at in later centuries, and under changed [Pg 31] conditions, religious and political. There is no attempt to show that. The military splendour or political ability of a king goes for nothing. It has so little interest for the writer that a brilliant and powerful ruler like Jeroboam II. He passes over without notice events of such capital importance as the invasion of Zerah the Ethiopian 2 Chron.

He neither tells us that Omri subdued Moab, nor that he was defeated by Syria.

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He scarcely more than mentions events of such deep interest as the conquest of Jerusalem by Shishak 1 Kings xiv. There is a certain monotony in the grounds given for the moral judgments passed on each successive monarch. One unchanging formula tells us of every one of the kings of Israel that " he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord ," with exclusive reference in most cases to "the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, wherewith he made Israel to sin. It belongs to the same essential view of history that the writer's attention is so largely occupied by the activity of the prophets, whose personality often looms far more largely on his imagination than that of the kings.

If we were to remove from his pages all that he tells us of Nathan, Ahijah of Shiloh, Shemaiah, Jehu the son of Hanani, Elijah, Elisha, Micaiah, Isaiah, Huldah, Jonah, and various nameless "men of God," [36] the residuum would be meagre indeed. The silence as to Jeremiah is a remarkable circumstance which no theory has explained; but we must remember the small extent of the compiler's canvas, and that, even as it is, we should have but a dim insight into the condition of the two kingdoms if we did not study also the extant writings of contemporary prophets.

His whole aim is [Pg 33] to exhibit the course of events as so controlled by the Divine Hand that faithfulness to God ensured blessing, and unfaithfulness brought down His displeasure and led to national decline. So far from concealing this principle he states it, again and again, in the most formal manner. These might be objections against the author if he had written his book in the spirit of an ordinary historian. They cease to have any validity when we remember that he does not profess to offer us a secular history at all. His aim and method have been described as "prophetico-didactic.

His epitomes from the documents which he had before him were made with a definite religious purpose. The importance or unimportance of kings in his eyes depended on their relation to the opinions which had come home to the conscience of the nation in the still recent reformation of Josiah. He strove to solve the moral problems of God's government as they presented themselves, with much distress and perplexity, to the mind of his nation in the days of its decadence and threatened obliteration.

They were the old problems respecting God's moral [Pg 34] government of the world which always haunted the Jewish mind, complicated by the disappointment of national convictions about the promises of God to the race of Abraham and the family of David. The Exile was already imminent—it had indeed partly begun in the deportation of Jehoiakin and many Jews to Babylon b.

The writer was compelled to look back with tears on "the days that were no more. And yet, was not God the true Governor of His people? Had not Abraham received the promise that his seed should be as the sand of the sea, and that in his seed should all the nations of the earth be blessed? Or was it a mere illusion that "when Israel was a child I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son"? The writer clung with unquenchable faith to his convictions about the destinies of his people, and yet every year seemed to render their fulfilment more distant and more impossible.

The promise to Abraham had been renewed to Isaac, and to Jacob, and to the patriarchs; but to David and his house it had been reiterated with special emphasis and fresh details. That promise, as it stood recorded in 2 Sam. The election of Israel as "God's people" is "a world-historic fact, the fundamental miracle which no criticism can explain away. He shall build an house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever, I will be his father, and he shall be My son. If he commit iniquity, I will chastise him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men.

But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul whom I put away before thee, and thy house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee; thy throne shall be established for ever.

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He repeatedly refers to it, and it is so constantly present to his mind that his whole narrative seems to be a comment, and often a perplexed and half-despairing comment, upon it. The Lord had made a faithful oath unto David, and He would not depart from it. It is this that makes him linger so lovingly on the glories of the reign of Solomon.

At first they seem to inaugurate an era of overwhelming and permanent prosperity. Because Solomon was the heir of David whom God had chosen, his dominion is established without an effort in spite of a formidable conspiracy. Under his wise, pacific rule the united kingdom springs to the zenith of its greatness. The writer dwells with fond regret upon the glories of the Temple, the Empire, and the Court of the wise king. He records God's [Pg 36] renewed promises to him that there should not be any among the kings like unto him all his days. Glory had led to vice and corruption.

Worldly policy carried apostasy in its train. The sun of Solomon set in darkness, as the sun of David had set in decrepitude and blood. Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept My covenant, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee Notwithstanding in thy day I will not do it for David thy father's sake Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son, for David My servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen.

