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Preface . [15] 


B.C. 587-536. 



I. Babylon .......... 3 

Its Situation 4 

Its Grandeur 5 

Its Buildings .5 

Its Social Life ... ..... 8 

Nebuchadnezzar . . , . » . . . .12 

II. The Jewish Exiles 14 

Their Writers 15 

The Evangelical Prophet 16 

The Book of Kings 17 

The Psalmists ......... 17 

Their Social Condition . . . . , . , .18 

The Royal Family 19 

The Four Children 21 

Daniel 21 

III. Results of the Captivity .22 

1. Desolation of the Exiles ....... 23 

The Man of Sorrows 25 

2. The Rejection of Polytheism ...... 27 

3. The Independence of Conscience 31 

4. Spirituality of Religion : 

Importance of Prayer ... • • » 35 

„ Almsgiving ....•• 36 



5. The Influence of Babylon 

6. The Philosophy of History 

7. The Union of East and West 



The End of Primaeval and Beginning of Classical History 

The Persian Invasion, B.C. 539 

Cyrus .... 

The Last Night of Babylon . 

The Capture, B.C. 538 

The Ruin of the City 

The Ruin of the Empire . 
The Vision of the Kingdom of Heaven 
Note on the Date of the Book of Daniel 




B.C. 538- 333. 



Expectation of the Return 

National Joy . 

The Psalms 

The Evangelical Prophet . 
The Second Exodus 
Decree of Cyrus, B.C. 536 
The Partial Character of the Return 

Ihe Caravan . 

The Journey . 
Appearance of Palestine . 
The name of ' Judaean ' or * Jew ' 

Consecration of New Altar 
Foundation of the Second Temple 
Mixed Elements of the Return 
Opposition of the Samaritans . 
Accession of Darius Hystaspis, B.C. 











Hag^ai and Zechariah o 90 

Joshua the High Priest • • • 93 

Zerubbabel ........... 94 

Completion of the Temple, B.C. 516 . , , , . -95 
Note on the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah , , . , .99 



The New Colony loi 

Ezra, B.C. 459 103 

His Journey 103 

His Attack on the Mixed Marriages . . . .104 

The Constitution 107 

N^^hemiah, B.C. 445 109 

The Rebuilding of the Walls . . . . . . .111 

Their Dedication , . . . . . . , . .nS 

Meeting of Ezra and Nehemiah, B.C. 445 . . . . .116 

Feast of Tabernacles 116 

Reforms of Nehemiah I17 

Collision with Neighbouring Tribes 118 

Traditions of Nehemiah and Ezra 121 

Their position as Reformers 123 

,, ,, Antiquaries . 124 

Nehemiah 's Library 125 

Ezra as Interpreter 126 

The Law ... 128 

The Targumists . 130 

The Scribes 130 

The Great Synagogue 133 

The Rise of Synagogues 134 

Note on the * Eighteen Benedictions ' . .v. • • • 135 



The Last of the Prophets 138 

L Th« Idea of the Messenger 139 

1. Awe of the Divine Name 142 

Ecclesiastes 142 

Substitution of Adonai for Jehovah . . . . .143 

2. Doctrine of Angels .145 



II. The Contrast between the Ideal and Real . , , ^147 
Doctrine of the Evil Spirit ....... 14^ 

III. Universality of the True Religion . ^. , . . .150 
Story of Bagoses . . . . . . . . .151 

IV. Relations to the Gentile World 152 

I. Persian Empire ........ 152 

The Book of Esther . . 153 

Its Local Interest .... • • • ^53 

Its Religious Interest . . . . . . . .156 

The Book of Esther in connexion with the Dispersion . . -157 
The Feast of Purim 158 

2. Influence of Zoroaster . . , . . . .161 

His first appearance . . . . . . . .162 

Revival .......... 163 

Connexion with Judaism . . . . . . .164 

3. Influence of China . . . . . . . .166 

Confucius .......... 167 

4. Influence of India 168 

Buddha 168 

5. Influence of Greece 170 



SOCRATES (B.C. 468-399). 

The Universality of Socrates . . . . . . . '174 

His Public Life 174 

His Personal Appearance 176 

His Abstraction . . . . . . . . .178 

His* Daemon' I79 

His Dreams .......... 180 

The Oracle 180 

His Call 181 

His Teaching ......... 183 

His Fall 188 

His Death . . 192 

His Religious Character . -194 

Likeness to the Gospel History .196 

,, ,, Apostolic History .196 

Anticipations of a Higher Revelation ..... 200 
General Influence 201 






Alexander the Great 207 

At Babylon 209 

At Jerusalem . 2lo 

His Place in Religious History . . . . . .212 

Foundation of Alexandria . .213 

Greek Cities in Palestine 214 

Grecian Travellers 215 

The Completion of the Chronicles 216 

The Sons of Tobiah , . . . , 217 

Simon the Just . . . 218 

Jewish Colonies in Egypt .221 

Leontopolis 222 

The Ptolemies 224 

The Septuagint 225 

Its Importance 228 

Its Peculiarities . . . . , . . . .229 

The Apocrypha 231 

Its Use 232 

Ecclesiasticus , . . . . . . . . 235-241 

The * Wisdom of Solomon ' 241 

The Idea of Wisdom ....... • 242 

Of Immortality 244 

Aristobulus the Philosopher, B.C. 180 244 

His Endeavour to Hebraise the Grecian Literature . . , 245 
And to Idealise the Hebrew Scriptures 248 




Heliodorus, B.C. 180 
Antiochus Epiphanes, B.C. 175 
The Grecian Party 
Murder of Onias, B.C. 172 . 
Attack on Jerusalem 
Establishment of Grecian Worship 

Desecration of the Temple, B.C. 

Persecution .... 
Maccabsean Psalms . , 


. 251 

. 253 

. 254 

. 257 

. 258 

. 261 

. 2$2 

. 263 

. 264 



Psalter of Solomon 
Book of Daniel , 
The Asmonean Family 
Revolt of Mattathias 
Judas Maccabaeus . 
Battle of Samar'a . 
Battle of Beth-horon 
Battle of Emmaus . 
Battle of Beth-zur . 
The Dedication, B.C. 165 
Campaign against Edom 

,, ,, Trans-Jordanic Greeks 

Death of Antiochus Epiphanes 
Second Battle of Beth-zur 
Death of Eleazar . 
Nicanor, B.C. 162 . 

Meeting with Judas 
Battle of Beth-horon (B.C. i6i) 

Death of Nicanor . 
Battle of Eleasa (B.C. 161) . 

Death of Judas 

c. Narrowness of the Conflict 

2. Elevation of Spirit 

3. Patriotism 

4. Gentile Philosophy , 

5. Belief in Immortality 

Prayer for the Dead 

6. The Maccabaean Canon 
Note on Acra and Mount Zion 

„ the Feast of the Dedication 

,, the Chronological Statements of Daniel ix. 24-27 





B.C. 160 to A.D. 70. 



The Treaty with Rome (B.C. 162) . 
The Pontificate .... 
Alcimus, High Priest (B.C. 162) 




Jonathan the Asmonean (b.c. 153) 
Simon the Asmonean (B.C. 143) 

Capture of the Syrian Fortresses 

His Reign 
John Hyrcanus I. (B.C. 13S) . 
Aristobulus I. (B.C. 107) 
Alexander Jannaeus (B.C. 106) 
Alexandra (B.C. 79) 
Literature of the Period : 

Book of Judith 

Book of Enoch 
Rise of Religious Parties 

The Pharisees 

Oral Tradition 

The Sadducees 

The Essenes . 

The Couples . 

Joshua and Nittai . 
The Rupture of the King with the Pharisees 
The Essenian Prophet (B.C. 106) . 
Persecution of the Pharisees by Alexander Jannaeus (B.C. 
Alexandra and Simeon the son of Shetach 
The Religious Parties .... 
Onias the Charmer and Martyr 

B.C. 109) 


. 316 

. 317 

. 319 


. 313 

. 325 

. 325 

. 326 


. 327 

. 329 

. 332 

. 332 

• 334 

• 335 

• 33^ 

• 33<5 

• 33^ 
. 338 

• 339 
. 340 

341, 345 

. 343 

. 347 



Pompey the Great (B.C. 63) . 

Aristobulus II. and Hyrcanus II. . 

Antipater ..... 

Pompey 's March to Jericho . 
,, ,, Jerusalem 

Entrance into the Holy of Holies 
Triumph .... 
Foundation of the Church of Rome 

Rise of Herod .... 
His Character 

Exploits in Galilee (B.C. 47) , 
His Trial .... 
Contest with Antigonus (B.C. 42) 

The Parthians (B.C. 40) 

Herod's Escape . . . • 

King of the Jews . • • • 


. 352 
. 352 
. 354 
. 356 

• 359 
. 360 

. 361 

. 365 

. 366 

. 368 

• 369 

• 369 
. 370 



Capture of Jerusalem (B.C. 37) 

Death of Antigonus 

Death of Aristobulus III. (B.C. 35) 

Death of Hyrcanus (B.C. 30) . 

Death of Mariamne (B.C. 29) 

Death of Alexandra (B.C. 28) 

End of the Sons of Mariamne (b.c, 

Death of Herod (B. C. 4) 

His Character 

His Public Works in Palestine 

Rebuilding of the Temple (B.C. 17) 

The Outer Court 

The Inner Court 

The Porch . 

The Sanctuary 
Social Life of Palestine 
The Priesthood 
The Sanhedrin 
The Rabbis . 
Hillel (B.C. 30 to A.D. 6) 
The Essenes . 
Banus . 
The Baptist . 
The Synagogues . 
The Peasants 

The Roman Government 
The Expectation of the Future 
The Rise of Christianity 









Genealogy of the Asmoneans ........ 422 

Genealogy of the High Priests ....... 423 

Chronological Table 424 


Palestine after the Return 

Palestine in the Greek and Roman Period 

To face 69 
s.. 207 



These Lectures, begun at Oxford, and interrupted by the 
pressure of inevitable engagements in a more laborious sphere, 
have been resumed during the leisure of an enforced seclusion 
— under the impulse of an encouragement which overbore all 
obstacles — in the hope of finding relief from an anxiety which 
forbade all external occupations. The first volume was dedi- 
cated, thirteen years ago, to a dear and most sacred memory, 
fresh at the time and fresh for ever. This last is bound up with 
another like memory, if possible, still nearer, still more dear, 
and no less enduring. 

It had been my hope to have comprised in this volume the 
last stage of the Jewish history from the Captivity to the final 
destruction of Jerusalem, so as to complete the cycle contem- 
plated in the original plan. Such an arrangement alone would 
accord with the logical sequence of the narrative and with the 
due proportions of the subject. To conclude that history with- 
out embracing the crowning scenes and characters of its close 
would be as unjust to the Jewish race itself as it would be de- 
rogatory to the consummation which gives to this preparatory 
period, not, indeed, its only, but unquestionably its chief, 
attraction. But it appeared to me that the argument allowed, 
if it did not invite, a division. I have, therefore, broken up the 
twenty Lectures which, according to the arrangement of the 
former volumes, would be due to this period, and have confined 

III. a 


the present series to the interval from the Exile to the Christian 
era, leaving, at least for the present, the momentous epoch 
which involves at once the close of the Jewish Commonwealth 
and the birth of Christendom. The name of Lectures could 
properly be applied only to the substance of these pages in the 
rudimentary form in which they were first conceived, but it has 
been preserved as most nearly corresponding to the framev/ork 
in which the whole work has been cast. Their unequal length 
has been4:he natural result of the disproportionate amount of 
materials in the different parts. ^ 

I. A few remarks may be permitted in explanation of the 
method which here, as in the previous volumes, I have 
endeavoured to follow. 

I. As before, so now, but perhaps even to a larger extent, 
the vast amount of previous historical investigation precludes 
the necessity, and forbids the desire, of again discussing ques- 
tions or relating facts which have already been amply treated. 
The elaborate Jewish researches of Jost, Herzfeld, Gratz, and 
Salvador, the dry criticism of Kuenen, the brief and lucid 
narrative of Dean Milman, exempt any later author from the 
duty of undertaking afresh a labour which they have accomplished 
once for all, not to be repeated. But on two works relating to 
this period, very different from each other, a few words may be 

No English scholar, certainly no English Churchman, can 
rightly pass through the interval between the Old and New 
Testament without a tribute to the merit, rare for its age, of 
Dean Prideaux's * Connexion of Sacred and Profane History.' 
It has, no doubt, been in large part superseded by later research 
and criticism ; its style is heavy, and the management of the 
subject ungainly. But, for the time when he lived, it shows a 
singular amount of erudition ; its manly and direct treatment 
of the controversies that he touches breathes the true spirit of 

* I have once more to express my obligations to my friend Mr. Grove for his 
revision of the press. 


the sturdy band of Anglican divines to which he belonged ; the 
selection of so large, and at that time so little explored, a field, 
and the accomplishment of so laborious a task, as a relief under 
the stress of severe suffering, indicate both a grasp of mind and 
an energy of will which theological students of later days may 
well be stirred to emulate. 

Of altogether another order is the volume of Ewald's History 
which covers this time. To this as to the former volumes it 
is difficult to over-estimate my obligations.* He, since these 
Lectures were begun, has, after a long and eventful Hfe, been 
called to his rest Of all those who have treated of the Jewish 
history, he alone or almost alone seems to have lived (if the 
expression may be used) not outside, but inside, the sequence 
of its events, the rise of its characters, and the formation of its 
literature. Erroneous conclusions, unreasonable judgments, 
unwarranted dogmatism, no doubt, may abound ; but these do 
not interfere with the light which he has thrown, and the fire 
which he has enkindled, throughout the passages of this dark 
and intricate labyrinth. By his removal the Ch.urch, not only 
of Germany, but of Europe, has lost one of its chiefest theo- 
logians ; and his countrymen will not refuse to a humble 
fellow-worker in the same paths the privilege of paying this 
parting testimony of respect to one to whom Christendom owes 
so deep a debt It was in the autumn of 1844 that I, with a 
dear friend, sought him out in an inn at Dresden. We intro- 
duced ourselves to him as young Oxford students, and it is im- 
possible to forget the effect produced upon us by finding the 
keen interest which this secluded scholar, as we had supposed, 
took in the moral and social condition of our country, the noble 
enthusiasm with which this dangerous heretic, as he was re- 
garded in England, grasped the small Greek Testament which 
he had in his hand as we entered, and said : * In this little book 

* In the translation begun by Mr. this must now be added the like translation 
Russell Martineau and continued by Mr. of the Antigmtieso/Isr4X4lihy Mr. Henry 
Estlin Carpenter, Ewald's History is now Selly. 
accessible to any English reader ; and to 

a 2 


*is contained all the wisdom of the world' We spoke to him 
of the great English theologian then lately departed ; and of 
all the tributes paid to the memory of Arnold noiie is more full 
of appreciation than that which appeared shortly afterwards in 
the preface of the second volume of the * History of the Jewish 

* People.' That history has since been unfolded piece by 
piece ; and assuredly anyone who has watched the progress of 
his written words can easily understand what was once said of 
him to me by a German Professor who had attended his spoken 
lectures, that to Hsten to him after the harsh and dry instruc- 
tions of ordinary teachers was like passing from the dust and 
turmoil of the street into the depth and grandeur of an ancient 

2. Thoroughly, however, as the ground had been travelled 
over by these distinguished writers, it seemed to me that there 
was still occasion, as in the former periods, so here, to draw out 
the permanent lessons from a story which needs, even more 
than the familiar narratives which preceded it, to be pressed, as 
it were, to give forth its peculiar significance. 

One main cause of the neglect which has befallen this 
interval between the Old and New Testament is that, especially 
after the Macedonian Conquest, the multiplicity of insignificant 
details and of obscure names has outweighed and overshadowed 
the events and characters of enduring interest. It is the pur- 
pose of the following pages to ease the overloaded narrative of 
incidents which burden the memory without feeding the mind ; 
to disentangle the main thread of the story from unmeaning 
episodes ; to give the most important conclusions without re- 
peating the arguments which have been elaborated in the larger 
works above mentioned. ' Considering ' (if I may use the 
language of the author of the second book of Maccabees in regard 
to the work of Jason of Cyrene) * the infinite number of facts, 

* and the difficulty which they find that desire to look into 

* the narrations of the story, for the variety of the matter, we 

* have been careful that they who will read may have delight, 


* and that they who are desirous to commit to memory may 

* have ease, and that all into whose hands this book comes 

* might have profit. It was not easy, but a matter of labour 

* and watching, even as it is no ease unto him that prepareth a 
' banquet and seeketh for the benefit of others ; yet for the 
' pleasuring of many we will undertake gladly this labour, 

* leaving to others the exact handling of every particular, 

* endeavouring not to stand on every point, or to go over things 

* at large, or to be curious in particulars, but to use brevity, and 
' avoid elaboration of the work, and to seek fit things for the 
' adorning thereof.' ^ 

There are some special branches in which I have adopted 
this reserve with but little scruple. The teaching of the 
Kabbala ^ requires a study so special as to be inaccessible for 
one not called to explore it ; and its results in connexion with 
the general moral of the history are too slight to afford reason 
for occupying space or time with its mysteries. The Samaritan 
literature,^ again, is so completely an episode, that it was hardly 
necessary to do more than notice the few points of direct 
contact with Judaism. 

The traditions of the Talmud might, no doubt, directly or 
indirectly, be expected to illustrate this period. It might have 
been hoped that the gifted Hebrew scholar, Emanuel Deutsch, 
would have been enabled to fulfil the promise of his life by 
bringing out of his treasure all the things new and old of which 
he had given us a few specimens in his published essays. This 
hope had been cut short by his untimely death. But there are 
two compensations for the loss of a more independent and 
complete knowledge of this literature. The first is the abun- 
dant material furnished by others who have mastered the sub- 
ject — by Dr. Ginsburg in his numerous articles in Kitto's 

* Biblical Cyclopaedia,' and in the Prolegomena to his various 

* 2 Mace. ii. 24-31. burg in a separate work on the subject. 

" A summary of the Kabbala is given in ' For the Samaritans see Geiger, Zeit- 

Munk's Palestine, 519-524 ; and it has sckri/t der Morgenl. Gesellschaft^ xx. 

also been treated at length by Dr. Gins- S27~573 \ and Joat's History ^ \. 44-90. 


works ; by Professor Neubauer in his ' Geography of the 
' Tahnud ; ' by M. Derenbourg in his * History of Palestine/ 
purposely constructed with the view of bringing together all the 
Talmudical passages which bear on this portion of the history. 
To these and to like works I have, for the most part, been 
content to refer, not burdening my pages with citations from 
the Talmud, unless where I have myself consulted it. But, 
secondly, the excellent edition of the Mishna by Suren- 
husius (I venture to call the Dutch scholar by his Latin 
name) enables any ordinary reader to appreciate the general 
value of the authoritative Rabbinical teaching of this period. 
However uncertain must be the date of some of its treatises, 
those which relate to the Temple, the sacrifices, and the sayings 
of the great teachers, necessarily contain the traditions of the 
time preceding the Christian era. But, whilst the historical and 
antiquarian references are often of profound interest, it must 
be freely admitted that, on the whole, however striking these 
purple patches, the wearisomeness and triviality of the great 
mass of its contents baffle description. And that this impres- 
sion is shared by Jewish scholars themselves is evident from the 
trenchant, though covert, irony with which the Mishna is intro- 
duced to the English reader by its modern editors,^ As in the 
Jewish Church so in the Christian Church, it is well known that 
vast and groundless pretensions have been put forward, by 
strange and fantastic speculations, to a divine origin and to 
special importance. But no historian of the Christian Church 
would now think it necessary to dwell at length on the fable of 
the Donation of Constantine, or on the intricate discussions of 
the Seraphic or Angelic doctors. And no historian of the 
Jewish Church need be ashamed to pass over the fable of the 
* Oral Tradition,' or the casuistry ascribed to the Masters of the 
Rabbinical Schools, except so far as they are needed to illustrate 

* English translation of part of the parts which relate to the Jewish Temple 

Mishna by De Sola and Raphall. Intro- and to the sayings of the Rabbis, the most 

duction, p. 14, iv. It must be added that, interesting parts of the Mishpa ar^ 

by the omission in this version of those dropped. 


the undoubted narrative or the important issues of the actual 

3. It is hardly necessary to repeat what has been said in the 
Prefaces to the two previous volumes, on the advantage and 
the duty of availing ourselves, as far as possible, of the light of 
modern criticism in the elucidation of the sacred books. It is 
true that in so doing we deviate considerably from the method 
of interpretation pursued in many former ages of the Church. 
But this is a deviation in which the whole modern world has 
shared. When Augustine repeatedly insists that the Psalms 
ascribed in their titles to Korah are descriptions of the Passion, 
and that the sons of Korah are Christians, because * Korah ' 
in Hebrew and * Calvary ' in Latin may be translated * bald 
' head,' and because Elisha was derided under that name ; when 
Gregory the Great sees the twelve Apostles, and therefore the 
clergy, in the seven sons of Job, and the lay worshippers of the 
Trinity, in his three daughters, it is impossible not to feel that 
the gulf between these extravagances and the more rational 
explanations of later times is wider than that which parts any of 
the modern schools of theology from each other. And it ought 
to be a matter of congratulation, that in the last volume of 
the * Speaker's Commentary,' which may almost be called an 
authorised exposition, suggestions ^ which a few years ago were 
regarded from opposing points of view as incompatible with 
religious faith, are now taken for granted, or treated, at least as 
matters for innocent inquiry. 

On some of the questions which arise concerning the 
authorship of the sacred books of this period it is difficult to 
pronounce with certainty. It is a temptation to illuminate the 
darkness of the times succeeding the Captivity by transferring 
to them, with a distinguished Strasburg scholar, a large ^ part 

' I may specify the primary reference of extreme old age the loan of the valuable 

various passages in the Book of Daniel to Bible annotated by his brother, the late 

the Maccabaean history (vi. 336-337), and Persian minister. 

the composite origin of the Book of * Reuss's Commentary^ vol. i. pp. 47- 

Zcchariah (vi. 904). It was one of the 63. It may be as well to add that in the 

many kindnesses of the late excellent quotation of French or English commenta- 

David Morier to have continued in his tors, when they are available, instead of 


of the Psalms. But the grounds for such a transference, even 
if they were more sohd than they appear to be, are so far from 
estabhshed at present that it would be a needless rashness to 
attempt it. Instructive as it would be to fix the dates of each 
of the various Psalms, as of each book in the Bible, there are 
limits beyond which our ignorance forbids us to venture, and 
within which we must acquiesce in the warning voice which 
the ancient Rabbi was reported to have heard, when he 
^attempted to re-arrange the Psalter : * Arouse not the Slum- 
^ berer ' — that is, * Disturb not David.' 

But there are other books where it is allowable to tread with 
a firmer step, where the sleepers may rightly be awakened, and 
where, when awakened, they have twice the value and the force 
which they had when they were confounded indiscriminately 
with their fellow-slumberers. The date of the composition, or 
of the publication, of the latter portion of the Prophecies of 
Isaiah — which has been already treated in the second ^ volume 
of these Lectures — rests on arguments though often assailed 
yet 2 never shaken ; and has, therefore, not been re-argued 
in the following pages. The same problem with regard to the 
Book of Daniel, though more complex, demands at least to 
be regarded as an open question.^ It must be remembered 
further that those critics, who are the most determined oppo- 
nents of the Babylonian date of the Evangelical Prophet and 
of the Maccab^an date of Daniel, are also upholders of the 
Pauline origin of the Epistle to the Hebrews, which, by a large 
majority of scholars in this country, has been totally abandoned. 
And the same general arguments from mere authority which 
are used for attributing the second portion of Isaiah to the age 
of Hezekiah, and the Book of Daniel to the age of Cyrus, 
might also be pleaded in the analogous cases of the well- 
German, I have been guided by the con- only one that touches the main argument 
sideration of the convenience of my is that drawn from the verbal peculiarities 
readers. of language, and on this I have purposely 

• See note to Lecture XL. abstained from dwelling. 

' Of the objections ia recent works, the ^ See Lectures XLIL, XLVIII. 


known Psalms of the Captivity and the Alexandrian Book 
of Wisdom, which were by similar authority once ascribed 
respectively to David and Solomon, whose composition of these 
sacred writings would now be universally deemed to be wholly 

II. Turning from the framework of these Lectures to their 
substance, there are some general reflections which are pressed 
upon our attention by the peculiarities of this period, 

I. It is impossible not to feel that in point of interest the 
period comprised in the following pages falls below that of the 
two previous volumes, much below that of the closing years of 
the history which follow the death of Herod. It is true that 
the Evangelical Prophet, the Book of Daniel, the two Books 
of Wisdom are, in some respects, equal, or even superior, to 
the sacred books of the earlier epochs. But as a general rule 
we are instinctively conscious of a considerable descent in Ezra, 
Nehemiah, and Esther, in Haggai and Zechariah, even before 
we reach the books commonly called Apocryphal. The infe- 
riority of style coincides with the inferiority of instruction in 
the events and characters, which is the natural result of the 
narrowing of the course of religious life under the changed 
circumstances of the Return. Israel after the Exile ceased, or 
almost ceased, to be a nation, and became only a church ; 
and, becoming only a church, it sank at times to the level of a 
sect. It is a striking example of that degradation which, by an 
almost universal law, overtakes Religion when, even whilst 
attaining a purer form, it loses the vivifying and elevating spirit 
breathed into it by close contact with the great historic and 
secular influences which act like fresh air on a contracted 
atmosphere, and are thus the Divine antiseptics against the 
spiritual corruption of merely ecclesiastical communities. The 
one demon may be cast out, but seven other demons take 
possession of the narrow and vacant house. 

There is, however, a point of view from which this period 
gives an encouragement to a wider and more spiritual side of 


religious development, such as in the earlier times was lacking. 
It is the time of 'the Connexion of Sacred and Profane 
* History/ not merely in the sense in which the phrase was used 
by divines of the seventeenth century, as describing the depend- 
ence of the Jewish people on foreign powers, but in the larger 
sense in which it points to the interminghng of the ideas of 
foreign nations, consciously or unconsciously, with Judaism, 
and to the epoch at which the great teachers of the Israelite 
race began to infuse into the main current of the world's religion 
immortal truths which it has never since lost. It is for this 
reason that I have thought it right to notice, however super- 
ficially, the contemporaneous rise or revival of the three great 
sages of Persia, China, and India. ^ And although, in these 
instances, the connexion of the Eastern philosophy and religion 
with the Jewish history was too dubious and too remote to 
justify any large digression, it seemed to be necessary, for the 
sake of preserving the due symmetry of events, to devote a 
separate lecture ^ to Socrates, as the one Prophet of the 
Gentile world whose influence on the subsequent course of 
the spirit of mankind has been most permanent and most 

There are still, it may be feared, some excellent persons 
who find causes of alarm and distress in the great Evangelical 
and Catholic doctrine that Divine Truth is revealed through 
other than Jewish channels. But in no field has the enlarge- 
ment of our theological horizon been more apparent than in the 
contrast which distinguishes the present mode of regarding the 
founders of the Gentile religions from that which prevailed a 
century or two centuries ago. No serious writer could now 
tliink of applying to Zoroaster the terms ' impostor ' and ' crafty 
'wretch,' which to Dean Prideaux seemed ^ but the natural and 
inevitable mode of designating a heathen teacher. Here, as 
elsewhere, it is a consolation to remember that the value of the 

* Lecture XLV. appeared in the Qna-^terly Review of 

" Lecture XLVI. This had in part x«So» ** Prideaux, i. 236. 


truths which nourish the better part of our nature depends on 
their own intrinsic divinity, not on the process by which they 
reach us. The conviction of our moral responsibiUty cannot be 
shaken by any theory respecting the origin of our remote 
ancestors ; the authority of the moral sentiments gains rather 
than loses in strength by the reflection ^ that they are the result 
of the accumulated experience of the best spirits of the human 
race ; the family bond, though a * conquest won by culture over 

* the rudimentary state of man, and slowly, precariously acquired, 

* has yet become a sure, solid, and sacred part of the constitu- 
*tion of human * nature.' In like manner the great truths of 
the Unity of God, of the Spirituality of Religion, of the sub- 
stitution of Prayer for animal and vegetable sacrifice, the sense 
of a superior moral beauty, or the strong detestation of moral 
deformity expressed in the ideas of the Angelic and the 
Diabolical, the inestimable hope of Immortality — all existing in 
germ during the earlier times, but developed extensively in this 
epoch — come with a still vaster volume of force when we find 
that they sprang up gradually, and that they belong not merely 
to the single channel of the Jewish Church, but have floated 
down the stream after its confluence with the tributaries of 
Persian and Grecian philosophy. * Truth,' it has been well 
said, * is the property of no individual, but it is the treasure of 
' all men. The nobler the truth or sentiment, the less imports 

* the question of authorship.' The larger and deeper the 
historical basis of our religious conceptions, the less will it be 
exposed to ruin ' when the rain descends and the floods come 

* and the winds blow. 

2. This leads us in conclusion to notice one more charac- 
teristic of this period. It has been already observed that the 
original, and indeed the only proper, plan of this volume was 
to include the great events which are as certainly the climax of 
the history of the Jewish Church as they are the beginning of 

' See Grote's Frajpnents on Mo^al Sub- " See the fine passage in Mathew 

j0cist pp. 2i-a6. Arnold's God and the BibU^ pp. 145-155. 


the history of the Christian Church. In former times the 

Jewish historian passed over the incidents of the Gospel 
narratives as if they had never occurred ; the Jewish pilgrim 
visited the Mount of Olives with no other remark than that it was 
the spot on which had been solemnised the sacrifice of the red 
heifer. And, in like manner, the Christian historian took no 
heed of the influences of Socrates and Alexander, hardly of the 
Maccabees or the Rabbis. Yet these influences were unques- 
tionably preludes of the ' one far-off Divine event ' towards 
which the whole of this period was moving, with the motion as 
of the rapids of Niagara long before they reach the majestic 
Falls, as surely as the close of the fifteenth century towards the 
Reformation, or of the eighteenth towards the French Revolu- 
tion. The artificial isolation of Christianity from its antecedents 
has now passed away. Not only have serious theologians like 
Ewald, not only have accomplished scholars like Renan, en- 
deavoured to draw out the thousand threads by which it was 
connected with the previous history of mankind ; but modern 
writers of Jewish extraction have begun to acknowledge * that 

* to leave out of sight the rise ^ of the Christian Church in con- 
' sidering the story of Judaism would be a sin against the spirit 
' of history ; that Christianity declared itself at its entrance into 
' the world to be the fulfilment of the Jewish Law, the coping- 

* stone of the Jewish religion.' 

There was a thoughtful work written in the earlier years of 
this century, by one whose genial wisdom I recall with grateful 
pleasure, entitled * Propaedia Prophetica,' ^ or the * Prepara- 

* tion of Prophecy.' The special arguments therein contained 
would not now be considered by many as convincing. But, if 
the word and thought may be so applied, the period between 
the Captivity and the Christian era might well be called * Pro- 
^ paedia Historica,' or the * Preparation of History.' However 
much in the study of this part of the Hebrew story we may 
endeavour to abstract our minds from its closing consummation, 

^ Jodt, i. 394* * By JDr. Lyall, formerly Dean of Canterbury. 


the thought of that consummation is the main source of the 
interest of every enb'ghtened student, whether friendly or 
hostile, in all its several stages. Whether by fact or by predic- 
tion, it is the *Praeparatio Evangelica.' Whatever may have 
been the actual expectations of the Jewish people, however 
widely the anticipations of an anointed King or Prophet may 
have wavered or varied, whether fulfilled or disappointed in 
Cyrus, Zerubbabel, or the Maccabees — there is no question that 
the brightest light which illuminates this dark period is that re- 
flected from the events which accompany its close. The plain 
facts of the Asmonean or Herod ian history are sufficiently 
striking, if left to speak for themselves. Christian theology 
must have sunk to a low ebb, or have been in a very rudimen- 
tary state, when Epiphanius ^ thought that to disprove the 
lineal descent of Herod from David was the best mode of 
answering those who regarded that wayward and blood-stained 
Prince as the Messiah, or when Justin, amidst arguments of 
real weight, insisted on ^ doul^tful coincidences of names and 
words, which, even if acknowledged, are merely superficial. It 
is one of the advantages of the study of this period that it fixes 
the mind on the more solid grounds of expectation contained 
in the history of the time, which, whilst it contains hardly any 
trace of those artificial combinations, exhibits, even amidst 
many and perhaps increasing relapses, that onward march of 
events which is the true prelude of the impending crisis. Just 
as in the history of Christendom we are sustained by the suc- 
cession of those larger and more enlightened spirits which 
even m the darkest ages have never entirely failed, and have 
been the salt that has saved Christianity from the corruption of 
its factions and its follies, so in this period of the Jewish 
Church, amidst the degeneracy and narrowness of Priests and 
Scribes, of Pharisees and Sadducees, there is a series of broader 
and loftier souls, beginning with the Evangelical Prophet, re- 
appearing in the Son of Sirach and in Judas Maccabaeus, and 

* H<er, i. 20. ■ Adv. Trypk. c^ 97, xoa, X03, in* 


closing in the Book of Wisdom and the teaching of Hillel and of 
Philo. ^ These sacred ' Champions of Progress,' though not classed 
with any of the contemporaneous schools or parties, constantly 
preserved the ideal of a Spiritual ReHgion, and, even within the 
strictest circle of Judaism, kept the door open for the entrance 
of a wider teaching, apd a deeper thinking, and a higher hving, 
than any which had hitherto been recognised as Divine. And 
the greater the diversity of elements which, outside the pale of 
Judaism appeared to foreshadow or contribute towards this 
ideal, so much the more extensive was the horizon which such 
a character would fill, if ever it should appear. 

Yet again, if, as we approach the decisive moment, the 
scene becomes more crowded with ordinary personages and 
with vulgar display, more occupied with the struggles of 
Oriental courts and with the familiar machinery of political 
controversy and intrigue — if on the soil of Palestine the vague 
and imperfect though splendid forms of the earlier Patriarchs 
and Prophets are exchanged for the complete and well-known 
shapes of Pompey, and Caesar, and Antony, and Crassus, and 
Herod, whose very words we possess, whose faces we know, 
whose coins we have handled — so much the more clear to our 
view must be the surroundings, so much the more impressive 
the appearance, of one who shall be born deep amongst the 
circumstances of the age, yet shall soar high above them all. It 
is a result of traveUing in Palestine that the Gospel history 
presents itself to the mind in a homely fashion, that seems at 
times startling and almost profane. A similar effect is pro- 
duced by stumbling upon that history when following the 
beaten track of the narrative of Josephus and the tedious dis- 
quisitions of the Talmud. But the grandeur of the events 
becomes not the less but the more remarkable because of the 
commonplace or degrading atmosphere in which they are 

' To have included Philo's teaching in Essay on the subject in Professor Jowett's 
this survey would have anticipated too Commentary on S. Paul^ \. 448-514. 
much, and it is sufficient %o refer to the 


It was a saying of Scotus Erigena that whatever is true 
Philosophy is also true Theology. In like manner on a large 
scale, whatever is true History teaches true Religion, and every 
attempt to reproduce the ages which immediately preceded, or 
which accompanied, the advent of Christianity is a contri- 
bution, however humble, to the understanding of Christianity 

3. There is still left the yet greater task, in conformity with 
the plan laid down in these Lectures, of portraying the historical 
appearance of the Founder and the first teachers of Christianity 
in the light of their acknowledged, yet often forgotten, con- 
nexion with the long series of prophets and heroes of Israel. 
Much has been attempted in this interesting field within the 
last few years in England by Dean Milman, and more recently 
by the author of * Ecce Homo ' and by Dr. Farrar, in P^rance 
by Renan and Pressense, in Germany by Neander and Ewald ; 
and it would be audacious and needless to travel once again in 
detail over their well-worn footsteps. But as in this and the 
previous volumes of this work an endeavour has been made to 
discard the temporary, and to insist on the permanent, elements 
of the earlier Jewish History, so there may be an attem23t to 
gather up from the records of its latest stage, and from the 
labours to which I have just referred, the like lessons ; and 
these are of more transcendent value and require more urgently 
to be emphasised, in proportion as the final epoch of the Jewish 
nation is also its grandest, in proportion as the primal truths 
of Christianity are more sacred, more spiritual, and, it may be 
added, often more deeply obscured by the developments of 
subsequent ages, even than the primal truths of Judaism. 

That such a task will be permitted amidst the increasing 
shadows and the multiplying calls of the years that may remain, 
it would be presumptuous to forecast. The manifold short- 
comings of the present volume are a sufficient warning not to 
indulge so precarious and so arduous an expectation. Yet it is 
a hope which, having its roots in the memory of a past never to 


be forgotten, may, perchance, carry with it, in some shape, its 
own fulfilment. It is a hope founded in the conviction that 
the study of the highest and purest elements of Religion will, 
though in different forms, repay alike the patient consideration 
of the speculative inquirer and the reverential search for strength 
and consolation amidst the sorrows and perplexities of life and 
of death. We are sure that whatever we have known of good 
or great can never be wholly taken from our possession. We 
trust that whatever is or has been the best and greatest is alto- 
gether imperishable and Divine. 

Deanery, Westminster : 

May 17, 1876 ; Sept, 7, l879» 





B.C. 587-536. 



I, Biblical Authorities :— 

(1)2 Kings XXV. 27-30. 

(2) Isaiah xiii. ; xiv. 1-23 ; xxi. i~io ; xl.-lxvi, 

(3) Jeremiah xxix. ; xxxiv. ; xxxix. 11-14 ; 1. ; li. ; lii. 

(4) Lamentations v. 

(5) Ezekiel xxiv.-xlviii. 

(6) Psalms xlii. ; xliii. ; xliv. (?) j Ixxiv. (?) ; Ixxxix. (?) ; Ixxix. (?) ; 

Ixxxviii. (?) ; cii. ; cxxxvii. (/« part) li. 18, 19 ; xiv. 6 ; 
liii. 6 ; Ixix. 35, 36. 

(7) Daniel i.-xii., and (from the LXX.) the History of Susanna in 

c. i. ; the Song of the Three Children in c. iii, ; and the 
History of Bel and the Dragon in c. xii. (See Note to Lecture 

(8) Tobit, Baruch, and the Epistle of Jeremiah. (B.C. 360?) 

IL JEV7ISH Traditions :— 

Josephus, Ant, x. 8«9, 7 J io» 11 J Qhronicon Paschale, p. 159 

(Fabricius ; Codex Pseudep.^ p. 1124) J Seder Olam^ c. 2%^ 29. 
lU. B 


III. Contemporary Monuments : — 

Inscriptions (given in Rawlinson's Herodotus^ ii. p. 585 ; and in 
Records of the Past ^ \. 131-136; iii. 147-184; v. 111-148). 

IV. Heathen Traditions : — 

(i) Heirodotus, B. c. 450; i. 108-130, 200. 

(2) Ctesias, B.C. 415 ; in Diod. Sic. ii. 8. 

(3) Xenophon (Cyropaedia) B.C. 370. 

(4) Megasthenes, B.C. 300; Jos. Ant. x. ii, r. Ap, i. 20 

(5) Berosus, B.C. 260, in Jos. Ant. x. 11, c* Ap, i, 19 

(6) Abydenus (?) Eus. PrcEp. Ev. iv. 41 

(7) Strabo, (xvL) B.C. 60— a.d. 18. 





When the race of Israel found itself in Chaldaea, it entered 
once more on the great theatre of the world, which it had 
quitted on its Exodus out of the valley of the Nile, and from 
which for a thousand years, with the exception ^ of the reign of 
Solomon, it had been secluded among the hills of Palestine. 

I. Unlike Egypt, ^ which still preserves to us the likeness of 
the scenes and sights which met the eye of Abraham, Joseph, 
and Moses, Babylon has more totally disappeared 
* ^ °°* than any other of the great Powers which once ruled 
the earth. ^ Not a single architectural monument — only one 
single sculpture — remains of * the glory of the Chaidees' 
* excellency.' Even the natural features are so transformed as 
to be hardly recognisable. But by a singular compensation 
its appearance has been recorded more exactly than any of the 
contemporary capitals with which it might have been compared. 

' Lecture XXV L * Lecture IV. and Babylon, Rawlinson's Ancient Man- 

■ For the description of Babylon I refer archies and his edition of Herodotus. To 

to the obvious sources of Herodotus and these I must add th« valuable information 

Ctesias (in Diodorus Siculus, ii. 8), I orally received from the late Captain 

Rich's Memoir on Babylon^ Ainsworth's Felix Jones, R.N., employed on th« 

Researches in Assyria, Layard's Nineiveh Survey of the Euphrates Valley. 

4 THE EXILES. lbct. xli. 

Of Thebes, Memphis, Nineveh, Susa, no eyewitness has left 
us a plan or picture. But Babylon was seen and described, 
not indeed in its full splendour, but still in its entirety, by the 
most inquisitive traveller of antiquity within one century from 
the time when the Israelites were within its walls, and his 
accounts are corrected or confirmed by visitors who saw it yet 
again fifty years later, when the huge skeleton, though gradually 
falling to pieces, was distinctly visible. 

Of all the seats of Empire — of all the cities that the 
pride or power of man has built on the surface of the globe — 
Babylon was the greatest. Its greatness, as it was originated, 
so in large measure it was secured, by its natural position. Its 
founders took advantage of the huge spur of tertiary 
rock which projects itself from the long inclined 
plane of the Syrian desert into the alluvial basin of Mesopo- 
tamia, thus furnishing a dry and solid platform on which a 
flourishing city might rest, whilst it was defended on the south 
by the vast morass or lake, if not estuary, extending in that 
remote period from the Persian Gulf On this vantage-ground 
it stood, exactly crossing the line of traffic between the Medi- 
terranean coasts and the Iranian mountains ; just also on that 
point where the Euphrates, sinking into a deeper bed, changes 
from a wide expanse into a manageable river, not broader than 
the Thames of our own metropolis ; where, also, out of the 
deep rich alluvial clay ^ it was easy to dig the bricks Which 
from its earliest date supplied the material for its immense 
buildings, cemented by the bitumen ^ which from that same 
early date came floating down the river from the springs in its 
upper course. Babylon was the most majestic of that class of 
cities which belong almost exclusively to the primeval history 
of mankind ; ' the cities,' as they are called by Hegel,^ *of the 
* river plains ' ; which have risen on the level banks of the 
mighty streams of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, and China, and 
thus stand in the most striking contrast to the towns which 

^ L,a.ya.rd, JVineveh ancf Babylon, 526,52g. the Vulgate, See Lay ard, N'mgveA an4£ 
* Gen. xi. 3. Chemar \ the word trans- Babylon, p. 202-208 ; Herod, i. 179 
lated 'slime' in the A. V. ; 'bitumen ' by ' Philosophy of History^ p. 93. 


belong to the second stage of human civilisation, clustering 
each on its Acropolis or its Seven Hills, and thus contracted 
and concentrated by the necessities of their local position as 
obviously as those older capitals possessed from their situation 
an illimitable power of expansion. As of that second class one 
of the most striking examples was Jerusalem on its 
tsgran eur. j^^^yj^j-^jj^ fastuess, with the hills standing round it, 
as if with a Divine shelter, and fenced off by its deep ravines 
as by a natural fosse, ^ so of tliat earlier class the most 
remarkable was the city to which the new comers suddenly 
found themselves transplanted. Far as the horizon itself, 
extended the circuit of the vast capital of the then known 
world. If the imperceptible circumference of our modern 
capitals has exceeded the limits of Babylon, yet none in 
ancient times or modern can be compared with its definite 
enclosure, which was on the lowest computation forty, on the 
highest sixty miles round. Like Nineveh or Ecbatana, it was, 
but on a still larger scale, a country or empire enclosed in a 
city. Forests, parks, gardens were intermingled with the 
houses so as to present rather the appearance of the suburbs 
of a great metropolis than the metropolis itself Yet still the 
regularity and order of a city were preserved. The streets, 
according to a fashion rare in Europe, w^h ether ancient or 
modern, but common in ancient Asia ^ — and adopted by the 
Greek and Roman conquerors when they penetrated into Asia, 
perhaps in imitation of Babylon — were straight, and at right 
angles to each other. The houses, unhke those of most 
ancient cities, except at Tyre, and afterwards in Rome, were 
three or four storeys high. But the prodigious scale of the place 
Public appeared chiefly in the enormous size, unparalleled 

buildings. before or since, of its public buildings, and rendered 
more conspicuous by the flatness of the country from which 

» See Sinai and Palestine, c. ii. work was composed. ' Much according to 

» It has also been followed in the United ' this model William Penn, the Quaker, 

States, and it is curious to read the remarks ' laid out rhe ground for his city of Phila- 

of Dean Prideaux on the Babylonian aspect * delphia. ... Yet fifty-six of such cities 

of one of the earliest of the great American ' might stand in the walls that encompassed 

•itics founded just at the time that his * Bs^hyXon,' ^Prideaux, i. 105, 106. 

6 THE EXILES. lbct. xli. 

they rose. Even in their decay, * their colossal piles, domi- 

* neering over the monotonous plain, produce an effect of 
- grandeur and magnificence which cannot be imagined in any 

* other situation. ' ^ 

The walls by which this Imperial city, or, as it might be 
called, this Civic Empire, rising out of a deep and wide moat, 
was screened and protected from the wandering 
The walls. ^^-^^^^ ^^ ^-^^ Dcscrt, as the Celestial Empire by the 
Great Wall of China, as the extremities of the Roman Empire 
by the wall of Trajan in Dacia, or of Severus in Northumber- 
land, were not, Hke those famous bulwarks, mere mounds or 
ramparts, but Hnes as of towering hills, which must have met 
the distant gaze at the close of every vista, like the Alban 
range at Rome. They appeared, at least to Herodotus, 
who saw them whilst in their unbroken magnificence, not less 
than 300 feet high ; ^ and along their summit ran a vast 
terrace which admitted of the turning of chariots with four 
horses, and which may therefore well have been more than 
eighty feet broad. ^ 

If to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, wiio were accustomed to 
the precipitous descent of the walls overhanging the valley of 
the Kedron, the mere height of the Babylonian enclosure may 
not have seemed so starding as to us, yet to the size of the 
other buildings the puny dimensions whether of the Palace or 
Temple of Solomon bore no comparison. The Great Palace 
of the Kings was itself a city within the city— seven 

Ine palace. ■■■ j -i • , -^ 

miles round ; and its gardens, expressly built to con- 
vey to a Median princess ^ some reminiscence of her native 
mountains, rose one above another, to a height of more than 
seventy feet, on which stood forest trees of vast diameter side 
by side with flowering shrubs. On the walls of the Palace the 
Israelites might see painted » those vast hunting-scenes which 

^ * Ainsworth, 126. The Birs-Nimrud, in Tower of Westminster Palace— 340 feet 

Its rums, seemed to an English merchant high. 

who saw it in 1583, 'as high as the stone- »/.*■. the breadth of Victoria Street, 

work of the steeple ' of the old St. Paul's. Westminster. 

^^j^J'.^'i^*-) * Rawlinson's Ancient Monarchies, iii 

This IS nearly the height of the Victoria 345, 502. » Diod. Sic. ii, 8" 


were still traceable two centuries later — of which one charac- 
teristic fragment remains in sculpture, a lion trampling on a 
man — which would recall to them the description in their own 
early annals of * Nimrod the mighty hunter/ ^ 

But the most prodigious and unique of all was the Temple 

of Bel — which may well have seemed to them the completion 

of that proud tower * whose top was to reach to 

enipe. t j^g^ygj^ > It was the central point of all ; it gave 
its name to the whole place — Bab-el or Bab-bel,^ * the gate 

* of God or Bel/ which by the quaint humour of primitive 
times had been turned to the Hebrew word * Babel,' or *confu- 

* sion.' ^ 

It was the most remarkable of all those artificial mountains, 
or beacons, which, towering over the plains of Mesopotamia,* 
' guide the traveller's eye like giant pillars.' It rose like the 
Great Pyramid, square upon square ; and was believed to have 
reached the height of 600 feet.^ Its base was a square of 200 
yards. No other edifice consecrated to worship, not Carnac in 
Egyptian Thebes, nor Byzantine St. Sophia, nor Gothic Clugny, 
nor St. Peter's of Rome, have reached the grandeur of this 
primeval sanctuary, casting its shadow ^ far and wide, over city 
and plain. Thither, as to the most sacred and impregnable 
fortress, were believed to have been transported the huge 
brazen laver, the precious brazen pillars,^ and all the lesser 
vessels of the Temple of Jerusalem, together doubtless with all 
the other like sacred spoils which Babylonian conquest had 
swept from Egypt, Tyre, Damascus, or Nineveh,^ And when 
from the silver shrine at the summit of this building, the whole 
mass of mingled verdure and habitation for miles and miles 
was overlooked, what was wanting in grace or proportion must 

* Gen. X. 9. winding and not the perpendicular height. 
" If, as is most probable, the Temple is If the perpendicular height, it was higher 

represented by the ruins called MujelUbfe, than Strasburg Cathedral. See Rawlin- 

it still is called Babil by the Arabs. It son's Ancient MonarcAies, iii. 343; Grote, 

was perhaps partly confused by Herodotus Greece, iii. 392. 

with the Temple of Borsippa(Birs-Nimrud). ' Miiman, Hist ofjews^ i. 417. 

— Rawlinson's Herodotus, vol. i. 321, * Dan. i. a ; 2 Chr. xxxvi. 7 ; Jos. Ant^ 

* Gen. xi. 9. * Ainsworth, 157. x. n, § i. See Lectures XLII., XLIII. 
' Strabo, xvi. p. 738. Perhaps the * Rawiinson, iii. 343. 

8 THE EXILES. lect. xli. 

have been compensated by the extraordinary richness of colour. 
Some faint conception of this may be given by the view of 
Moscow from the KremHn over the blue, green, and gilded 
domes ^nd towers springing from the gardens which fill up the 
vacant intervals of that most Oriental of European capitals. 
But neither that view nor any other can give a notion of the 
vastness of the variegated landscape of Babylon as seen from 
any of its elevated points. 

From the earliest times of the city, as we have seen, the 
two materials of its architecture were the bricks baked from 
the plains on which it stood, and the plaster ^ fetched from the 
bitumen springs of Hit. But these homely materials were 
made to yield effects as bright and varied as porcelain or 
metal. The several stages of the Temple itself were black, 
orange, crimson, gold,^ deep yellow, brilliant blue, and silver. 
The white or pale brown of the houses, wherever the natural 
colour of the bricks was left, must have been strikingly con- 
trasted with the rainbow hues with which most of them were 
painted, according to the fancy ^ of their owners, whilst all the 
intervening spaces were filled with the variety of gigantic 
palms ^ in the gardens, or the thick jungles or luxuriant groves 
by the silvery lines of the canals, or in the early spring the 
carpet of brilliant flowers that covered the illimitable plain 
without the walls, or the sea of waving corn, both within and 
without, which burst from the teeming soil with a produce so 
plentiful that the Grecian traveller dared not risk his credit by 
stating its enormous magnitude.^ 

When (torn the outward show we descend to the inner life 
of the i)lace, Babylon may well indeed to the secluded Israelite 
have seemed to be that of which to all subsequent 
^^^* ages it has been taken as the type — * the World' 
itself. No doubt there was in Jerusalem and Samaria, especi- 
ally since the days of Solomon, a little hierarchy and aristocracy 
and court, with its factions, feasts, and fashions. But nowhere 

• * Rawlinson, ui. 385. ' * Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, p. 485. 

• Ibid. ui. 582-385. Layard, Nineveh • See Herod, i. 193, with Rawlinson's 
and Babylon, p. 517. notes. Compare Grote, iii. 395. 

* Rawlinson, iii. 34a. 


else in Asia, hardly even in Egypt, could have been seen the 
magnificent cavalry careering through the streets, the chariots 
and four, ' chariots like whirlwinds,' ' horses swifter than eagles,' 
— 'horses, and chariots, and horsemen, and companies,' with 

* spears ' and ' burnished helmets.' ^ Nowhere else could have 
been imagined the long muster-roll, as of a peerage, that passes 
in long procession before the eye of the Israelite captive — * the 

* satraps, captains, pachas, the chief judges, treasurers, judges, 
'counsellors,^ and all the rulers of the provinces.' Their 
splendid costumes of scarlet — their parti-coloured ^ sashes — 

* all of them princes to look to ; ' their elaborate armour — 
'buckler, and shield, and helmet' — their breastplates,'* their 
bows and quivers, and battleaxes — marked out to every eye 
the power and grandeur of the army. Nowhere was science 

or art so visibly exalted, as in * the magicians, and 

'the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the wise 

*Chaldaeans,' * who were expected to unravel all the secrets of 

nature, and who in point of fact from those wide level plains, 

'where the entire celestial hemisphere is continually visible to 

* every eye, and where the clear transparent atmosphere shows 
'night after night the heavens gemmed with countless stars 
' of undimmed brilliancy,' ^ had laid the first foundations of 
astronomy, mingled as it was with the speculations, then 
deemed pregnant with yet deeper significance, of astrology. 
Far in advance of the philosophy, as yet unborn, of Greece, 
in advance even of the ancient philosophy of Egypt,^ the 
Chaldaeans long represented to both those nations the highest 
flights of human intellect -even as the majestic Temples, which 
served to them at once as college and observatory, towered 
above the buildings of the then known world. Twice over 
in the Biblical history — once on the heights of Zophim, once 
beside the cradle of Bethlehem — do the stargazers of Chaldaea ^ 

* Ezek. xxvi. 7 ; Jer. iv. 13, 29 ; vi. 23 ; • Rawlinson, iii. 415. 

iclvi. 4 ; 1. 37. (Rawlinson 's Ancient Mon- ' Grote's Hist, of Greece^ iii. 392, 

urchins, iii. 439.) * Num. xxii. 5, xxiv. 17 ; Matt. ii. i. 

* Dan. iii. 2, 3, 27 (Heb.). See an ingenious though fesiciful book by 
' Ezek. xxiii. 14, 15 ; ib. 24. Dr. Francis UphBm, Who were the Wise 

* Jer. li. 3 ; Ezek. xxvi. 9. Men ? 
' Dan. ii. 2 ; iv. 6, 7. 

lO THE EXILES. lhct. xlt. 

lay claim to be at once the precursors of Divine Revelation, 
and the representatives of superhuman science. 

Returning to the ordinary life of the place, its gay scenes 
of luxury and pomp were stamped on the memory 
Its music. ^^ ^-^^ Israelites by the constant clash and concert/ 
again and again resounding, of the musical instruments in 
which the Babylonians delighted, and of which the mingled 
Greek and Asiatic names are faintly indicated by the British 
catalogue of ^cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, 

* and all kinds of music' ^ Nor could they forget how, like 
the Athenian exiles in later days at Syracuse, their artistical 
masters besought them to take their own harps and sing one 
of the songs of their distant mountain city ; ^ though, unlike 
those prisoners, who gladly recited to their kindred enemies 
the tragedies of their own Euripides, they could not bring 
themselves to waste on that foreign land the melody which 
belonged, only to- their Divine Master. Yet one more feature 
peculiar to Chaldaea, both natural and social, is recalled by the 
scene of that touching dialogue between the captors and the 
captives. The trees on which their harps were hung were 
unlike any that they knew in their own country. They called 
them by the name that seemed nearest to the willows of their 
own watercourses. But they were in fact the branching 
poplars * mingled with the tamarisks, which still cluster beside 
the streams of Mesopotamia, and of which one solitary and 
venerable specimen ^ long survived on the ruins of Babylon, 
and in the gentle waving of its green boughs sent forth a 
melancholy, rustling sound, such as in after times chimed in 

* For the Babylonian love of music see erei the word used in this Psalm. 
Rawlinson, iii. 451. ' Dan. iii. 5, 7, 15. ' It is by tradition the single tree pre- 

' Psalm Ixxxvii. i, 2. , served from the destruction of Babylon in 

* The weeping willow to which from order, in long subsequent ages, to offer to 
this passage Linnaeus gave the name of AH, the Prophet's son-in-law, a place to tie 
Sah' xBadj/lontcah not fonnd in Bahylonia. up his horse after the Battle of Hillah 

* The weeping willow is indigenous in (Rich, 67 ; Layard, 507). What tree on 

* China and Japan, cultivated in Europe, earth has a more poetic story than this ? I 
' but is neither indigenous nor cultivated grieve to see since writing this that in these 
' in Babylonia.' — (Koch's Dendrologie, ii. latest days the depredations of travellers 
507.) It may be either the tamarisk and pilgrims have reduced this venerable 
{attle) or the poplar {Popubis Eiiphraticd), relic to a mere trunk {A ssyrian Discoverus^ 
to which the Arabs still give the name of by Mr. George Smith, p. 56). 

user. xu. BABYLON. 1 1 

with the universal desolation of the spot, such as in the ears of 
the Israelites might have seemed to echo their own mournful 
thoughts. The * waters' by which they wept were *the rivers 
' of Babylon * The river ' — that word was of unknown or 
almost unknown sound to those who had seen only the scanty 
torrent beds of Judaea, or the narrow rapids of the Jordan. 
The 'river' in the mouth of an Israehte meant 
ts rivers. ^Imost always the gigantic Euphrates ^ — ' the fourth 
' river ' of the primeval garden of the earth — the boundary of 
waters,^ from beyond which their forefathers had come. And 
now, after parting from it for many centuries, they once more 
found themselves on its banks — not one river only, but literally, 
as the Psalmist calls it, ' rivers ; ' for by the wonderful system 
of irrigation which was the life of the whole region it was 
diverted into separate canals, each of which was itself * a river,' 
the source and support of the gardens and palaces which 
clustered along the water's edge. The country far and near 
was intersected with these branches of the mighty stream. 
One of them was so vast as to bear then the name, which it 
bears even to this day, of the Egyptian Nile.^ 

On the banks of the main channel of the * river ' all the 
streets ^ abutted, all the gates opened ; and immediately on 
leaving the city it opened into that vast lake or estuary which 
made the surrounding tract itself * the desert ^ of the sea ' — the 
great sea,^ tossed by the four winds of heaven, and teeming 
with the monster shapes of earth — the sea on which floated in- 
numerable ships or boats, as the junks at Canton, or the gon- 
dolas at Venice, or even as the vast shipping at our own 
renowned seaports. * Of the great waters,' such is the monu- 
mental inscription ^ of Nebuchadnezzar — ' like the waters of 
*the ocean, I made use abundantly.' 'Their depths were like 
' the depths of the vast ocean.' The inland city was thus 

* Sinai and Palestine^ Appendix, § 34. Tigris. This is a retention of local colour 

* See Lecture I. p. 8. in the Book of Daniel which I owe to 
' The word lor^ in Dan. xii. 5, is else- Captain Felix Jones, and which has escaped 

where only used for the Nile. Sinai and even the vigilant research of Dr. Pusey. 
Palestine y Appendix, §35. There is a * Rawlinson, iii. 342. 

canal to this day called ' the Nile ' {Bahr- • Isa. xxi. i. * Dan, vii. «, 3. 

el-Nil) between the Euphrates and the » Rawlinson's Herod, ^ vol. iii, p. 586. 

12 THE EXILES. lbct. xli. 

converted into a * city of merchants ' — the magnificent empire 
into *a land of traffic' ^ The cry,' the stir, the gaiety of the 
Chaldaeans was not in the streets or gardens of Babylon, but 
' in their ships.' ^ Down the Euphrates came floating from the 
bitumen pits of Hit the cement with which its foundations were 
covered,^ and from Kurdistan and Armenia huge blocks of 
basalt, from Phoenicia gems and wine, perhaps its tin from 
Cornwall ; up its course came from Arabia and from India 
the dogs for their sports, the costly wood for their stately 
walking- staves, the frankincense for their worship.^ When in 
far later days the name of Babylon was transferred to the West 
to indicate the Imperial city which had taken its place in the 
eyes of the Jewish exiles of that time, the recollection of the 
traffic of the Euphrates had lived on with so fresh a memory 
that this characteristic feature of the Mesopotamian city was 
transplanted to its Italian substitute, Rome. Nothing could 
be less applicable to the inland capital on the banks of the 
narrow Tiber ; but so deeply had this imagery of the ancient 
Babylon become a part of the idea of secular grandeur that it 
was transferred without a shock to that new representative of 
the world. * The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious 

* stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and 
' scarlet, and all wood of incense, and all manner of vessels of 

* ivory, and all manner of vessels of most precious wood, and 

* of brass, and of iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours, 

* and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine 

* flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and 

* chariots, and slaves, and souls of men ; the shipmasters, and 

* all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by 

* sea, and the craftsmen, and the merchants who were the great 
' men of the earth. '^ 

And over this vast world of power, splendour, science, art, 
Nebuchad- ^^^ commcrcc, presided a genius worthy of it (so 
nezzar. ^^ le^sj- t^g Israelite tradition represented him) — * the 

* Head of Gold,' — ' whose brightness was excellent ' — the Tree 

* Isa. xliii. 14 (Heb.), * Layard, Nin. and Bab. i. 526. 

" Rawlinson, Monarchies., iii. 441. * Rev. xviii. 11, 12, 13, 17, 23. 


whose height reached to heaven, and the sight thereof * to the 

* end of all the earth ' — * whose leaves were fair, and the fruit 

* thereof much, and in it meat for all — under which the beasts 

* of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the 

* air had their habitation.' ^ He whose reign reached over one- 
half of the whole period of the Empire ^ — he who was the last 
conqueror amongst the primeval monarchies, as Nimrod had 
been the first — the I^ord of the then known historical world 
from Greece to India — was the favourite of Nebo, who when he 
looked on his vast constructions ^ might truly say, * Is not this 

* Great Babylon that I have built for the house of my king- 

* dom, by the might of my power, and for the honour of my 

* majesty ? ' "* 

Hardly any other name than Nebuchadnezzar's is found 
' on the bricks ^ of Babylon. ' Palace and Temple were both 
rebuilt by him ; and not only in Babylon but throughout the 
country. The representations of him in the Book of Daniel 
may belong to a later epoch ; but they agree in their general 
outline with the few fragments preserved to us of ancient annals 
or inscriptions ; and they have a peculiar interest of their own, 
from the fact that the combination v/hich they exhibit of savage 
power with bursts of devotion and tenderness is not found 
elsewhere amongst the Hebrew portraitures of any Gentile 
potentate. It is loftier and more generous than their concep- 
tion of the Egyptian Ph raoh, the Assyrian Sennacherib, or 
the Greek Antiochus ; it is wilder and fiercer than the adum- 
brations of the Persian Cyrus or the Roman Caesar. 

His decrees as recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures may 
breathe a more didactic spirit than they actually bore ; but they 
are not unlike in tone to those which are preserved on the 
monuments. And the story of his insanity, even if the momen- 
tary light thrown upon it by the alleged ^ interpretation of the 
inscriptions be withdrawn, may remain as the Hebrew version 

' Dan. iv. 20, 21, 38. Records ofthePast^ v. 119-135. 

* RawHnson, iii. 489. Dr. Pusey, p. 119. * Rawlinson, Monarchies, iii. 498. 

■^ Nebo-kudurri-ussuf, i.e. * May Nebo " The interpretation of the negative 

' protect the crown.' clauses of the Inscription, a» given i» 

* Dan. iv. 30. Comp. the Inscription in RawUnson's Herodotus^ vol. iL p. 586. 

14 THE EXILES. lect. xli, 

of the sickness described by Berosus and the sudden dis- 
appearance described by Abydenus,^ and also as the profound 
Biblical expression of ^ the Vanity of Human Wishes ' ^ — the 
punishment of the 'vaulting ambition that overleaps itself — 
the eclipse and the return of reason, which when witnessed even 
in modern times in the highest places of the State have moved 
the heart of a whole nation to sympathy or to thanksgiving. 
He was to the Israelite captives, not merely a gigantic tyrant, 
but with something like 'the prophetic soul of the wide world, 
' dreaming on things to come ' ^—himself the devoted wor- 
shipper of his own ^ Merodach, yet bowing before the King of 
Heaven, 'whose works are truth, and whose ways judgment' ^ 

II. Into ' this golden city,' underneath this magnificent 
oppressor, the little band of Israelites were transported for the 
The Cap- period which is known by the name of the Babylonian 
tivity. Captivity. It might at first sight seem that it was a 

period of which the records are few, and of which the results 
were scanty. It lasted for little more than a single genera- 
tion.^ But it sowed the seeds of a change deeper than any 
that had occurred since the destruction of the sanctuary at 
Shiloh, almost than any that had occurred since the Exodus. 

The number of exiles was comparatively small. A large 
part of the lower classes were left in Palestine, and those who 
were transported consisted chiefly of the princes, nobles, and 
priests, with the addition of artisans in wood and iron. But 
still it was the kernel ^ — the flower — what the older prophets 
would have called the ' remnant,' the sufficient remnant of the 

We have already spoken of the other fragments of the 
Captivity — the colony of the Ten Tribes in the remote provinces 

' Jos. c. Ap. i. 20 ; Eus. Prcep. Ev. ix. * The 70 years foretold by Jeremiah 

A\, must be considered as a round number, 

" The possibility of such a malady as expressing that before two generations had 

that described in Dan. iv. 33-36 is estab- passed the deliverance would come. If 

lished with interesting illustrations in Dr. literally computed, they must be reckoned 

Pusey's Daniel the Prophet, p. 426-433. from b.c. 606 to 536. But the real Captivity 

* Dan. ii. 31, iv. 5 ; and see Abydenus, was only from 587 to 536, i.e. 47 years. 

in Eus. Prcep. Ei'. ix. 41. ' For this whole question of the numbers 

* Rawlinson, Monarchies^ iii. 459. see Kuenen, History of the Religion of 

* Dan. iv. 37. Israel, vol. ii., Note C 

tBCT. xLi. BABYLON. 1 5 

of the Assyrian Empire ; ^ the first beginnings ^ of the colony 
in Egypt, ultimately destined to attain such significance. 

The two remaining groups of exiles from the kingdom of 
Judah, those under Jehoiachin, and those under Zedekiah, 
must have soon blended together ; and containing as they did 
within themselves all the various elements of society, they 
enable us, partly through the writings and partly through the 
actions of the little community, to form an idea, fragmentary, 
indeed, but still sufficient, of the effects of the Captivity. As 
before we saw the main results ^ of ' Israel in Egypt,' so now 
we enter on the characteristics of Israel in Babylon. 

With the fall of Jerusalem the public life of the people had 
disappeared. The Prophets could no longer stand in the 
Literary Tcmplc courts or ou tlic cliffs of Carmel to warn by 
character, ^ord of mouth Or paraboHcal gesture. * The law 

* was no more. The Prophets * found no vision from the 
' Eternal' 

There is one common feature, however, which runs through 
all the writings of this period, which served as a compensation 
for the loss of the living faces and living words of the ancient 
seers. Now began the practice of committing to "writing, of 
compiling, of epistolary correspondence, which (with two or 
three great exceptions) continued during the five coming cen- 
turies of Jewish History. ' Never before ^ had literature pos- 

* sessed so profound a significance for Israel, or rendered such 

* convenient service as at this juncture.' 

The aged Jeremiah still lived on in Egypt, ^ far away from 
the mass of his people. But already his prophecies had begun 
to take the form of a book ; already he had thrown 
Jeremiah. j^-^ wamings and meditations into the form of a letter 
to the exiles of the first stage of the Captivity, which was the 
first example of religious instruction so conveyed, which was 
followed up, we know not when, by the apocryphal letter bear- 
ing his name, and which ultimately issued in the Apostolic 
Epistles of the New Testament. The same tendency is seen 

' See Lecture XXXIV. * Lecture IV. * Ewald, v. lo. 

• Lecture XL., XLVIL * Lam. ii. 9 ; Ezek. vii. a6. • S«e L«ct«re XL. 

1 6 THE EXILES. lkct. xli. 

in the rigidly artificial and elaborate framework ^ in which even 
the passionate elegy of the Lamentations is composed, in con- 
trast with the free rhythm of the earlier songs of the Davidic 
age. Already the Prophecies of Ezekiel ^ had been arranged 
in the permanent chronological form which they have since 
Ezekiel. worn. * Baruch the scribe ' had inaugurated this new 
Baruch. ^^^^ ^^ie first of his class, by transcribing and arranging 
the works of Jeremiah ; had already, according to Jewish tra- 
dition, read to the exiles in Babylon itself, to the captive king, 
and princes, and nobles, and elders, and ' all the people from 
*the highest to the lowest,' of those that dwelt by one of the 
branches of the Euphrates,^ the book of his warnings and con- 

Are we to conjecture that something of this famous scribe * 
may be traced in the Prophet who poured forth during this 
The Second PGi'iod of expectation the noblest of all the prophetic 
Isaiah. strains of Israel — noblest and freest in spirit, but in 

form following that regular flow and continuous unity which in 
his age, as has been said, superseded the disjointed and succes- 
sive utterances of the older seers ? ^ Or is it possible that in 
the author of that strain of which the burden is the suffering 
and the exaltation of the Servant of the Lord we have that 
mysterious prophet registered in ancient catalogues as Abda- 
donai,^ * the Servant of the Lord,' himself the personification 
of the subject of his book ? Whether Baruch or Abdadonai — 
whether in Chaldsea, Palestine, or Egypt — whether another 
Isaiah, in more than the power and spirit of the old Isaiah — or 
whether, as some would prefer to think, that older Isaiah, 
transported by a magical influence into a generation not his 
own — the Great Unnamed, the Evangelical Prophet, is our 
chief guide through this dark period of transition, illuminating 

' Each part is arranged alphabetically. of the second Isaiah, see Lecture XL. 

' See Lecture XL. Compare Ewald's Prophets, ii. 404-487, 

' * Sud,' an Arabic name for Euphrates. Matthew Arnold, The Great Prophecy oj 

Baruch i. 4. Israels Restoration, Cheyne's Book of 

* Bunsen's God in I/zstorj/({. 131). Hit- Isaiah. 

T.'ig (Geschichte, 264) conjectures the High ** Clem. Alex. (Strom, i. 21). (See Note 

Priest Joshua. to Lecture XX.) 

* For the whole question of the position 


it with flashes of light, not the less bright because we know not 
whence they come. In his glorious roll of consolations, warn- 
ings, aspirations, we have, it is not too much to say, the very 
highest flight of Hebrew prophecy. Nothing finer had been 
heard even from the lips of the son of Amos. No other strain 
is so constantly taken * up again in the last and greatest days 
of Hebrew teaching. For the splendour of its imagery and the 
nerve of its poetry, nothing, even in those last days of Evange- 
list or Apostle, exceeds or equals it. 

Yet once more, in the enforced leisure of captivity and 
exile, like many a one in later days — Thucydides, Raleigh, 
Clarendon — now in the agony of the dispersion, in the natural 
fear lest the relics of their ancient literature should be lost 
through the confusion of the time, began those laborious com- 
pilations ^ of the Annals of the past which issued at last in * the 
* Canon of the Old Testament,' of which perhaps several might 
be traced to this epoch, but of which it will be sufficient to 
The Book Specify the most undoubted instance — the Book of 
of Kings. ^}^Q Kings. It is touching to observe from its abrupt 
conclusion how this nameless student continued his work to 
the precise moment ^ when he was delighted to leave his 
readers in the midst of his sorrows with that one gleam which 
was shed over the darkness of their nation by the kindly treat- 
ment of the last royal descendant of David in the Court of 

There were also the company of minstrels and musicians, 
male and female,^ who kept up the traditions of the music of 
The min- D^vid and Asaph. Their resort, as we have seen, 
streis. ^as by the long canals, where they still wandered 

with their native harps ; ^ and though they refused to gratify 
the demands of their conquerors, they poured forth, we cannot 
doubt, some of those plaintive strains which can be placed at 
no date so suitable as this, or else worked up into accord with 

* There are 21 quotations in the New ' Ewald, v. 18. * 2 Kings xxv. 27-30. 

Testament from Isaiah xl.-lxvi., against * Ezra ii. 65 

13 from the earlier chapters. ^ Ps. cxxxvii. i, 2. 


1 8 THE EXILES. utcr. xu. 

the circumstances of their time some of those which had been 
handed down from earlier and happier days. 

From the writers we turn to the actors in the scenes. The 

Greek word by which the Captivity is called — /xerotKccr/a, ^ 77ii- 

gration or transportation — aptly expresses the milder 

condition of aspcct of the couditiou of the great mass of the exiles. 

XI es. j^^^ ^^ ^^ Greeks, transported in like manner by 
Darius Hystaspis into the heart of Asia, remained long after- 
wards peaceable settlers under the Persian rule, so at the time 
and for centuries afterwards did many of the Jewish exiles 
estabHsh themselves in Chaldsea. Babylon from this time forth 
became, even after the return, even after the powerful settle- 
ment of the Jews at Alexandria, the chief centre of Jewish 
population and learning. There was an academy established, 
according to tradition, at Neharda during the exile, which, it 
may be, fostered the studies of the sacred writers already men- 
tioned, and which certainly became the germ of the learning of 
Ezra and his companions, and caused all Israel through its 
manifold dispersions to look to Babylon as the capital of their 
scattered race, and as possessing the love of the law.^ Such 
an habitual acquiescence in their expatriation coincided with 
the strains of marked encouragement which came from the 
Prophets of the Captivity. * Build ye houses, and dwell in 

* them,' said Jeremiah to the first detachment of exiles. ' Plant 

* gardens and eat the fruit of them : take wives and beget sons 

* and daughters : take wives for your sons, and give your daugh- 
*ters to husbands, that ye may be increased there and not 

* diminished. And seek the peace of the city, and pray unto 
*the Lord for it, for in the ^ peace thereof ye shall have 

* peace.' *Pray for the life of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Baby- 
lon, and for the life of Balthasar his son, that their days 

* may be upon earth as the days of Heaven,' was the advice 
ascribed to Baruch, * and he will give us strength and lighten 

* our eyes, and we shall live under the shadow of Nabuchado- 

* nosor, king of Babylon, and under the shadow of Balthasar his 

* Also airoiKta. on i Cor. xiv. Comp Jos. Ant. xv. 2, 

* Deutsch's Remains, 342. Lightfoot 2 ; xvii. 2, 1-3. » Jer. xxix. 5, 6, 7. 


*son, and we shall serve them many days, and find favour 
' in their sight' ^ 

Such is the picture handed down or imagined from the 
earlier Assyrian captivity of Tobit and his family — himself the 
purveyor of Shalmaneser, living at ease with his wife 
and son, with their camels and their dog, its first 
apparition as a domestic friend in sacred history — the hospita- 
able communications with his friends at Ecabatana, with his 
countrymen throughout ' Assyria. 

Such at Babylon or in its neighbourhood were the homes 
of the nobles of Israel, who became possessed of property, 
The Royal with slaves, camels, horses, asses, even with the 
Family. luxury of hired musicians.^ The political and 
social framework of their former existence struck root in the 
new soil. Even the shadow of royalty * lingered. It appears, 
indeed, that Zedekiah, the King, as well as his predecessor 
Jehoiachin and the High Priest, Josedek, whose father had 
perished at Riblah, were at first rigorously confined, and 
Zedekiah remained in prison blind and loaded with brazen 
fetters till his death, which occurred soon after his arrival. But 
he was then ^ buried in royal state by Nebuchadnezzar with the 
funeral fires and spices, and with the funeral lamentations — 
even to the very words, * Ah ! Lord ' — which were used at the 
interments of the Kings of Judah ; and Josedek, the High 
Priest, was then set at Uberty. 

A singular fate awaited the last lineal heir of the house 
of David, Jehoiachin or Jeconiah. He, after seven and thirty 
years of imprisonment, was released by the generosity 
Jehoiachin. ^^ Evil-merodach, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, who, 
according to another legend, in disgrace himself, had en- 
countered Jehoaichin in the same prison,^ and who disapproved 
his father's harshness. The beard of the captive king,^ which, 
contrary to the Jewish practice, had been allowed to grow 
through all those mournful years, was shaved ; his dress was 

' Baruch i. ii. * Jer. xxxiv. 5; Jos. Ant. x. 8, 7. 

* Tobit i. 13 : ix. 2 ; x. 4. ' Jerome, Coram, on Isa. xiv. 19. 
" Isa. Ixvi. 20 ; Ezra ii. 65-67. ' Jer. Hi. 32 (LXX.). 

* Ezek. viii. i ; xiv. i ; xx. i. 

C 2 

20 THE EXILES. lbct. XLt 

changed : a throne was given him above the thrones of the 
other subject or captive kings ; he ate in the royal presence, 
and was maintained at the pubHc cost till the day of his death. 
In the later traditions of his countrymen this story of the com- 
parative ease of the last representative of David was yet further ^ 
enlarged with the tale how he sat with his fellow-exiles on the 
banks of the Euphrates and listened to Baruch,^ who himself 
had meanwhile been transported hither from Egypt ^ — or how 
that he married a beautiful countrywoman of the name of 
Susanna/ or * the lily/ the daughter of one bearing the honoured 
name of Hilkiah — that he lived in affluence,^ holding a little 
court of his own, with judges from the elders as in the ancient 
times, to which his countrymen resorted ; with one of the 
Babylonian sparks' or * paradises' adjoining to his house ; 
surrounded by walls and gates ; and adorned with fountains, 
ilexes, and lentisks.^ It was believed that on this spot, at a 
short distance from Babylon, at the ^ Cunaxa ' of the defeat of 
Cyrus the younger, he had established a synagogue which was 
long known. And, although from some of the accounts it 
might seem as if he had been literally the only heir of David's 
lineage, yet it would seem from others that there was a princely 
personage born or adopted into his house, Salathiel, whose son 
had become so Babylonian as to have borne a Chaldaean name 
for both his titles — Zerubbabel and Sheshbazzar.'^ So, too, 
there was the Benjamite family which traced its descent from 
an exile who had accompanied Jehoiachin, and of which the 
two most illustrious members both bore foreign names, Mordecai 
and Esther.^ 

Such, also, was the tale which narrates how, in the Court of 
Babylon, there were four children of surpassing beauty, placed,^ 

* Africanus (Routh, Rel. Sac. ii. 113). ' Hist, of Susanna, 4, 7, 15, 54, 58. That 
' Baruch i. 3. ' Jos. Ant. x. 9, 7 this whole story is a later fiction, with what- 

* History of Susanna, i, 2, 4, 5, 6. ever ground in earlier traditions, appears 

* This was the beginning of the office of at once from the Greek play on the words 
* the Prince of the Captivity,' HesA Golak, (see note after Lecture XLII). But the 
in Greek ^chmalotarcha ', as there was remains of * la chaste Susanne de Babylon ' 
at Alexandria the corresponding chief are still shown in the Cathedral of Tou- 
called Alabarch and at Antioch Ethnarch, louse. ' See Lectiu-e XLII. 
and afterwards in the different settlements ® See Lecture XLV. 

Patriarch. Prideaux, ii. 249 ; i. 120. ® Jos. Ant, x. 10, i. 

LECT. xLf. DANIEL. 21 

according to the cruel custom of the East, in the harem under 
the charge of the Master of the Eunuchs — who filled high 
places amongst the priestly or the learned class, and ex- 
The Four changed their Hebrew names for Chaldaean^ appel- 
Chiidren. lations, one becoming Belteshazzar (Bilat-sarra- 
utsur, *may Beltis,^ the female Bel, * defend the king!'), 
another * the Servant of Nebo ' (Abed-nego) ; the two others, 
Shadrach and Meshach, of which the meaning has not been 
ascertained. They were allowed to take part in the govern- 
ment of Chaldsea, and were to all actual appearance officers of 
the great Imperial Court. Their very dress is described as 
Assyrian or Babylonian, not Palestinian — turbans, trowsers, and 

There is no improbability in the favour shown to these 
Jewish foreigners, first, or, at any rate, first since Joseph, of 
that long succession of Israelites who, by the singular 
^**' gifts of their race, have at various intervals, from 
that time down to the present day, mounted to the highest 
places of Oriental or European States. But, towering high 
above the rest, the Jewish patriots of nearly four centuries later 
looked back to one venerable figure, whose life ^ was supposed 
to cover the whole period of the exile, and to fill its whole 
horizon. His career is wrapped in mystery and contradiction 
— not a prophet, yet something greater— historical, yet un- 
questionably enveloped in a cloud of legend. Whilst the 
Chaldaean names of the three younger youths have almost 
superseded their Hebrew designations, the Hebrew name of 
the elder, Daniel — *the Divine Judge' — has stood its ground 
against the high-sounding title of Belteshazzar. It may seem 
to have corresponded with those gifts which have made his 
name famous, whether in the earlier or in the later version of 
his story. That which Ezekiel had heard was as of one from * 
whose transcendent wisdom no secret could be hid — who was 

* See a full discussion of these names in " According to the Jewish tradition he 

the Speaker's Commeniary on Daniel, p. was bom at Upper Bethhoron ; a spare, 

243-246. dry? tall figure, with a beautiful expression. 

^ Dan. iii. 21 ; Herod. I 195, with Raw- (Fabricius, 1124.) 

linson's notes. * Earek, xiv. 14 ; xxviii. 3. 

22 THE EXILES. lbc3T. xm. 

on a level with the great oracles of antiquity. That which first 
brings him into notice in the opening pages of the Greek and 
Latin Book of Daniel is the wisdom ^ with which, by his judg- 
ment of the profligate elders, he * was had in great reputation 

* among the people.' He is, to all outward appearance, an 
Eastern sage rather than a Hebrew Prophet. Well did the 
traditions of his countrymen represent him as the architect of 
Ecbatana or even of Susa, as buried in state — not, like the 
other saints of the Captivity, in a solitary sepulchre, but in the 
stately tower which he himself had built, in the tombs of the 
kings of Persia. 2 Well did the mediseval legends make 
him the arch- wizard and interpreter of dreams. ^ Rightly did 
the Carthusian artist at Dijon represent him amongst his ex- 
quisite figures of the Prophets in the garb, posture, and physi- 
ognomy of an Oriental Magnate. Fitly did Bishop Ken,^ when 
he wished to portray an ideal courtier before the Stuart Kings, 
take * the man ' greatly beloved : * Not of the sacerdotal, 

* but royal line ; not only a courtier, but a favourite ; not only 

* a courtier and a favourite, but a minister ; ' — * one that kept 

* his station in the greatest of revolutions,' * reconciling policy 

* and religion, business and devotion, magnanimity and hu- 

* mility, authority and affability, conversation and retirement, 

* interest and integrity. Heaven and the Court, the favour of 

* God and the favour of the king.' 

HI. Such was the general condition of the Israelite exiles. 
It is marked by several clear peculiarities. 

I. The first characteristic of the time is one which seems 
inconsistent with the quiet settlement just described. 

It is the poignant grief as of personal calamity that broods 
over its literature. 

The Hebrew word for * the Captivity,' unlike the Greek 
word, expresses a bitter sense of bereavement : * Guloth ' — 
'stripped bare.' ^ They were stripped bare of their country 

* It is the story of Susannah, doubtless, * come to judgment.' ' Jos. Ant. x. ii, 7. 

which gives occasion to the exclamation in * Fabricius, Codex Pseudep. 1134-1136. 

the Merchant of Venice which has made * Ken, Prose IVorks, 144, 169, 171. 

his name proverbial in English : * A Daniel * The same word as in Golan, Gaulanitis, 


and of their sanctuary ; almost, it would seem, of their God. 
The Psalms of the time answer to the groans of Ezekiel, the 
Xheir Lamentations of Jeremiah, as deep to deep. It 

desolation. ^j|j ^^ j^^^j j-q f^^^^ another sorrow that has vented 
itself in so loud, so plaintive, so long- protracted a wail. We 
hear the dirge over the perpetual desolation ^ which envelopes 
the ruins of Jerusalem. We catch the * Last Sigh ' of the 
exiles as they are carried away beyond the ridge of Hernion.^ 
We see the groups of fugitive stragglers in the desert, cut off 
by the sword of robbers, or attacked by the beasts of prey, or 
perishing of disease in cavern ^ or solitary fortress. We see 
them in the places of their final settlement, often lodged in 
dungeons with * insufficient food, loaded with contumely ; 
their faces spat upon ; their hair torn off ; their backs torn 
with the lash. We see them in that anguish, so difficult for 
Western nations to conceive, but still made intelligible by the 
horror of a Brahmin suddenly confronted with objects polluting 
to his caste, or a Mussulman inadvertently touching swine's 
flesh ; when they were brought into an enforced contact with 
the unaccustomed food or cookery of the Gentile nations, 
which was as repugnant as the most loathsome filth or refuse of 
common life,^ and preferred the most insipid nourishment 
rather than incur the possible defilement of a sumptuous feast. 
We hear the songs which w^ent up from their harps, whenever 
the foreigner was not present, blending tender reminiscences of 
their lost country with fierce imprecations on those cruel 
kinsmen who had joined in her downfall, with fond anticipa- 
tions that their wrongs would at last be avenged.^ We catch 
the passionate cry which went up *out^ of the 
oftheCap-^ * depths,' in which the soul of the people threw itself 
*'^"^* on the Divine forgiveness, and waited for deliverance 

with that eager longing which filled the sentinels on the Temple 
wall who were wont of old time to watch and watch again for the 

' Isa. xliii. 28 ; xHx. 16-19 ; U- 17-19 ; 13-21 ; liii. Jer. 1. 7-17. Psalm cxxix. 3 ; 

Hi. 9 ; Iviii. 12 ; Ixii. 6 (Ewald, v. 6). cxxiii. 4 ; cxxiv. 7 (Ewald, v. 7). 

* Psalm xlii. 6 ; see Lecture XL. * Ezek. iv. 12-15 O'^* 6). Dan. i. 5-K. 

* Ezek. xxxiil. 27 (Ewald, v. 6). • Psalm cxxxvii. Jeremiah, 1. a. 

* Isa. xli. z4 ; xlii. 22 ; xlvii. 6 ; 1. 6 ; U. ' Psalm cxxx. 

24 THE EXILES. lkct. xli. 

first rays of the eastern dawn. No other known period ^ is so 
likely to have produced that ' prayer of the afflicted when he is 
' overwhelmed and poureth forth his complaint ' before the 
Divine Comforter, when the nation, or at least its most 
oppressed citizens, could compare themselves only to the 
slowly- dying brand on the deserted hearth, or to the pelican 
standing by the desert pool, pensively leaning its bill against its 
breast, or to the moping owl haunting some desolate ruin, or to 
the solitary thrush, ^ pouring forth its melancholy note on the 
housetop, apart from its fellows, or to the ever-lengthening 
shadow of the evening, or to the blade of grass withered by the 
scorching sun. There ^ were the insults of the oppressors, 
there were the bitter tears which dropped into their daily 
beverage, the ashes which mingled with their daily bread ; 
there was the tenacious remembrance which clung to the very 
stones and dust of their native city ; there was the hope that, 
even before that generation was past, her restoration would be 
accomplished, but, if not, there remained the one consolation 
that, even if their own eyes failed to see the day, it would be 
brought about in the eternity of that Wisdom which remained 
whilst all outward things were changed as the fashion of a 
vesture.^ And, again, there are more ancient songs, sometimes 
of scornful derision, sometimes of penitence, sometimes of 
bitter recrimination, which would seem to have been seized by 
the captives of Babylon and applied to their own condition, 
and incorporated into it, by adding the burden never ^ absent 
from their thoughts. * Build Thou the walls of Jerusalem. ' 

* Oh, that salvation would come out of Zion ! when God 

* bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, 

* and Israel shall be glad.' * God will save Zion, and will build 

* the cities of Judah : that they may dwell there, and have it in 

* possession.' 

It is this feeling which renders the history of the Exile or 
Captivity capable of such wide application. It is, if one may 

^ Psalm cii. 3, 4, 6, 7-1 1. which seems more applicable to the Mac- 

■■• See * Sparrow * in Dictionary of the cabjean age. * Psalm cii. 8, 14, 24-28. 

Bible, p. 1315. * Psalms li. 18, 19 : xiv. andliii. 6; Ixix. 

■ Psalm cii. 8. This is the only verse 35, 36. 


so say, the expression of the Divine condescension to all those 
feelings of loneliness, of desolation, of craving after sympathy, 
which are the peculiar and perpetual lot of some, but to which 
all are liable from time to time. The Psalms which express, 
the Prophecies which console, the history which records, these 
sorrows of the exiled Israelites are the portions of the Hebrew 
Bible which, if only as the echo of our own thoughts, have 
always sounded gratefully to the weary heart. When the 
English residents in Lucknow were reduced to the last ex- 
tremity of want and of despair during their long siege, the one 
word of comfort which broke in upon their misery was a page 
containing a fragment of the consolations with which the 
Evangelical Prophet strove to cheer the captives of Babylon.^ 
Want of friendly companionship, the bitter pain of eating the 
bread of strangers, the separation from familiar and well-known 
objects, here are woven into the very heart of the Sacred Books. 

* Prosperity,' says Lord Bacon, *is the blessing of the Old 

* Testament, and adversity is the promise of the New.' 'Yet,' 
as the wise man adds, * even in the Old Testament you shall 
'hear as many hearse-like airs as carols.' It is now that this 
sacredness of adversity first clearly appears. The tragic fates 
of Jeremiah and Ezekiel in its opening scene were living ex- 
amples of the truth that virtue could be revered and honoured 
in the depths of national disaster and personal sorrow no less 
The Man of than from the height of victory and of splendour. 
Sorrows. j|^g figure uudcr which, in the most striking prophecy 
of this period, the Anointed, the Chosen of the Eternal, ap- 
pears is of a Servant or Slave deeply afflicted, ^ smitten of God, 
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. The Messiah of 
glory had long been looked for, but now began to fade away. 
It is from this epoch that the Jewish people could first dis- 
tinctly conceive an Ideal of humiliation and suffering. Judaea 
seated, not beneath her native palm, but beneath the Euphratean 
willow or poplar, is the first exemplification of that sad vision 
which reached its highest consummation in those scenes of 

^ Isa. li. 11-14. See the story in Kaye's History of the Indian Mutiny^ iii. 483. 
» Isa. Uii. 3i 4> 5- 

26 THE EXILES. lbct. xlt. 

lacred suffering, that * Divine depth of sorrow ' when the first 
Evangelist saw its accompHshment in the tender sympathy 
with the various forms of sickness ^ and infirmity on the hills of 
Galilee ; when Philip pointed out to the Ethiopian Chamber- 
lain 2 its resemblance to the majestic silence and the untimely 
death which had lately been enacted at Jerusalem ; when ^ 
Peter comforted the slaves of the hard Roman taskmasters by 
reminding them of Him whose flesh was torn by stripes as cruel 
as those to which they were daily exposed. 

The more vividly that dehneation of the afflicted Servant 
resembles the Prophet or Prophets of the Captivity, the Israel 
within an Israel in that sorrowful time, the more clearly will it 
be made manifest that the application of it in the ultimate stage 
of the story of Israel to the Prophet of Prophets — suffering 
with and for his people, — is no arbitrary fancy, but the fulfilment 
of the same moral law, which, as Butler has well pointed out, 
pervades the whole nature and history of man.'^ 'The soft 

* answer which restores good humour in a casual conversation ; 

* the forbearance with which the statesman meets the ignorances 
*and prejudices, the censures and the slanders, of those to 
' whom he only sues for leave to do them good ; are but in- 
' stances of an universal law of man's constitution, discoverable 
' in all human relationships, and which enacts that men can, 
' and do, endure the evil doings of their brethren, in such sort 
*that, through that endurance on the part of the innocent, the 

* guilty are freed from the power of their ill deeds. There is 

* hardly anyone but has known some household in which, year 

* after year, selfishness and worldliness, and want of family 
' affection, have been apparent enough ; and yet, instead of the 

* moral shipwreck which might have been expected, and the 

* Matt, viii, 17. ' Acts viii. 32, 33. * pains, and labour, and suffering to our- 

* I Pet. ii. 24. * selves.* {Analogy, c. v.) This is the 

* ' Men by their follies run themselves m'^dern equivalent of the Hebrew ex- 
into extreme distress, which would be pression, ' It pleased the Eternal to bruise 
fatal to them, were it not for the inter- ' him : he was wounded for our transgres- 
position and assistance of others. God ' sion.' In this sense the historical mean- 
commands by the law of Nature that we ing of Isa. liii. i-io is the best explanation 
aFord them this assistance in many cases of its application to the sufferings of Christ, 
where we cannot do it without very g^reat Compare Col. i, 15. 


* final moral ruin of the various members, the original bond oif 

* union has held together : there has plainly been some counter- 

* acting, redeeming power at work. And when we look to see 
'what is that redeeming power, ever at work for those who 
' know and care nothing about it, we always find that there is 
*some member of that family — oftenest the wife or mother — 

* who is silently bearing all things, believing all things, hoping 
*all things, for them, but for her or himself expecting little or 

* nothing in this world, but the rest of the grave. Such a one 

* is really bearing the sins of that household : it is no forensic 

* phrase transferred by way of illustration from the practice of 

* the law courts ; but a fact, a vital formation, actually taking 

* place, here, under our very eyes. He who has seen and 

* understood this fact, in any one of its common, daily, shapes, 

* needs no commentary ' ^ on the realisation of the Man of 
Sorrows, alike in the suffering Prophet or People of the Cap- 
tivity, and in the Divine Sufferer on Calvary. 

2. In one visible and incontestable form ^ the purification 
of the national character by calamity appeared at once. Jeru- 
salem was lost. The Holy Place where their fathers worshipped 
was burnt with fire. The holy cities throughout the Holy 
Land w^ere a wilderness. All their pleasant or regal things 
were laid waste. ^ The venerable summits of their thousand 
hills, the green circles of their consecrated groves, the hallowed 
clifts of the rocks, the smooth stones of the brooks,* on which 
they poured their libations, were no longer theirs. In un- 
expected ways this bereavement worked back upon 
tion of Poly- their national life. It broke the fascination of the 
t eism. idolatry of Canaan. It has been disputed of late 
whether the Semitic race has or has not an exclusive instinct 
of monotheism. It would appear from the Israelite history 
that at least in Palestine there was a direct tendency to the 
contrary. Only by a constant and energetic struggle could the 
Jewish people be kept from giving way to the natural seductions 
of the kindred nations — it might almost be said, of the outward 

^ Sir E. Straxkey's If ei>rezvFoitiics, 344. Israel, 261. 

" Se« Hiuig, Geschichte des Volkes * Isa, Ixiv. 10, 11, 12, * Ibid, Ivii. 5, 6. 

28 THE EXILES. lbct. xli. 

scenes, the hill-tops, the green trees, among which they dwelt 
But ' the nests were now pulled down and the rooks had flown 
'away.' It was not till the connexion with their native soil 
was snapped rudely asunder by exile that the belief in One 
God, as if freed from the dangerous associations of that soil, 
rose at once into the first place. The nation, as it were, went 
into retreat, and performed penance for its long errors and sins. 
Before this time there had been but one fast- day m the Jewish 
ritual, that of 'the great day of atonement.' But henceforth 
there were added four new periods of humiliation, all connected 
with this epoch, and all carrying on, even to this day, the re- 
newal of their contrition and their sorrow, for the beginning 
and end of the siege, for the burning of the Temple, and for 
the murder of the last Judsean prince. ^ From this time forward 
the national bias was changed. They leaped over the whole 
intervening period of the mixed glories of David and Solomon, 
and found the ideal of their religion in their first ^ father 
Abraham. It was like the impulse with which the Christian 
world in the sixteenth century sprang back over the whole of 
the Middle Ages to the Primitive or the Apostolical times. It 
was the Puritanism of the Jewish Church. TheiV iconoclastic 
fervour became the channel of their future fanaticism, as their 
purer monotheism became the seed-plot of Christianity. It 
seemed as though the identification of Polytheism with the 
odious thought of the Babylonian exile and oppression had 
destroyed its spell, even as the fires of Smithfield disenchanted 
the English people of the charm of the Roman Church and 
turned them into zealous adherents of the Reformation. The 
Babylonian worship was in form very different from that of the 
Grecian mythology. But it was the recoil against its extrava- 
gances which braced the mind of the Jewish nation to resist the 
seductions of the Macedonian conquerors, three centuries later, 
and accordingly the sentiments of the two periods run into each 

* Zech. vii. 5 ; viii. ig. 2 Kings xxv. 7-14. Isa. xlviii. 18, 19 ; xlii. 23, 25 ; Ixiii. 
8-25. Jer. xl. 1. : lii. 4, 12 (Ewald, v. 22). 10. Ezra ix. 6, 7, 13, 15. Neh. i. 6 ; ix. 
See Lectures XL. and XLIIL 7-37 ; xiii. 18, 26. M-al. iii. 7 (Ewald, v. 

* Isa. li. 2 ; xli. 8. Zech i. 2 -5 ; vii. 22), 


Other. The scenes which belong to the period of the Captivity 
are made the framework of the patriotic exhortations of the 
War of Independence. The literature of those exhortations 
throws itself back without effort into the sufferings of the exiles. 
It is from the writings, contemporary or subsequent, of this 
period that there has come down the bitter scorn, the uncom- 
promising defiance, which have served as the examples of every 
like protest, of the Maccabees, of the early Christians, of the 
Waldenses, of the Huguenots, of the Puritans. There is nothing 
in the earlier sacred writings, if we except the fierce taunts of 
Elijah, to equal the sarcastic invectives levelled against the 
folly and futility of idol-worship, such as breathe through the 
stories or strains of the Captivity. Nowhere is there a bolder 
invocation of reason and conscience against the external autho- 
rity and form of religion than in the solemn yet disdainful 
appeal made by the Evangelical Prophet to the common sense 
of the artificers ' of a sacred image — detailing the whole process 
of its manufacture, and closing with the indignant question : 
* Is there not a lie in my right hand ? * Many are the modern 
ecclesiastical idols of what Bacon calls * the Market place ' and 
*the Den' — of words, and of ceremonies — which would be 
dissolved by passing through the crucible of the like searching 
analysis into their origin and composition. In the later books 
which treat of the same epoch the same attack is sustained 
almost with the fierceness of the sixteenth century against the 
priestcraft which makes its sordid gains out of the pious im- 
postures, and against the impotency of the impostures them- 
selves. In the apocryphal Epistle of Jeremiah ^ we have the 
complete picture of the religious processions through the streets 
of Babylon, images plated with gold and silver, clothed in 
purple, with gilt crowns on their heads ; followed and preceded 
by crowds of worshippers. We see them, too, in their temples, 
with sword and battle-axe in their hands,^ covered with the 
dust stirred up by the feet of pilgrims, blackened with the 
smoke of incense or candle or with the rust which gathers over 
ancient gold ; we see the bats, the swallows, and the cats that 

' Isa. xiiv. 9-20. ' Baruch vi. 4, 12, 73. " fi. 15, 20, 23, 34. 

30 THE EXILES. lbct. xli. 

creep about the corners of the temple ; we hear the affected 
lamentations of the Priests, with their rent clothes,^ shaven 
beards and loud screams, and the feasts placed before them, the 
doors locked against intruders.^ We are invited to look at the 
petty pilferings of the establishment by the sacred attendants. 
And then, in the yet later book of the Greek Daniel, we are 
shown the whole machinery of fraud which was at work in 
those sumptuous chapels at the summit and base of the Temple 
of Bel, which Herodotus saw, himself not without suspicion of 
foul intrigue — the enormous feasts on the vast golden tables — 
the seventy Priests with their families — the secret door by which 
they carried out their plots. ^ These stories have the very ring 
of the early Christian or the early Protestant iconoclasts, at 
once in the grotesqueness and the energy of their tone. But 
there was even in these dark reminiscences of Babylon the 
nobler feeling that it is not merely by negation that the false 
can be driven out, but by the fullest assertion of the true. 
Here again we have the sentiment of the time expressed both 
in a later, and in a contemporaneous form. Legendary and 
late though it be, a gifted teacher of our time has loved again 
and again to call attention to the Song ^ of the Three Children, 
the hymn called ' Benedicite,' as the very crown and flower of 
the Old Testament, as containing the fullest protest against 
idolatry, and for the simplicity of the true religion. If so 
intended, it is indeed a fruitful and elevating thought that this 
supreme denial of the Gods of Babylonia, the Gods of sun, and 
stars, and moon, and earth, and sea, was expressed, not by a 
mere contradiction, but by a positive invocation of all that is 
beautiful and holy and great in nature and man to join in the 
perpetual benediction, praise, and exaltation of the supreme 
source of all beauty, strength, and power. And in the Evan- 
gelical Prophet, close upon this time, it is yet more vividly set 
forth, in a bold and striking metaphor, how in such dread 
extremities, whether of man or of nations, the primitive and 

* Baruch vi. 31, 32, and 33. in the Hebrew, so in the Greek, Daniel, 

• lb. 28, 29. the local allusions are mostly correct. 

' Bel and the Dragon, 3, 10, 13, 14, 15. * Kingsley's Good News of God, p. 29. 

Compare Herodotus, i. i8i, 182, 183. As Westminster Abbey SerpHons^ p. xiii. 


fundamental truths of religion reassert their power. The 
Eternal Supreme, as it were, takes His place by an irresistible 
movement^ *Too long in the turmoil of the world's great 
' race had He held silence and restrained Himself — too long 

* permitted His name to be despised and rejected among the 

* nations of the earth. Now He neither would nor could hold 
' His peace any longer : with the thunder of His voice He could 
' make the earth tremble from end to end, and step into the 

* battle as the only true and eternal hero, to re-establish, even 
*■ though by the profoundest perturbation that could no longer 

* be avoided, and by the conflict of all the gravest forces, the 
'eternal right that had been overthrown.' " I am ^ He ; before 

* Me was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I 
'will work, and who shall hinder it?"' 'Hast^ thou not 
' known ? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the 
'Eternal, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, 
' neither is weary ? there is no searching of His understanding. 

* He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might 

* he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint, and the 
' young warriors shall utterly fall. But they that wait on the 
' Eternal shall renew their strength ; they shall mount up with 
' wings as eagles ; they shall walk and not be weary ; they shall 
'run and not faint' The ancient truths are able to bear all 
and more than all the burden which the new age can lay upon 

3. With this conviction naturally sprang up that strong 
sense of individual conscience and responsibility which Ezekiel * 
had so profoundly expressed. 'The soul that 
denceof ' siuneth, it shall die. The soul that doeth right- 
' eously, it shall live.' Nowhere in the whole of the 
Hebrew records (with the exception, perhaps, of the narrative 
of Elijah) is this perception of the grandeur of solitary virtue 
brought out so strongly as in the three stories of the Book of 
Daniel, which have enshrined this sentiment of the Captivity, 
and which in the early ages of the Christian Church were 

' Ewald, V. 53. ■ Isa. xl. 28-31 (Heb.). 

• Isa. xliii. 10-13. Eiekiel xvUi. 4, 9. See Lecture XL. 

32 THE EXILES. lbct. xli. 

the three scenes which most visibly encouraged the early 

The first was the story of the young Jewish wife who, firm 

in the faith of an Almighty Judge, stood unmoved in the 

dreadful choice between death and dishonour. * I 

usanna. ^ ^^ Straitened on every side ; for if I do this thing, 

* it is death to me ; and if I do it not, I cannot escape your 
' hands. It is better for me to fall into your hands, and not 

* do it, than to sin in the sight of the Lord. . . . O Everlasting 

* God, that knowest the secrets and knowest all things before 

* they be .... behold I must die.' ^ So in the Catacombs 
stands the innocent lamb of the Church between the two foxes 
ready to devour her. 

The second was the story of the three youths, who, as in 
the later legend of Abraham and Nimrod, were to be thrown 
The Three ^^^^ ^^^ buming fiery furnace,^ destined to be the 
Children. instrument of terror to sufferers for conscience sake 
during so many ages. This, also in the Catacombs, and also 
in the immemorial usages of the Eastern Church, is the scene 
again and again repeated, of the three boys in all the peculi- 
arity of their Eastern costumes of Phrygian caps and Persian 
trowsers. Theirs were the words which the father^ of the 
Wesleys is reported to have used in reply to the unlawful order 
of James II. : 'O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to 

* answer thee in this matter. Be it known unto thee, O King, 
' that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image 
^ which thou hast set up.' This is the story which came with 
such a preternatural force from the lips of Fletcher^ of 
Madeiey to the poor peasant woman, trembling in fear of 
her ungodly home, and which by the poet of the ' Christian 

* Susannah, 22, 23, 42. In the Cata- spread Eastern tradition, localised on the 

combs the story is identified by the name mound opposite to the Birs-Nimrud, 

Susanna over the lamb, and Seniores over celebrated in the Syrian Church on 

the foxes. January 25, and incorporated into the 

" The death by fire is Chaldaean, as indi- Koran, xxi. 52-75. (See Lane's Selections^ 

cated in Jer. xxix. 22. The legend of p. 148.) 

Abraham's escape from the furnace of " Dan. iii. 16, 18. Macaulay's Hist, of 

Nimrod is by some supposed to be a result Eng. ii. 355. 

Df the mistranslation of * Ur {i.e. light or * Benson's Life of Fletcher^ ch. ix. 

' fire) of the Chald ecs.' But it is a wide- § 8. 

mcT. XLi. DANIEL. 33 

« Year ' has been so beautifully worked up into the needs of 
common life. 

When Persecution's torrent blaze 
Wraps the unshrinking Martyr's head ; 

When fade all eartftly flowers and bays, 
When summer friends are gone and fled, 

Is he alone in that dark hour 

Who owns the Lord of love and power ? 

The story of the Den of Lions ^ is told in three different 
Tersions, the one in Hebrew, most generally known, which 
places the incident under ' Darius the Mede ; ' the 
second, in Greek, which places it under Cyrus> in 
connexion with the intrigues of the f riests of Bel ; the third 
in John 2 of Malala, who places it also under Cyrus, from 
Daniel's refusal to answer the question W'hether he shall succeed 
against Croesus. It is the second of these which the early 
Christians of the Catacombs adopted when they painted the 
youth standing upright in prayer naked between the lions, and 
rescued by the flight of Habakkuk the Prophet from Pales- 
tine to Babylon, a grotesque addition to the Hebrew record, 
redeemed by the fine answer of the captive : * Thou hast 

* remembered me, O God, neither hast thou forsaken them 
'that seek thee and love thee.'^ 

But, as in the story of the Three Children, so in that of the 
Den of Lions, the element which has lived on with immortal 
vigour is that which tells how, when Daniel ^ knew ' that the 

* \\nriting was signed, he kneeled upon his knees three times a 
' day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he did 
'aforetime.' How often have these words confirmed the 
solitary protest not only in the Flavian Amphitheatre, but in 
the more ordinary, yet not more easy, task of maintaining the 
rights of conscience against arbitrary power or invidious insult ! 

* Dan. vi. Here again the local colour p. 567). The one sculpture that remains h 

is faithfully preserved. The herds of of a lion trampling on a man. 

lions which prowl round the ruins of " Fabricius, Codex Psetidep. 1129. 

Babylon might almost seem to make them * Bel and the Dragon, 33-39- 

its natural iiihabitants, like the bears of * Dan. vi. 10, See Arnold's Sermons, 

Berne (Layard's Nineveh and Babylon^ vol. iii. 265. 


34 THE EXILES. lbct. xli. 

How many an independent patriot or unpopular reformer has 
been nerved by them to resist the unreasonable commands of 
King or Priest ! How many a little boy at school has been 
strengthened by them for the effort when he has knelt down 
by his bedside for the first time to say his prayers in the 
presence of indifferent or scoffing companions ! If these stories 
were first written to sustain the Maccabean Jews, yet their 
impressive force is greatly strengthened by the scenes of 
Babylonian state in which they are embedded. The more ^ 
overpowering the grandeur of Babylon, the more absorbing the 
impulses of the outer world, so much the more striking, so 
jnuch the more needed, is the proof that the freedom of the 
human will, the sacredness of truth and duty, are loftier and 
nobler than all. The problem of the necessity of living in the 
midst of earthly influences and yet of escaping from their evil 
is difficult with an exceeding difficulty, and has been portrayed 
with wonderful power in one of the most profound and pene- 
trating ^ of modern poems. Yet it is not without solution. 
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the court of Nebuchad- 
nezzar, Daniel in the court of Darius, are the likenesses of ' the 

* small transfigured band whom the world cannot tame ; ' who, 
by faith in the Unseen, have in every age * stopped the mouths 
*of lions and quenched the violence of fire.'^ This was the 
example to those on whom, in all ages, in spirit if not in letter, 

* the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, 

* neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire passed 

* upon them ; ' but it was ' as it were a moist '* whistling wind,' 
and ^the form of the fourth, who walked with them in the 

* midst of the fire, was like a Son ^ of God.' 

Further, it is not without significance that the same 
isolation which nourished this independence in regard to 

' The colossal size of the golden image * Clough's Dij>sychus. 

in Dan. iii. i (whatever may be meant by ' Heb. xi. 33, 34. 

it) is quite in accordance with the golden * Song of the Three Children, verse 27. 

statue, 40 feet high, described by Diodorus, The ' astonishment ' of Nebuchadnezzar is 

ii. 9— probably of gilded wood. The plain in the LXX. made to follow on his hearing 

of Dura may be (as in the LXX.) ' a plain the hymn. 

'within the walls;' see Speaker's Com- ''Dan, iii. 25. (Heb., and Jerome ad 

mentary on Daniel^ p. 271. loc.) 


outward secular observances nourished an independence no 
less remarkable in regard to outward religious observances. 
Spirituality ^he Israelite mind was now weaned, to use the 
of Religion, expressiou of one of the nearly contemporary 
Psalms,^ not only from Pagan, but from Jewish objects of 
external worship. Whatever may have been the form of the 
revival of the Levitical code on the return to Palestine, how- 
ever minute the regulations afterwards engrafted upon it, it 
would seem as if the vast reaction of spiritual religion which it 
finally provoked had been anticipated in these earlier days in 
which the exiles were for the time raised to a higher sense of 
unseen things than ever before. The absence of any ritual or 
local form threw them back on their own hearts and con- 
sciences, to hold communion with Him who had thus declared 
to them by the overthrow of His earthly sanctuary that * the 

* Heaven only was His throne and the earth His footstool : ' 

* Where is the house that ye build unto me ? ' ^ * There was 

* at this time neither Prince or Prophet, or leader, or burnt- 

* offering or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense, or place to 

* sacrifice .... Nevertheless, in a contrite heart and an 
'humble spirit' they hoped *to be accepted.'^ From the 
very nature of the case the sacrificial system ceased. * Thou 
*hast not brought me the lambkins of thy burnt-offerings, 
' neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have 

* not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee 
*with incense.' "* 

Man's necessity is God's opportunity ; the loss of earthly 
ceremonial is the occasion for heavenward aspirations. And 
hence it is that from the Captivity dates, not indeed the first 
use, but the continued and frequent use of prayer ' as a potent 

* instrument for sustaining the nobler part of man,' as the chief 
access to the Invisible Divinity. Prayer now literally took the 
Importance pl^cc of their moming and evening ''sacrifice,' their 
of Prayer, momlng and evening ^ * incense ; ' now for the first 
time we hear of men ' kneeling upon their knees three times a 

» Psalm cxxxi. 2. ' Isa. Ixvi. i, 2. * Isa. xliii. 23. 

' Song of thft Three Children, verses 14, * Dan. ix. 3, 19. Psalm cxli. 2 is possibly 

15. earlier. 

D 2 

36 THE EXILES. lbct. xu. 

* day ' * praying and making supplication before God. Now for 
the first time assemblies for prayer and lamentation and praise, 
as afterwards in houses and synagogues, were gathered by the 
water- side — ' by the rivers of Babylon,' ^ — * by the river Ulai,' ^ 
— * by the river of Hiddekel,''* by the river of the Mesopo- 
tamian * Nile,' ^ to supply the place of the brazen laver of the 
Temple Courts. Now more distinctly than before do we hear 
of faithful worshippers in fixed forms of prayer ' setting their 

* faces unto the Lord their God, to seek by prayer and suppli- 
' cation that He would hear and do, hearken and forgive for 

* His own sake.' *The long prayers which henceforth appear 
*in the sacred books are only the reflection of the earnestness, 
'power, and constancy with which this most simple and 
' wonderful instrument for strengthening the spirit laid hold on 

* every branch of life.' ^ 

That which befell the Jewish people in their Babylonian 
exile has befallen them again in their European exile. When 
the eternal principles of spiritual worship are represented by the 
greatest master of modern fiction in the person of the Hebrew 
Maid of the twelfth century they are but the echo of what her 
ancestors might have sung on the banks of the Euphrates. 
When Spinoza, the excommunicated Jew of Amsterdam, in- 
sisted on those principles in the treatises which have been the 
fountains of modern philosophy and theology, he was but 
following in the footsteps of the Evangehcal Prophet. The 
overthrow of the Temple was needed yet a second time to start 
the soul alike of the Jewish and of the Christian Church 
afresh on its upward course. 

And not prayer only, but the homely acts of beneficence 
and kindness rose now for the first time to the full dignity of 
religious ordinances. Almsgiving steps into the 
of Alms- place of ceremonial purification, and kindliness mounts 
giving. ^^^^ ^^^ rank of conformity to the requirements of 

the law. These, also, four centuries later were hardened into 
mechanical observances. But in the times which are represented 

* Dan. vi. lo. ' Psalm cxxxVii. i. ^ Dan. viii. 24. * /3zV. x. 4. 

^ 7dzW. xii. 5, 6, 7. " Hid. ix. 3, 19. Ewald, v. 23, 24. 


by the book of Tobit such moral virtues are the natural and 
commendable substitutions for mere external forms. The 
advice of Tobit ^ to Tobias, the good ' father to the * good ^ 
son, is the counterpart of that which a Jewish ^ teacher of later 
days, addressing * the twelve tribes scattered abroad,' described 
as the pure and undeliled ' ritual ' of the true faith. 