Thus at one blow the heir of "Solomon in all his glory" dwindles into the kinglet of a paltry little province not nearly so large as the smallest of English counties. So insignificant, in fact, do the fortunes of the kingdom become, that, for long periods, it has no history worth speaking of. The historian is driven to occupy himself with the northern tribes because they are the scene of the activity of two glorious though widely different prophets. From first to last we seem to hear in the prose of the annalist the cry of the troubled Psalmist, "Lord, where are Thy old loving-kindnesses which Thou swarest unto David in Thy truth?

Remember, Lord, the rebukes that Thy servants have, and how I do bear in my bosom the rebukes of [Pg 37] many people wherewith thine enemies have blasphemed Thee, and slandered the footsteps of Thine anointed. Amen and Amen. And this is one of the great lessons which we learn alike from Scripture and from the experience of every holy and humble life. It may be briefly summed up in the words, "Put thou thy trust in God and be doing good, and He shall bring it to pass.

The secret of both Testaments alike is the power to maintain an unquenchable faith, an unbroken peace, an indomitable trust amid every complication of disaster and apparent overthrow. The writer of the Book of Kings saw that God is patient, because He is eternal; that even the histories of nations, not individual lives only, are but as one ticking of a clock amid the eternal silence; that God's ways are not man's ways. And because this is so—because God sitteth above the water floods and remaineth a King for ever—therefore we can attain to that ultimate triumph of faith which consists in holding fast our profession, not only amid all the waves and storms of calamity, but even when we are brought face to face with that which wears the aspect of absolute and final failure.

The historian says in the name of his nation what the saint has so often to say in his own, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him. Had the compiler of the Book of Kings been so incompetent and valueless an historian as some critics have represented, it would indeed have been strange that his book should have kindled so immortal an interest, or have taken its place securely in the Jewish canon among the most sacred books of the world. Camp, and Timothy Beal eds. Camp, and Timothy Beal, eds. Ebeling, and Laura B. Mazow eds. Reiterer, and Joseph Verheyden eds. Ristau eds. Lyons eds.

Gignac, S. Ancient Near East Monographs, 1; 2nd ed. Lieber eds. McGinn, P. Mendes-Flohr, C. Seow, H. Spieckermann, B. Walfish, E. Ziolkowski eds. Volume 1. Joseph and Hyun Chul Paul Kim eds. Gordon and Stephen N. Schwartz eds. Hebrew and Cognate Inscriptions from the Biblical World trans. Rainey; Jerusalem: Carta, Bohmbach, F. Greifenhagen, Donald C. AT; Freiburg i. Barton and Benjamin G. Wold eds. Revealed Texts, Hidden Meanings.

Isaiah Introduction and Commentary 2 vols. Camp eds. Korpel and Stanley E. Porter eds. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Levinson eds. Das Buch Hiob und seine Interpretationen. Falk, and Rodney A. Werline eds. Seeking the Favor of God. Patrick D. Miller; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, Eerdmans Publishing Co. Reinhard Lehmann 6 Maxwell and John H. New York: Oxford University Press, Anthony P. Miller; Fortress Press Did God Have a Wife? Killebrew eds. David E. Eerdmans Publishing Co, Miller eds. Brunell and R. Major Poems of the Hebrew Bible. At the Interface of Prosody and Structural Analysis.

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I have written to the king, my lord: Secular Analogies for the Psalms (Hebrew Bible Monographs 1) I have written to the king, my lord: Secular Analogies for the Psalms (Hebrew Bible Monographs 1)
I have written to the king, my lord: Secular Analogies for the Psalms (Hebrew Bible Monographs 1) I have written to the king, my lord: Secular Analogies for the Psalms (Hebrew Bible Monographs 1)
I have written to the king, my lord: Secular Analogies for the Psalms (Hebrew Bible Monographs 1) I have written to the king, my lord: Secular Analogies for the Psalms (Hebrew Bible Monographs 1)
I have written to the king, my lord: Secular Analogies for the Psalms (Hebrew Bible Monographs 1) I have written to the king, my lord: Secular Analogies for the Psalms (Hebrew Bible Monographs 1)
I have written to the king, my lord: Secular Analogies for the Psalms (Hebrew Bible Monographs 1) I have written to the king, my lord: Secular Analogies for the Psalms (Hebrew Bible Monographs 1)
I have written to the king, my lord: Secular Analogies for the Psalms (Hebrew Bible Monographs 1) I have written to the king, my lord: Secular Analogies for the Psalms (Hebrew Bible Monographs 1)

Related I have written to the king, my lord: Secular Analogies for the Psalms (Hebrew Bible Monographs 1)

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