And in the more direct warnings of the Evangelical Prophet 
we find the protest rising against the superstitions which already 
began to cling to the new and simpler religious observances, as 
before to the more complex. The whole external system of 
religion he criticises with a withering analysis. He declares 
generally the true sanctuary of the Invisible to be the human 
heart ; he shows that every item of the sacrificial worship may 
drift into a meaning exactly the reverse of that which the offerer 
imagines. It is possible for the consecrated ox to become as 
odious as a human victim, the unblemished sheep as profane 
as the unclean dog, the prescribed meat-offering as abominable 
as the blood of swine, the incense no better than that which is 
offered to idols.^ But he also has warned the coming genera- 
tions that the practice of devotion which this new era had 
inaugurated in commemoration of the recent calamities was 
itself liable to pass into the same hollowness and perversion as 
the system which it had begun to supersede. With a shout,* 
with the call as of a trumpet like to that with which in olden 
days solemn assemblies were convened, the Prophet warns the 
worshippers against heedlessly frequenting them. The black 
sackcloth, the couch of ashes, the pendulous movement of the 
head to and fro, after the mechanical fashion of Eastern devotees, 
corresponding to the upturned eyes and folded hands and 
demure demeanour of the West, were to him objects of a 
mockery hardly less keen than he directs against the heathen 
idols. The fast of the true religion consisted, according to his 
doctrine, in the moral duties of giving freedom to the slave, 

* Tobit iv. 3-20. * and to keep himself unspotted from the 

* James i. 1-27. 'The pure and un- 'world.' 

* defiled " ritual " cf religion is to visit the * Isa. Ixvi. 1-3. 

' fatherless and widows in their affliction, * Ibid. Iviii. 1-12. 

38 THE EXILES. lbct. xli. 

provision to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, and hospitality 
to kindred. 

4. There was yet one final result of the Captivity in which 
its outward and inward lessons were both combined. The 
The widen- coutact of the exiles with the conquering race, their 
ingofview. separation from their own country, the higher spiri- 
tual view of the Divine nature thus revealed, united in opening 
to them more widely the larger horizon of which before they 
had enjoyed but imperfect glimpses, and strengthened the 
conviction that the religion which they professed was not and 
could not be confined to one nation only. The son of the 
stranger was no longer to say that the Eternal had utterly 
separated him from His people : even the Priesthood was no 
longer to be confined to a Jewish tribe. ^ The truth was 
gradually dawning that the Unseen Divinity whom all the 
nations of the earth worshipped was, strange as it seemed to them, 
strange as it seems to many even now, essentially the same. 

Even in detail the impress of Babylon was stamped on the 
future of their race. Their vernacular tongue henceforth 
ceased to be Hebrew, and became instead the Aramaic or 
Chaldsean of the country of their exile. ^ The Aramaic dialect 
penetrated even into their sacred books. The Aramaic calendar, 
beginning with the autumn, with new names for the months, 
superseded the Hebrew calendar, which had begun with the 
spring.^ The lower arts of astrology and exorcism in all 
probability passed from Chaldaea into the Jewish usages, 
assuming at some critical periods of their history a strange 
predominance and a long persistency."* The imagery of Ezekiel 
and Daniel is taken direct from the gigantic figures, monster- 
headed, and with vast wings, that we see sculptured on the 
walls of Nineveh and Persepolis. But the effect on the general 
expansion of their mental ideas was yet more visible. Scattered 
as they were amongst foreign nations, they derived from this 

^ Isa. Ivi. 3 ; Ixvi, 21 (Ewald, v. 26). * Comp. Juvenal, Sat, iii. 13 ; vi. 541- 

' See the elaborate passage in Deutsch's 546 ; Acts xix. 13, 19 ; Matt. xii. 27 ; 

* Essay on the Targums ' {Refnains, 3«4), Layard's Nineveh and Babylon^ p. 510- 

* Kalisch's Comn:ientary, ii, 269, 513. 


intercourse sympathies and consolations which, hunaanly speak- 
ing, would have been impossible had they always been shut up 
within the narrow limits of Palestine. The fall of these ancient 
empires strikes a pang * of deep pity through the hearts of the 
Prophets, who in the previous generation would only have 
rejoiced in the judgment overtaking them. In this sense the 
visions of the Book of Daniel are not unsuitably placed in this 
new unfolding of the world's destinies. Part of that book, as 
we have seen, attaches itself to the events of the Captivity ; 
part of it, as we shall see, to the events of the Maccabaean age ; 
but the purpose of the whole is the expression of the universal 
plan of human history. It is not only the first germ of the 
apocalyptic literature, which expanded through the Sibylline 
oracles, and the Book of Enoch, into the kindred writings, 
canonical or apocryphal, of the Christian era, but it is the first 
The Phiio- attempt, rude and simple, but most impressive, at a 
lifs^ory^in Philosophy of History — the first forerunner of Herder 
Daniel; g^d Lcssiug and Hegel. However we date or 
interpret the details of the four Empires, each with its guardian 
spirit, we see in them the first perception of the continuous 
succession of ages — the recognition of the truth that the 
nations of the earth are not merely to be regarded in relation 
to the Jewish people, as by the older Prophets, but to be 
watched for their own sakes — the appreciation of the instructive 
fact that the story of humanity is that of a regular development 
of epochs, one growing out of another, cause leading to effect, 
race following race, and empire following empire,^ on a majestic 
plan, in which the Divine Economy is as deeply concerned as 
in the fate of the Chosen People. 

Although many of the details of these visions point to a far 
later date for their combination as exhibited in the Book of 
Daniel, there is a singular congruity in fixing the scene of their 

* See Lecture XL. Babylonian, Median, Persian, and Greek ; 

' Comp. Jos. Ant. x. ix, 7. This or, with Dr. Pusey, the Babylonian, 
general view of Daniel's vision of the four Persian, Greek, and Roman ; or, with 
empires remains the same whether, with Mr. Desprez and Dr. Williams, the Baby- 
Ewald and Bunsen, we make it to be the Ionian, Persian, Macedonian, and Grae co- 
Assyrian, Babylonian, Median, and Syrian. 
Persian ; or, with Dr. Westcott, the 

40 THE EXILES. lect. xli. 

first appearance at this particular crisis. In no other point of 
view could a seer so well be placed for the survey of the various 
Powers which were to succeed the Babylonian Empire on the 
stage of Asiatic history. But apart from these doubtful 
Second though magnificent visions, there remains the un- 

isaiah. questioned elevation of the whole political horizon 

of the Jews as seen in the Evangelical Prophet, of whose writings 
it has been well said that they possess, *not only a religious and 

* poetical, but an historical interest of the highest order, for 

* they mark the very point where the Jewish history is caught 
' in the current of the wars and policy of a rising imperial power, 
*is carried into the great open stream of the world's history, 

* never again to be separated from it' ^ 

In his delineations of the future glory of the restored Jeru- 
salem the prospect opens on both sides. On the remote out 
skirts of the East the Prophet sees the troops of 
East and° the cudlcss caravaus ; the waving necks, the laden 
^^^'* humps of the camels and the dromedaries bearing 

the gold and frankincense, the fleets, as it were, of the desert ; 
the crowded flocks of Oriental sheep, with their sweeping tails, 
and the rams and goats with their stately horns, following their 
Arabian or Nabathean shepherds. All these were images 
familiar to those who dwelt amongst the immemorial usages of 
Asiatic life. But the Prophet turns suddenly round in the 
opposite direction, and sees from the Western horizon another 
procession moving, Hke clouds of birds through the air, the 
broken promontories of the Mediterranean dimly emerging like 
a vast archipelago — 'the islands,' as they appear to the inhabit- 
ants of the old continent of Asia ; he watches them loosed 
from their moorings in the ^gean or Tyrrhenian waters, and 
standing ready for the Divine command ; he sees the white 
wings of the sails of the Tyrian ships advancing from the 
distant Tarshish of Carthage and of Spain, and heading the 
argosies that are to bring in the treasures from the unexplored 
regions which only those hardy adventurers could reach. ^ 

* Matthew Arnold, The Great Prophecy of Israels Restoration^ p. xiv. 
* ha. Ix. 4-9. 


Thus is for the first time unfolded the strange and striking 
contact between the East and the West, which, even after the 
lapse of more than two thousand years, has never ceased to 
impress the imagination of mankind ; which inspired the 
Father of History with the motive idea of his great work ; 
which has given its peculiar and unique interest to the One 
Religion of after times, that, springing from the East, was 
developed to its full proportions only by travelling Westward. 
It is thus the Religion of the One Master who belongs to both 
— 'Jesus Christ,' — as He has been called by a gifted son of 
the far Oriental World — *the inheritance of Europe and of 
* Asia.' 1 

The sense that this prospect was beginning to open was 
quickened and deepened by the imminence of the great event 
which shall be described in the next Lecture. 

^ Keshub Chunder Sen's Essays. 

42 THE FALL OF BABYLON lbct. xm. 



The moment of the Jewish history which we have now reached 
coincides with one of the most strongly- marked epochs in the 
history of the world. As far as the course of human progress 
is concerned there have been three vast periods, of which two 
have already passed away. They may be called, in general 
terms, Primaeval History, Classical History, and Modern 
History. Each of these periods has its beginning, middle, and 
end — its ancient and modern stage — but the whole of each is 
marked by its own general characteristics. In the Primaeval 
History we must include all that series of events which begins 
with the first dawn of civilisation in Egypt and Meso- 

The End of . ^ . . . ^ . . ^ ^^-' \^ , . 

Primsevai potamia. It IS a period of which the Semitic races 
istory. (taking that word in its most extended sense) were 
the predominant elements of power and genius — the Assyrians 
at Nineveh, the Phoenicians in Tyre and Sidon and their distant 
colonies, the Israelites in Palestine, the Egyptians, though with 
infusion of other races, in the valley of the Nile, the Chaldaeans, 
though with a like heterogeneous infusion, on the banks of the 
Euphrates. Of these nations, with the single exception of the 
Israelites, we have, properly speaking, no history. Their 
manners and customs, their religion, the succession of their 
sovereigns, are known to us. But we have no continuous 
. . series of events ; although tlie knowledge of them 
of Classical is fullcr, through the investigations of the last fifty 
istory. years, than in former times, yet it is still shadowy, 
fragmentary, mythical. They are like the figures seen in the 
dreams of Sardanapalus, as depicted by the modern poet; 


here a mighty hunter or conqueror like Nimrod or Sesostris 
or Sennacherib, there a fierce and voluptuous queen like 
Semiramis — 

All along 
Of various aspects, but of one expression.* 

The time was now arrived when this giant age was to come to 
an end. It is the epoch in the Eastern World when we begin 
to discern the lineaments and traits of the first 
Amasfs^' teachers of further ^ Asia, whose careers are distinctly 
AcceSon of kuown to US, and whose influence still lives down to 
Sms' frJd** ^^^ ^^^ ^i"^^- ^^ *^^ Western World it is the date, 
Crcesus. almost to a year, when Grecian literature begins to 
Tarquinius throw its light far and wide on everything that it 
upet us. tQyches. Even in Egypt, Amasis is the first King of 
whose personal character we have any knowledge as distinct 
from the public acts,^ or the length of the reigns, of the other 
Pharaohs. In the same generation, even in the very same year, 
we meet the accession of two great potentates in Greece and in 
the Grecian colonies of Asia Minor — Pisistratus at Athens, 
Crcesus at Sardis. The same date brings us into the midst of 
the first authentic characters of Roman history in the reign of 
the Tarquins.3 From this time forward the classical world of 
Greece and Italy occupies the whole horizon of our thoughts, 
till its own days are numbered by the fall of Rome and the 
invasion of the German tribes, which was to usher in the period 
of Modern History in Europe. With a like catastrophe did 
the earlier epoch come to its conclusion, but in the continent 
which had been its chief seat — in Asia. 

And it is exactly this momentous juncture of secular history, 
this critical pause between the middle and the final epoch of 
Jewish history, at which we are now arrived. The fall of Jeru- 
salem coincides with the fall, or the beginning of the fall, of 
those ancient monarchies and nations which had occupied the 
attention of civilised man down to this time. We have already 

* Byron's Sardanapalus, act iv. scene i. * See Lecture XLV. 

• Kenrick's Egypi^ ii. 439. 

44 THE FALL OF BABYLON. iect. xm. 

seen how the chorus of the Jewish Prophets at the close of the 
monarchy prepared the way for the final overthrow of the oldest 
historic world, much as the Christian Fathers heralded the 
overthrow of the Graeco-Roman world. We have seen how ^ 
Ezekiel sat over against the grave of the nations, into which 
tribe after tribe, kingdom after kingdom, even the stately 
ship of Tyre, the cedar of Assyria, the venerable Egypt, went 
plunging down to the dark abyss where * the bloody corpses ' 

of the past, 

yet but green in earth, 
Lay festering in their shrouds. 

But now the oldest, the grandest of all was about to descend 
into the same sepulchral vault which had received all its prede- 
cessors and rivals. 

The event when it came to the Israelite captives could have 
been no surprise. It had been long foreseen by those who sang 
Theap- W the watcr-side.^ They were told how, even before 
Fait of °^ '^^ ^^^ Captivity, on occasion of a visit of homage which 
Babylon. the Jcwish King Zedekiah paid to Nebuchadnezzar 
in the early part of his reign, Jeremiah had recorded his detailed 
prediction of the overthrow of Babylon in a scroll, which he 
confided to Seraiah, brother of Baruch, himself a high ^ officer 
in the Judaean Court. Not till he reached the quays of the 
Euphrates was Seraiah to open and read the fatal record, with 
the warning that * Babylon shall sink, and shall not rise again 
* from the face of the evils that shall come upon her.' * Deep 
in its bed the mighty river was believed to have kept its secret 
as a pledge of the approaching doom. What that doom was 
the events now began to disclose. 

It will be our object to indicate the impression left by it 
on the Israelite spectators, the only spectators who, by means 
of these thrilling utterances, remain, as it were, the living wit- 
nesses of the whole transaction ; confirmed on the whole by the 

* Ezek. xxiv.-xxxli. See Lecture XL. ' chamber,' and therefore indispensable on 

* Psalm cxxxvii. 3. the journey. 

' Jer. li. 59. A. v. 'a quiet prince '— * Jer. li. 61-64 > xxix. 10. 

probably the 'officer of the king's bed- 


broken and scattered notices preserved in later Chaldsean annals, 
or gathered together by the Greeks who penetrated during the 
next century into Central Asia. 

It might have been thought difficult to imagine from what 
quarter the destroyer should come. The chief rivals of Baby- 
lon were gone. The dominions that had with it played their 
part on the battlefield of the nations had passed away, and the 
Empire of Nebuchadnezzar was left, as it seemed, in solitary 
and unassailable majesty. ' I have made completely strong the 
* defences of Babylon,' said Nebuchadnezzar in his great inscrip- 
tion ; * may it last ever ! ' ^ 

Not so. The prescient eye of the Hebrew Prophets was 
clearly fixed on that point of the horizon whence the storm 
would issue. There was a mightier wall even than 
Invasion, the walls of Babylon, with gates which could not be 
B.C. 539- opened and shut at the command of Princes, that 
runs across the centre of the whole Ancient World ; the back- 
bone alike of Europe and Asia. It begins in the far East with 
the Himalayas ; it attaches itself to the range of the diverging 
lines of the Zagros and Elburz ranges ; it unites them in the 
Imaus, the Caucasus, and the Taurus ; it reappears after a 
slight interruption in the range of Hsemus ; it melts into the 
Carpathian and Styrian mountains ; it rises again in the Alps ; 
it reaches its western buttress in the Pyrenees. 

On the southern side, on the sunny slopes of this gigantic 
barrier grew up the civilised nations of antiquity, the ancient 
monumental religions and polities of India, Mesopotamia, and 
Egypt, as afterwards, further west, the delicate yet powerful 
commonwealths of Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy. On the 
northern or darker side, behind this mighty screen, were 
restrained and nurtured the fierce tribes which have from time 
to time descended to scourge or regenerate the civilisation of 
the South. Such in later days have been the Gauls, the Goths, 
the Vandals, the Huns, the Tartars ; such, more nearly within 
the view of the age of which we are now speaking, the ^ Scythians ; 

' Standard Inscription, in Rawlinson's Herodotus, vol. ii. 586. 
' S«e Lectures XXXIX. and XL. 

46 THE FALL OF BABYLON. lect. xlii. 

and such was now, although in a somewhat milder form, the 
enemy to whom, as Tacitus in the days of Trajan already fixed 
his gaze with mingled fear and admiration on the tribes of 
Germany, so the Israelite Prophets looked for the development 
of the new crisis of the world. Already the Psalmist had seen 
that neither in the East nor West nor South, but in the North, 
was the seat of future change.^ Already Ezekiel had been 
startled by the vision ^ of the wild nomads pouring over the 
hills that had hitherto parted them from their destined prey. 
And now Jeremiah, and it may be some older prophet, heard 
yet more distinctly the gathering of war — an assembly of great 
nations against Babylon from the north country, with the resist- 
less weapons ^ for which all those races were famous. 

And now, yet more nearly, prophetic voices pointed not only 
to the north, but to the. eastern quarter of the north. Already 
on ' the bare hill-top ' a banner was raised and the call was 
gone forth ; there was a rushing sound as of multitudes ^ in the 
distant mountain valleys ; the shriek of alarm went up from the 
plains ; the faces of the terrified dwellers in Mesopotamia were 
lit up with a lurid glow of fear. 

It was the mighty race occupying the table-land between 
the two mountain-ranges of Zagros and Elburz, of which we 
have just spoken — the Median and Persian tribes now first 
rising into importance. That nation whose special education 
was to ride on horses, to shoot with the bow, and to speak the 
truth, ^ was now in full march against no less a prey than 
Babylon itself. 

Their bright 'arrows^ were the arrows of a mighty^ expert 

* man : the archers, the nation of archers, with their bows 

* all bent,' were gathering to camp against the city. They 
hold their bows and lances, they bend their bows and shoot 
and spare ^ no arrows. They are there with their splendid 

^ Psalm Ixxv. 6. " See Lecture XL. them as predictive and not merely descrip- 

* Jer. 1. g. tive of the fall of Babylon. Still, they 

* Isa. xiii. 2, 3 ; ii>. 4, 5. The question probably belong to the same general period 
of the date of Isa. xiii. i— xiv. 23, and of the Captivity, though incorporated in 
xxi. i-io stands on different grounds from the earlier part of the Book of Isaiah, 
that of the date of Isa. xl.-lxvi., and ^ Herodotus, i. 136. " Jer. 1. 9 ; li. 11, 
Ewald and Gesenius agree in regarding ''Ibid. 1. 14, 42. ^ Ibid. 1. 42. 


CYRUS. 47 

cavalry riding on horses in battle array ; they shout with their 
deafening war-cry.^ 

The force and energy with which their descent is described 
agrees with their significance in the history of the Eastern 
empires. ' With the appearance of the Persians,' says a brilliant 
French writer, *the movement of history begins and humanity 

* throws itself into that restless march of progress which hence- 
^ forth is never to cease. A vague instinct pushes them forward 

* to the conquest of all around them. They throw themselves 

* headlong on the Semitic races. They are not contented with 
*Asia. The East under them seems to migrate towards the 

* West. They do not halt even at the Hellespont, nor till they 
*have reached the shores of Salamis.'^ 

And not merely the nation, and the hour, but the very man 
was now in sight who should accomplish this great work. 

The fated hero had arisen, in the same eventful year of 
which we have already spoken, the year 560, twenty years after 
the beginning of the Jewish exile — Cyrus, or Koresh, 
^^^' or Khosroo, the King of the Persians. Already the 

Grecian colonies had felt his heavy hand : already Media had 
been absorbed into his dominion. On him the expectation of 
the nations was fixed. Would he be, like the other chiefs and 
princes of the age, a mere transient conqueror, or would he 
indeed be the Deliverer who should inaugurate the fall of the 
old and the rise of the new world ? * I have called the righteous 

* man from the East, the ravenous bird,' the eagle ^ of Persia, 
which long blazed on its standards. With no uncertain sound 
the greatest prophetic voice of the time marked him out as 
the one Anointed Prince,'* the expected Messiah alike of the 
Chosen People and of all the surrounding nations. 'Thus^ 
'saith the Eternal to Cyrus, whom I have anointed, whose 

* right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him. 

* Cyrus is my shepherd and shall perform all my pleasure.' 

' Jer. U. 14 ; I. 15. Pers. 205-210; Xen. Cyvop, vii. i. 

' A striking passage, though with some * See Lecture XL. 

exaggeration, from Quinet, G^nie des * Isa. xliv. 8 ; xlv. i. Comp. Dan 3b 

Religions, pp. 301, 302. «5. 

* Isa. xli. 2 ; xlvi, 11. Comp. ^sch. 

48 THE FALL OF BABYLON. lbct. xlii. 

The era of Persian glory which he ushered in, the empire 
which he founded, for that brief time, embraced all that there 
was of civilisation from the Himalayas to the ^gean sea. * For 
'one brilliant moment the Persian, like the Greek afterwards, 
* and the Roman at a still later time, was the central man of 
*the world.' ^ 

There was, indeed, everything which conspired to fit the 
new conqueror for this critical place in the history of the world 
and of the Church. To us, looking at the crisis from a distance 
that enables us to see the whole extent of the new era which 
he was to open, this poetic and historic fitness is full of deep 
significance. We are entering on an epoch when the Semitic 
race is to make way for the Aryan or Indo-Germanic nations, 
which, through Greece and Rome, are henceforth to sway 
the destiny of mankind. With these nations Cyrus, first of 
Asiatic potentates, is to enter into close relations — with Greece 
henceforth the fortunes of Persia will be inseparably bound up. 

Nay, yet more, of all the great nations of Central Asia, 
Persia alone is of the same stock as Greece and Rome and 
The repre- Germany. It was a true insight into the innermost 
fu^^A*^""^ °*^ heart of this vast movement which enabled the Pro- 

the Aryan 

races, phct, as wc havc seen, to discern in it not merely the 

blessing of his own people, but the union of the distant isles 
of the Western sea with the religion hitherto confined to the 
uplands of Asia. It was a moment Qf meeting between 
the race of Japheth and the race of .Shem, those meetings 
that have been truly said to be the turning-points of human 

Yet again, Cyrus, first of the ancient conquerors, appears 
in other than a merely despotic and destructive aspect. It can 
hardly be without foundation that both in Greek and Hebrew 
literature he is represented as the type of a just and gentle 
prince. In the Cyropaedia of Xenophon, however mingled with 
fiction, he appears, as no other barbaric sovereign that figured 
in Grecian story, humane, philosophic, religious. In the Jew- 
ish Prophet and Chronicler he is a Liberator and Benefactor 

' The * Wise Men,' by Dr. Upham, p. 115. 

uiCT. xLii. BELSHAZZAR. 49 

of Israel such as had never crossed their path. First of the 
great Asiatic kings, we can track him through the varying 
adventures of youth and age, from his cradle to his grave, and 
stand (as who could stand unmoved?) before the simple yet 
stately tomb of snow-white marble which still remains at Pasar- 
gadae, and once contained the golden coffin of * Cyrus the King, 

* the Achaemenian/ * 

But, yet more, he belongs to the only nation in the contem- 
The great porary world which, in any sense at all approaching 
Monotheist. ^^ ^j^^ Israelite, acknowledge the unity of the God- 
head. The religion of the Persians was, of all the Gentile forms 
of faith, the most simple and the most spiritual. Their abhor- 
rence of idols was pushed almost to fanaticism. ' They have 

* no images of the gods, no temples, no altars, and consider the 
*use of them a sign of folly.' This was Herodotus' account of 
the Persians of his own day, and it is fully borne out by what 
we know of their religion ^ and of their history. When Cyrus 
broke in upon Babylon, as when his son Cambyses broke in 
upon Egypt, as when Xerxes broke in upon Greece, it might 
almost have seemed as if the knell of Polytheism had been 
sounded throughout the world. 

Who or what was the Prince tnat reigned ^ over Babylon in 

this the supreme hour of her fate, or how long her defence was 

maintained against the invading army, we can only 

azzar. ^^^^^j.^^ ^jj.j^ difficulty amongst the conflicting ac- 
counts. The only king in whom, after Nebuchadnezzar, the 
Hebrew and the Chaldaean ^ annals clearly agree is Evil-Mero- 
dach, the liberator of Jehoiachin. Then come, in rapid suc- 
cession in the Chaldaean annals, Neriglissar,^ Laborosoarchod, 
and Nabu-nahid.^ In Herodotus the interval is filled by the 
one name of Labynetus,^ in the Book of Daniel ^ by the one 
name of Belshazzar, which, there alone preserved in written 

• RawUnson, iv. 294. 3, 13. 

' Ht rod. i. 131 ; see Rawlinson's Herodo- • This name appears on the monuments 

tus, vol. i., Essays. — probably ' Nebo blesses,' see Speaker's 

» See the long discussion in Keil ; and Commentary, p. 306. 

the Speaker's Commentary on Dan. v. i. ' RawUnson, i. 191, iii. 515, and notes on 

• Berosus, in Joseph, c. Ap. i. ao. Herodotus (vol. i. 525). 

• Probably Nergal Sharezer, Jer. xxxix. ' Dan. v. i. 

III. £ 

50 THE FALL OF BABYLON. lect. xlti. 

records, has recently received from the monuments a confirm- 
ation from the probability that it is the same as ^ Bil-shar-uzar, 
the son and colleague of Nabu-nahid. But * amongst all the 
' later reminiscences of the conquest of Babylon ^ one never-to- 

* be forgotten feature always rises above the rest, namely, the 
' amazing rapidity with which the victory was gained, and the 

* manner in which the whole Chaldsean supremacy was shattered 

* by it as at a single blow. The capture of Babylon in a single 

* night, while the Babylonians were celebrating in 
^'^' ^^ ' ' careless ease a luxurious feast, is the fixed kernel of 

* the tradition in all its forms ; and the outline of it in the Book 

* of Daniel stands out all the more boldly from the dark back- 

* ground, and casts a fiery glow upon the whole narrative.' ^ 

That faint * outline ' has taken a place in the solemn 
imagery of the world that no doubtfulness of details can ever 
efface or alter. ' There was the sound of revelry by 
night of * night ' in the streets of Babylon at some high festi- 
^ ^ ^"' val of Nebo or Merodach. Regardless of the dread 
extremity of their country and of the invading army round their 
walls, the whole population, through street and garden, through 
square and temple, were given up to the proverbial splendour 
and intoxication of the Babylonian feasts ; music, perfumes, 
gold and silver plate, nothing was wanting. In the midst 
and chief of this was the feast of the King, whom the Hebrew 
tradition called 'Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar.' On 
this fatal night he comes out from the usual seclusion of the 
Eastern ^ kings, and sits in the same hall with thousands of his 
nobles at a scene the likeness of which, even in our modern 
days, can be imagined by those who have seen the state 
banquets of the most Oriental of European potentates on the 
shores of the Neva or the Mosqua. Before them is the choice 
wine with which, from far countries, the Babylonian tables were 
laden. From the Temple of Bel, where they have been 
treasured up since the conqueror had carried them from Jerusa- 

* Probably * Bel protects the king.' See accounts in Herod, i. 190 ; Xenophoa. 

Speaker's Commentary, p. 308. Cyrop. vii. 5 and 15. 

"" Ewald, V. 50, 51. * Athenscus, Deipnos. iv. to. 
' Ibid. V. 51. Compare the Greek 

lacrp. XLii. BELSHAZZAR's FEAST. 5 1 

lem, are brought the vessels of gold and silver, the bowls and 
caldrons, and the spoons, the knives, the cups, which had been 
regarded by the Jewish nation as the very palladium of the 
State — alike the thirty chargers and thirty vases of gold which 
had been made for the 7 eraple of Solomon, and had continued 
there till the captivity of Jehoiachin, and the thousand chargers 
and four hundred basins of silver by which Zedekiah had 
supplied their place, and which were carried away in the final ^ 

Into them the wine is poured and drunk by the King, with 
his nobles, and with the women of his harem, who, according 
to the shameless custom ^ of the Babylonians, are present at 
the banquet. Round about are placed the images of the gods 
of wood and stone, of iron and brass, plated with gold and 

' In that same hour came forth the fingers of a man's hand 

* and wrote over against ' the great candlestick j^iiich lighted 
up the pale stucco on the wall of the Palace, to which '* the 
banqueting hall was attached, * and the King saw the part of 

* the hand which wrote.' Then follows the panic of the 
assembled spectators as they find themselves in the presence of 
an enigma which they cannot decipher. * I know,' said a great 
French scholar and philosopher in the Imperial Library cf Paris in 
the winter of 1870, * I know that I am turning over the leaf of a 

* fresh page in history, but what is on the page I cannot read.' 
Such is the perplexity described when the wisdom of all the 
world renowned learning of Babylon was summoned to in- 
terpret the writing, with the offer of the purple robe and golden 
chain of royal favour, and the next place in the kingdom after 
the two royal persons of the State. ^ Then appears the vener- 
able personage always regarded in Eastern Monarchies with 
especial reverence, the Queen Mother — the * Sultana Validd.' 

* Baruch, i. 8 ; Ezra i. 8, 9. See Lcc- and Babylon^ 651. 

ture XL. 475. * Perhaps meaning Belshazzar and Na- 

' Curtius V. I ; Herod, i. 499. bunadius (Speaker's Commentary, p. 30^*). 

* Isa. XXX. 22 ; xiiv. 13 ; Baruch vi. 4 ; But, as Nabunadius is not recognised in 
Jer, X 3-5. Daniel, the Queen Mother seeins more 

* Esther i. 5. But see Layard's Nineveh probable. 

52 THE FALL OF BABYLON. lect. xui. 

In this instance the respect would be enhanced if she may 
be identified with Nitocris,^ the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, 
herself the architect of some of the great outworks of the city. 

Once more, in her mouth, the all-transcending wisdom and 
judgment of Daniel is set forth, reviving and recalling from 
long seclusion, as after the manner of the East, the antique 
sage ^ or statesman of the former generation to rebuke the 
folly of the younger. And then, like Elijah before Ahab, like 
Tiresias before Creon in the Grecian drama, is brought the 
hoary seer, with his accumulated weight of years and honours 
to warn the terror-stricken King, and to read the decree of 
fate which no one else could interpret. Where the astrologer 
and the diviner had failed, true science had discovered the 
truth.^ Again and again have those mystic words been 
repeated, and will be repeated to the end of time ; yet never 
with more significance than on the occasion whence they are 
derived. They were, as befitted the city which claimed to be 
the mother of letters, not in mere signs or hieroglyphics, but in 
distinct Hebrew characters ; and through their brief and broken 
utterance there ran a double, treble significance. Mene ^ the 
first word, twice recorded, carried with it the judgment ^ that 
the days of the kingdom were numbered and ended ; Tekel pro- 
nounced the doom that it was weighed and found light ; Peres^^ 
the third, that it was divided djid^ given to \}i\^ Persians {Pharsin) 
— almost the ^ first appearance in history of that famous name 
which now, for the first time, stepped into the place of ' Elam,' 
and has never since been lost. 

"■ Herodotus, i. 185. ^ ' divided.* Mr. Aldis Wright suggests 

^ Comp. I Kings xil. 6 ; compare also that the original inscription ran perpen- 

the story of the Constantinopolitan Coun- dicularly, and was * Meni, Tekel, Medi u 

cil of State told in Essays on Church and * Pharsin ; ' and that iJ/^^/ was, by reading 

State, p. 195. it horizontally, mistaken for a reduplication 

'* Comp. Isa. xix. 3 (Ewald). oi Meni. 

* In LXX. and Josephus Mene is only ^ The same word for * division,' as ap- 

once. pears in Pharisee, 

"The variation between the various ' The substitution of PA^rj for ^/aw in 
versions suggests the probability that there the Book of Daniel, which it has in corn- 
was something anterior to all of them. (1) mon with all books after the Captivity, and 
In Dan. v. 25, Mene occurs twice ; in Dan. with none (unless we except Ezek. xxvii. 
V. 26, once. (2) In Dan. v. 25, it is And 10, xxxviii. 5) during or before, is one of 
to the Persians, as though something had the indications of its later date, 
dropped out. In Dan. v. 28 it is Per^Sj 


* In that same night was Belshazzar the King slain ' — so 
briefly and terribly is the narrative cut short in the Book of 
The capture Daniel. But from the contemporary authorities, or 
of Babylon. t^Qg^ q{ j-^e ^ext century, we are able to fill up some 
of the details as they were anticipated- or seen at the time. It 
may be that, as according to Berosus,^ the end was not without 
a struggle ; and that one or other of the kings who ruled over 
Babylon was killed in a hard-won fight without the walls. But 
the larger part of the accounts are steady to the suddenness and 
completeness of the shock, and all combine in assigning an 
important part to the great river, which, as it had been the 
pride of Babylon, now proved its destruction. The stratagems 
by which the water was diverted, first in the Gyndes and then 
in the Euphrates, are given partly by Herodotus and partly by 
Xenophon. It is their effect alone which need here be de- 
scribed. ' A way was made in the sea ' ^ — that sea-like lake — 
and a path in the * mighty waters.' ' Chariot and horse, army 
*and power' are, as in the battle of the Milvian bridge, lost in 
the dark stream to rise up no more, extinguished like a torch ^ 
plunged in the waters. The hundred gates, all of bronze, along 
the vast circuit of the walls,* the folding- doors, the two -leaved 
gates, ^ which so carefully guarded the approaches of the 
Euphrates, opened as by magic for the conqueror ; ' her waves 

* roared like great waters, the thunder of their voice was 

* uttered.' The inhabitants were caught in the midst of their 
orgies. The Hebrew seer trembled as he saw the revellers un- 
conscious of their ^ impending doom, like the Persian seer for 
his own countrymen before the battle of Plataea — ixOto-rrj 
oSvvTj. But it was too late. ' Her princes, and her wise men, 

* and her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men were 

* cast into a perpetual sleep' from which they never woke.''' 
They succumbed without a struggle, they forbore to fight. 
They remained in the fastnesses of their towering houses ; 
their might failed ; they became as women, they were hewn 

* Jos. Ani. X. II, § 2. • Isa. xlv. i, 2. 

' Isa. xliii. 16. • Iktd. xliii. 17. • IMd. xxi. 4. Herod, ix. 17. 

* Herod, i. 129. ' Jer. li. 39, 57. 


down like the flocks of lambs, of sheep, of goats, in the shambles 
or at the altar. ^ To and fro, in the panic of that night, the 
messengers encountered each other ^ with the news that the 
city was taken at one end, before the other end knew.^ The 
bars were broken, the passages were stopped, the tall houses 
were in flames, the fountains were dried up by the heat of the 
conflagration.^ The conquerors, chiefly the fierce moun- 
taineers from the Median mountains, dashed through the 
terrified city like wild beasts. They seemed to scent out blood 
for its own sake ; they cared not for the splendid metals that 
lay in the Babylonian treasure-houses ; they hunted down the 
fugitives as if they were chasing deer or catching runaway 
sheep. ^ With their huge bows ^ they cut in pieces the young 
men whom they encountered ; they literally fulfilled the savage 
wish of the Israelite captives, by seizing the infant children and 
hurling them against the ground, till they were torn limb from 
limb in the terrible havoc. "^ A celestial sword flashes a first, a 
second, a third, a fourth, and yet again a fifth time, at each 
successive blow sweeping away the chiefs of the State, the idle 
boasters, the chariots, the treasures, the waters.^ The Hammer 
of the Nations struck again and again and again, as on the 
resounding anvil, and with repeated blows beat down the 
shepherd as he drove his flock through the wide pasture of the 
cultivated spaces, the husbandman as he tilled the rich fields 
within the walls with his yoke of oxen — no less than the lordly 
prince. The houses were shattered ; the walls with their broad 
walks on their tops, the gateways mounting up Hke towers, were 
in flames.^ 

And yet more significant even than the fall of the monarchy 
and the ruin of the city was (at least in the expectation of 
the Jewish captives) the overthrow of the old religion of the 
Chaldaean world by the zeal of the Persian monotheists. The 
huge golden statue of Bel, the Sun- God — from which Babylon 
itself, ' the gate of Bel,' derived its name— on the summit of his 

" Jcr. li. 30. ' Ii>ic/, li. 31, 32. * Isa. xiii. 17, 18. * /Hd. 

' See Herod, i. 191 ; iii. 158 ; Arist. Poi. ' Psalm cxxxvii. 8, 9 ; Isa. xiii. 16, 18. 

iii. 1, 12. * Jer. li. 32, 36. ' Jcr. 1. 35. * Hid. li. 58. 


lofty temple ; Nebo, the Thoth, the Hermes, the God of the 
Chaldaean learning, to whom at least three of the Babylonian 
kings were consecrated by name, in his sanctuary at Borsippa, 
of which the ruins still remain ; Merodach, the tutelary god of 
the city, the favourite deity ^ of Nebuchadnezzar, * the Eldest, 
' the most ancient ' of the divinities — trembled, as the Israelites 
believed, from head to foot, as the great Iconoclast approached. 

* Bel bowed down and Nebo stooped, Merodach is broken in 

* pieces/^ The High Priest might stand out long against the 
conquerors, and defend the venerated images at the cost of his 
life ; ^ they could not resist the destroyer's shock ; their vast 
size did but increase the horror, it may be said the grotesque- 
ness, of their fall ; the beasts of burden on which the broken 
fragments would have to be piled groaned under the expectation 
of the weight ; the waggons which bore them away creaked 
under the prospect of the unwieldy freight^ With the fall of 
these greater divinities, the lesser fell also. In the more cynical 
form of the later traditions the frauds of the selfish Priesthood 
were exposed ; the monster shapes of the old worship were 
burst asunder by the sagacity of the Jewish captive and the 
special favour of the Persian king.'' But in the ancient con- 
temporary witnesses there is no such littleness mixed with the 
proud exultation, which tells only how in the same general ruin 
all the sculptured figures came clattering down and were broken 
to fragments.^ 

And where was the King ? The Chaldaean records describe 
how the Prince who had taken refuge at Borsippa was carried 
off captive to the mountains of Caramania. But the Jewish 

^ Rawlinson, iii. 459. of the capture of the city, puts quite 

' Isa. xlvi. I. Jer. 1. i, a. another face on the event. Instead of the 

' Herod, i. 183- destroyer of Merodach and Bel and Nebo, 

* Isa. xlvi. I, 2. According to the ac- Cyrus describes himself as their devoted 

count of the Priests whom Herodotus saw, servant (^Royal Asiatic Society^ January, 

the chief statue of Bel remained till it was 1880), and in point of fact the temple of 

destroyed by Xerxes, i. 183. Bel remained till the time of Alexander, 

' Bel and the Dragon, 27. and the statue of Bel, with it, was de- 

" It is disappointing to find that the stroyed by Xerxes (Herodotus, i. 183). 

actual facts hardly correspond to thb Either the prophetic anticipations were 

magnificent foreboding. The cylinder pitched too high, or the official decree was 

discovered in 1879 amongst the ruins of couched in the style of the Chaldaean 

Babylon, containing Cynis' own account hierarchy. 

$6 THE FALL OF BABYLON. lbct. xlu. 

records ^ know of nothing but the king who ' in that same 
' night ' was slain. 

Belshazzar's grave is made, 
His kingdom passed away. 
He, in the balance weigh'd. 
Is light and worthless clay ; 
The shroud, his robe of state ; 
His canopy the stone. 
The Mede ^ is at his gate, 
The Persian on his throne ! 

That same vivid description which in the Book of Daniel 
tells how * his countenance was changed, and his thoughts 

* troubled him, and the joints of his loins were loosed, and his 
' knees smote one against another ' ^ — finds an echo or a forecast 
in the Book of Jeremiah^ — 'the King of Babylon hath heard 
' the report, and his hands waxed feeble, and anguish took hold 

* of him, and pangs as of a woman in travail.' But there was 
yet a loftier strain in which (it may be, first spoken ^ of the fall 
of Sennacherib) the captive Israelites were enjoined in the days 
that they should find ' rest from their sorrow and their fear and 
' their hard bondage ' to take up this ancient song against the 
king of Babylon and say : ' How hath the oppressor ceased, and 
' ceased the Golden City ! ' They should figure to themselves 
the world of shades, where, as in the tombs of Egyptian Thebes, 
the kings of the nations are resting on their thrones each in his 
glory. They should imagine those dark regions stirred through 
all their depths at the approach of the new comer. It is not the 
feeble Belshazzar or the unknown Nabonadius that is thus con- 
ceived as alarming those phantoms of the mighty dead. It 
must be, if not Nebuchadnezzar, at least Nebuchadnezzar's 
spirit enshrined in his descendant, who, as 'the Last of the 

* Babylonians,' seems to bear with him all the magnificence of 

* Isa. xxi. 9. Dr. Pusey's application of 309-314. 

Habakkuk ii. 4-20 to the fall of Babylon, ' Dan. v. 6. * Jer. 1. 43. 

as Ewald's of Isa. xxiv.-xxvii., must be * Isa. xiv. 4. For the probability of this 

regarded as uncertain. * proverb ' having been first applied to 

• For the vexed question of 'Darius the Sennacherib, see Lecture XXXVIII. voL 
' Mede,' see Speaker's Commentary, p. ii* 413. 


his empire. Down, down that deep descent has come his 
splendour, and his music with him, as in EzekieFs vision the 
heroes enter the lower world with their swords of state, as in 
the Egyptian tombs the dead kings are surrounded with the 
harping and the feasting of the Palaces they have left.^ It is 
the Morning ^ Star of the early dawn of the Eastern nations 
that has fallen from his place in the sky. It is the giant who, 
like those of old, would be climbing up above the clouds, above 
the stars, above the assembly of Heaven, on the highest heights 
of the mountains of the sacred North. ^ It is the oppressor 
w^ho made the earth to tremble, who shook kingdoms, desolated 
the world, and destroyed its cities, and opened not the house 
of his prisoners. This was he, on whom as the shadows of the 
departed looked, they saw that he was become weak as one of 
them — this was he (and here the reference to Belshazzar 
becomes more apposite) who was laid in no royal sepulchre, 
but cast aside like a withered branch, buried under the heaps 
of the bleeding corpses.* 

And the city itself,^ which to the Hebrew exiles appeared, 
like their own beloved Jerusalem, in the form of a stately 
Ruin of the Q^ceu — the Daughter, the Incarnation, as it were, 
*=^^y- of the place itself — the Virgin, the Impregnable, 

Fortress, — she, too, crouches on the dust with the meanest of 
her slaves : in the penal labour of grinding in the mill with the 
lowliest of Eastern women. She has to bare her limbs, as she 
passes through her own streams ; she is to sit silent and pass 
into darkness ; she shall no more be called the Lady of the 
Kingdoms. The pride of power, the pride of science, alike 
are levelled ; neither her astrologers nor her merchants can 
save her ; she is become a threshing-floor — the winnowing fan 
shall sweep over her. 

It was a crash of which the thunder resounded far and 

* Isa. xiv. 4-1 1. title of the Evil Spirit and the modem 

• Ibid. xiv. 12, 13. This, which from the Miltonic doctrine of the fall of the Angels. 
Vulgate is the origin of the name of Luci- * Mount Meru of India— Olympus of 
fer^ was by Tertullian and Gregory the Greece -Elburz in Persia. See Gesenius 
Great applied to Satan, and from their on Isaiah ii. 3x6-326. 

mistake have arisen the modern Byronic * Isa. xiv. 16-19. • Ibid, xlvii. 1-5. 

58 THE FALL OF BABYLON. lect. xlii. 

near. *At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth was 

* moved as by an earthquake, and the cry was heard among the 
'nations' — 'a sound of a cry came from Babylon, and great 
'destruction from the land of the Chaldaeans.' ^ In every 
varying tone of exultation and awe the shout of triumph was 
raised. ' How is the Hammer of the whole earth rent asunder 

* and broken ! ^ ' How is Babylon become a desolation among 
' the nations ! ' ' How is Sheshach taken ! How is the praise of 

* the whole earth surprised ! How is Babylon become an 

* astonishment among the nations ! ' So nearer and closer at 
hand the dirge went up. And yet more impressive, though 
with a more distant echo, was the cry of the Prophet, who, 
whether in the anticipations of an earlier age ^ or on the out- 
post of some remote fortress, waited for ' the burden of the 
' desert of the sea ' — the desert that surrounded the sea-like 
river which spread around the great city. From afar he hears 
the rushing of a mighty storm, hke the whirlwind, the simoom 
of the wilderness. Then comes the war-cry of Media and 
Persia, which in a moment hushed, in the deep stillness of 
thankful expectation, the sighs of the oppressed subjects of 
Chaldaea. His heart thrills with the mingled delight and horror 
of the siege ; he sympathises alternately with shuddering over 
the fierce onslaught of the conquerors, and with the anguish of 
the besieged city. At last across the desert he sees first the 
long array of the northern army, the lengthening columns of 
the prancing horse, and the fierce Persian ass, and the swift 
dromedary ; he wearies with watching and waiting through the 
long nights, like the watchman in the ^schylean Tragedy, like 
a hungry lion snuffing the prey from afar ; and at last the 
messengers draw nearer, and he sees distinctly the human 
figures approaching, and they announce : ' Babylon is fallen, is 
' fallen ; and all the graven images of her gods He hath broken 

' upon the ground.' ^ 

Babylon is fallen. — '^o^ from mouth to mouth, the tidings 
flew through every Israelite community. Nor did it die then. 

^ Jer. li. 54. nius regard this as previous to the capture, 

' Isa. xxi. i-io. Both Ewald and Gese- ^ Isa. xxi. 4-10. 


Six centuries after, when the only other empire and city which 
in its grandeur and significance can be compared to the ancient 
capital of the primaeval world seemed to be drawing near to a 
doom no less terrible, the same word still lived in the mouth of 
another Jewish exile, who, on the rock of Patmos, heard and 
repeated again with the same thrill of exultation : * Babylon the 
' Great ^ is fallen, is fallen.' 

We take breath for a moment to ask what there was of 
transitory and what there was of permanent instruction in this 
catastrophe and in these utterances of the Jewish Prophets 
concerning it As the author of the Apocalypse expected that, 
even within his own generation, * quickly, even so quickly,' the 
City on the Seven Hills would be swept away with all its 
abominations, and would become the habitation of demons, 
and the haunt of ever}' foul spirit, and the haunt of ' every 

* unclean and hateful bird,' so and yet more strongly did the 
Prophets of the Captivity expect and express, in the imagery 
which the Seer of Patmos has but repeated, that the capture of 
Babylon would end in its immediate and total destruction. 

* It shall be no more inhabited for ever : neither shall it be 
' dwelt in from generation to generation .... No man shall 
' abide there, neither shall any man dwell therein.' ^ * Babylon, 
' the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, 

* shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It 
' shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from 

* generation to generation ; neither shall the Arabian pitch 
^ his tent there ; neither shall the shepherds pitch their folds 
'there.' 3 

No such desolation in the literal sense followed on the 
Persian conquest. For two centuries more Babylon remained 
to be a flourishing city, the third in the Empire ; shorn, indeed, 
of its splendour, its walls reduced in height, its gates ^ removed, 
but still the wonder of the world, when it was seen by Grecian 
travellers in the next century, or when, yet later, it was on the 
verge of reinstatement in its metropolitan grandeur by Alexander. 
Then came the fatal blow struck by the erection of the Greel'; 

' R«v. xviii. 2. ' Jer. I. 39, 40, * Isa. xiii. 19, 20. * Herod, iii, 159, 

6o THE FALL OF BABYLON. lect. xlii. 

city Seleucia on the Tigris ; and from that time the ancient 
capital withered away, till, in the first century of the Christian 
era, it was but partially inhabited, though still retaining within 
its precincts a remnant of the Jewish settlers. In the fourth 
century it became in great measure a hunting park for the 
Persian Kings, but its irrigation still kept up the fertile and 
populous character of the district. It was not till ^ the Middle 
Ages, when a Jewish traveller (Benjamin of Tudela) once more 
visited the ruins, that it was seen in the state in which it has 
been ever since— a wide desert tract, interrupted only by the 
huge masses of indestructible brick, its canals broken, its rich 
vegetation gone ; the habitation of the lions, the jackals, the 
antelopes of the surrounding desert. In detail of time and 
place, the predicted destruction did not literally come to pass. 
It was neither so early, nor so complete in all its parts, as might 
have been inferred, and as has been sometimes represented. 
But it is remarkable that, alone of the many pictures of ruin 
which the Prophets foreshadowed for the enemies of their 
country, this has, after a delay of sixteen centuries, and now 
for a period of seven centuries, been almost literally ^ accom- 
plished. Damascus and Tyre, though menaced with a deso- 
lation no less complete, have never ceased to be inhabited 
towns, more or less frequented. Petra is again the resort of 
yearly visitors. It is true that even Babylon has never ceased 
to be inhabited. Hillah, a town with a population of five 
thousand souls, is within its walls, and the Arabs still wander 
through it. But in its general aspect the modern traveller can 
add nothing to the forebodings of the Hebrew Prophets. The 
marshes,^ as of a sea, spread round it — * the pools for bitterns ' 
take the place of its well-ordered canals. * The wild beasts of 

* the desert lie there ; their houses are full of doleful creatures ; 

* ostriches dwell there ; and the demons ^ that haunt the wilder- 

' See the authorities collected in St. fancy that the creatures (rendered by the 

Croix, or Rich's Memoir. LXX. Sai/u-oMa, and by our version very 

^ Rich, Preface, p. xlvl. So Cyril of properly ' satyrs ') still, according to the 

Alexandria (Layard's Nineveh and Baby- Arab tradition, haunt the shores of the 

ion, 534, 565). ^ Ibid. Euphrates— figures with human heads and 

* Isa. xiii. 21, 22. It is a curious in- hairy thighs and legs (Rich, 76). 
stance of the persistency of an ancient 



' ness dance there, and the wild-cats scream in their desolate 

* houses, and jackals in their pleasant palaces.' 

It is a yet more signal instance of insight into the true nature 
of the catastrophe that, though this outward manifestation of 
its extreme consequences was so persistently delayed, its moral 
and essential character was caught from the first. Not more 
The ruin of Completely than the physical Babylon has perished 
the Empire, ^y |-^e iuscnsible operation of natural laws, did the 
Imperial Babylon, the type and impersonation of the antioue 
world, expire on the night that Belshazzar fell. In a solemn 
figure, indeed, she lived again in the City of the Seven Hills, 
as the nearest likeness which later history has seen. She lives 
again, in a more remote and partial sense, in the great capitals 
of modern civilisation. But, in all that was peculiar to herself, 
the Queen of the East was dead and buried. * Babylon * as a 

* sovereign empire was put down for ever by the Persian Con- 

* quest. Its influence as an active element in determining the 

* fate of other nations was stopped at once. Moral and intel- 
' lectual results in Asia have been only or chiefly effected 

* through the action of physical power. *' Graecia capta ferum 
' " victorem cepit," is one of the peculiarities of the history of 

* Europe. Babylonian science, or art, or religion became 

* powerless over the world when the sceptre of Babylonian 
' dominion w^as broken. The genius of Babylon had received 

* a deadly wound — he drooped for a while and died.' 

But this is not the permanent or only thought left on the 
mind of the Jewish captives by the fall of the Old World. We 
know not whether already in their days there had 
domof sprung up the legend which to the pilgrim whom 

^^'^"' modern curiosity attracts to the wreck of Babylon 
contrasts so forcibly the vitality of that w^hich is immortal in 
human history and the mutability of that which is mortal. 
Face to face on the plain stand two huge fragments of ruin,^ in 
one of which the Arab wanderers see the Palace of Nimrod, 
and in the other the furnace into which Abraham was cast for 
denying his divinity. In like manner it was the Hebrew belief 

' Arnold's Serfnons on Prophecy, p. 40. ' Layard's Nineveh and Babylon. 

62 THE FALL OF BABYLON. i^ct. xmi. 

that in the last days of the Babylonian Empire the marvellous 
sage who had seen and interpreted those vast vicissitudes fore- 
told, with unwavering confidence, that out of them all the God 
of Heaven would set up a kingdom which should never be 
destroyed, but which should stand for ever ^ — a dominion of 
the Ancient of Days, which is an 'everlasting dominion, a 
' dominion which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that 

* which shall not be destroyed.' ^ And to him it was said : 

* Go thou thy way till the end be ; for thou shalt rest and 

* stand in thy lot at the end of the days.' ^ The aged Daniel 
was, according to the Biblical conception, the eternal and 
mysterious Israelite whose experience seemed to have covered 
the whole course of that eventful age — the Apocalyptic seer, 
who would revive again in the nation's utmost need, ' tarrying 

* till the Lord come.' 

It was the first announcement of a * kingdom of Heaven,' 
that is of a power not temporal, with the rule of kings or priests, 
but spiritual, with the rule of mind and conscience — * cut out of 
*the mountain without hands.' 

And in the same tone, but still more certainly speaking the 
spirit of that time, was the voice which came from the Evan- 
gelical Prophet, to whom, as has been well said, the nation of 
Israel was an Eternal People,^ in a far higher sense than that 
in which either Babylon or Rome was an Eternal City, because 
it contained within itself the seed of the spiritual life of man- 
kind. That voice said ' Cry,' and he said ' What shall I cry ? ' 

* All flesh ^ is grass, and all the goodliness thereof as the flower 

* of the field ; the grass withereth, the flower fadetk' Thus 
far he partook in the sentiment which, in later times, has seen 
in the decadence of empires and churches the symptoms of the 
approaching dissolution of the world. But in the same moment 
his spirit * disdains and survives ' this despondency, and he 
looks forward to a remote future, in which the moral and Divine 

* Dan. ii. 44. mosque, still significantly survive 

' Ih'd. vii. 14. These are the words ^ j^^-^^ ^-j^ ^^^ 

which, written over the portico of th« * Ewald, v. 47. * Isa. id, (J-8. 
church of Damascus, once a temple, now a 


elements of the course of human aifairs shall outlive all tem- 
porary shocks, and adds, with an emphasis which is the keynote 
of his whole prophecy, * But the word of our God shall stand 
'for ever.' 


In discussing the date of any book we must carefully separate 
the time of the events and characters portrayed in it, whether 
historical or fictitious, from the time when the book itself was pro- 
duced. The events of the Thirty Years' War remain unquestion- 
ably part of the history of the seventeenth century, though they 
have been described and coloured by the genius and the passion 
of Schiller, who lived more than a hundred years afterwards. The 
characters and state of society represented in ' Ivanhoe ' belong to 
the twelfth century, though they are seen through the medium of 
the art and sentiment of the nineteenth. It is necessary to bear in 
mind this obvious distinction, because, in treating of the Biblical 
writings, it is often forgotten. The fixed idea of the ancient Jewish 
and Christian theologians was that every book was written, if not 
at the actual time of all the events related in it, at least at the time 
and by the pen of the chief person to whose deeds it refers — the 
Books of Moses by Moses, of Joshua by Joshua, of Samuel by 
Samuel, of Job by Job, of Esther by Mordecai. And, on the other 
hand, it has often been maintained by critics that it is sufficient to 
destroy the value or the contemporaneousness of traditions if it 
can be proved that they first appeared in their present form a cen- 
tury or two centuries later than the times which they describe. It 
is to be lamented that a double-edged weapon of this kind, which 
has long ago been laid aside in secular criticism, should still be 
used on either side in sacred literature. Of this the controversy 
respecting the Book of Daniel is a memorable example. It has 
been urged, both by those who arrogate to themselves the title of 
the defenders, and by some of those who are accounted assailants, 
of the book, that its whole interest would disappear if it were 
proved to have been composed in its present form by any one except 

64 DATE OF THE BOOK OF DANIEL. lbct. xlii. 

There is much which still remains doubtful respecting this 
mysterious book. But it may be granted on all sides that, as it is 
now received in its larger form in the Greek and Latin versions of 
the Hebrew, or even in the shorter form which it bears in the 
Hebrew, there are traditions of unequal value, some of them un- 
questionably of the period of the Captivity, some of a later date, 
some, as Ewald and Bunsen supposed, reaching to an earlier age 
even than the Babylonian Empire. 

This is now so generally acknowledged that it need not be 
argued at length. Even Lengerke, who maintained {Das Buck 
Daniel^ p. xcv.) that it is entirely poetical, admits that there must 
have been an historical character to whom the Prophet Ezekiel 
refers ; and many of his objections to the accuracy of the Chaldaean 
colouring have been answered. 

But the date of the composition of the book as a whole is still 
much contested. It is well known that after the final reception (at 
whatever period) of the Book of Daniel into the Canon, the theory 
of its later date was advanced by Porphyry, in the third century of 
the Christian era, chiefly on the ground that it contains a descrip- 
tion of historical events down to a certain period, after which its 
exact delineations suddenly cease. From that time till the seven- 
teenth century the question was not stirred. The assumption pre- 
vailed everywhere, as with regard to the Books of Moses, Joshua, 
Samuel, that the book was written by the person whose name it 
bore. When the objections of Porphyry have since been from time 
to time started afresh, the reply has often been that they are merely 
Porphyry's old objections reappearing. On this rejoinder it was 
once remarked by a venerable scholar and divine of our day : ' They 
' have always reappeared because they have never been answered.' 
This is substantially true, and it may be well briefly to enumerate 
the general grounds on which rests the concurrence of critics so 
authoritative and so various as Bentley, Arnold, Milman, in Eng- 
land, as Gesenius, Ewald, Bleek, De Wette, Kuenen, Reuss, on the 

The linguistic arguments, drawn from the nature of the Hebrew 
or Chaldee words used, we may put aside as too minute and too 
doubtful to be insisted on ; as also the arguments drawn from the 
improbabilities of the story, because they lead into too large a field 
of speculative argument, and also because, for the most part, they 
do not, properly speaking (as has been before said), affect the date 
of the composition of the narrative. 

We may confine ourselves to those which appear on either side 
to have any decisive weight. 


I. The arguments for the late composition of the book {i.e. B.C. 
168-164) are partly external and partly internal. 

1. The external arguments are as follows : 

{a.) It is not arranged in the Hebrew Canon wfth the 
External * Prophets/ but with the miscellaneous 
Arguments. < Hagiographa ' ^ (the Psalms, Proverbs, 
Job, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Ezra, Nehe- 
miah, and Chronicles), i.e. the part avowedly of 
later date and lesser authority, and constantly 
receiving fresh additions. See Lectures XLVIL, 

(b,) Daniel is not mentioned by Ezra, Nehemiah, Zecha- 
riah, Haggai, nor in the catalogue of worthies by 
the Son of Sirach (Ecclus. xlix. 8, 9, 10), which is 
the more remarkable from his mention of all the 
other Prophets, even including the twelve lesser 
Prophets. The only counterpoise to the argument 
from this omission is that in Ecclus. xlix. 13 Ezra 
is left out. 

{^.) The Greek translation of the book is involved in 
obscurity. In the place of that of the LXX. was 
substituted, for some unknown reason (' hoc cur 
* acciderit nescio,' says Jerome), a translation by 
Theodotion ; and both are inextricably mixed up 
with Greek additions, which, though part of the 
Canon of the Eastern and of the Latin Churches, 
have been rejected by the Protestant Churches, 
and one of which (the History of Susannah) is 
apparently of Greek origin, as may be inferred 
from the play on two Greek words (Susanna 55, 


2. The internal arguments are as follows : 

(a.) The use of Greek words KiQdpa and a-afx^vKij^ (rvfi(f)a>vla 
Internal ^.nd yp'aXTrjpiov, in the Hebrew of iii. 5, 7, 
Arguments. |o. In the case of KiBdpa the argument 
is strengthened by the fact that in Ezek. xxvi. 13, 
and Psalm cxxxvi. 2 (unquestionably of the epoch 
of the Captivity) the word for *harp' is still 

{b.) The difficulty of reconciling much of the story as it 

* This exclusion of Daniel from the bitter complaint with Theodoret, pp. 1056, 
,* Prophets ' by the Jews was a matter of 1057. 

66 DATE OF THE BOOK OF DANIEL. lect. xlit. 

now stands with Ezekiel's mention of Daniel as on 
a level with Noah and Job, and as an oracle of wis-, 
dom (xiv. 14, xxviii. 3), when, according to Dan. 
i. I, he must have been a mere youth. 
(c.) The matter-of-fact descriptions of the leagues and 
conflicts between the Graeco-Syrian and Grasco- 
Egyptian Kings, and of the reign of Antiochus IV., 
in Dan. xi. 1-45 ; which, if written 300 years before 
that time, would be without parallel or likeness in 
Hebrew prophecy. These descriptions are minute, 
with the minuteness of a contemporary chronicler, 
and many of their details lack any particle of moral 
and spiritual interest such as might account for so 
signal a violation (if so be) of the style of Biblical 
prophecy. This, accordingly, is the chief argument 
for fixing the date of the book at the time when 
these conflicts occurred — an argument which, in 
the case of any other book (as, for example, the 

* Sibylline Oracles ' or the Book of Enoch), would 
be conclusive. 

II. On the side of the earlier date(/.^. B.C. 570-536) the external 
arguments are as follow : 

{a,) The assertion of Josephus {Ant. xi. 8) that Jaddua 
showed to Alexander the predictions of his con- 
quests in the Book of Daniel. But the doubt 
which rests over the story generally, and the ac- 
knowledged incorrectness of some of its details (see 
Dr. Westcott in Dictionary of the Bible [* Alex- 
ander'], and Lecture XLVI I.) deprive this allusion 
of serious weight ; and it is difficult not to suspect 
something of an apologetic tone in Joseph. Ant. x. 
II, 7 — *Methinks the historian doth protest too 

* much.' 

{b.) The allusion to the furnace and the lions' den in the 
dying speech of Mattathias, a.d. 167 (i Mace. ii. 
59, 60). But this (granting the exact accuracy of 
the report of the speech of Mattathias), in a book 
written as late as B.C. 107 — therefore certainly after 
the publication of the book of Daniel on any hypo- 
thesis — does not testify to more than the -previous 
existence of the traditions of these events, of which 
there need be no question. 


(^.) The reference in the Received Text of two of the 
Gospels to the book of * Daniel the Prophet.' But 
the force of this reference is weakened by its 
omission ^ in the best MSS. of Mark xiii. 14, and 
in all the MSS. of Luke xxi. 24. And, under any 
circumstances, it would only prove, what is not 
doubted, that at the time of the Christian era the 
book had been received into the Canon— in Pales- 
tine, without the Greek additions ; at Alexandria, 
with them. 

The internal arguments in favour of the earlier date rest on the 
exactness of the references to Chaldaean usages, and of coincidence 
with the monumental inscriptions ; and examples are given of the 
possibility of Greek words straying into the East before the time 
of Alexander. These arguments are carefully given in Dr. Pusey's 
Lectures on * Daniel the Prophet' (Lecture VIL), and yet more 
elaborately in Mr. Fuller's notes on Darnel in the * Speaker's Com- 
mentary.' Of the coincidences with the Babylonian monuments, 
the most striking is the name of Bil-shar-uzur, the probable equiva- 
lent to Belshazzar, which, before the recent discovery of this word 
at Babylon, was not known except from Daniel. On the other 
hand, Darius the Mede is still an unsolved enigma. But if we 
accept (with most of the critics who have advocated the later date) 
the existence of Babylonian traditions or even documents incorpor- 
ated in the book, this exactness of allusion, whilst it adds to the 
interest of the work, and removes an argument sometimes used for 
its Maccabaean origin, does not prove its early composition, any 
more than the use of unquestionably ancient traditions and narra- 
tives precludes the unquestionably Macedonian date (see Lecture 
XLVII.) of the Books of Chronicles. 

The result is, therefore, that the arguments incline largely to 
the side of the later date ; and this result is strengthened by the 
consideration (i) that though something may be said to attenuate 
the force of each argument singly, yet each derives additional 
weight from the collective weight of all ; and (2) that the objections 
raised to some of them evade almost or altogether the most con- 
clusive, no parallel instance having been adduced from the Hebrew 
Scriptures to the details of the eleventh chapter, nor any explana- 
tion of such an exception from the general style of Biblical Pro- 

* In Dean Alford's edition of the Greek be omitted in the Philoxenian version of 
Testament, the name of Daniel is said to Matt. xxiv. 15 ; but this is an error. 

F 2 

6'6 DATE OF THE BOOK OF DANIEL. lbct. xlit. 

Accordingly, the course followed in these Lectures has been, on 
the one hand, to give the incidents relating to the Captivity, 
whether in the Greek or Hebrew or Chaldee parts of Daniel, in 
connexion with the scenes to which they refer, indicating that the 
authority on which they rest is inferior to that of the unquestionably 
contemporary prophets and historians ; and, on the other hand, to 
reserve those parts which handle the Macedonian history to the 
period to which they belong, and in which, probably, they were 

' See the arguments put in a clear form and brief compass in Noies on the Defeiut t^f 
tht Book of Daniel, by a Clergyman. 



Cyrus, b.c. 560. 

Fall of Babylon, B.C. 538. 

The Return, B.C. 536. 
Cambyses, B.C. 529. 
Darius I., b.c. 522. 

Completion of the Temple, B.C. 5161 
Xerxes, b.c. 485. 

Story of Esther, B.C. 480 — 490? 

ARTAXERXEb, B.C. 465. 

Coming of Ezra, B.C. 459. 
Coming of Nehemiah, B.C. 415. 
Secession of Manasseh, B.C. 419. 
Malachi, B.C. 400? 




(i) Isaiah xL-lxvi. 

(2) Ezra i.^vi. 

(3) Psalms cvii.-cl., cxxxiv, 

(4) Haggai. 

(5) Zechariah i.-viii. 

1 Esdras ii.-vii. 
Jos. Ani. xi. 14. 

Seder Olam, p. 107, 108 (with comments of Derenboargg 
Hutoin de la Palestine^ pp. 19, 20, 21.) 




The Return from the Captivity opens the final era of the 
history of the Jewish Church and Nation. That any nation 
should have survived such a dislocation and dissolution of all 
local and social bonds is almost without example. But as in 
the case of the Greek race centuries of foreign dominion 
have been unable to eradicate the memory of their distant glory, 
so the transplantation of the Israelites to another country was 
unable to efface the religious ^ aspiration which was the bond of 
their national coherence. The ^ other Semitic tribes, Moab, 
Ammon, Edom, felt that with the loss of their home they would 
lose all. Israel alone survived the shock. 

The Restoration was an event which, unlikely and remote 
as it might have seemed, was deemed almost a certainty in the 
expectations of the exiles. Jeremiah and Ezekiel never lost 
their confidence that within two generations from the beginning 
of the Captivity their countrymen would return. The patriotic 
sentiment, which had existed as it were unconsciously before, 
found its first definite expression at this period. The keen 
sense as of personal anguish at the overthrow of Jerusalem 

' See Milman, History of the jfews, remarks upon the passage by Mr. Grov« 
i. 404, 405. in the Dictionary of the Bible^ \\. 397, 

*Jer. xlviii, 11. See the interesting 398. 

user. xmi. ITS JOYOUSNESS. 7l 

poured forth in the Lamentations — the touching^ cry, 'If I 
' forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget herself 
— the clinging^ to the remembrance of the very dust and 
stones of Jerusalem — the face in prayer directed towards 
Jerusalem, the earnest supplication ^ for the Holy Nation and 
the Holy City, kept alive the flame which from this time 
never died till it was extinguished under the ruins of their 
country in the final overthrow by Titus. And when the day 
The joy of ^^ ^^^t arrived which was to see their expectations 
the Return, fulfilled, the burst of joy was such as has no 
parallel in the sacred volume ; it is indeed the Revival, the 
Second Birth, the Second Exodus of the nation. There was 
now ' a new song,' of which the burden was that the Eternal '* 
again reigned over the earth, and that the gigantic idolatries 
which surrounded them had received a deadly ^ shock : that ^ 
the waters of oppression had rolled back in which they had 
been struggling like drowning men ; that the snare ^ was 
broken in which they had been entangled like a caged bird. 
It was like a dream, ^ too good to be true. The gaiety, the 
laughter of their poetry, resounded far and wide. The sur- 
rounding nations could not but confess what great things had 
been done for them.^ It was like the sudden rush of the 
waters into the dry torrent -beds of the south oi 
sams. p^j^gi-jj^g^ Qj. Qf ^i^g yg|. extremer south, of which 

they may have heard, in far Ethiopia.*^ It was like the reaper 
bearing on his shoulder the golden sheaves in summer which 
he had sown amongst the tears of winter. So full were their 
hearts, that all nature was called to join in their thankfulness. 
The ^^ vast rivers of their new Mesopotamian home, and the 
waves of the Indian Ocean, are to take part in the chorus, 
and clap their foaming crests like living hands. The moun- 
tains of their own native land are invited to express their 
- joy ; each tree ^^ in the forests that clothed the hills, or that 

* Psalm cxxxvii. 5 (Heb.). * Ih'd. cxxvi. i. " litd. cxxvi. 2. 

* Ih'd. CM. 14. '" /did. cxxvi. 4. Comp. Sir S. Baker's 
' Dan. vi. 10 ; ix. 16-19. description of the flooding of the dry bed 

* /did. xcvi. I, 4, 5 ; xcvii. I ; xcix. i. of the Atbara. 

* Ih'd. xcvii. 7 ; xcix. 8. " /did. xcviii. 7, 8. 

* IHd. cxxiv. 4. ' /bid, cxxiv. 7. " J bid, xcvi la. 

yz THE RETURN. lect. xliii. 

cast their shade over the field, is to have a tongue for the 

In accordance with these strains of the Psalmists there was 

the Prophetic announcement of the beginning of the new 

epoch in words which, whilst they vibrate with a force beyond 

their own time, derive their orie^inal strength from 

The Evan- , . ' ^,.^ ^ -i,., 

geiicai the Circumstances of their first utterance, and which 

'^^^ ^^* gave to their unknown author, who thus ' comforted ^ 

' them that mourned in Sion,' the name of ' the Prophet of 

'glad tidings.' ^ Comfort^ ye, comfort ye my people, saith 

* your God. Speak unto Jerusalem that her warfare is accom- 

* plished, that her iniquity is pardoned, for she hath received 

* at God's hand the double for all her woe.' * A voice cries, 

* Through the wilderness prepare the way of the Eternal, make 

* smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley 

* shall be exalted, every mountain and hill shall be made low, 

* and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places 
' plain, and the glory of the Eternal shall be revealed, and all 

* flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Eternal hath 

* spoken it' 

That opening strain of the Prophet, so full of the great 
Evangelical truth — Evangelical in its literal sense and true to 
the depths of human nature — that nations and individuals 
alike can leave their past behind them, and start afresh in the 
race of duty ; so impressive from its pecuhar historical signifi- 
cance as the keynote of the new period of Asiatic and 
European ^ history ; so striking in the imagery with which it 
figures that Divine progress — demanding for its approach and 
preparation the reduction of pride, the exaltation of humility, 
the simplification of the tortuous, the softening of the angular 
and harsh— was heard in part once again when long afterw^ards 
in the wild^ thickets of the Jordan a voice was raised 

' Ecclesiasticus xlviii. 24. which properly describes the Mesopo- 

' Isa. xl. I. (Heb.) tamian desert has been transferred to the 

^ See Lectures XL., XLIL wild country of the Jordan. The grand 

* Matt. iii. 3 ; Mark i. 3. In this appli- prelude of this new prophecy has suffered 

cation of Isaiah xl. 3, the words ' in the a singular eclipse. Its words escaped 

' wilderness ' have been separated from citation in the New Testament. In later 

their proper context ; and also the word times the whole passage has been entirely 


inaugurating another new epoch, and preparing the way for 
another vaster revolution in nations and in churches. But 
nevertheless the whole expression of the exhortation breathes 
the atmosphere of the moment ^ when it was first delivered. 
The sense of the expected deliverance at last come — the heart 
of an oppressed people again breathing freely — the long 
prospect of the journey yet before them, through the trackless 
desert — are all irradiated with the hope that no wilderness 
would be too arid, no hills too high, no ravine ^ too deep for 
the Divine Providence to surmount 

Another utterance of the same Prophet is still more 
directly fitted to the emergency of his own time, though 
still more sacredly associated with the mighty future. * The 
' Spirit of the Lord God rests upon me, because the Eternal 

* hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the suffering, 

* He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim 
' liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them 

* that are bound ; to proclaim the acceptable year of the 

* Eternal' 

It was five centuries onwards that in the synagogue of a 
hitherto unknown Jewish village the scroll which contained the 
writings which by that time were all comprised 
^'^' ^^ ' under the one name of the Prophet Isaiah was 
handed to a young Teacher,^ who unfolded the roll and found 
the place where it was thus written. He closed the book at 
the point where the special application to the Israelite exiles 
began. He fixed the attention of His audience only on these 
larger words which enabled Him to say to all those whose eyes 
were fastened on His gracious countenance, * This day is this 
'Scripture fulfilled in your ears.' 

But the original fulfilment of the consolation was that 

omitted in the public services of the Latin Messiah ' that it owes its proper position 

Church, and only used on incidental before Christendom. See Lecture XL. 

occasions in the Greek Church. In the ' In Jos. A»L xi. i these prophecies 

Sunday services of the Church of England under the n-sme of Isaiah are substituted 

this splendid chapter was almost pointedly for those of Jeremiah given in the earlier 

excluded till the revision of the English acccint of Ezra i. i. 

Calendar of Lessons in 1872. It is to its '' 1 he word for ' valley ' in Isa. xl. 4, is 

selection as the opening of Handel's ' ravuic' '■' Luke iv. 16-BI. 


LBCT. XLin. 

contemplated by the Prophet who saw before hnn the exiles 
depart in their holiday attire for their homeward journey ; 
destined to strike root again like the sturdy ilex of their 
native country, and carry on the righteous work for which 
alone home and freedom are worth possessing. His mission 
was ^ to comfort all that mourn, to appoint unto them that 

* mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of 
'joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of 

* heaviness, that they might be called the terebinths of 

* righteousness, the planting of the Eternal, that He might 

* be glorified.' 

Such is the ideal of the Return : nor is it unworthy of the 

mighty issues which ultimately hung on that event. Although 

, the actual event seems small and homely, yet that 

Connected ^ _ . _ _ ^ . , 

with the very homelmess mdicates one of the mam charac- 
o?derof teristics of the epoch on which we have entered. 
Unhke the first Exodus, this second Exodus was 
effected not by any sudden effort of the nation itself, nor by 
any interposition of signs and wonders, but by the complex 
order of Providence, in which the Prophet thus bids his people 
see an intervention no less Divine than that which had 
released them from Egypt. ' Wheel within ^ wheel ' was the 
intricate machinery which Ezekiel had seen in his visions on 
the Chebar ; but not the less was a spirit as of a living creature 
Decree of within the wheels. The document that inaugurates 
Cyrus. ^i^Q j^g^ 2 ^j.^ jg j^q|. ^]^^ word of Jcwish lawgiver or 

prophet or priest, but the decree of a heathen king. ' Now 
'in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of 
' Jehovah by Jeremiah might be fulfilled, Jehovah stirred up 
' the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclama- 
' tion throughout all his kingdom and put in writing.' 

It is difficult not to suppose that the language of the decree 
is coloured by the Hebrew medium through which it passes, 
but in tone and spirit it resembles those which have been 

^ Ezek. i. 20. three times, in Ezra i. 1-4 ; 2 Chron. 

" The emphatic solemnity of the decree xxxvi. 22, 23 ; i Esdras ii. 3-7. 
is confirmed by its repetition no less than 


foand inscribed on the Persian monuments ; and, if Ormuzd 
be substituted for Jehovah, and * the Creator * of the earth, 
' the heavens, and mankind,' for the single form of ' the 

* Creator of earth,' there is nothing impossible in the thought 
that we have the very words of the decree itself But at any 
rate it stands as the guiding cause of the liberation, and stamps 
itself as the turning-point of the whole subsequent history. 
Before this time the people of Israel had been an independent 
nation ; from this moment it is merged in the fortunes of the 
great Gentile Empires. There are three successive periods 
through which it has to pass, and each will derive its outward 
form and pressure from an external power. Of these the first 
is the Persian. Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes were 
henceforth for two hundred years to exercise the influence 
which in earlier times had been exercised by the Princes and 
Kings of Israel The year henceforward is dated from the 
accession of the Persian Kings as afterwards of the Rulers of 
Antioch and of Rome. 

We shall hereafter trace some direct effects of this con- 
nexion on the religious condition of the people. It is enough 
for the present to remark that the community which returned 
under these circumstances was no longer a sovereign people, a 
nation in the full sense of that word. Thenceforth it had to 
eke out the inestimable element of independent nationality by 
its connexion with the powerful monarchies with which it was 
brought into contact. But this very change was transfigured in 
the language of the great contemporary Prophet into the vision 
which has never since died out of the hopes of mankind. He 
foresaw that the wide course of human history, the mighty 
powers of the earth, instead of standing, as hitherto, apart from 
the course of religion and progress, would combine with that 
hitherto isolated movement. 'Arise,^ shine, for thy light is 

* come, and the glory of the Eternal is risen upon thee. The 

* nations shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of 

* thy rising. Thou shalt suck the milk of the nations, and shalt 

* Ewald V. 48. The P«-sian form is slightly varied in Isa. xHL 5 ; xliy. •4. 
" Isa. Ix. I, 3, i6 

75 THE RETURN. lect. xliii. 

* suck the breast of kings.' Kings ^ shall be thy nursing fathers 

* and queens thy nursing mothers. ' * The nations shall see thy 
'righteousness and all kings thy^ glory.' 

Doubtless the real fell far short of the ideal, as in the actual 
Return, so in the actual Cyrus. ^ But the fact which enkindled 
those hopes, and those hopes themselves, have lent a frame- 
work to the noblest aspirations of humanity : they are the same 
as Plato expressed in the well-known saying, that the world 
would not be happy till either philosophers became kings, or 
kings became philosophers — the same as the last seer of the 
Jewish race expressed in the cry. * The ^ kingdoms of this world 

* are become the kingdoms of the Lord and of his Anointed.' 

It is evident that the return was not that of the whole of 
the exiles. Those who had been transplanted from the north 
• 1 ^^ Palestine in the Assyrian captivity never returned 
character of at all, or ouly iu Small numbers. Those who had 
been transported to Babylon and became settlers, as 
we have seen, in those rich plains and in that splendid city, were 
many of them contented to remain — some holding high places 
in the Persian court, though still keeping up communication 
with their brethren in Palestine, some permanently becoming 
the members of that great Babylonian colony of Jews which 
caused^ Mesopotamia to become as it were a second Holy 
Land, and round which were planted the tombs, real or sup- 
posed, of the three great Jewish saints of this epoch, Ezekiel, 
Daniel, and one who is yet to come, Ezra. 

Still, there were some both of the highest and the lowest of 
the settlement who listened to the call alike of their inspiring 
^j^g Prophet and of their beneficent Ruler ; and we can 

caravan. disccm the chicf elements^ which constituted the 
seed of the rising community. The whole caravan consisted 
of 42,000 ; besides this were 7,337 slaves, 200 of whom were 
minstrels, male and female. We recognise at once some con- 

' Isa. xlix. 23. * IMd. Ixii, 2. gums in Deutsch on the Targums (Re- 

' See Ewald v. 29. * Revelation xi. 15. mains, j). 321), 'foundlings, proselytes, and 

*S-e Lectures XXXIV., XLI. •illegitimate children.' 'The flour,' it 

" For the inferior elements mixed up in was said, ' remained at Babylon, the chaff 

the return see the tradition of the Tar- ' came to Palestine.' 

mcT. xmi. ITS ELEMENTS. ^7 

spicuous and familiar names. Twelve * chiefs, as if in remi- 
niscence of the twelve tribes, wxre marked out as the leaders. 
Amongst these w^as the acknowledged head of the community, 
the grandson, real or adopted, of the beloved and lamented 
Jehoiachin, last direct heir of the House of David and Josiah 
— the son of Shealtiel or Salathiel, who bore the trace of his 
Babylonian birthplace in his two Chaldsean names, Zerubbabel 
* the Babel-born,' or Sheshbazzar, or Sarabazzar,^ and who, by 
his official titles, was marked out as the representative amongst 
them of the Persian king, 'the^ Tirshatha,' or ^the Pasha,' that 
old Assyrian word which has never since died out amongst the 
governments of the East. Next to him was Jeshua or Joshua, 
the son of Josedek, the High Priest who had been carried into 
exile with Zedekiah, and shared his imprisonment. Next to 
them in rank and elder in years was Seraiah the priest, son of 
Hilkiah.^ But of the ancient four-and-twenty sacerdotal 
courses, four only joined in the procession ; it may be from the 
havoc of the priestly caste in the desperate struggle at the time 
of the capture of the Temple ; it may be from the attachment 
of the others to their Babylonian homes. Still the number of 
priests (4,000) was large in proportion to the people, yet larger 
in proportion to the Levites, who numbered only 74 besides 
the 128 singers of the family of Asaph, and the 139^ descen- 
dants of those stalwart gatekeepers, the sacerdotal soldiery or 
police, that had guarded the whole circuit of the Temple walls, 
and w^ere believed to have rendered the state such important 
service on the day that Jehoiada^ planned the overthrow of 
Athaliah.'^ Along with them were the 392 representatives of 
the ancient Canaanite bondmen, whose ancestral names indi- 
cated their foreign origin, the Nethinim,^ or * consecrated 
'giftsmen' bound over to the honoured work of the Tem- 
ple service — or *the children of Solomon's slaves' — that is, 

Ezra H. 2; Neh. vii. 7; Ewald v. "* Compare Neh. xi. 11 with Ezra ii. 2. 

86. * Ezra ii. 41-42; Neh. vii. 43 45 ; 

" 'Ezra i. 8, II ; V. 14, 16. i Chron. ix. 17-21. 

■ Ih'i/. ii. 63 ; Nehem. vii. 63, 70 ; * According to 2 Chron. xxiii. 2, 4, 5. 

Haggai i. i and 14 ; ii. 2, 21 ; Ezra vi. 7. ' See Lecture XXXV. 

(See Gesenius in voce.) ' See ' Nethinim ' in D/ci. a/BibU, 

78' THE RETURN. lect. xuii. 

doubtless, of those Phoenician artists whom the great king 
had employed in the construction of his splendid works. 

So the names stood in a register * which a century after- 
wards was found by an inquiring antiquary in the Archives of 
Jerusalem, and its accuracy was tested by the additional record 
that there was a rigid scrutiny on the departure from Babylon 
to exclude from this favoured community those who could not 
prove their descent. Such was a body of unknown applicants 
from the villages in the jungles or salt marshes near the Persian 
Gulf ^ Such was another band, claiming to be of priestly origm, 
and justifying their pretensions, but in vain, by appealing to an 
ancestor who had married a daughter and taken the name of 
the renowned old Gileadite chief Barzillai.^ 

In the front or centre of this caravan, borne probably by 
the Nethinim — in place of the Ark that had formed the rallying 
point of the earlier wanderings — were the carefully collected 
vessels of the Temple, the Palladium to which the hopes of the 
nation had been attached, which had been the badges of 
contention between Jeremiah and his opponents before the 
Captivity ; which had been carried off in triumph by Nebuchad- 
nezzar and lodged in the most magnificent of all receptacles^, 
the Temple of Bel ; which had adorned the banquet of Belshaz- 
zar ; and which now, by special permission of Cyrus,'* were 
taken out of the Babylonian treasury, according, as one tradition 
said, to a special vow made by the King in his earlier days.^ 
There they were borne aloft. Each article of plate was carefully 
named in lists three times recorded, the thousand cups of 
original gold, the thousand cups of silver, which marked the 
double stage of the Captivity, with all the lesser vessels, even 
the nine and twenty knives,^ amounting in all, as was carefully 
noted, to 5,499. 

It was like the procession of the Vestal Virgins, with the 
sacred fire in their hands, in their passage between Rome and 

'■ Neh. vli. 6-73 ; Ezra ii. 1-70 ; i Esdras * Ezra i. 7 ; vi. 5 ; 2 Chron. xxxvl. 10 ; 

V. 1-46 ; comp. I Chron. ix. 1-34. Jer. xxvii. 16-22 ; xxviii. 2, 3 ; Dan. T. 

» Ezra ii. 59. See Lectuces XL., XLI., XLII. 

' Idid. ii. 59-61 ; Neh. vii. 61, 62 ; and ^ 1 Esdras v. 44. 

the confused text of i Esdras v. 36-38. " Ezra i. 9. 


Veil ; like ^neas with his household gods from Troy. Homely 
as they were, grates, knives, spoons, basins, recalling alike the 
glory of the time of Solomon in their original gold, the decline 
of the last days of Jerusalem in the silver substitutes of 
Zedekiah, they were the links which seemed to weave a con- 
tinuous chain across the gulf which parted the old and the new 
era of Israelite history. 

Forth from the gates of Babylon they rode on camels, 
mules, asses, and (now for the first time in their history) on 
horses, to the sound of joyous music — a band of horsemen * 
playing on flutes and tabrets, accompanied by their own two 
hundred minstrel slaves, and one hundred and twenty-eight 
singers of the temple,^ responding to the Prophet's voice, as 
they quitted the shade of the gigantic walls and found them- 
selves in the open plains beyond. * Go ^ ye out of Babylon. 

* Flee from the Chaldaeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, 

* tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth ; say ye, The 

* Eternal hath redeemed His servant Jacob.' 

The prospect of crossing that vast desert, which intervened 
between Chaldsea and Palestine, was one which had filled the 
minds of the exiles with all manner of terrors. It seemed like 
a second wandering in the desert of Sinai. It was a journey 
of nearly four ^ months at the slow rate at which such caravans 
then travelled. Unlike the wilderness of Sinai, it was diversi- 
fied by no towering mountains, no delicious palm groves, no 
gushing springs. From the moment they left the banks of the 
Euphrates till they reached the northern extremity of Syria, 
they w^ere on a hard gravel plain, with no solace except the 
occasional wells ^ and walled stations ; or, if their passage was 
in the spring, the natural herbage and flowers which clothed 
the arid soil. Ferocious hordes of Bedouin ^ robbers then, as 
now, swept the whole tract. 

This dreary prospect preoccupied with overwhelming pro- 
minence the Evangelical Prophet. But he would not hear of 

^ I Esdras v. i-8 transfers to Darius what '* 'Ezra. vii. 8, 9. The journey now take» 

belongs to Cyrus. ordinarily about two months. 

" Ezra ii. 41-65. * Layard, Nineveh and Babylon ^ 533. 

* Isa. xlviii. 20, 21. * Ezra viii. 31. 

So THE RETURN. lect. xmi. 

fear. It was in his visions not a perilous enterprise but a march 
of triumph : ' Therefore the redeemed of the Eternal shall 

* return, and come with singing unto Zion^ and everlasting joy 

* shall be upon their heads ; they shall obtain gladness and joy 

* and sorrow and mourning shall flee away/ As before some 
Royal potentate, there would go before them an invisible 
Protector, who should remove the hard stones from the bare 
feet of those that ran beside the camels, and cast them up in 
piles on either side to mark the broad track seen for long miles 
across the desert. It should be as if Moses were again at their 
head, and the wonders of the Red ^ Sea and Sinai re-enacted. 
The heat of the scorching sun shall be softened ; they shall be 
led to every spring and pool of water ; ^ if water is not there, 
their invisible Guide shall, as of old, bring it out of the cloven 
rock. Even the wild animals of the desert,^ the ostrich and 
the jackal, shall be startled at its unexpected ^ rush. Even the 
isles of palms which cheered the ancient Israelites in Arabia 
shall not be sufficient. Cedar as well as acacia, olive and 
myrtle, pine and cypress, all that is most unlike to the vegeta- 
tion of the desert shall spring up along these fountains. 

It is a curious instance of the prosaic temper which has led 
many modern commentators to expect a literal fulfilment of 
ihe poetic expressions of the Hebrew Prophets, that the Jewish 
rabbis of later times suppose all these wonders to have actually 
occurred, and were surprised to find no mention of them in the 
narrative of the contemporary ^ chronicler. But the spirit of 
these high-wrought strains is the same as that expressed in the 
simpler language yet similar faith of the songs of the ' ascents,' 
some of which we can hardly doubt to have been chanted by 
the minstrels of the caravan during their long ascending journey 
up the weary slope which reached from the level plains of 
Babylon to their own rocky fortress of Judaea. They lifted up 
their eyes to the distant mountains of Syria, and when they 
thought of the long interval yet to traverse they asked whence 

* Isa. li. lo ; Ixlii. ii. ^ Ibid. xHii. 20. * Ibid. xli. 18, 19. 

"^ Ibid, xli, 18 ; xlviii. 20, 21 ; xliv, 3 ; ' Kimchi, quoted by Gesenius on Isa, 

xlix. 10. xlviii. 20-21, 

liBCT. xLiii. THE JOURNEY. 8 1 

was to come their help ? Their answer was, that they looked 
to the eternal, unsleeping watchfulness of the Guardian of Israel, 
who should guard them by night and day, stand as their shade 
on their southern side against the noonday sun, and at last 
guard their entrance into Palestine, as He had guarded their 
Exodus from Babylon.^ 

The high, snowclad ridge of Hermon would be the first 
object that at the distance of four or five days' journey would 
rise on the uniform horizon of the exiles. We know not whether 
they would enter Syria at the nearer point of Damascus or at 
the further point (but, as it would appear, the usual route at 
that time) of Hamath or Riblah.^ 

Even then there would still be a long journey of hill and 
vale to traverse before they reached their home. But, already 
(so we gather from the shouts of joy with which the Prophet 
anticipated this happy moment), the dead city would be roused 
up from her slumber of seventy years. The sleeping potion of 
the Divine wrath has been drunk to the dregs — she is to shake 
off the dust ^ of the ruins amongst which she has lain — she is 
to break the chain which fastened her neck down to the ground. 
She is to listen for the joyful signal of the messengers ^ stationed 
on the eastern hills, who will descry the exiles from afar and 
hand on the good tidings from hill to hill, like beacon flames, 
till at last it reaches the height of Olivet, or of Ramah ; where 
Zion herself stands on tiptoe to catch the news, and, like the 
maidens of old who welcomed the returning heroes, proclaim 
to the cities of Judah, each on their crested hills around her, 
that the Divine Presence is at hand ; that the little flock has 
been guided through the wilderness safely ; even the weary 
laggards are cared for, even the lambs are folded in the shep- 
herd's bosom, even the failing ewes are gently helped onwards.^ 

' Psalm cxx. — cxxxiv., especially Psalm ' hearing of his father's death, struck 

cxxi. 1-8. ' straight across the desert from Palestine 

^ 2 Kings XXV. 6, 20, 21 ; xxiii. 33. The * to Babylon.' Bcrosus, in Jos. Ant. x. 

route which I have described appears both 11, i (Upham, p. 31). 

from the ancient and modern practice to ' Isa. lii. 1, 2, 7, 8. 

have been the one that must have been " For the custom of these telegraphic 

taken. 'The on 'y traveller that is known beacon fires see Jer. vi. 1; Raphall's 

* to have taken the direct track in ancient History of the Jews, ii. 70. 

' times was Nebuchadnezzar, who, on ' Isa. xl, 9-1 1. 


82 THE RETURN. lect. xliii. 

It is not difficult to figure to ourselves the general aspect 
of Palestine on the Return. Monarchy, priesthood, art, and 
commerce had departed, but a large population had 
ance of been left, partly of the aboriginal tribes, partly of the 
humbler classes of Israel, to till the ground. There 
was the Persian governor, perhaps more than one, who con- 
trolled the whole. ^ The central portion was occupied, as we 
have seen, by mixed settlers from the East, who combined with 
the original^ habitants to compose the people, alternately called, 
from their twofold origin, Cutheans or Samaritans. The 
Scythians still remained in possession of the Canaanite strong- 
hold of Bethshan — the centre, at that time, of the borderland 
between Israel and the heathen nations, already forming itself 
under the Monarchy, but now becoming more and more defined, 
and gradually taking itself the name, which was at last in fame 
to eclipse that of any other division of Palestine — GaHlee of 
the Gentiles, or Galilee, 'the Heathen-march,' or Hhe March. '^ 

In the Transjordanic territory, although the country of 
Moab and Amnion had been frightfully devastated'* by the 
Chaldaean invasion, the inhabitants had been allowed to remain 
in their homes, and their chiefs ^ occupied independent and 
powerful positions. 

The western coast was occupied by the old enemies of 
Israel, the Philistines, now reasserting their independence, and 
in their chief city, Ashdod, still speaking their own language^ — 
still worshipping their ancient sea-god Dagon. 

The south was overrun by the vindictive and ungenerous 
race of Edom, which even claimed '^ the whole country as its 
own, with the capital of Akrabbim. 

There only remained, therefore, for the new comers the 
small, central strip of the country round Jerusalem occupied 
by the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. From these two tribes 
the larger part of the exiles were descendants, and to this, their 
ancient home, they returned. . Henceforth the name of Judah 

* Ezra iv. II, V. 3. * Neh. ii. 10 ; iv. 7, Josephus, Ant. xiii. 
» See Lecture XXXIV. 8, i. 

^ Ewald, V. 98. * Neh. iv. 7 ; xiii, 24 ; i Mace. x. 84. 

* Jer. xxVii. 3, 6 ; xxviii. 14 ; xlviii. xi. ' Ewald, v. 81. i Mace. iv. 29 ; v. 3. 

lacT. xLin. THE SETTLEMENT. 83 

took the predominant place in the national titles. As the 
primitive name of ' Hebrew ' had given way to the historical 
name of Israel, so that of Israel now gave way to the name of 
The na f /^^^^^> ^^ ^^^j SO full of praise and pride, of re- 
•judaean'or proach and scorn. *It was born,' as their later 
historian ^ truly observes, * on the day when they came 
*out from Babylon,' and their history thenceforth is the history 
not of Israel but of Judaism. 

We trace the settlers of those rocky fastnesses, returning, 
each like a bird to its nest, after the migration of winter. Each 
hill-fort, so well known in the wars of Saul and David, in the 
approaches of Sennacherib,^ once more leaps into view ; Gibeon, 
and Ramah, and Geba, and the pass of Michmash, and the 
slope of Anathoth, and the long descent of Bethel and Ai, and 
the waving palms of Jericho, and the crested height of Bethle- 
hem, and the ancient stronghold of Kirjath-jearim,^ all received 
back their * men,' their * children,' after their long separation. 
Some gradually crept further south through the now Idumaean 
territory to the villages round Hebron, to which the old 
Canaanite possessors once more had given its ancient name of 

* Kirjath-arba.' * Some stole along the plains of the south coast 
down to the half- Bedouin settlements of Beersheba and Molada 
on the frontier of the desert. The bands of singers established 
themselves in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, at Geba, or at 
Gilgal, in the Jordan valley. 

But these all, as it were, clustered round Jerusalem, which 

now for the first time in history assumes the name never since 

lost, and which in the East still remains its only title, 

Jerusalem. , rj.^^ j^^j^ 5 ^j^^^, ^^^^ jj- ^^^ couutry at large also 

takes for the first time in the mouths of the returning exiles 
the name which has clung to it with hardly less tenacity, * The 

* Holy ^ Land,' it is as the seat and throne of the consecrated 
capital, which, though fallen from its antique splendour, reigned 
supreme, as never before, over the affections and the reverence 

» Jos. Ani. xi. 5, 7. Arba in Diet. 0/ Bible). 

* Neh. vii. 25-30. * Isa. xlviii. 2 ; lii. i ; Ivi. 7 ; Ixiv. xo, 
' Ezra ii. 23, 25, 28, 34. El Khods in Arabic. 

* Neh. xi. 25 (see Mr. Grove on Kirjath * Zech. ii. la (Ewald, v. 60). 

84 THE RETURN. lect. xliit. 

of the people. When Herodotus in the next century passed by 
it he knew it only by this name, * The Holy Place,' Kadesh^ 
Grecised^ into Kadytis. When, three centuries later, Strabo 
saw it again, though the name of Jerusalem had been recog- 
nized, it was transformed into Hierosolyma^^ the Holy Place of 
Salem or Solomon,^ and he felt that it properly expressed the 
awe and veneration^ with which he regarded it, as though it had 
been one of the oracular seats of his own religion. 

All the other shrines and capitals of Israel, with the single 
exception of that on Mount Gerizim, had been swept away. 
The sanctity of Bethel and Shiloh, the regal dignity of Samaria 
and Jezreel, had now disappeared for ever. Jerusalem re- 
mained the undisputed queen of the whole country in an un- 
precedented sense. Even those very tribes which before had 
been her rivals, acknowledged in her misfortunes the supremacy 
which they had denied to her in her prosperity. Pilgrims from 
Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria, immediately after the Baby- 
lonian Captivity began, came, with every outward sign of^ 
mourning, to wail and weep (like the Jews of our own day) over 
the still smoking ruins. 

It was natural, therefore, that the exiles constantly nourished 
the hope of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, which they had never 
forgotten in their brightest or their darkest days on the banks of 
the Euphrates ;^ that the highest reward to which any of them 
could look forward would be that they should build the old 
waste ^ places, raise up the foundations of many generations, 
be called the repairer of the ruins, the restorer of paths to dwell 
in. It was natural that along the broken walls of the city of 
David there should have been, as the Return drew nearer, 
devout Israelites seen standing like sentinels, repeating theii* 
constant watchwords, which consisted of an incessant cry day 
and night, giving the Divine Protector no rest until He establish 
and make Jerusalem a praise upon the earth. ^ It was natural 

^ Herod, iii. 5. It may possibly be * Strabo, xvi. 10, 37. 

Gaza ; but Jerusalem is the most pro- ^ Jer. xli. 5-8 (Ewald, v. 97) ; see Lecture 

bable. XL. 

" Philo calls it HieroPolis, ^ Psalm cxxxvii. 1,5; see Lecture XLI. 

* Eus. Prcep, Ev. ix. 34. "^ Isa. Iviii. 12 ; Ixi. 4. ' Ibid. Ixii. 6, 7. 

laBCT. xhm, THE ALTAR. 85 

that the name which had begun to attach to her during her 
desertion, as though she were the impersonation of Sohtude 
and Desolation, should give place to the joyful names * of the 
Bride and the Favourite returning to her married home with 
all the gaiety and hopefulness of an Eastern wedding. It was 
natural that Ezekiel by the banks of the Chebar should so con- 
centrate his thoughts on the City and Temple of Jerusalem 
that their dimensions grew in his visions to such a colossal size 
as to absorb the whole of Palestine by their physical structure, 
no less than they did actually by their moral significance. 

Accordingly, the one object which filled the thoughts of the 
returning exiles, the one object, as it was believed by them, for 
which the Return had been permitted by the Persian king, was 
The conse- * ^hc building of an house of the Lord God of Israel 
thfnew°*^ ' at Jerusalem which is in Judah.' 
^^t^- There was a moment, it might have been sup- 

posed, when the idea of a more spiritual worship, like that of 
the Persians, would dispense altogether with outward buildings. 

* The heaven is my throne, the earth is my footstool : where 

* is the house that ye build unto me ? and where is the place 

* of my rest ? ' ^ But this doctrine of the Evangelical Prophet 
was not yet capable of being put into practice ; perhaps in its 
literal sense never will be. EzekieFs ideal was, as we have 
seen, rather the restoration of the Temple on a gigantic scale. 
It was the chief, the one mission of Zerubbabel, and in a few 
weeks or months after his arrival the first step was taken 
towards the erection of the second Temple of Jerusalem, the 
Temple which was destined to meet the requirements of 
the national worship, till it gave way to the third Temple of 
the half-heathen Herod. That first step was precisely on the 
traces of the older Temple. As the altar which David erected 
long preceded the completion of the splendid structure of 
Solomon, so before any attempt was made to erect the walls, or 
even to lay the foundations of the Temple of the coming era, 
there was erected on the platform formerly occupied ^ by the 
threshing-floor of Araunah, then for five centuries by the stately 

• Isa. Ixii. 4, 5 . hv. 1-7. Beulah and Hephzibah, " Isa. Ixvi. i. * Ezra. iii. 3. 

86 THE RETURN. lect. xlhi, 

altar of David and his son Solomon, the central hearth of 
the future Temple ; but, as if to vindicate for itself an in- 
trinsic majesty despite of its mean surroundings, it was in its 
dimensions double the size even of its vast predecessor. The 
day fixed for the occasion of its consecration was well suited to 
do it honour. It was the opening of the great autumnal Feast 
pc^ ggg^ of the Jewish year — the Feast of Tabernacles— the 
October. same festival as that chosen by Solomon for the 
dedication of his Temple, and by Jeroboam for the dedication 
of the rival sanctuary at Bethel.^ It was the first day of the 
seventh month, which, according to the Babylonian, now 
adopted as the Jewish, calendar, henceforth took the Chaldaean 
name of Tisri, * the opening ' month, the ^ January,' and thus 
became the first ^ of the year. 

The settlers from all parts of the country, as well as the 
aboriginal inhabitants, gathered for the occasion and witnessed 
the solemnity from the open space in front of the eastern gate 
of the Temple.2 

That day accordingly was fitly the birthday of the new city. 
Henceforth there were once more seen ascending to the sky 
the columns of smoke, morning and evening, from the daily 
sacrifices — the sign at once of human habitation and of religious 
worship in the long-deserted capital. Now that the central 
point was secured, the impulse to the work went on. The con- 
tributions which the exiles themselves had made — the offerings, 
as it would appear, from some of the surrounding tribes, under 
the influence of the Persian Government, added to the re- 
sources. The artisan population ^ which had been 
B.C. 535. i^i-^ -j^ Palestine were eagerly pressed forward to the 
work ; the cedars of Lebanon were again, under Royal com- 
mand, hewn down and brought, on receiving payment in kind, 
by Phoenician vessels to Joppa. The High Priest, with the 
various members of the sacerdotal caste, superintended the 
work. At last, in the seventh month of the second year from 

* See Lecture XXVII. ^ that the Mesopotamian reckoning had 

° September (see Kalisch's Commentary^ never quite died out in Palestine. 
;i. 269). Ewald {Ant, 343, 344) suppose* » i Esdras v. 47. * Ezra iii. 3-8. 


their return — that is, within a year from the erection of the 
Foundation ^^^tar — the foundation of the new Temple was laid. 
sicond ^^ important seemed to be the step thus gained that 

Temple. i\yQ day was celebrated with the first display of the 
old pomp on which they had yet ventured. The priests, in the 
rich dresses that Zerubbabel out of his princely munificence 
had furnished, blew once more their silver trumpets ; the sons 
of Asaph once more clashed their brazen cymbals. Many of 
the Psalms which fill the Psalter with joyous strains were 
doubtless sung or composed on this occasion.^ One strain 
especially rang above all — that which runs through the io6th, 
107th, 1 1 8th, and the 136th Psalm : *0 give thanks unto the 
' Eternal ; for He is good, and His mercy endureth for ever.' 
Through all the national vicissitudes of weal and woe it was 
felt that the Divine goodness had remained firm. If, in spite of 
some appearances to the contrary,^ the 11 8th Psalm was origi- 
nally appropriated to this occasion, it is easy to see with what 
force the two choral companies must have repHed, in strophe 
and antistrophe : * Open to me the gates of righteousness,' 
' This is the gate through which the righteous shall enter ;' or 
must have welcomed the foundation stone which, after all 
difficulty and opposition, had at last been raised on the angle 
of the rocky platform ; or have uttered the formula which 
afterwards ^ became proverbial for all such popular cele- 
brations : * Hosanna ! Save us ' — * Blessed be whosoever 
* Cometh in the name of the Eternal,' — or the culminating cry 
with which the sturdy sacrificers were called to drag the 
struggling victim and bind him fast to the horns of the newly- 
consecrated altar, "* 

Loud and long were these Jewish Te Deums re-echoed by 
the shouts of the multitude. It was not, indeed, a day of 
unmingled joy, for amongst the crowd there stood some aged 
men, who had lived through the great catastrophe of the 
Captivity ; who, in their youth, had seen the magnificent 

* Ezra ill. 10-13. imply that the walls were finished. 

" Ps. cxviii. 8-12 would refer more * Matt. xxi. 9 (Reuss on Psalm cxviiL 

naturally to a battle ; verses 18, 19 might 26). * Ps. cxviii. 27. 

88 THE RETURN. lbct. xliii. 

Structure of Solomon standing in its unbroken stateliness ; 
and when they compared with that vanished splendour these 
scanty beginnings they could not refrain from bursting forth 
into a loud wail of sorrow at the sad contrast. The two 
strains of feehng from the older and younger generation mingled 
together in a rivalry of emotion, but the evil omen of the 
lamentation was drowned in the cry of exultation : and those 
who stood on the outskirts of the solemnity caught only the 
impression of the mighty shout that rang afar off — far off, as it 
seemed, even to the valleys of Samaria. ^ 

That mixed expression, however overborne for the moment, 
well coincided with the actual condition of the Jewish com- 
munity. It is one of the instructive and pathetic characteristics 
of this period that we have come down from the great days of 
the primitive triumph of grand ideas, or the exploits of single 
heroes, to the complex, pedestrian, motley struggles (if one 
may so speak) of modern life. 

The country ^ was unsettled — robber hordes roved through 
it — the harvest and the vintage were uncertain. And, yet 
further, now began the first renewal of that jealousy between 
the north and south of Palestine, which for a time had been 
subdued in the common sense of misfortune ; and the feud 
between Jew and Samaritan, which, under various forms, 
continued till the close of this period — a jealousy which, if it 
represents the more tenacious grasp of a purer faith, indicates 
also the more exclusive and sectarian spirit now shrinking 
closer and closer into itself. 

It is the story again and again repeated in modern times : 

first, the natural desire of an estranged population — heretical 

. and schismatical as they might be — to partake in a 

The opposi- . . 1 

tionofthe glorious national work; then the rude refusal to 
aman ans. ^^j^-^. ^j^^-^ co-opcratiou ; then the fierce recrimi- 
nation of the excluded party and the determination to frustrate 
the good work in which they cannot share. The Protestants 
of the sixteenth, the Puritans of the seventeenth century may 
see their demands in the innocent, laudable request of the 

' Ezra iii. la, 13 (Ewald, v. loe). ' Zech. viii. 10. 


northern settlers ; ' Let us build with you, for we seek your 
*God as ye do.' The stiff retort of the Church, whether in 
Italy or England, may fortify itself by the response of the * chief 

* of the fathers of Israel : ' * Ye have nothing to do with us 

* to build an house unto our God ; but we ourselves together 
*will build unto the God of Israel.' Each alike appeals for 
historic precedent and sanction to the Imperial Government 
which gave them their position — the one to * Esar-haddon, 
' king of Assyria,' the other to * Cyrus, king of Persia,' Con- 
stantine or Charlemagne, Elizabeth or Cromwell. Each alike 
continues its appeal before that power, forecasting, even to the 
letter, the litigations by which Greek, Latin, and Armenian 
invoke the aid of the Sublime Porte in their disputes over the 
Holy Places on the very same soil. Each alike, and all their 
successors, deserve the rebuke which had been anticipated by 
the Great Prophet of the Captivity, when in his ideal glorifica- 
tion of Jerusalem he described that its walls should be built, 
not by its own children, but by the sons of strangers, and that 
its gates should not be rigidly closed, but should be open 
continually, and be shut neither day nor night. ^ 

In these miserable accusations and counter-accusations 
carried on before the Princes who successively mounted the 
throne of Persia — the fierce Cambyses, the usurping 
B.C. 529- ' Smerdis — twelve precious years were wasted.^ At 
Hystalpis, last the rcvolutiou, which raised the son of Hystaspes 
B.C. 522-4 5- ^Q power, gave a new opening to the oppressed and 
bewildered community at Jerusalem. He, the second Founder 
of yie Persian kingdom, was, as it were, a second Cyrus to 
them. And it is just at this moment that the scanty informa- 
tion afforded by the nameless Chronicler ^ is suddenly illumi- 
nated by the appearance of the two Prophets who had taken, 
though in shreds and tatters, the mantle of prophecy which had 
fallen upon them from Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Great Unknown. 

They stand side by side. One is far advanced in years, 
apparently belonging to that older generation which had wept 

* Isa. Ix. 10 II. Comp. xlix. 20; Ixiii. ■ /Jwf, v. 1, 4. * We,' but not Ezra him' 

16 ; Ixvi. 20, 21. • Ezra iv. 6-23. sdf. 

90 THE RETURN. lbct. xmi. 

over the contrast between the first and second Temple— 
Haggai — who bore a name which no Prophet had ever as- 
Haggai and sumed before, but which henceforth seems to have 
Zechariah. bccomc familiar — the ' Messenger, or Angel, of the 
' Eternal.' ^ The other must have been quite young, being 
the grandson of one of the returning exiles. Zechariah 
belonged to the priestly tribe, and is thus remarkable as an 
example of the union of the two functions, which, being long 
so widely separated in ancient times, had in the last days of 
the Monarchy gradually become blended together. 

Unlike the uncertainty which attaches to the dates of 
the older Prophecies, we can trace the year, the month, the very 
day on which the utterances of these two seers were delivered. 

It was in the second year of the new Persian king, and 
on the first ^ day of the sixth month, and again on 
September, the onc-aud- twentieth day of the seventh month, 
that Haggai appeared before the chiefs of the nation, 
in the Temple court ; in the ^ eighth month Zechariah joined 
B.C. 521, ^^"^ '> ^^ ^ ^^^ ninth month, on the four-and-twentieth 
November. (Jay, Haggai delivered his two farewell messages, and 
B.C. 520 th^n once more ^ followed Zechariah, first in the 
January. elcvcnth mouth, and again,^ after a longer interval, in 
November, the ninth month of the fourth year of the same reign. 

It is characteristic of the true prophetic spirit that, whilst 
the Chronicler and the Prophets are equally bent on the ac- 
compHshment of the same end — the rebuilding of the Temple 
— the only obstacle that the Chronicler sees is the opposition 
of external adversaries ; the chief obstacle that the Prophets 
indicate is the moral failure of their own fellow-citizens. 

In each of the two Prophets the hope and the lesson is the 

same, but it comes in a different form. To the aged Haggai 

the recollection of the ancient "^ Temple is always 

aggai. present, but he is convinced that, even if the present 

tranquillity of the world must needs be broken ^ up, even if 

^ Haggai i. 13. Compare Malachi iii. i, (Lecture XLV.) * Haggai i. i, 15 ; ii. r. 

" Zech. i. I. * Haggai ii. 10. ^ Zech, i. 7. 

• Ibid. vii. I. ' Haggai i. 2, 9. * Ibid. ii. 6, 7, 2«. 

LECT. XLiii. HAGGAI. 91 

some violent convulsion should once again shake all nationi 
yet abundant treasures ^ would flow into the Temple. If its 
own children should neglect it, the heathen whom they 
despised would come to the rescue. 

He fiercely rebukes, not the captiousness of the Samaritans, 
but the apathy of his countrymen. There were those who, 
taking advantage of the long delay, counted with a curious 
casuistry the number of years that the Captivity^ ought to 
last ; and, finding that two were still wanting to complete the 
mystic seventy, sheltered themselves behind this prophecy to 
indulge their own indifference and luxury. * The time is not 
*come,' they said, 'the time for the Temple to be built.' 

* The time not come for this ! ' exclaimed the indignant 
Prophet , *Is it time for you to dw^elP in your panelled 

* houses, and the Temple to lie waste ? ' There were those, 
too, who had been tenaciously holding back their contributions, 
and hoarding up the produce of their newly-acquired * fields. 
With telling effect he pointed to the drought that had withered 
up corn, and vine, and olive, and fig, on hill and in valley, and 
broken the energy both of man and beast There were those 
who, whilst carefully stinting the greater work of the Temple, 
prided themselves on the offerings which they brought to the 
freshly-consecrated ^ altar, the only finished part of the sanctuary. 
He warned them that such niggardly selfishness vitiated the 
offering which they brought ; 

High Heaven disdains the lore 
Of nicely-calculated less or more. 

In all these admonitions a profound meaning is wrapped 
up. It may be that there is but little of the poetic fire of the 
First or Second Isaiah. But there is a ponderous and simple 
dignity in the emphatic reiteration addressed alike to every 
class of the community — prince, priest, and people. Be strong, 

^ Haggai iJ. 7. The word rendered the heathen would do. 
'desire of all nations' is properly the * Haggai ii. 3 (see Dr. Pusey and Dr. 

' treasures o* all nations,' and the idea is in Henderson), 
accordance with the context of the whole ' Ibid. i. 2, 3, 4. 

passage (as in Matt. xxii. 10 and Romans * Ibid, i, 9, 10, 11 ; ii. 15, 17. 

xi. 14) that what the Jews would not do, ' Jbid, ii. 10-13. 

92 THE RETURN. lbct. xliii. 

be strongs be strong. ^ * Cleave, stick fast, to the work you have 
'to do.' Or, again, Consider your ways^ consider^ consider^ con- 
sider} It is the Hebrew phrase for the endeavour, character- 
istic of the gifted seers of all times, to compel their hearers to 
turn the inside of their hearts outwards to their own view, to 
take the masks from off their consciences, to ' see life steadily, 
« and to see it whole.' 

Far more explicit and florid was the utterance of the 
younger prophet ^ who came to Haggai's assistance. 

Zechariah's ideal of the restored Jerusalem was not of the 
returning glory of the old time, but of a fresh and prosperous 
community — peaceful old age carried to its utmost 
verge, and leaning in venerable security on its staff ; 
the boys and girls, in childlike mirth, playing in the streets ; 
the unfinished walls not a cause for despondency, but a pledge 
that they were not needed in a city of which the sufficient 
defence was the wall of Divine Flame, and of which the popu- 
lation was to outgrow all such narrow bounds. 

And, as might be expected from one whose prime had been 
spent under Persian rule, his visions were all tinged with Persian 
imagery. He saw in his dreams 'the seven lamps,' or 'the 
* seven eyes' — as of the seven Princes who had admission to 
the throne of Darius — glancing from the Divine presence 
through the world. He saw the earth, as it now presented 
itself to the enlarged vision of those who had listened to 
the Wise Men of Chaldaea, its four corners growing into the 
four horns that toss and gore the lesser powers of the world ; 
the celestial messengers'^ riding on horses, red or dappled, 
hurrying through the myrtle-groves that then clothed the base 
of Olivet, or from the four quarters of the heavens, driving in 
chariots, each with its coloured horses, to and fro, across the 
Persian empire, as in the vast^ machinery of the posts for which it 
was celebrated, and bringing back the tidings of war and peace. 

^ Haggai ii. 4. latter part (ix.-xiii.) has no bearing on this 

"^ Ibid. i. 5, 7; ii. 15, 18. (See Dr. period, and, in all probability, belongs to an 

Pusey.) earlier prophet. (See Lecture XXXVII.) 

^ In speaking of Zechariah, it must be * Zech. i. 8- 11 ; iv 10 ; vl. 1-8. 

remembered that it is only the first part ^ Herod, viii. 98. Esther ill. 13, z%, 

(i. viii.) which is here dealt with. The 


But he, too, poured forth his invectives against the moral * 
depravity which annulled the value of the ceremonial worship ; 
he, too, held out the prospect of harvest and vintage, but only 
as the fitting reward of a nobler and less grovelling spirit ; he, 
too, urged the duty — so homely, so obvious, yet so rarely 
accepted — that every man and every nation should do the 
one work set before them at the special time of their existence. 

The two leaders on whom these expectations were concen- 
trated, were • now, as throughout the period of the return, the 
Prince Zerubbabel and the High Priest Joshua. The Prince 
occupies the chief place in the eye of the older Prophet, the 
Priest in the eye of the younger Prophet, who was himself of 
priestly descent^ They, naturally, were the chief objects of the 
machinations of the Samaritan adversaries, and it would seem 
that an accusation had been lodged against them in the Persian 
Court Regardless of this they were pressed by their prophetical 
advisers to proceed in their work ; and were encouraged by every 
good omen that the prophetic lore of the period could produce. 

The splendid^ attire of the High Priest, studded with 
jewels, had been detained at Babylon, or, at least, could not 
Joshua the t)e wom without the special permission of the King ; 
High Priest, ^nd Until the accusations had been cleared away 
this became still more impossible.'* But the day was coming, 
as it was seen in Zechariah's dream, when the adversary would 
be baffled, the cause won, and the soiled and worn clothing * 
of the suffering exile be replaced by the old magnificence of 
Aaron or of Zadok. He, with the Prince Zerubbabel, were to 
be together ^ like two olive-trees on each side of the golden 
candlestick. For these were destined the crowns which, by a 
happy coincidence, were at this moment brought ^ as offerings 
from the wealthy exiles of Babylon. 

But Zerubbabel was still the principal figure. According 
to a later tradition ® he himself was at this crisis in the court of 

* Zech. i. 4 ; vii. 9, 10, 11 ; viii. 12. * For the importance of the High Priest's 
" See Kuenen, ii. 214. But this is clothes see Lectures XXXVI XLIX- 

modified by Ewald's view. * Zech. iv. 1-5 (so Ewald). 

' Ibid. iii. 1-5. ' Ibid, vi. 9-14 (EwaldX 

* X Esdras iv. 54 ; Ewald, v. 85, • i Esdras v. 13. 

94 THE RETURN. lect. xliii. 

Darius, and labouring for his country's good. Of this the con- 
temporary history knows nothing. But, whether in Persia or 
in Palestine, he was still the hope and stay of all. * Seed of 
' promise sown at Babylon ' (as his name implied), he was the 
branch, the green sprout, that should shoot forth 
again from the withered stem of Jesse. ^ The ex- 
pectation of a royal succession of anointed kings did not 
cease till Zerubbabel passed away. But his memory was in- 
vested with a nobler than any regal dignity. He was the layer 
of the foundation-stone. * The hands ^ of Zerubbabel laid the 

* foundation of this house, and his hands shall finish it.' The 
foundation-stone which had been laid amidst such small begin- 
nings was the pledge of all that was to follow. On it were 
fixed the seven eyes of Providence. The day of its dedication 
was the day of ' small things ' that carried with it the hope of 
the great future. He stands forth in history as an example of 
the sure success of a lofty purpose, secured by the reverse of 
the Fabian pohcy — not by prudently waiting for results, but by 
boldly acting at the moment. He and characters like his are 
truly the signet rings ^ by w^hich the Eternal purposes are 
sealed. By no external power, but by the internal strength of 
a determined will, as by the breath ^ of the wind of heaven 
that sweeps all before it, was every obstacle to be surmounted, 

* Who art thou ? ' said the loyal and courageous Prophet, con- 
fronting the Hill Difficulty that rose before him like Mount 
Olivet. * Who art thou, O great ^ mountain ? before Zerub- 

* babel thou shalt become a level plain.' It was the same 
doctrine as that which, in a simpler but sublimer form, and 
with a far more extended fame, has been placed in the mouth 
of Zerubbabel himself in a later tradition, which represents 
him, in the Court of the Persian King at this very juncture, in 
answer to the challenge to name the strongest of all things, as 
having replied in words which in their Latin version® have 
become proverbial : ^ Great is the Truth and stronger than all 

' Zech. iii. 8. * /izd. i. 14. *" i Esdras iv. 33-41, * Magna est Veritas 

* I6td. iv. 9, 10. " Zech. iv. 7. ' et praevalet ' — altered in the proverb into 

* Haggai ii. 23. the yet stronger phrase, * pravalebit.' 


* things . . . wine is wicked, the king is wicked, women are 
' wicked . . . but the Truth endures and is always strong . . . 

* With her there is no accepting of persons or rewards . . . she 
' is the strength, kingdom, power, and majesty of all ages. 

* Blessed be the God of Truth/ That is a truly Messianic 
hope — into that secret the * seven eyes ' may well have looked. 
It is the doctrine especially suited to every age, in which, like 
that of the Return, intrinsic conviction is the mainstay of 
human advancement 

The long-expected day at last arrived. The royal decree 
cleared away all obstacles. *The mountain had become a 

* plain.' In the sixth year of Darius, on the third day of the 
month Adar, the Temple was finished.^ 

Of this edifice, the result of such long and bitter anxieties, 
_ , . we know almost nothing. If the measurements 

Completion . r ^ 

of the mdicated m the decree of Cyrus were acted upon,^ 

B.T^si6, the space which it covered and the height to which 
^^ ' it rose were larger than the corresponding dimen- 
sions of its predecessor. It must have been in the absence of 
metal and carving that it was deemed so inferior to the First 
Temple. The Holy of Holies was empty. The ark,^ the 
cherubs, the tables of stone, the vase of manna, the rod of 
Aaron were gone. The golden shields had vanished. Even 
the High Priest, though he had recovered his official dress, 
had not been able to resume the breastplate with the oracular ^ 
stones. Still, there was not lacking a certain splendour and 
solidity befitting the sanctuary of a people once so great, and of 
a religion so self-contained. The Pligh Priest and his family 
were well lodged, with guest chambers and store chambers on 
a large scale for the Temple furniture.-^ The doors of the 
Temple were of gold. In three particulars the general arrange- 
ments differed from those of the ancient sanctuar}-. With the 

* Ezra vi. 15. (2 Mace. ii. 5) or to have been carried np 

' Ibid. vi. 3. Perhaps these are specified into Heaven (Rev. xi. ig), there to await 

as the limits not to be exceeded (Professor the coming of the Messiah. SeeEwald on 

Rawlinson in Speaker's Cotnmentary on Rev. ii. 17. 

Ezra). * Ezra ii. 6;^ ; Neh. vii. 65. See Pri- 

^ The ark was supposed either to have deauv, i. 148, for 'the five lost things.* 

been buried by Jeremiah on Mount Sinai '" EzrOi x. 6 ; Neh. xiii. 5. 

Q6 the return. lect. xliit. 

rigid jealousy which rendered this period hostile to all which 
approached the Canaanite worship, there were no more to be 
seen in the courts those beautiful clusters of palm,^ and olive, 
and cedar, which had furnished some of the most striking 
imagery of the poetry of the Monarchy, but which had also 
lent a shelter to the idolatrous rites that at times penetrated the 
sacred enclosure. * No tree,' * no ^ grove,' we are told, ' was to 
* be seen within the precincts.' Another feature characteristic 
of the period was the fortress-tower built at the north-western 
corner of the sanctuary, which, serving in the first instance as a 
residence of the Persian governor, became in later days the 
Tower of Antonia, from which, in like manner, the Roman 
garrison controlled the proud ^ population of Jerusalem. Like 
to this was the sign of subjection to the Persian power pre- 
served in the Eastern gate of the Temple, called the Gate of 
Susa, from its containing ^ sl representation of the Palace of the 
Persian capital. Thirdly, the court of the worshippers was ^ 
divided for the first time into two compartments, of which the 
outer enclosure was known as the court of the Gentiles or 
Heathens. It is difficult to say to which of the two counter- 
currents of the time this arrangement was due. It may have 
been that now, for the first time, the offerings from the Persian 
kings and the surrounding tribes required more distinctly than 
before a locality where they could be received, and that the 
enlarged ideas of the Prophets of the Captivity were thus re- 
presented in outward form ; or it may have been that, with 
the exchange of the free spirit of earlier times for the rigid 
narrowness of a more sectarian age, there was a new barrier 

The consecration of the new Temple was not delayed, like 
that of Solomon, to meet the great autumnal festival of the 
Jewish year. It was enough that it should coincide with the 

* See Lecture XXVII. word used for Shushan, as if the Persian 

* Hecatseus of Abdera (Jos. c. A/>.) i. 22. capital in miniature were thus represented 
See De Saulcy, Ari Judaique, p. 357. at Jerusalem. 

Also, 'The Temple ' in Diet, of the Bible. * Middoth, iii. 43 (Surenhusius, v. 326> 

"^ Neh. ii. 8 ; vii. 2. Is is called Bireh * i Mace. ix. 54. 

(Greek Bar is , which is elsewhere the ® Ezra vi. 19, 22, 17. 


earlkr, yet hardly less solemn, feast which fell in the spring — 
the Passover.^ There was a general sacrifice of loo oxen, 200 
rams, 400 lambs ; but the victims which attracted most atten- 
tion were twelve venerable goats, chosen to represent the twelve 
tribes, as an indication that the whole nation, though only 
represented in Judah and Benjamin, still claimed the sanctuary 
as their own.^ 

It was a season of universal festivity. A few months before 
its close a deputation ^ from Bethel had come to inquire 
Festive whether the four'* days of fasting and mourning 
oftS*^'^"^ established during the Captivity were still to be 
occasion. obscrvcd ; and the answer of the Prophet was an 
indignant repudiation of these religious mockeries of sentiments 
which were not felt. Even during the exile they had been but 
hollow observances — now they were still more unreal.*'* In the 
later years of Judaism these four melancholy commemorations 
of the sorrows and sins of Judah have been revived ; but then, 
and in that freshness of returning happiness, the Prophet had 
the boldness to reverse their meaning — to make them feasts of 
joy and gladness — holy days, of which the only celebration 
should be the love of truth and peace. 

In accordance with this natural burst of joy after so hard- 
won a struggle are the Psalms, some of which, by natural infe- 
rence, some by universal consent, belong to this period. Those 
which either before or now were composed for the Passover 
could never have been sung with such zest as on this, the first 
great Paschal festival after the re- establishment of their worship. 
They might well be reminded of the time when Israel came out 
of Egypt and the house of Jacob from ® a strange land ; and 
the call to trust in the Shield and Helper of their country would 
well be addressed to the whole nation, to the priestly tribe, and 
to those awe-stricken spectators who stood as it were outside 
' and feared the God of Judah.' 

• Ezra vi. 17. the old, or the new wine to be poured into 

' Zech. vii. 2, 3, 5 ; (Heb.) viii. ig. the old vessels, Matt. ix. 15, Similia 

' See Lecture XL. similibus conjungantur. 
*■ It was the same moral as that which ' Ps. cxiv.-cxv. in LXX. one Psalm, 

forbade the new garment to be patched to ^ Ps. cxlvi.— Ps. cl. (LXX.X 

in. H 

98 THE RETURN. lect. xliii. 

But those which (at least as far back as the time of the 
Greek translation) bore the names of the two Prophets of this 
period were the jubilant songs, of which the first words have 
been preserved in their Hebrew form through all Christian 
Psalmody : * Hallelujah/ ^ ^Praise the Eternal' Other hymns 
may have been added to that sacred book as years rolled on ; 
but none were thought so fit to close the Psalter, with a climax 
of delight, as the four exuberant Psalms which sum up the joy 
of the Return. There, more than even in any other portion of 
the mirthful Psalter, we hear the clash of cymbal, and twang of 
harp, and blast of trumpet, and see the gay dances round the 
Temple courts, and join in the invitation to all orders of society, 
to all nations of the earth, to all created things, to share in the 
happiness of the happy human heart. Centuries afterwards, 
when a scrupulous Pontiff hesitated whether he should accord 
the use of the Sacred Scriptures in their own tongue to the 
nations on the banks of the Danube, he was converted, in 
defiance of the rule of his own Church, by the comprehensive 
and catholic words with which Haggai and Zechariah wound 
up their appeal to all nature on that day — ' Let every thing 
' that hath breath praise the Eternal.' ^ It has been well said 
that, * whereas much good poetry is profoundly melancholy, 

* the life of the generality of men is such that in literature they 
' require joy. Such joy is breathed so freely and with such a 
' genuine burst through the period of the Restoration of Israel 

* that we cannot read either its Prophets or its Psalmists with- 

* out catching its glow. The power of animation and consola- 

* tion in such thoughts, which, beginning by giving us a hold 

* on a single great work, like that of the Evangelical Prophet, 

* end with giving us a hold on the history of the human spirit, 

* and the course, drift, and scope of the career of our race as a 

* whole, cannot be over-estimated.' ^ 

' Psalm cl. 6. See Lectures on the Eastern Church (Lecture IX.). 
* Matthew Arnold, The Great Prophecy of the Restoration^ p. 33. 




Ezra vii.-x«; Nehemiah i.-xiii. (called in the Vulgate the First and Second 
Books of Esdras). 


1. Josephus, Ant. xi. 5. 

2. Fabricius, Codex Pseudepigr.f pp. 1145 — 1164 

3. I Esdras (see previous note). 

4. 2 Esdras (see previous note). 

5. 2 Mace. i. 18-36; ii. 13. 

6. Koran, c. ii. 261 (bee Lane's Selections^ pp. 102, 143). 

7. Talmudical traditions in Derenbourg's Histoire de la Palestine, c. i., ii. 


It is convenient, without entering on the detailed analysis of these two 
books, to indicate the main features of their composition open to the view 
of all readers. 

1. In the original Hebrew Canon they form, not two books, but one. 

2. In this one book is discoverable the agglomeration of four distinct 

elements ; which is instructive as an undoubted instance of the 
composite structure shared by other books of the Old and JS'ew 
Testaments, where it is not so distinctly traceable. 

3. These component parts are as follows : — 

a The portions written by the Chronicler — the same as the 
compiler of the Books of Chronicles (comp. Ezra i. i, 2, 
2 Chron. xxxvi, 22, 23)— Ezra i., iii.-vi. ; Nch. xii. 1-26. 

b Ezra's own narrative, Ezra vii.-x. 

c Nehemiah's own narrative, Neh. i.~vii. 5 ; viii.-xi. 2 ; xii. 
27-xiii. 31. 

d Archives j Ezra ii. ; Neh. vii. 6-73 ; xi. 3-36. 


In the divisions a^ b, and c^ it may be questioned whether Ezra vii. I- 
26 ; X. 1-44 } Nehemiah viii. i-xi. 2 ; vii. 27-xiii. 3 (in which Ezra and 
Nehemiah are described in the third person) belong to another narrative 
interwoven by the Chronicler who compiled the whole book. 

Of the two Apocryphal Books, that which in the English version is 
called * the First Book of Esdras,' and in the Vulgate the Third, is a com- 
pilation of the history of Ezra with additions regarding Zerubbabel. 
Being in Greek, it must be after the time of Alexander ; being used by 
Josephus as of equal authority with the canonical books, it must be before 
the Christian era. Beyond these two landmarks there is nothing to fix 
the date. 

That which in the English version is the Second Book of Esdras, other- 
wise called the Fourth, but more properly the 'Apocalypse of Ezra,' is not 
received into the Vulgate. It exists only in the Latin version of the lost 
Greek, and its date is probably in the beginning of the second century of 
our era. 




Seventy years of total silence roll over the history from the 
completion of the building of the Temple till the next event in 
B.C. 516— 459. Palestine of which there is any certain record. 
The new During that time Zerubbabel had passed from the 
colony. scene — according to the Jewish tradition had even 
returned to his native Babylon^ to die. His descendants 
lingered on,^ but without authority — and in his place no native 
Prince had either arisen by his own influence, or been appointed 
by the Persian Government, to the first place in the new settle- 
ment. The line of the High Priesthood was continued from 
Joshua the son of Jozedek ; and now, for the first time since 
the death of Eli, did the chief authority of the nation pass into 
the hands of the caste of Aaron, though still under the general 
control of the Persian governor, native or not, who lived in the 
fortress overlooking the Temple.^ The colonists settled down 
into their usual habits. They lived on easy terms with their 
neighbours, some of the chief families intermarrying with them. 
Eliashib, the High Priest, who lived in large apartments within 
the Temple precincts, was doubly connected with the two 
native Princes, who, at Samaria and in the Transjordanic 
Amnion, represented the Persian Government.'* The tide of 
conmierce again began to flow through the streets of Jerusalem. 
Asses heavily laden with sheaves of corn and clusters of fruit 
might be seen passing into the city, even on the sacred day of 
rest. Tyrian sailors also were there, selling their fish, and other 

' Seder Clara (Ewald, v. n8); Derenbourg, 20, 21. 

' I Chron. iii. 17-20 ; Luke iii. 23-32 ; Ewald, v. 119, 120. 

' Nch. V. 15. * Ii>id. xiii. 4. 


articles of Phoenician trade. Goldsmiths' ^ and moneychangers' 
and spicedealers' stalls were established in the bazaars. 

The poorer classes had, many of them, sunk into a state of 
serfage to the richer nobles, in whom the luxurious and insolent 
practices of the old aristocracy, denounced by the earlier 
Prophets, began to reappear. Jerusalem itself was thinly in- 
habited, and seemed to have stopped short in the career which, 
under the first settlers, had been opening before it.^ If we 
could trust the conjecture of Ewald that the eighty-ninth Psalm 
expresses the hope of a Davidic king in the person of Zerubbabel 
and his children, and the extinction of that hope in the troubles 
of the time, we should have a momentary vision of the shadows 
which closed round the reviving city.^ It is certain that, 
whether from the original weakness of the rising settlement, or 
from some fresh inroad of the surrounding tribes, of which we 
have no distinct notice, the walls of Jerusalem were still un- 
finished ; huge gaps left in them where the gates had been 
burnt and not repaired ; the sides of its rocky hills cumbered 
with their ruins ; the Temple, though completed, still with its 
furniture scanty and its ornaments inadequate. As before, in 
the time of Zechariah, when the arrival of three wealthy Baby- 
lonian Jews filled the httle colony with deHght, so now its hopes 
were fixed on their countrymen in those distant settlements. 
The centre of the revived nation was in its own ancient capital ; 
but its resources, its civilisation, were in the Court of Persia. "* 
There were two of these voluntary exiles who have left an 
authentic record of the passionate love for their unseen country, 
which, amidst much that is disappointing in their career and 
narrow in their horizon, compared with the great Prophets of 
the Monarchy or of the earlier period of the Captivity, yet 
stamps every step of their course with a pathetic interest, the 
more moving because its expression is so incontestably genuine. 

The first was Ezra. He was of the priestly tribe, but his 
chief characteristic — which already had gained him a fame in 

• Neh. xiii. 15-17 ; iii. 8, 31. * Yearly gifts came across the desert 
= /did. V. 6-jo ; vii. 4 ; xi. 2. (Philo, Le^'. ad Caium 1013). 

* Ps. Ixxxix, 20, 35, 39, 

LECT. xLiv. EZRA. 103 

the far-off East — was that he was the most conspicuous of that 
order of men which now first came into prominence, and was 
destined afterwards to play so fatal a part in the religious 
Ezra B.C. history of Judaism — the Scribes. The Scribes, or 
459- Sopherim, had in some form long existed. They 

had originally been the registrars or clerks by whom the people 
or the army were numbered.^ They then rose into higher 
importance as royal secretaries. Then, as the Prophetic writings 
took a more literary form, and the calamities of the falling 
Monarchy and the subsequent exile stimulated the nation to 
collect and register the fragments of the past, they took a 
conspicuous place by the side of the Prophets. Such an one 
in the earlier generation had been Baruch, the friend of Jere- 
miah. Such an one now was Ezra in the Jewish schools ^ of 
Chaldaean learning, fostered by the atmosphere of the sacred 
scientific caste which had its seat in Borsippa or in the Temple 
of Bel, and in which afterwards sprang up the Chaldee Para- 
phrase and the Babylonian Talmud. Ezra had devoted himself 
to the study of * The Law,' in whatever form it was then known, 
and was seized with a burning desire to enforce its provisions 
amongst his own countrymen. To him Artaxerxes of the Long 
Arms ^ — the mild Sovereign who now ruled the Persian Empire 
— entrusted the double charge of providing for the due execution 
of the national code and for the proper adornment of the 
national sanctuary. 

It was almost a second return that Ezra thus organised. 

There was the same terror of the dangers of the long journey, 

^ the same shrinking back of the sacerdotal caste. 

Journey of " 

Ezra. * There was not one of the sons of Levi. But the 

*^*'^^^' cheering confidence, which on the first return had 
been inspired by Ezekiel and the Evangelical Prophet, was on 
this return supplied by Ezra* himself He clings to the unseen 
Support by the same expressive figure that had been first 
specially indicated by Ezekiel, *The Hand of God.' ^ * I was 

' See ' Scribes ' in Did. of the BibU. Persia, i. 67. 

^ ^ztd^ vii. 10, 12. * Ezek. xxxvii. i ; Ezra vii. 6, 9 ; viii, 

* Artaxerxes Makrocheir in Greek, Ar- 22, 31. Comp. i Kings xviii, 46, 
dishir Dirozdust in Persian. Malcolm's 

104 EZRA AND NEHEMIAH. lbct. xliv. 

' strengthened,' said the solitary exile to himself, ' as the Hand 

* of my God was upon me.' * The good Hand of our God was 
' upon us.' * The Hand of God is upon all them for good that 

* seek Him.' ' The Hand of our God was upon us.' It is as if 
he felt the returning touch of those Invisible Fingers at every 
stage of the journey. On the twelfth day they halted on their 
road at ' the river of Ahava ; ' in all probability ^ the well-known 
spot where caravans make their plunge into the desert, where, 
from the bitumen springs of * His ' or ' Hit,' the Euphrates 
bends northwards. There, with a noble magnanimity, throwing 
himself on the Divine protection, he declined the escort which 
had accompanied the former expedition, and braved the terrors 
of the wandering Arabs alone. It was in the flowery spring 
when they crossed the desert, and they reached Jerusalem in 
the midsummer heats. 

It is characteristic of the predominant idea in Ezra's mind 
throughout this period that, after a brief summary of the 
reception of the gifts and offerings to the Temple, his whole 
energies pass immediately into the other and chief purpose for 
which he had come. He was a Scribe first and a Priest after- 
wards. The Temple was an object of his veneration. But it 
was nothing compared to ' The Law.' And the vehemence of 
his attachment to it is the more strongly brought out by the 
comparatively trivial, and in some respects questionable, 
occasion that called it forth. It was the controversy which, 
The mixed ^^o^""^ ^^is timcforward, was to agitate in various forms 
marriages. ^]^q Jewish commuuity till its religious life was broken 
asunder — its relation to the Heathen population around. It 
may be that at that time the larger, nobler, more humane views 
w^hich belonged to the earlier and also to the later portion of 
the Jewish history were impossible. There had not been the 
faintest murmur audible when the ancestors of David once and 
again married into a Moabite family, nor when David ^ took 
amongst his wives a daughter of Geshur ; nor is there a more 
exuberant Psalm ^ than that which celebrates the union of an 

' See 'Ahava 'in Dictionary of the Bible " Ruth i. 4 ; iv. 13 ; 2 Sam. iii. 3. 

But it is much contested in Ewald, v. 136 ' Psalm xlv. 12, 16. 


Israelite King with an Egyptian or Tyrian Princess. Even if 
the patriarchal alliance of Abraham with the Egyptian Hagar 
or the Arabian Keturah, or the marriage of Moses with the 
Miclianite or the Ethiopian, provoked a passing censure, it was 
instantly and strongly repelled by the loftier tone of the sacred 
narrative. Nor is there in the New Testament a passage more 
redolent of acknowledged wisdom and charity than that in which 
the Rabbi of Tarsus ^ tolerates the union of the heathen 
husband and the believing wife. Nor are there more critical 
incidents in Christian history than those which record the con- 
sequences which flowed from the union of Clovis with Clotilda, 
or of Ethelbert with Bertha. But it was the peculiarity of the 
age through which the religion of Israel was now passing that 
to the more keenly-strung susceptibilities of the nation every 
approach to the external world was felt as a shock and pollution. 
The large freedom of Isaiah, whether the First or Second, was 
gone ; the charity of Paul, and of a Greater than Paul, had not 
arisen. The energy of Deborah and of Elijah remained ; but 
for the present generation it was destined to fight, not against 
a cruel oppressor or an immoral worship, but against the sancti- 
ties of domestic union with their neighbour tribes — dangerous, 
possibly, in their consequences, but innocent in themselves. 
We are called upon to bestow an admiration, genuine, but 
limited, on a zeal which reminds us of Dunstan and Hildebrand 
rather than of the Primitive or the Reforming Church. 

It is Ezra himself who places before us the scene with a 
vividness which shows us that, if the spirit of the ancient days 
is altered, their style still retains its inimitable vigour ; and, 
though he did not compose ^ the narrative till many years after- 
wards, the consciousness of the importance of the event 
burnished the recollection of it with the freshness as of 

The festival was already closed, in which the new vessels 
had been fully reserved and weighed, the twelve oxen and 
twelve goats for the twelve tribes with the attendant flocks of 

' I Cor. vu. 14. "" Ezra viii. i ; ix. i. 

I06 EZRA AND NEHEMIAH. lect. xliv. 

sheep been slaughtered, the commissions to the Persian go- 
vernors delivered, and Ezra ^ was estabhshed as the chief judge 

over the whole community. This was on the fourth 
August. ^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^^ month ; the sixth, the seventh, the 
eighth month rolled away, and nothing had occurred to ruffle 
the tranquil tenor of the restoration of the Temple arrangements. 

But on the sixteenth day of the ninth month came a 
^^^ ^^' sudden storm. The copies of the Law which Ezra had 
brought from Chaldaea must have become in the interval 
known to the settlement in Palestine, and those copies, what- 
ever their date, must have contained the prohibitions of mixed 
marriages which, it would seem, had been wholly unknown or 
ignored down to that time, and overruled by the practice of 
centuries. Suddenly the chiefs of the community appeared 
before Ezra as he stood in the Temple court and confessed that 
such usages had penetrated into every class of their society. In 
the stricter practices of his Babylonian countrymen he had seen 
nothing like it. The shock was in proportion to the surprise : 
he tore his outer cloak from top to bottom ; he tore his inner 
garment no less ; he plucked off the long tresses of his sacer- 
dotal locks, the long flakes of his sacerdotal beard, and thus, 
with dishevelled head and half-clothed limbs, he sank on the 
ground, crouched like one thunderstruck, through the whole of 
that day. Round him were drawn those whom sympathy for 
the same cause filled with a like sentiment, and he and they 
sate silent till the sunset called for the evening sacrifice, and the 
Temple courts began once more to be crowded with promis- 
cuous worshippers. Then Ezra arose from his sitting posture, 
and all tattered and torn as were his priestly garments, he fell 
on his bended knees (that attitude of devotion so unusual in 
Eastern countries) and stretched forth his open hands, with the 
gesture common to the whole ancient world (now lost everywhere 
except amongst the Mussulmans), and poured forth his agonised 
prayer to the God whose law had thus been offended. ^ As he 

^ Ezra vii. 25. The quasi-independent illustrates this position, as well as that of 
jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Con- the later High Priests, 
stantinople under the Sublime Porte well ' Ezra ix. 3-5. 


prayed his emotion increased, and with his articulate words 
were mingled his passionate tears ; and by the time that he 
had concluded, a sympathetic thrill had run through the whole 
community. ^ 

Crowds came streaming into the Temple court and gathered 
round him and they too joined their cries and tears with his. 
Full-grown men and women were there, and youths ; and under 
the excitement of the moment, led by one whose name was 
deemed worthy of special praise as having given the first signal, 
Shechaniah, the son of Elam, they placed themselves under 
Ezra's orders : * Arise, for this matter belongeth unto thee ; we 
* will also be with thee ; be of good courage and do it' At 
once the prostrate, weeping mourner sprang to his feet, and 
exacted the oath from all present, that they would assist his 
efforts ; and, having done this, he disappeared, and withdrew 
into the chamber of the High Priest's son, in one of the upper 
storeys of the Temple, and there remained in complete 
abstinence, even from bread and water, for the three days 
which were to elapse before a solemn assembly could be con- 
vened to ascertain the national sentiment. 

It is interesting at this point to indicate the form of the 
Jewish constitution, so far as it can be dimly discerned at this 
The con- period. The Persian^ satrap who ruled over the 
stitution. whole country west of the Euphrates was the supreme 
authority. Under him were the various governors or Pashas ' 
in the chief Syrian towns. The Persian garrison was in the 
central fortress of Samaria.'* But within their general juris- 
diction the Jewish community possessed an organisation of its 
own. The princely dignity of the Anointed House of David 
had died with Zerubbabel. The High Priesthood, perhaps 
from the unworthy character of its occupants, lapsed, during 
almost the whole period of the Persian dominion, into political 
and social insignificance. The ordinary government was in 
the hands of ' the Elders ' or * Chiefs,' ^ who were themselves 
subordinate or co-ordinate to * the Inspectors ' ^ of the various 

' Ezra X. i-6. ' Ibid. v. 1-13. * Neh. iv. 2. See Herzfeld, i. 37^-387. 

=" Ibid, vi.7 : viii. 36 ; Nehemiahii. 10,19. ' Ezra x. 8, 14. * Neh. xi. 9, 14, i6. 

I08 NEHEMIAH. lbct. xliv. 

districts ; two offices which had existed in germ * at the time of 
the Return — even entering in an idealised form into the visions 
of the Evangelical Prophet — two offices whose names as ren- 
dered into Greek, * presbyter ' and 'bishop' — under circum- 
stances how different, and with a fate how little foreseen ! — 
passed into the Christian Church, to be the material of con- 
troversies which would have lost half their bitterness and half 
their meaning had the homely origin of the titles when they 
first appeared been recognised. 

But it would seem that there was still on great emergencies 
the power or the necessity of a 'provocatio ad populum' — an 
The appeal to the whole people. Accordingly, the scene 

assembly which foUowcd is a Striking instance, on the one hand, 
ciesia. Qf ^i^Q deference paid to such a spontaneous and 

deliberate act of the popular voice ; on the other hand, of the 
powerful impression which the community received from the 
character and demeanour of a single individual. The summons 
convoked, as one man, all the outlying inhabitants of the hills 
of Judah and Benjamin. They congregated in the open square 
in front of the Temple gate.^ And here again we stumble on 
the first distinct notice of that popular element which, deriving, 
in later times, its Grecian name from the Athenian assemblies, 
passed into the early Christian community under the title of 
Ecdesia^^ and thus became the germ of that idea of the * Church ' 
in which the voice of the people or laity nad supreme control 
over the teachers and rulers of the society — an idea preserved 
in the first century in its integrity, retained in some occasional 
instances down to the eleventh century, then almost entirely 
superseded by the mediaeval schemes oi ecclesiastical polity, 
until it reappeared, although in modified and disjointed forms, 
in the sixteenth and following centuries. 

It was now the twentieth day of the ninth month^ 
ecem er. .^ ^^ depth of the Syrian winter; the cold rain fell in 

* Isa. Ix. 17. In English translated argument. For the whole question of the 

* exactors,' in Greek eTrtcr/fon-ou?, and as constitution at this time see Herzfeld, i. 

such applied by Clement of Rome (i. 42) 253-260. 

to * Bishopte' — altering, however, apxcvra? ' Ezra x. 9 (Heb.). Comp. Jos. ^, J, ii. 

into ticKovov^y to suit the purpose of his 17, 2. ■ Ezra x. 9-14. 


torrents ; and the people, trembling under the remonstrance 
of their consecrated chief, and shivering in the raw, ungenial 
weather, confirmed the appointment of a commission of inquiry, 
which should investigate every case of unlawful marriage, and 
compel the husbands to part with tlieir wives and even with 
their children. By the beginning of the new year 
B.C. 459- ^j^g j-g^ ^^g drawn up, including four of the priestly 
family, and about fifty more. * All of these had * taken strange 
^ wives, and some of them had wives by whom they had children.' 
With these dry words Ezra winds up the narrative of the signal 
victory which he had attained over the natural affections of the 
whole community ; a victory doubtless which had its share in 
keeping alive the spirit of exclusive patriotism and of uncom- 
promising zeal that was to play at times so brilliant and at 
times so dark a part in the coming period of Jewish history, 
6ut which, in its total absence of human tenderness, presents a 
dismal contrast to that pathetic passage of the primitive records 
of their race which tells us how when their first father drove 
out the foreign handmaid with her son into the desert, it * was 
* very grievous in his sight,' and 'he rose up early in the morning 
'and took bread, and a waterskin, putting it on her shoulder 
' and the child ; ' and how ' God heard the voice of the lad, and 
'the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven.' ^ 

It can hardly be doubted that this acknowledged supremacy 
of Ezra's personal force was felt to the extremities of the nation, 
and awakened a new sense of energy wherever it extended ; 
but it is fourteen years before we again catch a glimpse of 
its penetrating influence, and here we have the rare fortune 
of another character and career described by the man himself 

In the season when the Court of Persia was at its winter 
residence of Susa a young Jew was in attendance on the king 
Nehemmh, ^^ cupbcarcr. Accordiug to the later tradition, it 
B.C. 445- appeared that, as he was walking outside the capital, 
he saw a band ^ of wayworn travellers entering the city and 
heard them speaking to each other in his own Hebrew tongue. 

' Ezra X. 44. ' Genesis xx'u it, 14, xj. * Jos. A Mi. x'u 5, 6. 

no NEHEMIAH. lbct. xliv. 

On finding that they were from Judaea, he asked them for 
tidings of his city and his people. They told him of the 
overthrow of the walls, of the aggressions of the surrounding 
nations, and of the frequent murders in the roads round 
Jerusalem. He burst into tears at the sad tidings, and broke 
forth into the lamentation famiHar from the Psalms : * How 

* long, O Lord, wilt Thou endure Thy people to suffer ? ' As 
he approached the gate a messenger came to announce that 
the king was already at table. He hurried in as he was, 
without washing from his face the signs of his grief. This 
arrested the attention cf Artaxerxes, and led to the permission 
to return to his native country, and with power to rectify the 
disorders which had so distressed him. So, with the constant 
tendency of later times to embellish even the simplest narra- 
tive, was conceived in after years the opening scene of Nehe- 
miah's life. His own account is not less ^ vivid, though 
perhaps less dramatic. It was not a band of strangers but 
his own brother who had been engaged in a pilgrimage, 
which of itself indicates the patriotic sentiment of the family. 
It was not the passionate burst of a momentary sorrow, but 
a deep and brooding anguish, which had its root in the 
thought 2 that his forefathers lay buried in the city thus 
desolated and oppressed, as though he and the ancestors 
who lay in those dishonoured tombs were themselves respon- 
sible for these calamities. It Vvas not a few hours, but four 
long months during which he stood aloof from the royal 
presence, and so lost the usual cheerfulness of his demeanour 
as to provoke the King's kindly question, and his pathetic 
answer : ^ * Then the King said unto me, For what dost thou 
' make request ? So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I 
'said unto the King, If it please the King, and if thy "slave" 

* have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me 

* unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I 
'may build it.' 

The importance of the place of cupbearer, according to 

* Neh. i. 1, 2, 3. ' Ibid. ii. 3, 5. • Ibid, ii. 4, 5. 


the minute etiquette described by Xenophon/ gave suck 
B.C. 445. means of access to the king and queen, that they at 
billtdhigof ^^^^ yielded to his request, and he set off, with 
the Walls, escort and authority, to accomplish the desire so 
near his heart It has been conjectured that the recent 
humiHation ^ of the Persian Empire by the Athenian victory 
in Cyprus may have rendered it part of the Persian poHcy to 
fortify a post so important as Jerusalem, in the vicinity of the 
Mediterranean and on the way to Egypt. At any rate, the one 
idea in Nehemiah's mind is the restoration of the broken 
circuit of the once impregnable walls of the Holy City.^ The 
change to this conviction from the confidence of Zechariah in 
the unfortified security of Jerusalem is as remarkable as was 
the change under * the Monarchy from the confidence of 
Isaiah to the despair of Jeremiah. It was now felt that what 
the walls of Babylon on a gigantic scale had been to the 
Chaldaean Empire, that the walls of Jerusalem were to the 
little Jewish settlement In those days, rather one may say 
in those countries, of disorder, a city without locked gates 
and lofty walls was no city at all.^ The arrival of Nehemiah 
at Jerusalem with his * firman,' his royal guard, and his retinue 
of slaves, was regarded as a great event both on the spot, 
and by the * watchful jealousy ' of the surrounding tribes. He 
lived, we must suppose, in the fortress or palace of the 
Governors overlooking the Temple area, and then, with a 
splendid magnanimity unusual in Eastern potentates, he 
declined the official salary, and the ordinary oflficial exac- 
tions, and kept open house for a hundred and fifty ^ guests 
from year to year, with a profusion of choice dishes, on the 
delicacy of which even the munificent governor seems to 
dwell in his recollections with a complacent relish. But this 

* Xenophon, Cyrop. i. 3, 4 ; Ewald, v. had not been rebuilt at the first return. 
148. But the language of Nehemiah (i. 2, 3) 

* B.C. 449. In Milman's Hht. of the implies something more recent. Ewald 
Jews, i. 435, this by inadvertence has conjectures the distresses which clouded 
been confused with the battle of Cnidus, the last years of Zerubbabel from the 
B.C. 394. action of the hostile party in Syria. 

' It is difficult to decide to what occjxsion * See Lecture XL. 

to refer the desolation of the walls. It * Neh. iv. 2, 6, 13. 

mifht seem natural to suppose that they * Ibid. v. 14-18. 

112 NEHEMIAH. lbct. xliv. 

and every other step which Nehemiah took was subordinated 
to the one design which possessed his mind. It was the third 
day after his arrival that he resolved, without indicating the 
purpose of his mission to any human being, to explore for 
himself the extent of the ruin which was to be repaired. It 
was in the darkness of the night that he, on his mule or ass, 

accompanied by a few followers on foot, descended 
pioration iuto the raviue ^ of Hinnom, and threaded his way 

in and out amongst the gigantic masses of ruin and 
rubbish through that memorable circuit, familiar now to every 
traveller like the track of his native village. Each point that 
Nehemiah reaches is recorded by him as with the thrill 
inspired by the sight of objects long expected, and afterwards 
long remembered, — the Spring of the Dragon (was ^ it that 
already the legend had sprung up vrhich describes the inter- 
mittent flow of the Siloam water, as produced by the opening 
and closing of the dragon's mouth ?) ; the gate outside of which 
lay the piles of the sweepings and offscourings of the streets ; 
the masses of fallen masonry, extending as it would seem all 
along the western and northern side ; the blackened gaps left 
where the gates had been destroyed by fire ; till at last by the 
royal reservoir the accumulations became so impassable that 
the animal on which he rode refused to proceed. Then he 
turned, in the dead of night, along the deep shade of the 
Kedron watercourse,^ looking up at the eastern wall, less 
ruinous than the rest, and so back once more by the gate that 
opened on the ravine of Hinnom. And now having possessed 
himself with the full idea of the desolation, he revealed to his 
countrymen the whole of his plan, and portioned out the work 
amongst them. It was like the rebuilding of the wall of Athens 
after the invasion of Xerxes — like the building of the walls of 
Edinburgh after the battle of Flodden. Every class of society, 
every district in the country, took part in it. Of each the in- 
defatigable Governor recorded the name. He told for after 

* Neh. ii. 13 (Heb.). difficulty of identifying the names makes 

^ Robinson, J5. /?. i. 507. any detailed topographical explanation 

' Neh. ii. 15 (Heb.). For the whole provokingly insecure, 
ride see Robinson, B. K. i. 473. But the 


times how, when the priests had finished their portion, they at 
once consecrated it, without waiting for the dedication of the 
whole. ^ He recorded for the indignation of posterity how the 
proud nobles of Tekoah ^ refused to work with the humbler 
artisans. He arranged how this or that quarter should be 
restored by those whose houses were close by ; so that each 
inhabitant might look on that portion of the wall as his own. 
He called out the corporations ^ of apothecaries, goldsmiths, 
and merchants, to complete what individuals could not under- 
take. He noted the various landmarks of the ancient city, 
now long since perished and their sites unknown, but full of 
interest to him (and to all later times) as relics and standing 
monuments of the old capital of David. The tower'* of 
Hananeel, the fragment of * broad wall,' the royal garden by 
which the last king had escaped,^ the stairs, the steps (it may 
be those still existing), hewn out of the rock — the barracks 
where David's ' heroes ' had been quartered, the royal tombs, 
the ancient armoury, the traces of the palace and prison, the 
huge tower of Ophel — all these stand out distinctly in Nehe- 
miah's survey like spectres of the past, most of them to be seen 
and heard of no more again for ever. It was a severe toil. 
The mere removal of the rubbish and broken fragments was 
almost too hard^ a task for those who had to carry it off. The 
hostile neighbours, who were determined to prevent this new 
capital from rising amongst them, used alternate threats and 
artifices.^ But Nehemiah was proof against all. High above 
Priest or Levite, on an equality with the other resident go- 
vernors of Syria, he was the successor of Zerubbabel — the 
Tirshatha or Pasha of the Persian Court. To the enemies 
without he had but one answer, repeated once, twice, thrice, 
four times, in the same words of stern determination : » * I am 
* doing a great work, so that I cannot come down ; why should 
' the work cease, whilst I leave it and come down to you ? ' 
To the traitors and false prophets within, who advised him to 

' Neh. Hi. i. ' Ibid. iii. 5. " Neh. iv. 2, 10. 

' /^i^. iii. 8, 31, 32. ' Ewald places Psalm Lxxxiii. at this 

* Ibid. iii. I, IS, 16, 19, 25, 27. period (v. 155). 

• See Lecture XL. ' Neh. vi. 3. 

Ill I 

1 14 NEHEMIAH. lbct. xlit. 


take refuge in the Temple from expected assassination, he 
replied — with a rebuke alike to the fears of cowardice and the 
hopes of superstition : ' Should such a man as I flee ? and 
*who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the Temple 
*to save his hfe ? ^ I will not go in.' And with this same 
magnanimous spirit in the more critical moments of danger he 
animated all his countrymen : * Be not ye afraid of them : 
' remember the Lord which is great and terrible, and fight for 
*your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, ^ 
*and your houses.' 

There was one body of men on whom he could thoroughly 
depend — the slaves who had accompanied him from Susa. 
Half of these ^ worked at the building, half stood behind them, 
guarding the shields, bows, and breast-plates to be seized at a 
moment's notice. The loyal members of the nobility were 
stationed close by, so as to take the immediate command. 
Every builder, too, had his sword fastened to his sash. By the 
side of Nehemiah himself stood a trumpeter, at whose blast 
they were all to rally round him, wherever they might be. And 
thus they laboured incessantly from the first dawn * of day till 
in the evening sky, when the sun had set, the darkness which 
rendered the stars visible compelled them to desist. And when 
night fell, there was a guard kept by some, whilst those who 
had been at work all day took off their clothes and slept. Only 
of Nehemiah, with his slaves and the escort which had followed 
him from Persia, it is proudly recorded that not one took off 
even the least article of his dress. ® So he emphatically repeats, 
as if the remembrance of those long unresting vigils had been 
engraven on his memory, down to the slightest particular. 

Such was the nobler side of that gallant undertaking in 
which were fulfilled the passionate longings of the exiles, 
throughout their whole stay in Babylon, *that the walls of 

* Jerusalem should be built.' ^ 

* Neh. vi. II. Compare Becket's words. " Ihid. iv. 16-23. 

* I will not turn the Cathedral into a castle.' * Ibid. iv. 21 (Heb.). 

' Ibid. iv. 14 It is curious that his ^ With the exception indicated in the 

appeal is throughout pro focis^ and not last words of iv. 23. (See Ewald, v. 156.) 
^ro aris. See Lecture XLI. 


Even when the walls were completed the danger was not 
entirely over : the empty spaces ©f the town had ^ still to be 
n^u J J- filled from the nearest villages : the gates were still 
tion of the to DC closed till the sun was ^ fully risen ; guards 
were still to be kept. But Jerusalem was now once 
more a strong fortress. When the great military historian and 
archaeologist of the Jewish nation looked at the defences of the 
city in his own time, he could truly say that * though Nehemiah 

* lived to a good old age, and performed many other noble acts, 

* yet the eternal monument of himself which he left behind him 

* was the circuit of the walls of Jerusalem.' ^ The day * on which 
this was accomplished was celebrated by a dedication, as if of 
a sanctuary, in which two ^ vast processions passed round the 
walls, halting at one or other of those venerable landmarks 
which signalised the various stages of their labour ; whose 
shadows had been their daily and nightly companions for such 
weary months of watching and working. The Levites came up 
from their country districts, with their full array of the musical 
instruments which still bore the name ^ of their royal inventor ; 
the minstrels, too, were ^ summoned from their retreats on the 
hills of Judah and in the deep valley of the Jordan. They all 
met in the Temple Court. The blast of the priestly trumpets 
sounded on one side, the songs of the minstrels were loud in 
proportion on the other. . It is specially mentioned that even 
the women and children joined in the general acclamation, and 

* the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.' Perhaps the 
circumstance that leaves even yet a deeper impression than this 
tumultuous triumph is the meeting which on this day, and 
this day alone, Nehemiah records in his own person, of the 
two men who in spirit were so closely united — he himself as 
heading one procession, and ' Ezra the scribe ' as heading the 

Ezra, it would seem, had taken no part in the fortification 

* Neh. vU. 4 ; xi. i, 2, ful. See Ewald, v. 157. 
" UtW. vii. 3. " Neh. xii. 27-43 

* Jos. Ant xi. 5, 8. *" /^^V^- xii. 36. 

* Neh, vi. 15. The length of time which ' /did. xii. 28, 29. See Lecture XLIII. 
the rebuilding occupied is somewhat doubt- " /did. xii. 36, 4a 

Il6 EZRA AND NEHEMIAH. lbct. xiiv. 

of the walls. But there is one tradition * that connects him with 
the internal arrangements of the city. He was believed for the 
first time to have carried out the rule, afterwards so rigidly 
observed, of extramural interment. All the bones already 
buried within the city he cleared out, kaving only two excep- 
tions, the tomb of the Kings and the tomb of the Prophetess 

Once before, however, if we may trust the Chronicler ot 
this period, Ezra and Nehemiah had been brought together — 
on the occasion of the Festival of the Tabernacles, so dear to 
the Jewish^ nation, interwoven with the recollections of the 
dedication alike of the first and of the second Temple. Then 
as before when the startling conflict between their present 
condition and the regulations of the ancient law was brought 
before them, they broke out into passionate tears. 
B.C. 455. -g^^ ^j^.g ^^g ^^^^ ^^ 1^^ allowed.^ The darker side 

of religion had not yet settled down upon the nation. The 
Festival of joyous tone of David, and of Isaiah, which Haggai 
Tabernacles. ^^^ Zcchariah had continued, was not to be aban- 
doned even in the austere days of the two severe Reformers.^ 
Nehemiah the Tirshatha, and Ezra the Scribe— the Ruler first, 
and the Pastor afterwards — joined in checking this unseasonable 
burst of penitence. With those stern and stout hearts a flood ® 
of tears was the sign, not of reviving strength, but of misplaced 
weakness. Feasting, not fasting, was the mark of the manly, 
exuberant energy which the national crisis required. *This day 
' is holy. Mourn not, nor weep. Go your way ; eat the fat, 
* and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom 
' nothing is prepared . . . neither be ye sorry, for the joy of 
*the Eternal is your strength.' * Hold your peace;' none of 
these fruitless lamentations : * for the day is holy : neither be 
'ye grieved.' 

* Derenbourg, Palestine^ p. 26. See ^ Neh. viii. g. 

Lecture XL. * A like expression has been pointed out 

* See Lecture XL. to me in the Homeric contrast between the 

* Neh. viii. g-i8. See Lecture XLIII. Greeks and Trojans in this respect, Iliad^ 

* Ibid. viii. 0-12. See this admirably vii. 303. 
described by Ewald, v. 146. 


Such was the Revival of Jerusalem ; and even in details it 
was found to be borne out by the ancient law. That great 
festival of the Vintage which had been intended to commemo- 
rate the halt in the Exodus made within the borders of Egypt — 
the Dionysia,* the Saturnalia, the Christmas, if we may so say, 
of the Jewish Church — had during centuries fallen into almost 
entire neglect. They had to go back even to the days of Joshua 
to find a time when it had been rightly observed.^ From the 
gardens of Mount Olivet, they cut down branches from the 
olives, tlje palms, and pines, and myrtles ^ that then clothed its 
sides, and on the flat roofs, and open grounds, and Temple 
courts, and squares before the city gates wove green arbours, 
with the childlike festivity which probably from that day to this 
has never ceased out of the Jewish world in that autumnal 
season. One there was who partook five centuries later in this 
feast, and whose heart's desire was that the joyous feelings 
represented by it might be perpetuated, though His followers 
have too often repelled or ignored them.** 

From this point the two great restorers of Jerusalem who 
hitherto had moved in spheres apart — the aged scribe, absorbed 
in the study of the ancient law ; the young layman, half warrior, 
half statesman, absorbed in the fortification of the city — were 
drawn closer and closer together, and henceforth, whether in 
legend or history, they became indistinguishably blended. The 
narrative of Nehemiah himself does not again mention Ezra ; 
Reforms of but it is dcvoted to deeds which, whether for good or 
Nehemiah. g^j|^ might almost cqually belong to both. It is not 
the last time that the architect or the engineer has been the best 
colleague of the reformer or theologian. Vauban saw more 
truly, felt more keenly the true needs of France than Fdnelon 
or Bossuet.^ So Nehemiah rebuked the nobles for their 
oppressions and usurious exactions ; ^ he summoned the 
Levites and the singers ^ to their appointed duties ; he closed ^ 
the gates against the merchants who came with their laden 

» See Lecture XLVIII. " Memoirs of St, Simon, c. xviii. 

* Neh. viii. 17. * Neh. v. 1-16. 

^ Ibid. viii. 16. * Jo^" vii. 2, 37. "^ Jbid. xiii. 10-12. * Ibid. xiii. 15-22. 

Il8 EZRA AND NEHEMIAH. lect. xur. 

asses on the Sabbath day. He was the originator of the treaty 
or compact by which the whole nation bound itself^ over to 
these observances. It was on a day of solemn abstinence 
(which, instead of preceding, as in later, and, perhaps, in earlier, 
times, followed ^ the Feast of Tabernacles) that this close and 
concentration of all their efforts was accomplished. Two at 
least of the pledges were fulfilled — the Levitical ritual was 
firmly established ; the Sabbatical rest, both of the day and of 
the year,^ struck deep root. And two lesser institutions also 
sprang from this time. One was the contribution of wood to 
the Temple. So vast was the consumption of timber for the 
furnaces in which the sacrificial flesh was roasted, or burnt, and 
so laborious was the process of hewing down the distant forest 
trees and bringing them into Jerusalem, that it was made a 
special article ^ of the national covenant, and the 14th of the 
month Ab (August) was observed as the Festival of the Wood- 
Carriers. It was the security that the sacred fire— which, 
according to the later legend, Nehemiah had lighted by preter- 
natural means ^—should always have a supply of fuel to pre- 
serve it from the slightest chance of extinction. Another was 
the rate levied on every Jew for the support of the Temple in 
the form of the third of a shekel, represented in the Greek 
coinage by two drachmas, and afterwards remaining as the sign ® 
of Jewish citizenship. 

Nehemiah's collision with the surrounding tribes still con- 
tinued. They had contested inch by inch his great enterprise 
of making Jerusalem a fortified capital. There were three 
more obstructive than the rest, probably the three native princes 
established by the Persian satrap over the three surrounding 
districts of Transjordanic, Southern, and Northern Palestine. 
Tobiah was the resident at Ammon, and it would seem that, 
like the Hospodars in the Danubian Principalities, he had 
reached that post by having been a slave in the Imperial court, 

* Neh. X. 29-34. "" ^i>i^' ix. i. I * Neh. x. 32 ; Jos. Ant. xviii. 9, 1 ; 

* I Mace. vi. 49, 53 ; Jos. Ant. xi. 8, 5 ; Matt. xvii. 24-27. Kuenen (iii. 7) con- 
xiii. 8, 1 ; xiv. 10, 6 ; xv. i. 2. jectures that the text of Ex. xxx. n-i6 

* Neh. x. 34 : xiii. 31 ; Jos. B. J. ii. 17, was altered to half a shekel when it was 
6 ; Ewald, 5, 166. • a Mace. i. 18. found necessary to increase the payment. 


and this antecedent Neliemiah does not allow us to forget 

* The slave^^ the Ammonite,' is the sarcastic expression by 
which Nehemiah more than once insists on designating him. 
Tobiah prided himself on his knowledge of the internal state of 
Jerusalem. He it was who, when his colleagues expressed 
alarm at the rebuilding of the walls, took upon himself to treat 
the whole matter as a jest : * For if a jackal were to crawl up, 

* he could knock them down.' He it was who had constant 
intrigues with the disaffected party within the walls, menacing 
Nehemiah by means of the puny representatives of the ancient 
prophets who still were to be found there, corresponding with 
the nobles, with whom he was doubly connected by his own 
marriage with the daughter of Shechaniah, and by his son's 
marriage with the daughter of Meshullam.^ Even after the 
completion of the walls he still kept on his friendly relations 
with the chief priest Eliashib, and established himself in one 
of the great store-chambers of the Temple, until Nehemiah on 
his return from Susa indignantly drove bun out with all his 

The Arabian prince, who had apparently established himself 

in the Edomite territory, was Gashmu ^ or Geshem, founder 

probably of the Nabathaean dynasty, but living only 

in Nehemiah's memory as the idle chatterer who 

brought false charges against him as endeavouring to establish 

an independent sovereignty at Jerusalem. 

But the most powerful of this triumvirate was Sanballat, 
whose official position at Samaria gave him special influence 
and San- ^^^^i ^^^ Persian garrison ^ which was quartered there, 
baiiat. It is doubtful whether he was a native of Beth-horon, 

which would agree with his establishment on the western side 
of the Jordan, or of the Moabite Horonaim, which would agree 
with his close adhesion to the Ammonite Tobiah. There was 
a peculiar ® vein of irritating taunt, for which those two tribes 

* Neh. ii. 10-19. See Ewald, v. 153. bably the only sermon ever preached on 

' Ibid. iv. 3 ; vi. 12, 14, 17, 18 ; xiii. 4, 7. this wild Arab, and full of quaint wisdom. 

' Ibid. vi. 6. See a striking address of * Ezra iv. 23 ; Neh. iv. 2. 

Robert Collyer (of Chicago), * The Life " Zeph. ii. 8 ; Neh. iv. 4 ; vi. 13. The 

*that now is,' p. 137, on * Gashmu,* pro- same word is used. See Mr. Grove's in- 

I20 EZRA AND NEHEMIAH. lect. xliv. 

had an odious reputation, and which characterises all the com- 
munications of both those chiefs. Sanballat also, like Tobiah, 
was allied with the High Priest's family. There was a youth 
of that house, Manasseh, who had taken for his wife Sanballat's 
daughter, Nicaso.* Like Helen of Sparta, like La Cava of 
Spain, like Eva of Ireland, her name was preserved in Jewish 
tradition as the source of the long evils which flowed from that 
disastrous union. It was this that was the most conspicuous 
instance of those foreign marriages that had plunged Ezra into 
the silent abstraction of sorrow, and had roused the more fiery 
soul of Nehemiah to burning frenzy. He entered into personal 
conflict with them ; he struck them, he seized them by the hair 
and tore it from their heads. He chased away Manasseh with 
a fierce imprecation ' because he had defiled the priesthood and 
'the court of the priesthood and of the Levites.' With this 
burst of wrath, blended with the proud thanksgiving that, after 
all, he had done something for the purification of the sacerdotal 
tribe, something too (there is a grotesque familiarity in the 
thought) for his settlement of the troublesome question of the 
firewood, Nehemiah closes his indignant record. 

There is a pathetic cry, again and again repeated through- 
out this rare autobiographical sketch, hardly found elsewhere 
in the Hebrew records, which shows the current of his thoughts, 
as though at every turn he feared that those self-denying, self- 
forgetting labours might pass away, and that his countrymen of 
the future might be as ungrateful as his countrymen of the 
present. ' Think upon me, my God,^ for good, according to 
'all that I have done for this people.' 'Remember me, O my 
' God, concernmg this, and wipe not out my good deeds that I 
'have done for the House of my God, and for the offices 
'thereof* 'Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, 
' and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy.' ' Re- 
' member me, O my God, for good.' 

That prayer for posthumous fame in great measure was 

struct! ve article on ' Moab ' in the Diet, of who, however, transfers the whole story to 
the Bible, ii. p. 398. a later time. Ewald, v. 213, 214. 

* Neh. KiiL 28 ; Josephus {Ant. xi 7, 2), * Neh. v. 19 ; vi. 14 ; xiii. 14-31. 


fulfilled in regard to both Reformers, but more remarkably in 
the case of Ezra than of Nehemiah. They were both glorified 
in the traditions of their country. At first Nehemiah, as might 
be expected from his more commanding position, takes the first 
place. It is he, and not Ezra, ' whose renown was great,' and 
who is the one hero of this epoch, in the catalogue of worthies ^ 

drawn up by the son of Sirach. It is Nehemiah, and 
of Nehe- not Zcrubbabel, who in the next ^ age was believed 

to have rebuilt the ' Temple, reconsecrated the altar 
and found in the deep^ pit, where it had been hidden, the 
sacred fire. It is Nehemiah, and not Ezra, who figures in the 
recollections of the same time as the collector of the sacred 
books.* But tnen, as sometimes happens in the reversal of 
popular verdicts, by which the obscure of one generation is 
advanced to the forefront of another, Ezra came out into a 

prominence which placed him on the highest pinnacle 
^ ^^^ beside the heroes of the older time. He and not 
Nehemiah gave his name to the sacred book which records 
their acts. He was placed on a level with the first and the 
greatest of the Prophets, Moses and Elijah. He was identified 
with the last of the Prophets, ^alachi. He was supposed to 
have ^ been contemporary with the Captivity, to have despaired 
of the restoration, and then after a hundred years risen again, 
with his dead ass, to witness the marvellous change. This is 
the only record of him in the Koran — a legend with the same 
moral as that of the awaking of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, 
but with the additional point that he came to life again after all 
those years for a special purpose. It is this sentiment which, 
in a hardly less transparent fiction, supposes that Ezra by a 
divine inspiration of memory reproduced the whole of the 
Scriptures of the Old Testament which had been burnt by the 
Chaldseans. This was the fixed belief of Irenaeus, Tertullian, 

* Ecclus. xlix. 1 1-13. ' Nehemiah ' (Robinson's Researches^ L 

^ 2 Mace. i. 22. 49c). 

' Since the tenth century the well of * 2 Mace. ii. 13. 

* En-rogel ' or of * Job,' at the confluence » 2 Esdras iii. i, 29 ; D'Herbelot, Biblio- 

of the Hinnom and Kedron valleys, has, thequet iv. 539-543 (Ozair Ben Scherahia). 
Irom this legend, been called * Ihe well of 

122 EZRA AND NEHEMIAH. lect. xlit. 

Clement of Alexandria, and Augustine,^ based probably on the 
legend in the Second Book of Esdras, which tells how Ezra as 
he sate under an oak heard a voice from a bush over against 
him, warning him that * the world had lost his youth, and the 

* times begun to wax old,' and that for the weakness of these 
latter days he was to retire into the field for forty days with five 
men, ' ready to write swiftly ; ' — how he then received a full 
cup, full as it were ' of water, but the colour of it was like fire ^ 
' . . . and when he had drunk of it, his heart uttered under- 

* standing, and wisdom grew in his breast, for his spirit 

* strengthened his memory . . . and his mouth was opened 

* and shut no more, and for forty days and nights he dictated 

* without stopping till 204 ^ books were written down.' ^ 

This story thus first appearing at the close of the second 
century of the Christian era, and diluted by later divines into 
the more refined representation that Ezra was the collector or 
editor of the sacred books of the Old Testament Scriptures, has 
no historical basis. Neither of its wilder nor of its tamer form 
is there the slightest vestige in the authentic words of himself 
or of Nehemiah, nor yet in the later Chronicler, nor yet in the 
Son of Sirach, nor in the Books of Maccabees, nor in Josephus, 
nor yet in the first Apocryphal Book of Esdras, nor yet in the 
writings of the New Testament, where his name is never men- 
tioned. Equally fabulous is the Jewish persuasion that he in- 
vented the Masoretic interpretations, and received the oral 
tradition of Mosaic doctrine, which from him was alleged to 
have been handed on to his successors.^ The absolute silence 
of the contemporary or even following documents excludes all 
these suppositions. 

Yet behind all this cloud of fables it is not difficult in the 
authentic documents of the time to discover the nucleus of fact 
round which it has gathered, or to render its due to the great 

^ See the quotations at length in the of inspiration by swallowing three mouth- 
Bishop of Natal's work on the Moabite fuls of the dust where the sacred fire was 
Stone, p. 314. hid (D'Herbelot, iv. 643). 

=" This is varied in the traditions of the ^ This is the true reading, and leaves 24 

Eastern Church, which, applying to Ezra for the Canonical Books, 

the story of Nehemiah in 2 Mace. i. 13, * 2 Esdras xiv. i-io, 23-44. 

represent him as having acquired the gift " Ewald v, 169. 


historic name which represents, if not, as in the legends of his 
people, the ' Son of God,' at least the Founder of A new order 
of events and institutions, some of which continued to the close 
of the Jewish history, some of which continue still. 

Ezra and Nehemiah (for in some respects they are insepar- 
able) are the very impersonations of that quality which Goethe 
As Re- described as the characteristic by which their race 
formers. j^^g maintained its place before the Judgment seat of 
God and of history — the impenetrable toughness and persistency 
which constitute their real strength as the Reformers of their 
people. Reformers in the noblest sense of that word they were 
not. There is not, as in the first or second Isaiah, as in Jere- 
miah or Ezekiel, a far-reaching grasp of the future, or a penetra- 
tion into the eternal principles of the human heart. They moved 
within a narrow, rigid sphere. They aimed at limited objects. 
They were the parents of the various divisions which henceforth 
divided Palestine into parties and sects. They were— by the 
same paradox according to which it is truly said that the 
Royalist Prelates of the English Restoration originated Non- 
conformity — the parents of the Samaritan secession.* They 
inaugurated in their covenants and their curses that fierce 
exclusiveness which in the later years burned with a * zeal not 
* according to knowledge ' in the hearts of those wild assassins 
who bound themselves together with a curse not to eat bread 
or drink water till they had slain the greatest of their country- 
men ^ — of those zealots who fought in a frenzy of desperate 
tenacity with each other and with their foes in defence of the 
walls which Nehemiah had raised. But within that narrow 
sphere Ezra and Nehemiah were the models of good Reformers. 
They set before themselves special tasks to accomplish and 
special evils to remedy, and in the doing of this they allowed 
no secondary or subsidiary object to turn them aside. ^ They 
asked of their countrj^men ^ to undertake no burdens, no sacri- 
fices, which they did not themselves share. They filled the 
people with a new enthusiasm because none could doubt that 

^ For the details of the Samaritan sect, ' Acts xxiii. 21. 

see Lecture XXXIV. and Jost. i. 44, * Neh. vi. 3. * Neh. v. i«. 

124 EZRA AND NEHEMIAH. lect. xlit. 

they felt it themselves. The scene of Ezra sitting awestruck 
on the ground at the thought of his country's sins, the sound 
of the trumpet rallying all the various workmen and w^arriors at 
the wall to Nehemiah's side, inspire us still with their own in- 
spiration. When we read of the passion, almost the violence, 
of Nehemiah in cleansing the Temple and clearing its chambers, 
we see the spark, although the sulphureous spark, of that same 
Divine flame, of which, when One came who found the house 
of prayer turned into a cavern of robbers, it was said ^ the zeal 
* of Thine House hath even consumed me.' ' 

They were again the first distinct and incontestable examples 
of that antiquarian, scholastic, critical treatment of the ancient 
As anti- history and literature of the country which succeeds 
quaries. ^j^^ jg inferior to the periods of original genius and 
inspiration, but is itself an indispensable element of instruction. 
Something of the kind we have indicated ^ in the efforts of 
Baruch the scribe when he gathered together the scattered 
leaves of Jeremiah's prophecies, or of the earlier compiler, who 
during the exile collected in the Books of Kings the floating 
fragments of the earlier history and poetry of his race. But 
now we actually see the process before our eyes. 

Nehemiah, when he came to Jerusalem, not contented with 
the rough work of building and fighting, dived ^ into the 
archives of the former generations and thence dug out and 
carefully preserved the Register of the names, properties, and 
pedigrees of those who had returned in the original exile. Some 
other antiquary or topographer must in other days have done 
the like for that which we have called elsewhere the Domesday 
Book of Canaan in the Book of Joshua. But in Nehemiah we 
first meet with an unquestionable person whose name we can 
connect with that science whose title owed no small part of its 
early fame to the Jewish history which was so designated — 
Josephus's ^Archaeology.' It is Nehemiah 's keen sympathy 
with those antique days which made him so dihgentan explorer 
of the ruined walls and gates and towers and well-worn stairs, 
and of the legal ancestral documents of the city of his fathers' 

* John ii. 17. ' Lectures XL. and XLI. ' Neh. vii. 5-73 ; xi. 3-36. 


sepulchres. And not only so, but (if we may trust the first 
tradition on the subject which can be traced, and which con- 
tains the one particle of probable truth in the legends concerning 
the origin of the Jewish canon) it was Nehemiah ^ who first 
undertook in the self-same spirit implied in the authentic 
notices just cited to form a Library of the books of the past 
times : namely, of ' the Books of the Kings, and Prophets, 
^ those which bore the name of David, and the Royal Letters 

* concerning sacred offerings.' This earliest tradition respecting 
the agglomeration of the sacred Hebrew literature certainly 
indicates that it was in Nehemiah's time that the various docu- 
ments of the past history of his race were united in one col- 
lection. Then, probably, was the time when the Unknown 
Prophet of the Captivity was attached to the roll of the elder 
As collectors Isaiah, and the earlier Zechariah affixed to the 
sacrS prophecies of his later namesake ; '^ when the Books 
books. Qf jasher and of the *Wars of the Lord' finally 
perished, and were superseded by the existing Books of 

* Samuel ' and * of the Kings.' It is evident from the terms 
of the description that ' Nehemiah's Library ' was not coextensive 
with any existing canon. It was not a formation of divine 
oracles so much as a repository of whatever materials from 
whatever source might be useful for the future history of his 
people. It was not the complete canon of the * Old Testament ' 
which was then formed, for some even of the earlier Books, 
such as Ezekiel, had not yet fully established their right ; and 
many books or parts of books now contained in it were still 
absent. The various treatises of ' Ezra,' Malachi, the Chron- 
icles, Esther, the Maccabean Psalms, the Maccabean Histories, 
perhaps Ecclesiastes, probably Daniel, were still to come. Nor 
was it based on the modern idea of a strictly sacred volume ; 
for one of its chief component parts consisted of the official 
letters of the Persian kings, which have never had a place in 
the ecclesiastical roll of the consecrated Scriptures. It was the 
natural, the laudable attempt to rescue from oblivion such 
portions of the Hebrew literature as, with perpetually increasing 

* a Mace. ii. 13. ' Kuenen, iii. 12, 

126 EZRA AND NEHEMIAH. lbct. xlit. 

additions, might illustrate and enforce ^ the one central book 
of the Pentateuch, round which they were gathered. The 

* Prophets ' were still outside, occupying a position analogous 
to that filled in the early Christian Canon by the Deutero- 
canonical writings of the Old Testament, and the * doubtful ' 
writings of the New Testament. ^ These, in common with all 

* the other books ' which followed them, formed a class by 
themselves, known as ^the Books,' -^ *the Bible' (to adopt the 
modern word), outside ' the Holy Book ' or ' Holy Bible,' which 
was the Law itself. 

And this brings us to the point at which Nehemiah the 
Governor recedes from view to make way for Ezra the Scribe, 
who in the later traditions, alike of Jew, Arab, and early 
Christian, entirely takes his place. 

There is an almost contemporary ^ representation of Ezra 
As inter- which at OTicQ places before us his true historical 
Sf sacred positiou iu this aspcct. It was on the occasion of 
^°o^- that great celebration of the Feast of the Tabernacles 

which has been before mentioned. The whole people were 
assembled — not the men only, but the women issuing from their 
Eastern seclusion ; not the old only, but all whose dawning 
intelligence ^ enabled them to understand at all, were gathered 
on one of the usual gathermg-places outside the city walls. 
On the summit of the slope of the hill (as the jBema rose on 
the highest tier of the Athenian Pnyx) was raised a huge wooden 
tower on which stood Ezra with a band of disciples round him. 
There, on that September morning, just as the sun was rising 
above Mount Olivet, he unrolled before the eyes of the ex- 
pectant multitude the huge scroll of the Law, which he had 
doubtless brought with him from Chaldaea. At that moment 
the whole multitude rose from the crouching postures in which 
they were seated, after the manner of the East, over the whole 

' €in(Tvt'-^yayev. 2 Macc. ii. 13. ^ See Lecture XLVIII. 

"" So the oldest Talmudic statements * It is not in Nebemiah's own records, 

(' Mishna Megilla' iv., 'Jerusalem Me- but in that by which the Chronicler has 

'gilla' 73, Sepher Israel iii., Sopherim fiUed up the interstices in Neh. viii. 8, 

iii.). These references, and the conclu- ix. 38. 

sions therefrom, I owe to Dr. Ginsburg. * Neh. viii. 3. 
Comp. Dan. ix. 2. 

rBcr, axiv. AS STUDENTS OF THE LAW. 127 

of the open platform. They stood on their feet, and he at the 
same instant blessed * the Eternal, the great God' Thousands 
of hands were lifted up from the crowd, in the attitude of prayer, 
with the loud reverberated cry of Amen : and again hands and 
heads sank down and the whole people lay prostrate on the 
rocky ground. It was then the early dawn. From that hour 
the assembly remained in fixed attention till the midday heat 
dispersed them. The instruction was carried on partly by 
reading the sacred book, partly by explaining it. Sometimes it 
was Ezra himself who poured forth a long passionate summary 
of their history, sometimes it was the Levites who addressed 
the people in prayer.^ 

We feel that in this scene a new element of religion has 
entered on the stage. The Temple has retired for the moment 
into the background There is something which stirs the 
national sentiment yet more deeply, and which is the object of 
still more profound veneration. It is ^ the Law.' However we 
explain the gradual growth of the Pentateuch, however we 
account for the ignorance of its contents, for the inattention to 
its precepts, this is the first distinct introduction of the Mosaic 
/law as the rule of the Jewish community. That lofty platform 
on which Ezra stood might be fitly called 'the Seat of Moses.' ^ 
It is from this time that the Jewish nation became one of those 
whom Mohammed calls 'the people of a book.' It was but 
one book amongst the many which Nehemiah had collected, 
but it was the kernel round which the others grew with an ever- 
multiplying increase. The Bible, and the reading of the Bible 
as an instrument of instruction, may be said to have been begun 
on the sunrise of that day when Ezra unrolled the parchment 
scroll of the Law. It was a new thought that the Divine Will 
could be communicated by a dead literature as well as by a 
living voice. In the impassioned welcome with which this 
thought was received lay the germs of all the good and evil 
which were afterwards to be developed out of it ; on the one 
side, the possibility of appeal in each successive age to the 
primitive, undying document that should rectify the fluctuations 

^ Neh. ix. 3, 4, 5 (LXX.). ' Matt, xxiii. «. 

128 EZRA AND NEHEMIAH. lect. xliv. 

of false tradition and fleeting opinion ; on the other hand, the 
temptation to pay to the letters of the sacred book a worship as 
idolatrous and as profoundly opposed to its spirit as once had 
been the veneration paid to the sacred trees or the sacred stones 
of the consecrated groves or hills. 

But we have said that the book which was thus reverenced 

was not coextensive even with the Hebrew Scriptures as they 

are now received. It contained no single song of David, no 

single proverb of Solomon, no single prophecy of Isaiah or 

Jeremiah. It was * the Law.^ When Manasseh, in 

^^* his passion for his Samaritan wife, fled from the fury 
of Nehemiah to the height of Gerizim, he carried with him, 
either actually or in remembrance, not all the floating records 
which the fierce Governor of Jerusalem in his calmer moods 
was gathering here and there like the Reliques which Percy 
or Scott collected from the holes and corners of English 
minstrelsy, or Livy from the halls of Roman nobles. It was 
the five books of Moses only, with that of Joshua appended, 
which the fugitive priest had heard from Ezra, or Ezra's 
companions, and which alone at the moment of his departure 
commanded the attention of the community from which he 
parted.^ We trace the exact point which the popular venera- 
tion had reached by the point at which it was broken off in 
the Samaritan secession. 

It is not without importance to notice the ascendency of 
this one particular aspect of the ancient Jewish literature over 
every other, and to observe that the religion of this age was 
summed up, not in a creed or a hymn, but in the Law — 
whether on its brighter or its darker side. On its brighter side 
we see it as it is represented in the 119th Psalm,^ belonging, 

* In like manner the retention of the bably originated by the desire to have an 

ancient Hebrew characters by the Samari- additional mark of distinction from the 

tans confirms the Talmudic tradition that Samaritans, as the English pronunciation 

the introduction of the Chaldaic characters of Latin is said to have been suggested or 

dates from the time of Ezra. The Hebrew confirmed by the wish to make an addi- 

characters still continued to be used on tional test to detect the Roman conspira- 

coins, like Latin, as the official language cies against the Protestant Sovereigns, 

of Europe after it had been discontinued See Dcrenbourg, p. 446. 

in literature. The use of the Chaldaean ^ See Ewald, v, .173. 
characters for the sacred books was pro- 


in all probability, to this epoch. In every possible form the 
change is rung on the synonyms for this great idea Every 
verse expresses it : — Lmw, Testimony, Commandments, Statutes, 
The Psalmist never lets us forget for a moment what is the 
object of his devotion. It is the Biblical expression of the 
unchanging Law of Right, through which, as it has been said 
by one of later times, 

Even the stars are kept from wrong, 
And the most ancient heavens through thee are fresh and strong. 

It is the vindication of the grandeur of that side of human 
goodness which both the religious and the cynical world have 
often condemned as commonplace morality, but which the 
author of this Jewish Ode to Duty regards as the highest 
flight both of piety and of philosophy. 'The 119th Psalm,' 
says a writer of our time, * that meditation which with sweet 
'monotony strikes ever the golden string deep buried in the 
' human heart, a string implying by its strange susceptibilities 
' the reality of a music not of this world, yet harmonising all 

* worlds in one ! There is no poetry, there is little rhythm, 
'there is no intellectual insight, there is no comprehensive 

* philosophy, in the gentle life that yearns and pleads through 
' those undying words. But there is not one verse which does 

* not tell of a man to whom the Infinite Power was a hving 
' Presence and a constant inspiration. ' ^ Such is the form 
under which the Law presented itself to a religious mind in 
that age of the Jewish Church, and which well agrees both 
with the passionate devotion of Ezra to its service, and the 
attachment to it, with a mMgling of tears and laughter, which 
made it the main lever of his revival of his people. It is 
strange to reflect that this grand idea had become so perverted 
and narrowed as time rolled on, that in the close of the Jewish 
Commonwealth * the Law,' instead of being regarded by the 
highest spirit of the age as the mam support of goodness, was 
at least at times regarded by him as its worst and deadliest 
enemy.2 But the aspect of the Law as presented by the 

* Mystery of Matter, by the Rev. J. ' Rom. iii. 20, 28 ; iv. 15 ; vii. 5 ; viii. a, 

Allanson Picton, p. 280. 3; Gal. ii. 16, ui. 2, 10, iv. 5, 9, 10; v. 



Psalmist is the more persuasive and more enduring. He 
saw, and the course of ages has made us see even more 
clearly, that all other things come to an end, but that the 
commandment of God is bounded by no narrow compass. ^ 

And this leads us to the attitude in which Ezra himself 
stood towards the Pentateuch. He was a Jewish Priest ; he 
was a Persian judge. But the name by which he is 
emphatically called, throwing all else into the shade, 
is ^the Scribe.' We have already indicated the earher begin- 
nings of the office. But in Ezra it received an importance ^ 
altogether unprecedented. In hii\i the title came to mean 
Uhe man of the Book.' Those long readings and expositions 
of the Law called into existence two classes of men ; the one 
inferior, the Interpreters or Targumists, or (which is another 
form of the same word), Dragomans ; the other the Scribes, 
who took their places beside the Elders and the Priests, at 
times as the most powerful institution of the community. 
The Interpreters or Dragomans resulted from the necessity 
of rendering the archaic Hebrew into the popular Aramaic. 
They were regarded for the most part as mere hirelings — 
empty, bombastic characters, without the slightest authority, 
ragged, half- clothed mendicants, who could be silenced in a 
moment by their superiors in the assembly,^ compelled to 
speak orally lest their words should by chance be mistaken 
for those of the Scripture. The Scribes or * Lawyers,' that 
is, the learned in the Pentateuch, were far different. Here, 
again, as in the case of ' the Law,' we find ourselves confronted 
with an element which contains at once the noblest and the 
basest aspects of the Jewish, and we must add, of the Christian 
religion. It is evident that in the Scribes rather than in any 
of the other functionaries of the Jewish Church is the nearest 
original of the clergy of later times. In the ancient Prophet, 
going to and fro, sometimes naked, sometimes wrapt in his 
hairy cloak, chanting his wild melodies, or dramatising his own 

18 ; I Cor. XV. 56 ; See, however, Rom. " Derenbourg, 25. 

vii. 12 ; I Tim. i. 8. ^ Deutsch's Remains ^ pp. 325, 386. 

Ps. cxix. 96 (Perowne). 


message, always strange and exceptional — in the ancient Priest, 
deriving his sanctity from his clothes, with his strong arms 
imbrued, like a butcher's, in the blood of a cow or a sheep, no 
one would recognise the religious ^ ministers of any civilised 
country for the last eighteen centuries. But in the Scribe, 
poring over the sacred volume, or reading and enforcing it 
from his lofty platform, or explaining it to the small knots of 
* those that had understanding,' and gathered round him for 
instruction, there is an unmistakable likeness to the religious 
teachers of all the various forms which have arisen out of the 
Judaism of Ezra and Nehemiah. The Rabbi in the schools of 
Safed and Tiberias, expounding or preaching, from whatever 
tribe he may have sprung — the Cadi founding his verdicts on 
the Koran — the Imam delivering his Friday Sermon from the 
Midbar or instructing* his little circle of hearers on the floor of 
the mosques — the Christian clergy through all their different 
branches — Doctors, Pastors, Evangelists, Catechists, Readers^ 
Revivalists, studying, preaching, converting, persuading— all 
these in these their most spiritual functions; have their root 
not in Aaron's altar, nor even in Samuel's choral school, but 
in Ezra's pulpit. 

The finer elements of this widely-ramifying institution thus 
inaugurated appear at its outset. It was the permanent 
triumph of the moral over the purely mechanical functions 
of worship. The prophets had effected this to a certain 
extent ; but their appearance was so fitful — their gifts so 
irregular— that they were always, so to speak, outside the 
system, rather than a part of it — Preaching Friars, Non- 
conformists, or, at the most. Occasional Conformists on the 
grandest scale. But from the time of Ezra the Scribes never 
ceased. The intention of their office, as first reahsed in him 
and his companions, was the earnest endeavour to reproduce, 
to study, to translate, to represent in the language of his own 
time, the oracles of sacred antiquity ; to ascertain the meaning 
of dark words, to give life to dead forms, to enforce forgotten 
duties ; to stimulate the apathy of the present by invoking the 

» See Lecturt XXXVI. 
K 2 

132 EZRA. t.ECT. xLiv. 

loftier spirit of the past. Such was the ideal of the * Minister 

* of Religion ' henceforth ; and when the Highest teacher 
described it in His own words He found none better than 
to take the office of Ezra, and say : * Every Scribe which 

* is instructed ^ unto the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto an 
^ householder which bringeth forth out of his treasure things 
'new and old.' 

And when in the sixteenth century of the Christian Church 
the intellectual and spiritual element of Religion was once again 
brought to the front, with the appeal to its original documents 
— the English Martyr at the stake could find no fitter words to 
express the permanent triumph of his cause than those which 
in the Apocryphal Book of Esdras are spoken in reference to 
the ideal Scribe, the ideal Reformer of Israel : * I shall light a 

* candle of understanding in thine heart, which shall not be 

' put out.' 2 

But to this great office there was and is a darker side. 
There was, indeed, nothing of itself Priestly in the functions of 
the Scribe ; the idea of their office was as distinct, almost as 
alien, from the mechanical, bullock-slaying, fumigating minis- 
trations of the Priesthood as had been the office of the Prophets. 
But, unlike the Prophets, this distinction was in their case often 
more of form than of spirit. Ezra, though a Scribe first and 
foremost, was yet a Priest ; and his chief associates, until the 
arrival of the Governor, Nehemiah, were Levites. The Scribes 
and the Priests hung together ; and at some of the most critical 
moments of their history the interests, the passions, and the 
prejudices of the two were fatally indissoluble. And in like 
manner, although from the more spiritual nature of the religion 
in a less degree, the Pastors of the Christian Church have again 
and again been tempted to formalise and materialise their 
spiritual functions by associating them once more with the 
name and the substance of the ancient Jewish^ or Pagan 

' Matt. xiii. 52. ' See Professor Lightfoot on the Philip- 

* 2 Esdras xiv. 25. Compare Froude's plans, 243-266. 
History of England, vi. 387. 

laCT. xiiv. THE SCRIBES. 1 33 

And yet further the peculiar ministrations of the Scribes 
became more and more divorced from that homely yet elevated 
aspect imparted to his office by Ezra. There was, as we have 
seen, the fable which ascribed to him the formation of a body 
of Scribes called the Great Synagogue,^ by which the Canon of 
Scripture w^as arranged, the first Liturgy of the Jewish Church 
composed, and of which the succession continued till its last 
survivor died two centuries afterwards. Some such circle, 
doubtless may have grown up round the first great Scribe— -a 
circle of *men of understanding ' such as Johanan and Eliashib, 
who are described ^ by that name as having accompanied him 
from Babylon — though of the existence or the doings of any 
such regular body no vestige appears in any single historical or 
authentic work before the Christian era. But there is one 
traditional saying ascribed to the Great Synagogue which must 
surely have come down from an early stage in the history of 
the Scribes, and which well illustrates the disease, to which, as 
to a parasitical plant, the order itself, and all the branches into 
which it has grown, has been subject. It resembles in form the 
famous mediaeval motto for the guidance of conventual ambition, 
although it is more serious in spirit : ' Be circumspect in judg- 
*ing— make many disciples — make a hedge round the law.'^ 
Nothing could be less hke the impetuosity, the simplicity, or 
the openness of Ezra than any of these three precepts. But 
the one which in each succeeding generrrtion predominated 
more and more was the last: ' Make a hedge about the Law.' 
To build up elaborate explanations, thorny obstructions, subtle 
evasions, enormous developments, was the labour of the later 
Jewish Scribes, till the Pentateuch was buried beneath the 
Mishna, and the Mishna beneath the Gemara. To make 
hedges round the Koran has been, though not perhaps in 
equally disproportioned manner, the aim of the schools of 

^ All that can be said on thk subject is iii, 380-387. 

well summed up by Derenbourg, c. 3, and ^ * Mebinim.' Ezra viii. 16. 

hy Ginshnrgin Khto'sCyc/oj!>^diaCGrea.t 'Derenbourg, 34. The mediaeval say- 

* Synagogue '), where it is conjectured ing is, * Parere superior!, legere breviarium 

that the 120 members were made up out of * taliter qualiter, et sinere res vadere ut 

the list in Nehemiah. Comp. Herzfeld, * vadunt.' 


El-Azar and Cordova, and of the successive Fetvahs of the 
Sheykhs-el-Islam. To erect hedges round the Gospel has 
been the effort, happily not continuous or uniform, but of large 
and dominant sections of the Scribes of Christianity, until the 
words of its Founder have well-nigh disappeared, behind the 
successive intrenchments, and fences, and outposts, and counter- 
works, of Councils, and Synods, and Popes, and anti-Popes, 
and Sums of Theology and of Saving Doctrine, of Confessions 
of Faith and Schemes of Salvation ; and the world has again 
and again sighed for one who would once more speak with the 
authority of self-evidencing Truth, and * not ^ as the Scribes.' 
A distinguished Jewish Rabbi of this century, in a striking and 
pathetic passage on this crisis in the history of his nation, contrasts 
the prospect of the course which Ezekiel and Isaiah had indicated 
with that which was inaugurated by Ezra, and sums up his re- 
flections with the remark that : * Had the spirit been preserved 

* instead of the letter, the substance instead of the form, then 

* Judaism might have been spared the necessity of Christianity.'^ 
But we in hke manner may say that, had the Scribes of the 
Christian Church retained more of the genius of the Hebrew 
Prophets, Christianity in its turn would have been spared what 
has too often been a return to Judaism, and it was in the per- 
ception of the superiority of the Prophet to the Scribe that its 
original force and unique excellence have consisted. 

One further germ of spiritual life may, probably, be traced 
to the epoch of Ezra. If in the long unmarked period which 
The Syna- follows, the worship of the Synagogue silently sprang 
gogues. yp gy(,]^ ^g ^Q gj^^jl see it at the latest stage of their 
history,^ it must have originated in the independent, personal, 
universal study of the Law, irrespective of Temple or Priest, 
which Ezra had inaugurated. The great innovation of Prayer'* 
as a substitute for Sacrifice thus took root in Jewish worship ; 
the eighteen prayers which are still recited in Jewish synagogues,'^ 
and of which some at least are, both by ancient tradition and 
modern criticism, ascribed to Ezra and his companions, are the 

^ Matt. vii. 29. " Herzfeld, ii. 32-36. * See Lecture XLI. 

^ See Lecture L. • See Kuenen, Religion 0/ Israel, iii. 19. 

user. XLiv. THE SYNAGOGUES. 1 35 

first example of an articulate lAtrngy. On the one hand, the 
personal devotion of the Psalms now found its place as the 
expression of the whole community ; and, on the other hand, 
the conviction which the Prophets entertained of the perpetual 
existence of the nation, prepared the way for the conviction of 
the endless life of the single human being. * In a word, 
* Judaism was now on the road towards the adoption of the hope 
' of personal immortality.' * 


Of the * Eighteen Benedictions ' (p. 134), as they are called, the 
1st, 2nd, and 3rd, the 17th, and i8th and 19th (Prideaux, i. 419- 
422) are believed to date from Ezra. They are as follows : — 

1. Blessed be Thou, O Lord, our God, the God of our fathers, 
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the 
great God, powerful and tremendous, the high God, bountifully 
dispensing benefits, the Creator and Possessor of the Universe, 
who rememberest the good deeds of our fathers, ai\d in Thy love 
sendest a Redeemer to those who are descended from them, for 
Thy name's sake, O King, our Helper, our Saviour, and our 
Shield. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who art the Shield of Abra- 

2. Thou, O Lord, art powerful for ever. Thou raisest the dead 
to life, and art mighty to save ; Thou sendest down the dew, 
stillest the winds, and makest the rain to come down upon the 
earth, and sustainest with Thy beneficence all that live therein ; 
and of Thine abundant mercy makest the dead again to liye. 
Thou helpest up those that fall ; Thou curest the sick ; Thou 
loosest them that are bound, and makest good Thy Word of Truth 
to those that sleep in the dust. 

Who is to be compared to Thee, O Thou Lord of might ? and 
who is like unto Thee, O our King, who killest and makest alive, 
and makest salvation to spring up as the herb out of the field ? 
Thou art faithful to make the dead to rise again to life. Blessed 
art Thou, O Lord, who raisest the dead again to life. 

3. Thou art holy, and Thy name is holy, and Thy Saints do 

» Kuenen, iU. 30. 


praise Thee every day. For a great King and an holy art Thou, 
O God. Blessed art Thou, O Lord God most holy. 

17. Be Thou well pleased, O Lord our God, with Thy people 
Israel, and have regard unto their prayers. Restore Thy worship 
to the inner part of Thy house, and make haste with favour and 
love to accept of the burnt sacrifices of Israel and their prayers ; 
and let the worship of Israel Thy people be continually well 
pleasing unto Thee. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who restorest thy 
Divine presence to Zion. 

18. We will give thanks unto Thee with praise. For Thou art 
the Lord our God, the God of our fathers for ever and ever. 
Thou art our Rock, and the Rock of our life, the Shield of our 
salvation. To all generations will we give thanks unto Thee and 
declare Thy praise ; because of our life, which is always in Thy 
hands ; and because of our souls, which are ever depending upon 
Thee ; and because of Thy signs, which are every -day with us ; 
and because of Thy wonders, and marvellous loving-kindnesses, 
which are, morning and evening and night, continually before us. 
Thou art good, for thy mercies are not consumed ; Thou art mer- 
ciful, for Thy loving-kindnesses fail not. For ever we hope in 
Thee ; and for all these mercies be Thy name, O King, blessed, and 
exalted, and lifted up on high for ever and ever ; and let all that 
live give thanks unto Thee. And let them in truth and sincerity 
praise Thy name, O God of our salvation and our help. Blessed 
art Thou, O Lord, whose name is good, and whom it is fitting 
always to give thanks unto. 

19. Give peace, beneficence, and benediction, grace, benignity, 
and mercy unto us, and to Israel Thy people. Bless us, O our 
Father, even all of us together as one man. With the light of 
Thy countenance hast Thou given unto us, O Lord our God, the 
law of life, and love, and benignity, and righteousness, and bless- 
ing, and mercy, and life, and peace. And let it seem good in 
Thine eyes to bless Thy people Israel with Thy peace at all times 
and in every moment. , Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who blessest 
Thy people Israel with peace. Amen. 



B.C. 480—400. 



Esther (Hebrew and Greek). 

Joscphus, Ant, xi. 6, 7. 




* The age ^ of Ezra — the last pure glow of the long days of the 

* Old Testament seers — produced one more prophetic work, the 
The last of * brief composition of Malachi. With its clear insight 
the Prophets, i [^^q ^^iQ real wants of the time, its stern reproof even 
^ of the priests themselves, and its bold exposition of the eternal 

* truths and the certainty of a last judgment, this book closes 

* the series of prophetic writings in a manner not unworthy of 

* such lofty predecessors. And, indeed, it is no less important 

* than consistent in itself that even the setting sun of the Old 
' Testament days should still be reflected in a true prophet, and 

* that the fair days of Ezra and Nehemiah should in him be 
' glorified more nobly still.' * 

Malachi was the last of the Prophets. The prophets and 
prophetesses that had appeared since the time of Haggai and 
Zechariah ^ were but of a weak and inferior kind. He alone 
represents the genuine spirit of the ancient oracular ^ order — as 
far at least as concerns the purely Hebrew history — till the final 
and transcendent burst of Evangelical and Apostolical prophecy, 
when a new era was opened on the world. The approximate 
time of the work can be fixed by its allusions to the surrounding 
circumstances, which are still of the same kind as those which 
form the scene of the operations of Ezra and Nehemiah. To 

' Ewald V. 176. ^ Neh. vi. 7, 12, 14. iii. 38 (LXX.) ; Psalm Ixxiv. 9 ; Ecclus. 

* Mace. iv. 46 ; ix. 27 ; xiv. 41 ; Dan. xxxvi. 15. 


them he must have stood in the same relation as Isaiah to 
Hezekiah, or Haggai to Zerubbabel ; and, although there is no 
probability in the tradition which identifies him with Ezra, it is 
true that he represents the prophetic aspect of the epoch of 
which the two great Reformers were the scholastic and secular 

There is the same close union as then between * the office 
of Priest and Scribe. There is the same demoralisation ^ of the 
Priesthood as then in the questionable associations of the house 
of the High Priest Eliashib — the Eli of those later days — the 
gross and audacious ^ plundering of Hophni and Phineas re- 
peated on the paltry scale of meaner and more niggardly pil- 
fering. There are, as in Ezra's time, the faithless husbands, 
deserting for some foreign alliance their Jewish wives, who 
bathe the altar with their tears.* There are the wealthy^ 
nobles, as in the days of Nehemiah, who grind down the poor 
by their exactions. Against all these the Prophet raises up his 
voice in the true spirit of Amos or of Joel. There is also the 
passionate denunciation of Edom,^ which runs like a red thread 
through all the prophetic strains of this epoch, from Jeremiah 
and Ezekiel and the Second Isaiah, through Obadiah and the 
Babylonian Psalmist, down to this last and fiercest expression, 
which goes so far as to enhance the Divine love for Jacob by 
contrasting it with the Divine hatred for Esau. But there are 
three ideas peculiar, if not in substance yet in form, to Malachi 
— significantly marking the point from which, as it were, he 
looks over the silent waste of years that is to follow him, un- 
broken by any distinct prophetic utterance, yet still responding 
in various faint echoes to the voice of this last of the long succes- 
sion of seers that had never ceased since the days of Samuel. 

I. We speak first of the chief idea which is inwrought into 
the very structure of his work and of his being. The expecta- 
The Mes- ^i^u of an Anointed King of the House of David has 
senger. ceascd. Siuce the death of Zerubbabel, neither in 
Ezra, nor Nehemiah, nor Malachi, nor in any contemporary 

* Mai. ii. 7. « Ibid. i. 6-12 ; ii. 8, 9. » See Lecture XVIII. 

* Mai. U. 10-14. • Ihid, iii. 5. • Ibid. i. 2, 3. See Lecture XL 


books, is there any trace of such a hope. It is another form 
in which the vision of the future shaped itself, and which was 
pecuHarly characteristic of the time. The prominent figure is 
now that of the Messenger, the avant courier— to use the Greek 
word, * the Angel,' to use the Hebrew word, the Malachi—oi 
the Eternal. Such a figure had, doubtless, been used before. 
In the Patriarchal age, and at times in the Monarchy, there had 
been heavenly Messengers who brought the Divine Word to the 
hstening nation. Once by the Great Prophet of the Captivity 
Israel himself is termed the Angel or the Messenger.^ In 
Haggai ^ after the return that idea had been still further localised. 
He was himself *the Angel of the Eternal.' In Zechariah the 
same expression (was it the aged Haggai of whom he ^ spoke, 
or the unseen Presence which Haggai represented ?) describes 
the mysterious guide that led him through the myrtle groves 
and through the court of the High Priest's trial. But now the 
word pervades the whole prophetic Book. The very name of 
the Prophet is taken from it ; whether he bore the title of 
Malachi as indicating the idea with which the age was full, or 
whether it w^as transferred to a Prophet without a name ^ (as, 
possibly, the title of Abdadonai, ' the servant of the Lord,' may 
have been given to the Great Unnamed of the Captivity ^), from 
the subject of his prophecy. The ideal Priest whom Malachi 
describes is in like manner the Messenger of the Lord of 
Hosts. ^ The eventful consummation to w^hich he looks is the 
arrival, not of the Warrior-king or the Invisible Majesty of 
Heaven, but of the Messenger who should enforce ^ the treaty 
which had been made of old time between God and His people, 
which had of late been renewed by Nehemiah. This was to be 
the moment of the unexpected ^ sifting and dividing of the 
essential from the unessential, the worthless from the valuable. 
It was to be like the furnace in which the precious metals were 
cleansed ; it was to be like the tank in which the fullers beat 
and washed out the clothes of the inhabitants of Jerusalem ; it 

' Isa. xlii. ig. = Haggai i. 13, 

'" See Clem. Alex. Strom, i. 2. (Lecture 

'Zech. i. II, 12 ; ui. i ; iv. i. 


* Mai. i. I. This is well argued in 

* Mai. ii. 7. ' Ibid. iii. i. 

euss on the Prophets, ii. 379"38i. 

" Ibid. iii. 2, 3. 


was to be like the glorious yet terrible uprising of the Eastern 
sun ^ which should wither to the very roots the insolence and 
the injustice of mankind ; but, as its rays extended, like the 
wings of the Egyptian Sun-god, should by its healing and in- 
vigorating influences call forth the good from their obscurity, 
prancing and bounding like tiie young cattle in the burst of 
spring, and treading down under their feet the dust and ashes 
to which the same bright sun had burnt up the tangled thicket 
of iniquitous dealing. Yet for this day of mingled splendour 
and gloom, a Prelude, a Preparation was needed ; and, in fore- 
casting the forms which it would take, two colossal figures rose 
out of the past. One was Moses,^ to whom on Horeb had been 
given the Law, which now through Ezra had been revived, ex- 
pounded, and brought within their reach. The Pentateuch was 
to live in their remembrance. The memory of their past his- 
tory, the fulfilment of those ruling principles of ' conduct which 
* are three-fourths of human life,' was their guide for the 
perilous future. And for the enforcement of these there was 
needed yet another spirit of the mighty dead. It was the 
great ^ representative of the whole Prophetic order, now, as it 
were, by the last of his race, evoked from the invisible world. 
Already there had sprung up round the mysterious figure of 
Elijah that belief which reached its highest pitch in the Mussul- 
man world, where he is * the Immortal one,' who in the green- 
ness of perpetual youth is always appearing to set right the 
wrong— and which in the Jewish nation has expected him to 
revive in each new crisis ^ of their fate, and to solve all the 
riddles of their destiny. But for Malachi the chief mission of 
the returning Elijah was to be that of the Forerunner of the 
final crisis : who should arrest ^ in their diverging courses the 
hearts both of the older and the younger generation, and who 
should enable (if we thus far venture to unfold the thought 
which is not expressed in the Prophecy, but lies deep in the 

' Mai. iv. 2, 3 (Heb.). See Lecture IV. the Latin phrase conversion^ and in the 

" Ibid. iv. 5. ' Ibid. iv. 5. Greek fterai'oia. The idea is of a wrench 

* See Lecture XXX. of the mind in another than its ordinary 

• Mai. iii. 6. It is the figure implied in direction, 
the word * turn ' which is perpetuated in 

142 MALACHI. LECT. xlv. 

history of that, as of all like ages) the fathers to recognise the 
new needs and the new powers of the children, and the children 
to recognise the value of the institutions and traditions which 
they inherit from the fathers. 

Such an insistance on the necessity of patient preparation — 
on the importance of working out the old and homely truths of 
justice and truthfulness, as the best means of meeting the 
coming conflict — received its full point and meaning when such 
a rough Precursor, such an Angel ^ of moral reformation, did 
arise and recall, even in outward garb and form, the ancient 
Tishbite who had last been seen in the same valley of the 
Jordan. But the principle of the necessity of a Messenger or 
Angel in the place or in the anticipation of that which is still to 
come — of the opening of the way by the Great for the Greatest 
— of the announcement of pure morahty, which commends itself 
to the many, leading towards the spiritual religion which com- 
mends itself chiefly to the few— this is the main idea of Malachi's 
teaching, which shall now be expanded and explained by the 
corresponding events and ideas of his time. 

I. It branches into two parts. The sense of the need of 
this intermediary dispensation, if it is not directly connected, at 
any rate coincides, with the awe which shrinks from 
Divine familiar contact with the Divine Name and Presence, 
^™^' with the reverence which fears, the irreverence v/hich 

despises, the mention of the Supreme Unseen Cause. In the 
book which probably approaches most nearly to the time of 
Malachi the change is complete. In ^ the Book of Ecclesiastes 
there is no name but Elohim — * God ' — and the whole book is 
penetrated with a reserve and self-control expressed in words 
which have a significant import when within sound of the 
multitude of theological phrases and devotional iteration by 
which, both in East and West, the religious world often has 
sought to approach its Maker : ^ God is in Heaven and thou 

* Mark i. 2. So completely in the reference to this passage, is, in the tradi- 

Eastern Church— probably from the con- tionary Greek pictures (as at Mount 

Stant use of the word aVyeAo? both for Athos), represented as a winged angel. 
angel and messenger — have the two deas For the date of Ecclesiastes see Gins- 

been combined, that John the Baptist, in burg's Kohehth^ 244-255. 


* Upon earth, therefore let thy words be few/ ^ And it is 
summed up in the brief conclusion of the whole matter, after 
contemplating the many proverbs, the words of the wise, the 
endless making of many books, which had already begun to 
characterise the nation : ' Fear God and keep His command- 

* ments, for this is the whole duty of man.' We have seen 
how in earlier times the narne first of * Jehovah,' ^ and then of 

* Jehovah Sabaoth,' became the national name of the Divine 
Ruler of Israel. We have now arrived at the moment when this 
great title is to disappear. In the parallel passages of duplicate 
poetry or duplicate history the simpler * Elohim ' began to take 
the place of the more ^ sacred ' Jehovah.' 

In accordance with these isolated indications was the general 
practice, of which we cannot ascertain the exact beginning, 

* J . ^ by which the special name of the God of Israel was 

Adoption of '' . , , 

Adonai for now Withdrawn, and, as lar as the Hebrew race was 
concerned, for ever withdrawn, from the speech and 
even the writings of the nation. Already ^ at the time of the 
Samaritan secession in the days of Nehemiah the change began 
to operate. In their usages, instead of the word * Jehovah ' ^ 
was substituted *Shemeh,' *the Name;' but they still had 
retained the word unaltered in their own copies of the Law. 
But the Jews of Jerusalem in the place of the ancient name 
substituted, first by pronunciation, and then by changing the 
points of the vowels, throughout the sacred writings, the word 

* Adonai,' 'Lord or Master '^ — the same word that appears for 
the Phoenician deity whom the Syrian maidens mourned on 
Lebanon ; by the time that the Greek translators of the Hebrew 
Scriptures undertook their task they found that this conventional 
phrase had become completely established, and therefore, 

* Eccles. V. 2. them to Dr. Ginsburg. 
» Lectures V. and XXIII. ^ * See Lecture XLIV. 

' Compare, for this gradual introduction '■ The name Jehovah in the Moabite 

of ' Elohim ' (' God ') in the later books for Stone shows that it must have been in use 

* Jehovah' (*The Lord') in the earlier, down to the eighth century B.C. (Dr 
2 Sam. V. 24, 25; I Chron. iv. 15, 16; Ginsburg). 

2 Sam. vi. 5, 9, 11 ; i Chron. xiv. 10, 15, " Thus Plutarch {Quest. Conv. v. 612) 

16 ,i Sam. xxiv, 10, 17 ; i Chron, xxi. 7,8 ; regards Adonis as the name of the God of 

Psalm xiv. 2, 4, 7, liii. 2, 5, 7. I owe the Jews, and makes it one of the reascfflS 

these references and the inference from for identifying him with Bacchus. 

144 MALACHT. I.BCT. xlv. 

whenever the v^or^ Jehovah occurs in the Hebrew, misrendered 
it, KT;pt.o9, ' Master ; ' and the Latin translators, following the 
Greek, misrendered it again, with their eyes open, Doffiinus ; 
and the Protestant versions,^ with a few rare exceptions, mis- 
rendered it yet again, 'Lord.' And thus it came to pass that 
the most expressive title of the Eternal and Self-existent, which 
in the time of Moses and Samuel, of Elijah and Isaiah,^ it would 
have been deemed a sin to keep silent, it became in these later 
ages a sin to pronounce. On the m sconstruction which had 
been thus dictated by superfluous reverence were engrafted 
all manner of fancies and exaggerations. Arguments, solid in 
themselves, even in the New Testament were based on this 
manifestly erroneous version The most extravagant super- 
stitions were attached to this rejection of the sacred phrase as 
confidently as in earlier times they would have been attached 
to its assertion. The Greek translators even went the length 
of altering or retaining the alteration of a text in Leviticus, 
which condemns to death any one who blasphemed the name 
of Jehovah, into the condemnation of anyone who pronounces 
it.3 The name itself hngered only in the mouth of the High 
Priest, who uttered it only on the ten occasions which required 
it, on the day of Atonement ; and after the time of Simon the 
Just even this was in a whisper.'* If anyone else gained posses- 
sion of it, it was a talisman by which, if he was bold enough to 
utter its mysterious sound, miracles could be worked, and 
magical arts exercised. ' The Ineffable Name,' the * Tetragram- 
' maton,' became a charm analogous to those secret, sacred 
names on which the heathen writers had already prided them- 

These were the strange results of a sentiment in its origin 
springing from that natural, we may almost say, philosophical 
caution, which shrinks abashed before the inscrutable mystery 
of the Great Cause of all. When in our later days any have 
been scandalised by the reserve of sceptical inquirers, or by 

^ The French Protestant versions and " W\co\2iS, Doctrines religeusesdes J ui/Sy 

Bunsen's Bibelwerk render it ' the 165, 166, 

' Eternal ;' the Protestant translation into ^ Ewald, v. 198, 199. Nicolas, 166-170 

Spanish lenders it * Jehovah.' * Edersheim's Temple, p. syo. 


the adoption of other forms and phrases, than those in common 
use, for the Supreme Goodness and Wisdom in whose power we 
live and move and have our being, they may be comforted by 
the reflection that such reticence or such deviations have a 
precedent in that silent revolution which affected the whole 
theology of the Jewish Church from the period of the book of 
Malachi downwards, and which has left its mark on almost 
every translation of the Bible throughout the world. 

If, then, this earthly mind 
Speechless remain or speechless e'en depart, 

Nor seek to see — (for what of earthly kind 
Can see Thee as Thou art ?) 

If well assur'd 'tis but profanely bold 
In thought's abstractest forms to seem to see, 

It dares not dare the dread communion hold 
In ways unworthy Thee, 

O, not unowned, Thou shalt unnam'd forgive.^ 

2. In itself this awe expressed the well-known difficulty of 
defining the Immeasurable, or of exploring the primal origin of 
existence. Some of the forms of belief to which it gave rise 
will appear more clearly as we proceed. But at the mcment of 
which we are now speaking it took the shape, or fostered the 
growth, of a doctrine which, though never altogether absent 
from the Jewish mind, now leaped into unusual prominence. 
It has been already ^ indicated in the book of Malachi ; the 
necessity, the craving for 'messengers,' intermediate spirits, 
earthly or celestial, to break, as it were, the chasm between 
the Infinite and the finite. * Who may abide the day of His 

* coming? ' The same tendency which in our nineteenth century 
clothes itself in the phraseology of * Nature,' * the Reign of Law, 
' the forces of Nature,' caused the Oriental mind of the fourth 
century before our era to adopt the nomenclature of a hierarchy 
of unknown ministering spirits, who as * Messengers ' or 

* watchers ' guarded the fortunes of nations and individuals and 
directed the movements of the universe. 

In the Greek version of the earlier books this behef appears 

^ dough's Poems, ii. 87. - Mai. iii. i. 


in the constant substitution of * Angels ' in passages where the 
original Hebrew contained only the name of God. In the 
Psalms immediately following the Return,^ they stand at the 
head of the works of Creation. Already, in the visions ^ of 
Ezekiel and Zechariah, their innermost circle was dimly ar- 
ranged in the mystic number of seven. In the Book of Daniel, 
whether Babylonian or Syrian, we find, for the first time, two 
names assigned — Michael^ the champion of Israel, with the 
challenge ' Who is like God ? ' to reappear as the guardian of 
the High Places of Christendom and as the Protector of the 
kingdom of France ; Gabriel,^ ^ the hero of God,' the harbinger 
of the Divine purposes. In the Book of Tobit a third is added— 
Raphael,^ the * sociable spirit ' of healing, the ' Divine Healer.' 
The others are not yet named. But the fourth, Uriel, 4he 
' Light of God,' the regent of the sun, follows next. And then, 
with doubtful splendour, we faintly hear of Phaniel, Raguel, and 
Zarakiel, or else of Zaphkiel, Zadkiel, and Gamaliel, or else of 
Salathiel, Jehudial, and Berachiah, or else of Jeremial, Sariel 
and Azael.^ The contradictory and wavering nomenclature 
reminds us how uncertain is the ground on which we tread. 
And when we inquire yet further for the traces of those doctrines 
which have left so deep an impress on the theology and poetry 
of Christendom, the creation and the fall ^ of the Angels, or yet 
again for the warrant of those splendid winged forms ^ with 
which Guido and Fra Angelico have made us familiar in the 
realm of Art, and which have sunk deep into the common 
parlance of Europe, it must be confessed that not even in these 

* Psa m cxlviii. 2. 290). Compare Nicolas* Doctrines reli- 
^ Ezek. viii. 11 ; Zech. iv. 2, 10; Tobit gieuses des Juifs^ 220. 

xii. 15 ; Rev iii. i ; iv. 5, 6 ; viii. 2. ' The only passages which would appear 

' Dan. xii i ; x. 13, 2X ; Jude 9 ; Rev. to indicate this doctrine are 2 Peter ii. 4, 

xii. 7. and Jude 6, and these manifestly refer 

* Dan. viii. i x. 21 ; Luke i. 11, 19, only to Gen. vi. 4. 

26, 35. ^ The six-winged seraphs of Isa. vi. 2 

* Tobit iii. 17 ; xii. 15 ; Enoch xl. 8. and the double- winged cherubs of i Kings 
When God would cure any sick person He vi. 24 are not ' messengers ' or ' angels ' at 
sends the Archangel Raphael to accomplish all. The expression in Dan. ix. 21, 'flying 
the cure. (Jerome on Dan. viii.) 'swiftly,' should be either ' coming swiftly ' 

" See the references in the exhaustive or ' greatly fatigued.' The first indication 
note of Dr. Ginsburg on Eccles. v. 5, and of the wings of ' angels ' is in Rev. xiv. 6. 
also in Kalisch's Commentary (vol. ii. 


later books, still less in the earlier visions of the prophets of 
Israel, is there the least foundation. Still, the general and 
pervasive belief in the intervention of these unearthly ' mes- 
*sengers,' combining with the earthly but not less Divine * Mes- 
*senger' of the prophecy of Malachi, dates from this epoch. 
There is a lofty truth, however overgrown with fantastic legend, 
in the vision of a long vista of celestial beauty, power, and 
goodness through which the soul looks upwards to the Throne 
of the Unseen ; and this truth has become, from the age of 
Malachi, firmly enshrined in the poetic side of Hebrew and 
Christian no less than of Persian and Arabian theology. Out 
of the slight and often coarse materials that the Books of the 
Captivity and of the Return provide, have been evolved, not 
only the prodigious extravagances ^ of the Talmud, but also the 
noblest strains of Spenser and of Milton, the image, never since 
to depart from mankind, of ' the angelic ' character as distinct 
even from ^the saintly' or *the virtuous' — the conviction that 
there is a fulfilment of the Divine Will more perfectly carried 
out in the ideal heaven than on the actual earth. 

II. The second doctrine which pervades the Book of 
Malachi is one which, though never absent altogether from the 
The contrast Prophctic mind, is brought out here with a point 
reirand ^^^ which cauuot be evaded. It is the contrast — so vital 
ideal. iQ any true conception of religion in every age, hut 

so frequently forgotten — between the real and the ideal in 
religious institutions. By the side of the selfish and untruthful 
hierarchy, who were the main causes of the unbelief which 
prevailed around them, there rose the vision of perfect truth- 
fulness and fairness,^ the unswerving fear of the Eternal name, 
as conceived in the original idea of the Priesthood. And, again, 
within the innermost pale of the Church, behind the cynical 
questionings of some and the superficial devotions of others, 
the Prophet saw the almost invisible^ circle of those whose 
reverence for the Eternal remained unshaken, who kept the 
sacred treasure of truth intact ; of whom the names are for the 

^ See Kalisch's Covimentary^ ii. 305- ■ Mai. ii. 5, 6. 

317. ' Matt. iv. 16, 17. 

148 MALACHI. LECT. xLv. 

most part unknown in the long, vacant history of four centuries 
that follow, but who may be traced in a true Divine succession 
which runs through this obscure period, and of which the links 
from time to time appear — Simon the Just, Jesus the son of 
Sirach, Judas Maccabseus, the martyred Onias, the high-minded 
Mariamne, the large- minded Hillel, Zachariah and Elizabeth, 
Simeon and Anna, Joseph and Mary. To recover these lost 
jewels, to disentangle the dross of society from the ore of gold 
and silver w^hich lies in the worst rubbish of superstition and 
moral degradation, is the hope of the Prophet amidst the 
despairing sense of failure and dejection, which, if less clamorous 
than the Lamentations of Jeremiah, or the invectives of Isaiah, 
implies a deeper conviction of the weight of evil against which 
the cause of uprightness has to contend. 

In harmony with this inquiring, perhaps melancholy, vein of 
thought is the mournful tone of the contemporary book of Ec- 
clesiastes, ^ whose story we have already drawn out in describing 
its portraiture of Solomon, but whose lessons derive a profounder 
significance if taken as expressing the same dark view of the 
world as breathes through the almost equally misanthropic cries 
of Malachi.2 The Asiatic world seemed to be sick of crime and 
folly. The weary soul tossed to and fro in the effort to distract 
and sustain its upward tendencies. In the midst of this per- 
plexity it is not surprising that for the first time we begin to 
. trace a keener sense of an obstinate, inveterate prin- 

the Evil ciple of evil— the consciousness of a more determined 
^^'^^" obstruction against good than the Hebrew Scriptures 

had yet exhibited. Faintly, very faintly, in the Book of 
Job,^ and in the vision of Micaiah the son of Imlah, there was 
disclosed in the Courts of Heaven a spirit rendering its account 
with the other ministers of the Divine Will, yet with something 
of a malicious pleasure in the mischief produced by the 
calamities which it caused. Perhaps, in the vision of Zechariah, 
the same spirit, as had appeared in the opening of the poem of 
Job, returns as the ' adversary ' of the innocent.^ Certainly, in 

* Sec Lecture XXVIII. ' Job i. 6 ; 1 Kings xxii. 21. 

' Eccles. i. 13-15 ; iii. 16 ; iv. i ; vi. 2. * Zech. lii. i. 


the Book of Chronicles, it appears in the place which the earlier 
Prophetic books assigned to the Eternal ^ himself, as tempting 
David to number Israel. Certainly, in the Book of Tobit, a 
demon plays the malignant part which in the Greek or the 
Teutonic world is assigned to the evil deities or wicked fairies 
of their mythology.^ In the Book of Wisdom — whatever be its 
date — is the first ^ mention of the ' envy of the Devil ' in con- 
nexion with the entrance of death into the world. In the 
Maccabgean history the obnoxious fort which overhung the 
temple is^ described, almost in modern phrase, as a living 
creature, 'a wicked fiend or devil' Such are the fragmentary 
notices of an incipient personification, out of which has gradu- 
ally sprung up the doctrine of a hierarchy of evil spirits, corre- 
sponding to the hosts of Angels —which has in its turn passed 
through every shape and form from the Talmud to the Fathers, 
from the grotesque Satyr of the Middle Ages to the splendour 
of the ruined Archangel of Milton's ' Paradise Lost,' the scoffing 
cynicism of Goethe's Mephistopheles, and the ill-nature of the 
* Little Master ' of La Motte Fouque. That peculiar sense of 
the depth and subtlety of the evil principle which manifested 
itself in the various figures of a malignant power — now single, 
now multiplied, now shadowy, now distinct, now ridiculous, and 
now sublime — had its root in the dark and solemn view of the 
perplexities in the moral government of the world, of which the 
first germs are seen in Malachi and Ecclesiastes. This Hebrew 
conception of the evil, the devilish, element in man and in 
nature is twofold. It is either of the 'accusing' spirit, that 
seizes on the dark and the trivial side of even the greatest and 
the best — or else of the ' hostile ' obstruction that stands in the 
way of progress and of goodness. Round these two central 
ideas, of which the one has prevailed in the^ Hellenic and 
Latin, the other in the Semitic ^ and Teutonic forms of speech, 
have congregated all the various doctrines, legends, truths, and 
fictions which have so long played a part in the theology and 

' Comp. 2 Sam. xxiv. 1, and i Chron. ' i Mace. i. 36. 

xxi. I. ' The Accuser — Slanderer — ' Diabolus' 

= Tobit iii. 8. —' Devil.' 

* Wisdom ii. 23. * The Enemy—' Satan ' — ' Fiend.' 


the poetry alike of Judaism, Islam, and Christendom. The 
antagonism which had prevailed in the earlier ^ books of the 
Old Testament between Jehovah and the gods of the heathen 
world disappeared as the idea of the Divine Nature became 
more elevated and more comprehensive, and in its place came 
the antagonism between God as the Supreme Good, and evil as 
His only true enemy and rival — an antagonism, which, however 
much it may have been at times degraded and exaggerated, yet 
Is in itself the legitimate product of that nobler idea of Deity. 
A profound detestation of moral evil, the abhorrence of those 
more malignant forms of it to which the language of Christian 
Europe has given the name of 'diabolicar or * devilish,' or 
* fiendish,' is the dark shadow which precedes or accompanies 
the bright admiration of virtue, is the indispensable condition of 
the intense worship of the Divine Goodness. 

HI. This leads us to a third doctrine of the Prophet 
Malachi, which serves as a starting-point for the questions 
Universality which this particular epoch suggests for our con- 
of God. sideration. It is the assertion — not new in itself, as 
we have already pointed out, but new from the force and pre- 
cision with which the truth is driven home — of the absolute 
equality, in the Divine judgment, of all genuine and sincere 
worship throughout the world. In rejecting the half-hearted 
and niggardly offerings of the Jewish Church, the prophet 
reminds his readers not only that their sacrifices are not needed 
by Him whom they seek to propitiate by them, but that from 
the furthest East, where the sun rises above the earth, to the 
remotest western horizon, where he sinks beneath it, the Eternal 
namo, under whatever form, is great ; that among the innume- 
rable races outside the Jewish pale — not only in Jerusalem, 
but in every place over that wide circumference — the cloud of 
incense that goes up from altars, of whatever temple, is, if 
faithfully rendered, a pure, unpolluted offering to that Divine 
Presence, known or unknown, throughout all the nations of 
mankind. 2 It is a truth which met with a partial exemplifica- 
tion, as we shall see, in connexion with the great religious 

' Ewald, V. 184. ^ Mai. i. 11. 


systems which, in the vacant space on which we are now 
entering, pressed upon the Jewish creed and ritual. It is a 
truth which was raised to the first order of rehgious doctrine 
by Him who declared that ' many should ^ come from East and 
' West, and sit down in the kingdom,' and by the disciples, who 
repeated it after Him almost in the words of Malachi, though 
without a figure, that : ' In every nation he that feareth ^ Him 

* and worketh righteousness is accepted of Him ; ' and that * not 
' the hearers of the law, but the doers of the law, who have not ^ 
*the law, shall be justified.' It is a truth which, after a long 
period of neglect, and even of bitter condemnation, has be- 
come in our days the basis of the great science of comparative 
theology, and has slowly re-entered the circle of practical and 
religious thought. 

In the entire vacancy which occupies the annals of the 
Jewish nation after the times of Nehemiah there is one single 
incident recorded which exactly coincides with the contrast 
which Malachi draws between the degenerate Priesthood of 
his own day and the purer elements of the Gentile w^orld. 
Story of ^^ ^^^^ corrupt family of Eliashib, which occupied 
Bagoses. ^\^q High Priesthood, there was one deed at this 
time, darker than any that had preceded it — * more dreadful,' 
says the historian — who reports it in terms which seem almost 
the echo of Malachi's indignant language — * than any which 

* had been known among the nations, civilised or uncivihsed, 

* outside the Jewish pale.' His two sons both aimed at their 
father's office, which then, as often before and afterwards, 
was in the gift of the foreign Governor residing at Jerusalem. 
John was in possession. But Bagoses, the Governor, favoured 
Joshua.^ The two brothers met in the Temple, and the elder, 
stung by jealousy, murdered the younger on the floor of the 
sanctuary. The Governor, filled with just anger, descended 
from his fortress -tower, like Lysias in later days, and burst 
into the Temple. The sacerdotal guardians endeavoured to 

* Matt. viii. ii. " Acts x. 34, 35. connexion of this event vrith Malachi u. 

* Rom. ii. 13, 14. 5-8, see Hitzig, Geschichte, 304. 

* Jos. Ant. xj. 7, § I. For the possible 

152 MALACHI. LECT. xlt. 

resist the sacrilegious intruder, as he advanced reproaching 
them with the crime. But he thrust them aside and pene- 
trated, it would seem, into the sacred edifice itself, where the 
corpse lay stretched upon the Temple pavement. * What, 'he 
exclaimed, ' am I not cleaner than the dead carcase of him 

* whom ye have nmrdered ? ' The words of Bagoses lived in 
the recollection of those who heard them. They expressed the 
universal but unwelcome truth, ^ Is not a good Persian better 
' than a bad Jew ? ' — or, to turn it into the form of the 
indignant question of a great modern theologian, ' Who would 
' not meet the judgment of the Divine Redeemer loaded with 
*the errors of Nestorius rather than with the crimes of 

* Cyril?' 1 

IV. It is in the light of this principle, clearly foreshadowed 

by the Evangelical Prophet of the Captivity, that we may 

proceed to ask the question, which naturally forces 

Relations to^,^ ir , ■, . .i^, 

the Gentile itsclf upou US, bcfore we Icave this period of the 
^^'^ ' Jewish history : What traces were left upon it by the 

circumstances of the new sphere which had opened upon them 
through the connexion of Israel with the Persian Empire? 
We have seen what elements in the development of the 
national religion were due to their stay in Babylon. We 
have now to ask what elements, if any, were added by the 
other forces brought into contact with them in the Eastern 
or Western world. 

I. The first influence to be considered in the retrospect of 
this period is the general effect of the Persian Monarchy on 
The Persian ^^^ mauuers and the imagination of the Jewish race. 
Empire. jf^ ^y^h all the alicuation of exiles, almost of rebels, 
there had yet been an attraction for them in the magnificent 
power of the Babylonian Empire, there could not have been 
less in the forms, hardly less august, and far more friendly, that 
surrounded the successors of their benefactor Cyrus. We 
have seen how closely they clung to that protection ; how 
intimate their relations with the Persian Governor, who resided 
almost within the Temple precincts ; how complete ^ his 

* Milman's Hist, of Latin Christianity^ i. 145. ^ Neh. xiii. 4-9 : Jos. Ant. xi. 7. 


control over their most sacred functionaries ; how the letters 
and decrees of its kings were placed almost on the level of 
their sacred books. From the exceptionally kindly relations 
between the Court of Susa and the Jewish colony at this time 
It has come to pass that even to this day the King of Persia is 
the only existing * Potentate of the world whose name appeals 
to the common sentiment as a Biblical personage. 

There is one writing of this period in which these relations 
are especially brought out. Even more than the Book of Job 
is Idumsean, and the Book of Daniel Babylonian, is the Book 
The Book ^^ Esther Persian. It is the one example in the 
of Esther; sacrcd volume of a story of which the whole scenery 
and imagery breathes the atmosphere of an Oriental Court as 
completely and almost as exclusively as the * Arabian Nights.' 
We are in the Palace at Susa.^ We are in that splendid hall 
of Darius, of which no vestige now remains, but which can be 
completely represented to our sight by the still existing ruins 
of the contemporary hall at Persepolis, that edifice of which it 
has been said that no interior of any building, ancient or 
modern, not Egyptian Karnac, not Cologne Cathedral, could 
rival it in space and beauty. The only feature found at 
Persepolis which was wanting at Susa was the splendid stair- 
case — ' noblest example of a flight of stairs to be found in any 

* part of the world.' ^ All else was in Shushan * the Palace 

* fortress ' — the colossal bulls at the entrance ; the vast pillars, 
sixty feet high, along its nave ; the pavement of coloured 
marbles, as the author of the Book of Esther repeats, as if 
Its local recalling colour after colour that had feasted his 
interest. gy^g — < j-g^^^ r^^id blue, and white, and black ' — and 
the curtains ^ hanging from pillar to pillar, * white and green 

^ This was beyond doubt one main word (Blreh) is elsewhere only used for 

reason of the extraordinary interest inani- the Persian Governor's residence at Jeru- 

*"psted by the lower classes of England in the salem— as (like the Praetorium in the 

visit of the Shah of Persia in 1874. I may, Roman camps and provinces) each such 

perhaps, be permitted to refer to a sermon residence was regarded as Susa in minia- 

preached on that occasion in Westminster ture. 

Abbey on the * Persian King/ " See Fergusson on ' Susa ' in the Di'cf. 

" ' Shushan the Palace ' is the form in of the Bible. Rawlinson's Ancient M<m- 

Esther i. 2, Dan. viii. 1, as if it was the archies, iv. 269-21^. 

official name of the royal residence. The * F^sther i. 6. 


* and purple/ fastened with cords of * white and purple.' 
There it was that, overlooking, from the terraced heights on 
which the hall was built, the plains of the Ulai, Ahasuerus, 
whose name was Grecised into Xerxes, gave, in the third 
year of his reign, a half-year's festival. There, in the gardens ^ 
within the palace, on the slope of the palatial hill, was the 
banquet, like those given by the Emperor of China, to the 
whole population of the Province. Round the Great King,^ 
as he sat on his golden throne, with the fans waving over his 
head, which still linger in the ceremonial of the chief ecclesi- 
astic of the Latin Church, were the seven Princes of Persia 
and Media who saw the King's face ' w^hen others saw it not,' 
and the first in the kingdom — the sacred number * seven' 
which pervaded the whole Court. Thefe took place the 
succession of violent scenes, so thoroughly characteristic of 
Oriental despotism, but to which the Hebrew historian was 
so familiarised that they appear to fill him rather with admira- 
tion than astonishment and horror, the order for the Queen 
to unveil herself before the assembled Court, contrary to the 
immemorial ^ usage of Persia, and therefore the sure sign of the 
King's omnipotence — the rage of the King at her refusal, her 
instantaneous divorce, the universal decree founded on this 
single case, the strange procession of maidens for the selection 
of the new Queen. Of like kind are all the incidents which 
follov/ — the long conversations in the harem ; the jealousy 
between the two foreign courtiers;'* Hhe King's gate' — the 
large square ^ tower, still in part remaining, where the Jewish 

^ This seems to be implied in Esther i. 5. ^ In the annual Persian representation 

^ That Ahasuerus is Xerxes, and that of the tragedy of the Sons of Ali an 

the third and seventh years of his reign English Ambassador is brought in as 

(Esther i. 3, ii.) thus coincide respectively begging their lives ; and to mark his 

with his departure on his great expedition nationality a boy dressed up as an unveiled 

to Greece and his return from it is now woman accompanies him as an ambassa- 

generally agreed. It is curious to observe dress. 

that the halo throwu round Ahasuerus by " Anyone declining to stand as the 

the Book of Esther, whilst it blinded Grand Vizier passes is almost beaten to 

modern readers to the violence in which death (Morier.) 

he resembled Xerxes, caused commentators * Fergusson on ' Susa.* The entrance 

to be reluctant in admitting his identifica- where the Grand Vizier and others sit 

tion with a Prince whose memory our awaiting the King's pleasure is still called 

sympathy with the Greek historians had so in Persia Derekhonef-Shah, * The King's 

disparaged. * Gate ' (Morier). 


favourite sat, as in his place of honour, like the Gate of Justice 
in the Alhambra, or the Sublime Porte at Stamboul — and the 
reckless violence of the royal command to enjoin the massacre 
of the whole Jewish race. Then come the various scenes of 
the catastrophe, every one of which is full of the local genius 
of the Empire, as we know it alike through the accounts of the 
earliest Grecian travellers and the latest English investigators. 
The same chronicles in which, as Xerxes * sat on the rocky 
brow * that looks o'er sea-born Salamis,' he had ordered to be ^ 
recorded the valiant acts of any who did the State good service 
are brought before him at Shushan to soothe his sleepless 
nights. We are made to feel the inaccessibility of the King 
to any but the seven Councillors, the awe with which his 
presence was surrounded, which required all persons introduced 
to fall on their faces before him, and on pain of death to cover 
their hands in the folds of their sleeves,^ the executioners 
standing round with ^ their axes, instantly to behead any rash 
intruder. It is this that makes the turning-point of Esther's 
danger, from which she is only spared by the mark of royal 
absolution in the extension of the golden sceptre (as in 
modern ^ times by touching the skirt of the King's robe) ; it 
is this which brings about the sudden extinction of Haman's 
whole family, falling, as Oriental households still fall, in the 
ruin of their ^ head. We are led to understand the fantastic 
consequences of the investment of the king with the attribute 
of personal infallibility,^ making it impossible for him even to 
offer to repeal any of his own decrees, which, immediately on 
their utterance, pass into the sacred recesses of the laws of 
Medes and Persians that no power can altel*. Hence results 
the difficulty in the way of revoking the atrocious decree 
against the Jewish settlers, and therefore the necessity (as in 
the well-known modern parallel of the Roman pontiffs) of 
minimising its effect by issuing orders in theory acknowledging, 

* Esther vi. I, 2 ; Herod, viii. 90. " Esther vii. 8. A dark shawl is still 
" Such was the Shah Nahmeh of Fir- thrown over the face of a condemned person 

dousi. (Morier). 

•Rawlinson, iv. t8o. ' Dan. vi. 15 ; Esther viii. n ; Herod. 

* Joseph. Ant, xi. 6, 3. ' Morier. ix. 109. See Kawlinson, iv. 181. 


in practice contradicting it. And, finally, we come across the 
world-renowned institution of the Persian posts, established by 
Darius throughout the Empire, the relays of horses ^ along the 
plains, mules on the mountain districts, camels and drome- 
daries on the arid table-lands ; ^ the couriers succeeding each 
other with a rapidity that could only be compared to the 
flight of birds. This it was which enabled the victims of the 
intended massacre to receive the royal permission for their 
own self-defence to the last extremity against the executioners 
of the King's own orders. 

Even the names which most closely connect the story with 
the history of Israel are not Hebrew, but Chaldaean or Persian. 
Mordecai is ^the worshipper of Merodach, the War-God of 
'Babylon.'^ * Esther' is 'the star^ of the planet Venus.' 
The Purim^^ from which the Festival of Deliverance took its 
name, is the Persian word for ' lot,' and has even been supposed 
to be the name for an ancient Persian solemnity. 

There is a singular antiquarian value attaching to this the 
most vivid picture that we possess of the inner life of the 
Its religious Persian seraglio. But beneath this external show 
interest. there is a genuine strain of national and human 
interest, which secured for the little narrative, worldly as it 
might seem to be, a welcome into the sacred books of the 
Jews, and drew round it, like the writings of Daniel and Ezra, 
a fringe of ampUfications and additions by which the theo- 
logical susceptibilities of later times sought to correct its 
supposed deficiencies. 

The treatment of the book has much varied in the Jewish 
and the Christian Churches. 

The immediate claim of the story to a place in the Holy 

* Esther viii. 10 ; Herod, viii. 98. Xen. ^ Pur, the Persian word for divisinn, 

Cyrop. viii. 6. 17, 18. reappearing in the other Aryan languages 

'^ Esther viii. 10 (Morier). ^?.J)ars,^art. On this point Ewald and 

^ See Gesenius ad voc. Gesenius express no doubt. It is possible, 

"• Ibid., quoting the Targum on Esther but it seems entirely superfluous, to sup- 

ii. 7. It is the Persian word sitara ; in pose, with Kuenen (iii. 149) that the fes- 

Sanscrit tara ; in Zend stara ; in Western tival in question was that described by 

languages aster, stira, star. H adassah the Byzantine historian Menander ten 

(her Hebrew nanae) is either ' myrtle ' or else centuries afterwards under the name of 

a Hebraized form of the Persian A tossa. Furdigan. 


Books was the consecration which it gave to the Jews of the 
dispersion. Alone of all the Books of the Old 

The Book of _ ^ . . ^ , -r-r 1 

the Disper- 1 estamcnt It contains no reference to the Holy 
Land. When Haman is asked to describe the 
objects of his hostility, he replies in words which every Israel- 
ite through all the hundred and twenty satrapies, from India 
to Ethiopia, must have applied to himself.* * There is a 

* certain people scattered and dispersed in all the provinces of 
*thy kingdom and their laws are diverse from all people.' 
Along the banks of the Euphrates and Tigris, already renowned 
for their schools of learning ; high up in the mountains of 
Kurdistan, where, perchance, their descendants linger still ; 
all the dispersed settlers were included in those words, which 
might stand as the motto of the larger part of the Jewish race 
ever since — which might have been said of them by Tacitus in 
the Roman Empire, or by the Arabian or English chroniclers 
of the Middle A.ges. The line of beacon-lights kindled from 
hill to hill along the whole route from Jerusalem to Babylon,^ 
^from Olivet to Sartaba, from Sartaba to Grophinah, from 

* Grophinah to Haveran, from Haveran to Beth Baltin, waving 
^the torches upwards and downwards, till the whole country 
' of the Captivity appeared a blazing fire ' — was an apt emblem 
of the sympathetic links which bound all these settlements 
together. Of this vast race, for whom so great a destiny was 
reserved when the nation should fail, the Book of Esther 
recognised, as by a prophetic instinct, the future importance. 
Every Jew throughout the world felt with Mordecai, and has 
felt in many a time of persecution since, as he raised in the 
city his loud and bitter cry, and stood wrapped in sackcloth 
and sprinkled with ashes before the Royal Gate. Every Jewess 
felt, and may have felt ever since, with Esther as she prepared 
herself for the dreadful venture. 

It was this which gave a significance to the long succession 
of idle coincidences, as it seemed, on the failure of any one of 
which the catastrophe would have taken place; culminating 

* Esth«r iii. 8. ' Mishna (Rosh Hashanah, U. 4). 

IS^ MALACHI. user. xlv. 

m the fortunate chance that when the enemy of their race, 
after the manner of the East, cast lots to secure a propitious 
The Feast ^^Y ^^r the vast enterprise of extermination, he was 
of Punm. compelled, beginning wicn the first month of the year, 
by the failure of the lots, to go on, day after day, and month 
after month, ^ until he was driven to the 13th day of the very 
last month as the only auspicious time for the commencement 
of the massacre ; thus leaving, between the issuing of the decree 
and the arrival of that fatal day, eight months for the posts to 
carry the King's warrant to the ends of the Empire, and for 
every Jewish settlement in every village, however remote and 
however defenceless, to stand at bay against the hunters of their 
lives. The * Feast of the Lots ' became the Passover of the Dis- 
persion. It preceded the Paschal Feast by only a month, and, 
to make the parallel complete, was celebrated, not on the pre- 
destined and triumphant day, the 13th, but on the 14th and 
15th of Adar, corresponding ^ to the 14th and 15th of the 
Paschal month, Nisan. 

The continuance of that bitter animosity in the Jewish 
nation renders the Feast of Purim the least pleasing of their 
festivals. It was long retained in all its intensity as the natural 
vent of their hatred to their heathen or Christian oppressors in 
each succeeding age. On that day, at every mention of Haman^s 
name in the worship of the synagogue, it was long the custom 
to hiss and stamp and shake the clenched fist and say : * Let 
' his name be blotted out, Let the name of the wicked perish.' 
The boys who were present with a loud clatter rubbed out the 
detested name, which they wrote for the purpose on pieces of 
wood or stone. The names of Haman's ten sons were read in 
one breath, to express the exulting thought that they all died 
in one instant.^ They were written in the Book of Esther in 
three perpendicular hnes, to signify that they were hanged on 
three parallel cords. It was added that his seventy surviving 
sons fled, and, according to the curse of the 109th Psalm, 

^ See Bertheau on Esther iii. 7 ^ See Prideaux, i. 355. Diet, of the 

• This IS ingeniously worked out by Bible^ * Esther,' and ' Purirru' 
Ewald, V. 231. 


begged their bread from door to door. At the conclusion the 
whole congregation exclaimed : ' Cursed be Haman, blessed be 

* Mordecai ; * cursed be Zeresh, blessed be Esther ; cursed be 

* all idolaters, blessed be all Israelites ; and blessed be Harbonah, 

* who hanged Haman. '^ 

Such a spirit reminds one inevitably of the union of fear 
and cruelty felt by those, not alone of Jewish descent, who find 
themselves in foreign lands exposed to the attacks of hostile 
populations. It is the same sentiment as that which caused 
the English nation to cling, for so many generations, to the 
celebration of the deliverance from the Gunpowder Plot ; and, 
if the Jewish festival has lasted longer, it is because of the 
more continual sense of danger, acting on even a more tenacious 
instinct of nationality. 

It was natural that a book thus bound up with one of the 
strongest sentiments of the Hebrew race should be raised to a 
The Book ^ig^ place in their sacred volume. Late as its intro- 
of Esther, ^uctiou was, it mounted up at once, if not to the 
first rank, yet to be the first amongst the second. It was 
believed that it would outlast all the Hebrew Scriptures except 
the Pentateuch ; more precious than Prophets, or Proverbs, 
or Psalms. Amongst^ the iive Hagiographical rolls (^Megilloth ') 
it was emphatically ^ tAe roll,' *the Megillah.' In the Christian 
Church its fate has been just the reverse. Of all the Canonical 
Books of the Old Testament it is the one which lingered longest 
on the outskirts, and which has provoked the most uneasy 
suspicion since. Melito of Sardis, Gregory of Nazianzus, 
Athanasius of Alexandria hesitated to permit its reception. 
Luther, even if he did not, as was once commonly believed, 

' The power of distinguishing between are said now to be discontinued in all the 

the curse and the blessing was laid down more civilised Jewish communities, as the 

as the limit to the hilarity of the revels Greek Church has, to a large extent, 

which accompanied the feast. abandoned the anathemas of Orthodox 

' It is still the case that the eyes of the Sunday, as the Latin Church has surren- 

aged sparkle, the younger members clasp dered the detailed excommunications of 

in their hands a rattle ; and the outburst Holy Thursday, as the English Church 

of stamping, knocking of desks, and has disused its vindictive political services, 

springing of rattles compel the reader to and, in many instances, the recital of the 

stop till it subsides, (yeivisk World, Athanasian Creed. 

March 18, 1881.) ITiese violent expressione ' See Surenhusius' Mtshna, ii. 387-402. 


' toss the Book of Esther into the Elbe/ yet wished that 'it did 

* not exist, for it hath too much of Judaism, and a great deal 

* of heathenish naughtiness.' ^ 

These two expressions well describe the natural objection 
of the civilised — we may add, of the Christian — conscience, to 
the Book of Esther and the Feast of Purim. The exclusive 
spirit which breathes through them — the wild passion of Esther's 
revenge in the impalement of Haman's innocent family — are 
too closely allied to the fierce temper of Jael or of Jezebel, or 
of the cruel Queen of Xerxes, whose name ^ Amestris is peri- 
lously hke that of Esther, to win the favour of the modern 
Jewish, still less the modern Christian, reader. And, yet further, 
it is so entirely confined to an earthly horizon that, alone of all 
the sacred books, it never names the name of God from first 
to last. Whether this absence aros*e from that increasing scruple 
against using the Divine Name, which we have already noticed, 
or from the instinctive adoption of the fashion of the Persian 
Court, this abstinence from any religious expressions was so 
startling that the Greek translators thrust into the narrative 
long^ additions containing the sacred phrases which, in the 
original narrative, were wanting. 

But there is a sense in which these peculiarities of the Book 
of Esther are most instructive. Within that Judaic ' hardness 
' of heart,' behind that 'heathenish naughtiness,' burn a lofty 
independence, a genuine patriotism, which are not the less to 
be admired because Mordecai and Esther spoke and acted 
without a single appeal by name or profession to the Supreme 
Source of that moral strength in which they dared the wrath of 
the Great King and laboured for the preservation of their 
countrymen. It is necessary for us that in the rest of the 

* Table-Talk, cllx. 6. Bondage of the expressions of the great Reformer's aversion 

W^z7/ (Works, iii. 182). Archdeacon Hare to the Book of Esther are quite as strong as 

conclusively proved (Notes to the Mission those contained in the popular though mis- 

of the Comforter, vol. ii. 819) that what taken rendering of his words. 

Luther ' tossed into the Elbe' was not the " Herod, ix. 108-113. 

Book oi Esther, but the Apocryphal Book ^ ' The rest of the Book of Esther,' x. 9, 

of Esdras. On the other hand, Sir W. 10, 11, 12, 13 ; xi. 10 ; xiii. 9-1S ; xiv. 3-9; 

Hamilton {Discussions, p. 519) has shown xv. 28 ; xvi. 4, 16. 
not less conclusively th'St the incentestable 


sacred volume the name of God should constandy be brought 
before us, to show that He is all in all to our moral perfection. 
But it is expedient for us no less that there should be one book 
which omits it altogether, to prevent us from attaching to the 
mere name a reverence which belongs only to the reality. In 
the mind of the sacred writer the mere accidents, as they might 
seem, of the quarrel of Ahasuerus, the sleepless night, the 
delay of the lot, worked out the Divine Will as completely as 
the parting of the Red Sea or the thunders of Sinai. The 
story of Esther, glorified by the genius of Handel and sanctified 
by the piety of Racine, not only affords material for the noblest 
and the gentlest of meditations, but is a token that in the 
daily events— the unforeseen chances — of life, in little unre- 
membered acts, in the fall of a sparrow, in the earth bringing 
forth fruit of herself, God is surely present. The name of God is 
nof there, but the work of God is. Those who most eagerly 
cling to the recognition of the Biblical authority of the book 
ought the most readily to be warned by it not to make a man 
an offender for a word or for the omission of a word. When 
Esther nerved herself to enter, at the risk of her hfe, the 
presence of Ahasuerus — ' I will go in unto the King, and if I 

* perish I perish ' — when her patriotic feeling vented itself in 
that noble cry, * How can I endure to see the evil that shall 

* come unto my people? or can I endure to see the destruction 

* of my kindred?' — she expressed, although she never named 
the name of God, a religious devotion as acceptable to Him 
as that of Moses and David, who, no less sincerely, had the 
sacred name always on their lips. 

Esther is, in this sense, the Cordelia of the Bible. 
Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least, 
Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sounds 
Reverberate no hollowness 

2. It remains for us to ask the perplexed and perplexing 

question whether, behind the splendour of the Per- 

fluence of s^au Court, and the struggle of the Dispersion for 

Zoroaster, gxistencc, we cau trace any higher influence of the 

Persian dominion on the Jewish nation. 


1 62 MALACHI. LECT. xlv. 

There is one great religious name which, even in the less 
instructed days of Christendom, was always acknowledged, 
with a reverential awe, as bound up with the beginnings of 
sacred philosophy. In Raffaelle's ' School of Athens ' the 
only Eastern sage admitted is Zoroaster the Persian. By the 
theological inquirers of the seventeenth century, the likeness 
of this theology to that of the Old Testament was so fully ac- 
knowledged as to drive them to the theory that he must have 
been the pupil of Daniel. ^ The research of modern times has 
dispelled this hypothesis, by the allegation that he and his 
career preceded even the earliest date of Daniel by centuries, 
but it has not therefore dissolved the connexion between 
Judaism and the Zendavesta. 

* Let us picture to ourselves ^ (we adopt the eloquent words 
of Bunsen) * one of the holy hills dedicated to the worship of 

* fire, in the neighbourhood of the primeval '* city of marvels " 
' in Central Asia — Baktra " the glorious," now called Balkh, 

* " the mother of Cities." From this height we look down in 
' imagination over the elevated plateau, which lies nearly 2,000 

* feet above the level of the sea, sloping downwards towards 

* the north, and ending in a sandy desert, which does not even 

* allow the streams of Bactria to reach the neighbouring Oxus. 
' On the southern horizon the last spurs of the Indian Caucasus 

* rear their lofty peaks of 5,000 feet high. Out of those hills, 

* the Parapomisus, or Hindu-kush, springs the chief river of 

* the country, the Bactrus or Delias, which divides into hun- 

* dreds of canals, making the face of the country one blooming 
' garden of richest fruits. To this point converge the caravans, 
' which travel across the mountains to the land of marvels, or 

* bring treasures from thence. Thither, fifteen centuries before 

* the Babylonian Captivity, on occasion of the peaceful sacrifice 

* by fire, from whose ascending flame auguries were drawn, 
' perhaps also with the customary interrogation of the earth- 

* oracle by means of the sacred bull, Zoroaster or Zarathustra 

* had convened the nobles of the land that he might perform a 
' great public religious act. Arrived there, at the head of his 

' Prideauxj i. 236-257. 

LBCT. xxjf, ZOROASTER. 1 63 

* disciples, the seers and preachers, he summons the Princes to 

* draw nigh and to choose between faith and superstition.' ^ 

He was wilhng to retain those outward symbols of adoration, 
but only as signs of the worship of the true God, who is the 
God of the good and truth-loving, and, strictly speaking, can 
be honoured alone by truthfulness in thought, word, and deed, 
by purity of motive and a strictly veracious life. Accounted 
by his contemporaries a blasphemer, atheist, and firebrand 
worthy of death ; regarded even by his own adherents after 
some centuries as the founder of magic, by others as a sorcerer 
and deceiver, he was nevertheless recognised already by the 
earliest Greek philosophers as a spiritual leader of the primeval 
ages of mankind. 

This identification of Truth with the Supreme Being is, as 
it would seem, the fundameixtal article of the Zoroastrian creed; 
dimly indicated in the veneration of fire and of the sun, as the 
emblem of the Divinity ; practically enforced in the summary 
of the moral education of the Persian youth : — * to speak the 
' truth ; ' reflected in the Jewish apologue of Zerubbabel's speech 
in the Court of Persia, ^ that * truth is great and shall prevail' 
That this creed should at once have drawn the conqueror Cyrus 
near to his Jewish subjects, as we have already seen, was inevi- 
table. Then comes the confused story of its admixture with 
the Magian system, and of its temporary subversion under the 
Revival of domination of that system in the reign of the usurper 
Zoroastri- Smcrdis. Nor can it be altogether accidental that, 

anism, . . , 

B.C. 521. when Darius Hystaspis overthrew the Magians and 
re-established,^ as he himself records, the true Zoroastrian 
worship, the favour to the Jewish race which had been sus- 
pended during the Magian supremacy was once more restored. 
And thus, although it may be that Zoroaster himself lived long 
before, he* rose, as it were, from the grave, in this middle 
period of the Persian dominion, with renewed force ; but yet 
with elements which, if not foreign to his original creed, were 

* Bunsen's Godin History, i. 280-290. rodoUis, App. to Book I., Essay V. 

« I Esdr. iv. 35. See Lecture XLIII. * See Malcolm's Persia, i. 58. 

» BehistMn Inscription, RawUnson's He- 

M 2 


strengthened by the Maglan influence that henceforth coloured 
it — and of which the Jewish, no less than all the surrounding 
religions, felt the effect. ' Magic ' — of which the very name 
dates from this epoch — that is, the belief in the use of natural 
and material objects to control or to supersede moral acts — 
entered from henceforth deeply into the vitals, if not of Jewish 
faith , yet certainly of Jewish practice. The vene- 
with ration for the holy fire, which was kindled from the 

^ ^^^^' sacred naphtha fountains of Persia by the Caspian Sea, 
penetrated into the Jewish traditions in the story that, when 
Nehemiah rekindled the consecrated fire of the Temple from 
the stones of the altar, he called it ' napthar,' giving it a Hebrew 
meaning, ^ a cleansing,' ' though many call it nephi.' ^ Although 
the returning Jews, as we have seen, were not influenced by 
the Persian repugnance to temples, and strictly maintained the 
exclusive sanctity for sacrificial worship of the sanctuary at 
Jerusalem, yet it was in accordance, and probably through 
contact, with the Persian system of allowing sacrifice to be per- 
formed in all places and on every holy hill that there sprang 
up, side by side with the Temple service of Jerusalem, the 
more spiritual worship of the synagogue.^ The Persian doc- 
trine of the Unity and the Invisibility of the Divinity, of a 
celestial and infernal hierarchy, which had never before re- 
ceived, so to speak, the sanction of the Imperial Powers of the 
earth, was substantially the counterpart to the corresponding 
elements of the Hebrew faith. 

The conclusion, therefore, is that whilst these doctrines and 
practices sprang up indigenously in the Israel of this period, 
from reasons adequate to account for their growth at this par- 
ticular juncture, yet they must, in all probability, have received 
an immense stimulus from the consciousness that the whole 
atmosphere of the vast neighbouring and surrounding Empire 
was impregnated with the same ideas. The small band of 
exiles must, if they were not exempt altogether from the weak- 
ness and strength of human motives, have felt that their con- 

* 2 Mace. i. 36 ; Ewald, v. 163 ; Herder, vol. v. 75. 

* Kuenen, iii. 35. See Lecture XLIV. 


fident trust in the Unity of the Divine Will, their belief in the 
multiplied subordinate ministers of that Will, their intense 
horror and gradual personification of the principle of Moral 
Evil, had acquired new form and bone and substance by the 
sympathy of an older, vaster frame of worship, inspiring and 
encouraging ideas which they themselves had been led to foster 
with a new and exclusive zeal. Even in detail it is not possible 
to avoid the conviction that the mystical number of the seven 
lamps, the seven watchers before the throne of God, were de- 
rived directly from the seven Amshaspands ('the unsleeping 

* ones '), who, hke the seven Counsellors of the Persian King, 
encircled the presence of Ormuzd ; and the name of the demon 
Asmodeus in the Book of Tobit is unquestionably the Persian 

* Aeshma-Deva,' ^ the spirit of concupiscence, who at times 
rose to the rank of the Prince of Demons. 

But here we must pause. Not only is there no trace of 
Ahriman by name, but the idea of the separate co-equal exist- 
ence of the Evil with the Good Spirit is unknown to the Judaic 
creed, and even at the very moment of the first contact between 
the two systems the Prophet of the Captivity meets the doctrine 
of an eternal Dualism of Good and Evil — so natural in itself, 
and so deeply rooted in the Zoroastrian theology — by the 
announcement, as if in express antithesis : * I form the light 

* and create darkness. I make peace and create evil. I the 

* Eternal do all these things. ' ^ And not only are the 

* watchers,' the good and evil spirits of the Books of Daniel, of 
Tobit, and of Enoch (with the single exception of Asmodeus), 
called by Hebrew not by Persian names, but their functions 
are different. The beneficent * messengers ' are far more 
closely bound up with human joys and sorrows than the hier- 
archy which fills the vacant space of the Persian heaven, and 
the malevolent accusers far more completely subordinate to the 
over-ruling power of the same Divine Master, to whom both 
good and evil are as ministers.^ 

^ Kuenen, iii. 40. Compare the names i. 148 ; Kalisch's Commentary, i. 310,311, 
of the demons in the Book of Enoch, c. 6. 316. * Isa. xlv. 1-7. 

Muller's Chips from a German Workshops ' See Kalisch's Commentary^ li. 292-394. 


There is, in short (such seems to be the result cf the most 
recent ^ investigation), a close affinity between the forms which 
the two religions assumed ; but it is the affinity — with the 
exception of a few details — rather of a common atmosphere of 
lofty truths, of a simultaneous sympathy in their view of earthly 
and heavenly things, than the affinity of direct lineage and 
discipleship.2 j^- jg ^ kinship, however, which did not cease 
with this period of the Jewish history. One great doctrine 
which, though mainly fostered from another quarter, was to be 
held in unison by the ancient followers of Zoroaster and the 
later followers of Moses and of Isaiah, is yet to be noticed — 
the immortality of the soul. One vast influence the Persian 
religion was still to exercise, if not over the Jewish Church 
itself, yet over that which sprang from its bosom, through the 
subtle invasion of Manicheism, which in the early centuries of 
Christendom was, partly as an ally, partly as a foe, to colour 
the growth of its ritual and its creed. But this is far in the 
future. The connexion of Judaism with the faith of Zoroaster, 
however explained, is not without instruction. Whatever there 
be of permanent truth in the substance of any of these beliefs 
will not lose in value if it was allied or be even traced to a 
religion so pure and so venerable as that of the Zendavesta. 
Whatever there is of transitory or excessive in the forms of any 
of these may be the more contentedly dropped if it can be shown 
to be derived from a faith which, however once powerful, now 
lingers only in the small sect of the Fire-worshippers of Bombay, 
who alone carry on ^ the once formidable name of * Parsee ' or 

* Persian.' 

3. If the influence even of Zoroaster and Cyrus on Judaism 
be open to question, it will not be expected that with the 
Influence of Tcmotcr Eastem regions any direct connexion can 
China. ]^Q discovered. Once, and once only, in the Hebrew 

records we catch a doubtful glimpse of that strange race, which 

^ Kuenen, iii. 35-44 ; Ewald, v. 184 ; * a religion in which they had arrived at 

Max Miiller's Chips front a Gertnan ' maturity.' Kuenen, iii. 63. The same 

Workshop, i. 142-159. view, substantially, is maintained in 

^ * The germs which lay hidden in Hardwick's Christ and other Masters, pp. 

* Judaism were fertilised by contact with 545-570* ' See MuUer's Chips, i. 161. 


has been eloquently described to be at the eastern extremity of 
Asia * what Judaea is at the western, ' a people dwelling alone 

* and not reckoned among the nations.' When the Evangelical 
Prophet is calling the scattered exiles to return from the utter- 
most parts of the earth he extends his cry even to those that 

* come from the land of Sinim.' In that solitary word,^ if so 
be, the Empire of China rises on the religious horizon of the 
historic world. Not a vestige of its influence can be traced 
even on the outer circumference of the theatre on which the 
movement of mankind was then advancing. Yet, having in 
view the ultimate scope of that movement, it is impossible not 
to be struck by the coincidence that in the period which was 
close within the ken of the Prophet of the Captivity — in the 
very years in which Ezra was preparing for his mission to 
Palestine — there drew to its close the career of one whose 
impression on his own nation was deeper than that of the 
mighty Scribe on the Jewish race. In the year 478 Confucius ^ 

died, the Ezra rather than the Moses of his race : 

Death of , . . , , /- 1 t « ^ , 

Confucius, * the transmitter, not the maker of belief, born not m 
B- c-47 • < possession of^ knowledge, but loving antiquity, and 

* in it seeking knowledge— for 2,000 years the supreme and 

* undisputed teacher of this most populous ^ land ' — leaving a 
memory of himself which is still perpetuated even in the very ^ 
manners, gestures, and dress of the Chinese of our day — 
leaving maxims which, though stamped with that homely and 
pedestrian character belonging to the whole religion of his race, 
yet still secure for him a place amongst the permanent teachers 
of mankind. * The superior '' man is catholic and no partisan — 
' the mean man is a partisan and not catholic' * It is only the 

* truly virtuous man who can love or who can hate others.' 

* Virtue is not left alone. ^ He who practises it will have 

* neighbours.' *To be able to judge of others by what is in 

* yourselves may be called the Art of Virtue. ' ' When you are 

* labouring for others, labour with the same zeal as if it were 

* Quinet, Ginie des Religions, 293. * Legge's Life 0/ Confucius^ p. 87. 

^ Isa. xlix. 12 ; Ewald doubts, Gesenius * Ibid. p. 95, 

affirms, the identification of Sinim with ® Ed Rev, cxxxix. p. 3x5, 316. 

China. ' Miillcr's Chi^St i. 311. ' Legge, 95. • J bid. 13a 


* for yourself.' * The man of perfect virtue, wishing to be 

* established himself, seeks also to establish others ; wishing to 

* be enlarged himself, he seeks also to enlarge others.' ' Is 

* there one word which may serve as a rule for one's whole life? 
' Is not Reciprocity such a word ? ' ^ What you wish not to be 

* done to yourself, do not to others.' * 

In those words we cannot doubt that * an incense of pure 

* offering went up,' as Malachi proclaimed, ' to the Eternal God ; 

* even from the rising of the sun.' To ask how and why the 
religion, the empire, the morality of China have not reached as 
far as and beyond the level from which they sprang would lead 
us too far away from this period. 

4. There was another career yet wider and nobler than that 
of Confucius — unknown to him and unknown to Ezra and 
Influence ot Malachi — in that vast country, which also is now for 
India. ^ moment, and for the first time, distinctly brought 

within the view of the Jewish world, although ^ its products 
had penetrated thither even in the reign of Solomon. ^ From 

* India ^ even to Ethiopia ' — this was the extreme verge of the 
dominion of the Persian King, as it appears in the Book of 
Esther, in describing the struggles of the Persian Court, almost 
in the very year in which, following close upon the death of 
the great sage of China, there passed away * the greater sage of 
India, Sakya Muni, more commonly known as Buddha, ' the 
' Buddha,' the Enlightened. That extraordinary personage, 

whose history was wrapped in uncertainty, and whose 

Death of . ^ ' i 1. i ^-n • 1 • 

Buddha, very existence was doubted, till within our own 
B.C. 747. generation, has suddenly been received as amongst 
the foremost characters of the world. ' I hesitate ^ not to say 

* that, with the single exception of Christ, there is, amongst the 
^ founders of Religions, no figure purer or more affecting than 
' that of Buddha. His life is blameless. His constant heroism 

* equals his conviction ; and if the theory which he announces 
^ is false, the personal example that he gives is irreproachable. 

* Legge, 226. ^ See Lecture XXVI, Miiller, with more precision, fixes it in B.C. 
^ Esther i. i ; viii. 0. 477 {Chips from a German Workshop^ i. 

* St. Hilaire places Buddha's death in 311). 

«'C. 543 {Bouddha^ p. ii.). But Professor ' St. Hilaire, BouddJuc^ p, v. 


* He is the finished model of all the virtues that he preaches ; 
' his self-denial, his charity, his unchangeable sweetness, do not 
' betray him for a single moment. He abandons at the age of 

* twenty-nine the court of his aged father to make himself an 

* ascetic, a beggar. He prepares in silence for his doctrine by 

* six years of retreat and meditation ; he propagates it, by the 

* sole power of argument and persuasion, for more than half a 

* century ; and when he dies, in the arms of his disciples, it is 

* with the serenity of a sage, who has done good all his life, and 

* who has the assurance of having found the truth.' 

Wonderful as is the appearance of so sacred a person on 
the scene, it must be confessed that even in the East, widely as 
his doctrines and institutions have been spread, the impress of 
his own character has been slight, compared with other founders 
of religious systems, and certainly with that One to w^hom, 
without irreverence, he has been more than once likened ; and 
outside the sphere of his own wide communion his influence, 
direct or indirect, is almost nothing. One single Buddhist ^ is 
known to have travelled westward in ancient times — he who in 
the reign of Augustus burned himself alive at Athens. It is true 
that Buddha has been canonised as a saint in the Roman 
Catholic Church, under the name ^ of S. Josaphat ; but this 
singular deviation from the exclusive rules of that Church was 
the result of one of those inadvertencies into which the Church 
of Rome has so often fallen in directing the faith of its members. 
Still, it is difidcult for those who believe the permanent elements 
of the Jewish and Christian religion to be universal and Divine 
not to hail these corresponding forms of truth or goodness else- 
where, or to recognise that the mere appearance of such saint- 
like or godlike characters in other parts of the earth, if not 
directly preparing the way for a greater manifestation, illustrates 
that manifestation by showing how mighty has been the witness 
borne to its value even under the most adverse discouragement 
and with strangely inadequate effects. 

' See the whole story in Professor Light- * Muller, Chips from a German Wofk- 

foot's edition of St. PauVs Epistle to the shop, v. 182. 
Co loss ions, p. 155. 


5. But the history that opens upon us in the ensuing 
struggles of the Jewish nation compels us to take into account 
another sphere of intellectual and moral influence, 
fiuence of which, unllkc those prodigious appearances in the 
Greece. ^^^ -^^^^^ ^^^ worked with direct and potent energy 
on Judaism and Christianity, and been incorporated in some 
form or other into the essence of both. 

We have seen the results of the contact of the Jewish race 
with the Persian monarchy and the Persian religion ; we have 
seen also the rise of the two greatest teachers of China and 
India, who yet stand apart from the stream of historic move- 
ment of which Judaism was the centre. We are about to enter 
on a blank of three centuries, of which in Palestine we know 
almost nothing. We have looked towards *the rising of the 
' sun ' and gathered what we can of the true incense, of the pure 
offering, which went up from thence. Is there any similar or 
any greater accession of new forces such as the Prophet antici- 
pated to appear from the * going down of the sun ' ? Hardly, 
with the exception of those two or three prophetic utterances 
which have already been quoted, and which were literally 
^before their time,' was any eye of Judaean Priest or Teacher 
turned in that direction. If an Israelite or Syrian looked over 
the Mediterranean Sea from the heights of Lebanon, the whole 
Western world seemed to him summed up in the one object 
within his ken, the distant range of the island of Cyprus or 
Chittim. • It may be that Phoenician traders had brought back 
from that complex medley of seagirt coasts and promontories, 
known as the * isles of the sea,' a few Ionian slaves, from whom 
the name of Ion or Javan became famiHar to Hebrew ears. ^ It 
may be that a few Jewish seamen ^ from Joppa or Accho had 
served in the army of the Great King and shared the struggle 
in the Bay of Salamis. But no voice yet reaches us from those 
distant regions. Of the first twelve years "* of the reign of 
Xerxes, so teeming with interest for all the world that lay 

' Num. xxiv, 24 ; Isa. xxiii. i, 12 ; Jer. * Herod, vil. 8, g ; Hitzig, 279. They 

il. 10. See Sinai and Palestine, c. xi. may, however, have been the Philistine 

" Joel ili. 6 ; Isa, Ixvi. 19; Ezek. xxviL occupants of Ashdod, Gaza, and Ashkelon 

13 ; Ze^h. ix. 13. (Rawlinson). * Esther i. i, 2. 


beyond the Hellespont, the Jewish account contains not a word 
to indicate aught that should ruffle the splendour and frivoUty 
of the Court of Susa. Yet not the less had come the hour 
when an influence more penetrating than any that we have yet 
touched is about to burst upon the development of the Jewish 
Church. Already, at the opening of this period, contempo- 
raneous with Confucius and Buddha in China and India, had 
arisen the first fathers of Greek Philosophy, Pythagoras and 
Xenophanes and Solon, Already the Jews must have heard 
the first ^ accents of that Grecian tongue which was soon to 
take its place as the language of their own sacred books, side 
by side with their native Hebrew. And now, at the very same 
date as the last of the Judaean Prophets, arose, if not the earliest 
yet the most enduring, name among the Prophets of the 
European world. 

Not by Eastern winaows only, 
When daylight comes, comes in the light ; 

In front the sun climbs slow — how slowly ! 
But Westward look — the land is bright.* 

* The earliest Greek words in the sec note at the end of Lecture XLII* 
Hebrew Scriptures are the names of the ' Clough's Poems, ii. 195. 

musical instruments in Dan. iii. 7. But 




*The Memorabilia' of Xenophon ; Plato's 'Dialogues,' especially the 

* Apologia,' the *Crito,' and the *Phaedo,' in Professor Jowett's 
excellent edition of Plato. The narrative has, wherever it was 
possible, been taken from the eighth volume of Grote's * History of 

* Greece, ' which appeared by the keenness of its insight and the 
vividness of its representation to supersede all other accounts. 




Wb have arrived at the point when the influence of Greece is 
to make itself felt so deeply on the history both of Judaisrn and 
of the rehgion which sprang from Judaism as to constrain us to 
pause for a time, in order to bring clearly before our minds the 
strong personality and the quickening power of the one Grecian 
character who, beyond dispute, belongs to the religious history 
of all mankind, and whose example and teaching— unhke that 
of the Eastern sages whom we have just noticed — struck directly 
on the heart and intellect, first of Hebrew Palestine, and then 
of Christian Europe. The solemn pause at which the last 
utterances of Malachi leave us in Jerusalem corresponds, in 
some respects, to the pause which meets us in Grecian history 
when we transport ourselves to the same period in Athens. It 
was not merely that at the close of the Peloponnesian War the 
long struggle between the contending States had just been 
brought to an end, but that the eminent men who bore their 
part in it had been themselves called away from the scene. It 
is the Grecian * Morte of heroes.' Every one of the great states- 
men of Athens had passed away by the close of the fifth century 
before the Christian era ; and not the statesmen only, but the 
great writers also, whose career had run parallel to the tragedy 
of actual life- Thucydides, the grave recorder of the age, had 


left its exciting tale unfinished in the middle of a sentence. 
Euripides, the most philosophical and sceptical of the dramatic 
poets, had already met a fate stranger than that of his own 
Pentheus in the hunting-grounds of his royal patron in Mace- 
donia. Sophocles in the fulness of years had been called away 
from the midst of his labours and his honours by an end as 
peaceful and as glorious as that of his own Colon ean CEdipus. 
One man there still remained to close this funeral procession — 
he whose death alone of all the characters of Athenian 
history is an epoch in the annals not only of Greece 
but of the world. 

With the mention of the name of Socrates we seem to pass 
at once from the student's chamber into the walks of common 
Hisuni- life —from the glories of Hellenic literature into the 
versaiity. sauctitics of Biblical religion. He, and he alone, of 
the sons of Javan, finds a place in the Fathers of Christian, as 
well as in the moralists of Pagan, antiquity ; in the proverbs of 
modern Europe, as well as in the oracles of classical Greece. 
The prayer ' Sancte Socrates, ora pro nobis,' by w^homsover 
said, has won a more universal acceptance than that of many 
a prayer addressed to the dubious saints of the Byzantine or of 
the Latin Church. If the canonisation of Buddha, though 
formal, was the result of inadvertence, the canonisation of 
Socrates, though informal, has been almost accepted. And 
the peculiar circumstances of his career, and its contrasts and 
affinities with the events and characters of the Sacred History 
both before and after the date of his appearance, make its 
descrij)tion an almost necessary element in the course of the 
story on which we have been hitherto and shall be henceforth 

It is not on the public stage of Greek events that Socrates 
is most familiar to us. Yet for that very reason there is a 
peculiar interest in first approaching him, as in a purely his- 
torical point of view we must approach him, on the larger and 
His public niore complex spb.ere of war and politics. When we 
^^^^- meet such characters at moments where one least 

expects to find them, especially (as in this case) on occasion" 


which illustrate and call forth some of their most remarkable 
qualities, it is the surprise of encountering a friend in a strange 
country — it is the instruction of seeing a character which we have 
long known and admired in private put to a public test, and 
coming through the trial triumphantly. In the winter campaign 
at Potidsea, when the Athenian army was struck down by the 
severity of the Thracian frosts, we start with a thrill of pleasure 
as we recognise, in the one soldier whose spirits and strength 
continued unbroken by the hardship of that northern climate, 
the iron frame and constitution of the great philosopher. We 
survey with renewed interest the confused flight from the field 
of Delium,^ when we remember that from that flight the youthful 
Xenophon was borne away on the broad shoulders of his illus- 
trious friend. In the iniquitous condemnation of the Ten 
Generals — when ' the magistrates were so intimidated by the 

* incensed manifestations of the assembly that all of them, 
'except one, relinquished their opposition and agreed to put 
*the question, that single obstinate oflicer whose refusal no 

* menace could subdue, was a man in whom an impregnable 
' adherence to law and duty was only one amongst many titles 
' to honour. It was the philosopher Socrates— on this trying 

* occasion, once throughout a hfe of seventy years discharging a 

* political office among the fifty senators taken by lot from his 

* own native district'^ Once, or it may be twice again, was he 
allowed to exhibit to the world this instructive lesson. In the 
Athenian Reign of Terror, after the oligarchical revolution of 
Lysander, ' pursuant to their general plan of implicating un- 
' willing citizens in their misdeeds, the Thirty Tyrants sent for 

* five citizens to the government-house, and ordered them, with 

* terrible menaces, to cross over to Salamis, and bring back as 

* prisoner one of the innocent objects of their resentment. Four 

* out of the five obeyed : the fifth was the philosopher Socrates, 
'who refused all concurrence, and returned to his own house.' ^ 

This was the last time that Socrates appeared in the political 

^ For every Englishman the plain of with a spirit not unworthy of ancient 

Delium (now Delisi) has a melancholy Greeks or of Christian Englishmen, in 

interest, as the scene of the death of the 1870. ^ Grote's Greece, viii. 372. 

young EngUshmcH who perished there, * Grote, viii. 33«. 

1/6 SOCRATES. lECT. xLVi. 

transactions of the country, unless we may believe the later 
traditions which represent him as present at that ' most striking 
' and tragical scene,' when Theramenes sprang on the sacred 
hearth of the Athenian senate -house for protection against his 
murderers, like Joab at the horns of the altar of Jerusalem, or 
Onias in the consecrated grove of Daphne,^ and when, as we 
are told, Socrates and two of his friends alone stood forward to 
protect him, as Satyrus, the executioner, dragged him by main 
force from the altar. 

Such was the political life of Socrates — important in a high 
degree as proving that, unlike many eminent teachers, his 
character stood the test of public no less than of private 
morality, as exemphfying also the principle on which a good 
man may serve the State not by going out of his way to seek 
for trials of his strength, but by being fully prepared to meet 
them when they come. Had nothing more been handed down 
to us of his life than these comparatively trifling incidents, we 
should still have dwelt with peculiar pleasure on the scenes in 
which his name occurs, as, in fact, amidst * the naughty world ' 
of Grecian politics we dwell on ' the good deeds ' of the humane 
Nicomachus, or of the noble Callicratidas : we should still have 
desired to know something more of the general character and 
pursuits of so honest and fearless a citizen. 

That desire is gratified almost beyond example in the ancient 
world, by what is left us of the individual life of Socrates, which 
even in his own time made him the best-known Athenian of his 
day, and in later times has so completely thrown his political 
acts into the shade that not one in ten thousand of those to 
whom his name is a household word has any knowledge what- 
ever of the few passages in which he crossed the path of the 
statesman or the soldier. 

It is not often that the personal appearance of a great man 

has been so faithfully preserved. In the Jewish history we have 

hardly, except in the case of David, and perhaps of 

nai appear- Jeremiah, been able to discern a single lineament or 

colour of outward form or countenance. In the 

famous picture of the School of Athens we look round on the 

' Lectures XXVI., XLVII I. 


faces of the other philosophers, and detect them only by their 
likeness to some ideal model which the painter has imagined to 
himself. But the Socrates of Raffaelle is the true historical 
Socrates of Xenophon and Aristophanes. Could we transport 
ourselves back to the Athenian market-place during the Pelo- 
ponnesian war, we should at once recognise one familiar figure, 
standing, with uplifted finger and animated gesture, amidst the 
group of handsome youths or aged sophists, eager to hear, to 
learn, and to refute. We should see the Silenic features of that 
memorable countenance — the flat nose, the thick lips, the pro- 
minent eyes — the mark of a thousand jests from friends and 
foes. We should laugh at the ])rotuberance of the Falstaff 
stomach, which no necessary hardships, no voluntary exercise, 
could bring down. We should perceive the strong-built frame, 
the full development of health and strength, which never 
sickened in the winter campaign of Potidaea, nor yet in the 
long plague and stifling heats of the blockade of Athens ; 
which could enter alike into the jovial revelry of the religious 
festivities of Xenophon and Plato, or sustain the austerities, the 
scanty clothing, the naked feet, and the coarse fare of his or- 
dinary life. The strong common-sense, the humour, the cour- 
age of the man were conspicuous at his very first outset. And 
everyone knows the story of the physiognomist who detected in 
his features the traces of that fiery temper which for the most 
part he kept under severe control, but w^hich, when it did break 
loose, is described by those who witnessed it as absolutely 
terrible, overleaping both in act and language every barrier of 
the ordinary decorum of Grecian manners. ^ 

But we must go back into his inner life, and into his earlier 
youth, before we can apprehend the feelings with which the 
Athenians must have regarded this strange apparition among 
them, and understand some of the peculiarities of the teachers 
with whom we have had to deal in the Semitic world. He 
was still young, perhaps stilll in his father's workshop, labouring 
at his group of Graces, and seeking inspirations from the ancient 
founder of his house, the hero-artist Daedalus, when the first 

* See Fragments of Arktoxenus, 27, 28, as quoted by Grote, vol. viii. p. 548. 


intimation of his mission dawned upon him. It is evident that 
Socrates partook largely of that enthusiastic temperament which 
is so often the basis of a profound character, but which is rarely 
united with a mind so remarkable for its healthy and vigorous 
tone in other respects. His complete abstraction from outward 
His abstrac- things reminds us partly of the ecstatic condition 
tion. Qf ^Y^Q Hebrew Prophets or leaders, partly of some of 

the great scientific minds both in ancient and modern times. 
We have seen how Ezekiel lay stretched out like a dead corpse ^ 
for more than a year, or how Ezra ^ sat crouching in the court 
of the Temple from dawn till evening in his horror at the viola- 
tion of the law. In like manner 'Archimedes would forget to 
* eat his meals and require compulsion to take him to the bath.' 
In such a moment of abstraction it was that he rushed out of 
the bath into the streets of Syracuse, exclaiming Eureka! 
Eureka I In such another moment he fell a victim to the 
sword of the Roman soldier, too intent on his problem to re- 
turn the answer which would have saved his life. In such a 
mood it was that Sir Isaac Newton sat half-dressed on his bed 
for many hours in the day while composing the ^ Principia.'^ 
And so we are told of Socrates, that he would suddenly fall 
into a reverie, and then remain motionless and regardless of all 
attempts to interrupt or call him away. On such an occasion, 
when in the camp at Potidaea, he was observed to stand thus 
transfixed at the early dawn of a long summer day. One after 
another the soldiers gathered round him, but he continued in 
the same posture, undisturbed by their astonishment or by the 
noon-day heat which had begun to beat upon his head. Even- 
ing drew on, and still he was to be seen in the same position, 
and the inquisitive lonians in the camp took their evening meal 
by his side, and drew out their pallets from their tents to watch 
him. And the cold dews of the Thracian night came on, and 
still he remained unmoved, till at last the sun rose above 
Mount Athos, and still found him on the same spot where he 
had been since the previous morning. Then at last he started 

* See Lect. XL. " See Lect, XLIV. Donkin, in Smith's Classical Biographical 

* Life of Archimedes, by Professor Dictionary. 


from his trance, offered his morning prayer to the Sun-god, and 
retired. * 

Abstraction from the outer world so complete as this would 

of itself prepare us for the extraordinary disclosures which he 

has himself left of that ^divine sign,^ which by later writers was 

called his ' daemon,' his 'inspiring genius,' but which 

* inspiring hc himself calls by the simpler name of his prophetic 
gemus. ^^ supernatural 'voice.' It is impossible not to be 
reminded by it of the language in which the Hebrew Prophets, 
both by themselves and by the historians of their race, are said 
to have heard in the midnight silence of the sanctuary or in the 
mountain cave, or on the outskirts of the desert, the gentle 

* call,' the still small whisper, the piercing cry, of the Divine 
Word.^ It recalls to us 'the voices' by which the Maid of 
Orleans described herself to be actuated in her great task of 
delivering France from the English yoke, and to which, in the 
anguish of her last trial, she confidently appealed against the 
judgment of Bishop, Council, or Pope. As in the case of some 
of the Jewish seers, like Samuel or Jeremiah, or of that French 
maiden, so in the case of Socrates, this mysterious monitor 
began to address him when he was a child, long before the con- 
sciousness of his powers or the conception of his mission had 
been realised in his mind, and continued down to the very 
close of his life ; so that even his conduct on his trial was 
distinctly based upon its intimations : — 

' He was accustomed not only to obey it implicitly, but to 

* speak of it publicly and familiarly to others, so that the fact 

* was well known both to his friends and to his enemies. It 

* had always forbidden him to enter on public Mfe : it forbade 
' him, when the indictment was hanging over him, to take any 

* thought for a prepared defence : and so completely did he 

* march with a consciousness of this bridle in his mouth, that 

* when he felt no check he assumed that the turning which 
' he was about to take was the right one. Though his per- 
' suasion on the subject was unquestionably sincere, and his 
' obedience constant — yet he never dwelt upon it himself as 

* Plato, Symp. pp. 175 b, 220 C. " i Sam. iv. 4, 6, 8, 10; i Kings xix. 12 ; Isa. xl. 3,6. 

N 2 

l8o SOCRATES. LECT. xlvi. 

* anything grand, or awful, or entitling him to peculiar deference ; 
' but spoke of it often in his usual strain of familiar playfulness. 

* To his friends generally it seems to have constituted one of 
' his titles to reverence, though neither Plato nor Xenophon 
^ scruples to talk of it in that jesting way which, doubtless, they 
' caught from himself.' ^ 

Another mode which Socrates seemed to himself to enjoy, 
of intercommunion with the invisible world, was by dreams — 
His in this respect also, as even the cursory insight of the 

dreams. Gcutiles remarked, resembling some of the intuitions 
of the leaders ^ of Israel and of the surrounding tribes. ' Often 

* and often ' (so he related one such instance in his last hours) 

* have I been haunted by a vision in the course of my past life ; 
' now coming in one form, now in another, but always with the 

* same words — Socrates / let music he thy work and labour.'' In 
his last hours he endeavoured literally to comply with this in- 
junction by trying even at that solemn moment to versify the 
fables of ^sop. 

But the most important preternatural influence — more im- 
portant even than the restraining voice of his familiar spirit — 
The Oracle was that which actcd upon him, in common with the 
of Delphi, j-gg^. Qf ]^jg countrymen, and to w^hich, owing to the 
singular detachment of even the most sacred localities of 
Palestine from Prophetic influences, the Jewish history furnishes 
no parallel — the Oracle of Delphi. Who that has ever seen or 
read of that sacred spot— the twin cliffs overhanging the slop- 
ing terraces which descend to the deep ravine of the Plistus — 
terraces now bare and untenanted, but then crowned by temples, 
rising tier above tier with a magnificence the more striking from 
the wild scenery around — can fail to enter in some degree into 
the reverence paid to the mysterious utterances which issued 
from beneath those venerable rocks ? It was a remarkable 
proof of the sincere belief which the Greek world reposed in 
the oracle that it w^as consulted not only for state purposes, but 

* Grote, viii. 559. Nebuchadnezzar, Dan. ii. i (Lecture 

^ Strabo, xvi. 710. See Lecture V. and XLL) ; Judas Maccabseus, 2 Mace. xv. 11 

the vision in Job iv. 13. Compare Solo- (Lecture XLVIIL). 

mon, 1 Kings iii. 5, 10 (Lecture XXVL) ; 


to solve the perplexity which was felt with regard to individual 
characters. Even so late as the time of Cicero this belief con- 
tinued. We are told that when the Roman orator, as a young 
man, went to Rhodes to complete his education, and consulted 
the oracle concerning his future career, the Pythia advised him 
to live for himself, and not to value the opinion of others as his 
guide. * If this be an invention,' says Niebuhr, in relating the 
incident with his usual liveliness, * it was certainly made by one 
' who saw very deep, and perceived the real cause of all Cicero's 

* sufferings. If the Pythia did give such an answer, then this is 

* one of the oracles which might tempt one to believe in an 
' actual inspiration of the priestess.' This is one instance, and 
assuredly another is the answer made to the faithful disciple, 
who went to inquire whether anyone was wiser than the son of 
Sophroniscus. The priestess replied, and Chaerephon brought 
back the reply, that Socrates was the wisest of men. It was 
this oracle which was the turning-point of the life of Socrates. 

It would be curious, had we the materials, to delineate the 
struggles of that hour, to trace the homely common -sense of the 
young statuary, confounded by the words of the re- 
sponse, contrary to all that he knew of his own wis- 
dom, as he then counted wisdom, yet backed by what he 
believed to be an infallible authority, and pressed upon him, 
doubtless, by all the enthusiasm of his ardent friend. There 
was an anguish of distressing perplexity, like that which is de- 
scribed at the like crisis in the call of some of the greatest of 
the Jewish Prophets — Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel* The 
Athenian craftsman resolved to put the oracle to the test by 
examining into the wisdom of others ; and from this seemingly 
trivial incident began that extraordinary life, which, in its own 
peculiar vein, ' is without parallel among contemporaries or 

* successors,' ^ although indirectly furnishing and receiving in- 
structive illustrations along the whole pathway of the Jewish 
history, which, from its deeper seriousness, supplies resemblances 
that in Grecian history would be sought in vain. 

* Isa. vi. 3-8 ; Ter. i. 6-9 ; Ezek. ii. 9, iii. 3. See Lectures XXXVII., XL. 
" Grote, viii. 561. 

1 82 SOCRATES. lect. xlyi. 

He was in middle age when this call came upon him, and 
at once he arose and followed it. From that time for thirty 
years he applied himself to * the self-imposed task of teacher, 
' excluding all other business, public or private, and neglecting 
' all means of fortune.' For thirty years — for those thirty years 
which extend through the whole period of the Peloponnesian 
-vvar — in the crowded streets and squares, when all Attica was 
congregated within the walls of Athens to escape the Spartan 
invasions— during the horrors of the plague — amidst the excite- 
ments of the various vicissitudes of Pylus, of Syracuse, of the 
revolution of the Four Hundred, of the tyranny of the Thirty, 
of the restoration of the democracy, Socrates was ever at his 
post, by his presence, by his voice, by his example, restraining, 
attracting, repelling every class of his excitable countrymen : — 

* Early in the morning he frequented the public walks, the 

* gymnasia for bodily training, and the schools where youths 
' were receiving instruction ; he was to be seen in the market - 

* place at the hour when it was most crowded, among the 

* booths and tables, where goods were exposed for sale : his 

* whole day was usually spent in this public manner. He 

* talked with anyone, young or old, rich or poor, who sought 

* to address him, and in the hearing of all who chose to stand 

* by : not only he never either asked or received any reward, 

* but he made no distinction of persons, never withheld his 
' conversation from anyone, and talked upon the same general 
' topics to all' ^ 

Under any circumstances such an apparition would have 
struck astonishment into a Grecian city. All other teachers, 
both before and afterwards, * either took money for their lessons, 
' or at least gave them apart from the multitude in a private 
' house to special pupils, with admissions or rejections at their 

* own pleasure.' Plato's retreat in the consecrated grove of 
Academus^ Epicurus in his private Garden^ the painted Por- 
tico or cloister of Zeno, the Peripatetics of Aristotle in the 
shaded walks round the Lycean sanctuary of Apollo, all indicate 
the prevailing practice. The philosophy of Socrates alone was 

' Grote viii. 554. 


in every sense the philosophy of the market-place. Very 
His teach- rarely he might be found under the shade of the plane- 
i"§- tree * or the caverned rocks of the Ilissus, enjoying 

the grassy slope of its banks, and the little pools of water that 
collect in the corners of its torrent bed, and the white and 
purple flowers of its agnus castus shrubs. But ordinarily, 
whether in the city, in the dusty road between the Long Walls, 
or in the busy mart of Piraeus, his place was amongst men, in 
every vocation of life, living not for himself, but for them, re- 
jecting all pay, contented in poverty. Whatever could be 
added to the singularity of this spectacle was added by the 
singularity, as already indicated, of his outward appearance. 
Amidst the gay life, the beautiful forms, the brilliant colours of 
an Athenian multitude and an Athenian street, the repulsive 
features, the unwieldy figure, the bare feet, the rough thread- 
bare attire of the philosopher must have excited every senti- 
ment of astonishment and ridicule which strong contrast can 
produce. And if to this we add the occasional trance, the eye 
fixed on vacancy, the total abstraction from outward objects — 
or again, the momentary outbursts of violent temper — or lastly 
(what we are told at times actually took place) the sudden 
irruptions of his wife Xanthippe to carry off her eccentric hus- 
band to his forsaken home — w^e shall not wonder at the univer- 
sal celebrity which he acquired, even irrespectively of his singular 
powers or of his peculiar objects. An unusual diction or even 
an unusual dress secures attention for a teacher, so soon as he 
has once secured a hearing. Such was the natural effect of the 
hair-cloth wrappings, or at times the nudity, of the Jewish Pro- 
phets.^ When Socrates appeared it was (so his disciples de- 
scribed it) ^ as if one of the marble satyrs wiiich sat in grotesque 
attitudes with pipe or flute in the sculptors' shops at Athens had 
left his seat of stone, and walked into the plane-tree avenue or 
the gymnastic colonnade. Gradually the crowd gathered round 
him. At first he spoke to the tanners, and the smiths, and the 

' Plato, PkcFdnis, c. 9. The exact spot ' See Lectures XIX., XXX., XXXVII. 

des ribed in this dialogue can still be * Plato, Syntp, c. 39. 



drovers, who were plying their trades about him ; and they 
shouted with laughter as he poured forth his homely jokes. 
But soon the magic charm of his voice made itself felt. The 
peculiar sweetness of its tone had an effect which even the 
thunder of Pericles failed to produce. The laughter ceased — 
the crowd thickened — the gay youth whom nothing else could 
tame stood transfixed and awestruck in his presence ; there was 
a solemn thrill in his words, such as his hearers could compare 
to nothing but the mysterious sensation produced by the clash 
of drum and cymbal in the worship of the great Mother of the 
Gods — the head swam, the heart leaped at the sound — tears 
rushed from their eyes ; and they felt that, unless they tore 
themselves away from that fascinated circle, they should sit 
down at his feet and grow old in listening to the marvellous 
music of this second Marsyas. 

But the excitement occasioned by his appearance was 
increased tenfold by the purpose which he had set before 
him, when, to use the expressive comparison of his pupils, 
he cast away his rough satyr's skin and disclosed the divine 
image which that rude exterior had covered. The object to 
which he thus devoted himself with the zeal ' not simply of a 

* philosopher, but of a religious missionary doing the work of 

* a philosopher,' was to convince men of all classes, but espe- 
cially the most distinguished, that they had the ' conceit of 

* knowledge without the reality.' 

* Should you even now offer to acquit me ' (these were his 
own words in his defence at his trial) * on condition of my 

* renouncing this duty, I should reply with all respect : If you 
' kill me you will find none other such. Men of Athens, I 

* honour and love you ; but I shall obey God rather than you, 
^ and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from 

* the practice and teaching of philosophy, exhorting anyone 
' whom I meet after my manner, and convincing him, saying : 
'"O my friend, why do you, who are a citizen of the great 
' and mighty and wise city of Athens, care so much about 
'laying up the greatest amount of money and honour and 
'reputation, and so little about wisdom and truth and the 


* greatest improvement of the soul, which you never regard 
'or heed at all?" 

' And this I should say to everyone whom I meet, young 
'and old, citizen and alien, but especially to the citizens, 

* inasmuch as they are my brethren. For this is the command 
' of God, as I would have you know ; and I believe that to this 
' day no greater good has ever happened in the State than my 

* service to God. For if you kill me you will not easily find 

* another like me, who, if I may use such a ludicrous figure of 

* speech, am a sort of gadfly, given to the State by God ; and 

* the State is like a great and noble steed who is tardy in his 
' motions owing to his very size, and requires to be stirred into 
' life. I am that gadfly which God has given the State, and all 
'day long and in all places am always fastening upon you, 
'arousing and persuading and reproaching you.' ^ 

Never has the Socratic method of instruction been described 
in language so vivid and forcible as in the words of the last and 
greatest historian of Greece. 

' To him the precept inscribed in the Delphian Temple — 
' Know thyself— ^zs> the holiest of all texts, which he constantly 
' cited, and strenuously enforced upon his hearers ; interpret-. 
' ing it to mean, " Know what sort of a man thou art and what 
' are thy capacities in reference to human use." His manner 
' of enforcing it was alike original and effective, and though he 
' was dexterous in varying his topics and queries accordmg to 

* the individual person with whom he had to deal, it was his 
' first object to bring the hearer to take just measure of his own 
' real knowledge or real ignorance. To preach, to exhort, even 
' to confute particular errors, appeared to Socrates useless, so 
'long as the mind lay wrapped up in its habitual mist, or 
' illusion of wisdom : such must be dissipated before any new 
'light could enter. Accordingly, the hearer being usually 

* forward in announcing positive declarations on those general 
' doctrines, and explanations of those terms, to which he was 
' most attached, and in which he had the most implicit confi- 

* dence, Socrates took them to pieces, and showed that they 

* Jowett's Plato, i. 344, 345. 


* involved contradiction and inconsistency ; professing himself 

* to be without any positive opinion, nor ever advancing any 

* until the hearer's mind had undergone the proper purifying 

* cross-examination. It was this indirect and negative proceed- 

* ing, which, though only a part of the whole, stood out as his 
*most original and most conspicuous characteristic, and 

* determined his reputation with a large number of persons 

* who took no trouble to know anything else about him. It 

* was an exposure no less painful than surprising to the persons 
'questioned, and produced upon several of them an effect of 

* permanent alienation, so that they never came near him again, 

* but reverted to their former state of mind, without any 

* permanent change. But, on the other hand, the ingenuity 

* and novelty of the process were highly interesting to hearers, 
' especially youthful hearers, sons of rich men, and enjoying 
' leisure, who not only carried away with them a lofty admira- 
^ tion of Socrates, but were fond of trying to copy his negative 
'polemics. His constant habit of never suffering a general 
' term to remain undetermined, but applying it at once to 

* particulars — the homely and effective instances of which he 
'made choice— the string of interrogatories, each advancing 
'towards a result, yet a result not foreseen by anyone — the 
'indirect and circuitous manner whereby the subject was turned 
'round and at last approached and laid open by a totally 
' different face— all this constituted a sort of prerogative 
' in Socrates, which no one else seems to have approached. 
'What is termed his irony — or assumption of the character 
' of an ignorant learner asking information from one who knew 
'better than himself — while it was essential as an excuse for 
' his practice as a questioner, contributed also to add zest and 
' novelty to his conversation ; and totally banished from it both 
'didactic pedantry and seeming bias as an advocate, which, 
'to one who talked so much, was of no small advantage.' ^ 

That a life of thirty years so spent should have created 
animosities similar to those excited at Jerusalem against 
Jeremiah, and at times Isaiah^ — that the statesmen, poets, 

' Grote, via. 605. » Lectures XXXVIL, XL. 

laor. XLTi. HIS MISSION. 187 

and lawyers should have thought him insufferably vexatious — 

that 4he Sophists/ like the Priests and hired Prophets, should 
have hated the man whose disinterested pursuance of his 
vocauon without pay seemed to cast a slur upon their profes- 
sion — that the multitude should have regarded, partly with 
dislike, partly with awe, a man whose aims were so lofty, whose 
life was so pure, and yet whose strange behaviour seemed to 
indicate somethiLg wild and preternatural, was only too 
intelligible ; and we cannot be surprised that ^ so violent 

* was the enmity which he occasionally provoked, that there 
*were instances in which he was struck or maltreated, and 
'very frequently laughed to scorn.' 

* In truth, the mission of Socrates, as he himself describes 

* it, could not but prove eminently unpopular and obnoxious. 

* To convince a man that — of matters which he felt confident 

* of knowing, and had never thought of questioning or even of 

* studying — he is really profoundly ignorant, insomuch that he 
'cannot reply to a few pertinent queries without involving 
'himself in flagrant contradictions, is an operation highly 
' salutary, often necessary to his future improvement ; but an 
' operation of painful surgery, in which, indeed, the tem- 

* porary pain experienced is one of the conditions almost indis- 
' pensable to the future beneficial results. It is one which few 
'men can endure without hating the operator at the time ; 
'although, doubtless, such hatred \YOuld not only disappear, 

* but be exchanged for esteem and admiration, if they perse- 
'vered until the full ulterior consequences of the operation 

* developed themselves. But we know (from the express 
' statement of Xenophon) that many who underwent this 
'first pungent thrust of his dialectics, never came near 
'him again; he disregarded them as laggards, but their 
'voices did not the less count in the hostile chorus. What 
' made that chorus the more formidable, was the high quality 
'and position of its leaders. For Socrates himself tells us 
'that the men whom he chiefly and expressly sought out to 
' cross-examme were the men of celebrity, as statesmen, 

* rhetors, poets, or artisans ] those, at once, most sensitive to 


user. xLVi. 

'such humiliation, and most capable of making their enmity 
' effective.' ^ 

We may wonder, not that the thirty years' * public, notori- 
*ous, and efficacious discoursing' was finally interrupted, but 
that it was not interrupted long before. Why, then, 
it may be asked, did he fall at last ? Why should 
he have been prosecuted at seventy years of age for persever- 
ing in an occupation precisely the same in manner and in 
substance as he had followed for so many years preceding ? 
The answer is to be found in the general history of Athens at 
that time, and the general character of the Athenian people, 
but it is of such universal application that it deserves record in 
its connexion with the triumphs and defeats of the truth 
everywhere, in Palestine and in modern Europe as well as in 
Greece It was the moment of a strong reaction. The most 
galling tyranny to which Athens had ever been exposed had 
just been overthrov/n. A restoration of the old democracy 
had just been effected, under circumstances singularly trying ; 
and in the jubilee of that restoration the whole people of 
Athens were entirely absorbed. Every association with the 
dreadful period of the eight months' dominion of the Thirty 
was now viewed with the darkest suspicion. Every old 
institution was now cherished with double affection, remind- 
ing them, as it did, of the free and happy days which those 
eight months had suspended, securing them, as it did, from 
the return of the lawless cruelty and self indulgence which 
had been established in the interval. All the suspicions and 
excitements which Thucydides describes, with a master hand, 
as the result of the mere traditional recollections of the tyranny 
of the Pisistratides, were now let loose with so much the greater 
force from the freshness of the recollections of the tyranny of 
Critias and his associates. All the undefined, mysterious panic 
which ran through the city after the mutilation of the Hermes - 
busts was now, although in a less concentrated form, afloat 
again to vindicate the majesty of the ancient institutions of their 
forefathers so unexpectedly, so providentially restored to them. 

^ Grote, viii. 634. 

uicT. XLTi. HIS TRIAL. 1 89 

It was in this state of public feeling that on the walls of the 
portico of the King Archon — that ancient vestige of primaeval 
usage, which long preserved at Athens the recollection 
of the Gate of Judgment, in which the Kings of the 
East presided over the trial of their subjects, from the Porch of 
Solomon ^ down to the Sublime Porte at Constantinople and 
the Tower of Justice in the Alhambra — there appeared in the 
presence of the Athenian people the fatal indictment, memor- 
able for all future ages : — ' Socrates is guilty of crime, first, 
*for not worshipping the gods whom the city worships, but 
* introducing new divinities of his own ; next for corrupting the 
'youth. The penalty due is — death.' 

These two accusations at once concentrated upon Socrates 
the indefinite odium which had, perhaps for years, but certainly 
for months past, been gathering in the minds of the people. 
Three men only had spoken, Melitus, Anytus, and Lycon ; but 
they spoke the feeling of hundreds. The charge of innovation 
on the national religion, as it was one which, especially at that 
moment, roused the * too much superstition ' ^ of that sensitive 
populace almost to madness, was one to which, however unjustly, 
his manner and his conversation eminently exposed him. It 
recalled, too, and Melitus the poet would not suffer the recol- 
lection to sleep, the great spectacle which twenty-four years ago 
had been exhibited in the Dionysiac Theatre, when Socrates 
had been held up to ridicule and detestation as the representa- 
tive of the Sophist school in the * Clouds ' of Aristophanes ; 
and although many who had sat on the tiers of the theatre at 
that time were now in their graves, and, possibly, the long and 
blameless course which had followed might have cleared away 
some misundersandings, yet the very appearance of Socrates 
would suggest the laughter which that hideous mask had called 
forth ; the very words of the charge would bring before their 
minds the most striking of the Aristophanic scenes. 

Still more sharply was the second count in the indictment 
pointed by the events of the time—* He has corrupted the youth.* 
Two men, the most distinguished of the pupils of his earlier 

' See Lecture XXVI. » Acts xril 22 (Greek). 

I90 SOCRATES. LECT. xlvi. 

years, had just been cut off, in the very height of their fame 
and of their crimes. The two most hateful names at Athens at 
this moment were Alcibiades and Critias — Alcibiades, both for 
his individual licentiousness and insolence, and also for the 
public treason, which more than any one cause had precipitated 
the fatal termination of the war— Critias, as *the chief director 
*of the spoliations and atrocities committed by the Thirty.' 
And yet both these dreadful characters — for so they must have 
been regarded — had in former times been seen hanging on the 
lips of Socrates in public and in private ; for Alcibiades his 
affection had been stronger than he had felt to any other man ; 
of Critias it was enough to say that he was the uncle of the 
philosopher's most admiring disciple, Plato. And the odium 
which would be incurred by this connexion must have been 
enhanced by the presence of his accuser Anytus. Anytus had 
suffered with Thrasybulus during the late usurpation — with him 
had taken refuge in the mountain fastnesses of Phyle — with him 
had shared the danger and the glory of the return. As the aged 
accuser and the aged prisoner stood before the Athenian court, 
the judges could hardly fail to be reminded that in one they 
saw the faithful supporter, through evil report and good report, 
of their greatest benefactor — in the other, the master and friend 
of the arch-traitor and the arch-tyrant. 

It was to feelings such as these, added to the long- accu- 
mulated jealousy and suspicion which intellectual and moral 
eminence, when accompanied either by eccentricity or by 
hostility to existing opinions or practice, always provokes, that 
we must ascribe the unfavourable attitude assumed by the 
Judicial Assembly of Athens towards Socrates. Amongst the 
five hundred and fifty men of whom that assembly was com- 
posed there must have been ample room for the entrance of all 
those irregular and accidental influences to which a numerous 
court of justice in such a case must always be exposed — there 
must have been many who had formerly smarted under his 
questions in the market-place — many who had been disturbed 
by the consciousness of something beyond their ordinary 
powers of understanding or appreciation. 

UKCT. axvi. ins TRIAL. I9J 

It is due alike to him and to them to remember that by 
276 out of that number he was acquitted. A majority of six 
turned the scale in the most momentous trial which down to 
that time the world had witnessed There was still, however, 
a chance of escape. The penalty for which the Athenians had 
called was death. But, according to the form of the Athenian 
judicature, it was always in the power of the accused, after the 
verdict had been pronounced, to suggest some lesser penalty 
than had been proposed, such as fine, imprisonment, or exile. 
Had Socrates done this simply and purely, the very small 
majority by which the condemnation had been pronounced 
affords sufficient proof that the judges were not inclined to 
sanction the extreme penalty against him. But the lofty tone 
which he had assumed in the previous part of the trial, and 
which to many of the judges 'would appear to betray an inso- 

* lence not without analogy to Alcibiades or Critias, with whom 

* his accuser had compared him,' now rose to a still higher pitch. 
His own words must be given, as alone conveying an impression 
of the effect which must have been produced. 

' And what shall I propose on my part, O men of Athens ? 

* Clearly that which is my due. And what is that which I 
' ought to pay or to receive ? What shall be done to the man 

* who has never had the wit to be idle during his whole life ; 

* but has been careless of what the many care about — wealth, 

* and family interests, and military offices, and speaking in the 

* assembly, and magistracies, and plots, and parties? Reflecting 

* that I was really too honest a man to follow in this way and 
*live, I did not go where I could do no good to you or to 

* myself ; but where I could do the greatest good privately to 

* every one of you, thither I went, and sought to persuade every 

* man among you that he must look to himself, and seek virtue 

* and wisdom before he looks to his private interests, and look 
*to the State before he looks to the interests of the State ; and 
'that this should be the order which he observes in all his 

* actions. What shall be done to such an one? Doubtless 

* some good thing, O men of Athens, if he has his reward ; and 

* the good should be of a kind suitable to him. What would 

192 SOCRATES. lbct. xrvi, 

' be a reward suitable to a poor man who is your benefactor, 
' who desires leisure that he may instruct you ? There can be 

* no more fitting reward than maintenance at the expense of the 

* State in the Prytaneum/ 

It is easy to conceive the indignation with which this 
challenge must have been received by the judges, as a direct 
insult to the court — the bitter grief and disappointment with 
which it must have been heard by his friends, as throwing away 
the last chance of preserving a life to them so inestimably 
precious. To us, it invests the character of Socrates with that 
heroic dignity which would else perhaps have been wanting to 
his career, from its very simplicity and homely usefulness. At 
the same time it has a further and peculiar interest in enabling 
us to form a distinct conception of that determined disregard 
of time and place and consequences which constitutes so 
remarkable a feature of Socrates' individual character, and 
harmonises completely with that stern religious determination 
which recalls and illustrates so many a solitary career in the 
history we have traversed from Moses down to Malachi. It is 
the same intent devotion to his one object of life, as appeared 
when he remained transfixed in the camp at Potidaea — as when 
he looked back with calm majesty on his pursuers at Delium — 
as when he argued through long days and months in the pubhc 
places of Athens — as when he refused in the raging assembly 
after the battle of Arginusae to be turned one hair's breadth from 
the strict rule of law and duty. 

The closing scenes which Plato has invested with such sur- 
passing glory can never be forgotten. The Hebrew prophet, 
the Christian martyr, might well have couched their 
farewells to the audiences before which they, like 
him, often pleaded in vain, almost in the same words : ' The 
' hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways. I go to 

* to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.' 
Then ensue the long thirty days which passed in prison before 
the execution of the verdict— the playful equanimity and una- 
bated interest in his habitual objects of life amidst the uncon- 
trollable emotions of his companions, after they knew of the 


return of the sacred ship, whose absence had up to that moment 
suspended his fate. Then follows the gathering in of that 
solemn evening, when the fading of the sunset in all its variety 
of hues on the tops of the Athenian hills was the signal that 
the last hour was at hand. ^ Then the fatal hemlock enters ; 
we see the immovable countenance, the firm hand, the wonted 

* scowl ' of stern defiance at the executioner ; ^ we hear the 
burst of frantic lamentation from all his friends, as, with his 
habitual 'ease and cheerfulness,' he drained the cup to its 
dregs ; ^ we watch the solenm silence enjoined by himself — the 
pacing to and fro — the cold palsy of the hemlock creeping 
from the extremities to the heart, and the gradual torpor ending 
in death. 

We trace also how he chose, or how his disciple has chosen 
for him, these last moments for some of his most characteristic 
arguments. Now comes out his ruling passion strong in death 
suggesting to him the consolation, as natural to him as it seems 
strange to us, that when in the world beyond the grave he 
should, as he hoped, encounter the heroes of the Trojan war, 
he should then * pursue with them the business of mutual cross- 

* examination, and debate on ethical progress and perfection ^ 
— how he confidently (as the event proved, mistakenly in the 
letter, truly in the spirit) predicted that his removal would be 
the signal ' for numerous apostles putting forth with increased 
' energy that process of interrogatory test and spur to which 

* he had devoted his life, and was doubtless to him far dearer 
' and more sacred than his life ' — how his escape from prison 
was only prevented by his own decided refusal to become a 
' party in any breach of the law ' — how deliberately, and with 
matter-of-fact precision, he satisfied himself with the result of 
the verdict, by reflecting that the Divine voice of his earlier 
years had * never manifested itself once to him during the whole 
' day of the trial ; neither when he came thither at first nor at 

* any one point during his whole discourse '— how his * strong 

*■ aAA' olfiaL ert rjkc v tti'at inX rots opeal (cat ovm*) StSvKeVat. Pkifdo, e. Ii6, 
• (io-nep eloidei, raup^SoM uTToAe^ K. 16. b. 117. 
■^oAa eux^pw? «'^' evicdAw? e^eVie. Id. c. 117. 

III. o 


' religious persuasions were attested by his last words addressed 
* to his friend immediately before he passed into a state of 
' insensibility : ' ' Crito, I owe a cock to ^sculapius ; will you 
^ remember to pay the debt ? ' 

Perhaps in the powerful modern narrative of the career of 

Socrates — perhaps in our own as condensed from it— the readers 

of ancient history, as it has hitherto been familiar to 

His religl- ^^^ ^ /-I 1 • T1 - • 1 

ous cha- US, Will have felt somethmg like a jar against the 
solemn and majestic associations with which the life 
and death of Socrates have always been invested. To a large 
extent this is merely the inevitable result of the sudden exhibi- 
tion, in its true historical light, of a great character usually 
regarded with almost ideal indistinctness. It is very seldom 
that the first sight of an eminei;t man exactly corresponds to 
our preconceived impression ; and the disturbance of that im- 
pression, especially if the impression is tinged by moral or 
religious awe, has the effect of disappointment and depreciation 
beyond what is justified by the facts of the case. It is for this 
reason, amongst others, that it has been thought good to intro- 
duce at length the contemplation of the whole historical position 
of Socrates. It illustrates precisely the like difficulty which 
we experience in dealing with the characters of the yet more 
consecrated story of the Jewish sages and prophets. But on 
second thoughts we shall recognise, as in other matters, so in 
this, that truth and reality, so far from being inconsistent with 
a just reverence, tend to promote it. The searching analysis 
of the modern English scholar has taught us more exactly 
wherein the greatness of Socrates consisted, and we are there- 
fore the better able truly to honour, and, so far as in us lies, to 
imitate it. We know better than we did wherein lay the true 
secret of his condemnation, and we are therefore the better 
able not merely to compassionate, but to take warning by the 
error of his judges. 

We have pointed out in the story of * the wisest of Greeks ' 
how curiously his claims, his expressions, even his external 
mode of life, illustrate, and are in turn illustrated by, the 
utterances and acts of the Hebrew seers. But there is yet 


more than this. As in the cases of David and Jeremiah, we 
have felt ourselves entitled to see the forecastings — the prelud- 
ings — of that supreme event which gives to the earlier Jewish 
history its universal interest, so, in the case of Socrates, it is not 
less remarkable to trace the resemblances which bring that fmal 
consummation of the Jewish history into connexion with that 
Western World for which the great Prophet of the Captivity 
already had anticipated so important a part * in the fortunes of 
his own race. 

In studying the character and life of Socrates we know that 
we are contemplating the most remarkable moral phenomenon 
Likeness ^^ the aucicnt world ; we are conscious of having 
chrisdan cHmbed the highest point of the ascent of Gentile 
History. virtuc and wisdom ; we find ourselves in a presence 
which invests with a sacred awe its whole surroundings. We 
feel that here alone, or almost alone, in the Grecian world, we 
are breathing an atmosphere, not merely moral, but religious, 
not merely religious (it may be a strong expression, yet we are 
borne out by the authority of the earliest Fathers of the Church), 
but Christian. Difficult as it was to escape from these associa- 
tions under any circumstances, the language of the latest Greek 
historian has now rendered it all but impossible. The startling 
phrases which he uses, as alone adequate to the occasion, are 
dictated by the necessity of the case ; and when we are told 
that Socrates was a * cross-examining missionary '—that ' he spent 
* his life in public apostolic ^\2\tcX\c^ '—that he was habitually ac- 
tuated by 'his persuasion of a special religious mission,' ^ we are 
at once carried forward from the time of Socrates himself to that 
more sacred age from which these expressions are borrowed, 
"and by which alone we are enabled fully to appreciate what 
Socrates was and did. 

The comparisons which have often been drawn between the 
Galilean Teacher and the Athenian sage may have been at 
times exaggerated. There are in the accompaniments of the 
character of Socrates dark shadows, grotesque incidents, un- 
worthy associations, which render any such parallel, if pressed 

» See Lectures XL. and XLL ' Grote, viii. 553, 566, 588. 

O 2 



too far, as painful and as untrue as the like parallels that have 
sometimes been found in Jacob or David, or, yet more rashly, 
in Jephthah or Samscn. Still, if viewed aright, there are few 
more remarkable confirmations of the reality of the Gospel his> 
tory than the light which, by way of contrast or likeness, is 
Likeness thrown upon it by the highest example of Greek 
Golpei antiquity. It is instructive to observe that there, 

History. almost alone, outside of the Jewish race is to be 
found the career which, at however remote a distance, suggests 
whether to friends or enemies a sohd illustration of the One 
Life, which is the turning-point of the rehgion of the whole 
world. We do not forget the marvellous purity of the life of 
Buddha ; ^ nor the traces of contact between the rise of Islam ^ 
and the rise of Christianity. But there are points of compari- 
son where these fail, and where the story of Socrates is full of 
suggestions. When we contemplate the contented poverty, the 
self-devotion, the constant publicity, the miscellaneous followers 
of Socrates, we feel that we can understand better than before 
the outward aspect at least of that Sacred Presence which 
moved on the busy shores of the Sea of Galilee, and in the 
streets and courts of Jerusalem. Whe'n we read of the dogged 
obstinacy of the court by which he was judged — the religious 
or superstitious prejudices invoked against him — the expression 
of his friend when all was finished — ^ Such was the end of the 

* wisest and justest and best of all the men that I have ever 

* known ' — another Trial and another Parting inevitably rush to 
the memory. When we read the last conversations of the 
prisoner in the Athenian dungeon, our thoughts almost in- 
sensibly rise to the farewell discourses in the upper chamber at 
Jerusalem with gratitude and reverential awe. The differences 
are immense. But there is a likeness of moral atmosphere, 
even of external incident, that cannot fail to strike the attention. 
Or (to turn to another side), when we are perplexed by the 
difficulty of reconciling the narrative of the first three Evange- 
lists with the altered tone of the fourth, it is at least a step 
towards the solution of that difficulty to remember that there is 

I See Lecture XLV. ° See Lecture VI IL on the Eastern Church. 


here a parallel diversity between the Socrates of Xenophon and 
the Socrates of Plato. No one has been tempted by that diver- 
sity to doubt the substantial identit}, the true character, much 
less the historical existence of the master whom they both pro- 
fess to describe. The divergences of Plato from Xenophon are 
incontestable ; the introduction of his own colouring and thought 
undeniable ; and yet not the less is his representation indispen- 
sable to the complete ideal which mankind now reveres as the 
picture of Socrates. Nor, when we think of the total silence of 
Josephus, or of other comtemporary writers, respecting the events 
which we now regard as greatest in the history of mankind, is it 
altogether irrelevant to reflect that for the whole thirty years 
comprised in the most serious of ancient histories, Socrates was 
not only living, but acting a more public part, and, for all the 
future ages of Greece, an incomparably more important part, 
than any other Athenian citizen ; and yet that so able and so 
thoughtful an observer as Thucydides has never once noticed 
him directly or indirectly. There is no stronger proof of the 
weakness of the argument from omission, especially in the case 
of ancient history, which, unlike our own, contained within its 
range of vision no more than was immediately before it for the 

If we descend from this higher ground to those lower but 
still lofty regions, which belong to the closing epoch of the 
Likeness to J^wish history, the illustrations supplied by the life 
tofic^His' ^^ Socrates are still more apposite and instructive. 
tory. When we are reminded of the ' apostolic ' self-devo- 

tion of Socrates a new light seems to break on the character 
and career of the teacher of Tarsus from whose life that expres- 
sion is especially derived ; and the glowing language in which 
the English historian of Greece describes the energy and the 
enthusiasm of the Athenian missionary enables us to reahse 
with greater force than ever 'the pureness, and knowledge, and 
' love unfeigned,' of the missionary of a higher cause, who 
argued in the very market-place where Socrates had conversed 
more than four centuries before, and was, like him, accused of 
being a 'vain babbler 'and a ' setter-forth of strange gods.' ^ 

' Acts xvii. i8. 



And even in minute detail there are some passages of the 
Apostle's life which are singularly elucidated by the correspond- 
ing features in the career of the philosopher. How much 
more vividly, for example, do we understand the relation of 
St. Paul, himself a Rabbi, to the teachers of his time, at once 
belonging to them and distinct from them, when we contem- 
plate the like relations of Socrates to the Sophists ! How 
striking is the coincidence between the indignant refusal of St. 
Paul in these very cities of Athens and Corinth to receive re- 
muneration for his labours, and the similar protest of Socrates, 
by precept and example, against the injurious effect produced 
on teachers by direct dependence on the casual contributions, 
on the voluntary or involuntary payment of their hearers ! ^ 
And how remarkably is the vulgar feeling of the Roman world 
towards the Aposdes and their converts illustrated by the vulgar 
feeling of the Athenian world towards Socrates and his pupils ! 
In the attack which was made at two distinct periods on 
Alcibiades and on Socrates we see the union of the great mass 
of Athenian society, both democratical and aristocratical, 
against what they conceived to be revolutionary, and against 
men^who were obnoxious because they towered above their 
age. As in the alleged plot of the mutilation of the Hermse, 
Thessalus, the son of the aristocratic Cimon, and Androcles, 
the demagogue, both united against Alcibiades in the charge 
of overthrowing the constitution and establishing a tyranny — so 
Aristophanes, the poet of the aristocracy, and Anytus, the com- 
panion of the exiled leader of the popular party, combined in 
bringing against Socrates the charge of overthrowing mythology 
and establishing atheism. In each case there was a real danger 
to be discovered — if the prosecutors could have discerned it. 
Alcibiades was at work on designs which might have dissolved 
the existing bonds of society at Athens, and perhaps made him 
its tyrant and destroyer. Socrates was at work on designs 
which would ultimately tend to place the rehgion and morahty 
of Greece on a totally new foundation. They failed to convict 
Alcibiades, because his plans were not yet fully developed ; 

' Grote, viii. 482. Comp, i Cor, ix. 1-18, 


they failed to convict Socrates justly, because his design, was 
one which none but the noblest minds could understand. So 
far there was a resemblance between the two cases — a resem- 
blance of which the enemies of Socrates made the most. But, 
as everyone now recognises, the difference was far wider. 
Alcibiades was really what he was taken to be, the representa- 
tive of all that was worst in the teaching of the Sophists — of all 
that was most hostile to faith and virtue. Socrates, whilst 
formally belonging to the Sophists, was really the champion of 
all that was best and truest in that time ; and he fell a victim 
to the blindness which in all great movements has again and 
again confounded two elements intrinsically dissimilar, because 
externally they both happened to be opposed to the prevailing 
opinion of the time. 

There is no passage in history which more happily illus- 
trates the position which was taken up against the Christian 
apostles and missionaries of the first and second centuries — a 
position which has not unfrequently been overlooked or mis- 
apprehended. ' Christianity,' as has been well remarked, 

* shared the common lot of every great moral change which 

* has ever taken place in human society, by containing amongst 

* its supporters men who were morally the extreme opposites of 
' each other.' * No careful reader of the Epistles can fail to 
perceive the constant struggle which the Apostles had to main- 
tain, not only against the Jew and the heathen external to the 
Christian society, but against the wild and licentious doctrines 
which took shelter within it. The same confusion which had 
taken place in the Athenian mind in the case of Socrates and 
Alcibiades, took place in the first century of the Christian era 
with regard to the Apostles and the fierce fanatics of the early 
Church, who were to all outward appearance on the same side, 
both equally bent on revolutionising the existing order of civil 
society. As Aristophanes could not distinguish between the 
licentious arguments of the wilder class of sophists and the 
elevating and inspiring philosophy of Socrates, so Tacitus could 
not distinguish between the anarchists whom St Paul and St. 

» Arnold's Fragment on the Churchy 85. 

200 SOCRATES. lect. xlti, 

Peter had laboured to repress, and the pure morality and faith 
which they had laboured to propagate. He regarded them 
both as belonging to ' an execrable race/ * hateful for their 
^ abominable crimes ; ' and as the Greek poet could see nothing 
but an atheist in Socrates, so the Roman historian would have 
joined in the cry, ' Away with the atheists,' which was raised 
against the first Christians. In each case there were some who 
even at the time judged more calmly and more wisely. Socrates 
was by his illustrious disciples justly appreciated, and the gross 
mistake which Tacitus had made with regard to Christianity 
was not shared by his friend and contemporary the younger 
Pliny. But these warnings are instructive for every age ; and 
it is because the two cases, amidst infinite diversity, tend to ex- 
plain each other, that we have ventured thus far to anticipate 
the story of coming events, and to bring them together as 
combining to read the same indispensable lesson of religious 

Besides these indirec"; illustrations of the Hebrew annals in 
the hfe of Socrates there are also indications in the Platonic 
representations of his teaching which bring it directly within 
the prophetic scope of the Sacred History. Not only in the 
hope of a Prince of the House of David, or an Elijah returning 
from the invisible world, who should set right the wrong and 
deliver the oppressed, but in the still small voice that was 
heard by the Ilissus or on the quays of the Piraeus was there a 
General Call for another Charmer who when Socrates was 
of a hF-1ie^"^ gone might come even amongst the barbarian races ^ 
revelation. — q^q ^,}^q should bc sought for far and wide, ' for 

* there is no better way of using money than to find such an 

* one.' Not only in the Man of Sorrows, as depicted by the 
Evangelical Prophet, but in the anticipations of the Socratic 
dialogues, there was the vision, even to the very letter, of the 
Just Man, scorned, despised, condemned, tortured, slain, by 
an ungrateful or stupid world, yet still triumphant.^ And yet 
a higher strain is heard. No doubt the Egyptian monuments 
speak of another life, and the Grecian mythology and poetry 

* Fhu'doy 78 ; Politiats, 263. * Plato's Republic, 363. 


spoke of Tartarus and Elysium and the Isles of the Blessed 
No doubt the Hebrew Psalmists and Prophets contained aspi- 
rations for a bright hereafter, and also dim imagery of the 
under-world of the grave. But in the dialogue of Socrates in 
the prison, the conviction of a future existence is urged — 
whatever may be thought of the arguments — with an impressive 
earnestness which has left a more permanent mark on the 
world, ^ and of which the Jewish mind, hitherto so dark and 
vacant on this momentous topic, was destined henceforth to 
become the ready recipient and the chief propagator. There 
was also the double stream of the two philosophies which have 
since flowed from the teaching of Socrates ; each of which has 
in turn dominated in some measure the Jewish Church, in a 
still larger measure the Christian Church — the * world un- 

* realised ' of Plato, the counterpart, in Hellenic phrase and 
form, of the anticipations of the Hebrew Prophets ; the ' world 

* explored ' of Aristotle, as we have already indicated, and shall 
have occasion again to notice, the counterpart, on a colossal 
scale, of the boundless knowledge and practical wisdom, as it 
was believed, of Solomon ^ and his followers. 

These details belong to a later stage of the history, and are 
connected with Socrates himself more or less remotely. It is 
The true that he founded no school, that he refused the 

nfi?uence ^^^^^ ^^ mastcr. No definite system of opinions or of 
of Socrates, doctrincs Can be traced to his instructions. Some of 
his chief admirers fell into courses of life or adopted theories of 
philosophy which he would have highly disapproved. But not 
the less from him came the general impulse, of which the effects 
were henceforth evident to a certain extent in every province 
touched by the Greek intellect, and which bear, therefore, on 
the future prospects of the Jewish Church as clearly as the 
teaching of Isaiah or of Ezra. That which cannot be questioned, 
and which places him at once in the midst of the pathway of 
the development of the Jewish religion, is that his appearance 
exercised an influence over the whole subsequent history of 

* Alger's Doctrine of a Future Life, XLVIII. 
pp. 185-193. See Lectures XLVII. and • Lectures XXVIIL and XLVII. 

202 SOCRATES. lect. xlvi. 

European speculation : that he stands at the very fountain-head 
of philosophical thought. 

Although, as in the case of the Hebrew predictions of the 
glory of the restored Commonwealth of Israel, there was no 
literal fulfilment of the hopes of Socrates that his own peculiar 
weapons of instruction would be taken up by his successors, 
yet, like those same predictions, in a larger and higher sense 
these hopes were accomplished by the lasting results which his 
mighty originality achieved. The moral sciences then first took 
the place in philosophy which they have never since lost. ^ Out 
' of other minds he struck the fire which set fight to original 
'thought, permanently enlarging the horizon, improving the 
' method, and multiplying the ascendant minds of the specu- 

* lative ^ world ' for all subsequent generations. 

Again, Socrates stands conspicuous as the first great example 
of the union between vigorous inquiry and profound religious 
refief There was nothing in the Hebrew Scriptures to prevent 
such an alliance. But there is hardly any positive instance of 
its reahsation. In the Book of Job and the Book of Ecclesiastes 
there is anxious inquiry, but it is united rather with religious 
perplexity and despair than with religious faith. In the Psalms 
there is unshaken confidence in the laws of God and of nature ; 
but the restless curiosity of the modern world is absent. In 
the Proverbs there is an ample glorification of Wisdom ] but it 
is rather of practical sagacity and common sense, than of active 
speculation. But in Socrates, for the first time, we see that 
complete union which many have doubted to be possible, 
but after which the best of later times have ardently aspired. 

* Socrates,' so speaks the impartial voice of the modern historian, 

* was the reverse of a sceptic : no man ever looked upon life 

* with a more positive and practical eye ; no man ever pursued 
' his mark with a clearer perception of the road which he was 

* travelling ; no man ever combined, in like manner, the ab- 
' sorbing enthusiasm of a missionary with the acuteness, the 

* originality, the inventive resource, and the generalising com- 
' prehension of a philosopher.' ^ 

* Grote, viii. 621. " Ibid. viii. p. 669. 


Amidst the controversies of modern times it is a rare satis- 
faction to know that the boldest philosophical enterprise ever 
undertaken was conceived, executed, and completed, in and 
through a spirit of intense and sincere devotion. The clash 
between religion and science was discerned by him, no less 
clearly than by us ; his course was more difficult than ours, in 
proportion as Paganism was more difficult to reconcile with 
reason than Judaism or Christianity — yet to the end he retained 
his hold equally on both ; and no faithful history can claim his 
witness to the one without acknowledging his witness to the 
other also. 

Lastly, there is the especial, the singular prerogative of 
Socrates — his faculty, his mission, his life, of cross-examination. 
The points which we have just enumerated have been shared 
with him by others ; but in this his own favourite, life-long 
method of pursuing or suggesting truth — 

' Where are we to look for a parallel to Socrates, either in 

* or out of the Grecian w^orld ? The cross-examining disputa- 

* tion, which he not only first struck out, but wielded with such 

* matchless effect and to such noble purposes, has been mute 

* ever since his last conversation in the prison ; for even his 

* great successor Plato was a writer and lecturer, not a colloquial 
'dialectician. No man has ever been found strong enough 

* to bend his bow ; much less, sure enough to use it as he did. 

* His life remains as the only evidence, but a very satisfactory 
'evidence, how much can be done by this sort of intelligent 

* interrogation ; how powerful is the interest which it can be 

* made to inspire ; how energetic the stimulus which it can 

* apply in awakening dormant reason and generating new mental 

True it is that the re -appearance of such a man in subse- 
quent stages of society is all but impossible. The modern 
privacy of domestic life, the established order of social inter- 
course, the communication through books rather than through 
speech, render that perpetual dialogue wholly impracticable, 
which in the open out-of-door life of Greece needed only courage 

* Grote, via. i^ 6x4. 

204 SOCRATES. lect. xlvi. 

and resolution to be adequately sustained. But though the 
remedy is impossible, the need for it cannot be said to have 
diminished : — 

' However little that instrument may have been applied 

* since the death of its inventor, the necessity and use of it 

* neither have disappeared, nor ever can disappear. There are 

* few men whose minds are not more or less in that state of 
' sham knowledge against which Socrates made war : there is 
'no one whose notions have not been first got together by 
' spontaneous, unexamined, unconscious, uncertified association, 

* resting upon forgotten particulars, blending together disparities 

* or inconsistencies, and leaving in his mind old and familiar 

* phrases, and oracular propositions, of which he has never 

* rendered to himself account : there is no man w^ho, if he be 
' destined for vigorous and profitable scientific effort, has not 
' found it a necessary branch of self-instruction, to break up, 

* disentangle, analyse, and reconstruct these ancient mental 

* compounds — and who has not been driven to do it by his 

* own lame and solitary efforts, since the giant of colloquial 

* philosophy no longer stands in the rnarket-place to lend him 
'help and stimulus.' 

He no longer stands amongst us. Yet we can fancy what 
w^ould result were he now to visit the earth — were he once more 
to appear with that Silenic physiognomy, with that grotesque 
manner, with that indomitable resolution, with that captivating 
voice, with that homely humour, with that solemn earnestness, 
with that siege of questions — among the crowded parties of our 
metropolis, under the groves and cloisters of our universities, 
in the midst of our political, our ecclesiastical, our religious 
meetings, on the floor of our legislative assemblies, at the foot 
of the pulpits of our well-filled churches. How often in a con- 
versation, in a book, in a debate, in a speech, in a sermon, have 
we longed for the doors to open and for the son of Sophroniscus 
to enter — how often, in the heat of angry accusations, in the 
tempest of pamphlets, in the rabbinical subtleties or in the 
theological controversies, that have darkened counsel by words 

^ Grote, viii. p. 670. 


without knowledge for eighteen centuries and more, in Judaic 
or Christian times, might souls, weary with unmeaning phrases 
and undefined issues, have been tempted to exclaim : * O for 

* one hour of Socrates V O for one hour of that voice w^hich 
should by its searching cross-examination make men see what 
they knew and what they did not know — what they meant, and 
what they only thought they meant — what they believed in 
truth, and what they only beHeved in name— wherein they 
agreed, and wherein they differed ! Differences, doubtless, 
would still remain, but they would be the differences of serious 
and thinking men, and there w^ould be a cessation of the hollow 
catchwords and empty shibboleths by which all differences 
are inflamed and aggravated. The voice of the great Cross- 
examiner himself is indeed silent, but there is a voice in each 
man^s heart and conscience which, if we will, Socrates has 
taught us to use rightly. That voice, more sacred than the 
divine monitor of Socrates himself, can still make itself heard ; 
that voice still enjoins us to give to ourselves a reason for the 
hope that is in us — 'both hearing and asking questions/ He 
gave the stimulus which prepared the Western w^orld for the 
Great Inquirer, the Divine Word w^hich should * pierce even 

* to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints 

* and marrow ' of the human mind, * and discern the thoughts 

* and intents of the heart' ^ For that fancied repose, which the 
spirit of inquiry, whether from within or without, disturbs, the 
example of Socrates, and of the long line of his followers in 
Christendom, encourages us to hope that we shall be more than 
compensated by the real repose which it gives instead. * A wuse 

* questioning ' is inde 2d ' the half of knowledge/ * A life without 

* cross-examination is no life at all' 

' H«b. iT. IS. 



ALEXANDRIA, B.C. 3 3 3" 1 5 O. 

Jewish Authorities :— 

Josephus, Ant. xi. 8-xii. 4. a.d. 70. 

3 Maccabees. 

Wisdom of the Son of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) : 

In Hebrew, B.C. 200. 
In Greek, B.C. 132. 
Wisdom of Solomon, Qu. B.C. 50? 

Aristobulus, B.C. 180, in Eusebius, FraJ>. Ev. vii. 13 ; viii. 9 ; 
ix. 6 ; xiii. 12. 

Heathen Authorities : — 

Hecatseus of Abdera, B.C. 320 (Joseph. c» Apion^ i. 22). 
Agatharchides (ibid.). 
Clearchus (ibid.). 



Kings of Egypt 

i Jewish High Priests 

Kings of Syria 

Ptolemy I. (Soter), 

Jaddua, B.C. 333. 
Simon I., B.C. 310. 

Seleucus I. (Nicator), 

B.C. 322. 

B.C. 312. 

Ptolemy II. (Philadelphus), 

Rleazar, B.C. 291. 

Antiochus I. (Soter), 

B.C. 285. 

Manas^eh, B.C. 276. 

B.C. 280. 

Ptolemy IIL(Euergetes I.), 

Onias 11., B.C. 250. 

Antiochus II. (Theos), 

B.C. 246. 

B.C. 261. 

Ptolemy IV. (Philopator), 

Simon 11. (the Just), 

Seleucus II. (Callinicus), 

B.C. 221. 

B.C. 219. 

B.C. 246. 

Ptolemy V. (Epiphanes), 

Onias III., B.C. 199. 

Seleucus III. (Keraunos), 

B.C. 205. 

B.C. 226. 

Ptolemy VI. (Philometor). 

Jason, B.C. 175. 

Antiochus III. (The Great), 

B.C 181. 

B.C. 224. 

Ptolemy VII. (Physcon) 

Seleucus IV. (Philopator), 

(Euergetes II.), 

B.C. 187. 

B.C. 146. 

Antiochus IV. (Epiphanes), 
B.C. 175. 





It was a striking remark ^ of Hegel that Greece, the youthful 
prime of the world, came in with the youth Achilles, and went 
out with the youth Alexander. But if Grecian 
exan er. ]^jg|-Qj.y ^^^^ ^yj|-]^ Alexander, Grecian influence was 
created by him. If Hellas ceased, Hellenism, the spirit of the 
Greek race throughout the Eastern world, now began its career. 
In the Prophets of the Captivity we felt the electric shock pro- 
duced by the conquest of Cyrus. There is unfortunately no 
contemporary prophet in whom we can in like manner appreci- 
ate the approach of Alexander. Yet that was no inapt vision 
which, in the Book of Daniel, pictured the marvellous sight ^ of 
the mountain goat from the Ionian shores, bounding over the 
face of the earth so swiftly as not to touch the ground — with 
one beautiful horn, like the unicorn on the Persepolitan monu. 
ments, between his eyes — which ran in the fury of his power 
against the double-horned ram, the emblem ^ of the Kings of 
Media and Persia, * and there was no power in the ram to stand 

* before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped 

* upon him, and there was none to deliver the ram out of his 

* Philosophy of History^ p. 233. vii. 6, which agrees with the Grecian 

* Dan. viii. 5. monarchy, particularly in regard to the 
' I confine the illustrations from the swiftnesfi, of the animal 'and the four 

Book of Daniel to those which are certain. ' heads.' On the other hand, the last horn 

The arrangement of the two visions of the of the fourth beast (Dan. vii. 8) must 

four empires is so difficult to combine with almi^t certainly be identified with the last 

any single hypothesis that it belongs to horn of the he-goat (Dan, viii. 9), and this 

the commentator on the several passages (Dan. viii. 11) must be Antiochus Epi- 

rather than to a general historical survej'. phanes (Dan. xi. 36). For the chrono- 

On the one hand the brass of Dan. il. 39 logical enigma of Dan. xi. 24-27; xii. la. 

a^ees in order with the leopard of Dan. see note at the end of Lecture XLVIII. 

208 ALEXANDRIA. lect. xlvii. 

* hand' So it was in a yet wider sense than the ancient seer 
had discerned : ' Asia beheld with astonishment and awe the 

* uninterrupted progress c^a hero, the sweep of whose con- 

* quests was as wide and as rapid as that of her own barbaric 

* kings, or of the Scythian or Chaldsean hordes ; but, far unlike 

* the transient whirlwinds of Asiatic warfare, the advance of the 

* Macedonian leader was no less deliberate than rapid ; at 

* every step the Greek power took root, and the language 

* and civilisation of Greece were planted from the shores 

* of the ^gean to the banks of the Indus, from the Caspian 
and the great Hyrcanian plain to the Cataracts of the 

* Nile ; to exist actually for nearly a thousand years, and in 

* their eifects to endure for ever. In the tenth year after he 

* had crossed the Hellespont, Alexander, having won his vast 

* dominion, entered Babylon, and, resting from his career in that 
' oldest seat of earthly empire, he steadily surveyed the mass of 

* various nations which owned his sovereignty, and revolved in 

* his mind the great work of breathing into this huge but inert 
' body the living spirit of Greek civilisation. In the bloom of 
' youthful manhood, at the age of thirty-two, he paused from 
' the fiery speed of his earlier course ; and for the first time 

* gave the nations an opportunity of offering their homage 

* before his throne. They came from all the extremities of the 

* earth, to propitiate his anger, to celebrate his greatness, or to 

* solicit his protection.'^ 

Amongst those various races two nations are said, either 
then or in the earlier stages of his advance, to have approached 
the Grecian conqueror. Both interviews are wrapt in doubtful 
legend ; yet both may have an element of truth, and both 
certainly represent the enduring connexion of that career with 
the two other most powerful currents of human history. 

' Later writers, ^ yielding to that natural feeling which longs 

* to bring together the great characters of remote ages and 

* countries and delights to fancy how they would have regarded 

* one another, asserted expressly that a Roman Embassy did 

* appear before Alexander in Babylon ; that the King, like 

* Arnold's Rome^ ii. 169. » Ibid, \\. 173. 


* Cineas aftenvards, was struck with the dignity and manly 

* bearing of the Roman patricians, that he informed himself 
' concerning their constitution, and prophesied that the Romans 

* would one day become a great power. This story Arrian 

* justly disbelieves : but history may allow us to think that 
' Alexander and a Roman ambassador did meet at Babylon ; 

* that the greatest man of the ancient world saw and spoke with 
' a citizen of that great nation which was destined to succeed 

* him in his appointed work, and to found a wider and still 

* more enduring empire. They met, too, in Babylon, almost 

* beneath the shadow of the temple of Bel — perhaps the earliest 

* monument ever raised by human pride and power — in a city 
' stricken, as it were, by the word of God's heaviest judgment^ 

* as the symbol of greatness apart from and opposed to goodness.' 

A like scene was recounted in various forms by the Jewish 

writers when, after the battle of Issus, Alexander arrived at the 

other oldest seat of Asiatic power — Tyre. That 

Alexander . , 

at Tyre. aucicnt qucen of the Mediterranean had, as we see by 
' * ^^^" this account, survived the destruction anticipated by 
Ezekiel two centuries before. Her impregnable island fortress, 
her king, her worship of Melcarth or Moloch, probably with 
only a shadow of her former grandeur, still remained, like the 
stately colony of Venice after the fall of the Roman empire — 
a relic of the Old World long passed away. Thither came 
embassies from the rival cities of Jerusalem and Shechem, each 
claiming his protection — the Jewish settlement, if we may 
believe their account, still faithful ^ to their Persian benefactors ; 
the Samaritans still smarting from the insult inflicted on their 
second founder, the High Priest Manasseh. At last the Phoe- 
nician capital fell before that stupendous mole, which for ever 
destroyed its insular character, and Alexander marched on to 
reduce the fortress of Gaza, which on its sandy eminence defied 
him in the south. It was on his return from his savage triumph 
over the gallant defender of that last stronghold of the old 

* The fidelity of the Jews to their oaths Jos. Ant. xii. i, i; and compar' the 
of allegiance even when contracted with severe condemnation of Zedekiah, Lecture 
heathen Princes is much dwelt upon, see XL 

in. p 

2IO ALEXANDRIA. lect. xlvii. 

Philistine power that he is represented as marching on the 
only remaining fortress that had refused to submit. It may 
have been that, like the French conqueror of later times, he 
may have thought that ' Jerusalem did not lie within the lines 
' of his operations ; ' and such is the effect of the silence of the 
Greek historians, and after them of some of the most critical of 
Alexander at modem historiaus hkewise. But there is nothing 
jerus-iiem. incredible in the occurrence of some such event, as, 
in divers forms, has entered into the Jewish annals. The 
Samaritan version concentrated the whole interest of the story 
in their High Priest Hezekiah ^ — the Jewish version fluctuates 
between the Talmud and Josephus. Alexander had come — s6 
the Rabbinical account runs — to Antipatris ^ at the entrance of 
the mountains, or, according to Josephus, mounted by the pass 
of Beth-horon, and found himself standing with Parmenio on 
the eminence long known as ' the watch-tower ' — in earlier days 
by its Hebrew name of Mizpeh,^ in later times by the corre- 
sponding Greek name of Scopus. There, before the conquest of 
Jebus, Samuel had held his assemblies ; there, as in a com- 
manding place of oversight, the Chaldaean and the Persian 
Viceroys had their habitations ; there was the Maccabaean 
wailing-place ; and there Sennacherib, and afterwards Titus, 
had their first view of the holy city ; and there, with Parmenio 
at his side, the Grecian conqueror now stood, with the same 
prospect spread before him. Suddenly from the city emerged a 
long procession — the whole population streamed out, dressed in 
white. The priestly tribe, in their white robes ; the High 
Priest, apparently the chief authority in the place, in his purple 
and gold attire, his turban on his head, bearing the golden plate 
on which was inscribed the ineffable name of Jehovah. It was 
Jaddua, the grandson '* of the indulgent Eliashib, the son of 
the murderer John, who, as it was said in his agony of fear at 
Alexander's approach, had been warned in a dream to take this 
method of appeasing the conqueror's wrath. ' Who are these ? ' 

* Derenbourg, 43. Hid. 42. * In the Talmud, Simon the Just 

^ See Mr, Grove on Mizpeh, Dictionary (Derenbourg, p. 42). But this is against all 
o/the Biblgf 389. chronology. 


said he to the Samaritan guides, who had gained from him the 
promise of the destruction of the Temple and the possession 
of Mount Moriah. * The} are the rebels who deny your 

* authority,' ^ said the rival sect They marched all night, in two 
ranks, preceded by torches, and with the band of priestly 
musicians clashing their cymbals. It was at the sunrise of a 
winter ^ morning, long afterwards observed as a joyous festival, 
when they stood before the king. To the astonishment of the 
surrounding chiefs ^ Alexander descended from his chariot and 
bowed to the earth before the Jewish leader. None ventured 
to ask the meaning of this seeming frenzy, save Parmenio alone. 
'Why should he, whom all men worship, worship the High 

* Priest of the Jews ?' * Not him,' replied the King, * but the 

* God, whose High Priest he is, I worship. I^ong ago, when at 
' Dium in Macedonia, I saw in my dreams such an one 

* in such an attire ^ as this, who urged me to undertake 

* the conquest of Persia and succeed ' — *or,' added the Rab- 
binical account,^ * it is the same figure that has appeared to me 

* on the eve of each of my victories.' Hand in hand with the 
High Priest, and with the priestly tribe running by his side, he 
entered the sacred enclosure,^ and offered the usual sacrifice, 
saw with pleasure the indication of the rise of the Grecian 
power in the prophetic books, ^ granted free use of their 
ancestral laws, and specially of the year of jubilee inaugurated 
so solemnly a hundred years before under Nehemiah, promised 
to befriend the Jewish settlements of Babylonia and Media, and 
invited any who were disposed, to serve in his army, with the 
preservation of their sacred customs. 

* And who are these ' (so added the fiercer tradition of the 
Talmud, in which theological legend has even more deeply 
coloured the historical event), ^ asked Alexander, *who have 

* threatened to take away your Temple ? ' * They are the 

* Derenbourg, 42. • Derenbourg, 42. 

' 2ist of Chisleu (Dec), Derenbourg, 41. * Jos. Ant. xi., ieoor, not rao?, 

* Derenbourg, 42. ' Josephus, as before, in his account of 
"Compare the dream in which he saw CyriiK, so now in his account of Alexander, 

the God of Tyre inviting him to take the mentions the book of Daniel by name 
rity ("Phuarch. A/e.r. 24), and the satyr (AnL xi. 5). See Lecture XLII I. 
I. .1 tlu f -",;.tain no doubt the Ras-el-Ain. ' Derenbourg, 43. 

P 2 

212 ALEXANDRIA. lbct. xlvii. 

' Cutheans now landing before you,' replied the Jewish High 
Priest, pointing to the hated Samaritans. * Take them,' said 
the King, *they are in your hands.' The Jews seized their 
enemies, threw them on the ground, pierced their heels, 
fastened them to the tails ^ of horses, which dragged them 
over thorns and briars till they reached Mount Gerizim. A 
ploughshare was driven over the Temple of Gerizim, and the 
day was henceforth observed as sacred to joy and festivity. 

These narratives are obviously mixed with fable, but it is 
probable that Alexander visited Jerusalem ; that he paid his 
homage to the God of the Jews as he had paid it to the God 
of the Tyrians ; that the rivalries of the Jews and Samaritans 
then, as of the Greeks and Latins now, grasped alike at the 
protection of this new Imperial power granted alternately to 
each. In a higher point of view, the romance of the story is 
. not unworthy of the importance of this first meeting 
religious of the Greek and the Hebrew on the stage of history. 
istory. Henceforth, Alexander the Great became the symbol 
of their union. His name came into common Jewish use as 
a translation of Solomon. ^ The philosophy of Aristotle was 
believed to have sprung from Alexander's gift of the works of 
Solomon. The friend of Jaddua becomes a Jewish proselyte. 
The son of Ammon, with the twisted horns appearing beneath 
his clustering locks, was transformed in the Mussulman legends 
into the saintly ' Possessor ^ of the Two Horns ' and reckoned 
among the Apostles of God. These legends or fancies were 
not without their corresponding realities. The Orientals were 
not so far wrong when they treated Alexander not only as a 
conqueror but a prophet. That capacious mind, which, first 
of the Greeks, and with a wider grasp than even his mighty 
master Aristotle, conceived the idea of the universal Father- 
hood of God, and the universal communion of all good men, 

^ This is probably a distortion of the ' ' He never allowed anyone to shave 

story of Alexander's brutal treatment of * his head, lest the horns should be seen — 

Batis, the brave defender of Gaza (Grote's ' at last they were seen, and the man, to 

Greece, xii. 195). ' keep the secret, whispered it into the 

" See Lecture XXVI. Another explana- • well, round which stood the reeds which 

tion of the frequency of the name of ' revealed it ' (Mussulman legend). 
Alexander is given in Raphall, i. 50. 


was * not far ^ from the realm of those with whom the Jew and 
Mussuknan have placed him. ' God,' he said,* * is the common 
* Father of all men, especially of the best men.' He came 
inspired ^ with the belief that he was the heaven-sent reconciler 
and pacificator of the whole world. These ideas bore fruit in 
two immense consequences. One was the union of the Euro- 
pean and Asiatic races under one Empire, leading to the 
spread of the Greek language as the common vehicle of com- 
munication in the Eastern, ultimately of the whole civilised, 
world ; of Greek ideas, partly for evil, and partly for good, into 
the very recesses of the Semitic mind. Of this we shall trace 
the course as we proceed. The other fact was the foundation 
of x\lexandria. It became at once the capital of the East, the 
centre of the three continents of the ancient earth, and the 
point in which Greek philosophy and Hebrew rehgion were to 
meet in an indissoluble union. 

In the little fishing-town of Rhacotis, the discerning eye of 
Alexander, on his rapid journey to the Oasis ^ of Amnion, saw 
the possibility of creating that which hitherto the 
of Aiexan- Eastem shores of the Mediterranean had entirely 
lacked — a magnificent harbour. The low level reef 
of the isle of Pharos ^ furnished the opportunity — when con- 
nected with the mainland by a mole— of such a shelter for 
ships as neither Tyre nor Sidon nor Joppa had ever been able 
to afford. 

The first Ptolemy did well to name the city not after him- 
self, but after Alexander. Not Constantine was more identified 
with the city on the shores of the Bosphorus than was 
Alexander with that at the mouth of the Nile. His friend 
Hephsestion became its guardian hero. The military cloak 
of Alexander supphed its outline. It was his own plan for 
Babylon resuscitated ; even the rectangular streets of the 

' Plutarch, Alex. 27. * Hfire, again, as at Tyre and Jerusalem, 

' icoii/b? T\Kef.v 6e69ev apjano-rft? Krai he was guided hy a dream. Homer, he 

fitaAAoKTij? Ta)v oAcav vopi^mv (Plutarch, said, had appeared to him, repeating the 

Alex. Fort. \. 6). I owe this quotation to lines which describe the island of Pharos 

Bishop Lightfoot. (Plutarch, Alex. 36). 

• Sharpe's Egy^t^ i. 290, a26, 241. 

214 ALEXANDRIA. lect. xlvil 

Asiatic capital were reproduced. In the later Jewish phrase- 
ology it even bore the name of Babylon.^ No funeral was 
ever seen more splendid than that which conveyed the remains 
of the dead ^ King from Chaldaea in the golden car drawn by 
sixty-four mules, each with its golden cover and golden bells, 
across desert and mountain, through the hills and vales of 
Palestine, till they were deposited in the tomb which gave to 
the whole quarter of Alexandria where it stood the name of 

* the Body.' That* tomb has gradually dwindled away to a 
wretched Mussulman chapel, kept by an aged crone, who 
watches over a humble shrine, called ^ The Grave of Iskander 

* of the Two Horns, founder of Alexandria. ' But * the whole 
'habitable earth was long filled,' according to the coarse saying 
of Demades, * with the odour of that interment.' ^ 'The horn 

* was broken,' as the Book of Daniel expressed it, * and the 
' four horns ' of the four successors came in its place ; and for 
the long wearisome years through which History passes with 
repugnance, and which* form perhaps the most lifeless and 
unprofitable page in the whole of the Sacred Volume, Asia, 
Europe, and Africa resounded with their wrangles. 

In this world's debate Palestine was the principal stage 
across which * the kings of the South,' the Alexandrian Pto- 
lemies, and * the kings of the North,' ^ the Seleucidae from 
Antioch, passed to and fro with their court intrigues and 
incessant armies, their Indian elephants, their Grecian cavalry, 
their Oriental pomp. It was, for the larger part of the century- 
and-half that succeeded Alexander's death, a province of the 
Graeco-Egyptian kingdom. 

It was now that new constellations of towns, some of which 
acquired an undying fame in Jewish and Christian history, 
Greek cities Sprang up, bearing in their names the mark of their 
in Palestine. Grecian origin.^ Judaea itself still remained entirely 
Semitic. But in a fringe all round that sacred centre the 
Ptolemies or the Seleucidae, but chiefly the Ptolemies, left 
their foot-prints, if not to this day, at least for centuries. 

' Surenhusius' MisAna, v. 240. * Can. xi. 1-20. 

' Diod. Sic. xviii. 21, 27. ' Reland, Palestina, p. 806. 

' Crete's Greece, xii. 346. 


On the sea-coast Gaza sprang from its ashes, now no more 
a Philistine, but a Grecian city. Close by we trace, in Anthe- 
don and Arethusa, a Hellenic City of Flowers with the remi- 
niscence of the famous Dorian fountain. The seaport of Joppa 
became to the Alexandrian sailors the scene of the adventure 
of Perseus and Andromeda. On another rocky headland rose 
the Tower of Strato, some Grecian magnate now unknown. 
Chief of all, the old Canaanitish fortress of Accho was trans- 
formed by Ptolemy Philadelphus or his father into * Ptolemais,' 
a title which for centuries overlaid the original name, once more 
to reappear in modern times as Acre.^ Beyond the Jordan a 
like metamorphosis was effected in the ancient capital of Ammon, 
when Rabbah, after the same Prince, was called Philadelphia. 
In its neighbourhood sprang up the new town of Gerasa, so 
called, according to tradition, from the aged men (gerontes) 
whom Alexander left there as unable to keep up with his rapid 
march. Further north were two towns, each with its Mace- 
donian name ^— one Dium, so called from the Thracian city, 
where, according to the legend, Alexander had seen in his dream 
the figure of Jaddua ; the other Pella,^ from the likeness of its 
abundant springs to the well-'watered capital of Macedonia. 
Round the southern extremity pf the Lake of Gennesareth the 
Canaanite Bethshan, from the reminiscence of its Scythian 
conquerors, became Scythopolis, with a new legend ascribing 
its foundation to Bacchus ; and Sus ^ easily changed itself into 
the corresponding Greek name of Hippos. High up beyond 
Dan, the romantic cave which overhangs the chief source of the 
Jordan became the Sanctuary of Pan, and the town which 
clustered at its foot acquired, and has never lost (except for the 
period of the Roman occupation), the name of Paneas. 

Through these Hellenic settlements it is not surprising that 
Grecian ^^^^ ^"^ 2CCion some story reached the outer world 
travellers. fj-Qj^ |-j^g Jewish Settlement which they enclosed. 
At one time it was Hecataeus of Abdera, the indefatigable 

' Reland, 918. ' Ibid. 458. * The Hebrew word for 'horse.' Cler- 

' Ibid. 924. There was another Pella in mont Ganneau, Revue ArtfUologiguetJxsJtf 
Moab. I kid. loi- 1875. 



traveller, who in his vast researches had included the British 
Islands and the Egyptian Temples.^ He travelled with the 
first Ptolemy into Palestine, and saw with admiration the sanc- 
tuary at Jerusalem ; and there heard how the Jews in Alexander's 
army refused to join in rebuilding the Temple of Bel at Babylon ; 
he long remembered the Jewish bowman, Mosollam, most 
famous of all the archers in his day, who acted as the guide of 
Hecatseus' party ^ by the shores of the Red Sea, and showed at 
once his professional skill, his national courage, and his rehgious 
superiority to the superstition of all around him, by shooting the 
bird from which the soothsayers were drawing their auguries. 
At another time it was Agathar chides who was struck with a 
mixture of awe and contempt at the rigid observance of the 
Sabbath which led them to leave their city unguarded to be taken 
when on that same expedition Ptolemy invaded Judaea and 
captured Jerusalem.^ Most memorable of all, * the great master 

* of all the peculiarities of nature and of men, and the eager 

* investigator of all the varieties then pouring out of Asia, the 
' mighty Aristotle himself, met with a Jew who had descended ^ 

* from his mountain fastnesses to the Hellenised sea-board of 

* his country, and thus in his travels encountered and conversed 

* with Aristotle on the philosophy of Greece, and himself replied 

* to the great master's inquiries on the wonders of his own people.' 
Questions and answers are aJike unrecorded. But no * ima- 
' ginary dialogue ' can be conceived more instructive than this 
actual conversation of which the bare fact alone remains in the 
fragment of Clearchus, to whom it was repeated by Aristotle 

Within that inner circle of mountain fastnesses, for the 
long period from Alexander the Great to Antiochus Epiphanes, 
rpj^g there are but few events which throw any light on 

Chronicles. ^\^q rcligious history of this now secluded people. 
We discern the fact, slightly, yet certainly indicated, that the 
last book of the Jewish annals which has come down to us in 
the Hebrew tongue was now finally concluded in its present 
form. The Book of Chronicles, including, as it doubtless did, 

^ Diod. i. 46 ; ii. 47. ' Jq,s. c. Aj>. i. 22. ^ Ibid. * Ewald, v. 247. 


in the same group the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, received 
at this time its latest touches. * Darius the Persian ' is men- 
tioned as belonging to an Empire which had by that time 
ceased to exist, and the priestly and royal lines are continued 
down to the contemporaries of Alexander.* Of the peculiarities 
of the Chronicler we have already spoken.^ But it is a marked 
epoch in the story of the Jewish race, when we catch a parting 
glimpse of one who has accompanied us so long and with 
such varying interest We bade farewell to the compiler of the 
prophetical Book of Kings on the banks of the Euphrates. We 
bid farewell to the compiler of the priestly * Chronicles* under 
the shadow of the Grecian dominion in the fastness of Jeru- 

The priestly office still continued in the same corrupt con- 
dition as under the Persian dominion. The highest ambition 
The Sons of ^^ ^^^ occupauts sccms to havc been the making of 
Tobiah. colossal fortuncs by the farming of the revenues of 
the country, of which, as chief magistrate, the High Priest was 
made the collector, for the tribute ^ to the Egyptian King. Out 
of this there grew a rival ambition of the head of a powerful 
clan, which, under the name of *The Sons of Tobiah,' long 
exercised sway both in the Alexandrian court and in the Temple 
of Jerusalem. It would seem that they claimed some descent 
from the House of David, and the cleverness of their repre- 
sentative at this time — Joseph, nephew of the High Priest Onias 
— established him in high favour with Ptolemy IV. "* It is 
needless to follow the course of this earlier Anastasius. One 
permanent monument remains of his family. His youngest 
son, Hyrcanus,^ inheritor of his fortunes, deposited them in the 
bank,^ which, as in Greece, so in Judaea, was established in the 
Temple, and then settled himself as an independent freeboot- 
ing chief in a fastness beyond the Jordan. It was a castle of 

* Neh. xii. 11-22; i Chron. iii. 22, 23, * Jos. Anf. xii. 4, 2. 

24. ' Herzftid (ii. 435) supposes the * sons of 

" See Lecture XXXVI. 'mischief and the 'visions' in Daniel 

*The tribute to the foreign Kings was xi. 14, to refer to the troubles and tho 

made up from the yearly poll-tax of the pretensions of Hyrcanus. The name he 

half-shekel, called in Greek the didrachma. regards as the Hellenic equivalent of 

Sharpe's Egypt, l 328. Johanan (ii. 191). • 2 Mace, iii, 11. 

21 8 ALEXANDRIA. lect. xltiu 

white marble, carved with colossal figures, and surrounded by 
a deep moat, and in face of it was a cliff honeycombed with 
a labyrinth of caverns. It was named 'the Rock.' ^ In this 
fantastic residence he reigned as an independent magnate 
amongst the neighbouring Arabs, till at last he was hunted 
down by the Syrian Kings. But the castle and the rock still 
remain, and preserve the name of Hyrcanus, the semi- Arabian 
chief, in the modern appellation oi Arak-el-Emir?' The fosse, 
the fragments of the colonnade, the entrance -gateway, with the 
colossal lions sculptured on its frieze, the mixture of Greek 
Ionic capitals with the palm-leaved architecture as of the 
Ptolemaic temples at Philae, the vast stables hewn out of the 
adjacent rock, all attest the splendour of this upstart Prince — ■ 
this heir, if so be, of the lineage of David. 

Amidst these intrigues and adventures there rises one stately 
figure, the High Priest,^ Simon the Just, towering above all who 
Simon the camc bcforc him and all who came after him in that 
Just. office, from the time of Zerubbabel to the time of the 

Maccabees. According to one legend it was he who encoun- 
tered Alexander the Great. According to another he was the 
last survivor of the members of the Great Synagogue. Accord- 
ing to another it was he who warned Ptolemy Philopator — the 
one exception to the friendly character of the Ptolemaean 
princes — not to enter the Temple. The expression of his 
intention had thrown (so it was said) the whole city into con- 
sternation. From the densely packed multitude there went up 
a cry so piercing that it would have seemed as if the very walls 
and foundations of the city shared in it. In the midst of the 

' Josephus {Ant. xii. 4, 11) calls it was the Simon described in Ecclesiasticus. 

* Tyre.' This surely must be the Hebrew Derenbourg has conclusively established 

Tstir, which is 'rock.' See Sinai and (47-51) that the Simon of Ecclesiasticus 

Palestine, 278, 488. was Simon the Just, and that this Simon 

' Tristram's Land of Israel, 529. Pales- was Simon II. That Josephus, who iden- 

tine Exploration Fund, Quarterly State- tifies Simon the Just with Simon I., should 

tnent, April 1872. Travels of Irby and have been mistaken is no more surprising 

Mangles, p. 473. than his like error in confounding Ahasue- 

^ There are two High Priests in this rus with Artaxerxes, or transferring San- 
period, both Simons and both sons of ballat from the time of Nehemiah to the 
Onias, It is a question which of the two time of Alexander, 
was Simon the Just and which of the two 


tumult was heard the prayer of Simon, invoking the All -seeing 
God. And then, like a reed broken by the wind, the Egyptian 
King fell on the pavement * and was carried out by his guards. 
All the traditions combine in representing Simon as closing 
the better days of Judaism. Down to his time it was always 
the right hand of the High Priest that drew the lot of the con- 
secrated goat : after his time the left and right wavered and 
varied. Down to his time the red thread round the neck of 
the scape-goat turned white, as a sign that the sins of the people 
were forgiven ; afterwards, its change was quite uncertain. The 
candlestick at the entrance of the Temple burned in his time 
without fail : afterwards it often went out. Two faggots a day 
sufficed to keep the flame on the altar alive in his time : after- 
wards piles of wood were insufficient. In his last year he was 
said to have foretold his death, from the omen that whereas on 
all former occasions he w^as accompanied into the Holy of 
Holies on the Day of Atonement to the entrance only by an 
old man clothed in white from head to foot, in that year his 
companion was attired in black, and followed him as he went 
in and came out. These were the forms in which the later 
Jewish belief expressed the sentiment of his transcendent worth, 
and of the manifold changes which were to follow him. But 
the more authentic indications convey the same impression. 
The very title of 'the Just' ^ expressed the feeling, as always, 
that he stood alone in an untoward age. The description 
which has come down to us by his contemporaries, in whose 
judgment ^ he worthily closed the long succession of ancient 
heroes, is that of a venerable personage, who belonged to a 
nobler age and would be seen again no more. They remem- 
bered his splendid appearance when he came out from behind 
the sacred curtain of the Holy of Holies into the midst of the 
people as they crowded the Temple on the Great Fast-day. I 

* 3 Mace. i. 28, 29 ; ii. i, 21, 24. Comp. to enter the shrine of Isaac. 

2 Mace. ili. 25. An exactly similar story ^ Thus Noah, Gen. vi. 9 ; Joseph in the 

was related to me by the Imam of the Koran xii. 76, James in Josephus (in 

Mosque of Hebron of another Egyptian Eus. //. E> ii. 23). Derenb. 47. 

potentate — Ibrahim Pacha — who was ' Ecclus. 1. i ai. 
struck down in like manner on attempting 

220 ALEXANDRIA. lect. xlvii. 

was like the morning star bursting from a cloud, or the moon 
in her fulness. It was like the sunlight striking the golden 
pinnacles of the Temple, or the rainbow in the stormy cloud. 
It was as the freshly blown rose, or the lilies clustering by the 
stream, the olive laden with fruit, or the fir-tree reaching to the 
sky, with the fragrance as of frankincense, with the refinement 
as of a golden vessel set with gems. Every gesture was followed 
with admiration. To the gorgeous robes of his office he gave 
additional grace by the way he wore them. When he stood 
among the priests he towered above them like a cedar in a grove 
of palms. When he poured out the libations or offered the 
offerings, the blast of the silver trumpets, the loud shout of the 
people, the harmony of the various voices, the profound pros- 
trations, were all in keeping, and his final benediction was an 
event in the memory of those who had received it. 

On the material fabric of the city and Temple he left his 
permanent traces in the repairs and fortification and elevation 
of the walls, in its double cloister, and the brazen plates with 
which he encased the huge laver of ablutions. The respect 
which he won from Antiochus ^ the Great procured from him 
the timber and stone for the work. The precept which sur- 
vived of his teaching was : * There are three foundations of the 

* world — the Law, the Worship ' (and herein consisted his pecu- 
liar teaching), * and Benevolence.' In accordance with this 
gentle humanity is the one anecdote handed down of his private 
thoughts. ' I never, ^ he said, * could endure to receive the 

* monastic dedication of the Nazarites. Yet once I made an 

* exception. There came a youth from the south to consecrate 

* himself I looked at him — his eyes were beautiful, his air 

* magnificent, his long hair fell clustering in rich curls over his 

* face. " Why," I asked him, " must you shave off these splendid 

* locks?" *'I was a shepherd of my father's flocks," he re- 
' plied, " in my native village. One day, drawing water at the 
' well, I saw with undue complacency my reflection in the 

* water. I should have given way to a wicked inclination and 
'have been lost. I said : * Wicked one, wilt thou be proud 

* Derenbourg, 47. 


" * of that which does not belong to thee, who art but worms 

* and dust ? O God, I will cut off these curls for the honour of 

* heaven.'"' Then, said Simon, * I embraced his head and 

* exclaimed : " Would that there were many such Nazarites in 
' Israel ! "' ^ 

There was yet one other character of the Ptolemaean period 
of Palestine, Joshua, the son of Sirach — contemporary or nearly 
contemporary of Simon — who was conspicuous in his time at 
once as the great student of the sacred Hebrew literature, as 
the collector of the grave and short sentences of the wise men 
who went before him, and as himself uttering ' some things of 
*his own, full of understanding and judgment' But the cha- 
racteristics of his work must be reserved for its appearance in 
the Greek form in which alone it is now known. 

We turn from these brief and disjointed notices of the in- 
ternal history of Palestine under the Ptolemies to the important 
Jewish settlement more directly connected with them 
colonies in in Egypt. It was directly to the east of Alexandria — 
^^^^* close along ^ the sea-shore, probably with a view to 
the convenience of their ablutions in the Mediterranean — that 
the Jewish colonists chiefly resided ; and to this day the burial- 
ground of their race is on the sandy hillocks in the same situa- 
tion. They were in such numbers as to be known by the name 
of ' The Tribe.' ^ They retained the privileges alleged to have 
been granted by Alexander, as on a level with the Macedonian 
settlers. The commercial enterprise of the race, never since 
extinct, now for the first time found an outlet. They gradually 
became a separate community under their own chief, entitled 
Ethnarch or Alabarch, and represented more than a third of 
Alexandria, with a council corresponding to that which ulti- 
mately ruled at Jerusalem.* 

This was the only settlement of permanent interest. Other 
colonies may be traced here and there, under the Ptolemaean 
rule, in insulated fragments. One was the band of Samaritans,^ 
who, still keeping up their deadly feud, retired to the Thebaid. 

' Derenbourg, 47. * See Herzfeld, Geschichte, iii. 437, 438, 

= Josephus; c. Ap. ii. 4. "^ Ibid. 445, 446. * Jos. Ant. xi. 8. 

222 ALEXANDRIA. lbct. xltii. 

Another was the group of anchorites by the lake Mareotis, the 
forerunners of the parents of Christian monasticism. Another 
powerful community was settled at Cyrene — just become a 
dependency on Egypt — destined to react on the nation in 
Palestine ^ by their special synagogue at Jerusalem. 

Another, still in the future, but drawn by the same friendly 
influence of the Graeco- Egyptian dynasty, was the 
eontopo IS. gg^^-igj^gj^i. ^^ Lcontopolis. When, in the subsecjuent 
troubles of Palestine, it seemed that the Temple itself would 
perish, one of the High Priestly family, Nechoniah or Coniah, 
in Greek Onias— fled to Egypt, and begged the loan of a de- 
serted temple of Pasht,^ the Cat- Goddess, in the neighbourhood 
of Heliopolis. There, with the military experience which he 
may have acquired in heading a band of troops in one of the 
Egyptian civil wars, he built a fortress ^ and a temple, which, 
although on a smaller^ scale, was to rival that of Jerusalem, 
where he and his sons, keeping up the martial traditions of the 
Levitical tribe, formed a powerful body of soldiery, and assumed 
the name and habits of a camp.^ The general style of the 
sanctuary was (apparently) not Jewish but Egyptian. A huge 
tower — perhaps equivalent to the great gateway of Egyptian 
temples ^ — rose to the height of sixty cubits. There were no 
obelisks, but it Hvas approached by the usual long colonnades ^ 
of pillars. The altar alone resembled that of the Jewish temple. 
But instead of the candlestick a golden chandelier was suspended 
from the roof by a golden chain. A circuit of brick walls, as 
in the adjacent sanctuary of Heliopolis, enclosed it, and the 

* Acts ii. I ; vi. i ; Herzfeld, iii. 321. worked out in Herzfeld, iii. 562. It is 

^ The name of LeontoPolis, in connexion possible, however, that it may have been 

with the Temple of Onias, probably arose so called from sacred lions, which, at the 

from this. Every Temple of Pasht (called more certainly ascertained Leontopolis, 

by the Greeks Bubastis) was (as is familiar were kept in separate houses and had songs 

to every visitor to Thebes) a menagerie of sung to them during their meals, ^lian, 

cats, living, embalmed, or in stone. This xii. 7 ; Wilkinson, v. 173 ; iv. 296. 

to the Greeks, as to the Arabs, who give ' Jos. c. Ap. ii. 5. 

one name to the two animals, may well "• Jos. Ant. xiii. ' Herzfeld, iii. 463. 
have caused this sanctuary of Pasht to ' Jos. B. y. vii. 10, 3. 
have been called the City of Lions, and '' This must be the origin of the state- 
therefore we have no need to seek the ment of Apion (Jos. c. Ap. ii. 2) and of 
locality in any other part of Egypt. This Strabo, xvii, 
solution had occurred to me before I saw it 


mins of these it is that still form the three rugged sandhills 
known by the name of *the Mounds of the Jews.' It was a 
bold attempt to form a new centre of Judaism ; and the attempt 
was supported by one of the earliest efforts to find in the poetic 
language of the ancient prophets a local, prosaic, and temporary 
application. In the glowing prediction ^ of the homage which 
Egypt should hereafter pay to Israel, Isaiah had expressed the 
hope that there should be five cities in Egypt speaking the 
language of Canaan and revering the Sacred Name, and that 
one of these should be the sacred City of the Sun. What had 
been indicated then as the most surprising triumph — the con- 
version of the chief sanctuary of the old Egyptian worship to 
the true religion — was seized by Onias as a proof that in the 
neighbourhood, if not within the walls, of the Sun City — which 
the Greeks called Heliopolis, and which the Egyptians called 
On — there should rise a temple of Jehovah. The very Name 
of On was a likeness to his own name of Onias. The passage 
in Isaiah was yet further changed to give the city a name more 
exactly resembling the title of Jerusalem. As the City of the 
Palestinian sanctuary was called the Holy City, the City of 
Holiness, so this was supposed to have been foreseen §s the 
Righteous City — the City of Righteousness.^ It was, moreover, 
close within the view of that sacred college where, according to 
Egyptian tradition, Moses himself had studied. But a worship 
and a system so elaborately built up on doubtful etymologies 
and plays on ambiguous words was not destined to long en- 
durance ; and, although an ample patrimony was granted by 
the Egyptian kings for the endowment of this new Pontificate, 
and although the territory round was long called the 'Land 
'of Onias,' ^ and the sanctuary lasted for three centuries, it 
passed away under the pressure of the Roman ^ government, 

* Isa. xix. 18,19. * The city of the sun ' eccentricity, supposes Onias's interpreta- 

— wrongly translated in the A. V. ' the city tion to be correct. 

* of destruction.' Herzfeld (iii. 561) gives ' This appears in the LXX. translation 

the explanation as above. Gesenius (on of Isa. xix. 18, 19, ttoAi? 'AaeSf'ic. 

/sai'ak, iii. 639) has doubts of the genuine- ' The whole question is ably discussed 

ness of the passage. Whiston (on Jos. in Herzfeld, iii. 556-564. 

Ant. xiii. 3, i) with his usual honesty 9J:id * Jos. B. J. vii. 10, 4. 

224 ALEXANDRIA. mct. xlvii. 

and left no permanent trace even on the Alexandrian Jews. 
The failure of such a distorted prediction is a likeness of what 
may be in store for equally fanciful applications of sacred words 
and doubtful interpretations in more modern times. 

It may be that round ^ this centre of ancient Jewish tra- 
ditions, secluded on the border of the desert from the great 
world of Alexandria, was gathered the opposition to the Grecian 
learning which we faintly discern in the next century. But it 
had only a local and sectarian existence. The flow of the re- 
ligious life of the new story of ' Israel in Egypt ' rolled on re- 
gardless of this artificial and insulated sanctuary. The presiding 
genius of Egyptian Judaism was not the priestly house of Onias, 
but the royal house of Ptolemy. 

Over these Jewish colonists, as over their native Egyptian 
subjects, the Ptolemies, at least for the first four reigns, ruled 
The with beneficent toleration. The Egyptian priesthood, 

Ptolemies, ^^^^^j. ^j^^ j^^j.^^ dominion of the Persian iconoclasts, 
welcomed them as deliverers. The temples were restored or 
rebuilt after the antique model. The names of the Grecian 
Kings and Queens were carved in hieroglyphics, and their 
figures painted on the Temple walls in the disguise of the 
Pharaohs. They became as Egyptians to the Egyptians, and 
so to the Jews they became almost as Jews^ — sending their 
accustomed sacrifice to the Temple of Jerusalem, and patron- 
ising with* lands and privileges the Temple of Leontopolis. 
The Museum with its unique Library, the scholars who fre- 
quented the court — Euclid the geometrician, Apelles the painter, 
Eratosthenes the grammarian — brought the Grecian learning to 
the very doors of the Israehte community.^ In this fostering 
atmosphere there sprang up those influences which Alexandria 

* Nicolas, p. 842. Temple by Simon the Just ; he is com- 

' The one exception is Ptolemy Philo- pelled to acknowledge the rights of the 

pator, whose endeavour to enter the Alexandrian Jews by the reluctance of the 

Temple, and whose employment of the elephants ; and this was commemorated 

Indian punishment of trampling under the by a festival like that of Purim. See 

feet of enraged elephants, is the subject of Ewald, v. 468. 

the third Book of Maccabees. But even ' Herzfeld, iii. 446-458. See Sliarpe's 

these incidents terminate happily for the Egypt^ chap. vi:. 

Jcvv*. H<^ is restrained from entering the 


exercised over the Jewish, and thus over the Christian, Church 
for ever. 

The first was the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into 
Greek — the rise of what may properly be termed the Greek 

As the meeting of the Greek Empire with the Jewish nation 
is presented to us in the legend of Alexander's interview with 
The Septua- Jaddua, so the meeting of the two sacred languages 
gint(Lxx.) ^£ Qyqq]^ ^^^ Hebrew is presented to us in the legend 
of the Seventy Translators. It was believed two centuries 
later — and, however much the details have been shaken by 
recent criticism, the main fact is not doubted — that in the reign 
of the second Ptolemy the translation of the Pentateuch into 
Greek was undertaken at Alexandria. It is, perhaps, most 
probable that it sprang up spontaneously to supply the wants 
of the Alexandrian Jews. But the Jewish community would 
not be satisfied with this homely origin. The story took two 
forms. One was that King Ptolemy Philadelphus, wishing to 
discover the difference between the Jews and the Samaritans, 
summoned ^ five translators — three representing the Samaritans, 
one Jew, and one assessor. The Samaritans undertook the 
Pentateuch, the Jew the later Books, and the King approved 
the Samaritan version. This was, doubtless, the Samaritan 
tradition. It points to the gradual growth of the work. It also 
may connect itself wath the venerable High Priest ^ Hezekiah, 
whom Hecatseus met in Egypt, and who appears to have been 
the chief of the sacerdotal order not in Jerusalem but in 

The larger story is ^ that of which the full account is given 
in the letter ascribed to Aristeas, a courtier of Ptolemy 11. 
This account rose above the level of the sectarian differences 

' The number 5 also appears in the (2) that the Samaritan High Priest in 

Talmudic traditions (Sopherim, i. 7) Alexander's time was Hezekiah ; 3) that 

quoted in Herzfeld, lii. 536. Two names Hecataeus never d-^tinguishes between the 

were connected with the work by tradition, Jews and Samaritans. 

Aristobulus with Exodus, Lysimachus with ' ' The letter of Aristeas to Philocratcs' 

Esther (Gratz, iii. 35). is given in Hody, De Bibliortmi Tcxtibvs 

" Jos. c. Ap. Herzfeld (iii. 538) founds OHginalilms, p. i.-xxvi. For the discus- 

this conjecture on the facts (1) that no sion of details see ihid. i-o, Ewald, v. 

Jewish Hezekiah is known at thi« time ; 249, Kueneii, iii. 171, Herzfeld iii. 545, 

in. Q 

226 ALEXANDRIA. lect. xltii. 

of Jew and Samaritan, and attached itself to the wide sympathies 
of the great patrons of Gentile literature. Ptolemy Philadelphus 
(thus ran the tale) was resolved to enrich his new library by so 
important a treasure as an intelligible version of the sacred 
books of so large a class of his subjects. Seventy or seventy- 
two delegates were sent from the High Priest at Jerusalem — it 
may be, as in the story, so as to give six from each of the twelve 
tribes, or in order to correspond to the sum total of the Jewish 
Council, or in accordance with the mystic number which per- 
vades this and other Eastern stories,^ A long catalogue existed 
of the splendid tables, cisterns, and bowls, which Josephus^ 
describes as if he had seen them, and which are said to have 
been sent by Ptolemy at this time as presents to conciliate the 
Jewish High Priest to the work. A local tradition long pointed 
out the island of the Pharian lighthouse as the scene of their 
labours. There, it was believed, they pursued their work, 
withdrawn in that seagirt fortress from the turmoil of the streets 
of Alexandria, and with the opportunity of performing every 
morning their religious ablutions in the sea which washed their 
threshold — and on the shore of which, as late as the second 
century, were shown the remains of the seventy ^ or the thirty- 
six cells in which the translators had been lodged, and in which 
(so the later ^Alexandrian tradition maintained) each produced 
by miracle exactly the same inspired version as all the rest, 
without one error or contradiction. 

Like all such incidents of the contact between a narrower 
and a broader civilisation, the event itself was by different 
portions or at different times of the Jewish community invested 
with totally contrary aspects. 

On the one hand, it was regarded as a great calamity, equal 
to that of the worship of the Golden Calf. The day "^ on which 

^ See Ewald, v. 252. * The fast -day was the 8th of Tebet 

" Jos. Ant. xii. 2, 7, 8, 9. (January). See the quotations from the 

. ' Justin {CoJwrt. ad Grcecos, c. 34) saw Talmud and the arguments upon their 

the 70 cells. Epiphanes {De Pond, et date in Kuenen, iii. 214-216. The Sama- 

Mens. c. vii., viii.) speaks of 36 cells, in ritans took the same view, on account of 

which they were lodged, two and two, with their hatred of the Jewish translation (Herz- 

two scribes in each (Comp, Irenaeus, Adv, feld, iii. 537). 
Hcer, iii. 34). 


it was accomplished was believed to have been the beginning 
of a preternatural darkness of three days' duration over the 
whole world, and was commemorated as a day of fasting and 
humiliation. It needs but slight evidence to convince us that 
such a feehng more or less widely-spread must have existed. 
It is the same instinct which to this hour makes it a sin, if not 
an impossibility, in the eyes of a devout Mussulman to translate 
the Koran ; which in the Christian Church assailed Jerome 
with the coarsest vituperation for venturing on a Latin version 
which differed from the Greek ; which at the Reformation 
regarded it as a heresy to translate the Latin Scriptures into 
the languages of modern Europe ; and which in England has 
in our own days regarded it in the English Church as a dan- 
gerous innovation to revise the authorised version of the 
seventeenth century, or in the Roman Church to correct the 
barbarous dialect of the Douay translation of the Vulgate, or to 
admit of any errors in the text or the rendering of the Vulgate 
itself In one and all of these cases the reluctance has sprung 
from the same tenacious adherence to ancient and sacred forms 
— from the same unwillingness to admit of the dislodgment 
even of the most flagrant inaccuracies when once familiarised 
by established use. But for all these venerable texts, even in 
some instances the Koran, this sentiment has been compelled 
to yield to the more generous desire of arriving at the hidden 
meaning of sacred truth, and of making that truth more widely 
known. So it was in the most eminent degree in the case of 
the Septuagint. The very stor}^, ^ fictitious as it may be, of the 
splendour of the reception of the translators at Alexandria 
indicates the pride which was taken in the work. The eager- 
ness of the tradition to connect the translation with the Grecian 
king and his universal library shows how gladly it was welcomed 
as a bridge between the Jewish and the Gentile world ; the 
fantastic addition which was made in Christian times of the 
preternatural inspiration of the seventy translators, shows how 

■' The probability, amounting almost to For this and for its connexion with the 
certainty, is that the Pentateuch alone was Samaritans see Ewald, v. 253. 
translated under Ptolemy Philadelphus. 


228 ALEXANDRIA. lect. xlvii. 

readily the new takes the place of the old, and exhibits in the 
most striking form the transference, which has again and again 
occurred, of the same reverence, it may be even of the same 
superstition, for the new version as had formerly clung with 
exclusive attachment to the old. 

If ever there was a translation which, by its importance, 
rose to a level with the original, it was this. It was not the 
Its import- original Hebrew but the Septuagint translation through 
ance. which the religious truths of Judaism became known 

to the Greek and the Roman. It was the Septuagint which 
was the Bible ^ of the EvangeHsts and Apostles in the first 
century, and of the Christian Church for the first age of its 
existence, which is still the only recognised authorised text of 
the Eastern Church, and the basis of the only authorised text 
of the Latin Church. Widely as it differs from the Hebrew 
Scriptures in form, in substance, in chronology, in language ; 
unequal, imperfect, grotesque as are its renderings, it has never- 
theless, through large periods of ecclesiastical history, rivalled, 
if not superseded, those Scriptures themselves. This substi- 
tution was, no doubt, in great measure based on the fable of 
the miraculous accuracy of the translation, and has led to the 
strangest theological confusions in the treatment of the Bible 
by the older Churches — which thus claim for two contradictory 
texts the same authority, and avowedly prefer the translation to 
the original. But still, on the whole, in the triumph of the 
Septuagint the cause of freedom, of criticism, of charity tri- 
umphed also. No rigid requirement of literal exactness can 
stand in the presence of the fact that apostles or apostolic men 
appealed for their arguments to a translation so teeming with 
acknowledged mistakes. No criticism need fear to handle 
freely the Sacred Volume, in which the Alexandrian translators 
ventured on such bold variations, accommodations, omissions, 
and insertions, with the applause of the Christian world from 
Irenaeus to Augustine. Whatever religious scruple is felt at 
circulating occasional errors in the hope of inculcating the 
general truth with which they have been entangled should dis- 

^ See Roberts, Discussion on the Lan^^tia^^e of Palestine^ p. 292. 


appear before the example of the authoritative and universal 
use, in early times, of the Septuagint, which differs far more 
widely from the original, and is far more deeply imbued with 
the natural infirmity of translators, than any other version of the 
Bible that has ever since appeared. 

Again, the gradual completion of the translation, dragging 
its slow length along for at least two centuries, is an encou- 
its pecuii- ragement to the laborious efforts of modern scholars, 
arities. ^ach adding something to the knowledge of the 

preceding time. The use to which the Seventy turned their 
knowledge of Egyptian localities and customs is a faint, yet 
sufficient stimulus, in the interpretation of the Scriptures, to 
the duty of seeking light far and near. The honest silence 
with which, when the Greek translators stumble upon Hebrew 
words, such as those describing the furniture of the Tenlple or 
the tunes of the Psalms, they hold their pens, and leave the 
unintelligible phrases in their native obscurity unexplained, is 
an example of the modest love of truth, capable of confessing 
its own ignorance — a modesty such as many interpreters have 
grievously lacked. If ' the noble army of translators,' as they 
have been sometimes called, may look with affectionate venera- 
tion on Jerome's cell of Bethlehem, on Luther's study in the 
Castle of the Wartburg, on the Jerusalem Chamber, where 
once and again the majestic language of the English Bible has 
been revised, yet the goal of their most sacred pilgrimage should 
be the narrow rocky islet of the Alexandrian harbour, where 
was kindled a brighter and more enduring beacon in the intel- 
lectual and religious sphere even than the world-renowned 
Pharos, which in the maritime w^orld has been the parent of all 
the lights that from shore to shore and sea to sea have guided 
the mariners for two thousand years. 

We do not propose to follow their labour into detail, or to 
give the various instances of the liberties taken with the sacred 
text, lengthening the chronology to suit the more exacting 
claims of Egyptian science, softening the anthropomorphic 
representations of the Divinity to meet the requirements of 
Grecian philosophy. 

230 ALEXANDRIA. lect. XLvn. 

One example alone shall be given of the connexion of the 
translation with the Alexandrian Court and with Hellenic 
culture. There was a tradition in the Talmud that in the 
Pentateuch,^ in rendering the word Arnebeth ('hare') not by 
lagos (the usual Greek word for hare) but by dasypus (hairy- 
foot), the Greek translators were influenced or controlled by 
the desire to avoid so homely a use of the name of Lagus^ the 
father of the Ptolemsean dynasty. The mere supposition of 
such a courtly concession on so minute a point implies a de- 
pendence on the Greek sovereign, which far exceeds even the 
dedication of the Authorised English Version to King James L, 
or Sixtus V.'s imperious preface to the Vulgate. But, though 
it is hardly necessary to resort to so strange an hypothesis, the 
real explanation leads us to the intervention of another influence 
on the text more reasonable and equally curious. The substi- 
tution of the word dasypus for lagos was not uncommon at this 
time, but for its frequency there was a cause more interesting 
than the power of the Lagidae. The conquests of Alexander 
had contributed to the production of a more permanent monu- 
ment of his progress than the dynasty of the Ptolemies. On 
the specimens sent home to his great teacher had been founded 
and published the greatest scientific work of ancient times, 
Aristotle's ' History of Animals.' In it the modern word dasypus 
had almost entirely superseded the older word lagos^ and the 
translators at Alexandria might therefore well have been ex- 
pected to catch the new fashion. But there was an even yet 
more striking example of Aristotle's influence on this passage. 
In that same context the hare in the Hebrew Scriptures is 
described as a ruminating animal. In the ancient world, before 
the birth of accurate observation, that which had the appearance 
of rumination had been taken for the reality and was so con- 
sidered. But by the time that the Greek translators approached 
this text, the secret of the habits of the hare had been disclosed 
by the natural history of Aristotle, and, accordingly, on this 

* Lev. xi, 6 ; Deut. xiv. 7. See Kuenen, word translated * hare ' in the English of 

iii. 212, There is, however, some con- Lev. xi. 6, is by the LXX. translated 

fusion here. Dasypus is the translation of chcerogryllus. In either case, however, 

th« word for coney in Lev, xi, 5, The there is a deviation from logos. 


minute point arose the first direct conflict, often since repeated, 
between Theology and Science. The venerable translators who 
were at work, if so be, on the Pharos island, were too con- 
scientious to reject so clear an evidence of the fact ; but they 
were too timid to allow the contradiction to appear, and they 
therefore, with the usual rashness of fear, twice over ^ boldly 
interpolated the word not into the sacred text, and thus, as 
they thought, reconciled it to science by reversing the special 
point of the passage. There have since that time been many 
falsifications of Science to meet the demands of theology. This 
is the first instance of many Hke falsifications of Scripture to 
meet the demands of Science. 

The appearance of the Septuagint translation was important 
not only in itself, but as affording a new opening for constant 
TheApo- additions to the sacred volume. The Hebrew 
crypha. Literature had come nearly to an end. If here and 
there a fresh Hebrew book or a fresh Hebrew Psalm might be 
added, their entrance was more or less covert, ambiguous, and 
questionable. But the Greek literature was still abounding, 
and into that vast world the Jewish race was now entering. 
From this time forward, with very few exceptions, any new 
sacred book which should win its way must be part not of the 
Hebrew, but of the Greek Bible. The tents of Shem were 
closed, but the doors of Japheth were expanded with a never- 
ending enlargement The first pages of this Greek volume 
began with the Grecian translation of the Pentateuch ; but its 
last pages were not closed till they had included the last of the 
writings which bore the name of St. John. This w^as the chief 
outward bond between the Jewish and the Christian Scriptures. 
By this unity of the sacred language the beginning and end of 
the sacred literature were indissolubly linked together, and not 
only so, but by its intervention was filled the gap between the 
Old and the New Testament, and their differences were veiled 
under the common garb of Greek. Into that vacant space? 
clothed in the same language, stole in those Grecian books, 
which in the Latin Church have been called Deuterocanonical, 

' Lev. xi. 5, 6. (LXX, ed. Van Ess.) 

232 ALEXANDRIA. lect. xLvrr. 

and in the Protestant Churches Apocryphal, but which in the 
early ages of Christianity were blended, under the common 
sanction of the Septuagint, with the earlier books which closed 
with Malachx, the Chronicles, or Daniel, according to the 
varying order in which the Hebrew books were arranged. ^ 

The introduction of these ^ writings into the very heart of 
the ancient Scriptures has had wider consequences than is often 

In some respects, no doubt, it has had a debasing effect on 
the religious systems which have been founded on the mixed 
vokmie resulting from such additions. The books of this 
second Canon partook largely of the enfeebled style, the 
exaggerated rhetoric, the legendary extravagance, and, on the 
other hand, the rigid exclusiveness, which characterised the 
history and literature of the nation after the return from the 
Captivity. It was, thus far, a true instinct which has caused 
the Rabbinical schools to denounce the perusal of these 
writings with a severity like that of the Roman Index. ^ He 
' who studies the uncanonical books will have no portion in the 

* world to come.' ' He who introduces into his house more 

* than the twenty-four introduces confusion.' ^ And the like 
condemnation has been felt, if not expressed, by those Protes- 
tant Churches or teachers who have most eagerly excluded 
from use any Bible or Calendar that contains them. But there 
is another side to the question. These writings, if not deserv- 

^ See Lecture XLVIII. have been called ' Apocryphal,' a name 

* It may be necessary to give briefly the which has passed through three phases : — 

history of the generic title of these books. («) A title of praise bestowed by the 

1. By the early Church they were (when Gnostics on their own books of 'hidden 
not reckoned as Canonical) called ' Ecclesi- 'wisdom.' C*^) A title of reproach be- 
' astical,' i.e. books read in public services stowed by the early Church on the spu- 
of the Church. rious Gospels and the like literature, with 

2. By the Roman Catholic Church, at the view of stigmatising them with the 
least since the Council of Trent, they have same name as that applied to the Gnostic 
been called ' Deuterocanonical,' a title of books, (c) The title of the Deuterocanon- 
inferiority which well expresses their rela- ical Books of the Old Test., first given by 
tion in regard to the Hebrew books, but is Wycliffe, and finally adopted by the Pro- 
hardly consistent with t)ie entire equality testant Churches at the Reformation (see 
with the Canonical books to which they Professor Westcott's The Bible in, the 
have been raised by the Council of Trent Church ; Professor Plumptre in the Dic- 
and more recently by the Council of the tionary of the Bible, art. ' Apocrypha '). 
Vatican. ' Kuenen, iii. 

3. By the Protestant Churches they 


ing to be called * Canonical,' as by the Church of Rome, or 
'inspired,' though not ' canonical,' ^ Scriptures, as by the 
Church of England,^ are invaluable as keeping alive, not only 
the continuity of the sacred literature, but the sense of the 
gradations of excellence even in sacred books ; and thus 
serving as a perpetual protest against the uniform, rigorous, 
rigid, levelling theory, which has been the bane of all theology, 
and which has tended so greatly to obscure the true meaning 
and purpose even of the earlier Hebrew Scriptures. It is 
humorously told in a famous romance ^ of our day how the pious 
peasant, who read through the whole Bible regularly, though 
he felt a certain disappointment on reading the Apocrypha, yet 
rejoiced in the freedom w^hich it afforded of innocent criticism 
from which he had been hitherto withheld. That sentiment and 
that advantage are not confined to the English peasant. '1 he 
free thought which thus played around the Apocryphal books 
nurtured a spirit of inquiry from which the whole Bible has 
gained. When Jerome attacked the improbabilites in the Song 
of the Three Children in the Greek part of Daniel, he was using 
exactly the same weapons which Porphyry used against the early 
date of the Hebrew part of the same book. The more enlight- 
ened members of the Roman Church, who have been familiarised 
with the admixture of legendary matter in the Books of Tobit 
and Judith, have been more ready, though in defiance of the 
usages of their communion, to recognise the like elements in the 
Books of the Pentateuch or of the Judges. And even to those 
who (as in many Protestant Churches) refuse to concede any rank 
to the Books of the Apocrypha, a solid advantage has accrued 
from involuntary familiarity with writings so nearly Biblical in 
tone and spirit, and yet by the traditions of their sect or family 
excluded from the Bible. In an affecting passage in his auto- 
biography John Bunyan relates how he was for a long period 
at once comforted and perplexed by finding deep inward relief 
from words for which he vainly sought within the four corners 
of his Bible : "* ' Look at the generations of old and see ; did ever 

' Canons of Trent ; Canons of the 107, 242, 248, 389. 
Vatican. ''' Adam Bede^ c. 51. 

' Homilies (Oxford cd. 1859), pp. 100, * Grace AboufuUng: J 62, 63, 64, 65. 

234 ALEXANDRIA. lect. xl7ii. 

^ any trust in the Lord and was confounded V *Then I 
'continued,' he says, * above a year and could not find the 

* place ; but at last, casting my eyes upon the Apocrypha 
' books, I found it in the tenth verse of the second chapter of 

* Ecclesiasticus. This at the first did somewhat daunt me ; 

* because it was not in those texts that we call holy or canonical. 

* Yet, as this sentence was the sum and substance of many of 

* the promises, it was my duty to take the comfort of it, and I 
' bless God for that word, for it was of good to me. That word 

* doth still oft-times shine before my face.' 

The discovery which Bunyan thus made of a source of* 
consolation outside the * canonical texts ' has a far wider 
application than the particular instance which so moved him. 
It opens as it were a postern- door into the charmed circle of 
the sacred books. It calls our attention to the fact that there 
were writings which, though denied a place in the Canonical 
Scriptures, yet shade away from the outskirts of those Scriptures 
into the Grecian philosophy and poetry, and have been acknow- 
ledged by grave theologians, and by Protestant Churches, to be 
inspired by the same Divine Spirit that breathed, though in 
fuller tones, through Isaiah or through David. 

The instruction involved in this process is enhanced by the 
fact that these Books are themselves of such varying character 
and value. Some of them, like the Book of Judith, are appar- 
ently mere fables ; some, like the additions to the Books of 
Ezra, Esther, and Daniel, are examples of the free and facile 
mode in which, at that time, the earlier sacred books were 

* improved,' modified, enlarged, and corrected, by the Alexan- 
drian critics. Some, like the Books of the Maccabees, are 
attempts, more or less exact, at contemporary or nearly con- 
temporary history. Some, like the Psalter of Solomon, have 
never gained an entrance even into this outer court of the 
sacred writings. Some, like the Second Book of Esdras and 
the Book of Enoch, have attained a Biblical authority, but only 
within a very limited range. But there are two which tower 
above the rest, and which, even by those who most disparage 
the others, are held in reverential esteem. The one is the 

LBcrr. xuru. ECCLESIASTICUS. 23$ 

recommendation of the theology of Palestine to Alexandria, 
' the Wisdom of the Son of Sirach ; ^ the other is the recom- 
mendation of the theology of Alexandria to Palestine, 'the 

* Wisdom of Solomon/ 

These books are both in the same class of literature. They 
both attach themselves in the Hebrew Scriptures, not to the 
Prophetical or Historical or Poetical portions, but to those 
writings on which the influence of the external world had 
already made itself felt, the books which bear the name of 
Solomon.^ They both furnish links which connect the earlier 
Hebrew literaiure with that final outburst of religious teaching 
which is recorded in the Gospels and Epistles. The Parables 
and Discourses beside the Galilean Lake, the Epistles of James, 
of John, and of the unknown author of the Epistle to the 
Hebrews, have hardly any affinity with the style of Daniel or 
Malachi, of Tobit or of the Rabbinical schools, but they are 
the direct continuation, although in a more exalted form, of 
those two Apocryphal Books of Wisdom. 

The Wisdom^ of Joshua (or as the Greeks called him, 
Jesus), the Son of Sirach, was the first of those writings which, 
The Wisdom ^'O"^ the sanction given to them by the Church, were 
of Sirach" called * Ecclesiastical' as distinct from * Canonical,' 
B.C. 180. and thus took to itself the name * Ecclesiasticus,' 
which properly belonged to them all. It was for the Jews of 
Alexandria first, and then for the Christians, ' The Church Book ; ' 

* the favourite book of ecclesiastical edification ; ' ^ 'the Whole 
*Duty of Man,' 'the Imitation' — the 'summary of all virtues,''* 
as it was called in its original title. 

' See Lecture XXVII. B.C. 132. The indication from the mention 

'It is strange that any doubt should of Simon in chap 1. 1 is less certain. But the 

have ever arisen on the date of Ecclesias- great probability in favour of identifying 

ticus. The comparison of Haggai i. r; him with Simon II. agrees with the conclu- 

ii. I ; Zech. i. 7 ; vii. i ; i Mace. xiii. 42 ; sion to be drawn from the interval between 

xiv. 27, makes it certain that the words kv the grandfather who wrote and the grand- 

Tta ofSow Kai TpioKoa-T(Z eret «ttI toD son who translated, and this would place 

Evepy4T0v /Sao-tA^'u? in the Prologue can the original work about B.C. 180. 

only mean 'in the thirty-eighth year of ^ A fierce attack upon it, as favouring 

' King Euergetes ; ' and as the first Euer- Arianism, necromancy, and Judaic error 

getes only reigned twenty-five years ; the was published by Reynolds in 1666. 

date of the translation is thus fixed to the * Panaretos. 
thirty-eighth year of the second Euergetes, 

236 ALEXANDRIA. t.kct. xlvii. 

It must have early acquired this reputation. The grandson 
of its author arrived in Alexandria in the close of the troubled 
reign of Ptolemy Physcon — the second of those kings 
B.C. 132. ^^^ ^^^^ renowned among the Gentiles for bearing, 
seriously or ironically, the name of ' benefactor ' (Euergetes). 
When, amongst his countrymen in a foreign land, he discovered 
*no slight difference of education,' and at the same time a keen 
desire to become instructed in the customs of their fathers, he 
found no task more worthy of his labour, knowledge, and sleep- 
less study than to translate into Greek this collection of all that 
was most practical in the precepts and most inspiring in the 
history of his people. 

It is, perhaps, the only one of the Deuterocanonical ' books 
composed originally, not in Greek, but in Hebrew ; and the 
translator well knew the difficulty of rendering the peculiarities 
of his native tongue into the fluent language of Alexandria. It 
is the first reflection which we possess on the Old Testament 
Scriptures after the commencment of the formation of the 
Canon. 'The Law and the Prophets' were already closed. 
^ The other books ' were, as the phrase implies, still regarded 
as an appendix, capable of additions, yet already beginning to 
be parted by an intelligible though invisible line from those of 
later date.^ The Son of Sirach had given himself much to 
their perusal ; he was, as we may say, the first Biblical student ; 
but he felt that he had still something new to add, something 
old to collect. He was, like a great teacher of later times, as 
one born out of due time.^ He had awakened up 'last of 
'all, as one that gathereth after the grape-gatherers; ^ by the 
'blessing of the Lord he profited,' and 'filled his wine-press 
'like a gleaner of grapes.' It was a noble ambition, alike 
of the grandfather and the grandson, to carry into the most 
minute duties of daily life the principles of their ancient law — 
'labouring not only for himself only, but for all who seek 

It is one of the largest books in the whole Bible. It con- 

■ The First Book of Maccabees and ^ Ecclus., Prologue. See Lect.XLVIIL 

Judith may also perhaps be exceptions. ' i Cor. xv. 8. "• Ecclus. xxxiii. 16. 


tains the first allusions to the earlier records of the Jewish race. 
The Psalms, and occasionally the Prophets, had touched on 
the history of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel. But neither 
in Psalms nor Prophets, neither in Proverbs nor history, is there 
the slightest reference to the mystic opening of the Book of 
Genesis, which in Christian times has been the battle-field of 
so many a strife, theological, scientific, and critical. It is the 
Son ^ of Sirach, in his passing allusions to the creation of Adam, 
and to the old giants, who is the first precursor of the Pelagian 
controversy, of the ' Paradise Lost,' of the Elohistic and Jeho- 
vistic theories. 

Jerusalem ^ is still the centre, and Palestine the horizon, of 
his thoughts. The Priesthood,^ with their offerings, their dues, 
and their stately appearance, are to him the most prominent 
figures of the Jewish community. Nor is the modern institution 
of the Scribes forgotten.* He draws his images of grandeur 
from the cedars of Lebanon and the fir-trees that clothe the 
sides of Hermon, from the terebrinth^ with its spreading 
branches — his images of beauty from the palm-trees in the 
tropical heat of Engedi, or from the roses and lilies and fragrant 
shade by the well- watered gardens of Jericho. The drops of 
bitterness which well up amidst his exuberant flow of patriotic 
thanksgiving are all discharged within that narrow range of 
vision which fixed his whole theological and national animosity 
on the three hostile tribes that penned in the little Jewish 
colony — the Edomites on the south, the Philistines on the 
west, and the Samaritans on the north.^ And in accordance 
with this local and almost provincial limitation is the absence 
of those wider Oriental or Western aspects which abound in 
other Canonical or DeUterocanonical books of this period. It 
is, after Malachi, the one specimen of a purely Palestinian 
treatise during this period. 

But the grandson, through whose careful translation alone 

^ Ecclus. xiv. 17 ; xvi. 7 ; xvii, r ; xxxiil. " /3ld. xxiv. 13-19 ; I. 8-12. 

10; x!iv. 16, 17. ^ Ibid, 1. 26. For Samaria read Seir* 

^ Ibid xxiv. ii. ; xxxvi. 13; 1. 26. and possibly for 'the foolish people' 

' Ibid. vii. 30 ; xiv. 11 ; xlv. 7-20. Oxwpo?) read 'the Amorites' (Grimm, ad 

* Hid. X. 5. i0c.) 

238 ALEXANDRIA. lect. xltil 

It has been preserved, was not wrong in thinking that it had a 
sufficiently universal character to make it suitable for the vast 
complex world in which he found himself in the capital of 
Alexander's dominions. Even although hardly any direct 
Alexandrian influence can be detected in its style, yet it is 
evident that the breath of the Grecian spirit has touched it at 
the core, and raised it out of its Semitic atmosphere. The 
closed hand of the Hebrew proverb has opened (thus to apply 
a well-known metaphor) into the outstretched ^ paim of Grecian 
rhetoric. The author, although his birthplace and his home 
were Jerusalem, was yet a traveller in foreign lands ; he knew 
the value, even if he had not had the actual experience, of 

* serving among great men and before princes ; ' he had * tried 
' the good and the evil among men.' ^ 

In some respects the Book of the Son of Sirach is but a 
repetition of the ancient writings of Solomon. In some of its 
maxims it sinks below the dignity of those writings by the 
homeliness of its details ^ for guidance of behaviour at meals,^ 
of commercial speculations, of social advancement. But its 
general tone is worthy of that first contact between the two 
great civilisations of the ancient world, and breathes a spirit 
which an Isaiah would not have condemned, nor a Sophocles 
or a Theophrastus have despised. There is not a word in it to 
countenance the minute casuistries of the later Rabbis, or the 
metaphysical subtleties of the later Alexandrians. It pours out 
its whole strength in discussing the conduct of human life, or 
the direction of the soul to noble aims. Here first in the 
sacred books we find the full delineation of the idea of educa- 
tion through a slow, gradual process. *At first by crooked 

* ways, then will she return the ^ straight way, and comfort him, 
'and show him her secrets.' 'At the last thou shalt find her 
'rest, and that shall be turned to thy joy. Then shall her 
' fetters be a strong defence for thee, and her chains a robe of 
'glory.' 6 Here is a pointed warning against spoiled children : 

* See especially Ecclus. xxxviii. 24 ; xix. 1 ; xxix. ; xxxvii. 11. 
xxxix. II. * jud, xxxi. 16. • lUd. iv. 17. 

" Ecclus. xxxix. 4 ; li. 13, • Jbid. vi. 28. 

^ Ibid, viii. 11-19; xi. 10; xiii. a; 


* Cocker thy child, and he shall make thee afraid, play with 

* him and he will bring thee to heaviness. ' ^ Here is the mea- 
sure of true nobleness : *It is not meet to despise a poor man 

* that hath understanding, neither is it convenient to magnify a 

* sinful man. Great men and judges and potentates shall be 
^honoured, yet is there none of them greater than he that 

* feareth the Lord. To the slave that is wise shall they that are 
' free do service, and he that hath knowledge will not grudge 
*when he is reformed.'^ Here is the backbone of the honest 
love of truth : * In nowise speak against the truth, but be 

* abashed of the error of thy ignorance.' *Be not ashamed to 

* confess thy faults, nor swim against the stream of conviction.' 

* Strive for the truth unto death and the Lord shall fight for 

* thee.' ^ Here is a tender compassion which reaches far into 
the future religion of mankind : * Let it not grieve thee to bow 

* down thine ear to the poor and give him a friendly answer 

* with gentleness. Be as a father to the fatherless, and instead 
' of a husband to the widow ; so shalt thou be as the son of 

* the Most High and He shall love thee more than thy mother 

* doth.' ^ If there is at times the mournful and hopeless view 
of life and of death * which pervades the earlier ' Preacher,' 
yet on the whole the tone is one of vigorous, magnanimous 

He must have been a delightful teacher who could so write 
of filial affection ^ and of friendship ^ in all its forms, and so rise 
above the harshness of his relations with his slaves.* He must 
have seen deep into the problems of social life who could con- 
trast as keenly as Bacon or Goethe the judgments of the un- 
educated many and the highly-educated few.^ Yet in the midst 
of these homely and varied experiences, which belong only to 
the imitator of the wise King, a voice as of the Prophet and the 
Psalmist is still heard. Again and again the strain is raised, 
such as Amos and Isaiah had lifted up, not the less impressive 
for the quiet soberness with which it is urged. It is the same 

*■ Ecdus. XXX. 9. " Ih'd. x. 23, 24. ' Tiid. vi. 14, 15 ; ix. 10 ; xii. 8 ; xix, 

* I^zd. iv. 25. 13 ; xxxvii. ». 

* Hid. iv. 8, lo. • Hid. xli. i. " /h'd. iv, 30 ; vii. 21 ; x. 25 ; xxxiiL 24, 

* IHd. ill, 12-15 : vii. 28. • /h'd. xxxviii. 24-xxxix. 11. 

240 ALEXANDRIA. xect. xlvii. 

doctrine of the substitution of the moral duties for the cere- 
monial The true * atonement ' for sins is declared to be, not 
the dumb sacrifices in the Temple courts, but ' the honour to 
' parents,' the giving of * alms.- The trust in * oblations,' the 
recklessness of reliance on the mere mercy of God are solemnly 
discountenanced. * He that requiteth a good turn offereth fine 
' flour j and he that giveth alms sacrificeth praise. To depart 
* from unrighteousness is propitiation.' ^ And underneath all 
' this there still burns the gentle flame of hope and resignation. 
' Look at the generations of old and see ' (it is the passage 
which * shone before the face ' of Bunyan) * did ever any 
^ trust in the Lord and were confounded ? As His majesty 
Ms so is His mercy. '^ Both by example and by definition 
there is no more exalted description of the true greatness of 

But there is yet another characteristic of the Son of Sirach, 
more peculiarly his own. As the philosophy of the Hebrew 
Scriptures is contained in the larger part of the book — possibly 
from older documents — so their poetry finds a voice in the con- 
clusion, which is beyond question original. It is the song of 
praise'* which, beginning with the glories of the Creation, 
bi:eaks forth into that ' Hymn of the Forefathers,' as it is called 
in its ancient title, to which there is no parallel in the Old 
Testament, but of which the catalogue of the worthies of faith 
in the Episde to the Hebrews is an obvious imitation. Here 
and here only is a full expression given to that natural instinct 
of reverence for the mighty dead, which has in these striking 
words been heard from generation to generation in the festivals 
of the great benefactors of Christendom, or when the illustrious 
of the earth are committed to the grave. 

' Let us now praise famous men and the fathers that begat 
*us.'^ ' Their bodies ^ are buried in peace, but their name 
' liveth for evermore.' It begins with the unknown sages of 
antiquity ; it closes with the * Ultimus Jud^orum ' as it seemed, 

> Ecclus. iii, 3, 4, 30 ; v. 5, 6 ; vii. 9, 10 ; * /i>id. xliv. i. Read on all Founders' 

XXXV. 1-7. ^ Ibid. ii. 4-18. days. 

/ /<^z^. xxiii. 1-6 ; XXXV. 17. ^ Ibid. xliv. 14. Sung in Handel's 

* Ibid. xlii. 15-1- 29. Funeral Anthem. 


of his own generation, Simon the Just. Well might the grand- 
son delight to render into Greek for the countrymen of Pindar 
and Pericles a roll of heroes more noble than were ever 
commemorated at the Isthmian games or in the Athenian 

The * Wisdom of the Son of Sirach ' was followed, at how 
long an interval we know not, by * the Wisdom of Solomon.' 
The Book of ^^ ^^^ former book was the expression of a sage at 
Wisdom. Jerusalem with a tincture of Alexandrian learning, so 
the latter book was the expression of an Alexandrian sage pre- 
senting his Grecian ideas under the forms of Jewish history. 
We feel with him the oppressive atmosphere of the elaborate 
Egyptian idolatry.* We see through his eyes the ships passing 
along the Mediterranean waters into the Alexandrian harbour.^ 
We trace the footprint of Aristotle in the enumeration, word by 
word, of the four great ethical virtues.^ We recognise the 
rhetoric of the Grecian sophists in the Ptolemaean Court ; * we 
are present at the luxurious banquets and lax discussions of the 
neighbouring philosophers of Cyrene.^ But in the midst of this 
Gentile scenery there is a voice which speaks with the authority 
of the ancient prophets to this new world. The book is a signal 
instance of the custom prevalent in the two centuries before the 
Christian era, both in the Jewish and the Grecian world, of 
placing modern untried writings under the shelter of some ven- 
erable authority. No name appeared for this purpose so weighty 
as that of the master of the wisdom of Israel. Solomon is evoked 
from the dead past to address the living rulers of mankind. 

* Love righteousness ye that are judges of the earth. Hear, 

* therefore, O ye kings, and understand ; for your power is 

* given unto you of the Lord, and your dominion from the 

* Most High, who shall try your works and search out your 

* counsels. Being ministers of His kingdom, ye have not 
' judged aright, nor kept the law^ nor walked after the counsel 
'of God.' ^ It is the first strong expression, uttered with the 

* Wisdom xiit. 2-19 ; xv. 17-19. * Ih'd. v. 9-12 ; xL 17-18. 
■ Iltid, xiv. 1-6. ■ Ih'd. ii. 1-7. 

* IMd. viii. 7. • Hid, i. x ; vi. i, 3, 4. 


242 ALEXANDRIA. lect. xlvii. 

combined force of Greek freedom and Hebrew solemnity, not 
of the Divine right, but of the Divine duty, of kings ; and it 
might well be provoked by the spectacle of the corrupt rulers 
whether of the Egyptian or Syrian dynasties. The importance 
of wisdom and the value of justice had been often set forth be- 
fore, both by Jew and Greek. But there is a wider and more 
tender grasp of the whole complex relation of intellectual and 
moral excellence, and therefore of the whole ideal of true re- 
ligion, in the indications which this Book contains of the uni- 
versal workings of the Divine Mind in the heart of man. 

* Love ^ is the care of education ; love is the keeping of wisdom. 

* The just man maketh his boast that God is his father, and that 
*he is the son of God^ The Spirit of the Lord filleth the 

* world. ^ Thou sparest all, for they are thine, O Lord, thou 
' lover of souls.'* Thine incorruptible Spirit filleth all things. 

* Thy providence, O Father, governeth the world. ^ Yet they 

* were unto themselves more grievous than the darkness.' ^ 

* The Holy Spirit of education.' *An understanding spirit, 

* holy, one only, manifold, subtile, flexible, transparent,^ un- 

* defiled, plain, not subject to hurt, loving the thing that is good, 

* quick, which cannot be hindered, ready to do good, kind to 

* man, steadfast, sure, free from care, having all power, oversee- 

* ing all things and going through all spirits however pure, 

* intelligent and subtile, more moving than any motion, passing 

* through all things by reason of her pureness ; for she is the 

* breath of the power of God, and an influence flowing from the 

* genuine glory of the Almighty ; therefore no defiled thing can 

* fall into her : the lightness of the everlasting light, the un- 

* spotted mirror of the energy of God, and the image of His 

* goodness ; being but one, she can do all things : and, remain- 
' ing in herself, she maketh all things new, and, in all ages 

* entering into holy souls, she maketh them friends of God and 

* prophets.' ^ 

The conception of * Wisdom ' as * the personified idea of 

^ Wisdom, vi. 17, 18 ; ayairrj, * Ibid. xi. 26. ' Ibid. \. 5. 

' Ibid, ii, 16-18. ' Ibid, xii, i. • Ibid. vii. 22-27. 

* Ibid. i. 7. • Ibid. xvii. 21. 


* the mind in God, in creation — a mirror in which the world 

* and mankind are ever present to him ' ^ — is in part derived 
from the ancient Solomonian theology, but it is coloured by 
the Platonic doctrine, and lends itself to the wide development 
opened by the doctrine of * the Word ' in Christian theology, 
and by the doctrine of * Law ^ in European philosophy. The 
very phrases, ' Love or Charity,' * Holy Spirit,' * only begotten,' 

* manifold,' * philanthropic,' * Providence,' * the Fatherhood of 

* God,' occur here in the Greek Bible, some of them in the 
Greek language, for the first time ; and appear not again till we 
find them in the New Testament. No wonder that this singular 
book has been ascribed to Philo, the famous contemporary of 
the Apostles,^ or to that other Jew of Alexandria,^ who was 
' eloquent and mighty in the Scriptures,' and in whom Luther 
saw the author of the mysterious Epistle to the Hebrews. No 
wonder that Ewald, with his usual insight, declares that * in the 

* deep glow which, with all its apparent tranquillity, streams 

* through its veins, in the nervous energy of its proverbial style, 

* in the depths of its representations, we have a premonition of 

* John ; and in the conception of heathenism a preparation for 

* Paul, like a warm rustle of spring, ere the time is fully come.''* 
No wonder that in that elaborate description of Wisdom an emi- 
nent statesman of our day, in one of his most generous moods^ 
should have seen an exact anticipation of the liberal aspect 
of true Religion * which alone can flourish, not by a policy of 

* isolation, but by filling itself with a humane and genial warmth, 

* in close sympathy with every^ true instinct and need of men, 

* regardful of the just titles of every faculty of his nature, apt 
' to associate with and make its own all, under whatever nam^ 

' which goes to enrich and enlarge the patrimony of the race.' ^ 
These preludings of a high philosophy and faith, whether 
two centuries before or close upon the dawn of the new era, 
are, in any case, the genuine product of Alexandrian Judaism, 
of the union of Greek and Hebrew thought And in one 

* DSilinger, Gentile and JeWy ii. 384. ' Mr. Gladstone's Address to the Uni- 
■ Jerome, Pref. In Lib. Salem. versity of Edinburgh on the Influence of 

• Acts xviii. 24. * Ewald, v. 484. Grcec«, 1865. 

R 2 

244 ALEXANDRIA. lbct. xlvii. 

special quarter of the religious horizon there is a revelation 
which this unknown author is the first to proclaim, with the 
authority of firm conviction and deep insight, whether to the 
Gentile or the Jew, namely, the revelation of 'the hope full 
' of immortality,' ' the immortality of righteousness.' ^ In the 
Psalmists and Prophets there had been bright anticipations of 
such a hope, inseparable from their unfailing assurance of the 
power and goodness of the Eternal. ^ But it rarely took the 
form of a positive, distinct assertion. In the Grecian world ^ 
a vast step forward was taken in the Platonic representations of 
the last teachings of Socrates. At last the seed thus sown by 
the doctrine of Athenian philosophy fell on the prolific soil of 
a Hebrew faith, and struck root downward to a depth from 
which it has never since been eradicated, and bore fruit upward 
which has sustained the moral life of Christendom to this hour. 
Nor is it only the force and pathos with which this truth of a 
future existence is urged, but the grounds on which it is based, 
that fill the soul and intensify the teaching of this Jewish 
Phaedo. It is founded on those two convictions, which, aUke 
to the most philosophic and the most simple minds, still seem 
the most cogent — the imperfection of a good man's existence if 
limited to this present life, and the firm grasp on the Divine 
perfections. * The souls of the righteous are in the hand of 

* God.' * In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die ; but 
' they are in peace.' ' He, being made perfect in a short time, 

* fulfilled a long time.' * God created man to be immortal, 

* and made him an image of His own eternity. To know God 

* is perfect righteousness. To know His power is the root of 
' immortality.''* 

There is yet one more expansion of the limits of sacred 

literature into the world of general culture. The Hebrew 

antagonism to the Gentile polytheism is still brought 

out strongly in Baruch and the Greek Daniel. But 

we now first see clearly not only the imperceptible influence of 

one upon the other, but the avowed recognition of the religious 

* Wisdom iii. 4 ; i. 15. * See Lecture XLVI. 

" See Lectures VIL and XXV. * Wisdom iii. 2 ; iv. 13 ; v. 15 ; xv. 3. 

uBiCT. xLvii. ARISTOBULUS. 245 

excellence of each. This tendency is summed up in one 
name, now almost forgotten, possibly used as a mask 
for writings of a somewhat later ^ age, but of the 
highest eminence at the time, and standing at the fountain- 
head of two vast streams of thought, of which the effects on 
theology have never ceased. In a critical moment^ in the 
fate of the Jews of Palestine they are represented as addressing 
a letter to ' Aristobulus, master of King Ptolemy, and of the 
* stock of the anointed priests.' This was Aristobulus,^ first of 
that name which afterwards became so common, himself the 
chief of the Jewish community at Alexandria, in the time of 
Ptolemy VII., whose instructor he had become. He is one of 
those mysterious personages, of whom history speaks but little, 
yet whose importance is beyond all proportion to the small 
space which they appear to occupy. Others, no doubt, there 
were, who endeavoured to blend in one the two literatures that 
met under the shadow of the Alexandrian Museum.'* Some 
rewrote the story of Israel in the verse of Grecian epic or 
tragedy. Some interwove with the sacred narrative the tradi- 
tions of Egypt and Chaldaea. But it was Aristobulus who, as 
far as we know, first made this reconciliation his dehberate and 
avowed object. 

Unlike most of the later Alexandrian scholars, he was a 
disciple, not of Plato, but of Aristotle. The master of Alex- 
ander still held sway in Alexander's city.^ Under 

His endea- . a-ii i -j 

vour to this potent mfluence Aristobulus was determinea to 
Gredan^ ^ find the Hcbrcw religion in the Greek philosophy, 
literature. pj^ ^^^ determined also to find the Greek philosophy 
in the Hebrew Scriptures. In each of these enterprises there 

* For the arguments against the genuine- Ev. ix. 18, 23, 27). 4. Cleodemus (Mal- 

ness of the Aristobulian writings, see chus) (Jos. ^«if. i. 15). 5. Jason of Gyrene 

Kuenen, iii- 207. (2 IMacc. ii. 23 ; Jos. c. Ap. i. 23). The 

' 2 Mace. i. 10. Jewish poets were :— i. Ezekiel, a tragedy 

' His Hebrew name was probably Judas. on the Exodus (Eus. Prtep. Ev. ix. 28, 

See Lecture XLIX. 29). 2. Philo the Elder, poem on Abra- 

■* The Jewish historians of this period at ham (^ibid. ix. 21-24). 3- Theodotus, poem 

Alexandria were : — 1. Demetrius (Clem. on the story of Dinah {ibid. ix. 22). (See 

Alex. Strom, i. 21 ; Jerome, Cat. III. Gratz, iii. 40, 438 ; Herzfeld, iii. 517.) 

Script. 38). 2. Eupolemus (Clem. Alex. ' See Nicolas, D(Ktrines Religieuses dts 

Strom, i. 21), 3. Artapanus (Eus. Prap, yui/s, pp. 129-140. 

246 ALEXANDRIA. lbct. xlth. 

was a noble motive, but a dangerous method. In the attempt 
to find the Hebrew truth in the Greek he was fired, as many a 
devout Jew may well have been fired, with the desire to claim 
in that glorious literature, now for the first time opening on the 
Oriental horizon, an affinity with that which was deemed most 
sacred in the Jewish faith. It was like the Renaissance of the 
same literature after the night of the Middle Ages. The 
Jewish priest, like the mediaeval ecclesiastic, was ravished with 
the beauty of the new vision, and longed to make it his own. 
But the means by which he endeavoured to cross the gulf 
which parted them was 

A fatal and perfidious bark, 
Built in th* eclipse, and rigged with curses dark. 

Under a delusion probably unconscious, he, like many Jewish 
and Christian theologians afterwards, persuaded himself that 
the identity between some of the most characteristic features of 
the two literatures sprang, not from the native Hkeness which 
exists between all things true and beautiful, but from the fact, 
as he alleged, that the one was borrowed from the other ; that 
the sages and poets of Grecian antiquity had but plagiarised 
their best parts from Moses ^ or Solomon or Jeremiah. And 
then, with the facile descent of error, he, not alone of his age, 
but foremost in this special department, laboured to strengthen 
his cause by the deliberate falsification of Greek literature, 
sometimes by inventing whole passages, sometimes by interpo- 
lating occasional fragments, in which the ancient Gentile poets 
should be made to express the elevated sentiments of Hebrew 
monotheism. Of the venerable names that which lent itself 
most easily to this deception was Orpheus,^ lost in 
Orpheus. ^^^ mists of mythology, yet still living by the natural 
pathos and the inherent wisdom of his story. He, it was 
alleged, had met Moses — the Greek Musseus — in Egypt, and 
hence the Orphic poems which contained so much of the 
Mosaic cosmogony. Deeply as the course of true philosophy 
and history was coloured and perverted by this double false- 

* Eus. Preep. Ev. vii. 14, * Ibid. xiii. it. 


hood, yet, as stated before, it contained within it the profound 
truth which in after times gradually faded away, to be revived 
only in our own age, that the comparison of the mythologies 
of different ages reveals to us the same Divinity, the same 
morality, ' in sundry times and in divers manners,' throughout 
all their various forms. And that beautiful legend which 
Aristobulus chose as representing their unicxi — the figure of 
Orpheus taming the savage and bestial natures by the celestial 
harmony of his lyre — passed into the imagery of the first 
Christians to express almost without a figure the reconciliation 
of the Pagan to the Christian World, as was seen represented 
in the paintings of the Roman Catacombs, or in the Chapel of 
Alexander Severus. 

Another name, which, if not Aristobulus himself, a con- 
temporary or successor borrowed for the purpose of winning 
the favour, not only of the Greek, but of the now 

* ^'^' rising Roman world, was that of the Sibyls. Either 
under the seventh or the eighth Ptolemy there appeared at 
Alexandria the oldest of the Sibylline oracles, bearing the name 
B c. 165 or ^^ ^^^ Erythraean Sibyl, which, containing the history 
B.C. 124. Qf ^Y^Q past and the dim forebodings of the future, 
imposed alike on the Greek, Jewish, and Christian world, and 
added almost another book to the Canon. When Thomas of 
Celano composed the grandest hymn of the Latin Church he 
did not scruple to place the Sibyl on a level with David ; and 
when Michel Angelo adorned the roof of the Sixtine Chapel, 
the figures of the weird sisters of Pagan antiquity are as pro- 
minent as the seers of Israel and Judah. Their union was the 
result of the bold stroke of an Alexandrian Jew ; but it kept 
alive, till the time when comparative theology claimed for the 
old Creeds of the world their just rights, the important truth 
which a more isolated theology overlooked, that those rights 
existed and must not be ignored.* 

In like manner the wish to find the grace and freedom of 

'The 2nd and 4th portions of the 3rd to e.c. 124 (Ewald, v. 360; Ahhandiung^ 

Sibylline book are the oldest parts of the Hber die Sihyllinische Biicher, 10-15). 

collection and belong either to b.c 165 They are quoted as genuine and authorita- 

(Alexandre, Oracula SihyllinA^ ii. 320) or live by Josephus, Justin, and Clemeot. 

248 ALEXANDRIA. lbct. xltii. 

Grecian literature in the Hebrew Scriptures was prompted by 
the natural desire to make the True Religion embrace 

Hisendea- _ ^ ^ . 

your to all that was best in the ideas now for the first time 
Hebrew * rcvcaled to Israel from beyond the sea. Here again 
Scriptures. Aristobulus embarked on a method of reconcihation, 
which, although in his hands, so far as we know, it rarely passed 
the limits of reasonable exposition, was destined to grow into 
disproportionate magnitude, and exercise a baneful influence 
over the theology of nearly two thousand years. He was the 
inventor of allegorical interpretation. For himself it was little 
if anything more than the sublime maxim that the spirit and 
not the letter is the essence of every great and good utterance ; 
and that, especially in treating of the Divine and of the Unseen,^ 
metaphors must not be pressed into facts nor rhetoric trans- 
formed into logic. This just principle, in the hands of his 
followers, was perverted into a system by which the historical, 
and therefore the real, meaning of the Sacred Books was made 
to give way to every fanciful meaning, however remote, which 
could be attached to the words, the numbers, or the statements 
contained in them. Aristobulus was the mental ancestor of 
Philo, and Philo,^ though with a yet wider spiritual insight, was 
the immediate parent of that fantastic theology which to most 
of the Fathers and of the Schoolmen took the place of the 
reasonable and critical interpretation of all the Scriptures of the 
Old Testament and of much of the New. Yet still even here 
it must be borne in mind that the first origin of the allegorical 
interpretation lay in the sincere and laudable effort to extract 
from the coarse materials of primitive imagery the more elevated 
truths which often lay wrapt up in them, to draw out the ethical 
and the spiritual elements of the Bible, and to discard those 
which were temporary and accidental. In this sense, if Aris- 
tobulus is responsible for the extravagances of Philo, of Origen, 
or of Cocceius, he may also claim the glory of having first led 
the way in the road trodden long afterwards by his own country- 

* Eus. Prcep. Ev. viii. 10 ; especially in * See Professor Jowett's Essay on Philo 

reference to the Hand of God, the Voic« {Commentary on St. Paul's Epistles, vol 
of God, the descent on Sinai. ii. 468-472). 


men Maimonides and Spinoza, and by the Christian followers 
of the rational theology of Hooker, and Cudworth, and Cole- 
ridge, of Herder, Schleiermacher, and Hegel. He was the first 
to start what has been ^ called ' the great religious problem — 
' the discovery, if possible, of a test by which we may discern 

* what are the eternal and irrepealable truths of the Bible, what 

* the imaginative vesture, the framework, in which those truths 
*are set forth in the Hebrew and even in the Christian 

* Milman's Annals of St. PauTs^ 467. 




(1) I Maccabees— Greek translation of a lost Hebrew original, which 

bore the name of Sarbath Sar Beni El, B.C. 120. It contains 
the history from the accession of Antiochus to the death of 

2 Maccabees — Greek abridgment of a lost work of Jason of Cyrene, 

B.C. 160, in five books. B.C. 100-50. It contains the history 
from the accession of Antiochus to the death of Judas, with 
legendary additions. 

3 Maccabees— Greek. No Latin Translation, and therefore in the 

Greek Bible, but not in the Roman, Lutheran, or English 
Bible. B.C. 50? It contains the account of the persecutions 
by Ptolemy Philopator. 

4 Maccabees— Greek — wrongly ascribed to Josephus, but printed in 

his works. B.C. 4 ? It contains an amplification of 2 Mace. vi. 
18, vii. 42. 

5 Maccabees— A late work, certainly after A.D. 70 — known only in 

Arabic and Syriac. It contains the history both of the Asmo- 
neans and of Herod. 
These five books were published in one English volume by Arch- 
deacon Cotton, 1832. 

(2) Josephus, Ant. xii. 5- 11, B. J. i. i, A.D. 71. 


(i) Daniel— probably B.C. 1 67- 1 64. (See Note on Lecture XLIL) 

(2) Psalms Ixxiv., Ixxix. 

(3) Psalter of Solomon (Fabricius, Codex Pseud, v. i., p. 914-999} — ^B,C, 


(4) Sibylline Books, iii. 2, 3, B.C. 165, or B.C. 124. 


(i) Diodorus Siculus, xxxiv. 4, xl. i. 

(2) Polybius, xxvi. 10, xxxi. 3, 4. 

(3) Livy, xli. 31. 




The close connexion between the Jews of Palestine and the 
Ptolemaean dynasty received a rude shock in the outrage of 
Ptolemy ^ Philopator ; and, as at the same time they had been 
on friendly terms with Antiochus 1 11.,^ from the time of his 
victory over the Egyptian forces by the source of the Jordan 
at Paneas, their allegiance was gradually transferred to the 
Syrian kingdom. At this point, therefore, we turn from 
Alexandria to Antioch, from Egypt to Syria. 

In the northern extremity of Syria, where ^ * the fourth 
^ . ^ * river' of the Lebanon ranges, after having risen 

Antioch. .11/- . 7 , ° 

from Its abundant fountam m the centre of those 
hills, bends through the rich plains to escape into the Medi- 
terranean out of the pressure of the ridges of Mount Casius 
and Mount Amanus, the first Seleucus founded the city to 
which, after his father Antiochus, he gave the name of Antioch 
— a city destined to owe its chief celebrity not to its Grecian, 
but its Semitic surroundings, by a sacred association which in 
one sense will outshine Jerusalem itself'* 

It would almost seem as if Alexandria and Antioch had 
divided between them the two characteristics of the old metro- 
polis of the primeval world. If Alexandria represented the 
learning and commerce of Babylon — the nobler elements of 
ancient civilisation — Antioch represented its splendour, its 
luxury, its vanities. And, accordingly, whilst the relations of 
the Ptolemies to Israel are almost all pacific and beneficent, 

* Raphall, i. i86. Jos. Aftt. xii. 3, 3. xi. 11-19. 

See Lecture XLVII. * Smai and Pahstme^ ii. xiv. 

• His reign is briefly described ia Dan. * Acts xl. t6. 

252 JUDAS MACCABiEUS. lect. xlviu. 

the relations of the Seleucidae towards it are almost all antago- 
nistic and repulsive. 

Sometimes the thought occurs whether it was possible for 
the Judaism of Palestine to have absorbed the genial and 
artistic side of the Grecian polytheism, as, in fact, the Judaism 
of Alexandria did to a large extent absorb the speculative and 
spiritual side of the Grecian Philosophy. An honoured name 
appears at the opening of the struggle on which we 

Antigonus ^ ^ ■ a Z.- r -> r ^ 

of Socho. are now entermg — Antigonus of bocho, who was re- 
^ ^* ^^ ' garded as the founder of some such attempt to com- 
bine a broader view of religion with the Judaic austerity handed 
down from Ezra. One saying of his alone remains, but it is 
full of significance and shows how a seed of a future faith had 
already borne fruit in that dark and troubled time. * Be not 

* like those servants who busy themselves to serve their masters 

* in the hope of reward, but be like those servants who busy 

* themselves to serve their masters without expectation of re- 

* compense, and the favour of Heaven be over you.' ^ 

But whatever was the higher aspect of the Grecian party 
in Jud^a was speedily cast into the shade by the deadly 
struggle which was now to be waged between the accursed 
'kingdom of Javan,' ^ as the Syrian dynasty was called, and 
Conflict of the stern patriots who saw in its policy the attempt 
Sd\l^e^'^ to suppress all that had sanctified and ennobled their 
chasidim. national existence. In this struggle two parties only 
were recognised by its historian, the ' Chasidim ' or * pious,' ^ — a 
name already famiHar in the Psalter — and their opponents, to 
whom was given the opprobrious designation, also borrowed 
from the Psalter, ' sinners,' * lawless,' * impious.' "^ 

The aggression on the part of the Syrian kings had already 
begun in the reign of Seleucus IV., with the en- 

B.c. i88. ^ . . 

couragement of the Hellenising party, for the moment 
headed by one of the mischievous clan ^ known as the sons of 

* Ewald, V. 275 ; comp. Luke xvii. 10. with filial piety, towards God. The Gre- 

" Derenbourg, 56. cised form is 'Assidean.' i Mace. ii. 42; 

^ o<rtot, eucre/Set?, Psalms xxx. 5 ; xxxi. vii. 13 ; 2 Mace. xiv. 6. 

24 ; xxxvii. 28 ; Ixxix. 2 ; cxxxii. 9. It * i Maec. i. 11 ; iii. 6, 8 ; vi. 21 ; vii. 5 ; 

means * kind,' and is, therefore, in this ix. 23. 

sense (IBte pius in Latin), attentive, as * See Lecture XLVII. 


Tobias. The first attempt was on the Temple treasures, in- 
cluding the private deposits, which as in a bank had been laid 
up for the widows and orphans under the shelter of the sanc- 
tuary.^ Then it was that occurred the scene portrayed in the 
liveliest colours in the traditions of the next century,^ when 
„ ,. , Heliodorus the king's treasurer ^ came with an armed 

Hehodorus. , . . " . . . - 

guard to seize it. It is a complete representation 01 
what must have been the general aspect of a panic in Jeru- 
salem. The Priests in their official costume are prostrate be- 
fore the altar. The High Priest is in such ' an inward agony 

* of mind that whoso had looked at his countenance and 

* changing colour, it would have wounded his heart.' The 
Temple courts are crowded with supplicants ; the matrons, 
with bare bosoms, running frantically through the street ; the 
maidens, unable to break their seclusion, yet peering over walls, 
and through windows, and at every door to catch the news ; 
the pitiless officer bent on discharging his mission. Then the 
scene changes. A horse with a terrible rider in golden armour 
dashes into the Temple precinct, and tramples Heliodorus 
under foot, whilst on either side stood two magnificent youths, 
who lash the prostrate intruder to the very verge of death, 
from which he is only rescued by the prayers of Onias. The 
story lives only in the legends of the time, and was passed 
over * alike by the contemporary and the later historians. But 
when Raffaelle wished to depict the triumph of Pope Julius II. 
over the enemies of the Pontificate he could find no fitter 
scene to adorn for ever the walls of the Vatican than that 
which represents the celestial champions, with the vigour of 
immortal youth, trampling on the prostrate robber. 

Whatever may have been the actual incident thus enshrined, 
it was the natural prelude to the undoubted history which 
followed. It was reserved for the successor of Seleucus IV. to 
precipitate the crisis which had been long expected. 

Antiochus IV. was one of those strange characters in whom 

* 2 Mace, iii. 4, <l>opo\oyCa<;. i Mace. i. 29 ; iii. 10 ; a 
^ Ibid. iii. 15-21. Mace. v. 24. Jos. Ant. xii. 5, 5 (7, i) ; 

• The chief vSyrian officer in Palestine Herzfeld, ii. 197. 

was called the Tax-gatherer, apxwt' tt?? * It is briefly touched in Dan. \x, ai. 

254 JUDAS MACCABEUS. i-bct. xltiii. 

an eccentricity touching insanity on the left and genius on 

the right combined with absolute power and lawless passion to 

. , produce a portentous result, thus bearinsr out the 

Antiochus ^ f -, • , 1 -. T-. . 7 

Epiphanes. two uames by which he was known — Epiphanes — 
B.C. 175. c ^1^^ Brilliant,' ^ and Epimanes^ ' the Madman/ 
On the one hand, even through the terrible picture drawn by 
the Jewish historians, traits ^ of generosity and even kindness 
transpire. And in his splendid buildings,^ his enlargement 
and almost creation of Antioch as a magnificent capital — his 
plans for joining it with the bay of Scanderoon and thus 
making it a maritime * emporium — his munificence throughout 
the Grecian world — his determination, however mischievous in 
its results, of consolidating a homogeneous Eastern Empire 
against the aggressions of the newly-rising Empire of the West 
— there is a grandeur of conception which corresponds to the 
contemporary Prophetic delineation of ' the king of an invin- 
' cible countenance, understanding dark sentences, and full of 
' high swelling ^ words.' On the other hand, there was an ex- 
travagance, a littleness, in all his demeanour, which agrees 
with the unintelligible madman of the Gentile writers, * the vile 
' person ' of the Hebrew poets and historians. They saw, in- 
stead of the godlike Alexander or the literary Ptolemies, a fan- 
tastic creature without dignity or self-control, caricaturing in a 
public masquerade the manners and dress of the august Roman 
magistrates, playing practical jokes in the public streets and 
baths of Antioch, startling a group of young revellers by burst- 
ing in upon them with pipe and horn ; tumbling with the 
bathers on the slippery marble pavement,^ as they ran to re- 
ceive the shower of precious ointment which he had prepared 
for himself The contradiction of the two sides of his charac- 
ter was wound up to its climax in the splendour of the proces- 
sion which he organised at Daphne, in the most stately style, 

^ Wiobxihx, Lectures on Ancient History, "2 Mace. iv. 37; vii. 12, 24; comp. 

iii. 446. But the origin of the name Diod. Sic. xxxiv. i. 

seems to have been his sudden appearance ' Liv. xli. 21. * 2 Mace. v. 21, 

from his Roman captivity (Appian, De * Dan. xi. 36. See Ewald, v. 293 ; who 

Rebus Syr. c.^s)' *The Apparition'— 'like sees this in the Rabbinical iEpystomu*— 

' prcBsens Deus ; * see Mangey's notes on * swelling mouth.' 

Philo ad Caium^ 1039. • Diod. Sic xxxi. 3, 4. 


to outshine the most magnificent of the Roman triumphs, but 
in which he himself appeared riding in and out on a hack 
pony, playing the part of chief waiter,* mountebank, and jester. 

It was a union of lofty policy and petty buffoonery, of high 
aspirations and small vexations, which reminds us of the at- 
tempts of Peter the Great to occidentalise Russia : as in the 
opposition of the old Muscovite party and of the Rascolniks 
we have a resemblance ^ of the determined antagonism of the 
* Chasidim ' to the Hellenisation of their race. But Peter's at- 
tempt was founded on a far-seeing principle — that of Antiochus 
on a short-sighted fancy. The resistance of the Russian 
Dissenters was the mere tenacity of ancient prejudice. The 
resistance of the Jewish patriots was the determination of a 
superior faith. 

To bring into a uniform submission to himself and the Gods 
of Greece, amongst whom he claimed to be reckoned, the 
various creeds and usages which he found under his sway, be- 
came his fixed idea, fostered in part by his own personal vanity, 
partly by the desire to imitate the Roman policy, which he had 
studied whilst a hostage in Italy. In this design he was as- 
sisted by the Grecian party, of which we have spoken, in 
Palestine, itself. The passion for Grecian connexions showed 
itself in the desire to establish a claim of kindred with the 
Lacedaemonians, amongst whom a Jewish colony seems to have 
been established,^ and with whom a correspondence was alleged, 
as if Sparta too, in her fallen state, was eager to cultivate friendly 
relations with them. The names of the Macedonian * months, 
hitherto unknown, were adopted either beside or instead of 
those in the Hebrew or Chaldasan calendar. The fever of 
Grecian fashions manifested itself in the Grecian 
Grecian nomenclature by which the ancient Hebrew names 
^^"^' were superseded or corrupted. We have already seen 

how the central Judaic settlement had been surrounded by a 
fringe of Grecian towns. We now encounter the same tendency 

' Polyb. xxvi. lo. Mace. xii. 5, 23 ; Jos. Ant. xiv. <>, 22. 

' Lecture IX. on the Eastern Church. See Herzfeld, ii. 202, 216-219. 

• I Maca xiv. 16-39 • "^ Maoc. v. 9 ; i * Clinton's Fasti HelUnicit iii. 376. 

256 JUDAS MACCABEUS. lbct. xltiii. 

in the heart of every Jewish family. ^ Jehoiakim becomes Alcimus ; 
Solomon, from supposed analogy between the great Jewish and 
the great Gentile King, becomes Alexander ; Salome, Alexandra ; 
Onias, or Joseph, is transformed into Menelaus ; Judas becomes 
Aristobulus ; Mattathias, Antigonus ; John or Jonathan, Hyr- 
canus or Jannseus ; ^ Joshua sometimes becomes Jesus, some- 
times the Argonautic hero Jason, sometimes (in the etymologi- 
cal sense of Champion) Alexander. The era observed by the 
Jews in their civil contracts,^ even till a.d. 1040, was the era of 
the Seleucidse, still observed by Eastern Christians as the era of 
Alexander, and adopted by the Syrian kingdom from October, 
B.C. 312 — when the world seemed to begin again from the 
victory by which Seleucus wrested from Antigonus the ancient 
capital of Chaldaea, which even in its ruin was the prize of the 

The High Priesthood, like the modern Patriarchates of the 
Eastern Church, was sold by the Government, in the needy 
condition of the Syrian finances, to the highest bidder, and 
amongst the various rivals Jason succeeded, adding to his 
bribes the attempt to win the favour of Antiochus by adopting 
the Gentile usages. It is startling to think of the sudden influx 
of Grecian manners into the very centre of Palestine. The 
modesty of the sons and daughters of Abraham was shocked 
by the establishment of the Greek palaestra, under the very 
citadel^ of David, where, in defiance of some of the most sensi- 
tive feelings of their countrymen, the most active of the Jewish 
youths completely stripped themselves and ran, wrestled, leaped 
in the public sports, like the Grecian athletes, wearing only the 
broad-brimmed hat, in imitation of the headgear of the God 
Hermes, guardian ^ of the gymnastic festivals. Even the priests 
in the Temple caught the infection,^ left their sacrificial duties 
unfinished, and ran down from the Temple court to take part 
in the spectacle as soon as they heard the signal for throwing 

* So in the endeavour to approach the * vrrh ttji/ aKp6iro\Lv^ 2 Mace. iv. 12. 

usages of Russia to Western Europe, ^ Ibid, vrrh rrjr triracrov. So in the 

Andrew is Henry, Demetrius is Edward, Panathenaic frieze. So Suidas (in voce 

Basil is William, &c. ■jrepcayupojw.evot), * The athletes wore hats 

" Derenbourg, 53. * and sashes.' 

" Raphall, i. 98. * 2 Mace. iv. 14. 


the quoit, which was to lead off the games. The sacred names 
of Jerusalem and Judaea were laid aside in favour of the tide 
of * citizens of Antioch.' ^ A deputation ^ of these would-be 
Greeks was sent by ' the hateful Jason ' to a likeness ^ of the 
Olympian festival celebrated in the presence of the King at 
Tyre, in honour of the ancient sanctuary of Moloch ^ or 
Melcarth, now transformed into the Grecian Hercules ; though 
here, with a curious scruple which withheld the pilgrims from 
going the whole length with their chief, they satisfied their 
consciences by spending the money ^ intended for the sacrifice 
in the building of the war-galleys of the Syrian navy. With 
these lax imitations of the Pagan worship, the corruptions of 
the Priesthood became more and more scandalous. Menelaus 
outbid Jason for the office. Their brother Onias 
^' ■ ^^''' took refuge from his violence in the sanctuary of 
Apollo at Daphne, near Antioch, and was thence dragged forth 
and killed, with a sacrilegious perfidy which shocked Jew and 
heathen alike, and called out almost the only sign of human 
feeling which the Jewish annalist allows to the Syrian King.^ 
Onias himself, like a Becket or a Stanislaus, was transformed 
by a popular apotheosis into the celestial champion ^ of his 
nation ; and a long-standing monument of the horror created 
by his murder was the rival temple at Heliopolis, built by his 
son Onias, who fled from Palestine on hearing of his father's 
death, as though there were no longer a home or a sanctuary 
for him in Palestine.® Jason himself, after a momentary victory 
over his brother Menelaus in Jerusalem, was expelled, and 
closed a wandering exile by dying amongst the Spartan moun- 
tains. * And he that had cast out many unburied had none to 

' Coins exist with 'AvTiox^'oiu tmv kv * a Mace. iv. 19, 20. 300 drachms. 

TlToXeuaihi, as though there was also such This seeming too small a sum, some MSS. 

a corporation of ' Antiochians ' at Ptole- read 3,000. But, as an Egyptian Jew, 

mais. Grimm on 2 Mace. iv. 18. the writer reckons by the Alexandrian 

'•' 9etap6<;, the usual word for religious drachm, which was twice as much as the 

deputations, like that sent to Delos. Athenian (Grimm). 

^ 2 Mace. iv. 18. Five-yearly games like * 2 Mace, iv, 34-37. 

the Olympians. ' Hid. xv. 12. He is, perhaps, the 

* Comp. Herod, ii. 44. He was equally Prince of the Covenant, Dan. xi. 23, 

the God of Carthage. Compare Hannibal's * See Lecture XLVII, 
vision, Liv. .xxi. 22. 

Hi. S 

258 JUDAS MACCABEUS. lect. xlviii. 

* mourn for him, nor any solemn funerals at all, nor sepulchre 

* with his fathers/ ^ 

In the midst of this dissolution of Jewish society it is no 
wonder that to the tension of imagination which such a time 
produces portents should have appeared — such as we find not 
only in the final siege of Jerusalem, but in the Gothic invasion 
of ancient Rome, in the plague of Papal Rome, in the fall of 
the Empire of Montezuma in Mexico, in the Plague of London, 
in the French war of 1870. It happened that ' through ^ all the 
' city, for the space almost of forty days, there were seen horse- 

* men galloping through the air, in cloth of gold, and armed 

* with lances like a band of soldiers, and squadrons of cavalry 
in array, and charges, and encounters, and shaking of shields, 

* and multitude of pikes, and drawing of swords, and glittering 
' of golden ornaments, and harness of all sorts.' The prayer 

* that this apparition might turn for good ' was presently 
answered by the approach of the most startling catastrophe 
which the Jewish colony had experienced since its return from 
Babylon, and which yet, with a fine moral sense of a deserved 
Nemesis, the nobler spirits among them acknowledged to be 
the just retribution for their crimes. 

It was after completing his conquest of Egypt that Anti- 
ochus, in pursuit at once of his political and religious ambition, 
Attack on scizcd upon Jerusalem. The terrified population fled 
Jerusalem, beforc him. They were hewn down in the streets ; 
they were pursued to the roofs of their houses.^ But that 
which even more than this widespread massacre thrilled the 
city with consternation was the sight of the King, in all the 
pomp of royalty, led by the apostate ^ Menelaus into the sanc- 
tuary itself. It was believed by the Greek world that he reached 
the innermost recess and there found (as they imagined) the 
statue of the founder of the nation, the great lawgiver Moses, 
with the long flowing beard which tradition assigned to him, 

* 2 Mace. V. 5-10. his own Sa7nor, to which we may add the 

^ Ibid, V. 2-4. Compare Plutarch, striking picture of a like phenomenon in 

Manus, c. 76 ; Humboldt, Kosnios, i. 145. Italy in Lord Lome's Quido and Lit a. 

Dean Milman (i. 461) compares with this 'i Mace. i. 20-27 ■' 2 Mace. v. ii~i6. 

the description of the Aurora Borealis in * Diod. Sic. xxxiv. i ; see Lecture IV. 


and seated on the Egyptian ass, which from the Exodus down 
to the second century of our era the Gentile world regarded as 
the inseparable accompaniment of the Israelite. With charac- 
teristic rapacity he laid hands on the sacred furniture which the 
wealthy Babylonian Jews had contributed through the hands of 
Ezra— the golden altar of incense, the golden candlestick, the 
table of consecrated bread, and all the lesser ornaments and 
utensils. The golden candlestick, which was an object of 
especial interest from its containing the perpetual light, was 
traditionally believed to have fallen to the share of the renegade 
High Priest Menelaus. ^ The great deposits which had escaped 
the grasp of Heliodorus, and which, but for the national de- 
pravity, would, it was thought, have been again defended by 
celestial champions, were seized by the king himself 

Then came another sudden attack under Apollonius the 
tax-gatherer, successor of Heliodorus, who took occasion to 
attack them on their day of weekly rest, scattering them or 
dragging them off to the slave-market from the midst of their 
festivities.^ It is a stratagem which occurs so often at this 
.time as to lose its point, but which shows how rigidly since 
Nehemiah's time the observance of the Sabbath had set in. 
The rest, both of the seventh day and of the seventh year, 
had now become a fixed institution, guarded with the utmost 
tenacity, and carried into the most trivial and, at times,^ im- 
practicable details. 

There was a short pause, during which consternation spread 
through the country. In every home there was desolation as 
if for a personal sorrovr. The grief of the women was even 
more affecting than the indignant sorrow '* of the men ; and 
showed how completely they shared the misfortunes of their 
country. The Holy City was transformed into the likeness of 
a Grecian garrison. The walls that Nehemiah had built with 
so much care were dismantled ; the houses in their neighbour- 
hood were burnt ; another massacre and another captivity 

^ See Derenbourg, 53. see Farrar's Life of Christ, i. 431, 432. 

■ I Mace. i. 29-37 ; 2 Mace. vi. 24. * x Mace. i. 26-27. 

" I Mace. vi. 49 ; Jos. Ant. xiv. 10, 6 ; 

S 2 

26o JUDAS MACCABEUS. lect. xlviii. 

followed. The blood ran through the streets and even in the 
Temple courts. The hill on which had stood the Palace of 
David was fortified with a separate wall, took the name of 'The 

* Height' (* Acra'), and was occupied with the Greek or Grecian 
party, the more irritating to those who still adhered to their 
country and their faith because it overlooked the Temple itself. 
It was regarded as a perpetual tempter, an adversary ^ or devil 
in stone, as a personal enemy. And over this fortress presided 
Philip, of rough Phrygian manners, and, more odious than all, 
the High Priest Menelaus, ' who bore a heavy hand over all 

* the citizens, having a malicious hatred against his countrymen 
' the Jews.' 

But the worst was still to come. As soon as the entangle- 
ments of Antiochus in his Egyptian war allowed him a respite 
for his Syrian projects, he determined on carrying out his fixed 
plans of a rigid uniformity throughout the land — 
* that all should be one people and that everyone 
' should hear his laws.' There was not a corner of Judaea 
which was not now invaded by the emissaries of Polytheism, 
rendered yet more hateful by the assistance received from 
renegade Israelites. A special commissioner was sent to preside 
over this forced conversion ; it is uncertain whether from 
Antioch, or, as if to introduce the new worship from its most 
genuine seat, from Athens.^ Under him, adopting the existing 
framework of the Jewish constitution for the purpose, * over- 

* seers ' (as we have already seen ^ expressed in the Greek 
original by the word which has passed into ' Bishops ') were 
sent throughout the several districts both of Judaea and Samaria, 
The Divinity to whom the Holy Mount of Jerusalem was to be 
dedicated was the Father of Gods and men — Jupiter Olympius, 
in whose honour Antiochus had already begun at Athens the 
stately temple, even in his own age a wonder of the world,'* of 
which the magnificent ruins still stand on the banks of the 
Ilissus. On Mount Gerizim — apparently because the Samari- 

* I Mace. i. 36, hid^oXov TTOvyjpoi', the ^ 2 Mace. vi. i. Ewald, v. 298. 

translation of the Hebrew word Satan, * See Lecture XL IV. ♦ 

See Lecture XLV. * Polyb. xxvi. 10. 


tans gave the new worship a more hospitable welcome — was 
planted the sanctuary of the patron of hospitality — Jupiter 

The gay Dionysiac festival was also established, and the 
grave Israelites were compelled to join in the Bacchanalian 
processions with wreaths of ivy round their heads— sometimes 
with the mark of the ^ ivy-leaf branded into their skins. The 
King's own special deity was not of his Grecian ancestry, but 
one borrowed from Rome — whether the War-God Mars, Father 
of the Roman people, or Jupiter of the Capitoline Rock, to 
whom he began to build a splendid temple at Antioch — in 
either case, filling even the Jews, to whom all these divinities 
might have been thought equally repugnant, with a new thrill 
of sorrow, as indicating a disrespect even of the religions of his 
own race ; and introducing a strange and terrible name. * He 

* regarded not the God of his fathers,^ he honoured the God 

* of forces, a God whom his fathers knew not ' — a God whose 
temples were fortresses. 

In every town and village of the country were erected altars 
at which the inhabitants were compelled to offer sacrifices in 
the heathen form, and on the King's birthday to join in the 
sacrificial feast. The two chief external marks of Judaism — 
the repose of the Sabbath and the proud badge of ancient 
civilisation, the rite of* circumcision — were strictly forbidden 
on pain of death. And at last the crowning misery of all, 
which sent a shock through the whole community, was the 
deliberate desecration of the Temple, not only by adapting it to 
Grecian worship, but by every species of outrage and dishonour, 
The great gates were burned. The name of the officer who 
had charge of setting fire to them was known and marked ^ out 
— Callisthenes. Its smooth and well-kept courts were left to 
be overgrown by rank vegetation, in the shelter of which, as in 
the groves of Daphne, the licentious rites of Antioch were 
carried on.^ 

' Jos. Ant. xii. v. 5, says * Jupiter ' Dan. xi. 38, 39. 

' HelleniBs.' But this, as the name of the * See Lectures I., XL. 

local Jupiter worshipped at ^gina, seems ' 2 Mace. viii. 33. 

l«ss likely. * /(^/of, vi. 4 ; i Mace. iv. 38, 

* 2 Mace. vi. 7 ; 3 Mace, ii. 29. 

262 JUDAS MACCABEUS. i.ect. xltiii. 

And now came the culminating horror. It ^ was the 23rd 

of the month Marchesvan (November) that the enclosure was 

broken between the outer and inner court ; in after 

The ... 

Abomina- days the breaches were pointed out in thirteen places.^ 
Desola- On the 15th of the next month (Chisleu — December) 
^^°"' a small Grecian altar was planted on the huge plat- 

form of the altar of Zerubbabel in honour of the Olympian 
December, Jupiter. On the 25th the profanation was consum- 
B.c. 168. mated by introducing a herd of swine and slaughter- 
ing them in the sacred precincts. One huge sow was chosen 
from the rest. Her blood was poured on the altar before the 
Temple and on the Holy of HoHes within. A mess of broth 
was prepared from the flesh, and sprinkled on the copies of the 
Law.^ This was the 'abomination of desolation' — the horror 
which made the whole place a desert. From that moment the 
daily offerings ceased, the perpetual light of the great candle- 
stick was ^ extinguished — the faithful Israelites fled from the 
precincts. When in the last great pollution of Jerusalem under 
the Romans, a like desecration was attempted, no other words 
could be found more solemn than those already used in regard to 
the Syrian distress.^ But this persecution was not confined to 
the extirpation of the national worship. Every Jew was con- 
strained to conform to the new system. The children were no 
longer to receive the initiatory right of circumcision. The 
swine's flesh was forced into the mouths of the reluctant wor- 
shippers, who were compelled to offer the unclean animal on 
altars erected at every door and in every street. The books of 
the Law, multiplied and treasured with so much care from the 
days of Ezra, were burnt. Many assisted and bowed before the 
oppressor. One example was long held in horror, which shows 
that there were some who welcomed the intrusion with delight. 
There was a daughter of the priestly order of Bilgah, Miriam, 
who had married a Syrian officer, and with him entered the 
Temple, and, as they approached the altar, she struck the altar 

' For these dates see Derenbourg, 60- took place in the earlier outrages of i 

64 ; Gratz, iii. 41Q-420. " Dan, ix. 27 Mace. i. 21. 

* Diod. Sic. xxxiv. i ; Jos. A^tt. xii. 5, §4. * i Mace. i. 54 ; Dan. ix. 27 ; xii. 11 ; 

* Diod. Sic. xxxiv, i. Probably this Mett. xxiv, 15 ; Mark xiii. 14. 

rjicT. XLViii. THE PERSECUTION. 263 

with her shoe, exclaiming, *Thou insatiable wolf, how much 

* longer art thou to consume the wealth of Israel, though thou 

* canst not help them in their hour of need ? ' It was the 
remembrance of the rapacity of her family,^ so it was said, that 
drove her into this fierce reaction. When the worship was 
restored, the disgrace which she had brought on the order was 
The Perse- perpetuated, and they alone of the priestly courses 
cution. j^^^ j^Q separate store-room, or separate rings for 
their victims. But others dared the worst rather than submit. 
Some concealed themselves in the huge caverns in the neigh- 
bouring hills, and were there suffocated by fires lighted at the 
mouth. Two mothers were hanged on the wall, with their 
dead babes at their breasts, whom they had circumcised. A 
venerable scribe ^ of ninety years of age, Eleazar, steadily re- 
fused to retain the hated swine's flesh in his mouth ; stripped 
of his clothes, but, as the latest version finely^ expresses it, 
wrapped in the dignity of old age and piety, like a fine athlete 
in the Grecian games, he walked boldly to the ^ rack, on which 
he was scourged to death. * I will ^ show myself such an one 

* as mine age requireth, and leave a notable example to such as 

* be young to die willingly and courageously for the honourable 

* and holy laws.' Most memorable was the slow torture 
by which the mother and her seven sons expired. It was told 
in a narrative couched, like the martyrologies of Christian 
times, in exaggerated •* language, and disfiguring the noble 
protestations of the sufferers by the invocations of curses on the 
persecutors, but still forcibly expressing the living testimony of 
conscience against the interference of power, the triumph of the 
spirit over outward suffering. The very implements of torture 
are the same which have lived on through all the centuries in 
which theological hatred and insane cruelty have overborne the 

' Raphall, I. 232. * not go into the presence of God with a lie 

° ' A lawyer,' t/ofxiKoi, 4 Mace. v. 4. * in my right hand.' 

^ 4 Mace. vi. 2. •Compare the .savage remarks on the scent 

* See Grimm on 2 Mace. vi. 28. of the roasted flesh with the jests of St. Lau- 

• 2 Mace. vi. 27, 28. Compare the fine rence, and the introduction of Antiochus 
speech of an aged theologian of our time, on the scene (against all probability, se« 
who sacrificed, not life, but office and Grimm on 2 Mace. vi. 2, 12, 18, ii. p. 130X 
peace, rather than accept an historical with the appearance of the Roman Em- 
falsehood. • I am an old man, and I can- perors in all Christian niartyrologies. 

264 JUDAS MACCABiEUS. lect. xltiii. 

natural affections of the human heart. The rack, the wheel, 
the scourge, the flame, have been handed on from Antiochus 
to Diocletian, to the Council of Constance, to Philip 11. , to 
Calvin, to Louis XIV. 

These are the first of the noble army of martyrs to whom 
history has given a voice. * Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona.' 
Those who were slain by Jezebel or Manasseh may have 
nourished in their deaths a courage as high and a faith as firm. 
But they passed to their reward in silence. In the earlier 
account even of those who fell under the tyranny of Antiochus, 
their end ^ is described with a severe brevity, which for solemn 
impressiveness leaves nothing to be desired, *So then they 
' died.' But the later account places in the mouths of the 
sufferers the words destined to animate the long succession of 
the victims of religious intolerance, whether heathen against 
Christian, Christian against Jew, Cathohc against Protestant, 
Protestant against Protestant. * What w^ouldst thou ask or learn? 

* We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our 

* fathers. It is manifest unto the Lord that hath the holy 
' knowledge that whereas I might have been delivered from 

* deathj I now endure grievous pains in body, but in soul I am 

* well content to suffer these things because I fear Him.' In 
this sense Eleazar w^as justly honoured in the ancient Church 
as the Proto-Martyr. The seven brothers were, by a bold 
fiction of ecclesiastical law, entitled ' Christian Martyrs ' — 
Christianum nomen^ postea dhmlgatum^ factis antecesserunt? 

In this terrible crisis it is not surprising that whatever sparks 

of the spirit of the Psalmist and the Prophet still lingered 

should once more have been evoked from the depths 

The Mac- . -A 

cabsan of the national heart. There are two Psalms at 
Psalms. \^2,^i — the 74th and the 79th — which can hardly be 
the expressions of any period but ^ this. They describe with 

^ I Mace. i. 63. Maccabaeus, Oberus, Machiri, Judas, Ahaz, 
' Grimm on 2 Mace. p. 133. The tra- Jacob ; or else Ablis, Gurias, Antonius, 
ditional scene of their death was Antioch, Isleazar, Marcellus ; their mother's name, 
where a Basilica was erected in their Salome ; their father's, Archippus or Mac- 
honour. Their relics (?) are now exhibited cabaeus. 

in Rome, and their day is celebrated on ^ It is possible that these two Psalms 

August I. Their traditional names are, may belong to the Chaldeean capture, but 


passionate grief the details of the profanation of the sanctuary, 
the gates in flames, the savage soldiers hewing down the 
delicate carved work, with axe and hatchet, like woodmen in a 
forest, the roar of the irreverent multitude, the erection of the 
heathen emblems ; they sigh over the indignity of the corpses 
slain in the successive massacres, left outside of the walls of 
the city to be devoured by vulture and jackal — they look in 
vain for a Prophet to arise — they console themselves with the 
recollection of the over4;hrow of the huge monsters of the 
earlier empires, and with the hope that this crisis will pass in 
like manner. 

Another burst ^ of anguish was in the eighteen Psalms 
ascribed to Solomon, but probably of this epoch. In them 
we see the battering-ram beating down the walls, the 
Psalter of proud hcatheus stalking through the Temple courts, 
Solomon. ^^^ ^^ much as taking off their ^ shoes ; we hear the 
bitter curses on those who endeavour to please men, and who 
dissemble their ^ own convictions ; we see those who frequented 
the synagogues wandering in the deserts ; ^ we watch the ex- 
pectation of some anointed ^ of the Lord who should, like 
David, deliver them from their enemies. 

But there was a yet more important addition to the sacred 
literature of this period Even those who would place the 
The Book of compositiou of the Book of Daniel at an earlier time 
Daniel. ^jn not deny that this was the exact date— to be 
measured almost by the year and the month — when as a whole 
or piecemeal it made its appearance and significance felt 
throughout the suffering nation. ^Antiochus was on his way 

* northward from Egypt. The ^ complete suppression of the 

* Temple sacrifices might then have lasted a twelvemonth, and 

the arg\iments are strongly in favour of Mace. ix. 46 ; ix. 47 ; xiv. 61. 

the Maccabaean time. i. The profanation * The date of the Pf^alter of Solomon is 

rather than the destruction is insisted upon, variously given by modern critics ; but this 

Ixxiv. 3. 2. The synagogues are men- is the earliest period to which it can be 

tioned, Ixxiv. 8. 3. The details exactly assigned. 

coincide with the description in the Books ' Comp. Psalms of Solomon, in Fabri- 

of Maccabees. Compare Psalm Ixxiv. 7 ; cius, Cod. Pseudepig. Ps. ii. i, 2. 

I Mace. iv. 38; 2 Mace. viii. 33; i. 8, ' /^zi^. iii. 21, 22. 

Psalm Ixxix 2, 3 ; i Mace. i. 44 : vii. 16 ; * Ibid, xvi.^ 19. 

3 Mace. v. 12, 13." Psalm Ixxix. 911 * Ibid, xviii. 6-10. ' Ewald, ▼. 303. 

266 JUDAS MACCABEUS. lect. xlvih. 

everything had reached that state of extreme tension when the 
ancient religion upon its sacred soil must either disappear 
from view completely for long ages, or must rise in fresh 
strength and outward power against enemies thus im- 
moderately embittered. It was at this crisis, in the sultry heat 
of an age thus frightfully oppressive, that this book appeared 
with its sword-edge utterance, its piercing exhortation to 
endure in face of the despot, and its promise, full of Divine 
joy, of near and sure salvation. No dew of heaven could fall 
with more refreshing coolness on the parched ground, no 
spark from above alight with a more kindling power on the 
surface so long heated with a hidden glow. With winged 
brevity the book gives a complete survey of the history of the 
kingdom of God upon earth, showing the relations which it 
had hitherto sustained in Israel to the successive great heathen 
empires of the Chaldaeans, Medo-Persians, and Greeks — in a 
word, towards the heathenism which ruled the world ; and 
with the finest perception it describes the nature and indi- 
vidual career of Antiochus Epiphanes and his immediate pre- 
decessors so far as was possible in view of the great events 
which had just occurred. Rarely does it happen ^ that a book 
appears as this did, in the very crisis of the times, and in a 
form most suited to such an age, artificially reserved, close and 
severe, and yet shedding so clear a light through obscurity, 
and so marvellously captivating. It was natural that it should 
soon achieve a success entirely corresponding to its inner 
truth and glory. And so, for the last time in the literature of 
the Old Testament, we have in this book an example of a 
work which, having sprung from the deepest necessities of the 
noblest impulses of the age, can render to that age the purest 
service ; and which by the development of events immediately 
after, receives with such power the stamp of Divine witness 
that it subsequently attains imperishable sanctity.' 

Whether the narrative of the faithful Israelites in the court 
of Nebuchadnezzar and of Darius had been handed down from 
the Exile, or whether they were then produced for the first time, 

' Ewald, V. 305. 


tfte practical result must have been the same. As the seven 
sons are the first examples of the heroic testimony of martyrs' 
words, so the narrative of the Three Children in the Fire and 
of Daniel in the Lions' Den is the first glorification, the first 
canonisation, so to speak, of the martyr spirit. And accord- 
ingly at this time we first find them cited as encouragements 
and consolations.^ 

* At this stage ^ of its history, when Israel rises once more, 

* even though but for a brief period, to the pure elevation of its 

* noblest days, it was fitting that the first beginning of 
Asmonean * a scHous resistance should come about involuntarily, 
^^^ y- < as it were by a higher necessity, almost without the 
' co-operation of human self-will and human passion ; still less 

* with any aid of human calculation, yet, by the force of human 

* courage and skill and perseverance, working as if without any 

* Divine interposition.' The Psalter of Solomon had expressed 
its hope that an anointed or priestly hero ^ should arise to save 
the people. The expectation of Daniel was that, after the 
monster forms of Empires, tearing and rending each other to 
pieces, there should rise a Deliverer in human form, * A son of 
' man,' * with all the gentle and noble qualities of man. They 
were not deceived. Such an one was at hand. 

There was a priestly family known by the unusual name ^ of 
its chief of four generations back, Chasmon or Asmon, ' The 

* Magnate.' Its present head was advanced in years, Mattathias, 
with five sons in the prime of life. At the beginning of the per- 
secution the whole family retired from Jerusalem to their country 
residence in the town of Modin or Modein, on the slope of the 
hills which descend from the passes of Judaea into the plains of 
Philistia or Sharon. ' Who can encounter the sun at mid- 

* summer? Everyone escapes and seeks a shelter. So everyone 

' I Mace. ii. 59, 60. The earliest quota- so as to be the equivalent of Maccabee, and 

tion from Daniel. * Ewald, v. 306. both then would be like the English Smith 

* Psalms of Solomon vi. i a ; xvii. 23 or Marshall (Marechal), and as the 
24 ; xviii. 8, 9. Cabiric demigods and Scandinavian heroes 

* Dan. vii 14. (Heb.) See Note at end were ' blacksmiths.' Hitzig (426) derives 
of this Lecture. the names from a town in the south of 

* It only occurs in Psalm Ixviii. 32, 'fat' Judaea, Joshua xv. 27, and connects the 
— with large means and retinue. Herz- origin of the family with Engedi and th« 
feld, ii. 264, renders it 'a temperer of steel,' Essenes. 

268 JUDAS MACCABEUS. lect. xlvui. 

* fled from the Grecian kingdom and its armies. Only the Priest 

* Mattathias and his sons remained faithful to God, and the 

* armies of Antiochus were dispersed before them, and were ex- 
' terminated.' ^ Such is almost the sole notice in the later 
Talmudic literature of this return of the heroic age of Israel. 
But the vacancy is amply filled by the treble account which the 
three generations immediately near the time supplied. 

The war of independence began, as often, from a special 
incident. At Modin, as elsewhere through Palestine, an altar 
had been erected on which the inhabitants were expected to 
join in the Greek sacrifices. Mattathias, who had himself 
indignantly refused to take part, was so enraged at the sight of 
the compliance of one of his countrymen that ' his reins 
' trembled, neither could he forbear to show his anger accord- 
' ing to ^ judgment.' Both sacrificer and royal officer fell victims 
to this sudden outburst of indignation, which the historian com- 
pares to that of the ancient Phinehas. The die was cast. It 
was like the story of Wat Tyler in Kent, or of Tell in Switzer- 
land, or of the Sicilian Vespers. Mattathias raised his war-cry 
of * Zeal,' and of *the Covenant,' and dashed with his whole 
family into the adjacent mountains. There they herded like 
wild animals in the limestone caverns, protected against the 
weather by the rough clothing of the Syrian peasants, taken off 
the backs of the white sheep or black goats on which they fed,^ 
together with such roots and vegetables as they could find, so 
as to avoid the chance of the polluted food of the heathen. 

Whenever they encountered a heathen altar they destroyed 
it. Whenever they found a neglected child they circumcised it. 
Their spirit rose with the emergency. * The venerable leader 
' felt his soul lifted by the higher need above the minute 

* precepts of the Scribes,' and determined to break the 
sabbatical repose which had so often exposed them to ruin. 

* If we all do as our brethren have done, and fight not for our 

* lives and laws against the heathen, they will now quickly root 

^ Derenbourg, p. 57. * 2 Mace. v. 27 ; vi. 11 ; x. 6, and (for 

' Or * breathing fury through his nos- this must be the chief reference) Heb. xi. 
' trils,' I Mace. ii. 24. 37. Comp. Psalt. Sol. xviii. 19. 


* US out of the earth. Whosoever shall come to make battle 

* with us on the Sabbath day, we will fight against him ; neither 

* will we all die as our brethren that were murdered.' ^ For a 
moment even the rigid party of * the Chasidim ' threw in their 
lot with the loftier patriotism of Mattathias ; and when he sank 
under the weight of age and care, in the first year of the revolt, 
the whole nation joined in interring him in the ancestral tomb 
at Modin, which henceforth became a sacred place, to which 
child after child of that renowned family was borne. ' If it was 

* a stroke of rare fortune that the insurrection thus broke out 

* undesignedly and was set on foot by such a blameless character, 

* it was no less fortunate that he left behind him a heroic band of 

* five sons, who were ready to carry on the contest without an 
' instant's delay. Seldom has the world seen an instance of five 

* brothers animated by the same spirit, and without mutual 
' jealousy sacrificing themselves for the same cause, of whom 

* one only survived another in order to carry it on, if possible, 

* with more zeal and success, while not one had anything in 

* view but the great object for which his father had fallen.' ^ 

Each of the five sons succeeded in turn to the chieftainship 
of the family, and each had a separate surname to distinguish 
him from the many who bore the like names amongst the 
Jewish people. The eldest, John, was Hhe Holy' or 'the 

* Lucky ; ' the second, Simon, ^ was * the Burst of Spring,' or 

* the Jewel ; ' the fourth, Eleazar,^ was ' the Beast-sticker ; ' the 
fifth, Jonathan, was Hhe Cunning.' But of all these surnames, 
whether given in their lifetimes or afterwards from their exploits, 
the only one which has survived to later times and covered the 
whole clan with glory, is that of the third brother Judas, who, 
like Charles the ' Martel ' of the Moors, and Edward the 

* Malleus Scotorum,' received the name of the 'Hammer,' 
Maccab ^ — possibly connected with the name of the ancestor of 

* I Mace. ii. 41, 42. the seventeenth of the month Elul, she was 
' Ewald, V. 308. seized by a Syrian officer. The bridegroom 
^ Grimm, ii. 266, on i Mace. ii. 1-5. killed him on the spot (Raphal!, i. 241). 

* One tradition represented the origin of May it not have been from this that Elea- 
the insurrection to have been an outrage zar's surname was first derived ? 

on Ekazar's wife, Hannah, the beautiful * This derivation of Maccabi is the one 

daughter of John. On their wedding-day, adopted by Ewald, Herzfeld, and Hitzig 

270 JUDAS MACCABEUS. lect. xlviii. 

the family Asmon — possibly also commemorated in the original 
Hebrew name of the book which described his fame — 'The 
' Avenging Rod of the Prince of the Sons of God.' ^ 

He it was whom Mattathias in his last moments recom- 
mended as the miUtary leader — * as mighty and strong from his 
Judas * youth up. Let him be your captain and fight the 

Maccabaeus. < battle of the people.' At once he took the vacant 
place. At once he became the Jewish ideal of 'The Happy 
'Warrior.' There was 'a cheerfulness' diffused through the 
whole army when he appeared. His countrymen delighted to 
remember the stately appearance, as of an ancient giant, when 
he fastened on his breast-plate, or tightened his mihtary sash 
around him, or waved his protecting sword— a sword itself re- 
nowned, as we shall see, both in history and legend — over the 
camp of his faithful followers. They listened with delight for 
the loud cheer, the roar as of a young lion — the race not yet 
extinct in the Jordan valley ^ — with which he scented out the 
Israelite renegades, chasing them into their recesses, and 
smoking or burning them out. They exulted in his victory over 
the three, ' the many,' kings. But the lasting honour which they 
pathetically regarded as the climax of all was that with a true 
chivalry ' he received such as were ready to perish.' ^ 

Three decisive victories in the first two years of the cam- 
paign secured his fame and his success. The first was against 

the Syrian general Apollonius, apparently near 
Battle of Samaria. The trophy which Judas retained of the 

battle was the sword of the distinguished general, 
which he carried, as David did that of the Philistine giant, to 
_ , ^ the end of his life.* The second was in the moun- 

Battle of . , . . , 

Beth- tarns near his native place, and on the spot already 

ennobled by the overthrow of the Canaanite kings by 
Joshua in the Pass of Bethhoron. 

Another, which rests on no authority, is ' extinguish,' and that it was applied to 

that it is formed from the initials of the Judas as ' the extinguisher ' of the Pagan 

Hebrew words, Who is like unto thee, worship. 

Jehovah ? Another is that of Dr. Curtiss ^ This seems the most probable explana- 

(Leipsic), to the effect that the original tion (Ewald, v. 463) of ' Sarbath sar Bene 

spelling of the word is Machabee, as in ' El,' as given by Origen in Eus. E.H. vi. 

Jerome {Prolog. Galeat. p. xxviii.), and 25. * i Mace. iii. 4. 

that, if so, it is derived from chabah^ * to ^ /bici, iii. q. * Ibid. iii. 12. 


The third and most decisive struggle brings before us in a 
lively form the various elements of the war. The King was 
absent on an expedition into Persia, but no less than three 
generals, Ptolemy, Nicanor, and Gorgias, are mentioned by 
name under Lysias, the Governor of the whole Syrian 
Battle of province, and the young Antiochus, the heir of the 
mmaus. ^hj-Qne. Their head-quarters were at Emmaus, * the 
* hot baths ' in the Philistine plain ; and the interest of the 
merchants in the seaport towns of Philistia was engaged by the 
hope of the sale of the Israelite insurgents for slaves. In this 
crisis Judas led his scanty host over the mountains to the ridge 
of Mizpeh, the spot where Alexander had met Jaddua, where, 
after the Chaldaean capture of Jerusalem, the pilgrims had come 
to wail over the holy city. It was a mournful scene. They 
could see from that high, rocky platform the deserted streets, 
the walls and gates closed as if of a besieged town, the silent ^ 
precincts of the Temple, the Greek garrison in the fortress. 
Before that distant presence of the holy place, to which they 
could gain no nearer access, the mourners come wrapt in tatters 
of black hair-cloth, with ashes on their heads. They spread 
out the copies of the Law, on which the Greeks had painted in 
mockery the pictures of heathen deities. They waved the 
sacerdotal vestments, for which there was now no use. They 
showed the animals and the vegetables due for firstfruits and 
tithes. They passed in long procession the Nazarites^ with 
their flowing tresses, who were unable to dedicate themselves 
in the sanctuary. And at the close of this sorrowful ceremony 
there was a blast of trumpets, and the army was sifted of its 
timid or pre-engaged members. To the gallant remainder 
Judas addressed his stirring harangue. He reminded them of 
their ancient and their recent deliverances amongst those same 
hills and vales — in ancient days of the overthrow of Sennacherib 
— in recent days of the battle in which the comparative prowess 
of the Israelite and the Macedonian troops was tested by an 
encounter with the Celtic invaders of Asia, in which the Jews 
turned the fortunes of the day when the Greeks fled. The 

1 Mace. iii. 45. " Ihld, iii. 46-49. 

272 JUDAS MACCABiEUS. mct. xi^nn. 

army was placed in four parts under himself and his three 
brothers Simon, John, and Jonathan, whilst the fifth, Eleazar, 
was commissioned to recite ' the Holy Book ' and to proclaim ^ 
his own name as the watchword — Eleazar, *the help of God/ 
After these preparations, Judas descended from the hills by 
night, and, leaving his empty camp as a prey to Gorgias, the 
commander of the garrison at Jerusalem, suddenly attacked the 
forces of Nicanor at Emmaus. Once more was heard the well- 
known trumpet-blast of the Israelite host, and a complete rout 
followed. Nothing could stand the enthusiastic ardour of the 
insurgents, slightly armed as they were. It was a Friday after- 
noon, and Judas gave the command to halt from pursuing the 
flying enemy. From the ridge of the mountain which over- 
looked the plain, the Grecian army ^ saw the columns of smoke 
rising from the plains, which announced that their countrymen's 
camp had been stormed. The Sabbath, on whose eve the battle 
closed, had now set in ; and as the gorgeous spoils of gold, and 
silver, and blue silk, and Tyrian purple were spread out, they 
sang the hundred and thirty-sixth Psalm— the national anthem, 
it may be called, of the Jewish ^ race, which enumerates the 
examples of the never-ending goodness of God. It would 
hardly have been in keeping with the national character if this 
day had passed without some terrible vengeance. One of the 
subordinate officers ^ was caught and slain. Callisthenes, who 
had set fire ^ to the gateways of the Temple, they forced into a 
village hut and there burned him alive. 

Yet another victory was needed to secure their entrance into 
Jerusalem. It was won in the course of the next year over 
Lysias himself, in the immediate vicinity of the 
ratti'eof capital, at Beth-zur — 'the House of the Rock' — a 
Beth-zur. ^^^^ which commaudcd the Idumsean border, possibly 
represented by the lonely tower which now overhangs the stony 
passes on the way to Hebron. From that moment they were 

^ 2 Mace. vlii. 23. cxviii. r. 

^ I Mace iv. 20. * (hvXdpxr)^, ' an officer of the tribes/ 

^ Compare 1 Chron. xvi. 41 ; 2 Chron. not (as in A. V.) Philarches. 2 Mace. viii. 

XX. 21 ; Jer. xxxiii. 11 ; Song of the Three 32. 

Children, 67 ; Psalms cvi. i ; cvii. i, "2 Mace. viii. 33. 


masters of Jerusalem. The desolation, which before could only 
be seen from the height of Mizpeh, they now were able to 
The Dedi- approach without impediment. The Greek garrison 
cation. ^^g g^jj jj^ ^j^g fortress, b«t the Temple was left open. 

They entered, and found the scene of havoc which the Syrian 
occupation had left. The corridors of the Priests' chambers 
which encircled the Temple were torn down ; the gates were in 
ashes, the altar was disfigured, and the whole platform w^as 
overgrown as if with a mountain jungle or forest glade. ^ It was 
a heart-rending spectacle. Their first impulse was to cast them- 
selves headlong on the pavement, and blow the loud horns 
which accompanied all mournful as well as all joyous occasions 
— the tocsin as well as the chimes of the nation. Then, whilst 
the foreign garrison was kept at bay, the warriors first began 
the elaborate process of cleansing the polluted place. Out of 
the sacerdotal tribe those were chosen who had not been com- 
promised with the Greeks. The first object was to clear away 
every particle which had been touched by the unclean animals. 
On the 22nd of Marchesvan they removed the portable altar 
which had been erected. On the 3rd of Chisleu they removed 
the smaller altars from the court in front of the Temple, and 
the various Pagan statues.^ With the utmost care they pulled 
down, as it would seem, the great platform of the altar itself, 
from the dread lest its stones should have been polluted. But, 
with the scrupulosity which marked the period, they considered 
that stones once consecrated could never be entirely desecrated, 
and accordingly hid them away in a corner of the Temple (it 
was believed in one of the four closets of the fireroom of the 
Priest^ at the north-west corner), there to remain tilH the 
Prophet — it may be Elijah, the solver of riddles, — should come 
and tell what was to be done with them. How many stones of 
spiritual or intellectual edifices excite a like perplexed fear lest 
they have been so misused that they cannot be em.ployed again 
— at least till some prophet comes to tell us how and when ! 

* I Mace. iv. 38. * Middoth, Mishna iv. 46. 

* 2 Mace. X. 2, 3. Sigura, grate. Si- * i Mace. iv. 46. 
moik = cn^fieia, Derenbourg, 62. 


2/4 JUDAS MACCABEUS. lbct. xlviii. 

For the interior of the Temple everything had to be furnished 
afresh, — vessels, and candlesticks, and tables, and curtains, and 
incense altar. At last all was completed, and on the 25th of 
Chisleu, the same day that three years before the profanation 
had occurred, the Temple was re-dedicated. It was the very ^ 
time, either predicted or commemorated in the Book of Daniel. 
The three years and a half from the time of the first beginning 
of the sacrilege was over, and the rebound of the national 
sentiment was in proportion. ' It was the feast of the dedication 
* and it was winter,' but the depth of the winter could not re- 
strain the burst of joy. From the first dawn of that day for the 
whole following week there were songs of joy sung with cymbals 
and harps. In the Psalms ascribed to Solomon there are 
exulting strains which echo the words of the Evangelical Prophet 
and welcome the return into Jerusalem. ^ The smoke once 
more went up from the altar ; the gates and even the priestly 
chambers were fumigated. The building itself was studded 
with golden crowns and shields, in imitation of the golden 
shields which in the first Temple had^ adorned the porch. 
What most lived in the recollection of the time was that the 
perpetual light blazed again. The golden candlestick was no 
longer to be had. Its place was taken by an iron chaikielier 
cased in wood. But this sufficed.* It was a solemn moment 
when the sacred fire was once again kindled on the new altar, 
and from it the flame communicated to the rest of the building. 
As in the modern ceremony of the / Sacred Fire ' in the Church 
of the Holy Sepulchre, so this incident was wrapt in mystery ^ 
and legend. The simple historical account is that they pro- 
cured the light by striking the fresh unpolluted stones against 
each other. But later representations, going back to the like 

* Dan. vii. 25 ; ix. 24-27 ; xii. 6, 7 : Jos. ' Shields (probably in imitation of the 

B. 7. i. I. I ; Ewald (v. 305) and Herzfeld Temple) were hung up in the Alexandrian 

(ii. 416) suppose the Book of Daniel to synagogues (Philo ad Caium, 994). 

have appeared in B.C. 167, thus about * Derenbourg, 54. It is possible that 

three years before the coincidence of the this was the origin of the name ' Judas 

time had been realised. If so, it was a * light ' as applied to the central light in the 

prediction which, in the hands of a hero candelabrum, or ancient rood-screen. (See 

like Maccabseus, tended no doubt to fulfil the Rev. C. B. Pearson, A Lost Chapter 

itself. ^ in the History of Bath ^ p. 11.) 

' Psalms of Solomon xi. 2, 3, 7. * Ibid. 6a. 


events of Nehemiah's life, imagined some preternatural origin 
of the fire itself. It was further supposed that one unpolluted 
cruse was found which furnished the oil for the lighting of the 
Temple during the whole week of the festival ; in remembrance 
of which every private house was illuminated, beginning, accord- 
ing to one usage, with eight candles, and decreasing as the 
week went on ; according to the other usage, beginning with 
one and advancing to eight. Partly, no doubt, from these 
traditions, or (as Josephus thinks) from the returning joy of the 
whole nation, the festival in after days bore the name of the 

* Feast of Lights.' This would receive yet a fuller significance 
in connexion with another aspect of this great day. Though 
latest of all the Jewish festivals, it took rank at once with the 
earlier holy days. It won for itself a sanctity which neither the 
dedication of Solomon nor of Zerubbabel * had acquired. Both 
of these consecrations had been arranged to coincide with the 
great autumnal Feast of the Tabernacles, the most festive of the 
Jewish solemnities. That season had already passed while the 
patriots were hiding in the mountains ; and, therefore, if cele- 
brated at all, had been shorn of its general gaiety, or defiled by 
an attempted combination with the Bacchanalian ^ festival, to 
which its peculiarities lent themselves. Now, however, it was 
determined to make this new solemnity a repetition, as it were, 
of the Feast of Tabernacles.^ It was called in after days * The 

* Tabernacle Feast of the Winter ; ' and on this, its first occa- 
sion, there were blended with it the usual processions of that 
gay autumnal holiday, brandishing their woven branches of the 
palm,* and other trees whose evergreen foliage cheered the 
dull aspect of a Syrian December. And we can hardly doubt 
that they would, in accordance with the name of the ' Feast of 

* Lights,' add to its celebration that further characteristic of the 
Feast of Tabernacles — the illumination of the whole precincts of 
the Temple by two great chandeliers placed in the court, by the 
light of which festive dances were kept up all through the night. ^ 

' Edersheim, The Temple^ 294. of identity. Compare Tac. Hist. v. 

' Plutarch {Quisst. Conv. v. 6, 2) dwells ' 2 Mace. vi. 7. 

on the thyrsi, the gilt kidskin of the High * Ibid. x. 5. 

Priest, the bells and the trumpets, as signs ' See Wetsteiu on John viii. id. 

T 2 

276 JUDAS MACCAB.EUS. lect. xlvih. 

There was an additional propriety in the transference of the 
natural festival of the vintage to this new feast because it coin- 
cided with the natural solemnity of welcoming the first light 
kindled in the new year. The 25th of December was at Tyre, as 
at Rome in after times, celebrated as the birthday of the Sun, the 
Hercules, the Melcarth of the Phoenician theology, dying on his 
funeral pyre, and reviving, phoenix-like, from his own ashes. ^ It 
was the revival — the renewal — the Encaenia of man and of nature. 

The Temple was the kernel of Judaea, and having won that, 
the Maccabseans might be said to have won everything. Still 
it was surrounded by a circle of enemies. Close at hand was 
the fortress occupied by the Syrian garrison. Against this Judas 
took the precaution 2 — apparently for the first time in Jewish 
history — of surrounding the whole of the Temple mount with- 
high walls and strong towers, which remained as a permanent 
feature of the place. The two hostile parties stood entrenched 
in their respective positions, without mutual interference, like 
the rival factions in Jerusalem during the siege of Titus, or in 
Paris during its great insurrections. 

But on the further circumference there were three distinct 
sources of alarm. On the south was Edom, whose territory 
B.C. 164. now reached within a few miles of Jerusalem. On 
agS^st^^ the east were the malignant tribes of Ammon and 
Edom. Moab. And on the north and west was that fringe 

of Grecian colonies which had been established chiefly in the 
ancient Canaanite or Philistine cities, by the Ptolemaean or 
Syrian kings. The year following on the dedication of the 
Temple was entirely occupied with repelling the intrusion of 
these hereditary enemies. The first effort of Judas was in the 
south against the old hereditary foe, the race of Esau. On the 
frontier of that territory was the craggy fortress commanding 
the pass and, from its situation called the House of the Rock 
(Beth-zur), already contested in the battle with Lysias. This 
was occupied by Judas as an outpost against Edom, and from 
this he attacked the whole of the hostile race. Now, if ever, 
began to be fulfilled the hope expressed in the bitterness of the 

^ Raoul Rochette {Mimoires deVAcademie^ xvii. Part II., p. 25); Ewald, v. 318, 
* I Mace. iv. 60. 


Babylonian Exile, that a conqueror should return from those 
hated fastnesses, wading knee-deep in the blood ^ of Edom, and 
with his garments stained as if from the red winepress of the 
battle-fields of Bozra. From their entrenchments at the head 
or foot of the Pass of Akrabbim he swept eastward and drove a 
tribe, terrible then, unnamed before or since, 'the children of 
' Bean,' into their * towers ' or * peels,' which, in the savage spirit 
of Jewish retaliation, he burned with all their occupants ; and 
thus, still pressing onwards, in skirmish after skirmish routed the 
Ammonites, under their Greek commander Timotheus, and 
returned in triumph. But the campaign was only half com- 
pleted. The widespread magic of the name Judas is wonderfully 
attested by the entreaties for succour which pursued him into 
his^ brief repose at Jerusalem. One came from the Trans- 
jordanic district which he had just left, announcing that 
Timotheus had rallied his forces, and driven the Israelites of 
the district into the fortress of Dathema, of site now unknown ; 
another, borne by messengers with their clothes torn in ex- 
Beyond prcssiou of the extremity of their distress, to announce 
Jordan. ^^lat the Greciau settlers in the north and west had 
risen against the inhabitants of Galilee. Instantly Judas made 
his arrangements. To the north he sent his eldest brother 
Simon, whose exploits are briefly told, but who succeeded in ^ 
driving back the Grecian armies across the plain of Esdraelon 
to the very gates of Ptolemais. He himself took the ground 
already familiar to him in the Transjordanic forests, reserving 
for his assistance his brother * Jonathan the Cunning.' As 
travellers now, so then, he gained the alliance of a friendly 
Arabian tribe. Throughout the district the inhabitants had 
shut themselves up for refuge in the numerous towns which of 
old had been renowned for the high walls which acted as 
defences against the Bedouins of the adjacent desert. The 
Greek leader had laid his plans for a simultaneous attack on all 
those fortresses on the same day. But at the very moment 

* Isa. Ixili. 1-6. ' i Mace. v. 23. Arbattis — t.e. the upper 

" I Mace. V. 3. The same campaign is part of the Araboth or Arboth, or valley of 

told, though in different order and with the Jordan. See Sinai and Palestine, 

different details, in a Mace. xii. 1-45. Appendix, § lo. 

278 JUDAS MACCABiEUS. lbct. xlviil 

when at early dawn the scaling-ladders were planted, and the 
battering-rams prepared against one of the most important, 
there broke through the stillness of the morning the well-known 
trumpet-blast which the Grecian general recognised as the signal 
that the Hammer of the Gentiles was at hand, and the siege 
was raised, and the besiegers fled. Another fight followed on 
the banks of one of the mountain torrents that descend from 
the hills of Gilead to the Jordan. Judas dashed across the 
stream whilst his adversaries wavered, and down the way before 
him to the great sanctuary of Atargatis with the Two Horns, ^ 
and there destroyed them. This was the crowning act of his 
series of victories, gained, as we are assured, without the loss 
of a single Israelite, and the victor returned laden with spoil, 
and followed by vast masses of the Transjordanic population. 
On his way, in the pride of conquest, he destroyed the tower 
of Ephron, which refused them admittance. He crossed the 
Jordan, at the ford by which Gideon had returned from a Hke 
victorious expedition, to celebrate ^ the Feast of Pentecost in 
triumph at Jerusalem. And, now that all was thus secured, 
he completed his successes by one more more sally into Edom, 
reducing the ancient Hebron,^ since the Exile converted into 
an Idumaean fortress, and destroying the last stronghold of the 
old Philistine worship at Ashdod. 

In this climax of the resistance of Israel there came the 
tidings that King Antiochus was suddenly dead. Alike in 
Death of Greek and Jewish records fable gathered round the 
Epiphili, ^^^ ^^ ^h^s splendid but wayward prince. Even to 
B.C. 164. j^is own co-religionists there was a strange significance 
in his sudden disappearance. It seemed to them as if it was 
a judgment for his reckless attack on the Temple ^ of Nanea, 
or the Moon-Goddess, in Persia ; and even one of the Jewish ^ 
accounts represented him as having perished in his assault on 
the shrine. But the Hebrew historians not unnaturally con- 
nected the unexpected close of their persecutor's career with 

^ Atargatis Camion, i Mace. v. 44 ; '2 Mace. xii. 32. ' i Mace. v. 65. 

2 Mace. xii. 26; possibly the same Car- * Polyb. xxxi. 11. "2 Mace, i i6. 

Bairn as Asteroth Carnaim, Gen. xiy. 5. 

t.ECT. xLviii. HIS CAMPAIGNS. 2/9 

his mortification at the reception of the tidings of their hero's 
victories ; and it agrees with their occasional recognition of 
some sparks of generous feeling in his capricious courses that 
they give him the credit of a death-bed repentance for his 
misdeeds— in the latest account even a complete revocation 
of his tyrannical edicts.^ It was, no doubt, the crisis of the 
contest Whether the mysterious counsellor who, under the 
name of the Babylonian seer, had sketched in such minute 
detail the fortunes of the struggle till the moment of the 
desecration of the Temple, saw or foresaw the death of the 
persecutor, is doubtful. There are in the Book of Daniel dim 
anticipations of his end ; but none of the frightful details with 
which the historians of the next generation ^ abound. 

From this moment the struggle, although it still continued, 
becomes more complicated, and its fluctuating results more 
difficult to follow, the more so as the ultimate success of the 
insurgents was now assured. On both sides there was the 
entanglement of a civil war. Alcimus,^ Eliakim, or Jehoiakim, 
with a large body of adherents, maintained his position in 
Jerusalem as High Priest, by the influence of the Syrian 
Court against the Maccabaaan warrior ; and Antiochus, the 
young prince, with Lysias as his guardian, had to fight for his 
crown against his uncle Demetrius. But, leaving the details 
which obscure the main thread of events, we may fix our 
attention on the conflict which raged in the closest quarters 
between the two rival fortresses in Jerusalem itself The 
Temple mount was occupied by the insurgents ; the ancient 
citadel of David was occupied by the Greeks. To secure this 
position a vast army was sent by Lysias down the Jordan valley, 
which then besieged the Judaean outpost, already taken and 

retaken, of Beth-zur. It was here that a battle took 
Battle of place of which the unprecedented circumstances left 

a deep impression on the Jewish mind. It was one 
of the pecuharities of Alexander's remote conquests that, 

' I Maccabees vi. 1-16 ; 2 Maccabees ix. may refer to the diseases by which Antio- 
1-28. chus was consumed. 

" Dan. xi. 45. Possibly Dan, vii. 11 * See Lecture XLIX. 

28o JUDAS MACCABEUS. lbct. xlviii. 

during this century, for the first and last time in Western 
history, the Indian and African elephants were brought into 
play in military achievements. The Syrian and Alexandrian 
kings especially prided themselves on their display of these 
vast creatures. One of them had been known as * the 
' elephant-master ' ^ on account of this passion, and had given 
five hundred as a wedding-present to his daughter. On this 
occasion the elephants were distributed among the army ranged, 
in Macedonian fashion, in phalanxes or columns. Each animal 
rose like a mountain from a troop of i,ooo infantry and 500 
cavalry, of which it was the centre. The animals were roused 
to fury by showing them the red juice of grapes and mulberries. 
Their advance was magnificent. The attendant soldiers were 
dressed in chain armour, their helmets were of bright brass, 
their shields of brass or of gold. Huge wooden towers rose 
on the backs of the elephants, fastened on by vast trappings. 
The black Indian driver was conspicuous on the neck of each 
animal, with a group of two or three soldiers round him, which 
the Israelites magnified into a whole troop. ^ Those who have 
seen the effect even of an ordinary military escort defiling 
through the grey hills and tufted valleys of Judaea can imagine 
the effect of this vast array of splendour. When * the sun 
'shone on the shields and helmets of gold and brass,' the 
whole range of the rocky ridges and of the winding glens 
* glistened therewith around, and shined hke blazing torches.' 
The noise of the multitude, the tramp of the huge beasts, the 
very rattling of the armour and caparisons was portentous. 
Fantastic traditions of this fight lingered in various forms — a 
heavenly champion in white and gold — a charge like the spring 
of lions against walls of steel — the watchword, * Victory is of* 
' God.'^ But the sober fact was that for once the small band 
of Judas's indomitable infantry failed in the face of such 
tremendous odds — not, however, before the achievement of 

* Revue des Deux Mondes, 1874, iv. or with * three or two,* or else a curious 

483. instance of the enormous exaggerations of 

' 32 is the impossible number in the the Jewish enumeration, 
text of I Mace. vi. 37. Possibly it is a ^3 Mace. xi. 8, 11 ; xiii. 15. 

confusion with the thirty-two elephants. 


one memorable deed. Eleazar, the fourth of the illustrious 
brothers, singling out an elephant which, from its towering 
howdah, he imagined to bear the young Prince, determined 
to sacrifice his life. He found his way through the hostile 
ranks, crept under the elephant, and by one thrust brought 
down the enormous beast upon him — perishing, but winning 
by his daring act the perpetual name which he desired. He 
was known to the next generation as Avaran, ' the Beast- 
* sticker.' ^ 

The next decisive move was the victory over Nicanor, who 
was chosen to make an attack on Jerusalem, from the fanatical 
B.C. 162. hatred he bore against the insurgents, and whose 
Nicanor. name accordingly long survived the memory of 
Lysias, Bacchides, Timotheus, and the rest, who come and 
pass like shadows. 

He had already taken part in the conflict at the time of the 
battle of Emmaus,^ and a peculiar pathos is given to his history 
by the circumstance that of him alone, amongst all their oppo- 
nents at this period, there remained a tradition —difficult, 
perhaps, to reconcile with the hard language in which he is 
generally described, but quite consistent with human character 
— that, whatever might be his animosity against the Jewish 
nation, he had, perhaps from admiration of the earlier prowess 
displayed in their first encounter, conceived a strong personal 
admiration and affection for Judas Maccabaeus. The momen- 
tary consternation by which his sudden appearance checked 
His meeting ^^^ insurgcnts Under Simon, gave him the oppor- 
with Judas, tunity of Opening friendly communications with 
Judas himself. There was a natural suspicion. But Judas 
came to Jerusalem, and for the first time the two foes came 
face to face, and in a moment each appreciated the other. It 
was the meeting of Claverhouse and Morton. 

They sat side by side on chairs of state,^ like the curule 
seats of the Roman magistrates. The Syrian general w^as 

» I Mace. vi. 43-46 ; ii. s« ^^f' xii. 10, 4, and Polyb. xxxi. 22, 

* If he is the same as the Nicanor of i makes this doubtful. 
Mace. But the incident recorded in Jos. ' 2 Mace. xiv. 31. 

282 JUDAS MACCABEUS. lect. xlvhi. 

completely fascinated. He could not bear to have Judas out 
of his sight — *he loved the man from his heart' He entered 
into his future plans. He entreated him to lay aside this 
wandering course, to have a wife and children of his own. He 
held out the picture of marriage, and a quiet and settled home. 
The High Priest's office was apparently suggested as the haven 
of the warrior's stormy career. If we may trust the brief 
sentence * which follows, Judas accepted the advice so cordially 
that the long- delayed event took place — that he married, and 
for a time settled quietly and happily in domestic life. Sud- 
denly all was changed. The jealous rival Alcimus saw in this 
friendship the ruin of his own hopes, denounced Nicanor to the 
King, and procured an order that Judas should be sent as 
prisoner to Antioch. Nicanor was deeply hurt He could not 
break his plighted troth to his friend. He could not venture 
to disobey the royal order. His uneasy conscience showed 
itself in the fierceness of his temper and the roughness of his 
manners. Judas boded no good and escaped. A skirmish 
took place between him and some of the royal troops at Caphar- 
salama in the plain of Sharon. The two friends parted to meet 
no more. 

The excited tradition of the next generation represented the 
furious Greek as standing in the great outer ^ court of the 
Temple — the priests and chiefs of the people vainly endea- 
vouring to propitiate him by showing him the offering prepared 
on the altar for the welfare of the Syrian king. With an in- 
sulting gesture Nicanor stretched out his hand to the Temple 
and swore that unless Judas was given up to him he would 
level the building, break down the altar, and erect on its site a 
Temple to the Grecian Bacchus. The terrified hierarchy, as 
in the old days, took up their position between the altar and 
the Temple, and invoked the Divine aid for their sanctuary so 
recently purified. Amongst those who were specially obnoxious 
to Nicanor was Rhazis, a Jew conspicuous for his austere 

* 2 Mace. xlv. 25, €7aVr)0"ei', €v<nd0y}crei', * 2 Mace. xiv. 31, 33. The passage 

iKOLVMvrjcre ^iov. It almost looks as if this well illustrates the difference of Updv and 

were a mistranslation of part of Nicanor's vao'?. 


patriotism. He was determined not to give the enemy the 
chance of insulting him by capture, and, rather than yield, 
endeavoured to destroy himself, first by falling on his sword in 
the tower where he had taken refuge, then springing from the 
tower to the ground, and then, despite his ghastly wounds, 
throwing himself headlong from one of the precipitous cliffs 
of the city. All this stamped the memory of Nicanor with 
additional horror.* 

At last the vengeance came, in the fitting place and from 

the fitting man. In that same memorable pass of Beth-horon 

where Judas had gained his first victory, he was now 

Battle of . 1 . 1 5., , . -^ . , .„ , 

Beth-horon, to gam his last. There, amongst his native hills, he 
was encamped, at a village at the foot of the Pass. 
He felt that it was again one of the critical moments of his 
life ; and his address (so it was beheved in the next genera- 
tion) partook of that strong historic enthusiasm which marked 
his character. He told his army that in his dreams he had 
seen Onias,^ the last blameless High Priest before the disorders 
of the time began, whose intercessions had called down the 
ministers of Divine wrath on Heliodorus, and who had fallen a 
victim to the sacrilegious jealousy of his rivals in the laurel 
groves of Daphne. The venerable man had appeared as in 
life, the true dignified Priest, the true Israelite nobleman,^ 
with his reverend demeanour, his gentle manners, his gracious 
utterance, the model of virtuous training from his youth up- 
wards. As of old in the Temple, so had he seemed- to be 
standing, with his hands ' outstretched in prayer for the whole 
host of Judaea. Suddenly, in answer to the High Priest's sup- 
plication, there started into view the apparition of a magnificent, 
hoary-headed figure, of lofty stature and commanding presence. 
^This,^ said Onias, *is the lover of our brethren, the inter- 

* cessor for our people and our holy city. This is Jeremiah, 

* the Prophet of God.' In that age of silent expectation this 
welcome vision of the SuifTering Servant of the Eternal, who 
had come to be regarded almost as the Patron Saint of 

* 2 Mace. xiv. 37-46. ' Hid. xv. 12-17, 

• tcaAbv Kal ayaOov. The Greek expression for ' «entle»an,' 2 Mace, xv. j 

284 JUDAS MACCABiEUS. lbct. xlviii. 

Palestine, might well have presented itself to the devout warrior's 
sleeping thoughts. The Prophet seemed to stretch out his 
right hand, as if with a pledge of support, and gave to Judas a 
golden sword. It was not merely like the short ^ weapon 
which, he had hitherto wielded from the day when he took it 
from the dead hand of his earliest foe Apollonius, but the huge 
broadsword of the Macedonian phalanxes. 'Take this holy 

* sword,' said the Prophet, *and with it thou shalt crush thine 

* enemies.' ^ 

The battle was felt to be decisive, especially for the Tem- 
ple,^ which ran the risk of another defilement or destruction 
that would undo all the labour and joy of the recent dedica- 
tion. Alike in the mountain pass, and in Jerusalem, from 
which the hills which encompass Beth-horon are visible, the 
' agony ' was intense. The intrepid chief with his small band 
saw the huge and variegated host approach, the furious ele- 
phants snorting^ in the centre, the cavalry hovering on the 
wings. It was, if ever, a time and place to invoke the Divine 
aid which supports the few against the many. It was not only 
the spot where Joshua had defeated the kings of Canaan, but 
where tradition fixed the more '^ recent deliverance from Senna- 
cherib. With these thoughts (and in this both the earlier and 
later narratives substantially agree) Judas raised his hands to 
heaven, and called on the All-seeing, Wonder-working God. 
' Thou, O Lord, sentedst thine angel in the reign of Hezekiah 
' and didst destroy from the camp of Sennacherib an hundred 
' and fourscore and five thousand. Now, O Ruler of the 

* Heavens, send a good angel before us and strike terror and 

* trembling, and with Thy mighty arm may they be struck 

* down, who have come with blasphemy against Thy Holy 
' Temple 1 ' The army of Nicanor came on with trumpets 
sounding in accord with their triumphal heathen^ war-songs. 
The army of Judas advanced (the expression reminds us of 
the Ironsides) * fighting with their hands and praying with 

^ pon^aia in 2 Mace. xv. 16 as distinct irpo? rdi' Trarepa (Grimm on 2 Mace. xv. 16) 

from fx^xaipa in i Mace. iii. 12. ^ toO Kadyjyiaafiiuov vaov, 2 Mace. xv. 

" Philo {De Execratione) regards the 18. * See Lightfoot, ii. 18. 

venerable seer of the past as TrapdK\r)ro^ ^ 2 Mace. xv. 25 (vaLavoiv}, 


* their hearts.' The rout was complete. The neighbouring 
villages ^ and the surrounding hills were roused by the horn of 
the Maccabee, as of another Roland, to intercept the passes 

and cut off the fugitives. There was a later tradition 

still, that when Judas encountered his former friend 

in the battle he called out, * Take care of thyself, Nicanor 2— it 

* is to thee that I come 1 ' But in the earlier version it was not 
Death of ^y the hand of Judas that Nicanor was slain ; he fell 
Nicanor. jj^ ^-j^g f^j-g^ ousct of the battle, and it was only after 
its close that his corpse was found, recognised by his splendid 
armour. Wild was the exultation, loud the shout, with which 
in their own Hebrew tongue the Jewish army blessed their 
Divine Deliverer. Then (it is no unfitting conclusion) laden 
with spoil, they came in triumph to Jerusalem. Amongst the 
trophies the most conspicuous were the head of Nicanor and 
his right hand and arm from the shoulder downwards, which 
they had severed from the body as it lay on the battlefield. The 
Priests assembled before the altar to receive them. The head 
and hand (like Hasdrubal's in Hannibal's camp) were held up 
before the Greek garrison in the fortress. The head was fastened 
to the fortress itself. The hand, which had been so proudly 
stretched forth in defiance against the Temple, was nailed to the 
main eastern entrance of the inner court, known long after as the 
Gate Beautiful, but also as 'the Gate of^ Nicanor' from this 
terrible reminiscence. The tongue with which the insults were 
spoken was cut into small pieces and thrown for the birds to 
devour. It was a savage revenge —so savage, and, in the sacred 
precincts, approaching so nearly to a profanation, that neither 
Josephus nor the earlier historian ventures to mention it ; but 
told in such detail and so confirmed by long tradition, and 
(alas !) by analogous usage in so many a Christian country, that 
there seems no reason to doubt it. One further honour was to 
be bestowed on the victory. It was a day already auspicious, 

' Jos. AnL xii. lo, g. =* 5 Mace, v. 16. in a storm to lighten the ship, that a sea- 

' Another explanation, but probably of a monster swallowed it and threw it out on 

later date, was given, that Nicanor, an the shore at Joppa, where he found it on 

Alexandrian Greek, had brought the gate his arrival (see the various Rabbinical 

from Alexandria ; that it was thrown over quotations collected by Herzfeld, ii. 345)? 

286 JUDAS MACCABtEUS. lect. xlviii. 

the 13th of the month Adar — the eve of the Feast of Purim — 
or, as the historian calls it, the eve of * Mordecai's Day ; ' and 
the anniversary itself was to be hereafter * called * Nicanor's 
' Day.' 

This was the crowning success of Judas. A wider sphere 
seemed opening before him, a new and powerful ally was on 
f ^^^ point of joining his cause, when he was suddenly 
Eieasa and cut off. The Syrian army under Bacchides advanced 
Judas. down the Jordan valley to avenge the defeat of 

Nicanor. From a cause which the historian does 
not explain, but which incidental illustrations will enable us 
presently to indicate with fatal precision, Judas found a diffi- 
culty in mustering his forces. A veil, as it were, is drawn over 
his last effort. Even the place is uncertain. ^ We cannot be 
sure whether he encountered the enemy in his old haunts in 
the valleys branching into the hills from his native village, or 
whether he had been decoyed away into the far north by the 
sources of Jordan, or by the caverned rocks which overhang 
the Lake of Gennesareth. In the latest traditions ^ he is re- 
presented as advancing to the fight with the lion-like port of 
his earlier days, and brandishing his sword, whether that which 
he had won from Apollonius, or that which he had received 
from the Prophet in the vision at Beth-horon. The famous 
trumpet sounded for the last time. From morning till night 
the conflict lasted. One wing of the Syrian army fled before 
the charge, but the other pursued the pursuers, and between 
the two the gallant champion was caught. His watchword 
before the battle was cherished as his latest utterance."* When 
he saw the odds against which Ke had to fight, ' God forbid that 
^ I should do this thing and flee away from them ; if our time 
' be come, let us die manfully for our brethren, and let us not 
* leave behind a stain upon our honour.' His dead body was 

^ Herzfeld, ii. 345. See Lecture XLV. that case Eieasa might be Laish near 

' I Mace- ix. 2. Galgaga is Galilee in Dan. But on the other hand it seems im- 

Jos. Ant. xii. 11. Arbela also points to probable that he should have ventured so 

the fortress above the Lake of Gennesareth, far from Judaea. 

Masaloth possibly to its well-known caves ' 5 Mace. v. 17, 3. 

(Herzfeld, ii. 346), (see Lecture L.), and in * x Mace. ix. 18-20. 


found by the two worthiest of his brothers ; they laid him in the 
ancestral sepulchre at Modin, and a dirge went up from the 
whole nation for him, like that of David over Saul and Jona- 
than : ^How is the vaHant man fallen, the deliverer of Israeli' 

With the death of Judas ends the first stage of the struggle 
for independence. Hardly any character of the later days of 
Judaism so strikes the imagination as the hero who, 
IS career. ^^ ^|j military chiefs, accomplished the largest ends 
with the scantiest means, who from the brink of extermination 
raised his nation to a higher level of freedom than they had 
enjoyed since the fall of the Monarchy. * He had been ever 

* the chief defender of his countrymen both in body and 

* mind ; he had maintained his early love for his people un- 

* broken to the end.' ^ No conflict in their history has been 
more frequently recorded. Even David's story is told but 
twice ; the story of the Maccabsean struggle is repeated at 
intervals of successive generations in no less than four separate 
versions. And around the struggle revolves the mysterious 
book which still exercises the critic, which still stirs the 
conscience, which filled the whole imagination of the coming 
centuries of the Jewish people. When some good men 
regard it as a disparagement of the Book of Daniel that 
it should have been evoked by the Maccabaean conflict, it is 
because they have not adequately conceived the grandeur of 
that crisis, nor recognised the fact that, when the final agony 
of the nation approached, two centuries later, there was no 
period which so naturally supplied the imagery for its hopes 
and fears as that which was covered by the blows and counter- 
blows between Antiochus the Brilliant Madman and Judas 
the Hammer of the Heathen. If in the visions of Daniel the 
anticipations of the deliverance are thought worthy of being 
announced by the Archangel Gabriel,^ if the hero who shall 
accomplish the deliverance is summoned to receive his reward 
by myriads of ministering spirits, not less in the poetic accounts 
of the Second Book of Maccabees does the valiant ruler with 
his little band appear surrounded by angelic champions. 

* 2 Mace. XV. 30. ' Dan. vii. 14 ; ix. 27 {Speaker's Cemmefctary, vol. vi. 336). 

288 JUDAS MACCABiEUS. lbct. xltiii. 

Sometimes, when he is marching out of Jerusalem on a sudden 
there starts up a horseman clothed in white, who heads the little 
band, brandishing his shield and spear ^ of gold. Sometimes 
in the thick of the fray five splendid horsemen start as if from 
the sky, rattling their golden bridles, as if the celestial guardians 
of the five gallant brothers. One gallops before, and on each 
side of Maccabseus ride, two and two, the other four, protecting 
him with shield, and spear, and sword, and darting lightnings 
at their enemies.^ 

Such apparitions — the counterparts of the Twin Gods at 
the battle of the^ Lake Regillus, of St. lago in the Spanish 
armies, of the angels of victory and defeat which even now 
hover before the eyes of Russian ^ soldiers in the crisis of the 
combat, of St. Nicholas who caught in the air the bombs of the 
British fleet at the holy fortress of Solowetsky in the White 
Sea — are the outward expressions of the deep moral significance 
of the Maccabaean struggle. The sober style of the contemporary 
account is content with the moral qualities of the human hearts 
and hands by which the victory is won. But the interest is not 
less vivid, nor the glory of that ^ Son of Man ' less transparent, 
in the solid prose than in the radiant poetry of the period. Let 
us consider some of the characteristics from which this interest 
is derived. 

I. There may be a momentary disappointment when we 
reflect that the special objects which provoked the contention 
Narrowness ^^^^ such as the highest religious minds of subse- 
of conflict, quent times have regarded as trivial or temporary. 
The rite of circumcision, for which the choicest spirits of the 
nation fled into the caverns and hills of Palestine, was two 
centuries later regarded by Saul of Tarsus as absolutely in- 
different.^ The sabbath and the sabbatical year, for the sake 
of which they exposed themselves to defeat and ruin, were 
pronounced by him to be amongst the beggarly elements of 
the world — shadows and not realities.^ One of them has been 

' 2 Mace. xi. 7. I^ome. 

* StaTTpeTTet?, TravoTrAta. 2 Macc. x. 29, * Kinglake's Crimean War^ i. 458. 

30 (Grimm). " i Cor. vii. 19 ; Gal. vi. 15. 

^ Preface to Macaulay's Lays of Ancient • Gal. iv. 9 ; Col. ii. 16. 

mcT, XLVin. HIS CAREER. 2 89 

abandoned altogether by the Jewish race itself, the other has 
been so modified in the Christian world as to have almost 
ceased to bear the same name or serve the same end. The 
distinctions of food, which to the martyrs of the Maccabaean age 
were the tests for which they endured the most cruel torments, 
were declared in the vision to Peter by the seashore * at Joppa 
to be of not the slightest importance in the sight of God. The 
sacrifices, of which the sudden extinction under the pressure of 
Andochus seemed to be the cessation of the very pulse of 
religion, have vanished, and the neglect which once seemed to 
be the most terrible of desolations now reigns through every 
church and through every synagogue. Even the hated statues 
and pictures of heathen divinities, which filled with horror the 
mind of every pious Israelite at that time, now stand un- 
challenged at the corners of the streets and adorn the walls of 
the houses in every capital of Europe. Doubtless, as was 
urged by the Alexandrian Jew Philo ^ at a later epoch, these 
usages each contributed to the support of the Jewish nationality, 
so that (to use his own homely illustration) ' if one brick were 
* taken out the whole house would have fallen to pieces.' Yet 
still the fact remains that there was a narrowness in the conflict 
w^hich in time was destined to make itself felt. And even 
without looking further than the career of Judas Maccabaeus, 
we see that the true interest of the struggle rose above these 
external w^atchwords, and that the heroic family w^hich fought 
for them had a wider and deeper insight than belonged to any 
mere ceremonial forms. 

2. In this instance the danger lay in the absorption of 
Judaism not into the higher spirit of Athens or Alexandria, 
Elevation of ^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^ bascst and most corrupt form of hea- 
Sp^"^- thenism of which the very name * Syrus ' or * Syrian ' 

was the byword. And the stern resistance to it is a signal 
example of the 'stubbornness and stiffness of neck' which, 
says the Rabbinical ^ tradition, Moses mentioned as a fault, 
but knowing in a prophetic spirit that it would be not the 

' Acts X. 15. "Ad Cat'um, p 99. » Raphall, i. 232. 


2go JUDAS MACCAByEUS. ij1er.yT.Ti5r. 

ruin but the salvation of the people against force, and fraud, 
and persecution. 

It might have been thought, that with such an excessive 
tenacity to these outward symbols, the nation would have felt 
that in their loss all was lost, and resigned itself to despair. 
Not so. With that inextinguishable fire of spiritual faith which 
burned beneath the superficial crust, it was recognised, even 
in that contention for the framework of things which so soon 
were ready to wax old and vanish away, that there was some- 
thing better and more enduring even than Temple or sacrifice. 
That strain which we hear at the moment of the profanation 
of the sanctuary is the prelude of a higher mood. ' God did 
' not choose the people for the place's sake, but the place for ' 
' the people's sake.' The calamities which befell them were 
felt to be the consequence of their having been ' wrapped in 
'many sins.'^ The tendency, so natural at such moments, 
to throw the blame on others was kept in check by the genuine ^ 
and generous sentiment of self-accusation which breathes 
through the histories and devotions of this period. 

Of this elevation of religion the Maccabaean family were 
the main representatives, and thus an insensible undercurrent 
of divergence sprang up between them and the more fanatical 
of their followers. ' The * Pious ' "^ or ' the Chasidim ' are con- 
stantly mentioned as a party on whom the true patriots were 
obliged to count for support, but on whom they could not 
securely reckon. The unreasoning abstinence from self- 
defence ^ on the Sabbath was put aside by Mattathias with a 
disdainful impatience — according to one account, with a fine 
insight into the spirit ^ of the ancient Law, in which he seemed 
to see that its purpose was not to destroy life, but to save it. 
The Priests on more than one occasion brought dishonour on 
the cause by a fanatical foolhardiness, which the wise leader of 
the insurgents vainly strove to check. "^ There was a secret 
reluctance in the stricter party to break altogether with the 

' 2 Mace. V. 19. * /<5zV/. v. 18. * i Mace. ii. 42. ' /i>zW. li. 401 

» Dan. ix. 4-19 ; Psalm Ixxix. 9 ; 2 Mace. " Lev. xviii. 5. See Raphall, i. 242. 

vi. 12-16. ' X Mace. V. 67 ; vii. 13. 


legitimate successor of Aaron, as represented in the renegade 
Priest Alcimus,* and, although it is not expressly mentioned, 
we can hardly doubt that the elevation ^ of the Maccabaean 
family to the High Priesthood, of which the first attempt was 
discerned in the case of Judas, though not realised till after his 
death in the person of his brother, must have been a rude 
shock to many a cherished prejudice. The race of Joarib 
from which they sprang was studiously disparaged ; the very 
names of Modin and Maccabee were twisted into words of 
ignominy, signifying ' rebelhon,' or * revolt.' ^ It would almost 
seem as if the enlarged policy of Judas in seeking allies from 
the outside world was the object of suspicion to the Muckle- 
wraths and Macbriars of this older Covenant, and thus one of 
the causes of that sudden defection of his troops which cost 
him his life at the close of his career."* 

Nor did this alienation of the narrow spirit of the religious 
world of Judaism from the heroic chief to whom was due the 
restoration of the sanctuary and the nation terminate with the 
disaffection against which he had to contend in his lifetime. 
It is a striking fact which can hardly be accidental that, 
enshrined as was his memory in the popular histories which 
live in the successive books called after him, it is almost entirely 
disregarded in the traditions of the Talmudic schools. Not 
one of his exploits — not even his name — occurs in the Mishna. 
In the annual thanksgiving which commemorates the deliver- 
ance from Antiochus the name of Judas is not mentioned, 
and even the intervention of the family is veiled under the 

* 1 Mace. vii. 14. ' us I am assured the Lord will have 
" 2 Mace xiv. 26. Raphall, L 325. ' wrought wondrously.' But I am in- 

* Raphall, i. 345. formed by Professor Neubauer that this is 

* In Gratz (iii. 10), copied by Raphall (i. an incorrect quotation, and that the pas- 
345) without verification, there professes sage from the Midrash—itself of a very 
to be given a direct proof of this from the late date, the twelfth century - is of no 
Midrash Hanuka. * Johanan, the leader of authority. It may possibly represent some 
' the Pious, was wroth, and said to the earlier tradition, but as it stands it is a 

* Asmonean : Is it not written, Cursed is the mass of confusion- It is Mattnthias the 

* man that putteth his trust in thee while //z^A /'rzV^/ who addresses the Asmonean, 

* his heart departeth from the Lord ; but in the name not of the Chas'dim, but of 

* blessed is he that trusteth in the Lord, the congregation ; and the protest precedes 
'for the Lord will be his trust? Thou not a defeat, but a victory. The Gentiles 

* and thine, I and mine, we represent the in question are not the Romans but the 

* twelve tribes of the Lord, and through Parthians. 


292 JUDAS MACCABEUS. lect. xlviii. 

unhistorical name of Mattathias the High Priest.^ As Columba 
m Ireland, as Joan of Arc in France, as Robert the Bruce in 
Scotland, as Simon de Montfort in England, so Judas Mac- 
cabaeus, neglected or disparaged by the ecclesiastical authorities, 
received his canonisation only from the popular voice, and 
from the judgment of posterity. Yet in a certain sense this 
disparagement was from their point of view more just than he 
or they could have discerned at the time ; even as the real 
grandeur of his cause by a strange irony is derived in large 
measure from the nobler side of the Grecian influences which 
he devoted his life to oppose. 

3. That spirit of patriotism which had been developed by 
^e longings of the Captivity and the joy of the Return 
^ . . assumed at this epoch a form and style which, more 

Patriotism. . ^ . . , r , x • i 1 • 

than any previous mcidents of the Jewish history, 
recalls the maxims of Greek and Roman history. * We fight 

* for our lives and our laws.' 'The jeopardising of a gallant 

* soldier is to the end that he might deliver his people and 
' win himself a perpetual name.' ' Let us die manfully for our 

* brethren and not stain our honour.' 'I will show myself 

* such as mine old age requireth, and leave a notable example 
' to such as be going to die courageously for the honourable 

* and holy laws.' These are expressions which are Gentile 
rather than Jewish, which remind us of I^eonidas and 
Horatius Codes more than of Moses or David. The career of 
Judas exempHfies the profound truth of the Scottish poet's 

The Patriot's God peculiarly Thou art, 

His Friend, Inspirer, Guardian, and Reward. 

It is precisely because the name of Maccabseus has a national 
and warlike rather than a theological savour, that he has 
deserved a special place amongst the heroes of mankind, as 
combining in one, in a preeminent degree, the associations of 
the patriot and the saint. For this reason the old mediaeval 
romancers and artists did well when they placed him, not in the 

» Raphall, i. 345. 


exclusive circle of Jewish or Christian hagiology, but in the 
larger sphere of the Nine Worthies drawn from every nation 
and land, not only with Joshua and David, but with Alexander 
and Caesar, with Arthur and Charlemagne. For this reason 
the greatest of modern musicians, when he washed to celebrate 
with the grandest military strains the return of a youthful Prince 
from the victorious * campaign in which he had, as was beheved 
at the time, delivered his country from the bondage of tyranny 
and superstition, chose as the framework of his oratorio the ex- 
ploits of Judas Maccabaeus, and made his triumph over Nicanor 
the occasion for the chorus w^hich has greeted every British 
warrior since, * See the Conquering Hero comes.' 

4. But the broader aspect of the Maccabaean history is not 
confined to its patriotic fervour. In the very language of the 
Gentile dcscriptious the Greek rhetoric has mingled with the 
Philosophy. Hebrew simplicity so strongly as to show how the 
zeal against Hellenism failed to resist its subtle and penetrating 
influence. The first book of Maccabees, indeed, retains on the 
whole the ancient style. The lament and the parting counsels 
of Mattathias are such as might have come from the life of Jere- 
miah or Ezra. But even then the military and geographical 
details have a tincture of Polybius ; and when we read the 
second book, the speeches and conversations have all the flow 
of the orations which Greek and Latin historians place in the 
mouths of their heroes. And yet further, when we arrive at the 
fourth book — of uncertain date, and probably the last native 
ofi'shoot of the literary stimulus of the Maccabaean age — it is 
not merely the form, but the substance of the philosophy of 
Aristotle and Zeno which reigns supreme. It is, as Ewald says,^ 
our only specimen of a Jewish sermon. But it is a sermon 
without a sacred text, or rather its text is the government of the 
Passions by the supremacy of Reason or Principle. It is 
Butler's Discourse on Human Nature illustrated, with all the 
turgid eloquence of the Alexandrian school, by the story 
of Eleazar and the seven martyrs. The Four Cardinal Vir- 
tues figure in the place of the Mosaic Law, the Law itself is 

» The Duke of Cumberland's return from CuUoden in 1745. • Ewald, v. 485. 

294 JUDAS MACCABEUS. lect. xlviii. 

transfigured in the light of Greek Philosophy. The imagery ^ is 
drawn, not from the mountains or forests of Palestine, but from 
the towers and reefs that guard the harbour of Alexandria, 
from the legends of the Dying Swan and of the voices of the 

5. There was a still more definite connexion between the 
faith of the Maccabees and that of the Gentile world against 
Belief in which they were contending. We have watched the 
Immortality, gradual growth of the hope of immortality along the 
progress of the Jewish race, enkindled by the aspirations of 
the Psalmists, deepened by the misfortunes of the Captivity, 
coloured, perchance, by the contact with Zoroastrianism.^ We 
have seen its deliberate expression ^ in the teaching, if not of 
Socrates, yet of his greatest disciple. We have witnessed, 
though at what date we know not, the clear and vivid statement 
of the Greek and Hebrew belief combined in the culminating 
revelation of Alexandrian Judaism, *the Wisdom of Solomon.'^ 
In Palestine the prospect of futurity had still for the people at 
large remained under the veil that had rested on it from the 
time of Moses ; though with occasional glimpses furnished in 
some of the bolder utterances of Psalmist or Prophet,^ who for 
themselves, if not for others, claimed a share in the eternal 
communion with the Eternal. The one great teacher who had 
appeared in Judaea since Malachi — the son of Sirach — was 
entirely silent on the world beyond the grave. ^ O death, how 

* bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man that liveth at rest 

* in his possessions ! . . . O death, how acceptable is thy sen- 
' tence unto the needy and unto him whose strength faileth ! 

* . . . Fear not the sentence of death ; remember them that 

* have been before thee, and that come after ; for this is the ^ 
' sentence of the Lord over all flesh.' In this calm but gloomy 
resignation is summed up the experience of the most gifted sage 
in Palestine twenty years before the Maccab^an insurrection. 
But in the course of that insurrection — or, at least, in the records 

* 4 Mace. xlii. 7 ; ibid. xv. 14. * Lecture XLVI. 

• Lecture XLV. ' See Ewald, Lehr. fon Gott, ii. 442. 
» Lecture XLVIL * Ecclus. xli. x, 2, 3. 

JLBCT. xLvni. HIS CAREER. 295 

of it — * the belief in immortality ' which the Grecian philosophy 
had communicated to the Jewish schools of Alexandria started 
into a prominence which it had never achieved before, and 
which it never lost afterwards. ' It is true that in the trans- 

* figured form in which they correspond to the true Religion 

* these hopes had long been established in Israel as one of the 

* highest and most enduring fruits which its thousand years' ex- 

* perience had brought forth upon its sacred soil. Not till now, 
' however, can it be said that this fruit was so natural that it would 

* never again disappear ; and if the immovable hope of immor- 

* tality and resurrection is the true and only weapon that cannot 
' be wrested from us, by which in the spiritual struggles of 

* humanity all the sufferings of the time can be victoriously 

* endured, all the tyranny of the earth broken, and all imperish- 
' able happiness attained — it must be admitted that, through 

* the deep surging storm of the age, there was sent from above, 

* in this faith which nothing could take away, the only sword 

* of salvation, against whose edge the most fatal terrors ^ would 

* strike in vain.' It is not only that in the Book of Daniel, 
with a precision sharpened by the intensity of conflict, it is 
announced that * many of them that sleep in the dust of the 

* earth shall awake ; some to everlasting life, some to shame 

* and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine 

* as the brightness of the blue sky, and they that help many to 

* righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever.' ^ It 
is not only that in the Psalter of Solomon ^ we are told that 

* whoso fear the Lord shall rise to eternal life, and their life is 

* in the light of the Lord and shall no longer fail.' It is into 
the very tissue of the history that the belief is interwoven, and 
in forms which, whilst they show its Western origin, show also 
that it had struck root in the Jewish heart with all the tenacity 
of an Eastern faith. The earliest version of the story, indeed, 
is still silent, like the Son of Sirach. But the traditions of the 
time, as handed down in the second and fourth books ^ of the 

' Ewald, V. 306. " Dan, xii. 2, 3 (Heb.) Cyrene, may have been more easily filled 

' liu'd. iii. 16. with Greek ideas. Still, the connexion 

* 2 Mace. vii. 9. This book, no doubt, with the Palestine insurrection implies th^ 

ms being abridged from a work written in the belief had reached thither. 

2g6 JUDAS MACCABEUS. lkct. xltiii. 

Maccabees, relate distinctly and firmly how the seven brothers 
and their mother trusted that ' the King of the world would 
* raise up them who had died for His laws unto everlasting life.' 
And not only in the words but in the deeds recorded is the new 
doctrine exemplified. The desperate effort of Rhaziz to destroy 
himself ' manfully ' rather than be dishonourably treated by his 
enemies, in the very Paganism of its depreciation of life,^ implies 
a new form of contempt for death, in the mind of the historian, 
Offerings for evidently based on his confidence of another state, 
the Dead. And, yct further, an incident is recorded, too circum- 
stantial to be set aside, which indicates that the belief not only 
existed, but had already begun to run into those curious specu- 
lations which have themselves in turn darkened the hope that 
engendered them. After one of the battles of Judas in the 
plains of Philistia, when, according to custom, they rested on 
the following Sabbath, and took up the corpses of their killed, 
to lay them in their ancestral tombs, it was found that under- 
neath the inner clothing of each dead man were amulets in the 
form of the small idols found in the Temple of Jamnia.^ It 
was the last lingering trace of the ancient Phihstine practice of 
taking into battle figures of their divinities as charms against 
danger,^ The victorious soldiers of the Maccabaean army, with a 
superstition hardly less excusable than that of their unfortunate ^ 
comrades, sprang to the conclusion that these amulets had been 
the destruction of those who had worn them. After the first trium- 
phant exultation that they had not fallen into the same snare as 
others, Judas, with the generous^ sympathy which characterised 
him, was struck with the fear, still tinged with the same con- 
fusion of ideas, lest the gallant survivors should, by the common 
partnership of war and nationality, share the guilt of the crime 
of their fellow-soldiers, and accordingly caused a collection to 
be made, man by man, which amounted at least to the sum 
of 2,000 Greek coins, for a sacrifice which should efface the 

^ The peculiar characters of Samson and * ' Those on whom the tower of Siloam 

Saul give a different colour to the act, in ' fell, were they sinners above all men?' 

I Sam. xxxi. 4, Judg. xvi. 30. (Luke xiii. 4.) 

" 2 Mace. xii. 39-45. • ye^faios louSas, 3 Macc. xii. 42. 

^ 2 Sam. V. 21 ; i Chron. xiv. la. 


memory of the sin of the fallen combatants. The act was 
regarded as one of peculiar significance ; there was something 
in it * noble,' * becoming,' and * thoughtful,' ^ like a chief who 
felt that his soldiers were part of himself, and who cast his 
glance forward to their future in another world. The offering 
which they thus made, collecting for the whole army, might, 
perchance, benefit even those who had periehed with the idola- 
trous images on their bosoms ; it would still more benefit those 
who had no direct share in the guilt ; and if any such had 
fallen or might fall in the conflict, it might even be considered 
as an offering of thankful gratitude. 

The whole incident is full of characteristic traits ; the last 
flicker of the old Canaanitish idolatry, the inborn superstition 
of the Jewish race, the gracious act of the leader, rising above 
the transitory terror of the moment, and endearing himself to 
the troops by his care that they should not, even unconsciously, 
have incurred the danger which he apprehended. But it is 
most remarkable as exhibiting what has been truly called ' the 
* earliest distinct assertion of a Jewish behef in the resurrection,'^ 
and that belief, as it was derived in the first instance from the 
Greek world, so now expressed itself in a practice unknown 
before to Israel, but common in Greece, of making offerings 
at the graves of the dead, which should divert from them any 
glance of Divine displeasure that might rest upon them. In 
the Gentile usage it took the form of libations or sacrifices to 
the departed spirits themselves. In the Maccabaean practice 
this was modified, in accordance with the nobler religious 
feeling of Judaism, by addressing them not to the dead but for 
the dead to God. In this form it passed mto the early Christian 
Church, but with the further change of substituting the simple 
aspirations of prayer for the cumbrous sacrifices of Jewish 
and Pagan rites. This innocent thought, based on the natural 
religious instinct alike of heathen and of Jew, at last cul- 
minated in the elaborate system of buying and selling of 

* This seems to be the meaning of the fallen in battle)— xotp"''7>jptoi' — in LXX. 

whole passage, a Mace. xii. 40-45. Ob- only used here, but common in classical 

serve the words icaAws — aa-relbig—SiaXoy' authors for a ' thankoffering.' 

i^ofjievo^, and again, irpoirtiwruKBTuv (— '* Milm&n's Hist. 0/ y€zvs,n, B. 

298 JUDAS MACCABEUS. lbct. XLvni. 

prayers, regardless of the reasonable devotion alike of Jew or 
of Christian. But the practice itself belongs to the earliest 
and simplest endeavour to unite the dead and the living in one 
spiritual communion, and the circumstance that this is the one 
solitary example of it in the whole range of the Greek or 
Hebrew Scriptures has caused the name of * Maccabee ' to 
pass into a synonym, in a large part of Christendom, for 
funereal celebrations. ^ 

It will thus be seen what was the peculiarity of the super- 
stitious dread which Judas sought to allay, what the beauty of 
his act as it seemed to his Cyrenian biographer, what its con- 
nexion with the glorious doctrine of Grecian philosophy, which, 
in spite of his stubborn resistance to Grecian tyranny, he 
thus solemnly celebrated at the altar in Jerusalem. Never 
before had the existence of the departed in the unseen world 
assumed so tangible a form. ^Resurrection,' the great word of 
the New Testament, first comes prominently forward in the 
mouths of the Maccabsean martyrs and heroes. It was as 
though the resurrection of the nation gave a solid shape to the 
belief which henceforth was never to be lost. 

6. There is one more aspect of the Maccabsean struggle 
which has left a decisive mark on the religious history of the 
nation. For the first time the attack of their enemies was 
directed, not only (as in the invasions of the Assyrian or 
Babylonian kings) against the people, the city, and the Temple, 
but against the sacred books which— thanks to the exertions of 
Ezra and Nehemiah— had now taken their place amongst the 
treasures of the nation. It had been the object of the Syrian 
persecutors to destroy the copies of the Law whenever found, 
or to render them valueless in the eyes of the nation by paint- 
ing on their margins the figures of heathen divinities. Such 
an attempt, as in the parallel case of Diocletian's persecution 
of the Christians, must have had the natural effect of causing 

* It has been pointed out to me that the Primitive Culture, \. 359). For the same 

* Danse Maccabre,' as an expression for reason probably the register of the Morgue 

the Dance of Death, is supposed to have was called * Le Livre des Maccabees,' and 

its origin in the use of 2 Mace, xii, in the the French slang word for a drowned msia 

funeral offices of the Latin Church (Tylor's is * Macchab6e.' 


the Jews to cling more closely to these monuments of their 
faith, and to gather up whatever fragments might be lost Such 
a feeling, as we have seen, had already manifested itself in the 
compilations of ancient documents during the Exile, and in 
the time of Nehemiah produced the first definite attempt at a 
The complete collection. That collection consisted, ac- 

to thT"* cording to the earliest extant tradition, of the Penta- 
Canon. tcuch, the Prophcts, the histories of the Kings, the 
writings of David (whatever may have been included under 
that term), and the royal letters or donatives of the Persian 
kings. The same tradition that ascribes this work to the great 
reformer of the fifth century before the Christian era records 
a corresponding work of the great ^ hero of the second. As 
Nehemiah had agglomerated round the Law the works which 
had gradually taken form by his time, so, * in like manner * 
Judas Maccabaeus and his companions eagerly gathered^ round 
Nehemiah's group of sacred literature the scattered remains 
which had escaped, like fragments of a wreck or survivors of a 
battle,^ or * brands plucked from the fire,' out of the ruin of 
the Syrian war. 

It was* the last instalment of the Hebrew Bible, and was a 
work well worthy of the last leader who commanded the un- 
challenged reverence of the Hebrew race. It may 
Hagio- perhaps, be too much, on this single testimony, to 
grapha. ascribe the collection to himself personally ; though 
we would fain imagine the noble-hearted warrior, in the days 
which followed the dedication of the Temple, or in the brief 
interval of domestic peace during his friendship with Nicanor, 
recovering and rearranging the precious scrolls which, from 

' This is on the assumption (as generally * It is said that one result of the exter- 
received) that * Judas ' in 2 Mace. ii. 14 is mination of the Law — i.e. the Pentateuch 
the Maccabee. Herzfeld (ii. 444) sup- - by Antiochus was that, in order to supply 
poses him to be another Judas, the possible its place in thcsynagogues was introduced 
author of the Epistle in 2 Mace. i. 10. the Haphtara, i.e. the reading of lessons 
But it can hardly be doubted, that it was from the Prophets and some of the Hagio- 
intended to be Maccabaeus. grapha, which x\\\xs liberated iSroxn. Phatar^ 
" eirio-i ir;yaye, 2 Macc. ii. 13, 14. to liberate) the faithful from the obligation 
' BiajreirTcuKTOTa, ibid.^ mistranslated of reading the Pentateuch. See Dr. Gins- 
Most.' See Schleusner in voce. Comp. burg, in his article on the Haphtara. Kitto, 
I Macc. ix. 49 ; Judith vi. 9. See the ii. 227, 228. 
striking passage in Dcut^h's Remains^ z j. 

300 JUDAS MACCABEUS. lect. xlviii. 

broken vault or limestone cavern, were brought to his care to 
be lost no more. But in his time doubtless the work was done. 
The letters of the Persian kings, as having lost their interest, 
were now laid aside. And in their place, clinging to the skirts 
of ' the things of David,' were added those later writings which 
had either accumulated since Nehemiah's time, or by him, for 
whatever reason, had not been admitted. There was the his- 
torical work of the Chronicler, completed shortly after the 
invasion of Alexander, which carried with it the Book of Ezra, 
not yet divided into its twofold parts of Ezra and Nehemiah ; 
and the comparatively recent book of Esther, so especially 
needed for the Feast of Purim. There was the Book of Job 
already venerable, and the three Hebrew works bearing the 
name of Solomon, the latest, as we have seen, probably com- 
posed between the time of Nehemiah and the Maccabees. 
Finally there were, if so be, the Psalms which had sprung up in 
the Maccabasan struggle, and the great work of the period, almost 
the Gospel of the age, the Book of Daniel. 

Other books were still floating to and fro, the Wisdom of 
the Son of Sirach, the Psalter of Solomon. These, for reasons 
unknown to us, were not accepted by the Maccabsean compiler. 
But the inestimable additions made by him were now secured 
to the sacred volume in a far more enduring sense than was 
thought of by the historian who described their annexation in 
the subsequent ^ century. ' They ' do indeed ' remain with us.' 
The Hebrew Canon henceforth consisted, not only of ^the Law 
*and the Prophets,' but also of this third instalment, which, 
from the roll to which they were appended, took the name of 
* the Psalms,' ^ or more generally, from their own indeterminate 
character, * the Writings,' 'the Sacred Writings,' 'the Books,' 
*the other Books.' That is to say, inferior as their place was 
compared with the older volume, they took the name, which, 
little as it could have been then anticipated, was destined after- 
wards to comprehend and throw into the shade the titles borne 
even by the venerated Law and the inspired Prophets. They 
were emphatically 'the Scriptures,' the 'Hagiographa,' 'the Holy 

'■ a Maco. ii. 14. ^ Luke xxiv. 44. 


* Scriptures/ * the Bibles,' the * Bibha Sacra ' of the Jewish 
Church. Already in the Book of Daniel there is a slight trace 
of the name ^ Book ' or ^ Bible,' including the writings of Jere- 
miah. But, as a general rule, the name, naturally appropriate 
to more purely literary productions, belonged only to these 
later additions, and it was not till long afterwards that it 
ascended to its higher level and embraced with an iron grasp 
the whole multifarious volume of the Old and the New Covenant. 

The door was closed, and, as far as the Church of Pales- 
tine was concerned, no new intruder was ever admitted. But 
there were several modifications still possible, so difficult is 
it even for the strictest rigour to fetter those books, ' which are 
^ like living creatures with hands and feet.' The Word of God, 
whether written or unwritten, cannot be bound with earthly 
chains. First, they were divided and subdivided afresh, in 
order to assimilate them to the fancy which sprang up of 
making their number exactly equal to the twenty-two letters of 
the Hebrew alphabet. For this purpose the Law was dis- 
integrated into five parts. The two large groups, under the 
name of 'the Prophets,' — * the former,' containing the historical 
books of Joshua and Judges, and the Book of Kings, and ' the 

* hinder,' containing Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah, and the 
Lesser Prophets all in one — were now broken up. Joshua and 
Judges became two books. The * Book of Kings ' was divided 
into four, and the Prophets into fifteen component parts. 
Ruth was reckoned as part of ' Judges,' and the Lamentations 
as one with Jeremiah. Again, either for the purposes of public 
reading or from doubt as to their character, five were taken 
out of the whole collection, and ranged on separate rolls, 
called ' Megilloth.' These were Ruth, Esther, Canticles, 
Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations. Secondly, the arrangement of 
the Books, as they issued from the hands of the Maccabaean 
leader, had preserved on the whole the order in which the 
successive accretions had been formed. At the head was the 
Pentateuch ; then came the Books which, whether of the 
earlier histories, or of the Prophets, properly so called, were 
comprised under the common title of Prophetical. And last 

302 JUDAS MACCABEUS. xbct. xlviii. 

were 'the Scriptures,' ending with the Chronicles. This was to 
the Jews of that age the last book of the Canon. But all this 
time-honoured arrangement was pulled to pieces by the 
Alexandrian critics, whose labours we have already indicated. 
They determined to disregard entirely the redactions of Nehe- 
miah and Judas Maccabaeus, and placed the books as far as 
possible according to their subjects and chronology. The 
collection of * the Prophets ' was torn asunder, and into the 
midst of it, following on the last book of the Kings, were 
inserted the three later historical books from the Hagiographa 
— the Chronicles, Ezra now broken into two parts, and Esther. 
These were followed by the poetical books, according to the 
supposed order of their authorship — Job, the Psalms, the Pro- 
verbs, the Canticles, and Ecclesiastes ; and then followed at 
last the second part of Nehemiah's collection of the Prophets, 
preserving the priority of the twelve Lesser Prophets, and thus, 
with a true instinct of the latest book of the whole series, closing 
with Daniel, followed by the three kindred books of the 
Maccabees. This was the arrangement which prevailed more 
or less till it was once more disturbed by the Churches of the 
Reformation, which have combined by a rough compromise the 
Maccabsean Canon with the Alexandrian order. The Greek 
Bible kept the entrance open for the admission of yet newer 
books, for which Judas Maccabaeus had left no place, and 
which, as we have indicated, were to exercise a still wider in- 
fluence. But it is to him that we owe the distinction between 
the Hebrew and the Grecian books, to which the Reformers 
returned, and which remains a lasting monument of the victory 
of the holy Hebrew cause over the Graeco-Syrian kingdom, 
though in quite another sense than he intended it. In later 
ages, both in the Jewish and the Christian Church, not only 
has this hard line of demarcation been questioned, but several 
of the books which he admitted— Ezekiel, the Canticles, 
Esther, and Ecclesiastes — have been challenged. Yet on the 
whole his judgment has been confirmed. The Greek additions, 
at least down to the last unexpected burst of Israelite prophecy, 
in the writings of the Evangelists and Apostles, have always 


borne, even when most admired, a stamp of infenority. The 
original Hebrew books, even when most open to censure, have 
yet a native vigour and conciseness which belongs to the old 
Palestinian atmosphere — * the Rock of Abraham, from whence 

* they were hewn.' Even as a theologian, Judas * has fought 

* the battle of Israel.' 


Without embarking on the intricate question of the interior 
Zion and topography of Jerusalem, there are two points which are 
-^cra. clear in the Maccabaean time : — 

1. * Mount Zion' in i Mace. iv. 37, 60; v. 54 ; vi. 62 ; vii. 33 ; 

xii., is the Temple Hill — that which in 2 Chron. iii. i and in 
later times has been called Mount Moriah. 

2. The 'city or citadel of David' (i Mace. i. ^-^ ; xiv. 36) is 

that which was occupied by the Syrian fortress, and usually 
known by the name of ' Acra ' (with the definite article) 
'the Height' (i Mace. iv. 2 ; ix. 52 ; x. 32; xiii. 52; xiv. 
7 ; 2 Mace. xv. 31, 35). 

From this it follows : — 

1. That * Mount Zion ' ha^ changed its meaning since 2 Sam. 
V. 7, 9 (i Chron. xi. 5), when it was identical with the 
citadel of David. 

2. That * Acra ' afterwards changed its meaning, when it was 
identified by Josephus, Ant, xii. 5, 4 ; xiii. 6, 7 ; i?. y. v. 4, 
I. I. 22, with the Lower Hill. 

3. That both were different from the Baris or tower occupied 
by the Persian garrison, close to the Temple (Neh. ii. 8, 
vii. 2) and apparently on the site of the later Tower oi 


I am indebted to the kindness of a modern Hebrew scholar for 
The ^he accompanying description of the present celebration 

Hanucah. of the Hanucah or Feast of the Dedication : — 

' The Feast of Lights is observed as an eight days' holiday, 
* on which, however, all manner of work is allowed without 


' restriction. At home on each evening, as soon as possible as is 
' consistent with their arrangements, the Hghts are ht, commencing 
' with one green taper on the first night, the number increasing by 
' one every evening, eight being used on the last occasion. Tapers 

* are the ordinary custom, but the more orthodox people use oil and 

* wick ; but either is allowable. The prescribed formula of bless- 

* ing ^ is said over these lights, and they burn for half-an-hour, 

* during which all work is at a standstill. Latterly, that is to say, 

* in modern times, a very pretty hymn has been added, written as 

* an acrostic by one Mordecai. The tune is popular, not only in 
' England, but throughout the world where Jews are to be found. 
' This is about the whole of the home service, except that at every 
' meal, when grace is said, a special prayer is added commemora- 
' tive of God's mercies in rescuing the nation from the hands of 

* their Greek oppressors. This prayer is also said in synagogue 
' every morning, noon, and night, being introduced among the 

* eighteen Benedictions, which are repeated three times daily 

* throughout the year. 

' In the synagogue the feast is likewise observed with some 
' solemnity. There is usually a large gathering on the first night, 

* but this falls off during the remainder of the week. Every even- 
' ing during the week the officiating minister ascends a platform 
' and lights the candles as at home exactly. Here large wax candles 

* are employed ; oil is allowed, but I have never seen it. The 

* hymn referred to before is not said in synagogue, but Psalm xxx. 
' is repeated instead, more stress being laid upon the opening 
' evening's service than the others. In the more important metro- 

* politan synagogues, the service on the first night is stirring and 
' choral. 

' Ordinarily, on Mondays and Thursdays, a scroll of the Law is 
^ taken from the Ark and a small portion of the Pentateuch is read 
' to the congregants, varying from a dozen to two dozen verses, 
' but during Hanucah the Law is read every morning.^ As, how- 
<• ever, here is naturally no allusion to the Feast of Dedication to 
' be found in the Pentateuch, the history of the Dedication of the 
'- Tabernacle is read in lieu of it, as being the readiest reminder ; 
^ and this is subdivided into eight sections, one for each day. On 
' the Sabbath of the feast (there may be two Sabbaths if the first 

* * Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, * There is also read an account of the 

* King of the world, Who hast sanctified us deliverance by the Maccabees which is 
' with Thy commandments and enjoined repeated 66 times in 8 days. (Jewish 
' upon us to light the lamps of the Feast World.) 

' ot the Dedication.' (^Jewish World,) 

LECT. XLTtn. NOTES. 305 

* day is Saturday) this section is read in addition to the Lesson of 

* the day, so that two scrolls are removed from the Ark ; the read- 

* ing from the Prophets, common to every Sabbath, is selected from 

* Zechariah ii. 14 to iv. 7, as being most appropriate. The sermon 
' of the day is usually devoted to the events being commemorated. 
^ The period is marked by an extra half-holiday or so being given 

* in schools during the week, a festive entertainment being often 

* added.' 

DANIEL IX. 24-27. 

* I know,' said St. Jerome, * that this passage has been much 

* disputed amongst the most learned men. Each has spoken the 

* opinions suggested by his own mind. And, therefore, because I 

* consider it dangerous to pass judgment on the views of the 
' Doctors of the Church, and invidious to prefer one to another, 
' I will state what each one has thought, and leave it to the option 

* of the reader whose interpretation he shall follow.' 

Such is the statement prefixed to the elaborate summary of the 
contradictory opinions in the 'Speaker's Commentary' on the 
Book of Daniel, pp. 360-365, which concludes with the words, 

* It is impossible at present to explain the passage satisfactorily.' 

It is not in accordance with the plan of this work to discuss 
these several opinions. But it is permissible, and may be useful, 
to state the view which is commended to us by the nearest con- 
temporary authority and by the nearest coincidence of fact. 

According to this view, *the commandment to rebuild Jeru- 
*salem' in Dan. ix. 25 is the prophecy of the seventy years in 
Jeremiah, B.C. 588 (Dan. ix. 2) ; the Anointed Prince is Cyrus, as 
in Isaiah xlv. i, B.C. 536. More doubtfully, in Dan. ix. 21, 'the 
'death of the Anointed one without a successor' (Heb.) is Onias 
the high priest (2 Mace. iv. 35), which is substantially the explana- 
tion of Eusebius (H. E. i. 6, Demonst, Ev. viii. 391). 'The Prince 
' who shall destroy the city and sanctuary, whose end shall be 
' sudden,' in Dan. ix. 26, is Antiochus Epiphanes (i Mace. vi. 8). 
In Dan. ix. 27 (compare viii. 11, xii> 12) the cessation of the daily 
sacrifice is the cessation described in i JMacc. i. 54, and the Abomi- 
nation of Desolation (Dan. xi. 31, xii. 12) is the desecration of the 
altar by Antiochus as described under that same phrase in i Mace, 
i. 54. The three years (Dan. viii. 14, xii. 11, 12) relate to the 

Hi. X 

306 NOTES. men, xlviii. 

interval between the desecration and the re-consecration of the 
altar (i Mace. ii. 54, iv. 52). 

The only illustrations from any other part of the Bible are to 
be found in the application of the words * the Abomination of 
'Desolation' in Matt. xxiv. 15, Mark xiii. 14, to the desecration 
of the Herodian temple by the Roman Government. Such a 
secondary application is in accordance with the well-known usage 
of the New Testament, as, for example. Matt. ii. 15, 18, Acts vii. 
43, Rev. xi. II, xviii. 2. 

The expression, * One like to a Son of Man,' in Dan. vii. 13 ^ 
(Heb.) is explained in Dan. viil 27 to be * the people of the saints.' 
The phrase * Son of Man,' in the only other place in which it occurs 
in Daniel (viii. 17), agrees with its universal signification in the 
Old Testament, viz., as representing man, collectively or individu- 
ally, in his mortal and fragile aspect. See especially Psalm viii. 4, 
Ixxx. 17, and the forty-seven times in which it is applied to 
Ezekiel. It is in the Book of Enoch that it is first applied to 
the Chosen One who is to *judge the world (xlv. 3, 5 ; xlvi. 3, 6; 
xlvii. 3 ; Ixii. 2, 5 ; Ixii. 27, 29 ; Ixx. i). The references are given 
at length in Dr. Pusey's ' Daniel the Prophet,' 382-385. 

That numerous applications of these passages may be made to 
the events of Christian history, past or future, is obvious. The 
purpose of these remarks is to point out— what is admitted by " 
almost all scholars (see Speaker* s Commentary^ iv. ^iyji 3^5) — that 
X\i&\r primary and histjrical reference is to the Maccabaean age. 

' 'The Authorised Version: *' The Son 'literally rendered, be altered into ** A 

* of Man," however accurate as a mode ' son of vcisin.'"— Speaker's Commentaty^ 

* of expressing a Christian truth, must, if vol. vi. 328. 


B.C. 1 60 TO A.D. 70. 




(1) I Mace. ix. 23— xvi. 

(2) Joseph. Ant. xiii. 1-16. 

(3) 5 Mace, xviii.-xxxiv. 

(4) Book of Judith, B.C. 130? 

(5) Sibylline Books {iii. 828) B.C. 120, see Lecture XLVII, 

(6) Book oi Enoch, B.C. 115? which is found (i) in Epistle of Jude, 
verses 14, 15 ; (2) Fragments preserved by Georgius Syncellus, A.D. 792, 
and discovered by Scaliger ; (3) in the Ethiopic Bible, discovered in 1773 
by Bruce, the Abyssinian traveller, and translated into English by Arch- 
bishop Laurence, 1838, and into German, with notes and discussions, by 
Dillmann, 1853. 

(7) The Book of Jubilees? Probably B.C. ioo~i ? quoted in Clem. 
Recog. XXX., xxxii., perhaps in 2 Peter ii. 4, Jude 6, and in various later 
authors, collected in Fabricius' Codex Pseudep. v. i. 849-863 under the 
name of * Little Genesis ; ' originally in Hebrew, translated into Greek, and 
found in an Ethiopic version in 1844 by Kraff, and first brought to notice 
by Ewald (Dr. Ginsburg, in Kitto, ii. 669-670). Its date and origin are, 
however, too uncertain to justify much remark. 

(8) The Talmudical traditions, given in Derenbourg, Histaire de la 
Palestine^ ch. iv. v. vi. vii. viii. 




The chief cffence which alienated from Judas Maccabaeus the 
fanatical spirits amongst his countrymen seems to have been 
an act of which he did not live to reap the fruits, but which 
indicates the opening of a new epoch in Palestine. He had 
heard of a mighty people in the far West who might assist his 
country in her struggles. There had been during his father's 
time in Syria one who could have told more of the prowess of 
Rome than any other man living. It was only thirty years 
before the Maccabaean insurrection that Hannibal came from 
Carthage to the cradle of his race at Tyre and thence to 
Antioch ^ in the fond hope of rousing the East against his 
ancient foe, and thus fulfilling to the last his own early vow of 
eternal enmity against the Roman State, which is known to us 
only through his own conversations in this his latest journey. 
A confused story of a letter from two Roman Consuls occurs in 
the doubtful legends of the campaign against Lysias.^ Whether 
from these or other sources had come accounts of the rising 
nation in the latest days of the Maccabee which commanded the 
whole attention at once of his powerful intellect and his lofty 
soul. He had heard of their rapid ^ growth and their astounding 
valour. He was full of their recent victory over the Galatian 
or Celtic tribes of Asia Minor who had assisted the Syrian 

* Polyb. iii. n ; Liv. xxxiii. 45* * 8 Mace. xi. 34, ' i Mace. viii. i-i6w 


monarch in his war against them. He had been deeply im- 
pressed by the tidings that they had made themselves masters 
of Spain, with its mines of gold and silver — that distant depen- 
The dency, the America of the old Eastern world — even 

wkh Rome. ^^^^ ^^ ^^^^ ^^ conqucr and so difficult to keep. He 
B.C. 162. Yi^^ heard of their victories over the kings of Greece, 
still veiled to his eyes under the name of Chittim or Cyprus, 
and naturally, with all details, of their successful encounters 
with the foremost prince of the Asiatic kingdoms in these latter 
days — Antiochus the Great. But, most of all — and here the 
Israelite hero rises at once to the fullest appreciation of the true 
majesty of Rome, and also gives us the fullest insight into the 
simple dignity of his own elevated spirit — he knew that * whom 

* they would help to a kingdom, they reign ; whom, again, they 

* would, they displace ; ' ' finally, that they were highly exalted : 

* yet for all this ' (so unlike the Princes, great and small, in Asia, 
past or present) * none of them wore a crown or was clothed in 

* purple to be magnified thereby.' Moreover, *how they had 

* made for themselves a senate-house, wherein ' ( the inaccura- 
cies ^ of detail only confirm the general faithfulness of the im- 
pression) ' three hundred and twenty men sat in council daily, 

* consulting always for the people to the end that they might be 

* well ordered; and that they committed their government to 

* one man every year, who ruled over all their country, and 
^ that they were all obedient to that one ' (and here we mark 
how untarnished still remained the ideal of * the brave days of 

* old,' when * none were for a party and all were for the State '), 
' there was neither envy nor emulation amongst them.' It is a 
moment impressive in the retrospect, and must have been so 
even at the time, before the consequences of the act could be 
apprehended, when, in the Roman Senate there appeared two 
ambassadors from the insurgents of Palestine, asking in the 

* llie inaccuracies in the account are as 5. The conquest of /Etolia was fifteen years 

follows : I. Spain was not wholly reduced later. 6. The Senate was not 320, but 300, 

till the reduction of Cantabria, B.C. 19. 7. One consul is substituted for two. 

2. The elephants at the Battle of Magnesia 8. The Roman factions are ignored.- The 
were not 120, but (Liv. xxxviii. 39) 54. total omission of the conquest of Carthage 

3. Antiochus was not taken prisoner. is difficult to explain. 

4. His dominions did not include India. 


name of Judas Maccabseus for an alliance with the Imperial 
Commonwealth — the first occasion on which the representatives 
of the two nations met face to face. From their Greek names, 
Jason and Eupolemus, it may be inferred that Judas, with his 
usual sagacity, had chosen his envoys, not from the stricter, but 
the free-minded section of his nation. The journey had been 
*long exceedingly.' The august assembly, according to their 
custom, received them in their full sitting. A treaty offensive 
and defensive was agreed upon, and written on two sets of 
brazen tablets. One was deposited, as usual, in the Tabularium 
beneath the Capitol. ^ 

The copy was sent to Jerusalem ; its opening words, though 
known to us only in Greek, betray the fine old Roman formula 
— * Quod felix faustumque sit populo Romano ^ et genti Judae- 
* orum.' Before it arrived, its bold contriver had paid on the 
battle-field the penalty of his enlarged policy. But its fruits 
remained, and from henceforth, for good or evil, the fortunes 
of the Jewish State were inextricably bound up with those of 
its gigantic ally — at first on terms of friendly equality, soon of 
complete dependence, then of violent conflict, finally of the 
profoundest spiritual relations — each borrowing from each the 
peculiar polity, teaching, superstitions, vices, and virtues of the 
other. When Antiochus Epiphanes was negotiating with^ 
Popilius Laenas on the seashore of Egypt, the Roman envoy 
drew with his staff a boundary in the sand out of which he for- 
bade the Syrian king to move. Like to this was the invisible 
circle within which from henceforth Judaea was enclosed by 
Rome ; within which, we may add, the power of Rome was 
henceforth enclosed by the religion of Judaea. Into the Tiber, 
to use the expression of the later Roman poet, henceforth 
flowed the Orontes. The Jordan, as in the early Roman 
mosaics, henceforth assumed the attitude '* and physiognomy of 
Father Tiber. 

With this thought ever before us we return to the history of 

* Jos. Ant. xii. lo, 6. * Even the Roman name of God, * Deu« 

* Grimm, on i Mace. viii. * optimus maximus,' was at last taken by 

* Liv. xlv. 12. the Jews (j Mace. xvi. 36X 


the struggle in Syria. From this time it enters on a new phase, 
for the understanding of which a brief retrospective survey is 

So long as the heat of the contest with Antiochus continued, 
there could be no recognised government of the nadon. The 
The commanding character and magic spell of the Mac- 

^Stu- cabee's name was sufficient. But now after he was 
tions. gone, having secured by his victory the independence 

of his country, it becomes necessary under these altered circum- 
stances to review the position of the ancient institutions. 

Since the death of Zerubbabel, the High Priest had become 
virtually the representative of the people. The investment of 
The Ezra and of Nehemiah ^ with the office of the Persian 

Pontificate. Qovemor gave them for the time supreme authority. 
One momentary chance had opened for the rise of a prince ^ of 
the Royal line in the questionable claim of the sons of Tobias. 
But these were exceptions. The descendants of Aaron took 
their natural place at the head of the nobles, in the absence of 
any other authority. Many of their ancient prerogatives were 
gone. The oracular breast -plate had never returned from 
Babylon. The sacred oil had never been recovered ^ — and in 
consequence the profuse unction which had enveloped their 
whole persons in its consecrating fragrance, through hair, and 
beard, and clothes down to their feet, had been long discon- 
tinued. The elaborate ceremonial of the sacrifice of the bullock 
had also been dropped. In the place of these the sanctity of 
the office was now wrapped up in the blue robe with its tinkling 
bells, the long golden sash, the high blue turban, in which at 
his accession the new High Priest was clothed, and in which, 
whatever might be his ordinary dress, he discharged his public 
offices. One relic of the ancient insignia had been preserved, 
which was probably prized as the most precious of all. It 
was the golden plate affixed to the turban, inscribed * Holiness 
*to Jehovah,' which was beUeved to have come down from 
the time of Aaron, and which, treasured through alH the 

' See Lecture XLIII. * Jos. Ant, iii. 3, 6 ; vii. 3, 8 : Dictionary 

« See Lecture XLVII. of the Bible ^ i. 807. 

• Reland, de Reims et Locis Sacris. 

312 THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. lbct. xlix. 

vicissitudes of the Jewish State, was carried to Rome by Titus, 
and seen there by a great Jewish Eabbi in the time of Hadrian. 
Whosoever had these paraphernaHa in his possession had 
virtually the appointment to the office. There have been 
many later occasions in ecclesiastical history in which excessive 
importance has been ascribed to vestments, but the conveyance 
of the sacerdotal succession through the dress of the High 
Priest is the highest point to which this peculiar form of vene- 
ration has reached. Still, down to the troubles of the Syrian 
war, the post of High Priest was rigidly confined to the lineal 
descendants of Joshua, the Pontiff of the Return, and so re- 
mained, even through all the violence and disorder which, first 
in the family of Eliashib and then of Onias, marked its occu- 
pants. Of these the last was Menelaus, in the Jewish nomen- 
clature Onias, the renegade who had led Antiochus into the 
templCv and secured for himself the golden candlestick. After 
long struggles to maintain his office, sometimes in the Temple, 
more usually in the Syrian fortress, he was represented in 
varying traditions to have met with the fitting reward of his 
misdeeds. According to one he was thrown headlong into a 
tower full of ashes — as if to requite him for his profanation of the 
sacred ashes ^ on the altar. According to another, which clung 
to the hope that the High Priest, wicked as he was, had repented 
at last, he was sawn asunder for refusing to participate further 
in the plunder^- of the Temple. The Syrian Government 
appointed in his place Eliashib or Jehoiakim, more usually 
known by his Greek name of Alcimus, He, according to a 
popular legend just mentioned, was the nephew of the chief 
Rabbi of that time, Joseph, son of Joazar, who was impaled by 
the Syrian persecutor. Alcimus rode by in state as he saw his 
uncle hanging on the instrument of torture. ' Look at the 
'horse which my master has given to me,' he said, 'and look 

* at that which he has given to thee.' * If those,' said the 
venerable martyr, * who have fulfilled the will of God are thus 

* punished, what shall be the fate of those who have broken it ? ' 
The words shot like a viper's fang into the breast of Alcimus. 

* a Mace. xiii. 5-8. " Derenbourg, p. 53, 


And the tradition went on to say that he had proceeded to 
destroy himself by the accumulation of all manner of punish- 
ments provided by the Jewish law — stoning, burning, behead- 
ing, hanging.^ Another more authentic version described him 
as struck by palsy for having endeavoured, in pursuance of 
his Hellenising policy, to take down the partition which since 
the Return ^ separated the outer from the inner court of the 

But whatever may be the reconciliation of these conflicting 
stories, which betray the same lurking tenderness towards the 
successor of Aaron as we have seen in the case of Meneiaus. 
Alcimus still played a conspicuous part for at least two years 
before his end. He paid his homage to the Syrian Government 
by a golden crown and the branches of palm and olive used in 
the Temple processions, and represented that ' so long as Judas 
' at the head^ of *' the Chasidim," or *' Pious/' was left, it was 
* not possible that the state should be quiet' Accordingly he 
was at once invested with the office which it was felt would 
carry weight into the heart even of the insurgent nation. The 
calculation was correct. The fanatical party, to whom every 
Grecianising tendency was an abomination, and the name of 
Alcimus. Alcimus a byword, yet, in their excessive tenacity 
B.C. 162. fQj. tj^e letter above the spirit, when they heard * that 
a genuine * son of Aaron ' was advancing on Jerusalem, could 
believe no harm of him, and placed themselves in his hands, to 
find themselves miserably betrayed. In the massacre which 
followed, and in which probably Joseph the son of Joazar 
perished, their contemporaries seemed to see the literal fuljEil- 
ment of the words of the seventy-fourth ^ Psalm. But Alcimus 
succeeded in his ambition. He entered on his office in the 
Temple, and it was he ® who, when Nicanor had for a moment 
been won over by the magnanimity of the Maccabee's bear- 
ing, fearing that he might be supplanted by that formidable 
rival, sowed discord between the two friends, and b-'ought 
on the final struggle, which terminated, as we have seen, in the 

' Derenbourg, p. 54. * a Mace. xiv. d * r Mace vii. 17 

* I Mace. ix. 54-56 ; Jos. Ani. xii 10,6. * i Mace, vii, 14 • 2 Mace. xiv. »6. 

3^4 THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. i^ct. xlix. 

destruction of both. For the moment, on the fall of Judas, the 
party of Alcimus was in the ascendant. Bacchides took Nicanor's 
place. A confused struggle ensued. Jonathan, the youngest 
of the Asmonean brothers, appeared to be marked out for the 
supreme command by the peculiar dexterity which gave him 
his surname of *the cunning.' There was a skirmish ^ beyond 
the Jordan — a fray with the Arabs — a sudden inroad on the 
wedding-party of a tribe that had carried off the quiet eldest 
brother John — a close encounter with Bacchides, which Jona- 
than and his party escaped by plunging into the Jordan, like 
the Gadite ^ warriors of old times. For a time all the fruits of 
the victories of Judas seemed to be lost. Bacchides occupied 
all the Judsean fortresses and Alcimus reigned supreme in the 
Templei Jonathan meanwhile entrenched himself in the Pass 
of Michmash, in the haunts of his illustrious namesake, the 
friend of David. The sudden death of Alcimus, and the disgust 
of Bacchides at the excesses of his party, finally cleared the 
prospect, and, after a long and doubtful conflict, Jonathan 
gradually vindicated his claim to be the successor of his glorious 
brother. The rivalry between the two claimants to the throne 
of Antioch, Alexander Balas, the pretended son of Antiochus, 
and his cousin Demetrius, gave to the Jewish chief the oppor- 
tunity of siding with Alexander, who in return struck the critical 
blow alone wanting to Jonathan's success, by investing him with 
the office of High Priest, and adding to it the dignity of ' the 
'King's Friend,' with a golden crown and purple robe — the 
mark of adoption into the regal circle. 

It was a decisive step in the relations of the Syrian Govern- 
ment to the Jewish insurgents, as the first recognition of their 
independence. But it was a decisive step also in the internal 
history of Israel. It was a break in the succession of the High 
Priests, such as had only taken place twice before, once when 
Eli, from some unexplained cause, superseded the elder house 
of Eleazar ; again when Zadok was placed by Solomon in the 
place of Abiathar. But in the elevation of Jonathan to the 
High Priesthood, the interruption was more serious. Regarded 

^ I Mace. ix. 35-48. ° See Lecture XXII, 

lacT. xnx. THE PONTIFICATE. 315 

from a purely ceremonial point of view, it was a complete depar- 
ture from that hereditary descent which had hitherto marked 
the whole previous series. 

The last unquestioned representative of the unbroken line 
w^as the murdered Onias, and his legitimate successor was the 
youth who had fled'to Egypt. But even Jason, Menelaus,^ and 
Alcimus, although covered with popular obloquy, were yet all 
more or less members of the same sacred family. As such they 
were venerated even by those who most abhorred their policy. 
The extinction, therefore, of the house of Josedek, whether with 
Onias, Jason, or Alcimus, was regarded as the close of ' the 
* Anointed Priests ^ of those (so it would seem) w^ho belonged 
to that direct succession which had shared in the consecrated 
oil of the ancient ^ Priesthood. 

Seven years had now passed, in which the functions of the 
great office had been altogether suspended ; and it might have 
seemed as if from excess of regard for the exact hierarchical 
lineage, the Pontificate itself would expire. But here, as in 
other critical moments of the Jewish history, the moral force of 
the higher spirits of the nation overrode the ceremonial scruples. 
As in Russia, after the civil wars which brought to an end the 
ancient dynasty of Ruric,^ the nation chose for their new Prince 
the child of the Romanoff Prelate, who had with his whole 
order suffered in the struggle against the Polish oppressor, so 
the Jewish people could not but turn to the gallant family who 
had saved them and their faith from destruction. Even in the 
lifetime of Judas the idea of investing him with the High Priest- 
hood had been entertained, though never fulfilled. And now 

' This is doubted by Herzfeld, ii. 218. " This is one probable explanation of 

But that Menelaus was the brother of Dan. ix. 25, whether * the Anointed Ona' 

Onias III. and of Jason, is stated by Jose- be Onias, or (as Herzfeld, ii. 430) Jason 

phus, A^i^. xii. 5, 1, XX. 10, 3 (his Hebrew (comp. 2 Mace. i. 10). So (in general 

name being Onias, idfd. and Hegesippus, terms) the passage is interpreted by Euse- 

ii. 13). That Alcimus was the nephew of bius, N. E, i. 6, Detnonst. Ev. viii. p. 3(51. 

Menelaus, according to the Rabbinical — ' It means nothing else than the succes- 

tradition, is almost certain (Derenhourg, ' sion of anointed High Priests ' (compare 

53, 54), and both statements are confirmed TertuUian and Theodoret). (See Rosen- 

by T Mace. vii. 14. The natural ten- v\y\\\t.x adloc.) 

dency of the Jewish traditions would have * See Lectures on the Eastern Church, 

been to illegitimatise these heretical Lecture X. 

3l5 THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. lhct. xlix. 

came the time for its accomplishment. To modern nations the 
selection of a warlike deliverer for a sacred post, of raising a 
Charles Martel to the Papacy, a Cromwell to the office of 
Moderator, a Gustavus Vasa or a Wellington to the Primacy, 
is curiously incongruous. But the Jewish Priesthood was so 
essentially military in its character, so entirely mechanical ^ in 
its functions, that there was no shock to its associations in 
the same hand grasping the sword or spear of Phinehas and 
The Ponti- the censer or rod of Aaron. The Asmonean family 
jonathL. brought to it more than it gave to them— a moral ele- 
B.c. 153. vation and grandeur, which it had long lost, and 
which, after they had gone, it did not retain. One indispensable 
outward qualification there was to be and one only, the nomi- 
nation, by the Syrian Government, stepping as it did into the 
place and authority formerly occupied by Moses, by Solomon, 
and by Cyrus. It was for this benefit, no less than for his 
friendly relations generally, that the name of Alexander Balas 
was so studiously cherished by the Jewish Annals. For this 
they ignore his doubtful birth, his questionable surname ; they 
rejoice in his wedding festivity ; they describe with pride how 
their own chief sat by him in purple and ruled as a Syrian officer 
over the troops and over a district ^ in the south of Palestine, 
how he received from the king a golden brooch, and the 
appanage of Ekron. 

The entrance of Jonathan on the Pontificate was conducted 
with due solemnity. It was on the joyous Festival of the 
Tabernacles, so often chosen for inaugurations of this kind, that 
Jonathan dressed himself in the consecrated clothes, surmount- 
ing the blue turban with the golden ^ crown which he wore as 
*the King's Friend,' and at the same time (it is characteristic- 
ally added) collected his forces and his arms. From this time 
the union of the sacerdotal and the political supremacy was 
completed, and the language in which that union is described 
in the iioth Psalm is more exactly applicable to the Pontificate 
of the Asmonean warriors than to any period since the age of 

" See Lecture XXXVI. word is only found again in Jos. Ant. xii. 

' cTTpar-qyoi/ Koi /x€ptopx>)»'. The latter 5, 5. ' i Mace. x. 21, 22. 


David. The military career of Jonathan himself was not for a 
moment interrupted. He fortified the Temple mount afresh 

* with square stones/ intending, apparently, in despair of remov- 
ing the Syrian fortress, to make it a completely separate town, 
erecting a large mound on the side towards the fort, and repair- 
ing the ruinous parts of the wall overhanging the Kedron.* 
He accepted the challenge of the general of the rival Syrian 
king Demetrius into the Philistine plain, 'where there was 

* neither ^one nor pebble nor place to flee unto,'^ beat back 
with his archers the cavalry on which the Syrians relied, secured 
Joppa and Askalon, and burned the old sanctuary of the 
Philistine Dagon at Ashdod. The temple was left in ruins, and 
the scorched corpses of those who perished in it lay all around. 
The succession first of Demetrius to the throne, then of the son 
of Alexander Balas. made no difference in Jonathan's position. 
From each he received the confirmation of the government to 
his sacerdotal office, and the annexation of the three outposts 
of Apherema, Ramathaim, and Lydda from the borders of 
Samaria, I^ess attractive than his brother Judas, worthy of his 
name ' the crafty,' he went on balancing the various pretenders 
against each other, till at last he was caught by the Syrian 
general Tryphon, carried off in a deep snowstorm, and killed in 
an obscure village beyond the Jordan.^ 

One still remained of the gallant five — he whom Mattathias 
on his death-bed had designated alike by his superior wisdom 
Simon. ^^^ ^^^ ^E^ (ncxt to the retiring John he was the 
B.C. 143- eldest) ' as the father of them all' He rose at once 
to the occasion. His appeal to his countrymen and their 
response are indeed the models of the generous spirit which 
can alone fill the vacancy caused by *a lost leader.' * When 
' Simon saw that the people was in great trembling and fear, 

* he went up to Jerusalem, and gathered the people together ; 
' and gave them exhortation, saymg, " Ye yourselves know 

* what great things I, and my brethren, and my father's house, 

* I Mace. xii. 37, 38. Caphenatha is contest of the Syrian cavalry and the 

only nientioned here. Israelite infantry on the plains i Kings 

" An excellent description of the She- xx. 25- 

phela, I Mace. x. 73. Compare, for th« ' i Mace, xi. 34. 

31 8 THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. lect. xlix. 

* have done for the laws and the sanctuary, the battles also 

* and troubles which we have seen, by reason whereof all my 
' brethren are slain for Israel's sake, and I am left alone. 

* Now therefore be it far from me, that I should spare mine 

* own life in any time of trouble : for I am no better than 

* my brethren. Doubtless I will avenge my nation, and the 

* sanctuary, and our wives, and our children : for all the 

* heathen are gathered to destroy us of very malice." Now 

* as soon as the people heard these words, their spirits revived. 

* And they answered with a loud voice, saying, " Thou shalt 

* be our leader instead of Judas and Jonathan thy brother. 

* Fight thou our battles, and whatsoever thou commandest 

* us, that will we do." ' ^ His name of itself struck terror into 
the Syrian army. His first act was to recover his brother's 
Monument boucs, to iutcr them in the ancestral cavern at 
atModin. Modin. On that ridge overlooking the PhiHstine 
plain, the scene of so many of their glorious deeds, and visible 
from the Mediterranean Sea, beyond which, alone of the rulers 
of Israel, they had ventured to seek for allies from the western 
world, Simon, with the consciousness that he was the last of a 
family of heroes, built a monument, in that mixed Graeco- Egyp- 
tian style which is to be seen at Petra, in the valley of the 
Kedron, and on the Appian Way. It was a square structure, 
surrounded by colonnades of monolith pillars, of which the 
front and back were of white polished stone. Seven pyramids 
were erected by Simon on the summit for the father and mother 
and the four brothers who now lay there, with the seventh for 
himself 2 when his time should come. On the faces of the 
monument were bas-reliefs, representing the accoutrements of 
sword and spear and shield, * for an eternal memorial ' of their 
many battles. There were also the sculptures of * ships ' — no 
doubt to record their interest in that long seaboard of the 
Philistine coast, which they were the first to use for their 
country's good. A monument at once so Jewish in idea, so 
Gentile in execution, was worthy of the combination of patriotic 
fervour and philosophic enlargement of soul which raised the 
Maccabaean heroes so high above their age. 

* I Mace. xiii. a-9. * Ibid» xiii. ay ; Jos. Ant. xiii. 6, i. 

MCT. XLix. SIMON. 319 

The monument remained in all its completeness till the 
first century, and in sufficient distinctness till the fourth century, 
of the Christian era. Then all trace of its existence and even 
of the name of the place disappeared, and it is only within the 
last three years that the joint labours of Polish, French, and 
English explorers have discovered * Modin ' in the village of 
Medieh, and, possibly, the tomb of the Maccabees in the 
remains of large sepulchral ^ vaults and broken columns in its 
neighbourhood, corresponding in general situation and, as far 
as the few traces left can indicate, in detail, with the only 
tomb among the existing remains of Palestine (except the 
patriarchal sanctuary at Machpelah) which can be clearly 

But Simon was to raise a nobler monument to the memory 
of his brethren than the sepulchre of Modin. Far advanced 
Conquest ^s he was in years, three crowning achievements fell 
Syrian ^^ ^^^ ^^^ which neither of his more stirring brothers 

fortresses, ^ad htcu able to accomplish. There were three 
strongholds of the Syrian party, which, after all the successes 
of Judas and Jonathan, had remained in their hands. One 
was Gezer,^ the ancient Canaanite fortress in the south-western 
plain, which after long vicissitudes had passed into the hands 
of the Israelites, and now again in these later days had become 
the chief garrison of the Syrians in the thoroughfare of Philistia. 
This was attacked with the newly-invented ^ Macedonian engine 
of war, and the terrified inhabitants surrendered at discretion ; 
the images in the temples were cleared out, and a colony of 
Jews was established there under Simon's son John, now for 
the first time winning his renown. 

The second outpost was the oftentimes taken and retaken 
rock-fortress on the road to Hebron, Beth-zur. This, whether 
captured by Simon at this or at some earlier period, was now 

' Mr. Sandrecsky and Mr. Conder i Mace. xiii. 53, xii. 34, xv. 28, 35 (see 

(Palestine Exploration Fund, 1873, 93), Ewald, v. 335). Gezer was discovered in 

M, Forner and M. Gu6nn (Description dg 1873 at Tell el-Jezer, six miles SSE. of 

la Palestine, i, 403). Ramleh, by M. Clermont-Ganneau. 

' In I Mace, xiii, 43^ Gaza is a mis- * j Mace. xiii. 43, ' Helepolis,' invented 

reading for Gazara, which is preserved in by Demetrius Pwliorcetes (Plutarch, 

Jos. B. y. i, 2, 2 ; Ant. xiii. 6, 7. Corap. Demetr, c. 31). 

320 THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. i-bc3T. xlix. 

for the first time secured and garrisoned ^ with Jews, and the 
day of its occupation, the 17th of Sivan (May-June), was 
celebrated as a festival.^ 

But the decisive victory was the expulsion of the Syrian 

occupants — 'the sons of Acra,' as they were called — from the 

citadel that had so loner overlooked the sanctuary. 

B.C. 142. .° . -' 

It had been, as the historian calls it, the incarnate 
Enemy, ^ the Satan of Jerusalem. Now at last its doom was 
come. The day was long cherished,'* the 23rd of lyar 
(April-May), when Simon entered it with waving of palm- 
branches, with harps and cymbals, with hymns and odes. 
According to one account he went so far in his indignation as 
not only to dismantle the fortress, but to level the very hill on 
which it stood, so that it should no longer overlook the Temple. 
It was agreed (so ran the story) in solemn assembly that the 
inanimate mountain should thus, as it were, be decapitated for 
its insolence, and, by working night and day for three years, 
the summit of the hill was cleared away, so as to reduce it from 
a towering peak to a level surface.^ 

But these military achievements are not the main grounds 
of Simon's fame. If Judas was the David of the Asmonean 
race, and Jonathan its Joab, Simon was its Solomon, the re- 
storer of peace and liberty. In many forms this change is 
marked. From his accession a new era was dated, the first 
year of independence, when the nation ceased to pay the 
tribute which from the Persian kings downwards they had paid 
to each successive conquering dynasty. Henceforward the 
Jewish contracts were dated ' In the first year of Simon, the 
' great High Priest, and General, and Leader of the Jews.' 

Concurrently with this came the natural sign of nationality, 

* I Mace. xiv. 33. ' Derenbourg, 68. silence of i Mace. xiii. 51-53, and also with 
' I Mace. xiii. 51. the actual features of the ground. It is 

* Ibid. xiii. 51. Derenbourg, 67. possible, however, that what was actually 
'Jos. Ant. xiii. 6, 7. That this story done was (as Implied in the passage itselQ, 

of Josephus relates to the hill of the not to change the relative altitudes of the 

citadel of David, and not to * the Lower citadel and the Temple, but to reduce the 

* Hill,' afterwards called Acra, is evident rock of the citadel so considerably as to 

from the context. But it is difficult to deprive it of that insulting and menacing 

reconcile the statement with the total altitude which it once wore. 

mur.xux. SIMON. 321 

never before claimed, of striking coins for themselves. This 
privilege was formally granted by Antiochus VII., and, though 
Sove- there may be a few instances of such coinage 

sTmonT °^ before the actual permission was given, it is from this, 
B.C. 141. ii^Q fourth, year of Simon's reign that the coins have 
unmistakably his name and superscription. The devices which 
appear on them are all indications of the peace * and plenty 
which he had ushered in — the cup, the vine, the palm-branches, 
the lily, the truit-boughs of Palestine. The vine and the lily 
in sculptured emblem or in familiar phrase have since his time 
remained the heritage of his people. The prosaic historian of 
fifty years later warms almost into poetry as he describes how 

* the land was at rest all the days of Simon ; ' how, following 
the wider views of his illustrious brother, and thus exemplifying 
the devices which he had carved on the family monument at 
Modin, he had turned Joppa into a port for the ships of the 
Mediterranean ; how after the conquest of the three hated 
fortresses, the neglected agriculture and fruitage burst into new 
life ; how * the old men sat in the squares of the cities com- 

* muning of good things, and the young men put on their 
' glorious apparel and their military mantles,' ^ the accoutrements 
in which they had won their country's freedom ; how, as in the 
ancient days, * each man sat under the vine ' which overspread 
his own house, and * the fig-tree ' in his own garden ; how all 
works of humanity and piety prospered under his hand — the 
provisioning and fortification of the towns, the study of the 
Law, the purification of the Temple. And it is not without a 
deep historical interest that we perceive the gradual intertwining 
of the destinies of the Jewish people, through this increase of 
fame and dominion, with the sway of that overweening power 
which Judas was the first to invoke, and which ultimately was 
to take the place of the foreign oppressors from whom they 
fancied that they had been for ever freed. Two messages came 
to Simon of unequal value. One, if so be, was from the 
shadow of the Spartan State, whose intercourse with Judoea is 

* Madden's Jewish Coins, 39-50. military dress. See Grimm, on i Mace. 

' 86|ag — iTToAas, the usual phrases for xiv. lo. 

Ill Y 

322 THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. lecT. xlix. 

so difficult to understand. But the other came from Rome, 
and to Rome once more ambassadors were sent with a golden 
shield full of gifts, and the treaty engraven on tablets of brass ; 
and the Syrian king Demetrius, overawed by the spectacle 
of that great alliance, gave to the High Priesthood of Simon 
the ratification which was needed for the regularity of the suc- 
cession, together with the title of *the King's Friend.' His 
princely state, with his display of gold and silver plate, awed ^ 
the envoy even of the Kings of Syria. His own countrymen 
were convoked to ratify the decision of the Syrian Government. 

* In the fore-court ^ of the people of God ' (as it was solemnly 
called in the Hebrew tongue), on the tSth of the month of 
Elul (May), a document was drawn up and engraved on 
brazen tablets, and placed in the treasury of the Temple, com- 
memorating the noble deeds of himself and his brother 
Jonathan, and recognising him as their prince and leader, 
and, in the splendid hyperbole of the ancient Psalm, granting 
to him his office, not merely as a transient personal honour, but 
to be hereditary in his own family, held as though it was ^ a 

* High Priesthood for ever.' And then, with a sudden con- 
sciousness of having, perhaps, been too bold, the historian adds 
the characteristic contradiction and reserve (not without a sense 
of the rude shock which Simon's elevation gave to the stricter 
notions of legitimate succession), * until a faithful Prophet^ 

* should arise,' like Jeremiah or Elijah, who should read aright 
the secrets and the difficulties of their situation. It is the re- 
serve and contradiction which in times of transition is the mark, 
not only of noble faith, but of homely common sense, and of 
far-sighted wisdom. 

The close of Simon's life was hardly in keeping with his 

long and honourable career. He and his two younger sons 

were entrapped by his son-in-law into a drunken 

^'^' ^^^' supper at the fortress of Dok, near Jericho, and there 

treacherously murdered. 

Thus died the last of the five brothers. His aged wife was 
with him — a high-spirited woman, of whose early life strange 

^ I Mace. XV. 33. * /^/^. xiv. 28 (Ewald, v. 338). * lii'd. xiv. 41, 

mere, XLix. JOHN HYRCANUS. 323 

adventures were recounted in after days. When the most 
energetic of his sons, John, hastened to avenge the murder, the 
brutal assassin placed the venerable lady on the walls of the 
fortress and scourged her with rods before the eyes of her son 
to induce him to retire. She, with a courage worthy of the 
house into which she had married, entreated him to disregard 
her tortures. But he could not endure the sight, and raised 
the blockade. The delay threw the besiegers into the 
Sabbatical year. The murderer completed his crime by the 
execution of the mother and her two sons, and escaped to a 
friend, a Greek adventurer who had gained possession of the 
Trans- jordanic Philadelphia. 

With the death of Simon the purest glory of the Macca- 
baean period ended. Yet it was not ended before he had 
finally established on the throne the only dynasty that has 
reigned over the undivided Jewish people, except the house of 
David. From that house the national expectations had in 
earlier days long hoped for a king. But when the Monarchy 
revived it was not in the house of Jesse, but of Asmon, not in 
the tribe of Judah, but of Levi. 

John, the survivor of the tragedy at Dok, was the one whom 
his father had long before appointed as commander of the 
Jewish forces at Gaza ; and to him and his brother 
Hyrcanus. had bccu addrcsscd those striking words which well 
^'^' ^^^' express the feeHngs of the elder generation to that 
which is to take its place : * I, and my * brethren, and my 

* father's house, have ever, from our youth unto this day, 

* fought against the enemies of Israel ; and things have pros- 

* pered so well in our hands that we have dehvered Israel often- 

* times. But now I am old, and ye, by God's mercy, are of 

* a sufficient age ; be ye instead of me and my brother, and go 

* and fight for our nation, and the help from Heaven be with 

First of the Asmonean family, John bore a Gentile name, 
'Hyrcanus,' — whether as the Greek ^ form corresponding to 

Mace xvi. a, 3. " So HcrzfeU, arguing from the earlier John Hyrcauius. 

Y 2 

324 THE A.^MONEAN DYNASTY. lbct. xlix. 

Johanan, or from some ^ incident in his own life ; and his 
reign was more Hke that of a Syrian than a Jewish prince. 
The records of it were preserved in the archives of the Priestly 
house, but are lost ; and we are left to gather their contents 
from the brief narrative of Josephus. In Jerusalem he occupied 
and rebuilt the fortress ' at the north-east corner of the Temple, 
once the site of the residence of the Persian, afterwards of the 
Roman, now of the Turkish, Governor. There, like the Regalia 
in the Tower, were deposited the pontifical robes which literally 
invested their possessor with the office. 

Like his father and uncle, John was fortunate in finding a 
friend in the Syrian king, Antiochus Sidetes, to whom the Jews 
gave in consequence the name of Eusebius or the Pious, and 
from him received the full confirmation in his office. Two 
deadly enemies were crushed by his arms. The hated race of 
Esau were subdued and incorporated into the Jewish nation by 
circumcision. The Arab tribe of the Nabathaeans, which had 
long been friendly to the Asmonean family and had occupied 
the ancient territory of the Edomites, doubtless assisted ; and 
the proud Esau at last bowed his neck to the persevering Israel 
— only, however, to exercise once more a fresh and startling 
influence of another kind. Another cherished victory was that 
in which he razed to the ground the ri\«al Temple on Mount 
Gerizim and totally destroyed the Greek city of Samaria, from 
which the Samaritans had migrated to Shechem in the time of 
Alexander.^ It became henceforth known as * the City of 
* Graves.' 4 

For thirty-one years he carried on the vigour of his father's 
government, and combined with it a spark of that gift which 
was believed to have ceased with Malachi. He was, says 
Josephus, not only the Chief Ruler and the Chief Priest ^ but 
a Prophet. The mtimations of his possessing this gift were, 
indeed, but slight, and exhibit almost the first example of the 

' The killing of a Greek named Hyrcanus " Jos. Ant. xviii. 4, 3. 

(S Mace. XX. 1-3), or an expedition into ^ Ibid. xiii. 9, i ; 10, 2 ; B. y, i. 2, 6, 

Hyrcania (Eus. Ckron. ii. p. 379). Sul- * Gratz, 60. 

picius Sever. H. E. ii. 26 (Madden's * Jos. Ant. xiii. 10, 7. 
yevL'ish Coins, 51). 


degradation of the word from its ancient high meaning to that 
of mere prediction. Once from the Holy of Holies he heard 
a voice announcing the victory of his sons over ^ the Samaritans 
on the day and hour that it occurred. Another time he ^ fore- 
saw as if by divine intuition the fortunes of the three brothers 
who were to succeed him. It is useless to revive the narrative 
of the tissue of intrigues and crimes which convert the palace 
of the Royal Pontificate into the likeness of an Oriental Court. 
So completely had the Hellenising customs penetrated into the 
heart of the Asmonean family that the three sons of Hyrcanus, 

Judas,^ Mattathias, and Jonathan, were respectively 
buius. known as Aristobulus, Antigonus, and Alexander 

B.C. 107. jannaeus. Of these the eldest, Aristobulus, had gained 
the character of 'the Philhellen,' or * Lover of the Greeks,' and 
won the admiration of Gentile* writers by his moderation 
towards them, and by the energy with which, as his father had 
incorporated the Edomites on the south, so he conquered and 
absorbed the Ituraean borderers on the north. But that for 
which he w^as chiefly remembered was that he was the first of 
his family to assume the regal title and diadem. Once more 
there was a ' King ^ in Israel,' but bearing the name unknown 
before, and to acquire before long a solemn significance — * King 
* of the Jews.' It was still, however, as High Priest that he 
reigned. And it was not till his brother ^ Jonathan mounted 

the throne under the name of Alexander that the 
jann^us. coius alternately bear the names of Jonathan the 
B.C. 106. j^.^j^ Priest (or, more rarely, the King) in Hebrew, 
and Alexander the King in Greek. In common parlance he 
was known by the two names combined, Alexander Jannaeus. 
It is enough to indicate the general results of his long, troubled 
and adventurous reign. On the whole, in its external relations 
it carried on the successes of his predecessors. With the ex- 
ception of Ptolemais, which remained Greek, he annexed all 

^ Derenbourg, p. 74. by Strabo. " Ibid. xiii. ri, i ' 

" Jos. B. y. i. 2, 8. ' Madden, 62, 68 ; Derenbourg, 95' 

' Jos. Ant. XX. 10, I. These coins have been erroneously assigned 

*' Ibid. xiii. ii, 3. Such was the opin- to Jonathan, son of Mattathias, as those o 

ion of Timagenes the Syrian, as quoted Aristobulus to Judas. 

326 THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. lbct. xlix. 

the maritime or quasi-maritime towns * along the western coast 
from the Bay of Accho to Gaza. An anchor on his coins is, 
perhaps, the commemoration of this important accession. With 
the exception of Pella — the Macedonian settlement which, on 
refusing to adopt the Jewish rite, was destroyed — most of the 
Transjordanic settlements, whether Greek or Arab, followed 
the fate of Idumsea under his father, and of Ituraea under his 

In one of these obscure campaigns Alexander died, and 
to him succeeded — for the first time in Jewish history — 
Alexandra. ^ Quccu, his widow Alexandra or Salome ; possibly, 
B.C. 79. thg widow of his brother Aristobulus ; the mother 

of two sons, the last independent Princes of the Asmonean 

It was one of the results of the peculiar warfare of the 
Asmonean Princes that Palestine gradually became studded 
with fortresses or castles apart from the main seats of their 
ancient history and civilisation, and commanding the passes in 
which they entrenched themselves against their enemies. Such 
had been Modin under Mattathias and Judas, and Masada^ 
under Jonathan ; such was Hyrcaneum under John Hyrcanus ; 
such, under Alexander Jannaeus, were Machaerus ^ beyond the 
Dead Sea and Alexandreum on the mountains between Samaria 
and the Jordan valley, which subsequently became the recog- 
nised burial-place of the later Princes of the Asmonean family, 
as Modin had been of the first earlier. But Hyrcanus * and 
Alexander were interred, in regal or pontifical state, in tombs 
which long bore their names close to the walls of Jerusalem.^ 

This was the external course of the Royal Pontificate of 
Judsea — a period of nearly a century of mingled war and peace, 
but on the whole of independence and fame. It gave to the 
Roman writers their first idea of the Jewish State as of the 
union of the regal and priestly office, supposed by them, through 
a natural error, to be a long ancestral usage. Like the ancient 

' Jos. Ant. xiii. 15, 4. Alexandreum are unknown ; but they are 

» Jos. B. y. vii. 8, 3. possibly the * Royal forts,' *Tur Malka'— 

• /dt'd. vii. 6, 2. * I&tii. vi. 2, 10. ' Har Malcha ' of later days. Gratz, 47, 

• The precise sites of Hyrcaneum and 197. 


monarchy of David and Solomon, its success, at least under 
the reign of Simon, was sufficient to justify the deep impression 
which it left on the Gentile world of a more serious view of 
religion and a more sacred view of government, than elsewhere 
had come within their experience.* On the other hand, as in 
the earlier period, so now, the cynical or sagacious eye of 
Tacitus saw beneath this outward form the darker shades of 

• revolutions,^ banishments, massacres, murders — fratricidal, 

• parricidal, conjugal. ' 

It will be the object of the remainder of this Lecture to 
penetrate into the interior of the Jewish hfe of this period, and 
bring out whatever instruction or interest it may yield of more 
than temporary value. 

I. There are still heard in Palestine some echoes of the 
sacred voices of the past. Not only was the First Book of 
Maccabees, with all its stirring scenes, compiled 
of the immediately before or after the close of the reign of 

^^^^ ' Hyrcanus, from the records kept in the Pontifical ^ 
registry, and about the same time the larger work of Jason of 
Cyrene, from which the Second Book of the Maccabees — 
probably half a century later — drew its materials ; but the more 
hortatory and apocalyptic style, of which the Book of Daniel, 
whether in its narrative or its visions, is the great example, was 
continued, though in a less stately and impressive form, in the 
romantic tale of Judith and the prophecies of the Book of Enoch. 
The Book ^^^^ Book of Judith is so filled with chronological 
of Judith. inconsistencies as to render it difficult to fix the 
date either of its authorship or of the events which it professes 
to record. But from its taking for the title of the enemy of 
Israel the name of a well-known Syrian general Holophernes * 
or Orrophernes, we may infer that it was composed under the 
Asmonean dynasty — whether in the time of Jonathan or of 

' Justin, xxxvi. 2. * Hie mos apud • Tac. Hz'st. v. 8. 

• Judzeosfuit.uteosdemreges etsacerdotes ' 1 Mace. xvi. 24. Ewald, v. 463. 

• haberent quorum justitia religione per- * A genera! of Demetrius I. Polyb. 

• mixta incredibile quantum coa'uere.' xxxiii. 12. Diod. Edog. xxxi. Justin, 
Similar remarks occur in Diod. Sic. xl, r, xxxv. ; /Elian, Var, Hist. ii. 41 (Ewald, 
though he was not aware that *>>" *''f' tof V. 476). 

King had been assumed 

328 THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. lect. xlix. 

Alexander Jannseus is immaterial. It is a tale intended to 
inspire the Israelite maidens with a sense of their duty in case 
of a new foreign invasion ; even as in our own days an ima- 
ginary battle in the hills of Surrey was intended to delineate in 
the possible future the needs of England under like circum- 
stances. It is the story of Jael re-enacted in the midst of the 
pomp and luxury of Persia or of Syria, instead of the patriarchal 
simplicity of the Kenite and the Canaanite. The ancient 
battle-field of Esdraelon, with the approaches through the 
mountainous passes from the south, is fitly chosen as the scene, 
and if Bethulia itself cannot be identified, this is, perhaps, in- 
tended to stamp on the narrative its obviously fictitious character. 
It is the one book whose admission into the Canon was by 
Jerome ^ ascribed to the Council of Nicaea. This probably is 
an error. But it was unquestionably received amongst the 
sacred records of the ancient Church by Clement of Rome, and 
afterwards by Origen. In later times it inspired the splendid 
picture of Christopher Allori, and has the more questionable 
fame of having been said to have nerved the hand of Charlotte 
Corday ^ against Marat, and even in our own day to have been 
used in Roman pulpits to instigate the destruction of the King 
of Italy. It was the last direct expression of the fierce spirit of 
the older Judaism. It is the first unquestionable example of a 
religious romance. 

More complex is the history of the Book of Enoch. A book 
of which the original language is unknown, w^hich dropped out 
of the sight of the Jewish Church almost as soon as written, 
but which yet early attracted the notice of the Christian Church ; 
quoted as a sacred composition by the Apostolic writers, eagerly 
accepted by Tertullian, not refused by Irenaeus, Clement, and 
Origen, placed in the Ethiopic Bible side by side with Job,^ 
recovered after the obscurity of centuries by the energy of a 
British traveller — it forms an important link in that mixture of 
poetry, history, and prediction which marks the literature called 
apocalyptic. The latest researches place the appearance of its 

^ Ej>ist. ui. ' Laurence's Preface to ike Book oj 

* Lamartine's Girondins, book xliv. c. 14. Enochs pp. vi. xiv. xv. xvi. 

lacT. xux. THE BOOK OF ENOCH. 329 

chief portion in the reign of John Hyrcanus during his wars with 
Syria. 1 

It is the * Divina Commedia ' of those troubled times, and 
disjointed, meagre, obscure as is its diction, the conception has 
The Book ^ grandcur of its own. The hero of the vision is be- 
Bx^^s?' yond the Captivity, beyond even the Idumaean Job, 
Its visions, beyond Moses or Abraham ; he is the mysterious 
soHtary Saint of the antediluvian world, who ' walked with God 

* and was not, for God took him,' who was already in Eastern 
legends regarded as the founder of astronomical ^ science. He 
it is who, for the sake of future generations of mankind, is 
called to hold converse with the angels.^ The first vision at 
which he assists is no less than the fall of the Angels * who kept 

* not their first estate ' — not the fall of Milton's * Paradise Lost,' 
of which neither in the Hebrew nor the Christian Scriptures is 
there any trace, but the fall of Byron's ' Heaven and Earth,' 
which took place when the heavenly watchers descended on the 
snowclad top of Hermon — the highest height that an Israelite 
had ever seen— and intermixed with the daughters of men. 
Now for the first time we have the full array of the names both 
of the good and the evil hierarchy — some of which have struck 
root in Christian theology or poetry, such as Michael, Gabriel, 
Raphael, and Uriel ; some of which have altogether passed 
away — Raguel, Surian, Urian, and Salakiel. Of the fallen 
spirits, the only name which coincides with the^ Biblical imagery 
is Azazel.^ 

Thence Enoch moves on, the first of travellers, the patri- 
arch of discoverers. Palestine is unrolled before him. He 
finds himself in *the midst of the^ earth,' accord- itstopo- 
ing to the topography still perpetuated in the stone sr^p^y. 
which in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre marks the centre of 
the globe. Every physical feature of the as yet unborn Jerusa- 
lem is touched with a true geographical instinct. He sees the 
holy mountain, with the mystic spring of Siloa flowing from 

^ Dillmann's Preface to the Book of 315, 217. 

Enoch, xliv.-xlvii. ' Enoch vi. 

' Alexander Polyhistor, in Eus. Praf. * Satan is only once mentioned inciden- 

Mv. ix. 17. Fabricius, Cod. Pseudcp. i. tally, Enoch liii. ' Enoch xxri. 

330 THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. lecjt. xnx, 

beneath it ; he sees the lower eminence in the west, parted 
from the Temple mount by the central depression of the city. 
He sees Mount Olivet, as yet unnamed, rising on the east, and 
'deep, not broad,' ^ hes the dark glen through which flows its 
thread of water. Above and below he contemplates the steep 
precipices, with the olive trees clinging to their rocky sides, 
and he asks, as the sacred topographer might now ask : ' For 
* what purpose is this accursed valley ? ' It is impossible not to 
be struck with awe, as thus in this primeval vision there is dis- 
closed to us, not, indeed, the name (for no names could be 
admitted, from the nature of the work), but the theological 
significance of the locality which afterwards was to furnish 
forth the most terrible imagery that the world has ever known. 
It was the glen of the sons of Hinnom, the valley of Gehenna. 

And then the scattered allusions of the ancient prophets 
are gathered into one point, and the angelic guide announces 
to Enoch that it is the vale reserved for those who are ac- 
cursed for ever, where they who have blasphemed God shall 
be gathered together for punishment, where the Judgment 
shall be pronounced, and the just shall be severed from the 
bad. Until that Judgment, there is some deeper pit of fire, in 
which the fallen angels were to be imprisoned, reaching by 
subterranean channels down to the deep Dead Sea, from time 
to time, as it was believed, vomiting forth columns of sul- 
phureous smoke. ^ 

And thence the seer ^ wandered on towards those eastern 

hills which close the horizon beyond the Jordan valley, and 

looked into the wild woodlands and far-reaching desert of 

Arabia, and his view was lost in the mountains of myrrh and 

frankincense and trees of all manner of foliage in some 

opes. i^i^ggg^j i^^^ f^j. away, overhanging the Erythraean sea. 
The Judgment itself is described more clearly than ever be- 
fore. The Ancient of Days, more especially in this book called 

^ Enoch xxvi. xxvii. liv. xl. The valley or of Fire, and uniformly so called (some- 
described is not the valley commonly times in conjunction with the southern 
called the Valley of Hinnom, on the south valley) in the Bible. 

of Jerusalem, but the glen, by Christians * Dillmann, 132. Probably Callirho^ 

called the Valley of Jehoshaphat, by Enoch Ixii. 

Mohammedans cither the Valley of Hinnom ' Enoch xxviiL xxix. 

lacT. xLix. THE BOOK OF ENOCH. 33 1 

by the affecting name of * the Lord of spirits/ convenes all 
the race of mankind before Him, and by His side is * the 
' Chosen,' ^ * the Son of Man/ * whose name was known to 

* Him before the birth of the sun, or of the stars ; ' and with 
the severer images of Judgment are combined those figures of 
an inexhaustible goodness which are soon to receive an appli- 
cation that shall be immortal. ' There is near him a spring of 

* righteousness which never fails, and round it are springs of 

* wisdom ; and all that are thirsty drink of these springs, and 

* become full of wisdom and have their habitations with the 

* righteousj^ the chosen, and the holy.' 

It is the first distinct intimation of a Deliverer who shall 
appear with the mingled attributes of gentleness and power, 
not, as in the older prophets, reigning over Israel, but as taking 
part in the universal judgment of mankind.^ 

From these and like figures was furnished forth the imagery 
from which four at least of the Books ^ of the Christian Scrip- 
tures have largely drawn ; and one, the Epistle of St. Jude, by 
direct quotation of a splendid passage which is not unworthy 
of the impressive context to which it is transferred. Nor was 
there wanting a keen glance of historical insight As in the 
vision of Milton's Adam, the Patriarch surveys, under the 
figure of a wandering^ flock, the fortunes of the Chosen 
People, down to the last trials, thinly veiled, of the contem- 
porary Asmonean princes. 

Yet, perhaps, even more remarkable than these germs of 

the religious doctrine of the last age of Judaism and the first 

age of Christianity are the emphatic reiterated statements in 

which, as the Father of Science, Enoch is led through 

its science 

all the spheres of the universe and taught to observe 
the regularity, the uniformity® of the 1§lws of nature which, 
indeed, had not altogether escaped the older Psalmists and 

* See note at the end of Lecture as well as the whole of the 3rd Sibylline 
XLVIII. " Enoch xlvi.-xlviii. book. 

* There is a doubt whether the ' simili- * i Pet. iiL 19, 20 ; 2 Pet. ii. 4> 5 I Jude 

* tudes' which contain this representation 14, 15 ; Rev. xx. 9-12. 
are not of a later date (Colani, Les Espi- * Enoch Ixxxix.-xci. 

ranees Messianiques, 334). But Ewald * Ibid. i. xrii.-xxxvi. xU. IriL IviiL 

(v. 360) leavcf them in this period, Ixv.-lxviii. Ixxi.-lxxxi. 

332 THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. lkct. xmx. 

Prophets, but which had never before been set forth with an 
earnestness so exuberant and so impassioned. Had Western 
Christendom followed the example of the Ethiopia Church, 
and placed the Book of Enoch in its Canon, many a modern 
philosopher would have taken refuge under its authority from 
the attacks of ignorant alarmists, many an enlightened theo- 
logian would have drawn from its innocent speculations cogent 
arguments to reconcile religion and science. The physics may 
be childish, the conclusions erroneous. But not even in the 
Book of Job is the eager curiosity into all the secrets of nature 
more boldly encouraged, nor is there any ancient book, Gentile 
or Jewish, inspired by a more direct and conscious effort to re- 
solve the whole system of the universe, moral, intellectual, and 
physical, into a unity of government, and idea, and develop- 

II. But there was a phenomenon more certainly connected 
with this epoch than these doubtful tales or predictions — a 
phenomenon of the most fatal importance for the history of 
Palestine, and also of the most universal significance for the 
^^ . ^ history of the cominer Church. It was the appear- 

The rise of - , . . ? , . . . , , 

religious auce of rcligious parties and of party-spirit under the 
^^^^^^' name of Pharisee, Sadducee, and Essene, first ap- 
pearing under Jonathan, developed under John Hyrcanus,^ 
leading to fierce civil war under Alexander Jannaeus, and play- 
ing the chief part in the tremendous drama which marks the 
consummation of this period. Of the origin of the first of 
these three famous names there can be no doubt. The idea 
which had never been altogether absent from the Jewish 
nation, and which its peculiar local situation had fortified and 
The justified, of * a people ^ dwelling alone ; ' which had 

Pharisees, taken new force and fire under the stern reforms of 
Ezra and Nehemiah ; which sprang into preternatural vigour 
in the Maccabaean struggle, had now reached that point at 
which lofty aspirations petrify into hard dogmatic form, at 
which patriots become partisans and saints are turned into 
fanatics, and the holiest names are perverted into bywords 

* Jo«. Aftt. xiii, 5. • Num. xxiii. 9. 


and catchwords. There was one designation of this tendency 
which had preceded that of * Pharisee,' in the time of Judas 
Maccabseus, and which already showed at once the strength 
and the weakness of the cause. It was that of the Chasidim 
or, as in the Greek translation, Assideans^ ' the Pious. ' It was 
they who furnished the nucleus of the insurgents under Matta- 
thias ; it was they whose obstinate foolhardiness vexed the 
great soul, whose narrow selfishness cost the life, of Judas. 
With him all notice of the party passes from sight, but to re- 
appear under his descendants in the * Pharisee' or * Separatist' 
— the school or section of the nation, which sometimes seemed 
almost to absorb the nation itself, and which placed its whole 
pride and privilege in its isolation from intercourse with the 
Gentile world. ^ The name of Pharisee, which has acquired so 
sinister a sound to modern Christian ears, has been bandied to 
and fro by various parties to describe the characteristics of their 
opponents. Sometimes, as in the mouth of Milton, it has been 
applied ' to the scarlet Prelates, insolent to maintain traditions.' 
Sometimes, as with a playful critic amongst our modern poets, 
it has been applied to *our British Dissenters.' In these con- 
tradictory comparisons there is a common element of truth in 
regard to the rigid separation from the outside w^orld and the 
claims to superior sanctity, which have sometimes marked alike 
the pretensions of the hierarchy and of Puritanism. It may 
also be said that in their constant antagonism to the established 
priesthood and government of Palestine, the Pharisees, whilst 

* Conformists ' to every particular of the law, were ' Noncon- 

* formists ' in their relation to the more moderate principles of 
the Asmonean dynasty.^ But these imperfect analogies fail to 
exhaust their position. They w^ere more than a sect. They 
were emphatically the popular party, w^hich had the ear of the 
Jewish public, whose statements won an easier hearing than 
was granted to any words that came from the lips of King 
or Priest. * They were the true children ^ of the age. They 
were ^ the religious world.' It was a matter both of principle 
and policy to multiply the external signs by which they were 

» See Lecture XLVIII. » Jos. Ant. xvii. 2, 4. » Ewald, v. 366. 

334 THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. lbct. xlix; 

distinguished from the Gentile world or from those of their own 
countrymen who approached towards it. They styled them- 
selves ^ ' the sages ' or^ the associates.' Tassels on their dress ; 
scrolls and small leather boxes fastened on forehead, head, and 
neck, inscribed with texts of the law ; long prayers offered as 
they stood in public places ; rigorous abstinence ; constant 
immersions ; these were the sacramental badges by which they 
hedged themselves round. And in order to clothe these and all 
like peculiarities of practice and doctrine with a divine authority, 
there now entered into their teaching that strange fiction of 
which the first ^ appearance is in the reign of John Hyrcanus 
— that all such modern pecuharities as had either silently grown 
up or been adopted for the defence of their system were part 
The oral ^^ ^^ ^^^^ tradition ^ which had been handed down 
tradition. fj-Qj-Q Moscs to the Great Synagogue and thence to 
themselves. The maintenance of this hypothesis — entirely 
without foundation, but produced as the basis alike of usages 
the most trivial, such as the mmute regulations for observing 
the Sabbath and the mode of killing their food, or doctrines 
the most sublime, though not taught in the Pentateuch, such 
as the immortality of the soul — would be almost unaccount- 
able, were it not that analogous fables have been adopted in 
the Christian Church, with almost as little evidence. It is 
hardly more surprising than the belief that all the systems of 
Church government, Episcopates, Patriarchates, Presbyterian 
Synods, or Congregational Unions, were part of the original 
scheme of the Founder of Christianity, and handed down 
either by oral traditions or by obscure intimations, and then, 
as in the case of the Roman Patriarchate, embodied at a later 
period in official documents. The growths of the two fictions 
illustrate each other. Each has borne on its back a medley of 
truth and falsehood, institutions good and bad, which have 
been alternately a gain and a loss to the religious systems 
based upon it. In each case the best wisdom is to face the 
intrinsic value or worthlessness of the conclusions, and not to 

* Kitto, iii. 696. ' See Twisleton's article on the Sad- 

■ Jos, Ant. xiii, 10, .5, 6. ducses in Dictionary of the Bible. 


invest the heterogeneous mixture with an equal importance 
such as it could only have if the ground on which it rests were 
as true as it is in each case palpably false. 

The name of the second section into which the Jewish 
community was now divided is wrapped in doubt There is a 
tradition that the name of ' Sadducee ' was derived 
from Zadok,^ a disciple of Antigonus of Socho. But 
the statement is not earlier than the seventh century after the 
Christian era, and the person seems too obscure to have origi- 
nated so widespread a title. It has been also ingeniously 
conjectured that the name,^ as belonging to the whole priestly 
class, is derived from the famous High Priest of the time of 
Solomon. But of this there is no trace either in history or 
tradition. It is more probable that, as the Pharisees derived 
their name from the virtue of Isolation {pharishah) from the 
Gentile world on which they most prided themselves, so the 
Sadducees derived theirs from their own especial virtue of 
Righteousness {zadikah)^ that is, the fulfilment of the law, with 
which, as its guardians and representatives of the law, they 
were specially concerned. The Sadducees — whatever be the 
derivation of the word — were less of a sect than of a class.** 
It is probable that, if the Pharisees represented or were repre- 
sented by the Scribes or Rabbis, the Sadducees were the 
official leaders of the nation, and that their strength was in the 
Priests, whose chief during this period had so often been the 
head of the State. They were satisfied with the Law, as it 
appeared in the v/ritten code, without adopting the oral tradi- 
tion on which the Pharisees laid so much stress. They were 
contented with the reputation of being * just ' (as their name 
implied)— that is to say, of fulfilling the necessary requirements 
of the law,^ without aspiring to the reputation of * sanctity ; ' 

' See Ginsburg, in Kitto's Cyclopcedia.^ more exactly corresponding to Pharjisi in, 

111.781,782. "J^s. Ant. xiii. i6, 2 ; J5. J. i. 5. 3 : 

^ See Geiger's Urschri/t ; Twisleton, in Acts iv. i-6 ; v. 17. 

Dictionary of Bible. * Comp. Luke i. 6, and the constant 

" Low (see Kitto, iii. 726) ; Derenbourg, repetition of the word 6i/cao<? in the speech 

78. He meets the linguistic difficulty of of John Hyrcanus on the occasion of 

their not being called Zadikim by sup- his joining the Sadducees. Jos. .<4»^. xiii. 

posing that Zadukim was adopted as 10, 5, 

33<5 THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. lect. xlix. 

that is, of increasing the minute distinctions between themselves 
and their Gentile neighbours. Their view of human conduct 
was that it was within the control of a man's own will, and was 
not overruled by the mere decrees of fate. Their view of the 
future existence was that, as in the Mosaic law, a veil was 
drawn across it, and that, according to the saying of Antigonus 
of Socho, men were not to be influenced by the hope of future 
reward and punishment. 

The name of the third sect has an edge somewhat less 
sharp than the two others, because its tendencies were less 
marked, and its part in the conflicts of the time less con- 
j~^^ spicuous. Yet here, as in the other two divisions 

Essenes. ^\^q niost probablc explanations of the word * Essene ' 
point not to any personal leader or founder, but to the moral 
and social characteristics of their school. It indicates either 
'the watchful contemplation' or ^ * tfie affectionate devotion ' 
* or the silent thoughtfulness ' of those who retired from the 
strife of parties and nourished a higher spiritual life in com- 
munities of their own. Deep ^ in the recesses of the Jordan 
valley, where afterwards there arose the monasteries of Santa 
Saba and of Quarantania, or the hermits of Engedi, these early 
coenobites took refuge. A corresponding Egyptian school in 
like manner were the precursors of the monks in the Thebaid. 
In their retirement from the outward ceremonial of the Temple, 
in their ascetic practices, in their community of property, in 
their simplicity of speech, in their meals, partly social and 
partly religious, we see the first beginning of those outward 
forms, and in some respects of those inward ideas, which 
before another century was passed were to be filled with a new 
spirit, and thus to attain an almost universal ascendency. 

It is in the reign of John Hyrcanus that these divisions 
xhe start for the first time before our eyes. Under him, 

joshiTa'and ^^ trace the first appearance of those ' couples, '^ 
Niitai. of two leading sages who henceforth, in an un- 

broken succession, figure at the head of the Pharisaic school, 

' Ewald, V. 370 ; Professor Lightfoot on ' Jos. Ant. xiii. 5, 10 ; xvii. i, $ ; B, y. 

Colossians, ijq. ii. 8, 2-4. ' Derenbourg, 93, 456. 

user. xLix. THE ESSENES. 337 

perhaps * at the head of the national Council, and whose pithy 
aphorisms shine with a steady light through the darkness or 
the fantastic meteors of the Tahnudic hterature. Already this 
double aspect of truth had appeared in the two Josephs in the 
Maccabaean time — the son of Joazar insisting only on the value 
of learning, the son of John laying down rigid rules against 
exchanging even a word with women/^ The same division is 
more strongly marked in Joshua, the son of Perachiah and 
Nittai of Arbela. * Avoid a bad neighbour, choose not an 

* impious friend, doubt not the judgment that shall fall on the 

* wicked.' ^ So spoke the harder and more negative theology 
of Nittai. ' Get thyself a master and so secure a friend ; 

* throw thy judgment of everyone into the scale of his inno- 
'cence.' So spoke the more charitable and positive teaching 
of Joshua, the son of Perachiah. In a strange ^ legend of 
later times he is represented as having lived onwards to the 
final struggle of the Pharisaic school, and confronted its great 
adversary, and repelled Him by a harsh reproof Rather, we 
may say, he has, by this one sentence, received by anticipation 
that Teacher's blessing ; nor is it impossible that he had heard, 
in the exile to which he was afterwards driven in Alexandria, 
something of the true value of a teacher outside his own circle 
— something of Aristotle's doctrine of a disinterested friendship 
— something of that * sweet reasonableness ' which the Greek 
language expresses in one forcible word and which this fine old 
Hebrew maxim so well conveys in substance. To the teaching 
of which these two sayings are the highest expression, but 
which, doubtless, was mixed with the baser matter of the party, 
Hyrcanus devoted himself. 

At last came a sudden crash. It was after the overthrow 
of the sanctuary of Gerizim and the city of Samaria that, at 
the close of his career, John Hyrcanus entertained at a splen- 
did banquet the nobles and scholars of his court. With a cha- 
racteristic combination of the present glories and the past 

^ The formation of the national Council ■ Mishna, Pirke Ahoth, u 4, 5. 

at this time is so doubtful that it is not ■ Ibid. i. 6, 7. 

here discussed. (See Dereabourg, 90, pa.) * Derenbourg, 94. 


33^ THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. lect. xlix. 

sufferings of his dynasty, the tables were laden with the dainties 
of regal luxury, and the roots and herbs, such as those on which 
his ancestors had lived in the mountains.^ On this solemn 
day, Hyrcanus, like Samuel of old, asked for an opinion on 
his administration^ and his conduct. One guest took up 
the challenge. In him the growing jealousy of 
ture with the fanatical party found a voice. It was Eleazar 
risees. ' thc Pharisce. For no moral delinquency, for no 
B.C. 109. violence in war or peace, was the splendid Pontiff 
arraigned. It was the same religious scruple which allied * the 
^ Pious ' with Alcimus against Judas Maccabseus. It was the 
well-known perversity of theological animosity, which, under 
the cover of such scruples, allied itself with personal enmity, 
and, raking up the ashes of forgotten or invented scandals, 
insisted on questioning the validity of the Priestly descent of 
Hyrcanus on the allegation of an exploded calumny that his 
mother — the high-spirited wife of Simon — had once been a 
captive in the Syrian army, and thus shared the bed of 
Antiochus Epiphanes. The fiery spirit, the tender recollec- 
tions of John were stirred up by this reflection on his mother's 
honour. At that moment another rose from the table. It was 
Jonathan the Sadducee. Now was come the time to reclaim 
the Prince from leaning to those whom the Priestly caste 
regarded as their rivals. In Eleazar he denounced the whole 
party, who, though with certain reserves, stood by their com- 
rade. From that time John Hyrcanus broke away from the 
school which he had hitherto courted. From that time the 
feud between the two parties was alternately fostered and 
shunned by his descendants. 

One dreadful interlude between these contests ^ introduces 
to us for a moment the third party, of which the real signifi- 
cance is reserved for the next generation. Aristobulus, the son 
of Hyrcanus, whose family affections were entirely absorbed in 
his brother Antigonus, had been brought back from his cam- 
paign in Itursea by an illness, which confined him to the Palace 

' Grati. iii, 99, 453. " Jos. Ant. xiii. 10, 5, 6 ; Derenbourg, 79, 80, 

■Jos. Ant, xiii. 11, 2. 


built by his father in the Temple precincts. Antigonus had 
gone in full military pomp, in splendid armour, and with his 
troops around him, to offer prayers in the Temple for his 
The Esse- brother's recovery, choosing, as was the custom for 
pfet.^*^^' ^^^ solemn occasions, the great festival of the Taber- 
B.c. io6. nacles. His enerhies poisoned the mind of the 
King against him. He was invited to come and show his new 
suit of armour to the King, and, as he passed along the covered 
corridor from the Temple to the fortress, he w^as waylaid in 
a dark corner of the gallery and assassinated. The sudden 
shock of remorse brought on a violent fit of sickness in the 
unfortunate Aristobulus. The basin containing the blood 
which he had vomited was spilt on the pavement where his 
brother had fallen. The cry of horror which rang through the 
Palace gave a new shock to the King, who expired with his 
brother's name on his lips. Amidst these tragic scenes, it was 
remembered that a singular being, marked probably by his 
white dress, was standing in the Temple as Antigonus passed 
to the fatal gallery. *Look,' he said, to his companions, *I am 

* a false prophet ; for I predicted, and my words have never 
*yet failed, that Antigonus would die this very day at Strato's 

* Tower, and here he is on the evening of this day still alive.' 
He did not know that the dark corner where Antigonus was to 
fall was called by the same name as the seaside fortress ; and 
that in a moment his prediction was to be fulfilled. This 
unerring prophet was Judas the Essene, first of that mysterious 
sect known to us by name, and one of the few who are ever 
discerned remaining amongst the haunts of men. But that 
solitary glimpse gives a foretaste of the effect to be produced 
by another Prophet who should appear in like manner, sur- 
rounded by disciples in the Temple court, also with dark fore- 
bodings, though on a grander scale, which would be verified by 
events in a still more startling catastrophe. 

This, however, was but a momentary flash from the secluded 
world in which the Essenes lived. In the succeeding reigns it 
is the contending factions of Sadducee and Pharisee that fill 
up the whole horizon. The hostility sown between the Pharisees 

340 THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. lect. xltx. 

and Hyrcanus continued through the reign of Alexander 
Tannaeus. On one occasion they were not ashamed 

Alexander *^ • i i i i • i • ■, ^ 

jannseus. to revive the whole calumny agamst his grandmother, 
and at the Feast of Tabernacles the worshippers 
in the Temple, inspired by them, pelted the Royal Priest with 
citrons from the boughs ^ which they carried on that day, because 
the slight variation in his mode of performing the libation re- 
minded them that ^ he neglected the Pharisaic usage. There 
long remained a remembrance of the insult in a hoarding of 
wood which he built round the altar to exclude the repetition 
of such outrages. But from this moment it seemed as if, in 
the mind of the Sadducean Prince, the passion of a tiger were 
enkindled by the mingled fury of revenge and of partisanship. 
On that occasion six thousand perished in a general massacre. 
On another, when the Pharisees, with the inherent vice of 
fanatics, sacrificing their patriotism to their partisanship, sided 
with the Syrians against ^ their King, he stormed the fortress 
where they had taken refuge, and then, at a banquet given to 
his harem on the walls of Jerusalem, ordered eight hundred of 
the leaders of the faction to be crucified. It was the first 
distinct appearance of the Cross on the hills of Palestine. It 
is not without significance that the ruling passion which led, 
whether to the eight hundred crucifixions under the High 
Priesthood of Alexander Tannaeus, or the single cruci- 

B c 8^ 

fixion under the High Priesthood of Caiaphas, was 
religious party-spirit. The day on which ^ the remnant of the 
party escaped from these horrors to the slopes of Lebanon was 
observed, after their subsequent triumph, as a festival, and, with 
the usual Rabbinical exaggeration, the sea was at the hour of 
the execution said to have overwhelmed one-third of the habit- 
able globe. The secret motives of the spirit of modern party 
are reflected in all their shapes in the closing scene of Alex- 
ander's life. He admitted on his deathbed that he had mistaken 

• Jos. An^, xiiL 13, 5. A like outrage he poured it on the ground (Derenbourg 

was committed by the Jews of Babylonia 98). 

against a Rabbi in the third century ' Jos. Ant. xiii. 14, 2. 

(Derenbourg, 99). * Derenbourg, 99. 

" Instead of pouring water on the aJtar, 


his policy in alienating from him the Pharisaic influences, and 
advised his wife to conciliate them, in a speech which is a 
masterpiece of cynicism, and is the more remarkable as being 
recounted by a Pharisee. A most significant touch was added 
by the Rabbinical tradition ^ describing the hangers-on of a 
successful party as more dangerous than the partisans them- 
selves : ' Fear not the Pharisees, and fear not those who are 
*not Pharisees. But fear the hypocrites who pretend to be 
* Pharisees — the varnished Pharisees — wliose acts are the acts 
*of Zimri, and who claim the reward of Phinehas.' Not less 
characteristic of such warfare is the sudden turn by which the 
King whom in life they had reviled as a usurper and a schismatic 
received from them the most sumptuous of funeral honours, and 
that the very Priest whose copy of the Law,^ though written in 
letters of gold, they had forbidden to be used, came to be re- 
garded as the second founder of their school. 

Alexandra's adoption of this policy was rendered more easy 
by the circumstance that .her brother was Simeon the son of 
Alexandra, Shetach. Under his auspices Pharisaism acquired 
B.C. 79. aji ascendency which it never lost, Already in ^ the 
reign of her fierce husband he had contrived to keep his place at 
court betw^een the King and Queen, to bandy retorts with the 
King, to squeeze money from him for the needy Nazarites. 
Simeon, After Alexander's death it was he who recalled his 
shetach^*^ predcccssors Joshua, the son of Perachiah, and Judah, 
B.C. 72. the son of Tobai, who was recalled to Jerusalem from 
Alexandria, whither he had fled. 'Jerusalem the Great to 
'Alexandria the Little. My husband, my beloved one, stays 
' with you, whilst I remain desolate.''* The severe code of tlie 
Sadducean 'Justice' was aboHshed except when it suited the 
Pharisees to be severe,* ' for the discouragement of the Sad- 
' ducees.' The chiefs of that party were expelled from the 
Council. Like the less fanatical in all ages, the bond of cohesion 
between ^ them was more relaxed than in the hands of their 

» Derenbourg, xoi. Derenbourg, 96, 97, 98. 

• Jos. Ant. xiii. 16, i. But see Deren- * Derenbourg, 94, ica. 

bourg, loi. ' /i>id. 105, 106. 

' See the somewhat tedious story in • Jos. Ant, xviiL i, 4. 

342 THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. mbcjt. xli*. 

more determined and dogmatic opponents, and they were per- 
force compelled to bow to the public opinion, which sided 
with the Pharisaic ^ or popular party. The days of the 14th 
of Thammuz and the 28th of Tebet were in consequence 
celebrated as festivals. The libation of water in the Feast of 
Tabernacles, which Alexander Jannaeus had neglected, though 
in itself wholly insignificant and without a shadow of warrant 
from the Law, was raised to the first magnitude, with illumina- 
tions, processions, and dances. * He,' it was said, ' who has 

* never seen this rejoicing knows not what ^ rejoicing is.' The 
whole congregation descended with the Priest to the Spring of 
Siloam — the water was brought back in a golden pitcher — with 
shouts of triumph, cymbals, and trumpets, which resounded 
louder and louder as the Priest stood on the altar. * Lift up 

* thy hand,' they said, as though the irreverent Pontiff was still 
before them, and the water was then solemnly poured to the 
west, and a cup of wine to the east, the song still continuing, 

* Draw water with joy from the wells of salvation.' It is a striking 
example of a noble meaning infused into the celebration of a 
miserable party-triumph when, *on the last great day of the 
' Feast ' of Tabernacles, a hundred years later, there stood in 
the Temple courts One whom the Pharisees hated with a hatred 
as deadly as that with which at times they pursued the memory 
of Alexander Jannaeus, and cried * with a loud voice ' — piercing, 
it may be, through the clatter of chant and music — ' If any man 

* have thirst, let him come unto me ^ and drink.' 

The description of these internecine feuds, to which the 
earlier history of the Jewish Church furnishes no exact parallel 
— not even in the angry factions * of the time of Jeremiah — 
shows how nearly we have approached to those modern elements 
which, as a great historian of our own day has well pointed out, 
are found in certain stages of every ancient nation. 

They present the first appearance of that singular pheno- 
menon of religious party, which, continuing down to the latest 
days of the Jewish commonwealth, reappears under other forms 

* Jos. Ant. ; Derenbourg, T04. * John vii. 37 (see GodctX 

■ Derenbovurg, 103. * * Lecture XL, 


both in the early and in the later ages of the Christian Church 
— that is to say, divisions ostensibly on reh'gious subjects, but 
carried on with the same motives and passions as those which 
animate divisions in the State. The true hkenesses of the 
scenes we have just been considering are not, where Josephus 
looks for them, in the schools of Greek philosophy, but in the 
tumult of Grecian politics. The seditions and revolutions of 
Corcyra, with the profound * remarks of Thucydides, contain 
the picture of all such religious discords from the Pharisees and 
Sadducees downwards. The word by which in the later Greek 
of this epoch they are described, hceresis^ is the equivalent of 
the earlier word stasis — neither having any relation to the 
modern meaning of * heresy,' both expressed by the English 
word * faction.' The names of * Pharisee ' and 'Sadducee,' and 
perhaps * Essene,' had, indeed, as we have seen, a moral or 
theological significance, but this meaning was often disavowed 
by the parties themselves and was constantly drifting into other 
directions. The appellations of 'the Isolated' and 'the Just,' 
and perhaps 'the Holy' or ' the Contemplative,' passed through 
the natural process to which all party names are liable ; first, 
an exclusive or exaggerated claim to some peculiar virtue, or else 
a taunt from some opposing quarter ; next, adopted or given, 
heedlessly or deliberately, by some class or school — then 
poisoned by personal rivalry, and turned into mere flags of dis- 
cord and weapons of offence. Such in later times has been the 
fate of the names of ' Christian,' ' Catholic,' ' Puritan,' * Ortho- 
dox," Evangelical,' 'Apostolical,' 'Latitudinarian,' 'Rationahst,' 
' Methodist,' ' Ritualist,' * Reformed,' ' Moderate,' ' Free.' 
^VTiatever the words once meant, they in later times have often 
come to be mere badges by which contending masses are dis- 
tinguished from each other. 

In these, therefore, as in all parties, the inward and outwar, 
the formal and the real, divisions never exactly corresponded. 
There were Pharisaic opinions which should have belonged to 
those who were not ' Separatists,' and Sadducaic usages which 

' Thucyd. iii. 84. Sec Keim, 1. 322. xxvi. 5, xxviii. 22, t Cor. xL X9, Gal, v. 

'Acts V 17, xv. 5, xxiv. 5, xxiv. 14, 20, a Pet. ii. i. 

344 THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. lect. xlix. 

we should have expected to find amongst the Pharisees. The 
great doctrine of ImmortaHty, which the Pharisees believed to 
have been derived from the oral tradition of Moses, was, if not 
derived, yet deeply coloured, from those Gentile philosophies 
and religions which they professed to abhor. ^ In the long and 
tedious list of ritual differences which parted the two sections, 
there are many minute particularities on which the Pharisees 
took the laxer, the Sadducees the stricter side. 

Yet, further, though it might have seemed as if the whole 
nation were absorbed by these apparently exhaustive divisions, 
it is clear that there were higher spirits, who, though, perhaps, 
nominally belonging to one or other side, rose above the miser- 
able littlenesses of each. 

No loftier instruction is preserved from these times than 
that of two teachers who must at least be regarded as the pre- 
cursors of the Sadducees. One is ^ Antigonus of Socho, whose 
doubt, if it were a doubt, on future retribution, is identical with 
that expressed in the vision of the noblest and holiest of Chris- 
tian kings, to whom on the same shores of Palestine a stately 
form revealed herself as Religion, with a brazier in one hand 
to dry up the fountains of Paradise, '"^ and a pitcher in the other 
to quench the fires of Hell, in order that men might love God 
for Himself alone. Another was Jesus the son of Sirach, whose 
solemn and emphatic reiterations of the power of the human 
will and the grandeur of human duty helped, even if ineffectu- 
ally, to fill the void left by his total silence of a hope beyond 
the grave. ^ 

Of the Pharisees we know that a hundred years later there 
was, as we shall see, a Hillel, a Gamaliel, and a Saul, who were 
to be the chosen instruments in preparing or in proclaiming 
the widest emancipation from ceremonial rites that the world 
had yet seen ; whilst the doctrine of Immortality which it is 
the glory of the Pharisaic schools to have appropriated and 
consolidated, was, like an expiring torch, to be snatched from 
their hands, and kindled with a new light for all succeeding 

» See Lectures XLVII., XLVIII. » Joinville's Life ofS. Louis. 

' S«e Lecture XLVIII. " Milnuin's Hist, of Jews, ii. 32. 


generations. Of the seven classes into which the Pharisees 
were divided, whilst six were characterised even by themselves 
with epithets of biting scorn, one was acknowledged even by 
their enemies to be animated by the pure love of God.* Even 
in these first days of the fierce triumph of Pharisaism the 
Jewish Church at large owed much to the influence 
son of of Simeon the son of Shetach, who, during the reign 

^ ^^^"^ ' of his sister Alexandra, ruled supreme in the Court 
and cloisters of Jerusalem. There were, indeed, stories handed 
down of him and his colleague which showed that the Pharisees 
could exercise as much severity in behalf of the Written Law 
as they were fond of alleging ^ against the Sadducees. Eighty 
witches were executed at Ascalon under Simeon's auspices, and 
he persisted, from a technical scruple, in the execution of his 
own son, though knowing that he was falsely accused. Nor 
can we avoid the thought that the advantages which he gave to 
the legal ^ position of women were suggested by the influence 
of his strong-minded Pharisaic sister. Queen Alexandra. But 
there are traces of a better and more enduring spirit in some 
of his words and works. That was an acute saying of his 
colleague, the son of Tobai : * Judge, make not thyself an ad- 
' vocate ; whilst the parties are before thee, regard them both 

* as guilty ; when they are gone, after the judgment, regard 

* them both as having reason/ * That was a yet wiser saying 
of Simeon : ' Question well the witnesses ; but be careful not 

* by thy questions to teach them how to he.' But his main 
glory was that he was the inaugurator of a complete system of 
education throughout the country. Under his influence, for 
the first time, schools were established in every large provincial 
town, and all boys from sixteen years and upwards were com- 
pelled to attend them. No less than eleven different names 
for places of instruction now came into vogue. * Get to thyself 
' a teacher,' ^ said Joshua, the son of Perachiah, * and thou 

* gettest to thyself a companion.' * Our principal care,' ^ such 

* Munk's Palestine^ 513. * Mishna, Pirke Aioth, I. 8, 9. 

* Derenbourg, 106, 107. * Pirke Abotk, i. 6. 

* Jkid. 108, no, • Jos. ff. Aj^. i. la. 

34^ THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. lect. xlix. 

from this time was the boast of Josephus, * is to educate our 
'children.' 'The world,' such became the TalmudicaP 
maxim, ' is preserved by the breath of the children in the 
* schools.' 

With nobler tendencies thus recognised on either side, we 

need not wonder, though we may stumble, at the startling fact 

that the Jewish Church and nation, even in its last 

Compre- , -^ 

hensive- extrcmitics, was able to contain these three divergent 

ness of the . . , - . . ^ , 

Jewish parties without disruption. So strong was the com- 

mon bond of country and of faith, that the Sadducee, 
who could find in the Ancient Law no ground for hope of a 
future existence, and who resolutely refused to accept the con- 
venient fiction of an oral tradition, could worship — although 
varying on innumerable points, every one of which was a 
watchword of contention — with the Pharisee, to whom the 
Oral Law was greater than the written, whose belief in immor- 
tality was bound up with the heroic struggles of the Maccabees, 
and who was in a state of chronic antagonism to the hierarchical 
and aristocratic class of which the Sadducee was the guardian 
and representative ; whilst even the Essenes, who withdrew 
from the strife of Jerusalem to their oasis by the Dead Sea, 
who took part in none of the ceremonial ordinances, unless it 
were that of ablution, were yet not counted as outcasts, but are 
described even by Pharisaic historians as amongst the purest 
and holiest of men ; and when their seers wandered for a 
moment into the haunts of men, they were welcomed as pro- 
phets even by the fierce populace and politic leaders of the 
capital. So strange a latitude in the National Church of the 
Chosen People must have accustomed the first propagators of 
Christianity to a comprehension which to all their successors 
has seemed almost impracticable. When '^ Paul felt that the 
Corinthian Church could embrace both those who received 
and those who doubted the Resurrection of the Dead, he 
knew that it was no larger admission than had been made by 
the Jewish Church when it included both Pharisees and 

' Dr. Ginsburg in Kitto, i. 7*8. ' i Cor. xv. 12, 


Sadducees ; ^ and when he entreated ^ the Roman Church to 
acknowledge as brothers both those who received and those 
who rejected the Jewish ordinances, it was in principle the 
same catholicity which had induced both Pharisee and Sad- 
ducee to recognise the idealising worship of the Essene. 

And as particular individuals of each party were better than 
their party, as the Jewish Church itself was wider than the three 
parties, singly or collectively, so there were those who, from 
their commanding character and position, overlooked, and 
enable us to overlook, calmly the whole troubled sea of faction 
and intrigue. Such on the whole was the Asmonean dynasty, 
beginning with Mattathias, in his patriotic disregard of the 
superstitious veneration of his own adherents for the Sabbath; 
continuing throughout the great career of Judas Maccabaeus, 
through the truly national policy of Simon and of his son John, 
through the keen if cynical insight of Alexander Jannaeus. 
Onias the Such was the good Onias, perhaps an Essene,^ * that 
charmer. < rightcous man beloved of God.' He was renowned 
for the efficacy of his prayers. To the teeming fertility which 
had marked the reign of the Pharisaic Alexandra, there had 
succeeded an alarming drought. Onias, at the entreaty of his 
countrymen (so runs the tradidon), stood within the magic 
circle which he had traced, and implored * the Lord of the 
^ World ' to send his gracious rain."* ' Thy children have asked 

* me to pray, for I am as a son of Thy house before Thee. I 

* swear by Thy great name that I will not move hence till 

* Thou hast had pity upon them.' A few drops fell : ^ I ask 

* for more than this,' he said, ' for a rain which shall fill wells, 
' cisterns, and caverns.' It fell in torrents. * Not this,' con- 
tinued he ; ' I ask for a rain which shall show Thy goodness 
' and Thy blessing.' It fell in regular descent until the people 
had to mount to the terraces of the Temple. * Now,' they said, 

' It is true that in the Seder O'am, c. 4 * 1 he belief in the efficacy of the prayers 

(p. 10), the Sadducees are condemned to of holy men for rain appears not only 

everlasting punishment in Gehenna. But in the incidental allusions in i Kings xvii. 

this la'er view brings out more forcibly the i, xviii. 41, James v. 17, but in the fixed 

contrast with the time when the High belief of the Arab tribes that the monks of 

Priests were all Saddu ees. Mount Sinai have the power of producing 

^ Rom. xiv. 1-6. it by opening or shutting their books. 

' Grati:, iii. 130, 133. Robinson's /Researches, i. 132, 

34^ THE ASMONEAN DYNASTY. lect. xltx. 

* pray that the rain may cease.' * Go/ he said, ' and see 
' whether the "stone of the wanderers" is covered.' At this 
Simeon, the son of Shetach, the head of the Pharisees, con- 
temptuously rebuked him and said : ^ Thou deservest excom- 
' munication. But what can I do ? Thou playest before God 
^ hke a spoilt child before its father who does all that it wishes.' ^ 
This was the innocent, infantine spell which Onias cast over the 
imagination of his people, as his memory remained in the 
Talmudic legends. But a more genuine glory attaches to his 
name as it appears in the sober history. In the fratricidal 
struggle which broke out between the two sons of Alexandra 
(it may be supposed, immediately after this drought), when the 
popular party of the Pharisees was ranged on the side of 

Hyrcanus, and the priestly party of the Sadducees 

^* on the side of Aristobulus, the old Onias was dragged 

from his seclusion to give to the besiegers the advantage of his 

irresistible prayers. He stood up in the midst of them and said: 

' O God, the King of the whole world, since those that stand 

* with me now are Thy people, and those that are besieged are 
' Thy priests, I beseech thee that Thou wilt neither hearken to 

* the prayers of those against these, nor of these against those.' ^ 

That was the true protest ^ against party-spirit in every 
Church and in every age. With the insensibility to all superior 
excellence which this absorbing passion engenders, the fanatics 
amongst whom he stood stoned him to death. He died a 
martyr in a noble cause, a worthy precursor of Him who in a 
few short years was to condemn in the same breath the 
teaching common alike to Pharisee and Sadducee, 'which is 

* hypocrisy'^ — that is * affectation,' acting a part ; who was to 
denounce in the most unsparing terms that false ^ 'religious 
' world ' of which the murderers of Onias were the chief repre- 
sentatives — who was Himself to suffer, with His own first martyr, 
almost on the same spot, from the combination of the two 
parties, for both of whom Onias prayed, and for both of whom 
Pie and Stephen prayed also.^ 

' Derenbourg, 112. this occasion, but we may be sure that the 

"* Jos. Ant. xiv. 2, I. Sadducees were with the Priests. 

' It is perhaps not quite certain that the * Matt. xv. 6. ' Ibid, xxiii. 1-39. 

Pharisees took the part of the people on * Luke xxiii. 34 ; Acti vii. 60. 



X Contemporary. 

1. Nicolas of Damascus, private secretary of Herod, * Universal 

* History,* in 144 books, quoted by Josephus {Ani. xiii. I J, 6 ; 
xiv. I, 3 ; 4, 3 ; 6, 4 ; xvi. 7» I J ^. ^P- ii- 7). 

2. Chronicles of Herod, quoted by Josephus {Ant, xv. 6, 3). 

II. Josephus, Ani, xiv. i ; xviii. 8, 4 ; B, J. i. 6-23. 

III. Heathen Authorities : 

1. Dio Cassias, xxxvii. 8, 15-20. 

2. Strabo, xvi. 

3. Tacit. Hist. v. 4. 

4. Plutarch, de Superst. 8 ; Lives of Pompey and Antony. 

5. Cicero, Pro Flacco^ § 28. 

6. Appian, de Bello Mithridat, 

IV. Talmudical Authorities, as given in Derenboutg^ c vii. iriii. ix« 

X. xi. and the Mishna. 




The civil war between Hyrcanus and Aristobulus was inter- 
rupted by the appearance of a new actor on the scene. Fresh 
Pompeythe ^^^^ ^^^ beneficent war against the pirates who 
Great. infcsted the Mediterranean, from his more brilliant 

victory over the last of the mighty potentates of Asia, Mithri- 
dates, the marvellous king of Pontus — Pompey the Great, with 
all his fame in its first and yet untarnished splendour, moved 
towards Palestine. At Antioch he dissolved the last remnant 
of the Syrian monarchy, on the ground that it was an insufficient 
rampart against the inroads of the Armenians and Parthians 
from the far East. He then advanced to Damascus. It was a 
year memorable in Roman history for the consulship of Cicero, 
the conspiracy of Catiline, and the birth of Augustus. 
®'^* ^^' It was not less memorable for the meeting which, in 
the oldest of Syrian cities, took place between the illustrious 
Roman and the two aspirants for the Jewish Monarchy. The 
rivals were attracted by the enormous prestige of the man, who, 
having revived the terror of the Roman name in Africa, and 
crushed the most formidable insurrections in Spain and Italy, 
had now vanquished the kings of Asia. They were led yet 
more by his widespread fame for humanity and moderation 
which made him the arbiter of the contending princes of the 
East. ^ No personage of such renown and authority had been 
seen by any Israelite eyes since the meeting of Alexander and 
Jaddua There was, indeed, something even in the outward 
appearance of the famous Roman which recalled the aspect of 
the famous Greek The august expression, almost as of 

* Appian, dg Bell. Miih. 251. 


venerable age, which blended so gracefully with the bloom of 
his manly prime and his singularly engaging manners, the very 
mode in which his hair was smoothly turned back from his 
brow, the liquid glance of his eyes, resembled the traditional 
likeness of Alexander. * Modern travellers, as they stand before 
the colossal statues of Pompey, whether that gentler figure in 
the Villa Castellazzo, near Milan, or that commanding form in 
the Spada Palace at Rome, *at whose base great Caesar fell,' so 
wonderfully preserved through the vicissitudes of neglect, 
revolution, and siege, can frame some notion of the mingled 
awe and affection which he inspired and which the Jewish 
princes must have felt when they bowed before him. It was in 
such interviews that he must have shone conspicuously, of 
whom it was said that * when he bestowed it was with delicacy, 

* when he received it was with dignity ; and though he knew 

* not how to restrain the offences of those whom he employed, 

* yet he gave so gracious a reception to those who came to com- 

* plain that they went away satisfied.'^ 

On one side was Aristobulus, the gallant King whose high 
spirit called forth at every turn the reluctant admiration of the 
Aristobulus cynical historian, and which displayed itself even in 
*'• the very act of pleading his cause, blazing, like an 

Indian prince, with every conceivable mark of royalty, sur- 
rounded by his young nobles, conspicuous with their scarlet 
mantles, gay trappings, and profusion of clustering locks. ^ At 
the feet of the victorious general he laid a gift so magnificent 
that long afterwards it was regarded as one of the wonders of 
the Capitol — a golden vine, the emblem of his nation, growing 
out of a * Pleasaunce ' * and bearing the name of his father, 
Alexander. From all this barbaric pomp, which to the yet un- 
corrupted taste of the proud Roman citizen produced no other 
feeling than disgust, the conqueror turned to the other candidate. 
Hyrcanus was as insignificant as Aristobulus was commanding 
in character and appearance — then, as always, a tool m the 

* Plutarch, Pompey^ c. 2. In his triumph * Plutarch, Pompey, c. i- 

he wore the actual ' chlamys,' or military * Jos. B, J. i. 6. 

cloak, of Alexander (Appian, Bdl, Mith. * TepwtoAij. Strabo, in Tos. Ant. xiv. 

853). 3f X- 

352 HEROD. I>HCT. Ik 

hands of others. With him were the heads of the great party 
Hyrcanus "^^o, In their hostility to the Sadducaic and Pontifical 
II- elements represented by the rival brother, did not 

scruple to insinuate against him the charge that he was not a 
genuine friend of Rome. And with them, inspiring and guiding 
all, was the man destined to inaugurate for the Jewish nation 
the last phase of its existence. When John Hyrcanus subdued 
the Edomites, and incorporated them into the Jewish Church, 
he little dreamed that he was nourishing the evil genius that 
would be the ruin of his house. The son of the first native 
governor of the conquered Idumaea, who himself succeeded to 
his father's post, was Antipater or Antipas, father of Herod. 
With a craft more like that of the supplanter Jacob than the 
generosity of his own ancestor Esau, he perceived th^t 
ntipater. j^.^ chauce of retaining his position would be im- 
perilled by the independent spirit of the younger brother, and 
might be secured by making himself the ally and master of the 
elder. To his persuasions the Roman general lent a willing 
ear, and Hyrcanus was preferred. Not without a struggle did 
Aristobulus surrender his hopes. From Damascus he retired 
to the family fortress, the Alexandreum, commanding the 
passes into southern Palestine. Thither Pompey followed, and 
after one or two futile parleys Aristobulus finally, in a fit of 
desperation, broke away from the stronghold, threw himself into 
Jerusalem, and there defied the conqueror of the East. 

The crisis was at once precipitated. Every step of Pompey's 
advance is noted, hke that of Sennacherib of old. But it was 
by a route which no previous invader had adopted, 
march to From the fortress of Alexandreum, instead of follow- 
ing the central thoroughfare by Shechem and Bethel, 
he plunged into the Jordan valley and encamped beside the 
ancient city where Joshua had gained his first victory over the 
Canaanites. It would almost seem as if it was the fame of 
Jericho which had occasioned this deviation. It was a spot, 
which, having sunk into deep obscurity, during this latter 
period revived with a glory peculiar to itself There is a faint 
tradition that even as far back as the Persian * dominion it had 

' Solinus in Polyhistor^ c. 38 ; see Hitzig, 308. 

LBcr. I.. •rOMPEY'S MARCH. 353 

been raised to a rank rivalling, if not exceeding, that of Jerusa- 
lem, and this equality was henceforth never lost till the fall 
of both. Long afterwards in the homes of Roman soldiers 
was preserved the recollection of the magnificent spectacle 
which burst upon them, when for the first time they found 
themselves in the midst of the tropical vegetation which even 
now to some degree, but then transcendently, surrounded the 
city of Jericho. In the present day not one solitary relic 
remains of those graceful trees which once w^ere the glory of 
Palestine. But then the plain was filled with a splendid forest 
of palms, ' the Palm-grove,' ^ as it was called, three miles broad 
and eight miles long, interspersed with gardens of balsam, 
traditionally sprung from the balsam-root that the Queen of 
Sheba brought to Solomon — so fragrant that the whole forest was 
scented with them, so valuable that a few years later no richer 
present could be made by Antony to Cleopatra. In this green 
oasis, beside the 'diamonds of the desert,' which still pour forth 
their clear streams in that sultry valley, but which then were 
used to feed the spacious reservoirs in which the youths of 
those days delighted to plunge and frolic in the long days of 
summer and autumn, the Roman army halted for one night. 

It was a day eventful not only for Palestine. The shades 
of evening were falling over the encampment. Pompey was 
taking his usual ride after the march— careering round the 
soldiers as they were pitching their tents, when couriers were 
seen advancing from the north at full speed waving on the 
points of their lances branches of laurel, to indicate some 
joyful news. The troops gathered round their general, and 
entreated to hear the tidings. At their eager wishes he sprang 
down from his horse ; they extemporised a tribune, hastily 
constructed of piles of earth and of the packsaddles which lay 
upon the ground, and he read aloud the despatch, which 
announced the crowning mercy of his Oriental victories — the 
death of his great enemy Mithridates. 

Wild was the shout of joy which went up from the army.^ 

* * Phoenicon '(Strabo, xvi. 2, 41 ; 4, 21). on his way to Petra. But, besides the 
" Plutarch {JPotHpey^ 41) places this scene positive statement of Josephus which fixes 

354 HEROD. ♦ LBCT. I.. 

It was as though ten thousand enemies kad fallen. Through- 
To jerusa- <^ut the camp arose the smoke of thankful sacrifice, 
^^^' and the festivity of banquets rang in every tent. 

Filled with this sense of triumphant success the army started at 
break of day for the interior of Judaea, after first occupying the 
fortresses which commanded that corner of the Jordan valley — 
those which were known by the name, perhaps, of the foreign 
mercenaries who manned them — as well as those which guarded 
the Dead Sea. Thus Pompey advanced in perfect security 
towards the mysterious and sacred city which possessed, no 
doubt, a special attraction for the curiosity of the inquiring 
Roman. From the north, from the south, from the west, the 
situation of Jerusalem produces but little effect on the spectator. 
But, seen from the east — seen from that ridge of Olivet 
whence Pompey alone, of its conquerors, first beheld it, rising 
like a magnificent apparition out of the depth and seclusion of 
its mountain valleys — it must have struck him with all its awe, 
and, had his generous heart forecast all the miseries of which 
his coming was the prelude, might have well inspired something 
of that compassion which the very same view, seen from the 
same spot ninety years later, awakened in One who burst into 
tears at the sight of Jerusalem, and mourned over her fatal 
blindness to the grandeur of her mission. From this point 
Pompey descended, and swept round the city, to encamp on 
the level ground on its western side.^ 

Once more Aristobulus ventured ^ into the conqueror's 
presence ; but this time he was seized and loaded with chains. 
Then broke out within the walls one of those bitter internal 
conflicts of which Jerusalem has been so often the scene. The 
Temple was occupied by the patriots, who, even in this ex- 
tremity, would not abandon their king and country. The 
Palace and the walls were seized by those who, in passionate 
devotion to their party, were wilHng to admit the foreigner. 

it at Jericho, it is clear that the attack on » Jos. B. J. v. 12, 2. But see Jos. Ant. 

Petra was left to Scaurus. And the xiv. 4, 2. 

localities of Jericho are far more suit- * The variations in the different accounts 

able for it than the neighbourhood of as to the time of this capture are not 

Petra. essential. 

liBCfT. I.. POMPEY. 355 

The bridge between the Palace and the Temple was broken 
down ; the houses round the Temple mount were occupied. 
Thus for three months the siege was continued. As if to bring 
out in the strongest relief the Jewish character in this singular 
crisis, the Sabbath, which, during the last two centuries had 
played so conspicuous a part in the history of the nation, was 
turned to account by the Romans in preparing their military 
engines and approaches, which, even in spite of the example of 
the first Asmonean, were held by the besieged not to be suffi- 
cient cause for a breach of the sacred rest. It may be that it 
was one of the instances in which the strict adherence of the 
Sadducees to the letter of the Law outran the zeal of their 
Pharisaic opponents. However occasioned, the Jewish and the 
Gentile historians concur in representing this enforced inactivity 
as the cause of the capture of the city. It was the greatest 
sacrifice that the Sabbatarian principle ever exacted or received. 
At last the assault was made. ^ So big with fate did the event 
„, appear that the names of the officers who stormed the 

The capture ^ ^ 

of the city, brcach were all remembered. The first was Cornelius 
Faustus, son of the dictator Sylla ; and, immediately 
following, the centurions Furius and Fabius. A general mas- 
sacre ensued, in which it is said that 12,000 perished. So 
deep was the horror and despair that many sprang over the 
precipitous cliffs. Others died in the flames of the houses, 
which, like the Russians at Moscow, they themselves set on 
fire. But the most memorable scene was that which the 
Temple itself presented. On that solemn festival, which the 
enemy had chosen for their attack, the Priests were all engaged 
in their sacred duties. With a dignity as unshaken as that 
which the Roman senators showed when they confronted in 
their curule chairs the Gaulish invaders, three centuries before, 
did the sacerdotal order of Jerusalem await their doom. They 

* It is doubtful whether * the Fast ' Qucest. Comnv, vi. 12 ; Acts xxvii. 9. On 

•spoken of in all the accounts was the the other hand, the mention of the third 

Great Fast of the Day of Atonement, in month l)y Josephus, unless it means the 

autuum, or the smal er fast on the 20th of third month of the siege, points to the 

the winter month. On the one hand, ' the month Chisleu (see Ussher's Annals^ 

* Fast ' was the usual name for the vigil 545). Reimar, on Dio Cass, xxxvii. 16 
of tlie Tabernacles. Compare Plutarch, 

A A2 

356 HEROD. LBCT. L. 

were robed in black sackcloth, which on days of lamentation 
superseded their white garments, and sat immovable in their 
seats round the Temple court, * as if they were caught in a net,' 
till they fell under the hands ^ of their assailants. And now 
came the final outrage. That which in Nebuchadnezzar's siege had 
been prevented by the general conflagration — that which Alex- 
ander forbore — that from which Ptolemy the Fourth had been, as 
it was supposed, deterred by a preternatural visitation — that on 
which even Antiochus Epiphanes had only partially ventured — 
was now to be accomplished by the gentlest and the most 
virtuous soldier of the Western world. He was irresistibly 
drawn on by the same ' grand curiosity ' which had always 
mingled with his love of fame and conquest, which inspired him 
Entrance with the passiou for seeing with his own eyes the 
hS '^^f shores of the most distant ^ seas, the Atlantic, the 
Holies. Caspian, and the Indian Ocean, which Lucan has in 
part placed in the mouth of his rival in ascribing to him for his 
last great ambition the discovery of the sources of the Nile. 
He passed into the nave (so to speak) of the Temple, where 
none but Priests might enter. There he saw the golden table, 
the sacred candlestick, which Judas Maccabaeus had restored, 
the censers, and the piles of incense, the accumulated offerings 
of gold from all the Jewish settlements ; but, with a moderation 
so rare in those days that Cicero ^ at the time, and Josephus in 
the next century, alike commended it as an act of almost super- 
human virtue, he touched and took nothing. He arrived at 
the vast curtain which hung across the Holy of Hohes, into 
which none but the High Priest could enter, and but on one 
day in the year, that one day, if so be, the very day on which 
Pompey found himself there. He had, doubtless, often 
wondered what that dark cavernous recess could contain. 
Who or what was the God of the Jews was a question com- 
monly discussed at philosophical entertainments both before 
and afterwards.^ When the quarrel between the two Jewish 
rivals came to the ears of the Greeks and Romans, the question 

* Plutarch, De Snperst, c. 8. ' Cicero, Pro Flacco, c. 28. 

• Ibid. Pompey, c. 38. * Plutarch, Quce%t. r. 6, i. 

MCT. I.. POMPEY. 357 

immediately arose as to the Divinity that these Princes both 
worshipped.* Sometimes a rumour reached them that it was 
an ass's head ; sometimes the venerable lawgiver wrapped in 
his long beard and wild hair ; sometimes, perhaps, the sacred 
emblems which once were there, but had been lost in the 
Babylonian invasion ; sometimes some god or goddess in human 
form like those who sat enthroned behind the altars of the 
Parthenon or the Capitol. He drew the veil aside. Nothing 
more forcibly shows the immense superiority of the Jewish 
worship to any which then existed on the earth than the shock 
of surprise occasioned by this one glimpse of the exterior world 
into that unknown and mysterious chamber. * There was no- 

* thing. ^ Instead of all the fabled figures of which he had heard 
or read, he found only a shrine, as it seemed to him, without 
a God, because a sanctuary without an image. ^ Doubtless the 
Grecian philosophers had at times conceived an idea of the 
Divinity as spiritual ; doubtless the Etruscan priests ^ had 
established a ritual as stately ; but what neither philosopher nor 
priest had conceived before was the idea of a worship — national, 
intense, elaborate — of which the very essence was that the Deity 
receiving it was invisible. Often, even in Christian times, has 
Pompey's surprise been repeated : often it has been said that 
without a localising, a dramatising, a materialising representation 
of the Unseen, all worship would be impossible. The reply 
which he must, at least for the moment, have made to himself 
was that, contrary to all expectation, he had there found it 

It was natural that so rude a shock to the scruples of the 
Jews as Pompey's entrance of the Holy of Holies should be 
long resented, that when the deadly strife began between the 
two foremost men of the Roman world they should join Cdesar 
with all his vices against Pompey with all his virtues. It was 
natural, though less excusable, that even Christian writers 

' Dio Cass. XXX vii. 15. as compared with the Roman ritual. 

' ovSei' t-KtiTo, Jos. ^. 7. V. 5, 5. ' Vacuam * Istoi-um religio sacrorum a splendors 

* sedem, inania arcana,' Tac. Hist. v. 4. ' hujus Imperii, gravitate nominis nostri. 
appTjTti' Kai. aetSi?, Dio Cass, xxxvii. 16. ' majorum instituti* abhorrebat' (/"r* 

• See Cicero's contempt for the Jewish Flacce^ c. aS). 

3S8 HEROD. LBCT. t. 

should represent the calamities which afterwards overtook the 
hero of the East as a Divine vengeance for this intrusion. Yet, 
surely, if ever in those times such intrusion were deemed 
admissible, it was to be forgiven in one whose clean hands^ 
and pure heart, compared with most of the contemporary chiefs, 
David would have regarded as no disqualification for a dweller 
on God's Holy Hill — in one, through whose deep and serious 
insight, even if only for a moment, into the significance of that 
vacant shrine, the Gentile world received a thrill of sacred awe 
which it never lost, and the Christian world may receive a lesson 
which it has often sorely needed. 

On the next day, with the same highbred courtesy that 
marked all his dealings, like that which distinguished even the 
Pilate and the Felix of a later day, he gave orders to purify the 
Temple from the contamination which he knew that his presence 
there must have occasioned, and invested with the Pontificate 
the unfortunate Hyrcanus, * destined ' i if we may here thus apply 
the description of another claimant of a shadowy sceptre) ' to 

* thirty years of exile and wandering, of vain projects, of honours 

* more galling than insults, and of hopes such as make the heart 

* sick.' 2 

With the rule of a master he took command of the whole 

country. The chiefs of the insurgents were beheaded. The 

e Jewish race was once more confined within the 

Ccnqucst of •^ 

Palestine. narrow limits of Judah, which henceforth takes the 
name of Judaea. Gadara^ was made over to its townsman, 
Pompey's favourite freedman, Demetrius. To all the outlying 
towns on the coast and beyond the Jordan, which Simon had 
subdued, he restored their independence. The ancient capital 

» Modem historians have not been ' Macaulay's Hist, of England, ii. 363. 

favourable to Pompey. But on the general ' There must have been two towns called 

character at least of his earlier years Gadara. One, the fortress beyond the 

Arnolds verdict (Life of Caesar, Encyc. Jordan (Jos. Ant. xiii. 14, \; B. J. \. 4, 

Metrop.\\.\>. 243) has on the whole not been 2 ; 20, 3 ; ii. 18, i ; xv. 7, 3) ; the other, on 

reversed ; and Macaulay {.Life, i. p. 458), the sea coast between Joppa and Ashdod 

after speaking of Cato's splendid eulogy (Strabo, xvi. 29). This is probably the 

in Lucan s Pharsalia * as a pure gem of birthplace of Demetrius, and intended in 

'rhetoric without one flaw,' adds, 'and in Jos. B. J. i. 7, 7 ; Ant. xii. 7, 4 ; xiv. 4, 

* my opinion not very far from historical i ; xvii 2, 4, and perhaps the same as 

* truth.' Geier. 

laicjT. i. POMPEY. 359 

of Samaria, which John Hyrcanus had destroyed, was rebuilt 
by Gabinius, and bore his name until it took from a far greater 
Roman the title, which through all its subsequent changes it 
has never lost, in Greek *Sebaste,' in Latin * Augusta,' *the city 
^ of Augustus/ The unity of government was broken into five 
separate councils, which were to sit with equal power at Jerusa- 
lem, Gadara, Amathus, Jericho, and Sepphoris. And thus, says 
Josephus, one might suppose with bitter irony, *they passed 
* from a monarchy to an aristocracy.' ^ 

Meanwhile the Roman citizens witnessed the spectacle of 
Pompey's triumph — his third and greatest — the grandest that 
Triumph of Ro"^^ had ever seen. First ^ came the huge placards, 
pompey. y^j|-]^ ^)^q enumeration of the thousand castles and 
nine hundred cities conquered, the eight hundred galleys taken 
from the pirates, the thirty-nine cities refounded. Then followed 
the splendid spoils, and amongst them the golden vine of 
Palestine ; then the mass of prisoners, who added a peculiar 
interest to the procession, by appearing not as slaves in chains, 
but each in his national costume. Immediately in front of the 
Conqueror himself, in his jewelled car, surrounded by the 
pictures of his exploits, came the 362 captive Princes of the 
East, and amongst them the King of Judsea. Even at the time 
the countrymen of Pompey selected from the vast variety of 
objects the trophies of the strange city and people of whom 
they had heard so much — and bestowed upon him as his especial 
title * our hero of Jerusalem.' ^ 

It was the rare exception, the result of the rare humanity of 
the conqueror, that on reaching the fatal turn in the Sacred 
Way, whence the triumphal procession ascended the Capitoline 
Hill, the prisoners were not led to execution, but either sent 
back to their homes or remained in Rome for whatever fortunes 
might await them. 

Amongst the train of the inferior captives who were thus 
left after the triumph, and who, on recovering their liberty, had 
either not the means or the inclination to return to their distant 

* Jos. Ant. jdv, St 3) 4* ' Appian, De Bell. Miihrid. 253 ; Plutarch, Ppm^ey, 

• Cicero, it/, odAtt.'iL^ 

360 HEROD. LBCT, L. 

country, was the large band of Jewish exiles, to whom was 
Foundation assigned a district on the right bank of the Tiber^ 
Chmch of convenient for the landing of merchandise to a people 
Rome. whose Commercial tendencies were now developing. 

This singular settlement, receiving constant accessions from the 
East, became the wonder of the Imperial city, with its separate 
burial-places copied from the rock-hewn tombs of Palestine, 
with its ostentatious observance, even in the heart of the great 
metropoUs, of the day of rest — with the basket and bundle of 
hay which marked the Jewish peasant wherever ^ he was found ; 
with its mysterious power of fascinating the proud Roman nobles 
by the glimpses which it gave of a better world. By establish- 
ing this community Pompey was, although he knew it not, the 
founder of the Roman Church. 

Amongst the more illustrious hostages were Aristobulus, his 

uncle Absalom, and his children. It will be our endeavour 

briefly to follow the fates of these last remnants of the 

Remnants •' 

of the As- Maccabaean race, whose spirit still showed itself in 
their unquenchable patriotism and their headlong 
resistance against the most overwhelming odds. Alexander, 
the eldest of the sons of Aristobulus — who had married a 
daughter of Hyrcanus, and thus might seem to represent both 
branches of the family— had escaped on the journey to Rome, 
and for a time defended himself in the family fortress of 
Alexandreum, against Gabinius and the reckless chief whose 
mihtary capacity was first revealed on this excursion, Antony. 
It was taken, and the mountain fastnesses which had been erec- 
ted by the Asmonean ^ Princes — ^ the haunts of the robbers ' — 
* the strongholds of the tyrants,' as they are called by the Roman 
writers — were all dismantled. In a few months, however,^ 
i^, ristobulus himself, with his son Antigonus, effected 
^'^' ^'^' his flight from Rome, and fled, as if by instinct, to 
those same castles, which, even in their ruined state, were as the 
nests of that hunted race. The conflict revived in the famous 

^ Philo, Legatio ad Caium, § 23 ; Hor. Sat. I. ix. 71, 72 ; Juvenal, Sat, III. 14, VI. 
54a ; Renan'si". Paul^ 101-107 ; Gratz, iii. 124. 

" Strabo, xvi. 37, 40. ' Jos. Ant, xiv. 6, i. 


scenes of Central Palestine. The Roman army, which had 
entrenched itself in the world-old sanctuary ^ of Gerizim, under 
the shelter of the friendly Samaritans, broke out and finally 
overpowered the insurgents on the slopes of Tabor, the field 
of so many victories and defeats from Barak downwards to 

For a moment, by joining the cause of Caesar, under whose 
standard some of their countrymen fought at Pharsalia, there 
seemed a chance for the Jewish Princes to retrieve their fortunes. 
But amidst their obscure entanglement in the struggle between 
the two mighty combatants for the empire of the w^orld, 
Aristobulus by poison, Alexander by decapitation, 
^'^' ^^' were removed from the scene. There now remained 
Antigonus and his sister Alexandra, and the two children of 
Alexander, Aristobulus and Miriam or Mary — better known by 
the more lengthened Grecian form of Mariamne. Round these 
princes and princesses revolves the tragedy in which the 
Asmonean dynasty finally disappeared. But in order to catch 
the thread of that intricate plot we must introduce the new 
character who appears on the scene. Throughout the struggles 
which we have traversed it is easy to discern the tortuous and 
ambitious policy of the crafty Idumaean Antipater, who had 
made himself indispensable alike to the feeble Priest Hyrcanus 
and to the powerful chiefs of the Roman Republic. But 
Antipater himself now makes way for a name far 
more renowned in history, far more interesting in 
itself — his son Herod, whether by accident or design, surnamed 
the Great.^ In the darker traditions of the Talmud, he was known 
only as 'the slave ^ of King Jannaeus ;' and the inferiority of 
his lineage was a constant byword of reproach amongst the 
members of the Asmonean family, in whose eyes his sisters 
were fit for nothing but sempstresses, his brothers ^ nothing but 

* Jos. Atti. xiv. 6, a, 3. The story receives some confirmation from 

' Derenbourg, 146, 151. According to Herod's attentions to Ascalon (Jos. B. y, 

the story of Christian writers (Eus. H. E. i. 21, 11), but is incompatible with the 

i. fi, 7 ; Justin, Trypko, p. 272, especially general account of the family given by 

Epip. Ilisr, i. 20), Herod's grandfather, Josephus (/4«/. xiv. i, 3 ; ^. J. i, 6, 2). 
himself Herod, was a slave in the temple of ■ Jos. B. J. i. 16, 4 ; i. 24, 3. 

Ascalon, too poor to ransom his son Anti- * Comp. Jos. Ant, xiv. 8, i ; xx. 8, 7. 

pater v/hen carried ofFby Idumaian robbers. 


village schoolmasters. In the next generation, when his power 
on one side, and his crimes on the other, had drawn a halo or 
a cloud round his head, the descent of Herod was alternately 
glorified or debased. In the annals of his secretary, 
IS origin. j^](.Qi^g Qf Damascus, he was represented as a scion, 
not of the despised and hated Edomites, but of a noble Judsean 
family amongst the Babylonian exiles. Nor was this closer 
kinship altogether disclaimed by the Jews themselves. * Thou 
^ art our brother,' they condescended to say to one of the sons 
of Herod, who wept over his alien origin. But it is not neces- 
sary to go beyond the historical facts. Whether by race or 
education, he belonged to that Edomite tribe, which, with 
singular tenacity, had retained the characteristics of its first 
father Esau through the long years which had elapsed since, in 
the patriarchal traditions, the two brothers had parted at the 
cave of Machpelah. In their wild nomadic customs, in their 
mountain warfare — clinging like eagles to their caverned fast- 
nesses, unless when they descended for a foray on their more 
civilised neighbours — they were hardly distinguishable from a 
Bedouin tribe ; yet, with that sense of injured kinship which 
breeds the deadliest animosities, they maintained a defiant claim 
to hang on the outskirts and force themselves on the notice of 
the people of Israel ; sheltering the revolted princes of Judah 
in their secluded glens ; hounding on the enemies of Jerusalem 
in the hour of her sorest need ; claiming complete possession of 
the whole country for their own, as if by the elder brother's 
right, which the supplanter had stolen from them. If for a 
moment they had bowed beneath the sway of the first Hyrcanus, 
and consented to reunite themselves with the common stock of 
Abraham by the rite of circumcision, it was that ' they might 
' once again have dominion and break their brother's yoke from 
^oif their necks.' 

The first Antipater secured for himself the place of a vassal 
prince under Alexander Jannseus ; the second, as we have seen, 
B c. 47. became the master of the Phantom Priest Hyrcanus, 
His rise. ^ ^ud, alternately siding with each of the two parties 
which divided the Roman worlds mountedv through the favour 


first of Pompey and then of Caesar, to the high office of the 
Roman Procurator of Judaea. And now his son inherits the 
traditions of his house and nation, and the threats of that subtle 
influence by which Rome henceforth assumed the control of 
Judsea. Herod was hardly more than a boy — but fifteen ^ years 
of age — when he was brought forward by his father into public 
life. Already when he was a child going to school, his future 
greatness^ had been predicted by an ascetic seer, from the 
Essenian settlement, who called him *King of the Jews.' The 
child thought that Menahem was in jest ; but the prophet 
smacked the little boy on the back, and charged him to remem- 
ber these blows, as signal that he had foretold to him his future ' 
destiny — what he might be, and what, unfortunately, he became. 
Like a true descendant of Esau, he was ' a man of the field, a 
* mighty hunter.' He was renowned for his horsemanship. On 
one day of successful sport he was known to have killed no less 
than forty of the game of those parts — bears, stags, and wild 
asses. In the Arab exercises of the jerreedy or throwing the 
lance, in the archery of the ancient Edomites, he was the 
wonder of his generation. He had a splendid presence. His 
fine black hair, on which he prided himself, and which when it 
turned grey was dyed,* to keep up the appearance of youth, was 
magnificently dressed. On one occasion, when he sprang out 
of a bath where assassins had surprised him, even his naked 
figure was so majestic ^ that they fled before him. Nor was he 
destitute of noble qualities, however much obscured by the 
violence of the age, and by the furious, almost frenzied, cruelty 
which despotic power breeds in Eastern potentates. There 
was a greatness of soul which might have raised him above the 
petty intriguers by whom he was surrounded. His family affec- 
tions were deep and strong. In that time of general dissolution 
of domestic ties it is refreshing to witness the almost extravagant 
tenderness with which, on the plain of Sharon, he founded, in 

' It has been conjectured to read 25 for Ton-acrti' ovrt. — icof/i(J}f v<^o»') shows that he 
15, But the remark of Josephus, twice meant 15. 

repeated {Ant, xiv. g, 2 ; B. J. i. 10, 4), ■ B. J. i. 30, 4. * Jos. Ant. xv. 10, 5. 

thatlus was exceedingly young (»'€V way- * Ant. xvi. 8, z ; ^. J. i. 24, 7 ; Ant. 

xiv. 9, 4, • Ant. xiv. 15, 13. 

364 HEROD. i;bct. l. 

the fervour of his filial love, the city of * Antipatris ; ' to the 
citadel above Jericho ^ he gave the name of his Arabian mother 
Cypros ; to one of the towers of Jerusalem, and to a fortress, in 
the valley which still retains the name, looking down to the 
Jordan, he left the privilege of commemorating his beloved 
and devoted ^ brother Phasael. In the lucid intervals of the 
darker days which beset the close of his career nothing can be 
more pathetic than his remorse for his domestic crimes, 
nothing more genuine than his tears of affection for his grand- 

Nor were there wanting signs of a higher culture than any 
Jud^an Prince had shown since the time of Solomon. He had 
an absolute passion for philosophy and history, and used to say 
that there could be nothing more useful or politic for a king 
than the investigation of the great events of the past. He 
engaged for his private secretary Nicolas of Damascus, one of 
the most accomplished scholars ^ of the age, and author of a 
universal history in 144 books ; and on his long voyages to and 
from Rome, he loved to while away the hours by conversa- 
His cuitiva- ^i^^^s ^^ these subjects with Nicolas, whom for this 
tion. purpose he took with him on board of the same ship. 

One example of his own philosophic sentiment is preserved in 
the speech which Josephus ascribes to him, endeavouring to 
dispel the superstitious panic ^ occasioned by an earthquake. 
How completely, too, he entered into the glories of Greek and 
Roman art will appear as we proceed, from the monuments 
which place him in the first rank of the masters of architecture 
in that great age of building. His contemporaries recognised 
in him one of those rare princely characters, who take a delight 
in beneficence, and in its largest possible scope. Not only in 
Palestine itself, but in all the cities of Asia and of Greece, which 
needed generous assistance, he freely gave it. At Antioch he 
left his mark in the polished^ marble pavement of the pubhc 

^ Jos. B. y. i. 21, 9 ; Ant. xiv. 7, 3. 6, 4 ; xvi. ; x. 7, i ; xiii. 8, 2 ; c. Ap. ii. 7 

• For the devotion of Herod to Phasael, (see Ewald, v. 417) ; Fragments ofVale- 
see Jos. Ant. x. 16, 5, 2 ; of Phasael to iius, quoted in Clinton's Fasti Hellenici^ 
Herod, ibid. xiv. 13, 10 ; B. J. \. 10, 5. a.d. 16. * Jos. B. J. i. 29, 4. 

* Jos. Ant. xiii. 12, 6 ; xiv. i, 3 ; 4» 3 ; * Ibid. i. xxi. 11, 13. 


square, and in the cloister which surrounded it. m many of 
the cities of Syria and Asia Minor he founded places for athletic 
exercises, aqueducts, baths, fountains, and (in the modern 
fashion of philanthropy) annexed to them parks and gardens 
for public recreation. With a toleration which seems beyond 
his time, but which kindles an admiration even in the Jewish 
historian, he repaired the Temple of Apollo at Rhodes, and 
settled a permanent endow^ment on the games of Olympia, the 
chief surviving relic of Grecian grandeur, which he had visited 
on his way to Rome. 

This was the man who now stepped into the foremost place 
of the Jewish history. It might have seemed as if the cry of 
Esau were to be again repeated : * Hast thou but one blessing ? 
* Bless me, even me also, O my father.' 

A chief of such largeness of mind, such generosity of dis- 
position, such power of command, was well suited to take the 
lead in this distracted nation. Viewed as we now view him, 
through the blood-stained atmosphere of his later life, even the 
dubious eulogies of Josephus are difficult to understand. But 
viewed in the light of the nobleness of his early youth, and 
through the magnificence of his public works, it was natural 
that — as in the case of our own Henry VIII. — the judgment 
of his contemporaries should have differed from that of pos- 
terity, that he should have been invested with something of a 
sacred character, as a dreamer of prophetic dreams, a special 
favourite of Divine Providence,^ and that a large party in the 
community should have borne his name as their most cherished 
badge, and regarded him as the nearest likeness which that 
age afforded to the Anointed Prince ^ or Priest of the house 
of David, who had been expected by the earlier Prophets. 

The first scene on which Herod appears is full of instruc- 
tion. Boy as he was, his father had appointed him to take 
His exploits charge of Galilee ; which, partly from its * border * 
in Gahiee. character, whence it derived its name, partly from the 
physical peculiarities of its deeply-sunken lake, wild glens, and 

* Jos. Ant. xiv. 15, 12, 13. cott on the H» ians, Diet, of BibUt »• 

' See the quotations in Professor West- p. 796. 

366 HEROD. EECT. L. 

cavernous hills, had become ther refuge of the high-spirited 
insurgents, who in semi- civilised countries insensibly acquire 
both the reputation and the character of bandits — the Highlands, 
the Asturias, the Abruzzi of Palestine. The young * Lord of 
'the Marches,' fired with the same spirit, whether politic or 
philanthropic, which had conferred such glory on Pompey and 
Augustus in their repression of the pirates of the Mediterranean 
and the brigands of Italy, determined to crush those lawless 
robbers of his own country. 

In Syria his fame rose to the highest pitch. In villages on 
the Lebanon his name was the burden of popular ballads, as 
their Heaven-sent deliverer from the incursions of the Galilean 
Highlanders. But in Judaea these acts of summary justice wore 
another aspect. The chief of the robber band, Hezekiah, was, 
probably, in the eyes of the residents at Jerusalem — perhaps was 
in reality — the patriot, the Tell of his time, as he certainly was 
the father of a gallant family of sons, who were to play a like 
part hereafter. 

Jerusalem was filled with the echoes of these Galilean ex- 
ploits. On the one hand the messengers of Herod's victories 
B.C. 47. ^^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^ other in ^ their reports, and in awaken- 
His trial. j^g the public apprehension of his possible designs 
on the monarchy. On the other hand, the mothers of the 
victims of his zeal hurried up to the capital, and every time 
that the Priest- King Hyrcanus appeared in the Temple Court 
beset him with entreaties not to allow the murder of their 
children untried and unconvicted to pass unchallenged. Re- 
luctantly the feeble Prince summoned the son of his patron to 
appear before the Council of the Sanhedrin,^ which now for 
the first time appears in Jewish history. It sat, probably, now, 
as afterwards, in the Hall of Gazith, or Squares, so called frdm 
the hewn, square stones of its pavement.*"^ The royal Pontiff 
was present, and the chief teachers of the period. The legendary 
account of the scene, although disguised under wrong names 
and dates, is one of the very few notices which the Talmudic * 

• Jos. B. y. i. 10, 6. * Derenbourg, 147. The king in this 

• See Lecture XLVIII. story is made Jannaeus, and the fearless 

• Mishna, Y^nta^ 25 ; Sanhgdrin, 19. judf e Simon the son of Shetach. 


traditions take of the eyentful course of Herod's life. ^ The 

* slave of the King of Judah,' said the Rabbinical tale, 'had 
'committed a murder.' The Sanhedrin summoned the King 
to answer for the crimes of his slave. * If the ox gore any one,' ^ 
said the interpreters of the law to the King, ' the owner of the 
'ox shall be responsible for the ox.' The King seated himself 
before them. *Rise,' said the Judge. * Thou standest ^ not 
' before us, but before Him who commanded and the world was 

* created.' The King appealed from the Judge to his colleagues. 
The Judge turned to the right hand and to the left, and his 
colleagues were silent. Then said the Judge: *You are sunk 

* in your own thoughts. God who knows your thoughts will 
' punish you for your timidity.' The Angel Gabriel smote them 
and they died. 

It is instructive to turn to the actual scene of which this is 
the distorted version. It was indeed a splendid apparition, but 
not of the Angel Gabriel, that struck the wise Councillors dumb. 
When Herod was summoned before them for the murder of 
the Galileans, instead of a solitary suppliant, clothed in black, 
with his hair combed down,^ and his manner submissive, such as 
they expected to see, there came a superb youth, in royal purple, 
his curls dressed out in the very height of aristocratic fashion, 
surrounded by a guard of soldiers, and holding in his hand the 
commendatory letters of Sextus Caesar, the Governor of Syria, 
the cousin of the great Julius. The two chiefs of the Sanhedrin 
at that juncture were Abtalion "^ and Shemaiah. It was Abtahon, 
doubtless, who counselled silence. His maxim had always 
been : ' Be circumspect in your words.' But Shemaiah rose in 
his place and warned them that to overlook such a defiance of 
the law would be to ensure their own ruin. For a moment they 
wavered. But, warned by Hyrcanus, Herod escaped, and years 
afterwards lived to prove the truth of Shemaiah's warning, lived 
to sweep away the vacillating Council, though at the same time 
rewarding the prudence of Abtalion, if not the courage of 

* Ex, xxi. 28. * Deut. xix. 17. 

' Jos. Ant. xiv. 9, 3-5. This scene is representwi at the «ntranc« of the tcwa half 
of Basle. * Derenbourg, 117, 148. 

368 HEROD. LBCT. L. 

The story well illustrates the waning of the independence of 
the nation before the rise of the new dynasty, backed as it was 
by all the power of Rome. It was to Herod that the sceptre 
was destined to pass. 

Antipater, his father, indeed, long held Hyrcanus in his 
grasp. But he at last fell a victim to the struggles of his 
puppet to escape from him, and the two brothers, 
Antipater. Phasael and Herod, were left to maintain their own 
^f '^^' . cause. At once Herod endeavoured to spring into his 
Antigonus! father's place by a stroke, which, but for the jealousies 
B.C. 42. ^^ j^.g ^^^ household, would have probably been 
crowned with complete success. 

He had already in his early years married an Idumsean 
wife, Doris, by whom he had a son, whom he named after his 
father Antipater— a child now, but destined to grow up into the 
evil genius of his house. He now determined on a higher 
alliance. The beautiful and high-spirited Mariamne united 
in herself the ^ claims of both the rival Asmonean princes. She 
was the grand-daughter alike of Hyrcanus and of Aristobulus. 

From this time Hyrcanus became the fast friend of Herod, 
crowned with garlands whenever he appeared, pleading ^ his 
cause before the Roman Triumvir. Aristobulus, however, had 
left behind him not only Mariamne, but a passionate and 
ambitious son, Antigonus, who could not see without a struggle 
the kingdom pass away even to his niece's husband. There 
was one foreign ally and one only whom he could invoke against 
the great Republic of the West. It was the rising kingdom of 
the East — the Parthian monarchy, which offered to play the 
same part for Judaea against Rome that Egypt had formerly 
played against Assyria. A natural brotherhood of misfortune 
and of joy seemed to have arisen from the fresh recollection of 
Crassus. the Campaign of Crassus. Jerusalem still suffered 
B.C. 54. under the loss of its accumulated treasures, which 
the rapacious Roman, in spite of the most solemn adjurations, 
had carried off from ^ its Temple. Parthia still rejoiced in the 

Jos. Ani. xiv. 12, 2. ' /l>id. Ant. xiv. 12, 2 ; 13, i. 

' Ibid, Ant. xiv. 7, i, a ; ^' % i- 8, 8. 


triumph which its armies had won over his scattered host on 
the plains of Haran^ the ancient cradle of the Jewish 
thians. ' race. By force and by fraud, Hyrcanus and Phasael 
^'^' ^°' were induced to give themselves into the hands 
of the Parthian general, and were hurried away into the far 
East. Phasael died, partly by his own desperate act, when he 
saw that he was doomed, partly by the treachery of Antigonus, 
but not without a glow of delight on hearing that his beloved 
brother had escaped. The fate of Hyrcanus was singularly 
instructive. To take the life of so insignificant a creature was 
not within the range of the ambition of Antigonus. All that 
was needed was to debar him from the Priesthood. For this 
the slightest bodily defect or malformation was a sufficient 
disqualification. The nephew sprang upon the uncle, and with 
his own ^ teeth gnawed off the ears of the harmless Pontiff, and 
left him in that mutilated condition in the Parthian court 
This strange physical deposition from a spiritual office in part 
succeeded, in part failed of its purpose. 

In those remote regions, the prestige of one who had once 
been chief of the Jewish nation was not easily broken. Hyrcanus, 
after receiving every courtesy from the Parthian king, was 
allowed to move to the vast colony of Bis countrymen who still 
inhabited Babylon.^ By them he was hailed at once as High 
Priest and King, and loaded with honours, which he gratefully 
accepted. What his fate was to be in Jerusalem we shall pre- 
sently see. 

Meanwhile the plot in Palestine had deeply thickened. On 
the day that Hyrcanus and Phasael had been carried off to 
B.C. 40. Parthia, Herod escaped, with all the members of his 
Escape from ^^^^ty ^hat he could collect, and hurried into his 
AnJgonus. nativc hills in the south of Judaea. ' It would have 
* moved the hardest of hearts,' says the historian, * to have seen 
' that flight ' — his aged mother — his youngest brother — his 
clever sister — his betrothed bride, with her still more sagacious 
mother — the small children of his earlier marriage. Never was 
that high spirit so nearly broken. It was a march which he 

' J<». £. J. i. 13, 9. * li'id. Ant. xv. 2, a. 

in. B B. 

370 HEROD. LBCT.'i. 

never forgot. Years afterwards he built for himself and his 
dynasty a fortress and burial-place bearing his name, and 
corresponding to those of which the Asmonean princes had set 
the example — the Herodrum — on the square summit of the 
commanding height at the foot of which he had gained the 
success over his pursuers which secured his safety.^ From 
thence he took refuge in the almost inaccessible stronghold of 
the ancient kings of Judah, afterwards destined to be the last 
fastness of the expiring people — Masada, by the Dead Sea. But 
even Masada — even Petra to which he next fled — was not 
secure. Regardless of the blandishments of Cleopatra at 
Alexandria, regardless of the storms in the Mediterranean, he 
halted not till he reached Rome and laid his grievances before 
his first patron Antony. 

It was the fatal turning-point of his life. The prize of the 
Jewish monarchy was now unquestionably and for the first time 
offered to him by Antony and Octavianus Csesar. He entered 
the Senate as the rightful advocate of the young Prince Aris- 
,^ , . tobulus. He left it, walking between the two Tri- 

He obtains . ^„. r i t , -r 

the king- umvirs, as ' Kmg of the Jews. It was still after 
°'^* many vicissitudes and hair-breadth escapes that, 

with the assistance of the Roman troops, commanded by 
Capture of Sosius, he stormcd Jerusalem. It was the twenty-fifth 
Jerusalem, auuivcrsary of the day on which Pompey had entered 
B.C. 37. ^hg Temple, and it only partially escaped the horrors 
of the same desperate resistance and the same ruthless massacre 
which has been the peculiar fate of almost every capture of 
Jerusalem, from Nebuchadnezzar down to Godfrey. But the 
noblest parts of Herod's finer nature were called forth. With 
a spirit worthy of Henry the Fourth of France, he exclaimed : 
*The dominion of the whole civilised world would not com- 
* pensate to me for the destruction of my subjects ; ' ^ 2cci^ he 
actually bought off the rapacious Roman soldiers out of his 
own personal munificence. 

These brighter traits were now rapidly merged in the dark- 
ening shadows of his later career. The followers of Antigonus 

' Jos. Ant. xiv. 13, 8. ' Jbid, Ant, xiv. 16, 3 ; B,^, i. 17, 18. 

iMcr.L: KING OF THE JEWS. 37: 

— ^including, according to the Jewish tradition, the whole teach- 
ing body of the nation — Herod pursued to death with a 
vindictiveness which he had learned only too well in the school 
of his friends the Roman triumvirs. Of the whole of that 
Council which had sat in judgment on his youthful excesses in 
Galilee, three only are said to have escaped — the prudent 
Abtalion, the courageous Shemaiah, and the son of Babas,^ not, 
however, without the loss of his eyesight. Even the coffins of 
the dead were searched^ to see that no living enemy might 
escape the vigilant persecutor. The proud spirit of Antigonus 
gave way under this overwhelming disaster. He came down 
from his lofty tower, and fell at the feet of Sosius in an agony 
of tears. The hard-hearted Roman, not touched by the dis- 
astrous misery of the gallant Prince, burst into roars '* of brutal 
laughter, called him in ridicule by the name of the Grecian 
maiden Antigone^ and hurried him off in chains to Antony at 
Antioch. Antigonus was in the hands of those who knew 
neither justice nor mercy. A bribe from Herod to Antony 
extinguished the last spark of compassion. So strong was felt 
to be the attachment of the Jewish nation to the Maccabsean 
race, whilst any remained bearing the royal name, that regard- 
less of the scruple which had hitherto withheld even the fiercest 
of the Roman generals from thus trampling on a fallen king, 
the unfortunate Antigonus was lashed to a stake like a con- 
victed criminal, scourged by the rods of the relentless lictors, 
and ruthlessly beheaded by the axe of their fasces.^ With a 
Mattathais the Asmonean dynasty began, with a Mattathias it 
ended. Coins ^ still exist bearing the Hebrew name for his 
office of High Priest, and the Greek name of his royal dignity; 
whilst on medals struck by Sosius at Zacynthus to commemo- 
rate his victory, for the first time appears the well-known 
melancholy figure of Judaea^ captive, with her head resting 
on her hands, and besides her crouches the form of her last 

' Jos. Ant. XV. I, I (Pollio). * B. J. \. 18, 2. 

' Derenbourg, 152. * Jos, Ant. xv. i, 2 (quoting St*abo). 

^ Comp. Dio Cass. xlbc. 33 ; Plut. AnU * Madden's Jewish Coins, pp. 77-79. 

34. ^ In the British Museum. 

B B 2 

372 HEROD. ' LBCT. L. 

native king, stripped and bound in preparation for his miserable 

Yet the Maccabaean family was not extinct. There still 
remained Hyrcanus, the original friend of Herod and Herod's 
father, and Aristobulus and Mariamne, the two grandchildren 
of Aristobulus the king. We will trace each of these to their 
end. Whether from policy or old affection, Herod, now seated 
on the throne of Judaea, invited Hyrcanus from his honourable 
retreat in Babylonia to the troubled scene at Jerusalem. 
Hyrcanus was to share the regal dignity with him, to take 
precedence of him — w^as called ^ his father ' —enjoyed every 
outward privilege which was his before, except only the High 
Priesthood, from which he was excluded l)y the extreme punc- 
tihousness that, amidst all the scandalous vices of the time, still 
shrank from nominating a pontiff with the almost imperceptible 
blemish inflicted by the teeth of Antigonus. For 
Priesthood this hiffh ofifice, Herod summoned a Jewish exile, an 

of Hananel. . ^ . . , ' , . . . , , . ' 

ancient friend of his own, of unquestionably priestly 
descent — Hananel, from Babylon. But this at once provoked 
a new feud. However much the royal dignity might be lost to 
the Asmonean house, yet there was no reason why the Priest- 
priesthood hood, for which Hyrcanus was thus incapacitated, 
buiuriTi. should not be continued in their hne ; and there was 
B c. 35. at hand for this purpose Aristobulus, the maternal 

grandson of Hyrcanus and brother of Mariamne, whom Herod 
had, shortly before his final success, married at Samaria, the 
city which the Romans had founded anew, and which was 
henceforth one of Herod's chief resorts. It was as if the 
majestic beauty which had distinguished the Maccabaean family 
from Judas downwards reached its climax in this brother and 
sister. And their mother Alexandra exhibited not less the 
courage and the craft which had been so conspicuous in Jonathan 
and the first Hyrcanus. She was 'the wisest woman,' so Herod 
thought, in his whole court, the one to whose opinion he most 
deferred. Both she and her daughter were indignant that the 
charming boy, who was now the sole representative of their 
house in coming years, should be kept out of the Priesthood by 


a stranger ; and, partly by remonstrances, partly by intrigues, 
they succeeded in inducing Herod, by the same authority that 
Solomon and the Syrian kings had exercised before him, to 
supersede Hananel, and appoint Aristobulus in his place. His 
mother's heart misgave her, and she had planned, with her 
friend, in some respects a kindred spirit, Cleopatra, a flight for 
herself and for him into Egypt. But the plan was discovered, 
and the fate which she had feared for her son was precipitated 
by the very object which she had striven to obtain for him. It 
was, as so often on other occasions in the Jewish history, amidst 
the peculiar festivities and solemnities of the Feast ^ of Taber- 
nacles that he was to assume his office. He was but just 
seventeen ; his commanding stature, beyond his age, his trans- 
cendent beauty, his noble bearing, set off by the High Priest's 
gorgeous attire, at once riveted the attention of the vast assembly, 
and when he ascended the steps of the altar for the sacrifice it 
recalled so vividly the image of his grandfather, Aristobulus, so 
passionately loved and so bitterly lamented, that, as in the well- 
known scene in a great modern romance, the recognition flew 
from mouth to mouth ; the old popular enthusiasm was revived, 
which, it became evident, would be satisfied with nothing short 
of restoring to him the lost crown of his family. 

The suspicions of Herod were excited. The joyous Feast 
was over, and the youthful High Priest, fresh from his brilliant 
Murder of display, was invited to his mother's palace amongst 
Aristobulus. ii^Q groves of Jericho — the fashionable watering-place, 
as it had become, of Palestine. Herod received the boy with 
his usual sportiveness and gaiety. It was one of the warm 
autumnal days of Syria, and the heat was yet more overpowering 
in that tropical valley. In the sultry noon the High Priest and 
his young companions stood cooling themselves beside the large 
tanks which surrounded the open court of the Palace, and 
watching the gambols and exercises of the guests or slaves, as, 
one after another, they plunged into these crystal swimming- 
baths. Amongst these was the band of Gaulish guards,^ whom 
Augustus had transferred from Cleopatra to Herod, and whom 

' See Lecture XLIII. • S. % i. as, 2. 

374 HEROD. LBCT. L. 

Herod employed as his most unscrupulous instruments. Lured 
on by these perfidious playmates, the princely boy joined in the 
sport, and then, as at sunset the sudden darkness fell over the 
gay scene, the wild band dipped and dived with him under the 
deep water ; and in that fatal * baptism' ^ life was extinguished. 
When the body was laid out in the Palace the passionate 
lamentations of the Princesses knew no bounds. The news 
flew through the town, and every house felt as if it had lost a 
child. The mother suspected, but dared not reveal her sus- 
picions, and in the agony of self-imposed restraint, and in the 
compression of her determined will, trembled on the brink of 
self-destruction. Even Herod, when he looked at the dead 
face and form, retaining all the bloom of youthful beauty, was 
moved to tears— so genuine, that they almost served as a veil 
for his complicity in the murder. And it was not more than 
was expected from the effusion of his natural grief that the 
funeral was ordered on so costly and splendid a scale as to give 
consolation ^ even to the bereaved mother and sister. 

That mother, however, still plotted, and now with increased 
restlessness, against the author of her misery. That sister still 
felt secure in the passionate affection of her husband, on whose 
nobler qualities she relied when others doubted. But now the 
tragedy spread and deepened, and intertwined itself as it grew 
with the great struggle waging on the larger theatre of histor}^ 
In the court of Herod there were ranged on one side the two 
Princesses of the Asmonean family, on the other the mother 
and the sister of Herod himself, Cypros and Salome, who re- 
sented the contempt with which the royal ladies of the Macca- 
baean house looked down on the upstart Idumaean family. In 
Egypt was Cleopatra, ambitious of annexing Palestine, now 
endeavouring to inveigle Herod himself by her arts, now 
poisoning the mind of Antony against him. In Rome were 
Antony and Augustus Caesar contending for the mastery of the 
world, and Herod alternately pleading his cause before the one 

* /SaTTTi^oj'Tec, Jos. Ant. XV. 3, 3. The celebrity, arrests the attention, and, as 
word, especially in that locality, whence used here, shows clearly its true meaning- 
in the next generation it acquired a new • Jos, Ant. xv 3, 4. 


and the other — before his ancient friend Antony, and then, after 
the battle of Actium, before the new ruler, who had the mag- 
nanimity to be touched by the frankness with which 
B.C. 30. Herod urged his fidelity to Antony as the plea for 
the confidence of Augustus.^ Meanwhile, like a hunted animal 
turned to bay, his own passions grew fiercer, his own methods 
more desperate. Aristobulus, the young, the beautiful, had 
perished. But there remained the aged Pontiff Hyrcanus. 
Insignificant, humiliated, mutilated as he was, there 
Hyrcanus. was Still the chauce that the same veneration which 
' ' ^ ' had encircled him in Chaldaea might gather round 
him in Palestine, and that even the Roman policy might convert 
him into a rival King. In a fatal moment listening to the 
counsels of his restless daughter, Hyrcanus gave to Herod the 
pretext needed for an accusation, and (so carefully were pre- 
served the forms of the Jewish State) a trial and a judgment ^ 
and at the age of eighty the long and -troubled life of 
Asmonean Pontiff was cut off. 

The intestine quarrels in the Herodian court now became 
so violent that the Princesses of the rival factions could not be 
allowed to meet. The mother and the sister of Herod were 
lodged in the fastness which was more peculiarly his own — 
Masada, by the Dead Sea. His wife and her mother remained 
in the castle dear to them as the ancient residence and burial- 
place ^ of their family — Alexandreum. 

There is something magnificent in the attitude of Mariamne 
at this crisis of her history— never for one moment lowering 
herself to any of the base intrigues of man or woman that 
surrounded her, but never disguising from her husband her 
sense of the wrongs he had inflicted on her house. 
Mariamne. When he flew back from his interview with Augustus, 
^'^* ^^' inspired by the passionate affection of his first love, 
to announce to her his success in winning the favour of the 
conqueror of Actium, she turned away and reproached him 
with the murders of her brother and her grandfather. 

Now was the moment when Salome saw her opportunity. 

' See Hausrath, Z«V Ckrtsti, 337. • Jos. Ant. xvii. 8, 6. 

37^ HEROD. i^cr. l. 

She played on every chord of the King's suspicious temper, till 
it was irritated past endurance. Mariamne was arrested, tried, 
and condemned. Even in these last moments, she rose superior 
to all around her. Unlike her mother, she had never shared 
in mean plots and counterplots to advance the interests, or 
secure the safety of the Asmonean house. If she spoke in 
behalf of her kindred, it was boldly and frankly to a husband, 
on whose affections and generosity, if he was left to himself, she 
knew that she could rely. Unlike that ambitious princess, now 
in her extreme adversity she maintained a serenity in which her 
mother failed. It is the characteristic difference of the two 
natures that the restless woman who had employed every 
miserable art in order to protect her family, now that the 
noblest of her race, for whom she had hazarded all, was on the 
point of destruction, lost all courage, and endeavoured to clear 
herself by cowardly reproaches of her daughter in justification 
of the King. Mariamne, however, answered not a word. ' She 
* smiled a dutiful though scornful smile.' ^ Her look for a 
moment showed how deeply she felt for the shame of a mother ; 
but she went on to her execution with unmoved countenance, 
with unchanged colour, and died, as she had lived, a true 
Maccabee. Perhaps the most affecting and convincing testimony 
to her great character was Herod's passionate remorse. In a 
frenzy of grief he invoked her name, he burst into wild lamenta- 
tions, and then, as if to distract himself from his own thoughts, 
he plunged into society ; he had recourse to all his favourite 
pursuits ; he gathered intellectual society round him ; he 
drank freely with his friends ; he went to the chase. And 
then, again, he gave orders that his servants should keep up 
the illusion of addressing her as though she could still hear 
them ; he shut himself up in Samaria, the scene of their first 
wedded life, and there, for a long time, attacked by a devouring 
fever, hovered on the verge of life and death. Of the three 
stately towers which he afterwards added to the walls of Jeru- 
salem, one was named after his friend Hippias, the second 
after his favourite brother, Phasael, but the third, most costly 

* Mariamne, the Fair Queen of yewry^ act v. scene i. 


and most richly worked of all, was the monument of his beloved 

It is 2 not necessary to pursue in detail the entanglements 
by which the successive members of the Herodian family 

fell victims to the sanguinary passion which now took 
Alexandra, posscssion of the soul of Herod. Alexandra was 

the first to fall. There remained the two sons of 
Mariamne, Alexander and Aristobulus, in whom their father 
delighted to see an image of their lost and lamented mother. 
He sent them to be educated at Rome in the household of 
End of the PolHo, the friend of Virgil ; and when they returned 
MariaLne. *^ Palestine, with all the graces of a Roman educa- 
B.C- 16-6. tiQn and with the royal bearing, apparently inex- 
tinguishable in the Asmonean house, it seemed, from the 
popular enthusiasm which they excited, that they might yet 
carry on that great name ; and their father, by the high mar- 
riages which he prepared for them — for Alexander with the 
daughter of the King of Cappadocia, for Aristobulus with his 
cousin the daughter of Salome — hoped to have consolidated 
their fortunes and reconciled the feuds of the two rival families. 
But all was in vaia They inherited with their mother's beauty 
her haughty and disdainful spirit. They cherished her in aic 
undying memory. Her name ^ was always on their lips, and in 
their lamentations for her were mingled curses on her de- 
stroyer ; when they saw her royal dresses bestowed on the 
ignoble wives of their father's second marriage, they threatened 
him to his face that they would soon make those fine ladies 
wear hair-cloth instead ; and to their companions they ridiculed 
the vanity with which in his declining years he insisted on the 
recognition of his youthful splendour, his skill as a sportsman, 
and even his superior stature. And now there was a new 
element of mischief— his eldest son Antipater, who watched 

* B. y. V. 4, 3. marry. She, to escape, sprang from the 

' According to the Rabbinical traditions, housetop, and destroj^ed herself. He 

compressing into one scene this series of kept her body for seven years embalmed i« 

crimes and sorrows, 'the slave of the honey (Derenbourg, 115). 

* Asmoneans'destroyed all the family except ^ B. J. i. 24, 3 ; AnU xvi. 8, 4. 

one young maiden, whom he proposed to 

3^8 HEROD. UBCT. L. 

every opportunity of destroying his father^s interest in these 
aspiring youths— the very demon of the Herodian house. 
He and the she-wolf Salome at last accomplished 
their object, and the two young Princes were tortured, 
tried, and at last executed at Sebaste, the scene of their mother's 
marriage, and interred in the ancestral burial-place of the 
Alexandreum. ^ They were, if not in lineage yet in character, 
the last of their race. Their children, in whose behalf the 
better feelings of Herod broke out when, with tears and pas- 
sionate kisses of affection which no one doubted to be sincere, 
he 2 endeavoured to make plans for their prosperous settlement, 
were gradually absorbed into the Herodian family ; and although 
two of them, Herod Agrippa and Herodias, played a con- 
spicuous part even in the sacred history which follows, they lost 
the associations of the Maccabsean name, and never kindled 
the popular enthusiasm in their behalf 

The death of Mariamne and her sons represents in the fall 
of the Asmonean dynasty the close of the last brilliant page of 
Jewish history. So long as there was a chance of a Prince from 
that august and beautiful race the visions of a Son of David 
retired into the background. It was only when the last 
descendant of those royal Pontiffs passed away that wider 
visions again filled the public mind, and prepared the way for 
One who, whatever might be His outward descent, in His 
spiritual character represented the best aspect of the Son of 
Jesse. And even then the famous apostolic names of the 
coming history were inherited from the enduring interest in 
the Maccabaean family — John, and Judas, and Simon, and 
Matthias or Mattathias. Above all, the name so sweet to 
Christian and to European ears, ^ Mary^' owes, no doubt, its 
constant repetition in the narratives alike of the Evangelists 
and of Josephus, not to Miriam the sister of Moses, but to 
her later namesake, the high-souled and lamented princess 

And now came the end of Herod himself. The palace was 

* A y, i. 28, C>\ Ant. xvi. 4, 7. » B. J. i. a8. 

LBCT. L. HIS DEATH. 379 . 

haunted by the memories of the Asmonean Queen. *The 
' ghosts of the two murdered Princes/ ^ writes the Jewish his- 
torian, rising from his prosaic style almost to the tone 
Herod. of the y^schyleau Trilogy, * wandered through every 
^'^' '^' * chamber of the palace, and became the inqui- 

*sitors and informers to drag out the hidden horrors of the 
* Court.' The villain of the family, Antipater, had paid at last 
the forfeit of his tissue of crimes. But his father was already 
in his last agonies in the Palace of Jericho — the scene of such 
splendid luxury, and such fearful crime. As a remedy for the 
loathsome disorder of which he was the prey, he was carried 
across the Jordan to one of the loveliest spots in Palestine— the 
hot ^ sulphur springs which burst from the base of the basaltic 
columns in the deep ravine on the eastern shore of the Dead 
Sea ; issuing, according to popular belief, from the bottomless 
pit. There, in * the Beautiful Stream,' ^ as the Greeks called 
it, the unhappy King tried to burn and wash away his foul 
distempers. It was all in vain. Full * in his face, as he lay 
tossing in those sulphurous baths, rose above the western hills 
the fortress which he had called by his name, and fixed for his 
burial. And now thitherward he must go. Back to Jericho 
the dying King was borne. The hideous command which in 
his last ravings he gave to cause a universal mourning through 
the country by the slaughter of the chief men of the State, whom 
he had imprisoned for that purpose in the hippodrome of 
Jericho, was happily disobeyed. His sister Salome, who had 
already so much on her conscience, spared herself this latest 
guilt ; and when the body of Herod was carried to its last 
resting-place, it was attended with unusual pomp, but not with 
unusual crime. For seven long days the procession ascended 
the precipitous passes from Jericho to the mountains of Judaea. 
With crown and sceptre and under a purple pall the corpse of 
the dead King lay. Round it were the numerous sons of that 

* Jos. B. y. \. 30, 7. fountains gushed forth (Canon Tristram's 

' The legend is that they were discovered Land 0/ Moab, 237-250— the first full 

by a servant of Solomon, who was by his description of this interesting spot). 

deafness proof against the incantation of ' Callirrhoe. (Jos. Ant. xvii. 6 ; Plin, 

the iSvU One, from whose pit those boiling v. 7.) * Tristram, 340. 

. 380 HEROD. LECT. L. 

divided household. Then followed his guards, and the three 
trusty bands of Thracian, German, and Celtic soldiers, who 
had so long been, as it were, the Janissaries of his court. ^ 
Then through those arid hills defiled the army, and then five 
hundred slaves with spices for the burial. According to the 
fashion of those days, when each dynasty or branch of a dy- 
nasty had its sepulchral vault in its own special fortress, the 
remains of the dead king were carried up to that huge ^ square- 
shaped hill which commands the pass to Hebron, on the 
summit of which Herod, in memory of his escape on that spot 
thirty- six years before, had built a vast palace and called it by 
his name, Herodium. 

Such, disengaged from its labyrinthine intricacy, is the story 
of the last potentate of commanding force and world-wide 
renown that reigned over Judaea. It is a character which, had 
it been in the Biblical records, would have ranked in thrilling 
and instructive interest beside that of the ancient Kings of 
Israel or Judah. The momentary ghmpses which we gain of 
him in the New Testament, through the story of his conversation 
with the Magi and his slaughter of the children of Bethlehem, 
are quite in keeping with the jealous, irritable, unscrupulous 
temper of the last ' days of Herod ^ the King,' as we read them 
in the pages of Josephus. But this is but a small portion of 
his complex career. The plots bred in the atmosphere of 
Hischa- polygamy, the *foul and midnight murders,' the thirst 
racter. for cruclty growiug with its gratification, are features 

of Oriental and of despotic life only too familiar to us in the 
history even of David. There is something in the penitence of 
Herod which reminds us of that of Uriah's murderer, though it 
has never in Psalm or prayer been enshrined for the admiration 
of posterity. Besides the intrinsic interest of the story is the 
pathos which it possesses as the central element in the drama 
which closed the Asmonean history. He is the Jewish Othello, 

^ Jos. Ant. xvii. 8, 4. is described at length by Josephus, Aui. 

^ The conspicuous hill near Bethlehem xvii. 8, 3 ; B. y. i. 21, 10 ; 33, 9. 
called the ' Frank Mountain,' or Jebel ^ Matt. ii. i. See Hausrath, Zei£ 

Fureidis, was first identified with the Christi^ 281, 
Herodium by Robinson, B.R. iv. 173. It 

oicT .. HIS CHARACTER. 38 1 

but with more than a Desdemona for his victim. When the 
Moor of Venice, in his closing speech, casts about for someone 
to whom he may compare himself, it was long thought by the 
commentators that there was none so suitable as Herod, * the 
'base^ Judsean, who threw a pearl away richer than all his 

* tribe.' Whether this were so or not, a dramatic piece on the 
subject had already been constructed by a gifted English lady, 
with a knowledge of the Herodian age surprising for the 
seventeenth century.^ When Voltaire apologised to the French 
public for having chosen Mariamne for the subject of one of 
his poetical plays, he rose to its grandeur with an enthusiasm 
unlike himself. * A king to whom has been given the name of 

* Great, enamoured of the loveliest woman in the world ; the 

* fierce passion of this king so famous for his virtues and for his 
' crimes—his ever-recurring and rapid transition from love to 

* hatred, and from hatred to love— -the ambition of his sister — 

* the intrigues of his concubines — the cruel situation of a 

* princess whose virtue and beauty are still world-renowned, 

* who had seen her kinsmen slain by her husband, and who, as 

* the climax of grief, found herself loved by their murderer — 

* what a field for imagination is this ! What a career for some 

* other ^ genius than mine ! ' And when at last another genius * 
arose, who had, as Goethe observed, a special aptitude for 
apprehending the ancient Biblical characters, there are few of 
his poems at once more pathetic in themselves and more true 
to history, than that which represents the unhappy king , wan- 
dering through the galleries of his palace and still invoking his 
murdered wife — 

Oh, Mariamne ! now for thee 

The heart for which thou bled'st is bleeding ; 
Revenge is lost in agony, 

And wild remorse to rage succeeding. 

' Othello, act v. sc. 2. So the older (Lady Elizabeth Carew) 1613. One 

commentators and the first folio edition. spirited chorus, on the forgiveness of 

The second folio and the later comment a- injuries, deserves to rescue it from 

tors read ' Indian.' oblivion. 

" * The Tragedie of Mariam, the Faire ' Quoted by Salvador, \. 304. 

* Queen of Jewry, written by that learned * Byron's Hebrew Mehdies. 

* virtuous, and truly noble ladie E. C 

382 HEROD. L16CT. u 

Oh Mariamne ! where art thou 

Thou canst not hear my bitter pleading : 

Ah ! couldst thou — thou vvouldst pardon now, 
Though Heaven were to my prayer unheeding. 

She's gone, who shared my diadem ; 

She sank, with her my joys entombing ; 
I swept that flower from Judah's stem, 

Whose leaves for me alone were blooming ; 
And mine's the guilt, and mine the hell, 

This bosom's desolation dooming ; 
And I have earned those tortures well, 

Which unconsumed are still consuming ! 

But the importance of Herod's life does not end with his 
personal history. He created in great part that Palestine which 
he left behind him as the platform on which the closing scenes 
of the Jewish, the opening scenes of the Christian Church were 
to be enacted. 

Few men have ever lived who, within so short a time, so 

transformed the outward face of a country. That Grecian, 

Roman, Western colouring which Antiochus Epi- 
His public , , , . 1 . , 1 , -, .11 

works in phanes had vamly tried to throw over the gray hills 

and rough towns of Judaea was fully wrought out by 
Herod the Great. It would seem as if, to manifest his gratitude 
for his gracious reception by Augustus Caesar, and for the 
Emperor's visit to Palestine, he was determined to plant monu- 
ments of him throughout his dominions. At the extreme north, 
on the craggy hill which overhangs the rushing source of Jordan, 
Caesarea ^^^^ ^ white marble temple dedicated to his patron, 
Phiiippi. which for many years superseded alike the Israelite 
name of Dan and the Grecian name of Paneas by Casarea. In 
the centre of Palestine, on the beautiful hill of the ancient 
Samaria, laid waste by Hyrcanus I., the scene of his marriage 
with Mariamne, he built a noble city, of which the colonnades 
Sebaste. ^'^^ ^" P^^^ remain, to which he gave the name Sebaste 
B.C. 25- — the Greek version of Augusta} On the coast, 
beside a desert spot hitherto only marked by the ^ Tower of 

» Jos. Ant. XV. 8, X. " Ibid. Ant. xv. 9, 6 ; ^. J. i. 21, 7. 

user. L. HIS PUBLIC WORKS. 3^3 

Strato, with a village at its foot, he constructed a vast haven 
which was to rival the Pir^us. Around and within it were 
splendid breakwaters and piers. Abutting on it a city was 
erected, so magnificent with an array of public and private 
edifices, that it ultimately became the capital of Palestine, 
throwing Jerusalem itself into a place altogether secondary. 

Houses of shining marble stood round the harbour ; 
Stratonis. on a risiug ground in the centre, as in a modern 

* crescent,' rose the Temple of Augustus, which gave 
again the name of Ccesarea to the town-— out of which looked 
on the Mediterranean two colossal statues ; ^ one of Augustus, 
equal in proportions to that of the Olympian Jupiter, one of 
the city of Rome, equal to that of the Argive Juno. Further 
down the coast he rebuilt the ruined Grecian city of Anthedon, 
and gave to it, in commemoration of the visit of his friend the 
able minister of Augustus, the name of Agrippeum ; ^ and, as 
over the portico of the Pantheon at Rome, so over the gate of 
this Syrian city, was deeply graven the name of Agrippa, In all 
these maritime towns, as far north as the Syrian Tripolis, and, 
not least, in that Hellenised city of Ascalon, to which Christian 
tradition assigned the origin of his ancestors, he established the 
luxurious and wholesome institutions of baths, fountains, and 
colonnades, and added in the inland cities, in the romantic 
Jericho, and even in the holy Jerusalem, the more questionable 
entertainments of Greek theatres, hippodromes, and gymnasia, 
which in the time of the Maccabees had caused so much 
scandal ; and the splendid, but to the humane ^ and reverential 
spirit of the Jewish nation still more distasteful, spectacles of 
the Roman amphitheatre. 

But the great monument of himself which he left was the 
restored, or, to speak more exactly, the rebuilt Temple at 
The Temple Jerusalem. A Jewish tradidon connected this pro- 
slknT' digious feat with the miserable crimes of his later 
B.C. 17. years. It was said that he consulted a famous Rabbi, 
Babas the son of Bouta— the only one who, as it was believed, 
had survived the massacre of the Teachers of the Law, and who 

' Jos. Ant. XV. %6: B. y. i. 21, 7. * B. y I ii, 8. » Jos. Ant, xv. 8, i. 

384 HEROD. LECT. L. 

himself had his eyes ^ put out — how he should appease the 
remorse which he now felt, and that the Rabbi answered : * As 

* thou hast extinguished the light of the world, the interpreters 

* of the law, work for the light of the world by ^ restoring the 

* splendour of the Temple.' If this be so, the Temple, in its 
greatest magnificence, was, like many a modern Cathedral — 
Milan, Norwich, Gloucester — a monument of penitence. It 
might, indeed, have been urged that this elaborate restoration 
was but the fulfilment of the idea of an enlarged Temple, on a 
grander scale, which, from the visions of Ezekiel down to those 
of the Book of Enoch,^ had floated before the mind of the 
Jewish seers. But the sacredness of the building, and the 
mistrust of Herod, created difficulties which it required all his 
vigour and all his craft to overcome. So serious had they 
seemed that his prudent patron at Rome was supposed to have 
dissuaded the undertaking altogether. * If the old building is 
' not destroyed,' said Augustus, * do not destroy it ; if it is 

* destroyed, do not rebuild it ; '* if you both destroy and rebuild 
The rebuild- ' ^^' you are a foohsh servant.' The scruple against 
^"s- demolishing even a synagogue before a new one was 
built was urged with double force now that the Temple itself 
was menaced. It was met by the casuistry of the same wise 
old counsellor who had suggested the restoration to Herod. 

* I see,' said Babas, ' a breach in the old building which makes 
'its repair^ necessary.' Not for the last time in ecclesiastical 
history has a small rift in an ancient institution been made the 
laudable pretext for its entire reparation. Herod himself fully 
appreciated the delicacy of the task. By a transparent fiction 
the existing Temple was supposed to be continued into the 
new building. The worship was never interrupted ; and, 
although actually the Temple of Herod, it was still regarded as 
identical with that of Zerubbabel.^ Amongst the thousand 

' Derenbourg, 152. Comp. Jos. Ant. * Salvador, i. 320 

XV. 7, 10, where it is said that the sons of * Enoch xc. 29. 

Babas, who had been faithful adherents * Talmud, in Salvador, i. 320. 

of Antigonus, had been concealed after " Derenbourg, 153. 

Herod's victory, by Costobarus, the hus- ' The forty-six years mentioned in 

band of Salome ; and that, being afterwards John ii. 20 may be reckoned from B.C. 17, 

betrayed by her, they were put to death. when the temple of Herod was beg;un, 

LBcr. u THE TEMPLE. 385 

waggons laden with stones, and ten thousand skilled artisans, 
there were a thousand priests ^ trained for the purpose as 
masons and carpenters, who carried on their task, dressed 
not in workmen's clothes, but disguised in their sacerdotal 
vestments. And so completely did this idea of the sanctity 
of the undertaking take possession of the national mind, that 
it was supposed to have been accompanied by a preterna- 
tural intervention which had not been vouchsafed either to 
Solomon or Zerubbabel. During the whole time (so it was 
said) rain fell only in the night ; each morning the wind 
blew, the clouds dispersed, the sun ^ shone, and the work pro- 

The more sacred part of the interior sanctuary was finished 
in eighteen months. The vast surroundings took eight years, 
and, though additions continued to be made for at least eighty 
years longer, it was sufficiently completed to be dedicated by 
Herod with the ancient pomp. Three hundred oxen were 
sacrificed by the king himself, and many more by others. As 
usual, a day was chosen which should blend with an already 
existing solemnity, but on this occasion it was not the Feast of 
Tabernacles, but the anniversary of Herod's inauguratioa The 
pride felt in it was as great as if it had been the work not of 
the hated Idumaean, but of a genuine Israelite. * He who has 
*not seen the building of Herod has never seen a beautiful 
* thing '3 

Let us look at this edifice, so characteristic of the time and 
temper of Herod, and so closely interwined with the fall of the 
Old and the resurrection of the New Religion. 

The great area was now, if not for the first time, yet more 
distinctly than before, divided into three courts. 

till A.D. 28, when the words in question intermissions of the work, on the theory 

were spoken. But as the actual building that Herodts Temple was not to be re- 

of Herod only took ten years, and its com- cognised. 

pletion by Herod Agrippa was long after- * Jos, Ant. xv. ii, 3 ; Ewald, v. 433. 

wards, there is some ground for the inter- * Talmud, in Derenbourg, p. 153. Jot, 

pretation of Surenhusius {MisAna, v. 316) Ant. xv. 11, 7. 

—that the forty -six years relates to the ' Derenbourg, 154. Comp. J<An U. 30 • 

period of the building of Zerubbabel's Mark xiii. 2. 

Temple, from i.e. 536 to 459, with the 


386 HEROD. user, l. 

The first or outer court, which enclosed all the rest, was 
divided by balustrades, on which was the double ^ inscription 
in the two great Western languages, forbidding the near ap- 
proach of Gentiles. It was entered from the east through a 
The outer cloistcr, which, from containing fragments of the 
cou.t. f^j.g^ Temple, cherished like the shafts of the old 

Temple of Minerva in the walls of the Athenian Acropolis, was 
called the cloister of Solomon. ^ Besides those relics of the 
antique past, the face of the surrounding cloisters also exhibited 
the more fantastic accumulations of the successive wars of the 
Jewish Princes — the shields, and swords, and trappings of con- 
quered tribes, down to the last trophies carried off by Herod 
from the Arabs of Petra.^ Amongst these figured conspicuously 
— as a symbol, not of conquest, but of allegiance — the golden 
eagle of Rome, the erection of which "^ was Herod's latest public 
act. The great entrance into the temple from the east was the 
gate of Susa —preserved, probably, in whole or in part, from the 
time of the Persian dominion. 

The court itself must have been completely transformed. 
Its pavement v/as variegated as if with mosaics. Its walls were 
of white marble. Along its northern and southern ^ sides Avas 
added *the Royal Cloister,' a magnificent colonnade of Corin- 
thian pillars, longer by one hundred feet than the longest 
English Cathedral, and as broad as York Minster. At the 
north-west corner was the old Asmonean fortress, founded by 
John Hyrcanus, but strengthened and embellished by Herod, 
and, in his manner, called Antonia, after his friend Antony. In 
this secure custody were always kept — with the exception of a 
few years in the reign of the Emperor Tiberius— the robes and 

^ One of these inscriptions was discovered which adorned the porch of Solomon's 

lately by M. Ganneau (Palestine Explora- Temple and the tower of his palace. See 

tion Fund). Lectures XX. and XXVII. Whether i 

* Jos. B. y. V. 5, I. This apparently Mace. iv. 57 refers to the inner or outer 

had been left untouched by Herod, and it front is not clear. 

was afterwards proposed to Herod Agrippa * Jos. B. y. i. 23, 2. 

to restore it. But he also shrank from so * In general style, though not in detail, 

serious an undertaking Gos. Ant. xx. 9, they resembled the contemporary columns 

7). of Baalbec or Palmyra, as may be seen by 

' Jos. Ant. XV. II, 3. It would seem the remnants still preserved in the vaults 

that these took the place of the shields of the Mosque. 

user. L. THE TEMPLE. 387 

paraphernalia of the High Priest, without which he could not 
assume or discharge the duties of his office, and the retention 
of which in that fortress marked in the most public and un- 
mistakable form his subjection to the civil governor —Asmonean, 
Herodean,* or Roman — who for the time controlled Jerusalem. 
Beneath the shade of this fortress, in the broad area of the court 
corresponding to the Forum or the Agora, were held all the 
public meetings at which ^ the Priests addressed the people. It 
was surrounded by a low enclosure, over which the Priest could 
look towards the Mount of Olives. 

Within this Outer Court rose the huge castellated wall which 
enclosed the Temple. It had nine gateways, with towers fifty 
The inner ^^^^ high. One of thcsc, on the north, was, like 
court. Boabdil's gate at Granada, called after Jechoniah,^ as 

that through which the last king of the house of David had 
passed out to the Babylonian exile. 

Through this formidable barrier, the great entrance was by 
the Eastern gate—sometimes called ' Beautiful,' sometimes, 
from the Syrian general or devotee of the Maccabsean age, 
Nicanor's * gate. The other gates were sheeted with gold or 
silver ; ^ the bronze of this one shone almost with an equal 

Every evening it was carefully closed ; twenty men were 
needed to roll its heavy doors, and drive down into the rock its 
iron bolts and bars. It was regarded as the portcullis of the 
Divine Castle. 

On penetrating through this sacred entrance, a platform was 
entered, called *of the Women.' At the sides of this were the 
Treasuries. Thirteen receptacles of money were placed there 
like inverted trumpets. The women sat round in galleries as 
still in Jewish synagogues, and as of old in the Christian Church 
of St Sophia. It was here that on the Feast of Tabernacles 

* Jos. Ani. XV. II, 4. of the gate at sea (see Lecture XLVIII. ; 
■ B. y. ii. 17, 2 ; Middoth, i. 3 ; iii. 4. Middoth, ii. 3, 6 ; Lightfoot's Works, ii. 
' Middoth, ii- 6. 1099). That there were only two great 

* Either from the suspension of his Eastern gates appears from the Mishna 
hand, or from the miraculous preservation (TaaniiA, ii. 6). * J?. % v. 5, 3. 

388 HEROD. oicT. I,. 

took place the torchlight dance, and the brilliant il/umination 
^, ^ of the night. ^ It was a tradition that in this court 

The Court ^ . . 

of the none were allowed to sit except Priests or descendants 

Priests. p T^. . -, 

of David. 

From this platform, by fifteen steps, the worshipper as- 
cended into the Court of the Priests. In the first part of it 
was the standing-place for the ^ people to look at the sacrifices, 
divided by a rail from the rest. The chambers round this 
court were occupied by the Priestly guard, and contained the 
shambles for the slaughter of the victims. In the centre was 
the altar, probably unchanged since the time of Judas Macca- 
bseus. In the south-east corner was the Gazith or * Chamber 
' of the Squares,' where sat the Great Council, with a door 
opening on the one side into the outer court, on the other into 
this inner precinct. 

Immediately beyond the altar was the Temple itself. This, 
sacred as it was, received various additions, either from the 
mighty Restorer or his immediate Asmonean predecessors. On 
the building itself a higher storey was erected. It 
^ °^^ ' was encased with white marble studded with golden 
spikes.^ The Porch had now two vast wings, and was, in 
dimensions and proportions, about the same size as the fagade 
of Lincoln Cathedral.^ 

In the Porch hung the colossal golden vine, the emblem of 
the Maccabaean period, resting on cedar beams, and spreading 
its branches under the cornices of the porch, to which every 
pilgrim added a grape or a cluster in gold,^ till it almost broke 
down under its own weight. Later was added here the golden 
lamp presented by Helena, Queen of Adiabene. 

Across the Porch, as also across the innermost sanctuary, 
hung a curtain ^ of Babylonian texture, blue, scarlet, white, and 
purple, embroidered with the constellations of the heavens 
(always excepting ^ the forbidden representations of the animals 

^ Mishna, Suca, v. 2, 4. 5> 4 I Ant. xv. 11, 3 ; Tac. Hist. v. 4. 

' Salvador, iii. 130. * There was a whole stock of curtains 

• Jos. B. y. V. 5. laid up in the Temple, which were regarded 

• See Fergusson on the Temple in the as amongst its special treasures (Jos. Attt, 
Dictionary of the Bible. xiv. 7, i). 

• Mbkna, Middeth, iii. 8 ; Jo«. B. J. v. ' B. J. v. 5, 4, 5. 


of the Zodiac.) Within the Temple was the table of Judas 
Maccabaeus, but the seven-branched candlestick which replaced 
The Sane- ^^^ ™^ substitutc remained there till it was car- 
tuary. j-jg^j away by the Roman conqueror, to be for ever 

engraven on the arch of Titus in the Forum. Within the dark 
recess of the Holy of Holies, as disclosed by Pompey's visit, ^ 
there was nothing but the stone on which the High Priest laid 
his censer. 

Striking indeed must have been the appearance of this 
triple precinct ; the lower court standing on its magnificent 
terraces, the inner court, surrounded by its embattled towers 
and gateways ; within this, again, the Temple itself with its 
snow-white walls and glittering pinnacles of gold rising out 
of this singular group and crowning the view— and the whole 
scene soaring out of the deep and dark abyss of the precipitous 
glen which lay beneath it. It must, as the most competent 
authority of our time has said, have formed one of the most 
splendid architectural combinations to be found in the ancient 
world. ^ 

This was the new sanctuary of the Jewish religion at the 
time of the greatest events that were ever to be transacted 
within its pale. By the side of Nicanor's gate sat the divers 
butchers, poulterers, and money-changers, who sold their cattle 
and sheep to the wealthier, their doves and pigeons to the 
poorer worshippers, and exchanged Gentile for ^ Jewish coinage, 
in order to preserve the treasury from the pollution of Greek 
emblems, until the day came when One, who cared more for 
inward reverence than for outward ritual, dashed the tables to 
the floor, and drove out the traffickers. In that antique cloister 
of Solomon, on the anniversary of the festival of the Maccabaean 
deliverance, walked to and fro the Master and his disciples, for 
shelter from the winter cold.'* Into those inverted trumpets in 
the mner court the rich were casting ^ their superfluities, and 
the widow was casting in the small coin which was her all, 

* Mishna, Yoma, v. 2. ' John ii. 14. 

' Fergusson, Dictionary of tfu BibU^ * Ibid. x. 23 ; Act* v. la. 

lii. X464. * Matt. xii. 41. 

390 HEROD. LBCT. L. 

when that Countenance, so stern in its frown against the mere 
mechanism of pubKc worship, smiled so graciously on genuine 
self-denial. The embroidered curtain, whether the inner or 
the outer, was that which was believed ^ to have been rent 
asunder from top to bottom, as a sign that the time for needless 
partitions between man and man, between Church and Church, 
between God and man, had ceased. Those prodigious towers, 
those piles of marble^ were the ' buildings ' and ' stones ' to ^ 
which a little group of fishermen called the attention of Him 
who foretold their total overthrow — an overthrow which was the 
doom of all exclusively local sanctity all over the world for ever. 

From the tragic story of the court of Herod, from the 
outward memorials of his energy in country and city, it is a 
strange transition to the inner life both of Jerusalem and Pales- 
tine, so far as we can discover it through the slight glimpses 

Of all the exciting and brilliant scenes which we have 
hitherto recorded, the native traditions as preserved in the 
Talmud tell us, with the exception of three incidents in 
strangely-distorted forms, absolutely nothing. Of the factions 
of the rival priests and princes, of the invasion of Pompey, of 
the sacrilege of Crassus, of the triumphs of Herod, of Actium 
and Pharsalia, the same Rabbinical tradition is entirely silent.^ 
It is a silence which corresponds to the brief, but pregnant 
statement of the historian,^ that the large mass of the nation, at 
the time of the first appearance of Hyrcanus and Aristobulus 
before Pompey, were neutral in the strife of the two contending 
parties. But hardly less remarkable than this general indiffer- 
ence of Jewish tradition to the events which fill the pages of 
Josephus is the silence with which Josephus himself passes over 
the condition of the interior thought and sentiment of his 
countrymen ; big as it was with events and characters which he 
will also pass over in like manner, but which are now the chief 
motives for the interest of the civilised world in those external 
movements which alone he has thought fit to describe. 

' Matt, xjcvii. 51. * Derenbourg, 116. 

" Mark 3ciii. i, a. * Jos. Aui. xiv. 3, a. 


We turn first to the Capital and to the Temple. On that 
splendid theatre it was still the ancient actors that seemed to 
The priest- Walk. It is true that the succession of the High 
hood. Priesthood, which the x\smonean family had broken, 

was never repaired. The obscure Hananel from Babylon, the 
still obscurer Jesus or Joshua the son of Phabi, and finally the 
two sons of Boethus ^ from Alexandria, were the nominees of 
Herod for the vacant office. But the sacred functions went on 
undisturbed through the revolutions which had overturned the 
order of those who performed them. Every morning before 
the break of day the captain or chief officer ^ of the Temple 
guard opened the door of the court, where the priests ' in resi- 
* dence ' for the week had slept for the night, and the procession 
of ten passed round the court in white robes and bare feet to 
kill the morning sacrifice. As the first rays of the rising sun 
struck upon the golden lamp above the porch, the trumpets 
sounded ; and those of the priests who had drawn the lot 
entered the Temple for the offering of incense. That was the 
moment, if any, for any preternatural visitation to the priests. 
Then they came out, and, having slain the lamb on the altar, 
they pronounced the benediction, the only relic of the sacer- 
dotal office w^hich has continued in the Jewish Church to our 
own time. On greater days the solemnities were increased, but 
the general plan was the same ; and it w^as this worship, with 
its sacrificial shambles and its minute mechanism, that furnished 
the chief material for the theological discussions and ecclesias- 
tical regulations of the Jewish Church of that period. The 
High Priest was still to be kept from falling asleep ^ on the eve 
of the great fast, by pinching him and by reading to him what 
were thought the most appropriate parts of the Bible — Job, 
Ezra, the Chronicles, and Daniel.'* Five times over in the 
course of that day had he to take off and put on ^ his eight 
articles of pontifical dress, and on each occasion, behind a 
curtain put up for that purpose between him and the people, he 

* Derenbourg, 154, 155. ■ Mishna, Voma, 6, 7. 

' Middotk, i. 3 ; Johnxviii. i« ; Actt iv. * Ibid. Voma, i, 6. 

X, V. 24. • Ibid, y^ma, viii. 5, vi. 7, 

392 HEROD. LECT. L. 

plunged into the great swimming-bath or pool, which, if he was 
old or infirm, was heated for him. He then dressed himself in 
The day of ^^^ glided garments — goat's-hair gilt — to penetrate 
Atonement, jj^^q ^]^g innermost sanctuary and sprinkle the blood, 
like holy water, round the pavement, eight times, checking his 
movements, like the officer who laid on stripes on an offender, 
by numbering them.^ When he came out he was thrice to 
utter the benediction, when all were hushed in deep stillness to 
catch the awful Name — which then only in each year of an 
Israelite's life could be heard — pronounced in that silence so 
distinctly that, in the exaggerated Rabbinical traditions, its 
sound was believed to reach as far as Jericho. On the night 
of that same day the young maidens, dressed in white, went 
out and danced in the vineyards near the city, and the young 
men came and chose their brides. On all the nights of the 
ensuing festival the trained devotees, like the dervishes of Con- 
stantinople, whirled round the Temple court in their mystic 
dance, brandishing their torches, whilst the Levites and priests 
stood on the fifteen steps singing the Psalms of Degrees, and 
blowing with all their might the sacred horns. ^ It was this, 
combined with the festoons and bowers erected throughout the 
courts, which gave to the Greeks the impression that the Jews,^ 
Hke themselves, had a Dionysiac festival. 

The ceremony of the scapegoat * still continued, though it 
had all the appearance of a ritual in its last stage of decadence. 
The terrified creature was conveyed from the Temple to Olivet 
on a raised bridge, to avoid the jeers of the irreverent pilgrims 
of Alexandria — who used to pluck the poor animal's long flakes 
of hair with the rude cries of * Get along and away with you ! ' 
Then he was handed on from keeper to keeper by short stages 
over hill and valley. At each hut where he rested, an obsequious 
guide said to him, * Here is your food, here is your drink.' The 
last in this strange succession led him to a precipice above the 

* MIshna, TaanitA, iv. 8. * It is used as an illustration in the 
■ Jiui. Suca, V. 4. Epistle of Barnabas, but never in the New 

• Plut. Quasi. Conviv. iv. 6. Testament. 


fortress of Dok,* and hurled him down,^ and the signal was 
sent back ^ to Jerusalem that the deed was accomplished, by 
the waving of handkerchiefs all along the rocky road. 

Beside the priesthood, ever since the time of Ezra, there 
had been insensibly growing a body of scholars, who by the 
time of Herod had risen to a distinct function of the State. 
Already under John Hyrcanus there was a judicial body known 
as the House ^ of Judgment (Beth-Din). To this was given the 
Macedonian title of Synedrton, transformed into the barbarous 
Hebrew word Sanhedrim or Sanhedrin, But it was not as 
members of a legislative or judicial assembly that the Scribes 
The San- cxercised their main influence. It was by the in- 
hedrin. triusic, individual eminence which gave to each of 
them the Chaldaean name, now first appearing, of Rab^ ' the 

* Great ' — Rabbi, Rabboni, ' my great one,' ' Master,' ' my 

* master.'^ By a succession increasing in import- 
ance we trace the * pairs ' or * couples ' of the distin- 
guished teachers round whom the dividing tendencies of the 
schools grouped themselves. In the time of the first Maccabees 
were Josb the son of Joazar, and Jos^ the son of John ; in the 
time of Hyrcanus, Joshua the son of Perachiah, and Nittai of 
Arbela. In the time of Alexander Jannaeus there were Simeon 
the son of Shetach and Judah the son of Tobai. But it is in 
the trial of Herod, when the Sanhedrin is first distinctly men- 
tioned, that the two chiefs of the order come into full promi- 
nence. Their names in a corrupted form, as Sameas and Pollio, 
appear even in the reticent record of Josephus. Shemaiah 
shemaiah ^^^ Abtaliou ^ wcre prosclytes, and supposed to be 
taUon.^ descended from the Assyrian Sennacherib by an 
Israelite mother. * The High Priest ' (say the Tal- 
mudic traditions — we know not whether they speak of Hyrcanus, 
Aristobulus, or Antigonus) * passed out of the Temple on the 

* Day of Atonement, followed by the multitude. But the 

*'Zok' in the Mishna must surely be first official use of it was for Gamaliel, the 

the same as ' Dok ' in i Mace. xvi. 15 ? grandson of Hillel. — Lightfoot on Matt. 

» Mishna, Yoma, vi. 4, 5, 7. xxiii., vol. ii. 273. 

» Ibid. Tamid, 8. * Derenbourg, 86, " Prideaux, ii. 572 ; see Herzfeld, iiL 

• The first unquestioned appearance of 253-857. 
tJic word is in the New Testament. The 

394 HEROD. i^HCT. I.. 

* moment they saw Shemaiah and Abtalion they deserted the 

* High Priest to follow the chiefs of the Sanhedrin. The two 

* doctors made their salutations to the High Priest. " Peace," ^ 
' said the Pontiff in parting from them, " to the men of the 

* people." "Yes," repHed they, "peace to the men of the 
' people ^ who accomplish the work of Aaron, and no peace 

* to the sons of Aaron who are not like Aaron." ' 

It is a striking illustration of the homage paid even in that 
ceremonial age to the Teacher above the Priest. It is a noble 
protest, worthy of the days of Isaiah, in behalf of the claims of 
moral and intellectual over official eminence. And when, in 
the trial of Herod for his lawless violence, the High Priest 
grovelled before him, it was Shemaiah who rebuked 
■ ■ ''^' the cowardice of his colleagues ; it was Abtalion who 
by his habitual caution conciliated them. Each spoke in exact 
accordance with the peculiar spirit enshrined in their traditional 
sayings. We see the sturdy independence of the maxim of 
Shemaiah, ' Love work, hate domination, and have no relations 
' with those in authority ; ' the worldly prudence of the maxim 
of Abtalion, ' Measure well your words, else you will be banished 

* to the stagnant ^ waters of bad doctrines.' 

It was, perhaps, still in accordance with the tone of Abta- 
lion's teaching that in the siege, when the High Priest Antigonus 
defended Jerusalem against Herod, they both agreed in coun- 
seUing submission, and were both spared by the conqueror.* 

It would seem that the chief places in the college of teachers 
were next occupied by an obscure family, ' the sons of Bether.' 
The sons of They were discussing one of the trivial ceremonial 
Bether. qucstious which then, as on later occasions, both in 
the Jewish and Christian Church, preoccupied the main interest 
of theological schools. It was the grave problem (as it seemed 
to them) whether the Paschal lamb might be killed on the 

^ Derenbourg, 117. them as above. But a somewhat subtler 

^ Or ' men of the Gentiles,* in allusion sense is given to them by Maimonides 

to their foreign descent (Raphali, ii. 284). {ibiiL) ', ' Use no ambiguous expressions ; 

^ The meaning of these words is much * otherwise you will be accused of heresy.* 

disputed. Derenbourg (p. 148 y interprets * Jos» Ant. xv. i, i. 


Sabbath. They had heard of a famous * Babylonian teacher. 
His name was Hillelj He answered in the affirmative, with 
reasons from analogy, from the text, and from the context. 
Hiiiei. They refused his decision, until he said, ' I am con- 

B.C. 36, i t^nt iQ 5g punished if my decision has not been given 

* to me by Shemaiah and Abtalion.' They had before regarded 
him as a stranger from Babylon ; they now welcomed him as 
their chief. 'Whose fault was it,' he said, 'that you had re- 

* course to a Babylonian ? — you had not paid due attention to 

* Shemaiah and Abtalion, the two great men of the age, who 

* were with you all the time.' It was again a triumph of intrinsic 
over official authority, and the submission of the sons of Bether 
was long remembered as an example of admirable modesty.^ 

This IS the first public appearance of unquestionably the 
most eminent teacher of the generation of Judaism immediately 
preceding the Christian era. 

Like Ezra, to whom his countrymen often compared him, 
Hillel belonged to the vast Babylonian settlement. Unlike 
Ezra, he was not of the Priestly class ; but, like One who was 
shortly to come after him, descended from the house of David ; ^ 
and, like Him, a humble workman, drawn to Jerusalem only 
by the thirst 'for hearing and asking questions.' He came 
with his brother Shebna, and worked for the scanty remunera- 
tion of half a denarius— the coin known in Latin as 'victoriatus,' 
in Greek as 'tropaicon,' from the figure of the goddess Victory 
upon it. This he divided between the pay for his lodgings and 
the pay to the doorkeeper of the school where Shemaiah and 
Abtalion taught. On a certain occasion, when he failed in his 
work, the churlish doorkeeper would not let him enter. It was 
the eve of the Sabbath, there were no lights stirring, and he 
took advantage of the darkness to climb to the window-sill to 
Msten. It was a winter night, and the listening youth was first 
benumbed and then buried three cubits deep under a hea\7 

' It is possible that the sons of Bether ^ i\e. from Abigail, David's wife. Ewald 

themselves were from Babylonia, See Jos. ijahrbiicher, 66), who well points out 

^«^. xviii. 2, 2; Ewald, J ahrbiicher der the illustration it affords of the Gospel 

BibL Wissenschafty x. 67, history. 

* Dereabourg, 179, 180, 

39^ HEROD. LECT. Lo 

snow-fall. As the day dawned, Shemaiah turned to his colleague, 
and said : * Dear brother Abtalion, why is our school so dark 
'this morning?' They turned to the window, and found it 
darkened by a motionless human form, enveloped in the snow- 
flakes. They brought him down, bathed, rubbed him with oil, 
placed him before the fire, — in short, broke, for his sake, their 
Sabbatical repose, saying : * Surely he must be worth a violation 
'of the Sabbath.'^ He was,^ in regard to the traditionary law, 
what Ezra was supposed to have been in regard to the written 
law. He it was who collected and codified the floating maxims 
which guided the schools. He rose to the highest place in the 
Sanhedrin ; he was honoured ^ by Herod ; he himself honoured 
what there was in Herod worthy of honour. He, with Shammai, 
was excused from the oath exacted by Herod from 

B.C. 30. . ■' 

all his other subjects.^ He became not merely the 
founder of a school, but the ancestor of a family, all of whom 
were imbued with his teaching — Simon, Gamaliel, and a second 
Hillel. In his lifetime he was overshadowed by his rival 
Shammai, the rigid advocate of the strictest literalism. At first 
sight, as we turn the dreary pages of the Mishna, there seems 
to be little to choose between them.^ The disputes between 
himself and Shammai turn for the most part on points so infi- 
nitely little that the small controversies of ritual and dogma 
which have vexed the soul of Christendom seem great in com- 
parison. They are worth recording only as accounting for the 
obscurity into which they have fallen, and also because Churches 
of all ages and creeds may be instructed by the reflection that 
questions of the modes of eating and cooking, and walking and 
sitting seemed as important to the teachers of Israel — on the 
eve of their nation's destruction, and of the greatest religious 
revolution that the world has seen — as the questions of dress or 

' The story has often been given, but at ' ilium esse non segre ferebant ' (Lightfoot, 

the greatest length in Delitzsch's Jesus Harm. Ev. 470, quoted in Dictionary of 

and Hillel^ "^y^. 10, 11. See also Jost. i. tke Bible, i. 'jg6). 

348-257. Deutsch's Remains^ 30, 31. * Jos. Ant. xv. 10, 4 ; Derenbourg, 191, 

» See Kitto, Bibl. Cyclop, iii. 167. 464. 

• *Hero<j[es senem Hillel .in magno * See Keim, Jesus of Nazara, i. 345, 
* honore habuit : namqu« hi homines regem 


posture, or modes of appointment, or verbal distinctions, have 
seemed to contending schools of Christian theology.* 

The net of casuistry spread itself over every department of 
human life, and the energies of the Rabbis were spent (to use 
the metaphor ^ adopted by them and thence transferred to other 
systems) in ^ tying ' and ^ untying/ in * binding ' and * loosing ' 
the knots which they either found or made in this complicated 
web. In this occupation their resort was not to any original or 
profound principles of action, but to maxims of authority 
handed down, like legal precedents, from former Rabbis. * The 

* Doctors have thus spoken ' — * It has been said by them of old 

* time ' — * I have never heard of such a maxim or practice before ' 
— were the solutions then, as often since, offered for every 
difficulty. Memory thus became the one indispensable gift of 
an accomplished teacher — ' a pit that lets not out a drop of 

* water.' ^ The variety and the triviality of these decisions — 
shortly to be contrasted with the unchanging force of the 
inspired intuitions and simple convictions of a few unlettered 
peasants— are well summed up in a single chapter of the Mishna. 
There was a weighty question, which had run down through all 
the * pairs ' of teachers, on the point whether there was or was 
not to be an imposition of hands in the ordination of victims 
for sacrifice. Joseph, the son of Joazar, said, * There shall be 

* no hands imposed ; ' Joseph, the son of John, said, * There shall 
*be hands imposed.' Joshua, the son of Perachiah, said, 'There 

* shall no hands be imposed;' Nittai, of Arbela, said, * There 
'shall be hands imposed.' Judah, the son of Tobai, said, 
' There shall be no hands imposed ; ' Simeon, the son of 
Shetach, said, 'There shall be hands imposed.' Shemaiah 

* De Benedict iombus, viii. 1-7. De Pcenis Excidii, \. 6. De Votis, i. x-g, ii. 

Se^iima A ftna, iv. v'lii. De Fromissis, i. 2,7. De PrincipioAnniyi.x, DeSacris 

De Vasis, ix. 2, xviii. i, xx. 2, xxil 4, Solemn. \. 1-3, ii. 2-4. De Sabiato, l. 5, 

xxvi. 6, xxix. 8. De Decimis, iii. v. De 6, xxi. 2, 3. De Term. Sabbat, i. i. De 

Tectariis, n. 3, v. 3, 11, xi. i, 4-6, xiii. 1, Paschate^ viii. 8. De Tabemaculis^ i. i, 

XV. 8, xviii. I, 8. De Puritatibus, ix. 6, 7, iii. 5. 

7, X. 4. De Lavacris, i. 5, iv. i, x. De ^ Matt. xvi. 19 ; xviii. 18. For the 

Fluxn, i. I, ii. 6, v. q, x. t. De Liquid is ^ overwhelming proof of the Jewish use of 

i. 3, 4, iv. 5. De Fructus petiolis, iii. 6. this metaphor, see Lightfoot (ii. 216). 

De Sacrijiciis, iv. i. De Pro/anis, i. 2, ' Hausrath, Zeit Christi, 82, 89 ; Jos. 


De Primogenitis, v. 2. De ViUc. 

398 HEROD. LBCT. L. 

said, ' There shall be no hands imposed ; ' Abtalion said, ' There 

* shall be hands imposed.' Hillel and Menahem do not contra- 
dict each other ; but Menahem went out, and Shammai came 
in. Shammai said, * There shall be no hands imposed ; ' Hillel 
said, ' There shall be hands imposed.' ^ Such was the 
alternate * binding ' and ' loosing ' which occupied the ecclesias- 
tical authorities of the Jewish Church for two hundred years. 
There is a profound pathos, and at the same time a universal 
warning, in the story recorded in the Mishna of the deputation 
from the Sanhedrin which came to the High Priest on the eve 
of the Day of Atonement, with the urgent appeal : * O my lord 
*the High Priest, we are the representatives of the great 

* Sanhedrin, and thou art our representative. We adjure thee 

* by Him whose name dwells in this Temple that thou wilt not 
' change any of all the things which we have said unto thee.' ^ 
He went away and wept to think that they should suspect him 
of heresy, and they went away and wept to think that they did 
suspect him of heresy. And what was the heresy for which 
those tears were shed, and for which this solemn adjuration was 
made ? It was that the Sadducee High Priest had ' in that 
*most difficult question of taking the proper handful of the 

* grains of incense ' preferred to put them into the censer outside 
the veil, instead of adopting the Pharisaic interpretation ot 
reserving the fumigation till the veil was passed. How many 
tears of grief and rage have been shed, how many tests and 
adjurations have been imposed, for questions of a like character, 
though, it may be, of more intrinsic importance 1 

Yet still, as in the dim shadows of Alexandria^i Judaism 
there were the clear streaks as of the coming day in the ethical 
treatises of Philo— as in our own scholastic ages there were the 
harbingers of a future Reformation in Scotus Erigena, Anselm, 
Roger Bacon, and Wycliffe — so in the yet deeper darkness ot 
the Rabbinical schools of Palestine, Hillel was, as it were, the 
morning star of the bright dawn that was rising in the hills of 
Galilee. It has been reserved for modern times to recognise 
his extraordinary merit. The teacher over whom both Josephus 

* * Chdigijahi li. 2, in Surenhusius's Mishna^ i. 417, 418. ' Ibid. Yomfa, i. 5. 

UBC3T. L. HILLEL. 399 

and Eusebius pass without a word, saw further than any other 
man of his generation into the heart and essence of reUgion. 
In him the freedom, the elevation, the latitude which had 
breathed through the poetic imagery and grand idealism of the 
Psalmists and Prophets in the days of the higher inspirations 
of Judaism, now expressed themselves for the first time in the 
direct, practical maxims of what we may call the modern 
thought of the Herodian, the Augustan age. Even amidst the 
trivial casuistry and ceremonial etiquettes which furnish the 
materials for the larger part of Hillel's decisions, they lean, not 
indeed invariably, but as a general rule, to the more liberal and 
spiritual side, and they foster the rights of the congregation and 
the nation as against the claims of a grasping * sacerdotal caste. 
And even where he appeared to submit, he introduced, if he did 
not create, a logical process by which, under a peculiar name ^ 
acquired in his hands, he contrived to * minimise ' the stringent 
effects not only of the tradition, but of the Law itself But 
there are sayings which tower not only far above those questions 
of tithe, anise, and cummin, but above the merely prudential 
aphorisms of the earlier Rabbis, and which must have created 
around them an atmosphere, not only in which they them- 
selves could live and be appreciated, but which must have 
rendered more possible both the origination and the accep- 
tance of any other sayings of a kindred nature in that or 
the coming age. *Be gentle as Hillel,^ and not harsh as 
Teaching of * Shammai,' was the proverb which marked the final 
Shammai. estimate of the latitudinarian compared with the 
rigorist teacher, when the spirit of partisanship had cooled 
before the calmer judgment of posterity. Two practical sayings 
alone have survived of the sterile teaching of Shammai. * Let 
*thy repetition 4 of the Law be at a fixed hour,' was the hard 
and fast line by which his disciples were to be bound down, 
as by an inexorable necessity, to the punctual reading of the 
Sacred Book, as of a breviary, at hours never to be lost sight of. 

* See Derenbourg, 180-190. "* Mishna, PiVi* Adoth, i. z5,aadD»rexi- 

• * ProsboL' See Derenbourg, 188. bourg, 191, 
■ Ewald, JahrbUcktr^ x. 6g. 

400 HEROD. LHCT. L, 

* Speak little and do much, but do what thou hast to do with a 
'cheerful countenance.' That voice has a touching accent, as 
though he felt that the frequent professions and austere de- 
meanour which were congenial to his natural disposition might 
perchance prove a stumbling-block to the cause which was dear 
to him. 

But when from these ' scrannel pipes ' of Shammai we turn 
to his less popular but more deeply beloved rival, we find our- 
selves listening to strains of a far higher mood. 

' Be of Aaron's disciples, who loved peace, pursued peace, 
Teaching of ' ^ovcd all crcaturcs, and attracted them towards ^ the 
Hiiiei. *Law.' Although not a priest himself, and by his 

position thrown into antagonism to the order, he yet had the 
rare merit of seeing in an ancient institution the better side of 
its traditions and its capabilities, and of commending it to his 

' He who makes his own name famous, and does not in- 
' crease in wisdom, shall perish. He who learns nothing is as 

* though he had done something worthy of death. He who 

* makes a profit of the crowning glory of a teacher's place, away 
' with him 1 ' ^ This represents first the religious passion for 
mental improvement — secondly, the sacred duty of diligence, 
which carries within it the stimulus of all modern science — 
thirdly, the true ideal of 'the scholar.' It shows also the 
Socratic^ disinterestedness in imparting knowledge transplanted 
into a sphere where it will give birth to one of the most striking 
characteristics of a future apostle. 

' If I am not mine own, who is mine ? yet, if I am mine 
' own, what am I ? And if not now, when ? ' It is one of those 
enigmas in which, from the time of Solomon downwards, the 
Jewish sages delighted, yet full of deep meaning."* It expresses 

^ Ewald, V, 73, 74. Pz'r/ie Ahoth, i. 12 * sacred name of God shall perish.' 

(Surenhusius, iv. 416, 417), where are Derenbourg interprets the third differently 

given the traditional stories of Aaron, (133). 

which justify the characteristics here ^ See Lecture XLVI. and i Cor. ix. 

ascribed to him. Compare Mai. ii. 5. 1-27. 

'^ Pirke A both, i. 13 (Surenhusius, iv. * Pirke Aboth^ i. 14 (Surenhusius, iv. 

417). Ewald (v. 74) interprets the first 418). 
part differently : * He who disguises the 

LECT. 1,. HILLEL. 401 

the threefold mission placed before the human soul — the call 
to absolute independence, the worthlessness of selfish isolation, 
the necessity of immediate exertion to fortify the one and to 
correct the other. * Had Hillel,' says Ewald, * left us but this 

* single saying, we should be for ever grateful to him, for scarce 

* anything can be said more briefly,' more profoundly, or more 

* earnestly.' 

A heathen came to Shammai, and begged to be taught the 
whole Law whilst he stood on one foot. Shammai, indignant 
at the thought that the Law could be taught so simply and so 
shortly, drove him forth with the staff which he held in his hand. 
The Gentile went to Hillel, who accepted him, and said : 

* What thou wouldest not thyself, do not to thy neighbour. 
' This is the whole Law, and its application is, " Go and do 
*this."'^ We start as we read the famihar rule, but even 
Hillel was not the first who uttered it Already it had dropped 
from the lips of Isocrates in Greece,^ and Confucius in China, 
yet not the less original was it in the mouth of each ; and most 
of all was it original in the mouth of Him who, in the nex 
generation, made it not the maxim of a sage, but * the golden 

* rule ' * of a world. 

* " Wish not to be better than the whole community, nor 

* be confident of thyself till the day of thy death." This, 
Ewald remarks, * is a strange truth for a Pharisee to have 

* uttered ; one which, had the Pharisees followed, no Pharisee 

* would have ever arisen. Yet,' he adds, with true apprecia- 
tion of the elevation of the best spirits above their party, ' it 

* is not the only example of a distinguished teacher protesting 

* against the fundamental error of his own peculiar tendencies.' 

* Think not of anything that it will not be heard, for heard 

* at last it surely will be ; think not that thou canst calculate on 

* the time when thou shalt have anything, for how easily will it 

* come to pass that thou shalt never have it at all' ^ * The more 

* meat at his banquets a man hath, so much the more is the 

' Ewald, V. 73. ^ Ibid. v. 70, 71. the maxim in another form: 'Judge not 

' Isocrates to Nicocles, and see Lecture ' thy neighbour till thou hast put thyself 

XLV. * in his place.' Ewald, yahrbUcher^ x. 75, 

* Matt. vii. 12. Hillel himself repeated * Ibid. 


402 HEROD. zacT. t. 

' food for worms ; the more wealth he hath, so much the more 

* care ; the more wives, so much the more opening for supersti- 

* tion ; the more maidservants, so much the more temptation to 

* Hcense ; the more slaves, so much the more room for plunder. 

* But the more of Law, so much the more of life ; the more of 

* schools, so much the more of wisdom ; the more of counsel, 

* so much the more of insight ; the more of righteousness, so 

* much the more of peace. If a man gains a good name, he 

* gains it for himself alone ; if he gains a knowledge of the Law, 

* it is for eternal life.' These are maxims which are more than 
philosophical ; they are almost apostolical. 

It is not needed to multiply these stories, or to recite the 
legendary portents which hovered round the name of Hillel. 
What has been said is enough to show that, as in modern times 
there have been those who, amongst heretics and sectarians, 
yet were catholic — amongst the rigidly orthodox, were yet full 
of the freedom which belongs to scepticism or heterodoxy — so 
among the Pharisees was at least one man in whom was fore- 
shadowed the spirit of the coming age, in the life of whose 
maxims was the death of his sect, in the breadth of whose cha- 
racter was the pledge that he or his disciples should at last 
inherit the earth, and be the teachers in that Jerusalem which, 
being above, is free. In the schools of his native land he 
founded a dynasty of scholars : Simeon, Gamaliel, and the 
Death of sccoud Hillel — his son, his grandson, and his great- 
Hiiiei. grandson. * Ah ! the tender-hearted, the pious, the 

A.D. 6. i disciple of Ezra,' was the lament over his grave. ^ In 

the same grave he and his rival Shammai rest side by side at 
Meiron,^ amidst the Rabbis who were drawn thither from Safed, 
the holy city of a later age. But his fame soon perished ; it is 
only now, after an obscurity of many centuries that he has been 
recognised to be of all the teachers of Judaea at that time the 
one who most nearly approached to the Light that was to 
lighten the heathen nations, and to be the glory of the people 
of Israel. 

Yet, strange as it may seem, we must look for this realisa- 

' Jost. i. 263. " Robinson's Researches, vol. iii. 334 ; Later Res. 37. 


tion, even for this preparation, not to the schools of Jerusalem, 
but to classes in which Hillel hardly ventured to expect it. 

* No uneducated man,' he said, * easily avoids sin ; no man of 

* the people can be pious. Where there are no men, study to 
' show thyself a man.' The first part of the saying partakes of 
the contraction of the Pharisaic circle in which he moved ; the 
last part shows how he rose above it. On the one hand he 
believed that, except in the schools of the learned, no real ex- 
cellence could be found ; on the other hand he felt that, even 
where all seems blank and void of interest, it is never too late 
to hope that a true man may discover himself How far he 
was wrong in the first of these sayings, how far he was right in 
the second, we shall see as we proceed. 

From the small casuistry and occasional flashes of inspiration 
in the schools of Jerusalem we pass to the different world or 
worlds, which even within the narrow limits of Palestine, were 
to be found, containing elements of life as unlike those which 
prevailed in the cloisters of the Temple as if they had belonged 
to another country. 

We first turn to the neighbourhood of the capital. It is 
one of the peculiarities of the Herodian age that the valley of 
Tj^^ the Jordan then leaped into vast prominence. The 

Essenes. palaces, the baths, the racecourses, of the forests and 
gardens of Jericho became the resort of the fashionable world 
of that time. But side by side with these sprang up, as in gipsy 
encampments, a host of ascetics. In those wild jungles, or in 
the maze of verdure which clings to the spring of Engedi, ^ and 
clusters on the little platform by the shores of the Dead Sea, 
screened from the upper world behind the rocky barrier of 
the crags which overhang that mysterious lake, swarmed the 
Essenian hermits. It is true that in every town in Palestme ^ 
some of them were to be found. They were not entirely sepa- 
rated from the movement of the capital. There was a gate ^ in 
the city which bore their name as if from their frequenting it 
More than once we hear of their appearances in the Temple 

» PUn. N. N. V. 15. " B. y. ii. 8, 4 ; Philo, Fragm. 63a. 

" B. y. vi. 4, 2. 

D D 2 

404 HEROD. LBCT. I* 

Menahem, the Essene, in his playful manner, had foretold 
Herod's greatness when yet an innocent child, and, remaining 
faithful to him in his later years, was raised by him ^ to the 
second place in the Sanhedrin, in the room of Shammai, next 
to the illustrious Hillel. But, as in Egypt their chief haunt 
was by the shores of the Lake Mareotis, so in Judaea their main 
home was the insulated oasis beneath the haunts of the wild 
goats. Their form of religion, in many respects, was merely 
Pharisaism in excess. Their chief rites were Pharisaic ordi- 
nances raised to a higher level. The common meals, which 
the Pharisees established in imitation of the solemn banquets ^ 
of the Priests after the Temple sacrifices, were elevated by the 
Essenians to be an essential part of their worship. But, whereas 
the Pharisees, though not Priests, yet often frequented the 
Temple ceremonies, the Essenians, in their isolation, were con- 
strained to invent a ritual for themselves— a ritual so simple 
that it almost escaped observation at the time, yet so expressive 
that its near likeness has, in altered forms, not only survived 
the magnificent worship of Jerusalem, but become the centre 
of ceremonials yet more gorgeous. For the first time, the 
common meal without a sacrifice, became a religious ordi- 
nance, in which the loaves ^ of bread were arranged by the 
baker, and the blessing asked and the repast transacted ^ with 
such solemnity that their little dining- halls seemed for the mo- 
ment to be transformed into the appearance of a consecrated 

*The Pharisees,' said their Sadducaic rivals, 'want to clean 
* the face of the sun.' And so to the Essenes cleanliness was 
not only next to godliness, but, as regards worship, we may 
almost say that it was godliness.^ The badges of initiation 
were the apron or towel for wiping themselves after the bath, 

^ See Lightfoot, ii. 200, on Matt. xvii. Nazara^ i. 358-368, and the exhaustive 

^ Derenbourg, 142-162. essays of Bishop Lightfoot on Epistle to 

^ The Essenes are desc'ibed in Jos. Ant. the Colossians, 83-94, 115-178. 

xiii. 5, g ; xviii. i, 5 ; i5. J. ii. 8, 2-13 ; * B, J. ii. 8, 5. The mention of the 

Plin. Ep. V. 15, 17; Philo, ii. 457, 471, cook seems to imply something else than 

632. For ample discussions, which super- bread- -probably fish. 

sede any need for further detail here, see * Jos. B. J. ii. 8, $■>!'' Bishop Light- 

Dr. Ginsburg's article on the Essenes, in foot on Colossians, 120 ; Kuenen, iii, ia8, 

Kitto's Cyclopadia^ Keim's Jesus of 129, 131, 133- 


the hatchet for digging holes to put away filth. Some Churches 
in later days have insisted on the absolute necessity of im- 
mersion once in a life. But not only did the Essenes go 
through the bath on their first admission, but day by day the 
same cleansing process was undergone ; day by day it was held 
unlawful even to name the name of God without the preliminary 
baptism ; day by day fresh white clothes were put on ; day by 
day, after the slightest occasion,* they bathed again. Down to 
the minutest points cleanliness was the one sacramental sign. 
The primitive Christians had their daily Communion ; the 
Essenes had their daily Baptism. ^ In the deep bed of the 
neighbouring Jordan, in the warm springs and the crystal 
streams of Engedi, in the rivulets and the tanks of Jericho, 
they had ample opportunities for this purification which in the 
dry hills and streets of Jerusalem they would have lacked. 

When from these outward signs of the society we descend 
to its inner life, the difficulty of tracing its affinities is increased. 
In this respect * the Essene ^ is the great enigma of Hebrew 
* history.' On the one hand, it is no wonder that the solution 
of the enigma should have been sought in the conclusion that 
the early Christians '* concerning whom the Jewish historian is 
strangely silent, and the Essenes concerning whom the Evan- 
gelists are no less strangely silent, were one and the same. The 
community of property, the abstinence from oaths, the repug- 
nance to sacrificial ordinances, the purity of life, which enkindled 
the admiration alike of the prosaic Josephus and the poetic 
Philo, have one, and one only counterpart, in the coming 
generation. On the other hand, their rigid Sabbatarianism, 
their monastic celibacy, their seclusion from social life, their 
worship ^ of the rising sun, point to influences wholly unlike 
those w^hich guided the first growth of the Christian society. 
But thus much seems clear. A community whose observances, 
if exaggerated, were so simple, and whose moral standard, if 

* Derenbourg, 170. ' Bishop Lightfoot, 82. 

"This was the case, even without "* See the ingenious essays of DeQuinceyj 

identifying them with the i^fjtepo^aTrTto-- vi. 270, ix. 253. 

rat, daily or morning bathers. See Bishop * Bishop Lightfoot, 88. 
Lightfoot, 133, 162 ; Derenbourg, 165. 

40<^ HEROD. • LBCT. I,. 

eccentric, was so ekvated, must have drawn to the outskirts of 
their body individuals, even classes of men that would not have 
been numbered amongst them. Sometimes it will be a Hermit * 
who attaches to his side for three years the future 
historian and soldier of the age ; dressed in a matting 
of palm leaves or the like, eating whatever fruits he picked up 
in the woods ; like them a constant bather both by night and 
day. At another time it will be a young Priest, who shall look 
like one possessed by a ghost or a demon, ^ who from his boy- 
The hood has lived in these wild thickets, seated in his 

Baptist. }^ut or amidst the waving canes of the Jordan ; ^ 
with his shaggy locks loose-flowing round his head (if his'* 
Nazarite vow had been duly performed) ; like the dervishes ^ 
of modern days, clothed only in a rough blanket of camel's hair 
fastened round his bare limbs with a girdle of skin ; who shall 
undertake to be the universal Bather or Baptizer of the district ; 
who shall catch for that purifying plunge ^ the tax collectors from 
Jericho, and the learned Scribes or Levites travelling thither 
from Jerusalem, or the soldiers marching down the Jordan 
valley, as once with Pompey before, to some skirmish with the 
Nabathaean Arabs. In the spots chosen for his haunts, in his 
scanty fare, in his frequent abstinence, in his long-sustained 
ejaculations of prayer, in his insistance on personal ablution, 
John the Johauau, or John, the son of Zechariah, is closely 
Baptist. allied with the Essenian fraternity. Yet, on the other 
hand, his career breathed the spirit not of the Essenian seers, 
but of the prophetic force of older days, which seemed to show 
that Elijah had started again into life, or that Jeremiah, who 
had visited Judas Maccabaeus in his dreams, was once more on 
the soil of his beloved Palestine, or that the voice which 
announced the return of the Exiles was once more sounding in 
the solitudes of the Jordan. The grandeur of his mission lay 
in the keen discernment with which he seized hold of the one 
ordinance which had, as it were, been engendered by the full- 

' See the description of Banus, the pre- * Justin adv. Tryph. c. 51; Matt. xi. 7, 9. 

ceptor of Josephus, Vita, c. 2. * Luke i. 15. • Light's Travels, 135. 

* John i. ai ; Matt. xi. 18. • Luke iii. 3-15. 


flowing stream of the ' Descending river,' to bring before his 
countrymen the truth, ever old, yet ever new, that the cleanness, 
the whiteness of the human heart is the only fitting preparation 
for the Divine presence. He took advantage of that leap into 
the river or the reservoir to call upon one and all to spring 
mto a new life, to wash off the stains upon their honour and 
their consciences, which choked up the pores of their moral 
texture and impeded the influx of the new truths with which the 
air around them was shortly to be impregnated.^ He pro- 
claimed the one indispensable condition of all spiritual religion, 
that the regeneration of the human spirit ^ was to be accom 
plished, not by ceremonies or opinions, not by succession or 
descent, but by moral uprightness. The substitution of the 
wholesome, invigorating, simple process of the bath, in which 
the head and body and limbs should be submerged in the 
rushing river, for the sanguinary, costly gifts of the sacrificial 
slaughter-house, was a living representation in a single act of 
the whole prophetic teaching of the supremacy of Duty. This 
startling note of the universal need for the creation of a new 
morality, for a ' transformation of the mind,' struck a chord 
which had not vibrated clearly since the days of Malachi. And 
of this the nearest contemporary likeness was in the Essenian 
maxim, * The approach to Duty is as a battlefield,' and in the 
three Essenian virtues, * Love of God, love of goodness, and 
' love of man.' ^ Wherever any souls were penetrated with the 
sense of this truth, as the paramount definition of their religious 
calling, there a vast stride was made beyond the actual religions 
of the ancient world, and towards the ideal of all of them. 

But there was yet a wider area to be winnowed by the spirit 
of the coming time than either the schools of the Temple or 
The Syna ^^^ shores of the Dead Sea. And even the Essenian 
gogues. teaching at its highest point was but as the flame * of 
a blazing torch that would pale and fade away before the steady 
sunshine of the coming day. 

* Matt. iii. t, 4, 11, 12 ; Luke v. 33. * tion of mind,' ' a second birth of the 

* fieravoia is, in the New Testament, moral nature.' Matt. iii. 11 ; Luke iii. 3. 
and the early fathers, the same as iraKiy- » Jos. Ant xviii. i, 5. Philo, Fit, 
ytvfxria—not merely * penitence ' or * re- Contetnp. Bjj. 

pentonce,' but a ' regeneration or revolu- * John v. 35 (Godet). 

408 HEROD. lECT. L. 

Throughout the country, in town and village, increasing 
since the time of Ezra, had sprung up a whole system of wor- 
ship, which to the Pentateuch and the Prophets and the early 
Psalmists was unknown. The main religious instruction and 
devotion of the nation was now carried on, not in the Temple, 
but in the synagogues.^ Wherever there were as many as ten 
who desired it such a meeting-house for prayer was established 
— the 'ten men of leisure,' as they were called, who were 
capable of forming a congregation or filling the public offices. 
In Jerusalem it is said that there were no less than 480. In 
the smaller towns of the north they were stately marble edifices, 
with massive pillars and cornices richly sculptured, ^ which 
probably answered the purpose of the Town-hall as well as the 
church of the district. Each synagogue accordingly had its 
own small municipal jurisdiction, with the power of excom- 
munication or exclusion, and extending to the right of inflicting 
lashes on the bare back and breast of the offender. A 
distinguished teacher of his time ^ was obliged, in the short 
space of a few years, to submit to this ignominious infliction no 
less than five times. Each of these little municipalities con- 
sisted of the chief official with his two associates, the three 
almoners, the leader of the public worship, the interpreter, and 
the beadle. These formed a little hierarchy in themselves, but 
having no relation to that of the sacerdotal caste, or to the 
order of Scribes. No office of teaching corresponding to that 
either of the Jewish Priesthood or Christian clergy existed in 
this body. The instruction was given by any scholar with any 
pretensions who presented himself for the occasion. The 
practice of^ combining the office of teachers with some manual 
trade was a constant safeguard against their sinking into a 
merely sacerdotal or a merely literary class. 

It is obvious how important a link this institution estab- 

' See Ginsburg on the Synagogue. Wilson, in Recovery o/yerusalefn, 342, et 

Kitto, iii. 902-905. ^^7' 

'^ See the description of the ruins at Tell ^ 2 Cor. xi. 24 ; SchSttgen, Hor. Heb, 

Hum, Irbid, Kefr Birim, Meiron, and 714. 

Kedesh Naphtali, in Robinson's Later * Mishna, Pirke Aboth, ii. 2 ; Munk's 

Biblical Researches^ 70, 74, 368 ; also Palestine, 531 ; Deutsch, 25. 


lished between the Jewish settlements throughout the world. 
At Alexandria, at Rome, at Babylon there was no Temple. 
But in every one of those cities, and by many a tank or river- 
side in Egypt, Greece, or Italy, there was the same familiar 
building, the same mdependent organisation, the same house 
for the mingled worship and business of every Jewish com- 
munity. And thus, inasmuch as the synagogue existed where 
the Temple was unknown, and remained when the Temple 
fell, it followed that from its order and worship, and not from 
that of the Temple, were copied, if not in all their details, yet 
in their general features, the government, the institutions, and 
the devotions of those Christian communities which, springing 
directly from the Jewish, were in the first instance known as 

* synagogues,' or ' meeting-houses,' * and afterwards, by the 
adoption of an almost identical word, ' Ecclesia,' ' assembly- 

* house.' 

It is obvious further that in these synagogues of Palestine 
was the safety-valve, the open sphere, the golden opportunity 
for any fresh teaching to arise. Without convulsion, or revolu- 
tion, or disorder, the development of a new idea, the expan- 
sion of an old idea, could be unfolded within the existing 
framework by some new-comer, and the shock would fly from 
synagogue to synagogue throughout the country, and, it may 
be, throughout the Empire. In those brief discourses which 
were there delivered we have the origin of the ' Homily,' ' the 

* Sermon ' — that is, the serious ' conversation ' — which has now 
struck so deep a root in the Jewish, the Mussulman, and the 
Christian communities that we can hardly imagine them to 
have existed without it. It began, doubtless, as we have seen, 
in the expositions of Ezra, but it was in this later age of Judaism 
that it assumed its predominance. One example of such is 
preserved to us in the stirring appeal, partly philosophic, partly 
patriotic, founded on the story of the Seven Martyrs under 
Antiochus, and now known as the Fourth Book of Maccabees* 
Others are discernible in some of the treatises of the Alex- 
andrian Philo. It thus became possible that some heaven-sent 

'James ii. 2. Epiph. (xxx. 18). Bishop Lightfooton the E.jistle to the Philippians, 150. 


Teacher might, by a first discourse, thus draw upon himself 
' the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn, the love of love,' by 
which he should be afterwards followed even to the end, or 
that some ' word of exhortation ' from a wandering stranger 
might drop a spark which should enkindle a slumbering flame 
that could never be extinguished.^ 

This leads us to the consideration of the religious condition 
and capabilities of the general population of Palestine, and of 
the materials on which any new influence would have to work, 
and in the midst of which it must grow up. 

Nothing is more difficult than to detect the popular senti- 
ment of a nation apart from its higher culture and its public 
Thfe events. Yet in this case it is not impossible. For 

Peasants. ^-j^Q first time we are now entering on a period where 
*the people of the land,'^ the peasants of Palestine, found a 
voice in the literature, and took a part in the struggles, of the 
nation. In the provincial towns the system of schools had 
kept alive the knowledge of the sacred books, though often of 
another class than those studied in the capital. The parables 
and riddles with which, even in the grave colleges, the teachers ^ 
were wont to startle their drowsy hearers into attention were 
yet more congenial amongst the rural villagers. Instead of 
the tedious controversies of legal casuistry '^ which agitated the 
theologians at Jerusalem, the Prophets, with their bright pre- 
dictions, were studied or read in the synagogues. Instead of 
the Halacha^ or *the authoritative rule' for legal action, the 
rustic or provincial teachers threw themselves on the Hagada^ 
' the legendary,' or the poetical branch of the Scriptures. The 
Talmudical writers never mention the Hagadists, the Hagadists 
rarely mention the Talmudists ; but not the less truly did they 
exist side by side. 

Almost for the first time since the death of Zerubbabel the 
expectations not merely of a Messenger, of a Prophet, but of a 
Personal Deliverer — of a son of the long-lost house of David — 

' Luke iv. 21 ; Acts xiii. 14. ' Deutsch, Remains^ 44. 

' Ginsburg on ' the Midrash ' and on * Derenbourg, 161. 

* Education ' in Kitto's Cyclop(zdia^ i. 167, * Ibid. 350. See Milman's Mist, of 

73X. ytwSf iii 42. 


took possession of the popular mind. New prayers* were 
added to the Jewish ritual, for the re-establishment of the 
royal dynasty, and for the restoration of the national jurisdic- 
tion. Even the Romans had heard of an expectation that 
some conquering king w^ould rise at this time out of Judsea.* 
It was natural that these aspirations should breed a fiercer 
spirit, and burn with more intense ardour, in particular locali- 
ties. The district where they can be most distinctly traced 
even through the dry narrative of Josephus is Galilee. Not 
more clearly than the High Priests on the one side 
and the Scribes on the other dominate in Jerusalem, ^ * *** 
or the monastic Essenes in the basin of the Dead Sea, do * the 

* Zealots,' or the patriots, of the coming generation, prevail on 
that border-land of Jew and Gentile, where the hardy and 
secluded habits of the peasants and foresters kept them pure 
from the influence of the controversies and corruptions of the 
capital, where the precipitous and cavernous glens furnished, 
inaccessible retreats, where the crowded population of artisans 
and fishermen along the shores of the Lake of Gennesareth 
teemed with concentrated energy. There were born and bred 
Hezekiah ^ and his gallant band whom Herod treated as rob- 
bers, but whose mothers, Hke the Rachel of Bethlehem, cried 
for vengeance against him for the shedding of the innocent 
blood of their sons, whom the stern Shemaiah took under his 
protection in the Jewish Sanhedrin. There was nurtured his 
son Judas, of Galilee, whether from the eastern or western side 
of the Lake, who, in the same cause, * caHing none master save 

* God alone,' died a death of torture, and was believed to be 
enrolled amongst * the just men made perfect.'* There were, 
still continuing the same heroic cause, his sons, James and 
Simon, who suffered for their revolt ^ on the cross. In the 
craggy sides of the romantic dell of Arbela, as it descends 
on the plain of Gennesareth, took refuge the band, whom Kerod 
extirpated^ by letting down his soldiers in baskets over the 

* See Ginsburg on the Synagogues, * Jos. Anf. xviii. i, 6. 

Kitto, iii. 906, 907. • Ii>id. Ant. xx. 5, 2. 

' Tacit. Hist. v. 13 ; Suet. F«>, 4. • Robinson's JiesearcA^s, iii. 288-293 ; 

■ Jos, Ant, XV. xo, 1 ; Derenbouiig, 261. Jos. AHt. xiv. 15, 4, 5 ; £. y. 16, 2-5. 

412 HEROD. LBCT. L. 

cliff- side and kindling fires at the entrance of the caverns. 
Robbers, it may be, but, like the Maccabsean * patriots who 
had occupied the same hiding-places before, and the troops of 
insurgents ^ later, they numbered amongst them that fine old 
man ^ who, like the mother of the Maccabsean martyrs, stood 
at the mouth of the cave, and, as the suffocating smoke rolled 
in, rather than submit to Herod, whom he reproached with his 
Idumaean descent, slew one by one his seven sons and their 
mother, and then flung himself over the precipice, to the horror 
and compassion of his pursuers. Of this same ^ impassioned 
and devoted race were those multitudes of Galilee — men, 
women, and children — who adhered to their leader Josephus 
with a devotion and gratitude vainly sought amongst the 
dwellers in the capital and its neighbourhood. In thi^ popu- 
lation, so simple in its creed, so uncorrupted in its manners, so 
fiery in its zeal — in those borders of the ancient Zebulon and 
Naphtali that had once ' jeoparded their lives unto the death ' 
against the host of Sisera — in that country lying on the dim 
twilight of Judaism and heathenism, whence the Scribes and 
Pharisees were confident that no prophet could arise— where 
alone, as into the Boeotia of Palestine, the schools of Simeon 
the son of Shetach had not penetrated ^ — it was not altogether 
beyond expectation that a new cause should be proclaimed, and 
that, if it did, there would be found among those Galilean 
peasants a Simon,^ perchance (like his namesake the son of 
Judas the Gaulanite) ' a Zealot ' for his country's independence, 
or another Simon, rugged as a * Rock ' ^ of his own Lake, or 
another James counted * Just,' ® like the founder of these as- 
piring patriots, or yet another whose fiery spirit made^ him 
like ' a Child of Thunder.' ^^ 

There is one more aspect of the life of Palestine which 
must not be omitted, though it includes a wider scope than 

* Jos. Ant. xii. ii, i ; i Mace. ix. 2, • Luke vi. 15 ; Jos. Ant, xx. 5, 2. 
where the caves are called Messaloth, the John i. 42 

steps as of a ladder. ® Eus. H. E. ii. 23 ; Jos. AnU xx. 5, 2. 

' Joseph. Flia, 37. ' B. y. i. 16, 4. ^ Mark iii. 17. 

* Jos. Vita, 42, 43, so. " For Galilee at this time see Neubauer's 
Deutsch, 140. Giographie des Tkalmuds, 183. 


any yet mentioned. From the time that the envoys of Judas 

Maccabaeus signed the treaty in the Senate House, still more 

from the time that Pompey entered the Holy of Holies, 

The Roman , -r, ^ . , , . ' 

Govern- the Roman power contmued to make its presence 
™^'^*^' more and more felt through every corner of Syria. 

The Lake of Gennesareth became studded with Italian towns 
and villas, like the Lake of Como. The hills of Herodium 
and Machaerus were crested with Italian towers and walls and 
aqueducts, as if from the heart of the Apennines. The collec- 
tors of the imperial taxes and customs were at watch in every 
provincial town. Herod was regarded both by Augustus and 
by Agrippa as the second man in the Empire, each placing him 
next to the other.* The visible marks of foreign dominion, 
more deeply than ever before impressed on the face of the 
Holy Land, expressed the significant fact, that Palestine and its 
inhabitants had insensibly become merged in a vaster, deeper 
system. No doubt, the rapacity of the Roman officials was 
often pushed to intolerable extremities. No doubt, the zealots 
of Galilee, and even of Jerusalem, contended repeatedly against 
the influx of the Western Empire. The golden Eagle, ^ whose 
overshadowing wings Herod had placed over the portal of the 
Temple, was indignandy torn down by the band of gallant 
youths, whose leaders expiated their heroism at the burning 
stake. But the sense of the beneficent influence of the Roman 
sway had sunk too profoundly into the national feehng to 
render this extreme repulsion the general sentiment ; and, 
although Josephus cannot be taken as a type of his countr}^- 
men, yet there must have been a wide-spread loyalty to the 
majesty of the Roman State which could have made it possible 
for Vespasian to claim, or for Josephus to concede to him,^ 
the character of the Anointed Deliverer. The great ^ name of 
* Caesar ' was, on the whole, a symbol, not of persecution or 
tyranny, but of protection and freedom. The Roman soldiers ^ 
were, in the eyes of the Galilean peasants, models of generosity 
and justice. The Greek language,^ adopted by the Romans as 

* Jos. B. y. L 20, 4 ; Ant, xv. lo, 3. * Matt. xxii. 21 ; Acts xxv. n. 

^ Ibid. Ant. xvii. 6, 2. ® Luke vii. s, 4, ^; xxiii. 47. 

' Ibid. ]B. y. i. 6, 5, 1. " Deutsch, 141. 

414 HEROD. LBCT. L. 

their means of communication with the natives, received a new- 
impulse in Palestine, and, whilst still leaving the native Aramaic 
in possession of the hearts of the people, became henceforth 
the chief vehicle ^ of general culture. It was the language 
which was compulsory in the schools, and in which the his- 
tories of the time were written. Even its drama penetrated 
into Jerusalem. The story of Susanna was turned into a 
tragedy by Nicolas of Damascus, and probably acted in the 
splendid theatre ^ decorated with the trophies of Augustus. 
The Roman or Grecian customs and postures, at social meals, 
superseded, even in the humblest ranks, the time-honoured 
usages of the East. 

These were the elements from which a new nation, a new 
Church, a new Empire, might possibly be built up whenever 
^^ a new leader should appear. And will it be possible 

Theexpecta- ^ , , , 

tion of the for such a leader to appear ? We have witnessed the 
shining ideal of a mighty future depicted by the 
Prophet of the Captivity.^ We have seen the narrowing of that 
ideal in the rigid system '* of Ezra and of the scribes. We have 
seen the partial opening of the Eastern horizon through the 
contact with Babylon and Persia, and of the Western horizon 
in the influence ^ of Alexander and the Alexandrian civilisation. 
We have seen the reanimation of the heroic and loyal spirit of 
the nation under the Maccabees.^ We have seen the revival 
of religious and secular magnificence, first in the Royal Ponti- 
ficate of the Asmoneans,^ and then in the union of Western 
and Oriental splendour on the throne of Herod. We have 
heard the faint accents of a generous and universal theology 
from the lips of Hillel, the aspirations after a lofty purity and a 
simpler worship from the Essenes, the cry of the individual 
conscience and national independence in Galilee. We have 
watched the increasing intercommunion between the country- 

* See the case argued on one side by ^ Deutsch, 141 ; Hausrath, 248, 249 ; 

Professor Roberts in his Discussions on Jos. Ant. xv. 8, 2. 

the Gospels, and on the other side by ^ Lectures XL., XLIL, XLIIL 

Professor Bohl, Forschungen nach einer * Lecture XLIV. 

Volksbibel zur Zeit Jesu. For the joint » Lectures XLV., XLVL, XLVIL 

use of the two languages, see Merivale, " Lecture XLVIIL 

History of the Romans ^ iii. 375. ' Lectur* XLIX. 


men of David and those of Cicero. Shall there arise One in 
whom this long history, at times so strangely vacant, at times 
so densely crowded with incidents, shall be consummated — 
who shall be above all these jarring elements, because he shall 
have an affinity with each and a subjection to none — who shall 
give to the discords of his own age, and to the traditions of the 
past, and to the hopes of the future a note of heavenly harmony, 
a magic touch of universal significance, an upward tendency of 
eternal progress ? 

Full of instruction as the previous stages of that history 
may have been, they can never equal the interest of the events 
that shall fill its next seventy years. And those events are not 
the less attractive because they are overlooked alike by the 
Jewish and the Gentile historians, and are contained only in 
the impressive simplicity of fragmentary records which the 
authorities of the Jewish Church and of the Roman Empire 
disdain to mention. We do not venture to anticipate the 
coming time. But no account of the reign of Herod can be 
complete which does not tell that the next generation delighted 
to recount how, within sight of his palace and sepulchre on the 
high, rocky platform of the Herodium, in the very year when 
The Rise of ^^^ blood-staincd career was drawing to an end, was 
Christianity, silently bom (to use no other terms than those which 
almost all, of every creed and nation, would acknowledge) the 
Last and Greatest Prophet of the Jewish Church, the First and 
Greatest Prophet of the races of the future. 

The Roman ^ statesmen, the Grecian philosophers, the 
Jewish rabbis looked for nothing beyond the immediate 
horizon ; but the Sibylline mystics at Alexandria, the poets 
at Rome, the peasants in Syria, were wound up to the ex~ 
pectation of * some beginning of a new order of the ages,' 
some hero * who from Palestine should govern the habitable 

* world,' some cause in which ' the East should once more wax 

* strong.' ^ 

Such an epoch was at hand, but unlike anything that either 

* Men vale, Hist9ry 0/ the Romans, ii. ^ Virgil, Eclog. iv. ; Tac. Hist. v. j^y 

538. Suet. Ftsp. 4 ; Jos. J5. J, vi. 5, 1. - * 

41 6 HEROD. LECT. -u 

Greek or Jew of that time had conceived ; a new hero, but 
unlike any character that in that age either Jew or Greek 

What was that new birth of time ? What was to be the 
remedy for the superstition, infidehty, casuistry, ambition, im- 
purity, misery of the age ? Not a conqueror — not a philosopher 
— not a Pharisee — not a Sadducee — not a mere wonder-working 
magician — not an ascetic —not a vast hierarchical organisation 
— not a philosophical system or elaborate creed — but an inno- 
cent Child, an humble and inquiring Boy, a Man, ' who knew 

* what was in man ; ' full of sorrows yet full also of enjoyment ; 
gracious to the weak, stern to the insincere ; ^ who went about 

* doing good,' and ' who spake as never man spake ' — a homely, 
social, yet solitary Being, in whose transcendent goodness and 
truthfulness there was revealed a new image of the Divine 
nature, a new idea of human destiny — a Teacher, apart from 
the generation from which he sprang, yet specially suited to the 
needs of that generation —a fulfilment of a longing expectation, 
yet a fulfilment in a sense the reverse of that which was 
expected — Israelite, Oriental by race, but Greek in the wide 
penetration of His sympathy, Roman in the majesty of His 

The world was, as it were, taken by surprise. All His 
teaching abounded in surprises. But His own coming. His 
own self, was the greatest surprise of all ; and yet, when we 
reflect upon it, we feel as if we ought not to have looked for 
anything else. 

It was the arrival of an event which was but imperfectly 
understood at the time, which has been but imperfectly under- 
stood since ; which was therefore not exhausted then, and is 
not ex